Monday, August 11, 2008

Back to School

August 27 will be here before we know it! Kids can get in the mood by reading a good school story. There are 671 items listed under "Schools--Fiction" in our catalog! Yikes! You can browse through the titles or go with ones suggested here.

There are a lot of series books that feature kids and school. Favorites include characters like Clementine, Junie B. Jones, Horrible Harry, Marvin Redpost, Ramona, Amber Brown, and Judy Moody and her cute little brother Stink. (I especially like the scenario when Stink brings home the class hamster for the weekend and loses him--very funny.) Many of these characters can be heard on CD and tapes, too.

The following might be of interest for kids just beginning school:

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
My First Day of School by Nancy Skarmeas
I am Absolutely Too Small for School by Lauren Child
Kindergarten Countdown by Anna Jane Hays
My Kindergarten by Rosemary Wells
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate

Ever wonder what would happen if you went to school every single day of the year? A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech tackles that one. Billy Tartle in Say Cheese by Michael Townshend makes a boring school picture day not-so-boring. Andrew Clements is very clever with his school stories. Imagine making up a new word (Frindle) or having a no talking contest between the fifth grade boys and girls (No Talking). Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard will help kids prepare for the substitute teacher. And who can resist that cute little puppy, Biscuit? (Biscuit Goes to School by Alyssa Satin Capucilli)

We have lots of titles (671 to be exact). Browse through the selections and pick one or more that are right for your scholar!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Shooting Stars

If the weather cooperates and we get some clear nights, take your family outside to star gaze. The Perseid Meteor Shower is occurring now, with the peak display on the morning of August 12. To glimpse a shooting star, go outside, turn off outside (and some inside) lights, and just randomly scan the sky. Be patient, and pretty soon you'll see one. Don't forget to make a wish. Of course, your odds of seeing one increase as we get closer to August 12. You can find information about the Perseides at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseids .


When you go outside, bring along a portable star chart to help you identify the constellations. Cover a flashlight with a piece of red cellophane, thin cloth, or tissue paper to help you see the chart and still keep your eyes adjusted to the limited light. Even though it looks old and dated, Find the Constellations by H.A. Rey, the creator of Curious George, is a fabulous book for learning about the stars. I also recommend One Small Square: the Night Sky by Donald. M. Silver.

A fun family activity is to particpate in the "Eye on the Sky Stargazing Party" Sunday night, August 10. Bring a radio outside with you, tune into VPR, and listen. Find out all about it at http://www.vpr.net/community/fun_stuff/stargazing_party/ . There's even a link to an interactive star chart at the site.

Want to know more about comets and meteors? Check out Comets, Meteors, and Asteroids by Seymour Simon. Collision Course: Cosmic Impacts and Life on Earth by Fred Bortz explains what happens when a shooting star hits the earth--a sometimes frightening scenario. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer takes the scenario even further with a story about the consequence of a meteor hitting the moon, knocking it closer to earth. Though fascinating, I think I will just stick with the notion that shooting stars are made to be wished upon.