STEM and STEAM Gift ideas for the New Year from the Children’s Dept.

In 2018, we will be promoting along with our STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics). Naturally, we can not promote science and technology for the 21st century without promoting reading and the arts. Our programs for Winter & Spring reflect our dedication to STEM and STEAM and the promotion of reading and books!

WINTER & SPRING REGISTRATION begins Saturday, January 6, 2018 after 9:00 a.m.

Ms. Nicole  who does the Imagination Lab for grades 1-3 has these gift  STEM recommendations:

The Osmo Genius Kit

This kit works with your iPad to turn it into a hands-on educational tool. The tangrams are especially fun!

 Product Details

LittleBits Electronics Synth Kit

This kit is an easy-to-use modular synthesizer that works with magnets to create circuits and amazing sound!

Tiggly Learner Kit Toy

Tiggly Learner Kit

This kit for tablets includes Tiggly Words, Tiggly Shapes, and Tiggly Math. The kit has 14 interactive toys with 12 learning apps  to make  it a perfect  fun and educational tool for children 3-8.

******These wonderful kits can be purchased through Amazon or any major department store.  To find out more information about each individual kit, check out these websites:

The Tiggly website
The LittleBits website
The Osmo website

Ms. Kristine recommends:

Tea Set by Green Toys

We have this kit in our play area on the mezzanine. It’s food and dishwasher safe and comes in 2 colors.

Melissa & Doug Extra-Thick Cardboard Building Blocks – 24 Blocks in 3 Sizes

Cardboard blocks may take up a lot of space but they are so much fun to build and then knock over!

Product Details

Infantino Sensory Press and Stay Sensory Blocks

These blocks are easy to put together and pull apart They can stack up and even build sideways!

Ms. Heather S. recommends these STEM toys:


Zoob Builderz

The Zoob building kit contains gears, axels, and joints that click together so that your creation will move! The 6 instruction guides included will help you make over 30 creations.

 Learning Resources Gears

These spinning gears will easily set a child’s imagination in motion to create moving masterpieces!


These are similar to a soft version of Lincoln Logs. Children can design and build using the Playstix pieces, 6 small wheel and 6 large wheels on the Building Base. An Idea Booklet can help them get started.


Legos are always a popular toy for using your imagination to build and create.


Snap Circuits, Jr.

This includes over 100 different projects.  Some of them are easier than others but the electrical parts with provide children with a hands-on experience for designing and building models of working electrical circuits. 


Chain Reactions

You can use your LEGO pieces to design and build moving machines. The instruction book along with plastic balls, string, paper ramps and other components will help you make 10 moving machines.

 Ozobot Bit Coding Robot

This programmable robot comes with 20 games and activities.

I am recommending the GoldieBox  construction toys for girls.

Craft-Struction Box (Ages 6+)These toys are inspire girls to become engineers. A new chapter book series is now available to go along with the toys.  In the books for girls, ages 6-9, readers can follow Goldie Blox and her friends in their many adventures as she uses her engineering skills to have fun and to create new inventions.

Goldie Blox Rules the School! (GoldieBlox) (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))    Goldie Blox and the Three Dares (GoldieBlox) (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))    Goldie Blox and the Best! Pet! Ever! (GoldieBlox) (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))


Check back to this blog for more STEM and STEAM gift ideas.

We hope to see YOU in 2018!


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2017 Ohio Buckeye Children’s & Teen Book Award Winners have been announced!

On December 1, the 2017 Ohio Buckeye Children’s and Teen Book Award Winners were announced!

And the winners are…

K-2 — The Ninjabread Man by C. J. Leigh and Illustrated by Chris Gall

3-5 — Pax by Sara Pennypacker and Illustrated by Jon Klassen

6-8 — Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Teen — Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

During the month of October, children at Rocky River Public Library were able to vote online or by paper ballot in the Children’s Department for their favorites. Our top vote-getter for K-2 was Waiting by Kevin Henkes and the top vote-getter for 3-5 was The Wild Robot by Kevin Brown.

Children can still nominate their favorite book titles for the 2018 Awards on the Ohio Buckeye Children’s Book & Teen Book Award website.

Thanks to all who participated! Happy Reading!!

Our top vote-getter for the grades 3-5 was The Wild Robot

Our top vote-getter for  grades K-3 was Waiting 

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Join us for our Holiday Craft Festival!

Tuesday, November 28th

 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The holidays are coming and it’s time to decorate! Stop by the library with family and friends and make some ornaments together.

No registration necessary.

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American Girl Books @ Your Library!

You are surely aware of the American Girl Dolls, but did you know they have their own books? Better yet, did you know that you can find these books at Rocky River Public Library? Old “friends” like Felicity and Samantha meet new ones such as Gabriela and Maryellen on the shelves!



The American Girl dolls span the time periods through American history and the books do as well. The book characters illustrate their specific decades through adventures and historic events. Some characters including Caroline and Rebecca enjoy a good mystery while others such as Tenney demonstrate the fun of songwriting and playing the guitar. Books for the newest girl, Nanea have just been published and will be appearing on our shelves shortly. Set in 1941, Nanea hails from Hawaii, the time period of World War II.


Nanea Book Trio Cover Slim[1]

Take a step back in time or enjoy books on contemporary subjects next time when you come to the Library. Find your next American Girl adventures here!


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Graduating from readers to chapter books: 13 Suggestions

All that phonics instruction has finally paid off! Your child knows the sight words and can breeze through a Fly Guy book in one sitting. They’re ready to head out of the Reader section and into Younger Fiction.

The move from beginning-to-read books to first chapter books is an important time in a reader’s development. Longer books have more complex, interesting plots. Readers have to remember where the story left off. The increased variety of words challenges readers’ comprehension skills.

If all goes well at this stage, readers realize that reading is fun for them. They read by choice, get more practice, and get better at reading. The Younger Fiction section has something for everyone. Get started with one of the books below!


Reading about a familiar character can help kids ease into longer books. Before they even read the first page, they already know and like something about the book.



Harry Potter might be too difficult to read independently at this stage, but there’s plenty of fantasy to stretch readers’ imaginations.

The Notebook of Doom

Alexander has just moved to a new town. It turns out that making friends is the least of his worries–monsters are popping up everywhere!

The Bad Guys

The Big Bad Wolf has decided to turn his life around. Can his team of ex-villans pull it together long enough to save the day?


What are cuter that kittens and more fun than mermaids? These purrmaids!


Kids can relate to realistic fiction. Sometimes characters encounter everyday dilemmas that readers themselves are going through. Other books can create empathy and satisfy curiosity about others.

Bossy Flossie: Biz Whiz

When friends call her bossy, Flossie tells them she has great ideas and knows how to make them happen. However, things don’t always work out as planned, sometimes with comical results.

Weekends with Max and His Dad

Max’s parents have just separated, and Max joins his dad on the weekends in a new apartment. They have small adventures together as Max faces the changes in his life.

Skateboard Party

Richard can’t wait to show off his skateboard tricks at a friend’s party. When his teacher sends home a note about a missed assignment, he doesn’t want to risk giving it to his parents and getting grounded. Will the consequences of his actions catch up with him?


These series have retained their popularity for years! Series help hook kids on reading because they can finish one book and automatically pick up the next, knowing they’ll like it.

Magic Tree House

Siblings Jack and Annie discover a tree house filled with books. Suddenly they’re thrust back in time.

A to Z Mysteries

Dink and his friends Josh and Ruth Rose solve mysteries all over town.

Rainbow Magic

Kirsty and Rachel have adventures with their magical fairy friends.

Don’t see the perfect book? Ask a librarian for more ideas!

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Buckeye Children’s & Teen Book Awards


It’s time to vote and the nominees are books! Voting for the Buckeye Children’s Book Awards has begun!

The Buckeye Children’s Book Award platform is a unique state competition which allows children to view literature with a critical eye. The program is designed to encourage children to read and thoughtfully consider what they feel are well-written books and honor the books’ authors. Established in 1981, the Buckeye Book Award has the distinction of being the only state awards that are chosen solely by students. The only adults that can vote are teachers and librarians. This year one of the polling places is in Children’s Department on the second floor of Rocky River Public Library. From now until November 1, stop by and exercise the right to vote!

…And 2017 nominees are…

For Grades K-2:

  • Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat
  • I’ll Wait Mr. Panda by Steve Antony
  • The Ninjabread Man by C.J. Leigh, pictures by Chris Gall
  • Sampson in the Snow by Philip C. Stead
  • Waiting by Kevin Henkes

For Grades 3-5:

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Parts One and Two) a new play by Jack Thorne, based on an original story by J.K. Rowling
  • License to Thrill (The Genius Files by #5) by Dan Gutman
  • Pax by Sarah Pennypacker, illustrated by Jon Klassen
  • Wild Robot by Peter Brown
  • Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
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Launching 1000 Books Before Kindergarten

It’s official- we have launched the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program here at Rocky River Public Library! Wednesday evening was our special Launch Party during which patrons could come in with their littles to sign up for the program and pick up their reading logs. In addition to signing up, we had plenty of other activities on deck for a fun-filled program like tasty snacks, cool crafts, and face painting! Take a peek at some of the Launch Party highlights below:


Families creating crafts to take home. Kids were invited to make bookmarks and decorate the first letter of their name.


Kiddos enjoying snacks and Storytime Online videos!


We had plenty of great books available, chosen from the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten suggested booklists, for families to check out after signing up. You can see our new progress bulletin board too!


It was great to see so many older siblings encouraging a love of reading in their younger brothers and sisters.

Thanks to everyone who joined us in celebrating the beginning of this important and fun early literacy campaign. We signed up 38 children on our first day of the program and are looking forward to signing up many more in the days and weeks to come. We know you and your family are going to have a blast reading your way to 1000 books together!

Interested in signing up your baby, toddler, or preschooler? You can sign them up in the Children’s Department anytime during our regular open hours. Read more about our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program by clicking here! 


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Continuing the Spirit of “Wonder”


Gratitude for our Rocky River Community

We are fortunate to live and work in  the wonderful community of Rocky River where so many contributed and participated in the community wide read of “Wonder”.  It was a delightful summer long experience that we are looking forward to continuing throughout the year.  Here are some ways you can continue the spirit of “Choose Kind” and “Wonder” through the power of books this year.

Book Club sets of “Wonder” and “We’re All Wonders” Available

Thanks to a generous donation from the Rocky River Kiwanis Club we have large sets of both titles available for Rocky River Residents to use in book clubs, school, church, and civic groups.  Reading this book together in your group is an excellent way  to inspire others to be welcoming and supportive  in our community.

Wonder Read Alike Books

The following titles are some of my favorite inspirational stories. Each title is also a   Newbery Honor Award book, so they are guaranteed to be powerful high quality fiction that both children and adults  will enjoy.   Click on the links below to place a hold on each book today and be prepared to be inspired!


Rules by Cynthia Lord

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

The War that Save my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Paperboy by Vince Vawter

El Deafo by Cece Bell



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Summer Reading by the Numbers…with a Focus on Fun!



It’s August and the 2017 Build a Better World Summer Reading program has officially ended. This is the month that we step back and realize how very busy the Children’s Department has been since June.

For the last couple of months, we have provided programs to fit the needs of young families in the area. Story times, book clubs, crafts, and the Wonder Community Read were successfully planned and completed.


We had entertainers galore! The renowned performers, Jungle Terry, the Bubble Lady, Madcap Puppets from Cincinnati, and illusionist Rick Smith, Jr. headlined. There were snakes, life-sized puppets, bubbles, magic, and illusion all for the enjoyment of the masses.

And then there was Summer Reading! Prereaders and readers alike were invited to follow a game board toward the goal of 25 books or 750 hours of reading. There were prizes along the way! Not surprising 450 readers completed the program and were given the opportunity to choose a book to keep. That is a great number of readers, but that number does not tell the whole story.  Throughout the summer, a whopping 984 children registered for the summer reading program. Of those, 681 read 5 books or 150 hours of reading, 616 continued to 10 books or 300 hours of reading. 537 readers accomplished the goal of 15 books or 450 hours of reading and 488 finished 20 books or 600 hours of reading! Throughout the program, children received coupons for cookies from Wildflower Bakery, hot dogs from River Dog Café, and kid’s meals from Applebee’s and Chipotle. The coupons were well appreciated because reading does expend energy and hunger happens!

We are proud of all our readers. It was a hugely successful summer and the numbers prove it!




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The RRPL Reading Partner Program is where children thrive!

Each summer I have the pleasure to operate our youth Reading Partner Program where younger children get paired up with older children to practice their reading skills over the summer.  I use award winning read alouds and staff favorites then organize them by reading level to build an exciting and successful library collection for the partners to use.3

Youth completing  the 4th  through 6th grade receive training in May to learn how to be a successful reading partner and build confidence for the big day when the younger children arrive.  There is always a lot of excitement thinking about what their experience is going to be like and who they might get paired to work with.2

In June it is time to put our volunteer skills into action by greeting younger readers who would like to practice their reading skills.  This can be a little scary for the younger children as they first arrive but our volunteers know just what to do to help every shy child feel right at home.  It’s an exciting time learning how to build friendships in addition to literacy skill building.


It is not unusual for our budding readers or our volutneers to want to come in and read more than once a week, a true sign of a successful youth partnership. Sometimes our families even choose to reach out to one another to continue the partnership after the program is done.


It takes a special young person to take time out of their summer and dedicate themselves to helping a younger child to read.  We are fortunate to have many of those special kinds of kids right here at the Rocky River Public Library. I am grateful to have the privilege to work with them.


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