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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Audiobook Picks for Your Summer Road Trip

One of my top five favorite things to do in the summer months is to take road trips, and I especially love visiting National Parks (although a nice warm beach is never a bad idea). Last year I visited Acadia National Park in Maine and during the long, nearly fourteen hour drive up the eastern coast one of the ways I passed the time was by listening to audiobooks. Audiobooks are a great way to entertain not only yourself, but your friends and family who may be riding along with you on your adventure.

We all know that playing “I Spy” in the car can get old, for some reading in the car can cause motion sickness, and staring at electronic screens for fourteen hours is not ideal. Audiobooks are a fun alternative to reading a traditional print book in the car because everyone can listen to the story together and it is more exciting than reading a story out loud yourself. Professional voice actors make the stories feel real and you don’t have to worry about your throat getting sore !

Another added bonus is that audiobooks are available in various formats, one of which is bound to suit your road tripping needs. You can check out books on CD from the library, which are best if you have a CD player in your car and want to share a story with the entire crew. You can also check out Playaways from the library, which are ideal for family members who may want to listen to an audiobook solo. Finally, if your car has an auxiliary cable input or is Bluetooth enabled you can always download an audiobook to your smartphone and listen through your car stereo. I typically use this option because less stuff to pack means more room for vacation clothes in my suitcase! This is especially helpful if you are tackling a long series on audiobook, like Harry Potter. Take a look at some of the audiobook titles available for kids in our OverDrive digital audiobook collection!  

Check out a few of my favorite audiobooks below- perfect for your next family road trip!

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg 


The Wildwood Chronicles (Books 1-3) series by Colin Meloy 


The Roald Dahl Audio Collection by Roald Dahl 


Charlotte’s Web by E.b. White 

charlottes web

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

tale of

As always, all you need is a library card to access these materials. Safe travels and happy reading!

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Drop-in Programs for All!

All Ages Poster

Children’s programs, especially summer offerings tend to fill quickly, but never fear, the Children’s Department has many drop-in programs available as well! There is no need to register, just mark your calendar and come by the Library at the specified time. Check out what’s scheduled:

  • If you haven’t already, join the Wonder Community Read. We have multi-aged book discussions scheduled. For all ages.
  • Cool Crafting will be held on July 17th when we will use upcycled milk containers and magazines to design bird feeders and butterflies. For ages 6 & up.
  • Guild of the Brick is scheduled on July 22nd and August 26th. Come and create!
  • Explore the World of Dav Pilkey and Captain Underpants! Fun book activities include crafts and games. For students completing grades 1-5.
  • End of Summer Reading Party & Community Volunteer Fair is Saturday, August 5th. Discover great opportunities to continue our theme, “Build a Better World”. For all ages.
  • As the summer winds down, join us August 22nd through 25th for Back to School Week of Welcome. Enjoy an entire week of free food and entertainment. For students in grades 3-8.

There is an array of activities scheduled, so beat the heat and join us at the Library!

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Build a Better World…Choose Kind!


The Children’s Department is gearing up for another blockbuster summer!

Kickoff for Summer Reading is Tuesday, June 13th. The theme this year is “Build a Better World”. Join our Summer Reading program and earn prizes for reading.

Just read…share…and reap the benefits! There is plenty of time too, because the program runs through August 5th. Plan to come in, sign up, and receive a bag containing surprises and a game board. Readers keep track of the books they read by marking the numbered blocks. Each numbered block represents one book or 30 minutes of reading. When completing 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25, share your book with a Children’s Librarian. Prizes will then be awarded. Readers that finish their game board and 25 blocks will have the opportunity to choose a book of their very own. Prereaders can join in the fun too! Any book read to them will be counted the same way.


Join us for the Build a Better World kick-off event on the Front Lawn from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm on June 13th. Cycle to the Library and a Rocky River Safety Officer will be registering bikes. River Dog Café will be our first food truck of the summer. Also, at the event, donations will be accepted for Elle’s Enchanted Forest playground fund.

In addition, participants will also have the opportunity to “choose kind” by joining in the multi-aged book campaign and discussion. Based on the RJ Palacio books, Wonder and We’re All Wonders.

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Don’t worry if you can’t make it to our kick-off event. Summer Reading registration forms can be completed anytime the Library is open. It’s a great way to work through school summer reading lists and reap the benefits! Remember to choose kind and by doing so, do your part to build a better world!


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Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day is a time for remembering and  honoring those who have served our country.
Looking for some book titles to share with the family on this day? Give these books a try:
Memorial Day Surprise by Theresa GoldingMemorial Day Surprise by Theresa Martin Golding

A young boy is proud to see his grandfather, a veteran, marching in the Memorial Day parade.

The Wall by Eve BuntingThe Wall by Eve Bunting

A young boy and his father visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood by…Veterans: Heroes in our Neighborhood by Valerie Pfundstein

There are many brave veterans who may live in your neighborhood who should be recognized and thanked for their service to our country.

The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her…The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans by Barbara Walsh

 After World War I, Moina Belle Michael,a schoolteacher from Georgia, worked to make the red poppy the symbol to honor and remember soldiers.

Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops by…Don’t Forget, God Bless our Troops by Jill Biden

 This is a story about the life and hardship of a military family while they wait for their loved one to return home.

Check out our display in the Children’s Department for more book suggestions.

Happy Reading!


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Working together with Rocky River Middle School to host “Book Tastings” and the love of reading!


Ms. Megan the Teen Librarian and I have enjoyed a new merger between Rocky River Middle School and Rocky River Public Library.  We have been thrilled to offer “Book Tastings” to 375 students in the 6th and 7th grade.  What is a book tasting?  Let’s dig in and find out!

book tasting in house

Book Tastings are a new library trend where librarians, teachers, and book publishers encourage the love of reading.  Tables are set up to look like a restaurant with specific topics of books that have been selected for high interest.   This venture included putting together tables of non-fiction and traditional folk tales to match the schools “40 Book Challenge” curriculum. Readers then take turns briefly visiting each table where they can get a quick “taste” of each book to see if they would like to check it out to take home.

7 book tasting 2

The extra fun part is when Ms. Megan and I go around the room and serve everyone snacks for each course of tastings!  However, what we love even more is the large volume of books that go home with each student. We look forward to hosting more “Book Tastings” with Rocky River Middle School staff and students next year!

megan serve snacks

Here are some of the most popular books

Ashfall by Mike Mullin


Trouble Don’t Last by Shelly Pearsall

trouble dont last

Cinder by Marissa Meyer


The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

war that saved my life


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Learning Shapes & Colors with Felt Boards

Our Makerspace will feature 8″ x 10” felt boards until the end of May. There are a number of skills that children learn from using felt boards (also called flannel boards) for story telling, and the following website provides a list of skills and advantages, .

Below are the materials and steps to create a DIY felt board just like ours! You can make it with materials easily purchased from a local craft store.



1 artist canvas board in desired size20170424_104433

1 sheet of felt that is at least 1” larger than the artist canvas on all four sides

Several felt sheets in a variety of colors from which to cut shapes

A stapler to staple the felt around all 4 sides of the canvas board

A hot glue gun & 1 piece of paper or card stock cut the size of the canvas board


Step 1: Glue the paper to the back of the canvas board covering the staples

Step 2: Cut out a variety of shapes to create your own story or use a picture book for inspiration

Step 3: Play with your felt board!


Listed below are a few great books that are not only fun to read, but can also provide you with ideas for shapes to cut out for use on your felt board.

Image result for color zoo book

Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert

Image result for color farm book

Color Farm by Lois Ehlert

Image result for shape by shape book

Shape by Shape by Suse MacDonald

Image result for Mouse shapes

Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh


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Little Yoga: Exploring Poses with Picture Books

Many of us, both children and adults, live in a busy world full of screens around every corner, schedules for every minute of our day, and plenty of stress. We might often not stop to think about how this hustle and bustle may influence the smallest of our families, but often young children need a break from all of this just as much as we do as adults. One great way to help counter this is through developing a yoga practice.

Yoga at an early age can help encourage a myriad of positive benefits such as building self-esteem, gaining body awareness, increased flexibility, and  better coordination. Additionally, yoga can help children with concentration and relaxation. Breathing exercises, certain poses, and positive affirmations can even help to teach children to be more mindful and less reactive throughout their daily life. Read more about the benefits of yoga for kids over at and

Kids as young as three can begin to explore yoga and mindfulness thanks to some wonderful picture books available right here at the library! Using a variety of approaches, these picture books provide an awesome introduction for preschoolers and early elementary readers. Not only will you be encouraging mindfulness and healthy movement in your child, you will be promoting the importance of early literacy and books when you share a yoga themed picture book together. Check out some of my favorites below!

abcs of yoga

The ABCs of Yoga for Kids by Teresa Anne Power

bunny yoga

Yoga Bunny by Brian Russo

you are a lion

You are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo

i am yoga

I am Yoga by Susan Verde

yoga game by the sea

The Yoga Game by the Sea by Kathy Beliveau

If you’d like to explore some of these yoga focused books with your preschooler in a guided setting, we encourage you to register for Rocky River Public Library’s Yoga Story Time program! Our next program will be offered in August. This is a great way to share books with your child and also expose them to easy, fun yoga poses and breathing exercises with guidance from Ms. Nicole, our resident yogi and librarian. For more information check out our events calendar or upcoming programming page. We hope to see you at the library!

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Every Child a Reader!

Children’s Book Week is May 1 – 7

How better to instill the joy of reading than to begin when your child is young? Rocky River Public Library is the perfect starting point. Come in and discover a great collection of board and toy books that will get you going. These books are perfect for babies and toddlers because they are constructed of heavy cardboard and can easily be manipulated with small hands. They contain simple words and illustrations that are easily recognizable for the very young.

Toy books or moveable books have the added attraction of flaps or moveable features that hide illustrations underneath. These are great books for toddlers, who are more experienced “readers” that will find the hidden features more surprising and enjoyable.

Both of these types of books are shelved in the Children’s Department on the 2nd floor. Stop by the Library and make your child a reader!

Some new board and toy book titles include:


Dig Dig Digging by Margaret Mayo


Dogs! by Dr. John Hutton


Happy Bug Day by Michael Dayton Hermann


Honk Honk! Beep Beep! by Daniel Kirk


Baby’s Very First Touchy-Feely Animals Book by Stella Baggott


Lift the Flap Numbers by Margot Channing


Little Giraffe at the Beach by Nick Ackland


Where’s the Ladybug? by Ingela Arrhenius

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