Celebrate Día – Diversity in Action

El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), commonly known as Día, is a celebration every day of children, families, and reading that culminates yearly on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Día is a nationally recognized initiative that emphasizes the importance of literacy for all children from all backgrounds. It is a daily commitment to linking children and their families to diverse books, languages and cultures. The common goals of all Día programming are to:

  • Celebrate children and connect them to the world of learning through books, stories and libraries.
  • Nurture cognitive and literacy development in ways that honor and embrace a child’s home language and culture.
  • Introduce families to community resources that provide opportunities for learning through multiple literacies.
  • Recognize and respect culture, heritage and language as powerful tools for strengthening families and communities.

Celebrate 20 Years of Día – Sharing the gift of reading

Here are some titles to get you started:

Image result for one family george shannon   One Family by George Shannon

  Image result for mixed me taye diggs Mixed Me by Taye Diggs

  Image result for nino wrestles the world   Niño Wrestles the World by Yoyi Morales


Building STEAM with Día – 

STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math

Here are more titles to get you started:

Image result for blocks book irene dicksonBlocks by Irene Dickson

Image result for Engle, Margarita Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music  Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle

Image result for Lipkowitz, Daniel LEGO Play Book: Ideas to Bring Your Bricks to Life  The Lego Play Book by Daniel Lipkowitz

  Image result for Yang, Gene Luen Secret CodersSecret Coders by Gene Luen Yang

Information about Día is from the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) which is the national home for Día; dia.ala.org

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Proposed federal library cuts would affect us here in Ohio & Rocky River. Find out how and what you can do about it.

President Trump has called for the elimination of The Institute of Museum and Library Services in his FY2018 budget.  This would have drastic affects for libraries across the country including Ohio and here in Rocky River as well.

Per State Librarian Beverly Cain:

The State Library of Ohio receives an LSTA appropriation of approximately $5 million per year.  If these LSTA dollars were no longer available in Ohio, the negative impact would be far-reaching and the following programs and services would be curtailed or significantly reduced:
  • EBSCO databases would disappear (or would have to be funded at the local level). The lack of LSTA funding to support the library databases jointly provided by the State Library, OPLIN, OhioLINK, and INFOhio would jeopardize the partnership and could potentially lead to elimination of the statewide availability of these resources.
  • Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled services supported by the State Library would be curtailed.
  • Public libraries would not receive summer reading materials and summer reading workshops would no longer be subsidized.
  • Ohio Digital Library, serving the patrons of 177 public libraries across the state, would no longer receive support from the State Library; member libraries would be required to pay a portion of the yearly software maintenance ($125,000).
  • Data available through the Public Library Survey would be minimal. 
  • Consulting services, such as strategic planning, space design, and youth services would be significantly reduced or eliminated.
  • State Library support for WebJunction would end and library staff would no longer have access to Skillsoft courses.
  • Competitive grants to support innovative initiatives in areas including Data Management and Analytics, Outreach and Partnerships, and STEM/STEAM, would no longer exist. 
  • The SEO Library Center would no longer be partially supported with federal funding, requiring the elimination of some services such as Technology Training on Demand.  Continuation of services would require increased financial support from SEO member libraries.
  • Leadership programs such as Library Leadership Ohio and ILEAD USA-Ohio would be eliminated.
  • The process of establishing the Ohio Digital Network as a service hub for DPLA would be significantly delayed or terminated.
  • Plans to use LSTA funds to support the Guiding Ohio Online digital literacy program once the grant funding from Serve Ohio ends in FY 2018 would be eliminated. 

Ask your Representative to support LSTA and IAL funding now.

Library champions in the House have begun circulating what are called “Dear Appropriator” letters to their colleagues. Right now, there are two letters – one that asks Appropriators to support LSTA funding and a second for IAL funding. Please email your Representative and ask that they sign on to both letters – the House deadline is April 3, 2017, so don’t delay!

Use this link to the American Library Association and utilize their easy email generator that will send your letter directly to your Representative.


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Children’s Books to Understand the Refugee and Immigrant Experience

Immigrants and refugees are a much discussed topic in the news recently, and often the stories shared are of families fleeing war-torn or oppressive countries in search of a safer place to call home. How can we talk to children about such a traumatic but important topic? A trip to the library can be the perfect starting point for you and your family. Books can be a great way to begin a conversation with your child on these issues and can help to foster better understanding of refugees and immigrants. Below are a few wonderful titles to get you started.

Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Story by Margriet Ruurs; Artwork by Nizar Ali Badr

This lovely picture book was inspired by the artwork of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr, which is beautifully displayed throughout the narrative. Ruurs crafted a story which tells of Rama and her family in Syria and their attempt to escape the civil war and make their way to freedom by foot through Europe. You can read more about the book, the Syrian refugee crisis, and more here.  Orca Book Publishers is donating funds raised
from the sale of this book to Syrian refugees.

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

For middle-grade readers who may want to explore this topic by reading independently, The Red Pencil is a good choice. Readers will follow young Amira, a Sudanese girl who must  escape her village after a militant attack. She struggles to adapt to life in the refugee camp but this story is ultimately one of hope. This would also be a great choice for a family book club thanks to the reading group guide provided by the publisher, which you can download for free here.


Image from nobrow.net

The Journey by Francesca Sanna

Yet another beautifully illustrated picture book depicting the harrowing journey of one family attempting to escape on foot to another country. Amnesty International UK endorses The Journey and has free teaching resources on how to explore human rights with children using this book. You can access the downloadable pdf with discussion questions here.

Azzi in Between by Sarah Garland

Garland’s graphic novel tells the story of a young girl, Azzi, who is forced to flee an unnamed war-torn country with her family. This is a heartfelt tale with a decidedly optimistic tone as readers see her try to adjust to her new home in a new country. Azzi’s father brings some beans from their homeland and his daughter plants them in her new school’s garden, making for a touching homage to her family’s new future.

Chee-Kee A Panda in Bearland by Sujean Rim

The Loo family, a family of panda bears, have traveled very far to start a new life in a new land called Bearland. Once they arrive little Chee-Kee notices that he doesn’t look like any of the other bears or talk like them. He struggles with fitting in until one day his uniqueness saves the day. This sweet picture book is based on Rim’s family’s experience immigrating from South Korea to the United States and makes for a great introduction to the immigrant experience.


For more great resources and book recommendations check out I’m Your Neighbor, Read Brightly, and What We Do All Day.

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Voracious Readers,what to read next?


We have lots of voracious tween readers in our community which is a fabulous problem to have. However, where does your reader go when they are not ready or interested in the more saucey topics in the teen room but they say they have read everything in the children’s room already?  One of my go to lists is a lesser known award category, the Amelia Bloomer Project. These titles often present more challenging  mature topics in an age appropriate manner and feature strong female protaganists.  The perfect combination for avid tween readers!

I am including a link to the booklist along with a few of my favorite titles and authors from the list over the years.  Feel free to have your avid reader dig in!


Titles are selected for this list on the following criteria:

1. Significant feminist content
2. Excellence in writing
3. Appealing format
4. Age appropriateness for young readers



Ellis, Grace, and Noelle Stevenson. Friendship to the Max (Lumberjanes, vol. 2). Illus. by Brooke Allen. 2015. 111p. Boom! Studios, $14.99 (978-1-60886-737-0). Gr.6-9.

Once again, the Lumberjanes must depend on each other and combine their diverse talents to save their beloved camp–and possibly the universe.

. regarding-the-trees

Klise, Kate. Regarding the Trees: A Splintered Saga Rooted in Secrets. Il. M. Sarah Klise. 2005. 143p.Gulliver Books/Harcourt, $15.00 (0-15-205163-5). Gr. 4-7. Letters and newspaper articles document the humorous misunderstanding that escalates a simple tree-trimming project into an environmental debate involving the entire community.



Rhodes, Jewell Parker. Ninth Ward. 2010. 217p. Little Brown, $15.99 (978-0-316-04307-9). Gr. 4-8.
When Hurricane Katrina breaks New Orleans’ levees, 12-year old Lanesha’s dreams of becoming an engineer and a builder of bridges anchor her determination to survive the flood and inspire her to rescue others as well.


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World Read Aloud Day 2017

2017-wrad-logoFebruary 16, 2017 is World Read Aloud Day! Readers of all ages are encouraged to celebrate literacy and the “pure joy and power of reading aloud.” The World Read Aloud Day is celebrated by readers in more than 100 countries around the world. Visit the LitWorld website to learn more about the day.

Looking for some new great read alouds? Here are a couple to try:

The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home

by Drew Daywalt day-crayons-quit              day-crayons-home
In the first book,  Daniel’s crayons are tired of their assigned duties in the crayon box so when he opens the box to color one day, all he finds are letter saying that the crayons have quit to do other things. In the second book, the crayons have had enough of their travels  and send postcards to Daniel wanting to come back to the crayon box.

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

How can a book be fun with no pictures and only words? This book is anything but boring!

What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss

Jay and Kay from Seuss’ One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish visit a pet store. They want to get all of the pets in the store, but can only get one. Which one will they choose?

Reading aloud and sharing books can be so much fun! If you need some more book ideas, check out our Pinterest page.

Happy Reading!



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Drop-In Programs are Perfect for Everyone!

heart1                               Your Library!

It was hectic around the holidays and soon thereafter…things were forgotten. Registration for the Children’s Library Programs may have been one of those things. Now you find that your family is on the waitlist for many upcoming events. Never fear! There are drop-in programs (that do not require registration) coming up and there really is something for everyone!

These very popular recurring programs such as Guild of the Brick, After School Makerspace, Get in the Game, and Movie Mondays have been favorites for quite some time. There are also the events that are held quarterly or even yearly, such as, 2nd Annual Dr. Seuss Family Night Birthday Bash, Celebrate National Library Week with Us, and Book Tasting. Depending on your child’s age and interests, at least one of these programs can fit the bill for those “cabin fever” days when you are so tired of hearing, “I’m bored!

A program for all ages that is returning after record attendance is the Dr. Seuss Night on March 2nd. There will be games, crafts, stories, face painting, and snacks. Mr. Zap will be here to share his magic tricks and balloon creations. If you did not have the opportunity to attend this event last year, please consider it. This may be a new family tradition!

For those in kindergarten through 6th grade, National Library Week is a time to celebrate your Library. On April 11th there will be book related crafts, a scavenger hunt, and a drawing for a special Library prize.

During spring break on April 12th, for those in grades 4 & up, a Book Tasting is scheduled, featuring a book seller from the publisher Penguin Random House who will share what’s new in middle grade and teen books. There is sure to be a great book suggestion for all and a snack will be served with each “course “of books.

Since this is just a quick overview of what is in store, please consult our website or various publications for more information and

remember to put them on your calendar!

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2017 Caldecott Medal Award and Honor Books

caldecottOn Jan. 23, 2017, the American Library Association announced the winners of their 2017 Youth Media Awards. Ms. Heather has already blogged about the Newbery winners so I want to share some information about the Caldecott winners. The Caldecott Medal is awarded each year for the most distinguished American picture book for children. With so many quality picture books published each year, I am always amazed that the members of the Caldecott Medal Selection Committee can come to some consensus and award the medal to just one book.

This year’s Caldecott Medal Award goes to..

.radiant-child Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe.

Visit his website to learn more about him and his works or read about his reaction to his win in his interview in Publishers Weekly.

The four Caldecott Honor Books are:
leave-me-aloneLeave Me Alone! illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol
freedom-congo-squareFreedom in Congo Square illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and written by Carole Boston Weatherford
du-iz-takDu Iz Tak? illustrated and written by Carson Ellis
they-all-saw-catThey All Saw a Cat illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel

To learn more about the Caldecott Medal Award, check out the ALSC’s Welcome to the Caldecott Medal Home Page.

Happy Reading!


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Newbery Medals have been announced!

I was very happy to see this year’s winners.  Many of them are also Rocky River children’s favorites which is a breath of fresh air since often times what the critics love children do not…and there were a lot of those kind of titles being floated around on shortlists to win this year.   So get ready to put the following critically acclaimed books on your reading list!

This year’s Newbery Medal goes to:


This was a huge favorite of Ms. Lucy’s this year.  It is a wonderful story of magic, enchantment, and the power of love.  It may start off as dark but Ms. Lucy promises you are rewarded at the end!


Newbery Honors go to:


If there were a children’s choice award among this years winners this would be it!  I’ve had to order additional copies because I just can’t keep it on the shelves. Tweens love to read about World War II and no WWII fiction fan will be disapointed with this one!  If you would like your tween to read critically acclaimed titles that they will also love reading this is it!


I’m not going to lie this is the only disapointing title on this year’s Newbery list for me. It takes place in the 1200’s and well for me, that doesn’t offer great appeal nor did the first couple of chapters so truth be told I abandoned reading this one shortly after the start.  However, if you have a Crispin fan or an adventure fan the critics say this is a great one!


Non-Fiction is a less traditional choice in the Newbery circuit but over the years there have been a few.  This is a brightly illustrated book of verse inspired from actual estate documents of a slave owner.  Each of the eleven slaves written about in this book have 2 pages dedicated to them, one about their lives and the other about their dreams. The book end pages include reproductions of the estate papers listing each enslaved person and their monetary worth right along with the farm’s linens and livestock.  An educational and inspirational read for sure.  This is designed as a picture book rather than chapter book FYI.

Additional copies of each title have been ordered to meet increased demand so don’t be discouraged if you look for it in the library and it is not available.  Place yourself on hold and hopefully the wait will not be too long.

Yours in tween reading,

Ms. Heather



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Celebrate National Reading Day Everyday!


National Reading Day is celebrated on  January 23. This annual event  celebrates and encourages reading by younger children and is celebrated in thousands of schools and libraries all around the United States.  What do YOU think? Please take our poll.

I bet you can’t guess how I will vote…I LOVE Reading!

Happy Reading always!


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Five Books for Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, often referred to as MLK Day, is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January. This year the holiday will be recognized on Monday, January 16th, 2017. This special day celebrates the life and civil rights work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You can learn more about his life by visiting The King Center’s website. President Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983. In 1994, the holiday was officially recognized as a National Day of Service where volunteers across the country work together to make a difference in their communities.

A great way to celebrate this national holiday at home is to share a book or two with your family about the life of Dr. King. The titles below are wonderful children’s books, including both fiction and nonfiction, that are perfect for a variety of ages. You’ll find books about  Dr. King himself, as well as books about others who were influential in the Civil Rights Movement in America, and books that capture the spirit of this day.

Newly published this month, Martin’s Dream Day by Kitty Kelley gives readers a look at the 1963 March on Washington through Stanley Tretick’s stellar photographs. Children 6 and up will enjoy this nonfiction book.

Young Ruby Bridges became the first African-American student to attend the all-white William Frantz Public School in Louisiana on November 14, 1960. At only six years old she was surrounded by federal marshals on her way to school. Children ages 9-12 can read about her experiences from her own point of view in this autobiography, entitled Through My Eyes by Bridges.

Rosa written by Nikki Giovanni and illustrated by Bryan Collier is a beautiful biography about Rosa Parks. This title is a Caldecott honor book, and 2006 Coretta Scott King Medal for Illustrators winner. Parks, “The Mother of the Modern-day Civil Rights Movement”, is an important historical figure and this is a great introduction for young readers.

Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco is a lovely fictional story about family bonds and cultural history. This moving story depicts African American and Russian Jewish cultures and the importance of togetherness. Though not explicitly about the Civil Rights Movement, this is a touching story that I believe captures the spirit of a shared humanity across race and culture.


Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton tells the story of the birth of the Civil Rights Movement through the her eyes as a child. She is the daughter of Civil Rights activist Andrew Young, who worked with Dr. King, and she brings a child’s perspective to this important chapter in our history. This is another good choice for readers ages 6 and up.

A spectacular resource for more books that celebrate African American culture is the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King Book Awards. These are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.  The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in addition to his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King.

Enjoy these titles and be sure to stop in and ask a Children’s Librarian for recommendations if you are itching for more.

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