Tag Archives: Lindsay @ WPL

Classics for the Kiddos

I love picture books.  And the fact that I have two kids at home who I can read them with, makes it even better.  They love to cozy up with a good book at bedtime, and to be able to watch their faces light up while we read a story together, is the best feeling in the world.

As a mom, and a librarian (mombrarian?), it is my job to find books we can all enjoy, and on my latest story “shopping spree” at the library, I came across the beautiful books of Nikki McClure.  Nikki McClure is a New York Times bestselling children’s author and paper artist who has written and illustrated several acclaimed children’s books including To Market, To Market (2011), Mama, Is It Summer Yet? (2010) and illustrated the New York Times bestseller All in a Day, by Cynthia Rylant (2009).

market   mama   allinaday

McClure is known for her painstakingly intricate and beautiful paper cuts. Armed with an X-acto knife, she cuts out her images from a single sheet of paper and creates amazing and endearing pictures.  The result is a very retro feel, with a purity and simplicity that is extremely refreshing.

After reading McClure’s books (and with a vintage vibe in my veins), I was inspired to check out some old classics that I remember loving as a child.  Classic books are timeless.  They’ve stood the test of time.  And it can be fun to revisit books that you, yourself, loved as a child.  Here are some of my favs, tried, tested and true:

capsCaps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
The story of a peddler and a band of mischievous monkeys who steal the peddler’s caps.

blueberriesBlueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Little Sal and Little Bear both lose their mothers while eating blueberries and almost end up with the other’s mother.

snowyThe Snowy Day by Ezra Keats
The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.

ducklingsMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Mr. & Mrs. Mallard find the perfect spot to raise their young in Boston’s Public Garden.

mittenThe Mitten by Jan Brett
Nicki drops his white mitten in the snow, and one by one, a number of woodland animals find the mitten and crawl inside to keep warm.

~ Lindsay

 

 

Music to my (little) ears!

Many of us grew up singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” But how many times did you sing the song before you actually knew what a waterspout was?

When I was little, I thought a waterspout was the faucet in the bathtub. My mother could never understand why I didn’t want to get in the tub until the faucet was turned off–I was waiting for the spider to come tumbling out!

Singing songs with children provides a great opportunity to build vocabulary, and in many ways, music can act as a springboard to literacy. Singing can help children hear the smaller sounds that make up words — and this will help them sound out words when they start to read.

At the library, music and rhymes are a key component of our pre-school programming.  You can also borrow a huge stack of kids music CDs from any of our branches — or stream music directly to your phone, tablet or computer using Hoopla, a free online service available through WPL!

Here are some of the most popular CD’s for kids currently available on Hoopla!:

sing

moana

laurie
frozen

kidzbop

disney

Lindsay

 

 

Helping Kids Affected by Incarceration

Children whose lives have been impacted by crime within their family may not know how to deal with the stress of the situation — and that’s why Winnipeg Public Library, in partnership with Canadian Families and Corrections Network, is hosting ‘Strengthening Families Affected by Incarceration Day’ at Millennium Library on October 22 from 2-4 p.m.

Meet Sesame Street friends and support families in our community who are affected by incarceration.  Play in Big Bird’s reading corner, read a book with Elmo, share a cookie with Cookie Monster, watch Sesame Street’s Little Children Big Challenges and learn about community resources.

There will also be a special presentation of Canadian Families and Corrections Network and Sesame Street resources to the Winnipeg Public Library and the community.

The event is free of charge, and open to all families.

Reading together as a family can also provide the opportunity to explore and discuss hardships that may arise for children.  Check out these titles as one way to support children who are dealing with these issues:

amberAmber Was brave, Essie Was Smart: The Story of Amber and Essie Told Here in Poems and Pictures by Vera B. Williams
Times are hard for Essie and Amber – their mother works long hours, leaving them with sitters or cousins or often on their own, and their father is in jail.  While the girls share their heartache, they also share their special talents-Essie teaches Amber to write her name in script, and Amber convinces the grocer to trust them with milk until payday. The good times are good, but the bad times are really hard. The shadow of their father’s mistake is always there.

rubyRuby on the Outside by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Eleven-year-old Ruby Danes has a real best friend for the first time ever, but agonizes over whether or not to tell her a secret she has never shared with anyone–that her mother has been in prison since Ruby was five–and over whether to express her anger to her mother.

secretSecret Saturdays by Torrey Maldonado
Sean is Justin’s best friend – or at least Justin thought he was. But lately Sean has been acting differently. He’s been telling lies, getting into trouble at school, hanging out with a tougher crowd, even getting into fights. When Justin finally discovers that Sean’s been secretly going to visit his father in prison, and struggling with the stress of that, Justin wants to do something to help before his friend spirals further out of control.

everyoneEveryone Makes Mistakes: Living With My Daddy In Jail by Madison Strempek
10-year-old author Madison Strempek candidly depicts her life experience of living with a father in jail. Through her eyes, you will feel the heartbreak of that life-changing news, discover how she survives with her secret, and ultimately finds resolution and strength in the understanding that everyone makes mistakes.

nightThe Night Dad Went to Jail: What to Expect When Someone You Love Goes to Jail by Melissa Higgins
When someone you love goes to jail, you might feel lost, scared, and even mad. What do you do? No matter who your loved one is, this story can help you through the tough times.

— Lindsay

 

 

 

 

Pokémon Go at Winnipeg Public Library

Seemingly everyone is playing Pokémon Go… and if you (or your kids) aren’t already playing it, you’ve likely heard about it.

Pokémon Go is a kind of digital scavenger hunt.  Your prize?  Pokémon, or “pocket monsters.” What’s unique about it, is that it’s one of the first games on the market to use “augmented reality” — a blending of real life and the online world. The game makes it look like Pokémon appear in real life places by using the GPS and camera on your phone.

Pokémon Go is a social game that gets people active and visiting places in the community. Players can travel to PokéStops to get supplies, and they can travel to Gyms, where trainers battle for their teams and earn badges. More likely than not, when you’re out and about at public places (like Assiniboine Park, or The Forks, for instance), you’ll see likeminded people catching Pokémon together. Complete strangers, instantly friends.

Of course, there are safety concerns. People staring at their phones while walking around… people trespassing on private property… strangers looking to use the game for nefarious reasons. But with a little bit of rule setting, and perhaps a discussion about interacting with strangers, parents need not be afraid. Here are a couple of great articles if you need a bit more convincing:

This game is a cultural phenomenon. It has caught on like wildfire with kids and adults alike; and there is plenty of buzz about it on social media. Celebrities like Mario Lopez, Justin Bieber, and Ellen DeGeneres are self proclaimed addicts of the game. Even Hillary Clinton is chiming in on the craze (much to the delight of late night TV hosts).

And people are going to great lengths in order to catch Pokémon! The dog needs walking? Let’s take the scenic route. We ran out of milk? Let me grab my rollerblades. A visit to Grandma’s house on the other side of the city? Sounds like a plan… as long as we can all go for a stroll in the neighborhood.

Some have even turned their rusty old bikes into Pokémon Go machines, while others have quit their jobs to become full time Pokémon hunters.

But why all the hype? I think a lot of it has to do with nostalgia. Pokémon was originally a video game released in 1995. Many of us played it on our game boys, watched Pokémon cartoons on Saturday mornings, and battled it out with Pokémon trading cards at recess. And over the years, the popularity of Pokémon seems to have stayed strong. Just a few months ago, my nephew was proudly showing off his Pokémon trading card collection. Pokémon Go is essentially a childhood dream, come to life.

And what’s really great, is that it’s getting people out of the house, exploring their own neighborhoods, and cities. It’s bringing a new sense of awareness to peoples’ surroundings, and for some people, it is the first time they are actually visiting a library in years — many of our branches are PokéStops, and Millennium Library is a gym. What a great opportunity to show off all of the amazing things libraries have to offer!

IMG_0446     IMG_0444     IMG_0441     IMG_0442

So if you’re looking to catch a few Pokémon this summer, pop into the library — and while you’re there, sign the kids up for Summer Reading Club and check out a few books to take home with you! I have a feeling it won’t take much convincing. Especially with titles like these at your fingertips:

pokemon handbookPokémon: Ultimate Handbook
This deluxe handbook includes facts and figures for every Pokémon ever. That’s over 480 entries—packed with special tips and Pokédex info—right at your fingertips. It’s the ultimate guide for every Pokémon fan.

 

pokemonxyPokémon XY
Action packed manga!  As the new champion of the Pokémon Battle Junior Tournament in the Kalos region, X is hailed as a child prodigy. But when the media attention proves to be too much for him, he holes up in his room to hide from everyone – including his best friends.

pokemon academyPokémon Academy
A suspenseful chapter book for Pokémon enthusiasts!  Ash, Dawn, and Brock attend a week of training at the academy with their Pokémon, and Ash competes in a triathlon to test his skills against a scary, ghostly Pokémon.

 

runawayThe Runaway Pokémon
A book for the youngest Pokémon fans just beginning to read on their own.  The story of one of Ash’s most exciting adventures.

 

 

japanese animationJapanese Animation: From Painted Scrolls to Pokémon
A sweeping journey through the history of Japanese animation, tracing this cultural phenomenon from its origins in traditional art to the present day.

 

Don’t forget, Winnipeg Public Library also has video games, movies and music!

movie      pokemontournament        movie2

music

What Pokémon have you caught at the library? Let us know on Twitter @wpglibrary!

Lindsay

It Runs in the Family

Big feet…musical talent…dimples…these are all things you might inherit from your parents.  But what if your parents are authors of a classic children’s book series?  Until recently, I didn’t realize just how many series actually run in the family.

Take the Eastman family, for instance.  P.D. Eastman was a protégé of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) — in fact, Eastman and Geisel were army buddies, having been assigned to the Signal Corps Film Unit together.  Eastman went on to write many books for children in his own distinct style, under the Dr. Seuss brand of Random House, including a series of books about two loveable canines: Fred and Ted.

You know how it goes.  Fred is a big dog.  Ted is a small dog. Fred likes the color green, prefers spinach over beets, and tends to do things the hard way. Ted likes the color red, prefers beets over spinach, and tends to do things the easy way.  A classic case of “opposites attract.”

Eastman’s son, Peter,  took the helm as dad got older, and he has since written several more Fred and Ted stories…not to mention, he’s also become an award-winning television director and animator. 

bigdog              fredandted

Peggy Parish was known best for the children’s book series and fictional character Amelia Bedelia.  Amelia was, of course, extremely literal-minded, and as a household servant and cook, she got herself into all kinds of conundrums that left readers in stitches.  Simple instructions to “run over the tablecloth with an iron,” or to “serve coffee with porridge” were taken all too literally with hilarious results.

The series was continued after her sudden death from an aneurysm by her nephew Herman Parish.   Herman says, “Peggy still received fan mail from children. They wondered when the next Amelia Bedelia book would be out. Then other children’s authors wrote and volunteered to continue the series.  I felt uneasy about Amelia Bedelia leaving our family. As I was in the fourth grade when she first appeared, I had literally grown up with her. So I decided to try to write a new Amelia Bedelia adventure.”

amelia             unleashed

Stanley and Janice Berenstain started out their careers as a magazine cartoonist team. They published in The Saturday Evening Post, Colliers Magazine, McCall’s, Good Housekeeping and many more focusing on humor about children and families.  Since both of their sons were big Dr. Seuss fans, Stan and Jan decided to try their hands at creating a children’s book, themselves — The Big Honey Hunt, published in 1962 with Dr. Seuss (aka Ted Seuss Geisel) as editor and publisher. Over two hundred Berenstain Bears books followed over the next forty three years until Stan’s death in 2005.

Son Mike had become a children’s book illustrator and author in the 1970s and joined with his parents in the 1980s on magazine work, moving to illustrating and co-writing Berenstain Bears books by 1992.  After a long illness, Stan passed away in November 2005, at the age of eighty-two.  Jan died in February 2012, at the age of eighty-eight.  Mike continues to write and illustrate Berenstain Bears books on all sorts of subjects–everything from going for a ride on the train to the golden rule.

honeyhunt              graduation

The Babar books began as a bedtime story Cécile de Brunhoff invented for their children when they were four and five years old.  The boys liked the story of the little elephant who left the jungle for a city resembling Paris so much that they took it to their father, Jean de Brunhoff  who was a painter, and asked him to illustrate it.  He turned it into a picture book, with text, which was published by a family-run publishing house.  After the first book Histoire de Babar (The Story of Babar), six more titles followed before Jean de Brunhoff died of tuberculosis at the age of 37.

Soon after the end of World War II, Jean’s son Laurent, who had followed in his father’s footsteps as a painter, began work on a Babar book of his own. He trained himself to draw elephants in strict accord with the style of his father, and consequently, many people did not notice any difference in authorship. Laurent has always been careful to emphasize that Babar was his father’s creation (and to some extent his mother’s) and that he continued the series largely as a way of keeping his father and his own childhood alive.

babar               games

So if all you got from your parents was a peanut allergy and a knack for rolling your tongue, you might want to think about writing that children’s book you’ve always wanted to write.  You never know what kind of legacy it will bestow upon your own children!

Lindsay

Photography in Picture Books

A picture is worth a thousand words — or so the saying goes.

Photography has always had the ability to convey stories, but it seems as though in the modern era of Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, (and the list goes on)….we’ve taken visual storytelling to a whole new level.  Your niece’s first ever snowman.  Your best friend’s failed attempt at lemon meringue pie.  Your brother buried in sand up to his neck while on vacation in the Bahamas.  Everyone’s got a camera in their pocket, and even the smallest of moments are captured for everyone to see.

We’re all a bit photography obsessed, which is why it’s no surprise that the latest trend in children’s picture books seems to be photography illustration.  Sure, photographs have dominated the nonfiction scene for decades, but only recently has the art form moved into the world of fiction in a big way.

Check out these amazing picture books that feature real-world photography in very creative ways!

The Secret Life of Squirrels by Nancy Rose
You may think you know what squirrels do all day…but Mr. Peanuts is no ordinary squirrel. Instead of climbing tress, he plays the piano.  Instead of scurrying through the woods, he reads books; but everything is more fun with company, so Mr. Peanuts writes a letter to Cousin Squirrel and invites him for a visit!  Featuring candid photographs of wild squirrels in handcrafted, homemade miniature settings.

Peanut Butter and Cupcake by Terry Border
What’s a little piece of bread to do when he’s feeling lonely? Find a friend, of course!  And that’s exactly what Peanut Butter tries to do. But sometimes friends are hard to come by, especially when Hamburger has to walk his (hot) dogs, Cupcake is too busy building castles in her sprinkle box, and Egg laughs so hard he starts to crack up! Does Peanut Butter have a soul mate? Young readers will know the answer long before Peanut Butter does and laugh along with each mismatched pairing.

Flo & Wendell Explore by William Wegman
Flo thinks the family’s last vacation together was just grand. Her little brother, Wendell, thinks it was absolutely terrible. So, being the good big sister that she can sometimes be, Flo has agreed to take Wendell on his very own camping adventure. They’re going to go canoeing, fishing, and hiking—well, as best they can in the comfort of their neighborhood.  Wegman has become well known for his dog photography, and in this creative follow-up to Flo & Wendell, he starts with dogs and creates worlds around them.

Nancy Knows by Cybèle Young
Nancy knows she’s forgotten something. Something important. When she tries to remember, she thinks of all kinds of other things instead. She remembers things she knows and things she doesn’t quite know. She remembers things one way, then another. Sometimes she remembers with her ears or her stomach or even her heart. But Nancy knows she’s still forgetting something. It’s only when Nancy stops thinking altogether that she finally remembers the very important thing she’s forgotten. Nancy Knows is the charming story of an elephant who remember lots of things, except the very thing she is trying to remember. Each spread of this whimsical picture book features fantastic miniature paper sculptures within expressive outlines of a puzzled elephant.

Swim Duck Swim by Susan Lurie
It’s time for Duckling to jump in the water and do what ducks do—swim! But he doesn’t want to get wet. He’d rather take a nap. And he’s really, really mad that everyone keeps telling him what to do!  Luckily, Mama and Papa Duck are very, very patient, and soon, Duckling will join his siblings in the pond. Here is a charming story, illustrated with exquisite, up-close photos, that will help young readers learn to swim—or try anything new.

I Wish I Had a Pet by Maggie Rudy
Who hasn’t yearned for the perfect pet? The mice in this book–hand-sewn and inhabiting enchanting, diorama-style scenes–know all about critter care, and they’re here to share wise words about choosing and keeping animal companions.  Whimsical images of the mice with their own petite pets, including bumblebees, ladybugs, and butterflies, complement the warm humor of this extraordinary picture book that’s like no other!

-Lindsay

Top 10 Picture Books of 2014

December is a time of reflection.  An opportunity to look back at the year that was.  For some, it’s a wake-up call.  (Next year, I am definitely going to spend less time on Facebook, and more time drinking coffee with my friends.)  For others, it’s a time to be proud.  (I can’t believe I finally organized my closet!) And for book lovers, it’s a chance to replenish that stack of books on your bedside table, and read the best of the best from the year past.  Of course, if you’re a book lover parent, like me, that means picture books.  Here’s a look at the best picture books of 2014, as chosen by your resident Children’s Librarian, and bedtime book connoisseur.  Be sure to check out these sure-fire hits!

samSam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett
Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak
You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except . . . here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say . . .BLORK. Or BLUURF.  Cleverly irreverent and irresistibly silly, The Book with No Pictures is one that kids will beg to hear again and again (and parents will be happy to oblige).

mixMix It Up by Hervé Tullet
Accept Hervé Tullet’s irresistible invitation to mix it up in a dazzling adventure of whimsy and wonder. Follow the artist’s simple instructions, and suddenly colors appear, mix, splatter, and vanish in a world powered only by the reader’s imagination. Tullet—who joins such greats as Eric Carle and Leo Lionni as a master of his craft—sets readers on an extraordinary interactive journey all within the printed page.

dinosaurIf You Happen to Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey
If you happen to have a dinosaur, lying around your living room, and you don’t know what to do with it … why don’t you use it as a can opener? It will make a terrific nutcracker too! There are oodles of uses for a dinosaur — from a fine umbrella to an excellent kite and a dandy pillow, not to mention a reliable burglar alarm and the perfect excuse to forget your homework. This delightfully absurd exploration of the domestic uses of dinosaurs — and the things dinos just aren’t good for at all — is guaranteed to tickle funny bones and spark imaginations.

hugHug Machine by Scott Campbell
Watch out world, here he comes The Hug Machine! Whether you are big, or small, or square, or long, or spikey, or soft, no one can resist his unbelievable hugs! HUG ACCOMPLISHED!  This endearing story encourages a warm, caring, and buoyantly affectionate approach to life. Everyone deserves a hug – and this book!

humansLittle Humans by Brandon Stanton
Little humans are helpful and playful, friendly and loving, flexible and resourceful.  They love their brothers and sisters, their moms and dads, and their friends.  Little humans are growing each day. They won’t be little for long. Soon they will be… BIG!  Street photographer and storyteller extraordinaire Brandon Stanton is the creator of the #1 New York Times bestselling book Humans of New York as well as the wildly popular Humans of New York blog. To create Little Humans he combined some of his favorite children’s photos with a heartwarming ode to little humans everywhere.

mooseThis is a Moose by Richard Morris
When a movie director tries to capture the life of a moose on film, he’s in for a big surprise. It turns out the moose has a dream bigger then just being a moose–he wants to be an astronaut and go to the moon.  His forest friends step in to help him, and action ensues. Lots of action. Like a lacrosse-playing grandma, a gigantic slingshot into space, and a flying, superhero chipmunk.

libraryA Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker
Bear does not want to go to the library. He is quite sure he already has all the books he will ever need. Yet the relentlessly cheery Mouse, small and gray and bright-eyed, thinks different. When Bear reluctantly agrees to go with his friend to the big library, neither rocket ships nor wooden canoes are enough for Bear’s picky tastes. How will Mouse ever find the perfect book for Bear? Children will giggle themselves silly as Bear’s arguments give way to his inevitable curiosity, leading up to a satisfying story hour and a humorously just-right library book.

pigeonThe Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems
The Pigeon really needs a bath! Except, the Pigeon’s not so sure about that. Besides, he took a bath last month! Maybe. It’s going to take some serious convincing to try and get the Pigeon to take the plunge.

onceOnce Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers
From an Astronaut who’s afraid of heights, to a Bridge that ends up burned between friends, to a Cup stuck in a cupboard and longing for freedom, Once Upon an Alphabet is a creative tour de force from A through Z. Slyly funny in a way kids can’t resist, and gorgeously illustrated in a way readers of all ages will pour over, this series of interconnected stories and characters explores the alphabet in a way that will forever raise the bar.

-Lindsay

Children’s Books on Human Rights

humanrightsLast week, Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian child rights campaigner, jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The committee said Yousafzai and Satyarthi are being honoured for “their struggle against the suppression of children and young people, and for the right of all children to education”.

Millions of children around the world have no access to education, work long hours under hazardous conditions, or are forced to serve as soldiers in armed conflict. Young and immature, they are often easily exploited, and it is activists like Malala and Kailash that ensure those children have a voice.

Educating children about social justice and human rights allows them to understand the importance of treating people equitably and the responsibilities we all have to protect the rights of others.  By recognizing their own rights, children become aware of how they should be treated by others and how to stand up for these rights.

Books can be a great way to start the conversation about human rights, and Winnipeg Public Library has lots of resources that can be used by children, parents, caregivers, and educators.  You can find a booklist on our website entitled Children’s Books on Human Rights that provides a sampling of some of the amazing children’s books on human rights that you can find at the Library.  But for now, here are some of the highlights:

kidsIF KIDS RAN THE WORLD
By Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon

This picture book is a tribute to peace and a celebration of diverse cultures. Forgiveness and generosity are portrayed as essential, and the authors show children creating a more generous and peaceful world.

IT’S OKAY TO BE DIFFERENTdifferent
By Todd Parr

With simple text and playful illustrations, this picture book celebrates diversity and focuses on acceptance and individuality.

piecesPIECES OF THE PAST: THE HOLOCAUST DIARY OF ROSE RABINOWITZ, WINNIPEG, MANITOBA 1948
By Carol Matas

As Rose begins her diary, she is in her third home since coming to Winnipeg.  Traumatized by her experiences in the Holocaust, she struggles to connect with others, and above all, to trust again.

fattyFATTY LEGS: A TRUE STORY
By Christy Jordan-Fenton

The moving memoir of eight year old Margaret, an Inuit girl who refuses to be intimidated by a cruel nun at a residential school.  Margaret emerges with her spirit intact.

elephantsWHEN ELEPHANTS FIGHT: THE LIVES OF CHILDREN IN CONFLICT IN AFGHANISTAN, BOSNIA, SRI LANKA, SUDAN, AND UGANDA
By Eric Walters and Adrian Bradbury

When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. This ancient proverb means that when the large fight, it is the small who suffer most. Here are five very different and personal stories of children caught in a conflict.

classOFF TO CLASS: INCREDIBLE AND UNUSUAL SCHOOLS AROUND THE WORLD
By Susan Hughes

Travel to India, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Russia, China, Uganda, and a dozen other countries to visit incredible schools and meet the students who attend them.

Lindsay

iPad Apps We Love for Family Reading

Family with a tablet computerWe hear from lots of parents, caregivers and educators who would like to share digital content with young children and want to know the best way to do it.

A key component?  Sharing apps together.  Research shows that parent-child interaction plays a huge role in a child’s experience with an app. Make sure you take the time to experience an app with your child, just as you would sit down with a picture book.

It’s also important to incorporate a variety of media in your child’s experiences, just as you do in your child’s diet. Picture books, oral stories, rhymes, songs and play are all an important part of your child’s healthy development.

It’s true, the experience of flipping through a physical book can never be fully replicated in the digital world. But in many ways, reading apps are complementary to physical books, and they offer interactive benefits that simply cannot be conveyed via black ink on white pages. Whether you are looking for games that reinforce retention and comprehension, content that encourages letter recognition, or next generation “choose your own adventure” stories, there are tons of apps out there that can foster the development of literacy skills!

Of course, in this swiftly changing tech obsessed era, it’s tough to sort through which iPad apps are must-have.  Not to worry.  We’ve got you covered. Check out this list of nifty and distinctive reading apps to share with your kids.

Pre-School

snappAnimal SnApp Farm
Push the slider to snApp the correct halves of each animal together in order to launch these short, rhyming stories featuring Cuddly Cow, Diggity Dog, Gobbly Goat, Higgly Hen, Lucky Lamb or Portly Pig. Users may choose to read the stories alone, or have them read aloud; in the read aloud option text is highlighted as it is spoken. Includes music, animations, and silly sound effects that will intrigue even the youngest, who will easily intuit how to operate this app. Winner of the Editor’s Choice Award from Children’s Technology Review.

monsterThe Monster at the End of This Book….Starring Grover!
Grover narrates the book while kids are given the power, and the choice, to move the story forward by sabotaging his efforts to not turn the page.  Grover’s hilarious book-binding attempts bring an element of humour and playfulness to the more serious topic of facing fears, and provide an easy segue to more serious conversations between parents and children.

freighttrainFreight Train
Read Donald Crew’s popular picture book to learn more about colours, words, and numbers with great railway sounds. Each page features a different type of car; each car is specially designed to carry a certain type of cargo. Touch the cars to see what’s inside! Sing along to the catchy tune of I’ve Been Working on the Railroad as you read through the picture book and engage with the interactive features.

Ages 6-8

Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This Apppigeon
With this hilarious app from award-winning children’s author/illustrator Mo Willems, children create their own stories. Kids start by answering the bus driver’s questions, and their answers blend into the storyline to create a unique narrative! Also includes a drawing feature that allows children to follow along with Mo and learn step-by-step how to draw the pigeon!

wild2Wild About Books
When a passionate librarian mistakenly sets up her bookmobile at the zoo, the animals discover a love of reading and pretty soon start penning their own stories! Filled with hilarious references to seminal works of children’s literature, Wild About Books captures the pure joy of reading and sharing stories as Molly the librarian finds the perfect book for each animal.

Cozmo’s Day Off  cozmo2
Follow Cozmo, a friendly little green alien, in this interactive e-book.  Read along with the narrator as Cozmo struggles to make it to work on time.  Kids will delight in the adjustable speed of the narrator’s voice, progressing from super fast to super slow with the swipe of a finger.  Hearing the story at different speeds encourages kids to record their own voices reading the story, an excellent activity for improving oral fluency and expression.

Ages 9-12

meanwhileMeanwhile
Based on the comic strip by Jason Shiga, Meanwhile is a choose-your-own-adventure app that puts kids in control of the storyline.  They must decide the fate of Jimmy, a young boy who stumbles upon a scientist’s lab where he must choose one of three objects:  a mind-reading device, a time-travel machine, or the Killitron 3000 (we don’t know what it is either!).  Each path includes puzzles and clues, and while most lead to certain DOOM, one path will lead to SUCCESS.  Kids will be hooked trying to find the right one!

Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmorefantastic
A unique blend of animation and storytelling, readers follow the heartfelt journey of Mr. Morris Lessmore as a hurricane causes him to start a new life among a household of books. The animation is spectacular and engaging, but the heart of the app is in the story that unfolds. There are some interactive features and games interspersed among the sea of animation.  Help the wind blow, make the books fly, play Pop Goes the Weasel on the piano, or create alphabet cereal messages.

Weird But True weird
Did you know that a bottle-nose dolphin has a brain bigger than a human?  After using this app, your kid will be able to cite weird facts like this all day long.  Brought to you by National Geographic, this app features obscure, yet interesting little nuggets of information about animals, the weather, outer space, geography, and science.

~ Lindsay

10 Weeks of Summer Reading Fun for You and Your Kids

sunflowersFor a lot of parents, it can be a real challenge to keep kids reading and writing all summer long. Suddenly 10 weeks can feel like a very long time. Check out these fun ideas to keep literacy skills sharp. Pick one activity to do each week, or choose a few of your favourite activities to focus on over the summer.

TDSRC_2014_teaser_vertical_english_1_Join Winnipeg Public Library’s TD Summer Reading Club. Kids get a free reading activity kit and the chance to win some great prizes including swim passes, Goldeyes tickets, books and more! Registration begins Monday June 23rd.

Point, shoot, and write. Using a digital camera, iPad or camera phone, snap some photos and then encourage your child to write a silly caption for each photo, or make your own comic strip.

Listen up. Audiobooks are a great way to engage readers, and they are the perfect thing to bring along on a road trip. Anyone with a library card has access to thousands of audiobooks for free.

harrypotter    charlotte     tale   39clues

Make your own audiobook. Most phones and computers have simple voice recording features. Have your child make up a story, and then record him/her reading it aloud. Your child’s home-made audiobook will be a priceless keepsake.

Write it down. Encourage your child to keep a simple journal or summer diary. Summer is such a magical time for kids, and recording the memories Little girl reading book sitting in wicker chair outdoor in summthey’re making, from their perspective and in their own words, is such a rewarding experience. Help them out with a few prompts: What was the funniest thing that happened to you this week? What is your favourite summer food?

Plan a family “booknic.” Visit your favorite outdoor spot, such as the beach, or a park. Pack lunch and plenty of books. Keep the baggage light by checking out a few ebooks from the library’s Kids eReading Room.

Create your own board game. Have your kids think about a story for their game. Who are the characters — what is their goal, and what are their obstacles? Is this a game of luck (with dice), or is it going to be an adventure game? Make your game board, pawns, cards, etc. using recyclable materials like, cardboard boxes, egg cartons, jars and tins. Be creative and inventive.

Make your own joke book. Collect jokes from family and friends, and then record them in a home-made book, and laugh yourselves silly. Don’t forget to include illustrations.

Write a letter to your favourite author. Most authors have either a mailing address or e-mail address posted online. Have your kids tell them about which books they’ve read, and why they enjoy them.

Chill out at the library. Take a break from the heat, and check out some of westendthe library’s fun summer programs. Build your own marble run, participate in a spaghetti bridge building competition, tap your toes to the amazing music of Seanster and the Monsters, or learn a trick or two from magician Ryan Price.

Summer is an ideal time for young readers to strengthen literacy skills and enjoy the fun of reading. Reading every day, independently or together, can help reduce summer learning loss and prepare children to return to school ready to learn.  Visit Winnipeg Public Library and introduce your child to a world of places, people and ideas in books that are free to take home and share.

Lindsay