Monday, November 21, 2011

Recommended Books for the Holidays

I'm going to give you the most wonderful link to the 2011 Guide Book to Gift Books published by the Bulletin of the Center for Childrens' Books at the University of Illinois. It categorizes the books by grade/age and has a wide assortment of fiction and nonfiction from which to choose.

I'm also going to recommend just six books that I found to be different than the usual holiday fare that are new to our collection.

Brock Cole's "The Money We'll Save" is a hysterical story about a family who sends Pa to the grocery store to purchase just two eggs and a half pound of flour no more and no less as they were saving their money for Christmas. Pa gets persuaded by the chicken man to purchase a turkey poult (baby turkey) with the thought that it will make a lovely Christmas dinner. Pa brings it home and you can guess what happens next! Food disappears, turkey mess is everywhere, neighbors are complaining about the smell. Will the turkey make it until Christmas? Check it out and find out!

Tami Lehman-Wilzig has written an unusual Hanukkah story called, "Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles." Nathan's brother Jacob is autistic and is driving Nathan crazy by repeating "Hanukkah is coming! Hanukkah is coming!" Nathan understands that Jacob's brain is wired differently but it doesn't make it any easier to tolerate his behavior. The first day of Hanukkah arrives, the new neighbors join the festivities, the candles are lit, the blessings are said....and Jacob blows out the candle. Nathan is embarrassed in front of his new friend. How Nathan and his family handles the situation is really quite innovative and heart-warming.

"The Christmas Tree Ship" by Carol Crane is the story of two boys whose Grampa's holiday stories always include the story of Christmas Santa and the Christmas Tree ship that sailed from
Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Chicago every year. It tells of the story of the storm that drove the ship under the waves. Sad, yes, but it also tells how the captain's wife maintained that tradition in honor of her husband. Nice historical fiction based on fact.

Another unusual story, "The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood" by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, relates the story of an Episcopal priest's daughter's experiences during winter on the reservation. The mud is sticky, it's freezing outside, and Virginia's coat is too short and too tight. The reservation relies on donations of clothing but the priest's family is always the last to choose. This year's donations include a grey rabbit fur coat that Virginia would love to have but unfortunately another girl wants that coat. This is a story about selflessness and sacrifice...and the magic of Christmas!

"The Carpenter's Gift: A Christmas Tale About the Rockerfeller Center Tree" by David Rubel is the story of a family down on their luck. They cut down spruce trees to sell as Christmas trees and set up their stand next to a construction site in New York City . The men there see that Henry and his father need help and proceed to unload the truck. All the trees are sold and the workmen receive a tree as a thank you gift. Tin cans and newspaper stars decorate the tree and Henry, knowing that there will not be much of a Christmas at home, stares longingly at it and tucks away a lone pinecone from the tree. Home they go and the next morning they are awakened by trucks full of lumber. The workmen from the construction site have arrived to fix their house. But that's not the end of the'll have to read the book to find out the end! (Hint--what is that saying? Big trees from little acorns grow?)

"Jingle Bells: How the Holiday Classic Came to Be" by John Harris is the story of the composer of "Jingle Bells", James L. Pierpoint. A pastor of a integrated church in Savannah, Georgia, Pierpoint writes the song during a Thanksgiving heat wave. A fun story with some historical background included.

Monday, November 7, 2011

No K-2 til Feb.?! What are we going to do?

Now that story hour  is over for this year, you may be wondering what you can do with your children during that lag time between Halloween and National Freedom Day (February 1st). As you know, Kelly Joslin from Iron Oaks visited our Halloween storyhour (the children loved her!) and mentioned to the children some of the upcoming programs. 

The Turkey Talk takes place on Thursday, November 11 at 1-2:30 pm. To quote from their flyer, "It's turkey time! Come learn about the star of the season at Irons Oaks. We'll do the turkey dance, make some crafts, and go on a short hike in search of food that a wild turkey would enjoy." This is a great program for ages 4 to 8. Wow! Better hurry! You must register by November 9th! The cost is $5 if you register, $7 if you don't.

For your younger ones (2 1/2 to5 years old) , why not try "Little Naturalists: Seeds!" which takes place on Monday, November 21st at 9:45-11:00 am. Again, to quote the flyer,"Bring your budding naturalist to Irons Oaks to discover the sensational world of seeds. We'll actively explore our woodland, read a story, play a game, and create a unique piece of art." Cool! The cost for this program is $6 if you register, $9 if you don't.

If you're looking for a free program, it's back to the Homewood Library for Lego Club on November 10th at 6:30 pm and a special Holiday Lego Club on December 14th at a special time, 4:00-5:00 pm. And don't forget the library's free Family Holiday Craft Day coming on December 7th at 4:00-5:00 pm. Bring your whole family and create great pieces of art and wonderful memories. And finally:

Registration for February K-2 Storyhour on Wednesday or Thursday will begin on January 21st at the Youth Services desk.