About Katie

When I was three I had my cousin convinced I could read. In reality I had heard "Joey the Jack-o-lantern" so many times I had it memorized. To this day everyone in my family can tell you when Joey is and is not scary.

Books We Love: Super Red Riding Hood

Book cover for Super Read Riding HoodIf you have read any of my other blog posts, you might have noticed my love of fairy tales. Classics, twisted, retold… they are all wonderful in my eyes. When I saw “Super Red Riding Hood,” by Claudia Dvaila, I knew I had to read it. Not only does it tell a new version of Red Riding Hood, but its superhero theme is perfect for this year’s Summer Reading program.

I’m glad I took the time to check out this story – it means I can share this delightful story about a young girl, Ruby, who is actually Super Red Riding Hood! When Ruby puts on her cape and red boots, she becomes a superhero capable of amazing things. Her super traits help her successfully complete her mission into the woods and even make a new friend.

Charming and captivating illustrations? Check. Engaging text? Check. Storyline children and adults will enjoy? Check! If you have a youngster (and don’t worry, boys will enjoy this one, too), I encourage you to look into this book.

Since I mentioned our Summer Reading program, a reminder that Summer Reading ends on August 15th! Be sure to get to your local library with your completed sheet or booklet to get a free book and register for a chance to win a free book set!

Make Your Own T-Shirt Cape!

t-shirt capeIf you love this year’s summer reading theme of superheroes, you’ll love this activity – make your own super hero cape from an old t-shirt. It only takes a few minutes, and sewing is optional. All you will need is a t-shirt, a pair of sharp scissors, a few inches of Velcro and either a hot glue gun, fabric glue or needle and thread. Just follow the directions below.

  1. Lay the t-shirt out on a large flat surface. (I used my kitchen table.)
  2. Cut up the sides of the shirt, along the seams, all the way to the top. When you get to the sleeves, just keep following the seam all the way around, so the sleeves are removed. (You can keep the sleeves for another superhero project.*)
  3. Remove the front of the shirt by cutting just in front the top seams and along the bottom of the neck hole, but keeping the neck hole intact. If the cape is too long for your hero, trim some material off the bottom. Hemming is not required with this kind of fabric.
  4. Cut open the neck hole, right in the middle.
  5. Attach the Velcro to either side of the neck hole (about an inch on each side) with your fabric glue, hot glue gun or needle and thread. This prevents the cape from becoming a choking hazard.
  6. Enjoy your awesome cape!

I found the instructions online, and the link to the full instructions can be found by clicking here.

*Remember when I said to keep the sleeves? Included in the full instructions are steps on how to make power cuffs from the sleeves of our t-shirt.

Stacking, Sequencing and Narrative Skills

Can stacking cups really help with your child’s literacy? The answer is yes! Stacking is an early sequencing skill. When children successfully stack cups, they have also put them in a sequence. Sequencing is the process of putting events, ideas and objects in logical order, such as from large to small.This concept appears in stories like “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” where Goldilocks progresses from large to small with a variety of objects. Once children understand that Goldilocks starts with the largest item, then tries the middle and ends with the smallest, they show their grasp of beginning, middle and end – a key component of narrative learning.

PAL Kit #8

PAL Kit #8

If you want to play with some stacking and sequencing toys from the library, check out our Play as Learning Kits. Kits number two (Encouraging Brain Development), and eight (Encouraging Creativity) have stacking toys. Kit five (Encouraging Family Reading) has a spindle puzzle, which also uses sequencing skills. You can ask about these kits at the Children’s desk at the Columbia Public Library. They are also listed in our catalog under “Play as Learning Kit” and are available to be placed on hold for delivery to any of our branches or bookmobile stops.

Fractured Fairy Tales

We all grew up knowing about Goldilocks and her “friends” the bears, but did you hear the one about her meeting three dinosaurs? Have you ever thought about how the story of Cinderella would be different if told by her wicked stepmother?

Fractured fairy tales ask readers to revisit known tales and think about how the stories could be different. Often these tales become humorous when a character we expect to be the villain becomes the hero, or the main character is a dragon instead of a princess. Even a setting change can transform a well-known tale into a fractured fairy tale. A familiar story becomes new when it takes place, for example, in the future, in outer space or in a different world altogether. Continue reading

I Still Believe in 398.2

My Treasury of Fairy Tales bookFairy tales and folktales have a rich history. And as tales have gotten popularized over the years, people may have forgotten how deeply these stories, while continually changing, tie different cultures together. Does your little one know that Walt Disney did not write the first tale of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?” Did you know Cinderella stories are not unique to European culture?

Most of these tales can be found at our library by remembering the call number 398.2. The 398.2 section is one of my favorites to share with anyone who will listen, children, teens, adults – it doesn’t matter. I love finding different versions of the stories I’ve heard since preschool, and I’m not above checking them out to read at home or sharing with others.These tales are a wonderful introduction to nonfiction and teach cultural norms and life lessons. They are great tales to share with your child without requiring you to moo or sing a little song (unless you want to). And there’s more! Fairy tales enrich a child’s imagination and provide a a common language with others. Starting with the truest form of these tales may help your child understand the different versions they will encounter later in life, and discussing variations in the story aid in developing narrative skills. Here’s a handy list of just a small sampling of books shelved under the number 398.2.