Enjoy a Story Book Trail as Part of Bike, Walk and Wheel Week

bikeWe love seeing our patrons in the library enjoying their favorite books, but spring is also the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors with your family. May 3 through 9 is Bike, Walk and Wheel Week (BWWW). This year’s theme is the evolution of travel, highlighting our treasured MKT Trail (one of the nation’s original rails-to-trails) as a source of recreation, fitness and active transportation for our community. Columbia has lots of fun events planned for BWWW, but the library’s favorite has to be the Story Book Trail.

Columbia Parks and Rec chooses a book – often tying in the theme of BWWW – and displays the book’s pages on boards placed at a child’s height. The boards are then placed along a walking trail to encourage both walking and reading together. This year’s Story Book Trail is at the Hindman Discovery Garden in Stephens Lake Park. The story on display is Watty Piper’s classic, “The Little Engine That Could.” So if you get tired while walking, just remember, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” The story boards will remain up the entire month of May. For more information about all activities during BWWW, please visit City of Columbia’s web page or check out this handy flyer.

Using Math Every Day

Book cover for Ten in the Bed by Penny DaleMath is all around us. While we highlight math in April in observance of Math Awareness Month, we use math every day of the year. For instance, if there are four people in the family and a package of cookies holds 12, how many cookies does each person get? If a pizza is divided into eight pieces, how many pieces can each family member eat?

Math can be a scary subject at school, but you can make math fun by sharing math-related books with your children. In “The Doorbell Rang” by Pat Hutchins, people keep coming to visit. How can the cookies be divided equally each time the doorbell rings? Continue reading

The Story Is in the Pictures

ZathuraApril 27 was National Tell a Story Day. Some children need no urging to make up a story, while others are a little more reserved and might need some prompting. One way to help is to use wordless picture books. It’s easy to look at a book with no words, just pictures, and think that it is too simple for your child and will not help to advance her reading level. However, this is not the case. Not only are these books filled with beautiful illustrations, but they also can help advance a child’s creativity and storytelling capabilities.

Check out one or two (or 10, if you’re me) of these books next time you visit the library and have your child go through the book, making up the story on his own about what is happening in the illustrations. Children can go at their own pace and the stories can be as serious or silly as they want them to be. The best part about these types of books is that the story can change every time! Often the illustrations are very detailed and offer something new to see each time you read the story, allowing for the story to change very easily. Continue reading

Novels in Verse Are a Novel Idea

Book cover for The CrossoverAs I’m sure many of us know by now, April is National Poetry Month! However, if you (or your children) are anything like me, you hear “poetry” and immediately think of vague metaphors you think you understand but aren’t quite sure. I have flashbacks to English literature courses, having to explain the significance of poems and having no idea what Keats, Dickinson or Frost actually meant. Well, I have discovered the best way to cure my poetry anxiety! Novels in verse are absolutely wonderful. They are separate poems that come together to tell one cohesive story. Even if you do not quite understand one of the poems, the rest are there to fill in the gaps so you know the whole story.

Novels in verse are perfect for middle grade readers (and adults who love reading children’s literature like myself!). This is the age where poetry starts getting introduced in schools, and for some it can seem scary and hard. These novels can make verse seem less alien and provide a love of poetry in young readers, encouraging them to read and write their own. I, personally, have found that reading multiple novels in verse has helped me not be so afraid of reading poetry and find that I can understand what the author is talking about and get drawn into the story, just like with a regular novel. Continue reading

It’s All in the Details

Book cover for 100 Hungry MonkeysDo you have a kid who notices every little detail? Picks lint off your clothes and inevitably points out something embarrassing when you’re in the checkout line at the store? Oh, maybe that’s just me. Anywho…my kid LOVES the details in every book we read. “100 Hungry Monkeys!” by Masayuki Sebe is perfect to fulfill her need to count and pore over every page for little hidden surprises. It’s sort of an updated version of Where’s Waldo with funny little details. Part story book, part seek and find, part counting book — all fun! Check out these other titles with similar formats: Continue reading