Part fairy tale, part historical fiction, “Echo” by Pam Muñoz Ryan tells the story of three characters united by one unique harmonica. The story begins when the harmonica is entrusted to a boy named Otto by three magical sisters in an enchanted forest. It then resurfaces during World War II and finds its way into the hands of three other characters. The harmonica has a powerful impact on each person who hears and plays it, and eventually it is responsible for saving a life. “Echo” is one audiobook I cannot recommend enough! While I’m sure reading the physical book is great, listening to the audiobook was pure joy. Besides having a full cast of characters to read each part, all of the of music that is referenced in the book is played in the audiobook. The harmonica is truly its own character within the book. Continue reading
Has your family read with TumbleBooks lately? TumbleBooks is an online collection of animated picture books. The books are created by taking existing picture books and adding animations, sound, music and narration to produce an electronic picture book. TumbleBooks offers fiction, nonfiction and graphic novel titles in English, Spanish and French. Chapter books are also available. All you need is a DBRL library card.
If you haven’t yet tried TumbleBooks, you might want to spend a few minutes exploring this excellent resource. There is a link to our TumbleBook collection on the left-hand menu of our Kid’s Blog – you’re already halfway there! Continue reading
In honor of Valentine’s Day (February 14) and Random Acts of Kindness Week (February 14-20), we thought it would be fun to create a list of some love and kindness themed books that the library offers for young readers. It is never too early to teach and share the value of love and kindness.
One of my favorite things to do each year is create Valentine’s Day cards with friends and hand them out at local nursing homes and hospitals. Just a simple way to spread joy. (This is double the fun if you have kids who can deliver cards with you.) Below are some of my top pick books to encourage kindness in young readers. Click on the book title to check library availability. Happy reading!
Start Early Books:
“Jinx” is a juvenile fiction book that was first brought to my attention when participants in DBRL’s own Heavy Medal: Mock Newbery program decided it their winner last year. Its win nudged me into giving it a read, and I am so glad I did.
“Jinx” is the story of an orphan (of course he is an orphan, you have to get those pesky parents out of the way so that our young characters can have any sort of adventures, right?) who lives in a magical world with fantastical facets presented though humorously matter-of-fact narration. The story kicks off with a stepfather attempting to leave young Jinx in a dense and dangerous forest, called the Urwald, that surrounds all of the cities in Jinx’s world. After an unlikely rescue by a grumpy old wizard named Simon, Jinx finds himself a wizard’s apprentice and gathers some sidekicks along the way. Adventure naturally ensues, and the story does a lovely job of examining the fact that “good” versus “bad” is not always a black-and-white concept. Jinx’s internal ruminations on the subject are particularly touching. Continue reading
The bedtime story already has been deeply planted in the early literacy landscape, the collective nostalgia and routines for tricking little ones into falling asleep. We have heard the benefits of reading to your baby bumpkins and terrible twosers daily touted near and far, but does the time of day a child is read to actually make any difference?
The answer is, um…well, probably. Maybe. Depends?
While there is some research on that question, obviously everyone is different. Personally, I am a big fan of the bedtime story, so what follows will be my case for the institution.
For one thing, your children are put to bed every day, so there’s a built-in “reminder” that allows reading to easily become part of a routine that’s already necessary. Plus, “bedtime story” rolls off the tongue a lot easier than, say, “after-school snack story.” If you have a snugglebunny or two who land closer to the reluctant side of the sleeper spectrum, sometimes a calming routine can help. According to chair of the Early Childhood Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Peter Gorski, M.D., the most cognitive benefits from reading are reaped when the child’s experience with books is enjoyable and associated with love, safety and comfort. Well, what is more loving and comfy than being tucked in, surrounded by a beloved stuffed animal or two, while mom and/or dad tell you a story? Letting your nugget choose the story they want to hear can be both a bedtime selling point and encourages a positive association with being read to. Continue reading