In Case You Missed It: Inkheart

You often hear “Never judge a book by its cover.” And of course, you’d never, EVER think a librarian would judge a book by its cover. Except I did (as I’m sure have many of my cohorts).

Inkheart CoverOne day, while roaming the shelves for a new read, I came across Cornelia Funke’s “Inkheart.” The book cover for this edition was gorgeous. A fairy-taleish design, a hand popping out of a picture showing a burning castle, a fancy font…I knew I had to read this book. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. Far from it.

Inkheart” is the story of 12-year-old Meg and her father, Mo. Mo works as a bookbinder, but he also has an even rarer talent – when he reads aloud, he often reads characters out of books into the real world. Cool, right? Wouldn’t you love to meet characters from your favorite novels? Well, the catch is that Mo doesn’t get to choose who or what comes out AND something from the real world has to take its place in the story. When Meg was a little girl, Mo accidentally read three characters out of a novel, “Inkheart,” and his wife disappeared the same night without a trace. Now the villainous Capricorn, read out of the story, is after Mo and Meg.

This wonderful book is the first in a trilogy, with the other two parts being “Inkspell” and “Inkdeath.” Be sure to also check out other books by Cornelia Funke – she’s an engaging author and has written many wonderful tales for children and teens. Like what you read? Come find me at Columbia’s Children’s Desk, and I can give you plenty of other recommendations of great fantasy stories…regardless of their covers.

What’s a Baby, and Why Is It Staying???

Big sister and little brotherThere’s a story about my younger brother and me that’s become a bit of a legend in my family. I would like to preface this story by saying that I find the attention a little unfair. Is the tale about the time I fearlessly protected him from a menacing neighborhood cat? (Granted, it was on the other side of a chain link fence, but it looked wily…not to be trusted.) No. Is the story about the times I selflessly agreed to play the “innocent prey” (his words, not mine) to his mountain lion/crocodile/animal obsession du jour as he ambushed me from the back of the couch? No.

The story is about the moment I realized he was ours. Not going anywhere. Sayonara, only-childom. Continue reading

2013 Missouri Building Blocks: Duckling Gets a Cookie?!

Book cover for The Duckling Gets a Cookie by Mo WillemsDecember 4th is National Cookie Day. Can you think of a better way to celebrate than to read a silly story about the delectable treats? Okay…I can think of one other higher calorie festive act: eat a plate full. But first, read Missouri Building Blocks nominee “Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems. This book features the ever obstinate Pigeon, one polite Duckling and, of course, a coveted cookie. Heck, go ahead and throw a party using the publisher’s event kit; they give you the directions for games like duck, duck, pigeon, and provide patterns for inventing your own cookies.

Who Put the Cookies in the Cookie JarTo round out your National Cookie Day celebration, I highly recommend Who Put the Cookie in the Cookie Jar?” by George Shannon. I absolutely love how this book turns the traditional rhyme about who stole the cookies upside down. This delightful rhyming text depicts all of the hands that go into making cookies with love. You see people from around the world gathering eggs, sewing the oven mitts, transporting the goods and stocking the store shelves. The preschoolers in my story times love pointing out their favorite types of cookies and sharing memories of making cookies with their family. So go make some memories! And eat a cookie for me.

So Many Events, So Little Time

I feel so lucky to live in a community that provides abundant opportunities for families. Here are a few opportunities coming up on Saturday, October 12th:

hoopHarps & Hoops

The artists at Orr Street Studios invite you to make harps and hula hoops and then hoop it up to harp music! Maria D. Trevor, harpist and teacher of harp, will play. Grace Cunningham will bring her hula hoop-making creativity and skills for a hoop-making workshop.  Free.

Where: Orr Street Studios, 106 Orr St.
When: noon-3 p.m.
Who: Children ages 5-15, with accompanying adult.

Stories in Art, Art in Stories

Encourage your child’s interest in reading while promoting visual literacy, creative thinking and language development. “The Sound of Colors” by Jimmy Liao will provide inspiration for an art project involving kids in active looking, listening, imagining and creating. Presented by the Columbia Art League. Call 443-3161 to register, beginning Tuesday, October 1.

Where: Children’s Program Room at the Columbia Public Library
When:3-3:45 p.m.
Who: Children ages 5-9

Fall Tiger Family Fun Fest

Free activities for your family including a bounce house, face painting, arts and crafts and more.

Where: ParentLink, 4800 Santana Circle in Columbia.
When: 10:30-3:00
Who: Families

The tricky part is figuring out how to squeeze this much fun into one day!

Science Books Your Kids Will Want to Read

Kids need more exposure to science. We’ve all heard the news reports. And, while some of us have fond memories of looking at boogers under our first microscopes, I know some of you groan under the remembered weight of textbooks full of big words. How can you make science fun for your children? Check out the National Science Teachers Association’s recently published list of Outstanding Science Books for K-12 Students for 2013.

How do books make the cut?  Continue reading