Summer Is Just Around the Corner

web-logo-09.jpgSummer is quickly approaching (though you might not know it by the weather we've been having), and exciting plans are underway at the Olathe Public Library.  Our summer reading theme will be "Be Creative @ Your Library."  We will be exploring creativity in all its many forms:  art, music, dance, theater, poetry, movies, literature, and more.  And of course, we hope everyone will read lots of great books over the summer.

You can find complete details about our summer activities by clicking here.  You can also download our summer flyer.  It all begins on Tuesday, May 26.  Make plans to attend our Summer Reading Kick-Off on that day or stop by the library anytime during the summer to get a summer reading folder to keep track of all the books you read.  Fido will be visiting the library every Friday again this summer.  And if you don't know about Fido, you'll have to make a Friday visit to the library and find out.  It's sure to be a fun and creative summer at the library.

Superman #1

superman1The very first Superman comic ever came out in June 1938.  It sold for the whopping price of 10 cents.  On March 14, 2009, over 70 years later, an original copy of this very same comic sold at auction for $317,200!  Don't you wish you owned an original copy of that first Superman comic book?

The original Superman story was written by Jerry Siegel, and the artwork was done by Joe Schuster.  If you would like to read more about Siegel and Schuster and how they came to create one of the most popular superheroes of all time, check out the book Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman.  It's a bird!  It's a plane!  No, it's Superman!

The Underland Chronicles

Below is a "special guest" book review by Chris in the Circulation Department.

underland

The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins is a five book series marketed for children, but don't let that shape your expectations.  The intense and continually expanding plot combined with impressive emotional depth and superb characterizations can easily draw in readers of any age.

Eleven-year-old Gregor and his thoroughly likeable family find themselves caught up in the brutal struggles of a secret world miles beneath New York City. A civilized yet militaristic community of humans share the Underland with large and intelligent creatures, including loyal bats, ferocious rats, and surprisingly noble cockroaches. Time and again, Gregor takes part in increasingly deadly missions in hopes of maintaining a fragile peace. But to do so he must go against his own gentle nature by gradually taking on the role of a warrior.

While this series boldly and admirably addresses such profound issues as racism, loss, the lasting costs of war, and even genocide, what most impressed me was Gregor himself.  Portrayed in a refreshingly realistic manner, Gregor is simply a great kid.  Thoughtful, considerate, self-sacrificing, and determined, he carries the story squarely on his shoulders.  Especially in the epic final installment, Gregor the Overlander shows how much an exceptional child may be willing to suffer, and to lose, for what he knows is right.

Judo Demonstration for Kids

Judo is a form of Japanese martial arts.  Did you know that President Teddy Roosevelt was one of the first judo students in the United States?  He eventually earned a brown belt.

If you would like to learn more about judo, the Olathe Public Library will be having two free judo demonstrations for K-6th graders during spring break.  Instructors from the After School Judo Academy will be doing demonstrations during the following times:

judo3.JPGMonday, March 16 @ 2:00 p.m.
at the Indian Creek Branch Library

Tuesday, March 17 @ 2:00 p.m.
at the Main Olathe Library

Registration is required.  Register at either Olathe library or call (913) 971-6874.  Be there or be square.

School Art Display

Stop by the Main Olathe Library and check out the colorful display of artwork by children from the Olathe District Schools.  There are drawings, paintings, prints, collages, ceramics, sculptures, and more.  Could there be a future Picasso in the bunch?  Come see for yourself, and support the arts in our schools.  The work of these talented students will be on display until April 3.

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Captain Underpants Rules

captunderpants.gifAre you a fan of Captain Underpants?  Do you like Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot books?  Is Dav Pilkey one of your favorite authors?  Then I've got a website for you.  You need to check out Dav Pilkey's Extra Crunchy Website o' Fun.  You can find out all about Dav's books, read a cartoon biography of the author, play groovy games, and all kinds of fun stuff.

This is just one of the cool websites for kids on our Cool Sites web page.  Check it out.

Do you have a favorite website that you think other kids would like?  Send us a comment and let us know about it.  We're always looking for fun and excellent websites.

Got Any Picture Books About...?

Do you have any good princess books?  Do you have any easy books about horses?  Do you have any picture books about trains?  Where are your counting books?  Got any dragon stories with pictures?  Here at the library we get questions like this all the time.kids-reading.jpg

In order to help you find picture books on some of the more popular topics, we have posted a Picture Book Finder on our website.  Here you will find a list of popular topics along with various concepts like numbers, letters, colors, etc.  The titles are linked to our catalog so you can see if a book is available at your nearest library, and you can also place a hold on any title.

So the next time you are looking for a picture book about fairies or books about a new baby in the family, check out our Picture Book Finder.  We hope you will find this to be a useful resource.

Presidential Pets

President Barack Obama promised his daughters they could get a puppy after the Presidential campaign was over.  Many people have weighed in on what kind of dog they think would be best for the first family.  If it were up to you, what kind of dog would you choose for Sasha and Malia?

socks-clinton.jpgThere is a long history of pets in the White House.  The Bushes had two Scottish terriers named Barney and Miss Beazley and a cat nicknamed Willie.  Chelsea Clinton had a cat named Socks when her dad was President.  But not all Presidential pets have been so conventional.  Did you know Thomas Jefferson kept two grizzily bear cubs on the White House grounds?  John Quincy Adams kept an alligator in the East Room.  Abraham Lincoln's son had a pet turkey, and Calvin Coolidge had a pet raccoon named Rebecca.

You can read all about the different pets that have resided in the White House in the book Wackiest White House Pets by Gibbs Davis.  Yes, even Presidents love their pets.

And the Winner Is...

newberymedalsm.jpgThe winner of the 2009 Newbery Medal has been announced, and the winner is The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.  The winner of the 2009 Caldecott Medal is The House in the Night illustrated by Beth Krommes and written by Susan Marie Swanson.

Here is the complete list of award winners and honor books:

Newbery Medal Winner
     The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Newbery Honor Books
     The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
     The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle
     Savvy by Ingrid Law
     After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson

Caldecott Medal Winner
     The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, illustrated by Beth
     Krommes

Caldecott Honor Books
     A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever written and illustrated by Marla
     Frazee
     How I Learn Geography written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz
     A River of Words by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner
     We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson

Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books
     The Blacker the Berry by Joyce Carol Thomas
     Keeping the Night Watch by Hope Anita Smith
     Becoming Billie Holiday by Carole Boston Weatherford

Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner
     The Blacker the Berry by Joyce Carol Thomas, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books
     We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball written and illustrated
     by Kadir Nelson
     Before John Was a Jazz Giant by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by
     Sean Qualls
     The Moon Over Star by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Pura Belpre Author Award Winner
     The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom by Margarita
     Engle

Pura Belpre Author Honor Books
     Just in Case by Yuyi Morales
     Reaching Out by Francisco Jimenez
     The Storyteller's Candle/La Velita de los Cuentos by Lucia Gonzalez

Pura Belpre Illustrator Award Winner
     Just in Case written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Pura Belpre Illustrator Honor Books
     Papa and Me by Arthur Dorros, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez
     The Storyteller's Candle by Jucia Gonzalez, illustrated by Julu Delacre
     What Can You Do with a Rebozo? by Carmen Tafolla, illustrated by Amy
     Cordova

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner
     Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems

Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Books
     Chicken Said, "Cluck!" by Judyann Ackerman Grant
     One Boy by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
     Stinky by Eleanor Davis
     Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator by Sarah C. Campbell

Mock Newbery Award

newberymedalsm.jpgEvery January the Newbery Medal is awarded to the author of the most distinguished children's book of the year.  It is sort of like the Oscar award of children's literature.  It has become a kind of tradition for people across the country to gather and hold "mock" Newbery discussions before the winner is announced.  They discuss some of their favorite books of the year and try to guess which one might be the year's award winner.

Earlier this week I attended one of these mock Newbery gatherings with a group of librarians to discuss which book we would like to see win this prestigous award in 2009.  We discussed about a dozen different titles and ended up with one winner and two honor books.  Here are the results:

The winner:  Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park

The honors (runners-up):  The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
                                       Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor 

Do you have a favorite book you hope will win this year's Newbery medal?  The actual winner will be announced on Monday, January 26.  Stay tuned to find out which outstanding book is this year's winner.

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