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Reading - A Family Holiday Tradition

Doesn't it seem like all the grown-ups are complaining about how busy and stressful life is during the holiday season?  Everyone is rushing about to family_readingand fro---baking, shopping, decorating, sending cards, attending special events...  Why not take a break from all the madness and read a book together as a family?  Make it a part of your holiday traditions.  Below are a few of my favorite Christmas books, perfect for sharing together.  The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski The widow McDowell and her seven-year-old son Thomas ask the gruff Jonathan Toomey, the best wood-carver in the valley, to carve the figures for a Christmas creche. Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck On Christmas Eve a man recalls the holiday many years ago when he gave his father, a struggling farmer, a most-appreciated gift by rising extra early to do his father's biggest chore---the milking. Night Tree by Eve Bunting A family makes its annual pilgrimage to decorate an evergreen with food for the forest animals at Christmastime. The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco During a scarlet fever epidemic one winter near Union City, Michigan, the grandparents in a Jewish family help make Christmas special for their ailing Christian neighbors by making their own Hanukkah miracle.  Based on a memory from the author's childhood. Christmas in the Country by Cynthia Rylant In this nostalgic story, a girl reflects on Christmas at her grandparents' home in the country, with its fresh-cut tree, handmade ornaments, gifts from Santa, and special church services. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson This book's young narrator, whose mother is saddled with directing the church's annual Christmas pageant, becomes newly aware of the season's true meaning after the horrible Herdmans, a family of truly terrifying brats, bully themselves into the major roles of the pageant.  This chapter book is a perfect holiday read aloud filled with humor and heart.

Holiday Staff Picks 2009

bookbowOnce again the Children's staff at the Olathe Public Library and Indian Creek Branch have compiled a list of some of our favorite books from the last year---with maybe a few old favorites thrown in for good measure.  If you are looking for a special book to give that special child on your holiday shopping list, we hope you might consider some of our staff picks.  We've tried to select a wide variety of books for all different age levels:  picture books, chapter books, easy readers, nonfiction, poetry, and more.  You're sure to find just the right book for your holiday giving. All of the books on our Holiday Staff Picks list will be on display at both Olathe libraries through the end of the year.  The books on display cannot be checked out, but we're always happy to request any titles for you.  Click here to see the list.  Copies of the list may also be picked up at the Children's Deparment.

Spooky Poems & Songs

Halloween is just around the corner.  What better time to read a spooky poem or two?

"Mary Had a Vampire Bat" by Judy Sierra (from the book Monster Goose)

vampireMary had a vampire bat. His fur was black as night. He followed her to school one day And promised not to bite. She brought him out for show-and-tell; The teacher screamed and ran. And school was canceled for a week, Just as Mary planned.

"The Goblin" by Jack Prelutsky (from the book It's Halloween)

goblinThere's a goblin as green As a goblin can be Who is sitting outside And is waiting for me. When he knocked on my door And said softly, "Come play!" I answered, "No thank you, Now please, go away!" But the goblin as green As a goblin can be Is still sitting outside And is waiting for me. Or how about a creepy song?

"Home of the Strange" ( to the tune of "Home on the Range") words by Kelly DiPucchio (from the book Sipping Spiders Through a Straw)

ghostOh, give a me a home where the Boogie Men roam, where the ghosts and the green goblins play. Where there aren't any phones, only grunts, shrieks, and moans and the flies are all welcome to stay. Home, home of the strange, where the feared and the freaks come to play. Where the stench in the air, comes from goon underwear and the kids are all pasty and gray. For more spooky, creepy fun try Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich or Frankenstein Takes the Cake by Adam Rex, Monster Motel by Douglas Florian, Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam, and The Scary Book by Joanna Cole.

William Allen White Award Nominees for 2009-10

wawcoinWould you like to get a head start on reading some of the books nominated for the 2010 William Allen White Award? The lists of nominees can now be found on our website. Click here to see the titles. Because these books are sometimes in high demand, you may have to place a hold and get on the waiting list. And don't forget to check out our Hot Picks section at the library. We may have additional "non-holdable" copies of these books available in that section even when there is a waiting list.

Meet Rebecca

meetrebeccaRebecca Rubin is the newest American Girl.  Growing up in New York City in 1914, Rebecca celebrates treasured traditions passed down through her Russian-Jewish family.  With a little creativity, she learns how to stay true to her heart as she follows her dreams in the big city.  Read all about Rebecca in this new American Girl series written by Jacqueline Dembar Greene.

Read Any Good Books?

folder1Read any good books lately?  Hopefully, you are reading lots of great books this summer.  If you haven't already, be sure to stop by either Olathe library and pick up a Summer Reading Club folder to keep track of all those books.  Just write down the titles of everything you read and then return your folder to library between August 3-16 and get a free book! Would you like to tell us about one of your favorite books?  We'd love to hear about it.  Click here to send us an online book review.  Tell us what you liked about the book, and we will post it on our website.  Visit our Kid Picks page to see book reviews other kids have written.  Maybe you'll discover another good book to read this summer.

2009 William Allen White Award Winners

This year approximately 50,000 3rd-8th graders across the state of Kansas voted for their favorite book from the William Allen White Award nominees lists.  And the 2009 winners are:
clementine3rd-5th grader winner--- Clementine by Sara Pennypacker yellowstar6th-8th grade winner--- Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
Congratulations to the authors of this year's award-winning books!  If you'd like to get a head start on next year's reading, click here to find the list of 2009-2010 William Allen White nominees on our website.

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.

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.
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