Monday, June 30, 2014

Celebrate Independence Day!

This Friday marks our nation's 238th year of independence. July 4th typically means cookouts, hangouts with friends, and fireworks. So what is this holiday all about? According to, Independence Day, also known as the 4th of July, is America's birthday. It's the anniversary of the day on which The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress - July 4th, 1776. The 13 colonies no longer wanted to be ruled by Britain. The men who helped fight in the Revolutionary War should be remembered on this day. In towns and cities, the American flag is displayed and people march in parades. In 1941, Congress declared July 4th a federal, legal holiday. The History channel's web site posted a great video and a fact-filled page of info for those eager to learn more about our country's origins.

Did you know?!? It's estimated that over 150 million hot dogs will be consumed On July 4th! 

Joke Time!
Q: What did one flag say to the other flag?
A: Nothing, it just waved.

Q: Why did the duck say "Bang!"
A: Because he was a firequacker.

Calendar Mysteries: July Jitters by Ron Roy
In the seventh book of the Calendar Mysteries - an early chapter book mystery series featuring the younger siblings of the A to Z Mysteries detectives - the mayor is having a special Fourth of July contest; the person whose pet has the best Independence Day costume gets to be mayor for a day! Bradly, Brian, Nate, and Lucy transform Polly the pony into Thomas Jefferson and Pal the dog into the Declaration of Independence. But when the pet parade rolls around, the animals are nowhere to be found! Maybe they have stage fright. Can the kids find their dressed-up pets and calm them down before the Fourth of July fun begins?

The Redcoats Are Coming! by Marianne Hering and Nancy Sanders
The first of a three-book story arc about the American Revolution, The Redcoats Are Coming follows Patrick and Beth as they assist the revolutionaries by waking up the sleeping citizens of 1775 Concord before the Redcoats come. In this adventure, the cousins meet Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock. They help smuggle musket balls, sound the alarm that the Redcoats are coming, and deliver a secret message to Paul Revere. Along the way they learn that most of the revolutionaries leaned on God’s direction and even pastors helped in the cause.

Fireworks, Picnics, and Flags: The Story of the Fourth of July Symbols by James Cross Giblin 
What famous American thought that the turkey would make a better national bird than the bald eagle? Who was the real Uncle Sam? Each familiar Fourth of July symbol has an amazing story taken from an exciting chapter in our country's history, and each has its place in the traditions surrounding the birthday of our nation. All remind us of how hard our forefathers fought for the freedoms we enjoy today...and are celebrated in the pages of this entertaining book.  

To keep the holiday fun going, scope out these fun links!

PBS shares historical information about the origins of 4th of July.  

Fireworks safety from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Look for activities being hosted the week of the 4th at National Parks!

US Department of Agriculture shares some safe food handling tips.

Delish shares some kid-friendly cookout recipes.

Come Together Kids shares some cookout activities for the kiddos.

The government website for the United States shares some great historical information on the holiday's origins .

From the children's staff at the Grafton-Midview Public Library, we hope you have a safe and happy holiday!


Monday, June 23, 2014

You Can Be a Mad Scientist Too! Fun with Home Experiments

Looking for something totally dazzle-iffic to do with kids of all ages this summer? Channel your inner Bill Nye the Science Guy by conducting some awesome experiments! I don’t think there is anything better than doing some hands on activities that will mystify and astound yourself, your family, and friends! When I think back to my childhood, the moments that stick out are those times in school when we did fun and exciting experiments and of course, watching Bill Nye the Science Guy everyday before school. So what is science? Science comes from the Latin word for "knowing." It is the process of learning how things work in the world. According to Super Science Fair Projects,the fist science fair was in 1942. From tv shows, to books, to Pinterest, there are tons of great ideas for science experiments that will be engaging for you and your kids! Here are some books that we have in our library that you should check out as well as some blogs that are pretty BOOMtastic!

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Junior Scientists Experiment with Liquids by Matt Mullins

Do you like to learn by experimenting? Do you want to find out more about how scientists work? Then the Science Explorer Junior books are for you! Use thinking and observation skills as you try activities that will help you learn more about everything from rocks and soil to magnets and solar energy.
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Slimy Science and Awesome Experiments by Susan Martineau

A wonderful collection of wickedly slimy but perfectly simple science experiments! Balloon Belcher, Ectoplasmic Gunk, Floating Eyeball, and Pus-filled Boil are some activities guaranteed to appeal to gross-loving young scientists everywhere. All the projects are tried and tested, use everyday materials, and have clear step-by-step instructions. Every page includes a brief “fact file” that explains the underlying scientific principle involved in each experiment. Also look for extra “Weird or What?” sections sure to amuse and amaze. Freaky, fascinating, and fun!

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Magic Science by Jim Wiese
Is it magic? No, it’s science! There’s a lot more to magic than just waving a wand. From chemistry to biology, gravity to electricity, discover the amazing magical powers of science with these fun-filled, easy to perform activities. You won’t need any special materials to become a science magician – just everyday things found around the house. With Magic Science, you’ll be dazzling family and friends quicker than you can say, “Nothing up my sleeve!” 

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The Kids Book of Simple Everyday Science by Kelly Doudna

These 40 simple science activities will have young kids searching the house for everyday items to learn about temperature, pressure, water, air, heat, and plants! Each easy and fun activity includes how-to photos, simple instructions, short explanations, and introduces beginning math principles. With tips and extra information to extend the scientific experience, this book will get kids thinking like scientists in no time at all! The book includes: supply & tool lists, visual and text-based explanations, step-by-step instructions and photos, and safety information.

Love My Science - Website
All the experiments are simple, safe and easy to follow and can be achieved with everyday materials and recycled items found around your house. Help make learning fun and easy by trying some with your kids. Remember to always have fun with your experiments and don’t worry if they don’t come out as you would expect – some of the greatest scientific discoveries have been made by mistake. 

Make cool things like fluffy bathtub paint, tin can howler, exploding art, and exploding peep geysers! This awesome blog has tons of great ideas for super fun science experiments and projects. Learn about science while creating all kinds of cool stuff! 

Fantastic blog where you can look for experiments by choosing from categories such as Preschool science, physics, chemistry, kitchen science, biology, and Age 5+. So many choices to pick from for those curious young scientists! Make frozen Kool-Aid oobleck, a hovercraft, baking soda ice cubes, and fizzing rocks.   

Funology – Website   

Try out all kinds of experiments on this website. Pepper on Parade, Bouncing Jell-O, Color a Flower, and Dancing Raisins! 

I hope you and your kids have a blast trying out these different science experiments! What better way to pass time on hot summer days than to conduct some creative science experiments in your own home. Don’t forget to stop by the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland or COSI in Columbus for a memorable day.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Father's Day is the third Sunday in June, and this year falls on Sunday, June 15th. This special day is celebrated to show fathers everywhere that they are loved, appreciated, and remembered. Father's Day is a relatively new holiday, beginning in 1972, 58 years after President Wilson declared Mother's Day a national holiday. For more information on the beginnings of this holiday, scope out While many men initially balked at the day for its sentimentality, we are so glad the holiday exists so we can celebrate how cool our dads are. We'd like to share some awesome books to read with your favorite daddy-o.

Just Like Dad by Gina and Mercer Mayer. Little Golden Book, 2001.
Little Critter is eager to be just like his dad, and looks up to him very much. Each page shows him trying his best to mimic his dad in this sweet picture book.

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman. Harper Collins, Reprint Edition 2006.
What would you do to get some goldfish as pets?  Would you trade your dad?  In this story a child does just that and his dad barely notices at first because he is so busy reading the newspaper. Will he be able to make it back to his family?

Daddy's Do It Different by Alan Lawrence Sitomer. Disney-Hyperion, 2012.
Daddies and mommies do a lot of things differently, and this adorable picture book shows many of them. Mommy makes a delicious breakfast and eats with you at the table, but when daddy makes breakfast it involves a fort made out of waffles. Grocery shopping with mommy includes label reading and coupon clipping, but when daddy does the shopping he makes mustaches from bananas. But what is really important is what daddy and mommy do the same.


Saturday is Dadurday by Robin Pulver. Walker Childrens, 2013. 
Mimi's favorite day of the week is Saturday because it means she gets Daddy all to herself! When Daddy's work schedule changes, so do her Saturdays. Can Mimi still make Saturdays special? 

When Dads Don't Grow Up by Majorie Blain Parker. Dial, 2012.
This charming picture book follows four dads and their sons. Some dads have a tricky time growing up and show they are young at heart with shopping cart races and drinking from crazy straws. 

Things to Do With Dad by Chris Stevens. Buster, 2008.
This book has a ton of ideas for projects, crafts, games, and many activities to do with your dad. The fun doesn't have to stop with dad, however. Moms and grandparents can get in on the fun, too!

My Dad's a Birdman by David Almond. Candlewick, 2011.
In rainy England, Mr. Poop goes through the streets announcing the Human Bird Competition. Lizzie looks on in wonder as her dad begins eating bugs, donning wings, and building nests. Despite all of these odd behaviors, Lizzie and her father share a loving bond and she cheers him on in the competition.

My Dad Thinks He's Funny by Katrina Germein. Candlewick, 2013.
Urban Dictionary defines Dad Joke as "the style of joke limited to the dads of the world because anyone else would be able to see how embarassing the punch-line and response will be". You know that special brand of funny that dads have and when you hear it you cringe and roll your eyes? This book is for anyone who has ever marveled as the corny jokes dads make, smiled, and felt your heart swell with joy because you love him anyway. 

Where Did Daddy's Hair Go? by Joe O'Connor. Random House Books for Young Readers, 2006.
Jeremiah keeps hearing that his dad has 'lost' his hair. He searches all over the house to find his dad's hair, and in the process accepts diversity.

Wherever you are this Father's Day, remember to take a moment and let your dad or special father-figure know that you're thinking of him.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Superstitions and Paranormal Science

This Friday falls on the 13th of the month, commonly believed to be an unlucky day. The assumption that this day is full of evil is steeped in history and myth, dating back to Biblical times. You can read more about the lore surrounding this day on National Geographic's site. The phobia of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia after the Norse goddess, Frigga, whom Friday is named after, and triskaidekaphobia, or the fear of the number thirteen. 

The Chicago Tribune listed 13 superstitions for Halloween, but many of them are feared all year long. Live Science uncovered the history of 13 common superstitions and shared them in 2012. You can read the article here. Time Magazine shared a brief history of Friday the 13th, and one of my favorite fun facts: In 1939 citizens of a small town in Indiana attached bells to all the resident black cats so they wouldn't cross paths with them. This seemed to be a successful way to avoid these felines, so they continued this precaution for the next three years. Many people have tried to debunk the myths surrounding Friday the 13th, and one group was formed to do just this. tells us about the popular group the Thirteen Club, which was formed in the 1880's and ran through the 1940's. This group of New Yorkers would meet on the 13th and eat in groups of 13, on a table covered with spilled salt, naturally. 

As an elementary school student, some of my favorite non-fiction sections to explore were the 000s and 100s, home to such wondrous topics as UFOs, ghosts, aliens and witches. To celebrate the week of Friday the 13th, we want to share some books that we think are out of this world.

Alien Alert by Elizabeth Jaffe.  Phonics Comics, 2005.
Beginning readers can join in the graphic novel craze and enjoy three short stories all about aliens. The first story follows an alien band, the Crater Heads, as they explore the world around them to find new sounds to inspire their songs. From staplers to toilets, they try to find the right beat to get the crowd to tap their toes. The bright illustrations and silly plots are sure to entice readers to continue the stories.

Bigfoot and Adaptation (Part of the  Monster Science series) by Terry Collins. Graphic Library, 2011.
This non-fiction series, Monster Science, is represented in graphic novel format and aims to explain scientific principles with fun characters and easy to understand writing. Adaptation is explained using Bigfoot as a model to show how species can change over time. Check out the whole series! 

Witches by Roald Dahl. Puffin, Reprint Edition 2007.
After James's parents pass away, he goes to live with his Norwegian grandmother. She tells James stories about scary witches who like to cast spells to get rid of children. James believes his grandmother is just telling stories, until he comes face to face with a real witch!

Aliens Don't Wear Braces by Debbie Dadey. Scholastic Books, 1993.
After the art teacher disappears amid strange, bright lights, the surprising (and very pale) replacement teacher arrives. The longer she stays, the more objects around Bailey City start mysteriously losing their colors. Even more mysterious, the new art teacher seems to be getting brighter! Can the Bailey School Kids save the city?

Monster's Monster by Patrick McDonnell. Little, Brown, 2012.
Three little monsters, Grouch, Grump, and Gloom 'n Doom, think they are the worst monsters around and they're very proud of it! To put their bickering to a rest, they work together to create an even bigger and badder monster! But their monster isn't so bad after all.


Aliens on Vacation (Book one of the Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast series) by Clete Barrett Smith.  Disney-Hyperion, 2012.
David reluctantly leaves Florida for the summer to stay with his crazy grandma in Washington state. He isn't excited about hanging out in the "Middle of Nowhere", but his attitude changes once he realizes his grandma's Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast is more than it seems.  

Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer. National Geographic Children's Books, 2011. 
This award-winning work of non-fiction chronicles the events leading up to the Salem witch trials. Two young girls in Salem Village begin twisting and choking, and when a cure can't be found they are pronounced bewitched. 

Don't forget that this is the first official week of our 2014 summer reading program, "Fizz! Boom! Read!". If you or your little one love paranormal topics and science fiction, join us for a special science fiction themed storytime this Friday the 13th! We will share stories of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and other spooky, fun creatures! All ages are welcome and you will get to leave with a cool craft. Tweens can get together for our Fear Factor event to play gross games and minute to win it challenges. Do you have any Friday the 13th traditions or superstitions?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Summer Travel: Road Trip Listening

Summer is my most favorite season and in no small part because of the wonderful travel opportunities that the season presents. What better time to hop in the car, pile your bags and maybe the kids in, and hit the open road? You road trip may be a short day trip, or perhaps you are driving cross-country, you might even be lucky enough to have an RV which means you can drive indefinitely! Driving for long hours isn't your cup of tea? Well, this is also a great season to catch a flight to an exciting destination or even jump aboard a ship. This month is full of travel for me as I'll be spending time hiking in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee this week, then baking in the desert heat of Las Vegas later this month! Reading and listening materials are always a necessity and I'm sure to put these items on my packing checklist when I travel. Last year I recommended some wonderful audiobook choices for you to take on your adventures. This year I'd like to expand my recommendations list to include great music and book choices for the family. Read on to see my favorites!

Audiobooks/ Playways:
MATILDA; by Roald Dahl; Narrated by Kate Winslet; Penguin Audio. 5 hrs. (2014 Audie Award Finalist). Ages 8-12. 
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A longtime favorite of mine and many other children who were charmed by Matilda's story at a young age, this wonderful audiobook is brought to life thanks to the voice acting talents of the lovely Kate Winslet. Fans of the book will adore the lively recording, and newcomers to the story will be swept away with this charming tale.

In addition to Matilda, there are many other awesome Roald Dahl stories narrated by some of my favorite actors and actresses that are available for check out at the library, such as The Fantastic Mr. Fox. You can see the famous faces who narrate the audiobooks and listen to excerpts at!

NELSON MANDELA'S FAVORITE AFRICAN FOLKTALES; by Nelson Mandela (editor). Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Matt Damon and Alan Rickman and others. Hatchette Audio. 3 hrs and 45 mins. Ages 8-12. (2010 Audie Audiobook of the Year Award Winner).
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In an effort to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and Artists for New South Africa, 23 narrators, most of which are famous actors and actresses ranging from Samuel L. Jackson to Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) himself, recorded African Folktales chosen by Mandela for this special recording. The narrators all do an amazing job performing their respective stories and parents and older children may have fun trying to guess who the narrator is. You will get to enjoy traditional African music along with these folktales as an added bonus. A great choice for adults and children alike, though 8-12 may appreciate the traditional folktales more than younger listeners. You can listen to audio excerpts from various stories, read performer bios and even download free

ELEANOR & PARK; by Rainbow Rowell; Narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra; Listening Library. 9 hrs. Ages 13 and up.
Teens, tweens and parents alike will be able to enjoy this audiobook telling the smart, romantic and sometimes heart-wrenching story of high school students Eleanor and Park. The tale is told conversely through each character's perspective and listeners will experience each of their unique narratives distinctly through the great performances from the voice actors.

Print Books:

CAN I PLAY TOO? : AN ELEPHANT AND PIGGIE BOOK; by Mo Willems. Hyperion Books for Children, 2010. Ages 5 and up.

School-age children of all ages (and their parents) will likely find something to giggle over in this delightful addition to Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books. When a small snake wriggles over to play with Elephant and Piggie, they must figure out how to incorporate their armless friend into their game of catch. A great read when grumpy and tired kids might need a little humor to break up a long day.

MOUSE’S FIRST SUMMER; By Lauren Thompson. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2004. Ages 3 and up.

In this adorable and simple picture book, Mouse and his friend Minka enjoy all of the fun that summer has to offer such as munching on watermelon at a picnic and watching fireworks at the park. Young children will enjoy answering the questions posed in this story, like the sentence “What’s this for?” floating around the tail of a kite flying high.

EXTRAORDINARY WARREN: A SUPER CHICKEN; by Sarah Dillard. Aladdin, 2014. Ages 7-12.

This graphic novel is a great choice for middle grade readers who are looking for a silly, not-too-serious tale to entertain themselves this summer. You will read the story of a young chicken named Warren and a hungry, devious rat named Millard looking for a chicken dinner. There are plenty of laughs along the way as Millard tries to trick the chicks into coming to his “special” barbeque.   The illustrations are brightly colored and the book’s structure falls somewhere between picture book and graphic novel with sparse panels and large full-page illustrations amongst the text. A particularly helpful quality if your young reader is new to the world of graphic novels.

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THE FAULT IN OUR STARS; by John Greene. Ages 13 and older.

A love story between two teenagers struggling to cope with their terminal conditions, this book will make you weep, smile and everything in between. This summer’s film adaptation of this amazing young adult novel is sure to spark interest in the book with teens as well as adults. One of my most favorite novels read in recent memory and a guaranteed page-turner.


KOO KOO KANGA ROO: RAD-TROSPECTIVE; by Koo Koo Kanga Roo. Uniroo Records. 2014.

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If you are afraid of falling asleep on your family road trip, just pop this CD into your player and you will be wide awake! These high energy pop tunes are perfect for little ones who want to be active during their music listening, or for older kids who enjoy fast paced silly tunes. With family friendly that invite movement, try "Shake Yo' Foot" or "Wiggle It" (both of which are preschool storytime favorites!). Other great tracks include the adorable "Cat Party" and the hip-hop influenced "Baby Crocodile Uhh". This CD is guaranteed to be a new favorite. 

TUMBLEBEE; by Laura Veirs. Raven Marching Band Records. 2012.

Prefer something a bit more quiet and a little less high energy? I highly recommend listening to Veirs' album Tumblebee. Beautiful folk songs for children comprise this album by established adult musician Veirs who has shared the stage with the likes of Neko Case and The Decemberists. Filled with banjo, fiddle and Veir's rich voice this is sure to please Americana and folk music fans as well as youngsters that enjoy softer tunes.

I hope that you have some ideas for new listening and reading materials to take with you on your road trip! What is your favorite travel book or music CD? Don't forget, you can count audiobooks towards your summer reading hours!