Newark Library Blog


Discover & Go to The 1968 Exhibit @ OCMA by Tracy Dodge
Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 7:19 pm
Filed under: books, children, community, Libraries, Local History

Today I used the library’s Discover & Go program to check-out a FREE pass to the Oakland Museum of California. Library card holders (at least 15 years old) may reserve free and discounted passes to museums and cultural institutions. The person named on the pass must be one of the people visiting the museum (and, yes, they do check your ID). The Oakland Museum pass admits up to two adults and two children (for a savings of up to $36).

OMCA is currently featuring The 1968 Exhibit covering the history, culture, and politics of that pivotal year. The exhibit features a Huey Helicopter, clothing (including an outfit worn by Janis Joplin), furniture, and other artifacts related to the time period. Highlights of the exhibit include the interactive and multimedia displays. You can use an old fashioned polling machine to vote for one of the presidential candidates running in 1968 (Robert F. Kennedy currently has an overwhelming lead), design your own album cover (and have the image e-mailed to you), and play a musical trivia game (Tammy Wynette was the only answer I knew, which says something about the type of music I listen to). I highly recommend visiting this amazing exhibit while it’s in Oakland though August 19th. While you’re there, check out the recently redesigned California history exhibit which just won the American Association of Museum’s 24th Annual Excellence in Exhibition Award.

For a book related to The 1968 Exhibit, check-out One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. From the catalog: “In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.”



Children’s Choice Award Winners by Tracy Dodge
Thursday, May 17, 2012, 6:20 pm
Filed under: books, children, Libraries, teen

K-2nd Grade Book: Three Hens and a Peacock by Lester L. Laminack
“When life on the Tucker farm is disrupted by the arrival of a peacock, whose shrieking and strutting bring many welcome visitors, the hens complain that they are doing all of the work until the hound suggests a trade”

3rd-4th Grade Book: Bad Kitty Meets the Baby by Nick Bruel  
“Bad Kitty is not pleased when a baby joins her family. Includes fun facts and tips for training a cat to perform tricks”

5th-6th Grade Book: Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
“As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends, an abusive father, and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him until he finds an ally in Lil Spicer–a fiery young lady. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon’s birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage”

Teen Book: Clockwork Prince: The Infernal Devices, Book Two by Cassandra Clare
“As the Council attempts to strip Charlotte of her power, sixteen-year-old orphaned shapechanger Tessa Gray works with the London Shadowhunters to find the Magister and destroy his clockwork army, learning the secret of her own identity while investigating his past”

Author: Jeff Kinney for Diary of a Wimpy Kid 6: Cabin Fever
“Greg Heffley is suspected of damaging school property but he is stuck in a cabin with his family because of a blizzard and will have to face punishment when he gets out”

Illustrator: Brian Selznick for Wonderstruck
“Having lost his mother and his hearing in a short time, twelve-year-old Ben leaves his Minnesota home in 1977 to seek the father he never knew in New York City, and meets there Rose, who is also longing for something missing from her life. Ben’s story is told in words; Rose’s in pictures”



California Young Reader Medal by Tracy Dodge
Thursday, May 10, 2012, 6:06 pm
Filed under: books, children, Libraries, teen

The student-chosen California Young Reader Medal books have been announced:

Primary: I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll
“When Ethan checks under the bed for his monster, he finds a note saying that Gabe has gone fishing and will be back in a week. He tries out several substitute monsters, but finds that none are as perfect as Gabe”

Intermediate: Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning by Danette Haworth
“In 1970s Florida, eleven-year-old Violet’s world is upturned by the arrival of a girl from Detroit who seems bent on stealing Violet’s best friends”

Middle School: Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass
“Ally, Bree, and Jack meet at the one place the Great Eclipse can be seen in totality, each carrying the burden of different personal problems, which become dim when compared to the task they embark upon and the friendship they find”

Young Adult: Graceling by Kristin Cashore
“In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king”

Picture Book for Older Reader: Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
“A fictionalized account of how in 1849 a Virginia slave, Henry “Box” Brown, escapes to freedom by shipping himself in a wooden crate from Richmond to Philadelphia”



Early Literacy Skills by Tracy Dodge
Sunday, May 6, 2012, 5:44 pm
Filed under: books, children, Libraries

There are six early literacy skills your child needs to learn to become ready to read. Here I have selected five of my favorite storytime books to illustrate the six skills how and you can encourage each skill at home.

Letter KnowledgeMiss Spider’s ABC by David Kirk
This is a beautiful ABC book to help your child learn to recognize the letters and words that begin with those sounds. When reading this book, point out the words that all start with the same letter or see if your child can identify the letter based on the picture.

VocabularyMouse’s First Spring by Lauren Thompson
This is a great book for building vocabulary with your little ones. Share Mouse’s wonderment as he experiences everything in spring for the first time. When he asks, “What can it be?” let your child supply the answer. Mouse’s First Spring now also comes in a board book which is great for developing print awareness with your babies and toddlers; they can learn how to handle the book without destroying the pages.

Narrative SkillsIf You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
A young boy sets off a chain of events when he gives a mouse a cookie in this classic book. You can practice narrative skills with your children by having them anticipate what’s going to come next in the story.

Print MotivationPete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
Print motivation is the love of books we want to instill in children. The sing-songy Pete the Cat books are great for this. When I took Rocking In My School Shoes to a preschool, the kids enjoyed it so much they were making up their own words to the song. You can encourage a love of books with your children by reading their favorites over and over again.

Phonological Awareness 1, 2 Buckle My Shoe by Anna Grossnickle Hines
This isn’t just a book for counting to ten, it also makes your child aware of the sounds in the rhyming words at the end of each verse. You can encourage your child to come up with other words with similar sounds.



The Serpent’s Shadow by Tracy Dodge
Tuesday, May 1, 2012, 9:42 pm
Filed under: books, children, community

The Serpent’s Shadow is here! The final installment of the Kane Chronicles series came out today and Rick Riordan kicked off his book tour right here in the Bay Area!

The first event was this morning’s live webcast from the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, which “houses the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts on exhibit in western North America.” Rick Riordan gave a brief tour highlighting some of the artifacts related to the Kane Chronicles, including sarcophagi, shabti, and a mummified baboon. He read from Chapter 12, Bulls with Freaking Laser Beams, and answered fan questions. If you missed the webcast, you can sign up to receive an e-mail from School Library Journal when the archived version is available.

While the webcast left me kind of flat, Rick Riordan shone in his live presentation at Fox Theatre in Redwood City tonight. He kept the room full of kids and adults cracking up for an hour. He talked about his love of stories from a young age and how the first book he ever really got into was The Lord of the Rings with its connection to Norse mythology (you gotta love that 8th grade hairdo!). He took us through the chronology of how he became a writer, how his son inspired him to start writing the Percy Jackson series, his first books for children, and some of the issues of having your books translated into foreign languages (Mr. Riordan, what is a wedgie?).

Although celebrating the release of The Serpent’s Shadow, Riordan hinted at the meaning of The Mark of Athena, the third book in the Heroes of Olympus series, and gave an exclusive read of the first chapter!

I was bummed that there wasn’t a signing, but Kepler’s was selling pre-signed books, so I got my copy of The Serpent’s Shadow! What a great souvenir of this wonderful event!




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