Monday, September 29, 2008

Local Author Rita M. Bergstein

We're so proud of our local authors!

Local author Rita M. Bergstein has a new book out.

Your Own Big Bed shows how a little boy grows from a tiny baby into a big kid--big enough for his own big bed.

Bergstein's gentle, encouraging words compare the growing boy to other growing babies in the natural world. Onomatopoetic words make this book a joy to read aloud, and the exquisite illustrations by Susan Kathleen Hartung invite us to pour over the pictures again and again. This is a perfect sleeptime book for little ones in the crib, in the bed, or making the transition in between.

Click here to request a copy of Your Own Big Bed.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Time for some Terrific Tales!

Whoo hoo! T4 is back!

Besides telling Terrific Tales to our Twos and Threes, we like to slide in some early literacy skills. So we like to have name tags for the kids that we keep at the library and that the children find before every storytime.

Which brings me to one more thing that they didn't cover in library school: What exactly makes a great toddler name tag? And let me tell you, I totally sweated this one. I could not find any ideas, not even one! Come on now, Internet! Isn't this what you are for? Anyway, we came up with an idea which I present to you, our dear reader.

Step 1) With one 8.5x11 piece of lightweight cardstock, fold lengthwise.

Step 2) Cut this sheet horizontally into 4 equal pieces (see photo below).

Step 3) Let the toddlers use the glue stick to glue the folded paper together. They can look at the texture. They can feel that it is sticky. They can experience how a glue stick works and use their fine motor skills.

Step 4) Let the toddlers decorate the glued-together piece of cardstock with stickers and markers. We happened to get a big donation of color coding dots from someone's office cleanout. They are great! We also use tons of those fun foam alphabet stickers (thank you, Inventor of Fun Foam, whoever you may be!) and I admit to pulling out the inside cutaway pieces and putting them in the sticker tray.

Here's another tip: We put the art materials in desk trays that we bought from the office store. All the bits and bobs fit so nicely in the compartments!

Step 5) After the toddlers have decorated the glued-together cardstock as they wish, it's time for their name. Adults, now you write their name on a sticker label. Talk to them as you are writing about how their name is spelled. Write the letters. Say the name of the letters. When you're done, give them the sticker to place on the name tag.

Step 6) Use your hole punch to make a wide enough opening to fit the clip. We bought these clips at the office supply store and they are not expensive. You don't have to worry about having something around the children's necks.

Before each storytime, we clip the name tags to our easel (which we've equipped with our pretend clothesline) and the children go and find their name tags. Below is one of our friends making her name tag :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Local Author and Illustrator Carol Baicker-McKee

We're so proud of our local authors!

Pittsburgher Carol Baicker-McKee has a new book out.

Mimi is an exhuberant little-girl-piggy with a curly pink tail, a tiaria, and a pet roly-poly bug named Frank. Every morning, Mimi gives Frank his breakfast--a smige of banana. But one morning, Frank isn't there. Mimi nevertheless carries on. She even visits the library!

It's not just Mimi's personality that makes this piggy pop off the page. Carol Baker-McKee's 3-D illustrations make Mimi (and everything around her) bright and playful and irresistable. Carol explains here how she created Mimi.

Click here to request your copy of Mimi.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pittsburgh Kids: Children’s Historical Fiction Set in Southwestern PA
Celebrate Pittsburgh’s 250th year by reading about what it would be like to have live here long ago. Here are a few children’s historical fiction titles to get you started:

Ayres, Katherine. Macaroni Boy. Dell Yearling, 2003. Sixth-grader Mike Costa (nick-named Macaroni Boy by a neighborhood bully) lives and works in Pittsburgh’s Strip District during the Great Depression. (ages 10 and up)

Cogancherry, Helen. The Floating House. MacMillan, 1995. Jonathan and Mary had never set foot outside of Pennsylvania. Now, in the spring of 1815, they’re on a flatboat in Pittsburgh, headed off down the Ohio to a new home in Indiana. (ages 5 to 10)

Fenton, Edward. Duffy’s Rocks. University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999. Timothy Brennan’s relatives refuse to speak about his long absent father, but Timothy is determined to find him. The story is set mostly in 1934 McKees Rocks with excursions to other neighborhoods. (ages 9 to 12).

Finlayson, Ann. Greenhorn on the Frontier. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000. In the 1700s Harry and Sukey come to the frontier town of Pittsburgh to settle on their own plot of land. Can two former city dwellers stand up to rugged frontiersmen and hostile Indians? (ages 9 to 12)

Fritz, Jean. The Cabin Faced West. Puffin Books, 1991. Ten year old Ann yearns to leave the wilderness of western Pennsylvania and return to Gettysburg. A distinguished stranger convinces her to take another look at Hamilton Hill and consider her role in the making of the Western Country. (ages 6 to 12)

Price, Olive. Three Golden Rivers. University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999. In 1850 the four orphaned Bayard children set out for Pittsburgh, in hopes that the two older children can find work and support them all. There’s a brief appearance by a young Scots messenger boy. Guess who! Hint: he made a fortune and built libraries. (ages 9 to 12)

What are your favorite children’s books with a Pittsburgh connection? Historical fiction, nonfiction, biographies of Pittsburghers....