Will You Be My Valentine?

Love comes in many forms. Love from friends, family, pets, and even toys! With Valentine’s Day approaching, these heartwarming stories are great for sharing and celebrating this season of love and friendship.


The Steadfast Tin Soldier by Hans Christian Anderson, retold by Cynthia Rylant
With her signature warmth and lyricism, Newbery winner Cynthia Rylant has crafted a new version of the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about a tin soldier who falls in love with a ballerina. As in the original story, the tin soldier’s love for the beautiful ballerina is thwarted by a goblin. The tin soldier is separated from the other toys and washed down a sewer, where he encounters a rat and gets swallowed by a fish, but somehow, against all odds, he manages to end up back home only to be cast into the nursery fire.  Rylant’s expert storytelling paired with Corace’s stunning illustrations create a beautiful, unforgettable tale of everlasting love.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Di Camillo
Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who adored him completely. And then, one day, he was lost. . .
Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. Along the way, we are shown a miracle — that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.  E. B. White’s Newbery Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come. It contains illustrations by Garth Williams, the acclaimed illustrator of E.B. White’s Stuart Little and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, among many other books.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Since it was first published fifty years ago, Shel Silverstein’s poignant picture book for readers of all ages has offered a touching interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.

Hold my Hand: Five Stories of Love and Family by Charlotte Zolotow
Charlotte Zolotow’s collection of five stories and poems focuses on the subjects young children care most about: love and family. Here are the quintessential experiences of childhood: a baby uttering his first words; a young girl taking a walk with her Dad on a summer night; a big brother with a tag-along little brother, and more. With tender and exuberant watercolors by Carol Thompson, this is a collection to be shared and treasured.

If you’re looking for a creative, active craft for kids to celebrate Valentine’s Day, here’s a fun one involving paint, but no mess!  Directions courtesy of Sunny Day Family.


Book Weekend – Black History Month Bios

SewingBook Weekend has two new charming picture book biographies to celebrate Black History Month.   These African-American artists are not familiar classic figures, but lesser known people whose talent still broke new ground.

Sewing Stories: Harriet Powers Journey from Slave to Artist.  As a young girl, Harriet learned the art of fabric, from dying to carding to sewing and quilting.  After the Civil War, she found time around her growing family to record stories of her people in special quilts.  But when hard times came, she was forced to sell these detailed heirlooms to feed her family.  Today two of her special story quilts hang in American museums for all to see.

poetPoet: the Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton.

George Moses Horton was born and lived his life in slavery.  Yet he taught himself to read and write, and later, to compose moving, powerful love poems that compelled audiences both black and white.  Eventually he moved near the University of North Carolina and was able to get his poetry published. While his life in slavery was not back-breaking, the injustice of his status will give pause to readers, both young and old.

Look your local libraries biography sections, under JB Horton, and JB Powers for these new picture books.

Meet Author Andrea Davis Pinkney

As part of its Black History Month celebration, the Library is pleased to present author Andrea Davis Pinkney as its Special Guest Speaker. She discusses her remarkable career at the Schlafly Branch on February 4 at 7 p.m.

Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of more than 30 books for children and adults has been named one of the “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal, and one of the “25 Most Influential People in Our Children’s Lives” by Children’s Health magazine.

Display, Demonstrate, and Do: Origami

Visit Schlafly during February to view The Wonder of Origami; origami designs courtesy of teenage patron, Alex G., will be shown in Schlafly’s display case.  On February 13th,  from 2-3 pm Alex will demonstrate some of his origami techniques at Schlafly. Children will make their own pieces to take home.  Alex teaches viewers how to make a paper crane and demonstrates one of his origami fireworks:

Alex shares how he became interested in origami and some tips for beginners in the following interview:

How did you get into origami?
I built paper airplanes and they were fun. I designed my own planes because they were fun. They flew about the same as the ones with instructions in the origami books.

What is your favorite piece of origami?
The dragon I can make out of a crane.

Tell me more about the origami fireworks.
You can flip it inside out and it looks like a fireworks display. The middle becomes the outside. It took about an hour to build. It took 12 sheets of double sided origami paper. It’s sort of fragile. If it got ruined, I’d make it again.

How should someone start doing origami?
Start with something easy and move to the hard ones.

What is the hardest thing that you have made?
The orange and black bear in the case [at Schlafly] is the hardest thing I’ve made.

Many thanks to Alex for sharing his skills and work with the St. Louis Public Library!

Lunar New Year

Happy New Year! 2016 is the Year of the Monkey, according to Chinese zodiac. The Year of the Monkey will start on Feb. 8, 2016 and end on Jan. 27, 2017. Lunar New Year is a time for families to be together. Wherever they are, people come home to celebrate the festival with their families. Streets, buildings, and houses are decorated with red. Red is the main color for the festival, as it is believed to be a lucky color. Red lanterns hang in streets; red couplets are pasted on doors; banks and official buildings are decorated with red New Year pictures depicting images of prosperity. As 2016 is the year of monkey, decorations related to monkeys will be commonly seen. There are red monkey dolls for children and New Year paintings with monkeys on.


The Star Maker by Laurence Yep
If only Artie had kept his mouth shut. But his mean cousin Petey was putting him down, so Artie started bragging. Now he has to come up with enough money to buy firecrackers for all his cousins by the Lunar New Year. Luckily, there’s one person he can count on . . . Uncle Chester! Newbery Honor Book author Laurence Yep celebrates family and Chinese New Year traditions in this story of a boy and his uncle who discover that age doesn’t matter when it comes to helping out a friend.

Paper Crafts for Chinese New Year by Randel McGee
Do you want to make your own dancing dragon puppet? Dragon dances are an important part of Chinese New Year celebrations. Follow storyteller Randel McGee as he explores Chinese New Year. Learn to make Lai See envelopes, shadow puppets, a Chinese lantern, and more!

The New Year Dragon Dilemma by Ron Roy
Fireworks and dragons and . . . a missing girl? Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are in San Francisco, home of the biggest Chinatown outside Asia. They plan to watch the famous Chinese New Year parade and see Miss Chinatown ride by in a giant float. But during the parade, Miss Chinatown disappears, and so does her crown! Can the kids crack the case?

The Dancing Dragon by Marcia K. Vaughan
The Chinese New Year is about to begin. There’s lots to do–tie strings of firecrackers outside, hang up red scrolls, bake special cakes, and sing New Year’s songs. And when family and friends are gathered together, it’s time for the parade to begin. This book folds out to reveal all the color and excitement of a traditional Chinese New Year celebration, complete with dancing dragon!

Enter the Dragon Mystery by Sarah Kinney
Pre-teen detective Nancy Drew and her best friends Bess and George have seen a lot while solving mysteries in River Heights. But none of them have ever met a dragon before! When the exotic pet mysteriously appears on their teacher’s desk, the Clue Crew have to discover where it came from, how to get it back home, and most importantly, how to take care of it in the meantime. Another sleuth-tastic adventure from the award-winning Nancy Drew comics’ team!

Celebrate Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto
For two joyous weeks red is all around. The color represents luck and happiness. Children receive money wrapped in red paper, and friends and loved ones exchange poems written on red paper. The Chinese New Year is also an opportunity to remember ancestors, and to wish peace and happiness to friends and family. The holiday ends with the Festival of Lanterns, as many large communities stage the famous Dragon Dance. Fireworks, parades, lanterns, presents, and feasts: these are some of the joys experienced by all who observe Chinese New Year.

To celebrate Lunar New Year with your family, create this paper-chain dragon. Thanks to Scholastic for this simple craft and easy-to-follow instructions. If you don’t have colored paper on hand, just have the kiddos color it.