Year of the Sheep

Earlier this month we heralded in the Year of the Sheep according to the Chinese Zodiac. Celebrate the New Year with some warm, woolly reads!

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Another Brother by Matthew Cordell
Davy the sheep wishes he had time alone with his parents, as he did before his twelve brothers came along and started imitating his every move, but when his wish comes true Davy misses playing with the youngsters.

Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
A story about many different sheep, and one that seems to be missing.

Can’t Sleep Without Sheep by Susanna Leonard Hill
When counting sheep doesn’t help Ava fall asleep and the sheep complain that they’re exhausted, they send in replacements, including cows, horses, penguins, and pigs, but none prove satisfactory.

Boo and Baa in a Party Mood by Olof and Lena Landstrom
Whenever Boo and Baa decide to do something, it usually gets all muddled. And they are always surprised. But in the end it all works out even though the two don’t really understand how.

Little Lamb, Have You Any Wool? by Isabel Minhós Martins
A boy asks his friend the lamb for wool so he can make himself warm clothing for winter, and the lamb is always willing to help.

Make your very own fluffy friend by following these instructions from I Heart Crafty Things!  (Substitute a colorful cupcake liner if you want to create the sheep from Mem Fox’s Where Is the Green Sheep?)

Cupcake Liner Sheep

A Parliament of Owls

Whooo can resist the allure of owls? These creatures are both beautiful and mysterious. Grow your child’s mind with these eye-opening books.

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Owly & Wormy, Friends All Aflutter! by Andy Runton
Owly & Wormy want butterflies! But when they come home from Mrs. Raccoon’s nursery with a milkweed plant that’s supposed to attract some fluttering friends, what they get instead are chubby, green bugs. Green bugs are NOT butterflies! Will butterflies ever come to the forest? Only time will tell…

Eva’s Treetop Festival by Rebecca Elliott
This adorable early chapter book series is perfect for young girls who love friendship stories starring animal characters! Eva Wingdale gets in over her head when she offers to organize a spring festival at school. Even with her best friend Lucy’s help, there is NO way she will get everything done in time. Will Eva have to ask Sue (a.k.a. Meanie McMeanerson) for help? Or will the festival have to be cancelled? This book is written as Eva’s diary — with Rebecca Elliott’s owl-dorable full-color illustrations throughout!

Owls by Gail Gibbons
Gail Gibbons explores the mysterious world and workings of owls in her latest nonfiction picture book. She depicts numerous species of owls and discusses their biological similarities as well as their differences. She portrays their ideal habitats, life styles, birth and development and environmental hazards that are threatening certain species. As usual, her comprehensive text is accompanied by clearly labeled illustrations and diagrams. Definitions are also included for additional clarity.

Owls by Melissa Gish
A look at owls, including their habitats, physical characteristics such as their large and observant eyes, behaviors, relationships with humans, and protected status in the world today.

A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na
When the sky grows dark and the moon glows bright, everyone goes to sleep . . . except for the watchful owl! With a spare, soothing text and beautifully rich and textured illustrations of a starry night, this is the perfect “book of sleep.” Join the owl on his moonlit journey as he watches all the other animals settle in for the night: some sleep standing up, while some sleep on the move! Some sleep peacefully alone, while others sleep all together, huddled close.

Fat Bat and Swoop by Leo Landry
Fat Bat and Swoop the owl love to make mischief. When they fly through a clothesline and come out looking like ghosts, they know it’s time for some fun. And Emily is the perfect target for their prank—she’s quite a nice cow, except that she moos too much. But when their plan backfires, Fat Bat and Swoop find out that even very different people can become good friends.

After you’ve hunted down these titles, try out this adorable Pine Cone Owl Craft. Directions can be found here.

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Will You Be My Valentine?

Love is in the air…and in the library! But perhaps you’re not into that mushy love stuff – that’s okay! Love comes in many shapes and forms. These titles are sure to bring the mystery, the fun, and they un-dead love to your Valentine’s Day.

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Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio
Mortimer is looking for love. And he’s looking everywhere! He’s worked out at the gym (if only his arm wouldn’t keep falling off). He’s tried ballroom dancing lessons (but the ladies found him to be a bit stiff). He’s even been on stalemate.com. How’s a guy supposed to find a ghoul? When it seems all hope has died, could the girl of Mortimer’s dreams be just one horrifying shriek away?

Cupid Doesn’t Flip Hamburgers by Debbie Dadey
There are some pretty weird grown-ups living in Bailey City. But could the new cook in the school cafeteria really be Cupid cooking up love potions for lunches? The third graders from Bailey School go wild with lovesickness shortly after a new cafeteria cook distributes a special batch of Valentine cookies, and Eddie vows to find out if she’s been secretly cooking up love potions for lunch. The Bailey School kids are going to find out!

Geronimo’s Valentine by Geronimo Stilton
Enter the world of Geronimo Stilton, where another funny adventure is always right around the corner. Each book is a fast-paced adventure with lively art and a unique format kids 7-10 will love. Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m a bit of a cheesy mouse from time to time. What can I say? I’m a romantic! That’s why Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. This year I had a date with a very special rodent– Petunia Pretty Paws! But then I got a call from my private investigator friend Hercule Poirat. He had a mystery to solve, and he desperately needed my help. The most beloved, romantic, and famous painting in New Mouse City had been stolen! Now I had to help Hercule AND impress Petunia at the same time. Holey swiss cheese, what was a gentlemouse to do?

Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane de Groat
When Gilbert writes two not-so-nice valentines to his classmates, his prank quickly turns into pandemonium. But there’s always time for a change of heart on Valentine’s Day.

Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentine by Barbara Park
Meet the World’s Funniest Kindergartner–Junie B. Jones! It’s a mushy gushy mystery! With over 50 million books in print, Barbara Park’s New York Times bestselling chapter book series, Junie B. Jones, is a classroom favorite and has been keeping kids laughing–and reading–for over 20 years! In the 14th Junie B. Jones book, February 14–Valentime’s Day, as June B. calls it–is just around the corner. Junie B. can’t wait to see all the valentimes she’ll get. But she never expected a big, mushy card from a secret admirer! Who is this secret mystery guy, anyway? Junie B. is determined to find out.

Instead of sharing a card, why not gift a Valentine Monster? These little critters are cute, fun, and easy to make. Directions for how to make these guys can be found here.

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Black History Month Special Guest Speaker: Kadir Nelson

Award-winning artist and author Kadir Nelson discusses and signs his book Nelson Mandela at the Schlafly Branch on February 11 at 7 p.m. Nelson’s appearance is part of the Library’s celebration of Black History Month 2015.

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Nelson is also an artist whose paintings are in the private and public permanent collections of the U.S. House of Representatives, the International Olympic Committee, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. He was the lead conceptual artist for Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated film, Amistad.

Recently, Kadir Nelson created artwork featuring Nelson Mandela for the cover of The New Yorker magazine. He also designed cover art for Michael Jackson’s posthumously released album, Michael, and recording artist Drake’s Nothing Was the Same.

Walking the Dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In January, children at Carpenter Library celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by creating signs to promote equality and marched silently through the library wearing their signs.  Youth Services staff shared stories about civil unrest and protests and had many great discussions with the kids while they designed their signs and compared and contrasted the Civil Rights Movement to recent events in the news.

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Check out one of these chapter books about civil rights and protests from your favorite library branch:

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Revolution by Deborah Wiles
Struggling to adapt within her newly blended family in 1964 Mississippi, young Sunny witnesses increasingly scary community agitation when activists from the North arrive in town to help register African Americans to vote.

Fire in the Streets by Kekla Magoon
In the aftermath of Dr. King’s assassination in 1968, Chicago fourteen-year-old Maxie longs to join the Black Panthers, whether or not her brother Raheem, ex-boyfriend Sam, or her friends like it, and is soon caught up in the violence of anti-war and civil rights demonstrations.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
In the summer of 1968, after travelling 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.

A Tugging String by David Greenberg
A fictionalized account of the author’s years growing up in Great Neck, New York, during the turbulent civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s, when African Americans were struggling to attain equality, with his father, who was a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Includes commentary from the author’s father, Jack Greenberg.

Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
In the summer of 1964 as she is about to turn twelve, Glory’s town of Hanging Moss, Mississippi, is beset by racial tension when town leaders close her beloved public pool rather than desegregating it.

Read and Celebrate Together!

February is Black History Month; help the library celebrate by participating in our African-American Read-In Chain! Read books by African-American authors and illustrators all month long at your favorite branch and at home.

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Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!, by Marsalis Wynton
The creators of Jazz ABZ are back for an encore! With infectious rhythm and rhyme, musical master Wynton Marsalis opens kids’ ears to the sounds around us. What’s that sound? The back door squeeeaks open, sounding like a noisy mouse nearby — eeek, eeeek, eeeek! Big trucks on the highway rrrrrrrumble, just as hunger makes a tummy grrrrumble. Ringing with exuberance and auditory delights, this second collaboration by world-renowned jazz musician and composer Wynton Marsalis and acclaimed illustrator Paul Rogers takes readers (and listeners) on a rollicking, clanging, clapping tour through the many sounds that fill a neighborhood.

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, by Kadir Nelson
What began as a spiritual has developed into one of America’s best-known songs, and now for the first time it appears as a picture book, masterfully created by award-winning artist Kadir Nelson. Through sublime landscapes and warm images of a boy and his family, Kadir has created a dazzling, intimate interpretation, one that rejoices in the connectedness of people and nature. Inspired by the song’s simple message, Kadir sought to capture the joy of living in and engaging with the world. Most importantly, he wished to portray the world as a child might see it–vast and beautiful.

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, by Barak Obama
In this tender, beautiful letter to his daughters, President Barack Obama has written a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O’Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America’s children.

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down, by Andrea Davis Pinkney
It was February 1, 1960. They didn’t need menus. Their order was simple. A doughnut and coffee, with cream on the side. This picture book is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the momentous Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in, when four college students staged a peaceful protest that became a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality and the growing civil rights movement. Andrea Davis Pinkney uses poetic, powerful prose to tell the story of these four young men, who followed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words of peaceful protest and dared to sit at the “whites only” Woolworth’s lunch counter. Brian Pinkney embraces a new artistic style, creating expressive paintings filled with emotion that mirror the hope, strength, and determination that fueled the dreams of not only these four young men, but also countless others.

Ellington Was Not a Street, by Ntozake Shange
In this reflective poetic tribute, the author remembers growing up when many of the great figures in African-American history gathered in her family home to talk and share ideas and even sing. These men of vision, brought to life in the majestic paintings of artist Kadir Nelson, lived at a time when the color of their skin dictated where they could live, what schools they could attend, and even where they could sit on a bus or in a movie theater. Their lives and their works inspire us to this day, and serve as a guide to how we approach the challenges of tomorrow.

Ready for an activity inspired by Wynton Marsalis’ Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!? Go on a sound hunt!  Click here for an easy-to-print Sound Hunt PDF.

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