We have a ton of different materials for our littlest customers, including our expanding Early Learning Backpack collection. We have several new Early Learning Backpacks. 

Active Play  

The active play kits feature books, balancing stones, or another interactive toy that promotes active and pretend play. Playing is an important component of early literacy development. 

Balance Stepping Stones  

Let your little one get active with some stepping stones. The kit features 4 stepping stones that help promote gross motor movement. They also help your little one with balancing and coordination. Get creative and allow some imaginative play with the stepping stones as well. 

 


Melissa & Doug Pizza Party Play Set 

Have your child explore imaginative play and have some fun with a pizza party. Create and design your favorite pizza creations. With 63 pieces, your little one can play pretend, which will help with developing their abstract thinking skills. 


Books

Learn different ways to share while playing, as you cuddle up to read some books. 

Blocks by Irene Dickson 

Can I Play Too? by Samantha Cotterill

 

Active play will help keep your child engaged and learning. Check out all of Early Learning Kits available at the library. 

 


  Youth Services Assistant Librarian MaryJo Nitz

 

Looking for a video game similar to Animal Crossing? Check out the video games below!

 

Stardew Valley

Available for checkout on the PS4 and Xbox One. The Nintendo Switch version can be found on the Nintendo eShop.

You've inherited your grandfather's farm, and it is up to you to create the farm of your dreams.As you cultivate your land, you'll meet other townsfolk and help them with their requests, start a family, raise animals, and explore mysterious caves full of monsters and treasure.

 

Little Dragons Cafe

Available on the Nintendo Switch and PS4.

This game is a mix of Overcooked and Animal Crossing. When your mom suddenly falls ill, it's up to you and your sibling to keep the family cafe open. A mysterious wizard informs you that in order for your mom to get better, you must raise a pet dragon. Together, with your dragon, you gather ingredients in the wild, cook delicious dishes, and manage the many demands of the cafe's customers.

 

 Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

Available on the Nintendo Switch. 

You've been shipwrecked on the mysterious island Gemea. The island is afflicted with an evil murk that blights the island. Together, with magical Sprites, you must try to restore the land and help the townspeople with their gathering, building, and crafting. This open world game, focuses on exploration, gathering, and running errands, and has no combat.

My Time In Portia

Available on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PS4.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, you have inherited your father's run down workshop. It is up to you, to improve the workshop, and help out the villagers while you craft items, mine resources, and explore ruins.

Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town.

Available on the Nintendo Switch.

Like other games on this list, you have inherited your grandfather's farm. While growing your crops and raising livestock, you'll make relationships with the people of Mineral Town, fish, and enjoy special seasonal events.

 

 Looking for more recommendations? Fill out this form, or contact us through email, chat, or text.

 


    Youth Services Librarian Ann McWilliams-Piraino

Bring home a fun new project! Sign up from our Library Calendar and pick up a kit through our Parking Lot Pickup service between January 11-22.

 

Toddler & PreK: DIY Activity Dice 

Color and create your own movement dice game, then have fun rolling it again and again! Register for the January Toddler & PreK Take-and-Make Kit here.

Your kit contains:

  • 1 cube-shaped box
  • Velcro dots in two envelopes - keep them separated!
  • Labels for the dice
  • Con-Tact film
  • Crayons
Icons used on dice labels made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com

 

Instructions:

1. Assemble the cube box as your dice. 

2. Have your child color the 6 Animal Action labels, 6 Song labels, and 6 blank labels. Decide together what the blank set will be. It could be types of dances, colors to seek and find, sounds to make - it's up to you! 

3. Peel the backing off the Con-Tact film, then cover the front of the decorated labels to laminate them.

4. Place the 72 Velcro dots on the four corners of the back of each label. Place them as close to the corners as you can to ensure that the labels will line up. Take care to use only the Velcro from the envelope marked for the labels. The colored sticker on the envelope does not matter.

5. Place the 24 Velcro dots for the dice on the four corners of each side. Take care to use only the Velcro from the envelope marked for the dice. The colored sticker on the envelope does not matter. Some of the box's sides will be a little longer than the square labels, so it's okay if the Velcro are not precisely lined up with the corners. 

6. Stick one set of labels to all sides of the dice, roll, play, switch, and repeat!

Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org

 

Grades K-2: Design a Calendar

Personalize and decorate a calendar you can use the whole year. Register for the January Grades K-2 Take-and-Make Kit here.

Your kit contains:

  • 9 colored pencils
  • 1 sheet of stickers
  • 1 blank calendar
  • list of holiday dates

It might seems a little obvious, but the first piece to teaching kids about the calendar is to make sure they understand what a calendar is. A calendar is a series of pages that shows the days, weeks, and months of a particular year. It is a tool we use to help us keep track of the days, and it allows us to see when different events will happen. 

1. Flip open the calendar, in the long rectangle on the top of each calendar page, have your child label the months.

2. Have your child number the days of the month in the corresponding boxes.

3. The holiday stickers correspond with the dates on the provided half sheet. Help your child locate the dates and add the correct sticker.

4. Allow your child to add dates that important to you and your family: birthdays, play dates, lessons, beginning of a new season, appointments, special plans, etc…

5. Use the provided colored pencils and have your child decorate the calendar however they choose. Feel free to use any material you have at home to add to the calendar design. Consider having your child cutting out images in unused magazines and make a collage. 

More ideas to consider:

Research and discuss holidays that you do not celebrate.

Talk about how:

  • Each square represents one day, 
  • A group of 7 days in a row is called a week,
  • One week is equal to 7 days, and 
  • Each day of the week has a name. 
  • Show where the names of the days of the week are shown on a calendar.
  • “If we are this day” (point to a square), “1 week later would be...” (point to square underneath).
  • Ask them which square would be 2 weeks later, or 3 weeks later.
  • Explain that a square above shows 1 week ago (in the past).
  • Ask them which square would be 2 weeks ago or another number of weeks ago.

Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org

 

Grades 3-8: Quirky Winter Terrarium

 Create your own tiny winter scene, complete with snow and a miniature dinosaur! Register for the January Grades 3-8 Take-and-Make Kit here.

 Your kit contains:

  •  Glass jar or cookie jar
  • Container with instant snow
  • 4 wooden blocks
  • Glue dots
  • Tacky glue
  • 2 animal figurines
  • 1 piece of greenery

1. Remove all of the items from the glass jar or cookie jar. Your kit will contain either a small glass jar with a gold lid or a cookie jar with a silver lid.

 

2. Attach your animal figurines to the wooden blocks with a glue dot. 1 or 2 glue dots should be enough to attach your dinosaur.

 

3. Attach your piece of greenery to one of the wooden blocks with a glue dot. You may need to secure the greenery to one of the sides of the block, instead of the top.

 

4. Have an adult cut the tip off the tacky glue bottle.

5. Using the tacky glue, glue your wooden blocks with the figurines and greenery to the bottom of the jar. If you have any remaining glue dots, you can also secure the blocks to the jar with a glue dot.

6. Let the glue dry completely.

Once you are done creating your scene, and the glue has dried completely, it is time to add your snow! Pay close attention to what type of jar you have. Depending on which jar you have, that will determine how much water you add to the instant snow.

7. Pour the instant snow into your jar.

8. If you have a cookie jar with a silver lid, add 1/3 cup of water to the jar.

If you have a glass jar with a gold lid, add 6 teaspoons of water to the jar.

Your snow will expand, and you will have finished your quirky terrarium! The instant snow will last about 2 weeks, after which it will start to shrink and gather moisture.

 

Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org.


  Youth Services Assistant Librarian Alyssa Wees

 

Did you know that the Barrington Area Library has databases which can help with elearning and homework? Before going straight to Google or Wikipedia, try these databases first. To access the databases from home, you will need a Barrington Area Library card. 

 

 

Britannica Library - A great place to start your research. Britannica Library has articles on a wide variety of topics including history, science, geography, and biographies. For kids in grades K-5 try Britannica Library Children. Kids in middle school, or those looking for more complex articles try Britannica Young Adult. Both versions allow you to favorite, email, cite, and send articles to Google Drive.   

 

HelpNow - Looking for help on your homework? Try HelpNow by Brainfuse. HelpNow lets you connect to a live tutor every day from 2:00 PM-11:00PM. This database also has practice tests and lessons on reading, writing, math, social studies, and science for kids in grades 3-12. To access the lessons and tests, click on the SkillSurfer section. Make sure to create your own account, which will allow you to save your progress on tests and access past sessions with tutors.

 

Mango Languages - Mango Languages is great for kids studying a foreign language or for those who would like to start learning a new language. With over 50 languages, including Pirate, this database will help you with vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar.

 

Looking for more resources to help with eLearning? Contact the Youth Services department to receive additional help.

 

  Youth Services Librarian Ann McWilliams-Piraino
 

 

 

While 2020 brought our world many challenges, it also brought us some really stellar books for children. Here are a few favorites from this year. Make sure to check out our full list of best books as well!

Chris recommends...

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender

 

Alyssa recommends...

The Forest of Stars by Heather Kassner

 

Ann recommends...

Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian by Tim Probert

 

Stefanie recommends...

Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar

Betita’s life is turned upside down when her Papi isn’t there to pick her up from school. She later learns that there has been an ICE raid, and that her father was deported to Mexico, separated from her and her pregnant mother. When Betita and her mother try to visit him at the border, they end up getting detained and sent to a family detention center outside of Los Angeles, California. During this horrifically trying time for her and her family, Betita turns toward her love of poetry (and the book is fittingly written in verse), and the knowledge that her Papi has told her over and over since she was a young child--that she is a crane, descended from the Aztecs of Aztlan, and the land that they inhabit in the Southwestern United States is in fact, their promised land. A heart-wrenching but necessary read.

Allison recommends...

There Must Be More Than That! by Shinsuke Yoshitake

 

MaryJo recommends...

Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, illustrated by Luisa Uribe

 

Mitch recommends...

Little Bird by Cynthia Voigt, illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins

Little Bird is a crow, the smallest in her flock. After an attack on her roost’s oak tree, she decides that she can recover her kin’s “luck,” a necklace that had been woven into the nest. So off she goes, and as with any quest, there are many dangers, adventures, and strange encounters, from sassy blue jays to peanut butter to a wise and witty goat. She returns home a kinder and wiser crow, ready for new adventures. Characters featured in Voigt’s earlier Davis Farm books—Angus and Sadie, Young Fredle, and Toaff’s Way—also make brief appearances, but you don’t need to have read the earlier books to enjoy this one. A fine for choice for solo readers, or as a family read-along.

 See even more of our 2020 favorites!

 

Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletters to see the newest and best books for kids. 

We have many different types of materials for our littlest customers, including our Early Learning Backpack collection. We have several new Early Learning Backpacks available for checkout. Two of our newest Early Learning Kits, available to check out today, are the World Traveler and Families kits. 

 

World Traveler 

Start learning about cultures around the world with books, activities, and puzzles in this kit. Recommended for ages 3+. World Traveler kit will provide you with the tools to help your child begin to learn about the world around them. 

Puzzle 

Children of the World puzzle is a great tool to help start the discussion of children around the world. The puzzle includes 18 children from 18 different countries. Building the puzzle will also improve your child's hand-eye coordination, strengthen their fine motor skills, and allow them to practice critical thinking and problem-solving skills. 

 

A Puzzle Globe

Puzzle Globe from Learning Resources. The puzzle globe will allow your little one to build their fine motor skills and start to practice spatial awareness. The puzzle globe is an accurate globe of the world, and will allow your child to start to learn about other continents, oceans, and things that could be seen in each continent.  

 

Learn how to say "hello" in other languages

Hello From Around the World cards from Lakeshore Learning. Learn how to say "Hello" 25 different ways. Each card includes how to pronounce how to say hello in each language. These cards are a great way for children to begin to understand other languages and cultures from around the world. 

 

Books and a movie 

Cuddle up with this book and movie, and learn about how different kids from around the world live their lives. This will help expand your child's world.

This Is How We Do It: One day in the lives of seven kids from around the world by Matt Lamothe. 

DVD Let's Go Luna! Friendship around the world

 


 

Families

Families come in many different shapes and sizes. Learn about families with books and activities. Recommended ages 3+. The Families kit will help begin the conversation about many different types of families there are in the world, and what those families might be. 

Mix and Match families 

 

Mix and Match Magnetic Families from Lakeshore Learning. Through the Mix and Match Families set, a child can begin to explore unique and different types of families. The magnetic pieces will also help build stronger hand and eye coordination. 

 

Books and a movie about different kinds of families 

Cuddle up with these books and learn about all the different types of families in the world today. Learn about the importance of family, and the love of a family. These titles are a great way to begin to discuss with your child your family and other types of families they may know. 

Families Around the World by Margriet Ruurs, illustrated by Jessica Rae Gordon 

Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer

Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne Lang & Max Lang. 

DVD: Highlights: Family Fun!

 

Both the World Traveler and Families kits will help keep your child engaged and learning about different cultures, places, and people from all around the world. 

 

Check out all of the different Early Learning Kits available at the library. 

 


  Youth Services Assistant Librarian MaryJo Nitz

 

Bring home a fun new project! Sign up from our Library Calendar and pick up a kit through our Parking Lot Pickup service between December 7-18.

 

Toddlers and Preschoolers: Mail A Hug

Brighten someone’s day by mailing them a hug. Register for the Toddler/Preschooler Take & Make Kit here.

Instructions for Mailing a Hug:

1. Unfold the sheet of butcher paper.

2. Trace child’s head, arms and torso on paper.

3. Allow your child to fill in and decorate their silhouette.

Ideas to consider: Talk to your child about different body parts and different colors.

Use the multicultural crayons to help your child determine the color of their skin and expand on the various skin tones we all have.

4. Cut around your child’s silhouette. If appropriate, allow your child to cut it themselves.

5. Fill in the provided letter (if desired).

See Venessa's original blog post that the inspired the Take & Make Kit!  

Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org

 

Grades K-2: Make Your Own Playdough

Make your own dough, then customize it with colors, scents, and textures. Register for the Grades K-2 Take & Make Kit here.

The kit has enough supplies to make two batches of playdough. Things you will need in addition to the items in the kit:

  • 1 cup measuring cup
  • 1/2 cup measuring cup
  • 1/4 cup measuring cup
  • 1 tablespoon measuring spoon
  • warm water
  • large bowl & mixing spoon

Instructions for 1 batch of playdough:

1. Measure 1 cup of the flour and pour into a large bowl.

2. Measure 1/4 cup of the salt and add to bowl.

3. Measure 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar and add to bowl.

4. Mix dry ingredients.

5. Measure and add 1 tablespoon of oil.

6. Measure and pour 1/2 cup of warm water into bowl. 

7. Stir until the mixture combines and thickens. Switch to your hands to continue kneading to make a smooth dough. 

8. Optionally, add several drops of food coloring, at least 15 drops to get a vivid color. Knead well with hands until no streaks remain.

9. Optionally, add some of the provided glitter.

10. Optionally, add some of the provided colored rice, tinsel, or anything else that might provide a unique sensory experience.

11. Optionally, add a drop of vanilla extract or essential oils for another sensory experience.

Watch the how-to video here:

Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org

 

Grades 3-8: Pendulum Art 

Make a one-of-a-kind painting when gravity and art combine in this STEM based experiment. Please note, this project can get messy! Register for the Grades 3-8 Take & Make Kit here.

Things you will need in addition to the items in the kit:

  • Tape
  • Ruler

Instructions for Pendulum Art:

1. Take the items out of the box.

2. Using the pencil, poke a hole in the bottom of one of the Styrofoam cups.

3. Poke 2 holes in the top of the cup directly across from each other.

4. Poke another 2 holes at the top of the cup directly across from each other.

5. Fold 2 paperclips into a W shape.

 

6. Tie one of the pieces of string to a washer.

7. Slide the washer and string through one of the bent paper clips so that it is hanging in the middle of the W.

8. Insert the paper clip and washer with string into two of the holes at the top of the cup.

9. Insert the 2nd paper clip into the remaining two holes. You may need to bend the ends of the paper clip a little to secure it around the cup. You have now made your pendulum!

10. Spread the newspaper on the floor. Get approval from an adult about where you can make your painting. It will be messy!

11. Tie the pendulum to the wooden dowel

12. Tape the wooden dowel between 2 chairs or 2 tables

13. Place a sheet of cardstock below your pendulum and on top of the newspaper.

14. Start out by having the cup about 6 inches from the ground. You can adjust the height later.

15. Measure a 2 to 1 ratio of paint to water into one of the Styrofoam cups. You can start with 10 ml water and 20 ml paint.

16. Mix paint and water together. The paint should be fairly runny.

17. Cover the hole in the bottom of your pendulum with your finger and pour the paint into the cup.

18. Swing back the cup and let your pendulum fly! Paint should start to drip out of the cup.

19. Try swinging the pendulum in a circular motion.

*If your paint is not coming out of the cup, try adjusting the paint and water ratio. We started with a 2 to 1 ratio.  Try adding a little more water to the mixture slowly and then a little more paint if needed.

As you make your pendulum paintings, experiment! What happens if….

  • You adjust the paint and water ratio?
  • Poke another hole in the bottom of the cup?
  • Adjust the height of the pendulum?
  • Add more washers to the pendulum?
  • Add another color to your painting?

Watch the how-to video here:

Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org.

 

Family: Pom-Pom Party

For December only, enjoy a special box with an activity for everyone. Transform yarn into colorful pom poms for decorating gifts, trees, mantels, or yourself! Register for the Family Take & Make Kit here. 

In addition to the Take & Make Box, you will need one sharp pair of scissors.

Directions to make a pom-pom: 

1. Select a yarn color (or two, or three!) and a pom-pom maker. (There are four different sizes.)

2. Pull one half of the pom-pom maker away from the white circle. You should see a crescent shape now, pointing away from the main pom-pom maker.

3. Wrap yarn around the crescent, many times. The more yarn you use, the thicker and fluffier the pom-pom will be.

4. Once it's pretty thick, cut the end of the yarn. Don't stress about the end of the yarn - you can trim it later if needed.

5. Push the crescent, now wrapped up in yarn, back into the center of the pom-pom maker.

6. Pull the other half away from the center, and wrap this crescent in yarn. Try to do about the same amount of yarn, but don't worry about making it perfectly even.

7. Once both sides look about the same thickness, cut the yarn again, and fold up the crescents towards the middle. It should now look like a disc with fuzzy sides.

8. Find the seam running under the yarn strands. Wiggle your scissors into that little gap, and cut the yarn wraps across. The yarn should start fluffing out, but it shouldn't fall out of the pom-pom maker. Repeat on the other half.

9. Set aside the pom-pom maker, now bursting with yarn strands. Grab the extra yarn (or string you might have) and cut a short length, 6-8 inches or so. 

10. Pull the thread through the pom-pom maker gap that you just cut along. Pull tightly and tie on the other side. Double or triple knot to keep it secure.

11. Pull the crescents away from the pom-pom. 

12. Pull the two circles apart, so now your pom-pom is free.

13. Trim any long strands if you'd like to make the pom-pom as round as possible.

Watch the video to see how it's done:

 

 

Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org


  Youth Services Assistant Librarian Alyssa Wees

 

This is the perfect holiday season to consider giving the children in your life a book or two. There’s no better break from school screen-time (as well as from the troubles of real life) than losing yourself in a good story. The following books published in 2020 are particularly great options to give to young people.

 

For the mini mathematician: 

 

 

Circle! Sphere! 

The Last Marshmallow 

Up To My Knees

What Will Fit? all by Grace Lin 

Babies and toddlers don’t need advanced calculus to be mathematically-minded. They need simple yet charming stories that gently examine ideas like size, shape, and number, which is exactly what the Story Telling Math board books provide!

   

For the preschool puppy pal: 

 

Paolo, Emperor of Rome by Mac Barnett

An old-fashioned story book about a little daring dog who seeks out adventure through the streets and sites of Rome. Give a young child the gift of travel through books, while most international vacations are still off the table.

   

For a little language learner:

 

Literally: Amazing Words and Where They Come From by Patrick Skipworth, illustrated by Nicholas Stevenson

Discover the meaning and rich global history of twelve fascinating and fun-to-say words, including ukulele, zero, karaoke, and jaguar. Dynamic, two-page artworks accompany each short entry. A beautiful and engaging introduction to etymology. 

   

For a young romantic:

 

Eight Princesses and a Magic Mirror by Natasha Farrant

An enchantress agrees to help bring up her brand-new goddaughter to be an "excellent princess," but she realizes she’s not sure what that means! So she sends her Magic Mirror across the world to learn about 8 different princesses and what makes them extraordinary. A gorgeous, full-color book, great for ages 8-11, sure to be a keepsake turned to again and again.

   

For the curious-about-anything-but-books child:

 

What Breathes Through Its Butt? Mind-Blowing Science Questions Answered by Emily Grossman, illustrated by Alice Bowsher 

Over 200 pages of mind-blowing answers to all kinds of questions kids might wonder themselves. Color art, photography, speech bubbles, and a dynamic layout may get your reluctant reader turning pages way past bedtime.

   
For the socially-conscious teen: 
 

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

This adaptation of Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped From the Beginning is a mega-bestseller, and for good reason - it’s a powerful, inspiring read for young activists.

   
For the Harry Potter superfan: 

Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow (plus Books 1-2) by Jessica Townsend

For middle-grade fantasy fanatics, this fun series may be a good choice, since it’s flown a bit under the radar. Give your reader all three books (so far - 9 are planned) for a Morrigan Marathon! 

   

    

Sign up for our new e-newsletters to discover the latest and greatest books for kids, delivered straight to your inbox every month!


Youth Services Librarian Allison Parker

 

We absolutely love to hear how families share reading. It’s such a fantastic bonding experience, not to mention modeling the importance of reading to children. But finding books that work for chapter-a-night read-alouds can be tricky. If the book’s too long, kids lose interest. Too mature, and the 4-year-old won’t “get it.” Too babyish, and the 8-year-old will roll his eyes. (Maybe the grown-up will, too!)  

Here’s a roundup of newer, fantastic read-aloud options, especially for families with different ages of children. These books all have short chapters, occasional illustrations, and gentle stories and themes that can be enjoyed by young children, older children, and perhaps even the adults reading aloud!

 

 

The Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-el

Meet Duane the polar bear, who discovers many potential friendships in other arctic creatures up in the Very, Very Far North. These gentle stories may remind you of Winnie the Pooh. Perfect for reading aloud!

   

 

Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott 

When Jaxon is sent to spend the day with a mean old lady his mother calls Ma, he finds out she's not his grandmother--but she is a witch! She needs his help delivering baby dragons to a magical world where they'll be safe. A perfect fantasy adventure for young readers.

   
 

Megabat by Anna Humphrey 

A boy adjusting to his new house bonds with a cute little fruit bat (accidentally shipped from the Borneo rainforest) who talks and has a love of all things sweet. A very funny animal story, with a sequel!

   
 

The Littlest Voyageur by Margi Preus

A little red squirrel watches men rowing canoes, off to an unknown adventure, and longs to join them in their quest. Stowing away in the canoe, the squirrel finds his true identity - Jean Pierre Petit Le Rouge - and calling as a voyageur. A charming historical fiction novel for young readers and families.

   
 

Good Dog, McTavish by Meg Rosoff

When Ma Peachey declares a strike, the rest of the family finds themselves abandoned to chaos: no one cooks dinner, no one picks up the dirty laundry, the children are always late for school, and there is a good deal of squabbling and squalor. Enter McTavish, a rescue dog who, true to his mission, is ready to teach this family some new tricks. A witty tale for family sharing.

   


Sign up for our new e-newsletters to discover the latest and greatest books for kids, delivered straight to your inbox every month!


Youth Services Librarian Allison Parker

 

During Native American Heritage Month, and all year long, one of my top priorities is to ensure that the depictions of Indigenous and Native people in the books I read and promote are authentic and accurate. Many traditional Thanksgiving-themed books contain harmful portrayals and stereotypes of Indigenous and Native communities, but these contemporary #OwnVoices selections are written and/or illustrated, and celebrated by the communities they represent. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how to interrogate children’s books that depict Indigenous and Native communities, I highly recommend American Indians in Children’s Literature, a blog run by Debbie Reese (Nambé Pueblo) and Jean Mendoza. Reese and Mendoza also adapted a book for adults by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz for a middle grade and young adult audience, called An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People, which chronicles the settlement of the “new world” from the perspective of Indigenous people, and highlights their resistance and resilience.

For more book recommendations, check out this book list from the American Indian Library Association, and the past and current winners of the American Indian Youth Literature Award.

 

 

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, Frane Lessac, Hardcover |  Barnes & Noble®

We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frane Lessac

Learn about a year in the life of contemporary Cherokee family, and the ways in which they express gratitude throughout each season.

   
We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, Michaela Goade, Hardcover |  Barnes & Noble®

We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade

A powerful and poignant look at the Indigenous fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the interconnectedness of all inhabitants of Mother Earth.

   
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, Juana  Martinez-Neal, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Fry bread might seem simple on the surface, but its history is not. Dive into this almost 150-year long tradition and its importance to Native American families of many different nations (Did you know there are about 573 federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States currently?). The author even includes his own recipe, so you can try it yourself!

   
A Day With Yayah by Nicola I. Campbell, Julie Flett, Hardcover | Barnes &  Noble®

A Day with Yayah by Nicola I. Campbell, illustrated by Julie Flett

Set in the Nicola Valley of British Columbia, Yayah takes her grandchildren on an adventure in nature, teaching them to forage plants and mushrooms, and sharing her vast knowledge of the natural world.

   

Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu

Jenna daydreams about jingle dancing, a tradition that is shared by the women in her family, and can’t wait until she can dance at the next powwow. The only problem is, Jenna doesn’t have enough jingles for her dress. Join Jenna as she collects all the jingles she needs on her journey to her first official jingle dance. A beautifully illustrated and heartwarming tale of tradition and family, with an author’s note about the origin and varying practices of jingle dancing at the end.

   
Bowwow Powwow by Brenda J. Child, Jonathan Thunder, Hardcover | Barnes &  Noble®

Bowwow Powwow by Brenda J. Child, translate by Gordon Jourdain, illustrated by Jonathan Thunder

Windy Girl loves to hear Uncle’s many vibrant stories while riding to the powwow with her dog Itchy Boy. One night after taking in all that the powwow has to offer, Windy falls asleep to the steady drumbeat, snuggled up with Itchy Boy, and dreams of jingle dancers, traditional dancers, a visiting drum group, and so much more--all of them with paws and tails, just like Itchy Boy! This is a joyful tale in celebration of the magic of the powwow.

 

   
At the Mountain's Base by Traci Sorell, Weshoyot Alvitre, Hardcover | Barnes  & Noble®

At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre

At the mountain’s base, there is a Cherokee family living  in a cabin, patiently weaving, singing, cooking, worrying, and waiting for the safe return of a relative serving as a pilot in the United States Armed Forces. This book pays tribute to Native women such as Ola Mildred “Millie” Rexroat, who have served, and continue to serve their country by going to war.

   
 Powwow: A Celebration through Song and Dance by Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane,  Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

Powwow: A Celebration through Song and Dance by Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane

A comprehensive history of the Indigenous tradition of the powwow, from its origins, to a breakdown of powwow culture, to an explanation of various songs and dances, and a look at powwows as they occur in modern days throughout the United States and Canada. With the author’s family background and photos interspersed, this is a powerful and thorough tribute to the powwow.

   
 What the Eagle Sees: Indigenous Stories of Rebellion and Renewal by Eldon  Yellowhorn, Kathy Lowinger, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

What the Eagle Sees: Indigenous Stories of Rebellion and Renewal by Eldon Yellowhorn and Kathy Lowinger

This is a nonfiction book that chronicles the many invasions that Indigenous people have faced throughout history, and how they defended themselves, fought back, and sustained their livelihood. From the Vikings to Christopher Columbus, just to name a few, these stories are all told from an Indigenous perspective, one that we don’t often see in many of our history books.

   
I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day

For most of her life, Edie has always known that her mom was adopted, and that Edie has Native American heritage, but that is pretty much the extent of her knowledge. Join Edie as she discovers a mysterious box in her attic, which contains a photo of a woman who looks just like her, and begins a journey to uncover her family’s history, no matter how difficult it may be.

   
Indian No More — Traci Sorell

Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell

A heartbreaking but necessary read, set in 1957, this book tells the story of Regina and her family, who are Umpqua and have always lived on the Grand Ronde reservation. Their world is turned upside down when a bill that is signed into law mandates that Regina’s tribe no longer exists, and they are displaced, having to move from Oregon to Los Angeles to find work. For the first time in her life, Regina has had to grapple with racism that is directed toward her, and the kids in her neighborhood, and must try to keep her Native identity alive in a completely unfamiliar and unwelcoming environment.

 

 


    Youth Services Assistant Librarian Stefanie Molinaro

 


Librarians Ann and Demitra can't get enough of virtual escape rooms. So we created another one for kids, friends, and family to enjoy, just in time for Thanksgiving! Work together to figure out clues, solve puzzles, and decode the cyphers to escape your Great Aunt Gertrude's house before Thanksgiving dinner.

This escape room is designed for grades 3-8, but kids and adults of all ages can enjoy it. This is a great group activity to do over Zoom with friends and family. Solve the escape room as a group, by having the host of the Zoom meeting share their screen for everyone to see.

Ready to start? Click here to access the escape room.

 

Looking for more fun activities? See a list of the library's upcoming events for kids.


  Youth Services Librarian Ann McWilliams-Piraino

 

Bring home a fun new project! You can now register to pick up a Take-and-Make Kit from the Youth Services desk. Here are the instructions for each kit:

 

Toddlers and Preschoolers: Paint with Pom Poms

 

 

Pompoms are great for fine motor play. Before beginning the painting activity, you may consider taking an opportunity to allow your child to explore the texture of the pompoms. Additional activities to consider when allowing your child to manipulate the pompoms; providing spoons, tweezer and/or the provided clothes pins to allow for an unstructured play activity. If you wanted to add an additional educational activity you can add cotton balls and help your child create a pattern or use the pompoms to teach counting or one-to-one correspondence.

 

Let’s get started!

 

Unroll the rolled paper and place it on a flat surface.

 

Pinch one clothes pin, to each pompom. This is a great fine motor activity for your child to try.

 

 

Have your child match the color of the pompom to the color of the paint. This is a wonderful opportunity to work on color recognition. (It will also help remind your child which pompom goes with which paint).

Now that you and your child have created pompom paint brushes, let your child explore making dots and creating their master piece!

 

 Register for a Toddler/PreK Kit here

 

 

Grades K-2: Paper Lanterns

 

 

Things you will need in addition to what is included in the kit:

  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

 

Instructions:

1.      Take Items out of the box.

2.      Gather extra supplies – scissors, ruler, and pencil.

3.      Uncap the glue and snip the top of the applicator. Ask an adult to help!

4.      Remove the rubber band from the craft sticks.

5.      Create a square using 4 of the craft sticks.

6.      Place a dot of glue on each of the four corners of your square in between the craft sticks.

7.      Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have 5 squares.

8.      Carefully set all but one square aside to dry.

9.      Use your ruler to measure the side of the square.

10.  Now, using your ruler, measure out 5 squares on your tracing paper. If you cut your tracing papers in half first it will help you make sure you have enough paper to cut all of your squares.

11.  Use your scissors to cut out all 5 squares.

12.  Now it is time to decorate! You can decorate all 4 sides, just one or any number in between.

13.  You can use your mandala stencil and markers, or you can use your markers to make any design you want! Remember one of the squares goes on the bottom, so you don’t need to decorate that one.

14.  Glue each of the paper squares to the craft stick squares. You don’t need much glue, just a dot on each corner of the craft stick square.

15.  Let all the glue dry before moving on to the next step.

16.  Use your washi tape to add some flair to the sides of the lantern.

17.  Assemble the lantern by gluing the squares together to create a cube with an open top. You may need an adult to help with holding the pieces in place as the glue sets.

18.  Wait for project to completely dry.

19.  Turn on the LED tealight and place in the lantern.

20.  Enjoy the glow!

 

Register for a Grades K-2 Kit here.

 

 

Grades 3-8: Washi Tape Bookmarks

  1. Cut strips of washi tape.
  2. Decorate a bookmark with the strips of washi tape however you like.
  3. Loop a tassel through the bookmark's hole. 

 

Register for a Grades 3-8 Kit here.

 


  Youth Services Assistant Librarian Alyssa Wees