Rachel Sharpe

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Join a curious little bug as he searches for his special talent in this debut picture book app from Jackie Littman ($2.99 iTunes). As the little bug explores the garden, he meets other bugs who show off their special talents. The ants show him how they tunnel underground, the bees fill honeycomb with honey, and snails can climb upside down. In the end, it's the spider who shows the little bug how to spin thread. Using his new talent, the little bug spins a cocoon and emerges as a beautiful butterfly.

There's a lot to love in this app, which has quickly become one of my favorites.

  1. The app is truly a work of art. Each page is highly interactive, with every element on the page responding to a tap with movement and sound. Created as a master thesis as part of a MFA program, everything in this app--illustrations, fonts, music--was made specifically for this app. Older children interested in designing apps or picture books might be interested in the blog the developer kept during the process.
  2. The Little Bug is suitable for a wide range of ages, and it has so much replay value. Young children will enjoy listening to the story, learning about bugs, or finding the hidden ladybug on each page. As your children grow so do opportunities to talk about each bug's special talent and the life cycle of a butterfly.
  3. Learning continues when the iPad is turned off. Because so many of these bugs can be seen in the summer, The Little Bug is the perfect book to read before heading outside to play or to go on a nature walk. Why not read the book app and then go for a walk to see how many bugs you can find? Then head to the library to learn more about the bugs you saw on your walk. Additionally, the developer has created free activity sheets to accompany the app. These sheets can be downloaded near the bottom of the developer's website.
  4. Kids really do like this app. I had the chance to use this app in a family storytime recently. The kids loved telling me when they found the hidden ladybug (and, believe me, they told me as loudly as they could.) The katydid surprised many of them, too, as most of the kids had never seen or heard of one previously. And it wasn't just the kids who enjoyed the app at that storytime. A number of parents wanted to know where they could download the app. 

If I have one quibble with the app, it's that the app doesn't highlight words as they're being read. However, with the entertaining yet educational storyline and gorgeous and interactive illustrations, the app is definitely one to add to your collection. 

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Love to make things? Love to use your tablet or smartphone? Check out some of these apps for all ages that encourage you to use your imagination!

                                   

Toca Builders - Create a whole new world by using six builders. If you can imagine it, you can build it. $.99-2.99. Available for Apple and Android devices.

Tap a Tune-Kids Music Maker - Write your own songs. As you play, the app records your voice, so feel free to sing along! Free. Available for Apple devices.

Our Book by Us - Every family has a story. Listen as SugarLoaf tells her story and then tell your own through drawings and text. Available for Apple and Android devices. Also available in Spanish as Nuestro Libro.

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Think of a book trailer as a commercial for a book. Publishers will often create trailers for soon-to-be-released books and then share those trailers on YouTube and other social media pages. Some trailers feature the author; some feature the book's artwork or a theatrical voice over. No matter what kind of trailer the publisher makes, book trailers are always fun to watch.

Here are four book trailers for recently released or soon-to-be-published books you can find at your Henrico County Public Library.

Picture Books:

A little frog would rather be anything than a slimy, wet frog. Place a hold here.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_017.JPGWant to watch 19 filmmakers debut their first stop-animation movies? Keep reading to find out how!

These filmmakers participated in Tuckahoe Library's Make a Lego Movie program last Saturday. They worked together to write the script, build their sets, and film and edit their stop animation Lego movies. 

They certainly brought their imagination to the program, with videos featuring a shark attack, a surprise birthday party, epic battles, and even a daring rescue from a burning building.

Click here to watch their movies.

 

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It's our fourth Fact or Fiction video! How much do you know about Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell?

After you test your knowledge, click here to put a hold on the newest book, coming out on June 2. We can't wait! In the meantime, check out the other books in the series here. And don't forget, if you need help finding a book on the shelf, just ask a librarian. We'll be happy to help!

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Used with permission from [kajsa]Singing is an important pre-reading skill for kids to master, especially because of all the education benefits it provides. Singing slows down language so children can hear individual sounds and their differences. You're sounding out words with music!

Songs are also rich with new vocabulary, so children are constantly learning new words. Take traditional children's songs such as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" or "The Itsy Bitsy Spider". How often do we use the words "twinkle" or "waterspout" in conversation? When you come across a new word, take the time to explain it and then keep on singing!

This month, make an effort to sing to your child everywhere--in the car, in the bathroom, at the park. Don't know how to start? Try at least one activity listed below:

  • Check out an audio CD at your local library! If you want some recommendations, check out some of our favorites here.
  • Sing the ABCs to a different tune. By singing the alphabet to the tune of "Mary had a Little Lamb", you actually break up the LMNOP sounds that usually get squished together. This way, kids can hear each distinct sound of the alphabet. Listen below. 
  • Attend storytime at your local library. Our storytimes are filled with stories and songs, and we'd love to teach you a new song. Check out our storytime offerings here.
  • Make a musical instrument! Plastic eggs can be filled with rice or beans and then securely closed to make shakers. An empty tissue box and some rubber bands can become a guitar. Two paper plates and some beans can transform into a tambourine. You're well on your way to making a family band.
  • Create your own silly songs! Pick a favorite tune and rewrite the words or just create your own tune. Everyone will be laughing as you play with language. Smiles all around, plus you'll have fond memories of your time spent singing.

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How much do you know about Diary of a Wimpy Kid?

Find out now in our third episode of Fact or Fiction!

 

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Disco Fingers - With the tap of your finger, pick a sound and pitch to create original songs. The app does include in-app purchases but is still a lot of fun without any. Free. Available for Apple devices.

Fish Chase, a Reading and Playing Story - Oh no! A goldfish has escaped! Read the book to follow the goldfish's adventure and retrace his steps. Free. Available for Apple devices.

Hat Monkey - Created by Chris Haughton, Hat Monkey needs help performing everyday tasks, like turning pages or opening doors. Kids will also have a chance to talk with Hat Monkey. $2.99. Available for Apple devices.

Dino-Store - What would happen if you went to the grocery store to buy eggs and came home with baby dinosaurs instead? (Warning: Laughs abound in this app!) Free. Available for Apple devices.

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It's time for our second episode of Fact or Fiction. How much do you know about the Magic Tree House?

 

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At the American Library Association's midwinter conference today, the 2015 Youth Media Award winners were announced. Here are some of the results.

To see all the winners, click here.

            

Caldecott:

Winner: Dan Santat for The Adventures of Beekle: the Unimaginary Friend
Honor: Lauren Castillo for Nana in the City 
Honor: Mary GrandPre for The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock
Honor: Jon Klassen for Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett
Honor: Yuyi Morales for Viva Frida
Honor: Melissa Sweet for The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus by Jennifer Bryant
Honor: Jillian Tamaki for This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

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How much do you know about Percy Jackson? Find out in our new video series: Fact or Fiction!

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A new year means new resolutions.

Most of the time, these resolutions focus on eating healthier, exercising more, or saving money. This year, why not focus make a literary resolution?

Studies have shown that reading expands your vocabulary, improves your memory, strengthens your focus and concentration, and so much more. Children, especially, benefit from reading, whether on their own or with their family. A recent Australian study showed that young children who are read to daily are a year ahead of their peers in terms of reading skills.

With that in mind, why not make one of these resolutions?

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Reading with your children is one of the best activities you can do together, especially as the weather turns colder. Sometimes, however, your voice might just need a break from reading their favorite tales over and over and over again.

That's where Narrated eBooks might help.

If you own a tablet or smartphone, you're probably familiar with our eBook services through OverDrive. (If you're not, talk to any librarian the next time you visit. We'd love to show you how it works!)

Until now, you've had to choose between downloading a print or audio copy of the book. Recently, OverDrive has started offering narrated eBooks available for download. These books include narration and even, sometimes, an embedded soundtrack to enhance the book, giving your voice a much needed rest.

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Children love to use their imagination to create made-up worlds and tell stories about that world. Whether they're saving the city from an evil villain or picking out a new pet puppy, children are actually developing a key early literacy skill while telling these stories. Toys or apps that encourage open-ended play and storytelling are a great way to develop these narrative skills. 

App developers such as Sago Sago and Toca Boca have earned accolades by developing their free-play apps, but with the release of Hoopa City, TribePlay seeks to join their ranks, especially since the app is available at iTunes ($2.99), Google Play (free with IAP), and Amazon ($2.99).

To start, you'll complete a brief, wordless tutorial, showing you how to build your city with just a few taps. After that, it's up to you. Build a sprawling city, beach resort, suburban neighborhood, or don't plan at all!

To build something, you'll choose one of seven elements and then tap a square. Elements can be combined to create more than 50 objects for your city. One of the best parts about the app is that it doesn't tell you which elements to combine. You'll have to use trial and error to see what you can build. (Don't worry, though. If you forget how to build something, the app provides a cheat sheet, but not until after you've discovered it on your own.)

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Want to take storytime home with you? Look no further than a Read-to-me Kit!

Each kit comes in a mesh backpack and is filled with themed activities. For example, you might find a book or two, puzzle, DVD, or game in your kit. Every kit also includes a parent tip sheet, filled with suggestions on how to incorporate early literacy skills into everyday interactions.

Have a fan of trucks? Check out the Trucks, Trucks, Trucks or Construction kits! Is your little one always on the go? Check out the Jump for Joy or On the Move kits!

Feel free to browse the kits at the Fairfield, Gayton, Tuckahoe, and Twin Hickory Libraries. You can also put the kits on hold, just like a book, to be picked up at the library of your choice. A maximum of two kits can be checked out for a two week period with no renewal.

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This month, we'll show you how to create a song cube you can use at home or during circle time.

For detailed instructions, check out printable instructions here.

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What is STEAM? It is a term that refers to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. The books below are great way to introduce art to both young and older readers.

                  

For Younger Readers

Art & Max by David Wiesner. Max wants to be an artist like Arthur, but his first attempt at using a paintbrush sends the two friends on a whirlwind trip through various media with unexpected consequences.

Dog Loves Drawing by Louise Yates. Dog loves drawing so much that he draws his very own adventure.

Look! Look! Look! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. Three mice "borrow" a postcard which is a reproduction of a painting, and from it they learn about color, pattern, line, and shape.

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Look for this logo to reach the reading room!

Check out the new OverDrive for Kids eReading Room!

If you're in the mood for a spooky or fall read, we've got you covered with our "Boo! Eek! Autumn Treats" collection. We've also created collections that highlight popular series, new additions, Diary of a Wimpy Kid readalikes, and more! Check back often to see what new collections we're showcasing!

Another great feature of the Kids eReading Room is the ability to search by subject. Want to read a graphic novel or some folklore? Just click on the drop down menu to sort through the collections.

Finally, the eReading Room allows you to sort by different reading levels, which makes it much easier to find a book for your children. If you have a third grader, you could search just for books on a third grade reading level. If your child reads at a Lexile measure of 400L-600L, you'll have a much easier time finding a book within that range in the eReading Room.

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Looking for a place to read books online with your children? Check out www.uniteforliteracy.com!

Books are available on a number of topics, from counting to food to friendship. Best of all, the books are narrated in 24 different languages. Listen to books in Arabic or Hindi or even Tagalog!

If you do check out the site, make sure you read some of Violet's books. She's a staff favorite!

 

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Are you looking for fun ways to spice up circle time? Maybe you want some ideas about how to bring storytime home.

You're in luck.

Every second Monday of the month, we'll post a short video with a prop you can make at home. We'll provide the ideas and instructions. You provide the materials and elbow grease. Together, we'll make reading fun for you and your children.

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Check out some of the authors our librarians saw at the National Book Festival this weekend.

Who do you recognize?

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Chase away the back-to-school blues with some of these new books!

 

                      

 

Dinosaur vs. School by Bob Shea - Follow along as Dinosaur goes to preschool for the very first time. Watch him make new friends, play dress-up, and eat snacks. But uh-oh! It's clean-up time. Who will win? 

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Do you know an elephant in need of some toothpaste? 

Find out how you can help in our last episode of Science Shorts!

 

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That's right! There's more! Here's our last batch of awesome science apps for this summer.

Ages 2-5:

      

Lipa Frog Help the frog find his lost crown by catching the correct number of bugs. Free. Available for Apple and Android devices.

Patterns by EdNinja - Can you predict which object comes next? As children progress through the app, the difficulty of the questions will change too, so there will always be something new to play. $.99. Available for Apple devices.

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Do you have what it takes to smash a straw all the way through a potato?

 

You'll need your muscles for this episode of Science Shorts!

 

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Watch Miss Rachel make a tinsel orb levitate in this episode of Science Shorts.

Is it magic or science?

 

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There are so many good science apps that we just had to share some more with you! 

 

Ages 2-5:

      

I Love Mountains - Do you know where the tallest mountain on Earth is located? How about the tallest mountain in the galaxy? Discover these and other amazing facts about mountains in this simple yet factual book app. Free. Available for Apple devices.

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It's time for our second episode of Science Shorts, our biweekly summer video series.

This week, we'll show you how to make a tornado in your kitchen. (Just remember to clean up when you're done!) 

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Reading about science isn't always that exciting.

Watching science?

Much more fun.

With that in mind, we've created a five-part video series called "Science Shorts." Every other Wednesday throughout the summer, we'll post a short science video, demonstrating different science concepts and showing you how to recreate these demonstrations at home.

Enjoy!

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Start your summer off with a bang! The following apps are great ways to explore the surrounding world and to continue building science knowledge throughout the summer. Work together as a family or individually for some great science fun.

Ages 2-5:

    

Lipa KnightA scary ogre has kidnapped the princess! Use your prediction skills to help the knight build bridges in order to reach the princess. Free. Available for Apple devices.

Piiig LabsComplete 10 interactive science experiments in a mess-free environment. Make a radio or exploding volcano and then learn about the science behind each activity. $2.99. Available for Apple devices.

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Take a walk in any of Henrico County's local parks and you might find (or hear) some frogs hanging out near the water. What better way to celebrate the transition between spring and summer than hopping into your local library to check out some of these great books and activities.

  

Picture Books:

Jump! by Scott M. Fischer - In addition to the rhyming text, Jump! is perfect for antsy toddlers and preschoolers who love to jump. Rather than have children sit for the story, encourage them to act out the plot. They'll jump a lot and have a lot of fun in the process!

Ribbit! by Rodrigo Folguiera - A family of frogs discovers an unexpected visitor one morning when they find a pig in their pond. Lots of animals are introduced as the frogs try to decide what to do with this little pink pig, making this book a wonderful way to practice animal sounds with younger children and talk about friendship with older ones. And, of course, everyone can have fun saying "ribbit!"

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Using paper towel tubes, scotch tape, and paper plates, children built their own marble roller coasters at Tuckahoe's recent Rockin' Roller Coasters program on May 12. Kids designed creations with twists and turns, funnels, and tunnels, and some of which are displayed above. They factored in gravity and speed in order to create exciting yet safe roller coasters.

In addition to designing a coaster, kids had the chance to race marbles, use the library's iPads, and play with two paper roller coasters. Take a look!

 

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All around the world, museums celebrate International Museum Day on May 18.

While no museums are celebrating locally, check out some of the museums nearby you can explore with your young children.

Children's Museum of Richmond - With three locations, CMOR is open daily from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., with the central location extending their hours after Memorial Day. Create a craft and play with the interactive exhibits. Admission is $8 a person.

Science Museum of Virginia - Located near CMOR, the Science Museum of Virginia has several permanent exhibits about space, the human body, and animals. Open every day except Monday, the museum also features live science demonstrations. Admission is $10 for ages 4 to 12, and $11 for ages 13 and up.

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Check out these books for some spring-inspired reads.

     

 

Preschool:

Plant a Little Seed by Bonnie Christensen - Two friends plant seeds in their community garden, then water, weed, wait, and dream as the plants grow until they can be harvested. Includes facts about gardening and harvest festivals.

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Spring has just begun, which means summer and the deadlines for summer camp registration are quickly approaching.

Henrico County will again be offering free Summer Blast and Teen Scene camps for Henrico County residents who have completed grades K-4 or 5-8 last school year. Camps run Monday-Thursday, June 23-August 12 from 8:30am-2:30pm. 

Registration begins at 8am on April 12, either online or in-person at Belmont, Deep Run, or Eastern Henrico Recreation Center.

For more information, visit the Summer Blast and Teen Scene website.

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