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While instructing your children on phone etiquette, be sure to include these upbeat Telephone Titles:


Picture Books

Telephone by Mac Barnett - When it's time to come home for dinner, a mother bird passes the message down a line of birds perched on a telephone wire.

Oink-a-Doodle-Moo by Jef Czekaj - A barnyard game of "telephone" goes wild in this jolly read aloud.


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See Trains in the Wild!!

Building vocabularies and growing curious kiddos is as easy as talking with them about the things you see around you every day!

Our children’s librarians just learned about a very cool, vocabulary-building opportunity happening this weekend in Richmond:

100th Anniversary of the Old Hull Street Railroad Station
Presented by the Old Dominion Chapter of the National Railway Society
102 Hull Street, Richmond, VA
Saturday, July 18
th from 11 am – 5 pm (festivities begin at 1 pm)
For more information, visit:

There are sure to be tons of train-related things for kids to check out, including an entire room filled with an HO-gauge model-railroad layout! This is going to be an awesome opportunity for little train-crazy kids to see the real trains that inspired the stories about Thomas and his friends.

There are dozens of fantastic train books for kids at your Henrico County Public Library. Here are just a few of our favorites:


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We have a variety of family resources for every sort of child and each unique family.  We can all benefit from professional guidance - parenting is complex and always changing. Take a peek at these:
The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (and Their Parents) (Verdick, Elizabeth)

The Behavior Survival Guide For Kids with Behavior Challenges: How To Make Good Choices and Stay Out of Trouble (McIntyre, Tom)

The Survival Guide for Kids with LD (Learning Differences) (Fisher, Gary)

The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide (Galbraith, Judy)

The Survival Guide for Making and Being Friends (Crist, James) 


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It's time for an Elementary School Trophy Challenge update! How is your school doing?b2ap3_thumbnail_src-trophy.png


  1. Mehfoud
  2. Montrose
  3. Seven Pines


  1. Colonial Trail
  2. Twin Hickory
  3. Kaechele

Near West

  1. Trevvett
  2. Holladay
  3. Johnson

Far West 

  1. Gayton
  2. Three Chopt
  3. Maybeury

The complete standings can be seen here.

There is still lots of time left in the challenge so be sure to log the books you read and the programs you attend. We will post the next update in a few weeks!

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Online Workshops for Child Care Providers from VDSS

The Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Development at the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) provides a wide selection of online courses for child care providers looking to earn some Continuing Education credits. These classes are available all year long through the Community College Workforce Alliance.

You can find more information about these Online Courses here:

If you would like more information about how the Henrico County Public Library can help your child care program, feel free to contact Rick Samuelson, our Youth Services Coordinator, at:

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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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It's time for an Elementary School Trophy Challenge update! How is your school doing?b2ap3_thumbnail_src-trophy.png


  1. Mehfoud
  2. Montrose
  3. Adams


  1. Colonial Trail
  2. Twin Hickory
  3. Rivers Edge

Near West

  1. Trevvett
  2. Johnson
  3. Holladay

Far West Area

  1. Three Chopt
  2. Davis
  3. Tuckahoe

The complete standings can be seen here.

There is still lots of time left in the challenge so be sure to log the books you read and the programs you attend. We will post the next update in a few weeks!

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Super Heroes for All Ages

Shazam! Check out these all powerful books awaiting your whole family!

Adults who are kids at heart:
Marvel Encyclopedia (741.5973 Marvel)

Older kiddos:
Meet the Marvel Super Heroes (J 741.5973 Wyatt)
Meet the Marvel Super Heroes (J 741.5973 Peterson)
Avengers Storybook Collection (Juv Fic, Avenger)
Super Heroes Storybook Collection (Juv Fic, Super) 


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Child Care Provider Trainings

Workshops for child care providers are offered monthly at various library locations, from September to May during weekday evenings. Participants earn 1.5 continuing education credit hours per workshop. Registration is free and must be done online with a Henrico County Library card. Please note that each provider must register with their own library card. If you do not have a Henrico County Public Library card, please apply with your photo ID at one of our branches.

A Place of Our Own” video workshops will be offered over the course of two weekends in November, 2015. Participants may earn 3 CE credit hours for each workshop attended.  There is a $5 fee for each video workshop.

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Stop by your library today to check out these titles for soothing and fun music the whole family can enjoy.


You Are My Little Bird or Sunny Day by Elizabeth Mitchell - These CDs are terrific for quiet time, road trips or tough mornings. Mitchell's renditions of beloved children's songs and covers of folk classics by Woody Guthrie or Bob Marley are sweet and comforting, never grating.

I'm Me by Charlie Hope - Clear vocals and catchy rhythms make Charlie Hope's CD a winner. She sings several original songs that are fresh and lots of fun, as well as terrific versions of time-tested favorites. 

Family Time by Ziggy Marley - A fun, upbeat CD full of original songs and featuring lots of guests like Paul Simon, Jack Johnson and Willie Nelson! This CD also includes two stories narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis.


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Eat your fruit and veggies and read about them too! Here is a list of some great books to check out from your library.


Go, Go, Grapes! : A Fruit Chant by April Pulley Sayre
Rhyming text and colorful illustrations describe the tastes, scents, and appearance of different fruits.

In the Garden: Who's Been Here? by Lindsay Barrett George
As Jeremy and Christina pick vegetables for their mother, they see evidence of animals and insects that have been in the garden before them.

Plants Feed Me by Lizzy Rockwell
A young boy explains the different plants and parts of plants that people commonly eat, from roots and tubers to fruits and vegetables.

Read-A-Book: A Distance Learning Program for Child Care Providers


Child care providers who are looking to earn some credit hours from the comfort of their own home, take notice!


Read-A-Book is a distance learning self-study program developed by the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Development at the Virginia Department of Social Services.



Middle-schooler Chris loves basketball. He’s perfected the art of being the strong, silent type, and even his parents don’t know how much he loves English and how he harbors a secret desire to be a master thief and comic book artist. He’s used to always being the second best behind his straight-A, sports star, Mr. Popularity, big brother Jax.

Then, Jax comes home from college. He’s dropped out of Stanford and seems to be in a downward spiral, drinking and gambling. Chris wants to help his brother, but he’s uncomfortable with the secrets and lies. A canny strategist, Chris quickly becomes a first rate detective as he tries to figure out what’s going on with his brother, not to mention the rash of local burglaries. Now, if he could only figure out Brooke—the girl he really likes in school!

While there is basketball throughout the book, it is by no means the central theme. Chris is complicated and believable. There are interesting side issues, like designer babies (Chris was born to save his brother’s life), shoplifting, and gambling. A surprise twist at the end may catch you off guard, and there are a few laugh-out-loud moments. Obviously, put Stealing the Game in the hands of any kid who liked sports, but it would also appeal to quiet kids, kids who are struggling with their identity, or kids who like mysteries.

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The Virginia State Reading Association sponsors an annual contest for students to read 10 listed books, then vote at their schools for one favorite. Each April the winning titles are announced for primary, elementary and middle school readers.  Check out the lists for the 2015-2016 school year, or peek at past populars.

Find some today at your library!

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The fourth annual Elementary School Trophy Challenge is back!

What is the Trophy Challenge?


It is a contest between all Henrico County's Elementary schools. The schools with the highest percentage of students who meet the Summer Reading Club's reading goal get a big shiny trophy with a brass plate engraved with their school's name to display during the school year.

How does it work?

  1. Henrico County Public School elementary students sign up for the Summer Reading Club.
  2. They log the books/hours they read throughout the summer.
  3. The school with the highest percentage of finishers (having read at least 10 books, or for 10 hours) will receive a trophy to keep on display for one year. 

We will track progress during the summer and share this with the club participants through email and other methods.  We hope that with this added incentive, we can encourage even more students to participate and finish the summer reading club, and experience the joy of reading as a lifelong pursuit. 

Schools By Region

We've added another region to the challenge this year. Schools are now grouped into four regions — East, NorthNear West and Far West — and four trophies will be awarded.  In addition to the trophies, each winning school will receive a Barnes & Noble gift card valued at $50 for the school library.



Near West

Far West

Adams Colonial Trail Chamberlayne Carver
Arthur Ashe Echo Lake Dumbarton Crestview
Baker Glen Allen Holladay Davis
Donohoe Greenwood Johnson Gayton
Fair Oaks Kaechele Laburnum Maybeury
Glen Lea Longan Lakeside Nuckols Farm
Harvie Rivers Edge Longdale Pemberton
Highland Springs Shady Grove Trevvett Pinchbeck
Mehfoud Short Pump   Ridge
Montrose Springfield Park   Skipwith
Ratcliffe Twin Hickory   Three Chopt
Sandston     Tuckahoe
Seven Pines      

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June 1-6, 2015

There is always something fun happening at your library. Here are just a few events taking place this week:

Wednesday June 3rd

Busy Hands Crafts @ Dumbarton Library
10:30 am
Ahoy Mateys! Stick around after 10 am storytime and make a box to store all your treasure in.
Audience: 3-5 year-olds

Wednesday June 3rd

Busy Hands Crafts @ Sandston Library
11:00 am
Stick around after 10:30 am storytime and join us as we create a ladybug!
Audience: 24 months-5 year-olds

Saturday June 6th

Celebrate Varina! at Dorey Park
4:00 pm
Stop by and say "Hi!" to our Mobile Library Services and Varina Library staff during Celebrate Varina!
Audience: Families

And don't forget to check out our online calendar ( for storytime listings and even more fun happenings at the library!


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Music is a great way to break up a long day, encourage conversation or movement, or soothe tired nerves. A great way to add variety to the music you and your child share is to try out some of the world music titles available at your library. Putumayo curates children's CDs with music and moods from around the world. They combine new and fresh arrangements of favorite childhood songs with nursery rhymes and kids songs from lots of other cultures. Try out some of these fun compilations for your next playdate or road trip:

World Sing-Along - Check out this album for singable kids songs from around the world, some familiar and some fresh and new. This upbeat CD features songs in lots of different genre and languages. Listen for "Waltzing Matilda" by Fiddlers Green Bush Band and "Jamaican Farewell" by Dan Zanes featuring Angelique Kidjo. For more in the Sing-Along series try Sing-Along with Putumayo.

Hawaiian Playground - Fun and fast-paced tunes to take playtime to the islands. Check out "Po La'ila'i" by Paiatea! For more in the Playground series try American Playground, European Playground, Caribbean Playground and more!

New Orleans Playground - Fun, upbeat and exciting jazz standards and hits from the Big Easy, this CD is terrific for rainy days and those moments when you just need to dance. Check out "I Like it Like That" by Chris Kenner and "When The Saints Go Marchin' In" by Hack Bartholomew. For more American music genres check out Cowboy Playground and Rock & Roll Playground.


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Let the Summer Reading Fun Begin!  

We're celebrating super heroes, animal heroes and local heroes at your libraries this summer. The reading programs range from preschoolers through adults. Sign up online with your library card  June 1st to August 31st.  Keep track of the books you read (or have read to you) during that period to earn prizes.  Visit your libraries for fun programs like Bill Wellington, and visits by Henrico County firefighter and police heroes.  

There will be raffles at summer's end for those who finish the program and each branch will host a "Cool Treat" finale.

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With research options available for a wide range of ages, World Book Online is a great resource for that research project that's due tomorrow, but you haven't started yet. (Don't worry, we won't judge)

Taking full advantage of tablet technology, World Book Online also works on your tablet, meaning you can put the finishing touches to your project in the car on your way to school. Here's how to get there: 

From Henrico County Public Library's Internet Homepage, click on Kids>Kids Space, then Research a Topic in the middle of the page. From the list of databases, click on World Book and enter your library card number (if you are at home).

Once you enter World Book Online, you will see all of the products available to you:

  • Kids! - The newest section of World Book Online uses image-driven navigation to engage young learners. There are interactive videos, games, as well as informative articles. Interactive features include the World of Animals, Explorable Maps, Important People, and Science Projects.
  • Early World of Learning - Developed by early childhood educators for children ages preschool through grade 2, this resource provides educational games, a story corner, coloring pages, and short video clips.
  • World Book Discover - Designed for middle school students and older, this database contains thousands of easy-to-read articles and a wealth of multimedia resources.
  • InfoFinder - This database is useful for elementary and middle school age students looking for easy-to-read explanations of various topics.  
  • Timelines - Users can explore important moments in sports, world history, science & technology, and more.
  • Enciclopedia Estudiantil Hallazgos - A Spanish language reference site for children ages kindergarten through 4th grades, or adults learning the Spanish language. It contains engaging content, rich media, and interactive learning tools - all in Spanish.

With World Book Online your research project will be a success! You may enjoy using it so much, that you will start your research project earlier next time. (Don't worry, we know that's too good to be true. And besides, who are we to judge? This blog post was written the day before it was due!)

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b2ap3_thumbnail_20150519-BusyParents-blog200.jpgWould you like to bring your child to our storytimes but can't attend the normal morning sessions? We've got options for you! Some of our libraries offer evening and Saturday storytimes and programs.

These storytimes are convenient for parents and caregivers who are busy during weekdays and for families who want extra storytimes.

Give these storytimes a try!

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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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Grandma Loves Bugs by Fairlady Media (iPad/iPhone $2.99) is a fun educational app that centers on bugs. Does your grandma run screaming from the spider in the tub? Not this grandma! She uses bugs in ten mini games to teach children about letters, counting, and about bugs themselves. Sometimes she gets so excited by your success that she does a little dance! Not all children are going to feel friendly towards creepy-crawlies, but this app is a safe, low-anxiety way of making a child feel comfortable with insects.

While most of the games are rather pedestrian (like matching the letters on the flowers to the letters the bugs are carrying) there are some nice surprises as well. One of the activities is using a magnifying glass to examine the picture of a bug. Children can maneuver the magnifying glass over different parts of the bug while Grandma explains what part they’re looking at. In the sequence of games are surprise videos of real bugs that Grandma teaches you about.

There is a lot of variety in the games, and ten games repeated with different variations begins to feel like a whole lot of different games. These games can be customized for the child’s level. Any of the games can be taken away at an adult’s discretion if a child becomes frustrated, or if it’s too easy. You can also chose to turn the music off--always an appreciated option.

And if this app fires a new appreciation for bugs in your little one, remember that the library has a whole lot of books to support their enthusiasm!

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Here are some great books to share with children this month:


Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie Lo
A Chinese American girl's Auntie Yang discovers soybeans - a favorite Chinese food - growing in Illinois, leading her family to a soybean picnic tradition that grows into an annual community event.

Brush of the Gods by Lenore Look
During the Tang dynasty, master painter Wu Daozi creates an extraordinary mural for the emperor.

Fly Free! by Roseanne Thong
When Mai feeds the caged birds at a Buddhist temple in Vietnam, her simple act of kindness starts a chain of thoughtful acts that ultimately comes back to her.


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If you want those kids to spoil you - let's make certain that they themselves are not too spoiled.

Take a peek at The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money (Lieber). "We parents are in the adult-making business after all," so take in practical suggestions about developing children who can balance themselves between "restraint" and "materialism." Learn strategies about offering allowance, cultivating a work ethic, and deciding what purchases would have a good "fun ratio," meaning the number of hours of fun a purchase will provide given the investment. Earning allowance is about learning patience, self-control, and delayed gratification.

Also, have someone bring you a cup of tea, and settle in with Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work (Carter). According to Dr. Carter, 57% of working parents feel like they don't spend enough time with their families and 46% have no time for leisure. To maintain your own health and happiness and nurture others well, you must "undo the overwhelm." Carve out "PTO," what our author declares as "Predictable Time Off," meaning no smart phones, computers, and multitasking. Swap stress with the mindset, "There is enough, we are enough."   

After all, true spoiling involves time spent together making memories. 

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Almost Super by Marion Jensen and its sequel, Searching for Super, are funny stories about two families of superheroes who have their powers stolen by a family of supervillains. 

Everyone over the age of twelve in the Bailey family gets their powers on February 29th, at 4:23 p.m. The traditional powers are expected: super strength, speed, invisibility, etc. But when Rafter and his brother Benny’s powers arrive, they’re total duds. Rafter can light matches on polyester. Benny can change his belly button from an innie to an outie. They’re sure that the Johnson family, whom they’ve been fighting for ages, are to blame. Then Rafter discovers that the Johnsons have had their powers stolen, too. Rafter and Benny team up with Juanita Johnson to discover what’s going on and in the process discover that it isn’t so much having superpowers that makes you great, it’s the choices you make. 

Valuable lessons about the worth of individuals, the strength of family, the value of friendship, and the dangers of prejudice are wrapped up in laugh-out-loud funny books. Fans of Disney's The Incredibles will gobble up these books. For grades 3-7.

Celebrate Screen Free Week with Henrico County Public Library!


May 4-10, 2015 is Screen-Free Week

Presented by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, this week is an opportunity for families to disengage from screens and reconnect with the huge variety of fun activities that sometimes get lost in the electronic shuffle.

If your family is looking for a little fun beyond the screen, look no further. Your Henrico County Public Library has a wide-range of cool events happening all week long. Here is a small sample:

Monday May 4th

Krafty Kids @ Glen Allen Library
3:30 pm
Join us as we make a special Mother's Day craft!
Audience: 3-9 year-olds

Tuesday May 5th

Cinco de Mayo @ Dumbarton Library
3:30 pm
Come celebrate Cinco de Mayo with us! Enjoy crafts, games, and even a fun dance lesson. Space is limited. Groups please call in advance (290-9400).
Audience: 5-11 year-olds


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Saturday, May 2, 1-4pm at Deep Run Park


Join us for juggling shows and clowns!  Get your picture taken with the ringmaster on stilts!  Meet animals, fly the the air like an acrobat and play games! You may enjoy cotton candy and popcorn giveaways. Concessions available for purchase.  Information:  Program by Henrico Recreation and Parks.

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Scientifically minded Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard believes in facts. Only interested in what can be proven, she doesn’t know what to think when she meets a boy with no name locked in a room in her father’s museum. He claims to be sent by wizards from another world to stop the Snow Queen. Even worse, he asks her to help him escape and find the sword that will end the queen’s life. What’s a practical girl to do? Little by little, Ophelia becomes involved in the battle between good and evil, risking everything and learning to trust the voice inside her that urges her to believe.

Lovers of fantasy and fairy tales will enjoy this modern retelling of the classic tale of the Snow Queen. Themes of courage, grieving, trusting your instincts and thinking for yourself make Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy a book worth reading.

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It's Earth Day today! Here are some great choices to share with your child:


Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland
A bear that loves to hug everything in the forest is compelled to try and stop the destruction of his homeland after seeing a human being to cut down a tree.

The Earth Book by Todd Parr
Presents an introduction to environmental protection, describing a variety of ways that young people can work together to support the planet.

The Family Tree by David McPhail
In the 1800's, a man clearing land in a beautiful forest to build a home leaves one special tree, but many years later the tree is in trouble, and the man's great-great grandson enlists a host of animal friends to try to save it.


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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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b2ap3_thumbnail_NoveList.gifTake advantage of expert reading suggestions for your child using NoveList K-8 Plus. Pick a perfect book in a snap! Divided by ages, 0-8, 9-12, and Teens, find customized title, author, and series suggestions.  Look for wide categories such as adventure, humor, historical fiction, realistic fiction, mysteries, "read alikes," "best of the year," award winners, and more.   Also, easily browse non-fiction suggestions.

Parents and teachers LOVE focusing searches according to grade level and/or lexile reading level and even the number of pages in a book! Using its "grab and go lists" and "picture book extenders," entertaining lesson plans are easily had.

This trusted time saver also boasts links to Goodreads - see a book's popularity ranging from 1-5 stars.  Linked to our library catalog - discover immediately where your suggested item is available for checkout.  Try this fabulous resource yourself.  And, guess what, there's a grown-ups' version as well.  We can't let the kids have all the fun!  

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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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Explore spring weather and the local floral and fauna with crafts, music, storytelling and games.  There will be exhibits and activities led by Henrico Extension. Be sure to stop by the Mobile Library Van! Information:  Program by Henrico Recreation and Parks.

Saturday, April 18th, 1-4pm at Twin Hickory Park

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Thank you so much for donating over 5000 diapers during the month of march!

They will be delivered to the Capital Diaper Bank soon and will be available for babies in the area.

Your generosity is greatly appreciated! 

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Inventioneers by Filimundus AB (Free, iTunes/Android) offers elementary ages through adult the opportunity to learn physics by making your own inventions. The free download of Inventioneers offers one open “chapter.”  This one chapter is more than enough to tell you whether you’d like to make the one-time purchase of $1.99 to open five other chapters and the Create Your Own Invention section.  Each chapter is actually a setting in which you create inventions to solve problems.  There are 42 “pages” in each chapter, each page offering a progressively more difficult task. 

You build inventions, taking forces like gravity into account, to accomplish tasks.  To start with, the app lets you work on simple problems, only giving you the props you need to make your inventions.  Sort of like handing you all the pieces to a slingshot, telling you that a rock needs to hit a can and letting you figure out how to put the pieces together to accomplish the task.  At first, you aren’t quite sure what to do.  Then, through experimentation, you figure it out and success lures you on.  While the chapters give you a task to accomplish, the Create section allows you to imagine your own task, sparking even greater creativity.

This app isn’t for preschoolers.  It would be appropriate for parents and elementary kids to sit down together and work through the problems (if the parent could resist taking over!)  The app has the potential to spark all kinds of conversations and Rube Goldberg machines.  The vast number of possibilities and the educational aspects make the expansion of this free app worth the in-app purchase price.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Infobits.JPGWhat if everyone in the 3rd grade needs to do a research paper on ancient Greece, and the paper is due in two days and all the library’s books have been checked out? We’ve got a database for that!  Welcome to Kids InfoBits—a database that’s perfect for doing school research on loads of different topics (and it doesn't even have to be an emergency to use it).

It’s easy to find InfoBits, and you can do it from home or the library.  From the Henrico County Public Library’s Internet homepage, click on Kids > Kids Space. Then click on Research a Topic in the middle of the page.  Scroll down the list of databases (these are all really cool, and good for looking things up!), then click on Kids InfoBits and enter your library card number (if you are at home). You’re in!

Now for the fun stuff.  Type your topic into the search bar at the top. Your results may be in four different types:

·        Books, which are articles from encyclopedias or other information-type books.

·        Pictures, which may be photographs, drawings, maps, diagrams, flags, graphs or other types of images.


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When school is out, come to the library for all kinds of fun! Check your library's listings below.

Dumbarton Library
Minecraftapalooza Friday, April 10 at 2:00 pm
Come play with others in the same Minecraft world. For ages 8-12. Registration required.

Fairfield Library
Spring break fun for all ages!
Family Lego/Block Build Tuesday, April 7 at 2:00 pm
Movie Wednesday, April 8 at 2:00 pm
Games Thursday, April 9 at 2:00 pm

Glen Allen
Krafty Kids Monday, April 6 at 3:30 pm
Make a beautiful handmade bouquet. For ages 3-9 years.

Lego Tuesday Tuesday, April 7 at 2:00 pm
A fun afternoon of playing with Lego and other blocks. For ages 3-9 years.


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Check out some Classical Music for your kids today!

My First Classical Music Album by Naxos Rights International Limited - Famous and familiar classical pieces to serve as a little one's introduction to classical music, a lullaby CD or a soundtrack for playtime or daily routines.

The Best of Mozart - An introduction to the famous composer, this CD has music with tons of appeal for young listeners. Also try The Best of Tchaikovsky

Baby Galileo by Baby Einstein Music Box Orchestra - Classical pieces "reorchestrated" to appeal to the littlest ears by the Music Box Orchestra. Also try Lullaby Classics by Baby Einstein Music Box Orchestra


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Saturday, April 4, 10am-1pm at Dorey Park

Let's go fly a kite in honor of National Kite Month!  

Spend the day kite flying and sampling tasty treats from your local food trucks.  For information: Program by Henrico Recreation and Parks.


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Sometimes it’s difficult to connect to people who are different than we are, especially when they won’t meet our eyes, demand a strict adherence to rules, obsess about things we might find boring, and disturb us with their outbursts. 

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin is written from the perspective of one of these people, a girl named Rose with Asperger’s Syndrome. She is a trial to her father, gets kicked off the bus for demanding that the bus driver follow all the rules of the road, and obsesses over homonyms and prime numbers. When her dog goes missing in a hurricane, Rose works out a plan to find her again, only to be caught in a terrible dilemma.

This is a wonderful book to help children understand and learn to empathize with people who are different than they are.

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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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Kalley’s Machine Plus Cats ($2.99 iPad/iPhone) is a fun little story with great graphics and interactivity.

A little girl named Kalley has invented a marvelous machine. On each screen, she shows her father different parts of the machine, each one interactive. You can pull the levers, push the buttons, use the puffer and the smasher, paint things different colors (and combine primary colors to create secondary colors), and sort things into different bins. Kalley’s father thinks all of this is wonderful, but he’s baffled by the point of all this machinery. The little girl finally explains that this machine makes food so that her father won’t have to go to work, but can stay home with her. Sadly, her father explains to her that he works for more than just the ability to purchase food. In reply, Kalley proclaims that she’ll just make machines to do those things too!

The good:

·        The interactivity is pretty fabulous. There’s enough stuff here to keep kids playing with it for a long time, and it’s sneakily educational.

·        Background music and narration are optional.


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These books are just right for the newly independent reader ready for their first chapter books. 


Amy and the Missing Puppy (The Critter Club series, #1) by Callie Barkley
During Spring Break, mystery lover Amy looks for clues to the disappearance of wealthy Ms. Sullivan's Saint Bernard puppy.

Archie Takes Flight (Space Taxi series, #1) by Wendy Mass
On "Take Your Kid to Work Day" eight-year-old Archie discovers that his father drives a space taxi that shuttles aliens from one area of the universe to another.

Captain Awesome to the Rescue! (Captain Awesome series, #1) by Stan Kirby
When second-grader Eugene and his family move to a new neighborhood and he starts at a new school, he has a chance to bring out his superhero alter ego, Captain Awesome, to find the kidnapped class hamster.


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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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b2ap3_thumbnail_Growing-Up-Social-Raising-Relational-Kids-in-a-Screen-Driven-World.jpgIt is said that Bill Gates only allowed his daughters on the internet 45 minutes a day, and, this included gaming time.  He also waited until they were 13 to have a cell phone.  It is hard to know how much or how little screen time is appropriate for your child and family as a whole. 

According to Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World, it is not unusual for the average child (ages 8-18) to spend 7 hours a day looking at a screen, be it a computer, TV, or cell phone. Alas, it is all too easy to allow a screen to become a temporary electronic babysitter.

Tips to instill moderation according to authors Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane include:

  • Plan in advance how much time daily is appropriate

  • Plan how much time to allot to individual screen activities - 30 minutes online (this would be games and texting), 1.5 hours of television - decide together


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Children's librarians are committed to staying in step with new reads, but recalling all the series can be challenging.  Our secret weapon?  The wonderful link JUVENILE SERIES AND SEQUELS on the website of the Mid-Continent Library of Kansas City is invaluable.  You may search by series name, author name, title of one of the books in the series, or even the series subject.  Your results will include the series list IN ORDER and links to other series by that author.  The catalog page of our website provides a quick link to this service under HOT SITES.

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While under your wing, your children play and explore with your smartphone and computer. In a wink of an eye, these children will become young adults and they will be using devices with less adult oversight. Will they be ready? Introduce your children to the Kids Online series of books by David J. Jakubiak:

         b2ap3_thumbnail_Smart-Kids-Guide-to-Online-Games.jpg   b2ap3_thumbnail_Smart-Kids-Guide-to-Social-Networking_20150224-000528_1.jpg

Early family conversations about online activities beforehand will create a strong foundation for parent and teen communication as time goes on.

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Love Curious George? Well, he's at it again. Only this time, you get to help him! The Man in the Yellow Hat provides instructions that make it easy for children to navigate through Draw with Curious George by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (iTunes $0.99). The app contains four sections:

  1. Color and Draw – Pick any picture to start coloring, or chose a blank piece of paper. Use your finger to color in the picture using a color wheel. For kids who hate going outside the lines, one choice ensures that all your colors will stay inside. You may also choose to decorate with stamps and stickers, or change the background. Don’t forget to try the cool mirror painting option!
  2. Connect the Dots – Curious George cheers you on as you follow the numbers to connect the dots. A green line shows that you’re going to the right place, a red line which won’t connect shows you when you’re off. Once you connect the numbers, the picture appears and all the same options as Color and Draw display. As you complete Connect the Dots pages, new and harder pages unlock.
  3. Tracing – Virtually the same as connect the dots; tracing substitutes for connecting the dots.
  4. Art Gallery – All of the first three options offer the ability to take a snapshot of the art which is then stored in the art gallery. Up to thirty images may be stored.

At any point in the first three options, Curious George might accidentally splash paint on your artwork. You can let the Man in the Yellow Hat clean it up for you or you can wipe it all away with your finger.

The app also allows you to set up three people to whom your child may email photos of their artwork. The Help and Information sections provide more information about the app. There are no in-app purchases.


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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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Happy Birthday, Theodore Geisel

Join us in activities to honor the superstar author!


  • Read Across America @ Gayton Library. Monday, March 2 at 3pm, a family program for all ages.

  • Dr. Seuss Night @ Tuckahoe Library, Monday, March 2 at 6:30pm. Family stories, games and a craft.


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DK Findout! is a kid-friendly way to begin research on topics from animals to math, history and English. Pick a highlighted subject or type in one of your choosing. You'll find the publisher's trademark of solid introductory information and striking photographs that mesmerize browsers and provide project foundation.

Try the new link at our Research a Topic Homework Help site as well as with our Research Databases

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Sago Mini Monsters by Sago Sago (iPad/Android) is a wonderful little app for kids.  There are no in-app purchases, although there is a link to Sago Sago’s newest creation on the home page.

The app starts with a monster shape rising out of the slime pit at the bottom of the screen.  Color dots appear on the bottom that you can use to color your monster however you wish.  Once you’re done coloring, tap the check mark at the top of the page and horns, eyes, and a mouth appear on your monster.  If you wish, you can pull these things off and new ones will appear to take their place. Now he’s animated and ready to eat!

Food appears in the slime.  You lift it out and feed it to him.  Your monster will love this!  But, as he eats, his teeth become increasingly dirty.  Yuck!  When he’s done eating, it’s time to brush his teeth.  Brush until his teeth are nice and white again.

Once his teeth are clean, accouterments like hats, mustaches, worms and stars appear in the slime.  These can be put onto your monster, moved around, and taken off.  He happily puts up with this whole procedure, making little noises the entire time.  Once you’re done, press the check mark again and a new monster shape appears to play with.

Preschoolers love this app, and the subtle reinforcement of the need for brushing teeth doesn't hurt, either.  Even better, while they are playing they are learning the motor skills and control needed to write with their fingers as they have to color and move objects around.  The fine motor skills needed for brushing the monster’s teeth are worthwhile in themselves.

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Chinese New Year begins on February 19, 2015. A great way to celebrate is to share a special book with your child.  


Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin
A Chinese American family prepares for and celebrates the Lunar New Year. End notes discuss the customs and traditions of Chinese New Year.

Crouching Tiger by Ying Compestine
When Ming Da's Chinese grandpa comes to visit, he overcomes his initial embarrassment at his grandfather's traditions and begins to appreciate him.

My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz
A girl and her family prepare for and celebrate Chinese New Year.

A New Year's Reunion by Yu Li-Qiong
Maomao's dad works many miles away, but he is coming home for New Year!


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b2ap3_thumbnail_welcome.jpgSo much to brag about here in Virginia! Check out this great book series Virginia, My State.  Every elementary student must master our state's geography and history. Broken up by region, these books are marvelous sources for school projects, especially if you have a fourth grader - and - are perfect for clueing all ages in on nearby destinations. 

Piedmont (Bennett, Doraine) - meaning "land at the foot of the mountains;" discover Thomas Jefferson's Monticello; learn about other leaders including James Madison, James Monroe, Robert E. Lee, Edgar Allan Poe, Maggie Walker, and L. Douglas Wilder; learn about "portage," and transporting goods to boats below waterfalls and rapids; the capital, Richmond, known for manufactuing and shipping; Richmond's General Assembly, the oldest legislative body in the U.S.; the Port of Richmond, the most Western port on the North Atlantic coast; and, learn about Secretariat and thoroughbred racing.  

Coastal Plain (Bennett, Doraine) - climb Old Cape Henry Lighthouse, the first one built by the U.S. in 1792; learn about the Chesapeake Bay, the Eastern Shore, the Northern Neck, and the Middle Penninsula; learn about Hampton Roads, one of the largest natural harbors in the world; read about the Great Dismal Swamp which helped hide runaway slaves; learn about the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, one of the world's largest; learn about a variety of Native American tribes.

Blue Ridge Mountains (Bennett, Doraine) - the chemicals released by pine trees and other plants give the sky in this area a hazy blue color, hence the name "Blue Ridge;" the granite rocks in Old Rag Mountain are some of the oldest in the world; Mount Rogers is the highest point in Virginia - more than one mile high; the New River is one of the oldest rivers in the world; people come from all over to enjoy bluegrass music and fiddler competitions in Galax; apples grow well here; learn about Smith Mountain Lake, a man-made lake; read about Booker T. Washington, born in this area.

Valley and Ridge (Bennett, Doraine) - do you know the difference between stalactites and stalagmites in the Shenandoah Valley's Luray Caverns and have your heard of its stalacpipe organ? view Natural Bridge, purchased by Thomas Jefferson from King George III for less than what would be $2.00 today; discover Hot Springs in Bath County; did you know that Rockingham County is one of the largest turkey producers in the country?


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Whether it's a rainy day, a party day or you are restless, these imaginative and engaging books share games to suit every need. Start playing!



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This month, whether you are celebrating Black History Month, Mardi Gras or just trying to shake off the winter blahs, we have some great Jazz Music for kids and families at the library. 

Jazz Playground by Putumayo Kids - Fun and upbeat compilation of classic and contemporary Jazz from around the world.

Go Baby Go! by Baby Loves Jazz Band - Jazz renditions of lots of familiar and favorite songs. A fun way to introduce the youngest listeners to Jazz.

Jazz for Kids: Sing, Clap, Wiggle and Shake by Various Artists - Fun kids songs and Jazz classics performed by the greats, including Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong


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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.



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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b2ap3_thumbnail_remember.jpgWhat family doesn't ask favors of one another? Elect a family member or friend to help you with your library business.  

Designate an "authorized user." This person can pick up items that you've placed on hold.  This means a spouse, significant other, roommate, grandparent, parent, or child can formally be added to your library account.  All the authorized user will need to do is show his or her library card or photo ID and they can formally pick up your holds for you.  They too, with your permission, can renew your items or pay your fines. 

Ask at any Circulation Desk about the "authorized user" feature and make it easy for someone to do YOU a favor! 

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Black History Month  b2ap3_thumbnail_black_history_month_20141104-144929_1.jpg

  • Family Craft Tuesday February 10, 7:30pm & Wednesday, February 11, 11:30am, Varina 

 Valentine's Day  


  • Toddler/Preschool Craft Wednesday, February 4 at 11am, Sandston  
  • Early Elementary Craft Monday, February 9 at 3:30pm, Glen Allen  
  • Preschool Craft Thursday, February 12 at 3:30pm, Tuckahoe 
  • Elementary Craft Thursday, February 12 at 3:30pm, Twin Hickory  

 Chinese New Year              



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The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage is a wonderful laugh-out-loud sequel to Three Times Lucky.

The continuing adventures of 6th grader Miss Moses LoBeau and her best friend, Dale Earnhart Johnson III involve a ruin of an inn, a ghost, a moonshine still, and a history project.  These elements are woven together with lines as beautiful as “He’s wiry and tall and flows like a lullaby” and as delightful as “Stress focuses you right up until it sucks your brain dry.  Standardized testing taught me that.”

Although this Newbery contender is fine as a stand-alone, read Three Times Lucky first to understand some of the background.

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Help develop your child's reading skills by using one of the library's beginning reader kits. Each series contains leveled books and suggestions on how parents can use them with their child. 

Bob Books & My First Bob Books  by Bobby Lynn Maslen and Lynn Maslen Kertell.

First Little Readers: Guided Reading Levels A,B,C by Deborah Schecter and Liza Charlesworth.

Folk & Fairy Tale Easy Readers by Violet Findley.

Guided Science Readers: Level A,B,C,D by Lydia Carlin and Timothy LeRoy.


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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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Keep track of your checkouts using the My Account link on the toolbar of your library catalog.  Enter your card number and pin in the upper right corner, then click "Keep track of my previous checkouts."  The history begins the day you activate this feature. Trying to remember the name of your child's favorite book two months ago? Does a title sound familiar but you're not sure you've read it? This feature is for you!

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Remember building with blocks? The best part of all was knocking them down, right? There was nothing quite as satisfying as the crash and scatter of those colorful blocks. Well, there’s an app that is almost as satisfying: BridgeBasher by Jundroo LLC, which combines construction, physics, scientific testing, and the pleasure of destruction (iPhone/iPad: $0.99/Android: Free).

To begin, the app shows a picture of a span across a chasm with a grid of dots over it. Lazy clouds float past. Your job is to draw from dot to dot to create a bridge across the chasm. Sounds ridiculously simple, doesn’t it? Well, it is. But the fun is just beginning.

After you’ve created your bridge, you naturally have to test it. You have three testing options: balls, words, and joint weights. If you choose balls, you’ll be adding weighty balls to the bridge until the bridge crashes. Next, try the words. These words describing the weight that they are imitating (Light, Not So Light, Kinda Heavy, etc) rattle across the bridge like a train. The bridge flexes and bounces while changes in color demonstrate the stresses on the bridge and show you the weaknesses in your construction until the whole thing dramatically gives way. Next, use a touch to add weights to the joints of the bridge. This will also lead to eventual collapse. Once you’re done with each test, the app gives you a score and a (sometimes snarky) comment about the strength of your bridge. Build your bridge strong enough and the app will tell you to quit wasting time and go do something productive!

After each test, you may go back in and edit your bridge, strengthening or changing it. BridgeBasher also offers the option of sharing your bridges with friends so they can destroy them, too. A small button at the top middle of the screen gives you the cost of the bridge as you’re building it, adding a great financial awareness component to the app. 

Preschoolers will enjoy this app with a grown-up, and it’s great for elementary kids through adult.

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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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Every penny counts. Take a peek at these cookbooks for meals that will feed a crowd without breaking your pocketbook:

Good Life for Less (Clark, Amy Allen) - author is the creator of; cook a whole turkey - use half and freeze half - this will be cheaper than purchasing lunch meat; the same goes for "double batching" - prep and cook one meal to eat that day and a second to freeze for the future; cook and puree your own baby food and freeze it in ice trays; use a slow cooker - inexpensive ingredients combine into delicious dishes; recipes include California Italian Wedding Soup; leftover coffee - don't pitch it - freeze it and make frappachinos by adding peppermint and/or chocolate syrup; learn how to make your own cleaning products; many inexpensive entertaining, gift, and decorating ideas are included

Sandra Lee Semi Homemade Money Saving Slow Cooking (Lee, Sandra) - prep time for most recipes is 10-15 minutes, and slowcooking for a few hours following, you will enjoy a one pot meal such as Cajun Pork Chops or Chicken Broccoli Mac'n'Cheese - check out her web too

Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Well on a Budget (Beale, Lucy) - "budget-wise, high-nutrition foods" are listed, as are staples for your pantry; great menu ideas, including vegetarian main dishes; many recipes contain just a few ingredients; recipes list calories and nutritional values

Budget Bytes: Over 100 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half (Moncel, Beth) - written by the creator of, check out Easy Pad Thai, Farmer Joes (Sloppy Joes with veggies added), Greek Steak Tacos, Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps, Calico Beans, and "The One," a chocolate cake you microwave in a coffee cup!


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Superhero Party for elementary school aged children @ Dumbarton Library, Thursday January 22, 3pm.





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Celebrate the New Year a little early at the Tuckahoe Library on Wednesday, December 31, 2014. There will be fun activities the whole family can enjoy including:

  • Party crafts
  • Singing and dancing
  • A special count down to the noon hour

The party starts at 11:00 a.m. You don't want to miss it!

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b2ap3_thumbnail_pinterest_icon_diploma_circle_2013-12-02.jpgHave you heard of ABC Mouse? It is an online step-by-step curriculum has 450 phonics lessons at six levels for preschool children. Kids are rewarded for completing paths that consist of books, puzzles, games, songs and art activities related to a specific topic. You may have seen a few commercials for it on children's television.

Would you like to try it out? You can at the library! We are happy to be able to provide access to ABC Mouse when you visit any of our libraries. 

Just log on to one of our computers and visit our Kids page then click the ABC Mouse link. You will be asked to create an account so you will be able to log in next time you visit the library and continue using the site where you left off. 

We hope you will enjoy this new service and try it out the next time you visit the library. 

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Five Green and Speckled Frogs

Five green and speckled frogs sat on a speckled log
Eating some most delicious bugs -- YUM YUM!
One jumped into the pool where it was nice and cool
Then there were four green and speckled frogs.

Original idea taken from Librarian vs Storytime.

You can find your own clip art frogs or use these: fivegreenandspeckledfrogs.pdf

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Do you and your family get that cooped up feeling from being home and indoors often this winter? Try dancing and jamming to some music at home! Here are some CDs available at your local library to help get you moving!

On the Move by Greg & Steve - Move, bend, stretch and dance to imaginative songs and guided musical activities. These songs make great warm-ups and transition activities for groups, or just shake your sillies out at home on a rainy day.

Under a Shady Tree by Laurie Berkner - Catchy and fun, Laurie Berkner is like folk-rock for kids. Under a Shady Tree is great to jam to on pots and pans, or as a soundtrack for play time. Songs like "I'm Gonna Catch You" will definitely get your kids moving fast.

More Singable Songs by Raffi - Raffi's familiar tunes are easy to learn and fun to sing along with. This CD includes "Shake My Sillies Out"; a dance party must!


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Finger painting is a tremendous amount of fun. But let’s face it. It’s messy. Some kids hate getting their fingers dirty, and most adults hate cleaning up. Now the Finger Paint with Sounds app (iPad/Android) by Inclusive Technology Ltd. not only allows kids to finger paint without getting dirty, but also throws in the fun of music or sound effects.

The app provides clear directions for use; choices for no sound, music, or sound effects; multi-touch and single touch options, and contains no in-app purchases. 

The blank screen has seven half-circles of color on the edges. Touch one of these and every touch on the screen after that is that color and has that individual sound until you touch another color. A double tap in the corner allows you to exit the screen or clear it. It’s that simple! Preschoolers adore this app, and the single touch selection lets them practice the fine motor skills they need for writing in kindergarten. It’s an Early Literacy Skills builder cleverly disguised as a lot of fun. Shhhhh—don’t tell! 

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Take a moment during this busy season to share a special book with your child. Here are just a few of the many holiday titles the library carries in it's collection.


The Animals' Santa by Jan Brett 
A rabbit named Little Snow is celebrating his first Christmas, and after all the forest animals tell him about the animals' Santa, he is excited to wake up on Christmas morning to find his own surprise.

Boris and Stella and the Perfect Gift by Dara Goldman
Boris and Stella are in love but do have much money, so Stella sells something very important to her in order to buy Boris a Hanukkah gift, and Boris does likewise to buy Stella a Christmas present.

Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel
On the first night of Hanukkah, Old Bear wanders into Bubba Brayna's house and receives a delicious helping of potato latkes when she mistakes him for the rabbi.


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Not sure what to give to the children on your holiday list this year? You can't go wrong with books!

Here are some of our favorites gift choices for children birth to five years.

Board Books (0-2 years)

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Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boyton. Movement and sound come together in this fun farmyard frolic.


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 If you have concerns about your young child's development, contact our county's Early Intervention staff for guidance and referrals for services like speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

 Timely assistance will made a big difference.


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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.



Whether your family is traveling for the holidays, or just taking a Tacky Light Tour in the city, Henrico County Public Library has holiday music for you to check out and enjoy! 

Christmas with the Chipmunks by The Chipmunks - Holiday favorites sung by the Chipmunks, including the 1958 classic The Chipmunk Song. (Me I want a huuuuuula hoooop!)

A Child's Christmas: Holiday Songs and Carols by Susie Tallman - Sweet, child-friendly renderings of Holiday hits, carols and classic hymns, sprinkled with stories and jokes.

Baby Santa by Baby Einstein - Instrumental renderings of traditional and folk holiday music. This album is soothing and light for little ears and includes several "world-flavored" renditions like a reggae Jingle Bells.


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  • SNOWMEN STORYTIME - Thursday, December 11, 6:30 PM at Glen Allen Library
  • HOLIDAY PARTY - Tuesday, December 16, 7:00 PM at Fairfield Library. Join us for our annual holiday party! Play games, make a craft, and visit with Santa!
  • HOLIDAY COMEDY - Thursday, December 18, 6:30 PM at North Park Library  Enjoy this film where elves raise an orphan who stowed away in Santa’s toy sack. (PG, 90 min)
  • GINGERBREAD PARTY - Tuesday, December 30, 2:00 PM at Dumbarton Library. Decorate a giant gingerbread house for the library, and make your own to take home.
  • MOVIE SING-A-LONG IN YOUR PAJAMAS -Tuesday, December 30, 2:00 PM at Twin Hickory Library. Come to the library in your pajamas to sing along to a 2013 movie inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, The Snow Queen!
  • HAPPY NOON YEAR - Wednesday, December 31, 11:00 AM at Tuckahoe LibraryJoin us for family time as we ring in the new year a little early with fun activities for everyone.

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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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Jan Thornhill’s new picture book Winter’s Coming: a Story of Seasonal Change introduces the reader to Lily, a snowshoe hare learning about winter.  Beginning in the fall, the creatures around her begin their preparations for colder weather, but Lily doesn’t know whether she should join in or not.  The repeated refrain “Winter’s coming” makes Lily think that Winter is a creature.  The animals’ varying responses confuse Lily as she tries to figure out what Winter might really be like until she finally learns from Bear that Winter is a season.  Thornhill weaves interesting tidbits about winter survival tactics throughout the book, like caterpillars freezing and bears hibernating.  The illustrator, Josée Bisaillon, demonstrates Lily’s unknowing winter preparation by gradually whitening the rabbit’s fur throughout the story.  A great book to include in discussions about the seasons or survival strategies.  Because of the lengthy text, reserve this book for kindergarten through third grade.

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Trucks HD by Duck Duck Moose (iTunes) $1.99

Trucks has five fun activities including a car wash, first you get your car nice and muddy, and construction vehicles.  Ages 3 and up.

Toca Cars by Toca Boca  (iTunes, Google Play) $2.99

Pick a character and drive around the course or build your own course.  As with all Toca creations there is tons of silliness!  Ages 3 and up.


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Check out these downloadable books for holiday cooking.  Let's face it - the BEST part of the season is spending time with the people you love most.  Noshing makes it memorable!

Fix-It and Forget It Holiday Appetizers, Finger Foods and Beverages (Good, Phyllis Pellman) and Fix-It and Forget It Holiday Main Dishes and Sides (Good, Phyllis Pellman) - brilliant - use your slow cooker to whip up dinner while you are busy doing a myriad of time sensitive tasks - includes appetizers and entrees for entertaining, as well as winter comfort foods

Busy People's Fun, Fast, Festive Christmas Cookbook (Hall, Dawn) - affordable gifts for teachers, office potluck ideas, even recipes for a fun breakfast under the tree

Children's Jewish Holiday Kitchen: 70 Ways to Have Fun with Your Kids and Make Your Family's Celebrations Special (Nathan, Joan) - the entire family can help make fruit kugel, pomegranate punch, blintzes, and more  

No-Bake Gingerbread Houses for Kids (Anderson, Lisa) - instructions for a Swiss Chalet, Mermaid Palace or a Fire House


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I'm a Turkey! by Jim Arnosky  In spoken-word song with rhyming text, a turkey describes his life in a large flock, always looking out for other creatures that might find him tasty.

Gobble, Gobble by Cathryn Falwell  A child observes wild turkeys through the seasons.

Run, Turkey, Run! by Diane Mayr  The day before Thanksgiving, Turkey tries to disguise himself as other animals in order to avoid being caught by the farmer.

10 Turkeys in the Road by Brenda Reeves  Ten turkeys performing circus acts block a country road, much to the frustration of an angry farmer in a pick-up truck who tries to shoo them.


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One of the ways to help kids get ready to learn to read is by letting them practice writing.  Holding a crayon, coloring, painting—all these activities help children develop the fine motor skills they will need to pick up a pencil in kindergarten and begin writing.  Well, there’s a fun app that helps with these fine motor skills, too.  It’s called Dipdap and is available for iPad ($2.99), Android  ($1.99), and Kindle Fire ($1.99).  Dipdap is a little critter who interacts with your child’s animated drawings.

There are two sections to Dipdap:  

  1.  There are 16 adventures available for play.  Your child can chose to play the adventure without interacting, or chose to interact by drawing. Dipdap wordlessly presents a scenario to the child, like trying to reach the stars.  Then, the dashed outline of a rocket is presented.  The child traces the rocket outline, and can chose colors or any other add-ins he would like to draw.  Then, Dipdap climbs into the drawn rocket and shoots off into space, bouncing off of stars as he goes.  It’s pretty heady stuff for a cartoon character to jump into something you’ve drawn!
  2. There is also a drawing sketchpad in which the child can draw anything they would like.  Dipdap sits at the bottom of the page and watches the drawing, actively moving his eyes to whatever part of the screen is being touched.  He doesn’t interact with the drawing besides watching it, but the drawing can be “photographed” and saved to the pictures section of the tablet.

      There are no in-app purchases, and there are parental controls that allow you to change the music, sounds, and guides.  Dipdap is so much fun that you might even be tempted to play yourself!

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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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b2ap3_thumbnail_index5.jpgSpend ten minutes a day with your youngster using the methods in Teach Your Child to Read in Just Ten Minutes a Day (Ledson). You may find that, with dedication, you will have an emerging reader.

Step by step instruction is given. First, introducing 32 letters and sounds is the starting point. These specific sounds will be the building blocks to learn the first 100 words. From here, the first 200 sentences will be mastered. Finally passages are included that will be your child's first book.  You and your budding reader will laugh heartily at these "Helpful Andrew" stories.

Instruction also takes on second graders who are still guessing at words and would benefit from remedial help. Games to motivate these hard working students are sprinkled throughout.  

The author reminds us, 50% of a child's intellect has been fixed by age 4, and, 80% is fixed by age 8. The skill of reading is a 'nutrient' essential for development.



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Hispanic Heritage Month may be over, but you can still celebrate with one of these great books from the library's collection of bilingual books and books in Spanish:


Mamá Goose: A Latino Nursery Treasury = Un tesoro de rimas infantiles by Alma Flor Ada. Presents lullabies, games, nursery rhymes, and more.

Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match = Marisol McDonald no combina by Monica Brown. A creative, unique, bilingual, biracial, soccer-playing artist celebrates her individuality.

Arrorró mi niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games by Lulu Delacre. An illustrated collection of nursery rhymes, finger play games, and lullabies from the major Latino groups living in the United States today.


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Looking for a place to read books online with your children? Check out!

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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We love our regular storytimes at the library! But throughout the year, we take breaks so we can plan new programs to keep our storytimes fun.

When storytime is on break you can continue to enrich your child's life in literature with some of these free resources.


  • TumbleBooks is a collection of interactive, animated, talking picture books! It helps young children explore the joys of reading in a format they'll love. There are also puzzles and games!
  • VA Lit Day by Day provides early literacy activities for every day. You will find topic-specific songs, app recommendations, stories and suggestions of simple activities to reinforce the day’s concept.
  • Our Librarians have reviewed lots of fun educational apps.
  • Check our events calendar for special activities likes crafts and Family Fun!

At the library

  • You are always welcome to keep your library routine by visiting the library. You can present your own storytime by reading with your children at the library or check out materials to take home and share. While visiting you and your children can play with materials in our early literacy centers.
  • - With 3,500+ interactive books, educational games, puzzles and other learning activities,'s award-winning online curriculum is free for use at our library locations for young learners (ages 2-6+). From Age of Learning, Inc.
  • Check out one of our Read-To-Me Kits. These preschool "discovery packs" contain a theme in an easy to carry book bag. There are many themes to choose from, including seasons, holidays, trains and concepts such as alphabet, counting, colors and shapes. Each bag contains a mix of books, simple toys and DVDs that focus on the bag's theme. They are available at many libraries and can be placed on hold. 

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New program series this fall!


Join us for an inclusive play time for children of all abilities, ages 6-36 months.



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Musica para la familia! 


Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with bilingual, musical fun for all with award winning singer-songwriter Andrés Salguero



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Our November child care provider workshop is Social Skills for Toddlers, which will be presented by Christine Hallman from the Virginia Infant and Toddler Specialist Network. The workshop will be held at our Fairfield Area Library on Monday November 10 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. Online registration begins October 10. Space is limited to 24 participants. Early registration is recommended.

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This month in PROPer Storytelling we will show you how to make a flannel board you can use anywhere. This is great for parents and teachers alike!

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2-4pm Sunday, October 5 - Free Event

All aboard! Head to Confederate Hills to celebrate trains! Finger puppet craft station, riding the Fun Time Train, train races on the lawn, Play-Doh train designs and cookie decoration (while supplies last)  For information call 737-2859.


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Online Help from Teachers

Need homework help? Look to Literati's online Homework Help. Chat online with certified teachers and receive brief, personalized help.

English teachers can help with diagramming sentences, creating outlines for reports, proofreading, and assisting budding authors with compositions, including those writing in English as a Second Language. Math teachers can coach elementary to grade 12 students in a variety of topics including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, and basic statistics. Teachers and students can even share a whiteboard screen to collaborate. Students can upload files for Literati teachers to review and comment upon.

This service is available Monday through Thursday, 3:00pm-9:00pm, and, Saturday, 9:00am-3:00pm. In addition to teacher guidance, you can link to hundreds of up to date and authoritative resources all in one location. 

Give it a try! From the menu bar above, select Online Services --> Research Databases -->Reference then select Literati (or follow this link).  Select "Homework Help" on the right.  You'll only need to type in your first name, your grade, and whether you need help in math, reading, or writing.  Click on "Find Me a Teacher" and professional help will be minutes away.



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October is Fire Safety Month! The Henrico County Fire Department will visit with preschoolers to talk about fire safety. A fire truck may be available if not out on call.
Wednesday, October 1, 10:30am - North Park
Tuesday, October 7, 10:30am - Glen Allen
Wednesday, October 15, 10:30am - Varina
Tuesday, October 28, 11:30am - Gayton 

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Homegrown Readers

As parents we dream of the day that our children can read independently - a triumph for all involved.  Take a gander at A Family of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature (Sutton, Roger). Look within for surefire title recommendations guaranteed to captivate your youngest still-in-your-arms listener; your sound-each-word out budding reader; and, your "I can do it all by myself" chapter book readers. Even fiction, non-fiction, and bios for hard to please tweens and teens are included. Heck it even includes books for boys only, and, books for girls only. This book holds that rare and powerful magic - the ability to unite the perfect book for whatever age child is under your roof.