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I can and I will.

Peek at these titles that underscore that perseverance and ingenuity pay off.

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone (Juv Bio Liston) by Russell-Brown, Katheryn - learn about a young musician who grew up to play, write, and arrange music with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, and Quincy Jones; often she was the only girl in the band; as a a master musician, her music took her across America and the world

Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah (Juv Bio Yeboah) by Thompson, Laurie - this child from Ghana was born with one leg, yet he became long distance cyclist; so renowned for his grit, he eventually carried the Olympic torch, and became an advocate for the rights of the disabled; his message, disability does not mean inability

New Shoes (Easy) by Meyer, Susan - enterprising gals Ella Mae and Charlotte launch their own used shoe store after they were unjustly prevented from trying shoes on in a store during segregation


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Even older sisters, brothers, and cousins can test out their budding mother's-helper babysitting knowledge with this series of books:


Babysitting Basics: Caring for Kids (J 649.1024 Browning)
Babysitting Rules: A Guide for When You're in Charge (J 649.1024 Browning)
Babysitting Activities: Fun with Kids of All Ages (J 649.1024 Mattox)
Babysitting Safety: Preventing Accidents and Injuries (J 649.1024 Mehlman)
Babysitting Skills: Traits and Training for Success (J 649.1024 Mattox)
Babysitting Jobs: The Business of Babysitting (J 649.1024 Mehlman)



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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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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. 

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Toca Kitchen Monsters (iTunes, Google Play)


Choose a monster and feed it tasty treats out of the refrigerator!  This app has two monsters, eight foods, and five kitchen devices to provide tons of silly kitchen fun.  Ages 3 and up.


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New backpack, new sneakers, new pencils—it’s back to school time! With all the wonderful newness of a school year beginning, there often comes the awful age-old problem that stumps parents: how do I protect my child from bullies? Or worse, what do I do if my child is the bully? experts at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have put their heads together to find a way to help and have come up with a new app to help parents find their way through this minefield. The KnowBullying app is available for free on both iPad/iPhone and Android.

The app features:

  • Conversation starters to help parents open and maintain lines of communication with their children.
  • Tips for preventing bullying, designed for use with different age groups.
  • Warning signs to help parents recognize when a child might be bullying others or being bullied themselves.
  • Going to be driving to a soccer game? The app lets you set reminders to use those conversation starters in the car on the way.  You may also set reminders for different children.
  • Suggestions for handling bullying once it occurs, and working with educators to successfully resolve problem situations.

The app is simple and straightforward with an easily navigable list of resources. Fortunately for parents with school age children, there’s a ton of helpful information here—enough to fill that brand new backpack!

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Before we get deep into the back to school hubbub, and all the many questions, and all the many assignments, enjoy the simple joy of this well loved tune. Skip to the bus stop if you want to.  Big Bird would.

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 Jedi Academy  Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me  Flora & Ulysses: the Illuminated Adventures 

                      The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nut House  The Adventures of Captain Underpants 


This year the National Book Festival takes place on Saturday, August 30, 10 am - 10 pm at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. Dozens of authors and illustrators will be present all day to speak and sign their books. Some of the notable children’s book authors and illustrators speaking at this year’s festival are:


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Toes-in-Hammock.jpgWho's the Mama here?  If Mama ain't happy - ain't nobody happy, right? 

Take a peek at these and see how YOUR Mama style is fairing.  Even Mamas can tweak their strategies to assure that everyone is well cared for and happy - Mama MOST of all!

  • Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting by Noel Janis-Norton - when you tell your children what to do, often they are barely listening; when your children tell you what they need to do, they are much more likely to remember to do it; also, peek at the checklists within to learn how to reduce sibling squabbling, monitor screen time, and to motivate kids to tidy up after themselves.
  • Family Whispering by Melissa Blau & Tracy Hogg - learn to balance the "we" and the "I" - end the "chore wars" and enlist help so that you are not always "the designated doer."
  • Surviving Your Child's Adolescence by Carl Pickhardt - invite your child to start to think maturely (and partially mother themselves).  Have your child always ask these 3 questions of themselves BEFORE they act: "Why would I want to do this?," "How might I get hurt?," and, "Is it worth the risk?." 
  • Mindful Parenting by Kristen Race - schedule a day with NO schedules; ideas included for the lost art of merely 'hanging out' (including games).
  • Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us by Christine Gross-Loh - learning to do chores is a predictor of success in life - kids that can pull their own weight become adults that can do the same.  In addition, offering children more autonomy paired with high expectations can help create confident, self-directed kiddos.  Learn from successful mamas in Finland, Sweden, Japan, China, Germany, and more. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_parenting.jpgThe Fairfield, Libbie MillTuckahoe and Twin Hickory libraries offer Family Resource Centers.

These nooks include picture books, parenting books and dvds on specific topics from breast feeding to discipline. There are also toys nearby that will occupy your little one while you make selections.