Sunday, October 9, 2016

Spooktacular Safety Tips

Ghoulish goodies, jack-o- lanterns, & frightful fun...OH MY!

Halloween is a fun-filled time of year for both parents and kiddos. Fun and safety can go hand-in-hand.  When we all venture out together on Halloween night, here are some extra helpful safety tips for all all our little ghosts and goblins:


For more Halloween Fun and Safety tips, check out the Marple Public Library Children's Department Halloween display on your next visit.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Back to School Time....

Move over summer, a new school year is coming!It’s that time of year again … time for new school supplies, uniforms, backpacks and more.  Some kids are probably feeling excited, while others are a little sad that summer is coming to an end.  Others may feel nervous or even a little scared. New teachers, new friends, maybe even a new school are worrisome. But we all know that these new worries will only stick around for a little while.

We’ve selected several new books, to help with the excitement and concern that a new school year brings.
Book CoverFrank and Lucky Get Schooled by Lynne Rae Perkins
This is the story of a young boy, Frank, and his newly adopted dog, Lucky. They both go to school, Lucky “ten times” and Frank “thousands of times”.  Through their relationship with one another and with the world around them, the author is able to introduce school subjects through imagined scenarios between the two of them. This is a very interesting take on the subject, and the watercolor illustrations vary throughout the story, from full-color paintings to small vignettes.
Book CoverCaptain Freddy Counts Down to School by Elizabeth Shreeve

This colorful and spirited tale that launches readers into space alongside Freddy–a young boy hesitant about leaving home for his first day of school. As his mom calls for him to get ready, Freddy floats through space, explores strange planets, wrestles with aliens, and ultimately learns that school is nothing he can’t handle.

Book CoverKindergarten is Cool! by Linda Elovitz Marshall
The experiences on the first day of kindergarten are told through rhyming text. This book provides a good introduction for those getting ready to enter kindergarten and will reassure kids that school will be fun!

Book CoverLola Knows a Lot by Jenna McCarthy  
Meet Lola! Lola knows a lot. She can cartwheel, she can tie her shoes...she can drive her sister crazy. The only thing Lola DOESN'T know...is is she's really ready to go to school.

Book CoverMission: Back to School by Susan Hood
The first day of school is presented as a secret agent’s mission with nineteen steps to complete. The only text is the steps themselves and some speech bubbles that accompany the illustrations, which are done in watercolor and pencil and which convey the warm humor of the story. This picture book provides a unique look at going back to school.
Book CoverRappy Goes to School by Dan Gutman
Written in verse, this makes for a fun read-aloud. On his first day of school, Rappy the Raptor encounters a bully and gets up enough nerve to speak up. The message is of course a good one. The illustrations are fun and Bowers’ dinosaurs are full of personality.
Book CoverSophie’s Squash Go to School by Pat Zietlow Miller
Sophie is extremely nervous over her first day of school and is very reluctant to make new friends, preferring to play with the two squash, named Bonnie and Baxter, which she grew in her garden. However, one boy’s repeated attempts at friendship eventually win her over, though the process takes some time. This is a great story about friendship and one to be read-aloud.
Book CoverTeachers Rock! by Todd Parr
New York Times bestselling author Todd Parr celebrates all the special things about teachers. His illustrations, full of vibrant colors and bold lines, provide lots of kid appeal. 

Book CoverA Tiger Tail (or what happened to Anya on her first day of school) by Mike Boldt
Anya wakes up to discover that she has grown a tiger tail. Yes, a striped tiger tail. It also happens to be the first day of school. What will the other kids thing? Are girls with tiger tails even allowed to go to school?! Anya is about to find out.

 Printables, Crafts and More about Starting School:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Glorious Food! 

Our world is so very fortunate to be plum full of delicious, delectable, and diverse culinary creations that provide the opportunity to expand our palettes, as well as, our children’s palettes. I adore food; from planting vegetables, fruits, herbs, and other natural morsels, to creating and sharing wholesome and quick recipes for all dietary needs.  Also I love the process of growing vegetables & fruits and discussing how to use Mother Nature’s bounty in a variety of recipes. In fact, I share and cultivate my food passion with my friends, family, and extended family of children, parents, grandparents and caregivers at the Marple Public Library and Trader Joe’s. My absolute favorite responses I hear from my kiddos are how much they enjoyed trying new foods with their family members and how excited they were to experiment with these new foods. Continuing to keep these young exploratory minds interested and involved with what they eat and having them become part of the process is a large feat.  It truly “takes a village”.

The process of encouraging our children to, “try new things” can be very frustrating, but also extremely rewarding in the same breath.  The words, “try and try again” are always resounding in my mind.  Foods with a variety of taste, texture, color, and smell can often be an initial barrier to our young chefs as they may be unfamiliar.  Another layer of compounded frustration may be food allergies. Coming from someone who has food allergies, it can be overwhelming to find substitutions and alternatives for our everyday diet.  The tables can be turned in a positive way by fusing the diversity of our food world with fantastic recipes that can still taste sensational. Learning together, this process can become fun and hopefully less stressful.
‘Out of the box’ ways to get us trying new foods and finding substitutions and alternative foods are starting a garden or going to your local farmer’s market to sample some local fare.  These are always creative ways to broaden that heightened sense of exploration for your children, as well as, us adults. Many of the Farmer’s Markets have themed days with extra special events, free samples and great musicians; all free to the public. Pick out an assortment of fruits and vegetables together to make your own food creations along with sharing in some memories that will last a lifetime. Ask the farmers and vendors if they have recommended recipes for their fruits and vegetables.  Take some of these recipes home and start your own cookbook that you and your child can add to over time and continue your explorations.  Also, these farmers and vendors have alternatives and substitutions for many common food allergies.

One of my fondest memories from my treasure trove of memories has to be when my grandfather would start his garden every year. He would include me in every step of the process from tilling soil and planting the seeds to watering each day and filling the compost pile to create rich and dark fertilizer. As a child, it gave me the greatest sense of accomplishment when I saw what we were growing and how these delicious tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, peas, figs and other goodies could be turned into so many extraordinary culinary creations. Until this day, thinking about those times still makes my mouth water; especially when I think of all the homemade sauce that would fill our fridge throughout the winter to the summer months. I still carry on that tradition myself with my own family, and with each recipe I make, conjures up the memories of those that I love oh so very much. My garden still grows every summer, although not to the size of my grandfather’s garden, but still produces some natural jewels.

Come and join me this season and every season thereafter with your ‘locavore’ quest to read about and plant your favorite fruits & vegetables,  check out a local farmer’s market, share some tantalizing healthy recipes, and encourage each other to grow together.

Miss Mel

“We have a little garden,
A garden of our own,
And every day we water there
The seeds that we have sown.
 We love our little garden,
And tend it with such care,
You will not find a faded leaf
Or blighted blossom there.”

-Beatrix Potter

Check out these fantastic book selections at Marple Public Library for kids and parents:

Websites for food exploration with kids:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Gardening with Kids!

Today I woke up to find that lost friend, the sun, shining through my window.  The daily forecast of rain has been the source of conversation among our staff and visitors to the library. It amazes me how much the weather affects plants and flowers and behavior as well. My recently planted flowers seemed to perk up this morning along with my mood! Gardening has become a passion of mine.
Every Mother’s Day my 2 grown children purchase plants and flowers and we all spend the day planting. Then with my care and nurturing throughout the summer I am able to see these gifts grow and thrive and become visual joys for me – just as I have seen in my children. I strongly recommend introducing gardening to your children! The ability to plant together and watch things grow because of their care is a wonderful experience. So much is learned in this family activity. Starting a small family garden is a great way to show kids how their food gets on their plate, connect them with nature and to get them outside, and maybe best of all -- to keep them busy all summer long! Small gardens are great for kids of all ages. Toddlers will love using a small watering can to help out, preschoolers will love seeing a tomato ripen, and school aged children will love learning how to pick, wash and cook what they grew. 

We have a great selection of books and "Park Packs" available at Marple Library. We are also offering free circulating passes to the Morris Arboretum (a garden that features awesome activities for kids).          

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Potty Training Adventures...

When your child is ready for big kid pants, the library has some great resources to 
      help you with this daunting task!
      Check out these titles available in our Parenting and Children's Issues section.

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For Grown Ups!

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