Kuna Reads!

Archive for June 2009

It’s “What’s More American?” week at Kuna Library, where we celebrate the sights, sounds, and songs of the Fourth.  Families coming to our summer reading program (Tuesday @ 10:30 & 1:30, Wednesday @ 1:30) can expect some fresh takes on our classic tribute, with—of course!—the traditional Fourth of July parade.  Plan to be there, with your red, white, and blue on! (And sunscreen, too, of course…)

If you’re looking for some patriotic reads to celebrate the week and get you through the long weekend, consider these:

Adult Fiction:

the hornet's nestThe Hornet’s Nest by Jimmy Carter.  Yep, that Jimmy Carter.  This presidentially penned novel is the story of the American Revolution as it takes place in the South.  Spun carefully with lots of well-researched facts, this novel shows readers the effects of the revolution on American families.

Adult Non Fiction:

John Adams by David McCullough.  A triumph of 2001, this new classic is still a must-read for American history buffs.  (If you’re not up for the task, you can check out the HBO film about this founding father.)

Young Adults:

The Capital Mysteries Series: This series, designed for young readers, takes kids from the Smithsonian to the Lincoln Memorial, all in a way that’s fun and exciting.

Revolutionary War on Wednesday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House series) 

Judy Moody Declares Independence by Megan McDonald

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (Still a classic!)

Kate and the Spies: The American Revolution 1775 by JoAnn A. Grote

Children:

apple pie fourth of julyApple Pie Fourth of July by Janet S. Wong:  A Chinese American child fears that the food her parents are preparing to sell on the Fourth of July will not be eaten.  Will anyone eat Chinese food on the Fourth of July?  This book emphasizes the idea of a common American heritage as well as the idea that Americans are nothing if not unpredictable.

Fireworks, Picnics, and Flags : The Story of the Fourth of July Symbols by James Cross Giblin

Hats Off for the Fourth of July by Harriet ZiefertBig George : How a Shy Boy Became President Washington by Anne F. Rockwell

Curious what’s new at the library?  We’re always adding the latest releases to our collection for you.  A few interesting titles that have come through include:

Born to RunBorn to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

“Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence.”

–Amazon review

More new Adult Non-Fiction:

Glenn Beck’s Common Sense

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Cassandra’s only clue to her recently deceased grandmother’s roots is a book of fairy tales, and an inherited garden in England.  If you love fairy tale inspired fiction, Kate Morton’s new release is one to add to your to-read list.  This blend of enchantment and modern-day reality is part gothic mystery and part Secret Garden for grownups.  While it takes a while to get used to Morton’s method of jumping between time periods, the payoff is well worth the read, and the different timelines start to merge seamlessly about a third of the way through.  P.S.:  The latest Sisters Grimm novel is also in: Look for The Everafter Wars, or start back at the beginning with The Fairy Tale Detectives.

More new Adult Fiction:

Fugitive by Phillip Margolin

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Deception

Razor Sharp by Fern Michaels

Young Adult Fiction:

VampiratesVampirates #4 is out! Black Heart continues the story of the Pirate Federation as they track a new ship of Vampirates.  Look for new developments from Connor, Grace, and Sally Tempest in this latest installment of the popular series.

More new YA Fiction:

The Dragon Hunters by Paul Genesse

The Sisters Grimm: The Everafter War by Michael Buckley

The Singing (Pellinore Book Four) by Alison Croggon

A Taste for Red by Lewis Harris

Return of the Homework Machine by Dan Gutman

clique ps i loathe youP.S. I Loathe You (Clique #11) by Lisi Harrison

Extras by Scott Westerfeld

Vampire Kisses 2: Kissing Coffins

Warriors: Code of the Clans by Erin Hunter

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Our brand new teen summer reading program kicked off yesterday with the first of three open Wii gaming parties.  Among the offerings were Guitar Hero (love the drums!), Super Smwii remotesash Bros Brawl, and Mario Kart. 

To get an entry ticket, all teens have to do is read for 2.5 hours each week—that averages out to less than half an hour each day.  Teens can bring their completed tracking sheets to the library to get their ticket, or just bring their completed tracked sheets to the library on game day for express entry. 

Of course, no expects Kuna’s teens to be video game zombies.  Wii-wary adults will be happy to know that classic board games like Battleship turn out to be just as popular as the latest Nintendo fad.  (We’re not kidding–just stop by on a game day to see for yourself…) 

Bummed that you missed the first Wii Read game day? No worries, since there will be two more game parties this summer.  If you or your teen (ages 13-17 can participate) wants to join in, just sign up for the summer reading program at Kuna Library anytime, grab a tracking sheet, and get going.  The next Wii Read game day will be Thursday, July 16 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the community room at Kuna Library.

Wii Read, Kuna’s first teen-targeted summer reading program, has been made possible in part by a grant from Wal-Mart and the Idaho Commission for Libraries.  The grant, which was created to spark creative ideas in youth library programming, allowed us to get the funding to buy the Wiis, projectors, projection screens, gaming mags, games, and accessories required.  With three Wiis in one room, there’s playing time for dozens of Kuna teens.

There’s a pretty sizeable percentage of the population that views a love of reading as something you’re either born with or you’re not.  I’d have to respectfully disagree.  Sure, some kids take to books like other kids take to, well, candy.  But there’s room to encourage even the most reluctant readers to find their place in the world of books.  Here’s five ways that you can make reading more fun:

Let Kids Pick Their Own Reading Materials

Choosing their own books is seriously empowering for kids.  Whether they pick a winner or a real stinker (yeah, bad books are out there…), they start to develop a sense of what they like and don’t like.  This encourages kids to view reading as a big experiment where they’re in control of the outcome.  But what happens if all your child wants to read is Goosebumps and graphic novels?  Don’t sweat it.  As long as the material is appropriate to your family’s values and your child is reading—what could be bad about that?  Besides, I’ve yet to meet a full-fledged adult who considers Goosebumps to be Pulitzer Prize material; we really do grow out of it.

Ignore Reading Levels

Some reluctant readers don’t want to be judged on their abilities, so they stay away from reading out of fear.  What happens?  They don’t get the practice they need, and their reading levels really do suffer.  By letting your child read at the level they’re comfortable with–even if it’s lower or higher than you feel is appropriate–you help them learn to read for pleasure.  When your child is ready to more on, they will.

Incorporate Books into Play Activities

 There are thousands of book-related activities that go beyond, “Hey! What did you think of that one?”   Kids can create art projects around their favorite characters, make up new rules for board games based on their latest read, you can let them decorate their morning pancakes in Slytherin colors, or go to Arctic Circle in full Fancy Nancy regalia… Get creative and have fun.  Reading goes beyond books and bedtime, and those extra activities help kids build on what they learn in books.

Read Yourself

Despite how much they may love Wolverine or Kobe Bryant, you’re still the biggest role model in your child’s life.  If you show an interest in books, there’s a really good chance your kids will absorb and reflect this. If curling up with a book (or listening to audiobooks in the car) is a regular family activity, kids get the message that reading is a normal, enjoyable way to pass the time.

Seek out Exciting New Books 

Sure, you may have loved Hatchet growing up (and trust me, lots of kids still do), but if your young one still needs to be convinced that books are a viable alternative to Wii, going with something shiny and new doesn’t hurt.  Consider looking into graphic novels, which are written in a comic book style but contain complex plots and character development. (And quite a lot of actual words, too.)  Twisted Journeys are a graphic novel twist on the Choose Your Own Adventure format of the 1980s that’s still hugely popular.  Or, let your child browse the New Books sections in the Young Adult or Children’s section. 

What ideas and tips have worked for you?  Drop into the comments and share your ideas and success stories!

Summers are packed with time for creative projects and play… if you’re a kid.  If you’re a parent? Not so much.  So to help keep your digital kids engaged, we’ll be posting Kids’ Activity Round-ups every Tuesday, all summer long.  These posts will link you to fun online activities, cool project ideas, and easy games. Best of alll, every idea will be budget-friendly!

Without further ado, bring on the fun!  This week, we’d like to share some cool online activities that are created with kids in mind.

You may have seen Ben 10 Alien Force on TV, but have every played the video game? Better yet, how about creating your own customized Ben 10 video game level?  If you’re game, head over to the Ben 10 Game Creator, featured on the Cartoon Network site.  On this site, you can create your own video game level using templates, or really challenge yourself by starting from scratch! And watch out—it may look easy at first, but creating a video game that’s playable and fun is more of a challenge than it appears.  Once you’re done, you can save your game for free to Cartoon Network’s Game Gallery and challenge friends to play your course.  (And if you’ve never seen Ben 10 Alien Force, don’t worry—no prior knowledge is needed to have fun with this.)

Okay, how about something a little more low key?  Try building a sand castle with Curious George over at PBS Kids.  This fun activity is a cool way to introduce younger children to online games and helps them work on fine motor skills.

Looking for something even simpler?  Try learning a new card game!  For just a couple of dollars, a brand new deck of playing cards can provide hours of fun.  The U.S. Playing Card site offers easy to understand instructions for games like War and Go Fish, as well nas newer games like Slapjack and Rolling Stone. The instructions are kid-friendly and there’s something for even the youngest kids. (Like Tossing Cards in a Hat… 🙂 ).  Also, even though this is a corporate website, there’s virtually no advertising on the page–a big plus.

Try ’em out and let us know what you think—and drop your own suggestions for fun, safe kids’ sites in the comments!

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Summer reading sign-ups have only just begun, but the buzz is through the roof!  Now, we want to hear from you: what are looking forward to this summer?

Computer on desk Now that we’re rolling, it’s time to pay some attention to the elephant in the room: what good is a library blog?

Three Great Reasons for a Library Blog

The first, and most honest, answer would be easy: to provide library patrons with another path to useful and interesting information. (That’s right: 80,000 books in the collection just aren’t enough…) That’s really our primary goal. By blogging this information, we can be timely and topical without dragging you down in endless links and outdated pages. We’ll share activity ideas and resources for kids, how-to information (What do you want to learn? Let us know in the comments!), info on new library books, book suggestions, and up-to-date information on upcoming programs.  Because entries are time-stamped, a blog makes it easy to find what you need and get the heck out as quickly as possible.

Blogging’s Really All About You

There’s another, sneakier reason why we’re blogging this summer, though. By most definitions, the key aspect that sets a blog apart from a static website is the ability to interact. And that’s exactly what we want! By creating blog posts with comments turned on, every topic opens up for conversation, opinions, and ideas . (That’s where you come in.) Now, instead of talking at you, we can talk with you and figure out what kind of information serves you best.  So please feel free to dive into the comments at any time and share your thoughts, anonymous or otherwise.  Good communities make good blogs, and that’s the bottom line.

Straight to Your Inbox: The Hidden Secret of Blogs

There’s one more aspect to blogging that I have to bring up:  it’s a completely convenient way to spread information.  Blog posts can be mailed (for free) straight to your email inbox.  You can subscribe (for free) via an RSS reader that will show you all new posts every time you log into it.  You can also just check the site anytime you want (for free—notice a theme here?) and see what’s new.  Blogs make it easy not just for writers but for readers to find what they need quickly and easily.

So what’s the point of a summer reading blog? We’re here to extend the learning, the resources, and the creativity even further—straight into your home, at your convenience. We hope you continue reading and contributing your thoughts as we go.

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