- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
Once again, world news has focused on a terrorist act, this time in Norway. The alleged shooter believes that his country should not tolerate anyone who comes to live there from mid-east countries. How do parents respond to such news?
One way is to be sure to teach young children about friendship and tolerance. Materials that can be checked out from the San José Public Library can aid in illustrating this lesson. I would like to highlight three books that can be used for this important task.
Margaret and Margarita, Margarita y Margaret is a picture book by Lynn Reiser that is in both English and Spanish. It is about two children that meet at a park. Although they do not speak each other's language, they have a great time and look forward to playing together in the park again.
Cat and Mouse, written by Tomek Bogacki, is the first in a series of picture books featuring the title characters. In this book, a kitten and a young mouse become friends, not knowing that they are supposed to be enemies. Their siblings also meet, and all play happily together.
And to Think That We Thought That We'd Never Be Friends was written by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. Starting with the children of one family and ending with the entire world, people discover how quickly they can end an argument and learn to be friends.
Come to your local public library and check out the resources available to parents and caregivers about teaching tolerance and friendship to young children!
If you’re looking for a light and lively read this summer, one that will take you away from the every day for awhile, try The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure, by Rachel Friedman. In it the author recounts her impulsive decision to live and work in Ireland on a four month visa, and how that led her to friendship and further voyages she would never otherwise have had, and finding inner strength she never suspected. The author’s writing style is very engaging, and carries you along.
After reading this book you might like to do some research of you own about what places you might like to visit. If you’re not quite sure where to start you might try some general travel guidebooks, such as The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World, Frommer's 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up, The 100 Best Affordable Vacations, or The Curmudgeon's Guide to--Child-free Travel: Exactly How and Precisely Where to Enjoy Idyllic Grownup Getaways.
If you already have some idea of where you want to go, look at guidebooks for specific locations, such as Ireland, Australia or South America, or guidebooks by such publishers as Frommers, Fodors, DK Eyewitness, National Geographic, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, etc.
If you just want to be an armchair traveler the library carries a multitude of travel DVDs for your viewing pleasure.
The day their life fell apart. Caitlin and her father have been trying to recover from that day, but it is SO hard. How do you put your life back together after your beloved older brother is killed in a school shooting? Caitlin, a 10-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome has been told that “closure” will help her to feel better, but she’s not sure where to find it. Her counselor at school believes she will find it when it’s time. In the meantime, Caitlin is learning how to feel empathy and how to be a good friend. Sometimes she feels like she’ll never “get it,” never understand how the confusing world around her works. In her unique and sometimes funny voice, Caitlin tells about her first friend, her love of drawing, and about trying to find closure. In this heartbreaking, yet hopeful book, the author touches on so many important lessons all of us would do well to learn. And as we see the world through the eyes of someone who might have a different view than we do, we have the opportunity to “get it” and to learn.
Okay for Now, by Gary Schmidt. It's 1968 and fourteen year old Doug Swieteck and his family have just moved to “stupid Marysville,” a small town in New York where he doesn’t think anything interesting or good will ever happen for him. Some things, though, are still the same: his brother’s “twisted criminal mind,” his father’s cruelty, and his mother’s beautiful smile. Doug tells the story of his family and of his gradual discovery that life in a small town, even one so far from Yankee stadium, can be pretty wonderful. He becomes good friends with feisty Lillian Spicer. A caring librarian, Mr. Powell, teaches Doug about drawing and painting. A couple teachers at his school take an interest in Doug and help him to see possibilities for himself. Sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, this book makes you care deeply for Doug and wonder how it’s going to turn out for him.
This book is also available as a book on cd and as a downloadable electronic audio book, wonderfully narrated by Lincoln Hoppe. For those of you who like to read on your computer or other eReading device, we also have an EPUB format of this book.
The Wednesday Wars, Schmidt's Newberry Honor winning book is a companion book to Okay for Now and also features Doug and his friends.
Iris and Walter and the Field Trip by Elissa Guest is a story about friendship and lost children. When the teacher, Miss Cherry decided to take her class on a field trip to the aquarium, her students got very excited. One of the rules was students have to hang onto their partner. If one gets lost, one has to stay where he/she is and the teacher will find him/her. When Iris was observing the penguins, she discovered that she lost Walter, her partner. She panicked and reported it to her teacher immediately. Together, they went to search for Walter and finally found him in front of the coral reef. This is a story with happy ending because Walter didn't run around; he just stayed where he was.
Another book about lost children is Around Town by Claire Llewellyn. This book teaches children ways to keep safe in stores, on the street, or in the park.
During this time when terrorism is back in the news, I have been thinking about the concepts of peace and friendship. How does someone teach a young child about peace, and the idea that all people can learn to get along? Sharing picture books is one way to do this. The San José Public Library has some excellent materials that can be checked out on these topics. Here are three recomendations.
For the very young child, Baby Faces by Margaret Miller is a good choice. Infants enjoy seeing pictures of babies, and this small book has photographs of babies of different nationalities. As children grow, they might enjoy We All Sing with the Same Voice, by J. Philip Miller. It is based on a Sesame Street song, showing that children around the world are alike at heart. My third recommendation is The Peace Book by Todd Parr. Brightly colored drawings illustrate various peaceful activities, such as learning a new language, making friends, and sharing a meal.
Bring the concepts of peace and friendship to your young child by checking out one or all of these books from San José Public Library!