Book Review: Smek for President by Adam Rex

smekIt’s been a couple of years since Gratuity “Tip” Tucci and her alien pal J.Lo saved the world (see Rex’s earlier novel, The True Meaning of Smekday), and adjusting to everyday life has not been easy for them. J.Lo would like to visit the other Boov, now happily settled on one of Saturn’s moons, but he (yes, J.Lo is male) is still persona non grata with the Boov. Tip, meanwhile, is chafing under her mom’s new and improved parenting style and wishing for a little of the freedom she enjoyed back in her world-saving days. Determined to go to New Boovworld and explain his role in saving the Earth to Captain Smek, J.Lo modifies Slushious, their flying car, for space travel. He and Tip head for New Boovworld . . . without Tip’s mother’s knowledge or permission. Of course, when they arrive, things don’t go exactly as planned. Smek, struggling through a grueling presidential race, decides to imprison J.Lo as a political move to boost his popularity. Tip escapes, but now she is lost on a strange planet with no way home and no idea how to help her friend. Can Tip rescue J.Lo and get home? And what will her mother say about the whole situation?

I really love The True Meaning of Smekday (which is, by the way, the basis for the animated movie Home which comes out this spring). This sequel has the same delightful humor and touches of deeper social commentary.  I read the whole book in two big gulps, and I hope that someday we’ll see more of Tip and J.Lo soon!

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Civil War Program for Homeschool Families at The Buckeye Lake Library

Calling all Homeschoolers!  Join us at the Buckeye Lake Library on Monday, March 16th at 1:00 p.m. for an informative Civil War Program.  Did you know that 3,932 men and boys from Licking County served in the Civil War with the Union Army?  Of that number a total of 517 soldiers died.  Doug Stout, Heroes Project Coordinator for the Licking County Library, will be presenting this program and sharing stories about some of these local soldiers.  Doug will also be dressed in a Union Uniform.

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What Are Graphic Novels?

Unlike what they may sound like, graphic novels are not books with adult content unsuitable for kids.  Graphic novels are stories told in comic book form but thicker and bound differently.  Some may simply be several issues of a comic book bound together.  Others are only published this way and may contain one entire story or be part of a series.  Although there are titles out there that are not appropriate for children, there are many kid-friendly titles in the library’s children’s collection.

Graphic novels are a great resource for the reluctant reader.  With a lot of the story being told in pictures and the comic styling, they appeal in a way that ordinary print might not.  If you are worried that the stories are not of good quality, fear not dear reader!  There are many wonderful stories and even lessons to be learned in graphic novels.  Browse the graphic novels in the children’s section at any of our locations or check out the list of recommendations on this site: http://atyourlibrary.org/connectwithyourkids/reading-together/best-graphic-novels-children .

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Book Review: Red Knit Cap Girl Series by Naoko Stoop

Red Knit Cap Girl and her forest friends have many fun adventures.  In her first book, Red Knit Cap Girl, she and her friends try to find a way to talk to the Moon.  Owl has a hint, but Red Knit Cap Girl has to come up with an idea on her own.  With help from her friends, will Red Knit Cap Girl be able to talk to the Moon?

In her second story, Red Knit Cap Girl to the Rescue, Red Knit Cap Girl and her friends are playing with items made from newspaper when they discover a lost polar bear.  Red Knit Cap Girl uses a newspaper hang glider to rescue Polar Bear Cub.  She asks advice from the Moon on finding the little polar bear’s family.  Then, Red Knit Cap Girl and her friends make a boat from newspaper so she can take Polar Bear Cub to his home in the North.  Will Red Knit Cap Girl and White Bunny be able to get Polar Bear Cub home?  They have the help from the light of the Moon, but there are stormy seas ahead.  Perhaps they will have help from some new friends as well.

In her latest story, Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree, Red Knit Cap Girl’s friend Squirrel finds a surprise for everyone, a hole in a tree trunk.  As they wonder what to put in this nook, Red Knit Cap Girl decides to use it as place to keep her book safe and dry.  It also means everyone will be able to read the book.  Soon everyone is adding books and more so everyone can enjoy the nook.   Even Owl and the Moon add their own touch to this special place.  But will Sly Fox learn her lesson after stealing a book from the nook?

Naoko Stoop’s sweet stories and characters are enhanced by her beautiful illustrations.  She uses acrylic, ink, and pencil on plywood for her book illustrations.  She also uses found materials such as plywood and brown paper bags for her paintings.

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Mock Caldecott Reading Club

2014-12-03 13.30.28Throughout 2014, we’ve been looking at all of the newly-published picture books that have arrived on our shelves, wondering which ones will be recognized as the best of the year.  We’ve picked 24 of our favorites, and now it’s your turn!  Join our Mock Caldecott Reading Club — it’s easy!  Just read the books we have selected, vote on your favorites, then come party with us on February 7th at noon to see which books our community likes best (and which books the Caldecott Committee likes best)!

Stop by the library to pick up a reading log and get started!  The staff in the Children’s Department will be happy to answer your questions.

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Ho, Ho, Ho!

santaIt’s his busy time of year, but Santa Claus is fitting a visit to the Licking County Library into his schedule!  He’ll be stopping by several of our locations, so grab your camera and your wishlist and join us for a visit with the jolly old elf himself.

Main Library: Tuesday, December 2nd, 6:00-7:45 p.m.

Buckeye Lake: Tuesday, December 9th, 5:00-6:30 p.m.

Hebron: Tuesday, December 2nd, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Hervey Memorial (Utica): Wednesday, December 3rd, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

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Why Story Time?

Right now at the Licking County Library, we’re well into our Fall Story Time Session.  Story Time happens at every LCL location, and we’ve been offering Story Time programming for a hundred years now!  Ever stopped to wonder why?

Perhaps you think of Story Time as an entertaining program for children, to give their parents a little break.  Well, we do hope that our Story Times are an entertaining experience, but they’re so much more than that!  Our story time presenters are trained in early literacy — helping children learn the pre-reading skills that will prepare them for school success.  Being part of the Story Time group is a great way to learn how to spend time around other children and make new friends.  When we’re singing songs, children are learning about rhyming sounds and about how sounds make up words.  When we’re working on a craft project, children are developing the fine motor skills that they will eventually use to write and draw, as well as developing creativity and problem-solving skills.  When we’re reading a book, children are learning about how books work — how to hold a book and turn the pages, that words on a page translate to stories and ideas, and that reading is an enjoyable experience.  Even playing with toys and working puzzles in the library after Story Time is a great way to develop creativity and motor skills, and to learn about sharing and helping others.

Of course, a trip to Story Time once a week is just the beginning when it comes to early literacy for your child, but that’s why Story Time is also for parents.  At Story Time, you can find new books to share with your child, new rhymes and fingerplays to do, and new songs to sing together.  While you’re at the library, why not ask a librarian to help you find some books to fuel your child’s latest interest?  You are your child’s first teacher, and we want Story Time to be an important part of your toolkit when it comes to helping him or her grow and develop every day!

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Book Review: The Blood Guard

bloodguardThe Blood Guard by Carter Roy is the first book in an action-packed middle-grade series.

Ronan Truelove thought he had a pretty normal life. Sure, his mom kept his schedule packed with extracurriculars like fencing and taekwondo, but he figures she just wants him to be well-rounded so he can get into a good college. And yeah, there was that weird fire at his house a year or so ago, the one the authorities ended up calling a freak accident, but that sort of thing could have happened to anyone. But on the day his mom pulls him out of school and drives off, tailed by a couple of aggressive SUVs, everything Ronan thinks he knows about his life starts to change. In the course of that high-speed car chase, Ronan finds out that his mother is a member of an ancient fighting force known as the Blood Guard, who exist to protect 36 pure souls whose existence balances the levels of good and evil in the universe. And Ronan is being trained to follow in her footsteps. As the two evade the mysterious bad guys who are chasing them, Ronan’s mom tells him that his father has disappeared, their house is no longer safe, and he must get on a train bound for Washington D.C., where another member of the Blood Guard would meet up with him and keep him safe. Unfortunately, things don’t go exactly as planned. Ronan will soon be on the adventure of his life, accompanied by a cheeky teenage pickpocket named Jack, and Greta, a scrappy acquaintance from a previous school. Pursued by strangers who mean them harm, can they get to safety? Is safety even an option for Ronan any more, now that he knows about the Blood Guard?

This a great, fast-paced read. In tone, it’s very similar to the Percy Jackson series — the same wry humor in the face of fantastical danger. It’s the first book in a projected series, and it’s available for checkout through your library system.  If you are looking for an action-packed read, give this book a try!

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Going back to school? Don’t forget your library card!

It’s that time of year again: time for a fresh start, time to go back to school!  Whether you’re a student or a teacher, remember, the library has great resources for you this year!  I’m sure you know that the library has books for all ages, on all different topics.  Whether you’re a student needing to research a paper or write a book report, or a teacher looking for materials to support the curriculum, the library can help!

Teachers, did you know that you can request a Classroom Collection and the librarians will assemble books on your selected topic?  Click on “Classroom Collections” at the top of this page for more information!

Students, have you ever taken a look at our databases?  These are online resources that can help you in many different ways!  We have online encyclopedias, resources to help you find articles from newspapers and magazines, books that you can read online, and more!  Click on “I Want to Know…” at the top of this page to see a list of databases.

These are just a few ways that the library can help you this school year.  Stop by and see us for more information!

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Featured Site of the Week: PBS Kids

Every week of Summer Reading, we’re featuring a fun and free science, technology, engineering, or math website.  For our final week, we’re featuring the math games on PBS Kids.  You may already be familiar with the tons of great games on this site, but be sure to check out these math games featuring favorite characters like Clifford, Curious George, and The Cat in the Hat!

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