Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ramona Quimby

These days we are fortunate to have a wide range of feisty heroines of their own realistic fiction series, from Junie B. Jones to Judy Moody to Clementine and so many more. However, back when 94-year-old Portland, Oregon native Beverly Cleary was a child, this was not the case!

After attending library school at the University of Washington, Cleary thought back to her own youth - ironically, she hated to read as a child - and decided to write the kind of books she wished she could give to her young patrons who felt the same way she had about books: down-to-earth stories about normal people living normal lives. Thus were Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby and her whole colorful cast of characters born.

You can read more about the life of this remarkable woman who changed the face of children's literature in her two memoirs, A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet.

Also, do take a look at the article
Ramona Quimby: The Mischievous Girl Next Door that talks more about Cleary's life, her characters' enduring popularity with fans 60 years after publication and the recent release of the movie Ramona and Beezus.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Internet safety

Want to learn more about how to keep your kids safe online? The Federal Trade Commission's OnGuard Online website has a section just for parents called Net Cetera. Order a free copy of their printed guide or view and download it online.

Check out books from the
public library to read together by searching using the subject header: Internet -- Safety measures -- Juvenile literature.

One important point to keep in mind is that scare tactics don't work! A better approach is balanced, realistic education and ongoing conversations.

The internet offers endless opportunities for learning and exploration, but like any other tool it's important to learn how to use it safely and effectively.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The intrigue and excitement of the Crusades

With all the news about present day conflicts in the Middle East, it is important to understand the historical background to these modern disputes. The Crusades continue to exert a grip on our imaginations, as evidenced by the popularity of books such as Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.

School Library Journal has put together a short reading list about the Crusades for grades 2-9 that includes non-fiction in both graphic (comic) and traditional text formats, as well as historical fiction.

One way to get children hooked on history is exposing them to times of great drama and intensity - that is the perfect antidote to the common complaint that "history is boooring!" It's a question of finding well-written books such as these about exciting topics. Why not give these a try?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Exceptional websites for children

The Association for Library Service to Children maintains a listing of Great Web Sites for Kids ages 14 and under. This site was recently updated with additional sites of exceptional merit. They cover a wide range of topics, from books and authors to science, math, history, social studies and more. If you're trying to stay cool indoors with our impending heatwave, why not take a look?