Spring is upon us, and a fabulous way to celebrate the turning of the seasons and the miracle of nature is with the sumptuous read-aloud picture book, Miss Maple's Seeds. Through the warm and comforting narrative of grandmotherly Miss Maple and beautiful flowing illustrations, we are taken on her journey as she collects the orphan seeds that failed to sprout the last season and nurtures them for a second chance. “Take care, my little ones,” Miss Maple says, “for the world is big and you are small.” She spends the summer taking them on field trips, teaching them the best place to grow for each type of seed (a seed chart is provided with various seeds), and plants to avoid (the looming weeds). She keeps them safe and warm, telling them stories and singing songs throughout the winter. When spring arrives, they're ready to take their place in the big world. As she finds each the perfect new home, she reminds them that “even the grandest trees had to grow up from the smallest seeds.” A beautiful celebration of life, and a perfect read-aloud at any time - but especially for springtime or Earth Day!
By Joan Schimmels, Penworthy Sales Representative
Calling all crafters: March is National Craft Month! To celebrate, here’s a round-up of easy, low-cost crafting resources. Crafting and handmade projects are more popular than ever right now. Happy crafting this month – and beyond!
Yes, it's true! The frog is actually part of the bow that is needed to play the cello (fortunately not the animal, just the name of the part). It helps adjust the sound of the cello by tightening or loosening the strings. Frogs Play Cellos, part of the Did You Know series, is a very clever nonfiction title with quirky characters that entertain while relating facts and music trivia. Kids will not only learn about a variety of instruments, but also read snippets on cultural influences and musicians (for example, spoons are used in many cultures to make a beat and create harmony). The illustrations are a lot of fun, including a pig singing opera, John Lennon as the Walrus, and a variety of cool cats playing the horns. This would be a great title to support this year’s summer reading theme “Libraries Rock,” and I’ve heard from customers that the Did You Know series is massively popular with their young readers.
By Susan Frappier, Penworthy Representative
April is National Poetry Month! The observance was created by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 in order to celebrate and promote this expressive literary art form. There are a multitude of ways to celebrate in the library – here is a list of resources and program ideas to help you and your young readers get poetic:
To misquote a popular holiday movie, “The best way to spread cheer is giving hats for all to wear.” Hooray for Hat, one of the best read aloud and picture books of 2014 (according to the Huffington Post and NPR), has definitely made a statement with me. This cheerful book easily captures the eye due to its huge, bold text and bright illustrations. The story involves six animal friends who all seem to be having a grumpy day, but with the simple gesture of giving to one another, each of them finds their way back to happiness. And what could be a better cure for a grumpy mood than a delightfully silly hat?
This book is a great read aloud for story time, especially one focused on emotions. Little readers will love chiming in with each repetition of “Hooray for hat!” The author’s website offers a downloadable activity kit which includes lots of fun things such as a friendship card, coloring pages, story time suggestions, and a couple of different hat templates.
Kanisha Hines, Penworthy Sales Representative
Happy Library Lovers Month! You’re doubtless gearing up for an amazing and energizing Read Across America Day, so we’ve gathered a few helpful resources for you in addition to those provided by the NEA:
My Penworthy Pick is Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, by Caldecott Medal winner Jacqueline Briggs Martin. This large format picture book tells the compelling story of former professional basketball player-turned-farmer Will Allen. Growing up, Will helped his family grow healthy food for their dinner table. They had no car or TV, but always entertained friends and family with great food and fellowship. Will eventually settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he began his dream of teaching the world how to become urban farmers with some help from his secret recipe of compost and red wiggler worms. The result was Growing Power, Milwaukee's only urban farm. Will achieved his goal and was awarded a MacArthur "Genius Grant" in 2008 and the Theodore Roosevelt Award, the highest honor given by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, in 2012.
The story of Mr. Allen's passion for helping others is an engaging and truly motivational account of a great role model. The bright illustrations and spare, engaging text capture his enthusiasm for bringing good food to every table. This title would make a great prompt for discussions about healthy food, community, and social justice. A note from Mr. Allen himself and a list of resources to help young readers start their own gardens are included.
By Jim Huebner, Penworthy Sales Representative
“Read Aloud. Change the world.” World Read Aloud Day is almost here! We’ve compiled a list of useful resources to help make your WRAD celebration a success:
How to be a DJ in 10 Easy Lessons is a fun and straightforward guide for aspiring DJs. Readers interested in music and mixing will follow an easy-to-understand path to becoming a DJ, starting with a brief history of the art form. The book outlines basic equipment and software needed for startup, followed by music theory and counting beats and bars. From there, kids will learn about music mixing, blending, and scratching. Readers gain knowledge as they progress though the book with simple and clear instructions, engaging graphics, and helpful tips.
The layout makes the text easy to read, with paragraphs separated into highly visual sections, and broken up by fun images and helpful diagrams. A table of contents, glossary, index, and a "Useful Links" section are included. The author himself is a professional DJ and music producer, and teaches dance and arts workshops for youth internationally. This title is great for the upcoming 2018 Summer Reading theme "Libraries Rock," or for any kid interested in learning how to DJ, either for fun or as a potential career path.
By Katie Ratajczyk, Penworthy Sales Representative
If your school celebrates the 100th Day of School, it’s coming up fast! And it can be celebrated in the library or media center, too. Here are some fun ideas – many are free printables. And of course, our 100th Day Pinterest Board has many more suggestions for your perusal. Enjoy!
Penworthy works with schools and libraries across the country to provide Penworthy Prebound Books, library bound books, board books, and puppets.