October 24th, 2016

Literary Halloween Costumes (on a budget)

I always, always, always wait until the last minute when it comes to Halloween costumes. It crosses my mind briefly in early September, but I wave it away, thinking I have plenty of time. Then the week before I’m scrambling to find anything that would look decent.

If you’re the same way, struggling to think of a smart, interesting, and affordable costume, look no further! We’ve got a few costumes sure to please any bookworm.

1. Lisbeth Salander from “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson
Who wouldn’t want to be the tough Lisbeth Salander? If you’ve ever read the books (or watched the movie), you know her look is recognizable. All you need is to wear all black, combat boots, some clip on jewelry and of course… the tattoo. Either use a temporary tattoo or find someone artistic to draw it on your back. Voila! You are the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo!

2. Moaning Myrtle from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Love Harry Potter, but want to stand out from all the Hermiones and Rons? What about trying everyone’s favorite ghost who haunts bathrooms: Moaning Myrtle! Get a school uniform or robe, glasses, and hang a (clean) toilet seat around your neck. For an extra touch, put some “teardrops” down your cheek.

3. “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway
The Old Man and the Sea is more than an Ernest Hemingway classic: it’s a perfect couple’s costume! If you don’t want to go all out with stage make-up, all you need is a cane to become the old man. If you’re the sea, wear all blue and tape paper fish to yourself, or if you’re really low-maintenance, get a blue shirt and write “C” in the middle.

4. “For Dummies” series
Everyone knows the iconic “For Dummies” series. Wear a yellow hat, a black shirt with “Halloween for dummies” and then yellow pants. Come prepared with a history of Halloween spiel, and tips on how to make the party you’re attending even better. Warning: you might get kicked out for being a know-it-all.

5. The Mouse from “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff
If you’re looking for a children’s costume, consider the iconic “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” book. Attach mouse ears (which you can make from cardboard or construction paper) to a headband, give them some whiskers, and have them carry around a huge cookie–either printed out, or make a stuffed cookie. Your kid will be the cutest one on the block.

If you’re looking for more inspiration, stop by your local CCPL branch and get re-introduced to some to your favorite books or find new ones. CCPL library staff offers expert recommendations either in-person or through our BookMate service which is available for teen as well as adult readers. With BookMate, you fill out a short survey and then one of our librarians will match you with 4-6 new titles. One of them could contain your next favorite character… or Halloween costume! We hope to see you soon!

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October 17th, 2016

Tips to Help Your Child Get Ready For Entering Kindergarten

Parent and childDid you know children who enter kindergarten ready to learn are more likely to read at or above grade level by the end of 2nd grade than those children who do not enter school ready to learn?
As your child’s first and most important teacher, it’s never too early to start preparing your child for school, and with the American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read Initiative, it’s easier than ever to help your child in fun and simple ways.

There are 5 early learning skills which have been recognized as essential in preparing children ages birth-4 for kindergarten: reading, writing, singing, talking, and playing. Helping your child master these skills doesn’t require any fancy equipment and can be easily incorporated into your daily routines.

Reading together helps children develop imagination and learn new words, so be sure to read new and favorite stories every day. Looking for a few new favorites? Stop in to any of our branches, and one of our reference librarians will be happy to suggest titles perfect for you and your child. Or, check out a book list on our website at cecil.ebranch.info for more recommendations.

Heading to the grocery store? Practice reading skills by making a grocery list with your child using words and pictures. As you find the items at the store, have your child cross them off the list.

Writing together helps children learn printed letters stand for spoken words and develops eye-hand coordination. Writing starts with scribbling. Use crayons, markers, and chalk on different kinds of paper, and experiment with making straight lines, curves, and circles.

Heading to the doctor? Bring paper and pencil and take turns drawing pictures with your child while you wait. Make sure your child signs his name, even if he is not yet sure how to form the letters correctly.

Singing together helps children develop listening skills and hear the different sounds in words. Sing familiar songs together like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to help your child hear different parts of words and learn sounds are alike and different.

Waiting at the bus stop? Songs can go wherever you go, and an enjoyable way to pass the time is by singing one of your favorites, or making up a new song together about the sights you see while waiting for the bus.

Talking together helps children hear how individual words sound and learn how words are used to express ideas. Infants and toddlers love to listen to and mimic silly sounds. Sharing these silly sounds with them is the beginning of the many conversations you will share.

Making dinner? Talk to your child as you do this household chore. Providing a play-by-play may seem boring to you, but no matter the age of your child, he/she loves to hear your voice and will develop vocabulary while listening and talking with you. Invite your child into the conversation by asking questions even if they’re not quite ready to answer.

Playing together helps children develop language skills and use imagination to solve problems, and it is important to play with a variety of materials both indoors and outdoors.

Looking for something to do on a rainy day? Develop listening skills and comprehension by playing simple direction following games, such as Simon Says. Be sure to take turns being the leader.

While learning at home can be fun, so is learning at the library. All of our programs for young children incorporate these early learning practices, and multiple branches are home to Cecil Station, interactive learning spaces where children and families can learn and play together. Be sure to visit today.

Whether at home or on the road, spending time reading, writing, singing, talking, and playing with your child is essential to helping him be ready for school when the time comes, whether it be this year, next year, or even the year after that. So, keep it simple, keep it easy, and most importantly, keep it entertaining.

Numerous picture books promote reading, writing, singing, talking, and playing, and the following are just a few of those which have recently won the Colorado Library for Early Literacy Award. All can be found at your local library.

Recommended Reading

book1Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier

Ladybug, Frog, Rabbit, Bear, and their friend, the Giant, share the delight and wonder of reading stories with and about each other.  Read this one for the sheer love of reading and be sure to follow the advice at the end to go out and read another.  (Reading)





The Things I Can DoThe Things I Can Do by Jeff Mack

Jeff is proud of all the things he can do and is inspired to write and illustrate a book listing them.  Readers will have a lot to examine on each page of Jeff’s book of accomplishments and will, hopefully, be inspired to pick up a pencil, crayon, marker, or pen of their own.  (Writing)




Nighty-Night Cooper

Nighty-Night Cooper by Laura Numeroff

Cooper is a kangaroo who just can’t sleep unless his mama sings him a special song. A sweet bedtime story filled with songs set to familiar tunes making it easy for children and their caregivers to sing together. (Singing)





Moo! by David La Rochelle

Using only the word ‘Moo,’ La Rochelle has successfully created a road trip to remember for a favorite barnyard friend in this action and adventure filled story sure to lead to interesting discussion. (Talking)




Nino Wrestles the WorldNino Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales

Nino is contentedly playing with his toys when, out of the corner of his eye, he spies something intriguing…a mask just like the ones typically worn by Lucha Libre wrestlers.  A playful story which encourages imaginative and creative play from beginning to end.  (Playing)