I have very vivid memories of getting my first library card. We walked to the library from our school and I probably still have the card with my little 5 year old signature on it somewhere. That library is now a medical building, but I will always have fond memories of going there and taking out books. I was very excited to take my daughter to the library for the first time, and she loves going and looking through the great selection of kid’s books. Since February is National Library Lovers Month, I decided to share this fun book about a new librarian, as well as some great activities you can do with your family!
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The New LiBEARian is a new book written by Alison Donald and illustrated by Alex Willmore. When a group of children gather at the library for story time, they are worried when the librarian is late. They decide to search for her and soon come across several clues that lead them to a big bear! Deciding that this must be the new librarian, they ask the bear to read to them. When the librarian does appear, she figures out where the bear belongs.
This beautiful story brings reading to life and shows the magic that libraries hold within their walls. The story takes a fun twist at the end, leaving it open for readers to decipher. The colorful illustrations transport you right into the library with the kids. On my favorite page, the illustration even shows some of the worlds found in the books seeping into the reality of the library.
Having Fun with Libraries
Visit the Library – Take a trip to your local library! If you haven’t been there before, this is a great opportunity to teach kids about the rules of the library, sign them up for their own library card, and show them around. Talk to the librarian and get his or her recommendations on books that they enjoy. Find out about any special events or story times that they offer as well. Check out this post from Babywise Mom about teaching library etiquette to your toddler!
Being a LiBEARian – Create an easy bear mask so your kids can act out the story. Cut two eye holes into a paper plate. Have kids rip up a brown paper bag or a piece of brown, black or gray construction paper. Cover the paper plate in glue and have kids place the paper shreds onto the plate. Add a black nose and mouth with more construction paper or with a black marker. Attach the mask to a popsicle stick so kids can hold it up. My daughter loved roaming around the house, roaring like the bear in the book.
Be a Librarian!
Book Sort – Do your kids like to pull all the books off the shelves? Make it a learning opportunity! Have kids sort books by genre, color, or first letter of the title, depending on the age and skill level of your kids. You can work on a wide range of skills with this activity, plus encouraging kids to clean up their mess!
Dramatic Play – Whether you have several shelves full of books (guilty here!), or one well organized bookshelf, give kids a chance to play library in their own home. Have kids sort books on the shelves however they would like. Encourage them to pretend they are the librarian. Have them check books out or ask them to make recommendations of books you would enjoy. Ask them why they like certain books or what the books have in common. These activities not only help with practicing manners and social skills, but also help kids develop memory skills (being able to recall books and authors), as well as classification and identifying similarities and differences.
Creating Your Own Library – Library books are sorted by genres, age levels, categories and author names. Give kids the freedom to organize their own library with their own rules. Maybe they want to sort them by color, or by their likes and dislikes. Cut 2×12 rectangles out of construction paper and have kids decorate them and label them with the categories they’ve decided to sort by. Cover them in contact paper on both sides to make them sturdy and stick them on the shelves between the sections of books. You could also have kids decorate another rectangle with their name. Have them place this marker in between the books when they remove a book from the shelf, so they will remember where they took it from.
Bring the Book to Life!
Creative Writing – What would your child do if their favorite story came to life? What would they ask their favorite characters? This book is a great jumping off point for creative writing. Have kids tell their own story about a character from their favorite book showing up in the real world. For young kids, ask them these questions and have them tell you the story out loud.
Bear Hunt – Set up a hunt around your house with paper paw prints and clues. Cut out sets of paw prints from construction paper or cardstock. Create a trail around the house and write out clues for your kids to follow. You could even write out lines from their favorite books to encourage them to find those books in their libraries. Not only is this activity lots of fun, but it encourages kids to work on their problem solving skills and gets them moving!