Big Kids

On President's Day Don't Forget the First Ladies!

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The third Monday in February we celebrate our Presidents. 

Let's also celebrate the President's wives, daughters and sisters that were America's First Ladies!  

 

From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama, there have been 44 first ladies.

Martha Washington portraitMichelle Obama portrait

Here are some fun facts about the women who really ran the White House.

dolley madison portraitDolley Madison (#4) was well known for saving important documents and the portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart during the War of 1812.  The portrait is 62 inches by 97 inches!  You can view this famous painting at the Smithsonian .  She was also hostess for the previous President Thomas Jefferson, whose wife had died many years before.  

Lucy Hayes portraitLucy Hayes (#19) was from Ohio and started the first Easter Egg Roll in 1877.

frances folsom cleveland portraitFrances Folsom (#22 and #24) married Grover Cleveland in the first wedding ever held in the White House in 1886.

caroline harrison portraitCaroline Harrison (#23) was an artist who helped decorate the first Christmas tree in the White House in 1889. Mrs. Harrison was also responsible for bringing electricity to the White House.  

Pat Nixon portraitPat Nixon (#37) was the first First Lady to wear pants in public.

Hillary Clinton portraitHillary Clinton (#42) was the only First Lady to be elected to public office. She served two terms as United States Senator from New York. Hillary was also the first to host a webcast from the White House.  

Eight Presidents were Ohioans!  Canton, OH is home to the National First Ladies Library in America, the only one in the United States.  It is the former home of William and Ida McKinley (President #25) and features rotating exhibits in their home and the education center next door.

Happy Mr. and Mrs. Presidents Day!

Dragons Everywhere!: Fiery Stories For Ages 4 and up

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dragons love tacosDragons are everywhere!  There have been many great picture books published in the last couple of years that explore all aspects of dragon lives.  If you love dragons, check these out!

 

 

 

 

  • Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin 
  • Me and My Dragon by David Biedrzcki
  • How to Be Friends With a Dragon by Valerie Gorbachev
  • Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el
  • King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bentley 
  • Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light
  • Lovabye Dragon by Barbara Joosse
  • The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water by Gemma Marino
  • Waking Dragons by Jane Yolen

Juvenile Fiction Selection: The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry

Wyatt Palmer is an eighth-grader at Culver Middle School in Miami, Florida and along with all his classmates is on his way to Washington, DC.  This trip is supposed to be full of museum and monument tours but turns into an adventure that they could never have imagined, and not in a good way.  On the plane from Miami to DC Wyatt's best friend Matt becomes suspicious of the strange men sitting in the seat behind them. Determined to find out what they are up to Matt gets a hold of one of their bags and steals a small box that he thinks might be a detonator.  The boys draw way too much attention to themselves and the strange men, and end up almost getting kicked off the trip and that's just the beginning.  Soon the strange men are in pursuit of them and what they stole.  The boys, with the help of Wyatt's crush Suzana, are in a race to keep themselves from getting caught and stop the two men before they can follow through with their presumed attack on the White House, all while trying to slip under the radar of their teachers.  This is a laugh-out-loud story and will be sure to please even the most reluctant of readers.  (Grades 5-7 School Library Journal)

Get Into Nature!

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While planning your family's summer activities remember to include the Metro Parks summer programs into your calender. Free family programs include hiking, canoeing, fishing and storytime activities for preschoolers.  You can access the Metro Parks program and events calender at http://www.metroparks.net/ 

Before you begin your adventure at the park, stop by the Upper Arlington Public Library for some great books on nature.  Here are some suggestions to get you started…

Gardening for Kids

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Now is a great time to get started on a gardening project. It's great exercise, you get to play in the dirt, and you can learn some things about nature! There are lots of gardening activities to try, from growing your own fruits and vegetables to attracting birds, butterflies, and other wildlife to your backyard. Don't worry if you don't have much outdoor space - lots of gardening projects don't need much space at all.

Check out the titles below to get started on your gardening adventure!

Get to know John Rocco!

Sarah's picture

Are you a fan of the cover art for Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, and The Heroes of Olympus series? 

Image of The Lightning Thief book cover  Image of The Red Pyramid book cover Image of The Lost Hero book cover

Then discover the illustrator, John Rocco, who has also written several books of his own, including Blackout, a 2012 Caldecott Honor book.

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to hear John Rocco give a presentation at the Mazza Weekend Conference. He was such an entertaining speaker, and some of his more memorable stories involved a shellfishing boat, Whoopi Goldberg, the movie Shrek, and his childhood with a lot of curly hair.

To learn more about this talented author/illustrator, visit his website or check out some of his books below:

Fractured Fairy Tales

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You probably know the storyline of a few fairy tales, like Cinderella, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Little Red Riding Hood, and The Princess and the Pea. If you like those tales, you might want to try reading some fractured fairy tales.

What is a fractured fairy tale? It is a fairy tale that has been changed in some way from the original tale and given a twist:

  • It might be told from a different character’s point of view. In Nobody Asked the Pea by John Warren Stewig, we hear the tale of The Princess and the Pea through the eyes of various characters, including the pea.
  • The author might change the seting of the tale, like the story of Three Triceratops Tuff by Stephen Shaskan. Instead of taking place on a bridge, this version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff takes place in the Cretaceous period, where three dinosaur brothers must outsmart Tyrannosaurus Rex in order to get some food.
  • It might take a character from an original tale and put him or her in a new story. In I Thought This Was a Bear Book by Tara Lazar, Baby Bear has to help Prince Zilch from Planet Zero get back to his own book.  
  • The ending might be different from the original tale's ending, such as this version of Little Red Riding Hood -  Red Riding Hood and the Sweet Little Wolf by Rachael Mortimer. Little Wolf, who doesn't want to be a Big Bad Wolf, is sent to catch dinner and meets Red Riding Hood along the way and together they come up with a solution
  • It might be a mash-up of various fairy tales, like The Great Fairy Tale Disaster by David Conway. The Big Bad Wolf is tired of blowing down houses and tries to find a relaxing fairy tale, but ends up making a big mess for Cinderella, Rapunzel, and other fairy tale characters.
  • They are often laugh-out loud funny, like Bigfoot Cinderrrrrella by Tony Johnston. A dashing Bigfoot prince searches for his Bigfoot princess. Rrrrrella would be a perfect match, but first she must get past her ugly stepsisters.

 

There are so many fairy tale adaptations to choose from! Click here for more fun (and usually hilarious) tales.

 

 

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