Friday, May 25, 2007

What? A Bad Day?

"When you think things are bad, when you feel sour and blue, when you start to get mad... You should do what I do," wrote Dr. Seuss in Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?. In this book, we meet an old man who instructs us that there is always someone worse off than us. But no matter who we are, we all have bad days.

One of my favorite books for children on this subject is:

Mean Soup by Betsy Everitt. In this book, Horace is having a terrible day and arrives home feeling very mean. Lucky for Horace, mom knows just what to do to make it better - they'll make "mean soup"!

Other popular books on this subject are Dinah's Mad, Bad Wishes by Barbara M. Joose;

When Sophie Gets Angry - Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang (1999).
"A young girl is upset and doesn't know how to manage her anger but takes the time to cool off and regain her composure."

Sometimes I'm Bombaloo by Rachel Vail, illustrated by Yumi Heo (2001).
"When Katie Honors feels angry and out of control, her mother helps her to be herself again."

Numerous books have been written for young children on dealing with emotions such as anger, feeling sad, and other difficult feelings. But what about when it is the adult in their lives that is having a bad day? It can be confusing or scary when mom, dad or the caregiver is having a bad day. While it's unrealistic to expect parents and caregivers to be happy and always having a good day, there are ways to talk about your feelings with your small child. This can help them recognize their own emotions and begin learning how to manage them. Here are a few picture book suggestions that discuss this very situation:

When Mommy Was Mad by Lynne Jonell, illustrated by Petra Mathers (2002).
"A young boy helps his mother realize how her bad mood is affecting everyone in the family."

When Owen's Mom Breathed Fire by Pija Lindenbaum, translated by Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard (2006).
"Owen wakes up one morning to find that his mother has turned into a dragon!" This book uses humor to relate a child's experience with his grumpy mom.

And often that's just what it takes - a little bit of humor to turn a bad day into a great one!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Feeling Good & Ready to Learn

We all have feelings - all the time. Most of us only pay attention to our feelings when they change suddenly or are very pleasant or very negative. But emotions are very powerful - and they exist for a reason. By experiencing and responding to negative emotions such as fear, disgust, or pain, we may be trying to avoid danger. And without positive feelings such as joy - life would be a much different experience. Our relationships, work performance and health would begin to suffer. This is true for babies, as well as adults.

When infants and children feel loved and well cared for, their brains produce higher levels of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin enhances neural connections in the brain. But when infants and children feel stress, it increases their levels of the hormone cortisol. When cortisol levels rise for lengthy periods, it inhibits the transmission of serotonin, and thus limits the connections the brain needs for learning. [From Rethinking the Brain: New Insights Into Early Development by Rima Shore (NY: Families and Work Institute, 1997 for more information.) cited in Every Child Ready to Read training materials.]

Preparing children for school success includes much more than learning their ABCs. Getting a good start in life includes healthy social and emotional development for young children. This in turn helps get them "ready to learn."

For additional information on the social, emotional development of babies and toddlers, see Right From Birth: Building Your Child's Foundation for Life: Birth to 18 Months by Craig T. Ramey, Ph.D. and Sharon L. Ramey, Ph.D. (NY: Goddard Press, 1999.)

Touchpoints Birth to Three: Your Child's Emotional and Behavioral Development
by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. with Joshua Sparrow. (Cambridge: Da Capo Lifelong, 2006.)

For further suggestions, please feel free to ask a librarian!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Celebrate Moms!

Sons and daughters, young and old, celebrate their mothers today on Mother's Day. Here are a few book suggestions to celebrate Mom today and every day of the year:

My Mommy is Magic by Carl Norac, illustrated by Ingrid Godon.

"A child lists things a mommy does, such as chasing monsters away, that show she is magic, even if she does not have a wand or magic hat."

What Grandmas Can't Do by Douglas Wood, pictures by Doug Cushman.

"Lists all of the things a grandmother cannot do, such as baking your favorite cookies by herself, or opening her purse without finding gum or candy." Celebrate those grandmothers too!

Mom Spa: 75 relaxing ways to pamper a mother's mind, body, and soul by Jennifer "Gin" Sander and the MomSpa team, Lindsay Arfsten and Deina Johnson.

Relax and enjoy your day!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

May Spotlight

Each month the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library will be putting the spotlight on a different topic related to early literacy, children's literature, parenting or a variety of other topics concerning the youngest children in our community. May's Spotlight is on Your Child's Social & Emotional Development. Visit our Birth to Six web page and you'll find selected books, articles and websites relating to this topic.

One of the featured sites of the month comes from Talaris Research Institute. According to their website, "Talaris Research Institute works to improve the social, emotional and cognitive development of children from the prenatal period through age five by providing parents with tools to raise their children effectively." Talaris has partnered with PBS to prepare short one-minute videos on topics relating to coping with stress and paying attention to a child's emotions. To view the Parenting Counts videos - click here.

For further information on this topic, don't hesitate to ask the Youth Services Librarians, 541-766-6794 or leave us a comment on this blog.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Dinosaurs at the Library

Dinosaurs are one of the most popular subjects for picture books among young children. As Youth Services Librarians, we get daily requests for books about dinosaurs. The love for dinosaurs begins early and - for many - never ends! That's one reason why our newest Youth Services Librarian, Robin, placed dinosaur books on display in the Children's area of the Corvallis Library this month.

Print motivation is one of the six early literacy skills defined in Every Child Ready to Read - a joint early literacy program between the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children (a division of the American Library Association). Print motivation is a child's interest in and enjoyment of books. A child with print motivation enjoys being read to, plays with books, pretends to write, asks to be read to and likes trips to the Library. What better way to connect a young child to a love of books and the Library than with a subject he or she may already love so much - dinosaurs! You never know, you may have a future paleontologist on your hands!Here are a few of our picture book favorites:

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague.

A fun way to teach table manners with dinosaur fans - "no rude noises" and all.

Tyson the Terrible by Diane and Christyan Fox.

Three young dinosaurs are afraid when they hear Tyson the Terrible approach, until they meet the young tyrannosaurus for themselves.

Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs by Byron Barton

"In prehistoric days there were many different kinds of dinosaurs, big and small, those with spikes and those with long, sharp teeth." This one is good for toddlers and beginning dinosaur fans.

Dinosaurumpus by Tony Mitton, illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees.

"A rhyming tale of Triceratops, Brontosaurus, and even Tyrannosaurus gathering at the swamp to dance." Get ready to tap those toes, stomp, wiggle and dance!

For more suggestions, see the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library's Dinosaur Picture Books list.