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Holiday STEM: Rotten Pumpkins!

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Rotten PumpkinWhat do you with your Jack-O-Lantern, once Halloween is over? Turn it into a science experiment!

Rotten Pumpkin: a Rotten Tale in 15 Voices by David M. Schwartz shows readers what happens when a pumpkin is left to rot and explains each step of the decomposition process. Not for the squeamish, this book shows close up photos of molds, slime molds, yeast, parasites and other organisms that are attracted to a pumpkin’s rotting flesh. Gross! But watching a pumpkin rotting on your own porch is also a great way to encourage children to ask questions, make predictions, observe and draw conclusions. A teacher’s guide is included.

So, let that pumpkin rot! And if you need help answering your child’s questions about what’s happening, check these resources for answers and more ideas on what you can do with a rotting pumpkin science experiment. -Teresa

What happens to a rotting pumpkin? (from Kids Activities Blog)

Exploring Decomposition with Rotten Pumpkin (from Growing with Science)

Yuck! A Big Book of Little Horrors by Robert Snedden

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies

The Magic School Bus Meets the Rot Squad by Linda Beech

What is a Fungus? By D.M. Souza


50 Halloween Craft and Activity Ideas We Love

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halloween-crafts-and-activities-for-preschool-It’s the week of Halloween, and the beginning of a busy holiday season- especially if you have active kids at home. So what’s a parent to do on these cool, rainy days as you anticipate a fun night of trick or treating? Why not try some “Monster Math“, create a “Masking Tape Mummy” or play “Ghost Bottle Bowling“? Or enjoy some scrumptious no-bake Spider cookies with your kids? One of my favorite early education blogs No Time for Flashcards recently posted 50 Halloween Craft Ideas for Preschool (there are also some great ideas for toddler age kids).

I’m not naturally crafty, but all the suggestions here have such easy step by step instructions and photos, even I’m not intimidated. For example, this Frankenstein craft requires a toilet paper roll, some markers, a set of googly eyes, 2 golf tees, glue and scissors. Simple and cute! You can keep your little ones busy learning and playing for hours. (Thanks to Allison McDonald of No Time for Flashcards for allowing us to share these fun ideas).

Have a Happy Halloween from all of us at Cedar Mill Library!  -Rebecca

National Bullying Prevention Month: Resources for Parents

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BullyingresourcesparentsGrowing up in the ’70’s, we had a neighborhood bully who shouted insults and threw rocks at us as we biked around. Although Johnny lived just down the street, we didn’t see him much except for an occasional appearance in church on Sunday mornings. My brothers and I tried to ignore him- he was big, mean, and often seemed bored and lonely. I don’t remember ever telling an adult.  I don’t know why he stopped, just that he (thankfully) did. As a parent of two young boys, I know they will likely deal with teasing and/or bullying at some point. Today the issue of bullying has transformed as cyber bullying (using technology to bully others online) has become more prevalent. Fortunately for families and educators there are many resources out there. Here are some great online resources, as well as books and videos you can find at Cedar Mill Library.  -Rebecca

Online Resources:

How to Talk About Bullying

Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center

Oregon State Laws on Bullying

Scholastic Parents Guide to Bullying

Ten Ways to Nurture Tolerance to Reduce Bullying by Dr. Michele Borba


My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig: A girl confides to her mother that her best friend is treating her badly, and together they figure out what to do about it. Includes a note to parents and teachers, as well as related resources.

Jake’s Best Thumb by Ilene Cooper: When Jake goes to kindergarten, a bully teases him about sucking his thumb, but Jake discovers that everyone–even bullies–needs some help being brave.

Say Something by Peggy Moss: A child who never says anything when other children are being teased or bullied finds herself in their position one day when jokes are made at her expense and no one speaks up.

Girl Wars: 12 strategies that will end female bullying by Cheryl Dellasega

The bully, the bullied and the bystander: from preschool to high school: how parents and teachers can break the cycle of violence by Barbara Coloroso

Bully blocking: six secrets to help children deal with teasing and bullying by Evelyn M. Field

The bullies: understanding bullies and bullying by Dennis Lines

Cyberbullying: activities to help children and teens stay safe in a texting, twittering, social networking world by Vanessa Rogers


Being Bullied: strategies and solutions for children with Aspergers: “Describes the various types of peer abuse– taunting, nicknames, damaging property, and stealing– and the devastating consequences, such as poor self-esteem, low academic achievement, depression, or even suicide”

Bully: This is a character-driven documentary following five kids and families over the course of a school year. Offering insight into different facets of America’s bullying crisis, the stories include two families who have lost children to suicide and a mother awaiting the fate of her 14-year-old daughter, who has been incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus. Documentary provides an intimate and often shocking glimpse into homes, classrooms, cafeterias and principals’ offices.

Bullying: what every adult needs to know: “Educates adults about what bullying is and what they can do to help the young people in their lives when bullying is a problem.”

Cyberbully: A seventeen-year-old girl receives a computer for her birthday and soon finds herself the victim of betrayal and bullying while on a social website. When she is pushed to the breaking point, her mother takes on the school system and the legislature to make sure no other teen has to experience the same treatment.

Stop Bullying Now! Take a stand, lend a hand: As part of the Stop Bullying Now! campaign, this DVD compilation includes 12 animated webisodes featuring school-age characters dealing with bullying episodes, five TV and two radio public service announcements to promote the campaign, and five video workshops developed for professionals in the education, health and safety, mental health, and law-enforcement fields who encounter and deal with bullying behaviors.

Stop Bullying: Standing up for yourself and others: Presents students with concrete steps to take to respond to bullying.

Cedar Mill Reads: Not So Scary Halloween Picture Books

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Here are some great “not so scary” picture book suggestions from one of our youth librarians, Marianne!

Originally posted on Quick Picks from CMCL:

Pumpkins and Witches and Ghosts, Oh My!

One of our favorite times of the year at the library is Halloween when we get to see all those adorable costumes and share not so scary stories during our special Halloween storytimes. Here’s a list of some of our favorite Halloween books to read aloud with your little goblin/superhero/witch/cat/princess/pirate! Enjoy! – Marianne

Dog and Bear: Tricks and Treats Dog and Bear: Tricks and Treats
BySeeger, Laura Vaccaro
2014-08 – Roaring Brook Press
Check Our Catalog
Ready for a treat? How about a trick or two? Dog and Bear are back in three new Halloween stories that are sure to delight their many fans and win them new ones. Join them as they search for the perfect costume, hand out candy to trick-or-treaters (or not ), and then go trick-or-treating themselves in this latest installment by award-winning author Laura Vaccaro Seeger. A Neal Porter Book …More
The Ghosts Go Haunting The…

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National Bullying Prevention Month: Kids and Teens

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Experts agree that most incidences of bullying occur during middle school. According to the website,  20 percent of U.S. students in grades 9-12 reportedly have experienced bullying or are feeling bullied, while 28 percent of students in grades 6-12 report the same. Being a witness to some form of bullying is even more common: 70.6 percent of teens have seen bullying occurring in their schools.

With this in mind, it’s important to provide stories with messages and solutions kids can embrace. In her article “Sticks, Stones, and Sneering Tones” (Children & Libraries, Winter 2013), Kim Becnel recommends “titles that create complicated, relatable characters for both the bully and victim roles are preferable to those that rely on one-dimensional or stereotypical figures” and that “books that portray realistic solutions and outcomes will resonate with readers” Here are some suggestions for school age kids and teens. Is there a book about bullying that has made a difference in your life, or the life of someone you know? We’d love to hear from you.

Chapter books:

I Funny: a middle school story (also: I even funnier: a middle school story) by James Patterson

Adam Canfield, Watch Your Back by Michael Winerip

Amelia’s Bully Survival Guide by Marissa Moss

Confessions of a Former Bully by Trudy Ludwig

Beany and the Meany by Susan Wojciechowski

Calvin Coconut: trouble magnet by Graham Salisbury

How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

Blubber by Judy Blume

Jake Drake, Bully Buster by Andrew Clements

Secret Identity (Shredderman series) by Wendelin Van Draanan


Teen Fiction:

The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale

Bystander by James Preller

The Outsiders by SE Hinton

This is What I Did by Ann Dee Ellis

Shooter by Walter Dean Myers

The Misfits by James Howe


Dear BullyDear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories

Bullying WorkbookThe Bullying Workbook for Teens

It Gets BetterIt Gets Better: coming out, overcoming bullying and creating a life worth living

Odd Girl Speaks OutOdd Girl Speaks Out: girls write about bullies, cliques, popularity and jealousy by Rachel Simmons

Stand UpStand Up for Yourself & Your Friends by Patti Kelley Criswell

We Want You to KnowWe Want You to Know: kids talk about bullying


Chrissa Stands Strong: an American girl: On her first day at her new school, Chrissa is seated with three girls who greet her with teasing and tricks. They bully Chrissa in class, on the bus, online, and even at swim club. When the taunting goes too far, Chrissa must find a way to stand strong.

Dealing with Bullies…The Right Way!: Bullying is a reality for kids in schools everywhere. They’re a bully, a victim or a witness. Using true-to-life scenarios, the program explains exactly what bullying is and how it affects people who are abused by bullies. The program provides young viewers with practical strategies they can use to deal with bullies safely and get positive outcomes.

How To Eat Fried Worms: On his first day at a new school, eleven-year-old Billy goes up against the school bully in a challenge that ends up with a total gross-out date…to eat 10 worms in one day. As the pressure mounts, Billy must summon all his strength to meet the dare, all the while keeping his weak stomach from betraying him and his big mouth from getting him in even more trouble.

Internet Bullies: What Should I Do?: For many kids, the Internet is an important part of their daily routine. Unfortunately, with the immediacy of the Internet, its anonymity and its easy accessibility, kids are using instant messaging, blogs, email, chat rooms, and social networks to spread gossip and rumors to harass and embarrass their peers. In this program, viewers will come to understand that using the Internet for those purposes is actually bullying.


Amazing Authors: James Marshall

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amazingauthorsWhen I brought home George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends” by James Marshall, I thought it would be fun to show my kids an author whose books were a memorable part of my childhood. Well, once we started reading, we were so happy to keep reading that we read the entire book at bedtime one night. I know we all appreciated the gentle side of the stories, but we also enjoyed Marshall’s knowing sense of humor and playfulness. He was cool. And the stories are deceptively simple. Through the hippos, Marshall shows us human nature and how making it up to our friends after a misunderstanding can be a sweet and hilarious process.

George and MarthaMarshall passed away from a brain tumor on October 13, 1992 at age 50. Here is an excerpt from a wonderful and candid tribute written by his friend Maurice Sendak:

“If I remember with terrible pain my lost friend and colleague, it is only because James raised the art of friendship to an exhilarating height. I think myself the luckiest of men to have shared his sweet warmth and confidence. There is a small army of people who, I’m certain, feel the same way. He made me laugh until I cried. No one else could ever do that. He was a wicked angel and will be missed forever…Marshall’s work is undated, fresh and fragrant as a new spring garden. Nothing says this better than the 35 George and Martha stories. If one of James’s most remarkable attributes was his genius for friendship, then George and Martha are the quintessential expression of that genius. Those dear, ditzy, down-to-earth hippos bring serious pleasure to everybody, not only to children. They are time-capsule hippos who will always remind us of a paradise in publishing and — both seriously and comically — of the true, durable meaning of friendship under the best and worst conditions.” 



National Bullying Prevention Month: Resources for Young Kids

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying goes beyond the occasional name-calling or teasing; it is repeated and deliberate name-calling, physical attacks, and exclusion. Deborah Carpenter’s article “How to Handle Preschool Bullies” explains that by age 3, most kids are developmentally able to have empathy for others. Bullying may be about imitating behavior they’ve seen, or getting needed attention. Kids who are bullied can experience anxiety, sleeping problems, low self esteem, lack of interest in school, and more.

As parents and caregivers, we can teach our kids social skills like empathy, problem-solving and assertiveness to try and deal with it when it happens. The message we can give our kids is “I love you. I’m here for you. Together we’ll work on a solution.” Fortunately since this issue has become more prevalent in the media, we’ve seen more resources developed to help kids (and their parents) cope.

Here are our top recommendations for young kids, all available at Cedar Mill Library (summaries from our WCCLS catalog unless otherwise specified). Stay tuned for upcoming posts featuring materials for older kids, teens, and parents. Have you personally or professionally dealt with bullying? Do you have a favorite resource addressing this issue? We’d love to hear from you! -Rebecca

Picture Books:

BullyBully by Laura V Seeger: A little bull discovers that he has been a big bully.

bully BEANSBully B.E.A.N.S. by Julia Cook: Illustrated tale that teaches children and adults how to be proactive when confronted by bullying.

Llama Bully GoatLlama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney: Following their teacher’s lead, Llama Llama speaks to Gilroy Goat and tells him he should not act like a bully on the playground.

Tease MonsterTease Monster: a book about teasing versus bullying by Julia Cook: When “One of a Kind” is laughed at by Purple One and called a name by Green One, is the Tease Monster to blame? This tale teaches readers the difference between friendly teasing and mean teasing, and why some teasing can have a negative bite if it’s meant to be hurtful and cause embarrassment. –Publisher.

Big Bad BullybugBye Bye, Big Bad Bullybug! By Ed Emberley: Die-cut pages reveal the scary and mean parts of a bullybug as it prepares to attack some itty-bitty baby bugs, but a rescuer arrives on the scene before the bully can make good on its threats.

Freda stops bullyFreda Stops a Bully by Stuart Murphy: Max makes fun of Freda‘s shoes, but Freda soon learns how to cope with his bullying.

Bully BlockersThe Bully Blockers Club by Teresa Bateman: When Lottie is bothered by a bully at school, she helps start a club where everyone is welcome. Lotty Raccoon is excited. This year she has a new teacher, new backpack, and new shoes. But her enthusiasm quickly wanes when Grant Grizzly begins bullying her. At the advice of her brother and sister, Lotty tries ignoring Grant and making a joke of it all, but neither approach works. When her parents hear about Grant, Lotty’s dad talks to the teacher. Although the teacher speaks to Grant and Lotty, now Grant just bullies Lotty when no adult is around. After talking to her family again, Lotty comes up with an idea. She notices other kids are being bullied by Grant, too. She gathers her friends together and they form a club-The Bully Blockers Club. Now when Grant tries to bully someone, the other kids speak up. That gets an adult’s attention, and Grant stops his bullying!

Early Readers:

No More TeasingNo More Teasing (Katie Woo series) by Fran Manushkin: The class bully loves to tease Katie Woo until she decides to ignore him.

Justin and the BullyJustin and the Bully by Tony Dungy: Justin is thrilled to be on a soccer team. But at his very first practice, he is approached by a tall girl who calls him “Shorty.” She tells him he’s too little to be on the team and that he should just go home. Justin doesn’t know what to do. He loves soccer, but he doesn’t want to be teased.


Arthur Stands Up to Bullying (preview here)

Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain