Latest Event Updates

Amazing Authors: Jan Thomas

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amazingauthorsWhenever I read Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas in a silly-themed storytime, the kids loooove it- even the very squirrely, outspoken kids in my preschool groups are mesmerized. I read it in my best “country” accent, and I don a fake mustache and cowboy hat. I sing the opening lullaby, using a tune similar to the one in the book trailer. The kids are invited to sing along with me, once they’ve heard the chorus a couple times. This is a story with many options; you could read it by itself, with props, or act it out with a storytelling partner. And if you happen to play banjo or guitar (a skill I have yet to acquire), this would be a fantastic opportunity to do so.

Jan Thomas2

Jan Thomas titles include: What Will Fat Cat Sit On?, Rhyming Dust Bunnies, A Birthday for Cow, Can You Make a Scary Face? and more. This author-illustrator is a self-confessed “serious doodler” and it shows- all her books have eye-catching, bold illustrations. I love their innate invitation to play and interact, whether it’s with an individual child or an entire audience of kids and parents. Jan Thomas books have large appeal not only due to their silliness and laugh out loud factor, but they’re great for helping children develop print motivation and narrative skills, two of the six early literacy skills children need to have before learning to read. Her stories are perfect for the preschool and kindergarten crowd. To learn more about Jan Thomas, read an author interview from the excellent book blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.  Share one of her books with your favorite young person today and get ready to grin and giggle! Do you have a favorite Jan Thomas title? I’d love to hear from you.  -Rebecca

Stories About Giving Thanks

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Thanksgiving is almost here, so today we’re sharing some stories that inspire us to be thankful. These books are great for ages 3 and up. Here are more ideas from Scholastic.

Want a fun craft activity to reinforce the stories you read? We love this idea of making a Thankful Tree with your little (or big) ones to celebrate the holiday season. How are you sharing the concept of “being thankful” this year? Let us know in the comments below.  -Wendy

Bear Says ThanksThankful BookGracias ThanksSplat Says Thank YouSecret Saying Thanks

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson: Bear thanks his friends for bringing food dishes to his dinner party and finds a way of sharing something of his own.

The Thankful Book by Todd Parr: Easy-to-read text encourages the reader to find something every day for which to be thankful, from underwear that is just the right size to birthday cakes and the wishes they bring.

Gracias by Pat Mora: A young multiracial boy celebrates family, friendship, and fun by telling about some of the everyday things for which he is thankful.

Splat Says Thank You! By Rob Scotton: In this Thanksgiving-themed story, Splat the Cat figures out how to let Seymour know that he’s thankful for their friendship.

The Secret of Saying Thanks by Douglas Wood: While learning the secret to a good life, a child says thank you for the natural world and for being loved, because a grateful heart is always happy.


International Games Day Event

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Thousands of people internationally will be gathering at their local libraries to play games this Saturday! This map shows who is participating. Cedar Mill Library is hosting an after-hours evening of game playing fun from 6-9 pm. Bring the whole family for a great evening of playing games. Choose from our supply of games or bring one from home to share!

PicMonkey Collage international games night

Cedar Mill Library will be celebrating International Games Day

Saturday, November 15 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.


Coding for Kids

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Mixed Race girl on floor with a computerBooks about teaching kids coding have a “High” popularity ranking in our catalog which makes sense since programming has been declared “the new literacy.” Schools will be mandated to try to give all kids a strong foundation in computer science. This is exciting because computer science classes will also include kids who don’t have a particular math and science orientation. Of course, while I think that all of this is important, I have to advocate for reading literature and fiction to build a strong foundation in non-digital concepts like empathy and kindness!

Here are some programming books in our collection that are geared for kids as well as some non-profit websites to help kids learn coding.  -Wendy

Programming books for kids:

Help Your Kids with Computer Coding: A Unique Step-By-Step Visual Guide, from Binary Code to Building Games by Carol Vorderman

Hello World! : Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners by Warren Sande

Python for Kids : A Playful Introduction to Programming by Jason R. Briggs


Nonprofit Coding Websites for Kids:  “CoderDojo is a global network of volunteer-led, independent, community based programming clubs for young people. These young people, between 7 and 17, learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and explore technology.”  “Launched in 2013,® is a non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color.”  “Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century. Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge.”


Best of the Bookshelf: Ivy + Bean by Annie Barrows

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BeFunky_girl_reading_book.jpgIvy + Bean, a bestselling chapter book series written by Annie Barrows, stars two young girls with opposite personalities who form a strong friendship after becoming neighbors. Bean is loud and rambunctious, while Ivy is more reserved and studious. Despite their differences, these loyal friends have fun adventures together, and their antics are silly and humorous.

This is a good series for kids transitioning from early readers to chapter books. The books have larger font, with black and white illustrations by Sophie Blackall. Recommended for ages 6-7 and up.  Ivy + Bean is now performing on stage in Portland! Oregon Children’s Theater presents “Ivy + Bean: The Musical” from October 25- November 23 at Newmark Theater (for ages 4 and up). Can’t get enough of these characters? Chronicle Books has some free printable activities-Rebecca

Ivy and Bean

If your young reader has already read Ivy + Bean, try these titles:

Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker: While sorting through difficulties in her friendship with her neighbor Margaret, eight-year-old Clementine gains several unique hairstyles while also helping her father in his efforts to banish pigeons from the front of their apartment building.

Dyamonde Daniel series by Nikki Grimes: Spunky third-grader Dyamonde Daniel misses her old neighborhood, but when she befriends a boy named Free, another new student at school, she finally starts to feel at home.

Gooney Bird Greene series by Lois Lowry: A most unusual new student who loves to be the center of attention entertains her teacher and fellow second graders by telling absolutely true stories about herself, including how she got her name.

Marty McGuire series by Kate Messner: When tomboy Marty is cast as the princess in the third-grade play, she learns about improvisation, which helps her become more adaptable.

Ruby Lu series by Lenore Look: “Almost-eight-year-old” Ruby Lu spends time with her baby brother, goes to Chinese school, performs magic tricks and learns to drive, and has adventures with both old and new friends.





Take Our Survey and Enter to Win!

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your opinion mattersAre you a parent, teacher, care provider, grandparent or other adult involved with kids?  Your opinion matters to us at Cedar Mill Library.

Our blog is under a year old, and the youth services team would love your input to make our blog even more useful. Here’s your chance to let us know what you’d like to learn more about and discuss online. What’s important to you?

Take our short survey between November 1 and November 20.

Two randomly chosen entries will win a $50 gift certificate to Piccolo Mondo Toys, just in time for the holiday shopping season! Located in Bethany Village and Progress Ridge TownSquare, Piccolo Mondo Toys is a unique store specializing in “innovative toys for all ages that encourage creative play and stimulate the imagination.”

WiserKids Survey:

We appreciate your time & feedback!


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