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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
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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



Star Wars Reads Day Celebration Coming Soon

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Starwarsreads2This Saturday, October 11th is the third annual “Star Wars Reads” day.  Feel the power of the Force as we join libraries and bookstores all over the world to celebrate reading and Star Wars!

Cedar Mill will host a special event from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm for kids ages 5-10 years and their families. Enjoy some fun activities, listen to a reading of Luke Skywalker’s Amazing Story, and find some Star Wars materials to borrow. Wear your costume and pose for a photo or two. Our Bethany location will have Star Wars coloring pages and bookmarks.  Check out the official Star Wars Reads page to learn more.

It’s Elementary: Sherlock Holmes

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Sherlock_HolmesNW Children’s Theater’s Fall season kicks off with a production of “Sherlock Holmes”, from September 27 to October 26. Sherlock and fellow investigator John Watson must solve the mystery of a magician whose performance goes awry; the puzzle involves the school they attend. Geared for kids 6 and up, this looks like a fun show for young detectives.

If you can’t get enough of Sherlock, the library has series for children and teens with new twists on the original stories and characters. -Ginny W.

On the Case with Holmes and Watson (1st title in series: Sherlock Holmes and a Scandal in Bohemia by Murray Shaw): A graphic novel version of Sherlock’s cases for upper elementary grades. There are 14 titles in this set. Murray Shaw also has another chapter book Sherlock series called Match Wits with Sherlock Holmes.

Graphic Novel Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1st title in series: The Adventure of the Dancing Men by Vincent Goodwin): Another graphic novel adaptation of Sherlock Holmes for grades 2 to 4.

Enola Holmes Mystery (1st title in series: The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer): The twist in this series is that Sherlock Holmes had a younger sister, Enola, who is a talented detective herself. Nancy Springer has written six Enola Holmes mysteries.

The Sherlock Files (1st title in series: The 100-Year-Old Secret by Tracy Barrett): The great-great-great grandchildren of Sherlock Holmes, Xena and Xander Holmes, attempt to solve some of their famous relatives’ unsolved cases.

Sherlock, Lupin and Me (1st title in series: The Dark Lady by Irene Adler): A more recent series, where the infamous Irene Adler meets Sherlock Holmes when they are teenagers on summer vacation in France in the 1870s. Of course, they have a mystery to solve. A new friend of Sherlock’s, Lupin, makes an appearance in this new title.

Mystery Grades 4-6

Series for Teens:

Sherlock Holmes, the Legend Begins (1st title in series: Death Cloud by Andrew Lane): This series introduces a 14-year-old Sherlock Holmes, and it has been granted official endorsement from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary estate. For more about the series, check out the Young Sherlock website.

The Boy Sherlock Holmes (1st title in series: Eye of the Crow by Shane Peacock): Sherlock Holmes as a young boy who is dosen’t fit in at school and is bullied. He uses his developing detection skills to help him find his place in the world. For more on these books visit Shane Peacock’s website.

Young Miss Holmes by Kaoru Shintani: A manga version of Sherlock Holmes featuring his niece, Christie, as his side-kick. First published in Japan as Christie High Tension.

Other Resources:

How Sherlock Changed the World (DVD): A PBS production on how the fictional character employed scientific methods that we now use in real life crime solving.

The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes is coming to the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, beginning October 13, 2016. Start planning your trip now!

Best of the Bookshelf: It’s About a Little Bird by Jessica Lange

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BeFunky_girl_reading_book.jpgI’m often critical of children’s books written by celebrities. Steve Martin, Madonna, Whoopi Goldberg, Jimmy Buffett, Jay Leno, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Queen Latifah have all done it. There are so many talented children’s authors, maybe I feel that children’s books are best left to the people who make their living crafting stories for young people. Yet, aren’t actors and musicians also storytellers? A recent discovery at my local library has me questioning my bias about celebrities writing children’s books.

It's About a Little Bird

It’s About a Little Bird by Jessica Lange (long time actress and photographer) perfectly captures the wonder and curiosity of childhood (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2013).

It’s a beautifully illustrated, dream-like adventure that immediately draws you into a unique world shared by two sisters and best friends, Adah and Ilse, and their dear Grandmother Mem. The sisters spend their summers exploring the old family farm. One dreary day, they discover an antique birdcage in the decrepit barn they’re not supposed to enter. Instead of chastising the girls, Grandmother Mem thinks “Isn’t that just what children do?” and tells them a story from her past. It’s about her life in Rome and her friend, a bird named Uccellino, who uses the birdcage and remains her companion until death. It’s easy to imagine a nurturing, wise grandmother recounting this sweet story to her captivated grandchildren. But beyond a sweet story about two sisters, it’s also about the bond between grandparents and grandchildren, childhood wonder and curiosity, unconditional love, following one’s heart, and the inevitable loss of the people and animals we love.

Here’s an interview with Tavis Smiley from PBS where Lange talks about how writing the book helped her try to recapture the girl that she was. Inspired by the hand-colored postcards she collects, Lange took black and white photos, then hand colored them with photo oils to create the stunning illustrations. In a recent Publisher’s Weekly feature, Lange explains that she originally created the book (based on true events) as a gift for her granddaughters. Most of the photos were taken at her Hudson River Valley farm in New York. I wasn’t aware of this when I first read the book, but it makes it even more endearing. I highly recommend “It’s About a Little Bird” for school age children (6 and up) due to its length and sophisticated, abstract themes. It would be a special gift for a grandchild or a child who is dealing with the loss of a pet.  -Rebecca