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Story Time Sampler

Here's an example of the story times our children's librarians offer.

I recently did a storytime about squirrels, since it’s the time of year when we see them everywhere. Here are some fun books about squirrels:

Acorns Everywhere! By Kevin Sherry

The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri

Frisky Brisky Hippity Hop by Susan Lurie

Nuts to You! By Lois Ehlert

Ol’ Mama Squirrel by David Ezra Stein

Scaredy Squirrel series by Mélanie Watt

We also made a squirrel from my favorite craft supply, a toilet paper roll. I followed these instructions:

If your kids are feeling an action song from

 blog. This might come in handy on rainy days, when you can’t go outside to get the wiggles out!

 This Brown Squirrel

(Tune: This Old Man)

 This brown squirrel, he climbs trees.

 He climbs trees with lots of leaves.

 With a thump, jump, never bump, 

Give the squirrel a nut,

This brown squirrel amazes us!

This brown squirrel, he hides nuts,

 He hides nuts from here to there,

With a scratch, scratch, bury that,

Give the squirrel a nut,

 This brown squirrel amazes us!

This brown squirrel, he builds nests,

 He builds nests up high in trees.

 With a crunch, scrunch, gather leaves,

 Give the squirrel a nut,

This brown squirrel amazes us!

The craft and the action song both give children opportunities for pretend play. When children pretend to be squirrels, they are learning how to tell stories. They often use the books they have read as the basis for their pretend play. Acting out stories you have read, or making up new ones, helps children develop the language skills they need to become good readers.

Read On...

"Nothing to Envy" by Barbara Demick

“Nothing to Envy” by Barbara Demick

One of the great benefits of reading is the chance to step outside your world. Some readers prefer fiction for this, but given a book like Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick, one is reminded that truth is stranger than fiction. This is full of astounding information on the lives North Koreans have been living for the past fifty years. The title, a line from a patriotic North Korean ballad, does double duty as a warning of what is ahead for the reader: a journalistic look at what must be the modern world’s most completely totalitarian regime.

Demmick, a newspaper bureau chief stationed in Seoul, got to know former North Koreans who defected to South Korea. She tells the stories of six of them. No matter what their station in North Korea, they all suffered through waves of famine in the 1990s, and watched malnourished countrymen drop dead in the street. Privileged university students and professionals hardly fared better than the rank and file; even if they had their daily rations, they had no heat, electricity, or medicine to get through their days.

This review can’t do justice to the deprivations and fear that are customary for North Koreans. People who gathered the courage to defect knew that if discovered, they would be banished to prison camps, and that fate would meet their families if the government realized their disappearances were defections, not deaths. Defection required either a great deal of money for bribes, or a willingness to endure arduous border crossings in terrible weather with little or no gear for protection.

While the book focuses on six North Koreans, it’s also a summation of the history of the Korean peninsula post-World War II, and an insightful look at how totalitarianism functions from the ground up. It’s full of details on everyday life, and every page presents a tremendous contrast to the life we know.

–Leslie Tate

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