Fifth and six graders can build their teams and prepare for battle, a reading battle.
The third Battle of the Books will take place Saturday, March 24 , with teams answering questions about the books they’ve read to claim glory for their team.
Teams should be forming now, with each team made up of five members, with up to five alternates, according to Allison McLean, head of Young People’s Services.
The fifth and sixth graders will have 10 weeks to read 10 books, McLean said, emphasizing that team members may divide the reading up however they want. Teams will then answer trivia questions about the books on March 24 with the winning team getting a trophy and bragging rights.
Here are the books of the 2018 Battle of the Books:
“It’s really awesome because in fifth and sixth grade, kids lose the will to read for fun and this is a great way to keep them engaged in it,” McLean said.
“For kids that continue to read for fun this a great way for them to get recognition, children in sports are often get recognition, this is a chance for readers to get in the spotlight.”
The books will be provided by the library and returned after the program, so that it may continue in future years.
Interested students should talk to their teacher or school librarian, McLean said and if students do not have a sponsoring teacher, they can use a parent as a coach.
Indiana author Linda Akeson McGurk will share her take on parenting and Scandinavian culture and how the two can blend together, during a visit and book signing next month.
At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 1, McGurk will be at the downtown branch of the Elkhart Public Library for a talk and signing of her book “There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather.”
Barnes & Noble Mishawaka will be on hand with copies of the book for sale.
McGurk, who was born in Sweden and now lives in Covington, Ind., was inspired to write her book after she noticed a change in parenting and how children played and interacted with the outdoors compared with how she was raised.
“I’ve had the idea for the book ever since my first daughter was born all of ten years ago,” she said. “That’s when I noticed a lot of cultural differences in the parenting styles here compared to my native Sweden.
There was a culture clash and it gave me this idea for the book.”
McGurk decided to take her two daughters, age 7 and 10, back with her to Sweden to live for six months and see if it was as different as she remembered.
“I wanted to sort of tap into that and tell my story and talk about parenting in Scandinavia and talk about how to bring that into their children’s lives here,” she said.
The response she has gotten from the book has been great, she says, and most of all she enjoys hearing from readers that take away the Swedish ideals of “hygge” (pronounced hue-guh) and “friluftsliv” (free-loofts-liv) which are about being cozy, comfortable and in tune with nature, and apply them to their own lives.
“I had one mom tell me she always used to drive to work even though she only lives half a mile from work,” she said.
“Another told me she now lets her daughter walk home from school. I think a lot of people just need the motivation, especially this time of year when it’s cold and gets dark early.”
McGurk said that she hopes that the book will resonate with parents that both remember a time when children weren’t so digitally “plugged in” and played outside, as well as a younger generation of parents that is.
“It’s about connecting with nature on a deeper level, outside of outside adventure sports and being one with nature and I look forward to sharing a bit more about that,” she said.
Storytime, a program held at three EPL branches on a weekly basis, helps introduce the library to children, as well as socializing them and preparing them for preschool.
According to Osolo branch supervisor librarian Donna Mitschelen, the program is presented different at each branch but follows the same idea.
“This program focuses on helping children prepare for kindergarten by providing opportunities to learn and to enhance their pre-reading skills,” she said.
“Early literacy skills are developed through talking, singing, writing, reading and playing; we try to incorporate these skills into our Storytime sessions.”
Tuesday, 10 a.m. at Osolo
Tuesday, 10 a.m., Tuesday Tales (Ages 4-5) at Main
Wednesday, 10 a.m. at Dunlap and Cleveland
Thursday, 10 a.m. at Pierre Moran
Thursday, 10 a.m., Little Explorers (ages 2-3) at Main
Mary Ann Johnson, a retired teacher, has been bringing her granddaughter, Piper, to the Osolo for Tuesday Storytime since September and said it works great for her as a daytime caretaker.
“It’s just important that the kids learn those aspects of the library,” she said. “They do a lot of different things; reading, motor skills and they always do an activity.”
Kay Hanft, also a retired teacher, has brought all of her grandchildren to storytime over the years, six in all.
“Donna does appropriate stories for their age and my grand kids love to do the crafts and of course the snack,” said Hanft with a laugh.
“It’s a good step to bring them here before they go to preschool so they can have the socialization, otherwise they will be behind when they get to preschool.”
The Storytime program is slightly different at the downtown library, with two programs, Little Explorers for 2- and 3-year-olds and Tuesday Tales for 4- to 6-year-olds, according to Allison McLean, head of Young People Services.
McLean said that the reason for the different program for 4- and 5-year-olds is so they can focus on youngsters at the other sessions.
“That allows us to be a little more focused than the 2-5 age range at the other storytimes,” McLean said.
Over the next eight weeks, art will be created using a computer at Elkhart Public Library.
Starting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, in the downtown library, kids taking part in Coding Art will begin learning how to use a computer to make animations, photo filters, interactive artwork and more . Coding Art also will show kids how computer programming is used in creating art and architecture.
Coding Art will take place every Thursday until the final afternoon on March 1.
Kids will build eight complete projects while they learn vital computer science concepts and techniques. Registration is expected to ensure enough computers are available for everyone. Participants are encouraged to commit to all eight weeks, otherwise they won’t be able to get the full experience.
“We hope kids will be excited about this opportunity to learn about coding,” said Allison McLean, head of the library’s Young People’s Services.
In addition to learning coding and exploring computer science, students will be able to learn more about how technology is used to make art in other mediums such as film or online.
Those signing up do not need any prior computer experience.
Barney the St. Bernard is coming back to be a reading partner for kids this week.
The trained dog, who helps kids gain confidence in their reading, returns for the January Paws to Read session from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 20 at Elkhart Public Library’s downtown location.
Parents can sign up their children for the 15-minute sessions by calling 574-522-2223.
<< Space is limited – call 574-522-2223 to get your child time with Barney >>
“The kids get to interact with something that loves unconditionally. He’s just a good listener – he absorbs every word and he doesn’t interrupt or correct or question them,” handler Renee Langdon says. “I’ve been blessed to be able to work with him and watch the children improve.”
Barney’s journey to become a therapy dog was difficult. Langdon rescued him eight years ago after he was abandoned near Wakarusa. He already was blind and had leg injuries consistent with abuse, she says.
“He had to learn to trust again,” Langdon says. “He couldn’t walk on a leash. You couldn’t put him in a car. The injuries to his front left leg weren’t anything that couldn’t be repaired, but it was a rough start.”
He eventually defeated his fears and became a good companion to Drew, Langdon’s first St. Bernard. Despite his blindness, Barney eventually passed the same exam required for certification as a registered Pet Partners therapy dog.
Pet-assistance therapy goes beyond guide dogs. They provide comfort at hospital entrances, Langdon says, and companionship at nursing homes. They have visited schools and libraries regularly, too.
Langdon has committed her volunteer time for years to working with children, particularly those challenged by autism or disability. She worked with Reins of Life for therapeutic horseback riding until, physically, she couldn’t meet the demands of mucking stalls and hauling hay bales.
She says she adopted a St. Bernard because she always wanted one growing up. During her first three years, Langdon volunteered several hours each week making visits. After Drew passed on and with Barney advancing in years, she’s had to scale back to schedule.
“I think this is best described as giving and receiving love. Barney takes it in and he dishes it out – it’s his job to love,” Langdon says.