You may have noticed the AWE computers in the Children’s Department. AWE stands for Alternative Work Environment, which in this case means an early learning environment. Kids don’t need a library card to use these computers; they can sit right down and learn about the Amazing Human Body, enjoy animated stories, explore with Dora and Diego, and more. The keyboards are color coded by letters, numbers, and punctuation, and there are tiny two button mice.
However, many children might not yet have developed the fine motor skills to use a standard mouse, or they may be unable. Continue reading
Katie, Sony, and Elena with kids from Homeschool Tuesdays having a great time!
Thank you to Playhouse Jr. and Point Park University for a wonderful afternoon. Laura, Katie , Sonny, and Elena provided an imaginative and engaging presentation of dramatic readings and thought-provoking activities. Everyone is looking forward to their next visit!
Join the Children’s Department of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in welcoming Playhouse Jr. of Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse! During this special Homeschool Tuesdays program, Parents and kids take part as Playhouse Jr. presents an informative and interactive program with activities based around two Playhouse Jr. performances.
Huck Finn – Based on Mark Twain’s classic American novel, Huckleberry Finn, Playhouse Jr.’s adaptation addresses the difficult themes of race and identity in a modern and engaging style. Huck Finn runs weekends through May 26th in Pittsburgh Playhouse’s Rauh Theatre.
Afternoon of the Elves – Based on the Newberry Honor Book by Janet Taylor Lisle, Afternoon of the Elves is a riveting story of imagination, friendship, and the power of confronting life’s challenges. Afternoon of the Elves runs weekends May 25th through June 9th in Pittsburgh Playhouse’s Studio Theatre.
As the second oldest continually running children’s theatre in the nation, Playhouse Jr. brings children and young adults into a world of imagination through live theatre adapted for young audiences from classic children’s literature.
All are welcome in the Children’s Department today at 2:oo PM for this special event!
I knew I was in for something when I saw both Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen on the cover–two of the darkest-humored authors in children’s lit. I was half right; this is a dark book. (Ahem. Sorry.) It’s also a totally charming glimpse into the mind of a little boy (and dark corners, and basements).
Nationally-known storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston is in Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival. She did a free workshop for folks who attend the program The Art of Storytelling for Educators better known as “the Educators Group.” The group meets once a month during the school year and has activities around storytelling for and by kids. The last meeting for this season will be Sunday, May 19 at 3:30pm.
Charlotte’s workshop focused on the different rhythms that can be incorporated into stories. She had the group clapping a different rhythm on each hand at the same time (!), plus she taught the hambone! Most of the group could do this knee-slapping jive at 5 mph; any faster and it didn’t sound like the hambone anymore!
Charlotte (4th from left) with participants, including staff members Julie Kant (5th from right) and Kathy Maron-Wood (2nd from left).
Perhaps in anticipation of this year’s summer reading theme, my brain has decided to dig up an earworm. I have had “There’s a Hole in the Bucket” stuck in my head, out of nowhere. That song is so catchy it’s exasperating (especially if you’re Liza). It resembles “I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” in its accumulation of objects and, to an extent, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.
So I went to chase the song out of my head and found the old school Sesame Street version of “There’s a Hole in the Bucket”. I was glad I was somewhere I could laugh. As Henry ploddingly explains the maintenance mishaps with their well-bucket, laughing sheepishly, Liza nags him from her rocking chair pitch-perfect, eyebrows scowling under her bun and above her glasses. The puppeteer gives her a really expressive body language; you can feel her ebbing patience as she slowly looks skyward. Her voice as she sings becomes increasingly frazzled and frayed, and kids will laugh as Liza looks at them deadpan with a “Can you believe it?” Henry’s awkward throat-clearing before the last verse is adorable. Poor Henry.
While you’re on Sesamestreet.org, check out the Fat Blue and Grover skits. I don’t think I appreciated how clever the shtick was; you barely even notice they’re teaching sizes or prepositions or letters. You’re absorbing it while you’re watching the unfortunate Fat Blue give up his lunchtime thanks to the clueless antics of Waiter Grover, who seems to haunt every restaurant (and now reality show, apparently) in town.
For more old school Sesame Street, check out the Sesame Street Old School DVDs in the Children’s Department.
Join us for two tales of the season! Beatrix Potter’s classic story about the mischievous bunny who sneaks into Mr. McGregor’s vegetable garden looking for good things to eat will charm children ages 3-6. Children will then participate in the telling of the Russian folktale about a farmer who grows a gigantic turnip but then has trouble harvesting it.
Please call the Children’s Department to register. 412-622-3122
10:30 – 11:15 am
Mondays | May 6, 13 & 20
Tuesdays | May 7, 14, 21 & 28
Wednesday | May 15
Thursdays | May 9, 16, 23 & 30
Fridays | May 10, 17, 24 & 31
Saturday | May 18
Special Encore Performances will be take place during the Library’s 13th annual Summer Reading Extravaganza on Sunday, June 9 at 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm.
On April 19, E. L. Konigsburg died at 83. She was the author of many quirky and esteemed children’s books, including the Newbery award-winning From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Its runner-up was her first book, Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth. Many children in her books are precocious, like the academic bowl competitors of The View from Saturday, or last-ditch clever, like Branwell and Connor communicating in code in Silent to the Bone.
A May 1 letter to the editor in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also details Konigsburg’s ties to Pittsburgh, which include studying at what is now Carnegie Mellon and speaking at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Note: The letter writer mentions the Nesbitt Room, which is now defunct. Some materials are located in the Hillman Library.
For more authors with a connection to Pittsburgh, check out our collection of books by local authors, located in the Children’s Department.
Recently, I decided to bring a few pop-up books with me on an outreach visit. There were such marvelous reactions from the children as we shared each page. Paul Stickland’s Dinosaur Stomp elicited uncontrollable laughter on one side of the circle and the silliness quickly spread. One boy who loves dinosaurs kept saying, “Wow!” He continued to proudly announce the names of dinosaurs throughout the storytime.
There is no doubt about it; pop-up and movable books are quite magical. They guarantee surprise and fascination on each turn of the page.
The Children’s Department Pop-Up Collection represents some of the best contemporary pop-up and movable books by such paper engineers and artists as Robert Sabuda, Matthew Reinhart, and David A. Carter. It is an important part of the Children’s Historical Collection.
As different as these books are in style and complexity, all of them have one element in common. They not only tell their stories, but they also amaze and entertain by drawing us into the format and subject that each artist and writer create. We can’t help but wonder how they make a three-dimensional world emerge with the turn of a page. Examining the book from various angles only adds to the mystery and the enjoyment. This is a part of children’s literature that everyone should have the opportunity to experience. Share it with us in the Children’s Department.
For more information on this format and its history explore Pop-Up and Movable Books: A Tour through History and The Movable Book Society.
These words are heard quite often in the Children’s Dept, however, they were heard even more this past Sunday when The Art of Storytelling for Educators had their monthly gathering. Stories with “stuff” were told by several folks and many of those stories came from the following books:
The Family Storytelling Handbook has examples of stories you would tell with a handkerchief, a piece of paper–either folding, cutting or tearing, nesting dolls, quilt pieces or even your hands! She also has chapters on why to tell stories (my favorite–IT’S FUN!), when to tell them, what kinds of stories there are to tell and how to tell them.
The Story Vine has a great subtitle–a source book of unusual and easy-to-tell stories from around the world-whew! Included are string stories, in fact, two versions of Cat’s Cradle (and I thought this was only a game!), drawing stories, stories with dolls or figurines, finger-play stories and stories that use musical instruments.
Anne Pellowski has collected the stories and written the information in both of these sources. They contain excellent illustrations, directions for telling the stories and bibliographies for even more sources.
Here is the end result to one of the stories:
I’ll give you a hint–it’s in one of the books just mentioned!