KDL Blog ‘Parents & Kids’ Category

KDL Top Ten — Juvenile Humor & Joke Books

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Looking for a good joke?  We have jest the thing for you!  View 10 of the most popular titles in Juvenile Humor at KDL:Top Ten Juvenile Humor 02-28-2014

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Suspense-Filled Mystery Series for Middle Readers

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

1416938869_01_MZZZZZZZBenjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School by Andrew Clements

In this five-book series, Benjamin and his two friends set out to prevent their school from being torn down and replaced by a theme park. Since the school is located on a prime piece of land, a company is planning to build the park, and is very determined to see the project completed. In each book, the suspense increases as Benjamin and his friends locate clues. They must work together to figure out what each clue means while desperately trying to solve the mystery before the construction company can build the park; all of this creates a suspenseful and thrilling adventure.

This is a series that appeals to middle readers who enjoy mystery, suspense, adventure and real-life issues in their books. These titles will appeal to reluctant readers. Fans of the author will relish more great titles to read.

The titles in the series are:

Book 1: We the Children

Book 2: Fear Itself

Book 3: The Whites of the Eyes

Book 4: In Harm’s Way

Book 5: We Hold These Truths (conclusion of the series)


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2014 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Winners Announced

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Each year, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation honors a new author and illustrator who “have created books of beauty in the spirit of Keats that portray the universal qualities of childhood, a strong and supportive family and the multicultural nature of our world.” Click the titles or cover images below to place your holds.

The 2014 New Writer Award Winner is:

Tea Party Rules

Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by K. G. Campbell


The 2014 New Illustrator Award Winner is:


Rain! Illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Linda Ashman


To see the complete list of winners and honor books, click here.


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Spring Early Childhood Essentials Classes

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Building BlocksParents and caregivers of children are invited to participate in free Early Childhood Essentials classes at KDL this spring. If you have young children or work in child care and need professional development hours, this series is for you. All of the presenters are certified and vetted through Great Start. The classes are for adults, and child care is not provided.

Registration is required and participation is limited. Sign up today by clicking on the links below or calling our Patron Services Department at 616-784-2007. If you register and then are unable to attend, please call and let us know, as many sessions have waiting lists.



Discovering Play
Thursday, March 20, 6:30 PM — Byron Township Branch
Monday, March 31, 6:30 PM — Kentwood (Richard L. Root) Branch

Hands-On Minds-On Science
Saturday, March 22, 10:00 AM — Cascade Township Branch

Mini Day of Learning: Autism Emphasis
Saturday, March 29, 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM — First Reformed Church (3060 Wilson Ave. in Grandville)

A Little More Math
Thursday, April 3, 6:30 PM — Plainfield Township Branch

Let’s Go Outside!
Thursday, April 17, 6:30 PM — Byron Township Branch

Kindergarten Readiness
Saturday, April 19, 10:00 AM — Cascade Township Branch

Coping with Conflict
Thursday, April 24, 6:30 PM — Plainfield Township Branch
Tuesday, May 6, 6:30 PM — Krause Memorial Branch

Teaching Science with Toys
Saturday, April 26, 10:00 AM — East Grand Rapids Branch

Developing Phonological Awareness
Monday, April 28, 6:30 PM — Kentwood (Richard L. Root) Branch

Healthy Snacking
Tuesday, May 13, 6:30 PM — Krause Memorial Branch
Thursday, May 22, 6:30 PM — Byron Township Branch

Earning a CDA Credential
Tuesday, May 20, 6:30 PM — Krause Memorial Branch

Raising Kids with Character
Saturday, May 31, 10:00 AM — Cascade Township Branch


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Spring 2014 KDL Kaleidoscope

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

The Spring 2014 issue of the KDL Kaleidoscope program guide is now available online, and printed copies will be available soon at your local branch library. You’ll find all you need to know about spring programs and get some great information on library resources and staff recommendations.

It’s sure to be an exciting season at KDL, and you don’t want to miss a thing. Check out the KDL Kaleidoscope today!

Spring 2014 Kaleidoscope


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Updates to LearningExpress Library

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

LearningExpress LibraryLearningExpress Library, a popular database that provides access to over 1,000 online practice tests and skill-building tutorials, has recently been updated with a new & improved site design, easier to use navigation, new interactive tutorials and more!


LearningExpress Library


The new site is divided into 9 “learning centers”:

  • Adult Learning Center – math, reading and writing skills, U.S. Citizenship exam prep

  • Career Center – career exploration, occupation certification and military exam prep

  • High School Equivalency Center – exam prep for the new GED

  • College Preparation Center – college admission test prep, including ACT, SAT, AP Exams, PSAT & TOEFL

  • Recursos para Hispanohablantes – Spanish-language resources, including math, reading and writing skills and U.S. Citizenship exam prep

  • College Center – academic skills review in math, reading, writing and science, exam prep for graduate school admission tests (including GRE, GMAT, LSAT & MCAT), college placement exams and CLEP exams

  • School Center – resources for elementary, middle and high school students for skills improvement in math, reading, science, social studies, vocabulary and writing

  • Computer Skills Center – interactive video tutorials for computer & Internet basics, popular Microsoft & Adobe software programs and Windows & Mac operating systems

  • Job & Career Accelerator – explore careers, search for jobs, create resume and cover letters and prep for interviews

Please note that previous logins do not carry over to the new version – if you’ve already set up an account in the old version, you will need to register fresh for the new LearningExpress Library. However, the old site will still be available until June 30 if you need to finish up any previously accessed tests or tutorials. Right now our link goes to a special introductory page where you can either register for the new version or go back (temporarily) to the old version.

You can watch a guided tour video of the new & improved LearningExpress Library or try it out yourself!


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Early Lit Bits: Book Review — “Snow Dog, Go Dog”

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

Snow Dog, Go DogSnow Dog, Go Dog by Deborah Heiligman

Tinka is a golden retriever who loves a good romp in the snow. She frolics a bit too far from home and gets lost, but ends up safe and sound by the end of this rhyming tale. This book is fun to read aloud, with a bouncy rhythm and great repetition. Look at the bright illustrations and talk about what Tinka is doing in the snow. Ask your child what he likes to do on a snowy day. Have your child point to the words that repeat on each page, and talk about the words that sound alike. Make a list together of other words that sound like “dog.” Talking about words and the sounds letters make helps your child get ready to read!

–Liz W. at KDL’s Plainfield Township branch

This article originally appeared in our Early Lit Bits eNewsletter. Read the most recent issue online or sign up to receive this monthly update highlighting early literacy tips and resources for parents and caregivers.

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New Language Learning Resource for Kids

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Little PimMany of you may be familiar with our popular Mango Languages resource that offers KDL cardholders free language learning courses for 61 foreign and 18 ESL languages. Thanks to generous donations to KDL, we’ve now also added Little Pim, which is powered by Mango but designed specifically for children. Little Pim is a fun and convenient way to introduce a child to a foreign language in a way they can understand and enjoy. Courses are available in nine foreign languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish) as well as English/ESL. 

Each language is taught via a series of videos led by an adorable panda teacher (“Little Pim”) and features native speakers, excellent pacing, activities and concept groupings to make the language learning process fun and easy:

Little Pim


Try it out now: (At the Mango launch screen, just scroll down and click Quick Start if you just want to take a look and don’t want to set up a login to save your progress.)


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Know a Teen Who Hates Reading?

Monday, February 17th, 2014

At KDL, we believe that teens who don’t like to read just haven’t found the right book yet.  Fortunately, we can help with that. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has released its yearly Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list, and here is a link to their Top Ten titles. KDL has them all, so check one out today.

Proxy                    How to Speak Dog                   The Testing


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Early Lit Bits: Learning with Crafts — Alphabet Bead Threading Game

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Alphabet Bead Threading GamePlay-Grow-Read

Children today spend a lot of time working with keyboards and touch screens. Writing the old-fashioned way, however, is still an important skill for children to master. Reading and writing go together and the process of writing is closely linked to the process of learning to read. In order to write, children must develop the muscles used to grasp a pencil. Here is an easy activity that can be made at home to help encourage children to learn the alphabet and develop fine motor skills at the same time.


  • Toothpicks (or pencils)
  • block of hard Styrofoam (old packaging works well)
  • alphabet beads (or large wooden beads if using pencils for toothpicks)
  • Paper
  • Markers/colored pencils


  1. Cut the paper into small squares and write a letter of the alphabet (upper or lower case) on each piece of paper.
  2. Attach each paper letter to the Styrofoam block by tacking it to the foam with a toothpick. Make sure that the letter is still visible.
  3. Have children “thread” the alphabet beads onto the toothpicks with the corresponding letter.
  4. Consider using pencils and large wooden beads in the place of toothpicks and small beads when working with very small children as small beads can pose a choking hazard.

–Anjie G. at KDL’s Walker branch


This article originally appeared in our Early Lit Bits eNewsletter. Read the most recent issue online or sign up to receive this monthly update highlighting early literacy tips and resources for parents and caregivers.


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