Archive for March, 2012

Early Lit Bits: Learning with Crafts

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

You’ve Got Mail!

Did you know that writing letters and words can help your child become a better reader? Reading and writing go together. Both are ways to represent spoken words and communicate information. Children develop a better knowledge of the purpose of meaning of reading through the act of writing. One fun way to encourage children to practice reading and writing skills is to play post office. Most young children love to give and receive mail. You can make a simple mailbox with an empty tissue box or a shoe box, or try making the paper bag mailbox below. If your child cannot write on their own yet, have them dictate a message to you and write it down for them. 

  • Small paper bags
  • Marking pens
  • Scissors
  • Strong tape

Cut the sides and front of the bag down about three inches from the top, but leave the back side of the bag at full height. Write the child’s name on the front of the bag and decorate the bag with markers, stickers, or crayons. Use strong tape to hang the mailbox to the child’s bedroom door, or make a loop with yarn and hang the mailbox over the doorknob.  Make a mailbox for everyone in your family so that you can exchange messages with each other.

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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Peep This!

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

As I contemplate the arrival of Easter, I wonder if we are eagerly awaiting the time of renewal, or the amount of Peeps treats in the Easter basket! With that in mind, I began to wonder what it is about Peeps that gets mouths watering. To find some intriguing facts about this sugary treat, check out the book Peeps: A Candy-Coated Tale:


Though “Peeps” is originally thought of as the sugary treat found at Easter time, the word has also developed into several slang terms. In 1994, the term “peeps” became popular through the use of it by song artist and actor Jamie Foxx. He used the phrase “peep this” for someone to check it out, or take a look.  “My peeps” was also a popular phrase in Rapper Nas‘ album Illmatic, where the phrase was used to refer to “my friends.”

As with all friends, we are eager to share our ups and downs with them, as is found in the book Mates, Dates, and Chocolate Cheats. This young adult novel touches on the joys and concerns of teens, as the character is tested in friendship and self esteem.  To top that off, a movie recommendation for the season is The Easter Story Keepers, a movie that can shed light on the story of Easter.

So, however you choose to enjoy the arrival of Easter, be sure to share it with your peeps — either your friends, or the sugary treat!

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KDL Top Ten – 3/23/2012

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Looking for something local to do this spring break? Explore Michigan with marvelous travel books and DVDs from KDL. From the scenic Grand River in our own backyard, to wild destinations for family adventure, have fun discovering everything Michigan has to offer!   

To view 10 popular Michigan travel titles at KDL, click on the link to the KDL Top Ten List!

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Meet the Author: D.E. Johnson

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Ever wonder why some characters stay in your head for weeks — sometimes years — after you finish reading a book? Or why with some books, not only can you see what’s happening, you can also seem to hear, smell, feel and taste it?

You too can create memorable, resonant characters and vivid settings — find out how at D.E. Johnson’s character & setting workshop. Johnson, a Michigan Notable Book honoree, will share examples that are particularly strong in these areas, and you will learn to apply the lessons to your own writing (as well as get the chance to put those lessons to the test). Come ready to write!

Johnson will be at the Gaines Township branch at 6:30 PM on Thursday, March 29, for the workshop, and also to sign and sell his books.

The Kalamazoo-area author’s literary debut, a historical mystery entitled The Detroit Electric Scheme, was published by St. Martin’s Minotaur in 2010. The sequel, Motor City Shakedown, was published by Minotaur in September 2011. He’s currently working on the second sequel to The Detroit Electric Scheme.

Johnson’s appearance is part of KDL’s Celebrate the Mitten author series, which includes more than a dozen published authors from around the state appearing at various branches through May, and an author showcase from 1:00 to 4:00 PM on Saturday, April 21 at the Kentwood branch.


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Meet the Author: Pam Daugavietis

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

“You don’t need to be a writer to write your own life story,” says local author Pam Daugavietis. “All you need is a willingness to begin and a commitment to yourself to give it your best effort as you move through the process.”

Daugavietis will be at the Grandville branch at 6:30 PM on Tuesday, March 27 to guide participants in writing their life stories during a 90-minute, hands-on workshop titled “This is My Story.” Registration is required and class size is limited. Click here to register.

Daugavietis has worked in public relations for a Saudi Arabian hospital, as a freelance writer for the Spectrum Health Foundation and the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation, and was executive producer of a one-hour documentary about the history of giving and volunteerism in West Michigan. She published her first book, Through the Eyes of a Child: The Story of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, which she calls a memoir of an institution.

The workshop is sponsored by Cook Family Services.

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Why You Should Read Author’s Blogs

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

There are certain authors I love to read and I usually follow their blog postings (if they have one) or their Twitter just for updates on their new books.  But there is another good reason to follow the blogs of authors you love — FREE BOOKS!  Occasionally an author will have a contest or promote a contest for a signed copy of one of their books.  And if you are really lucky, you might find out about a limited time offer for a free eBook! also has a giveaway section where you can put your name in a drawing on different books.

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Books for the Cottage

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

The warm weather the past week has certainly gotten a lot of people thinking about summer! If you’re dreaming of summer vacations, you may want to check out the Cottage & Lakefront Living Show this weekend at DeVos Place. While you’re there, stop by the Cottage Living Center to take a break in a comfy chair and browse some of the great summer reads chosen by KDL staff:


Even if you don’t get the opportunity to visit the show downtown, you can still browse our Books for the Cottage list online!

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Emergency Closing: EGR Branch

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

The East Grand Rapids branch will be closing at 10:00 AM today (Thursday, March 22) due to heating/cooling issues. All programs scheduled at this location for today, including the teen Hunger Games event, have been canceled.

 We apologize for the inconvenience and hope to reopen when conditions allow.

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Seen & Heard – Libraries Obsolete? Hardly!

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

A few talking points for non-library users who assume our place in communities is on the wane:

– In February alone, KDL added 1,362 new cardholders, bringing the system close to 230,000 overall patrons. In addition, 4,026 people attended 69 events system-wide.

– In 2011, KDL’s ebook and eAudiobook circulation rose an astounding 192%. Also last year, total circulation of materials for loan spiked by 7%, to 6.8 million items.

– An employee at Steelcase Inc., a regular user of the Grandville branch, recently told staff that many of his co-workers were using KDL’s online Mango language-learning database to improve their language skills as jobs begin to move to Malaysia.

– In response to patron requests, a laptop lounge at the Krause Memorial branch is set to open this month. The lounge will provide additional space to laptop or mobile device users who need access to electrical outlets and a quiet place to work.


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Superheroes, Away!

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

When I was 9 or 10, my cousin April and I donned yellow tights and bodysuits, pulled on red knee-high socks rolled to our ankles and safety pinned towels around our necks to become Electro Woman and Dyna Girl. Remember them? Anyone? Anyone?

Well, kids familiar with more, ahem, contemporary crime fighters and caped do-gooders won’t want to miss this celebration of all things super! Come dressed as your favorite superhero and get ready to have fun listening to a story, playing games and making your own comic book.

Tuesday, March 27, 6:30 PM – Gaines Township branch
Monday, April 2, 6:30 PM – Byron Township branch
Wednesday, April4, 2:00 PM – Cascade Township branch
Thursday, April 5, 10:30 AM – Wyoming branch
Thursday, April 5, 10:30 AM – Englehardt branch
Thursday, April 5, 2:00 PM – East Grand Rapids branch
Saturday, April 14, 1:30 PM – Sand Lake/Nelson Township branch
Tuesday, April 24, 10:00 AM – Alpine Township branch
Thursday, April 26, 2012, 6:30 PM – Spencer Township branch
Wednesday, May 2, 10:30 AM – Comstock Park branch

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