Tech Tip Tuesday #1

TechTipTuesdayHello friends! The Aurora Public Library District is excited to start a weekly blog feature called Tech Tip Tuesday. Every Tuesday we will share a technology related tip. You can look forward to hearing things like keyboard shortcuts which can help you save time and be more efficient, new technology or software and how it can help you, and other general tech tips. So follow along with us by subscribing to receive this blog post category (Resources) and other posts to your email by using the signup form in the sidebar. We hope that we can be a resource for you, so if you have any burning tech questions leave a comment with your suggestion or question!

Without further ado we have two tips for you today.

  1. While simple, and sometimes overlooked getting to the task manager to kill off an annoying, or misbehaving program is a critical skill and can be accomplished in Windows by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc. For all you Mac users out there simply hit Cmd + Option + Esc. Keep in mind sometimes computers will prevent you from being able to use the mouse due to one problem or another. Often restarting Windows explorer by using the task manager can solve this. Using this shortcut in combination with Tab & Enter you can end programs without even using a mouse allowing you to save what you were working on from a hard power down.

  2. For those of you working with sensitive data or in areas where walking away from your unsecured computer might be worrisome, worry no more. Simply press Windows + L or Control + Shift + Power on Mac to lock your screen when you step away.

Don’t forget to comment with your questions!

At Least It’s Snowing in Books!

We still haven’t had enough snow to throw the first snowball of the season, so I’m turning to books for my snow-fix! Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite snow picture books.


Oh! by Kevin Henkes. What could be sweeter than a book by Kevin Henkes?


The Snowy Day by Jack Ezra Keats. This Caldecott Medal classic is widely considered to be the first full-color picture book featuring an African-American child. Keats perfectly captured the universal delight of children exploring a new snowfall.


Snow by Uri Shulevitz. (I know – not the most imaginative titles today!) Will it snow today, or not?


Tracks in the Snow by Wong Herbert Yee. What could have made the small tracks in the woods?


100 Snowmen by Jen Arena – lots of counting fun!


The Biggest, Best Snowman by Margery Cuyler. What a fun read-aloud that also speaks to the themes of cooperation and family relationships. Enjoy this one now, and check out Cuyler’s The Bumpy little Pumpkin in the Fall.


Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner. When choosing books for your little ones, remember we have great books that are informational picture books. When you read this one, make sure to check out the additional information about animal adaptations in the back of the book.


Finally, for kids of all ages, take a look at Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. This picture book biography is about a scientist who taught himself to take photographs of snowflakes.

Written by Peggy Dean


Crazy About Caldecotts!

For picture book illustrators, the Holy Grail of Awards is the Randolph Caldecott Medal. The 2016 Caldecott Awards will be announced on Monday, January 11, 2016, along with the Newbery, the Coretta Scott King Awards and a host of other children’s book awards. For the illustrator, winning a Caldecott Medal virtually guarantees that your book will be in publication for a very long time. For parents and educators, the Caldecott Medals are a great way to start conversations with children about different art styles and types of illustrations. I’ll write about that again when we learn the 2016 winners!

For now, here are the current popular favorites we may hear announced from the podium on Monday. Some of the illustrators represented here are perennial favorites, not because the committee is skewed to established illustrators, but because these artists are just that good!


Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson. Elizabeth Bird compared these illustrations to the work of Ezra Jack Keats: high praise indeed!


In a Village By the Sea, illustrated by April Chu.


Waiting, written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes. Henkes won the 2004 Caldecott Medal for Kitten’s First Full Moon. In addition, as an author, he has two Newbery Medal Honors books.


Trombone Shorty, illustrated by Bryan Collier. Collier has had three books previously named as Caldecott Honor Books: Martin’s Big Words, Rosa, and Dave the Potter.


Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, illustrated by Sophie Blackall.


Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music, illustrated by Rafael Lopez. Lopez has won many awards for his book illustrations, including the 2010 Pura Belpre’ Award for Book Fiesta. Could this be the year, he earns a Caldecott?


Newbery Hopefuls

One More Week to Go!

Are you perched on the edge of your chair in anticipation? Are you reading lots of children’s book blogs? I am, because on January 11, 2016, we will learn the winners of the 2016 Youth Media Awards. For those of you who don’t live in the world of children’s literature, those awards include the Caldecott and Newbery Medals and are A BIG, BIG DEAL! Groups across the country are hosting mock elections to choose the books they hope will win awards, and critics and bloggers are weighing in with their opinions.

Here’s a quick roundup of some of the titles that are getting lots of attention as possible Newbery contenders. For an explanation of the Newbery criteria, click here: Newbery terms.

These first five Newbery hopefuls were suggested by Elizabeth Bird, who writes a blog for School Library Journal. She discussed these titles on her blog, Fuse #8.

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Garcia-Williams


Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead


A Nearer Moon by Melanie Crowder


The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley


The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

Other titles that have been suggested by bloggers include:

Whatever the Newbery Committee selects next week as the “most distinguished contribution to children’s literature”, these are all great choices for you and your kids!

More Young Hoosier Books!

My last post highlighted some of the great Young Hoosier Book titles for Intermediate Grades. That list is usually used for grades 4-6 in our school corporation. The program continues into grades 7-8 at our Middle School with the books from the list for Middle Grades. These books have more complex plots and may deal with more mature themes, although they would probably be great for any student in grades 5-8, or older. If you ever have any questions about the suitability of a book for your child, just contact me ( and I can research the book for you. The books on the Young Hoosier lists have been reviewed by professionals who often include a suggested age range in their review. Just keep in mind that your child is a unique person; maturity for reading choices may not match exactly with their actual age.

Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal


Sasquatch in the Paint by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


Odette’s Secrets by MaryAnn MacDonald


The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. Anderson is an incredible writer who often writes about social issues from an adolescent perspective. I highly recommend this one!


The Living by Matt de la Pena. Another great story for fans of survival tales.


Ask your kids if they have read any of these titles at school. Then come and get one at the library to read together.