I hope that you and your family are having lots of fun exploring the world of animals during our Summer Reading Program “Tails and Tales.” We have so many great animal books, but don’t forget to check out the nature magazines we also have for kids. These magazines all feature lots of amazing photographs, fun facts, and short articles. They’re perfect for sharing together or for your children to read on their own. The format makes a magazine an especially appealing choice for reluctant readers of all ages.
Reading about nature with your children will encourage their curiosity and increase their vocabulary. That can be reinforced with a nature walk around your community. Another option would be completing the Library’s Animal Scavenger Hunt (for Aurora or Dillsboro).
In addition to our printed magazines, you can also read digital magazines through the Indiana Digital Download Center. Just select the Aurora Public Library District and login with your library card number (no spaces) and PIN. Then look for the Collections tab and select Magazines. All of our digital magazines are simultaneous use, so no waiting ever! You’ll find National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Little Kids, and Animal Tales.
If you ever need help using our digital resources just call 812-926-0646, and we can talk you through the process.
Carl Hiaasen was well-known as a writer of adult novels featuring a wicked sense of humor. In 2002, he shifted gears and published Hoot for middle grade students. Slapstick comedy and an ecological message have made this a favorite of students and teachers. The book was named as a Newbery Honor Book and was turned into a popular movie.
Since Hoot, Hiaasen has written 4 more books for young readers – all featuring the same humor and environmental focus. Any of these would make a great family read-together choice.
I can tell you exactly why I love reading children’s books about animals. During my childhood, my home-town library had a summer reading program where you could read any kind of book and THEN there was a Smokey the Bear program where you needed to read books about animals. My sister just tolerated the nature books, but I loved them. Thank you, St. Simons Public Library!
I think one of the best author/illustrators of animal books for children is Steve Jenkins. His primary medium is cut paper, and he has illustrated his own books, he’s written and illustrated with his wife Robin Page, and he’s illustrated books for other authors like April Pulley Sayre. Jenkins’ books typically focus on one aspect of the animal world, such as relationships, habitats, camouflage, etc. You are guaranteed to learn something amazing with each of his books!
For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises — some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter. But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.
After reading A Boy Called Bat, you’ll want to dive right into the next two books in the series.
For more “unusual pet” stories, give these books a try! Rascal and The Tarantula in My Purse are juvenile biographies (J 912), and Flora & Ulysses and Pax are juvenile novels found in the juvenile fiction of the library.
The eternal question: what to read next! We love to make book recommendations, but if the library is closed, there’s a great resource that you can access through our library website. We’ve recently moved our Reading Online Resources closer to the top of the list at: https://eapld.org/online-resources/. Just click on Novelist or Novelist K-8 (for children’s books). Type in a title or an author to find reading suggestions for books that are similar in subject, tone, or pacing.
The Aurora Public Library District has recently upgraded to a more robust version of Novelist that provides access to all of the Novelist features directly through our online catalog. Just do a catalog search for a book you enjoyed. Select the book title from the search results , and then look for the “Related” link on the left side of the page. Here’s what my screen looked like when I searched the online catalog for the book An American Marriage.
As you can see, Novelist suggested similar titles and similar authors. Scrolling down further will show a tab with Story Elements. By clicking on the elements that you enjoy, you may find additional titles. Here I selected Character-driven, Domestic Fiction, and Southern Fiction.
Scrolling down more will show both book reviews and awards won by the book. Another way you can use Novelist is to determine the order of books in a series. You can do this directly from Novelist, but if the book you are reading is part of a series, you can also grab this information from the Novelist input to the catalog. For example, if I have started the Louise Penny books, but don’t know which book comes after A Great Reckoning, I can search for that title, click on the Related tab, and all the books in the series will be shown in order. You can see that in the image below.
Play around with Novelist through the direct link and also within the online catalog. I bet you’ll find some great new books to enjoy! As always, if you need help with this resource, just ask one of the Library staff.
If you like to read a variety of books, and if you like to discuss the books you read, you should consider joining one of the Aurora Public Library District’s book groups. There is an evening group that meets at Carnegie Hall in Moores Hill on the first Monday of each month (second Monday, if the first Monday is a holiday). There are also afternoon groups that meet at the Aurora Public Library on the fourth Thursday and at the Dillsboro Public Library on the fourth Friday each month. The Aurora and Dillsboro groups are led by Ron Nicholson of Ivy Tech. All three groups meet monthly in January through October, and the Library provides the books a month in advance. Call the Library at 812-926-0646 to sign up for any of these groups!
Here are some of the upcoming selections for 2020. You can view past selections at: https://eapld.org/programs/.
For the Moores Hill Group For the Aurora and Dillsboro Groups
To help celebrate our Summer Reading theme Tails and Tales, I want to highlight some of my very favorite tiger picture books. If you don’t currently have a favorite tiger picture book, please check these out! They are all special to me, although for different reasons. I fell in love with Mr. Tiger Goes Wild at first because of the illustrations, inspired in part by A Child’s Garden of Verses (the 1951 version illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen). I also came to love the way Mr. Tiger needs his little escape into the wilderness, but still comes to realize the importance of coming home. Besides all that, I think Peter Brown is a picture book genius. If you don’t believe me, just check out Creepy Pair of Underwear.
Tiger in My Soup, written by Kashmira Sheth and illustrated by Cincinnati artist Jeffrey Ebbler, is the story of a young boy who desperately wants his sister to read him a story. Does he imagine the tiger, or is it real?
For every child who has wanted to wander outside at night, just imagine the wonder of coming across a dancing tiger! The Dancing Tiger by Malachy Doyle is perfect for any child who loves the idea of a secret friend. I hope you’re familiar with the picture books by Jan Brett. She often retells traditional folktales and her artwork is always stunning. Look for the side panels in The Tale of the Tiger Slippers to get a hint about what’s coming on the next pages.
Join FunJungle’s resident zoo sleuth, Teddy Fitzroy, as he solves mysteries and strives to protect the animals at the zoo with these funny and suspenseful novels in the bestselling FunJungle series from author Stuart Gibbs.
When Teddy Fitzroy moved into FunJungle, the nation’s largest zoo with his scientist parents, he expected things to be kind of quiet. There’d be the occasional elephant stampedes and water balloon fights with the chimpanzees, of course, but when Henry the Hippo dies from not-so-natural causes, Teddy suspects foul play. And that was just the beginning. He begins to realize that the zoo is far more exciting than he thought it was, and soon the mysteries at FunJungle are piling up…
If you enjoy the books in this series, you’ll also enjoy The Wolf Keepers by Elise Broach.
Our Summer Reading Program Tails & Tales is kicking off on June 1st and will run through July 24th. We invite you to stop by the Aurora Public Library or the Dillsboro Public Library and get started with our Summer Reading Challenge. Folks of all ages can participate by reading and completing activities throughout the next 2 months. You can earn badges and prizes all along the way. We have also rolled out a new way to participate through Beanstack. You can sign up your entire family and track your reading on a home computer or mobile device. We also have a traditional paper log available if that’s how you want to participate.
We are beginning to offer some in-person programs at the library. These programs usually require advance registration and may have limited attendance to allow us to still provide social distancing. Call the library or talk to any librarian to see what is available for your age group.
One program everyone can participate in is our Animal Scavenger Hunt. Grab your tracking sheet at one of the library buildings and try to locate the animals posted in local businesses around town. There there are versions for both Aurora and Dillsboro, so choose your location, or do both!
Have a great Summer!
I found books by Mary Renault on a library shelf when I was in high school, and they inspired a love of books based on mythology. The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea flesh out the story of Theseus who kills the Minotaur on Crete. Here are some other, more recent, novels based on myths or on works by Homer or Virgil.
Ursula Le Guin is perhaps better known for her science fiction, including the children’s Earthsea series. In Lavinia, Le Guin weaves a story about a minor character who appears near the end of Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid.
Clytemnestra, the wife of King Agamemnon is the protagonist of House of Names by Colm Toibin. Depicted in the Odyssey and the Iliad as a murderous mother in search of vengeance, Clytemnestra may evoke some sympathy when you’ve heard her side of the story.
Madeline Miller soared up the bestseller lists with her two stand-alone novels The Song of Achilles and Circe. Both books bring a deeper understanding to relationships found in the original works of Homer and show the dangers faced by those who dare to anger the gods.
The last three titles are all focused on the events of the Trojan War, but told from different perspectives. That’s what makes retellings so much fun!