Staff Pick: I’m a Little Black Girl

I'm a Little Black Girl


I’m a Little Black Girl! introduces adorable Mia, who wakes with her hair “just-a-going every which-a-ways!” With her abundant energy and joy leading the way, readers follow Mia as she plays with her friends who are all shades, shapes and sizes. There’s tall Kia, Keisha the reader, Charlotte her best friend, Dina Rose-Marie the artist, Imani the dancer, Anna who loves sports, Ruby the singer, and honey-haired Tracy. Mia finds that “Pretty” is within herself and her friends, and being pretty is way beyond what the mirror shows.

“Mia loves everything about herself, from the way her hair stands all over her head first thing in the morning, to the crazy dances she does on the way to breakfast. She’s a pretty little black girl and she loves it. She enjoys her friends who come in all shapes, sizes and shades of brown. Together they are a group of girls who like having fun but they’re also kind to each other by always using good manners and spreading love all around. They have big dreams and will one day show the world what they’re made of.”

Recommended by Claudine Polley – Fountain Square Library

Listen Right Now! Bessie Coleman

National African American Read-In
A Story Every Day: February 1-29, 2016

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Video Story of the Day:

Listen Right Now! Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman earned her pilot’s license two years before Amelia Earhart! Denied admission to American aviation schools because of her race and gender, she learned French and went to France to for aviation school, earning her license on June 15, 1921. Library Books about Bessie Coleman


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More Info Guides about Black History:

Read Right Now! Parts of Me

National African American Read-In
A Story Every Day: February 1-29, 2016

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Read Right Now! Parts of Me by Holly HartmanParts of Me

A picture book naming the body parts. From Uniteforliteracy. Español




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More Info Guides about Black History:

National African American Read-In

A Story Every Day

February 1-28, 2015

AARI Parts of Me

Story of the Day:

Read Right Now! Parts of Me



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More Info Guides about Black History:

Read Right Now! Catching the Moon

National African American Read-In
A Story Every Day: February 1-29, 2016

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Catching the MoonStory of the Day:
Read Right Now! Catching the Moon:
the Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream by Crystal Hubbard  

A picture book biography highlighting a pivotal event in the childhood of African American baseball player Marcenia “Toni Stone” Lyle Alberga, the woman who broke baseball’s gender barrier by becoming the first female roster member of a professional Negro League team. From Storyline Online. Read by Kevin Costner & Jillian Estell.


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Read Right Now! The Snowy Day

National African American Read-In
A Story Every Day: February 1-29, 2016

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Snowy DayStory of the Day:

Read Right Now! The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day. 1963 Caldecott Medal Winner. Captioned with American Sign Language. Español.


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Helping Children Cope with Tragic Events

“We’re going over in a safe area,” she told the 5-year-olds. Then, she opened a book and started to read.”  ~Kindergarten Teacher, Sandy Hook Elementary School

This is what we have to offer you today in the aftermath of the inexplicable. Come. Open a book. Start to read. Hold them close and revisit old friends together; Curious George, The Cat in the Hat, Arthur, The Little Engine That Could.

Or stay at home and do the same. Find the books in the bookcase with the dog-eared pages and the tell-tale bite marks on the spine; the ones you can probably recite without looking at the pages. Choose the one with the coffee ring on the cover for having been on the bedside table every night.

Favorite stories are steadfast old friends to count on in times of trouble.

It is clear from the resources we have gathered below that one of the best things we can all do is simply reassure children that many people – their family, their teachers, their neighbors, the people at day care or church or the library love and care about them and are looking out for their safety.

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered. 
”Yes, Piglet?” 
”Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.” ~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Professional Advice about Helping Children Cope with Violence and Tragic Events:

Dad and Children Reading Photo While favorite stories are comforting and familiar, you may find that it would be helpful to read a book together that helps your child understand feeling afraid or anxious; or answers questions he or she might have about death. Below are several children’s books that address separation anxiety, fear and grief. These are just a small sampling to show you the kinds of books that are available. Also listed are some parenting books about helping a child cope with anxiety. Click on any book jacket to go directly to the online catalog to make a request with your IndyPL Library Card, or visit any of our branch locations. IndyPL librarians would be happy to help you find books like these. NOTE: The first two titles, Owl Babies and The Kissing Hand, you can watch right now online – no waiting. Both are about learning to cope with separation anxiety.

Video Storytime:

OwlBabies CandlewickSmall
Watch Right Now: Owl Babies – Three baby owls panic when they awaken one night and find their mother gone, worrying about what has happened to her and becoming frightened by all the scary things that surround them in the dark. Print, Downloadable eBook, en español
Watch Right Now: The Kissing Hand – When Chester the raccoon is reluctant to go to kindergarten for the first time, his mother teaches him a secret way to carry her love with him. Print, Downloadable eBook, en español


Chapter Books for Older Readers

Invisible String The Invisible String – When Liza and Jeremy run to their mother during a scary storm, she comforts them by telling them about the Invisible String, which connects people who love each other no matter where they are and means that they are never alone. Print
Boats for Papa Boats for Papa – Buckley and his mother cope with the loss of their father/husband by sending small wooden boats, built by Buckley, off into the ocean. Print
Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories – After his mother explains why his classmate is not returning to school, she teaches Chester Raccoon how to make a memory. Print, Downloadable eBook
City Dog Country Frog City Dog, Country Frog – In spring, when City Dog runs free in the country for the first time, he spots Country Frog sitting on a rock, waiting for a friend. “You’ll do,” Frog says, and together they play Country Frog games. In summer, they meet again and play City Dog games. Through the seasons, whenever City Dog visits the country he runs straight for Country Frog’s rock. In winter, things change for City Dog and Country Frog. Come spring, friendship blooms again, a little different this time. Print
The Giving Tree The Giving Tree – A young boy grows to manhood and old age experiencing the love and generosity of a tree which gives to him without thought of return. Print, Downloadable eBook
Grandpa Green Grandpa Green – A child explores the ordinary life of his extraordinary great-grandfather, as expressed in his topiary garden. Explores aging, memory, and the bonds of family history and love. Print
Grandpas Soup Grandpa’s Soup – After the death of his wife, an old man gradually realizes that making the soup she used to cook and sharing it with friends eases his loneliness. Print
Healing Days Healing Days – A guide for kids who have experienced trauma. Print
The Hugging Tree The Hugging Tree – Told in rhyming text, a little tree clings tenaciously to a granite cliff, determined to live, tended by a little boy, and ultimately loved by the people in the community. Print
I Miss You I Miss You – Explores the difficult issue of death for young children. Feelings and questions about this sensitive subject are looked at in a simple but realistic way. Written by a psychotherapist and counselor this book helps children to understand their loss and to come to terms with their feelings. Print, Downloadable eBook
Jenny is Scared Jenny is Scared – When Jenny and her brother are frightened by events in the world, their parents help them talk about their fears and feel better. Print
The Kiss Box The Kiss Box
– As they prepare for a short separation, Mama Bear and Little Bear find a way to reassure each other while they are apart. Print
Love Hugs & Hope Love, Hugs & Hope – Helps children identify feelings that overwhelm them with anxiety and despair. Explains that sometimes bad things happen and good people are hurt. Children feel fear, sadness, and anger. The book teaches that there are ways of dealing with these emotions and helps children reaffirm fundamental truths about the world. Print
Love Waves Love Waves – While they are at work a mother and father send powerful “love waves” to their child at home, offering reassurance and comfort in their absence. Print
Mommy In My Pocket Mommy in My Pocket – A little girl gets anxious about separation from her mommy when she goes to school. Print
Nana Upstairs Nana Downstairs Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs – Four-year-old Tommy enjoys his relationship with both his grandmother and great-grandmother, but eventually learns to face their inevitable death. Print
On That Day On That Day: a Book of Hope for Children – This book tells children that although terrible things happen, there is still hope that the world can be a better place. Print
Remembering Crystal Remembering Crystal – Zelda is a young duck that lives in the garden. Her friend Crystal is a turtle who is growing old. The two do many things together. One day Crystal is not in the garden. But friendship never dies. Print
Remembering Mrs Rossi Remembering Mrs. Rossi – Although she loves her father, their home in New York City, and third-grade teacher Miss Meadows, Annie misses her mother who died recently. Print, Downloadable eBook
The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm – When little Mica is frightened by a storm, her father tells her the story of a rhino who was feeling lost and alone, until he learns that with the love of family and friends, there will always be help during tough times. Downloadable eBook
Sad Isn't Bad Sad Isn’t Bad – a good grief guidebook for kids dealing with loss. Downloadable eBook
Snowflakes Fall Snowflakes Fall – In this illustrated poem in honor of the victims of the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, falling snowflakes celebrate the uniqueness of life, its precious, simple moments, and the strength of memory. Print, Downloadable eBook
Some Bunny To Talk To Some Bunny To Talk To – When Little Bunny’s problem makes him feel sad and fearful, he goes to a therapist for help. Print
Tear Soup Tear Soup – A modern-day fable, told in a richly illustrated children’s book format, about a woman who has suffered a terrible loss. Grandy has just suffered a big loss in her life, so she is cooking up a batch of “tear soup,” in which the ingredients are parts of the grieving process, including memories, misgivings, feelings, and tears. Print
A Terrible Thing That Happened A Terrible Thing Happened – After Sherman sees something terrible happen, he becomes anxious and then angry, but when a counselor helps him talk about these emotions he feels better. Print
Tough Boris Tough Boris – Although he is a very tough pirate, Boris von der Borch cries when his parrot dies. Print
What to do When You're Scared & Worried What To Do When You’re Scared and Worried – Why do we have worries and fears? — Fears after something bad has happened — Fears of people, animals, and situations — Worries about being away from your parents : separation anxiety — Thoughts and behaviors you can’t stop — Worrying all the time — Panic, feeling you are going crazy or about to die — How to control your worries and fears — When fears and worries will not go away — For parents : helping your children cope with worries and fears. Print, Downloadable eBook
When Bad Things Happen When Bad Things Happen: A Guide to Help Kids Cope – Truly bad things happen in life. And while we cannot shelter children from every hurt and harm, we can reassure them that they will always be loved and cared for. We can teach children the skills needed for coping with life’s biggest challenges and changes. And we can restore children’s trust that life, after all, is good. Downloadable eBook
When Dinosaurs Die When Dinosaurs Die – Explains in simple language the feelings people may have regarding the death of a loved one and the ways to honor the memory of someone who has died. Print
Where is Grandpa Where is Grandpa? – As his family reminisces after his beloved grandfather’s death, a boy realizes that his grandfather is still with him in all the special places they shared. Print

For Adults:

Freeing Your Child From Anxiety Freeing Your Child From Anxiety – Written by an expert in the field of childhood anxiety disorders, this indispensable guide is for parents looking for safe, proven methods for reducing childhood anxiety. Dr. Chansky shows them how to teach their child to successfully deal with stress and face the challenges and uncertainties of life. This resource is a CD but is also available as a PrintDownloadable eBook
Growing Up Brave Growing Up Brave – The author, a childhood anxiety expert, helps parents identify and understand anxiety in their children, outlines effective and convenient parenting techniques for reducing anxiety, and shows parents how to promote bravery for long-term confidence. Print

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Staff Pick: Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast

Lady Pancakes & Sir French Toast

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast have a beautiful friendship–until they discover that there’s only one drop of maple syrup left. Off they go, racing past the Orange Juice Fountain, skiing through Sauerkraut Peak, and reeling down the linguini. But who will enjoy the sweet taste of victory? And could working together be better than tearing each other apart? The action-packed rhyme makes for an adrenaline-filled breakfast!

A children’s picture book chronicling the hilarious and bumbling competition between Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast as they race each other through the fridge to reach the last of the maple syrup. This picture book has everything needed for a fun story time for parents and kids of all ages. In this rhyming and comical tale, two leftover foods find their competitive spirit when they race through the fridge on their way to secure that last drop of maple syrup. Along the way, they run into various food related obstacles and fellow friend (and some foe) foods as they make their way through the terrain of the fridge. This story is a great lesson in friendship while also showcasing food groups and words for children to become familiar with. Josh Funk weaves an imaginative tale using food as props and scenery to create a realistic world for his two main characters. Children’s sense of imagination will love all of his little details such as the Broccoli Forest and Potato Mash Mountain. Kearney’s illustrations make the fridge world all that more fun for readers to enjoy. This story will make you laugh and want to read it again and again. I recommend this title for anyone who enjoys such stories as ‘The Day the Crayons Quit’ and ‘The Book with No Pictures’. Keep an eye out for Funk’s next stories; I’m sure they will be just as wonderful as this one!

Recommended by Maggie – Warren Library

Staff Pick: The Bear Ate Your Sandwich

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich

When a sandwich goes missing, it seems that a bear is the unlikely culprit.

Every thief needs a scapegoat. In The Bear Ate Your Sandwich, the thief constructs an elaborate tale that explains what happened to the missing sandwich. The actual klepto, a little dog, is revealed as the narrator at the end of the book. The dog spins an elaborate tale of a wondrous journey from the forest to the city park where he stumbles upon this irresistible treat. This story is sure to win the hearts of adults and children. It has beautiful illustrations that depict the fantastic tale spun by the dog. It definitely is an irresistible tale, just like its subject, the prized sandwich. If you have ever had a dog steal your food you will definitely get a good chuckle at this story.

Recommended by Lindsay Haddix – Nora Branch Library

Kids’ App: Metamorphabet an Alphabet for All Ages

Cybils 2015


The Cybils Awards aim to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal. Metamorphabet is a 2015 Finalist in the category “Book Apps”. 2015 Finalists

Metamorphabet Logo Metamorphabet is a colorful, imaginative, interactive app that uses the framework of the alphabet to present visual representations of vocabulary words associated with each letter.



Each letter appears in 2D first, centered on the screen. When you touch it, the third dimension is added. K K 3D

At this point, it is time to play – touch, drag, tap or sweep your finger over the letter to “unlock” what the letter will morph into.

Some of the representation are intuitive and easily guessed, for example, D is for “Door”, R is for “Rain”, and Z is for “Zipper”.

Metamorphabet D Door Metamorphabet R Rain Metamorphabet Z Zipper

The more you touch, drag, & tap, the more the letters change, often into words that are not as easily guessed. The letter A, for instance, grows “Antlers”, turns into an “Arch” and starts to “Amble”. Printed words appear to help reinforce the vocabulary word. A voice pronounces the word and will pronounce it again if you tap the word.

Metamorphabet A Antlers Metamorphabet A Arch Metamorphabet A Amble

The element of surprise is fun, as is the wordplay. Some of the representations are really creative, requiring some thought to understand what word is being illustrated. For example, the “Log” that appears with the letter L makes immediate sense, but I did not guess what was happening when the L melted onto the “Log” until the word “Lazy” appeared. I wasn’t sure at all what was going on with the letter N. I tapped it more than nine times to reveal all of the people.  I could not think of an N word…my mind was sort of stuck on “windows”…and then the word “neighbors” appeared. “Oh!, right!” Y for “yesterday” I never did quite get. That one was a stretch. Even with a few tough ones though, the guessing is fun. There is a lot of movement and opportunity to tap and drag objects. When the “Egg” appears for the letter E, you can drag it over for the letter E to “Eat.”

Metamorphabet L Lazy Metamorphabet N Neighbors Metamorphabet Y Yesterday

While the alphabet is used as a framework for the letter and vocabulary wordplay, Metamorphabet is an app best experienced as playing with the alphabet rather than an introduction to learning the letters and the sounds each makes. This app reminds me of several print books that do the same thing, pushing the alphabet book concept beyond “b is for ball”. The capabilities of the iPad are utilized well to make Metamorphabet a creative experience to reinforce alphabet letters, the sounds each letter makes as well as the endless number of words that can be made with them.


Here are some books that use the letters of the alphabet to tell a story…or a joke. These books make naming the letters and practicing with the sounds the letters make fun.

A is for Salad Alphaoops
The Alphabet Book Alpha City The Alphabet from A to Y
Alphabet Mystery Animalia Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Eating the Alphabet E-mergency Gone Wild
The Graphic Alphabet The Handmade Alphabet Hooper Humperdink Not Him!
I Stink! If Rocks Could Sing LMNO Peas
Miss Spider's ABC Museum ABC Old Black Fly
Peanut Butty and Jellyfishes Shiver Me Letters So Many Bunnies
Superhero ABC A Apple Pie Z is for Moose>
The Z was Zapped FraidyZoo








Staff Pick: Little Red Gliding Hood

Little Red Gliding Hood

Little Red is an excellent ice skater, but she will need a good partner for the skating pairs competition and the only one available is a certain Wolf, who needs new skates as badly as Little Red does.

Little Red Gliding Hood laces up her worn-in, worn-out ice skates and “swizzles, twizzles, spins, and waltzes” across the river through the enchanted forest to Grandma’s House.  On the way, she spots a banner announcing a Pairs Skating Competition- and the Prize….Brand-New Ice Skates!  Oh slippery slush, all she needs is a partner! Goldilocks and Baby Bear, the Dish and the Spoon, Tortoise and the Hare… everyone has a partner! EXCEPT: The Big Bad Wolf!  Oh, slippery slush, will Little Red Gliding Hood find a partner in someone who usually wants to eat her?  Can you sort out the mixed up nursery rhymes and fairytales to name the winner of the pairs competition?    Watch the competition in Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar with pictures by Troy Cummings.

Recommended by Patty Wallace – East 38th Street Branch Library