Highlights of the Week: Video Game Design, Springsteen and His Layered Lyrics, Yakety Yak & More!

4/3 | Yakety Yak Grade 2-3 Book Discussion

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To do something different this month, the Yakety Yak members were asked to read and bring their favorite book to discuss at the book club meeting.  Most of the second and third graders chose fiction stories, but one child brought his favorite book, a non-fiction book about the history of flight. To begin the discussion, youth librarian Amanda asked the children to share why the book they brought was their favorite. During the discussion, children rolled a giant dice that had questions printed on each side. They then had a chance to answer questions about their fiction book’s setting, genre, and their favorite character. For non-fiction books, the questions included what the child’s favorite fact from the book was and whether or not this book was a good book about the topic.  

Next month, the group will be reading Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence and will be making mochi to taste.    


 

4/3 | Video Game Design: Ages 9-14

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The Video Game Design program kicked off its first session with a great group of kids (ages 9-14) and some teen volunteers.  These kids will meet every week through April and May to learn about computer programming while creating their own video games.  During the first session, the kids created a simple animation as an introduction to the coding platform, Scratch. Next week, they will be making a racing game.

 


 

4/3 | Xtreme Readers Book Group: Grades 4-5

The group read Tim Federle’s hilarious and heartwarming Better Nate than Ever, a story about a Broadway musical-loving eighth grade boy who is sure his stardom awaits if he could just leave his unfulfilling small Pennsylvania town and dysfunctional family behind, and head to NYC.  The group enjoyed the book and are eager to read the sequel, Five, Six, Seven, Nate!. Youth librarian Gina discussed topics such as families and siblings, best friends, bullying, musicals, and New York City.  She also presented the author’s biography for a look into his own experience in Broadway. Readers enjoyed watching Federle promote Better Nate Than Ever in his interview with the president & producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, Thomas Schumacher as they ate their snacks.

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4/4 | Little Bookworms: Grades K-1

The theme for the second session of Little Bookworms was “You!”. Miss Gina shared Paige Britt’s thoughtful picture book, Why Am I Me?, Todd Parr’s empowering Be Who You Are, and one of Gina’s all time favorite Dr. Seuss books, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

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The class enjoys Miss Gina’s stories!

To celebrate uniqueness, Miss Gina taught the children how to create salt painting name art.

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4/5 | Springsteen and His Layered Lyrics

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Facing a crowd of Bruce Springsteen fans, Professor Prudence Jones from Montclair University presented a lecture on Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen’s music, focusing on the lyrics and the folk songs his own music stems from.

Some examples Professor Jones presented were: Blind Alfred Reed’s song “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live” was about the hard times of the Depression, but Springsteen borrowed the last refrain from that song and used it in the context of Hurricane Katrina; Springsteen borrowed from Irish immigrant Patrick Glimore’s song, “When Johnny comes Marching Home” ; and other artists that influenced Springsteen were Woody Guthrie, Curtis Mayfield, Hank Williams Jr,  Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Clarence Clemons, and Bob Dylan.

Another interesting fact Professor Jones pointed out was Springsteen’s use of Appalachian English in his lyrics, with words such as “we’uns,”  “you’uns,” “y’all,”  “them’s,” “young’uns,” and “hain’t.”

Highlights of the Week: Ellen LaFurn Trio, Paws to Read, Coffee and Crime, & more!

12/10 | ELLEN LAFURN TRIO

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Vocalist Ellen LaFurn, accompanied by Ron Naspo on bass and Vic Cenicola on guitar, added a jazz vibe to selections from The Great American Songbook. They played their own take of Frank Sinatra’s “It Was a Very Good Year” and treated the audience to songs from the 1930s to the 1950s. Other artists they played songs from included Cab Calloway, Judy Garland, Jo Stafford, Fred Astaire, and many others.

LaFurn also included two of America’s most popular holiday songs, “Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” where she then told a touching anecdote about the latter:

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” introduced by Bing Crosby in 1943, held a special place for families with loved ones serving in the armed services. In December of 1965, astronauts Frank Borman and James Lovell completed the first U.S. space rendezvous and set a record for the longest flight in the U.S. space program. As they returned to earth aboard their Gemini 7 spacecraft, NASA asked if they wanted any particular music piped up to them. The crew requested Bing Crosby’s recording of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” making it the first song broadcast into space.


12/12 | PAWS TO READ

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Back for another great session, kids grades K-2 had the opportunity to practice their reading with trained therapy dogs. Each child was given a fifteen minute time slot, picking their own book and reading aloud to the patient dog sitting next to them.

With a furry friend that doesn’t judge the children for any mistakes, but rather quietly sits or lays next to them while they read, it encourages them to continue practicing. And of course, getting to pet a cute, fluffy pup is a plus too.


12/13 | MUSIC OPEN PLAY  | 3 to 23 month olds

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The babies came out in the dozens to play! Youth Services Librarian Gina Vaccaro and Library Assistant Diane Choi organized the new furniture in the Children’s Room to accommodate the droves of families that were in attendance for our December Music Open Play session.

Babies from age 3 to 23 months were treated to an open play session where they were introduced to various musical instruments– including a giant sized keyboard for the babies to crawl on– drums, maracas, bells, a triangle, a xylophone, and other percussion toys.In addition to the music, families were also reading books to their little ones, enjoying educational computer games, building with blocks, and having a fun time together.

The library welcomed a few families to the library for the first time and all in attendance were happy to have an indoor event to share with their babies together.


12/7 & 12/14 | COFFEE & CRIME

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Despite the cold weather and overlap of dates with Hanukkah, the Coffee & Crime Mystery Book Group had a great turnout on both days: fifteen people on Tuesday in the daytime and sixteen on Thursday in the evening. This month, the group discussed Daniel Friedman’s Don’t Ever Get Old, about a cranky old Jewish ex-detective (and WWII vet) and his yuppie grandson Tequila (“It’s a fraternity thing”) who chase down a treasure hoard of Nazi gold.
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Both days were full of lively discussions with passages from the book, such as this one: “’I never thought I would hear you expound the virtues of caring about people.’ I frowned. ‘I care about people. I just don’t like them.’” 

Ariel Zeitlin, the reference librarian who facilitates the group, played an audio version of the author describing his own grandfather who inspired the book, as well as audio clips from GI JEWS, a forthcoming documentary film about Jewish American soldiers in WWII. The group also enjoyed delicious Hanukkah gelt in honor of the book’s treasure theme.