We are thrilled to have Alice Boeckman, the children’s librarian at the Bellevue Public Library, join us as our guest reader for momaha’s Evening Children’s Story Time 7 p.m. Friday at The Bookworm Bookstore at Countryside Village, near 87th and Pacific Streets.
The theme: Teddy Bears.
Encourage your children to dress in pajamas and bring his or her favorite stuffed bear. We’ll sing songs, dance, snack on milk and cookies and enjoy a take-home craft.
We asked Boeckman, the children’s services librarian at the Bellevue Public Library, to share her favorite children’s books with us.
Here’s what she had to say:
What is your favorite thing about working as a children’s librarian?
Seeing people “connect” with books! I see it when a parent/grandparent comes in the library asking for a much-loved book from their childhood that they want to introduce to the next generation. I see it when a child waits anxiously for the release of the newest title in a series or when kids stock up on books for a road trip. It’s fun to watch a toddler lift the flaps in a book to discover what’s hidden underneath and to see a child with his head in a book as he leaves the library – sometimes running the risk of bumping into something because he is so engrossed in reading!
What are your three favorite children’s books?
THREE favorites? Just THREE?!
From my childhood: “Misty of Chincoteague” by Marguerite Henry. In the late 1960s, I met Ruth Gagliardo, who was a nationally-known authority on children’s literature. When visiting my sister at the University of Kansas, Ruth would shower me with children’s books, many of them signed by the authors. The first book I received from her was “Misty”, which included a photo and personal message from Marguerite Henry. Receiving it when I was around 8 or 9 opened my eyes to the fact that authors are real people, just like me! I still have the book and photo.
From my daughters’ childhood: Probably “The Sneetches and Other Stories” by Dr. Seuss. While The Sneetches is my own favorite Seuss story, I have very fond memories of my daughters and my husband cracking up every time one of us read “Too Many Daves”, another story from that book.
From my years at the Bellevue Public Library: Really, just about any book in which children can join me in telling the story. I love hearing a roomful of children chanting, “I love you once. I love you twice. I love you more than beans and rice. I love you more than rain and sun. Te amo, bebe, little one.” (“Te Amo, Bebe, Little One” by Lisa Wheeler and Maribel Suarez) or “Dump it in, smash it down. Drive around the Trashy Town! Is the trash truck full yet? NO!” (“Trashy Town” by Andrea Zimmerman, David Clemesha and Dan Yaccarino).
I’m going to cheat and include one more book that really speaks to me. It was published shortly before my mother passed away at the age of 93. The title is “City Dog, Country Frog” by Mo Willems and Jon J. Muth. The illustrations are both haunting and whimsical. It deals so beautifully with the subject of death and the whole “circle of life” theme.
What can parents do to encourage their children to read more?
Make reading and writing a daily, family activity! Children who grow up seeing parents/grandparents/caregivers enjoying a magazine, searching through cookbooks, reading about local attractions in preparation for an upcoming vacation, even consulting an owner’s manual, are more likely to make the connection between the printed word and its positive benefits.
They will see that reading allows people to try new things, learn new skills, develop a hobby, gain knowledge, even escape to another place and time. You also can’t put a price on the experience of being read to while sitting in the sheltering arms of a caring adult. The sense of safety, love and acceptance a child experiences will impact his entire life.
What are a few of your favorite experiences you have had working at the library?
Well, I loved the child who looked at me very seriously one time and asked if the supply closet I had just exited was my bedroom!
Probably my favorite experience is saying goodbye to patrons who are moving away from the metro area. While that might sound strange, this bittersweet time reinforces in me how important reading is – and reminds me of the tremendous impact library services can have on children and parents.
Parents will often make a final stop on their way out of town to say goodbye and let their children give us hugs and handmade cards. They often share with us how much the library experience has meant to them and how they will miss various programs, staff members, puppet friends, etc. I have, over the years, said goodbye to many families who are moving on to new military assignments, civilian jobs and schooling. I know that these families will be a great asset to their new communities and will hopefully take along fond memories of their time in Bellevue.
Follow Boeckman’s library blog, storiesrhymesandsingalongtimes.blogspot.com
Danielle Herzog, a work-at-home mom with two children, wrote this blog for momaha.
Read her every Wednesday on momaha.
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