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Showing posts from November, 2012

Fantastic School-age Read Alouds

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Throughout the school year, parents are often given the opportunity to read aloud to their child's class. With so many wonderful books to choose from it may be difficult to decide on which one to share.  This decision can be made in a variety ways - sharing your child's favorite story, choosing a title that fits into an upcoming holiday or event, or a recommendation from a teacher or librarian. Here are a few of my favorites:
Picture Books: A Fine, Fine Schoolby Sharon Creech - When a principal loves his school so much that he wants the children to attend classes every day of the year, it's up to his students to show him free time is a good thing, too.








Math Curse by Jon Scieszka - When the teacher tells her class that they can think of almost everything as a math problem, one student acquires a math anxiety which becomes a real curse.







Science Verseby Jon Scieszka - When the teacher tells his class that they can hear the poetry of science in everything, a student is struck with …

Create Your Own Business Card With Publisher

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Your business card is an essential and necessary marketing tool.  A good business card not only projects the right image about you and your company to potential clients; it's a convenient way to offer your customers your contact information.  You can create a terrific and professional looking business card using Publisher.
Open Publisher. From Publication Types menu, click and select Business Cards. A variety of pre-designed templates will appear under the Business Cards category.  They are further categorized by Newer and Classic designs; you can scroll to check out all the templates or just click on the links to see the newer or the classic designs. If you are a novice then I suggest staying away from using the Blank category. Unless you are a design guru and know the perfect design you want for your business card, it's always a good idea to begin with a pre-existing template. The templates provided in Publisher are created by professionals so you have access to some great …

Tech Friday Shopping

It’s Black Friday, which means it must be time to take our annual look at what your geekiest friends and family members might be asking for this year and how to avoid some pitfalls while shopping.  As in recent years, the trend this year seems to be toward tablets, mp3 players and SmartPhones.  Oh, and a new video game system just debuted in time to cause a mad rush to the mall.

Nintendo Wii U – Nintendo starts off the next round of video game console upgrades with the release of the Wii U, which came out last week.  The new console builds on the old Wii’s technology and still offers interactive play with motion controllers.  The U, which comes in a basic and deluxe version, has HD graphics, video chat, and a new GamePad controller.  The new controller includes a screen and can be used for close-up details or off-screen tools like maps and menus for single player games or as an alternative view for a one versus many party game.  For those of you who already have a Wii and may be think…

Thanksgiving is upon us!

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The Mercer County Library System has dozens of books to help you make this year's feast unforgettable! And while you're waiting for your turkey to brown, take a minute or two to learn the meaning behind this annual holiday brimming with stuffing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well
by Sam Sifton

From one of America's finest food writers, the former restaurant critic for The New York Times, comes a definitive, timeless guide to Thanksgiving dinner--preparing it, surviving it, and pulling it off in style. From the planning of the meal to the washing of the last plate, Thanksgiving poses more--and more vexing--problems for the home cook than any other holiday. In this smartly written, beautifully illustrated, recipe-filled book, Sam Sifton, the Times's resident Thanksgiving expert, delivers a message of great comfort and solace: There is no need for fear. You can cook a great meal on Thanksgiving. You can have a great time. With simple, fool-pro…

Science Experiments

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Jr. Mad Scientists

Do you know any mad scientists? Kids willing to take apart anything to see how it works? Mixers of every ingredient? Whether you are looking for a winning science fair project or to pass the time on a rainy day, these books are filled with simple, exciting experiments:

All time favorites:

What makes these the best? They use items that you probably have lying around like soap or a hair dryer, they only take a few minutes to prepare, color photographs accompany the simple instructions, and each experiment clearly illustrates one concept. Mummify a hot dog, make an electro magnet, and microwave a bar of soap.



Youngest scientists:
These books represent two series geared for kids from about 3 to 6 years. With an adult reading the instructions, kids will be able to do most of the experiments themselves. They will also be able to interpret the results through yes or no questions like, “Does the paper clip float in water? Does it float in oil?” Build bridges out of paper,…

Graphic Content: Five Surprising Graphic Novel Adaptations

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, a book I vividly remember reading for the first time -- thirty years ago. L’Engle’s coming-of-age story about a young woman’s adventure through space and time to rescue her father had me entranced from the opening line, “It was a dark and stormy night.” I was a bit skeptical when I learned about the recently released A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel. Why mess with something already so beautifully done? However, the graphic novel, adapted and illustrated by Hope Larson, has (rightly so) received high praise for the illustrator’s ability to graphically capture the magic of Meg’s journey all while staying true to L’Engle’s original text.

Larson isn’t the only illustrator that has taken a well-established, written work and successfully adapted it to the graphic novel genre. There are other adaptations that are definitely worth a read -- or a re-read as the case may be. Either way, readers can re-experience…

The Mercer County Library Food Drive and Local Area Food Bank Resources

The Mercer County Library System will be holding a food drive this November and December to benefit a number of local charitable organizations. We welcome your donations of non-perishable food (but no household items, clothing or furniture), which can be dropped off at any of our nine branches, during regular hours of operation. Donation levels for local organizations, such as the Mercer Street Friends, have fallen considerably in recent years, yet the need is greater than ever. According to the Mercer Street Friends, many of the people who used to donate are now on the receiving end of those donations.

The impact of Hurricane Sandy on New Jersey makes non-perishable food donations especially important. According to the Mercer Street Friends, especially needed food items for disaster relief include: canned tuna, pasta meals in a can, peanut butter, granola bars, cereal, shelf stable milk, and canned fruits, vegetables, and soup.

In addition to the branches of the Mercer County Libra…

It’s FOOTBALL season!

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If you’re a football fan, you know that Mercer County is centrally-located between the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Giants and the New York Jets.  You also know that, with the Eagles and Giants, we’re lucky to be right next to half of the NFC East – arguably the most successful division in the National Football League.  For the uninitiated, the other members of the division are the Washington Redskins (a car ride away) and the Dallas Cowboys.

The reason we’re lucky is that these teams have great rivalries.  Because the teams have done well for so many years, their games are especially competitive.  Add to this the Philadelphia fans – the toughest fans in the country.  Hey - they even booed Santa Claus.

Even if you’re not already rooting for Philly or New York, you owe it to yourself to learn about our neighboring teams.  Great places to start are the official websites for the Eagles, Jets and Giants.  Find the current roster, standings, news, blogs and links to social media.  Li…

Hurricane Sandy Resources

Below are a list of websites that provide storm updates and relief information.  We will update this list as more information becomes available:

Mercer County - Hurricane Sandy Recovery Information

New Jersey State - Sandy Information Center

New Jersey State - Department of Emergency Management

JCP&L Outage Center (1-888-544-4877 or 1-800-545-7738) - Information or Report an Outage

PSEG Outage Center (1-800-436-7734) - Information or Report an Outage

New Jersey Department of Transportation - Travel and Road Conditions

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - Recovery and Advisory Information

Mercer County Office of Emergency Management - Contact Information

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - Order on Water Restrictions

FEMA - Disaster and Recovery Center Locator

Lawrence Township Website - Featuring Storm Updates

Red Cross - Central New Jersey Office

Red Cross - Donate to Sandy Fund

Planet Princeton - Area Updates

Patch - Area Updates
East WindsorLawrenc…

Tween Play Reading to Tween Playwriting

Theatre is a unique form of artistic expression requiring various skills to pull off a complete, successful theatre experience.  The varied skills necessary to stage a play range from writing, editing, acting, singing, dancing, lighting, stage managing, costume making to carpentry and painting.  Daunting for most of us, but simplify the experience for tweens and you’ll produce lifelong lovers of theatre.

All you’ll need are plays suitable for tweens and, of course, children.  Plays may be found in your library, your book store or online.  There are many free royalty-free sources to draw from online.

Discuss a play’s format before the children begin reading noting dialogue as opposed to stage directions. Explain that the group will not concern itself with anything but dialogue.  There will be no costumes, sets, or lights.  Even the shyest tween will have no problem play reading when it is just them and their script.  Then let the play unravel, and soon you will find the tweens ravenou…