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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Get Real! Nonfiction Titles For YOU

By Jan Pease


We just received a shipment of nonfiction books from several well-known publishers. I wish I could describe each colorful title, but don’t have space for each book.

Even though the Internet provides great information for students, it’s important to have sources for them in books. The “Enchantment of the World Series” is considered to be one of the best, and the library has begun collecting these, country by country. These editions are revised with updated websites. The back cover says, “It’s geography for a new generation, an invaluable resource for facts and figures, and a fascinating, highly visual introduction to the world’s countries.” I couldn’t say it better.

Could you tell me a Greek or Roman myth if you had to? Even Zeus and his affairs would be too much for me to recite. What about Egyptian myths? Children are usually fascinated by this ancient culture, especially with treasures in tombs, mummies, pyramids, and all that gold. While I’ve certainly heard of  “Isis and Osiris”, I would never be able to tell you the tale. How about “Isis and the Seven Scorpions?” Or “The Prince and the Sphinx?” We’re trying several books from the series, “Egyptian Myths,” written by Carl Meister. They make interesting reading, but practice the Egyptian names before you try to read them aloud!

We started using two sets of gorgeous concept books, “Colors All Around Us” and “Math Every Day” at story time. The children stood up in front of me as they got excited about books from both series, which are very interactive. These books will be available for checkout after we celebrate them at story hour.

Watch for books about the Titanic, as the 100th anniversary of the sinking of that great ship is coming up on April 12th. “Escaping Titanic, A Young Girl’s True Story of Survival,” “Explore Titanic,” and “Titanic: Disaster at Sea,” all provide information about the terrible disaster.

In an interesting series published by Cherry Lake publishing, “Real World Math,” readers learn how they can use their math skills to learn more about our world. Various natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and droughts are featured. Readers are challenged to solve real world math challenges, an introduction to the dreaded “word problems” of my youth. Perhaps even I would be interested enough to try one of these math problems.

Finally, get out your dictionary and read “The Fairy Dogfather,” by Alexandra Day. A boy wants a fairy godfather, just like girls who have fairy godmothers. Unfortunately, he always has trouble with d’s and g’s, and so his note asks for a fairy dogfather. A large dog, who looks like a Rottweiler crossed with a St. Bernard, appears. He is dressed in a fedora and trench coat, smokes a cigar, and speaks like a cultured English gentleman. When the boy says, “You shouldn’t smoke. Don’t you know it’s very bad for you?” the fairy dogfather says, “The property of magic smoke and whether it is deleterious to a dogfather is outside your purview, kid.” Hence, the dictionary. However, on the endpapers, a glossary, “What is the Dogfather Saying?” is available for ready use.

These books, and more, are waiting for you at Litchfield Public Library. See you there!