October has been chock full of fun events so far!
On October 9th, we had a visit from Julia Pimsleur Levine, the creator of the early language learning series, Little Pim. She showed a few sample DVD episodes and answered parents' questions about raising young children to be multilingual. Rafael Medina, a local musician, performed songs in Spanish and English, and even got some singing help from the audience and Julia on songs from the Little Pim music CDs.
Julia emphasized that young children - toddlers and preschoolers - are the most impressionable and fastest to pick up languages. As we get older, learning a language becomes significantly more difficult (as many of us may remember from high school French classes). In addition to further developing the brain, being multilingual in our globalized culture can present more social and economic opportunities. From the planning of the event through describing Little Pim's goals and answering parents' questions, I was impressed with Julia's passion: this is a woman who discovered there weren't many resources available to teach young children foreign languages, and so simply developed the resources for herself and other parents to do so.
There are DVDs, music CDs, and flash cards available in French, Spanish, Chinese, among other languages.
A few weeks later, author and illustrator Karen Romano Young read an excerpt from her new middle grade graphic novel, Doodlebug: A Novel in Doodles. Kids and adults alike made a beeline for the mural paper and crayons. We saw some pretty amazing doodles!
My favorite part of Doodlebug is how Dodo, or "Doodlebug," uses her drawing: it helps her focus in school, it sorts out her thoughts and feelings about moving, homework, and her family, and best of all, drawing helps her learning. I found the resolution of the story very satisfying; Dodo's teachers and parents acknowledge that there are many ways to learn, and some kids do need to translate information visually. The best example I thought was how Dodo taught her younger sister about decimals using diagrams of a song playing on a iPod. Karen and I had a great conversation after the event about how the growing market of graphic novels is wonderful for "reluctant readers" or kids with learning disabilities - not only do these books offer an alternative way to interpret a story, they're also fun.
Our next author event will be on November 20th at noon: musician Gordon Titcomb will read from his new picture book, The Last Train. Bring your train whistles!
You can also come by the store the Saturday before Halloween, the 30th, for some creepy crafts and scary snacks during story-time at noon.