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Friday, March 14, 2008

Childrens' Books - Brought to Life!

If you are a parent, grandparent, educator or someone who regularly provides care for a child, you may find yourself struggling to find ways to keep that child engaged and entertained. You may also be concerned that too much TV/DVD time might discourage a child from taking an active role in learning, leading to "couch potato syndrome" a few years down the road. I know that you are already aware that the Library is the perfect place for kids and our own Youth Services department is a welcoming, nurturing place where children can learn, play, make new friends, and grow into confident readers.

You may not know that besides the books and videos you can bring home from the Library, we have online resources specifically for children on our Web site. Two of these, the TumbleBook Library and BookFLIX (brand new to DPPL!), provide entire "virtual libraries" online for young readers. Stuck inside on a cold or rainy day? Is your little one tired of watching the same videos over and over again while you're wishing you could provide some slightly more educational forms of fun? Here's what to do:
  • Get on any computer with an Internet connection and get to
  • Scroll to the "Youth Services" section on our home page (left hand column, fourth section)
  • Underneath the "Youth Services" heading, click on the link that reads "Online resources"
  • Look for BookFLIX and TumbleBook Library in the list - click on the picture of a house that reads, "Click here from home." Have your Des Plaines Public Library card handy as you will need the number to use these resources while outside the library building.
Then, take a few moments to sit with your child and look through the colorful menus of storybooks, non-fiction books, puzzles, games and so much more. I just spent some time exploring both BookFLIX and TumbleBook Library and - quite honestly? - this 40+ year old kid had a blast. :)

TumbleBook Library is a collection of animated, talking picture books, puzzles and games. It includes books in Spanish, French & Chinese and other languages. Some were read aloud in a mixture of languages. An adorable story called Bébé Goes Shopping moved seamlessly between English and Spanish, so now even I know what a cajero and an oso are. I found a storybook I could change from English to Russian with one click of a button. We know that Des Plaines is an incredibly diverse community, so if you are raising your child in a bi-lingual environment, TumbleBook Library will be a helpful tool. The puzzles and games included in the TumbleBook Library all relate to the characters and stories in the TumbleBooks, so children make new friends while learning to read.

BookFLIX is an outstanding new addition to the Des Plaines Public Library's collection of online resources. BookFLIX combines classic childrens' stories with related books of non-fiction, plus games and other tools to help a child really learn and retain what he/she reads. The books and games are gathered under different subject areas, such as U.S. Presidents, weather, Antartica and dinosaurs - topics that children study in school and that pique their curiosity. BookFLIX has a helpful talking mascot, Beacon the Bird, so older children can follow his instructions and use this resource independently.

So try out these two great online resources and let us know what you think! If you want to save this idea for a rainy day, print out this page and you'll have the instructions handy (although, here's an early heads-up: the DPPL Web will be getting a whole new look this Spring. Stay tuned for details!). TumbleBook Library and BookFLIX - just two more ways the Des Plaines Public Library makes learning and reading FUN!

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