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Children’s Programs

2017 Summer Reading Program for Children

“Build a Better World”

These programs are drop-in and free of charge.  All programs are located at the Placitas Community Library.

Friday mornings at 10:00 am — for ages infant through 12


 Click here for the flyer for June 30, July 7 & 14


June 30 – “The Wandering Ballad” presented by Scott and Johanna Hongell-Darsee

Hear a story-song about a runaway princess as she contemplates an important life decision.  All children will receive a book.  Co-sponsored by the New Mexico Humanities Council.



July 7 – Join Recyleman, Kevin Kinane, for interactive musical fun!

Kevin makes music from recycled musical instruments.  Then make your own invention from recycled materials.


July 14 – “Stories are the building blocks of History”, presented by storyteller “Indiana Bones” (aka, Mike McCartney)

Learn the secrets of the pyramids in Egypt, the jungles of Central America, and the American Southwest.  After the program we will have refreshments and another book giveaway!





There will be a prize drawing at each weekly program for those children who participate in the Reading and Bedtime Math Challenges!



June Children’s Book News 

By Nancy Guist, Children’s Collection Coordinator

June is here and with it comes the Placitas Community Library’s Summer Reading Program. The theme this year is “Build a Better World.” There are numerous ways to begin to accomplish this: learn about and take care of our animal world, be good stewards of our planet, be sensitive to others’ needs and cultures, create concrete improvements to our world from inventions to buildings, to name only a few.

For “Children’s Book News” this month I have focused on each of the summer June programs, selecting a book that reflects the program’s theme. Each featured book will be on display accompanied by several others fitting that presentation’s topic.

June 9: “Animals A to Z” – Theatrical storyteller Elaine Muray shares animal folktales from around the world

Two Ways to Count to Ten, A Liberian Folktale

Retold by Ruby Dee, Illustrated by Susan Meddaugh

Suggested ages: 4 – 8 years

King Leopard is about to choose a successor for the jungle kingdom and a partner for his daughter. In order to be selected, the eager animals must throw the leopard’s spear towards the sky and count to ten before it comes back to earth. Many try, some closer to success than others, but all in vain. At last one animal comes forth who may not be strong but proves that being clever counts for more. Meddaugh’s color-pencil and watercolor illustrations bring to life the jungle animals’ personalities as well as their lush environment. Here is a folktale that teaches counting concepts along with the importance of shrewd thinking.

June 16: “The 6 Little Pigs Build a Better Neighborhood,” presented by the Singing Scientist, Chris Harrell Through music children will learn about the science behind building various structures.

Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building

by Deborah Hopkinson and James E. Ransome

Suggested ages: 5 – 9 years

A young boy of the Depression Era tells the story of 600 men bringing to life the Empire State Building – “symbol of hope in the darkest of times.” Through his eyes we see the steel columns rising on concrete piers. We watch the “sky boys” guiding the placement of the beams and riveting them in place. Step by step, through Hopkinson’s free verse pictorial narrative, we learn of the construction of this New York City icon. Numerical facts are interlaced with poetic images. Supporting the writing are Ransome’s realistic illustrations done in oil paints which give us a variety of visual perspectives as the Empire State Building soars upwards. The endpapers are a fascinating collage of photographs taken between 1930 and 1931 of the men as they worked on the building’s construction. This book is a tribute to man’s imagination and determination in creating a building that reflects the spirit of New York City as well as America.

June 23: “On a Wing and a Prayer Wild Bird Rescue,” with founders Mikail Deese and Steve Mckibben
Children will learn about raptors, such as owls and hawks, and see them close up.


by Gail Gibbons

Suggested ages: 5 – 9 years

As with all of Gail Gibbons’ informational books, Owls is filled with fascinating facts that are sure to catch the interest of her young readers. The stealth and majesty of the owl is conveyed from the very beginning in her first full-page watercolor. From there she introduces the various types of owls, followed by explicit facts concerning an owl’s body, habits, diet, and nesting sites. She relates the life cycle of an owl by taking on a narrative voice, focusing on the barn owl. And it is a barn owl that will be one of the birds for children to see on June 23 – a perfect introduction!

June 30: “The Wandering Ballad,” about a runaway princess presented by Scott and Johanna Hongell-Darsee

The Princess and the Warrior

Retold and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh

Suggested ages: 6 – 9 years

This legend also stars a princess as well as a brave warrior. Tonatiuh has based this tale on the Aztec origin myth of two of Mexico’s highest volcanoes, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, outside of Mexico City. An emperor seeks the most eligible match for his daughter, Izta. He hopes for a wealthy and powerful suitor. However, Popoca , a poor warrior, captures Izta’s heart, declaring he will stay by her side forever if she agrees to marry him. The emperor demands he first prove himself by defeating the Jaguar Claw, with whom his empire had long been at war. Trickery and bravery play important roles as the tale moves towards its dramatic end. The last pages include an author’s note providing background to the legend along with a glossary of words of Nahuatl origin, a language Popoca and Izta would have used. Tonatiuh accompanies his retelling with his signature illustrations, influenced by pre-Columbian art. The Princess and the Warrior, a striking book, received a 2017 Pura Belpre award which honors Latino writers and illustrators.