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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 9, 16 & 23


June 9 – “Animals A to Z”

presented by theatrical storyteller Elaine Muray.  Watch and listen as Elaine performs her collecton of stories that highlight our animal kingdom.  Watch animals come to life as Elaine becomes an elephant, a gecko, a buffalo, a deer, a pig, and many more!  Listen to her grunt, buzz, and moo her way into your heart with her numerous, lovable and mischievous animal friends.


June 16 – Chris Harrell presents “The 6 Little Pigs Build a Better Neighborhood”

Come hear the rest of the story!  How 2 of the 3 little pigs learned to rebuild their houses after the wolf blew them down.  Meet 3 new piggys who will teach you about building with adobe bricks and other materials. Enjoy Chris’s musical skits!



June 23 – “On a Wing and a Prayer Wild Bird Rescue”

Come see rescued raptors and have your picture taken with a barn owl or a hawk.



 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!



May Children’s Book News 

By Nancy Guist, Children’s Collection Coordinator

Every year youth book awards are announced in various categories. This month I will focus on the 2017 John Newbery winners (most outstanding contributions to children’s literature) and the 2017 Randolph Caldecott winners (most distinguished American picture books). All these books are currently available at PCL or on order.


The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill
Suggested ages: 9/10-14 years

The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a magical book which should appeal to all lovers of fantasy. As in the traditional fairy tale, the major conflict rests with the competing powers of good and evil.
The people of the Protectorate are ruled by the Elders who enforce the yearly tradition of the taking of the youngest baby to the nearby woods as an offering to the witch. With this sacrifice they believe the witch will not torment their community. However, the witch, Xan, is a kind, gentle soul who uses her magic wisely and each year rescues the baby left in the forest clearing, placing each with loving families residing in the Free Cities. Xan would feed the rescued baby starlight to satisfy the child’s hunger and magically bless the child as she trekked back to her home. However, this year, she distractedly gathers moonlight which she feeds the babe who eats it hungrily, realizing too late her error. Moonlight is so powerful that the baby, Luna, is now “enmagicked.” Xan, whose love for Luna is boundless, realizes she must protect her innocent child from the magic that is within her until her thirteenth birthday. Meanwhile, she teaches Luna about the wonders of the ordinary world from mechanics to botany. Two other delightful characters, companions to Xan, provide lightheartedness to this tale: Fyrian, a tiny earnest dragon, with an endearing simple outlook on life, and Glerk, a swamp monster, who is wise and poetic. The conflict begins in earnest when a young man of the Protectorate sets out to rid his land of the “witch” and remove the sorrow with which his homeland is enshrouded. The tale winds its way amongst a madwoman in the “Tower”, the evil “Sorrow Eater”, magic paper birds, and an erupting volcano.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon shines forth with the power of hope and love along with the importance of memories. Barnhill’s narrative is beautifully written, creating a vivid world of fantasy supported by enduring truths.

2017 Newbery Honor Books:
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life, by Ashley Bryan (on order)
The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog, by Adam Gidwitz
Wolf Hollow, by Lauren Wolk

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat , written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe (On order – I plan to discuss it in a future column.)

2017 Caldecott Honor Book:

Freedom in Congo Square, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Carole Boston Weatherford
Suggested ages: 5-8 years

Congo Square is today an open area in New Orleans now commemorated as a site on the National Register of Historic Places. Originally, it was a field set aside as the sole place for African slaves to gather on Sunday afternoons after working from sunup to sundown, Monday through Saturday, for their masters. Here they danced and played instruments reminiscent of ones from their homelands. Written in rhyming couplets, Freedom takes the reader day by day through the slaves’ week, enumerating their chores. While the slaves work, they count down the days to Congo Square. When Sunday afternoon arrives, the meeting of both slave and free is wrapped in joyous music and dance. It’s a time that elicits a sense of freedom and unity. Weatherford’s lyrical retelling is accompanied by Christie’s vivid, minimalist art. The lithe slave figures tell a story on their own whether bent over picking cotton or with arms outstretched rhythmically taking in the joy of their native music. The scenes at Congo Square emit a sense of carefree abandonment. Seeing these last scenes could provoke one to tap his toe or clap her hands along with the beat that seems to shout out from the illustrations. This award winning book, bringing to life the history of Congo Square, is a testament to the strength of hope and community while living through dire times.

2017 Caldecott Honor Book:

Leave Me Alone, illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol

Suggested ages: 4-7 years

The old woman in Leave Me Alone is somewhat reminiscent of the “old woman who lived in a shoe.” Too many children prove to be a problem to both. However, Brosgol’s grumpy woman simply wants to get on with her knitting and finds that rambunctious, curious children in a small house are a definite hindrance. They find balls of colorful yarn to be a fountain of fascinating fun! So off the woman with her yarn goes, shouting her signature phrase, “Leave me alone!” Imaginative encounters with bears, mountain goats, and green moon-men ensue before the old woman reaches the “other side of the wormhole.” Here she finds solitary silence and is able to complete her task. Upon her return, this old woman has a sack full of love to share with all those gleeful children. Sometimes we need a bit of quiet, solitary time to create gifts for those we love.

Other 2017 Caldecott Honor Books:
Du Iz Tak?, illustrated and written by Carson Ellis (on order)
They All Saw a Cat, illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel