Family

While I was Away

When 12 year-old Waka's parents think she needs to brush up on her Japanese, they send her to Japan to live with her Obaasama, her grandmother, who lives in Tokyo. Five long months in a Japanese only school, giving up her summer vacation and her best friends back home in Kansas! In addition to dealing with the pressure of reading and writing in only Japanese, and making friends at school as a gaijin, an "outsider," Waka also learns how to connect with her complicated and distant grandmother.

A memoir of her time in a Japanese school, Waka T. Brown's story of growing up in two worlds and sometimes feeling like an outsider in both, is a compelling glimpse into life in Japan in the 80s. I loved learning right along with Waka, and her insights in how the past can sometimes haunt those we love, and knowing that can help us know them better.

Reviewed by Senior Information Assistant, Claire C.

Early Literacy Skills and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

Babies and toddlers are like little sponges, hungrily soaking up everything around them. Curiosity to understand, explore, observe, and taste everything around them is crucial to early brain development. These natural instincts sometimes lead to exciting and embarrassing stories to tell at their high school graduation. These little people are constantly observing, listening, and emulating the world around them, especially their caregivers. You are babies' and toddlers' first (and most important!) teachers!

Measuring Up

Cici loves cooking with her A-ma (grandmother) in Taiwan; it makes her feel like she belongs. But when Cici’s family moves to America and away from A-ma, Cici suddenly feels out of place. She misses Taiwan, but especially misses her A-ma. Cici wants A-ma to visit, but A-ma cannot afford the plane ticket to America. When Cici sees a cooking contest for kids offered at a local store for a cash prize, she enters right away. But will the judges be interested in her Taiwanese cooking?

Measuring Up is a delightful graphic novel about family, friendship, and identity. The story is fast paced and compelling. There are so many beautiful and delicious looking foods prepared throughout the book – expect your tummy to grumble! This book is recommended for ages 9-12.

Birdie and Me

Jack and her gender fluid brother, Birdie, are siblings who have to move in with their stoic and no-nonsense uncle after their eccentric uncle proves that he is not a good caretaker after their mother's sudden death. The constant upheaval, new scenery, school, and bullying in their new life throw them through a loop. Through grieving, confronting bullies, and confronting comfort zones -- Birdie, Jack, and both their uncles learn to love and accept each other for who they are. Together, the family creates a new sense of home together. 

Staff Pick: The Camping Trip

In this picture book, a Black family explores the wonders and challenges of camping! Ernestine lives with her single dad in the city. When her aunt Jackie and cousin Samantha invite her to go camping with them she eagerly accepts. With dad's help, Ernestine gathers and packs all the essentials needed for an outdoor adventure. She imagines what camping will be like and can't wait!

But we all know that things don't always turn out the way we imagine... like the difficulty in putting up a tent, or that swimming in a lake - and not at the YMCA pool means - fish!

Get to Know Your Family!

Get To Know Your Family!

For many of us, connecting with friends and family has been especially challenging this year. If you’re unable to spend time with loved ones in person this holiday season, here are some tools to help you connect with them online! 

To access these resources you’ll need your library card number and password. If you’re not sure where to find that information, visit our eLibrary access guide to get started.

 

Ancestry.com

Virtual Lego Club - Join The Fun!

Library events aren't happening in person yet, but LEGO Club still lives! Watch a new video each month for a building challenge you can do at home. You can also submit your build to pduszyns [at] mcpl.info (subject: LEGO%20Club)  so other kids can see it!

This month, we challenged you to build a monster or an alien. Watch the video, and take a look at the awesome Pincer monster Callum built!

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Feel free to suggest a theme for next month's challenge!

Staff Picks: The First Rule of Punk

When 12 year old Malú’s moves to Chicago with her mother, she’s worried she won’t find her place. But in exploring her Mexican heritage, embracing her love of all things punk, and connecting with new friends, she learns how important the first rule of punk actually is. Malú’s zines (self published magazines) are printed throughout the novel, offering another glimpse inside her mind and a great introduction to the art of zine making. Recommended for readers aged 9-12.

Staff Picks: Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya

Reviewed by Alejandria G.

At six feet tall and 180 pounds, Marcus isn’t exactly the smallest 8th grader at Montgomery Middle School. But looks can be deceiving and he isn’t quite the tough bully many seem to think he is. When the real school bully calls Marcus’s younger brother a nasty word, Marcus fights back and faces suspension.

Marcus’s mom decides this suspension is the perfect time to hit the ‘reset’ button for their little family. She takes Marcus and his younger brother Charlie to the island of Puerto Rico, to reconnect as a family and meet relatives they never knew they had. But Marcus has a secret mission as they adventure across the island: to find his father, who moved back to Puerto Rico and walked out of their lives ten years ago.

Staff Picks: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano

Reviewed by Alejandria G.

Leo Logroña is the youngest member of her family. And as the youngest member of her family, she is used to everyone always telling her she is too young to help.

When the annual Día de los Muertos festival approaches, Leo thinks this will finally be the year she will be asked to help with festival preparations at her family’s beloved bakery. But yet again, she is disappointed when she is told she is still too young. After sneaking out of school to make sure all is really okay at the bakery, Leo accidentally discovers the shocking family secret: she belongs to family of brujas -witches- who use their magic to bake up the sweetest (and luckiest) treats in town.

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