Books for Children – Van Asselt School

On Thursday, October 4, the Friends teamed with Discover Books and PCC Markets to give away 3,000 books to the children of Van Asselt School.  The children showed their thanks with a song:

  I cannot tell you the joy books can bring
  they have the power to make your heart sing
  I can remember such wonderful times
  Learning and thinkng about books
  Over and over and o’er again
  I’m floating high and low
  I can remember such wonderful times
  Learning and thinking with books.

Giggles and Competition at the Global Reading Challenge

If you’re a parent of a fourth or fifth grader you may be anxiously awaiting the final round of a very special city-wide competition, The Global Reading Challenge (GRC).  The GRC, an annual contest, drew teams from over 45 schools to the 2012 semifinals on February 22nd. Ten teams that advanced, including Alki, Northgate, Graham Hill, Loyal Heights, and Greenwood, that had never before reached the final round (woo hoo!), will compete in an exciting night-time showdown in the Seattle Central Library’s Microsoft Auditorium on March 27 at 7 p.m. Will you be there?

The GRC, dubbed Battle of the Books, quizzes teams about elements from  ten assigned books. As Joan Abrevaya, Friends of The Seattle Public Library board member and volunteer for The Seattle Public Library, says about her four years of deepening involvement with GRC,  “One of the things that I love is talking to the kids and listening to their excitement and focus on the marvelous thing called reading.  They are as involved in reading these 10 books and answering questions as they are about sports.”

The teams, some with catchy names like, “The Title Waves,” prepare in different ways sometimes with a teacher, a librarian or volunteer. Parents help too, when they can, but many of the contestants come from families where parents are too busy to take on support.  But all children take this competition seriously. As Abrevaya notes, “One parent said that her daughter had a “play date” with some friends, during which they quizzed each other in preparation for the semi-finals.”

The winner of the March 27 contest will advance to face Canadian teams in a videoconferenced international final in early April. “There are tears at every session,” Abrevaya says, “when teams do not win but as Mary [Mary Palmer, children’s librarian and organizer] tells the kids: ‘You are already winners. You have read great books and had a great time.'”

The Friends pair with Connecticut foundation to provide books for local classrooms

The Friends of the Seattle Public Library have paired with the Renee B. Fisher Foundation’s Books for Teachers program.  The Fisher Foundation provides the Friends with a grant to provide qualifying teachers with vouchers for books that they can spend at our Book Sales.  Each teacher can spend up to $100 on books for their classrooms!  To qualify, teachers must work at a school where the majority of students are in need.

So far, the program has been a huge success.  The Friends  have provided more than 10,000 books free of charge to Seattle public school teachers at the 2010 Book Sales. We hope to be able to continue working with the Renee B. Fisher Foundation to fill many more local classrooms with books!  Here is some feedback from happy teachers:

“I left with over 119 books!!!  WOW!!!…I came back to school and added them to the classroom library.”

“My students LOVED the books!  They cheered when Joan dropped off the vouchers, and cheered again when I showed them the pile of books on Monday morning.  They have been enjoying browsing and reading in their reading classes, their silent reading times, or even in their spare time.  I love that I was able to get all kinds of genres and all reading levels for my very diverse group of learners!”

“Thank you and thank you to the Friends of the Seattle Public Library.  I went on Saturday and spent a bit over four hours searching for picture books for my Kindergarteners.  Those four hours were the best hours of my weekend since I knew deep inside I was giving up my personal time to make a huge difference.  It was fun to meet my colleagues there and talk to them across isles when a title of a book crossed my mind.  What I’m tying to say is that we not only got a chance to increase our personal classroom library, but a school wide one.”

And here are some quotes for happy students:

“I love Books!  Like you do!  Reading is fun!  I read a lot!  So I can get smarter!”

“My favorite book is the itsy bitsy spider and the snarly hissopus…All of them are great…so nice, cool, Fabilicious.”

Thanks to the Renee B. Fisher Foundation and to Friends Board Members Joan and Omar for this wonderful program.

How the Library Supports Early Literacy

The Seattle Public Library provides four Early Literacy programs and activities that help teach children the foundation of reading. 

These four programs are:early literacy_girl with bag

  • Raising a Reader
  • Play and Learn Groups
  • Weekly Story Time
  • Picture Book Collections

Raising a Reader:

  • A take-home book bag program created to facilitate the development of early literacy skills
  • Served 330 children in 2009

Play and Learn Groups:

  • Drop-in play groups for caregivers with children from infants to 5 years old in order to promote early learning
  • Served over 3,300 children, parents, and caregivers between October 2008 and June 2009

Story Time:

  • Story time for baby, toddler, and preschool children provided by children’s librarians and paid early childhood educators in a variety of languages including Chinese, Vietnamese, and Spanish
  • 1,410 Story Time programs in 2009
  • 54,330 total attendance in 2009


Picture book Collections:

  • Continually enhanced collections of picture and board books for infants and toddlers that facilitate access to books for use in implementing the six early literacy skills
  • Book collections at selected branches are available in several languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Russian.
  • Begin With Books kits for families and child care centers, as well as online collections for 24/7 access

Clown Around

Join the Burke Museum at Seattle Public Libraries this summer for this interactive game with familiar storybook characters, real museum specimens, puppets, and prizes.

Children who read 10 books over the summer can win a FREE pass to the Burke Museum.  Take your reading logs!!!

The Burke Museum is a sponsor of the 2010 Summer Reading Program.

  • Northeast Branch:  4 p.m. Wednesday, July 28
  • Central Library: 2 p.m. Tuesday, August 5

Do It Yourself!

Check out the Summer Reading Program’s do-it-yourself workshops at the Seattle Public Library!

Duct Tape Mania!

Find out what you can make with a roll of duct tape! Create roses, picture frames, wallets and more. Bring your creative side and discover a new use for this sticky product.

Cute Creatures

Like cute stuff? Then this workshop is for you! All you need to do is show up and make cute felt creatures –- all materials will be provided.

Bookmaking for Teens

Instructors from the Seattle Center for Book Arts show you how handmade books can add a creative twist to traditional soft-cover and hard-cover books. All materials and supplies provided

Zinery 101

A zine is a self-published magazine. Learn the basics and make your own zine with Lucy Morehouse of Ong Ong Press.

All of these programs are for teens only.

Meet an Author with The Summer Reading Program!


The Summer Reading Program has many events that allow you to meet authors.  Check out the Events Calendar on the Library’s website for dates and times.   This year, there will be many appearances by popular authors for teens.  If you like sci-fi, graphic novels, historical fiction or non-fiction there is an event for you!  This news release from Seattle Public Library has a complete list of authors.   Come out and meet one of your favorite authors or discover something new!

Artichoke Tales by featured author Megan Kelso