Friday, February 28, 2014

The Dark

Are you a fan of the dark?  Laszlo is definitely not.  In fact, Laszlo is afraid of the dark.  Until one night when the dark comes to Laszlo's room -- and then Laszlo stops being afraid of the dark.

To check out The Dark, a beautifully illustrated and award-winning book by Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen, come to the library of course.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Yes=Da, No=Nyet

As long as we’re on the subject of Russia (think bobsleds, hockey, snowboarding, and everything WINTER OLYMPICS), we thought we’d share a bit about the country. First, it’s the LARGEST country in the world, covering two continents and 11 time zones. That's BIG.

Second, because Russia is the biggest country in the world, its land and climate are very diverse. Russia is almost twice the size of the United States. It also neighbors more countries than any other country in the world and contains 12 seas within its borders. A few other facts about kids and life in Russia? Soccer is the favorite sport and chess the favorite board game there. Winter lasts for a long time in many parts of Russia, so kids like to play hockey and go ice-skating and cross-country skiing. Gymnastics and other Olympic sports are also popular.

What language do they speak? Russian of course. So you don’t speak any? You do now: yes is da and no is nyet. Hello is privet, paka is goodbye. Please is pozhalvista and thank you is spasiba. The essentials for sure.

All of this great information can be found on CultureGrams for kids, on the library’s website here. Check it out -- truly a treasure trove of crazy and interesting global facts and figures. Happy exploring!

{Above photos from National Geographic}

Friday, February 14, 2014

Attention Creative Inventors!

Do you like to draw? Invent? How about doodle? If you answered yes to any of those, think about entering this year’s Doodle 4 Google competition. The theme is “If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place...”

So get out your pencils-pens-paints-paper and your best inventive thinking, and get creating. The deadline is March 20th. More details below and more details on Google’s website here.

Before there was an airplane, there were doodles of cool flying machines. And before there was a submarine, there were doodles of magical underwater sea explorers. Since the beginning of time, ideas big and small, practical and playful, have started out as doodles. And we’re ready for more. One talented young artist (grades K-12) will see his or her artwork on the Google homepage and receive a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 Google for Education technology grant for his or her school.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Aliens, Pirates, Ponies and Milk

What happens when a couple of kids need milk for their breakfast cereal and their dad goes out to get some? Problems, of course.

In the book Fortunately the Milk, a simple trip to the corner store for milk goes terribly wrong when their dad doesn’t return. When he finally does come back, he has a wild story to tell –– one involving aliens, pirates, ponies, wumpires, and a stegosaurus professor. Needless to say the book includes adventure, time travel, treachery and pure fun.

So if you’re in the mood for a wild ride, check out Fortunately the Milk. A great escape and one sure to make you laugh.

Friday, January 31, 2014

all about leatherbacks

The leatherback sea turtle is the largest of the sea turtles, reaching a weight of more than 2,000 pounds and a length of up to seven feet. A few fast facts: unlike other turtles, leatherbacks don’t have hard shells but rather leathery shells that feel more like rubber; they love to eat jelly fish; they have existed for more than 100 million years -- since the time of the dinosaur; they migrate more than 3,700 miles each way to nest; and lastly, leatherbacks are endangered.

Check out more about the fascinating leatherback on the One World One Ocean website here. Go behind the scenes of the IMAX film Journey to the South Pacific to see how the film crew captured images of a turtle mother laying her eggs on the remote Wermon Island here. And of course, for books on leatherbacks, check them out at the library. Happy exploring!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Great Kid Reads

Are your eyes tired of staring at video games?  Looking for something a bit more interesting and dare we say smart?  If so, check out this website for some great kid book recommendations -- the best of 2013.  Happy browsing and happy reading!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Snowflakes Under the Microscope

This time of year our minds wander to the North Pole and everything you'd find there. Like snow. And snowflakes. So we thought we'd bring you a view of exactly what those icy creations look like up close. 

Snowflakes are pretty mysterious, even to the scientists who study them. Like Caltech Snowflake Scientist/Physicist Kenneth Libbrecht, who has been studying the icy wonders in his Pasadena lab for years. What we do know: snowflakes always have six sides and are similar to the human fingerprint; it is believed that no two are ever exactly the same; both the form and shape of a snowflake depend on the temperature and moisture content of the cloud that created it.

Another thing we know for sure is that snowflakes are gorgeous and we love looking at them (up close, that is). For more on Professor Libbrecht's snowflake studies go here. And for books on snowflakes, check them out at the library, of course. 

Wishing you a very happy holiday!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Fun on Film!

The holidays just wouldn’t be complete without a grinch, elf and runaway train –– on film of course. So we thought we’d put together a list of our favorite holiday movies, starting with one about a happy man-sized elf.

Our top picks, along with Newport Beach Public Library film expert, Erik Gunderson, are below. Of course, all are available at the library. Happy holidays and happy watching!
  • Elf
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas 
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • The Polar Express 
  • The Santa Clause
  • Miracle on 34th Street 
  • Shrek the Halls
  • A Christmas Story
  • Home Alone
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas

Friday, December 6, 2013

Road Trip!

It's not exactly summer and it's not exactly road trip season.  But what if you could take that road trip NOW and from your favorite cozy CHAIR. How? On the Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Game on National Geographic Kids, a completely fun adventure for sure. First you pick a region of the U.S., then you choose your vehicle and you're off.  Where did we go?  From Alaska to Hawaii in a souped-up station wagon. To get started, go here. Happy travels!

P.S. For more fun links check out the library's kid website here.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Book for all Ages

The King and Queen 
Invited me
To come to their house
On Sunday for tea.

I told the Queen 
And the Queen told the King
I had a friend
I wanted to bring.

The King told the Queen, 
"My dear, my dear, 
Any friend of our friend
Is welcome here." 

The above is from May I Bring a Friend, a book about a well-behaved boy, hippo, elephant, giraffe (and more) who get invited to tea by the king and queen.  Because of course if you're a well-behaved hippo, an invitation to tea can't be far away.  A fun story for any age.  Check it out at the library here.  

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Penderwicks

Looking for adventure? Check out The Penderwicks series. Three books in all so far (the author, Jeanne Birdsall plans five) about four sisters -- and along the way, rabbits, boys, attics, treasures, and islands.

The books are filled with adventure, trouble, mischief and laughter and get rave reviews.  The Penderwicks, The Penderwicks of Gardam Street, and finally, The Penderwicks at Point Mouette; check them out at the library!  

(Age level: 9-12; grade level 4-7)

Friday, November 15, 2013

What to Read? Find it Here.

If you’re looking for a really great book to read and could use a recommendation from a library expert, check out BOOKLISTS on the library’s website. The books are broken down by grade (first through eighth grade, and even young adult); by genre (adventure, classics, graphic, historical, humor, mystery, sports, etc); by readalikes (if you like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Percy Jackson, for example); nonfiction and biographies; DVDs/CDs; picture books, and much more.

Many fantastic lists all in one place and super simple to use. Check it out here. Happy book hunting and happy reading!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Genius of David Shannon

Please join us on Sunday, November 17 as amazingly talented author and illustrator David Shannon talks about how he incorporates hilarious illustrations with informative and amusing facts in his latest book, Bugs in My Hair.

David Shannon is the creator of more than 30 picture books, including No, David! –– one of our absolute FAVORITES.  Please join us!

Program Details
•Presented by the NBPL Foundation
•Admission is free, $10 donation suggested
•Children must be accompanied by an adult
•No advance registration. Space is limited.
•Books for purchase and signing courtesy of A Whale of a Tale Bookshoppe
•For more information please call 949.548.2411

Friday, November 1, 2013

Just Joking

It’s that time of year when you’re probably a bit buried in homework, book reports, studying for math tests and more. So what do we recommend? A good laugh. And where to find that good laugh? At the library, of course.

Try Just Joking by National Geographic Kids, four volumes of riddles, jokes, and tongue twisters. Like “What did the Atlantic Ocean say to the Pacific? Nothing, it just waved.” Or “What did one math book say to the other math book? I’ve got a lot of problems.” Or “What is at the end of everything? The letter g.”   At the library, here.  Happy reading and happy laughing!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Join Us on November 3!

Please join us on Sunday November 3 at 2 pm for Making Memories with author/illustrator Cornelia Funke.

Ms. Funke started her career as a book illustrator and game designer, but her love of fantasy and adventure soon had her creating her own books including the Inkheart Trilogy and Ghosthunters series. If you’re not familiar with her books, you can find them at the library. And to meet her in person as she brings her latest book (Fearless) to life, please join us at the Central Library on November 3 (details below). Hope to see you there!!!

Program Details
•Presented by the NBPL Foundation
•Admission is free, $10 donation suggested
•Children must be accompanied by an adult
•No advance registration. Space is limited.
•Books for purchase and signing courtesy of A Whale of a Tale Bookshoppe
•Her books are geared for ages 9-12
•For more information please call 949.548.2411

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Rabbit Tale of Mystery

The story of Bunnicula begins when the Monroe family finds a bunny in the movie theater during a family night out seeing Dracula. They decide to bring the small furry bundle home and that’s when mysterious things begin happening -- like all the vegetables in the kitchen turning white. Chester their cat and Harold their dog are immediately suspicious. Is the baby bunny a vegetarian vampire?

Check out this classic tale of rabbits and fangs at the library. Creepy, fun and perfect for Halloween.

Happy reading!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Genius of Syd Hoff

We love Syd Hoff.  Who's Syd Hoff, you ask?  You might not recognize the name, but we’re pretty sure you'll recognize his books. Like Danny and the Dinosaur, Sammy the Seal, Julius or the many, many others he has written and illustrated. Of course we have his books at the library, but what we also have at the moment is a really cool Syd Hoff exhibit.

On loan from Syd’s niece, the exhibit focuses on the life and long career of Syd Hoff, illustrator and author of over 110 books. The exhibit includes a variety of original images, text panels and family photos. "Syd Hoff: The Man, the Magic and the Mystery" is on the second floor of the Central Library through Monday, November 4.  Come and check it out!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Join Us this Sunday!

Who is Desmond Pucket? A master of mayhem, of course. He loves horror and special effects –– things like goblins popping out of toilets, exploding zombie heads, and more. Will his pranks get him kicked out of middle school before the class trip to Crab Shell Pier? Or will Desmond be able to keep his monster magic in check?

If you like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series or Big Nate, you should check out Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic. And to meet Mark Tatulli, the internationally syndicated cartoonist and author of Desmond Pucket, join us for Making Memories at the Newport Beach Public Library this Sunday, October 6 from 2-3 pm.  Sure to be an exceptionally fun afternoon.  Hope to see you there!

[Program details]
•Presented by the NBPL Foundation
•Admission free, $10 donation suggested
•Children must be accompanied by an adult
•No advance registration. Space limited
•Books available for purchase and signing courtesy of A Whale of a Tale Bookshoppe
•For more information: 949.548.2411

Friday, September 27, 2013

From Books to Movies

Did you know that many of the best films ever made started out as books? It's true. Think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlotte's Web, Mary Poppins, The Chronicles of Narnia, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Where the Wild Things Are and Alice in Wonderland, just to name a few. And of course, there's Harry Potter. Harry Potter!!! And Hugo, Mr. Popper's Penguins, Harriet the Spy, Peter Pan, The Hobbit, The Wizard of Oz, The Princess Bride, Stuart Little, The Tale of Desperaux, Ratatouille, Shrek...all books. And the list goes on and on.

Our point? Books are where it all begins. They come first. They're completely creative and completely cool. Check out the classics above and their film versions at the library. Happy reading -- and happy watching!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Ramona, Henry, Ralph & More

By the third grade, Beverly Cleary knew what she wanted to be: a writer. A huge fan of books and her local public library, she decided that someday she would write the books she longed to read -- funny stories about her neighborhood and the sort of children she actually knew. That’s how Beezus and Ramona, Ramona the Pest, Henry Huggins, Ribsy and many more came to be.

If you don’t yet know Henry, Beezus, Ramona, Ellen, Ribsy, Runaway Ralph and the rest of the gang, check them out at the Newport Beach Public Library. They’re all about fun, adventure and always, a dash of trouble. And to learn more about Beverly Cleary's characters, writing and even play some fun games, check out her website here.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Wild Art

We're huge fans of Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are, and thought we'd share some exceptional posters we ran across. All about books, these wildly creative posters celebrate our favorite of all pastimes: reading.

Check out many of Maurice Sendak's books, including Where the Wild Things Are, at the Newport Beach Public Library.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Why is Water Wet?

Why do lions roar? Why is space so sparkly? How do cars work? Who invented chocolate? Why does the moon shine?  Why is the sea salty? Why do we have an alphabet?  Why do people have different colored skin?  How does an airplane fly?  Where does wind come from? What's the strongest animal? Who named all the cities? What am I made of?

If you've ever wondered ANY of the above (or many, many, more), you should definitely check out Big Questions from Little People. It's an amazing book of questions from kids with answers by super-smart experts. A fascinating read for adults and kids alike.

Check it out at the library here. Happy reading!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Weird But True

Did you know that a lion's roar is louder than a lawn mower? That an elephant's heart weighs as much as a basset hound? That sunsets on Mars are blue?  That bees once made blue and green honey after picking up colorful waste from an M&M's factory?  True, true, true and TRUE!  Or as National Geographic likes to call it, Weird But True.

Weird But True 5 is out and it's fabulous!  With more than 300 outrageous facts, it's a fascinating and fun read, beginning to end.  Check out all of the Weird But True books at the library here.  Happy reading!

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Weekly Dive

Check out The Weekly Dive at One World One Ocean to learn about sea life both big and small.  This week's dive highlights humpback whales.  Get the skinny on which humpbacks sing and why, what baleen looks like, why humpbacks need to eat a ton during the summer, and how many miles away a song can be heard.

Learn about everything sea related at One World One Ocean: why the ocean is Earth's life support, and why it's in trouble.  Check it all out here.  And for books on the subject, check them out at the library, of course.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover

Imagine being a normal kid on the inside, but not so normal on the outside. Imagine being born with a facial deformity so severe that people look away when they see you. Imagine being very different, when all you want is to be the same.

That’s the story of Wonder, a book about a ten year old boy called August Pullman. August loves Star Wars, Xbox, and his bike. And he’s just starting the fifth grade at a public school after being home-schooled his whole life. All August wants is to fit in.

Wonder is a truly great book about courage, kindness, doing the right thing, finding your way, and not judging a book by its cover. A brilliant story for kids and adults alike. Check it out at the library here.

{for ages eight and up}

Friday, August 9, 2013

Great Balls of Fire

Fireballs streaking across the sky?  What, where and when?!

The what is the Perseid Meteor Shower.  The where is the night sky.  And the when is August 11th to the 13th.

According to NASA scientists, Perseid's meteor showers will produce more fireballs (bright meteors that streak across the sky) than any other annual shower.  So many in fact (more than 100 meteors per hour), that they call the Perseid, the fireball champion.

To see the most meteors, go outside after 10:30 p.m. -- with your parents, of course.  To learn more, check out National Geographic Kids here.  And if you're curious to find out more about meteor showers and what causes them, check out one of the many books on the subject at the library.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A CultureGrams Safari

Continuing on our global summer adventure, we've decided to stop in Kenya, for a CultureGrams safari. A few fast facts:

• Kenya is in East Africa.
• Some of the world’s oldest human fossils have been found in Kenya.
• Kenya is roughly the same size as the state of Texas.
• Kenya is known for its beautiful grasslands, called savannas, where zebra, gazelle, and other animals live. But it has other types of terrain, too.
• The Rift Valley, thousands of miles long, cuts through western Kenya.
• Kenya is home to two of Africa’s Great Lakes: Lake Turkana and Lake Victoria.
• The equator runs across Kenya, so the weather is hot. During the wet seasons (April and November), it can rain for several hours a day. The rest of the year is dry, especially in the deserts of the north.
• Kenya is famous for its plentiful wildlife including lion, hyena, leopard, cheetah, elephant, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, buffalo, impala and more.

For more about Kenya (or most any other country), check out CultureGrams on the library's website here.

{All photos above are from National Geographic. Clockwise from top left: leopard, Nairobi street, giraffes, topi at sunset, a bull elephant with Mt Kilimanjaro in the background)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Reading Aloud

What's almost as good as reading? Being read to by someone else. Listening to a story (even with your eyes closed) and losing yourself in it is a pretty great thing.

We found this list of the top ten best read-aloud chapter books on goodreads here. Great for reading ... and listening.

Check them out at the library here.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Fijian Holiday

In keeping with our theory that reading adventures are a fantastic way to travel, we thought we'd explore CultureGrams, available on the library's website here.  On this trip we're off to Fiji, a country in the South Pacific made up of 322 islands.  

A few things we learned:
• Fiji sits on the International Date Line (the imaginary line that runs from the North to the South Pole across the surface of the earth and separates one calendar day from the next). On the island of Tavueni, a marker indicates a spot where you can stand with one foot in the current day and the other foot in the day before.
• Fijian tradition holds that a coconut falling on you brings bad luck.
• Fiji is one of the top surfing spots in the world.
• Fijian water is famous around the world for its purity.
• The majority of Fiji's islands were formed through volcanic activity starting about 150 million years ago.

To learn more about Fiji, go to CultureGrams here.  And to choose your next adventure, spin a globe and stop it with your finger.  Wherever that finger lands is where you're going next.  Happy travels!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hoot, Flush, Chomp & Scat

What do the books Hoot, Flush, Scat and Chomp have in common? They're all by the same talented author, Carl Hiaasen, and they all involve adventure, Florida and wildlife.

Hoot, the first of the four books, is the story of three kids trying to save the habitat of miniature owls, whose homes are close to being destroyed by the construction of a pancake house. A pancake house??!!  Flush, Scat and Chomp follow similar themes and story lines.  Perfect summer adventures, we think. Award winning and just plain fun.  Check them out at the library.  And if you've read them, please send us a review -- we'd love to know what you think!  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Great Summer Sleepover Movies

It's summer, or what we like to call sleepover season.  Long warm days filled with the beach, the pool, friends, fun and more fun.  And what better way to end the day than with a sleepover and a great movie?!  So we've compiled some of our favorite sleepover movies (above) about adventure and more adventure and summer and fun.  Check them out at the library on DVD and Blu-ray, along with hundreds of other titles.  And please write to us and let us know your favorite summer movie and we'll add it to the list.

Happy summer and happy SLEEPOVERS!!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer Travel

Did you know that books are a great way to travel without ever leaving home? It's absolutely true. How, you ask? From your favorite place to read -- in a teepee, on a sofa, in a tree house, or under a beach umbrella -- you can travel anywhere, and we mean anywhere!

We'd love to know what places books took you to this summer. Please write and let us know. And just in case you want some suggested travel destinations, here are a few famous ones from Miroslav Sasek, an amazing illustrator and author of the This Is series. Check them out at the Newport Beach Public Library here. And for more of M. Sasek's exceptional art, go here.  Happy traveling!

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Super Supermoon

It's coming. This Sunday. And it's HUGE. What is it???  The supermoon. In scientific terms, it's called a perigee moon, but we quite like super.

A few facts and figures about the upcoming supermoon:
- a supermoon occurs when a full moon lines up with the earth and the sun at a specific point in its orbit
- since it's closer to us, the moon appears up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than usual
- the moon will not be this close again until August 2014

The best Supermoon viewing?  It will be biggest and most super when it's rising; for us in and around Newport Beach, that's around 8:27 p.m. on Sunday.

To learn more about the moon (and supermoons), check out one of the many books on the topic at the library.  And happy supermoon watching!

{photo from here}

Friday, June 14, 2013

Crime Fighting Lunch Ladies & More

Did you know that summer is THE perfect time to catch up on fun and very cool books? Without a doubt, it is.

So how about a book about a school lunch lady who is actually a secret crime fighter (Lunch Lady)? Or a couple of terrible old people who enjoy playing nasty tricks (The Twits)? Or a boy so desperate for freckles he tries to buy them (Freckle Juice)? The library has these titles and thousands more -- and with the recent expansion, lots of great places to read them.  So please join us for a summer of reading!

{Go here to learn more about our Summer Reading Program}

Friday, June 7, 2013

summer reading

The top ten reasons to join us for our summer reading program?

10) summer reading means picking your own books and not just reading the ones assigned in class
9) reading makes you smarter
8) the program includes prizes and fun events
7) books + Sprinkles = deliciously smart
6) reading is like a vacation without going anywhere
5) hanging out in the new kids' section at the library is completely cool
4) because barbecues and books go together
3) books make long lazy beach days more fun
2) it's a great summertime thing to do
1) and finally, because you have to get out of the water at some point!

For more information on this summer's program titled Reading Is So Delicious, how it works, dates, prizes and locations, go here. To sign up, go here.

Happy reading and we look forward to seeing you at the library!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Nancy is Fancy

In case you haven't met Nancy, she's really fancy. She thinks that more is ALWAYS better -- from her tiaras to her sparkly shoes.

Get a really close-up look at her when bestselling illustrator of the Fancy Nancy series, Robin Preiss Glasser, comes to the Newport Beach Central Library on Sunday, June 9 for the Making Memories for Children series. It's in the Friends Room from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. Please join us!

{This event is open to kids and adults of all ages; a parent or guardian must be present. No charge; suggested $10 donation. Seating is on a first come, first-served basis. For more information, please contact}

Friday, May 24, 2013

Movie Weekend

What to do on a holiday weekend without school or homework?  Go to the beach, ride your skateboard, barbecue with your family, hang out with friends, read a bit of a good book or two, and of course –– watch a great movie.  Check out the fantastic selection at the Newport Beach Public Library, including the titles above.  Happy long weekend!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Not My Hat!

Have you ever read This is Not my Hat? Or I Want My Hat Back? Or, The Dark, Cats Night Out, or The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place? If so, you know the work of the hugely talented, Caldecott Medal-winning author and illustrator, Jon Klassen. And we're extremely excited to say that he's coming to the Newport Beach Public Library!

Please join us on Sunday, June 2 from 1-3 pm for the Making Memories for Children Program at the Central Library Friends Room. In the meantime, check out some of Jon Klassen's exceptional books from the library here. Looking forward to seeing you! 

{This event is open to kids and adults of all ages; a parent or guardian must be present. No charge; suggested $10 donation. Seating is on a first come, first-served basis. For more information, please contact} 

Friday, May 10, 2013


It’s finished and ready and waiting for you. What is it?  Our brand new kids’ section that doubled in size -- with cool new sofas and chairs (perfect for curling up with a book or three) and lots of space and light from a super tall wall of windows. Come and check it out! And while you’re here, go on a hunt for all seventeen rabbits hiding in the new Civic Center Park. Two of them are eight feet tall so they’re not exactly hiding. Looking forward to seeing you at the library!

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Dutch Duck

What’s 54-feet tall, bright yellow and usually found in a bath tub?

No, it’s not a joke. It’s actually the Rubber Duck art installation currently in Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong. And who is responsible for the giant yellow duck? The answer is internationally renowned Dutch artist, Florentijn Hofman, whose art is very large, very creative and very memorable.

So what’s the deal with the duck? He’s already been to Osaka, Japan; Sydney, Australia; and Sao Paolo, Brazil –– and he’s coming to the U.S. But where he will land is a secret yet to be revealed.

Here’s what we know:
- art can be a painting, a sculpture or surprisingly, even a very large duck
- the duck makes us smile (we can’t help it)
- the Dutch artist responsible for the duck has a super cool website with other giant creatures; check out more of them here
- the duck is coming to America
- the library has books on rubber ducks here (really, we do)
- learn more about the cities the duck has visited on CultureGrams here

Here’s what we don’t know:
- what to feed a 54-foot tall duck
- when the duck is coming to America and where he will land

So keep your eyes peeled for the giant, globe-trotting, Dutch duck. And please let us know if you catch a glimpse of him!

Friday, April 26, 2013

crazy museum adventures

Long before Night at the Museum (think dinosaurs coming to life, side by side with Teddy Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart) there was an award-winning book with that same brilliant theme of night-time museum adventures. It’s called From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and some people call it the best kid book ever.  We call it pure fun.  

Curious?  Here’s a quick description of what it’s about, straight from the book’s jacket: 

Twelve-year-old Claudia Kincaid is restless -- she wants to do something different, such as running away from her comfortable suburban life in Connecticut for a while.  But not just any place will do because Claudia likes her comforts.  It needs to be a place with a bit of luxury and some good company.  And she wants to be gone just long enough to teach her parents to appreciate her.

With careful planning, Claudia stages her own secret live-in at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, taking along her nine-year-old brother, not so much for company, but mostly because he is a miser and will have money. What happens to Claudia and Jamie, and the changes that come about in this sister-brother duo, prove greater than either had bargained for. 

Check the book out at the Newport Beach Public Library here.  And many thanks to Pamela Golan for sharing the best book she ever read as a kid! We love From the Mixed-Up Files too! What is (or was) your favorite kid book ever?  Please comment below and let us know.

Friday, April 19, 2013

plastic soup

The ocean is turning into a plastic soup. What??!  Here’s what’s happening: most plastic pollution in the ocean starts out on land as litter created by us -- on beaches, streets and sidewalks. Rain or over watering flushes that litter through storm drains or directly to creeks, streams and rivers that lead to the ocean. After the plastic makes its way to the ocean, it breaks down into smaller pieces, creating a poisonous plastic soup that is killing marine life and putting our oceans at risk. So what can you do? Learn more about this important topic. Avoid single use plastics (plastic bottles, bags, etc). Recycle. And spread the word -- tell your friends and family!

This Monday, April 22 is Earth Day. What does that mean exactly? It’s a day where we talk about issues and solutions for making our earth a better place. To learn more about plastics, check out the Surfrider Foundation website here, or One World One Ocean here.

Some very important facts and figures:
• The amount of plastic produced from 2000–2010 is more than the amount produced during the entire last century.
• Plastic is the most common type of marine litter worldwide.
• An estimated 100,000 marine mammals and up to one million sea birds die every year after ingesting or being tangled in plastic marine litter
• Up to 80% of the plastic in our oceans comes from land-based sources.
• Plastics comprise up to 90% of floating marine debris.
• In 2009 about 3.8 million tons of waste plastic “bags, sacks and wraps” were generated in the United States, but only 9.4% of this total was recycled.
• Plastics do not biodegrade, but instead break down into small particles that persist in the ocean, absorb toxins, and enter our food chain through fish, sea birds and other marine life.
• It is estimated that Americans go through about 100 billion plastic bags a year, or 360 bags per year for every man, woman and child in the country.

Friday, April 12, 2013

hot-buttered toast & trouble

Can you name a pig that loves hot-buttered toast, waffles and trouble?

If you answered Mercy Watson, you’re right. Mercy the pig is just one of the many characters to come from the amazing imagination of author Kate DiCamillo. Others include best friends Bink & Gollie, a mouse called Despereaux, a rabbit called Edward Tulane, a chicken named Louise, a dog called Winn-Dixie, a magician’s elephant, and many, many more.

Check out some of the book covers from her award-winning chapter books and novels above, and a complete list of her books, audio books and DVDs at the library here. Happy reading (and listening and watching!)!

Monday, April 8, 2013

giants beware!

If you’re not familiar with Claudette, the giant slayer, here’s the skinny: she’s loyal, brave, ambitious and clearly, not afraid of giants. She and her friends live in the fortress town of Mont Petit Pierre and she’s interested in really just one thing: battling giants.

Giants Beware is an action-packed quest story with loads of surprises, funny bits, bravery, adventure and super cool illustrations. Check it out at the Newport Beach Public Library. And please email us at with your all-time favorite book titles (and why). We’d love to share what YOU are reading with our readers!

Monday, February 18, 2013


What’s a Google Doodle? It’s the fun and creative changes made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists (see colorful examples above).

So why are we talking about them now? Because Google is holding a kid contest for a new Google Doodle. And this year, the Newport Beach Public Library is joining in. Read on for the details of this year’s contest, centering on the theme MY BEST DAY EVER.  And happy doodling!


• Open to: Students in grades K–12
• Theme: “My Best Day Ever”
• Create a doodle, give it a title, and write a short (no more than 50 words) supporting statement explaining how your doodle portrays the theme “My Best Day Ever…”
• Fifty state finalists will get an all-expense-paid trip to New York City for a final awards ceremony. One lucky student artist will see their artwork appear on the Google homepage, receive a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for their school.
• Submissions: (ONE per student) due March 22nd
• All submissions are the responsibility of the student, and to be sent to Google at address located on official entry form, or uploaded via Google’s contest site.
• Pick up official entry forms at any Newport Beach Public Library location.
• Special Library Event: Saturday March 2nd, all library branches will host an “Open Doodle” day. No registration required.  More here.  
• For a full list of contest rules, go here.
• Link to contest entry forms, go here.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

kid chefs!

Calling all kid chefs! Actually, you don’t have to be a kid chef, just a kid interesting in cooking. So what’s the scoop? A fun cooking workshop at Five Crowns restaurant in Corona del Mar -- a true kitchen adventure. The three-part series includes cooking with what you pick from the Five Crowns garden, a trip to the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano to learn about edible organics, and finally, preparing a meal for your parents at Five Crowns. Sure to be delicious and fun. Please join us!

Details for parents: for kids, ages 5-12. The Making Memories for Children Cooking Series is brought to you by the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation and Five Crowns Restaurant in Corona del Mar.Dates: Sunday, March 10, 17 and 24 from noon to 2 pm. Cost is $75 per child. Limited to 25 children. For more information or to sign up, please visit our website at:

{above photos: Five Crowns, Corona del Mar; all food photography from here

Saturday, January 26, 2013

groovy lava

A volcano is a land form (usually a mountain) where molten rock (magma) erupts through the surface. As pressure in the molten rock builds up, it needs to escape somewhere –– so it forces its way up through fissures, which are narrow cracks in the earth’s crust. Once the magma erupts through the earth’s surface, it’s called lava. Real lava from a volcano is made up of crystals, volcanic glass, and bubbles (volcanic gases). So that’s the scoop on the real stuff.  Now let’s talk about the not-so-real stuff. Our rainy day science project has to do with lava, but lava of a different kind entirely: lava-lamp lava. And who doesn’t love a good lava lamp?!  Read on for the simple instructions.

How it works:
The secret behind the lamp’s “lava” is science. Oil is lighter, or less dense, than water, so it rises to the surface. Salt is heavier, or more dense, than water, and sinks to the bottom. When you add the salt, blobs of oil attach to the grains and sink. Then the salt dissolves, and the oil returns to the top. The result? A liquid show for the eyes. 

What you'll need:
- Clear jar with lid
- Water
- Food coloring
- Glitter
- Vegetable oil
- Salt (or Alka Seltzer for fizz!)
- Flashlight 

Fill the jar three-quarters full of water. Add drops of food coloring until you like the color you see. A few drops go a long way! Sprinkle in glitter for extra sparkle. Fill the jar almost to the top with vegetable oil and let the mixture separate. Pour salt into the jar until you see the cool lava lamp effect. When the bubbles stop, add more salt to see it again. Shine a flashlight behind the jar to watch your lava lamp really glow.

For more information on volcanoes and lava, check out the many books and DVDs on the subject from the library here. And for more on making your own lava lamp, go here or here

{Amazing lava photos above from here; lava lamp recipe from National Geographic Kids.}

Saturday, January 19, 2013

why the holiday?

Imagine being treated differently simply because of the color of your skin. Imagine having to sit in the back of the bus just because of the way you look. Or use a different bathroom because of your race. That’s the way it used to be, before a man named Martin Luther King fought for equality and justice for Americans of all colors.

Just who was Martin Luther King? Born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1929, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man who fought hard to gain rights for black people in America, when they were being treated unfairly. He believed that all people should be treated equally, regardless of their skin color.

So why the holiday? Each January, the third Monday of the month is observed as a federal holiday honoring Dr. King and celebrating his life and achievements. To learn more about him, check out this short video from National Geographic Kids here. Or check out one of the dozens of books about him from the library here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

canada and the orcas

Canada is the second largest country in the world (after Russia) and is slightly larger than the United States. It borders three oceans: the Atlantic to the east; the Pacific to the west; and the Arctic to the north.

This week, eleven killer whales were trapped in the ice, in the freezing water of Canada’s Hudson Bay. A sudden drop in temperature froze the water around them and left them with a breathing hole the size of a pickup truck -- far too small for the eleven whales, and freezing into an even smaller hole by the hour.  Each whale would take turns coming up for air, vital oxygen that they needed to stay alive.

Fortunately for the whales, the wind shifted yesterday, the ice moved and they were able to swim to freedom. A happy ending for all.

For more information on Canada, check out the Culturegrams database on the kid’s section of the library’s website here. To see footage of the trapped whales, go here. And for dozens of books and DVDs on orcas, check them out at the library.

Friday, January 4, 2013

why the ocean?

Being that we live so close to the ocean and that it’s such a big part of our lives, we thought we’d write a bit about it. So where to start? How about with a few very important facts and figures:

• 50 to 70% of our oxygen comes from the ocean. That’s more than all of the world’s rainforests combined.

• The ocean is the #1 source of protein for more than a billion people.

• The ocean regulates our climate, absorbs carbon dioxide, holds 97% of the earth’s water, and supports the greatest abundance of life on our planet.

• More than 60% of the world’s population lives on or near the coast. The ocean provides a livelihood, recreation, beauty, wonder, and untapped scientific discovery, leading to new medications, foods, and advanced technologies. Everyone, everywhere depends on a healthy sea.

But the ocean is in trouble. And that’s a huge concern for us all -- whether you live near the beach or not. Some more facts and figures:

• 90% of the big fish are gone. Tuna, swordfish, halibut, cod, and flounder populations have been devastated by overfishing.

• The average size of the remaining big fish has been cut in half or less in the last 50 years. The average weight of a swordfish caught today is 90 lbs., down from 266 lbs. in 1960.

• Discarded plastics have formed a toxic “plastic soup” that is gathering in 5 massive ocean gyres around the world. As the plastic breaks down, it is eaten by sea animals, causing illness and death. It eventually enters our diets, too.

• There are a reported 405 ocean “dead zones” — areas where there is little to no oxygen due to pollution. Dead zones are doubling every ten years.

• Our oceans account for 71% of the planet, but less than 2% of our oceans are protected. We have protections in place for nearly 12% of all land (through areas like national parks).

So how can you help? Read about it. Spread the word. And get involved. The information above is from One World One Ocean, a great organization doing lots to help save our oceans. Check out their super cool website here. And check out their Why the Ocean video here.