Category Archives: Children

National Poetry Month

Enjoy these poetry titles during April, National Poetry Month, as well as throughout the rest of the year!

You can also visit Jerseyland Park during the month to read poetry by some of our hometown elementary school poets while enjoying the spring weather!

NJ Makers Day

Please enjoy some of these fun screen-free activities to do with your children!

Ages 2-5

Playdough

Step 1: Combine 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup salt.

Step 2: Slowly stir in 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, 1/2 cup warm water, and 2-3 drops food coloring until well combined.

Step 3: Transfer to a flat surface and let sit for a few minutes. It may be sticky, but the salt will absorb any extra water. After about 5 minutes, knead well. If it is still sticky, add flour 1 Tbsp at a time.

Step 4: Store in an air tight container, in the refrigerator.

Noise Makers

You can customize this activity to suit whatever supplies you have on hand. Using any container (water bottle, two paper plates stapled together, plastic eggs) and some small noisy materials (dried pasta, dried beans, beads). Seal tightly and allow your child to shake away!

Paper Bag Kite

You will need a paper bag, yarn or string, a popsicle stick, scissors, and decorations.

Step 1: Allow your child to decorate the outside of the paper bag.

Step 2: Using a scissors, cut a small slit in the bottom base of the bag.

Step 3: Cut the yarn or string to 18″- 24″ in length. Tie one end to the popsicle stick and thread the other end through the hole in the bottom of the bag, leaving the popsicle inside the bag.

Step 4: Go fly your kite!

Grades K-2

Bubble Science

You will need bubble solution, straw, a surface that can be wet, a cup, and water in a spray bottle

Step 1: Pour some of the bubble solution in the cup so at least half of the straw is covered.

Step 2: Dip your straw in the solution (at least 1/4 of solution) and on an angle try to blow bubbles on the dry surface. What happens? Are you able to create bubbles? Do they pop fast?

Step 3: Now spray your surface with water and try again. Did anything different happen? Can you blow a bubble into another bubble? Are the bubbles small or large?

Pom Pom Drop

You will need pom poms, painters tape, and a mix of empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls. For this activity, you can have your child experiment placing empty rolls with the painters tape on your wall. They can create a design and see if the pom poms will fall down from different angels or race to see which one falls down first.

Rainbow Mason Jar Lantern

You will need a mason jar (or any glass jar), difficult color tissue paper, small bowl or plate, wet glue, scissors, sponge or paint brush, and a battery operated tea light candle or twinkle lights.

Step 1: Make sure your jar is cleaned and dry. While it dries, cut up or rip up your tissue paper.

Step 2. Place a generous of glue in a bowl or plate, and have fun gluing the tissue paper to the inside of your mason jar.

Step 3: Once dry, place your battery operated tea light candle or twinkle lights inside and enjoy!

Grades 3-5

Create Your Own Harmonica

You will need 2 popsicle sticks, 3 elastic bands, 1 straw and scissors.

Step 1: Cut two pieces of the straw so they are just longer than the width of your popsicle stick.

Step 2: Stretch out one of the elastic bands so it goes around one of the popsicle sticks (from top to bottom – long wise).

Step 3: Place your straw pieces about a half of inch from each of the end of the popsicle stick with the rubber band (you want them to be placed horizontally so they stick out a little).

Step 4: Place your second popsicle stick on top of the straw pieces and wrap the additional bands on the ends of the sticks, connecting the two popsicle sticks. Now give it a try by blowing air between the two popsicle sticks — just like a harmonica!

Tissue Box Guitar

You will need an empty tissue box (long boxes work better), an empty paper towel roll, elastic bands, a marker or pen, tape, scissors, and an X-Acto knife (Note: X-Acto knives should be handled by an adult only)

Step 1: Remove the top cellophane or cardboard from the tissue box (you may need to use scissors)

Step 2: Put the paper roll on the short side of the tissue box and trace the circle with your pen or marker, cut out the circle.

Step 3: Place the paper towel roll inside the tissue box about 2 to 3 inches in. You may need to use tape to hold it in place.

Step 4: Add your elastic bands around the long side of the box. Make sure there is at least one elastic band around each side of the paper towel roll.

Step 5: Decorate your guitar and you’re all set!

Tin Can Windsock :

You will need scissors, ribbon, twine, an empty soup can with no sharp edges, paint, a paint brush, misc. paper, plastic jewels or gems (not required) and a glue gun. To string your handle you will need a hammer and long nail (Note – this should be a supervised activity and your child may need help)

Step 1: Create holes using the hammer and nail on the closed side of the can (bottom of the can).

Step 2: Paint the tin can and cut out shapes from your paper which are smaller than the can (you can do a heart, leaf, etc.)

Step 3: Using the glue gun, decorate your tin can using your cut outs or jewels.

Step 4: Create a handle by placing your string through the nail holes that you previously hammered. Tie a knot on the inside of the can to keep it attached.

Step 5: Glue ribbons to the inside of the open part of the can.

Children’s Books for National Women’s History Month

Check out our lists of non-fiction & biography picture books and Middle Grade Books to celebrate National Women’s History Month. Looking for more recommendations? Contact us at [email protected]

Picture Book Biographies & Non-Fiction

Middle Grade Biographies & Non-Fiction

Children’s Books for Black History Month

Check out our lists of recommended picture books, chapter books, non-fiction, and biographies to celebrate Black History Month and beyond.

Picture Books

Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari is making a flying machine all by himself, but when it doesn’t work the way he imagined, he learns about perseverance and problem-solving.


Layla’s Happiness by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie

Seven-year-old Layla divulges many things that make her happy, especially her family and their community garden.


Brown: the many shades of love by Nancy Johnson James

In this loving ode to the color brown, a boy describes the many hues of his family.


Saturday by Oge Mora

When all of their special Saturday plans go awry, Ava and her mother still find a way to appreciate one another and their time together.

Find more picture books here.


Middle Grade Books

Betty before X by Ilyasah Shabazz

Raised by her aunt until she is six, Betty, who will later marry Malcolm X, joins her mother and stepfamily in 1940s Detroit, where she learns about the civil rights movement.


Look both ways : a tale told in ten blocks by Jason Reynolds

A collection of ten short stories that all take place in the same day about kids walking home from school.


My life as an ice cream sandwich by Ibi Zoboi

In the summer of 1984, twelve-year-old Ebony-Grace of Huntsville, Alabama, visits her father in Harlem, where her fascination with outer space and science fiction interfere with her finding acceptance.


King and the dragonflies by Kheryn Callender

In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy’s grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself

Find more books here.

Non-Fiction Titles

Brave. Black. First. : 50+ African American women who changed the world by Cheryl Willis Hudson

Profiles notable African American women in various fields from Phillis Wheatley, Harriet Tubman, and Ida B. Wells to Condoleeza Rice, Beyoncé, and the founders of Black Lives Matte.


The undefeated by Kwame Alexander 

Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes.


28 days : moments in Black history that changed the world by Charles R. Smith Jr.

A picture book look at many of the men and women who revolutionized life for African Americans throughout history.


A ride to remember : a civil rights story by Sharon Langley and Amy Nathan

A Ride to Remember tells how a community came together–both black and white–to make a change. When Sharon Langley was born in the early 1960s, many amusement parks were segregated, and African-American families were not allowed entry. 

Find more books here.

Biographies

The oldest student : how Mary Walker learned to read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard 

A picture book biography sharing the inspiring and incredible true story of the nation’s oldest student, Mary Walker, who learned to read at the age of 116.


Chasing space by Leland Melvin

A memoir by the former NASA astronaut and NFL wide receiver traces his personal journey from the gridiron to the stars, examining the intersecting roles of community, perseverance, and grace that create opportunities for success.


Schomburg : the man who built a library by Carole Boston Weatherford

Traces legal clerk Arturo Schomburg’s efforts to curate a collection of African books, letters, music, and art.


Trailblazer : the story of ballerina Raven Wilkinson by Leda Schubert

This picture book tells the uplifting story of the first African American woman to dance for a major classical ballet company and how she became a huge inspiration for Misty Copeland.

Find more books here.


Complied by our Youth Services Department. Note: Excerpts are taken from our LS2 PAC.

2020’s Most Popular Children’s Titles

Picture Books

Early Readers

Juvenile Fiction

Juvenile Graphic Novels

Winter is here!

Books for Little Ones

A big bed for little snow by Grace Lin
A day so gray by Marie Lamba
I wish it would snow by Sarah Dillard
Little Penguins by Cynthia Rylant
When the snow is deeper than my boots are tall by Jean Reidy
Winter is for Snow by Robert Neubecker
Winter is here by Kevin Henkes
The winter visitors by Karel Hayes

Books for Early Readers

Snowy surprise by Kallie George
Snow Trucking by Jon Scieszka
Biscuit’s snow day race by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Penny and her sled by Kevin Henkes
Mouse loves snow by Lauren Thompson
Mr. Putter and Tabby hit the slope by Cynthia Rylant
Snow day by Candace F. Ransom
Woof and Quack in winter by Jamie Swenson

Screen Free Activities

National Native American Heritage Month Books for Children

Check out some of our recommended picture books, fiction, non-fiction titles for children for National Native American Heritage Month.


Fry bread : a Native American family story by Kevin Noble Maillard. Request this title.

Told in powerful verse, Fry Bread is an evocative story about family, history, culture, and traditions, new and old.


Birdsong by Julie Flett. Request this title.

When a young girl moves from the country to a small town, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of nature and art.


Zoe and the fawn by Catherine Jameson. Request this title.

Zoe and her father find a lone fawn in the forest in this picture book for young readers.


Kamik’s first sled by Matilda Suluaryok. Request this title.

Jake’s puppy is growing quickly, but as Jake soon realizes, he isn’t becoming any easier to handle. All Jake wants is to raise his puppy to be a strong, fast sled dog, but Kamik is far from ready to pull a sled with a dog team.


Rabbit’s snow dance : a traditional Iroquois story as told by James and Joseph Bruchac. Request this title.

Rabbit loves the winter. He knows a dance, using an Iroquois drum and song, to make it snow–even in summertime When rabbit decides that it should snow early, he starts his dance and the snow begins to fall.


Bowwow powwow : bagosenjige-niimi’idim by Brenda J. Child. Request this title.

The best days of summer end at the powwow, but Windy Girl takes the revelry of the gathering one step farther, into a dreamworld where the dancers and singers are dogs.


We are water protectors by Carole Lindstrom. Request this title.

Water is the first medicine. It affects and connects us all… When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people’s water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.


We are grateful : otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell. Request this title.

Otsaliheliga is a Cherokee word that is used to express gratitude. Journey through the year with a Cherokee family and their tribal nation as they express thanks for celebrations big and small. A look at modern Native American life as told by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.


Mary and the Trail of Tears : a Cherokee removal survival story by Andrea L. Rogers. Request this title.

Twelve-year-old Mary and her Cherokee family are forced out of their home in Georgia by U.S. soldiers in May 1838. From the beginning of the forced move, Mary and her family are separated from her father.


I can make this promise by Christine Day. Request this title.

When twelve-year-old Edie finds letters and photographs in her attic that change everything she thought she knew about her Native American mother’s adoption, she realizes she has a lot to learn about her family’s history and her own identity.


In the footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall. Request this title.

Teased for his fair coloring, eleven-year-old Jimmy McClean travels with his maternal grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, to learn about his Lakota heritage while visiting places significant in the life of Crazy Horse, the nineteenth-century Lakota leader and warrior, in a tale that weaves the past with the present.

Check out more titles from our LS2 PAC Book List.

Let’s Celebrate Autumn!

Books for Little Ones

Screen Free Fall Activities