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Can you believe that it is finally summer?! It's now time for the kids to put away all those "had to read" books from school and get away from all the stress of day-to-day learning. It's time for them to relax, kick-back and enjoy hours of uninterrupted...READING!! Summer is a great time to show kids that reading can be fun and relaxing and they can do it anywhere-at the beach, camping, or at the park. Kids who stop reading over the summer, lose a lot of what they just learned by the time school starts again. This is known as the Summer Slide. Simply reading 20 minutes a day will help prevent kids from slipping back academically. Keep kids reading so that all their hard work does not go to waste!

For kids who love to read, this is easy. However, not everyone enjoys reading. Here are a few tips to help you motivate the reluctant reader in your family.

1. Make time for reading. Summer is a busy time for everyone. If you are trying to cram a few minutes of reading in between one activity and another, it simply becomes another chore that has to get done. Try and find 20 minutes that is completely dedicated to just reading. This can be quiet reading or even reading aloud. Reading aloud helps foster a life-long love of reading. Even older kids enjoy being read to. Creating a comfy reading nook is also a great way to help kids get excited for reading.

2. Have older siblings read easier books to younger siblings. This helps the reluctant reader practice reading without it feeling like work.

3. Offer a variety of books. Show kids that there is more out there than fiction books. Encourage them to explore graphic novels, how-to books, biographies and all the other amazing genres your library offers.

4. Most importantly, lead by example. If you take the time to read, your kids will be more motivated to read also.

5. Sign up for Summer Reading at your local library. Nothing motivates kids more then rewards. At KHCPL, we challenge kids to read for 20 minutes a day over the summer and we reward them with prizes.

The last few weeks I have been asked many times for recommendations on books that should be included in a baby's first library. Yes, I said baby. It is never to early to begin reading to your precious little ones. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents read aloud to children every day starting as early as birth. The benefits of reading out loud to babies is countless. It encourages communication and grows vocabulary and listening skills to name just a few.

But where do you start? As a children's librarian and lover of all books, this is an impossible question to answer. There are hundreds upon hundreds of amazing books out there that children should be exposed to. But I've done my best to narrow it down to my top 12 suggestions. Some of these are classics that have been read by many generations and some are newer to the scene. Hope you enjoy!

1. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems

Little girl carrying stuffed bunny

An engaging story about a little girl, a giant meltdown, and a lost stuffy. 

2. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

This classic bedtime story about a bunny saying goodnight will engage even the youngest of children with its pictures and poetic text.

3. Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Humorous text and silly pictures that address all the adventures awaiting your little one.

4. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

The short, rhythmic text will keep baby's attention as you explore all the books in the If You Give... series.

5. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.

Rhyming and repetition will keep baby's attention for many sessions with this read.

6. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.

Introduces letters in a fun and silly way with colorful artwork to add to it.

7. Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

Great read for children who are feeling sad or scared when mom or dad is not around.

8. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

A great example of how much a parent loves their little one.

9. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Beautiful colors and simple text will engage children of all ages. 

10. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

A classic adventure about a young boy and his imagination.

11. Your Baby's First Word Will Be Dada by Jimmy Fallon

Father's unite has comedian Jimmy Fallon encourages children to say "Dada" first.

12. Belly Button Book! by Sandra Boynton

Hippos and belly buttons! Need I say more?!

Can you believe it is almost time for school to start again? It seems like we were just getting ready to kick-off our Summer Reading Program.

Going back to school, or starting school for the first time, is far from easy. Children and parents both suffer from first-day-of-school nerves.

Back-to-school books are an ever-growing genre aimed to help children and parents prepare for a great first day of school. There are tons of amazing books out there to choose from. The following list is only a few of our favorites. Stop by and check them out and have an amazing first day of school!


little girl holding sign saying wont go to school

Princess Cupcake Jones Won't Go To School by Ylleya Fields

Princess Cupcake Jones will do anything to avoid going to school. She pouts, yells, and fakes being sick, but mom is always one step ahead.

Only after arriving at school does she realize that it isn't so scary after all.



cartoon llama holding stuffed animal looking our window

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

Poor Llama Llama only wants to stay home with his mama. Anna Dewdney has captured the feelings of separation anxiety perfectly in her easy-to-read rhyming verse.

No amount of preparation from Mama can stop Llama Llama from worrying. With the help of his classmates, he learns that school is fun and exciting.

A great read for little ones just starting school.


cartoon dinosaur standing in classroom

We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T Higgins

This hilarious story from an award-winning author will help young ones focus on the fun parts of school.

School is nothing like what Penelope, a t-rex, expected. First of all, her classmates are all human and smell delicious.

When the class pet bites the finger of Penelope, she finally understands why she should not eat her classmates, no matter how tasty they are.

This is a great story to teach kids to treat others like they want to be treated.


little girl jumping with books in her hands

Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School by Herman Parish

Amelia Bedelia goes to school and mixes up everything in this funny picture book about the iconic character as a child.

This literal-minded young girl is just as funny in these picture books about her childhood as she is in the original stories. 

Gluing herself to her seat is only one of the mishaps she faces on her first day.


cartoon pigeon with hands on hips

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems

He's tried to drive a bus, he's tried to stay up late, he's refused to bathe and now he HAS to go to school.

In true Pigeon form, he is having nothing to do with it. Why should he go to school anyway? He already knows everything!

Plus what if his teacher doesn't like him or what if he learns too much?

These are only a few of the worries Pigeon has as he begins to except the fact that he is going to school.

April brings us National Poetry Month. Every year I put out a display celebrating all things poetry and every year I watch the display collect dust. And between you and me, I completely understand. I do NOT like poetry! That is until I heard about the wonderful author Kwame Alexander. He has the amazing ability to write novels in verse. I devoured The Crossover, which went on to win the 2015 Newbery Medal, in only a few hours. After reading this book, I discovered this whole wonderful world of novels written in verse that I had completely ignored before.

These novels in verse are great for everyone, but especially for reluctant and/or struggling readers. They are quick reads no matter how thick they look from the outside. Once the book is open you see that the text only covers half the page. These books are easy to follow and fast-paced because of the authors knack for telling a story with few words in an engaging way. Check out the list below of a few our favorite novels in verse; and hopefully your opinion of poetry will begin to change just like mine.

Book cover a basketball player spinning ball on finger

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Crossover follows the lives of twins Josh and Jordan as they try to live up to the expectations of their father, the basketball legend. Josh narrates his story of coming to terms with all the changes that are taking place in his life. His brother has gone girl crazy, the pressure of playing ball maybe too much for him, and he's pretty sure there is something wrong with his dad.  


Book cover with girl swing around a tree

Inside out and back again by Thanhha Lai

The year is 1975. The Vietnam War has just ended. Ha and her family are rescued from Saigon by the American Navy and transported to the most foreign of places - Alabama. This Newbery Honor book will make you happy, sad, and everything in the middle has Ha and her family learn to communicate and live life in American.


Book cover with a young girl standing on a hill

Brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

In this autobiography, Jacqueline Woodson turns her childhood into a beautiful story of trying to find her home and place in a time of great change. She shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960's and 70's while being raised in two places - South Caroling and New York. As she becomes aware of the Civil Rights movement, Woodson tries to find her identity.


Book cover of girls face during snow storm

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose

When a failed wheat crop nearly bankrupts the Betterly family, May must work for her neighbors to make money. While struggling with being separated from her family, the unthinkable happens. May must find a way back to her family with winter on its way.

Shark Week 2019 kicks off July 28. Prepare yourself for summer's greatest week of TV with these amazing reads before the big event. These books are a fun way to explore all things shark away from the TV. Some will make you laugh, some will make you nervous, but all of them will leave you with a new respect for these amazing creatures.

Super Shark Encyclopedia and Other Creatures of the Deep

by Derek Harvey

This book explores over 80 types of sharks and other sea creatures. Packed with facts about sharks and amazing pictures that allow the reader to explore

not only the outside of these creatures but their anatomy too.


Sharkopedia: the complete guide to everything shark

Released last year to celebrate Discovery's 30th year of Shark Week, this book explores facts, trivia, and pictures of over 400 species of sharks.


cartoon shark sitting at school desk

Clark the Shark

by Bruce Hale

For younger readers, Clark loves everything about school. However, he loves it too much.

A fun story with rhyming verse about a young shark who most learn to control himself so that he doesn't hurt his friends.


The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark

by Ken Geist

In this spoof of The Three Little Pigs, Mama tells her little ones it's time to go out on their own. Will they find a house that can stand the Big Bad Shark?


I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916

by Lauren Tarshis

Based on true events, a young boy is fascinated by the reports of a shark swimming near by. But when the shark gets too close to home, will Chet know how to survive?


Visit us today to check out these and many more great shark books before Shark Week 2019 begins!