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1000 Books Before Kindergarten: My Goth Remix

7 Apr

Recently I attended a convention, and attended a panel about Goth parents.  The thing it made me realize is that though parents may not all look the same on the outside or have exactly the same parenting style, one thing we all have in common is wanting the best for our children and hoping they have happy and fulfilling lives.  To me one of the ways we can set them on that journey is by encouraging a love of learning and reading. I had written previously about the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Campaign with some of my son’s top picks.  Now here are 10 of our Gothy Picture Book Favorites featuring baby bats, cute vampires, a ghost boy, a skeleton girl and spooky adventures for you to share which are available at BCCLS libraries.  Stop by the Children’s Desk to learn more about the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Campaign and how you can take part.

1.  The Sleepless Little Vampire, by Richard Egielski


I picked up this book on a babymoon trip to Sleepy Hollow when I was pregnant with my son.  Poor vampire thinks he can’t sleep at night because of a variety of other spooky creatures.

2. Jampires, by Sarah McIntyre and David O’Connell

When the jam goes missing from Sam’s donuts he learns that some vampires have a taste for fruity fillings. The Jampires take Sam on a magical adventure to their homeland. This book is a silly sweet treat.

3. Dracula: A Counting Primer, by Jennifer Adams (Author), Alison Oliver (Illustrator)

This simple board book is a fun way to introduce your little one to the ultimate gothic novel and counting. My son also enjoyed Alice in Wonderland, another in the BabyLit series by Adams and Oliver which provides an introduction to colors.

4. Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon


Perhaps the best known of our picks, Stellaluna, titled after a fruit bat fostered by a family of birds, is a story of differences and acceptance that will resonate with children and their parents. You can also borrow the animated movie adaptation on DVD.

5. Nightsong, by Ari Berk (Author), Loren Long (Illustrator)

Chiro (named for the Latin name for bats) learns to be self-sufficient and explore the world on his own in this charming and beautifully illustrated picture book. A nice tale for a child who may be nervous about the first day of school or other new experiences.

6. Bats at the Library, by Brian Lies


My son loves coming to visit the library with me. Of course if kids enjoy libraries, how can the bats resist?  This beautifully illustrated picture book recounts an evening when the bats sneak in to explore the library.  If your child enjoys this book, Lies also has written further adventure about the bats at the beach, ballgame, and in the band.  Spanish speakers can borrow a Spanish language translation by Carlos Mayor of Bats at the Library here at the Hoboken Public Library.

7. Frangoline and the Midnight Dream, by Clemency Pearce (Author), Rebecca Elliott (Illustrator)

This first book by Clemency Pearce features a little girl who is well behaved by day but goes on a naughty spooky adventure at night.

8. Skelly the Skeleton Girl, by Jimmy Pickering

Fans of Tim Burton should enjoy Skelly the Skeleton Girl, a whimsical take on the creatures that go bump in the night, which features a helpful little skeleton girl looking for the owner of a lost bone.  If your child enjoys this book they may also want to check out Pickering’s second Skelly book, Skelly and Femur.

9. Leo: A Ghost Story, by Mac Barnett (Author), Christian Robinson (Illustrator)

Leo is a ghost looking for a place to belong after the new family who moves in to his house mistakes his acts of kindness for a haunting. A gentle story of friendship.

10. The Wolves in the Walls, by Neil Gaiman (Author), Dave McKean (Illustrator)

Of course I couldn’t resist including a book by my favorite author Neil Gaiman on this list. I have a signed copy my best friend got for me which has a little wolf doodle from Gaiman.  The Wolves in the Walls was inspired by his daughter’s nightmare about wolves living in the walls.  It shows that sometimes our worst fears don’t mean that everything has to be all over. This story will be enjoyable for fans of Coraline, but this picture book is a bit more suspenseful than the others I have mentioned so I have another year or two before I plan to share it with my son; reading to your kids shouldn’t stop at Kindergarten!

Remember even when children start reading on their own, reading to them is a great way to reinforce a love of the written word and to provide wonderful bonding experience with the child/ren in your care.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

Children’s Story Time at the Hoboken Public Library Turns 90: Celebrate with Classic Children’s Books!

26 Oct

Children’s Story Time was started back in in 1926, when the Hoboken Public Library’s second library director, Nina Hatfield, started sharing stories with Hoboken’s children.  Her story times were incredibly popular–at times more than 75 children between the ages of 3 and 10 would gather around Mrs. Hatfield.  Ninety years later, story times continue to be one of our most popular events for our library patrons.  In celebration of our story times’ birthday, I wanted to look back at four of my favorite children’s stories that kids may have listened to or read back in 1926, that your child can still enjoy today.  Some have been modified in later editions to make them more appropriate for modern audiences, but they still remain classics.

Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. A. Milne

The adorably sweet bear Winnie the Pooh also turns 90 this October.  There have been many new books, movies, and even a ride based on the A.A. Milne classic, but you can still check out the original Milne stories here at the Hoboken Public Library.  Pooh and several of the other characters from the book were based on toys owned by Milne’s son Christopher Robin.  Your children will be charmed by Winnie-the-Pooh who may be a bit naive, but is always kind and loyal.  Ernest H. Shepard provided illustrations.

The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame

Another classic illustrated by Shepard, is The Wind in the Willows.  I remember as a child checking it out from the library at my elementary school.  Sculptor Seward Johnson, was such such a fan of the work that when he created a restaurant for his Grounds for Sculpture, Sculpture Park, in Princeton, he named it Rat’s after the character who was an excellent host and threw great parties.  It was where my mom threw my children’s book themed baby shower so it will be especially sweet to borrow The Wind in the Willows and read it with my son and share all of the wild adventures of Mr. Toad, Ratty, Mole, and Badger.

The Story of Doctor Dolittle, by Hugh Lofting

As a kid who both adored animals and loved to travel, the Doctor Dolittle stories by Hugh Lofting were a favorite of mine.  Dolittle is a Victorian Era veterinarian who has a menagerie of animals who he learns to communicate with thanks to being taught by his pet parrot.  The first book The Story of Doctor Dolittle was published in 1920.  Nine books followed and the character has been adapted for films, TV, and plays, many of which are available from BCCLS libraries.  Lofting first created the character when he was writing letters to his children when he was in the military during World War I.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter first self-published The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1901, before it received a trade publication in 1902.  Peter Rabbit was soon followed by other anthropomorphic animal tales such as The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin and The Tale of Little Pig RobinsonThe Tale of Peter Rabbit features the story of a family of rabbits and the grumpy farmer whose garden a rebellious Peter can’t resist sneaking into.  Peter was inspired by a rabbit who was Potter’s pet.  I remember learning to read with help from my mom using the Golden Book version.  The book has seen many adaptations including a ballet (you can borrow a film version from BCCLS libraries).

I have also discussed a few other classic tales in previous posts including: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

What are some of your favorite Children’s Classics?  Share them with us in the comments!

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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