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Library Corner

August 16, 2012

Meaning of 'kindergarten' speaks to the nature of children's needs

Kindergarten

Many children across the country will be starting school soon. Have you ever wondered about the derivation of "kindergarten?"

The word has its origins in the German language with "kinder" meaning children and "garten" meaning garden. Friedrich Frobe, a German educator, invented the word in 1840 and was responsible for developing a method of educating young children. He preferred to think of his method as relating to nature.

Frobe studied how people gardened and raised their plants, taking into account soil, atmosphere and surroundings. By nurturing each plant with its individual needs, the plant would thrive and produce. That same concept was applied to children to allow each to grow and develop at their own pace, just as plants do in gardens. Pretty revolutionary for the time.

In the U.S., kindergarten was started in 1868 by Elizabeth Peabody of Boston, and quickly caught on from there.

Books for Children and Teens

Zeus, 10, lives on the island of Crete and he thinks his life is really boring. The only interesting times are when lightning hits him on stormy days, and he's been hit dozens of times. Every time he is hit, he hears a voice, which says, "You are the one." Find out just what this means in Joan Holub's "Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom."

Charlie Joe Jackson doesn't like to read, and his report card shows it. He's promised his parents that he'll get straight As, because he doesn't want to go to an academic summer camp. He stays after school, and rather than trying to get out of reading, he's doing all sorts of things for extra credit. Join the fun in Tom Greenwald's "Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra Credit."

Ginny Davis can't wait for eighth grade to start. She plans to join clubs and try out for cheerleading. Wouldn't you know, things don't turn out exactly as planned in "Eighth Grade is Making Me Sick." Author Jennifer Holm and Elicia Castaldi have created a story that is part graphic novel, scrapbook and photo album, and altogether fun. It doesn't get more real than this.

Seventh-grader Georges moves into a Brooklyn apartment building and meets Safer, a 12 year-old spy. Georges is happy to hang out with Safer and they become an investigative team, tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in an apartment upstairs. Of course, there's lots of other things going on with Georges in the newest from Rebecca Stead, "Liar & Spy."

What do you do when you can't sleep? Get out of bed, wiggle toes, scratch itches and more. "Lucy Can't Sleep" is by Amy Schwartz finds Lucy trying all kinds of ways to get to sleep. Will any of them work?

No matter where you are in the universe, snacks are great. A young boy opens a stand with his unusual creations, but doesn't have a single customer. As soon as the moon rises, he sees some rather strange customers at his stand and before you know it, he's serving crowds every night. Find out just who is in these crowds in Matthew McElligott's "Even Aliens Need Snacks."

Very young children will learn the ABC's in this lift the flap book. "ABC Now You See Me" is by Kim Siebold and features all kinds of animals for children to identify.

Library Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.

Marie Bruni is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Thursday. Her columns can be found online at www.thedailystar.com/librarycorner.

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