Literacy Through Lip-Reading

There’s a whole host of reasons to read, sing, and talk with your babies every day, from sharing a special bonding moment together to helping build their literacy skills, and now a new study about the speech development of infants confirms it: your babies learn to talk by listening to (and watching) you!

It’s not only the sounds of speech that helps teach babies how to talk. A recent study at the Florida Atlantic University shows that at around six months old, babies begin watching our mouths rather than our eyes as we speak to them. By essentially lip-reading, they start to figure out how to make those shapes and sounds on their own. At around one year old, they will start making eye contact again when spoken to, unless they encounter a new language, when they might watch lips more closely again.

So when you’re talking and singing to your babies, reading aloud to them, or bringing them to storytimes at the library, keep in mind that all of these interactions contribute to their literacy, helping them learn to speak and eventually read.

Read more about the study here, and find lots of books to share with your little ones at ELPL!

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett

This is such a fun book!  The premise is that there was a book called Birthday Bunny that a young boy, Alex, has altered to become Battle Bunny.  Each page has the "original" artwork and text that Alex has drawn over, added to, and altered in pencil.  If you just picked it up you might think the book had been vandalized.  So Alex tells the story of the Battle Bunny attempting to take over the world on his birthday.  Highly recommended for the young and young at heart.  My mother absolutely loved it when I showed it to her.

As an added bonus you can go to for a preview and you can download the original Birthday Bunny to print off and "vandalize" to make your own story!


Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

It is a duck?  Or a rabbit?  Kids will love this silly book that changes perspectives from a duck to a rabbit.  It's fun to have them weigh in on which one they see.  I've been waiting for the follow-up to this book - there's a teaser on the last page!


If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

Kadir Nelson's artwork is amazing!  With spare text and breathtaking oil paintings, If You Plant a Seed demonstrates not only the process of planting and growing for young children but also how a seed of kindness can bear sweet fruit.  


What the Sun Sees, What the Moon Sees by Nancy Tafuri

This book is so much fun to read.  It describes what happens with the sun during the day, then halfway through the book it changes to the moon's perspective.  Also, the book's orientation changes so you have to turn it upside down and back around to read the different parts.  Very ingenious...and children love it!

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

The story of a little girl who wanted to travel and see faraway places.  Encouraged by her grandfather, his one thing more she must do:  "You must do something to make the world more beautiful."  So little Alice grew up and became a librarian.  She traveled the world and finished her days with that special "one more thing...".  This was one of my daughter's favorite books from her childhood.  I still count it as a book for all to read for all time.

The Story of Jumaji

JUMANJI!!! Would be what one yells upon winning the game created by Chris Van Allsburg - that is if you can make it through! Jumanji is the tale of siblings Peter and Judy and how they attempt to entertain themselves while their parents have gone out to the opera. Their parents left them with one direction, "please keep the house neat." How can two kids manage to keep the house neat when battling lions, monkeys, rhinos, and a monsoon? The most important part of the game Jumanji, is that it is not over until one player reaches the golden city and yells out Jumanji. Who knows what the roll of the dice will bring to the game? Do you think you'd have what it takes to finish the game? Read this Caldecott Medal book and look at the way Chris Van Allsburg tells the story, not just through his words but also through his beautiful illustrations.

The Day the Crayons Came Home

Have you ever wondered what happens to your missing crayons? Well, in The Day the Crayons Came Home, Duncan is about to find out! One day, Duncan receives a stack of postcards tracking the adventures of his missing crayons. Pea Green - now referred to as Esteban...the Magnificent! - has run away to see the world. Yellow and orange were left outside and got melted together, and now they just want to come home. Neon red crayon was left behind on a family vacation in Florida, now he's traveling the world to get home to Duncan. Read the book to find out what happens to Glow in the Dark and Gold Crayon. This story is written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. For further adventures of crayons, read The Day the Crayons Quit, also by Daywalt and Jeffers.

Books & Bagels - December 2015

ELPL 2.0 Maker Studio in Downtown East Lansing

A great way to share the love of reading with your friends.  Books & Bagels is a discussion group just for 4th through 6th graders.  Each month we discuss a book and enjoy bagels and a hands on activity.  December's book is Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco.   You can sign up for the program as well as pick up your free copy of the book at the circulation desk of the library. 

Thank you to Panera Bread of Frandor for providing the bagels, and many thanks to a generous, anonymous donor for providing copies of Books & Bagels titles to the first 15 program participants.

Upcoming titles for Books & Bagels in 2016:


Please note, December's program will be held at the ELPL Maker Studio, located in the Marriott Hotel.

East Lansing Marriott at University Place
Suite 212
East Lansing, MI  48823

The move is due to the library's renovation project which begins in December.

Want to know more about the renovation of the East Lansing Public Library?  Visit:




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Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas

Jan Thomas has a winning combination of fun text and great illustrations in Rhyming Dust Bunnies.  Bug!  Mug!  Hug!  These dust bunnies love to rhyme.  Well, except for Bob.  Much to the other bunnies' frustration, Bob can never get the rhythm right.  Then he saves everyone from a big, scary monster wielding-gasp!-a broom, and they all breathe a sigh of relief.  But can Bob save them from the big, scary monster's next attack?  Vrrrrrrrrrrrrrooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmm....Make sure you read the next book in this series-Here comes the big, mean dust bunny!

Beyond the Wild Things

We all know and love Maurice Sendak for his creation of the Wild Things and their terrible roars! But, I grew up listening to Really Rosie which combined many of Sendak's other books into the story of Rosie and the Nutshell Kids. Here are the 4 books we have here at the library that you can read along with as Carole King sings the stories of Rosie and the Nutshell Kids.

The Sign on Rosie's Door is the inspiration for Really Rosie, taking the characters introduced in the book to tell the stories of his other books. The idea is that on a regular summer day in New York City, Rosie and her friends (the Nutshell Kids) use their imaginations to create fantastical situations and make up alternate realities to their regular neighborhood.

Chicken Soup with Rice tells the story of the year, what we do in different months and how to enjoy our surroundings.

Pierre, a cautionary tale in five chapters and a prologue. What happens when the only thing you say is, "I don't care?" Take a lesson from Pierre and beware of hungry lions!

Alligators all Around is an alphabet tale. Using alliteration, Sendak and King have created an easy to follow alphabet sing-along!

Check out everything and have a Rosie Day!

Books & Bagels at 2.0

ELPL 2.0 Maker Studio - Downtown East Lansing

It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences.

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ELPL to be Closed Dec. 7-Jan. 10 to Prepare for Renovation Project

ELPL to be Closed Dec. 7-Jan. 10 to Prepare for Renovation Project

Nov. 9, 2015

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The East Lansing Public Library (ELPL), 950 Abbot Road, will be closed to the public Dec. 7-Jan. 10 to prepare the building for an eight- to nine-month renovation project.  

During the closure, the library’s collection will be moved to the south side of the building, collection items that will not fit in the reduced floor plan will be packed up and stored and a construction wall will be built. No items will be due until after the library re-opens on Jan. 11. 

While the library is closed, all digital resources will remain available to patrons, the ELPL book drop will be open and StoryTimes and the Teen After School Drop-in Program will be hosted at All Saints Episcopal Church, 800 Abbot Road. In addition, the ELPL 2.0 Maker Studio’s hours will be expanded and the space will be utilized for programming, the drop off of items and the pickup of hold requests, including MeLCAT holds. The 2.0 Maker Studio will also house a small collection of items from the library and a limited number of public computers.

The 2.0 Maker Studio is located on the second floor of the East Lansing Marriott at University Place, 300 M.A.C. Ave., and the expanded hours (excluding holidays) from Dec. 7-Jan. 10 will be:

    Tuesday-Thursday, noon-8 p.m.
    Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
    Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

Beginning Dec. 7 and through the duration of the renovation project, the Friends of the East Lansing Public Library will not be able to accept book/collection donations due to a lack of storage space. Community members are encouraged to donate their books and collection items to neighboring libraries and other organizations. The Friends will resume collecting items in earnest once ELPL is fully renovated.

When the library re-opens on Jan. 11, approximately one-third of the floor space and collection will be accessible to patrons and the first phase of the renovation project will be underway. ELPL staff would like to thank patrons in advance for their patience during the closure and throughout the renovation.

About the Renovation
ELPL will undergo an exciting renovation of its interior thanks to a very generous donation of $1.5 million from a library patron. 

“This is a wonderful gift to the library and the community,” said ELPL Director Kristin Shelley. “We have the opportunity to create the library that the East Lansing community deserves.”

The renovation will transform ELPL into a community hub and learning space. The children’s area will be moved and enhanced with an early childhood literacy area, the teen space and Maker Studio will be expanded, a cyber café with vending machines will be added, a family bathroom will be built and the floor plan of the library will be reconfigured to create more open space. The library’s collection will be moved around as part of the renovation, but the number of items in the collection will be close to the same. 

The renovation will also allow ELPL to plan for the future with added data and electrical outlets, mobile shelving/furniture and small group meeting spaces. 

The renovation project is slated to be completed by September 2016. Community members with questions about the project or the temporary closure of the library can call (517) 351-2420. 

I am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon and Viviane Schwarz

We read through 20-30 new picture books every month with our 5 year old.  (Thank you, THANK YOU, Dear Library!)  And though almost every new book is his "favorite", at least for a night or two, something special happened when my husband and son read I am Henry Finch together before bed one evening.

You see, Henry Finch starts out as an average bird, almost exactly like every other charimingly rendered thumbprint-based finch in his flock.  But soon, he wakes, and then awakens, and realizes that he exists.  And can think.  And that quite possibly he is an amazing finch!

I am Henry Finch is the rare, philosophical picture book that entertains, engages and enlightens.  As my husband read aloud Henry Finch's discovery of death, birth, individualism and community, my son, who often can't sit still, remained not only seated but nearly rooted to his seat, as his face waxed through looks of introspection, mild horror and eventually existential shock.  And after the book was finished, when my husband asked my son what he thought, he said simply "Again."   And they read it again.

And since then, every morning, and every evening, we have read I am Henry Finch again, and again, and again.  More than any other picture book we have ever read, even Goodnight Moon.

For now you will have to place a hold on I am Henry Finch (we promise to have it back soon) but please do, and once you receive the book, please give it a try and read it through in its entirety, even though the story seems a bit dicey at times.  I can't give anything away but let's just say that Henry Finch makes a very impassioned plea for vegetarianism after a personally alarming experience.  Because of this I can see some parents and caretakers being afraid to push on through the story, but please try.  The ideas explored in the book are very accessible, and intriguing to children and Henry Finch is a great introduction to thinking and philosophy.