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Reviews

Dream Something Big book cover

By Anna Francesca Garcia

Some kids are wiggle-worms. Sitting still just isn’t comfortable for them. They seem to bounce off of the walls! When working with kids like this, what’s a grown-up to do? Putting a book in their hands seems like the least reasonable choice.

Kids learn in different ways. While some children learn best through seeing and others through hearing, still other children learn best by moving (kinesthetic learners) or through touching and feeling (tactile learners). I recently found two books which inspire fantastic activities. To build upon the text by creating art will really make hands-on learners feel that they are in their element.

National Spelling Bee Logo

By Mary Thompson
This year the Kansas City Public Library has started on a new adventure. After several decades of coordinating the Jackson County Spelling Bee, the Independence Examiner newspaper has passed the torch on to us, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Schools signed up to participate through mid-December and students are busily pouring over lists and lists of spelling words in preparation for the big competition. In March 2012, over 80 spellers from across Jackson County will come together to compete for the honor and title of the Jackson County Spelling Bee Champion.

Although I myself am a horrible speller, I recognize that the spelling bee is a great opportunity for the youth of Kansas City to improve spelling skills and increase their vocabularies. Participating in the bee also provides valuable experience in developing poise, a necessary skill for success in public speaking, performing arts, and athletics.

I am also enjoying collaborating with the Mid-Continent Public Library on the spelling bee project. Mid-Continent will be hosting one of the two Division Bees on Saturday, March 10th at their North Independence Branch Library while Kansas City Public Library is hosting the other Division Bee at the Plaza Library.

Reviewed by Ron Freeman

I recently read a wonderful, creepy, children’s book. It is called The Wikkeling by Steven Arntson.

As a general rule, we tend to believe that technological advancements improve the quality of our life. In Arntson’s society of the future, he takes many of our seemingly positive technologies, extends them in a very logical way, and creates an eerie future.

We tend to feel that if every school had a computer for every child, learning would increase dramatically because every child would be engaged and programs could identify specific skills for a child to work on. In Arntson’s world, computers allow for more and more standardized testing, which creates more standardized learning, which results in a wealth of knowledge that gets left behind.

We tend to feel that GPS is a very positive development, because we aren’t trying to look at maps while driving and we never get lost. In Arntson’s world, GPS is so prevalent, and cars are so smart, that nobody can find anything without it.

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