Free Computer Classes at North Hill


Free Computer Classes at North Hill Branch Library    

April 21-23  2-3:30 pm

Join us the week of April 21st  for hands-on computer classes.  Please plan to arrive at least one half hour before classes are scheduled to begin.  Classes are free, hands-on, and limited to 15 participants.

Tuesday, April 21–MS Word, Part I: Creating & Editing Documents

Wednesday, April 22–MS Word, Part 2: Formatting Text & Paragraphs

Thursday, April 23–MS Word, Part 3: More Useful Formatting Tools



Beverly Cleary Book Display


Beverly Cleary display wide







Beverly Cleary, the beloved author of the Ramona Quimby children’s books, will turn 99 on April 12.

 And she still has that impish Ramona smile.



two girls

Below are a few of the  “Ramona” books on display in the children’s section.

Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary

Ramona the BraveSix-year-old Ramona tries to cope with an unsympathetic first-grade teacher. In this touching and funny story, the ebullient Ramona, feeling brave and grown-up, enters first grade. Quickly she finds that her new teacher, Mrs. Griggs, appears perplexed by pupils who like to be different. Since Ramona cannot help being different, clearly the two are incompatible. Nevertheless, Ramona can be counted on to keep things lively.





Otis Spofford by Beverly Cleary

Otis SpoffordWhen it comes to stirring up a little excitement in class, Otis Spofford knows just what to do. He can turn a folk dance fiesta into a three-ring circus, or an arithmetic lesson into a spitball marathon. Even his friends George and Stewy can’t keep up when it comes to Otis’s mischief. Best of all, Otis likes teasing Ellen Tebbits. She’s so neat and well-behaved–there’s something irresistible about making Ellen mad! But when Otis’s teasing goes too far, he feels sorry . . . and then nervous. For now Ellen isn’t just mad . . . she’s planning something! Beloved author Beverly Cleary brings real understanding to this wonderful story of a “bad boy.”


Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary

Ellen TebbitsEllen Tebbits has an embarrassing secret that she’ll never share with anyone. That is, until she meets Austine–and discovers that Austine has the exact same secret! Soon the girls are best friends who do everything to­gether–attending dance class, riding horses, and dodging pesky Otis Spofford, the neighborhood troublemaker. But then Ellen does something terrible . . . and now Austine isn’t speaking to her. Ellen desperately wants her best friend back. How can she show Austine how sorry she is? Newbery Medal-winning author Beverly Cleary brings her warm humor to this funny story of a girl readers will recognize–and love.



Socks by Beverly Cleary

SocksSocks is one very happy cat. He lives the good life with his nice young owners, Mr. and Mrs. Bricker. They play with him whenever he wants, feed him special treats, and always pet and scratch him when he curls up in their warm laps.Then a new baby arrives. Suddenly little Charles William is the one getting all the love and attention. Socks feels completely left out. To show how he feels about the new addition to the Bricker family, Socks starts getting into all sorts of trouble–with tomcats, phantom dogs, even Nana’s best wig. It’s not until Socks rescues Charles William from big, big trouble that Socks realizes just how much the Brickers truly want to keep him in the family.


In addition to her books, try these wonderful Books on CD!

Ramona Forever!  (sound recording)

Ramona ForeverRamona’s life changes the moment Howie Kemp’s mysterious uncle arrives from Saudi Arabia.  Howie and his sister, Willa Jean, talk only about Uncle Hobart.  Ramona’s mother makes secret phone calls and stops eating dessert, and Aunt Bea is hiding something, too. Whatever surprises are in store, Ramona is determined to be happy and helpful. Whether she’s pleasant or pesty, brave or blunderful, she’s always wonderful Ramona–forever!



Ralph S. Mouse  (sound recording)

Ralph S. MouseFed up with his family, Ralph decides to hop on his motorcycle and head down the road to Happy Acres Camp. Unfortunately, life at camp is not all peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! A strict watchdog, a mouse-hungry cat, and a troubled boy named Garf keep Ralph on his toes and away from his precious motorcycle. Perhaps home is not such a bad place to be, if only Ralph can find a way to get there again!


Check out this fun website:

“The World of Beverly Cleary.”


Autism Awareness Month


North Hill’s Parent-Teacher area has a display of books to help people who want to know more about Autism Spectrum Disorders.   Below are a few of the books about autism at North Hill.

North Hill Autism 1


autism 42 7

Autism 24/7 by Andy Bondy and Lori Frost

If your son or daughter is over-stimulated by noisy places or has trouble communicating or interacting with people, then everyday activities like going to the playground or helping out with household chores may seem outside your child’s repertoire. The authors, founders of the award-winning Pyramid Approach to educating children with autism, show how it is possible to keep family life running smoothly and teach a child with autism to participate in important and routine family activities at home and in the neighborhood.



Early indentification of autism

The Early Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders by Patricia O’Brien Towle

Identifying Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as early as possible can have a significant, positive impact on the child’s journey to adaptation and independence. Yet too few diagnoses take place at an early, developmentally crucial stage. This unique visual guide aims to equip readers with the skills to recognize ASD in children as young as 15-18 months old.




A practical guide ot autismA Practical Guide to Autism: What every parent, family member, and teacher needs to know by Fred Volkmar and Lisa Wiesner.  This book provides the best and most comprehensive information about recent scientific developments and a splendid practical guide for how they are being implemented and what we are learning in the process. The issues are presented in all of their complexity but translated into language that is clear, direct, and easy to follow. The format also lends itself to understanding the complex issues and their implications through excellent charts, question and answer sections, and chapters that vary from describing diagnostic issues to stating very specifically how to expand and evaluate the services one is receiving.



Could it be autismCould It Be Autism? : A parent’s guide to the first signs and next steps by Nancy D. Wiseman with Kim Painter Koffsky

This book provides vital information so you can recognize the red flags of developmental delays and begin treatment based on those first signs. Nancy Wiseman is the founder and president of First Signs, the organization dedicated to educating parents, clinicians, and physicians on the early identification of and intervention for developmental delays. She is also the mother of a child who was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, and she draws on her own experiences as well as the latest research to present real strategies.




gluten-free KidsGluten-Free Kids : raising happy, healthy children with celiac disease, autism, and other conditions by Danna Korn.

Written by a nationally renowned authority on gluten-free living and the mother of a son with celiac disease, Gluten-Free Kids is full of practical strategies and reassuring tips to help teach children with celiac disease manage behavior, and more. Danna Korn also gives advice to families who need to introduce the diet to a child with autism or Down syndrome, poor impulse control, or sensory issues. The author’s expertise, can-do attitude, and focus on good nutrition gives anyone confidence and know-how to maintain the GF diet, especially those who need to be gluten-free for a lifetime.



Autism Society of Greater Akron

701 S. Main St., Akron, OH 44311




 When I was just shy of five years old, I begged my mother to “teach me to wead so I can wead the comics.”  For the next few weeks, we went through the lessons in a book called “Fun with Phonics.”  After that, I was able to sound out words on my own.  Just those few weeks gave me such a boost in reading.
Many parents come into the library asking for books on phonics and websites that have downloadable worksheets.  I have made a list of books and websites that I think will help parents teach phonics and improve their child’s reading skills.



get books






Why Johnny can't read

Why Johnny Can’t Read by Rudolph Flesch.  I read this book several years ago and found it refreshing.  Here is a snippet from one reviewer’s comments:

 “I found this book back in 1987 right before my first child turned 5.  I couldn’t believe how fast he learned to read!  Using this book made it simple, easy, and fun for him. We spent no more than 15 minutes a day going through the exercises in the book (my son was very hyperactive back then with a very short attention span!). After about 3 weeks Andrew was able to read simple children’s books, and very soon progressed to higher-level reading. Once he learned HOW to read (thanks to Flesch’s method), he was able to quickly progress on his own.”




Learn to ReadHooked on Phonics.  This series comes in a kit.  You can choose which kit you prefer based on the age level.








Meet the Phonics diagraphsThis DVD series introduces children to different aspects of phonics:

Meet the phonics.  Digraphs

Meet the phonics. Letter Sounds

Meet the phonics. Blends






download websites



KIDZONE BUTTON PICKidzone presents free worksheets for English, math, science, and history.  Parents and teachers can download these worksheets for free:  vowel, consonants, alphabet recognition games, Dolch Word Lists, pre-printing projects and practice sheets, and more.  You can also select items by grade level, from preschool through grade 5.  The authors of this website also include helpful suggestions about how to present the material.  This family-created website is well worth checking out.




Super Teacher Worksheets jpegOne or two of these worksheets and word wheels are free so you can see what they are, but the rest require registration and a yearly fee of $19.95.  Even so, the site definitely has a lot to offer.  In addition to materials on phonics, the Super Teacher Worksheets site also covers science, social studies, spelling, grammar, handwriting (both print and cursive), reading and writing, math, holidays, and puzzles and brainteasers.  The word wheels can be printed out, cut out, and used to make learning phonics fun.  Check it out.  This well-organized site seems to me to be worth the $20 a year, an amount that is certainly less than the cost of buying several books.




online learning


READING BEAR – Watch, Know, Learn
bear bold 1From the website:  “Reading Bear, a project of, is the first free program online to teach beginning readers vocabulary and concepts while systematically introducing all the main phonetic patterns of written English, all using innovative rich media.  We spent an enormous amount of time developing 50 presentations, covering even more phonics principles and illustrating over 1,200 vocabulary items. There is nothing else like it, free or otherwise.  We hope you will use Reading Bear in a non-stressful, non-pressuring way.  Learning to read can be fun and easy if you go at the child’s pace instead of some pre-determined pace.
“How does it work? In each presentation—playable either as a video or as an interactive slide show—we introduce one or a few related “phonics rules.” Presentations are available in seven different versions.  In the fullest version, we sound out a word slowly and quickly, then blend it slowly, and finally (after an optional prompt) blend it quickly. As sounds are pronounced, the corresponding letters are highlighted. Then we display a picture illustrating the word, show a sentence (with the individual sounds again highlighted, karaoke style), and finally show a video illustrating the sentence. Presentations give this treatment to around 25 words, though some have more and some have less. The result is a thorough yet painless introduction to phonics principles, while at the same time teaching vocabulary.”



Top 11 Phonics Apps
top 11 phonics appsThese phonics apps are interactive games that teach various aspects of phonics.  I have not used any of these, although I have used apps to learn foreign languages and have enjoyed the experience. The 11 apps include Interactive Alphabet, iSpy Phonics, ABC Expedition, ABC Song Piano, Alphabytes, Simplex Spelling with Reverse Phonics, Lite, Word Wizard, Talking Movable Alphabet & Spelling Test for Kids, The Electric Company Wordball, Bob Books #1-reading Magic, Word Wagon by Duck Duck Moose, and FirstWords Deluxe.





Stargazing and Spring Skies


Spring and summer bring warm nights and the desire to get outside.  For your stargazing pleasure and astonishment, I have listed BOOKS and WEBSITES about the night sky.  Oh, and mark your calendars – and hope for clear skies – for the following meteor showers:  The Lyrids on April 23 and the Perseids on August 12-13.


Stars and constellationsStars and Constellations by Nick Hunter
This book explores the sun, different types of stars, and constellations. It covers what stars are, where they come from, what makes them shine, what people thought of them in the past, and how we study stars today. A fun activity is provided along with advice on viewing stars.




What came from the stars by Gary D. SchmidtWhat Came from the Stars  by Gary D. Schmidt
In a desperate attempt for survival, a peaceful civilization on a faraway planet besieged by a dark lord sends its most precious gift across the cosmos into the lunchbox of Tommy Pepper, sixth grader, of Plymouth, Massachusetts.





meteor showersMeteor Showers  by J.A. Kelley
An illustrated introduction to meteor showers that explains the differences between a meteor and a shooting star, how meteors travel through the Earth’s atmosphere, and related topics.





Space, Stars, and the Beginning of Time

Space, Stars, and the Beginning of Time:  What the Hubble Telescope Saw by Elaine Scott
Have you ever wished you could travel back in time? Or visit a galaxy light-years away? Or see a star being born? The Hubble telescope has allowed scientists to do just that. The Hubble’s dazzling images have transformed astronomy, shedding light on the deepest mysteries of the cosmos, sparking new discoveries, and turning speculation into fact.





50 best sight in astronomyThe 50 Best Sights in Astronomy and How to See Them : Observing Eclipses, Bright Comets, Meteor Showers, and Other Celestial Wonders  by Fred Schaaf
This remarkable book introduces you to the fifty best sights in astronomy and tells you exactly how to see them. In no time at all, you will learn how to find and appreciate the Orion group of constellations; the Summer Triangle; Venus, Jupiter, and Mars; the best meteor showers; man-made satellites; star clusters; novae; variable stars; and more.






Astronomy a self teaching guideAstronomy : a Self-teaching Guide by Dinah Moche
Discover the wonders of the night sky with this bestselling Astronomy Guide.







Backyard Astronomer’s Guide by Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer
backyard astronomer's guide With over 500 color photographs and illustrations, The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide is one of the most valuable, beautiful, and user-friendly astronomy books ever produced.









Science Reference CenterThe Akron Summit County Public Library website has a great database about astronomy and space science.  Go to the library’s webpage, click on DATABASES, then select GENERAL REFERENCE/HOMEWORK, then select SCIENCE REFERENCE CENTER.



HUBBLE SITEThe Hubble Site is one of my favorite websites for amazing and free photographs of galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters.








ASTRONOMY NOWThis website is also a great monthly magazine as well as a very good website with astronomy news.  You could read some of their articles online, and it could inspire you to take a subscription.  Their archive of articles is extensive and is well worth a visit.  They also provide a really nice printable star chart.







kids astronomy“How does a Black Hole work?”  “What are comets made up of?”  “How big is Neptune?”  This easy to navigate website is user friendly with videos and games so you and your children can learn about the Solar System, comets, meteorites, and more.




Universe TodayKeep up to date with astronomy news.




spaceLaunched in 1999, claims to be the world’s No. 1 source for news of astronomy, skywatching, space exploration, commercial spaceflight and related technologies.  It does truly have the latest discoveries, missions, trends and futuristic ideas.


sky and telescopeSky and Telescope magazine website is full of interesting articles and up-to-date space related news.  It gives you beginner guides in all things to help you become familiar with the night sky, and the constellations, Moon phases, and other celestial events.




Heavens aboveGo here to get star charts, information on the Solar System and the International Space Station.  All you have to do is input your location and it will tell you when the space station will appear.





NASAThe NASA website has videos and images as well as NASA TV and the “Image of the Day” feature which produces some amazing and wonderful images.







NASA for kids






AstronotesThe Astronotes blog has all the latest news and views from the fascinating worlds of astronomy and space exploration written by the Armagh Planetarium’s staff.     Articles fit into six headings:  Solar System, Our Galaxy, Universe, Space Flight, Monthly Sky Notes, and Weird and Fun.  Relevant and fun.




Planet QuestLots of great photos and articles about the search for planets outside of our solar system.







risingsunlogo3The Sungazer Observatory is a private astronomical observatory located in Rockville, Maryland.  The observatory is capable of viewing and imaging both the nighttime sky and the chromosphere of the Sun.




National Women’s History Month



Women got the vote in 1920, but it wasn’t an easy path.  Many women (and men) contributed to the arduous journey to political emancipation.

North Hill has many, many inspirational books celebrating those brave women who risked everything and pushed against hostile forces to gain what we now regard as normal.





Rock Your Paper with Scissors


March is National Craft Month.

IMG_0899Can you draw?  Can you fold paper? Can you sew?  Let the books at North Hill inspire you to create.


Snow Painting at North Hill


Children from North Hill’s preschool story time learned about shadows. We had a sunny day and made hand shadows and did other funny movements and jumped up and down. We talked about how the sun moves overhead and that our shadows will be in different places in a few minutes.



Snow Painting 9  2-10-2015Then we went outside to paint on the snow. The children used diluted tempera paint in squirt bottles to make squiggles and circles, squares and triangles of orange, red, blue and green.



???????????????????????????????They noticed that the paint only melted a tiny bit of the snow. For today the colors stayed near the surface. We also talked about how the snow will melt when it gets warmer.


Evening Book Discussion



Monday, March 2 at  6:30 pm  

Book: The Monuments Men  by Robert Edsel

Join us for our Monday book discussion group on March 2  at 6:30 p.m.   We will be discussing The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel while enjoying some light refreshments.  New members are always welcome to this lively discussion group where you can meet other book lovers and find out what books they are reading and raving about.  Books will be available at the service desk one month prior to the discussion, or find a copy here  in our library system and have one sent for you to pick up.


monuments men

At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: “degenerate” works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Momuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world’s great art from the Nazis.



Newbery Award Winners


2015 Medal Winner

the CrossoverThe Crossover, written by Kwame Alexander

“With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering, ” announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court.

But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander ( He Said, She Said 2013).

Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story’s heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.


El DeafoEl Deafo, written and illustrated by Cece Bell

“In this insightful and humorous graphic novel memoir, Cece Bell portrays growing up with a giant hearing aid strapped to her chest. Themes of navigating a new school, sleepovers, finding a true friend and a first crush make this book universal in appeal. Bell shows that our differences are gifts that “can be turned into something amazing.”





Brown Girl DreamingBrown Girl Dreaming, written by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical memoir chronicles the incidents and emotions she experienced as an African-American girl growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. Precise language magnifies moments and connects them to the larger historical narrative. Her elegant and evocative stand-alone poems weave a story about her development from a struggling reader and dreamer into a confident young woman and writer.