Tip From a Librarian – How can I find just the right book to engage my child?

With all the demands and distractions in our busy lives, finding time to encourage the love of reading in our children can be a challenge. This month we introduce a short series of tips on finding the right book for your child, making time to read, and using thoughtful questions to grow a reader. Whether reading aloud to your younger child, interactively reading with an emerging reader or reading side-by-side with your older child, check out these tips for some helpful advice.


How can I find just the right book to engage my child?

  • Read the book before you see the movie!
  • When it’s gift-giving time, buy the first book of a series and then borrow the rest from the school and public library.
  • To engage your older child, read the first chapter of a book aloud and then encourage them to finish on their own.
  • Ask your child about the class author of the month and find additional books by that author
  • Nonfiction reading is not only entertaining but important in developing reading strategies. It’s okay to read yet another book about dinosaurs!
  • Reading is reading. Magazines, comics, and the increasingly popular graphic novels all build fluency and comprehension. 
  • Ask for help: Your child’s teacher, librarian, public librarian and local booksellers have a wealth of knowledge about children’s literature.
  • Investigate on your own: Reading Rockets is a great website with tips and booklists for children of all ages.
  • And speaking of all ages, picture books are ageless. As my mentor Esme Raji Codell says in her book How to Get Your Child to Love Reading, “An excellent picture book can model the highest forms of narrative and visual art and also offer multicultural perspectives.” 

Staff Review – Frank and Bean


I admire an author who writes a children’s book that works both as a great read-aloud while also appealing to youngsters just graduating from the easier beginning reader books. Local author Jamie Michalak has one such book with
Frank and Bean

In less than 50 pages and four short chapters we meet Frank, an introverted fellow who craves the peace and quiet required to write in his secret notebook, and Bean, who arrives on the scene with seemingly every instrument known to man. Not surprisingly, Frank (who if you haven’t already guessed is a frankfurter), is not happy about the intrusion. Bean (yes, the musical fruit) honks and toots and vrooms, loudly. (He’s also brought his motorcycle.) This is not auspicious for a workable relationship. And yet.

Bean is on a quest. And it turns out that Frank has the poetry that Bean is seeking to turn his (loud) musical musings into song. The humorous illustrations of Bob Kolar enhance this humorous yet warm story of the beginnings of friendship.

A sure winner with a gentle message.

By Nancy Kellner

Meet the Staff – Nancy

Greetings! I’m Nancy Kellner and I joined the library staff in September 2018 as the Youth Outreach Librarian. What does a Youth Outreach Librarian do, you ask? Simply stated, anything conducted outside the four walls of our lovely Rogers Free Library that connects the youth of Bristol to the library and its programs. Here are some examples of our outreach programs–Reading Fur Fun (therapy dogs read with students in local schools), StoryWalks® (picture books deconstructed and mounted on stakes to be read page by page on a trail or path), Popup Story Times (fair weather story times in local parks) and attending local events like the State Street Fair and Mount Hope Farm Farmers Market. 

Because I love the interaction with patrons, I also work shifts at the library. You can find me every Tuesday night (from 4-8 pm) in the Children’s Room and occasionally at Main Circulation. 

Libraries and books have always been a part of my life. My first ever job was as a page at the Abbot Public Library in Marblehead, MA (a town not unsimilar to Bristol). I have also worked or volunteered in public libraries in Evanston, IL; Norwich and Hartford, CT; Plaistow, NH; and Northborough and Shrewsbury, MA. I spent a decade as a banker (don’t ask) and a few years as a stay-at-home mom. But the majority of my working life was as an elementary school librarian where I could combine my skills as a storyteller, my love of children’s literature, my interest in digital technology and my absolute delight at working with school aged kids. 

While I haven’t always lived in Bristol (officially a carpetbagger as I moved here in 2017), I call myself a Bristolian-by-choice. Embracing the life of a retiree I found ample opportunities to read, bake, write, volunteer, hike, bike, kayak and (just recently) learning to knit. But libraries continued to beckon and I was lucky enough to be offered this part-time job at Rogers Free Library, a place that now feels like home.

No bio would be complete without mentioning the most precious part of my life, my family–two grown children (one of each variety), a daughter-in-law (and grandchild-to-be) and my college sweetheart of a husband to whom I’ve been married for 40 plus years.

FAQ – Children & eBooks

Q:  My child is interested only in eBooks. He has exhausted your eZone collection. Where else can he read eBooks?

A:  If your child cannot find anymore books he likes in our eZone , fear not! Rogers Free Library also has Tumblebooks. From the Tumblebooks website:

TumbleBookLibrary Premium has over 1100 titles for grades K-6, and includes our unique animated, talking picture books, read-along chapter books, national geographic videos, non-fiction books, playlists, as well as books in Spanish and French. Plus, the collection features Graphic Novels – a student favorite! As well as Math Stories….It’s a great resource for tech-savvy kids, and teaches them the joy of reading in a format they’ll love!”

Tumblebooks are available in Bristol schools, at our library and at home!

Storytime in the Park

Stay tuned for more dates for our awesome Storytime in the Park! Thanks for coming. We hope you enjoyed it!

Staff Book Review

     Red : A Crayon’s Story
by Michael Hall

      Meet Red, a blue crayon covered in a bright red wrapper labeled (as expected) Red. Everyone expects him to behave red, whether it is to draw strawberries or hang out with yellow to make a “nice orange”. He tries, he really tries, but he just can’t. Because he’s not Red, he’s Blue. Skies and oceans are his thing. With help from a new friend he is able to realize his true color and find happiness in his own wrapper.

I love this book because it can be read on so many different levels. At its most basic it is just plain funny. But it is also a story of perseverance, friendship, acceptance and being true to yourself. -Nancy