The public libraries have a large collection of fun and educational videos and DVDs for children. Though they are shelved with the adult titles, the ones meant for kids are easy to pick out - just look for items with pink labels. Don't forget - if you are looking for movie reviews and ratings - every public library has movie review guides available in the reference section. If you are looking online, try the Internet Movie Database at www.imdb.com.
For very young kids, we've added several new videos and DVDs. "Babies and Toddlers: We sign" and "Baby See and Sign" are two new videos designed to help you and your baby learn to use basic sign language. Studies have shown that children can communicate physically long before they can speak, and learning basic sign language can help alleviate the frustration that many children feel when they are unable to make themselves understood. Curious? Give it a try!
And when it's time to potty-train, we've got plenty of books and videos to choose from to help motivate your child. The newest DVD at the library is "I Gotta Go!" which encourages kids to sing along with songs such as "Bye-bye Diapers, Hello Fun!" and shows potty-sitting toddlers as role-models to help inspire dryness.
Just-for-fun movies include series like "Caillou," "George and Martha," "Maurice Sendak's Little Bear," "Zoboomafoo" and "Bear in the Big Blue House." Some are videos, some are DVDs, all are aimed at the young child (ages 2-preschool) and all have educational themes, from shapes and colors to how to be a friend. Also look for "Clifford the Big Red Dog" (with eight stories on one DVD), "Chrysanthemum," "Harold's Purple Crayon" and "Piglet's Big Movie," all for the preschool set.
If you are looking for movies on DVD and video to please a wider age range, try Reading Rainbow's "Badger's Parting Gifts," a sweet story in which friends remember fun events and quiet moments shared with their good friend Badger.
And, in "Hook," Peter Panning is a no-nonsense lawyer who doesn't believe that Peter Pan really exists, let alone that he might be him - even when Tinkerbell shows up at his window to tell him that his son and daughter have been kidnapped by Captain Hook. With Tink's help (he's forgotten how to fly), Peter makes it back to Neverland, where he gradually becomes convinced of his identity. With the help of the Lost Boys and Tink, Peter tracks down Hook and rescues his children, learning some important things about family and loyalty along the way.
The true story of Helen Keller is given a new treatment in this 2000 version of "The Miracle Worker" from Disney (on video). When Annie Sullivan, a newly credentialed teacher, becomes a private teacher for a blind, deaf and mute girl named Helen, she doesn't know what to expect. Helen behaves like an animal because her parents don't know how to reach her, but with Annie's patient and insistent teaching, Helen comes out of her isolation and joins the world.
We've added even more Miyazaki films to satisfy the fans who've come out of the woodwork. Hayao Miyazaki is the writer and director who gave the world "Spirited Away" and "My Neighbor Totoro." Now the public library owns nearly all of his movies, including "Princess Mononoke," "Kiki's Delivery Service," "Castle in the Sky," "The Castle of Cagliostro" and "Panda! Go Panda!" All of these are full-length films (over 100 minutes) that all ages can enjoy, with the exception of "Panda," which is 75 minutes and aimed squarely at preschoolers and die-hard Miyazaki fans (it is one of his earliest works). Some of these are videos, some are DVDs.
There's still time to sign up for the art workshop with Ketchikan artist Evon Zerbetz, illustrator of "Blueberry Shoe," "Little Red Snapperhood" and more. It's coming up on Sunday, Oct. 5 at the Douglas library, from 1-4 p.m. You MUST register beforehand (mostly so we can let you know what supplies to bring). Adults and young adults can call 586-0434 to sign up. And, join us for a reception for Zerbetz on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at the downtown library, where she will talk about her artwork and sign books. Books will be available for purchase.
If you'd like to place a hold on any of these titles, call the Juneau Public Library at 586-5249. If you have Internet access, your library card and a PIN, you may place your own holds by going to our Web site (www.juneau.org/library) and looking at our catalogue. Placing holds on items featured in this column is now even easier. The new columns are hyperlinked to the catalogue: Simply look up the column, click on the title you want and you will be ready to place a hold.