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Children love books they can feel and touch

SALISBURY — Children learn best and retain the most information when they are able to engage their senses. Tactile books are a great way to keep your children’s attention and to help stimulate their developing senses. These types of experiences help them discover the meaning and understanding about their ever-evolving world.
Touch-and-feel books are a fantastic way for young children to make the connection between the experience and the written word. For example, to touch something that is bumpy and associate the word “bumpy,” introduces the meaning of bumpy. Simply saying the word without the experience will not establish a correlation. Touching is the bond that brings the word and the concept together as a meaningful experience.
Tactile experiences also help young children develop and organize a gamut of senses they would not otherwise understand. For example, rough has subtleties — some are rougher than others, though rough nevertheless. Only through direct touch and differentiation will your child understand the range of roughness and recognize that rough is different from bumpy.
The Usborne touchy-feely book series written by Fiona Watt and illustrated by Rachel Wells are board books aimed at very young children. The bright illustrations and variety of textures are designed to develop sensory and language awareness. Babies and toddlers will enjoy turning the pages and touching the “feely” elements. This series includes titles on trains, trucks, tractors, princesses, penguins, polar bears, ponies and many more.
“Tickle the Duck!” by Ethan Long, is a silly touch-and-feel book about a duck who dares a young reader to tickle his soft stomach, hairy armpit and rubbery foot. Every time he claims he doesn’t like it, he tempts the reader to do it again. Your child is sure to be tickled by this funny book.
“Little Bear’s Big Sweater,” by David Bedford and illustrated by Caroline Pedler, is an interactive story about sibling relationships. Little Bear inherits his brother’s favorite sweater when Big Bear outgrows it. While playing, Little Bear accidentally stains the sweater and Big Bear becomes upset. When Big Bear realizes that it is no fun playing without his brother, he sets out to find him by following the end of Little Bear’s unraveling sweater. Tactile, felted overlays on each page invite children to feel the gentleness of the sweater.
Lift-the-flap books are also highly educational and engaging to young children. They create the opportunity for children to lift the flaps exposing the base page’s illustrations and text to discover something hidden. Karen Katz is the author of many excellent lift-the-flap books. Her books are all told through the innocent eyes of babies and their experiences. These adorable books are fun and children will love playing along. Eric Hill created the character Spot, “the world’s favorite puppy.” Preschoolers will enjoy reading about the fun adventures Spot goes on by lifting the flaps to reveal the surprises.
“Press Here,” by Herve Tullet, is a truly unique title. This book is highly interactive in the sense that children get the chance to rub and tap on different colored dots to help them learn their colors. Colored dots of varying sizes and colors are the only illustrations used. Children follow simple directions such as “press here and turn the page.” They get to shake and tilt the book to move the dots around the pages. By pressing yellow dots, the lights go out (shown by a black background) and then pressing the yellow dots again turns the lights back on. Now the dots are out of sequence. But which dots switched? The black background returns by pressing all the dots hard. Blowing gets rid of the black. Clapping makes the dots bigger. This is a clever way for children to learn different concepts and a fun activity for parent and child to participate in as they try to anticipate what is next.
A great inexpensive way to spend time with your young children and to engage their senses is to visit Rowan Public Library to check out some of these wonderful tactile children’s books.
Book Bites Club: South (only), Nov. 19, 6:30 p.m., “Into the Wild” by John Krakauer. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-8229.
Teen program: All 5:30-7 p.m. Free monthly programs for middle and high school students. Holiday crafts for teens. Create custom gifts for family and friends. Questions? Call 704-216-8234. South, Tuesday; East, Nov. 18; headquarters, Nov. 19.
November library closings: Nov. 11, closed for Veterans Day; Nov. 27, close at 1 p.m.; Nov. 28-29, closed for Thanksgiving. Regular hours resume Saturday, Nov. 30.
Fall Story Time: Through Nov. 29. For more information call 704-216-8234.
Baby Time — A loosely interactive program introducing simple stories and songs to 6- to 23-month-olds and their parents. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays, 10 a.m.
Toddler Time — A program for children 18 to 35 months old with a parent, focused on sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Monday, 11 a.m.
Tiny Tumblers — A loosely interactive program for children 6 to 35 months old with a parent or caregiver introducing simple stories, musical scarves and instruments. Same program offered two separate days. South, Tuesdays or Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.
Preschool Time — A program for 3- to 5-year-olds to encourage the exploration of books and to build reading readiness skills. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; South, Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.
Noodle Head Story Time — A program for children ages 4 to 8 to enjoy silly books and tales together. Headquarters, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Mondays, 4 p.m.
Art programs — Learn different art techniques and start a new art project. Runs weekly during Story Time. Art in the Afternoon, Headquarters, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; The Paintbrush, South, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.; Art with Char, East, Thursdays, 4 p.m.
Displays for November: headquarters, celebration of Dr. Who by Robert Clyde Allen; South, bobbin lace by Marge Harbaugh; East, Christmas by Mary Earnhardt.
Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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