Opinion

Library resources to save your sanity | Required Reading with Darcy Brixey

The reservations have been made, the gifts are wrapped, the packing is nearly done and I’m ready for my family’s holiday travel.

My kids are good travelers, but they’re not so good at getting along on road trips. There’s something about the confined space of the back seat that makes them lash out and lob insults or goldfish crackers at one another. That can make a five-hour drive feel like ten. Sometimes I threaten to pull the car over.

I’ve since discovered that audio books are a more effective way to calm them than standby threats. My parents weren’t so lucky when I was growing up.

Years ago, in a station wagon headed toward Montana, wedged between a surly brother and a car sick sister, I’d elbow out more than my share of seat space and nestle into a good book. My sister was easily car sick, so she could never read and she’d pinch me or find some other annoying behavior to pass the time.

Thank goodness Dramamine made her sleepy. Once she sacked out, I was free to read. Many road trips were enriched by Nancy Drew mysteries and Susan Cooper novels. Plus, it gave my parents some peace.

Our children’s e-book page has a great list of recommendations for family titles. I’ve been loading books on my e-reader to have a variety of choices to suit their varying tastes.

My daughter likes gentle stories with ponies while my son wants to read about criminal masterminds and robots. There isn’t much middle ground there.

Because I have two kids and one e-reader, I have also checked out a handful of Playaways. A Playaway is an MP3 player with a book already loaded on it. Playaways are small, about the size of a library card, so they can be kept in pockets and back packs. They are a dream for long flights and drives because there is no fighting. The kids have each fallen into a good book.

Once we reach our destination, I can amuse kids with other book related videos and read alongs from Bookflix or Tumbebooks. All of this is available from the kids e-book page at www.kcls.org/ebooks.

Holiday travel can be tricky with kids, but knowing your library resources ahead of time will help. If you don’t have a library card yet, now is the time. A KCLS card is your most valuable travel accessory.

Darcy Brixey is the teen services librarian at the Bellevue Library. She’d like to tell you she loves to read, but it’s an expectation of the job.

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