Tag Archives: books

Program inspiration: Art Workshops for Children

Just got this book at the library and it is filled with wonderful ideas that I really want to do yet know I can’t do because PAINT!

But I’m not going to give up. I think I can find some substitutes for the messy paint and perhaps just go with markers. Our meeting room/programming room is carpeted and getting it cleaned on a normal day is difficult so I can’t imagine what would happen if we got paint on it. I’m pretty sure our custodian would never forgive me.

Has anyone done an Art Workshop for kids at their library? I’m thinking this would require registration as it sounds like the kids will need lots of space to move around for some of these.

Posting this here so I can stumble upon it later and maybe plan a program for next year. 🙂

Preschool Early Literacy Storytime: DINOSAURS!

Through some crazy random happenstance, I have somehow become an “early literacy specialist” and instead of doing 8 storytimes a year I’m doing them every week…forever. It’s been an interesting experience to say the least. Right now, having survived the first six months doing this, I am finally together enough to gather up old storytimes and modify them to fit the Early Literacy model. I recently updated my Dinosaurs storytime and it was a HUGE hit! I googled around and found lots of great suggestions for how to make the plan for EL friendly. This is one I will definitely come back to each year.

This early literacy storytime is geared towards preschool aged children, ages 3-5 years old. If you drop a few of the books, you can easily modify this to be a toddler age program.

I always open my programs with a clapping song I learned way back in my first storytime training “Clap Along With Me”. For added fun, I look for a puppet with “hands” and tell the children that my puppet’s soft hands don’t work for clapping and he needs their help! Works every time! After we finish that, I do a quick Open Shut Them to get the wiggles out of our fingers and then start the stories.

Get the whole storytime plan here:

Continue reading Preschool Early Literacy Storytime: DINOSAURS!

Librarian’s best friend: Earlyword

Ever since I learned about the epic blog EarlyWord I have made a point to look at it at least once week, if not once a day (depending on the season).

If you want to be ahead of the game on all things Reader’s Advisory, this blog will be a big help, especially if you are short on time to read through all the starred Library Journal and School Library Journal reviews. EarlyWord keeps you abreast of the next book set to hit the big screen, the titles that book clubs will be fighting for, and just some fresh new authors and award winners that you can recommend when someone’s favorite writer is on break.

EarlyWord also mentions any books or authors doing the rounds on tv shows and radio so you’re prepared when that patron comes to the desk to ask about the book she heard about on the Today Show.

I always tell any new staff I’m training to check this blog when it’s slow on the desk. A quick glance can take you from giving your patron a confused look as they fumble for a title to being a superhero for knowing it before they could even complete their thought.

I had a mother ask me the other day if she should allow her middle school aged daughter to read Mockingjay, the final installment in The Hunger Games trilogy. I had a few random questions float through my head but I asked the most obvious one – had she read the other two books. The mother said yes, she was just worried because she had heard this one was worse.

I told her to let her daughter read the book.

I mean, she had made it this far, she had survived The Hunger Games, the Quarter Quell, let her read about the rebellion against the Capitol.

Yes, Mockingjay is not the watered down super mega happy ending Rowling I will never forgive you that many children’s series have, but it’s not a children’s book. It’s for young adults. It’s not meant to sugar-coat the world.

And if what I’ve heard about the Divergent series is true, this is going to be the new trend in YA lit, using Science Fiction and Fantasy the way they should be used, to hold a mirror up to our society, not to gaze into the mirror and see what we want most in the world, but to look into it and see reality.

I did suggest that maybe Mom also read the books because there is a lot to discuss. It always boggles my mind that parents are concerned but not *quite* concerned enough to pick up these hot books and read them along with their children and use them as an opportunity for discussion. That’s the way to nurture a reader, to teach kids to think critically about the media they are inundated with every day, to create a thinker and not just a consumer.

…I should really rename this blog “why are you on a soap box”…but whatever, I’m not giving up this sweet URL. 😛

Review: A Big Guy Took My Ball!

A Big Guy Took My Ball!
A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars. Not my favorite Elephant & Piggie but Mo Willems is like Pixar to me — even his weaker books are still better than most!

Like most of the Elephant & Piggie tales, this story doesn’t end up where you think it will, and I think teaching kids to not always assume and expect things is a good idea. There’s a lot to talk about with a child in these very few pages – you could discuss what to do when you find something unattended, what is a bully, and about confrontation.

Not my favorite of the bunch but still lots of great moments.

Plus, this picture just broke my heart:

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Ever wonder what a wacky librarian reads (or at least, wants to read and piles up on her desk for 3 weeks only to have to return them because someone else places a request?)


Current checkouts:

The book of blood and shadow by Robin Wasserman (reading this as part of Books for the Beast in October)

Firecracker by David Iserson (writer for SNL and New Girl, how could I resist?)

Adventure of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks (I like her art style)

Nothing can possibly go wrong by Prudence Shen (art by Hicks…)

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad by Nathan Hale (graphic novel for kids that makes history fun?? I had to read it so I could request we buy it for the library).

Review: Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation
Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

I listened to this on my drive to work for a few weeks and I loved it. It felt like I was back in college, listening to a wonderful lecture series on the history of cooking and how humans have manipulated ingredients to create food.

Like In Defense of Food, Cooked is a mix of microhistories, anecdotes and a dash of politics (but just a dash). Less preachy than In Defense of Food, this book focuses on baking (bread), cooking with fire (BBQ), and fermentation (plants, dairy and alcohol). But within these three activities, Pollan finds a wealth of cultural and historical things to discuss. You will finish this this book full of random factoids about all the foods you eat and the science and stories behind them.

Be warned, you will find yourself craving some delicious barbecue, cheese, and beer before this book is through!

I highly recommend this in audiobook format, though it is a great read too. But Pollan’s conversational tone helps the hours on the road fly by. It would be a good listen for teens/young adults who will enjoy hearing those bits of history you never get in school.

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fun with social media: Instagram tag search

So I was posting to Instagram the other night and decided to play with tags. Our tag for the summer has been #summerreading when we post to Twitter/Facebook, but I noticed that on Instagram, the tag was #summereading so I clicked on it to see what the people are posting.

It’s mostly teens posting images of the books they are being forced to read this summer and talking about how terrible the book is. And, honestly, most of the books are the same old crap everyone has been forced to read over the summer for the past 20 years (though I did spot a few lucky teens with Jurassic Park and Book Thief – wanted to comment but thought that might be creepy). Anyway, I just think teachers and parents need to realize that any ASSIGNED book is automatically a dumb, boring, long, badly written book. I really wish they summer reading assignments would just be to READ. Because, let me tell you, most of the books that were assigned to me in high school? I’m only JUST NOW understanding them. Most of the classics do not resonate with teenagers today and they really won’t do anything except make them hate reading. Reading them during school, when a teacher is there to guide them through the language and the themes is a better idea. Instead, give them choices of MODERN titles that might touch upon the same themes. There are plenty of ‘Catcher in the Rye’ stories that were written in this past year, believe me. Have them read Cory Doctorow’s “Little Brother” over the summer then draw parallels when you make them read 1984 in class.

side note: 1984 must feel to these teens as far into the past as the future felt to the original readers of the title.

OH! And then I was like “hey, I tag a lot of my post as “librarian”, let’s see what else is in that tag. This tag is mostly populated by girls wearing Tina Fey glasses. When I did my initial search, I got an image of a girl on her bed trying to take a photo of her shoes she said made her “feel like a librarian” but mostly ended up a picture of her butt. **sigh** The tag has been repopulated now but there are still more random glasses than actual librarians. “librarians” has more pictures of staff, maybe we tend to photograph ourselves in groups?

best books 2012

Here is a list of the books I read and enjoyed that were published this year. There’s actually one adult fiction book in the mix! I know, you’re shocked! But I listened to it and the reader is Jim Broadbent so…it was hard not to like it. The rest is children’s and teen fic. 🙂

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryThe Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A bittersweet story about a man who sets out to mail a letter and decides to just keep walking, in the hopes of saving an old friend’s life.

Jim Broadbent is an amazing narrator and did a great job giving each character their own voice. I highly recommend the audiobook version.

The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee  (Origami Yoda #3)The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee by Tom Angleberger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this one a lot better than ‘Darth Paper’, which I felt was sorta mean when it came to the kid’s attacking poor Dwight. ‘Fortune Wookiee’ is a lot more fun as the kids try to figure out how Dwight is doing at the Tippet Academy (I love all the in-jokes for Star Wars fans). I also love that the creator of the Fortune Wookiee and Han Foldo is a girl. 🙂

Be warned, this ends on a cliffhanger!!

UnWholly (Unwind, #2)UnWholly by Neal Shusterman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I heard Shusterman was writing a sequel to UNWIND, I cringed. It was not supposed to have a sequel. I was concerned that Neal had fallen upon hard times and his publishers were just trying to milk his award-winning book book for more…

WOW, was I wrong.

UNWHOLLY was fantastic. I haven’t read a book that kept me on the edge of my seat in a long time. We find out about the aftermath of the Happy Jack Harvest Camp showdown and how it effected the rest of the world. And we finally get some insight into how Unwinding came to be. We meet up with favorite characters from UNWIND but we meet several new ones.

The book cover is devoid of color, a boy’s face in shadow, and it fits – this story is all about navigating gray areas and trying to bring the truth to light. What makes it all so eerie is how plausible it still seems. How easily something that sounds horrific can become the status quo. How history is written by the victors. And how easy it is to bury the truth.

If you’ve read UNWIND, you NEED to read UNWHOLLY.

DramaDrama by Raina Telgemeier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What I love about Telgemeier’s SMILE and DRAMA is that they are stories about a girl – not a girl and a boy (though boys are involved, since we do tend to cross paths with them as we grow up) but a girl, living her life. And, in the end, she learns something about herself. They are about friendship; they are about growing up.

DRAMA is the story of Callie going through a production with her school’s drama club as they mount an ambitious musical. She recruits two new members for the club, making friends with two new students, all the while navigating the ins-and-outs with her old friends and classmates.

If you liked SMILE, I think you will enjoy DRAMA. The story skews slightly older than SMILE, in my opinion, but it still ends with a very positive message for the reader.

Code Name VerityCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an intense and fascinating story of survival and friendship. Reading the notes of the captured girl, you are pulled in to her internal struggle to survive and to stay true to herself. She describes her life before and the torture she undergoes every day from the Gestapo. And when it all comes to a head, about halfway through the book, you will not be able to put it down.

Of course, with the description of torture and threat of rape mentioned, you def. want to give this to a reader who can handle such harsh realities of war.

This may be one of the best historical fiction novels I have read. Well researched and well written.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise Part 1Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise Part 1 by Gene Luen Yang

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW…this has everything the television series has – humor, action, and a plot-line that makes the reader think “What would I do?” I am so impressed with this comic and the direction of the story.

Everybody Sees the AntsEverybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. Lucky Linderman might be one of the most honest and realistic teen characters I have ever read. This book was beautiful and heart-breaking and realistically represented the dark side of being a teenager, not in an over-the-top way, but in a way that anyone can identify with, but especially someone who has ever been plagued by a bully or felt misunderstood by the adults around them.

Ask The PassengersAsk The Passengers by A.S. King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nobody’s perfect

It’s a hard concept for a lot of people to come to terms with, especially for teenagers who are struggling to figure out who they are. And maybe even more so for a young person growing up in small town America.

Astrid Jones’ story, like ‘Lucky’ Linderman in Everybody Sees the Ants, is not a single-issue story. A.S. King has created a character who is dealing with many different issues, just like all of us, and we watch her survive and endure and grow. It’s a satisfying book that will make you laugh and possibly get a bit choked up near the end.

Definitely one of the best books I have read all year.

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