Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Princess and the Pit Stop by Tom Angleberger

Fairy tale characters and nursery rhyme characters are having a race. The princess is in last place, but she's determined to win. Can she do it?

What I thought: I love the mixture of characters and the placement of familiar/traditional characters in a fresh setting. The car race has definite boy appeal. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and expertly show movement. I had fun sharing this book with first and second graders in February.

Themes: Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes, Cars, Races, Elementary

Illustrated by Dan Santat. Abrams, 2018.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Sleep Tight, Snow White: 15 Bewitching Bedtime Rhymes by Jen Arena

Say good night with fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters in this charming bedtime book.

What I thought: A clever collection with gorgeous illustrations. I enjoyed the mix of fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters (Snow White, Red Riding Hood, Princess and the Pea, Goldilocks, Little Bo Peep, Cinderella, Little Miss Muffet, Prince Charming, Wicked Queen, Sleeping Beauty, Little Mermaid, Hansel and Gretel, Beauty and Beast, Jack and Jill, and Little Boy Blue). I love all the different textures in the illustrations and that they are so different from the Disney versions. I also appreciate that the characters have different races. My favorite illustrations are Snow White, Red Riding Hood, and Hansel and Gretel. I had great fun using this book for my fairy tales storytime in February. We looked for the wolf, counted sheep, and talked about the fact that "Bella" wasn't just a name. I look forward to using this book next summer when the CSLP theme is "Imagine Your Story."

Themes: Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes, Rhyming Books, Elementary

Illustrated by Lorena Alvarez. Knopf, 2017.


Friday, September 6, 2019

Cybils 2019 - Call for Judges

I'm honored once again to be serving as the Poetry Category Chair during Cybils 2019.

The official Call for Judges has been announced and you have until Friday, September 13 at 11:59pm EDT to apply to be a panelist or judge. Read the Call for Judges here. Anyone who reads and reviews children's and young adult books via a social media platform (a blog, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, GoodReads, etc.) is eligible to apply. If you can't volunteer to be a judge, help spread the word about Cybils on social media and nominate your favorite books. Nominations open to the public on October 1.

Laura Arnhold also wrote a great post about being a Cybils Judge. Read it here.

I've served as a panelist 5 times...4 times in Poetry and 1 time in Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction. It's a fun process. You get to read lots of great books and discuss them with like minded people. I'm not going to lie: It's also a lot of work, but so rewarding. The beauty of Cybils is that nominations come from the public and the judges are a mix of teachers, librarians, parents, and book bloggers. I like the emphasis that is placed on kid appeal. Often I read major award winning books and I wonder about the amount of kid appeal (or lack thereof) that they have.

I'm going to list all the categories below, but forgive me for recommending my own category. Poetry is fun to read and discuss. It also usually has fewer nominations than the other categories. In 2018 Poetry had 48 nominations.

Cybils Awards Categories

  • Fiction Picture Books & Board Books 
  • Easy Reader & Early Chapter Books
  • Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction 
  • Middle Grade Fiction 
  • Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction 
  • Graphic Novels 
  • Junior/Senior High Nonfiction 
  • Poetry 
  • Young Adult Speculative Fiction 
  • Young Adult Fiction 


Find Cybils on Social Media

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Paddington Party

After the success of my Trolls Party in summer 2017 and my Ferdinand Party in summer 2018, I decided to host another book to movie based party in October 2018. I settled on Paddington Bear.

We started off with a game: Orange Toss. I couldn't find orange balls so I covered plastic baseballs from the Dollar Tree in orange duct tape. I put a green tablecloth in a basket to give the kids somewhere to aim.


I read either part of Chapter 1 from A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond or one of the stories in Paddington's Storybook Collection.


We played Pass Paddington with a small stuffed bear that I put a Paddington tag on, like Hot Potato but with Paddington.

We made a Paper Plate Paddington Craft. I found the idea here.



The kids took home Paddington coloring sheets I found via Pinterest.


 At four parties I had 43 adults and 53 kids in attendance.


Monday, September 2, 2019

Teen Event: Galaxy Craft Night

I hosted this as part of my "A Universe of Stories" summer teen events. I kept finding galaxy painting ideas on Pinterest and decided to turn it into a program.

We made galaxy paintings, galaxy rocks, galaxy jars, and galaxy t-shirts.

I used the following ideas for guidance:







Friday, August 30, 2019

Holiday Movie Night 2018

This event evolved from my Polar Express Movie Night. Let's be honest, The Polar Express is a LONG movie, too long for younger kids.

So in 2018, I decided to host a holiday movie night, but look for a movie that was one hour long or less. I settled on A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa.


After the movie, we made beaded pipe cleaner jingle bell ornaments and went on a Present scavenger hunt. The kids turned their completed scavenger hunt sheets in for holiday pencils or stickers. I created the scavenger hunt using free clip art from Teachers Pay Teachers. Find the sets I used here, here, and here.




This was a fun event and took little prep time. I hosted it at all four of my branch libraries and had 38 adults and 53 kids attend. I've already decided that this year, I'm going to show the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas and follow it with a craft and scavenger hunt.





Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Mo Willems Party 2019

We read The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!, Let's Go for a Drive!, and I'm a Frog!

We did a bird's nest relay as a nod to There's a Bird on Your Head! I found the idea here.


We went on a Mo Willems character scavenger hunt. Using coloring pages and activity sheets, I located the following characters, in some cases enlarged them, and  finally copied them on to pastel paper. I them cut them out and laminated them. The characters we hunted were: Alligator, Baby Goose,m Bus Driver, Cat the Cat, Duckling, Elephant, Knuffle Bunny, Pigion, Piggie, and Puppy. The prize for completing the scavenger hunt was a Dum Dums.



We made Elephant and Piggie paper bag puppets. Find them here. To conserve time, kids made one and took one home to make.


I had a book display of Mo Willems books.


The kids also took home Draw Elephant & Piggie (from We are in an ART-ivity Book!) and Let's Draw Pigeon (from the 10th Birthday Celebration Activity Kit).