Friday, November 29, 2019

But the Bear Came Back by Tammi Sauer

When a bear knocks on his door, a boy is sure bears don't belong in houses. He tells the bear to go, but the bear keeps coming back...until he doesn't.

Thoughts: Such a nice story. I like how it changes halfway through with the boy wanting the bear to come back. It was a sweet, short story perfect for storytime. The illustrations are interesting. I like the lack of outlines and the colors used. My favorite illustration is of the bear after he came down the chimney.

Themes: Bears, Friendship, Unusual Pets

Illustrated by Dan Taylor. Sterling, 2018.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons by Laura Purdie Salas

2019 Cybils Poetry Nominee

Haiku and riddle combine in this celebration of the seasons.

Thoughts: Very nice! Haiku is one of my favorite poetic forms. These are clever and evocative. I have loved sharing Jack Prelutsky's If Not for the Cat with students for years. I'm thrilled to have a new option. The illustrations are beautiful--soft and detailed. My favorite poems are umbrella, bud, fireflies, fireworks, pencil, squirrel, snow, and stars. Another beauty of haiku: they are short enough to share with the youngest listeners. I love the author's invitation to readers at the end to try their hand at their own riddleku. She also has an activity sheet for this on her website.

If you like the idea of seasonal haiku, you might also check out these collections:
Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons by Jon J. Muth
Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka
Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko

Themes: Seasons, Haiku, Riddles, Elementary

Illustrated by Mercè López. Millbrook Press, 2019.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Boom! Bellow! Bleat! Animal Poems for Two or More Voices by Georgia Heard

2019 Cybils Poetry Nominee

A book of animal poems that are meant to be performed.

Thoughts: What a wonderful collection! I can't wait to use this book when I visit 2nd grade classes in the spring. This book is fun and promotes poetry--what could be better? The poems are great when read alone. I can only imagine how good they'll be when I have a whole class to help me. The digital illustrations are reminiscent of cut paper collage and draw the eye. They are colorful and interesting. My favorite poems are "Animal Songs," "We Don't Say Ribbit!," Fight of the Honeybees," and "Forest Orchestra." My favorite illustrations are the cover, "We Don't Say Ribbit!,"and "Noisy Fish."

Themes: Animals, Animal Sounds, Elementary

Illustrated by Aaron DeWitt. Wordsong, 2019.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Trees by Verlie Hutchens

2019 Cybils Poetry Nominee

Fifteen poems introduce readers to trees in lyrical language with colorful illustrations.

Thoughts: A nice collection of short poems about a subject most kids will be familiar with. The language is lyrical and whimsical. The illustrations are gorgeous--richly colored and detailed. My favorite poems are Aspen and Birch. My favorite illustrations are the cover/copyright page and any others that have a hint of purple. This collection will pair well with Douglas Florian's Poetrees as well as Deborah Ruddell's Today at the Bluebird Café and A Whiff of Skunk, A Hint of Pine: A Forest of Poems. Hutchens' poems are simple enough to share with the youngest listeners.

Themes: Trees, Nature, Forest, Homes, Birds

Illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong. Beach Lane Books, 2019.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris

It started with a river and when a bear came along the adventure began.

Thoughts: This book is so fun. I like how all the different animals join the story. It reminds me a little of Lita Judge's Red Sled. I love how the illustrations start out in black and white and then become colored as the story goes on. This was a great book to share during my bear storytime. There are plenty of opportunities to ask the kids engagement questions. I think Pham's illustrations are beautiful. The colored trees are my favorite. I like all the detail she puts into all the illustrations as well.

Themes: Bears, Friendship, Forest

Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Little, Brown, and Company, 2019.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish by Beth Ferry

Everybody has a birthday and I'll bet almost everyone has made a wish before. But did you know there were rules? You didn't? Well, this book is for you.

What I thought: Too funny! I read this book to many classes of first and second graders. I introduced the book by asking them to raise their hands if they had a birthday and again if they had ever made a wish on their birthdays. The illustrations are colorful and interesting. I loved the guest appearance by Moose from This Is a Moose by Richard T. Morris. My favorite rule is No. 9.

Themes: Birthdays, Animals, Rules, Elementary

Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Putnam, 2019.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Donkey Egg by Janet Stevens & Susan Stevens Crummel

Fox tricks Bear into buying what he claims is a donkey egg. Bear keeps the egg warm, safe, and happy. Will it ever hatch?

What I Thought: Hilarious! I read The Donkey Egg to first and second graders and they were all shouting, "It's a watermelon!" I'd tell them, "Shh. Bear doesn't know." The surprise ending was great. I won't spoil it for you here, but I will ask, who tricked who? The illustrations are colorful and interesting. I like the different styles of illustrations and also the changes in font to show emphasis.

Themes: Tricky Foxes, Bears, Elementary

Illustrated by Janet Stevens. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith

You might think you know the story of Little Red Riding Hood, but what if the story happens in Africa?

What I thought: Loved! This might be one of my favorite versions (along with Little Red Hot by Eric A. Kimmel). I love all the animals included and how Little Red outsmarts the lion. I had a lot of fun sharing this book in storytime and with first and second graders. The illustrations are bright and detailed.

Themes: Fairy Tales, Lions, African Animals, Elementary

Scholastic, 2015.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Flannel Friday: Tigers

I made a large tiger and two tiger finger puppets to add to my tigers storytime.

I used clipart images from Clker to make the large tiger (head and body). I used the tiger for "Teasing Mr. Tiger."

I used a free template from Moms and Crafters to make the finger puppets. I adapted some "Two Little Blackbirds" rhymes to use with them.

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Fun in Winston-Salem during the NCLA Conference

On the way there...
I stopped in Lewisville for lunch and took a few minutes to visit The Enchanted Cottage, a store that sells cardmaking and scrapbooking supplies. A lot of manufacturers are fazing out wooden rubber stamps, but they're still my favorite. I bought three.

I stayed at the Winston-Salem Marriott and I was rather surprised to find myself rooming in a Gringotts vault. 

Art-o-mats are wondrous things--old cigarette vending machines re-purposed into art vending machines. I saw several while staying in Winston-Salem and bought six pieces of art. Most are gifts, but the tulips are for me. They'll fit rather nicely on my Betty Neels bookshelf with other pieces that remind me of England or Holland.

I met a great many vendors and exhibitors at the conference. Of note, I chatted with a woman from the Southeastern Library Association. New members can join for just $10 so I decided to join. Thrift Books gave me a $10 gift card which when paired with the 15% off I received for signing up for an account allowed me to order three books that had been languishing on my Amazon wishlist for $3 total. I enjoyed chatting with the EBSCO and Novelist reps. I joined the EBSCO rep for coffee the next day and discovered that we grew up about thirty minutes from each other and are likely distant cousins. What are the odds!

The eats 
 I ate at the Bull and Butcher in the Marriott (B and B Burger), Xcaret (Poco Loco), Finnegan's Wake (Fiona's Special Rueben and hot tea), Camino Bakery (Triple Cinnamon Scone and Chai Tea Latte), The Tavern in Old Salem (Chicken Pie), Yamas Mediterranean Street Food (Chicken Rice Bowl), and at the conference center on the last day (chicken). I also walked down to Black Mountain Chocolate to buy some tea to take home. It was such a brisk day that I also ordered a Muddy Chai Latte. It's a regular chai tea latte with the addition of chocolate syrup. I think my favorite meal was at Yamas. I love Greek food. I also really enjoyed the irony of ordering hot tea at a pub. The waitress was great...she kept bringing me hot water.

I didn't do too much shopping while I was in Winston-Salem. I bought postcards at Mast General Store and The Old Salem Village gift shop. I bought three bags of Chad's Chai loose leaf tea: Chad's Red Chai, Cocoa Mate, and CPR at Black Mountain Chocolate. I had the CPR at Finnegan's Wake and it was delicious.

At Bookmarks 
Two librarian friends and I spent a great evening at Bookmark's Footnote Coffee and Cocktails. The event was "Anne Bogel and Charlie Lovett In Conversation." I've been a fan of Anne's blog and podcast for years and couldn't believe she and I would be in the same town at the same time. Prior to learning about the event, I didn't know Charlie Lovett. He's a Winston-Salem author who also has a podcast. In preparation for the event, I read his book that they were going to discuss, The Bookman's Tale. I enjoyed it and I'm currently listening to another of his books, First Impressions. Anne and Charlie signed books after the event. I don't buy a lot of new books, but I bought her book I'd Rather Be Reading and had it autographed. The bookstore had a great mural as you walk in one of the entrances. I took a pictures of a few of my favorite characters.

On the way home...
...a beautiful sunset!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Fear the Bunny by Richard T. Morris

Tiger stumbles across a forest where all the other animals are afraid of bunnies. What's so scary about bunnies?

What I thought: Another hilarious book! Even though it's a short book, I shared it with first and second graders because of the humor. Tiger's questioning is spot on. The illustrations are colorful and I like the black outlines.

Themes: Tigers, Forest, Elementary

Illustrated by Priscilla Burris. Atheneum, 2019.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

NCLA Conference Reflection

I won a scholarship from the State Library of North Carolina (SLNC) to attend the 63rd NCLA Biennial Conference in Winston-Salem, NC on October 15 through October 18. I've had my master's for ten years, but this is the first time I attended a conference. I had a great time attending sessions, catching up with other youth services people, eating, and even attending a fun bookstore event.

This post will be all about what I learned. I am planning a second post about all the fun I had in Winston-Salem. Over the four day conference I attended nine sessions plus the opening and closing keynote speeches.

You can see full schedule and download the presentations at the official NCLA Conference website.

Show Me the Money! Grant Writing Made Easy - Lauren Clossey, Jackie Haske, Amanda Johnson, and Catherine Prince (SLNC)
This was an intensive three hour session that provided a general overview of grant writing. The topics covered were Grant Project Design and Development, Identifying Funding Opportunities, Grant Management, and LSTA Grant Overview. I've written a few small easy grants in my time, but I found this session extremely useful. It's been a while since my grant writing class in graduate school and this was the perfect refresher. The LSTA Grant Overview was particularly useful as that's the grant program administered by the SLNC. This session was interspersed with hands-on group exercises that really made me think.

Building Vital Connections: The Iredell Public and School Library StudentAccess Program - Dr. Antony Chow (UNC Greensboro), Chris Baker, (UNC Greensboro), Dawn Hall (UNC Greensboro), Kathy Hurley (UNC Greensboro), and Julianne More (Iredell County Public Library) 
It was highly interesting to hear about this program as it's a way one library system in NC has found to work with the schools to get library materials into students' hands. My library system already has a bookmobile so a version of this program might be possible in my area. Some children will never visit the library or attend programs. I address the latter by visiting the schools and The Iredell Public and School Library StudentAccess Program has found a way to address the former. Lots of food for thought in this session.

YALSA's Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff - Lisa Donaldson (Henderson County Public Library) & Sandra Hughes-Hassell (UNC Chapel Hill)
I've been aware of YALSA's Teen Service Competencies for several years, but it was very informative to hear them explained and think about whether or not I'm using them already when I interact with teens. I really liked that YALSA's main points for the Competencies are teens first and teen driven. I already do some of this in my programs. I ask my teens what programs they want and then do my best to provide them. In addition, one of the branches in my system  has a very active TAB that plans activities for their teens. 

Library Marketing from the Ground Up: Creating a Cohesive Plan to Maximize Your Reach - Jenny Levins and Julianne Moore (Iredell County Public Library)
This session was so eye-opening. I'm in a small system where we have four branches, a bookmobile, and myself, the youth services librarian. Our system as a whole puts together a monthly calendar of events that's a tri-fold brochure, but each library, the bookmobile, and I am responsible for creating the marketing for our individual events. I love the idea of coordinated and branded marketing. This is definitely something I want to pursue for our system. 

I Have a StoryWalk® at My Library, Now What? - Noah Lenstra (UNC Greensboro), Susana Goldman (Alamance County Public Libraries), and Emily Nanney (Charlotte Mecklenburg Library)
This session was a conversation starter so it was more of a collaborative session. The moderator guided the speakers to give us an overview of StoryWalks® and then opened it up for questions. I've been interested in having a StoryWalk® in each of my towns since they first because popular a few years ago. This session provided me with valuable insight. The conversation covered getting started, considerations and upkeep when dealing with a permanent StoryWalk®, assessment, funders/partners/media, and fun twists on the concept. During the conversation I thought of several ways to incorporate temporary StoryWalks® into already established events to see how the community responds. 

Why Does My Summer Reading Manual Look Different?!?!: Changes to the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) - Chrissie McGovern (Gaston County Public Library) and Jasmine Rockwell (SLNC)
This session provided an overview of CSLP (what it is and how it works), talked about how librarians and library staff who work with youth can be involved, and finally touched on changes to the CSLP manual in 2020 and going forward. This session was very interesting and I've decided to be more involved hopefully in two ways: join a CSLP committee and submit an idea for the 2021 manual. I also enjoyed meeting Chrissie and look forward to interacting more with her in the future. 

Libraries: Spaces to Encourage Early Literacy Collaborations - Lisa Finaldi (NC Early Childhood Childhood Foundation), Sarah Miller (Gaston County Public Library), Donna Phillips (Wayne County Public Library), and Lynn Thompson (Southern Pines Public Library) 
This was another conversation starter session. We divided into four groups and moved around the room to interact with the four speakers. Each speaker asked us to respond to a question. The questions were:
  • What early literacy activities are already happening in your community? 
  • Who is invested in Early Literacy in your community? 
  • Parent Engagement: How do we get parents actively involved in early literacy initiates? 
  • Data Gathering and Outcomes: How do we evaluate program efficiency and effectiveness?
It was fascinating to hear about the ways other libraries are facilitating early literacy collaborations. 

You Want Me to Write What?! Teaching Creative Writing to Patrons Like a Boss - Joel Ferdon (Stanly Community College)
I attended this session primarily because I like creative writing and I've always been interested in hosting creative writing programs for children and teens. This session covered three areas: Writing Prompts, Teaching/Giving Information, and Workshopping. It was informative and fun. As part of the session, we participated in two writing prompts.

Programming with Intent: Planning Storytimes through an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Framework - Sophie Kenney (Aurora Public Library)
This was a very timely session. When I attended the Youth Services Section (YSS) Retreat in October 2018, one of the presentations was about this very topic (Serving Youth through Inclusive Collections - Jewel Davis, App State). Sophie's presentation was great because it brought the idea of inclusiveness down to storytime level. Storytime is one of the main functions of my job. Her presentation had five parts: Why Diversity Matters, Benefits of Inclusion, Evaluating Materials, Planning Your Storytime, and Connect Your Audience. One of the best tips Sophie gave was to make a list of diverse books and note the themes that the books would work with. This makes it easier to include diverse books in themed storytimes. Also she emphasized the importance of starting with a book not a theme. Choose a diverse book and build your storytime around it. Another profound point she made was that the goal of including diverse or multicultural elements in your storytime is exposure not acquisition. I have so much to learn and I'm excited.

Opening Keynote: "Library as Studio" by Melanie Huggins, Executive Director of Richland Public Library in Columbia, SC 
Melanie's keynote was fascinating and timely. Libraries are about so much more than books and reading. By evaluating the learning needs of your community, you can better understand how the library needs to be designed to meet those needs. The concept "Library as Studio" has so many more components under it: vibrant cafe, art gallery, pop-up, performance space, nook social club, maker space, classroom, and coworking center. There are even more possibilities when you look at your own library. Look at the values and needs of your community, map them to outcomes that are in line with your strategic plan, and then design the library. What Melanie has achieved at her library may seem fantastic and unachievable due to budget or staff constraints, but I think that by using her concept "Library as Studio" as a guide it would be easy to implement changes for the better at the tiniest, most underfunded libraries across the country. 

"Celebrating the Power of Our Stories: Building Community One Story at a Time" by Jaki Shelton-Green, North Carolina Poet Laureate 
Jaki is a powerful speaker. Story was a great topic to choose when addressing librarians. We're all about books, reading, stories, and storytelling. Here are a few quotes I thought were particularly profound. "Celebrate our stories from a perspective to legacy." "We continue to celebrate in the telling...the evolving." "Own your voice. Own your story." 

Monday, November 4, 2019

Mother Goose of Pudding Lane: A Small Tall Tale by Chris Raschka

Who was Mother Goose? This book attempts to answer that question.

Thoughts: Too fun! I love the new story of Mother Goose of Pudding Lane blended with traditional Mother Goose rhymes. The illustrations are fun and colorful. I even found a rhyme that I wasn't familiar with that I think will translate well into a felt set/prop. I look forward to adding this book to my nursery rhyme storytime in May.

Themes: Nursery Rhymes

Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky. Candlewick, 2019. Review copy provided by publisher.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Flannel Friday: Stars

I made this set to use during my stars storytime this past summer. My libraries use the CSLP theme so all my storytime themes fit under the "A Universe of Stories" umbrella.

The idea behind this set was to involve the kids more. They each got to put a star on the flannel board and together we created a starry sky.

I made stars in several different sizes and colors. I used glitter puff paint to give them some sparkle. I think I made 47 stars total. I used templates from First Palette to make the stars.

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