Posted in programs

Who’s Doing Mock Caldecotts?

I just got back from my library system’s Mock Caldecott awards. What are you reading? What did you pick? Here are our nominees:

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors, by Drew Daywalt/Illustrated by Adam Rex,
(Apr. 2017, Simon & Schuster),. $17.99, ISBN: 9780062438898
Recommended for readers 4-8

The greatest fight in history happens here. I needed to take breaks the first time I read this book, because I was laughing too hard to keep reading it to my own 5-year-old. Rock may be the greatest champion since Russell Crowe picked up a sword in Gladiator. Adam Rex’s artwork is at once hilarious and stunning, with lots of motion and action. Rex can make a battle of rock, paper, scissors look like theatre. We had one interesting question come up in our discussion here: with all the different fonts, font sizes, and font directions, does this become part of the picture book art? We had some mixed emotions. All in all, an outright hilarious book that I can’t wait to bring out during storytime. The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors has five starred reviews and oodles of downloadable activities.

 

Little Fox in the Forest, by Stephanie Graegin,
(Feb. 2017, Schwartz & Wade), $17.99, ISBN: :978-0-553-53789-5
Recommended for readers 4-8

A wordless picture book that uses monochrome and color settings to tell its story, Little Fox in the Forest is the story of a young girl and her stuffed toy fox. The girl brings her toy to school, where it’s stolen by a real fox, who jumps out of the woods and grabs it. The girl follows the fox back to its home, where the spreads go from bluish-gray/white to a vibrant color palette. The girl and fox reach an understanding. The endpapers lead readers into the story and provide a nice epilogue at the end. I enjoyed the book, but this one wasn’t my favorite. My group had mixed feelings on this one, too; two of my group weren’t big fans of wordless picture books; I liked the use of panels and loved the endpapers and color work, but overall, there were books I enjoyed more. Little Fox in the Forest has four starred reviews.

 

The Book of Mistakes, by Corinna Luyken,
(Apr. 2017, Dial Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9780735227927
Recommended for readers 4-8

Thiiiis is the book my friends and I were pulling for! I love the evolution of the artwork; how a seeming mistake can unfold into a story. It’s quirky, fun, and unexpected, with a stark white page serving as the backdrop. I love these kind of books; books that just take the way you see things and very sweetly flip the book on its head. It’s an inspiring story for kids: don’t think of mistakes as something embarrassing or bad; they’re all – we’re all – just a work in progress. The Book of Mistakes has three starred reviews.

 

Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters, by Michael Mahin/Illustrated by Evan Turk,
(Sept. 2017, Athenum), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1-4814-4349-4
Recommended for readers 6-10

Beautifully illustrated biography of legendary Jazz and Blues musician Muddy Waters. The artwork reminds me a bit of 2016’s Caldecott medalist, Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat; there’s some amazing urban-infused artwork here, not to mention brilliant colors and bold lines. You can feel the rhythm thrumming through the pages. I loved Evan Turk’s collage and mixed media work. This one got high praise from my group. Author Michael Mahin has some powerful words about his book, multiculturalism, and racism, which you can read here.

 

Blue Sky White Stars, by Sarvinder Naberhaus/Illustrated by Kadir Nelson,
(June 2017, Dial Books), $17.99, ISBN: 978-0-8037-3700-6
Recommended for readers 3-10

Let it be noted right now: I will gush about anything Kadir Nelson illustrates. I would brush with one particular brand of toothpaste if he did the box art. He has a way of bringing pictures to breathtaking life. Going into this panel, Blue Sky White Stars was more or less my go-to pick for the winner, because it’s Nelson. A tribute to the American spirit, Blue Sky introduces readers to the American landscape; touches of Americana from our history, including the Statue of Liberty, Betsy Ross, and our flag; and the people of America, with words to tie each spread together. A spread of African American and white freedom walkers march, holding the flag, with the words, “woven together” titling the spread. Each spread uses phrasing that ties the pictures together, and while I admit one or two are were a stretch, it’s a love letter to what exactly makes America great, no red caps necessary. Blue Sky White Stars has four starred reviews.

 

The Antlered Ship, by Dashka Slater/Illustrated by The Fan Brothers,
(Sept. 2017, Simon & Schuster), $17.99, ISBN: 9781481451604
Recommended for readers 5-8

Last year, I went into the library’s Mock Caldecotts pushing HARD for The Fan Brothers book, The Night Gardener (They All Saw a Cat won, which I was mollified by). I love their artwork – it’s always an exploration, with new things to find, nuances to discover. The Antlered Ship is filled with moments both fantastic and fun as we follow a fox on his quest to find a friend. Map endpapers let readers know we’re going on a trip. The rogue’s gallery of animal pirates will get a rise out of readers – who doesn’t love a pirate’s tale? – and the spread illustrating the confrontation between ships is amazing. Everyone in my group enjoyed this one, too. Oddly, this one received a lot of votes from our groups, but not enough to make it their number one choice.

The votes were collected and tallied, and the winners were…

QUEENS LIBRARY MOCK CALDECOTT 2017 MEDAL

 

QUEENS LIBRARY MOCK CALDECOTT 2017 HONORS

Next question – has anyone done a Mock Caldecott with the kids in your library? I’m wondering if this would be good for my school-age kiddos. I’d love to hear about any experiences, please comment, post blog links, anything you want to share.

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Posted in programs

Halloween Slime Time!

I’ve been settling in here at my new library digs, and finally felt comfortable enough with the kids to try something I’ve previously dodged in the past: slime. I feel like I’ve gotten to know my QH Kids and their parents well enough to attempt a mess on this level, especially after the Quirk Party bubble lab  and Annabelle Fisher author visit went so well. I found this great edible candy corn slime (more like Play-Doh in consistency) recipe from Teach Beside Me – incidentally, I love this site; you should add her to your list of program resources if you don’t have the site bookmarked already – and went for it.

I’m pretty sure the kids were happy. (And I love Facebook’s “Add Stickers” function so very much.)

The program was packed – 20 kids and 4 parents! – so I recruited one of my tweens to handle melting duties with me, and we let all the little ones get a turn mixing the candy corn and coconut oil together. The kids had a blast, but word to the wise, this stuff gets as hard as a rock pretty darn quickly. I had a great time, we were all covered in powdered sugar and laughing, and they’re excited about the next slime lab, which will be something more pliable, and in greater volume: Definitely need to double the materials list to accommodate the kids.

Tomorrow, it’s walking s’mores (Golden Grahams, mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, put ’em in a cup), Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and a costume party with a tube of zombie army men as the grand prize. Stay tuned!

Posted in programs, Storytime

Harvest Festival Programming

The Mid-Autumn Festival starts tomorrow, October 4th, so I’ve been doing some programming with the kids here to celebrate. Yesterday, I had a Fortune Bookies workshop where we made fortune cookie bookmarks with felt. The glue didn’t hold so great – I really need to get a hot glue gun – but the moms jumped right in and made the best of a Make It Work Situation and saved the day with a few discreetly placed staples.

PictureNot one of my Fortune Bookies – this is Heidi Fiedler’s model.

 

Today’s program was more successful. I had a tea party! Ever since reading How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea, I knew I wanted to use the story in a tea party setting. The Festival provided the perfect time. I bought some moon cakes, palmiers, and milk tea and set up a proper tea table, cutting the moon cakes up so everyone could share, laying out bags of palmiers so I’d have extra food on hand, and pouring cups of milk tea for everyone. I was able to accommodate 10 kids and 4 parents, with no leftovers and a very happy group!

The reception to How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea was good; they were engaged and interested in the different teas throughout the book. Next up was Loretta Seto’s book, Mooncakes, which I loved. It’s the story of a little girl sitting with her parents, underneath the full harvest moon, and telling the three most popular stories about the Harvest Moon: the story of Chang’E and how she flew to the moon; of how Wu Gang chops away at a tree to gain immortality, and the Jade Rabbit. This one seemed to be the biggest hit with the families as a whole. I finished up with Grace Lin’s Thanking the Moon, for my younger kiddos, and had one QH Kid say, “That’s a really short one.”

All in all, a nice little party to welcome the harvest.

Posted in Middle Grade, programs, Tween Reads

Annabelle Fisher visited me and brought some fairy tale magic with her!

I meant to get this post up earlier, so apologies for that. When I reviewed the first Pixie Piper adventure last year, Annabelle Fisher, the series author, sent me a lovely email thanking me for my review, and offering to visit my library. I wanted to jump all over it, but for various reasons, I held off. I’ve finally settling in here, at my new library, and thought this would be a great opportunity to ask Annabelle if her offer still stood. Not only did she say yes, she offered to make no-bake snickerdoodle cupcakes with my Queensboro Kids after her author talk! She came in, we set up the room, and a gathering of kids formed outside our meeting room. Because, food. And because there was a new person in the library, too, but seriously, food. With everything set up, Annabelle donned her Mother Goose hat and we let the masses in.

I couldn’t believe how many kids crammed in for this program. We had about 23 kids in the room, and a couple of parents that wanted to see what was going on, too. First, Annabelle gave a great author talk where she engaged the kids about writing stories and even shared some photos of one of her first stories as a child – it was supposed to be a science report, but where’s the fun in that, right? She talked about the Pixie books, took the kids through a slide presentation, and then it was snickerdoodle time.

Can I just say how excited I am that I can put stickers on photos now, so I can post pictures from my programs and protect the kids’ identities?

The snickerdoodle cupcakes were so easy and quick to make, and Annabelle engaged the kids right off the bat. They were thrilled, and we ended up banging out three batches of batter and frosting. It was all worth, it, though: everyone was thrilled, and left satisfied. And then, it was picture with the author time!

Did I get my books signed? You betcha I did! And will I finally review the second book, Pixie Piper and the Matter of the Batter? Yes, I will! Promise.

    

And whose library has no Pixie Piper books in at the moment, because they both went out immediately after the author visit? This gal’s! I promoted the visit with a flyer I put together, and a Pixie book display at my desk. Here’s a copy of the Pixie Piper author visit flyer, if you’re interested.

Thank you SO MUCH to Annabelle Fisher for her fantastic (and tasty) author visit!

Posted in geek, geek culture, Middle Grade, programs, Tween Reads

I had a BookPop! party and it was great!

Quirk Books is a… well, quirky, fun book publisher that has a comic book writer and former YA librarian in their ranks, spreading the good word. It’s pretty awesome, because now, my library gets to do things like have a gallery dedicated to horror paperbacks of the ’70s and ’80s (Paperbacks From Hell), and have a mini pop culture con for my kiddos and tweens.

First up, my Paperbacks From Hell gallery, in my teen section. It’s garnering some looks, some chuckles, and some conversations: “What the hell is that?” “That is a giant gila monster. And watch your mouth.” (The display is in the teen area, but you know, little pitchers, big ears). The teens are pretty baffled, the grownups get a kick out of it, and it just makes me happy.

Next up, BookPop: Quirk’s traveling pop culture fest, happening in libraries and bookstores all over the place. I held mine late, because I thought it would be the perfect program to hold when the kids were out of school; last Thursday – since most of the families in my community don’t observe Rosh Hashanah – was the day. Quirk sent me a box o’swag, including ET: The Extra-Terrestrial tattoos (not in the picture: those babies were GONE); posters of the new kids’ books, X-Files: Children are Weird, and the YA novel My Best Friend’s Exorcism; and a spiffy tote bag to put everything in. I downloaded Quirk’s Geek Guides for putting on a great day of programming, and was ready.

First program of BookPop! Day was Superhero Storytime. I had a handful of kiddos and their parents attend, and we made masks and Geek Family Crests when we were done. The kids loved the masks – I downloaded some blank templates from First Palette, handed out scissors, markers, crayons, and lanyard to tie the masks, and the kids loved it. One little one even wore her mask through the next program…

Nick and Tesla’s Science Workshop. The Nick and Tesla books are tons of fun and loaded with STEM experiments, but I wanted something that even my littler ones could do. Enter, bubbles. I told the kids that Nick and Tesla are a brother-sister team that solve mysteries and get out of trouble by creating great science projects, and that we were going to learn about surface tension, and the difference between bubbling your milk and bubbling water with a little dish soap in it. I had a gallon-sized tub filled with water, gave out droppers, straws, and cups, and we bubbled away. Then, I had one of the kids add a cup of plain old liquid dish soap, and they all took turns stirring it. I spread some water on the table and demonstrate how to blow a table bubble, and that was all the kids needed. Look at these bubbles!

The entire table, at one point, was covered in bubbles. They loved it, I loved it, and they want more fun science programming, so win, all around. Next up was…

The Miss Peregrine Photo Workshop. Originally, I planned this for my teen patrons, but they weren’t interested – I had a group of tweens, though, who were all over it. We talked about the movie, I showed them the books, and brought out the equipment: photos I printed onto card stock from a Miss Peregrine-inspired Pinterest board (search on “vintage weird” and I guarantee you won’t be sorry), lots of paper towel, a spray bottle full of coffee, and two containers of coffee and tea. The kids loved aging their photos, and I was amazed by their creativity: one girl laid a paper towel over her photo to give it more texture as the coffee seeped through, and another tore the borders of her photo to make it look even older.

When I told them I wanted to create a photo gallery of their work, they all donated the photos to the library! So today, we have “Queensboro Hill’s Library for Outstanding Children” (forgive the glare, I laminated the photos so they wouldn’t deteriorate further):

I handed swag bags out for most of the day, and everything went except for one tote, two X-Files posters, and a handful of My Best Friend’s Exorcism posters, which will all be prizes for future programs. One kid couldn’t even wait to get home: he gave himself an ET tattoo sleeve, which was pretty fabulous.

I’d call our Queensboro Hill BookPop! a success.

Posted in Preschool Reads, programs

Guest post from Education.com: Pre-K Shapes Activity!

I was so excited when Shannon from Education.com contacted me and asked me if I’d be interested in featuring a guest blog post with an activity! I’m always looking for something fun to do at home with my (graduating) preschooler and my library kids, and this fun shapes/geometry activity is simple, requires few materials, and is fun. Pair it with a fun shape story like Suse MacDonald’s Shape by Shape, or one of my more recent favorites, Mac Barnett’s Triangle, and you’re set. Enjoy the activity, and check out Education.com’s Geometry Resources for tracing, coloring, and game-creating activities!

Create Spectacular Shape Stick Puppets!


Puppets are great resources to help kids act out their own stories or re-enact stories from a favorite book. This activity lets your kid in on the fun by introducing her to a simple puppet-making activity. Large craft sticks can easily be formed into shape puppets of the characters in The Three Little Pigs so that she can act out her own version after watching the Speakaboos video. This is a great opportunity to bring out the performer in your child!

What You Need:
Thick paper, like cardstock
Construction paper
Scissors
Glue
Pencil
Crayons
Large craft sticks
Tape
What You Do:
Help your child trace a large circle onto the cardstock with a pencil. An easy way to create a circle template is to turn a bowl upside down on top of the paper and trace around the rim. Cut the circle out. Cardstock or other sturdy paper may be too thick for your child to cut by herself, so be ready to assist if needed. Cut out a variety of shapes in different sizes from the construction paper with your child. Triangles, rectangles, circles, squares, or even free-form shapes are perfect for the puppets’ features. Have your child decide on a character (animal or person) for the puppet. Ask your child to choose shapes that will make up the various facial features of the chosen subject. Discuss what the different parts of the face are, and how many of each shape she will need. Glue the shapes onto the circle. Allow the glue to dry. Once dry, your child can add small details with crayons. These details may include eyelashes, whiskers, a beard, spots, or stripes. Attach a large craft stick to the back of the circle with tape.

 

What’s Going On:
Your child is now ready to have her own fanciful puppet show! Encourage your preschooler to put on plays and create simple stories with her stick puppets. And to make it more of an event, you can even build a puppet theater for an expressive dramatic play experience.

What’s Going On? Puppet shows and puppet-making inspire artistic creativity, movement, and dramatic play while also enhancing your child’s fine motor skills and her understanding of the visual and dramatic arts. Working with puppets also has the benefit of letting her make creative play with literacy and sequencing skills, both of which are important for reading comprehension later on. The shape stick puppet activity is also a great way to encourage early math skills such as shape recognition and the part-to-whole relationship.

Visit Education.com for more learning resources, searchable by subject and grade! Thanks to Shannon and Education.com for the guest post.

Posted in programs, Storytime, Toddler Reads

Baby Storytime: Imagination, Love, Fun

We have honest to goodness baby storytimes here at the new library, so it’s challenged me to work with books and songs that will work for lapsits. It’s been fun, reading board book after board book and learning what will work with my littlest audiences versus my toddlers and preschoolers. I’m also keeping the Social Justice theme in my head as I put these together; making sure my books reflect the diversity in my neighborhood and introducing the kids and parents to other cultures. Since this community has a strong Asian, Southeast Asian, and Latinx community, I’ve introduced both Spanish and Chinese songs (so far), and they’ve gone over really well!

all-fall-down  look-look-again  tickle-time

I chose one book that reflected diversity, a fun fold-out book that challenges the way we see things, and finally, one of my favorites, that gets parents tickling and little ones giggling.

Hello song: “If You’re Ready for a Story”
If you’re ready for a story, take a seat
If you’re ready for a story, take a seat
Clap your hands and stomp your feet
Make your hands all nice and neat
If you’re ready for a story, take a seat
Source: https://storytimekatie.com/songs-rhymes/openingclosing-songs/

Hello song: “We’re So Glad to See You”
Where is [insert kids name]?
Where is [insert kids name]?
There s/he is.
There s/he is.
We’re so glad to see you
We’re so glad to see you
Peek-a-boo, Peek-a-boo.
Source: Storytime Katie

I was afraid when I first used this song, to be honest; I didn’t know whether the large group would get tired before I got through every child’s name, but it worked very nicely, and the parents all welcomed the little ones happily and with loads of clapping and hugging.

Action Rhyme: “Acka Backa”
Acka backa soda cracker, acka backa boo! (Rock or bounce your baby)
Acka backa soda cracker, I love you! (Hug your baby!)
Acka backa soda cracker, acka backa boo! (Rock or bounce your baby)
Acka backa soda cracker, up goes you! (Raise your baby up, or put their hands in the air)
Source: Storytime Katie

Story

Action Rhyme: “Choo Choo Train”
This is a choo choo train, going down the track (Bend your arms and move them)
Now it’s going forward, now it’s going back (Lean forward, lean back)
Now the bell is ringing, (Ring your bells!)
Now the whistle blows (Blow on your baby’s head!)
What a lot of noise it makes, (Cover your ears)
Everywhere it goes! (Spread out your arms!)
Source: The Essential Lapsit Guide

Song: Two Little Tigers (Mandarin)
Liǎng zhī lǎohǔ, Liǎng zhī lǎohǔ,
Pǎo de kuài, Pǎo de kuài,
Yī zhī méiyǒu ěrduo, Yī zhī méiyǒu wěibā,
Zhēn qí guài, Zhēn qí guài.

Two little tigers, Two little tigers,
(They) run very fast, (They) run very fast,
One has no ears, One has no tail,
Very strange, Very strange.
Source: http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2015/03/18/chinese-songs-for-kids/

This was my first attempt at singing a song in Chinese. I watched a lot of YouTube videos to get the rhythm and pronunciation right, and the families were very generous with me. 🙂 This one will stay in the rotation.

Story

Action Rhyme: “Dos Manitas/Diez Deditos”
Dos manitas, diez deditos,
dos manitas, diez deditos,
dos manitas, diez deditos,
cuéntalos conmigo.

Uno, dos, tres deditos,
cuatro, cinco, seis deditos,
siete, ocho, nueve deditos,
y uno más son diez.

It was nice to get back to a song I knew! This one always goes over well, no matter who the audience is. Waving hands and wiggling fingers makes lapsitters happy!

Song: “Yo te amo”
Yo te amo, yo te amo, all day long, I sing this song to you,
Yo te amo, yo te amo, darling, I love you.

Wo ai ni, wo ai ni, all day long, I sing this song to you,
Wo ai ni, wo ai ni, darling, I love you.

Āmi tōmāẏa bhālōbāsi, all day long I sing this song to you,
Āmi tōmāẏa bhālōbāsi, darling, I love you.
I love you, I love you, all day long, I sing this song to you,
I love you, I love you, darling, I love you.
Source: Jbrary

I’ve added Bengali in here, but haven’t had the chance to sing it yet – hoping my upcoming storytime will be the charm. In the meantime, more chance to practice!

Fingerplay/Song: Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!
Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going to the moon.
Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going to the moon.
If you want to take a trip
climb aboard my rocket ship.
Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going to the moon.
In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Blast off!
Source: Jbrary

Nursery Rhyme/Song: “Baa Baa Black Sheep”
Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full!
One for the master,
One for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full…

Gotta have an original classic in there! This one is a favorite, everywhere I go.

Story

Closing Rhyme: “With My Little Hands”
With my little hands I go clap, clap, clap
With my little feet I go tap, tap, tap
With my little arms I wave bye, bye, bye
With my little legs I kick high, high, high
With my little eyes I play peek-a-boo
With my little mouth I say “I love you”
Source: Storytime Katie

Closing Rhyme: “Tickle the Clouds”
Tickle the clouds
Tickle your toes
Turn around
And tickle your nose
Reach down low
Reach up high
Storytime’s over
So wave goodbye!
Source: Storytime Katie

I think I’m off to a good start. I’ll swap in three new books every storytime, and keep most of the songs and rhymes, introducing a new one and swapping it back and forth with a previous one, to give the families familiarity with them, so they can do them at home.