"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech

The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech, 2013.

In a small farming community, in an undetermined time, a young couple find a boy asleep on their porch. He seems to be about six to eight years old and is unable to speak. There is a note in his pocket that says that his people will return for him, but when? John and Marta quickly become attached to the special boy, but how long can they be a family?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer Family Storytime: Keep Healthy!

Our library teamed up with Public Health and did a program on staying healthy, focusing on being active, eating well, hygiene, dental health, etc.

Book Possibilities:

Move! by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page: shows how animals get around, can be used with this action rhyme to get kids moving:


Can you hop like a rabbit? (hop on one foot)
Can you jump like a frog? (jump up & down)
Can you walk like a duck? (waddle, arms like wings)
Can you run like a dog? (run in place)
Can you fly like a bird? (flap arms)
Can you swim like a fish? (swim with arms)
And be still and listen, just like this? (sit down, hands folded)

Gorgonzola: a Very Stinkysaurus by Margie Palatini, Illus. by Tim Bowers: Gorgonzola is the worst dinosaur of them all, but that is because he is the dirtiest.

Get Well, Good Knight by Shelley Moore Thomas, Illus. by Jennifer Plecas: The three little dragons are sick and need care to get better. Good Knight to the rescue!


Whose Teeth are These? by Joanne Randolph: Kids must guess what animal has the teeth shown in each photo.

Clarabella's Teeth by An Vrombaut: Clarabella the crocodile takes so long to brush her teeth that there's no time left to do anything else!

Music & Activities:

I  used some songs from Jim Gill's CD The Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes, "Silly Dance Contest" and "Spaghetti Legs." These are always popular, even among scoffers who want "cool" music.

I also found a good activity from http://www.k-3teacherresources.com/action-words.html . They provide 42 action words and this game:

 'Well we walk, and we walk, and we walk and STOP (freeze), and then we stomp, and we stomp, and we stomp and STOP (freeze), yes we hop, and we hop, and we hop and STOP (freeze), and then we wave, and we wave, and we wave and STOP (freeze)... and so on.

I made flash cards of the words to hand out to the kids.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

When the Beat Was Born by Laban Carrick Hill

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill, Illus. by Theodore Taylor III, 2013.

In a few sentences per page, Hill tells the story of music-loving Little Clive, a Jamaican transplanted to New York City. As a teen, he had ambitions to become a house party DJ  like his childhood hero DJ King George. So, he and his sister threw hot parties in the Bronx. He became DJ Kool Herc.  This led to him developing a style in which he would use more than one turntable to make seconds-long breaks in songs last at least twenty minutes. He chanted over the music and called out his friends' names.  His music became super popular, and people, including members of street gangs, began to do athletic break-dancing. He started Hip Hop music, which spawned rap and launched performers such as Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow.

Hill has included a time line from 1973, when DJ Kool Herc deejayed at his sister's birthday party, to 1986, when the Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill came out, marking the release of mainstream hip hop. There is also a bibliography of books, film and websites for further exploration.

The information is delivered in a picture book format, with lively illustrations by Theodore Taylor III.

Serafina's Promise by Ann E. Burg

Serafina's Promise by Ann E. Burg, 2013.

In this novel in verse, readers meet Serafina, an eleven year old who lives in a poor rural village in Haiti and dreams of becoming a doctor. She wants to go to school like her friend Nadia, but her Manman is expecting a baby and depends on her help at home. Serafina hopes she can convince her parents that she can keep up with her chores and also get an education. She knows that she can find a way to earn enough money to buy a uniform and schoolbooks. In spite of her determination, the young girl will face monumental challenges including natural disasters that have devastating impact on her neighborhood and family.

Readers will care about Serafina and marvel at her spirit in the face of tremendous hardships.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein, 2013.

For kids who like puzzles, reading and libraries, this book is a sure winner. Kyle loves playing the games invented by his hero, Mr. Lemoncello. He's not much of a reader, but when he learns that a new public library designed by Lemoncello is opening in his hometown, he'll do anything to be part of the grand-opening lock-in. He'll even write an essay about why he finds the library exciting. Soon, he and eleven other twelve year olds are spending the night in the fantastic space playing games, competing for prizes and watching Mozart play music with Metallica in the building's IMAX theater. In the morning, the kids know that the lock -in is over, but why won't the doors unlock? Kyle and his friends have a chance to be part of a Lemoncello game with a very cool prize, but to win it they need to figure out how to get out of the library. Kyle is going for it, but so is his best friend Akimi, bookworm Sierra, library fans Miguel and Andrew and smarmy, privileged Charles Chiltington, among others.

Readers will enjoy the many nods to their favorite authors and books. They will wish that their libraries also had a Wonder Dome, holographic tigers and authors, a Story Corner with animatronic geese,and all of the snazzy surprises of Lemoncello's library. Librarians will smile over the character of the red headed, red suited Dr. Yanina Zichenko, "...the most famous librarian in the whole world!" And everyone will like trying to solve the challenging puzzles that Kyle and company must work through in order to win!

Friday, July 18, 2014

My Weird Writing Tips by Dan Gutman

My Weird Writing Tips by Dan Gutman, Illustrated by Jim Paillot, 2013.

Author of the My Weird School series, Dan Gutman, has put together a kid-friendly guide to writing and sounding less like a "dumbhead."

His honest and humorous voice keeps his writing lively. Section headers like: "You're going to hate this part," "How not to bore people to death," and "Kill the adjectives!" grab readers' attention. Kids will be happy to see familiar characters from the My Weird School books, A.J. and Andrea (drawn by Jim Paillot), comment on Gutman's suggestions and snark back and forth.

From harpercollinschildrens.tumblr.com

Gutman's guide gives suggestions for writing stories and non-fiction, from finding ideas to writing in proper form. He encourages kids that anyone can write a story, even if they are themselves very boring. Using the setting of "your mouth" and the character of a germ, he walks readers through building a story from scratch. He then reveals his "secrets" of revising and perfecting it. In a fun and gentle way, he shows kids how to improve their writing, talking about grammar, punctuation and spelling errors, but never comes off like a grammar textbook. Along the way he inserts short quotations by literary greats such as Kurt Vonnegut, James Michner, Toni Morrison and William Safire.

Young writers will enjoy learning from Gutman's accessible writing guide.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Adventures of a South Pole Pig by Chris Kurtz

The Adventures of a South Pole Pig: a Novel Of Snow and Courage by Chris Kurtz, Illus. by Jennifer Black Reinhardt, 2013.

Flora the piglet is not like her brothers. They may be happy staying in their pen, eating and napping, but Flora wants more out of life. When she learns that the farm dogs are being trained as sled dogs and preparing for expeditions, she realizes that she's found her dream, When men suddenly come and take her to the ship the Explorer, Flora just knows that she's been chosen to be a sled pig, and will do her team proud. So what if she's been put in the rat infested cargo hold? This plucky pig knows how to make new friends and keep herself in shape. With her winning ways and positive attitude, Flora plans to fulfill her ambitions and readers will love and admire her for it.

Reinhardt's adorable black and white illustrations make the book even better. Her expressive pictures show the sled dogs' pleasure and pride, Flora's cat friends' affection and haughtiness and the porcine heroine's many moods, from befuddled to sad and tired to overjoyed.