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

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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

El Deafo by Cece Bell

The first book that I read for Camp Read-a-Lot this year is El Deafo by Cece Bell. You are probably aware of this recent Newbery Honor winning graphic novel for kids. Based on Bell's childhood, Cece ( now an anthropomorphic bunny) deals with her sudden hearing loss at age four and learns to handle her large hearing aid, the sometimes weird attitudes of her classmates and neighborhood friends and her own feelings about her deafness.

This book is funny and sweet and true to childhood, capturing the things kids laugh at, the intensity of a first crush and the wish to have a best friend, even one that's too bossy. Through it, Cece learns how to stand up for herself, express her inner super hero and accept herself for who she is.

Learn more about Cece Bell and her books here: https://cecebell.wordpress.com/

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Camp Read-a-Lot 2015

I'm a counselor again for MELSA's Camp Read-a-Lot, this year to be held at Como Zoo! The featured author is J. Patrick Lewis. Camp will be Thursday, August 6. Find more details here: http://www.campreadalot.org/

I'm going to be discussing the Camper's Choice books with teachers that work with 4th and 5th graders. The reading list is:

2015 Camp Read-A-Lot: Grades 4&5 Reading List


Aviary Wonders, Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual: Renewing the World’s Bird Supply Since 2031 by Kate Samworth

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm  

Reign Rain by Ann M. Martin
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson

Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth (Scholastic, 2014). 9780545224963.

Camper’s Choice

Camper’s Choice by J. Patrick Lewis – choose any title by our keynote author to read and review.

Camper’s Choice – Any title of your choice (fiction or nonfiction) that meets the following criteria:

a. You have not read it before this summer

b. Original copyright is no older than 2012

c. Ideal for classroom use or free reading

d. Avoid highly popular titles, books recently made into movies, major award winners


El Deafo by Cece Bell
If…:A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers by David J. Smith

The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupery by Peter Sís

When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses by Rebecca L. Johnson  

Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature by Sarah Campbell

Twenty-Two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank by Paula Yoo

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Babytime Companion and toys!

Meet Nora, my new storytime puppet. I love her. If you are looking for a well made puppet, I recommend this. She is very soft and easy to manipulate. You can move her mouth and both front legs. I plan to dress her up in cat costumes and get her a name tag that says "Nora the Library Cat".

Nora is a Folkmanis puppet and I got her from Amazon:

This photo is from Amazon.com

I was worried from the Amazon photo that she might be scary, but as you can see from my photo, she is rather more goofy. I ordered Nora myself, because I want to keep her.

My library ordered me some nice new things also. I got them all from Lakeshore Learning.

Photo from Lakeshore Learning

Mix & Match Farm Animals ! These were well received as soon as the toddlers figured out that they came apart.

Photo from Lakeshore Learning

Colorpillar Sorting Mat ! With wooden blocks,rubber/plastic items and soft fuzzies to sort.

Photo from Lakeshore Learning

Baby Band Rhythm Set ! I have six other bells like the ones in this set, and they are great for little hands.

Photo from Lakeshore Learning

Activity Scarves ! Super for Peek-a-boo.

Finally, a wonderful colleague of ours gave us her Play Tunnel, similar to this red one:

Thanks, Kathy! The babies love it.

Altogether a swell haul.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Shoo Fly Storytime

    Shoo Fly Family Storytime:
Book Possibilities
  • I Spy Fly Guy! by Tedd Arnold*
  • Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth, Illus. by Stephen Gammell*
  • The Fly Flew In by David Catrow
  • Horsefly and Honeybee by Randy Cecil
  • The Spider and the Fly by Tony DiTerlizzi
  • Soup for One by Ethan Long*
  • Tiny Little Fly by Michael Rosen, Illus. by Kevin Waldron*
  • A Fly Went By by Mike McClintock, Illus by Fritz Siebel
  • When the Fly Flew In... by Lisa Westberg Peters, Illus. by Brad Sneed
  • There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback*
  • Shoo Fly! by Iza Trapani
*Books I used this time

We started with Old Black Fly and I sang the beginning and ending verses to the tune of "Buffalo Gals" and after "Shoo fly, Shoo fly, Shoo" we all gave a big "Swat!" and clapped our hands together.

I used the CD/Book set of There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback along with our Library system's Alma's Design There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly puppet. This was a huge hit, as the kids loved feeding her the animals as they listened to the song.

We also swatted flies along with Hap Palmer's song "Flick a Fly" from his CD Walter the Waltzing Worm. Warning: that song is infectious!

There are some excellent ideas for Fly Storytime on Storytime with Miss Tara and Friends and Sunflower Storytime . Don't miss them!

Friday, August 8, 2014

From Norvelt to Nowhere by Jack Gantos

From Norvelt to Nowhere by Jack Gantos, 2013.

This is the hilarious sequel to Dead End in Norvelt and this entry will have spoilers for that book. So be warned!

I will give you some space to avoid accidentally reading things that you don't want to know.

This book picks up with Jack on the Halloween after the events of Dead End in Norvelt . Now that the old lady murders in Norvelt have ended and the killer has confessed, original resident Mrs. Custard moves back home. This means that Miss Volker is no longer the earliest Norvelter in town, so she won't have to honor her promise and marry the dangerous Mr. Spizz. This turns out to be unfortunate for Mrs. Custard, who eats a poison-laced cookie just as Jack and his friend Bunny are trick or treating at her house. Is Spizz back? Who does Jack hear prowling around his former office?

Then Miss Volker suddenly receives word that her sister in Florida has died. Angry Miss Volker, blaming the still- at-large Spizz, sets off on a road trip with Jack in tow. She can bury her twin and also catch and punish Mr. Spizz, who is still in love with her. Things are complicated by two other people trailing along behind them. Will Spizz go to prison? Or to the chapel? Plenty of funny moments and comparisons to Moby Dick make this book a great read.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Stubby the War Dog by Ann Bausum

Stubby the War Dog: the True Story of World War I's Bravest Dog by Ann Bausum, 2014.

Animal lovers will welcome this heartfelt non-fiction title about a loyal dog . Stubby was an amazing canine hero during World War I.  A mixed breed stray, he adopted soldier James Robert Conroy when enlisted men were training on Yale University's athletic grounds. He watched the men as they drilled and he learned how to march in formation and salute, and soon he became the mascot for Conroy's Unit. Smuggled aboard a ship to France, Stubby then participated in 17 battles, keeping close to his buddy Conroy.  He killed vermin in the trenches, warned the doughboys when a gas attack was coming, helped to find wounded on the battlefield, and more. One of his greatest acts was  capturing a German soldier and holding him by the pants until help arrived. The gallant dog survived severe wounding by schrapnel and poison gas and returned to duty each time. Through all of his service he remained Conroy's best friend.

After the war until the end of his days, the wonderful Stubby was honored and led an exciting life. His special uniform was decorated with many medals and he earned three bones a day and a place to sleep at the YMCA. He and his pal Conroy marched in parades, performed vaudeville and promoted the American Humane Society. Stubby & Conroy also met presidents Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. The outstanding dog was always loved and cared for by his friend. Conroy made sure that Stubby would be remembered by donating his memorabila to the Smithsonian Museum.

Bausum's book is a fine read for history lovers, as she skillfully tells the dog's story and gives a view of  the Great War and the life of the American fighting men. The Foreword is written by Conroy's grandson, who shares his memories of his grandfather and his bond with Stubby. The book is full of photos of Stubby, Conroy and military life in the teens. A timeline and bibliography is included.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata

The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata, 2013.

In this quiet and unusual story, 12 year old Japanese-American Summer spends the summer helping her family harvest wheat around the country. Her parents have been called to Japan to take care of aged relatives, so Summer is travelling with her strict grandparents, her unpopular and quirky younger brother and her beloved dog. She expects to help her Obaachan (grandmother) cook meals for the harvesting crew, but she doesn't suspect that a boy that she's known for years has become really attractive and she doesn't plan on her Jiichan (grandfather) getting too sick to drive the combine and maybe not get the wheat harvested before the rain comes. Summer's mom told her that a lot changes in the summer before seventh grade, but Summer didn't realize that she'd have to get along with prickly Obaachan, worry about her brother, deal with her fear of/obsession with mosquitoes and malaria and possibly save her family's jobs.

Kadohata's strong characterizations make this book a great read. Summer is a thoughtful girl who loves her family, who makes mistakes and learns to face her fears. Summer's brother Jaz is an unusual boy who has had three different psychological diagnoses, but to Summer, he's just her intense brother and she hopes that he can find friends. Obaachan and Jiichan, while funny when they quarrel, are multi-dimensional people and not just comic relief.