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26. Did You Know This is Advocacy? Early Literacy Programs

If you are anything like me, the first time someone asked you to be an advocate for the library you pictured attending some kind of librarian rally event, writing letters to congressmen, and making super scary presentations to library administration and other stakeholders. While all of these things are certainly advocacy, they were intimidating and sounded like they might take more time than I had. However, after becoming acquainted with Everyday Advocacy and doing a lot of thinking, I realized a lot of what I did every day was actually advocacy. Today, I’ll share an example of an early literacy program that I think of as developmentally appropriate advocacy.

baby face

In 2014, as a result of a random article from the internet and encouragement from many librarian friends, I gave Baby Storytime caregivers washable markers and oil pastels to use to decorate their babies’ faces (read more about the activity here). Every Child Ready to Read tells that practicing reading, singing, talking, writing, and playing with children every day helps them get ready to read. This activity encourages caregivers to talk to their babies and use vocabulary they might not typically use (how often do you talk about diabolical eyebrows with a baby?), caregivers are modeling writing, and are being extremely playful. This activity also encourages caregivers to photograph their babies and post these images on their Facebook pages or send them to family showing off what they did at the library today. This activity entered the regular rotation for an after storytime activity.

How is this advocacy? Caregivers learned, or had reinforced, the notion that the library is not a boring place just for reading and books. They learned that early literacy can be more than sharing books and that they have the tools already to help their child develop early literacy skills. They told all their friends that the library is a cool place because of this activity and others like it. Caregivers hated missing storytime because they were afraid to miss out on their favorite activities. Whenever we needed storytime participants to fill out surveys or comment cards they were more than happy to help. They would do anything to make sure storytimes continued and that storytime presenters were appreciated.

Do you have dedicated storytime families? Are your storytimes growing as a result? Do your storytime families help spread the word about the awesomeness of the library? If yes, congratulations, you are an advocate!

We would love to hear your stories! Matt McLain detailed in a previous Advocacy and Legislation blog, “Did You Know This Is Advocacy”, just how important these stories are personally, locally, and even nationally. Please take a moment to submit your advocacy story to the Everyday Advocacy website.

 

Kendra Jones is the Youth & Family Services Coordinator for the Timberland Regional Library in Washington State and a member of the ALSC Advocacy & Legislation committee. She is also a member of the Managing Children’s Services committee and Co-Chair of the Diversity within ALSC Task Force.

The post Did You Know This is Advocacy? Early Literacy Programs appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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27. Develop Management Skills without Supervising

I always knew I wanted to manage, but the traditional road to management can be difficult for youth services librarians. Storytime management does not count in the minds of many administrators so how else is one to gain the experience and skills needed to get that management position? I feel fortunate to have had varied opportunities in the youth services field and supervisors and co-workers who were more than happy to help me in my journey to rule the world. Er, um, enter management. Now, as a Coordinator, where I only supervise one person, I realize there is so much more to management than being a boss. Here are some ways to develop non-supervisory skills (though, let’s be honest, they totally apply to supervising) which just may help you explore the world of management, which often excludes supervising actual people (but possibly robots). .

 

Collection Development

We all have collections and they all need to be managed. Scheduled weeding and selecting are important which utilizes organization and time management skills. An understanding of your community is extremely important in collection development and in leadership roles. If you are looking to gain some management skills, start in the stacks.

 

Idea Nurturing

Support co-workers when they have great ideas. If you are already a supervisor be sure to read more about your role in this here. For those who are not supervisors, you can demonstrate your leadership abilities by encouraging others to bring forth great ideas and supporting them in bringing those ideas to fruition. You are not solely responsible for idea creation as a manager. In fact, you will likely be a better manager if your skills lie less in idea generating and more in idea supporting.

 

Project Management

Next time your supervisor asks for volunteers to lead a project, speak up. Even if the project is not your first choice, or something you would normally enjoy. Effective managers are not afraid to do the less desirable tasks and projects. The library cannot run on robots, glitter and unicorns all the time. We have to have safety training and attend meetings and join committees about things we may consider as boring as dust. But these trainings and committees are important to keep the library running smoothly and if you show your willingness to contribute, and put forth your best effort, people will take note of your leadership qualities.

 

Committee Service

Whether you serve on an ALSC committee or a local committee, you can gain valuable project management experience through your service. If you work hard and demonstrate your leadership skills while serving on committees you may have an opportunity to be Chair of a committee. Then, you might want to read up on facilitating meetings and hone your organization and communication skills.

 

Mentoring

Mentorship is an excellent way to sharpen management skills without direct supervision. With your mentee you will develop goals and work towards those goals together over the course of a year. This same process occurs between supervisor and employee. Plus, the ALSC Mentor program always needs more mentors. Read more about the program here.

 

What did I miss? What are other non-traditional management roles?

 

Kendra Jones is the Youth & Family Services Coordinator for the Timberland Regional Library in Washington State and a member of the ALSC Advocacy & Legislation committee. She is also a member of the Managing Children’s Services committee and Co-Chair of the Diversity within ALSC Task Force.

The post Develop Management Skills without Supervising appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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28. How Tech Focused is Your Summer Reading Program?

The summer months are almost upon us and with graduations, orchestra concerts, and field day happenings the end of the school year is at hand. The ALSC Summer Reading Lists have also just been released and children’s librarians across the country are making final preparations before June.

The start of our Summer Reading this year coincides with the launch of our library’s new website. Since so much focus is being placed on content for the website, last fall the children’s department decided to go old school and keep all the reading logs in the library. We are borrowing from Pop Sugar’s Reading Challenge and asking kids to read a total of 20 thematic books.

This decision has led us to think about other ways of incorporating technology into Summer Reading, after years of having patrons log books, minutes, and reviews online. Many libraries use services like Evanced Solutions (this year it’s the Wandoo Reader) and newer products like Beanstack. Beyond tracking and prize distribution online, what can we do to engage young audiences using technology this summer?

  • Michael Santangelo wrote a compelling piece on downloadable audio. Kids and teens are on the go all summer long and for some travel increases. Are we pushing our digital collections and encouraging this format in our communities?
  • For years we have incorporated Learning Quests into Summer Reading as one method of participating. Each week kids submit answers to trivia questions, email images of themselves in costume, and upload videos of their take on our creative challenges. Perhaps there are additional challenges that can be encouraged in a virtual space, while hosting a more traditional Summer Reading model.
  • It’s hard to avoid video clips from Tasty and Buzzfeed DIY on your newsfeed. Why not use this medium to share library program activities or invite kids to make their own DIY videos in a similar style?

Share some of the methods you are using to incorporate technology into your Summer Reading activities!

Claire Moore is a member of the Digital Content Task Force. She is also Head of Children and Teen Services at Darien Library in Connecticut. You can reach Claire at cmoore@darienlibrary.org.

Visit the Digital Media Resources page to find out more about navigating your way through the evolving digital landscape.

The post How Tech Focused is Your Summer Reading Program? appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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29. Before I Wake Up by Britta Teckentrup


Before I Wake Up . . . is the fifth book I have reviewed by Britta Teckentrup and her illustrations are as magically wonderful as ever. A simple rhyming text follows a girl through her nighttime, dreamworld adventures, a protective, comforting lion at her side.


Teckentrup begins, "Before I wake up, I float through my dreams . . . imagining worlds. Never ending it seems." The rhymes sometimes feel forced, but the illustrations are so unique and marvelous that it is easy to overlook. The girl and her lion travel by sky and by boat, over and under water, in and out of woods and jungles. Teckentrup establishes a dream landscape in a variety of ways. Sometimes the narrator is seen multiple times on a page, sometimes she seems to float across the page. As morning approaches, the palette lightens with it. Dark blues and blacks shift to oranges, reds and eventually yellows. The final page shows the narrator, tucked beneath a sunny yellow quilt with a toy lion snuggled at her side, ready for the new day.


While I am a big fan of Teckentrup's style, I think that my favorite thing about Before I Wake Up . . . is the book itself. Published by Prestel, an internationally renowned publisher of art, architecture, photography and design books, appealing to "all those with a passion for visual culture." Holding Before I Wake Up . . . in my hands, this is evident. This gorgeously designed book (it's trim size is square!) is printed on thick matte paper with a sturdy paper-over-board cover and stitched binding that makes reading it a multi-sense experience. Before I Wake Up . . . is a memorable book that children will cherish, but also one that makes a beautiful gift.


Source: Review Copy

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30. Research is My Friend by Lauren Castillo

Lauren Castillo, a Caldecott Honor author and illustrator, kicks off this year's Author Spotlight Series with a piece about how important research is to her artistic process.

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31. The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

2016, Random House

Tessa and Callie were nine years old when Lori was murdered, and it was these two that put the Ohio River Monster behind bars.  Everyone in Fayette, Pennsylvania was relieved this horrible chapter in their lives was over.

Almost ten years have passed and Tessa and Callie are completely different girls.  Callie's life was full of scholarships, friends and a stable family that has continued to live in Fayette despite their family loss.  Tessa, on the other hand, lost her father to the prison system, her sister to her fierce independence, and her mother to who knows where.  She moved to Florida to live with her grandmother and expects to attend university in the fall after working as a waitress to make it happen.

Then the phone call comes...

Tessa once more finds herself in Fayette, but under very different circumstances.  Her father is dying and her once best friend Callie won't talk to her (even though she's staying at her house at the insistence of Callie's mom).  When Tessa goes to the prison to see her father one last time, she is told he died but her sister was there.  Tessa, who hasn't seen her family in ten years, is frantic to find her sister, but the path to her is becoming more difficult than Tessa imagined.

But Fayette hasn't shaken the Ohio River Monster yet.  Everyone thought he was in prison for the rest of his life, but a new trial is slated once again, where new evidence is to be released.  More terrifying is the fact that another girl has been found murdered in the same style as the other victims.  Callie and Tessa are once again confronted with personal tragedy because the victim was a friend of theirs, someone who was in Callie's inner circle.  Coincidence or copycat?

Callie and Tessa decide it's time to confront the past and begin to find answers to the present.  When they begin to pursue this, they have no idea one of them may be the next victim....

Kara Thomas is not only a storyteller, she's a story weaver.  Although this is the main plot of the novel, there are other threads of mystery woven into the lives of the main characters that will catch the reader's attention.  There are no lull moments in this book.  When the unraveling begins, hang on, because it will be a fast and furious ride.  Recommended 9-12th grades


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32.

So this is a bit of a serious but necessary post.

I had a death in the family -- someone who is older (67), and wasn't feeling well, but in no way was death expected.

Or planned for.

I know there is often talk of wills and the need for one. And this was a case of no will, but to be honest, the lawyer agreed that it's simple enough that the lack of a will isn't going to be a problem. So yes, the "but I don't have much to leave" or "I don't have children" or "I don't have young children" can make sense.


But it's not just that.

It's the everything else.

And I'm not just talking the funeral and services and memorial. Which can be pricey. And decisions are being made about this when, perhaps, the amount left by the person, and owed by the person, are still unknown. Or unavailable.

It's finding out the things you need to know, especially nowadays when so much is online. How easy, or difficult, is it going to be for people to find out about accounts (banks, credit cards, any other bills) and where things are?

How easy, or difficult, will it be for people to to access usernames and IDs and passwords so that they can access account information? Once, that is, they find out about the account to know they need to find out when a bill is about to paid, or a check deposited, or how much is owed on that credit card?

I mentioned when things are unavailable. Funerals and related costs can be expensive, and if the person's money is not available until after probate -- well, that delay can be a challenge, also.

My final bit is about why it's good to be aware of finances. As much as the death was a surprise, and there's a lot to do -- what doesn't have to be done is an education on family finances and bills. I know that can happen to some, when one person takes care of everything and the other is left surprised at just how much has to be done.

So, anyone, that's my serious bit of advice for today. Yes, keep your passwords secure -- but also have them be somewhere they can be found.












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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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33. Food in the Library? An interview with Amanda Courie about Summer Food Programs

Over the past few years, there has been a growing awareness in public libraries that children within their service areas may not be getting enough to eat during the summer months when school breakfasts and lunches are unavailable. Many libraries have partnered with state and local organizations to address this “food insecurity” by offering summer food programs, but this may seem like a daunting enterprise for small, rural, and/or understaffed libraries.

Caroline County Public Library, one of eight rural Maryland libraries that my organization serves, began offering a summer food program last year. I decided to interview Amanda Courie, Youth Services Manager, to find out how this kind of program can work on a smaller scale.

Amanda, I understand that Caroline County Public Library is a small system. How many full time staff members are there? How many of them work in youth services?

“We are a small system!  We serve a county of about 33,000 people on Maryland’s rural Eastern Shore.  We operate a Central Library and two small branches.  There are 15 FT employees and 8 PT.  I am the only one who works full time in Youth Services.  I have one FT employee who is our Early Childhood Unit Manager; about 50% of her time is in Youth Services, and 50% is spent staffing the branches and the Information Desk.  Then there are three PT employees who contribute to Youth Services along with staffing our public service points.”

How does your summer food program work, and what made you decide to launch it?

“Our decision to launch the summer food program grew from a growing awareness nationwide and in our county of the number of families facing food insecurity. According to the MD Food System Map, produced by Johns Hopkins University, 40.2% of children in our county qualify for free lunch, and 11.1% of the total population is considered food insecure

We know that children rely on school meals throughout the school year, and that summertime is a big challenge for families who are food insecure.  Our local Parks and Recreation Department runs summer camps throughout the county for five weeks out of the summer, and these sites double as Summer Meals Sites.  Our concept was to help fill in the gaps not covered by this program, both for the other five weeks of summer vacation, and for the children who weren’t enrolled in the summer camps and couldn’t make it to those sites.

Looking at our resources, especially as far as having a small staff, we decided to serve an afternoon snack at our Central Library, Monday-Friday at 2PM, for 10 weeks in the summer.” 

Which organization(s) do you partner with to make this program possible? Has this program led to any new partnerships?

“We partner with our local school system, Caroline County Public Schools.  They make all of the registration and reimbursement arrangements with MSDE (Maryland State Department of Education), who in turn participates in the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program We received training from our school system’s food service program to ensure that we were following USDA guidelines.  They also prepared the menus for us, making sure that we were meeting the federal nutrition guidelines.  Once a week I picked up food and drinks from the food service workers at an elementary school about a mile from the library.  The school system handled all financial aspects of the program; there was no cost to the library and very little paperwork. 

We have partnered with our school system on many projects before, and we even share an ILS with them, so I can’t say that this program led to new partnerships.  But it certainly enriched the partnership we do have with them, and they were happy to assist us in our efforts to serve nutritious snacks to children over the summer.”

What have been the benefits and drawbacks of the program? Have there been any surprises?

“When we went into the program, we assumed that the biggest benefit would be that kids who otherwise wouldn’t have access to a healthy snack over the summer would be able to come to the library and get it.  That certainly has proven to be true.  However, the biggest surprise, and another big benefit, has been the enhanced connections that we have formed with the kids who eat snack daily.  In most cases, these are library “regulars” who spend a large part of their summer at the library.  In past years, inevitably they grow restless by early afternoon are were often asked to leave for the day due to behavior issues—being too loud; running; fighting with each other.  However, when we started serving snack every day, we noticed a drop in behavior issues.  Early on, we made a practice of sitting with the kids while they ate, chatting and getting to know them.  These connections proved to be invaluable in providing a positive library experience for them over the summer.  Now, whenever I’ve seen these kids in the library during the school year—even last fall—they ask if we are serving snack again this summer.

I will be honest about the drawbacks of the program.  Since we do partner with the USDA Summer Meals program, we must follow their very stringent guidelines on both what to serve and how to serve it.  There is no flexibility to offer kids a variety of choices, or to give hungrier kids “seconds”.  All participating children must receive one of each item offered to make a nutritionally complete snack.  If they don’t eat it, it can go on the “share table”, but after that if no one takes it by the end of snack time, it must be discarded.  While we understand these guidelines, it was still difficult to get used to this procedure.  However, we decided that partnering with this program was the only sensible way for us to serve safe, approved, subsidized snacks to children.”

Do you have any advice for libraries who are interested in starting summer food programs (especially other small and rural libraries)?

“I would encourage libraries, particularly small, rural libraries, to look into partnering with an agency who is familiar with USDA guidelines and enthusiastic about extending Summer Meals services to more sites.  I would also recommend planning to offer a summer food program that is realistic with the staffing levels available.  Summer is already an extremely busy time of year for library staff, so offer a program on scale with your resources.  Having said that, we have found that our summer meal program is extremely rewarding and helps fill the summertime gap for children in our community facing food insecurity.”

To find out more about offering a summer food program in your library, contact your local school system, or reach out to your statewide USDA School Meals liaison.

Rachael Stein is the Information Services Manager at Eastern Shore Regional Library in Salisbury, MD.

The post Food in the Library? An interview with Amanda Courie about Summer Food Programs appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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34. Self-Censorship: A Reflection

Coffee resting on tableAs the children’s librarian at my branch I interact with hundreds of kids.  I’ve had parents tell me they appreciate the impact I have on their kids, both as people and as readers. I feel that in some way, it is my job to show them all the ideas and viewpoints out there, so they can be better citizens of the world.

A few weeks ago, a colleague and I were getting ready to head to a school visit.  We had been prepping for this for a while now. Each of us picked books that we thought would resonate with the tweens in our Boston neighborhood.  A few days before, my colleague approached me and told me she wasn’t going to be utilizing one of the graphic novels she originally picked because throughout the book, there were numerous images of the main character smoking.   She didn’t want the tweens receiving the message that smoking at their age was okay.

Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about censorship.  Not the censorship we hear about in the news, but the everyday censorship that may happen at our libraries.  For the longest time, there has been a pile of anime DVDs on my desk.  A majority of my system’s anime is classified as Teen, but for whatever reason, a few are not.  The DVDs on my desk have been placed there by kids, parents, and even myself, because some of the cover images are suggestive in nature.  More times than I can count, I have been told “these are not okay for the Children’s Room.”  But why?  I mean yes, I understand the suggestive nature of the images, but does that mean it needs to be removed from the shelf?  If I remove it from the shelf, then what happens when a parent comes to me and complains about Sex is a Funny Word?  Or even something like Harry Potter?  Doesn’t my removal of these DVDs from the shelf create a slippery slope?  Where do we draw the line?  Who determines what is okay and appropriate?

I’m still thinking about these questions. One thing I know is that I get to decide what stays on my shelf and what doesn’t, and so in the mean time, the DVDs stay.  Not because I think the images are appropriate, but because it’s not my job to tell someone else what is and isn’t appropriate.  All I can do, is provide them with the tools and ideas to help them be the best people than can be.

Alyson Feldman-Piltch is a children’s librarian for the Boston Public Library.  She likes dogs, ice cream, and baseball.  She can be contacted at afeldmanpiltch@bpl.org

The post Self-Censorship: A Reflection appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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35. Research is My Friend by Lauren Castillo

Lauren Castillo, a Caldecott Honor author and illustrator, kicks off this year's Author Spotlight Series with a piece about how important research is to her artistic process.

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36. Review of the Day: The King of Kazoo by Norm Feuti

KingKazooKing of Kazoo
By Norm Feuti
Graphix (an imprint of Scholastic)
$22.99
ISBN: 978-0545770880
Ages 9-12
On shelves July 26th

When I used to run a children’s book club for 9-12 year-olds, I’d regularly let them choose the next book we’d discuss. In time, after some trial and error, I learned that the best way to do this was to offer them three choices and then to have them vote after a stirring booktalk of each title. The alternative was to let them choose the next book we’d read for themselves. Why would this be a problem? Because given a choice, these kids would do the same kinds of books week after week after week: graphic novels. In fact, it was my job to give them the bad news each week (after they plowed through our small comic section) that we didn’t have any new comics for them. To their minds, new graphic novels for kids should come out weekly, and secretly I agreed with them. But five years ago there really weren’t a lot to choose from. These days . . . it’s not all that different. In spite of the fact that comics have been sweeping the Newbery and Caldecott Awards and our current National Ambassador of Children’s Literature is a cartoonist by trade, the number of graphic novels produced in a given year by trade publishers isn’t much different from the number produced in the past. Why? Because a good comic takes a long time to create. You can’t just slap something together and expect it to hold a kid’s interest. There was a time when this fact would make me mad. These days, when I see a book as great as King of Kazoo, I just give thanks that we’re living in an era where we get any comics at all. A debut GN from a syndicated cartoonist, Kazoo is a straight-up, kid-friendly, rollicking adventure complete with magic, big-headed kings, robots, volcanoes, and trident wielding frog people. Everything, in short, you want in a book.

The King of Kazoo is not a wise man. The King of Kazoo is not a smart man. The King of Kazoo is not a particularly good man. But the King of Kazoo, somehow or other, has a wise, smart, good daughter by the name of Bing, and that is fortunate. Bing dabbles in magic and has been getting pretty good at it too. That’s lucky for everyone since recently the nearby mountain Mount Kazoo kinda, sorta exploded a little. When the King decides the only way to secure his legacy is to solve the mystery of the exploding mountain, he ropes in Bing and silent inventor/mechanic Torq. Trouble is, Bing’s dad has a tendency to walk over everyone who tries to help him. So just imagine what happens when he runs into someone who doesn’t want him to fare well. It’ll take more than magic to stop the evil machinations of a crazed alchemist. It’ll take teamwork and a king who understands why sometimes it might be a good idea to let others take some credit for their own work.

KingKazoo2As a general rule, it is unwise to offer up comparisons of any cartoonist to the late, great Carl Barks. The man who lifted Uncle Scrooge out of the money pit to something bigger and better, set the bar high when it came to animal-like semi-humans with long ears and big shiny black noses (not that Barks invented the noses, but you know what I mean). All that said, it was Barks I kept thinking of as I read The King of Kazoo. There’s something about the light hand Feuti uses to tell his tale. The storytelling feels almost effortless. Scenes glide from place to place with an internal logic that seemingly runs like clockwork. I know it sounds strange but a lot of graphic novels for kids these days are pretty darn dark. Credit or blame the Bone books if you like, but for all that most of them contain humor the stakes can run shockingly high. The Amulet series threatens characters’ souls with tempting magic stones, the Hilo books are filled with questions about the absolutes of “good” and “bad”, and the aforementioned Bone books delve deep into madness, apocalypse, and dark attractions. Little wonder a goofy tale about a hare-brained king in a wayward jalopy appeals to much to me. Feuti is harkening back to an earlier golden age of comics with this title, and the end result is as fresh as it is nostalgic (for adults like me).

KingKazoo3Which is not to say that Feuti sacrifices story for silly. The biggest problem the characters have to overcome isn’t what’s lurking in that mountain but rather the King’s love of bombast and attention. Each character in this story is seeking recognition. The King wants any kind of recognition, whether he deserves it or not. Torq and Bing just want the King to recognize their achievements. Instead, he takes credit for them. And Quaf the Alchemist has gone mildly mad thanks to years of not receiving sufficient credit for his own inventions. To a certain extent the book is questioning one’s desire for applause and attention on a grand scale, focusing more on how necessary it is to give the people closest to you the respect and praise they deserve.

KingKazoo1The style of the art, as mentioned, owes more than a passing nod to Carl Barks. But the seeming simplicity of the style hides some pretty sophisticated storytelling. From little details (like Torq’s missing ear) and sight gags to excellent facial expressions (Feuti is the lord and master of the skeptical eyebrow) and uses of body language (Torq never says a word aside from the occasional sigh, but you are never in any doubt of what he’s feeling). I’m no expert on the subject, but I even think the lettering in the speech balloons may have been done entirely by hand. The coloring is all done on a computer, which is a pity but is also pretty par for the course these days. There’s also something sort of classic to the story’s look. With its strong female character (Bing) you wouldn’t mistake it for a tale published in the 1950s, but on all the other fronts the book harkens back to a simpler comic book time.

I read The King of Kazoo to my four-year-old the other day at bedtime. She’s not the book’s intended audience but her inescapable hunger for comics can drive a mother to grab whatsoever is handiest on the shelf. Lucky is the mom that finds this book sitting there when you need it. Perfect for younger readers, ideal for older ones, and with a snappy plot accompanied by even snappier dialogue, Feuti has produced a comic that will actually appeal to kids of all ages. That King is a kook. Let’s hope we see more of him in the future.

On shelves July 26th

Source: Galley sent from publisher for review.

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37. Wishing Day by Lauren Myracle, 314 pp, RL 5




Having been a bookseller for so many years, I am very familiar with Lauren Myracle and her two very popular series, the Winnie Years and the Internet Girls, which, told entirely in texts, emails and IMs, was especially innovative and popular (and prescient) when first published in 2004. But, having a proclivity for fantasy, it took me until now to finally read one of Myracle's books. The blurb for Wishing Day grabbed my attention immediately. On the third night of the third month after her thirteenth birthday, every girl in the town of Willow Hill makes three wishes: the first is an impossible wish, the second is a wish she can make come true herself and the third is a wish made from her deepest, secret heart.

Natasha Blok is the oldest of three sisters born in under three years. In fact, her sister Darya is in seventh grade with her. Ava, their youngest sister is in sixth grade. As Wishing Day opens, Natasha is at the ancient willow tree, planted by her grandmother many times removed, the woman who started the wish tradition. Her aunts, Vera and Elena, are steps behind her, waiting anxiously for Natasha to make her wishes. Natasha's mother Klara disappeared eight years earlier, leaving her father sinking into sadness and silence and her aunts moving in to raise their nieces. Of course Natasha wants her mother back, but she also wants to be kissed and she secretly wants to be somebody's favorite.

Myracle weaves a story rich with characters. Natasha is a typical big sister, stepping in and caring for her siblings after her mother vanishes. Yet, she also let a distance grow between herself and Darya, who, with a head of red, shiny curly hair, a flair for fashion and a firm disbelief in magic of any kind, especially when it comes to the Wishing Tree. And, an even deeper secret than her three wishes is hidden under her mattress. Natasha is a writer, albeit a writer who has yet to finish a story. As Wishing Day unfolds, Natasha learns more about her mother's life before she disappeared, finishes writing her first story and kisses a boy. She also has her deepest secret self revealed when her sisters discover her writing and enter it in a local contest, is not kissed by the boy she thinks she wants to kiss her and might not even want to be kissed at all and, most surprising, discovers that she IS someone's favorite.

Myracle weaves in a thread of magic - beyond the Wishing Tree itself - in the character of the Bird Lady, an eccentric, ancient legend in Willow Hill who has a sparrow nesting in her fluff of grey hair. The Bird Lady appears every so often to utter cryptic words to Natasha, who begins finding meaningful notes around town. The ending of Wishing Day will leave you wondering and wanting more (especially more answers) and, quite happily, there is more to come because this is an intended trilogy! I suspect that the next two books will focus on serious, gorgeous, skeptic Darya and the ethereal, playful, free spirit Ava as Natasha's sisters turn thirteen and make their own wishes.

Source: Review Copy

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38. Celebrating Asian American Heritage Month

I didn't realize how many special occasions occurred in May until I worked on our Celebrations book with Janet Wong. Sure, it's the end of the semester and school year (in many places) and the home of Mother's Day and Memorial Day. But it's also National Photo Month, National Bike Month, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, and the time we celebrate National Pet Week, National Teacher Appreciation Week, Children's Book Week, National Etiquette Week, as well as World Laughter Day, World Red Cross Day, and World Hunger Day (which is close to Red Nose Day also devoted to eliminating hunger). Wow. And of course there are many other occasions, once you start digging. My family teases me that I always find SOMETHING to celebrate!

Today I'd like to pause and celebrate Asian American Heritage Month and Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month-- with a poem of course! I posted this on Facebook and Twitter, so please forgive me if you've been inundated. I love this poem by my pal Janet Wong and what it says about celebrating Asian Americans, as well as our many diverse, blended, and intertwined roots in the U.S. 

And here are the Take 5 activities that accompany this poem in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Teacher/Librarian edition):

  1. If possible, display a map in the background that features Asia and Pacific Islands while you read the poem aloud, pausing between stanzas. One source is Google.com/Maps/@29,100,3z.
  2. Share the poem again with pauses so the children can join in on the key words Chinese, Korean, and plucots while you read the rest of the poem aloud.
  3. Talk about how new words are “coined” and how plucot is a combination of plum (plu) and apricot (cot), just as the plucot fruit is a hybrid combination of those two fruits. 
  4. Pair this poem with the picture book Grandfather Counts by Andrea Cheng (Lee & Low, 2000). And for more information about celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month, check out the resources at AsianPacificHeritage.gov.
  5. For another poem about a family with roots in more than one culture, look for “Our Family” by Kate Coombs (November, page 305) as well as poems in A Suitcase of Seaweed by Janet Wong (McElderry, 1996).
Plus, if you'd like even more poetry, here's a list from my book, The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists.

Asian American Poetry for Young People

Asian and Asian American poetry for young people is not just haiku; there are many lovely, ancient and contemporary works to share with children. Here is a sampling of poetry for young people by Asian and Asian American poets.

Cheng, Andrea. 2005. Shanghai Messenger. New York: Lee & Low.
Ho, Minfong. 1996. Maples in the Mist: Poems for Children from the Tang Dynasty. New York: Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard.
Issa, Kobayashi. 2007. Today and Today. New York: Scholastic.
Izuki, Steven. 1994. Believers in America:  Poems about Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander Descent. Chicago, IL: Children’s Press.
Lai, Thanhha. 2011. Inside Out and Back Again. New York: HarperCollins.
Mak, Kam. 2001. My Chinatown: One Year in Poems. New York: HarperCollins.
Park, Linda Sue. 2007. Tap Dancing on the Roof; Sijo Poems. New York : Clarion.
Wong, Janet S. 1994. Good Luck Gold and Other Poems. New York: McElderry.
Wong, Janet S. 1996/2008. A Suitcase of Seaweed, and Other Poems. New York: Booksurge.
Wong, Janet S. 1999. Behind the Wheel:  Poems about Driving. New York: McElderry.
Wong, Janet S. 1999. The Rainbow Hand: Poems about Mothers and Children. New York: McElderry. 
Wong, Janet S. 2000. Night Garden:  Poems from the World of Dreams. New York: McElderry.
Wong, Janet S. 2003. Knock on Wood: Poems about Superstitions. New York: McElderry.

Wong, Janet S. 2003. Minn and Jake. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Wong, Janet S. 2007. Twist: Yoga Poems. New York: McElderry.
Wong, Janet. 2008. Minn and Jake’s Almost Terrible Summer. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 
Wong, Janet. 2011. Once Upon A Tiger; New Beginnings for Endangered Animals. OnceUponaTiger.com.
Wong, Janet. 2012. Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for  an Election Year. PoetrySuitcase.
Wong, Joyce Lee. 2006. Seeing Emily. New York: Abrams.
Yep, Laurence, ed. 1993. American Dragons: Twenty-five Asian American Voices. New York: HarperCollins.
Yu, Chin. 2005. Little Green; Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Now don't miss the rest of the Poetry Friday posts that Margaret is gathering over at Reflections on the Teche. See you there!

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39. Fusenews: The occasional “unruly pleasure”

I’ve done it again.  Delayed my Fusenews too long and now this post is going to overflow with too much good stuff.  Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.


HallmarkMe stuff for the start. And in fact, there just so much Me Stuff today that I’m just going to cram it all into this little paragraph here and be done with it. To begin, for the very first time my book Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Chidren’s Literature (co-written with Jules Danielson and Peter Sieruta) was cited in an article. Notably, a piece in The Atlantic entitled Frog and Toad and the Self.  Woot!  In other news I’m judging a brand new picture book award. It’s the Hallmark Great Stories Award. Did you or someone you know produce a picture book in 2016 on the topic of “togetherness and community”? Well $10,000 smackers could be yours. In terms of seeing me talk, I’m reading my picture book (and more) at the Printer’s Row Lit Fest on June 11th.  If you’re in the Chicago area and ever wanted to see me in blue furry leg warmers, now your chance has come here.  Finally, during Book Expo I managed to coerce Hyperion Books into handing me three of their most delicious authors (Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, and Eoin Colfer) so that I could feed them to WGN Radio.  You can hear our talk here, if you like.  And check out how cute we all are:

WGN

Colfer, for what it is worth, is exceedingly comfortable.  I highly recommend that should you see him you just glom onto him for long periods of time.  Like a sticky burr.  He also apparently has an Artemis Fowl movie in the works (for real this time!) and you’ll never guess who the director might be.


This is interesting. Not too long ago children’s book author C. Alex London wrote a piece for BuzzFeed called Why I Came Out As a Gay Children’s Book Author.  It got a lot of attention and praise.  Then, earlier this month, Pseudonymous Bosch wrote a kind of companion piece in the New York Times Book Review. Also Known As tackles not just his reasons for a nom de plume (skillfully avoiding any and all mentions of Lemony Snicket, I could not help but notice) but also how this relates to his life as a gay children’s book author.


Hey, full credit to The New Yorker  for this great recentish piece on weeding a collection and the glory that is Awful Library Books.  My sole regret is that I never let them know when I weeded this guy:

150Ways

The copyright page said 1994, but I think we know better.  Thanks to Don Citarella for the link.


Cool. The publisher Lee & Low has just released the winner of the New Visions Writing Contest, now in its third year.  Congrats to Supriya Kelkar for her win!


New Podcast Alert: With podcasting being so popular these days, I do regret that my sole foray into the form has pretty much disappeared from the face of the globe. Fortunately there are talented folks to listen to instead, including the folks at Loud in the Library. Teacher librarians Chris Patrick and Tracy Chrenka from Grand Rapids, MI (homestate pride!) get the big names, from picture books illustrators to YA writers. Listen up!


New Blog Alert: The press release from SLJ sounded simple. “SLJ is pleased to welcome The Classroom Bookshelf to our blog network. In its sixth year, the Bookshelf features a weekly post about a recently published children’s book, including a lesson plan and related resources.” Then I made a mistake. I decided to look at the site. Jaw hit floor at a fast and furious rate leaving a dent in the linoleum. Contributors Randy Heller, Mary Ann Cappiello, Grace Enriquez, Katie Cunningham, and Erika Thulin Dawes (all professors at Lesley University’s outstanding school of ed.), I salute you. If I ever stop writing my own reviews, you’ll know why.


This:

JeffSmith


This one’s just for the New Yorkers. I’m sure you already saw this New Yorker paean to the Mid-Manhattan library, but just in case you didn’t it’s here, “unruly pleasures” and all.


For whatever reason, PW Children’s Bookshelf always goes to my “Promotions” folder on Gmail, so I assume they already mentioned this article. Just in case they didn’t, though, I sort of love that The Atlantic (second time mentioned today!) wrote an ode to Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Thanks to Kate for the link.


Now some Bookshare info.  The idea of providing free ebooks for kids with print disabilities is a good one.  And, as it happens, not a new one.  Bookshare, an online accessible library, just added its 400,000th title to its collection and boy are they proud.  Free for all U.S. students with qualifying print disabilities and U.S. schools, they’ve a blog you might want to read, and they service kids with blindness, low vision, dyslexia, and physical disabilities.


Daily Image:

You probably heard that Neil Patrick Harris will be playing Count Olaf in the upcoming Netflix series of A Series of Unfortunate Events.  Now we have photographic proof.

HarrisOlaf

I wonder if Brett Helquist ever marvels at how much power his art has had over these various cinematic incarnations.  The lack of socks is a particularly accurate touch.

 

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40. Purposeful Play: A Review and a Giveaway

In the new book Purposeful Play: A Teachers Guide to Igniting Deep & Joyful Learning Across the Day, Kristine Mraz, Alison Porcelli, and Cheryl Tyler have laid out the research and practical advice that many of us have been looking for.

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41. Register for Summer 2016 Online Courses

Register for a Summer 2016 ALSC Online Course!

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) encourages participants to sign up for Summer 2016 ALSC online courses. Registration is open for all courses. Classes begin Monday, July 11, 2016.

One of the three courses being offered this semester are eligible for continuing education units (CEUs). The American Library Association (ALA) has been certified to provide CEUs by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET). ALSC online courses are designed to fit the needs of working professionals. Courses are taught by experienced librarians and academics. As participants frequently noted in post-course surveys, ALSC stresses quality and caring in its online education options.

NEW! Engaging Readers and Writers with Interactive Fiction
4 weeks, July 11 – August 5, 2016
Instructor: Christian Sheehy, Digital Initiatives Librarian, Xavier University

The Newbery Medal: Past, Present and Future
6 weeks, July 11 – August 13, 2016
Instructor: KT Horning, Director, Cooperative Children’s Book Center, University of Wisconsin- Madison

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs Made Easy
4 weeks, July 11 – August 5, 2016
CEU Certified Course, 1.2 CEUs
Instructor: Angela Young, Head of Children’s Department, Reed Memorial Library

Detailed descriptions and registration information is available on the ALSC website. Fees are $115 for personal ALSC members; $165 for personal ALA members; and $185 for non-members. Questions? Please contact ALSC Program Officer for Continuing Education, Kristen Figliulo or 1 (800) 545-2433 ext 4026.

Images are courtesy of ALSC.

The post Register for Summer 2016 Online Courses appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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42. Where's the Elephant? by Barroux



I opened the cheerfully colored,  creatively illustrated Where's the Elephant? by French children's book illustrator Barroux expecting a fun look-and-find book and got so much more. Where's the Elephant? is indeed a look-and-find book, and it is not always easy to find the elephant and his companions, a parrot and a snake, but it is also a subtle lesson on deforestation and loss of habitat that affects so many of the world's animals.



Where's the Elephant? is a journey through time and space.  The book begins with an expanse of blue ocean with the tip of a lush island seen at the edge of the opposite page. A two page spread that shows a lollipop colored forest (can you find the elephant? Snake? Parrot?) But a page turn shows a clearcut starting. A few page turns later, and it's very easy to spot the elephant and his friends because their habitat has been taken over by houses and roads. Huddled in the few trees left, the wild animals eventually find themselves caged in a zoo.


But, bars can't hold them for long. Soon they are making their way to a new island, a new habitat. Hopefully one that will stay wild.




Barroux ends Where's the Elephant? with the story behind the book. During a visit to Brazil five years ago, he saw parts of the Amazon rain forest set on fire to clear the way for the production of soybeans. This inspired him to look for a way to talk about deforestation in a picture book. Inspiration came to him at the Edinburgh Book Festival in 2014 and this amazing book is the brilliant end result. Little listeners will enjoy looking and finding while older readers will be inspired to ask questions and learn more about this serious subject.

Source: Review Copy



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43. Big Lift Little Libraries in San Mateo County

I have worked for the San Mateo County Libraries in various positions for the last twelve years and have had a chance to be a part of some really wonderful and inspiring projects. My favorite project I’ve ever been a part of is working with the Big Lift Little Libraries.

You may have seen Little Free Libraries out in your neighborhood or around town near community gathering places. Big Lift Little Libraries operate on the same principle of taking a book and leaving a book, but they are filled specifically with books for children and families.

Over the last two years, we have placed 104 Big Lift Little Libraries around San Mateo County. The libraries reside in medical clinics, elementary schools, churches, parks, beaches, and in front of residential homes. One young girl contacted us about hosting a Big Lift Little Library in her local post office!

I have had a chance to spot a few of the libraries out in the community, which is always a fun treat for me. I also love when people share photos of their new Big Lift Little Libraries once they have it up and running. More information about this project and photos of the Big Lift Little Libraries out in the wild can be found here!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stephanie Saba is a Senior Librarian at the San Mateo County Libraries in California and is writing this post for the Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee. She is also a member of the California Library Association and is currently serving on the California Young Reader Medal Committee.

The post Big Lift Little Libraries in San Mateo County appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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44. Purposeful Play: A Review and a Giveaway

In the new book Purposeful Play: A Teachers Guide to Igniting Deep & Joyful Learning Across the Day, Kristine Mraz, Alison Porcelli, and Cheryl Tyler have laid out the research and practical advice that many of us have been looking for.

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45. 1001 Nights Doubleheader

I've had a busy few weeks at work, so I wasn't able to get any posts polished enough to go live. To make up for it(ish), I'm giving you a doubleheader today, where I review two books that are similar in some way and discuss what I think of those similarities and their differences.

Title: The Wrath and Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Published: 2015
Source: Local Library

Summary: Khalid marries a young woman every evening and in the morning he kills her. Nobody can stop him because, well, he's the king.

After her best friend becomes his latest victim, Shahrzad decides that she's going to take him on, find out why all the murders are happening, and then kill him. It's a good plan, but it goes a little off track when she starts to fall in love with him.

First Impressions: The story was compelling but OH MY GOD. The prose. PURPLE.

Later On: I struggled with this book. I know a lot of people who've been swept away by it, but my brain kept inconveniently breaking in. Like, Khalid? Um, why are you doing all this killing? Shahrzad, honey, why aren't you pointing out that this is super-not-okay? I get that you're falling in lurve and all but kiddies, love is about communication. You know what you're not communicating? THAT HIM KILLING ALL HIS PREVIOUS WIVES WAS NOT OKAY. He victimized his country, he terrorized families, he gave no reason, and OH YES A WHOLE BUNCH OF GIRLS ARE DEAD. I was genuinely questioning why he hadn't been the hell overthrown by now. A lot of the girls he picked were from powerful families - why didn't some of them send in an assassin and STOP THIS NONSENSE?

When a book makes me this WTF, I generally stop reading. This one, I kept reading because I actually did want to find out his reasons. Shahrzad is smart and spunky and loving and loyal, and she's gonna Queen like nobody's damn business, so I was initially in it for her. And then, aside from the whole lots and lots of dead wives thing (which would seem to be a dealbreaker), Khalid was an appealing and warm-hearted guy who seems to be genuinely falling for Shahrzad. We do actually get a reason for all the wife-killing and it's not that Khalid is a serial killer who just can't help himself. But it fell flat for me. I never felt the actual threat of it.

And, yeah. The prose. It seemed like every line had to remind us that Khalid had flashing hazel eyes or that Shahrzad had the shiniest most beautimous hair in the palace, or something.

I know a lot of people loved it, but this one really wasn't for me.

More: Cuddlebuggery
Book Nut

Title: A Thousand Nights
Author: E.K. Johnston
Published: 2015
Source: NetGalley

Summary: In this retelling of 1001 nights, the main character sacrifices herself to save her sister and marries a king who's murdered all his previous wives.

First Impressions: This was what I wanted The Wrath and the Dawn to be. The focus on women and the work/powers/community/ties of women was beautiful.

Later On: I still get a warm glow when I think of this book - of how important the relationships between women are. Sisters, mothers, aunts, female friends. There's a lovely little bit where the protagonist, who goes unnamed throughout the book, contemplates how her father's first wife, who is also her aunt, always functioned as another mother to her; a relationship that's not often portrayed this way.

This carries through to the palace. She begins to find out the history of the king's murders through talking to his mother and the palace craftswomen, gradually and patiently assembling the pieces into a whole that will let her save the country. Primarily, this is a story of a woman, backed by women, quietly, determinedly putting things right for a country that has gone terribly wrong.

Is it a swoony romance? No. The king is a man possessed by a demon, and there's no falling in love with this demon. At the end of the book, there's a hint that the man within might have started to catch feelings, but the love story here is the protagonist's love for her family, her community, and her country.

More: By Singing Light
Charlotte's Library
 

 Scheherazade and Shahryār by Ferdinand Keller, 1880, taken from Wikipedia

So now for the compare and contrast portion of our show.

It's always interesting to see how two authors take the same base story and make such different things out of it. Where the first book focused tightly on the developing romance between the king and his queen (with touches of a love triangle and another couple's love story as subplots), the second focused on the larger implications of the king's destructive rampage and how it can be repaired. Maybe I'm Old and Fuddy, but that spoke to me more than the intimate romance. Anytime you get royal characters, I'm almost always more interested in the pressure of the fate of an entire nation resting on their choices and actions.

So my reviews, and the reviews linked here, are basically about how these books worked for generally white or white-presenting American ladies. There's a trickier question: how do they work as representations or interpretations of a piece of classic non-Western literature?

In the original story (Britannica.com), the king is killing women because his first wife cheated on him. Obviously, this doesn't play all that well as a trait of a romantic hero. While the books took different tacks, both wisely altered the king's motivation.

I tried hard to find writing about these books from Middle Eastern reviewers, but was unsuccessful. The 1001 Nights is basically the story that we know from Middle Eastern mythology. It is a framing device for retelling many other stories, but only Scheherezade and Aladdin (which was one of the stories told in the 1001 Nights) have entered Western canon to the point where we know the stories off the top of our heads.

From my extremely limited perspective, I would say that both novels used the Middle Eastern setting as an exotic locale or a fantasy land. This isn't that different from a lot of historical novels or historical fantasy. Did they respect the cultures? That's a trickier one because there's a few things at work here. I'm not of the culture. I'm not even very familiar with the culture. And the Middle East is a huge area, made up of many, many individual countries and subcultures, each with their own history. The effect of the Middle-Easternish fantasy land is to back away from that complexity while still retaining the otherness of the setting as a whole.

But some of the major Western stereotypes of the Middle East as a whole were avoided. Although polygamous marriage was an element in A Thousand Nights, in both books, women were largely respected by their male friends, husbands, fathers, and brothers. War and violence is something else Westerners associate with the Middle East, but in these stories, there was purpose to them.

Like I said, I'm not the person to really examine this. If you have background and opinions that are better informed than mine, please let me know so I can add some links.

FURTHER further reading

Islamophobia in YA

Renee Ahdieh, author of The Wrath and the Dawn, briefly discusses the process of worldbuilding a Middle-Eastern infleunced fantasy world

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46. Live From #KidLitPalooza!

Stay tuned this morning as I add to this post about #KidLitPalooza, live from this amazing event that connects children's authors to students!

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47. Live From #KidLitPalooza!

Stay tuned this morning as I add to this post about #KidLitPalooza, live from this amazing event that connects children's authors to students!

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48. Parenthood, a Healthy Nightmare

My husband and I are lucky enough to have good jobs which provide a nice house, a reliable car and we try to go on at least two vacations a year. We both adore the beach and would agree that the perfect day would be spent with the sun on our backs and a cocktail in hand.
Two years ago our life changed dramatically, we found out that I was pregnant. At first, we were nervous and a little anxious, but we soon came around to the idea of becoming parents.

Like many aspects of our lives, we tried to plan for every situation that we could possibly face. We made sure we had as many gadgets that would make our lives as easy as possible. The nursery was complete three months before our baby arrived, and I must admit, it was fit for a princess!

New Arrival

Our baby, Jessica, arrived as planned, and like many new parents, our only wish for was a happy and healthy baby. We were blessed and everything went very well. I had read some terrifying stories, but thankfully, we weren’t cursed with bad luck and had no major problems to report.

The first three months came as a bit of a shock, new born babies don’t come with a manual after all! Sleepless nights, a crying baby and endless amounts of washing, but it was all worth it.

When Jessica was a new born, feeding was easy, babies only consume one thing… milk!!
As Jessica got older, we found that finding healthy foods was a problem. We tried numerous manufactured foods, but she didn’t seem to like any of them. I had read a few articles about making your own food, so thought that I would give it a shot.
The recipes were simple, basically fruit, vegetables (and meat if you choose) could be blended into the correct texture. Making your own food is fantastic, you can be sure of what is going into each meal. No additives or preservatives, just good wholesome food.
After deciding that homemade food was the route I was going to take, I decided to look into buying a good quality blender. I found a website called http://www.blendaway.us/ and they gave me all of the information I needed to make a choice on the blender that was right for me.

A Perfect Solution

Feeding Jessica became so easy, I could knock up a large batch of blended vegetables and freeze it, then defrost ready for use as and when I needed it. Not only was this a fantastic solution because I knew what was going into the food, it seemed that Jessica couldn’t get enough of my home made meals too. A baby that is eating regularly is generally a healthy one, this took some of my major concerns away. It really was the perfect solution.

When it came to moving onto solids, Jessica was already used to vegetables and fruit, so a balanced and healthy menu wasn’t a problem. I understand a lot of children turn those types of food away, but because healthy food was all she was given, she really didn’t know any different. We were more than happy with our decision to opt for home-made baby food.

Two years have passed since our life changing turn of events, and if I am honest, I wouldn’t change her for anything. Even though we both had reservations about being able to provide her with all she needs, and maintain our lifestyle, these reservations later proved to be unfounded.

We still manage to go on vacation, even if our latest trips are to places more suited to Jessica. We are both enjoying parenthood, and even though it is hard work, it has turned out to be the most rewarding of tasks either of us have ever had to face.

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49. Why Would Writing Stop When School Ends?

"Janie, you have a lifetime of writing. Writing, collecting stories, and sharing with others is a gift of life, and it never ends. Aren't we lucky Janie?"

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50. 10 Things Librarians Should Do Before School is Out

It's the final countdown! Another school year in the books (well, nearly...). Why does it seem like the beginning and end of the year are the most frantic times? 100 million things to do, and not enough time. Here are ten things that can help you prioritize before you go out the doors and into summertime!!

  1. Advertise your library social media accounts. That way people can follow you or at least contact you if they need to. Today's new library doesn't ever close, even during summer. If you keep your social media accounts active, you'll have no problem helping people who may need it from a book recommendation or how to access a database.

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Discover & Share this Twitter GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.

2. Summer and reading go together like ice cream and a spoon. Get out information on how to “check out” books for the summer.  Required reading or pleasure reading? Let staff and students know how to access the campus library e-books. Flyers, online or physical posters, email, social media, websites...whatever it takes, let people know they have access to the virtual library

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Discover & Share this Reading GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
3. We can never escape from it....professional development. We all need it, we all have to have it. So make sure you go for the best.  Start looking at your favorite sites and places you know will have top-notch PD, including webinars. (and if you're in Texas, come to our NTX Libcamp! http://ntxlibcamp.weebly.com/ )

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Discover & Share this Boxing GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
4. Take your computer (or device you work with the most) home with you. It’ll save you gas money and headaches. I've often said, "Oh, I'll pick it up on the way..." famous last words! Make sure you can get to it quick. And if it's a desktop, welllllll...

Internet GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Discover & Share this Internet GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
5. Write down those usernames and passwords. Yes, for your databases but also for ALL THE OTHER things you'll need to remember. Summertime seems to zap memories, especially to whatever you have in the library that needs one (this also includes combination locks too). Don't put yourself in the position of adding to your first week of school frenzy by forgetting them!

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6. Share your knowledge! It never hurts to have a presentation or two ready for those just in case moments when you may get a message asking if you can present to new teachers/other staff or be a part of summer professional development. And if not, then start creating a kickin' library orientation for the new kids coming to campus in the fall!

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7. Get a copy of next year’s calendar now. Find out when new teachers are coming in, when school actually starts for students, and when each six weeks starts. And you know you're going to get well-prepared teachers who want to reserve the library for next year.

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8. Make of list of your TBR (to be read) and let that be your summer goal. Or at least 3 of the best books on it (decisions decisions!)

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9. Meet with local public librarians and see how both of you can collaborate on programs for the summer and possibly for the next school year. Nothing feels better than connecting with your community!

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10. Make a list of your favorite librarifriends you’d love to spend the weekend with, find an Airbnb on a beach somewhere and send out those e-vites! And if that doesn't pan out, tell them you'll see them at conference for a night out!

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