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26. 30 Days of Teen Programming: Project Outcome & Field-Based Examples of Measuring Outcomes of Young Adult Services

YALSA’s recently updated Teen Programming Guidelines encourage the use of evidence-based outcome measurement as a means of developing meaningful programs for young people. The Public Library Association - through its latest field-driven initiative, Project Outcome - is also working to assist with librarians’ efforts to capture the true value and impact of programs and services. At ALA Annual 2016, PLA will launch Project Outcome, designed to help any programmer measure outcomes beyond traditional markers such as circulation and program attendance. Instead, Project Outcome focuses on documenting how library services and programs affect our patrons’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors. It will help librarians use concrete data to prove what they intuitively know to be true: Communities are strengthened by public libraries and patrons find significant value in library services.

Lessons from the Field:  Skokie (IL) Public Library

At Skokie Public Library, we participated in the pilot testing of Project Outcome in the fall of 2014 by administering surveys for 10 different programs. The surveys were conducted online, on paper, and through in-person interviews. In one example, teens attending a class about biotechnology were interviewed using a survey designed to measure outcomes for “Education/Lifelong Learning.” Participants ranked the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with statements measuring knowledge, confidence, application, and awareness. Results showed that 85% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they learned something helpful, while only 43% agreed or strongly agreed that they intended to apply what they just learned. The results demonstrated some improvement in subject knowledge, information that can be useful for advocacy. But it also revealed that there’s room for growth in ensuring program participants understand how they can apply what they’re learning. In an open-ended question asking what they liked most about the program, teens mentioned the chemical experiments conducted during the program. This type of data is something that we can pay attention to when planning future programs.

In another example, we surveyed teens participating in a program titled, “Slam Poetry: Are We So Different?” Since this program was part of a community-wide initiative to discuss how race shapes our lives, we asked questions to measure the impact on participants’ knowledge, awareness, and application. 83% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they felt more knowledgeable about the issues of race and racism in the community, while 67% agreed or strongly agreed that the program inspired them to take action or make a change. This type of outcome measurement goes much deeper into measuring the true influence of a program than simply recording the number of attendees.

Moving forward, we’ll continue to experiment with different Project Outcome surveys while also exploring other techniques. For long-term engagement, we are developing in-house digital badging systems. We prototyped a simple badging game for Teen Tech Week that provided data about the preferences of our teen patrons (see report). Not only do badges tally how many people are participating, they illuminate user behaviors on a granular level. Badges also make different opportunities throughout the library more visible and help teens track their progress toward mastery of a skill or subject.

Whether through Project Outcome or alternative techniques, evaluating outcomes is a fluid process. We’ll keep experimenting because the information we’re gathering is helpful for advocating for the library and improving what we’re doing so that we can have a greater impact on the people we serve. What we're learning confirms that the library plays a crucial role in teens’ lives, which is why it is so important to use outcome measures to make an even stronger case for funding, partnerships, adding staff, and garnering community support.

If you are interested in learning how to enroll in Project Outcome once it launches, please sign up for ongoing updates at http://www.ala.org/pla/performancemeasurement or contact Emily Plagman, Project Manager with PLA at eplagman@ala.org.


For more information about Skokie Public Library’s use of outcome measures, contact:

Amy Holcomb (aholcomb@skokielibrary.info)

Amy is the Experiential Learning Librarian at Skokie Public Library and coordinates the BOOMbox and participates in other STEAM initiatives for learners of all ages.

Richard Kong (rkong@skokielibrary.info)

Richard is the Deputy Director at Skokie Public Library and helped implement the pilot testing of Project Outcome.

Shauna Masura (smasura@skokielibrary.info)

Shauna is a Young Adult Librarian at Skokie Public Library and facilitates a wide range of events and services for teens.


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27. Where do I live? Finding a Home for Puberty Books


Where should I live?

Certain collections are associated with a little bit more parental angst than others, and books about puberty, changing bodies, and human sexuality often seem to fall into this category. Some parents see their value and appreciate their inclusion in the collection, while others are aghast that a children’s library would carry such material.

While librarians agree that books dealing with these topics are important to own in a collection, the trickier subject of where these books should live often pops up, usually after a child has checked out a book with a puberty or human sexuality theme their parent is less than thrilled about. Do we keep these books in our offices and only offer them to those who ask, or is that censorship? Do we file them with the rest of the books and deal with whatever fallout may come as it happens, or are we inviting an unnecessary headache?

What about me?

What about me?

At my library, we use a two-fold solution. There is a collection in the Children’s Library called F5 Parents. The Parents collection contains a “best of” selection of parenting books, such as Raising a Digital Child and Your One-Year OldIt’s also home to a group of picture books we call “Special Topics” that parents can check out to facilitate conversations with their children about issues such as new babies, potty training, adoption, illness, and human sexuality. The younger human sexuality books, such as Hair in Funny Placeslive here, as do books designed to be shared between a parent and a child, such as It’s Perfectly Normal

Meanwhile, our Kids Self non-fiction section, which debuted Fall 2013 as a part of our non-fiction reorganization, holds the puberty and human sexuality books that are squarely aimed at the 10-14 year-olds who are experiencing these changes, such as The Care and Keeping of You and Will Puberty Last My Whole LifeThis allows kids to browse for books they might find helpful, while providing parents with a dedicated place to go for the same topics.

Where does your library keep the puberty books? Do you believe librarians should be cognizant of parental feelings on the subject, or check books out to children who want them regardless of potential parental objections?

The post Where do I live? Finding a Home for Puberty Books appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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28. Learning From Ralph Fletcher: Teaching Authentic Information Writing

Two weekends ago, thanks to Bonnie Kaplan and the Hudson Valley Writing Project, I had the great pleasure of attending Ralph Fletcher’s presentation: “Making Nonfiction from Scratch: How Can We Give Students the Time, the Tools, and the Vision They Need in Order to Create Authentic Information Writing?” I knew it would be a great morning of learning ...

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29. The Devil's Arithmetic

The Devil's Arithmetic. Jane Yolen. 1988. Penguin. 170 pages. [Source: Bought]

The Devil's Arithmetic is a captivating book. It is a story within a story. I'm not sure why it works so brilliantly, I just know it does.

The outside frame of the story is set in modern times. Hannah, the heroine, is, along with her family, preparing to celebrate the Passover Seder at another family member's home. To Hannah, this "celebration" or "observance" is a waste of time and energy. She just does not get it at all or understand why it's so important to other members of her family. It's something she has to do that she can't talk her way out of. But something happens to Hannah when she opens the front door to 'welcome Elijah.'

She opens the door to the past and walks right through. She finds herself in a Polish village in 1942! It's not Passover in 1942, but, there is a celebration going on just the same. A wedding in the village! But tragically, this wedding never occurs. The Nazis take everyone away; everyone is relocated. Hannah (Chaya) makes new friends, and fights to survive. It won't be easy. This new life, this 1942 life, becomes oh-so-painfully real to her. She knows what's coming. She knows about the death camps. She knows about how many Jews were killed, how many never came out of the camps, how many families were torn apart. She knows and can do nothing to prevent it from happening. She's powerless, but, her words still have power. Her words can shape stories that give hope and courage and strength to her fellow sufferers.

The story ends beautifully in my opinion. It may be an intense read, but, it's worth it.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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30. Seven Incredible Things a Poem Can Do! (The Third One Blew Me Away!)

Seven Incredible Things a Poem Can Do!
(The Third One Blew Me Away!)
Greg Pincus

A poem can tickle your senses.
A poem can capture a scene.
A poem can fill you with sorrow and joy
And every emotion between.

A poem can hammer out justice.
A poem can plant a truth's seed.
A poem can conjure up healing and hope.
A poem can be what you need.

Is there still a place for a poem in a world full of widely shared, attention grabbing content? Of course there is, particularly with the right title! Seriously, though, poetry was widely shared and attention grabbing for thousands of years before "meme" was even coined, and it's still going strong.

National Poetry Month is coming to a close today, but poetry goes on and on and does soooo many incredible things all the time. So celebrate poetry always. Share it widely. Because sometimes, a poem can be exactly what you need.

If you want to get all my poems emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe:

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31. #684 – Hop, Hop Bunny by Betty Schwartz, Lynn Seresin & Neiko Ng

Hop, Hop Bunny coverx


Hop, Hop Bunny

Series: Follow-Along Book
Written by Betty Schwartz & Lynn Seresintop book of 2015 general
Illustrated by Neiko Ng
Chronicle Books          3/01/2015
10 pages           7″ x 7”          Age 0—2
“Help bunny hop through the die-cut holes as she explores the garden. Where will she go? How many colors will she see? Warm illustrations and a playful adventure teach little ones hand-eye coordination and introduce them to reading fun. Punch out the piece and follow along!” [back cover]

Before reading and hopping through the die-cut hole, Bunny must be released from his stationary spot on the cover. Adults, this is your first job. All done? Good. Let’s open the book and begin.

“Bunny likes to play in the garden.
“Hop, hip Bunny. Hop between the red flowers.”

Now help your little one help Bunny hop from his home in the tree stump through a garden of red roses—look out for the snail! Bunny continues to explore, hopping up and over rocks, under a green bush, and other garden spots along the way. Bunny never gives away where her journey will lead her, how long the adventure will last, or if she has a goal.

am snap

Not only will children continue developing hand-eye coordination, but they will also learn patience and concentration. To guide Bunny through each bunny-shaped die-cut hole, none of which line up with the hole before or after it, children must first lift the right-side page, then hop Bunny—paws on the ground, please—to her next destination. A sturdy ⅛th inch ribbon, strung through each hole and then embedded into the front and back covers, keeps Bunny from losing her way.

Hop, Hop Bunny’s digital illustrations are colorful and have delightful details. Each spread contains additional critters for children to find, identify, and count. Young children will enjoy the inclusive nature of Hop, Hop Bunny, and its companion Run, Run Piglet . Children will have Bunny repeating her journey until her paws ache and her tummy growls. A terrific activity-story that will increase a child’s interest in books and the many ways they entertain us.

Betty Schwartz and Lynn Seresin also collaborated on Ten Playful Tigers: A Back-and-Forth Counting Book (reviewed coming soon).

HOP, HOP BUNNY (A FOLLOW-ALONG BOOK). Text copyright © 2015 by Betty Schwartz & Lynn Seresin. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Neiko Ng. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase Hop, Hop Bunny at AmazonBook DepositoryChronicle Books.

Learn more about Hop, Hop Bunny HERE.
Meet the author, Betty Schwartz, at her website:  
Meet the author, Lynn Seresin, at linkedin:  http://bit.ly/LynnSeresin  
Meet the illustrator, Neiko Ng, at her website:  http://www.neikoart.com/
Find more Board Books at the Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

Follow-Along Books

Run, Run Piglet 978-1-4521-2467-4

Run, Run Piglet






Review Section: word count = 269

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Hop, Hop Bunny by Betty Schwartz and Lynn Seresin - Neiko Ng -

Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Series, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: a follow-along book, activity-story, Betty Schwartz, Chronicle Books, concentration, hand-eye coordination, Hop, Hop Bunny, Lynn Seresin, Neiko Ng, patience

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32. The Eternity Key Trailer

The Eternity Key is here! Check out the awesome book trailer!

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33. Celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day

Another big celebration of children and books is coming up soon:
National Children’s Book Week, 
May 4-10, 2015 

It used to be in November, but it’s been a May event for awhile now and I’m happy to report that we have a poem for Book Week in our CELEBRATIONS book. It’s “Treasure Hunt” by Sandy Asher. Laura D. has recruited a young reader to perform this poem in both English and Spanish. 

For more information about National Children’s Book Week, check out the Children’s Book Council site HERE. It's full of fun resources! And we’re excited to be one of the publishers offering a POETRY-themed “Event Kit” for Book Week this year. It includes reproducibles, game and coloring pages, bookmarks, and a word search featuring the word “poetry” in 20 different languages! Click HERE for our Book Week poetry kit.

For the full text of this poem and 150+ more (all in English AND Spanish), order your own copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations HERE and for more Poetry Celebrations fun, click HERE. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

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34. Spring is here!

It’s springtime! In Mississippi, at least, it’s been spring for quite some time and actually hit 80 degrees last week. In celebration, let’s highlight some springtime tales for your displays! These books either have or are coming out this spring!

It’s the latest Penderwicks book! These are so lovely and the latest one is no exception. Available now, the fourth book in the Penderwicks series has a lot of heart and surprises for each family member. Your kids that have loved the last three books won’t be disappointed by this one.

Listen, Slowly is a gorgeous tale of a California girl who spends her summer with her grandmother in Vietnam. She must learn to find the balance between her two worlds. An excellent follow-up to Lai’s National Book Award Winning Inside Out and Back Again, this one is gorgeous and evocative. Your students that love to read about other places will devour this one.

Astrid and her best friend Nicole have always done everything together…until Astrid discovers roller derby. Derby is amazing and Astrid is learning so much…but what does this mean for her relationship with Nicole? An excellent addition to the growing canon of upper middle grade graphic novels that is so wonderful.

The first book in an exciting new series! Horace is absentmindedly looking out the window of the bus…when he sees a sign with his name on it.  What he finds under the sign will change his life forever. Gifts! Magic! New friends! Perfect for the fantasy lovers in your library.

Out next month, Murder is Bad Manners is a charming tale of murder and Mayhem at an English boarding school in the 1930s. Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong have formed their own secret detective agency…but they never thought they’d have a real murder to investigate! This one hits all the high points: historical fiction, mystery, and friendship.



Our guest blogger from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a Library Consultant at the Mississippi Library Commission.

The post Spring is here! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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35. 30 Days of Teen Programming: Empowering Teens Through Theater

I can take no credit in the creation of my library's longest-running teen-led program (teen programming guideline 3), and only a little for it's continued existence since I took it over in 2007. Project Playbill is an intense, 5-week summer theater program. Teens meet together at the library three days a week to write, produce and perform an original short play. Besides the inherent value in their participation, we also entice them with volunteer service credit.

In 2008, My then-supervisor told me that I could cancel Playbill if more teens didn't participate, because it sucks up a tremendous amount of time. In fact, because Playbill depends on teen leadership and labor to run, the fewer teens who show up, the more work I end up doing. That's one of the reasons why no teen is ever turned away: you can't host a teen-led program without teen participation. For the first couple of years I ran it, attendance hovered around five teens. I seriously considered putting Playbill out of its misery.

Then, in 2009, it took off. Three teens who I'd pulled in the previous year (a pair of sisters and one of their guy pals) were not only passionate about theater, but supremely talented and driven. They recruited new members on their own before summer even began. They set up a facebook page and cajoled their like-minded friends into joining. As their friends pulled in more friends, the program spread by word of mouth.  Attendance grew to the point where there wasn't a lot of work for me to do other than the occasional odd job that no one else could (to purchase spray paint in my town, for instance, you need to be over 18).

PLaybill 2014 Cast and CrewThe teens do it all: write and edit the script, lead rehearsals, throw costumes together, paint the set, play sound effects, run the lights, and even decide on casting  -- with my okay, but I've never had to say "no" to their choices. Attendance at every rehearsal is not mandatory, but the teens understand that the success of their play depends on their active participation. The skills they learn go beyond the obvious writing and acting to sticking to a schedule, working as a team, problem-solving and decision-making.

One thing I've learned is that, for the most part, teens are good at self-selecting the right roles for them. Some teens know right away that they only want to be on crew, and others are ready to do a little of everything. The younger actors are sometimes disappointed when bigger parts go to older, more experienced actors; but are usually satisfied with their smaller assignments. As they come back year after year, the teens gradually take on more responsibility. It's gratifying to watch a goofy, misfit kid grow into a funny, talented writer who gets along with everyone.

Playbill Cast and Crew 2012Attendance does go up and down a bit from year to year, as teens graduate high school and move on. Some teens have gone on to study theater or related fields in college, and I've heard that those three key members from 2009 have started their own nonprofit to help other young actors.

Last year we had 18 participate, and I'm not sure how many to expect this year. Promoting the program and recruiting new members from schools and other organizations is one area where I could do better -- the truth is that I haven't needed to promote it much over the last few years. I'm determined that as long as the teens keep showing up, however, I'll keep Project Playbill going.

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36. Conferring with Young Writers

A peek into a coaching cycle centered on writing conferences with first graders.

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37. Keep a Poem in Your Pocket by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

POEM IN YOUR POCKET DAY IS TODAY! (print, clip,pocket and share!)   Keep A Poem in Your Pocket  by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers Keep a poem in your pocket And a picture in your head And you'll never feel lonely At night when you're in bed. The little poem will sing to you  A dozen dreams to dance to you At night when you're in bed. So-- Keep a picture in your

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Here are three new board books perfect for the littlest hands in your family. Each are made with thick, difficult to tear pages that will clean off everything from baby drool to grape jelly.

From Chronicle Books: Hop, Hop Bunny (A Follow-Along Book), by Betty Schwartz and Lynn Seresin, with illustrations by Neiko Ng.

Hop, Hop Bunny cover

“Bunny is secured to a sturdy ribbon as young readers help them hop through the die-cut holes to explore the garden. Where will she go? What will she see? Warm illustrations and a tactile, interactive adventure teach little ones hand-eye coordination and introduce them to reading fun.” [publisher]

Continue reading for review and a spread . . . HERE.


Also from Chronicle Books: On My Beach (Felt Finger Puppet Board Books) by Sarah Gillingham, with illustrations by Lorena Siminovich.

On My Beach

“Turn the colorful die-cut pages of this irresistible board book to discover just what makes little crab’s beach so cozy.” [publisher]

Continue reading for review and a spread . . . HERE.


And from yesterday:
From Blue Manatee Press: Black and White Nighty-Night by Sarah Jones.

cover USE

“This unique concept book combines the ever-popular bedtime nursery rhyme with contemporary high-contrast illustrations, specifically designed with babies in mind. The youngest readers and their families will delight in the gentle story of an owl-saying goodnight to barnyard friends as they snuggle into bed. Bold black-and-white illustrations will capture babies’ interest, as the soothing rhymes lull them to sleep.”

Continue reading for review and a spread . . . HERE.
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Filed under: Board Books, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Series Tagged: Betty Schwartz, Black and White Nighty-Night, Blue Manatee Press, Chronicle Books, Hop, Hop Bunny (A Follow-Along Book), Lorena Siminovich, Lynn Seresin, Neiko Ng, On My Beach (Felt Finger Puppet Board Books), Sarah Gillingham, Sarah Jones

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39. Sentimentality & Storytime

I’ve spent the week with a case of the sniffles. And not because of a cold, thank goodness! It’s our last week of our spring storytime session and it’s a mixture of emotions.

Storytime Evaluation Sheet [Photo courtesy of the author, originally posted on Instagram]

Storytime Evaluation Sheet [Photo courtesy of the author, originally posted on Instagram]

Thank Yous
This week has been full of thanks. From one of my toddlers who has finally mastered signing “thank you” in American Sign Language to the parent who thanked me for teaching her child how to say his name with our name fingerplay. And of course, there’s a lot of gratitude in our evalution sheets. The one pictures is actually from our winter session since I forgot to snap a picture earlier today.

With all of that thanks comes the goodbyes. The graduates — some of which I’ve had in my toddler storytime since I started at my library a year ago. A year ago we were strangers and now we’ve both got separation anxiety as they move up to our preschoool class. And the families that are moving away, both far and near, who made sure to snap pictures with me and give me hugs at the end of their last class.

Thank you" picture; I'm the one with hearts coming out of my chest. [Photo courtesy of the author, originally posted on Instagram]

“Thank you” picture; I’m the one with hearts coming out of my chest. [Photo courtesy of the author, originally posted on Instagram]

Personal Connections
The babies who have become so comfortable with me after seven weeks that they reach out to be picked up and cuddled. The toddlers who run into class full-strength at my chair to get the seat next to Miss Katie. Seeing an entire room of patrons enthusiastically participating in our goodbye rhyme because they know it by heart now.

Basically, I’m a wreck and though I know I need that break before summer reading starts, I’m already missing my weekly kiddos. I’ll just have to keep looking at pictures and counting the days until kick-off.

Do you get sentimental at the end of storytime? I can’t be the only one with watery eyes! Let all those feelings out in the comments!

– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library

The post Sentimentality & Storytime appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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40. Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems vt J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Michael Slack

J. Patrick Lewis, former U.S. Children's Poet Laureate and author of Take Two! A Celebration of Twins and World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You've Never Heard Of, among many others, had written Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems, illustrated by Michael Slack. In Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems, not only does Lewis parody poems by greats like

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41. Neon Aliens Ate My Homework and Other Poems, by Nick Cannon (ages 6-9)

What makes a great book for kids? I'd say it's a book that makes them want to read more, a book that makes them smile or wonder, a book that makes them think about it after they close the page. It's a book that inspires kids to create their own stories and feel the power of their own words. Neon Aliens Ate My Homework is a collection of poems from comedian, musician and actor Nick Cannon that did just that.
Neon Aliens Ate My Homework and Other Poems
by Nick Cannon
illustrated by Nick Cannon, Art Mobb, and more
Scholastic, 2015
Your local library
ages 6-9
*best new book*
Cannon shares a collection of poems that range from giggle-inducing to gross, thought-provoking to full of bravado, and this variety was very appealing to my students. They loved how one minute they were laughing about neon aliens eating up Nick's backpack to the next minute thinking about how they can believe in themselves and stand up to bullies who spread hatred. 

Throughout, Cannon shows kids the power of words -- the words they read, and the words they write or say themselves. He starts by honoring Shel Silverstein, still a favorite among my students. This lets us talk about the power of books, both their staying power (their kids might read these same books!) but also the escape that they can provide during difficult times.
"He changed my life with just his words.
The utmost respect is what he deserves.
He made me smile in my tough times,
He encouraged me to live life through my rhymes."
We were able to dig into some of his imagery and characterization, whether Cannon used it to inspire us ("SuperMom" below) or entertain us ("Pink Lunch Lady"). His poems resonated with my students. They understand how a mom can be "soft yet tough" and could see how his examples helped show this.
"She can multitask with lightning-fast hands,
And the brightest of lights shines wherever she stands.
She goes to work in the morning, conquers school at night.
She can read minds and knows how to break up a fight."
Today, my students especially responded to the poem "Haters." We talked about Cannon's message and the power of his words. We talked about what the imagery meant, how hate can melt away. These are all skills that the Common Core is asking students to do -- but here, we are taking a modern poem that speaks to their experience to show how meaningful it can be.
'Haters like to bully, but I will not waver.
Haters think they're tough, but I'm the one who's braver.
Haters are doubters, and I'm a believer.
Haters are cowards, and I'm an achiever.
One day when I'm older, living my dream,
I'll let that hate melt away, just like ice cream."
Seek out this book and the audio recording. You can hear Nick Cannon reading his poems, which conveys how heartfelt so many of these poems are. My experience is that 2nd and 3rd graders respond best to this collection, hitting the same sweet spot as Shel Silverstein.

Illustrations ©2015 by Nick Cannon, Art Mobb, and Morf; used with permission from Scholastic. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Scholastic. The audiobook review copy was borrowed from our local library as a downloadable audio through Hoopla. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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42. Making Your Voice Heard: How to Participate in National Library Legislative Day from the Comfort of Your Desk

Ah, Spring! Flowers are blooming, the weather is finally grudgingly warming up…and at ALSC, planning is well under way for National Library Legislative Day. On May 4-5, library advocates from across the United States will travel to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness of issues librarians hold near and dear to our hearts.

Of particular interest to ALSC members is the advocacy that is being done on behalf of school libraries. As the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions works on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA–the rebranded No Child Left Behind Act), ALA is pushing for amendments that will mandate effective library programs in every school. In other words, by federal law, every student will have access to a school library that is staffed by a certified librarian, equipped with up-to-date materials and technology, and enriched by a curriculum jointly developed by the school’s librarian and teachers. Another push is for legislation that will permit state program funds to be used to recruit and train school librarians.

In addition, ALA is supporting the President’s budget request of $186.6 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and maintaining the fiscal year 2015 level of funding ($25 million) for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL), a grant program for school libraries. Half of all IAL funding provides school library materials to low-income communities, while LSTA is used to target library services to people of many geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, to disabled individuals, and to people with limited literacy skills.

Clearly, these are important causes. I would like to say that if I knew my presence in Washington, D.C. could guarantee an effective school library in every school in the country, I would start walking that way right now. And while I won’t actually be able to make it this year, I know that I can be there in spirit, and that my voice will be heard, thanks to the power of Virtual Legislative Day. Very soon, a toolkit will be ready that will enable you to participate in Legislative Day from your computer keyboard. Keep an eye on the Everyday Advocacy site, where, in the next day or two, you’ll be able to find templates for writing your representatives and senators, talking points so that you can call your representatives and senators, and ready-to-post social-media messages, all in one easy-to-use package.


Today’s post was written by Eileen Makoff, a librarian at P.S. 90 Edna Cohen School in Brooklyn, for the Advocacy and Legislative Committee of ALSC.

The post Making Your Voice Heard: How to Participate in National Library Legislative Day from the Comfort of Your Desk appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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43. Stink Moody in Master of Disaster by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Erwin Madrid, 64 pp, RL 2

It is rare that I review more than one book in a series, but sometimes I love a series so much that I want to review a book again, just in case anyone missed it the first time around. Last year I reviewed Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble, the first book in this new sibling (in more ways than one) series featuring the characters from Megan McDonald's Judy Moody series, which spawned the  Stink

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44. May 4-10, 2015 Celebrating Children’s Book Week

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45. April Reflections

In April I reviewed 61 books.

Board books:

  1. Board Book: The Babies and Doggies Book. John Schindel and Molly Woodward. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 26 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  2. Board Book: This Little Piggy. A Finger & Toes Nursery Rhyme Book. Natalie Marshall. 2015. [May] Scholastic. 12 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. Board book: Red Light, Green Light. Yumi Heo. 2015. [June] Scholastic. 20 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Picture books:
  1. Hippos Are Huge. Jonathan London. Illustrated by Matthew Trueman. 2015. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music. Margarita Engle. Illustrated by Rafael Lopez. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. The Maine Coon's Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers. Michael J. Rosen. Illustrated by Lee White. 2015. Candlewick. 56 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  4. Dick Whittington and His Cat. Told and cut in linoleum by Marcia Brown. 1950. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages. [Source: Bought]
  5. Never Ask a Dinosaur to Dinner. Gareth Edwards. Illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees. 2015. [April] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  6. Jampires. Sarah McIntyre. Illustrated by David O'Connell. 2015. [June] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  7. The Cat In the Hat Comes Back. Dr. Seuss. 1958. Random House. 63 pages. [Source: Library]
  8. Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories. Dr. Seuss. 1958/2008. Random House. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  9. Happy Birthday to You! Dr. Seuss. 1959. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]
  10. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. Dr. Seuss. 1960. Random House. 60 pages. [Source: Library]
  11. Side by Side. Rachel Bright. Illustrated by Debi Gliori. 2015. [April] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  12. Prince of a Frog. Jackie Urbanovic. 2015. [May] Scholastic.  32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  13. Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure. Derek Anderson. 2015. [April] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Early readers/early chapter books:
  1. The Bears on Hemlock Mountain. Alice Dalgliesh. Illustrated by Helen Sewell. 1952. 64 pages. [Source: Bought]

Middle grade:
  1. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. C.S. Lewis. 1950. HarperCollins. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]
  2. Prince Caspian. C.S. Lewis. 1951. HarperCollins. 240 pages. [Source: Bought]
  3. The Family Under the Bridge. Natalie Savage Carlson. Illustrated by Garth Williams. 1958/1989. HarperCollins. 123 pages.
  4. The Devil's Arithmetic. Jane Yolen. 1988. Penguin. 170 pages. [Source: Bought]
  5. Number the Stars. Lois Lowry. 1989. (Won Newbery in 1990) 137 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  6. Gone Away Lake. Elizabeth Enright. 1957. 256 pages. [Source: Library]
  7. Ginger Pye. Eleanor Estes. 1950. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 306 pages. [Source: library]
  8. Charlotte's Web. E.B. White. Illustrated by Garth Williams. 1952. HarperCollins. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  9. Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison. Lois Lenski. 1941. HarperCollins. 298 pages. [Source: Bought]
  10. Henry and Beezus. Beverly Cleary. 1952. HarperCollins. 224 pages. [Source: Library] 
  11.  Beezus and Ramona. Beverly Cleary. 1955. HarperCollins. 208 pages. [Source: Library]
  12. Ramona the Pest. Beverly Cleary. 1968. HarperCollins. 208 pages. [Source: Library]  
  13. Ramona the Brave. Beverly Cleary. 1975. HarperCollins. 208 pages. [Source: Library]
  14. Ramona and Her Father. Beverly Cleary. 1977. HarperCollins. 208 pages. [Source: Library] 
  15. Ramona and Her Mother. Beverly Cleary. 1977. HarperCollins. 224 pages. [Source: Library]  
  16. Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Beverly Cleary. 1981. HarperCollins. 208 pages. [Source: Library]
  17. Ramona Forever. Beverly Cleary. 1984. HarperCollins. 208 pages. [Source: Library]
  18. Ramona's World. Beverly Cleary. 1999. HarperCollins. 240 pages. [Source: Library]
  19. Bo at Iditarod Creek. Kirkpatrick Hill. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. 2014. Henry Holt. 288 pages. [Source: Library] 
  20. Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky. Sandra Dallas. 2014. Sleeping Bear Press. 216 pages. [Source: Library]
  21. Twice Upon A Time: Rapunzel The One With All The Hair. Wendy Mass. 2006. Scholastic. 205 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  22. A Girl from Yamhill. Beverly Cleary. 1988/1996. HarperCollins. 352 pages. [Source: Library]

Young adult:
  1. Seraphina. Rachel Hartman. 2012. Random House. 499 pages. [Source: Library] 
  2. Scarlet. A.C. Gaughen. 2012. Walker. 292 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. Dragon Slippers. Jessica Day George. 2007. Bloomsbury USA. 324 pages. [Source: Library]  
  4. Dragon Flight. Jessica Day George. Bloomsbury USA. 272 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. Dragon Spear. Jessica Day George. 2009. Bloomsbury USA. 248 pages. [Source: Library]

Adult fiction:
  1. Miss Marjoribanks. Margaret Oliphant. 1866. 512 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  2. Green for Danger. Christianna Brand. 1944. 256 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  3. Big Over Easy (Nursery Crime #1) Jasper Fforde. 2005. 383 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. The Fourth Bear (Nursery Crime #2) Jasper Fforde. 2006.  382 pages. [Source: Library]

Adult nonfiction:
  1. 17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis, and the Biggest Cover-Up in History. Andrew Morton. 2015. 384 pages. [Source: Library]

Christian fiction:

  1. Creole Princess (Gulf Coast Chronicles #2). Beth White. 2015. Revell. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Christian nonfiction:
  1. Kept for Jesus: What The New Testament Really Teaches About Assurance of Salvation and Eternal Security. Sam Storms. 2015. Crossway. 208 pages. [Source: Library] 
  2. A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C.S. Lewis. Devin Brown. 2013. 256 pages. [Source: Library] 
  3. Gospel: Recovering the Power That Made Christianity Revolutionary. J.D. Greear. Foreword by Timothy Keller. 2011. B&H Books. 266 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  4. Isaiah: God Saves Sinners. Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr. R. (Preaching The Word Commentaries). Crossway. 2005. 496 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  5. Bringing Narnia Home: Lessons from the Other Side of the Wardrobe. Devin Brown. 2015. Abingdon Press. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. Cross: Unrivaled Christ, Unstoppable Gospel, Unreached Peoples, Unending Joy. General Editors: John Piper and David Mathis. 2015. B&H Publishing. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  7. It is Finished: 365 Days of Good News. Tullian Tchividjian. 2015. David C. Cook. 368 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  8. Luther on the Christian Life. Carl R. Trueman. 2015. Crossway. 224 pages. [Source: Library] 
  9. God is the Gospel: Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself. John Piper. 2005. Crossway. 192 pages. [Source: Bought]
  10. A Travelogue of the Interior: Finding Your Voice and God's Heart in the Psalms. Karen Dabaghian. 2015. David C. Cook. 274 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  11. Experiencing the New Birth: Studies in John 3. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. 2015. Crossway. 400 pages. [Source: Review copy]

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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46. The Maine Coon's Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers by Mihcael J. Rosen, illustrated by Lee White

I love cats and I love haiku, so it makes sense that I find The Maine Coon's Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Lee White absolutely charming and fascinating. The Maine Coon's Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers consists of 20 poems, one each for a different breed of cat, divided into four sections that any cat owner will immediately recognize:

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47. Gone-Away Lake (1957)

Gone Away Lake. Elizabeth Enright. 1957. 256 pages. [Source: Library]

I enjoyed reading Elizabeth Enright's Gone-Away Lake. I am so glad to be participating in the Newbery Through the Decades reading project. I've been motivated to read many books that I probably never would have read.

Gone-Away Lake tells the summertime adventure of two cousins: Portia and Julian. Early on in the summer these two stumble upon a muddy, dried-up lake. They discover a "ghost town" of sorts--the remnants of a lake resort community. To their great surprise, they discover that it is not as abandoned as it first appeared. Two people still live there. A brother and sister. (They live in separate houses.) Her name is Mrs. Cheever. His name is Mr. Payton. The four become friends--good friends. There are thousands of stories to be shared. Much to explore. Much to do.

I enjoyed this one very much. It's not an action-packed story (though it does have an intense scene or two--at least relatively speaking). It's definitely driven by the interesting characters. (Something I can definitely appreciate!)

Have you read Gone-Away Lake? What did you think? How do you think it compares to Thimble Summer?

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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48. “Smart girls are funny girls”. Announcing FUNNY GIRL at long last

Call it fate. Call it kismet. Call it the stars aligning, the moon in ascendance, the converging of the planets, whatever you like. When I saw last week that there was a topic trending on Twitter called #WomenWriteFunny, started by Angie Manfredi, it was clear that the hour had come.  For a long time a project has been ruminating. I’ve kept it under wraps as long as possible but if you saw the following in your PW Children’s Bookshelf yesterday evening then it’s safe to say that the jig is officially up. To wit:

Yes.  I have joined forces with Sharyn November, the illustrious Viking editor, who has taken my idea and sprinted, not just run, with it.  And it all began with a problem.

You see, friends, I’m a fan of the funny.  I understand the necessity for serious fare, of course.  Serious has its place in this world, absolutely.  But so does humor, and over time it took me a while to realize that there was something missing in the marketplace.  At first I thought I just hadn’t been looking hard enough but eventually it became clear as crystal: There isn’t a single, solitary collection of funny stuff for kids written by women, out there.  Not one.  Zippo.  Zero.  Zilch.

So I did what any enterprising librarian might.  I polled folks on Facebook.  I asked the ones with kids, both boys and girls, to simply name “the funniest women they could think of”.  A simple request, no?  The results were just as fascinating as I thought they’d be.  Some kids mentioned contemporary comics (Zooey Deschanel, Amy Poehler, and Tiny Fey being the most frequently mentioned).  Some were unable to think of any women at all.  And none of them mentioned writers or comic artists.

Hence, FUNNY GIRL (and yes, I know Nick Hornsby recently published a book of the same name but Streisand starred in a film of the same name in 1968 so it’s not like it hasn’t been used several times over).  It’s the book I wish I could have read when I was a kid.  I think the closest thing I had was a collection of female cartoonists that was so-so on the humor scale.

One might ask why such a book is necessary.  After all, there are plenty of funny women out there, writing for kids.  There are indeed, and many of them are brilliant, but imagine if you could see them all at one time.  What could be the impact?  I asked two of my contributors, Shannon Hale and Rita Williams-Garcia, to talk a bit on the subject.  Shannon, a writer I’ve found very funny thanks to her RAPUNZEL’S REVENGE and PRINCESS IN BLACK, waxed eloquent:

“So why does it matter? Why do kids need to see/hear/read women being funny? And hear adults acknowledging that they are funny? Because stereotypes shut down possibilities. The ‘class clown’ is always a boy. The actually truly funny girls in class are just ‘obnoxious’ or ‘attention-seekers.’ Boys who are funny are encouraged, laughed, cheered. Girls who are funny are told to behave, shush, sit down. Comedy is a gift to humanity. How sad and pointless life would be without good laughs. We need to see girls being funny, encourage them to develop their sense of humor, reward them for the cleverness and intelligence it takes to make jokes. They’ll be happier, more fulfilled human beings. And so will we. The more comedy the better!”

Fair enough, but why would authors join this collection?  Take one example of why from Rita Williams-Garcia:

“I’d sworn off anthologies for scheduling reasons, but when I learned of this collection, I immediately called my editor daughter. ‘We have to do this!’ At 4, Michelle had her own talk show, opened it with a minute of ‘schtick’, and had little sister, Stephanie as her second banana. She and Stephanie’s routine said it all: Smart girls are funny girls.”

Sharyn and I have already culled together our list of potential candidates for inclusion.  Some have already been contacted and some will be contacted soon.  In the end, we will produce something girls would actually want to read, whether they’re on the beach, at camp, or in the privacy of their own room.  We’re filling it with visual artists galore as well as authors well established and new.  And here’s the kicker: It’s actually going to be funny. And fantastic.  And amazing.

No joke.


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49. If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

I am very embarrassed to say that this is the first book by  Kadir Nelson I have reviewed here. Nelson is an award winning artist who's work can be seen on postage stamps and New Yorker covers. Nelson has also won many awards for the children's books he has illustrated and written. His authorial debut, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball won the Seibert Award, the Coretta

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50. #685 – On My Beach by Sarah Gillingham & Lorena Siminovich

On My Beachx


On My Beach

Series: Felt Finger Puppet Board Books
Written by Sarah Gillinghamtop book of 2015 general
Illustrated by Lorena Siminovich
Chronicle Books           5/01/2015
10 pages       7” x 7”      Age 0—2
“Turn the colorful pages of this irresistible board book to discover just what makes little crab’s beach so cozy. Is it the warm tide pool? Is it the soft sand? No, it’s little crab’s family! Bright pictures, a sweet, reassuring message, and an adorable finger puppet fi this book with reading and playtime fun!” [back cover]

On his beach, Little Crab relates a day of fun activities for readers. Ah, before you turn the cover, turn the book over. In the center of the back cover is an opening—a die-cut circle—waiting for you to bring Little Crab to life! He is actually a finger puppet crab.

“On my beach, I race over sand with my friends,
“I hide between the treasures in the warm tide pool . . . “

Beginning with the first spread, each die-cut opening decreases in size (5” diameter on the cover down to 2 ½” diameter on the next-to-last spread—perfect for the 2” oval Little Crab. The circles might sound bland; they are not. Smooth circles alternate with wavy circles, much like the pattern waves leave as they return to sea. I really love this eye-pleasing, 3-dimensional pattern. I think young children will also like the different textures.

Little Crab decides to race over his beach with his sea creature friends. Helping him navigate the beach puts children into the story. Without them, Little Crab could not navigate his way through the sand and water. Upon reaching his destination, Little Crab enjoys a nap with . . . sorry, only Little Crab can reveal his companions.

On My Beach_int 1

I think young children will enjoy becoming Little Crab and wiggling him through seaweed and splashing the orange crab in a wave pool. One caveat: little hands might find holding the book, while playing with the finger puppet, awkward. On My Beach is a good size for a board book story, with traditionally thick, glossy—difficult to tear, easy to clean—cardboard pages. The 7” x 7” book is a perfect fit for my hands, enabling me to navigate Little Crab through his story while easily turning the pages. Young children might need to adjust—every confidence they will—using problem solving, imagination, and dexterity.

The varying seascapes and critters, rendered in collage, are bright and inviting, working perfectly with the cover. Young children will love the combination of story and an interesting puppet. The stuff that interest young children and their enjoyment of books include a good story, an interesting character, including play, and becoming part of the adventure are all found in On My Beach. The latest title in the (first published in 2009), will entertain young children. From a barn to a pond and patch, the Felt Finger Puppet Board Books series introduces young children to a variety of places and things (see list of titles below).

ON MY BEACH (FELT FINGER PUPPET BOARD BOOKS). Text copyright © 2015 by Sarah Gillingham. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Lorena Siminovich. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase On My Beach at AmazonBook DepositoryChronicle Books.

Learn more about On My Beach HERE.
Meet the author, Sarah Gillingham, at her website:  http://www.saragillingham.com/
Meet the illustrator, Lorena Siminovich, at her website:  http://www.lorenasiminovich.com/
Find more board books at the Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

Felt Finger Puppet Board Books

 In My Barn  978-1-4521-0641-0

In My Barn

In My Den  978-0-8118-7053-5

In My Den

In My Flower  978-0-8118-7339-0

In My Flower

In My Forest  978-0-8118-7566-0

In My Forest




In My Jungle  978-0-8118-7716-9

In My Jungle

 On My Leaf  978-1-4521-0813-1

On My Leaf

In My Meadow  978-0-8118-7338-3

In My Meadow

In My Nest  978-0-8118-6555-5

In My Nest





In My Ocean  978-0-8118-7717-6

In My Ocean

In My Patch  978-0-8118-7567-7

In My Patch

In My Pond  978-0-8118-6556-2

In My Pond

In My Tree  978-0-8118-7052-8

In My Tree







Review Section: word count = 394

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
On My Beach by Sarah Gillingham & Lorena Siminovich - Chronicle Books 2015

Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Board Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Series, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: Chronicle Books, dexterity, die-cut children’s books, Felt Finger Puppet Board Books Series, imagination, Lorena Siminovich, On My Beach, problem solving, Sarah Gillingham

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