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A Teen and Tween Librarian's thoughts on books, reading and adventures in the library.
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1. Batman Day at the Library-or How to Plan a Program in Three Days

Batman loves the library

Part of being a librarian means the ability to be flexible and spontaneous. When I got to work on Wednesday (which was Batman Day) I was told that we had been getting calls about a Batman Day at the Library celebration we were hosting on Saturday. Turns out we were advertised on the DC Comics Blog as a location hosting a Batman celebration on Saturday. (I think this occurred when I requested some promotional Batman items, but I'm not exactly sure) All I know is that we were given three days to plan an unexpected program. Luckily, I work with an amazing team (and a wonderfully nerdy team!) of people so we threw together an amazing program.

Planning a program in just a few days took a lot of brainstorming and Batman research. But I'm amazingly lucky to work with a great group of people who all jumped on board and helped out. Everyone took on a task, worked together, and created a pretty incredible program that was a lot of fun. We tried to keep the activities simple and fun and stuck to a lot of basics like trivia, games, and crafts.

Here's what we did:

-Screenings of Batman The Animated Series. According to my husband, who is a big Batman fan, this series is the best of the animated series and might be the best incarnation of Batman on screen, so we knew it would be a hit as part of our party. 

-Bat Trivia. I found several quizzes on Sporcle.com that I adapted for our Batman trivia. I made sure to have some that were easy (name the characters) to hard (who said it-Batman or Shakespeare?)

-Scavenger Hunt-my amazing staff pulled together to create some amazing scavenger hunts around the library (and these sneakily taught our kids all about the library!) One scavenger hunt included riddles from the Riddler that needed to be solved. The riddles were clues to the locations of the question marks around the library. The other scavenger hunt was a hunt down the villains around the library. We printed off pictures of the characters and hung them around the library for the kids to find.

-Bat Villain shooting gallery. My awesome staff put this together as well and created a shooting gallery using nerf guns, styrofoam blocks, and pictures of various bat villains. This was recycled from our Star Wars program and worked well with Batman too. It was a huge hit and the kids loved it. It was also fun for the younger kids who couldn't do the scavenger hunt or trivia.

-Batarang Toss-Using the diecut machine, we cut out dies and my staff created black and yellow boxes for the kids to toss bats into. Another good activity for the younger kids.
-Build Gotham City-I couldn't have done this without my staff who again, pulled together to cover wooden blocks in black paper to create Gotham City building blocks. This was another option for the younger kids.

-Batman Cubee crafts-printed off from the Cubee Craft website

-A Batman Fan Discussion-my husband led this discussion for teens and adults about all things Batman-the best actor to portray Batman, best Bat Villain, best movie/TV Show, thoughts on the upcoming movie and Gotham TV Show, and various Batman theories. 

-Lots of freebies and goodies! Thanks to our local comic book store and Random House, we were able to give away lots of great posters, Batman masks, buttons, tattoos, and comics. 

Why yes, I actually get paid to dress up and pose with Batman! My job is awesome!

And of course, the highlight of the program was having Batman at the library! I am very lucky that I was able to meet our local Batman. We have the most amazing guy in town that dresses up as Batman and makes appearances and I was able to book him for the morning to come take photos with the kids. It was a huge hit and the kids were in awe of him. The best was seeing the kids dressed up and being amazed that their favorite superhero was right in front of them! And I got to promote the library to Batman which was pretty awesome!

We decorated the room with diecut bats and I cut out a skyline of Gotham City from a tri-fold science board that I had painted black with yellow windows. One of my amazing co-workers created a Bat Signal using a projector and Powerpoint that we projected onto the ceiling. I also used print outs of a Bat Signal on the floor to lead patrons down the concourse and around the corner to where the event was and where Batman was located for photos. Seeing a video of a previous Batman appearance, I made sure to have a barricade up to keep a line for photos going smoothly. 

We promoted the program through our media channels, distributed fliers to local comic book stores, promoted in on library Facebook pages (and got coverage on Batman's page too!) as well as being advertised on our area visitor's bereau blog and on DC Comics blogs. For putting together a three day program, all of my staff and awesome co-workers came together wonderfully and helped spread the word. We ended up having over 100 people at the event, which was pretty impressive for doing something on such short notice! 

Overall the program was incredibly well attended and well received. We had plenty of activities, but if we did it again, I would like to book a larger room, since we were in our smaller Story Hour Room. This way everything could be more spread out. All the activities ran themselves really well so staff didn't have to do much but mingle, restock supplies and hand out prizes. 

It was a great success and I can't wait to host another Batman Day at the Library!

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2. The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 9/17/2013

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About the Book: Billy Miller is about to enter second grade-and that means a lot of new things are on the horizon. Billy is growing up and he's not quite sure what to think about it or how to navigate elementary school. He wants to be a responsible member of the family, help his younger sister and his working mom and stay at home dad. Second grade is going to be quite the year for Billy Miller.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Every summer it seems like the early chapter books fly off the library shelves. As young beginning readers are starting to branch out and read chapter books on their own, books like Junie B Jones and Magic Tree House can't stay on the shelf. Yet every once in awhile I get a young reader who isn't interested in reading about girls-and there are oh-so-many titles about spunky, creative, engaging girls. So when I first read The Year of Billy Miller, I knew this was going to become my go-to book suggestion for those readers.

Billy Miller deserves a spot next to Ramona, Junie B, Clementine, and Judy Moody. He navigates his second grade year with the excitement and trepidation that comes with that age. Kevin Henkes masterfully draws on Billy's emotions to make him a relateable and realistic character. Billy wants to help out at home and enjoy "kid-ish" activities, but is also wondering if maybe it's time to grow up. He's always called his dad Papa, but isn't sure if that's really okay anymore and thinks he should try calling him Dad. He has a nemesis at school that he's just not sure what to think of. He doesn't know if his teacher really likes him or not and he's nervous about it.

Billy's little sister Sal is the perfect foil for Billy and they have the type of sibling relationship you would expect. Billy alternates between finding Sal cute and annoying and getting along and fighting with each other. Their relationship reminded me of my own siblings and Billy is your usual first born-he wants to be responsible, wants Sal to listen to him, but he always realizes that Sal is a good ally and friend.

I recently gave this book to one of my avid readers who has flown through all of the other early chapter books I've given him and he was excited to pick up a book that looked like a bigger chapter book. While the text is still simple, the length of this one is longer than your typical beginning chapter book, so it's sure to please those readers who want a longer book.

I was so excited to see The Year of Billy Miller chosen as a Newbery Honor. It's a wonderfully charming, heartfelt, funny beginning chapter book that is perfect to read aloud or read on your own. It's destined to be a classic.

Book Pairings: Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary, Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from copy I checked out from my local library

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3. Digitots: Take Two

(My set up for digital storytime-iPad connected to a large screen TV and my storytelling stool)

This past weekend I did my second Digitots Storytime. I am so glad my library is finally incorporating digital components in storytime and so far the response from patrons has been great. They love that we're highlighting apps for them to try with their kids, giving them a chance to see them and how their child interacts with an app, and it's a great way to model a wonderful use of media and how it can be beneficial. 

For this storytime I decided to focus on more stories than game apps and modeled it much like my traditional print storytimes but using the iPad for most of my resources. I loaded my music onto the iPad so everything was all in one place. Since I didn't want the iTunes screen showing my playlist, because that's a bit boring, I used the Smoothie Feltboard app and created a screen that showed "digitots storytime" to put up when we were singing a song. (You can see it in the picture above.)

Here's my plan from this month's Digitots Storytime:

Song (played in iTunes): Doctor Knickerbocker by The Wiggles-a great movement and get ready song

Llama Llama Red Pajama-Penguin Group USA-$4.99 I used this version to read the book to the kids and used the sound effects in the story to go along with the text. The kids seemed to like it okay and I really like the slight animations on the pages without it being too distracting. It's a good one to use as an introduction to reading a picture book on the iPad. But honestly, I didn't think this app/ibook was anything special, especially for the price. The music was also too loud (I should have turned the volume on the TV down after our song) and it over powered my reading of the story at times. It's also hard to find exactly where to press on the page to get the characters to make any noise or talk, which was a bit frustrating. I also played it for my staff and we agreed that the narrator, while having a nice calming voice, wasn't that energized by the story and we all preferred the read it ourselves option. 

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems-I used the print version of this one because I wanted to give the kids a basis for the story before we moved into using the app. It was also a great way to integrate both print and digital text into the storytime.

Don't Let the Pigeon Run This App-Disney-$5.99-Yes, this one's a bit pricey, but it's totally worth it! You could easily do an entire digital storytime just using this app! There are three options for how you would like to run the pigeon story-a silly one made up for you, one where you choose options based on three choices, or one where you record your voice answering the questions. Since I had a younger group and I wasn't sure how shy they would be in recording their own answers, I chose the second option ("the chick") of giving them pictures to choose from and selecting those to fill in our story. The bus driver comes out and asks the group some questions and I let the kids pick what they would like the answers to be. Then once the pigeon arrived, we shook him up and he created the story we had just written together which ended up being titled "Don't Let The Pigeon Wear Purple Underwear" which the kids thought was hilarious! They loved that the things they picked ended up in the story. 

I then used the "Draw the Pigeon" portion of the app. I asked the kids if they would like to learn how to draw the pigeon and gave each child a paper and crayon. Using the instructions Mo Willems give we drew along with him to create our pigeons. I drew mine on the iPad so it was projected on the screen and the kids followed along on paper. Their Pigeons turned out great! I love this option because it's a great way to connect the kids to the story as they get to create the character. It's also easy to go along at your own pace, so I could watch the group and make sure everyone was doing okay before we moved to the next step. If you can draw circles, triangles, and lines, you can draw a Pigeon drawing too!

Song: Octopus by Charlotte Diamond (played on iTunes)-an oldie but a goodie and a fun action song 

Toca Kitchen Monsters-Toca Boca-Free-I wanted to end with giving the kids a chance to play one on one with the iPad instead of just watching my activities on the screen, so I ended with Toca Kitchen Monsters. We chose a monster and then each child got the chance to feed the monster. The first round the kids had fun just feeding the monster. For the second round I showed them how they could also open the kitchen and cook the food in different ways. The most popular cooking methods were the microwave and the blender and much the kids surprise the monsters ate everything they cooked! I love Toca Boca apps and they are lots of fun. If you're looking for great kids apps, be sure to check out Toca Boca. I love using them in storytime and am always looking for new ways to incorporate them. 

Overall this storytime worked well and it was fine to do it without a theme. Following the format of highlighting various apps worked great and the kids didn't care that there wasn't an overall theme to the stories. The parents also commented on how they enjoyed seeing the apps I used which was great.  

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4. ALSC Blog: Learning From Other Professions

Today I'm over at the ALSC Blog talking about what I learned from attending a workshop for music educators. I found learning from another profession challenging and invigorating and it gave me lots of great new ideas! Any professions that you've learned from that you think librarians should collaborate with?

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5. Summer Reading Program Revamped-So Far So Good!

Our Fizz Boom Read Bulletin Board

Sigh....oh Summer Reading Program. I love you and yet you tire me out year after year. This year I made a goal to go easy on myself and try to read picture books this summer. And while I've read some picture books, I still have sadly not been reading much at all! My grand total for books read (or listened to) in June was four, which is incredibly low for me. The Summer Reading Program is super busy/taking care of Baby GreenBean/working a lot is making me tired and cutting into my reading (and blogging) time! But there are some good things about SRP this year.

This year we revamped the format of our Summer Reading Program and it's actually made things easier on the staff side which has been great. In past years the program was 3 levels, 12 hours of reading and 12 activities. This year we changed it to 2 levels, 10 hours of reading and eight activities. The activities are things like, read a book on the five senses or put an ice cube outside, one in the house, and one in the freezer and see which one melts first or build a reading fort. Level 1 awards the kids a coupon card with all sorts of freebie and discounted deals (we've done this prize for several years now and it's a huge draw). Level 2 gets them a Fine Waiver and a free book. That's it-no more stickers or bookmarks trying to make up a middle level that wasn't that exciting. In the past, Level 2 was a pretty wimpy level and this year, combining the fine waiver and the book make a much more interesting and fun prize.

We also changed the teen program so that instead of weekly random prize drawings, every teen gets a book. Both the teen and kids prizes are the same-same levels, same amount of reading. The only difference is the teen program is online and there's no activities the teens have to do along with the reading.

We were worried (it seems librarians are always worried about changes!) about how these changes would go. But so far, it's been great. The teens are very happy to get a book and it's great that every teen gets a bigger prize. (Before it was just the teens that won a random drawing who won a book or bigger prize).

The teens get a chance to keep adding hours for a grand prize drawing of gift cards. And the kids get a chance to complete "Eager Readers" which they can complete more reading and activities and earn entries into grand prize drawings. This is a great way to keep the kids reading and making summer reading program last all summer, even for those who finish quickly.

Add in our Tiny Tots program that has 16 activities for babies under 18 months to complete and earn two board books and an entry into a Tiny Tots gift basket and we've got successful summer reading programs for all ages.

Streamlining our SRP this year has made it so much better on the staff side. It's so much easier to explain since every program follows the same basic format and prize structure. And our patrons haven't had any complaints about having a change in the amount of hours or taking out the random prize drawings for the teens. I haven't heard anyone say anything about missing a sticker or bookmark-maybe because we have bookmarks out at the desk for them to take if they want one.

I think the key to a non-stressful summer reading program is to make sure it's simple. Simple to explain, simple to follow, and simple to complete. We have options to continue for those who read quickly but it's not so much reading to prevent those who pick up the program midway through to finish the entire game board. We're still super busy, as we are every summer, but I feel like the structure of our program makes so much more sense this year and we're all very happy about that!

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6. Seek and Find Picture Books

Recently I've noticed some books appearing on my library shelf that have a great seek and find feel to them. Seek and Find books are always popular, but sometimes it can be hard to find something new after my kids have gone through all the Where's Waldo books for the hundredth time. These might be a bit easier than finding Waldo in a sea of people, but they're still a lot of fun!

The Bear's Song by Benajmin Chaud

What a fun book! This is an oversized picture book that is one you will want to pour over the pages with. Papa Bear goes looking for Little Bear and they wind up in the city and then at the opera house. The details in each picture are fantastic-I wanted to look at everything that was happening with all the characters. Each scene has multiple stories happening all at once and it's fun to see what the surrounding characters are up to. The book is also a seek and find as the reader is looking for Little Bear and the bee he is chasing on every page (and he's not always easy to spot!)

A delightful book that is perfect for a lapsit reading with preschoolers and up.

Otto and his dad are driving into the city and there's so much to see and do. This is more of a seek and find and look at the pictures book than a book with much plot or story. It's very reminiscent of Richard Scarry's Busytown books-(in fact there's even a nod to Richard Scarry and Huckle-see if you can spot it!) The fun part of the book is that there's so much to see each time you pour over the pages you're sure to spot something new. Then when you've reach the end, turn it around and head home with Otto. I love the suggestion on the back to follow along the path with your own toy cars-the oversized board book format makes it perfect for that and it's a great way to encourage storytelling in young readers. 

The illustrations might be a bit busy for some kids-there's a lot going on and it made me a bit dizzy looking at it all! But if you can handle a lot of motion and busyness in the pages, you're sure to have fun spotting the various characters, cars, and stores that pop up along the way. 

A young boy is looking for his pet dragon all throughout the city. This one combines a counting book with a search and find. I have to say that even though the dragon is huge and you would think he'd be easy to spot, I had to scan the pages to find him a few times! Steve Light blends the dragon into the illustrations so well that he becomes part of each picture-he's a fountain at the zoo or hiding underground. The books is done is pen and ink drawings and it's masterfully illustrated. The detail is fantastic. The book is drawn almost entirely in black and white and as the numbers go up, so does the number of illustrated items that are featured in color. I also love the illustration of the dragon breath coming up through the manhole covers as the author mentions in his bio that was what his father told him the steam was when he was a child. This is very creative book that is meticulously drawn and a great way to combine a seek and find format with counting. 

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7. Cosplay Prom

Me and my teen librarian J cosplaying as books.

So I may have been ALA Left Behind this past weekend, but at least I got to have fun at the library with our fifth annual library prom! The themes over the years have changed (Moonlight Masquerade, Geek Prom, Zombie Prom, Nerd Prom-which apparently I never posted about!) This year, my teen librarian J came up with the idea for Cosplay Prom. It was a huge hit and the most popular prom we've done so far!

Setting up the Event: 

J actually did the setting up and we brainstormed ideas of what to put out to keep the teens entertained in case they didn't want to dance (which is always a possibility). He bought food supplies to make candy sushi and we also had some animal crackers out for a snack. We didn't provide drinks because it's messy and we have a cafe in the library that many teens purchase drinks from anyway, so we decided food was enough.

For activities we had easy origami owls, paper bowtie making, pin the scar on Harry, bookmark making-(choose your fandom and design a bookmark) as well as some board games, Apples to Apples and Jenga. We also had a photo booth with props from the youth services costume stash for the teens to take photos. We didn't provide a camera since we felt the teens would have devices to take photos with.

We ran music through the speakers in the auditorium and used Pandora and Songza and YouTube to play popular songs and song requests.

How it Went: 

The teens went all out when it came to costumes! They had a blast and several commented how excited they were to have a chance to cosplay because they never had the chance to anywhere else. We had the teens sign in as they came in which helped us keep a good head count as to how many attend (around 75 teens!)

J and I made an announcement to start about what we had around the room and we kicked off the prom with some music. After a few minutes we put on The Cha-Cha Slide and that got the teens dancing-and they kept dancing all night!

About halfway through the event we held a costume contest with the help of our pages and circ staff as the judges. As the teens came in, I felt so out of touch with my teens and pop culture! I recognized some fandoms, but there were others (especially the anime) that the teens had to teach me about. The most popular fandoms were Doctor Who, Homestuck, Hetalia, and Sherlock.  Some of the teens even cosplayed as characters from books they were writing which was very cool. The costume contest winner was a Steampunk cosplayer who had created his costume the night before!

The most popular song was Let It Go, which the teens sang along to and was hilarious to watch. They also loved dancing and singing along to What Does the Fox Say, Gangam Style, Macarana, Cupid Shuffle-pretty much anything they could dance to. When we tried to play anything from a Top 40 playlist, they revolted and instead wanted theme songs and group dances. We also played themes for Sherlock, Doctor Who, Adventure Time, and a Doctor Who themed Time Warp Parody.

The rest of the night was spent dancing and singing along and playing games. The teens danced most of the night and were sad when we had to close up. They requested we repeat the cosplay theme next year as well as asked to have it more often and longer.

Things I Learned: 

Overall, the event went smoothly and was a lot of fun. The only downside was the playlist. We didn't have a set playlist and tried to take song suggestions, but J and I weren't familiar with which made it hard to choose songs from their suggestion list. When we asked the teens for feedback at the end of the event, this was a big comment-that we didn't play the songs suggested. Next time I think we'll try to pre-make a playlist. The other issue this time around was the screen had to be down and projected for the computer and sound to work, so any video we played on YouTube ended up being played on the big screen. This was good and bad-it was fun to watch the Doctor Who and Harry Potter videos, but hard to manage because they could see everything that was being typed in and searched for.

The teens enjoyed having additional activities out, which was great for those that didn't want to dance but I was surprised by how much of their time was spent just singing along to whatever songs came up on the playlist.

Our proms have become an annual tradition each summer and I can't wait until next year!

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8. Bad Luck Girl Blog Tour: Author Interview with Sarah Zettel

Please welcome Sarah Zettel to GreenBeanTeenQueen! Her amazing historical 
fantasy series, The American Fairy Trilogy, concludes with book three, Bad
Luck Girl.
About Bad Luck Girl: After rescuing her parents from the Seelie king at Hearst Castle, Callie 
is caught up in the war between the fairies of the Midnight Throne and the Sunlit Kingdoms. 
By accident, she discovers that fairies aren’t the only magical creatures in the world. There’s also 
Halfers, misfits that are half fairy and half other—half paper, half steel girder, half electric spark. 
As the war heats up, Callie’s world falls apart. And even though she’s the child of prophecy, she doubts she can save the 
Halfers, her people, her family, and Jack, let alone herself. Bad Luck Girl, they call Callie, and she’s starting to believe them.

The American Fairy Trilogy is historical fantasy. What about history inspires 
you to write?
That’s a big question.  I guess the first reason would be because history is full 
of people and people are endlessly fascinating and inspiring.  The actions of people 
who did big things, small things, good things, bad things, both, who survived, who failed to, are the raw stuff 
of stories.  Add to that a dramatic landscape, like, say, the Dust Bowl or Chicago in the age of Depression 
and jazz, and how could anybody fail to find inspiration?  Plus, I am very much interested in the way things 
work, and it’s only by studying history and trying to understand it that we find out how the present works, 
and how the future might work. One of the reasons I write is to learn, and writing about history is one 
heck of a way to learn about history.

What does it feel like to have your trilogy come to an end?
There’s a certain amount of relief.  It means I don’t have to work on it anymore.  For me, there comes
a point when, no matter how much I love a story, I just never want to see it again.  There’s a certain amount
of satisfaction as well, as there always is when you’ve finished a big job.  Of course, I’m a little sorry too. 
 I spent a lot of time with Callie, Jack and their world.  I had a lot of fun, a lot of frustration and I certainly
learned a lot with and from the process of writing these books, and it’s always hard to let that go.  

What are you working on next?
I always have more projects in the hopper than is good for me, or my long-suffering, hard-working 
agent. I’ve just finished the third book in my other YA historical trilogy: Palace of Spies.  Book #2 in that 
series, Dangerous Deceptions, is coming out this November.  I have a mid-grade book about a girl who 
finds unicorns and monsters living in the shopping mall her parents manage.  I’m working on another
historical YA set in Greenwich Village during the Red Scare.  Oh, and did I mention the thriller,
and the epic fantasy and…

What time period would you travel back in time to if you could?
Me, personally, I wouldn’t go back.  I like history, I enjoy the mental exercise of setting stories there.  
But when it comes down to it, the past is a messy, uncomfortable place where I wouldn’t have had 
many rights, not to mention conveniences like antibiotics and eyeglasses.  If I was going to time travel,
I’d go forward, maybe fifty years?  Maybe a hundred?  See what the future holds.  

Thanks to Green Bean Teen Queen for letting me stop by!

Sarah Zettel

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9. My First Digital Storytime

So this past weekend, I was proud to finally give my library's fist digital storytime. We've been working towards digital storytimes for awhile so I was thrilled to have the chance to debut them as part of our Summer Reading Program this year. 

How I Set It Up:

To set up the storytime, I used an HDMI cable to attach the iPad to a large screen TV. This was very easy to do and a great way to project the apps to the group. It also gave me an easy way control the apps without having to worry about running the apps upside down or moving the iPad around the room so everyone could see. It did make me a bit more limited in my mobility, since I was tethered to the TV, but overall I felt that it worked out well.

I decided to go with an animal theme for my first digital storytime. I wanted to use a lot of apps that were very interactive since my goal with our digital storytime is to promote the interactive nature of apps and the benefits of interacting with your child and screen time instead of using the screen and child alone. 

What I Used:

-Moo Ba La La La-Sandra Boynton-$3.99-I opened with this one and used the read myself option but used the animal sound effects and animations along with the story. The kids liked the animations and the story was a familiar, so it was a good opener and a nice way to ease into using a digital component. 

-Five Green and Speckled Frogs-Software Smoothie-$2.99-I created a felt board story of this song (inspired by Cen Campbell of Little eLit!) and stored each felt board page in my photo stream. The kids were in awe of the felt board on the big screen and we counted each of the frogs at the start of each verse. They loved that the frog "jumped" into the water. I think this was my favorite app to use and I can't wait to create more felt boards on it. I'm terrible at crafts and making cute felt boards, so I think this is a nice alternative for non-crafty people like me.

-Animal Sounds From the Farm-Curious Circus-$.99-The kids love this app. I've used it in other storytimes as well as Digitots and it's always a huge hit. I asked the kids what the animal sound would be and then pressed the name of the animal and then the animal itself for the sound. The animation is simple and the animal sounds are wonderful. I have several parents ask me about this one and want to download it for themselves each time I use it. 

-Feed the Animals-Paper Boat Apps-$1.99-Since I had a small group, I was able to have each kid come up and choose what food they thought an animal would eat. They were great about taking turns and loved having the chance to play with the iPad themselves and watching it project onto the big screen. This one does go to a "you earned a new sticker" page after several animals, but I just skipped past it easily. It also does have some ads pop up after awhile, but they're easy to close out of. 

-Bunny Fun: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes-Rosemary Wells-Auryn-(available in Stories Alive, price unavailable) I first played the song and had the kids sing and dance along. Then I had them gather up by me and told them we could record our own version of the song. Using the microphone and record option on the app, I recorded the kids and I singing the song. I then recorded the kids themselves without my lead. The parents clapped and the kids loved that they were part of a performance.

-Toca Band-Toca Boca-$2.99-I ended with Toca Band and again giving each child a chance to play with the app. Each child chose something or someone to place in the band and we listened to the song we created.

How It Went: 

I was a bit nervous as to how the kids and the parents would respond to a digital storytime. Would the kids be engaged? Would the parents find it boring? I was very pleased with the response from both the kids and the adults. The kids loved watching the apps and familiar songs and stories appear on the big screen. They loved getting a chance to feed the animals and play with the Toca Band and interact with the iPad. And the parents really enjoyed that the kids got involved and they got to sample some new apps. Overall it was a great first digital storytime and I can't wait to do more!

Have you done any digital storytimes? What apps are your favorites?

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10. ALSC Blog: It's Okay to Mess Up

Today I'm over at the ALSC Blog talking about why I think it's okay to mess up in storytime and a couple of the times I have! Come join me and share your own stories!

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11. Mouseheart Giveaway

 About the Book: Hopper is just an ordinary pet-shop mouse—until he escapes. Soon he finds himself below the bustling streets of Brooklyn, deep within the untamed tangles of transit tunnels, and in Atlantia, a glorious utopian rat civilization.

But all is not as it seems. Hopper misses Pinkie and Pup, the siblings he lost in the escape attempt. Atlantia is constantly threatened by roving rebels who wish to bring the city to its knees. And there are cats everywhere, cats who would normally eat a rodent in a second, but leave the rats unharmed . . . and no one can seem to answer why.

Soon Hopper is caught in the crosshairs of an epic battle, one that spans generations and species. As the clashes rage, Hopper learns terrible, extraordinary secrets. Deadly secrets about Atlantia. Painful secrets about his friends.

And one powerful secret about himself.

If you work with middle graders, you know that animal fantasy is huge. My middle graders are forever asking for books like Warriors or Redwall or The Familiars. And now I can add Mouseheart to my list of suggestions of what to read next. 

This is the start to a series and it's full of adventure, action, great characters and a main character with lots of heart. I know my animal fantasy fans will love this one and I love that it's a series so they know more adventures are coming. 

And if you have readers who like the book, be sure to tell them to visit the Mouseheart website
The amazing folks at Simon & Schuster want to help get tweens reading this summer with a great prize pack of books! One lucky winner will receive The Search for Wondla, Mouseheart, and Belly Up (which was on our state award list a couple of years ago and my tween readers loved it!) If you're on need of some great summer reading picks, be sure to check out these books!

Want to win copies for yourself?

Fill out the form below to enter. 
-Contest ends June 11
-US Address Only
-One Entry Per Person


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12. Things I wish people knew about Summer Reading

Ok, first off, I knew blogging with a baby would be hard. But my goodness, it's tough! Especially when he stops napping well and the moment he goes to bed I want to go to bed too because I've exhausted myself at work. But luckily I've got my handy iPad to blog from whole I'm holding Baby GreenBean, so please excuse any typos!

We're almost a week into Summer Reading Program at my library. This is my eighth Summer Reading Program and it never fails that after a few days, I start to feel like a broken record saying the same things over and over again. I can give the Summer Reading spiel in my sleep-and have actually dreamt about it!

Yet no matter how many times I go through another Summer Reading Program, there are always things that surprise me that people don't know. Here's my wish list of what I wish people knew about Summer Reading.

-Listening to a book counts as reading. Yep, it might seem like a given to people who are avid readers or who work with kids, but every year I get the inevitable "but my child can't read yet" statement from parents. They're surprised that listening to a book, bring read to, or even audiobooks count as reading. Ice even said that maybe we should call it the Summer Reading and Listening Program,

-All ages can participate-including babies and toddlers. Along with the my kid can't read yet camp are the parents who will only pick up a reading game board for their older kids and ignore baby. They don't think the younger ones can participate-but of course they can! I always encourage them to include everyone and mention that even when reading to the older kids, if baby is in the room, that counts-baby is listening! (See above!) The last two years my library has started a program just for babies which I love and it helps encourage those with younger kids to participate. 

-Forget reading levels and read what you want! Every year I have parents or kids who are stuck on redding books at a certain level. And it's so frustrating! Not every book is catalogued in every leveling system, our library isn't organized by level, and so many times the kid is reading at a high level but a young age which makes it hard to find something of interest. Forget the reading levels-please!!! The best way to enhance and grow your child's reading skills and love of reading is to let them read what they want. Let them read for pleasure-that doesn't happen enough, or at all, during the school year, so let them have fun. I promise they will continue to grow as a reader and they will learn to love reading because they got to choose their own books.

-I'm glad you love the prizes, but that's not what it's all about. I'm glad people love our program and we are super lucky that every child gets a book, a fine waiver card, and a big coupon card with lots of great area deals (many for free). But just because you finished the game board doesn't mean you have to stop reading. And the prizes are great, but please be honest and don't cheat. It's not about getting prizes but getting to choose what you want to read and have fun reading. That's the main focus and what it's all about. 

-Just because a book is popular doesn't mean it's the best book for your child. Oh Summer Reading. What is it about this time of year that makes parents and grandparents only want the "popular books"? Seriously, if I had a new book every time someone asked where the popular books were, I'd have a very nice library! But here's the thing about Summer-the library gets so much more busy than during the school year. More books get checked out-including the popular ones. It doesn't matter if during the school year we have an entire shelf full of Magic Tree House, during the Summer they are all gone. And there's nothing more frustrating that an interaction with a patron who only wants what's "popular" and refuses to take anything else or try something new. My staff and I work hard all year long to create booklists and readalike lists and our job is to help you find something to read-and I do believe we're pretty awesome at it too! So trust us to help you instead of only relying in best sellers and popular books-there's so much more in the library and we can help you find it. And if you really want that popular book, we'd be happy to put you on hold for it. 

Ok librarians, anything else you want to add? Or what about those who aren't librarians, what should librarians know about Summer Reading? 

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13. My Favorite Thing About Zita the Spacegirl Tour

I love the moments when I can recall a book off the top of my head and impress my library patrons with my book knowledge. It's always fun and makes me feel a bit like a superhero. It's easy to remember the popular always asked for series and where they are located, who the author is, or the order of a series. But it's even more fun when you are given just a few details about something and you can come up with the book a patron is looking for.

I had a young boy come into my library one evening with his very stumped grandmother. He had been talking about a book where a girl and her friend hit a red box and that's all he could remember. His grandmother said he had been looking for it for awhile and couldn't recall the title. I immediately said "Zita the Spacegirl!" Luckily we had the first Zita book on the shelf that evening and my young patron went hope very happy to rediscover the book he was looking for. 

There are so many things I love about Zita the Spacegirl. I love her spunk and charm. I love that even though she finds herself lost in space on a crazy adventure and is trying to get home, she is always looking out for others and trying to help them. She finds good in people and wants to help those around her. She's funny and even though she might be seen as a savior of planets, she's still a normal girl who just wants a day off to have some fun. She doesn't always enjoy the celebrity of being Zita the Spacegirl, but she accepts it as well. She's a wonderfully strong character and I like that she's a girl who goes on awesome space missions to save those around her. She's resourceful, has a fun cast of characters around her, and she gets to pilot some awesome spaceships!

In my review of the first Zita the Spacegirl book, I said "One thing I love about graphic novels is the way the artist can connect the reader to the characters and portray emotion in a powerful way. Ben Hatke excels in that and there were characters I grew to love in this short graphic novel." 

And as I re-read the first two Zita books and read the third title in preparation for this tour, I was reminded of how much I love Ben Hatke's artwork and storytelling. I love his art style. I've been thinking about how best to explain it, but I'm stuck. All I know is that Ben Hatke's art makes me connect with his story and characters. When Zita is homesick, I'm homesick. When Zita is trying to save others, I want her to succeed. When I come across a large spread of Zita traveling through space, I have to stop and take in every detail of the artwork because I want to soak it all in. I love how the story combines humor and heart. Strong-Strong makes me smile with his big heart. I love Mouse's loyalty to Zita and Piper's sometimes sly ways and his wit. I love how Zita's story somewhat reminds me of a Wizard of Oz set in space tale. And I love how throughout the three books, the story weaves together and details you read about it book one come back in the third book for a nice full circle. 

There is so much to love about Zita the Spacegirl. Yet I think what I love the most about this series of graphic novels is recommending it to other readers. It's a great adventure story, a fantastic space story, and a wonderful graphic novel. It's a series I know I can give my readers at the library and they will excitedly devour it. I can give it to my avid readers and my kids who think they don't like reading. There really is something for everyone in Zita. And that's why I love her. 

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14. Oblivion Blog Tour-Author Guest Post: Sasha Dawn PLUS GIVEAWAY

Please welcome author Sasha Dawn to GreenBeanTeenQueen! Her debut novel, Oblivion, is out this month.  I always ask authors about libraries and reading and the impact it's had on their lives. I love her post-I tell the tweens and and teens at my library that you're never too old to be read aloud to and Ms. Dawn's post proves that! 


My teen years were among the most tumultuous of my life, and that’s saying quite something, considering some of the challenges I’ve faced since.

While I was in high school, in the interest of my safety, I lived with another family. I didn’t often have the power of choice, given I was essentially sponging off the family who’d welcomed me as child #7 in their home. For this reason, I found escape in books and tended to read whatever I could get my hands on—anything from romance novels to sci-fi to classics. While my pseudo-sisters were attending rock concerts and going on vacations, I was reading. Books were inexpensive leisure, and they took me on adventures I couldn’t otherwise afford.

My high school English teacher, Janelle Maren, introduced me to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and I absolutely fell in love with it from the very first paragraph. I read the novel over and over again, and every summer, when I ventured back home for occasional visits with my biological siblings, my brother and I took turns reading it aloud to each other.

At least two decades have passed since Ken and I made a practice of lounging under a tree with Harper Lee. We both have families and careers and responsibilities, but those days are never far from our minds.  They were the natural extension of the days I’d read to him during our childhood, depictions of simpler eras…and while he has yet to admit it, I suspect he named one of his daughters for the girl with the Big Red Dog. I read Emily Elizabeth with a southern lilt, and I’m certain that’s the reason my niece can fake an amazing drawl.

Those moments with my brother and Harper Lee cemented a friendship, having given us the opportunity to enjoy inside jokes, such as “Pass the damn ham” at the Christmas table, and “Are you waked up good?” during early morning phone calls. We never fought like normal siblings, having bonded in our rare time together. He is Jem to my Scout.

Reading (with Ken or alone) kept me safe and connected when I felt drastically alone. People overlook the importance of reading aloud to one another past early elementary school. But if novels award readers with incomparable solitary experiences, imagine what a good story can do to strengthen relationships. I salute books the way I acknowledge people who have made a difference in my life.  In the words of Scout Finch, “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing” (Lee).

Want to win a copy of Oblivion

Leave a comment below with your favorite book to read aloud!

And follow the tour for more from Sasha Dawn and more chances to win!

(Contest open to ages 13+, ends June 1, one entry per person)

Oblivion Blog Tour with Sasha Dawn

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Actin up with Books
Q&A and giveaway

Thursday, May 22, 2014
Live to Read
review and giveaway

Friday, May 23, 2014
Karin’s Book Nook
giveaway only

guest post and giveaway

Saturday, May 24, 2014
Books with Bite
review and giveaway

Sunday, May 25, 2014
Curling Up with a Good Book
Q&A and giveaway

Books by Pamela Thompson
review and giveaway

Monday, May 26, 2014
Book Dreaming
guest post and giveaway

Icey Books
guest post and giveaway

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Jean Book Nerd
Q&A and giveaway

Children’s Book Review Blog
guest post  and giveaway

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Bookaholics Anonymous
guest post and giveaway

Thursday, May 29, 2014
Jump into Books
guest post and giveaway

Friday, May 30, 2014
Bittersweet Enchantment
guest post and giveaway

Saturday, May 31, 2014
A Dream within a Dream
Q&A and giveaway

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15. ALSC Blog: Reaching Tween Patrons

Today I'm over at the ALSC Blog talking about a new idea we implemented for our tween and school age programming. Come visit me and tell me about how your library is reaching tween patrons through programming!

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16. So You Want To Read Middle Grade: Natalie Aguirre

Why I Love Upper Middle Grade Stories

Natalie Aguirre is an aspiring middle grade and YA fantasy writer. She’s an attorney by day, a wife, and a mother of one child. She blogs at Literary Rambles and interviews mostly debut and/or middle grade authors, spotlighting their books with ARC or book giveaways on Mondays and some Wednesdays. You can also follow her on Twitter @NatalieIAguirre or on Facebook.

I’m a huge fan of upper middle grade stories because they’re usually very plot driven, have great main 
characters and voices, move the story along quickly, and often have sweet romances that don’t overtake the plot. And middle grade is such a fantastic time for kids to get excited about reading before the demands of homework, sports, and other activities often sadly make it harder for high school kids to find time to read for pleasure. Good upper grade books help kids make the leap from shorter novels to longer, more in depth ones.

I thought I’d share a few of my favorites and tell you a bit about why I think they work so well.

Like many adults and kids, one of my favorites is the Harry Potter series. It has such amazing characters, a fantastic world, magic, mysteries, danger, and the typical relationship issues between middle grade kids. This is an amazing series that inspires kids in grade school and middle school to tackle those larger middle grade books.

The Percy Jacksonseries is another favorite of mine that has the same great features as the Harry Potter series. Plus the Greek and Roman mythological add a unique dimension to the story. This is another one that encourages kids to take the plunge on longer books. My daughter and her friends loved this in grade school and she read it multiple times over her middle grade years.

Because both of these series are so popular, the series are much longer than the typical three book trilogy. So the characters grow into YA characters with the readers so kids (and adults) can continue the series. Yet, like most middle grade series, the romance is sweet and complicated, but doesn’t overshadow the plot.

I don’t read much contemporary but there are two contemporary novels with a touch of magical realism that are favorites of mine. First, I love Seeing Cinderella by Jenny Lundquist. Jenny does an amazing job nailing middle grade life. Callie faces all the issues of middle grade like fitting in, changing friendships, and boy crushes. Then she gets these huge, geeky glasses giving her the power to read peoples’ thoughts. This is a fantastic story that transported me back to middle school. I could so relate to Callie’s issues of not fitting in and wore glasses like her. Wish mine had been magical. And I think lots of kids who aren’t in the popular crowd can relate to it too.

The next one is A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd that was just released the end of February. Twelve-year-old Felicity moves to Midnight Gulge, a fantastic small Southern town that’s lost its magic, with her roaming mom. She sees words everywhere and with her friend Jonas tries to find her own and the town’s magic in a desperate attempt to get her mother to finally stay in one place. Felicity, Jonah, and all the other characters in the story are so well developed with fantastic voices that you can’t help loving them. And Midnight Gulge is a rich, vivid setting for the story. This is one of my favorite debut stories this year.

Finally, I’m totally in love with The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen. I nominated this for the Cybils last year and was thrilled it won. It so reminded me of Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen's Thief series with all the political intrigue, deceit, and the main character Sage, a totally self-assured guy who’s resourceful and never afraid to speak his mind. Sage’s voice is fantastic and the story is filled with plenty of action, danger, and plot twists. And there is a bit of romance that begins in this book that continues throughout the series. But again, it’s sweet and low key. The two other books in the series, The Runaway King and The Shadow Throne (just newly released) take the story in great directions and end in a way I found really satisfying. I can’t wait to read Jennifer’s next series.

So these are some of my favorite middle grade books. What are your favorites and why?

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17. So You Want To Read Middle Grade: More 2014 Titles to Look Forward To

2014 is turning out to be a great year for middle grade! Here are even more 2014 middle grade releases to look forward to this year. And if you missed part one, be sure to check out Middle Grade to Look Forward to in 2014.

-A young restaurant reviewer? Love it!

-It's hard to believe that it's been long enough for September 11th to be the main plot of a novel, but this one sounds intense!

-Haven't you always longed for a middle grade book about band geeks?

-A great cover and I've read some great reviews which have gotten me excited to read this one!

-The tagline "Saving the school one con at a time" sold me.

-Family secrets and a mystery? Yes please!

-Maps, mysteries, and a gorgeous cover-I'm in love!

What other middle grade novels are you looking forward to this year?

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18. The No Stress Summer Reading Picture Book Challenge

(My goal this summer-to be as relaxed as Baby GreenBean when reading picture books!) 

In the public library world, Summer Reading is the busiest time. My library has been gearing up for this year's Summer Reading Program since October. The questions have started coming in from families about when the program starts (May 24th!) and my staff and I have started our visits to our schools to promote the Summer Reading Program and tell kids what's coming at the library. Summer Reading is a lot of fun, but it's also a lot of work! We have programs every week and we see more patrons on a daily basis than we do during the school year (and there's no quieter nap time lull!). This year we are expanding our storytimes to have eight storytimes a week, plus outreach storytimes, plus a weekly tween program, plus a weekly young school age program, plus our weekly Summer Reading performers, plus our weekend programming! PHEW! It made me tired just writing all our programs on the calendar!

So this Summer I'm proposing a challenge to myself and I'm inviting others to join with me. Instead of stressing about reading and blogging, I'm going to try and have a no stress summer. I have a big stack of picture books I want to review on the blog and another big stack that I want to read, plus all new picture books we'll get at the library this summer. So I'm going to read and blog about picture books as much as I can this summer in June and July. I'll still read middle grade and YA and blog about them when I can, but I'm telling myself it's okay to take a break from those books if I need to and read picture books all summer!

Let's relax this summer, tell ourselves it's okay to read light, and have some fun!

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19. ALSC Blog: Librarians in Literature

I'm over at the ALSC Blog today talking about some of my favorite librarians in literature. Join me and tell me who some of your fictional librarians are!

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20. So You Want To Read Middle Grade: Nonfiction for Middle Grade by Sarah Albee

Sarah Albee writes nonfiction for middle grade readers. She is the author of Poop Happened and Bugged. You can find her online at:  http://www.sarahalbeebooks.com/

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I write nonfiction for middle graders, and my mission is to get kids who’ve been traumatized by deadly-dull social studies textbooks to unthink that they hate history. One tactic I use is to select a subject kids will be interested in—be it sanitation, insects, clothing, disease, poison—and trace it chronologically through history. I feel an obligation to entertain them, to astonish them, to make them laugh. After all, they could be reading fiction. I want them to see that history is full of conflict, tension, controversy, emotion, drama. 

Humorous writing does not equal unserious writing. Some of my favorite adult writers – Mary Roach, May Berenbaum, Stephen Jay Gould--are serious scholars and hilarious writers. Most of my favorite middle school history writers are that, too. They understand that to snag the interest of a middle school kid, to expect her to pick up a nonfiction book that hasn’t been assigned to her, it’s our job to make it irresistible. How? Through the use of humor, offbeat topics, engrossing stories, and lots of fascinating—or disgusting, or lurid--details.
Here are some of my favorites, new and backlist, that may help change kids’ minds about history.

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How They Choked by Georgia Bragg (Walker, May, 2014)

A delightful follow-up to her wickedly-wonderful How They Croaked (Walker, 2011), both of which are enhanced by Kevin O’Malley’s evilly-funny illustrations. Bragg combines humor with impressive research, as she recounts stories of famous flawed figures and their fabulous fiascoes. As she points out in her intro, “sometimes historians lose sight of the fact that their subjects were human beings. Real people make mistakes (even historians).”

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The Raucous Royals Test your Royal Wits: Crack Codes, Solve Mysteries, and Deduce Which Royal Rumors are True written and illustrated by Carlyn Beccia (HMH 2008)

Beccia’s biographies of twelve European rulers are funny, fascinating, and thoroughly-researched. She’s a hilarious writer (check out her blog here). http://www.raucousroyals.com/ Her breezy, conversational style engages readers and invites them to be active participants, to recognize that contemporary sources can be unreliable, to learn to interpret biases and sort out facts from rumors. It’s an excellent mentor text for helping kids “identify author’s point of view and purpose.”

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Tales of the Cryptids: Mysterious Creatures that May or May Not Existby Kelly Milner Halls, Rick Spears, and Roxyanne Young (Millbrook Press, 2006)

For kids fascinated by cryptozoology (and I know many), this book gives evidence for and against mythical monsters like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and Champ, as well as examining confirmed real-life monsters like giant squids and the coelacanth. The authors present eyewitness accounts, blurry photos, and speculative reconstructed models. They include interviews with experts on both sides of the argument, and discuss famous hoaxes. “For Further Investigation” provides websites and sources for curious kids interested in following up.

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Women of the Frontier: 16 Tales of Trailblazing Homesteaders, Entrepreneurs, and Rabble-Rousers by Brandon Marie Miller (Chicago Review Press, 2013)
Miller profiles 16 women of the western US, and every story sucks you in with electrifying details and masterful storytelling. Kids will love the gritty, gripping accounts of life on the frontier, liberally interspersed with fascinating excerpts from letters and diaries and other primary sources. Miller’s unflinching accounts of the horrors of privation, insects, disease, and, yes, laundry—make every story a page-turner.

And on my to-read list:

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Lives of the Explorers by Kathleen Krull (HMH, August 2014)

I am a big fan of all of Krull’s Lives of… books and can’t wait for this one!

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Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, and Other Female Villains by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple (Charlesbridge, 2013)

 I love the sound of this book for its approach to the lives of some of the baddest (or possibly just misunderstood or misguided) women in history. As Booklist’s reviewer put it, “ . . . both an introduction and afterword focus on how history changes its opinion on people’s actions, the way history’s winners get the glory, and whether circumstances shape events more than personalities do.” Plus it’s got an awesome cover.

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21. Day in the Life of a Librarian

Each day I walk into the library, I get to look forward to something new. While the general routine may be the same each day holds something different. I never know what questions I'm going to be asked and I love that! Here's what my day looked like today:

8:20- arrive at work, go through opening procedures for department 

8:35-gather story time books and music 

8:40-check in with M  about plan for the day, what needs to be done

8:45-set up story time. Since I was doing back to back story times, I decided to do all sings and dancing without any crafts or activities to make the set up easier

9:05-check email, respond to messages that need answers right away, email manager about an upcoming staff meeting

9:15-on desk, youth services coordinator visits department to get feedback about sumner reading program, branch manager stops by to get stickers fir an outreach visit, sign up for upcoming staff training

9:30-P arrives for shift. We talk about the May schedule and I make adjustments to the schedule 

10:00-time for toddler story time! The Freeze Dance and playing with the parachute were the kids favorite parts of story time 


10:50-set up story hour room for preschool story time, adjust music I need for my preschool group.

11:00-this us only my third week back from maternity leave, so I'm still seeing lots of my regular patrons for the first time since I've been back. I got to catch up with one if my story time families and talk books and movies which is always fun!

11:15-preschool story time. I ended up reading the same books (Dance With Me, If You're A Monster and You Know It, and From Head to Toe) but I added longer songs. I included Greg and Steve's Listen and Move-one of my favorites!  The kids loved it!

11:45-clean up story time and put books in bin for a repeat of my story time plan on Friday 

12:05-rove through the teen department, take DVD cases up front to the circulation department, check mail, visit youth services coordinator to talk about purchasing a new diecut for our machine to use for summer reading, catch up with C when she arrives for the afternoon and talk about the schedule and email it out to staff, reply to emails 


1:30-3:00-supervisor training webinar 

3:00-visit teen department then head back to children's department after training, catch up with staff about what's been happening, make list of what to talk to branch manager about during meeting tomorrow, answer questions at desk and help patrons, update calendar with meetings and schedule for May, swap story times with M for next week and adjust the schedule (there is always so much to do with the schedule!!!)


4:20-answer questions at desk, visit teen department, straighten up department, organize desk for tomorrow, make to do list for tomorrow, one last email check

5:00-head home

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22. YA Movie News

Oh my goodness! It's been so long since I posted YA Movie News and there is so much exciting stuff to share!

-Jessica Brody's Unremembered Trilogy has been optioned for a film.

-The Fault In Our Stars isn't the only John Green book heading to the big screen. Paper Towns is getting the film treatment and John Green will be on board as a producer. 

-Summit has picked up Dork Diaries for the big screen

-As is the trend with popular franchises, Summit announced they will split Allegiant into two films. Sigh...I love YA novel film adaptations but I really wish they would stop with this making the movies last forever thing. Just because it worked for Harry Potter doesn't mean it will work for everything else.

-Ann Brashares' The Here and Now was picked up by the producers of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. 

-Blake Nelson's novel, Recovery Road, has a pilot order from ABC Family.

-Paramount is working on a film adaptation of Lisa McMann's Wake starring Miley Cyrus by attaching a writer to the project. This one has been in the works for a while so it will be interesting to see if it actually happens.

-Summit is just making themselves known as the YA novel adaptation company with the purchase of the film rights to John Corey Whaley's Noggin

And there are so many trailers!!!

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23. This Meets That

In the book world, you can never seem to escape the comments of a book being like this book meets that book. It helps build interest and when done well, it gives you a quick snapshot of what you might expect in the book. It can also backfire and make someone not want to read a book! Sometimes I wonder what exactly those marketing departments are thinking when they're creating some of these blurbs. Here are some recent ones I've come across:

The Killing meets Game of Thrones (minus the fantasy elements)

-Everything is like Game of Thrones! But is it really like Game of Thrones if you have to cut out the fantasy elements? And neither of these alikes are teen related. One of my staff members has seen this one also billed as Law and Order meets Game of Thrones. What??

Reckless first love meets Justified 

-First of all, this cover makes me laugh every time I see it. It's just so dramatic! But really this is another question of are teens really watching Justified

Moneyball for kids!

-I found Moneyball a bit boring, but maybe some kids will be excited about that idea.

-X-Men meets Ocean Eleven

-This one is an odd match up of meets but it works-I'm intrigued!

Then there's the current trend where everything is like the most popular books of recent years:

The Fault in Our Stars meets Sarah Dessen

-Because you know, every cancer book must be like The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park

Have you come across any interesting "meets" recently?

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24. The Scraps Book: Notes From a Colorful Life by Lois Ehlert

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Biography

Release Date: 3/4/2014

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About the Book: Award winning illustrator Lois Ehlert always knew she was meant to be an artist. She explains her artistic and creative process through her famous collage illustrations.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I love biographies that I can give to the youngest of readers and The Scraps Book is my new perfect go to suggestion. Part biography, part instruction, and part inspiration, Lois Ehlert uses her art to tell readers why she became an artist and how she completes her work.

The first part of the book is about Ms. Ehlert's childhood and growing up in a creative home with a family that encouraged her artistic ability. She includes photos and talks about where she first created her art.

The second half of the book, and what takes up most of this short collection, is all about Ms. Ehlert's inspiration for her books. Where does she get her ideas for her stories? How did she create the pictures for her various books? Each page shows examples of her work and gives readers information on how the illustrations were created and how the stories came to be.

The entire book is organized like a scrap book and it's obviously very lovingly put together. It feels as though you're getting an intimate peek into Ms. Ehlert's life and it's absolutely enchanting. There's the main text on each page that is simple and honest. Each page is a collage of thoughts, ideas, and comments that come together in a creative way to create a unique biography that is in encouraging. After reading The Scraps Book, I wanted to pull out a bunch of paper and create my own beautiful collage!

I would love to use this as a jumping point for an art program at my library and I can see this book being used in many classrooms to discuss art styles. It's an excellent biography and art book combined and I can't wait to share it with readers at my library.

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25. We Need Diverse Books

First off, thanks to Sarah at YA Librarian Tales for pointing me to the We Need Diverse Books Tumblr.

The timing of this couldn't have come at a better time as this is a topic I've been thinking about a lot. For the past several years, I've presented on YA Lit at our state library conference and I will be doing so again this year. I start preparing for this presentation early on in the year, as it requires a lot of reading and keeping up with YA so I can book talk the titles I want to share.

A few weeks ago, my friend Angie at Fat Girl Reading was talking about a presentation she was giving and how she tried hard to include diverse titles in her presentations. It got my thinking about how I really wanted to make sure I included diverse books in my YA presentation too and I wanted to get a head start in reading them.

But when I started searching for them, diverse releases in YA for 2014 turned out to be few and far between. There are some being published, but it can be hard to find them among the many copy cat YA titles that keep appearing. And where's the diversity in genre fiction like fantasy, science fiction, romance and humor?

Diversity includes so much. It includes race, sexuality, disability. And these books are so very needed. They need a spot in my library and there are readers for them. Books are a way to explore and learn. When we include more diversity in our library collections, we tell our readers they matter. We tell them that we want to feature books that include characters just like them. And we also tell them that we want them to explore those around them. We want them to learn about other races, sexual orientations, disabilities and that it's a great thing to read outside their own culture box and maybe even their comfort zone.

Diversity in YA is something I've been thinking about a lot and I'm making it a goal to really try and enhance my own reading and include more diversity in what I choose to read. I hope you'll join with me and read widely and make sure to include diversity in your library. If we support diversity in YA, we can show writers, readers and publishers that diversity matters and it's needed-and we want more of it!

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