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26. Drilling Down into the Writing

Of the many ways I gain an understanding of my writers, my favorite and most valuable is gathering up all the writing and diving into reading ALL the students’ work.

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27. Hiawatha and the Peacemaker, by Robbie Robertson and David Shannon -- a stirring, heroic tale of peace (ages 9-12)

With the news so full of violence and conflicts, I yearn to share with my students stories that show us how to resolve their disputes large and small. Hiawatha and the Peacemaker, by legendary musician and songwriter Robbie Robertson, is a powerful, stirring tale of the brave Mohawk warrior who wants revenge but ends up leading six Iroquois tribes to peace, following the guidance of the Peacemaker.

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
by Robbie Robertson
illustrated by David Shannon
Abrams, 2015
Your local library
ages 9-12
*best new book*
The path to peace is never easy--it's full of anger, turmoil and resistance. Hiawatha starts telling his tell by recounting how his family was killed in battle. Afterward, he could only think of taking revenge. But one morning, a man paddled across the water in a white stone canoe. The Peacemaker said to Hiawatha, in a halting voice,
"I-I-I know of your pain. I know of your loss. I carry a message of healing. I h-h-have come to tell you of the Great Law: Fighting among our people must stop. We must come together as one body, one mind, and one heart. Peace, power and righteousness shall be the new way."
"a man paddled gently toward me... (in) his hand-carved white stone canoe"
Robbie Robertson, who is of Mohawk and Cayuga heritage, first heard this story as a young boy visiting his relatives at Six Nations of the Grand River in southern Ontario, Canada. In his author's note, he recounts the day they journeyed through "the bush" to a longhouse and heard a respected Elder tell the story of the Great Peacemaker and his disciple, Hiawatha. Now Robertson, with the aid of his son, comes full circle to becomes the storyteller.

Young readers, especially in 4th through 7th grades, will grasp the difficulties Hiawatha faced, first battling his own rage and anger at his enemies, and later as he brought the Peacemaker's message to warring tribes. Healing can only be achieved by forgiveness and trust. Hiawatha was passionate and convincing delivering his message to the Seneca and others:
"We will all perish if we continue this violence. A change must come, and the time is now. Alone, we will be broken," I said, "but together we are more powerful than the greatest warrior."
Students will be able to see how this transformed the Iroquois nations to form the united league that eventually became the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. I think it would be fascinating for students to also apply these themes to conflicts we face today, whether in our local communities or in world politics.

David Shannon's illustrations are powerful, evocative and stunning. Although you may know him for his humorous No, David!, his picture book The Rough-Face Girl (with Rafe Martin) remains one of my all-time favorite folktales. In Hiawatha and the Peacemaker, he conveys both the heroic and mythological nature of the two main figures--but he also lets readers feel the anguish that results from the conflict and the power struggles. I found this interview with David Shannon at TeachingBooks very interesting.

Illustrations ©2015 David Shannon. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Abrams. 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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28. A Short & Sweet Minilesson Formula

There is a formula that I use, time and time again, to adapt my own minilessons. Yes, this formula helps me keep my minilessons to about ten minutes and makes planning more streamlined, but more importantly this formula helps me with one of my personal goals as a teacher: student engagement.

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29. Hour of Code is Approaching

HourOfCode_logo_RGB copyAs December approaches there is still time to plan for Hour of Code at your library. Computer Science Education Week is December 7 to 13, and is a global initiative to make the computer sciences available to all children. Last year President Obama even took part and became the first president to ever write a line of code using JavaScript!

There are many resources online to inspire those that might feel ill-equipped at teaching coding to kids, many which have been shared on the ALSC Blog by librarians from Fayetteville Free Library and Los Angeles Public Library.

In 2015 Coding offerings at our library gathered a lot of steam, and much to our surprise some of the classes began to have waitlists of over 50 students. Our foray into this area of the computer sciences began in 2012 when Gretchen Caserotti began Codor Dojo, a program that relies on mentors from within the community to provide free instruction to those passionate about learning a coding language. Lacking consistent mentors, we observed a group of homeschoolers who met regularly on Fridays in the library to teach themselves using websites like Code.org and Khan Academy. After the group dismantled, one of the students who had a desire to continue using the library’s tech resources, began instructing other students alongside his mother in both Scratch and JavaScript. In addition we have also recruited two local high school students to teach Python and HTML which provides them an opportunity to share their passion for coding, while also helps to develop their teaching skills.

HTML session. Photo courtesy of the author.

HTML session. Photo courtesy of the author.

Finding it difficult to recruit outside instructors? The Hour of Code tutorials are not only accessible for beginners, but also fun for a variety of ages. One of my colleagues still has her certificate hanging in the office after completing one hour of coding with Frozen’s Anna and Elsa. If that’s not your cup of tea, there are also new programs through Code.org that allow kids to code with characters from Minecraft and Star Wars. In a few weeks we are even going to be teaching young children the concepts of code without the use of a computer. Many of these classes are referred to as Unplugged Coding Lessons.

My favorite resource for introducing kids to coding is the app-based Hopscotch which uses colored blocks as commands, much like Scratch. The company is even preparing for December’s Hour of Code with in-app tutorials, guides, and lesson plans. There is a fantastic introduction to Hopscotch in video form, while a free eBook written by Wesley Fryer provides more complex challenges for ongoing sessions.

Whatever your experience, this December make a commitment to participate in Hour of Code. Whether that is by offering an introductory course for kids in your library, or earning your own certificate by taking 60 minutes out of the work week to learn a new skill. One of the moments that propelled our library into offering more of these opportunities was one parent commenting that the library was fulfilling a need in the community that was not being addressed elsewhere. Although this was one language I had not anticipated in honing as a children’s librarian, I’m thankful that this profession is opening new learning opportunities for me, the children’s staff, and the kids and teens we serve.

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

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

The post Hour of Code is Approaching appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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30. Unsung Heroes

Source: Jonathan Haynes, Flickr

Source: Jonathan Haynes, Flickr

I had an encounter recently that shifted my perspective.  We are proud – justifiably – of our role as defenders of freedom to read and access to information.  And, as a colleague reported in a recent post, that role is extremely valuable.  But there are quiet defenders out there, too, who are our allies, and sometimes they are the ones we least expect.

I serve a diverse community with immigrants from Central America, Southeast Asia and Africa, along with upscale urban professionals.  Explaining the wonders of the public library system to immigrants – and it’s all free! – is the most gratifying part of my job. But sometimes a gentle explanation of access to everything, and the parent’s role as arbiter of what their children should read in print or online, is needed.

Source: HarperCollins.com

At the end of summer, a mother who brings her three children to the library regularly asked me for help in finding books for the oldest child, a boy entering 6th grade.  She wanted books to help him get ready because he was “starting middle school.”  The language barrier made it a little difficult to identify exactly what she was thinking of, so I selected several books on dealing with school issues, and also books on puberty. I showed her what I had, and we put them out for him to look over and decide what he wanted to take home.

While he was looking them over, she said to me, “Where I come from, they think you shouldn’t talk about these things.  But he needs to know!” This was certainly a teachable moment – for me!  It upended my assumptions and moved me profoundly to find that this woman is such a courageous parent, bucking her culture to do what she thinks is best for her children.

The post Unsung Heroes appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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31. Library Loot: Second and Third Trips in November

New Loot:
  • This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee
  • How Many Sleeps 'Til Christmas by Mark Sperring
  • Santa's Sleigh is On Its Way to Texas by Eric James
  • The Nutcracker retold by Stephanie Spinner
  • Winnie by Sally M. Walker
  • Waiting for Santa by Steve Metzger
  • The Night the Lights Went Out on Christmas by Ellis Paul
  • The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon
  • Finding Fortune by Delia Ray
  • The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce
  • Confessions of an Imaginary Friend by Michelle Cuevas
  • When Santa Was a Baby by Linda Bailey
Leftover Loot:
  • The Year of Fear by Joe Urschel
  • Bomb by Steve Sheinkin
  • The Tale of Hawthorn House by Susan Wittig Albert
  • Oh, the places you'll go! by Dr. Seuss
  • You're Only Old Once by Dr. Seuss
  • I Am Not Going To Get Up Today by Dr. Seuss
  • The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  • Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand
  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
       Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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32. Treasury of Norse Mythology: Stories of Intrigue, Trickery, Love and Revenge by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrations by Christina Balit, 192 pp, RL 4

With the recent movies from the Marvel Universe featuring Thor, along with Rick Riordan's new series Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard in which the titular character discovers he is the son of a Norse god (and why couldn't it have been Astrid Chase discovering she's the daughter of a Norse goddess, Rick?) Norse mythology is hot enough to melt a fjord right now. And, while the I love the D'Aulaires and their own collection of Norse mythology, it doesn't always grab the attention of readers. With Treasury of Norse Mythology: Stories of Intrigue, Trickery, Love and Revenge, children's book author Donna Jo Napoli brings the same wonderful storytelling skills to  that she brought to the Treasury of Egyptian Mythology and the Treasury of Greek Mythology, all three of which are marvelously illustrated, with beautiful borders on every page, by Christina Balit.

Napoli's introduction is superb, providing insight into the nature of Norse mythology that will help young readers understand how and why it is different from Greek and Egyptian mythologies. She tells readers that the was rich tradition of storytelling by traveling poets in Scandanavia, especially during the long winter nights, along with a devotion to the Old Norse language despite the widespread use of Latin during the Middle Ages.  Add to this the fierce weather and powerful forces of nature that exist in Scandinavia, along with the communal nature of the Norse gods who assembled for votes, reflecting the democratic society of Norway in which all men (not women or slaves) had a vote,  and you being to understand why Thor is a comic book hero today

Treasury of Norse Mythology: Stories of Intrigue, Trickery, Love and Revenge has back matter that includes a map of the ancient Norse world and a timeline of Norse history. There is also a cast of characters with the names and attributes of the deities, although no phonetic pronunciations, which I would have liked. I struggled with the consonant-filled names as I read. However, Napoli's introduction is followed by a note on Norse names that explains the Old Norse alphabet, the use of nominative case markers and her choice to anglicize the names. She also includes sites where readers can find more information about Old Norse as well as a video link that lets readers hear the language.

Another aspect of Treasury of Norse Mythology: Stories of Intrigue, Trickery, Love and Revenge that I especially like are the side notes that explain and add understanding to the stories in the book. The importance of the number nine in Norse mythology, the woes of beauty (women really don't fare well in Norse mythology...) and winter travel and more all get a paragraph or two and are fascinating. Napoli's afterword is fascinating and helped me make sense of the sometimes strange path of the stories. She notes the three main inconsistencies she encountered in the stories as she draws from various sources. Logical inconsistencies (like Loki's shape-shifting abilities not always coming into play) factual inconsistencies (like Odin starving for meat when he is supposed to live in wine alone) and inconsistencies of time. Interestingly, Napoli shares that she has found time inconsistencies in Greek and Egyptian myths as well, noting that this could be due to the many authors writing down the tales at different times. She ends on this interesting thought that reflects her knowledge and understanding of her subject matter, "Why can't time simply fold back on itself, especially in a  world riddled with magic?"

Source: Review Copy

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33. The Strangest Pinocchio I Know

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about illustrated books for children (as opposed to picture books) in all their various forms.  And since I’ve a penchant for nostalgia, I often think of my youth and the illustrated novels I read then.  The mid to late 1980s were an odd time for illustration in general.  For whatever reason, fantasy illustrators who worked primarily in the field of adult literature would occasionally show up on the covers of middle grade, or what passed for YA, titles at this time.  And once in a great while they’d even illustrate the interiors.  Hence today’s example.

I first discovered the work of artist Greg Hildebrandt through, of all things, a fully illustrated version of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera.  That, in turn, lead me to what I still consider one of the strangest and most interesting books I’ve seen to date.  It was a lushly illustrated version of Pinocchio, and the first time I’d seen anything that wasn’t Disney.  It was odd and original and I’ve never quite forgotten it.  Eventually I’d learn about Hildebrandt’s background in fantasy illustration as well as his work on books like Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and Wizard of Oz.  But, for me, Pinocchio is still the most memorable.  Some illustrations from the book:







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34. SLP - You Say You Want a R/Evolution

Pixabay Image
Yep, it's time once again for summer library and reading program workshops to begin. My colleague Sharon Grover and I gathered our thoughts and tips to do a keynote together for colleagues in the Indianhead Federated Library System in northwestern Wisconsin.

Sharon and I were interested in exploring the winds of change blowing around this annual ritual. From the perceived pressure of patron/staff statements of "THIS -is-how-it-is-done" and responses to change of "But-we've-always-done-it-this-way", we looked at alternatives to fear and opportunities to embrace the challenge of change.

Intentionality in our planning to meet the needs of our community is key. So too are asking questions and examining openly why we continue traditions and practices and whether they serve our needs or true community needs. We looked at the tendency to over-program - and to become so involved in the process of the SLP we create that we suck the joy out of literacy, reading and being with kids.

We looked at going prizeless and the interesting conundrum of teens who plan their SLPs wanting more prizes. We also explored ways to involve teens in ways other than reading including volunteering and concentrating on relationship building with them.

We  shared some stories of libraries creating powerful partnerships and outreach during summer. We looked at ways to engage kids in care and to think beyond reading goals to youth engagement goals when planning our summer library programs.

Finally we talked about how advocacy wraps around all of these issues. Our ability to engage stakeholders from administrators, to coworkers to our community in promoting ongoing change and better service is within the power of each of us. A huge shout-out to ALSC and specifically Jenna Nemec-Loise were given in this portion.

The rest of the workshop was all system members shining brightly as they shared tips in a series of break-out sessions hosted by their peers: handling the rough stuff of summer; strategies to go prizeless; community power; programming for all ages;  SLP promotion ideas; theater games to involve teens (wait, that one was presented by a theatrically inclined teen!), the low-down on performers and more. We all learned a ton!

Below are links that we shared:
Here is our slidedeck

And finally, if you want to read more from libraries around the country engaged in changing up summer library program paradigms, please stop by the Summer Reading Revolution Pinterest Board and get inspired!

Thanks to IFLS youth consultant Leah Langby for putting together a learning day for us all!

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35. Seuss on Saturday #47

You're Only Old Once! Dr. Seuss. 1986. Random House. 56 pages. [Source: Library]

 First sentence: One day you will read in the National Geographic of a faraway land with no smelly bad traffic.

Premise/plot: An old man is "stuck" worrying at the doctor's office--or hospital--as various tests and procedures are done for his check up.

My thoughts: You're Only Old Once is definitely a picture book for older readers. Perhaps mainly adult readers. It is clever, in places, and overall I think it's a book worth reading. One example of the cleverness is the eye test or the "eyesight and solvency test" which reads:
Here's another favorite part:
Dietician Von Eiffel controls the Wuff-Whiffer, our Diet-Devising Computerized Sniffer, on which you just simply lie down in repose and sniff at good food as it goes past your nose....And when that guy finds out what you like, you can bet it won't be on your diet. From here on, forget it!
Have you read You're Only Old Once! Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you thought of it!

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is I Am Not Going To Get Up Today. 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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36. Harold and the Purple Crayon

Harold and the Purple Crayon. Crockett Johnson. 1955. HarperCollins. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: One evening, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight. There wasn't any moon, and Harold needed a moon for a walk in the moonlight. And he needed something to walk on.

Premise: Readers meet Harold, a young boy with a purple crayon. Harold is always finding himself in the middle of adventures. He can draw his way in and out of those adventures. For example, his shaking hand causes the purple crayon to make waves and he finds himself drowning in the ocean. No cause for fear though, just draw a boat and get inside.

My thoughts: I really love Harold and his purple crayon. I found the book playful and fun and simple and wonderful. Have you read Harold and the Purple Crayon? What was your favorite scene? I love Harold's picnic with the nine kinds of pie!!! I like how he draws animals to finish the pies. The picture of the porcupine is so cute and adorable!

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 10 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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37. Gimme a C (for Collaboration!): Starting Points for Success

SPLC Committee WordleAs a member of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School-Public Library Cooperation, I’ve had the pleasure of discussing and sharing ideas with other dedicated librarians on how we can all work together to benefit the kids and teens with whom we work.

We’ve created the following list for both school and public librarians to use in sparking their own creative ideas for helping all youth become information literate.

Why not give some of these a try?

  1. Look for grant-funding opportunities specifically for school library-public library partnerships.
  2. Set aside time to visit with your public librarian to discuss your school’s curriculum and any big projects your teachers have planned.
  3. Schedule a few hours to shadow the public librarian and invite him or her to do the same. This will help you build mutual understanding about what the other’s job entails.
  4. Have a library card sign-up event at the school during Library Card Sign-Up Month (September). Make a special day of it or have an evening of gaming. Be sure to include the public librarian in the planning, promotion, and supervising the event. If an event isn’t possible, see if the public librarian can come to the school to hand out library card forms at lunchtime. This would work especially well in middle or high school.
  5. Create book lists and resource guides in cooperation with your public librarians. You might focus on materials that support reading in the content areas, science and social studies topics in particular. Include materials from both the public and school library collections.
  6. Co-host nonfiction book clubs for students and for teachers.
  7. Invite the public librarian to make a presentation to the teachers at your school during the school’s teacher in-service day about public library resources that support Common Core State Standards.
  8. Host a joint meeting with the public librarians and your fellow school district librarians to discuss Common Core, 21st Century Standards and state/local curriculum expectations and the public library’s role in student learning.
  9. Talk about early literacy programming in the public library and how it connects to the school librarian’s work with K-2 students.
  10. Use the public library as a facility for after-school tutoring for students, especially in reading. The public librarian and school librarian can collaborate to recruit volunteers.
  11. Coordinate joint activities that integrate the public library’s summer reading program with the school’s summer programming.

As you can see, there are many ways school and public librarians can work in cooperation. You may already be using some of these suggestions, but if not, what’s stopping you?

When we all work together, it’s a win-win situation for everyone!

Linda Weatherspoon serves on the AASL Board of Directors and is a member of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School-Public Library Cooperation.

The post Gimme a C (for Collaboration!): Starting Points for Success appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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38. Thankful

Time again to pause and think about the many things we are grateful for in our lives-- like this online community of poetry lovers, for example. Thank YOU for continuing to support my little blog and the field of poetry for young people all around. What a privilege it is. But I always like to balance the serious with some silliness too. So, I hope you'll indulge my sharing this nutty Thanksgiving-themed poem from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (with thanks to Brod Bagert, too). The "artistic" interpretation, however, is mine (with thanks to Matt Groening).

I'll be sharing this poem this afternoon at my NCTE presentation (with Janet Wong, Laura Purdie Salas, and Susan Marie). If I had any cheerleading experience, I think it would be a hoot to choreograph this as a cheer with the staccato motions and gestures that cheerleaders use. But, I'm just going to rely on my "Take 5" activities from the Celebrations book:

Take 5
  1. Before reading the poem aloud, ask children to close their eyes and envision a Thanksgiving gathering and meal. Then read the poem aloud with enthusiasm.
  2. Read the poem aloud again and invite children to chime in on the second line of each three-line stanza (echoing you and the first line) and then on the final word, YOU!
  3. As a group, talk about favorite Thanksgiving foods and traditions.
  4. Pair this poem with the picture book Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules (Albert Whitman, 2009) and discuss the many “right ways” to celebrate Thanksgiving.
  5. Connect this poem with “‘Break-Fast’ at Night” by Ibtisam Barakat (June, pages 180-181) and with selections from Thanksgiving Day at Our House: Thanksgiving Poems for the Very Young by Nancy White Carlstrom (Aladdin, 2002) and Holiday Stew: A Kid’s Portion of Holiday and Seasonal Poems by Jenny Whitehead (Henry Holt, 2007).
If you're looking for more holiday poems for November and December, we have a wonderful assortment to share in classrooms, libraries, and at family gatherings. Here's a select list from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations:

And don't forget to check out the rest of the Poetry Friday fun over at Miss Rumphius where Tricia has a bit of Robert Frost to share!

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39. Mini Grey presents SPACE DOG

The mind of Mini Grey is a wondrous, playful thing and I am thankful that she is both a gifted author and illustrator who can convey that on the pages of a picture book again and again. Here newest picture book, Space Dog, is chock full of story - visual and text - from endpaper to endpaper, which begins with a map of the Cake Space Quadrant.

Space Dog begins, "It's the year 3043 and, for as long as anyone on Home Planet can remember, Space Dogs, Astro Cats, and Moustronauts have been sworn enemies." Space Dog has long been "sorting out planetary problems" in the Dairy Quadrant. As Space Dog tackles things in the Breakfast Cluster like a milk-drought on Cornflake 5 and a milk surplus on Bottleopolis, he finds that he is just a little bit lonely when he returns to his ship, the SS Kennel

Space Dog isn't alone for long, though. After Astrocat needs rescuing and comes aboard the SS Kennel, Space Dog begins to see some good in his cake-baking-Dogopoly-playing shipmate. The two even tackle a "critical situation on Fry Up 42! Then, the head off to rescue Moustronaut from the dribbling mandibles of a cheese-collecting Queen ant. Grey ends Space Dog beautifully, with the three newly sworn friends "playing Dogopoly before dinner. Nobody is completely sure of the exact rules . . . but that doesn't seem to matter."

More Mini Grey!

Source: Review Copy

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40. #780 – Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast by Josh Funk & Brendan Kearney

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast Written by Josh Funk Illustrated by Brendan Kearney Sterling Children’s Books     9/01/2015 978-1-4549-1404-4 32 pages     Ages 4—8 “He race is on . . . “Lady Pancake ad Sir French Toast are the best of friend until word gets out that there’s ONLY ONE DROP OF …

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41. Sensory Storytime On the Road

Over the past few months, my library has partnered with a local resource center that provides early intervention and lifelong support to individuals with a variety of developmental disabilities, including cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorders.  The resource center originally reached out to us looking for a librarian to read a few stories to their clients. I knew a sensory storytime would be a great fit, but in their experience, visits to offsite locations were rarely successful.  Any activity we planned would have to take place at their location.  So I took my sensory storytime on the road, and got a chance to really put my skills to the test.

I’m fairly new to sensory storytimes.  Before this, I had incorporated concepts into my regular programming, and made real efforts to make those programs universally designed, but I certainly wasn’t actively promoting this. Partnering with the resource center gave me the opportunity to refine my skills and try new activities.  My first visit wasn’t without hiccups. For example, sign-up sheets and library card applications became problematic due to HIPAA and patient privacy concerns.  We also ended up with a lot more kids in attendance than we were expecting. But in the end, like Pete the Cat taught us in our story that day, “it’s all good.”

In taking these special programs out into the community, we’ve found that children and their caregivers can have a library experience in an environment that is comfortable for them, surrounded by people they trust. Plus, our partner organization has developed a better understanding of what we can offer.  It has inspired other collaborations, with new programs and training for children’s librarians in the works.

There is a lot of information on the ALSC Blog to help you prepare sensory and special needs storytimes. I found Ashley’s Waring’s Sensory Storytime Tips and Jill Hutchison’s overview of Renee Grassi’s Beyond Sensory Storytime presentation to be particularly useful posts for providing information and talking points for communicating with the center’s directors and staff.  In addition, an ALSC course I took this spring taught by Kate Todd, Children with Disabilities in the Library, was an amazing resource, and I recommend it for anyone interested in creating more inclusive library programs, or reaching out to children with disabilities in clinical settings.

Brooke Sheets is a Children’s Librarian at Los Angeles Public Library’s Children’s Literature Department and is writing this post for the Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee.

The post Sensory Storytime On the Road appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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42. Old MacDonald Had A Woodshop

Old MacDonald Had A Woodshop. 2002. Penguin. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Old MacDonald had a shop, e-i-e-i-o! And in her shop she had a saw, e-i-e-i-o! With a zztt zztt here and a zztt zztt there, here a zztt, there a zztt, everywhere a zztt zztt. Old MacDonald had a shop, e-i-e-i-o.

Premise/plot: Old MacDonald and other animals from the farm are building something, and they are using lots of different tools. But what are they building? Can you guess before the big reveal?

My thoughts: Loved this one from the very beginning, and I do mean the beginning. The endpapers of this one are very fun! Readers see all HER tools hanging up in the shop. Each one clearly labeled. Some may be familiar to children, others may not be. Regardless, it sets a great mood for the book. Instead of celebrating animal sounds, this book, this song, if you will, celebrates the sounds that tools make, and celebrates the act of building and designing.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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43. Week in Review: November 15-21

Breakthrough: How Three People Saved "Blue Babies" and Changed Medicine Forever. Jim Murphy. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Eight Cousins. Louisa May Alcott. 1874. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]
MARTians. Blythe Woolston. 2015. Candlewick. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Great Turkey Walk. Kathleen Karr. 1998. 208 pages. [Source: Library]

Goblin Market and Other Poems. Christina Rossetti. 1862. 208 pages. [Source: Bought]
Old MacDonald Had A Woodshop. 2002. Penguin. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
You're Only Old Once! Dr. Seuss. 1986. Random House. 56 pages. [Source: Library]
Like Jesus: Shattering Our False Images of the Real Christ. Jamie Snyder. 2016. [February 2016] 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Advent in Narnia: Reflections for the Season. Heidi Haverkamp. 2015. Westminster John Knox Press. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Christmas Joy Ride. Melody Carlson. 2015. Revell. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]

This week's recommendation(s):

I loved Jim Murphy's Breakthrough!!!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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44. Welcome to the World, Oliver!

We're throwing a virtual baby shower for Anna, who welcomed a new baby into the world yesterday.

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45. Fight for School Libraries! #ESEA

Calling all Everyday Advocates! The fight for school libraries is real, and it needs you to make a difference.

Everyday Advocacy

Use the resources on the Everyday Advocacy site to help make your voice heard! Photo courtesy of ALSC.

Congress is poised to act definitively on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) very soon. According ALA’s Washington Office, we could know as early as next week if watershed language for school libraries, included in the Senate’s Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), makes it into this federal education bill.

This means there is important work for all of us to do! The last time Congress passed an education bill they left out school libraries and our kids’ futures can’t afford for that to happen again. As soon as the Washington Office learns what is in the new compromise bill language, they will be posting an alert to the Legislative Action Center with instructions for how you can help (including talking points you can use to call, email, and Tweet Congress). That will be our opportunity to make sure that every member of the House of Representatives (and after that, the Senate) hears from library experts before they vote, which could be as early as December 2. ALSC will also provide a heads-up when it’s time.

Here’s how you can make a difference:

  • Be prepared to contact your Senators and Representatives and let them know that any agreement to reauthorize ESEA must maintain the school library provisions overwhelmingly adopted by the HELP Committee and the full Senate under S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act.
  • Give a heads-up to coworkers, family, and friends to take action as well by contacting Congress sometime between next week and mid-December.
  • Gather together stories about the impact of school libraries in your community which you can use when you and your supporters contact Congress.

For support in these vital efforts, check out the tips from ALSC’s Everyday Advocacy initiative at http://www.ala.org/everyday-advocacy/

The more voices that speak up on behalf of school libraries, the better for all kids! Please keep your eyes peeled and your ears open for the upcoming alert.

Thank you!

Andrew Medlar
ALSC President

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46. Winnie

Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie the Pooh. Sally M. Walker. Illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss. 2015. Henry Holt. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: When Harry Colebourn looked out of the train window, he couldn't believe what he saw: a bear at the station!

Premise/plot: This picture book is the 'true story' of the real bear named Winnie that was eventually given to the London Zoo. The book ends by introducing readers to a young Christopher Robin who enjoys visiting Winnie at the zoo.

My thoughts: Most of the picture book takes place during World War I. You probably can't think of many picture books about World War I or set during World War I, I know I can't think of any others at the moment! Harry Colebourn is a soldier, a Canadian soldier, and the war is in the background. As an adult reader, I felt the war was rightly in the background. I'm not sure if young readers will read the book in quite the same way. Winnie, the bear, is a friend, companion, mascot, not just to one soldier--though Harry is his favorite--but to a regiment. When Harry's called to fight overseas in Europe, Winnie is left in the care of the London Zoo. An author's note fills in the details of Winnie's life after the publication of A.A. Milne's classic children's book.

Text: 4.5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4.5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10  

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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47. The View from Pennsylvania: A Trip to Highlights Foundation

  A little over a year ago, Stacey posted about an “Unworkshop” at a place called the Highlights Foundation. Her experience sounded blissful and it soon became something on my bucket list. I… Continue reading

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48. 2015 Reading Challenges: Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge

Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge
Host:  The Christmas Spirit; sign up
Duration: November 23-January 6, 2016
# of books: Signing up for 5 or 6 books

What I Actually Read:

What I Plan on Reading:
Picture Books:
  • Nutcracker Retold by Stephanie Spinner, illustrated by Peter Malone
  • How Many Sleeps 'Til Christmas? by Mark Sperring, illustrated by Sebastien Braun
  • Santa's Sleigh is On Its Way To Texas by Eric James, illustrated by Robert Dunn and Eldar Sky 
  • Waiting for Santa by Steve Metzger, illustrated by Alison Edgson
  • The Night the Lights Went Out On Christmas by Ellis Paul
  • When Santa Was A Baby by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Genevieve Godbout
  • Harold at the Northpole by Crockett Johnson
  • Click, Clack, ho ho ho! by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
  • 12 Brides of Christmas Collection, various authors (romance)
  • Silent Nights, various authors (mystery)
  • The Fruitcake Murders by Ace Collins (mystery)
  • A Basket Brigade Christmas (romance)
Christmas Spirit Read-a-thon
Host: Seasons of Reading (sign up)
Duration: November 23-29

What I Read for the Read-a-thon:

    © 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    49. #781 – A Dog Wearing Shoes by Sangmi Mo

    A Dog Wearing Shoes Written & Illustrated by Sangmi Ko Schwartz & Wade Books    9/29/2015 978-0-385-38396-7 32 pages     Ages 4—8 A Junior Library Guild Selection “When Mini finds a dog wearing bright yellow booties, she wants to keep him. And who wouldn’t?! But a dog with shoes on must belong to someone, …

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    50. Advocacy? Me?

    At a recent state library association conference, I attended a great session on Everyday Advocacy. What’s that, you ask? I wondered the same thing myself before the presentation, and just 45 minutes later, I left feeling a little more knowledgeable, and a little more confident.

    Child with books

    Image from Everyday Advocacy website

    Everyday Advocacy is the idea that we are all advocates for our profession, our libraries, and ourselves each and every day. It’s also an ALSC initiative working to equip us with the tools we need to be everyday advocates. As we build relationships, strengthen our communities, and connect with families, sometimes it’s hard to know how to talk about those things in ways that get attention. How can we empower ourselves, our colleagues, and our staff to feel prepared to engage in advocacy?

    One of the big take-aways from the session I attended was crafting your elevator speech. We’re all probably familiar with the idea of an elevator speech:  a very quick summary of what you do and why it’s important. But here’s the key: when you talk about what you do, it’s not a list of job duties like “storytime, collection development, and the Summer Library Program.” You want to talk about how you actively impact a particular group and the larger result. So the phrase “I work with kids and families at the library” becomes “I help kids and families unpack their curiosity at the library so that the kids can go out and change our world for the better” (example from ALSC Everyday Advocacy website).

    The Everyday Advocacy website provides information and tools to equip us to engage in advocating for ourselves and our communities. As you take a look, keep in mind that your behavior can have a powerful ripple effect. When we engage in advocacy, we’re modeling to our staff and colleagues, and hopefully empowering them to engage in some advocacy as well. Managers, remember that an important part of the supervisory role includes mentoring and enabling staff to become strong leaders themselves. When we say that advocacy is all about relationships, it’s not limited to relationships outside the librarian community! It’s also those we cultivate with our staff and peers. Take a look, feel empowered, and spread the word about the impact you’re having on your community every day.

    Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser is a Youth Services Librarian at the La Crosse Public Library in La Crosse, WI and is a member of the Managing Children’s Services Committee.

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