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<<May 2015>>
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1. An Unusual School Visit

An Unusual School Visitinstitution-icon

We’re accustomed to classroom visits … there’s Read Across America Day, Library Card Sign-up Month, Summer Reading Club outreach, and any other number of reasons why public librarians visit classrooms.  Last month, a colleague and I enoyed another type of classroom visit.  We were virtual guest lecturers for a university class in Children’s Literature.  The class was not for librarians, but rather, for aspiring teachers.  We spent two weeks with the students during their planned chapters on censorship and graphic texts.  We introduced discussion articles and scenarios, and participated in the discussion boards by posting topics and responding to students’ questions.

training-icon (1)

I firmly believe that librarians and teachers should be close partners in serving their constituent children.  I am fortunate that my library is located in a school district that is wonderfully cooperative, and where I have met and worked with many caring teachers.  Still, I have often ranted about things that annoy me  – particularly minimum page requirements and a frequent admonishment that picture books (and by extension, graphic novels) are “not allowed.”

This partnership with our local university, gave me the opportunity to speak directly with the future generation of school teachers.  We spoke of the importance of knowing one’s collection and being prepared to defend it; the value and appeal of graphic texts; the collection development resources available from ALSC, ALA, and other organizations in making collection development decisions; and a myriad of other topics related to censorship and graphic texts.  It was refreshing to hear what is on the minds of future teachers and to offer to them a librarian’s perspective on the same.

Kudos to Constance Chismar, Ed.D. of the Georgian Court University English Department for asking us to participate and to Ocean County Library for allowing us to attend.  If you have a local university or college that offers undergrad degrees in education,  inquire if you might participate in something similar.  It was a valuable experience for me and my colleague, the university students, and the children who will someday benefit from the partnership!


Images from openclipart.org

The post An Unusual School Visit appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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2. Putting it all together

Other than a few favorite story times that I repeat yearly, I always like to try something new. Similarly, I’m always interested in learning something new.  In February, I put it all together – mixing things that interest me with several of the library’s most wonderful assests –  technology, diversity, creative space, and kids.

I offer you the ingreadients for “Read, Reflect, Relay: a 4-week club”


  • 1 part knowledge from ALSC’s online class, “Tech Savvy Booktalker”ALSC Online Education
  • 1 part inspiration from ALSC’s online class, “Series Programming for theElementary School Age”
  • 1 new friendship spawned by networking and a love of nonfiction books
  • a desire to participate in the #weneeddiversebooks campaign
  • computers
  • books
  • school-aged kids#WeNeedDiverseBooks
  • space and time to create

Each club participant read a Schneider Family Book Award winner of her choice.  If you’re unfamiliar with the Schneider Family Book Award, I’ve linked to its page. Winning books embody the “disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.”

I asked each of the participants to distill the message of her book into a sentence or two – something that would make a good commercial.  Then I gave them a choice of using Animoto, Stupeflix, or VoiceThread to create a book trailer or podcast.  All three platforms were kind enough to offer me an “educator account” for use at the library.  Other than strict guidelines on copyright law and a “no-spoilers” rule, each girl was free to interpret and relay the message of her book as she pleased.

Coincidentally, after I had planned the club, I was chatting online with Alyson BeecherWe were both Round 2 judges for the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction CYBILS Awards.  I had no idea that she is also the Chair of the Schneider Family Book Award Committee!  When I told her about my club, she immediately offered to Skype or Hangout with the club members.  We hastily worked out a schedule, and Alyson’s visit on the last day of the club was one of its highlights!

The girls ranged in age from 10 to teen.  I think you will be impressed with their creativity.

WordPress does not allow me to embed the actual videos and podcasts, but you can access them via the links below – or visit them on Alyson’s site where she was able to embed them.  Enjoy! :)

·        Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (2012 winner, Middle School)  https://animoto.com/play/kUdNM1sa4fWKfZOXId63AQ

·      After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick (2011 winner, Middle School)   https://voicethread.com/new/myvoice/#thread/6523783/33845486/35376059

·    Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (2010 winner, Teen)  https://animoto.com/play/qFPwi1vYP1ha2FF0vVUuFg

·      Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (2010 winner, Teen) (another one)    http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/9GKeiQfgsj9Q/?autoplay=1

·      A Dog Called Homeless by Sara Lean (2013 winner, Middle School)    http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/DQ4tJG8mnsYX/?autoplay=1

If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to see my video booktalk (or adapt) my video advertisement for the program, just leave a message in the comments.  I’ll be happy to respond.

 *All logos used with permission and linked back to their respective sites.

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3. We’re Bugging Out!


Super excited to announce that our Bee Bully is being featured in Bookbub today and is only $.99 for a limited time.  To celebrate we have some free gifts to tell you about.  From April 1st – April 5th you can download our latest release, Caterpillar Shoes, absolutely free from Amazon.  Check out what’s troubling Patches the caterpillar and the silly decision she makes to live her life to the full.  There are some interesting caterpillar facts in the back of this book.



I’ve also got more surprises to share.  My friend, Laura Yirak, is also giving away a copy of her delightful bee book, Bumble Babees during this same period.




Scott Gordon has another treat for you. His book, The Most Beautiful Flower will be FREE April 2-April 6.  This book is only $.99 on April 1st.  Don’t you just love spring!  Enjoy these goodies while they last.


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4. Librarian currency

Librarian “Currency”

pile of cash

Image credit: openclipart.org

No, not this.  No, not “relevancy” or “state of currentness” either.

I’m talking about items that are sometimes more precious than cash and harder to come by—librarian currency—traded for goodwill, future favors, or goods of equal value.

Here are some items that pass for currency in my library:

  • Oatmeal boxes: Useful for drums, tubes, castle turrets and more,  they’re an invaluable resource, and trade well in the children’s librarian barter system
oatmeal box

Photo credit: L. Taylor

  •  Toilet paper tubes: The “penny” of the YS currency system,  useful but low-ranking

Photo credit: L. Taylor

  • Lego ®: Need a program in a hurry?  Better borrow some!

Image credit: openclipart.org

  • Cans – hey, you never know
Photo credit: Lisa Ferrara

Photo credit: Lisa Ferrara

  • And these little creepy heads?  Well, I’m not quite sure what they traded for, but someone took them!
Photo credit: Lisa Ferrara

Photo credit: Lisa Ferrara

So, what items are in your barter system?  Share yours – the curiouser, the better. :)

The post Librarian currency appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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5. Looking ahead to Women’s History Month


Each March, in addition to working, blogging here at the ALSC Blog and at Shelf-employed, I host KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month! along with fellow librarian and blogger, Margo Tanenbaum, of The Fourth Musketeer.

Active only during Women’s History Month,  the blog features readers, commenters, and contributors working together to create a dynamic resource of thoughtful and thought-provoking essays, commentaries, and book reviews. Each post is related to children’s literature and women’s history.

The blog is a great resource for finding new books (we’ll be featuring several new and upcoming titles!) and useful links. Previous contributors include Jen Bryant, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Donna Jo Napoli, and Betsy Bird.  Contributors for 2015 include Emily Arnold McCully (Queen of the Diamond), Misty Copeland (Firebird), Michaela McColl (The Revelation of Louisa May), and more.

The complete 2015 lineup may be found on the site’s sidebar.  You can sign up to follow the blog, or receive it via email. Visit the site at http://kidlitwhm.blogspot.com to see “following” options, an archive of past contributions, and links to educational resources.  It’s suitable for parents and teachers, too.

The official Women’s History Month theme for 2015, is “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives.” If you’ve got great plans for WHM, please share! :)

In March, stop here first, then head on over to KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month!

KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month blog header by Rebekah Louise Designs.

The post Looking ahead to Women’s History Month appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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6. They're Here, They're Here!

Check out the 2014 Cybils finalists! What do you think?

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7. Great Websites for Kids needs you!

Today I’m writing on behalf of the Great Websites for Kids Committee.

In case you missed the December 5, 2014,  press release, the following seven sites were added to Great Websites for Kids.  

The committee works very hard to find and evaluate new sites, and ensure that previously chosen sites maintain their “great” status.  If you’re unfamiliar with the site or the committee, here is a short primer from the press release:

“Great Websites for Kids (GWS) features links to high-quality websites of interest to children 14 years of age and younger, organized into diverse subject headings from cultures of the world to games & entertainment to weather & environment, and many more. Each site entry includes a brief annotation and a grade-level rating. Users can also rate sites, save favorites for easy access, and share sites via social media and email.

Members of the ALSC GWS Committee review potential sites for inclusion and vote on the sites to be included. They also regularly check the entire database of great sites to ensure currency, and re-evaluate sites when necessary.”

As the new year begins, the Great Websites for Kids Committe would like to enlist your help. If you see a site that you believe should be evaluated for inclusion on GWS, please submit your suggestion by following this link:  http://gws.ala.org/suggest-site. Similarly, if you find broken links, etc., please alert us to that as well.  Finally, let us know how you’re using GWS.  Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Best wishes for a great new year!


GWS Roster

Katherine Opal Scherrer (REFORMA Representative, February 1, 2013, to January 31, 2015)
Ms. Lara Anne Crews (Co-Chair, February 1, 2014, to January 31, 2015)
Ms. Kimberly Probert Grad (Co-Chair, February 1, 2014, to January 31, 2015)
Paige Bentley-Flannery (Member, February 1, 2013, to January 31, 2015)
Krishna Grady (Member, February 1, 2014, to January 31, 2016)
Joanne Kelleher (Member, February 1, 2014, to January 31, 2016)
Mr. Ted McCoy (Member, February 1, 2013, to January 31, 2015)
Ms. Alia Shields (Member, February 1, 2014, to January 31, 2016)
Lisa Taylor (Member, February 1, 2013, to January 31, 2015)
Gaye Hinchliff (Consultant, July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015)
Laura Schulte-Cooper (Staff Liaison, July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2015)


The post Great Websites for Kids needs you! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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8. The Bibliovore is in Your Ears!

Or I will be.

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is one of my very favorite non-kidlit book blogs, and I am a devoted listener to their weekly podcast as well. Awhile ago, blogger/host Sarah Wendell put out a call for kidlit recommendations. Not only was I all over that, much of her audience was as well. She was reading kidlit booklists for months.

When she asked for possible interviews, I put my name out to her, and to my great excitement, she said yes! We talk about everything from picture books up to YA, and everything in between.

You can hear the podcast, which is almost an hour long, at the Smart Bitches Trashy Books website or you can download it from iTunes under "DBSA romance fiction podcast," episode 120.


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9. Day #4 -- Blog Tour for PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month

3 bloggers are taking part today on our PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month blog tour. Hop on over. Comment to enter and win an observation spot in an upcoming Office Hours.

(Remember to use #PlotWriMo in your tweets about the event.)

(To learn more about PlotWriMo and for some "ah ha" moments from writers using the video series to revise their novels, click here.)

Laurie Edwards Author, Artist, Dreamer
Mikey Brooks My Keys on Writing, Illustrating and more
Deb Atwood Pen in Her Hand

For plot help and resources throughout the year

1)  The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.
For as little as $10 a month, watch the videos as often as you wish for an entire year (and, lots of writers are finding PlotWriMo the exact right resource to help pre-plot for a powerful first draft. Knowing what to look for in a revision helps create a tighter first draft):

 ~~ View your story in an entirely new light. Recharge your energy and enthusiasm for your writing. 8 videos (5.5 hours)+ 30 exercises

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10. You know you’re an (old) children’s librarian when …

You know you’re an old  experienced children’s librarian when …

… you make public school outreach visits and you can recognize some of the kids from baby story time!

I spotted one child I remember from when I visited with his preschool class years ago. He was always the one with yogurt and Cheerios ® smashed on his head! :)


Photo: By Loadmaster (David R. Tribble) This image was made by Loadmaster (David R. Tribble) Email the author: David R. Tribble Also see my personal gallery at Google Picasa (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Have a great weekend, all, and remember – today’s babies are tomorrow’s library patrons.

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11. Librarian laughs

A patron asked the librarian why Tales of Robin Hood had been withdrawn from the children’s collection. The librarian replied, “Too much Saxon violence.”

(adapted from http://www.booknotions.com/riddles.html)

Ever wonder where librarians lark about on the Internet? If you’re in need of a laugh, here are some great sites to put a smile on your face.  It’s all in good fun.  Enjoy.

  • Unshelved – a comic strip devoted entirely to libraries and librarians

Psst … Want to see more of Tamara, Unshelved’s perpetually cheerful children’s librarian? Send your funny stories about library service to children to the creators of Unshelved. You may see them in a future comic (shhh … act surprised) ! (unshelved@overduemedia.com)

  • Awful Library Books – a collection of the worst books in library collections around the globe. You’ll get a good laugh and some weeding inspiration from these “winners!” You can submit your own worst books, too! (anonymously, of course) Visit Awful Library Books at their blog, Pinterest, or Facebook.
Doughnuts made me do it!






Need some fast humor? Twitter has it covered.


And if you are the #saturdaylibrarian, #sundaylibrarian, or #nightlibrarian, join your hashtag comrades on Twitter. If you don’t get a laugh in there somewhere, I’ll be surprised.

  • Also check out the relatively new A Day at the Library - “Where smart people do stupid things”

Is Tumblr your thing?

Or for humor of a more “academic” nature, try

Pinterest fan?

  • It’s a mixed bag, but if you search “librarian humor,” you’ll find something to make you smile.



Did I miss any of your favorite sites for library-themed humor?


Emoticon image by The people from the The Tango! Desktop Project [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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12. In tune with my patrons: a small success story

Has an ALSC blog post every spurred you to action? Spawned a great new idea? Opened up a new opportunity? We all hope that these daily posts help advance the cause of librarianship to children – helping librarians and their young patrons reach a brighter, more meaningful and more interesting future.

Here is one such success story.

Back in the summer of 2012, ALSC guest blogger, Tess Goldwasser of St. Mary’s County Library in MD, wrote a post entitled “Music and Libraries: A Natural Combination.” I read it and thought,

“Hmmmm… I wonder if I could play the ukulele.”

I emailed her about using the ukulele in library storytime programs and I was enthusiastic about the possibilities. She was very helpful, offering advice on purchasing a ukulele and finding music. Then Superstorm Sandy hit, and my life took a different turn for several months; but still, I couldn’t shake that ukulele from my mind.


In the winter, I resettled in my home, and I acquired a shiny red ukulele! I reconnected with Tess, and she gave me continued encouragement and some great ideas for easy songs. I’m still learning and my repertoire is thin, but children are so wonderful – they love it! We learn the letter “U,” we count the strings, we take note of its lovely color, and of course, we sing! I even play at home. “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers lends itself very well to the ukulele.

So that’s my success story. Thanks, Tess. :) Does anyone else have one to share?

The current nugget that’s lodged in the back of my brain?  ”The StoryMob.”




Note: Ukulele enhancements are courtesy of PicMonkey. It doesn’t look quite so effervescent when sitting on my couch, but it certainly comes alive in storytime!

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13. Time is Running Out: Kidlitosphere Edition

Cybils2013SmallThere are two important deadlines in the Kidlitosphere today. First of all, nominations for the 2013 Cybils close tonight, October 15th, at midnight PST. This is your last chance to give props to the well-written children's and young adult titles that you think will most appeal to kids. Don't know what to nominate? Bloggers from all around the Kidlitosphere have been publishing lists of titles that they would like to see nominated. Start here and here for links. Many thanks to everyone who has nominated, suggested titles, and/or generally spread the word about the Cybils this year!

KidlitCon2013Second of all, today is the deadline to obtain our group discount for the KidLitCon hotel (the Sheraton in downtown Austin). You can still register for the conference until October 24th, but you may find it harder to find a hotel nearby. MotherReader (who negotiated our hotel discount) adds:

"Yes, other hotels around will be cheaper but this one is about .5 miles from the conference site, and is between the conference and dinner location. It looks lovely and has a lounge where we can hang out! I'm sorry, I mean where we WILL hang out." 

I have to tell you that one of my very favorite parts of KidLitCon is sitting around a hotel lobby or lounge late into the evening, with a glass of wine in hand, talking with my peeps about all things books (and life). If you'd like to join us, today is the day to sign up, and lock in the discounted hotel rate. Contact me if you need more details. 

We've also finalized some details about the conference, and the Friday pre-conference event. See the beautiful flyer below for details (with thanks to Tanita Davis and Sarah Stevenson). 


In case you're having trouble viewing images, here is some of the key information in text form:

Join keynote speaker Cynthia Leitich Smith, readers, bloggers and friends at the 2013 Kidlit Con at Austin. Kickoff meetup will be held Nov. 8 at the UT-Austin iSchool Campus, Tocker Lounge 1-4 p.m. The main conference will be held November 9, with coffee starting at 9:15, and the keynote at 10 a.m. Rekindling Your Love of Blogging. Panels and discussion, catered luncheon. Round out the day with a buy-your-own group meal at Scholz Beer Garten in downtown Austin. Conference Fee: $65. Registration deadline: October 24. See Kidlitosphere Central for more information. Register here.

So, get your Cybils nominations in, and book your hotel room for KidLitCon today. And don't delay registering for KidLitCon, because that deadline is approaching soon, too. I hope to see you there. 

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14. You know you’re a children’s librarian when …

You know you’re a children’s librarian when …

you know the release date of every major upcoming children’s book and movie right off the top of your head, but if a patron asks you about the latest or upcoming James Patterson or Danielle Steel book, you scurry off to the catalog!

Library Catalog (infoLINK) computers

So, now that Heroes of Olympus: The House of Hades (Disney Hyperion) and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck (Amulet) have been released, what are the kids in your library waiting for?  Or, how long is your holds list?

Here’s where I stand:

 My personal “holds” list captured with Snipping Tool (very useful).


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15. The best unread books of the year

It’s December – the time to ponder the best books of 2013, and to wonder which ones will receive the coveted awards of January.

Gilles Demarteau - Buste de jeune femme lisant Héloïse et Abélard

It’s also time to come clean and admit the books still languishing on your TBR pile.

What book did you want to, plan to, or have to read this year … but didn’t?

Here are the two that I most regret not having read this year:

  • Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell (Simon & Schuster)
  • Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg (Scholastic)

So, now that I’ve made you (and me!) feel guilty, take heart – we have 21 days left until next year.  Grab a book and start reading!

Luckily for me, I’ll be reviewing the audiobook version of Rooftoppers soon for a magazine, and I’ve got time to squeeze in Serafina’s Promise.  How about you?  

Image: By Gilles Demarteau [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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16. You know you’re a children’s librarian when …

You know you’re a children’s librarian when …

you sing the words to fingerplays while driving to work – just to be sure you’ve got them memorized before morning storytime.


DAYS OF THE WEEK (Stand up to begin this rhyme.)
Sunday, Sunday,
Clap, clap, clap. (Clap hands.)
Monday, Monday,
Tap, tap, tap. (Tap foot.)
Tuesday, Tuesday,
Hop, hop, hop. (Hop on one foot.)
Wednesday, Wednesday,
Stop, stop, stop. (Hold up hand.)
Thursday, Thursday,
Jump, jump, jump. (Jump on two feet.)
Friday, Friday,
Thump, thump, thump. (Pound fists together.)
Saturday, Saturday,
Turn around. (Turn around.)
Now smile quietly
Without a sound! (Sit down and smile.)
(Credit: DAYS OF THE WEEK fingerplay, Dr. Jean Feldman)

Happy Friday, all!






Images from

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17. Total Eclipse of the Moon

redmoonTax day approaches – everyone's favorite day of the year. Tonight I plan to stay up past midnight and watch the day arrive. Not because I waited until the last minute to do my taxes (although there's that) but because tonight there will be a total lunar eclipse.

Most of North America will be able to see the eclipse and since the moon is close to full it should be pretty dramatic. Because of the timing of the eclipse, sunsets and sunrises in other parts of the world will make the moon look blood red. Kinda cool! If you have cloudy skies or too many city lights to see it, The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles will broadcast the eclipse live starting at 9:45 p.m. PST.

This is also the last week of the blog tour for WISH YOU WEREN'T. Here are the planned stops.  

The Book Cellar: Erica posts an interview about my reading and writing habits.  
Books and Needlepoint: Kristi will post her review of Wish You Weren't.  

Book Loving Mom: Amy will post her review of Wish You Weren't.

I want to thank all of the bloggers who hosted me during this tour. Book bloggers are seriously the coolest people. They don't make money from this. They do it because they love books and I'm totally honored to have been part of so many awesome blogs.

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18. The 48-HBC is Nigh! and a Sobering Realization

MotherReader just announced her annual 48-Hour Book Challenge, fondly known around the interwebs as the 48HBC. It's quite simple - you pick 48 consecutive hours somewhere in the weekend of June 6-8 and read for as many of those hours as you humanly can. You also blog what you've read, chat on Twitter, and visit each other's blogs.

This year, because it's always (unfortunately) a Topic of Concern amongst the kidliterati, the focus is on diversity. WeNeedDiverseBooks is a hashtag that's been going around the Twitters and the Tumblrs and I don't know what else these kids are using these days, get off my lawn.

By the way, it's 2014. Why is this still a thing? Why is it still so hard to find these books about kids that are other than white, straight, neurotypical, and able-bodied? Agh.

As I do every year, I went wading through my TBR list to see what I wanted to read. These things have to be ordered, you understand. There has to be planning. I generally read about 9 books during the 48-HBC challenge. To give myself choices, I decided to pick about 12 or so books out of my list. I also decided to be as broad as possible. Anything where the main character didn't fit that "default" setting stated above would qualify.

I went in going, "This should be easy. These are the kind of books that catch my eye." Several pages later, I was still scrolling, muttering, "Really? Out of all these books, it's taking me this long to find the ones I would call diverse?" I did finally pull together several books, but I was dismayed by how long it took.

So . . . that was sobering.

In my defense, I just read two books that would qualify under my terms, Varian Johnson's The Great Greene Heist, whose incredibly multicultural cast started this leg of the ongoing diversity conversation, and Wendelin Van Draanen's The Running Dream, about a runner who has to adjust to life with a leg amputated below the knee. Also in my own defense, I was going off titles, authors, and a fuzzy memory of why I'd put certain books on my list. But still, I should have more choice. I should be putting more of these on my list, and I should have more available to put on my list in the first place.

If you know of a book I should read for the challenge, please leave it in the comments. Also, it should be the main character, not a supporting cast member. Yes, inclusivity in the characters surrounding the main character is nice and I like it. But nobody is a sidekick in their own life.

Are you going to join in? What are you going to read? Share!

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19. Summer reading – one for all and all for one

One for all and all for one

Ah, summer…  Kids reading,

StateLibQld 1 115956 Woman and child sitting on the beach at Sandgate, Brisbane, ca. 1907

teens reading,

Woman reading at the beach

adults reading…  

Woman reading on the beach

Wonderful … and yet, I have a complaint.

(photo credits below)

I’ll begin by stating, unequivocally, that I am a fan of the Collaborative Summer Library Program and I mean no disrespect to the people who contribute countless hours to its planning.  A themed summer reading program is fun and invigorating, adding variety and inspiration to the summer season. This year’s theme is science. When I visit schools and tell  kids that we’ll be focusing on science this summer, they erupt in excitement. Science is fun. Science is cool. They’re thrilled.

When they arrive at the library with their families, however, they’re often more confused than excited. When confronted with three different programs (kids, teens, adults) with three different slogans they’re unsure. They often register for the wrong program.

What does this mean?” “Do I sign up for this, too?” “It’s not the same for her brother?”  “I’m an adult. This isn’t for me.” “How does it work again?

I believe that it’s time for one slogan for all.  If we want to promote family and community reading and cohesiveness, let’s have everyone on the same page. Sure, contract with different illustrators for age-appropriate graphics, but make it easy and give the program one name.  Surely we can come up with a slogan that will appeal to the masses. Right?

Next year’s slogans (all good ones, BTW) are already set in stone; but for 2016, I’d like to see one for all and all for one!

Your thoughts?


(For another commentary and chance to weigh in on CSLP, read Liz Burns’ post, “In Defense of CSLP” at A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy.)


Photo credits:

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20. Blowing the Best Bubbles: A Preschool Science Program

School has finally ended here and we are getting ready for a summer full of science programs for all ages to go along with our summer reading theme. Bubbles are always a welcome addition to the play period of our story times, so I thought creating and exploring bubbles at one of our Library Labs would be a great way for four and five year olds to be introduced to the basics of the scientific method, practice using science vocabulary, and learn more about surface tension, all while having fun.

The children will have been introduced to the idea of surface tension at the previous week’s Library Lab. We will experiment to see what happens when you sprinkle pepper on water and then insert a cotton swab that has been dipped in dishwashing liquid.  We will also do a similar experiment with milk and food coloring observing what happens when you insert a cotton swab dipped in dishwashing liquid.

I will begin our bubble Library Lab with a review of what we learned at the previous program. Then we will share a book that introduces the science behind bubbles. I chose Pop! A Book About Bubbles by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley because it offers information on how bubbles form, why they are round, and why they pop in simple and very readable text.


HarperCollins, 2001

Second, we will move on to bubble solutions. I have three bubble recipes. One is made with detergent and water only, one adds glycerin to the recipe, and the third adds corn syrup to the recipe. For the sake of time, I will have mixed the solutions prior to the program, but we will talk about the ingredients in each of the recipes. I will ask the children questions about how the solutions look the same and how they look different and we will record our observations on my dry erase board. We will also make some predictions about which solution we think might make the best bubbles and record those predictions.

Third, we will test our hypotheses by trying out the three bubble solutions. This will be both the messiest and most fun part of the program. To determine which bubbles are best we will be looking at which ones are hardest to pop and which bubbles last the longest if you catch them on the bubble wand. The children will be working in small groups during this part of the program with some high school student volunteers that will be helping the groups to record their data and observations on a very simple chart.


Photo by Michelle Willis

Finally, we will come together as a group to share our data and to draw our conclusions about which bubble solution makes for the best bubbles and why that particular solution worked best. I have also prepared a take home activity sheet with information on the day’s activity, the bubble solution recipes, and some additional activities to try with bubbles.


Michelle Willis works as the Head of Children’s Services at the Scotch Plains Public Library in Scotch Plains, NJ and a member of the Early Childhood Programs and Services committee.

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21. The Cat Who Lost His Meow $50 GC Giveaway 6/30-7/29

The Cat Who Lost His Meow by Angela Muse

About the Book

Title: The Cat Who Lost His Meow | Author: Angela Muse | Illustrator: Helen H. Wu | Publication Date: June 1, 2014 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 3+

Summary: Chester the lazy calico cat has suddenly lost his meow. He’s looking everywhere, but can’t seem to find his voice. When Chester puts himself in a frightening situation he not only finds his voice return, but he also finds his courage. This experience makes Chester appreciate things a little bit more than he had before.

Priced at only $.99 during this promotion.




About the Author: Angela Muse

Angela Muse, Author

Angela Muse

Angela Muse was born in California to a military family. This meant that she got used to being the “new kid” in school every couple of years. It was hard trying to make new friends, but Angela discovered she had a knack for writing. In high school Angela began writing poetry and song lyrics. Expressing herself through writing seemed very natural. After becoming a Mom in 2003, Angela continued her storytelling to her own children. In 2009 she wrote and published her first rhyming children’s book aimed at toddlers. Since then she has released several more children’s picture books and released her first young adult romance series, The Alpha Girls, in 2012.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter



* $50 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon $50 Gift Card

Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: July 29, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Angela Muse and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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22. Thoughts on the CCSS

How ironic that the more fluid the study of math and science becomes, the more rigid becomes the study of language and literature…

Solve for x

© L Taylor

…in which math becomes form and reading becomes function.

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23. Strange shelf-fellows

Love him or hate him, Melvil Dewey was the architect of modern library cataloging.  His classification system added order to the world of books like the classification system of Kingdom, Phylum, Species, etc., made sense of the biological world.

In most instances, Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) makes for easy non-fiction browsing.  Once in a while, however, it makes for some strange “shelf-fellows.”  Here are two  that you might enjoy:

Browsing the DDC 610s: Nothing goes together quite like Chiggers and My First Trip to the Dentist

Browsing the DDC 610s: Nothing goes together quite like Chiggers and My First Trip to the Dentist
© L Taylor

Browsing the DDC 640s: My Christmas Cookie Book and Flush: The Scoop on Poop Throughout the Ages - strange shelf-fellows indeed! (c) L Taylor

The Christmas Cookie Book and Flush: The Scoop on Poop – strange shelf-fellows indeed!
© L Taylor

What strange shelf-fellows are nesting on your shelves?  If you’ve got a great photo, I’ll be happy to add it to the post.

(Be sure to tell me whom to credit for the photo.)

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24. Camps: The New Trend in Summer Reading

geek girl logo

This summer at the Fayetteville Free Library in Fayetteville, NY we piloted our first ever week long summer camp during Summer Reading. The Fayetteville Free Library Geek Girl Camp is a camp for girls in grades 3 through 5 introducing them to hands on STEM skills and to female role models. Months of work went into planning this camp fulfilling a need in our greater community.  According to the Girl Scout Research Institute,  “Research shows that girls start losing interest in math and science during middle school. Girls are typically more interested in careers where they can help others (e.g., teaching, child care, working with animals) and make the world a better place. Recent surveys have shown that girls and young women are much less interested than boys and young men in math and science.”[1]

We had 44 girls attend the FFL Geek Girl Camp from all over the greater Syracuse, NY area. We had over 10 girls on the waiting list and charged $25.00 for the camp to supplement the cost of food, t-shirts and supplies. We also offered four scholarship opportunities for those who might not be able to afford the cost of the camp. In addition to the 44 girls who came to the camp we had 9 speakers from across the country join us in person or via Skype. Speakers included students from Virginia Commonwealth University, Cornell University, Syracuse University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Other speakers included women who worked for Facebook, the Air Force, a pharmaceutical research facility, and from national organizations, Girls in Tech and Girl Develop IT. Each day we heard from one or more speakers who talked about what they do at their jobs or in school and how important it is to have women working in these fields! They all made sure to relate to the girls in attendance and campers had great questions afterwards.


Throughout the week we had a great array of activities. We rented a cement mixer and made an oobleck pool for kids to run across after learning about density and viscosity, shot off model rockets, chucked books, apples and water balloons with a trebuchet after learning about projectiles, force, gravity and more.  Girls learned about fractals, made mini catapults, 3D printed, used littlebits kits, Snap Circuits and computer programmed with Scratch and much more.

The camp was a huge success that the parents of those who attended were above and beyond appreciative and wanted to already sign up for next year. We learned from this particular camp that we created something valuable for our community and that we need to transition into this camp model for future Summer Reading programs. We were asked, “When are you having a camp for boys”? We will not only have camp for boys and girls but of different ages as well. Planning FFL Geek Girl Camp did take a lot of time; however the outcome of the camp was far beyond what we expected and worth the time spent planning for the impact it had on our community. Camps offer children an opportunity to learn more and make stronger relationships over a short period of time.  Like camp as a kid it was a place to learn new things and meet new friends and create memories that last a lifetime.

CaptureThe first day of FFL Geek Girl, the campers were a little shy but after just the second day the girls couldn’t stop talking and working together. We run bimonthly programs where kids come in every other week to work on projects but having children in the library everyday for a week gives you an opportunity to teach kids a skill and not have to worry about rushing or not being able to complete the task, plus you have an opportunity to do projects or lessons that take longer and are more complex. Camps also give us a great opportunity to get to know our patrons. Girls come in and out of the library now looking for their camp counselors to say hi! Cost is also a huge factor in running a camp at a library versus a different venue. We had materials donated to the camp and used many of the resources we already owned including our own staff to run and plan the program. Most science camps can range in price anywhere from $75-$600. We decided that $25 was not only affordable but fit into our budget for the camp as well to make it run successfully.

CaptureWe think that camps are the future of Summer Reading. It gives us and the community an opportunity to focus on important topics like STEAM and produce content that is beneficial and influential. At the end of the week our campers said they wanted to be inventors, work at Google, become web developers and physicists. If it wasn’t for the atmosphere we created at the library and the week long camp we would have never saw these results and impact on our community.

Please check out our website for more information about the FFL Geek Girl Camp, our Flickr page and hashtag #geekgirl14 on Twitter and Instagram.

[1]Modi, K. (2012). “Generation STEM: What girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math” Girl Scout Research Institute. http://www.girlscouts.org/research/pdf/generation_stem_full_report.pdf


Meredith Levine is the Director of Family Engagement at the Fayetteville Free Library. Meredith is a member of the ALSC School Age Programs and Services Committee. Find out more at www.fflib.org or email Meredith at mlevine@fflib.org

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25. Cybils Eve

Guess what!

Go on, guess!

Okay, fine, I'll tell you. Starting tomorrow through October 15, you get to nominate books for the Cybils! The world's only Children's and YA Blogger award opens its nomination period tomorrow, in thirteen categories from picture books to YA fiction, from book apps to poetry.

Anybody can nominate, and the books can be anything published in English in the US or Canada in the past year. 

Remember, each book (or app) can only be nominated by one person. So if you're going in, take at least a few faves in each category with you. 

More info here: Nominating for the Cybils.

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