Preschool Storytime: Find Me!

We read…

Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep! by Lucy Cousins
Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
Where is Tippy Toes? by Betsy Lewin

We sang…

Hello/Goodbye, Friends
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

We wiggled…

Open, Shut Them
These Are My Glasses
Skinnamarink

We played…

Little Fox! What else would you play on a peek-a-boo day?

We made…


We made lift-the-flap crafts! This one is from my egg storytime, so they are… eggs… but I just did smaller rectangles for this storytime. The littles LOVED the idea of being able to surprise their adults with their craft so there were many shouts of, “No, don’t look!” and then adults being wonderfully surprised with the end result. It provided great opportunities for talking!

It went…

We had a blast! Kids love lift-the-flap books like our Maisy title and the cut out pages in Tippy-Toes are also really fun. Where is the Green Sheep? is one of my favorite storytime books of all time and I’ve always, always, always had great success with it. “Where is the green sheep?” is a great refrain for the kids to repeat as you go, making this whole storytime super interactive.

Our literacy tip…

Extension activities- crafts and games that are related to things you’ve done or read- are a great way to solidify new vocabulary and concepts for your child.

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Middle Grade Favorites: Summer Round-Up

If you’re like me, then you have a ton of free time during the summer. Public libraries are basically dead during the hot months, especially children’s departments. You know what I mean?

Okay, so maybe, no. Our department was hopping this summer and it was a H U G E change from working in a small, rural library which really was very quiet during most of the summer. Downtown Nashville? Not so quiet. Not so empty.

In the midst of a pretty big life change (more people than cows, whaaaaat?) I still found plenty of time to read some truly stand-out children’s books. And also the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, but this blog is not about that (yet. They’re so good, have you read them? Go read them and then watch the movie).

I have way more favorite from this summer than I can list here, but these were my favorite-favorites.

Eventown, Corey Ann Haydu: Sort of a Stepford Wives for kids but with a slightly less dystopian ending. It’s magical realism, for sure, and perfect for so many kids. Kids who love fantasy, sassy leading ladies, books about families, things that are SAD, kids who loved The Giver– it’s for everyone. I loved it so much I immediately read Haydu’s two other books for kids but this one is by far my favorite. Just look at the cover- ugh, don’t you want to go pick it up right now?

The End of the Wild, Nicole Helget: This is a children’s book about fracking and a children’s book about poverty. Growing up in Indiana, I saw a lot of rural poverty throughout my youth and adulthood. It doesn’t look like urban poverty- this book perfectly captures rural poverty. It doesn’t villainize it, it just recognizes what it is and treats the characters living in poverty with such respect. It is a really unique and wonderful kind of representation. The parts about fracking are equally well handled. The author has pretty clear feelings on fracking, and so do I (and they’re the same), but the book is really nuanced and well researched. The characters do not solve fracking or answer many of the big questions, but that’s not the point. The point is to think and The End of the Wild certainly encouraged you to do that.

The Island at the End of Everything, Kiran Millwood Hargrave: Ah yes, finally a children’s book about leprosy! I picked it up for the cover and was immediately on board after reading the inside jacket cover. It’s a truly fascinating slice-of-life novel from the real (and former) leprosarium island, Culion in the Philippines. It is both historical fiction and a pretty thrilling adventure novel. The kids who just like to learn new things will devour this one (and every related Wikipedia entry).

The Griffins of Castle Cary, Heather Schmaker: There is so much to love about the Griffin family. They’re funny and clever and terribly realistic- with the younger Griffin often feeling left out by her older siblings and eventually isolating herself from them. Normally, that would be a very common childhood rite of passage, but problems arise when little Ariel makes a new friend and it’s not exactly a living person. The Griffins is just exactly scary enough for readers who also loved books like The Greenglass House and probably not quite scary enough for readers who loved Took. In addition to being a great sibling adventure story, it’s also diverse, which is truly notable for a fantasy novel and especially notable for a family story that takes place in an old English cottage and manor. I loved this one and cannot wait for more from Heather Schumaker.

A felt board to say, “Hello!”

The best way to start any storytime is with a big HELLO! My first baby storytime’s theme is, of course, just that. This felt board a great way to get your little friends comfortable with you and storytime.

The rhyme is If You’re Wearing Read Today. I stuck to just five main colors for this rhyme, but you could do so more (or fewer). We do the rhyme a little differently:

If you’re wearing red today, red today, red today
If you’re wearing red today, stand up and shout, “Hooray!”

Rhymes like these are great opportunities to talk about color recognition, but they’re also great ways to talk. Simple rhymes that can be incorporated into a daily routine with baby also serve as a great tool for reminding parents to talk with their little ones. Each morning as they get dressed, they can pause for just a minute or two, and talk about the names of the colors, the articles of clothing, and why they’re wearing what they’re wearing.

This might look like a dad getting his daughter dressed and singing the rhyme and saying, “You’re wearing GREEN today, say hooray! We’re putting on your green overalls because we’re going to play outside and it’s cold. Brr!”

Now dad is having a conversation he’d probably have with his daughter anyway, but he can do it intentionally- knowing he’s fostering his daughter’s vocabulary and conversational skills. Woo!

Funday Feltday: Photo Booth Props

When our library was getting ready to throw our inaugural 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, we settled on an underwater theme and decided to create a photo booth as a party activity. One of my talented coworkers created an amazing underwater scene and I made the props using… what else, right? Felt.

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Our props included a jelly fish (my favorite), a fishy, a weird looking turtle (not my finest work), a snorkeling mask, and a sign our finishers could hold up. I created all of my own patterns for the pieces and made the sign in Word.

These guys were so much fun! The kids had a great time taking pictures together and using the props. I used stiffened felt to make these, so they should hold up for a long time.

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Rainy Day

I’m so excited to start a baby storytime at my new library but there is SO MUCH to do! I’ve never done a baby storytime before- just preschool- so along with new book lists, rhymes, and songs, I’m also creating a new stock of felt boards.

My new felt boards are basically the same as I’ve always done with just two major changes:
1. They’re bigger
2. There are fewer pieces

I used the rhyme described in this post from Fun with Friends at Storytime but excluded the last two lines. Babies have shorter attention spans, so I move much faster through each segment, including my felts. Little baby eyes are still learning how to see, we I use bigger pieces that are more simple, so they’re easier to focus on.

I’m so excited for the opportunity to share more ideas for baby felt boards, storytimes, and play activities as I start planning my new storytimes!

Aliens!

It’s a Universe of Stories this summer and what universe is complete without ALIENS?

When you think about it… aren’t we ALL aliens?

These fun cross-eyed guys are the product of an extensive clip art search. That’s the secret of felt boards- cut carefully and let someone else develop the ideas.

Use these with One Alien Went Out to Play or anything else your heart desires.

The Bulletin Board I’ll Never Beat

It was a dark and stormy afternoon and a children’s librarian sat in her dimly lit office scrolling through pinterest when she saw…

it. 

And she said to herself the cursed words.

I can do that.

The “it” she saw was a terrifying and scary bulletin board, featured on Easy, Peasy, and Fun.

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Source.

The intrepid librarian was me and the bulletin board became my white whale. I had a lot of questions. How long would something like that take? What could I use for the lettering? How much of the budget can I responsibly spend on tissue paper? Could I conceivably leave that bulletin board up forever, because it would definitely take a long time and no way would I willingly remove it?

I decided I’d do what I normally do with bulletin boards and just… wing it. So I bought 85 pounds of tissue paper and got to work.

…and to work and to work and to work. Several days later, I finally had enough tissue paper flowers. …or so I thought. I made dozens (I lost count!) and when I finished hanging them, I’d only managed to fill about two-thirds of the board!

So I got back to work and when I finally had enough flowers, I hot glued them to the board. This is not a conventional bulletin board choice, but I needed something strong enough to really hold the flowers up. Tissue paper is light, but these are voluminous. Staples or glue sticks wouldn’t cut it. I also ended up stapling the bulletin board down really, really well so that the weight of all the flowers wouldn’t drag it down.

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It isn’t perfect. I ended up removing the flowers twice before I got them in an arrangement and shape that I was happy enough with to leave. I’m not sure that anyone else sees as many flaws as I do (I see so many), but I’m still pretty proud of this board. It was definitely a labor of love.

Some say, if you visit the library on a cold, windy night, just after the new moon, you can still see the ghost of the world’s most overworked bulletin board.

Or you can just visit during the day, Monday-Saturday, because my kind coworkers haven’t yet removed my last gift to them.