Books I’m Enjoying: January

I’ve been reading a bit more YA than usual this month and I have some new favorites:

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The Boy in the Black Suit, Jason Reynolds: Matt is reeling from his mother’s death and trying to find his footing in an unlikely place: the funeral home of a neighbor. Quietly hopeful, this one is a winner is basically every way a book can be a winner. It’s almost gentle in it’s handling of the loss of a parent, but still rings very true to me.
The Impossible Knife of Memory, Laurie Halse Anderson: If you want a rough, wonderful read, basically anything by Laurie Halse Anderson will work. Her latest though, is some of her best. For years, Hayley and her father has been on the road, trying to outrun the memories of war that haunt her father. This was a beautiful exploration of how PTSD impacts everyone in a family and leaves you simultaneously raw and hopeful.
My True Love Gave to Me, Various Awesome YA Authors: This one has a little bit of everything. Fluffy romances, multiple holidays, fantasy, humor… If romance isn’t your thing, this one won’t be up your alley. But if you’re into romance and especially if you want to read or recommend things with diversity in relationships, this is will be perfect (except for maybe the whole Christmas theme).

For the kiddos, I read this one- and LOVED it.

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Rain Reign, Ann M. Martin: Rose Howard is a fifth grade girl with Asperger’s, but this book isn’t about that (and that’s refreshing and wonderful). It’s about her relationships with her family, her classmates, and her dog, Rain, who goes missing following a hurricane. Rose’s relationship with her father is sometimes difficult to read and makes this book most appropriate for upper elementary readers, but it is lovingly written and was clearly well researched. It’s a reminder of what a prolific and talented writer Ann M. truly is.

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Make Snow Dough!

I was really looking forward to my snow science crafts program (post on that tomorrow!), but there was one minor setback. Despite weeks of freezing temperatures, we had no snow! I decided we could just make some. I did the leg work on trying out two different snow dough recipes and I’d like to share my results with you.

The method is the same for both- start with a pile of shaving cream on a plate or tray and sprinkle your solid over the top. Squeeze it between your fingers to mix it up, adding more shaving cream or powder as needed.

Recipe One
Baking soda
Shaving cream

It also looks like mashed potatoes.
It also looks like mashed potatoes.

This dough came together REALLY easily. After the first few squishes, it doesn’t stick to your hands much at all, but what does stick washes off without any problems. This dough was the easiest to make.

Once it’s made it’s cool to the touch and pure white like fresh snow! It’s got a moist, crumbly consistency that feels very similar to slushy snow. It doesn’t hold together very well and is messy to play with because of that.

Recipe Two
Cornstarch
Shaving cream

Less like taters, more like dough.
Less like taters, more like dough.

I thought this dough was kind of a pain to mix up. The cornstarch dusted everything nearby (similar to flour) and was very sticky. It’s harder to wash off because cornstarch globs up when it’s mixed with water.

Once it’s combined (which still only takes a few minutes), it’s very cool. It feels a lot like moon dough! It hold shape really well and doesn’t crumble as easily, so it’s less messy to play with. It’s also cool to the touch but the consistency and color are not really very snow-like.

I went with the first recipe for this program because I really wanted to reproduce snow, and this one nailed it. Since this part of the program was more about making the dough than playing with it, I also liked that it was the less messy option for dough creation. I will probably still use the second recipe in the future.

As a bonus, no matter which one you make, you hands will smell great all day!

Flannel Friday: Fast Felt!

I did a color-themed outreach storytime and I wanted a really simple flannel board to go along with this cute song I found at Storytime Katie‘s blog:

Driving around in my little red car
Driving around in my little red car
Driving around in my little red car
Zoom, zoom, zoom, zoom, zoom! 
(to the tune of 10 Little Indians)

For the younger crowd, I like to have a good visual to go along with what they’re singing.

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These bright little guys took all of ten minutes to create and they were a big hit. We sang this song through all of the six colors I had and then took a moment to brainstorm other colors. We sang about black, white, grey, and pink!