Friday, October 31, 2008

Scary Stories

Happy Halloween!

What was the scariest story you ever read when you were a kid? Was it a chapter book, short story, or picture book? Give us the title and author and tell us just what creeped you out so much.

Mine was The Ghost in the Swing by Jill Patton Smith. I read a lot of spooky stuff--John Bellairs and Zilpha Keatley Snyder were two of my fave authors--but this one got me so bad, that after a few chapters I would only read it if I were in the same room as my mom.

This girl goes to visit her aunt and discovers a ghost in the house. She tries to discover where the ghost came from. One night she hears flute music up in the attic, and heads up the attic stairs...

That's as far as I got! I never finished it! I could never convince myself to go through the attic door.

Now it's 200 bucks on Amazon. I may never find out the ending! :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Book Trailers

Another post! I'm trying to get back up to speed after a kind of a slow month.

Here's a look at something kind of new: book trailers! They're just what they sound like, movie trailers for books. They are being done by all sorts of people--authors, students, publishers, fans. Here's a few to check out:

Rain Is Not My Indian Name
How to Lose Your Tail
Adventures of Deadwood Jones

What do you think? How do these compare to vodcasts? Do you think these would be appealing to kids? Should we link to trailers in Tales' Treehouse when we can find them? Would this be a cool project for our kids and/or teens, to create their own trailers? Here's a link to a college professor who is doing just that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Running Amok with Achockablog

Another blog I try to read from time to time is Achockablog, the blog of the huge, independent UK children's review website, Achuka. It's great for a different perspective on the children's publishing world.

A debate this year has been the desire of publishers to start to "age-band" their books (printing 5+, 7+, 9+, etc. on the covers) this fall; here's a short post with a link to an article about librarian opposition to the idea.

Publishers obviously want to help guide the parents who purchase books, but we know not all kids are so tidily categorized. What do you think?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tweet Tweet

I decided it was time for me to explore Twitter, the free "microblog" application. If you're not familiar with it already, it's kind of like a blog and kind of like IM. You post quick updates on what you're doing. "Quick" is the operative word here: you're limited to 140 characters. Some people post a couple times a week. Other people post multiple times an hour.

School Library Journal and Wired have a couple of articles to look at if you're interested.

I wanted to try it out to see how we might use it with kids (who probably aren't Twitter-ers yet) and their families (who could be). I'll let you know in a few weeks what occurs to me!

Right now, I'm using Twitter to record what I'm reading. I've just posted a few times, but already I can see that the short-short form will be a real help in focussing my thoughts on what I've read.

I've also been trying to Google around and find other Colorado children's librarians on Twitter, but I haven't had much luck yet.

Are YOU on Twitter? Let us know what you think about it, and if you have any children's library ideas.

PS. You can follow me at MelissaZD

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Perennial Newbery Debate

OK, I'm a little behind the curve on this one (October has been a little messy) but earlier this month a discussion about the Newbery award started that is worth a look. Check out the following links and see what you think!

Anita Silvey wrote in SLJ about her frustrations with recent Newbery winners--she speaks to a "trend" away from recognizing books that are popular with young readers.

The problem is, the Newbery criteria specifically state that "the award is for literary quality and quality presentation for children. The award is not for didactic intent or for popularity."

Both Nina Lindsay and Roger Sutton have written responses; don't miss some of the conversation that follows their posts in the comments. This debate crops up every few years, so it's worth the time to get familiar with it.

And if you're curious about what books folks are saying might be Newbery and Caldecott contenders for this year, here's a few lists to read:

Fuse #8
Wizards Wireless
Allen County Mock Newbery List
Allen County Mock Caldecott List

In addition, you might want to check out the Cybils (Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literature Awards). This new award was created specifically to bridge that perceived gap between literary excellence and popularity. On their FAQ they say, "We wanted a literary competition that combined the freewheeling democracy of the Internet with the thoughtfulness of a book club...The winning books must combine quality and 'kid appeal.'"

Compare their nominations lists for this year with the books getting buzz for the Newbery and Caldecott!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Chicago's After School Matters program

Chicago’s After School Matters program lists after-school programs for the Chicago Public Library, Dept of Children and Youth Services, Chicago public schools, After School Matters, and the Chicago Park District. Powered by Google maps, students can enter their home or school address into and find nearby programs.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

City of Ember

Yesterday was the release of the movie City of Ember! It's based on a YA book by Jeanne DuPrau (1st of a trilogy) & is a big middle-school read, though I know 4th and 5th graders have read it too.

So it's all checked out--and of course we won't have the DVD in for awhile. What are we going to recommend to the kids who come in looking for it or who loved the movie?

If you haven't read it (it's a good one), read a few reviews* and see what other upper-elementary/middle school titles come to mind as possible recommendations. Leave a comment with your title, and why you think it's a good read-alike.

If everyone leaves one or two ideas, we'll have a really nice list to help kids out with this month!

*reviews are easy to find--just click on the cover image in Milllennium.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Can Reading Help Kids Lose Weight?

Interesting article from Time.


Hey Everyone
While at the storytelling swap, I learned of the milkshake song. I played this for my preschool group, and for the past 3 weeks they have asked for it every time. Every time I go to play a song at least one will ask 'is it the milkshake song?" a mom today asked me what CD that is, she liked it so much too!
Just a nice thing to find something that I thought sounded fun that the kids really love


I'm glancing through the latest Horn Book Magazine and found this CLAT test (Children's Literature Application Test). It's kind of hard (I thought!), but also fun and informative. Give it a try if you have a spare moment.

The Very Hungry...Curtains?

OK, more just for fun: Eric Carle has licensed some patterns to Andover Fabrics!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Leo Politi 1908-2008 Centennial

While looking at the book bingo list Melissa gave us at Thursday's meeting I noticed several boxes I wanted to put my green dot in - Read a picture book published before 1958; Reread a picture book from your childhood and Read a Caldecott. I thought of the author Leo Politi born in 1908. I have a personal story to tell about him back in the "olden" days in the 1970's. I went to a Chinese restaurant with relatives in downtown Los Angeles called Sam Dam Noodle House (really!.) Sitting at the counter was an older man in a rumpled brown suit with a sketch pad drawing a picture of the little Hispanic boy sitting next to him. I was curious and since it was a very small eatery I could see him sign his name -Leo Politi. He tore the drawing from the pad, handed it to the little boy, finished his tea and left. I hadn't been out of college very long and remembered studying Leo Politi in Children's literature. I was surprised and wondered if the Hispanic family knew who he was. Anyway, I reread Song of the Swallows (1950 Caldecott winner) and then looked Leo Politi up on the internet. 2008 is Leo Politi Centennial We only own two of his titles . I filled in three boxes with one book - Does that count Melissa? (: (It could also qualify as a bilingual picture book I think.)

Friday, October 3, 2008


Last week I took a call via the hunt group from a patron who was trying to remember the name of a humorous chapter book about a knight that she and her daughter had read a few years ago. She remembered a lot about the book, but mostly information about the cover picture and about the author (though not his name!); what she did remember about the book was not enough to narrow down a keyword search. Plus, she uses the Aurora and Arapahoe libraries in addition to Prospector, so there was no way to restrict the search that way.

Rather than tell her I didn't know the book and couldn't find it, I posted a stumper request to PUBYAC, and within 24 hours had two librarians email the title to me. (It was Swords for Hire by Will Allen. We own it. Never heard of it.)

PUBYAC is a listserv (an email mailing list) for public libraries serving young adults and children. People send an email to the listserv address, and it is automatically forwarded to everyone on the list. It is an extremely active and vital community, with numerous discussions weekly about all aspects of youth services, with tons of program ideas and storytime resources. One way to use PUBYAC is as I did, by posting a question about a mystery book to the "collective brain." (If you do want to try PUBYAC as a stumper resource, please read and follow the stumper etiquette posted on the PUBYAC site.) Another way might be to ask for input about a situation your library is experiencing, or to report on a succesful new program you tried.

I strongly encourage you to sign up and follow the discussions for a couple of months to get a taste of what goes on in youth services outside our district! It is a very active list, so you would get lots of emails, but I can help you set up an email filter, or you can opt to get the messages in daily "digest" instead.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Todays Meeting

Thanks for all the good information today at jour meeting. I really enjoyed the meeting and I love the new story time kits for ages 2-5. I cannot wait to try one out this Spring. I learn by hands on.
It was a plus having Jill at the meeting also. I learned a couple of new things about our Childrens web site. I always forget that there is a parent section. Thanks Again. Jan

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Greetings everyone

Greetings! My name is Karen Hathaway, I am a YAST currently based at SM. For about 10 years I worked at the Glendale Library where I did a little bit of everything for all age groups. When I moved to SM I was able to narrow my focus to services for elementary school age children.
There are so many aspects to youth services that I want to explore I have found it hard to settle on just one goal for this group. After considerable thought, I have decided that I want my focus to be on becoming more knowledgeable about the six literacy skills and how to present them to the parents and the kids.
I have just started to do storytimes. Once a month I do a storytime for some women who do daycare in their homes. Since I have only one shot a month to share the literacy skill, I feel under some pressure to do an exceptional presentation. So, what I would like to do is use this group as a resource for ideas that will help me explain the literacy skills in a non-lecturing manner to the caregivers, and give them ideas of how to incorporate them in with their daily activities.

I am looking forward to learning more about what others in this group do and the different ways we inspire kids to develop a love for reading and books.

October: Print Motivation

Our early literacy skill for October is Print Motivation!

What is it? Print Motivation is a child's interest in and enjoyment of books.

Why is it important? Kids who enjoy books and reading will be curious about reading and motivated to learn to read themselves. Motivation is important because learning to read is HARD WORK! Children who have negative experiences with books and reading wind up with less interest in reading and less desire to learn. (What are some of those negative experiences they might have? Don't turn the page yet! Don't talk while I'm reading!)

So it's really important that we make sure our children start reading and listening from day one and that they have a good time with books.

What does this look like in storytime?

  • It looks like YOU having a good time! You’re the model that books and reading are fun.
  • Make it fun for YOU. If you hate singing? Chant or play a CD instead. Don't force yourself to do things you hate because kids will pick up on your lack of enthusiasm.
  • In the same way, choose books you love.
  • If a book isn't working—stop reading! Tell the kids you'll finish it another time, and say it's time for the Hokey Pokey or the Tooty Ta, or just go on to your next activity.
  • Choose pop ups, and lift the flaps sometimes, since kids really respond to the interactive stories.
What do you like to do to enhance Print Motivation in your storytimes? What Print Motivation tips do you give to the parents during storytime?