Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Check it Out!

LIBNET had a fun thread recently that is recapped here on the Colorado Libraries blog: Unique Check Outs. Libraries check out more than books and media! The list ranges from bones (for nurses to study) to puzzles to bikes to electronic devices.

What would you love to be able to check out to the families who use your branch? What resources could the library invest in and share the wealth to our patrons?

Monday, June 29, 2009


If you ever have a patron come in and say, "You know, I want one of those books where they have pictures instead of words?"

They have a word for that! They are called Rebuses and that's exactly how you can search for them in the catalog: a word or keyword search for Rebuses and Juvenile. Using picture clues to help decipher meaning is a legitimate step on the road to reading, so don't let anyone tell you these books are "cheating."

They are in a couple of places:

The Ready-to-Read series has several TV tie in books in the Easy Reader section.

Shirley Neitzel has a little niche on the Easy Picture shelves with her books. They aren't a series with a continuing character, but each has the same cumulative-tale rebus format.

There are one or two others (Smoky has another ER series) but this should get you started! Here's a list from Allen County that may help you scrape a few more titles together. If you know of any other searches or titles that will help with this question, please chime in!

Friday, June 26, 2009


Here's a nice article from the LA Times connecting the Pixar movie Up with children's literature.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

RPLD Summer Reading

I love my hometown library. They are small, just one location in a medium-sized Chicago suburb, but every time I get a newsletter it seems they are trying something new and cool.

For instance, their Teen Summer Reading program uses a ticket system to promote programs and services in addition to reading!

Teens who read for at least an hour every week earn a small prize and a ticket in a weekly drawing. But there are grand prizes at the end of the summer, too, and the more tickets you have in the pot, the better your chances of winning a prize!

Here's the other ways teens can earn tickets:

1 hour reading books, graphic novels, & magazines = 1 ticket
1 hour listening to audiobooks & playaways = 1 ticket
Teen program = 1 ticket
Write a book, movie, or game review = 1 ticket
Read-2-Gether VolunTEEN = 2 tickets
VolunTEEN (every 4 hrs) = 2 tickets

I love this system! What do you think? What other activities could be worth a ticket?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More About the Wild Things

Spike Jonze, the director of the new Wild Things movie that Alyson posted about yesterday, along with others on the movie team, have a blog going, We Love You So, as kind of a bulletin board where they tack up a bunch of items of interest: "This place has been established to help shed some light on many of the small influences that have converged to make this massive project a reality."

There's a lot of pretty random stuff, but also great pieces like Mr Rogers defending PBS funding in the midst of the Vietman War, artwork depicting children with imaginary friends, and quotes, interviews, and video clips of Maurice Sendak.

Another very cool WTWTA-related blog: Terrible Yellow Eyes, which showcases WTWTA-inspired artwork.

A fan site with lots of links to interviews and articles is Where the Wild Things Are.

There's also a 6-months-old Rolling Stone interview with Spike Jonze in which he touches on some of the adaptations he made, and states that Maurice Sendak likes the movie.

I can't wait until the discussion about the movie starts in earnest: how do you adapt a quintessential work from its original media to another? Just how problematic is it to try to stretch a picture book into a full-length feature? (Horton Hears a Who, Cat in the Hat, Jumanji...) What are people going to think about Dave Eggers' novelization/tie-in/inspired-by-the-movie novel, The Wild Things?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

Are you looking forward to the movie (out Oct 16th)? Or do you think it is a travesty to attempt such a thing? Check out the website to view the trailer, posters and images.

My first thought - the mood doesn't seem right. In the book Max is mad, terrified, smug, domineering and WILD; but never soulful and sad looking like the movie images. Colorado Ballet's photo matches the book more.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Where You Headed?

Have you seen the PSAs for the Library of Congress' Lifelong Literacy campaign?

If not, take a minute and go to Oz.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Audiophiles, Meet Audiofile

Summer means lots of road trips and often we get more questions at the desk about recommendations for audiobooks that everyone can listen to. It's a great idea to have a couple of titles you can mention off the top of your head.

Audiofile, the audiobook magazine, has a website you can use as a resource. Their Family Listening page has author interviews, featured narrators, and 3 recommended lists: for young adults, for 8-12 year olds, and for 4-8 year olds.

There's also a link on that page to their Audiobooks on the Go Summer Listening for Kids & Families 2009 list. It's separated into four sections (Other Times & Places, Classics, Fantasy Worlds, and Family & Community) and has recommended listening levels for each book. Most of the titles are for grades 4 and up, but there are some in each category for K-3.

Don't forget about Tales' Treehouse! To search for audiobooks, type in "Listen to This" in Mr. Crow's search box. Many books listed in the Treehouse have "get the CD" links, but the audiobooks that are specifically recommended are tagged "Listen to This."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Trickle Down Readonomics?

As I brace myself to finally read Twilight, here's a great blog post from Carlie Webber at Librarilly Blonde that takes on one of my concerns: What happens when a teen book becomes so popular that younger and younger girls (and boys) want to read it? Just because something grows more popular doesn't mean it grows more appropriate.

Carlie's responding to another blog post, What to Do, What to Do? over at Publishers Weekly. There's tons of great comments there, many from a bookseller point of view. How are things different for us in a library?

What do you do when the 8 and 9 and 10 year old girls ask you for Twilight? If they just want to be on the vampire or supernatural bandwagon, what could we possibly give them instead?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June is Vocabulary Month!

ALD's early literacy skill of the month is Vocabulary!

Vocabulary is simply knowing the names of things...lots of things, objects, feelings, and ideas.

Why is it important?

It's much easier to decode a word on the page when it's a word you already know. So kids with bigger vocabularies have an easier time when they start to read, since it's much easier for them to make sense of what they're sounding out.

What Can You Do?

  • Talk with the children before and after storytime.

  • After a story, go back to a page with an unfamiliar word or phrase (example: In One Monday Morning by Uri Schulevitz, you might go back to the jester and royal barber and ask, “Does anyone know what a jester is? How about a barber? Look, he has a pair of scissors in his hand…").

  • Choose books with rich language.

  • Never substitute words...use a synonym to explain the word (sometimes prior to the reading and at other times as you come to the word in the story).

  • Read non-fiction as well as fiction.

  • Present puppet shows and activities that present concepts: over, under, up, down, beside, around, near, far, tall, short, fast, slow, large, small, left, right, etc.

  • Share activities about opposites.

  • Talk about the emotions of the characters in the story.

What do you like to do to include this skill in storytime? What tips do you like to give to the grownups?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How Oliver Olson Changed...

...my mind about skinny chapter books.

I've been a little frustrated as I've read recent easy beginning readers, such as Mighty Monty, Uh-Oh Cleo, and Alvin Ho.

Many easy beginning readers follow a certain path: there's a young person who takes center stage, and each chapter shows us a different "chapter" of their life. So we see the karate lesson, the birthday party, the trip to the ER, and so forth.

I was starting feel like the characters were flat, the stories episodic, and the themes a little rote. I was worried that I was reading them with too much of a grown-up brain, and couldn't evaluate them fairly for 6-8 year old readers. After all, how much character, plot, and thematic development can you squeeze into a skinny book for a less than fluent reader? And what evaluative criteria should we use on such slender stories as a result?

Then I read How Oliver Olson Changed the World, from Colorado's own Claudia Mills.

Claudia Mills reminded me that thematic coherence, believable voices, generous humor, authentic character development, and real-life issues are all possible, even at 100 pages, tops. No, really! Read it and find out.

(Fuse liked it, too.)

Want to see her do all this in a picture book, too? Find Ziggy's Blue Ribbon Day.

Other great easy chapter books from Claudia Mills are 7 x 9 = Trouble and Being Teddy Roosevelt.

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Allen County Public Library just posted their first Mock Caldecott list of the year!

Evansville has their first quarter list up as well.

What have they missed so far? Go to our GoodReads Caldecott Hopeful shelf and add your favorites.

Fuse has her own "halfway there" predictions, too.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Blogroll Update

I've been making friends with my Google Reader again after 3 months of being too busy with the After School program at May to read much of anything!

I've added a few blogs to the YSIG blogroll:

ALSC Blog--from the ALA's Association of Library Services to Children

The mission of the ALSC Blog is to provide a venue for coverage of time sensitive news in children’s librarianship, current issues in the field, and programs, conferences, initiatives, resources, and activities of interest to ALSC members and those interested in children’s librarianship.


This is the blog of author Cynthia Leitich Smith. She is insanely well informed and her blog is very active with lots of great information:

A source for interviews, reading recommendations, publishing information, literacy advocacy, writer resources, news in children's and teen literature.

Kidlitosphere News

I've mentioned the Kidlitosphere website before--this is their news roundup.

This page features news in the area of children's literature, events from around the blogging community, and announcements about KidLitosphere happenings. Primarily focused on literary news, special events, useful articles, and interesting posts from other blogs, it does not include reviews, interviews, or opinions.

I also put a link to the Summer Showdown blog under ALD. Find out what our shortlists are for the summer!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Catching Up with the Fuse 100

Sorry, I never got back to you with more links to the Top 100 Picture Books list over at Fuse #8.

Here is her final list, Top 100 Picture Books Poll Results #1-101 I'm still working slowly through all the posts, reading her comments.

This is a great list. Of course it's not definitive (what is?) but it's an interesting window into what books are valued by people active in the children's literature world.

Is there anything you would have put on this list that didn't make it?

Take a look at this follow-up list of ALL the titles that got nominated, whether they were on the final 100 list or not.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer Showdown!

We are trying something new this summer! We have 5 lists of 8 books, one for picture books, junior fiction, YA fiction, adult fiction, and adult non-fiction. We've started a new blog called Summer Showdown.

Every weekday is devoted to a different list: Mondays to picture books, Tuesdays to J fiction, etc.

Please promote this online activity to your patrons! It will be highlighted on the websites, too.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Worst Review Ever

Here's a fun, brand-new blog that looks like it's going to be a great discussion starter! Alexa Young, YA author of Frenemies and Faketastic, is asking around for authors to respond to their lousy reviews...starting with her own!

I've read just a couple of the interviews so far, but it is making me think a little more deeply about the review process, which is cool.

The most recent post is about a review for Gentlemen, by Michael Northrop. Read through the comments till you get to LizB (who is very cool in her own right). She raises a really good point about what's the difference between a review and a recommendation:

People have been asking me the difference between reviews and recommendations/discussions. I think this illustrates it; this was a personal response, so falls into recommendation. By not looking beyond that (do "I" like it versus "does the book, as written, do what it intends to do"), it is not a "review." Do "I" relate to characters? Response. Are the characters realistic? Review -- because a character can be realistic, yet I don't relate to them/ like them.

Monday, June 8, 2009

In Between Books?

When you're in between books this summer, you can put your hair in a bun, slide on your work glasses, and stitch one of these designs on your old jeans jacket.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Guys Read Display

As we gear up for summer reading, here's a cool display idea from the Downers Grove Public Library in the Chicago suburbs.

They are using stickers downloaded from GuysRead.com, Jon Scieszka's initiative to help keep boys motivated to read. If you haven't been by, check out the site--it has lots of great book recommendations for boys.

I know ALD has been standardizing the use of permanent spine stickers and cutting down on the usage of special collections, but wouldn't it be cool to do something like this temporarily?

At Koelbel there is a special display for Adult Summer Reading, on our New Fiction shelves. It's kind of like a staff picks, in that the books aren't necessarily new, just good reads. But instead of having a Staff Picks bookmark in them or sticky note on their covers, they all have a special sticker on their spines to keep them together, just for the summer.

I'd love to declare a "Guys Read" month at ALD...we could have Father and Son book programs, choose male authors for our regular book clubs, have male writers come and talk, and have special temporary sections in every branch full of books with the Guys Read stickers on their spines.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards

The 2009 winners were announced Tuesday for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award! These award looks at books published from June 2008 to May 2009, which puts it on a slightly different schedule than many other awards.

It's a fairly prestigious award, and always interesting to see how it differs from the ALA winners.

Winner of Fiction and Poetry is Nation, by Terry Pratchett
Winner of Nonfiction is The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary, by Candace Fleming
Winner of Picture Books is Bubble Trouble, by Margaret Mahy

Read more and see the honor books here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Kelly Herold, of Big A little a and other projects (including being a college professor), has started a new blog called Crossover. In it she will discuss and review books that have "crossover" appeal--books for teens that adults like, books for adults that teens like.

She's starting off with Twilight (I am still so reluctant to read this one, but know I really should!) and mentions the recent Guardian award long list as a list full of books with crossover potential.