Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

A children's literature costume round up in honor of the holiday:

From Scholastic: Captain Underpants, Angelina Ballerina, Thing 1 and Thing 2, Very Hungry Caterpillar, Little Miss Spider, and a Wild Thing.

The Pigeon goes trick-or-treating!

Wild Thing! (Actually, Max.)

Thomas and friends rolling along.

Man in the Yellow Hat, dude.

Chicka Chicka...Boom Boom!

Fancy Nancies!

Complete with mice?

Plus a helpful article about building your own storybook costume.

But my absolute fave isn't from a book, but from a videogame. Yup, it's a knitted baby Link outfit.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Memory Box for Storytime

We're almost done with our Narrative Skills month, but I wanted to tell you about a great idea I came across--maybe you can use it the next time we do Narrative Skills in storytime!

Abby Librarian is a 20-something children's librarian who keeps a great blog. Recently she posted about how she uses a Memory Box in storytime.
Each week we find a small object that appears somewhere in one of our storytime books. At the beginning of the storytime we ask kids to guess what's in the box and give them hints until someone guesses it. We ask them to be good listeners and good watchers and let us know when they see the object in one of our stories.

Here are a few examples of Memory Box items we've used:

A small plastic pig to go with the book Bark, George!
An envelope to go with I Am Invited to a Party!
A pie (made out of felt) to go with All for Pie, Pie for All
A kite to go with AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First

What a neat idea!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Narrative Skills

We still have a week left in October, and our skill of the month is Narrative Skills!

Narrative Skills include describing things and events, telling stories, knowing the order of events (sequencing), and making predictions (what might happen next).

Here are some ideas for promoting this skill in your storytimes:

  • Talk with the children before and after storytime.

  • Talk with the children about your theme for the day: What do you need for a birthday party? What would you take on a picnic? What would you wear if it were a cold, snowy day?

  • Read a story and follow it with a puppet show (simply, so the children can retell the story at home with their stuffed animals).

  • Share stories with a sequence.

  • Invite the children and parents to repeat repetitive phrases.

  • Have children help act out a story or nursery rhyme: Little Miss Muffet, Caps for Sale, etc.

  • Share familiar fairy tales: Three Pigs, Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Little Red Hen, The Three Bears, etc.

  • Share Mother Goose rhymes, story poems, fingerplays, and action rhymes.

  • Some illustrations lend themselves to a dialogue with the children: What the Sea Saw by Stephanie St. Pierre is a joyous celebration of the sea and the shore with realistic, large pictures that make it perfect for sharing.

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Fall Movies

Where the Wild Things Are isn't the only movie based on a book to come out this fall! Cirque du Freak is out today!

Here are a few more movies of interest to children and teens:

October 23: Cirque du Freak. Who's read this? I keep meaning to but have never gotten to it yet. The whole series is pretty much checked out, but I don't know if that's because of the movie, or if it's been popular all along. (The first book came out in 2001.) We also have the first volume redone as manga, in our YA Graphic Novel Collection!

November 6: Disney's A Christmas Carol. This story is all over the place in our collection, and Barbie and Sesame Street and the Flintstones and who knows who else all have their take! Many copies are in J, but if you're out and someone needs it, there are some books in adult fiction, too.

November 6: Precious is based on the novel Push, by Sapphire, which is in our adult fiction collection, but since it's about a teenage girl, there is crossover appeal to YAs.

November 13: Fantastic Mr. Fox I haven't read the book! I don't know the gossip about the movie! Anyone want to jump in here and save me? All I have is this LA Times article. It's stop-motion, not 3D, and has tons of big voice names. Are you going to see it?

November 20: Ah, yes. A little picture based on a small book: New Moon. Fanboys and girls, it's time to speak up, because at this rate, I am never going to read the books or see the movies! Who's seen them? Who's going to this one?

November 25: Disney's Princess and the Frog. Okay, there's a lot of these stories out there--the search "(prince or princess) and juvenile and frog" brings back 45 items in J FIC, folktales, and picture books. This movie is noteworthy because it is a traditional 2D animation from Disney, and because it is the studio's first black princess. There is much discussion going on! Here's an article from the NY Times, from May, and one from Moviefone, in September, for a quick overview of what people are saying. (My favorite comment, from the NYT: "We finally get a black princess and she spends the majority of her time on screen as a frog?")

December 11: The Lovely Bones. Again, not a YA title, but one lots of high school girls have read. I think I'm one of the fourteen people who have not yet read this. But it's directed by Peter Jackson, so there is tons of buzz and Oscar speculation already, even though it's not out for another 2 months!

December 25: Holmes. People are going to say Guy Ritchie is playing pretty fast and loose with the Holmes character, although 1) Ritchie has said, "There's quite a lot of intense action sequences in the stories, [and] sometimes that hasn't been reflected in the movies," and 2) people have been playing pretty fast and loose with Holmes since he was first written. Books are all over our collection ("Sherlock Holmes" as a keyword = 208 items), though what's in J is usually adaptations.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Last week at Staff Day I had a chance to introduce a few staff to Storybird, but I love it so much I wanted everyone to know about it!

Storybird is a storytelling Web 2.0 experience accessible to the youngest kids. On Storybird, you can create your own stories using tons of great pictures from amazing artists. You just click and drag images onto your storyboard, and type in your text. You can make them as long or as short as you like, and if you want, you can post them to the site for everyone to see. You can read other people's Storybirds too!

You can make a story without logging in, but if you create an account you can do the coolest thing: send an email invitation to someone else you know, who can then add their own parts to your story! The Storybirds are saved online at the site.

I created a story with my 5 year old nephew in Chicago. I started a story, then emailed the invite to my sister. She got it opened up, showed my nephew how to click and drag and start a new page, and typed in what he dictated. They did a few pages--he did all the clicking and adding--and sent it back to me! We each took a few turns and had a great time.

I think it's an awesome experience, totally age-appropriate to older preschoolers and up. It's very fun, satisfying, and builds language skills like crazy!

It will always be free to make and save a Storybird, but premium, paid features are on the way, including printing your completed stories.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tomas Rivera Award

I am so late to the party, since Hispanic American Heritage Month ended on Thursday, but here's the winners of this year's Tomas Rivera Award. This award is specifically for authors and illustrators who write about and show the Mexican-American experience in their works.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Amie's Storytime Links!

Amie Richter shared the following links at the last Storytime Practicum, and agreed to let me post them here so everyone has access! Thanks Amie for gathering these resources and sharing them with us.

Storytime Theme Ideas

Perry Public Library Storytime Themes
The Association of Children's Librarians of Northern California Storytime Ideas
Pre-K Fun
Susan M. Dailey's Favorite Sites
Wilma Flanagan's It's Storytime
StoryPlace Pre-school Library

Printables and Activities

Making Learning Fun
Harper Collins Children's I Can Read
VRAC Coloriages (character coloring pages)
DLTK's Crafts for Kids Coloring Pages
Kiwi Magazine KiwiKids

Holidays, Songs, Book Sites

Holiday Insights Holidays
Kididdles Songs
Guys Read Good boy books
AR Bookfinder Accelerated Reader List

Friday, October 16, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

So are you going to the movie, or keeping your book experience unsullied by film?

Alyson gave us her take back in June, when we also posted some links to interviews and blogs, including Terrible Yellow Eyes, with awesome Wild Thing tribute art!

And here's a blog that has gathered some cute Wild Things craft/art ideas.

Here's a fresh interview from Newsweek last week with both Jonze and Sendak.

One snippet from it to get you started!
What do you say to parents who think the Wild Things film may be too scary?
Sendak: I would tell them to go to hell. That's a question I will not tolerate.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A New Storytime Song

Hee hee.

Thanks to Bridget, who sent me the link to Jim Dale's Cellphone Song.

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Pooh

Are you cheering or jeering over the new Winnie the Pooh adventure? Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, the first authorized sequel to the original Milne books, is being released today!

The author is David Benedictus, who made 2 adaptations of the original books for audio. They are illustrated by Mark Burgess, a children's book illustrator, working in what looks very much like the Shepard style.

"The first Pooh book in 80 years?" you say. "What was all the Disney stuff, chopped liver?" Disney bought the television, film, and merchandising rights in 1961, but the Milne estate retained the rights to sequels. I'm not really clear myself on the difference, but my guess is that all those Disney books are considered "merchandising" of the various film and TV characters.

And speaking of characters, the new book will introduce a new friend to the Wood: Lottie the Otter. Are we ready for this? :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Banned Books Week

Did you have a good Banned Books Week?

Did you get a chance to see Ellen Hopkins' Manifesto poster? It's very moving, especially if you consider her struggles with challenges to her own books which deal explicitly with tough issues. (see: Crank, Glass, Tricks, eg)

However, Joe posted a great link over on the Professional Development blog that I'm stealing for here! The Wall Street Journal writes, Finding Censorship Where There is None, and asks, "Why do parents' public petitions constitute censorship, while librarians' hidden verdicts do not?"

Are you ready? Here's a response to the WSJ article, from the blog Creative Anomalies. They tackle why the parents' petitions to remove books are considered censorship: "Parents may determine what their own children read, but they do not now and never have had the ability to make the choice for any other parent."

But the CA post doesn't address that "hidden verdict" issue. The truth is that some librarians, being human beings and all, do have biases and sometimes do use selection policies consciously or unconsciously to keep certain books out of their collections. And yes, WSJ, when that happens, they are censors too. But the truth is also that many librarians are actively working to put all kinds of books ONTO their shelves, while working within constraints of budget and space and also respond to their specific community's needs.

If you've never read the classic "Not Censorship but Selection" by Lester Asheim, or if (like me) you haven't read it for years, it's worth the time. He says,
The aim of the selector is to promote reading, not to inhibit it; to multiply the points of view which will find expression, not limit them; to be a channel for communication, not a bar against it. In a sense, perhaps, it could be said that the librarian is interfering with the freedom to read whenever he fails to make some book available. But viewed realistically, the librarian is promoting the freedom to read by making as accessible as possible as many things as he can, and his selection is more likely to be in the direction of stimulating controversy and introducing innovation than in suppressing the new and perpetuating the stereotype.

Happy Banned Books Week!