Thursday, May 22, 2014

Summer Reading is Coming...!

You know what? Summer Reading Club is coming. In fact, ours starts next week. And I didn't really even want to write a post about Summer Reading Club because READING and also because I just feel like I've posted a LOT about Summer Reading Club in years past, so give it a rest already.

But then we had our final SRC meeting and afterwards I overheard one of my employees say, "I am feeling good about this summer!" 

AND MY MANAGER HEART EXPLODED WITH JOY!!! Seriously, this makes me really happy as a manager. 

Okay, yes, like Angie at Fat Girl, Reading, we are all very excited for Summer Reading. There are many families that we only see every summer (and while we would love to see them more, we understand that the school year is super busy). Summer's a great time to try new programs when the spotlight's on us and we have the opportunity to get the word out more than at any other time. We reconnect with our schools, even the ones that don't have us in much over the school year (yet!). 

But Summer Reading is a stressful time. It's a time when everyone's job gets a little harder. Our days are busier. There are less (or no!) lulls during your on-desk time. You might be doing programs every day (or most days). For me, one of the hardest things is the noise level. My office is not very sound-proof, so even when I'm off-desk, it can be hard to concentrate over the sound of a day camp visiting or a cadre of toddlers playing with the blocks. 

I am sorry if this animated gif is annoying. It is sometimes how I feel.

Summer is not just a stressful time for youth staff, either. Your Circ staff is feeling the burn. Your pages are on overload. I've posted about things to do to make summer easier for other library staff

But this year, I have an amazing staff AND more staff hours than we've ever had (slightly more is still more). We've all got a manageable workload. Taking the Summer Reading Club online has really lessened our workload as far as registration. 

And I like to have one last meeting with my Children's staff to get everyone on the same page before the program starts. We all took a look at the reading logs. We talked about our early literacy program for 0-2 and how we could use that to promote our ongoing 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program. We discussed the Daycare Summer Reading Club and how to register anyone who calls or comes in. 

And we did a little role playing. My staff members are all extremely good sports and this was a way for us to discuss questions that they might be asked and how to answer them. They took turns in the "hot seat" and drawing a patron slip out of the cup. They might be role playing a parent angry at our change in prizes this year or a parent of a child with special needs who wonders if she should sign up her child for the Teen Club or the Children's Club. We talked about all different kinds of scenarios and how we would deal with them. 

After we went through the cup, we took some time to talk about other questions parents had asked this month. 

This year, we started online signup on May 1, though the program (reading and logging) does not officially begin until May 27. We already have almost 200 kids signed up and we haven't even visited all the schools yet, so I think this has been a really successful component of our program this year. We'll send them an email on the 27th letting them know they can print or pick up reading logs and start reading! 

This is my sixth Summer Reading Club at my current library and each one has been easier than the last. And THAT makes me really excited for this summer. :) 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Reading Wildly: Diverse Books

This month, for our Reading Wildly book discussion, we talked about multicultural books. We had a lot to talk about since the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign had started up the week before. Using diverse books in our programming and including them in booktalks, readers' advisory, and displays has long been a goal for this department. To kick off our discussion, we talked about the recent New York Times opinion piece The Apartheid of Children's Literature by Christopher Myers. 

We talked about kids' need to have a road map, not only for kids of color trying to find their path, but for white children, as well. We're a global society and reading is one way that kids experience their world. Our community is increasingly diverse, but there are still many areas and schools that are predominantly white. Reading about many different kinds of people is a way for kids to learn that our world is a diverse place and they will be expected to interact with it. It's a way for them to create a road map to navigate our diverse world.

We want our patrons to see themselves represented at the library. And we don't want our children to be, as Myers puts it, "threatened by difference". It's up to us to be familiar with and to promote books about children of color, just as we promote all excellent books.

So, what did we read this month?

SO, if you're looking to diversify your shelves, these are some great books to pick up! 

The next couple of months will be Reader's Choice months since we'll be super busy with the Summer Reading Club and all the kids out of school. I'm excited to start up our staff summer reading log again. We've done staff Summer Reading Logs in the past and we've done both individual logs and last year we did a group log. This year, we're going to make it more visual by posting book covers instead of writing down the titles. I'm hoping that'll be a little more eye-catching and inspiring! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

48-Hour Book Challenge: #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Oh, happy day! Happy day!

Mother Reader has announced the Ninth Annual 48-Hour Book Challenge!

The 48HBC is one of my very favorite times of year - a weekend devoted to putting everything aside and whittling down that To-Be-Read pile while connecting with other bloggers doing the same all over the world!

This year's event will be taking place the weekend of June 6-8, 2014 and there's an awesome twist.

You may have heard the outcry as thousands of readers took to social media to let the world know that #WeNeedDiverseBooks. This year's 48HBC is dedicated to "reading, sharing and reviewing books that show diversity in all ways." What a wonderful way to read and promote books that reflect our diverse world!

Sadly, I will be unable to participate since I am serving on the Newbery Committee and thus can't blog about eligible titles. That makes it more important for you to participate so I can live vicariously!!! I will definitely be cheering you on!

Need some suggestions to build that TBR pile of diverse titles? I've got a Pinterest Board for that!

This Pinterest Board, We Need Diverse Books, will point you to diverse books I've reviewed on my blog over the years. You can find more suggestions on Yapha's Pinterest Board and Jennie's post at Biblio File. Don't miss Diversity in YA. Check out Kelly's great list of contemporary teen fiction featuring diverse characters. Of course, you'll want to fill in any reading gaps you have in diverse book awards like: 
And I'm going to add another dimension to your challenge: as you're finding and reading great diverse books, please consider nominating them for your state book awards! Almost every (if not every) state has a children's book award. I'm sure each state committee runs theirs a little differently, but when I served on the Young Hoosier Book Award, we were limited to books that had been field nominated throughout the year. If no diverse books were nominated (which was not the case), our hands were tied! Seek out info about your state book award and make sure you're nominating great diverse books!

Stay tuned to MotherReader for more info about this year's 48-Hour Book Challenge and please share more links to lists or Pinterest boards of diverse books in the comments!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Little Things at the ALSC Blog

Friends, today I am over at the ALSC Blog talking about the little (very little) things that drive me crazy in the Children's Room! I know you have something trivial that bugs you, too, so please click through and share in the comments!

I'll give you a hint. Mine has to do with this:

Click through to check it out at the ALSC Blog!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Preschool Storytime: Transportation

Last week, I did storytime for a visiting preschool class and they asked for a storytime about transportation. Here's what I did:

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello (our standard opener, good for practicing body parts and warming up the kids)

Book: Away We Go by Rebecca Dotlich, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino (HarperFestival, 2000). This book has very simple, rhyming text that describes many different ways of transportation, from planes to cars to wheelchairs to hot air balloons to horses and more! We talked about the different kinds of planes we saw in the pictures - jumbo jets hold lots of people, while little planes might hold only one person. 

Action Rhyme: This is a Choo-Choo Train

This is a choo choo train
Puffing down the track
Now it's going forward
Now it's going back

Now the bell is ringing
Now the whistle blows
What a lot of noise it makes
Everywhere it goes!

I had the kids stand up and chug their arms forward and back. They loved making the whistle noise (and WHAT a lot of noise it made!). This action rhyme helps children develop gross motor skills and it helps them practice following instructions as they do the actions with me. It is also good for getting some wiggles out! I did it twice with them and then we sat back down. 

Flannel Activity: We have a flannel set (made with our die-cut machine, I am pretty sure) with different colored train cars. I passed out the cars and asked children to listen and then bring up their car to add to our train when I called their color. This activity helps children practice listening and following instructions and it also reinforces color knowledge. 

Book: Toot Toot, Beep Beep by Emma Garcia (Boxer Books, 2008). I like this book for its large trim size and colorful pictures - it makes a great read-aloud. I also like it because it uses many different kinds of sounds for different types of cars. As I read, I encouraged kids to make the sounds with me. Playing with sounds and hearing many different kinds of sounds (vroom vroom, honk honk, whoosh whoosh, etc.) helps children begin to hear that words are made up of smaller sounds. 

Song: Dump Truck (to the tune of Ten Little Indians)

Bumpity-bumpity goes the dump truck
Bumpity-bumpity goes the dump truck
Bumpity-bumpity goes the dump truck
Duuump out the load!

For this action song, kids hopped as our dump trucks bumped down the road and then bent sideways as we dumped out the load. This is another great activity for developing gross motor skills and getting wiggles out. We sang it several times. One time, I told them we had a really HEAVY load, so we had to go really slowly. And the last time, I told them we had a really light load, so we could go really fast! 

Book: Red Light, Green Light by Anastasia Suen, illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2005). When I read this book, I sing it to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", which maybe works a little better for babies. When I read it with the preschoolers, I kept wanting to talk about something in the illustrations, which makes singing the book a little moot. Oh, well. This book has rhyming text and shows a child playing with toy cars and trucks, but the pictures are zoomed in on them so that they look like they could be real cars and trucks. I wanted a book to introduce red light and green light, and we talked about what each of those signals mean. 

Stop & Go Game: I passed out the bells and we played a stop and go game with these homemade stop and go signs. Playing stop and go games is a great way to practice the concept of STOP and turning it into a game makes it more likely that children will actually STOP when you need them to! 

Book: Good Night Engines by Denise Mortensen, illustrated by Melissa Iwai (Clarion Books, 2003). We had time for one last book and I wanted to try this one out. It shows many different kinds of vehicles as the sun is setting and they're turning in for the night. The truck goes to the truck stop, the fire engine goes back to the station, etc. This is another rhyming book and the text is sweet and gentle, so it was a good book to end with, to calm everyone down before I turn them back over to their teacher. 

Closing Song: Do You Know What Time It Is? 

There are tons, tons, tons more great transportation books and you can find many more transportation storytimes online. Check out more storytime plans at: 

What are your favorite transportation books and activities to use in storytime? 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

What to Read at Baby Storytime #5

This is going to be a post about books I've shared at my baby storytimes recently, but have you checked out Jbrary yet?! Dana and Lindsey, the ladies behind this wonderful storytime resource, share a wealth of songs, rhymes, and activities for storytime. If you're looking for songs & rhymes, don't miss the Jbrary YouTube channel!

Okay, books. Here are my favorites from my recent sessions of baby storytime:

One Little Spoonful by Aliki (HarperFestival, 2001). This book takes us through mealtime with baby, something your babies and grownups will be very familiar with. The text talks about different body parts, giving you a chance to make the story more interactive by encouraging your grownups to gently touch those parts on their child or themselves.

Look at the Baby by Kelly Johnson (Henry Holt & Co., 2002). Babies love to look at pictures of other babies and this is a book that fits the bill. Featuring a diverse collection of babies, this is another title that talks about different body parts, which is great for encouraging interaction between caregivers and their little ones.

Hula Lullaby by Erin Eitter Kono (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2005). This is a sweet, rhythmic bedtime story that will introduce your little storytimers to a few Hawaiian words. As I read this book, I encouraged my families to hold baby on their lap and swap gently side-to-side. This one's a little long for the under-2 crowd, so I didn't read the entire book.

Giddy-Up! Let's Ride! by Flora McDonnell (New Line Books, 2002). This is a fantastic book for playing around with sounds. Different people ride differently, each with a different hoof beat or sound. As I read this book, I encouraged families to bounce along with me. The large trim size may enable your caregivers to read along with you if you have a smaller group.

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007). This is another great book for sharing language sounds with young children. The words have a great beat and introduce lots of sounds as you scat your way through the pages of this book. When I read this book, I am sure to let caregivers know that I've chosen it because of the great beat and sounds, which are wonderful to share with young children.

Max Loves Sunflowers by Ken Wilson-Max (Jump at the Sun, 1999). This very simple story follows a young boy (and a pig) planting a sunflower and watching it grow. A few little pop-up and interactive elements help hold the attention of young children, and it's a great story to share in springtime when families may be starting to plant their own flowers!

What are your favorites to share at baby storytime?

You may also be interested in:

What to Read at Baby Storytime #4
What to Read at Baby Storytime #3
What to Read at Baby Storytime #2
What to Read at Baby Storytime #1