Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pyramid of the Lost World by Sandra Page

This chapter book had me turning the pages all night! I am usually not a big reader of historical fiction. For whatever reason, I have always been more curious about other book genres. However, when I read the premise for this book I decided to give it a chance. I am very happy with my decision to get out of my reading genre box!

Carly and her best friend Zoe, are accompanying Carly's mother on an archaeologist dig in Guatemala for the whole summer! The girls are excited to help, but soon realize all they're allowed to do is sweep with brooms. Early one morning, Carly luckily finds a priceless artifact that belongs to the Maya civilization. However, Carly feels an uncomfortable chill when the statue is unearthed. The reader soon finds out that everything begins to go downhill after the arrival of the statue.

This book is action-packed! With short chapters, readers will find themselves flying through the pages. This book would be great for ages 7 and up. The book is simple and short enough to appeal to younger readers, while the weaving of historical facts about the Maya civilization will keep older readers interested. 

I really enjoyed this historical chapter book. I personally learned all kinds of facts about the Maya civilization! The book includes an author's note at the end explaining more about the Maya culture and history. This is the first novel in the series, so I'm excited to see where we'll find Carly next. I'd recommend this purchase to a library where historical or action series are popular.

Pyramid of the Lost World: A Maya Adventure Story is available now!

Review copy provided by the publisher.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Painting, Rearranging, and Decorating

These past few weeks have been crazy in the children's room! One thing they don't teach in library school is that you will need to be very handy with power tools. I am convinced my staff and I could build a library with our bare hands at this point.

The children's room has been under construction for the past 5 months, and we are so excited to finally have our room back in working order. During the renovation process our nonfiction collection was half in our circulation lobby, and storytime was in the adult room. Needless to say, everyone had a lot of adjusting to do.

Unfortunately, the only option for carpet color in our renovated space was red. Even worse, our wall was a strange shade of orange. 

Luckily, we convinced our city higher-ups to repaint the wall. We went with a lovely shade of green that we hoped would be soothing. It's crazy how something as small as paint color can completely change the look of a room.

Storytime magic happens in here!

To celebrate our reopening of the entire children's room, my lovely staff worked all week on bulletin boards. My staff members in the children room are wonderful and I couldn't accomplish half of what I do without them.

It's Candyland!

They are some seriously talented individuals. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday Craft

Once our Holiday Storytime was over, we immediately went into the craft portion of our program. Since the program was all ages, we had two separate crafts set up. This helped with crowd control and reduced waiting time.
One of our crafts was a glitter pinecone ornament. I love glitter and this seemed like a simple and cheap craft to do. However, I didn't know that pinecones have huge spikes on them in Virginia! We had to trim each pinecone individually, and it took way more staff time than I anticipated.

To set up for this craft we had our box of pinecones, paper bags, and glitter all lined up like an assembly line. There were two staff members responsible for putting glitter in the paper bags. Once the child had their paper bag full of glitter, we sent them on their way to the table. The table was covered in newspaper and had paper plates of glue on it. They were instructed to simply roll their pinecone in glue, throw it in their bag, and shake, shake, shake! If you want to try this craft, make sure you tape up the bottom of the paper bag. It's amazing how much glitter can fall out of those tiny creases.

The second craft that was occurring simultaneously was a simple tissue paper covered snowman. I felt like the pinecone wasn't really crafty enough since all they really did was shake their bags, and I wanted to offer them a chance to really be creative. So after pouring over my craft cabinet and finding a ridiculous amount of tissue paper, I went again with cheap and easy. For this craft, the only prep work was cutting the tissue paper into squares and printing off a snowman template. The kids could glue as much or as little tissue paper as they wanted, and cut out their snowman. I also laid crayons out for anyone who simply wanted to color.

Both crafts worked well. The kids absolutely loved decorating the snowman, and it was definitely the crowd favorite. Cleanup was pretty easy, only a few glitter spills. Since we already had the glitter, glue, and tissue paper this program cost us $0!

Holiday Storytime!

This past weekend we celebrated the holidays by having a Christmas themed storytime. Since this was also the last week of storytime, it ended the session perfectly. We hold our special craft storytimes on Saturday mornings. This allows the program to appeal to a wider range of ages and families.

It was wonderful! We ended up with around 35 children ranging from infants to 8 year olds. I had picked a wide selection of books to bring into storytime, and it worked out lovely.

Opening Song
Hands are Clapping
This is our traditional opening toddler song. I felt keeping a similar routine was the best bet.

Dream Snow
This is a beautiful book about a farmer and his animals. It involves guessing, counting, and making animal noises! These are three of my favorite things, so I chose this book to begin the storytime. Also, there is a button you can push at the end and I'm sure lovely music plays. However, our batteries were dying and it ended up sounding quite horrific. I made the decision to use the book and simply not push the button, but of course the one kid old enough to read off my page called me out on it. So, we pushed the button and all had a good laugh.

Our wonderful outreach storytellers had a plethora of holiday songs for me to choose from, so I give all credit to them!

Let's All Do a Little Clapping
(to the tune of We Wish You A Merry Christmas)
Let's all do a little clapping,
Let's all do a little clapping,
Let's all do a little clapping,
And spread Christmas cheer.

(Jumping) (Tapping) (Shaking)

Santa's Stuck
This book is hilarious. Unfortunately, it was a little too long for my group. At this point my helpers were setting up a craft in a completely different area, but the little ones still figured out what was happening and became focused on crafting. These kids can seriously detect markers and glue sticks from 100 yards away.

The Reindeer Pokey
Just like the Hokey Pokey, but while pretending to be reindeer!
Antlers, Hooves, Red nose, Fluffy Tail, and whole body.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas
Bear is well known and loved by my storytime regulars, so this book went over well. Everyone was repeating with me toward the end.
At this point I told the kids we were going to hand out something very special. We had tied jingle bells onto ribbon earlier and handed one out to each child. I told them that the jingle bells lived in the library with Miss Brooke, so we'd have to return them at the end. This is what I say anytime I hand out finger puppets, flannel pieces, etc. It has never failed me yet.

Next, we practiced jingling for a minute or so. Jingle high, low, fast, slow, etc.

Ring, Ring, Ring the Bells
(to the tune of Row, Row, Row, Your Boat
Ring, Ring, Ring the bells
Ring them loud and clear
To say to people everywhere
Christmas time is here.

Jingle-Jingle by Nicola Smee
We jingled a lot in this book! Clip-Clop is one of my favorite storytime books, and this one was perfect for our bells.

Clap, Clap, Clap Your Hands
I included a verse about ringing your bells fast and slow.

Closing Song
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

Monday, December 10, 2012

Preschool Storytime- Letter N

Opening Song
If You Listen and You Hear Me

Letter of the Week

Hide & Seek by Il Sung Na
This book is a quiet read that had the kids listening beautifully. I incorporate counting with this book and we talk about all the ridiculous places the animals are hiding.


It's a Tiger! by David LaRochelle
This book is perfect for storytime! The kids all get to yell "It's a Tiger!" and they really enjoy how silly it is. At the end of the book, in both sessions, I had preschoolers want to guess what would happen next to the crocodile in the book. 

5 Little Monkeys

I'm Not Cute!
This is a very sweet book, and it had the letter 'N' on the cover!

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
Anything by Mo Willems is gold.

Rhyme/ Movement

At this point, my preschoolers were going wild. The last book really worked them up, and we had a large group of friends that get each other going. So, while I rarely use this rhyme in preschool time, I needed something that was going to bring them all back down to read. I chose...

Where is Thumbkin
This excited the preschoolers because almost everyone knew the words. The lullaby aspect helped tremendously and everyone was quite calm after this.

Press HereBook
Push Here by Herve Tullet
Throughout this book there were many gasps and "How did you do that?!". At the end I think about half of my crowd was convinced I was using magic.  I did not correct them.

Closing Song
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Toddler Storytime #2

This was the last week of storytime for our fall session. We are now on a 5 week break and I'm very excited for it. I believe breaks are extremely important to storytellers! It gives a chance to replenish your books, learn some new songs, and just take a much needed break.


Early Literacy Tip
Today we talked about playing! I always try to write out my tips beforehand and then just paraphrase them in storytime. So I planned on saying, "In all of our books today we're going to be playing! Playing with your child during story increases their understanding and makes reading more fun!" 

Opening Song
Hands are Clapping

Snap Like a Crocodile! by Kate Burns
This is a lovely and short lift-the-flap book. After each lift, we made animal sounds or talked about where the animals lived. 

Itsy-Bitsy Spider

Roadwork by Sally Sutton
Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia is a huge storytime favorite with this group, so I thought I would throw in a similar, but different book. The illustrations look more realistic which my toddlers loved. After I turned each page, we would stop and talk about the new truck that appeared. We also did the movements along with the trucks. This can get long, so I clipped some of the pages.

Roly Poly
This was a natural transition since one of our trucks in the previous book rolled the road flat!

Where is Thumbkin
This song is a life saver. When my group is crazy and wiggly after a book or rhyme this always calms them down. I normally do each song 2x, once it is in the rotation, but sometimes this one gets 3 repetitions.

Do Crocs Kiss by Salina Yoon
This is an adorable board book that is big enough for a group to see. The rhymes are cute for most of the animals and we did animal noises and movements for each lift-the-flap. This book is great at working on predictions. By the end, I had quite a few kids guessing what the last word was... yes, it was an animal sound, but they were beginning to understand what the concept of the book was. 

Early Literacy Tip
At this point, I planned on saying something about animal movements and noise are always a good way to  bring some play into your reading. However, since my toddlers in all 4 sessions began making predictions, I talked about that instead.

3 Little Monkeys
The toddlers love this song because you get to sway, use your fingers to count, and CHOMP like a crocodile! With preschoolers I do 5 monkeys, but I've found it works best with 3 for toddlers.

Do Pigs Have Stripes by Melanie Walsh / Move Over Rover by Karen Beaumont
This book is another great lift-the-flap, animal guessing game. At this point, I realized that almost all of my books had crocodiles in them, so the toddlers were very excited when we got to his page. This is a great book to talk about differences and traits of animals. 

Also, I usually bring in 6 or 7 books to each storytime. I like to have a variety to pick from depending on the groups mood and energy. For one of the groups, who were a little quieter, we did Move Over Rover. This book has great repetitions, and a fun ending!

Early Literacy Tip
"Reading should be fun with your toddler! If you are having reading time at home and your little one gets distracted, its ok to stop. Its better to have three minutes of great reading times than 15 minutes of reading with them fighting you the last 10 minutes. You're all doing the right thing by reading to your little one and it shows. The development and maturity in this group is very notable and I'm so happy and impressed!" 

On the last storytimes of the session, I always make parents clap for themselves. Their toddler wouldn't be here without them, so I think its important to acknowledge all of the work they're doing. If your parents feel appreciated, they will continue to come back to your programs. 

Closing Song
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Teens Get Crafty

Looking for a fun, budget friendly teen program? One of our monthly teen programs that has been successful is our Teens Get Crafty. It is held on the last Monday of each month and features a simple craft or two. 

For this series of programs, I planned all three sessions at once and only made one trip to the store. I used Pinterest for my inspirations and went for the most budget friendly ideas.

For the first program we had exactly zero people show up. It was sad, but not surprising. One of the nice things about this program is you can reuse your craft items and ideas if attendance is low. I think the biggest factor for no attendance is that school had just recently started. Teens were still getting in the groove of school.

The following month we had 5 teens show up! We made book page flowers and Soda Tab bracelets this week. The bracelet is a little complicated, but I thought doable. Turns out, it was very complicated for my teens and we had to walk through almost the entire bracelet together. I could have only had the bracelets at this craft and saved the flowers.

For our final program, we made tie dye bandannas. This craft is really simple, and cheap! All you need is fabric, sharpies, rubbing alcohol, and cups. The instructions suggest to use medicine droppers, but we went with just using straws instead.

The teens absolutely loved the tie die! It was by far their favorite thing we've done. I received multiple requests to continue with this program from teens and parents, so I believe we will be continue to offer it in the spring!


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