Monday, January 15, 2018

Favorite Books to Share with Library Field Trips and Outreach

The new year usually brings another round of field trips coming to the library and outreach adventures out to area daycare providers.  I am always looking for good books to share with the kiddos, especially ones that are not necessarily books I would use at my weekly toddler storytimes.  Here are some gems I plan to use:

  


Press Here by Hervé Tullet
The Wide-Mouthed Frog: A Pop-Up Book by Keith Faulkner, illustrated by Jonathan Lambert
Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

  


Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas
Charlie Chick: A Pop-Up Book by Nick Denchfield, illustrated by Ant Parker
Chicken Story Time by Sandy Asher, illustrated by Mark Fearing

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Miss Carol's Favorite Book Finds of 2017 - Non-fiction Children's Books

Every year I spend the last few weeks of the year compiling my favorite book finds of the year.  They are not always new books.  Just books I discovered for the first time and really, really liked.

CHILDREN'S NON-FICTION BOOK DISCOVERIES FOR 2017:

   


Balderdash!: JohnNewbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children's Books by Michelle Markel, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter Chronicles of the life of children's book pioneer John Newbery describing how he imagined books filled with stories, science and games before becoming a celebrated author and publisher, changing the literary world forever.

Caroline's Comets: ATrue Story by Emily Arnold McCully Caroline Herschel (1750-1848) was not only one of the greatest astronomers who ever lived but also the first woman to be paid for her scientific work. Together with her brother, they built the greatest telescope of their age, working tirelessly on star charts. Using their telescope, she discovered fourteen nebulae and two galaxies, was the first woman to discover a comet, and became the first woman officially employed as a scientist. The information from the Herschels' star catalogs is still used by space agencies today.

Grace Hopper : Queenof Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark Grace Hopper's passion for science and math led her to defy expectations. She joined the Navy during World War II, and wrote programs for the Mark I, one of the first computers ever built. Hopper coined the term "computer bug" and taught computers to "speak English."

 

Grandmother Fish: A Child’s First Book of Evolution by Jonathan Tweet, illustrated by Karen Lewis
Inquisitive young readers will delight in wiggling, chomping, squeaking, and hooting their way through our evolutionary family tree in this charming tale that answers one of life's biggest questions: where do we come from?

Whoosh!: LonnieJohnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton, illustrated by Don Tate A love for rockets, robots, inventions, and a mind for creativity began early in Lonnie Johnson’s life. Growing up in a house full of brothers and sisters, persistence and a passion for problem solving became the cornerstone for a career as an engineer and his work with NASA. But it is his invention of the Super Soaker water gun that has made his most memorable splash with kids and adults.


SPECIAL VIDEO BONUS:


Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror Sixteen-year-old Haruka is on a mission to find her mirror, a precious childhood gift from her mother that mysteriously disappeared. While following a strange fox-like creature in the woods, she tumbles into a mystical world where once-cherished toys and treasures go when their owners neglect them. Join Haruka and her new friend Teo on a roller coaster ride of adventure as they contend with the island's greedy ruler, who wants the mirror for his own evil plan!

Miss Carol's Best Book Finds of 2017 -- Picture Books

Monday, January 1, 2018

Miss Carol's Favorite Book Finds of 2017 -- Middle Grade Books

Every year I spend the last few weeks of the year compiling my favorite book finds of the year.  They are not always new books.  Just books I discovered for the first time and really, really liked.

MIDDLE GRADE CHAPTER BOOK DISCOVERIES FOR 2017:

  



The Crooked Sixpence(The Uncommoners) by Jennifer Bell Ivy Sparrow and her big brother Seb discover a city beneath London where ordinary objects have magical powers.

If the Magic Fits(100 Dresses) by Susan Maupin Schmid Darling Dimple, a young orphan, discovers a closet full of magical dresses, each of which gives her the appearance of another person in the castle and that, along with her own magical abilities, helps her protect Princess Mariposa from betrayal as the castle swarms with suitors.

Mary Anning'sCuriosity by Monica Kulling A fictionalized retelling of the childhood of Mary Anning, one of the world's greatest fossilists.

  


Prisoner of Ice andSnow by Ruth Lauren When thirteen-year-old Valor is arrested, she could not be happier. Demidova's prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor's sister Sasha is already serving a life sentence for stealing from the royal family, and Valor is going to help her escape ... from the inside.

Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino In twelve-year-old Giacomo's Renaissance-inspired world, art is powerful, dangerous, and outlawed. Every artist possesses a Genius, a birdlike creature that is the living embodiment of an artist's creative spirit. Those caught with one face severe punishment, so when Giacomo discovers he has a Genius, he knows he's in big trouble.

Space Case (Moon Base Alpha) by Stuart Gibbs Dashiell Gibson, who lives on Moon Base Alpha, must solve the mystery behind the murder of one of the moon's most prominent doctors.

Miss Carol's Best Book Finds of 2017 -- Picture Books

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Miss Carol's Best Book Finds of 2017 -- Picture Books

Every year I spend the last few weeks of the year compiling my favorite book finds of the year.  They are not always new books.  Just books I discovered for the first time and really, really liked.

PICTURE BOOK DISCOVERIES FOR 2017:


  



Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle
In this wordless book with interactive flaps, a little girl named Flora forms a friendship with two peacocks as the three learn to dance together.

Good Night Yoga: A Pose-By-Pose Bedtime Story by Mariam Gates, illustrated by Sarah Jane Hinder
Both a bedtime story and a series of simple poses for following the natural world as it comes to rest at day's end

Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Jean Jullien
Hoot Owl flies through the night and assumes numerous disguises in order to catch a meal.

  


If I Had a Gryphon by Vikki Vansickle, illustrated by Cale Atkinson
Sam longs for a more exciting pet than her new hamster. But she soon realizes that taking care of these magical beasts might not be as wonderful as she thought.

Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’sIncredible Journey by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes, illustrated by Sue Cornelison
When an Iraqi family is forced to flee their home, they carry their beloved cat, Kunkush, with them from Iraq to Greece, keeping their secret passenger hidden away. But during the crowded boat crossing to Greece, his carrier breaks and the frightened cat runs from the chaos. In one moment, he is gone. A few days later, aid workers in Greece find the lost cat. Knowing how much his family has sacrificed already, they are desperate to reunite them with the cat they love so much.

The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara
Once there was a library that only opened at night. Step inside and meet the little librarian and her three assistant owls.

  


The Mixed-Up Truck by Stephen Savage
A little cement mixer learns that making mistakes isn't always a bad thing.

One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail
All Sophie wants for her birthday is a pet giraffe, but as she tries to convince different members of her rather complicated family to support her cause, each tells her she is using too many words until she finally hits on the perfect one.

Penguin Problems by Jory John, illustrated by Lane Smith
This penguin has come to tell you that life in Antarctica is no paradise. For starters, it is FREEZING. It seems there is no escaping the drudgery of your daily grind, whatever it might be. Or perhaps we’ve just learned that grumps are everywhere.

  


Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales
Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad, but he wants a name that's all his own. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he's done. But just when he thinks all hope is lost, he and his dad pick the perfect name... a name that is sure to light up the sky.

Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson
An interactive picture book showcasing the beauty of nighttime.

We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio
Auggie shares the things he likes to do, such as ride bikes and eat ice cream. He likes ordinary things; he just does not look ordinary. A group of children make fun of him, prompting Auggie and his dog, Daisy, to don astronaut helmets and take a fantasy trip across the galaxy, where the expansive view helps change his perspective. 

Miss Carol's Favorite Book Finds of 2017 -- Middle Grade Books

Monday, December 11, 2017

Elements of a Great Storytime: Transitions

During a typical storytime, a transition from one type of activity to another entirely different type of activity happens several times.  For example, the children might be jumping up and down to a song but then need to switch gears to sitting down for a story.  A smooth and well done transition from jumping to sitting calmly is not necessarily difficult.  Yet it does so much in creating a storytime where everyone is ready to participate on the next part.



A smooth transition does not need to be long or tiresome.  A little thought into a few words can bring everyone's attention around to the next activity.

  • When moving from a book to a standing activity I might say, "The bunny (or whatever character was in the book) was happy to do _____. Now let's all stand up to do a happy dance."
  • When moving from one book to another book I might say, "What animal do you see on the cover of my next book?"
A smooth transition can also be more thought out and lengthy.  Still, a little thought into what you want to achieve at the end of the transition is needed.
  • If I feel that not everyone is sitting and ready to pay attention to a book I might say, "Is everybody sitting criss-cross applesauce?  Bottoms on the ground?  Hands in your laps?  Ears ready for listing? (touch your ears to check on them, of course) Eyes on the book?"
  • When moving from a very active wiggling and dancing activity, I might do a rhyme to get everyone back in their seats and attention back on me.Here are two of my favorites to use. 
Open, Shut Them (Traditional fingerplay with many variations. Jbrary has a nice YouTube video showing one version.)

(Start off by asking the group to show you their two hands)

Open, shut them
(open and close hands)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap (clap)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Put them in your lap
(put hands in lap)

Creep them, creep them
Under your chin
(creep fingers up chest)
Open your mouth, but don't put them in
(do as words say)

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open shut them
Open shut them
Put them in your lap 

Come A'Look A'See (Fingerplay song I first picked up at a workshop conducted by Jane Cobb. Jbrary has a nice YouTube video showing how to do this song.)

(Start off by having the group show you their hand family)

Come a'look a'see,
Here's my mama, (point to thumb)
Come a'look a'see,
Here's my papa, (point to index finger)
Come a'look a'see,
My brother tall, (point to tall finger)
Sister, baby, (point to ring, then baby finger)
I love them all. (kiss the fingertips of your finger family)


If transitions do not come natural to you.  That is okay. They didn't for me at first.  A kind hearted children's librarian observed this in my first year of doing storytimes and set me up on track to learning how to do it automatically.  At first, I needed to write each and every transition out on paper. Now, after all these years, I rarely think about them. But I value their role in my storytimes. They are truly a very important element to every storytime!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Flashlights in the Night Preschool Storytime

Storytime for 3 to 5 year olds:



  • Color literacy activity flannelboard - Twinkle, Twinkle Colored Stars
Directions: Hand out colored stars to every child. Sing the song once. Then change out the word "little" with a color of a star. The children comes up to place their star on the board when their color is sung. 
 



  • Activity - This is Baby Ready for a Nap (fingerplay I found in the book I'm a Little Teapot! by Jane Cobb)



   
 

  • Art experience - Use bingo paint dabbers on flashlight drawing and then use scissors to cut out the flashlight

Friday, December 1, 2017

Lights in the Dark Storytime

Storytime for 1 to 3 year olds:
  • Opening - Skinnamarink, Sticky Sticky Bubblegum
   
 


  • Stand-up Activity – "If You're Happy and You Know It" action song from Songs for Wiggleworms by Old Town School of Folk Music

  • Bridge - Open, Shut Them (fingerplay)
Open, shut them
(open and close hands)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap (clap)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Put them in your lap
(put hands in lap)

Creep them, creep them
Under your chin
(creep fingers up chest)
Open your mouth, but don't put them in
(do as words say)

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open shut them
Open shut them
Put them in your lap 


  • Flannelboard - "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" traditional song
Directions: Hand out colored stars to every child. Sing the song once. Then change out the word "little" with a color of a star. The children come up to place their star on the board when their color is sung. 

  • Letter of the Day - "L" is for light


  • Activity – During the Night (action chant written by Carol Hopkins)
During the night I know that...
Stars twinkle in the sky
Bats fly and swoop through the air
Owls flap their wings before saying, "Who-Who"
Cats jump from place to place
Opossums climb up trees
Raccoons run across the grass
Wolves howl at the moon
And I lie in my bed to sleep

  • Closing - Tambourines to the song "Fruit Salad Salsa" from Victor Vito by Laurie Berkner 
   
 

  • Art Experience – Place foil star stickers on light-bulb cut outs