Monthly Archives: May 2011

Teen Summer Reading Program Promotion Booktalk

Most of my outreach is for elementary students, mostly because it is easier to get into classes there, but since the sixth graders are just weeks away from graduating, they are practically middle-schoolers. So I’ll be promoting the Teen (12 and up) Summer Reading Club to them, though I’ll be mentioning that if they want they can also sign up and participate for the kids. Most kids don’t want the prizes for the little kids, but will sometimes attend if the program sounds interesting. The theme for teens is You are Here.

I’m squeezing the entire 6th grade from the local school in after an epic day of division meeting to explain the Summer Reading Program, opening the branch, and Kindergarten class visits, and all of this before 3 p.m.. I have about an hour to give an short tour and promote our programs. The hardest part will be what to have the kids do while I’m giving the tour. I’m thinking geography trivia they can try to answer while we quickly give a tour, and then go over the answers when I get back. I found a good quiz here

So after introductions and a discussion of library cards and the library, I’ll divide the group in half and do a tour for one half while the others answer trivia questions. After all the kids do the tour and the quiz/game we’ll go over the answers (with prizes/candy for winners), and ask the kids if they’d like to see the world?

I’m going to do some book talks:
Peak Can you imagine being the youngest kid to climb the tallest mountain on earth? Well, in Peak by Roland Smith one boy leaves his home in New York City, where there are only skyscrapers to climb, and travels all the way around the world to tackle that exact challenge. Adults die trying to climb this mountain every year, it requires a huge amount of endurance, skill, and luck. Do you think you’d want to risk your life to say you are the youngest person to conquer the mountain? See what Peak Marcello does, and if he makes it to the top, by reading Peak.

If you aren’t ready to take on Everest, we have another challenge here at the library for you. This summer you can get your boarding pass and embark on a trip of a lifetime here at the library. Sign up for our Teen Summer Reading program, complete at least six adventures and get a really awesome prize. This year we have a cool metal water bottle, a nice bag, and a book. You can get all your stamps by attending programs at this location or at one of our branches and reading books of your choice and turning in book reviews.

Each activity not only gets you closer to completing your quest and getting the prize (which will be handed out at the end of the summer program), but it also allows you to enter into a weekly raffle. Winners of weekly raffles will get their choice of books, as well as other awesome prizes.

This summer we’re going to learn about different places around the world, what they’d be like to visit, and what life is like for kids who live there. How many of you have eaten food from a different culture or country? Ever wonder if it is really like what people who live in other parts of the world eat? What the World Eats In What the World Eats you can find that out–how people get their food, what they eat, and how much. Each spread shows one family of at least four and the food they eat during one week. I’ll show some of the families profiled and give details.

Next I’ll tell them about our programs, one of which offers kids the chance to try some foods eaten in other parts of the world. Carrot salad, dal, maybe even sushi. Another program will help kids relax after the end of school, with yoga, origami, zentangles. We’ll be learning some dances from Polynesia and eating pineapple. And going on a trip around the world to track after a master criminal, if you are ready to be a world traveler by then. We’ll hand out the final prizes after we track the thief down!

If we have more time I’ll book talk a couple more books, A Step from Heaven A Step from Heaven, by An Na, and Younguncle Comes to Town Younguncle Comes to Town, by Vandana Singh

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So You Want to be an Explorer?

So You Want to Be an Explorer? This summer I’m hoping to encourage all of the kids and teens in my community to explore the world through programs and books. When I first heard that we were doing the national theme One World, Many Stories, I went searching for titles that could give me ideas for programs and to share with kids. Judith St. George and David Small’s So You Want to be an Explorer? seems to capture the spirit of heading off into the unknown.

On one level it is really just a collective biography of various adventurers, from familiar figures such as Christopher Columbus to more obscure female explorers like Mary Kingsley. But it is also, as the name suggests, a guidebook of the characteristics needed to head out to see the world. It is successful because it doesn’t try too hard to tell kids every possible detail about all the figures covered, but rather inspires kids to explore the world and even to look into these historical figures to learn more! The illustrations are lovely water colors that don’t focus too much on accurately portraying the figures discussed, rather they are more like caricatures. This is the Caldecott Award winning team of So You Want to be President?, which is supposed to be updated and re-released, I believe.

For this summer, I’m going to include it in our display, and maybe book talk it during our second week program. I’d recommend this book to any other libraries doing the national theme, and for those kids, teachers, and librarians who long to explore the world and want to know how to get started!

Celebrations Around the World

A second grade teacher at a nearby school asked if she could bring her students and those of another teacher to learn about Cinco de Mayo. Not my favorite holiday, but a good opening to a discussion of how things are around the world. I talked about two holidays that are both celebrated May 5th on different sides of the planet: Cinco de Mayo in North America and Children’s day in Asia, with an eye to promoting our summer reading club on One World, Many Stories.

Because life is like this sometimes, the group showed up at 1 p.m. for a 1:30 presentation, and I walked in the door from running errands with half of my lunch left to hear that the 50 second graders were already here. So we dove right into the presentation!

Cactus Soup First up I’ll read Cactus Soup, which is a variant of the traditional tale “stone soup” set in Mexico during one of their revolutions. I’ll tell them there are two important things to learn from the book. The first is about Mexican culture and history. And the second is about the story itself.

The history that leads up to the various Mexican revolutions int he 19th century is very messy and complicated. I’m going to do a very short presentation on the history of this holiday. I have a good short book that explains it simply. Cinco De Mayo (The Library of Holidays) I want to put some pictures up so the kids can see what these celebrations are like. I also want to point out that there are all kinds of celebrations around the world that are different from ours. I’ll share the fact that the 5th of May is also a holiday in Japan. That it is the celebration of Kodomono-hi.

From this discussion of the holiday, I want to move to folk tales in general and worldwide, so I can promote the Summer Reading Program here. I’ll ask the kids if they can remember the story we read, and explain the outline. Then I’ll show some other variations–stone soup, button soup, and different books. The fact that folktales have different variations and can be told in different ways around the world is one of our Summer Reading Program weekly themes, so it makes a nice segue into discussions of the Summer Reading Program. Stone Soup Button Soup (Bank Street Level 2*)

Sign-ups start May 31st, right after Memorial day. When you sign up you get a program guide with a reading log where you record how much you read each week. When you’ve read or been read to for 3 hours or more in a week, you can come into the library for a prize. Also on the reading log is a calendar of our awesome events. All our Children’s Summer Reading Program events will be at 10:30 every other Wednesday, starting on June 6th. We will be having a professional story teller, a world traveler, musical guests, and lots of games, crafts, and snacks! At our final party, children can get a prize bag, with a book in it!

After discussing the particulars of our Summer Reading Program, I’ll close with a retelling of a Mexican folktale, Borreguita and the Coyote, based on Verna Aardema’s account. Borreguita and the Coyote (Reading Rainbow Books)

Wordless Wednesday

Oscar on my lap, he isn’t usually a lap dog, but he is scared of kids, and there were kids in the room.

Dog Gift Books

Now it doesn’t take a genius to guess that books and dogs are both on my top ten list of things in the world. So when I saw a couple of cute photobooks featuring dogs on Netgalley I snapped them up. One of my very favorite dog books is a little photo gift book, by Roy Blount Jr and Valerie Shaff, the poems and pictures are unbeatable. So I hoped these could come close.

If Only You Knew How Much I Smell You: True Portraits of Dogs This is my favorite, it is an older title, but well worth looking up. The photos are incredible and the poems a perfect compliment.

Hot Guys and Baby Animals First I read Hot Guys and Baby Animals, or rather looked at the very small assortment of photos, and was glad I didn’t pay almost 10$ for 40 or fewer shots of animals and men both moderately cute, with mildly funny captions.

Sorry I Pooped in Your Shoe: (and Other Heartwarming Letters from Doggie) Sorry I Pooped in Your Shoe: (and Other Heartwarming Letters from Doggie) by Jeremy Greenberg. Funny letters are paired with pictures of different dogs. Each letter tries to offer some explanation for some silly dog behavior. They are fun letters and cute pictures, but not terribly memorable.

In conclusion, look for the Blount and Shaff collections and if you can’t find them, check out the Greenberg volume for some smiles and laughs.

Younguncle Comes to Town

Younguncle Comes to Town Some of you might be lucky enough to have a really cool relative. Maybe an awesome aunt who plays all the coolest video games, a grandma who plays baseball, or a cousin who may just be a super hero. If you are lucky enough, you might get the chance to hang out with them a lot and hear their cool stories and get into adventures with them.

Sarita and Ravi and their baby sibling are just that lucky. Their father’s brother is coming to live with them. Known just as Younguncle, he joins their family house in northern India, where it is quite common for extended family to live together. After joining their household things start to get interesting for all three of the children, including the baby. Her goal in life is to eat an ENTIRE shirt of her uncle’s, which she almost achieves when a monkey comes and grabs it from her. The whole family is worried when the shirt is missing and the baby is found looking guilty, but the baby is fine, so everything appears normal, until a ghost appears to be haunting the town frighting everyone around. This leads to even further adventures as the dry season in Northern India brings out Younguncle to save the day and have some fun.

In Younguncle Comes to Town, Vandana Singh brings India to life through the exploits of Younguncle as he ranges through town, saving tigers, working with pickpockets, and helping his family out of a variety of situations. If you want to get a glimpse into growing up in a place far from here, check out Sarita and Ravi’s stories of their Younguncle.

Recommended for the Summer Reading Club, One World Many Stories. It would be a good choice for a family read aloud, or for good 3rd grade readers and up.

Meya and Me

So a while ago I realized that I have lots of good pictures of my dogs, but few good pictures of me and the dogs together. This may be because the only thing harder to take than a good picture of a black dog like meya is taking a good picture of me with them. Here are the best two I found:

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters Father’s day is coming up, and while I don’t have any kids, I do have an awesome father. One of the things I recall most strongly from growing up is my father sharing encouragement and advice. Similar words of wisdom are shared in the letter to his daughters written by Barack Obama, and published as Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters. There are two major aspects of this book. First is listing characteristics of the author’s daughters, and showing how these virtues were embodied in great Americans. Second the author shows how the United States was built by many great Americans working together, and that his children as with all American children have a strong heritage and a bright future.

Part inspiration, part biography, part poem, part patriotic paean, like many books for children, this struggles with classification. Unlike many celebrities’ childrens books it does transcend its limitations, and is not heavy handed. It is beautifully written, poetic, and really reads as if it were written for his daughters. In our library, this book is in the 100’s, with other inspirational books. But it could be with 900’s or picture books.

I encourage readers to put aside politics, and enjoy these heartfelt words from Barack Obama to his daughters. Loren Long’s wonderful illustrations capture the two girls, and the various historical figures.


Non-fiction Monday

National Children’s Book Week: Three Little Pigs Party

This year we are celebrating National Children’s Book Week with an evening party focused on one of our favorite fables: The Three Little Pigs. Porcine fans everywhere will rejoice as we share stories, crafts, and a nifty contest.

For starters, I will invite four kids from the audience to come up on the stand and help me act out the story that most of the kids are familiar with, using masks and props.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs Then I’ll read the True Story of the Three Little Pigs, by Jon Scieszka, and ask the kids what really happened. I may mention some of the other variations we have in the library, and encourage them to investigate all the different variations.

After that, I’ll introduce our three crafts and the connected activity:

  • Pig or Big Bad Wolf Mask
  • Toilet Paper Tube Pigs and Wolves from DLTK
  • Build a house using a template printed on card stock, and various supplies to make it more sturdy.

After the houses are built, and have some time to dry. We’ll have the big, bad wolf, AKA me, come and see which I can blow down. Those whose houses withstand my mighty force will get a prize. Additional prizes will be given out to the most creative and strongest pig palaces.

Wordless Wednesday