Thursday, February 26, 2015

Storytime: Trains

Age: 2-5 years
Time: 30 minutes + play and craft

1) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

2) A Train Goes Clickety-Clack - Jonathan London
A basic train book about what some trains look like and the different things they can carry.

3) The Wheels on the Train
Another simple "wheels on the bus" rendition from The Storytime Lady.

The wheels on the train go clickety-clack (bend arms at elbows, chug chug around like train wheels)
The whistle on the train goes toot toot toot (pull train whistle)
The conductor on the train says “all aboard!” (cup hands around mouth)
The crossing gates go up and down - or clang clang clang (arms cross in front of you like the gates)
The people on the train go bumpety bump (sit on seat, bump up and down)

4) Clickety Clack flannel
From Mel's Desk. I did print and use the patterns she provides, and considered drawing in the windows and details but decided last minute to leave them as the outlines. The boxcar and coach car could probably have used the detail to make them look a little different but oh well. I had the kids hold up the number of fingers we were on for each sentence. If I'd had 6 or less kids I would have handed them out and called the color along with the type of car and had them bring them up. But I had one of my bigger groups today at 12!
Clickety-clack, clickety-clack,
Here comes the train on the railroad track!

Clickety-clunn, clickety-clunn,
Here comes ENGINE number one.

Clickety-clew, clickety-clew,
Here comes COAL CAR number two.

Clickety-clee, clickety-clee,
Here comes BOX CAR number three.

Clickety-clore, clickety-clore,
Here comes TANK CAR number four.

Clickety-clive, clickety-clive,
Here comes COACH CAR number five.

Clickety-clicks, clickety-clicks,
Here’s the CABOOSE, that’s number six.

Clickety-clack, clickety-clack,
There goes the train on the railroad track!

5) All Aboard the DinoTrain - Deb Lund
When I pulled this book out parents exclaimed it combined two of their kids' favorite things! I wish I would have clipped a few pages together. I forgot that I had when I'd used it once for a dinosaur storytime, and by 3/4 of the way through the kids were restless. Maybe just because while the pictures were beautiful they weren't very engaging. I tried to read it with lots of expression. They all liked the ending though.

6) We are the Dinosaurs - Laurie Berkner
But the DinoTrain book easily led into one of my kids' favorite songs.

7) Song Cube
This week the cube rolled I'm a Little Teapot and If You're Happy and You Know It. (Okay that's 3 weeks in a row of If You're Happy. I'm beginning to think my kleenex box is heavier on one side. Time to switch the pictures around.)

8) I Love Trains - Philemon Sturges
So this one hits on basically the same things as the first book we read, along with lots of the other train books I list below in "other" ideas. But I love the simple images, few words on a page, and cute ending.

9) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

10) Playtime/Craft
I brought out the blocks and instruments for play, and our table craft was Shape Trains. I got the idea from here and here via Pinterest. I freaked out a little bit because I thought I had a medium size circle punch at home to make the wheels but couldn't find it... so I quickly free-handed a bunch of black wheels instead. The kids didn't care. :)
My example - but I emphasized they could
make their trains look however they wanted!

Other train ideas:
Freight Train - Donald Crews (I used this with my Littles)
My Little Train - Satomi Ichikawa
The Little Engine That Could - Watty Piper
Hey Mr. Choo-Choo, Where Are You Going? - Susan Wickberg
Inside Freight Train - Donald Crews (board book)
Steam Train Dream Train - Sherri Duskey Rinker
Clickety Clack - Rob & Amy Spence
Dinosaur Train - John Steven Gurney
And the Train Goes... - William Bee
The Goodnight Train - June Sobel

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Storytime: Penguins

Age: 2-5 years
Time: 25 minutes + play and craft

1) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

2) One Cool Friend - Toni Buzzeo
My own kids recently received this book as part of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and they are loving it! The parents at storytime got a kick out of the ending, though I think it went over the kids' heads. I tried to explain, but it's one of those books that once you know the ending the middle makes lots more sense.

3) Baby Penguins
From Mary and Mike. I made penguins on sticks that I held for this rhyme while the kids acted it out, and brought out my big penguin puppet for the mama. The kids got to use the stick penguins later.
1 baby penguin makes a wish (hold up 1 finger then point up)
2 baby penguins catch some fish (hold up 2 fingers then clap hands)
3 baby penguins slip and slide (hold up 3 fingers then wiggle arms)
4 baby penguins run and hide (hold up 4 fingers then hide them)
5 baby penguins look around, (hold up 5 fingers then shade eyes with hand)
Calling “Mama! Mama! Mama!”
Out waddles mama, now the babies are found. (waddle)

4) If You're a Penguin and You Know It
I feel like I've used this tune so much in the last few weeks for various things... at least it's something that all the kids and parents know!

If you’re a penguin and you know it flap your wings
If you're a penguin and you know it flap your wings
If you're a penguin and you know it, and you really want to show it,

If you're a penguin and you know it flap your wings

I brought out our mama penguin again and showed them her wings -- she doesn't use them to fly, she uses them to swim!

If you're a penguin and you know it go for a swim...

I asked if anyone remembered from our first book what kind of pizza the penguin Magellan liked to eat...

If you're a penguin and you know it bite a fish...

And finally, we looked at the feet of my stuffed penguin and how there really aren't any legs. So when penguins have to walk, they waddle!

If you're a penguin and you know it waddle your feet...

5) Penguins Penguins Everywhere - Bob Barner
This was as non-fiction as I got this week, but I had brought out all of our other books about penguins for kids to look at after and check out, that had real photos of penguins and described them even more than this book.

6) Adorable Penguin
From Storytime ABCs. I handed out the stick penguins to the kids to act out this and the next rhyme.

I'm a little penguin
Black and white,
Short and wobbly,
An adorable sight!

I can't fly at all,
But I love to swim.
So I'll waddle to the water 
And dive right in!

7) The Penguins are Here
Also from Storytime ABCs.

The penguins are here; the penguins are there.
The penguins, the penguins are everywhere.

The penguins are up; the penguins are down.
The penguins, the penguins are all around.

The penguins are in; the penguins are out.
The penguins, the penguins are all about.

The penguins are low; the penguins are high.
The penguins, the penguins all say "goodbye"!

8) Song Cube
This week the cube rolled If You're Happy and You Know It and The Itsy Bitsy Spider (which we always add the verses for the Great Big Hairy Spider and the Teensy Weensy Spider...).

9) Five Little Penguins Slipping on the Ice - Steve Metzger
Just like 5 little monkeys. But with penguins. And different things that happen to them.

10) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

11) Playtime/Craft
I brought out the blocks and instruments again, but no one wanted to play. They all wanted to just do the craft. For the table craft I got the idea from Mike to cut squares of paper and let the kids glue them onto a background to make penguins. Some were really into making sure there's looked exactly like mine, others were more artsy...
My example

Other penguin ideas:
Adorable penguin hat craft
A Penguin Story - Antoinette Portis
Splash! A Penguin Counting Book - Jonathan Chester
If You Were a Penguin - Wendell & Florence Minor
Penguins - Liz Pichon
I Am Small - Emma Dodd

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Storytime: Purple

Age: 2-5 years
Time: 30 minutes + play and craft

Continuing our one-week-of-a-color-each-month theme, we're on purple for February (I considered doing pink for Valentines Day but thought purple would be a bit more interesting for the boys!).

1) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

2) Harold and the Purple Crayon - Crockett Johnson
No purple storytime would be complete without this book. I chose to read it first since it's a little long for my group. Katie has an AMAZING flannel story for this book, but I didn't have the time (or much desire) to make it for myself. Instead I took Erin's idea and put up a piece of white paper and drew the moon at the beginning and the window at the end.

3) I Have a Crayon flannel
From Abby Librarian. I handed out crayon-shaped felt pieces and recited this rhyme, asking the kids to come up and put their crayon on my board when I called their color. Luckily I had exactly 10 kids this week!

I have a crayon, we can draw a circle. 
Here is my crayon, my crayon of purple. 

I have a crayon, I'll give it to you. 
Here is my crayon, my crayon of blue. 

I have a crayon, a lovely little fellow. 
Here is my crayon, my crayon of yellow. 

I have a crayon, I think it's just right. 
Here is my crayon, my crayon of white. 

I have a crayon, it's here on my head. 
Here is my crayon, my crayon of red. 

I have a crayon, I found it in town. 
Here is my crayon, my crayon of brown. 

I have a crayon, what do I see? 
Here is my crayon, an orange one for me. 

I have a crayon right in my sack. 
Here is my crayon, my crayon of black. 

I have a crayon, it's just right I think. 
Here is my crayon, my crayon of pink. 

I have a crayon, the best I've ever seen. 
Here is my crayon, my crayon of green. 

4) Purple Heart, Purple Heart flannel
I used this for last year's storytime near Valentine's Day too. Instead of starting with red, we started with purple. I placed the hearts on the board as we went, since I didn't have enough for everyone to get one.

Purple heart, purple heart, what do you see? I see an orange heart looking at me!

Orange heart... etc... 

White heart, white heart, what do you see? I see a whole bunch of children looking at me!

Children, children, what do you see? We see a purple heart, an orange heart... looking at us! That's what we see!

5) Purple - Schuette and Purple Animals - Melissa Stewart
A couple of fun non-fiction books I came across. I shared Purple Animals in my Littles storytime too (0-2 years). These use real photographs of things in nature (and things like boomerangs and stuffed animals) that are purple. Both are super short.

6) Acting out purple things
Katie at Storytime Secrets had this idea for encouraging kids to pretend. I changed her pink things to more purple, and just read them from the list.

Eat a purple popsicle
Climb a purple mountain (just like Harold!)
Act like a purple monster

Color with a purple crayon (just like Harold again! :)
Spread purple jam on bread
Fly like a purple bird
Chew purple bubble gum
Sip purple grape juice
Smell purple flowers

7) Song Cube
Our song cube rolls today were If You're Happy and You Know It and I'm a Little Teapot.

8) Purple Little Bird - Greg Foley
I like this book more and more every time I read it. I used it in my houses storytime last year, and it could easily fit into a colors or rainbow or animals storytime too.

9) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

10) Playtime/Craft
I brought out the blocks and instruments again. For the table craft I pulled out pink and purple paper, stickers, scissors, and glue, and let the kids go to town making Valentines.

Other purple ideas:
Sally and the Purple Socks - Bechtold (I came so close to using this one but ran out of time)
Gladys Goes Out to Lunch - Anderson (the gorilla is purple)
Lunchtime for a Purple Snake - Ziefert (a little long)
Clarence Goes Out West and Meets a Purple Horse - Adams (a little long)
Chicken, Pig, Cow and the Purple Problem - Ohi
Storytime Katie's Purple Storytime

Saturday, February 7, 2015

February #bookwormproblems

In the YA Book & Movie Club we've started reading Marie Lu's Legend trilogy. It's a first-time read for me, though I've been reading lots of dystopian YA in the last couple of years.
My #bookwormproblem? Once I get into the thick of a plot of a book like this, I never. want. to. put. it. down. I want to go and go and go and go for hours and finish it in one shot. I'm plagued by "what happens next?? how will they get out of this mess??" And authors sure know how to keep you hooked by leaving the end of chapters hanging. "I'll read just one more chapter" turns into five more...

It's taken a lot of self-control to read a single chapter then start a load of laundry. Then read another then play with the kids. Then read another then fold the laundry.

I find if I can accomplish enough things in the morning then I don't feel so bad reading for an extended period during naptime!

I know this is a good reason to try audiobooks, but I feel like I only get 2 minutes here and there to read throughout the majority of the day! And a day like today (Saturday) the hubby is home too, so I don't want to bore him with my books, or completely ignore him as well as the kids... :)

Linking up today with Quirky Bookworm! Click to see what other bookworms are struggling with!!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Storytime: Snow

Age: 2-5 years
Time: 30 minutes + play and craft

February in Michigan is always an easy time of year to do a storytime about snow. :) A few days ago we got a foot of the stuff on top of what we already had. And since the groundhog saw his shadow we know it'll be around for awhile yet, right?

1) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

2) Hello Snow! - Hope Vestergaard
A fun introduction to a day of playing in the snow. The adults got a kick out of the page where the kid wakes up the parents. :)

3) Winter Clothing Matching
My predecessor had made a chart with items of winter clothing all in different colors. I had 5 kids this day, so each one got all the items in one color. We talked about getting dressed to go play in the snow, so when I told them we were going to put our boots on, they had to bring up their boot and find the spot on the chart that matched. They're affixed with velcro.

4) Snowmen at Night - Caralyn Buehner
This is a fun book about why snowmen look droopy and sleepy some days - because they've been up playing all night, of course!

5) Five Little Snowmen flannels
Two flannel board rhymes that I found in my collection.

Five little snowmen made of snow (hold up five fingers)
Five little snowmen all in a row
Out comes the sun (arms make sun over head)
One little snowman melts away (slowly pull snowman off board)

Five little snowmen (five fingers)
On a winter's day
The first one said (touch thumb)
"Wake up so we can play!" (clap)

The second one said (touch pointer finger)
"Let's stomp on the ground" (stomp on ground)
The third one said (touch middle finger)
"Let's roll all around" (roll hands over one another)

The fourth one said (touch ring finger)
"Let's run and run and run" (run in place)
The fifth one said (touch pinkie finger)
"I'm afraid I feel the sun" (back of hand on forehead as if sick)

"Oh dear!" cried the snowmen
As they looked up toward the sky (point up)
And the five melting snowmen (hold up five fingers)
Waved a fond goodbye (wave goodbye while sinking to the ground)

6) Mr. Sun - Raffi
What was it that made the snowmen melt? Oh yes, the sun... I use a combination of motions from Jbrary and Raffi himself.

Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun (make big sun with arms over head)
Please shine down on me (wiggle fingers and come down, kind of like rain actually)
Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun (make big sun with arms over head)
Hiding behind a tree (hide eyes with hands)

These little children are asking you (point at self with thumbs)
To please come out so we can play with you (hands make "come here" motion)
Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun (make big sun with arms over head)

Please shine down on me (wiggle fingers and come down)

7) The Snowy Day - Ezra Jack Keats
Hurray for a Caldecott-winning book during the week this year's winners were announced!

8) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

9) Playtime/Craft
I brought out the blocks and instruments again. For the table craft I sliced some computer paper into squares and the kids made paper snowflakes. 

Other snow ideas:
Snow - Uri Shulevitz
Mouse's First Snow - Lauren Thompson
All You Need for a Snowman - Alice Schertle
Snowballs - Lois Ehlert
Millions of Snowflakes - Mary McKenna Siddels
Snowy, Blowy Winter - Bob Raczka
eskimo/ice/igloos things from this storytime

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wednesday afternoon musings...

Things are slow at the library this week. We've had a lot of snow and cold weather, which isn't good for kids and families wanting to come to the library. As I was shelving and reflecting on this morning's storytime, already thinking ahead to the blog post I would write about it, I realized something.

I've already failed #1 in my Resolve to Rock goals.

A month has already gone by and I have written a total of 2 posts - and both are about storytime plans. So much for trying to write about "other stuff".

But I got to thinking -- WHY haven't I written about other stuff? Why don't I write awesome, thought-provoking posts that generate tons of discussion, and are more than just here's-what-I-did-this-week?

The answer I've come up with: because I'm still a newbie. I haven't even been working in a library for two whole years yet. I'm still learning everything from the rest of YOU. I don't have any new insights to add to the discussions already going on out there.

So for now I guess I'll just keep plugging away with what-I-did-this-week type of posts. And the displays and bulletin boards I've done. Just a record of my library life.

Maybe it's the mid-winter blues. Maybe I'm missing my own kids during the day a lot more than I used to. Maybe I'm ticked at the junior high kids who are trying to play hide and seek amongst the stacks. But I'm in a bit of a low spot in my attitude toward library life right now.

Anyone have any words of pick-me-up? How do you overcome the blahs this time of year?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Storytime: Pigs

Age: 2-5 years
Time: 30 minutes + play and craft

I seriously had this storytime planned for three weeks before I could actually use it. The first week I ended up getting a bad cold, and while I had lots of energy by storytime day, I had no voice. So I did a music & movement program instead so I didn't have to talk. The second week was really bad weather so only one kid showed up and he didn't want to do storytime with just me. Finally I was able to use it!

1) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

2) If You Give a Pig a Pancake - Laura Numeroff
You can't go wrong with Laura Numeroff's "If You Give a..." books. Unless it's about a cat. For some reason I don't like that one.

3) 5 Little Pigs flannel
I found this little rhyme at Sunflower Storytime (originally from Roving Fiddlehead). I already had five pink pigs cut out of felt, and so it was really easy to add brown marker "mud" on one side of them!

Five lit­tle pigs rolled in the mud (roll hands)
Squishy, squashy, felt so good! (make squishing motion with hands)
The farmer took one piggy out. (take one off board)
“Oink, Oink, oink,” the pig did shout! (cup hands around mouth, then put pig back clean side up)

(Con­tinue with four, three, two, until…)

No lit­tle pigs rolled in the mud.
They all looked so clean and good.
The farmer turned his back and then,
Those pigs rolled in the mud again! (turn all pigs to dirty side again)

4) The Tail of a Pig 
Found this one from The Storytime Lady. To the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus."

The tail of a pig curls round and round (circle finger round and round)
round and round, round and round.
The tail of a pig curls round and round
All through the mud. 

The mouth of a pig goes oink, oink, oink
 (put hand in front of mouth like a snout and “oink”!)

The hooves of a pig go run, run, run
(pretend like you are running)

The ears of a pig go twitch, twitch, twitch
(put hands up by ears and wiggle them back and forth)

The snout of a pig goes root, root, root
(get down on hands and knees and act like you are rooting through the mud with your nose - explain to kids what rooting means!)

5) Huff & Puff - Claudia Rueda
I told the kids and parents that there are lots of books out there with a story about three little pigs, and this is just one of them. I like how it's simple and interactive - when we got to each huffing and puffing page I walked the book around to the dozen kids we had and let them blow on the page.

6) Old MacDonald Had a Farm
I used my finger puppets to do this song. We started with the pig (obviously), then ended with the chicken to transition into the next song.

7) Song - I Know a Chicken - Laurie Berkner
I've been doing this with my 0-2 yr class each week, but the older group really got into the song today! I'll have to use it with them more often. I've started giving a smiley face stamp on the kids' hands when they return their shaky egg to me.

8) The Long-Nosed Pig - Keith Faulkner
What kid doesn't like a good pop-up book? And the adults really seemed to enjoy this story of how the pig got his short nose.

9) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

10) Playtime/Craft
I brought out the blocks and instruments again. For the table craft I printed an outline of a pig on cardstock. The kids colored the pig with crayons, then I had brown paint for them to make their pig muddy.

Other pigs ideas:
Pigs to the Rescue - John Himmelman
Happy Pig Day! - Mo Willems
Z-Z-Zoink! - Bernard Most
I'm a Pig - Sarah Weeks
Little Oink - Amy Krouse Rosenthal
See How They Grow: Pig - Mary Ling (non-fiction)
Piggy Pie Po - Audrey & Don Wood

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Storytime: Blue

Age: 2-5 years
Time: 30 minutes + play

This was our first Storytime of the winter/spring session. I did a color one week each month in the fall, and we're continuing the pattern.
I even dressed up for the theme today. :)

1) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

I like the simple rhymes in this book. The kids got a kick out of the end when I showed them I had blue socks on too!

3) Five Little Bluebirds
I found a bag with five cardstock bluebirds attached to craft sticks, along with this rhyme. The kids held up five fingers to start, and put one finger down each verse, while I held the sticks. We counted how many birds/fingers were left each time.

Five little blue birds, hopping by my door
One went to build a nest, and then there were four.

Four little blue birds singing joyfully
One got out of tune, and then there were three.

Three little blue birds, and what should one do, 
But go in search of dinner, leaving only two.

Two little blue birds singing for fun
One flew away, and then there was one.

One little blue bird sitting in the sun
He took a little nap, and then there was none.

4) Shape Monster flannel
I had enough blue squares to give every kid one, plus another color/shape. We went through all the colors until only blue was left, and it was fun when they all came rushing up to put their blue ones on.

5) Blue Chicken - Deborah Freedman
I really like the images in this book, and the blue stands out so well. Don't forget to check out the inside of the back cover for what the chickens got into next!

6) Song - I Know a Chicken - Laurie Berkner
Any easy transition from the previous book. Lots of kids chose blue eggs.

7) Song & Rhyme Cube
I didn't use this at all in the fall session, and want to do it more now. It's an easy way to use up a few more minutes of time, and expose kids to classic songs and nursery rhymes that wouldn't otherwise "fit" with a weekly theme. This week we rolled I'm a Little Teapot, Five Little Monkeys, and If You're Happy and You Know It.

8) Little Blue Truck - Alice Schertle
Who doesn't love Little Blue Truck? And none of my kids had seen his books before! They loved it.

9) I use the same opening and closing songs each week. Click here to see what I do.

10) Playtime/Craft
I brought out the blocks and instruments again. For the table craft I had cardstock and little bowls of blue fingerpaint. 

Other blue ideas:
Blue Sky - Audrey Wood (I used this in my 0-2 yr old group)
It Looked Like Spilt Milk - Charles G. Shaw (I have a flannel that goes with it)
The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse - Eric Carle (this would be great to make a flannel for)
Blue Goose - Nancy Tafuri
Baby Bear Sees Blue - Ashley Wolff
Grumpy Bird - Jeremy Tankard
What's the Matter Bunny Blue? - Nicola Smee
Little Blue Truck Leads the Way - Alice Schertle

Friday, January 2, 2015

How I Resolve to Rock in 2015

I'm a couple days late to the party, but Storytime Underground has put out a challenge for us to create some professional goals for 2015. My husband and I create a goal jar around this time of year for us and our family, so branching out and setting some goals for my job is a natural next step, right?

1. Blog consistently, and about more than just storytime plans.
During 12 weeks in the fall, 12 weeks in the winter/spring, and 6 weeks in the summer, I've done a fairly decent job at recording my weekly storytime plans. It keeps track of things for me, and I know I search lots of other blogs for ideas when creating my plans so hopefully what I post will help others too. But during storytime breaks (like now!) my blogging really slacks off. I want to try and post at least once a week, all year-round.

When I checked my stats and tags, I have written 130 posts so far, and 58 of those have been storytime plans. When I take out the 33 posts I wrote for the 31 Days of Writing challenge in October, 60% of my posts are only storytime plans. I want to try and decrease that percentage even more, by writing about other stuff too.

2. Do the 31 Days of Writing challenge again in October
I really enjoyed having something simple yet specific to write about every single day for a whole month. I'd like to do the exact same thing as last October, where I write short picture book reviews about new books that have come out in the previous year.

3. Finish weeding chapter books
I've come to realize that weeding in the children's area at my library hasn't been done for a looooong time. Over the last two years, during storytime/programming breaks, I've worked my way through EJ (picture books), lightly through 000-300s, hard-core through 921 (biographies), and almost all through 596-599 (animals). Last August I did some shifting and re-arranging of chapter books, which resulted in lightly weeding K-Z (based solely on condition). This section is our most tightly packed, and with good reason -- I've found 100+ year old books on the shelf! At a minimum I need to weed A-J on condition, and I really should go through the entire section and weed based on circs too.

4. Professional development - attend more workshops and conferences
Because I don't have a library science degree, I am learning A LOT as I go in this job. Between everyday experience and online reading (yay for Storytime Underground and SO many other great youth services blogs!) I am slowly getting up to speed in the library world. But nothing beats face-to-face conversations and presentations and discussions like what happens in a workshop or conference. In 2014 I attended three small, local workshops about things like Summer Reading and Storytime 101. Looking ahead to 2015 I'm already super excited about Spring Institute and MIKidLib Unconference, as well as smaller workshops put out by my co-op.

5. Personally read 36 books
It may not seem like very much, but I checked my Goodreads and discovered I'd only read 24 books in all of 2014. Granted, I read things like Harry Potter and Eragon which are huge books. But I do work outside of the home 30 hours a week, and have a home to clean and food to cook and a young family to be with. So I've officially made my challenge for Goodreads to up my reading from 2 books a month to 3. And note, these do not include the picture books I might read to my kids or for storytime or as new ones come in to the library - these 36 books are only the ones I'll read for myself (I love Jessica's post on tips to help you read more often, even if you have little kids! I plan to try a lot of these!)

I'm sure other things will come to mind, like increase Summer Reading participation and plan more teen events, but the five points above are what I feel really passionate about right now. What are your goals for the upcoming year? If you need ideas, Lisa has a really good list of goals to consider for all levels of expertise!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Thoughts on Caldecott 2015

Update 2/2/15: The winners were announced this morning! I was able to watch the live stream online of all the ALA Youth Media Awards, which culminated in the Caldecott and Newbery announcements. Out of the books I listed below, only Sam & Dave Dig a Hole received an award (a Caldecott Honor). Though after writing this post originally I did do more research and had ordered the 2015 winner -- The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, illustrated and written by Dan Santat -- and so it was already on our shelf, waiting for the shiny gold sticker. All Caldecott winners can be viewed here.
I love reading everyone's predictions this time of year for Caldecott and Newbery winners (mostly Caldecott since I never seem to have time to read many chapter books...). I'm still fairly new in the library world, so it's difficult for me to just pick titles off the shelf as winners, but I do have opinions on some of the books other people have chosen!

Draw! by Raúl Colón
In general I'm not a fan of wordless books. I hated it when my daughters wanted me to "read" Goodnight Gorilla every night. And when this one came in at our library I wasn't expecting big things. But once I opened it up and paged through, and now the more I see it the more I like it. The sketching reminds me of last year's Locomotive winner, with realistic pencil drawings. And if the Caldecott is meant to honor "the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children", what is more distinguished than a beautifully illustrated book that doesn't even need words to tell the story?

Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio
My own kids LOVE this book. I honestly had no idea it was even a possibility for the Caldecott until I saw it popping up on others' lists. It just seemed too simple to win the award, but I suppose it's the simplicity that is so appealing. There is great use of white space on some pages and full spreads of color on others. And illustrations that get across the idea of fitting in to a family no matter how you look gives it bonus points. 

Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman
I've only seen this book sporadically on mock Caldecott lists, but I'm hoping it will sneak in for at least an Honor this year. The way Soman creates the look of beautiful moving water is absolutely stunning.

Two books I haven't seen myself yet but are on order and I'm excited to look at are Blizzard by John Rocco and Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

What are your favorite Caldecott contenders this year?