Monthly Archives: September 2011

Happy Banned Books Week!

One of my favorite weeks of the year is Banned Books Week. During this time, I wear my banned books t-shirt, button and bracelet. We create displays in the library to highlight the books that have been banned or challenged within the past 100 years or so. It makes for great discussions/debates/arguments with patrons. Although I have been pleasantly surprised with the feedback in the Children’s Room. Many patrons are surprised and even almost-outraged that certain books have been have made ALA’s list (ALA=American Library Association.)

We have 3 different displays in the library: Children’s, Teens & Adults.

The Children’s display was created by my talented library page, Ali.

Books included in the display: And Tango Makes Three, In the Night Kitchen, The Giver, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, The Giving Tree, Heather Has Two Mommies, Where the Wild Things Are, King and King, The Lorax, Huckleberry Finn, Captain Underpants and lots more.

For the Teen display, I added a chain and lock to give my rush-job poster a little style.

The list for teen or young adult banned & challenged books is pretty long. Some books I included this year were: The Hunger Games, Speak, TTYL, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Harry Potter, Sex Education, The Geography Club, Rainbow Boys, Annie on My Mind, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, A Wrinkle in Time, Jacob Have I loved, The Chocolate War, Jumping Off Swings, Crank and others.


What are your favorite banned books? Click on the ALA list link above to see how many you’ve read!


Filed under Authors, Children's, LGBTQ, Library, Picture Books, Teen, YA Books

School, Fall & the Return of Pumpkin Coffee

“Back-to-School” brings up so many feelings and emotions. As September looms closer I always get a vague panicky feeling, like there’s something I’m forgetting to do. This is usually followed by some dream that I am in high school or college and I have been going to school all year only to realize that there was a class I completely forgot to go to and now it’s too late! (I honestly have some version of this dream every year!) Luckily, I do not have to go back to school, but that panicked feeling is there nonetheless.

“Back-to-School” also means Fall, for me. Even though we are technically still in Summer. This should be changed, by the way, because everyone knows that September is Fall. I have always loved this season and I was crushed when I realized that Fall doesn’t really start until around the 21st – 23rd of September, which meant that my early September “Fall” birthday was, in fact, a “Summer” birthday. This was a big part of my identity that had to be reworked. Or, as I previously suggested, it should be changed so that the 1st of the month is automatically Fall. I’m just saying…..

Also, Fall (or late Summer) also means the return of…….Pumpkin coffee!!! Yes, it’s back. And it is good. I recommend the pumpkin latte at Starbucks, or the iced pumpkin swirl at Dunkin.

In the world of Public Libraries, “Back-to-School” usually means the end of the Summer Reading Program and quiet days in the Children’s Room. This is the time when we clean up and re-organize and plan Fall and Winter programs. Or, this is what it should be for. Mostly, I don’t get as much done as I would like. I love this cozy-ish time of year, and there are some cute books for going back to school and the Fall season. The following are a few books I have used in story time and some that I just found and plan to use next week in my first story time of the season. (The last one, Audrey Penn’s The Kissing Hand, was one that my mom gave me when I went away for my freshman year of college!)

by Kevin O'Malley, Picture Book, Ages 3 to 6, Walker, 2004

Ken Robbins, Picture Book/Non-fiction, Ages 4 to 6, Scholastic Press, 1998

by Pamela Jane, Illustrated by Steve Haskamp, Picture Book, Ages 2 to 4, Simon and Schuster, 2005

by Lois Ehlert , Picture Book, Ages 4 to 8, Harcourt, 2005

by Lois Ehlert , Picture Book, Ages 4 to 8, Harcourt, 2005

by Lauren Thompson, Buket Erdogan, Picture Book (Series), Ages 3 to 5, Simon and Schuster, 2006

Linda Glaser, Cut-paper illustrations by Susan Swan, Picture Book, Ages 3 to 7, Millbrook Press, 2001

by David Ezra Stein, Picture Book, Ages 4 to 6, Penguin, 2007

by Bob Raczka, Illustrated by Judy Stead, Picture Book, For ages 3 to 6, Albert Whitman, 2007

     by Lauren Thompson, Ages 4-8, Simon & Schuster Children’s, 2003 

by David Shannon, Ages 4-8, Blue Sky Press,1999

by Audrey Penn, Ages 4-8, Tanglewood Press, 2006

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Filed under Authors, Book Reviews, Children's, Library, Picture Books, Story Time, Uncategorized

Sunday Quiz: Can you name the characters from works of children’s literature?

This is much harder than I thought it would be! There are lots of books I need to read…. I got 43 out of 54, but that was sort of because I cheated and googled some of the ones that I didn’t know with the time left. Probably more like 30 if I was being honest.

Anyways, yet another fun time-waster brought to you by Sporcle!


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Summer Reading is over….

This is a belated post. I meant to do this the day I had our annual Ice Cream Party at the end of August.


I say book gods, because it seems less offensive somehow. Also, it just popped into my head so I typed it.

It was a long summer. I had a staff member plan the summer reading program because I was so busy with my teen grant and other programs. Let me just say that I have trouble delegating and this was extremely hard for me to let go of! Already thinking of some fun ideas for next summer.

We had some great prizes for the kids and it really motivated them. I sometimes feel like a bad librarian in the summer. Bribing children to read. But the way I see it, there are two types of kids in the summer: those that love to read and will read, and those who hate to read and won’t read. The ones that love to read are going to read anyway, so why not let them get an extra bonus and pat-on-the-back for doing it? And the ones who hate to read actually WILL read if they have a good reason to. (There is also a third category of cheater-kids but there’s nothing I can really do about it. Karma will take care of them at some point….)

Here are some stats that we are pretty proud of:

  • A total of 515 kids (ages 0-13) participated in the Summer Reading Program
  • 202 kids read 16,542 books
  • 313 kids read 430,263 minutes
  • A total of 60 teens participated
  • they read 76,545 pages

We drew raffle prizes (the more you read, the more raffle tickets you earned for the prizes you wanted or you could pick a small prize.) There were some disappointed kids, but we really didn’t have any complaints from parents, which is kind of a miracle. To those kids I say “Reading is Winning!” like the lame-o I am.

We have a party at the end of the summer with a concert, ice cream and prizes. This year kids received their certificates and got to pick 2 extra prizes. Plus we had the ice cream sundaes, freeze pops, popcorn (courtesy of Southbridge Savings Bank, who also paid for our performer, David Polansky who was AMAZING as always!), as well as balloon animals/hats and henna tattoos. The bank also brought Moola the Cash Cow (i.e. guy dressed up as a big green and white cow.) This kids LOVED it!

Here are some pics taken by my favorite library page, Ali Beaudette. (And I’m just going to pretend its ok to post them)

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Filed under Children's, Library, Summer Reading

~YA Book Review~

Along for the RideAlong for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a cute story and fun to listen to. It had some great characters who really surprised me in a I’m-not-what-you-think-I-am way. There are some good lessons about acceptance and learning to be who you are without sacrificing who you thought you were…if that makes any sense. Lots about parent/child relationships, friend relationships and second or even third chances til you get it right. I also learned a lot about babies, oddly enough, that I think I will remember if the time ever comes for me! You will want lots of coffee and pie too. Just warning you.

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Book Review ~ I <3 Laurie Notaro

I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies)I Love Everybody by Laurie Notaro

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So I was reading this on the beach and I had to shut the book and look away just to stop my body from shaking with laughter. Laurie Notaro is my hero. I love her because she writes about the crazy things we all do that we’d rather not have anyone else know about. I love her because she cannot change who she is no matter how good her intentions may be. She’s the craziest normal person I’ve ever met/read. Can’t wait to read her other books!

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Strange Tales from the Children’s Room…..

Caution: Watch for Falling Poop!

I think we have actually lost track as to how many children have left a bit of excrement behind in the Children’s Room. In the 4 years the new building has been open, there have been at least as many incidents, if not more. Today was no exception.

I was walking out of the story time room and into the main room to find 7 year old Alice* staring at me with a look of horror on her face. She looked at me and then at her elderly nanny who was pulling a bunch of tissues out of the box on the circ desk. “It’s over there!” Alice pointed down one of the picturebook aisles. My first thought was that there was a spider or some kind of insect in the play area. But when I asked Alice what she was pointing at she gazed at me with her large, frightened eyes and said, “David* pooped in his pants and a piece came out of his shorts and fell on the floor.”

So, definitely NOT a spider, then.

And because this is not the first time this has happened, I was completely calm and totally unsurprised.

“Well,” I said, “The timing really couldn’t be better because the carpets are being cleaned tomorrow!” (They really are!)

The nanny looked pretty mad and mentioned that David was starting school tomorrow – I think kindergarten. Obviously she meant that he should not be doing something like this. She asked for cleaning supplies, which we have in abundance for situations such as this. I appreciated her cleaning it up, because the first time this happened – when I was still an innocent youth librarian – someone’s child managed to track poop throughout the children’s room. There was a bit in the playhouse, on various places on the carpet, and even on the couch. Sadly, I was not there to clean it up. This incident inspired the now-famous “Poop” email that I mailed out to my children’s programming list. The reason behind the email was to ask, nay, IMPLORE parents to please let a staff member know if their child has had an accident somewhere in the children’s room and that it needs to be attended to immediately. Hey, accidents happen. It’s not a big deal. What is a big deal, is if a child has tracked poop all over the public library children’s room and the parent simply picks up the child and leaves, without saying anything so that ANOTHER child stumbles upon the mess and that other parent has to deal with it.

Not cool. I can understand that it’s embarrassing, but seriously. It’s also pretty rude. Not to mention GROSS!

I’m not sure if this happens in other Children’s Libraries. The kids feel completely comfortable in the Children’s Room. So much so, that a lot of them come in and then immediately take off their shoes, as if they are home. Perhaps it is the same thing with the poop. I don’t know.

Interestingly enough, this is not the worst thing that has happened in my Children’s Room. But we’ll leave that story for another day….maybe.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

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Filed under Children's, Interesting Patrons, Library, Strange Tales from the Children's Room