Monthly Archives: November 2011

Tween Book Club

Yesterday I had my Tween Book Club. We read PIE by Sarah Weeks. I was lucky enough to get the ARC at BEA, and I reviewed it awhile ago. This is a really cute mystery that also makes you hungry for pie, as it has a yummy pie recipe at the end/beginning of each chapter.

I had 7 kids and one mom in attendance. We had a total of 4 apple pies (1 homemade by one of the girls in the group – so good!) and 1 chocolate cream pie. Obviously, we should have coordinated! We polished off the cream pie and almost 2 apple pies while we talked about the book. Most of them really liked it, while a couple hadn’t finished yet. They seemed to not be all that interested in it. It isn’t the most exciting book maybe, but out of the kids who did read it, they really loved the setting, the characters, the fat cat named Lardo, and most especially, the PIE! One girl asked to renew the book a second time so she could make 2 of the pie recipes for friends.

We discussed some themes in the book: friendship, loss, family relationships. We also talked about characterization, mostly the difference between flat and round characters and why both are important in a novel. They had some great insights. They also had a lot of pie, and therefore a lot of SUGAR. I did manage to get them to vote on the December book before I lost them to the sugar rush, and they chose The Tilting House by Tom Llewellyn. I also have this ARC, but I haven’t read it yet. From what we read on the back of my copy, it sounds pretty interesting. Looking forward to reading it! I just hope there’s some good food in it – it’ll be hard to top PIE for that!

Click the link below for Sarah Weeks’s blog. It has the first chapter of PIE and a link to an interview with Sarah about the book. (This was helpful for my discussion questions, especially since the book just came out and there isn’t much online about it.)


Filed under Authors, Book Reviews, Library, Tween Book Club, Tweens

Thanksgiving Story Time

For my Thanksgiving story time (aka. Week 8) I concentrated more on the craft portion because there are so many great Thanksgiving crafts! But it’s fun to read cute holiday books too.


We read Thanksgiving in the Barn by Nadine Westcott, a fun pop-up book that is also short, which is always a hit with the younger kids! The second book is another holiday favorite of mine that I usually read every year, Dav Pilkey’s ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving. This is a really cute story with a happy ending, that is written in the traditional rhyme of the Night Before Christmas. Eight children take a field trip to a turkey farm, run by Farmer MacNugget (heh heh.) The farmer slips from his Santa-like persona to a slightly more sinister character as the children realize what is going to happen to their new feathery friends. If the group I’m reading to looks a bit uneasy, I will jump in once or twice to remind them that the book has a happy ending, not to worry! It really isn’t all that dark and the humor balances it, but it does show Farmer MacNugget holding an axe…. Eh, well, at any rate, it DOES have a happy ending, unlike the real Thanksgiving dinner 😉


Songs & Rhymes

I said the rhyme Five Little Turkeys by the Barn Door and use a a velcro turkey set (made by a friend of mine) that has five turkeys on it. As we count down, I choose a child from the group to come up and pull a turkey off. I will usually have to say the rhyme more than once so everyone can have a turn. I had only 6 kids (of walking-age) at my Wednesday program, so I had the 6th child pull off the 1st turkey on the 2nd time around saying the rhyme (does this make sense?) and then I did the rest. I did it very fast and in a silly voice so the kids wouldn’t try to get a second turn!

Then I asked a particularly grumpy 4 year old what song or dance she wanted to do. This got her back into the group and she chose the Hokey Pokey (same girl from last week!) and I asked her to help me in case I got it wrong.


OK, so I am kind of obsessed with Pinterest at the moment and I have found some really cute ideas for story time and teen crafts, as well as library displays. I saw these super cute turkey place cards had to make them. Of course, I saw them Sunday night and since I didn’t really like the craft I had planned, I went in early Monday morning to prep for the new craft. Luckily I had everything in the craft cabinet!

I used white card stock for the main place card (the finished product is too heavy for construction paper), scrapbook paper for the feathers (I chose sheets with mostly browns and reds, but through in some brighter colors to offset) and brown construction paper for the body, which is a big circle and a little circle (cut with the Ellison Die.) Then I just cut little orange beaks out and drew on some eyes, though I put out googly eyes for the kids, since they like using them. (I wanted mine to be classy – ha.) There was no cutting for the kids and we used regular Elmer’s glue – glue sticks don’t really cut it for this one. I made a sample and then made more while the kids did theirs, so I ended up with enough to bring to my parent’s house for thanksgiving! We also had enough pieces leftover to use for our drop-in Thanksgiving craft, held the day before Thanksgiving. (For this craft, the kids could also make leaf place cards and paper-bag turkey center pieces.)

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Fall Story Times – Week 7


November is Family Literacy month, so I thought I’d do a Family theme. I haven’t done one of these in awhile, mostly because of something that happened a few years ago. One of my staff had covered for me and saw The Family Book by Todd Parr sitting on our re-shelving cart, so she grabbed it and read it to the group. I love this book. It’s a colorful, smart and easy way to talk to younger kids about how families are all different, but also all the same. Some families in the book are animals, while some are human. The families are all different colors – like purple and blue – so no one in the group will be singled out. One page talks about how some families have two moms and two dads. It’s in there as a fact, not pushing the issue or making it stand out awkwardly. We had one person mention it on a survey, saying that it was “inappropriate for younger children.” Which makes sense, because it’s much better to pretend it doesn’t exist and then have your kids think it’s weird when they get older…..yeah. Good luck with that one.


Anyhoo, I decided that the parents would just have to suck it up, so I read The Family Book, (linked to a great review on Diary of A Yummy Mummy blog) along with one of my favorites, Pete’s A Pizza by William Steig. This is a great family story. A boy is sad because he can’t play outside, so his parents decide to make him into a pizza. Not literally, though. It’s cute and it makes the kids laugh, as the boy starts to smile and giggle as his parents toss things on him like paper (cheese) and checkers (peperoni.) They enjoyed both stories and they talked about their own families and how they were loud or quiet or big or small. We also talked about how pets are part of the family too!


Songs & Rhymes:

We sang Where is Thumbkin? because the ending part is about the “family,” i.e. the whole hand. We also did Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (which I always mess up while trying to go fast) and we did the Hokey Pokey. One girl was getting a bit annoyed with me because I wasn’t doing the full, “correct” version (since the group was ready to do something different by that point.) It was pretty cute.


The craft was one that I borrowed from story time files that my director used when she was a children’s librarian. I had my library page find cute, generic family figures – kind of like the ones they have for cars. We printed them and made copies, then cut them out and sorted so that the kids could choose figures to represent people in their families and then color them to look more “personal.” There was a man, woman, boy, girl, baby, dog, cat, and fish. The man could be a dad, grandfather, uncle, boyfriend, etc. And any different pets could be drawn in. We even had a pregnant mom, which was weird, but cute. The mom’s loved how skinny the woman figure was! They colored the figures and glued them onto a paper plate and attached yarn to hang it. Some wrote “My Family” or their last name. Some labeled who each person was (supposed to be.)

And so far, no complaints about extra moms & dads in the book. All is well in Story Time land 🙂

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Fall Story Times – Week 6

Week 6 – Teddy Bear/Bear Story Time

I am going to attempt to post more about my story time programs than just the craft. So here it goes….

I try to begin by saying hello, asking if there are any newbies and, if so, introduce myself and talk a little about what we do in story time. I will also talk about any special programs coming up that pertain to the 3 – 5 age group. I might take attendance, but usually there are people who walk in late, so I tend to just count people while we do the craft at the end. I also might begin with asking the kids about the theme, so I might ask them about bears, what they sound like, where they live, if they are nice, who has teddy bears at home, etc. This takes up some time because we usually get totally side-tracked with comments like “I have a teddy bear!” “I want to be a dinosaur!”  “I have a cat!” “My cat got hit by a car!” and so on.

I usually start with a song or rhyme, lately we’ve been singing Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi. They are starting to remember the song, and they love to get up and move around and get their “sillies” out before reading.

For the Teddy Bear/Bear theme, I pulled out 4 books to read: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., Big Smelly Bear by Britta Teckentrup, Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson (LOVE Karma Wilson!), and The Bear Came Over to My House by Rick Walton. I ended up reading the first 3 books for both the Monday and Wednesday sessions, which is pretty good, since we don’t often get through 3 books! I also used my velcro story board characters for Brown Bear, which is fun because the kids get to be involved in the story by putting up a character on the board when it comes up in the story.

Story Characters from Lakeshore Learning


I had 2 songs/rhymes picked out to use: The Bear Went Over the Mountain and Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear. I didn’t end up using either since they were able to sit through the 3 books.

However, we did go on a BEAR HUNT! They loved doing this and doing all the hand motions and sound effects. Plus, it’s always to pretend you’re in a dark cave with a bear. I love Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, but doing the Bear Hunt (chant? it’s not really a song…) is totally fun. There are a lot of different variations of this and most are online somewhere. I think I’ve actually changed my version to make it work better for my group. (At some point, I  will post it, but it’s on my work computer at the moment.)

The craft was decorating construction paper teddy bears. I had my library page pre-cut the teddy bears and then I put out different craft items to glue on or color with. It’s simple and the kids love it. The parents love it too. They came out really cute 🙂

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New Favorite ALA Read Poster

I REALLY want this for this children’s room (or my office!)

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The Ghost of Mark Twain

picture borrowed from Scott Kenmore's Zombie Blog - very cool blog!

In September, I posted about Banned Books Week and mentioned that our library had just this year decided to un-ban Mark Twain’s Eve’s Diary, which had been banned by a bunch of stuffy librarians with buns and glasses on chains about 100 years ago because of some inappropriate drawings (see below.)


Twain even called us the “Library freaks,” which we think is the coolest thing ever!

But we wonder if Mark Twain is really done with us yet…….

Last Thursday, I was in the Children’s Room with our volunteer, Jess, and the president of the high school library Anime Club. No one else was in the room. While we were chatting, we suddenly heard a loud thud. It came from the nonfiction. When I went to investigate, I saw a book face-down on the floor directly in front of the A-D biography section. A book in the A section was sticking out slightly as if someone had pushed it from the other side of the shelf. I picked up the book and gasped (well, maybe not, but it sounds better if I say that.) The book was a biography on none other than Mark Twain himself.

Now, we alphabetize biographies by the person they are about. So my first thought was, “why would a book on Mark Twain have fallen out of the A-D section? Was Mark Twain angry that he had been misfiled? Did he jump all the way from the T – V section just to let us know he was here?? Does he not care that we un-banned his book this year because he was so annoyed when we banned it 100 years earlier???

Whatever the reason, we know that he wanted to get our attention…….

The Phantom Book

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YA Book Review

The Future of UsThe Future of Us by Jay Asher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Told from alternating points of view by the two main characters, this is a cute story that really makes you think. How do the things we do now affect what happens to us in the future? And what if all you had to do to check your future was click “refresh”?

Another thing it will make you think about?

Just how much you reveal in your Facebook status…..


View all my reviews

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