Friday, October 2, 2015

August Round-Up

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Clara and Asha by Eric Rohmann
Roaring Brook Press, 2005
At night, Clara tries to go to bed, but she’s just not sleepy. Luckily, she opens her window and in floats Asha a giant striped fish. These two friends have many adventures together. Adventures that are only limited by their imaginations. The simple text is expanded in the fantastical painterly illustrations. The preschoolers I read this book to really enjoyed talking about the details in the pictures. They especially loved the last page and we had a great discussion about other animals that might be Clara’s friends.

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Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do by Kathryn Heling & Deborah Hembrook, Illustrated by Andy Robert Davies
Charlesbridge, 2012
This guessing game book provides visual and textual clues for jobs from mail carrier to farmer, chef to astronaut. The rhyming text is bouncy and printed in a large, bold font. The illustrations are bright and colorful against a white background. Characters of both genders and various skin colors are included. This is a wonderful choice for a preschool storytime about jobs.

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Lily and Bear by Lisa Stubbs
Simon & Schuster, 2015
Lily loves to draw and draw and draw. She draws many wonderful things - teapots, hearts, house, and cats - but her best creation is Bear. Bear comes alive and he and Lily have many grand adventures. This story of friendship and imagination features vibrant mixed media illustrations that utilize texture and patterns. The sentences are short, but filled with lovely vocabulary words. Read this book in a preschool storytime and follow it with an ECRR parent tip about how drawing and scribbling prepare children to write.

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Those Pesky Rabbits by Ciara Flood
Little Bee Books, 2015
Bear lives in a remote cottage in the woods and all he wants is to be left alone. So he’s more than a little annoyed when a bunch of very friendly rabbits build a house right next door. He’s even more annoyed when they knock on his door. What’s a bear to do? The bright illustrations contrast soft and round animals with the straight lines of houses and trees. In addition, light and shadow provide depth and atmosphere. The text is short, but descriptive, making this a great book for a friendship or kindness themed preschool storytime. -Amy

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Passive Programming Brainstorming Notes

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This week I co-lead a session on passive programming with my colleagues Warren Shanks and Kahla Gubanich. Although this wasn't an official Program-a-Looza session, we did a passive programming brainstorming activity and I'd like to share our results. The group of Denver Public Library staff came up with the brainstorming topics and then we all grabbed markers to jot down our ideas on big pieces of butcher paper. The three topics were a haunted house, LEGO, and Greek mythology. 

Check out the cool ideas: Passive Programming Brainstorming Notes

For more programming ideas, check out my post about our first Program-a-Looza sessions at ALA Annual 2015. 


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

July Round-Up

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Hattie and the Fox by Mem Fox, Illustrated by Patricia Mullins
Simon & Schuster, 1987
Hattie the hen is quite a bit more observant than the other animals on the farm. As she sees more and more of a stalking fox she tries to alert her friends who all pish-posh her warnings. The color and texture are important elements of the mixed media illustrations. Facial expressions and body language help to propel the plot forward. The repetitive text builds the suspense of the story making this a great choice for a preschool storytime focused on narrative skills.

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Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor, Illustrated by Jean Jullien
Candlewick, 2014
Hoot Owl is hungry and ready for a midnight snack! He uses many disguises, but his attempts at capturing a tasty lunch are failures. What’s a master of disguise to do?
The bold black outlines and saturated colors of the illustrations make it easy to share with a preschool storytime crowd. The humorous narrative, all from Hoot Owl’s perspective, is fast paced. Kids will enjoy Hoot Owl’s repeated refrain, “I am Hoot Owl. I am hungry. And here I come!", as well as the pizza-fueled ending.

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I’m a Dirty Dinosaur by Janeen Brian, Illustrated by Ann James
Kane Miller, 2014
The rhyming text of this lively story is wonderful to chant or sing for a toddler storytime. The text includes great action words to keep a young audience engaged and the delightfully mud-splashed illustrations pop against the white background. This fun story, which can be sung to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot”, fits nicely for a dinosaur or opposites themed storytime.

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Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow Books, 2011
Little white rabbit hopped along through grass and trees, past silent rocks and fluttering butterflies. While he hopped he imagined what it might be like to be grass and trees, rocks and butterflies. The simple and quiet text pairs beautifully with the glowing pastel palette. Use this book for a toddler storytime and have the kids pretend along with little white rabbit. Follow up with a rabbit song/rhyme. My current fav is Sleeping Bunnies.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

June Round-Up

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Anton Can Do Magic by Ole Konnecke
Gecko Press, 2011
Anton has a magic hat that can make things disappear! Anton can’t wait to show his friend Luke. But what will Anton do when he makes Luke disappear? Originally published in Germany, this story uses third person narration to let readers in on the joke about Anton’s hat and it’s magical abilities. The cartoonish illustrations use a limited palette to create simple, but hilariously effective scenes and character interactions. This is a wonderful book to share one-on-one or with a group of preschool or lower elementary school kids.

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Perfect Square by Michael Hall
Greenwillow Books, 2011
The perfect square was perfectly happy having four sides and four corners. But that all changes on Monday when it’s sliced into strips and poked full of holes. It’s not a perfect square anymore, but it is a very wonderful water fountain. Each day brings a new change for the square, it’s torn or snipped, shattered or crumpled, but no matter way the square always finds a way to make itself into something new. The super short text and large torn paper illustrations are well-suited for preschool storytime crowds. The kindergarteners I read with loved the final pages that show how all the square’s incarnations are connected.

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Sun and Moon by Lindsey Yankey
Simply Read Books, 2015
The moon thought that if he could have just one day as the sun that he would see so many wonderful things. The sun agreed to trade night for day, but only if the moon met two conditions. First, the swap would last forever, not just a day. Second, the moon would need to spend a night looking at the details of earth very carefully. The delicate mixed media illustrations utilize textures and patterns to create a soft, almost glowing, atmosphere. The fable-like text is concise, yet evocative and well-suited to reading aloud at bedtime.

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Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman & David Clemesha, Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
HarperCollins, 1999
Mr. Gilly is a trashman and everyday he cleans up Trashy Town. At the school, the pizza parlor, the park, and even the fire station, he empties the trash cans into his truck, “Dump it in, smash it down, drive around the Trashy Town!” The repetitive text moves the story along at a nice clip and is easy to read on the page. Yaccarino’s cartoonish illustrations feature bold shapes and bright shapes, making this a great fit for a toddler storytime.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Program-a-Looza at ALA Annual 2015

This past weekend at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in San Francisco the first Program-a-Looza sessions were held. This open share session, brainchild of Danielle Jones, Kahla Gubanich, Mary Pearl, and yours truly, focused on cheap, easy children’s programming for public libraries. Inspired by grassroots sessions, such as Guerrilla Storytime and YA Smackdown, Program-a-Looza was created as a way for children’s library staff to take home tangible programming ideas, tips, and resources.

We held two sessions and participants were encouraged to brainstorm and bring their personal strengths and experiences to the table. First, each person shared a favorite easy to replicate program. Next, we picked a programming topic and spent 2 minutes brainstorming ideas using pens and sticky notes.

Wondering what we talked about? Check out the session notes.

We plan to hold more Program-a-Looza sessions at ALA Midwinter 2016 in Boston. Stay tuned for more info on dates/times