Tuesday, November 3, 2015

September Round-Up

Image from Amazon.com
Friends by Helme Heine
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2015
Originally published in German, this is the story of Charlie Rooster, Johnny Mouse, and fat Percy Pig who are the very best of friends. Sundrenched and bright illustrations follow their adventures around the countryside. Simple, narrative text and large illustrations make this a great pick for a preschool storytime.

Image from HarperCollins.com
Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer, Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
HarperCollins, 2015
If the conditions are just right, “an imaginary friend might appear just when you need one.” In this case, his name was Fred. Imaginary friends usually fade when their real life friends cease to need them, but something different happened when Fred met another imaginary friend. Her name was Frieda. This magical and whimsical story is illustrated in ink with deftly placed spots of color. The longer text and more complex story make this book a wonderful choice for elementary school aged readers.

Image from SLJ.com
Moletown by Torben Kuhlmann
NorthSouth, 2015
Originally published in Switzerland, this mostly wordless picture book is a meditation on the environmental effects of single-minded progress. Moletown begins as a simple tunnel under a lush, green meadow, but the years pass and the moles expand and build. By the end of the book the lush green meadow is nothing but a dingy clump of grass. Don’t miss the detailed endpapers. Read this book with older kids (3rd grade+) along with John Marsden and Shaun Tan’s The Rabbits to start a discussion on the impact of humans on the environment.

Image from ChronicleBooks.com
Who Done It? by Olivier Tallec
Chronicle Books, 2015
Look at the pictures to find the clues to figure out “who done it?” The long trim size of this book allows for two rows of suspects, rendered in pencil and acrylic paint, on each two page spread. Can you guess who forgot their swimsuit? Who didn’t get enough sleep? Who ate all the jam? The final page of the book provides the answers.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Brainstorming - CALCON 2015

Recently, Kahla Gubanich, Warren Shanks and I presented at CALCON 2015. Our session was called Hands Off!: Passive Programming for Children. During the session we asked participants to help us brainstorm ideas for a passive Halloween program for children. They came up with some super rad ideas compiled in this Google Doc. You can also take a look at our Prezi.

Many thanks,

Friday, October 2, 2015

August Round-Up

Image from EricRohmann.com
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.

Image from RandomHouse.com
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.

Image from Books.SimonandSchuster.com
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.

Image from CiaraFlood.co.uk
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

Image from Torange.us
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

Image from MemFox.com
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.

Image from Candlewick.com
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.

Image from JaneenBrian.com
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.

Image from KevinHenkes.com
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.