Monthly Archives: June 2014

Button Storytime


pete cat buttonsbunches of buttons

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean
Bunches of Buttons by Michael Dahl

Non-Flannel Board Flannel Board Story
I used the flannel board button story from AnnesLibraryLife, but because  I have not made a flannel board yet, I pulled five buttons of the appropriate colors from my button bag and used them. Five children came to storytime, so each of them received a button to give back to me when I got to the color of button they held during the story.

We played two games today, and used Really Big Buttons for both of them. I bought these from Amazon, but you can get twice as many for approximately the same price at Discount School Supply. My fault for waiting until too close to storytime to buy them.

1. Tiddlywinks. The big buttons were good for popping up into the air (turn them upside down, so the smooth side is up), but not so much for getting into a cup for points. The kids had fun seeing who could pop their button up the highest.
2. Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?
I found several variations of this game online, and chose the one where a button is randomly placed into the closed hands of one of the children. They then had to guess who had the button.

ALA Must Do’s


The only word to describe getting ready for ALA Las Vegas is overwhelming. I have read multiple blog posts with advice for first-timers, and am trying to take some of it to heart: don’t aim for too many programs, make sure to allot plenty of time to explore the exhibit hall, talk to people.

I have the luxury of this being a personal trip, so I have no agenda other than to show up to learn and do library things. Therein lies the problem – there are too many library things to learn and do. How do I narrow down the possibilities so neither a time turner nor TARDIS are required?

After several months of managing a spreadsheet (and more recently the online scheduler), I have come up with a few core things that must be done while at the conference.

The Must Do’s:

  • The “Using Meaningful Gamification to Motivate Library Users: A Hands-On Workshop” taught by Dr. Scott Nicholson. I participated in the Gamification in Libraries webinar offered by NYLA in March because I had no clue what gamification meant and thought it sounded interesting. My mind was mildly blown at all of the activities one can do in the name of gamification. Some of the ideas I have for Girl Scout activities fall into this realm.
  • LITA Open House. Another webinar I participated in focused on transmedia storytelling. I’m hoping to find people knowledgeable about it and its potential applications. I love the idea of creating programming that moves across multiple formats of media.
  • Stan Lee.
  • Tom Angleberger. One of the more voracious readers at my library is a huge Origami Yoda fan. He had a full-on fan girl meltdown when I told him Tom Angleberger was going to be at ALA.
  • Mayfair Games on the Graphic Novel/Gaming Stage. Settlers of Catan is an awesome game, and the one that gets played the most in our house. My 8-yr old cut her teeth on Catan Junior when she was 5, and has been obsessed with the series ever since.
  • Teaching With Comics on the Graphic Novel/Gaming Stage. It feels so subversive that comics can be used in the classroom. After attending the Comics, Education, and Libraries Conference in Rochester, NY last month, I want to learn more about how to incorporate comics into school curriculum.
  • “S.T.E.M.”-ulating Young Minds: Creating Science-Based Programming @ Your Library (Poster Session). I try to bring science into my Girl Scout meetings, and I want to do that with my library programming as well.
  • ALSC 101. I am the default children’s librarian where I work and am in need of advice or any help that can be offered.
  • Mo Willems. The pigeon is my children in two-dimensional orthnithological form. My mother would argue that I could be a shoe-in for pigeon as well. Don’t know where my kids got it from.
  • Tessa Dare. I never read a romance novel prior to picking up Tessa Dare’s book, Any Duchess Will Do. It was included in one of the many emails of reading suggestions that come through my inbox. I figured what the heck, gave it a shot, and was surprisingly entertained by the strong, intelligent, take-no-prisoners women. Her characters outweigh my issues with romance novel body part vernacular.
  • Comics That Make Kids Smarter on the Graphic Novel/Gaming Stage. Again with the comic books as an educational tool.
  • Cassandra Clare & Holly Black. Because Magnus Bane is the sexiest and snarkiest immortal warlock. Ever. And Spiderwick Chronicles was creepy in a fun way (I need to introduce them my daughter).
  • Ideas and Practices in STEAM Learning. I want to learn more about STEM/STEAM programming.
  • Graphic Novel Petting Zoo. Petting the glossy covers of graphic novels is lovely. Unless they’re matte. Petting their matte covers is also lovely.

The Beach (Storytime)

My second storytime had a beach-theme in anticipation of summer break. It didn’t go as I had initially planned, but the children had an absolute blast playing with beach balls and “sand” (i.e. a yellow sheet). Giggling was heard throughout the library.

Books Used

beach daybeach partybeach

Beach Day by Karen Roosa
Beach Party! by Harriet Ziefert
Beach by John Hutton

*Beach Party! encourages participation. The children loved acting out how the animals moved.
*We read Beach after playing with beach balls. A sort of calm down before we sang our good-bye song.

My initial idea was to give the children some seashells and a pie tin with sand to play with. Unfortunately, my shopping bag full of shells is MIA (most likely the victim of one of my stuff-that-has-been-sitting-unused-for-too-long purges), so the morning of I had to scrap this idea.

I ended up bringing several small beach balls and a twin-sized yellow flat sheet with the idea of using as a parachute game. Both parents and children held the edges of the “sand” and shook the sheet to bounce the beach balls. When the balls popped off the sheet, the children would race to get them and throw them back into the sand. The children also made a game of hiding under the sheet while the adults shook it. One of the girls loved being “buried” in the sand.

After play time, the children sat on the sand (I should have done this to begin with) for one more story. All three of them took their socks and shoes off, so maybe it was a better that I didn’t have them sit on the sand from the get-go.

Colors Storytime (#1)

Last Tuesday marked the first of my weekly family storytimes. Colors seemed like a simple, straight-forward theme, so I went with it. There are so many books about colors, I will do more color-themed storytimes in the future without any worry of overlapping ideas or stories. That being said, I will use Mouse Paint again at some point because I have some ideas for making it an interactive game.

Opening Song
“Clap and Sing Hello!” from Storytime Katie

Books Used

dinosaur colors lemons are not red mouse paint

How Do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

We played two similar games using the color die from Think Fun’s Roll and Play Board Game:

#1. We played Roll and Play as Think Fun intended. A child rolls the die and chooses a card from the pile that corresponds to the color that was rolled. All of the children follow the card’s instructions.

#2. We rolled the die to find out what color of toy to take from the toy box. This pretty much ended with the two two-year olds present rummaging through the box to find the toys they wanted. Fun was had by all, so it worked out. Version #2 could easily be modified into a relay-type race if the children were older (and there was enough of them).

Closing Song
A variation on “Clap and Sing Hello!”

A Summer of Organization

I absolutely love to organize, make lists, and weed things. You would never know from my house, which exists in a state of “Holy nuts! There’s a floor under all those random stacks of junk?!” Flat surfaces inherently attract random stacks of junk, so naturally the floor (being very large and very flat) would accumulate the majority of such stacks. (It’s really just a more generously proportioned shelf anyway, right?)

Summertime is project-time at my library, and I have plenty lined up.  As the default children’s librarian, most of my projects are in the children’s section, and given my experience working in bookstores and libraries, all I’m looking for is “good enough” when it comes to organization. I’ve found children’s sections notoriously hard to keep in any semblance of order. I can get a way with “good enough” in this case because the entire children’s section would fit inside my living room and kitchen.

organize all the things

My Summer To Do List:

  • Weed children’s VHS section, shift to empty carousel.
  • Move children’s DVDs to the now vacated shelves that once housed the VHS tapes.
  • Create spine labels for children’s DVDs using a lowercase “j” followed by the first letter of the title, capitalized.
  • Create spine labels for adult’s DVDs using first two letters of the title.
  • Organize/weed early reader section – separate by level, place labels color-coded by level on spines, and create signage to show level-color. The books will be shelved by level, with no consideration given to alphabetization.
  • Organize/weed picture books; separate paperbacks from hardbacks, place paperbacks in alphabetical order in bins such as these, create spine labels with first two letters of author’s last name.
  • Organize/weed children’s non-fiction books incorporating a Metis-inspired cataloging system to make it easier for families to find what they’re looking for.

During all of these projects, I will be adding subject headings into our database. Up until about two years ago, subjects weren’t entered when materials were cataloged.

My library has one librarian and one circulation clerk (that’s me). Everyone else is a volunteer. Volunteers do the majority of the shelving and are fairly set in their ways. I want shelving to be less frustrating for them, and to make it easier for materials to be consistently shelved in the right location.

Donuts (or Doughnuts)!

In honor of National Donut Day, I did a storytime event centered around donuts (because who doesn’t love donuts?). The plan was to read books, play a game, then decorate and eat mini-donuts. Six children participated (including one of mine) – a huge jump from the two children at the Mother’s Day event. I am moving up in the world of storytime!


The picture book, Arnie, the Doughnut, gave me the initial idea to create this storytime. During the search to find activities/songs related to donuts, I discovered National Donut Day, which gave me the “when” to do it.

Arnie was on my shortlist of books to read, but I ended up passing it over because the children present were on the younger side. Judging from the reactions of my three, it is probably better suited for the elementary age-set versus the preschool and toddler age-set. My 7-year old thought Arnie was beyond hilarious (especially the asides in the margins), while my 4-year old and 2-year old were more “meh” about it.

Opening Song
“Clap and Sing Hello!” from Storytime Katie

Books Used

great doughnut parade missing donut

The Great Doughnut Parade by Rebecca Bond
The Case of the Missing Donut by Alison McGhee (love this book!!)

Other Possibilities
Arnie, the Doughnut by Laurie Keller
If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff
The Donut Chef by Bob Staake
Curious George and the Donut Delivery by H. A. Rey

I ended up skipping the game because I did not have enough time to set it up. What I had planned on doing was playing a variation musical chairs called “Daisy Islands” (“Donut Islands” for this event). It is a game my Girl Scouts loved to play when they were Daisies. The mats would be brown butcher paper cut to look like donuts of varying sizes instead of the kitchen towels I used with my girls.

How to Play:
Place different sized mats on the floor, an equal number to children participating. When the music stops, the children have to stand on a mat. One mat is taken away each time. However, instead of one child being “out”, they all have to keep squeezing onto fewer mats until only one smallish-sized mat is left. The mat needs to be small enough that the children have to squeeze in and hug each other so they’ll all fit.

The main attraction was decorating mini-donuts. I made two batches that morning, one vanilla and one chocolate. The recipes came from the cookbook, Mini Donuts: 100 Bite-Sized Donut Recipes to Sweeten Your “Hole” Day by Jessica Segarra (pages 32 and 34, respectively). The kids chose two donuts and had the option of decorating them with powdered sugar or sprinkles.

Powdered sugar – place donut and small amount of powered sugar in a baggie. Seal and shake.
Sprinkles – dip donut in glaze (powdered sugar and a very small amount of milk mixed together), then dip into bowl full of sprinkles.

donutClosing Song
A variation on “Clap and Sing Hello!”

3 Graphic Novels: Saga, Delilah Dirk, & Adele Blanc-Sec

saga1Title: Saga, Vol. 1
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Intended Audience: Adult/Mature
Date Completed: March 18, 2014
Rating: 5/5
Synopsis:  Alana and Marco are from opposite sides of an intergalactic war. She is a prison guard, he a prisoner, and together run away to start a new life. The story starts with the birth of their daughter, Hazel, then follows them as they try to escape from multiple enemies. In addition to character dialog, Hazel provides narration that gives bits of insight into the future of her family.

Thoughts: I’ve always enjoyed a bit of space opera, and this one is akin to Romeo and Juliet (though hopefully without the untimely deaths of the two main characters).  The baddies aren’t one-dimensionally bad, and if you don’t exactly like them, you at least respect them.  Even the good guys have their own baggage. Stories are better when the characters exist in the realm of grey instead of black and white.

**Be warned that there are explicit scenes in the book, and I wouldn’t consider it appropriate for adults, possibly teens at the end of their teen years.**


delilah dirkTitle: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant
Author / Illustrator: Tony Cliff
Intended Audience: YA
Dates Completed: March 24, 2014 & May 19, 2014
Rating: 3/5
Synopsis: Delilah Dirk is a daring adventuress; Selim is a mild-mannered Janissary with a deep love of quality tea. He gets swept up inadvertently into Delilah’s adventures and becomes her unwilling (?) accomplice.

Thoughts: I ended up reading this twice because I wanted to see if I could reconcile my opinion from the first reading (meh) with all of the glowing reviews I’d seen on other websites and blogs. My first reading impressions were that it lacked a cohesive plot and had no overarching goal to tie everything together. My 13-year old self would have absolutely loved it for the sheer adventure.

The second go-round left a much better impression. The art is wonderful, especially the landscapes. I like how the humor is shown/played. The lack of romance between the two was refreshing. This volume felt more like an opening chapter in a longer story – Selim gets swept up unintentionally, comes to grips with it, and joins Delilah. I think my previously poor opinion stemmed from the massive amount of stress I was under with graduate school, Girl Scouts, three children, and no time to get anything accomplished.


adele blanc-sec 1Title: The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec
Author / Illustrator: Jacques Tardi
Intended Audience: Teen/Adult
Date Completed: May 27, 2014
Rating: 1/5
Synopsis: This book is split into two interconnected stories. In the first, a pterodactyl has been brought to life and is on the loose in Paris. At around the same time, Adele Blanc-Sec has arrived in Paris with a hostage in order to use said hostage as collateral to free an associate from prison before he is executed. Treachery is afoot and things don’t go as planned.

Shortly after the conclusion of the pterodactyl incident, the second story begins when Adele gets involved in an intrigue surrounding an ancient Babylonian statue. She is fueled by the realization that it is connected to her treacherous allies and the incident that caused her associate to be jailed in the first place. Adele discovers a sinister cult, and must find away to escape its clutches.

Thoughts: I did not like this book, and had to force myself to read the second story. Adele is unlikeable, and most of the male characters felt like variations of the same mustachioed suit and bowler. The first story was essentially two separate, and only marginally connected, plots – the pterodactyl and Adele. Except for some seemingly random insets of a wailing man, the pterodactyl plot line made sense. However, the reader was dropped into the middle of Adele’s plot with very little backstory to fill in the details. The second story was an improvement in plot line coherence.