Monthly Archives: December 2014

Breakfast with Santa

Every December, my library does a Breakfast with Santa event for families. They gather in the community room for doughnut holes and juice, then Santa comes in to say hello. In the library proper, we have a sitting area with a wingback chair placed next to a Christmas tree. The children are taken out in small groups to meet Santa. When they are finished, they go back to the community room for crafts and activities. Activities are my sole contribution to the whole thing.

1. Glittery Snow Painting (from Growing a Jeweled Rose) – This was by far the favorite activity. Multiple families asked for the recipe so they could make it at home. The only thing I would do differently would be to have the children sprinkle the glitter over the paint once they’ve finished. The glitter got lost in the shaving cream when it was mixed.

2. Bow Tie Noodle Wreath Cards (from Crafty Morning) – I prepped the noodles by dying them with green food coloring and vinegar. To make them glittery, I sprayed adhesive on the noodles, put them in a zip baggie filled with green glitter, and shook them.

wreath card3. Tri-Bead Candy Cane Ornament – The one ornament we had all of the supplies for. I raided our supply closet for beads and pipe cleaners (cut into 6″ pieces).

bead candy cane4. Santa Beard (from East Coast Mommy) – Quick and simple.

santa beard

Book Pushers

Both my family and my best friend’s family are chock full of book nerds, so when we visit each other, books invariably get pushed. We joke about standing outside of schoolyards asking kids if they want to try a book, or hovering at the entrance of a dark alley flashing our book-lined trench coat to passersby. It’s always an interesting conversation.

My Pushes

10 kill shakespeare 1 mr g unwritten 1

Lapham’s Quarterly – A magazine of awesomeness my husband discovered a few years ago. Each issue focuses on one topic (I pushed “Intoxication”) and beats it to death across the spectrum of human civilization. If you are a history or information nerd, it is a must.
Kill Shakespeare, vol 1 – I bought this at the ALA conference after speaking with Colin McCreery. I only read the first 10 or so pages before graduate school once again reared its ugly head, but I like the twist on Shakespeare’s characters. It is on my list to read over Christmas break.
Mr g: A Novel About the Creation – A physicist’s take on Creation. It is a “makes you think” novel. Comparisons can be drawn with the Futurama episode “Godfellas” (season 3) where Bender plays God to a civilization that develops on his chassis.
The Unwritten, vol 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity – A graphic novel series I discovered three years ago. A nice mash-up of a Harry Potter-esque main character having an identity/reality crisis while trying to avoid being killed by unknown assailants. He uses references to classic literature as clues to try to figure out what is going on.

My Husband’s Pushes

dem in am land so strange new discovery

I have read none of these books, but had to hunt the latter two down for my husband when he got a hankering to learn more about the slightly obscure explorers.

Democracy in America – An outsiders take on what democracy was like in the U.S. in the early/mid-1800’s. The book can be a bit of a slog, but my husband liked it because it provides perspective and historical context to a type of government we are so enmeshed in that we often don’t realize it went against the norm for governments at that time.
A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca – This book has it all: Spanish explorers, shipwrecks, enslavement by Native Americans then gaining freedom and respect as a healer, running into Spanish slavers/explorers on the other side of the continent, and finally returning to European civilization 10 years later. My husband liked trying to piece together the complexity of Native American civilization as Cabeza de Vaca described it.
A New Discovery of a Vast Country in America – A reproduction of Louis Hennepin’s journals about his time spent exploring North America. He was the first European to see Niagara Falls, which was one reason why my husband wanted to read it. The other reason (as with Cabeza de Vaca) was to read a first-hand account of what North America was like at the very beginning of European exploration.

BF’s Husband’s Pushes 

hyperion illium

I can’t really say anything about Hyperion or Ilium other than copies of them will be included in the box of books that will be mailed to me in the next month or so. I know BF’s husband talked about them, but I am slightly embarrassed to say I don’t remember what he said other than the author incorporates references to classic literature.

Storytime: Cookies

Books

cow cookie duckling cookie

The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson
The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems

Activity
Cookie Decoration – I found shaped card stock (a girl and a head) for the children to decorate. The initial idea was to have a gingerbread themed storytime, but because the children skewed a lot younger than normal, I decided to skip the gingerbread books (too wordy). Glitter glue, foam shapes, and sequins were used to fancify the “cookies”. About half of our storytime was dedicated to the craft.

Storytime: Hibernation

Books

bear dreams bear snores hibernation first step

Bear Dreams by Elisha Cooper
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
Hibernation (First Step Nonfiction) by Robin Nelson

Rhyme – “Winter is Cold” from Off the Library Shelf
Winter is cold [Hug yourself and shiver]
There is snow in the sky [Flutter fingers above your head]
The squirrel gathers nuts [Pretend to gather nuts]
And the wild geese fly [Flap arms]
The fluffy red fox [Cup hands over head to form ears]
Has his fur to keep warm [Stroke arms as if stroking fur]
The bear’s in her cave [Form a cave shape with your arms]
Sleeping all through the storm [Fold hands under cheek and pretend to sleep]

Activity
Bear in a Cave – I got the idea from Preschool Playbook, though ours weren’t quite as fancy.

bear cave

Storytime: Turkeys

Books

plump perky turkey turkey ball

A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman
The Turkey Ball by D.J. Steinberg

Songs
Song #1
– “Hello, Mr. Turkey”
(Tune: If You’re Happy and You Know It)
Hello Mr. Turkey, how are you? (clap, clap)
Hello Mr. Turkey, how are you? (clap, clap)
With a gobble, gobble, gobble (hand under chin, wiggle fingers)
And a wobble, wobble, wobble (shake body)
Hello Mr. Turkey, how are you? (clap, clap)

Song #2 – “Turkey Hop”
(Tune: Turkey in the Straw)
Do the turkey hop, do the turkey run
Do the turkey gobble,
Oh, its lots of fun!
Now flap your wings,
Like the turkeys do
Run from the farmer
‘fore she catches you.

(I did not notate to myself what website I pulled the songs from.)

Activity
Foam Turkeys – I found a slew of foam turkeys in varying colors stashed away in the mess that is our craft supply closet, so the children decorated their turkeys with foam stickers and sequins.

November Books

alienated girls kingfisherdevil intern lady of spirit jade yeo unnaturalists

*Alienated – An interesting story, that to me, is less about science fiction and more of a social commentary (xenophobia about “others”).  Light romance. Will buy sequel when it comes out.
*The Girls at the Kingfisher Club – The Twelve Dancing Princesses as set in the speakeasies of 1920’s Manhattan.  A good story in and of itself, definitely worth it if you enjoy fairy tale retellings. The ending is different than the traditional story.
*The Devil’s Intern – Well-written, and a creative imagining of hell. The premise involving a time-traveling paradox was well executed.
*A Lady of Spirit – Book 6 in a series set in a steampunk Victorian world. They’re quick, fun reads featuring a clever, independent female lead.

sing down the moon rebels strange fruit toads diamonds sylvia aki long walk samurai proxy

I read these books as part of a project for my multicultural literature class (I chose the books).  I ended up really liking Rebels by Accident and Toads and Diamonds. Sing Down the Moon was just awful. I loved it as a child, but rereading it as an adult found both inaccuracies and stereotypes. It would like to see how different the story would be if someone from the Navajo Nation rewrote it.

*Rebels by Accident – A nice window into the life of a Muslim-American teen. It is relatable to all teens because at its heart, the story is about finding your identity and accepting who you are.
*Toads and Diamonds – A refreshing take on the fairy tale, I like that both sisters are “good”, and that their gift helps them grow and become better people. I also like that they have to save themselves and not rely on a prince to save them.

private prince 1private prince 2private prince 3 hm 1  lillith blue morning

I reread the first three volumes of Private Prince, all ten volumes of Happy Marriage?!, and the first volume of Blue Morning (it wasn’t bad, but I don’t have a need to read any more volumes). I discovered Lilith Dark because of Twitter and enjoyed it. I gave it to my daughter to read (it’s an all ages GN), but she thought it was a bit too dark. If your child likes darker adventure stories, it would be a good fit.

HP 4 bun2 howliday fortunately

After finally finishing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we moved on to other, shorter books. I’m choosing all read alouds for the months of November and December because of how long it took us to read HP4. I read Bunnicula to Bean when she was in kindergarten, so it wasn’t a new book to her. However, this time around it held her interest. We also read Howliday Inn (there were several parts of the story that she didn’t want me to stop reading). We will pick up the series again at a later date. The final book we finished in November was Fortunately, the Milk. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and I wanted to subject Bean to his awesomeness. The father in the story reminded me of Doctor Who – his long scarf, wild hair, and crazy time-traveling adventures. It was funny and outlandish and both of us loved how the illustrations complimented the story.