Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Heroes of Our National Parks

We had a Summer Book Club event this week for kids - our book was The Camping Trip That Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and our National Parks by Barb Rosenstock. This book imagines what happened on the actual trip that President Roosevelt took with naturalist John Muir to Yosemite in 1903. It is thought that the two men laid the framework for our National Parks system during this short camping trip. It's a great book for families to read together - and the artwork by Mordicai Gerstein is wonderful!

Of course no book club event at RML would be complete with snacks - here's what's left of the Smores Cookies! (You can find the recipe at the Girl Who Ate Everything blog or follow the link):

 After talking about what we thought of the story, I gave the kids a little quiz that helped facilitate discussion. This is a great book for kids and helped me find lots of facts:
National Parks: A Kid's Guide to America's Parks, Monuments, and Landmarks by Erin McHugh
You can find more information (and fun!) here:

For our craft, I had the kids mimic Gerstein's artwork in the book by drawing pictures in pen on the lightning bug jar cutouts, and then painting with watercolors. The only rule was that the picture had to be something you could find in a National Park!

 "We are not building this country of ours for a day. It is to last through the ages." - Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

"As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls and bird and winds sing. I'll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm and avalanche. I'll acqauint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can." - John Muir

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Author Spotlight: Eva Ibbotson

Sometimes you come across an author that you immediately have a connection with. I was a young librarian, having just finished getting my MLS degree, a few months before Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone came out in the U.S. in 1998. I was lucky enough to read it before the other staff and of course, I was hooked.
You know what happened after that. But one of the things that librarians experienced - and still do - is many young readers asking for books "like Harry Potter". Back in the old days before the monster series we have today, we librarians traded and created lists of books that kids would like that maybe had magic in them, or a wizard, or anything to appease the hunger for more HP.

 This is where I first encountered Eva Ibbotson. Her books, Which Witch? (1979) and The Secret of Platform 13 (1994) were ALWAYS added to those lists. I found she had a charmingly wacky and magically fun way of telling stories.
I adored Island of the Aunts, her ghost books are a hoot, and she was many awards for her historical Journey to the River Sea. Then I found out she was an Austrian-born Brit and I liked her even more (those are my two main nationalities!)
For our last Next Chapter of the school year, we recently read the Ogre of Oglefort. Another great title filled with hilarious characters. And last year I read the Abominables for an awards committee I was on - of course I adored it. Sadly, it was published after her death in 2010.
So when you come into RML, needless to say you will find many Eva Ibbotson books. I hope young readers will connect with her the same way I have. This post from the Book Aunt blog says it all better than I can, so check it out!

Lessons From Eva Ibbotson

And I almost forgot! One Dog and His Boy was named an Intermediate Nutmeg Book Award selection this year!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Just Ducky!

I confess, sometimes I plan my story time around not just a book I want to read, but one character I want to read about. When this book came in, I knew right away that story time would be about ducks this week because of the little fellow on the cover: 

John's story about an extremely tired bear who wants nothing but to sleep, and an extremely annoying duck who only wants a friend to hang out with, had the kids smiling the whole way through. With a nod to Willems' pigeon, the duck repeatedly asks questions, only to have the bear answer, "No". What's kind of fun is that the bear doesn't give in, but ends up paying the price for his repeated interruptions anyway.

Here are the kiddos making some baby duck prints for their craft:

 For more great story time books about 'ducks', check out:
Ginsburg, Mirra ~ The Chick and the Duckling
Hest, Amy ~ In the Rain with Baby Duck
Hills, Tad ~ Duck & Goose
Hindley, Judy ~ Do Like a Duck Does!
John, Jory ~ Goodnight Already!
London, Jonathan ~ Wiggle Waggle
Nedwidek ~ Ducks Don't Wear Socks
Root, Phyllis ~ One Duck Stuck
Shannon, David ~ Duck on a Bike
Tafuri, Nancy ~ Have You Seen My Duckling?
Waddell, Martin ~ Farmer Duck
Willems, Mo ~ The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Why 'March Reading Madness' Is More Than Just a Game

I truly love children's books. So I find the idea of making them 'battle' each other in a reading tournament barbaric, and one that I have resisted for a few years. It's just too painful when you see Amelia Bedelia take down Frog & Toad. Sure, she's great and my older daughter was a huge fan. But she beat FROG & TOAD. I had them going to the final 2 (confession - I wimped out and never really picked a final 1). 
But for some reason, it made sense this year. Ms Patty and Director Nancy compiled the Adult Fiction Frenzy list and I took care of the Children's (picture book) Classic and Elementary Reading Battle. (I apologize for not making a Teen Tournament. Maybe next year?) Anyway, March Reading Madness is kind of wacky, not really scientific, and one could argue, a waste of time. Or is it?

So, here are 5 Reasons Why March Reading Madness is Worthwhile:

1. It reminds us what our patrons enjoy.
When our young patrons fill out the brackets, they are telling me what they like without having to actually tell me (which is sometimes hard). I thought for sure that Scaredy Squirrel would win in round 1, and while it was close, Curious George eventually beat Scaredy. I didn't see that coming.

2. It gives you a glimpse into someone else's reading life.
Most book people love to talk about books with other book people. It's what we do. Hearing parents and children discuss these match-ups is heart warming! We've also had a few heated discussions behind the desk as a result of this tournament! It's a blast to hear which books are favorites, and interesting to hear which books some kids just don't know. This goes for adults as well. (Confession - I had never heard of A Thousand Acres until March Reading Madness!)

3. It restored my faith that I have given my own daughters a solid reading foundation.
My 13-year-old really enjoys reading. But her 'reading life' hasn't always been easy for me. You would think as a child of a Children's Librarian, she would know what her obligations were! Read everything mom gives you, ask for more, gush over it all, repeat.
 In 5th grade, she had a project at school where the students made timelines of their 'Reading Lives', adding books they loved, ones that inspired them, etc. She brought it home one day and I nearly burst into tears. She clearly didn't put much effort in, listed maybe 2 book titles (and 1 was a gimmicky version of Wheels on the Bus), and seemed to have forgotten everything I thought I had instilled in her.
Flash forward to one night when I was creating the March Reading Madness brackets. My younger daughter found out what I was doing, and in an attempt to put off bedtime, had to fill out the brackets. Suddenly, my older daughter was interested too. Soon, she was remembering old characters that she loved, and gushing (yes, gushing!) over Amelia Bedelia and Lily's Purple Plastic Purse!  Needless to say, I let them stay up late to finish.
(just a note: I kept that school assignment and after this epiphany, I made the now 7th-grader redo it with me. What can I say, I'm her cross to bear.)

4. It's a fun gimmick that anyone can adapt and run with, and learn more about the readers in their lives.
One patron recently told me that she was inspired to create a mini-tournament for the students that she teaches, based on the books they read in class this year. Pass it on!

5. It helps children of this new age discover favorites from our old age.
Seeing empty spots on our display is one of my favorite things! It means someone took that book home, or at the very least, looked at it here in the Library. They may know The Day the Crayons Quit, but they may not know Harold and the Purple Crayon.

Next time here on the blog - 5 important March Reading Madness battles, and why they make you feel yucky inside when you have to choose!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Changes at RML kids!

We've had quite a few changes at RML over the last year - most notably some new staff members and a new online system. This January, we also saw story time's beloved Ms. Patty take a new position at RML. She will be focusing more on the cataloging and behind-the-scenes tasks that allow RML to be part of our larger consortium. Who knew she was so great with statistics and online systems! She will also be developing some great Adult programming. Of course you will still see her at the desk, but she will be taking a break from the story time routine.
 In her place, staff member Nancy McGuinness will be stepping in to help me run all the children's programs! She is very knowledgeable about our children's collection and very excited for the 2-year-old story time. (Poor Ms. Nancy has had her 2-yr-old story time cancelled for the last 4 weeks due to snow!)
I tried long and hard to find a photo of her - turns out she is camera shy and I should have just snapped one of her at work! So the best I could do is this picture from a few Halloween's ago - she's the pretty one in the back dressed as Glinda the good witch!

Lastly, below is a note from Ms. Patty - somewhat bittersweet, but we know she won't be able to keep her nose out of all that is going on with kids@rml! Please comment if you'd like to let Ms. Patty know how she has made a difference for your child in story time!

"The story time room is the best place in the library: the sunny warmth, the bright colors, the music playing in the background, paint and glue and glitter.  And that’s even before the children arrive.  Once the children start to run in (because that’s what they do!), it becomes a place of so much laughter and creativity.  I will miss it more than I can say.

From the start, I wanted my story times at Richmond Library to be a moment in the day of a child that was fun, but also safe and relaxing.  I brought in blankets and in the first years, we made blanket forts on occasion.  I also encouraged the children to grab an “animal friend” who would sit “quietly” in the child’s lap during story time.  I wanted there to be predictability and routine, since the youngest children thrive when they know what to expect.  Hence, the bell!  I delighted in seeing how so many children had to work up the courage to ring that bell for the first time!  And the ukulele, and always starting with “The More We Get Together”.  I have always felt it was important that we “know” our story time children, and therefore I made an effort to learn all of their names…I think I did pretty well with that.

The flannel board games,  “The Story of Ferdinand”, “Minerva Louise”, “Caps for Sale”, “Where is the Green Sheep”, “Owl Babies”, “There was a little turtle…”, “Two little blackbirds…”,“Open, Shut Them.”…if you have ever attended a Ms. Patty story time, you know these well!  I know Ms. Eileen, and soon Ms. Nancy will, have their own stand-bys and we can each recite several books from memory.  These do not slip from memory, so even though I won't regularly be in the best room in the library, I can jump in at a moment’s notice and do a bit of painting and gluing and read a few books, and sing a few songs.  I hope I can, but until that time….remember, what happens in the story time room can make all the difference." - Ms. Patty
Ms. Eileen & Ms. Patty, Book Expo 2014

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Next Chapter: Pirate Scavenger Hunt!

Our book choice for January's Next Chapter Reading Club was Jack Plank Tells Tales by Natalie Babbitt.
The kids had to go on a scavenger hunt and find all different kinds of books and materials in the Library related to arrrggghhh, pirates of course!
There are pirate stories, pirate biographies, pirate facts, pirate ships, pirate picture books, pirates online, and even a pirate cookbook!
 Later we talked like pirates and ate gold (a.k.a. Corn Pops), because those are the kinds of things we do at Next Chapter!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Take Your Child to the Library Day Raffle Winners!

Here's a quick post with a list of winners from our Raffle! Thanks for visiting today! Pictures to come!

Jordan Family - Babymouse 'Skatergirl'
B. Tripp - Captain Underpants tote bag
Noah H. - Squish 'Game On!' autographed copy
Evie T. - 'Bake Sale' autographed copy
Kairi T. - Pop My Little Pony figurine
Elias L. - 'Extreme Babymouse'
Nicole C. - 'Fish in a Tree' & 'One for the Murphys' pack
Farrelly Family - Pop Captain American figurine
Nicholas P. - Don't Let the Pigeon Finish This Activity Book

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Saturday February 7 is Take Your Child to the Library Day!

Don't forget to stop by from 10am-2pm this coming Saturday! We will have raffles, giveaways, cupcakes, and activities all day. Meet Babymouse, take a drawing lesson, and check out our great collection of comic/graphic novels for all ages!
See the full schedule under Important Dates in the column to the right! See you then!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Best of 2014 - According to Your Kids!

Starting as early as October, I usually begin to see "Best of" lists, reporting what the most popular children's books of the year were. There are lists by sales, lists by bloggers, lists by publishers, lists by librarians..... Then those lists soon morph into lists of contenders for the upcoming awards season (and as I've stated before here, I'm not all that great at picking the winners!)
So the other day, I asked Ms. Patty if she could work her magic and come up with some statistics for me of what the most popular children's items at RML were this past year*. (I know - why didn't I think of this sooner?) We can always tell you what is popular and what goes out a lot, but to see it on paper in an official report was kind of fun. There weren't too many shockers on the list - this list and the short list for the Newbery and Caldecott awards aren't going to intersect much. But to confirm what Marlborough kids loved best is it's own reward!
*(We based the list on number of times the item circulated. Obviously, the items released and added to the collection earlier in the year had more of a chance to circulate, so I'm giving you a few extras if possible. I never said this was rocket science!)

Picture Books
The Pigeon Needs A Bath by Mo Willems
Buddy and the Bunnies in Don't Play with Your Food by Bob Shea
 Nest by Jorey Hurley

When Elephant Met Giraffe by Paul Gude
How to Babysit A Grandma by Jean Reagan
Odd One Out: a spotting book by Britta Teckentrup

Easy Readers
 Fancy Nancy: just my luck by Jane O'Connor

My New Friend is So Fun! by Mo Willems

Bunny Double, We're in Trouble! by Dan Gutman

I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944 by Lauren Tarshis

J Fiction
High Time for Heroes (Magic Tree House) by Mary Pope Osborne
The 26-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

Win or Lose by Alex Morgan
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

The Lego Adventure Book: spaceships, pirates, dragons & more! 

Jaguars by Vicky Franchino
Connecticut by Zachary Kent
ProjectKid: 100 ingenious crafts for family fun by Amanda Kingloff

Lego: Legends of Chima
The Lego Movie
Strawberry Shortcake: berry big help
Lego Star Wars: the Yoda Chronicles


Friday, December 12, 2014

New...and Perfect for the Season!

Just wanted to share a few new picture books with you that are great for this time of year! Stop in and take one home!

Fans of Deborah Underwood's Here Comes the Easter Cat will be happy to see Here Comes Santa Cat. This time, Cat is realizing that it's really hard to be as kind and generous as Santa.

 Stephen Krensky's The Last Christmas Tree will delight children when they find out who takes home the last, sad-looking, tree from the tree lot.

An Amazing Snowman by Barbara Jean Hicks is a short ode to that silly snowman, Olaf, and will delight pretty much anyone who has seen THAT movie.

 The latest offering from the iconic Jan Brett is called the Animals' Santa, where we find out who brings the woodland creatures their holiday gifts. 
 Lastly, Sugar White Snow and Evergreens: a winter wonderland of color by Felicia Chernesky is simply a winter treat for the eyes. It will remind children that this season can be something other than white.