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.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What We've Been Up To: November

Here are some snapshots from recent programs we've had at RML - what a fun month it's been!

There are many times when Ms Patty and I think that what is leftover after storytime crafts looks just as cool as what we've made during storytime! Here's what one of the tables looked like after we did some leaf prints:

Our Next Chapter Reading Club for grades 2-4 recently chose The Gumazing Gum Girl: Chews Your Destiny by Rhode Montijo as their November book. We had a great time blowing and measuring bubbles and learning about the history of chewing gum.

I highly recommend this book if you want to learn a little more about the history of bubble gum!

 We also had a visit from storyteller Joyce Marie Rayno for our American Girls Tell Their Stories program. She really made the stories of Josefina, Kirsten, and Addy come to life! Afterwards, the girls made and decorated little ponchos for their dolls.

 If you have an American Girl fan in your house, be sure to check out these new titles we got in from their new Beforever series. They are adventurous stories with the beloved historical characters where the reader can choose from multiple endings!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October Fun at RML!

October is just about my favorite time of year, so of course we have a ball at the Library enjoying all sorts of fallishness! That includes pumpkins, spooky tales, and yes, glue.
Here are a few pics of some preschool fun at Storytime (p.s. Session II starts October 22!)

 Our 'Next Chapter' Reading Club had a little craft fun after discussing our October book:

My Haunted House (Araminta Spookie) by Angie Sage.
 We were inspired by Ed Emberley's awesome thumbprint books which are classics!

The man is sort of an idol of mine and I have loved his drawing books my whole life. He won the Caldecott Medal for Drummer Hoff in 1968, which he collaborated on with his wife (a Librarian I might add!)
Want to keep your kids busy for a few HOURS?? Check out any of his great books!


Friday, October 3, 2014

Picture Book Read-Alouds for 2nd Graders

Second graders aren't the fuzzy little first graders you knew last year, but they aren't the cool 3rd graders they will be next. They have a special brand of kookiness all their own, and if you are lucky enough, you just might get to read to their class. Here are some options you can bring:

Cronin, Doreen. Diary of a Worm/Diary of a Spider/ Diary of a Fly
Daywalt, Drew. The Day the Crayons Quit
Demi. The Empty Pot 
Frazee, Marla. A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever
Hollub, Joan. Little Red Writing
Johnson, Doug. Substitute Teacher Plans
Kahl, Virginia. How Many Dragons are Behind the Door?
Katz, Alan. Don't Say That Word!
Mahy, Margaret. Seven Chinese Brothers
Orloff, Karen Kaufman. I Wanna Iguana 
Polacco, Patricia. The Junkyard Wonders
Prelutsky, Jack. There's No Place Like School: classroom poems
Schwartz, Alvin. In A Dark, Dark, Room & Other Scary Stories
Scieszka, Jon & Lane Smith. The Stinky Cheese Man & Other Fairly Stupid Tales
Scillian, Devin. Memoirs of a Goldfish/Memoirs of a Hamster 
Seuss, Dr. & Jack Prelutsky, Lane Smith. Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!
Shannon, David. A Bad Case of Stripes
Shulman, Mark. Ann and Nan are Anagrams /  Mon and Dad are Palindromes
Staake, Bob. The Donut Chef
St. George, Judith. So You Want to Be President?
Sturges, Philemon.  The Little Red Hen Makes A Pizza
Teague, Mark. Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf
Van Allsburg, Chris. The Sweetest Fig