Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Backpacks!

We've changed around most of our Backpack book sets again to give you some new subjects! So here's the latest ones for Spring! They get checked out just like a book for 3 weeks.
Awesome Books for Boys
Great Books for Girls
Potty Time!
Preschool Picks
More Kindergarten Favorites
Picture Books as Early Readers
I Like Me!
Growing Up
My Family
In My Neighborhood
Muzzy Spanish Language
Muzzy Spanish II

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Evolution of a Storytime Craft

What Ms Patty and I decide on for Storytime crafts comes about in a variety of ways. Sometimes, we have certain books we are dying to include, so the craft comes after and has to fit in with the theme. Sometimes, the craft dictates the storytime - i.e. We did alot of painting crafts already so maybe we should do playdough or collage, etc.
Sometimes, we find something wonderful on Pinterest or on a storytime blog.

Then there are the times when we want to do what we want to do, and just aren't finding the right craft, so we make it up. Then you better watch out and not disturb us because the wheels are in motion! This happened last week when we were set on doing books about puffins, and couldn't find a craft we liked.

Ms Eileen came across a photo in Google images of an actual puffin costume made out of fabric, etc. But it had a cute head, so of course, we thought: let's make hats!!! Our kids LOVE to make hats as crafts. It took an hour while we were working on the desk to get it just right (don't tell our Director!). The eyes had to be in the right place, the top couldn't be too pointy or look like a pilgrim. Here's the prototype:

 Next comes the setup - how are we going to do this craft so the kids can take it home dry, and we can fit in all the great books we want to do? (Plus we wanted the kids to be able to watch a puffin cam we found online that showed a baby change from an egg to a fluffy ball of fur, to a youngster!)

Puffins of Seal Island, Maine

We decided to have the kids paint their puffin beaks before doing stories so it would have time to dry. They practiced making the correct stripes on scrap paper first. The key was to not let them have a lot of paint (too gloppy!). We were amazed at the differences in ability depending on the children's ages. Eileen's 4s & 5s were clearly better at painting stripes, but even within that group, some 4s couldn't make full stripes across the beak, while a few of the youngest ones still wanted to 'color' the beak instead of making the stripes. Or some made stripes that didn't reach from end to end. We just love seeing the different stages of development in things as simple as stripes. Kids are amazing!

We pre-made the hats so we would have time to fit them on after stories. A stapler is a must! Here are some of the books we read:

And finally, our cutie-pie kids playing puffin. They had a ball, some had puffin parades, and some just enjoyed talking to each other in 'puffin'. Cuter than muffins! ;)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Three Fave's From the 1930s

As part of our 90th birthday celebration here at RML, we are focusing on a different decade each month. February is the 1930s, so I thought I would highlight 2 books published in the 30s - Ms. Patty's favorite and mine.
My pick: 

To the left is an earlier cover - the above one is the one I read, likely published in the 1950s. I spent a great deal of time reading most of the series as a kid growing up in the 1970s, and it amazes me that kids are still reading these today, over 80 years later.
My elementary school library was one of my favorite places, and there was a dark little nook in the back left side where all the Nancy Drew books were located on the bottom shelf. So the whole series reminds me of that place I loved, as well as the Media Specialist who had such a great impact on me that I became a Librarian! These stories were probably the beginning of my love for mysteries as well, and now that I think of it, my fascination with the game CLUE. 
So most people now know that 'Carolyn Keene" was merely a pseudonym, and the man who created 'Nancy Drew' was Edward Stratemeyer (and his famous Stratemeyer Syndicate who employed ghostwriters for series fiction). Stratemeyer died about 2 weeks after The Secret of the Old Clock was published in 1930. So who actually wrote the books? Well, after some googling, I came across a book that I now MUST READ! See the second link below. In all, there were 8 ghostwriters who penned these classics.

14 Fun Facts About Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her

Patty's pick:
"I've loved The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf since I was a little 
girl.   It was the special favorite of my younger sister, Laura, and I 
can't read the book without thinking of her. Ferdinand's primary wish, 
to sit "just quietly" and smell the flowers, validated my own need to 
spend lots of time by myself, outside, doing not much of anything.  
Ferdinand does his own thing, doesn't shrink from the aggressors or 
judge them, he merely meets them with his own strong pacifism; the 
epitome of quiet strength. And of course, there is the understanding 
mother ("even though she is a cow") which delighted me as a child and 
When my children were little I could not wait to share the book with 
them and was happy to discover they loved it as much as I did.  I 
continue to share "The Story of Ferdinand" in storytimes and it is one 
of those books that never fails to capture the children's attention.  
The tale is gentle, but exciting, and creates just that right about of 
tension that makes a picture book work so well. Combined  with Robert 
Lawson's charming illustrations (despite being black and white), you 
have a book speaks to the world of the child and also captures their 
Patty added some interesting factoids about this classic: 
From Wikipedia:
 The book was released nine months before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War,
and was seen by many supporters of Francisco Franco as a pacifist book.
    It was banned in many countries, including in Spain. In Nazi Germany,
 Adolf Hitler ordered the book burned, while Joseph Stalin, the leader of the
 Soviet Union, granted it privileged status as the only non-communist children's
 book allowed in Poland. India's leader Mahatma Ghandi called it his favorite book. 
From the New York Times, Pamela Paul:
In 1938, Walt Disney created a short animated cartoon of the story, which went on to win

 – deservedly – an Oscar for Best Animated Short Subject (Cartoons)

(This last bit is interesting since the Oscars are around the corner. )

Still on Amazon's list of best selling children's books!

You can even watch the Walt Disney short on YouTube:

So I have to mention my runner-up / Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright. I remember reading this as a young girl and really loving it. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for my daughter's experience. We tried to read this lovely story of growing up on a farm in Depression-era Wisconsin together, but we only made it a few chapters in. I have to admit, there isn't alot of action and it doesn't hold up as well as Nancy Drew 80+ years later. But I still love the main character Garnet, and all it's thimble magic.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Saying So Long to January!

I don't care what that groundhog says - SPRING could be in sight!  I don't hate winter - but I am a fan of more moderate temperatures.
So I'm cleaning out my iPhone pictures of all that Januaryishness.
 Here's a failed attempt at photographing our new employee, Mike. He wasn't cooperating.

These were from our Next Chapter Reading Club that met this month to talk about Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed.  We played around with some ice from outdoors, added salt and food coloring and let the kids go all science-y and stuff!

The salt and purple/green food coloring on this one made the coolest metallic looking color.  I just had a thought - Ms. Patty - we should have added glitter!!

Here's their own version of a rhyming poem the kids made based on the poem, "What I Love About Winter" from the book Winter Eyes by Douglas Florian:

'no school' days
fire blaze
ski time
banks to climb
make some snowmen round and fat
give them all a winter hat
catching snowflakes on your tongue
holiday carols to be sung
slide down a slippery slope
then in a hot tub with lots of soap!
soup that's hot
chili in the pot
angels in the snow
having nowhere to go!
find a little nook
and read a good book.
fuzzy socks,

And finally, a cutie pie moment from one of our smallish patrons that I just had to capture.
One great thing about January - snuggling at home with a good movie!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Have You Met Mike?

We have not had a male staff member working at RML since I have been here, and probably much longer than that! So we are very excited that you are getting a chance to meet Mike Cramer, our newest staff member! 

Mike is taking over some of the duties that Linda (who retired last year!) used to do.  Take a minute to introduce yourself if you haven't already (he's very friendly and doesn't bite!)
I asked Mike to answer a few questions so we could get to know him better:

Ms Eileen: How old are you?
Mike: 25.
Ms Eileen: So basically, the same age as me. Great!

Ms Eileen: What was one of your fave books as a child?
Mike: I loved the Animorphs series by Katherine Applegate.  They were filled with action and the friendships between the characters was fantastic. If she ever wrote another book for the series I'd still read it!

Ms Eileen: What are some of your hobbies/interests?
Mike: I love to read of course and I also watch a lot of movies, especially scary ones!
Ms Eileen: Dear small children - don't let Mike recommend movies to you. And adults - you have to be prepared for nightmares as well.

Ms Eileen: If you had to fill in for Ms Patty or Ms Eileen in storytime, what would you read, and if you had to use a puppet, what would it be?
Mike: Either one of the Pigeon books by Mo Willems or an Eric Carle book.  My absolute favorite is "The Very Hungry Caterpillar".  And as for a puppet, either a dog, monkey or tiger.  Monkeys are my favorite animal though!

Ms Eileen: Fave Dr. Seuss book?
Mike: "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"  I still like to read through it every once in awhile.  It's great for all ages.

Ms Eileen: Fave kids movie?
Mike: Hugo.  Great visuals and a great story.
Ms Eileen: Ok, I take back what I said before. You can recommend movies to kids.

Ms Eileen: What's the best thing about working at RML?
Mike: Books, books, and more books.  And of course meeting everyone who comes into the library!
Ms Eileen: Oh, and didn't you just say "working with Ms Eileen"? right? Mike? Where'd you go? 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Kicking Off the 90th Anniversary of RML!

You may have seen on our website that we are beginning the 90th year celebration of the Richmond Memorial Library! (1924-2014) 
Here on the kids blog, we're going to highlight some of the great children's books from each decade, starting with the 1920's. I'm just going to focus on ones that we own here at RML. We'll try to have as many of them as we can available for checkout, so you and your children can share the journey with us! What a great way to learn a little history - through the context of children's books!

Some Notable Children's Books Published in the 1920s

Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (1920) 

Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (1922)

Rootabaga Stories by Carl Sandburg (1922)

The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes (1923)

Bambi, a Life in the Woods by Felix Salten (1923)

Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner (1924)

When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne (1924)
Winne-the-Pooh (1926)
Now We Are Six (1927)
House at Pooh Corner (1928) 

Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag (1928)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Coming This Summer!: Fizz, Boom, Read!

It may be January, but here at RML we are already planning for our Summer Reading Program! So I thought I would give you a sneak peak at what's coming!

We are very excited to highlight Science this summer, since it ties in to every aspect of a child's life! From insects and animals to kitchen chemistry to the human body, we hope to offer some great programming which complement skills such as observing, measuring, exploring, predicting, and of course, reading!
Fizz, Boom, Read! also complements the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum at school. 
Also this year, the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) is excited to partner with National Geographic, the global leader in children's nonfiction publishing.
Summer may seem like a long way off, but we are working hard to ensure that RML has great science fun to offer your children this year!

Here are a few fun books I can't wait to use!

Backyard Biology: investigating habitats outside your door by Donna Latham

 Candy Experiements by Loralee Leavitt

Gross Science: 25 experiments from the disgusting side of science! by Paul Beck

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Why Are These Books Sitting on the Shelf? a.k.a. Vacation Reads for You!

 So this is Ms Eileen, at the Library on a quiet snowing day, doing some weekly chores. While taking some books off the 'NEW' shelf, what do I find but a bunch of great new books that should NOT just be sitting here! They should be checked out! Now I know your parents have lots to do this time of year, but you need to get yourself to the Library pronto and borrow these books! You're going to need something to read over school vacation anyway. So here are some titles to get you started:

The Grimm Conclusion by Adam GidwitzI don't even need to say much about this one. The final book in the Grimm trilogy (A Tale Dark & Grimm, In a Glass Grimmly) should really be scaring you while simultaneously making you laugh - RIGHT NOW.

Einstein the Class Hamster by Janet Tashjian
C'mon - who doesn't love a book about a class hamster? Check out these glowing reviews!
* “Give this to kids who think they don’t like reading. It might change their minds.” —Booklist, starred review
* “A kinder, gentler Wimpy Kid with all the fun and more plot.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

The Menagerie by Tui T. Sutherland
The first in a new series! It's supposed to be flying off the shelf! Listen to this:
"Filled with unicorns, dragons, phoenixes, and other fairy tale creatures, the Menagerie is a highly guarded secret facility in the small town of Xanadu, Wyoming. At least, it was a secret—until six griffin cubs escaped."
Fans of Fablehaven, mysteries and/or animals need to read this!

The Gumazing Gum Girl! Chews Your Destiny by Rhode Montijo
 Sort of an intro to graphic novels for the younger set - how awesome is a superhero made of chewing gum??

Bongo Fishing by Thatcher Hurd
Sci-fi lite. All I'm going to say is UFO, glazed donuts, and the word 'zany'.

Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi
I shouldn't even have to say anything - the cover (and title) speaks for itself.

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt
This is a finalist for the National Book Award! (that means it better be good!)
Look what the New York Times said:
"Librarians often say that every book is not for every child, but “The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp” is.” (The New York Times Book Review, July 14, 2013)

The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher
First in a planned series, give this to fans of Sammy Keyes mysteries. In fact, I think I'm going to take this one home myself...so there.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

5 Ways to Celebrate the Season With Children's Books

Rather than just give you a list of my favorite holiday books, I thought I would scour Libraryland & Children's Book World to find you some fun ways to incorporate children's books into your holiday. Ready? Grab some cocoa if you need to...

1. I came across this post at Delightful Children's Books blog and screamed, "yes"! This is truly awesome! A Bookish Advent Calendar. Why didn't I think of that? The best part it, you can use books you already own, or add a few titles you find at the Library!

Now to be fair, I do have a similar ritual. Before holidays, I ransack my kids bookshelves at home to find those hidden book fair paperbacks and other titles that lend themselves to the particular holiday. Then I leave them in a pile to make sure we get to them. My house is just crazy enough that it's unlikely we could do 24 straight nights, but the intent is there. Don't sweat it. If you miss a night, double up the next evening. Many of my favorite titles are included in this list too!

2. Onto gift-giving. Did you know the Connecticut Library Consortium puts out the annual
"Best Books for Children: A List for Holiday Giving"
Compiled by CLC member librarians, often including Ms Patty and myself. It should be out soon and I will update this link with it.  Librarians from all around the State contribute and come up with great titles. So here's how to give them - courtesy of The First Hundred blog by Rebecca.  

3. A classic gift-giving idea that you can't go wrong with is a framed illustration from a vintage children's book. Check out all the library book sales you see advertised and find your gift for super cheap! And if that requires too much effort, just check out Etsy where you can find some really adorable vintage illustrations ready to frame.

4. Pop-up books. Since they have that 'special' quality to them, they are perfect for holiday giving. My younger daughter has always adored them, so I always buy her one for her birthday and/or Christmas. Here are some of her faves:

You can't go wrong with Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart, but there are a ton of them out there. These don't even include all the ones about Christmas and winter. Here's what I'm thinking of giving her this year, but don't tell.

5. Decorating. I had to share this great idea for a tree, courtesy of my kids' art teacher. Each year their school PTO donates a tree decorated by the kids to the Wadsworth Atheneum's Festival of Trees. This year, we did a Dr. Seuss inspired tree that came out adorable! I don't have a photo yet, but check out this example at apopofpretty.com
or look for ideas on Pinterest