10 Years of Summer Reading Club

It’s about that time of the year.  The time when children’s librarians kick it into high gear as we prepare for an influx of kids visiting the library and signing up for Summer Reading Club (SRC). Heck, some of you may already be in full swing.  In Vancouver, our schools don’t get out until June 24th this year, and our SRC kicks off on June 17th.

In British Columbia we have a provincial theme each year that sets the stage for our booklists, programs, and SRC materials.  I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and look at the themes from the past 10 years.  I’ve only been a children’s librarian for three years, so I missed out on many of these.  Each year a B.C. artist is hired to design all the materials.  You can also visit the websites for each year to find supplementary materials if a particular theme floats your boat.  Which one is your favourite?



Theme: Book a Trip!
Artist: Lee Edward Födi



Theme: Build It!
Artist: Shayne Letain



Theme: Funny Business
Artist: Jeremy Tankard


SRC 2013

Theme: Up, Up and Away!
Artist: Eliska Liska



Theme:  Strange…But True?
Artist:  Mike Deas



Theme:  Savour Each Word
Artist:  Rose Cowles



Theme: Reading Rocks!
Artist: Chris Tougas



Theme: Follow the Reader
Artist: Scot Ritchie



Theme: Read All Over the Map
Artist:  Elisa Gutiérrez



Theme: Catch the Reading Bug!
Artist: Ashley Spires



Theme: Extreme Reading!
Artist: Kirsti Wakelin


LGBTQ Booklists

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it here before, but in addition to running Jbrary and being a children’s librarian I’m also the co-chair of the British Columbia Library Association’s LGBTQ Interest Group.  Since taking the position in 2015, one of the things I’ve coordinated and helped to create are LGBTQ booklists for children, teens, and adults. We update them every year and have them available at the British Columbia Library Conference.

My goal is to feature recent releases and upcoming publications that libraries across British Columbia should purchase for their collections. The lists are also a great reader’s advisory tool and can be downloaded directly from our website (hint, hint!).  They come in a tri-fold brochure format and include beautiful colour photo images.

This year I selected the books for the children’s list and my fellow group members selected the books for the teen books, adult books, and adult DVDs list.  Here are the cover images for the books on our 2016 Children’s Book list. I was hoping to be able to fill it with books published in 2016, but alas the publishing world still lags when it comes to LGBTQ children’s material. So these titles date back to 2013.  I do hope you visit the website to see the complete lists in all their glory.

Picture Books

this day in juneMorris Micklewhitethe purim superheroI am jazzjacob's new dressworm loves wormred a crayons storyone familystella brings the familyheather has two mommiesfamilies families familiespeacock among pigeons



Chapter Books

lily and dunkingeorgemarco-Bomb-mock-1Pgracefully graysonfive six seven natemisadventures of family fletcher




Any titles, especially those published in 2016, that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

Colors by Kira Wiley

Whew! I don’t know about everyone else but I’m hitting that point in the year when I feel like I have a million things to do and not enough time to do them.  There’s so many things I want to write about – the recent British Columbia Library Conference I attended, Summer Reading Club, some LGBTQ booklists I helped create…..  I do hope to write about those things at some point.  But today, I’m sharing something simple and fun: a new song.

Sometimes you find new storytime material in the most unlikeliest of places.  The other week I was watching 22 Minutes when during a commercial break I heard a lovely song that immediately caught my attention.  When I looked to the screen it was a commercial by Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism trying to get people to come visit the province.

The song it turns out is by a children’s musician names Kira Willey.  It is called “Colors” and it’s from her 2006 album Dance for the Sun.

Oh this song, this song!  It’s just so beautiful.  The melody is sweet and simple enough to pick up after only one listen.  I love the figurative language, particularly the chorus:

“I’m a rainbow today
All the colors of the world.
I’m a rainbow today
All the colors of the world.
I’m a rainbow today
All the colors of the world are in me.”

This song would be perfect for storytime. I imagine using it with scarves and having the kids wave their matching colour as the song progresses.   Or with a parachute during babytime. It’s a gentle song, perfect for the end of storytime or when you want to bring the kids’ energy back down.

What’s the most unusual place you’ve discovered a new storytime song or rhyme?

Flannel Friday: Baby Shark and Slippery Fish

This week I’m sharing felt versions of two of my favourite storytime songs. Besides food, things that live in the ocean is a popular topic for my Vancouver toddlers.  To hear Dana and I sing these tunes, click on the title of each video.

Slippery Fish

slippery fish

I pulled the fish pieces and octopus from two other felt stories I already had, so I only had to make the shark and whale. I’ve noticed that putting these felt pieces up as we sing helps keep toddlers captivated and better able to follow along. I swear I’ve also heard more of them saying the names of the sea creatures when the song is over.  The link will take you to the sign language version.

Baby Shark

baby shark

These are some very happy sharks! So I always thought this was more of school-age song until my mom told me my 2-year-old nephew LOVES baby shark. So I’ve been trying it out in my family storytime with toddlers and preschoolers and it’s been a hit!  We sing the first version from the video and I put up the pieces as we go through each shark family member.  Grandpa shark is my favourite.  I often make both of the parents moms or dads – an easy adaptation you can do to many songs to be inclusive.

Thank you to Jen at Adventures in Storytime for hosting Flannel Friday this week.  Visit her blog to see the entire round-up! Learn more about participating in the Flannel Friday community.

May the 4th Be With You: Star Wars Library Program

Will Star Wars ever go out of style? Unlikely.  This year I decided to put on a May the 4th Be With program for school-age kids partly because I thought it might draw in some new faces and partly to promote all the different Star Wars materials we have in our collection.  I kept it pretty simple – 3 activity stations, a scavenger hunt, and a book display.  There are a million different ideas online for a Star Wars program, but I went with cheap activities that kept the focus on play, storytelling, and getting to know our collection.  Here’s what I did!

Star Wars Name Generator

Your Star Wars First Name:

1.  Take the first 3 letters of your last name.
2.  Add to that, the first 2 letters of your first name.

Your Star Wars Last Name:

1.  Take the first 2 letters of your mother’s maiden name.
2.  Add the first 3 letters of the name of the town in which you were born.

When kids first came in they immediately wrote their Star Wars name on a giant poster I had hanging on the wall. I used the formula above.  They LOVED this activity. It’s so simple, but it really got them talking and laughing.  Kind of wish I had made name tags instead for them to wear around and take home. Next year!

Chewbacca Puppets

Supplies Needed:

  • paper bags
  • brown paint
  • paintbrushes
  • cups/bowls for the paint
  • white paper
  • black paper
  • scissors
  • glue
  • googly eyes (optional)

chewy puppet

I got this idea from this blog post.  Kids painted their paper bags first and then went to a different station while they dried or worked on cutting out the eyes, teeth, or sash.  I also made two posters with Chewbacca sounds so we could practice together.  This was the first time I’ve ever used in paint in a children’s program! I covered the tables with newspaper first and had a designated drying spot for the paper bags which helped immensely. If you can get the kids to only paint a thin layer they dry much faster.

chewbacca sounds

Yoda Ears and Princess Leia Buns

Supplies Needed:

  • green paper
  • white paper
  • brown paper
  • black markers
  • staplers
  • brown yarn
  • cotton balls
  • odds and ends for decorating (sequins/feathers/jewels)
  • glue
yoda ears
My adorable co-workers, Karen and Katherine, who let me take photos of them and post them to my blog

I could not find a Yoda ear pattern I liked online so my co-worker free handed this one. We made the Leia buns by tracing a cup.  To save time, we pre-cut the Yoda ears, Leai buns, and strips of white and green paper. The kids got to put them together and decorate them however they liked.  Some had feathers and beads glued on all over the place.

Droid Cubecrafts

Supplies Needed:

  • patterns printed on cardstock
  • scissors
  • glue or tape

droid cubecraft

This was definitely the more challenging station, and I had to help kids figure out how to fold and adhere the paper.  I used the C-3PO and R2-D2 patterns from this website.  After we made the cubecrafts I encouraged the kids to tell me (and each other) stories about their droids.  I think this activity could be turned into a storytelling program for older school-age kids.  Many kids went home with the patterns to make additional characters.

Scavenger Hunt

My co-worker had already made a Star Wars themed scavenger hunt so I adapted it to my branch and had it out during the program.  Kids had to hunt around the children’s area using the clues on the scavenger sheet to find the hidden characters. The hints were about where to find certain types of material, so kids learned where the planet books are located, where we store the music CDs, and things like that.  Each character had a letter which they used to fill in the secret phrase, “Read You Must.”  Completed sheets could be submitted for a prize.  It was nice to have this passive activity out so that kids could complete it while their Chewy puppets dried.  After many requests, you can now download the scavenger hunt file!

Book Display

star wars book display

A week before the program I put holds on a ton of Star Wars books and had a nice display for the kids to browse before, during, and after the program.

And that’s it. Easy peasy!  If you’ve done a similar program, I’d love to hear what worked for you.