Introducing the Library Services for Children Journal Club!

Oh, friends. Have I got something exciting to tell you!  For the past few months I have been hard at work on a special project that is finally ready to launch. I would like to introduce you all to the Library Services for Children Journal Club.

This project is the brainchild of myself and my friend and colleague Christie Menzo. I had been throwing around the idea of hosting something similar on Jbrary as a way to facilitate professional development reading amongst library staff serving children. Christie had been learning about journal clubs in the medical field through her husband who is a doctor. When we got together and started chatting, voila! The Library Services for Journal Club was born.

So what is the LSC Journal Club?

The Library Services for Children Journal Club is way for children’s library staff to engage in professional dialogue or critical appraisal of research publications and other professional literature related to children’s library services. Our goal is to help children’s library staff keep up to date and engaged with published research and new developments in the field of children’s library services, and to think critically about the quality of the research that informs our decision making.

How does it work?

Once every two months Christie and I will be selecting one or two articles for us all to discuss. The articles will fall into one of six themes.  We’ll be hosting a local Vancouver meet-up and we highly encourage you to set up meetings wherever you are! This could be an informal gathering at someone’s house or it could be more formal like at a library staff meeting. We’ll also be sharing out thoughts on social media using the hashtag #lscjournalclub.

When does it start?

Now! We’ve posted information about the first discussion which will take place in November. You can read the two articles we selected which are all about executive function. Start gathering your group together! I’ll be posting my thoughts on each article here on Jbrary and I encourage any other bloggers to do the same.

Please feel free to leave me any questions or comments you have about the LSC Journal Club. I hope my fellow research nerds will rally behind this project that holds a special place in my heart.

 

Library Display Calendar

In January I started working at a new library.  One of the best things about this branch is the amount of display space I have for highlighting our children’s collection.  But this also means I’ve been spending a lot of time whipping up posters and scouring the internet for display ideas.  To get myself more organized I finally sat down and created a calendar filled with a year’s worth of display ideas.

This calendar reflects both my city (Vancouver) and my country (Canada), so not all the ideas will be applicable to everyone. With that said, sometimes I’m lenient on the “National” marker and included some U.S. special days.  I also only listed ideas if I think I have enough material in my collection to fill (and refill) a display that will last at least a week. So unfortunately things like National Donut Day didn’t make the cut.  Lastly, I didn’t include generic displays that can be put up anytime of the year.

I’d love to hear your display secrets!  Did I miss any ideas your community loves?  Please leave me a comment with your suggestions.

January

  • National Hobby Month
  • New Year’s Resolutions
  • National Science Fiction Day (January 2)
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday: social justice books (January 15)
  • Lunar New Year (end of January/early February)

February

  • Black History Month (U.S.)
  • Tu B’Shevat/Celebration of Trees (February 11)
  • Valentine’s Day/Blind Date with a Book (February 14)
  • Pink Shirt Day: anti-bullying and books with pink covers (February 22)
  • Freedom to Read Week (February 26)
  • Oscars: movies and actor biographies (end of February)

March

  • National Craft Month
  • National Nutrition Month
  • Monstrous March
  • March Madness (sports books)
  • Dr. Seuess’s Birthday (March 2)
  • International Women’s Day (March 8)
  • St. Patrick’s Day/Read Green (March 17)
  • Spring Reads/Spring into a Good Book (March 21)

April

  • National Poetry Month
  • National Humour Month (joke and riddle books)
  • Artsy April
  • Math Awareness Month
  • Stress Awareness Month
  • Passover (varies)
  • Easter (varies)
  • Earth Day (April 22)

May

  • Asian Heritage Month
  • Middle Grade May
  • National Bike Month
  • May-nia (fill in with any alliterative title, such as Music May-nia)
  • Star Wars Day (May 4)
  • Mental Health Week (first week of May)
  • Vancouver Bird Week (2nd week of May)
  • Mother’s Day (second Sunday of May)
  • International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17)
  • Ramadan (varies)

June

  • Aboriginal History Month
  • Gay Pride Month
  • Great Outdoors Month
  • National Garden Week (1st week of June)
  • Summer Reading Club Launch (mid-June)
  • World Refugee Day (June 20)
  • Father’s Day (3rd Sunday)
  • Summer Solstice (June 20)
  • National Aboriginal Day (June 21)

July

  • Summer Reads
  • Canada Day/Canadian Reads  (July 1)

August

  • Family Fun Month
  • Vancouver Pride Parade  (August 6)
  • International Cat Day (August 8)
  • Book Lovers’ Day (August 9)
  • Summer Olympics  (every 4 years)

September

  • Classical Music Month
  • SeptZenber: relaxing reads
  • Back to School (September 4)
  • International Literacy Day (September 8)
  • Grandparents Day (2nd Sunday)
  • Dot Day: books with dots/spots; art and drawing books (September 15)
  • Science Literacy Week  (September 19)
  • Fall into Reading (September 21)
  • Rosh Hashanah (varies)

October

  • Women’s History Month
  • National Vegetarian Month
  • Star Wars Reads
  • Thanksgiving (October 9)
  • Halloween (October 31)

November

  • Picture Book Month
  • National Novel Writing Month
  • Dino-vember
  • Remembrance Day (November 11)

December

  • Human Rights Month
  • Hanukkah (varies)
  • Winter Solstice (December 21)
  • Christmas (December 25)
  • Kwanzaa (December 26)

2017 CLEL Bell Award Suggestions

November is Picture Book Month! It’s also the last month to suggest a picture a book for a CLEL Bell Award. Colorado is doing some super cool stuff around early literacy. The Bell Awards are their “annual recognition of five high-quality picture books that provide excellent support of early literacy development in young children.”  These awards are a great reader’s advisory tool as well as providing ideas for storytime sharing.  Check out the 2016 winners and the early literacy activity sheets that go with them!

When the Bell Awards first launched, we participated in a blog tour highlighting books that support the early literacy skill singing.  This year I wanted to share some of my suggestions for each early literacy practice for the 2017 award.  You can suggest titles until November 30th, 2016 so it’s not too late to get yours in too! Here is a list of selection criteria to follow.  Many of my favourites have already been nominated this year!

Talk

goodbye-summerGoodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak
In this beautifully illustrated autumn tale, a child walks through forest and town greeting parts of the natural world and learning how they change with the seasons. This book models conversation skills and has worked the best for me when I take on a distinct voice for the child and different voices for the things that respond to her. After reading it with my niece we took a fall walk and imagined what all the plants and critters would say to us. An excellent choice for promoting the early literacy practice of talking!

 

 

Two of my other favourites for this category are Return by Aaron Becker (who doesn’t love a good wordless picture book to get kids storytelling!) and Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee; illustrated by Eliza Wheeler.

Write

city-shapes

City Shapes by Diana Murray; illustrated by Bryan Collier
Follow a young girl as she walks through her neighbourhood noticing all sorts of shapes hidden in the city landscape.  This book goes way beyond a simple concept book, inviting readers to search for shapes in everyday objects and in the world around them. I suggest this title for the “Write” category because learning shapes is the very first step in learning letters.  When kids can distinguish between a circle, square, and rectangle, they apply that knowledge to the lines and arcs that make up our alphabet. This book models to caregivers an easy way to practice identifying shapes which not only strengthens this early literacy practice but also contributes to a sense of community pride.

 

 

 

Another book I would suggest for this category is Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run!: An Alphabet Caper by Mike Twohy featuring a dog and mouse chase game that promotes letter awareness.

Read

summer-nick-taught-his-cat-to-read

The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley; illustrated by Kate Berube
Cats, books, pirates – what’s not to love! A young boy decides to teach his cats to read only to find they aren’t as interested as he’d hoped. Super funny and engaging, this book gets to to the heart of print motivation – finding something you love to read about! I also love that the cat gets its own library card and the book depicts Nick and his dad borrowing library books to take home. All the right ingredients to promote the early literacy practice of reading!

 

 

 

 

 

I would also recommend Let Me Finish! by Minh Le; illustrated by Isabel Roxas for a silly tale of a boy who keeps getting his book interrupted.

Sing

old-macdonald

Old MacDonald Had a Truck by Steve Goetz, illustrated by Eda Kaban
A vehicle-themed version of the classic children’s song.  Nominating this one for obvious reasons – it’s so fun to sing! I like singable books that are a twist on traditional songs because they show caregivers you can play with music and create your own verses.  I also love that Ms. MacDonald is right there by her partner’s side repairing and driving. In addition to the song there is a story that progresses through the pictures as all the characters – humans and animals – help to build a race track for a race truck.

 

 

 

I also recommend Sing With Me! by Naoko Stoop for a lovely collection of nursery rhymes and songs that include suggestions for hand motions.

Play

dig-in

Dig In! by Cindy Jenson-Elliott; illustrated by Mary Peterson
A child explores the garden by playing in the dirt. So simple and so brilliant!  This one is perfect for toddlers and encourages outside play that isn’t afraid to get messy. I suggest this book because it sends the message that play doesn’t have to involve expensive toys. Just step outside and get your hands dirty. We also know that children learn with all five senses and this book does a great job of showing how to learn by using your sense of touch.  After reading this book I could see many little ones anxious to go out and play in backyards, parks, and gardens.

 

 

 

 

Two of my other favourites for this category have already been nominated – the toddlerific title Blocks by Irene Dickson and the perfect preschool pick This is My Dollhouse by Giselle Potter.

Have you read any picture books published in the past 12 months that exemplify one of the five early literacy practices? I’d love to hear about them and see them suggested for the 2017 CLEL Bell Awards!

Talking to Kids about Race

About a year ago I read a book called NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman.  It’s a thought-provoking book.  Many of the chapters hit home but none quite as much as the one called “Why White Parents Don’t Talk About Race.”  It had a concrete impact on the way I talk and read to my 5-year-old niece Sophie about race.  It made me think about the ways my white parents did or didn’t talk to me about race as a kid.  This blog post is informed by my experiences as a white person and a children’s librarian.

Let me start by recapping what the chapter is all about.  It starts by describing a study done in 2006 by a doctoral student at the University of Texas named Birgitte Vittrup .  She investigated whether children’s videos featuring multicultural characters improve white, kindergartener-aged children’s racial attitudes.  What she found surprised her – families starting dropping out when asked to also talk about skin colour with their children.  Though the families may have said things like, “everybody’s equal,” very few of them felt comfortable talking to kids about race openly and directly. The 6 families that did saw greatly improved racial attitudes.

From there, Bronson and Merryman look at child development. They talk about how young children are “developmentally prone to in-group favoritism.” Kids are visual learners and rely on what they see – hair colour, height, weight, and yes, skin colour. Babies as young as 6 months will stare longer at photographs of faces that are a different race than their parents because they are trying to make sense of them.  Even if no one talks to kids about race, they notice. And when we don’t talk to kids about race they are left to make their own assumptions and judgments.

The authors also coin the phrase Diverse Environment Theory which means, “if you raise a child with a fair amount of exposure to people of other races and cultures, the environment becomes the message.”  So basically, we white people don’t have to talk about race with our kids because they will learn about equality just from seeing all these diverse people!  It’s one of the leading arguments behind school desegregation (which they talk about at length).  But the authors also come to the conclusion that just being in a racially diverse environment is not enough for kids to have better racial attitudes. We still have to talk to them.

Here are some of their key messages for caregivers when talking to kids about race:

  • Treat it the same way you do boy-girl stereotypes. Just like we point out women who are doctors, astronauts, construction workers, we can tell children that people of any skin colour can be those things too.  Enforce this message often.
  • Don’t shush kids when they say embarrassing or racist things. Their brains are prone to categorization.  When we shush them or shut down the conversation, we are telling them that race is a scary topic.  Instead, engage them in a conversation and directly explain their fallacy.
  • Help children of colour develop a sense of ethnic pride.  Studies have found improved self-confidence when this occurs. White children will “naturally decipher that they belong to the race that has more power, wealth, and control in society…so a pride message would not just be abhorrent – it’d be redundant.”

Since reading this book, I make a point to talk about race with Sophie on a regular basis.  Of course, it is a privilege for me as a white person that I haven’t had to have these conversations with her since she was born, and an even bigger privilege that our conversations can focus on the positive.  We are lucky to live in a racially diverse city like Vancouver so that we can have those conversations about people we know and people in our neighbourhood.  When we read books together, I point out the skin colour of the characters and relate it to something positive. For example, we read Double Trouble for Anna Habiscus! the other day and we talked about how the mommy’s skin is white and the daddy’s skin is brown and how they have a beautiful loving family.  I believe these conversations are crucial to being an anti-racist advocate and to raising an anti-racist child.

So now here I am, wondering if I can take what I’ve learned and practiced into my job as a children’s librarian.  The folks at Reading While White have started this conversation in a variety of ways already.  My questions are storytime specific.  Is storytime a space where we can start to have conversations about race with kids and caregivers?  Are you already using anti-racist practices in storytime?

Let’s talk.

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

 

Non-Fiction

Pride-Front-Coverfamilies

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

Reading Picture Books With Children by Megan Dowd Lambert

Holy hairballs, folks!  Do you ever read a book that gives you so many a-ha! moments that you’re just bursting to share it with others? Well that’s what happened when I read Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See by Megan Dowd Lambert.

reading-hires-cover

I was first alerted to Megan and her work by the great folks at Storytime Underground.  Then I got a hold of her book and I read the entire thing in one sitting (and read it a second time the next day!).  Lightbulbs were going off left and right!

Megan writes about the Whole Book Approach in which “children’s active participation in making meaning of all they see and hear during a picture book reading takes precedence over moving through the pages at the pace of the adult’s oral reading of the text.” She talks about reading the whole book with children – the illustrations, the design, the pacing, the cover, the end papers, all of it.  Reading her book truly made me consider the picture book as a piece of art, not just a container of stories.  Her approach shifts storytime from a performance to leading “co-constructive storytimes” where kids are engaged and talking during the reading of the book, not just before and after.

I think one of the reasons Megan’s approach hit home for me is that she respects kids.  Plain and simple.  The focus of her storytimes aren’t the songs, rhymes, or books – it’s the kids who attend them and their ideas, opinions, and observations.  She even says – “the child’s voice is crucial to the success of a dynamic and, yes, playful storytime experience.” I feel like that’s a philosophy I’ve been trying to put into practice for a long time now, and Megan’s book has given me some great ideas for how to make it happen.

One of the biggest things I took away from this book is to SLOW DOWN.  Like, a lot.  Sometimes I think back on storytimes where I tried to squeeze in 4 or 5 picture books to a group of preschoolers in 30 minutes.  Looking back, I see so many missed opportunities to listen.  In fact, one of my favourite quotes from Megan is: “I rededicated myself to listening – really listening – to what children had to say about the books I read with them instead of just listening for them to say things that I’d already considered.”  WHOA. Now that’s keeping it real, folks.

I admire how Megan’s Whole Book Approach also seeks to keep the tone of storytime playful.  She shares numerous examples of the hilarious and insightful things kids have said during a reading with her.  During one of my recent preschool visits, a 3-year-old girl told me, “you need rain clouds to make frozen yogurt.”  I eventually realized this had to do with her understanding of temperature and ice cream, but this little nugget would have never come about if I hadn’t spent time talking about the front matter which was covered in clouds.  At the end of Reading Picture Books with Children, Megan provides an array of prompts and questions you can use in your own storytimes to elicit these types of discussions.

This is one of those professional development books that I’ll read again and again as I try out the strategies of the Whole Book Approach.  Megan’s model positions “the picture book as a meeting space for child and adult,” and that’s a message that rings true to me in both my personal and professional lives.

For More Information:

Kirkus Review

School Library Journal: An Interview with Megan Dowd Lambert

Megan Dowd Lambert on Twitter

Full Disclosure: I received no payment, no ARCs, no monetary reimbursement of any kind for writing this review.  I simply read the book, loved it, and wanted to share it with others. I received Megan’s permission to include the quotations from her book.

2016 Picture Book Preview, Part 2

Oh picture books, oh picture books, how lovely are your pages!

Today I am in the picture book spirit.  I recently attended another Library Bound book preview event where they showcased children’s books coming out this spring, summer and fall.  So I thought I’d highlight some of the titles that I’m especially looking forward to.  Want more? Make sure to check out Part 1!

 

sing with meSing With Me! by Naoko Stoop. A lovely collection of nursery rhymes featuring a diverse cast of babies and suggestions for actions in the margin. From the author of the Red Knit Cap Girl series.

one littleOne Little, Two Little, Three Little Children by Kelly DiPucchio; illustrated by Mary Lundquist.  Sing this book to the tune of the classic children’s song. A celebration of a diverse group of children and families that would be perfect for storytime.

ten little fingersTen Little Fingers, Two Small Hands by Kristy Dempsey; illustrated by Jane Massey.  All about the things you can do with your hands featuring a diverse cast of toddlers. Putting this one on my storytime list.

rosco vs the babyRosco vs. the Baby by Lindsay Ward.  A cute rivalry between a dog and a baby that ends in friendship.

can i tell you a secretCan I Tell You a Secret? by Anna Kang; illustrated by Christopher Weyant. From the team behind You are (Not) Small comes this tale of a frog who is scared of swimming. Great for helping preschoolers overcome their fears.

daddies are awesomeDaddies are Awesome by Meredith Costain; illustrated by Polona Lovsin.  A gentle rhyming story about how cool dads are featuring an array of pups. Look for the sequel Mommies are Lovely.

be glad your dadBe Glad Your Dad….Is Not an Octopus! by Matthew Logelin and Sara Jensen; illustrated by Jared Chapman. Debut authors bring us this silly yet informative book about animals. Back matter includes additional facts.

grumpy pantsGrumpy Pants by Claire Messer.  Mark for storytime! A repetitive phrase frames this story of a penguin in a bad mood who needs to wash away his grumpiness. Traditional print making illustrations stand out.

splashdanceSplashdance by Liz Starin. Bear is told he can’t compete in the water ballet championship, but a group of friends make his dream come true. A lovely story of social justice and inclusion.

miles of smilesMiles of Smiles by Karen Kaufman Orloff; illustrated by Luciano Lozano. Retro illustrations fill this delightful story of why and when we smile.

it came in the mailIt Came in the Mail by Ben Clanton. Perfect for encouraging writing, this friendship story tells what happens when a little boy writes a letter asking for something in return.

a unicorn named sparkleA Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young. A little girl gets a unicorn that looks suspiciously like a goat when she replies to an ad in the newspaper. Funny and endearing.

ookoOoko by Esme Shapiro. Ooko is a fox that has everything it needs except a friend. A charming and funny story about being true to yourself.

lucy ladybugLucy Ladybug by Sharon King-Chai. Lucy gets made fun of for having no spots so she decides to find some of her own. Teaches colours, numbers, and would make a great felt story.

schools first day of schoolSchool’s First Day of School by Adam Rex; illustrated by Christian Robinson. Pictures by Newberry winner Robinson. Told from the point of view of the school as it awaits the first day with students and teachers. Try spotting school’s face in each picture.

barnacle is boredBarnacle is Bored by Jonathan Fenske. Oh, this is a funny one that will be great for storytime. Barnacle bemoans his boring existence but learns the grass (kelp?) may only appear to be greener on the other side of the ocean.

blobfish bookThe Blobfish Book by Jessica Olien. A non-fiction/story hybrid about blobfish that is refreshingly funny.  Blobfish may just be the new trend!

are we there yetAre We There Yet? by Dan Santat. Caldecott Medal winner Santat is back with this boredom busting tale of a summer adventure that takes the reader through different time periods.

blue boatBlue Boat by Kersten Hamilton; illustrated by Valeria Petrone. Part of a vehicle trilogy that features bold illustrations and rhymes perfect for toddlers.

mixed up truckThe Mixed-Up Truck by Stephen Savage. If you loved Supertruck then this is a must read! A funny tale of a truck that builds a birthday cake. Marking for storytime.

fire truck named redA Fire Truck Named Red by Randall de Seve; illustrated by Bob Staake.  An intergenerational tale where a grandpa passes down his toy truck and tells his grandson the stories behind it.

I love cakeI Love Cake!: Starring Rabbit, Porcupine, and Moose by Tammi Sauer; illustrated by Angie Rozelaar. A laugh out loud tale of friendship and forgiveness. Three friends prepare for Rabbit’s birthday party when the cake goes missing.

make way for readersMake Way for Readers by Judy Sierra; illustratd by G. Brian Karas. A rhyming tale from master storyteller Judy Sierra about the joys of storytime in a preschool classroom.

wally does not want a haircutWally Does Not Want a Haircut by Amanda Driscoll.  A tale of overcoming fears. Wally will do almost anything to avoid a pair of shears touching his wool.

on bird hillOn Bird Hill by Jane Yolen; illustrated by Bob Marstall. This book is loosely based on the song “The Green Grass Grows All Around.”

hello summerGoodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak. A brown-skinnmed girl takes a journey through her town and forest to note the passing of the seasons. Parts of nature respond back to her as she says hello and goodbye.

explorers of the wildmaple-leafExplorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson. A boy and a bear both take off an adventure only to have an unexpected run-in with each other other. A British Columbian author and illustrator!

good night owlGood Night Owl by Greg Pizzoli. I loved The Watermelon Seed and Number One Sam, so I am super excited to get this one about an owl who is ready to fall asleep until a mysterious noise keeps him up.

chicken in spaceChicken in Space by Adam Lehrhaupt; illustrated by Shahar Kober. Go on a funny adventure with the courageous and brave Zoey the Chicken as she and her friend Sam the pig venture into outer space.

dragon was terribleDragon Was Terrible by Kelly DiPucchio; illustrated by Greg Pizzoli. A misbehaving dragon has a village in near shambles when an unlikely hero uses the power of storytelling to tame it.

playtimePlaytime? by Jeff Mack. Following his one-word trend, Mack brings us this story of a gorilla who isn’t quite ready for bedtime.

1 big salad1 Big Salad: A Delicious Counting Book by Juana Medina. Medina adds to photographs of fruits and veggies with her innovative drawings. Count up to ten to make a big, healthy salad.

some petsSome Pets by Angela DiTerlizzi; illustrated by Brendan Wenzel. A companion to Some Bugs. Great for a storytime that celebrates pets of all shapes and sizes.

summer nickThe Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley; illustrated by Kate Berube. Debut author Manley combines cats, reading, and the library for a sure fire hit.  Really looking forward to this one!

lion lessonsLion Lessons by Jon Agee.  Agee brings his trademark humour to this tale of a boy who signs up for lion school and learns about looking out for friends.

hill and holeHill & Hole Are Best Friends by Kyle Mewburn; illustrated by Vasanti Unka.  An import from New Zealand, this book sets geometric opposites as best friends.  The ending was a bit dark.

lion insideThe Lion Inside by Rachel Bright; illustrated by Jim Field.  A mouse who yearns to be brave decides to ask Lion for help only to find Lion is scared of mice.  From the author of the Love Monster series.

little redLittle Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith.  This spin-off of Little Red Riding Hood ends in friendship and features a cast of safari animals.  I’m in love with the little girl’s ponytails!

ten hungry pigsTen Hungry Pigs: An Epic Lunch Adventure by Derek Anderson.  I loved Anderson’s first pig book, so I’m really looking forward to this food-themed one which stars a pig who wants a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I’ve got a hunch it will make a great felt story for storytime.

excellent edExcellent Ed by Stacy McAnulty; illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach.  Ed wants to be good at something just like the rest of his African American family.  Perfect for dog lovers.

tortoiseWho Wants a Tortoise? by Dave Keane; illustrated by K.G. Campbell.  When a little girl gets a tortoise for her birthday instead of a longed-for puppy, she learns that friendship comes when you least expect it.

finding wildFinding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd; illustrated by Abigail Halpin.  Two children go off an adventure to discover the beauty of nature in the wild and in their own backyard.  Illustrations are top-notch.

city shapesCity Shapes by Diana Murray; illustrated by Bryan Collier.  Not just a concept book! Explore city life and discover the shapes that are hidden there. Collier modeled his illustrations on his own daughter – adorable!

darioDario and the Whale by Cheryl Lawton Malone; illustrated by Bistra Masseva.  One of the only books I’ve seen about an immigrant family coming out this year.  When Dario and his mom move to Cape Cod from Brazil, Dario finds a friend in a creature who also doesn’t speak English.

hooray for todayHooray for Today! by Brian Won.  Super excited for this one by the author of Hooray for Hat! Owl is ready for fun, but all the other animals are ready for bed.  A tale of patience and friendship.

it is not time for sleepingIt is Not Time for Sleeping by Lisa Graff; illustrated by Lauren Castillo.  A cumulative tale of getting ready for bed even though the little boy is sure it’s not time just yet.

ada twistAda Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty; illustrated by David Roberts.  Girls and science, heck yes! Ada loves asking why and embarks on a scientific adventure.  Love seeing girls and STEAM together.

duck on a tractorDuck on a Tractor by David Shannon.  Duck on a Bike remains one of my favourite preschool storytime books, so I can’t wait to see what mischief Duck gets up to on a tractor!

ill waitI’ll Wait, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony.  The animals all want to know what Panda is making, but only one little penguin has the patience to wait.  Sequel to Please, Mr. Panda.

hungry-birdmaple-leafHungry Bird by Jeremy Tankard.  One of our local authors is back with another story about Bird. Looks like someone’s stomach is rumbling!

is that wiseIs That Wise, Pig? by Jan Thomas.  Thomas’s books are laugh-out-loud funny and storytime gold. In this upcoming title, Pig keeps adding silly ingredients to a soup he is helping Mouse make.

returnReturn by Aaron Becker. Another wordless wonder that appears to complete the story told in Journey and Quest.

2015: A Year in Review

It’s our first post of the new year!  We thought it’d be nice to take a look back at all we accomplished in 2015.  I’m of the opinion that we, as children’s library staff, could do with a little more tooting of our own horns. We’re a pretty awesome group and we should take time to celebrate it.

2015 in Review

We had a great year blogging at Jbrary.  We managed to publish a blog post every single week which I’m absurdly proud of, even if some of them were guest posts. Seriously folks, partner blogging is amazing.  Here are the posts that standout to me as highlights of 2015.

Early Literacy Messages in Action Blog Tour

How do you incorporate early literacy “sprinkles” into storytime?  It’s one of the most common and important questions we get asked.   So I wrote up my answer and hosted a blog tour featuring 13 other bloggers sharing their methods of getting those talking points into storytime.  This all developed organically out of conversations on Twitter and Facebook, and it was really cool to see so many people share their wisdom.

Canadian Libraries Spotlight

Dana and I worked really hard in 2015 to connect with children’s library staff across Canada in order to showcase the work being done to serve Canadian children and families. We featured 16 guest posts from libraries in British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island.  I loved learning about the services, programs, and communities that make up our country.

Babytime Series

As more libraries introduce baby storytime, we thought it would be helpful to write a series of posts about the key elements that make up storytime for our youngest patrons.  We talked about the songs and rhymes we sing, the books we read, the play activities we incorporate, and the overall organization of a babytime.  I’m really proud of us for completing the series before the end of the year.

2016 Picture Books Preview

This post is probably one of my personal bests. As someone who works in a large library system and is disconnected from the book ordering process, I was so enthused to learn about picture books coming out this year.  The positive response from the authors and illustrators floored me, and it was one of our most-viewed posts in 2015.

Flannel Friday Contributions

We only participated in Flannel Friday three times in 2015, but I am really proud of all three!  First, I shared a mega-round up of all the different variations of Little Mouse, Little Mouse I could find on the internet. I still go back and add to it when I find new ones.  Then we participated in the Guest Post Palooza and featured Julie’s amazing STEAMY Flannel in Outer Space.  Lastly, I added a ladybug version of Little Mouse to my repertoire.

Spring Scavenger Hunt

Cutest bunnies on the interweb if you ask me! One of my colleagues helped me create this super fun, super adorable spring bunnies scavenger hunt.  If you missed it last year, definitely give it a try in a few months!  It’s one of those things people can print and do in 10 minutes which is always appreciated.

We’ll Link to That!

Dana and I continued to write our quarterly column for our province’s Young Adult and Children’s Section (YAACS).  In 2015 we wrote about new blog discoveries, innovative summer reading club ideas, STEAM resources, and collection development websites.  It’s really fun to shine the spotlight on others and this is one of the ways we do it.

2015 Favourite Storytime Books

We ended the year with a round-up of over 50 picture books published in 2015 that work well in storytime.  This post continues our end-of-the-year tradition, and it’s one of my favourite to write. I hope it stands as a resource for those of us looking to refresh our storytime collections.

What a year!  Thank you to our PLN for being awesome and joining us for this ride.