We’ll Link to That: Winter 2018

Hooray, the Winter 2018 edition of YAACS is here! The YAACS newsletter is written by youth services staff from across British Columbia, and we’ve got a column called We’ll Link to That! where we feature cool stuff we’ve found online. Our column this quarter features some of our top professional resources. Check it out!

We recently received an email from an MLIS student asking us for our favourite resources that have made a lasting impression on us. What a great question! So this quarter we thought we’d share the websites, books, and toolkits that have helped us on our journey as children’s librarians.


  • Mel’s Desk: Mel has been blogging for years and shares her storytime plans and reflections on her blog. She’s pushed us to think critically about early literacy and how we can model and support it in our programs. One of our great models for sure!
  • The ALSC Blog: The Association for Library Services to Children has an excellent blog where people from all over share ideas. Every post is different and it’s a great way to stay up-to-date with the professional world of children’s librarians.

Professional Development Books:

Organization Websites:

Tools of the Trade:

  • The Community-Led Libraries Toolkit: This toolkit provides a framework for how to implement the community-led model at a library which aims to reach underserved and marginalized communities.This framework guides our community outreach efforts as children’s librarians and also supports our values as social justice advocates.

What resources have had a lasting impact on you? We’d love to hear about them! Shoot us an email anytime at jbrary@gmail.com.

We’ll Link to That: Fall 2018

We are so lucky to have a provincial newsletter written by youth services staff in British Columbia. Every quarter we contribute a column called We’ll Link to That! where we share our favourite resources. The Fall 2018 edition is here! Be sure to read the whole thing for some excellent youth services ideas. Want to catch up on our column? Browse through the We’ll Link to That category on our Professional Development page.

We’re kicking it old school this time around with a link round-up of some amazing ideas we’ve seen floating around the web. Need some fall inspiration? We’ve got you covered.

Over on our Jbrary blog we’ve been fortunate to have some amazing guest bloggers contribute to our Talking to Kids About Race series. Use a curated list of racially diverse storytime books and learn how to give early literacy tips around the topic of race. Following the social justice topic, we also wanted to share an inspiring post by Hi Miss Julie about Outreach in a Time of Uprising where she addresses how to be vulnerable in our work and how to pay attention to the needs of a community. And you know how strongly we feel about community outreach!

Looking for new ideas to serve your early years community? Short on funds? Check out these Homemade Interactive Play Stations intended to foster creative and imaginative play without costing a fortune. If you’re looking to build up your STEM programming for preschoolers, this Computational Thinking in Storytime with Robots blog post shows you the books, songs, felt activities, and extension activities that blend early literacy and technology seamlessly. Over on the ALSC blog we found these visual schedules a great first step in making storytimes inclusive for all families. We are so excited Miss Meg is back blogging and were wowed by her Fairy Tale Ball that capitalizes on the lasting power of folk and fairy tales for a wide age range. Lastly, we had heart eye emojis for this Mini Masters of Library Science program that is sure to inspire a new generation of youth services librarians!

Summer Reading Club is officially over (thank GOODNESS!) but how are you going to keep those eager readers plugged into the library? We got you. LibraryLaura and her coworker Jen reminded us that book character parties are a blast any time of the year. Their Elephant and Piggie Party is full of fun ideas for budding readers and could honestly be a monthly program. For more book character program ideas, check out our round-up post. Another Mo Willems inspired program (but you could use your favourite rhyming read) celebrates Nanette’s Baguette and its glorious rhymes. We love how Allison the Lightsome Librarian focuses on the importance of rhyme beyond the early years crowd and includes an awesome BINGO template in her School-Age Storytime. You might be all slimed out but Karissa the Ontarian Librarian shares some brilliant new stations for a slime program and also why libraries are the perfect place for slime. Finally, if you’ve been itching to try an escape room this post if for you! We love how Jennifer Johnson breaks down her process, shares resources and makes this Battle of the Bands Escape Room for Tweens and Teens seem downright doable.

The Fall is a wonderful time not only for new books but to start checking out what’s coming out next year too. Mile High Reading has not one, not two, but three glorious posts (so far!) featuring 2019 picture books to feast your eyes upon. And finally, we leave you with an absolute gift of a post by Abby the Librarian. Abby is new to her collection development role and her post on Building a Collection Development Toolkit is incredibly helpful if you purchase for all ages, but even her strategy of subscribing to a blog or weekly email would be helpful for youth services folks.

Have you seen any amazing program or collection resources out there? Send us an email at jbrary@gmail.com to tell us all about it!

We’ll Link to That: Summer 2018

The Summer 2018 edition of the YAACING newsletter is here! Be sure to read the whole thing for some excellent youth services ideas. Here’s our column, We’ll Link to That!, where we shared 10 upcoming Canadian titles we can’t wait to read. Want to catch up our column? Browse through the We’ll Link to That category on our Professional Development page.

There are so many great Canadian books for kids coming out this year! We thought we’d take some time to share some of the titles we can’t wait to get our hands on.

Red Sky at Night by Elly Mackay
Mackay’s beautiful paper illustrations have stunned us before and this one looks to be a stunner too. A grandfather takes his grandchildren on a fishing trip that is filled with weather sayings. Sounds like the language will be beautiful too!

Good Night, Good Night by Dennis Lee

Dennis Lee’s poetry is timeless and seeing its resurgence in board book format does our verse-loving hearts good! Pair Lee’s language with one of our favourite illustrators, Qin Leng, and this nighttime themed title is sure to be a gem.

Forest Baby by Laurie Elmquist; illustrated by Shantala Robinson

This board book was made for B.C. families! Victoria, B.C. author Elmquist writes of a little one who hitches a ride in a backpack as they go on a hike through a forest. A great way to promote the outdoors.

Wallpaper by Thao Lam

I think we’ve got ourselves a new Canadian wordless picture book superstar. Lam is back with another wordless adventure featuring a shy girl who peels back the wallpaper in her new house to reveal an imaginary land.

Rooster Summer by Robert Heidbreder

Ok, ok another poetry book – but bear with us! Usually Heidbreder’s work is combined with goofier illustrations but the more sophisticated images by Madeline Kloepper give this book a more serious tone and wider appeal. The story is based on Heidbreder’s experiences growing up on a farm and all written in verse, making it a perfect way to introduce poetry to pre-readers.

Ten Cents a Pound by Nhung N. Tran-Davies; illustrated by Josée Bisaillon

The author came to Canada in 1979 as a refugee from Vietnam and it was this experience that informed this book. A mother urges her young daughter to leave their village to explore the greater world. This looks like a beautiful depiction of a mother-daughter relationship from an own voices author.

Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Star by Chris Tougas

Finally a gender neutral book on potty training! This one looks funny and it can be sung to the tune of the classic nursery rhyme. An oft-requested topic by parents, this one is sure to fly off the shelves.

Poetree by Caroline Pignat

It’s not our fault there are so many poetry based picture books being published- so let’s just embrace it, ok? This gorgeous lifecycle book has many levels of word-play on each page that will engage the attention of independent readers, or keep pre-readers coming back for more. Rich verse about the lifecycle of a tree all beautifully illuminated by François Thisdale.

On My Swim by Kari-Lynn Winter

Finding books for babies and toddlers can be challenging – when On My Walk came out it was a welcome storytime addition. Now, author Kari-Lynn Winters and illustrator Christina Leist are continuing the series with On My Swim, On My Bike and On My Skis and we could not be more pleased! These books feature a nice mix of urban and wild environments all seen from a little one’s perspective plus a healthy dose of playful language.

Swimming with Seals by Maggie de Vries

If you’ve read anything by Maggie de Vries or heard her speak you know her work is thoughtful, imaginative and real. This book portrays a girl who does not live with her mother, but does get to spend time with her, which can be both happy and painful. Though Swimming with Seals deals with a difficult topic it is lovingly rendered, accessible for young readers, and accompanied by lucious watercolour illustrations. A perfect, quiet read.

What 2018 Canadian books for kids are you looking forward to? Give us a shout on Twitter at @Jbrary.


We’ll Link to That: Spring 2018

Spring is here! Or around the corner if you’re like us and live somewhere where the skies are still filled with rain clouds. But sunny weather is ahead and with it brings our Spring 2018 YAACING column. This quarter we wrote about picture books that work great as felt stories.  Don’t forget to check out the complete issue of  YAACING, our provincial youth services newsletter filled with ideas for children and teen library staff.  Want to catch up our column? Browse through the We’ll Link to That category on our Professional Development page.  Now on to the post!

Are you getting tired of your tried and true felt story collection? Nothing rejuvenates a storytime quite like a freshly cut flannel! We’ve collected some new, or new-to-us stories which positively lend themselves to the felt board, now it’s up to you to bring them to life!

Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani
Trying to add more STEM elements to storytime? This cat themed counting book is perfect! The Lego Librarian has a version that looks identical to the book and includes a step-by-step guide to turning books into felts. Addition never looked so good.

Tickle Monster by Edouard Manceau
French author Manceau is a genius when it comes to shapes. Transform a monster into a friendly neighbourhood scene in this interactive felt story. We shared this one on Flannel Friday and the early literacy messages that go along with it are not to be missed.

Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera
This book is a surefire hit with the preschool crowd and the felt version would work just as well. Check our the different versions librarians have created so far on
Storytime Station, The Buckeye Librarian, and Literary Hoots

A Good Day for Hat by T. Nat Fuller, illustrated by Rob Hodgson:
So we really like this book, could you tell?! But as Anna at Future Librarian Superhero notes it’s a perfect one to extend with flannel. She has created a simple bear for Mr. Brown and then captured the whimsy of his eclectic hat collection. Scale it up with accessories and other characters or just keep it simple with his hats- your choice!

Could You Lift Up Your Bottom? written by Hee-jung Chang, illustrated by Sung-hwa Chung
We had never heard of this book before but we saw it featured in Jen in the Library’s toddler shape storytime and then again on Storytime in the Stacks so we knew it must be good. It’s another story that includes hats and shapes and a bit of trickery.  You could reuse a lot of pieces for other felt stories which is an added bonus.


Hooray for Hat by Brian Won
This book (and its subsequent siblings) is highly participatory and a delight to read and tell with felt. There are a few different versions and we love both: Miss Mary uses bright animals with neutral faces and some sneaky velcro while Laura at Library Lalaland gave each animal a grumpy face on one side and a cheered-up face on the other, so all you have to do is flip. Pure genius!


Night Animals by Gianna Marino:
This is a perfect storytime book, especially as summer approaches and families will be heading outdoors to hike or camp. Wendy at Flannel Board Fun has done an incredible job at adapting not just the animals but some of the effects which really sell this story.

Have you fallen in love with a new felt story? Send us an email at jbrary@gmail.com to tell us all about it!N

We’ll Link to That: Winter 2018

Hey, hey, the Winter 2018 edition of the YAACING newsletter is here!  This quarter we’re sharing our favourite oral stories to use with kids from a wide range of ages.  We encourage you read to the entire issue though for even more youth services ideas. You can find all of our columns for the YAACING newsletter on our professional development page.


The art of storytelling is an important aspect of a children’s librarian’s job. Oral storytelling can be daunting, so we’re sharing ten of our favourite oral stories that can be used with kids of any age. Try these in a storytime, a spooky stories around the campfire program, or at your next Summer Reading Club visit.

  1. Chicken in the Library
    This must have been written by a librarian- it allows you to talk about your collection, explain how to seek, locate and check out books at your library AND finishes with a goofy frog pun. Adapt to fit your library and group, this would work for toddlers up to school age kids.
  2. Mr. Wiggle and Mr. Waggle
    You might not think of fingerplays as stories- but trust us, the narrative patterns, characters and story arc all fit the bill. This is fun and easy to do and your toddlers will be asking for it each week, especially as they master the motions with their fingers and hands. Feel free to add in extra bits or shorten it up if kids are getting squirrely.
  3. The Mouse Family Takes a Walk
    We learned this story that uses ASL at a Mother Goose training. We love how the ending includes a positive message about bilingualism. Great for toddlers and up, especially when you repeat it each week.
  4. Grandfather Bear is Hungry
    If you’ve got a bear and chipmunk puppet, you’re all set for this one! This story gives a reason why chipmunk has stripes down his back. It works well in the spring when animals are waking up from hibernation.
  5. Pigeon and Turtle Go to New York City
    This folktale is from Haiti and includes poop jokes and chances for the audience to participate. Recommended for preschoolers or school-age kids.
  6. 10 Fuzzy Chicks
    Short rhymes can function as introductory oral stories for babies and toddlers. This one uses our hands to tell the story of ten chicks hatching. Perfect for spring and summer storytimes.
  7. Little Clapping Mouse
    This story’s got rhythm! Add in some clapping to help those kids that need to move while talking. We love how this one rhymes and we recommend it for toddlers on up.
  8. Billy Goats Trip Trap
    Speaking of rhythm, this story’s got a real beat too! The rhyming couplets make this an easy way to share the classic story with little ones and even infants if parents try it as a bounce. Want to spice it up? Try incorporating rhythm sticks or other musical instruments.
  9. The Three Little Pigs
    Another classic story told through rich rhyming language. This version was written by Carol Ashton and is fun to do with children young and old. Encourage little ones to hold up their fingers and tell the story along with you.
  10. Be a Seed
    This little rhyme reminds us that stories are taking place all around us- even in nature! Have kids try it first with their hands and arms and then tell it again from crouching to standing. A great little story for spring.

Do you have a favourite oral story you love to share with kids? Send us an email at jbrary@gmail.com with your suggestions!

We’ll Link to That: Fall 2017

Did you see my recent post about the Library Services for Children Journal Club?  If not, read that post first!  Then come back and read our Fall 2017 YAACING column which is all about where to find current child development research.  Research informs our practice and we are here to help you find it.  You can find all of our columns for the YAACING newsletter on our professional development page.


Today’s column is all about research! Being familiar with child development research makes us better able to speak to the why behind the what we do. So we’ve rounded up 10 of our favourite places to look for research articles and reports on child development and early literacy. Many of these resources focus on the early years, ages 0 to 5, as this time period is crucial for future brain development.

  1. HELP Reads and Literature Reviews: The Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) at UBC compiles bibliographies and citation lists of child development research articles published by their staff and affiliates each year. The lists are extensive and organized by topic for easy browsing. You could spend hours here, folks!
  2. Academic Journals: Reading peer-reviewed academic journals is a great way to stay on topic of current research. Check your library’s databases such as Academic Search Elite to see if you can get free access to Child Development, Journal of Early Childhood Research, or Early Childhood Research Quarterly for the newest findings.
  3. Science of Early Childhood Development: The British Columbia Office of the Early Years provides free access to this incredible resource for those of us in B.C. This initiative is “designed to make current research accessible to anyone interested in learning more about the impact of early experience on lifelong health and well-being.” Includes interactive activities such as videos, questions for reflection, and links to further information.
  4. Journal of Childhood Studies: This peer-reviewed journal comes from the The Canadian Association for Young People. All articles are published freely online and focus on issues  “pertaining to young children in the Canadian context as well as Canadian young children in relation to the global stage.”
  5. Center for Childhood Creativity: The CCC is the research and advisory division of the Bay Area Discovery Museum (BADM) and provides a link between academic research and adults’ work with children ages 0-10. Their white papers, literature reviews, and position papers give evidence-based expertise in children’s creativity development. A great resource for planning school-age programs!
  6. Saroj Ghoting’s Early Literacy Research Round-Up: The name says it all, Ghoting’s Round-Up covers a variety of topics organized by categories like demographics, child and brain development and literacy skills. She links to seminal works as well as collects wider ranging articles from diverse publications. An excellent place to start if you are new to the field or check back if you need some inspiration.
  7. Zero to Three: Where to begin?! This site it a wealth of resources- all with an emphasis on supporting parents and caregivers. Check out their baby brain map, stay up to date with early literacy research and policy and point families to the articles on common topics like sleep, nutrition, social skills and so much more.
  8. Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 3: This is the third volume edited by Susan B. Neuman and David K. Dickinson. Building on Volume 1 (2003) and Volume 2 (2007) Neuman and Dickinson provide updates to core topics like Basic Developmental Processes and Supporting Code-Related Abilities while expanding on Development among Diverse Populations. They then support this research with findings on early literacy interventions, curriculum and social policy. Lindsey refers to this as her early literacy Bible- and she isn’t far off- a text to read slowly, mark up, digest and discuss!
  9. Reading Rockets: is an organization dedicated to “offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help.” They have an incredible section on early literacy research as well as printable materials for caregivers and teachers, videos and booklists. We like the focus on reading not just from the early years but well into school years and as a process with many parties- caregivers, librarians, teachers, book creators and beyond.
  10. Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky: There are many fabulous parenting books out there which cover early brain development but we particularly love Galinsky’s focus on the essential skills of “focus and self control, perspective taking, communicating, making connections, critical thinking, taking on challenges, and self-directed, engaged learning.” Recommend this one to caregivers or read it yourself; it is engaging and informative.

Where do you look for research on child development and early literacy? Send us an email at jbrary@gmail.com with your go-to resource.

We’ll Link to That: Summer 2017

Guess what’s here? It’s the Summer 2017 issue of the YAACS newsletter! YAACS is the Young Adult and Children’s Services arm of the British Columbia Library Association.  Each quarter we write about something different in our column We’ll Link to That! Catch up on old posts by browsing our Professional Development page. This quarter we decided to share some new-to-us youth services blogs you should add to your RSS immediately.  Read on!


It’s been two years since we shared some new and new-to-us blogs focused on youth services. We’re always on the lookout for fresh content we can add to our blogroll and share with others. Here are some of our favourite new blog finds that we highly recommend adding to your RSS feeds!

  1. Everyday Diversity:  This blog, written by Anna from Future Librarian Superhero, has storytime picture book reviews featuring racially diverse characters in modern, every day situations. It’s a great way to learn about new books to feature in storytime – she even includes theme ideas!

  2. Storytime Station: If you do toddler storytimes, this is a can’t miss! Find toddler storytime plans and be amazed at the way the extension activities bring the stories to life. We especially loved the Kid-Friendly Storytime Car Wash.

  3. Felt-tastic Flannelboard Funtime: Mr. Keith shares his brilliant and intricate Kawaii style felt stories. He also shares early literacy display ideas and songs that are sure to get a chuckle from the caregivers.

  4. Tales for the Tiny: Julie did an amazing Flannel Friday guest post on our blog, so we were thrilled when she decided to start a blog of her own! Her innovative and creative ideas have given us so much inspiration. Check out her Mini Masters of Library Science Program and Hula Hoop for babytime to get started.

  5. RadicaLibrarian: Katelyn digs through all the news, research, and updates so you don’t have to! She has a monthly round-up of articles related to children’s librarianship called Youth News that is a goldmine of information.

  6. Storytime Ukulele: We have the unique pleasure of working with April, the blogger and uke-enthusiast behind Storytime Ukulele and now you do too! Her blog fills a major gap for all those uke-strumming library folks out there and we love how she arranges songs by tune and often includes her own beautiful felts.

  7. Ontarian Librarian: Where to begin with this blog? Karissa is a fellow Canadian and shares programs for kids, teens and new adults. Her posts are full of gorgeous pictures, robust resources, and instructions. She’s committed to sharing ideas, has a maple leaf in her header image, and loves E.E.Cummings. Where shall we address the fanmail, Karissa?!

  8. Lightsome Librarian: Allison transitioned from a storytime librarian into school-age librarian and couldn’t help but notice the blogosphere for school aged programs and services is not as developed as it is for the younger crowd. She has set out to change this! Check out her awesome list of resources, themed school-age programs and special events.

  9. K Librarian: Kathia or the K Librarian has created a site rich with resources which would be helpful for new library staff or for seasoned practitioners looking for a new craft or book to share. Bonus: she has several videos of songs and rhymes in Spanish!

  10. Lady Librarian’s Literacy, Lifestyle and Lookbook Log: We love alliteration and this blog certainly delivers! Heather is a new children’s librarian and she’s got lots of great themed storytime ideas, with several books to choose from. Also, her felts are to die for! We love her version of Little Mouse, which you can find here.

Have you discovered any blogs or websites that are particularly helpful to children and teen librarians? Shoot us an email at jbrary@gmail.com and let us know!

We’ll Link to That: Winter 2017

The Winter 2017 edition of the YAACS newsletter is out! As always, we reprint our column here so you can see what we’ve been up to. This season we’re featuring 10 Canadian children’s and YA books we’re looking forward to reading this year.  Want to read our past columns? Check out the links at the bottom of our Professional Development page. Here’s our column, We’ll Link to That!

We recently shared some 2017 picture books we’re looking forward to reading based solely on cover appeal.  Today we wanted to shine a spotlight on some upcoming Canadian books that we can’t wait to get our hands on. Get your collection development funds ready!

Boonoonoonous Hair by Olive Senior, illus. by Laura James: We dare you to say the title five times fast! This book features a little girl learning to love her curly hair. Award winning author Olive Senior splits her time between Jamaica and Canada.

Town is By the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, illus. by Sydney Smith: A Nova Scotian author and illustrator duo bring to life a small boy’s day as he imagines his father in a coal mine beneath the waves. We can’t wait to see how Smith of Sidewalk Flowers fame brings to life this element of Canadian history.

Hurry Up! by Anne-Sophie Tilly, illus. by Julien Chung: What makes this concept board book so special? It’s trilingual! Each page shows an animal and the name in English, French, and Spanish. A great purchase for your babies and toddlers. Look for the companion book Don’t Move!

Hand Over Hand by Alma Fullerton, illus by Renné Benoit: Fullerton wrote this book after a school visit where a young girl asked her why so few children’s books takes place in the Philippines.  Follow Nina as she convinces her grandpa to take her fishing even though a boat is “no place for a girl.” A challenge to gender stereotypes anywhere.

My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo: A young Muslim boy named Sami escapes with his family to a refugee camp where he finds the strength to welcome a little girl who arrives with a new group. The idea for this book came when the author was trying to explain the Syrian refugee crisis to her young children. With so very few picture books about the refugee experience, this one is a welcome addition.

Short Stories for Little Monsters by Marie-Louise Gay: One of Canada’s best loved storytellers is back at it with a collection of 19 short stories filled with important questions like what do trees talk about? and should you make funny faces on a windy day?  For budding readers or a family read-aloud look out for Margaret Atwood’s A Trio of Terrible Tales which is also coming out this year!

Shark Lady: The Daring Tale of How Eugenie Clark Dove into History by Jess Keating and Marta Alvarez Miguens: Dipping our toes into the waters of non-fiction isn’t so scary thanks to the incredible research of Eugenie Clark! This illustrated biography tells the story of how Clark studied sharks and was able to dispel many myths about these misunderstood creatures.

Why the Monster by Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, illus. by Toma Feizo: This is one of many books scheduled to come out from Inhabit Media this year. Set in the Arctic and bursting with powerful mystical creatures and adventure, this teen read is for fans of Percy Jackson. While you’re at it check out Inhabit Media’s site, their aim “is to preserve and promote the stories, knowledge and talent of Inuit and northern Canada” and they have many exciting titles which do just that!

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen: Do we need to say anymore? Not really, but we will anyways! Cats! Knitting! And Nielsen’s incredible ability to create characters who deal with loss and tragedy in the most human way possible. If the reviews are to be trusted you will fall in love with Petula and be kept guessing about Jacob until the very end.

Thin Places by Lesley Choyce: This is another very talented Canadian YA author with an exciting new book. What got us: this one’s written in verse! If you are a fan of Gabrielle Prendergast (who also has a new book out this year) but love a fantasy twist follow main character Declan to places where the barrier between the human and spirit worlds are thing.

What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017? We’d love to hear about it! Give us a shout at jbrary@gmail.com.