Social Media Changes

Hello, friends. It’s time for some changes. As our intentions in our personal lives change, so will Jbrary.

At the end of this week I’ll be deactivating our Facebook and Twitter accounts. On the plus side, I created a Jbrary Instagram account where I’ll be posting updates, throwbacks, and all sorts of children’s librarianship goodness.  I do hope you follow us there!

I still plan to blog and occasionally upload to YouTube (still need to figure out how to use my new video editing software…).  You can, of course, always reach out to us via email too.

I’m hoping this leads to a more consistent social media presence on one platform, while also allowing me to carve out some time and head space for myself.  It is time for a change.

 

 

A Link Extravaganza!

Anyone binge watching RuPaul’s Drag Race right now? Just me? Anyways. One of the things I said I would blog about are all the cool things I find online that relate to the field of serving children.  So here is my first link extravanganza! Check out these awesome resources.

Webinars

New Ways to Supercharge Your Storytimes
October 9th, Free! Archived version available.
“With early literacy instructor Saroj Ghoting and other experts in the field, WebJunction recently updated and expanded the training to fully cover the early literacy components, to consider storytimes through an equity lens, and to strengthen assessment of the impact of library storytimes. Find out why HOW you interact with children and families is as important as what you do or how frequently you do it.”

Story-times and Transitions with Heart: Lessons for Early Educators from Youth Librarians
October 24th, Free!
“Participants in this webinar will learn simple ways to make whole group experiences more lively and inclusive by incorporating the power of music, rhyme, and social-emotional concepts. These same building blocks can be used to ease transitions and make for a happier classroom environment.”

Trauma-Informed Care in ECE: Key Strategies for Healing and Behavioral Change
October 17, Free! Archived version available.
“Children with a history of trauma often “act out” their distress through behaviors that are challenging for adults to understand.  This session, presented by Barbara Sorrels, Ed.D., author and child development expert, will focus on understanding the message of challenging behavior and strategies to help children heal.”

Blog Posts

Teaching Poetry to Middle Graders
Chalk full of resources that are super helpful to anyone running a writing program for school-age kids.

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) Book Award Finalists Announced
Check out some amazing Canadian children’s books for the 8 award categories.

2019 Picture Book Preview, Part 5
So many good books coming out next year!

Monolingual in a Multilingual World? Let’s Talk (and Maybe Sing) about It
I loved this post on the ALSC blog that pushes us to incorporate a variety of languages in storytime. Videos included!

Feel free to leave a comment with a professional resource you’ve recently discovered!

 

Where Have All the Bloggers Gone?

Why hello there. It’s been a minute.  I decided mid-way through the summer to give myself a break from blogging.  Mostly so I could soak up the sun that makes a rare appearance in Vancouver and partly because my brain needed a break from writing and planning.  It’s been a struggle to get back into blogging if I’m honest.  Partly because I’m still trying to be outside as much as possible before the weather turns and partly because my brain feels overloaded with other things.

I don’t think I’m alone in this feeling.  When I first started blogging in 2013 there were tons of children’s librarians blogging regularly about storytime and beyond. I mean just look at our blogroll. Nowadays the number of people who post regularly are few and far between (major fist pumps to you all who do it!).  And I get it.  There is a lot happening in the world that demands our energy and attention, and the platform of blogging has been replaced in part by Facebook groups where you can ask a question or share an idea easily and get instant responses. Which is great! But I’d be sad if blogging went away entirely.

One of the main reasons I still prefer blogging is that the posts are findable and searchable on search engines like Google.  If someone doesn’t know about groups embedded in social media platforms or how to effectively search those groups, they don’t have access to the information shared there.  Blog posts are also easy to organize which is helpful when referring people with questions about services to the early years.  All this to say I still value blogging as a way to share, connect, and help others who serve children and I’m going to try my best to consistently post throughout the fall.

Which brings me to my next question. What should I blog about?  I’ve got lots of ideas floating around in my mind, but I would love to hear from you about what types of posts you enjoy.  Here’s what I’m considering:

  • New to Storytime Series: My toddler storytime series are among our most popular blog posts and we get a lot of email questions from people who have never done storytime before. I’d like to do another series where I get even more basic. Things like how to choose books for storytime, choosing rhymes and songs, preparing your storytime space, using a simple outline to plan effectively, etc. I might even create a landing page of some sort with external resources as well for storytime beginners.
  • Storytime Booklists: I want to continue doing my yearly favourites list but I’ve also got a non-fiction storytime booklist in the works. And I really need to update my favourite babytime read alouds.
  • Cool New Resources: I feel like I’m always bookmarking journal articles, blog posts, websites, webinars, etc. that have caught my eye. I’d like to start occasionally posting round-ups of these resources for others to learn from too.
  • Round-Ups: Okay what I mean by this is when I dig up a whole bunch of resources around a certain topic and share it in list form. Examples are my babytime beginner’s guide and my book character parties blog post. I definitely want to do one multilingual storytimes as I get emails about that one a lot.
  • Community Work Strategies: I would love to write about how I do community work and the different tools that support me. I’m big into Google maps.
  • School-Age Programming: I run an Early Readers Book Club program and a Creative Writing program right now. I’m considering sharing the activities we do in each.
  • Reflection Pieces: The way I do my work and the way I program has evolved over the past five years. I would like to spend some time writing about what’s changed and why. Where do I place the most value and importance nowadays? I love reading these sort of posts by other children’s librarians.
  • Guest Posts: We are still accepting guest posts! In fact, I have an awesome one coming your way very soon about how to use mirrors in babytime. If you’d ever like to submit a guest post for publication here, just shoot us an email.

Welcome back, friends.

2018 Picture Books: Cover Appeal

Last year I wrote a few posts featuring 2017 picture books I was excited to see based solely on their covers. I had a request to do a 2018 version so here it goes!  I know little or nothing about these books unless I’m familiar with the author or illustrator.  This is based purely on cover love.

There is 99.9% chance that I will love any book illustrated by Julie Morstad. Just a fact.

We have been blessed twice this year. Hallelujah.

I’m sorry but those miniature ponies are so freaking cute. Especially the one in the glasses!

Madeline 2.0?

Do you see how her hair looks like the crows?! Canadian author and illustrator bonus points.

A book about synesthesia? Right on.

When you have a 6-year-old who loves all things spooky, books like this suddenly become much sought after.

My library just updated our preschool STEM booklists so I’m bookmarking this one for next year.

And this one too. Girls in STEM are finally getting their space in picture books.

I’m drawn to the alternating colours in the title text.

Love the rhyming name and hoping for some bilingual action in this one. Also, those hoop earrings gurl.

Smash those gender stereotypes, Teddy!

Is it just me or are there relatively few picture books starring octopuses?  I love any book that promotes writing. Could be a CLEL Bell Award nominee!

I’ve seen tons of good buzz about this one. Had me at mermaid.

I’m drawn to the subltleness of the art work here. And the title is a great oxymoron.

Noted for a child wearing a head scarf on the cover. Could be a good one to recommend to parents looking to talk to kids about race.

I hope this book is about the power of imagination. One of my favourite covers this year.

I loved Little Red and read it to every single class I visited to promote the Summer Reading Club last year. Can’t wait for more feminist fairy tales.

I’ve been loving the recent picture books about grandparents and grandchildren.

I’m adding this one slightly begrudgingly because I have had it UP TO HERE with the rain in Vancouver this winter, but I love the cloud image and think many interesting conversations with kids could be started from that alone.

Just wow. Yes to dark skinned girls on book covers. Yes to hair love.

Stack the Cats was one of my 2017 Favourite Storytime Picture Books so you bet I’m looking forward to this next one!

I love her powerful stance and the power in the title. Always looking for books that encourage kids to speak up for themselves.

All-star duo, ’nuff said.

I’m getting distinct Maybe Something Beautiful vibes which was one of my 2016 Favourite Storytime Picture Books and I ain’t mad about it.

This one reminds me of my niece Sophie to the highest degree. She is a little creator and I love seeing girls featured as makers.

Oooh, I wonder if this one takes place out on in the bayou. I love Preston-Gannon’s illustrations

This book speaks to the part of me that has watched every single nature documentary on Netflix.

Whoa. Sometimes you see a cover that pretty much blows your mind. Ain’t seen nothing like this before.

If you follow me on Twitter you know about my obsession with love poetry so I am here for this.

I actually feel like I’m in space when I look at this cover. Stunning.

If you follow me on Twitter you may also know about my mermaid obsession so I am doubly here for this.

New Patricelli, yay! She’s one of my toddler storytime authors to know.

Oh god. Is it a children’s librarian best friend or worst nightmare?

I can’t help but see Hagrid in this cover. Three cheers for diversity in body representation!

A superhero kid librarian?  TAKE MY MONEY.

We have a huge Indian community here in Vancouver and I am always looking for books with more Indian representation.

I recently wondered about the amount of car-centric picture books I read in storytime and am happy to see more eco-friendly options be published.

Where will Becker take us this time? I love how the stone is glowing.

Okay, how many times did you have to look at this cover before you spotted the horse? Because mine was at least 10 times.

What 2018 picture books are you excited about? Let me know in the comments!

 

Flannel Friday Round Up: February 9th

Hey, hey, it’s the Flannel Friday round-up!  Thanks to everyone who contributed their ideas this week. I am always impressed with your felt skills.  Need some felt story inspiration? Check out these lovelies.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Lauren and Christy from Storytime Out Loud shared a set of heart shaped riddles that are absolutely adorable! You can see their entire set on Instagram or Twitter. What’s even better? These two started a podcast all about storytime!

Kathryn at Fun With Friends at Storytime shared a collection sea creatures that comes with a guessing game! Check out her post to see all five. I love the way she used the blue background to make them pop.

Peter, also known as The Lego Librarian, shared a fantastic version of Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani as part of his numbers storytime. Also, his library hack on how to make flannels is going to save me A LOT of time in the future.

Jessica at Storytime in the Stacks made a version of I Lost My Sock! A Matching Mystery by P.J. Roberts; illustrated by Elio. I had never heard of this book before and am excited to check it out!

In anticipation for spring, Jennifer at Adventures in Storytime made a set of “Five Little Robins” to accompany her rhyme. I like how something one person thinks looks “rushed” looks to me like something that would have taken me weeks to make! You rock, Jennifer.

I was on the bird train this week too and shared my felt pieces for the extra verses of “Two Little Blackbirds.” Great for learning opposites with a touch of silliness. And yes I realize the birds are actually blue (I have a black felt board!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wendy at Flannel Board Fun shared a St. Patrick’s Day themed version of the classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? I love how big and bright her pieces are!

Thanks to everyone who participated this week! As always:

  • Check out the official Flannel Friday blog that includes schedules and other important information.  This is changing though! Soon Flannel Friday will convert to a Tumblr account where anyone can submit an idea anytime!
  • Search for images and links on our Pinterest page.
  • Discuss story time stuff (and other ys stuff) on the Flannel Friday Facebook page.
  • Follow #flannelstorytime on Twitter.

Flannel Friday Placeholder: February 9th

Hello fellow flannel and felt story enthusiasts!  I am hosting the Flannel Friday round-up this week! Please leave a comment with a link to your post by Thursday night and I will gather them all together to showcase on Friday.

New to Flannel Friday?

  • Check out the official Flannel Friday blog that includes schedules and other important information.  This is changing though! Soon Flannel Friday will convert to a Tumblr account where anyone can submit an idea anytime!
  • Search for images and links on our Pinterest page.
  • Discuss story time stuff (and other ys stuff) on the Flannel Friday Facebook page.
  • Follow #flannelstorytime on Twitter.

Want to share a flannel or felt story and don’t have a blog? Let me know and I’d be happy to host you here!

An Open Call for Guest Posts

Fellow people who serve children in libraries:  We are an amazing group, you know that?  The willingness to share ideas and resources is one of our best features.  You can go on Facebook or Twitter, ask a question, and hundreds of people are there to engage.

You can also check out the many youth services blogs!  Maybe you’ve thought about starting a blog before.  Maybe you’ve quickly decided against it because it looks like a lot of work. Or because you think you’re not tech savvy enough. Or because you’re not sure what to say. Or because you simply have too much on your plate right now.

I totally feel you.  But I also know that so many of you out there have these absolutely outstanding ideas! I see them on Twitter. I see them on Facebook. And I would absolutely love to feature them here on Jbrary.  Writing up these ideas in a blog post is good for many reasons, such as:

  • It lets you try out blogging without having to create your own blog
  • It allows us to categorize and store your ideas for easy access in the future. A link to your post will appear on one of our programming pages.
  • It shines a light on the creative work your library is doing to serve children. Your library and staff get a virtual fist bump.
  • It helps other people! Many people use our blog and other blogs to do research for programs they are considering running.

So this is an open call for guest posts of any nature related to youth services work in libraries.  Have an idea for a post?  Shoot me an email at jbrary@gmail.com.

Give blogging a chance. You might just discover you love it.

2017 Picture Books Cover Appeal: Canadian Edition

I’m back with part three of my Cover Appeal series! This time I’d like to shine a light on the covers of 2017 Canadian picture books that have caught my eye.  There are a few Canadian titles scattered throughout Part 1 and Part 2, but this post is dedicated to all the wonderful titles being published by Canadian authors, illustrators, and publishers this year.  Which ones are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!

I love the striking yellow colour of this one. Colette’s got a kind of Madeline vibe I’m digging. The author hails from Montreal.

Part of a series from this author/illustrator duo. This one is set in Vancouver, wahoo!

A boy writes an email to his friend after arriving in Canada from Jamaica. I like how the colours of Jamaica’s flag are woven into the cover.

Did you ever sing this little rhyme as a kid when walking on the sidewalk: “Step on a crack, you break your mama’s back”? I did and this book is living up to my childhood imagination.

This book gets all the weird points. Weird title. Weird illustrations. Possibly weird storyline? I love it.

Grumple! A grumpy animal? I can just imagine that name becoming a family saying after reading this book. “Looks like someone woke up a grumple today!”

Canadian illustrator Matthew Forsythe is set to stun with this one if the cover is any clue to what’s inside.

No title or author given on the cover, but this one’s from Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen. I think it would be fun to ask kids what they think the title is based on the cover. Tree? Monster? Triangle? (yes).

I just love the contrast between the muted greys outside and the brightness under the umbrella. I already know my niece is going to ask why the man has a blue nose.

From Canadian publisher Groundwood books. This one hits a personal note for me as my niece is Colombian. Not sure where the story is set but both the author and illustrator live in Colombia.

My niece used to ask me this question at least 20 times a day when she was in preschool. Based on the cover, I hope one of the answers is reading!

I’ve loved the first two in this series. The perfect gift for birthdays!

It is the year of yellow covers! Set in Brazil, follow the boat to see who you meet. I believe it was translated by Canadian Jane Springer.

The title + the illustrations have me wondering if this one will be a tear jerker. Sad books get me every time.

The cover caught my attention because I know Crozier’s poetry. Looks absolutely adorable.

Mermaid alert! I repeat, mermaid alert! Told by Inuit elder Donald Uluadlauk.

You guys, the dog! It’s the cutest dog I’ve ever seen! From the West coast to the East coast, journey across our country in this one.

Looks like a great new addition for talking about comparison and contrast.

What I see on this cover is pride and community. From a First Nations author/illustrator duo.

New Ashley Spires, yeehaw! You can do it, Lou!

Look, this wouldn’t be a Canadian list without at least one moose on it, right?

Pure imagination on the cover. Knitting in children’s literature is really having it’s heyday.

Originally published in French by Montrealers author and illustrator. You don’t see many bald children on the covers of picture books and it’s a shame.

This could be the cover of a book for ANY AGE. It’s mysterious and a little spooky. My favourite part is the kid in the back raising their ski in a fist bump.

Sneaking this one on even though it’s a board book. It just looks so happy!

Which ones are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!