Guest Review!

Today I'm super happy to share a guest review from Summer, one of the awesome teens here at my library! She did some sleuthing and discovered that I have this blog and asked if she could write for it. I said she could, if it was library related and suggested she write a review for me. Summer reviewed one of her favorite books The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. Check out her review!

Why should you read this book?
If you love the thrill of an adventure or a nail-biting mystery, or heroes falling in love, then you’ll love this!
In the Lost Hero our favorite character, Jason, has his memories wiped out by Hera and is exchanged to Camp Half Blood, by the girlfriend who is eager to find Percy Jackson.
While trapped in the opposite camp of where he came from, he and his friends venture out on nail-biting quests to defeat the giants. Once they complete a mission, they are lured by Gaea’s traps. Usually trying to rescue a friend. Jason is good at everything he does. But where did he come from? Randomly he wakes up on a school bus in the middle of a desert holding hands with a girl he doesn’t know and a goofy boy in front of him claiming to be his best friend. What’s worse is the fact that he doesn’t even know his name. Luckily his new friends know his name. But maybe that’s just another trick of Hera’s. But what he does find out is that he is highly wanted by the sleeping goddess, Gaea. Only the gods will know what will happen to Jason and his friends. Will Gaea succeed in taking over the world? Will she permanently silence the gods?

Read to find out!

Been A While....

It's been a little while since I've had time to post an entry, but there have been big changes in my life. As the last post shows, the biggest adjustment for me was loosing my heart. I lost my baby Squirt after 9 years. I had raised him from a kitten, bottle feeding him and hand bathing him, the works, and he and I were super close. Burying him was the hardest thing I've ever done. Tigger, Rufus, Winston Ziggy-Stardust and I are slowly adjusting (not really) to the giant Squirt shaped hole in our lives, but it's hard.
My baby. ♥
Next up, I left a hostile working environment and moved to a different department. It is awesome to not be in a working environment that was making me physically ill. There are a lot a feels with that whole situation as well.
So now I'm no longer working in Children's Services, after 19 years I moved from Children's Services to Teen Services. Some of the previous libraries I've worked in had lumped teens under children/youth (don't get me started about that), but at my current place teens is lumped with Adult Services.
I have a lot of leeway with what I do in Teens, so this is a lot of fun for me. It's a learning curve, as I get away from the children's mentality and think teens, but I'm liking it a lot.
I've also joined Derby Lite, a roller skating class that teaches you the skills you need to learn to play Roller Derby. Which I am ridiculously excited about. I'm trying to get healthier and fitter, and the Derby Lite classes definitely help. I've also just joined the 21-Day Fix program to help me get healthier in my Derby goals. Being a librarian is pretty stationary, so I'm hoping the extra exercise boosts help.
I'm also hoping now that I'm a bit more settled in I can get back into a routine of posting here. I know I've lost some people in my months long gap.
Anyway, that's a lot of hoping and life changes, but that's what has been going on. With all these changes it might be time for a blog face-lift. Changes, changes.

Review: Mug Meals: Delicious Microwave Recipes

Mug Meals: Delicious Microwave Recipes Mug Meals: Delicious Microwave Recipes by Dina Cheney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This cookbook was a ton of fun. I always look at the "mug meals" and roll my eyes, because really. But this had some awesome ideas, and even suggested making them in a bowl, which makes more sense to me.
The recipes are all simple, but sound wicked tasty. The pictures were bright and appealing, and showed what the recipe would look like, not a picture perfect image (think drips down the side).
Many of the meals in the lunch & dinner sections would work best for putting together lunch/dinner out of leftovers since they require pre-cooked foods like rice or noodles, but still a great section. My favorites were breakfast (I always seem to make eggs explode though) and dessert (duh). There were meals that would appeal to a variety of tastes, including picky eaters like me.
From the title you would think that this was one of the books aimed at college students, but I don't think it really is. Since many of the meals rely on precooked items (like the rice) it really is more useful for using up leftovers. Or if you're in a household of one or two and end up with extras from making a meal. That being said, I think this is a very useful cookbook and had some great ideas. I'm planning to use it as a jumping off point for a teen cooking class.

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Review: Space Dumplins

Space Dumplins Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Super cute and fun.

This kids graphic novel deals with some slightly harder subjects that kids today can very much appreciate and benefit from. The novel is done in a fun and quirky way that in no way takes away the import though. Violet’s parents both work full time, so when her school is eaten by space whales they have to figure out what to do with her. Things get harder when her parents argue over who takes her to work with them. Dad’s past also gets involved and throws a wrench in things.
It’s clear Violet's parents love her and each other, but this graphic novel clearly depicts the struggle most lower and middle class parents face when school is canceled. Kids in this situation will appreciate both Violet's desire to stay home and watch cartoons and her upset when her parents fight.

View all my reviews

In Memory of Squirt

Review: Liar's Island

Liar's IslandLiar's Island by Tim Pratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love these books, but wish they were easier to find. I first stumbled on Pathfinder Tales at BEA in 2013. And loved them. They are so hard to find though. NO library in the entire state of Maine owns ANY. So the only way for me to get any is to buy them, and while I love supporting authors, books are expensive.
Anyway, this is a sequel to Liar's Blade, which I picked up at BEA. This story picks up a little over a year after Liar's Blade. It is very much a fantasy adventure story, but not the old fashioned typical ones. Roderick is a thief and trickster. He's accompanied by his best friend Hyrm, a sentient talking sword of ice. The two are getting into typical thiefy trouble when a djinn invites them to a remote island nation as a guest of the local ruler. Not being stupid, they accept and embark on an adventure full of magic, thievery, and treasure.

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Review: Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, Vol. 1: Revolutions of Terror

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, Vol. 1: Revolutions of Terror Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, Vol. 1: Revolutions of Terror by Nick Abadzis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved, loved, loved, Gabby as a companion. I wish that they had give with her in the show rather than Clara (yes I know I'm jumping Doctors). Gabby had more depth and personality and I found her so much more interesting.
Gabby meets The Doctor when he is investigating a psychic terror plaguing her neighborhood. As a good companion Gabby helps the Doctor figure out what is going on and Dave Earth. And, again of course, he takes her to see wonders.
They did a perfect 10 on this GN. He's a bit loopy and weird and totally fun. In the second episode he gets distracted by math and almost misses what's going on, only to have a light bulb moment and rush in.
The colors were vibrant and the art fit the iconic Doctor. I particularly loved the sketches and letter that Gabby wrote interjected in between the two episodes.

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Toddler Time - Sharks!

This week marks my second to last Toddler Time. I am sad.I let my parents know that next week would be our last Toddler Time and I got a chorus of “whys.” It was really hard. Next week is going to suck.
Because it’s my last few weeks in Toddler Time, I’ve been trying to make them extra special for the kids and parents. Extra flannel boards, more singing, the works. This week I decided to do Sharks, based on some adorable flannels I saw during Flannel Friday’s Shark Week.

Stories and Flannels We Shared
Today’s story was The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark, told with flannels. I’ll be honest here, I totally stole the flannels from Anne over at ItsyBitsyMom. I couldn’t help it. Her shark and fish were just so ridiculously adorable, and I knew I couldn’t do anything cuter, so I stole them. Sorry Anne!! I even copied her idea to use a stamp pad for shading, and omg, it worked awesome. If I was going to continue doing flannels I’d dig out my stamp pads and shade all my flannels. It’s such a great idea. I could totally see combining the stamp pad shading with my puff paints (Anne embroiders her flannels which makes them double sided, and awesome, but I’m not that good with embroidery). 

Next up I used a modified version of Smiley Shark from Kim over at Destination Storytime. No one near us owned Smiley Shark so Kim’s idea of retelling Ruth Gallaway’s story was great. I modified it a bit more and used pieces from my magent story I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean. I actually had a little one who was in LOVE with the flannel board so I didn’t put pieces on the board as I retold this story, I acted it out with the pieces in my hands. It worked! :) (photo refernce is the I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean. For Smiley Shark I used my felt shark from above, the crab, the jelly fish, the octopus, a turtle, and the fish.)

Rhymes We Shared
We went a bit over our time today, what with the longer flannels, so we didn’t sing as much. Today we sang our Shaker Song Twice, Tiny Tim, and our hello/goodbye songs. That was it! But it worked. Sometimes we sing more, sometimes we sing less.

Early Literacy Tips We Shared
Today was a learning day! I had parents who asked all kinds of questions which I LOVE so very much. It was exciting. 
  • We talked about how to make flannel boards and flannel pieces, where to find patters, what kinds of books and/or stories work for flannels (anything!) and where to get the parts to make flannel boards. It was awesome. 
  • We also talked about how to make shaker eggs at home, the different things to fill them and how to avoid choking hazards. I love when parents are interested in the processes of how a story time gets put together. 
  • We also briefly touched on Phonological Awareness and how songs break down words into easy to understand syllables. The parents were much more excited about learning how to take Story Time home with them that I glossed over the typical tips and delved more into story time dynamics. 

Flannel Friday Roundup - 8/14!

Are you ready to see the Flannel Friday Roundup? I am! Squirt is too. He wants you to know just how awesome everyone is. Can you feel it?

Now that you've properly admitted how fabulous Squirt is, he says it's time to get onto the links!
With Summer Reading winding down for everyone and end of the summer parties and celebrations we've got a smaller round-up today, but don't let that fool you! We've got some awesome stuff to share today.

First up Kathryn over at Fun With Friends at Storytime has an adorable flannel version of Little Dinos Don't Bite. I cannot get over how ridiculously adorable her dinos are. I love the wiggle eyes and the layering. (I am totally stealing this one!!)

Next we have a huge welcome to Allison over at Rainbow Beams, it's her first time contributing to Flannel Friday! Welcome Allison! :) Allison shared a Colorful Butterflies flannel and rhyme with the cutest little butterflies made with felt and pipe cleaners. She used the flannel with her "B" storytime.

And finally, I made a Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom! tree puppet to go with my ABC Toddler Time. It didn't go exactly as planned, but it came out pretty darn good if I do say so myself. ;)

You can find even more ideas, tips, and tricks on the Flannel Friday Pinterest boards, website, and Facebook group.  If you're not a member of the Facebook group, you should join! It's an awesome way to find new flannels and the community is the best.

Next week's Roundup will be hosted by Mollie at What Happens at Storytime....

Toddler Time - ABC's!

Since I only have 3 (counting this one) Toddler Time sessions left I wanted to make them really good ones. So I've been looking at doing fancier flannels and more interactive programs. I've been loving the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom trees people have made, so came up with a program to be able to make one!

Stories and Flannels We Shared
Today we read Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom! This isn't my favorite story (I know, everyone loves it), but the pictures are great and I wanted to make the tree, lol.
We used the Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom tree puppet to tell this story today. I've seen this a couple of times on Pinterest, and just love it so much. So I made one. :D It wasn't the easiest, but it definitely wasn't super hard. I did mess up making it though- I didn't make the trunk wide enough just using felt to fit around my hand. D'oh! So I ended up having to unglue it all and then attached a sock to the back of one side of the trunk to make my tree into a sock puppet. This worked really well, so it all worked out though! I purchased the dark brown felt and green felt from my local craft store and the foam for the coconuts from the dollar store, so the whole project cost me $2 in materials, and I have felt left over. I copied Lisa from Lisa's Library Land and used the templates from Making Learning Fun. She in turn got the idea from Twodaloo. My coconuts were cut using a 1 inch hole punch we have here at the library. Made my life SO much easier.
The foam coconuts work wonderfully since the kids can crumple them up and they just pop back into shape. And if they get lost- eh, they're foam.
I am going to try again (this time with my dad's help) to make the trunk just out of foam, so I bequeathed my sock puppet tree to a coworker.
I handed out some random letters to the kids and as we read the story they stuck the letters on the tree. Or rather since we're toddlers they stuck whatever letters they wanted on the tree whenever they felt like it, lol. :)

Rhymes We Shared
I also used this awesome rhyme from Storytime With Miss Tara called the Alpha-gator. She in turn found the idea on the Perry Public Library site. Can I saw how freaking awesome it is that we all share ideas like this? It is.
I used a gator puppet we have here at the library and the coconuts from the Chicka Tree. I had kids help me feed the gator and he "NOM NOM NOM NOM!"ed them as we read the letters. The kids LOVED feeding the gator and the parents got a kick out of the poem. It is rather adorable.
We also chanted the rhyme Emily shared on the Flannel Friday Facebook page about scarves. Found here.

Songs We Shared
Today we sang our usual Shaker Egg song from Jbrary today. The kids REALLY missed it from last week when we had to take a break because of my hip/leg pain. So I made sure to bring it back.We then sang the ABC's (of course), Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, and Itsy Bitsy.

Early Literacy Tips We Shared

  • Singing the alphabet song is one way to introduce children to letters. Part of letter knowledge, one of the early literacy skills that helps children be ready to read in school, is knowing the names of letters. At first your child may not relate the letters they sing to the written letter. That's ok; this is a first step.
  • You don’t need an alphabet book to talk about letters. With any book you are reading together, let your child look for the first letter or any of the letters in his or her name.
  • Letter knowledge starts with seeing and recognizing shapes. A baby playing with a ball feels its roundness. Later that will mean a circle and then the letter O. Lots of letters use the circle shape. Others use triangle or other shapes. Researchers have found that children identify letters by their shapes. Playing and exploring are a part of learning how to read!

Flannel Friday

Flannel Friday Placeholder for August 14, 2015. One of my adorable cats, Winston Ziggy-Stardust, will be helping me collect the links this week. (He's so helpful, can't you tell?)

Special thanks to Jane over at Piper Loves the Library for letting me steal her week. :) Thanks so much Jane!!

Due to circumstances beyond my control I'll be leaving Children's Services (right at my 19 year mark) to join Adult/Teen Services and Circulation. I will miss Children's Services SO much. My last story time will be on August 26, so that week will be my last time participating in Flannel Friday until I can get back into Children's Services. I have loved participating in Flannel Fridays and love the support of this group. I will continue to blog, but sadly no more flannels.

Now onto the links!! Post your FF link in the comments and I will compile into a plethora of wonderfulness.,

Toddler Time - Singing About Pond Animals

I did something a little different for today's Toddler Time. We sang the whole program. It was a lot of fun, and the only thing the kids missed was some of the movement. The day before my program I had a doctor's appointment for some lovely hip and leg pain I've been having and discovered that I have sciatic nerve issues from a fall on my way into work one day. I can move, but a lot of movement leaves my hip, tucas, and leg in agony. It's been steadily getting worse, and this week just sitting has left me wanting to break down and cry. So for this week (hopefully only this week) I nixed much of the movement. I did encourage the kids to dance and move while we sang though. Something they LOVED. The interpretative dance to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star was a riot.

Stories We Shared
I only shared one story today, and while I was planning on singing it, the kids INSISTED it was a book so I had to read it. It was very hard to read it, and I ended up doing it in a sing-song. We read an old favorite of mine, that I wish wasn't out of print. Little White Duck illustrated by Jean Paley.
(I also have a flannel for this when I use it as a song, but since we didn't sing it I didn't pull out the flannel. Because I love it, I'm sharing it below as well.)

Songs and Flannels We Shared
We sang lots of songs today! But singing is FUN! And since most of the songs had flannels, I'm combining this category into one today.
We sang:
     3(5) Little Ducks
     Three little ducks went out one day Over the hill and far away
     Mama duck said, “Quack, quack, quack, quack,” but only two little ducks came back…
     Two little ducks went out one day Over the hill and far away
     Mama duck said, “Quack, quack, quack, quack,” but only one little duck came swimming back…
     One little duck went out one day Over the hill and far away
     Mama duck said, “Quack, quack, quack, quack,” but no little ducks came back…
     Sad Mama duck went out one day, Over the hill and far away
     Mama duck said, “Quack, quack, quack, quack,” and all of the ducks came back.

     6 Little Ducks
     Six little ducks That I once knew
     Fat ones, skinny ones, Fair ones, too
     But the one little duck With the feather on his back
     He led the others With a quack, quack, quack
     Quack, quack, quack, Quack, quack, quack
     He led the others With a quack, quack, quack
     Down to the river They would go
     Wibble, wobble, wibble, wobble, To and fro
     But the one little duck With the feather on his back
     He led the others With a quack, quack, quack
     Quack, quack, quack, Quack, quack, quack
     He led the others With a quack, quack, quack
     Back from the river They would come
     Wibble, wobble, wibble, wobble, Ho, hum, ho
     But the one little duck With the feather on his back
     He led the others With a quack, quack, quack
     Quack, quack, quack, Quack, quack, quack
     He led the others With a quack, quack, quack
 (We used this flannel for both duck songs!)

     5 Green and Speckled Frogs
     Five green and speckled frogs
     Sat on a speckled log,
     Eating some most delicious bugs  (yum yum!)
     One jumped into the pool
     Where it was nice and cool,
     Then there were four green speckled frogs  (gulp gulp!)
     Then there were no green speckled frogs!

     Tiny Tim
     I had a little Turtle,
     His name was Tiny Tim.
     I put him in the bathtub,
     To see if he could swim.
     He drank up all the water
     He ate up all the soap.
     And now he's sick in bed,
     With bubbles in his throat.
     Bubble, Bubble, Bubble,
     Bubble, Bubble, Bubble,
     Bubble, Bubble, Bubble
     Bubble, Bubble, Pop!

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Itsy Bitsy Spider

And we didn't use this flannel, but I love it so much that I am sharing it. :)

Early Literacy Tips We Shared

  • Aside from being fun, singing songs with your child helps them hear  words being broken up into smaller sounds.
  • Singing is a good way for children to become aware of the different sounds that make up words. This is called phonological awareness.

Toddler Time - Space

This week's Toddler Time is all about SPACE! No particular reason why, I just thought a space program would be fun. :)

Stories We Shared

Today we shared two books. Over the summer I've started to get a slightly older crowd, and that means I can sometimes share a slightly more detailed book. Our first book was an older one, but one I think is a lot of fun. Dogs in Space still has Pluto listed as a planet (sadface), but I just changed the title to "dwarf planet." This was a fun book (better for the older kids than the younger) and had a ton of good talking points. We talked about why Mercury might be hot and Pluto cold, what an asteroid is, and the red spot on Jupiter.
Next up we read I Want to be an Astronaut. Super fun and simple. This is definitely a good story for the younger kids.

Flannels We Shared
I did two magnet rhymes today (the magnet board seemed more fitting than the flannel board). The first was based off the 5 Elephants Went Out to Play (hard to sing with astronauts, but we managed) and the second was a super simple Rocket poem. (pictures to come)

     Three Little Astronauts
     One little astronaut went out to play
     Over the moon and far away.
     He had such enormous fun
     That he called for another astronaut to come!

     Two little astronauts went out to play
     Over the moon and far away.
     They had such enormous fun
     That they called for another astronaut to come!

     Three little astronauts went out to play
     Over the moon and far away.
     They had such enormous fun
     That they called for everyone to come!

     I'm a Little Rocket
     I'm a little rocket,
     Pointing to the moon!
     5, 4, 3, 2, 1... 
     Blast off, zoom!

Songs We Shared
Today we sang our shaker song (of course) and sang Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. 

Early Literacy Tips We Shared
  • Having a large vocabulary, knowing the names of things, is one of the skills children need when they later learn to sound out words. 
  • When you come to a word that is not familiar to your child, use that word and explain it in a way your child can understand. Books give us different words than those we use in conversation. Knowing many words helps children with reading when they try to sound out words. 

Toddler Time - Fruits and Berrries

Today's Toddler Time was all about fruits and berries! With strawberry and raspberry season upon us and blueberry season coming soon it seemed a perfect theme. :)

Stories We Shared
Our first story of the day was a classic - Jamberry by Bruce Degen. I'm sure I don't need to talk about how fun this story is.
Next up I read a favorite of mine, and one I've read before (and will read again) The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood. There are no words to explain how much I love this story. It's an all time favorite. (I even have it memorized, lol).

Flannels We Shared
Today I shared a flannel adapted from one I found at Mel's Desk, which in turn was adapted from one she found on Abby the Librarian's blog. If I had had time I think it would have been more fun to make 5 different types of berries/fruits to use with the flannel, but since I'm moonlighting in Adult and Teen services this summer my flannel making time is limited. So I just went with strawberries this week. I used animals from various other flannels I've made (the Giant Carrot and my farm animals- I love that cow) and they worked wonderfully. The mouse also made the perfect segue into reading The Little Mouse.

Rhymes We Shared
Today's rhyme was one that a fellow librarian shared on Facebook. Emily Lloyd wrote and shared this fun scarf activity poem and it was a huge hit.

     Things we can do with our Scarves
     We can wave them way up high
     We can pretend they're capes and fly [like a superhero]
     We can make believe they're hair [drape scarf on head, looking silly]
     We can throw them in the air
     We can swish them side to side
     We can use our scarves to hide [drape scarf entirely over head, like ghost]
     We can make them very small [ball up scarf]
     We can let them gently fall [drop scarf to ground]

We also sang our shaker song, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and Itsy Bitsy. :)

Early Literacy Tips Shared
  • Rhyming is one of the things that children learn that lets them hear that words are made of smaller parts. By reading rhyming books or singing rhyming songs with your child, you are helping to build their phonological awareness. Phonological Awareness is the ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words.
  • Counting is one the of learning concepts which support your child's background knowledge.
  • Singing slows down language and helps children hear the different sounds that make up words. Singing also develops an awareness of rhythm and syllables

Toddler Time - Balloons!

Today's Toddler Time was on my birthday! Yay! I was super excited to plan a Toddler Time for my birthday. Because it was my birthday, I decided that today's program would focus on the learning concept of play. Play is so important for children learning to read and relate to the world around them.

Stories We Shared
Today we read an adorable book I had InterLibrary Loaned: The Blue Balloon by Mick Inkpen. It's about a balloon a little boy finds that does all kinds of crazy things, from never popping, to disappearing and reappearing square, to taking a space adventure. The book is simple and engaging.

Flannels We Shared
Today's flannel was a counting rhyme that I found on Sunflower Storytime.
     Four Balloons
     Four balloons up in the sky
     See them flying way up high?
     If one of those balloons should happen to POP!
     Only 3 balloons will be left floating up top! (2..1..)

Rhymes We Shared
As usual we sang our Shaker Song today. Since we were playing I did not add any additional songs or rhymes, but we did some activities, outlined below.

Activities We Shared
Since today was a special Balloon program I brought in 67 assorted balloons for us to play with! I had blown them up the previous night, taking care not to blow them up fully so they were extremely hard to pop.
With the balloons we practiced throwing them, naming the colors, catching them, and kicking them. We also found colors that matched and colors that were almost the same (light and dark blue) but didn't quite match.
Then, I brought out the parachutes. Both of them. The little one and the enormous one. They had SO much fun. We popped the balloons like popcorn, moved the parachutes fast & slow, hard & gentle. They absolutely loved it. So much that we forfeit our usual play time for more parachute and balloon play. This was a huge hit with everyone.
We also only had one balloon casualty, and it didn't pop, but instead just slowly fizzled out.

Early Literacy Tips We Shared

  • Play with your children is super important as they grow! It is one of the primary ways young children learn about how the world works.
  • Play helps children practice putting their thoughts into words
  • Play helps children think symbolically. That this item stands for this thing, which helps them understand that words can stand for real objects or experiences. (We experienced this when we talked about how the balloons were like popcorn cooking and a little one excitedly yelled that the balloons were like coffee in the machine.)
  • Play is how children practice becoming adults and process what they see and hear everyday.

Toddler Time - Camping

Today's Toddler Time's theme comes from a request I had last week. Last week one of the little boys that attended asked if I could do a camping theme for him. I said of course and so camping it is!

Stories We Shared
Normally I don't like using popular media books in story time, but the first story this week was cute and I just couldn't resist. We read Maisy Goes Camping first today. It's a super cute one where Maisy and all her friends (including Eddie the Elephant) try to fit in a tent together. It was a definite hit.

Next up was another "can we fit" style book. One Dog Canoe was a new one for me, but I rather liked it.

Flannels We Shared
I brought out a slightly older, but perfect flannel for today's Toddler Time. I dug into my files and brought back the 3(5) Hungry Ants flannel. Of course, our favorite part is the sneezing ants. When we got to the pepper we would take an ant and as we sneezed I would toss an ant into the air. It always produces giggles.

Rhymes We Shared
We sang two rhymes today! (In addition to our usual opening song and clos
ing songs.) First up we sang Ten Little Marshmallows. I saw this somewhere in the past few weeks, but I didn't bookmark it so cannot give credit. My apologies! If you know where I found it, please comment!
We also sang 10 Little Campers which I found on and comes from Beth Grai, at the Independence (MI) Township Library. Of course we sang Shake Your Shaker and Twinkle Twinkle as well. :)
     10 Little Marshmallows
     One little, two little, three, little marshmallows
     Four little, five little, six little marshmallows
     Seven little, eight little, nine little marshmallows
     Ten marshmallows in my mouth!

     Ten Little Campers
     Ten little campers putting up their tent.
(Put finger tips of fingers together forming tent roof)
     Ten little campers close the vents.
(Intertwine fingers together to signify closure)
     Ten little campers make a ring.
(Form circle putting tips of fingers together and thumbs together)
     Ten little campers start to sing.
(Cup hands to mouth)
     Ten little campers around the fire.
(Form circle putting tips of fingers together again)
     Ten little campers dance till they tire.
(Put all ten fingers up in the air and dance them around)
     Ten little campers close their tent up tight.
(Intertwine fingers together again to signify closure)
     Ten little campers say good-night.
(Wave good-night with both hands)

Early Literacy Tips We Shared

  • Introducing your child to songs, rhymes and books is a great way to help your child expand his/her vocabulary since books and rhymes often contain a larger variety of words then what we typically use in conversation.
  • Rhymes are fun to sing and say with your child. Because they rhyme, they also help children develop phonological awareness, an important skill for later reading when they try to sound out words

Toddler Time - At The Beach!

Today's Toddler Time was all about the beach! It's summer (finally, even if I don't like the hot), and the beach is such a perfect theme for summer.

Books We Shared
This week we read two of my absolute favorite books. First I had a show and read version of I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry. OMG, I love this story so much. It's a perfect story for a show and read/show and tell as well.

Next up we read A Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams. I have so much love for the illustrations in this book. They are so detailed and have so much life.

Flannels We Shared
I turned I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean into a show and read story this week. As I read the story I placed the pieces on a magnet board. They LOVED this so much, we ended up doing it three times. The first time I read the book and placed the pieces, the next two times we just placed the pieces. I used the patterns from KidzClub which are adorable and free.
We also had a flannel game based off the Little Bird game using pails and a little tiny whale (He's adorable if I do say so myself.) which I found on the Fun With Friends at Storytime blog, and a counting rhyme with shells.
     Little Whale
     Little Whale, Little Whale
     Are you in the [color] pail?

     3 Little Seashells
     3 little seashells all pearly new,
     Swish! went the waves and then there were two.
     2 little seashells lying in the sun,
     Swish went the waves, and then there was one.
     1 little seashell lying all alone,
     I picked it up and took it home!

Rhymes We Shared
As usual we sang our shaker song from Jbrary and our closing song of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The Shaker Song continues to be a favorie, and no one (grown ups) has gotten bored with it yet!

Early Literacy Tips We Shared
  • Children learn language by listening. They learn new words and absorb general knowledge about the world around them. Talking to your child can help them develop vocabulary. Stretch your child's vocabulary by repeating what they say and adding new words. "You want a banana? That's a healthily choice."
  • Singing slows down language and helps children hear the different sounds that make up words. Singing also develops an awareness of rhythm and syllables.

American Girl Doll Welcomes Somali Children to Library

Super excited that VOYA Magazine shared the project I've been working on at my current library. This project is so important to me and to the kids I work with.

American Girl Doll Welcomes Somali Children to Library

American Girl Doll Welcomes Somali Children to Library
Samira Ali is the newest member of the Lewiston Public Library’s American Girl Doll family, created especially for the children of Lewiston. Through an extremely generous donation by an anonymous donor, Library Technician Danielle Fortin was able to pick a custom doll. Fortin chose a doll off the My America line of American Girl Dolls and customized it to look like a Lewiston Somali-American.

Over the last fifteen years, Lewiston has seen an influx of more than 6,000 residents with roots in Somalia and east Africa and many of these New Mainer families use the library. Fortin’s plan called for a doll that looked like the youth that came to the library, one with which they could identify. Her overall goal with this project was to give the Somali children of Lewiston a doll and story that matches their own.

Over the winter, children were invited to suggest and then vote on a name for the doll. Samira Ali was the top voted name out of the many names suggested. Samira has a custom wardrobe including two traditional dresses, several dresses and skirts, and two custom hijabs that Fortin made. Fortin and a teen volunteer will write a history story for Samira as well. Her story will mirror the stories of many of our Somali children and the difficulties they face moving to America, and Lewiston in particular, while learning to speak English in a new environment.

Danielle Fortin

Library Technician

Lewiston Public Library

Toddler Time - Clap and Stomp

I felt the need to do lots of singing and moving around for today's story time, so we had a Clapping and Stomping program today.

Stories We Shared
Today we read a favorite of mine: Stop Snoring Bernard! by Zachariah O'Hara. I LOVE this book so much. Love, love, love. Bernard is adorable and snoring is so much fun. If you have an active group getting them to yell "STOP SNORING BERNARD!" with you is so much fun.

Flannels We Shared
Our flannel today was "Who Said Moo?" from the Clueless Librarian. They loved my cow and horse the most. (Note: chicken feet are hard!)

Rhymes We Shared
Today we sang a lot. A LOT. We started out with If You're Happy and You Know It (just clapping, stomping, and yelling hooray), which we sung twice, of course. Then we moved onto Old MacDonald Had a Farm (cow, pig, and sheep). And of course, our favorite (I do love this too) Shaker Song (with all the verses!) and a new shaker song: Shake It to the East (by guess who!), followed by Twinkle Twinkle.
     Shake It to the East
     Shake it to the east
     Shake it to the west
     Shake it all around
     and then you take a rest
     Shake your shakers up
     Shake your shakers down
     Shake it, shake it, shake it,
     and then you settle down.

Early Literacy Tips We Shared

  • Activities like clapping and stomping help a child to build motor skills and boost coordination!
  • Introducing your child to songs, rhymes, and books is a great way to help your child expand his or her vocabulary since books and rhymes often contain a larger variety of words than what we typically use in conversation.

Toddler Time - Mud and Dirt

Today's story time was all about dirt and mud. Seemed fitting after the ridiculous amount of rain we've been getting!

Stories We Shared

Our first story of the day was UnderGround by Denise Fleming. I have so much love for this story it isn't funny.
Our second story is more appropriate for early spring, but I love it so we read it anyway. Mud by Ray.

Flannels We Shared
What goes with mud better than pigs? Nothing! Today's flannel was from Sunflower Storytime.
     Five little pigs rolled in the mud
     Squishy, squashy, felt so good.
     The farmer took one piggy out.
     ‘Oink, Oink, oink,’ the pig did shout!
     No little pigs rolled in the mud.
     They all looked so clean and good.
     The farmer turned his back and then,
     Those pigs rolled in the mud again.
 Note: because my kids are so young we only used 3 piggies.

Rhymes We Shared
Today we sang our Shaker Song, but added the rest of the verses to it. Our verses aren't in the same order as Jbrary's, mostly because I had shortened the song to begin with, but we were SUPER excited over this song. We sang it 6 times. Six times. Yes, six. Then we played with our shakers, taking turns deciding where/how we would shake them. Always a huge hit.
     Shake Your Shaker
     Shake your shaker in the air
     Shake it here, shake it there
     Shake your shaker in the air
     Shake your shaker

     Shake it up and shake it down
     Shake your shaker on the ground
     Shake it up and shake it down
     Shake your shaker

     Shake it fast and shake it slow
     Shake it stop, shake it go
     Shake it fast and shake it slow
     Shake your shaker

     Shake it high and shake it low
     Shake it yes, shake it no
     Shake it high and shake it low
     Shake your shakers

We closed with Eensy Weensy and Twinkle Twinkle as is becoming our habit lately.

Early Literacy Tips We Shared
Don't forget, talking with your child helps them learn about the world around them. As children listen to spoken language they learn new words and what they mean while gaining important knowledge about the world around them.

Toddler Time - Bugs

Bugs Bugs BUGS! Today we read and talked about BUGS. We had a very small group today, so didn't follow the format we usually do. I only had one little boy (darn rain!) but we had a great time. He got a tailored story time just for him and some one-on-one action with dad.

Stories We Shared

We read two stories today. First up was a sparkly board book (which I normally avoid because they're so small and hard to see in a group) called Hello, Bugs. Adorable. Simple, eye-catching and perfect for little ones.
Our second story was I Love Bugs, which was super fun in my small group. We got to talk about all the different bugs shown on each page. It was a great learning opportunity.

Flannels We Shared
Today's flannel was 5 Hungry Ants from Miss Mary Liberry! I didn't have time to create awesome flannels, so I used laminated cardstock images. The kids didn't mind. :)
     5 Hungry Ants
     5 Hungry Ants marching in a line,
     Came upon a picnic where they could dine.
     They marched into the salad,
     They marched into the cake,
     They marched into the pepper….
     Uh oh, that was a mistake!
     AHHHH-CHOOO! (throw ant into the air!)
          4 hungry ants….etc….
Note: We only did 3 Hungry Ants. The favorite was when I tossed the ant into the air after sneezing!

Rhymes We Shared
This boy LOVES the Shaker Song so we sang it a billion times today. OK, maybe like 3. But he loves it. We also sang Eensy Weensy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle today.

Early Literacy Tips We Shared

  • We didn't actually share any specific tips today, because we were one-on one. Instead dad and I just chatted about the different ways learning can be incorporated into play. This dad is fantastic and I am SO glad he's started coming to story time with his son.

Toddler Time - Purple

Still going strong in our color series today! We're almost done though. I think we're all just a little relieved. The 7 week series was ambitious and interesting, but we're all getting a little bored. If I do a series like this again (IF), I'll limit it to 3 weeks. Today's theme was purple!

Stories We Shared
Today we read Purple Little Bird. I've seen some adaptations of this in flannel, and I would love to do that some day, but the story is adorable on its own.

Flannels We Shared
Once again we did our Little Bird flannel. The kids love matching our birds to their nests, but are pretty much done with the rhyme. We now just ask which bird goes with which nest and play with them. Which works!

Rhymes We Shared
Our first song of the day was We Love Purple. I found this one on Preschool Express. It's from Heather McPhail. It is fun, but it will get stuck in your head!
     We love purple, we love purple.
     Yes, we do.  Yes, we do.
     Purple grapes and eggplant,
     Purple plums and grape juice,
     Just for me, just for you.

We also played a game today. We played a scavenger hunt style game where I had taped purple crayons all over the program room and while we sang the Color Chorus from Teaching Mama. My kids found purple crayons on the wall and put them in my basket. Totally adorable.
     If you see a purple crayon, pick it up.
     If you see a purple crayon, pick it up.
     Stand and wiggle, give a SHOUT!
     If you see a purple crayon, pick it up!

Of course we sang the Shaker Song, Eensy Weensy, and Twinke Twinkle Little Star today.

Early Literacy Tips We Shared

  • Babies can begin to associate words with objects and people as early as 6 months. Parents who identify the color of objects and frequently repeat this concept will find that their toddlers will start to recognize color names quickly.

Toddler Time - Blue

Welcome to week 5 of my color series for Toddler Time! This week we're focusing on the color blue! This week I disovered that it isn't super easy to find short, easy to remember rhymes about the color blue (if you have any leave them in the comments! I'm always looking for more.). Stories are easy, but rhymes not so much. I didn't want to have to fall back on Two Little Bluebirds [Blackbirds] so I went to pinterest and the Flannel Friday board to find an easy rhyme that went with the color blue.

Stories We Shared
It has been SUPER nice here this week, so everyone was wicked full of energy. So today we focused more on things that kept us moving and singing, and only read one book. We read My Blue Boat by Chris Demarest. It was a super cute story with awesome illustrations.

Flannels We Shared
We're still in our color series (only two weeks to go now) so we did our usual routine of the Little Bird rhyme and one new flannel. This week's flannel comes from Storytime Katie. The original rhyme is 5 Big Whales, but I wanted blue, so changed it to 5 Blue Whales. We had more fun just playing with the whales and making them swim than with the rhyme, but I think that was in part due to everyone wanting to be outside. This week I had a teen volunteer help me with my flannels.
     Five Blue Whales
     Five blue whales in the sea offshore
     One swam up to spout and that left four.
     Four blue whales in the deep blue sea
     One swam up to spout and that left three.
     Three blue whales in the sea so blue
     One swam up to spout and that left two.
     Two blue whales having loads of fun
     One swam up to spout and that left one.
     One blue whale longing for the sun
     He swam up to spout, and that left none!

Rhymes We Shared
This week's big winner was the Shake Your Shaker song from Jbrary. This week the toddlers were huge into the song and we sung it three times, each time to giant smiles. I think we'll continue to use this song when the color series is over.
As as usual for our color series we danced to De Colores and sung Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Early Literacy Tips We Shared

  • Parents, don't forget that repetition helpls children develop and maintain connections in their brains. This is one of the reasons we've been repeating so much in Toddler Time recently. 
  • Parents who identify the color of objects and frequently repeat this concept will find that their toddlers will start to recognize color names quickly. 

Toddler Time - Green

Today was the fourth week of my color series, so our color was green. I had a parent tell me that I do a wonderful job and how much her toddler loves coming, so I think that's some good feeback. :) It's always super nice to hear that I'm doing something good.

Stories We Shared:

Today we read two stories about green. The first was Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (super fitting). This is perfect for Toddler Time. PERFECT. Each page has a color of green and a matching illustration. We didn't read every page, but the pages we did read fascinated the toddlers. Our second book was a big book version of Jump Frog Jump by Robert Kalan. This is another classic, and the big book format was awesome.

Flannels We Shared:
Since today was green I had to sing Five Green and Speckled Frogs. I just had to. And Five Green and Speckled Frogs is fantastic for flannels, so I made five flannel frogs to go along. (my photo is a little blurry, it doesn't do my frogs justice.)

Rhymes We Shared:
It's the middle of my color series, so we repeated the same rhymes from before. We shook our shakers to Shake Your Shaker from Jbrary, waved our scarves to De Colores by Raffi, and twinkled our scarves, fingers, and shakers to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Early Literacy Tips We Shared:

  • Parents, you may have noticed that we're repeating a lot recently. This is because research shows that repetition helps young children form and maintain connections in their brain and nervous systems. 
  • Color and shape are among the first concepts babies learn. Babies can begin to associate words with objects and people as early as 6 months. Parents who identify the color of objects and frequently repeat this concept will find that their toddlers will start to recognize color names quickly. (I try have my tips memorized, but for some reason even though I've been using these tips for a couple of weeks I lost this one halfway through and had to dig out my notes. It was pretty funny. I just wish my parents had been able to complete my tip for me, that would have been awesome!)

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