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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kazoo Zoo

How do you define "lunacy"? Giving 45 children kazoos in a library that's how.

Today we were very fortunate to have Rush Clement from Rush Hour Studios bring his guitar to the library.  Not only did the kids get to sing-along with Rush on the guitar and Mark on the drums, they got to hum and buzz along on kazoos generously provided by Bill Davis.

I am not positive, but I think at one point the windows in the children's apse were vibrating.

The program was a huge hit with the kids and  hilariously entertaining (from an adult perspective). We cannot wait to have Rush come back to the library for an encore!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Indiana Jones Finale

Who doesn't love Indiana Jones (even though the fourth film was a bit lame)?
This coming Tuesday we are going to cap off the six weeks of Dig Into Reading by digging into ancient tombs, temples, and artifacts with Indiana Jones. We have had such an amazing turnout for all of the summer reading events and I hope that just as many kids attend our final party!

I always get so geeked about these kinds of parties and my mind starts going in twenty thousand directions.
I have a tendency to go a little overboard, but who cares if the kids love it, right?  I did have to scrap one idea. I had planned for the kids to make whips out of duck tape but: 1)The duck tape would be difficult for younger kids to manipulate  2) Duck tape whips are actually quite painful if one hits you and 3) Arming 20-30 children is a BAD, BAD, BAD, BAD idea!!!! I am positive that many parents will be very pleased that I deep-sixed that craft.

I am considering showing the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom for older kids that want to stay on.  In my opinion the second movie is a bit more kid-friendly then the others in the franchise (probably because of Short Round). As a bonus, I can serve gross looking snacks and call it the Pankot Palace Buffet. Chilled monkey brains anyone?

My father lives for Halloween and he has graciously lent me skeletons, skulls, rats, spiders, snakes, etc. to create a creepy tomb to explore. Hopefully everything will come together in time and kids will have a blast in "The Library of Doom".

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Go Wordless!

 I have been a total book nerd my entire life so when I became a mom I could not wait to share my passion for reading with my children. My daughter, who had an amazingly long attention span from toddler-hood,  had me read James and the Giant Peach to her three times before she was five. I struggled sometimes with my oldest son, because he always wanted me to read nonfiction books (definitely not my preference, but now I know all sorts of interesting facts about bats, dinosaurs, sharks, monster trucks, etc.).

If you have not read this book check it out today! It is so funny!
Zane, my youngest son, is now six and he has not stopped talking since he learned to string more than two words together. Reading aloud to my little motormouth has always been a giggle-inducing experience (for me at least) because he interjects more than the little red chicken in David Ezra Stein's Interrupting Chicken.

Since Zane loves to gibber-jabber and add his own two (or fifty) cents to every story, I love reading wordless picture books with him. You may be asking yourself how you can "read" a book with only pictures. The illustrations in a wordless picture book show the action and movement of a story, so all of the dialogue and description gets to be written by the reader. What could be more fun for a rambunctious chatterbox with an exuberant imagination.

Numerous early literacy experts have espoused the benefits of reading wordless picture books and you can read some of that here. Of course, it is great that reading wordless picture books develops early literacy skills. However, I love reading them because Zane's narrations crack me up. So even if you don't really care about early literacy skills (which I am sure isn't true), you should check out a wordless picture book for your own entertainment. I promise you it will be worth it.

One of Zane's favorites is Chalk by Bill Thompson.  A group of kids are playing with chalk in the park when everything they draw comes to life, including a ferocious t-Rex.  Zane has "read" this story multiple times and each time it gets longer with more detail. It is especially hilarious when he does the voice of the t-Rex being washed away by the rain, which sounds a little bit like the Wicked Witch of the West melting at the end of the Wizard of the Oz.

I have also used wordless picture books with my young author's club. Each child chooses a wordless picture book to write words for. Sometimes I have them practice writing the dialogue or just describing the setting and characters.

Here are some other wordless or nearly wordless picture books that are at the top of my list:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lego Time: Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

Our second Lego Time was all about creating bugs and boy did we have fun. There were real bugs and fake bugs. A jail was created for when the bugs were bad!  One of the best things about Legos is the creativity that goes into playing with them. The kids created transformer bugs, one even had an oil rig for a stinger. One child created a sea slug and a dock the it lived under. When an unsuspecting fisherman would come along, the slug would eat him. Another bug created was a horse parasite. 

or a spider
Of course no bug program would be
complete without a mosquito! 

All of our bugs!

Next month our theme is 
In to the Wild

ALA Chicago

AlA is the acronym for American Library Association. It is the oldest and largest library assouciation in the world, providing information, news, events, advocacy resources for members, libraries, and library users. (ALA website) Their Annual Conference is held every year in July.
It runs for 6 days with pre-conference and after conference activities. This is the conference to attend if you are a librarian. We meet in our committees, hear about and sample the latest trends in the industry, and meet other librarians and authors.

The committee that I am on, the Fabulous Films Committee under YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association), meets twice a year after viewing many many films and compose a top ten list for Young Adult Librarians on a certain subject. Our first meeting was lots of fun. This fall I will be showing some of the movies, looking for teen incite!

I mentioned that I looked at some of the latest trends for the library world. I was specifically looking for ideas for the early literacy center. (The picture above shows just one of the ideas and is linked to the website) Let the grant writing begin!

Finally the authors, for me this was like going to the Academy Awards. There were so many authors that I met that I admire! Tom Angleberger, Peter Brown, Aaron Reynolds, Jeffery Brown, Loren Long, Ally Carter, Mo Willems, Kevin Henkes, Daniel Kraus just to name a few. However  the highlight of my week was to have the artist Thien Pham draw me.