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Summer Storytime: Ice Cream

This week’s storytime was inspired by my favourite summertime treat—ice cream!

This was the first of our weekly drop-in summer storytimes for ages 3 and up. We also offer a drop-in Babytime and a Tales for Tots (for ages 18 months to 3 years old). Normally, our storytimes require registration, but we keep it casual for the summer because we find people don’t want to commit to a six-week session.

I introduced a new puppet this week. Isn’t he great? We have named him Squeak because his tongue squeaks when you press it. I’m new to puppets and I’m still trying to figure out how to work them into my storytime repertoire. (If anyone has any tips for using puppets in storytime, let me know!) Since we don’t have name tags for drop-in programs, I invited everyone to come up and give Squeak a pat on the head and tell him their name. This worked out really well, so I think I’ll keep doing this each week.

Then Squeak helped us sing our opening song…

Opening Song: The More We Get Together/Come Sing a Song of Summer

Song: Swimming, Swimming in my Swimming Pool

Swimming, swimming, in my swimming pool,
When days are hot when days are cool
In my swimming pool!
Front stroke, side stroke, fancy diving too!
Oh don’t you wish you never had anything else to do?

We talked about how hot it was outside and different ways to cool off. Several kids mentioned the brand new swimming pool next door and its awesome waterslide! Then we sang the song 3 times and did the actions together.

Action Rhyme: Tall as a Tree

Tall as a tree (stretch arms overhead)
Wide as a house (stretch arms out to sides)
Thin as a pin (arms tight against sides)
Small as a mouse (crouch)

I use this stretching rhyme in almost every storytime. The kids love to show me how tall, wide, thin, and small they can make themselves, and it’s great for getting the wiggles out.

Curious George book coverBook #1: Curious George and the Ice Cream Surprise

This is a longer book than I normally read, but it managed to keep everyone’s attention. Most of the kids were familiar with Curious George and were happy to listen to a story about him. They loved the part where George jumps onto the roof of the ice cream truck and laughed hysterically.

Felt Board Poem: Ice Cream Colours

We have ice cream, the best in town,
Let us begin with chocolate brown.
Now, let us scoop us some bubble-gum pink,

It is sweet and yummy, the best, some think.
Here is ice cream minty and green,

It is the creamiest I have ever seen.
Scoops of blueberry would make my day,
Look at all this ice cream, hip, hip hurray!
Red ice cream is a strawberry delight,

All these scoops are a heavenly sight.
Vanilla white is a popular flavor,

It tastes very good to an ice-cream craver.
e ice cream really gives me a kick,
Good and yummy till the very last lick.
Ice cream, ice cream, what a cool sensation,

We love ice cream in any combination!

I made this simple felt set to use while reciting the poem. This was a small group, so I was able to hand out a colour for each child to place on the flannel board as I called it. The kids loved watching the scoops of ice cream pile higher and higher. At the end of the poem, we said the colours together and then counted how many scoops we had.

Action Song: Head and Shoulders

We were getting a bit wiggly by this point, so I decided we needed to stand up and move around a bit. You can’t go wrong with Head and Shoulders. We did it 3 times. Once the normal way, then faster, then super-duper fast.

Book #2: Should I Share my Ice Cream? (An Elephant and Piggie Book)

I am a huge Mo Willems fan, but this was my first time using an Elephant and Piggie book in storytime. The kids were divided on whether Gerald should share his ice cream or not. Half the group insisted that he should share it with Piggie, while the other half thought that he should keep it all for himself. They continued to debate the issue well after the story was over and we were working on our craft.

Craft: Paper Ice Cream Cone

I had my teen volunteers cut out the paper ice cream and cone pieces the day before, so all the kids had to do was assemble using glue sticks and decorate with stickers, foamies, and markers. I like to keep drop-in storytime crafts as simple as possible since I never know how many people are going to show up.

reblog: The Library Sent me to Jail

After several months of neglect, I’m think I’m finally ready to resurrect my blog. Life is much less tumultuous now, my Mom has made a truly miraculous recovery, and I finally have time and energy for blogging again. Yay!

It’ll be a few weeks yet before this blog is fully resurrected. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to share some old posts from when I was a library school student. Here’s one I wrote in 2009 when I was on co-op with Calgary Public Library:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Library Sent me to Jail

The Library sent me to jail this week. Yes. Seriously.Yesterday, I visited the Calgary Remand Centre. What is a Remand Centre, you ask? (I had to!) A Remand Centre is a pre-trial detention centre. It houses people who are waiting for court decisions on their charges or placement in correctional centres.The library I work at sends staff to visit female inmates at the Remand Centre once a month. My boss thought it would be a good experience for me, so she arranged to have me tag along.

The building itself was one of the most depressing places I’ve ever been—truly institutional. But the inmates themselves were much different that I’d expected. I was advised I should “be prepared to be uncomfortable.” But all of the women who attended our session were pleasant, friendly, and generally appreciative of our visit. My colleague, the librarian, explained that for many of the inmates, jail isn’t as a bad as where they’ve come from. They’re safe, they have a warm place to sleep, they’re being fed nutritious meals, and they’re not being abused or attacked. Also, in their eyes, “library time” equals “free time” and extra time out of their cells. No wonder they’re smiling.

We decided to read aloud a few children’s books as many of the women have children. I never imagined I’d be reading aloud The Pigeon Wants A Puppy in prison, but there I was. Next, we asked for volunteers to read aloud a few of the other picture books we’d brought with us. Literacy is typically low for women who are incarcerated. The librarian mentioned that she likes to have them read aloud because it helps them to build their confidence. Not only are the picture books easy to read, but it also encourages them to read aloud to their own children when they are released.Overall, it was a very eye-opening experience. It helped me understand better where these women are coming from, and to look at them with less judgmental eyes. Also, it reemphasized for me why I am so passionate about public libraries. I saw firsthand that the public library can and does make a difference in these women’s lives.

Back to the Blog

2011 has been kind of a bust when it comes to blogging. This year has been incredibly difficult and I just haven’t had the time or energy to devote to maintaining this blog the way I used to. In March, I left my casual youth services librarian position in a multi-library system for a new and more challenging full-time job as a children’s services librarian at a smaller town library. The position was newly created—they’d never had a dedicated children’s librarian on staff before. It’s been…er… interesting… carving out my role there over the last few months. One of my biggest challenges has been convincing fellow staff (and occasionally management) that I am a professional Librarian. I’m often referred to as “just the children’s librarian” in an almost derogatory way, as if I’m less qualified than the other reference staff. That really irks me. Does this happen to anyone else? *sigh*

With the new job, came a hour+ long daily commute. If you know me, you know how much I hate driving, so you can guess what I cranky person I was for those first few months. Fortunately, the new job meant that I could finally move out of my apartment of horrors. Unfortunately, finding a place close enough to work was more difficult than I thought. I eventually found a place, but it’s another basement (ick) and it’s a lot more money than I wanted to spend (double ick), but at least my new landlords are nice, reasonable people, the apartment is legit, and it takes me only 15 minutes to get to work.

I had every intention of getting back to blogging once I was settled into my new place. But the day after I moved in, life threw me a major curveball when my Mom underwent an emergency cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal). It was a major, high risk surgery for her. She went into septic shock. She did not wake up for eight days. Then we learned that there had been complications…Her lungs were severely damaged. She was being kept alive by mechanical ventilation. The infection was raging through body, attacking her other organs and systems.

This is the nightmare I have been living for three months now. I have been spending all of my spare time driving back and forth to the city my parents live in to visit my Mom in the ICU. This ordeal has brought me such emotional and physical strain. I’ve never been so exhausted in my entire life. Finally, this week, some good news: the infection is under control—no more fevers. She is regaining a bit of strength and is alert. And, they’ve even been able to reduce her dependency on the ventilator slightly. The road to recovery will be very, very long, but at least it seems she’s on her way. A couple of weeks ago, it sounded like her medical team was ready to give up on her. I’m grateful for small improvements like these.

I want to get back to blogging, but it will be a gradual return. I’ve also changed the focus of this blog. While previously, I focused on Young Adult literature and library services, I will now write about broader aspects of life and librarianship (though there will still be an emphasis on services and materials for children and teens).

Waiting on Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:


A Sisters Red companion novel

by Jackson Pearce

Release date: August 23, 2011

From “Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.

Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.

Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.”

My thoughts: This sounds like a really cool retelling of Hansel and Gretel. I loved Jackson’s Pearce’s take on the Red Riding Hood story in Sisters Red—it was one of my top YA reads of 2010. I hope Sweetly will be just as good. Most of the early reviews I’ve read have been very positive, so hopefully I won’t be disappointed. I think I may want to find myself a copy of original Grimm’s Fairy Tales before delving into this one. The version of the Hansel and Gretel story I remember is rather tame.

Buy an iPad app from Auryn & Support LWB’s work in Guatemala

Twenty-seven of my fellow Librarians Without Borders (LWB)  members are currently on the ground in Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala,  participating in a service learning trip at the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy.

I was thrilled to learn that LWB is being sponsored by Auryn, a digital publisher of interactive children’s books for the iPad.

From April 22nd – May 3rd,  Auryn will donate $1 of each app sold to Librarians Without Borders!

Auryn has been praised for their visionary work in the mobile kids book app market.  Their work includes Teddy’s Day, Teddy’s Night, Bunny Fun: Head Shoulder’s Knees and Toes and my personal favourite, The Little Mermaid. Please consider purchasing one of these apps and help support the work of LWB during this promotional period.

You can learn more about LWB and the Asturias project here. Also, be sure to follow the group’s progress at Asturias on the Guatemala Trip Blog.

YA Round-up

Hello, readers. I’m considering moving this semi-regular feature over to the CLASY blog in the near future. The focus of my blog may be changing soon and I think the YA Round-up might be better suited for the CLASY readership. As much as I love YA, I think I want to start using this space to explore broader issues of youth librarianship and collections. What do you think? 

But for now … onto the latest links round-up. Here are a few interesting YA-related links which caught my eye  over the last week or so.

  • CLASY’s going to Halifax. Canadian Libraries Are Serving Youth (CLASY) are hosting a pre-conference event at the CLA national conference in Halifax.
  • Canadian book review journal Resource Links has released its “Best of” list for 2010. Scroll down to find their picks for top Fiction Grades 7 – 12 and Non-Fiction Grades 7 – 12.
  • YA Library UK discusses Creating a Teen Offer without Staff or a Budget, the first post in their On a Shoestring series.
  • YA Librarian Sarah shares some nuggets of wisdom as she celebrates Two Years on the Job.
  • The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have announced the finalists for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.
  • Finals Service: Illinois Library Association’s YA blog/newsletter on designing teen programing around exam time.
  • Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom by Susin Nielsen was named the winner of the inaugural CBC’s Bookies award in the YA category, beating out nominees Plain Kate, Mockingjay, The Secret Fiend, and The Awakening.

CLASY’s going to Halifax!

Canadian Libraries Are Serving Youth (CLASY) is hosting a pre-conference event May 25th at the CLA national conference in Halifax. For details please see the CLA Pre-conference page on the CLASY blog or visit the CLA conference site.  

Hope to see you there!

Waiting on Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Corsets & Clockwork

A YA Steampunk Romance anthology edited by Teresa Telep.

Release date: May 10, 2011

From “A stunning anthology of the very best of steampunk that’s taking teen fiction by storm. Bestselling romance editor Trisha Telep brings an exciting new element to the fast-growing sub-genre of steampunk, which bends and blends the old and the new in increasingly popular dark urban fantasies. Young heroes and heroines battle evil, in various forms with the help of super-technological or supernatural powers, while falling in and out of love.”

Steampunk is all the rage in YA these days. Lots of awesome authors involved in this one, including Canada’s Lesley Livingston (author of Wondrous Strange). Gorgeous cover, too!

YA Round-up

Hi everyone! Apologies for the lack of posts in 2011.  January was a horribly bad month for me. I don’t even want to talk about it. I’m slowly crawling out of my funk and trying to get back into the blogging spirit.

It’s time for another YA links round-up!

  • Getting the Stink Eye in the YA section? This YA brochure idea is kind of awesome (link via @YAaddict).
  • Speaking of the TD National Reading Summit, you can access the High School/Post Secondary Working Group’s Report here. I really wanted to attend but since I was not eligible for funding from my employer and I had just attended the CLASY Libraries and Teen workshop in Ottawa out of my own pocket, I just couldn’t justify the expense.