1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Party

26 Aug

Each year we celebrate all the little ones who have completed our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten – many are students entering Kindergarten, but others are still little ones who have been reading since they were a few months old.  We try to hold our party in August before school starts to celebrate these families who put an emphasis on early literacy at home!

25067039.jpgI start the program off in a joking way, telling the families that they may have read 1,000 books, but we’re going to read another together!  This year I chose crowd-favorite characters – Elephant & Piggie!  I love the way Mo Willems creates these characters and you can’t find a better book for reading aloud (especially if you have two people!).  I went with I Really Like Slop in which Piggie is sharing all that she loves about slop with Elephant.  Elephant gamely decides to try slop even with the flies buzzing around it and what ensues is hysterical!  The kids were giggling up a storm – which was awesome!

After we read our story, we had a very special project to work on – sensory bottles!  This created absolute mayhem in our programming room, but the kids (and adults) seemed to really enjoy it!  I bought Voss water bottles from Amazon.  Ours were a little smaller than the typical bottle (330 ml vs. 500 ml), but they were the perfect size for our sensory bottles.  And for 12 bottles for $9.99, I couldn’t pass it up.  I then hit up our local dollar store for confetti, glitter, beads, and googly eyes to fill our bottles, plus funnels (3 for $1).  I also grabbed generic baby oil and food coloring from Target and superglue to close up the bottles.

We used the Lemon Lime Adventures blog post as a basic set of instructions, emptied about a 1/3 of the water (used it later for refreshments) and then allowed the kids to add to the bottles the little trinkets they wanted.  With adult help, we added a drop of food coloring (you don’t need very much – it get’s too dark) and the baby oil.  We then super glued the cap closed and the kids LOVED it!

This project was not for the faint of heart – it required a bunch of supplies and trust in the adults helping, a lot.  But if you have a smaller crowd, it’s a great activity that kids will definitely love doing and the parents enjoyed it because their house wasn’t covered in glitter by the end of the evening!


Level Up: Pairing Video Games with Children’s and YA Books (Grand Theft Auto)

25 Aug

Level Up- Video Game Book ListsEach Thursday this summer, I’ll be posting a video game and corresponding book list. This is just a fun, personal project that was actually the brainchild of my boyfriend who thought that A) it sounded awesome and B) that there are a lot of parents who would love to have some resources for those kids who would rather be in front of a screen than a book. I’m hoping these titles will appeal to both boys and girls who love gaming and who do love storytelling; they just need the right book to make them readers. Each list will include the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s (ESRB) rating for the game. I know that every family is different, but want to make sure this information is provided as I’ll be offering lists for games for younger kids as well as teens.

Grand Theft Auto (Mature)

GtalogoGrand Theft Auto is an open-world action-adventure video game where players can choose missions to move the story forward, work or side activities with a focus on driving in fictional locations modeled after U.S. cities.  Although this game has more adult and mature themes, it is popular with a number of titles to its name in a varied of platforms.  The books I chose for this list include adventure style books with lots of action and include both titles suitable for a middle school audience and young adults.

Double Vision by F.T. Bradley

Lincoln doesn’t mean to cause so much trouble but ends up being expelled from school and threatened with a lawsuit after a harmless prank is played while on a field trip.  That is, until a secret government agency provides Linc with a proposition.  Role play as one of the agency’s kid agents who went missing and they’ll make the whole lawsuit disappear.  Lincoln’s just a regular kid – not a secret agent, will he be able to hack it in the real world?

Gone by Michael Grant

You’re safe, if you’re a teenager – everyone else is gone, just like that.  No adults and no phones, internet, or television.  And soon the teens start developing new and dangerous powers as they fight for survival in a world with no rules.  Reviewers liken this story to Lord of the Flies with elements of Stephen King.  The first in a series, you won’t want to put down.

Loot by Jude Watson

March’s father dies in a fall during a burglary and March is seemingly left as an orphan until he is reunited with a twin sister he never knew he had.  Between her street smarts and the clues his father gave him, March and Jules are on the hunt for their father’s next heist before his rivals get to it first. And if they do, they’ll have enough money to do what they want rather than being stuck in an orphanage that feels more like a prison.  This is a fast-paced adventure story for fans of the 39 Clues series.

The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger’s Apprentice series) by John Flanagan

A fantasy option for adventure seekers, Will has always hoped to become a knight, but he ends up as a Ranger’s apprentice, joining the ranks of the secretive group whose sole job is to protect the kingdom from the evil warlord and the beasts that follow him.  Will soon learns that his job as a ranger’s apprentice involves more skill and is more dangerous than he ever could have imagined.  This is the first in a series about a young man finding his way in a world of unexpected adventure.

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

Alex Rider can’t believe his uncle/guardian has been murdered, until he learns that his uncle worked for Special Operations M16 and was a spy for the British government.  Now, Alex must take over his uncle’s mission and after only two weeks of training, Alex is sent head first into a world he didn’t even know existed.  With action around every corner this is a page-turner you won’t be able to put down.  This is a perfect choice for young teens looking for a fast-paced, James Bond-style read.

Library Director 101 – Thoughts #1

24 Aug

Yesterday, I spent a few hours trying to get my office organized… my previous director had been in the position for 37 years let me repeat that – 37 years!  So needless to say, the office could use a little refreshing and some spring late summer cleaning.  Thankfully our building maintenance crew was so kind in helping me move around some furniture, get rid of other furniture and in general just went with the flow as I figured out what I wanted to do.  (Honestly, I have no idea what I want to do.)

But, I did think of a cool idea for my door!  I have a small bulletin board on my door and I think my plan is to make a “What is Laura reading?” poster and update it as often as possible.  I think for some people in the library, they might have forgotten how much they love to read (and talk about it!). I think it’s extremely difficult to provide quality reader’s advisory without have some basic knowledge of authors and genres, so it’s my hope that by sharing my reading world with my staff, they’ll begin sharing theirs as well – with me, with coworkers and with patrons. As of right now, it’s a very small thing, but one that I think may have interesting results.  I’ll keep you posted.

Other than that, right now, I’m trying to keep my head above water as I balance my work in the children’s department with trying to get my feet underneath me as a library director.  It’s not going to be the easiest next couple of months, but I’m ready for the challenge – and I’ve got gummy vitamins and yoga stretching to keep my energy up! Do you have any tips for a new library director?  Share them with me in the comments below!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books on My Long-Standing TBR List

23 Aug

Long-Standing TBR.png

It’s probably not too surprising that my Long-Standing TBR shelf is filled with adult books… and most I’ve started, just haven’t finished yet ever.  Maybe in my new position, I’ll allow myself to stretch out into adult literature a little more and finally cross these off my TBR list, we’ll see!

  1. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabríel Graca Márquez
  2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  3. Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah
  4. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  5. The Source by James A. Michener
  6. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  7. Slaughter-House-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  8. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
  9. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  10. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

Mini-Vacation & Reflections

19 Aug

We’re on our way to Michigan this morning, having stopped overnight at my parents’ home in western PA for a quick overnight visit. We’re heading out for a surprise birthday party and to spend some time with good friends and their new baby! 

I’m so ready for a long weekend after my first official week as the director (while still working as the children’s librarian until we replace me). So I’m working two jobs – trying to get ready as our current director’s last day is today and I’ll be in charge when I get back to work on Tuesday.

My week consisted of meetings, meetings and more meetings, writing everything down so that hopefully I have notes to refer to as I need them. I’m also continuing to work my desk hours which meant that meetings began at 9:00am the other day and I was on the desk until 9:00pm… a very long day. By 5 o’clock yesterday, I was so ready for a break.

But, our trip across the state really helped me to relax as we chased the sunset through the Appalacian mountains with a beautiful sky filled with oranges, pinks, purples and blues. I love how nature’s beauty is all around if you only remember to look for it. I’ll be back to work on Tuesday, feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to start my first week on my own as the director.


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