Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Program-a-Looza at ALA Annual 2015

This past weekend at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in San Francisco the first Program-a-Looza sessions were held. This open share session, brainchild of Danielle Jones, Kahla Gubanich, Mary Pearl, and yours truly, focused on cheap, easy children’s programming for public libraries. Inspired by grassroots sessions, such as Guerrilla Storytime and YA Smackdown, Program-a-Looza was created as a way for children’s library staff to take home tangible programming ideas, tips, and resources.

We held two sessions and participants were encouraged to brainstorm and bring their personal strengths and experiences to the table. First, each person shared a favorite easy to replicate program. Next, we picked a programming topic and spent 2 minutes brainstorming ideas using pens and sticky notes.

Wondering what we talked about? Check out the session notes.

We plan to hold more Program-a-Looza sessions at ALA Midwinter 2016 in Boston. Stay tuned for more info on dates/times

Thursday, June 11, 2015

May Round-Up

Image from RandomHouse.com
The Bus is for Us! by Michael Rosen, Illustrated by Gillian Tyler
Candlewick, 2015

The rhyming text of this book celebrates modes of transportation with the bus always coming out as number one. You could ride a bike, train, or plane. You could wish for a ride on a fish, take a trip on a ship, or even ride in a sleigh. “But the best is the bus. The bus is for us.” The soft watercolor illustrations feature a multicultural cast of kids as they imagine all the wonderful ways to travel. Short sentences and a large font make this a great choice for a toddler or preschool storytime. Try adding movements for each of mode of transportation and encourage your audience to shout, "The bus is for us!"

Image from HarperCollinsChildrens.com
Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
HarperCollins, 2006

You might think that the rabbit in this book is just playing with a box, but the rabbit would be quick to remind you, “It’s not a box!” You might see the rabbit sitting in, standing on, or even wearing a box. But as you turn the pages you’ll find the rabbit is using its imagination to be sitting in a race car, standing on a mountain, and being a robot. The oft-repeated, “It’s not a box!” makes this a wonderful story for a preschool storytime or for independent readers in need of repetition. The thick lines of the illustrations stand out against the white background, while the brief text is set off by colorful backgrounds.

Image from LiszeBechtold.com
Sally and the Purple Socks by Lisze Bechtold
Philomel Books, 2008

Sally is very excited when her new purple socks arrive in the mail, but less excited when she learns that they have a tendency to change sizes! Good thing Sally is so practical. She uses the socks as hats, scarves, curtains, blankets, rugs, even a circus tent. The soft and warm illustrations were created with brushed ink line on top of gouache paint for a friendly, cartoonish atmosphere. The ever-changing socks make this book great for a preschool storytime focusing on narrative skills. The simple text balances narration and dialogue, making for a great read aloud. As the socks grow, Sally uses different words to describe the socks, “soft” “warm” “luxurious.” Take time before/during/after to talk about what each word means. What synonyms can the kids think of?

Image from GroundwoodBooks.com
Sidewalk Flowers by Jon Arno Lawson, Illustrated by Sydney Smith
Groundwood Books, 2015

A little red-hooded girl goes on a walk around the city with her very distracted father. He misses the details, but the little girl notices the flowers in the sidewalk cracks and vacant lots. She also sees people and animals that could use a little joy in the form of an urban flower. This wordless book has a quiet atmosphere, encouraging readers to look closer at the details of the illustrations. The pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations (with digital editing) play with shadows and light with well-placed splashes of color. This book is ideal for one-on-one reading that leaves plenty of time to discuss the action, objects, and people in the pictures.