Monday, September 27, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things

I love dogs.
I love books.
I love love Dog Loves Books.

by Louise Yates
Alfred A. Knopf
ISBN: 9780375864490

Dog enjoys books so much that he opens his very own bookstore. As business is slow, downhearted dog begins to read his wares. "When he read, he forgot that he was waiting. When he read, he forgot he was alone." Finishing one book, he chooses another and thus begins a new adventure.

As you can imagine, reading so many stories gives him excellent reader's advisory skills. Once customers start coming to his store, he gets to do his most favorite thing of all with books: share them!

Naturally the themes of Dog Loves Books made it the obvious choice to share during my goodbye party last week. And where exactly am I going?

I'm thrilled and honored to be the new Assistant Coordinator of Children's Services for Queens Library. I am completely excited to work with children's librarians in a new capacity and serve as a programming resource system-wide. One of my responsibilities this first week is to observe a library program for children on yoga-- which for anyone that personally knows me, knows that I find this beyond cool.

It will be curious to see if this change will have any effect on my blog. I hope to continue sharing ideas and inspiration in the form of books, activities, resources and more. If anything, now I will have even more library love to give... 63 to be exact!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Am Invited to a Party!

Just like Piggie, I have been invited to a party!

In fact, it's my honor: a "Sarah Celebration" if you will, as planned and named by a co-worker to say goodbye to the families and friends I've made working at this particular library for nearly five years. More soon on where exactly I'm going!

In the meantime, as part of the festivities I will share a book. Considering how often I read stories aloud to groups, this part should be a no-brainer. Except for the fact that I'm oddly blocked on the appropriate choice.

Should I stick with the theme and choose a story involving librarians, reading or moving forward with new experiences? Read The Giving Tree or Love You Forever? (Smile: joke for us children's librarians.) Choose one of my favorites that invites audience participation, or a book that I just personally love?

I still have a few days to decide, and will likely bring many choices to see which feels just right. I've been considering this from the perspective of which story ultimately defines me, which may not be the proper question. The best part of being a librarian is sharing books with others, so I should read what moves me to do just that in the moment.

What would you choose?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bless You

Welcome to allergy season.

It should be stated that I often use movement and various techniques to further engage children when sharing stories aloud. Children and parents quickly learn to repeat the actions I demonstrate and play along, otherwise known as modelling. One recent reminder of the influence of modelling in young children, and the extent to which one is being scrutinized was when, as sneezing during a read aloud, all of the children repeated this unrelated action!

This is not to say sneezing doesn't have its place in storytime. I encourage hygenic practices by inserting a sleeve covered pseudo sneeze while reading about the poor little baby with sneezes and chills in, "Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes" by Mem Fox. This sweet yet not overly sentimental book about the similarities of babies around the world is a rhythmic pleasure to read aloud with the most darling of illustrations.

I also add a sneezing extension to the song, "Five Little Monkeys Swinging from a Tree." Some might view this as slightly p.c., but my take is that it provides theatrical closure as well as another opportunity to practice one to one counting correspondence. I learned this trick from a children's librarian (and fellow vegetarian) while doing my library school practicum at the Grandview Heights Public Library in Columbus, Ohio. The song goes:

Five little monkeys swinging from a tree
Teasing Mr. Crocodile, "Can't catch me!"
Along comes Mr. Crocodile, as quiet as can be
And he SNAPS that Monkey right out of the tree!

Repeat with four, three, two, one

Here's an example of the song, complete with actions, courtesy of Mr. Mike.

After singing the last stanza, I note that there are no more monkeys left. The concept of zero is rather advanced for young ones, and something they might not fully grasp until age three or four. I make a zero with a hands, discussing how this means no more, all gone, nothing left etc.

But as it turns out, Mr. Crocodile is allergic to monkeys! Achoo! One monkey comes back. Achoo! Two monkeys... and so on, until all of the five little monkeys have reappeared for the next time we sing our song.