#PictureBook Review: Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett

#PictureBook Review: Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett

Orange Pear Apple BearOrange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

picture book

Gravett manipulates only five words into a delightfully simple story about a bear that eats some fruit.

Orange. Pear. Apple. Bear.
Apple, pear. Orange Bear.
Orange pear. Apple bear.

Eventually, bear eats the orange. Then the pear. Then the apple. There!

There are so many things to chew on here! You can talk about colors, shapes, punctuation, and word play on each page. Gravett’s simple watercolor illustrations compliment perfectly.

This is a great book to share one-on-one with a little one on your lap.

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Free, Online Tutorials on Storytime Basics

Free, Online Tutorials on Storytime Basics

Are you a new librarian taking over storytime for the first time? Or maybe your children’s librarian is out and you are filling in? Or maybe you just need a refresher on some storytime basics? Then check out this wonderful series by the Early Literacy Facilitators, part of a project called iLEAD, Innovative Librarians Explore, Apply and Discover (ILEAD): The 21st Century Technology and Leadership Skills Institute, from the Utah State Library to use participatory technology to develop skills in library staff.

They give tips on everything from what to wear during storytime to best book placement to vocal inflection to singing! There are 19 short videos and I have included their promotional video below. And I love that they are big Mo Willems fans! 🙂

Thank you for sharing your work, Early Literacy Facilitators!

Bots & Books: West Texas Training

Bots & Books: West Texas Training

This week we conducted our second training for year 2 of Bots & Books in San Angelo, Texas at the Tom Green County Library System.

2015-10-19 14.27.52-1 2015-10-19 14.27.11 2015-10-19 09.54.06 2015-10-19 09.54.00 2015-10-19 09.53.10I brought these Lego candies for an afternoon pick-me-up. They actually click together! They taste a little like Smarties.

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Another day packed to the brim with information, but our librarians were real troopers and made it through with a smile. This stuff can be intimidating and difficult for those who aren’t comfortable with technology or who haven’t played with Legos in a few decades.

Here are some of the cool builds we worked on!

Next week I will be speaking to another pocket of libraries in north east Texas about our fantastic Bots & Books grant! Only one more training to go!

#PictureBook Review: Henry’s Stars by David Elliot

#PictureBook Review: Henry’s Stars by David Elliot

Henry's StarsHenry’s Stars by David Elliot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publisher: Philomel Books, Penguin

picture book

One night, Henry the pig is stargazing when the stars formed a picture of a great big starry pig constellation running across the sky. He runs to tell his friends the sheep. They see the constellation he is talking about but correct him. It is clearly a great sheep in the sky. They ask Abigail the cow for her opinion who doesn’t see a pig or a sheep… but a great star cow! After asking other farmyard friends who all see something different, Henry gets discouraged and can’t even find the pig at all anymore.

I love a good picture book that highlights staring at the stars! This is a wonderful little story about how we see what is familiar to us. Everyone has their own perspective. This is such a big lesson told in such a simple and beautiful way. Great for little thinkers!

This would make a wonderful storytime book as there is a lot of opportunity for interaction. The more animals that are introduced you could prompt your audience to guess what they are going to see. This could also be followed up with a constellation craft or activity, such as these constellation connect-the-dots coloring pages.

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Book Review: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look

Book Review: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things (Alvin Ho, #1)Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books, Random House

middle grade

Alvin Ho is a second grader who is easily spooked. He is so frightened at school that he never speaks. But when he is at home or in a comfortable space, he is like any other kid. Big brother to Annibelly and little brother to Calvin, he has a big and loving family to help him when he gets stuck in trees. Like many other kids his age, he is desperately trying to figure out how to make friends. When he finally makes friends by trading some awesome rookie baseball cards, he realizes that he doesn’t really want to be friends with those people anyway. Instead, he turns to the friends that he has had all along.

Some middle grade books still speak to me as an “adult”. Unfortunately, this was not one of them. That is not to say that this was not an enjoyable beginning to a series. I have been traveling a lot for work and so sitting and reading hasn’t been as easy. I never got fully engaged and found it hard to come back to it. And sometimes books that I know would be great for a middle grader, just don’t click with me. I guess I am just a crotchety old lady (of 33) despite all my efforts. And sometimes it helps to actually be the target audience.

All that said, I am glad I am acquainted with this series so I can recommend to others. It has a diverse and funny cast of characters and discusses issues in a nonthreatening way.

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Swiss Army Librarian » Circulating a Roku for Streaming Videos

Swiss Army Librarian » Circulating a Roku for Streaming Videos

Check out this great idea for circulating a Roku from the Swiss Army Librarian!

Our Roku circulates for one week, cannot be renewed, but can be requested. We’re also circulating it in a padded case that comes with a remote control, various cables to connect it to the patron’s television or digital projector, power supply, and instructions:

roku

via Swiss Army Librarian » Circulating a Roku for Streaming Videos :: Brian Herzog.

#PictureBook Review: The Boy Who Loved the Moon by Rino Alaino

#PictureBook Review: The Boy Who Loved the Moon by Rino Alaino

The Boy Who Loved the MoonThe Boy Who Loved the Moon by Rino Alaino
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Here is the short film on which this picture book is based:

A boy falls in love with the moon. Determined to win her affection, he offered her gift after gift continually being rejected by the moon. An old man tells him to give up or “she will transform him forever”. He then physically restrains the moon “with a long piece of string” so that he can offer her something she has never seen before: the beautiful colors of the day.

The illustrations really are lovely, being mostly sepia until the page where the boy shows the moon the colors of the day. But my 3 year old remarked that the moon doesn’t go away during the day.

Even more than any questionable scientific accuracy, I am pretty appalled by the message. So when a girl continually turns you down despite your feats of strength to impress her, just physically restrain her with a rope and she might eventually give in?

Now I can understand a suspension of disbelief. I do that all of the time when reading fantasy. However, when my toddler questions the science and I am so disturbed by the undertone, I am afraid that I can’t support what could have been a sweet tale about love. Too often we swoon over stories that focus too much on the effort put out by a man to “win” the love of a woman without stopping to consider how the woman might feel or if he eventually “wins” her because she feels pressured into it.

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Bots & Books: Central Texas Training at the Round Rock Public Library

Bots & Books: Central Texas Training at the Round Rock Public Library

We had a wonderful first training at the Round Rock Public Library for this year’s Bots & Books grant. We have to cover a LOT of information in only one day so it can be overwhelming. But it is so great to see these librarians from libraries of different sizes with varying levels of experience with Legos and robotics tinker and have fun.

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Here are just a few of the builds we created.

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Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire!

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Book Review: What Goes Around: Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Book Review: What Goes Around: Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

What Goes Around: Cracked Up to Be / Some Girls AreWhat Goes Around: Cracked Up to Be / Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

publisher: St. Martin’s Press

YA

Man, being a teenager is hard. Reading these brings back so many memories. Luckily I didn’t experience some of the things these girls experienced. Flailing, feeling like what your peers think is the most important thing in the world, feeling like no one understands you, not having anywhere to turn… those are universal teenager experiences that this book, really these two books, address.

In Cracked Up To Be, Parker Fadley was once one of the golden children of her high school. Popular and feared, she was captain of the cheerleading team and part of a power couple with Josh. But the pressure to keep it up, to be perfect and meet expectations, gets to her. When she has an experience that shakes her perfect world, she doesn’t respond very well. She shuns everyone and is destructive to herself. Cracked Up is all about her coming to terms with what has happened and finding a new ground where she can be herself and be happy.

In Some Girls Are, Regina Afton also goes from top to bottom when her big-girl-on-campus “best” friend Anna’s boyfriend Donnie tries to rape Regina at a party. Regina turns to a girl she bullied for being overweight who tells Anna that Regina slept with Donnie and they proceed to destroy her. They create YourSpace pages for hating on Regina and spread vicious rumors. Regina responds the only way she knows, by fighting back. When she again turns to some old friends who she destroyed to get win Anna’s approval, she realizes how it feels to be on the receiving end of that kind of “fun”.

I picked up this title because of the recent book challenge to Some Girls Are at a high school in South Carolina. Here is a BookRiot article about the challenge: http://bookriot.com/2015/07/30/girls-…

The response by the Internet was fantastic! Over 800 copies of the book were donated and sent to the local public library who gave out copies to the teens in the community: http://bookriot.com/2015/07/30/girls-…

Summers lays out a no-sugar-coating of how tough it can be in high school. It continued to amaze me how clueless these girls’ parents seem to be. They had to face these battles completely alone. Luckily, through all of the horrible times they faced, they both seemed to have a beacon of hope in a friend. These are not easy books to read but provide an honest look at bullying and pressure as a teen.

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#PictureBook Review: The Moon is Going to Addy’s House by Ida Pearle

#PictureBook Review: The Moon is Going to Addy’s House by Ida Pearle

The Moon is Going to Addy's HouseThe Moon is Going to Addy’s House by Ida Pearle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Young Readers Group
picture book, bedtime

I picked this book up because my daughter recently asked me about the moon following us around while we were running errands. I tried to explain how big the moon was and how far away we were from it as best I could. While this title doesn’t really address any of those things, it gives justification to those little curious minds who are oh-so observant.

Pearly uses paper collage to create stunning illustrations of marbled papers to represent the the sunset, the night sky, and the world all around a little girl and her family as they head home for the day and get ready for bed. It is a sweet nighttime story with some stunning illustration.

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