It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

We participate in the blog trend of Monday posts about what we have read during the last week (6/14/2021-6/20/2021).

Annamarie’s Reading

Board Books, Picture Books, and Readers:

Everything Else:

Thoughts & Updates: Powering through the picture books as blog posts slow down for a while. Some new graphic novels this week too. Listening to the new Rick Riordan presents title, which is good, but doesn’t quite live up to my love of Cece Rios. I feel like I am just absorbing as much information as I can while I learn about my new job and how things work in my new library. One more week of book updates before I take a break for a bit!

Reading by the Numbers:

  • 45 Books Read This Week
    • 21 Books with Main Characters of Marginalized Backgrounds (47%)
    • 11 Books by Authors of Marginalized Backgrounds (24%)

Favorites of the Week:

Reading Buddies: PreK and School Age Take and Make Kit

The concept for this kit was a reimagining of Bluffton Public Library’s program. I absolutely loved their idea and structure, but I made some adjustments to make my program activity-focused. The assembled activities for Reading Buddies were geared towards a broad range of ages (3-11). It was my hope that this kit would entice kids to enroll in our summer reading program and read to their buddy all summer long. To support this aim, I included several pages of reading recommendations for the age ranges 3-5, 6-8, and 9-11 and supplemental information about our summer reading program and events. 

This program would pair well with any pre-K or school-age reading program in a school or library setting. 

The kit came with several items:

  • Booklet of activities
  • Summer Reading Program materials (specific to our SRP; these were created by our marketing department so I have not included templates)
  • Reading Buddy in pillow box (information on purchase is below)

Choosing activities for this kit was a challenge because the age range was so wide. I chose ones that aligned with the animal theme of our summer program, Read & Roar and the activity sources can be found on the last page of the packet.

Each kit included a small stuffed animal purchased from Oriental Trading, and I put them in 7” pillow boxes so the animal would be a surprise. The label on the box (PDF included) encouraged the child to read to their reading buddy throughout the summer.

It was a simple kit to conceptualize, design, and assemble and it was fairly cost-effective at about $1.50 per kit. Grown-ups really appreciate the pickup kits at my library, and it is likely that we will continue creating them, even when we return to full-time in-person programming. The PDF files are included and please feel free to reach out to bookcartqueens@gmail.com to request the editable files.

Download your own activity packet below:

Slideshare not working? Access with Dropbox.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

We participate in the blog trend of Monday posts about what we have read during the last week (6/7/2021-6/13/2021).

Annamarie’s Reading

Board Books, Picture Books, and Readers:

Everything Else:

Thoughts & Updates: I’m finally into the new job which is very exciting! I’m still wrapping my head around all of the nuances of my new library. It is always so interesting to see how different each library is — even when moving between two systems that serve similar suburbs of the same city.

Reading has held steady, with many picture books and a few chapter books. I absolutely loved Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls, and Stamped (For Kids), the newest adaptation of Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning, is well done for the intended age range, even if I am still partial to Jason Reynold’s version.

Reading by the Numbers:

  • 22 Books Read This Week
    • 11 Books with Main Characters of Marginalized Backgrounds (50%)
    • 8 Books by Authors of Marginalized Backgrounds (36%)
    • 6 Books by Own Voices Authors (27%)

Favorites of the Week:

Book Club in a Bag: Lumberjanes

Take-and-make kits; craft kits; programs to go: whatever your library calls these programs in a bag that have become a staple of no-contact offerings, one thing is fairly standard: these kits are well loved, but they take time to make. I love creating materials for kits and thinking about how a family might interact with program materials at home. I’ve introduced a new pair of kits for ages 6-11: Book Club in a Bag (also known as Leap Off the Page, since we already have book club kits at our library, and the original name became confusing). This week: Lumberjanes!

The Book Club in a Bag kits look a bit different from some of my previous kits. Instead of focusing on just one book universe, these kits each feature four characters, hopefully some old favorites as well as some new, diverse characters.

In May, these featured characters or books included (links provided as the bag contents are shared on Book Cart Queens):

Check out these previously featured Book Club kits:

Elephant & Piggie (Mo Willems)
Mindy Kim (Lyla Lee)
Yasmin (Saadia Faruqi)
Azaleah Lane (Nikki Shannon Smith)
Wings of Fire (Tui T. Sutherland)
New Kid (Jerry Craft)
Phoebe and Her Unicorn (Dana Simpson)
Shuri (Nic Stone)

Each bag contains some repeated resources:

  • List of kit contents
  • List of books in the featured series
  • List of readalike books
  • Discussion questions
  • Swag item (button, sticker, bookmarks)
  • 1-3 crafts, games, activities

Lumberjanes Kit

The Lumberjanes Kit can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like. Most of this kit can be re-created simply using a printer, with the addition of extra items depending on your budget.

Want to use make a Lumberjanes Kit at your library? Download the PDFs at the links below, or write a comment or send an email (bookcartqueens@gmail.com) for editable files.

Lumberjanes General Materials

Each bag contains some of the same basic materials, and the Lumberjanes kit is no different.

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF featuring all kit activities here.

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF listing all book titles here.

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF listing readalikes here.

The Lumberjanes readalikes bookmark features these titles:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF listing discussion questions here.

The Lumberjanes Discussion Questions included:

  • The very first page of the first book has the original name of the Lumberjanes’ camp inscribed at the bottom. It reads “Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Girls” with the word “girls” scratched out and replaced with “hardcore lady-types.” Why do you think the word girl was scratched out?
  • How would you describe each of the five main Lumberjanes? Who is your favorite? Why?
  • Why do you think they included so many snippets from the Lumberjanes manual and information about Lumberjanes badges?
  • In the “Message from the Lumberjane High Council” in Volume 1 it says: “…Whether you are a dancer or a misfit, career girl or a social elite, you have a place at this camp — no matter how different you feel.” How does the story and the characters reflect this?

This bag also included a sticker, printed on Avery circle 2.25″ white sticker label paper.

Slideshare not working? Download the ready-to-print sticker sheet here.

Lumberjanes Crafts, Games, and More

Someday, I really want to create a Lumberjanes activity book with activities related to each badge. That didn’t happen for this kit, but I did make an awesome, ready-to-print mythical creatures card game. Playing cards were printed double-sided on cardstock.

Download the cards:

Slideshare not working? Download the playing cards here.

Download the Instructions:

Slideshare not working? Download the instructions here.

The kit also included a Friendship Bracelet activity:

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

We participate in the blog trend of Monday posts about what we have read during the last week (5/31/2021-6/7/2021).

Annamarie’s Reading

Board Books, Picture Books, and Readers:

Graphic Novels:

Everything Else:

Thoughts & Updates: It’s a big week! I’m starting my new job today (eek!) as the Youth Manager at Upper Arlington Public Library (still in central Ohio). Between that and my Caldecott appointment starting soon, I will be slowing down on posts in a few weeks. My last program post is coming this week — one more Book Club in a Bag kit, featuring Lumberjanes! And there will be more content to come from my co-bloggers. Make sure to check out Sarah’s Storytime Spotlight post from last week. I read a lot, and there were many new-to-me titles on that list!

For reading this week, I finally made it through most of the backed up graphic novels and first chapter books that have been piling up. Of course, more books continue to be published, and I’m woefully behind on my audiobooks, but I will have a commute again now, so I’m sure those will pick back up.

Reading by the Numbers:

  • 30 Books Read This Week
    • 16 Books with Main Characters of Marginalized Backgrounds (53%)
    • 11 Books by Authors of Marginalized Backgrounds (37%)
    • 11 Books by Own Voices Authors (37%)

Favorites of the Week:

Storytime Spotlight: Favorite Reads

I am always on the hunt for the best upcoming or recently-released storytime books. I love getting suggestions from other librarians or storytime presenters when they have discovered a  winning title. I have been presenting storytime in some form or fashion for ten years, and there is nothing worse than a book that falls flat by either not engaging the kids or being too long. That can lead to unwelcome storytime chaos and having a real Ben Stiller/Bueller moment, where I really lose the crowd.

I’ve certainly learned some lessons while presenting books in storytime. This series will regularly spotlight books that really work for storytime (at least for me). In Storytime Spotlight, I will focus on titles for Baby Storytime (ages 0-2), Toddler Storytime (ages 2-3), and Preschool Storytime (ages 3-6), as well as some titles that may work for kindergarten and first grade audiences. Feel free to comment with your recent favorites as well!

Baby Storytime (ages 0-2)

Step By Step - By Guido Van Genechten (board Book) : Target

Step by Step by Guido Van Genechten

This is a large-format board book (which may not work for a big storytime crowd), but I love it for it’s simplicity. As the title suggests, it focuses on the steps involved in learning to walk. The cute twist is the narrator is coaching adorable animals on the foot and body position needed for walking. The animal element is great, especially because it lends itself to adding puppets to the story. Puppets are an excellent way to extend the story and actions beyond the page.  Babies can really engage with puppets as they are easy to see. Incorporating animal sounds as well supports early literacy because they are often some of baby’s first words. On the final page, we finally meet our baby who has a non-white skin tone. My storytime book choices feature all types of skin tones, ethnicities, abilities, and gender identities.

Applesauce Is Fun To Wear – LD Shoppe

Applesauce is Fun to Wear by Nancy Raines Day and illustrated by Jane Massey

Another baby title that features a diverse cast of characters; this one is made for baby storytime. It is currently published in hardcover, but I could imagine it will be released as a board book at some point in the future. The title features babies eating, and of course, making a huge mess. The illustrations are relatively delicate and simple, but they work because both the babies and the text are large in relationship to the overall size of the book. And this book incorporates an element that is always baby storytime gold—simple and relatable actions for caregivers to do along with their babies while reading. In Applesauce is Fun to Wear these actions focus on body parts. Being able to name at least two body parts by 12 months is a milestone for neurotypical kiddos. Parents and caregivers will appreciate the extra body part-naming practice.

Toddler Storytime (ages 2-3)

The Sea Knows: McGinty, Alice B., Havis, Alan B., Laberis, Stephanie:  9781534438224: Amazon.com: Books

The Sea Knows by Alice McGinty & Alan B. Havis, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis

Finding books for toddler storytime is always a challenge for me. I feel like it is somewhat of a market deficit to find books that truly suit the 2s and 3s in a storytime setting. The Sea Knows sits comfortably in that age range for several reasons. It deals with both concrete concepts (the ocean and it’s critters) and the more abstract (opposites). I find toddlers (especially 3s) are really able to engage with both as long as the idea is simple and the illustrations are vivid and bold. This book ticks both of those boxes. When read to a large group of toddlers, I would suggest shortening it with the old librarian trick of paperclipping pages together, especially towards the end (“The sea knows crash. The sea knows trouble”). This could be a juncture at which the toddler crowd may be lost as those are difficult concepts for toddlers to grasp.

One of These Is Not Like the Others: Saltzberg, Barney: 9780823445608:  Amazon.com: Books

One of These Is Not Like the Others by Barney Saltzberg

Barney Saltzberg is a favorite author, and this title is perfect for large crowd sharing. The background is entirely white, which allows the Sandra Boynton-esque animals to be easily seen from far away.  Older toddlers will  be able to identify the outlier on each page, and if there are preschool siblings in the toddler-preschool crowd, they will likely get the relationships between the creatures (i.e. sheep and a wolf, dogs and a cat). It moves quickly through the story, and the theme repeats throughout, which adds to the predictability of the story. Being able to predict what happens next in the story is an important early literacy skill that is important to highlight during storytime.

Preschool Storytime (ages 3-5)

Mel Fell: Tabor, Corey R., Tabor, Corey R.: 9780062878014: Amazon.com: Books

Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor 

As a snail owner, I am always seeking out snail stories like Tabor’s Snail Crossing (another terrific preschool storytime read), and I was anxious to read Tabor’s latest critter adventure. Mel Fell did not disappoint with its sense of humor and charming illustrative style. The concepts of book handling and print orientation are turned on their heads with this title. Preschoolers are just beginning to understand the significance of text and its placement in a book, so sharing Mel Fell will invite a conversation where they can “correct” your orientation of the book. What is even cooler about this idea is that it is flipped—literally—when our  protagonist Mel begins to fly instead of fall. Mel meets all kinds of critters that add potential for asides while reading (for example, Mel meeting the hive of bees gives an opportunity to encourage the kids to buzz like a bee). And of course, all preschoolers love a story of overcoming adversity and learning new skills. 

Amazon.com: Pigeon Math (9781943147625): Citro, Asia, Watson, Richard: Books

Pigeon Math by Asia Citro and illustrated by Richard Watson

Asia Citro’s first foray into the picture book world is a charmer. Unless you have a crowd of extremely precocious preschoolers, the math concepts will fly (pun intended) well above their heads. Nonetheless, the pigeons are silly and engaging enough to entertain preschool-aged kiddos.  The action of the birds can be extended easily by having the participants join in with what the pigeons do on their wire throughout the book.  And when reading to an older group of kindergarteners or early school-agers, the kids can shout out the answers to the math problems. All around, this one appealed to me for many reasons, and I’m always going to gravitate towards books about pigeons, the true underdog (underbird?) of birds.

Book Club in a Bag: Two Truths and a Lie

Take-and-make kits; craft kits; programs to go: whatever your library calls these programs in a bag that have become a staple of no-contact offerings, one thing is fairly standard: these kits are well loved, but they take time to make. I love creating materials for kits and thinking about how a family might interact with program materials at home. I’ve introduced a new pair of kits for ages 6-11: Book Club in a Bag (also known as Leap Off the Page, since we already have book club kits at our library, and the original name became confusing). This week, a non-fiction addition: Two Truths and a Lie by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson.

The Book Club in a Bag kits look a bit different from some of my previous kits. Instead of focusing on just one book universe, these kits each feature four characters, hopefully some old favorites as well as some new, diverse characters.

In May, these featured characters or books included (links provided as the bag contents are shared on Book Cart Queens):

Check out these previously featured Book Club kits:

Elephant & Piggie (Mo Willems)
Mindy Kim (Lyla Lee)
Yasmin (Saadia Faruqi)
Azaleah Lane (Nikki Shannon Smith)
Wings of Fire (Tui T. Sutherland)
New Kid (Jerry Craft)
Phoebe and Her Unicorn (Dana Simpson)
Shuri (Nic Stone)

Each bag contains some repeated resources:

  • List of kit contents
  • List of books in the featured series
  • List of readalike books
  • Discussion questions
  • Swag item (button, sticker, bookmarks)
  • 1-3 crafts, games, activities

Two Truths and a Lie Kit

The Two Truths and a Lie Kit can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like. Most of this kit can be re-created simply using a printer, with the addition of extra items depending on your budget.

Want to use make a Two Truths and a Lie Kit at your library? Download the PDFs at the links below, or write a comment or send an email (bookcartqueens@gmail.com) for editable files.

Two Truths and a Lie General Materials

Each bag contains some of the same basic materials, and the Two Truths and a Lie kit is no different.

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF featuring all kit activities here.

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF listing all book titles here.

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF listing readalikes here.

The Tristan Strong readalikes bookmark features these titles:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF listing discussion questions here.

The Two Truths and a Lie Discussion Questions included:

  • Look carefully at each story. What is the subject?
  • What part of each story feels like it might be a lie? Why?
  • What parts of the story do you need to verify or get more information?
  • Where can you find more about the story’s subject? What sources will you use to fact check?
  • Read through a set of three stories. Which do you think is the lie? Why? Check your guess. Were you correct?
  • After learning which story is the lie, return to it. What did the authors do to make the story sound so realistic?
  • If writers can make something feel real, how do we know the information we read is true?

This bag also included a magnifying glass.

Two Truths and a Lie Crafts, Games, and More

Create your own Two Truths and a Lie chapter with this activity book. It provides space for three stories — A, B, and C — which they can then offer to someone else to guess which is the lie.

Slideshare not working? Download the activity book here.

The kit also included a Two Truths and a Lie research BINGO, encouraging participants to do their own research to discover whether some fun statements are truths or lies.

Slideshare not working? Download the BINGO here.

Finally, the kit included the Two Truths and a Lie STEM card game, available here.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

We participate in the blog trend of Monday posts about what we have read during the last week (5/24/2021-5/30/2021).

Annamarie’s Reading

Board Books, Picture Books, and Readers:

Graphic Novels:

Everything Else:

Thoughts & Updates: Well, I did some reading! I read a book just for me over my much-needed vacation, but I still got plenty of reading done around the trip too. If you are an adult historical romance fan, Sarah MacLean’s Bombshell was a ton of fun (read as an eARC). My vacation broke my audiobook habit, and I’m still trying to get back into that groove. Also, I’m finally chipping away at that stack of graphic novels on my nightstand!

Reading by the Numbers:

  • 26 Books Read This Week
    • 14 Books with Main Characters of Marginalized Backgrounds (54%)
    • 9 Books by Authors of Marginalized Backgrounds (35%)
    • 8 Books by Own Voices Authors (31%)

Favorites of the Week:

Book Club in a Bag: Tristan Strong

Take-and-make kits; craft kits; programs to go: whatever your library calls these programs in a bag that have become a staple of no-contact offerings, one thing is fairly standard: these kits are well loved, but they take time to make. I love creating materials for kits and thinking about how a family might interact with program materials at home. I’ve introduced a new pair of kits for ages 6-11: Book Club in a Bag (also known as Leap Off the Page, since we already have book club kits at our library, and the original name became confusing). This week: Tristan Strong by Kwambe Mbalia.

The Book Club in a Bag kits look a bit different from some of my previous kits. Instead of focusing on just one book universe, these kits each feature four characters, hopefully some old favorites as well as some new, diverse characters.

In May, these featured characters or books included (links provided as the bag contents are shared on Book Cart Queens):

Check out these previously featured Book Club kits:

Elephant & Piggie (Mo Willems)
Mindy Kim (Lyla Lee)
Yasmin (Saadia Faruqi)
Azaleah Lane (Nikki Shannon Smith)
Wings of Fire (Tui T. Sutherland)
New Kid (Jerry Craft)
Phoebe and Her Unicorn (Dana Simpson)
Shuri (Nic Stone)

Each bag contains some repeated resources:

  • List of kit contents
  • List of books in the featured series
  • List of readalike books
  • Discussion questions
  • Swag item (button, sticker, bookmarks)
  • 1-3 crafts, games, activities

Tristan Strong Kit

The Tristan Strong Kit can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like. Most of this kit can be re-created simply using a printer, with the addition of extra items (like notebooks) depending on your budget.

Want to use make a Tristan Strong Kit at your library? Download the PDFs at the links below, or write a comment or send an email (bookcartqueens@gmail.com) for editable files.

Tristan Strong General Materials

Each bag contains some of the same basic materials, and the Tristan Strong kit is no different.

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF featuring all kit activities here.

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF listing all book titles here.

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF listing readalikes here.

The Tristan Strong readalikes bookmark features these titles:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF listing discussion questions here.

The Tristan Strong Discussion Questions included:

  • When Tristan Strong first talks about his name he states, “I hated that name. It made me appear to be something I’m not. My name should have been Tristan Coward, or Tristan Failure, or Tristan Fake.” Based upon this statement, how does Tristan feel about himself? How does his family view him? Is there something about yourself that you have disliked in the past? Why?
  • As Tristan narrates the novel, he often talks about “grown-ups.” Based upon his perspective, how is he treated by adults? How does he view the adults in his life?
  • How did the author make connections to other folktales and myths?
  • Describe the first interaction between Gum Baby and Tristan. What characteristics are evident about Gum Baby? Do you think Gum
  • Baby is a friend or foe? Why?

Find more discussion questions at books.disney.com.

This bag also included a 2.25″ button and a map of Alke.

Download the button templates here.

Download the map of Alke here.

Tristan Strong Crafts, Games, and More

I feel like I failed Tristan Strong on these bonus activities. This is one of my favorite book series ever, but I floundered on the inspiration for these activities. I hope to come back to this book series someday to give it a better kit.

The main activity was writing focused — participants got their own small notebook and a fable writing instruction guide.

Slideshare not working? Download the fable writing guide here.

Second, participants received a half sheet with suggested African American myth and folklore books for kids. I think this is where I started floundering for kit content because I wanted to provide a much more detailed collection of folklore books by African American or African authors — and these are very few and far between (especially anything new published in the last decade).

Slideshare not working? Download the book list here.

The last activity was a simple memory game. I wanted this to be something a little more nuanced, but it did let me use the wonderful artwork on the Rick Riordan blog.

Slideshare not working? Download the memory game here.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

We participate in the blog trend of Monday posts about what we have read during the last week (5/17/2021-5/23/2021).

Annamarie’s Reading

Board Books, Picture Books, and Readers:

Everything Else:

Thoughts & Updates: I finished some really great audiobooks this week! I’m taking a mini-vacation for a few days next week, which could mean that next Monday’s update has very few titles — or it could mean that it has a ton of books, since my vacations typically involve some reading.

Reading by the Numbers:

  • 16 Books Read This Week
    • 13 Books with Main Characters of Marginalized Backgrounds (81%)
    • 12 Books by Authors of Marginalized Backgrounds (75%)
    • 12 Books by Own Voices Authors (75%)

Favorites of the Week:

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