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:

Book Club in a Bag: Last Kids on Earth Kit

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: Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier.

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):

  • Ages 8-11:
    • Two Truths and a Lie (Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson)
    • Lumberjanes (Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Brooke Allen, Grace Ellis, Kat Leyh, Faith Erin Hicks)

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

Last Kids on Earth Kit

The Last Kids on Earth 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 board game pieces) depending on your budget.

Want to use make a Last Kids on Earth 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.

Last Kids on Earth Kit General Materials

Each bag contains some of the same basic materials, and the Last Kids on Earth 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 Last Kids on Earth readalikes bookmark features these titles:

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

The Last Kids on Earth Discussion Questions included:

  • What do you think caused the monster apocalypse?
  • At the beginning of the series, Quint wanted to stay in his house to do research in his lab. Do you think he made the right decision to go to the treehouse with Jack?
  • Jack has made many improvements to his treehouse. What would you add to your end-of-the-world treehouse?
  • How do Jack and his friends pass the time in the treehouse (besides fighting zombies and monsters)? What would you do if you were in Jack’s situation?
  • Jack faces off against many evil villains. Would you prefer to battle against a monster, a zombie, or an evil human villain? Why?
  • What advice would you give Jack and his friends before their next adventure?

This bag also included two bookmarks, printed on white cardstock.

Download the bookmarks here.

Last Kids on Earth Crafts, Games, and More

First up: Last Kids on Earth survival guide! Learn about the characters and the villains and complete simple games and puzzles to build your Last Kids survival skills.

Slideshare not working? Download the ready-to-print survival guide here.

And finally, one of my absolute favorite things I’ve designed for a program: a Last Kids on Earth board game! Players tried to move around the book the fastest, traveling to a magical portal and back to the treehouse before the other players.

The game included:

  • 2 11×17 Board Games (printed on regular 11×17 printer paper)
  • Instruction Booklet
  • 4 Playing Pieces with stands
  • 1 Die
  • 16 Playing Cards

Download the game board here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

The instructions here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

The playing pieces here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

And the playing cards here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF 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 (5/10/2021-5/16/2021).

Annamarie’s Reading

Board Books, Picture Books, and Readers:

Everything Else:

Thoughts & Updates: Mostly picture books this week as I wrap up things at my current library, plus one absolutely fantastic chapter book–Firekeeper’s Daughter. Lots of things to wrap up as I leave Westerville Public Library a little over five years to the day after starting my practicum there. I’ve got a short vacation planned in the upcoming weeks, so I may miss a week or two of posts (and generally have less reading to report). The rest of the world keeps turning at what feels like breakneck speed–sending best wishes to all of my fellow librarians who are figuring out what new mask rules mean for you and your patrons. I’ll be right back into that soon, but I am happy for a short break from it all. Keep an eye out for a few more Book Club in a Bag posts in the next few weeks!

Reading by the Numbers:

  • 14 Books Read This Week
    • 5 Books with Main Characters of Diverse Backgrounds (36%)
    • 5 Books by Authors of Diverse Backgrounds (36%)
    • 5 Books by Own Voices Authors (36%)

Favorites of the Week:

Book Club in a Bag: Sadiq Kit

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: Sadiq by Siman Nuurali.

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

Sadiq Kit

The Sadiq 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 DIY journals) depending on your budget.

Want to use make a Sadiq 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.

Sadiq Kit General Materials

Each bag contains some of the same basic materials, and the Sadiq 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 Sadiq readalikes bookmark features these titles:

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

The Sadiq Discussion Questions included:

  • Talk about Sadiq and the Fun Run:
    • What reason did Sadiq’s parents give for not letting him try out for football? Do you think they were being fair?
    • Sadiq feels left out when his friends Manny and Zaza talk about their football team. Share an experience you’ve had of feeling left out.
    • Sadiq receives a lot of encouragement as he trains for the Fun Run. Who helps Sadiq prepare? Discuss how they help him.
  • Talk about Sadiq and the Perfect Play:
    • Manny feels upset while the Friends Theater Club works on the play. Why do you think he was mad?
    • Mr. Anderson, the director of Aliya’s play, tells Sadiq a director must ask others for help on completing a project. How do you delegate or ask others to do certain tasks?
    • Baba and Hooyo help Sadiq with his problems in the story. What are some of the lessons they teach him as he puts his play together?

This bag also included one swag item: a 2.25″ button made with our button maker.

Download the button images here.

Sadiq Crafts, Games, and More

First up: draw constellations! Each bag included two half sheets of black construction paper, a white crayon, a gold star sticker sheet, and constellation identification cards.

Slideshare not working? Download the constellation cards here.

Slideshare not working? Download the constellation instructions here.

The second craft also involved science–specifically sunlight. Participants made their own pipe cleaner creatures using pony beads and UV beads When put in sunlight, the UV beads will change color! For an extra challenge, participants can try to find something that they can wrap or coat the UV beads in that will stop them from changing color when they are placed in sunlight.

Download the instructions here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF 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 (5/3/2021-5/9/2021).

Annamarie’s Reading

Board Books, Picture Books, and Readers:

Graphic Novels:

Everything Else:

Thoughts & Updates: Big news this week–well, this month! A few weeks ago I was elected as a member of the 2023 Caldecott Committee–a huge honor that I still can’t quite wrap my head around. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me! This is the reason for the slow down and eventual stopping of these book posts (for a while anyway!) as I adjust to this new opportunity and abide by the social media rules attached to this commitment.

There is more news too–I’m going to be leaving the amazing Westerville Public Library for a new job! In just a few weeks, I will be the new Youth Manager at Upper Arlington Public Library (not too far away from my current workplace). I’m thrilled for the opportunity, though I am sad to be leaving behind such a great team at WPL. This may also mean that program posts will be slowing down in the immediate future, as I adjust to all of these new changes. There are still five more Book Club in a Bag posts to come (since those kits are already made!) as well as some amazing contributions from my co-bloggers.

Lots of changes and, of course, lots of great books too! A particular shout out to Ana on the Edge — this is a wonderful, wonderful own voices book about a nonbinary main character that needs to be at the top of your to-read stack. See more of this week’s favorites below!

Reading by the Numbers:

  • 29 Books Read This Week
    • 16 Books with Main Characters of Diverse Backgrounds (55%)
    • 12 Books by Authors of Diverse Backgrounds (41%)
    • 11 Books by Own Voices Authors (38%)

Favorites of the Week:

Book Club in a Bag: Zoey & Sassafras Kit

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: Zoey & Sassafras by Asia Citro.

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

Zoey & Sassafras Kit

The Zoey & Sassafras 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 DIY journals) depending on your budget.

Want to use make a Zoey & Sassafras 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.

Zoey & Sassafras Kit General Materials

Each bag contains some of the same basic materials, and the Zoey & Sassafras 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 Zoey & Sassafras readalikes bookmark features these titles:

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

The Zoey & Sassafras Discussion Questions included:

  • Who is telling the story? How do you know?
  • What does Zoey learn from her first experiment?
  • What is the coolest magical creature that Zoey meets? Which would you like to meet the most?
  • Talk about Dragons and Marshmallows:
    • How did Zoey feel about being in charge of the barn and any magical creatures that might need help while her mom was away? Why do you think she felt this way?
    • Why does Zoey keep a science journal?
    • Zoey’s mom always tells her that in an experiment she needs to change just one thing and keep everything else the same. Why is it important to change just one thing?

This bag also included one swag item: a printable bookmark. I printed these on white cardstock.

Download the printable bookmark here.

Zoey & Sassafras Crafts, Games, and More

First up: make your own Sassafras! This cat craft was inspired by the headband craft from this blog. I recreated their template with a printable cardstock template with some color options to make it work in this kit.

Everything was printed on white cardstock.

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF of the craft template here.

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF of the craft instructions here.

The heart of this kit was the DIY Zoey & Sassafras science journal. I had a lot of fun designing this one–though there was more assembly involved than I initially anticipated. Each journal had a handful of opening pages and then four sets of the science journal/experiment pages, followed by some blank paper for more open-ended writing and drawing.

The cover images were printed on white cardstock, cut to size, and attached to slightly larger chipboard. Our industrial holepunch created the holes for the binder rings. The final assembly was left for the participants.

Download the instructions here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

Download the covers here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

Download the ready-to-print activity sheets here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF 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 (4/26/2021-5/2/2021).

Annamarie’s Reading

Board Books:

Picture Books:

Beginning Readers:

Everything Else:

Rambling Thoughts: Did I get through all of those graphic novels I keep talking about each week? Of course not. I think this particular stack is unlucky–I’m excited to read them, but other things keep popping up that take away from my reading time (and I can read picture books faster…so those become the focus when I have limited time). Look forward to another book club kit post later this week!

Reading by the Numbers:

  • 47 Books Read This Week
    • 21 Books with Main Characters of Diverse Backgrounds (45%)
    • 14 Books by Authors of Diverse Backgrounds (30%)
    • 11 Books by Own Voices Authors (23%)

Favorites of the Week: