Tag Archives: Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

We are joining the blog trend of Monday posts about what we have read during the last week (8/3/2020-8/9/2020).

Annamarie’s Reading

Picture Books:

Everything Else:

Note: 40 books does not equal a reading drought, but I definitely felt a bit of reading burnout this week. I just didn’t have any interest in reading before bed, even knowing that I had a big stack of graphic novels I had been eagerly anticipating waiting for me. I’m back in the library an extra day next week with a return to more “normal hours”, and I expect my reading to return to normal levels, mostly because I have to try to shift back to waking up around 6-7 am to get to work on time. I get it from the patron perspective, but…commute. Mornings. Why, why, why. I really don’t want to see the sunrise.

Stats for the Week:

  • 41 Books Read This Week
    • 25 Books with Diverse Main Character (61%)
    • 19 Books by Diverse Authors (46%)
    • 9 Books by Own Voices Authors (22%) (to the best of my knowledge)

This week’s reading highlights:

Michala’s Reading

Note: I took a few days off from work for a mental vacay and attempted the quarantine cleaning/organization thing that everyone else seems to have done at the beginning of this whole mess. My house now feels extra messy, Goodwill has gotten a lot of clothes from me, I am a craft supply hoarder, and I feel like I haven’t read anything.

Storytime: Book Retellings

We are on a brief live storytime hiatus as we re-adjust for whatever the fall will bring, so I thought I would highlight one of my favorite storytelling tools: Book Retellings!

These were a part of my storytimes well before COVID and the move to virtual programs, though I’ve been happy to dig into them more retellings since I am presenting more storytimes for toddlers and preschoolers. I use this structure a little for babies with puppets, but mostly any “story” element is for the caregivers, with me focusing on and emphasizing the puppet reveal and animal sound for the babies.

Pros and Cons

Book retellings allow you to:

  • appeal to visual or action-based learners and listeners (so, most toddlers)
  • make things larger–puppets are often bigger than the pictures on a page, especially when presenting to a large in-person crowd (this distinction isn’t such a big deal behind a camera)
  • include more repetition – a book you read earlier in storytime or the week before could be used as a flannel or puppet activity
  • give caregivers ideas for ways to get excited about familiar stories that might be read over and over and over again at home
  • include props, puppets, and other manipulatives in your program

On the other hand, book retelling puts more pressure on you as a presenter. Reading the words on a page with the proper inflection, emotion, timing, and engagement is a challenge on its own. Pulling that off without exact words to guide you can be more challenging. However, I also like to think it is more freeing–viewers can’t see the words, so if I mix up an animal or two, or intentionally skip an entire portion of the story or rearrange something to make more sense visually, as long as I keep my cool, the audience doesn’t have to know. (I think there is a better word than “audience” here. Storytimes are presentations, in a way, but there is a back and forth–what is the word for an engaged, participating audience? Is that still audience? I’m digressing.)

To Memorize or Not To Memorize

I’m going to say something here that may make some library folks cringe–yell in the comments. Please. I know this is my opinion, and it isn’t a popular one, but I still feel strongly about it, so: it is better if you memorize.

Yes, we aren’t actors. Yes, our caregivers know this. No, most kids don’t really notice if we read. But there are kids that do, and there are adults who also notice, and…well I was that totally judge-y preschooler who really didn’t know any better, and compared you (rightfully or not) to Barney and Sesame Street and the Wiggles, and those real people aren’t reading off of a page or constantly glancing off screen to read their next line.

Yes, there will be mistakes, and no, you shouldn’t refilm a 30-minute pre-recorded storytime 17 times because of one error toward the end. Have a cheat sheet somewhere but don’t make it a script and don’t rely on it. I normally put a list of key words taped either directly below my camera on my tripod or right beside the location where I am hiding the puppets or flannel pieces. If I decide to do a dramatic reveal and look back and forth a few times with fun facial expressions–I’m probably re-reading the next line.

I know this isn’t the way most librarians view or encourage this type of storytime experience, especially because it can make it harder or scarier to jump into something like this. But…I do, personally, feel like it makes it a little better. The storytelling experience is stronger and less stilted. But if you need that script, try it with the script. With time and repetition, you’ll know the story so well that you may be able to stop relying on the piece of paper. (End of Annamarie being rude and judge-y. Please berate me in the comments.)

How to Make Props and Flannels

I steal. I am not as creative as some of my coworkers. Do not be fooled by awesome flannel sets in videos. Some of these things are made by them. Other things are designed based off of me seeing someone else’s work online and remaking piece by piece. Other selections are my personally owned purchased sets, made by awesomely talented people who are not me.

I am not going to continue rambling here because my skills are not great or varied. My one tip, which is obvious to regular crafters but not to those of us new to this domain: get. scissors. just. for. felt. Use for nothing else. The world is a much, much more magical place.

Retelling Examples

There are so many great ways to retell stories, but now that I’ve made so many videos for our patrons to watch online, I decided to collect some of my favorites below, in alphabetical order by book title.

Bark George by Jules Feiffer (prop & puppets)
Learn about how I made George in this blog post.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. (puppets)
Change to whatever animals you have on hand. I tried to select stuffed animals that were different colors to continue the color emphasis from the physical book.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. (flannel)
Abbreviated because you don’t realize how long this book is, and how many letters there really are, until you are halfway through.

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell (puppets)
Such a great and easy story, made for retelling with props or flannel pieces.

Do Crocs Kiss? by Salina Yoon (puppets)

Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd (flannel)
I’ve also seen this done as a really cool dry-erase marker activity. I was going to do this on a physical stuffed dog with flannel dots, but my velcro dots didn’t work the way I imagined. Still curious about doing this with a stuffed animal though!

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London (flannel)
Filming this was the worst because socks kept falling off the flannel board. Something to keep in mind during creation or execution–so many small parts.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (flannel)
I re-wrote part of the story to create the all-items-enter and all-items-exit effect.

I Went Walking by Sue Williams (puppets)
Change out the animals to whatever you have on hand. I focused on having animals of different colors.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff (flannel)

Jump! by Scott Fischer (puppets)

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin and James Dean (flannel)

Tickle Monster by Edouard Manceau (flannel)
If you just want to try retelling, this is the story for you. The set is super easy to make, and the order of body parts really isn’t that important. Caregivers can tickle little ones throughout.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (flannel)
This is a great example of a story where you don’t need to memorize or have a script–just have your flannel pieces in the order you need them. The words are essentially the foods that you are adding to your board.

White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker (props)
I wish I had claim to any of this, but I do not. Someday I will make my own personal set, probably when I can get to a Target or craft store again and get buckets that are these sizes but solid colors.

I am always, always looking for more books to retell, especially stories that are about diverse characters or by diverse authors. This video list is very white, and and in storytimes I try to balance that, at least a little, with diversity in my physical book for the week. What are some of your favorite stories to retell?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

We are joining the blog trend of Monday posts about what we have read during the last week (7/27/2020-8/2/2020).

Annamarie’s Reading

Picture Books:

Readers:

Everything Else:

Note: Exactly how much did I read this week? I know I moved through quite a few stacks of picture books due to my in-building rotation, but still…wow. It doesn’t actually feel like I read this much.

Stats for the Week:

  • 74 Books Read This Week
    • 47 Books with Diverse Main Character (64%)
    • 31 Books by Diverse Authors (42%)
    • 26 Books by Own Voices Authors (35%) (to the best of my knowledge)

This week’s reading highlights:

Michala’s Reading

Note: I took a few days off from work for a mental vacay and attempted the quarantine cleaning/organization thing that everyone else seems to have done at the beginning of this whole mess. My house now feels extra messy, Goodwill has gotten a lot of clothes from me, I am a craft supply hoarder, and I feel like I haven’t read anything.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

We are joining the blog trend of Monday posts about what we have read during the last week (7/20/2020-7/26/2020).

Annamarie’s Reading

Picture Books & Readers:

Everything Else:

Note: I squeezed in a few more graphic novels this week. There is a big pile of j-fiction chapter books staring at me that I just haven’t had time for. Listening to a teen book, and will be spending part of next weekend reviewing another teen book, so I’m glad I’m fitting some more of those in this year.

I had a decrease in books with diverse main characters and diverse authors, BUT an increase in own voices, which is a number I really want to pay attention to. Just pulling these stats each week is making me more conscious of my reading choices. Stats:

  • 47 Books Read This Week
    • 23 Books with Diverse Main Character (49%)
    • 12 Books by Diverse Authors (25%)
    • 11 Books by Own Voices Authors (24%) (to the best of my knowledge)

This week’s reading highlights:

Michala’s Reading

Note: I took a few days off from work for a mental vacay and attempted the quarantine cleaning/organization thing that everyone else seems to have done at the beginning of this whole mess. My house now feels extra messy, Goodwill has gotten a lot of clothes from me, I am a craft supply hoarder, and I feel like I haven’t read anything.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

We are joining the blog trend of Monday posts about what we have read during the last week (7/13/2020-7/19/2020).

Annamarie’s Reading

Picture Books: