Tag Archives: online program

Virtual Reader’s Advisory Part 2

A lot can change in a few months! I last blogged about Virtual Reader’s Advisory and my video book talks in September. Since then, we’ve tried other methods of virtual reader’s advisory, including the Virtual Book Displays I shared a few months back and even a few Virtual Book Talks directly to classrooms.

But the biggest change since any of those previous posts is that–like many of you I imagine–my library is now open to the public! Real displays are once again a regular part of our service, and it feels like our patrons want them more than ever before, with displays quickly being emptied and a few requests last week for more face out picture book options.

However, many people still aren’t coming into the library, so we are continuing to look for ways to virtually promote books. Read on for some information on Overdrive Curated Collections and new video book talks.

OverDrive Curated Collections

Our OverDrive system (part of the larger Ohio Digital Library collection) lets us create collections of books to highlight on the Libby app and Overdrive website.

The backend looks a little drab, and the process for adding books to the list isn’t my favorite:

To add books to your list, you need to search for them one at a time in Overdrive Marketplace (or search for subject headings and filter).

Adding to the frustration of that system, many kids books, especially picture books, aren’t available as ebooks (or we don’t own them, and since I am not in charge of purchasing, I can’t add them).

But even with those struggles, I had a lot of fun making lists for this service. I use Libby a lot personally, and it feels great to see something I created front and center on a service like this.

From what I can tell, you should be able to see these collections through the links below, even without an account at my library. The exact books you see will be randomized, with available titles showing up first. Check out some of the collections I’ve made:

Video Book Talks

And of course, video book talks continue on our YouTube channel. I’ve streamlined this process a bit, but these still have a similar vibe to the ones shared in my original video book talk post as well as my virtual reader’s advisory post.

Find some of my newest highlighted titles below (and subscribe to my library’s YouTube channel for at least one additional video book talk each week!).

13th Street: Battle of the Bad Breath Bats by David Bowles

American as Paneer Pie by Supriya Kelkar

Becoming Muhammad Ali by Kwame Alexander and James Patterson

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

Best Babysitters Ever by Caroline Cala

The Best of Iggy by Annie Barrows

Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Count Me In by Varsha Bajaj

Craftily Ever After by Martha Maker

Dave the Unicorn by Pip Bird

Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol by Andres Miedoso

Diana and the Island of No Return by Aisha Saeed

Dramatic Life of Azaleah Lane by Nikki Shannon Smith

Farah Rocks Summer Break by Susan Muaddi Darraj

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day

I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee

Keep It Together Keiko Carter by Debbie Michiko Florence

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender

Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat by Johnny Marciano

The Land of Cranes by Aida Salazar

The Little Mermaid by Jerry Pinkney

Locker 37: The Rewindable Clock by Aaron Starmer

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano

Magnificent Makers: How to Test a Friendship by Theanne Griffith

Max Meow: Cat Crusader by John Gallagher

Measuring Up by Lily Lamotte

Mellybean and the Giant Monster by Mike White

Mia Mayhem is a Superhero! by Kara West

Not Your All-American Girl by Wendy Shang and Madelyn Rosenberg

The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Meija

Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai

Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Museum by Renee Treml

Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz

Sparkleton: The Magic Day by Calliope Glass

Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh

The Street Beneath My Feet by Charlotte Guillain

A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi

Twins by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright

Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom by Kelly Starling Lyons

Witches of Brooklyn by Sophie Escabasse

Zenobia July by Lisa Bunker

Zoey & Sassafras: Dragons & Marshmallows by Asia Citro

Virtual Book Talk: Grades K-5

Book talks are one of my favorite parts of librarianship. I love going into classrooms, seeing a captive audience of students (who may or may not be excited to see me–at first), and building a feeling of mounting excitement as kids learn that their library is full of fun places to go, fun programs to participate in, and a bunch of books that are actually really cool. My booktalks are packed with energy and popular topics. And I haven’t presented one in about a year. We reached out to schools about virtual book talk options, but while some of my coworkers have had luck, every teacher I’ve reached out to never actually schedules a virtual book talk. I’ve made over 100 individual YouTube book talk videos, and while those are fun, I don’t get to talk to any kids. Finally, (finally!) about a year since I was last in a classroom, I had the chance to talk to some kids virtually.

This presentation was definitely different than in-person book talks. First, I had a collection of grades at once: K-2 and then 3-5 (30 minutes each). Second, since I was presenting virtually with a powerpoint with images, I could pick any book. I wasn’t limited by what was on our shelves. Also, unlike in-person book talks, where we are scheduled to see the same class multiple times a year, this was a one-and-done experience for the school’s literacy day. This opened up so, so many book possibilities. I’m still not sure I’m entirely happy with my choices–it was simply so hard to choose!

The school also wanted me to talk about some other services too. Specifically, they wanted a library tour, information about library cards, and details on programs and services. This was much tougher than usual because the places and services I normally highlight on a tour or during an in-person book talk still aren’t operating. Our play spaces, video game room, and homework help center are closed. Kids can come in and use the computers, but they aren’t encouraged to come game with their friends for hours like they might have done in 2019. I can and did share the different types of books we have, but I wasn’t able to highlight much beyond that.

I talked a bit about getting a library card–which is easier than it has ever been–and about some of our upcoming virtual events as well, before jumping into the books!

Just like I do for in-person visits, I included slides with big images of covers and select spreads:

For Grades K-2, I highlighted these books:

The full K-2 PowerPoint is available here:

For Grades 3-5, I featured these books:

The full 3-5 PowerPoint is available here:

I think the content presented virtually was a bit too much for the students in grades K-2, but grades 3-5 stayed with me and even asked a bunch of questions at the end about the books I discussed, other books, and the library’s history.

It felt fantastic to be able to talk to students again, especially in a way that let me hear from them too. Hopefully, maybe, we will be able to do more of these virtual visits next year in classroom settings. Even if we can’t go into the classrooms, hopefully our local schools will be on a better routine that might allow us to stop by (virtually) more often than we could this school year. There are certain core elements of librarianship that are part of why I signed up for this job in the first place–and talking to kids about books is one of them. While I know these won’t be around forever, especially if I pursue a career in management or collection development or many other future directions, I also wasn’t quite ready to let these things go yet–so for now I’m just happy to have had another opportunity to talk to a bunch of kids about books.

Don’t Let Pigeon Take Over Storytime!

Pigeon Storytime! Featuring the one and only bird from the Mo Willems books. I have my own personal secret: I hate this bird. The books and Pigeon’s general personality annoy me to no end. But…this ended up being one of my favorite storytimes.

The highlight, of course, was Pigeon’s attempted storytime coup:

Catch a glimpse of the whole experience in the video below.

This was another very popular program: over 600 virtual attendees!

Just like past virtual storytimes, I curated a PDF packet that we shared with event participants. Many of these materials are from Mo Willems’ Pigeon website, full of great resources. Download the activity packet here.

Watch the short preview video below. This isn’t like many of my other preview videos…instead Pigeon keeps popping up all over the library!

And watch the full storytime here:

The general storytime layout–in order of what I presented–is below, with videos where applicable.

Pigeon Storytime Outline

Intro Song: Shake Your Sillies Out by Rainbow Songs

Pigeon Book: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!: Mo Willems, Mo Willems: 8601416094786:  Amazon.com: Books

Music: Wheels on the Bus by Jay Laga’aia

Action Song: If You’re a Pigeon and You Know It

If you’re a pigeon and you know it, flap your wings!
If you’re a pigeon and you know it, flap your wings!
If you’re a pigeon and you know it,
And you really want to show it!
If you’re a pigeon and you know it, flap your wings!

Shake your tail (shake, shake)
Eat your cookies (nom, nom)
Drive the bus (zoom, zoom)

Pigeon Takeover
After If You’re a Pigeon and You Know It, I realized–oops!–I forgot our second book! I needed to step out to get it, and while I did just that, I put on some music and needed everyone watching to keep an eye on storytime. Sure enough, Pigeon attempted a takeover!

I didn’t actually leave the room–instead I had a table on wheels to the side of the screen. When I stepped off screen, I opened and closed the door to the room before wheeling the table on screen. I tested the height ahead of time to make sure Pigeon was visible but the table wasn’t.

I had the signs piled and ready on a table off screen. The sticks were attached from the top because it is much easier to drop something from above onto the screen then for me to try to lay below the camera and get up again. If I did this again, I might try to have this situated somehow so the signs were resting on the table, and I removed one at a time. My hand was shaking quite a bit during this portion (so the signs were too).

I ran through the timing of the song and the signs beforehand and made sure I had just enough signs to last the length of the song. I came back at the end of the song with another opening and closing of the door and a loud “PIGEON!” before returning on camera to “rescue” storytime.

Pigeon Book: The Duckling Gets A Cookie?!

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (Pigeon series): Willems, Mo, Willems, Mo:  8601420609846: Amazon.com: Books

Magnet: Pigeon Playing Hide and Seek

Pigeon, Pigeon playing hide and seek
Are you behind the yummy cookie?
Let’s take a peek!

Closing Song: I Know a PIGEON (Chicken) by Laurie Berkner
We very loudly shouted PIGEON in place of Chicken throughout the song.

Extra, Extra!
I filmed a few extra Pigeon videos that were on YouTube but didn’t make it into storytime:

Two Little Pigeons:

Two little pigeons sittin’ on a hill
One named Jack and one named Jill.
Run away Jack, run away Jill.
Come back Jack, come back Jill.

Two little pigeons sittin’ on a cloud.
One named soft and one named loud.
Run away soft, run away loud.
Come back soft, come back loud.

Two little pigeons sittin’ on down below.
One named fast and one named slow.
Run away fast, run away slow.
Come back fast, come back slow.

Five Little Pigeons Sitting in a Tree:

Five little pigeons sitting in a tree
One flew away! How many do you see?

One, two, three four!


And finally, I attempted to write a rhyme to the tune of the Itsy Bitsy Spider, but I didn’t get it quite right. Feel free to edit and make it your own!

The happy little pigeon
Snuck onto the bus route.
Along came the driver
Who chased the pigeon out.
Along came the kids who
Jumped onto the bus.
And the happy little pigeon
Rode along with us.

Book Club in a Bag: Shuri

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 in January 2021: Book Club in a Bag. This week’s feature: Shuri by Nic Stone.

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

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, bookmark)
  • 1-3 crafts, games, activities

Shuri Kit

The Shuri 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 Shuri 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.

Shuri General Materials

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

Shuri Bookmark – All Books

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

Shuri Bookmark – Readalikes

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF of the Readalike titles here.

The Shuri readalike bookmark features these titles:

Shuri Discussion Questions

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

The Shuri Discussion Questions include:

  • Shuri has the responsibilities of a princess, even though she really wants to spend time creating fascinating new inventions. When have you had to choose between something you have to do and something you love to do?
  • When Shuri first realizes there is a problem with the Heart-Shaped Herb, the adults seem too busy to listen. How do you convince people to listen when you have something important to share?
  • Shuri meets many superheroes on her adventures. Who is your favorite superhero? If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?
  • Think about K’Marah and Shuri’s relationship. Are they friends at the beginning of the novel? What about at the end? How do you know?

Shuri Swag – Activity Book

This bag also included a Shuri Superhero Activity Packet. Download a ready-to-print PDF here.

Shuri Crafts, Games, and More

This particular bag included two activities: a Create Your Own Superhero activity sheet and a pack of Superhero BINGO carts.

Download the Create Your Own Superhero Sheet here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

BINGO Cards

I also included a set of Superhero BINGO cards. I first used these for a Facebook Live event a few months ago, but I created a play at home, pre-printed set for each Shuri kit.

Download the Superhero BINGO Cards here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

Book Club in a Bag: Phoebe and Her Unicorn

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 in January 2021: Book Club in a Bag. This week’s feature: Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson.

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

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, bookmark)
  • 1-3 crafts, games, activities

Phoebe and Her Unicorn Kit

The Phoebe and Her Unicorn 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 Phoebe and Her Unicorn 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.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn General Materials

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

Phoebe and Her Unicorn Bookmark – All Books

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

Phoebe and Her Unicorn Bookmark – Readalikes

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF of the Readalike titles here.

The Phoebe and Her Unicorn readalike bookmark features these titles:

Phoebe and Her Unicorn Discussion Questions

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

The Phoebe and Her Unicorn Discussion Questions include:

  • Are you more of a Phoebe or a Marigold Heavenly Nostrils?
  • Phoebe was granted a magical wish when she rescued Marigold. If you had one magical wish, what would you wish for?
  • Most of the Phoebe and Her Unicorn books are collections of comic strips. What makes this book different than other graphic novels you have read? 
  • How does the friendship between Phoebe and Marigold change and grow throughout the series? How do you see that difference in the illustrations and the text?
  • When the story starts, do you like Phoebe and Marigold equally? How does that change?

Phoebe and Her Unicorn Swag – 1″ Buttons

This bag also included 5 1″ Phoebe and Her Unicorn buttons. Download a printable PDF to make them yourself here.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn Crafts, Games, and More

This particular bag included three activities: a drawing guide, a unicorn bookmark craft, and a unicorn puppet craft.

The drawing guide borrowed heavily from the resources available on the Publisher website. Find more of those here.

Download the ready-to-print drawing guide here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

Unicorn Crafts

We also included the supplies to make a unicorn puppet craft and a unicorn bookmark. The two crafts needed a set of instructions, glue dots, a piece of white cardstock, and shared unicorn accessories sheets. Kids were encouraged to design their own unicorn pieces, but they could choose from the included pieces if they preferred.

Download the Unicorn Accessories sheets here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

Download the Unicorn Puppet Instructions here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

Download the Unicorn Bookmark instructions here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

Book Club in a Bag: New Kid 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 in January 2021: Book Club in a Bag. This week’s feature: New Kid by Jerry Craft.

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

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, bookmark)
  • 1-3 crafts, games, activities

New Kid Kit

The New Kid 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 New Kid 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.

New Kid General Materials

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

New Kid Bookmark – All Books

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

New Kid Bookmark – Readalikes

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF of the Readalike titles here.

The New Kid readalike bookmark features these titles:

New Kid Discussion Questions

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

The New Kid Discussion Questions include:

  • Which five words best describe New Kid?
  • Why do you think Jerry Craft drew Jordan’s sketchbook drawings completely differently than the rest of the book?
  • Have you ever been the new kid somewhere? How was your experience the same or different from Jordan’s?
  • What makes being a new kid so challenging for Jordan?
  • Jordan’s Tips for Taking the Bus (pages 56-57): Why does his behavior change—how he looks and dresses as he moves around? What is different in each panel?
  • What does this book say about friendship? What makes a good friend?
  • Which character do you identify with the most? Why?

New Kid Swag – Buttons

This bag also included a 2.25″ New Kid button. Download a printable PDF to make them yourself here.

New Kid Crafts, Games, and More

This particular bag only included one activity: make your own journal. Supplies included:

  • Instruction Sheet (below)
  • 3 sets washi tape
  • 2 pieces cardstock (halves of 9 x 12 sheet, pre-punched)
  • 20 pieces of printer paper (10 full sheets in half, pre-punched)
  • 3 binder rings
  • Colored Pencils (not pictured)

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

Book Club in a Bag: Wings of Fire 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 in January 2021: Book Club in a Bag. This week’s feature: Wings of Fire Kit featuring the Wings of Fire books by Tui T. Sutherland

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

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, bookmark)
  • 1-3 crafts, games, activities

Wings of Fire Kit

The Wings of Fire 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 Wings of Fire 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.

Wings of Fire General Materials

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

Wings of Fire Bookmark – All Books

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

Wings of Fire Bookmark – Readalikes

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF of the Readalike titles here.

The Wings of Fire readalike bookmark features these titles:

Wings of Fire Discussion Questions

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

The Wings of Fire Discussion Questions include:

  • Clay is loyal, Starflight is smart, Tsunami is a protector, Sunny is an optimist, and Glory is gentle. Which dragonet is most similar to you?
  • The original prophecy did not include a RainWing. How do the other dragonets feel about Glory? How do the dragonets relationship change over time?
  • Clay believes that he is not a “naturally-hatched hero.” What makes him feel that he does not meet expectations? Have you ever felt that you did not meet expectations? Were you able to overcome those feelings?
  • Think about the world where the Wings of Fire books take place. Can you summarize the way this world works? What are the main factions of dragons? What do you think about this place?
  • The Wings of Fire books are tied to prophecies, fate, and destiny. Can the dragons escape their “destiny”? How do the dragonets feel about their destiny? What do you think—is your destiny written in stone, or do you have the ability to change your fate?

Wings of Fire Swag – Bookmarks

This bag also included four Wings of Fire bookmarks, printed on cardstock. Download a printable PDF to make them yourself here.

Wings of Fire Crafts, Games, and More

There are so many dragon activities, and so much to do with the Wings of Fire universe that it was hard to choose. Thinking about space, prep time, and budget, I focused on three activities: which dragon are you quiz, memory game, and flying dragon craft.

Wings of Fire: Which Dragon Are You? Quiz

I recreated the Wings of Fire dragonet quiz available in the Scholastic Wings of Fire Activities & Resources.

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

Wings of Fire Memory Game

Create your own Wings of Fire memory game. I left the pieces on one sheet for participants to cut out. The back of each square has the Wings of Fire logo.

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

Flying Dragon Craft

Make your own flying dragon craft with a straw, pipette, and some adorable dragon pictures.

Download the dragon images here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

And the instructions here:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

Molly of Denali Storytime

Molly of Denali Storytime! I’ve been planning this for a while, but I’ve also been quite nervous about it–I want to do Molly justice. Our community is pretty white, our library staff is mostly white, and I am (you guessed it) white.

In case you aren’t familiar with Molly: Molly Mabray is a 10-year-old Alaskan Native (Gwich’in/Koyukon/Dena’ina Athabascan) vlogger from the fictional village of Qyah, Alaska (near the mountain of Denali). The PBS show is the first show to feature an Alaskan Native main character. Much of the cast and crew, including the voice of Molly – Sovereign Bill of Auburn – are of Alaskan Native or First Nations heritage. The show authentically portrays the life of an Alaskan Native girl (while also having a particular focus on examining and evaluating sources of information).

Molly of Denali is a wonderful show, and I encourage you to watch it yourself, explore the website (and app and podcast), and find ways to promote it at your library. I tried to keep Molly’s energy during this storytime while focusing on some of the places Molly frequently visits in Qyah as well as some of the popular storylines from the show.

There were some adjustments for me. I’m used to music being a big part of my storytimes, but the music featured in Molly of Denali is wrapped up in her culture. Dancing (often nonsensically) to the Daniel Tiger or Pete the Cat theme song felt fine–wiggling, swaying, and shaking along to Molly’s theme song felt like it might be closer to cultural appropriation. Instead, I played the Molly of Denali theme song before I came on screen, and I promoted official Molly of Denali content on YouTube with this playlist.

Looking back, I’m afraid I focused a bit too much on animals and too little on Molly’s culture. My reasoning for this during planning is that my main audience for these storytimes are ages 2-3. While some of the concepts were still there for older kids to explore, I knew I needed to keep the attention of those bouncy toddlers. In hindsight, this program would have been better suited as a separate event aimed for ages 6-8.

Just like past virtual storytimes, I curated a PDF packet that we shared with event participants. Many of these materials are from PBS. Download it here.

Watch the short preview video below. I tried to not dance through this the way I often do, instead highlighting storytime activities:

The general storytime layout–in order of what I presented–is below, with videos where applicable.

Molly of Denali Storytime Outline

Intro Song: Molly of Denali Theme Song (played before I came on screen)

Daniel Tiger Story: Crane Song

Exploring Qyah: I really like when these storytimes have some kind of unifying theme. For Molly of Denali storytime, we were simply exploring Qyah along with Molly.

Denali Trading Post: 5 Shiny Agate Stones

We started out at Molly’s parents’ store: the Denali Trading Post. Molly and her friends were trying to buy a new tubing raft, so they were selling agate stones again. We talked a bit about agate stones before jumping in with the rhyme shown below.

Down around the corner at the trading post,
There were five shiny agate stones at the most.
Along came a neighbor with a dollar to pay.
She picked out an agate and took it away.

Dog Kennel & Vegetable Garden: Anka Playing Hide and Seek
Tooey didn’t show up to help with the agate stones, so we went to find him at the Dog Kennel to make sure everything was okay. His dog, Anka, is missing again–but Tooey doesn’t think she is lost this time, just playing hide and seek…in Trini’s vegetable garden! Did you know that vegetables grow ENORMOUSLY large in Alaska? I learned that from Molly.

Anka, Anka playing hide and seek!
Are you behind the _?
Let’s take a peak!

Fish Camp: Five Little Salmon
Off to find some fish for hungry Anka at the Fish Camp! Catch your pretend salmon by tossing out a line and reeling it in or snatching a salmon from the air like a bear.

Alaskan Animal Adventure
Now that Anka was taken care of, it was finally time to explore Alaska by looking for something Molly loves and Alaska is well-known for–its amazing wildlife! I gave some hints for each animal before revealing the puppet and after the reveal, I encouraged viewers to do a quick motion.

There’s something by the river,
Now what can it be?
There’s something by the river,
That I can’t really see.

Wrapping Things Up
And that was it! For the reasons mentioned above, I didn’t have a closing song either (which was unusual for me). I once again directed people to the official Molly of Denali PBS playlist.

Book Club in a Bag: Azaleah Lane 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 in January 2021: Book Club in a Bag. This week’s feature: Azaleah Lane Kit featuring the Azaleah Lane books by Nikki Shannon Smith

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

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, bookmark)
  • 1-3 crafts, games, activities

Azaleah Lane Kit

The Azaleah Lane 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 animal figurines) depending on your budget.

Want to use make a Azaleah Lane 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.

Azaleah Lane General Materials

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

Azaleah Lane Bookmark – All Books

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

Azaleah Lane Bookmark – Readalikes

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF of the Readalike titles here.

The Yasmin readalike bookmark features these titles:

Azaleah Lane Discussion Questions

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

**Find some of these discussion questions (and more) in the back of each book.

The Azaleah Lane Discussion Questions included:

  • General Questions:
    • Azaleah loves animals! What is your favorite animal? Where does that animal live in the wild?
    • Azaleah is the middle child; she has an older and younger sister. Are you the oldest or youngest child in your family? Somewhere in the middle? An only child? What is similar or different between your experience and Azaleah’s experiences?
    • Azaleah likes to solve mysteries! What did you do when something went missing around your house?
  • Sample Story Questions: The Dramatic Life of Azaleah Lane
    • Who did you think was behind the problems at rehearsal? How did you know? Were you right or wrong?
    • At the end of the book, you learn who was behind all of the mishaps. What do you think their consequences should be?
    • Think about the problems that happened in the theater. Can you list them in order? Try using the book for help.

Azaleah Lane Swag – Stickers

This bag also includes a printable Azaleah Lane sticker, made on 2.5″ circle Avery label paper. Download a printable PDF to make them yourself here.

Azaleah Lane Crafts, Games, and More

Azaleah loves to solve mysteries, and she loves animals, so I included activities related to those two topics.

Azaleah builds an animal habitat diorama in the first book in the series. I purchased tiny animal figurines and included a mini animal diorama kit. I also included an appropriate animal habitat background as well as a half sheet with pictures of animal diorama inspiration on one side and books to research animal habitats on the other.

You could take this activity to the next level by providing more than one animal figurine, tiny trees, and more diorama supplies–it just depends how much you want to spend and how big your kits can be.

The inspiration and research half sheet:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF of the animal habitat research here.

The animal habitat backgrounds:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF of the habitat backgrounds here.

Azaleah Lane Detective Practice

In the first two Azaleah Lane books, Azaleah examines clues, finds evidence, and collects suspects to solve a mystery! In the kit, participants built their detective skills though simple riddles and puzzles.

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF of the Puzzles and Riddles book here.

Book Club in a Bag: Yasmin 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 in January 2021: Book Club in a Bag. This week’s feature: Yasmin Kit featuring the amazing Yasmin by Saadia Faruqi.

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

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

Yasmin Kit

The Yasmin 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 cardboard binoculars) depending on your budget.

Want to use make a Yasmin 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.

Yasmin General Materials

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

Yasmin Bookmark – All Books

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

Yasmin Bookmark – Readalikes

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF of the Readalike titles here.

The Yasmin readalike bookmark features these titles:

Yasmin Discussion Questions

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

The Yasmin Discussion Questions included:

  • General Questions:
    • Look at the front cover. What do you think will happen in this story? Why do you think that?
    • What emotions did Yasmin feel in this story? Does it have a happy ending for her?
    • What happened first? Next? Then what happened?
    • What does Yasmin do when she is interested in something?
    • What have you learned about Yasmin’s culture? How is this similar or different to what your family does?
  • Sample Story Questions: Yasmin the Explorer
    • What do you know about explorers? Do you think you would like to be an explorer?
    • How did your family travel to where you live now? Did your relatives come from another country?
    • Why is Yasmin excited to go to the market with her mom?
    • What symbols does Yasmin include on her map?

Yasmin Swag – 1″ Buttons

This bag also included a few pieces of Yasmin swag: five 1″ buttons. Download a printable PDF to make them yourself here.

Yasmin Crafts, Games, and More

Yasmin loves to explore her community, so my crafts and activities connect to exploration too! First, I included a set of play binoculars and materials to decorate them (stickers in this bag plus crayons in the overall larger envelope, to be used for all included kits).

I purchased white cardboard tubes online. I put two tubes next to each other, wrapped a rubber band around them, and added a strip of hot glue near the seam. I rotated the tubes until the hot glue was in between the two tubes, and left the rubber band on for a few minutes to make sure it dried. Then, I cut strips of yarn and hot glued the ends into the insides of the tubes. These are obviously not fully functioning binoculars, but they do help kids focus their eyes on just one item at a time.

I also included a half sheet with a Nature Scavenger Hunt on one side and recommended nature books on the other.

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF of the Nature Scavenger Hunt here.

Yasmin Map Kit

In the book Yasmin the Explorer, Yasmin draws her own map of her community. I like the idea of participants exploring their neighborhoods too, so I included two activities around this theme.

One was simply a blank piece of paper to use to draw your map (I had to keep something simple!):

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF of the Draw a Map sheet here.

The other item was this cool make-a-town printable, filled with printed roads and buildings.

Access those at the Teach Beside Me blog.

1 2 5