Tag Archives: virtual program

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):

  • Ages 8-11:
    • Tristan Strong (Kwambe Mbalia)
    • Last Kids on Earth (Max Brallier)
    • 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

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.

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):

  • Ages 8-11:
    • Tristan Strong (Kwambe Mbalia)
    • Last Kids on Earth (Max Brallier)
    • 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

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.

Book Club in a Bag: Pete the Cat 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: Pete the Cat.

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:
    • Tristan Strong (Kwambe Mbalia)
    • Last Kids on Earth (Max Brallier)
    • 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

Pete the Cat Kit

The Pete the Cat 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 buttons) depending on your budget.

Want to use make a Pete the Cat 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.

Pete the Cat Kit General Materials

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

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


Unlike other kits, this bookmark does not include every Pete the Cat book, as there are a lot of them!

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

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF listing readalikes here.

The Pete the Cat readalikes bookmark features these titles:

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

The Pete the Cat Discussion Questions included:

  • Talk about Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes:
    • Did Pete’s day go as planned? Why or why not?
    • How would you feel if you stepped in a pile of strawberries, blueberries, or mud?
    • How do you think the large pile of strawberries got there?
    • How can you tell the difference between a big problem and a little problem?
    • Can you re-enact your favorite Pete the Cat story? What happens first? Next?
    • If cats could talk, what would you ask the next cat you meet? What do you think the cat would like to talk about?

This bag also included two swag items. The first is a Pete the Cat Activity Book, collecting activity sheets from the official Pete the Cat website.

Download a printable PDF of the activity booklet here.

Also, I printed stickers on 2.25″ Avery Circle Label Paper:

Download the printable sticker sheet here.

Pete the Cat Crafts, Games, and More

First up: make your own Pete the Cat headband! This craft was inspired by the headband craft from this blog. I recreated it with a printable cardstock template 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.

I also included a second craft, Pete the Cat button bracelets. I first saw this craft here, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how easily buttons can be strung onto a pipe cleaner.

Download the instructions below:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF here.

And finally, I made a Pete the Cat BINGO set:

And download below:

Slideshare not working? Download the Pete the Cat BINGO cards here.

Book Club in a Bag: Narwhal & Jelly 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 this month: 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). First up: Narwhal & Jelly Kit.

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:
    • Tristan Strong (Kwambe Mbalia)
    • Last Kids on Earth (Max Brallier)
    • 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

Narwhal & Jelly Kit

The Narwhal & Jelly 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 an Narwhal & Jelly 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.

Narwhal & Jelly Kit General Materials

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

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

The Narwhal & Jelly Discussion Questions included:

  • General Questions:
    • What is a Narwhal? Are they real? (Research narwhals to find out!)
    • Who was your favorite character? Why?
    • Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
  • Sample Story Questions: Super Narwhal & Jelly Jolt:
    • How does Narwhal cheer up Jelly? Have you ever cheered up a friend? What did you do?
    • What superpower does Narwhal end up having? How do you know?
    • There are some made-up words in this book that sound like real words. Can you find them? What do you think each word means?

This bag also included some 1″ buttons as swag. Download printable PDFs to make those yourself here.

Narwhal & Jelly Crafts, Games, and More

First up: make your own Narwhal & Jelly! This craft was inspired by the paper plate craft from this awesome blog. I don’t have the time or patience to paint paper plates for 50 take home kits, so I turned this into a printable template.

I realized afterward that the sizes are a bit disproportionate, but the craft still works. 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.

I also included two printable activity books. One includes a variety of Narwhal & Jelly activity sheets, mostly from the Narwhal & Jelly website:

Download below:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF of the activity booklet here.

And finally, make your own Narwhal & Jelly comic book. Practice drawing Narwhal before filling in the provided comic panel templates with your own story:

And download below:

Slideshare not working? Download the PDF of the comic activity book here.

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):

Check out these additional Book Club in a Bag Kits (links added as posts are created):

Narwhal & Jelly (Ben Clanton)
Pete the Cat (James Dean & Eric Litwin)
– Sadiq (Siman Nurrali)
Zoey & Sassafras (Asia Citro)
– Tristan Strong (Kwambe Mbalia)
– Last Kids on Earth (Max Brallier)
– Two Truths and a Lie (Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson)
– Lumberjanes

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.

Reader’s Theater: Virtual Edition!

Reader’s Theater was a popular in-person program, pre-pandemic. It was actually one of the last programs I ran in person, with our regular season running each February (learn more about in-person Reader’s Theater here, though the process is pretty similar to what is outlined below).

My Reader’s Theater kids are known for their energy, so I wasn’t sure what I was getting into by making this a virtual program. But, in the end, other than internet connection issues, the program was pretty seamless.

Before the Program – Script Prep!

Most of my work takes place before I see the kids the first time, and this was also the case virtually. Personally, I don’t use standard “reader’s theater scripts” that you can find on Google–they often feel forced or aren’t as fun for my 3rd-5th graders. Instead, I look for funny picture books that can be adapted to a reader’s theater style performance. I also have a stash of old Zoom Playhouse Scripts. The Zoom website is no longer available, but some of these can be transcribed from YouTube videos.

Knowing that I both had some new faces among my signups and that I wanted some familiarity, this year’s scripts included the titles below. Click on the links on the titles to download the scripts to use in your own program.

I plan for a full group of 15 kids. Not every kid is in every play. I select scripts that allow for 60 parts total (four per reader). Many picture books allow for multiple narrator roles, allowing me to tweak scripts to fit the number of parts I need to reach 60.

Once I have all of my scripts, I print them all out and highlight the appropriate lines for each part. Then, the sorting begins.

I sort scripts into folders before the first rehearsal. In person, kids then randomly select a folder without knowing what parts are inside. Virtually, I had to distribute folders out the drive thru window pickup service, so I had to pick parts for kids ahead of time. When I had a toss up for who should get a part with more lines, I tended to give it to kids who were aging out of the program this year (especially those who had been doing this a while).

To break scripts down into folders, I try to aim for the following:

  • 4 scripts per folder
  • At least 1 script that is a “lead” role (more lines)
  • Not all parts in one folder are narrator roles
  • If possible, spread scripts out based on the chosen performance order (not all scripts are at the beginning or end)

Each folder has two labels on the front with the parts of the performer and the performance order. I use three-prong folders, so scripts are hole-punched and inserted into the prongs.

Another difference: in person, kids would only get copies of the scripts for the plays they were in. Virtually, each kid got a copy of every script because I new we would have absences and drop outs, and I would need to assign those roles. In person, I handed kids the folder of the absent participant, virtually, I didn’t want to deal with sending links to virtual copies of scripts.

Some other practices to make script assignment smooth:

  • I create a master sheet for me, organized by play, labeling which scripts/performers have which parts. This helps a lot when 15 8-11-year-olds are paying zero attention to which play comes next.
  • I have a jar on hand with the names of each kid inside on a separate slip of paper. If someone is absent, I pull a name out of the jar to evenly distribute extra parts.

Reader’s Theater Virtual Program

This virtual program followed a similar schedule to in-person Reader’s Theater:

  • Week 1: Zoom Scavenger Hunt, Intro to Reader’s Theater, Practice Scripts
  • Week 2: Zoom Scavenger Hunt, Practice Scripts (continued from week 1)
  • Week 3:Zoom Scavenger Hunt, Full Rehearsal
  • Week 4: Performance for family, friends, and more

We started the first three virtual sessions with a Would You Rather question and a Zoom scavenger hunt.

Would You Rather Questions included:

  • Would you rather only be able to get around by hopping like a kangaroo or leaping like a ballerina?
  • Would you rather have ketchup randomly come out of your belly button or your nose?
  • Would you rather be able to only eat your favorite food for the rest of your life, or would you rather never be able to eat it again?

Zoom Scavenger Hunt Items included:

Week 1
1. Something you can wear on your head
2. Something with words on it
3. Something related to dinosaurs
4. Something with wings
5. Something that is meant to get wet
6. Something that makes a sound
7. One of these: rock, paper, or scissors
8. A spoon
9. Something bumpy
10. Something that makes you laugh
11. Something you really want to share
12. Your script!

Download PPT.
Week 2
1. Something you can wear on your head
2. Something related to food
3. A book
4. Something Orange
5. Something round
6. Your script!

Download PPT.
Week 3
1. Something you can wear on your head
2. Something that can hold something else
3. Something related to animals
4. Something purple
5. Your script!

Download PPT.

We only rehearsed one script at a time, so the kids who are not currently practicing are welcome to watch and give feedback, or they can explore some busywork packets–mad libs, dot-to-dots, kawaii coloring sheets, Captain Underpants Name Changer, etc. Download our busywork packet here.

On performance day, family and friends could use the same link to watch the performance. I asked them to mute and turn their cameras off (and did so for them if they did not), and gave them instructions on how to only view the performers on their screens. Everything went smoothly, with a great performance by all!

Reader’s Theater: Virtual Tips

I’ve run this program a lot in person, and I imagine everyone’s experience (virtual or in person) will be very different. Some things I discovered virtually:

  • A lot more kids came once and never returned or never came at all. This meant our final performers ended up with more parts–but it also made things a little more challenging to organize when we got to plays that had more parts than we had performers.
  • “Correcting” kids feels very different virtually. I don’t like to actively correct the kids in any setting, but in person, another kid would more often step in and try to help someone struggling with pronunciation. Sometimes, I would make sure I was seated in a spot situated near someone who needed a little more help reading (or someone who struggled to pay attention to a long script). Virtually, other than through chat, it isn’t really doable to whisper something to one kid without everyone hearing. I mainly only stepped in if someone was really having microphone issues or internet connection problems.
  • Speaking of internet connection problems: they persist, kids can’t always solve the problems on their own, and you can’t always help either. When reading scripts that rely on reading in order and moving through a lot of lines quickly, internet lags can make a 5-minute script take 15 minutes.
  • Figure out, or prepare for, microphone issues ahead of time. I’ve seen some teachers may require kids to keep their microphones on during a virtual class. I didn’t want to require that, but I debated requiring kids to keep them on during a play they were performing in to help keep things moving. I decided not to, for privacy, and that ended up being the best decision. It slowed things down, but one of our particular participants who muted between every line had a screaming baby in the background. It added a few minutes to things, but it was more enjoyable for everyone.

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):

Check out these additional Book Club in a Bag Kits (links added as posts are created):

Narwhal & Jelly (Ben Clanton)
Pete the Cat (James Dean & Eric Litwin)
– Sadiq (Siman Nurrali)
Zoey & Sassafras (Asia Citro)
– Tristan Strong (Kwambe Mbalia)
– Last Kids on Earth (Max Brallier)
– Two Truths and a Lie (Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson)
– Lumberjanes

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.

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