Summer Reading Program 2010

Well, we had fun at the library’s Summer Reading Program:

We made paperbag hats!

Danced to Kindermusik with Miss Julie.

We created beautiful jellyfish.

jellyfish

Listened to Miss Ruby tell us fascinating stories.

We met Houdini, the miraculous rescue rabbit.

We created brilliant “stained glass” fish.

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Readers Theatre

One of the things that really gets me excited about being a children’s librarian is the impact I can have on getting kids reading. I was an avid reader as a child, but my brother was not. He was later diagnosed with dyslexia, but by that time he absolutely hated reading–especially reading aloud–where he would be criticized, or worse, made fun of by others. Fortunately, as an adult, he started to enjoy reading and now does so regularly, but as a teen, I don’t think he read a single book he wasn’t required to for class. Yesterday, I read From Children’s Literature to Readers Theatre by Elizabeth A. Poe in American Libraries about using readers theatre with kids to improve and encourage reading and I was inspired. As a librarian, I don’t have the same role as a teacher. I don’t have set subjects or curriculum areas that must be covered. I don’t give out tests or assign “boring” reading assignments. My whole goal is to get kids reading books/magazines/e-books/audiobooks/comics/graphic novels they want to read. And if they don’t like reading when they encounter the library or the librarian, then my goal is to encourage them to view reading as something enjoyable and fun–and completely under their control. Readers theatre may be the way to do that. It involves reading, practice reading, performance, and fun. It encourages kids to become fluent in reading, to read expressively, improves public speaking skills, and gets kids reading aloud together. I love the collaborative nature of it and the way that kids can use it to inspire other younger children to enjoy reading, too. An ideal readers theatre experience would allow a group of kids to choose the story/stories they want to perform, and for older and more advanced children,  to adapt the story by writing their own script. I think it’s important that children have choices. It allows them to  invest in the experience. Performing the stories for younger children offers the readers a “rock star” moment and encourages a mentoring role between them and the younger kids. The younger children are given an exciting version of storytime that hopefully increases their desire to read and “be like” the older kids. I can’t wait to implement readers theatre at my library and I look forward to documenting my experiences here.

Hudson Children’s Book Festival 2010

Yesterday I traveled 3+ hours (one-way) to Hudson, NY to attend the 2nd annual Hudson Children’s Book Festival. I wanted to immerse myself in current children’s literature before I begin my big move from academic librarianship to youth librarianship (in 2 weeks!). This was a wonderful way of doing that. I highly recommend attending this festival to any educators, librarians, families, kids, etc. who are in the NY or New England area next year. The festival is free, but be prepared to spend $$$ on books in the authors/illustrators exhibition area, unless you have better self-control than I do. Between signing and selling books, authors and illustrators give half-hour workshops/readings/and storytimes. I attended a pre-school age storytime and a workshop on comic book language between spending way too much on books and meeting wonderful authors/illustrators.

Since I’ll be working in a multiculturally diverse city in the South, I focused on books that represented children from a variety of backgrounds. I found some great books, including:

Mama’s Boyz The Big Picture by Jerry Craft. Ages 8-80. This is the third in a series of Mama’s Boyz graphic novels. Yusuf and Tyrell are African American teen brothers growing up with a supportive cast of family and friends. This book features Yusuf learning how youthful actions have repercussions into adulthood, as he is visited by “phantoms” of his future. The phantoms show him what will happen to him if he doesn’t change his ways. My favorite scene is where Yusuf discovers that tattoos on one’s face or butt can look pretty stupid as one ages. I was giggling all the way through this book. Mr. Craft is an extraordinarily talented artist who champions education, health, personal responsibility and creativity for youth. I would love for him to present a comic book workshop at my library for tweens/teens.

When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat by Muriel Harris Weinstein & illustrated by R. Gregory Christie: This book just makes me smile from ear to ear! Inspired by her love of jazz, Ms. Weinstein has written a book to share that love with children of all ages. The story focuses on a little girl who loves listening to jazzy scat and is visited by Louis Armstrong in her dreams. He teaches her how to scat about one of her favorite things: bubble gum! The rhyming scat is charming and the illustrations are just, Wow! I love this book and can’t wait to share it with kids.

Black, White, Just Right! by Marguerite W. Davol & illustrated by Irene Trivas: Inspired by her son’s marriage to an African woman and her “just right” grandchildren, Ms. Davol has written a lovely book about a biracial family. The story explores the differences in the family while emphasizing how those differences are transformed in the body and personality of the child.

Priscilla and the Hollyhocks by Anne Broyles & illustrated by Anna Alter: This is the true story of a little girl born into slavery who plants hollyhocks (her symbol of hope) throughout her perilous journey (including the Trail of Tears) to freedom. This would make an excellent addition to any juvenile history collection.

The Rain Stomper by Addie Boswell & illustrated by Eric Velasquez: Jazmin stomps her way into our hearts as she baton twirls her way through the rain, determined not to the let the untimely weather ruin her parade day.

Kimchi & Calamari by Rose Kent: Ages 8-12. Ms. Kent has written a book that will resonate with all children who wonder about their identities–not only adoptees. Joseph, a Korean child adopted by an Italian-American family, is assigned to write an essay about his ancestry for school. The surprising results lead to self-discovery.

8th Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich: I haven’t read this book yet, but I can’t wait to do so! It sounds fabulous. Be sure to check out the rave reviews and become a fan of the Superzero fan page on Facebook.