Program Review: Slime Science

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

Description: Our Slime Science programs are one of our most popular in the library. We have made gallons of slime over the past year, and kids can’t seem to get enough of it. We run two different levels of slim programs.

The first one is Slime Science Jr., which is for Kindergarten through Second Grade with a caregiver. The purpose of this program is to introduce caregivers and kids about the basics of creating, perfecting, and troubleshooting slime. What do you do if it’s too watery? If it’s too stiff? What if it’s not changing colors or too clumpy? This is a crash course in the basics of slime.

Also, this program can be beneficial for the caregivers as well, as they can use this as a foundation to understand the recipe and way to create slime successfully. We go through the “why” along with the “how” for every step, as well as basic creation and cleanliness tips along the way.

The second type of program is our regular after-school Slime Science, for kids in grades 3-8. This focuses on the same thing as Slime Science Jr., but with the opportunity to make more complicated types of slime, with different sensory materials, experimenting with different ingredients (including elements such as coffee grounds and chocolate). Recently, kids have made glow in the dark slime, cloud slime, and dirt/nature slime! This gives kids variety while keeping the foundation of making slime the same. Of course, we allow kids to experiment and play with their slime as they create it and when they are finished! Check out the recipe for making your own slime at home and stay tuned for new types of in the future!

Recipe:

Plastic cup

Less than 1oz water for stirring

2:1 or 3:1 ratio of glue to water

Add small amounts of food coloring for color

Begin with 1 cupful of Sta-Flo. Can add small amounts more if needed

Stir all ingredients

To increase texture: lotion

To increase fluffiness: shaving cream

If too watery: small amounts of baking soda

Caldecott Club: Session #2

Posted & filed under Blog, Uncategorized, Youth & Teen.

Hi! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians and I’m back with another recap of our latest Caldecott Club session. We had our second session on Thursday, October 17 and selected two more books to send to our Voting Party. To refresh your memory, the Caldecott Award is the award for the most distinguished American picture book for children, given out each year by the Association for Library Service to Children. We talked about the Caldecott Award, spotting titles we’ve enjoyed from the Baker & Taylor poster and considering what makes a good picture book. We were also joined by our friend Beekle, star of the 2015 Caldecott Award winning book, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat. 

I shared how grown-up committee members have boxes of books delivered at their doorsteps when they receive submissions for the award. So I taped a box up a box of our books & had two of our Caldecott Club members help us open it up and then distribute the books. 

The books we discussed in session 2 were:

Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel 

Another by Christian Robinson

Music for Mister Moon by Philip and Erin Stead 

Picture Walk

Rather than doing a formal read aloud of each book, we did picture walks. Our participants were especially eager to help out with reading each book aloud, so we worked out a system to take turns. For the picture walk, we discussed each book’s visual features to examine the techniques the artists used and how they worked. Often I would prompt the group by asking them: How well does this book do what it’s trying to do? What did you notice? How does this page make you feel? What makes this art distinguished? I also found it very helpful to remind our group not to skip ahead in their copies of the book because we want to experience the page turns in the picture walk together. 

One thing that I failed to do this session was use our timer to ensure we gave each book equal time – and keep us on track to complete this program on time. When you’re focused on discussing a book, time seems to stand still, but using a timer ensures that we temper our enthusiasm with reality.

Ms. Ann was instrumental in ensuring our program today ran smoothly so I want to make sure to share a huge thank you to her! 

Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

We began our picture walk by making predictions based on the cover, which is pretty mysterious and also a wonderful #bookface opportunity. E. shared that “maybe the bear was sad… and something came along and and cheered him up.” B. added his prediction that “he lost his family and another animal pack, say a wolf, and that was his family.” Their predictions bore out in the story. We then turned our attention to the endpapers, to which E. revealed to us that “it was grey and black and then there’s this blue,” noticing the subdued color palette in the beginning of the book. We used our close reading skills to notice how the log next to the bear was cracking and set our expectations for bear’s dramatic fall into the river. Bear’s travails in the river led our group to talk about safety while camping by rivers and how to deal with getting sucked away by the current. Each page turn in this book IS a dramatic page turn and we had the best time amplifying that drama. When it was revealed that Froggy was looking for a friend, B. proudly proclaimed, “I was right! He’s finding his people.”

R. got super excited when he noticed the frog in the bushes way before he appears to Bear. The kids excitedly started noticing a pattern where the upcoming animal is in the prior spread, looking deeply at each page for the reveal. B. got very excited when he found turtles on the endpages, proclaiming, “if you don’t like turtles, don’t talk to me.” As we noticed the colors in the story, B. predicted, “every page you turn, another color will show up.” E. added to the analysis, sharing, “every time an animal joins in, it’s a different color [added to the page].” We talked about how perspective shifts throughout the story, from a bird’s eye view to a close-up of all the animals to a very zoomed out view of their entire trip. E. was able to read the animal’s body language and expressions to share how each animal was feeling. Our group automatically made the same faces as the animals, which is part of what makes this book storytime gold!

I relate deeply to the turtles throughout this book.

Ms. Ann noticed how the places they’ve been have a lot of color but the places they haven’t been don’t.  E. added to this insight, saying, “You get more colorful, the more adventures you make.” We experienced the switch in the physical orientation of the book when they’re falling down the waterfall as an effective way to show change. Our group was excited to see the other animals in the final scene who are drawn into this adventure. They also noticed how the final endpapers are so colorful, contrasting with the beginning muted endpapers. I shared selections from the author’s note from Richard T. Morris: “Sometimes the hardest thing is to embrace the other, when the other is so different. But it is through this connection that we truly discover our best selves – our strengths, our weaknesses, our fears, our courage.” I also shared the artist’s note from LeUyen Pham: “While painting this book, I spent a lot of time thinking about why people become divided from one another and forget that they all live on the same earth. It takes a small thing, like animals in a forest falling in a river, to realize this. We sink or swim together.. And sometimes we take a tumble and things turn out right…. A small metaphor that reminds us that the things that bind us are greater than things that divide us, and that while we are each distinct from one another, with quirks that make us so unique, we’re all journeying down the same river together.” 

Finally, I shared the case cover secret with our community of new friends having a great time together. 

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel 

We began our picture walk by exploring the endpapers, making connections between the textured image to sidewalks, granite, flooring, and other stone. We looked at the cover page and encouraging the group to watch for the snail. The group noticed cracks on the side of the stone, which I had never noticed before. B. had some ideas about a creature, perhaps a snail, coming out from inside the stone. E. predicted that the bird was using his voice to wake the snail, which is part of why the stone was loud – and then when the stone was quiet, she suggested that the snail was frightened by the snake, so much that “he couldn’t even speak.” When the stone is rough, E. suggested that it was the snail who was taking off his shell. When the stone was soft, B. shared how porcupines could be soft, which helped us think more critically about how we view porcupines. Y. revealed how in the color spread represents the stone in different seasons. E. noticed a woodland creature underneath the moose hiding away, which just shows her attention to detail. I made sure to share this instagram video that shows Brendan Wenzel’s process to create the moose.

We talked about the theme of the stone being a home to all of these animals. We slowed down to notice how the stone becomes an island and is submerged underwater. We also pointed out how the spread without the stone is completely wordless and what that might mean. When we talked about the animals that are no longer there, E. shared that “they abandoned their habitat.” B. added “because they would die if they were there.” I deliberately tried to draw out the kids’ ideas about what is happening to the rock based on this interview with Brendan Wenzel who said, “The rock in the book is exposed at low tide, and the tide does rise. So it could be tidal movement. I’m leaving the source of the water rising a little ambiguous so that readers are free to wonder and to build their own story. That space is really important to build into books.” B. pointed out that the owl was still there, flying above the water, which is such a lovely insight. The spread about “have you ever known such a place?” provoked us to consider how we’d like to find places like this stone. We then revealed the case cover secret with the snail’s travels across the book, to which E. declared, “it’s kind of like a maze.” 

Another by Christian Robinson

We had to begin our journey to dimensions unknown with Christian Robinson’s gorgeous endpapers and predict what this book is about. E. shared it’s about space or having a dream about space. I directed them to look at the jacket copy at the back and front, showing the cats going in and out of the portals. 

When we saw the dramatic change between the quiet sleeping scene to the portal cat appearing, R. made a text-to-text connection, declaring it a “flip-o-rama,” a wonderful storytelling experience from Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants and Dog Man books. And then the group, of course, had to flip-o-rama these two pages! R. and B. then wanted to name the cats, which is, of course, what this book inspires kids to do! The kids got super excited when making predictions about the blue cat (portal cat) taking the toy and stealing away into the portal. Y. predicted that when the cat goes through the portal, the girl will join it. 

What would you name the cats?

When she goes into the portal, the orientation of the book shifts, so we physically turned the book upside down to follow her. It’s a bit confusing to move forward the opposite way, but it just takes practice to explore mirror worlds – and this process is what play is all about. (This New York Times Books Live video with Christian Robinson was instrumental to learning how to share this book and is just a wonderful viewing experience!)

Our group basically ooh and aahed throughout our picture walk. They noticed that the girl used her blanket to climb down into the portal. We continually changed the orientation, this time vertically as she climbs the stairs, as we moved forward in the story. E. shared that previously the cat was sad, but now it’s happy, playing with the other cat. Y. shared how the mirror cat is playing with them and leading them away. We thought critically about the rules of gravity in this world but also accepted that gravity was everywhere so you wouldn’t fall off the conveyor belt. Our group noticed the mirror pairs in the crowd scene, as well as ones that didn’t have pairs until the following spreads. We talked about how everyone is finding their people in these spreads. In my research for this book, I found this quote from Christian Robinson’s BookRiot interview explaining his process for creating Another: “Children seeing themselves reflected on the page was the spark that motivated the story. The thought that followed was well, what if a child literally saw themselves in a story? Perhaps a version of themselves from some parallel universe. As a child, I loved stories in which characters go on some magical adventure to a world where anything is possible. Often, those characters didn’t look like me or come from a community that reflected my own. I want kids today to have a different experience.”

Y. noticed how the girl has a red planet on her outfit like her cat’s collar and the mirror twin has a blue planet like her cat’s collar. We talked about the dramatic crossing of the gutter when the mouse is returned to our hero. When she returns home and is happily asleep, the kids noticed that there’s now a blue mouse on her floor, beckoning another future adventure. Y. declared that she liked this book. We also made sure to check out the case cover secret, which the kids thought looked like the ball pit scene. 

Music for Mister Moon by Philip and Erin Stead 

I began this book by talking about how this book is quieter, a book about an introvert – made by introverts. I shared Erin Stead’s process for creating the art, showing how it was all hand-drawn and painted. (There’s tons of resources below that reveal her incredible artistic process! I really would love to see how her art is made in real life to truly understand it.) We made some connections between this story and Where the Wild Things Are, talking about the power of imagination, not to mention the white space. We made connections between Another related to being  problem solvers when Hank gets a ladder to help Mister Moon.

I made sure the group looked back to pay attention to her stuffed bear and walrus to help them connect to her adventures to help Mister Moon. Hank is all about helping the moon fulfill his wishes. We noticed the double-page spreads and the impact of these scenes. I pointed out the spot colors on each of the characters who Hank visits to help return Mister Moon to the sky. We made sure to do a dramatic page turn when Mister Moon, with the help of the entire community, is returned to the sky. I also made sure to point out the super subtle, gentle case cover secret, which so fits this lovely, shy book. 

VOTING!

After we had walked through each book in a whirlwind of color and conversation, we were ready to ballot. Each child received a paper ballot to select their top 2 choices. M. helped with the math to make sure it was accurate. The top 2 books then are the winners of our session and go on the Voting Party on January 9. We also had a raffle where we gave away two Another pins and everyone got a pin to add to their lanyard and a Caldecott poster. 

And the Session 2 Winners Are…

Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

Another by Christian Robinson

Join Us Next Time!

Please join us for our next Caldecott Club session on Thursday, November 7 from 3:30-5:00pm! And don’t forget to bring your fancy lanyards! (And if you didn’t get one, make sure to join us so you can rock our Caldecott Club merch!) While our registration list is full online, PLEASE contact me to get put on the list. I’d love to have you join us.

Since you’ve spent all this time reading this post, I’ll even let you know which books we’ll be discussing:

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukof, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by Raúl the Third

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña

At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre 

Thanks for sticking all the way through this post… hope to see you next time!

 – Eti

Resources

A librarian always provides their sources – here are a series of resources I found while preparing for this program that you may want to check out:

Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

Illustrator’s Website

Review from Librarian’s Quest 

Storytime with Bill – Read Aloud Video 

Horn Book Review (Julie Danielson) 

Book Chat: LeUyen Pham on Bear Came Along (Betsy Bird) 

Book Chat with the Illustrator: LeUyen Pham: Bear Came Along Video 

Publisher’s page

Bear Came Along Storytime Kit

LeUyen Pham Interview on The Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner

Children’s Book Art: Techniques and Media 

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel 

Author’s Website

Q & A with Brendan Wenzel by Antonia Saxon (Publisher’s Weekly) 

The Story Behind A Stone Sat Still (Video) 

Book Trailer (Video)

Publisher’s Page 

Ponder Perspectives and the Passage of Time with Brenden Wenzel’s A Stone Sat Still by Erika Thulin Dawes (School Library Journal’s Classroom Bookshelf) 

Instagram Process Video 

Ronnie’s Awesome List Podcast Interview with Brendan Wenzel 

Bothin Marsh StoryWalk – A Stone Sat Still

StoryWalk Article (Floating Times)

Another by Christian Robinson

Author’s Website 

New York Times Books: Live Illustration with Christian Robinson 

Publisher’s Page 

Educator’s Guide and Activities 

An Interview with Award-Winning Children’s Book Illustrator Christian Robinson by Jen Sherman (Book Riot) 

Book Trailer 

PBS Brief but Spectacular: Christian Robinson

The Bookshelf: Inside Illustrator Christian Robinson’s Sacramento Studio

Kirkus Review 

Christian Robinson’s Another (Julie Danielson) 

100 Scope Notes Review 

The Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner

Music for Mister Moon by Philip and Erin Stead 

Publisher’s Page 

Behind the Scenes: ‘Music for Mister Moon’

Music for Mister Moon Website 

Music for Mister Moon (Julie Danielson) 

BookPage: Imaginative adventure stories perfect for bedtime reading (Julie Danielson) 

Kirkus Review 

Shelf Awareness Interview


Missed Storytime? Check Out These Tips

Posted & filed under Blog, Early Literacy, Youth & Teen.

Tip: By playing with each individual finger or toe, a child can better learn how each individual part can make up a whole, and gain additional awareness of their body. This rhyme can be used to accomplish this, while bonding with a child.

Kissy Kissy Fingers

Kissy Kissy Fingers
kissy kissy toes 
I love to kiss my baby 
on her kissy kissy nose

Weekly Storytime Tip! Little Red Wagon

Posted & filed under Blog, Early Literacy, Youth & Teen.




Tip: Repetition is key for learning language and a key part of developing good literacy habits. This rhyme is a good example, along with re-reading books. Sign up for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten for more information.
Bumping up and down in my little red wagon 
Bumping up and down in my little red wagon 
Bumping up and down in my little red wagon 
Won’t You Be My Baby?

The Caldecott Club Returns!

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

Hi! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians. This year marks our THIRD Caldecott Club, which we began during my first year at Lincolnwood Library, inspired by the fantastic program that Brian Wilson created at Evanston Public Library in 2016. Every year I learn more from our young readers about the ways to structure this program to engage in thoughtful conversations about picture books. I am so grateful for the chance to offer this program again with some of the young people who joined us last year, as well as new friends. We designed this program to be open to kids from around 3rd grade through 8th grade because picture books are for everybody and everyone can learn from each other. [I guess this is the place I should put a spoiler alert for all the books we’re discussing…]

What’s a Caldecott?

So what is the Caldecott Award? It is the award for the most distinguished American picture book for children, given out each year by the Association for Library Service to Children. I shared a poster from Baker & Taylor of previous award winners, so the kids could spot some familiar faces and find connections between them. S. instantly noticed The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein and shared how much she loved it. I informed her about the sad news that he had passed away recently, and she instantly declared that she’d like to write a tribute to him. I will always remember the powerful conversations we had during our first Caldecott Club series discussing The Boy and The Whale, which our group selected as an Honor book during our 2017 Caldecott Club.

The winners of our 2017 Caldecott Club!

We discussed what makes a good picture book, enabling the kids to create the language we used to evaluate the books. Ya. declared that memories make a good picture book. Others said it should be easy to understand. S. said that the pictures should speak to you. I also gave them a fantastic kid-friendly evaluation guide, thanks to Holly Jin at Skokie Public Library (who was on the 2017 Caldecott Committee) who shared this resource with me.

Once we established our criteria, we were ready to explore the books. I had put them in a cardboard box and taped it up, so the kids could dramatically open up the box just like the adult committee members do when books arrive in the mail. Brian did this at his Caldecott Club session and the kids were filled with anticipation every time. Each group received a copy of the book, so they could look more closely at the books. R. helped me open the box and distribute our first book. 

The books we discussed in session 1 were:

The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach
How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol
Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

Picture Walk


Rather than doing a formal read aloud of each book, we did picture walks. Our participants were especially eager to help out with reading each book aloud, so we worked out a system to take turns. For the picture walk, we discussed each book’s visual features to examine the techniques the artists used and how they worked. Often I would prompt the group by asking them: How well does this book do what it’s trying to do? What did you notice? How does this page make you feel? What makes this art distinguished?

The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach 

Our group instantly noticed the parallel end papers with the caterpillar at the beginning and butterflies at the end. They began making predictions about what would happen to our caterpillar friend. This hilarious book is perfect for read alouds, especially if you share it in two voices. S. read the Impatient Caterpillar’s speech bubbles, while I read the other caterpillar’s speech. Our group laughed throughout our picture walk.

My favorite line is definitely, “Can I get a comic book or something?” There’s nothing like comics to help us be more patient.

They noticed many of the comic book features that convey information. Ya. pointed out the “white wind” that shows the Impatient Caterpillar is spinning, trying to make his chrysalis. Intrigued, Yu. asked how is the chrysalis formed, which stumped me. So here’s a great resource from The Kids Should See This that helps explain this magical process – and hopefully answers Yu.’s question. Our group pointed out the effective use of typography to contribute to the story, noticing how the font gets bigger as the caterpillars grow increasingly exasperated. We had a marvelous time chorally reading the dramatic line, “Shhh… we’re trying to metamorphosize!” R. had mastered how to say this tongue-twisting word and shared his knowledge with us.

When the Impatient Caterpillar went into his chrysalis surrounded by darkness, Ya. pointed out that “it looks like he’s dying.” When he comes out of the chrysalis half-finished, the group pointed out that he is not a butterfly yet and we talked about the movement on the page that shows his struggles. When he returns into his chrysalis and is screaming on a full page spread, S. pointed out that “he’s screaming a lot and everyone else is silent,” which shows the contrast in his reactions to change versus the other caterpillars. S. did an incredible job acting as the Impatient Caterpillar learning how to be patient and embrace change. We talked about how over time he becomes silent because he’s finally becoming a butterfly. We marveled at the dramatic page turn when he becomes a butterfly, complete with the purple markings that identify him as our Impatient friend. Yu. remarked that “he’s still impatient” at the end as he learns he has entirely new journey to join. We talked about dual transformation of the character who is both becoming a butterfly and learning to be patient. The group shared that it would be a good book to read to little kids. S. shared that she’d love to visit Todd Hall and read it to the little kids there. She also shared that it’s relatable “because there’s a lot of annoying people saying, “Are we there yet?” I have experience because I’m the younger sister and I do it.” I really appreciated her honestly. We’re all a lot like the impatient caterpillar and can learn a lot from his journey.

How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Melissa Sweet  

I began our picture walk through How to Read a Book by asking the group about how they read books. S. shared that it’s important “to understand a page before you move on.” Yu. predicted that this book wasn’t going to be a storybook narrative, which was spot on. I shared information from Kwame Alexander’s author’s note about how he wrote this poem for World Read Aloud Day in 2010, but it was not selected. Eventually it was published in Open a World of Possible from Scholastic. Kwame remarked that “I think writing the poem that became this book was my way of capturing our family reading experience on paper. Of painting a picture of the journey readers take each time they crack open a book, get lost in the pages, and wander through the wonder.”  M. shared her experiences reading during DEAR (Drop Everything & Read) during social studies class this week and how loud it was initially, making it difficult to focus on the words. We talked about the importance of quiet spaces needed for reading. I shared how Melissa Sweet took Kwame’s poem and used her imagination to illustrate it. S. pointed out that “it’s the poem in her mind. It’s not exactly about books, but what’s in her mind.” Ya. pointed out that it’s more creative. Inspired just by the cover, S. suggested that we all make titles and make our own books, which we’ll definitely have to pursue at a future Caldecott Club. 

We began our picture walk by exploring the bright neon pink endpapers with shelves of books. I then had our group pause to explore the powerful three-dimensional collage that Melissa Sweet states in her note, “[sets] the scene for Kwame’s lyrical text.” It was a revelation when I discovered the secrets on this gorgeous spread and I wanted our Caldecott Club to have the same experience. I projected a picture of the spread on the whiteboard and instructed the group to open the page in their books and look deeply. One said they saw the word “Caldecott.” Other saw the word “grateful,” which led others to indicate that the word was “grateful.” Gradually they worked together to decode the page, noticing the hidden line:

Poetry is motion

graceful 

as a fawn

M. pointed out that she saw Bambi on this page. I shared the information from Sweet’s illustrator’s note where she had been using a copy of Bambi to make the art when she found a poem by renowned poet and educator (and Kwame’s teacher and mentor) Nikki Giovanni that began with the above line. “That was the perfect affirmation. The serendipity of using Bambi as part of the art made me trust the imagery was heading in the right direction.” Of course, I had the share the full poem by Nikki Giovanni. (And what perfect timing that Nikki Giovanni is coming to Chicago in November for the Chicago Humanities Festival! You can get tickets here.)

We then moved on the copyright page and S. pointed out that the information is formatted as an apple, which I had never noticed before. She was astounded by the craft needed to make the art. “This probably took years. Did she handmake it and handcut the letters?” I shared images from Melissa’s process to create the art and it truly is a marvel. We then jumped into the book, sharing photographs of the black tupelo and dawn redwood trees that Kwame references. We talked about how Sweet creates a feeling of a tree in her art in abstract ways. In reference to reading on a stoop like Langston Hughes, showed them a picture of the Langston Hughes House, which is now home to the I, Too, Arts Collective thanks to the hard work of founder and author Renée Watson. This also gave me the chance to introduce them to the poetry of Langston Hughes. There are so many riches within this book! S. shared that she just bought art supplies and she now planned on drawing pictures of trees and sharing her art next week, which is just the response you hope for after encountering this beautiful book. 

We then talked about the metaphor that reading is like eating a clementine. S. shared that she’s very rough with clementines (which we eat all the time during our Books & Bites program). Our group noticed the Bambi passages throughout the book, noting the word “delicious” on the page about the clementine. S. remarked that the neon orange circle on the opposite page looks like a clementine. S. shared that like clementines, “maybe the outside [of a book] is not much but once you get inside, it’s delicious.” The butterflies spread inspired M. to share that “I keep trying to capture a butterfly and let it land on my hand,” expressing a wistful wonder that we’ve all experienced. S. blew me away with her artist eye, noticing the “book toaster” on the next page, popping out “Once upon a time” toast. On the wordless page of a girl reading while walking through the city, M. remarked that “that’s dangerous – reading and walking,” which made me think about the importance of audiobooks for safety alone! They noticed how the books are frequently neon, which make them stand out on the page. Their surprise was palpable as we opened the gatefold, revealing a magical book bus and struggled to choose our favorite window.

The kids’ response: “We have book parties, too!”

They pointed out on the next spread how the book is a tent that the reader is lying inside, actually reading Bambi. “She really likes Bambi,” M. pointed out. “You could probably read the whole book of Bambi reading this one,” S. added. We were practically speechless with wonder during the “bursts of orange” spread as the O in “Exploded” becomes the purple moon. M. pointed out that the dots surrounded the page must be hole punches. The next page made S. contemplative, expressing how much she liked the crescent moon and constellations. I recalled S.’s declaration for slow reading and how this spread encourages us to “don’t rush through” (even though I was rushing to finish our picture walk). This spread reminded me of the incredible TEDTalk by Jacqueline Woodson,  “what reading slowly taught me about writing,” which is essential viewing. 

The group noticed Bambi again in the child’s hair and face as they drift off to sleep at the end. They also wondered about the RFID tag on the end paper, which shows how they notice everything. They also noted the “Target logo” on the back cover, which was a good association for them. Yu. declared that How to Read a Book was very artistic. M. asked if it smelled like anything, which provoked me to share how Mr. Schu, Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs, talks about how books smell, so we had to smell this savory book. It smelled pretty great.

The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol 

The moment I shared The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol, Yu. instantly declared that “I love her. She wrote Be Prepared and Anya’s Ghost.” I added that she also wrote Leave Me Alone, which won a Caldecott Honor in 2017. And I got to reminisce about our fabulous Skype visit with Vera last summer. Of course, we had to begin with the case cover secret, prompting the group to determine who the little guys are. I urged them to try to find the littlest little guy throughout the story. S. and Yu. took turns reading the pages as we went through our picture walk. Yu. stated, “they’re strong like ants working together.” M. commented on how they are a community.

Can you find the littlest little guy?

Ya. pointed out that they’re always together, with the light on them even when it’s dark. Yu. shared how they team up. Things shifted for our group from seeing the little guys as an adorable collective as they began using their power in hurtful ways. When they oust the owl from its desk, Yu. declared, “that’s mean.” Turning the page to see how they treat the fox and its den of food, she added, “Look at what they did. They took the fox’s food; they’re stealing food and everyone is scared of them.” M. was visibly moved by the following spread of the little guys beating up the bear. “I’m surprised,” she said. “The bears aren’t doing anything to them and they’re [taking the fish] for no reason,” Yu. added.

“They’re kind of selfish,” S. remarked. Yu argued, “Because they’re the little guys, they can do anything. They took it way too far.” The drama escalated when the orientation of the book shifted. Ya. explained that “it demonstrates how tall [their stash of food] is and shows how much they are and it’s more than you can believe.” We talked about how this wealth of food shows their greed and gluttony.

We talked about how Vera used comics panels to show the process of taking the berry from the bird – and we all yelled “Ahhh!” together as it all comes crashing down. Yu. talked about the impact of their greed: “They have a lot of things and they just want to take a small berry from the bird.” Ya. pointed how how the other animals help save the little guys, even the fish. Yu. pointed out how this experience changed the little guys: “They saw how the other animals have empathy for them. They saved the little guys and they felt happy and grateful. They decided to give back and not be selfish.” I’d say the little guys had a big impact on our Caldecott Club.

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

We began our exploration of Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman with the case cover secret and predicting what this book would be about. I shared that Deborah Freedman used pencil, colored pencils, watercolor and assembled the art in Photoshop. They were excited that common art supplies that they use could result in such a beautiful book. We had a good conversation about the biology of earthworms, which made M. think about composting. We talked about how the text mirrors Carl’s movements, which contributes to the effectiveness of the picture book. They were curious about how the rabbit noticed a small earthworm, which led us into a discussion about the great distance between Carl and the rabbit, crossing the gutter between them, with the different lived experiences manifested in the art.

Yu. noticed the fox in the corner, saying “the fox might attack,” foreshadowing the next interaction Carl has. The next spread shows the rabbit leaping off the page as the fox dominates the scene. M. particularly liked the next spread with the green watercolor over the branches of the squirrel’s tree. Yu. began to ruminate about the themes of the book: “The meaning of life is people finding out what they want to do in life.. I heard it’s to do something you love and do something great and change the world. I think [Carl] changes the world by making the soil good.” To this, M. remarked, “there’s no meaning to life. You just do what you gotta do.” Picture books can spark some pretty heavy conversations. As we progressed through the story, they noticed how the environment had changed around Carl. S. pointed out, “He hasn’t been making fluffy soil. He’s been too busy asking people.” When Carl finally figures out his purpose to change the soil, we noticed how the colors and light change. Our group particularly loved the purples on the page with the mouse returning.

We made sure to read Deborah Freedman’s author’s note and think critically about the ways we are all connected.

S. reflected that “he was too busy thinking about stuff that others want for him,” connecting this narrative to the story of Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman. “It’s very inspirational because he helped every animal he talked to.” 

VOTING!
After we had walked through each book in a whirlwind of color and conversation, we were ready to ballot. Each child received a paper ballot to select their top 2 choices. M. helped with the math to make sure it was accurate. The top 2 books then are the winners of our session and go on the Voting Party on January 9.

And the Session 1 Winners Are…

The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol 

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

Join Us Next Time!

Please join us for our next Caldecott Club session on Thursday, October 17 from 3:30-5:00pm! And don’t forget to bring your fancy lanyards! (And if you didn’t get one, make sure to join us so you can rock our Caldecott Club merch!) 

Since you’ve spent all this time reading this post, I’ll even let you know which books we’ll be discussing:


Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel 

Another by Christian Robinson

Music for Mister Moon by Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead 

Thanks for sticking all the way through this post… hope to see you next time!

 – Eti

Resources

A librarian always provides their sources – here are a series of resources I found while preparing for this program that you may want to check out:

The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach

Booktalk Video

The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach | Scholastic Spring 2019 Online Preview

Mr. Schu Reads Cover Reveal

Publisher’s page

Princess Abigail the STORY Teller’s Read Aloud
Storytime with Ryan and Craig Read Aloud

PW KidsCast: A Conversation with Ross Burach

How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Melissa Sweet 

Publisher’s Weekly Cover Reveal: ‘How to Read a Book’

Publisher’s page
Melissa Sweet Shows How to Read a Book

How to Read a Book (7 Impossible Things)

Book Page Book Review (Julie Danielson)

Open a World of Possible Book (Scholastic)

The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol

The Little Guys (7 Impossible Things)

Sharing 101 (Julie Danielson)

Little Guys Storytime Kit
How the Sausage Gets Made

Interview with Vera Brosgol (Austin Public Library)

The Romper Review

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

An Interview with Deborah Freedman

Illustration Inspiration: Deborah Freedman, Author-Illustrator of Carl and the Meaning of Life

Mr. Schu Reads Interview with Deborah Freedman

Carl Maze Activity

Missed Storytime This Week? Learn Apple Themed Tips and Tricks

Posted & filed under Blog, Early Literacy, Youth & Teen.

With the fall season approaching, take a look at Apple Themed Storytime activities, including an apple and worm lacing activity, using a paper plate, markers, crayons, scissors and yarn! Most all of our crafts can be replicated at home for more fun and convenience. Also take a look at our Afternoon Family (Slightly) Scary Storytime in October!

A Mouse in the House

Tip: Using simple stories combined with rhythm can be a great way to introduce kids to stories and help them remember.

Program Recap: T(w)eens’ Speak: Middle School and High School Info Panel

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

For this program, we wanted to have the kids take control of the program and ultimately get out of it what they want. We know that entering middle or high school can be challenging and that there are a lot of questions. We also know that having a supportive community can make that transition easier, and the Lincolnwood Public Library strives to create that community and offer support.

Execution: We started the program with an icebreaker that got kids talking to each other as well as learning a little bit more about what they experienced. Although kids were hesitant, it did allow them to start talking.

We then had kids talk about and answer previously submitted questions (we had a place to submit for several weeks in the library that were then vetted by the staff). Our t(w)een volunteers helped to guide the discussion, and because many of them were older, could offer more experience. Since the teens were all still in school, they gave a modern perspective as opposed to our staff. Staff were there just to guide the conversation and transition from one question to another.

Results: Kids were able to express themselves in most all of the questions. Kids going into Middle or High School were able to learn a lot of practical advice and stories from older kids about the school experience, as well as some things to look out for since most kids were in the same school system.

Most importantly, kids were able to have a community of others to provide support in a safe space. That’s the ideal support that the library can offer.

Options for Next Time:  Time is always a limiting factor. It would be great for kids to ask their own questions in addition to ones that were submitted. It would also be great if the entire program could be run by the teens themselves. This can easily be adapted in the future to a more general dealing with life program.

Stay tuned and enjoy the additional reading options for more on this topic!

Additional Resources on Back to School and Dealing with Difficult Topics in School:

School Made Easier by Wendy Moss

Superbrain by Toronto Public Library

Surviving Middle School by Luke Reynolds

The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez

Ignite Your Spark by Patricia Wooster

Unbroken by Various

Our Stories, Our Voices by Various

Black Enough by Various

Missed Storytime This Week? Check Out Our Special Fall Storytime Walk and Author Visit

Posted & filed under Blog, Early Literacy, Youth & Teen.

Last week, we featured a special Fall-themed “Do-It-Yourself” Storytime, with stories, sensory materials, and crafts that you can do with your child at any time. Take a look on our Instagram page, and be sure to check back in the winter for another Storytime walk. We also had a special Storytime with author Dahlia Richards. Take a look at her book about moving from Jamaica to the Chicagoland area.

Author Dahlia Richard’s, of Amoya’s Big Move, shares her story of moving to the Chicagoland area from Jamaica in a special, interactive Storytime!
Bounce and Stop

Bounce and bounce and bounce and stop (X3) 

Bounce, bounce, bounce to the top

tip: showing the contrast between movement and stopping is a valuable skill to incorporate into rhymes or songs and will allow children to understand the difference when they are older

Summer Program Reviews

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

We’ve asked some of our patrons to give feedback on our programs. Check out one review of our Stranger Things Escape Room and Harry Potter Fandom Celebration. We appreciate the feedback and it gives a patron’s perspective on our programs. Also take a look at the links below to check out more Stanger Things materials that you may not know the library has. Enjoy!

Summer Program Reviews

Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds

Stranger Things: Darkness at the Edge of Town

Runaway Max

Missed Storytime This Week? Check Out Our Dots and Circles Theme!

Posted & filed under Blog, Early Literacy, Youth & Teen.

To celebrate International Dot Day, our Storytime week featured dots and circles. We also have a passive activity in our Youth area to promote creativity and individualism that allows you to create freely. Feel free to take a look at additional activities online, or in our handouts, which features Process-Based Circle Painting.

Acka Backa Rhyme

Acka Backa Soda Cracker 
Acka Backa Soda Boo
Acka Backa Soda Cracker
Up Goes You (raise child up!)


(repeat)


Tip: Nonsense words can help children make new and complicated sounds!