Author & Illustrator Visit with Alicia D. Williams & Jacqueline Alcántara

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

We are so grateful to host author Alicia D. Williams & illustrator Jacqueline Alcántara of Jump at the Sun: The True-Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston, at an interactive presentation about the art and craft of making books, including a live drawing demonstration and a drawing activity. This event was offered in partnership with Winnetka-Northfield Public Library on January 14, 2021.

You can purchase your own copy of Jump at the Sun from our local independent bookstore partner, the Book Stall!

Jacqueline and Alicia prepared a wonderful multi-faceted event for our libraries that had our group engaged throughout the entire program!

It began with Alicia sharing an outstanding and captivating read aloud of Jump at the Sun: The True-Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston that demonstrated her incredible skill as a storyteller, performer, and writer. (Seriously, I hope that they produce an audiobook of Jump at the Sun and hire Alicia as the narrator, with Live Oak Media producing it to help bring Zora’s story to life.) Alicia shared the beginning of the story with us – and left us intrigued to find out more. (Make sure to check out the recording to watch for yourself!) As Alicia pointed out, make sure to look for the wonderful hats and animals throughout the book.

Jacqueline then led us in a drawing activity to learn how to draw Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox in motion. You can see the finished illustration below and then our group’s creations! It was so helpful to have Jacqueline break down each step of the creation of these characters into smaller pieces. (And the good thing about the recording is that you can watch it and pause it if you want more time with your drawing, too.) I love when grown-ups and kids can draw together. Everyone did a fantastic job! Feel free to share your Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit drawings with us!

Alicia then shared a captivating folktale about Brer Rabbit getting thrown in the briar patch that had us all laughing out loud throughout the tale. Honestly, I could listen to Alicia tell stories all day. (Make sure to check out the recording only available for the next two weeks to watch for yourself. You don’t want to miss it.)

Finally, Jacqueline and Alicia kindly took questions from our audience. Our group had great questions about research, the art process, favorite animals, and more. It made me see the book in new ways after learning how Jacqueline “played compositionally with Zora, the sun and the horizon.” Alicia shared how she used jumping at the sun to create structure for the courageous moments when Zora jumped. As Alicia shared, make sure to check out the fantastic back-matter in Jump at the Sun. There was so much to learn from these creators! (I also just learned that you can buy beautiful original edition prints from Jump at the Sun from Jacqueline Alcántara!)

And of course, the time went by so quickly while we were having fun. Thank you to Anny from Winnetka-Northfield Public Library for collaborating on this event! Thank you to our program buddy Ann for all of your help!

Thank you SO much to Alicia D. Williams & Jacqueline Alcántara for visiting our virtual library and sharing your beautiful book with our communities! It was such a pleasure to host you – and we look forward to having you visit again in the future. We highly recommend inviting Alicia and Jacqueline to your school or library for an unforgettable visit!

You can check out the additional resources we’ve curated below to continue learning and sharing!

Program Recording

A recording of our author visit will be available here for 2 weeks (until February 3, 2021) after the program to watch and enjoy at your convenience.

Grab & Go Kit

Lincolnwood Library created Grab & Go Kits to celebrate these wonderful authors and their beautiful book! You can get them while supplies last from our Great Green Box outside the library. As always, they are free and available for everyone. You can also use the resources in this post to make your own kit. Here are some of our suggestions we included in the Kit to explore the book’s themes.

Create your own stories with the DIY Storytelling Discs.

Make your own book. Use the first page for our drawing/writing activity.

Watch the Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun documentary on Kanopy.

Get your own copy of Jump at the Sun: The True-Life Tale of Unstoppable StorycatcherZora Neale Hurston from The Book Stall.

Interview a family member or friend, facilitated by a library staff member for My Lincolnwood Story.

Have fun with the Jump at the Sun Coloring Sheet.

Learning Resources

We have collected lots of resources to prepare for our visit and learn more. Check them out below:

Alicia D. William’s Website

Jacqueline Alcántara’s Website

Interview with Alicia D. Williams & Jacqueline Alcántara with Mr. Schu

The Picture Book Buzz – Interview with Alicia D. Williams

Book Website (Simon & Schuster)

Publisher’s Weekly Review

Kirkus Review

Alicia D. Williams MFAC ’13 celebrates oral storytelling tradition in new picture book

Politics & Prose Live Event on Thursday, January 14, 2021 – 10 a.m.

Alicia D Williams & Jacqueline Alcántara in conversation with Vanessa Brantley-Newton on Jan 30, 2021 at 11:00 AM ET (Park Road Books)

Teaching Guides/Coloring Sheets

Jump at the Sun Coloring Sheet

Alicia D. Williams – 2020 Newbery Honor Reaction

Meet the Author: Alicia D. Williams

Alicia D. Williams – Path to Publication The Yarn Podcast Series

Meet Jacqueline Alcántara (Voyage Chicago)

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #576: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Jacqueline Alcántara

The Field: An Interview with Baptiste Paul & Jacqueline Alcántara (This Picture Book Life)

Check In on your Neighbors (Obama Foundation #OFCareChallenge art by Jacqueline Alcántara)

Upcoming Projects

I know we’re excited about the books that these incredible creators will publish in the future. Start counting down now for these amazing books!

Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress by Alicia D. Williams & illustrated by April Harrison (Publication Date: June 01, 2021)

Your Mama by NoNieqa Ramos, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara (Publication Date: April 06, 2021)

Program Review: Tips for Better Sleep

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

What would be the first thing you would do after a good night’s sleep? That was a question that was recently posed at our Early Literacy Event. Recently, Katie Guzan, a certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, gave a presentation on how both young children and their caregivers can get better sleep. It was beneficial for both kids and adults alike. Please enjoy some of these tips below, or check out more from Sleep Wise Consulting.

Discussing the impact of sleep props for young people

Discussing the importance of a bedtime routine!

Books & Bites, Jr. – Back to School

Posted & filed under Blog, Early Literacy.

Join us for our brand new book club, Books & Bites, Jr., specially designed for families to explore and share books together. Our first session will be about back to school. It will take place on Wednesday, September 16 at 6-7pm on Zoom! You can register here. No library required & all are welcome.

We have created FREE PROGRAM KITS that you can pick up at the library or schedule curbside pick-up. We have included our program hand-out, snacks, supplies for our craft, and of course, book swag. Feel free to give us a call at the library to reserve your kit, which supplies last. You can also pick up your kit after the event.

We will be discussing The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López, & Yasmin the Teacher by Saadia Faruqi, illustrated by Hatem Aly. You can borrow these books from our library or put them on hold in Overdrive.  You can also watch out the videos below before or after the program and continue the discussions with your children.

But, wait, there’s more!

Sign up for our next Books & Bites, Jr, when we’ll celebrate Superheroes on October 14 at 6pm!

We are also honored to welcome back Saadia Farqui to our virtual library on October 28 at 3:30pm and celebrate her middle-grade books, A Place at the Table (co-written by Laura Shovan) and A Thousand Questions! You can register here.

Additional Resources

Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices

The King of Kindergarten Crown Craft

The Day You Begin Lesson Plan

Meet Yasmin! Activities

Read Aloud Revival Podcast 

Exploration Station Review: Light and Heavy

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

Want to do some crafts at home, as well as explore some scientific principles? Here’s what we did at exploration station this week. You can join us on Thursdays at 11:30 for a new theme every week. This week was light and heavy. We read Balance the Birds, which is a great introduction to the scientific idea of weight, balance, and logic!

We did three activities. The first was a “Does it float?” station, which had two small bins filled half way with water. There was a wide variety of objects – all of which could be found in a house – cloth, pens, magnets, and more. Kids were able to explore whether or not they float, with caregivers asking questions along the way. It allowed kids to think through the idea of weight and how to apply it practically.

Some of our items for our “Does it Float?” Station

The second activity was to use an actual balancing scale. Many kids had not interacted with one before, and found it fascinating to see how directly weight impacted the scale. The fact that some bigger items were not always heavier was a main theme throughout the program.

The final program was to make a DIY scale. Kids used cups with a hole punched in it. They then used string or yarn to make a loop through the hole. They then connected the string to ends on a Popsicle stick. Kids were proud to be able to utilize scales themselves, and excited they could continue to play with weight at home.

Working on our DIY Scales

Join us on Thursdays for more Exploration Stations!

Exploration Station Activities: Magnets

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

For our first exploration station of the new year, we looked at all the different things magnets can do! We did three activities after going over what a magnet is, focusing on what things are magnetic, and what they are.

Our first activity was Magnetic Sensory Painting. We used a paper plate, paper clips, magnet wands and paint. Using a magnet underneath the plate, kids could drag the paper clips to paint their own masterpiece!

Magnet Sensory Paintings
Magnet Sensory Painting

Our second activity was DIY magnets. Kids cut out letters, pictures, and used paper magnets to explore how they can use magnets in their own everyday life.

DIY Mangets

Our last activity was a magnet Sensory Bin, which is all about figuring out what is magnetic and what is not! Kids dug and explored through a bin to find the magnetic items and sorted them between magnetic and non-magnetic. This gave kids hands-on experience to deepen their understanding of magnetism, as well as promoted classification and sorting, an early math skill. What activities will we do next week? Visit us on Thursdays at 11:30am to find out!

Early Literacy Activities: Exploring Textures and Senses

Posted & filed under Blog, Early Literacy, Uncategorized.

At our weekly Exploration Station: STEAM Play, which takes place every Thursday at 11:30am, we looked at textures and senses. We read a touch, play, and feel book about Food, which got kids excited about different feelings. It was a great way to get kids excited about the theme, and understand it, as so many kids explore food on a daily basis.

Our first activity was “Touch Painting.” Kids put on blindfolds. By taking away the sense of sight, kids could focus on the sense of feel (and touch), by painting. Kids were shocked at the new sensations, even though they had painted before. They were also surprised at what they could create without using sight.

Touch Painting

The second activity was called “What’s Inside?” Kids played with a bunch of different materials. We gave them a sheet with lots of different feel and texture words to help encourage them to describe the feelings they were experiencing. They then used blindfolds again to reach into the bags and see if they could identify the items in the bag, again using both senses and textures, as well as putting their vocabulary to use. Kids loved seeing the contrast between all of the different materials, and were excited to see how good their identification and explanation was throughout the game. Both activities kept kids coming back. We hope to see you there on Thursdays for new themes!

What’s Inside?

Virtual Storytime: One Eagle

Posted & filed under Uncategorized.

Check out this virtual storytime of One Eagle Soaring by Roy Henry Vickers. It is one of our favorite books of the year, and includes unique textured illustrations by the author. You can check out this, as well as other favorite books of 2019 on our displays. Or, you can read more great books like this at our Baby Storytime, every Friday at 10:00am! See you there!

One Eagle Soaring

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?

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