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Susan: June 2010 Archives

Susan

2010 Newbery Caldecott Banquet

Posted by Susan on June 28, 2010 at 9:46 AM in AwardsBanquet
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Last night I attended my fourth Newbery Caldecott Banquet at the American Library Association Annual Conference.

I can tell you all about it... or I can show you.

ALA Annual 2010 074.JPG

Did you attend the banquet? Did you hear about it? Do you wish you were there?

Please, please, please leave a comment on this post (even if you've never commented on anything else ever before) and help me document this incredible and historic evening.

You can also share comments, photos and links here and tweet about it here.
Thank you so much!

Susan

Flannel Board Stories

Posted by Susan on June 21, 2010 at 12:00 AM in Librarian Job DescriptionLibraries
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Blue Hat.jpgThis post is part of a series about what children's librarians do all day. Very few people seem to know what the job entails, so I thought I'd shed some light on this wonderful and often misunderstood field. For the rest of the posts in this series, click here. Got a question about something a children's librarian does? Please post it in the comments and I'll feature it in one of my upcoming posts.

Do you know what a flannel board story is? That's when you tell a story without the book, using pieces of felt to represent the characters. Teachers and children's librarians make these all the time. Getting dressedA felt story can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. You can make five felt apples (or anything else), put them on the flannel board and do a song or a story about them. But then there are those small or out of print books that you really want to give a second life to.

That's when you go all out.

Start by picking a book. Okay, this sounds easy, but there are only certain books that work well as flannel board stories. They have to be repetitive and have a relatively small number of characters. The book I picked for this one is Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton, because it's a small board book about important concepts. And, let's face it, it's downright adorable.
In process
Once you've got your book, making a super complicated, exactly-like-the-book flannel takes no time at all.

Nope, I lied. It takes forever, and then a little longer. But, the good news is that it lasts forever too. You can keep a flannel story for a decade or two (or more!) if you treat them nicely. So, my feeling is that it's always worth the extra effort to make it great.

Now, this certainly isn't the most glamorous part of the job. It involves a lot of mess and glue and patience and then more mess, glue and patience. But it's incredibly rewarding when the kids see characters on the flannel board that they recognize instantly.

Blue Hat Final
How did I do? Please ignore the fact that I accidentally put the green hat on the bear instead of the moose, and that the elephant isn't wearing his shoes....

Susan

A Summer of Reading

Posted by Susan on June 14, 2010 at 12:00 AM in Librarian Job DescriptionLibraries
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This post is part of a series about what children's librarians do all day. Very few people seem to know what the job entails, so I thought I'd shed some light on this wonderful and often misunderstood field. For the rest of the posts in this series, click here. Got a question about something a children's librarian does? Please post it in the comments and I'll feature it in one of my upcoming posts.

makeasplash.jpgBooktalks are finally over. Public children's librarians can breath a sigh of relief. No longer will they have to explain the summer reading program 10 times a day.

Because, now it's time to explain summer reading 300 times a day. Kids from all over come to sign up for the program and each one gets a personal explanation of how many books need to be read, what the prizes are, what the deadlines are, etc. If you poke a librarian in their sleep in mid-July, they'll be able to tell you, without waking up, how many books a second grader needs to read to complete the program and what day summer reading ends.

Every summer reading program is different. Some count the number of minutes the kids read, other count the number of books. One prize can be given out at the end, or lots of prizes can be distributed throughout the summer. You might need to fill out a reading log or complete a game board. The prizes might be toys, coupons, books or something else. Some libraries may host one big program such as a magician or a puppet show, others might have a program each week.

makewaves.jpgHowever, there's a few things all library programs have in common.
~They all promote the joy of reading.
~They're all free.
~They all have a theme. This summer, it's all about water and fish.
~They're all an enormous amount of work. Planning starts for summer reading at the end of last year's program and takes the entire year.

Why does every public library in the country have a summer reading program? For a few reasons: to keep kids from losing reading skills over the summer, to make sure kids know there's a place they can get books while their school library is closed and to show kids that reading can be fun. For more details, see the New York State Library's research findings on the subject.

Find out what your library has to offer this summer. And sign up today!

Susan

Let's talk books

Posted by Susan on June 8, 2010 at 12:00 AM in Librarian Job DescriptionLibraries
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This post is part of a series about what children's librarians do all day. Very few people seem to know what the job entails, so I thought I'd shed some light on this wonderful and often misunderstood field. For the rest of the posts in this series, click here. Got a question about something a children's librarian does? Please post it in the comments and I'll feature it in one of my upcoming posts.

It may be hard to catch a glimpse of your children's librarian during early June. That's because they're at the local schools doing booktalks. Don't know what a booktalk is? (That's okay- almost nobody does, hence the reason for this post).

BooktalksThe first part of a booktalk is basically a summer reading pep rally. The public librarians go to the elementary schools and explain the summer reading program to the kids. We tell them all about how to sign up, the rules of the program, and all the exciting events we have during the summer. Then comes the fun part. We also bring lots of cool books with us to tell the kids about. The goal is to tell just enough about a book to whet their interest without giving anything away.

And then the next grade comes in, and we do the whole spiel again, with different books. And then we do it again. And again. And again. We see each grade separately, so that we can tell them about age appropriate books. At the school I went to yesterday, we talked to almost 600 kids over a six hour period. Finally, the day is over (booktalks are exhilarating but completely exhausting)... which means it's time for tomorrow and another round of booktalks at a new school. And so on, and on and on, until we've talked to every class of every public elementary school in the county.

Magical Ms. Plum.JPGHere are a few examples of booktalks I've been doing this year:

Ms. Plum is the best teacher at Springtime Elementary School. Why? Nobody's quite sure, but everyone wants a chance to go into her supply closet. Discover what's hiding in there... everything from incredibly organized squirrels, to a tiny horse to an extremely talkative parrot. Read The Magical Ms. Plum by Bonny Becker to find out what's waiting for you in the closet.

Never Smile at a Monkey.jpgCan everyone smile? Be careful not to do that when you see a monkey because they interpret it as an aggressive gesture and respond violently. Check out this book by Steve Jenkins and learn many other important things to remember the next time you're in the wild. Find out why you shouldn't pet a platypus, step on a stingray, bother a blue-ringed octopus or confront a kangaroo. And remember, Never Smile at a Monkey!

Curious what this looks like? Ask your child's school media specialist if there are booktalks at your school from the public librarians this year. They're well worth watching (they really end up being quite a performance) and you get lots of great book recommendations.

Ever seen a booktalk? Ever give one? Please leave a comment and tell us about it.

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