Appleblossom the Possum

Appleblossom the Possum by Holly Goldberg Sloan is one of this years Maud Hart Lovelace nominees. I’m going to try and read them all this year. I totally failed last year. It helps that many of them fulfill my other reading challenge categories.

The Goodreads blurb reads “Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out!”

I should find this little book cute. But I didn’t. I may have mentioned a couple years ago that I lived in an old house and squirrels and one chipmunk managed to find their way inside. Finding chipmunk poop on your sofa is not cute. Ever since then these kinds of stories gross me out. I’m fine reading about the Possums outside, but once Appleblossom falls into the “people house” I was in yuck mode. Despite my aversions, the illustrations are adorable, and I can see kids really enjoying this book.

Popsugar Reading Challenge: A book from a nonhuman perspective

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We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Storywalk

Last week I accomplished one of my professional goals. Since starting in public libraries I wanted to run a We’re Going on a Bear Hunt storywalk, through nature that somewhat resembles the scenes in the book. My current library is working on a partnership with a local nature center (we want more outreach, they want more visitors, so win-win!) and another librarian and I jumped at the chance to start this journey. I brought up my Bear Hunt idea and they loved it, and the site just happened to have a master naturalist volunteer who had already created a bear game, a bear den, and a box of bear paraphernalia (plaster prints, bear skin, etc). The nature center even has bears living on their property and have trail-cam photos of the bears.

Bear Hunt

I got to nature center at noon on a Wednesday and helped set up the non-trail portion of the event. We had a corner set up for kids to read to stuffed bears and a basket of other fabulous bear books. We also had a binocular making station, coloring sheets, and a “map” with early literacy tips for parents on the back.

Not only was I impressed by the turnout, but by how long some of our Bear Hunters took on their walk. Some were on the trail for an hour! They then stayed and made binoculars or colored or read for another hour or two.

I’m super excited to continue this partnership and hope that the upcoming nature storywalks are just as successful. And I was so excited to see something I’d thought about for years come to life.

Vacation Reading

I know when I go on vacation I want something light and entertaining. That can be YA, middle grade, mystery, graphic novel, or fiction. Pretty much anything but nonfiction (unless it’s by Karen Abbott, because she writes about the opposite of dry history). I assumed my fellow Minnesotans acted similarly. But, according to the Star Tribune, who cited a study, Minnesotans like to read nonfiction while they vacation.

No. 1 for Minneapolis travelers, though, is this: nonfiction. We are the only ones.

According to the Smithsonian study, about 26 percent of travelers out of Minneapolis (and possibly St. Paul) carry along a nonfiction book to while away the time.

Unfortunately most of my family (aside from my parents) don’t read, so I can’t peek at what my cousins are reading while relaxing this Labor Day weekend. But I can tell you, I will be bringing Appleblossom the Possum (one of this years Maude Hart Lovelace contenders) and When Dimple Met Rishi (a book I’ve been eyeing for a while now, but just can’t get into).

Library Happenings

I am waaaaaayyy behind. I started taking a class and work got nuts, and things just fell to the side. So, to catch up, here are two super fun programs I’ve been working on at the library, and one not so fun one.

Read Across America Day:

Way back in last May (I think) my library got new gates. I hung on to the giant boxes the gates came in because I figured we could make something from them. And we did! For Read Across America Day myself and some staff and some volunteers made puppet theaters out of the gates. We then had stations for kids and families to make Lorax, Fox in Socks and Thing One and Thing Two paper bag puppets. All were a big hit! Although Fox in Socks and the Things were the most popular.

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unnamed 2 I also had a super special Dr. Seuss storytime that even got filmed by a local news channel! One grandma in the audience said I was the best storyteller she’s seen, and she takes her grandchildren to almost all the libraries in the area. That definitely made my day!

I Survived the Library:

On Saturday, April 1, Natural Disasters struck the my library and our intrepid patrons learned How to Survive. The STEM program, inspired by the popular I Survived books, consisted of 5 five stations. Each station began with a reading of the first chapter of the corresponding book, and discussion about the character, what might happen, etc. unnamed

Stations included:

I Survived the Destruction of Pompeii, AD 79 where attendees learned about the parts of a volcano and created their own volcanic eruption with baking soda, vinegar and dish soap.

I Survived the Japanese Tsunami, 2011 where attendees learned about the 10 most destructive tsunamis in history and mimicked the effects of a tsunami on a fake beach made of corn grits, corn syrup, pebbles and water.

I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 where attendees learned about the ship, it’s lack of lifeboats, and tried to build their own unsinkable ships out of tinfoil.

I Survived the San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 where attendees built their own cityscapes out of toothpicks and marshmallows on a base of jello-o and mimicked the effects of an earthquake, after learning about how and why earthquakes occur.

I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916 where attendees learned about the varieties of sharks and took a trivia quiz on shark behavior.

**can you tell I copied and pasted this from my staff newsletter? I’m all about reusing.

Leadership Training:

As a somewhat new supervisor in my system (1 year, and 1 month at the start of the training) I was signed up for an Integrity in Leadership Training through my county. It’s really interesting learning about the different parts of the county and the various work my colleagues do. It’s also interesting to see how different these areas are (and similar in some cases) and how some managerial tactics might work in the assessor’s office but not in corrections, or how a strict dress code might be necessary in the attorney’s office, but not so much in the highway department.

Anyway, what I have found to be the most beneficial piece of advice from our trainer is this: follow your organization’s mission, and if you do that and work with integrity, you can’t feel badly if people get mad at you. As managers, and as people who work in the public, library managers are never going to please everyone (and as a people pleaser I struggle with this), but if we tailor our work to our library’s mission and work with integrity (treat our tasks, and our people with respect) we can go home knowing we’ve done a job well done and not get upset when people are mad.

This is easier said than done for me, again people pleaser here, but I’m working on it.

Worth Reading: Round 3

As you know, we are living in contentious times. Marches and protests abound, as do accusations of fake news. How does the library fit into this world?

Teen Librarian Toolbox tweeted several suggestions, all of which are posted here. Included are purchase diverse books and create source analysis documents for users.

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The University of Minnesota put together an immigration syllabus that “seeks to provide historical context to current debates over immigration reform, integration, and citizenship.”

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I created a book review article for our county’s local paper about immigration stories, ranging from current Somali and Hmong immigrant/refugee stories to the Swedish immigration stories of the 1800s. Encouraging our users to read outside of their comfort zone is important.

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Many organizations have crafted infographics detailing how to tell if a news source is accurate, biased or fake. IFLA has a nice blog post summarizing the issue and including some resources for libraries.

Mock Caldecott

I attended my very first Mock Caldecott discussion on the 8th (this really delayed, I know). Fortunately, I’d read most of the titles in my rush to read all the Goodreads best of picture books, and in my perusal of other “best of” lists. It’s interesting, however, to note that the actual winner (and only one of the four official honor books was included) was not discussed at all in our meeting. The titles discussed are as follows:

Medal winner: Erin E. Stead for The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas

Honor: Brendan Wenzel for The All Saw a Cat

Honor: Beth Krommes for Before Morning by Joyce Sidman

Honor: Nick Wroblewski for Wake Up, Island by Mary Casanova

Honor: Yuyi Morales for Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie

Honor: Christian Robinson for School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex

Tessa Blackham for Monday is Wash Day by Maryann Sundby

The Fan Brothers for The Midnight Gardner

Dan Santant for Are we There Yet?

Evan Turk for The Storyteller

While I don’t agree with the winner (I liked Before Morning and School’s First Day of School) much more, the process was fascinating! We each voted for four titles, with a weighted vote (our first choice gets more points etc), so there’s less of a chance for ties. We also discussed in great detail, the gutters, continuity (in School’s First Day of School a little girl draws a picture and on the next page, when it is hung up on the teacher’s bulletin board, the sun has changed locations), and whitespace. Many things I have to admit, I had not looked at before.

Hopefully next year, I can also participate in the Mock Newbery! I hope to be more on top of things this year, read the books as they come out.

Maud Hart Lovelace 2016-2017

Once again I’m going to try and read all the nominees. So far I have two items on my nightstand but I haven’t opened either one… I’m clearly not off to a very good start. Because of this, I’m only going to try and read the Division I nominees. There are several good ones in Division II but I don’t know if I’ll make it that far this year.

Anywho… here are the contenders for 2016-2017:

Division I (grades 3-5)

Almost Home by Joan Bauer

Army of Frogs: A Kulipari Novel by Trevor Pryce

Ava and Pip by Carol Weston

Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin

Capture the Flag by Kate Messner

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Escape by Night by Laurie Myers

The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin

Kizzy Ann Stamps by Jeri Watts

Nickel Bay Nick by Dean Pitchford

The Secret Chicken Society by Judy Cox

Wild River by P.J. Petersen