Worth Reading: Kid Lit

What Classic Picture Book Fills You With Dread?

This post is geared more towards parents, with examples like:

“Marjorie Flack’s “The Story About Ping” also fills me with anxiety. One evening, the little duck Ping fails to hear the call in time to return home to the family boat, gets stuck on shore, and has horrible adventures until he finally manages to get home, to a spank, the next night. I don’t think I ever once read this book to my daughters.”

But, it’s an interesting idea.

I sent it to my mom, asking her if she had any books like this she refused to read to me or my brother. She couldn’t think of one. The only one I can think of is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I don’t think it’s the best idea to teach our children to give themselves completely to another person and I don’t understand people’s fascination with the book. If you’re interested, there are many others who dislike The Giving Tree and you can read all about it here and here.

I’m not a mother, but I don’t give this book as a baby shower gift, for the reason Laurel Snyder describes: “When you give a new mother ten copies of ‘The Giving Tree,’ it does send a message to the mother that we are supposed to be this person.”


Black Kids Don’t Want to Read About Harriet Tubman All the Time

Not only do we need #diversebooks, but those books about diverse characters need to be diverse. I can think of a few recent book about non-historical characters, but there certainly aren’t many. Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley and Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story by Janay Brown-Wood come to mind.

“Regardless of what the publishing industry seems to think, our babies don’t spend their days thinking about Harriet Tubman, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and black bodies swinging; they’re excited about what the tooth fairy will leave under their pillows, contemplating their first ride on the school bus, looking for dragons in their closets.”




Sting the Dog

Minnesota sure likes their library animals… Another cutie pie from my great state went viral this weekend. Sting is a therapy dog and visited the White Bear Lake Library for their “Paws to Read” program, but no readers showed up! The library posted the picture to Twitter and other social media outlets, (I first saw it through We Rate Dogs on Twitter). According to an Minnesota Public Radio article, Sting’s calendar is filled through April, and I hear Sting received phone calls from all over the country from people who wanted to read to the lonely pup.

As an aside, I love this program, and love that we do it my library too. Sting’s library even reached out to other local libraries asking for their Read to a Dog program schedules in order to send eager readers to visit other dogs, once Sting’s schedule was full. Hopefully, this little viral story will continue parents to bring their children to dog reading programs, and encourage extra reading.

The Not so Glamorous Life of a Librarian

This is a bit of a downer post, but definitely some thought provoking pieces!

I’m Not a Superhero: The Stress of Library Work

“Not only are libraries tasked with providing more services for their communities using continually shrinking budgets, but librarians are being asked to take on responsibilities that far outweigh “Other Duties as Assigned.”

This is part of larger debate that I find fascinating. I went to an opioid epidemic webinar and the discussion surrounding the library’s role is very interesting. Like the author says, this is an extreme example. However, more than once I have found myself feeling like a book bartender or free therapist. I always thought “other duties as assigned” meant cleaning up vomit in storytime, not conducting homeless shelter assessments (I actually haven’t done this, but I guess my library used to do this). It’s a slippery slope because we want (and need) to stay an important figure in the community, but at what point do we stretch ourselves too thin.

Sunday Reflections: That Delicate Balance Between Quality Patron Services and Employee Personal Boundaries

“Friendliness and approachability are not the same thing as we must be social workers and counselors and personal truth tellers. In truth, most staff members don’t have the training and knowledge they need to be those things and their attempts to do so can put the library itself in a capricious position.”

At work the other day a coworker mentioned an article about the emotional toll librarianship can take on librarians and those that work in libraries. We have a few patrons who are experiencing homelessness and I know we all bring home thoughts about those people and want to help, but we also don’t have the kind of training as teachers and social workers. I was expecting the article to deal with those issues. It does (in a round about way), and it certainly discusses other important issues surrounding those that work in libraries, like sexual harassment and mental exhaustion, making it a worthy read.

RIP Katherine Kellgren

This is super late, but I follow Audible on Instagram, and I saw their post about Katherine Kellgren. Kellgren recently lost her battle with cancer and will be missed terribly.


She was one of my favorite narrators. Her Royal Spyness will not be the same.

Max the Cat

I’m a bit behind on posting, but I had to share. I first heard about the cat who wanted to enter the library, and the cute sign posted on the door on Thursday. But it wasn’t until I read the Washington Post article that I realized all of this is happening right in my backyard!

While I totally get why he’s not allowed in the library, and why some people are annoyed at the Twitter universe’s “outrage” and demands that Max be let inside, I think it’s cute. It certainly is a lot more fun to read about this than some of the other things I see on Twitter!

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).

Worth Reading (round 4) and Listening

More things that are worth your while exploring in the land of books and libraries!

Male authors use female(ish) pseudonyms 

In the most recent Book Riot Podcast Jeff and Amanda (Identity Squatting) and Jeff and Rebecca (Don’t @ Me) talk more in depth about men using initials or pseudonyms to attract female readership. While women have done this for many years (see J.K. Rowling and the Bronte Sisters), it feels weird and wrong for men to do it now. Especially since white men are still more likely to get published. Listen to the podcasts because the Book Riot people are much more eloquent than I ever hope to be.


Millennials are Keeping Libraries Alive!

“According to a new analysis of Pew Research Center data on US library attendance, millennials more than other generations appear to have a use for physical libraries. They may not always come for the books, but the country’s youngest adults show up.” I’m glad this article mentioned that millennials are the ones with kids and the biggest group I see coming into libraries, no matter where I’ve worked, are families. I can’t say I read all the articles on this stat, that I saw floating around the Twitterverse in the past month, but it seemed to me the parenting aspect was not mentioned often. I think, it would be even more interesting to see how many of these millennials are checking out books for themselves vs their kids. However, computer usage is also way up, whether that’s using our library computers or using library WiFi. That’s where I see the other large chunk of millennial (non-parent) usage.

Regardless, it’s nice to see a headline where Millennials aren’t killing something.


Lunch at the Library

“Librarians used to forbid any food or drink to avoid staining books and attracting pests. People who tried to sneak snacks in the stacks would be reprimanded. But in recent years, a growing number of libraries have had a major shift in policy: They are the ones putting food on the table.”