Picnic Family Fun Time, Saturday, August 29


I love my special one-off topic special storytimes. They sprout either one of two ways: either I’m perusing our collection, and I come upon a great book and think, “Hey, this would make a great storytime,” or I find a craft or activity I love, and think, “I’d love to do this with a bunch of “one-year-olds/toddlers/preschoolers/kindergarteners,” etc.

This past Saturday I had a picnic storytime. The problem was that the weather was great; so nice, in fact, that it would have been perfect for a real picnic. How was I going to get people into the library for a fake picnic?

Facebook! Hooray for social media!

Normally, I advertise my – and my coworkers’ – programs on some local listservs, and on Facebook, and given that I know some friends with little ones, I really guilt them into  encourage them to come to programs I think they might like. And the picnic one.. well, it had food. That’s a home run right there.


I had a bag full of goodies, plus my camping blankets, freshly washed.


Then, I sorted the goodies – popcorn, raisins, and candy corn – into Dixie cups (portion control is the name of the game), and kept them hidden throughout the storytime.

I’d really liked the books I’d chosen. They ended up working well, for all of the attendees, and turned out to be good participatory books as well.


What great fun! After stories were read and songs were sung, I pulled out the food, and everyone enjoyed having a (library-approved, no-mess) snack.

Shoeless and snacking? Heavenly.

In other news,


I do love summer reading. It’s an amazing opportunity to get our kids to read, and our youngest ones (from birth up, even), to practice early literacy skills. But damn, it’s a lot of work. So for that reason alone, I’m glad it’s over.

On the “game boards” we used this year, kids have the opportunity to tell us why they love summer reading, and we’ll publish those answers on our website. This answer is far and away the best one I saw. I could have written it when I was a child (this is just as s/he wrote it):

  I love Summer Reading! It helps you calm yourself down when you are hyper 

and excited! The characters talk to you every time you read. They become 

friends with you and teach you a lesson. In non-fiction you get to know 

what’s happening in your world and around you! Then you will have fun by reading 

more and getting to know more. Also summer is the best time of the season to read but

I go with more winter by sitting by the fireplace getting warm.

That kid deserves a prize.

Two Sundays ago, Coworker J and I spent hours on the floor of the early literacy room, organizing the board books, weeding them (many of them had actual bite marks on them, which: yuck), and setting aside duplicates to redistribute to other branches, because we really only need three copies, not 10, of Growing Vegetable Soup.

After all that, here’s a picture of the beautiful shelves. Not that they stayed beautiful for long, but I felt the need to document our hard work:


Hey, I’m a librarian, not Ansel Adams. Give me a break.

Now, some links for you, my chickadees:

At the top: A fall preview. Get out your TBR list and a pen and get ready.

Didja see JKR’s Twitter on September 1, the day the Hogwarts Express leaves from Kings Cross. And guess who’s on it this year?? Then, of course, there’s the Sorting

As Sister A said, “I’m just here for the Matthew Lewis.”

Mindy Kaling is deliciously overeducated. (See my note on Malory Towers below.)

A seriously useful guide.

Laugh all you want, but I would not be surprised if some of these came out someday. First-world, modern-age problems.

Combining two things I love: books and Doctor Who.

From Coworker J:

A little film about author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers, who, in addition to being rather talented, is also easy on the eyes. My goodness.

From Coworker T:

One of the requests I get all. the. time. is for princess books, so much so that I made up a list of princess books and authors to give to kids and their parents who request them. Luckily, most of these great choices are on it. (The Paper Bag Princess is a classic, and rightfully so.)

From Friend D:

Just the title of this is great. (And I’m Miss Havisham, obviously.)

How do they stay in business? I am fascinated.


From Mama Bear:

Don’t expect the backstory of life on “Sesame Street” with this book. It’s a look at a side of Sonia Manzano – you know her better as Maria – you might not know.

Bill Bryson is one of the few authors I will read if you gave me a new book of his and I didn’t even know what it was about. I will buy his books the day they come out, topic unknown, etc. If he wrote on the history of mousepads, I would read it. I can’t wait to see A Walk in the Woods. Here he is in the New York Times.

From Sister A:

R. L. Stine! A nice guy who writes scary-ass books.

It is one of the rare books that Sister A, Mama Bear, and I all agree we want to read, stat.

It’s hard to believe that this modern classic of a graphic novel has been around almost five years!

You should know that Sister A and I have a weird obsession with, well, many things, but in this case with classic British boarding school books. Preferably Enid Blyton ones, like the St. Clare’s or Malory Towers books. We read those books over and over and over again when we were young, thanks to a cousin from Bermuda who introduced us to them. So when Sister A sent me this, we both got really excited. (Our whole family maintains that Enid Blyton is the reason that Sister A went to boarding school – she doesn’t disagree.)

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I’m so excited about the sequel to The Diviners coming out – we’re expecting it at our library any minute now, where is it?? – that I had to read it again to get ready. I’d forgotten how much fun it is, and how many little historical tidbits are in it. I love Libba Bray.

Next, I’ve finally gotten around to reading a children’s graphic novel that looked promising, a la Raina Telgemeier, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s Cece Bell’s memoir El Deafoand it’s not only entertaining and informative on its own merits, but also meaningful for anyone, child or adult, who feels or is different and is yearning to fit in.

Finally, I re-read The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, which, you may remember, I really loved, to get ready to read the sequel (!!), The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate, which I didn’t like as much as the first one. Such is life.


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