Tag Archives: J.K. Rowling

Babies and Schoolchildren


Trying a new storytime book can be tricky. There are some tried-and-true ones (we actually keep a list with that specific title on the staff computer), and then every so often I’ll come upon a new one and give it a whirl. Because how else will I know whether it works or not? Sometimes one you think will work for one age group will work best for another.


For my babies last Thursday, I pulled out two books I like quite a bit. I’ve used Ten Tiny Babies many a time. I love the colors, and I love the poem. It works nicely. But Nellie Belle, a new choice, had a soothing rhythm to it that I wanted to try with the babies. It wasn’t the best book I’d ever used, but it was sweet. Maybe I’d try it with the toddlers next time, and now at least I have a new resource in my rotation.

One aspect of children’s librarianship I wish I experienced more is school visits. I love having kids come in and teaching them “how to fish,” one might say. A few weeks ago I had a lovely group of 8th graders from a local private school, and then today I had a classful of 6th graders from that same school. Both groups were inquisitive, interested and interesting, and delightful to have around. I’m always more than happy to pull books for them, but I like teaching them how to research, to know these skills for the future.

This is going to be my last blog post with links, unless there’s something incredibly important to share; then I might toss in one or two. Otherwise, it takes up a lot of time to do, and no one ever reads them.

The top news, which my pals and I are very, very excited about. Sister A, in Baltimore, is most excited of all of us, and sent me a link about Dr. Hayden’s – yeah, that’s DR. HAYDEN TO YOU – most historic moments. Wahoo! From Friend D, why she’s a game-changer.

A sad goodbye to YA staple Louise Rennison.

Another major loss: Pat Conroy. I LOVED his books when I was in upper school.

I have many feelings about this. First, yay, a new American Girl doll, but second, how stereotypical. Not a fan.

Brie Larson is even more awesome now that I know this.

Quentin Blake and Beatrix Potter just don’t match! (I love spaghetti and I love chocolate, but not together!)

Of course they are, but too many are left off this list.

From Coworker J:

Ramona should have a place in every library.

From Friend D:

The International Man Booker longlist (in translation). “Didn’t we just do this?” asked Friend D. “Lord, yes,” I said.

I stand behind this theory; it makes a lot of sense.

“The wild things were Jewish relatives.” 

Bet it gets lonely there without a book.

Fonts are fascinating. Disagree? Watch the documentary “Helvetica.”

Because people still buy books.

I can’t anymore about Harper Lee.

It’s gonna be a trilogy!

Well, duh. 

A truly seminal book – for juveniles AND adults.

How can you fit in if you don’t see yourself in your favorite books?

They should be embarrassed.

How the Little House books happened, from L.I.W. herself.

My short answer? No, I wouldn’t. 

From Mama Bear:

It’s as if these people live on Mars.

Where are the classics? What a terrible list.

Gilbert Blythe and Fitzwilliam Darcy can fight over me anytime.

What unusual pen pals

From Sister A:

Books recommended by the adorable Mindy Kaling.

“There are shadows in your heart.” 

A great tribute to Sister A’s and my favorite book.

But here’s some Beatrix Potter news I can get behind…

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I’ve read a lot since my last post, and I’m sorry I haven’t updated in forever. I needed a book, quickly, and grabbed Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? off of a cart in our workroom. Fascinating. So now I have the movie – yes, this is the adaptation – sitting at home from Netflix.

Then, after being #388 on the wait list, I finally read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. When I was young, my mother once said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” so I’m moving on to the next book.

I liked more than I thought I would The Swans of Fifth Avenue, knowing next to nothing about the intersecting stories of Babe Paley and Truman Capote. The author uses description very well, as did the author of my next book, Abroad. (The latter may put you in mind of the Amanda Knox case; read at your own risk.)

Dave Eggers’ cautionary tale The Circle was next, and I liked it quite a lot. It had been recommended to me by my Book-A-Day calendar. Thanks, calendar!

I went on a YA spree then, with Victoria Aveyard’s fantasy books Red Queen and its sequel, Glass Sword. It took me a while to get into the second book. The first one is being made into a movie by Elizabeth “Effie Trinket” Banks (yay).

Then I read The Royal We again. Shut up.

Finally, I picked up Mindy Kaling’s most recent book, Why Not Me, which I think was miles above her first one. Well done, Mindy.


Programs, Programs Everywhere


Last Saturday, I went to the museum we partner with for their weekly portrait project. This week’s subject was John Cornell, whom I knew very little about, so I read Mr. Cornell’s Dream Boxes to the visiting kids; the book is short and sweet and ADORABLE. Then we all made our own dream boxes about things that were important to us. (This can be a great snow day activity, parents!)

Behold mine, my chickadees:


The Ravens, obviously (with a stamp of Edgar Allan Poe underneath for my hometown of Baltimore), a mug o’ tea, my cat Lincoln, food (do you like the spaghetti and its little blob of sauce? I am very proud of that), puzzles, British stamps for when I lived in England, etc. The white thing you see is a shell, because I love the beach.

On the sides I folded paper for “books,” and wrote the titles of books I loved growing up, and now, that have had lasting impacts on me.

One side:


And the other:


(The Richard Scarry one is Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever, obviously.)

On to Sunday. For the second Sunday of the month, we have a “Book Share” program, and I had a solidly good idea for it. I had set out a sign and two books, which should tell you all you need to know about what I was planning:


Because, let’s face it, we DO judge books by their covers, and I wanted to talk with kids and tell them that it’s okay to do that. Book covers often tell us a lot about what’s inside – and sometimes they completely mislead us (which we’ll get to in the photo below).

I’d pulled two different copies of Little Red Riding Hood – one adapted and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, and another adapted and photographed by William Wegman. The two versions clearly approached the tale differently: the Pinkney one more seriously and closer to the Grimms’ original version, and the Wegman a bit more whimsically. Yet they are the “same story,” for all intents and purposes.

And then there are books that get redone with different covers every few years. Behold three different covers (!!) of Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret: 


I’ve ranked them in order from least to most offensive (in my personal opinion – you have every right to yours, but it will be wrong). The far right – texting? No thank you. The middle one could be a catalog photo, for fartsakes, and shows, who, a teenager? The left one is the best; that girl looks like she could actually be a twelve-year-old. So I was really excited to discuss why a book might have three different covers, and if a particular cover might change the way a reader felt about picking up a book…

…That is, if anyone had showed up.


I have a few random photos for you all, too.

Don’t you love it when you find one of your favorite books in another language? I was weeding the Spanish books, and I absolutely had to take a flip through Once Upon a Potty, which in Spanish is called Mi Bacinica y Yo (My Potty and Me.) This was always my favorite page:


Friend S. sent me this picture of a (newly refurbished, I think?) children’s section in her library – I love it! Look at all that color!


Links for y’all:

This gets the top spot because it cannot be said enough: “Owning books in the home is one of the best things you can do for your children academically.

A very classy victory lap for the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Sad and hilarious, because: true.

What a simple and useful idea! (About 40% of the questions I get are readers’ advisory, easily.)

I can’t wait for a series, because this book scared the crap out of me.

From Coworker J:

Ave atque vale, Peter Dickinson.

From Friend D:

The first trailer for Spielberg’s adaptation of The BFG!!

The first trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them!!

Well, good luck to them.

I can’t even come up with a witty rejoinder for this.

No surprise there

Oy, is this funny!

FASCINATING. Asceticism might be up my alley.

Gabriel Oak, please! #farfromthemaddingcrowd

A must-read for lovers of not only Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but of books and the creative process.

From Friend G:

We have been good little chickadees, indeed!

Don’t you love that this came from Cosmopolitan?

This list of 100 top children’s books is epically solid, and the people who put it together know of what they speak.

From Friend R:

This is only a fraction of the weird. Believe me, the weird is definitely out there.

From Friend S:

Books that enhance children’s spatial skills development (yes, these exist!)

From Mama Bear:

Everything, because they are timeless. Have we not answered this question yet?

Your kidding me. Its unacceptable. Their doing it all wrong.

Hurrah to my home state! A great initiative!

Could work, could flop.

Trigger warning: This book promotes disobedience and features gender discrimination and segregation. (It’s The Cat in the Hat.)

Learn about some new poems.

From Sister A:

Looking for some great YA reads? Look no further. All excellent choices here.

I love these.

Not a deep guy, but Commonwealth folks love their Enid Blyton.

Some unexpected influences on some usual suspects.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I read the newest “Robert Galbraith” book (you know who that is), and it was fine, but they just seem so formulaic by this point. I mean, the writing is incredible, obviously, and the mystery is always good, but it’s nothing outrageously wonderful. But always a solid read.

Next I read Lila Perl’s final book, which was well done and surprisingly affecting. After that, don’t laugh, but I read this for the very first time and loved it.

Next, I read the most charming memoir I’ve read in a long time; do pick it up. You will find it so sweet. (Norland nannies are legendary. Will and Kate’s nanny is a Norland nanny, obviously. Here she is in her full uniform at Princess Charlotte’s christening.)

Finally, this made zero sense to me and was a serious disappointment. Can’t win ’em all.

Baby Storytime, 11/12/15 and Toddler Storytime, 11/13/15


Happy Friday the 13th, chickadees!

The babies of Thursday were so sweet. I didn’t take pictures of my two books (sorry), but we read Who Said Meow and the BIG BOOK version of The Wheels on the Bus. More songs – I’m getting so much better at “Zoom Zoom Zoom, We’re Going to the Moon”! – and there you have Baby Storytime.

My toddlers were both all over the place and sedentary today. It’s so odd.


We started with I See Kitty, which is new and frankly adorable, and they just weren’t into it – they were wandering and not paying attention. Remember, this is perfectly normal for that age, so it’s not like preschoolers were doing it and being inappropriate.

Then we sang “Shake My Sillies Out,” and I pulled out “Way Far Away on a Wild Safari,” which has a comforting rhythm to it. During my read of that, they were super-riveted. It may have been the active song we’d just sung, it may have been the rhythm, but the wandering stopped, all eyes were on me, and we did the actions together.

Go figure.


In the top spot: It’s not like this is a surprise, but it’s nice to get confirmation.

Cats and books, books and cats.

Don’t you just love this guy?

A new blog post from Jill Morrow!

From Friend D:

“The Statistical Dominance of Dr. Seuss.”

How’d you do? I did not do well.

I just checked her newest one out today! YAY!

You don’t hear much about typography today, but you should.

What say you about an actual Amazon store?

Learn more about the Octavia Butler archives.

Clearly a website I’m going to have to start following.


From Friend H:

How terrific is this? Don’t you want to stay here, forever?

From Mama Bear:

The side of libraries you never see…

… and how books move inside them.

A great review of a new YA book, written by a Baltimore private school librarian and Newbery medal winner!

“A public library is a public trust.”

How Richard Scarry’s books have changed over the years.

Huzzah! Huzzah! Emma is live!

Huzzah huzzah again for Dame Jacqueline Wilson.

What’s a No-Maj? Find out here.

A lovely Alice wandering through Oxford.

Could you pick just one? I don’t think I could.

“So on the nose,” Mama Bear wrote. Hilarious as always.

The startling voice of Mercer Mayer.

As a copyright move, it makes perfect sense.

From Sister A:

I feel Grumpy (Cat) about this.

Read on, Gryffindors!

Depending on how old you are, you might get really excited about this, like Sister A and I did.

How are book covers designed? Confessions from one such designer.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I thought this sounded so interesting, but alas, I just couldn’t finish it. I tried! Next, I read an interesting little book that had its basis in fact, and read like a delightful non-fiction book. (That’s a first: a novel that reads like non-fiction, but in the best way.)

The next book I read is a finalist for the National Book Award in young people’s literature, and rightly so. It was creative and thoughtful and brilliant. Finally, I picked up a book I’d been dying to read, and it too was a winner. It felt Hitchcockian and DuMaurier-like, and more like a novella than a proper book.

Miscellany, 11.2.15


Here are a few things worth sharing:

Mama Bear was in Michael’s (the art supply store) today and saw this:

FullSizeRender (1)

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised – there’s Jane Austen everything!

Boss handed out books AND candy on Halloween, and she said most of the kids chose the books. How awesome is that?

Speaking of Halloween, I went in full Harry Potter mode.


(There is a scar, but you have to look hard to the right of my head to see it.) The wand is a long paintbrush, and that is indeed a Gryffindor badge on my robe, which is Sister A’s undergrad graduation robe. She is not getting it back.

I worked on Saturday, and we were just empty. I would have guessed that we’d have at least some patrons, and those in costume, but nope. I mean, we had some, but no one stayed for long and it wasn’t a thrilling day. We’d had our Halloween events the weekend before, so perhaps that was why.

One of our cutest little boys was absolutely captivated today by a flock of birds flying by the window. They kept going back and forth, back and forth, and his face lit up each time they went by. Such simple joy.

On the other hand of that child coin, we have a father who comes in with his child – she’s perhaps four – and he treats her with contempt and rides her so hard to learn. They were in the Early Literacy playroom today, where we have a play kitchen, foam blocks, and some toys, and he pulled her out after about five minutes because, as he said to her, “you play with too many toys.” SHE IS A YOUNG CHILD, my good sir. He sits and drills her at the computer over her letters, and I can see the frustration and nervousness in her body language.

(Most disturbingly – and this is a trigger warning here for possible abuse, so you may want to skip to the next paragraph – I’ve had to speak to him a few times about his language directed at her, and once had to ask him to leave because he struck her. He mouthed off to me  (“Are you telling me I can’t discipline my own child?”) and I responded with, “Sir, you can discipline your child at home as you see fit, but we do not permit violence in our libraries, so I’m afraid you need to leave.”)

For every lovely moment I have with some children, there’s another moment that is not so lovely.

We received our new goals for next year. At first none of them thrilled me, but as I look, I’m getting more interested. I want to do more social media outreach, and partner with some of our local groups, and observe some of the myriad programs and classes in other departments here in Main Branch. Maybe even my committee work will count. That’d be pretty excellent.

We are weeding our way through the collection. Now we’re up to languages.


What a great problem to have, huh?

From Friend D:

One of the more positive reviews of “Robert Galbraith”‘s new book.

Getting back what’s lost in the interwebs.

Two creative authors have a discussion.

“If a book transports me, I am content.”

A lifetime’s work….

This is news? Judy Blume taught me everything I needed to know, so more recent authors are filling her void.


Crazy, but brilliant.

Want to make books come alive? Try these.

I don’t know how I feel about this – accessibility is a fine thing, but those books on a bookshelf are so impressive.

It’s a worldwide phenomenon!

I love this dude!

From Friend L:

I got “lilac, fresh linens, and iced lemonade.” Can’t argue with that.”

Watch yer grammar, kids.

From Mama Bear:

If what’s in this letter is true, this is an example of how being pro-technology, among other problems, can ruin a library system.

Disagree; libraries aren’t that bad off. (Boy, Mama Bear’s links are depressing right now, huh?)

Everything seems so much more right when LeVar Burton is involved.

“Shades of Harper Lee,” wrote Mama Bear in her email, but this seems to be vetted by the author, which brings me great excitement!

In What’s Annabelle Reading: I felt very special reading Bill Bryson’s newest book, which a) I bought in Cardiff, and b) none of you people can even read yet, because it’s not available in the U.S. till 2016! So ha ha to you.

Baby Storytime Thursday, October 22 and Preschool Storytime, Monday, October 26


I’m back, my chickadees, and I promise I’ll have a trip-themed post about what I saw and did in the U.K. quite soon. But I came back and jumped into my storytimes without a pause, and now here we are, with me slacking on my posts, as usual.

My babies were so cute on Thursday. No infants are itty-bitty babies, but no one over a year, so that was fine with me.

In keeping with the 65% songs/fingerplays and the 35% reading percentages, I used only two books this time, which sticks with my usual choices for Babytime:


Two tried-and-trues with my behbehs. I love them. And around 8-12 months, those are just the ages when they start responding to the songs, waving their hands in the air for “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” and patting their legs for “Baa Baa Black Sheep.” (Except this time, we used the egg shakers! Everyone loves the egg shakers! Especially to gnaw on, so I used some wipes on them afterwards to get all the baby cooties off.)

Yesterday I had a class of toddlerish preschoolers, or maybe very young preschoolers, and it was the “Around the World Storytime slot. So I did my best with my very limited Spanish:


With Green is a Chile PepperI had them point to the color we were talking about on the rainbow mats they always sit on. Every book can be interactive in SOME way. While there are stories with plots that will suck kids in, younger kids in storytime often can’t sit still for those. So I like to find some way to have them “help me tell the story.” Rachel Isadora’s Say Hello! is one I’ve used often with older kids, since they say “hello” in different languages right along with the book’s main character.

We also did Five LIttle Pumpkins, which I’ve noticed – at least among my day cares and preschools – is standard across the board. The children all know the words, and their hand motions are adorable. (I tried to find something on the interwebs with the motions, but couldn’t. I’m sure you, my smart chickadees, can figure them out from the words.)


This blog’s top link: watch and be mesmerized.

In the “Ave Atque Vale” spot reserved for thanks and love: Vera B. Williams.

I will be wearing one of these on Friday to a party.

I don’t care if I’ve posted these before; maybe I have. But they’re just so good.

My note to myself pre-posting: “Great Scott, this is bad.”

From Friend D:

If you hadn’t told me what this was, “baby rattle” would not be the first thing that came to mind.

The little jokes that sprout from Lewis Carroll’s brain.

Reading and writing are inextricably linked.

All those books, in a building bought for a dollar.

Did you ever think that “Bloom County” and Go Set a Watchman would be linked?

A physical book is like eating a great meal in a beautiful restaurant with a fantastic view; an e-book is like eating that same meal from a takeout box on your lap in a basement.”

Does this make you think?

Normally, I’d be like, “Just give me a regular book,” but the idea of “literary geocaching” – where do I sign up?

Oh my I love me some Eloise.

From Friend L:

Here come these bookends to save the day!

Well, THIS is going to be a good time.

From Friend P:

Hee, Laurapalooza.

From Friend R:

Take me there now.

From Mama Bear:

How professional readers read for pleasure.

A look inside the penny book trade.

Can you imagine the stories behind these?

The sweetest little movie you will watch in a long forever.

Well, good, at least someone gets it.

Kind of not the greatest review for Robert Galbraith’s (coughcough J.K. Rowling cough cough) new book.

More genius from Mallory Ortberg: things men in literature have died from.

From Sister A:

It’s still going, too.

See below for more about The Royal We. In the meantime: hmmmmmmmmm….

… but then I sent this to Sister A on the same topic.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I did a lot of reading since I left!

On the plane, I read Texts from Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg, who I think is a goddess, frankly, because she’s so damn clever. This was a truly funny book – I would have enjoyed it more if I’d read more classics and known those references. Then, during my trip, I reread The Royal Webecause, hey, England, why not, and actually liked it a lot more the second time around. Since I’ve said more than a few times here that 2015 is the 200th anniversary of the first U.S. printing of Emma, I thought I’d read that, but Mansfield Park was calling to me (and I was in BATH, which = Our Jane). So I read that instead and enjoyed it thoroughly.

(Three books in six days away. Not bad.)

I came home and had two holds waiting for me: China Rich Girlfriendthe disappointing sequel to Crazy Rich Asians (I mean, it was okay, just not as good as the first one), and Luckiest Girl Alive, which is among the most recent of the books to receive a blurb toting it as “Gillian Flynn-like,” a sentiment with which I disagree. I would have read it with different eyes if it hadn’t said that on the front.

Pajama Storytime, Monday, September 28, and Preschool Storytime, Wednesday, September 30


The wind has changed, and if you’ve been a regular reader of my blog, you know what that means.


Mary Poppins has opened her umbrella, hopped over the fence of our branch at 17 Cherry Tree Lane, and flown off to her next post in the system to help the children there with her fabulous storytimes.

We shall miss her very much.

So this means that we’re all back to doing more storytimes, which: hurrah for me, because I love them, but also: boo, because I learned so much from watching Mary Poppins at work.

I love my Pajama Storytimes. There have been three, and the turnouts have been poor. The first week, I had five, the second week it rained and we had city-wide transit problems, so I had a big goose egg, and this week I had five, but a completely different five than the first week. What does that mean? I don’t know. But I love PJ storytime and am hoping we’ll keep moving forward with it despite the low turnout.

Today I had another small turnout for my preschool storytime – and not all of them preschoolers – and used three new books! I don’t think I’ve done that since my first storytime, at which all the books were obviously new! I went with a theme of costumes and disguises (didja know that Halloween is coming up????????), and all three books were winners with my tiny crowd.


I should mention that Where’s Walrus is a wordless book, so it worked really well to have a small crowd and ask them questions about the characters and the story. It was adorable.

(My dream storytime would be a packed house, where every child in the audience is of the advertised age, all the adults are on the floor with electronic devices stowed away, and everyone’s participating.)

Last week, on September 23, was my two-year anniversary. How it slipped my mind, I have no idea. This past year went so quickly; it’s crazy. Of greatest note throughout this past year – and forgive my old lady brain if I’ve mentioned it – is that I’m now the most senior librarian in the department. Hard to believe, right? While Coworker J has been around longer than I (and secretly I look to her, as my senior librarian, for all information I lack), I have the most seniority in terms of degrees, as she only just got her degree in May.

This all means that when Boss isn’t around, is off, is sick, is in a meeting, I’m in charge. She announced it at a staff meeting, and while part of me was proud, the other half was expecting everyone to start laughing, but they all turned to look at me with something akin to…. well, it could have been respect. I don’t know. Even my eyelids were blushing, so I couldn’t properly tell.

It’s a little intimidating.

Last week Boss had a rough cold that kept her out all week, and all of a sudden, people were coming to me with problems about the playroom, questions about shelving and weeding, a full cart of newly inventoried DVDs, and holes in the staffing schedule. I wearily texted Daddio one day at 3:30, saying, “Guess who’s just now sitting down to eat her lunch?”

But it felt good. I felt useful. And I liked knowing that I could do it without going to Boss for her approval, and knowing this is all good practice for someday heading up the managerial ladder. (Sooner rather than later, I hope.)


Top link: It’s been 20 years (!) since the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice adaptation.

Unfortunately, we will probably always need Banned Books Week.

I’m going home to Bath precisely to lose my shit in Austenland. Isn’t that the point?

Some of these are good, but others are marks of genius.

The song drives me crazy, but the idea is a great one.

From Coworker J:

A lovely interview between authors/illustrators Philip and Erin Stead.

From Friend D:

People who meet me and learn I’m a librarian invariably ask me one question first: “But aren’t books going to be obsolete?” Sometimes I’m able to refrain from rolling my eyes, but my answer is always the same: no. In my system alone, our circulation numbers have risen in the past two years. We’re about to get a huge shipment of board books and easy readers to our department in the next few weeks to replace the ones that are so loved (read: borrowed so often) that they’re falling apart. So one can take from this: books are in no danger of going anywhere. Yes, people are reading e-books, too, but the printed word is under no threat from the digital word.

Perhaps this article serves as a coda to the previous link?

I love me some cat GIFs, but they’re not… art. Are they? 

“A Brotherly Bailout” – one of the things the Hardy Boys… er, Men, might have to deal with today.

If you’ve never read Dashiell Hammett… why not?

Literary tourism can be a double-edged sword.

Books are meant to be loved, but you just have to be careful who you let love them.

Dissention within the canon as to the fate of Lavender Brown.

From Friend E:

Who doesn’t love a good pun? These are quite clever.

From Friend T:

FIRST: Many many mazels to Friend T, who has birthed a being! Welcome to the world, Baby L!

Second: Christmas dinner at Hogwarts. Oh my yes.

From Mama Bear:

Raging liberal that I am, and a supporter of women’s health, as any woman should be, I’m thrilled to announce that Lemony Snicket donated $1m to Planned Parenthood.

A shocking article about the state of the Library of Congress. Innovation is central to the leadership of the next director’s tenure.

A shoutout to Goucher College and one of its Austen profs! (Also, Our Jane is not a “tourist trap.” The world’s second largest ball of mud is a tourist trap. Got it?)

Another shoutout to Goucher’s Juliette Wells. Again, this year is the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Emma in the U.S. That’s a big deal for Janeites. (Personally, I think Persuasion is Our Jane’s greatest achievement, but whatever.)

OH YES. (I’d sign up, but I know most of them, I think…)

Yay for funny ladies! (If you didn’t read Dear Committee Members, do!)

“I think books can open one’s eyes to what else is in the world, but it’s also nice if one can see oneself.”

Hilariously brilliant.

Being a Tumbleweed is now on my to-do list.

All of these bookmarks are clever – of course, anything’s better than dog-earing pages.

Mallory Ortberg is some kind of god, I think. Her humor comes too easily.

Short answer: yes, they can. Longer answer, obviously, yes, they can. But let’s get lots of international people on it.

Updating the classics of yesteryear for today’s little bastards is something of which one should be wary. Particularly one of my top three favorites: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I naturally wanted to read Nick Hornby’s latest, Funny Girl, because I’ve loved everything I’ve read of his. But in this one, I was really disappointed. Maybe it was me, maybe it was the book, but it didn’t grab me like his other works. I was thisclose to not finishing it – and even now I’m not sure why I spent the time.

But next…but next! Finally!!! Lair of Dreams – the new Libba Bray! The sequel to The Diviners! And it was (in protagonist Evie O’Neill’s words) posi-tute-ly the berries. It was even better than The Diviners. Original and fun, and, as Sister A and I discovered, it contained a neat little Easter egg for one of her other books. Also perfectly set up for a trilogy. I squeed, and emailed her, and she had squeed over it too. Shared sister squeeing across the miles – it doesn’t get any better than that.

Toddler Storytime, Thursday, June 11


I’m starting to love my toddlers more and more. They used to be a difficult middle-age-group for me. Their books weren’t as clear-cut obvious as those for the babies or preschoolers; they were the wiggliest of all my storytime groups; I never felt 100% comfortable with them as I did with the other groups.

But I think that’s changed. They’re still the wiggliest, but in the way, that’s good. It’s taught me to be flexible. If they get a little wiggly, we can do a song that helps them get their wiggles out, like “Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” Raffi’s “Shake My Sillies Out,” or just get up and do some arm and leg shaking, or jumping jacks, or something silly. If they get a lot wiggly, and the Storytime Titanic starts sinking, then I know that it’s time to end a bit early, and that’s okay.

My Thursday storytime went beautifully. Being a little silly with this group works really well. (With preschoolers, I do try to be more serious, because the older preschoolers are going to Kindergarten – very much so, sometimes; they’re so old! – and they need to be able to sit still.) So this session’s book selections were solid choices.


As it happened, most of them knew We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, though this was my first time with it. So they were happy to help me make the movements and the noises and get faster once we “saw” the bear. We sang/read Five Little Monkeys and the big book of Freight Train, which we didn’t get to last time.

What’s funny, and worth noting, is that they were getting a little wiggly by the end, when I was reading Freight Train, but I wanted to try something that had worked in the past when I was a camp counselor with teenagers. If you’re ever in a room with a bunch of loud teens, the quieter you speak when trying to get their attention, the quicker they will get quiet in their curiosity to hear what you say.

I knew it worked with teens, but I wondered if it worked with toddlers, so I decided to try it. I read Freight Train steadily and in the same volume I had with my other books, and would you believe it, I’d say about 75% of them quieted down and paid attention! Whaaaa?! Some of them were even reading along with me.

You could have knocked me over with a feather. It was great.

In other news, I need a break. I often feel like I’m turning into a fractious toddler. I get cranky in the middle of the day, knowing I need a nap or some food. I don’t want to listen to what people are saying. I want to go home. I want to go home NOWWWW. Or a nap. Maybe because it’s summer, maybe because public schools close on Friday (Beyonce help us all), maybe because it’s unrelentingly hot and humid, maybe because I need a vacation.


In the top spot: Oregon reigns supreme.

It’s about time to hear a new voice.

Ugh, just…. no. NO.

A few misfires, but some other excellent recommendations.

Oh, man, do I just love The Bad Seed

From Friend D:

Queen Victoria took a stab at a children’s book (well, way before she was Queen).

#14: Annabelle has just never liked this book.

From Friend P:

James McBride has a few things to say about To Kill a Mockingbird.

From Mama Bear:

Thank goodness for fine caps!

“Shawl insufficiency”

Sounds like a good time in my hometown


True – traditionally it’s a Mommy job, amirite?

This whole story is weird, but how dare they drag Madeline into it?

I am a logolept.

Probably another bad idea in a series of bad ideas?

Mostly agreed, except for Alexander and…. 

For obvious reasons, and we salute you.

From Sister A:

Jeez, where don’t I read? Where do you read?

Quite Brit-centric, Mama Bear and I agreed, but, well, can’t complain. (Where’s Charlotte A. Cavatica, ahem ahem??)

The new Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling cover!

“Hello, I’m an illustrator, I know this sounds weird, but could I draw your child and not tell you what it’s for?”

In What’s Annabelle Reading, The long experiment of rereading The Little House on the Prairie series is finally over. They were fine, but I can clearly see why 8-year-old me wouldn’t have enjoyed them. The last few books, with teenage Laura having friends, going to parties, etc., I enjoyed much more than flipping pages through descriptions of Pa building a door. Ugh.

In other news, I also read Emily Gould’s Friendshipwhich was meh, since I didn’t particularly care about either protagonist in said friendship, and The Hangman’s Daughter, which was a nice little historical mystery from Germany.