Tag Archives: preschool

Storytimes and more


Oy, I’m so delayed. I don’t know why. When I saw Mama Bear not too long ago, she told me how much she missed my blog (well, she said how much she missed the links, and I said, “Tough, those aren’t coming back“), but after Preschool storytime today, I realized that it’s time to update, no matter what.

My preschoolers are the bomb.com. They are so funny. I had a ball with them today, using two different books and some new surprises. The theme, essentially, is “Books that Shouldn’t Work, But Did.”


Read It, Don’t Eat It is a book about what not to do with (library) books, and I thought for sure that we’d get hung up on words like “deface” or “censor,” but the kids loved seeing what NOT to do with books, and assuring me that they didn’t leave their books out in the rain, or take them to the beach, or eat ice cream over them. That was fun. I told them how proud I was of them for knowing how to treat their books so well.

In my “Old McDonald” envelope of felt animals, the dinosaur has long been the most popular one. So he needed an equally oddball companion, I felt.

Enter this guy:


When we sang the song today, I pulled him out and when the preschoolers said it was an alien, I said, “No, come on, it must be a horse/cow/chicken, come on, look a little closer,” and naturally pretended to be surprised when I saw it, and we sang “With a ‘beep beep’ here and a ‘beep beep’ there” or whatever an alien says. You have to mix it up once in a while, or else the children will get bored, and you will be predictable. It’s boring already for the adults – who were on the phone even after my “no phones” spiel, so I can only do what I can.

The next book, Tap the Magic Tree, also shouldn’t have worked, because it’s full of directions about what to do on the page – tapping the tree, rubbing it, using your finger to draw a circle, but the kids weren’t fazed at all when I asked them to pretend the tree was in front of them and to put their fingers in the air.

In short, it was a terrific storytime.

I’ve done others between now and then, but there are two events worth mentioning that are Very. Big. Deals.

Number one! Beverly Cleary’s Hundredth Birthday! Hurrah! Now, it happened to land on a Tuesday, which wasn’t terrific programming-wise, but what can you do? I couldn’t bring myself to wait till the weekend (or do it the weekend before) in order to get higher attendance. It had to be done the day of, I stubbornly felt, but we had enthusiastic participants.

We made owls with paper bags, just like Ramona does (unhappily) in Ramona the Brave, in the chapter “Owl Trouble,” some with a guide, for our older friends:


and some as they’re described in the book, for our younger friends:


I had a little Ramona storytime as people got artsy, reading the students the relevant chapter, and also the part in Ramona the Pest in which Ramona scribbles in a library book and then goes to return it and gets a library card.

One of our other activities was writing to authors, as Leigh does in Dear Mr. Henshaw. We had a few little ones write letters, and they handed me the blank envelope and I addressed it to the authors’ publishers. I hope they get responses!

Alas, though, I really wanted to be able to have a special preschool storytime and show the old Ralph S. Mouse movies (young Fred Savage and Sara Gilbert alert!), but no takers. Sigh.

I was so happy to have this program. Why didn’t I get a birthday cake to sing to Mrs. Cleary in absentia? Sigh.

Exciting news number two! I went to my first conference two weeks ago! It was the Urban Librarians Conference in Brooklyn, and I loved meeting people and learning about programming for all ages. (Often I feel as if we neglect our very youngest patrons in my branch – we do storytime for them, but no program programs, so I have a great idea that’s been hugely popular in Brooklyn that I’m interested in replicating here.)

That’s the news! And I promise you, my dear chickadees, I’ll be a lot more up to speed in updating in the future. Really. That is a promise.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, there are lots, so buckle up.

I like boarding school books – blame Enid Blyton for this – so I read one that was prettily written but turned out to be kind of dumb. Right after that, I went on to one that was fabulous, about college, so I was a little shocked to go from meh to great.

Then, in the spirit of Bevery Cleary’s centennial, I borrowed Sister A’s copies of the memoirs A Girl From Yamhill and My Own Two Feet, which were just delightful and worth reading, to learn how an author gets her start, particularly 100 years ago.

In need of something quick, I reread My Friend Dahmer, which gets better and better each time I read it.

The next book was good, but slow-going, and having not had much success with Stacy Schiff’s other books, I’m pleased to have even finished this one. Naturally, once I did finish it, I immediately went to my bookshelf to pick up The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and much of it jumped to life where it hadn’t before.

(Again at home and in need of something quick, I was impatiently thinking about my upcoming college reunion, and picked up one of the worst books in the world, but at least it was slightly fulfilling.)

For my quick trip to Brooklyn, I read two books on Overdrive, which I enjoyed very much: The Hired Girl (Baltimore shoutout!), and, well, it can’t even be counted as a book, but the short story “The Grownup,” by Gillian Flynn. Perfectly creepy.

If you want to hear more from your favorite children’s book authors, this is the book you should be reading. I skipped back and forth through it, learning a lot about the authors’ and illustrators’ backgrounds.

At the conference, I picked up an advance reader’s copy of a book that could have been so much more than it was. With an extra 100 pages, it would have been much more fleshed out. I hope it’s the first in a series. The next book I read, though, was just what I needed in terms of story and character fulfillment, and I couldn’t put it down.

While I think the trope of “YA book in which a teenage girl in a dystopia becomes the voice of the rebellion” has been waaaaaayyyyyy played out, I read what, again, I hope would be the first in a series. It was deeper and better than I expected. 

Needing to hit non-fiction next, I’d heard good things about Sarah Hepola’s memoir Blackout, and it was funny and raw both. I was glad.





Storytimes galore


I knew I was late on my blog updating when something happened this morning – I’ll share in a second – and I thought to myself, “Oh, I must put this on my blog.” And my next thought was, “You are seriously behind on your blog, doofus. Get it together.”

So here I am. Sorry.

This morning I was late to work due to a quick doctor’s appointment. At the corner of the library, I ran into one of our regular preschool groups arriving for storytime. The children were SO excited to see me (you know – at that age, seeing your teacher/librarian outside of school/the library is weird, right?) that they went a little bonkers, and wanted to hold my hands on the way into the library. So we all walked in together, me with three-year-olds proudly holding my hands, and me proudly holding theirs. One of the administrative librarians had a good laugh when she saw me.

I really love my job.

There have been some fabulous opportunities for storytime lately.


These two books worked beautifully for baby time: The Tushy Book  and ye olde standby, Where is the Green Sheep?  I think I did this one on St. Patrick’s Day, since you have to work a little green in there somewhere.

In honor of March being Women’s History Month, I wanted to pull out an accessible and interesting biography for my older preschoolers. (I may have mentioned here before the world of difference between the young preschoolers – barely 3 – and the older preschoolers, who are practically kindergarteners.) I’ve tried a lot of things with the older preschoolers, and what I did with this group worked really well:


I read Minette’s Feast to them – a beautifully illustrated biography of Julia Child and her cat, Minette. Because this was the “big” book of storytime, I only read one other book – a song book, at that – and we did a flannel rhyme about popcorn that went quickly. The kids really enjoyed it. They had come in knowing what a biography was, and there was a picture at the end of the book of Julia Child holding Minette on her lap. When I showed them the picture, though, they had trouble reconciling that that photograph was the lady from the book. “So she was real?” was asked a few times. The teachers and I explained it, and they seemed to get it.

Here’s the picture at the back of the book:


I also told them as simply as I could that she was also a spy before she began cooking (well, she worked for the OSS), and then I had to tell them what a spy was. Too much information, Annabelle! Keep it simple.

For a toddler storytime I had the other day, full of older ones, I read them these:


Non-fiction books, such as A Friend for Einstein, can work really well if there’s a plot to them. This sweet book is about a miniature miniature pony trying to find a friend his size, so kids liked seeing pictures of farm animals and talking about what friends do. I pulled out Imogene’s Antlers at the last minute as the group came in, since a little girl had Easter bunny ears on, and I was inspired to read David Small’s excellent book. She even let me borrow them to sing “On my nose I have a hat.”

For April Fool’s Day – I had preschool storytime, so: JACKPOT – I read books about butts. Because I could. So we read the aforementioned Tushy Book, plus Michael Ian Black’s Chicken Cheeks, and Bottoms Up! a non-fiction book. (I had something more elaborate planned, but I’ll save that for the future.)

This coming Tuesday, April 12, is a day that should be recognized as a national holiday. It is, to any children’s librarian, an important day. I’ll be running an all-day program to recognize it, and I’ve made sure to invite as many groups and attendees as possible. You’ll see.

In What’s Annabelle Reading,  I read the most recent of Lizzie Skurnick’s publications, a Sydney Taylor book – she of the All-of-a-Kind Family – I’d never heard of: A Papa Like Everyone Else.  I’m glad it’s back in print. Then, in need of something till my hold came in, I read a coming-of-age biography of Elizabeth I. Next, I read the deeply unusual and troubling The Vegetarian, a book out of South Korea.

What’s better to read after that than a memoir about prostitution? Paid For by Rachel Moran was excellent, and I highly recommend it (though it’s a bit dry). After finishing it, I wanted a palate cleanser, so I read the hilariously funny Redshirts by John Scalzi. If you love Star Trek, you should read this. Wil Wheaton narrates the audiobook.

Finally, I most recently finished a book recommended to me by my book-a-day calendar… that’s the gift that keeps on giving. True crime! The Prince of Paradise: The True Story of a Hotel Heir, His Seductive Wife, and a Ruthless Murder. The more grisly, the better. I’m so weird.


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.

Preschool storytimes, Tuesday, September 15 and Wednesday, September 16


“Two preschool storytimes,” you ask? “But what about Mary Poppins? Isn’t she doing amazing storytimes? Has the wind changed? Has she left?”

No. She has not left. She is still saving our collective behinds and doing amazing storytimes, because she herself is amazing.

Well, not just amazing, as she herself will remind you:


Practically perfect in every way, indeed. (Have I mentioned how great her storytimes are?)

But we’ve encouraged some of our preschool groups to arrange individual visits in order to cut down on the high-volume preschool storytimes. Last week, I was on the children’s desk and answered a call from a local preschool, who wanted to come in for a storytime about friendship, Tuesday the 15th at 11 a.m. And guess who was free? Yours truly.

Individual storytime group visits like this are terrific for many reasons. First, they build rapport with the school. Second, the storytimer can build a rapport with the kids who visit. Third, the storytime can be a bit less traditional (as I’ll show in a second in telling you how I did mine). Fourth, it counts as outreach. Fifth, the teacher involved in the visit goes back to the school, spreads the word among the other teachers, and tells them what a great resource the library is. Voila, a great relationship is born and/or developed.

I had a group of 8 (!! small! Perfect!) for the storytime, and we started off with a pad and paper, discussing just what friendship was: they threw ideas at me, such as “being nice,” “sharing toys,” “saying sorry,” etc. etc. Maximum cuteness was in effect.

Then we started with two short stories from George and Martha, and talked about them: can two friends have different opinions? What if your friend likes something you don’t like? How can you talk about having different opinions without hurting feelings? How can you make up with a friend if you have an argument? Questions like that. The group was small enough that everyone was able to offer (multiple) good answers.


Then we read two of my favorites, Jeremy Draws a Monster and The Monster Returns. These are actually interesting books about friendship, too, so even though the kids enjoyed the stories, I did make them work (heh).

The next day, I had a small group of older preschool storytimers, and I was able to sit on the floor with them and really get involved. It was nice.


We started off with Feast for Ten, which I’ve found works well with any age group, due to the counting. With this older group, I had them hold up the correct number of fingers based on the number I read in the story. Educational and enjoyable! Then we moved on to two new books: Old Mikamba Had a Farm (I told them to put their hands on their heads every time I accidentally said “Old McDonald,” which was funny, because I truly did slip up a few times), and Chicken Cheeks, which was pure silliness. The author is Michael Ian Black, an actor you may know from Wet Hot American Summer and other snarky shows and movies. Small groups are my faves.


In the top spot, this link is the perfect place to announce that I’m heading off next month to Jolly Olde England (huzzah, huzzah) for a week, to visit my hometown abroad, Bath – and damn me for missing Austenland by a month – Cardiff for a day, to visit the Doctor Who experience, and then London for the rest. I sent this link to Mama Bear with the subject line, “You’ll have to make me a list.” Guess I’ll just have to bring an extra bag solely to tote home gifts… for me.

And this made me want to go on the Harry Potter studio tour in London. Am I Harry Pottered out from going to Universal last year with Sister A? Who am I kidding?

Speaking of HP, #potteritforward.

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month! 

While it’s worth subscribing to Pop Sonnets anyway, this one was worth sharing on this particular blog.

From Friend D:

Libraries of Things! My system does not have one. I would like to now formally petition for one. THINGS!

Frankly, this creeps me out more than anything else.

From Mama Bear:

It sounds strange to think of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar writing a book, but he’s pretty prolific in children’s, at least. I’ll be interested to see what the reviews look like, and what legit Sherlockians think.

I’ve never actually read Beowulf, and now I’m regretting it, because I’d understand this a lot more. Still: hilarious.

“WORST. BOOK. EVER,” declared Mama Bear. As far as I’m concerned, Franzen can take a long walk off a short pier.

The National Book Award long-listers.

This list is not that weird. Children ask me all the time how much it costs to rent the books, which is both endearing and heartbreaking.

From Sister A:

The Man Booker Prize shortlist is out (and an attaboy to my hometown girl, Anne Tyler!)

Sister A sent me a link about this book, which Uncle M and Aunt J sent me for my birthday! They have great taste.

More from Mindy Kaling.

“This amuses me,” she wrote. “Amuses” isn’t the word I would use…it’s more like “makes me crazy.”

In What’s Annabelle Reading, one of the perks about being a librarian is reading books before everyone else can. So guess who got to read the new Brian Selznick before everyone else?? It’s a doorstop – as are all his books – but it was wonderful and delightful and intricate and MARVELous (see what I did there?).

Then I read a novel about an exorcism being filmed for a reality show. It was meh, except for the last 20 pages. Skip it and read the real thing. Or see the movie and really scare the pea soup out of yourself! (Just don’t do what a certain Mama B. did – names have been abbreviated to protect the guilty – and see the movie, then decide to visit the Exorcist Steps immediately afterward.)

Preschool, Wednesday, June 24, and Babies, Friday, June 26


Two fabulous storytimes, right across the board. I don’t know if that’s luck (probably) or good planning (at this point, with almost two years under my belt as a librarian, possibly), but I had a super group of visiting students who were just delightful. I practically begged them to come back again – the kids participated, the adults were attentive and interested – what a treat!


We had a lot of fun with You’re Finally Here! (though it took them a minute or two to get into it), but they loved If I had a Dragon and The Monkey Goes Bananas, especially since the last book was so participatory: what was the monkey doing? How was he trying to get the bananas? Why did this attempt work or not? They had great ideas!

I had about six or seven adult/baby “couples” on Friday, some younger infants, some older babies, and they were such good participants, as usual. For some reason, I was just a fountain of literacy tips, and it was a nice conversation to have with the adults.

Also, I’ve learned that I don’t need to focus so much on books with the babies – that sounds wrong to my librarian ears – but that songs will do, as will bounces and rhythm movements. For instance, I just learned “Pizza, Pickle, Pumpernickel” and used it on Friday with them. As you can see, it’s so short that it can be done twice, easily, which is good: the first time, we (the adults) are still learning it, and the second time we know it better and have more confidence with things like poking noses and tickling.

One of the great things about working in the library is learning about books I may not have heard of. I almost fell out of my chair the other day hearing about a series by Jo Nesbo. (Yes, the Scandinavian mystery/thriller writer Jo Nesbo.) But guess what? She also writes about farts. Specificially, a children’s chapter book called Dr. Proctor’s Fart Powder and its sequels, Bubble in the Bathtub, Who Cut the Cheese, and The Magical Fruit.

I love farts. But more importantly, so do kids.

In other news, there are going to be some personnel changes at my branch – some staffers coming and going, and a leadership change, too. Those kinds of things are hard to get used to, but the good news is that Interim Boss (who’s been here for, what, two months? Three months?) is now becoming just Boss, and continuity is always good. So I’m pleased about that. She has good ideas, and I’m looking forward to working more with her.


In the top spot: When you write crappy books that glorifiy an abusive and controlling relationship, and then you invite people to participate in your Twitter AMA, it’s not going to go well.

This isn’t technically book-based, but given that “If You’re Happy and You Know It” is one of my storytime standards, I just had to share this one.

The first of two links today about the importance of grammar. Thanks, Buzzfeed.

So pretty! (Though I’d naturally be like, “Dammit, I’m assigned to Breaking Dawn this year?”)

To learn more about the darker humor of Uncle Shelby, I highly recommend this snarky piece..

From Friend D:

Let me tell you something about the Morgan Library – they have the BEST exhibits anywhere. Go if you can. Mama Bear and I once went to see Our Jane’s letters. In the flesh. Amazing.

Great news for the New York Public Library system!

You think you know Nancy Drew. You do not know Nancy Drew.

A great investment for libraries (assuming it doesn’t get broken or stepped on…)

From Friend L:

Millicent Spinmander and I invented a spell in Slytherin with my cat.

From Friend P:

Yes. Yes it can. 

From Mama Bear:


The anatomy of a grammar nerd. Boy, do I tag all the bases or what? Librarian, single, female, college-educated…?

Congratulations to every challenged/banned book out there, whether or not you’re tallied appropriately by the ALA.

From Sister A:

Art from the sequel to one of the oddest, but funniest picture books in recent years.

Another Birthday Twin movie will hit the silver screen.

Getcher tickets now!

In What’s Annabelle Reading, man, I have just busted through a whole variety of books lately, so here we go. I like creepy books that aren’t outright scary (I do love scary books, but I also like just plain creepy ones), but I thought Andrew Pyper’s The Damned was pretty solid. Then it was over to a middle grade chapter book (that means not a super-easy children’s book, but not a YA book – let’s call it “tween”) that I thought was excellently done. Then it was over to YA for a disturbing book that I breezed through, Stained (I don’t know why I read what I read, don’t judge me).

The best book I read throughout this cluster was the first in a YA trilogy, The Vault of Dreamers, about a reality show in an arts high school where the teens are mined for dreams. I can’t wait to see the next two. Finally, I loved loved loved my first foray into Laura Lippman’s mysteries. This one, By a Spider’s Thread, was out of the series sequence, but it’s just so much fun to read about my hometown and recognize landmarks from my childhood. She even mentioned the street where I grew up! Multiple times! Hey there, Baltimore!

Pajama Storytime and Preschool Storytimes


Boy, did I have two great storytimes in the past two days. I’ve been lucky enough to have a great cadre of regulars for my Pajama Storytime, so it’ll be super-sad when I have to leave to go back home to Main Branch.

For PJ on Wednesday – counting me, we had three sets of Pajamas (well, mine didn’t match), but one set of vampire teeth, and another set of knights and castles, both on boys, and it was epically adorable – we had a great time.


My new book this time was Jan Thomas’ Here Comes the Big, Mean Dust Bunny, but it’s not like I was worried about how it might be received, because, come on: Jan Thomas, right? Always reliable, always hilarious. A few drop-in families had a good time, too, and I hope they’ll come back.

Before I get to my next storytime report, I want to share that I finished my big project here: sorting, cataloging, and “dotting” the holiday collection. Most of it was in order, and not all of it was marked as “holiday” in the database – a lot of it was marked “children” instead – and any book marked “holiday” also needed a green dot on it, to make it easily identifiable. Once they were marked, they needed to be put in order per holiday: non-fiction, then fiction (picture book, chapter book, easy reader, board book), then media (CD, then DVD).

Remember those paint sticks? Holiday separators. Voila!

Here’s a look at the green dots up close, with some of the sticks:


And the holidays (a few, that had fewer than 5 materials, were demoted to the regular collection. Sorry, Arbor Day.):


Some people might find this daunting, but I love tasks like this. I’m so Type A that I LOVE getting things in order and making things right.

This morning I had a small, private preschool storytime for a local daycare. The kids were wonderful and well-behaved, the adults were enthusiastic and participatory, and the child:adult ratio was 2:1… in short, it was a far cry from Main Branch. How sad.

We had a good time with some old favorites, and the new book, Wee Little Bunny, was the perfect source for participation and hand motions for kids this age.


If all of my storytimes were this enthusiastic and smooth…!

I was shelving in our easy readers the other day, and I noticed this book. It’s a real book, and a legit easy reader, but it’s darkly funny and has parts in it about vampires and bats. I’m not sure if our collections person knew this when she was ordering it, or has a wicked sense of humor I never knew about before, but I smile every time I see it. It’s charming in the Dick and Jane throwback way (I think I bought my mom this a few years ago), so if you know of an emerging reader with hip parents, it will make a great gift.


In the top spot, an article to read about the creative process – how those YA books we love get written. (And a must-read for fans of my Birthday Twin!)

More better book titles – these courtesy of The Soup. (Just skip through the ads.)

We’re having #16 at our Staff Day in a few weeks.

These would be awesome.

From Friend L:

Buy me a plane ticket, someone! (Still only been to one of these.)

Drawings and facts! Betcha didn’t know these.

From Mama Bear:

Yeah, all of them.

So my family once went to Portland for my cousin’s wedding, and Sister A and I naturally threw ourselves on the ground and pounded our fists and screamed and yelled that we HAD to go to the Ramona Park or else our parents didn’t love us and wasn’t Klickitat Street nearby and could we go pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease (I was in college at the time, shut up)* so we went, and it was awesome, and there are pictures (next time I’m home, I’ll find some, and scan them, and put them in a future post). TL;DR: you can visit there. 

*this may or may not have actually happened. 

A new website! Check it out. 

April is National Poetry Month, and what better way to commemorate the occasion that lots of hot people reading poems?

Sister A and I regularly laugh at a hometown restaurant that regularly featured “chocolate mouse cake” on the menu.

From Sister A:

Because Mallory Ortberg of “The Toast” is HILARIOUS and should be recognized for her genius.

You know how I feel about this man.

I never read this till a few years ago, and I know everyone loved it, but it really never took with me. Maybe I was just too old.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I finished a terrific YA book, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, about a gay teenage girl in Montana in the early 90s (yikes) who loses her parents (double yikes) and whose Bible-thumping aunt sends her to a gay-conversion boarding school (triple yikes). It’s written with a lot of heart, and it’s a valuable addition to the LGBTQA section of any YA library. 

Preschool Storytime, Wednesday, January 28


This post was going to be titled “Preschool and Baby Storytimes,” but given that I had absolutely zero babies for my storytime today (wahhhh), I’ll just focus on my preschool storytime.

Funnily enough, it wasn’t even a preschool storytime. What with the weather in the Northeast, our storytime numbers have been low this week – it’s snowing even as I type this – and I had some leftover toddlers, without a preschooler in sight. So with a bit of tweaking, I made my preschool storytime a toddler storytime. We still had a ball!


I had already planned to read Piggies in Pajamas and Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing in my preschool storytime, and those worked well enough, but not beautifully, with the toddlers. I added Jane Cabrera’s The Wheels on the Busand boom, toddler storytime. We sang “Shake My Sillies Out” with egg shakers, and the usual songs, and though it was a small group, we had a nice time.

Sadly I didn’t have anyone for my babytime, but it actually worked out nicely, because I met a couple from Korea wandering around, and the wife is a library school teacher there, and I showed them all through our children’s section, and even gave them a bag of swag to boot. We have so many international visitors – library people are library people, no matter where they’re from.

Oh, I forgot, I haven’t shown off some of the great displays my coworkers have done in a while, so I want to highlight them here. Aren’t they clever?


Often we’ll do smaller displays on top of some of our bookcases, and here’s the Pets one. I love the little fishbowl on the top.


Recognize any of these silhouettes?


Coworker L gets a special shoutout because she worked so blasted hard on this one. Each state is a YA book that takes place there, and the white box to the right – you may not be able to read, sorry – lists all the books she used. I think it is supercool.

In links today:

The top spot: We have lost Colleen McCullough, who wrote The Thorn Birdsand Margaret Bloy Graham, who illustrated Harry and the Dirty Dog(Mama Bear, who sent me the latter link, wrote that she can still picture herself at her kitchen table writing a book report in second grade on Harry and his adventures.)

I wish we could do more. We need to do more. 

Ms. Marvel is Muslim. Also? Ms. Marvel takes no crap.

You may laugh at #4, but that’s super-important. I know nothing about the new Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. shows, but I can serve the kids at my library a lot better if I do. Also to learn about? Minecraft.

Librarians are the most powerful people in schools, from what I hear.

A Q&A with family friend and author Jill Morrow (whose new book is coming out soon yay!)

A blogger mom sings our praises. Thank you!

From Coworker L:

The GIFs are a particularly snarky addition to the advice.

From Friend D:

I can’t even.

Preservation, conservation, and restoration are part of archiving, which I know little about but respect greatly. Here’s part of what that all entails. 

Please, corporations, just stop trying.

From Mama Bear:

Some pretty solid choices on this list, but my favorite one – not included, sadly – is still ” ‘Where’s Papa going with that ax?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.”

Seriously, none from Lady Catherine, who has not a civil word for anyone? I’m surprised.

In What’s Annabelle Reading:

Wow, did I enjoy Noggin, by John Corey Whaley. It’s not just a book about, you know, having a cryogenically frozen head, but about starting over and trying to get past the past. Definitely a winner.

I don’t usually write about books I’m reading until I finish them, but I’m in the middle of a Stephen King – won’t say which one yet – and I think the old boy may have lost his touch. When do I get scared?