Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Around the World Fairytales Part 2

Our guest blogger,Tricia Weyhrenberg who works at the Amery Public Library in northern Wisconsin, continues her description of her Hour of Enchantment program. Today's post explores crafts and games she would use as story extension stations.

Crafts and Games
I’d have three separate crafts set up. One would be the traditional idea of Cinderella, which would be to make crowns out of glitter glue, markers, and cardstock.

The second would be to make beaded bracelets with different colored beads. I’d explain that in Caribbean culture, custom holds that certain colors can affect your destiny. There are usually seven beads, but whoever makes the bracelet has the choice of wearing seven of one color for concentrated wishing or all seven colors for a general wish for good luck in all categories. I’d let them know what each color means, depending on what colors of beads I had, and then set them loose.

For the third craft, I’d want something a little bit easier so that if a smaller child comes, they’d be able to do something too. In order to keep with the Caribbean theme, I’d like something bright and colorful, so I’d have cut up pieces of crepe paper available to glue as a little collage onto a picture of Cinderella to decorate her dress.

For the games, I’d have one table set up with a bunch of different areas for large scale tic-tac-toe. In the Caribbean, they play as “the Panman” and the “palm tree.” So I’d have cards precut with both of those pictures on them for each of the four stations of tic-tac-toe I have set up.

Another game would be a traditional Jamaican game called Punchinella Little Fella, which is generally done with at least five people but can absolutely be done with lessThe children surround one child, who is in the center of the ring. The kids making the ring sing the Punchinella Little Fella song, which is either “What can you do Punchinella Little Fella?” or “What can you do Puchinella Little Dear?” With each line, the child in the middle responds with any dance move he or she likes. The kids forming the circle have to copy the moves. The kids decide who is next in the middle and the game continues with children singing as they all change places.  I think it’d be even more fun if the kids got their parents to join in. I’m absolutely jumping in on that from time to time!

The children can decide to play the games or they can do the crafts or they can do both! I’ll have some Caribbean music playing to keep it going and to help with the dancing for Punchinella.

I think this program will be really fun because children love fairytales, and it will also give them a chance to experience other cultural activities and crafts under the guise of traditional fairytales. In addition, it allows me to push the nonfiction section more, which is a fairly underutilized section compared to picture books and chapter books.

This program would be very active and fun and participatory, but wouldn’t require me to painstakingly plan out all the details and present in front of a group for an hour.  All in all, I think it is a fun group activity that also allows me to showcase nonfiction. It’s a win-win!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Around the World Fairytales Part 1

Our guest blogger today is Tricia Weyhrenberg who works at the Amery Public Library in northern Wisconsin.  Tricia recently received her MLIS. While working on her degree she had a chance to research different cultural versions of Cinderella. This inspired her to create a program in her final assignment that explores the rich cross-cultural possibilities of a fairy tale program. Today's post begins with her description of how she would create the beginning of her program. Tomorrow she describes her thoughts behind story extension stations.

Collection Connection

I think it’d be fun to do a series of three different fairytales and explore the different cultural versions of each, along with some fun crafts and activities from each of those cultures This would be a three part series, Hour of Enchantment, for school age children (ages 6-11, but could be adaptable for a younger audience as well) with one session focusing on one of each of these three tales: Cinderella, Snow White, and Jack and the Beanstalk.

My vision for this is to read a couple of the different variations picture book fairy tales, and then to break out and have the children do different crafts at stations I’ve set up, as well as play some cultural games I’ve researched prior to the program. I’d present in front of the group for about 15 minutes or so and the rest of the time I can walk around and just hang out with them while they have fun with the stations I have set up.

By reading a couple of the books and then having the others available on display, it would encourage families to look through these and possibly check them out. I’d also point them towards our nonfiction fairytale section of the library if they wanted to browse for other titles they may like or if they’d like to prepare for next week’s theme as well as point them to the nonfiction titles that may correlate to the cultures we learned about that day as well.

If I were doing the Cinderella program in the series, I would read two different versions of the story for the first 15-20 minutes of the program. I’d start with a version that is very familiar to them such as Cinderella by Barbara McClintock, and then I’d move on to one that is a bit more fractured from what they usually know, such as the Caribbean version, Cendrillon by Robert D. San Souci. There’s still magic and a fairy godmother, but the whole story is shown from the fairy godmother’s point of view. I’d flip through a few of the other versions just to show some of the illustrations and the contrast between those. I’d discuss the cultures and their influence in our crafts and activities for the day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Poohriffic Day

Our guest blogger today is Trixine Tahtinen, the director at Oostburg WI Library. She started out as a children's librarian and became director in 2000. She keeps her hand in children's programming work because she is delighted by it!

This October will be the 90th Birthday of Winnie the Pooh and the books have been a favorite of children for generations. My plan is to have a 90 minute program with stories, crafts, songs and activities for K4s and 5s.

Program Outline
Group Gathering: 
First is an introduction to the World of Winnie the Pooh. Introduce the characters, show a map of the Hundred Aker Woods, a brief outline of the history of Winnie the Pooh. Next tell the group they are going to be participating in a number of activities all having to do with the characters in Winnie the Pooh books. Instruct them to go to the different stations. For example, those who are wearing a blue name tag go to station #1, red tags to statin #2 and so on. Once each group is at their assigned station, they will have 10-15 minutes at the station to complete the activity. (Can gauge how long but observing how it is going at each). Then they will be instructed to move to the next station.

Stations planned for the children to participate in:
Story Station: using a group of my teen volunteers to do a reader’s theater presentation of one of the classic stories of Winnie the Pooh, written into a script form. (See sources at the end of this paper). Supplies needed: copies of scripts, either headband masks of the characters or signs on their shirts indicating who they are.

Hunny Cake Bake and tasting station: using a recipe for honey cake, the group will mix together a cake batter and the adult volunteer will bake the cake. While it is baking, the children will have a chance to taste some local honey. The cakes will be cut up and each child will take a slice home at the end of the program. Supplies needed: ingredients for cake (purchased or ask for donations) and a donation of local honey from one or more of our many local honey producers.

Bear Bookmark Making: each child will make a book mark using a printed out picture of Pooh or one of his friends and a ribbon. Supplies needed: printed off pictures, crayons, ribbons, clear contact paper, hole punch.

Pooh Trivia and Quiz Time: each group will work as a team to solve some trivia and quiz questions based on Winnie the Pooh trivia, or I may also create a Pooh mad lib for the group to create together. Supplies needed: quiz and trivia questions gleaned from many websites and/or the books, paper filling out the madlib and a photocopier to copy the stories so each child can take a copy home.

Pooh’s Stoutness Exercises: Ideas for this station, have the children participate in playing pooh-sticks; toss the bees in the “hunny pot”, or play a duck, duck,duck, goose type game using the words “hunt, hunt, hunt, heffalump”. Supplies needed: a rain gutter section with sealed ends and small twigs for the children to move by blowing for “pooh sticks”; a bucket labeled “hunny pot” and beanbags decorated like bees for the toss game. Other ideas for games: pin the tail on Eeyore.

Wrap-up Gathering
When each group has completed the stations, they will once again gather together as one group. If there is still time, I will read one of the chapters from one of the A.A. Milne books or will show a short film. We will hand out the piece of honey cake for each to take home and provide some coloring sheets and puzzles to choose from to take home. I will also ask for a show of hands who would like to come next month for a different book party program and I will also have a check list for parents to vote on this when they come and pick up their child.

Sources used for items, printouts, games.
Literature Activities for Young Children, Book Two by Teacher Created Materials Inc. 1989
The Winnie the Pooh Cookbook by Virginia Ellison

Monday, April 13, 2015

Teen Book to Film Series

Our guest today is Jessica Summer, a Youth Services Librarian in Winooski VT. Her community of 7000 has the highest percentage of new families in the state. The community's school has children who speak 15 different languages making for a vibrant and fun experience.

Our library has had a monthly book-to-film series for adults for years, but teens and children weren’t welcome. One of my regulars in my teen writing group asked if we could do our own teen book to film series because he wanted to participate, so I immediately jumped on board. At the next teen group meeting, we all talked about what books and movies we wanted to share together and came up with a list to get us through the rest of the school year. Most of the teens were nervous about the discussions, so we decided to start with a picture book.

For our first ever teen book to film series, the teens brought lots of popcorn and sodas to share. I set up the screen and projector as the teens helped me close up the library (our teen group meets after hours). We had agreed on having a conversation about a picture book and it’s movie adaptation but the teens hadn’t picked a book. I decided to do The Lorax because it’s one of my favorite books to read. I explained that we were going to read the book together first, and then settle in for the movie. Once everyone got comfortable, I started reading. The teens were surprisingly into having story time! Then I turned on the movie. In typical teen fashion, there’s a lot of moving around and talking over the movie, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention. Comments during the movie were split fairly evenly between making fun of some of the characters and yelling out that it wasn’t following what happened in the book.

After the movie was over, we had about 25-30 minutes left before the teens would leave. We spent it talking about the differences between the book and the movie, which we liked better, and why. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of discussion. I started by asking a few questions to get them talking, but they led the discussion on their own. The part that most impressed me was how many teens chose to recycle their soda cans after the program instead of tossing everything in the trash like they usually did. Even for the quiet ones, the message clearly sunk in.

The program continued during the school year for a year and a half (when I left the position.) The teens chose all the rest of their own books, and all from our Young Adult collection. It was really great to see them get so involved in program planning, and even in collection development. If one of them thought of a good book, they would request it from the library director (added bonus: she got to see that the teens were reading, too!). Some of the books/series we read together included Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Scott Pilgrim, Alex Ryder, Beastly, Percy Jackson, and Harry Potter. About once a season, the teens would request that we do an extra book to film selection for our Free Choice weeks, which was always a picture book.

Tips and Tricks: I’ve learned a lot from doing this program. One of the more unexpected effects of this program was how popular the book title would be in the weeks following the event. There were 6-12 teens each month who attended the program and I always ordered enough copies through ILL for each to read the book in advance. After the movie, teens who weren’t in our teen group would come in groups asking to read the book we had just used. Clearly, my teens were talking in school about what they were reading, which is a huge win! The downside is that our library only had one copy of each book, so I had to ILL everything for at least 2 months at a time.

I also learned that I needed to plan for the teens to not necessarily have finished the books by the time we were ready to watch the movie. My teens begged for a year for us to do Boy in the Striped Pajamas together, but I wasn’t convinced it was a good idea. I finally agreed, and all the teens promised me they had finished the book. I realized about half way through the movie that not only had they not finished the book, but also several of them hadn’t read far enough to realize it was about the Holocaust. After the movie was over, we had a very in depth discussion about that era, and racism, and what was happening historically to allow that kind of genocide to happen. Many of the teens were very very upset by the ending. I wound up staying until almost 10pm talking with them and making sure they were all ok. If I did another program around this book, I’d want to spend more time preparing and making sure the teens knew about the history and were ready for the emotional blow this particular book blows.

Lastly, I learned it’s really important to pre-view the movie before you watch it as a group. I mistakenly thought that if I read all the books, I wouldn’t need to watch the movies first because I’d know what was coming. That is decidedly not true. I had a very uncomfortable movie session where there was unexpected nudity that wasn’t part of the book, and would have been really inappropriate if any of the younger teens had been present. I will never, ever, ever show another movie that I haven’t watched at home first.

Bottom Line: Teen book-to-film is a great way to get teens reading in your library collection and getting really involved in the planning process. This program can be run as a series or a one-off (or even vacation programming for school breaks!) and requires very little planning time or budget. I highly recommend teen book-to-film programs to any library with the capability to show movies!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Meet the Mice Family Reading Night

Lilly from Kevin Henkes
Our guest blogger is Jennifer Regan, the Youth Services Coordinator from Manteno IL a community of 10,000 about 50 miles south of Chicago. SHe shares a program and the planning that would go into it!

Target Age Group: 3 – 5 year old and their families
Scheduling Strategy: 6:00 – 7:00 pm. Having the program in the evening allows more working parents to attend the program and allows the school-aged children to attend. This time period falls between dinner and bedtime for most of this age group.
Budget: $10.83+ (if you need to order sunglasses and depending on how many)
$1.89 Quart of Pineapple Juice
$1.25 Quart of Ginger Ale
$1.69 One Pound of Peanut Butter Cookies
$6.00/dozen Plastic sunglasses (Oriental Trading)
Program Description and Plan
“Meet the Mice!” will be an active program targeting preschool age children and their families. It will be held in the evening and run for one hour. We will introduce families to the wonderful world of Kevin Henkes by sharing a few of his books, singing some songs, and then letting the families explore three different stations. A display of Kevin Henkes books will be available for check-out. Kevin Henkes has a fantastic website full of free resources that can be used for this program.
Program Schedule
6:00 – 6:10 pm Welcome, Check-in, Mouse Nametags (
6:10 – 6:25 pm Read books, “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse,” and “Wemberly Worried”
6:25 – 6:30 pm Sing “The More We Get Together” & If You’re Worried/Happy and You Know It” (Found on
6:30 – 7:00 pm Explore Stations
Stations Description
Make Lilly’s Purse from Teaching Heart website - see purse on the right
Kids will construct a purse from a sandwich bag and pre-cut purple construction paper and glue dots. A preprinted paper square that states “_______’s Purple Plastic Purse” will allow the kids writing practice to fill-in their name. A staff member will be on hand to give out a pair of plastic sunglasses (we have a number of sunglasses left over from summer reading, so we would not incur this expense) and 3 paper quarters (free clip art) for the completed purse.  
Mouse Stick Puppets
From Kevin Henkes website, children will take pre-printed, pre-cut mouse characters, color them and use glue dots to attach them to popsicle sticks. Wemberly, Lilly, Chrysanthemum and Owen are available.
Snack Table
From Kevin Henkes website, “Don’t Cry Over Spilled Punch” and peanut butter cookies (Chester & Wilson’s favorites) will be served.
Preparation Needed
Print out mouse nametags, type & print song sheets so parents can sing along, purchase supplies for punch and cookies, make punch, set out cookies, print name plates and cut out materials for Lilly’s Purse craft, assemble a sample of purse, print out and cut out mouse shapes, assemble a puppet sample. Room set-up: 3 tables set up around the perimeter of the activity room for stations, leaving plenty of room for storytime and singing.
This program will engage children by:
Listening to stories about issues they may be facing (worried about starting school)
Singing songs
Crafts/practicing skills such as coloring, gluing, and writing their name
Eating snacks and socializing with children of the same age group.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

More Outdoors

Our guest blogger today is Aubrey Myers, the Youth Outreach and Programming Coordinator at Washington IN (a community of 11,000. She shares her plans for a program to get out and about. Talk about excellent planning!

This will be a DIY project started in June and continued to August. More Outdoors will be an onsite program with children encouraged to bring leaves, sticks and pinecones from home to help decorate. A combination of indoor and outdoor locations will be used but all will take place at the Washington Carnegie Public Library. This project is targeted for ages 2 through 6th grade. Children under six will need a parent to stay at all times. For 3 months, this group will meet two times a month. Due to a need for multiple times for parents to be to attend, one session will be in the morning (at 11 am) while the other will be at 6:30 pm.
Taking into consideration there are only 2 staff members in the Youth Department, staff involvement will be crucial. That being said, preparation is minimal. Each program session will last for 45 minutes. 15 minutes to read a story and discuss the plan for action and the rest of the time will be creation. I will not need a budget for this project as most materials are already available at the library and participants are encouraged to bring materials easily found at home. The library has an abundance of literary materials about outdoors. This series will include our books about nature and some books that are specific to nature in Indiana.
It is estimated that the initial preparation time for this series will be one hour. This includes finding all books that will be used for the 6 sessions. Also, a round-up of materials available will be needed. Construction paper, glue, markers, crayons, stamps, paint, brushes, ribbons, stickers other on-hand materials that may be used will be placed into a tote for easy access at a later time.
Beginning the end of February, I will print out flyers with information about the upcoming event. These will be available at the circulation desk in both youth and adult departments. The newspaper will be contacted to run a short story about the idea and social media will be used to advertise the event.
The first week of June, programs will begin. The first session will be a morning session. After parents and children are settled in, I will explain briefly what our goal is in doing this project. Not only will we be learning about the outdoors and Indiana specific items, for the younger children this will encourage sensory learning. Also, hands on activities involve a wide range of skills. Children will be encouraged to use their imagination and create projects that not only show off the materials used but also to showcase talent and perception.
The second item of business will be going outside to find materials to use for our projects. Children will have only the limitations of no bugs allowed and nothing that would be a health hazard (dead animal parts for example).
Once the participants have gathered materials we will go back inside to hear a story about seasons, trees, leaves, plants or animals. From this point, children and parents will use materials provided from staff and those which they acquired on their own to create a project related to the story. These projects may be as simple as a colored picture or as elaborate as a free standing tree made from buttons. Truly anything is possible when children are left to their own devices.
Staff supervision will be required at all times with constant walk-throughs for anyone who may have questions or need help.
After the projects have been created, there will be a showcase available for anyone who wants to have his/her project displayed.
The staff at WCPL feels that there is a need for both motion and stillness in programming. “Kids will be kids.” We recognize that children need to learn to sit quietly and listen. However, we are not a school. The library should be a fun place to come. We want to encourage talking, socializing, brainstorming and movement. Fine and gross motor skills will be necessary to create these projects.
As these projects continue, students begin to get a basic knowledge of nature. This basis is a wonderful starting point to begin (or continue) in school. Related books will be available after each program so that those who want to learn more have every opportunity. Also, the library will find websites that may be used to further educate children and have this list available and arranged by age group.
If this project seems to be a success, we will have further series type programs throughout the year. Projects available for use could include no-bake cooking, drawing and art, learning about the human body, history, science projects (think volcanoes), animals, planets, poetry, creating a game or acting one out, Where’s Waldo type projects where we look at Where’s Waldo or other hide and seek materials and then venture into the Children’s Department to find these objects. It is possible to use even fictional book series such as creating scenes from Mo Willems books or Curious George. The library could easily offer a Disney series of events where children can come to the library dressed in character. For a small budget, refreshments for a tea party of sorts could be served.
All projects that WCPL may offer will include literature found in the library as well as supplies available. The main component to success in these types of programs is patron involvement. Maybe they show up and we read the story and have a dance party. Maybe we learn parts of a square dance.
A good program is not based on materials but about not limiting yourself in ideas or capability. Too many times, we feel we cannot produce a project that will be well attended without a large budget. I have been challenged to prove this idea wrong. So I will.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Movin' and Groovin' Program

Our guest blogger today is Michelle Johnson who is director and programmer extraordinaire at a small library in Hammond WI. She shares a program that she had done several years ago that she enhanced with more early literacy mojo to get kids and parents up and moving!

Movin’ and Groovin’ - Six week series, 30-45 minutes each, for 3-8 year olds

Each week child and parent will move their bodies while enjoying engaging stories and activities. For six weeks we will move and groove to fun stories and songs and use our imaginations while playing with rhythm sticks, parachute, and using our own bodies to bring stories alive. We will incorporate educational pieces for the parents about building early literacy skills with their children in a playful environment that will get both parent and child moving while enhancing each program with early literacy concepts. There will be a selection of themed books on display, both fiction and non-fiction titles for check out. There will be a parent handout with a short book and music list, finger play and song ideas, and other craft activities they can do at home with their child.

Transportation- Bus
Book: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Wilhems 
Movement and Song: Wheels on the Bus (do the movements that go with the song)
Additional Books: Pete the Cat: Wheels on the Bus (do movements with the story that they have learned with the Wheels on the Bus song)
Activity: Color a bus and draw people or animals on the bus as passengers
Early Literacy Skills: Background knowledge and phonological awareness

Jungle Animals
Book: Animal Boogie by Debbie Harter
Movement: Re-read the book and this time make our bodies into these animals and make the animal noises. Incorporating yoga poses-animals poses.
Additional Books: Who is the Beast by Keith Baker
Activity: Cut out a tiger picture, color, and then use green construction paper leaves to cover our tiger up, just like in the story Who is the beast?
Early Literacy Skills: Phonological awareness (sounds of the animals) and background knowledge and vocabulary

Transportation Rockets:
Book: Roaring Rockets by Tony Mitton
Movement and Song: Rocketship Run by Laurie Berkner with Parachute
Additional Books: The Berenstain Bears on the Moon by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Activity: Building rockets using shapes and then writing the child’s name on the rocket. Using black construction paper, various shapes (triangle, circle, square, and rectangle), colors, and glue 
Early Literacy Skills: Print, background knowledge, letter knowledge, and phonological awareness

Jumping Animals 
Book: Jump Frog Jump by Robert Kalan
Movement Activity: While reading the story, have the parents and kids jump like a frog whenever they hear Jump Frog Jump, or use rhythm sticks to tap out the words jump frog jump
Additional Books: Kangaroo and Cricket by Lorianne Siomades
Activity: Create a pond picture. Using water colors paint a pond and using markers or water colors create the land around the pond. Have a frog, fish, lily pad, etc. cut outs to glue in and around the pond
Early Literacy: Print awareness, vocabulary, phonological awareness, background knowledge

Bear - Animals 
Book: We’re going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen
Movement and Song: Cool Bear Hunt by Dr. Jean and acting out the actions of the song
Additional Books: Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
Activity: Copy of a bear, glue, and coffee. Have the kids smear glue on the bear and then sprinkle the coffee grounds on the bear, making a brown bear. Great sensory activity also talking about the smell of coffee
Early Literacy: Phonological awareness, vocabulary, and background knowledge

Zoo Animals
Book: From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
Movement: Move like the animals in the book and extend it by asking the kids what other animals they could become and moving like the animal they portray. Incorporating yoga poses and making the animals noises
Additional Books: Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see? By Bill Martin Jr.
Activity: Collage picture of zoo animals and printed zoo animal names the kids might see at a zoo
Early Literacy: Phonological awareness, print awareness, vocabulary, and background knowledge and letter knowledge