Robot, Zombie, Frankenstein Story Time

I really need to update this more, we do so many fun things at the library and I should document them! I have been so busy though! We lost one of our part-time employees and have been training a second, very time consuming.

In the midst of training, however, we had a wonderful story time featuring Robot Zombie Frankenstein by Annette Simon. I paired the book with The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot by Margaret McNamara and If You’re A Monster and You Know It… by Ed Emberley. All three books were really great and the kids loved them, of course. I always know that any book about pirates, ninjas, robots, monsters (especially zombies) and aliens will do well at story time!

We started off story time by reading Robot Zombie Frankenstein. The kids really listened to this book. I think the combination of bright, vivid illustrations and easy to follow dialogue helped. We talked about what kinds of robots they would build if they had a chance and then I handed out an amazing activity pack from Annette Simon’s website.

Robot Zombie Fridge
“Mine can fly AND jump really high!” – Creator

The kids enjoyed doing the packets while I set up for the robot building craft. I had them sit at the table and read them The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot. They were a little wound up, but eventually calmed down enough to where they were listening well. I then gave them scrap paper (from past projects) and let them create a their own robot/monster/whatevers.

Robot Zombie Florist

When they had finished their craft, we rounded out the story time by dancing to If You’re a Monster and You Know It… and singing along. Fabulous story time, with fabulous books, by fabulous authors!

Robot Zombie War Machine
The book his robot is holding is titled “The Ancient War”

Attack of the Robots!

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Spring Has Sprung Story Time

Before this nasty bit of hot weather, we had a few weeks of glorious spring weather. In celebration of the birds singing and the flowers blooming, I decided we would make spring tree boughs.

The kids loved the craft, especially since they got to use glue and “shiny things.” I thought the craft turned out wonderful, with each of the kids creating a different picture. A few of them made fields of sequin flowers, some made a single branch and a couple made an entire tree.

I chose two wonderful books about spring to read to the kids. The first one is called And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano. I have never read any of her other books, but this one has definitely gotten my attention!

It’s a beautiful book about a boy who plants a garden while there is still “brown” around. Brown grass. Brown leaves. Brown weather. He wonders why his garden isn’t growing throughout the seasons…

And Then It’s Spring…and it’s green all around.

I would definitely recommend this book. The prose is poignant and the illustrations are gorgeous. The story might hit home with adults a bit more than preschool children, but the kids were very attentive and asked questions about the illustrations. Any book that promotes discussion among pre-readers is ok in my book!


The second book that I read was It’s Spring by Samantha Berger. It is a board book, but the rhyming prose is just too cute. The kids had me read it to them twice! The second time they tried to say it with me, which I thought was adorable. The kids really liked the little rabbit and the rhyming goes something like:

” The robin told the rabbit…
The rabbit told the deer…
The deer told the duck…
Then all the birds began to sing
To tell the bears, “Wake up, it’s spring!”

Then it was on to the crafts. The kids sat at different tables and started creating their spring scenes!

The kids getting down to business with their pictures.

I just used some left over blue printer paper, crayons and each child had a small cup of sequins and pieces of tissue paper.

You can see in the picture that each of them created something unique and different! A few of the kids were a bit older and they always seem to try and replicate the example that I give them.

Though I always try to use glue sticks, the sequins don’t really work well with anything beside white glue. The younger kids were THRILLED to get to use the white glue and it was good practice for them since most will be going into kindergarten shortly.

Having a few older kids at this story time was great. They were a big help with the younger ones!

The table of older kids really liked the craft too. I let them do several pictures since they were getting so into it. The creativity of all the kids was really astounding! Even though I had just shown them a picture of a fairly mundane tree bough, their trees had curly branches, sequin birds and falling leaves.

One of the little girls picked out all the pink, clear and white sequins. Her entire tree branch matched the little pink dress she was wearing and when I asked her what her favorite color was she pointed to the pink sequin bird she had made.

I will definitely do this craft again! Maybe a Christmas tree?

After story time, the kids and their parents picked their books for the next two weeks. I always love to see the way the kids interact with their parents when choosing books. It’s wonderful to see the kids so excited to read!

May the 4th Be With You

It’s been a long time since I have been able to post! Been busy, busy, busy at the library.

The library has been busy gearing up for our Summer Reading Program and I have been planning all our events. We have some really great programs planned for all our patrons for the months of May-August and I am very pleased with the themes we have chosen.

One of the most exciting programs I have had was my May 4th Story Time! Since May 4th was “Star Wars Day,” I decided to show the younger generations some intergalactic fun. Our wonderful bookstore-next-door, The River Reader, donated an event kit for Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown and I pulled some of our juvenile Star Wars books for them to check out.

How cute is little Luke?

We started by talking a little bit about space. I asked them, “How many of you like to learn about space?” Every hand was in the air, so I continued with, “Would you want to live in space?”

A few of them said they would and described the kind of spaceship they would want to live in. Then I showed them the book we were going to be reading and a few of them knew Darth Vader already. The book isn’t a typical “story time” book and I had to interact with the kids quite a bit to keep them focused. The illustrations are adorable though, so I had the kids sit really close so that the cute details didn’t go unnoticed.

“He’s playing with Legos like I do!” – Story Time Attendee

The kids seemed to really enjoy the book, even though it wasn’t as much fun for me to read as say, Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door, and they had a lot of Star Wars related questions after we were done. When I had answered all their questions, we headed to make our crafts. I had pre-cut out Stormtrooper masks for the kids and I let them color them however they wanted.

“I want to be a Stormtrooper when I grow up!”

I also sent the kids home with copies of activities from the event kit.  The full PDF kit can be downloaded at Activity Kit for Darth Vader and Son. If you feel so inclined you can print off Yoda coloring pages for them to take home too.

All in all, the kids really enjoyed the story time. I would suggest trying to find another book to read a long with Darth Vader and Son if you want the kids to be a little more attentive. Some of the jokes are more for adults, but you don’t have to be a fan of Star Wars to enjoy this book.

“That wasn’t very nice of Greedo.” – Story Time Attendee

Follow @ChronicleBooks for more great reads!
Read more about the author at: Jeffrey Brown Comics

All Aboard for a Train Story Time!

Choo Choo! All Aboard for a Train Story Time


BooksThe Last Train by Gordon Titcomb; Steam, Smoke, and Steel: back in time with trains by Patrick O’Brien, Train Song by Harriet Ziefert


Activity: Have the kids line up and lead them around the meeting room like a train. Have them speed up, slow down, stop, zig-zag etc… You can make little signs for them to wear and even have the lead “train” wear a little conductor hat and bandana. Let the kids switch up so they can be different parts of the train.

Crafts: Make trains from graham crackers. Use the icing as glue (like a gingerbread house) and make “wheels” out of candy. If that is too time consuming, have the kids make trains out of construction paper or tissue/shoe boxes

Extra: Show Thomas the Tank Engine clips from YouTube or show All About fast trains & airplanes

Lets Paint! Story Time

Let’s Paint Story Time
Books:  Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh, Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth, Willow by Denise Brennan-Nelson

  Activity: Flannel or construction paper mice as you read Mouse Paint

The templates for these are very simple.

Craft:  Have kids paint on butcher paper spread out on the table. Draw circle and label each with
the name of a paint color. Have kids match up the paint with its name. Print off a mouse on
white paper and let the kids paint it (fingerpaint)

Extra:  Show Mouse Paint movie from YouTube by hooking laptop up to the television

 

All About Me! Story Time

Self-esteem is the real magic wand that can form a child’s future. A child’s self-esteem affects every area of her existence, from friends she chooses, to how well she does academically in school, to what kind of job she gets, to even the person she chooses to marry.

STEPHANIE MARTSON, The Magic of Encouragement

Story time is suppose to be fun. Kids expect fun animal crafts and exciting songs about pirates, the whole horse ‘n’ pony show (so to speak). While I agree that 99% of story time’s should be exactly like this, I also feel that I have an obligation to teach children about more important issues. Issues like body image, nutrition and self-esteem are often overlooked because they don’t appear to be as much fun to plan. These issues will plague them into adulthood and I want them to remember that the library will always have the information to help them.

A few Wednesdays ago, I decided to have an “All About Me” story time. I searched the internet and came up with an idea for the kids to create name banners. I made these out of paper plates, construction paper and glitter.

They enjoyed making these.

We read a few different books, which they enjoyed because they got to tell me stories about themselves after each one. It even helped some of the kids who aren’t so talkative and tend to be a little shy.  Each of the kids enjoyed taking the banner home and they were showing it off to their parents after story time.

Books We Read:
Incredible Me!  by Kathi Appelt
I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont
Being Me by Julie Broski
For just one day by Laura Leuck

I also made them a handout that asked them questions about themselves. The handout had things like, “My favorite color is________.”, “If I was an animal I would be ____________.”, “The toy I love the most is ________.”

After I had read the stories we talked about what we liked about ourselves, what our favorite things are and why we like them. It was nice to hear some of the kids say that they really liked who they were!

Going Nutty for Stories*

This weeks Story Time @ 10 theme was “Going Nutty for Stories” and featured books about squirrels.

I had four (4) very excited youngsters who loved all of the books that we read, but especially Those Darn Squirrels  by Adam Rubin. Each of the books was displayed when the children came into the library (except Those Darn Squirrels because I had already taken it to the story time area):

To start with, we “Shook Our Sillies Out” and then sang “The Squirrel Song.” The kids enjoy getting up and moving before we read the stories. This helps them settle down when I actually start reading and they seem to listen better!

I read the following stories:
Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin (this was SUCH a big hit that they wanted me to read it again, so I read Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door as well)
Rosie to the Rescue by Bethany Roberts
Heart to Heart
 by George Shannon

I displayed Gray Squirrel at Pacific Avenue and Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach, but did not read them because the natives were getting restless. We then talked about what we learned about squirrels and my favorite was “They are the champions of the forest!” So now when that little girl has to do a report on squirrels in school, she will most definitely cite this.

After our discussion on “Why Squirrels Are So Awesome!” we made Squirrel hand puppets out of paper bags. I would have loved to do something more detailed, but I had to remember that these are preschoolers. I tried to get a picture of each of the kids with their finished puppets, but they were too busy trying to eat each with their squirrels.

In all of the years I have been doing story time, I have NEVER had kids ask for me to read the same book immediately after I finished it. This has to be a testament to how great the Rubin/Salmieri’s writing team is! The illustrations are amazing and I would point things out to the kids that they didn’t notice before (cats legs crossed in his portrait, birds faces, etc..). The kids loved the squirrels and they made sure to point out that the cat, “Looked really mean!”


All in all, it was a fantastic story time! The kids loved the crafts and I was excited by their enthusiasm for the books.  I would highly recommend reading Those Darn Squirrels for a story time, as the kids were enthralled by the book the entire time I read it. Squeals of laughter and giggles are always a good sign that a book is a hit!

*Sorry for the delay in posting, work has been a little hectic!