Storytime: Shoes

After last week not going so hot, I was very pleased at how well this storytime went! The kids absolutely loved the book selections this week and the craft. Here is what we read:

Yes, I know. All the books we read were titled Whose Shoe(s). A very strange coincidence. However, they all worked perfectly for reading aloud. We started with Whose Shoes? by Stephen Swinburne. They loved the pictures of children and loved guessing whose shoes belonged to who. The book is a bit dated, but very effective. Next, we read Who’s Shoe? by Eve Bunting. The rhyming and bright illustrations were great for reading aloud. After we looked at each animal, we asked, “Do you think it belongs to elephant?” etc. Again, it was a fun guessing game. Last, we read Whose Shoe? by Margaret Miller. This book is very dated. I wish the publisher would update the pictures because it is so great for storytimes. Regardless, the kiddos had fun guessing who wears what shoe. They especially loved the horse shoe. One of the shoes belonged to an angler, but I just substituted fisherman.

Our craft was simple and fun this week. Anytime we can have a craft without the use of glue, I am a very happy camper. I prepped a shoe (using my own sneaker) by cutting cardboard and used a hole punch for the laces. I also drew some defining lines in sharpie. The kiddos loved decorating their own shoes. Parents helped the younger ones tie the ribbon, while the older kiddos had fun tying their ribbons in very creative ways. img_4245

Overall, a successful storytime. They seemed to really enjoy talking about their own shoes as well. Again, do not be afraid to use nonfiction in storytimes! I have found that real pictures tend to keep their attention better.


Storytime: Music

Hmmm… I would say that this storytime needs work. I feel like it has some really great components, but the kiddos did not seem interested. I was very surprised. Anywho, maybe it has to do with the order in which I did activities. It was not the normal schedule and I think it threw them off too much. I started with the craft so that they could have their music shakers for the stories we read.

I used paper towel rolls and sealed off the ends with thick paper and masking tape. We filled them with corn, but you could easily use rice, beans or a combination. They each decorated their own piece of construction paper that we taped around the tube. We tied ribbons on the end as well. They really enjoyed making the shakers, but it took some time to tape up each one.


After the craft, we sat down for storytime. Since we normally do books first, I think many of the kids were confused and too riled up after the craft to sit down for stories. Just a reminder to stay consistent and keep to a schedule! Here are the stories we read:

We started with Row, Row, Row, Your Boat by Jane Cabrera. It was great for singing along with and had so many fun rhymes. Next we looked at Music Everywhere by Elise Derstine for a nice nonfiction option. It showed children all over the world playing instruments. They really enjoyed looking at the photographs of other children. Finally we read Bears in a Band by Shirley Parenteau. This book is perfect for a read aloud with its bright illustrations and rhyming. Time permitting, I would have brought some instruments for them to play along with the bears.

Alas, this storytime had so much potential! I think changing our schedule around made it more boistrous during our book reads. Lesson learned! This storytime has some great elements, but needs some tweaking. Until next time!


Storytime: Jungle

Welcome to the jungle! This storytime was so much fun with the kiddos. The jungle theme can go so many directions so I am sure I will be using it in another capacity at some point. We managed to sit fairly well through four books this week (which I was pleasantly surprised about!). Here are the books we read:

We started with the welcome song again. The kids really love to feel special when everyone is singing their name. I cannot recommend this enough. First we read Monkey’s Friends by Ruth Brown. I was a bit worried how this would go for a read aloud, but it was perfect. There are half pages that reveal a different animal that monkey is talking to. The kids really loved this one and seemed really excited to see what animal was next. Then we read Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae. This one is fairly long, but it so perfectly goes through several animals you find in the jungle. The rhyming helps for reading aloud as well. We had fun making different animal noises with each page. Next we read That’s Not My Monkey by Fionna Watt. This is a touch and feel boardbook, so only use it if your group is very small. I had a very small group this go around and it worked well. I brought the book close to each child so they could feel the silky tail, fuzzy eyebrows, etc. Last we read one of my favorites, “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly” said the Sloth by Eric Carle. I cannot sing Eric Carle’s praises loud enough. Simply wonderful illustrations that the kiddos were still able to be engaged during a fourth book.

Our craft was a lion’s mane mask. I prepped the paper plates by cutting a hole in the middle and hot gluing on a popsicle stick. I had pre-cut strips of yellow and orange construction paper for them to glue on.


As is usually the case when we glue stuff, the kiddos had a hard time waiting for the mask to dry. So maybe read a book or two, do the craft, then read another book. I have not switched around the schedule like that before, but maybe I will try next time. Overall, they loved holding up their masks and roaring like a lion.

Book Review

Make Lemonade

Make Lemonade250924

By Virginia Euwer Wolff

Published 1993 by Henry Holt & Co.

Audience: 12 and up

1993 Children’s Book Award

Make Lemonade by Virgina Euwer Wolff (not that Virginia Woolf as I had to explain to a casual observer who asked about it) is a beautifully written lyrical novel. It could be described as narrative poetry, but I would instead describe it as a novel with a musicality expressed through the characters words. Wolff manages to poetically depict the most difficult of circumstances through the characters natural speaking. For example, the main character Jolly is expressing how alone she feels by describing an astronaut lost in space:

Then she starts again. “See, even if they wanted

to send somebody after him, they wouldn’t know

where to look.

He ain’t connected. See?

And even if he wanted to fall down, he couldn’t.

Ain’t any gravity to do it.

He’s just out there.

Nobody knows where.

See how alone he is?”

Make Lemonade is about LaVaughn, a 14-year-old girl who wants to escape the housing projects and go to college. Her ticket out? Good grades, and a paying job. LaVaughn finds a job working for Jolly, a seventeen-year-old single mother of two, as the babysitter. LaVaughn finds a love for Jolly’s children, Jilly and Jeremy. But when Jolly loses her job, LaVaughn must make some tough decisions and decide what is right for Jolly and what is right for her own dreams. The four characters form a bond and become their own family unit as Jolly learns to “take hold” of life’s circumstances and make lemonade out of the lemons she has been dealt.

Wolff’s novel is an absorbing story on its own; however, it can spark some very interesting debates about young mothers, charity, welfare, poverty, and pulling yourself up, or as LaVaughn’s mother says, “Take hold.” While these discussions are vital to growing up in the world we live in, be prepared as a librarian to be asked difficult questions about teen pregnancy and poverty, and how they relate to education.The novel is a wonderful conversation starter for young adults who may be experiencing or know someone experiencing some of the same life circumstances as LaVaughn or Jolly.  Regardless of the connection some may have with Make Lemonade, I think it is simply a novel of encouragement. The presentation of the story and reading level may draw in some reluctant readers as well. It is a very quick read with sixty-six short successive chapters. The book has won several awards and deserves to be on every middle school and high school bookshelf. This was the first of Wolff’s books I have read, but I will be looking into her other works such as True Believer and This Full House (both a continuation of LaVaughn’s story)



Storytime: Oceans

I really enjoyed this storytime theme: oceans! There were so many book options for this theme, it was hard to decide. Plus we had an amazing craft time. I tried some new things this storytime which I will share in a moment. Here are the books we read:

This storytime I tried a welcome song. It went surprisingly well and intend to use it every time to begin the storytime. It was to the tune of “Farmer and the Dell” and also helped me learn everyone’s name. Here’s an example:

[Child’s Name] is here today,                              [clap, clap, clap]

[Child’s Name] is here today,                              [clap, clap, clap]

Everybody wave hello                                             [wave at child]

Because [Child’s Name] is here today.             [clap, clap, clap]

The kids really enjoyed it and liked the special attention given to each of them. All of these books were great hits. Each one was great for reading aloud and would recommend them all. We started with Ruba-Dub-Sub by Linda Ashmna. A little boy in his submarine travels down to the ocean floor passing different sea creatures until he reaches a shark and travels back to the surface. Next we read Breathe by Scott Magoon about a whale. It is definitely designed as a bedtime story, but it worked well for the storytime as well. Each time the word “breathe” came up on the page, we all took a deep breathe together. Finally, we read Hooray for Fish by Lucy Cousins. Little Fish passes all kinds of interesting fish. This book is in rhyme and perfect for reading aloud with its large bright pictures.

Our craft was a paper bag jellyfish. I provided the kiddos with a paper bag to decorate with crayons and glitter glue however they wanted. Then we glued two googly eyes on the top and cut the bottom into strands for its legs. They all really enjoyed waving around their jellyfish when they were done. Feel free to use fun squiggly scissors (mine were pretty worn down)!


I tried a closing song this time to clearly delineate to children (and parents) that the storytime was over. We sang “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” We all sat in a circle, shared our finished jellyfish, and sang the song. It was very successful and I will do it every time from now on. It was a nice close to everything as opposed to random walking around after the craft. I feel like I am learning something new every new storytime!