Today at the library we celebrated a mashup (a Monster Diya Mash?) of the upcoming Diwali and Halloween holidays! The materials used were sidewalk chalk and colored sand, to make Rangoli as well as general Halloweeny spookiness.

Fun was had by all who participated.  ( Not to mention the requisite colored-sand-and-chalk-streaked hands)!

P.S. You will notice that our astute Diwalloween witch – a true collaborative creation of the teens, kids, and librarians – loves BOOKS! Don’t be scared. She has a heart of gold.(Or at least, of pink.)

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Recently we have been the lucky recipients of some amazing thank you letters from several classes that visited the library. So we thought we’d thank the kids for the presents of their presence at the library. (sorry for the bad pun!) A sample (and my personal favorite) letter is below, along with our display of the other letters.

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As a librarian working with children and teens, I often am asked about what are some of my favorite books for various age groups. The problem is, I have a zillion “favorites!”

But I thought it would be fun to list just a few today, a taste, as it were, of beloved books that come to mind. There are more, but those will have to come another day!

For the first five years set, Goodnight, Gorilla and Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman make great read-alouds. I also love Bark, George by Jules Feiffer and Old Mikamba Had a Farm by Rachel Isadora. This last one is a riff on the “Old MacDonald” song, and it was a hit at our Día de los Niños celebration!

For upper-elementary kids, one perennial classic that I simply adore is Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. I love the fact that even though this book is 50 years old, its themes of friendship, secrets, and betrayal continues to appeal to children today. For this age group, one of my favorite newer fantasy series to recommend is the Wildwood series by Colin Meloy. Set in Portland and its adjacent (fictional) “Impassable Wilderness,” this book captured my heart with its refusal to follow any set stereotypes about heroic characters.

For young teens, I love Counting by Sevens by Holly Goldberg Sloan, in which the voice of the main character immediately engages the reader into wanting to know what will be the fate of this unique teen.  A creepy (but in an awesome way) book that I loved was The Riverman by Aaron Starmer, which is a haunting exploration of coming of age among children just on the cusp of their teen years, with a strong fantasy theme that interplays very well with what it means to come of age.

And last but not least, in this age of Hunger Games and Divergent, one series that I always recommend to all teens – old and young – craving more post-apocalyptic dystopian excitement is the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, which, with its intrepid female lead characters really gives those other books a run for their money!

So, for today, these are a few of my favorite go-to Children’s and Teen books. What are some of yours?

 

Recently my manager shared with the staff ideas she had saved from an informative session on how to enhance early literacy for the very young in the library by adding display elements that are easily visible to the very young (at their height level) and that are visually appealing and stimulating as well.

Based on some of the pictures she shared with us, I thought I could try out some of these ideas. Below is a photo of my colleague sitting at the Children’s reference desk, with my first experiment — putting attractive numbers at the front of the reference desk, at the eye-line of a very young child.

To my delight, the kids seem to be getting a kick out of these!

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Book: Shadows by Robin McKinley
Genre(s): Fantasy, Alternative Reality
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Publication date: 2013
Hardcover: 368 pages
Other: Chosen as one of Brooklyn Public Library’s Summer Reading 2014 books for Teens
 

 

Shadows by Robin McKinley

Booktalk: Maggie’s story starts off, as she says, “like something out of a fairy tale.” She is a regular 16 year old teen who loves dogs, origami, and her friends and family. Well, except for her weird stepfather. She lives in present day Newworld, a world much like ours, but with these differences:

Magic is real. Magic is dangerous. It is so dangerous, in fact, that it was outlawed a couple of generations ago – in fact, the “magic genes” were removed from any and all families that were known carriers, including Maggie’s own grandmother and her descendants.

In Newworld, where Maggie lives, magic is thought to cause cobeys, slang for “cohesion breaks,” which are huge rips in the universe which threaten the existence of the whole planet, from Newworld to Farworld and everything in between.

Maggie’s stepfather bugs her. Something is way off about him, not just because he is from Oldworld, where magic is actually not only allowed – it is used as a tool to fight cobeys. And it’s not just his odd looks, or accent, nor is it his distinctly weird clothing. It’s the SHADOWS that accompany him everywhere, shadows which it seems only Maggie can see.  From the very first time she meets him, she sees “…something freaky about the shadow of his arm against the wall—a sudden sharp ragged line along the line of his forearm…” Soon these shadows seem to be trying to follow and communicate with her, and she is totally freaked out.

Maggie tries to find solace in the company of her dog Mongo and her part time job at the local animal shelter, and also in her friends Jill and Taks. And there is her origami – a long time ago, Taks taught Maggie how to make kami—origami creatures which are kind of a good luck charm to ward off evil. Although Maggie resolutely doesn’t believe in magic, making kami to ward off Val’s dark creepy shadows can’t hurt, can it?

Lately, though, it seems that things are getting worse and worse. Maggie has a bad feeling that is only heightened when the first cobey in years opens up in a nearby town.  Somehow, she thinks Val may have something to do with all this bad mojo. Maybe he’s brought illegal magic with him. And now there are all these anti-Cobey army units, which also bring bad vibes.

Mixed in with all this bad stuff there’s the welcome distraction of the super-handsome college student Casimir… but he too comes from old world, and seems to think that only magic can help with cobeys. What is right? Who is right? What are those strange sentient shadows that wriggle and wave to Maggie from over Val’s shoulder? What are they trying to tell her? What will happen to her world if cobeys rip it apart? Could it be possible that the anti-cobey patrol units end up causing more harm than good?

Read Robin McKinley’s Shadows to learn all this and more.

To whom will this appeal?~
The ideal reader of this book would love:
  • Animals, especially dogs
  • Magic
  • Origami
  • Fantasy set in a modern setting, replete with pizza, cars, and high school
  • Adventure wherein a female character and her friends come into their own just in time to help save their world

I would give this book to people who like to read about the juxtaposition of Magic and Science in a modern day setting, books like Harry Potter, A Wrinkle in Time, the Rithmatist or even White Cat by Holly Black…  The reason that I chose Harry Potter and A Wrinkle in Time as two of the readalikes for this book is that, like these books, Shadows reads a little on the younger YA side…

Except for the romantic bits closer to the end, of course. Ahem.

 

Yesterday, on the President Obama declared National Day of Making, another Youth Services colleague – none other than the fabulous Emma Carbone of Miss Print — and I worked with teens to create marbled paper, in our weekly Makerspace program! The teens got a real kick out of it, as did we, as well as some of our colleagues! No one wanted to stop~ :-)

Two lessons we learned:
  1. We Must do this program Again!
  2. Next time, we will most definitely use cardstock, as that had the best results, although the thinner paper did yield some lovely floaty tie-dye results.
Enjoy the pics!
(oh and if you’re wondering what we used to get these effects, the kit we used is called the Aitoh Boku-Undo Suminagashi Marbling Kit. It’s fairly simple: You just need to also have water and a large(preferably shallow) container containing water. And a willing clean-up crew. :-)
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These days, I work in a library branch where there are fewer patrons who don’t speak English… but today I had a Spanish-speaking patron looking for a particular book that the library doesn’t have… Here is the conversation we had… After the conversation below, I led him to the appropriate section in the foreign language collection, and he found a book with a different title but similar topic.

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Okay, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this on my blog, as it seemed a little ‘braggy’ to post this here. But then I thought, well, why not? After all, I am proud of this video (and the experiences and stories that led to it).

So, without further ado, here are some of my library stories in the form of a video celebrating not just Brooklyn Public Library, but really, libraries and librarians everywhere! And of course Judy Blume, for writing Iggy’s House, that wonderful book! As I say to friends, this is really my favorite career I’ve ever had!

 

 

Last week in our Makerspace program, we made Lotus Pop-up Mother’s Day Cards~ There are some lucky moms out there! Many thanks to Leigh for her stellar photos of the project!

For directions on how to make these, go to hazregalos‘s YouTube video, Tarjeta Pop-Up Flor de Loto – DIY – Lotus Flower Pop-Up Card. Note: The voiceover is in Spanish, so knowing at least a little Spanish helps, but the demo is well done and easy to follow too.

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While it’s still in progress, this Gargantuan Poet-Tree was begging to be photographed today. Plus, today, in Teen Tech Time, tweens and teens used our fancy-shmancy computer/screen combo in the Info Commons Lab to write Poems with an Audience! As one of the teens announced, it’s cool to mix up old school antiquated technology like crayons with the Internet and poems! They used websites like Magnetic Poetry and Scholastic’s Poetry Idea Engine to get started, but soon, they were riffing on their own, on paper and word processor too!

We will be adding to this tree~ one parent of a teen asked if she could cut some extra leaves for our somewhat newly budding tree… So expect more greenery (and poems) tomorrow!

Mighty Poet-tree

Mighty Poet-tree, sing us your song

Other teens rapt as Teen Poet creates

Other teens rapt as Teen Poet creates

Our Mighty Poetry Will one day Stand

Our Mighty Poetry Will one day Stand

Poems nestle amongst the leaves

Poems nestle amongst the leaves

Poems, tree, books - a harmonious team

Poems, tree, books – a harmonious team

Poet Tree in Progress

Poet Tree in Progress

So Tall Tree - may trim it tomorrow

So Tall Tree – may trim it tomorrow

Teen Poetry in Progress

Teen Poetry in Progress

Teen writing online magnetic poem with an audience

Teen writing online magnetic poem with an audience

Tween cutting leaves for Poet-Tree

Tween cutting leaves for Poet-Tree

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