This evening whilst working the late shift at the Children’s Desk, a young father came and asked me for what I first heard as the Aqua Kid (a book for kids, he said it was). After we established that I initially misheard him, and that what he actually said was Awkward Kid, I looked it up, to no avail. “Hmm,” we both thought. Upon seeing the one record that I did find, called simply Awkward, he said no, that was not it, but, you know, he could say for sure that the word “kid” was definitely in the title, and the other word was something like awkward, but maybe a similar word, not necessarily awkward? And that it’s a very popular series?

That was it. I snapped my fingers and asked, “Is it Diary of a Wimpy Kid” that you are looking for? Yes, he cried, and we shared a good laugh. Unfortunately all the Wimpy Kid books were checked out at the moment, but I was able to show him one of the books in the Big Nate series, which he happily took to read out loud to his daughter.

Next time I hope he lets me put Wimpy Kid (aka Awkward Kid) on hold for his daughter!


Awkwardness abounds in the Wimpy Kid series

This boy, let’s call him A, came in a few weeks ago, totally new to the country~ he had just emigrated from Yemen. I talked to him for a bit, found out that he had only arrived the day before, (!), and was utterly discombulated, but seemed to be doing okay, all things considered. I spoke to him the (very) few phrases I know in Arabic, and he seemed more surprised than anything that this American accented Indian looking person would know any Arabic. I hoped that I didn’t scare him!

Well, that fear was assuaged today when he came to my desk looking for a book which, unfortunately was currently checked out. I used Google Translate to assure him that we could get the book for him pretty quickly. Felt good.englisharabic

Exchange at the Children’s desk today:

Kid: Excuse me, can you find me the book The Children The Series?

Me: the what?

Kid: The Children The Series

Me: (scratching head, and starting to type into search box to play for time) Um, hmm… okay so the title starts with the words The Children?


Kid: Yes.

Me: … and then what’s the next word?

Kid: The Series.

Me: Are you looking for a series of books called The Children?

Kid: No, I just want one book called The Children The Series.

Me: (typing the whole improbable sounding title into Google) Well, maybe there is a series that is called The Children The… (I stop, seeing what I have typed, and suddenly it all snaps together in my head.)

Me: (happier, elated, that I know [i hope] what he really wants) Oh you want the children’s Thesaurus!

Kid: (relieved yet still serious face) Yeah, that’s what I want. The Children The Series.

end scene.

Today, a young girl came to the library, seeking two specific books. One was a Grimm’s fairy tales book which she knew was checked out and which she wished to place on hold. The other was a fairy tale book which she wanted to find on the shelf. As we were seeking the second book, I took the opportunity to explain to her the magic of the 398.2 shelves and all the treasures contained therein. She beamed at this bit of library lore, and so we got into a bit of a longer conversation. Wanting to encourage her to join our Summer Reading program, I asked her name and what grade she was in. “I’m in fifth grade,” she said, “and my name’s Arieanne**, that’s Ari with an ‘e,’ and Anne with an ‘e’)”

At this, I stared at this clear-eyed ten year old, and remarked, wow, that reminds me so much of a character in a book called Anne of Green Gables! “Oh yes, I know,” she said, “Lucy M. Montgomery is my second cousin twice removed.”

Stunned and thrilled, I told her how many times (embarrassing to admit here) I’d read and reread Anne of Green Gables in middle school. Turns out her mother is reading the eighth “Anne book” to her now.

I feel like I’ve met royalty. Pinch me, someone, please and bring me down to earth.

Here are a couple of Anne of Green Gables quotes, for those who are just as delighted as I am with this very Anne-ish encounter:

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

“But if you call me Anne, please call me Anne with an ‘e’.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

**The name and some other details have been changed, for privacy reasons, but the spirit of the exchange has been saved.

As April is National Poetry Month, we are doing some cool poetical activities for teens at my library.

For example, we have an ongoing Book Spine Poetry Contest, (hosted by yours truly!), wherein teens make Book Spine poems, take pics of them, and email them in to enter the contest!

Here’s my display advertising that:


In addition, today, we just did a DIY Magnetic Poetry Kit program today, wherein teens got to make their own magnetic poetry as well as decorate uber-cool tins to keep their marvelous words. Behold some of their creations below!

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Calling all bookish folks:

Do you have favorite, go-to books that you immediately turn to when recommending books for third and fourth graders? I’m compiling a recommended books list for my library, and thought it would be fun to learn the favorites of other library people (and bookish folk) to better inform my selections.

  • Frindle by Andrew Clements
  • the Fudge series by Judy Blume
  • The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami
  • The Year of the Book by  Andrea Cheng
  • Dumpling Days by Grace Lin
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • Half Magic by Edward Eager
  • Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel by Ruth McNally Barshaw
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
  • The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling

A few that I often rely on are listed above, (in no particular order), but I look forward to refreshing my repertoire with your tried-and-true suggestions!


The Village Voice voted BPL’s Central Library the best in New York! Woo hoo! It’s a great feeling to have had the opportunity to be part of this great place!

See link for more!

Brooklyn Public Library, Central branch

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?


November 2015
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