Wednesday, June 21, 2017

LibraryCon Year 2: Revenge of the Con: Geeky Storytime

With LibraryCon 3 only two months away, it's about time I wrote about last year's event! Sheesh! But I'm back with lots of LibraryCon notes!

You can read about planning LibraryCon Year 2 here.

I thought I would devote an entire post to Geeky Storytime at LibraryCon since it's one of the things I get asked most about. 
Toddler GreenBean as Batman

I have tried hosting Geeky Storytimes as a special evening storytime before (I wrote about those here, here and the LibraryCon 1 edition here)

For year 2, we decided to utilize our StoryHour Room as a tabletop gaming room, which meant we needed a new spot for Geeky Storytime to kick off LibraryCon. We opted to host it just outside the children's department, as we have an open area there, we could fit more people, and we hoped we could draw more attendees this way. All of that worked out perfectly and just as we had hoped!

I started off the storytime with welcoming everyone to LibraryCon and Geeky Storytime by playing Hedwig's Theme. This worked great as drew people to the area and let them know something was going on. 

Then I had the kids join me in a geeky rhyme I wrote just for Geeky Storytime (feel free to use in your Geeky Storytimes too!)
I am geeky
Yes it’s

I am geeky
How about

There are

many things
I love to

And no

one can tell me
They are

not cool
So stand

up proud
And shout

For all

the geeky things
We’ll do


I had a hard time deciding what books I wanted to read as I wanted fandom based stuff, but also general fantasy/science fiction stuff too. I opted to go with a newer title, A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young as I wanted something new that my audience had most likely not read yet.

Then it was time for a song. I tried to get the kids up and moving with We Are Monsters by The Learning Groove, but most of my crowd wasn't interested in getting up and dancing. So I might cut out more action oriented songs next time as they were feeling a bit shy.

Next, I read one of my new favorites, Bedtime for Batman by Michael Dahl. This one was a huge crowd pleaser. Since it had just been released right before LibraryCon, I knew my audience would be delighted to discover this book and they loved it. I had several parents comment about how much they enjoyed this book and wanted it for their kids. (I'm happy to say Mr. Dahl has continued the series with Good Morning, Superman and Be a Star, Wonder Woman)

Since 2016 was the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, we decided to hold special TrekTalks throughout the day. I wanted to included something Trek related in Geeky Storytime too, so I created a flannel for Star Trek: The Next Generation and made up a Five Little Crewmen Jumping on the Bridge Rhyme in which Picard of course calls Doctor Crusher for help.

Sadly, I don't think I had any kids that even knew the characters, but the adults had a good laugh. The kids thought Worf was Chewbacca and Troi was a princess. But hey-this is why I do Geeky Storytime! We need to fully educate our future geeks!
Since I had mostly Star Wars fans, and the local Garrison cosplayers were at LibraryCon, I had to do a Star Wars song too. I took the tune of BINGO and changed it to "V-A-D-E-R"
There was a Jedi
Who turned dark
And Vader was his name-o
And Vader was his name-o

I used the white board pictured above to spell out Vader and on the other side was a picture of Darth Vader to signify when to clap that letter. The kids of course loved this one.

Since LibraryCon 2 was happening shortly after Pokemon Go had just been released, my amazingly creative husband wrote a parody version of Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See with Pikachu, Pikachu What Do You See

I added his words and some pictures of each Pokemon to some cardstock and created big flashcards to sing along with. This was another very popular one, especially since we had some cosplayers for Pokemon and many kids catching Pokemon in the library.

To finish our very special Geeky Storytime, I brought out of huge parachute and tossed the TARDIS around to the Doctor Who theme. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Celebrating The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day

Today is The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day!

I can't say enough good things about the beloved book by Eric Carle. I loved it as a child, I loved it again as a librarian, and I love it even more as a parent. 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is such a great storytime book. There are so many ways to use it! Of course, I love reading it and even adding music and singing as the caterpillar munches his way across the pages. But my most favorite way of telling this story is through our Very Hungry Caterpillar sock puppet. 

I'm not sure where the sock puppet idea came from originally at my library as it was made before I started there, but you can see an example of one at Busy Crafting Mama who shared one for Flannel Friday a few years ago. The idea of the storytelling puppet is that you wear the caterpillar sock on your arm and add the various foods as you tell the story and move the food up your arm and then end with a beautiful butterfly!

It doesn't matter what age group I use the caterpillar puppet with-it always has the same effect. The kids, and often the parents, are just in awe of the magic of storytelling and there's an excitement in the room after the caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. It's one of my most favorite moments as a librarian and it happens every time I tell this story or read this book-it never gets old. 

I also learned to love The Very Hungry Caterpillar even more as a parent. It was one of the first books BabyGreenBean learned to "read" and his stuffed toy caterpillar was a constant companion during his first year. He had the stuffed caterpillar before he read the book and one day, when he was about one, I brought the book home from the library to read to him. I pulled it out of my bag and his eyes lit up with recognition-it was caterpillar! It was such a great moment as a librarian mama! Now he knows the story well enough he "reads" the book and re-tells the story himself with his Very Hungry Caterpillar lacing cards. He loves Eric Carle's books and loves finding caterpillar hidden in The World of Eric Carle logo as well as sorting all his Eric Carle books together because he recognizes the illustrations. Seeing him love the book makes me fall in love with it even more.

In honor of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day, Penguin Young Readers has a giveaway!

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (ARV: $21.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on March 20, 2017 and 12:00 AM on March 27, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about March 29, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 17, 2017

LibraryCon Year 2: Revenge of the Con-Part One-The Planning

Well, I finally have time to sit down and type up all my thoughts about LibraryCon Year 2, or as I lovingly called it, Revenge of the Con!!!

LibraryCon 2015 was such a huge success we knew we had to repeat it.  (You can check my posts about our first year here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three)

Yet even with that success (400+ in attendance, great feedback from attendees and participants), we realized after the fact that we forgot all about marketing and promoting the Library itself. We figured people would walk into the Library, but with nothing to draw them there and with the entire event being held in our main concourse and meeting rooms, no one actually entered the Library. So the first item up on our planning agenda was to figure out how to promote ourselves.

The first suggestion was for us to have a table ourselves. We collected various swag from conferences (with multiple staff attending ALA Annual, we were able to talk to comic publishers there and pick up lots of posters, bookmarks, and other giveaways.) We also contacted various publishers for promo items and we received some amazing stuff! In addition to all the giveaways at our Library table, we wanted lots of items to promote the Library and all of our upcoming programs as well as various services we provide that we thought would appeal to our crowd. Dobby served as our table mascot:

(Credit: LibraryCon Facebook Page)

We also helped our gift shop set up a sidewalk sale of geeky items like buttons, mugs, bags, stickers, etc. Our gift shop is right next to our front entrance so it got tons of traffic and was another way to promote the Library-and give money back to the Library since the shop is run by our Friends group.

Since attendees failed to enter the Library last year and we didn't want to crowd everyone into the concourse, we decided to bring some of the guests and vendors out into the Library. We created an "author's alley" just outside of the teen area which brought people into the Library. It also helped promote our science fiction, fantasy, horror and comic areas both in teen and adult since the tables were set up near the stacks. We also used the story hour room as an all day tabletop gaming room, which was a huge hit and busy all day long! And we moved things like the illustrator draw-along and Geeky Storytime  into an area outside of the children's department so it was more centrally located in the Library.

In year one, we weren't sure what the response would be like and planned long breaks between each panel-and we only had three panels. We heard from attendees they wanted more and we realized we didn't need to worry about breaks, attendees would plan their own. So we added more panels and more consecutive things happening to hopefully help with crowd control. Giving attendees more options of things to do at one time helped with people not getting bored or restless with the con.

I am always trying to promote librarians as experts and try to promote that we excel at reader's advisory. Since this is a group of people who were likely readers and who were interested in genre fiction, I recruited a group of co-workers and some of my staff members to kickoff our panels with a panel presented by librarians. We titled our session "What Geeks Should Read Next: What's New in Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror and Comics"

The staff that participated are all pretty geeky readers themselves, so it was lots of fun putting together a list and really hard to limit ourselves to just four-five titles to talk about! We also had a great mix of age range among the panelists as well as what we read, so we were able to cover multiple genres and age ranges from middle grade, young adult, and adult. I asked all the panelists to focus on titles that had either been released in the last six months of were upcoming in the Fall 2016 or Winter 2017. We also gave away lots of book swag at this panel. It was a great way to promote the Library and our staff as experts in what to read next. We heard from many attendees that this was their favorite panel of the con-yes!

As far as promoting the event, we had fliers with a full agenda and a Facebook event page made in addition to our regular promotion in our programming guide, newspaper listings, and Library website and Facebook. The Facebook page was the best promotion we got as our guests and vendors could share it with friends and fans and post teasers about what they were bringing-several artists did this! It was also a great way for us to answer questions people had about the event (Was it free? Yes. Open to all ages? Yes. Registration? No. Family friendly cosplay welcome? Yes.) We also posted about giveaways and other tidbits to get people excited leading up to the event.

More to come on how all our planning took shape and what year 2 turned out like!

Friday, December 2, 2016

ALSC Blog: Winter themed books for Storytime

Today I'm over at the ALSC blog talking about my new favorite winter themed storytime books. Please join me!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Blog Tour: Journey's End by Rachel Hawkins

Genre: Mystery/Contemporary
Release Date: 10/25/2016

About the Book: Nolie is spending the summer in Scotland in a small village with her scientist dad. He's there researching the Boundary-the mysterious fog at the edge of Journey's End. The fog seems to be moving closer but the town can't take any warnings of danger too seriously-the fog is their livelihood and tourism depends on it. Especially for Bel's family who runs a tour boat out to the Boundary. When Nolie and Bel strike up a friendship the two become entangled in the mystery of Journey's End the fog that may be making it's way to devour the town. When Albert appears, a boy who went into the fog in 1918 to light the legendary lighthouse, Bel and Nolie know something strange is happening in Journey's End it's up to them to save the town and stop the fog from claiming more lives. 

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:  Journey's End is a bit mystery, a bit of a friendship story, a bit of a spooky ghost story, and a lot of fun. I'm so excited to see Rachel Hawkins writing middle grade and she gets the voice and tween turmoil just right. In the midst of a mysterious fog creeping into town, this novel is about friendship and forgiveness. Bel is working through her hurt from her best friend growing up and ditching her for a new girl. Nolie is dealing with her parent's divorce and how that has changed her. The girls friendship with each other helps them find understanding and forgiveness. 
Add in some mysterious fog and a missing boy coming back 100 years later and you've got a very readable and likable mystery for middle grade readers. 

The mystery element is part paranormal, part legend, part ghost story and I think readers who enjoy ghostly happenings that aren't too spooky will enjoy this novel. Things never get too scary and there's also a good dose of humor from Nolie who likes to joke around and from Albert, adjusting to life in the twenty-first century. 

I listened to this book on audio and I loved the narrator's accents for each character. A bit southern for Nolie's Georgia accent, Bel's Scottish accent, and Albert's thicker brogue. I also liked that the audiobook added to some of the humor and upped the tension in certain scenes. I would suggest this in book and audiobook format to my interested readers. 

As part of the tour, I thought I would give my top reasons to check out Journey's End

My top three reasons to get your hands on Journey's End are:

1. It's the perfect read for a cold, foggy, wintery morning. Nothing better than reading about some creepy fog while you can look outside and see eerie fog yourself!

2. It's a ghostly story that's tame enough for readers looking for something gentle. I promise you won't be scared! But you may think twice about the weather!

3. It's ToddlerGreenBean approved! I had my print copy of this one sitting on the couch and every time it was out, ToddlerGreenBean would pick up and want to read it to me. Something about the cover fascinated him and I think he'll be enjoying this one in a few years! 

Be sure to keep Journey's End in mind if you have readers looking for light mysteries. It's a nice mix of stories I think it will find many fans. 

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook and book sent by publisher for review

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

MLA 2016 Booklist-YA (and MG) Lit Update

For those of you that attended the Missouri Library Association Conference last week (or for those that missed it!) here is the booklist of titles I talked about. I'd love to hear your thoughts on them and if you have any favorites of 2016!

Origin Stories & Retellings (fairy tales, classics, history retold, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland)
Sequels and Series
Contemporary Fiction continues to rise
Creative formats (Replica by Lauren Oliver, Between Worlds by Skip Brittenham)

Middle Grade/Young YA:
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz
It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
Pax by Sara Pennypacker
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan
Shadow Magic by Joshua Kahn
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
Some Writer! by Melissa Sweet
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Young Adult:
And I Darken by Kiersten White
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston
Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
The Reader by Traci Chee
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
When We Collided by Emery Lord

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Celebrating Roal Dahl

2016 is the 100th birthday of Roald Dahl. The publisher of his books, Penguin Random House, has set up a special blog tour to celebrate the occasion.  

When I was in fourth grade, we read James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. I had always been a reader but something about this book made me really fall in love with it. I loved it so much that I  wrote a letter to Mr. Dahl telling him how much I enjoyed the book and probably other fourth grade things like about what I liked to do, that I loved to read, and all that kid letter writing stuff.

I didn't realize that Roald Dahl had passed away just a year before and I'm not sure my teacher did either. She sent my letter along to the publisher. Several weeks later I received a package at school that was full of Roald Dahl goodies-bookmarks, posters, a mobile (I think for James and the Giant Peach but I don't remember!) and other book swag. The publisher wrote me back and said they were sorry to let me know that Roald Dahl had recently passed away but they were so happy that I loved his books and they wanted to share some special things with me since I was a reader and a fan.

I was always an incredibly shy kid. I felt more comfortable with books and didn't like to talk much at school. I didn't have a lot of friends and never really felt like I fit in in elementary school.

Yet when that package of book swag arrived, I was suddenly the most popular girl in my class. Reading was cool. Everyone wanted to share in the excitement in hearing back from the publisher. We had read the book as a class and everyone was excited to see what I got. Since I took the initiative to write the letter to the author and share my love of the book, I was the hero of the class.

My popularity didn't last forever and I was OK with that. I didn't want it to. But I always remember the feeling that Roald Dahl and his US publisher gave shy fourth grader me. I felt like my love of books mattered. That I wasn't odd for loving to read and visiting the library every day I could. That it was cool to be a fan of an author and to write to the author and tell them how much you liked their books. The day I opened that box of swag all about Roald Dahl, I felt like being a reader was my super power.

I think that moment may have been one to put me on the path to librarianship, even if I didn't realize it at the time. Now I get to share the wonderfulness of Roald Dahl's books with numerous readers and help them discover their own reading super powers. His books are some of my forever go-to choices for reading aloud. There have been many fantastic audiobooks produced of his titles as well that I suggest for family listening. His books are classics and reach across generations and I believe they will continue to do so. He never spoke down to children and I think that's something children of any year and time period want-to be respected and to be heard. I know when I received that package in fourth grade, I felt as though I had been heard.

Thank you Roald Dahl for all of your wonderful contributions to children's literature and for making me feel
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