Favorite Quotes

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
— Emilie Buchwald

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
-- Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"

Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Books Week 2010

This video was produced by graduate students at my university. The woman holding In the Night Kitchen is sitting in the Reinberger Library, where I work as a graduate assistant.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Moon Bear

Guiberson, Brenda Z., and illustrated by Ed Young. Moon Bear. New York: Holt, 2010.

This is a beautifully illustrated informational picture book about the rare moon bear or asiatic bear.  The story follows one moon bear through a year of activities beginning and ending with waking up in the Springtime from hibernation.  Each page starts with a question and then a poem like answer.  For example:
"Who blinks in the sunlight that peaks through the Himalayas?
Sleepy moon bear,
waking up
from a long winter snooze."
We see what these bears eat, drink, and do while they are awake. The end of the story shows a mama and baby moon bear awaking in the Spring.  We also learn that these bears have a blaze on their chest that looks like a crescent moon.  The endpapers of the book have black bear shapes on a blue background, that draw the reader into the story of this mysterious bear.  The reader learns that these bears live in Southeast Asia and that there are more of them in captivity than in the wild.  The book information page states that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Animals Asia Foundation to help the moon bears and other animals of Asia. Check out their informational website to learn how you can help.
At the back of the book there is an author's note about moon bears, photos of real moon bears and information about how you can help these bears.
This book is recommended for children ages 4-8 and has received a star review from School Library Journal.  Be sure to check out this video about the book.
The author, Brenda Z. Guiberson has authored many books for children including the recent title, Life in the Boreal Forest.  The illustrator, Ed Young, has illustrated numerous children's books.  He is a Caldecott medalist, Caldecott Honor recipient (twice), and has been nominated twice for the Hans Christian Anderson Award.
Extension Activities:  The author's website includes an activities guide with discussion questions and activities. Children could do research about this bear and find ways that they can help.  There are numerous websites available with information about these fascinating bears.
Here are some related books:

Be sure to check out the other Nonfiction Monday posts, this week hosted at Moms Inspire Learning.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum

McCarthy, Meghan. Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010.

Gum!  Who doesn't love gum?  This is a great picture book about the invention of bubble gum in a most unexpected way.  The end papers of this book feature a bubblegum pink background with illustrations of gum balls in various colors.  This sets the tone for the storyline.  We see the story of Walter Diemer, who is an accountant at a gum and candy factory in Philadelphia.  The illustrations get more colorful as Walter gets closer to finding the correct recipe for gum that makes bubbles.  Walter gets asked to watch over a gum experiment and this leads to Walter experimenting with the gum recipe until he gets it just right.  His discovery saves the company from closing and he eventually becomes the vice president of the company.  I enjoyed the illustrations of this book, especially the bubble like eyes of the people displayed on the pages.  We also get a look at the history of gum in the world.  Did you know that even the Ancient Greeks had a form of gum?  Do you know why the famous bubblegum has its pink color?  Read this interesting book to find out!
The back of the book contains some additional information about Walter Diemer, even more fun facts about gum and a list of resources used to write the book.
Megan McCarthy's book about gum has received a star review from School Library Journal.  This book is recommended for children grades 1-4, but I think younger children would enjoy the picture book style of writing.  McCarthy has written several other books that you may be familiar with including: City Hawk: The Story of Pale Male and Seabiscuit: Wonder Horse.
Extension Activities:  This book would make a fun addition to a study of inventions and inventors.  It could also be used as a start to a fun day or program about bubble gum and candy.  You could even make your own bubble gum if you have the time or you can buy a bubble gum making kit.  You can even sing a song about bubble gum!  There are many science experiments you could perform about gum (which gum makes the biggest bubbles?  Does gum weigh more after being chewed?  etc.).  Here are some other books about the wonderful world of gum:

Be sure to check out the rest of the Nonfiction Monday posts, this week hosted by Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Bounty of Books with Babies

In my library bag this week were several titles featuring one of my favorite topics, Babies, Cute and Cuddly Babies!

The first title was this adorable board book, American Babies.  Each page shows a close up image of a baby or young child.  The children featured represent a wide range of cultures.  This would be a great book to share with babies and young toddlers as they love to look at pictures of other babies and young children.  This book was put together by The Global Fund for Children and part of the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to help their cause.  Check out their website for more details.

The second title about babies was Baby Shower.  This is the story of Zoe who really wants a pet.  She dreams about it raining animals the night before her Aunt Ellen's baby shower.  The cute storyline ends with Zoe getting a baby puppy and Aunt Ellen having twin babies.  I loved the baby pink end papers of this book.  This would be a great book to read aloud and to share with children who are expecting a baby brother or sister.

The last title about babies was Brand New Baby Blues.  This is a humorous look at getting a new baby brother.  This young girl has the blues because she has just received a brand new baby brother.  She is not happy about sharing her parent's attention.  By the end of the story, she realizes that she is still important to her parents and that her brother is actually pretty cute.  Authored by Newbery Honor author, Kathi Applet I expect to find this good read on some award lists this year.

Some Recent Good Reads...

I know, I must be living under a rock, but I just finished The Hunger Games.  And of course I have Catching Fire on hold at the library.  I had to read the whole thing in one evening, I could not put it down. I am looking forward to the other books as well.
Here is the trailer for Hunger Games, for those of you who may not have read it yet:

Another good read I recently finished was Star in the Forest.  It was a quick read and dog lovers everywhere are sure to appreciate this title.  This is also the first children's book I have read that includes the topics of deportation and immigration. Check out the author's website for a teacher's guide and an immigration discussion guide.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Author Highlight: Ashley Bryan

I thought a nice feature to add to the blog would be an author's highlight series.  I will begin by showcasing the works of Ashley Bryan, author and illustrator.

His most recent book is, All things bright and beautiful.   Most of his books are written with African American history in mind.  My favorites are the ones that are based on old, traditional hymns.  I love his style of cut paper illustrations.  His picture books feel like works of stunning art.

He has won the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration, at least 6 Coretta Scott King Honors, the Arbuthnot Prize, is a Fulbright Scholar, and has won the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award.
If you have not experienced the artwork of this talented man, be sure to check out his many other award winning titles.

Check out this video of the Ashley Bryan:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Boston Inspired Reads

My husband and I are planning a week long trip to Boston at the end of the summer.  During my research for the trip, I discovered several children's books that are set in the great city of Boston.

First, we have the classic Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey.  The image shown here is the audio version.  Winner of the 1942 Caldecott Medal, this is the story of a mallard family trying to find the perfect home in the Boston Public Garden.  We are planning on visiting the duck statues there (shown below). Homeschool Share has a great BINGO game available along with several other fun and educational activities. There is a fun art project available from Scholastic. There are lots of activity ideas available from Live Oak Media. Wondersome StoryTime provides a great plan for a wonderful storytime or circle time lesson plan.  And for all you preschool teachers, Hubbard's Cupboard has a great duck/egg unit that incorporates this great book.

Another book I discovered, was The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White, which has also been made into a movie. This is the story of a swan who was born without a voice and learns to play a trumpet to create a voice.  After reading this story we will be sure to check out the Swan Boat Rides when we are in the Boston area. The Internet is full of great teaching or storytime activities that go along with this book. ABC Teach has lots of printables that go along with this book. Multinomah Library provides a discussion guide to use with elementary students. Ethemes provides a list of links for additional activity suggestions.

The third Boston related children's book is Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes, which was also made into a movie.  This book is the 1944 Newbery Medal winner and is about the events in Boston leading up to the Revolution. On this Teacher Cyberguide, they provide all sorts of activity suggestions that go along with this award winning title. EdHelper also has a great literature unit available. Teacher Vision has a reader's theater script that would be a great addition to any program or unit on this book.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound

Wolf, Sallie, and Micah Bornstein. The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound: A Birder's Journal. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2010.

This nonfiction book combines interesting bird facts, journaling, and poetry in a fascinating manner.  This title is aimed for children grades 4-8, but I think it could be shared with younger children as well.  The book information page tells us that the illustrations were created using watercolor, pen and ink on the author's original journal pages and on handmade paper, which were then scanned and finished using Photoshop.  The binding of the book is similar to a bound journal which is a very nice touch.  There is a table of contents to help the reader organize the information included in the book.  Much of the font used throughout the book is handwritten notes from the author.

At the beginning of the book, there is a note from the author telling the reader how she became a bird lover and avid bird-watcher.  The poem like journal entries contain facts about birds and observations the author has made.  Throughout the book are hand drawn labeled illustrations of birds mixed with watercolor pictures.  The entries begin in the Spring time and continue through all the seasons.  There are various bird lists contained on the pages.  One of the poems is about a robin making a laughing sound and another is displayed inside the shape of bird eggs (whole and hatched).
The end of the book includes a note from the author describing how she began keeping a journal when she was a young girl.  This may inspire some young readers to start keeping a journal of their own.  There is also a list of resources at the back of the book.  These include the following websites: All About Birds, Bird Watching in the USA and Around the World, and eNature: America's Wildlife Resource.
This book has received a star review from School Library Journal. You can read another review and an interview with the author at the Wild About Nature blog.  Sallie Wolf has her own blog called Learning as I Go.  The book even has its own Facebook page!
Extension Activities:  This book would be a great addition to a study of birds or journaling.  The publisher, Charlesbridge, has available on their website a free discussion guide, activity suggestions and some bird identification cards for printing.

Be sure to read the other Nonfiction Monday posts, this week hosted at Shelf Employed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Toys! Toys! Toys!

I recently completed a workshop about Toys in a Library.  I found this to be a fascinating subject and wanted to share some resources that I found to be very interesting and useful.

The Cuyahoga County Public Library has a lending toy collection and we got to see how this operation works first hand.  I wish there had been something like this available when I was teaching Preschool.

The USA Toy Library Association's website is a wonderful resource to learn all about what toy libraries are about and how they can help the children of their community.

The Toy Industry Association's website is another great resource about the importance of toys and play for young children.

PBS also has a great website called The Whole Child that includes some wonderful information about the development of children and how this relates to play.

I would love to visit the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY someday!  It looks super fun!

Some great resources for buying toys include:
Lakeshore Learning
Little Tikes
Dragon Fly Toys
Enabling Devices (for special needs toys)
Beyond Play
Discount School Supply
and many others!

The Ohio Early Learning Standards and the Ohio Infant and Toddler Guidelines found on the Ohio Department of Education's website are also a great resource to see what skills are expected for the various age ranges and to see how play can help achieve those goals.

There is even an International Play Association!  NAEYC can also provide a lot of good information about the value of play in the lives of young children.

In the workshop, we discussed one of my favorite learning theories, Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences, among many others.  We also discussed brain research and how that play can help to increase this. 
We also discussed the importance of play safety and the guidelines for selecting appropriate toys for various ages and abilities.

Two sources for grants for toys and other topics are the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Cleveland Foundation.

Check to see if there is a toy library in your community and see if there are ways that you can help.  As a children's librarian, look for ways that you can incorporate toys and play into your library environment and in your programs and storytimes.  Play is a wonderful thing!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Ubiquitous

Sidman, Joyce, and Beckie Prange. Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature's Survivors. Boston [Mass.]: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010.

Joyce Sidman combines beautiful poetry with factual information about some of the creatures that have survived on our planet for millions of years.  Sidman and Prange have collaborated in the past on the award winning title, Song of the Water Boatman, which received a Caldecott Honor.  Sidman also received a more recent Caldecott Honor with her title, Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Color.  Her most recent title, Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night is due out this Fall.
Be sure to check out the author's website for more information.  Also check out the illustrator's website for more details on how she creates her illustrations.

The end papers of this book are a great introduction to the topic.  The illustrator's note at the end of the book explains that this is a graphic representation of the timeline of life on Earth.  From this illustration we can see that the Earth has been around for a very long time and that for most of that time there was little to no life on the planet and that humans have only existed for a very short amout of time in the history of Earth.
We also learn that 99% of all species that have existed at one point in time on Earth are now extinct.  This makes us think about those species that have survived and just how they have managed this spectacular accomplishment.
Each two page spread in this book is about a different creature.  Most of two page spreads contain a poem about the creature on the left hand side and some factual information on the right hand side.  The creatures appear in the order they have appeared on Earth with the oldest creatures appearing first.  Bacteria is the first creature showcased and we learn that it has been around for 3.8 billion years!  We then learn about mollusks, lichen, sharks, beetles, diatoms, geckos, ants, grasses, squirrels, crows, dandelions, coyotes, and finally humans.  Some of the poems are displayed in creative ways, for example the shark poem is written in the shape of a shark.
The colorful illustrations add to the understanding of the creature and are very well done.  The illustrations also teach the reader some additional facts.  For example, we see the life cycle of a beetle with labels, the various shapes of bacteria, lichen and diatoms, the details of an ant colony, and several different types of grasses.  On the humans pages, the poem is about a baby and we see a baby with some toys including play cars; while the humans information page shows a cityscape with real cars on a highway.
The end of the book contains a glossary of words introduced in the book.  This includes ubiquitous which means something that is or something that seems to be everywhere at the same time.  There is also a note from the author and the illustrator.  The author's note includes more information about the book, how the creatures were put in order, and resources she used when writing the book.
This book has received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, Horn Book, School Library Journal, and Kirkus and it is a Junior Library Guild selection.
You can read an interview with the author at School Library Journal's website and at the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.
The author recommends the following websites for further exploration: Tree of Life Web Project and the Encyclopedia of Life.
Extension Activities:  This book opens the doors to many discussions about survival, extinction, and human history.  There are many poetry and creative writing activities that could be performed after reading the poems of this book.  Further research about the creatures included in this book could be carried out.  Students could also research additional creatures in relation to their place in the Earth's history.  A study of timelines could be completed after reading this book as well.

Be sure to check out the other Nonfiction Monday reviews, this week hosted by In Need of Chocolate.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Review

Schlitz, Laura Amy, and Angela Barrett. The Night Fairy. Cambridge, Mass: Candlewick Press, 2010.

I wouldn't be surprised to see this book on a notable list or even win some awards. I felt that it was well written and the plot line flowed well. I enjoyed the small size of the book and the jacket art was spectacular. The colorful watercolor illustrations add a sense of whimsy to the story. The main character is Flory, a night fairy who through some tough circumstances has become a day fairy. The fearless fairy shows what it takes to survive in the sometimes cruel world of the garden. She shows determination and a great sense of resourcefulness. I think that girls grades 1-4 will really enjoy this fairy themed read. This book received a star review from both School Library Journal and Booklist, along with being Amazon's book of the month in February. This book is also one of Booklist's Top Ten Sci Fi/Fantasy Novels of 2010. Another must read for 2010!

Be sure to check out the author's site about the book and an interview with the author about the book on BookPage.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Book Review

eGrace, Cathy, and Elizabeth F. Shores. After the Crisis: Using Storybooks to Help Children Cope. Silver Spring, MD: Gryphon House, 2010.

This is a great resource book for anyone working with young children. I discovered this book while doing a bibliotherapy collection development assignment. This current title, gives adults book suggestions to use with children after such events as: earthquakes, epidemics/mass casualty events, fires/explosions, floods, hurricanes, shelter experiences, tornadoes/major storms, and volcanic eruptions. There is also a list of books suggested for promoting emotional resilience. Each book included has the following information: age ranges suggested and the experience appropriate for (tornado, flood, etc.). There is also a short description about the book's plot. There are discussion starters for the different age ranges, talking prompts and activity suggestions. The activities range from art projects to writing activities. This is a great resource for building a bibliotherapy collection, for choosing books to share with young children who have experienced a crisis situation, and for teachers to include in their curriculum.

Book Review: Incarceron

Fisher, Catherine. Incarceron. New York: Dial Books, 2010.

I am not usually a reader of young adult books or fantasy novels. I chose this book to read for several reasons. First, I noticed that it was getting a lot of starred reviews and one review even said " This may be the next Harry Potter." I also needed to read a current young adult novel for a young adult workshop I was taking. I am glad I chose this book! It was one of those books that I just had to finish and could not put down. This book was first published in England several years ago and has just made its way to America. The sequel, Sapphique, is already out there (I had to order this online, I was so hooked!).
The action starts from the beginning. Incarceron is a living prison in which no one enters or exits (or do they?). We meet Finn, a prisoner inside Incarceron, with a mysterious past. We also meet Claudia, the daughter of the warden of Incarceron. Their paths meet when they both find a crystal key. The action and excitement pick up at this point in the story. This is a must read of 2010 and I see some awards in the future for this book.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pop Up Exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

We got to see the Moveable Book Exhibit on display at the Smithsonian. Here are a few of the highlights.
Be sure to check out their blog: Fold, Pull, Pop and Turn

ALA Conference 2010

I was luck enough to attend this year's ALA Conference! We had a great time and met some wonderful authors and illustrators.

We had some time for a little sightseeing and we got to see the Library of Congress.

Here I am getting Jerry Pinkney's autograph! Winner of this year's Caldecott Medal

At the exhibits: The Cat in the Hat

At the exhibits: A cake made by Chef Duff and the Ace of Cakes crew!

Mo Willems and my arm! I got his autograph too!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We’re Making Breakfast for Mother: Picture Book Extensions

We're Making Breakfast for Mother. Neitzel, Shirley. Illustrated by Nancy Winslow Parker. Greenwillow Books, 1997.


A father and two children are making breakfast in bed for their mother. The cumulative text names all the items that they place on the breakfast tray (flowers, cereal, sugar, toast, tea, banana and milk). The repetitive phrases also include some rebus pictures to help tell the story. The children deliver the breakfast they have created with some mishaps. For example, the toast is burnt, the tea is cool, and several things have spilled. Mother is grateful for the breakfast and then suggests taking a walk so she can avoid seeing the mess in the kitchen. The last page shows the family eating breakfast at a diner.

The simple, colorful illustrations are made with watercolors and colored markers. They match the storyline well and help the reader understand what is happening on each page. The rebus pictures help the reader remember the order of the items on the breakfast tray. I think that preschool through young school age children would enjoy this story.


  • Drama
    • I would provide a collection of play food, dishes and trays. The children could use these items or the storytelling props to retell the story from the book. They could also use the play items to create their own tray of food that they would like to be served or to serve to someone else. They could also act out serving the food to each other. Older children could make a menu of what they will be serving.
  • Art
    • I would provide paper, crayons, markers, and colored pencils. The children could draw a picture of their favorite breakfast foods. They could then share these with the group by showing their picture and naming the foods that they drew. You could also provide plastic vases and artificial flowers for the children to create their own bouquets. The children could also draw pictures of these bouquets.
  • Math
    • You could provide each child with two or three different shaped cereals (circle, square, and flake). After a short discussion about patterns and doing some examples together, the children could make patterns with their pile of cereal. You could also make a graph showing each child's favorite kind of cereal or breakfast food.

Making a Castle Kit for Families

Thematic Kit: Castles and Knights

Age Level: Preschool-Young School Age

Materials List


  • DePaola, T. (1980). The knight and the dragon. New York: Putnam.
  • Geis, A. I. (2004). Neil's castle. New York: Viking.
  • Gravett, C. (1994). Castle. DK eyewitness books. New York: Knopf.
  • Gravett, C., & Dann, G. (2004). Knight. DK eyewitness books. New York: DK Pub.
  • Mayer, M. (2007). The bravest knight. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.
  • Mayhew, J. (2005). The knight who took all day. New York: Chicken House.
  • Wheeler, L., & Siegel, M. (2008). Boogie knights. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
  • Wright, R. (1992). Castles: Facts, things to make, activities. Craft topics. New York: F. Watts.

Music CD

  • Ronno, Munshaw, K., Repar, S. L., McCartney, C., Millar, J., & DeVolder, B. (2001). Castles, knights & unicorns Action songs for fantasy & fun. Long Branch, NJ: Kimbo Educational.

Realia Object

  • Fischer-Price Little People Castle Play Set
    • Castle with draw bridge
    • Catapult with ball
    • Knight
    • Dragon
    • Flag

Activity Ideas for Using this Kit

  • As you read the book, The Knight and the Dragon, you can tell the story on the pages where there are no words. After you read the story, you can draw a picture of other activities the dragon and the knight might do together. Have an adult help you write a sentence about what is happening in your picture.
  • After reading, Neil's Castle, you can find items in your home to build a castle from. You can also draw a picture of the castle you want to live in.
  • As you explore the eyewitness book, Castle, be sure to look at all the details in the photographs and drawings of the castles. After looking through the book, you can find items at your home to create a castle of your own. You may use paper, empty paper towel tubes, and whatever else you can find that would make a nice castle. Ask a parent for help in finding materials.
  • As you explore the Eyewitness book, Knight, be sure to notice all the pictures of the items that knights use and the clothing that they wear. You can draw a picture of yourself dressed as a knight. You could also design your own knight's shield out of paper and art supplies.
  • After reading, The Bravest Knight, you can use a blanket to dress up like the boy in the story. You can pretend to be a knight, see what things you can rescue from the dragon.
  • After reading, The Knight who took all day, you can retell the story using the pictures in the book. You can also draw a picture of what the Princess, the Squire and the Dragon are doing after the story ends.
  • After reading, Boogie Nights, you can retell the story in your own words. You can also practice the dances that the knights were doing in the story.
  • After exploring the book, Castles: Facts, things to make, activities, you can ask your parents which craft in the book you are able to make. Try making as many of the crafts as you can. After the crafts are made, you can play with them.
  • Listen to the music CD, Castles, Knights & Unicorns. Perform the motions to the songs. When listening to the "Castle Flags" song, use a scarf or ribbon and do the motions as directed by the song.

Play with the castle play set. See if the knight and the dragon are going to fight or if they will become friends.

Camping Family Program: Ages 2-6

Camp out at the library!

For Children Ages 2-6 and their families/caregivers

  • This program will take place in the storytime room in the Children's Department of the library.
  • The program will begin with some whole group activities. Next, the visitors and their families will be encouraged to complete the various camping activity centers provided. To finish the program, some camping refreshments will be served.
  • The objectives of the program are to:
    • Introduce children and their families to the camping experience.
    • Share some camping picture books around the "campfire".
    • Share some camping songs and rhymes together.
    • Complete some camping related art projects.
    • Complete some camping related learning stations.
    • Provide some dramatic play props to set up a "camping site" in the library.
    • Inform families of other ways to interact with nature.
  • We will advertise/promote the program by:
    • Including the event on our online calendar of events.
    • Including the event on our paper calendar of events available at the library reference desks.
    • Promoting the event at our other children's events, such as storytime.
    • Promoting the event to children at the reference and circulation desks.
    • Having flyers about the event available at the library as well as other locations where families visit (Laundromat, grocery stores, daycares, etc.).
    • Including the event in our weekly story in the local newspaper.
    • Promoting the event on the Children's Department Facebook page.
  • The children's librarians will be responsible for planning and implementing this program. We also will contact local park rangers, scout leaders, and staff from the city's park and recreation department. These people and agencies may provide the library with materials to distribute at the event. For example, the scout leaders may provide some information on signing up to be a scout or the park and recreation department may provide their calendar of events for families.
  • The approximate cost of the program, not including the librarian's time, totals approximately $75.00. This program will be partly funded by the library's budget for family programs. In addition, community members will be donating materials used in the program. The library's Friends group will be providing the materials for the camping refreshments served.
  • The special materials and equipment needed for this program are:
    • Two or three small pop up tents (to be borrowed from community members)
    • Sleeping bags and other real life camping supplies (to be borrowed from community members)
    • Camping toy props (backpack, binoculars, camp stove, camp pan, water bottle, flashlights, etc.) to be borrowed from the library's toy collection.
    • Small desk fan (owned by the librarian)
    • Empty toilet paper tubes (collected by the librarians)
  • The camping program will be approximately 1 hour in length.
  • The program will be evaluated by:
    • The number of participants who attend the event.
    • Whether the participants stay for the entire event or leave early due to lack of interest.
    • Whether the participants stay involved in the activities of the event or not.
    • At the end of the event, the participants will be asked if they would attend another camping night with different activities.
  • This is an annual camping at the library event that is held at the beginning of the summer months each year.

Description of the Program elements

  1. To set up: Have the materials for all the stations set up and prepared. Have the refreshments ready to be served and stored in the kitchen area of the library. Set out all the books that will be read around the "campfire". Have the rhymes and song lyrics posted on large paper at the front of the room. Have the camping song CDs ready to be played. Set up the "campsites". Put up the pop up tents and stock the "camping area" with the camping toys and manipulatives. Also include real items such as flashlights, sleeping bags and camp chairs. The campfire will be a small desk fan with orange and red crepe paper attached to it (when turned on the crepe paper will fly up in the air, looking like a fire).
  2. When the door to the storytime room is opened, the visitors should be instructed to gather around the "campfire". Welcome everyone to the program and give an overview of the agenda (group activities, stations and then refreshments).
  3. Begin with a discussion about going camping. See how many of the children have been camping before. Ask what types of things you do when you go camping (picnics, fishing, cooking, hikes, campfire) and ask what types of things you need to bring with you when you go camping (tent, sleeping bag, food, cooking supplies, firewood, chairs, binoculars, water bottles, flashlights, lanterns, etc.)
  4. Share the Curious George camping book played on CD.
  5. Play the song "Camping Tonight" from the Nature's ABC CD and act out the events of the song.
  6. Share some of the poems from the Toasting Marshmallows book. Be sure to share "Tent", "A Doe", "Campfire", and "Toasting Marshmallows". Share more if there is an interest.
  7. Share some of the picture books about camping included in the Resource list.
  8. Play the song "Nature's all around us" from the Nature's ABC CD. Perform the motions of the song.
  9. Describe the different activity stations that are available for the children and their families to complete. Encourage them to complete several of the stations. The centers are:
    1. Reading Station: Children look at the picture books from the Resource list with their family members.
    2. Dramatic Play Station: The children and their families can interact with the camping materials and props. They can pretend to cook a meal, roast marshmallows, and go to bed in a tent.
    3. Fishing station: Children use a magnetic fishing pole to catch fish with letters on them. They can name the letters and then place the fish back in the "pond".
    4. Art Station 1: Create a pair of binoculars using 2 empty toilet paper tubes connected together. Decorate your binoculars and use them to look for animals in the room. Attach a piece of yarn to hang the binoculars around your neck.
    5. Art Station 2: Create a campfire. Decorate 2 empty toilet paper tubes to look like firewood. Attach them together. Attach some red and orange paper to the logs to look like a campfire.
    6. Matching Color Tents Station: At this station, children will match the colored foam tents.
    7. Campfire Shape/Color Match Station: At this station, children will match the campfire shapes. For example, the campfires with a diamond on them would match.
  10. After giving the children and their families some time to explore the different stations, they will be gathered together to have some refreshments.
  11. The materials for the snack will be set up and each child can make their own snack with their family members, following the pictorial directions for the S'mores snack. See the attached recipe. Water and juice will also be served.
  12. Before leaving, parents will be directed to a table with information about other ways to get involved with nature (scouting information, parks and recreation handouts).

Resource List

Camping Toys

  • Let's go camping toy set: camp stove, camp pan, utensil kit, water bottle, cup, lantern, wrist compass, shovel and first aid kit
  • Young Explorer Backpack toy set: back pack, tool belt, binoculars, camp stove, utensil kit, water bottle and cup

Picture Book on CD

  • Rey, M., Rey, H. A., Sidmore, M., & Moss, M. (2007). Margret & H.A. Rey's Curious George goes camping. Boston, Mass: Houghton Mifflin.

Music CD

  • Haynes, S. (2004). Nature's ABCs. Albany, NY: A Gentle Wind.

Poetry Book

  • George, K. O., & Kiesler, K. (2001). Toasting marshmallows: Camping poems. New York: Clarion Books.

Picture Books to share around the "campfire"

  • Brown, M. K. (1995). Let's go camping with Mr. Sillypants. New York: Crown.
  • Cousins, L. (2004). Maisy goes camping. Cambridge, Mass: Candlewick Press.
  • Lakin, P., & Nash, S. (2009). Camping day. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.
  • Parr, T. (2004). Otto goes to camp. New York: Little, Brown.
  • Van Dusen, C. (2003). A camping spree with Mr. Magee. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

Planning Resources

  • Herr, J., & Libby-Larson, Y. (2000). Creative resources for the early childhood classroom. Albany, NY: Delmar.
  • Website: Make Learning fun-Camping ideas: http://www.makinglearningfun.com/index.html
    • Templates for the campfire matching station

Recipe card for the Smores snack

Every Child Ready to Read Storytime/Preschool: Spring theme


Welcome everyone to storytime and do introductions as appropriate.

To the adults: "Today we will be doing activities and reading stories about Spring. Many of today's stories will allow the children to practice the early literacy skill called, Narrative Skills. These skills are the ability to describe things and to talk about events and tell stories. These skills eventually help children to be able to understand what they read."

Opening Rhyme

Hands on…

Hands on head, hands on knees,

Hands behind you if you please.

Hands on tummy, hands on toes,

Hands on cheeks, hands on nose.

Hands wave high in the air,

Hands on shoulders, hands on hair

Clap your hands, one, two, three,

Now rest your hands on your knees.

Author unknown.

Repeat as appropriate.


Spring Is Here (Sung To: Are You Sleeping)
I see robins,
I see bird's nests,
Butterflies too,
flowers too.
Everything is growing,
The wind is gently blowing.
Spring is here, spring is here.

Author unknown

Have this song on a large poster at the front of the room. You could have pictures for robins, bird's nests, butterflies, flowers, and the wind blowing. Repeat several times and have children take turns retelling the song using the pictures to assist them.

To the adults: "Having your child retell a story or rhyme using the picture aids is a great way for them to develop their narrative skills."

Picture Book Sharing

Thompson, L., & Erdogan, B. (2005). Mouse's first spring. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Have the children tell you something they remember that happened in the book.

To the adults: "Children enjoy talking about what they have read. It is a good way to engage them in a conversation and it helps them remember what happened in the story-Narrative skills."


Planting Flowers (Sung to: Ferez Jacques)
Planting flowers, Planting flowers,
In the ground, In the ground,
Water them and they grow,
Water them and they grow,
All around, All around.

Author unknown.

Repeat as appropriate.

Movement Activity

April Rain
Dance little raindrop (wiggle fingers)
Tap with tiny feet (tap feet)
The seeds will awaken (pretend to sleep and awake)
When they hear our beat (cup hand over ear)
Grow little seeds (make growing motion)
And see the cloudy sky (point to sky)

Author unknown.

Repeat as appropriate. You can also have the words printed on a poster at the front of the room.

Picture Book Sharing

Carle, E. (1987). The tiny seed. Natick, MA: Picture Book Studio.

Use flannel board pieces to help tell and retell the story.

Music Sharing

Roberts, R., & Katz, B. (1998). Spring songs that tickle your funny bone. Port Chester, N.Y.: Michael Brent Publications.

Play the titles: "Spring is" and Every Spring I'm a little bigger" Encourage the children to sing and dance along to the music.

Picture Book Sharing

Cole, H. (1995). Jack's garden. New York: Greenwillow Books.

This story should be told as a clothesline story. Use the clothesline pieces to help read the cumulative portions of the book. After reading through the story once and placing the clothesline pieces, have the children help retell the story using these props.

To the adults: "Cumulative stories like this one lend themselves to retelling with props. These props help the children to remember the order of the story-Narrative skills."

Picture Book Sharing

Ehlert, L. (1988). Planting a rainbow. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Have the children guess the letter that will be on the next page.

If time allows, you can share the video of this picture book.

Mironiuk, E., Tercek, K., Verhoest, P. J., & Ehlert, L. (2005). Planting a rainbow. Norwalk, CT: Weston Woods Studios/Scholastic.

Closing Song

Where is Thumpkin? (Sung to Frere Jacques)

--- Start with holding your hands behind your back; with thumbs out,

Where is thumbkin?
Where is thumbkin?

Here I am (bring out one thumb)
Here I am (bring out the other thumb)

How are you this morning? (make thumb talk to the other thumb when singing that line)
Very well; I thank you (and vice versus with this thumb)

Run A-way (put one thumb back behind your back)
Run A-way (put the other thumb back behind your back)

Repeat with the other fingers-pointer, tall man, ring man, pinky and end with all the men.

Optional Extension Ideas


This site has several different flower craft ideas with detailed directions. I like the coffee filter flowers or the handprint tulips.

Children could also decorate a pre printed picture of a birdhouse.

Children could color pictures of various types of flowers.

Children could even plant their own seeds to take home with them.

Kindergarten Storytime: Apples Theme


Welcome everyone to storytime and do introductions as appropriate.

Opening Song

The Hello Song

Hello, hello, hello, hello
I'm glad you're here today.
It's nice to meet you, a pleasure to greet you
I'm glad you came my way.

Hello, hello, hello, hello
So happy you've come my way
We'll share a song and sing along
Let music brighten your day.

Hello, hello, hello, hello
Delighted you're here today.
Clap to the beat or dance with your feet
In a special musical way.

Hello, hello, hello, hello
I'm glad you're here today.
It's nice to meet you, a pleasure to greet you
I'm glad you came my way.


The Little Red House

What is round

and red

has no windows

has no door

a chimney on top

and a star inside?

An apple.

Use this rhyme to introduce today's topic. You could also put the rhyme up on chart paper or sentence strips with picture clues.

Picture Book Sharing

Hall, Z., & Halpern, S. (1996). The apple pie tree. New York: Scholastic.

Graphing Activity

Ask children which color of apple they like the best (red, green, or yellow). Let them choose the matching color paper apple onto a large graph.

Felt Board Story

Five Red Apples

Five red apples hanging in a tree
The juiciest apples you ever did see.
The wind came by and gave an angry frown
And one little apple came tumbling down

Four red apples hanging in a tree
The juiciest apples you ever did see.
The wind came by and gave an angry frown
And one little apple came tumbling down

Three red apples hanging in a tree
The juiciest apples you ever did see.
The wind came by and gave an angry frown
And one little apple came tumbling down

Two red apples hanging in a tree
The juiciest apples you ever did see.
The wind came by and gave an angry frown
And one little apple came tumbling down

One red apples hanging in a tree
The juiciest apples you ever did see.
The wind came by and gave an angry frown
And one little apple came tumbling down

From: http://www.preschoolprintables.com/felt/apples/feltapplec.shtml

There are also printable pictures to use as felt pieces available on the website.

Nonfiction Book Sharing

Gibbons, G. (2000). Apples. New York: Holiday House.

Movement Poem

Ten Red Apples

Ten red apples growing on a tree,
(Hold hands up high.)

Five for you and five for me.
(Shake one hand, then the other.)

Help me shake the tree just so,
(Shake whole body.)

And ten red apples down below,
(Lower hands while flitting fingers.)

One, two, three, four, five,
(Count fingers on one hand.)

Six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
(Count fingers on opposite hand.)

**Author Unknown


Have You Ever Seen An Apple?
(tune: Have You Ever Seen a Lassie?)

Have you ever seen an apple,
an apple, an apple.
Have you ever seen an apple,
that grows on a tree?
A red one, a yellow one,
a green one, a golden one.
Have you ever seen an apple,
that grows on a tree?

Picture Book Sharing

LeSieg, T., & McKie, R. (1961). Ten apples up on top! [New York]: Beginner Books.

Picture Book Sharing

Hutchins, P. (2000). Ten red apples. New York: Greenwillow Books.


I'm a Little Apple

Sing to the tune: I'm a Little Teapot
I'm a little apple, short and round,
I make a munchy, crunchy sound,
If you bite into me you will see -
I'm delicious as can be!

**Author unknown

Have children perform the motions of the song.

Closing Song

Alice the camel

Alice the camel has five humps.
Alice the camel has five humps.
Alice the camel has five humps.
So go, Alice, go.
Alice the camel has four humps.
Alice the camel has four humps.
Alice the camel has four humps.
So go, Alice, go.
Alice the camel has three humps.
Alice the camel has three humps.
Alice the camel has three humps.
So go, Alice, go.
Alice the camel has two humps.
Alice the camel has two humps.
Alice the camel has two humps.
So go, Alice, go.
Alice the camel has one hump.
Alice the camel has one hump.
Alice the camel has one hump.
So go, Alice, go.
Alice the camel has no humps.
Alice the camel has no humps.
Alice the camel has no humps.
Now Alice is a horse

Optional Art/Snacks

Snacks: Children could sample a variety of apple types, applesauce, and other various apple products.

Art: Children could paint with apples (using the apple as a stamp). They could also create a construction paper tree by cutting out the trunk and leaves, then ripping red pieces of paper to be the apples.

Preschool Storytime: Penguin Theme


Welcome everyone to storytime and thank them for attending.

Opening Song

Welcome Train
Children sit on the floor. All sing the beginning of the song while seated. Then when the welcome to (child's name) verse is sung, each child in turn gets up and joins a line (making the train.)

The welcome train is coming

Get on board! Choo- Choo
The welcome train is coming
Get on board! Choo-Choo

Welcome to (child's name)
Get on board! Choo-choo

Continue naming each child in your group with the same 2 lines over and over again until you have included each child's name.... When every child is standing in line, sing the 1st verse again at least 3 times while moving around the floor in a circle. Stop when everyone is back at their starting seat, and say Stop! Sit Down!

Motions: bend arms at elbows and slide arms backwards and forwards to make the train motion. When you say Choo-choo, Raise one hand in the air to pull the cord on the invisible whistle!
Note: a train whistle could be a fun way to call the
group together and get started.

From: http://www.atozkidsstuff.com/welcome.html

Introduce Puppet Penguin

Introduce the group to Mr. Penguin (puppet). He can help you read today's stories, sing the songs, etc.

Picture Book Reading

Pfister, M. (1987). Penguin Pete. Faellanden, Switzerland: North-South Books.

Action Rhyme

I'm a Little Penguin
Tune: "I'm A Little Teapot"

I'm a little penquin short and stout.
I flap my wings and waddle about.
I wear a coat that's black as night.
But my tummy is soft and white.

I'm a little penquin black and white.
I like to waddle across the ice.
When I reach the water, I dive right in.
I hunt for fish, as I swim, swim, swim.
by Jean Warren

Children make the motions of the penguin. Repeat as children are interested.

Song with Participation

Penguin Colors
Tune: "Mary Had A Little Lamb"

The penguin has a coat of black,
Coat of black, coat of black.
The penguin has a coat of black,
Watch her waddle up and back.

The penguin has a body of white,
Body of white, body of white.
The penguin has a body of white.,
Watch her waddle out of sight.
Jean Warren
Have one child put on a white shirt and a black coat, then act out the song as the others sing. Repeat as appropriate, allowing other children to have a turn being the penguin.

Non-fiction Book Sharing

Gibbons, G. (1998). Penguins! New York: Holiday House.

Use the puppet penguin to point out the descriptions in the book.

Rhyme with Puppet

The Penguin
by Roxanne Williams
I am a bird you know quite well,
All dressed in black and white.
And even though I do have wings
They're not designed for flight.
I waddle, waddle, waddle,
On my funny little feet.
Across the icy snow I go
To find a fishy treat!

Movement Activity

Penguin Shuffle

Penguins shuffle shuffle to the
Left left left
Penguins shuffle shuffle shuffle to the
Right right right
Give a little wiggle
Give a little hop
Waddle round the iceberg
Never want to stop!

From: http://web.archive.org/web/20070809043826/http://www.mrspohlmeyerskinderpage.com/

Children perform the action described.

Picture Book Sharing

Wood, A. (1989). Little Penguin's tale. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Picture Book Sharing

Lester, H., & Munsinger, L. (1988). Tacky the penguin. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.


I know a bird That cannot fly: Penguin is its name.
It cannot fly, But it can swim
With speed that wins it fame!
I know a bird That lives on ice
And waddles by the sea.
It looks so cute
In its black and white suit,
As handsome as can be!

by Meish Goldish

Closing Song


Skinnamarink y dinky dink
Skinnamarink y doo
I love you!
Skinnamarink y dinky dink
Skinnamarink y doo
I love you!
I love you in the morning
And in the afternoon
I love you in the evenin'
And underneath the moon!
Skinnamarink y dinky dink
Skinnamarink y doo
I love you! I love your singin'!
I love you.,. Are terrific…
I love you! We'll see you next time!
I—love-- you!
Two, Boop-boop, bee-doo!

Optional Art Activities

Paper Penguin

Provide pre-cut pieces of a penguin (black body, white body, black arms, orange beak, etc.) and have children assemble a penguin and glue it to a piece of paper.

Painting a penguin

Provide black, white and orange paint along with paper. Children can paint a picture of a penguin.

Other options:

There are many penguin craft ideas on the following websites: