May 30, 2010

Trackers by Patrick Carman

"In the 21st century of bits and bytes everyone leaves a digital footprint-even the most advanced cyber-criminal. That's where the trackers come in. Four tech-savy kids armed with high-tech video cameras and incredible coding skills, the trackers can find almost anyone, anywhere. As the four dig deeper into the shadowy world of online crime, they soon learn that things are not always as they seem"

A fast paced, action packed read with a great combination of reading and interactive online activities, Trackers is an especially great choice for any reluctant reader.

May 24, 2010

48 Hour Book Challenge

The 48 Hour Book Challenge is a dedicated weekend to blogging and reading!!!! It's hosted by Mother Reader and invites other bloggers to read, review, and network for 48 hours. I'm compiling my to-read list, and clearing my calendar for that weekend (June 4th-6th 2010). Be sure to check back for reviews and updates!!

May 22, 2010

Unbound Podcast from Harper Collins

I have a love and appreciation for picture books. Especially by one of my favourite author/illustrators Oliver Jeffers. Check out the link to see a podcast highlighting 3 wonderful picture books from Harper Collins-including Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers.

May 16, 2010

Anchor Text

I'm not sure where the term "anchor text" came from. I know that in computer terms it means optimizing your search engine rankings.

However, in terms of story time planning, it's become part of my daily vocabulary. An "anchor text" is the main book that you base your story time around. I've been trying to break away from the "theme" template. The idea that you pick a theme i.e. dogs and then find books/songs/activities that fit that theme. It has been and continues to be a challenge to abandon the comfort and ease of planning the traditional way with a template.

I have found that when I choose a book first, one that I love, that I feel the children will enjoy and then base the story time around it, the results are a program that is language/literacy rich, with wonderful complimentary activities that build on the ideas in the books. The added books and activities become an extension of the story instead of time fillers. Once my website it completed and up and running I hope to provide ideas on how to do this.

In the meantime the word/term of the day is "anchor text"

May 11, 2010

Evermore by Alyson Noel

Working in a library means that I have an impossibly long "to-read" list made up of new and older titles. I keep track of every book I'd really like to read on Every time I visit that site I look at the impossibly long list and feel like I'll never get to it. So when I squeeze in the time to cross an item off, it feels AMAZING! Even more amazing when the book is fabulous!
I really enjoyed Evermore by Alyson Noel. Every time I put it down it called me back to pick it up.

"Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people's thoughts, and know a person's life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school-but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste"
I thought the description of Ever's feelings and internal struggle were very authentic and I loved and rooted for her as the main character. Definitely worth reading. Now I've had to add the second book "Blue Moon" to the impossibly long list.....sigh.

May 6, 2010

Companion books

Reading Buddies is one of my library programs that offers children in grades 1-4 the opportunity to practice reading with a volunteer. We play games, do literacy activities and I also begin each week by reading a book out loud to the group. In an early post I mentioned using the book titled "The Incredible Book Eating Boy" by Oliver Jeffers. I loved it so much, that I used an "unusual" food theme for the rest of the 6 week session. It was really well received by the kids and volunteers.

Review Policy

I am passionate about children's literature and an avid reader. I feel that it's an important part of my job to keep current and have the ability to recommend books (that I have actually read) to the teachers, classes, parents and the children I see.
I always make an effort to read any book that is sent to me, but because there are only so many hours in the day that isn't always possible.

I accept middle grade and YA fiction ( I love sci-fi/ fantasy and Historical)
I don't review or accept non-fiction titles, self-published materials, e-books or graphic novels

Reviews will be posted on my blog or website and include a synopsis and my thoughts on the book

I'm also happy to do guest posts, interviews and contests/giveaways on my blog or the website

If you have any questions, are interested in sending me a title or would just like to recommend a title please contact me. JW

May 5, 2010

Jump! by Scott Fischer

"Well, I'm a bug, I'm a bug, I'm a snug little bug, and I'm sleeping on a jug, until I see a frog and I........"

One of my new favourites for story time. The text is short but it's wonderful rhythm makes it a joy to read out loud. The repetition, rhyming words, and brightly coloured illustrations will able to all ages. Lots of opportunity for participation during story time.

May 2, 2010

Reading Buddies

"Like many children, Henry loves books. But Henry doesn't like to read books, he likes to eat them. Big books, picture books, reference books . . . if it has pages, Henry chews them up and swallows (but red ones are his favorite). And the more he eats, the smarter he gets he's on his way to being the smartest boy in the world"

I'm in the middle of planning my spring Reading Buddies session. Reading Buddies is a program where children in grades 1-4 are given the opportunity to practice reading with a volunteer as well as do literacy games and activities together in a group. It's one of my favourite programs as it's such a wonderful gift to watch the children's progress.

I plan to use The Incredible Book Eating Boy as the anchor text for this session. I love the idea of Henry swallowing words to become smarter.

Using this idea, we're going to track any new words we learn this session by "feeding" them to a cardboard cutout of Henry, and then review them the last week. I'm really jazzed about this idea and hope the children will be as excited about it as I am.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Program -part one

I am a big fan of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. (so is my nine year old) And judging by the hold list in our library system -many, many others like them too.

I thought it might be fun to have a Diary of a Wimpy Kid program. It was this past Saturday and was for ages 8-12.

It was a fabulous turnout and we had a blast. I'll be posting the program outline shortly.

Book Recommendation

I recently read and enjoyed Escape from Memory by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It isn't a new book, it was published in 2003. It was recommended to me by a library patron. A ten year old girl who said it was her most favourite book. That's high praise!

Although it didn't become my favourite book, I did really like it. The story revolves around Kira, a teen living in Ohio, who becomes surrounded by mystery after being hypnotized at a slumber party. She ends up revealing unknown memories and begins speaking in an unusual language. She's no longer sure of who she is or who to trust. Fast paced and plot driven, we follow Kira as she uncovers the truth. Ages 9 and up.

The Purpose

Planning and implementing story times for a variety of age groups can be daunting. And as a programmer I often found resources lacking, and redundant. I wanted to create programs that were fresh, literacy based and helped the children make connections to others and the world around them.

The purpose of this blog, at least the planned purpose is to share some library programming ideas. Some things that have worked well for me and maybe some things that haven't. Everything from songs and games to reviewing children's books. Please note that the opinions expressed in the blog are my own:)

Word of the Day


I attended an amazing workshop with Debbie Carroll a couple of years ago. I learned a few wonderful songs that I have incorporated into my programs on a daily basis. I also learned about this word "Onomatopoeia"

It's meaning-"The formation or use of words such as buzz or murmur that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to"

Translation : it's the word we use to express a sound. Like ACHOO! or Meow, Ruff, Quack, Vroom!

Think about how often this happens in stories, even in our daily lives as we ask our young children what sound does a cow make?

Who knew there was a word for it?

Wiggle Giggle Train

I love everything about the Wiggle Giggle Tickle Train by Sharon Jennings and Nora Hilb. The short rhyming texts are a wonderful compliment to the contrast between the photographs and illustrated drawings which highlight the wonders of a child's imagination. I used this story in my ones, two's and preschool program and it worked well in all three.