Friday, January 31, 2014

A Good Read: Flora & Ulysses-The Illuminated Adventures

Flora & Ulysses is this year's Newbery Award winning book. Written by author Kate DiCamillo, it's part chapter book and part graphic novel. Flora is a girl whose favorite book is Terrible Things Can Happen To You and she believes it! She saves a squirrel from death by a runaway vacuum cleaner and names him Ulysses when the tiny creature shows remarkable strength and amazing super powers after being revived.

Ulysses can type! He can fly! And he's a writer! But Flora's mother doesn't like her daughter having a rodent for a friend, and she wants Flora's dad to get rid of him. There are sad and funny moments in this book.

There are sixty-eight chapters in this book! Don't worry, though - you can read it very quickly! This is a good book for ages 10 and up.

One More Award!

We have a brand new book that just arrived the week before the awards were announced - and it won the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children! It's called Parrots Over Puerto Rico, written by Susan Roth and Cindy Trumbore. The book's cover is beautiful! Just look at those parrots!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

In the Night

The settings for all our Storytime books this week was nighttime. We started with Polar Bear Night by Lauren Thompson, about an Arctic cub exploring under the stars and the Northern Lights. Then we read the funny, Mouse at Night by Nancy Christensen Hall, about a house mouse watching TV, cooking, and cleaning while the homeowner sleeps. Finally we read The House In The Night, written by Susan Swanson and illustrated by NH illustrator Beth Krommes, who won the Caldecott Award in 2009 for the beautiful illustrations. 

On a black piece of paper, we constructed our own paper houses, adding windows, doors, chimneys and other details. Then we decorated the scene with stick-on foil stars to make it look like night. There's lots of good fine motor practice in peeling off all those tiny stars! Aren't our houses lovely?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Mitten

This week, NHCS StoryCrafters listened to Jan Brett's classic tale, The Mitten. This is another version of the Ukranian folktale read at Storytime a few weeks back. In this version, the child Nikki loses one of his new white mittens in the snow, and animals seek shelter in it. Guess which animal makes the mitten finally burst at the seams!

After a quick discussion about symmetry, students cut out and decorated oversized paper mittens, embellishing them with ribbons, yarns, and foam pieces. Can you see the symmetrical patterns in this pair?

Monday, January 27, 2014

2014 Winners!

National book awards were announced today!! I love this day! Every January, the American Library Association names the best children's and young adult books of the year and bookstores immediately sell out of those titles. That's how well-known the awards are! Fortunately for you, our library already has many of the books that won awards today - and you won't have to buy them to read them!

As you read about each award-winning book, click on the book's title for book trailers or reviews.

The Newbery Award is given to the best children's book published the year before and usually goes to a "chapter book". This years award winner is Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, written by Kate DiCamillo (who also wrote Because of Winn Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, and The Marvelous Adventures of Edward Tulane - you know who she is, right?) What an unusual book this is - part chapter book, part graphic novel! You can find Flora and Ulysses in the juvenile section of the Children's Room!

Runners-up for the Newbery Award are called Newbery Honor books. This year, four books were named Honor books and our library has two of them: Doll Bones written by Holly Black and Paperboy by Vince Vawter. They are also in the juvenile section of the library. 

The Prinz Award is for literature for Young Adults. We have this year's winner - Midwinterblood, by Marcus Sedgwick, as well as two of the Honor books: Eleanor & Park, a love story written by Rainbow Rowell, and Navigating Early written by Clare Vanderpool, who won the Newbery Award a few years ago. These books are in the Young Adult section of the library.

Finally, my favorite award is the Caldecott Medal - given for illustrations in a children's book! This year's winning book has been standing up on top of a shelf in the Children's Room for months! It's called Locomotive, illustrated by Brian Floca. Two Caldecott Honor books are also in the picture book section of the library: Journey written and beautifully illustrated by Aaron Becker and Mr. Wuffles! written and illustrated by David Wiesner, who already has three Caldecott Medals!  

So grab your card and get a ride to the Gordon-Nash, where we have great taste in books!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

"Take Your Child To The Library Day"

In honor of this nationwide event, we will be having a special Saturday morning Story Time and craft from 11-12. Join us for this celebration of your local library and its services for children!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


(Sung to: "I'm a Little Teapot")
I'm a little penguin, on the ice.
I think the cold is very nice.
I can hop around first once, then twice.
I think cold is very nice.

Don't you wonder if penguins might be the only creatures enjoying this cold weather? Fortunately, it was warm inside at the library today as we read stories about penguins and made a penguin craft! We read Playful little penguins by Tony Mitton, a story based on real penguin activities, Penguin says "Please" by Michael Dahl, a lovely little book from a series about manners, and Turtle's penguin day by Valeri Gorbachev, a funny story about a turtle who, after dreaming about penguins, decides to dress and act like a one for the day!

Our craft involved assembling pre-cut pieces to make a penguin and adding googly eyes! Then we daubed silver glitter paint all over. When it dried, it looked just like glittery Antarctic snow!
Did you know penguins huddle together to help stay warm? Try it! Get and give lots of hugs these cold winter days!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Craft Request: More Snowflakes!

We learned so much about snowflakes last week and had such fun making those Q-Tip ones that NHCS StoryCrafters wanted to make more! So, after reading the beautifully illustrated book, No Two Alike by Keith Baker (which is not just about snowflakes!), we puzzled over an ironed coffee filter trying to decide how to cut the most authentic flake.

We remembered snowflakes are six-sided and had to figure out how to fold the filter to make six equal sections. Once folded, we each made
one cut, then we held our breath as we unfolded the filter. Stunning! We soon realized that, to make a snowflake as lacy-looking as possible, we had to cut deep into the folded shape without cutting through the folded sides. One crafty crafter discovered she could cut a half shape that, when opened, would reveal the entire shape!

This craft was so much fun that a special NHCS adult even joined in! Children made several beautiful snowflakes each and everyone took home extra coffee filters to show what they know and to make more!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jackets & Mittens

These are the books we read for today's well-attended Storytime. The Jacket I Wear In The Snow by Shirley Neitzel is a book with a patterned story and rebus-type illustrations. Small listeners quickly recognized the patterns and were adding the upcoming details as I read. The Mitten, retold by Jim Aylesworth, is based on the Ukranian folk tale of a child who loses a mitten in the snow and the animals who come along to occupy it. Finally, In the Snow: Who's Been Here by Lindsay Barrett George tells of a brother and a sister walking in the snowy woods and finding evidence of the creatures who live there.

At craft time, children decorated an oversized paper mitten with crayons, stickers, and paint-daubers, then attached it to a flattened paper bag. Each child had copies of the five animals in The Mitten, which they could color (or not!), then use to slide into the mitten-bag to recreate or retell the story!

Finally, our song. We love this mitten weather!
Put On Your Mittens 
(sung to "Up on the Housetop")
Put on your mittens, it's cold I fear, (pretend to put on mittens)
Now that winter snow is here. (hug self and shiver)
Play in the yard and when you're done, (pretend to make snowballs & stomp around)
Pull off your mittens, one by one. (pretend to take off mittens)
It's fun to play - in the snow! (pretend to toss armfuls of snow)
It's fun to play - in the snow! (pretend to toss armfuls of snow)
Play in the yard and when you're done, (pretend to make snowballs & stomp around)
Pull off your mittens, one by one. (pretend to take off mittens)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


StoryCrafters this week heard the story of The Snow Child, retold by Freya Littledale. It's based on an old Russian folk tale about a girl made of snow who is wished to life by her elderly creators. There are many versions of this captivating, magical story! Have you heard one?

After we read our snowy story, we used the iPad to examine some real photographs of snowflakes to see what some of their characteristics are. We noticed six points on each, and symmetrical, even spaces around a center point. Then we set about making our own snowflakes from whole and cut QTips. It was a little tricky - but fun!

Young Adults at Newfound

Today it was my pleasure to visit Newfound Regional High School to speak with students about the NH Flume Award. This award is given each Spring by the NH state library association to a recently-published Young Adult book. Both nominations of titles and the votes themselves come from NH high-schoolers.

I brought with me handouts, lists, and a QR code associated with the 2014 Flume Award. In the Spring, students in grades 9-12 will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite books from the list of nominees. But my real purpose in visiting was to gather nominees for consideration for the 2015 award.

Students I spoke with were enthusiastic, polite, and well-versed in current Young Adult literature. It was evident they read a lot! Approximately two dozen titles were submitted to the state for award consideration by the students at NRHS.

Thank you to Kerrie Zick, the NRHS's Library Media Center Director, for arranging my visit and to the students at NRHS for giving your time to talk with me. I'm looking forward to going back to NRHS again!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Name the Snowmen

So many wonderful picture books have been written about the season of winter and the fun kids can have in the snow. Skiing, skating, sliding, snowball fights - and who doesn't love to build a snowman? 

Each of the snowmen below appears in a well-known children's book or series set in wintertime. Can you name the title of each book (or the series)? Leave your answer in the comment section. First person to correctly identify and post the names of all three wins a gift certificate for a cup of hot cocoa with whipped cream!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Let It Snow!

Snow and cold did not stop us from reading about winter at this week's story hour! We read Snow Happy by Patricia Hubbell, about children having fun in the snow (and having hot cocoa afterwards!). We also "read" First Snow, a wordless picture book by Emily Arnold McCully and the funny book Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner. 
At craft time, a large paper plate made a snowman's body and a small one was his head. Then children embellished their snowmen with "carrot" noses, sticker eyes, and alike-and-different patterned hats, scarves, and buttons.

Very cute!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bob the Snowman

This is an older book, but it's a favorite. Bob the Snowman by Sylvia Loretan tells the story of a snowman who leaves the north to find warmth in the south. It's also the story of evaporation, condensation, and the water cycle. NHCS Storycrafters were quick to spot and identify this important scientific principle!

Flattened coffee filters formed the base for individual, creative snowmen like these! No two alike!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Hooray! It’s New Year’s Day!
by Kenn Nesbitt

Hooray! Hooray! It's New Year's Day!
The day we start anew.
So this year I've decided
to become a kangaroo.

Or maybe I will learn to fly,
or how to walk through walls,
or how to turn invisible,
or surf on waterfalls.

I'll make myself elastic
and I'll teach myself to shrink.
I'll turn into a liquid
and I'll pour me down the sink.

I'll visit other planets
and meet aliens galore.
I'll travel to the distant past
and ride a dinosaur.

I've got so many wondrous plans.
I'm starting right away.
Yes, this will be the best year yet.
Hooray! It's New Year's Day!

(from his website at