Blanca & Roja

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Maria McLemore is a magical-realism novel targeted toward young adults.

In the del Cisne family, every generation births two girls–one of which is destined to become a swan. Blanca, sweet and graceful, and Roja, feisty and wild, are as close as two sisters can be but they’ve also grown up as rivals. Together, they have kept the swans at bay longer than an of the del Cisne’s before them. But the swans will not wait forever and the game is about to begin.

When two boys, with troubles of their own, are drawn into the game, the rules change and the stakes are higher than ever. With four fates on the line, instead of two, will Blanca and Roja finally give in to their fate or will the fight a battle that no del Cisne has ever won before?

McLemore’s writing has always been magical and yet believable; this is why her body of work is such a great example of magical-realism. You see the magic, you feel it, and yet the world is still grounded in fiction, in reality. The genre makes the ordinary, extraordinary, which is why I love it so much.

This wasn’t my favorite book my McLemore but I liked it better than some of her others. A lot of what McLemore writes has the same themes and many of the characters have the same problems and personalities, with a few changes here. Sometimes it feels like only the “magical” element changes from book to book. So if you are looking for the familiar, then McLemore’s books are for you.

There’s a familiar fairy-tale aspect to this book. A combination of Snow White, Rose Red, Swan Lake and the Ugly Duckling. But there is also more to this book. We look at different stereotypes and the assumptions people make. Ultimately, this book is about finding the truth–the truth about oneself and understanding, accepting, other peoples the truths.

This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Advertisements

Baby Storytime: 12/3/18

Hi guys! Happy December! Here is what we did for this weeks baby storytime:

  • Movement Rhyme – Wake Up…
    • This is a fun stretch to get our bodies moving before storytime. And it is great for babies because it helps us identify our body parts. I got the lyrics from Jbrary but I’ve seen this one around before.

Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake up feet and wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake up and wiggle in the morning.

(Also: hands, ears, knees, fingers, hips, etc.)

  • ASL – The More We Get Together
    • We first teach the kids the signs for: More, Together, Happy & Friends. Then incorporate the signs as we sing the song. Check out Signing Savvy or Baby Sign Language to learn these signs.
  • Song – If You’re Happy and You Know It by Six Little Ducks
    • I tend to use this one more toward the end of my storytimes but we can be happy anytime right?
  • Board Book – Quiet, Loud by Leslie Patricelli
    • I really like this one because I can be loud and whisper. Passing out these board books also promotes one-on-one reading. 
  • Rhyme – The Itsy Bitsy Spider
    • I love watching the little ones try to do this classic rhyme. If you do it often enough you can really see how they progress week to week.
  • Flannel – Five Elephants in a Bathtub
    • I’ve done this one before and it is just a silly flannel to do about elephants in a bathtub.
  • Song/Scarves – Flitter Flutter by Johnette Downing
    • I tend to overlook the scarves but they are great for baby and this is a song where we get to pretend to be butterflies and birds.
  • Stretch – This is big, big, big…

This is big big big Hold (arms out to side)
This is small small small (cup hands together)
This is short short short (hold hands with palms facing each other)
This is tall tall tall (reach one hand above head)
This is fast fast fast (circle fists quickly)
This is slow slow slow (circle fists slowly)
This is yes yes yes (nod)
This is no no no (shake head)

  • Book – The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin
    • This is just a really lovely book. Read it, you’ll love it.
  • Lift/Bounce – Giddy-Up, Giddy-Up 51gEY86ijML._SX474_BO1,204,203,200_

Giddy-up, giddy up ride to town (bounce babies on knees)
Giddy-up, giddy-up up and down (lift baby up and down)
Giddy-up fast (bounce quickly)
Giddy up slow (bounce slowly)
Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up, whoa! (dip baby backwards gently)

  • Song/Shakers – Can’t Stop the Feeling by The Trolls Soundtrack
    • I’m still not over this song. 
  • Song/Bubbles – Splish Splash by Mr. Ai
    • Who doesn’t love a good song and some bubbles!
  • ASL – The More We Get Together
    • I like to end with the same sign language song we used in the beginning.
  • Song – Clean It Up
    • Any good clean up song will work.
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell by Music Together
    • I will always put this one on in the background as everyone leaves because I just love it!

How’d it go:

This one went great! We were right on time and it was a nice medium sized group. 

That’s all for now!

-M-

Dry

Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman is a YA fictional novel about what would happen is California literally ran out of water.

All the signs were there–rising prices, restrictions like being unable to water the lawn, take long showers or even throw water balloons–and yet no one could believe it when the State of California’s water ran dry. The “Tap-Out” wasn’t like other natural disasters, which get lots of new and media coverage, this was a slow, quiet beast that no one was prepared to handle.

When Alyssa and her family first noticed that their pipes had run dry, they did what most families did, they planned on stocking up and riding it out. Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street turns into a warzone. Neighbor against neighbor. Friends against friends. No one is safe when on the hunt for water.

As the situation escalates and help is no where in sight, Alyssa must make impossible choices to save herself and her brother before they too, turn into water zombies or worse.

This was such a crazy read. It was baffling for me to think that an entire state could run out of water and no one really knew about it. Were the politicians that successful in hiding the issue that things could get this bad. That being said, I loved how we glimpsed the one reporter who made the connection that no one would take the tap-out seriously until the bodies started adding up and because the destruction isn’t immediate and in your face, it isn’t “hot” news. It’s scary to think of how true this is.

The narration was a little weird for me at times but not necessarily in a bad way. Although this was Alyssa and her groups story, we did get side narratives that were connected in the grand scheme of things. Some of them were dark and awful and some of them were never resolved. But, I think this was purposely done to show how bad things could get and the narrative that weren’t finished, weren’t finished for a reason.

Again, what a crazy read when you really think about it. I bet a lot of people are going to buy an extra case of water when they finish this one. This book gets a high 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Fuzzy

Fuzzy by Tom Angleberger and Paul Dellinger is a juvenile fiction book for 4-6th graders.

When Max—Maxine Zealster—befriends her schools newest student, a robot named Fuzzy, she totally did not know what she was getting herself into. Max has been recruited to help Vanguard One Middle School’s new Robot Integration Program, by showing Fuzzy the ropes. Together they navigate hallways, eat lunch, attend class and all the usual middle school activities… including getting in trouble.

Little do Fuzzy and Max know but BARBARA, the school’s digital student evaluation system, has it out for them. The more Fuzzy learns, the more “human” he becomes and as he and Max become friends, Fuzzy realizes he has a more important mission then the robot integration program… Help Max.

Will Fuzzy and Max make it through sixth grade intact?

I really enjoyed this one. So much so, that I chose it as my November book for my 4th-6th grade STEM book club. This one was meant to be a little easier than our book last month. It was a quick read and I think one that you could pull morals and themes out of with it still being a lot of fun.

I think the kids will enjoy the futuristic aspects of the book and deciding just how much technology is a good/bad thing. Overall, this was a fun one that works perfectly with my STEM theme.

For this STEM club we have 10 discussion questions and then we are going to create our own paper circuits. We’ll see how it goes!

Discussion Questions:

1. What is this book about? What are the main themes?

2. Fuzzy uses “fuzzy logic,” what is fuzzy logic and why does this make Fuzzy a good robot?

3. Fuzzy begins to act more and more “human” each day. What are two examples of Fuzzy’s humanity?

4. Fuzzy takes place in a technologically advanced future. Computers and robots are used for everything. Are there pros and cons to this?

5. If you could pick one “thing” for a robot to do for you what would it be and why?

6. What would you do if your school assigned dTags and required Constant Upgrading like Max’s school? How would this hurt and/or help your education?

7. Page 173 – <Max> I can’t believe I’m saying this, but… Let’s cheat! – What do you think of Max’s decision to cheat? Was she right, wrong? Can you think of another way they could have handled this situation?

8. Page 224 – That’s like killing him. The Fuzzy we know will die. – How did you feel when you found out the government was going to delete Fuzzy’s memory? Do you agree that it is the same as killing him even though he is a robot? Why?

9. Why was Barbara a better candidate for the exploration of Mars than Fuzzy?

10. Do you think you would make friends with a robot? What qualities of a good friend might a robot have?

Creating Paper Circuits

Supplies: Card stock paper; Copper tape, ¼ inch wide and double-sided conductive; Scissors; 3V lithium button battery; 5mm LEDs; Clear tape

Instructions:

  • Take your button battery and one of your LEDs. Find the positive and negative side of both by sliding the button battery between the prongs of the LED. Did it light up? Try flipping the battery. Once it lights up you will have found your positive and negative connections. Remember, positive connects to a negative, negative to a positive
  • Fold your card stock in half so it looks like a card. Put it aside
  • Take your smaller square of paper and using the copper tape, follow the template, lay down your circuit.
  • When you get to your light spread the prongs apart and make sure they are fully covered by the copper tape. Remember your +/-. If you attach the wrong connections your LED won’t light up. Use clear tape if needed.
  • Continue running the tape on the other side of the light following the template. You need to make this as smooth as possible without ripping.
  • Attach your button battery negative side down. When you fold over the corner and touch the beginning end of the tape to the top of the battery your LED should light up.

* **Note** You may need to be careful taping the button battery. If you cover the battery completely the connection is harder to make. Try just taping the edges.

  • Did it light up? Check your connections, do you have them the right way? Are there any gaps in your copper tape?
  • Once you have your light working, lay it inside of your cardstock to see where the light will shine through. Make a mark on the front of the cardstock.
  • Create your card/picture/etc. Remember where the light shines through and draw your picture incorporating the light.
  • Put it all together and see what you get!

Observations:

-What observations can you make about your circuits? What worked and didn’t work? Why?

The Science:

-Electricity is a type of energy that can build up in one place or flow from one place to another. For an electric current to happen, there must be a circuit. A circuit is a complete path around which electricity can flow. It must include a source of electricity, such as a battery. Materials that allow electric current to pass through them easily, called conductors, can be used to link the positive and negative ends of a battery, creating a circuit.

-In an open or broken circuit, there is a break along the line, and the current stops. In a closed or complete circuit, electric current can flow. When electric current flows, it can be used by electrical appliances, such as light bulbs.

**Adult supervision required**

https://sciencekiddo.com/paper-circuit-cards/ https://www.dkfindout.com/us/science/electricity/circuits/

*Safety Note* Button batteries are very dangerous if they are swallowed. Please be sure that the children making paper circuit art are old enough not to put objects into their mouths. After the paper circuit cards are complete, please instruct the children not to leave them in a location where a younger brother or sister can get to them.

How’d it go:

Well, we had to reschedule this one because of snow, so we had a much smaller crowd then we usually do. But that’s OK because we could have used 5 of me to help instruct the activity! The paper circuits definitely needed more than my allotted 30 minutes. We had a few successfully make circuits but most of them didn’t get it on their first try but by the time we left, they seemed confident that they could actually do it from home. And because we had such a small group, I let them all take home enough supplies to do a second paper circuit.

In terms of the discussion, I was floored when the majority of my group told me that deleting Fuzzy’s memory was NOT the same as killing him. We had a lot of discussion about this, which was neat.

Overall, I think it went well. Hopefully, no snow will get in the way of December!

That’s all for now!

-M-

 

Baby Storytime: 11/26/18

Hi guys, here is what we did in baby storytime this week:

  • Movement Rhyme – Wake Up…
    • This is a fun stretch to get our bodies moving before storytime. And it is great for babies because it helps us identify our body parts. I got the lyrics from Jbrary but I’ve seen this one around before.

Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake up feet and wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake up and wiggle in the morning.

(Also: hands, ears, knees, fingers, hips, etc.)

  • ASL – The More We Get Together
    • We first teach the kids the signs for: More, Together, Happy & Friends. Then incorporate the signs as we sing the song. Check out Signing Savvy or Baby Sign Language to learn these signs.
  • Song – Clap, Tap, Bend by It’s Toddler Time
    • This is a fun, quick song, with simple movements that are easy to do with a baby on your lap.
  • Board Book – What’s Wrong, Little Pookie? by Sandra Boynton
    • Passing out board books is great to promote one-on-one reading and Boynton has some really great, silly rhymes. 
  • Prop – Little Bunny in a Hat
    • This is such a cute puppet rhyme! Thanks Jbrary!

Little bunny in a hat, sitting to still.
Will is come out? Yes it will!
It looks to the left. It looks to the right. 
It looks straight ahead. And pops out of sight!

  • Song – The Wheels on the Bus by Toddlers on Parade
    • Everyone loves wheels on the bus! Perfect movements for the littlest ones.
  • Rhyme – Paddy Cake
    • Everyone knows this classic rhyme and it’s a great one to do with baby in your lap.
  • Book – Chugga Chugga Choo Choo by Emma Garcia
    • This is a newer picture book with a nice rhyme and the options of adding in some colors and counting. 
  • Lift – Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
    • Gotta include at least one lift every storytime! Work those muscles!
  • Bounce – I bounce you here, I bounce you there…We love our bounces and lifts in baby storytime.

I bounce you here, I bounce you there
I bounce you, bounce you everywhere
I tickle you here, I tickle you there
I tickle you, tickle you everywhere
I hug you here, I hug you there
I hug you, hug you everywhere

  • Song/Shakers – Chugg-A-Lugg-A-Choo-Choo by Johnette Downing
    • I like this one for a shaker song because we can pretend to be a train going down the tracks. 
  • Song/Bubbles – I took a bath in a washing machine by Jim Gil
    • Kids love bubbles and they are great for strengthening the eye muscles that we later use for reading.
  • ASL – The More We Get Together
    • I like to end with the same sign language song we used in the beginning.
  • Song – Clean It Up
    • Any good clean up song will work.
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell by Music Together
    • I will always put this one on in the background as everyone leaves because I just love it!

How’d it go:

We’ve been speeding through these storytimes, so I threw in an extra Itsy Bitsy Spider for good measure! This was a teeny tiny group that started with 3 and ended with 9. We really liked the train book and song. 

That’s all for now!

-M-

Baby Storytime: Thanksgiving

Hi Guys, for this baby storytime, I went with all things turkey related. You know, to get us ready for turkey day! Here’s what we did:

Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake up feet and wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake up and wiggle in the morning.
Also: hands, ears, knees, fingers, hips, etc.

  • ASL – The More We Get Togetheruntitled
    • We first teach the kids the signs for: More, Together, Happy & Friends. Then incorporate the signs as we sing the song. Check out Signing Savvy or Baby Sign Language to learn these signs.
  • Song – Roll Your Hands by Toddler Parade
    • This is a great one for babies!
  • Board Book – Llama, Llama Give Thanks by Anne Dewdney
    • I like to pass out books to promote one-on-one reading. And this was a nice familiar one for us to read together.
  • Magnet Board – 10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston51SoE4Q4RsL._SX455_BO1,204,203,200_
    • I printed out 10 random turkey and we counted them off on the magnet board as I read Johnston’s book.
  • Dance – The Turkey Hokey Pokey

You put your wings in, You put your wings out.
You put your wings in and you shake them all about
You do the turkey pokey and you turn yourself around
That’s what it’s all about
Also: …drumsticks (legs), tail feathers (bottom), stuffing (tummy),wattle (head), whole turkey self

  • Rhyme – I’m a Little Turkey

I’m a little turkey, my name is Ted.
Here are my feathers, here is my head.

Gobble, gobble, gobble, Is what I say,
Quick! Run! It’s Thanksgiving Day!

  • Book/Puppets – Thank You Bear by Greg Foleyuntitled1
    • This is such a cute story, made even cuter when you use puppets to tell the story!
  • Lift – Going Up and Down in an Elevator

Going up and down in an elevator. Up and down in an elevator. Up and down in an elevator. 1st floor. 2nd floor. 3rd floor. DOWN!

  • Bounce – Wobble, Wobble, Wobble

Wobble, wobble, wobble walks the turkey (rock back and forth)

Gobble, gobble, gobble talks the turkey (talking motion with hands)

Turkeys spread their feathers on Thanksgiving Day (spread your arms)

Turkeys spread the feathers and they fly away! (flap your arms & scarf)

  • Song/Shakers – Put on my dancing shoes by Kathy Reid-Naiman
    • Just an upbeat song to shake to.
  • Song/Bubbles – Bubbles by Parachute Express
    • I love the bubble maker for the babies. Bubbles help babies because the same eye muscles the use to track the bubbles as they move, are the same muscles they will later use for reading.
  • ASL – The More We Get Together
    • I like to end with the same sign language song we used in the beginning.
  • Song – Clean It Up
    • Any good clean up song will work.
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell by Music Together
    • I will always put this one on in the background as everyone leaves because I just love it!

How’d it go: This one went really smoothly. I had just the right amount of fun “stuff” to do and we had a really good crowd. *Note-I can’t for the life of me remember when I got my turkey rhymes from. If they are yours let me know and I will link*

That’s all for now!

-M-

Family Storytime: Ocean

Hi Guys, this week I decided to go with an ocean themed family storytime. Here’s what we did:

  • Wake Up Song – Top of the Morning
    • I really need to find a replacement for this one soon, but I just love how simple it is and it’s a good stretch before jumping into storytime.
  • ASL – Hello Friends
    • I like to use sign language in my story time. We go over the signs for: Hello, Friends, Time and Say. Thanks to Jbrary for this one!
  • Movement Rhyme – Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes
    • We do this one 3x. Faster and faster each time. No sleepy heads in my storytime!612bjxrxw6jl-_sx497_bo1204203200_
  • ASL – OCEAN / FISH / SWIM / BOAT
    • I always teach my group three new signs in American Sign Language that have to do with my theme. Check out Signing Savvy or Baby Sign Language to learn these signs.
  • Book – The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah DiesenThis one is a little long for my liking but I love it and I think we can have a lot of fun with it too!
  • Movement exercise – Have You Ever Seen A Sailboat
    • Put baby on your lap and sway back and forth with the music. Or just sway with the older kids.

Have you ever seen a sailboat, a sailboard, a sailboat

Have you ever seen a sailboat waving its sails.

Wave this way, and that way. 

This way and that way. 

Have you every seen a sailboat, waving it’s sails!

  • Song w/ Movements – Baby Shark
    • A song that drives everyone crazy! Well I found some hand movements that go with the song, so of course we are going to do them! Baby shark is thumb and forefinger, Mommy shark is whole hand–like a chomping motion, Daddy shark is both arms, Grandma shark is closed fists chomping in small motions, and Grandpa shark is closed fists big chomping motions.
  • Flannel – Five Little Fishes

5 little fishes swimming in the sea

First one said, “Come swim with me!”

Second one said, “This sea is deep”

Third one said, “I want to sleep”

Fourth one said, “Let’s dive and float”

Fifth one said, “I see a boat!”

The fishing boat comes

The line goes splash And away those 5 little fishes dash!

  • Book – Fish Has a Wish by Michael GarlanThis is just a nice, easy reader all about a fish who ultimately learns that he is happy just being who he is.
  • Rhyme – The Wave in the Sea

61ecw8gyjrl-_sy498_bo1204203200_

The waves on the sea go up and down, [Raise 

and lower arms.]

Up and down, up and down, The waves on the sea go up and down All day long.

The shark in the sea goes snap snap snap.. [Clap your hands.]

The fish in the sea go swish swish swish.. [Swish back and forth.]

The boats in the sea go toot toot toot… [Make blowing horn motion.]

  • Song/Shakers – Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid
    • I love to sneak in a little Disney when I can!
  • ASL – Goodbye Friends
    • We learn to say goodbye in ASL and use the same signs and song as our hello.
  • Song – Clean It Up
    • Any good clean up song will work.
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell by Music Together
    • I will always put this one on in the background as everyone leaves because I just love it!

How’d it go: This one went really well! I was great on time and everyone seemed to really love the books about fish. I loooove that pout pout fish!

That’s all for now!

-M-