Family Storytime: Zoo

Hi Guys,

Got another fun family storytime for you this week! And I am experimenting with using our projector instead of printed flannel boards–not a fancy one from the ceiling, so we’ll see how it goes. My theme this week is anything having to do with the zoo or zoo animals.

Here’s what I’ve got planned:51R7ai3HhjL._SX260_

  • SONG – Top of the Morning
    • This is a fun tune and great for waking up and doing a little stretching. It’s called Top of the Morning.
  • 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.
  • Movement Rhyme – Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
    • Who doesn’t love this one! We get faster and faster each time51sqfs2btgjl-_sx484_bo1204203200_ we go through it.
  • Movement Rhyme – Monkey See, Monkey Do…
    • This is a fun rhyme that get’s kids acting like monkeys!
  • Book – I AM A Cat! by Galia Bernstein
    • This is a new one for our library and educational! We’ll see how it goes.
  • Song – We’re going to the zoo by Raffi
    • A zoo themed song to take a little movement break with.
  • Rhyme – An Elephant Goes Like This And That…
    • Who doesn’t love pretending to be an elephant!
  • Flannel Board – Dear Zoo by Rob Campbell
    • I made this flannel ages ago and haven’t used it in a while! 20160812_170127
  • Game – Sleeping, Sleeping All the Children Were Sleeping…
    • This is one my mom actually taught from when she was nannying. You put all the children to sleep and when they wake up they are… cats, lions, mice, butterflies. Just make sure you turn them back to kids before you finish.

Sleeping, sleeping all the children were sleeping and when they woke up they were… LIONS! (pick different animals). Sleeping, sleeping all the little lions were sleeping and when they woke up they were…

  • Book – Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett 51DbuiIYDuL._SX260_
    • A nice, easy and repetitive story about what a girl and her monkey saw at the zoo.
  • Puppet Rhyme – Alligator, Alligator
    • This is one you can do with a puppet or with your hands and arms. I generally use a puppet but I show the kids how to do it with their arms first.

Alligator, alligator long and green. Alligator, alligator teeth so me. Chomping at a fly, chomping at a bee, chomping at a bird but you can’t catch me!

  • Song/Shakers – Happy from Despicable Me 2
    • “because we’re happy…” am I right?
  • 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 well and I did much better with time then I usually do. I did decide to nix the “I AM A Cat” in favor for “How Much Does A Ladybug Weigh?” It was shorter and still had that non-fiction element to it. Other than that, everything else went off without a hitch!

That’s all for now!



The Jamie Drake Equation

The Jamie Drake Equation by Christopher Edge is a 4-6th grade science fiction book.

Jamie Drake is your average boy with one big exception, his dad is an astronaut on the international space station and he is part of a big mission to find life in outer space. Jamie is very proud of his dad but he misses him a lot, especially with his birthday coming up and his dad missing it.

When Jamie stumbles upon a rouge scientist at a dilapidated space observatory, he accidentally downloads something to his phone and starts receiving weird signals. Where could this signal be coming from? Could it really be aliens?

With his dad gone, Jamie doesn’t know who to turn to and decides to investigate himself. But when something goes wrong with his dad’s mission, Jamie knows it is up to him to save his dad from space and all of it’s dangers.

The Jamie Drake Equation was one I was considering for my 4-6th grade STEM book club. It was a good read and would have given us a lot to talk about but I just didn’t think we had enough copies in our library system to make it work.

That being said, this book was full of fun STEM-iness. We learn about the Jamie Drake Equation, we learn about the fibonacci sequence and more space science. But there is also the sci-fi element of the alien’s and Jamie’s interactions with them.

This book is very emotional for a middle school read. That’s not a bad thing, but there’s this almost Armageddon feel to the end and I really don’t want to make the kids cry! We also deal with serious themes like divorce and separation, moving, fear and more.

This is a read I would recommend a caregiver reading with their child. But I think any 5th-6th grader could get through it alone. In terms of being full of STEM goodness, this one rocks!

I think this one gets a 3.5 from me. Good but not quite what I was expecting/looking for.

That’s all for now!



Fuzzy Mud: Book Club

Fuzzy Mud again! Yes, ma’am! Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar is the first book I chose for my 4th-6th grade STEM Book Club.

Once a month I am going to be hosting, at the library, a STEM themed book club. This club is for 4th-6th graders as we will be reading challenging, yet fun, elementary school reads. The book we read each month will have some sort of STEM theme–weather, coding, geology, etc. The meeting will consist of 30 minutes of guided discussion about the book, including the STEM theme. And then we will do 30 minutes of a STEM activity that goes along with the theme of the book.

I chose Fuzzy Mud as my first book because it’s a fun read and a solid 4th-5th grade level book. I also chose this one because many of the elementary aged students might have read this book last year. It was a nominee for the Maryland Black Eyed Susan Award and a lot of the elementary schools read the nominees. This way, any last minute sign-ups might already be exposed to the book. Figured this would be a good thing for a first meeting.

I decided to create a hand-out with guided discussion questions. This way the kids have something to take home to further think about the book and we also have some things we can go off of if we have trouble getting started. Here are the discussion questions I came up with:

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

2. Why would we consider Fuzzy Mud, a fictional book with STEM themes?

3. On page 15, Tamaya remembers something her teacher once said, “Courage just meant pretending to be brave.” What does this mean? Do you agree?

4. Ecology is a main theme of this book. What is Ecology? How does this book incorporate/involve Ecology?

5. On page 131, Tamaya says, “No one’s all bad.” Do you agree? Can someone who does bad things be a good person?

6. Although, Biolene isn’t real, scientists are looking for clean, renewable energy sources. What is renewable energy? What are some examples?

7. When Marshall and Tamaya were lost in the woods, Marshall kept scolding himself for saying things he didn’t mean. Why do you think Marshal was doing that? Have you ever taken your feels out on someone who didn’t deserve it?

8. (Page 62) – Professor Alice Mayfair was more concerned with population control then the potential danger of Biolene. Let’s talk about this. What are some ways we can replace the resource we consume?

9. (Page 68) – “The worst part was the waiting.” Why is this? Why do you think waiting for something to happen is worse than the thing itself?

10. On page 144, Tamaya starts to lose her sight. What would you do if you suddenly lost one of your sense?

11. Page 177 – What was Hobson’s Choice? Why does the Committee on Energy and the Environment thing they’ve been presented with a “Hobson’s Choice?” What are the choices and can you think of another that might be better?

Also on the handout is an outline of the activity we are going to do. This week we are going to make out our fuzzy mud but creating magnetic slime.

Supplies: 1 (4oz) bottle of school glue; 1 tbls of baking soda; 1 tbls of contact solution; 1 tsp+/- iron filings; Neodymium magnets; big bowl; craft sticks.


  • Combine the glue, baking soda and iron filings in a bowl and stir until well mixed.
  • Once mixed, add contact solution. Mix well.
  • Once you start to see a slime-like consistency—it will be less sticky now that the contact solution is added–remove the slime and knead it with clean, dry hands. **Wash your hands immediately after playing with slime or wear gloves**
  • Your slime should be ready! Grab a strong magnet and see what happens!

Observations: Imagine our slime is a living thing and the magnet is the environment or an outside force acting upon it (remember the definition of ecology!). What observations can you make about the slime itself and the changes that occur when the magnet is introduced?

How’d it go: We had 13 kids show up for the book club and I think it went really well. The discussion part pretty much went like I thought it would. The kids needed to be prompted with questions but once I started asking questions, they really responded well. Our slime “experiment” was another story. I swear the experiment worked at home!!! But only two of my kids got their slime to be actual slime. But it was fun and we got to experiment with different binders. Hey, scientists don’t always get it right the first time!

It was, however, really messy. Even the kids were like wowwww. The parents came in at the end and were laughing. But fun was had and I think this is going to work out really well!

That’s all for now!


Books Are Unbe-LEAF-able!

Hi Guys,

Back to School displays only last for so long and what with the leaves starting to make their way down to the ground, it was time for a fall display.

I found this pithy little saying, “Books Are Unbe-LEAF-able!” and just had to use it. I cut out a whole bunch of different colored fall leaves and stuck them up all over the windows.


For my saying I thought it would be really cute to have the word “LEAF” be spelled out in leaves and it worked out pretty well. I think it would have been better if I had smaller leaves or more room but it works.


Happy fall everyone!

That’s all for now!


Baby Storytime: 9/17/18

Hi Guys!

I am so excited that we are back to our weekly baby storytimes! Our library is actually doing 4 weekly storytimes now… phew! I went back to a few of my favorite oldies and a couple of new additions for this first one back.

Here’s what I planned:

  • Welcome Rhyme – Welcome, welcome
    • This one goes to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
  • Welcome, welcome everyone.

  • Now you’re here, we’ll have some fun.

  • First we’ll clap our hands just so.

  • Then we’ll bend and touch our toes.

  • Welcome, welcome everyone.

  • Now you’re here, we’ll have some fun!

  • ASL – The More We Get Together
    • I did this one for my ASL storytime over the summer and it went over great. So of course I am going to use it as an intro for all my storytimes this week!
    • 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. 51oulf6k3al-_sy498_bo1204203200_
  • Song w/ Movements – Tap Your Toe and Follow Me by Susan Salidor
    • This one of my favorite movement songs for babies. Simple and light.
  • Board Book – Where’s the Giraffe? by Ingela Peterson Arrhenius
    • I also pick one board book to pass out, so that we can do one-on-one reading and promote that touch and feel development. This one is extra great for the later because it’s a flip-the-flap with felt flaps.
  • 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)

  • Rhyme – Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
    • This is a fun one with simple movements and we get a lift when the babies blast off at the end.

Zoom, zoom, zoom we’re going to the moon. Zoom, zoom, zoom we’re going to the moon. If you want to take a trip, climb aboard my rocketship. Zoom, zoom, zoom we’re going to the moon. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… BLASTOFF!

  • Flannel – Whoosh Went the Wind
    • Gotta have a flannel or some prop in baby storytime. This one is fun because the babies and caregivers can move their arms with the wind and blow along.
  • Movement Song – Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
    • Any version will work here. I like a nice slow one for my baby storytime.
  • 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

  • Book – Overboard!by Sarah Weeks51v4sf5ayrl-_sx443_bo1204203200_
    • This is my ultimate favorite baby storytime book because we practice our phonetic awareness with the different sounds and every time I say “overboard” the caregivers dip their babies to the side.
  • Lift – Going Up and Down in an Elevator
    • Another favorite of mine!

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!

  • Song/Shakers – Shake my Sillies Out
    • Just a fun one to shake our shaker eggs.
  • 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: Pretty good! A smaller group to start with, which is always the case and always nice for getting back in the swing of things. I ended up cutting out my flannel board but other than that, everything went perfectly according to plan!

That’s all for now!


Two Dark Reigns

Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake is the third book in the Three Dark Crowns series.

We pick up only a few weeks after the end of One Dark Throne. Katherine is the Queen Crowned. Mirabella and Arsinoe are in hiding on the mainland with Billy. And Jules is in hiding on the island, dealing with the repercussions of being legion born.

But the island isn’t done with these girls. The mist is rising, causing panic and fear. It has a life of it’s own and it takes whomever it wants. As the undead queen, Katherine’s rule is threatened, not only by the mist but also by a renegade band of rebels who want to end the line of the queens and rule the island as it has never been ruled before.

While Katherine tries to hold on to her thrown, Arsinoe and Miabella try to forge a new life away from the island. But a dark shadow threatens and refuses to allow the past to lie.  Nothing is settled and this story is far from done.

Two Dark Reigns started out pretty slow for me. There was a lot of talk and very little action. It wasn’t until two-thirds of the way through the book that things start to actually happen. Some background was needed in the beginning to build up where the story is ultimately leading to but I just felt that we could have gotten to the point sooner.

Some things happen really slowly in this series, while others go almost too fast. There were pockets of action in this book that could have be dragged out a little more, whereas several discussions could have been chopped down to a page max.

That being said, I do love this world that Blake has built up. And it’s just gotten more interesting with the legion curse and the history being revealed. I am also loving how the mist, the islands protector, seems to be turning on the island itself.

I am excited to see where this last book will take us… who will survive and who will not. Mostly, I want to know what is instore for the island. Will it survive the mist or will this be the end of it altogether?

This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!



Mirage by Somaiya Daud is the first book in a new YA science fiction series.

In a section of the galaxy, a brutal race rules with an iron fist. And on a quiet planet in this system is an eighteen-year-old girl named Amani, who loves poetry and dreams of signs from the god Dihya. When Amani is kidnapped by the Vathek, she has no clue that her life is about to change forever.

Amani looks identical to the young princess, Maram, next in-line to inherit the Vathek empire. Because of this, she is forced to become Maram’s body double. She must sound like Maram, walk like Maram, act like Maram or else she will die.

Forced into this new role, Amani finds herself exposed to a world she could never have imagined. But beneath the beauty is fear. Will Amani succeed in impersonating Maram?And will she lose herself to this role? Or will she fight in her own way to maintain her life–her freedom?

This was an entertaining read. Not stellar, but I think we are going to get there. Mirage was pretty average for me until the second half, then we start to see more of the politics and we get that world building that was lacking in the beginning. I can see the sequel doing a lot for the series as a whole.

This was a sci-fi, space odyssey, without feeling like science fiction. That is one of the major props I give this book. It will appeal to a reader even if sci-fi isn’t in their wheelhouse. I loved how you could see elements of futuristic, space-travel, but the world still felt… almost Middle-Eastern in setting. At least that was the impression I got.

One thing I seriously struggled with in this book is the fact that Amani’s family wasn’t brought into it sooner. Not once, does Amani say she fears for the safety of her family–not until the end. All the way up to that point, her driving force for complying with being a body double was her own personal safety. I just found this a little hard to believe. I just didn’t believe that Amani, as a character, would have given in, in the first place, just to protect herself.

This is one that I have high hopes for. Hopefully the sequel will live up to my imaginings. This one get’s 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!