Thursday, April 25, 2013


This is my last post here - I've accepted a job offer in Colorado and I'll be moving there soon. Friday April 26 will be my last day here at Allerton Library. If you want to keep informed about the books I've been reading, please feel free to friend me on Goodreads. You can see my profile here.

Thank you and good luck to everyone I've worked with and helped over the years here in Monticello!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

We're Back: Bigger and Better Than Ever!

After a vacation and a couple of days spent training on the new circulation system we are once again up, running, and ready to rock and roll! Our new online catalog can be found here:

PLEASE use this link instead of the link on our website for all your library requests. I think you'll find that our new online catalog is easier to use and has a better selection than our old one.

We will be open for our normal hours from now until Maintenance Day on May 15, so if you have any questions about the new system, please call us or stop by.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I've Finished the 2014 Caudill List!

I just finished the last few pages of Boys Without Names (not one of my favorites). Overall I liked this list better than some other years. As I mentioned before, I thought it was nice that at least half the titles didn't have horribly upsetting or depressing stories. I particularly liked Wonder, Close to Famous, Okay for Now, and Candy Bomber. I found Words in the Dust, Bamboo People, The Hunt for the Seventh, and Boys Without Names hard to get through. I outright sobbed through the whole second half of Ways to Live Forever, but I laughed out loud while reading Close to Famous. I wish more Rebecca Caudill books were laugh-out-loud types... sigh. Maybe next year.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I've Been Invited... serve on the Rebecca Caudill Evaluator's Committee!

I can tell this is going to be a great experience, and I'm honored to have been chosen. Soon I'll get a list of books to start reading and evaluating. I can't wait to get started!

I've also put together an early literacy calendar, a great idea I got from Amy Koester, another children's librarian who writes the blog The Show Me Librarian. You can see her original post here. There are print copies available in the children's section of the library, but you can see mine here.

A lot of people don't realize that getting kids ready to read is pretty easy - something as simple as singing a song or playing a game of I Spy helps develop some of the six pre-literacy skills experts agree will help kids prepare for learning how to read once they reach school. For more information on activities you can do with toddlers and preschoolers, please visit the Kent District Library's fabulous page here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Books and Angry Birds!

Come to the Angry Birds Party this Saturday at 11 a.m.! It's for kids of all ages and we're going to re-enact the Angry Birds game in real life. First, kids will divide into teams and build structures from boxes for the pigs (green plastic balls) to hide in. Then, they will use beach towels to launch the birds (red plastic balls) at the buildings to try and knock the pigs to the floor. Snacks and drinks will be served. Please sign up if you are interested!

I recently read a new picture book I really liked called Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin. I used it with my Baby Lap Time group, but it's a great, versatile book that can be used with a wide age range. The concept and basic story is simple enough for two-year-olds, but the dialogue on each page and the small jokes in the illustrations would be enjoyed by kindergarteners or first graders. I also liked that Austin incorporated rhyming words, but I wondered if kids might be confused by the abstract concept of how rhyming words can also be colors: he says that blue is the color of "scribble, and dribble, and nibble, nibble, nibble!" Still, overall that's a small quibble, and I did like the book.

I also read a great middle-grade novel recently that's on the 2014 Rebecca Caudill list called Close to Famous by Joan Bauer. I liked this book as much as I liked Wonder, so that's really saying something. Here's my Goodreads review:

I really, really enjoyed this story about a girl with a great memory and an incredible talent for baking who also struggles with an near-inability to read (her difficulty stems from dyslexia or something similar). She and her mom have fallen on hard times since her father was killed in Iraq, but find some good friends in a small West Virginia town. This book touches some deep emotional issues but never gets bogged down with them, and has a lot that kids can take from it. Recommended for fans of Cynthia Lord and Barbara O'Connor, and especially for older fans of Sarah Weeks's chapter book Pie.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

2014 Monarchs and Bluestems

So I've finally gotten my act together and set up displays for the 2014 Monarch books and the 2014 Bluestem books. I saw some great selections on those lists! I've only read 6 of the 20 on the Monarch list so far but I've liked all of them: The Trouble With Chickens, I Want My Hat Back, 11 Experiments That Failed, One, Swirl By Swirl, and Balloons Over Broadway.

I've read 7 of the 20 on the Bluestem list, and I was THRILLED to see Clementine on it! Clementine was a Monarch book a few years ago but I'm glad it's back in the limelight. I also liked Pie, Wonder, and of course Number the Stars quite a bit. I liked (but am slightly less enthusiastic about) Edgar Allan's Official Crime Investigation Notebook, Because of Winn-Dixie, and Knights of the Kitchen Table.

What did you think of the lists? Does anything stand out for you?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rebecca Caudill Progress

So far I've read 12 of the 2014 Rebecca Caudills and I'm pleased to say that I've really been enjoying them so far! My favorites are Wonder and Okay for Now, but I also really liked Candy Bomber, A Tale Dark & Grimm, Blizzard of Glass, The Running Dream, and The Lions of Little Rock. As far as the others go (I, Emma Freke, How They Croaked, The Outcasts, The Apothecary, and Breaking Stalin's Nose) I thought they were fine, and only had a few minor issues with them.

I'm a little apprehensive about some of the titles; Ghetto Cowboy, Boys Without Names, Words in the Dust, and Bamboo People all sound like they might be extremely depressing. But I like knowing that this year at least the kids will be able to read 10 of 20 books without running into one of the super-sad ones.