Poetry Friday – I Got the Rhythm

As a children’s librarian, I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by poetry every day, even when it’s not labelled as such. Many of my favourite picture books are essentially illustrated poems, with their rhythmic, rhyming texts.

I Got the Rhythm is a fantastic read-aloud with its bouncing, rhythmic, rhyming text that’s sure to get readers of all ages tapping and bouncing to the beat of the city.

A young girl explores her urban neighbourhood and finds herself drawn into the rhythm of the world around her, celebrating and embracing the movement and sharing her beat with everyone around her.

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This book is absolutely made for reading aloud with a group, and it positively dares you not to join in on the fun, clapping, tapping and bopping to the rhythm. The young girl feels the beat in every part of her, seeing it with her eyes, hearing it with her ears, catching it with her hands and stomping it with her feet. She pops and locks, hips and hops, and lets the music move her whole body, and the simple, repetitive text invites audiences to join in on the fun and express themselves from their heads to their toes!

The colourful cast is diverse (not too sure about that clown though…*shudder*….), and the inner city environment will be at once to familiar to many young readers, who will appreciate its positive portrayal. I Got the Rhythm is brimming with joy, and encourages audiences to find and share the music of life, the everyday rhythms and beats that surround us and move us, but that we are sometimes too busy to notice and enjoy.

Highly, highly recommended – go on, get the beat!

Guest Post: Bibliotherapy with Carolyn Dibb, M.Ed.

Please welcome today’s very special guest, children’s book writer and lover (and fellow Canadian) Carolyn Dibb, M.Ed.

Biblio-­‐what?? A conversation about kids, books and healing

As I walk onto the grounds of my daughter’s elementary school this September, I see kids in such different and varying states. Some are ecstatically greeting friends they haven’t seen all summer. In one corner of the field, a game of soccer starts up with a mostly deflated ball. Some children stand quietly beside a parent, uncertain. Others are crying, not sure they can cope with the day that lies ahead. It’s easy to think kids are all alike, but truthfully they are individuals each equipped with their own personalities, temperaments, strengths and challenges. I often wish I had a stash of books on me that I could give to the kids who are feeling a little out of sorts. Something to bolster their spirits, let them know how they are feeling is normal and that they are going to be okay.

I guess I have been a bibliotherapist in the making for quite a while. Probably, since my grade school librarian recommended a book with a character that I could relate to. A whole bunch of reading and a master’s degree later, I still think the right book at the right time can be a very powerful experience. I see the potential for it almost everywhere.


What the heck is bibliotherapy? A question I get asked a lot! Basically it is helping through books. There are two main types:

  • Clinical Bibliotherapy: You will often see this when a therapist or doctor gives a client “homework” or books to read. Here they are usually tackling a significant emotional or behavioral issue. Frequently, these are non-fiction books.
  • Developmental Bibliotherapy: This one you are probably more familiar with! Teachers, librarians or parents read books to facilitate normal development and self-actualization with an essentially healthy population. Often these books are works of fiction.

Why does it work?

Kids have a knack for clamming up about their troubles. They don’t want to feel different, or be seen as struggling. They just want to fit in, do well, and have fun. Books can be that indirect way to start conversations that feel less threatening to a child.

In my opinion, books can help us feel normal and understood, which is super important to kids. They can give us inspiration, humour, a different perspective, and sometimes bolster courage. I often encourage kids to borrow bravery from one of their favorite characters if they feel uncertain in a new situation.

How do I do it?

In all honesty, you probably already naturally know how to do developmental bibliotherapy. You are feeling blue, or having a bad day, and you reach for a book with a story you know will lift your spirits.

When working with kids, bibliotherapy is really a springboard for discussion. After reading the book, let the child tell you what they think the story is about. Ask a few questions about it, but generally let the child lead the conversation. It is powerful to know you are not alone in your struggles. Sometimes, it is enough to know that there are others on a path similar to the one you are on now and many who have walked it before you. Reading books to children about other people’s challenges is also an excellent way to facilitate empathy.


If you notice your child is struggling with a particular issue, go talk to your local librarian. They can offer excellent suggestions on reading material for someone of any age!

Book club for kids:

Girls Leadership is a company focused on empowering girls. They have all the resources you will need to start a book club with parents and their girls. They even have the discussion questions prepared. It’s free and you can check them out at: http://girlsleadership.org/resources/book-­‐club-­‐sign-­‐up-­‐form/

The publisher Penguin Books has some a whole section dedicated to books for boys. They have some good suggestions on starting up a book club for boys. http://www.penguin.com/static/packages/us/yreaders/books4boys/index.php

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is an excellent resource. They have created book lists for kids dealing with specific areas like death, school, separation etc. http://www.carnegielibrary.org/kids-­‐teens/parents-­‐and-­‐educators/

Lastly, thank you to Jane the Raincity Librarian for letting me take up space on her page! It’s time for me to go crack open a book. Happy Fall reading!

Carolyn Dibb, M.Ed. (www.carolyndibb.com)


Nonfiction Wednesday: Sept 21, 2016

Nonfiction Wednesday is brought to you by Kid Lit Frenzy, and is a weekly celebration of children’s nonfiction material.

Hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen, because today you’re in for a blast from the past!

The World’s Greatest Blunders by Sue Blackhall


Gaffes galore from the world of entertainment, the never-to-be-forgotten 1987 hurricane howler, the canonical con-trick that solved a medieval cash flow problem and still keeps believers on their knees in Turin, the US ex-president’s broadcasting bloomers, the Spruce Goose’s 1-minute-flight, the Sinclair C5’s short run, the Hitler diaries hoax that fooled the wise and worthy, these are among a list of dropped changers resounding worldwide and zippily related here.

Wrongful imprisonments and a near-fatal shoot-out resulting from mistaken identity, the heroic failure of Antarctic explorer Captain Scott and the death dice of air race ace Amy Johnson, as well as a catalogue of tragic human errors leading to disasters the whole world mourns, are also recorded.  Goodreads.

First published in 1989, this fascinating collection of strange and sometimes mind-boggling true stories has been a fixture on my bookshelves for HALF OF MY LIFE. I bought it at a bookshop in New Zealand when I was sixteen years old and spending part of my summer holidays with my grandmother. I think I picked it up at a shop in Hamilton, though it might have been in Auckland. Either way, this book has travelled a long way to be here today!


There are very few books that have survived my many moves, and for some reason I just can’t seem to part with this one. When I say I’ve been a life-long nonfiction addict, here’s the proof – at sixteen years of age, instead of buying a fashion or pop culture magazine or a teen novel, I picked up this adult collection of true tails. I’m mean, just look at that summary – who wouldn’t want to read a book like this? With language level and content in mind, adult nonfiction can be a great option for young people who simply aren’t interested in fiction, or who are hungry for something new and different to sink their death into. If I was a sixteen year today, I would find the dystopian trend just horrifically boring, and would gag at soppy teen romances. Call me crazy, but I’d rather have read about the Spruce Goose than find out if Jenny will finally get a date to the prom, or if Annie will be able to save the universe while figuring out her love triangle!

So, why not think outside the box when it comes to book recommendations – sometimes young people who “hate reading” just haven’t discovered the right books yet!

Top Ten Tuesday: Podcasts for the Bookishly Inclined

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by the book lovers over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s these is all about audio. To be honest I’ve never been a huge fan of audio books – I don’t have anything against them in theory, I’ve just never really got the hang of them. So instead, I’m going to talk about some of my favourite bookish or literary podcasts!

Here, in no particular order,


 S. S. Librarianship

Not only are the two librarians behind this podcast for “librarians and the nerds who love them” incredibly nice fellow-Vancouverites, they’re also funny, smart and incredibly geeky. Did I mention they’re also fellow Trekkies and D&D players? This podcast is perfect for librarians and information specialists, nerds and geeks of all kinds.

The Yarn

School librarian Travis Jonker and teacher Colby Sharp are the brilliant minds behind The Yarn. The series “goes behind the scenes of children’s literature, taking listeners on a narrative journey behind the making of a book.” The Yarn regularly features great children’s literature authors and illustrators, and past guests have included Patrick Ness, Rebecca Stead, Raina Telgemeier, David Levithan, and Salina Yoon. Perfect for teachers, librarians and children’s book lovers alike.

The Picturebooking Podcast

“A podcast about creating and sharing picturebooks” – now that’s a podcast that’s right up my alley! Host Nick Patton is a picture book author who interviews author picture book creators, whether they’re authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, or all of the above! A great look behind the scenes of the picture book world, perfect for teachers, librarians, booksellers, book bloggers, caregivers and aspiring authors/illustrators!

All the Wonders

All the Wonders describes itself as “Weekly interviews with Authors, Illustrators, Award Winners, Up-And-Comers, and Everyone In Between”. While The Picturebooking Podcast looks specifically at picture books, All the Wonders takes a broader look at children’s literature, taking in everything from picture books to graphic novels to middle grade fiction and everything in between.

Publishers Weekly PW KidsCast

Publisher’s Weekly children’s reviews editor John A. Sellers interviews children’s and YA authors in this ongoing children’s book podcast, giving each author twenty minutes to talk about their works, their creative and personal lives and their paths to authorship.

OK, so it’s not ten, but at least it’s a few to get you started.😉

What are some of your favourite bookish podcasts?



#IMWAYR – Sept 19, 2016

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus. The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. These weekly roundups are a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.

It’s mid-September? It’s mid-September!! Halloween candies are in the shops! How is this possible?!?! Slow down, 2016, slow down!!!

OK, here’s what I’ve been up to this week:


Singable picture books! If you’ve got a kids’ program or story time coming up, you absolutely cannot go wrong with a singable picture book. Bounce, sing, dance and groove along with some of my all-time favourite singable picture books, and bring your next program to life.

Working with tweens/teens in a library, youth group or other social setting often involves crafts. This week for Nonfiction Wednesday I looked at Lazy Crafternoon, which has 50+ easy, affordable crafts that will appeal to the crafters in your school or library. Sometimes you just have to put the smartphone down and get your hands busy making something you can show off to your friends and family!

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Have you heard of Canlit for LittleCanadians? I celebrated this fantastic free resource this week on the blog, and really encourage everyone to visit, bookmark and enjoy! Canadian children’s books tend to be overshadowed by the countless American imports that crowd our shelves, and it’s wonderful that Helen take the time to showcase all the wonderful Canadian titles that are available in libraries and bookstores across the country. Explore and share the love!


I am absolutely in love with the Poetry Friday community, and this week I shared another one of my childhood favourites, Dennis Lee’s classic Alligator Pie. Such a wonderfully zany poem, and Canadian, to boot!


Saturday was all about the #diversekidslit, with another round up of some of the best and brightest diverse kids book blog posts on the interwebs.

In other reading news, I’ve managed to get my hands on a few older editions of one of my all-time favourite cooking magazines, and I love it so very much that I just had to sing about it here on the blog: Yummy Magazine!! If you’ve never seen Yummy before, you NEED to find it somewhere – my local library has a subscription, and I couldn’t be happier. This English-language Filipino cooking magazine is AMAZING. The foodstyling and photography is just stunning, and it’s packed to the brim with the most delicious recipes, together with really interesting articles. I honestly knew next to nothing about Filipino cuisine or culture before picking up this magazine on a whim for the first time, and I’ve been both enlightened and inspired. Food is such an important window to any culture, and Yummy celebrates both traditional Filipino cuisine as well as international foods and fusion dishes. It introduces non-Filipinos to a really diverse, modern, vibrant culture that’s more than just one of the world’s largest producers of foreign workers.

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I happen to come from a country that doesn’t really have a “cuisine” – sure there are a few dishes that people think of as Canadian, but then tend to be French-Canadian, and I can’t really relate to poutine on a personal level. It’s fascinating to me to explore a culture that has a long, vibrant food history, one that’s deeply rooted in the past, but is still changing with the times and moving forward into the future.

Anyway, this is a long ramble about a magazine, but what can I say, I love it!!

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Have a great week, everybody!

#diversekidslit – Sept 17, 2016

Our theme for today’s Diverse Children’s Books linkup is Favorite Bilingual Book(s). What are your favorite children’s books in two or more languages? (The theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.


We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, October 1st and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme

Our theme for the current linkup is Favorite Bilingual Book(s). Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • October 1st and 15th linkups: Favorite Diverse Author or Illustrator. Who is a must-read author or illustrator for you? Share your favorite(s) with us for next time.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Miss T’s post on 7 Diverse Books Featuring a Character With A Disability was our most-clicked post of the previous #diversekidlit! This compilation reviews a great mix of fiction, nonfiction, picture books, and novels featuring characters with a range of disabilities. This is a great resource for all readers.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Beth @ Pages and Margins
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Jane @ Rain City Librarian
Blog / Twitter / Instagram

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Guest Host for September

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook
Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

We’ve started a new group board on Pinterest to highlight all the amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

Poetry Friday : Alligator Pie


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Alligator pie, alligator pie,
If I don’t get some I think I’m gonna die.
Give away the green grass, give away the sky,
But don’t give away my alligator pie.

Dennis Lee is one of Canada’s great gifts to the world. Don’t believe me? Just feast your eyes on this excerpt from Lee’s Wikipedia page:

Lee began writing for children as part of his goal of “Reclaiming language and liberating imagination;” he “tries to free Canadian children from a colonial mentality by creating poems rooted in the words and activities of their everyday lives, poems which encourage free imaginative play.”[1] His most famous work is the rhymed Alligator Pie (1974). He also wrote the lyrics to the theme song of the 1980s television show Fraggle Rock and, with Philip Balsam composing, many of the other songs for that show. Balsam and Lee also wrote the songs for the television special The Tale of the Bunny Picnic. Lee is co-writer of the story for the film Labyrinth.[2]

That’s right folks. Not only did Lee create some of the most beloved Canadian children’s poetry of all time, rooted in a desire to encourage “free imaginative play”, he also helped create both Fraggle Rock and Labrynth. The man is pretty much a genius.

In all seriousness, though, the children’s poem Alligator Pie is without a doubt one of the most famous and beloved poems the country has ever produced. It’s weird. It’s wacky. It really doesn’t make any sense. And yet I remembered each word from that first stanza, despite not having heard or really thought about the poem for years.

This is definitely a Canadian poem, though I suppose I could begrudgingly admit that some Americans might be moved by the reference to a hockey stick.

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Yes indeed – this child so loves alligator soup that they are willing to sacrifice their hockey stick for it. That is some powerful love right there, a love even stronger than that of hockey.

Alligator Pie beautifully sums up Lee’s passion for “creating poems rooted in the words and activities of their everyday lives, poems which encourage free imaginative play.” The words are silly, fun and imaginative. They reference objects that children would be familiar with, and which would have meaning to them – a hockey stick, a hoop, a furry hat (hello winter…) and a show – real objects that kids can see, touch, experience. Lee blends the madcap with the mundane, bringing a bit of nonsensical whimsy into our everyday lives.

This isn’t Poetry with a capital P in the classical, or as Lee might say colonial sense. It isn’t elitist, obscure, undecipherable or remote. This is fun, silly, lighthearted and yet very much real and rooted in every day experiences and realities. This is poetry that is meant to be enjoyed, shared, loved and remember. It’s poetry that makes poetry approachable, and demystifies the experience.

For all these reasons and so many more, Dennis Lee’s Alligator Pie is a Canadian poetry classic that transcends generations.

Join the Poetry Friday community to share your love of poetry!