Painting in the library, or, Fortune Favours the Bold

As part of an Early Reader Book Club the group read Squish: Super Amoeba, by Jennifer and Matthew Holm.

Squish

Our book club meetings usually include an informal discussion and some themed activities. Since this was our last meeting I wanted to do something a bit special, and a bit out of the ordinary.

The answer? Paint.

Like many individuals who work with children, I’m afraid of paint. Paint gets everywhere. On kids. On clothes. On furniture. And in a library, on books. Paint is scary.

But, fears are meant to be challenged and thus overcome. So, I ventured on to Pinterest in search of painting activities that I could connect with our theme.

Sufficepaint1.jpg to say there’s a severe dearth of amoeba-related children’s craft activities out there on the internet.

I managed to find a few “germ” related activities (by the way, while I appreciate proper hygiene, I think we might be raising a generation of overly-paranoid germaphobes with some of these classroom activities….) that I thought I could adapt to make them amoeba-related, especially this one: blow painted germs. Kids use straws to blow water-thinned paint and create abstract designs.

To create our “amoebas”, the children traced their hands on pieces of paper to create amoebas like “Pod”, and traced their socked feet to paint3create amoebas like “Peggy”, while Squish we would simply draw free-hand in a cloud-like shape.

My coworker and I covered every inch of the children’s tables in newspaper. Now this part is key : DO NOT RELINQUISH CONTROL OF THE SOURCE OF PAINT. I carefully rationed out small amounts of paint to each child, which I think helped keep the mess making to a minimum, as each painter had a controlled amount with which to create.

I did this program with a group of 8 children, aged 7-8 years old, and it went smashingly. I made sure to tell the group that I was trusting them with potentially messy paint because I knew that they were grown-up enough to respect themselves, their space and each other. I wanted to set them up for success, rather than threaten them with potential punishment.

When it comes to paint, fortune favours the bold, so give it a go!

April Book Club : “The Cuckoo’s Calling”

Not only do I enjoy cardigans, tea, cats, and knitting, I am also a member of a book club, which probably does little for my “coolness” factor, but seems to fit the profile of a librarian quite nicely. I have been participating in a local book club for several months, and I highly enjoy this monthly social meeting of fellow book enthusiasts.

This month we read “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith, aka, J.K. Rowling, aka the lady who wrote the Harry Potter series.

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

The reviews for this book are mixed at best, alternatively hailing it as terrific (Chicago Tribune), flawed (NY Times), or middling (NPR).

cuckoo

I actually enjoyed this book considerably more than I thought I would. Full disclosure time – I was never a Harry Potter fan. I know, I know –  a children’s librarian who isn’t a Harry Potter fan?! I read a lot of fantasy, so it wasn’t the subject matter I struggled with, I just never connected with Rowling’s writing style. For this reason I didn’t expect to enjoy Rowling’s foray into adult crime fiction, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. “The Cuckoo’s Calling” isn’t groundbreaking fiction, but it is an entertaining read, which is sometimes all you’re looking for in a novel.

Would I recommend this book to others? Sure, particularly to fans of traditional gumshoe detective fiction. The characters are likeable, the plot isn’t too complicated, the ending has a bit of a twist, and the story moves along at a good pace. If you’re looking for something entertaining to help pass the time on the train to work, you could certainly do worse.