#IMWAYR -Aug 15, 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.

I actually didn’t do that much reading this week – life got pretty busy, and I was just too tired to do anything but zonk out on the couch in front of the TV (what can I say, there are FIVE different Star Trek series on Netflix at the moment). I did manage to do a little bit of reading this week, though!

I shared another entry in my Beautiful British Columbia : A Reading Staycation series, taking a look at a British Columbian novel that was a staple in high school language arts classes when I was a teenager – Joy Kogawa’s Obasan.

Interestingly enough, Joy Kogawa’s childhood home has been turned into a venue for literary events, and is located just a few blocks from the library where I’m currently working. The house offers tours, programs, and writing residencies – definitely worth looking into if you’re going to be in the Vancouver area.

I also read Otter Goes to School, a sweet little picture book about an otter who starts a make-believe school for her stuffed toys, only to find that being a teacher can be a pretty tough job. With teachers everywhere either heading back into the classroom or counting down the weeks until September, this is a very timely, gently reassuring story.

As part of Australia month over on The Book Wars I dove into Hello Baby!, a delightful animal-themed picture book from Mem Fox, one of early literacy’s most passionate advocates. While researching the book I discovered that Mem Fox actually grew up in Africa, living in several different countries with her missionary parents. Fox he was born and later settled in Australia, which is the subject of many of her books, but Hello Baby! draws from her memories of a childhood in Africa.

at the beach

I also took a look at At The Beach, a picture book all about the traditional Aussie beach holiday. Did you know that there are no privately owned beaches in Australia? The ocean is such an intrinsic part of Australian culture and national identity that there is a strong commitment to ensuring that beaches remain open to the public for everyone’s enjoyment. There’s a lot of detail on each spread of this book, sort of in the spirit of Where’s Waldo, and kids can really explore all the little surprises in each illustration.

The Lady of the Rivers: A Novel (Cousins War Series) by [Gregory, Philippa]

In terms of adult reads, I finished off another Philippa Gregory novel, The Lady of the Rivers. I devour these books like popcorn – in many ways they’re romance novels with airs, cloaking themselves the more dignified title of historical fiction. There’s no doubt that Gregory packs a lot of research into each novel, though I’m sometimes uncomfortable with the way she blurs the realms of narrative historical nonfiction and historical fiction. One of my major gripes with Gregory is that her novels are typically expansive in their time frames – we often follow a character from childhood all the way to middle age or beyond. This in itself isn’t a problem, except for the fact that the novels aren’t particularly long, meaning that a lot of (turbulent) time  is squished into one novel. We don’t really get a chance to get to know the characters all that well, and significant historical events are often given a single page or two of attention, when any one of them could be meaty enough to carry an entire novel. Still, they’re easy, breezy and fun to read, and they get me through my mind-numbing commutes intact. This one wasn’t necessarily my favourite Gregory novel to date, but it was just the sort of low-impact read my exhausted brain needed.

So, what’s everyone been reading this week?


Family Story Time – March 27, 2015

So, after the brief interlude that was spring break, we’re back to massive story times again. We ended up having to turn almost 20 people away from our story time because we were just too full. Thank goodness for my voice amplifier, I don’t think I’d be able to continually make myself heard over the crowd, week after week.

I tried out a new-to-me story this week, Two Little Monkeys by Mem Fox, and the kids seamed to enjoy it. I might suggest that it’s a good choice for early on in the program, when the kids are at their most attentive and least wiggly. I don’t think this would have flown quite as well later in the program, as there aren’t as many opportunities for audience participation. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty using Pete the Cat in story times, it feels like a bit of a librarian cop out, but when you have a large group of wiggly toddlers and preschoolers, the simple story, catchy, repetitive refrain and opportunities for participation really come in handy. We had a lot of excited counters in the audience today, and they loved helping me with each POP!

I also had some requests from the gallery today. I wasn’t planning on doing The Wheels on the Bus, but several of the kids asked for it, and I was happy to oblige. Sometimes it’s better to just go with the flow! We also added dinosaurs to our repertoire of animals who wake up in the morning, thanks to an enthusiastic audience request, which was a lot of fun!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Two Little Monkeys / Mem Fox


Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • When cows wake up in the morning
  • Wiggle your fingers
  • Open-shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons / Eric Litwin


Action Songs

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom zoom
  • Twinkle twinkle little star
  • The wheels on the bus
  • The elevator song

Soothing songs:

  • Mm-ahh went the little green frog (with puppet!)
  • Orca whale

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

I’m also embracing puppets, slowly but surely. I’ve been introducing a different puppet friend and related song each week (I’ll start repeating them soon, we don’t have a huge puppet collection at the branch), and it’s been a lot of fun! I don’t think I’m brave enough for felt stories yet though…..!