Monday, March 31, 2008

What color nose does a green mouse have?

It's these deep philosophical questions that make it so great to be a children's librarian. Well, that and the fact that we got to answer reference questions while "testing" out the masks! (They work!)

We use many different materials in our storytelling. Here we are preparing animal masks for the audience to use in our April 10 "One Book, Every Young Child" program, a statewide initiative to highlight the importance of early literacy development in preschoolers. This year the One Book committee has chosen Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres.

You can come and help us have fun! The program starts at 11am. Registration is important (and required), so please give us at a call at 412-622-3122 or send email to

Day: Thursday

Date: April 10

Time: 11am

Cost: Totally free!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's another Community Event: Biggest Bedtime Story

Here's another one to put on your family's calendar! And it's free!


The Petersen Events Center - University of Pittsburgh
Saturday, April 5, 2008
5:30 - 7:00 pm

Join READ! 365 as we kick off the Month of the Young Child.

Listen to Mr. McFeely (Mister Rogers' Neighborhood) and Michelle Wright (WTAE-TV) read bedtime stories about how to get from "here to there." And Kiya Tomlin (mother of three and wife of Steeler Coach T) will delight the audience with her kids' favorite I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track. Sonji, a Pittsburgh favorite, will lead a rousing sing-a-long featuring the best songs about trains, boats and planes from the collection of Woody Guthrie and Burl Ives. Other surprises (Sesame Street's very own Grover is coming - but don't tell), gift books (Borders), and of course, milk and cookies. Free and open to the public

Hey kids! Wear your PJs!

For more information please call 412-361-8560.

Click here for directions to the Petersen Events Center and parking information. Free parking is available at the "OC" lot (upper left corner of map).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I wrote a children's book. Now what do I do?

We are super lucky to have Rebecca O'Connell on our staff! She's one of our librarians and she's also a published author! Who better to answer our question "I wrote a children's book. Now what do I do?" In this video, she tells you about three books that helped her through the process of having her work published.

It’s a Bunny-eat-bunny World by Olga Litowinsky

Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books by Harold Underdown

You Can Write Children’s Books by Tracey Dils

Rebecca will also be one of the featured speakers at the 12th Annual Children's Literature Conference at the University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg on Friday, May 2, 2008.

Hot off the Presses! New Preschool Bingo dates!

Hey everyone! We've got more dates for you to come to Preschool Bingo.

April 2: 2pm
April 22: 7pm

May 4: 2pm
May 20: 7pm

June 1: 2pm
June 17: 7pm

July 6: 2pm
July 15: 7pm

Come and play with us!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Do you love children's literature? Put this on your calendar!

Three great children's authors will be presenting:
Jack Gantos, Megan McDonald (who used to work here at our library!) and Rebecca O'Connell (who works here at our library right now!!)
Here's what the conference organizers thought you might like to know:
Save the Date! Friday, May 2nd, 2008

You are cordially invited to attend the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg's 12th Annual Children's Literature Conference. This year's event will be held on Friday, May 2nd, 2008. The one day event runs from 8:15am-3:30pm and includes a hot buffet lunch and a free book signing with all of the authors in attendance.
This year we will hear from Newbery Honor Award winning author Jack Gantos (“Joey Pigza” “Rotten Ralph,” “Hole in My Life”), multiple award winning author Megan McDonald ("Judy Moody,” “Stick,” “American Girl”), and author and librarian Rebecca O’Connell (“The Baby Goes Beep,” “Myrtle of Willendorf,” “Penina Levine is a Hard-Boiled Egg”). We are also pleased that all of our featured speakers have local ties: Jack Gantos (ex-Mt. Pleasant), Megan McDonald (ex-Pittsburgh), and Rebecca O’Connell (Pittsburgh).
As always, we have a bunch of wonderful breakout sessions. From creating story writing contests, to classroom fun with field guides, to discovering the current trends in children's book publishing, this year's Children's Literature Conference has something both entertaining and valuable for everyone. To learn more about this year's upcoming conference and our speakers, please visit our NEW website:

Registration is now open and if you register for the conference by Saturday, March 31st, you will get $10.00 off the regular registration price of $70.00. So, don't delay!!
The Children's Literature Conference is both Act 48 and Act 37 approved.
If you have any questions, please contact us: or call 724-836-7159

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mmmm! Library Soup!

We made some delicious chicken soup at the library! Who says too many cooks spoil the soup? We had 15 chefs helping with ingredients and stirring and eating because our soup was so good!

How did we make soup with 15 kids? The children sat in chairs in a semi-circle around the cooking area. They each got to choose a letter that corresponded with the first letter in the name of one of the ingredients. (That bright green sign is the ingredients list). All of the ingredients sat on a book truck. When it came time for an item, I would say (for example) "I need some oil!" and Laurel would say "Does anyone have an O?" The children checked their letters and raised their hands if they had the letter. Hmm... it's sort of like Soup Bingo! I wonder what you could spell out with the letters? We definitely need more vowels!

Here's the basic recipe:

1-2 T oil
1/2 cup of onion, diced (we used frozen, pre-chopped)
1 cup of potatoes, diced (we diced them fresh in the morning. You can sometimes find this frozen)
1/2 cup of carrots (we used bagged, pre-shredded from the produce aisle)
1 cup of diced chicken (we used frozen pre-grilled strips)
1 cup of peas (frozen)
1 cup of corn (frozen)
1 bay leaf
2 boxes of chicken broth

As for the method, all you really have to do is sautee the raw onion, potatoes, and carrots in the oil. After that, it's a matter of adding the other ingredients and simmering until the potatoes get cooked through. The longer you sautee them and the smaller you dice them, the faster it will go for you. We started this around 11am and ate around 12noon. So, after you get things going you can tell or read a couple of stories.

After the stories, we did something similar with setting the table. The children sat in the semi circle again, chose letters again, and set the table. T was for tablecloth, S was for spoon, etc.

Tips for doing this in your library or daycare:

1) We used an electric skillet. That makes it easy to put it on a cooking surface of your choice and the children can see it easily.

2) When it comes to ingredients, there are lots of pre-prepped items to be found in the freezer section. For example, the onions. No dicing! No crying! We also used pre-grilled chicken strips for the meat.

3) Before you put in any of the vegetables to sautee, have the children return to their seats. The moisture in the vegetables may cause the oil to spatter.

4) After sauteeing the onions, I turned down the heat to reduce the oil from spattering out. Then the children could come up by twos or threes to have a look.

5) adding the salt to the onions, potatoes, and carrots helps draw out the moisture early on in the sauteeing process.

6) If you need or want more ingredients, you could consider canned cannelini beans, green beans, canned diced tomatoes, cooked rice, cooked noodles, just about anything.

7) If you need or want a vegetarian soup, you can use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and leave out the chicken strips.

No matter what, they'll love it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Yes! Babies read books!

Well, technically you read the books to the babies... but that is how they learn! There are many wonderful books for babies, and Rebecca O'Connell, one of our librarians (and a published author of a particularly great book for babies!) has four to tell you about in her video. Her book and some of the other she talks about are on the Beginning with Books Center for Early Literacy's list of Best Books for Babies.

Below are the books that Rebecca talks about. Come to the library and check them out!

Jiggle Joggle Jee by Laura Richards

I Kissed the Baby! by Mary Murphy

Only You by Robin Cruise

The Baby Goes Beep by Rebecca O'Connell

Rebecca will also be one of the featured speakers at the 12th Annual Children's Literature Conference at the University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg on Friday, May 2, 2008.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tell a story at home! It's the Enormous Turnip!

Miss Julie has created beautiful felt figures for telling the story "The Enormous Turnip" I took photos of them, in story sequence, and we made a slideshow so that it is like a stop motion animation. It's on the right hand sidebar, where it will stay, and you can click on it any time! If you click on it more than once, you'll get to a larger version of it where you can run the slideshow and control the page turning interval yourself.

She found the basic pattern for the figures in The Flannel Board Storytelling Book by Judy Sierra.

Grown ups, you can watch it with the children, who can tell the story along with the animation. Narrative skills are an Early Childhood Key Learning Area as defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

I think that storytelling with a slideshow is a neat idea :) Not only is it fun to watch at home, but we were thinking that if you had a great big group of children to tell a story to, you could use a projector and tell the story that way!
When I was taking the photographs of the felt figures, there were two little girls who were very interested in what I was doing. We talked about it, and as I was at the beginning of the story they helped me to tell it! When it came time to pull the turnip, I would focus the camera and we would all count "1! 2! 3!" and I would snap the picture.

Me: Did he get the turnip?
Them: no!
Me: Who comes next?
Them: The grandma!

and so on. We had fun!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a Puppet Show!

It's a special shadow puppet show!

Join us on Monday, March 17th at 6:30pm for a shadow puppet show! We'll have folk and fairy tales from a very special country... can you guess which one?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Passport to the World: Israel is this Saturday!

Hey Everyone! Join us this Saturday at 2pm for another Passport to the World program!

This Saturday we will visit Israel along with a special guest! Come join us and bring along your library passport. If you haven't been to a PTW program yet, you'll get your passport on Saturday and you can start collecting your stamps!

UPDATE: Miss Julie asked me to mention that the craft will include building a city, and if you can, bring some lightweight recyclable material such as cereal boxes, muffin mix boxes, etc. She said that 2-3 inch sized boxes are especially good. We've already got some materials that practically everybody in the library collected for us. Thanks, everybody!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I can still hear the trolley! I miss you Mr. Rogers!

It's been a long time since I listened to Mr. Rogers singing "Won't you be my neighbor?" But wow! I listened to it this morning and I had to look around me to see where the trolley was! Not only can you read the words on the PBS website, but they also have the recording of the song AND the sheet music! I couldn't believe it! The sheet music!

I have a strong personal fondness for Mr. Rogers. In fact, he's my hero. Many years ago when I used to be a checker at the Food Gallery (it's gone now) he came through my line! I saw him waiting his turn and caught his eye and he gave me a smile. I think that my eyes got really big! I don't quite remember, since from that moment on I was a bit starstruck! Not to mention in a hurry to get everyone else checked through. I was the speediest checker I ever was that day. But just for the people ahead of Mr. Rogers. Because when I got to his order I checked his groceries very, very slowly. He wasn't in a hurry! He stood and listened and smiled and radiated a peaceful friendliness that I can still remember and enjoy. I wish I would have stepped out from behind the conveyor belt and given him a hug. Even though I didn't, I've decided that his smile and his words were warm and huglike, and we can all have that anytime we see his picture, or read his books, or watch his show. I suspect that he was the kind of person who didn't have to meet you first in order to consider you his friend.

I can't speak for him, but I always got the idea that Mr. Rogers loved all his neighbors and felt that everyone he met was a neighbor. But I feel a little extra proud that the library is literally and physically right here in his neighborhood! We are just down the street from where he used to record Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and just down the street from where he used to live!

Mr. Rogers would have been 80 years old this March 20th. To celebrate his life we're participating in offering family activities that are part of "Won't You be my Neighbor?" Days. We're not the only ones with something to offer! The Visit Pittsburgh website has a complete list.

Come to the library on March 18 for our Won't You Be My Neighbor Family Storytime at 6:30. Right here in Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood!

Monday, March 10, 2008

What's it like to be a firefighter?

Inspector McCrea brought this lighter firefighter jacket for us to try. The real firefighter coats are much heavier!

We Love Community Helpers!

So today at storytime we did a little "Behind The Couch Theater" with our gorgeous Firefighter Finger Puppets! One of the firefighters told me that she would rescue me! Thank goodness!

We also sang our brand new song about when you should call 911. Thank you Miss Laurel and Miss Kathy for help with the lyrics! We made this up last week and I think it will be on the Billboard Top Ten any day now!

911 Song (to the tune of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm")

What should you do in an emergency?
Dial 911
If you need some help cause it’s smoke you smell,
Dial 911
With a sniff sniff here and a sniff sniff there,
Here a sniff there a sniff everywhere a sniff sniff
What should you do in an emergency?
Dial 911

What should you do in an emergency?
Dial 911
If you need some help cause someone’s hurt,
Dial 911
With an ouch ouch here and a ouch ouch there,
Here an ouch there an ouch everywhere an ouch ouch
What should you do in an emergency?
Dial 911

What should you do in an emergency?
Dial 911
If you need some help from a friendly cop,
Dial 911
With a help help here and a help help there,
Here an help there a help everywhere a help help
What should you do in an emergency?
Dial 911

What should you do in an emergency?
Dial 911
If you need some help know where you live,
Dial 911
With an address here and an address there,
Here an address there an address everywhere an address
What should you do in an emergency?
Dial 911

Monday, March 3, 2008

We'll Miss you, Miss Elizabeth!

We loved having Miss Elizabeth work with us at the library! When she graduates from library school she'll go back to Trinidad and work in one of the libraries there. We should have a librarian exchange program! For one of the libraries right on the beach!

All in favor say aye!