Saturday, August 30, 2008

Local Author Many Ly

We're so proud of our local authors!

Pittsburgher Many Ly has a new book out.

Roots and Wings is the story of fourteen-year-old Grace. Grace has always longed to visit the Cambodian community in St. Petersburg, FL where her mother grew up. Now she is flying in an airplane with her grandmother's ashes in her lap. Grace and her mom are traveling from Pennsylvania to Florida so that they can give Grace's grandmother a proper Cambodian funeral.

This trip gives Grace the chance to get to know the people who meant so much to her mother and grandmother--friends who were so close they were more like family. But even as Grace is welcomed into the community, she learns some harsh truths about her own family history. Along with Grace, we grieve for her grandmother and feel hopeful for the possibility of renewing family ties. Loving descriptions of Camboidan food and ceremonies add to the appeal of this moving and meaningful book.

Click here to request a copy of Roots and Wings.

Click here to visit Many Ly's website.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Meet Local Authors and Illustrators at the Fred Rogers Center

We're proud of our local authors and illustrators, and in a couple of weeks, there will be dozens of them, all together.

The "Good Books In Your Neighborhood" event at the Fred M. Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College features local authors and illustrators, and it is a chance to see the new center honoring our beloved neighbor, Mister Rogers.

It's on Saturday, Septeber 6, 10:00-2:00. Click here for the brochure.

And click here and here for more books by and about Mister Rogers.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tips on creating flannel board stories

I find that the flannel board is an effective alternate form of storytelling, especially for my young storytime audiences. This method allows me to make eye contact with the children as I tell the story, while the brightly colored felt pieces are attention grabbers. But, you may say, doesn't it take alot of time to cut, glue and assemble all those squiggly little pieces of felt? I won't try and mislead you - making a flannel board story is a labor of love. But here are some tips to make the process less time consuming.

If you haven't discovered Presto Felt, run right out to your local Joann Fabrics and pick up a 9" x 12" sheet, each individually packaged, in a variety of colors! Each piece of felt has a strong adhesive under the peel-away slick paper backing. With Presto Felt you can turn any paper image into an instant felt board piece. Take a simple color image of a duck, perhaps from a clipart collection, cut around the picture leaving a half-inch or so margin, position the picture on the sticky Presto Felt and then cover the duck with laminate. Once you have your 3 layer sandwich (i.e. Presto Felt on the bottom, the picture in the middle and the laminate on top), cut through all layers with good, sharp scissors. I like to use stainless steel nail scissors for the curves and good sewing scissors (like Gingher) for the straight away. Quick, easy and you won't mind having the little ones handle the pieces or put them in their mouths when they help you retell the story! You can easily make replacements.

If you look at the two video clips posted on Story Pockets (The Enormous Turnip and the jataka tale of the Monkey and the Crocodile) you will see more elaborate story pieces, some with embroidered features or beads for eyes. The Presto Felt covers any knots or loose threads on the back and also gives each piece a nice solid feel. If you look carefully at the crocodile, you'll see that he has a wonderful, bumpy reptilian skin. Presto Felt makes embossed felt that was perfect for this project.

I'd be happy to answer any questions and would love to hear about your favorite felt board techniques.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Heard a Good Book Lately?

In September I’ll be hitting the road, headed to a library conference, and am reviewing potential audio books to entertain me on the journey. Listening to a polished narrator read aloud is my favorite way to pass the time while driving. (Bedtime stories excluded: no falling asleep at the wheel for me!) I listen for pleasure as well as to keep up with the many new children’s books that arrive regularly in our Children’s Department. And here’s a housekeeping tip: dishwashing and other chores are less tedious if accompanied by a good story.

The audio book format is popular here at Main Children’s, especially during summer vacation and holiday time. I often recommend audio books to parents who have children who are reluctant or struggling readers. Listening to a fluent reader helps the child develop his or her own fluency and vocabulary. Listening assists in pronunciation, too. I’m a fan of Alexander McCall Smith’s Number One Ladies Detective Agency series and had read quite a few of the books before listening to an audio version. The narrator, a native South African, set me straight on the pronunciation of personal and place names.

The narrator can make a huge difference in how well the story translates to this format. They’re not all Jim Dale, the gifted narrator of the Harry Potter audio books, but so far there have only been one or two narrators who turned me off to the audio version.

Currently I’m listening to Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon (adult title) and have the second in the Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Golem’s Eye by Jonathan Stroud (children’s book) lined up to listen to next.

Now it’s your turn. What audio books (children’s or adult titles) do you recommend I listen to while driving across the Great Plains?

Monday, August 18, 2008

They never did tell us who the Reading Bug was!

Wow, did we have a busy summer. So busy that I am behind on posting photos of our SRC prize winners! We've had a lot of fun with our theme of "Catch the Reading Bug" and children are still coming in and asking for books on bugs!

Everyone did a great job over the summer, and now it looks like kids are bringing in their required reading lists to get ready for school. We're really proud of everyone for all their great reading! I hope that your kids had a fun time. I only heard one complaint: "They never did tell us who the Reading Bug was!"

Awesome job, Isaac!

Way to go Paul!

Congratulations Gabby!

Local authors Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed

We're proud of our local authors!

Pittsburghers Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed have a new book out.

In Four Feet, Two Sandals, ten-year-old Lina has not worn shoes in two years. Clothing and shoes are in short supply at the refugee camp where she lives. When relief workers bring a truck of clothing, Lina finds a sandal that fits her just right. Then she finds the other sandal, and it is on the foot of Feroza, whose feet are cracked and swollen from her long trek to the refugee camp. "What good is one sandal for two feet?" asks Feroza in the story. Read this book to find out.

Click here to request your copy of Four Feet, Two Sandals.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Oprah teams up with the American Library Association!

Our friend Carrie from Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures Black, White, and Read All Over author series forwarded this to me:

"I was checking out Oprah’s new kids reading list, developed with the help of ALA, and Katherine Ayres’ picture book Up, Down and Around is the featured book for Ages 3-5. "

Katherine Ayres' book was the 2008 selection for Pennsylvania's One Book, Every Young Child program. And she's from Pittsburgh!

Click here to check out the Kid's Reading List on Oprah's Book Club.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Guess what we saw at the library today!

So, the first thing that I should tell you is that I (almost) always have my camera with me. Something interesting is always happening and I love to take photos. Well, I wasn't disappointed this afternoon!
The fire alarm went off earlier, on this most wonderful not-too-hot-not-too-cold sunshiny day. Everyone was in a good mood, strangers made friends, and someone remembered to bring a football during the evacuation. A couple of the teen librarians started up a game of catch and pretty soon several people joined in and that football was flying around. But when the football flew up into a tree with a pigeon in its talons, I had to take a second look.
It was a raptor! Some sort of a hawk? It was way up in that sycamore tree, firm grip on its lunch while about 50 people stood down on the ground looking up at it with their hands shading their eyes. It was such a surprising sight to see in the middle of our busy Oakland that several of us stayed to observe it.
Do you know what kind of bird this urban hunter is? Please leave a comment - we'd all love to know!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Local Author Arlene Morris-Lipsman

We're proud of our local authors!

Pittsburgher Arlene Morris-Lipsman has a new book out.

Presidential Races: The Battle for Power in the United States brings history to life. In the early days of the United States, active campaigning by a presidential candidate was thought to be undignified. Candidates' friends and supporters gave speeches and wrote testimonials, but the candidates themselves did not campaign. How things have changed! Arlene Morris-Lipsman takes us through the ups and downs of historical presidential races. She lets us get to know the candidates and their running mates. She shows us what was behind political slogans and campaign strategies. Perfect reading for this election year.

Click here to request a copy of Presidential Races: The Battle for Power in the United States.