Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Life As A Fractured Fairy Tale

Tonite at RML we hosted "Once Upon A Time" - fractured fairy tales and a cool photo session where we put our costumed young patrons into their favorite fairy-tale themed settings, with help from our resident photographer Heidi and a green screen of course.  This event was in cooperation with the Marlborough Education Foundation's "unplugged" week of events.
Ms. Patty sharing fractured fairy tales with the wee townsfolk

After reading some fractured fairy tales myself, I started thinking how this whole day was sort of my life's version of a fractured fairytale.  Here's how:

Awesome library princess (that's me) drives into work today, listening to NPR's John Dankosky broadcast from the CT Library Association's annual conference. (I didn't go this year, but was there in spirit). Not long after arriving at work, cool guy patron with his awesome wife and child comment on said broadcast, saying that while he is not a librarian himself, he listened to the whole thing and just loves libraries. GREAT WAY TO START MY FAIRYTALE DAY!
Later that day, trusty sidekick Ms Patty arrives, and we slay some library dragons (ok, we actually solved an online registration problem, lamented how we had once again scheduled too many things for the month, and did our usual chores at the castle.)
After hooking up some patrons with awesome books (except for maybe the one girl who really needed to re-think that research project first), we head off to the ball (ok, the program) and tell tales to the smallish members of the kingdom.
Enter, the evil Heidi, (she's not really evil, but we need a villain) who has camera problems that are threatening to bring the whole program to a halt!!!!!
Now enter the knight in shining armor, (my husband in his black minivan) who delivers my camera to the Library after riding his horse through the rough terrain of the woods (rt 2) 25 minutes each way. (Normally, I don't love it when the princess is rescued by the knight, but in this case it's okay).
The program is a success, and the townsfolk are a happy lot.
Ms Patty and I stay late closing up the castle, and after putting my dwarfs to bed, I end up here on my royal couch, eating a salad with likely-expired dressing for dinner.
That is my fractured fairy tale of a life. And I'm okay with that.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Funny Friday

This made me laugh, so it qualifies for a Funny Friday. Maybe it's because my daughter came back from camp 2 years ago singing this song, with the lyrics changed to "aayyy, o, we are the mangoes" and has forever stuck in my brain. 
Or maybe because I recently checked out the new Lego Discovery Center in Westchester, NY and  have Lego people on the brain. My kids had a great time, and I know sooo many of our young library users are Lego fanatics, so I'm giving them a shout-out today.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What Now?

Now that our formal registration storytimes have wrapped up, you may be asking:
 "What are Ms Patty and Ms Eileen doing NOW?"

So here's a little look at 3 things that are keeping us busy:

1. Things we do all year long that we have to catch up on. This includes everything from weeding out the old, ordering the new, and everything in between!

2. When you stop in next, take a peek in the Storytime room. This time of year, because of our lack of space, it becomes the Book Sale Room. I don't love having our space taken over, but it's a great fundraiser for the Library, so....
 And don't forget, we still have things like Bedtime Stories in May, Lunch Bunch in June, and other programs for children. Check out our calendar!!!

3. Also at this time of year, my office gets filled with all sorts of treats, books, props, etc to gear up for Summer Reading! Here's how my desk often looks:
 I should apologize for my lack of neatness, but I feel okay about it because I know all the lists and emails and books and catalogs help make a great Summer Reading Program! So do forgive, because it's all done with good intention.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day...We Have a Book for That!

Yes, I believe every day should be Earth Day, but I do think this holiday is a nice way to celebrate our great green planet and encourage children to stop and take a look at the wonderful things outside their windows (and computer screens).  So maybe like me, you'll plant some flowers this week with your Girl Scout troop, or take part in a community cleanup. 
Why not take some time to share one or all of these great books with your students or children while you're at it! These books subtly show that you don't have to 'hit' them over the head with the concept of a holiday to show them that loving and appreciating our natural world will make them want to celebrate Earth Day EVERY DAY.

 I ADORE this book by Susan Gal. I've mentioned it before because it is great at combining a story about a family going camping,  a hidden bear who befriends their little toddler, and it uses a ton of prepositions as the family enjoys the outside world. How better to celebrate the Earth than by getting out there!!!

 A non-fiction title that encourages kids to explore their world - go camping - learn to use a compass - learn to identify trees and flowers - it's hands-on and can easily be added to your pack!

If author Grace Lin isn't enough to get you to pick this one up, then how about every kids delight at growing their own food?!!!! It's never too late to learn that food is not created in the grocery store.
It was named a Caldecott honor book for its awesome 'green' illustrations and clever cutouts of all many green-hued things we hold dear - firefly light, the sea, a jungle, lime. We think it works better one-on-one than in storytime, but I have yet to meet a kid who doesn't think it's just cool.
These people don't just talk the talk...can you say 'role model'?
Eco-crafts anyone? If you have kids, you know what they can do with a cardboard box and a toilet paper tube. Add some glue and watch out!

More titles for any day!
The Earth and I by Frank Asch 
The Earth Book by Todd Parr
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
Outside Your Window by Nicola Davies
What Can You Do With an Old Red Shoe?: a green activity book about reuse by Anna Alter
We Planted A Tree by Diane Muldrow

Friday, April 19, 2013

Funny Friday...We all live happily ever after

Every once in a while I read a story that just makes sense.  Example below.

The moral of the story: Sometimes things look bad but we can all live happily ever after.  

(Image courtesy of buzzfeed)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Talkin' Poetry With Pegi Deitz Shea!

I'm very excited to present our first Guest Interview here on our blog! In honor of National Library Week & National Poetry Month, we are talking with author, educator, and
 CT resident,
 Pegi Deitz Shea!

 You may know her from such great books as:

 But we are here to talk POETRY today!

Q: You've written historical fiction, YA, biography, picture book (wow!) Do you write poetry?

A: I began my “career” writing verse for my family and friends way back when I was 8 (1968). I won my first contest in 5th grade—a whopping prize of $2. At my Rutgers Commencement (1982), I won the Evelyn Hamilton Award for Creative Writing—another whopping prize of $35. (I soon learned that writing journalism, PR, advertising and books paid better than poetry.) I continued writing and publishing poetry for adults, but it took a back seat once my children’s books took off.

However, my first and third children’s books are poetry. Bungalow Fungalow (Clarion, 1991) is a narrative of poems about a boy’s week with his grandparents at my beloved Jersey Shore. New Moon (Boyds Mills Press, 1997) is a narrative poem, and won the Patterson Prize for poetry in children’s literature. My board book, I See Me, (HarperCollins, 2000) was rhyming verse. So poetry has always been dear to me. In fact, I’m applying for a grant to go to a multi-day poetry workshop to re-ignite my poetry writing for all ages.

Q:  I read on your website that you and your family are big into sports. Have you ever been able to connect your love of sports with poetry, and how?

A: You know what? I haven’t! Thanks for giving me an idea for a new book of poetry! In the ‘90’s when I was just learning to write novels, I wrote a series of girls sports novels called Teammates. Editors liked the books, but didn’t see a market for them. I should dust them off and revise them, because there sure is one now.

Q: I have two children in elementary school, and they do a fair amount of poetry writing, or at least, learning different forms such as haiku, etc. But I think a lot of people lose interest in poetry once they leave school. (I still like to read children's poetry though!) Why do you think that is?

A: Until the Internet and self-publishing recently rejuvenated poetry distribution, poetry was hard to find outside of academia. The small presses have small runs (1000 copies), the major bookstores only stock the “biggies” such as Frost, Angelou, etc. and most poetry events take place in large cities where there is usually a university or two. But creative writing MFA programs have taken off, and I’m glad to see a lot more poetry being written as well as distributed in new ways.

Q: One of the few poems I can recite in full is "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost, solely because I was a tween when the Outsiders movie came out. What is one of your favorite poems and why?

"Charge of the Light Brigade" by Lord Alfred Tennyson

A: When I was a tween, it was “Charge of the Light Brigade!” Which might hint at my pacifist, human rights bent. A much easier question to answer is who are my favorite poets? I was lucky to spend an evening at UCONN (along with other Irish studies folks) talking with Seamus Heaney, who’s delightful on top of being incredibly brilliant. I studied with Alicia Suskin Ostriker and she remains one of my faves. I wrote my honors thesis on H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). I also love the Romantic Period poets: Wordsworth, Coleridge, etc. 

Q: I recently read something on NPR online about the relevance of poetry today, and if it still mattered to today's youth. How do you think poetry can enhance the lives of today's youth? And do you know of any particular online sites or authors that are good for budding poets to check out?

A: We are so lucky to have many fabulous poets for children: Marilyn Nelson, Joyce Sidman (both of whom are friends), Karen Hesse, Jane Yolen. In addition to those below. I’d also like to share the humorous rhyming verse of my fellow writers’ group colleagues, Joan Horton and Janet Lawler. Their books are a hoot!

Q: Will you be carrying around a poem for Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day, and how do you choose?

A: This month, I’m actually carrying umpteen poems in my pockets because I led a poetry writing workshop at Crystal Lake in Ellington. The 4th graders had just completed a unit on slavery, so I researched and selected six poems about it (Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Eloise Greenfield were some) to inspire them. The students blew me and the teachers away with how their poems fused their factual knowledge with their raw emotion of stepping into a slave’s shoes. For the 3rd graders, I found silly ones for them, some Silverstein, Valerie Worth, Prelutsky, Joan Horton.

A HUGE thank you to Pegi Deitz Shea for talking with kids@rml!!!