Category Archives: Coolest Things

The Coolest Things I Saw on the Internet This Week

Between reaching 5,000 Facebook members and hosting a splendid Virtual Guerrilla Storytime, we have been having too much fun here at Storytime Underground as of late.



Fun. So many think that is what our jobs are all about. You read books, sing songs, and play all day too right? No? There are struggles everyday concerning work politics, programming disasters, and the importance of your work with early literacy? You are not alone! I think we have all felt that we are misunderstood and not supported. How can we combat/educate those who only recognize the glitter, shakers, and sing-songy tone of our voices?


We fight, push, advocate, throw more glitter, educate, and continue to improve.


Some will liken us to superheroes that have a fully stocked utility belt with all the literacy answers. I personally prefer ninja, but I digress. This week, I have read and reread this line from the ALSC blog: “if we position ourselves as superheroes, doesn’t it follow that we assume library users are victims who need saving?”. Yes, we are supremely amazing, but I know that I do not have all the answers. We Don’t Need to be Superheroes! Instead, let’s try to be peers to our communities full of experts.


If you somehow missed the glorious Virtual Guerrilla Storytime last week, go find it on Twitter and Facebook! For a more traditional read, head to Library Village and check out this Guerrilla Storytime Recap from the 2015 OLC Convention and Expo!


Yes, many of us get to read children’s books while at work and it is lovely. However, staying on top of what is new can be daunting. Jbrary links to 10 fantastic resources for collection development in their We’ll Link to That series.


While you are busy improving your skills, why not work to empower the kiddos? Allow them to say no with a little guidance from Jenni Frencham. Learn more about problematic trust from Amy Koester and think about ways you can impact the choices available to children. Join Lisa Kropp in pushing caregivers for more bedtime stories!


Of course, still do the parts of your job that make you happy.


Play with the babies! Brooke talks about her bubble wrap wall and more.


Turn that Storytime music way up! Kendra shares her favorite jams.


Do something out of the box like Stephanie Prato and enhance your Storytime with sounds!


Shake those shakers with Liz Fraser’s tips!


What are you waiting for? Get to it!



The Coolest Things I Saw on the Internet This Week

I’m skipping the preamble this month and getting right to it: check out these cool (and thought-provoking) things:


Deb Reese has this important post about what Meg Rosoff said this week about diverse books. She also includes links to responses by others. Here’s also a post by the original blogger, Edi Campbell, to whom Rosoff said these things, in her own words. READ THIS.


Related, Roxanne Feldman took a look at her own progression in judging “diversity books.” Lots of food for thought here.


Interested in learning about 1000 Books Before Kindergarten? I know I sure am! Our friend Marge is giving a FREE webinar next week to help you learn what you need to know!


Marge also posted an homage to small libraries and the people that work in them as well as the recent ARSL conference.


One of my most favorite librarians in the entire world (and monthly lunch date – lucky me!) Mel posted this extremely useful roundup of research around Print Awareness and how we can be mindful of encouraging it in storytime.


Miss Meg made the CUTEST. FELT. VEGGIES. EVER. Like, EVER. I am totally stealing her designs and making my own. The song is awesome too.


Miss Meg, and our own Joint Chief Holly, also started Maker Monday. If you’re interested in all-things-maker-related (for kids of all ages), head on over and check it out!


Betsy Bird (Fuse #8) has started writing about finding children’s literature in unexpected places. This is so fun and now I want to read all these books! Where have you found references to children’s lit?


Are you being a media mentor to your families? Perhaps you can recommend some of these autumn-appropriate apps and websites. Maybe at your leaf-rubbing program? While singing one of Jbrary’s favorite fall songs?


The Coolest Things I Saw on the Internet This Week

This week, I am in state conference mode! On one hand, I am super anxious for my first ‘real’ library presentation and the other hand is jazzy because I get to meet fellow Joint Chief Kendra in person! I am also trying to gather items for my mom’s garage sale, putting together nursery furniture, planning next week’s Storytimes, and hitting the homework pretty hard. Life can be hectic everyone. I am sure you knew that.




So, what keeps me going? Besides chocolate, I love the satisfaction my work brings me. One baby smile during The Elevator Song is enough good vibes to carry me through even the worst day.


Babies are pretty miraculous, but, as Matthew Melmed so elegantly put, they can be total underdogs. I know, or at least strongly hope, we all want to see babies thrive, but are we doing everything we can as a nation? I think not. We must invest in the babies!


I had no doubt, but did you know that babies totally know when they are skyping?



A majority of how we interact with babies in the library focuses on educating the caregiver. I am loving the Early Literacy Around the House series over at Storytime Secrets. The latest was all about the washing machine and I can’t wait to share the tip of sorting clothes with my toddler group next week!


Another great family tip? The Fayetteville Free Library featured a wonderful new program this summer that encouraged families to PLAY OUTSIDE.


What else got me forcing myself out of bed this week?


This article telling me that language acquisition may be the answer for closing the achievement gap.


The feeling of relief Abby gave me in knowing that everything is not going to be perfect.


The joy I felt when my husband’s favorite podcast talked about the science of Storytime.


I may stay in bed with the thought that the holiday season is on its way. Your Joint Chiefs know there will inevitably be more discussions on to holiday or not to holiday in your library. This Lisa Nowlain cartoon sums the discussion up in a beautiful and charming way.


What is fueling you this week?

The Coolest Things I Saw on the Internet This Week

This week at work I am, in between working on a final grant report, gearing up to host an “exhibit” at TedxMileHigh (Denver’s independent Tedx event). The theme this year is “Ideas at Play,” and so a coworker and I are, naturally, going to encourage visitors to…play! We’re bringing some of the early literacy “play and learn” kits we use in our libraries as well as some of the older kid STEM ready-made activities we have, and encourage the grown ups to use them. We’ll meanwhile be bombarding them with info about the importance of play and early learning (especially) and how caring adults can play a vital role (and corgis with BB8s).


Naturally I’ve been reading a lot of stuff on the subject to pull out a few key talking points. Lucky me – a lot of interesting articles about cool (and not-so-cool) happenings around play have come out in recent weeks!


This Washington Post article ties the increase in sensory issues in preschoolers with the decline of play. Choice quotation:

Preschool years are not only optimal for children to learn through play, but also a critical developmental period. If children are not given enough natural movement and play experiences, they start their academic careers with a disadvantage. They are more likely to be clumsy, have difficulty paying attention, trouble controlling their emotions, utilize poor problem-solving methods, and demonstrate difficulties with social interactions. We are consistently seeing sensory, motor, and cognitive issues pop up more and more in later childhood, partly because of inadequate opportunities to move and play at an early age.

The Huff Post has this great article on the importance of imaginative play, specifically, and some great tips for parents on how to encourage it – at every age. How’s this for a good reason to play? “This is the magical thinking of childhood that helps the brain develop creativity. This creativity, if allowed to blossom, is the same creativity that helps the scientist discover new cures for diseases, companies to come up with the next technological advances and inventions, and leaders to move their countries into peace.” MORE MAGICAL THINKING, SAY I!



NAEYC has “10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Play.” My favorite is #6: “Play and learning go hand-in-hand. They are not separate activities. They are intertwined. Think about them as a science lecture with a lab. Play is the child’s lab.” GREAT analogy!


Here’s an NPR interview with Dr. Dana Suskind of the Thirty Million Words project.


And here’s an interview with the guy who scanned preschooler’s brains while they were hearing stories and gave us some visual, concrete proof that reading aloud grows brains and future reading skills.


Have you all seen the new blog Reading While White (thanks, Cory, for pointing me to it!)? In their (well, in Allie Jane Bruce’s) own words, the blog hopes to consider big questions, such as: “What advantages do White adults in the field of children’s literature experience?  From what are we exempt?” and “By what mechanisms does Whiteness dominate in children’s literature, and why are these mechanisms so often invisible to us White people?” Those are some challenging, but very important, questions, and it will be interesting and thought-provoking (and hopefully discussion-provoking and introspection-provoking) to read the next posts.


Where the magic happens indeed: “Children’s illustrators open up their studios – in pictures.” Featuring Oliver Jeffers and Hervé Tullet.


In the realm of “gosh I wish my sewing skills were better” there’s the new line of Knuffle Bunny fabrics.  I’ve made a couple of skirts, but they were wonky. Maybe if I used Ed Emberley’s scribble fabric, nobody would notice the wonkiness.


Finally, thanks to fellow Joint Chief Soraya, I am aware that there are videos of frolicking goats in jammies. EVERYONE needs to know about frolicking goats in jammies.

The Coolest Things I Saw on the Internet This Week

Ahh! I am so excited to be posting my first Coolest Things ya’ll! I really hope I can live up to the supreme awesomeness bestowed upon me.


For those of you that don’t know, 2 of your SU Joint Chiefs, our fantasmagoric Cory and ordinary me, are building tiny baby ganoushes at this very moment. To say that we are a little baby cray in the Underground would be a gross underestimate. Being baby crazy is easy to do when you are a Storytime ninja, but it can have its downsides. I now visually inspect every piece of baby gear that enters my library and judge my future motherhood on how much the babies like me.


Needless to say, I wanted to step up my baby Storytime game. Jbrary to the rescue with the latest post in their Baby Storytime series: Focus on Newborns!


There are 3 reasons I have fallen in love with this Dad’s letter to his newborn.


1. His daughter. Her name is Matilda and she is just beyond delightful.
2. The descriptive language he uses to describe books includes: “chunky things,” “valuable,” and “the itch in your feet.”
3. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t read a particular kind of book.” If you are anything like me, you cringe when a child is told that they can’t read ‘girl’ books or that they need to check out a ‘real’ book.


Kristy Sharpe Pasquariello asked our Facebook community if a kidlit focused podcast existed in the world and I had to chime in with the Let’s Get Busy Podcast! Each week Matthew Winner, an elementary school librarian, interviews an author, illustrator, or other kidlit notable about books, their lives and the publishing process. I fangirl on the regular with this one.


Head over to Literary Commentary for Kim’s Guerrilla Storytime recap from the Ohio Library Council Children’s and Teen Conference. My favorite? This tip to incorporate different languages into Storytime: “Sing a song in a different language and let the kids guess the name of the song.” Brilliance!


You may have noticed an offering from Dawn Prochovnic for a Sing, Sign & Storytime online class offering on the Facebook page. She is offering our community a chance to be beta testers (with a $15 contribution to the Children’s Book Bank in Portland). Click here for more info and to pre-register.


Being unhappy at work just plain sucks. People often think that our jobs consist of playing with kids and reading books all day which can make us feel incapable of talking about patriarchy, salary issues, or the lack of recognition we may be facing. Thank goodness for the recent SAA Conference tweets that introduced this girl to LIS Microaggressions. We must acknowledge to overcome.


The Joint Chiefs have been discussing happiness a lot lately and many of those chats involve locale and culture. How much of your job happiness depends upon the place you live? Can a perfect job be ruined by a lack of local restaurants? (I have a love/hate relationship with my current suburb situation) Cue Claudia Wayland’s post on the ALSC blog: Tips When Changing Jobs. The tips focus more on organizing a mood, but it got us thinking.


Yes, we get unhappy sometimes. There is still stuff that makes us smile:


This Colombian garbage collector rescues children’s books from the trash.


Schools trying new ways to promote literacy and movement.


Bedtime Stories = Brain Activation


Librarians are how libraries speak.


I will leave you with some Jazzy Ash to carry you through till next time ninjas (and ninjas in training).