Top 10 Tuesday: Books for the Beach… or the Back Porch!

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If you’re like me, you love reading on the beach!  (Also if you’re like me, you’re a poor grad school student who must settle for the back porch).  Whether you’re heading for the great outdoors or staying home this summer, make sure to check out this week’s link up at The Broke and the Bookish.

I should preface this post by saying some people like to read dark and scary thrillers by the beach.  I am NOT one of those people!  I like my beach reads to be more lighthearted, heartwarming, and/or humorous and witty.  There’s enough drama and darkness in everyday life without bringing it on vacation!  Without further ado, here’s some of my favorite go-to authors and (in my opinion) their best books to read by the beach:

 

5 Go-To YA Authors:

  • John Green
  • Ann Brashares
  • Sarah Dessen
  • Megan McCafferty
  • Deb Caletti

5 Go-To Adult Authors:

  • Liane Moriarty
  • Jennifer Weiner
  • Erin Hilderbrand
  • Sophie Kinsella
  • Emily Giffin

Agree?  Disagree?  Who’s in your book bucket this summer?

Flannel Friday: Five Hungry Babies

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Thanks Laura for hosting Flannel Friday this week over at Library Lalaland!  After hitting up the round up, don’t forget to check out the Flannel Friday websitePinterest, or Facebook page.

This week our storytime was all about babies!  I was kind of bummed that we missed out on doing this during mother’s day, but it was still a blast.  The preschoolers especially got into this little diddy- which I thought of in the shower while I was hungry for breakfast!  Here goes…

5 hungry babies rolling in the crib (roll hands)

Mama picked up one and put on his bib (pretend to put something over head)

She fed him a bottle and she patted his back (pat knees)

BURP went the baby and then took a nap! (lay hands against face)

repeat with 4, 3, 2, 1

No more hungry babies wanting to be fed.

Mama gave a sigh and tiptoed to bed (creep fingers on knees)

She crawled under the covers and she closed her eyes (lay hands against face)

She started to snore but then a baby cried- WAAAH!

___

Credit: Original

Pattern: click here

Hopefully I’ll see you all tomorrow with the full plan!  (That is, if my mountain of grad school homework doesn’t collapse and kill me first).  Have a great weekend!

Top 10 Tuesday: Time After Time

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I am so excited to link up this week with all the other awesome bloggers for Top 10 Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish!  Part of being a good reader is reflecting.  I admit this is not something I always take the time to do- a lot of times I’m in a hurry to cross a book off my list and move on to the next one.  That’s why I was so excited to have to sit back and do some soul-searching for the link up this week.  Without further ado, here’s the Top 10 Books I feel differently about now that time has passed.

1.  The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I used to love these books.  I still do, for the most part.  But then Lois Lowry released Son, the final dystopian title in the series that started with The Giver.  One of the things that intrigued me the most about the book was that it explores the concept of confronting violence and evil with nonviolence and empathy.  When Son first came out I read an interview given by Lois Lowry about it, and I haven’t been able to shake her words from my mind.

“I thought [The Hunger Games] was well done, but I was troubled by the fact that it was about children killing children. I can’t get past that for some reason. Kids seem to be quite blasé about that, but it seems to indicate something deeply wrong with our culture.”

Definitely changed my perspective a bit!

2.  Lurlene McDaniel

I’m ashamed to say I gobbled her novels up like candy when I was a teenage girl!  Now I know there’s so many better titles out there for teens wanting to read romantic fiction- such as Sarah Dessen, for example.

3.  Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Yes, it’s a wee bit lengthy and the introspection can be a bit over the top, but I really loved this tale of an escaped Australian convict on the run.  Plus it’s full of epic words of wisdom, such as…

“Happiness is a myth.  It was invented to make us buy things.”

So when I saw a sequel was coming, I was understandably excited and nervous.  The Mountain Shadow continues the story but unfortunately not with the same caliber.  It’s not bad, it’s just not nearly as good.  I try to not let its flaws overshadow the first book.  Some days I even succeed!

4.  You by Caroline Kepnes

Why did I read the sequel Hidden Bodies?  You was so different.  It was spooky and special and somewhat beyond words.  In the words of Stephen King,

“Never read anything quite like it.”

You just can’t do something like that twice (no pun intended)!  Unless if you’re J.K. Rowling, of course.  Everyone else needs to stop ruining good things with sequels.

5.  The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

Speaking of authors who actually can write a good sequel or or two or ten, next up is the ultimate saga for serious fantasy fans.  For those who don’t know, Robert Jordan tragically died before he could finish his work and Brandon Sanderson was hired to finish the job.  Now I have nothing against Sanderson, but obviously from that point on it just wasn’t the same.  Now I can’t start reading the series without thinking of the last few books and cringing.

6.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper E. Lee

Yet another situation where I wish I hadn’t read the so-called sequel.  Because it’s really not a sequel.  Go Set a Watchman is more like the very very rough draft of To Kill a Mockingbird.  While it’s pretty fascinating to think about the evolution of a novel from start to finish, Go Set a Watchman pretty much ended my adulation of Atticus and destroyed the dreams of my childhood.

7.  The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer

Just to be clear, I NEVER liked these books!  To be fair, I did try to read them.  Twice.  I always got stuck during New Moon.  By the time Bella threw herself off the cliff to catch her boyfriend’s attention I was pretty ready for her to die, too.  However, my initial dislike has turned into something more like outright disgust/borderline hatred/probably unresonable antipathy as time goes on.  To the point where I’m tempted to forcibly weed them from the library collection.  (I mean, we all know how hard backpacks are on books, right?  It’s entirely plausible for each book in a series to sustain water damage at the same time… darn teenagers!)

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I remember being a teenage girl.  It was hard enough without books like Twilight trying to teach me that my only value lay in having a boyfriend.

*cough* Moving on now…

 

8.  Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

I used to love this book, as I love most everything by Jodi Picoult.  But that was before I was a teacher, before twelve people were murdered while watching a movie less than half an hour away from my workplace, before I married a man in law enforcement and learned more than I ever wanted about crime in America.  While I normally admire Picoult for tackling tough subjects, something about this novel left me feeling like she was cashing in on a controversial subject without due respect and care.  The characters were cliched, the similes felt like they were being pulled from her teeth… not at all up to her usual standard!

9.  The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

If you’ve ever been in education, then chances are you’ve either read or heard about this book.  Talk about a paradigm shift!  This book totally changed the way I taught reading.  I was so excited to see Donalyn Miller one year at a conference… and then… SHE BASHED THE ANIMORPHS SERIES!  Could you do anything worse to a child of the 90’s?!  Needless to say, I took great offense at this slight to my first science fiction love.  As time goes on I still can’t read the book without remembering that terrible moment.  😦

10.  The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

You know, not every impression changes for the worst.  I first tried to pick this tale up in middle school but wasn’t enchanted.  Later when I saw the movie would be coming out, I decided to re-read it and fell absolutely in love.  Plus I wanted to be able to complain to my hubby the whole movie, “That’s now how it was in the book…”

No complaints about the addition of Orlando Bloom, however!  We could all use a little more Legolas in our lives, can’t we?  🙂

Storytime Spotlight: Bears n’ Berries with the Preschool Pack

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I LOVE bears.  There’s so many fun books, songs, rhymes, flannels… and so many different angles you can take!  You can do polar bears, teddy bears, bears in spring, bears hibernating in fall, forest friends… you get the idea.  Since spring has finally come to Colorado (*crosses fingers*) this week I went for what I call a “bears n berries” approach.

Here’s some of the fun books I had ready to read:


Welcome/Opening Songs:

  • I snuck into the story room wearing a fun “explorer” hat and a pair of binoculars.  I tiptoed in, ran behind the flannel board and looked over the top with my binoculars, then whispered “Has anyone seen a bear in here?”  The preschoolers all said no and I asked, “Do you promise?” then stepped out from behind the board.  Then I pointed to the books that were lined up and yelled “Aaah!  I thought you said there weren’t any bears in here!” and they laughed their little heads off over how silly I was.  🙂  After they assured me the bears in the books wouldn’t bite, I popped in the CD and we sang/danced to…
  • If You’re Happy and You Know It- Traditional
  • Shake My Sillies Out- Raffi
  • After singing and dancing we took a bow.  My hat fell off, which the kiddos again seemed to really enjoy.  I’m thinking I might have to make wearing a hat a story time tradition.  🙂

Letter of the Week: R

  • Sing ABC song
  • Find letter R on ABC chart (play hot/cold with pointer)
  • Write letter R in the air and on the ground
  • Give clues/kids guess letter R word pictures
  • Kiss your brain!

Fingerplay: 2 Little Black Bears

At this point I also talked about our ECRR skill, which was writing.  I shared how fingerplays can strengthen fine motor skills children need to write and encouraged the parents to make fingerplays a part of their daily routine, such as at bedtime.  We practiced this one together once, then went and taught our grown ups!  🙂

Two little black bears eating strawberries,

One named Michael and one named Mary.

Run away Michael, run away Mary!

Come back Michael, come back Mary!

___

credit: Sunflower Storytime

Book #1: Spring is Here by Will Hillenbrand

We really enjoyed the actions in this one- especially snoring!  By the end though we definitely had some wiggles, so it was time to go on a bear hunt!

Action Song: Going on a Bear Hunt by Greg & Steve

My favorite version of this song by far.  We stood up and stomped around the room for this one.  After storytime I had a ton of parents asking for the song title/artist, so I knew it was a big hit!

Transition: If You’re Ready for a Story

If you’re ready for a story have a seat,

If you’re ready for a story pat your knees!

If you’re ready for a story, if you’re ready for a story,

If you’re ready for a story look at me!

Do you remember what Bear did when Mole finally woke him up?  That’s right, he ate food!  What do bears like to eat?  That reminds me, I know a finger song about bears and berries!  Can you…

Fingerplay: Pick Berries High (tune of Peas Porridge Hot)

Pick berries high (reach up high)

Pick berries low (reach down low)

Pick berries on the bush, nine in a row (clap 9x)

Some like them red (raise one hand to side palm up)

Some like them blue (raise other hand palm up)

Here’s one for me- yum! (pretend to eat berry)

And here’s one for you (hold out hand)

___

credit: adapted from Artsy Toddler Storytimes

Flannel: Baby Bear’s Big Feast

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As always, this kind of flannel story is a big hit with my preschoolers.  They love helping me with the actions in the story and the twist ending!  I always leave the flannel up afterwards so kids can tell the story again after craft time.  This has helped a lot with the crowding issue at the board- they know it’s my turn now, but they will have their own turn later.

Little Bear and his Mama woke up from their long winter’s nap (stretch and yawn). Little Bear was so hungry his tummy went grumble grumble.  Mama Bear was hungry too, so they stepped outside their cave and looked around.  In the clearing was the tree stump where they always ate their feast.  Little Bear hopped up and sniffed around- sniff sniff sniff.

“Mama, where’s the food?” he asked.  “I’m hungry!”

“We have to go get it, silly,” Mama Bear said.  “Why don’t you go get the blueberries?”

“Okay!” Baby bear jumped down from the stump and ran to the woods (pat knees quickly to imitate running).  He looked high (pretend to look high) and he looked low (pretend to look low).  He looked all around until he thought he saw some blueberries, then he went back.

“Look Mama, blueberries!” he said.

“No Baby Bear,” Mama said, laughing.  “That’s not a blueberry.  That’s a – (pause to let children respond) fish!  This time go past the stream.”

So Baby Bear went running back to the woods again (pat knees).  He looked high (pretend to look high) and he looked low (pretend to look low). He looked all around until he thought he saw some blueberries, then he went back.

“Look Mama, blueberries!” he said.

“No Baby Bear,” Mama said, laughing.  “That’s not a blueberry.  That’s an – (pause to let children respond) orange!  This time go past the stream and the orange tree.”

So Baby Bear went running back to the woods again (pat knees).  He looked high (pretend to look high) and he looked low (pretend to look low). He looked all around until he thought he saw some blueberries, then he went back.

“Look Mama, blueberries!” he said.

“No Baby Bear,” Mama said, laughing.  “That’s not a blueberry.  That’s an – (pause to let children respond) apple!  This time go past the stream, the orange tree and the apple tree.”

So Baby Bear went running back to the woods again (pat knees).  He looked high (pretend to look high) and he looked low (pretend to look low). He looked all around until he thought he saw some blueberries, then he went back.

“Look Mama, blueberries!” he said.

“No Baby Bear,” Mama said, laughing.  “That’s not a blueberry.  That’s a – (pause to let children respond) strawberry!  This time go past the stream, past the orange tree and apple tree, and past the strawberry bushes.”

So Baby Bear went running back to the woods again (pat knees).  He looked high (pretend to look high) and he looked low (pretend to look low). He looked all around until he thought he saw some blueberries, then he went back.

This time he was gone such a long time Mama Bear started to get worried.  But then Baby Bear came back and he said, “Look, Mama, blueberries!  And I found Daddy too!”

“Yes Little Bear, those are blueberries,” Mama Bear said.  “You’re just in time for dinner.  But it looks like Daddy already ate his!”

____

credit: adapted from Ready-To-Go Storytimes by Gail Benton and Trisha Waichulaitis

pattern: available here (note the book also includes a pattern)

I really wanted to squeeze in a second book after the flannel, but by that point we were pretty crunched for time so we jumped right into the craft, which was a…

Craft: Paper Bag Bear Puppet

There’s a variety of free templates for this craft you can find online- the one my coworker picked this week is very similar to this one from East Coast Mommy and turned out super cute!  The kiddos really enjoyed running around the room afterwards.  I may have been mauled by a pack of preschoolers and their bears.


Overall I would give this story time two thumbs up!  I started collecting my storytime resources in Google Sheets as opposed to Excel so I could access them from work and home (yay!) but now they’re significantly less pretty (boo).  If you’re interested, you can download a copy by clicking the image below.  Have a great weekend!

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Flannel Friday: Baby Bear’s Big Feast

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Happy Flannel Friday!  Many thanks to Emily for hosting this week over at Literary Hoots.  (While you’re there, you should definitely check out the rest of her awesome blog)!  You also don’t want to miss the Flannel Friday websitePinterest, or Facebook page.

This week our theme was bears.  The preschoolers have been super into flannel stories lately (especially folk tales and participation tales), so I have been making new sets like crazy.  (Hence why my blueberries are missing the dark blue on top.  Is there anything worse than running out of a color when all the craft stores are closed?!)

Without further ado, here’s my version of “Baby Bear’s Big Feast!”

Little Bear and his Mama woke up from their long winter’s nap (stretch and yawn). Little Bear was so hungry his tummy went grumble grumble.  Mama Bear was hungry too, so they stepped outside their cave and looked around.  In the clearing was the tree stump where they always ate their feast.  Little Bear hopped up and sniffed around- sniff sniff sniff.

“Mama, where’s the food?” he asked.  “I’m hungry!”

“We have to go get it, silly,” Mama Bear said.  “Why don’t you go get the blueberries?”

“Okay!” Baby bear jumped down from the stump and ran to the woods (pat knees quickly to imitate running).  He looked high (pretend to look high) and he looked low (pretend to look low).  He looked all around until he thought he saw some blueberries, then he went back.

“Look Mama, blueberries!” he said.

“No Baby Bear,” Mama said, laughing.  “That’s not a blueberry.  That’s a – (pause to let children respond) fish!  This time go past the stream.”

So Baby Bear went running back to the woods again (pat knees).  He looked high (pretend to look high) and he looked low (pretend to look low). He looked all around until he thought he saw some blueberries, then he went back.

“Look Mama, blueberries!” he said.

“No Baby Bear,” Mama said, laughing.  “That’s not a blueberry.  That’s an – (pause to let children respond) orange!  This time go past the stream and the orange tree.”

So Baby Bear went running back to the woods again (pat knees).  He looked high (pretend to look high) and he looked low (pretend to look low). He looked all around until he thought he saw some blueberries, then he went back.

“Look Mama, blueberries!” he said.

“No Baby Bear,” Mama said, laughing.  “That’s not a blueberry.  That’s an – (pause to let children respond) apple!  This time go past the stream, the orange tree and the apple tree.”

So Baby Bear went running back to the woods again (pat knees).  He looked high (pretend to look high) and he looked low (pretend to look low). He looked all around until he thought he saw some blueberries, then he went back.

“Look Mama, blueberries!” he said.

“No Baby Bear,” Mama said, laughing.  “That’s not a blueberry.  That’s a – (pause to let children respond) strawberry!  This time go past the stream, past the orange tree and apple tree, and past the strawberry bushes.”

So Baby Bear went running back to the woods again (pat knees).  He looked high (pretend to look high) and he looked low (pretend to look low). He looked all around until he thought he saw some blueberries, then he went back.

This time he was gone such a long time Mama Bear started to get worried.  But then Baby Bear came back and he said, “Look, Mama, blueberries!  And I found Daddy too!”

“Yes Little Bear, those are blueberries,” Mama Bear said.  “You’re just in time for dinner.  But it looks like Daddy already ate his!”

____

credit: adapted from Ready-To-Go Storytimes by Gail Benton and Trisha Waichulaitis

pattern: available here (note the book also includes a pattern)

Hopefully sometime tomorrow I’ll have the whole plan ready for your reading pleasure.  Have a good weekend everyone!  🙂

UPDATE: See the whole plan here!

Flannel Friday: The Great, Big, Enormous Carrot!

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This week’s Flannel Friday is a fun adaptation of the traditional Russian folk tale “The Great, Big, Enormous Turnip.”  The original tale can be found many places, but my favorite beautiful flannel pattern for the original comes from Judy Sierra’s Flannel Board Storytelling Book.  Inspiration for this fun story also comes from Perry Public Library.

Before starting the story, we practiced how the different movements would go.  We hit our knees for each animal- what do you think a bunny hops like?  What about a squirrel?  A turtle?

Here’s how my version of the tale went…

Once there was a brown bunny hopping along one day- hop hop hop.  He was VERY hungry.  His tummy went rumble-rumble-growl.  So he went to the garden where he saw some tall green leaves.  “That is one BIG carrot!” he cried, and he grabbed onto the top.  He PULLED- mmmmph!– and he PULLED- mmmmph!  But the carrot wouldn’t come out.

Along came a grey squirrel- skitter scatter scamper.  “Do you need help?” she asked.  “Oh yes please,” the bunny said.  So Bunny grabbed onto the top of the carrot and Squirrel grabbed onto Bunny’s tail and they PULLED- mmmmph!– and they PULLED- mmmmph!  But the carrot wouldn’t come out.

Along came a green turtle- step…step… step…  “Do you need help?” he asked.  “Oh, yes please,” the bunny and the squirrel said.  So Bunny grabbed onto the top of the carrot and Squirrel grabbed onto Bunny’s tail and Turtle grabbed onto Squirrel’s tail and they PULLED- mmmmph!– and they PULLED- mmmmph!  But the carrot wouldn’t come out.

(That must be a really BIG carrot.  Bigger than big!  What are some more words for big?)

Bunny was so sad and hungry he started to cry sniffle-sniffle-snuff.  Along came a little white mouse.  “Do you need help?” she asked in her high squeaky voice.

“How can YOU help?” laughed Squirrel.

“You are TOO SMALL,” Turtle said.

“And this carrot is way TOO BIG!” Bunny added.

“Let me try,” said Mouse.  So Bunny grabbed onto the top of the carrot and Squirrel grabbed onto Bunny’s tail and Turtle grabbed onto Squirrel’s tail and Mouse grabbed onto Turtle and they PULLED- mmmmph!– and they PULLED- mmmmph!  And sure enough, the BIG ENORMOUS CARROT CAME OUT!

“Oh, thank you!” cried Bunny, and he shared his BIG ENORMOUS carrot with all his new friends.

___

Credit: adapted from the traditional folk tale as told by Judy Sierra in the Flannel Board Storytelling Book

Pattern: click here

*Note the pattern includes a snail- I ran out of time to make one, so I snagged a mouse from another set instead!  Also the tail of the original squirrel as pictured ended up ripping off pretty easily, so I am going to make a new squirrel with a “thicker” tail based on the pattern included in the download.

This was a HUGE hit with the preschool crowd!  I just loved the synonyms they came up with for big- my absolute favorite was “beastly.”

Be sure to come back tomorrow for the full spring-themed storytime preschool plan and don’t forget to check out the other Flannel Friday fun at Fun with Friends at Storytime.  You can also check out the Flannel Friday websitePinterest, or Facebook page!

Flannel Friday: Ahhh Choo! with Tulips & Toddlers

ah choo tulips

Happy Flannel Friday!  Hope everyone had a good week.  (We won’t talk about mine.  All that needs to be said is FINALS…. dun dun dun!)  Thank you to Kathryn at Fun with Friends at Storytime for hosting the round-up this week.  You can also check out the Flannel Friday websitePinterest, or Facebook page!

I actually had a break from storytime this week (thank goodness, I had so much homework) so the flannels I’m presenting are from last week.  Also like my last FF posts I have 2 to share with you- one set I used with toddlers and the other set I used with preschoolers.  I think I will continue to do this as much as possible in the future.  They really are such different age groups that things go so much smoother if I just end up making two different plans.

Many thanks to Maria at The Serpentine Library for putting me onto this rhyme and the fun book Finger Tales by Joan Hilyer.  I can’t wait for my copy to get in and see what other fun rhymes are in store!  I adapted the original rhyme a bit to be tulips instead of flowers (easier to draw) and added some more actions, but other than that the words are mostly the same.

5 pretty tulips (hold up 5 fingers)

in the meadow grew.

“Hmm,” I said (tap chin)

“I bet they smell pretty too!”

So I bent down to sniff (pretend to sniff)

But they tickled my nose!

Ah-ah-choo! (pretend to sneeze)

Oh no- away 1 flower blows!

(repeat with 4,3,2,1)

___

Credit: adapted from Joan Hilyer’s Finger Tales

Pattern: click here

The toddlers had a ton of fun making huge sneezes and blowing the tulips the away!  I think for now I will stick to fun guessing/interactive flannels for the little guys, they seem to go over the best with the crowd.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the full spring-themed toddler plan!