Friday, December 31, 2010

Pajama Story Time

Put on your pj's, bring a bed buddy, and come to Tredyffrin Public Library on Monday evenings for our new Pajama Story Time, which will feature relaxing stories, songs, and bedtime snacks. Pre-registration is appreciated to make sure we have enough snacks, but weekly walk-ins are more than welcome. We'll be in the picture book area, so please join us! Details below.

P.S. Thank you to those of you who filled out our recent story time survey. The votes for an evening story time on either Monday or Tuesday were exactly equal, so we'll be trying out Pajama Story Time on Tuesday evenings in the spring session to accommodate everyone interested.

Pajama Story Time
Ages 3-8 years + adults
(adults must accompany children under 6)
Monday evenings 7:00-7:30 pm
January 3 - February 28
Registration begins December 27 and is ongoing

image courtesy of

Thursday, December 30, 2010

4s and 5s Story Time: Fall Wrap-up

Oh, the places we went! Our theme for the fall session was "We All Have Tales," and through books, flannel board stories, crafts and songs we started in the USA and then "traveled" to Afghanistan, Brazil, the Caribbean Islands, Chile, China, Denmark, England, France, Greece, India, Korea, and Pakistan.

A complete list of the stories is yours if you wish it. I look forward to seeing you all at the winter session! Registration began December 27, and the session begins January 3.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

So Many Sites, So Little Time

The great thing about the interwebs: you can find anything there! The bad thing about the interwebs: you can find anything there! So, what's a parent, caregiver, or teacher to do? How can you tell not only which sites are appropriate but which are the best of the best for kids?

Look no further. The Association for Library Service to Children (the ALSC, a good acronym to know), which is a division of The American Library Association (ALA), has a Great Web Sites for Kids Committee that carefully screens sites "for design, stability, authorship, clear purpose, and content." Here's the skinny:

"Great Web Sites for Kids (GWS)* features links to websites of interest to children 14 years of age and younger, organized into diverse subject headings, from astronomy and space to zoos and aquariums, from games and entertainment to geography and maps. There is also a special section with sites of interest to parents, caregivers and teachers. Members of the ALSC GWS Committee...regularly check the entire site to ensure currency and [to] re-evaluate sites as [needed]."

Still need more? Ask the staff member at the Children's desk to open up our "Favorites" tab in Internet Explorer, where she will find lots more to recommend to you.

*librarians really, REALLY love them some acronyms.....

Hidden Classic #4: The House Without a Christmas Tree

In honor of the holiday season, I went back and looked at my list of favorite children's holiday books, and this was right at the top: The House Without a Christmas Tree by Gail Rock, one in a short series of novels about the incomparable 10-year-old Addie Mills. Unfortunately, the series is out of print, but several libraries in the system still have copies, and this particular title was filmed as a must-see made-for-TV movie in the 1970s that is still available on DVD.

I was curious as to what other people thought about the book, which is truly a hidden classic that not many have read. I found this delightful review on Goodreads from a friend of a friend named Tatiana, and it says it all:

"I was looking for a Christmas novel that 1) had heart, 2) wasn't sappy, and 3) didn't make me cry. I found it in The House Without a Christmas Tree: sweet, concise (I read it today), and old-fashioned in the best way. It's the story of Addie Mills, a fiesty 10-year-old in 1946, who can't understand why her father won't allow them to have a Christmas tree. Father and daughter both have trouble communicating with those they care about, and so it's good they have Grandma to bridge the gap. Grandma tries to make Addie see the situation from her father's point of view, that of a man who's still grieving the loss of his wife, while simultaneously explaining to her son the importance of loving the ones still with us. But it takes a series of miscues, including Addie dragging a tree through town (twice!) before all can be resolved. A lovely story that leaves you hoping there really are girls like Addie Mills in the world and wishing you could know one."

The only thing I'd change about this review is that it does, in fact, make me cry. But not because it's deliberately "tear-jerking" or emotionally manipulative in any way. Rather, because it's a lovely story told simply and honestly, and out of that simplicity and honesty comes the true emotion of the piece. Not to be missed.

There is also a very nice, but brief, fan site for Addie. Check it out!

Praise for the Addie Mills series:

As befits a true "Hidden Classic," there aren't many professional reviews still around for this series, or for this book in particular. But everywhere you go on the web, all of the reader-based reviews (via sites like Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing, ALibris, etc.) consistently give Addie at least 4 out of 5 stars.

Screenwriter Eleanor Perry won a prime time Emmy for "Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama - Adaptation," and director Paul Bogart was nominated for a Director's Guild Award, both for the made-for-TV movie of The House Without a Christmas Tree.

And there is a lovely Time article praising the adaptation: "The Little Christmas Classic That Could."

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Dates for PAWS - Update!

Yes! For those of you who have been enjoying the PAWS for Reading program at Tredyffrin Library, I'm happy to announce that we have our dates for the winter. They are:

January 8 & 22
February 5 & 12
March 5 & 19

Sessions run from 10am-11am. Call 610-688-7092, ext. 210, or stop by the children's desk to make an appointment!

If you haven't yet discovered the PAWS for reading program, here's the scoop:

PAWS for Reading is a new program to Tredyffrin Library, where kids read aloud to a therapy pet to improve their reading and communication skills.

Reading to well-trained, gentle therapy pets in a one-on-one setting is a great way for emerging or struggling readers to gain confidence.

The program is aimed at children ages 5-12, but all independent readers are welcome. Check it out!

Holiday Concert and Open Mic!

Those of you who attend Miss Joy's storytimes may not know this: in her other life, she is a piano teacher! She and her lovely students would like to invite you to:
Tredyffrin Public Library's Holiday Concert and Open Mic Night

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

7:30-9:00 pm

Upstairs in the large meeting room (by the main entrance)

The evening will begin with some holiday music performed by Miss Joy's students, and then the stage is open to anyone else who would like to shine. We'll have a sign-up sheet at the show.

So bring your voice/guitar/ukulele/etc. and your holiday cheer! We look forward to seeing you there!
photo by iLikeSpoons via Creative Commons.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Winter 2011 Programs

For a schedule of story times and other weekly programs, check this out.

Photo courtesy of Garnet Hill Catalog, 2007.

Tredyffrin Thanks Tree

For the last few days, visitors to the children's department have been thinking about the things we're all thankful for, and writing our answers on leaves to hang on our thanks tree. Take a look at how it turned out!

A great big thanks to Miss Carla, who built our tree, and thanks to everyone who came out and helped us make it. Have a good holiday, everyone!

Black Friday Movie Marathon!

For those of you who plan to brave the malls and department stores this Friday, I salute you. I do not, however, join you. I'll be here at the library, showing holiday movies all day long.

For those of you who plan to avoid the malls and department stores this Friday, why not join us here for our Black Friday Movie Marathon? Here's the schedule:

9:45am: A Muppet Christmas Carol. Academy Award-winner Michael Caine stars as the stingy miser Ebenezer Scrooge who’s about to get his Christmas goose cooked in fun fashion by the inimitable Muppets in this fun-filled, musical event! Based on Charles Dickens' tale, this holiday favorite stars Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and other Muppet favorites as they put their unique twist on this holiday classic.(Rated G)

11:30am: Elf. Buddy was a baby who stowed away in Santa's toy bag and ended up at the North Pole. The elves raise him as one of their own, but when he begins to notice his differences to the other elves he goes to New York City to find his birth father in this sweet holiday comedy. (Rated PG)

1:15pm: The Nightmare Before Christmas. Venturing where no film has gone before, Tim Burton’s quirky and charming musical combines the extraordinary artistry of stop-motion animation with state–of–the–art technology to create a magical realm where fantastic characters come to life. Jack Skellington, the Halloween Pumpkin King, kidnaps Santa and takes it upon himself to deliver ghoulish Christmas presents to all the little boys and girls.(Rated PG)

2:45pm: A Christmas Carol. Jim Carrey plays four separate roles in this updated version of the Charles Dickens’ classic. The old miser Scrooge must face the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet-to-Come. The spirits must help bring kindness to his otherwise cold heart and remind him of the man he used to be. (Rated PG)

Plot synopses courtesy of Movie Licensing USA

Friday, November 19, 2010

Road Trip Thursday - Day 9

All good things must come to an end, and yesterday we found ourselves enjoying (read: ravenously devouring) citrus fruit and shouting out Sunshine State facts and answers to trivia questions about Walt Disney World.

That's how we (briefly) visited Florida - which is where we'll start our journey when we meet again in January.

That's right! Road Trip Thursday will be back after the new year, so if you're in 1st-5th grade and have a hankering to experience the history and culture of America from the comfort of your own library, be sure to sign up at the children's desk of Tredyffrin Public Library starting Monday, December 12/27.

Until then, enjoy your holidays and drive safely.

Photo by FreeWine, via Creative Commons

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Giving Thanks

Well, here we are, the week before Thanksgiving. How did that come so quickly? It seems like just yesterday we were stamping our summer reading charts and eyeballing the whale slippers in the prize window. Now we're standing on the very edge of the holiday season - a time for family, food, and fun.

And a time, of course, to make nature-themed Thanksgiving crafts.

Leaf wreaths! Pinecone turkeys! A giving thanks tree! All here Friday afternoon at Tredyffrin Public Library between noon and 3pm for children 6 and up. No registration necessary. Call 610-688-7092, ext. 210 for more information.

See you there!

Photo courtesy of TheNickster via Creative Commons

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Road Trip Thursday - Day 8

Well, Mother Nature let me keep my promise to my fellow travelers - that if we had nice weather, we'd go outside and play football, in honor of both last week's Tennessee Titans and this week's Crimson Tide. We had nice weather, so we did play some highly improvisational touch football.

(Many thanks to everyone who explained my referee calls to me as we went along...)

However, before we did that, we did actually learn a little something about Alabama. We learned that their state nut is the pecan, their state flower is the camellia, and their state fruit is the peach.

Next, we learned about Helen Keller, who was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama in 1880, and who was the first deafblind person to graduate with a bachelor's degree from college.

But then, football.

Catch us next week as we wrap up our trip in sunny Florida!

Photo courtesy of GioPhotos via Creative Commons

Friday, November 5, 2010

Road Trip Thursday - Day 7

I could not, in good conscience, drive our car into Tennessee without touching on its glorious recording industry. So, as we munched on our cornbread, we listened to Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams, and - of course - Elvis Presley.

Then, we read all about the Great Smoky Mountains and the different wild animals that live there - particularly black bears, wrapping up by singing the perennial camp favorite, "I Met a Bear."

Now, a word on football.

My traveling companions had expressed a desire to visit the Tennessee Titans. My original plan was to head outdoors and toss the old pigskin around. And then it poured down rain.

Plan B? To catch some of the team's 2010 highlights on YouTube. 20 minutes of technical difficulties later, I scrapped that, too.

Plan C? Paper footballs, of course!

Ah, well. We're headed to 'Bama next week. We'll get some good football in then.

(Weather permitting.)

Photo taken by me, courtesy of me. Sun Studio, Memphis, Tennessee.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fantabulous New Picture Books!

Last week I attended a picture book night at the wonderful Children's Book World in Haverford. If you have never been, be sure to check it out sometime. For such an intimate space, they have a great collection, they offer lots of author visits and signings, and the staff really knows their stuff. Info about the store appears below.

All of the books listed are either already in our collection, are on order, or are being processed at Tredyffrin Public Library. If you're interested, check the "New Books" display in the picture book section, or place a hold on the library catalog. My particular favorites are starred.

Andreae. ABC Animal Jamboree* (nonfiction)
Birdsall. Flora's Very Windy Day
Blackwood. Amy Loves to Give
Brown. Hallowilloween (poetry)
Brown. Children Make Terrible Pets*
Clements. The Handiest Things in the World (nonfiction)
Dipucchio. Alfred Zector, Book Collector
Ehlert. Lots of Spots (nonfiction)
Fleming. Clever Jack Takes the Cake* (fairy tale)
Frazee. The Boss Baby*
Frazier. Lots of Dots*
Frisch. A Night on the Range
Fucile. Let's Do Nothing*
Gonyea. A Book About Color* (nonfiction)
Gonyea. A Book About Design* (nonfiction)
Gonyea. Another Book About Design* (nonfiction and graphics)
Gorbachev. What's the Big Idea, Molly?*
Gore. The Wonderful Book*
Gow. Ten Big Toes and a Prince's Nose*
Hills. How Rocket Learned to Read*
Howe. Brontorina
Juster. The Odious Ogre
Lee. Shadow
Lichtenheld. Bridget's Beret*
Littlewood. Immi's Gift*
Maccarone. Miss Lina's Ballerinas*
MacLachlan. Once I Ate a Pie (poetry)
MacLachlan. I Didn't Do It (poetry)
McHale. The Monster Princess
McClatchey. Dear Tyrannousaurus Rex
Melling. Hugless Douglas
National Geographic Kids. Great Migrations* (nonfiction)
Perl. Dotty*
San Souci. Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow* (folk tale)
Schertle. Little Blue Truck (board book)
Stein. Interrupting Chicken*
Van Dusen. The Circus Ship
Weisner. Art & Max
Willems. City Dog, Country Frog*
Yolen. Lost Boy: The Story of the Man Who Created Peter Pan* (biography)

Children's Book World
17 Haverford Station Rd
Haverford PA 19041
hours: Monday-Saturday 9:30-5:30

Friday, October 29, 2010

Road Trip Thursday - Day 6

Seeing as how Famous Illinois People Pictionary was such a hoot last week, we started this week off with Famous Missouri People Pictionary.

You'd think I'd have learned from years and years of being the worst person at the Pictionary table that I am not good at turning words into images, but I can't help myself. To me, being laughably bad at something just means you get to laugh a lot. My apologies to my road-trippers, as well as to Scott Joplin, Ryan Howard, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Our snack for the day was iced tea and cookies. Legend has it that iced tea was invented at the World's Fair held in St. Louis in 1904, but many sources, including our book for the week - Meet Me in St. Louis : A Trip to the 1904 World's Fair - say that iced tea was probably already in existence before the fair. Still, all agree that the drink is probably as popular as it is today thanks in part to the 1904 World's Fair.

After the World's Fair, we pulled up our chairs to watch part of a video about the Gateway Arch, right in downtown Saint Louis, Missouri. Did you know that at 630 feet, the arch is the tallest man-made arch in the world, and that it's over twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty?

(Neither did we.)

We wrapped up our day by looking ahead to next week, when we visit Tennessee - home to Vanderbilt University, the Great Smoky Mountains, and the Tennessee Titans.

(To me, though, it'll always be Graceland.)

See you there.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hidden Classic #3: Bedtime for Frances

I am old enough to remember vinyl records, and I once owned many. Among my favorites were a collection of 45 RPM recordings that came with matching paperback books, so you could either read along or listen to them at bedtime, just like the book & CD kits of today. The ones that my brothers and I listened to and read over and over again, our favorites, were the Frances stories, written by Russell Hoban and illustrated first by the incomparable Garth Williams and then by Hoban's first wife, Lillian.

Frances is a temperamental badger child, whose escapades are in part based on the experiences of the four Hoban children, Phoebe, Brom, Esmé, Julia, and their friends. Her stories are Bread and Jam for Frances, A Baby Sister for Frances, A Birthday for Frances, Best Friends for Frances, Egg Thoughts and Other Frances Songs, and the original (my favorite), Bedtime for Frances. The events of the story will be familiar to children and to their parents: first, she wants a glass of milk, then a piggyback ride, then her teddy bear and doll, then extra kisses. Even after all of that, sleep eludes her, so she makes up a little song to sing to herself (her songs are the best parts of the books). But there is a tiger in her song, which makes her wonder if there is a tiger in her bedroom....or maybe a giant....or maybe spiders will come out of the crack in the ceiling....or maybe a ghost is moving the curtains.....

Throughout it all, Frances is charming and ingenious and unique, yet completely believable. And her parents' initial patience and humor, followed eventually (and inevitably) by firmness then exasperation, will be all too familiar to anyone who has ever tried to get a young child to sleep. Hoban's words and Williams' drawings complement each other perfectly.

It wasn't until years later that I realized that Hoban was a local boy, born and raised in Lansdale, PA. Or that he also wrote novels for older children and adults, including the award-winning The Mouse and His Child. Or that he was also an illustrator himself. Williams, a writer-illustrator in his own right, has provided the artwork for many childhood classics, including The Rescuers series by Margery Sharpe, The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little (both by E.B. White), several stories by Margaret Wise Brown, numerous Golden Books, and all children's titles by George Selden (including A Cricket in Times Square). Interesting, but not necessary at all to the enjoyment of Frances and her very relatable adventures. They have never been out of print, and I hope they never will be. They are truly classics in every sense of the word.

Bedtime for Frances
written by Russell Hoban
illustrated by Garth Williams
published by HarperCollins, 1960
31 pages with illustrations
Recommended read-aloud ages: 3-8
Recommended read-alone ages: 6-8

Praise for Frances:

"An enchanting picture book with winsome illustrations and a text in which there is humor and a real sympathy for the maneuvering of the reluctantly retiring young. " ~ Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Here is the coziest, most beguiling bedtime story in many a day." ~ Kirkus Reviews
"Williams' drawings have become inseparable from how we think of those stories. In that respect... his work belongs in the same class as Sir John Tenniel’s drawings for Alice in Wonderland, or Ernest Shepard’s illustrations for Winnie the Pooh." ~ Gordon Campbell in the introduction to Williams' The Rabbit's Wedding
"Anyone who has ever put a little one to bed will find this delightfully familiar, and the children themselves will enjoy the gentle humor and coziness of the story." ~ School Library Journal

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Road Trip Thursday - Day Five

It was bound to happen eventually. I lost my voice.

Yup, the autumn ick has swept through the library staff, and I am its most recent victim. Still, I wasn't going to let a little thing like not being able to talk get in the way of our trip to Chicago, now was I?

We started off with some deep dish pizza, and went straight into Famous Residents of Illinois Pictionary - a great game for the artsy and vocally challenged. (Well, the vocally challenged, anyway. Artsy, I am not.) I had barely finished the top hat before our car collectively shouted "Lincoln!" I wasn't nearly as handy with Walt Disney, but my Michael Jordan got at least one guess.

Next we read about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and how it burned down an enormous portion the city. (We = not me; thanks to everyone who helped out by reading a section aloud.)

Finally, we looked at our trusty atlas and mapped out the rest of our trip - next stop Missouri, and then on to Tennessee, Alabama, and finally, Florida.

See you there.

Public domain photo via Wikipedia

Friday, October 15, 2010

November is National Novel Writing Month!

My skills of persuasion never progressed beyond the phrase, "C'mon. All the cool kids are doing it." I know you're too smart to fall for that, so instead, I appeal to your sense of adventure when I ask you to try and write an entire novel in just one month!

Impossible, you say? Not so. The good people at NaNoWriMo's Young Writers Program have been challenging people to write 30-day novels since 1999, and last year 35,000 children and teens gave it a whirl!

The concept is simple: Write a novel during the month of November. You set your own word count goal, and just keep writing until you reach it. Why? Well, to quote the NaNoWriMo folks:

The reasons are endless! To write freely without having to stress over spelling and grammar. To be able to talk about how cool your novel is any chance you get. To be able to make fun of real novelists who take far longer than 30 days to write their books...

I've even gone ahead and set up a virtual classroom for Tredyffrin Kids so that you can track your progress online.

Have questions? Of course you do.

Interested? Sign up the next time you're at the library, or call us at 610-688-7092.

C'mon. All the cool kids are doing it. :)

Photo from avlxyz on Flickr via Creative Commons

Road Trip Thursday - Day Four

It was very hard for me to not sing Cleveland Rocks! all day yesterday, knowing that we were headed for Ohio as part of Road Trip Thursday.

First we talked a little bit about some of Ohio's state symbols, and how many of them seem to be bright red. For example, the state flower is the red carnation. The state beverage (to my dismay) is tomato juice. The state bird is the cardinal, and the state insect, the ladybug. (Interested in finding out more about Ohio? Of course you are!)

Then we read One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong, seeing as how the first man on the moon was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio.

The optimal snack for the Buckeye State would have been buckeyes, of course, but since I didn't want to tempt the allergenic fates (and since 3-way chili is way, WAY too much of a meal so close to dinnertime), I opted for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, in honor of the Annual Circleville Pumpkin Show. (And because, let's be honest, I like to make them.)

Side note: I cannot convey to you in words how good 3-way, Cincinnati-style chili is. Please, treat yourself.

Finally, in tribute to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we played a little name that tune. (Or rather, name that artist.)

Join us next week as we head west toward the Windy City!

Photo thanks to Mini D at Flickr via Creative Commons

Friday, October 8, 2010

And the winner is...

Two teams competed in our very first Pumpkin Pie Bake-off this afternoon. The team led by Swetha used evaporated milk, so we will call them Team E. The team led by Anuja used cream cheese, so we will call them Team Cheese. (And let that be a lesson to you. Don't let Angela name your teams after the fact.)

Using only common household ingredients, mismatched measuring cups, and their own wits, the teams set out to create pumpkin pies that would be the envy of any holiday dinner. There were some scary moments - like when Team Cheese took a look at their completed batter - but all turned out well in the end. In just two hours, both teams mixed, baked, and sampled their pies, then offered them up for judging.

And although we began the judging process with only three judges, we somehow ended up with five - which explains how, when the votes were tallied, Team Cheese edged out Team E, 3 votes to 2.

And there you have it. 24 pies, eight contestants, five judges, two recipes, and one winner. Congratulations, Team Cheese! Team E, we'll always have Paris.

Were you part of the pumpkin pie bakeoff and want to try your hand again? Excellent. Keep an eye out for a reprise in January...

Photo by cardamom via Creative Commons

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Road Trip Thursday - Day Three

I'll come right out and confess that I'm from upstate New York. Therefore, I have a pretty big chip on my shoulder when it comes to New York City vs. The Entire Rest Of The State issues.

However, when we've only got 45 minutes in which to explore a state that hosts what is arguably the cultural capital of our nation, NYC is going to get the attention, and upstate New York just...isn't.

We started today by reading a selection from Ballpark: The History of America's Baseball Fields, since there was a strong desire in our car to visit Yankee Stadium. We learned all about the House that Ruth Built - and about how the Babe actually started his career with the Red Sox. (And let me tell you, there was a very strong outcry in our car when that little bit of news was shared... We have some die-hard Yankee fans around here!)

After Yankee Stadium, we went and built ourselves the Statue of Liberty, using only paper towel tubes, pipe cleaners, paper plates, and human beings. How we ended up with three torches, I still don't know, but now she has two spares...

As for upstate New York, the aforementioned Entire Rest Of The State? Well, we sampled some apple cider and listened to Low Bridge.

Ah, well. I will somehow manage to hold my head up when I cross the state line at Christmas.

Join us next week when we arrive in the Buckeye state!

Photo public domain via Wikipedia

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Fest Friday!

I made my first apple pie of the season. I brought my socks and sweaters out of hibernation. I track dead leaves into my house every time I walk through the front door. The weather has finally turned. By my clock, it's autumn.

And what better way to celebrate the season than to join us Friday at the library for fall-themed activities?

Exactly! None! No better way!

In addition to our regularly scheduled morning preschool storytimes, we'll be doing crafts, writing songs, and baking pies. No registration is required; here's the schedule of events:

10am-2pm: Pumpkin Painting. BYOP (bring your own pumpkin) to the library and we'll provide painting supplies and snacks. (Ages 6 & up)

10-10:30am: Music with Miss Joy (Ages 3&4)

10:30-11am: Autumn Observation Journals. Record the changes of nature during this pretty time of year. (Ages 6-9)

11:30-11:45am: Autumn-inspired bookmarks. Use fallen leaves to create a beautiful craft! (Ages 2-5)

11:30am-1pm: Songwriting workshop. Invent tunes for popular rhymes and poetry about fall. (Ages 6-9)

Noon-2pm: Pumpkin Pie Bake-off. Bring your A-game and your apron. (Ages 9-12)

Want more information? Contact us at 610-688-7092, ext 210.

Want to print out your very own flyer? Of course you do.

Photo courtesy of Valerie Everett via Creative Commons License 2.0

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Road Trip Thursday - Day Two

We started our first day of driving by eating unattractive (my fault) but very tasty (again, my fault) blueberry muffins in anticipation of our destination - Maine, which produces 98% of the low-bush blueberries in our nation. Who knew?

As we drove, learned about state symbols (moose, pine tree, honeybee) and a little state history and culture (23rd state, entered the union in 1820, big on seafood).

Next we read the Caldecott Award-winning book Time of Wonder, by Robert McCloskey, who lived many years in Maine and set several of his books there.

Finally, we visited the kids page of which offers many resources to help learn about the history and culture of the state.

Join us next week as we tackle the Empire State!

Photo public domain, via Wikipedia

Friday, September 24, 2010

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read, September 25 - October 2

All italicized, quoted passages are courtesy of the American Library Association (ALA) web site.

"Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States. Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week.

"The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings......A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others."

Attached is a list of children's titles that are the most challenged every year and/or have been challenged within the past ten years. Many of these are on display in the department. We encourage you to check one out, read it, and decide for yourself. For more information on banned and challenged books, please visit

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What the heck does "KTB" stand for???

KTB = Kids Talk Books. It's a book discussion and activity group that started over 20 years ago. Its first incarnation, led by former head of the department, Maureen Lok, was a summer program where she and the kids met weekly to, well, talk about books! It grew in popularity and about a dozen or so years ago I extended it into the school year, meeting one Friday evening per month after the library closes for the day.

KTB is a little different from traditional book groups in that no specific titles need to be read for the meetings (but some knowledge of or interest in the monthly topic always makes things more fun). In October, it's "Kids On Strike!" Kids, if you think you have it hard because you have to make your bed every day*, wait till you discover the true history of children at work, real-life stories of kid inventors and entrepreneurs, and novels about get-rich schemes gone wrong....

All of the info is below. I hope that you (and a friend) will join us!

Grades 4-6
7:00-9:00 pm, unless noted otherwise
Please bring your library card and a beverage
Begins the first of each month, and may be done in person or by calling 610.688.7092 x210.
October 15: "Kids On Strike!"
November 5: "Gaga for Graphics"
December 28, 3:00-5:00 pm: "Book Bingo"

*I still do not make my bed every day. Don't tell your parents.

Road Trip Thursday - Day One

And they're off! Day One of Road Trip Thursday found our fearless and energetic travelers ready to hit the road. But before we could, we had to lay down some road rules.

First, Miss Angela is the driver, and you should always be respectful of the person driving.

Secondly, we can only drive 500 miles in a day. Anything more and Miss Angela's eyes start to go buggy.

Finally, when deciding on our destinations and activities, we must work together. Road-tripping with a group is all about sharing the decision-making.

Maine Seacoast
Aiming for Maine!

After visiting our reference section and checking out some atlases, our travelers chose a few states they'd like to visit over the course of the next 8 weeks, including: Maine, Ohio, Florida, and Alabama.

So, we'll be heading toward Maine next week, with stops in some New England states along the way. We'll see the sights, talk about the local culture and history, and certainly taste some regional flavors.

Until next time!

Photo courtesy of Fundamentaldan via Creative Commons License 2.5

I Have Ants in My Pants and I Just Want to...


All of the above! The question I am most asked in my role as story teller for our youngest patrons is, "Is it ok if my 2 year old (1 year old, 3 year old...) doesn't sit still in story time?" Fear not. Your mover and shaker is moving, shaking, and absorbing in their own way. My stories, songs, and rhymes are part of their adventure. Their experience should be positive, age appropriate, and fun. Your child's life-long love of books, reading, and the library can flourish here at Tredyffrin Library's Children's Department. Even with this live/let live vibe, a loose order generally prevails in my story times, creating a positive learning experience for all.

So, let's dance!
AND, let's read!

Carla Vastine

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Let's Talk Early Literacy

It's not too soon! Learning to read and write is essential to school success. Children who are proficient readers are usually the most successful learners. The Public Library Association's ( "Every Child Ready to Read" Program explains that children who are read to from an early age have more advanced language skills, a larger vocabulary, and a greater interest in books at age 4. At this age, a child's interest in reading is an important predictor of later reading achievement.

It needs to be fun and interactive! In promoting early literacy in 2 and 3 year olds, the "Dialogic Reading" or the "Hear and Say" method is very effective. With Dialogic Reading, adults help tell the story. The adult becomes the questioner, the listener , and the audience. Research has shown the children can jump ahead several months in learning after only a few weeks of Dialogic Reading. How to do it?

When reading aloud, ask "what" questions:
-Ask open -ended questions about the pictures and if your child does not know what to say about a picture, say something and have your child repeat it
-As your child gets used to open -ended questions, ask your child to say more
-Expand on what your child says keeping the expansions short and simple, have your child repeat your longer phrases
-Ask general questions to help your child say more such as "What do you see on this page?", "What is happening here?", "What else do you see?"
-Relate the story to your child's own experiences
-Add description to the story
-Help your child as needed
-Praise and encourage
-Follow your child's interest
-Have fun with your child! Your excitement and enthusiasm is contagious!

Please join us for storytimes:
Wee Ones (Birth to 15 months) Mondays 9:30 to 10:15am
Toddlers (16 months to 2 1/2 years old) Tuesday, Thursday or Friday 9:30 to 10:15am
Threes, More or Less (2 1/2 to 3 1/2) Tuesday or Friday, 10:30 to 11:15am
Family Storytime (5 and under) Mondays and Thursdays, 10:30 to 11am

Call us about registrations. Adults included in all of the above programs.

Carla Vastine

Monday, September 20, 2010

PAWS for Reading

One new program in the children's department this fall is PAWS for Reading, where kids read aloud to a therapy pet to improve their reading and communication skills.

Reading to well-trained, gentle therapy pets in a one-on-one setting is a great way for emerging or struggling readers to gain confidence.

The program is aimed at children ages 5-12, but all independent readers are welcome.

PAWS for Reading will be offered at Tredyffrin Public Library on the following Saturday mornings:

September 25
October 9
October 23
November 6
November 20
December 11

Call 610-688-7092, ext. 210 or stop by the children's desk to make your appointment today!

Friday, September 17, 2010

PreK and Kindergarten Story Time: We All Have Tales

As part of an overall travel and multiciltural theme in the department this fall , including our "Road Trip Thursdays" program (see Angela's post) and our "AMERICA: A Nation if Immigrants" display, my fall story time theme for the PreK and Kindergarten group will be "We All Have Tales."

Each week in story time (details below), I'll read two folk or fairy tales from a different area of the world. The tales will be supplemented by crafts, songs, DVD clips, games, and/or snacks, depending upon the subject of the week. Story time parents will also be given a list of our favorite folk and fairy tales and web resources for further reading outside of class. On Tuesday, October 26, during Halloween week, story time participants are encouraged to wear a mask or costume that reflects a particular fairy tale, folk tale, or culture (their own or one in which they're interested) for photos and a parade through the library.

I look forward to greeting you all with a hearty ahn nyeong, assalaam o aleykum, bonjour, ciao, hallo, hola, konnichi wa, namaste, nei ho, ni hao, privet, sat sri akal, shalom, vanakkam, or xin chao!

Michele :-)

PreK and Kindergarten Story Time
Ages 4-5 (able to participate independently from adults)
September 21-November 16, 2010
Tuesdays, 2:00-2:45 pm
Register in person or by calling 610.688.7092 x210
Space is limited to 25 participants

Hidden Classic #2: Frog & Toad Together

“‘I cannot remember any of the things that were on my list of things to do. I will just have to sit here and do nothing,’ said Toad.” It is this kind of silly, subtle humor that combines with the sweetness of true friendship to make the Newbery Honor book Frog and Toad Together so appealing.

The second volume in author-illustrator Arnold Lobel’s classic Frog and Toad series, this book consists of five episodes that explore the adventures and practical education of Frog and Toad, who learn lessons about patience or restraint in everyday situations, like waiting for seeds to grow or knowing you should stop eating cookies but not being able to.

(And we've all been there, right? No? Just me?)

Originally published in 1972, the art may seem a little simple and dated to modern children, but Lobel’s simple line drawings filled in with watercolor browns, greens and grays perfectly complement his stories. 20-point typeface and plenty of white space make the story visually approachable for new readers, while the narrative introduces increasingly complex vocabulary words and themes, including what it means to be brave and the importance of sharing the spotlight.

Appropriate for preschoolers and younger elementary school children, even adults will enjoy these tales.

Check it out on Library Thing

Meet Joy!

The Tredyffrin Library Children's Department is happy to introduce our very newest staff member - Miss Joy!

Miss Joy will be conducting two of our storytimes on Monday mornings - Wee Ones and Family Storytime. As you may know, Wee Ones is for babies up to 15 months and their caregivers, and Family Storytime is a mixed-age storytime for children 5 and under and their caregivers. There is no registration required for either of these programs - just walk right in!

I was able to catch up with Miss Joy today and ask her a few questions about life, literature, and lunch. Here's the low-down:

So tell me a little bit about your background.

I've been teaching piano for over ten years, I've been teaching pre-school music for as long as I've been a mom. (Almost as long. Pretty close.) And I've been reading voraciously since I was... since I learned how.

What are some of your favorite children's books or authors?

I like Oliver Jeffers - I love his stuff. Lucy Cousins, the Maisy books. David Weisner, LOVE his art. Maurice Sendak - big fan. I could go on and on if I were browsing the stacks...

You play several instruments, do you not?

Sure do! I play the piano, guitar, ukulele, and sing. And I'm a big fan of the shaker eggs and the rhythm sticks.

Finally, if you could take a famous person (living or dead) to lunch, who would you pick and why?

I would probably go out to lunch with Mozart, because he seems like he would be as fun as all of his music.

Road Trip Thursday

One new program that Tredyffrin Library is offering to kids this fall is Road Trip Thursday - an exploration of the 50 states, as discovered through a make-believe road trip. Buckled securely into their imaginary seats are fearless kids in grades 1-5. Behind the pretend steering wheel is Miss Angela.
(Trust me. The best way to drive with Miss Angela is when she is pretend-driving.)

This week, before we load up our car, we'll review our budget, get a quick refresher course in map-reading (since our pretend car has no GPS), decide where we want to go, and then look for books and websites where we can find information about the destination we've picked.
If there's any time left, we might play a road-tripping game, since our pretend car is just like Miss Angela's real car and has no DVD player. Or CD player. Or tape player. (Or air conditioning or clock, if we're being honest.)
Interested? Call 610-688-7092, ext. 210 to register, or sign up on the clipboard at the children's desk the next time you visit us.
Photo by Suzanne Widrick. And no, this is not actually Angela's real car.

Hidden Classic #1: Freddy the Detective

Welcome to "Hidden Classics," a review series that will focus on children's books from the 20th century that you might have forgotten about or missed reading entirely. Each entry in the series will tell you a bit about the book/series and its author, and will recommend both a read-aloud age level and a read-alone age level. If you have any suggestions for "Hidden Classics," feel free to add them to the Comments section below. Happy reading!

Today's entry is the funny, humane, and altogether delightful Freddy the Detective by Walter R. Brooks. It's actually part of a series of Freddy's adventures, written between 1928 and 1958. Brooks was a staff writer for The New Yorker, and contributed stories to The Saturday Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly, and Esquire. His short story "Ed Takes the Pledge" was the basis for the 1950s TV show Mr. Ed. The Freddy series went out of print in the 1960s but was brought back into print in the 1990s due to overwhelming requests from Freddy fans. Freddy even has a newsletter, an annual convention, a book of poetry, and several fan sites. The best is the one run by the Friends of Freddy: (check out the gallery of Freddy's disguises).

Freddy is the "smallest and cleverest" of the animals on Bean Farm, a fictional place set near Syracuse in upstate New York. The animals at Bean Farm are famous for their ability to talk and read, but, unlike most children's books, the author acknowledges that talking animals are unusual, and a lot of the humor comes from this. Freddy is somewhat of a Renaissance pig: in the novels, he becomes a cowboy, an explorer, a politician, a publisher, a poet, a magician, a banker, a campaign manager, a pilot, and (my favorite) a detective.

In Freddy the Detective, our hero goes crazy for Sherlock Holmes and decides to start his own detective business. Beginning with the disappearance of a toy train which the rats steal to ride safely back and forth from their holes to the feedbox, he solves a series of very mysterious cases in which all of the animals become involved. What I love about Freddy is that he always has good intentions but, like all of us, he sometimes stumbles: "But Freddy really had no ideas at all. There was no good using force; he had tried that, and all he had got out of it was a broken tooth that sent his family into fits of laughter whenever he smiled. Anyway, detectives seldom used force; they used guile. He went back to his library and got comfortable and tried to think up some guile to use on the rats. And as usual when he lay perfectly still and concentrated for a short time, he fell asleep." Yes, he is a bit lazy, messy, and sometimes fearful, but he's a loyal friend and a first-rate detective. Go, Freddy!

Freddy the Detective
by Walter R. Brooks
published by Overlook Press, 1998
264 pages (but with illustrations and very large print)
Recommended read-aloud ages: 5+
Recommended read-alone ages: 8+

Praise for Freddy:
"Pure fun from beginning to end." ~ The Horn Book
"There's a richness to the world of Bean Farm and a strong moral code that is timeless." ~ The Los Angeles Times
"They are the American version of the great English classics, such as the Pooh books or The Wind in the Willows." ~ The New York Times Book Review
"Freddy the Pig is back. Hooray!" ~ The Philadelphia Daily News
"Freddy is simply one of the greatest characters in children's literature!" ~ School Library Journal

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Welcome, Tredyffrin Kids!

Hello, friends! You've found the blog of the Tredyffrin Public Library Children's Department. This is super-good news for you if you:

a) use our library
b) happen to be - or belong to - someone under 13 years old
c) were looking for a blog with stars in the background
d) just selected any or all of the above

What can you expect from this blog? Well, a lot of lists. I can't help it. I make lists. But I know you're probably more interested in what kind of stuff will be on these lists. Fair enough. In list form, here's what you'll find on this blog:

1. Book reviews and virtual displays, created by your very own Tredyffrin Public Librarians

2. Program details - including dates, times, and registration information. Sometimes, we'll even link to a handy flyer - like this one!

3. Links to free electronic resources, including websites to help with school projects, book recommendations, and more!

4. Bright colors. (I like them.)

And there'll be more, no doubt, but I figure that's a good start for now. We'll talk again soon.

Signing off - Angela

Photo by Michele Bolay