Friday, December 11, 2015

Holiday Drama not from the Llama!

Once again The Connecticut Concert Ballet charmed the Faxon community with The Nutcracker!  This is, by far, the prettiest event we host each year.  Our patrons, young and old adore the music, the costumes, and the dancing.  And the little ones wait ever so patiently for their chance to hold hands and dance at the end of the evening.  It's magical!

The program is planned for ages 4 and older with an adult, yet all are welcome.  We set up big chairs and little chairs.  We give out free tickets starting a week in advance.  We wrote a "how to" on hosting a ballet company in your library.  Please take a look for ideas.  

The young dancers pull tender heart strings.

The teen dancers in the company take your breath away!

Piper and I love it when they stop everything to read!  Yes, a couple of cool cats!




confident READERS

Bringing E.T.A. Hoffman's The Nutcracker drama to life with Tchaikovsky's amazing music and the Connecticut Concert Ballet dancers is an honored tradition in our little library. Holiday joy is shared beginning with jingle bells and ending with candy canes on one magical night.  We do our best to continue the joy in the month of December with coloring pages 

                           .....and  Saturday "pop-up" crafts - Torn Paper Nutcracker

Thanks for visiting Piper Loves the Library.  Please check out our Flannel Friday Friends.  They are a fantastic creative resource.   Lisa is this week's host.  Go take a peek!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Let's hold hands for PEACE

Desperately missing my Flannel Friday Family

Something has happened in my library land.  We have a new director, with new energy and new ideas.  "This is a good thing" as Martha Stewart would say!  My own creative energy is being tapped and you know I love that.  I welcome growth and development. It feeds my soul.

There is much to report in children's but alas, there are no new flannels for me.  Even when I think I will surround myself with felt while Thursday night TV keeps me entertained - I don't.  I'm knitting, drawing, painting - change is in my life.

For those of you who followed my posts after Sandy Hook, you know I participate in  26 acts of kindness.  It is good to have this purpose in my days again because the terrorists attacks in Paris just about did me in.  It's time to stand close and hold hands. 

This past week I set out on a mission to make PEACE visible in the library's children's area.  Little things I could do, a display...and they noticed. *joyful heart*

I outreached to our Family Resource Center and they inquired about books for children in Arabic.  Yes we have them!  Dual language kits in Arabic and English.  Another display.

Head, shoulders, knees .....

 *so loving*

The adult coloring pages sit on the Child/Ref desk - no doubt you've guessed.... we're coloring PEACE because...well...PEACE.  

This amazingly international library community does a fantastic job of helping each other.  We have families donating supplies for students regularly.  Pencils, pens, glue sticks and lined paper made up the recent donation.  Although I generally place these on the Child/Ref desk I decided to go a step further this week, with proper acknowledgement. 

Although my mom passed a number of years ago there are moments that a daughter always remembers.  The comfort mixed with teenage embarrassment, I felt while standing next to her in church, holding hands, singing "let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me...." guides me to this day.  The older I get, the more I realize how the embarrassment helped to mark these days in my memory,  how a mom can use embarrassment to keep you connected to family and to the importance of PEACE.  There are things a mom knows.  Thank you Mom.

Today I aspire to let peace begin with me and I know how to make simple, creative statements that hopefully bring comfort to families visiting the library. We have a bounty of new children's books in our browsing bin, more diverse than ever before.  Come visit your friends, cuddle up with good books, color your day with PEACE and help your community when you can.  Each little step brings us closer to peace.  Oh, and hold hands with your family, friends and little ones...that's the best, it helps you grow and feeds your soul.  

Thanks for visiting Piper Loves the Library.  Check out our Flannel Friday Friends - Kathryn is the host. 

And if you're looking for an audio book  - here's one to try.  I learned so much.  Written and read by Muslim American Sumbul Ali Karamali.  

Friday, October 2, 2015

Mindfulness in Story Time

Good Morning Sun!  Hello Sun!  

Sun salutation!  The very best way to begin our YOGA for 2 program is to greet the warm sun that grows our food and feeds us and brings us beautiful flowers and health and happiness.  This is a mindful movement program, with stories, songs and a craft.  It is an hour of calm.  It is magnificent. 

The very best things I've done for improving my skills over 28 years in children's services include: workshops with Jim Trelease, author of The Read Aloud Handbook, Mother Goose on the Loose training with Betsey Diamont Cohen, Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) training, and becoming certified to teach Preschool Yoga.  These are career changing, almost life changing ways of looking into the world of child development and early literacy.  

The yoga training has returned me to my roots of Early Childhood Education. I thrive on understanding infant, toddler, child, tween, teen development.  Learning about the developing brain, the word gap, the impact of reading aloud, the need for creativity, understanding compassion, finding calm, conversational reading - the how and why and when of all of this - is exactly what makes me tick.  

Okay, enough about me and back to Yoga for 2 and sun salutations.  When the sun does not cooperate and the rain pours down here in Connecticut -our solution to greet the sun each morning:  paint your own sunshines and take them home.  Works for me!  Works for my little friends.  And painting is very calming, especially with our yoga music.  Win, win!  I provide paper and give both child and parent,(caregiver), brushes to work together.  We do this after yoga and we are very focused.  

Here are the parts of our ever-growing flannel story of the sun coming up in the morning.  We are being mindful of the beautiful world that surrounds us.

We do star stretches with our big and little bodies and the children are invited to place a star on the flannel board when they've stretched long strong legs and arms and backs!  Self-esteem builder right here.

Our library has books to help our families in their search for mindful parenting, and finding age-appropriate techniques for self-regulating little ones.  This is a big, busy, wild, world and we need to find our calm and teach our children well locate their inner calm. 

This is our world and this is something I can do, I can offer... with the support of my amazing library.  I do believe that this is a step in helping to raise healthy children.  We care for the emotional, psychological, and physical child. We do that in our library where we introduce story and song and movement.  My little library strives to be an important part of our very global village raising beautiful children.  Amen.

Umpqua Community College in Oregon lost beautiful children yesterday.  We need to do more.

Thanks for reading Piper Loves the Library.  (( hugs to the world ))

Our first post on this program is here - click if you'd like to learn more.  


Friday, September 25, 2015

Diversity Matters in Halloween Books

Pumpkin Eye Activities   DIVERSITY in Halloween Books!
Yes I am shouting this with the help of author/illustrator Denise Fleming's adorable character.  I am a Denise Fleming fangirl and I cannot lie!  Her books feature wonderfully diverse children and #WeNeedDiverseBooks all the time.

The library where Piper and I work is little.  Our holiday collections are held in the basement, (I know, we don't like that either). When the holiday approaches we squeeze them into a high traffic spot and I place a very colorful Denise Fleming poster on them ... tah-dah, holiday books!  By the should check out the free posters Denise Fleming creates - did I mention FREE?  They're beautiful.

This week I collected Halloween books from the basement and dusted them off for display.  Mind you, this is a tiny collection - 43 titles, some in multiple copies.  I discovered something interesting while placing this collection in the browsing bins.  

Diversity exists in this collection!  Amazing, yes!  Considering the popularity of Halloween I suppose I shouldn't be surprised to see kids of color on the pages.  9 of the 43 titles have diverse kids.  I realize that's not some great percentage, nor is this "real research" but it does makes me pause.  Hmmmm.

There is a disconnect with diversity that needs to change.  All families will benefit when children discover books with someone like their brother, their teacher, their friends and their family within the pages.  Children, families, schools and libraries need good books that reflect our very colorful world.  Oh dear publishers, I adore diversity on the holidays...because you are beginning to look like my family gatherings,

...but I need diversity all the time!
And by "I"...I mean everyone!  

Spying a little Elvis makes me laugh, and a collection of costumed kids is just what I want in a read-aloud.

Los Gatos Black on Halloween has some gorgeous illustrations for older children...

                           ...while Catherine Stock's Halloween Monster has been a long time fav.
Have fun with your books, keep your "pumpkin eye" (love that title), on diversity when ordering and remember that Denise Fleming's books bring you kids of color all year round. But right now, just look at her Halloween kids!  Perfection! 

If you enjoyed this post you may like this one - we did a Pumpkin Eye Craft!  Very cool.

 New flannel pieces coming!! Yes! Finally!  I'm working on a's one of the characters.  Can you guess the book? 

If you like may want to check this one out! 

Thanks for visiting Piper Loves the Library. She loves chickens too!  She's thinking chicken costume!  

Flannel Friday keeps us creative.  Membership is free!  Visit the website - click here!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Faxon Library remembers September 11th

Community art projects are part of what we do in our branch.  Piper and I love it, we invite it. 

Today with the help of paint chips from our neighbor, Sherwin Williams, we set up our memorial art project for September 11th.  

Somewhere in the midst of Summer Reading Programs I ran across the street for shades of pink paint chips and tossed them into a tub, labeled the tub Heart Project 9/11, and carried on with summer.  Last week, thank goodness, I saw the tub and was ever so grateful to realize that I had a plan. Amen to taking action when the idea strikes.    

I dream of a die cut machine but really, I'm good with scissors!  Years of practice cutting flannel.  And I have helpers, (thank you Joe!)  

I left the library early today - so here's the photo at 2pm.  The glue sticks are ready, there's a tea tin filled with paper hearts just out of the photo in the bottom right.  I am looking forward to seeing this piece when I return to the library on Monday.

We remember the victims of 9/11  ~ in our hearts ~  
and in our art.

And you know, every so often genius strikes...sometimes inspired by Mel's comments!  It's time to make something like this for the flannel board.  Thanks Mel for thinking and doing and providing a place for us.  Flannel Friday keeps us strong.

P.S.(Piper Script) if you like this post, you may also like these:

International Dot Day  - it's flannel!  

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Potty Books! Potty Talk!

Do You See What I See?

Full disclosure here - I am feeling a bit apprehensive about this blog post.  If you don't see what I see, should I just shout it out?  Or should I let the librarian in me lead you quietly down the path to discover it yourself?  Hmmm.  

Let's try a key word: diversity....or in this situation, the lack there of!  And then there's this:"Mommy, where are the potty books with kids like me?"  OH.MY.GOSH.  OH.NO. PLEASE not my library!  This is so sad.  

Yet if you spend any time at all in my brain, this situation also invites humor.  What?  Only the white kids need potty training?  Everyone else automatically gets it? Why didn't someone tell me that before?  Honestly!  Come on people! Librarians need to know this.  Mind you, this paragraph only happened in my head. 

So we'll just move forward here with no self-blaming.  None!  And I'll show you what to go running for when your potty display is lacking.  Here's a book that's always popular in my library.  We have three copies. The subject matter is just that compelling!  Check out the cover - a cute kid of color.  Hence we know this kid poops!  And the poop is in the potty!  (I did write that)

(just like I the potty!!)

Another great book and even more proof that kids of color know how to use the potty.

Yep.  This is the trifecta for every library collection. Diversity. Potty. Firefighters! It's all here. 

Any lessons from this little adventure into potty land?  Most potty books have white kids.  We need diverse children in potty books.  Once again #WeNeedDiverseBooks.  I'm not going to stop talking about this issue.  Diversity matters and potty training time is a huge stage in a child's life.  We need to get this right.

I select books for my branch always with an eye to diversity.  I create flannels with diverse children.  My dolls and puppets represent diversity.  And my volunteers and staff are aware that our displays need to reflect our wonderfully diverse community and yet, one little person saw what I did not.  Wow.  Time to check your potty collections!  I've ordered more potty books.  I set my Baker & Taylor search for diversity/potty and found some new books. The library can not ever own enough potty books.  

Piper is oddly silent on this subject!  

Flannel Friday is the best place for creativity, support and growth...check us out.  Thanks for visiting Piper Loves the Library.  We both love comments.  Feel free to leave one, some, many!!