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Author Archive for Morgan Reeves



Fresh Picks: Poetry

by Morgan Reeves on April 14th, 2016
Fresh Picks: Poetry Cover Image

As a cataloger, I see a lot of interesting, brand-new books every day. Sometimes the covers and titles are just so interesting I have to take a peek inside. Since it’s National Poetry Month, I’ll share some of the most recent poetry books that caught my eye.

Catch Your breath: Writing Poignant Poetry by Laura Purdie Salas is a great new book full of ideas and inspiration to write your own poetry. It’s full of examples of different types of poems, as well as good writing habits and profiles of famous poets.

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Miss Mary Reporting by Sue Macy

by Morgan Reeves on March 25th, 2016
Miss Mary Reporting by Sue Macy Cover Image

History is full of stories about interesting people and I love reading them in the form of picture book biographies. Often these biographies are about familiar figures, but sometimes neglected names are given overdue recognition. Fittingly during National Women’s History Month, pioneering sportswriter, Mary Garber, came to my attention via the new book Miss Mary Reporting by Sue Macy.

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The Goblin’s Puzzle by Andrew S. Chilton

by Morgan Reeves on February 29th, 2016
The Goblin’s Puzzle by Andrew S. Chilton Cover Image

Diversity in middle grade fantasy is hard to come by, particularly high fantasy featuring dragons, goblins, princesses, and kings. The Goblin’s Puzzle by Andrew S. Chilton provides all of these, as well as a good dose of humor and plenty of logic puzzles.

A dark-skinned slave boy with no name finds himself suddenly free, and for the first time in his life able to choose how to live his life. His choice to free a similarly enslaved goblin may provide him with more adventure than he bargained for, as goblins are notoriously tricky creatures. When the goblin tells him that it was not the boy’s fate to be a slave, he sets off to find his true destiny. With the goblin in tow, he learns many things along they way, including how to catch bats with a sling.

At the same time, a dragon has kidnapped Plain Alice, a case of mistaken identity, as he meant to capture Princess Alice. As the dragon goes off to rectify his mistake, Plain Alice begins doing what she does best, thinking. The soon-to-be-captured Princess Alice is at the center of a royal mess, as her father is trying to make her his heir to skip over the obviously evil Duke Geoffrey. To pay for the costly process, Princess Alice is to be married to a suitably wealthy person, to be decided upon by everyone but Princess Alice. All of these plans go literally out the window when Princess Alice is captured by the dragon. If ever there was a need for a nameless hero in search of his destiny, it is here in the Kingdom of West Stanhope.

The boy volunteers to rescue both Alices, though finds he needs their help just as often as they need his. The multiple threads of the story are finally and carefully woven together in a rooftop duel, a royal declaration, and one last trick from the goblin. In another rarity in recent middle grade fantasy, the story ends without a cliff-hanger to lead us to a sequel. Final word: A fantastic, thought-provoking, stand-alone fantasy adventure.

Storytime Recap: Black History

by Morgan Reeves on February 21st, 2016
Storytime Recap: Black History Cover Image

Saturday’s family storytime was in honor of Black History Month. We started off by singing a favorite welcome song, “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” After clapping, stomping and saying hello, I talked to everyone about how February is a month full of celebrations. We have Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, plus Black History Month. This is a time to honor the many historic accomplishments and current contributions of black Americans.

The first book we read was We March by Shane W. Evans. This simple story follows a family as they join in the crowds marching to Washington, D.C. to demonstrate for civil rights.

Next we all stood up and moved together as we did the action rhyme “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” One time slow and one time fast is always a fun way to repeat these.

Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes
And eyes and ears and mouth and nose
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes

Then I introduced our next book by talking about how many contributions black Americans have made to music styles over the years. This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt takes the tune of “This Old Man” and adapts it to a swinging jazz band counting from one to ten. This is a joy to read with the rhythmic beat and scat-style interjections.

Next I asked everyone to join me in singing and moving to “Mr. Sun”

Oh Mr. Sun. Sun. Mr. golden sun. Please shine down on me.
Oh Mr. Sun. Sun. Mr. golden sun. Hiding behind a tree.
These little children are asking you. To please come out so we can play with you.
Oh Mr. Sun. Sun. Mr. golden sun. Please shine down on me

Then I reminded everyone that black or white or somewhere in between, we all start out as babies, so our last story was Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee. This is a sweet and funny story about a parent asking their mischievous baby to behave.

Then we finished up with our call and response goodbye rhyme.

GoodbyeSong

Our movie today was the animated version of This is the Rope by Jacqueline Woodson, which follows a rope’s uses as it travels with a family from South Carolina to Brooklyn.

 

Fired Up Bowls Ready for Pick Up

by Morgan Reeves on January 26th, 2016

fired upWe had a great time painting ceramic bowls with help from our friends at Fired Up Iowa City last Monday. A great turn out of enthusiastic artists helped make this program a success. I am amazed each year at the creative ability of our patrons. I already can’t wait until next year. In the meantime the bowls have all been glazed and fired and are now ready to be picked up at the library. Come in and ask at the Children’s Desk to claim your finished bowl.

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Storytime Recap: Favorites of 2015

by Morgan Reeves on December 30th, 2015
Storytime Recap: Favorites of 2015 Cover Image

Today we started storytime off with our new hello song, “Oh Hey, Oh Hi Hello” by Jim Gill. Hopefully we will be real pros at singing this when Jim Gill gives his show at the Englert on January 23rd. We talked a bit about what everyone’s year of 2015, mostly how good it was. Since this was our last storytime of 2015 I decided we would take a look back at some favorite stories from this year. Our first book, Wait by Antoinette Portis, uses just a couple of words, “hurry” and “wait” to tell the story of a busy morning and remembering to stop and enjoy the little things in life. I read the word hurry and asked the kids to say “wait,” when I pointed to them, a little interaction goes a long way.

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Storytime Recap: Get Ready for Winter

by Morgan Reeves on December 16th, 2015

Today we started storytime off with a new song, “Oh Hey, Oh Hi Hello” by Jim Gill. This is a fun way to say hello in a bunch of silly voices, plus it’s a great way to practice for when Jim Gill comes to town on January 23rd. I talked first about how winter would officially be here next week, but that animals have already been getting ready for winter for awhile now. I then introduced a vocabulary word for the day, “hibernation.” We had a smart group today, as a few already knew that hibernating meant sleeping in the winter for a long time. Our first story followed a squirrel getting ready for winter, The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri.

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Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

by Morgan Reeves on November 23rd, 2015
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate Cover Image

A couple of people told me I had to read Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate. Now I have to add my own recommendation, please read this book. This story made a huge impact on me in just a few hours (because that’s all it took to finish this page turner). Ostensibly, a middle grade novel, it brings hard issues front and center in a way that people of all ages can relate to. Poverty and homelessness are not issues often featured in middle grade fiction, but Applegate portrays them masterfully here. A father with a crippling disease too proud to ask for help. A mother underemployed after being laid off. A boy trying to cope. A little sister to be protected from the truth. A true friend. And one imaginary cat named Crenshaw.

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Storytime Recap: So Happy

by Morgan Reeves on November 18th, 2015

As the weather turns colder and grayer, it becomes a bit more difficult to be cheerful and happy. So I thought everyone would enjoy a storytime all about what makes us happiest. As usual, we began our time together with our welcome song, “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” Then I talked a bit about some things that make me happy, like my dogs and cat, or reading a good book. I asked everyone to think about their happy things as I read our first book 100 Things That Make Me Happy by Amy Schwartz.

Each rhyming pair of happiness possibilities evokes such fun responses from the kids. “Chocolate chips, camping trips…hula hoops, double scoops,” received the most enthusiastic sounds of approval.

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Storytime Recap: Veterans Day

by Morgan Reeves on November 11th, 2015

In honor of Veterans Day, we had a veterans and peace themed storytime. As usual, we began our time together with our welcome song, “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” Afterwards, I introduced the concept of honoring our veterans for their contribution to keeping the peace by reading excerpts from Veterans Day by Arlene Worsley. I talked about how Veterans Day used to be called Armistice Day, honoring the peace agreement after World War I.

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