Happy Library “Shelfie” Day!

by Anne Wilmoth on January 24th, 2018

In 2014, the New York Public Library declared the fourth Wednesday in January to be National Library Shelfie Day – that’s a day dedicated to snapping selfies in front of library shelves, of course! Launching an Instagram campaign encouraging library users to post “shelfies” alongside the hashtag #libraryshelfie, NYPL hoped to reach tweens, teens, and young adults – those demographics for which the selfie seems to be omnipresent.

Well, I’m a late adopter of the smartphone and not totally comfortable with the selfie as a concept, but I do love libraries and books. And I realized this morning that in just one day of work as an Iowa City Public Library children’s librarian, I encountered numerous library shelves beyond the traditional downtown building. We are out in the community bringing the library to you! 

Here’s my #libraryshelfie on the bookmobile!

Find our current bookmobile schedule here.

The bookmobile is a “boutique” library service – we have limited space, so only the best books make it to the shelves here. Better yet, new and popular books that are perpetually checked out at the downtown building can often be found on the bookmobile!

Next I snapped a #libraryshelfie in front of our outreach collection at the Pheasant Ridge Neighborhood Center. The Neighborhood Center serves as a family resource center for the residents of the Pheasant Ridge Apartments, where a large portion of Iowa City’s immigrant and refugee population settles. The library maintains a collection here for residents to enjoy – and each month, we stop in and switch up the books on display, reshelve items, and ensure it’s looking tidy and inviting. Find out more about the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County here.

 

Then I went to Alexander Elementary School for storytime with the preschoolers there! Each month, ICPL children’s librarians visit over thirty-five preschools to extend their classroom curriculum with early literacy activities and encourage them to visit the library with their families. At some sites, students also visit the bookmobile and select books for their classroom.

After I shared books, flannel board stories, fingerplays, and musical instruments with these kids, I asked them to pose for a #libraryshelfie in front of their classroom library!

And then I was back at the downtown library for one last #libraryshelfie. Happy Library Shelfie Day! 

 

 

 

Mock Newbery Nominee: Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

by Morgan Reeves on January 17th, 2018
Mock Newbery Nominee: Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly Cover Image

In the eighth week of our Mock Newbery summaries and reviews we’ll look at Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. This story of coincidence, fate, and friendship is a quick read with memorable characters. Can it earn your vote?

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Mock Caldecott Review: The Antlered Ship

by Casey Maynard on January 12th, 2018

Related imagePrepare to go on a quest seeking the answers to Marco the fox’s world of questions. The journey may be tough, and you may go hungry. But in the end you’ll be much wiser, though the questions have changed and many have gone unanswered. The Antlered Ship serves as a lovely reminder that the journey is just as if not more important than the destination.

As lyrical as it is visually stunning The Antlered Ship delivers a narrative packed with multiple juxtaposed tones. Humor and gloom walk hand in hand, existentialism meets realism and whimsy, danger. The art and text perfectly compliment each other with the Fan brothers bringing great emotive depth to their otherwise non anthropomorphic animal characters.

Be sure to check out the Terry and Eric Fan’s works from 2016, The Night Gardener and The Darkest Dark and if The Antlered Ship is your favorite be sure to vote in our Mock Caldecott awards by January 31st. Related image

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Mock Newbery Nominee: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

by Morgan Reeves on January 10th, 2018
Mock Newbery Nominee: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan Cover Image

In the seventh week of our Mock Newbery summaries and reviews we’ll look at Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan. This slice of life story is all about overcoming fears, growing up, and the importance of community.

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Mock Caldecott Review: Grand Canyon

by Casey Maynard on January 5th, 2018

Image result for grand canyon jason chin

This week we are taking a look at Jason Chin’s Grand CanyonIf you are unfamiliar with Chin’s nonfiction works, I encourage you to give Gravity, Redwoods, Coral Reefsand Island a look as well.

Grand Canyon is a fabulous story about a father and daughter exploring this natural wonder and serves as a young reader’s reference guide to the canyon’s geology and ecology past and present. Readers of all ages will find something to enjoy from the narrative and the immersive artwork to the heavily researched back matter. Chin’s book design soars using every piece of the pages to further illuminate life in and the history of the canyon. His use of marginal imagery is particularly lovely. Also be sure to note the wonderful fossil cutouts that set up page turns to the distant past and the fantastic gatefold vista at the end.

Check this one out and let us know if it’s your favorite by voting in ICPL’s Mock Caldecott Awards by January 31st.

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Let’s Make Music!

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 4th, 2018

If you’ve ever attended Storytime at the Library, you know music is just as important to the program as the stories themselves.

“Music before the program sets the stage and warms up everyone into thinking fun,” Karen said. “At Book Babies, we sing lots of songs and we repeat the songs because research shows that children learn through repetition. Repeating the songs helps babies and toddlers learn words.”

The Children’s Room staff attended Kids First last spring and learned even more about the importance of music education from singer-educator Carole Stephens. One of the facts she shared is that 90 percent of the brain is used when a child actively participates in music.

A parent recently contacted the Library to ask if we have playlists for our Storytime music. The answer is yes and no.

“For the most part, we import CDs from our collection onto our iTunes database and customize our playlists for each storytime,” Mari said. “Every librarian has their favorites that tend to get played more often, though.”

Most Storytimes often start with “Clap Your Hands” by Lisa DeRosia, “Clap Everybody and Say Hello” by Kathy Reid-Naiman, “I’m in the Mood” by Raffi, or “Oh Hi Hello” by Jim Gill. Other songs/artists you’ll often hear include: “The More We Get Together;” Laurie Berkner; Carole Peterson; Raffi; and Old Town School of Folk Music (Songs for Wiggleworms).

So yes, we have playlists for Storytimes, but no, they aren’t something that can be checked out by patrons.

There is a bright side, though.

“We use a lot of music that is in our Children’s CD collection,” Karen said. “I have had many parents ask for the name of the artist or album after Storytime.”

So if there’s a song you and your child enjoy at Storytime, or you want to expand the repertoire of songs you sing at home, ask the Children’s Room staff for their recommendations. Your question might even launch an impromptu singalong.

Hey, those songs are catchy!

Mock Newbery Nominee: Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

by Morgan Reeves on January 3rd, 2018
Mock Newbery Nominee: Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham Cover Image

The new year is here as is week six of our Mock Newbery summaries and reviews. Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham is the next nominee for you to consider. If you haven’t picked this graphic memoir up yet, you are missing out on a relatable story about friendship and the struggle to fit in.

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Mock Caldecott Review: Wolf in the Snow

by Casey Maynard on December 29th, 2017

Given the current conditions in Iowa City, our next Mock Caldecott review is fitting. It has been almost a year since the publication of Matthew Cordell’s Wolf in the Snow and somehow it remains as fresh and vibrant as it was when I first saw it last January. It was also just given a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor. Though stylistically reminiscent of Cordell’s other works, Dream and Bob, Not Bob!  specifically, the juxtaposition of realistic pen and ink wolves with cartoonesque watercolor characters is something entirely new. Cordell takes risks here and they all pay off, turning narrative and artistic tropes we see in many picture books and fairy tales on their heads. Be sure to look out for his consistent use of shape and color as well as the incredible expressiveness he manages to show with our protagonist’s very limited facial space. There’s also a special surprise under the dust jacket you won’t want to miss. If you love this book be sure to vote for it as our 2018 Mock Caldecott winner by January 31st.

 

Mock Newbery Nominee: Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

by Morgan Reeves on December 27th, 2017
Mock Newbery Nominee: Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk Cover Image

Week five of our Mock Newbery summaries and reviews is the last of 2017, but I’ll be back in 2018 with another five before the final votes are tallied. I present Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk for your consideration. I hope I can convince you to give it a read, as this historical adventure story about belonging and family is one of my favorites of the year.

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Mock Caldecott Review: Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines

by Casey Maynard on December 22nd, 2017

Related image Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines is one of the most successful picture book biographies that I have seen to date.  Not only is the text fantastic, illuminating Lin’s childhood experiences and passion for art and the earth, but Dow Phumiruk’s illustrations soar. This is her debut picture book and it is simply stunning. Phumiruk’s use of a soft color palette, crisp edges and incredible perspective along with Harvey’s succinct blocks of text mirrors Lin’s minimalist nature inspired structures.  Phumiruk also utilizes large negative space inviting readers to approach Lin’s life and work with the same quiet introspection inspired by Lin’s art. Overall this nonfiction title is wonderfully accessible and is a beautiful tribute to one of the most influential modern artist-architects. Related image