Category Archives: Storytime Badassery

The Coolest Things Moving and Shaking on the Internet This Week

Yes, friends, I did get named a Library Journal 2014 Mover and Shaker (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) for Guerrilla Storytime. Which is really about YOU, because I only thought up Guerrilla Storytime, I didn’t make it into a crazy international movement. You did that. I love you. 

HEY speaking of Guerrilla Storytime, there is one THIS SATURDAY in Indy as part of PLA. It is at 9:15. Amy and Brooke are co-facilitating. I fully expect magic will happen. 

The inaugural Michigan KidLit UnCon, which I’m pretty sure is the professional event I’ll most regret missing this year, held a Guerrilla Storytime and Annie blogged about it, and it sounds incredible. Which, duh, look at who put it on. 

ALSO speaking of Guerrilla Storytime, thanks for this great write up of the one at Midwinter, Anne!

What are we up to next, over here in the Underground? We have a couple of bigBIGbig ideas we are brewing (OH MAN YOU GUYS), but the official things happening are: ALSC student session webinar (FREE!) on building your PLN, March 25 and possibly a Conversation Starter at Annual IFFFFF you all vote for it:

This post on wordless picture books is a MUST READ. Use them! They’re not scary! They’re important for developing imagination and awareness of narrative structure!

One of our readers emailed me about her blog, Kidlit Celebrates Women’s History Month, and it’s full of cook reviews and program ideas for bringing Women’s History Month to your patrons, which is a highly excellent idea. 

Thanks to the Jbrary gals for linking to this AWESOME resource from an apparently amazing Canadian library featuring videos of storytime songs in 15 different languages. ❤

I know, I know, I am breaking my own rule about not linking to stuff my fellow joint chiefs are blogging about, but did you see Amy’s post about World Read Aloud day? It’s such a smart way to do a fairly low-staff time community partnership program with big pay off. Plus, literacy. And Kendra is painting with balloons, because she’s a mad genius!

Abby shouts us out in a great article on ways to get that storytime training you feel like you missed out on, and also has a super useful related article on what she’s learned on the job about preparing for readalouds (bonus picture of my future wife. Hi honey!).

The picture this week is ME in LIBRARY JOURNAL. Because. 



Congratulations to Cory! Moving and Shaking Innovator

Not that any of us are surprised, but Cory has been chosen as a 2014 Mover & Shaker: Innovator by Library Journal. We are so proud of our idea genius and favorite ninja we just had to share with you all here! So, here’s to Cory (aka Raphael) and all her awesomeness. We love you and thank you for not being afraid to so damn brilliant!

Here’s her write up.

Just for fun, a couple of awesome shots of Cory doing her thing (is she not the most rad cowgirl?).


At the first Guerrilla Storytime series.

At the first Guerrilla Storytime series.

The Single Fracking Coolest Damn Thing on the Internet

Three out of three Storytime Underground Joint Chiefs have been waiting rather impatiently for quite some time for the reveal of Anna HK’s Everyday Diversity project. And now it has been revealed, and it is uhfrackingmazing. It is all the things SU is about. It is all the things we aspire to help the Youth Services Internet Ninja Mafia be about. It is perfect and I could not be more excited to support it in any way possible.

You should help!

And that, friends, is the coolest thing I saw on the internet this week.*

(Also this, courtesy of Sophie Brookover and the Calming Manatee):


Go in peace, my beloved Ninja Mafia. Let’s be careful out there.

*There may be some relation between the brevity of this post and the fact that I lost my adored Gram on Thursday night, and spent all weekend travelling/doing family funeral crud/travelling/recuperating and hence did not actually read that much of the internet this week, but I think Anna’s project deserves to stand alone anyway, because it is cool beyond measure.

The Internet is For Cat Videos

As I was about to start this post, one of my best friends sent me a link to a 25 minute compilation of the internet’s best cat vines. It’s fine, go, I’ll wait here. 

 Now that I’ve destroyed your productivity. . . I must direct you to the ALSC blog where they have made the EXCELLENT DECISION to feature Angie (@misskubelik), dear member of both my professional posse and personal Team Me, as their ALSC member of the month. Well played, ALSC. Well played. It is of course a charming interview and you will probably come away from it wishing Angie were in your PLN and that YOU could kick ass at trivia with her and get shushed on an airplane while discussing the Love Curse of the Rumbaughs. This is not an impossible dream. Through the power of the internet, you can become friends with all sorts of famous people. 

Miss Meg (at Miss Meg’s Storytime) has a great shapes “workshop.” Shapes are key! They promote letter knowledge! She incorporates yoga and matching and real life examples and all sorts of fun stuff. Another great way to add a STEAM element to storytime. 

Head over to Thrive After Three for this SUPPPPPPPER SMART post on how to use scarves in early literacy contexts, and pair them with books. For real, if you haven’t seen this post yet, it’s going to blow your mind wide open with scarfy possibilities. 

Did you know that Annie Clark (@sotomorrow) is a genius? A genius with a kid SO CUTE it is difficult to fathom? It’s all true. In honor of the Olympics, Annie put on a Mother Goose Olympics (that I’m pretty sure is a lot more gay friendly than Sochi) and it is seriously cool beyond words. What a great way to introduce kids (and parents!), in a physical way, to older nursery rhymes where the vocabulary is difficult or unfamiliar. 

Did y’all have kind of a rough week? I had a rough couple of them, and I’ve been relying on music to get me through. Here is a surefire get-through-a-bad-day winner:

(Are you ready? Are you ready?)

The Coolest Thing I Saw On The Internet This Week

The internet was not disappointing this week. What was the BEST thing I saw? MYSELF (and Guerrilla Storytime) IN AL DIRECT! (With a photo of Amy, which is great for me, because Amy is so absurdly pretty, you guys, for real, how is it even allowed?). It’s down in the Tips and Tricks section. THIS IS BRILLIANT. Our whole point of having this site is to get YS news out into the wider librarian internet.

Thanks to Marge for summing up why it’s so important to us to get our (amazing) ideas out beyond the youth services bubble.

I love this Letter of The Week storytime that Miss Sue posted at Library Village (formerly Let The Wild Rumpus Start). The mailbag is a great way to reveal the theme, while incorporating new information about TWO ECRR2 skills (reading + writing) and teaching about mail! Her Old McDonald is hilarious and easy to replicate. It’s so smart to take a song every kid knows and tweak it just a little. It makes the kids (and parents) feel comfortable. She also HAS an ECRR tip and talks about picking books for skills they teach kids. So awesome.

You know what we’re about? (Ninjas? Tacos? Dolly Parton?) Advocacy! This post from Lisa Taylor at the ALSC blog is really key. What would your libraries circ stats, or program numbers, look like without you? YOU MATTER.

Brytani has an excellent write up on getting families acquainted with a new storytime provider — which I feel like someone is always asking about.

Carrie over at The Lion is a Bookworm has a super cute Ps and Qs storytime about Princes and Queens! What a smart way to do letter knowledge and play into the popularity of the princess craze. She manages to pack a LOT of educational elements.

I’m pretty excited that Sarah is back to blogging and also that she takes the WORLDS CUTEST baby pics.

It’s Valentine’s Day! I’m posting a picture of one of the things I love best in the world. . .



The Rockford Peaches. What do YOU love most? Leave me pics in the comments!

The Coolest Thing I Saw On The Internet, What Day Is It? Edition

I legit forgot that yesterday was Wednesday. My new job, the learning curve is steep.

People blogged about Guerrilla Storytime at Midwinter! Not even just youth services bloggers!

The wonderful Kate Kosturski, tiny hat owner extraordinaire, happened to be at the UnCommons on Sunday and wound up taking video and blogging about it for INALJ (I assume you know INALJ, because it is seriously the greatest thing).

Michelle at Lit Chat For Kids recapped her experiences at MW and gave GS some great feedback.

Of course Amy blogged about it, and also wrote up some of her other crazy adventures of late (I, for one, have never been so glad for the Newbery committee to finish their work).

If you blogged about GS, or saw it mentioned somewhere, please send the link! We like to read about how great we are.

I really love With Kiddos At The Library, which is written by some amazing Vancouver librarians. They have a ton of new cool stuff in January, but my personal favorite is the GIANT SHADOW PUPPET WORKSHOP they set up. So cool.

What is Bridget Reading? WINNIE THE POOH. I grew up on Milne, and I think his original stories are so flipping charming, and are so perfect at conveying childhood, and hold up really strongly, and I just think more people should still be reading them. And throwing birthday parties for Pooh.

Molly at What Happens In Storytime has some really cool ideas this week, like a rain circle. I also love how active/song based her storytimes are!

I love how explicitly Kendra spells out the nuts and bolts of her storytime plan, and how precise is she with her choices. I’m linking to Storytime for Twos, but go back and read her recent posts on her new year’s resolution. So full of goodness.

If, like me, you love Harry Potter as if you actually knew the characters personally, this diary from Ron will make your life.

Speaking of fictional characters with whom I am real life friends, this picture makes me think of Cat the Cat meeting Piggy, and then I go down a mental wormhole of Mo Willems crossovers.


What did you guys see this week that I missed?

The Coolest Thing(s+++) I Saw This Week

You guys! You were all KILLING IT this week. I have so many links. BUT BEFORE I GET TO THEM!

I know you are all waiting to read the Guerrilla Storytime recap. It will go live tomorrow, fear not! Speaking of Guerrilla Storytime, and we often are because that’s how this blog came to be, did you see this excellent article by beloved ninja and fat girl reading Angie on the American Libraries Blog? It was so good my dad shared it on his Facebook wall, so. You know. It’s good to have famous friends, basically. We also made it on the ALSC blog (thanks Abby!) and got a shout out on the FB page of my hometown library! Thanks, Tucson. I heart you.

Okay, back to the part where you are all talented badasses. Noted talented-badass-with-great-hair Cate at Storytiming made a take home story stretcher infographic and wrote a follow up post to talk about the awesome ways parents used the story stretcher at home to continue the pre-literacy mojo. It’s such an easy idea that does so much. Ugh. So smart. I’m so jealous I didn’t think of it.

Quite a few of the posts I read this week featured librarians changing up their storytime plans because of time/weather/etc. and finding themselves with serendipitous results. A couple of these that I really loved were: Ariel at Hushlander talking about simplifying her script and ending up with more time for literacy focus (as a bonus, she writes really lovely, detailed book descriptions) and Anna (HI ANNA I MISS YOUR FACE) at Future Librarian Superhero showing the exact process of how you modify a storytime as you go, when it’s obviously not going to work as planned.

Over at Literacious, Laura Arnhold shares a great parent tip on how shapes are an important part of learning letters. Also she mentions Guerrilla Storytime. It’s the secret guaranteed way to get a shout out from me.

I really like the color/sequencing/memory game Anne has going on with her paint storytime over at Anne’s Library Life. I also like that she explains EXACTLY how to use this flannel set step by step, including the educational benefits. ANNNND she uses one of my all time favorite go to never fail storytime books, Ain’t Gonna Paint No More, AND she has the kids paint on themselves with dry paintbrushes which is a super cool sensory element. NEAT. I really really like that her blog tagline includes conquering the world through storytime, as we are all about that over here in the Underground.

FEAST YOUR EYES on this Elvis Storytime. Need I say more?

Have you ever seen someone post a Draw and Tell Story and thought, Yes but how is it DONE? Linda Meuse is here for you, for all of us, and just in time for Valentine’s Day.

A couple of things you should know about! 1) Falling Flannelboards has a series of new picture book reviews called Perfect for Storytime 2) Storytimes and More on the Go has a Saturday Storytime Share, sort of like a Flannel Friday roundup, but with more of an emphasis on outreach and activities and school-aged stuff, and it is super crazy chock full of awesome like whoah and nelly.

Also big congrats to Locomotive, which I thought was a stunning book, and to (weird as shit) Mr. Wuffles and (extraordinarily told) Journey for stretching the limits of what picture books are and do.  This year felt like whole new horizons opening up and I’m so excited about it.

Stay tuned tomorrow, when Amy tells us all about Midwinter’s Guerrilla Storytime!


Be careful out there. I love you. Elvis loves you. Keep kicking ass!

The Coolest Thing I Saw On The Internet This Fortnight

I promise we’ll get back into the regular, weekly swing of things once I’m settled in to the new place/job/city. In the meantime, we have this radical blog series going on, about building your PLN. That’s more interesting than Coolest Thing, anyway.

In keeping with the Year of the Ninja, many of my favorites this week came straight from the SU Facebook page (I mistyped that as Favebook, which is pretty perfect). Are you a member of the group? WHY NOT?

Miss Michelle blogged about her sick storytime and also her obsession with boogers. I love that the song she used teaches left and right while also teaching about staying healthy during cold season.

Jennifer at In Short, I am Busy shows a great way to talk to parents about how we incorporate ECRR2 into storytime (bonus penguins).

You know I love Brooke, and she’s got great early literacy tips going on in her storytime posts, including this one about object permanence/peek-a-boo!.

I love a good “Day in the Life” post, and also when people call out Amy and Abby (which means I pretty much love the entire children’s librarian internet) so I’m really into this post over at Laptime and Storytime.

I’m glad for this timely reminder from Not Just Cute about diversity in picture books. I like to pick a whole set of picture books for storytime that happen to all have kids of color in them, kind of just to see if I can, but also because it IS so important for kids to see both themselves and kids of all backgrounds reflected in their books.

This is a slightly older post from No Time for Flashcards, but I love how she ties in so many early literacy aspects to the (AWESOME) snow window craft. Also, both this and the previous link mention my beloved The Snowy Day. Peter! I love you!

I pretty much only read women authors already, because, you know, the patriarchy, but also because I primarily read trashy books. I am more than happy to tweet about my reading choices, because, you know, patriarchy, but also because lady writers are FRACKING AMAZING.

Speaking of the patriarchy! (Aren’t we always?) I want to add my voice to the chorus of support for ALA’s Code of Conduct, for the reasons Andromeda lays out and for many others.

Annie and Kendra were talking about the Mighty Ducks (QUACK!) on Twitter, and Kendra opined that it was all about Emilio for her, but I only ever had eyes for one Duck:


Call me, Pacey.

Did you see something awesome this week? Email me or leave it in the comments!


The Coolest Thing I Saw In The Polar Vortex

Having just moved and started a new job, I am a bear of very little brain (OMG, on my commute home tonight NPR was talking AA Milne. My life was made). It’s not anywhere near as cold here as it is in most places, but it is, like, really effing cold for the Southern coast. Between moving, cold and new job brain fry (plus learning to drive in CRAZY PEOPLE DRIVING LAND) I am relying heavily on other people’s recs this week.*

Abby gave us a shout out on the ALSC blog, which is always seriously exciting for me. Her other recommendations for new employee training are stellar. We’re in great company!

Including <drum roll> MEL! IS BACK! FROM HIATUS! Thank God. She’s doing a reader’s survey, so help her out by getting opinionated. Y’all are good at that.

And speaking of good training materials, Erin over at Falling Flannelboards has these easily printable roundups of books-songs-crafts around themes that she just started doing. Great for the newb. Thanks to Amy for the link.

There are some very wow discussions going on right now at the SU FB group. Thanks to Allison Girres for linking to this GREATTTTT series over at Library As Incumbator Project called Books to Boogie. It goes in depth about how to use different books for movement activities, and it’s stellar.

Julie (HiMissJulie! I hope the cold does not strand you forever!) linked to a couple of her favorite non-library blogs, including Teacher Tom, about preschoolers, and Not Just Cute, about childhood development. I am definitely into the idea of reading broadly, and outside of the library bubble, about early childhood education.

I never got a chance to post this one from the end of last year: New-to-me blog Allison’s Library is a great mix of book reviews, teen crafts, display ideas, opinion pieces, etc. I loved this piece on Teddy Bear Lapsit because she talks you through the hows and whys of the format she used.

I think somebody linked me to this and I can’t remember who (speak up in the comments if it was you!). This idea comes from a non-library blog, and it’s a little portable flannel board with story for kids stuck in the hospital who have restrictions on what toys they can have. It’s pretty much the best idea ever. Flannel boards have a million story possibilities.

The best thing, the very best thing, I saw on the internet this week was this picture of Congresswoman Giffords getting ready to go skydiving on the 3rd anniversary of being shot in the head. On behalf of Tucson ex-pats everywhere, I say HELL YEAH. *



*Full disclosure: This is a hard day for me. 3 years ago today, I was at work when reports started to trickle in that my congresswoman, for whom I had gladly voted, had been shot at the Safeway 3 blocks away. I knew Gabby, from campaign work and from my dad’s synagogue. For hours we thought she was dead. I was panicked, because it was Dad’s normal shopping day and his regular store. Later, we heard Gabby had made it, but Gabe Zimmerman hadn’t. I went to high school with Gabe, and though I didn’t know him, he was very dear to many people I know. His loss was felt profoundly in my circles. I had done campaign work for Daniel Hernandez, who was a hero before that day. It was really close and really terrifying and really awful, for the community I loved + grew up in. I did just hear that Gabby has regained use of her arm, which is huge! That woman is a fighter like you have never seen. Anyway.

The Coolest Thing I Saw on the Internet This Week (and this week needed some cool stuff)

To begin with, Marley was dead. STOP! Wrong story.

Y’all, I had a terrible day AND I spent most of my week reading articles about R. Kelly (important, but not really the material I look for for this post) so I asked Twitter to send me links and I got THIS. Thanks, Twitter. Also this GIF of a hedgehog in a hat. I love you, tweeps.

Dana and Lindsey at Jbrary, who we posilutely adore, made a blogreel and it has blogs I’ve never seen before!!!! It really IS Christmas.

Here are some favorite new finds:

Some mad amazing STEAM storytimes are happening over at Knowledge Matters.

I don’t THINK I’ve visited Never Shushed (great name!!) before, but I will definitely be keeping it in rotation from now on. I love that Claudia talks in-depth about her book choices, and uses Todd Parr, and has the good sense to be a fan of Sturdy for Common Things.

Pop Goes The Page has instructions for some intensely theatrical storytimes.

Storytime Stuff has recently featured some great info about the benefits of signing with kids (and library staff).

Also great this week: Bryce talks about owning the fact that you ARE a reader (I don’t seem to have any trouble with this admission, myself) and this blog post my mom sent me (hi Mom!) about how the way we women talk about ourselves impacts the youngest girls (and boys!) in our lives.

Have an extraordinary yuletide, ninjas! My family reads A Christmas Carol out loud every year, so I will leave you with a very non-denominational, God Bless Us, Every One.*

For Christmas, I got you Captain Pickard as Ebenezer Scrooge. You’re welcome.


*Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Or Cthulhu. I’m not picky.

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