Category Archives: special events

Armchair BEA Day 2

Today it’s all about the books. Here are the things Armchair BEA book blogs are talking about today.

  • How often do you judge a book by its cover? I love book covers. Anyone who says they don’t judge a book by its cover is lying. I even have statistics. 90% of the books children choose are from face out displays. Why do you think face out displays work so well? Because you can see the cover gosh darn it. So I’d say I’m no different than those kids, 90% of the time I judge by the cover.
  • How important is it for the visual art on the outside of the book to match or coordinate with the literature art on the inside? A few days ago I would’ve thought; how is this even a question? Of course it must match. I’m not sure I’d come across a book that didn’t. But then I started reading Half Magic. The cover art on my copy is by Quentin Blake, who I love. But alas, then you open it and it’s like the world of Dick & Jane. No offense to N.M. Bodecker who is apparently the original illustrator. I want my cover art and the inside illustrations to match. Imagine if a 4 year old picked up a Disney princess book based on the cover (as they do) and then opened it to find the art of Jackson Pollack. Yuck.

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What is Armchair BEA


Filed under current news, fun facts, special events

Armchair BEA

I heard about Armchair BEA through some other blogs I follow. First, BEA, stands for Book Expo America. Armchair BEA is for those of us who can’t attend BEA, which is in Chicago this year, so we participate and follow through a virtual convention in the comfort of our armchair. Today is the day we introduce ourselves.
  • What is the name you prefer to use? Jennifer. I mean I don’t know if I prefer it, it’s just my name.
  • How long have you been a book blogger? I’ve been blogging here since December of 2012. So about 3.5 years.
  • Have you participated in ABEA before? I haven’t! I only just heard about it through Randomly Reading (who participated in the Cybils awards with me this year )& Storytime Secrets.
  • Do you have a favorite book? My favorite book is The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.
  • What is your favorite genre and why? I typically like realistic fiction whether it be current or historical. I like to learn about different ways of life and different time periods. My favorite is probably 1900-1930s. Who wouldn’t want to be a flapper?
  • How do you arrange your bookshelves? Is there a rhyme or reason? Or not at all? Ooh ooh. This is a great question. At my house I have a whole room of bookshelves that are books I haven’t read. Then in my dining room I have the books in a color scheme to match my rug. The books I own and have read are few and I put them in my living room. They are few because once I buy a book and read it I typically give it away to someone I know will also enjoy it. I don’t expect them back, which is good because I don’t usually get them back. Ha.
  • What book are you most excited for on your TBR? What are you most intimidated by? Jodi Picoult has a new book coming out in October I think. I’m most excited and intimidated by that. I worry that the hype will be lost once I start reading and that makes me nervous.
  • If you could choose three characters to have lunch with, who would they be and why? Hm.. Jude from A Little Life, Celia from The Night Circus & Elizabeth Bennett from Pride & Prejudice. I just finished all 3 of those books, sort of, and that’s who I’m thinking about right now.


Filed under adult, current news, day in the life, fun facts, special events

Book Buzz Recap

Ook all. So I went to Book Buzz and it was lovely. I got to sit next to a former co-worker and see lots of others there as well, which is always exciting. I also got to see tons of new books coming out and even take some home. Woot! Here’s some that I’m excited about (from what I can remember – I did not consult my notes).

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The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura. This book is actually already out but I got a galley and I heard about it on All the Books this past Tuesday, so I’m excited. I also got the new Elizabeth Strout, My Name is Lucy Barton, which is already published as well but was one I wanted to read so I snatched it up.


Be a Friend by Salina Yoon. Yoon is the author of the adorable Penguin series and I love them. Although the illustrations in this one are much different it looks like a winner.


Save me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan. I requested this from the wonderful woman there who spoke about the Scholastic books coming in 2016. She was just the nicest. I’m excited to read this. I love the cover. The woman presenting said that Sarah found her co-author at a creative writing class she was taking and Gita was a fellow student. Very cool.


Last but not least, Peter Brown. I looooove Peter Brown y’all. The Curious Garden is one of my go-to books for storytime and I can not get enough of Lucy the bear. Now he’s dipping his toe into middle grade with The Wild Robot and I can’t wait to read it. I sent an email out to the presenter of Little, Brown Books to see if she could get me a galley as well.

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Book Buzz


Librarians all around the United States say hooray for ALA. While the big ALA conference typically happens in late June there’s a smaller ALA Conference in January called mid-winter and this year it happens to be in Boston. I’m going to one program before it starts called, Book Buzz.

“Over two dozen publishers will share some of their picks for late winter and spring. Children’s, Young Adult, and Adult titles galore! Advance reading copies will also be available for those who pre-register.”

Advance reading copies?? I . Can’t . Wait .

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Goodreads Best Books


I am addicted to Goodreads. I use it constantly. Loooove it. And I also love when it’s Best Books Poll time! That time is NOW, you guys. Get over there and start voting!


Opening Round Nov. 3 – 8
Semifinal Round Nov. 10 – 15
Final Round Nov. 17 – 23

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Filed under award winners, best lists, current news, special events

Mother Goose on the Loose Kit

This is what you need to have a successful Mother Goose on the Loose. I am leaving my current library to go to another and will need to make up another MGOL kit so I’m making a list of what I have and what I need.

Carpet square set. These aren’t super necessary but they’re nice to have. MGOL encourages you to make the room into a semi circle to it’s easy to step around to pass out instruments, you can see all the kids faces and walk around without having to worry about stepping on fingers or toes. These squares make that layout easily apparent. It also gives you something to reference when you say, find your carpet letter! in order to make everyone sit back down.

Stuffed farm animal set. I got mine from Demco I think however when I just went to look they only sold them individually. Annoying.

Hand bell set. These are expensive, but worth it. When I bought them they were $3.36 not $8 something so maybe wait it out and check the price every once in awhile. If you have a small group of kids that you can talk to and stretch the program length a bit they are great conversation pieces. You can ask what animal is on their bell. What color it is. Have the kids whose animals are the same sing the song with you. Etc.

Colorful scarf set. I’ve heard that there are better ones than these that don’t fray on the edges as much but I’ve been fine with these. They’re reasonably priced and do the job.

You can do it without these next things, but I find them to be useful and the kids love them.

Spider puppet. Similar to this one but I know that I didn’t get it on Amazon.

Five Little Monkeys set. This is adorable and the kids love it. They always want to put the monkeys on their fingers during free play afterwards.

These are the toys I currently have for the kids to use in free play. I always buy the same toys (from Walmart) and I always try and get two of each of the popular ones so there’s an easy way to stop fighting during a time when someone doesn’t want to share. I attached links when possible. Toy phone (2), toy camera (2), wooden blocks, toy piano (not electronic), interlocking beads, toy cars (6), wooden puzzles (as many as I can afford), mystery shape bucket, stackable rings, plastic ball (I have this but don’t think I’ll buy it again).

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Filed under 3+, children, special events, storytime

Toddler Palooza

The past week we had Toddler Palooza! It was a kick off to the beginning of my fall programming. I sort of did a Toddler Palooza back at my old library. It was called Pinterest Playday and I had all of these activities stolen from Pinterest for moms to bring their kids to do at the library. It was essentially things that moms don’t want to do at their own houses because it makes a big ol’ mess. I saw another library doing something similar in an issue of School Library Journal. Brooklyn library called theirs Toddler Palooza. I liked that better so that’s what we named the one I just had here. I emailed the woman who did it and got her early literacy tips (already formatted!) to add to my event.

So, what is Toddler Palooza? Mine was a set of 11 stations of early literacy activities for the kids to roam around to at their whim. It took about one afternoon to prep the things that needed made. And another afternoon to set it up. This is my list of stations.


Paper party: shredded paper in a bucket.

Bean bash: three kinds of beans and measuring cups in a bucket

Sticky fingers: contact paper taped sticky side up to a table

Bubble wrap jump time: bubble wrap taped to the ground

Gel pads: ziplocs filled with hair gel and subsequently taped to cardboard as a makeshift etch-a-sketch thing. I attached a link of where I got the idea from, however that lady put items in hers like ocean animals. One time I tried to do that and they broke open much more easily because of the edges on the animals. So I don’t do that anymore. And I tape them down flat to cardboard in order to keep them from getting squeezed or bit open.

One mom said it was like Disneyland for toddlers! 🙂

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bubble wrap jump time

14 - 4

water beads

14 - 7

paper party

14 - 8

bean bash

14 - 9

125 happy attendees

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