Mystery Meetup was a program for kids in grades Kindergarten through 4. After a story, kids split into two teams to solve the mystery of the missing library mascot. After cracking a code, the team had access to the crime scene evidence. Using an elimination grid, teams eliminated suspects based on the evidence trail. Once they solved the case, they could crack one final code to set the trapped squirrel puppet free.
Draw a Story was a partnership between the library and the local community access television station. Kids in grades Kindergarten through 4 listened to a story, then drew their own illustrations to go with the story on large paper. The staff member from the television station recorded each child telling me about his story. After the program, all footage was compiled and edited. With parental permission for each participant, the show aired on the community access television station and the library’s YouTube channel.
Art Market was a STEAM program, inviting kids in grades 1 through 5 to practice both math and art skills. As a group, we discussed money and budgeting. Each child received an envelope with play coins and bills and a price sheet. Children and their adults talked about what supplies they could afford and how they could pool their money to buy supplies such as scissors that they could share. They then used their money to “buy” art supplies from the store to make the project.
The art project used white card stock, oil pastel crayons, vegetable oil, and black paper to make silhouettes on a sunset background.
Screen-Free Family Hour was open to all ages and showed families easy, inexpensive, and technology-free ways to practice the Every Child Ready to Read principles of talk, read, write, and play. Tips for practicing the principles were posted at each station. 25 people attended this Saturday afternoon program.
Talk-Set of cards with kid-friendly “would you rather” questions meant to encourage conversation.
Read-Variety of children’s books with beanbags and chairs to sit together and read.
Write-Paper, pencils, crayons, envelopes, stamps, and a list of children’s authors’ addresses to practice writing and addressing an envelope.
Play-Board games, puppets and a puppet stage to encourage playing and talking. Hand clap rhymes and cat’s cradle instructions sparked a sentimental smile in millennial parents.
In this interview, I talk with John Corey Whaley, author of the book Highly Illogical Behavior. The novel, peppered with Star Trek: The Next Generation references, tells tale of Solomon, a teen with a severe anxiety disorder who hasn’t left the house in over three years and the friendship that will either save or ruin him.
Buzzfeed calls Highly Illogical Behavior, “Another raw, funny, and unforgettable read from Whaley that won’t leave you disappointed.” Tune in to find out how Corey’s own experiences with anxiety influenced him to write this story and how writing LGBT characters has changed in recent years.
In this interview, I talk with Jesse Andrews, author of the book The Haters. This hilarious and touching story follows Wes Doolittle and his friends as they escape the oppression of jazz band camp and set off on a road trip in search of a venue to play an epic concert that will establish them as a band.
Booklist called The Haters: “Uproariously funny … very of-the- moment … Effortlessly readable, deeply enjoyable, and, given the years since Andrews’ fantastic debut, well worth the wait.” Tune in to hear Jesse hate on a cheesy band and to find out how his own musical background inspired him to write this story.
In this interview, I talk with Cat Winters, author of the book The Steep and Thorny Way. This historical fiction, loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, follows protagonist Hanalee as she navigates rural Oregon in the 1920’s as a biracial teen coming to terms with her father’s murder.
School Library Journal called The Steep and Thorny Way: “Unique and riveting historical fiction that feels anything but dated.” Tune in to find out how Cat makes history interesting with a supernatural twist and why young adult fiction is for everyone.