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Ok, you know I love flash mobs–especially the ones involving dancing.

But this might just be better! With over 3 million hits on YouTube, maybe you’ve already seen Matt and I’m just behind the times. But then maybe you haven’t. 😉

Where the Hell is Matt? follows Matt as he dances with folks all around the world. It’s way better than it sounds. It’s a total feel-good.

What is it about these dance videos that grabs my heart so? Perhaps it’s that

  • they show everyone, no matter who they are in life or how different they are from one another, doing something together,
  • they knit people together; you can all but feel the community that’s being built, however briefly,
  • they are fun; it’s hard to feel sad or angry or bitter when you are dancing or when you watch others dance,
  • they engage us deeply even if we can only watch,
  • they connect us to something bigger and better than our individual selves.

What about groups dancing together touches you?

Dance on,




That seems an oxymoron, putting Mr. Rogers (as in children’s television) and re-mix (as in recombination of music tracks to create something new) together. Mr. Rogers wasn’t a singer, a rapper, or even part of a band. Granted, my kids’ favorite bedtime music was a tape of some of the songs from his show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. He was simply many, many a child’s (and adult’s) favorite television neighbor.

I love re-mixes. I love the creativity that is so stunningly demonstrated when one is well done. And this one by PBS Digital is now way at the top of my list. It’s only 3 minutes long and it will make you smile *all* day long. So take a listen to Gardens of the Mind, the Mr. Rogers Re-Mix, and remember all the good Fred Rogers stood for and all he’s left us to carry on with for the sake of children.



The Children’s Librarian: A Necessity, Not a Luxury is one of those articles that urges me to declare: I couldn’t say it any better myself! Please take the time to read it and pass it on to those who might not quite “get” what a children’s librarian is all about.

A few comments:

  • I love how Blackrose includes children’s librarian in the category of “Early Childhood Professionals!” That’s what we are and what we will continue to be more and more in the years to come (as long as communities keep us employed and library schools provide the proper training).
  • Speaking of training, I want to brag on two of our library schools here in Denver, Emporia State University (where I teach the children’s services class and built it around child development) and Denver University, which just began an early childhood library fellows program within its MLS.
  • And I can’t help but brag a bit more: Unlike in Australia, my class does include storytime and storytelling training, even down to how to use your voice properly so you don’t burn it out over the years.

And a wonderful quote from Blackrose:

“But public libraries are also about people. Statistics do not reflect the contentment of shared reading experiences, the satisfaction of successful social interactions, the excitement of appropriate group responses, the wonder of discovery, the joy of connected learning. These are what public library storytimes provide through the work of the children’s librarian. ”

In less than 24 hours, I’ve had two people thank me for my help: One was a young mom of five children who was so frustrated with homeschooling she was ready to quit. She brought the kids to the library that day, and while I don’t recall our time together, she says it made all the difference.

The other was a grandmother who has started a library of children’s books on death, dying, and grief  in her nursing home for residents and family members (isn’t that a neat idea!). She asked me for suggestions. Today she came in with tears in her eyes to tell me about how one book was perfect for a grandmother and her grandchild who had had a school friend die.

We can make such a difference if we are given the time and support to do so!

Thanks to Morgan Schatz Blackrose for such a thoughtful review of what a good children’s librarian is all about!

Talk with you decision makers. Let them know what your children’s librarian has done for you and your family,


This video is mostly for adults (nothing objectionable for kids but the youngest won’t “get it”) and I post it because it’s really well done! (It reminds me of a Pixar short.) And it will give you a smile today.

I, for one, will never look at socks and jeans the same again!


I’m not wild about computers and children. It’s up there with TV as one more screen that it’s just too easy to sit a kid down in front of. Yet there are times when kids want to play and they want to play on the computer.

It’s especially hard to find “places” where little ones can go and can “do something” successfully, just like older kids. pointed me to the site Chateau Meddybemps and it looks like a winner.

The home page is here but I like this page where there are picture links to all the activities. You can also see what skill each activity encourages. Many of them are language, math, and thinking based.

As you visit around in the site, notice how often comments encourage playing, keeping things fun, moving on when tired, and doing things together with your child. If one follows those guidelines and keeps time online limited, Meddybemps can be a fun place to visit.

Have fun,



You know it’s going to happen. Sometime over the holidays, when you just can’t do, play, or eat anymore, someone’s going to sit down with their laptop and start playing videos.

I know it happens at our house. And we do have a good time with it. And believe it or not, it can be good family time between generations and even good literacy building time.

How, when there is no reading going on? Family building and literacy building can both happen if the viewings spur conversation.

So here are a few that are fun, intergenerational, and sure to get everyone talking.

Laurel and Hardy Meet Santana: Oh my, how this made me laugh! What a generational mash-up!

Around the Corner: Motorcycle acrobatists and differential gears? What? Just watch it; honest, it’s worth the minutes.

Why the Other Line Moves Faster: If you’ve found yourself stuck in impossible lines this season, this will throw a whole ‘nother light on it. (I make no promises that it will make the experience better though.)

Star Wars vs. Star Trek: On oldie but a goodie.

Twelve Days of Christmas/Africa: My favorite holiday or anytime group and one of my favorites of their songs. This is the original 1998 version.

Wherever you are and whatever you celebrate, may your holidays be blessed! See you in the new year!


Anyone remember that old John Prine song? “Blow up your TV, throw away your paper, move to the country…”? Ah no? Guess I’m showing my age. 🙂

For over 4o years, we’ve been debating the benefits or detriments of TV to our society–and to our children. Early on, it was mostly debate. Television, and especially television geared for children, just hadn’t been around long enough to draw firm conclusions.

That’s changed in the last 10 years. Not only has research become more focused on our youngest children and their brain development, but there has also been enough time now for research to be repeated.

A new report was publicized this past week again confirming that TV viewing delays cognitive and language development  in babies and toddlers. You can read US News’ report here (and it includes links to the study).

While the article is short, I was struck with two points from it:

  • “…when kids and parents are watching TV, they are missing out on talking, playing, and interactions that are essential to learning and development.”
  • Native language and income levels did not affect results.

The Child Study Center of the University of Virginia has posted this video report concerning educational videos. The conclusion? Children did not learn vocabulary from watching educational television *and* they learn vocabulary best from the adults in their lives (even when there’s little more going on than talking, ie, no special equipment needed, folks!).

And finally, in the old news department, if you need any further ammo especially against Baby Mozart, read here.

So turn the TV off and spend time with your kiddo, one on one. (And if you’ve got to cook dinner, pull open a cabinet door and let your little one explore!)




It’s taken several weeks to get the following posted, but I’m afraid getting storytimes back on track and finding my desk again under the piles took precedence! 🙂

I presented More than Eensy Weensy Spider: Early Literacy Storytimes and Your Library at the Association for Rural and Small Libraries conference in October in Denver.  With an understanding of the basics of early literacy, it’s possible for any library, of any size, to adapt their current storytimes into early literacy storytimes–with no extra staffing, time, or money needed.

The links will take you to presentation slides and the handouts. Handouts include addresses for all the links used in the presentation, books referenced for each early literacy skill, references for statistics used, planning sheets for two age groupings, and a flow chart to show the changes from “regular” to “early lit”.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to drop me an email. And permission is granted to use and share for educational purposes with credit given.

Hope these are a help!


I’m not a big fan of interviews. They just don’t flip my switches. But I couldn’t resist this one with Beverly Cleary, author of the Ramona books (among many others).

I remember reading and loving Ramona when I was a kid. I remember even more vividly reading Ramona to both my boys. They are so different from one another, it’s amazing they are biologically from the same two parents (they are).

But both boys adored Ramona.

So what is it about Ramona that elementary aged children, even boys, like so much? Cleary says it well and I’ll say it a bit differently–they identify with her.

Around age seven, kids head into a new stage of development with new interests and new tasks. Many of those involve becoming competent, in kid-like ways.

That might mean learning how to be friends or how to sit still for a little longer. It might mean learning how to keep up with their stuff, make things be it a pinewood derby car or cookies. It might mean learning how to have a good fight and settle differences or how to play baseball or handle a paintbrush.

Ramona is a normal kid, going through normal kid stuff in this stage of growing competencies. It’s a struggle sometimes. It’s funny sometimes. Kids root for and identify with Ramona because that’s where they are at too.

It’s no magic formula. When stories meet kids where they are developmentally, kid and story go click–and said kid loves the story and the book and the reading. Beverly Cleary remembers and understands what it’s like to be six or eight or ten. And six or eight or ten year olds have loved her for a very long time because of it.

Thank you, Beverly, for Ramona and Henry and Ralph S. Mouse and all the other “kids” you’ve introduced us to!


I don’t like rap. Never have. Before last week I would have said never will.

My mother always said, “Never say never.”

Take a look and listen here to what Lin-Manuel Miranda has done with what could be a dry as dust history lesson about the US’s first Secretary of the Treasury. A four and a half minute rap about an economist? All we usually remember about him is his death–he was killed by Aaron Burr in a duel.

You’ll remember much more about him after you give Miranda a listen. You may even find yourself (along with your kids) wanting to know more.

So why am I posting this on a literacy blog? Here’s a few reasons:

  • It involves language, lots of it, well chosen and carefully put together. Writing, communication, and creative expression don’t get much finer than this.
  • It’s well done. It’s so well done, it looks easy. But what he has created here is difficult to do. Kids need to see and hear the good stuff.
  • It demonstrates how the brain loves story. You learned most of this in school. How much did you remember before listening to Miranda? And how much do you remember now, now that you’ve heard about Hamilton through a narrative story, told in rhyme and rhythm? Quiz yourself in a few days. You’ll be surprised. Stories help us remember.

It’s an easy, fun history lesson as well. 😉

Watch it more than once. It actually gets better with each viewing.



It’s three minutes. It’s pretty funny. Your kids will love it. Preview to judge whether to show to you “the boys” (of whatever age) in your life. 😉

Click here.

(Now aren’t you glad it’s not the week after Christmas right now?)


My kind of prank! 🙂 Go NYPL! I can’t say too much or I’ll spoil your fun!  Click here.

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