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Ramona and Ralph the Mouse love DEAR!

Yeah, you can sing that to Aretha’s RESPECT and I won’t tell.

But DEAR and TCH really are not the latest in pop tunes. They are two great websites I discovered and wanted to pass on to you.

DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) has been around a while and is officially celebrated on Beverly Cleary’s birthday, April 12. But this video (1 minutes long) does a great job of showing how it can become a regular part of a school day–and the same can be done at home, of course!

Some of the things I love about this video are:

  • it’s noisy: reading and storytimes do not need to be quiet; reading aloud and the conversation that goes with it is a noisy kind of learning;
  • it’s wiggly: reading and storytimes do not need to be still; some kids like to sit and some like to move around or stand; they are all soaking it up;
  • it’s fairly unstructured: while reading (and more so storytimes) sometimes need planning and care, just as often all it takes is to pick up a book; some kids are read to solo, some are in pairs, some are in groups and these “reading groups” are not assigned or planned;
  • it’s easy: anyone can pick up a book and read to a child (and even if you can’t read, you can talk about the pictures or make up a story to go along with the pictures–it’s still “reading” for young children).

Finally, TCH Teaching Channel is one of the best sites for teaching and education ideas I’ve run across. Quality stuff! It’s worth exploring.

How could you adapt DEAR in your school, home, or library? Share your ideas with others!





I began my school year visits to Head Start in the past few weeks.ย  I’m a new piece of the school day for most of the kids so I talk about who I am, where I work, and what a library is. While explaining about how the library has lots of books, I asked who had a book of their own at home (hoping to then talk about how they could come get more at the library!).

One child raised his hand.

I know this. But it still took my breath away.

This is why we do storytimes. This is why we have book giveaways. This is why we have libraries in neighborhoods and in the poorer parts of town. This is why we are librarians and teachers and Friends of the Library members and Board members and active parents.

This is why we read to kids. Because during that week, that may be the only time they see how to use a book. That may be the only story they hear. That may be the only time they sing a song and have fun with words.

That may be the only time that week that the part of their brain that’s trying sooooo hard to develop language–it may be the only time it gets fed.

Support programs that give good, new books away. And read to a child. You’ll change a life,


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 griefย  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,


“You’re a children’s librarian? So whatta you do, read stories to kids all day?” the woman on the other side of the front desk asked me. Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve ever had anyone ask–and I’m embarrassed to say it caught me off guard.

In my defense, I had just spent the entire morning with the staff of an afterschool program we have here in town for kids whose parents are in our area’s homeless prevention program. One of their staff members had died a couple days before in a biking accident. Our whole community is reeling.

All of us can only imagine how these kids, who are already so vulnerable and have so few resources materially and emotionally, are going to deal with this death.

Yeah, I’m “just” a children’s librarian. But I’m also the person who sees these kids each month for storytime. I’m the person who talks to their parents about literacy. I’m the person who brings them cool books–and they are surprised every month that “cool” and “book” can go together. I’m the person they run up to in Walmart to give me a hug.

I know them. They know me. And I know their staff. They stop at the desk and they talk to me as well about the needs of the kids. I work hard to find resources to help and support them.

So I offered what I could to help. I know child development, I know books, and the non-library bonus, I know grieving. We talked about what children under 7 need to grieve and what over 7’s need–and how they are both different in some significant ways from adults in their grieving. We talked about what helps with grieving and what doesn’t.

And then we read and talked about books that might help the kids over time.

Not your typical “day in the life of a children’s librarian.” But I don’t think it’s that atypical either. We are a well-educated, well-trained, passionate bunch of folks. We are out here, day after day, doing our utmost (d’–est) to make a difference in the lives of children and their families.

Yeah, I read stories to kids–and a whole lot more. Come back and ask again. I’d love to tell you all about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hugs to you all,


My kind of prank! ๐Ÿ™‚ Go NYPL! I can’t say too much or I’ll spoil your fun!ย  Click here.

And no, I don’t mean your money (we all know the loser on that one–your wallet takes the hit for iPad)–but the environment.

Which is greener, a book or an iPad? Read more here at NYT.

But the best summary of the fight is the last line: “All in all, the most ecologically virtuous way to read a book starts by walking to your local library.” ๐Ÿ™‚

Read on!


Learning to read is hard work. For those of us who are fluent readers, that’s a statement of fact that is easy to forget or to minimize.

Once a child has learned how reading works, though, what helps them get to the next step, to the fluency level? In a nutshell, it’s all about the number of words a child reads. It really doesn’t matter what the words are about (content) or what format they are presented in (comics work just as well as chapter books). It’s the sheer number of words read that builds fluency.

So what happens when, as in South Africa, one child has three books to read in a year–and another has three a day?ย  The probabilty of one of them effectively becoming shut off from reading for the rest of his/her life skyrockets.

There are many injustices and inequalities in life and around the world. But depriving a growing mind of books ranks at the top. It’s one reason why the Biblio Burro in Colombia and the Camel Library in Kenya and Lubuto Library in Zambia are so life changing.

Being able to read goes beyond being able to access information. The ability to read directly affects the ability to think (Story Proof, Kendall Haven).

Children must have “stuff” to read–and libraries must exist for everyone, but especially the most vulnerable, those who have nothing to read.

Check out the links. Consider a donation. And in this day of school and public library closures in this country, tell the decision makers “no.”


Here’s a comic from One Big Happy that will especially make librarians smile!

Click here.


Mother Goose and Grimm comic really nails it in this strip! Ok, so I may be a little biased but it’s still true :-))

Click here to read.

CLEL (Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy) has updated their website clel logoespecially their section for Baby Storytimes. (From the home page, just click on the Storytimes link on the left.)

Whether you’re a parent wondering why bother, aย  librarian unsure about trying this, or a concerned (or perhaps skeptical) adult annoyed by all the noise, the following testimonial gives a great look at why babies (and parents) benefit from storytimes.

And for a librarian’s take on what happens in baby storytimes, read here.

We do have a baby storytime here at Southern Peaks Library; it’s called “Toddler Time” and it’s for ages birth to age 3ish. There’s lots of singing, rhymes & fingerplays, and movement–and even a few books! ๐Ÿ˜‰ We really do have a lot of fun and would love to have you join us, Fridays at 10:30 a.m.!

Go Babies!


“The book, despite its humble and ancient beginnings, is still the mostbook
compact and efficient entertainment system available today. It requires no
batteries, no peripherals, no software, no upgrades. It is compact and can
easily fit in a pocket or handbag. It provides more entertainment, hour for
hour, than ten video games, fifty movies, or a thousand cellphone
ring-tones. It’s study and durable: Kept away from water, a book can last
centuries. Keeping a book with you is excellent insurance against those
empty moments on the bus, subway, in the waiting room or between activities.”

Charlene Swansen, Youth Services, Mancos Public Library District, CO

And I’ve posted this comic before but it goes along soooooo well that here it is again from Penny Arcade.

Go read a book!


It’s making the rounds through library land. It’s “The Library, The Library” song! Straight from Britain, but I warn you–the Beatles it’s not. ๐Ÿ˜‰Olive

It’s catchy, the kids will probably love it, but it is one to get stuck in your head.

And the animation reminds me of one of my favorite books, Olive the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh and illustrations by J. Otto Seibold.

I really can’t decide if I love it or hate it. Thanks (I think) to The Book Patrol for pointing this one out.


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