TSU Feature: Ukulele Club!






I’ve been a slacker about posting so here is a link to one of my Teen Services Underground features on our Ukulele Club at my library! I have been thinking about it today because I am enjoying a “stay-cation” this week and wasn’t able to attend the July meeting. (I know, they actually allow Children’s Librarians to take vacations in the middle of the Summer Reading Program! Shocking!!) 



-Miss Molly

Websites You Should Know About: SmartFeed


So I am loving this website! As a newbie parent of a toddler, I am constantly having an internal battle with myself about how much screen time is too much, and also about the content of what my daughter is watching. (Confession: I kind of don’t mind watching My Little Pony. Don’t judge me!) That little sponge-brain of her’s is soaking up everything – and now that she’s older – regurgitating it to everyone she sees! SmartFeed has been a really helpful (and FREE) tool for me and I hope it will be for you! If anything, it will help ease the parent-guilt of allowing screen time.

(And check out the articles on their blog! These are incredibly well-researched and well-written by some smart people! )

Click here to Sign-up on SmartFeed today!         

SmartFeed makes it easy for parents to find inspiring and engaging media options for their kids to make screen time more meaningful. With more than 30,000 titles in the SmartFeed database – including Movies, TV shows, Apps, Games and Books – parents can easily find the best ratings and reviews, and create customized playlists for kids based on their interests, academic levels and the family values.

SmartFeed offers parents newfound control over what their kids watch, play and share. Think of SmartFeed as the best way to have healthy media stocked on your digital shelves when screen time is right for your kids.

SmartFeed is a FREE go-to resource for parents that will help them navigate easily the ocean of children’s media out there. Signing up on SmartFeed is quick and easy.

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The Whole Book Approach Workshop

I had the opportunity to visit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art recently for a workshop on the Whole Book Approach, a concept created by one of my Simmons’ Professors, Megan Dowd Lambert. The workshop was full of librarians, teachers, daycare facilitators and home schooling parents – some from many states away! It was led by one of the Carle staff, who was wonderful. Megan also incorporated the Whole Book Approach in one of the classes I had with her while getting my MFA in Writing for Children through Simmons (at the Carle Museum.) That class, aptly titled “The Picture Book” and Megan’s theory really helped me to understand just how complicated and calculated picture books can be. They are more than words and pictures! I had been a children’s librarian for a few years before getting my MFA and it opened a whole new world to me! While I don’t strictly use the Whole Book Approach in my story times at the library (I don’t do as many of them now,) I do try to weave it into my reading of the stories. I try to bring the parts of the book to the kid’s (and parent’s) attention; maybe discuss the cover, the end pages, etc., and how they work together, or just try to leave some of the story and illustrations open to their interpretation instead of inserting my own opinions.

During the workshop, we had a chance to attend one of the Carle preschool storytime sessions to see The Whole Book Approach in action. A nearby early learning center came with their preschoolers and they were obviously veterans of storytime at the Carle, because they knew a lot of the vocabulary and seemed very comfortable discussing their observations of the books. It was interesting to watch, actually. When the storytime first began, there were 3 kids there who were definitely not familiar with a storytime like this where they were asked to talk about what they saw while being read to. When the preschool class arrived, the first 3 children seemed to figure out that it was OK to talk about the pictures and picked up the concept quickly.

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Traditional storytimes that children are used to attending at libraries, or with teachers or parents, are more of a performance on the part of the reader. Or, as Megan puts it, “I think of the Whole Book Approach as a means of reading with children, as opposed to reading to them, as it invites children to make meaning of text, art, and design–the whole book!” (MeganDowdLambert.com) There are certainly more books out there that actually require children to participate more in the telling of the story, such as Press Here or Tap the Magic Tree, etc. But inviting children to physically touch the book is still not really what Megan has in mind when she talks about reading “with” children

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This approach inspires children (and adults) look at the book in a new way, taking every part of it into consideration. What is on the cover? What is on the back? Is the book jacket different from the cover? What do the end pages look like? Are there clues on the copyright page or the title page? Megan has done all the work for us so that we can share this with our children, patrons and students. Her book, Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking about What They Seeis a great resource and I was very excited that my workshop fee included a copy of the book! Gotta love those little perks 😉

I always love to visit the museum. I used to feel like I lived there while I was getting my MFA degree – I was in a satellite program and took all of my masters courses at the museum instead of at Simmons in Boston. Plus, I had a 10% discount in the store because of my workshop, so I had to take advantage of that! During the workshop there was time built in to visit the galleries, which included Eric Carle’s art from Brown Bear, Brown Bear. 50th anniversary! Check out his blog! It was really neat to see how the art changed over the years with each printing. One of the other main exhibits was the Eloise exhibit and the art of Hilary Knight. Very cool!

Did you know that in a 1984 UK edition, the teacher at the end of the book was changed to a monkey??










Just Another Day in the Children’s Room….



Adults in the Teen Space


Check out one of my recent posts for Teen Services Underground!

Adults in the Teen Space: http://www.teenservicesunderground.com/adults-in-the-teen-space/

Author Storytime with Anna Staniszewski

We are so, so lucky because a children’s bookstore recently opened in our hometown! I am still kind of in shock about it. It’s in a beautiful old house and has lots of little rooms and nooks to discover! It’s called Enchanted Passage and if you ever are in the area and have a chance to check it out, you really should. Children’s bookstores are a dying breed. Of course, I highly recommend checking your local library before going to buy books….but if you are purchasing gifts or a special book for yourself, books from any local/indie bookstore are the way to go! Enchanted Passage also has pretty much every Melissa & Doug toy known to man!

A few weeks ago my mom, daughter, and I visited the bookstore for a special author storytime with Anna Staniszewski and we had a great time! Anna read us her first picturebook, Power Down, Little Robot, published by Henry Holt. It’s a very cute story about a little robot who is doing everything he can to NOT go to bed and his “Mom Unit” who is very patiently trying to get him to into “recharge” mode. Sound familiar? It’s a classic story line but throw in some robots and you’ve got a really fun book for both kids and adults! The illustrations by Tim Zeltner are wonderful. When I think of robots, I think of cold, hard, metal, angles, points. His illustrations created a softness to the characters and kept the story warm and cozy, perfect for bedtime.

Power Down Robot final cover

Anna read her book and then gave us a sneak peek of her new picturebook, Dogosaurus Rex, (also Henry Holt) due out in August! It’s illustrated by Kevin Hawkes – who is one of my FAVORITE illustrators. It’s super cute! I can’t wait to have a copy. I already have it on order for my library! Anna also read a great popup book called If You’re a Robot and You Know It, which I have never heard of but am totally purchasing for my storytime collection. We all did a really fun/awkward version of “If you are happy and you know it!” We have a really cute video of it but as there were other people in it, I can’t post it. It was a great way to end the storytime and my daughter LOVED it. And I’m so excited because Anna will be visiting my library in April! YAY! I was lucky enough to have Anna as a writing professor for my MFA degree through Simmons, so we go way back and are totally besties…..Image result for winky face emoji

Dogosaurus Rex

Thanks to my mom for taking pictures! (With the exception of our silly storytime selfie!) Can you believe my two-year-old sat for storytime?! That’s how good it was!

Anna is also the author of several series for tweens & teens, including the UnFairy Tale Life series, The Dirt Diary series, and the Switched at First Kiss series. All of which can be found on her website: http://www.annastan.com

New Gig!

I’m super excited because I am now an official “Agent” for one of my favorite blogs, Teen Services Underground!! Their posts and ideas have been so helpful to me as a librarian so I am happy to have a chance to pay it forward. I’ll be sharing the link to my posts here. Please check them out, as well as all of the other great posts by the other talented Agents!

February post: Adventures of a Super(visor) Librarian 





March 10th post: Adults in the Teen Space




When You Get a Thank You Note Just for Doing Your Job….

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BunnyBear: A Picturebook Review


Image from publisher website – Albert Whitman & Company











I honestly had no idea what to expect when I started reading this book – other than I was psyched to see the beautiful illustrations by Carmen Saldana. Also, I was intrigued by the extremely adorable title – can I actually purchase a Bunnybear somewhere?!?

I was not expecting such a cute book with a lesson about acceptance and being true to yourself to be so well done – yay for author Andrea Loney!!

Bunnybear is a bear on the outside and can do everything the other bears do. But inside, he feels like a bunny. The other bears don’t understand why he doesn’t act like a bear, so Bunnybear leaves, only to find….a bunny! He is so excited that he follows the bunny right underground, intothe rabbit warren and “they were tiny and fluffy and bouncy, like Bunnybear’s heart.” But he quickly realizes that as much as he wants to be a bunny, he doesn’t fit in here either, because he is still a bear on the outside. The bunnies make him leave and he curls into a heartbreaking ball because he doesn’t know what to do or where to go.

Enter Grizzlybun. Grizzlybun is….yup, a bunny on the outside who feels like a bear on the inside. And Bunnybear totally gets it. Together, they can be themselves. And more than themselves, because now they are not just bunnies or bears….”they were friends and they were happy.” And everyone lives happily ever after and they bunnies and bears have a party and they meet other animals who are more than themselves – the last page is very cute.

But it’s the first sentence that really kills me: There once was a bear who was more than a bear.” He’s not just different or missing some essential “bear-ness.” He’s more than the sum of his parts.

As other reviewers have written, it is a great book to use as a conversation starter for kids, which is true. But I think it’s a great book to read for the sake of reading. Image result for drawn heart

A few of my other favorite books with simliar themes:

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall


Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole 


Owen by Kevin Henkes 

Teen Book Review: Lockwood & Co Series

The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co., #4)The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love, love, LOVE this series. It has all the elements of a great (in my opinion) teen novel. Or any novel, really.


1) It’s British. Need I say more?
2) It has ghosts.
3) It takes place in modern day, but has a throwback feel to another time – Victorianish – which is probably due to the fact that ghosts are real and becoming more and more prevalent (they also kill people) so progress has somewhat shifted to deal with the “Problem” as it is referred to.
4) The characters are completely believeable and likeable.
5) The teens in this world are powerful because only they can see the ghosts and destroy them, but the struggle with adult authority is still a major underlining theme throughout the series.
6) It has a HINT of romance – the kind that is only present in a sentence or two in each book, but then it’s gone and you wonder if it was ever there at all. It grows slightly as the series goes on, but it’s not at all the main theme.

If you haven’t read the series, you really need to. And start at the beginning!

View all my reviews