Celebrating Mom

With our next holiday around the corner, we have had a lot of families coming in asking for Mother’s Day Books.  While there are some great ones out there about the holiday specifically, we wanted to share some of our favorites about how much moms rock all the time!

I Love Mom by Joanna Walsh

My Mom Has X-Ray Vision by Angela McAllister

My Mom is Trying to Ruin My Life by Kate Feiffer

M.O.M. (Mom Operating Manual) by Doreen Cronin and Laura Cornell

Pirate Mom by Deborah Underwood

Little Owl Lost By Chris Haughton

What Not to Give Your Mom on Mother’s Day by Martha Simpson

How to Raise a Mom by Claudia Harrington

A Baby’s Guide to Surviving Mom by Benjamin Bird

A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager

DIY EMOJI PILLOWS

Our tweens and teens group had the chance to make their own emoji pillows this week!  Let me tell you, the hype that surrounded this program was crazy good!  Anytime I was out on desk getting anything prepped for these pillows, I would have kids coming up and asking me tons of questions, which I loved!  Since it was so popular in my library, I figured a quick lil’ tutorial to share the love would be helpful so here you go!  The step-by-step with pictures is located below, but read on through for the details and what worked well for us.

Our awesome teen librarian and I started by looking at our audience.  We are working with kids in grades four to eight, many of whom had never sewn before.  We wanted to give them the chance to learn basic stitches and to use a sewing machine.   Working with upper elementary and middle school kiddos meant we needed materials that were forgiving.  We ended up choosing fleece for the heads because it has enough give that it could easily cover slight mishaps with cutting and stitching.  The felt, however, was by far the easiest to cut since it is so sturdy and therefore was the best material for the facial pieces.

Speaking of those faces, we took advantage of some of the great free coloring sheet sites in order to create our patterns.  We printed them out to fit an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, then had the kids cut the pieces, pin them down to the felt, and cut around.  This was pretty much the most pattern cutting the kids did since we decided to pre-cut the yellow circles that everyone would be using for their pillows.  Depending on how long your program is, you could let kids do this, but for our time frame, it made much more sense for us to get this out of the way ahead of time.  They still got plenty of practice with patterns and cutting when it came to constructing their emojis though!

To be honest, we did cheat a bit in another area too.  The kids stitched the fleece pieces together, but glued the felt pieces on.  For the skill level our kiddos were at (and our librarians, but shhh… don’t tell), it just made the most sense so no one got frustrated. It also gave the kids a lot more freedom to create some of the faces with smaller pieces that would have been a real pain to sew.  One important detail… do get fabric glue!  It worked beautifully even when a little too much glue was used!  Other glues also don’t hold as well over time and we didn’t want anyone’s face falling apart.  The other plus?  It dried quickly!  While we were showing some great youtube tutorials on back-stitching, ladder stitching, and going over the sewing machines and letting them give those a whirl with some practice paper, the glue dried and we were able to move on to the sewing!

As I am sure you noticed if you did the Pinterest spin through looking at different tutorials like we did, a lot of folks use no sew for these pillows!  We opted to sew for two reasons.  First of all because sewing is an awesome skill that everyone should have a basic concept of.  Second, because when we tried glue, we had a bit of a disaster.  It puckered and left some gaps.  You had to clothes pin it all over to get it to stay together.  Granted, that was using fabric glue since hot glue isn’t an option with so many kids and so few of us grownups in the room.  Still,  sewing everything but the gap for stuffing and using glue to close said gap didn’t even work.  On one of our test runs, we tried this theory and it literally looked like someone had taken a bite our of our emoji’s chin!  So with all that said, we stuck with sewing.

Hover over or click on the steps pictured below to get the details and tips that helped us have success with this.  The step-by-step below was done by hand using a double floss for thread.   If you are new to sewing, I promise, it isn’t as hard as it may look.  Tutorials make it very easy to watch as you sew to double check yourself.  If you are comfortable with a machine, these zip through very quickly.  Just be careful since fleece does have quite a bit of give.

 

The kids absolutely LOVED this project and we hope you do too!  We would love to hear about how your pillows turn out or any suggestions you have for us! Drop us a comment below!

Link Grab Bag

 

 

Things we like from around the web…

 

We featured electrical circuits in Exploratorium a few weeks ago using circuits made from holiday lights inspired by this blog post and paired that activity with Squishy Circuits.  Talk about an awesome combination!  The Squishy Circuits were the perfect tool to teach the concept of open and closed circuits and how the electrical current flows.  Once the kids had these basic concepts down, they were able to create their own circuits!  They were even able troubleshoot their way through the activity, reflecting back on the various activities they had done with the Squishy Circuits right before.  It was one of those days that reminded me why I do what I do.  Thanks for the inspiration nittygrittyscience.com!

Next in the grab bag…

We were very excited to hear that one of our favorite children’s musicians will be in our area this summer!  Laurie Berkner (who has an AMAZING youtube channel you should check out!) sings awesome kids tunes like Victor Vito, Buzz, Buzz, We are the Dinosaurs, and our personal favorite, I Know a Chicken (or The Shakey Egg song if you ask our littlest library friends).  They get kids (and adults) up and moving and have fun, silly, positive messages.  We couldn’t be more thrilled to have her and the band at the Butterworth Center in July! Click here for more info.

 

Along the lines of local fun…

Big Nate the Musical?!  Until recently, I didn’t know this was a thing, but I am so glad it is!  I’m even more glad to say it is coming to our area!  Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse is featuring Big Nate as one of their Spring shows this year.  Click on over to their site for information, but it should be a lot of fun.  The cast will also be making a visit to the library so be sure and check our calendar for more info!

 

And last but not least…

This rainy spring has kept a lot of us indoors.  For small wiggly bodies, that is tough so we have been looking for ways to get those wiggles out without getting soggy.  Ms. Janna found this great channel on youtube and shared it and we couldn’t love it more!  Cosmic Kids Yoga has some great videos for you and your littles to do on a rainy day… or any day for that matter.  Personally, I recommend the Star Wars adventure!

 

Until next time… happy clicking!

Spring & Rain Reads

You can tell Spring is in full force!  The rain is steadily coming down almost daily.  Of course, this means we have had tons of parents and teachers in asking us what books we recommend for Spring and rainy weather as they try to keep their little ones happy, taking advantage of the indoor hours together.  Here are some of our favorites! What books would you add to our list?

Stormy Night by Salina Yoon

Rain! by Linda Ashman

Once Upon a Rainy Day by Edouard Manceau

Worm Weather by Jean Taft

Splish! Splash! by Josepha Sherman

Let It Rain by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle

Rainy Day! by Patricia Lakin

Puddle by Hyewon Yum

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano

Spring is Here! by Heidi Pross Gray

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

Spring is Here by Will Hillenbrand

Who’s Awake in Springtime? by Phillis Gershator and Mim Green

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes

Everything Spring by Jill Esbaum

Mud by Mary Lyn Ray

 

Exploratorium Teaser: Rocket Bottles

Exploratorium is by far one of our favorite programs to do.  The element of surprise each week as kids walk in the room, the different hands-on experiences we are able to provide, and more importantly the connections we get to make with parents and their kiddos makes it as enriching for us as it is for them.  This S.T.E.A.M.-based program is one we offer each week when our school district has early release and it is one many families have come to look forward to because there is always something different and exciting.  We cover it all (even Math…gulp)!

 

For me though, I love the science and art side of it.  These areas collide more often than people realize… or at least they can if you allow for it.  The activity we are doing this week was a really fun example of that.  We are talking about friction and movement so I decided to make these Rocket Bottles propelled by friction with strings that run through the rocket. There is plenty of time for kids to turn their rockets into a piece of art before they take it for a test drive so we get to feed their creative side as well.  Take a peek to see how to make a Rocket bottle of your own!

New Chapter Books

I love walking into our office to find a cart of bright and shiny new books to look through! What I love even more is sharing our new books with you!  Here is a quick preview of some of the exciting new chapter books that have arrived at MPL in the past couple of weeks (or will be very soon). If there isn’t a link to the catalog on the title you are interested in yet, have no fear… that book will soon be here!  What new books are YOU reading?  We love suggestions!

 

The Adventures of Henry Whiskers by Gigi Priebe 

Henry Whiskers must face his fears and rescue his little sister from the scary Rat Alley in this fun, fast-paced debut chapter book set in Queen Mary’s historical dollhouse at Windsor Castle.

 

Joplin, Wishing by Diane Stanley

A heartfelt and magical middle grade novel in the tradition of Tuck Everlasting and Bridge to Terabithia, about family, wishes, and the power of true friends to work magic.

 

Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker

When Felix Yz was three years old, a hyperintelligent fourth-dimensional being became fused inside him after one of his father’s science experiments went terribly wrong. The creature is friendly, but Felix—now thirteen—won’t be able to grow to adulthood while they’re still melded together. So a risky Procedure is planned to separate them . . . but it may end up killing them both instead.

This book is Felix’s secret blog, a chronicle of the days leading up to the Procedure. Some days it’s business as usual—time with his close-knit family, run-ins with a bully at school, anxiety about his crush. But life becomes more out of the ordinary with the arrival of an Estonian chess Grandmaster, the revelation of family secrets, and a train-hopping journey. When it all might be over in a few days, what matters most?

 

The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron

Sent for the summer to their aunt’s sleepy village in the English countryside,Tess and Max find the key to a castlehidden from time and learn that wishes can come true, if they wish carefully. Perfect for fans of Half Magic and The Secret Garden—and for anyone who’s ever wondered if magic is real.

 

The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell

Ivy Sparrow and her big brother Seb discover a city beneath London where ordinary objects have magical powers.

 

The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis

Aventurine is the fiercest, bravest kind of dragon, and she’s ready to prove it to her family by leaving the safety of their mountain cave and capturing the most dangerous prey of all: a human.

But when the human she captures tricks her into drinking enchanted hot chocolate, she finds herself transformed into a puny human girl with tiny blunt teeth, no fire, and not one single claw. She’s still the fiercest creature in these mountains though – and now she’s found her true passion: chocolate! All she has to do is walk on two feet to the human city, find herself an apprenticeship (whatever that is) in a chocolate house (which sounds delicious), and she’ll be conquering new territory in no time … won’t she?

Middle School: Escape to Australia by James Patterson

The trip to Australia Rafe has won starts badly, but after connecting with a group of misfits he finds a way to do what he does best–create mayhem.

 

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Very short for her age, Julia grows into her sense of self while playing a munchkin in a summer regional theater production of The Wizard of Oz.

 

Nnewts: Battle for Amphibopolis by Doug TenNapel

In the final, epic installment of the Nnewts trilogy, the fate of all Nnewts hangs in the balance! Herk, falling under the influence of Blakk Mudd, is slowly turning into a Lizzark and abandoning his Nnewt friends. Herk’s siblings, Sissy and Zerk, have been corrupted by evil and the Lizzark army is still threatening Amphibopolis with total destruction. Now the Nnewts need a true hero to step up and save the day before it’s too late!

Best of 2016 #2

We are almost to our top books of the year, but first… which ones made runner up? #2 slot here we come! To see more of the books we loved in 2016, click here!

Sarah

The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

Gerald and Piggie’s final book is filled with gratitude for everyone, but will someone be left out of the thank-o-rama?

Marta

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Adjusting to a new town is hard enough for Cat.  Not only is she trying to make new friends, figuring out how to get along with her neighbor, and creating a social life for herself without her little sister butting in, but she also is going to have to figure out how to live in a town filled with ghosts! The relationship between the sisters in this book is so realistic and the art, as always, is amazing!

Teresa

The Airport Book by Lisa Brown

As a family takes to the friendly skies, no one know what happened to Monkey except the little girl who packed him (with his tail hanging out of the suitcase)!  Follow along in this Knuffle Bunny-esque narrative to see if Monkey is reunited with his girl.  More than just an introduction to the airport, the story is a look at the wide world itself.

Janna

Meltdown! by Jill Murphy

Parents everywhere can relate to this tale of the evolution of a child’s world-class tantrum.  The illustration style is a bit old-school, but the interactions of Mom and daughter are spot-on, and my daughter clearly identified with the tantrum-ing Roxy.