Stories With Ms. Jenna

Storytimes, Programs, Booklists, and More!

2014 Favorites: Picture Books

Honorable Mentions:

kidsherriff watercanbe babytree

thepilot threebears

The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall
Water Can Be… by Laura Purdie Salas
Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea, Lane Smith
The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sís
Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman

Top 10:

babybear

10. Baby Bear by Kadir Nelson

samanddave

9. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen

adance

8. A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream by Kristy Dempsey, Floyd Cooper

thefarmer

7. The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

elizabeth

6. Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox, Brian Floca

hermelin

5. Hermelin: The Detective Mouse by Mini Grey

gaston

4. Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, Christian Robinson

cominghome

3. Coming Home by Greg Ruth

eastercat2 santacat

2. Here Comes the Easter Cat / Here Comes Santa Cat by Deborah Underwood, Claudia Rueda

uni

1. Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Brigette Barrager

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Storytime: November 5, 2014

First week in a new 6 week session of evening family storytime. I’m loving doing theme-less storytimes so I’m sticking with it!

Book: Puffin Peter by Petr Horáček

puffin

Rhyme: Streching

When I stretch up, I feel so tall.
When I bend down, I feel so small.
Taller, taller, taller, taller.
Smaller, smaller, smaller, smaller.
Into a tiny ball.
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Book: Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo

nanainthecity

Song: Johnny’s Hammers

Johnny taps with 1 hammer, 1 hammer, 1 hammer; (right arm)
Johnny taps with 1 hammer, then he taps with 2.
Johnny taps with 2 hammers, 2 hammers, 2 hammers, (add left arm)
Johnny taps with 2 hammers, then he taps with 3.
Johnny taps with 3 hammers, 3 hammers, 3 hammers, (add right leg)
Johnny taps with 3 hammers, then he taps with 4.
Johnny taps with 4 hammers, 4 hammers, 4 hammers, (add left leg)
Johnny taps with 4 hammers, then he taps with 5.
Johnny taps with 5 hammers, 5 hammers, 5 hammers, (add head)
Johnny taps with 5 hammers, and then he stops!

Flannel: Five Little Kites

fivelittlekites

One little kite in the sky so blue,
Along came another, then there were two.
Two little kites flying high above me;
Along came another, then there were three.
Three little kites, just watch them soar,
Along came another, then there were four.
Four little kites, so high and alive
Along came another, then there were five.
Five little kites dancing across the sky,
What a sight to see, way up so high!
source

Song: “List of Dances” by Jim Gill

Book: I Dream of an Elephant by Ami Rubinger

idreamofanelephant

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10 Most Anticipated 2015 Middle Grade Books

Looks like 2015 will be another great year of middle grade! Here are the top 10 books I cannot wait to get my hands on:

newts

Nnewts: Book 1 by Doug TenNapel (1/6)

I’ve really enjoyed TenNapel’s previous graphic novels with their fast-paced adventurous stories and vibrant art. This new one is the start to a series!

echo

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan (2/24)

I have yet to read a book by this author, but I will definitely read this one. It’s almost 600 pages and follows various characters all connected by a harmonica. Consider me intrigued!

wishgirl

Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin (2/24)

I haven’t finished my best-of-2014 lists yet, but you can bet Loftin’s Nighingale’s Nest will be on there. This new book follows a girl with cancer and a boy who doesn’t fit in with his family. Together, they plan an escape.

forgottensisters

The Forgotten Sisters (Princess Academy #3) by Shannon Hale (3/3)

It’s a new (and the last!) Princess Academy book. Of course I will read it. Of course I will love it.

jack

Jack by Liesl Shurtliff (4/14)

In the vein of her first novel, Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin, Shurtliff brings us another fairy tale retelling- this time about Jack & The Beanstalk!

gonecrazy

Gone Crazy in Alabama (Gaither Sisters #3) by Rita Williams-Garcia (4/21)

Another story about the Gaither Sisters! I want this series to continue on forever because I love spending time with these girls.

cleopatra

Cleopatra in Space #2: The Thief and the Sword by Mike Maihack (4/28)

I loved the first book in this graphic novel series about a time-displaced Cleopatra and can’t wait to see what happens next!

fromthenotebooks

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot (5/19)

I grew up on the Princess Diaries series, so I’m very excited that Cabot is exploring that world more!

lostinthesun

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff (5/26)

Graff is an automatic-read author for me. This new book is “a touching story about a boy who won’t let one tragic accident define him.”

goldenspecific

The Golden Specific (The Mapmakers Trilogy #2) by S.E. Grove (7/14)

Immediately after finishing the first book in this series, The Glass Sentence, I deemed it my favorite middle grade fantasy since Harry Potter. Really hoping book 2 is just as amazing!

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Storytime: October 22, 2014

Another week of theme-less storytime!

Book: The Mouse Who Ate the Moon by Petr Horáček

mousewhoate

Rhyme: Animals

Let’s hear you roar like a lion!
Let’s see you jump like a frog!
Let’s see you snap your jaws like a crocodile!
Let’s hear you howl like a dog!
Pretend you’re an elephant with a big, looooong, truck.
Pretend you’re a monkey. Let’s see you jump, jump, jump!
And now you’re a mouse. Just let me see
How very, very quiet you can be.
source

Book: Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

tapthemagic

Song: “Jump Up, Turn Around” by Jim Gill

Flannel: The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

littleoldlady

Rhyme: “Monster, Monster”

Monster, monster, turn around.
Monster, monster, touch the ground.
Monster, monster, reach up high.
Monster, monster, squint your eyes.
Monster, monster, show your teeth.
Monster, monster, stamp your feet.
source

Book: Who Is Driving? by Leo Timmers

whoisdriving

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Storytime: October 15, 2014

Week 5 of a 6 week session of theme-less evening family storytime!

Book: Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

kittensfirst

Song: If You’re a Kitty and You Know It

If you’re a kitty and you know it, lick your paws.
If you’re a kitty and you know it, lick your paws.
If you’re a kitty and you know it, then your face will surely show it.
If you’re a kitty and you know it, lick your paws.

show your claws
swish your tail
say “Meow!”
source

Book: Turtle Island by Kevin Sherry

turtleisland

Rhyme: Stretching

When I stretch up, I feel so tall.
When I bend down, I feel so small.
Taller, taller, taller, taller.
Smaller, smaller, smaller, smaller.
Into a tiny ball.
source

Flannel Story: The Singing Pumpkin

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Song: Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael- “Dance, Freeze, Melt” from Rockin’ Red

Book: Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas

letssing

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Storytime: October 8, 2014

Week 4 of theme-less storytime!

Book: Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato

littleelliot

Rhyme: “Animals”

Let’s hear you roar like a lion!
Let’s see you jump like a frog!
Let’s see you snap your jaws like a crocodile!
Let’s hear you howl like a dog!
Pretend you’re an elephant with a big, looooong, truck.
Pretend you’re a monkey. Let’s see you jump, jump, jump!
And now you’re a mouse. Just let me see
How very, very quiet you can be.
source

Book: Duck On a Bike by David Shannon

duckonabike

Song: Five Little Ducks

Five little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mother duck said “Quack, quack, quack”
But only four little ducks came back.

(continue with 4, 3, 2, 1, 0)

Then mother duck said
“QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!
And five little ducks came waddling back.

Folder Story: Lovely Ladybug

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Song: “Silly Dance Contest” by Jim Gill

Dance any way you want to
Dance any way you please
Dance any way you want to
Bur stop when I say freeze.
Jump as high as you want to…
Dance as fast as you want to…
Dance as slow as you want to…

Book: Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

barkgeorge

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Storytime: October 1, 2014

Week 3 of theme-less storytime!

Book: Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd

dogscolorful

Rhyme: “Little dog, little dog”

Little dog, little dog, turn around
Little dog, little dog, touch the ground
Little dog, little dog, reach up high
Little dog, little dog, touch the sky
Little dog, little dog, find your nose
Little dog, little dog, touch your toes
Little dog, little dog, touch your knees
Little dog, little dog, sit down please

Book: Is Everyone Ready For Fun? by Jan Thomas

iseveryoneready

Song: All Around the Kitchen by Dan Zanes

Flannel: The Three Little Pigs

threelittlepigs

Song: Piggy Wiggly
(to the tune of “Hokey pokey”)

Put your right hooves in
Put your right hooves out
Put your right hooves in
And you shake them all about
You do the piggy wiggly
And you turn yourself around
That’s what it’s all about!
left hooves, snout, tail, whole pig

Book: Hooray For Hat by Brian Won

hoorayforhat

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10 Favorite LGBT Characters in MG and YA Literature

Earlier today, VOYA tweeted out an article from Entertainment Monthly: Entertainment News from Emerson College titled The Top Ten LGBT Characters in Young Adult Literature. I applaud the author for trying to bring more awareness to LGBT books, but based on the comments, many are underwhelmed by the list or find it problematic. Big points of concern include that Dumbledore is on the list and that there’s a lot of David Levithan.

I’ve decided to create my own list of 10 great LGBT characters, but from both YA and MG literature. Also, I in no way can claim to have read enough books with LGBT characters to create an ultimate top 10 list, so instead, this is just my personal 10 favorites based on what I’ve read. I’d love to hear recommendations of your favorites! Presented in no particular order:

askthepassengers gracefullygrayson misadventuresofthe

10. Astrid from Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

I think this was the first book I read with a LGBT character who I felt was a fully realized character. Astrid struggles with what to do about these new romantic feelings for a girl, but that’s just a portion of her character. She also deals with family problems and tries to figure out who she is as a whole person. Also, I’m pretty sure this was the first book I read with a lesbian relationship at the forefront… which is pretty sad considering I was 22 when I read this.

9. Grayson from Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

I was fortunate to receive an ARC of this upcoming MG book featuring a transgender girl. I was so thrilled to see a MG title about a transgender character. The entire book is quite gentle and entirely appropriate for it’s intended audience. I really hope this book finds it’s way into the hands of many young readers (and their parents, too!)

8. Dad and Papa from The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

Another MG title, this book is about a family of 4 boys being raised by 2 dads. I love that this book isn’t about gay dads, but rather about a whole family that happens to include 2 dads. I also love that Dad and Papa are very different characters and don’t fall into stereotypes.

freakboy aridante justoneday everythingleadsto

7. Angel from Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

When people talk about this book, they mostly talk about Brendan, but for me it’s really Angel who steals the story. She’s transgender and confident about herself despite having had to deal with many hardships when she was first transitioning. She tries to help others in similar situations by volunteering at a center for LGBT teens. She’s an inspirational and realistic character.

6. Ari and Dante from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

A coming of age story about two Mexican-American teen boys who fall for each other. There’s a reason this book won so many awards. Stunning.

5. Dee from Just One Day by Gayle Forman

I was trying to keep this list about LGBT characters who are the main characters of the story, but I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t include Dee. Despite only being a side character, he’s really well developed. He’s also just an amazing friend and person. Please please, Gayle, give Dee his own story!

4. Emi from Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

This book isn’t a coming out story. That shouldn’t be a big deal, but this was huge for me because so rarely do I find a book with a LGBT character that isn’t their coming out story. In this story, Emi is dealing with the aftermath of a break-up from her long-time on-again-off-again girlfriend. She knows it’s finally time to move on, especially when Ava comes into her life. Rather than being a coming out story, this is a regular romance story journeying how a couple found their way to each other. And I found that so refreshing.

batwoman oneman fivesix

3. Batwoman from Batwoman, Vol. 1: Hydrology by J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman

(I’m cheating a little with this one. It’s really aimed more at adults, but I would assume plenty of teens are reading it, too.) Lesbian superhero! That’s really all that needs to be said.

2. Ethan from One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

This is Alek’s story, but it’s love-interest Ethan who really stole my heart. He’s confident about his sexuality and isn’t a stereotype at all. He’s independent and daring but can also be so sweet. I totally understand why Alek fell in love with him.

1. Nate from Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle

We first met Nate in the MG book Better Nate Than Ever, but it’s in this sequel that we see him navigate a crush and possible relationship… all while dealing with being a star in a broadway show! Nate is so funny and lovable and I could just re-read these books over and over and over again.

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Comics Count

comics

Over at my library’s blog, I posted about why comics count as reading. I listed the benefits of reading comics and gave a short booklist of some of my favorites. I’ve heard too many parents say that comics aren’t really reading yada yada yada, so I’m hoping this post might help convince them otherwise! Read the post here: Comics Count.

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Review: Greenglass House

greenglassMy library teamed up with our local news to provide a “Read of the Week” feature. For my latest review, I talked about Greenglass House by Kate Milford! If you want to hear my thoughts about this middle grade mystery, check out my review.

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