Stories With Ms. Jenna

Storytimes, Programs, Booklists, and More!

Anticipated Books of 2014

There are many many many books coming out next year that I am excited about. So, rather than list them all, I limited myself to 3 short lists. Most descriptions pulled from Goodreads.

-10 Standalones or Start of a New Series-

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The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang, Sonny Liew: A revival of the first Asian American superhero, the Green Turtle. July 15.

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen: For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined. April 1.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski: Seventeen-year-old Kestrel is an aristocratic citizen of Valoria, a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers. Here, a girl like Kestrel has two choices: join the military or get married. Despite her skills in military strategy, Kestrel’s real passion is music.Which is why she feels compelled to buy Arin, a slave with a talent for singing, at auction. It’s not long before she finds herself falling in love with Arin, and he seems to feel the same for her. But Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for Arin is much higher than she ever could have imagined. March 4.

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Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan: Never be late for a parade. Never forget the password. Never ruin a perfect plan. It’s all about the rules. But what if the rules feel completely arbitrary? What if your older brother is the only one who gets to make them up all summer long? And what if he’s the only one who can save you when the darkness of winter comes rushing in? April 29.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige: My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas. I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I’ve been trained to fight. And I have a mission: Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart. Steal the Scarecrow’s brain. Take the Lion’s courage. Then and only then—Dorothy must die! April 1.

The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne: Meena, a young woman living in a futuristic Mumbai, wakes up with five snake bites on her chest. She doesn’t know how or why, but she must flee India and return to Ethiopia, the place of her birth. Having long heard about The Trail-an energy-harvesting bridge that spans the Arabian Sea-she embarks on foot on this forbidden bridge, with its own subculture and rules. What awaits her in Ethiopia is unclear; she’s hoping the journey will illuminate it for her. May 20.

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The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin: Two-time National Book Award finalist Adele Griffin offers an ingenious fictional take on the “oral history” celebrity bio that defined a bestselling genre: Edie, American Girl by Jean Stein and George Plimpton. In presenting herself as interviewer and curator of memories, Adele paints the portrait of a tragic young celebrity who allegedly committed suicide-presented in a series of brief first-person recollections-that ultimately results in the solving of a murder. August 12.

She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick: Laureth Peak’s father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers–a skill at which she’s remarkably talented. Her secret: She is blind. But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her 7-year-old brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness. April 22.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell: When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts… Is that what she’s supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened? July 8.

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters: At the turn of the 20th century, a seventeen-year-old is hypnotized into seeing people’s true selves. Illustrated with late-Victorian images. (No cover image). Fall.

-10 Continuing Series-

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Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo: Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for. (No cover image). June 3.

Five, Six, Seven, Nate! (Nate #2) by Tim Federle: Nate Foster’s Broadway dreams are finally coming true. Armed with a one-way ticket to New York City, small-town theater geek Nate is off to start rehearsals for E.T.: The Broadway Musical . It’s everything he ever practiced his autograph for! But as thrilling as Broadway is, rehearsals are nothing like Nate expects: full of intimidating child start, cutthroat understudies, and a director who can’t even remember Nate’s name. January 21.

Dearest (Woodcutter Sisters #3) by Alethea Kontis: “Friday’s Child is loving and giving.” And so Dearest is the story of Friday Woodcutter, apprentice seamstress, with her generous heart and her patchwork skirts. Friday loves and is loved by all. But is she up to the challenge of solving the mystery that is Tristan Swan? (No cover image). October.

Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by R.L. LaFevers: Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own. (No cover image). November.

Hilda and the Black Hound (Hilda) by Luke Pearson: In Hilda’s new adventure, she meets the Nisse: a mischievous but charismatic bunch of misfits who occupy a world beside—but also somehow within—our own, and where the rules of physics don’t quite match up. Meanwhile, on the streets of Trolberg, a dark specter looms. May 13.

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Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba Bray: After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities. August 5.

Untitled (Cormoran Strike #2) by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling: Cormoran Strike once again traverses the social strata of British society in search of answers in a case presented to his PI agency, setting in motion an dangerous and thrilling cat-and-mouse game reminiscent of the mystery genre’s greatest, most influential writers. (No cover image). August 1.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor: By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz. April 8.

Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3) by Gail Carriger: No description. (No cover image). Expected 2014.

The Shadow Throne (The Ascendance Trilogy #3) by Jennifer A. Nielsen: Jennifer A. Nielsen takes readers on an extraordinary journey in this final installment of the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling Ascendance Trilogy. War is coming… Join Jaron as he embarks on his final adventure! February 25.

-5 Favorite Covers-


Pointe by Brandy Colbert: Theo is better now. She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor. April 10.


The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm: Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough… he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth? August 26.


Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him. With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people. January 28.


Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones: When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She’s what’s known as an illusionist…She’s also a thief. July 15.


Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine: There are whispers of a ghost in the slaughterhouse where sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic—a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally. August 5.

Which book are you most excited to get your hands on?

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Storytime: Art

My last Evening Family Storytime of 2013! The theme was Art because that’s the theme of our family winter reading program. I couldn’t find movement songs that had to do with art, so I just threw in a Jim Gill dance song instead. 🙂

Book: Lines that Wiggle by Candace Whitman, Steve Wilson


Action Song: “This Is the Way We Paint”

This is the way we stir the paint, stir the paint, stir the paint
This is the way we stir the paint so early in the morning
(dip our brush, paint the paper, blow it dry, frame the picture)

Book: I’m the Best Artist in the Ocean! by Kevin Sherry


Song: “Find the Color”
(to the tune of: The muffin man)

Oh, can you find the color______,
The color _____, the color _____?
Oh, can you find the color _____,
Somewhere in this room?

For this song, I had cut snowflakes of different colors (brown, blue, green, pink, orange) and taped them up around the room. As I sang the colors the kids had to find it and run over to it.

Folder Story: Lovely Ladybug


Song: “Jump Up Turn Around” –Jim Gill (Moving Rhymes for  Modern Times)

Simple motions and a simply rhyme.
Say it as you play it and repeat two times.

Jump up
Turn around
Clap your hands
Stamp the ground

Let’s play it again, but this time try
To say it as you play
And stretch your arms up high.

Let me suggest that this time you might
Say it as you play it
With your eyes closed tight.

Get ready my friends to take a deep breath
Because I challenge you
To play it as you hold your breath!

Book: I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont, David Catrow


Rhyme: “Tap and Clap”

Two little feet go tap, tap, tap.
Two little hands go clap, clap, clap.
A quick little leap up from the chair,
Two little arms reach high in the air.
Two little feet go jump, jump, jump.
Two little hands go thump, thump, thump.
Everyone turns round and round.
Then, everyone sits quietly down.

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Storytime: Construction

This week’s Evening Family Storytime theme: Construction!

Book: Raise the Roof! by Anastasia Suen, Elwood Smith


In this story, the family builds the house, and on the last page they are sleeping in the bed. I said, “They were so tired after building so much that they went right to sleep!” and one of my storytime kids exclaimed, “Without even brushing their teeth!” Adorable.

Action Rhyme: “Cranes”

Cranes reach up,
Cranes reach down,
Cranes reach out,
And all around.

Book: What Can a Crane Pick Up? by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Mike Lowery


Fingerplay: “Five Little Nails”

Five little nails, standing straight and steady
Here I come with my hammer ready!
Bam, bam, bam! That nail goes down.
Now there’s just four nails to pound.
(count down)

Flannel Story: “Three Little Pigs


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!

Book: Roadwork by Sally Sutton, Brian Lovelock


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Folder Story: Lovely Ladybug

Originally created by Kathryn over at Fun with Friends at Storytime. As I recite the poem, I’ll pull out the sheets of paper so the ladybug changes color!


“Let’s play a ladybug color game
I’ll give you rhyming clues
If you know it, say the name
Of each color that I use!

The first color for our buggy fellow
Is the color of sunshine
It’s the color yellow.

Frogs in the pond and a fresh snap bean
Did you guess the color green?

The sky above and the ocean too
Such a beautiful color, it’s the color blue.

Strawberry ice cream, come on now, think.
You are right! It’s the color pink!

Grapes for jelly on a P B & J,
Purple is the color we say!

Pumpkins or basketballs rolling by
Orange is the color that we now spy.

Fluffy clouds and the moon at night
Did you say the color white?

Roses that grow in a garden bed
Are this beautiful color, the color red.

Ladybug, ladybug up in the sky
Thanks for the fun
and now we say, Goodbye!”

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To make this, I started by cutting a circle on one side of a manila folder. Then, I attached a piece of dark paper for the head with little white paper circles for the eyes. I used a sharpie to draw the antennas. Then, I cut two squares of clear contact paper. I attached a piece to one side, stuck on the dots, and then attached the other piece to the other side to everything was secured in. I stapled the edges of the folder together. I used color papers for all the colors mentioned in the poem (as well as gray as a starting point, but you could start with any color not mentioned later). I made tabs using folded over scotch tape on each page so they are easy to pull out as I say the poem. Lastly, I attached the words of the poem to the back. This is my first folder story, but it definitely won’t be my last!



Early Literacy: Grocery Kit

In August, I posted about the first Early Literacy Kit I made: Rhythm and Rhymes. Recently, we put out a new kit I put together called Grocery Kit. Inside, there are play foods, a half sheet with a list of ideas of how to play together, and a clipboard with the grocery list half sheet on it.

Ideas for How to Play Together:

1. Help your child fill out a grocery list by asking him or her to select a specific amount of items. Then, take all the food out and let the child match the items he/she chose on the grocery list.

2. Ask your child to sort the food into different categories. For example, your child can sort the foods into piles of what he/she likes and dislikes, or foods to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


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Three Little Pigs Flannel

I don’t think this flannel story needs any explanation… It’s the Three Little Pigs! I currently have a really young group in my Evening Family Storytime, and I think they’ll enjoy this classic, repetitive story.



Storytime: Inside, Outside, Upside-Down, and Underground

Last week’s Evening Family Storytime theme was “Inside, Outside, Upside-Down, and Underground.” A bit of a mouthful, but super fun!

Book: Oh, No! by Candace Fleming, Eric Rohmann


Song: “In and Out the Window” by Songs for Wiggleworms

Go in and out the window (x3)
As we have done before
March all around the village (x3)
As we have done before

Book: Along a Long Road by Frank Viva


Action Rhyme: “Up I Stretch”

Up I stretch on tippy toe
Down to touch my heels I go
Up again my arms I send
Down again my knees I bend

Book: Silly Sally by Audrey Wood


Song: “The Royal Duke of York”

Oh the royal Duke of York
He had ten thousand men
He marched them up to the top of the hill
And marched them down again
And when they’re up– they’re up
And when they’re down– they’re down
But when they’re only halfway up
They’re neither up nor down

Book: Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier, Suzy Lee


Action Rhyme: “Up the Hill”

Here goes a turtle up the hill
-creepy, creepy, creepy, creepy
Here goes a rabbit up the hill
-boing, boing, boing, boing
Here goes an elephant up the hill
-thud, thud, thud, thud
Here goes a snake up the hill
-slither, slither, slither, slither
Here comes a rock down the hill
-boom, boom, boom, boom

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Best of 2013: Graphic Novels

This is my final “Best of 2013” post. Today I’m presenting my top 15 graphic novels for children and teens from 2013:

15. Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani, Maris Wicks


14. Battling Boy by Paul Pope


13. Game On! (Squish #5) by Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm


12. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Volume 2 by Heather Nuhfer, Amy Mebberson


11. The Misadventure of Salem Hyde: Spelling Trouble by Frank Cammuso


10. Explorer: The Lost Islands by Various, Edited by Kazu Kibushi


9. Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff


8. Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge


7. Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci, Sara Varon


6. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, Vol. 4 by Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez, Sara Pichelli


5. Princeless Book Two: Get Over Yourself by Jeremy Whitley, Emily Martin


4. Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen, Faith Erin Hicks


3. Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang

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2. Hilda and the Bird Parade by Luke Pearson


1. Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell


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Best of 2013: YA

I gave you lists of my favorite picture books and then my favorite middle-grade novels, and so today it is only fitting that I present my favorite YA novels of 2013:

10. The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee


9. Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang

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8. Dark Triumph by R.L. LaFevers


7. Dare You To by Katie McGarry


6. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys


5. The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson


4. Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick


3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


2. Just One Day by Gayle Forman


And my favorite YA novel… errr series (I’m cheating, I know), goes to the fabulous steampunk novels…

1. Etiquette & Espionage / Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

etiquette curtsies

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Best of 2013: Middle Grade

Yesterday, I posted my favorite Picture Books of 2013. Today is all about Middle Grade! So without further ado, here are my top 10 MG titles of 2013:

10. Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, Skottie Young


9. Hilda and the Bird Parade by Luke Pearson


8. The Real Boy by Anne Ursu


7. Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell


6. The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore


5. The True Blue Scouts of the Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt


4. The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes


3. A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff


2. Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle


And my favorite Middle Grade book of 2013 goes to the delightfully creepy…

1. Doll Bones by Holly Black


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