Stories With Ms. Jenna

Storytimes, Programs, Booklists, and More!

Storytime: October 1, 2014

Week 3 of theme-less storytime!

Book: Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd


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


Song: All Around the Kitchen by Dan Zanes

Flannel: The Three Little Pigs


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


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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.

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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.


Comics Count


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.


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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Storytime: September 17, 2014

As I noted in my last storytime post, I’ve gone THEME-LESS this session. Instead, I’m doing any books and rhymes of my choosing. Here was week 2 of the 6 week session:

Book: Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt


Song: “Octopus (Slippery Fish)” by Charlotte Diamond

Slippery fish, Slippery fish
Sliding through the water
Slippery fish, Slippery fish
Gulp, gulp, gulp

Oh, no! It’s been eaten by an…
Octopus, Octopus
Squiggling in the water
Octopus, Octopus
Gulp, gulp, gulp

Oh, no! It’s been eaten by a…
Tuna fish, Tuna fish
Flashing through the water
Tuna fish, Tuna fish
Gulp, Gulp, Gulp

Oh, no! It’s been eaten by a …
Great white shark, Great white shark
Lurking in the water
Great white shark, Great white shark
Gulp, gulp, gulp

Oh, no! It’s been eaten by a…
Humungous Whale, Humungous Whale
Spouting in the water
Humungous Whale, Humungous Whale

Finger Puppets: Too Much Noise!


Book: You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang


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.

Book: The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort


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Storytime: September 10, 2014

It’s taken me a while to get around to posting my storytimes so I’m going to play catch-up over the next few days! This fall, I’m back to doing my weekly evening family storytime. Participants sign up for a 6 week session. For the first time ever, I’ve decided to go theme-less (I’ll write a post about this eventually). Instead, I’m just doing any books or rhymes that suit my fancy. I’m using the same Hello and Goodbye songs that I’ve always used. This was my first storytime of the new session:

Rhyme: Hickety-Pickety Bumble Bee

Hickety-Pickety Bumble Bee
Won’t you say your name for me?
Miss Jenna
Let’s clap and say it.
Miss-Jen-na (clap with syllables)
Let’s say it loud!
Let’s say it quiet.

-Go around and do this will all the kid’s names

Book: The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli


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.

Flannel: The Enormous Turnip


Song: “The Freeze” from Kids in Motion by Greg & Steve

Book: Hug Machine by Scott Campell


Song: Five green and speckled frogs

Five green and speckled frogs
Sat on a speckled log
Eating the most delicious bugs – Yum, yum!
One jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Then there were four green speckled frogs.
(continue countdown)

Book: Down by the Cool of the Pool by Tony Mitton


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Storytime: Socks and Shoes

I recently lead a drop-in, all-ages storytime. I only had a few kids, most of whom were going to a juggler performance we were hosting right after. Therefore, this was a short and sweet storytime! We still had a lot of fun. 🙂



Ooh La La Polka-Dot Boots by Ellen Olson-Brown
Whose Shoes? by Stephen R. Swinburne
Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? by Eve Bunting
Who Has These Feet? by Laura Hulbert


This is What My Feet Can Do!

This is what my feet can do, feet can do, feet can do.
This is what my feet can do
Can you do it too?

Let your feet go hop, hop, hop; hop, hop, hop; hop, hop, hop
Let your feet go hop, hop, hop
All around the room.

Make your feet go jump, jump, jump…
Can your feet go tiptoeing, tiptoeing, tiptoeing…

Now your feet can sit right down, sit right down, sit right down,
Now your feet can sit right down,
Quietly, please.

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes.

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes.

And eyes, and ears,
and mouth, and nose.

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes.

repeat faster and faster until it’s too hard to do

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Review: Absolutely Almost

absolutelyMy library recently teamed up with our local news to provide a “Read of the Week” feature. I was the first one up to bat, and I reviewed Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff. Check out my rave review and then do yourself a favor and read the book!

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Storytime: Books

During the summer, we have a weekly “picnic storytime” for all ages. The kids bring a picnic lunch to have during the storytime. The staff rotates who leads the storytime, and when it was my turn, I chose the theme “Books!” This storytime is different than my normal ones because I used a lot less movement since the kids would be sitting and eating.


snatchabookbooksalways midnightimnotreading

The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty
Books Always Everywhere by Jane Blatt
The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara
I’m Not Reading! by Jonathan Allen

Folder Story:


Lovely Ladybug. (This didn’t fit into my theme at all, but it was a great way to get participation from the kids without making them move)

Songs & Rhymes:

Both from the wonderful Jbrary!

Let’s Take a Look

Let’s take a look
at this book
Here is the cover
We open it wide
Here are the pages hidden inside
There are words and pictures
We look and we look
And when we are finished
We close up the book

The More We Get Together

The more we get together, together, together
The more we get together
The happier we’ll be
For your friends are my friends
and my friends are your friends
The more we get together
The happier we’ll be

The more we read together, together, together
the more we read together
the happier we’ll be.
Read big books and small books
Read short books and tall books
The more we read together
the happier we’ll be.

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Yoga Storytime

A while ago, I did a Yoga Storytime alongside a co-worker. (I thought I posted about it already, but just realized I only had a draft of it!)

We had never done a Yoga Storytime before, so this was an expirement. Overall, it went really well! We had 12 kids in grades 1-3, and the program lasted 45 min. My co-worker and I both practice yoga, but neither of us are instructors. Therefore, the actual yoga in this program was pretty light. It was more of a movement storytime with some yogic principals infused.

We wanted to set a mood when the kids entered the program so we had instrumental music, dim lighting, and mood lamps. After everyone was settled on their yoga mat or towel, we gave a brief introduction and talked about breathing techniques. Throughout the program, we mentioned being mindful of nature and creatures around us and the importance of compassion.



Stretch by Doreen Cronin
Each Living Thing by Joanne Ryder
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
Breathe by Scott Magoon
Hi, Harry! by Martin Waddell

breathe hiharry

Music/ Movement:

In between the books, we used three songs from the CD “Dance for the Sun” by Kira Willey:

Dance for the Sun (Yoga Track)
The Shimmy
Namaste Song (for this song, the kids laid on their backs and placed beanie babies on their stomachs to watch the rise and fall of their breath)


This idea came from my co-worker’s daughter! We called it “Yoga Combo.” Each kid was given two slips of paper, one with an adjective and one with an animal. They had to put the two together and create a new pose to go along with it. If they were willing, they could share the pose with the group and we would all do the new pose together! We all had so much fun with this.

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