Monthly Archives: May 2012

Erin’s Summer Reads #1


I hope you are all as excited about summer reading as I am!  Don’t forget that registration begins June 1!  If you have any questions about summer reading, please check out this post, or feel free to call us at (229)759-2369.

Throughout the summer, I’m going to share with you some of the books that I’m reading, just in case you might enjoy them too.  I have several for you today:

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger.  (Call number J ANGL)  Some books you have to read just because of the title.  For me, this is one of those books.  I thought that the image of the Origami Yoda on the cover was hilarious, so I read it right away.  Tommy is a sixth grader who is kinda-sorta friends with Dwight, a “sixth grade oddball.”  While Dwight does mostly strange things, he does do one cool thing–origami.  One day he makes an origami finger puppet of Yoda.  When Yoda begins giving advice through Dwight, everyone is suspicious.  But when the advice is actually good, kids start lining up with questions.  Is Origami Yoda a real connection to the Force, or is it just another of Dwight’s antics?  Tommy decides to open a case file, complete with interviews and testimonials, to solve the mystery.  Don’t miss the instructions for how to make your own Origami Yoda at the end of the book!  Ages 8 and up.

Babymouse #2: Our Hero, by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm.  (GN J Holm)  Babymouse is good at lots of things, but dodgeball doesn’t happen to be one of them.  And it doesn’t help matters that her nemesis, Felicia Furrypaws is an amazing dodgeball player!  When Babymouse learns that she will have to overcome her dodgeball fears, she works hard to prepare for the moment of truth.  Will she be a dodgeball hero, or will Felicia Furrypaws have the last laugh?  Ages 7 and up.  I also recommend Babymouse #1: Queen of the World! (GN J Holm)

Have you read any of these books?  What did you think?  Do you recommend them?


What IS summer reading, anyway?


It seems that lately all I can talk about is what’s coming up for summer reading!  It occurred to me that maybe I should explain in a little more detail what summer reading is all about, at least from my own perspective.

1.  What is summer reading, anyway?  Summer reading is an initiative that takes place during summer break to encourage children to read for pleasure.

2.  Are there any benefits to summer reading?  Studies have shown that children who read during the summer are much less likely to experience the “summer slide” effect–that is, losing the skills that they gained during the previous school year.  Add to this the general benefits of reading–increased vocabulary, more active imagination–need I go on?

3.  How do I sign my child up?  Registration begins Friday, June 1 at any of our three branches.  Just tell a library staff member that you would like to register for summer reading, and you will be provided with a reading log.

4.  What do we have to do?  Keep track of the books your child reads (or the books you read together) in the reading log.  Once your child completes a log, bring it in and we will give you another one!  Be sure to have all reading logs in by July 13!

5.  Are there any particular books my child has to read?  No.  The purpose of summer reading is to encourage reading for pleasure.  However, if you or your child would like suggestions, library staff would be happy to assist.  We will also provide displays of books that are related to this summer’s theme and activities.

6.  What happens at the end of the summer?  We will have an indoor “campfire” party, where certificates will be awarded for participation in the summer reading program.

7.  What about the events I keep seeing?  This summer we will have plenty of fun events related to our theme, Dream Big–READ!  Your child is not required to attend events to participate in summer reading, but they are a fun and free way to get out of the house on a hot summer day!  To see the calendar, check out our website, our Facebook page, our Pinterest page, or pick up a hard copy at any of the three branches.  These events are all sponsored by the Lee County Library and are free and open to the public.

8.  What about children who cannot read independently?  Any child can participate in summer reading, including those who are not yet reading independently.  Simply take a reading log and document the books that you read with your child.  For children under 3 years of age, ask about registering for our Rubber Ducky Club, an early literacy summer reading program that documents completion of early literacy activities instead of the number of books read.

9.  Is there anything we can do to help?  We are still in need of LEGO blocks for our LEGO club!  Please support us with a cash donation or a donation of new or used LEGO blocks.

10.  Is there anything else I need to know?  I have to let you know about a great opportunity that the Path2College 529 Plan and Georgia Public Library Service provides for registered summer readers!  Once your child (or grandchild) is registered for summer reading, you are eligible to enter the Think Big! Save for College! sweepstakes.  The winner of the sweepstakes receives $5,529 for future education expenses.  An extra incentive is that the winner’s home library will receive $1,529 for children’s/teens materials and services!  Prizes of $1,529 for materials and services are also awarded to the libraries who have the most entries and the greatest percentage of registered users entered in the sweepstakes.  The sweepstakes is free and easy to enter!  Visit for more information.

If you have any questions about summer reading that were not answered here, drop in any branch or call (229)759-2369 for more information.  We can’t wait to see you at the library this summer!

Dream Big–READ! Library Space Camp


Did you know that before man walked on the moon NASA sent a monkey up into space?  If you are curious about outer space or what it’s like to be an astronaut, come to the Dream Big–READ Library Space Camp!  Camp will begin at 3:30 p.m. on June 13 at the Smithville Library and at 10:00 a.m. on June 14 at the Redbone Library.

Enjoy crafts like making a paper bag space helmet and creating your own planet/spacecraft from a re-purposed CD.  You can also learn about what astronauts wear, eat and do in space.  Finally, earn your space wings by suiting up for a simulated space walk complete with rock samples and communication with Mission Control!

Sponsored by Lee County Library.  Free and open to the public.  For more information, call (229)759-2369.

Dream Big–WRITE! Write a story for the “Summer Readers Write” book!


Have you always dreamed of becoming a published author/poet/illustrator?  Why not make it happen this summer?  We are DREAMING BIG, after all!

Lee County Library is accepting stories and poems for its seventh “Summer Readers Write” book!  Entries are limited to six pages and may be illustrated.  Entries must be received by July 14 for inclusion in the book.  Authors may present their work at the Authors’ Reception, scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on August 4 at the Leesburg Library.  Work may be presented as a reading, puppet show, or a live or taped skit.  Authors will receive a free copy of the book at the Authors’ Reception.

Sponsored by the Lee County Library.  Free and open to the public.  Call (229)759-2369 for more information.

Pre-K and Daycare visit–Frogs!


I can’t believe the school year is almost over already!  Next week will be my last visit with pre-k 😦  This week I gave them all summer reading program stickers in the hopes that they will visit me this summer!  Anyway, I started both of these storytimes by taking out my frog puppet.  I asked the kids some questions about him, like what color he is, what he says, how he moves around, and what frog babies are called.  This was the perfect lead into my first selection:





The Caterpillar and the Polliwog, by Jack Kent.  Okay, so this book is a little old (copyright 1982) and a teensy big long, but I have loved it ever since one of my professors read it to my class in library school.  Whenever I choose a book that is on the long side and sort of quiet, I do it first, when the kids are at their best listening capability.  Then, I pick extra loud and boisterous ones for the rest of the storytime (I’m sure their teachers love me for that–ha!).  Anyway, this engaging story is a good way to sneak in information about butterfly and frog life cycles, as well as conveying the ever-important message of self love and acceptance.  Love this book!






Song: Five Green and Speckled Frogs.  I found the idea and instructions for this brilliant little contraption on Mel’s Desk.  It’s made from a paper towel roll, and you can turn the tabs down every time a frog decides to jump in the pool.






The Wide-Mouthed Frog, by Keith Faulkner, Illustrated by Jonathan Lambert.  This pop-up book is storytime GOLD (In fact, I’m about to pin it onto our Pinterest board of favorite storytime books–check it out!).  The very first illustration is a great big frog with a great big fly on his great big tongue.  I used that opportunity to ask the kids why they thought a frog might need a “long, sticky tongue.”  The frog goes on to ask other animals what they like to eat, until he comes to a big green ALLIGATOR!  You should have seen the looks on the kids’ faces when that big alligator popped up!  This book is hilarious, and I got multiple requests to read it again!





Flannelboard: My Froggy Valentine, by Matt Novak.  I only did this at my daycare visit, because I already did it for pre-k for Valentine’s Day.  The Daycare group loved it every bit as much as the other groups did.  I even got applause! 🙂






Jump! by Scott M. Fischer.  The concept of this story is pretty simple–the bug sleeps until he sees a frog and then he JUMPS!  The frog sleeps until he sees a cat and then he JUMPS!  I had the groups stand up and jump when the story said to, and boy, did they love that!  It was a little chaotic, but very FUN.  The only complaint I have about the story is that it is sort of anti-climactic.  We jumped a bunch of times and then the last two spreads don’t really have any words on them.  I ended by saying “let’s jump one last time on the count of three–1, 2, 3 JUMP!”  They seemed pretty satisfied with that.





With the daycare group, I opened with “We hit our knees together” and “This is Big, Big, Big”, then closed with “My hands say thank you,” like we always do.








5 things I’m really excited about for summer reading!


I can’t believe that in a few short weeks we will be kicking off Dream Big–READ!  I am  SO excited to get started!  This year’s theme encompasses nighttime, sleeping, dreams, and wishes, as well as nocturnal animals, outer space and more.  We have some great events and activities planned–you can see our calendars for June and July on Facebook and Pinterest, or pick up a hard copy at any of our branches.  Without further ado, here are the things I’m really excited about:

5.  Rubber Ducky Club–This is a brand-new offering for summer reading!  Even though young children cannot read, they are equipped with everything they need to develop skills that they will use later in school.  This is called early literacy, and promoting it is as easy as making the commitment to read aloud with your child every day.  Registration begins June 1 and is required.  At registration, participants will receive a packet of information that includes a June log with six early literacy activities and a July log with six early literacy activities.  Those who complete the first six activities will receive a rubber ducky (while supplies last), and those who complete all twelve activities will receive a book of their very own.  We will also have a storytime and playgroup at the Leesburg Library on most Monday mornings at 10:00 a.m.  For more details about Rubber Ducky Club see this post.

4.  Critter Campout–Bring your favorite stuffed friend for a campout themed storytime, then leave them with us to “rough it” at the library!  Pick up your friend the next day and find out what they did when the lights went out!  Storytime and campout begins at 3:30 p.m. on June 6 at Smithville, and 10:00 a.m. on June 7 at Redbone.

3.  LEGO Club–In the second week of July, we will have a LEGO club at each of the three branches!  The great thing about this event is that it won’t end with the summer!  When school starts back in the fall, we are planning a reoccurring LEGO Club!  We have already received a few generous donations, but we still need more.  Please help us “build” our LEGO Club with a cash donation or a donation of new/used LEGO or DUPLO blocks.

2.  Todd Key’s Flying Debris–Juggler Todd Key is coming to the Leesburg Library for our kickoff event on Tuesday, June 5 at 10:00 a.m.!  The Flying Debris Show combines juggling, circus skills, a little magic, and just the right mix of comedy and reading encouragement for kids of all ages!  For more information about Todd Key and the Flying Debris Show, check out his website.

1.  Think Big! Save for College! Sweepstakes–This is an AMAZING opportunity!  Parents (or grandparents) sign their children up for summer reading, then visit for a chance to win $5,529 for the child’s future education.  As an added bonus, the home library of the winner will receive $1,529 for children’s and teen’s materials and programming!  Awards of $1,529 each will also be given to the library that has the greatest number of entries and the library system with the greatest percentage of registered users entered into the sweepstakes–this means that EVERY ENTRY COUNTS!

All summer reading program events are sponsored by the Lee County Library and are free and open to the public.  For more information call (229)759-2369.  Registration begins June 1.

Preschool and Pre-K storytime–the Moon, Sun, and Outer Space!


Kitten’s First Full Moon, by Kevin Henkes.  I LOOOOOVE this book!  I actually purchased it for my own daughter before I became a children’s librarian, and it’s one of her favorites!  I introduced it by reminding the kids that a kitten is a baby cat, and a full moon looks like a big circle.  Since Kitten is a baby, she has never seen a full moon before, so she doesn’t quite know what to make of it.  Of course they laughed like crazy on the first page when they heard that Kitten thought that the moon was a big bowl of milk!  Throughout the book, Kitten jumps, runs, and climbs in her efforts to reach “that little bowl of milk in the sky,” but to no avail!  This book is just so cute, and the kids really enjoyed it.




Flannelboard: When You’re Going to the MoonThis wonderful idea came from Mel’s Desk.  To go along with it, we sang “When You’re Going to the Moon” to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”  Pre-K especially loved this activity.  Thanks, Mel’s Desk!






The Sun is My Favorite Star, by Frank Asch.  “Did you know that the sun is a star?”  When I asked this question at pre-k, I mostly got yeses, but there were a few indignant NOs! out there.  This is a beautifully illustrated, but rather quiet book.  I was afraid that it might be *too* quiet, but it turned out okay for the most part.  There were plenty of opportunities for discussion.  For example, on the page that says “Sometimes [the sun] plays hide-and-seek with me” I asked them where the sun was hiding.  They all guessed that it was behind the cloud, and we discussed the lines that come down from the cloud, called rays.  All in all, I’m glad I added it, but if you’re reading it aloud to a group, you might want to make it your first selection and/or be sure to include plenty of opportunities for discussion/participation.



Roaring Rockets, by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker.  This book is fantastic for introducing vocabulary and concepts for astronauts and space travel!  While some of the words and concepts in this book may be unfamiliar to some children, the rhyming text and clear illustrations make it very accessible.  I did make a minor change to the page about the countdown–we counted down from five instead of three, and we left out the word “Action!”  I think that this was the kids’ favorite book of this storytime.  They loved pointing things out, especially the Earth from the perspective of the moon.





Puppets/song: Five Little Aliens Went Out to Play.  I had mixed feelings about including aliens in this storytime, but I ultimately decided to do it since aliens are so fun to imagine.  I had the “mother alien” puppet already, and I made the babies by cutting heads out of felt, gluing on wiggle eyes and a felt mouth, and hot gluing them onto a glove.  I found the song here.  It is sung to the tune of “Five little ducks went out to play”

Five little aliens went out to play, over the moon to the milky way

Mother alien went “hep, hep, hep” (I had the kids make the alien noise)

But only four little aliens came back.

4, 3, 2, 1, 0…

After no little aliens came back, I had the mother alien look and look, and then she was sad.  Then, she said “hep, hep, hep” and all five little aliens came back!

This was a very fun storytime, and I think it could work in whole or in part for our summer reading theme, Dream Big–READ!