Tag Archives: dream big–read

Good Night, Good Knight–the puppet show!


This week at all three branches we performed a puppet show version of the book Good Night, Good Knight, by Shelley Moore Thomas.  This is a very cute story of a knight and three restless dragons at bedtime.  Each time the knight investigates the roar that he hears from his post, he discovers a dragon with a new reason for not going to sleep.  The idea to use this book was inspired by the lovely Kay at Storytime ABCs.  I can’t wait to see how her live action performance turns out!  As suggested by Kay, we used the book’s repetition as an opportunity for audience participation.  Every time there was a roar, the audience roared, every time he got on his horse, they shouted “AWAY!”, and every time he rode through the forest, they said “clippety-clop, clippety-clop”.

I made some changes to adapt the book to a puppet show format.  I decided to go with two dragons instead of three–mostly because I didn’t have three dragon puppets.  I also thought that it might get a little monotonous if we did the third dragon.  Plus, I wanted to be able to do the show with three people if necessary.  So we had a girl dragon and a boy dragon–the boy wanted a song (the knight wasn’t much of a singer, so asked the audience to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” with him).  The dragon puppets are pictured left–They are made by Folkmanis and I dressed them with stuffed animal clothes that I had on hand (I added some embellishments to the girl’s nightgown).

Another difference is that we used a narrator–Princess Paige, princess of the Reading Kingdom.  (We used trees that were already holding books, so we decided to just go with it and call it the Reading Forest–why not?)  One of our fantastic teen volunteers got a princess costume and did a wonderful job as Princess Paige.  She narrated the story and reminded the audience when they were supposed to participate.

Here is a picture of the staging at our main branch, where we used the multipurpose room.

At the end of the show, we covered the knight up with a blanket–it was a cute way to end and it made the audience laugh.  Incidentally, it was my four-year-old’s favorite part!

After the show at the main branch, the kids visited with the puppets and got a coloring sheet designed and drawn by my brilliant artist husband. 








At our two smaller branches, we had a slightly different (scaled down) stage.  We were also able to do a shield craft like this one.  Here’s the one I made–it should be noted that I am NOT the artist.  When things need to be drawn, my husband makes it happen.  This dragon, however, had the misfortune of being drawn by me.








The puppet show was really fun!  Thank you SO MUCH to my excellent teen volunteers!

Next week we are hosting Chehaw’s Nocturnal Animals at Leesburg–10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 26.  We will make our own monsters at Smithville at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27 and at Redbone at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 28.  All summer reading events are sponsored by the Lee County Library and are free and open to the public.  For more information call 759-2369.


Library Space Camp


Yesterday and today we had Library Space Camp at our Smithville and Redbone branches!  It really was a lot of fun!  I grew up near the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, so I have always had a fascination with space camp.  Almost from the moment I started brainstorming about what activities to do for this year’s theme, Dream Big–READ! I knew that we HAD to do a space camp.  Basically, I had two stations–crafts and pretend play.  I find it really effective to mix things up like this, because some kids like to do both, but some kids only like crafts or some kids only like playing.





Here’s the “Space Crafts” (hehe–get it?) table.  There’s white glue, glue sticks, scissors, markers, and tissue paper.  The two crafts were paper bag space helmets and design your own CD planet.







Here are a couple of our paper bag space helmets.  You just cut the bottom off of a paper grocery bag, then cut a hole for your face out of the front.  Then, decorate as desired.  I found a printable of decorations that the kids could color, cut, and past on their helmets.  The link doesn’t seem to be working now, but you can get to the image by googling “astronaut helmet craft.”






We recycled old CDs to make our own planets!  I painted the non-silver side of the CDs with several coats of blue or black acrylic paint ahead of time.  The kids just put down some white glue and tore up pieces of tissue paper to decorate their planets.  It was really interesting to hear the stories behind all of the different planets!






The other part of space camp was a pretend play area.  Here, the kids could dress up, take a space walk to Mars, hold things down at Mission Control (pictured at the top of the page), examine the rock samples at the Discovery Lab, and sample astronaut ice cream.

The astronaut dress-up station had gloves, jet pack, grabbers, and bags for the rock samples).  I also created a diagram of special astronaut gear and what it is used for.





Mission to Mars–the kids donned their astronaut gear and tried to collect rock samples with the grabbers pictured above.  (Grabbers were about $3 at Target).  To set the stage (and protect the floor!) I put down some red and orange fabric.  And yes, I actually had a huge bag of rocks to use as Mars rocks.






The Discovery Lab consisted of two pie plates, a food scale, two magnifying glasses, and two paintbrushes (to clean off the samples).  I also printed out some simple “discovery journals” and pencils so that they could record their findings.






Finally, I put up some information about eating in space, and served samples of astronaut ice cream (that is what’s in the Dixie cups!)  The kids really liked the ice cream!







After real space camp, attendees earn a pair of wings.  Library Space Camp is no different!  We gave each participant a pair of wings (as modeled by Baker the Monkey).









We also had a rocketship photo-op that my brilliant husband drew and I painted.  I got the idea for it here.  Our wonderful teen volunteer is trying it out with Baker the space monkey.









All in all, we had a space-tacular time! 🙂

Next week, we are presenting a puppet show based on the book Good Night, Good Knight.  All summer reading events are sponsored by the Lee County Library and are free and open to the public.  For more information, call 759-2369.















Dream Big and add YOUR star to our sky!


For those of you who haven’t already registered for summer reading–it isn’t too late!  Come in to any of our branches and ask for a reading log at the desk.  If you can, come to the Leesburg Library to decorate a star to put on our night sky!

Also remember that registering your child or grandchild for summer reading makes you eligible to enter them in the Think Big! Save for College! Sweepstakes.  The prize is $5,529 for the child’s future education expenses, as well as $1,529 to the child’s home library for materials and programming.  There are also prizes of $1,529 awarded to the library with the greatest number of entries and the greatest percentage of registered users, so every entry counts!  Visit www.path2college529.com for more details and to enter to win.





Here’s what’s coming up next week!

Monday:  10:00 a.m. Rubber Ducky Club at Leesburg

Tuesday:  10:00 a.m. Thronateeska Planetarium at Leesburg

*ALSO on Tuesday at Leesburg, check out “Wag a Tale at the Library”  starting at 1:45 p.m.  Children of all ages can read to specially trained therapy dogs*

Wednesday:  3:30 p.m. Library Space Camp at Smithville

Thursday:  10:00 a.m. Library Space Camp at Redbone

All summer reading events are sponsored by the Lee County Library.  Free and open to the public.  For more information call (229)759-2369.

Dream Big–READ! Todd Key’s Flying Debris (slideshow)


We had such a great time with juggler Todd Key today at the Leesburg Library!  Check out the slideshow here.  Mr. Todd was kind enough to give us a copy of his funny new book “What’s in My Pocket?” so be sure to check it out!

Also this week:

Smithville:  3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6–Critter Campout (pickup for stuffed animals begins at 3:30 on June 7)

Redbone:  10:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 7–Critter Campout (pickup for stuffed animals begins at 2:30 on June 8)





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

Summer Reading Registration starts TODAY!


Don’t forget that registration for Dream Big–READ!, this year’s summer reading program, starts today!

For ages 0 to 3 we have the Rubber Ducky Club.  At registration you will receive a RDC booklet, which includes early literacy activity logs for June and July.  Complete all six early literacy activities for June and your child will receive a rubber ducky.  Complete activities for June and July, and your child will receive a free book!  We will also have a storytime at 10:00 a.m. on June 4, 11, 25, and July 9 and 16.  At the storytimes, we will enjoy books, rhymes, songs and activities/crafts.  Stay afterward to enjoy playtime with age-appropriate toys and conversation with other parents/caregivers.

Older kids will receive a log where they will record the books that they read (or are read to them).  In addition, we will have weekly events at all three of our branches, as follows:

Leesburg–Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m.

Smithville–Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m.

Redbone–Thursdays at 10:00 a.m.

On June 5 at Leesburg, don’t miss juggler extraordinaire Todd Key!  Check out videos of past performances on his website.






At Smithville (June 6) and Redbone (June 7), we will be having a Critter Campout!  Kids can bring their favorite stuffed friend for a camping-themed storytime and craft.  They’ll tuck their stuffed friend in and leave them to discover what happens when you “rough it” over night at the library!  Pick up for the stuffed friends will begin at 3:30 p.m. on June 7 at Smithville, and at 2:30 p.m. on June 8 at Redbone.





Don’t forget that registering for summer reading also makes you eligible to enter your child or grandchild in the Think BIG! Save for College! Sweepstakes.  The winner will receive $5,529 for future educations expenses, as well as $1,529 for his or her home library!  Prizes of $1,529 are also awarded to the libraries with the most entries and the greatest percentage of registered users, so every entry counts!




Check out future events on our calendar on our Facebook page or our Pinterest page.

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

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 www.path2college529.com 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.

Coming June 1–BRAND NEW Rubber Ducky Club!


The not-so-great news:  This Monday is our last Baby Storytime of the season!  😦

The GREAT news: Registration for your brand new Rubber Ducky Club begins on June 1!  Why should young children be left out of the fun and excitement of summer reading?  They shouldn’t!  The Rubber Ducky Club is a summer reading program designed specially for children ages 0 to 36 months, and it focuses on early literacy skills that have been connected to future success in school.

How it works:  When you register, you will receive a Rubber Ducky Club packet.  This packet includes an early literacy activity log for June and one for July.  Complete all six early literacy activities on the June log during the month of June, then turn in the log at the library for a rubber ducky (while supplies last).  Complete all six early literacy activities on the July log (for a total of twelve completed activities).  Turn in the July log at the library by July 13 for your very own book (while supplies last).  Books will be awarded at our last meeting, the Indoor Campout, on July 16.

Registration:  Required, begins Friday, June 1.

Events:  Storytime and playtime for Rubber Ducky Club members at 10:00 a.m. at the Leesburg Library on the following dates:  June 4, June 11, June 25, July 9, and July 16.

Sponsored by the Lee County Library.  Free and open to the public.

F/M/I call (229)759-2369


HeadStart visit–I Can’t Sleep!


Last Thursday was my last storytime for HeadStart.  😦  I have been seen them once a month at their school and once a month at the library since February, so I will really miss them!  I decided to use our last storytime to tell them about our summer reading program, Dream Big–READ!

Of course, my troublesome bear puppet Grizz had to make an appearance:

Grizz was too excited about summer reading to sleep, so I decided to do an “I Can’t Sleep!” storytime!









I did two of the same books I used for our Teddy Bear Sleepover in March: Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Willems and Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein.  In this post, I want to note two things that I did differently.

First, since this group was all younger kids (ages 3-5), we sang Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed using my monkey glove puppet.  As suggested by Hi Miss Julie! I ended with kissing the monkeys’ boo-boos, covering them with a blanket, and we sang them to sleep with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  This is a fantastic idea, and the kids loved it!






I also read Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson.  I prepared by setting out a purple crayon and taping a large white sheet of paper on the board.  Near the beginning of the story, Harold draws a moon, so I drew a moon.  Harold draws many other things throughout the story, but I decided not to draw them for simplicity’s sake.  I just drew the moon at the beginning and read the rest of the book up until this point: “Then, suddenly, Harold remembered.  He remembered where his bedroom window was, when there was a moon.  It was always right around the moon.” (draw window and curtains around the moon).  It was very effective to do it this way, and it jazzed up the story a little bit.




I ended with telling them about some of the things we have coming up for summer reading and distributing stickers and coloring sheets to the kids, and handing the teachers a stack of packets to send home for parents.