Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This blog/website is for parents who attend my Storytimes, and for those interested in my book Cliffhanger Writing Prompts. 

In the labels you will find the words to all the fingerplays, songs and rhymes we do at Preschool Storytime, Toddler Time and Baby Time. There are also posts about how children participate, how parents can encourage their children, early literacy, funny stories, even my soapboxes discourses called "Opinionated Postings." In the past I listed the books I read every week at the various storytimes. Now, however, if you'd like to know the title and/or author of a book you heard, please send me an email or comment here, and I'm happy to give you that information.

From time to time I get to take my book of cliffhanger stories to a group of children. Often I come away with something hilarious or thought-provoking, and I'll post that here or on the "And then..." page.

Please feel free to give me your feedback on library happenings. Or if you're using my book in your classroom, let me know how it's going!

Friday, October 21, 2011

This Week at the Library

I got the sweetest hug from a little guy at Toddler Time this week. I was squatting to discuss the colors of the maracas with a little girl, and he climbed up on my leg and wrapped his arms around me. It was the best hug I've had in a long time. Sure makes me look forward to grandchildren! Got a few more years to wait, though.

Preschool Storytime

Our theme was "Song and Dance," so we didn't have as many stories and did more singing and dancing. I had some cards with pictures on them that the children drew from a can. The picture reminded them of a familiar song, which they had to guess, and then we sang it together. There was a spider (Eentsy Weentsy Spider), a star (Twinkle Twinkle), a bus (The Wheels on the Bus), a teapot (I'm a Little Teapot - which many didn't know), and a rowboat (Row, Row, Row Your Boat).

We had all kinds of rhythm instruments which we made a racket with while we did the "Freeze Game" on the Greg & Steve CD.

Our books were:

Hen Lake, by Mary Jane Auch. This was the first time I've read this story. I really like it, but I think it's too long for Storytime. I had a lot of rug-rolling going on.

Dance Away, by George Shannon. We all did the "Right, two, three, kick" dance together and had a lot of fun. Except for the poor little girl who decided to stay seated and got stepped on.

Ballerina, by Peter Sis. This was a first time for this book, too. I'm not sure what I think of it.

Toddler Time

We brought back the "Little Leaves" finger play for the fall. You can find it in the labels section. Our books were:

Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown. This time I asked them, "Do you really say goodnight to your socks?" (or their mush or the air). They thought that was pretty funny.

Cat's Colors, by Jane Cabrera. A good book for practicing the names of colors.

Baby Time

We had a new set of adorable twins this week. If all the multiples came to Baby Time at once, we'd have three sets of twins and a set of triplets. That would be fun!

Our book this week was Bingo!, by Rosemary Wells. The text is the classic song, "There was a farmer had a dog...." The great thing about this book is that you can sing it to your baby and point to the letters as you sing "B-I-N-G-O."

I've found a couple of new rhymes for our babies:

Trot Trot to Boston

Trot, trot to Boston
Trot, trot to Lynn
Better be careful
Or you  might fall in!

Trot, trot to Boston
Trot, trot to Dover
Look out everybody
Or you might fall over!

This is Bill Anderson

This is Bill Anderson
This is Tom Trim
And Bill asked Tom
To play with him.

Bill over  Tom
Tom over Bill
Bill over Tom
Tom over Bill
All the way down the hill!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New Idea!

My little germ of an idea is sprouting and blossoming. (Do germs do that?) Maybe I should call it a "seed" for the proper metaphor. It came several months ago from my husband, who said that now I needed to write a book of story endings. I thought that sounded like fun, but today I finally wrapped my head around what angle to take and got started.

So students will read a story ending, and then write the story that leads up to it. There will be some stories for focusing on story arc, some for working on setting, and some for character development and getting to the emotional heart of a story.

When inspiration strikes, or the muse comes knocking, I can't seem to ignore it. And of course, at the time it all seems so brilliant and ingenious and unique! Sometimes I write it, put it away, come back a few weeks later and say, "What was I thinking?" But other times I'm pleased. If this idea sticks and I submit it, I just hope I don't have to wait five months for a response like last time. The wheels of publishing turn very slowly!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

This Week at the Library

First of all, I want to say what a fantastic time I had at the Creative Writing Experiences the last four weeks. Ten children and I told countless stories about voices coming from root beer, bubble gum bubbles that carried us away into the clouds, cereal prize rings that granted super powers. The children's enthusiasm and imagination were impressive, and they did a super job diving in and coming up with some amazing stories. This type of event, whether at the library or in a classroom, is where I love seeing the stories in my book come to life in the hands of creative minds. It's immensely gratifying.

Now back to Storytime!

Baby Time

At the SCBWI retreat I was at last weekend, I met Kaaren Pixton, the author/illustrator of the "Indestructible" books. These books are designed to be chewed and crumpled by babies without harm to either the book or the baby. You can see them here. I'm delighted that our library is getting two titles for use at our Baby Time. When they arrive, Kaaren is looking forward to visiting us to see a whole batch of babies with her books in their mouths!

Our book this week was Baby Signs, by Joy Allen. I'm excited, too, that Dawn Prochovnik, author of many sign language books for children, will be visiting the Sherwood library on October 22 for a family "sign-along."

Toddler Time

If any of you can come to a time other than Thursday at 10:15, it would be appreciated! It's getting pretty crowded in there. I've never wanted to limit the number of children in the room. I've always thought it would be a dirty trick to tell a child he/she was going to Storytime, and get all excited, and then get turned away.

Our books today were:

Little Gorilla, by Ruth Bornstein. I finally figured out how to make the book more interactive, and I think it was successful at holding their attention.

Machines at Work, by Byron Barton. I think I had 20 toddlers completely still and silent today. They LOVE this book.

Preschool Storytime

Our theme was the Farm this week. We did the fingerplays "A Little Seed" and "Way Up High in the Apple Tree."  We read:

The Very Busy Spider, by Eric Carle. We made lots of animal sounds and learned to say the repeated line. Good brain exercise for the little ones!

The Cow That Went OINK, by Bernard Most. This book kills my voice every time, but I enjoy the challenge!

Book! Book! Book!, by Deborah Bruss. How could I not love a book about the animals going to the library to find something to do?

I told the story Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens on the flannel board. There's a great storyprop for this book. Lakeshore Learning has several storytelling kits for some favorite books. Take a look here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

This Week at the Library

I was at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Oregon chapter retreat at Silver Falls this weekend. I had a wonderful time! Authors, an editor, an agent and lots of talent! So since this is so late, here's a quick list of the books I read in case you're looking for a particular title.

Preschool Storytime

Our theme was "Birthdays."

The Fairytale Cake,  by Mark Sperring
Happy Birthday, Mouse1, by David Wood and Richard Fowler
The Secret Birthday Message, by Eric Carle
Benny Bakes a Cake, by Eve Rice

I told the story Ask Mr. Bear on the magnetic board.

Toddler Time

Duckie's Rainbow, by Frances Barry
My Car, by Byron Barton

Baby Time

Baby Faces, by Margaret Miller

Thursday, September 29, 2011

This Week at the Library

We had another very fun time on Wednesday afternoon at the "Creative Writing Experience." We took turns adding on to "Ah-Choo!" with our poor main character transporting all over the world every time he sneezed. Actually, it started off well when he went to Paris, the Great Wall of China and Tokyo. But then he ended up on another planet, and I think he died an untimely death.

Then we read "Flower Power," and each group wrote one sentence on a piece of paper, passed it to the left, added another sentence to the paper they received, and so on until we ended the stories. Finally, everyone got to write their own ending to "Cookie UFO." We ran out of time, so unfortunately I didn't get to hear many of the endings.

More next week!

Preschool Storytime

We learned a few of the differences between alligators and crocodiles. We sang "Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree." I also told the story "The Monkey and the Crocodile" on the flannelboard. Sometimes the monkey is the smart one, sometimes the crocodile.

Our books were:

Clarabella's Teeth, by An Vrombaut. Poor Clarabella misses out on all the fun because she has so many teeth to brush.

Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile, by Won-Ldy Paye. A wonderful African folktale in which Mrs. Chicken "proves" to the crocodile that they are sisters.

There's an Alligator Under My Bed, by Mercer Mayer. Big brave boy solves the problem!

Toddler Time

On Thursday we had to have Toddler Time in the children's area of the library, but I thought it worked out fine. It's actually a very nice space. We couldn't use the CD's, but the parent "choir" was lovely!

How Do I Put It On?, by Shigeo Watanabe. The children think it's hysterical when the bear puts shoes on his ears.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?, by Jane Yolen. I love the dinosaur lips when he kisses goodnight.

Baby Time

We had a set of triplets and twins today! Actually, we had SIX sets of twins attend the various Storytimes this week. Very fun. It's so great that parents get to share their trials and successes and find sympathetic ears at places like this.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

This Week at the Library

So many new faces this week! And back to big crowds, too. We had 34 children at the 10:15 Toddler Time today. Just children, mind you, with adults in addition to that. However, the record was 54, I think. That was a crazy day!

Toddler Time

With so many new parents and children, I thought it was important this week to remind parents that they are their children's first teachers. Toddler Time is very likely the child's first experience in a group setting, so the child is watching Mom or Dad for clues about how to behave. "Should I watch the teacher? Should I do what the teacher says? Is it okay to go play with another child instead?" Seeing the caregiver participate in the songs and fingerplays lets the child know that paying attention and engaging in the program are good and important.

Our books this week were:

Cookie's Week, by Cindy Ward. The first page is such a great hook! "On Monday, Cookie fell in the toilet."

Spots, Feathers, and Curly Tails, by Nancy Tafuri. This is a good first guessing-game book.

Preschool Storytime

I just love doing "Folktales!" They're such fun to tell because there is no one right way as long as the major elements are there. We acted out "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" and the actors were superb. That's such a simple and fun folktale to do at home. A couple of chairs and a couple of kids and you're good to go. One is the troll, one is all three goats, and the chairs are the bridge. The only lines to remember are:

"Who's that trip-trapping over my bridge?"
"The little billy goat gruff." (or middle-size, or biggest)
"I'm coming up to eat you."
"Wait for my big brother." (or "I'd like to see you try.")
"Very well. Be off with you."

I used a three-way puppet to tell "Little Red Riding Hood."

I used a story prop to sing "This Old Man," and an ancient tape recording of "The Gingerbread Man" to use with the book. Finally, I read Who Is It? by Sally Grindley, a guessing-game book about folktales.

Baby Time

Sometimes I wish the room were surrounded with mirrors so parents could see their babies' faces when we do the lap-bouncy rhymes. The babies usually like to face out to see the action, but then the parents don't get to see their expressions. Their grins are so adorable, wide-eyed and wide-mouthed. I love it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

That Was So Much Fun!

I conducted my first Creative Writing "Experience" today and had such a blast. I think the kids did too, since they went straight to the front desk afterwards and signed up for the next three sessions.

We heard about the giant time bomb shaped like a hamburger, the smurfs in the hole in the ground, and the squirrels that turned into chocolate covered sprinkles. The kids wrote about the wish the genie granted, and we shared a few of them out loud. So much fun! New stories and new activities to come!

Please spread the word so more can join us next week!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Creative Writing (Workshops) Experiences

I'm very excited to start my series of creative writing "experiences" tomorrow. "Workshops" sounds to school-ish, so I used a different word, hoping I don't turn off any kids who might be interested. 3:30 on Wednesday the 21st, and the next three Wednesdays after that. We'll be in the Community Room at the library. Spread the word to all the 3rd-6th graders!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This Week at the Library

First of all - a reminder that I'll be at MudPuddles Toys and Books in Sherwood this coming Saturday at 2:00. I'll be sharing stories from my book Cliffhanger Writing Prompts and leading the children in creating some fun endings to the stories.

Next Wednesday I start my creative writing "experiences" with elementary age students after school at 3:30 at the library. We'll spend about an hour coming up with endings to the cliffhanger stories in lots of creative ways. The sessions are free, but you need to sign up at the front desk in the library. I'm really looking forward to it! Please spread the word!

Check out my new page, "And Then..." I've posted one of my cliffhanger stories and three endings some students came up with in class.

Toddler Time

Welcome to the many new children! If you're new to my blog, take a look at the labels to the right. You can find the rhymes, songs and fingerplays we do there, along with postings about my favorite picture books, my opinions on various subjects related to children ("opinionated postings"), and information on my book.

The stories we read this week were:

I Love Bugs, by Philemon Sturges. I seemed to have a lot of rug-rolling with this book. I'm not sure if it was the book, or the atmosphere this week with lots of new children. I'll try it again in a while.

The Chick and the Duckling,by Mirra Ginsburg. This could be called "My First Book of Peer Pressure."

Preschool Storytime

Our stories were about "Pockets and Kangaroos." We learned that a baby kangaroo is called a "joey" and is about the size of a bumblebee when it's born. Did you know that? We read:

Peter's Pocket, by Judi Barrett. "Portable pin-on pockets." Say that five times fast! We learned what "portable" means.

The Pocket Dogs, by Margaret Wild. We were SO worried about Biff!

Joey, by Jack Kent. I love the mom saying, "THAT WILL DO!!" I also love the antenna for the TV and the records for the record player.

I told the story, The Pocket Book, by Josephine Aldridge. I have a velcro "dress" that I stick the ten pockets on, and fill the pockets with the various objects.

Baby Time

We had an adorable five-week old baby today. He slept through most of it, but that's okay. He woke up when we all shook the maracas.

Monday, September 12, 2011

MudPuddles on Saturday

This Saturday I'll be at MudPuddles Toys and Books in Sherwood at Langer Plaza. I love this toy store. They have a wonderful well-though-out collection of toys and a marvelous book section. At 2:00 Saturday, I'll be hosting some imaginative storytelling with elementary-aged kids using stories from my book "Cliffhanger Writing Prompts." My book is a collection of 30 cliffhanger stories, each ending with "And then..." It's up to the children (and adults with good imaginations) to supply the endings. We'll do some out loud together, in groups and individually. It will be a blast. Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 9, 2011

This Week at the Library

This is always an interesting week - the first week back after school starts. First of all, I miss the five-year-olds who have gone on to kindergarten. I also see lots of new children, plus kids who haven't attended much over the summer. We had big groups again, especially Thursday's Toddler Time. It all makes for some great energy!

Preschool Storytime

 Our theme was "Bears" this week. We went on a "bear hunt" and swished through grass, swam a river, squelched through mud, stumble-tripped through a forest and tiptoed into a cave. So exciting!

Our books were:

Where's My Teddy?, by Jez Alborough. Two identical, though different sized, teddy bears get swapped and the corresponding bear and boy have a frightful time getting their own teds back.

Big Black Bear, by Wong Herbert Yee. Big Black Bear turns out to be Little Black Bear, who's only three.

Bear's Picture, by Daniel Pinkwater. This is an odd story, but the illustrations are luscious and the final surprise is fun.

Bear's Shadow, by Frank Asch. Children love it when they know more than the main character in a book. This book demonstrates what happens to your shadow through the day, and the kids have a laugh over Bear trying to nail his down.

Toddler Time

Lots of little toddlers starting to come! I'm fine with 13-15 month old children coming. Even though they can't jump up and down or follow the fingerplays, they're learning so much! Just this week I watched a little guy trying very hard to get both feet off the ground when we were jumping. He almost made it!

Our books were:

Pete's a Pizza, by William Steig. The kids love saying the title, and laugh when I ask if they ever tickle their pizzas.

Dinosaur Roar, by Paul Stickland. This is one of those magical books that holds toddlers' attention so well.

Baby Time

We had a sweet four-week-old baby join us. I love having the tiny ones come. It illustrates so amazingly how much the children grow and change in one year. We see the almost-newborn next to the 7-month-old next to the one-year-old and marvel at how fast they develop.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Upcoming Creative Writing "Experiences"

I'm very excited to be leading "And Then..." creative writing sessions for 3rd to 6th graders this fall. (I'm not calling them "workshops" in the hopes that I don't scare any kids away.) I'll be using the cliffhanger stories from my book to lead the students in some fun storytelling and writing activities. This will be very interactive and hands-on. There are four weekly sessions starting Wednesday, September 21, from 3:30 to 4:30 in the Community Room at the library. This is free, but you have to sign up at the front desk in the library. Come to one or all four sessions. Many thanks to the Friends of the Library for making this possible!

Please spread the word!

Friday, September 2, 2011

This Week at the Library

I hope this summer weather lasts a while longer. I love sitting out here in my lounge chair with my computer in my lap, an iced tea beside me, birdsong in my ears. So nice.

This week I said a temporary good-bye to many children going off to Kindergarten and first grade. I probably won't see them until Christmas break or maybe longer. I tried to tell them they weren't allowed to go to school because they had to stay home and keep coming to Storytime, but they didn't buy it. I got lots of hugs, though.

Baby Time

This week we had two moms with babies and three-year-olds in tow. The great thing about it was that the big brothers came to baby time when they were itty bitty. It's very fun to see the families grow through the years.

Toddler Time

Different children "participate" in such different ways. One mom told me this week that her daughter had been asking to go to the library since 8 am. She couldn't wait to get there. Then she spent the whole time just watching. She stayed in Mom's lap and barely took part in anything we did. Yet I'm sure that in her mind, everything was exactly the way she wanted it. "Participation," to some children, means getting to watch the excitement and listen to the music, rhymes and stories. "Participation" to other children means running around, saying hi to other kids, jumping up and down, and singing at the top of their lungs. Both are perfectly okay.

Our books this week were:

Fire Truck, by Peter Sis. One little boy was so excited because he was wearing his fire truck T-shirt and had played Fire Truck on his walk to the library.

Clip-Clop, by Nicola Smee. Such a cute story told in about 150 words. Amazing!

Preschool Storytime

We "biggled our bingers" to get ready for our stories about bugs this week. This is a new storytime theme, and lots of fun.

Aaaarrgghh! Spider!, by Lydia Monks. The poor spider just wants to be a pet. So misunderstood!

Yuck!, by Mick Manning. Baby animals eat all sorts of disgusting things - like bugs.

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy, by Jacky Davis. I LOVE this book! The two children get mad when they can't figure out what to play, then discover how to be a Bug Squad.

The Big Book of Bugs,by Teresa Greenaway. This has wonderful photos of real bugs from every category.

Ant. Ant. Ant! (An Insect Chant), by April Pulley Sayre. This is such fun to read aloud. Great rhythm.

I did a guessing game with pictures, and we sang "The Eensy Weensy Spider" and "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Can You Help?

I just read about a library in Vermont that lost their entire children's section to Hurricane Irene. Every picture book was destroyed, except for five on a high shelf waiting to be shelved, and those that were checked out to homes. This blog tells how you can help them. Please read it and see what you can do. Thank you!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

This Week at the Library

It was horribly hot in the Community Room today. I did my best to get air moving in there, but it didn't do much good. Maybe we can teach our children about the greenhouse effect using the room as an object lesson.

Preschool Storytime

"Cats" was our theme this week. We did the "Three Little Kittens" rhyme, and chased bubbles. Our stories were:

That Cat Can't Stay, by Thad Kresnesky. Dad absolutely will not let the stray cat stay. But it's raining outside? Well....

The Cat Barked?, by Lydia Monks. The cat wishes to be a dog, but after the owner tells him how special he is, the dog wishes to be a cat.

Millions of Cats, by Wanda G'ag. This book has been around since 1928. That's what I call a classic!

On the magnetic board, I told the story The Fat Cat: a Danish Folktale, by Jack Kent. This hilarious book is out of print. $20.85 on Amazon. The children LOVE watching the cat get fatter and fatter as he eats all the townspeople.

Toddler Time

With the light summer crowds, I was able to pull out the bubble machine and let the kids chase them around for a while. No collisions or tears!

We read:

Daisy's Hide and Seek, by Jane Simmons. Oh the suspense! Where can Pip be?

Three Little Kittens, by Lorianne Siomades. There are so many versions of this rhyme, but I like the simple illustrations in this one. I usually adapt the words to how I learned it, and that's fine. You are always free to do that when you read to your child too - until he learns to read and starts correcting you!

Baby Time

Only two babies this week, but they had a good time doing Looby Loo and "Icky Bicky Soda Cracker!" I pulled out a big stack of all different board books from the bins, and we looked through them hunting for that treasure. Sign language books seem to be a big thing lately.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Seeing It From Their Perspective

Lately I've told some stories about the funny things kids say to me at Storytime. I got another one last week that I promised to tell you about, even though it's slightly, um, indelicate. But to me that's the whole point - when we look at it from the child's perspective, it's perfectly innocent and honest.

Here's the story - At Toddler Time I had called the kids up for a story. They all sat (on their bottoms, feet in front of them) and I introduced Come Along Daisy. I pointed to Daisy Duck and Mama Duck and told them what "Come along" meant. The little girl in front of me blurted out, "Do you poop in the toilet?"

Several things ran through my mind. Do I answer her? Will the other kids want to participate in the conversation? If I don't answer her, will she repeat the question louder until I do answer? Since no other kids seemed to have heard her, I decided not to answer, and fortunately she didn't persist.

This got me thinking about "impertinent questions." Between her and the boy a couple of weeks ago who asked what I smell like, I've thought about a child's perspective, and how at that age they really have no concept of a rude question. They honestly want to know. The girl is probably in the midst of potty training, and her mom tells her all the time, "Everybody poops in the toilet! Your parents do, your friends do, the clerk at the grocery store does!" So she looked at me and wondered, "Does Miss Teresa too?" And she asked.

No need to be offended or reprimand her. I know her mom didn't hear her, but if she did, Mom could just say, "That sort of thing is private, and we just talk about it in the family." We get upset when they do something they know they aren't supposed to do, and that isn't the case in these situations. The hardest part for me is not cracking up!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This Week at the Library

I have another funny story to tell, but it's going to wait for a later post. I've had to think about it for a while, since it borders on the inappropriate, but I think the value of the lesson is worth it. Got you curious? Good! Because that's what preschool storytime was all about this week.

Preschool Storytime

"Curiosity and surprises." We had some very entertaining books this week:

Hi, Pizza Man!, by Virginia Walter. This got a lot of kids giggling. "Hi, Pizza Cow!"

Max and Ruby's First Greek Myth, by Rosemary Wells. Ruby introduces us to an updated version of "Pandora's Box."

How Many Bugs in a Box?, by David Carter. We have a ton of fun pretending the saw bugs are trying to get out.

Special Delivery, by Brigitte Weninger. A lot of younger ones struggle a little with understanding that the illustrations  show what the mom is imagining. But they're still definitely curious about what's inside the box!

Find a Face, by Francois Robert. It's fun to find faces in everyday objects.

I finished storytime by showing them my own box with a mystery object inside. I slid it around and rattled it while they guessed what was making the noise. Some older children could logically figure out that it was my stamp. Others had some pretty wild ideas!

We sang "Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee" and I introduced a new song:

Little Cabin in the Woods
Little cabin in the woods. (Draw a square)
Little man by the window stood. (Make goggles with your fingers)
Saw a rabbit hopping by. (Hold up two fingers and hop them past you)
Knocking at the door. (Knock in the air)
Help me! Help me! Help me! It said. (Wave hands up and down)
Before the hunter shoots me dead. (Point "gun" with hands)
Little rabbit come inside. (Wave "come here")
Safely to abide. (Stroke the two-finger "rabbit")

Each time we sing it through, we delete one line of singing and do just the hand motion, going faster and faster with each repetition. Finally we're zooming through the song with just hand motions, accompanied by lots of giggles!

Toddler Time

When we do "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain" there is an add-on series of motions at the end of each verse - "Toot, toot! Woah back! Hi there!..." Some of the older brothers and sisters like to try to do it with me as it's too hard for the little ones. One little boy has been coming to the programs since he was six or seven months old, and started toddler time at just over one year. Now he just turned three, and I noticed he almost had the motions down. I was amazed! They are such sponges for learning!

Baby Time

Several Newberg moms attended today. I guess Newberg suspends their programming in August. We got to talking about the Moms Club. I think Newberg could easily have a successful chapter if someone wants to get it started. Who's willing?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This Week at the Library

First of all, THANK YOU to the Maid Marians who came to Toddler Time and Preschool Storytime on Wednesday: Sophia, Paige, Noel, Belle, and Rachel. The toddlers were fascinated by the girls in their sashes and headdresses, and the Maid Marians did a super job of diving in to the songs and fingerplays. They did a wonderful job telling the stories at Preschool Storytime and leading the songs, too. The children responded very well to them. I hope they come back next year!

Second, I had a wonderful time at Learning Palace at Cascade Station as a part of their "Back to School Blast." I had a table with Scholastic and got to talk to teachers about my book "Cliffhanger Writing Prompts." I handed out lots of business cards to those interested in having me visit their classrooms. If you know of a teacher who might like me to lead a fun creative writing presentation, pass my name along.

Baby Time
We had "only" six babies today. Several of our regulars have graduated to Toddler Time and we miss them. I think this is prime vacation week, too. We didn't even have any big brothers or sisters building block towers on the side. But, a mom came with twins, so I got to have a real baby in my lap!

Toddler Time
The competition was fierce today for sitting in my lap and holding my hand. Sometimes I have to let one child hold my hand while another holds my finger. I'm always relieved when this is acceptable.

We read:

No, David!, by David Shannon. Did you know this book is autobiographical? He tells about it just inside the cover page. Quite a few kids knew this book and were eager to tell me all about it every time I turned the page.

First the Egg, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Most of the two-year-olds can't guess the "answers," but the three's can.

Preschool Storytime
On Tuesday we had a "Summertime" theme. I read:

Sand Cake, by Frank Asch. Baby Bear has to figure out how to eat a cake his dad made out of sand.

Rain Talk, by Mary Serfozo. We had fun making "bup, bup, bup," and "ploomp, ploomp, ploomp," noises.

Froggy Learns to Swim, by Jonathan London. We practiced "chicken, airplane, soldier," and "bubble, bubble, toot, toot!"

Sunflower House, by Eve Bunting. I've always wanted to do this! Plant a circle of sunflower seeds, and let it grow into a house that kids can play in.

When the Maid Marians came, they brought their own favorite picture books to share. They were:

Balloonia, by Audrey Wood. Where does your balloon go when it floats away? This book can save your child some tears when it happens to him/her.

Piglet and Mama, by Margaret Wild. Nobody but Mama will do for little piglet.

It Looked Like Spilt Milk, by Charles Shaw. Rachel used the flannelboard for this story, which makes it extra fun.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff. We had the big book for this, which is great since in the regular book, the pictures are so small.

The girls led everyone in "The Beaver Song" and "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes." Thanks again!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Maid Marians Next Wednesday

Just want you all to know we'll have the Sherwood Maid Marians as guests at the Wednesday Toddler Time and Preschool Storytime. I hope you can come say hi!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

This Week at the Library

A great funny story this week! A couple of weeks ago I told you about the little boy who thought it was so funny when he touched my feet. This week he did it again - touched my feet and turned to the boy next to him giggling. Then he looked at me and said, "I wonder what you smell like?"

I said, "I don't think I really smell like anything."


"Well, I don't wear perfume."

"Can I smell you?"

At this point I just got curious. "How would you do that?"

"I'd smell you right here." He pointed to the center of his chest.

"Uh, I don't think that would really be polite. But you asked first, so that was really good!"

I was absolutely delighted with that little exchange. I love how honest and straightforward children can be. He just said what he was thinking, simply and to the point.

I kept thinking about why we wondered what I smelled like. Did you have a grandmother or aunt who always wore a particular scent? Or maybe two grandmothers and an uncle who each had their own special smell? His special people probably hug him and he takes a big whiff of Grandma smell, or Uncle Ray smell. Maybe this little boy has a strong association of scents to people and he just wanted to know if I had a special smell, too. Nothing wrong with wondering!

Preschool Storytime

We did a lot of quacking this week! Ducks! We read:

Quacky Duck, by Paul Rogers. I love the beginning, "Once upon a pond," and the ending, "And they all lived quackily ever after."

Farmer Duck, by Martin Waddell. I'm still figuring out the best way to read this aloud. It's actually kind of tricky.

Duckat, by Gaelyn Gordon. The kids got to learn the meaning of "odd."

Duck on a Bike, by David Shannon. There's a page towards the end with no text that just shows the farm animals staring at the bikes with big eyes. It was a good challenge to the children when I asked them what the animals were thinking.

I told the story on the flannelboard, "Little Duckling Tries His Voice." He tries to sound like a cow, "Mooo-ack," and a bird, "Twee-ack," and just isn't successful.

Toddler Time

What a crowd we had today! Lots of new faces, too, which often happens as we get closer to fall. And maybe we've had enough warm days in a row that people are looking for something other than the park to do.

Our books were:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin Jr. Sometimes it's hard to find the difference between a dog voice and a frog voice.

Here Are My Hands, also by Bill Martin Jr. All the groups did really well showing me their various body parts.

Baby Time

I told the parents again today that Baby Time is for babies up till the age that they don't want to be there any more. Two babies graduated this week! It was extremely clear that they had no interest in what was going on. However, they are very interested in Toddler Time. There's so much action and noise and kids to watch! Even when they can't physically do what the others are doing, they get a kick out of watching, and the language, rhythms and patterns are sinking in.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Last Week at the Library

Yes, I'm late posting about last week's Storytimes. But a huge THANK YOU to all who came to my book launch party. It was great to see kids reading my stories and enjoying the little activities and handouts that went with them. Now, too, I have some fun props for classroom visits!

After the party, I was busy getting my daughter ready to go away to camp for two weeks, then driving to visit friends in Washington on the way to the camp. I find I always miss my children most the first 24 hours they're gone.

This Friday I'll be at Learning Palace at Cascade Station for their "Back-to-School Blast." Not that I'm ready to think about back-to-school yet (It's just August 1!) but I guess they are.

Preschool Storytime

Our stories were all about "Noise" last week. I must say my voice gets a little extra tired when that's the theme! But reading the stories is very fun.

Mortimer, by Robert Munsch. Sorry if you had kids at bedtime singing, "Cling clang, rattle bing bang, gonna make my noise all day!!"

Quiet, Wyatt!, by Bill Maynard. Poor Wyatt. Everyone sushes him and thinks he's too little to do big kid things, until he speaks up to rescue a puppy.

Whistle for Willie, by Ezra Jack Keats. Willie tries and tries to learn to whistle so he can call his dog.

I did the flannelboard story Too Much Noise, by Ann McGovern.

We also practiced being noisy and silent with the maracas while we played "The Freeze Game" on the Greg and Steve CD.

Toddler Time

I saw a great demonstration of the importance of parent participation. There was a new child in the group who was outgoing enough to stand in the center of the group while I was doing one of the fingerplays, but he would watch me, turn to look at mom, watch me, turn to look at mom, back and forth. He obviously was trying to figure out what he should be doing at that moment and was looking at mom for cues. You are your child's first and most important role model!

Our stories were:

No Biting, by Karen Katz. The children enjoy the guessing-game part of this book.

Rosie's Walk, by Pat Hutchins. They think it's pretty funny that Rosie never sees the fox.

Baby Time

Bubble time seems to be the favorite for the babies (and their big brothers and sisters, too). I just love their awe-struck faces as the bubbles float down. Many squeal and bounce up and down in excitement. Very cute!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Party Tonight!

Please come to my book launch party tonight in the Community Room at 6:30. We'll have loads of cake and fun stuff for the kids!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

This Week at the Library

My Book Launch Party is this Thursday at 6:30 in the Community Room. I hope to see you there! My daughter Sara and I brainstormed some great interactive ideas for the children at the party, which I think will be a ton of fun.

Preschool Storytime

This week while I was sitting in my chair chatting with the kids before it was time to start, there were two little boys who like to sit right up front at my feet. I was wearing sandals and had just painted my toenails a bright color. They noticed them, and one of the boys stared for a second. Then he reached his finger out and touched my big toe. He giggled and turned to the boy next to him and stage-whispered, "I touched her feet! Hee hee! I touched her feet!" I reminded me of the scene in "Finding Nemo" when one of the little fishies says, "I touched the butt!"

I wonder if these children know how much they entertain me?

Our theme this week was "The Beach." We read:

Ebb and Flo and the Baby Seal, by Jane Simmons. I think the kids could relate to not finding anyone to play with, and not being able to get attention when they need it.

How Will We Get to the Beach?, by Brigitte Luciani. This book is a "guess what's missing from the picture" game.

Lottie's New Beach Towel, by Petra Mathers. I like this story, but the illustrations aren't the best for a group storytime. They're quite tiny. However, one boy told me it was his favorite story.

I used the flannelboard for Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister.

I also pulled out a great collection of seashells for the children to hold and inspect. They practiced trading with each other.

Toddler Time

I loved the little guy who arrived just after we had started the first song. He came barreling in, "Wait for me!!" Of course we will!

We read:

Spot Bakes a Cake, by Eric Hill. Some kids said they'd made a cake, some cookies, one girl says she makes dinner.

Pots and Pans, by Patricia Hubbell. I reminded the parents again how pulling out the pots, pans, lids and spoons is a great activity for children. Of course you need "boundaries," but it's a great learning activity. Big pot, deep sound. Little pot, high sound. Different sounds for a wooden spoon, plastic spoon, and metal spoon.

Baby Time

We had mostly 12-16 month-olds this week, which is unusual. They weren't too interested in the book time, which didn't surprise me, but they sure loved the bubbles!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An Invitation

I'd like to invite everyone to my book launch party! We'll be celebrating in the library community room (where Storytime is held) on Thursday, July 28 at 6:30. After some refreshments, I'll be doing an interactive presentation of a few stories with the elementary age children. I promise we'll have a good time!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

This Week at the Library

First off, there will be NO STORYTIMES July 12, 13, 14. I'll be on vacation.

Second, I'm very happy to announce that the Friends of the Library approved my request to lead a series of four workshops for elementary and middle school students based on the stories in my book. Details about dates and times will come later.

Preschool Storytime

This week we had fun with turtles. No, we didn't have any real ones - sure wish we did. Our fingerplay was:

I Had a Little Turtle

I had a little turtle.
He lived in a box.
He swam in the water
And he climbed on the rocks.
He snapped at a minnow.
He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a mosquito
And he snapped at me.

He caught that minnow.
He caught that flea.
He caught that mosquito
But he didn't catch me.

We read:

Franklin in the Dark, by Paulette Bourgeois. Franklin learns to compensate for his fear of the dark. An excellent lesson for all of us.

The Turtle and the Monkey, by Joanna and Paul Galdone. I'm afraid I said this was an African tale, but it's actually from the Philippines. The two characters do awful things to each other, but I tried to point out to the children that it all came out of an unwillingness to share.

Splash!, by Ann Jonas. This is a great book for introducing mental math. It's fun to see which kids really "get" it - our future math whizzes.

I told the story on the flannelboard of "Uwungelema," the magic word that makes the fruit fall from the magic tree.

Toddler Time

Tuesday, July 5 was interesting! I guess all the little ones slept in from the fireworks the night before. Only one child came at 9:30, and three at 10:15! The rest of the week was pretty lightly attended, too.

Our books were:

The Seals on the Bus, by Lenny Hort. It was fun "singing" this book together.

Spot Goes to the Park, by Eric Hill. At the end, when Spot's mother tells him to say "Thank you," to the duck for returning Spot's ball, Spot says "Quack, quack." I asked, "What do you think that means?" One little boy said, "Give it back!"

Baby Time

I've had extra fun the last two weeks because a mom has been coming with her twins. I get to have a live baby to bounce on my lap instead of teddy bear!

Friday, July 1, 2011

This Week at the Library

I was so excited to present my book at the library this week. Everyone is invited to my "Launch Party" on July 28 at 6:30 in the Community Room. We'll have a little celebration and do some creative storytelling with stories from the book. Bring your imaginations!

Preschool Storytime

We took a poll on who loves to take a bath, and who doesn't love baths. The vast majority of the kids like baths, but there were a few very definite "No thanks," types in the group, too. I got out the bubble machine for a while, and we did the fingerplay "Bubbly Bubbles."

We read:

Just Me in the Tub, by Mercer Mayer. Poor Little Critter has such a hard time making things turn out the way he intends.

No Bath Tonight, by Jane Yolen. Jeremy has an excuse not to take a bath on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday....

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub, by Audrey Wood. To be honest, I have a hard time finding the rhythm when I read this aloud, but the illustrations are so incredible, I put up with it.

Huggly Takes a Bath, by Tedd Arnold. The kids love the "slime pit" Huggly plays in.

I used the flannelboard for the story "The Bath," and we played a game where the children had to guess what piece was missing from the picture.

Toddler Time

Lots of new children and parents, lots of old friends back from preschool, and lots of people on vacation.

Our books were:

Eyes, Nose, Fingers and Toes, by Judy Hindley. The little ones were great about following along in the book with blinking, and wiggling, and clapping and jumping. Moving with a book makes it so much more fun.

Spot Goes to School, by Eric Hill. Lift-the-flap books never fail.

Baby Time

We had lots of big brothers and sisters this week, but they were so wonderfully behaved, it wasn't a problem at all. The babies played Peekaboo and read Find the Duck and danced to Ring Around the Rosie. Of course, bubbles are always a huge hit - with the big kids too!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

This Week at the Library

There were some real sweethearts at the library this week. I got a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and a hug and a kiss in the middle of my belly - the poor little guy couldn't reach my cheek. Also, at Preschool Storytime, right after I announced to the parents that my book was out and was available for purchase, one little guy (the one who showed me his Spiderman underpants) said, "I want one!" He jumped up, grabbed a book off the table, and took it back to his seat. How adorable!

Preschool Storytime

I love summer when I get to see my old friends who abandoned me for school! (How could they?)

We were all about rabbits this week. We sang "Little Bunny Foo Foo," and did the "What Am I" fingerplay. We read:

A Boy and His Bunny, by Sean Bryan. On Wednesday I managed to read the whole book with a bunny on my head. It's a very silly book.

Daley B., by Jon Blake. Daley B. decides to live in a tree and eat acorns, but finally learns what he is when a weasel wants to eat him. He also learns his big feet are useful!

Dance Away, by George Shannon. We really had fun doing our little "Left, two, three, kick!" dance.

Henry and the Red Stripes, by Eileen Christelow. I loved the grins on the children's faces when I told them Henry painted red stripes all over himself. I could tell they thought that looked like fun.

Toddler Time

Pretty small groups this week. I think lots of people are on vacation or staying home with grade school kids. But it meant we could blow bubbles without collisions and bumped heads, and children could have two noisemakers for "The Ants Go Marching."

We tried a new fingerplay this week. It has two stanzas, which I figured out right away was too long. I've shortened it down to this:

Tippy Tippy Tiptoe

Tippy, tippy, tiptoe, girls and boys.
Tippy, tippy, tiptoe, don't make noise.
Tippy, tippy, tiptoe through the house.
Tippy, tippy, tiptoe, like a mouse.

We read:

Good Morning, Sam, by Marie-Louise Gay. This one is borderline for two-year-olds, but the three's like it.

Where's Spot?, by Eric Hill. They really get into the suspense of this, and cheer when we finally find him.

Baby Time

No lack of babies this week! We had a great crowd: itty bitty babies, and walkers intent on exploring the room instead of sitting on Mom's lap. We read Where Is Baby's Belly Button, by Karen Katz. She really has a corner on the market for baby books. She's great!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's Here!

My book arrived on my doorstep today! Hooray! I'm afraid I screamed so loudly I scared my daughters, but they celebrated with me once they knew what was going on. I'll have copies for sale at Storytime if anyone would like one.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

This Week at the Library

There will be no Toddler Time or Baby Time on Thursday, June 16.

Preschool Storytime

We said goodbye to the frogs and tadpoles this week. We got to see several of them grow up into itty bitty frogs that sat on my fingertip. A few tadpoles even went home with children. I hope they do well. They're pretty cheap pets!

Our theme this week was "Dragons." I have a fun storyprop for Purple Hair? I Don't Care, by Diane Young.

The books were:

There's No Such Thing as a Dragon, by Jack Kent. Kids think it's funny, but the lesson is really for us parents. When something (or someone) wants attention, it's only going to get bigger and bigger.

Where Did All the Dragons Go?, by Fay Robinson. I love the illustrations in this one. The dragons look awesome!

The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch. This is a fun story to read aloud. And you can see the five-year-olds' wheels turning when Ronald the prince is a jerk and Elizabeth the princess doesn't marry him.

The Best Pet of All, by David LaRochelle. They loved the dragon in the bathtub full of spaghetti.

Toddler Time

This week a woman brought her niece to Toddler Time for the first time on Tuesday at 9:30. They stayed for the 10:15 session too. The next day they were back at 11:30. Thursday at 10:15 there they were again! She said every morning the little girl says, "Are we going to the library today?" So cute!

We read:

Sleepy Bear, by Lydia Dabocovich. They seemed to have gotten the honey/bee connection.

Go Away, Big Green Monster, by Ed Emberley. The Tuesday 9:30 group was so quiet I had to enlist the parents. But the Wednesday crowd really got into the yelling.

Baby Time

More babies have been graduating lately to Toddler Time. Even if they're too young to actually participate in the finger plays and jumping up and down, they enjoy watching and hearing some familiar rhymes.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Release Day!

My book has been released! I called Scholastic to order copies to sell and asked the customer service person if she knew what day it would be released, wondering if the date I had been told had changed (June 23). She said, "Oh! It's today!" Woohoo! So I'll have copies for sale at the library ($10), or you can order on Amazon here.

If you're interested in having me visit your school or homeschool group, please email me: t.klep(at) I also have a Facebook page for the book. Just put in the title "Cliffhanger Writing Prompts."

Saturday, June 4, 2011

This Week at the Library

One little frog sprouted its front legs this week. I let him sit on the tip of my finger while the children ooohed and aaahed. The next day little froggie had disappeared. Apparently he could crawl out through the vent holes of the tank. He wanted to become a librarian and live in the library office, I guess. He'll be there forever, since I couldn't find him. Poor thing.

But two more sprouted legs today. If they haven't matured too much by Tuesday, we'll get to see them. Once their tails are used up, I have to let them go or they'll starve.

Preschool Storytime

We talked about blankets and blankies this week. You know the difference - blankets are things you wrap up in and stay warm with, blankies are those very special objects that keep the boogeyman away and make everything feel better.

We read:

No More Blanket for Lambkin, by Bernette Ford. Lambkin's friend snatches away her blanket, washes it, ruins it, then fixes everything by making a doll out of it.

Cry Baby, by Ruth Brown. We learned what "unraveling" is. Poor little sister's blanket unravels, but she decides to quit crying and do something about it.

Franklin's Blanket, by Paulette Bourgeois. I love how Franklin's father still has his blankie tucked away.

Owen, by Kevin Henkes. An absolute gem of a book!

I brought in several blankets and one blankie for us to look at - a quilt, a knitted blanket, a receiving blanket, and my daughter's blankie from long ago.

Toddler Time

Someone asked me today if I'll ever get tired of doing Storytime. Even after 14 years, I still love it. I think the day I quit will be the day I decide I'm an old lady. Slithering around on the floor like a snake, galloping like a horse and playing the "freeze" game keep me young and make for a much more fun workout than anything at the YMCA. Those children never cease to make me smile.

Our books this week were:

Opposites, by Robert Crowther. Once again this book held their attention for an amazingly long time. Such a great teaching tool, too!

Slop Goes the Soup, by Pamela Duncan Edwards. I kept asking, "What's going to happen next?" One little boy kept saying, "I don't know Miss Teresa!"

Baby Time

We've discovered that the overturned toy tub makes for a great socializing device. The babies crawl over, pull themselves up, bang on it and stare at each other. Very cute!

Friday, May 27, 2011

This Week at the Library

We were all excited to see little back legs growing on the tadpoles this week. One little guy had particularly long legs, so maybe by next week he'll have front legs, too. Or are they called arms?

Preschool Storytime

I got to wear my cow costume this week. The kids are so funny when they touch my udder (!) and I jump and squeal. They're so surprised as they try to figure out if I'm kidding or not. One little boy asked, "Are you wearing clothes too?" That got a laugh from the parents.

Our books were:

Daisy the Firecow, by Viki Woodworth. Daisy proves her worth as the fire station mascot by saving a calf from a burning barn.

Too Many Pears, by Jackie French. I told the kids my story of getting sick on Whoppers, and I have a feeling they'll be reminding me of it for quite a while, like they remind me of my fender bender when I had a "bad day."

Belinda, by Pamela Allen. Poor Farmer Brown has to dress up like his wife before Belinda will let him milk her.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, by Doreen Cronin. This book is a bit of a stretch for a group of three year olds, but the five and six-year-olds got a laugh. "Neutral party," "ultimatum" and even electric blankets need a little explaining.

Toddler Time

I talked a little this week about how parents are their children's first role models. Toddler Time is most likely your child's first experience in a group setting. Your child looks to you for guidance on how to act in a group. And of course, we know that they learn more from what you do than what you say, so seeing you participate enthusiastically sends a huge message to them. "Oh! I should pay attention and do what Miss Teresa is doing. Mom/Dad/Grandma/Caregiver is smiling and having a good time. This must be fun!"

Our books were:

The Very Busy Spider, by Eric Carle. They did pretty well at repeating, "She was very busy spinning her web."

Freight Train, by Donald Crews. This book is so visually appealing, it always holds their attention.

Baby Time

I want to compliment the older siblings who come on a regular basis. They've been so well-behaved and pleasant. I enjoy getting to hold them on my lap for "Bumpin' Up And Down" or hearing them sing out on "The More We Get Together." They play with a basket of blocks and balls, or bounce their "baby" on their laps like Mommy. They try very hard to follow the rule of staying off the blue carpet. Good job!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Interview for the Gazette

I had a nice talk with Ray Pitz at the Gazette today. We talked for quite a while about Cliffhanger Writing Prompts, how the book came to be, how I run my presentations, and my time as the Storylady. The article will be out in the July edition. Thanks, Ray!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This Week at the Sunny Library

I get so excited when the sun finally comes out and it warms up, especially when it's so belated. It's hard to believe it's the middle of May. I feel like spring just got started and it should be the middle of April! But the tadpoles are getting big and fat, so I guess summer is closer than I realize.

Baby Time

Well, Toddler Time had fewer people than usual, so I assumed the same would be true for Baby Time, but we had the biggest one ever! 24 babies! They were 12 weeks to 15 months old, plus assorted older siblings. It was great to hear the choir of adult voices, even if we were saying "pizza pickle pumpernickle" and other nonsense.

Toddler Time

If only we could harness the enthusiasm that these little ones exude when they show up to "sing and dance." Just think how our jobs, housework, yardwork and parenting would go if we arrived the excitement of "I'M HERE! I'M HERE!" and huge smiles on our faces. The world would definitely be a better place.
We pulled out "A Little Seed" in honor of spring. Our books were:

From Head to Toe, by Eric Carle. I have these kids so trained to sit on their bottoms that they actually have trouble going ahead and getting up on their knees to do the motions in the book. Such good children!

Peek-a-Moo!. by Marie Torres Cimarusti. They really cracked up at "peek-a-quack!"

Preschool Storytime

We were all about "Growing Up" this week. We started with:

Pig Pig Grows Up, by David McPhail. The children just couldn't understand why Pig Pig wanted to stay a baby, but they really laughed when Mom got in the stroller and Pig Pig pushed her home.

Parts, by Tedd Arnold. I think this book is hysterical, but the kids' faces are always very serious when I read it. Maybe because they've had the same thoughts, "What's happening to me?"

Tell Me What It's Like to Be Big, by Joyce Dunbar. This book is very relatable, I think. It's frustrating not to be big enough to do things, yet a little scary to think of what is expected of you when you get big.

See How I Grow, by Angela Wilkes. This is a cool book where the kids get to watch a baby grow from six weeks to 18 months.

Friday, May 13, 2011

This Week at the Library

Every week I have my books for Preschool Storytime displayed on the top of the, um, the, wall? railing? dais? Anyway, they're displayed, and when the children arrive they look them over and try to figure out what the theme is. Sometimes, like this week, it's easy. There's a frog on every cover. Other weeks it's more obscure, like when the theme is "Naughtiness." Often, though, I'm amazed at the inference skill some kids show when they are able to figure out "Transportation" or "Colors."

Preschool Storytime

The tadpoles are growing rapidly! They're pretty fat now, and hopefully they'll have legs coming in next week.

Our books were:

Tale of a Tadpole, by Barbara Ann Porte. Francine raises Fred from a tadpole to a (surprise!) toad.

Hoptoad, by Jane Yolen. Some of the children honestly thought the poor toad was going to get run over.

Red-eyed Tree Frog, by Joy Cowley. We talked about the difference between pretend illustrations drawn by an artist, and real illustrations that are photos taken by a camera. This book has wonderful photography.

Jump, Frog, Jump!, by Robert Kalan. They liked shouting to the frog.

The Wide-Mouthed Frog, by Keith Faulkner. This is a very fun pop-up book. I use it to help the children learn to tell their own stories since this one is so simple and repetitive. The frog always says, with a huge mouth, "I'm a wide-mouthed frog, and I eat flies. What do you eat?" He asks the bird, then the mouse, then the alligator. The bird says, "I eat wiggly worms and slugs." The mouse says, "I eat crunchy seeds and juicy berries." The alligator says, "I eat delicious wide-mouthed frogs." The frog says, with a tiny mouth, "Oh, you don't see many of those around here, do you?"

I told the story Froggy Gets Dressed, by Jonathan London, on the flannelboard.

Toddler Time

One of the ways I get the toddlers to cooperate at sitting with their feet in front of them to listen to a story is through natural consequences. Sometimes they really would rather be up on the their knees. I ask them to sit properly, and they basically refuse. So I put the book down on my lap and say, "I can't read the story until you sit with your feet in front of you." Boom! Those feet pop out faster than anything. No "bad boy/girl," no threats, no arguing, just the simple fact - the story won't start until you sit right. Works like a charm.

We read:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. Many of the children knew this book, but making munching noises and repeating "But he was still hungry!" make it fun. It's also a great book for practicing counting to five.

How Many Bugs in a Box? by David A. Carter. I love pretending to be scared of the saw bugs at the end. No one seemed to get upset this time. Whew! Just lots of laughs and "Do it again!"

Baby Time

We had a young crowd this week. Lots of 3-5 month olds, even a 7 weeker! Two sisters-in-law came for the first time with their babies born 6 days apart. What a wonderful time those cousins will have growing up, and how fun for the sisters!

Several babies have learned what a great drum our toybox is when it's turned upside down. It also slides across the carpet easily, so it's fun to push. Who needs expensive toys?!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

This Week at the Library

Today at Toddler Time I had finished reading a book about colors and quizzed the children about the names of colors. The end paper had geometric designs in each color, so I pointed to the yellow one and asked, "What color is this?" A tiny little girl (I later found out she's 17 months) immediately piped up, "Yellow!" I was impressed! She's so little and knows her colors instantly! She even beat out the three-year-olds! I pointed to the green shape. "What's this color?" "Yellow!" the little tyke says. (There are giggles from the moms.) I point to the blue one, "What color is this?" "Yellow!" Ah, now we get it. And so it went, "Yellow! Yellow! Yellow!" Very cute.

Preschool Storytime

The tadpoles have arrived! It's amazing how fast they grow. I'd say they've doubled in size in just a week. I'll bring them every week until they've matured. Then they go back to the pond. I think there are about a dozen in the tank. If anyone wants to take a couple home to watch them grow up, just bring a container and some pond water, and you can have them. For food, I just pull out some weeds from the pond and supplement with torn spinach leaves. They actually like the spinach better than the pond plants. Next week our theme will be "Frogs" and they'll learn more about them.

This week, in honor of Mother's Day, all of our stories were about mothers. We read:

Just for You, by Mercer Mayer. Little Critter tries to do nice things for his mom, but something always seems to go wrong.

A Mother for Choco, by Keiko Kasza. "Adoption," when someone decides to be your mom.

Is Your Mama a Llama?, by Deborah Guarino. We listened for clues through rhyme.

Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch. Sniff, sniff, sigh.

Only My Mom and Me, by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. We practiced naming the seasons while we read this one.

We sang "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee" since it tells about Mommy being proud of me.

Toddler Time

The toddlers enjoyed looking at the tadpoles too, but at that age I'm not sure if the tank and the plants aren't just as interesting as the little fishies.

This week our stories were:

Cat's Colors, by Jane Cabrera. A good Mother's Day book since Cat's favorite is orange, the color of his mother.

Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell. This is the pop-up version, which makes it so much fun.

Baby Time

I found a new rhyme that we tried out this week. It goes like this:

Two little eyes to look around.
Two little ears to hear a sound.
One little nose to smell what's sweet.
And one little mouth that likes to eat.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Tip For You

The Oregonian featured an article on a stay-at-home dad who is really into creating toys and fun stuff for his kids. I love his attitude that toys should be open-ended and played with in more ways than one. You can read the article here, and/or visit his blog at The beautiful thing about his creations is that they are all simple things that you and your kids can make at home - clothespin fairies, cereal box guitars. You know, the type that, when you see them, you think "Why didn't I come up with that!" He also has a facebook page where everyone can share ideas. Check it out!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

This Week at the Library

A pretty calm week. I'm afraid I don't have any super stories. There seemed to be several kids enjoying dressing up this week - three Superman outfits, a princess or two. I got lots of hugs and a few cute conversations. They're always the high point of my day.

Toddler Time

We pulled out the "What Am I?" fingerplay. I don't see it in the labels. Have I not done it in that long? Here are the words:

What Am I?

I have two long ears and a fluffy tail,
And I like to wiggle my nose.
Carrots are my favorite food,
And I hop wherever I go.
What am I?

Our books were:

Machines At Work, by Byron Barton. A couple of brothers had this book at home and could have read the book for me.
Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown. LOTS of children have this book at home. We had fun saying good night to the mouse, the mush and the quiet old lady whispering "Hush."

Preschool Storytime

Our theme this week was "Eggs." I figured the week after Easter was a good time for them to enjoy this theme. I pulled out a little poster of "See Through Eggs" that I got when I was teaching kindergarten back in the stone age (pre-technology in the classroom). From the front, you see all kinds of bird and reptile eggs, life size and in true color. When you hold the page up to the light, you can see what kind of animal hatches out of it. The kids were quite impressed.

Our books were:

The Golden Egg Book, by Margaret Wise Brown. This book was written in 1947, but is still captivating. When I closed it, one child said, "I like that book!"

Minerva Louise and the Colorful Eggs, by Janet Stoeke. Minerva is becoming an old friend of ours. We love seeing what silly ideas she'll come up with next.

Eggday, by Joyce Dunbar. Horse eggs, pig eggs, and goat eggs. Pretty funny.

I told the story The Most Wonderful Egg in the World, by Helme Heine, with the storyprops. I get such a kick out of pulling those eggs out of Dotty, Stalky and Plumy.

Baby Time

More babies learning to walk! And new babies getting started with our Baby Time. It goes SO fast. I saw a comic strip (Zits, I think) use one of my favorite unattributed quotes: The days are long, but the years are short.

Our book was Eyes, Nose, Toes Peekaboo, by DK Publishing. It held their attention pretty well.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Spiderman Underpants" Indeed!

This week a little boy came running in to Toddler Time very excited. He was the first one in the room. "I'm wearing Asics shoes!" he told me. (Remember when I said commenting on clothes is a good way to connect?) Then he yanked his pants down to his knees and said,"And look! I have Spiderman underwear!" Yes, he certainly was wearing Spiderman underwear. I complimented him, and he pulled his pants back up. His grandmother came in during this exchange and laughed along with me. I'm glad she wasn't mad. He is only three, after all.

Preschool Storytime

"Birds" was our theme this week, and we had some really great stories.

Chicken Little, by Lauren Rader. The kids really got a laugh out of saying "I saw it with my own eyes. I heard it with my own ears. And a piece of it landed right on my tail!" (Of course, we had to point at our bottoms, which led to a fit of giggles.)

Pepito the Brave, by Scott Beck. Little Pepito is the bravest of the bunch, and he doesn't even know it.

Pelican, by Brian Wildsmith. This book is from 1983, so it's hard to find, but it holds the children's attention well with the half-pages and wonderful illustrations. How is the baby pelican going to learn to catch fish?

The Singing Chick, by Victoria Stenmark. Another wonderful story out of print! A few kids said this was their favorite. It's a lot of fun to tell, too.

I told the story Inch by Inch, by Leo Lionni on the flannelboard.

Toddler Time

A little girl came right up to me this morning and said "Gums." I considered that a second, then asked her to repeat it. "Jamps," she said. Think, think, think. "Oh, stamps?" Big nod. "Yes, you'll get stamps today. She smiled.

We read:

Duckie's Rainbow, by Frances Barry. When I pointed out the shape of the closed book on Tuesday, a little guy said "Watermelon!" He's absolutely right.

My Car, by Byron Barton. They really liked saying hi to Sam and his car.

Baby Time

We have a good variety of moms, dads, grandparents, nannies and friends coming lately. It all makes for a richer experience, I think.

Our little book was Haiku Baby, by Betsy Snyder. I liked this little book. The illustrations gave just enough extra on each page to have something to talk about with your baby.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Friend Confesses

A few days ago I was out with a friend and she said, "Teresa, I have a confession to make. Last week I had to drop by the library in the morning and I couldn't find a parking spot anywhere. I'm sorry, but I hate Storytime." I thought that was pretty funny. She's a very sweet person, and I could hear the tongue-in-cheek, so don't be offended. I wasn't.

Friday, April 15, 2011

This Week at the Library

What a fun week we had - enthusiastic kids, parents who participated with their kids, great books, and big crowds!

My funny story for the week comes from a little guy who was wearing a t-shirt with a picture of some heavy machinery on it. I find that commenting on the children's clothing is a good way to connect with them. They are quite attached to their favorite shirt or skirt or shoes, and when I mention how wonderful their light-up shoes are, or how much I like their sparkly dress, they usually have something to say about it. So Thursday I looked at this maybe three-year-old boy's shirt and said, "Wow, that's a great bulldozer." He gave me a look like Duh! and said "That's not a bulldozer, that's a front loader." Silly me! How could I make such a mistake?

It's actually a wonderful thing when little ones can be experts on something, whether it's dinosaurs, trucks, or Disney princesses. That sense of mastery gives them confidence and enthusiasm for learning, which is so valuable when it comes time for school.

Preschool Storytime

We heard stories about "Food" this week, starting with our wiggle-buster rhyme in the key of F - "I figgle my fingers, I figgle my foes." The kids are really getting good at saying that rhyme with the first letter substitutions. My plot is working! They're learning their letter sounds without knowing I'm teaching!

We read:

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?, by Jane Yolen. I counted 16 different "How Do Dinosaurs" titles on Amazon. This one is another sneaky way to teach table manners.

Mean Soup, by Betsy Everitt. I like to use this book for our "Rotten Days" theme, too. I bring a big pot and wooden spoon as a prop so we can all scream and hiss into it.

Bunny Cakes, by Rosemary Wells. Poor Max keeps making a mess in the kitchen, and he can't get the grocer to read his writing and give him Red Hot Marshmallow Squirters. And will Grandma eat his earthworm birthday cake?

I did The Very Hungry Caterpillar on the flannelboard, and we all made munchy sounds and said "But he was still hungry!" together.

We also sang "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" together with the wonderful old lady storyprop. All the animals disappear into her mouth as we sing.

Toddler Time

I'm so sorry we ran out of scarves on Thursday morning. I'm pretty sure all the 3's and under got them, but I know some older siblings missed out. I'm ordering more today.

Our books were:

Tails, by Matthew Van Fleet. This book is a great lap book, since the pages have touchy-feely things on them. I'm sad that the kids don't get a chance to touch the furry and bumpy tails, but that just wouldn't work with thirty pairs of hands.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?, by Jane Yolen. I wonder if all 16 titles are as good as this one? The kids loved it.

Baby Time

Lots of first-timers this week. I hope they return, and I hope the regular attenders keep doing the rhymes and songs at home. Repetition is so valuable for language learning with babies. When they hear it over and over, they learn to anticipate, which leads to imitating, which leads to language. (And then you're hearing "Again! Again!")

Thursday, April 7, 2011

This Week at the Library

I am SO, SO ready for some spring weather. At least it's getting more colorful outside, even if the sky isn't cooperating. The children's faces cheer me up every time, though. There's nothing better than seeing a little one race into the room, like the little girl last week: "INCOMING! Gracie's here! Gracie's here!" How can that possibly keep from bringing a smile to your face?

Baby Time

Wow! 18 babies plus assorted older siblings. It was a carpet full of babies. The overturned toy tub was a source of infinite fascination for a few of them, pounding, banging with toys, sliding it around. They loved it.

Our book was Counting Kisses by Karen Katz. She has written and illustrated many, many board books. This one would be especially good during a quiet time at home, where you can have fun doing what you see in the pictures - kissing toes, belly button, chin, etc.

Toddler Time

HUGE group on Thursday morning, but everyone so well behaved (including you parents!). It's funny how each session of Toddler Time has its own personality. The Wednesday group is very quiet, and the early Tuesday group is younger than the others so they respond very differently from the later Tuesday group. Sometimes I feel like I'm putting on a show all by myself with the early group when they just stand and watch me do a song or fingerplay. Kinda funny!

Our books were:

Cookie's Week, by Cindy Ward. Cookie got LOTS of laughs this time.

How Do I Put It On?, by Shigeo Watanabe. I think there's a definite developmental point where kids start to think this book is funny. Little ones just stare. The 2 1/2, and three-year-olds crack up.

Preschool Storytime

We tried very hard to get excited about Spring this week, but we also complained a bit about the rain (well, I did anyway). A couple of the books helped us/me do that.

In the Rain With Baby Duck, by Amy Hest. Poor Baby Duck likes the rain even less than I do, but she finds boots and an umbrella make all the difference.

First the Egg, by Lauren Vaccaro Seeger. This cut-out guessing game book was pretty popular. I figured it fits the Spring theme since it has an egg, a tadpole, a butterfly and a flower in it. Those are Spring things!

Red Rubber Boot Day, by Mary Ray. Fun things to do inside, then fun jumping in puddles!

It's Spring!, by Else Minarik. This is a pretty old book (1989), but the kids really enjoy the one-upsmanship between the two cats.

When Will It Be Spring?, by Catherine Walters. Little Bear keeps getting fooled by what look like butterflies, birds, and the sun. The final illustration of the real spring is gorgeous. It has me asking "When will it be Spring?"

We did the "Rain For the Garden" fingerplay and played the "Freeze Game" from the Greg & Steve CD. (I think I may have said "Rain on the green grass" for the first line by mistake.)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Reality Gets Closer

On Friday, my editor emailed me the layout of my book Cliffhanger Writing Prompts. It's a book for teachers (and homeschoolers) to use to inspire creative writing. It was very fun to see what it's all going to look like when it goes to print. This was kind of like a rough draft layout. The copyedits were all over the pages, showing where I left out commas and used too many pronouns. I figured it's a good learning experience for me to help me become a more accurate writer. My editor wasn't sure I'd want to see all the mistakes I made, but I think it's interesting.Hopefully I won't make as many mistakes next time. The line drawing illustrations were there, which I love.

Just a couple more months now, and I'll hold a finished copy in my own hands!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

This Week at the Library

It happened again! I had everyone seated in front of me at Toddler Time for a story. Two little girls were at the back of the bunch and obviously were favorite playmates. I had started the story when I looked over, and one girl was holding her fingers out to the other girl, informing her "It's a booger." While I tried desperately to concentrate on reading the story without cracking up, the girls had a lively discussion about whatever it was they were inspecting. I heard their moms gasp and snicker, then crawl over to attempt to get them to pay attention. Thankfully the story was short.

Preschool Storytime

We learned about "Transportation" this week, defined as the way you get from here to there. On the flannelboard, we sorted various vehicles into those that go on the road, on tracks, in the water or through the air. We sang "The Wheels on the Bus" and "Hurry Hurry Drive the Firetruck." I just realized I never put the words to the Firetruck song on the blog, so here it is:

Hurry Hurry Drive the Firetruck

Hurry hurry drive the firetruck.
Hurry hurry drive the firetruck.
Hurry hurry drive the firetruck.
Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.

(Follow the same pattern for the next verses.)

Hurry hurry turn the corner....
Hurry hurry find the fire....
Hurry hurry climb the ladder....
Hurry hurry spray the fire....
Slowly slowly drive the firetruck....

Incidentally, I was challenged by one brilliant boy on that song. He insisted that it should be "spray the water" instead of "spray the fire." Got a good point, there.

Our books were:

Minerva Louise and the Red Truck, by Janet Stoeke. The kids are falling in love with our favorite dumb cluck.
All Aboard the Dinotrain, by Deb Lund. I love the playful words like "dinopush" and "dinomight." Very fun.
Preschool to the Rescue, by Judy Sierra. Sound effects - slurp, plurp, flurp. All those vehicles stuck in the mucky mud!
William the Vehicle King, by Laura P. Newton. I hope the kids got the idea of creating worlds around the house with their vehicles and blocks and toys.

Toddler Time

Many of the toddlers are really getting the hang of how to ask for the noisemakers that we pull out each week. I know it's so exciting when I take the lid off the box of the bells, maracas, pompoms or whatever. They just want to run up and grab whatever they can, which is completely understandable for a two-year-old. Week after week I tell them, "Say 'pink please.'" Then I make sure to praise children loudly who say it properly. Sooner or later a child catches on. Just today a boy who has barely ever said a word gathered up his courage and said, "Gween pweese."

We read:

The Chick and the Duckling, by Mirra Ginsburg. They really got the hang of saying "Me too!" with me this time.
Spots, Feathers and Curly Tails, by Nancy Tafuri. I had a boy guess the bull today! Though maybe he had the book at home recently. He was pretty proud of himself.

Baby Time

We had a good demonstration of emerging shyness today. A little girl was here for the first time and had crawled to the middle of the floor. She looked over at me and I made eye-contact and smiled. She instantly started to cry. That type of thing happens more often than you'd think. I've learned with some super shy children that making eye-contact is just too threatening. Scientists have found that shyness is literally in the DNA, and a parent can't expect a child to "get over it." These little ones need understanding, support and to be taught compensation skills.

What an interesting world we have with so many personality styles! Aren't you glad we aren't all alike!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another Funny Story

This one didn't happen at Storytime, but I haven't been able to stop laughing about it all day since I heard it.

A friend of mine was taking care of her grandson (he must be about 4 or 5) when he said, "Grandma, I want to go to F***. (He spelled it out.)

Smart grandma that she is, she stayed composed and said, "Where do you want to go?"

"To F***."

"Oh? And how are you going to get there?"

"You're going to drive me."

"I am?"

"Yeah, Grandma. I want you to take me. Their chicken is really good!"

Get it? Since you aren't hearing it spelled out, I'll point out that KFC and F*** have only one letter difference between them. Apparently this little guy has a big brother, who plays with other older boys, who must think it's really cool to spell those words in front of small children. Just goes to show - THEY'RE LISTENING!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

To the Steuben County Library Folks

I have a stat counter on my blog, and I notice that every once in a while a library in the Steuben County system in New York takes a look at several pages of my blog. It looks like we have a lot in common, so if any of you storytime folks would like to email me, I think we could brainstorm a lot together! (I even have family that lived in Cooperstown for several years.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Belated Week at the Library

So sorry I'm so late posting about last week's Storytimes. My girls were getting home from a road trip to California (they're 21 and 15), their first ever, and I was preoccupied with them traveling safely through torrential rain, wind and snow advisories over the Siskiyous. But now they're home safe and sound, and I can breathe easier! They had a wonderful time together and got to see a lot of Los Gatos, my hometown.

Preschool Storytime

We were all about Rotten Days this week. I told the kids about the time I managed, in one day, to go to the wrong location for a special-event Storytime, then lock my keys in the car at the library, and followed that up with a fender bender in a parking lot. They seemed rather unimpressed. Maybe their parents understood a little better.

No, David!, by David Shannon. Did you know this book is autobiographical? Poor David has a truly rotten day getting in trouble in just about every way you can imagine. But Mom still loves him!

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst. Alexander and David could be brothers.

Keep Your Mouth Closed, Dear, by Aliki. Poor Charles swallows just about everything. That makes for a pretty bad day!

Too Much Noise!, by Ann McGovern. This is the story I did on the flannelboard. Peter thinks his advice from the wise man is all wrong, but it turns out just right.

Toddler Time

I got to use the bubble machine since the groups were fairly small due to Spring Break. If we have a big crowd and I bring out the bubble machine, invariably the kids collide and someone ends up crying.

I was asked by a new mom what the rules were and if the children have to stay on the parent's lap. Heavens no! I can't imagine trying to keep all those little ones in laps for half an hour. This is supposed to be fun, not torture!

Our books were:

I Love Bugs! by Philemon Sturges. We got to learn the names of several bugs with this book.

Well, I guess I'm having a Senior Moment. For the life of me, I can't remember the second book we read. I'm at home, so I can't look it up, and it's been three days, so I just can't recall which book it was. I'll fill it in when/if I think of it!

Baby Time

We have such a fun group of parents and babies! We also had a pretty big group of older siblings along this week because of Spring Break. They played very nicely in the back with blocks, balls, puppets, stuffed animals, books. It was very sweet!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wearin' O the Green at the Library!

St. Patrick's Day was very cute on Thursday. Even the babies were into it!

Preschool Storytime

In honor of the holiday, our theme was "Green Things." We had fun playing along with the "Colors" song on "Wee Sing Games" and Raffi's "Five Green and Speckled Frogs."

Our books were:

The Aminal, by Lorna Balian. This book has the same theme as The Snarlyhissopus, which the kids love, and which teaches a gentle lesson.

Picky Mrs. Pickle, by Christine M. Schneider. Green dresses, green shoes, and pickle perfume make for a very narrow-minded Mrs. Pickle. Her niece takes care of that with a challenge and a taunt. Eggplant Ripple ice cream does the trick. I love the illustration of Mrs. Pickle vacuuming her lawn and the pickle flavored milk.

Scarlette Beane, by Karen Wallace. Scarlette grows a vegetable castle! Very cool!

Anna and the Little Green Dragon, by Klaus Baumgart. The kids loved it when the dragon sprayed cocoa all over Anna's face. They really weren't sure if she would do the same thing back to the dragon.

Toddler Time

We've had lots of newcomers lately, and it's always apparent how these children's personalities shine through at such a young age. There's the child who cries every time the room gets active and/or noisy, the child who has absolutely no desire to leave Mom's lap, and the child who gets right up in front of me and tries everything I suggest. I just hope parents don't decide one style is preferable over the others. The parent of the fearless child may envy the parent of the cautious child at a park when that fearless child flings himself off the top of the monkey bars. And vice versa may occur when the parent of the cautious child is trying to get him to try something new that he knows the child will love. There are pros and cons either way. It's our job to give our children security and teach them wisdom. Yes, you can climb the monkey bars. No, you shouldn't fling yourself into space from the top of them.

Our books were:

Fire Truck, by Peter Sis. Even the little ones got the humor when I asked them if fire trucks can eat pancakes.
Pete's a Pizza, by William Steig. I feel SO bad that I forgot to read this book on Wednesday! If I ever obviously leave something out of the program, please don't hesitate to ask me!

Baby Time

Lots of newcomers here, too. I stopped for a moment during playtime and just looked at the carpet covered with babies crawling, chewing, exploring, interacting. Those times are golden for our little ones, and I love watching the moms getting to know each other, too. I hear them trade phone numbers, make plans to go to the park. New moms can feel alone sometimes, so I'm glad they have this opportunity to reach out.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The King and I

I tried for a while to come up with a title for this post, and I figured this one would pique your interest.

The interest in the movie "The King's Speech" has brought up a lot of memories and emotions for me. I grew up as a stutterer. It amazes me, and I can only attribute it to God's grace, that my chosen profession is exactly what caused me the most pain as a child: reading aloud and talking in front of groups of people. That pain has kept me from talking about, even thinking about, those memories of excruciating humiliation until just the last few years.

My stuttering began about the time it does for most children, around age five. My parents took me to psychologists and speech therapists to no avail. Around my middle school years it began to release its hold on me, due perhaps to an effective school speech therapist, perhaps to growing out of it. (Though I know that doesn't happen for many stutterers.) By the end of high school, it was mostly gone. However, as I read in a wonderful article by David Mitchell in Prospect Magazine, we stutterers are like alcoholics who no longer drink. We are stutterers who do not currently stutter.

Thinking about this, talking about it, even writing about it now makes my heart pound. That fear will always be present. The success of "The King's Speech" has made it a topic in the community, so I thought I'd give another face to the cast of those who have this "disability." I actually haven't seen the movie, and I'm still not sure whether I can bring myself to sit through it. I have to say that since the topic has been more on my mind, I've felt that catch in my throat more times in the last months than I have in years.

I'm working on writing a picture book in the hopes that children can say "Yeah, it's like that," to parents and teachers, and find some validation and hope. I suppose if it gets published I'll do a lot more talking about it, but if it doesn't, I'll probably be just as happy pushing it all back out of my conscious thoughts. In my story, the main character finds a friend in someone who sees past her problem. Parents, please teach your children to do the same, to see a child who stutters as just another child in need of a friend.