#Libfaves18, or, Top Ten Books of 2018

#Libfaves18 is a Twitter phenomenon in which librarians tweet out their favorite books published in 2018, one a day, for ten days, and someone compiles a list. Librarians love their lists, and in fact we already have a “Favorite of Favorites” list from LibraryReads, but librarians just love talking about books. And also, the year wasn’t over yet when the “Favorite of Favorites” list was published – there’s still more reading time in the year! (By that logic, we should wait till January to make our year-end lists – some of us do.) Another difference is that, to nominate books for Library Reads, you need to get galleys, read, and nominate them ahead of time; with Twitter, anyone can jump in.

Here are my #Libfaves2018:

  1. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (adult fiction)
  2. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (young adult fiction/fantasy)
  3. The Witch Elm by Tana French (psychological mystery/suspense)
  4. We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins (picture book)
  5. Transcription by Kate Atkinson (adult fiction/historical/suspense)
  6. The Boy From Tomorrow by Camille DeAngelis (middle grade fiction/fantasy)
  7. I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell (memoir)
  8. Julian Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love (picture book)
  9. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll (young adult graphic novel)
  10. Call Them By Their True Names by Rebecca Solnit (nonfiction essays)

This list may look quite different from my list (coming soon-ish) of best books I’ve read this year, because many of those were published before this year. For example, I just finished listening to the audiobook of Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver, narrated by Jim Dale, and it was magical, but it’s from 2011 and therefore doesn’t qualify for #Libfaves18.

What are your favorite books that you read this year? Published in 2018 or not?

Updated 12/19/2018: The blog RA for All has a more thorough explanation of #Libfaves18, and past lists are hosted at EarlyWord.

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Step Into Storytime, December 17

This morning was my last Step Into Storytime of the year! (I actually didn’t realize this until the end, when someone asked if there was going to be one next week, and I ran to check the calendar.) We started with seven or eight kids and ended up with about twelve, I think, plus a couple of babies.

Donkey puppet atop stack of picture books

  • Welcome and announcements (this is where I should have mentioned that there wasn’t going to be a storytime the next two Mondays)
  • “Hello Friends” song with ASL
  • Name song (“____ is here today, ____ is here today, let’s all clap our hands, ____ is here today”)
  • I Am Actually A Penguin by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Kasia Matyjaszek: Putting the longest book first in the set worked! The kids were pretty quiet and attentive and the grown-ups definitely enjoyed it. There is something to be said for getting the grown-ups’ engagement during storytime; it’s best if everyone enjoys the program.
  • “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”
  • Yoga cube
  • Just Add Glitter by Angela DiTerlizzi and Samantha Cotterill: I encountered this one in a storytime for three- to five-year-olds and thought it could work for the younger kiddos also – and it did! (We did NOT do a related craft program.)
  • Song cube: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”
  • Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony
  • Yoga cube
  • Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton
  • Song cube: “I’m A Little Teapot”
  • Hickory Dickory Dock by Keith Baker: I asked the kids to make the animal noises on the appropriate pages (pig, horse, etc.) and they are so good at that.
  • Yoga cube
  • The Wonkey Donkey by Craig Smith, illustrated by Katz Cowley. (This one is so in demand in our library system right now that I bought my own copy.) We have a donkey hand puppet that I bring out as well, and the kids get to come up and pet it both before and after the book. And make the “hee-haw” sounds, of course! Lots of sound effects today.
  • Song cube: “ABCs,” “Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” “Zoom Zoom Zoom, We’re Going to the Moon”
  • Goodbye song with ASL
  • Clean up mats and hand out Wonky Donkey coloring sheets (available on the author’s website) and bowls of crayons
Five picture books
I Am Actually A Penguin, Just Add Glitter, Please Mr. Panda, Little Owl Lost, Hickory Dickory Dock (not pictured: The Wonky Donkey)

Step Into Storytime, December 10

Stack of books for storytime, spines out

Storytime this morning was incident-free! We had about twelve kids in the target age range to start, with a few more joining throughout, and some younger siblings, for maybe 17 kids altogether.

  • Hello friends song with ASL
  • Name song (“___ is here today, ___ is here today, let’s all clap our hands, ___ is here today”)
  • Want to Play Trucks? by Ann Stott, illustrated by Bob Graham: A librarian friend of mine read this in her storytime for 3- to 5-year-olds, and I thought it could work as a lead-off book for 2- and 3-year olds too – and it did! It’s the perfect example of “find a way to play together”; the kids resolve their differences simply and easily, without much fuss, and it ends with ice cream, which everyone can agree on.
  • “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” to warm up for…
  • …yoga cube! (3 poses)
  • My Heart Is Like A Zoo by Michael Hall, with flannel board animals. I asked the kids to raise their hands (or wave, or point) when one of the animals in the book matched one of the ones on the flannel board (I have the crab, clam, penguin, owl, and frog).
  • Song cube: “I’m A Little Teapot”
  • Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Adam Rex: This one is always fun to read aloud because of the sneezes. This time I stretched the “Achoooo” all the way into the “Oops” (there are two wordless pages in between).
  • Yoga cube (three poses)Blue, yellow, red, and green felt elephants on felt board
  • A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes, with flannel elephants. I had five volunteers to put the elephants on the board (and one to take them down). We also did some marching, parading, stretching, and a related activity later.
  • Song cube: “If You’re Happy and You Know It” (ending with “If you’re happy and you know it, sit back down…”)
  • Where, Bear? by Sophy Henn: I encouraged them to say the repeated line “Where, Bear?” along with me.
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • The Steves by Morag Hood: This one is so funny.
  • Song cube: “ABCs”
  • Poems by Shel Silverstein (“Hug-O-War,” “Early Bird,” and “Pancake?”): These didn’t seem to go over as well as I remember from the last time I did them, but at least they’re short.
  • Back to elephants! I passed out die-cut paper elephants in red, yellow, green, and blue, and sang “If you’re holding [color] today, [color] today, [color] today, if you’re holding [color] today, jump up and shout hooray!” The kids seemed into the song but not the jumping up; could be that if we repeated it for a few weeks, they’d become more familiar with it and more enthusiastic. The paper elephants aren’t even necessary, as we sit on colored mats, and I made sure we only had red, yellow, green, and blue ones today. I gave the kids the choice to keep their paper elephants or return them, and most of the kids returned them; one tried to stick hers to the flannel board.
  • Goodbye friends song with ASL
  • Asked them to come put mats away in piles according to color. Not totally successful, but they did all bring their mats up front, which is something!

Kirkus has been doing its “best of 2018” lists; here is the list for picture books. Not all of these are right for storytime, or right for two- or three-year-olds, but plenty are. Have a look – and, if you’re like me, you’ll feel the need to place about a dozen requests to the library. Happy reading!

Step Into Storytime, November 30 and December 3

IMG_20181130_103047

11/30/18: I covered an extra storytime this week, for the same age group (2-3 years) and some of the same kids. Because I wasn’t sure who would show up, I chose some of my favorite books that have been successful at storytime before, as well as a craft that has been popular in the past (and that is quick and easy to prepare, especially if you happen to have an extra-large “squeeze punch,” which is a giant hole punch that cuts out circles; ours is made by Fiskars).

  • Welcome, introduction, announcements, putting up early literacy tipsIMG_20181130_093841
  • Hello Friends song with ASL
  • Name song (“____ is here today”)
  • The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
  • Song cube: “Zoom zoom zoom, we’re going to the moon”
  • Tyrannosaurus Wrecks by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Zacahriah Ohora (I meant to hand out scarves before this book, but forgot until a few pages in, so I paused and handed them out in the middle, so the kids could wave them on the word “wrecks”)
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • There’s A Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins
  • Song cube: “I’m a Little Teapot”
  • Hooray for Hat by Brian Won
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • Carrot and Pea by Morag Hood (foreshadowing: asked the kids what shape the peas were)
  • Song cube: “Itsy-bitsy Spider”
  • Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier (“We’ll be doing something with lots of dots later…”) When we looked around the room for dots, one observant kid noticed the round magnets holding up the early literacy tips! One grandpa also had dots on his socks.
  • Goodbye song with ASL
  • Clean up mats, set up craft (gluing colored paper dots to butcher paper)

IMG_20181130_103122

 

12/3/18: Monday the weather was beautiful (sunny, spring-like, felt like 50 degrees!) and we had a HUGE group of about 20 kids plus all their grown-ups. There is some overlap between the two groups – plenty of kids come to the Monday and Friday storytimes – so I only repeated one book, There’s A Bear on My Chair. Again we skipped the name song as there were at least twelve kids at the beginning of storytime, and more showed up throughout.

  • Welcome and announcements
  • Hello song with ASL
  • Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems
  • “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • A Greyhound, A Groundhog by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Chris Appelhans
  • Song cube: “I’m A Little Teapot”
  • Cub’s Big World by Sarah L. Thomson, illustrated by Joe Cepeda: I wasn’t sure how this one would go over as it is a fair amount of text and not a lot of humor, but it went fairly well.
  • “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”
  • Yoga cube (three poses)
  • Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer – always a favorite
  • Song cube: “I Had A Little Turtle”
  • There’s A Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins
  • Song cube: “ABCs”
  • A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes: I cut out five elephants so we could put them up on the whiteboard with magnets on the counting page, and the kids helped tell me which color elephant came next. Then we marched in place, then marched “round” in a “parade.” There is so much to do with this book! I’m working on felt elephants so kids can put them on the flannel board.
  • Meant to read three Shel Silverstein poems, but forgot
  • Goodbye song with ASL
  • Clean up mats, put on music (“The Wheels on the Bus” was specifically requested”) and dance with bubbles!

Colored paper elephants

Toddlers dancing to music with bubbles closely resemble a mosh pit, so it was a small miracle that when one of the littler kids vomited, no one was hit or splattered – the kid found the only clear patch of floor and aimed there. Hurrah! (If you ever want to clear out a storytime room rapidly, this is a surefire way.) The kid had good timing, too, waiting until the very end of the storytime/dance party. Well done, kiddo, and feel better.

So that was an exciting end to the program, but even throughout, it was pretty boisterous. I used as many calming and quieting techniques as I could think of, from singing “Twinkle Twinkle” to doing resting pose from the yoga cube, to anything we could all do together, like stomping our feet during Grumpy Pants; then it’s not exactly quiet, but everyone is making the same kind of noise, so it’s less chaotic. What are your favorite techniques to settle a big group?

Picture books face-out on a chair
Nanette’s Baguette, A Greyhound A Groundhog, Cub’s Big World, Grumpy Pants, There’s A Bear On My Chair, A Parade of Elephants