Friday, December 8, 2017

School Age Storytime: Look Again–Art, Artists, and Imagination

K-2nd Grade Storytime utilizing the new Keith Haring picture book biography and encouraging kids to embrace art and creativity in themselves and all around.

Opened by sharing Here a Face, There a Face by Arlene Alda (photographs of “found faces” in buildings and objects – book opens with a tribute to John Lennon’s “Imagine”)


Asked if anyone had ever played the drawing game – taking turns adding lines to each other’s drawing – a game Keith Haring played with his father.)

Read: Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay Haring (Keith’s brother)  (Inspiring picture book biography of this generous-hearted artist who created art often in unused or ugly public spaces – suggested teachers might want to get mural paper and have kids do something similar.)


Read: Changes by Anthony Browne (The objects in a boy’s house morph around him in this intriguing book that pays homage to surrealism…)

Dinner at Magritte's

Dinner at Magritte’s by Michael Garland(great lead in to the art of Rene Magritte – can share pages from Now You See It—Now You Don’t: Rene Magritte (J759.9493 WEN), The Mad, Mad, World of Salvador Dali (759.6 WEN) both by Angela Wenzel, Salvador Dali and the Surrealists – their life & ideas + 21 activities by Michael Ross (J759.6 ROS) and/or Google: “Rene Magritte paintings” and “Salvador Dali paintings”.)


Mentioned  life-like statues of J. Seward Johnson – many available to view at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton NJ – an incredible place to visit.

Action break inspired by stone parents in above book – “statues” game aka “freeze dance” – sing or play tunes as students dance, then stop the music and “freeze”


Another incredibly imaginative artist M.C.Escher “Ascending and Descending” and “Relativity” (above) inspired:

Read: Palazzo Inverso by D.B. Johnson (book imagines “master’s” apprentice changing the drawing simply by turning it around – book goes forward then returns backwards (upside down) to the place where it starts!) – also have the kids notice the fish/bird end-papers.


Return to Keith Haring who famously said “It’s your job to decide [what my pictures mean]. I only do the drawing!’  Show his pictures from: Keith Haring: I Wish I Didn’t Have to Sleep (J 709.2 HAR), read excerpts and have kids supply their own interpretations.


Finish with:



Book: If… by Sarah Perry (imagine if cats could fly, leaves were fish, mice were hair, caterpillars were toothpaste, toes were teeth, or frogs ate rainbows…ends with “If this is the end…then dream up some more! – encouraged kids to create their own book of imaginative ideas!) 

Related programs:

Related books:


Masters of Deception: Escher, Dali & the Artists of Illusion by Al Seckel
Imagine a Place (also Day, Night) by Sarah Thompson, Art by Rob Gonsalves

Bedm 1/2/17

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Storytime Craft: "Build It!”


10 a.m. PreSchool Storytime/Activity:

Entering Music: Tracks 5-7 on Fred Penner’s album Collections


Book: Raise the Roof by Anastasia Suen (fiction with non-fiction elements: sequence of building a house; extend vocabulary – asking children who puts in the pipes? “plumber”, what are wires for? “electricity” etc.) (Alt: If I Built a House by Chris Van Doren (great if kids are old enough), Jack’s House by Karen Magnuson Beil  (cute story but repetition somewhat tedious) or I Can Build a House by Shigeo Watanabe (young))

Song: New House (Tune: London Bridge)

Let’s all build a brand new house,
Brand new house, brand new house,
Let’s all build a brand new house,
Let’s get started!

First we’ll dig a great big hole…
Let’s keep going!

Then we’ll put in walls and floors…
Let’s keep going!

Now it’s time to raise the roof…
Let’s keep going!

Then put out the welcome mat…
We’ll have a party!

“Here’s a story of mouse looking for a house of her own…”
Flannel: Mouse House  (concepts: colors & shapes) (mouse finger puppet, flannel shapes script here:


Fingerplay: Quiet Mouse
Once there lived a quiet mouse   (hold out fist with index finger extended)
In a quiet little house.  (insert index finger into other fist)
When all was quiet as can be
Out Popped He!! (throw arms and hands apart)


Book: Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale  (showed pictures discussing child-made and architect-made buildings, only read some of the poems)

Participatory/Action Storytelling:  Act out traditional story: The Three Little Pigs (Supplies: 3 pigs and wolf puppets (laminated enlarged clip art mounted on chopsticks work), yellow, brown, and red sheets of paper photocopied with “straw”, “sticks”, and “bricks” patterns, optional parachute.)  details:

Action Song: In and Out of Doors by Susan Dailey


Interactive/Guessing Game Book: Not a Box  by Antoinette Portis

STEM Playground Building Materials (Music: Fred Penner’s album “Collections”)

  • Toobers and Zots
  • Foam Shapes
  • Straws & Connectors
  • Duplo
  • Keva Blocks
  • Magnetic Blocks / Magnatiles
  • Lego
  • B&T cardboard, markers, tape, glue


4:30 p.m. STEAM plans (3-6 & K-4)


Book: If I Built a House by Chris Van Doren (booktalked his If I Built a Car)

Flannel: Mouse House 


Book: Top Job by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel  (booktalked Sky Boys by Deborah Hopkinson)

Participatory/Action Storytelling:  Act out traditional story: The Three Little Pigs

Book: Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale  (showed pictures discussing child-made and architect-made buildings, only read some of the poems)

STEM playground same as above.




12/5/17 BWL

Friday, December 1, 2017

School Age Storytime–Our Place in Space


K-2 grade STEAM storytime


If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty – This fanciful trip to the moon with a young astronaut is full of fascinating real-life facts, from the distance the moon (240,000 miles, approximately 100x the distance from NJ->CA) to what would happen to your weight on the moon (reduced gravity means that a 60lb. kid would weigh approximate 10lbs.) to what would happen to your orange juice in zero gravity (floating orange blobs) and more. The return to earth makes a strong case for appreciating the biodiversity on our blue planet.

Action: Do You Want to Go With Me To the Moon? (Source Unknown)
Do You Want to Go With Me To the Moon?
Let’s get in our rocket ship & blast off soon.
Faster and faster we reach to the sky.
Isn’t it fun to be able to fly?
We’re on the moon, now all take a look
And gently sit down, and I’ll show you a book!


Big Bang: The Tongue Tickling Tale of a Speck that Became Spectacular by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofana  (Imaginatively-written explanation of the big bang explains this mighty idea in accessible ways – e.g. comparing the original speck to a backpack with “your books, clothes, lunchbox…plus 100 Mt. Everests, the sun, some stars, and 100 galaxies…”


Older than the Stars by Karen C. Fox (Didn’t have time for this whole book so shared excerpts without the repetitive verse… started with the opening page “You are older than the dinosaurs…older than the stars”  through the bang and the bits (protons, neutrons, electrons), to atoms for the stars (hydrogen, helium), supernovas to our sun, earth and life upon it made of atoms of carbon, iron, etc. to humans 600,000 breathing air once breathed by dinosaurs…  timeline at the end chronicles 11 3/4 BILLION years!)


Ended with singable book:  Knick, Knack, Paddywhack by Marissa Moss (Kids guessing what he is making!)

Bedm 12/1/17

"Life, the Universe, and Everything!" (with a nod to Douglas Adams,
author of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.")

Big Bang: The Tongue-Tickling Tale of a Speck That Became Spectacular
--523.18 DECRISTOFANO (alliteration meets marvelous description of this amazing event)
Martian Rock - Shields  (Martians venture through the solar system and finally find life on the "third orb" - penguins! -- great lead-in to the next book which showed how our thinking changed as we learned more about the night sky...)
Boy, Were We Wrong About the Solar System! -- 523.3 KUDLINSKI
Flannel: Moonkey -Thayer (some classes)  (nice friendship story)
We -- 599-938 SCHERTLE (some classes)   (a lyrical look at 4 million years of human history)
Nightgown of the Sullen Moon -- Willard (modern myth)

11/3/10 Bedm K-4

Cute book recom by Helen Peterson  How to Bicycle to the Moon & Plant Sunflowers by Mordicai Gerstein

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Thanksgiving–AfterSchool Outreach


Book: The Perfect Thanksgiving by Eileen Spinelli (alternatives: Thank You Sarah by Laurie Halse Anderson or Thanksgiving at the Tappletons by Eileen Spilnelli or other book and song ideas here: School Age Storytime: Thanksgiving and Immigration)

Towel folding story: The Case of the Missing Thanksgiving Turkey -- Rhonda Turley  (text and technique at )



Book: How Many Days to America? A Thanksgiving Story by Eve Bunting (some groups) (A family fleeing an unnamed country (likely Cuba) finds sanctuary on American shores on Thanksgiving Day.)

Glove Puppets : Uno, Dos, Tres Amigos (reinforces idea that we all have come from different places but celebrate together; enumeration practice, learn/reinforce Spanish language numbers)
Diez Amigos "10 Friends" (glove puppets)Tune: “10 Little Indians”
Uno, dos, tres amigos,
Quatro, cinco, seis amigos,
Siete, Ocho, Nueve amigos,
Diez amigos son.
One, two, three friends,
Four, five, six friends,
Seven, Eight, Nine friends,
Ten friends are we.


Pop Up Book/Song: America the Beautiful by Robert Sabuda (extraordinary pop up cut outs of iconic American icons from the Golden Gate Bridge to Mount Rushmore to the Statue of Liberty)

Song/Prop: I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie (based on the book by Alison Jackson – cut out mounted woman below)


Book(some groups – especially younger):  Setting the Turkeys Free by W. Nikola-Lisa

Song: The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven (words: Jack Prelutsky, chorus: Cathy Darby)Tune: “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” Lyrics below and here:  Check it out on Youtube, subtitled in Chinese!


Craft: Make your own hungry old lady, handprint turkey scene, or pop-up version of the Prelutsky kitchen disaster!  (Baker & Taylor 12x18” cardboards, paper template old lady & food, markers or crayons, scissors, tape, and ziploc sandwich bags)


imagefull size:

2017: Van Holten, Milltown, Adamsville afterschool



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