My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi is a juvenile fiction book, probably most appropriate for 5-7 graders.

It’s the summer of 1984 and 12-year-old Ebony-Grace Norfleet is forced to leave her home of Huntsville, Alabama to visit her father in Harlem. Ebony-Grace has absolutely no interest in visiting “No Joke City” and the evil “King Julius Sirius.” She’d rather stay home with her grandfather and visit their “imagination locations” together. But when some trouble arises with her grandfather, Ebony-Grace’s mother brooks no argument and sends her on her way north.

Ebony-Grace, or Captain Starfleet as she prefers to go by, has a hard time separating her imagination from reality, which makes it difficult to adjust to Harlem and make friends. She pushes away every attempt at friendship, preferring to live in the world she created in her mind. But Harlem is out of this world in more ways than one.

Will Captain Starfleet adjust to her new normal or will she crash and burn?

Phew, I did not know what I was getting into when I picked this one up. From the very first page, it almost feels like your reading another language. Ebony-Grace’s imagination location is seriously intense and it took me several good chapters to be able to look past the imagined to make sense of the story.

That being said, maybe it just wasn’t the book for me. I had a hard time getting into the characters and when I finally did, I felt like things tied up too cleanly or were not resolved at all. This book is meant for kids and even I, a 30+ year old woman, am still not sure what the grandfather got in trouble for, which really nags at me.

This book does have a lot going for it. It is definitely unique and if you know your history, it has all the bits and pieces of the time period and I just loved the reference to disastrous Challenger mission, yet to occur in the story, at the end.

Unfortunately, it was just too hard to get into, so for me, it gets a very mediocre three stars.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Planet Earth is Blue

The Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos is a juvenile fiction book with a lot of heart.

Twelve-year-old Nova is a smart, curious little girl, who loves space and just happens to be severely autistic and nonverbal. She can’t wait to see the first teacher launched into space on the Challenger mission. Nova’s big sister, Bridget, has promised that they will watch the shuttle launch together but Bridget has disappeared and Nova has been placed in a new foster home.

Even though Bridget has always stood up for Nova, telling anyone who would listen that “(her) sister is a thinker, not a talker,” all of her teachers and previous foster homes have dismissed her as “mentally retarded” and unable to comprehend what people are saying. As time moves on Nova’s new school and foster family begins to see how aware she actually is. The story unfolds as Nova counts down to the launch and the moment she’ll see her sister again.

I finished this book and literally told everyone I could that they should go out and read it–child, adult, everyoneThe Planet Earth is Blue is just fantastic! I’ve received some training about working with patrons on the autism spectrum recently, so this book was just so timely.

I love how Panteleakos was able to give a voice to Nova through her diary. We see the world through Nova’s eyes and we see what triggers she has even if the characters in the story Nova interacts with do not.

It was also really interesting to go back in time, really not that long ago, and see how Autism was treated. Nova’s foster mother eventually provides her with pictures and words to help her communicate and it’s amazing to see how far we have come today and how far we still have to go.

There was also the pending Challenger launch counting down throughout the story. And knowing that the Challenger explodes, there’s that bit of tension throughout the story as well. It’s a bit overshadowed by Nova and Bridget’s story but it is still quite poignant reading about classrooms of children and teachers over the nation witnessing the event live.

I honestly can’t praise this book enough. It get’s five stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

STEM Station

We attempt to always have a STEM station in our library. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. These stations are basically small educational activities to teach the kids about some concept. We’ve had one on magnets and we had a magnet board where the kids could test what was magnetic and what wasn’t. Fun things like that.

I wanted to make a STEM station that would go with our space theme this year and I had this grand idea to make sensory bags that the kids could draw constellations on. We have constellation cards that have facts about the constellations on them but can also be used as models for drawing.

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To make my sensory bags, I used colored hair gel and star shaped glitter. I also made one using the pre-soaked water beads so they sort of look like sprinkles. I used gallon zip lock bags and then doubled up the bags, taping them to our STEM station. I figured they would last a few weeks and then I would replace them.

THEY ONLY LASTED A DAY! Sigh. We have a really busy library in the summer and the abuse these things took in the first day was epic. Oh well. Perhaps I will use my supplies to make sensory bags for my baby storytimes.

On to idea number 2:

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I thought it would be neat for the kids to draw the constellations on mermaid fabric. This will, hopefully, last longer and I bought a full yard, so I can always replace after a while. I stole my husbands trusty staple gone and just stapled the heck out of it. So far it has been a big hit!

If anyone has any other ideas that will hold up to the masses, let me know!

That’s all for now!

-M-

Family Storytime – 6/15/19 – SPACE 

Family Storytime – 6/15/19 – SPACE

  • Song – Top of the Morning
    • This is a fun tune and great for waking up and doing a little stretching. It’s called Top of the Morning.
  • Hello Rhyme – Say Hello
    • This is a great rhyme for saying hello because we get to do it in so many fun ways!
  • Stretch – Hokey Pokey518kjd0zs0l
    • I like to get us moving before we get into our theme and who doesn’t love a good round of hokey pokey!
  • ASL – SUN / MOON / STARS
  • Rhyme – Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
    • A slow movement rhyme for us to kick off our space themed storytime. This is one everyone know, which makes it a great starting point.
  • Book – Life on Mars by Jon Agee
    • I may end up changing this one last minute because I think it is better as a lap read but I was super picky with my themed books for this storytime and I don’t know why.
  • Rhyme – I’m a Rocket!
    • I adapted this one a little bit from an online post I found. It’s fun for both the babies and the movers and groovers. You can do it with baby in your lap or along with your little one.

I’m a rocket on the ground (crouch down on ground).
Waiting quietly without a sound (say softly and put finger to lips)
The countdown’s starting. (start bouncing)
I’m ready to go… (put hands over head to form rocket point).
5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1
Blastoff! (Jump into air)

  • Game – Space themed gross motor cubeIMG_2216
    • I always like to include some type of “game” for my older guys. This time I created my own gross motor cube. This is basically a cube or dice with actions on each side. You roll to see what you will do. I told my kids that we were going to Astronaut Academy and we were going train hard to go out in space. Then I let a different kid roll the cube each time.
  • Rhyme/Prop – I’m going out in space
    • For this one we did the rhyme and then I held up a planet for us to identify.

I’m going out in space
I’m going out in space
I think I’ll see a planet there
I’m going out in space

What planet did I see?

Saturn, Mars, Earth, Moon…

  • Rhyme – Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
    • This is one I’ve used several times before. And of course we end with a BLASTOFF! so lift those babies or jump up high!61myq77luql

Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going to the moon.
Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going to the moon.
If you want to take a trip,
Climb aboard my rocketship.
Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going to the moon.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1… BLASTOFF!

  • Book – Sheep Blast Off! by Nancy Shaw
    • I love the sheep books and they have such a nice rhyme. The book itself is a little small but I am going to work with it.
  • Rhyme – If You’re Going to the Moon…
    • I’ve never done this one before but I am going to give it a try. It is to the tune “if you’re happy and you know it.”

If you’re going to the moon, wear your suit (ziiiiip)
If you’re going to the moon, wear your suit (ziiiiip)
If you’re going to the moon and you want to get there soon
If you’re going to the moon, wear your suit (ziiiiip)

…wear your boots (stomp, stomp)
…wear your helmet (pat head, pat head)
…wear your gloves (clap, clap)

  • Song/Shakers –  Rocketship Run by The Laruie Berkner Band
    • For this one, I pass out shakers and we just get the last of those wiggles out.
  • Rhyme – Say Goodbye
    • This is the same rhyme we started with, so the new guys are familiar with it by the end of storytime.
  • Song – Clean It Up! by The Laurie Berkner Band
    • Everyone helps put our shakers away.
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell my Friends by Music Together
    • I always put this one on as I go to open the door. Its a nice, slow, peaceful song to wind down on.

How’d it go:

This was actually the kick off for Summer Reading as well, which is why I went with a space theme. Everything went really well, even the gross motor dice. Let’s all blast into reading!

That’s all for now!

-M-

 

Reading is out of this world!

Hi Guys,

I know, it’s been forever since I’ve done an actual new display! But I think I’ve got a good one for you and it is just perfect for our summer space theme.

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I created my planets freehand and colored them in with crayon and a little marker. Our library had some alien images, that were fun and added to the display. The rest are accucut stars and printed text. The coloring probably took the longest.

I’ve got the Moon, Mercury, Earth, Jupiter and Saturn. Figured that was about as many planets as I was willing to make, especially with the size.

Anyway, enjoy!

That’s all for now!

-M-