Tompkins County Public Library

Welcome to Wild About Reading!

We LOVE chatting about books, authors, illustrators. Here you'll find some of the best books we're currently reading and what we've been sharing at our storytimes.

Tell us about the books you’re reading by writing a book review of your own at: We will post your review to this blog within the week.

Thanks for visiting and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

June Staff Picks

Picture Books

Please Please the Bees by Gerald Kelley
E Kelley
Summary: "When the bees in his yard go on strike, everything goes wrong for Benedict, until he finds a way to bring them back."

Kelly's Thoughts: Want to read a book about bears, honey, bees and social justice? Try this one! Benedict the Bear LOVES his honey but he takes the bees who create and supply that honey for granted. When they up and go on strike, a panicking Gerald has to figure out why and exactly what to do about it before his world completely falls apart! A funny, up-to-the-minute take on respect and gratitude by this awesome writer and illustrator.

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
E Luyken
Summary: "As an artist creatively incorporates her slipups into a drawing, readers see the way in which 'mistakes' can provide inspiration and opportunity, and reveal that both the art and the artist are works-in-progress."
Kate's Thoughts: Such a beautiful, beautiful ode to the creative process and the okay-ness of mistakes. I love his this book encourages readers to create without worry of getting it perfect. I also love the playful and surprising ways the author transforms her mistakes into something so right. I think adults would benefit from this one just as much as kids -- I may need to get a copy for my own home library.

7 Ate 9 by Tara Lazar
E Lazar
Summary: "When 7 is accused of eating 9, worried 6 hires a detective to investigate."
Kelly's Thoughts: This is a hilarious book about numbers for the early elementary crowd (AND their grownups!). It's full of the kind of puns that will go right over the heads of toddlers, but are sure to tickle the funny bones of slightly older children. Ross MacDonald's sort of retro illustrations give this book its finishing pizazz, making it a fun pick for the aforementioned age group.

My Valley by Claude Ponti
O-E Ponti
Summary: "A journey through an enchanted world inhabited by 'Twims' (tiny, adorable, monkey-like creatures), secret tree dwellings, flying buildings, and sad giants."
Adelle's Thoughts: This book seems to have been written by a child's very vivid imagination. While the book is narrated by a young twim, there is no narrative arc, but instead features short stories of various twims and their curious and unusual lives in the valley. Children will pore over the beautifully imaginative landscapes, discover the detailed twim dwelling complete with a Theatre of Hissy Fits for angry twims to work out their feelings. They'll also see places like Surprise Island, where a new gift can be found every day. Too much unexpected greatness to mention; my favorite French import to date. A must read for imaginative, cuddly children.

Early Readers

Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder
ER Snyder
Summary: "Charlie and Mouse, two young brothers, enjoy a day out together, attending an imaginary party and collecting rocks."
Kate's Thoughts: Oh, how wonderful to find an Early Reader with a good storyline and some decent laughs. Superb illustrations by Emily Hughes and a diverse cast of characters bring this up to just-about-perfect status. The book features four short stories and would be great for kids who are almost ready for early chapter books.

Chapter Books

The End of the Wild by Nicole Helget
J Helget
Summary: "Eleven-year-old Fern helps to take care of her impoverished family by foraging for food in the forest, but when a fracking company rolls into town, she realizes that her peaceful woods and her family's livelihood could be threatened."
Kelly's Thoughts: This is a thoughtful and sensitive book about the fracking industry and its effect on not only the environment, but on the struggling families that live in the beautiful area the industry wants to use for its operations. Told from the perspective of environmentalists, families needing jobs, and our protagonist, Fern, who not only loves the woods but finds sustenance for her family in it, End of the Wild is an eye-opening look at the controversial subject of fracking.

Teddy & Co. by Cynthia Voigt
J Voigt
Summary: "A group of lost toys live on an island, and their community must adapt as new toys come and go."
Cassie's Thoughts: This is a great one to read aloud with young children and especially for those who enjoyed Toys Go Out or Winnie the Pooh. The characters are all very unique and the problems they encounter (such as one of the toys wanting to make all the rules) are ones young children can relate to. In addition, there's a deeper, quiet thread running through these beautiful, simple stories.

Children's Nonfiction

The Slowest Book Ever by April Pulley Sayre
J 031.02 Sayre
Summary: "Discover surprising facts about anything and everything slow."
Kelly's Thoughts: When I look for inspiration for books for storytimes, I often check out what's new by my favorite authors. That's how I found The Slowest Book Ever, by April Pulley Sayre. It's a juvenile nonfiction book made especially for deep thinkers and lovers of science and quirky facts. Its not for storytimes! (Although, it's a nonfiction possibility for STEAM Book Club!) But it is very funny and it is a factual book that will keep you turning those pages, or flipping back and forth through them, ever so slowly!

YA Books

Sophie Someone by Hayley Long
YA Long
Summary: "Sophie and her family came to live in Belgium when she was only four or five years old, but she's fourteen now and has never been quite sure why they left England in the first place. Then, one day, Sophie makes a startling discovery. Finally Sophie can unlock the mystery of who she really is."
Cassie's Thoughts: Told in Sophie's own made-up language (substituting words for other words here and there), this is a mystery that middle schoolers in particular might enjoy and can relate to. Sophie is searching to find who she is in relation to her parents and as an individual. The story moves quickly as she searches to find out who her parents really are and what they have done. Her bravery and growth throughout the experience are palpable, painful and inspiring.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz
YA Saenz
Summary: "Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it's senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing who no longer knows himself. If Sal's not who he thought he was, who is he?"
Kelly's Thoughts: This was one of those books I just didn't want to end. This is a story with such heart, insight and love. A great pick for LGBTQ teens.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Family Storytime: Last of Session DIA!

Last of Session - such a sad title!  But DIA - DIA is a happy title! It's basically short for Children's Day/Book Day or El día de los niños, el día de los libros, and I'm glad we could share some great books with some great children today! We looked into several cultures and languages today: Chinese, Iroquois, Spanish, African, Indian, Yiddish,, we had so much fun!
Here are the books:
Beautiful Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken by Daniel Pinkwater; Ills. by Jill Pinkwater
The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk by Kabir Sehgal & Surishtha Sehgal; Ills. by Jess Golden
Spicy Hot Colors = Colores Picantes by Sherry Shahan; Ills. by Paula barragan
Catch That Goat! by Polly Alakija
Can you believe we read 5 books? PLUS a folktale ; ) Foreign language readers, puppets (and our wonderful puppeteers) help them all come to life!

I just loved reading Beautiful Yetta with David and Lucia - I've been wanting to use that book for a storytime for a while, and my wish finally came true when David volunteered to read the Yiddish for me. Thank you so much to David and Lucia for their help with this book!

The Wheels On the Tuk Tuk was the one carry-over from Toddler & Preschool Storytime DIA. I just think it is so much fun to get a [children's literary] glimpse into the cultures of other countries. The The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk is a book that really encourages audience participation, too - which is something we storytimers are always searching for! Not that all books for storytime have to be that way, but when they are, it's especially fun.

Reading A Nest in Springtime with Kai as she read the Chinese words was a joy as well! It's just magic to hear the different sounds of languages together within the same story. A big thank you to Kai for helping with our felt board book/story!

When it came to reading Spicy Hot Colors, even though most of the words are in English, after hearing Lucia read the Spanish portions of so many books now, (Lucia - along with Kai - is a wonderfully regular volunteer here at the library!) it occurred to me that she should just read the whole book with her beautiful voice. When Lucia reads "Red as chili sauce/Drip-drop/Spicy hot/Red as firecrackers/Snap! Bang!/Bebop Pop!/RED ROJO." it sounds a whole lot redder than when I read it out loud!! Thanks again, Lucia ; )

And finally, Catch That Goat! Another lively book! And what an adorable goat. Adelle, our Youth Services librarian, helped with a lot of that crazy goat's costume! And, back stage, she was our goat puppet's personal assistant ; ) along with doing some puppeteering herself! Adelle - you rock! Anna G., who managed the Goat, the Porcupine, and various other puppets today, has been a consistently awesome volunteer for Youth Services over the years. In The Porcupine's Quills, an Iroquois Folktale, Anna was the Porcupine! It wasn't until I saw the footage of that part of the program, I realized she just projected such... porcupine-ness! She is just fantastic with puppets, not to mention her wonderful Reader Is In skills, and all the other jobs she takes care of for TCPL. Anna, you are one of our volunteer super heroes!
Speaking of awesome volunteers, many thanks to Hannah for being videographer of the day! It's because of her that we were able to see from an audience's point of view how the theater and the many voices bring these wonderful books and stories to life. Thank you Hannah!

We added a little French with the traditional children's song, Frere Jacques. Here it is:

Frère Jacques, frère Jacques~
Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines!
Sonnez les matines!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.
Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Brother John, Brother John~
Morning bells are ringing!

Morning bells are ringing!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.

That is a melody we use over and over again in storytimes. Think  "Leaves are Falling", "Geese are Flying", "Shake Your Shakers"...the list is practically endless. So it was fun to sing the actual song that goes with that melody! And the audience sang beautifully ; )

Did I mention the food?? We had snacks from around the world today, including: Seaweed from Japan, assorted cookies from Germany, (including those chocolate covered wafer thingies - how I love them!) Rice crackers from China, Coconut cookies from India, Salt and Vinegar Chips from England (an adult fave :) Corn chips from Mexico...and more. Uh oh, I'm getting hungry...!

And we made Peace Flags to wish for peace and inclusion around the world! I hung mine on my office wall:

Well, that's about it for this Family Storytime DIA post. I will try to add a link to some of the video Hannah created if I can get it edited a bit! Remember we take a break from Family Storytime until June 24th when we will start up Summer Family Storytime, but don't let that keep you from coming to the library on Saturday mornings! We still love seeing you! And the library will still have plenty of fun Saturday programming. Take home one of our popular Storytime Kits! You'll find them in the clear backpacks by the Youth Services first entrance. If there aren't any there, place a hold on one - they've been getting rave reviews :) We also will have LEGO® at the Library throughout the month of May on Saturday afternoons. As well, the Homeschool Resource Fair, Saturday, May 13 from10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the BorgWarner Community Room will be a good one to look out for. And Families Learning Science Together: Physics of Flight, Saturday, May 13, 1 to 2 p.m. in the  Thaler/Howell Programming Room is a Saturday program you won't want to miss!  There's more - so keep an eye on our calendar and get in here on Saturdays ; )

See you around!
Miss Kelly

P.S. PLEASE leave comments on this blog! We love to hear from you! It helps us with our programming when we know what you like and what changes you might like to see!