April 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Winning Over Fidgety Listeners with New Storytime Classics │ JLG’s On the Radar

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Do you have kids who wiggle while you read to them? What about kids who talk to their classmates? What you need are stories that engage your listeners from the first page to the last. For example, Eric Carle tells the tale of a boy whose very best friend moves away, causing him to miss her terribly. Jim Tobin writes about Michael who loved collecting words, but one day found a bad one―which he is quick to share. The following selections chosen by the editors at Junior Library Guild may conquer children’s restless boFriendsdies while addressing their hearts.

CARLE, Eric. Friends. Philomel. 2013. ISBN 9780399165337. JLG Level: K : Kindergarten (Grades PreK–K).

What do best friends do together? They play. They run. They dance. They tell each other secrets. One day a boy’s friend moves away. He misses her terribly. Using his imagination, he finds her in his dreams, traveling across the river and through the stars. He travels across a mountain and floats on a cloud. Fans of Carle’s work will be delighted to see the beautiful tissue paper patterns as the dream unfolds while the boy searches for his faraway friend. Watch a three-minute video as the author/illustrator describes the inspiration for his new work.

Invisible BoyLUDWIG, Trudy. The Invisible Boy. illus. by Patrice Barton. Knopf. 2013. ISBN 9781582464510. JLG Level:  P : Primary (Grades K–1).

Brian wasn’t invisible, but he sure felt like it. Even his teacher hardly noticed him. He was never picked for teams at recess. Everybody got invited to the pool party but him. When the new kid gets laughed at, Brian wonders whether it’s better to be made fun of or to feel invisible. His decision to make the first step towards friendship is brave and heartfelt. Ludwig’s timeless story offers food for thought on the value of inclusion—perfect for teaching the importance of small acts of kindness. For an opposing outcome, pair this title with Each Kindness (Penguin, 2012)

Xander's Panda PartyPARK, Linda Sue. Xander’s Panda Party. illus. by Matt Phelan. Clarion. 2013. ISBN 9780547558653. JLG Level: P : Primary (Grades K–1).

Xander is the only panda at the zoo. When he plans a party and invites all the bears, Koala explains that she is not a bear, as is commonly thought. She is a marsupial. So Xander changes his plans and invites all the mammals. Rhinoceros would not come without his bird, which led to Xander swithering in a stew. “What to do? His worries grew. Was his party falling through?” With a plethora of wonderful words, including lots of rhymes, kids will shout the triumphant cry of “read it again!” Check out the book trailer.

Very Inappropriate WordTOBIN, Jim. The Very Inappropriate Word. illus. by Dave Coverly. Holt. 2013. ISBN 9780805094749. JLG Level: E : Easy Reading (Grades 1–3).

Michael loved words so much he collected them wherever he went. One morning he heard a word he’d never heard before. His sister said it was inappropriate, so he hid it in his pocket. Later that day, he heard it in the park and on the radio. He even heard his mom say it―much to his father’s dismay. But Michael kind of liked it, so the next day at recess, he yelled it at the top of his lungs. By lunchtime, more people were saying it. In class, everyone seemed to be buzzing with it. Michael was in big trouble. Kids will giggle at the squiggly lines above the heads of those who say the bad word. As always, good wins and personal stories can be averted for librarians with good classroom management. (and no, the word is never revealed).

For storytime classroom management ideas, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog. There’s a new post about using music wands and ideas about keeping idle hands busy.

Junior Library Guild is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at www.JuniorLibraryGuild.com.


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Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.