Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni: Non-Standard Measurement and Storytelling

January 23rd, 2013

This week in Action Tales, our storytime that focuses on narrative skills and storytelling, we forgot about the single-digit temperature and retold the story of a clever little inchworm.

In Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni, the clever worm loves to measure by using his body. He measures the animals and objects in his environment and then escapes a hungry nightingale by measuring its “song” until the worm is far away from his hungry beak!

First we read the story and then we made talked about what it means to measure. Here’s a PBS Teachers article explaining measurement and non-standard measurement activities. To reinforce the concept of how little things can be used to measure bigger things, we used our own bodies to measure the width of our story room.

Then we got down to crafting our own inch worms.

How to Make an Inchworm

2 craft sticks or coffee stirrers
1 piece of ribbon (ours were 5 inches long)
2 googley eyes (optional–you could use a marker to make eyes)

Glue one end of the ribbon to one stick and the other end to the other stick. Add eyes.

Behold our inchworm!

Then we retold the story. Use an old sheet or roll paper to sketch out the scenes from the story and then let your little inchworm practice measuring. How many inchworms long is that blade of grass? How many inchworms long is Daddy’s arm?

Want more math and science fun? Try our STEM Storytime or pick up a book about measurement.

Happy Reading!



AR Book Search is here!

January 21st, 2013

Does your child’s school use the AR or Accelerated Reader program?

Try our new Accelerated Reader search to quickly locate items in our catalog based on your child’s level and interests…



Then use our catalog’s limiters to show which books are available to check out …




or use our tags to narrow your search further by any number of user and librarian generated tags…



We are very excited about this new search feature and we hope it save you time and frustration as you try to keep your young reader reading! Have questions about using search or about finding books for kids?
Visit our Choosing Books for Kids Explore Guide or stop by the reference desk next time you are in the library–we’d love to show you how it works!


And the finalists are . . .

January 16th, 2013

We present to you the final discussion list for the Mock Caldecott Discussion (on Saturday, January 26 at the Westerville Public Library). Now, we don’t know what the actual committee will be talking about in Seattle this weekend, where the American Library Association (ALA) Conference is being held (it’s a secret!!)

How do we come up with a list? Well, we look at new picture books arriving all year. We read reviews and peruse those best of the year lists from places like School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, The Horn Book, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and The New York Times (and others!) We look at what other libraries are putting on their mock Caldecott lists. This year we created a Pinterest board of possible contenders before narrowing down to a group of 10 titles. And we’ve talked and recommended these books to each other and read them to children in storytimes.

If you can’t come to the discussion, you can still vote on your choice in the Youth Services section of the library or in the online poll below from now until 2:00 on January 26. At the end of the day, we’ll announce our results. The books will be in the Youth Services area so that you can take a look at the contenders yourself.  And on Monday, January 28, the Caldecott Award will be announced, part of ALA’s Youth Media Awards, streaming live from Seattle!

Here are the books we’ll be discussing (in no particular order!):


Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta, Art by Ed Young (Little, Brown)


Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat by Susanna Reich, Illustrated by Amy Bates (Abrams)

Island: A Story of the Galapagos written & illustrated by Jason Chin (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook)

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

Sleep Like a Tiger, written by Mary Logue, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski (Houghton Mifflin)


Step Gently Out, poem by Helen Frost, photographs by Rick Lieder (Candlewick)

Green written & illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook)

More by I.C. Springman, illustraed by Brian Lies (Houghton Mifflin)

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, pictures by David Small (Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin)

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin Stead (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook)

ARC-ers review I Funny and other books

January 14th, 2013

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The last review book that arrived from Little, Brown was I Funny by James Patterson.  Here are some impressions by members of ARC.

Emily–approves of the cover even though it wouldn’t do much to attract her attention on the shelf.  She liked the book a lot and would read another by the same author.  Her favorite character is Jamie ’cause “he’s so funny!”

Catherine–would change the cover from one with a close-up of a kid wearing Groucho glasses (the ones with the nose and a mustache attached) to one of the main character on stage holding a microphone, facing the reader “without sweat”.  Her favorite character was Jamie’s Uncle Frank, “because he’s kind and is not a little bit rude.”  If Catherine could change anything in this book she’d eliminate Jamie’s problem with excessive sweating.  That said, she’d like to read the sequel: “I would like to know what happens.”

John–thought the cover was just right and declared it among the best books he’s ever read.  His favorite character is Jamie “because he’s funny” and  would “totally” read another book by this author.  The only thing he’d change: the grammar!

Eva–didn’t finish the book because she was reading two others:

Katerina’s Wish  by Jeannie Mobley

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She chose the book from the collection of advance copies because she liked the title and the story was so good she finished it in record time.  Although the beginning was her least favorite part, the middle of the  story really hit its stride;  “It was very interesting.”  The main character was her favorite “because she was very hopeful.”

May B.  by Caroline Starr Rose

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Eva was drawn to this book because of the title and read it quickly.  Eva’s least favorite part was the beginning, but once she got into the middle of the story she found it hard to put down!  Her favorite character is May, “because she had courage!”

Sam and Robert submitted their reviews of The  Last Dogs; the vanishing by Christopher Holt.

The cover of this book has changed since it came to us as an advance copy early this fall. When we got it it looked like this:

arc cover

Robert said the cover made him want to read this book.  He thought it went with the story and he wouldn’t change it.  Sam, on the other hand, did not think it matched the story.  Well, someone at Little, Brown Publishers must have agreed because this is how it looks now:

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Both Robert and Sam liked the story.  Robert’s favorite character is Rocky, “because he is funny” and Sam liked Max.

Robert would read another book by this author.  The second book in the series, Dark Waters, will be released this summer.

ARC is a book club for 4th and 5th graders who love to read never-before published books (and everything else!).  We meet the third Thursday of the month at 4 pm in the Youth Activity Center.  Our next meeting is January 17th.

More Caldecott Favorites

January 9th, 2013

We’re almost ready to announce our reading list for the upcoming Mock Caldecott discussion, to be held on Saturday, January 26, from 2-4 p.m. In the meantime, here are a few more staff favorites.

Jerry Pinkney’s wordless book, The Lion and the Mouse, is one of Miss Lisa’s favorites.

“It is a timeless story with beautiful illustrations and no words are necessary to enjoy this wonderful picture book. Also, I have used it for storytime and it prompted a wonderful discussion! ” – Miss Lisa

Miss Becky expresses her appreciation for Chris Van Allsburg’s Polar Express  and Jumanji.


“My elementary school librarian read those to us and made their surreal nature come alive. I had never seen books before that were illustrated in such a dramatic, cinematic, full-page way. Then, the more I found out about art and art supplies, the more I realized I had never seen anyone use a pencil that way, either! Magic!” – Miss Becky

What books were magical to you? They may not have won the Caldecott, but what picture books do you remember from childhood? Let us know in the comments!


Out of the Box

January 3rd, 2013

Do your kids enjoy playing with the box a present came in as much as the present itself? Make tissue paper hats and jump on the bubble wrap inside packages? Inspired by Antoinette Portis’ Not a Box, children and families explored some of the many things a box can be: a boat, a rocketship, a cave at the Westerville Public Library’s Out of the Box program.

Castle or old west town bank? Or jail? We supplied a variety of boxes of different sizes, cardboard tubes, bubble wrap (great lunar landing surface), paper plates, markers, chalk, and tape. The children applied their imaginations. They explored a snow cave; created sleds, doors, a birdhouse, among other things; decorated the castle; had imaginary battles with light sabers; threw paper snowballs; built a skyscraper; opened an ice cream shop . . . take a look at this video to see some of the highlights!



Award season

December 23rd, 2012

On Monday, January 28th The American Library Association will honor the best written and illustrated children’s books, teen books and media of the year.  The oldest of these honors, the Newbery Medal, is awarded to the best written children’s book of the year.  It was first awarded in 1922 to The Story of Mankind:

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Now, I have never read The Story of Mankind, but I’ve read plenty of others Newbery winners, and I’ll bet you have too!  Are you wondering which books are being considered for the award in January?  Here are a few candidates that have had librarians talking all year:

Wonder  by R.J. Palacio

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Wonder challenges our perception of what  normal is by introducing us to Auggie Pullman, a normal 10 year old in every way except one:  he was born with severe facial deformities.  27 operations  have left him with, in his words, a “tiny mushed up face”.  Now he is about to leave the loving shelter of his home to enter 5th grade at a private middle school.  Teachers are prepared, other kids are charged with looking out for Auggie, but none of them are truly ready for Auggie’s physical realities.  Auggie, himself tells his story, then we get to hear it from the perspective of his new school friends, his sister and his sister’s ex-best friend.   This book is often funny, is a quick read and will get you talking about what it means to be a friend.

The One and Only Ivan   by  Katherine Applegate

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Everyone knows him as the Freeway Gorilla or the Ape at Exit 8, because he lives at the Big Top Mall and Arcade.  He prefers ‘Ivan’, and his dearest friends are Stella, the elephant whose “domain” is next to his, and a stray dog named Bob who likes to sleep in Ivan’s cage.  Ivan has lived and performed at the mall for 25 years. When Ruby, the baby elephant, joins the ’family’, Ivan sees his world as it really is for the first time, and comes up with a daring plan to change life for Ruby and for himself.  This story is based on the life of a real gorilla, named Ivan, who spent 1/2 of his life in a mall in Tacoma WA before he was finally donated to a local zoo.  Sadly, he died this fall, at Zoo Atlanta, where he had lived since 1994.  He was 50 years old.

Three Times Lucky  by Sheila Turnage

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It’s the beginning of summer and rising sixth grader, Mo LoBeau is looking forward to helping out at the cafe run by the only family she’s got: the Colonel and the fabulous Miss Lana.  She also wants to  find time to go fishing with her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III,  write her autobiography, and continue the search for her mother who gave birth to her 11 years ago during a hurricane,  tied baby Mo to a raft, which washed up in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina where she was found by the Colonel.  Then Trouble comes to town when a not-too-popular local man is murdered and Detective Joe Starr comes to investigate.  Suddenly, Mo’s friends and family are suspects and Mo decides it’s time to put her natural detecting talents to the test.

Splendors and Glooms  by Laura Amy Schlitz

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Set in Victorian England, this book has a witch, orphans, a poor little rich girl, disappearances, strange transformations, a creepy puppeteer, an amulet, and blood.  Not a lot of blood, but enough to make  an exciting story!  For her 12th birthday, Clara Wintermute asks her wealthy father to hire puppet master, Grisini to perform at her party.  Soon after she disappears. Lizzie Rose, apprenticed to Grisini along with a boy named Parsefall, begins to suspect her master is responsible for the disappearance of not only Clara, but other kids as well.  When the truth becomes clear, Lizzie and Parsefall find themselves on a harrowing trip to find a dying witch who may–or may not–help them.  The witch, however has her own plans for the children.

So, have I piqued your interest?  This is only small sample of the books being considered for the award–the members of the Newbery committee have been reading their way through boxes of new books all year!

Will the next Newbery be one of the books in this post?  Maybe it will be a new book you’ve just read!   We will find out Monday, January 28th at 8:00 AM PST (that’s 11:00 AM our time!).

Stay tuned!




Let it Snow!

December 20th, 2012

It’s December, the forecast is calling for snow, AND school is out! Here are some favorite story books about snow and some rather magical non-fiction books about this winter wonder. Stop by the library to get some books for cozy winter reading before the snow starts to fall!

The Story of Snow

The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino

Snowed in? If you can’t get to the library, don’t worry, it’s also available as an e-book!

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 This Caldecott Medal winning book has wonderfully detailed illustrations of  animals in the snow and how they adapt to winter.

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

A father and daughter explore the wonders of the outdoors as the take a walk on a winter day.

Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton

Machines and snow . . . what a winning combination! Also available as an ebook.

Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart

You’ll be surprised at all the activity going on under the snow!

The Secret Life of a Snowflake by Ken Libbrecht

Amazing photographs explain the science of snow — you’ll never look at a snowflake in the same way again.


Reserve It!

Henry and Mudge in the Sparkle Days by Cynthia Rylant

Henry and Mudge enjoy playing in the snow before coming in to get warm before the fire together. A perfectly comforting story of fun and friendship.

Speculations and predictions

December 12th, 2012

‘Tis the time for best of the year lists, for looking back on 2012 and making predictions on what book might win the coveted Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children. On Saturday, January 26 there will be a Mock Caldecott Discussion featuring some of these books — on the very same weekend that the actual committee will be debating and choosing the winner. We’ll discuss the contenders using the actual Caldecott criteria and process.

What books are we thinking of? Check out the library’s Pinterest Board, Caldecott Contenders 2013.  Staff favorites include:

One Cool Friend, with illustrations by David Small


More, with illustrations by Brian Lies

A Home for Bird, with illustrations by Philip C. Stead

Extra Yarn, Illustrated by Jon Klassen


and we are continuing to add more favorites of the year — so tell us yours!


Would you like an app with that?

December 4th, 2012

Is an e-reader, tablet, or electronic device on someone’s wish list this year? No matter what the platform, there are some terrific apps for children. Some of the best encourage literacy and promote inquiry, rather than just ways to pass the time. An app is a bit different than an e-book, though some of the best are based on children’s books and favorite characters.

Fans of Mo Willems’ Pigeon books will enjoy Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App! in which children create their own silly stories, starring the pigeon, of course. Children add their ideas, then shake it up, and voila! a story is created.

Mo Willems' Pigeon Books

Mo Willems' Pigeon Books

Another great app based on a favorite children’s book is The Monster at the End of this Book . . . Starring Grover from Sesame Street. The story is just as many parents may remember from their own childhood. The app includes tips for parents and educators on how to extend the story and enhance it with early literacy concepts.


A new librarian favorite is Herve Tullet’s Press Here. The book is innovative and fun and also seems perfectly suited for the app format.

And finally, the app that has getting the most buzz this year is William Joyce’s The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore. The app works with the printed book (available from the library) to create an interactive reading experience. Get your iPads ready . . . this is one the whole family will enjoy together!


For more great apps for kids, check out the Westerville Library’s Pinterest board, A is for App. And for more recommendations, try School Library Journal‘s Top 10 Apps for Kids.