Creative Christmas Present: How to Make Your Own I Spy Book

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I made my two oldest kids picture books about them and wanted to do this for each of my children. However, the more kids I had, the busier I got, and this seemed less feasible. When it came time for me to give my third child his book for Christmas, I already had a 4th baby and didn’t have time to paint or illustrate a new book. My older kids were obsessed with I Spy books at the time, so I decided to make our own personalized I Spy Book, called I Spy the Chous.

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I found a little toy to represent each one of my four children. These included Strawberry Shortcake, Batman, a Geotrax guy, and a little Playmobil guy. Then I found a little animal to be each child’s pet. Since I planned on having another child in the future, I included a little plastic baby. (And thank goodness I did!)

Using their toys, I set up scenes and hid the characters and animals among the toys. Then I took a picture. I set up about eight different scenes and wrote a short narrative about the four kids taking a trip through Toyland and all the places they went.

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At the back of the book, I included a picture of the pets, so they could go back and look for those.

This has become one of our favorite books. Now that my oldest kids are 14, 12, and 10, a lot of the toys in those pictures are long gone. Some of them we still have for their little brothers to play with. But looking through the I Spy book is like a walk down memory lane of all the favorite toys they used to play with. Plus, they still love finding “themselves” and their pets.

This is a really fun personal Christmas gift that’s not very time consuming and will be sure to become one of your family favorites!

Interview with Susan Hans O'Connor, owner of the Penguin Bookshop

Susan Hans O’Connor is the owner of the Penguin Bookshop, an independent bookstore located in Sewickley, PA since 1929. She has owned the store for five years and works tirelessly to bring her community a place to converse, buy books, and meet authors. We are so happy to interview her and learn more about her and the Penguin Bookshop!

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Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I began my publishing career back in the 90s (yes...I’m ancient :-)). I was doing temp work in NYC, and the agency sent me to Penguin Books. I couldn’t believe it when I walked in and saw the big Penguin logo behind the receptionist’s desk. I had always been a big reader and a writer and devoured books published by Penguin, but growing up in the Midwest, I never really thought about HOW or WHERE a book was created. The people there were all so nice and smart, and their talent was inspiring. Long story short, I ended up taking a permanent job there as an Editorial Assistant to two big-shot editors.

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Why did you decide to buy the Penguin Bookshop?

When we first relocated to Pittsburgh in 2003, I looked for a way to continue my editorial work, but it wasn’t easy. So I did freelance editing, and then I got a Masters Degree in Education and my Teaching Certificate so that I could teach English and writing, which I always thought would be fun. While I was long-term subbing in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, I also began working as a bookseller at the Penguin Bookshop. I loved it. In the store, I felt reconnected to my publishing roots. Then it just so happened that Janet McDanel wanted to sell the business in 2013, just a few months after I started working there. And the rest is history. :-)

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Why is it important to shop locally, and what do independent bookstores do for the community?

Shopping locally is all about creating the kind of communities we want to live in.  Do you want to be able to literally walk down the street and go into a coffee shop, pick up a cute scarf for Aunt Harriet, have your kids ride their bikes into town for some special candy, then stop in for storytime and a book recommendation? Or do you want to stay at home and order everything from your computer, while your town looks like a wasteland? In the end, it’s a choice.

Independent bookstores provide conversation and connection. We bring in authors, both locally and nationally, who spark those conversations, conversations we might not otherwise have.  We give back to our local library, Y, and other organizations. We provide part-time jobs for students and contribute to the local tax base. We have a national presence in the book community, as members of the American Booksellers Association, which is good for our town and good for Pittsburgh. Thanks to the Penguin Bookshop, the White Whale, and Riverstone Books, Pittsburgh will be the host city in the summer of 2019 to the ABA’s Children’s Institute, a national conference that brings in hundreds of booksellers and publishers from around the country. This wouldn’t have happened without the bookstores we have here.

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What do you see for the future of independent bookstores, and how can we help ensure their success?

The future of independent bookstores depends on you, the community.  Successful bookstores meet the needs of their communities, which we try to do everyday, but the community has to want a local bookstore in their town and demonstrate that interest by shopping there.


What’s the most important thing you have learned as a small business owner?

Hmmm, that’s a hard one, because I have learned SO MUCH in the last five years. I think one thing that stands out is that for a business our size in a community of our size, it is important to focus on the things that really matter. I can’t change the demographics of our town or force people to walk through our doors. But what I can do is work to create a bookstore, built on an 89 year history, that is relevant to the community, and that the community still finds valuable. This is what I have tried to do since buying the store in 2014.

Thanks so much for joining us, Susan!

You heard her folks - the best way to keep independent bookstores alive is to shop there. If you haven’t visited the Penguin Bookshop yet, I encourage you to do so! Its local charm and great books will keep you coming back!

The Power of Instagram for Picture Book Authors and Illustrators

A lot of new authors ask me if they have to be on social media. The answer is YES. And for most of us, it takes a LONG time to build a following, so the sooner you start, the better.

But which social media platforms are most important for a writer?

For most writers, the answer would be Twitter. The publishing world is very present on Twitter – it’s the social media platform that agents and publishers most often emphasize for new writers.

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However, for you picture book authors/illustrators out there, I would (gasp!) disagree with the general Twitter consensus.

For us, Instagram is the way to go.

But why? You ask. Let me count the ways.

First, that’s where your audience is. As a picture book writer/illustrator, your primary audience is parents or teachers of babies and preschoolers, most of whom are people in their late twenties to early forties. According to the article, “Social Media Demographics to Inform a Better Segmentation Strategy,” 59% of 18-29 year olds and 33% of 30-49 year olds use Instagram.  In comparison, only 36% of 18-29 year olds and 23% of 30-49 year olds use Twitter. A higher percentage of your audience is checking their Instagram feeds than scrolling through the latest tweets.

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Second, picture books are very visual, and Instagram is all about images. Give people images of your book, and they will remember it that much more easily!

Finally, one of the best marketing tools for picture book writers/illustrators is the plethora of Instagram moms who love books. There are loads of Instagram accounts dedicated purely to picture books. Bookstagram is a thing. And this is the kind of community you want to be part of. You need all those picture-book-loving moms  (and dads, though they are admittedly fewer and farther between on social media) talking and posting about your book. Find them. Follow them. Make comments on their posts. Then, message them and ask them if they’d like a free copy of your book. If they love it, would they be willing to post about it? Some will say no. But most will say yes! And mailing a free copy of your book from home? That’s about the cheapest marketing out there. And when someone else posts about your book, boom. All of their followers see it, and the word spreads.

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So yes, jump on Twitter and Facebook, but consider turning your focus to Instagram. Even if you aren’t published, you can start growing a community of book-loving people. In fact, it’s actually best to get started before you’re published.

Which leads to the inevitable question: What to post? Looks like you better come back for next month’s blog post!

Interview with Caroline Carlson

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Caroline Carlson is the author of many books for young readers, including The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates trilogy, The World’s Greatest Detective, and The Door at the End of the World, coming in April 2019. She earned an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives with her family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found taking a long walk, baking cookies, or attempting to get lost in a good book.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your new book, The Door at the End of the World?

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Sure! It’s about a girl named Lucy who lives at the end of the world—the place where her world is connected by a magical door to the next world over. Lucy works as the Gatekeeper’s assistant, helping people who want to travel between the worlds by stamping their passports and making sure their paperwork is in order. It’s not a particularly exciting job, but Lucy knows she’s not the sort of person who’s meant to lead a particularly exciting life.

Then the Gatekeeper goes missing in another world, the door at the end of the world breaks, and Lucy is sure it’s all her fault. She sets out to fix the door and set things right. Without quite meaning to, she collects traveling companions along the way: a boy who might be a prince, a girl who might be a criminal, and a whole bunch of magical bees. And together, they discover that they’ve stumbled onto a dangerous plot that could put all eight of the connected worlds at risk. With the fabric of space and time falling down around their ears, they race through the worlds to stop the plot, find the villain, and rescue the Gatekeeper. Truthfully, it’s a lot more excitement than Lucy bargained for. She’s never had to save the world before—and now, somehow, she’s got to find a way to save eight of them.


There are eight worlds in The Door at the End of the World. Did you plan out each world before you started writing or did they come to you as you wrote?

I’m normally a meticulous planner, but nothing much about The Door at the End of the World was planned—especially not the other worlds! I was racing to get a draft down on paper, and I didn’t even have time to put together my usual outline; I had to sit down each morning in front of a blank page knowing very little about what would happen next. But that mix of excitement and sheer terror made the writing process a lot of fun.

When I first came up with the idea for the book, I didn’t actually intend to send the characters on a journey through lots of different worlds. (At one point there were twelve worlds, but I had to whittle the number down to keep it more manageable.) Creating one imaginary world for the story seemed like a lot of work as it was, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to pull off building seven more. But I realized pretty quickly that you can’t write a book about other worlds without actually sending your characters to explore those worlds for themselves! So I decided to take a bit of a worldbuilding shortcut by giving each world a particular characteristic it was famous for: its advanced technology, for example, or its maritime culture, or its vast number of cows. My characters do visit all eight worlds, but they only spend a lot of time in four of them—and one of those four is our own. It’s the first time any book of mine has been set even partially in the real world. Actually, I found that part of the book really tricky to write. When I’m writing about places I make up from scratch, I don’t have to worry about real-world inconveniences like the distance from New Zealand to Colorado, or how a group of otherworld travelers would be able to make it past TSA security screening at the airport.

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You have four novels published and one coming out in 2019. How are your books similar? How are they different?

My first three books—the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates trilogy—are fantasy adventures, my book The World’s Greatest Detective is a murder mystery for kids, and with The Door at the End of the World I’ve come back to fantasy, or at least to speculative fiction. It’s got a different sort of magical flavor from the Pirates trilogy. It’s also the first book I’ve written that’s not a riff on a well-known genre. My Pirates books play with the conventions of stories like Treasure Island, and The World’s Greatest Detective is a sendup of classic mysteries like the Sherlock Holmes stories, but The Door at the End of the World doesn’t play with the tropes of existing stories in that way. It’s something that’s entirely my own, and I’m really excited about that.

But I think all of my books are similar in lots of ways, too. All of them are adventure stories. All of them are mysteries in one way or another—I can’t resist a good plot twist or a revelation of a character’s secret identity. I try to give each one of my books a good dollop of humor. And I’m usually drawn to characters who are searching for their place in the world, trying to figure out where they belong, who they belong with, and what kind of person they want to be. I think a lot of my readers are grappling with those issues as well, so I hope they’re able to find a few kindred spirits in my books.

Are you as adventurous as the characters in your books?

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Not at all! I’ve never been a pirate on the high seas (I get seasick). I’ve never solved a murder (that sounds kind of dangerous). And I’ve never had to race through eight different worlds or repair the fabric of space and time, though I think I’d like to try that if I had the opportunity. But I’m generally a pretty cautious, rule-following sort of person. I’d make a terrible protagonist in an adventure story. I do like traveling, though, and trying new foods, and going on small everyday adventures in my neighborhood. I will occasionally get lost-on-purpose in the park near my house, as long as I’m reasonably sure I’ll be able to get myself found again.

What was your favorite book when you were ten?

I loved The Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper. I still do. It’s got a brilliant mix of mythology, magic, adventure, and a sense of place so strong it will sweep you right out of your reading chair.

How can your fans find you?

I love hearing from readers! On the internet, you can find me on Facebook (facebook.com/carolinecarlsonbooks), Twitter (@carolinetc), Instagram (@carolinecarlsonbooks), and through my website, carolinecarlsonbooks.com. I love visiting schools and talking to readers, either in person or through a video chat service like Skype. If you’re a teacher or librarian, you can find out more about that on my website.



Thanks for joining us, Caroline! Be sure to check out her books!

Number One Tip for Authors about Social Media from a Bookseller

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If there’s any advice I can give writers, it’s make yourself easy to find on social media!  Your handle should be your name. The same name that is on your books. Simple as that. If your name is taken, put author or writer or books or whatever after your name! Not in front of your name!!

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I have worked at Penguin Bookshop as a Storytime leader and bookseller for three years now. I love to post about the books we use during Storytime as well as events and other new books I love in the store.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to tag an author when I post about their book, but I can’t find them. And we all know time is limited. So when I post about a book on Instagram or Twitter, I type in the @ symbol and the author’s name as it appears on their book. If it doesn’t pop up immediately or isn’t clear which social media handle is theirs, I don’t have time to search for them. So they don’t get tagged.

Why does this matter? Because the business of writing is all about relationships. And if you know who is posting about you, you can thank them, chat with them, form a relationship. Not to mention it’s super easy marketing to retweet or repost an unsolicited post about your book from someone else. It not only makes them feel good, but it also helps get the word out about your book.

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So save booksellers the trouble of trying to track you down. Make yourself easy to find. If you already have an account with a confusing handle, it’s easy to change! Remember, booksellers want to help promote the authors they love. So make it as easy as possible to do so!

Interview with Samantha Steiger Smith

I’m so excited to start a new feature of interviewing authors and illustrators on my blog! Today we welcome Sam Smith, a local Pittsburgh children’s book writer. Sam’s book, Cate’s Magic Garden, is about a little caterpillar that brings a garden back to life through the power of positive thinking and kind words.

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Can you tell us a little about yourself?

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I grew up in Randolph, NJ (about an hour outside of NYC) and went to college at the University of Virginia, where I earned my bachelor’s in English. I started my career in advertising in Baltimore, MD and then Capitol Hill, DC, working for several ad agencies as a media supervisor. Then I finally got brave and made the jump to copywriter; writing had been my passion since I was a little girl. I enjoyed working for an agency, but when I had the chance to strike out on my own, I did! I became a freelance writer in 2006, and in 2008, my husband and I and our 2-year-old son moved to Pittsburgh so my husband could follow his dream to work in his family’s business, a 117 year-old foundry in the heart of the city. We love the area, and I recently fulfilled another childhood dream, which was to publish a children’s book! I live with my husband, sons Sutter (12) and Graham (8) and kitten Penelope.


Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes! Pretty much since I was six and told my parents I wanted to be Robert Frost when I grew up. My dad gently told me that it might be a difficult living. I’m happy to report that writing can be a great and exciting profession these days, especially since you can work from anywhere! Funny story: when I was ten, I wrote a poem about a butterfly….and my book is about a very similar one—I did not remember this coincidence until very recently.

How did Cate come about?

CATE was not born the way children’s books usually are—she came about rather backwards. My step-sister, Megan, put me in touch with my now co-author, Betsy Coffeen. Betsy is a dedicated Childhelp Wings Advisor and wanted to create a fundraiser for the organization, which helps prevent child abuse. We started with a story about a bunch of kids on the playground and a bullying situation, since that aligned nicely with Childhelp’s mission, but the story just didn’t feel right yet. Then the garden idea just popped into my head. First, we explored a world where a grumpy group of bugs dug holes with their negativity, literally. But this theme started getting too dark for a children’s book. That’s when my publisher had a great idea that turned the book and the entire message around. She harnessed the power of positivity and kindness. And we made the connection that words change worlds, which is a very powerful and exciting message.

We were grateful to have Ginger Seehafer join our team and truly bring the story to life through her beautiful illustrations. And Rachel Eeva Smith helped create this inspiring book with her expert book design. Amy Cherrix of Two Hoots Press finally brought CATE’S MAGIC GARDEN out into the world, and she continues to be a huge champion of its message.

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Cate was published in connection with Childhelp. Can you tell us more about that?

Childhelp is an amazing organization, founded in 1959 by two actresses, Yvonne Fedderson and Sara O’Meara from the popular tv show, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet. Since its inception, Childhelp has helped over 10 million victims of child abuse and neglect and is internationally renowned. Yvonne and Sara have both been honored by almost every president since Carter and were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize eight times, among other important recognitions. Their work is vitally important, and I’m honored to support them. A portion of proceeds from the book go to Childhelp.

Where can readers find you and your book?

Me? Probably in a library, at my computer or on the soccer field! But seriously, CATE and I have been fortunate enough to visit several Pittsburgh area schools to talk about the power of positivity and kindness. I’ve done a number of readings/signings at local bookstores, including Penguin Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, Riverstone Bookstore, Learning Express at the Galleria and Learning Express of Bakery Square. My books are also available at Malaprops in Asheville, NC; How To Live in Beach Haven, NJ; Cover to Cover in Columbus, OH and Book Soup in LA! You can find them online at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

Thanks for joining us, Sam! Be sure to check out her book!

Storytime: Letter Q

Welcome Song:

(to the tune of Farmer and the Dell)

            We clap and sing hello,

            We clap and sing hello,

            With our friends at storytime,

            We clap and sing hello!

            (wave, stomp, march, wiggle, blink, waddle)

 

Alphabet Song: Use shakers while singing!

 

Introduce Letter:

            Show kids a flashcard of the letter Q.

            Sing “The Q says q, the Q says q, every letter makes a sound, the Q says q.”

 

Book 1: Little Quack by Lauren Thompson and Derek Anderson

 

Activity: Sing “Five Little Ducks” and emphasize the quacking part!

 

Book 2: Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin

 

Activity: Quilting!

Talk about quilts and bring in lacing cards. Have the kids practice “sewing” a quilt by lacing the yarn through the lacing card.

 

Book 3: The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle

 

Review: Show letter flashcard and say the sound again

 

Craft: Letter Q quail

 

 

Storytime: Letter X

Welcome Song:

(to the tune of Farmer and the Dell)

            We clap and sing hello,

            We clap and sing hello,

            With our friends at storytime,

            We clap and sing hello!

            (wave, stomp, march, wiggle, blink, waddle)

 

Alphabet Song: Use shakers while singing!

 

Introduce Letter:

            Show kids a flashcard of the letter X.

            Sing “The X says x, the X says x, every letter makes a sound, the X says x.”

 

Book 1: What’s that Sound? Instruments

 

Activity: Bring a xylophone and let the kids take turns playing it.

 

Book 2: Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss

 

Activity: Talk about x-rays!

Pretend to take x-rays of the kids arms and wrap them in ace bandages.

 

Book 3: The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Debra and Sal Barracca

 

Review: Show letter flashcard and say the sound again

 

Craft: Letter X x-ray

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Storytime: Letter Y

Welcome Song: (to the tune of Farmer and the Dell)

            We clap and sing hello,

            We clap and sing hello,

            With our friends at storytime,

            We clap and sing hello!

            (wave, stomp, march, wiggle, blink, waddle)

 

Alphabet Song: Use shakers while singing!

 

Introduce Letter:

            Show kids a flashcard of the letter Y.

            Sing “The Y says yyy, the Y says yyy, every letter makes a sound, the Y says yyy.”

 

Book 1: Good Night Yoga by Diane Kovanda and Adam Gamble

 

Activity: Yoga!

Teach the kids easy yoga poses.

 

Book 2: Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

 

Activity: Yarn Play

Give each kid a long piece of yarn – what can they do with it? Swirl it? Make a snake? Wrap it around something?

 

Book 3: What Color is It? by Agnese Baruzzi

 

Review: Show letter flashcard and say the sound again

 

Craft: Letter Y yak

 

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Storytime: Letter E

Welcome Song: (to the tune of Farmer and the Dell)

            We clap and sing hello,

            We clap and sing hello,

            With our friends at storytime,

            We clap and sing hello!

            (wave, stomp, march, wiggle, blink, waddle)

 

Alphabet Song: Use shakers while singing!

 

Introduce Letter:

            Show kids a flashcard of the letter E.

            Sing “The E says eee, the E says eee, every letter makes a sound, the E says eee.”

 

Book 1: We’re Going on an Egg Hunt

 

Activity: Egg Hunt!

Write letters on the outside of plastic eggs, and have the kids find eggs with the letter E on them.

Book 2: Do Your Ears Hang Low by Jenny Cooper

 

Activity: Relay race!

Put plastic eggs on plastic spoons and have the kids walk across the room.

 

Book 3: 10 Easter Egg Hunters by Janet Schulman and Linda Davick

 

Review: Show letter flashcard and say the sound again

 

Craft: Letter E egg

Storytime: Letter K

Welcome Song: (to the tune of Farmer and the Dell)

            We clap and sing hello,

            We clap and sing hello,

            With our friends at storytime,

            We clap and sing hello!

            (wave, stomp, march, wiggle, blink, waddle)

 

Alphabet Song: Use shakers while singing!

 

Introduce Letter:

            Show kids a flashcard of the letter K.

            Sing “The K says k, the K says k, every letter makes a sound, the K says k.”

 

Book 1: What Color is a Kiss? by Rocio Bonilla

 

Activity: Types of Kisses

Print out the following pictures and when you hold them up, have the kids do that kind of kiss:

Grandma (grab cheeks and squeeze)

Fish (purse lips and move them)

Movie star (blow big ones)

Rabbit (wiggle nose)

Dog (stick out your tongue and lick)

Butterfly (bat your eyelashes)

 

Book 2: Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry

 

Activity: Lock and Key Match

 

Print out a set of keys and locks that match by color. Pass out the keys to the kids and place the locks on your flannel board. Call out a lock by color and have the child with the matching key come place it on the flannel board.

 

Book 3: The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt and Adam Rex

 

Review: Show letter flashcard and say the sound again

 

Craft: Letter K kite

 

Storytime: Letter N

Welcome Song: (to the tune of Farmer and the Dell)

            We clap and sing hello,

            We clap and sing hello,

            With our friends at storytime,

            We clap and sing hello!

            (wave, stomp, march, wiggle, blink, waddle)

 

Alphabet Song: Use shakers while singing!

 

Introduce Letter:

            Show kids a flashcard of the letter N.

            Sing “The N says nnn, the N says nnn, every letter makes a sound, the N says nnn.”

 

Book 1: Goodnight Numbers by Danica McKellar

 

Activity: Number Match

Write the number 1-10 on notecards. Bring objects and have the kids count out the objects and find the matching number.

 

Book 2: Noisy Night by Mac Barnett and Brian Biggs

 

Activity: Noise!

Using shakers or rhythm sticks, have the kids make noise when you hold up “Go!” and be quiet when you hold up “Stop!”

 

Book 3: Night Animals by Gianna Marino

 

Review: Show letter flashcard and say the sound again

 

Craft: Letter N night

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Storytime: Letter Z

Welcome Song: (to the tune of Farmer and the Dell)

            We clap and sing hello,

            We clap and sing hello,

            With our friends at storytime,

            We clap and sing hello!

            (wave, stomp, march, wiggle, blink, waddle)

 

Alphabet Song: Use shakers while singing!

 

Introduce Letter:

            Show kids a flashcard of the letter Z.

            Sing “The Z says zzz, the Z says zzz, every letter makes a sound, the Z says zzz.”

 

Book 1: My Grandparents Love Me by Claire Freedman and Judi Abbot

 

Activity: Sing “Zany Z’s are Zipping By” to the tune of “London Bridge”

 

Zany Z's are zipping by, Zipping by, zipping by.
Zany Z's are zipping by, Zip! Zap! Zoom!

 

Book 2: Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

 

Activity: Clue Zoo

 

Bring a bag of plastic zoo animals. Give clues about each animal and have the kids guess what it is.

 

Book 3: Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire

 

Review: Show letter flashcard and say the sound again

 

Craft: Letter Z zebra

Storytime: Letter J

Welcome Song: (to the tune of Farmer and the Dell)

            We clap and sing hello,

            We clap and sing hello,

            With our friends at storytime,

            We clap and sing hello!

            (wave, stomp, march, wiggle, blink, waddle)

 

Alphabet Song: Use shakers while singing!

 

Introduce Letter:

            Show kids a flashcard of the letter J.

            Sing “The J says jjj, the J says jjj, every letter makes a sound, the J says jjj.”

 

Book 1: Jamberry by Bruce Degen

 

Activity: Sing “Jump for Joy” using shakers or scarves

 

Book 2: Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales

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Activity: Jungle Sounds

Pull a jungle animal out of a bag and have the kids make that animal sound and pretend to be that animal.

 

Book 3: In the Jungle

 

Review: Show letter flashcard and say the sound again

 

Craft: Letter J jellyfish

Storytime: Letter D

Welcome Song: (to the tune of Farmer and the Dell)

            We clap and sing hello,

            We clap and sing hello,

            With our friends at storytime,

            We clap and sing hello!

            (wave, stomp, march, wiggle, blink, waddle)

 

Alphabet Song: Use shakers while singing!

 

Introduce Letter:

            Show kids a flashcard of the letter D.

            Sing “The D says ddd, the D says ddd, every letter makes a sound, the D says ddd.”

 

Book 1: Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri

 

Activity: Sing “Where, Oh Where did the Little Dog Go?”

 

Book 2: Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein

 

Activity: Dance like a dinosaur using shakers and scarves

 

Book 3: No, David! by David Shannon

 

Review: Show letter flashcard and say the sound again

 

Craft: Letter D duck

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Storytime: Letter L

Welcome Song: (to the tune of Farmer and the Dell)

            We clap and sing hello,

            We clap and sing hello,

            With our friends at storytime,

            We clap and sing hello!

            (wave, stomp, march, wiggle, blink, waddle)

 

Alphabet Song: Use shakers while singing!

 

Introduce Letter:

            Show kids a flashcard of the letter L.

            Sing “The L says lll, the L says lll, every letter makes a sound, the L says lll.”

 

Book 1: Lucy Lady Bug by Sharon King-Chai

 

Activity: Sing “London Bridges”

 

Book 2: Pete the Cat Five Little Ducks by James Dean

 

Activity: Play a memory game!

Place a bunch of “L” items on a tray. Cover it with a towel and take one item away. See if the kids can figure out which “L” item you removed.

 

Book 3: Llama Llama Wakey Wake by Anna Dewdney

 

Review: Show letter flashcard and say the sound again

 

Craft: Letter L lion

Storytime: Letter U

Welcome Song: (to the tune of Farmer and the Dell)

            We clap and sing hello,

            We clap and sing hello,

            With our friends at storytime,

            We clap and sing hello!

            (wave, stomp, march, wiggle, blink, waddle)

 

Alphabet Song: Use shakers while singing!

 

Introduce Letter:

            Show kids a flashcard of the letter U.

            Sing “The U says uuu, the U says uuu, every letter makes a sound, the U says uuu.”

 

Book 1: A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young

 

Activity: Sing “The Grand Ol’ Duke of York” – emphasize “up”

 

Book 2: Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems

 

Activity: Play the under game!

Put out a bunch of upside down cups. Place a small object under one of the cups. Have the kids take turns picking a cup to see if they can find the object.

 

Book 3: Mix it Up! By Herve Tullet

 

Review: Show letter flashcard and say the sound again

 

Craft: Letter U underwater scene

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Storytime: Letter W

Welcome Song: (to the tune of Farmer and the Dell)

            We clap and sing hello,

            We clap and sing hello,

            With our friends at storytime,

            We clap and sing hello!

            (wave, stomp, march, wiggle, blink, waddle)

 

Alphabet Song: Use shakers while singing!

 

Introduce Letter:

            Show kids a flashcard of the letter W.

            Sing “The W says www, the W says www, every letter makes a sound, the W says www.”

 

Book 1: Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman and Zachariah OHora

 

Activity: Sing “The Wheels on the Bus”

 

Book 2: What Will Hatch? By Jennifer Ward and Susie Ghahremani

 

Activity: Make weather

        Use shakers, rhythm sticks and scarves to make wind, rain, snow, and sunshine.

 

Book 3: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

 

Review: Show letter flashcard and say the sound again

 

Craft: Letter W watermelon

IMG_0819.jpg

Storytime: Letter V

Welcome Song: (to the tune of Farmer and the Dell)

            We clap and sing hello,

            We clap and sing hello,

            With our friends at storytime,

            We clap and sing hello!

            (wave, stomp, march, wiggle, blink, waddle)

 

Alphabet Song: Use shakers while singing!

 

Introduce Letter:

            Show kids a flashcard of the letter F.

Sing “The V says vvv, the V says vvv, every letter makes a sound, the V says vvv.”

 

Book 1: Peppa Pig I Love You Game

 

Activity: Sing “We’re Going on Vacation” (to the tune of She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain)

Oh, we’re going on vacation in a plane (zoom zoom)!
Oh, we’re going on vacation in a plane (zoom zoom)!
Oh, we’re going on vacation,
We’re going on vacation,
We’re going on vacation in a plane (zoom zoom)!

Oh, we’re going on vacation on a train (choo choo)…

Oh, we’re going on vacation in our car (beep beep)

Book 2: Happy Valentine’s Day Curious George!

 

Action Rhyme: Valentine, Valentine

 

Valentine, Valentine run in place

Valentine, Valentine touch your face

Valentine, Valentine turn around

Valentine, Valentine touch the ground

Valentine, Valentine touch your nose

Valentine, Valentine touch your toes

Valentine, Valentine jump and hop

Valentine, Valentine time to stop!

Valentine, Valentine pat your knees

Valentine, Valentine sit down please

 

Book 3: Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin! By Lloyd Moss

 

Review: Show letter flashcard and say the sound again

 

Craft: Letter V Valentine