New Look!

My website misbehaved one too many times (it wasn’t letting anyone post comments!), so I decided to switch themes and change things up a bit. Hence the sudden new look. I’m liking the changes so far…

Hope everyone has a great Halloween tomorrow! 🙂

Storytime Music List

Hey guys! I forgot to mention that I compiled a list of the (recorded) music I’ve used at storytime. It can be found as “Storytime Music” under “Storytime Extras” in the sidebar. Or here’s the direct link! I also have several songs I haven’t yet used at storytime but hope to in the future. I haven’t added them into the list yet, but I plan on editing this list as the days go by. Here’s also an opportunity for YOU to share with me YOUR favorite songs to use at storytime. For the present, I won’t be using much music since I’m mostly going into the classrooms to share stories. But I do plan on bringing an ipod and portable speaker for my kindergarten and preschool visits (for a little dance break). Happy Storytiming!

What I’ve been up to

Oh my, it’s been too long since I’ve posted! Which also means I haven’t been doing very many storytimes lately. 🙁

I am currently subbing from time to time at the desk in the Kidspace at Gail Borden Public Library… where I also volunteer to cover storytime every now and then. I’m on the lookout for a part-time library job/new storytime home where I can regularly do storytimes again.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been writing and submitting children’s books (mostly picture books but also a wacky lower middle grade book… all with a thread of silliness, of course). I’m really enjoying the process and the journey… and I hope that one day I’ll be able to get published and read my own book at storytime!

I am also leading a series of “Story Theater” classes for Grades 1-3 at Gail Borden’s South Elgin Branch Library March 27-29, 10:30 – 11:30 am. We’re going to make stories come alive through storytelling and interactive theater games. It should be a lot of fun!

I keep saying that I’ll post more and then I don’t, so I won’t make any promises! But I do hope it won’t be as long until my next post. Best wishes!

Summer Job and Storytimes!

Hey, everyone!StorytimeFoxSecret I’ve got some news to share… I’m back at a library! I am working a temporary summer job over at the super duper Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin! I’ve been volunteering on and off over there for a while, but it’s nice to now be an employee at my local library. I’m working in the children’s department on the desk, helping kids find good books and sign up for the summer reading program.

I also have a few storytimes I am doing this summer (including one TOMORROW):

Wed., June 15, 10:30am @ Rakow Branch Library in Elgin
Wed., June 29, 10:30am @ Rakow Branch Library in Elgin
Fri., July 1, 12:30pm @ Lakeside Fest in Crystal Lake

I hope that you are having a great summer full of good books and fun times!

Happy 100th Birthday, Beverly Cleary!

Jen and RamonaI don’t usually post anything here other than storytime plans, announcements, and the occasional booklist or early literacy tip (and even those posts have been rare lately! Sorry; I am still on hiatus**), BUT I have to come out of the woodwork to declare my love for Beverly Cleary and to wish her a very happy 100th birthday!!! Her Ramona books were some of the first books that really got me excited about reading and writing when I was a kid (I even wrote “Ramona Gets Married” for my Young Author’s book in third grade!)… and they continue to influence me and inspire me today (especially in my writing). I’ve enjoyed re-reading all of the books and writing a paper titled “Ramona Quimby Grows Up: Tracing the Character Development of Ramona in the Henry Huggins and Ramona Series” in library school, visiting the sculpture garden in Portland (and also walking on the real Klickitat Street!), listening to the audiobooks narrated by Stockard Channing, checking out the Ramona statue and exhibit at the St. Paul Public Library, and placing my own middle grade book (that I am working on) in the category: “for fans of Ramona.” I’m a forever fan, and I am so grateful for Beverly Cleary! For a long time, I’ve wanted to be like her: a librarian and a writer. She’s a great role model.

I’ve been thrilled with all of the attention she’s been getting lately. I’m starting a collection of links of posts/articles in her honor that have popped up this year. I haven’t had the chance to read them all yet, but I am looking forward to checking them out (and adding to this list). If I still have any readers out there who have additional links to send me, feel free to post them in the comments section.

ALSC: Celebrating 100 Years of Beverly Cleary
BookRiot: 100 Awesome Things About Beverly Cleary on Her 100th Birthday
Book Riot: To Ramona Quimby, with Love
CNN: Happy 100th Birthday, Beverly Cleary!
GoodReads: 7 Delightful Beverly Cleary Quotes to Celebrate Her 100th Birthday
Horn Book’s Collection of Posts Tagged “Beverly Cleary at 100” (There are multiple pages worth!)
The New York Times: Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary!
The New Yorker: Beverly Cleary, Age 100
NPR: Beverly Cleary is Turning 100, But She Has Always Thought Like a Kid
Oregon Public Broadcasting: 5 Things About Beverly Cleary
Picture Book Builders: Beverly Cleary’s 100th Birthday!
Publishers Weekly: Beverly Cleary, on Turning 100
Publisher’s Weekly: Beverly Cleary’s Birthday Party of the Century
Publishers Weekly: Still Cleary After All These Years
School Library Journal: Beverly Cleary Turns 100 Today
TODAY Interview
The Washington Post: Beverly Cleary on Turning 100
Yakima Herald: Beverly Cleary’s Formative Year as a Librarian

**Though I am still on hiatus (for now), I WILL be doing another guest storytime at Rakow Branch next Wednesday, April 20 at 10:30!!!


I am feeling a little sad today, knowing that storytime is starting up again… without me. I’ve had the best group over at the Randall Oaks Branch Library in West Dundee, Illinois these past couple of years, and I already miss them lots! I know that Ms. Susan will do an excellent job.

I have left my job at the library, and I am going on a storytime hiatus for a bit. Among other things, I am planning on focusing on some writing projects. (I have a few picture books and a chapter book that I’m working on!) I would also like to work on this blog a little, maybe finally adding some more videos, book talks, new look… Feel free to check in on me here!

I hope that come spring or summer, I’ll start doing some storytelling events again. I LOVE STORYTIME!

Until then, I’ll be hibernating and thinking about happy memories…

Photo by Mike Greene
Photo by Mike Greene