1/4 | Garden State Children Book Awards
Every Fall, a list of nominated books (published three years before the award) is created by a committee that is part of NJLA’s Children Services Section. According to the GSCBA’s page, members of the committee select these books based on their “literary merit and appeal to readers.” The four award categories for author and illustrator are: “Easy to Read”, “Fiction Series”, “Fiction”, and “Nonfiction.”
The winning books are announced at the NJLA conference in late spring where children then have an opportunity to vote at the Livingston Library– or at their public school in Livingston– for their favorite nominated book. Children who vote at the library are entered into a random drawing for a prize, with this Fall’s winner being Samay Malde!
The Livingston votes have been counted! Here are the top three titles for each category:
Prince Fly Guy by Ted Arnold
I will Take a Nap! by Mo Willems
Hot Rod Hamster and the Awesome ATV Adventure by Cynthia Lord
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney
Babymouse: Bad Babysitter by Jennifer Holm
The Rat with the Human Face by Tom Angleberger
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Eva Sees a Ghost by Rebecca Elliott
Hippos are Huge! by Jonathan London
How to Swallow a Pig: Step-by-Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page
1/6 & 1/11 | Story Coders
Second and third graders, along with their parents, enjoyed learning some coding basics using the Finch Bot and ScratchJr. The well-attended program was divided into three parts and the children and parents played tic-tac-toe as an icebreaker activity.
After introductions, Amanda and Joseph invited the group onto the story mat for the Finch Bot activity. The story mat was set up for the story If You Give a Mouse a Brownie by Laura Numeroff. The Finch Bot acted as the mouse in the story and the children had to direct the “mouse” from picture to picture following the sequence of the story. For this activity, the Finch Bot was only capable of moving straight.
Joseph explained that sensors on the front of the bot acted as the bot’s eyes. The children could direct the bot to turn left or right by placing special cards in front of the bot. Children took turns figuring out how many space the bot should move straight and which direction it needed to turn in order to reach the next picture.
For the second activity, Joseph demonstrated how to make a simple story following the If You Give a Mouse a Brownie pattern. The children and parents worked on creating their own versions of the story while Amanda and Joseph answered questions as needed. At the end of the class, the children had an opportunity to share their stories.
1/8 | Charcoal Sketch Workshop
Many of the students were using charcoal for the first time; they followed the teacher’s detailed instructions on how to hold the charcoal, where to draw the lines, how dark to make each line, and how to use the blending tool to create the desired effect.
1/9 | Yakety Yak
The well-attended book club for second and third graders discussed Asia Citro’s Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows. One of the reasons the children gave for liking the story was that it mixed fantasy and science. They liked that the story was both fun and educational.
During the story, Zoey made and tested hypotheses to figure out what the dragon liked to eat and how to make him better. For the activity, children used modeling clay to create their own dragon eggs and decorated them using food dye and beads.
1/11 | Story Time with Live Guitar Music
Guitar Joe sang songs and told musically-based stories, accompanied by his acoustic guitar and a small bongo-like drum. Anna helped by showing picture books & puppets based on some of the songs.
The kids were encouraged to participate, such as helping with the distribution of maracas during the reading of “Drum Dream Girl,” which describes different forms of percussion, and encouraging the children to match the various rhythms in the story. The children responded enthusiastically (though, thankfully, not too rambunctiously) to both the music and the stories, all while receiving lessons in subjects like counting, spelling, and gender equality.
Watch a video of the performance of Guitar Joe’s version of We’re Going To Be Friends.