Flannel Friday Roundup

I am sharing my most recent flannel story board creations.     There are several places I go to for inspiration and I especially love the Flannel Friday group which has a fantastic Pinterest page.  I’m excited to participate for the first time with Flannel Friday!  I also can’t take all the credit for the designs, templates are a life-saver!

I can definitely tell my first pieces from my more recent items and I was a bit intimidated after seeing so many awesome craft projects.  I didn’t think I could create them as nicely as the examples… Yet, now I am hooked on making flannels! It takes some practice to cut the pieces just right and to use the Sharpie markers to add life to the object.  I love the interaction they bring to my storytimes, and they allow the children to become involved in the activity.  The flannels are especially good for those young ‘helpers’ in the class as it gives them a task.   I’ve also been using flannels because there are so many early literacy concepts to be introduced through such a simple technique.  In just these few projects included in this post, I was able to do colors, numbers and counting, sounds and actions, and concept recognition.


This toothy, yet adorable, shark made for a great pairing with 5 little fish. I also used a shark puppet in combination and it made for fun storytelling.



I found the crayon template and was immediately excited to do colors. I stuck to the basic rainbow colors. I created the crayola box from a generic online image and added my own colors and design. I also cut a slit to create an opening for the crayons to be taken out and then put back inside. It worked really well and the kids enjoyed being able to take out and put back the crayons.



My take on “5 Little” racecars. I used these for a “Cars, Planes, Trains” themed storytime as part of the Summer Reading “Have Book, Will Travel” theme for 2013. The kids enjoyed making race car sounds and driving the little cars on the board. 



Five Little Cats with Five Fancy Hats. There are many adaptations to use with this story including colors, numbers and clothing.

Flannel Rhyme: Cat in a Hat
Adapted from “Tell Me a Story” online.
(Make five tiny hats, and add them, one at a time)

One little cat in a sunny day
Put on his hat and went out to play.
Two little cats when it started getting dark
Put on their hats and went to the park.
Three little cats when the sky was blue
Put on their hats and went to the zoo.
Four little cats by the kitchen door
Put on their hats and went to the store.
Five little cats on a sunny day
Put on their hats and they all ran away. (take down all of the hats)


I created these zoo animals using various templates I found online. They worked great in conjunction with the 2014 Summer Reading theme, “Paws to Read.” I was able to not only do colors and numbers, but types of animals, animal habitats, and animal sounds. It really helped expand on the animal idea.

April & May 2014 Book Club Discussion and New Selection

Sigma Kappa Book ClubWelcome to our Virtual Sigma Kappa Book Club! Be sure to visit us on Goodreads, and please join our Sigma Kappa Group! Even if you can’t participate in our book discussion, join the group and meet a new reader.

Our March 2014 selection was the novel, Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner. The book tells the story of a political mogul, his wife and children who find themselves in the midst of a heated scandal. When I started this book, I thought it was going to be just another ‘fluff’ story. Yet, this book was so much more than I thought!

The story is about the Woodruff family; Sylvie and Richard, along with eldest daughter Diana and youngest daughter Lizzie. Each chapter was told from one of the three women’s point of view and offered wonderful insights into the ‘person’ behind the story. I thought the varied storytelling made for an intriguing family story. It helped me understand what the characters were feeling, thinking, and why choices were made, from their perspectives. I also enjoyed reading about the different family relationships, and how they changed over the course of time. I’m glad I purchased this one, and am pleased to add it to my collection.

Here are some questions to get you thinking a little more about the book. Please do post your thoughts and questions in the comments or in our Goodreads group!

What are your thoughts about the book? Have you read a Jennifer Weiner story before?

Did you like that each chapter had a different narrator?

What do you think of each of the three main women characters? Did you find fault or success in their end choices?

What do you think about the title, “Fly Away Home,” and its significance to the characters?

What do you think about the sister dynamics and the mother-daughter relationships? How do they work together? How does Sylvie and Richard’s marriage affect the family dynamics?

The InterestingsOur next book selection is the New York Times bestselling novel, The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer. Not only does it have this fantastic, colorful and striped cover, but is also a 2013 Goodreads Choice Nominee for Best Fiction and a 2013 Paris Review Best of the Best. (By the way, how many of us choose a book by its cover?)

The story begins at a summer camp. Six teenagers meet the summer of 1974, the year President Nixon resigns. The group remains ‘best friends forever’ over the years, each growing a life in different directions, yet, staying friends. The story follows the group to New York City, through careers and life choices, and displays for the reader how these personalities and friendships develop and change. The book has been described as panoramic, wide in scope, and even epic.

Visit Meg Wolitzer’s website and learn more about the author and her works.

Read the April, 2013 New York Times review upon the book’s release.

Read an interview of the author, Meg Wolitzer on NPR’s Fresh Air from February, 2014. You can also listen to the interview and read an excerpt.

This has been on my to-read pile since it first came out and I’m eager to read it! I hope you like it too. Happy Reading! See you in May!

March 2014 Book Club Discussion and New Selection

Sigma Kappa Book ClubWelcome to our Virtual Sigma Kappa Book Club! Be sure to visit us on Goodreads, and please join our Sigma Kappa Group! Even if you can’t participate in our book discussion, join the group and meet a new reader.

malalaOur book selection for what turned into January and February 2014 was the New York Times bestselling memoir, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb. This book has been so incredibly popular, it took me at least three weeks to get the book from my library, and I’m a librarian! I hope the extra time we took for book club gave you extra time to not only get the book, but read it, think about it, and want to just share your thoughts about it!

While I do love biographies and memoirs, this isn’t the kind of book I would normally pick up. I was hesitant I would like the story, and yet, I was completely surprised! I couldn’t put this book down once I got involved in Malala’s story, so I finished it in a few days. I also read the reviews, watched her videos, and did a bit of research about A World at School. Fascinating and enlightening to learn about people who seem so very far away, yet just want to go to school.

The most influential part I found was that no matter what others told her, Malala never gave up. She fought for her rights as both a young woman and a student in what came to be a discriminatory and war-torn country. I also found the history of this area to be both fascinating and puzzling. I became completely aware of how lucky I am in America to have the rights I do as a person, woman and student, and just how much others in this world just don’t have those same standards. I found some of the writing to be a bit terse, perhaps that came as a result of the story being told and written through her co-writer. There were moments of confusion because the political structure of this area is always changing, and those were some of the parts I tended to have to re-read. Overall, I was simply surprised, and I really enjoyed this read. Thanks Sigma Kappa members for the suggestion!

What are your overall impressions of this book? Were you surprised? Would you have chosen this on your own?

What do you think of Malala’s story? Would you have done what she did by continuing to go to school, despite the situation?

Do you find this story has increased your awareness of global education, the area of Swat, women’s rights, or other topics?

How do you think her parents’ positive influence in her life had an impact on her decisions?

If you could ask Malala any question, or talk to her about any topic, what would you choose and why?

There is some controversy about this book, some claim it has been overinflated or puffed up to add drama. Others in her native country have protested her movement. This article explains some of the controversy. What do you think? I found her Wikipedia article interesting and it gave some good links to other stories.


Our March 2014 selection is from one of my favorite authors and on the lighter side — Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner. I have yet to dislike one of her books, and I find she is a smart and intelligent writer for women who like funny, clever characters or over-the-top scenarios and situations. Fly Away Home is available in paperback and e-book edition, as well as the library, and was first issued in 2010.

The book tells the story of a political mogul, his wife and children who find themselves in the midst of a heated scandal. However, this is also a book about mothers and daughters and their relationship with each other. It’s a book I hope will make you turn the pages and want to talk about with someone as soon as you finish!

Visit Jennifer Weiner’s website and learn more about her writing, personality, and what she has in the works. Jennifer Weiner also is pretty active on Goodreads and Twitter. She is a bit silly, and fun.

Enjoy the book and see you in April!

SNAILS Meeting, February, 2014

The Glenside Public Library hosted the quarterly meeting of the SNAILS networking group (Special Needs and Inclusive Library Services).  We had 30 libraries from across the area represented in attendance.

The meeting started with a presentation from JJ Hanley of JJ’s List.  This is a directory website similar to Yelp for people with disabilities.  Libraries can be listed and include all the services and programs they provide, especially those that are helpful for people with special needs.  We then had a discussion and reviewed examples of marketing ideas and community assessments done by other libraries.

Following lunch, we viewed the webinar by Barbara Klipper, “What’s After Storytime?  Programming for Children & Tweens with Autism.”    She is also the author of the book Programming for Children and Teens with Autism Specturm Disorder available at the ALA Store.

Overall, a great meeting and a room full of inspired and caring librarians.

Find out more about SNAILS at the group’s blog. 

The next meeting will be on Wednesday, April 23rd at 9:30 am at the Vernon Area Public Library in Lincolnshire. 

Lincoln Story League January, 2014

I attended the first meeting of 2014 held at the Mount Prospect Public Library.  Libraries in attendance included Poplar Creek, Gail Borden, Crystal Lake, McHenry, Park Ridge, Evanston, St. Charles, Schaumburg, and Bartlett.   Many of the ideas presented were winter and snow themed and included several flannel stories, music, and crafts.  Other highlights include :

Mustache storytime using props and flannel board.

Gail Borden shared their startup information for a community garden.

Two librarians shared nice draw-and-tell and cut-and-tell stories in which the story is told while it is drawn on a white board or cut out on a piece of paper.

Mr. Brian from the Evanston PL completes a Best Books List each year and this was passed out to everyone.

If you are interested in handouts or ideas, let me know!  The next meeting is on February  5th at the Crystal Lake Public Library.

January 2014 Book Club Discussion and New Selection

Sigma Kappa Book ClubThanks for all of your great responses to our Virtual Sigma Kappa Book Club! Be sure to visit us on Goodreads, and please join our Sigma Kappa Group! Our group is steadily growing. We now have 40 members! Even if you can’t participate in our book discussion, join the group and meet a new reader.

Goodreads is a social site for book lovers and readers. You can see what your friends are reading, keep track of the books you read or want to read, and more. You can link Goodreads with your Facebook account, among several other sites.

You’ll notice we seem to be alternating between fiction and non-fiction. I haven’t set this type of pattern on purpose, but am choosing books based on suggestions from other Sigma Kappas, interesting stories, time and news worthiness, and hopefully just plain great reads! I love keeping the mix of fiction and non-fiction as there are great books out there in both areas. If you don’t see a book you like, or really want to introduce the group to a story you love, then tell us! It will be considered for an upcoming selection with my fellow bloggers.

18619684Happy New Year Sigma Kappas! I hope you enjoyed our December selection, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I’m still in the middle of reading it as I got a bit of a late start and the holidays took up more of my reading time. I found myself having a tough time with the first 50 pages or so and that has slowed down my progress with this book. I’m not sure if it was the number of pages that intimidated me, or that I felt confused in the beginning and found it hard to continue the story. Overall though, I’m enjoying this book and the storytelling is fantastic once I got over the hump.

Here are some questions to get us started:

Did anyone else have a hard time with this novel?

What did you like best or least about this book?

Have you seen the movie? How do you think the book compares? Which did you like better?

How do you think the romance and time travel affect each other?

Is there any scene that particularly stands out to you?

Did you like the main characters and/or their relationship?

malalaOur new selection for January 2014 is the New York Times bestselling memoir, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb. This is the story of a teenage girl named Malala who was shot in the head by the Taliban because she believed in her right as a woman to an education. She is also the youngest person to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This book won the 2013 Goodreads Choice award for memoir & autobiography, and it came recommended by a fellow Sigma Kappa.

Check out more about this at Google Books or at our Goodreads group. The book is available in hardcover and e-book format.

Watch her when she talked to PBS’s NewsHour and learn first hand about her battle.

Read a review from The Washington Post which gives a great overview of her story and some of the politics surrounding it.

Visit the website A World at School or The Office of the UN Special Envoy for Global Education to find out about the international effort being done to ensure all children’s right to an education.

Enjoy this inspirational and fascinating story! See you in February!

Lincoln Story League December, 2013

I attended the Lincoln Story League meeting on December 4th at the Evanston Public Library.  Libraries in attendance included Poplar Creek, Warren-Newport, McHenry, Palatine, Crystal Lake, Glenview, Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Evanston, Park Ridge and Gail Borden.  Many ideas were winter and holiday themed.   Really cute crafts and flannels were shown.  Some of the more popular ideas introduced new songs or games such as “The Alligator in the Elevator” and “Icky, Sticky, Bubblegum.” Bigger events that were highlighted included an American Girl Tea Event from Arlington Heights and  a Preschool Teacher Open House Event from Gail Borden.

The quarterly Story Art magazine was distributed.  Copies for you to read are in youth department.  The next meeting is January 9th at 9:30 am at the Mount Prospect Public Library.