Mind Your Manners


With Thanksgiving around the corner, it seemed like the perfect time to brush up on (or learn) good manners.  I held this story time at both the public library for K-5’s, and the elementary school library for two classes of transitional kindergarteners, omitting the pumpkin craft at the school due to time constraints and skill level.

.Yes Please, No Thank YouSuppose You Meet a DinosaurNo Slurping, No Burping

Students enthusiastically participated in the story, “Yes, Please!  No, Thank You!” by calling out the polite way to answer together throughout the story.

They also were very engaged in guessing well-mannered ways to respond to situations (“thank you,” “excuse me,” “I’m sorry,” “you’re welcome,” etc.) posed in Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur, A First Book of Manners, by Judy Sierra.

No Slurping, No Burping, by Kara LaReau, is a hilarious new picture book, published this year, with a role reversal twist that makes kids giggle.  A brother and sister have to help their father with his mealtime etiquette, and then a special surprise guest comes for dinner.  The students were so eager (and a little nervous, too!) to see if he could remember all the manners he had learned when grandma arrives.  When it’s time to have dessert, it became clear that she could use a little refresher on her manners also, and everyone dissolved into laughter.



We reviewed a picture of a simple place setting, and then had a relay race with 3 teams, each with a bag containing everything needed for one place setting:  plate, cup, fork, knife, spoon, napkin, place mat.  Students had to run up to the table with the bag, one at a time, quickly set a place setting, and once it was correct, put everything back into the bag and run back to the end of the line.  The teams livened up the race by supporting each other, calling out encouragement, chanting names, and chiming in with helpful pointers.  “Put the place mat down first!”  Who knew setting a table could be so exciting?

We finished up this story time by making a paper pumpkin to use as a Thanksgiving table decoration.  The most exciting part of making the pumpkins seemed to be the novelty of getting to use the hole punches.






orange card stock, cut in 12 strips, 1 1/2″ wide  X 10″ long

green pipe cleaner

pumpkin leaf outline copied onto green card stock


hole punch


Punch holes at each end of all the orange strips, and in the leaf to put the pipe cleaner through.  Crunch up a small section of the pipe cleaner at the bottom and top of the pumpkin, so the orange paper holds the desired shape.  Spread out the strips of paper in a circle.  Finish by curling the top of the pipe cleaner.


Student Poetry in the Library


A Book Enlarged Poem

When one of our wonderful consultants at the elementary school worked with students on poetry last year, she came to me with a few poems students wrote relating to books and reading, and inquired if I would like to display them in the library. How fast could I say, “Of course!”

Together we made library displays with the poems. She did the beautiful lettering on large white paper, and I cut out some decorations to go with them on black card stock, and installed them. I free-handed the book with a flock of birds flying out of it. The book and birds are affixed with T-pins, not staples, so I was able to give them a 3-D effect by pulling sections outward on the T-pins. Then my wonderful son gave me a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas, and I used it to cut the other display shapes (tree, grass, girl sitting on a book, book with bookmark, music notes).

They make me smile every time I read them, and the students are proud to point them out to their friends when they are in the library.

The Book

The Book

Upon a shelf
left there to stay

The popular books all taken away
where they can laugh and let their words play

The mystical books of wizards and elves
The scary horror stories of ghosts on the shelves

But alas, that’s nothing like me
I’m just a story ’bout a girl and her tree

The new books go in, the old go out
There’s hustling and bustling going about.

I inhale the smell of new brandished leather
The gilded gold spine that holds it together

That’s not just like me, my color is rust,
and I only smell of moth balls and dust

I’m on the shelf for days, weeks
But then at dawn, a new sun peeks

Then yes, yes, yes, I knew it was true
The librarian says, “This book’s just for you.”

I shine with joy, I dance with glee
For I am a book ’bout a girl and her tree.



The Lonely Book

The Lonely Book

There sat a lonely book
It was the kind of book that nobody took

It sat on the shelf with nobody there
Other books passed by it without a care

Finally the lonely book met a lonely girl
And they hit it off in their lonely world

They walked off feeling fine
The loneliness won’t be back for a while




I am the music of reading
My melody is the beating of words in my head
It moves to the rhythm of my eyes
ripping down the page
With harmonies of overwhelming silence


First Lines: Can You Name the Book?




How many times has a book grabbed your attention from the very first sentence?

Students can peruse this interactive bulletin board and test themselves on their knowledge of opening lines to popular books, as well as be inspired to find a particular book in the library, after reading an opening line that sounds appealing to them.

On the front of the card, I printed the opening line from a book, and on the inside, I printed the title, author, and call #, to aid students in finding the book.  I also added a small piece of Velcro to hold the flaps down, since laminating them caused them to not fold tightly.

My criteria for selecting the quotes:  It had to be a fiction book currently owned by the school library, so students can check the book out.  (Sadly, this eliminated quite a few stellar first lines.)  The selections must have a variety of appeal to both boys and girls, and include reading levels grade 2 – 6.  I included some books that I know are read as part of grade-level classroom assignments, some award winners, some new books I wanted to attract interest in, and some beginning chapter book series.

     IMG_6274 IMG_6276 IMG_6275

 Take a minute and have fun seeing how many opening lines you can match up
with the book titles shown below them.

 Opening Lines:

     IMG_6265      IMG_6267

     IMG_6289     IMG_6288

      IMG_6269      IMG_6271

     IMG_6272      IMG_6273

     IMG_6277      IMG_6278

     IMG_6279       IMG_6281

     IMG_6282      IMG_6284

     IMG_6285      IMG_6286

     IMG_6287      DSC04854

     IMG_6296      IMG_6297

     IMG_6298      IMG_6299

     IMG_6290     IMG_6293

     IMG_6294     DSC04834



Book Titles:

     IMG_6300      IMG_6301

     IMG_6303      IMG_6304

     IMG_6305     IMG_6302

      IMG_6306      DSC04884

     IMG_6309     IMG_6307

     IMG_6308     IMG_6311

     IMG_6312     DSC04874

     IMG_6313      IMG_6314

     DSC04885     IMG_6326

     DSC04883      IMG_6318

     IMG_6319      IMG_6320

     IMG_6325      IMG_6321

     IMG_6322      IMG_6323


Angry Birds are Mad About Books!


The youth section of the public library where I work has six large bulletin boards, that the Youth Services staff change several times a year, to fit a selected theme.  This is my creation for the current “Games” theme.

I was given the video game of Angry Birds to work with, and had to do a little research on it, as I had never played the game.  And by “research,” I mean download the free game app and play it!  It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

I cut the lettering out with my Silhouette Cameo, to recreate the font used for the game that looks like paint brush strokes.  I also used the Silhouette Cameo to cut out the stacks of books inside the cardboard tube structure with the green pigs.  The Angry Birds are made with rubber Halloween masks I found at the $1 store.  The red and yellow birds are stuffed with paper and attached with T-pins to the bulletin board.  The black bird mask is stretched to fit on a black rubber ball, and suspended with fishing line from the ceiling.

I’ll leave it to you to guess whether I deleted the Angry Bird game from my phone when I  finished with my “research.”