Subway by Christoph Niemann.  This is currently the favorite book in the NYSCI Library.  The story engages children who ride the subway and those who only know cars.  We follow two children and their father as they spend a rainy day riding the various lines of the New York City subway system.  Here is the author’s blog about creating the book.

We have developed a fun activity to accompany this story time. An annotated subway map is affixed to a magnet board.  Each train line has a magnet.  We discuss our five boroughs and our neighbors (NJ, Long Island, Westchester).  As we progress through the book’s journey, listeners are invited to come up to the map and place the train letter/number on a mentioned station. 

At the end of the book, we learn about every one’s train line and station name.  Show us! we exclaim.  A fun lesson in the meanings of maps, trains, local & express concept and the layout of New York City.

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins.  This beautifully illustrated book, by one of our favorite authors, describes and SHOWS the actual size of animals. 

We have developed a fun measurement workshop to accompany the reading of this book.

Each participant starts with a paper foot (12” long) and fills in the blanks with some measurements including the length of the circulation desk, their height and weight, etc.  These numbers are referred to during the story.  “If Tiffany weighs 50 pounds and the gorilla is 600 pounds, it would take 12 Tiffanys to weigh the same!”

When we get to the 23 foot Saltwater Crocodile, the group of children are asked to lay 23 paper feet down on the floor, toe to heel, to better visualize this massive beast (who is known to enjoy eating buffalo!).

Making the abstract into concrete satisfies our patrons!

Celebrate National Poetry Monthon Saturday April 19th at 2:30in the NYSCI LibraryRead and write poems about sciencewith Poet Gustavo Rivera.

Celebrate National Poetry Month
on Saturday April 19th at 2:30
in the NYSCI Library
Read and write poems about science
with Poet Gustavo Rivera
.

This week I visited two interesting exhibits.  Well, they were of interest to a Children’s Librarian, certainly. 

 

The first exhibit was called Pop-ups from Prague,A Centennial Celebration of the Graphic Artistry of Vojtech Kubašta (1914-1992) at The Grolier Club on East 60th Street. The exhibition showcases the full range of artwork by this major Czech paper engineer, children’s book illustrator, and graphic designer.   Culled from the collection of Ellen Rubin (aka The Pop-Up Lady) many of these pop-up creations took us through history, showing us Sputnik, the Prague uprising and Mozart!  The collector gave an hour long talk about the history of pop-ups and this artist in particular.  On a personal note, I found some of his work charming, but it didn’t move me like the work of current US artist, Robert Sabuda.

 

Next, I moseyed down Fifth Avenue to an exhibit at the main New York Public Library branch, The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter.

 

This was a well done and visually appealing examination of why children’s books are important: what and how they teach children, and what they reveal about the societies that produced them.  I followed a docent tour with an intelligent volunteer.  It was just me and a lovely Dutch educator and the three of us enjoyed the show together.  Charlotte’s Web had an entire wall, as did Ferdinand The Bull.  And, as you can see from the photographs I have included, Good Night Moon had a full wall.

 

I also appreciated the displays about Anne Carroll Moore, who headed children’s library services for the New York Public Library system from 1906 to 1941.  She was an important influence on all children’s librarians and libraries and we are most grateful to her. Moore developed a set of standards that she called “The Four Respects”:

1. Respect for children. She wanted children to be treated as individuals and to be treated seriously.

2. Respect for children’s books. Moore was adamant that books for children should be well written, factually accurate and should not mix fact and fantasy.

3. Respect for fellow workers. She insisted that the children’s library be viewed as an integral and equal part of the complete library.

4. Respect for the professional standing of children’s librarians. Moore felt that the profession must recognize children’s librarianship as a professional specialty.

 

Another display featured Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the NYPL who pioneered the library’s outreach within the Puerto Rican community.  She was an active advocate for the Spanish-speaking community by instituting bilingual story hours, buying Spanish language books, and implementing programs based on traditional holidays.

 

The history of children’s literature was illustrated with examples of different styles of books.  Dick and Jane was right next to The Cat in The Hat.  These examples of children’s readers showed how attitudes about children’s development and education change through time.

I also enjoyed the tribute to Maurice Sendak’s work and Alice in Wonderland.

 

If you get a chance, stop by the NYPL for this exhibit.  It’s educational and fun!

Presidents Day Author Visit!

Elliott Kaufman, photographer, in the NYSCI Library, February 17, 2014.
Our library visitors learned to look at the world in a new way; recognizing letters and numbers every where they go!

Elliott engaged our audience with numbers and letters from his books, NUMBERS EVERYWHERE and ALPHABET EVERYWHERE.
Who is seven? he asked. He handed them photos of the number 7 that he has found in architecture and other places.
Who’s name starts with a B (or C or D)? 

This was a different sort of visit than our usual straight forward author visit.  He did not read a story or talk about writing children’s books.  He engaged the audience in visual fun.  They eagerly responded.  Thank you Elliot!  And thanks to Abbeville Press for making this happen and supporting our promotions.

Monday January 20, 2014, Martin Luther King’s Birthday.  FIRST VIRTUAL AUTHOR VISIT. Jean Marzollo read from her book, The Little Plant Doctor: The Story of George Washington Carver.  
It worked. The children were engaged during the reading. When Jean mentioned that she was happy to read about George Washington Carver on Martin Luther King Day, there was a current that ran through the children - a silent gasp. They got the connection and nodded and smiled and understood. 
In preparing for this event, I strived to keep my cynicism in check.  What about a live author signing her books for the audience? What about being THERE to encourage question?  
The audience participation and question asking period was dismal.  I interjected some of my tried and true, like “What was your favorite book when you were a child?”  (Mary Poppins).  It took a while for anyone to come up with a question.  This might have been due to the make-up of the group, being mostly children of immigrants and not raised to feel entitled.
Well, it worked for what it was… an alternative manner of presenting an author.  But why were we not packed in the library?  We had a nice bunch of listeners, but the dowel activity downstairs had people waiting in line.  Why weren’t they clamoring to get in here?  This mystifies me!
Yes, we will attempt more of these events in the future.  The challenge is choosing the right date.  Any Saturday might work, but not if the Museum is sparsely attended.  The only date that we ever really have a crowd in the library is on President’s Day in February.  We already have a live author booked for that day: Elliott Kaufman reading from his book, NUMBERS EVERYWHERE.

Monday January 20, 2014, Martin Luther King’s Birthday.  FIRST VIRTUAL AUTHOR VISIT. Jean Marzollo read from her book, The Little Plant Doctor: The Story of George Washington Carver. 

It worked. The children were engaged during the reading. When Jean mentioned that she was happy to read about George Washington Carver on Martin Luther King Day, there was a current that ran through the children - a silent gasp. They got the connection and nodded and smiled and understood.

In preparing for this event, I strived to keep my cynicism in check.  What about a live author signing her books for the audience? What about being THERE to encourage question? 

The audience participation and question asking period was dismal.  I interjected some of my tried and true, like “What was your favorite book when you were a child?”  (Mary Poppins).  It took a while for anyone to come up with a question.  This might have been due to the make-up of the group, being mostly children of immigrants and not raised to feel entitled.

Well, it worked for what it was… an alternative manner of presenting an author.  But why were we not packed in the library?  We had a nice bunch of listeners, but the dowel activity downstairs had people waiting in line.  Why weren’t they clamoring to get in here?  This mystifies me!

Yes, we will attempt more of these events in the future.  The challenge is choosing the right date.  Any Saturday might work, but not if the Museum is sparsely attended.  The only date that we ever really have a crowd in the library is on President’s Day in February.  We already have a live author booked for that day: Elliott Kaufman reading from his book, NUMBERS EVERYWHERE.

We enjoyed a fabulous author visit in our library on Saturday!  Deborah Heiligman read from her picture book bio: THE BOY WHO LOVED MATH: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos.
The engaged crowd of all ages were captivated by Deborah’s story and her lively reading.  Paul Erdos was a genius at math but found ordinary human tasks to be daunting.  When Deborah got to the part in the story when he finally learned to butter his own bread as an adult, the audience cheered.

We received a sweet holiday card from our friends at the UNI PROJECT. The Uni is a one-of-a-kind, portable reading room for NYC.  We contributed books to them in October 2012.  Here is what they wrote in the card:
"Dear Rebecca,We love having your carefully chosen books with us as we take the Uni around the neighborhoods. Thanks to all at the NY Hall of Science for your support of the Uni!  Best wishes for 2014."
Best wishes to you too, and thank you for the important work you do in our great city!

We received a sweet holiday card from our friends at the UNI PROJECT. The Uni is a one-of-a-kind, portable reading room for NYC.  We contributed books to them in October 2012.  Here is what they wrote in the card:

"Dear Rebecca,We love having your carefully chosen books with us as we take the Uni around the neighborhoods. Thanks to all at the NY Hall of Science for your support of the Uni!  Best wishes for 2014."

Best wishes to you too, and thank you for the important work you do in our great city!

 NYSCI’S FIRST VIRTUAL AUTHOR LIBRARY VISITMonday, January 20th at 2:30 pmMartin Luther King’s BirthdayThe Little Plant Doctor: The Story of George Washington Carverby Jean MarzolloWe are working with our NYSCI comrade and Tech Wiz, Anthony Negron, to offer visitors a new way to enjoy meeting authors and learning about their books…virtually!  With state of the art technology, we will certainly increase the number of available authors and illustrators to grace our library programs and benefit our visitors.
.
Our Virtual Visit debut will feature Jean Marzollo, the award-winning author of over 100 books for kids, including the I SPY series. Ms. Marzollo will read from her book about George Washington Carver’s  life and his love for and work with plants.
.
This biography has been a favorite of ours since it’s publication in 2011.  The story of this important scientist who changed the life of those in his native south is coupled with bright and bold paintings.
.
Although we will be unable to offer visitors a chance to buy a signed copy of this book, we are interested to try something new.
.
Ms. Marzollo has been a good friend to our library.  Last year, we noticed one of the visual clues missing from an I SPY book.  We wrote to her and she promptly sent us a replacement… PLUS sending us a very generous donation of some of her other wonderful books.


 

 NYSCI’S FIRST VIRTUAL AUTHOR LIBRARY VISIT

Monday, January 20th at 2:30 pm
Martin Luther King’s Birthday

The Little Plant Doctor: The Story of George Washington Carver
by Jean Marzollo

We are working with our NYSCI comrade and Tech Wiz, Anthony Negron, to offer visitors a new way to enjoy meeting authors and learning about their books…virtually!  With state of the art technology, we will certainly increase the number of available authors and illustrators to grace our library programs and benefit our visitors.

.

Our Virtual Visit debut will feature Jean Marzollo, the award-winning author of over 100 books for kids, including the I SPY series. Ms. Marzollo will read from her book about George Washington Carver’s  life and his love for and work with plants.

.

This biography has been a favorite of ours since it’s publication in 2011.  The story of this important scientist who changed the life of those in his native south is coupled with bright and bold paintings.

.

Although we will be unable to offer visitors a chance to buy a signed copy of this book, we are interested to try something new.

.

Ms. Marzollo has been a good friend to our library.  Last year, we noticed one of the visual clues missing from an I SPY book.  We wrote to her and she promptly sent us a replacement… PLUS sending us a very generous donation of some of her other wonderful books.


 

AUTHOR VISIT IN THE LIBRARY.

Author Christy Hale read DREAMING UP to an enthusiastic audience on Saturday, October 12, 2013.  We all learned about styles of architecture. The concepts were made concrete with a building activity that followed.
One visiting educator commented on the diversity of the children pictured in the book. Christy told us that her publisher Lee & Low Books is known for creating books especially for children of color.