Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Step right up

A book is a gift you can open again and again. ~~Garrison Keillor

I went to one child's holiday program yesterday.  I was happy to hear the principal  tell the audience that the gift of books is a great thing.  I couldn't agree more.  She said that if you need suggestions you can ask your child's teacher.  But, you can find more resources than just your child's teacher!  Librarians are a great source of help.  At least we try to be!  Ask someone who works in a bookstore.  Chances are if these people can't think of any books off the top of their heads, they'll know where to look to find what you're looking for.

If you have a child who hasn't discovered the joy of reading, they may not have found the right book yet.  Maybe they aren't great readers.  Either way, it's a fun thing to start reading together.  It's amazing how much people enjoy listening to a story.   Don't worry about if the book is going to challenge your child, if the book is an AR book, if your child is going to learn anything from it, or if it's considered a "good" book by some higher power.  What you're looking for in a gift book is one the gift recipient will not hate. Granted, if you are shopping for a book hater, that might be a pretty tall order.  But, there is more than just one kind of book out there.  Take a look at Manga or Graphic Novels, audio books, activity books, how-to books, an almanac, a book of world records, a comic bookIf there are words in there somewhere, it's a book that they'll have to read.  If there aren't any words in the book, they'll have to make up their own story.  If it's an audio book, there is only the joy of the story.

I had to go to the bookstore yesterday to find a few books.  (I know I talked about this a week or two ago,) I had no idea what to get for a couple of my children.  They read a lot.  I don't always know what they read.  I have some idea of the types of books they like.  I also have some idea of the books I like.  So, when I'd come to a likely candidate, I'd take a little time and read the first few paragraphs.  It took a little while to find a couple that I thought they might like, but here's hoping that I got it.  If not, the bookstore is local and they're pretty good about making exchanges.
If your wallet is not in favor of you spending even more money on something that you aren't sure your child will enjoy, I can recommend the for sale pile at your local library.  Many libraries have them.  I know the Coleraine Public Library has books for sale in their basement.  I was there this morning, and picked out a few.  I know the rest of my family is each getting at least one book, so I made sure that I'll have a new book to crack open as well.  Maybe it isn't exactly new, but it is new to me!     

Books are a great thing to get children for Christmas.  They have many days of Christmas break to get through and it wouldn't be too good for their brains to do nothing besides look at a screen.  (Or a bunch of screens as the case may be.)  At some point in time they will get on a parent's nerves and then the parent can say, "Go outside or go read your book."  Maybe they'll choose to do both.  Maybe you'll get to sit with them while they drink their hot cocoa and read a chapter or two of whatever book they got for the holidays.  See?  They're a bit worn out from being outside, and now they might quiet down a little while you're reading.  Win, win.  Mom got some quiet time, and now she's unwittingly fueling their little brains.  Even more of a win, you all get to enjoy some quality time together enjoying a story.  And that is a memory few kids forget.

So, step right up and get a book for your loved one.  It will be money well spent, even if you didn't spend very much.   

Christmas 2009

“Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it's much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!”
― Neil Gaiman

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12.12.12 days of Christmas

Lists are the butterfly nets that catch my fleeting thoughts... ~Betsy Cañas Garmon

Twelve twelve twelve.  The day we've all been waiting for.   Doomsday?  Lucky day?  To me all the date really signifies is that we only have 12 more days left until Christmas eve.  It means I need to work on my Christmas cards, finish my shopping, bake some cookies, wrap some gifts, bake some more cookies, and listen to Christmas carols until my ears bleed.

Bah, humbug, indeed.

But, today is the day we celebrate the number twelve.  I remember turning twelve.  It seemed a huge mile marker.  In the spirit of that feeling of joy, here is a list of twelve things I love. These twelve things are listed in no particular order beyond what I thought of next.

1.  I love the library because it has all kinds of good stuff to entertain and enlighten me.  And it's all free.  Unless I'm really late returning something, and then they just take the money out of my checks.  Just kidding!  They just pay me a reduced rate to balance things out.

2.  I love to go snowshoeing.  I will love it even more after we get some more snow.  We have about three inches.  Three more would be great.  We might get more this week which caused me to shout a hip hip hooray when I looked at the extended forecast this afternoon.

3.  I love getting Christmas cards from family and friends.  I would love to get cards from enemies too, if I had any and they cared to write once a year.  I like to see how everyone's family has grown over the year, and I like to look at the pictures on the cards and read the messages printed inside.  We've gotten many already, and it should be only another week or so until I get mine sent out.

4.  I love gingerbread men.  I love them.  I love the red hots and raisins they are decorated with.  For the past couple years, when my family gets together for our Christmas, I make gingerbread men and let the kids decorate them.  I really should take pictures.  Some of them are so full of red hots it's crazy.  This year I got some new cookie cutters.  Ninjabread men.  My nephews LOVED it, and so did everyone else.  The ninjabread cookies are gone, and it's now time to make more.  

5.  I love book club.  I have two book clubs.  One with my friends, and one with the library and my library friends.  The library club meets the last Wednesday of every month (except Nov. and Dec. when we meet a week earlier so as not to cramp our holidays).  I love meeting with people and discussing a book we've all read, or at least looked at the cover of, or thought about reading.  Neither of my book clubs is very strict when it comes to that.  Library book club meets next week.  We're reading A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg.  My other bookclub meets at some yet to be named date next month and we're reading Henry's Sisters by Cathy Lamb.  I love my book clubs.

6.  I love reading to kids.  I should amend that.  I love reading books that I've picked out to kids.  It's so much fun to introduce a child to the wonders of books.  I love it when I get to introduce them to some of  the authors and illustrators that are great at their craft.  Mo Willems is my favorite author/illustrator to read to any kid.  If you haven't had the chance to read a Mo Willems book, do so as soon as possible.  They are delightful.

7.  I love the relationships I have encountered while working in libraries.  I love the kids who come in on a regular basis and know what I'm like and seem happy to see me.  I love the patrons who come in on a regular basis and chat with those of us working behind the desk while they peruse for their next book.  I love that I know what some of them want before they do.  I love leading them to books that they wouldn't have picked up on their own.  I love talking to them about what they just finished reading and what they want to read next. 

8.  I love chocolate.   

9.  I love traveling.  I will go just about anywhere given the opportunity.  I love seeing new places.  I love exploring new places.  Hot, cold, sunny, rainy, snowy, it doesn't really matter too much.  Generally I bring a book with me so that I have something to do while traveling and it's a good back up plan for inclement weather.

10.  I love finding the quotes for these blog postings.  I also love finding the pictures and/or videos.  Usually the post leads to the quote, but sometimes it works the other way.  Sometimes I start with one and then have to change it to something else.  Sometimes the pictures spark more ideas than what I already had.  Sometimes a pictures says it all.  Sometimes it just hints.  It's fun to search for inspiration.

11.  I love cutting out snowflakes.  While I was coming up with the final two things on this list, I cut out a few snowflakes.  After I finish the posting, I'll hang them on the windows in the library.  They'll join the other four I made last week.  The two boys who were in here last week when I hung them up with impressed with my mad snowflake cutting skillz when they saw my yoda flake.  Yes, I love making snowflakes.  All it takes is paper and a decent pair of scissors.  

12.  I love all colors.  When asked what my favorite color is, I always answer with, "I don't have one, I love them all.  Except maybe puce."    I love mixing paints.  Blue with yellow, add a little white, then a little brown, then a little more yellow and see what you get.  I love how the colors change from one to the other, and leave spots of half mixed in between.  It's not so much the destination as the journey when I'm mixing colors.  The journey from blue and yellow to a sage-y green is fun.

And there's my twelve things for the twelfth day of the twelfth month in the year two-thousand-twelve.

A clock struck out the hour of twelve, and the bird in the hedgerow was still singing as we marched out to the roadway, and followed our merry pipers home to town.
Patrick MacGill

DJ's Christmas 2006 - the 12 days scene middle

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ode to Toys

The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.
~Charles Dudley Warner

 Ho, Ho, Ho only 20 more days to go.  That's two and a half weeks.  Yikes.  Guess I better start being good and hope that Santa will forget about the rest of the year.  My children also need to start being extra good and hope that he'll forget about the transgressions of the past year.  Not that there were that many.  Or that they were terribly severe.  It never hurts to put in a little extra effort just to be safe.  

I have been working at cleaning out my house.  Kind of.  I went through the bins of stored clothing in the basement, and 2/3 of the childrens' dressers have been gone through.  Summer stuff and too small stuff moved out, winter stuff and stuff that fits moved in.  I started going through the toys, but I shortly found myself on the verge of a mental breakdown, so I quit for the time being.  I'll have to get that done soon.  There are things in the basement that none of them have touched in the past couple years; and really, I probably played with the Little People stuff more than they did.  (It was one of my favorite things to do as a child, but somehow they never found them as appealing as I did.)  We have books coming out of our ears.  I need to go through those as well.  The good ones I pass on to other kids, and the really horrible ones get dumped.

So I was a smidge crabby this morning as I sorted through an accumulation of stuff that we don't use.  Or want.  Or take very good care of.  Why in the world would I add to this mess with some Christmas presents that probably won't be remembered a year from now?  I got a little Grinch-y.  And then I remembered being a kid at Christmas.  We didn't get toys and clothes except for birthdays and Christmas.  Unless they were hand-me-downs; and those were generally an unexpected thrill.  My kids don't get much either, unless it's hand-me-downs or they buy it themselves.  They don't get a lot from us or Santa for Christmas, so I should just quit my grumbling.  In a month, I may get to pick some new socks off of the floor instead of just the grungy old ones.  

I'm going with the one thing way this year.  One thing you want, one thing you need, one thing to wear, one thing to read, and one thing they really truly want.  Ahhh, at least one of those things doesn't make me feel like a Scrooge.  Books.  But which onesThe girls are 11,9 (almost), and five.  Which books to choose?  Oh, I can spend a lot of time looking online, but it isn't nearly as fun as shopping in person for books.  Then I can read the 5-year-old's book to make sure it isn't one I'll hate reading.  In years past I always have a great idea for reads, but this year I don't.  They've checked out so many library books, and read so many books in school that I can't keep track of what they haven't read yet.  This means a trip to the bookstore.  I will gladly spend time in a bookstore.  

And with that, the Christmas spirit hits me.  The Grinch is gone, replaced by a book lovin' momma who wants to share some literary joy with her children. 

If you have any good suggestions for books, please share them!!  I don't believe I'm the only one who could use them! 

Christmas is for children.  But it is for grown-ups too.  Even if it is a headache, a chore, and nightmare, it is a period of necessary defrosting of chill and hide-bound hearts.  
~Lenora Mattingly Weber

Thursday, November 29, 2012

From Russia with Love

“If you look for perfection, you'll never be content.”
  ~~Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

# 1858 Tolstoj

 I read Anna Karenina when I was in my early 20's.  I didn't have to, but at that time in my life I read a lot of the classics.  Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and Thomas Hardy were among the many authors I poured over in my spare time.  It took me months to finish Anna Karenina.  I learned a lot from that book.  Namely, that you don't have to finish a book you don't like.  I haven't finished a book I haven't liked since that one, unless it's been a you-have-to-read-it-for-book-club book.

I know, it's a classic.  I know, you loved it.  Or everyone you know who has ever read it loved it.  I hated it.  I read the unabridged version.  I almost want to read the abridged version to see if I can find out why people love the book.  Almost.  I want to see if my ideas about the book have changed now that I'm older.  Maybe it just wasn't the kind of book a single 22-year-old girl could relate to.  Maybe I would really enjoy the book now as I approach the big 4-0.  Then again, maybe not.

For having hated the book, I kind of am glad that I read it.  You see references to it here and there.  Leo Tolstoy's great book, one of the greatest books ever written!  I read it, and hated it.  I never was one to follow the herd.  (I didn't much care for Les Miserables either.)  But, I can say that I read it.  I tried it and didn't like it.  (Same for Les Mis--listened to the audio book and saw it on Broadway.  I liked the book better, but only slightly.)  Reading the classics is a great way to expand your horizons.  It lays the foundation for so many other things.  

The latest movie version of the book comes out on Friday.  I don't think I'll be going to the theater to see it.  I'll wait until the DVD comes to the library.  I'll try to find the abridged version of the book and read that in the meantime.  Maybe now that the internet is so readily available I can track down some discussions about what things mean in the book.  I can get find out what it is about the book that made others love it. 

Now and coming soon are a bunch of movies based on books.  Some of those books I've read and truly enjoyed.  Others I haven't found time to read yet.  Maybe I'll go see one of those instead of Anna Karenina.  Probably Rise of the Guardians, since I never got around to reading it even though I checked out the first of the books in the Guardians of Childhood series last winter.  With the movie in theaters, there is now a long wait for me to get my hands on a copy of Nicholas St. North and the battle of the Nightmare King again.  There's nothing like a movie to bring back interest in a book!

“One of the world's most tiresome questions is what object one would bring to a desert island,because people always answer "a deck of cards" or "Anna Karenina" when the obvious answer is "a well equipped boat and a crew to sail me off the island and back home where I can play all the card games and read all the Russian novels I want.”  ~~Lemony Snicket

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanks for being in my family.

 The family - that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to.  ~Dodie Smith

Happy Thanksgiving!!
Tomorrow is turkey day.  A day of gathering with family.  I've heard a lot of talk shows discussing the best way to navigate these functions.  The rules I remember go something like this

1.  Thanksgiving is not the time to drop any bombshells.  Save your horrible news for a different day.

2.  Help with the clean up.  The host has spent hours cleaning their house and cooking the food, the least you can do is help with the dishes.

3.  Stay away from controversial subjects at the dinner table.  This includes politics, religion, and personal information that is none of your business.

4.  Do not talk about the diet you're on.  Do not talk about the diet that anyone is on.  Food is a huge part of the day.  Eat what you're going to eat, but there's no need to explain the detailed reasoning behind your choices.

5.  Put your phone away.  Have some face to face conversation instead. 

6.  When all else fails, suck it up.  Put on your happy face whether you feel like it or not.  Fake it until you make it.

I'm fortunate that I don't have a family that I have problems with.  I enjoy all of them.  I'm still very lucky to have one set of grandparents to enjoy the holiday with, along with my parents, my siblings and their families, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  There are a lot of us.  A lot.  We have fun together.  We laugh a lot.  Most everyone plays nicely together.

I know how lucky am that this is the case.  And I am thankful for it. 

Family life is a bit like a runny peach pie - not perfect but who's complaining?  ~Robert Brault

Free fun at the library!

Storyhour at the Marble Public Library

Join Alicia every Wednesday from
3:30 to 4:45 pm
For a fun Story, Crafts and Snacks!
For Kids from 4 – 11 years of age!

Upcoming special events:
November 27th:  We will be showing “Brave” at 6pm. Enjoy the movie on our big screen!
December 2nd: 1-3 pm annual Christmas party at the Greenway Township hall.  Join us for sleigh rides,
                             crafts, cookies and cider.
December 26th: Skating Party at the Marble skating  rink.
January 9th: Birdseed snow angel: Come and create snow angels outside and decorate them with seeds,
       Then come inside to warm up with some hot chocolate and cookies!
February 6th: Snowmen build:  We will be joining the Snowfolk festival in Itasca county and help with the
        attempt to build 1000 snowfolk across Itasca county.

All events are free and from 3:30 pm – 4:45 pm unless otherwise noted.
For information, call 247-7676 and/or check us out on Facebook.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I love libraries so much I work at two of them!


This is not news.  I work at two libraries.  I got to work over at the Coleraine Public Library a couple of weeks ago.  During the day.  When the kids came over from the school across the street.  I work one day a week at the Marble Public Library, and we see many of the same kids day after day.  They're used to seeing me there.  It was a surprise to a couple of them to see me at a different library.  "Yes," I told them,  "I love libraries so much, I work at two of them!"

I love libraries.  At the library I have access to books, movies, CD's, and more.  For free.  If I want to try a new author or genre of books, see a movie I didn't want to pay full price to see in the theater, or listen to music that I'm not sure I want to buy; I can get it all at the library.  It's great!  If there isn't a copy in our library system, you can get one sent from elsewhere in the state.  For free.  There are also audio and e-reader books available for download.  For free.  How great is that??  As long as you don't damage or destroy the materials, you don't have to pay a thing.  Did I mention that the library has computers?  That they let you use.  And they're hooked up to the Internet.  For a small fee they'll also let you print stuff.  It's cheaper than buying an ink cartridge, that's for sure.

Libraries have events and programming available for free.  Sometimes you might have to pay a small fee for some sort of fund-raiser, but there sure is a lot available that doesn't cost anything.  Because of Legacy Funding, there are free museum passes available at the library. There are story hours and reading programs for kids.  Sometimes even for adults.  Reading programs that may give kids some incentive to read.  There are prizes to be had, and all at no cost.  If you're lucky enough that your library has some sort of reading program with prizes, how great is that?  

It's free.  There aren't any up front costs; unless you're wracking up fines, destroying materials, or lose your library card.  Indirectly, you've already paid for the services the library provides.  Public libraries are run on tax-payer money.  It's been a while since we've had to deal with the misbegotten idea that a closed library is a cut in taxes paid.  That's not the way it works in library-land.  If you close a library in your town, the same amount of tax dollars will still go to libraries--just not the one you closed.

I love libraries.

If you know of anyone who doesn't, send them my way.  I'll do what I can to change their mind. 

Whenever it is possible, a boy should choose some occupation which he should do even if he did not need the money.  ~William Lyon Phelps
 And so should a girl. ~Alicia Wikstrom

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Library of the Living Dead

I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters.
~George A. Romero

It's Halloween today.  The monsters will soon coming knocking at the door and begging for candy.  The monsters will be joined by vampires, witches, princesses, and various other characters.  Some are meant to scare and others are meant to delight, but all are meant to consume vast amounts of candy.

It's a time to be someone other than your usual everyday self.  It's time to let your imagination get the best of you.  What wild ideas have children come up with?  What characters have knocked on your door?  Who thinks of some of these things?  This year I couldn't think of anything, so I ended up looking like someone who has just been revived after dying of a candy overdose.

182 Hurricane Sandy 103012

It's time for all the scary stuff: scary movies, scary books, scary stories, scary weather.  The storms out east earlier this week caused a bit of anxiety even to those of us living far beyond the reaches of Sandy.  The worst of the storm is over, but there's still plenty of storm left.  I'm still waiting to hear how some of my favorite places withstood the tempests of Sandy.

Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY

The news is full of reports of how bad it was, and perhaps they're only showing us the worst.  The whole area hasn't been demolished.  Yes, there are millions of dollars worth of clean-up to do, but I would guess that it isn't as bad as many of us imagine it to be.  At least I hope it isn't that bad.  Those active imaginations at work can certainly make things out to be much worse than they really are.  It doesn't look very good; but on the bright side, it could be worse.

sand castle

Put your imagination to work, but don't let it run the whole show.  Being scared is a fun sort of thing, but only in moderation.  Being scared by monsters is one thing, being scared by current events is another.  It's fun to be scared by things that you know aren't real.  Today is the day to enjoy that phenomenon.  Try reading Mary Shelley's Frankenstein instead of the latest reports of the Frankenstorm.


Imagination creates some big monsters.
Olivier Martinez

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Brawling Debate

There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly becomes any of us
To talk about the rest of us.
~Edward Wallis Hoch

The Fight 2012 #1

We're coming to the end of the political campaign.  Finally, we're down to the last weeks before election day.  I; for one, will be glad when it's over.  I can only take so much negativity.  I know it will get more negative before it's over, but at least the end is in sight now.

 I appreciate that these people are willing to make an effort to improve the lives of everyone.  That is an impossible task.  I appreciate that there are many thoughts on how this can be done.  What I don't appreciate is the idea that one party is evil or *fill in the blank with whatever negative word you want*.  Everyone is striving for the same end goal.  I don't believe that any one person or party gets into politics so that they can either damage the world or control it.  (I'd like to think that only happens in books and movies.)   

Why can't we all just get along?  I suppose that's the nature of the beast.  Differing opinions among people with strong opinions lead to heated debates.  What I don't like is people telling me what their opponent did wrong.  When my children get in a fight, I ask what they did.  Once they start veering into telling me what the other did, I stop them.  It just makes me crabby.  Don't keep going on about what the other guy plans to do wrong or has already done wrong.  Tell me what your plans are.  Tell me about the good ideas you have.  Brow beating your opponent just turns me off. 

Can you tell that I watched part of the debate on Tuesday night?  I was in and out of the room.  One would start attacking the other, and I'd leave.  I don't want to hear it.  You don't like what they did; quit blathering on about it and tell me what you would do differently.  It really sounded like a couple of kids each trying to get the other in trouble with the teacher.  I suppose that at some level that's exactly what they were doing. 

You may not agree with my ideas.  You may think I'm way off in what I think is important.  But, that doesn't give you any right to tell me that I'm stupid because of it.  That certainly isn't going to persuade me to agree with your ideas.  Could you maybe just kindly tell me how a different idea could work better?  Can you take my ideas into consideration?  How much does it hurt to listen?  A lot apparently.  I don't think they're mortal flesh wounds, I think it just hurts their pride to admit that the other party may have a good idea or two.  

The players may not be able to hold their tongues, but we're a civilized society.  Mostly.  If you come across someone whose views you disagree with, there is no reason to make disparaging remarks to them about it.  

Until I take over the world, I guess I will just have to spend more time ignoring the political rhetoric. 

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
H. L. Mencken

elephant or donkey?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I want to be your friend.

 The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read.
~~Abraham Lincoln 

old book

I woke up to snow this morning.  It wasn't the first time this week either.  It's only October, and we've seen winter making itself heard.  I'm not quite ready for it.  The snowbirds are heading south.  Since I'm not a snowbird, I started clearing our winter path through the woods.  If we can get more snow than we got last year, I can spend some time out there on my snowshoes or cross-country skis.  We've had a fire going in the fireplace for over a week already and I've been fortunate to have a good book to curl up to it with.  

This is the time of year when there aren't many new books by favorite authors.  October is kind of a dry month for that.  Booksellers are waiting with new releases until the holiday shopping season starts in earnest.  Until then, you have to search around and find something written by someone you've never heard of before.  Either that, or catch up on the books you didn't find time to read over the summer.  Take a look at the best seller listings right now.  There might not be many authors you've heard of.  Although, some of the books on the list have been on there long enough that you might be living under a rock if you haven't heard of the Fifty Shades trilogy, and even those books are only on the paperback fiction list.  

If you don't go beyond a select group of authors, now is the time to try something new.  If you buy all your books, this may not be something you want to do.  Go to the library.  It's pretty much free.  Your tax dollars have already paid for your library card.  As long as you don't lose or damage a book, you don't have to pay to read.  Try to get your books in on time; but if you can't, late fees don't add up to much unless you're weeks late.  If you buy your books, use the library to find new authors.  Kind of a "try it before you buy it" thing.  Our library is pretty small, and we can't buy every book out there, but we can request things from other libraries.  Even libraries outside of our library system.  The great thing about libraries is that you can try a book out and if you don't like it, you don't have to read it.  You don't have to feel guilty about not reading it either.  It didn't cost you anything!

If you don't have any idea what new authors to try, ask someone who works at a library.  Most of us can find something for you.  If the library worker you asked didn't or couldn't help, try a different one.  (We all have off days!)  Just ask, we're at your service.  And I love helping people find things!  If you don't have a library worker in your back pocket, give me a few lines in the comment area.  I'll find you something.  I'd love to be your new best friend. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Story hour begins again.

Life is about using the whole box of crayons.  ~RuPaul

Story hour started again yesterday.  The kids came into the library while I was assisting a patron in finding some books.   Since that is one of my most favorite things to do, we got started a little late.  Since I also hadn't done much planning ahead, we got started a little later than late.  I guess I'm a fly by the seat of my pants worker.  And yet, things turned out fabulous.

I don't know where the idea came from exactly, but I decided we should read The Red Book by Barbara Lehman and Muffel and Plums by Lilo Fromm.

 The Red Book 

Find the similarity between these two very different books.  Ah ha, the similarity is that there aren't any words.  Stories told using just pictures are an interesting thing, especially with kids who've been in school for a couple of weeks where much of their work involves words.  

We're a very small community.  At the beginning of story hour I only had two kids in the room with me.  After the two books one of them left because his mom came to get him.  The child remaining poked her head out the door to yell "Hi" to her cousin playing in the park.  After a few minutes he wandered in and not long after that a friend of his walked past the door and was enticed to join us.

After making the late-comers read the books, they joined us in making our own books of stories without words.  They seemed to have a lot of fun.  The three kids and I made a total of about six and a half books (the half was mine).  They were kind enough to draw bar code labels on them so that they could be checked out by some of our other patrons.

Now, a person does not create a book without words without talking.  At least they don't when they're in a group.   It was fun to join in their conversations about books, library cards, and the colors best used in making a girl's hair; among other things.  It was interesting to note how difficult we all found it to tell a story without using words.   Mostly, we told our stories using a bare minimum of words.  

 A picture is worth a thousand words.  I looked to find where that saying came from, but it's not completely clear who said it first.  I was surprise to find the quote attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte on one quote site.  I think a picture is sometimes worth more, sometimes less than the thousand words.   

After story hour was over, the kids set up their books along the shelf where our new books can be found.  A few hours later, one of the kids brought in a friend to show him the books he made.  

How great is that?