Imagine Your Story! Summer, 2020

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

It's time again for summer reading! Our theme for 2020 is Imagine Your Story, with a focus on fairy tales, folklore, and fantasy. In the coming months (and beyond!), we hope that you'll find plenty of opportunities to stretch your imagination and let your creativity shine. We encourage you to read great books...but also to tell your own stories, draw pictures, make things, and explore. There's no limit to what your imagination can dream up!

We particularly like fairy tales (and fantasy books) because they encourage readers of all ages to think outside the "norm," and explore magic, make-believe, and adventure--both in our real world and in worlds created by our favorite authors. Sometimes, watching a fantasy hero or folklore figure perform great deeds can make us think about great deeds happening around us, or ones we can do ourselves. And of course, as Roald Dahl would say, those who don't believe in magic will rarely find it. And we want readers everywhere to find as much magic as they can, every day!

We know our Summer Reading program looks a bit different this year, and we wish it didn't have to be that way. But there are still tons of stories to share and fun to be had this summer, and we hope your library can help!

If you'd like to join us for Summer Reading this year, please visit our Summer Reading Virtual Headquarters. You can sign up, track your progress, find some fun activities, and more. And if you have any questions, please just let us know!

We hope you'll have a great summer.

Story Time Tuesday: Hamlet in Doodles

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

We miss our weekly storytimes at the library! But while the library is closed, we're trying to find new, interesting ways to share stories with you at home!

This week, we have classic doodles! Check out our super silly, super simplified retelling of one of the world's most famous tragedies. This video is designed to make you laugh and offer a whimsically simplified version of a complex tale.

We hope you enjoy it! You can find the video on our Facebook, or as the latest upload on our Youtube channel.

Virtual Craft Day: Play Dough

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

It's no secret that we love our weekly Afternoon Crafts at the library! We've been missing all the fun, creative, sometimes-messy kids' crafts each week. So here's our next Virtual Craft Day video, all about making your own play dough! This craft can be completed using ingredients you probably already have right in your kitchen!

Here's a written recipe for our play dough! 
(Be sure to check out the video at the bottom of this post for the full instructions!)

*Remember, you can always cut the recipe in half to make smaller portions!

Let us know if you try making your own play dough! We'd love to hear all about it!

Virtual Craft Day: Tissue Paper Flowers

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

It's no secret that we love our weekly Afternoon Crafts at the library! We've been missing all the fun, creative, sometimes-messy kids' crafts each week. So we're trying our first Virtual Craft Day! This is a simple paper flower, and all you need is tissue paper, scissors, and pipe cleaners. (Even the pipe cleaners are optional!)

Here's a quick photo tutorial for how to make them! 
Or scroll to the end of this post for a quick How To Video to get you started. 


As always, we'd love to see your finished flowers! Share them in the comments or on our Facebook page! See the video below for the full Virtual Craft Day tutorial!

Doodle Day 1: Doodle a Dinosaur

Monday, April 27, 2020

It's a Doodle Day around here today! Follow our little tutorial to doodle a dinosaur! Don't forget to share what you've created with us. (Pause the video on each step if you want to follow along, or scroll down for a step-by-step photo tutorial.)

Here's a photo breakdown of everything from the video! Remember to share your doodles with us if you've followed along. We love to see what everyone has created!

Five Awesome Creativity Boosters from PBS Kids

Friday, April 24, 2020

Looking for some fun, creative games for kids to play? PBS Kids offers tons of fun games, many with an educational twist, to help inspire kids to use their imagination. Here are a few of our favorites, but be sure to check out all the games they offer to help little learners bust boredom and stay creative!

For young storytellers, PBS offers a loosely-guided Story Maker based on the popular Pinkalicious book and TV series. Kids can choose their own characters and settings, select props and set pieces, and follow loosely-guided prompts to create a story of their own right on screen. The frame-by-frame format allows for a well-rounded storyboard and lots of opportunities for kids to exercise their imagination. Find it here.

Build a home for lost animals! Kids are prompted to follow the blue prints, select materials, even "use" some hefty tools to craft virtual homes for lost dogs, cats, and more. They're guided by the characters (and an art style) they love from Arthur. Check it out here.

Based on the wonderful Ordinary People Change the World book series by Brad Meltzer, the Hero Maker is like Bitmoji for kids--with the added benefit of inspiring kids to consider what makes a hero to them. Users can scroll through customization options, create their characters, and pair them with real-life heroes from history. Find it here.

This little art studio game, based on Let's Go, Luna, featuress simple, easy online coloring for kids. It even explores different art forms from different cultures, including painting, quilting, dollmaking, and more. It's quick to get through, but kids will love seeing their artwork hung all over Andy's studio! Find it here.

Make music with Sesame Street's best monster band! Kids can play Oscar's drum set, strum along with Abby, sing with Cookie Monster's veggie chorus, and more! This is just one of PBS's music-maker games, but we always love anything featuring Sesame Street. You can find this one here

PBS Kids also offers tons of other word games, adventure games, and games based on all your favorite book and TV characters. Though of course, our favorites are the Story Games, many of which can be found here!

Calling All Crafters!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

We've really been missing our weekly craft day, our monthly crochet classes, and all our craft-loving friends at the library! Being home gives us a little extra time for our favorite hand-crafts, but it does take away our opportunities to share about our maker experiences with friends, colleagues, and fellow craft lovers. So we thought we'd try out a new Virtual Crafter's Club! 

Our group is intended as a positive, inspirational space to share what you're working on, swap ideas and patterns, and discuss craft-related things with like-minded makers. Who doesn't love sharing a wonderful new pattern they've found? Or maybe commiserating about dropped stitches with someone who understands? We hope you'll be able to find all that in our Craft Club.

Head over to our library's Facebook page to join! 

It's a little quiet over there at the moment, but we're just getting started! We encourage you to post pictures, share links, and ask questions to the crafting community. Please let us know if you have any questions. We hope to see you there!

Story Time Tuesdays: Pig the Pug

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

We miss our weekly story time at the library! But since we can't welcome you all to the library this Tuesday morning, we're bringing a little bit of story time to you at home. Each week, we feature an author, series, topic, or book we love and want to share with all our young readers at home. Click here to see our past Story Time Tuesdays!

This week is all about a lovable bad example named Pig the Pug!
Aaron Blabey's rude canine creation is always getting into trouble...and it's usually all this fault! Sometimes he's lazy, or mischievous, or a bit of a bully, and his poor friend Trevor the dachshund always takes the brunt of Pig's bad behavior. So what's so good about a book serious with such a villain for a main character? Well, even though Pig doesn't always learn his lesson, the resulting stories are perfect examples to readers of all ages why Pig's behavior is wrong and why they definitely shouldn't do what Pig does! In the end, kids get lessons in manners, friendship, truthfulness, self-confidence, and more, all from a terrible pug and his very nice friends.

Here are some of our favorite Pig books for storytime:

Pig the Pug 
Pig's first story introduces a selfish pug who has to learn to share his toys with Trevor the dachshund.

Pig the Tourist
Pig goes on vacation! But his rudeness causes plenty of trouble all around the globe. 

Pig the Star
Pig's the star a photo shoot! But when Trevor starts getting all the attention, Pig needs to steal the show. 

Pig's stories are chock full of humor, mostly at Pig's expense, and as Scholastic notes in this article, humor is always a good way to get kids interested in reading! Yes, of course Pig is very silly. But laughing at Pig does two awesome things: it teaches them simple, important lessons, and leaves them looking for more silly stories to enjoy. These picture books are also written in a perfect story time read-along rhyme, with bold, hilarious illustrations that really entice young readers (and library ladies) to keep the pages turning. 

More from Aaron Blabey 

Before Pig the Pug made his debut, his creator was already working on The Bad Guys, a graphic novel series for "chapter book" or early middle grade readers! These books use both his bold, unique art style, signature humor, and the cartoon-narrative that's become so popular with young graphic novel fans. His website also offers an interactive video game based on The Bad Guys series and characters. 

And, of course, one of Miss Marlene's very favorite story time books is Blabey's Thelma the Unicorn! A silly, rhyming, lovely story about a horse who wishes she were a unicorn and as her wish come true...only to learn that being yourself is way better than pretending to be something you're not. 

Don't forget to check out Pig the Pug's series website (via Scholastic) for fun activities, games, and coloring sheets related to all of Aaron Blabey's works! You can find them all here.

Resource Spotlight: HOOPLA

Monday, April 13, 2020

Did you know? Among our other BCCLS-friendly online resources, Wallington's public library offers a subscription to Hoopla, a digital streaming service filled with fantastic ebooks, comics, movies, music, audiobooks, and more. The coolest thing about Hoopla is the very wide range of collections it offers! New and old movies, comics for adults and for kids (we know they love them!), and music ranging from classic to contemporary, with a wide range of genres and pre-made playlists you can stream right from your phone, tablet, Kindle, or computer.

For kids growing restless at home, the entertainment factor on Hoopla is nearly limitless. There's educational books and movies (like an in-depth look at Fiona the Hippo, who stole everyone's hearts not too long ago), and a few throw-back classics you may want to introduce them to (anybody else remember falling in love with It Takes Two, featuring the Olsen twins?). There's even audiobook readings of some of their favorite story time books (like Dragons Love Tacos, one of Miss Marlene's top picks). 

You can access the entire Hoopla digital collection via 

We're pleased to say that Hoopla is offering "Bonus Borrows" to help out all their subscribers (like our patrons!) while the libraries remain closed. There's a TON of new, free resources and selections available for the time being, including free access to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in ebook and audiobook. 

How To Get Started

You can access Hoopla on any of your phone, tablet, Kindle, laptop, or other home devices, but you will need your valid Wallington library card number to create an account. If you're a Wallington resident and don't have a library card yet, apply for a free digital card at

We know that navigating new subscriptions can be tough, so we made these tutorials to help you get started. You wilIf you need additional help, don't hesitate to contact us via our library's email or ask your questions in the comments below. 

Homemade Face Masks Around the Web

Friday, April 10, 2020

We know that times are tough, and many people are looking for ways to construct their own face masks for personal safety or donations. Luckily, there are tons of great tutorials online that can help even the most novice of sewers put together a protective face mask, most of which use scrap materials you may already have at home. Here are some of our favorites, including the ones we used to make the masks pictured above:

from the Center for Disease Control 

from The Button Counter
(This one's our favorite! There's lots of pictures and easy-to-follow instructions.)

from Sew Can She
(This post also includes tips and background information on using DIY face masks.)

Face Mask Sewing Pattern
from Craft Passion
(A slightly more advanced tutorial that offers different size masks, including children's sizes.)

from Joann's Fabrics
(A huge collection of resources including patterns, fabric suggestions, and where to donate.)

from The Health Ministry of Cuba via YouTube
(For those who prefer instructions in Spanish!)

Please remember to check CDC and HCP guidelines for masks! If you intend to donate face masks to people or organizations in need, be sure to find out exactly what their looking for and what works best for them. We hope you're staying safe and stay healthy!  

Story Scenes For Story Time Episode 1

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Listen to Miss Marlene's story time read-along with a Story Scene twist!

We miss story time at the library, but we can still share our favorite stories while we're at home! We hope our Story Scenes can be one way to encourage kids to get creative, have fun, and use their imagination. Our perfectly-imperfect story can be recreated at home with each kid's own brand of story time magic. 

Our video features The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. A big, wonderful "thank you!" to Macmillan and all the publishers and authors who are allowing libraries and schools to share their works at this time

Make It Yourself!

Tell your favorite stories (or a new one you made up yourself) with anything you have at home! Use your stuffed animals for characters, act it all out in your living room, draw a comic-style storyboard, or make your own puppets. We used super simple items to make our Gruffalo story scene. Here's how we did it: 

1. Print and cut out the characters in your story.
We selected images for each of our main characters using Axel Scheffler's original Gruffalo artwork. Then we printed them and cut them all out.

2. Attach the characters to sticks to make them move more easily.
We used regular kitchen skewers, but you could also use popsicle sticks, thinly-rolled paper tubes, or repurposed straws. Make sure they're long enough to move your characters around the scene. 

3. Create your backdrop. 
With construction paper and markers, we made trees, rocks, and grass for the Gruffalo's forest. We taped all our props and pieces to a big, blue poster board to make our background. Add anything you think will help show the audience where your characters are and what they're doing.

4. Set the stage. 
Did you know, our Gruffalo video was filmed on Miss Marlene's kitchen counter? We laid our poster board flat on the counter and filmed it from above so you can see it. Yours could be anywhere! A blank wall, your bedroom floor, or even outside in the yard. 

5. Tell your story!
Miss Marlene read this story right from the pages of one of her favorite books. You can pick any story you love, write your own script, or make it up as you go. Use your imagination and the story possibilities will be endless.

We hope you enjoy our very first virtual story time! Please stay tuned for more videos from Wallington's public library. Have fun sharing all your wonderful stories! Our Story Scenes For Story Time Episode One is posted below.

April: National Poetry Month

Thursday, April 2, 2020

It's National Poetry Month! The Academy of American Poets, American Library Association, and tons of other awesome organizations have teamed up to bring as much poetry education as they can to all of us online and at home. You can find great information about their programs and resources on these websites: 

There's even special events, like "Poem in Your Pocket Day", to help us find interesting ways to discover new poets and verses. Do you think you'll be celebrating the wonderful art of poetry this month? Tell us how in the comments!

Poems We Love
We hope you'll take a little time this month to explore the Poetry Foundation and other online collections of poetry from around the world! In recent years, poets like Rupi Kaur (Milk & Honey) have topped the bestseller lists with their modern books of poetry, sparking a wonderful upswing in poetry readership among today's readers and library patrons.
In case you'd like a good place to start, members of our library staff consider these poems among their favorites: 

Warning, by Jenny Joseph 
Howl, by Allen Ginsberg
The Bean Eaters, by Gwendolyn Brooks
The Lady of Shallot, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Digging, by Seamus Heaney

Poetry For Kids & Teens
We like to remind our kid patrons that there's lots of different kinds of poetry, from every country and time period you can imagine! Some rhyme, some don't. Some talk about very deep emotions and some poems tell long stories, like Beowulf or the Odyssey. And some poems don't seem to make any sense at all, like "Jabberwocky." There are also lots and lots of poems that make us laugh! 

One sub-genre of poetry that doesn't get much notice is known as "Novels In Verse." Like the classic epic poems throughout history, today's novels in verse tell long, full stories with engaging characters, interesting plots, and important lessons mixed in with their lyricism. Books like Kwame Alexander's The Crossover and Kelly Barnhill's The Girl Who Drank the Moon are recent award-winners that have become part of many school summer reading lists, along with long-standing teacher picks like Karen Hesse's Out Of the Dust. While we think they're wonderful books on their own, they also appeal to reluctant readers who want to read a book quickly and get right to the point!

Consider browsing Overdrive and other online ebook collections for a book of poetry this month! We'd love to hear about your favorites, and any new ones you may have discovered recently! 

Remembering Tomie dePaola

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

A note from Marlene, Wallington's youth services library lady

For Story Time Tuesdays this week, I wanted to highlight one of my favorite kid-lit authors: Tomie dePaola.

I very fondly remember reading Tomie dePaola's books when I was a kid! I loved both their folksy storytelling and their interesting, unique art style. He wrote often of his own life and childhood, of Irish and Italian folktales, and of becoming an artist -- all of which intrigued me, and which I hope continue to intrigue young readers today. Now that I work in a library, I'm always happy to find patrons still searching for (or accidentally discovering!) his many works, often drawn to them for the same reasons I was. Sadly, Tomie dePaola passed away this week at the age of eighty-five, but he's leaving behind a large body of work I hope will be read and enjoyed for generations to come.

Some of My Favorites

Strega Nona's Magic Lessons (1982): The "Grandma Witch" of Calabria, Strega Nona, has starred in a whole, wonderful series of dePaola's books, but this one is my favorite! Silly ol' Big Anthony dons a disguise in order to take magic lessons with Strega Nona, but his mistakes have very silly, pasta-infused consequences. 

The Art Lesson (1989): My most highly recommended of dePaola's books, The Art Lesson tells Tomie's own story of learning about art in school. It celebrates children's love for drawing, their misconceptions about becoming "real artists," and how to foster creativity as one grows up. I love that it's a brilliantly encouraging story from a professional artist, encouraging kids to keep up the good work. 

Tom (1993): dePaola often writes with love about his Irish and Italian grandparents and the huge impact they had on his life. In Tom, he focuses on his Irish namesake, a grandfather with whom he shared many "silly jokes and special moments." It's a heartwarming story with hi-jinks, lessons, and affection within a lovely, caring family. 

Jamie O'Rourke & the Big Potato (1992): One of my favorite folktales about the lazy farmer Jamie O'Rourke, this one features a mischievous leprechaun and the uncertain blessing of a giant potato! dePaola has added a fun twist to many, many Irish stories and tales, all of which are worth a read and definitely a top choice of mine for story time.

What do you think?

Tomie dePaola's books always tell a wonderful story, and his artwork should also be praised. According to his website, he worked from an old barn in New Hampshire, writing, painting, drawing works for kids, bringing to life original stories, folk tales, Bible stories, and autobiographical anecdotes for young readers for many years. Check out his extensive list of over 270 books and illustrations here.

Have you read any of Tomie dePaola's books and have you introduced them to your young readers at home? We hope that you'll check a few out, and let us know what you think! 

Story Time Tuesdays: Pete the Cat

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

We miss our weekly library storytime! But since we can't welcome you all to the library this Tuesday morning, we're bringing a little bit of storytime to you at home. Each week, we feature an author, series, topic, or book we love and want to share with all our young readers at home.

This week is all about Miss Marlene's very favorite groovy cat, Pete

James Dean's little blue feline is the star of so many wonderful picture books, song books, "I Can Read" tales, and story collections! (He's even got his own TV show!) Nearly all of his stories feature a sing-a-long narrative, lovely lessons for little readers, and a cast of familiar friends. They even offer exercises in counting, colors, morals, and problem-solving perfect for kids of all ages. 

As our story time fans will remember, our favorites to read aloud together include 
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
in which Pete teaches us very simple math and counting while singing his songs!
Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes
in which Pete and his friends follow the clues to track down a cupcake thief.
Pete the Cat and the New Guy
in which a platypus moves into town and tries to fit in with the gang.

We're also big fans of Pete's I Can Read series, specially formatted for new readers getting ready to branch out from picture books (but not quite ready for chapter books just yet). Pete serves as a loyal knight, a tooth fairy, a cave-cat, a robot...and tons of other silly, smiley, groovy characterizations. There's really something for everybody! 

Activities, Printables, & More!
We know getting your hands on a new book might not be so easy right now, but Pete the Cat's official website offers lots of fun activities for the Groovy Kids stuck at home. You can find "official" coloring sheets, activity pages, and even instructions for dancing the Cool Cat Boogie! And of course, there's a whole series of videos for Pete's songs and stories, brought to you by the makers of Pete the Cat himself.

We can't wait to get back to the library and have you all visit for a real, in-person Story Time Tuesday. But in the meantime, we hope some of these links and resources will help pass the time and save some of the stress of our world's efforts to stay home and stay healthy. Feel free to reach out to Miss Marlene and our library staff with any questions, requests, or story time recommendations! We love hearing from you!

And, in true Pete the Cat fashion, we hope you stay healthy, happy, and groovy!

Check It Out: Mo Willems Lunch Doodles

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

via Kennedy Center
The sometimes silly, always wonderful, and incredibly prolific children's book author and illustrator Mo Willems is offering a series of "Lunch Doodles" for kids on YouTube! We know so many of our young patrons love art, specifically drawing, and we encourage them to take a look at Mr. Willems's lessons!

The best part of the Lunch Doodle series is a first-hand, inside peak at the author's process. He talks about piecing together his collages, crafting his best-loved characters, and finding inspiration in unlikely places. And, of course, he doodles -- Knuffle Bunny, Gerald, Pigeon, and some new, surprise guests! He takes kids through the writing, drawing, and construction of his most loved stories and, of course, encourages them to make up their own!

We'd love to know if your kids have tried following some of Mo Willems's lessons and what they thought. We tried it out, too, as you can see here on the left!

If drawing isn't your thing, Mo Willems offers other activities, games, videos, etc, on his very fun website, Pigeon Presents.