Willy Wonka

Guess who turned 50 this year? 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl! 

This classic cannot go without celebrating. 

To celebrate, my library hosted a program to give tribute to this guy. 

We hid golden tickets in the library for patrons to find. We had the tickets out all month long. 

When it came time for the program, we golden ticket holders could redeem their ticket for the book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" 
Penguin graciously donated an event kit. (It never hurts to ask!)  By having this donated it helped to bring down the cost of the program to just the cost of the chocolate bars. (We felt like it was needed)

For the actual program we had station set up (I am the station queen) 

1. Life size Candy Land 
I unfortunately did not get pictures. Children on a sugar highs kept me pretty busy, but this is an extremely easy activity. For our program, we just laminated different colors of construction paper. Next, we just placed them in a pattern on the floor. Next, we cut up some construction paper for cards. All the participants had to do was to draw a card, and move to their space.  It turned out something like this: 

The kids loved it! 

2. Invent your own candy station 

With allergies, we are finding it harder and harder to do food related activities. It seems like the only allergy friendly food anymore is  the Dum-Dum. So instead of having kids make real inventions, they played with gluten free foam. It was a pretend game, but it gave the kids an excuse to play with play dough like foam. What could be better! 

3. Trivia

I hung trivia up along the wall for the parents to try out. We also had a table for trivia for the kids. These questions were aimed at being a little easier for them. Both parties had fun.  

Finally. we played the movie. "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" 
The families enjoyed this the most. I am shocked how successfully movies go over. Most of the participants played Candy Land and then went to watch the movie. It was not what I was expecting! 

Overall the 50th Anniversary was a success. 

Maybe I just need to do more book and movie programs! Does anyone else have success with movie programs? 

Monster High

I decided to try something new last week, and try to do a Monster High Program. I was excited! I watched the movies, read the books, and looked up the new live action movie coming in 2015. After all of this careful planning... I had one person show up.

My one person, was a huge fan. Having that one person excited for the program, made the program a success for me, but I wish I had more.

I am finding it difficult to get grade school students to come to programs at the library. I have noticed that my library gets a high grade school audience in the summer, but during the school year it is low.

I chose to do Monster High because I have noticed it on a lot of school bags, toys, and TV commercials. My program was aimed at tweens and grade school, but maybe I had the wrong audience.

 I want to do something a little different. I feel like my tweens constantly ask for Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, but I need something outside of this.

What are you doing at your library? Do you have trouble getting a grade school / tween audience during the school year too?

Truman Awards - Insignia Edition

I volunteered to teach training on the Truman awards for my library district. The Truman awards is a Missouri award for grades 6-8. 

Here are some basic requirements for the Truman Awards: (Truman Awards)

One of my favorite books from the Truman awards is called Insignia. 

Insignia (Insignia, #1)

Book Talk Time 

In the book Insignia by S.J. Kincaid, WWIII has erupted. The war has gone to video games and is now fought by teenagers. The enemy is winning, and Tom Raines may be the key to winning. 

Tom is a 14 year old boy whose has an unstable life thanks to his father is an obsessive gambler.  When the military comes to recruit him,  Tom is taken to military headquarters, he is given the choice of getting a computer implemented into his brain, or going back to his unstable life.

The computer will allow him to become smarter, look more attractive, and have the opportunity to fight in the war. 

Unfortunately, it also has some risks, many have died with the implementation. It also has the possibility of getting hacked by his enemies and he could even get a computer virus. 

Now Tom must use this new device to fight in the war, but is he just a piece of military equipment? 

Tom must figure out who the real enemy is before it is too late. 


I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me a lot of Ender's game, but it is really funny. I was surprised at how much comedy was in this book. Kincaid captures the personality of a teenage boy, and she also captures the friendships. I think the friendship aspect is why the series has been compared to Harry Potter. I do not want to give anything away, but I really enjoyed this book.

Tween you & Me Must Knows 

-The movie Rights have been purchased  by 21th Centruy Fox 
-It is a series 
-It has gotten a lot of attention. It has even been compared to the new Harry Potter. 

Read a-likes 


Program Idea 

The author S.J. Kincaid does free Skype visits. This is a great way to connect reader's with the author. I believe this series will get more popular after the movie. While it is free, it is a great time to get that in! I know I am planning on doing this. 

After reading this book, I am ready to read the series and get on with my program for my book club! 

Have you read Insignia? What did you think of it? 

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

How do you get tweens into the library? 

The answer is simple: know what they are interested in.

 Sometimes their interests overlap with the young adults and grade school, but more then often they do not. Tweens are their own special group. If their interests are the same as the one of the other groups, the activities prepared maybe too hard or too simple. It is important to keep up with their fandoms and have the program tailored especially to them.

To keep up with these fandoms, I try to establish relationships with my tweens who come in with reference help.

This is how I created my first program. One of regulars was telling me about how wonderful My Little Pony is. I am a child of the 90s, and I instantly grabbed onto this new fandom (....& I am still hooked!).

So came.....   My Little Pony : Friendships is Magic Extravaganza 

When I advertised this program, I marketed to both tweens and young adults. Even though I had a large age range, I am happy to say that I got more tweens. I had about 35 tweens show up. I work in a larger library, but this was still a great number! We normally only got about 10 for programming. It seems that having that special time made a difference.

For this program, I decided to set up stations. I have found that this age group like a free flowing format. I also like it this way to encourage participants to meet new people and share their fandom.

The stations I had set up were:

1. Vote on your favorite pony 


This worked out well, but I forgot to put Pinkie Pie on the voting list. My kids called me out on it! She of course won the "best pony" award. If I did this program again, I would make sure to have all of the ponies, and I would have someone to count the votes for me. Too many kids! 

2. Perler Beads 

I have a ton of excess perler beads. I decided to pull them out and let the kids make My Little Pony designs out of them. Patterns of My Little Pony characters are available for free online. I printed some off for this station, but I also encouraged the kids to make their own. 

*Tween You and Me Tip*

Make the patterns to the right size 
If you do decide to use these patterns make sure they are to the right size. I printed off a few and the kids could not use them. This is a great excuse to play with some of your materials to make sure they work. 

Have help for this station 

I had help with this station, and I was very grateful! This turned out to be one of the most popular stations. As the kids made their designs, one of my coworkers stood on standby and ironed their creations for them. 

3. Friendship is Magic bracelet station 

Since we are talking about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I could not do a program without friendship bracelets. I knew different ages would attend, so I printed out instructions with different levels of difficulty.  I thought this would be a station that the older kids would enjoy, but I found that the young tweens (age 8 & 9) tend to like this station best. Even though I meant this station to be for the older tweens, it did end up being a successful station. Many did not have time to finish, so I had ziplock backs and take home directions ready for them. 

4. What's your cutie mark? 

For this station, I printed out a simple personality test for the tweens to take. In the show, a cutie mark is a mark you are given when you find out what you are meant to do.  I thought this would be a nice way to weave this into my program. Having quizzes out is always a success. Finding out who you are is after all a need for this age group.  My only problem I had with this station, is that I put out one that was too complicated. Many kids flocked to it as they came into the door, but they did not understand the directions on the one I put out. If I did this again, I would make it more age appropriate or make my own.

I allowed the participants to do the stations for about 30 minutes. After that time was up, we ended the program with a bang....we played trivia. I am a fan of the show. I rewatched it, and came up with about 30 questions. I had the kids break up into teams based on who their favorite pony was. This was the most successful part of the program.

If anyone would like to repeat this program, please let me know. I'd be happy to share my trivia questions.

At the end of the trivia, I gave the winning team My Little Pony stickers.

Before the participants left, they made My Little Pony masks. It was a huge hit, and it helped to circulate My Little Pony materials the library had, and I even saw a few new friendships begin.

This program marked my first tween program. Having this special program just for tweens helped to establish my tween programming I used this summer. I will blog about this on a later day, but I am happy I finally blogged about this. I am behind!

What kind of tween programming are you doing at your library?

Lit Lookout

With summer reading, it is extremely difficult to stay on top of new books.  Both the last months before summer reading & during. Here is a list of new notable middle grade novels you may have missed. 

Here are a few that I want to mention, because I feel like they will be important. These two titles are not new, but they are getting quit a bit of attention. They may be up for some awards. (Even though it has been awhile, I too have not read them yet!)

So essentially, this is my reading list for the next couple of weeks! Playing catch up can be exhausting! I hope to post some reviews of these books soon. Has anyone read these book yet? If you did, what did you think of them?