Saturday, December 19, 2015


Today we spent the morning making popsicle stick snowflakes at our library. My favorites are always the wonkiest glitter explosions. I predict we'll be finding glitter in the chair crevices well into 2016.

On this sunny, cold and now quiet Saturday at my library desk, for my last blog post of 2015, I want to wish you peace now and always. There is no better choice for that message than Wendy Anderson Halperin's beautiful picture book, Peace.
Copyright 2013. Antheneum Books for Young Readers.

"Based on the Eastern philosophies of the Tao Te Ching, a lyrical picture book explores the eternal question of how to promote world peace and shares inspiring quotes from famous peacemakers while counseling readers on how to find peace within oneself."

Let us keep reading and sharing. Let us keep our minds open and ever-learning. I just love that Halperin's dedication page is to your senses.
Copyright 2013. Antheneum Books for Young Readers
Copyright 2013. Antheneum Books for Young Readers.

A toast to all of us, for raising a community of readers! Clink! xoxo Miss Kitty

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mind in the Making

Greetings friends. As I unpack my suitcase let me tell you about a fascinating trip I recently undertook to further investigate the workings of your talented little reader brains. Curious? Good.
Delightful children's librarian Sara Hathaway (from our Novato branch) and I attended a training institute held at the incredible New Children's Museum in San Diego California.

The name of program was Mind in the Making and it was presented in conjunction with the Families and Work Institute. The training focused on the "Seven Essential Life Skills" that all children need. 
We are so fortunate that the Marin County Free Library system and local children's museums are at the forefront of providing the environment and tools to teach life skills and raise lifelong learners.
Here's a fascinating article MITM provided about that very subject.  Did you know that with your library card you can receive free passes to a whole list of local museums. Discover and Go!

Sara and I will be training our own staff and passing along lots of tips and tools for parents throughout 2016.  But for here and now, I thought you might like to see some snapshots of San Diego's New Children's Museum from our trip! Truthfully it was a very full week of training, so I had to dash through the museum at a brisk clip. But what I saw was just wonderful.

I know....everyone sighs at being "invited" to watch vacation slide shows. I always say, "Oh you get started without me, I'll go make the chips and dip." And then I hide in the kitchen. But I promise these are super cool.

We've all made toilet paper roll crafts, but these guys were huge cardboard rolls a foot tall and more.
Super cool scary monster 

I just love this group painting with stencils and neon spray paint!

Cool graffiti signage for directions

Your own play house that says "HOME" with a secret message pulley system!

Are you not a baby? Good at sneaking around? More will be revealed.....

 A storytime blackboard & backdrop. Fabulous idea!

The chicken coop with a quote by an architect I know pretty well!

Or a library....

xoxo Miss Kitty!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Harmonic Convergence

This is Mr. A, my grand nephew and keeper of my heart. I love him to bits. Both Mr. A and his older sister are fantastic readers. Mr. A chose to spend some of his Books Bucks from this summer's reading game on the Harmonica prize. Here we present his soulful version of "Amazing Grace". I do believe we have a budding musician in the family!

Perhaps I can get Mr. A to play "Thriller" on his spiffy new harmonica for our upcoming Monster Mash family dance night at my library. Although "The Rising Sun" might be more suited to his expressive style of playing. xo Miss Kitty

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Hint of Mint

Let us pause to admire the chromatic splendor of this reading log turned in by my young friend William. I was immediately struck by the fantastic color palette he used to fill in his timed reading circles. It is well known I cannot resist a pop of magenta, and look at that pale pink, rich teal, and mint green. I believe this young man must have read this post.

However splendid the color palette, the glory of this reading log is that Mr. W read for 900 minutes (and actually much longer) this summer, along with 6,194 other kids at the Marin County Free Library. Bravo dear friends!!

As I said in this post and this post, I do love to see reading lists that kids have created. I am enchanted by what some may call Mr. W's "printing" but I call "hand lettering." In fact, this is a superb list of reading recommendations for kids in 3rd grade and higher.

  1. El Deafo
  2. The Odyssey
  3. Arms and Armor
  4. Smile
  5. Lost in Babylon
  6. Falling Up
  7. Odysseus in the Serpent Maze
  8. Weirdos From Another Planet
  9. Sharks and Other Predators
  10. Guinness World Records 2015
  11. The Tomb of Shadows
  12. Middle School- Just My Rotten Luck
  13. Star Wars the Phantom Bully
  14. Icarus at the Edge of Time
  15. Handy Geography Answer Book
  16. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  17. Ideas That Changed the World
  18. Hardy Boys #11 Abracadeath
  19. A Child's Introduction to the World
  20. The 39-story Tree House 

I do hope you'll place a hold on any of these titles that pique your interest. Amble over to the library to pick them up and check out all the fantastic programs we have going on this month. I am so proud of each and every one of you 6,195 kids who read this summer.

Let us not forget, for many more fantastic reading suggestions, visit both my Miss Kitty Pinterest page, the MCFL page, and the MCFL Kids page. Follow just mine or all three for lots of great reading suggestions. If you aren't already a member of Pinterest, you'll need to sign up. It's free and easy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Kingdom Under the Sea

Well dear reader, the summer is starting to wind down but there's still time for a couple of beach visits and a few tuck-you-in-summer-night-tales.

Here's a perfect set of folktales to share in your cottage by the sea;  The Little Mermaid and other Fish Tales, written and illustrated by Jane Ray.

Illustration by Jane Ray. Copyright 2014 Jane Ray & Boxer Books

I often see Sea Turtles when I visit my family in Hawaii and I think of this story when I do. I think the moral of the story is "be nice to turtles" and "I told you not to open that box!"

Illustration by Jane Ray. Copyright 2014 Jane Ray & Boxer Books

Maybe you can practice your spiffy new harmonica or recorder you won this summer in our Summer Reading Game afterwards.  Who knows what creatures you might lure up onto the beach with your music? Oh, sorry about the light rays reflecting on the pictures; it's super hard taking pictures with just a cell phone under water. {wink} Miss Kitty

Friday, June 19, 2015

June 19th is Summer Learning Day

Today is the day my friends to amble over to your local Marin County Free Library branch and sign up for this summer's reading game, Read to the Rhythm!

It is crucial for children, 'tweens, and teens to maintain the reading skills they've acquired over the previous school year in order to prevent "summer slide" and there is no funner, more enjoyable way to do that than to participate in the summer reading game.

I think reading for the sheer joy of it is one of the most delicious things of summer; at the pool, under a shady tree, in a tent with a flashlight. It's all good.

I hope you enjoy this message from our First Lady Michelle Obama

I pledged to keep 500 kids learning this summer and I hope you'll join me. Happy National Summer Learning Day friends!  xoxo Miss Kitty

Monday, June 15, 2015

Read to the Rhythm!

The Summer Reading Game 2015 has begun with a BANG! Scurry on over to the library, sign up for the game and start earning those "Book Bucks" that you can spend on all kinds of nifty prizes.

I must tell you, the recorder and harmonica prizes this year ($5.00 books bucks!) are really nice.
You can even spend your book bucks on books! We have lots of popular titles to choose from.

I hope you'll think about donating one of your book buck dollars to the Marin Foster Parent Association. We want ALL kids to have a great summer reading books and your donation helps put a fresh new book in a foster child's hands.

Be sure and check out all the great events this summer both at The Civic Center Library and throughout all of the Marin County Free Library branches.  Pick up a copy of this flyer and tune up your reading skills- it's going to be a rockin' summer.

xoxo Miss Kitty

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Play the Musical Mystery Quiz- 1 week only!

Hurry hurry, the orchestra is warming up. Visit your Marin County Free Library branch this week to play the Musical Mystery Quiz.

Tune up your knowledge of musical instruments. Ask for a copy of the quiz, match the correct instrument to its picture and your triumphant finale shall be one free kid's pass to the 2015 Marin County Fair. On that sweet note I'll see you in the library and then "On With the Show"!

*limit one ticket per child while supplies last. Ticket is good for one child's admission, age 12 and younger on Thursday July 2, 2015.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Ben Franklin's Colonial Printing Shop

I hope you can join us on Saturday May 16th. I think you'll be just as fascinated as I am with this Gutenberg printing press. You even get to do your own printing!

While you are waiting for the presses to run, here are two nice books to give you a little history on this indelible subject. Click on the covers to find them in the catalog.

 Stop by my library and pick up a flyer or give me a jingle at 1-415-473-5058 for more details.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Long Overdue

I am thrilled to share with you the big news that the Marin County Free Library has eliminated overdue fines for the use of children's materials. Read more about it in detail here, but I think our Library Director says it best;
"It has been the Library's experience that the accumulation of fines from overdue materials often leads to youth no longer using the Library. Eliminating these fines will eliminate that barrier....fines and fees create financial barriers for the children and their parents that most need free library resources to promote their life-long learning opportunities." - Sara Jones

Of course we want our wonderful library materials to come back on time and in good condition, so we will still charge for lost and damaged children's materials.

Having your very own library card and using it responsibly IS like winning at Monopoly. You can even wear a silver top hat when you return your materials if you like. Be sure and tip your hat to the Board of Supervisors in my famous building. Their support made this new policy possible.

We'll even replace lost kid's library cards for free!  Come talk to us if you have old fines and are 16 or older and ready for an adult library card. We want to make sure you get that new adult card and learn about all the fantastic resources available to you.

Visit the Civic Center Library on July 28, 2015 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. for another fun family board game and photo booth night! 

Saturday, March 14, 2015


No trick! Click here to place a hold on this title.

Well, I would say this is a promise and not a prank but actually it IS kind of a prank....
a whole hour of pranks, tricks, and stunts to amaze and delight all who know you. Although post-program they may not want to.

Please join me on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 from 3:30 to 4:30 to learn from the Master, Sam Bartlett. This program is definitely for older kids, 'tweens, & teens.  Dare I say these skills might come in useful on April 1st?!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Read-Aloud Marathon

Greetings dear readers! I hope my local library families will have a chance to join me on Saturday, February 28, 2105 at the Corte Madera branch of the Marin County Free Library for a marathon read-aloud session of Roald Dahl's classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I'll be reading sometime around 2:00 but the day begins at 11:00am with a stellar line-up of talented readers.

My heart will surely break if you tell me you've seen this movie and this movie but have not read the book! You must! Perhaps this post from awhile ago will also tempt you. Naturally we will have real chocolate as well if that's what it takes.  Hope to see you there. xoxo Miss Kitty

Thursday, February 5, 2015

So much depends on a ® Pantone 200 Radish Red Wagon

Last week I had the luxury of spending most of a day with the other talented MCFL children's librarians to do nothing but talk about children's books and eat lentil soup and persimmon pudding. 

Alas, the notion that we librarians are able to spend our work days reading blissfully in silence at our desks is a lovely fantasy but quite far from reality.  So it's wonderful when we do get a chance to spend time talking about award winning books and reading recommendations and what great reads are not to be missed.

 Here are a few of my very favorite art books that are fantastic choices for all ages and especially artists and teachers looking for inspiration.

© 2012 Abrams Appleseed
This board book, Colors by Pantone, amuses me greatly. I don't know of many toddlers quite ready to delve into the ®Pantone color system, but this is a fantastic tool for any person studying color.  It  is especially wonderful for early learning with the bright illustrations on the right side of the book for your toddler to identify and the lush ®Pantone color spectrum on the left side of the book for you to surreptitiously dream about a serene color palette for your own secret getaway hideout sanctuary. 

©2008 Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

This sweet little red wagon made me think of sublime poet William Carlos Williams.
Melissa Sweet's 2008 picture book biography of him, A River of Words,  is not to be missed.
I've written about Melissa Sweet many times on this blog; I can't help it! I just love her work.

Let us take a look at how she illustrates the same lovely poem in the 2014 poetry book, Firefly July: year of very short poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko.

©2014 Candlewick Press

So much depends on a library card and access to beautiful books. The Usborne Book of Art Projects is one my favorite series for art technique. Here's a beautiful tissue paper collage from it to get you started on your own colorful path which I hope includes a library card but may or may not include white chickens.

©2004 Usborne Publishing