Monday, 20 April 2015

Picture Books (faith based)

I was looking for some non fiction books about religion/culture this morning that would be the right level for my Reception kids. I managed to find a few that might work but while I was hunting I came across this beautiful picture book:

Ganesha's Sweet Tooth - Emily Patel Haynes
It's so beautiful and it made me wonder if there were similar books for other faiths that I might be able to get hold of. Our kids just devour picture books and ones like this are a nice introduction to world religions. 

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Geoff the Dragonosaur

Whilst visiting IKEA as part of our Valentine's day celebrations (we really know how to do date night!), my partner bought me Geoff the Dragonosaur hand puppet. I call him a Dragonosaur because he looks like a cross between a dragon and a T-rex. My love for toys and stuffed animals is well known to my family and has increased since I started working with kids. 

This is Geoff:

I fell in love with him because he was so odd and unique. I thought he would be fun to use for doing story time next year. 

And yesterday I had a thought. Why not write some stories about Geoff that I can tell to the kids. A puppet with his own stories would be far more interesting than a puppet acting out someone else's stories. 

So, I am determined that once I've got my Masters out of the way in a few months time, I'm going to embark on the job of writing some short stories about Geoff. I'll be aiming them at the Nursery to Year 2 kids, so what kinds of themes should I touch on? 

I thought, mixed race family - Geoff's parents are a dragon and a dinosaur and therefore they have different background and speak different languages. Fits in well for my school where many kids have Asian and European parents and speak many languages. 

So what else? All ideas welcome!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The stupidity of bureaucracy

So I've been working steadily since Christmas to sort out my collection and weed books that are old and no longer needed. The first shock I got upon embarking on this challenge was that a significant portion of our non-fiction collection is around 25 years old, and we still have books on countries that no longer exist. So I diligently went about removing them from the shelves, sorting them and then setting their status to weeded on the system. Today, after inquiring about what the next step in the process is, I have discovered that because of some local law about assets, resources purchased within the last 6 years cannot be gotten rid of, even if they are too old to be of any use to anyone. Not only that but because of a change over of the LM system only a few years ago, it now looks like all the stock was only added within the last few years. 

SO! I am now stuck with a ridiculous number of huge boxes of books that now have to sit in a very full storage cupboard for the next two years at least until they are 'old enough' to be gotten rid of. How utterly utterly ridiculous. I did use a very bad word when I was told because it really pissed me off. 

I guess this is just one of the quirks of working in a country that loves paperwork and pointless bureaucracy. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Xin nian kuai le!

Well the Chinese New Year holiday has come and gone and we're back at work on a short 3 day week. The thought of coming back to work yesterday evening was not appealing (I was enjoying my time off too much!) but now that I'm back it's fine. I've missed my kids. 

I was right about the John Agee books not staying on the shelves for long. I think they are all checked out now and it's only 10.30am. I think I should order some more! 

I've been working on coming up with little projects to improve the space in the library and I think that this will be my next one: 

I'm going to hang it up in my Infant section. I think it will look really lovely and hopefully the kids will like it too. 

I was talking to some friends at lunch yesterday about my career and how I had up until this point only worked in libraries serving patrons who were 16+ (sixth and university). They were surprised when I said that now I'm working in primary I would never go back to high school/adult libraries. There is something just so wonderful about working with little kids that makes this job just so much fun. It's hard too don't get me wrong, but I always leave with with a smile on my face and a bounce in my step. It's the same in the mornings too. How many people can say that about what they do. I am very lucky. 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

My new favourite author - Jon Agee

Today was my first time hosting an author at my school and I was extremely nervous. I woke up at 3.30 this morning worrying about whether the tech would work, if the classes would turn up on time and a whole host of other things. But I worried needlessly. 

Jon Agee is a fantastic speaker, who was so thoroughly engaging I almost forgot that I needed to step in towards the end so we could allow time for questions. The kids loved his drawings and his stories. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep his books on the shelves! 

What's so wonderful about Jon is that unlike a lot of authors, he illustrates his own books. This makes his talks unique because he illustrates while he talks to the kids, which really helped at my school where a portion of the children don't speak English as a first language. They were able to get lost in his pictures and follow his stories through them. 

His stories are so funny and captivating that even my youngest students (4-6yrs) stayed engaged for almost an hour. In the end, it was Jon who tired before the kids did! Poor man looked exhausted! I don't blame him. It was VERY hot in our little amphitheater.  

It's lunch time now and my library is full of kids who can't stop talking about him. They are drawing him pictures and making thank you cards. I'm lucky that my students love reading so it wasn't hard to get them interested in having an author come to speak to them. But even for those who aren't die hard readers, Jon's visit has opened up a door into books for them. And for that I can't thank him enough.  

(photo from

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

What I'm Really Thinking: the school librarian

I look around my library and some days the chaos overwhelms me. Trying to keep up with 400 small, fast moving people is like trying to hold back the sea. Just when my castle of books is finally built, it's washed away by a wave of hands and noise. I crave order but I know that it will never be achieved. I set myself up to fail. But that’s ok.

I know I expect too much of them at times. They’re only kids, I have to tell myself. But still sometimes I wind myself tighter and tighter until I think I’ll snap. Then,  just before I do, their small voices make me smile and laugh, and I can't help but come completely undone. They giggle and scream, say good morning to me in unison, and everything is forgiven and forgotten. I can let go of my need for order for a while. 

These little people both frustrate and delight me; demanding answers to questions they've been holding on to since their teachers first spoke that morning. Some of them look like they are ready to burst, waiting in line for their turn.  

I offer up a little bit of my soul every day. They take and take and take, and I go home weary and ready to sleep. But I don’t mind. I know I could never be anything else. My life, my job, both fulfilling.

“It must be nice to sit and read books all day.” I smile and chuckle, but inside I just want to punch you in the face. Your mocking tone shows your ignorance and I have to remind myself that you are an idiot and that what I do really does matter. You may never understand what I do, but as long as those waves keep coming; smiling and laughing, asking question after question, nothing else matters.  

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Been a while

Apologies for the delay between posts. Last month my father passed away so I've been AFK for a while. It's been a really hard time and I expect that it will be that way for a while. The loss is immense and the pain will always be there. It's a matter of learning to live with it. I hope to start posting again in the near future.