Thursday, July 31, 2014

Baby Story Time Planning Sheet

One of the most common Google searches that leads readers to my blog is a search for story time planning sheets. Up until now, I haven't had any to share, but after highlighting my best materials for baby story time over the past month, I thought it might be helpful to also provide an outline for planning a story time for babies.

The printable document linked below includes spaces to fill in each of the following: 

  • Hello Song
  • Opening Rhyme
  • Book #1
  • Song with Prop
  • Bounce/Tickle
  • Body Parts Song
  • Book #2
  • Song
  • Bounce/Tickle
  • Nursery Rhyme(s)
  • Body Parts Song
  • Closing Rhyme
  • Goodbye Song
  • Extra Songs/Rhymes

Download Baby Story Time Planning Sheet 

Browse outlines for all of my baby story times here. Read my lists of the best materials and activities for baby story time here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

12 Fantasy Series for Kids Who Aren't Ready for Harry Potter

It can be hard for a child to wait until he or she is old enough to read the Harry Potter series (or even just to read the later books.) Still, the stories are best enjoyed when a child is old enough to appreciate the subject matter. Luckily, there are plenty of wonderful fantasy series out there which focus on many of the same themes as the Harry Potter books, but which appeal to a slightly younger audience. Twelve of them are listed below and sorted into four main categories: Witches & Wizards, Supernatural Schools, Fantastical Creatures, and Magical Adventures.

Witches & Wizards

  • The Familiars
    by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson

    (Book 1: The Familiars)
    A supposedly ordinary alley cat is mistaken for a magical creature when a young wizard-in-training chooses him as his familiar.
  • The Worst Witch
    by Jill Murphy

    (Book 1: The Worst Witch)
    Mildred Hubble does her best to get by in witch school despite her constant mistakes and disasters.
  • Heidi Heckelbeck
    by Wanda Coven

    (Book 1: Heidi Heckelbeck Has a Secret)
    Heidi Heckelbeck is a lot like other kids her age - except that she is secretly a witch!


Supernatural Schools

  • Dragon Slayers' Academy
    by Kate McMullan

    (Book 1: The New Kid at School)
    Eleven-year-old medieval peasant Wiglaf of Pinwick enters school at the Dragonslayers Academy to become a hero, as foretold by a traveling minstrel.
  • Scary School
    by Derek the Ghost

    (Book 1: Scary School)
    Though Derek becomes a ghost after he is killed in a science experiment at Scary School, he continues to keep notes on everything strange or spooky that happens there, including events surrounding the arrival of Charles Nukid.
  • Vampire School
    by Peter Bently

    (Book 1: Casketball Capers)
    At St. Orlok's kids like Lee learn all the skills required to become successful vampires.

Fantastical Creatures

Magical Adventures

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Best of Baby Story Time: Bounces

After reviewing my baby story time plans, and attending a number of baby story times as a mom, I’ve pulled together my list of the best materials and activities I have found for this age group. Today, I'm sharing my list of the best bounces for baby story time.

Bounces are a key component of baby story time and one is that unique to this age group. I have a few favorites:
  • All the Little Babies
    Originally found at Baby Songs and Rhymes; lyrics tweaked slightly by me.
    This song to the tune of "Shortnin' Bread" involves bouncing, leaning, and hugging - the perfect way to promote cozy child/caregiver interaction. I have sung this song at almost every baby story time I've ever done, and almost always, every adult in the room sings along.
  • Bumpin’ Up and Down
    Original version can be heard here.
    I borrowed this song from Raffi and made it more baby-friendly. This is an especially fun bounce, because it also gives the babies the opportunity to practice a favorite skill - waving to their friends! I especially like to use this song for a colors theme, and for transportation-themed story times.
  • A Bouncing We Will Go
    From King County Library System's Tell Me a Story wiki.

    This is another adaptation of a children's favorite, "A-Hunting We Will Go." It starts with bouncing, then moves onto tickling and rocking. Almost any action your group likes to do can be added to the song as well.
  • Mother and Father and Uncle John
    Traditional nursery rhyme.
    This nursery rhyme is fun for slightly older babies because they giggle at the sensation of "falling off" a caregiver's lap. The best part of this rhyme is the way the rhythm suggests the galloping motion of a horse, so it's important to emphasize the rhythm as you bounce to the beat.
  • Old Joe
    Heard at story time; tune available here.
    This bounce is brand-new to me, but it has quickly become my daughter's favorite. I like to sing the song three times through - first at a slow walking pace, then at a medium trotting pace, and finally at a quick (but still gentle) galloping pace. Each time, I slow way down for the "whoa Joe" and tip my daughter all the way back until she laughs. This is a great alternative for audiences that don't click with Mother and Father and Uncle John and also a great one for farm animals, cowboys, transportation, and fast and slow themes.
A full archive of my baby story times is available here. This is the final post in my Best of Baby Story Time series. Click here to view the full set of posts.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

12 Middle Grade Series About Friendship for Girls

Friendships become more complex as girls enter late elementary school and middle school. The following twelve fictional series explore the many changes, joys, frustrations, and complications that occur in relationships between tween girls.

  • The Snob Squad
    by Julie Anne Peters
    (Book 1: Revenge of the Snob Squad)
    Jenny, Maxine, and Prairie - all outsiders - form an unlikely bond when they take up against the principal's daughter and her friends. 
  • Nerd Girls
    by Alan Lawrence Sitomer
    (Book 1: The Rise of the Dorkosaurus)
    Maureen, Allergy Alice and Beanpole Barbara make a pact to beat the popular girls, known as the ThreePees, in the school talent show.  
  • Dork Diaries
    by Rachel Renee Russell
    (Book 1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life)
    In her daily diary, Nikki Maxwell shares the dorky moments of her life, and comments on her friendship with best friends Chloe and Zoey.

  • The Winnie Years
    by Lauren Myracle
    (Book 1: Eleven)
    Winnie's adolescence is marked by ups and downs, including the loss of her childhood best friend, Amanda, to the popular girls, and the discovery of new friends in outspoken Cinnamon and awkward Dinah.  
  • Alice McKinley
    by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    (Book 1: The Agony of Alice)
    *Note: Later books in this series are classified as Young Adult.

    Alice and her best friends Pamela and Elizabeth navigate adolescence in this series, where Alice grows up alongside the reader. 
  • Annabelle Unleashed
    by Leslie Margolis
    (Book 1: Boys Are Dogs)
    Annabelle and her new middle school friends discover lots of truths about life and boys.

Browse all my middle grade reviews here.

Monday, July 21, 2014 20 Songs to Develop Literacy Skills in Kids Ages 0 to 5

Today, I'm over at The Library Adventure sharing a set of songs for families to sing together in the morning, at mealtime, on the go, at bathtime, and at night.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Best of Baby Story Time: Puppets

After reviewing my baby story time plans, and attending a number of baby story times as a mom, I’ve pulled together my list of the best materials and activities I have found for this age group. Today, I'm sharing my list of the best way to use puppets in baby story time.

While puppets are by no means a requirement for a successful baby story time, they can be an opportunity to introduce a little variety and to capture the attention of little ones whose minds have begun to wander.

For one thing, puppets are a great way to introduce animal names and sounds.
  • Did You Ever See...? is a great song to use when you have a random hodgepodge of animal puppets. I have used this song to sing about just about any animal going this way and that. Caregivers and older siblings are usually great about calling out the names of the animals, and babies happily track the moving creatures with their eyes. 
  • All the Cows Say... (sung to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb") introduces the names of the animals and the sounds they make. It works best with one-syllable animals (cow, dog, duck, pig, cat). Words larger than that mess up the natural rhythm of the song. I also omit the word "little" from the original lyrics to help maintain the proper rhythm. I have used actual cloth puppets as well as homemade stick puppets to share this song.

Puppets also lend themselves well to songs and rhymes involving anything that flies.
  • I’m a Little Bumblebee (originally written by Mel of Mel's Desk) works well with insect puppets. I usually use a bee, a ladybug, and a butterfly. At the end of each verse, I invite the caregivers to lift their babies up into the air to "fly away" along with each bug. I used to regularly rotate this rhyme in and out of story time and often got requests for it when it didn't happen to be on my list for a particular session.
  • Flutter Flutter Butterfly (sung to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", originally found at Preschool Education) is a great song to use with a butterfly hand puppet, a homemade paper puppet, or even just two hands held together to form a butterfly. Babies are intrigued by the flapping of butterfly wings, and they will watch intently as the butterfly sails over their heads. It's best not to get too close to babies with the butterfly puppet, as they might get scared, but from a safe distance, it is usually well-received.
  • Two Little Blackbirds has been adapted many times over, and each adaptation works great with finger puppets and/or stick puppets. It's especially fun if you can provide each caregiver/baby pairing with a set of puppets either to borrow for story time, or to take home and make.

Finally, if you have no other puppet in your possession, I recommend a sunshine puppet.
  • You Are My Sunshine is always a hit at story time, but it becomes even more fun when there is a sunshine puppet to show the babies. 
  • Mr. Sun is another wonderful song to sing with a puppet. It has become sort of my signature song, and at my last library, it became a tradition that after story time, kids were allowed to come up and high-five Mr. Sun. Even babies liked to take their turn giving the puppet a tentative pat!

A full archive of my baby story times is available here. Next week, watch for the conclusion of this series: my list of the best bounces for baby story time. If you missed them, also take a look at my lists of best books and best action songs and rhymes.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mommy Librarian's Story Time Secret #2: Hold Back on the Hand Motions

First I was a children’s librarian. Then I became a mom. As I attend story times with my daughter, I have started to make a list of hints that might be helpful to story time performers and/or story time attendees. Today’s hint is for librarians who perform baby story times: Hold back on the hand motions!

I have always made sure to use songs and rhymes in all my story times that can be acted out with hand motions. I was worried that if there were no hand motions, everyone would just sit and look at me blankly. It turns out, though, that most hand motions are totally lost on babies. While older babies can mimic some simple movements, most of them can’t do any of the gestures suggested by story time songs and rhymes. Often we suggest that adults do the hand motions themselves to show their babies, but anybody with a little one in their lap has their hands full already. My child has tried to take a header more than once while I’ve dutifully made an itsy bitsy spider with my fingers.

Here are some basic movements that work well for both baby and caregiver:
  • Bouncing
  • Pointing to body parts
  • Tickling
  • Counting off fingers and toes
  • Clapping/rolling hands
  • Raising arms
  • Shaking shakers
Otherwise, it’s totally fine to just chant or sing without any prescribed choreography at all.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Best of Baby Story Time: Action Songs & Rhymes

After reviewing my baby story time plans, and attending a number of baby story times as a mom, I’ve pulled together my list of the best materials and activities I have found for this age group. Today, I'm sharing my list of the best action songs and rhymes for baby story time. Each song/rhyme title is linked to the corresponding lyrics/words, and notes about my sources are provided in italics.


  • Go In and Out the Window
    Traditional song.
    Mama Lisa's World also provides lyrics in English, Spanish, and French, and the tune for the song here.
    Not all songs with motions work well for babies, since their hand-eye coordination is still very shaky, and adults are often too busy with a lap full of baby to make meaningful gestures. This one, however, works very nicely, because folks are free to adapt the motions as they see fit. Adults can swing the babies "in" and "out", lift them up and down, and roll their hands. Older siblings can join in by moving their arms in corresponding movements.  
  • Tony Chestnut
    Originally by Roy Jordan; popularized by The Learning Station
    . Hear their version here.
    This is one of the very first songs I discovered when I first started doing baby lap time. The punny lyrics usually gets a pretty good chuckle out of caregivers and the actions are just tricky enough the first few times that the adults are typically motivated to pay attention so they can learn it. It can be done with baby in a lap, or with baby lying on a blanket on the floor. 
  • Where is Big Toe?
    I found this song at Mel's Desk, and Mel found it in
    The Complete Resource Book for Infants.
    "Where is Thumbkin?" can be tricky for babies because there's little hope of them being able to hold up their fingers one at a time. In this song, caregivers get to find baby's big toe, elbows, tummy, eyes, and hands. It's great for teaching little ones the names of these body parts and because it's a familiar tune, it's likely to be sung by caregivers both in story time and again later on at home. 
  • Eyes Nose Cheeky Cheeky Chin
    I sing this to the tune of "Skip to My Lou", but it also works with "Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinah"and "Ten Little Indians."

    Babies become fascinated with faces sometime around 4-6 months of age, and when they do, this song becomes an instant hit. It can be fun to point out the different parts of baby's own face, but babies are every bit as excited to see caregivers pointing to their own faces. This is also a good one to suggest for caregivers to use during diaper changes as it distracts baby from the lower half of her body while she focuses on facial features. 
  • A Hat Goes on My Head
    I wrote the words for this song, which is sung to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell." 

    This song introduces the names of the different types of clothing worn in winter. It's easily adapted for the flannel board, and you can also write your own verses for clothes appropriate to other seasons of the year. Caregivers can point to each body part as it is mentioned, or they can do a simple motion to suggest putting on each article of clothing.


  • Cheek Chin
    I originally found this rhyme on King County Library System's Tell Me a Story wiki.

    This rhyme has always been my follow-up to the hello song at baby story time. It identifies the child's cheek, chin, nose, and toes, and ends with a bit of a lift into the air. It's very easy to learn, and everyone seems to love the final moment where all the babies are held aloft. 
  • Let's Make a Noise
    Stories and Fun for the Very Young.
    The original text for this poem includes just a few everyday sounds, but the concept can be adapted for any object or animal that makes noise. Simply hold up an image and say, "Let's make a noise like a..." and then wait for the caregivers to help you make the noise. This is great for teaching not just animal sounds, but the words we use to convey the sounds made by vehicles, household objects, etc.

A full archive of my baby story times is available here. Also check out last week's post, Best of Baby Story Time: Books. Next week, watch for my list of the best ways to use puppets at baby story time.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Flannel Friday Round-Up, July 11, 2014

Welcome to the Flannel Friday Round-Up for July 11, 2014!

There is a little bit of everything in this week's collection of posts.

First, a warm welcome to two Flannel Friday first-timers: Sam from Z682 has jumped in with her version of Five Little Sandcastles, based on a rhyme I wrote a few years ago, which she found on Storytime Katie's blog. Beth at More Than True shares her version of Monkey Face, which has previously been flannelized by Cate, Sharon, and Bridget. 

Mollie's post at What Happens in Story Time is also inspired by Flannel Friday; she adapted Tracey's version of Five Fat Hot Dogs. 

Bridget from What is Bridget Reading? has made another set of crocheted finger puppets - chickens this time! She also provides an original chicken rhyme. 

Tara from Storytime with Miss Tara and Friends celebrates the letter F with two flannel boards: Fred the Frog and Five Firecrackers. 

Lisa at Thrive After Three has rewritten Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the bed using Legos! As if that weren't amazing enough, she is also sharing a wonderful passive programming idea: this felt board table.

At A Librarian Less Ordinary, Becky shares instructions for making adorable Monster Book Bags. 

Jane (and Piper) from Piper Loves the Library also have a non-flannel contribution: a weaving project which was part of a larger program about Beatrice's Goat.

Thanks to everyone who shared an idea this week! For more information about Flannel Friday, please visit the official website. You can also connect with Flannel Friday on Pinterest and Facebook. Next week's week round-up will be hosted by Lisa from Libraryland

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

10 Everyday Objects for Babies to Play With (Instead of Screens)

The flashing screens of devices like iPads and Smartphones are attractive and mesmerizing to babies, but the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages any screen time before the age of two. Parents who want to keep their babies entertained while they make a phone call, wait in line, ride in the car, or simply take a shower may be tempted to hand over the nearest technological device, but there are actually a lot of really great alternatives. Here are ten simple items that have kept my daughter (7 months old) entertained for 30 minutes or more.
  • Egg Cartons
    We save all of our empty egg cartons in anticipation of future craft projects. One day, I handed one to Little Miss Muffet just to see what she would do. In the few weeks that it has been in her play area, she has gnawed on the corners, punched in the egg holders from the bottom, opened and closed the box, and even thrown it across the room to listen to the sound it makes when it lands. What I thought was going to be a ten minute diversion has turned into a favorite toy. (Note: It is possible for babies to bite pieces off of their egg cartons even before they have teeth. Use caution to avoid a choking incident.)
  • Cloths
    Little Miss Muffet is also fascinated by anything made of fabric. She likes washcloths (especially if they have tags), burp cloths, blankets, and our homemade wipes (sewn from scraps of old tee shirts.) I like to give her two cloths at a time so she can hold one in each hand, and she happily chews on them, drops them and picks them up, rubs them on her face, and otherwise cuddles them like loveys. Almost any small piece of fabric works; just be prepared to add it to your laundry pile!
  • Tissue Paper
    Tissue paper can be scary for very little babies. The sound of crumpling paper seems loud to their little ears, and when they’re very small, it kicks in their startle reflex. Starting from around 5 months, though, Miss Muffet became intrigued. First she liked me to hold the paper and shake it for her. Now she happily crumples, slaps, and kicks the paper all on her own. It’s not a great idea to leave a baby alone with a sheet of paper because eventually she will bite off a corner and try to swallow it, but if you can be nearby, it can give you a few minutes to get something done. (I filed my bills the other day!)
  • Loofah
    Knowing my daughter’s affinity for soft, cuddly things, I picked up a loofah at the dollar store. The fresh, bright color of it (green) combined with the interesting texture make this a very appealing sensory toy. To avoid having your baby get a mouth full of soap or mildew, it’s probably wise to buy this fresh rather than to share one that has been used, but it’s a dollar well spent.
  • Stuffed Animals
    Chances are, your child has an abundance of stuffed animals sent by friends and relatives in celebration of her birth, and perhaps even a favorite among them. Miss Muffet is fond of faces, so we often hand her a stuffed monkey or stuffed monster, both of which have smiling faces that she likes to bite, lick, and press on. Now that she has begun scooting, she often drags one of these friends around the living room floor as she checks out her other toys.
  • Board Books
    We take board books with us everywhere because they are portable and I never know when I might have a spare moment to read aloud. Our current favorite traveling companion is First 100 Animals by Roger Priddy, which features colorful boxes on every page filled with photos of animals from different habitats. We often have outdoor reading time, where I will read a chapter from my current read, and Miss Muffet will happily chew on the corners of her book in the shade of her stroller. Occasionally, she drops her book on the ground and fusses for me to pick it up, but I usually make it through a chapter before that happens.
  • Plastic Containers
    Miss Muffet is not crazy about teething rings, but boy will she bite down on some Tupperware! Though I will sometimes put something in her container for her to dump out, often it is just empty, and she bites the rim, rolls it across the floor, bangs it on the baby gate and shakes it in the air. The container we are using right now came from a Chinese restaurant when we ordered soup. She also really likes ricotta cheese containers.
  • Plastic Rings
    When my daughter was born, we were given two sets of Linkadoos. While their ostensible purpose is to attach other toys to strollers, car seats, and high chairs, we have always treated them as toys unto themselves. They come in a variety of textures and colors, and Miss Muffet likes to play with them individually and in chains. Her favorite thing to do is put them in her mouth, but she also shakes a string of them to hear them clack together, and occasionally flings them over her shoulder.
  • Pompoms
    I bought a pack of the largest pompoms available at A.C. Moore and gave a few of them to Little Miss Muffet. I have to watch her when she plays with them because she likes to chew on them, and I don’t want her to put them all the way in her mouth, but their bright colors and soft texture really appeal to her. One day, we even put them in the egg carton, which was a source of great excitement. (Note: A good rule of thumb for choosing baby toys is to look for objects that will not fit through a toilet paper tube. Make sure your pompoms are nice and large if baby is going to chew on them.)
  • String of Beads
    In the same dollar store trip where I bought the loofah, I also purchased some Mardi Gras beads. Interestingly, these are the only toy Miss Muffet does not put in her mouth, and she never seems to get tired of them. She drags them across the floor like snakes, holds them in her hand and tugs on them gently, and shakes them around. (She also has a set of wooden rosary beads with which she does many similar things.) I don’t recommend stringing beads yourself and handing them over to a baby because you never know if they might become detached and turn into a choking hazard. It’s best to find a strand without loose beads and to monitor your baby while she plays.
For more ideas for screen-free play for babies, check out this printable handout from 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Best of Baby Story Time: Books

After reviewing my baby story time plans, and attending a number of baby story times as a mom, I’ve pulled together my list of the best materials and activities I have found for this age group. Today I’m sharing my list of the best books for baby story time.
  • Quiet Loud
    by Leslie Patricelli
    In this slightly larger-than-average board book, Leslie Patricelli makes a list of things that are quiet and things that are loud. Though the concept of opposites is too advanced for babies, onomatopoeia and repetition make this an ideal read-aloud for this age group. The simple, bold images will catch babies’ eyes, and the fact that there is no overarching plot makes it easy to skip pages if your group is particularly antsy. 
  • Big Fat Hen
    by Keith Baker
    This large picture book with eye-catching illustrations retells a well-known nursery rhyme, One Two Buckle My Shoe. The huge hens in each picture make this book very visually appealing, even to newborns, and the familar rhyme invites caregivers to participate. The surprise ending also appeals to adults and often recaptures the attention of those whose minds have begun to wander. 
  • Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
    by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury
    Rhythmic repetitive rhyming text makes this book as fun to read as it is to hear. The cast of babies from different backgrounds reflects the diversity of story time audiences, and the story sneaks in some diverse vocabulary as well, including the word eiderdown, which I have never seen in any other children’s book. This story also lends itself well to child/caregiver interaction, and it’s great to finish it off by having everyone count their fingers and toes. 
  • Hello, Baby
    by Mem Fox and Steve Jenkins
    When I used to do baby story time in six-week spurts, this was always the book I read first during the first session. This one provides great visual representations of animals and also many opportunities to practice making animal sounds. It also has a built-in mechanism for keeping adults engaged because each line of the text is written as a question. The caregivers will often automatically start to answer no to each silly question, but you can also invite them to do so.
  • Hello, Day
    by Anita Lobel
    This is one of the few picture books out there that explicitly teaches animal sounds. Though the text is not that exciting, the illustrations are gorgeous - and perfectly sized for groups of babies. This book works well as the first activity of story time, and it pairs nicely with the song When Ducks Get Up in the Morning.
  • The Baby Goes Beep
    by Rebecca O'Connell and Ken Wilson-Max
    I have never had the chance to use this book in story time, but I’ve heard it read by others, and have read it to my daughter one-on-one. Hands down, it’s one of the best books for babies out there. Onomatopoeia, bright colors, repetition - all of these features are present - and because the book is so short and formulaic, parents can easily memorize it and chant it at home, using noises their own babies make. I don’t own this book, but I “read” it to my daughter from memory all the time. 
  • Baby Faces
    by Margaret Mitchell
    Babies love to look at faces of other babies, and this book gives them that opportunity on every page. The book itself has few words, so it’s easy to make up your own little sayings or phrases to go along with each page, or to lengthen or shorten the amount of time you spend on each face depending on the babies’ interest. 
  • The Babies on the Bus
    by Karen Katz
    Singable picture books are great for babies and they encourage lots of caregiver participation. Since most caregivers know the tune, and the words are printed in  a fairly large font, most have no trouble joining right in. The bold, bright pictures of babies on every page also naturally appeal to babies' preference for colorful images. 
  • A Good Day
    by Kevin Henkes
    If you're looking for more of a story to share at baby story time, this is probably your best bet. It has a simple, straightforward plot, the entirety of which is conveyed in just a few sentences. The images use a lot of bold lines so it's easy for babies to differentiate the different figures in each picture, and some pages show nothing more than a pattern, which is guaranteed to enthrall even the youngest story time attendee. 
  • Baby Parade
    by Rebecca O'Connell and Susie Poole
    This is another one that I've never personally shared in story time, but I have seen it performed by another librarian, and I wished it had been available to me when I was doing baby story time. This book includes lots of pictures of babies, which are always intriguing to little ones. The text introduces interesting vocabulary, as it lists the many ways babies can be carried and transported. This book is hard to find in my local libraries, but it is a must-purchase! 
  • Higher! Higher!
    by Leslie Patricelli
    The text of this book includes only five different words, and most pages include just the refrain "Higher! Higher!" The illustrations provide opportunities to comment as much or as little as you want to on the little girl's journey from the swingset into space and back home again. Because the refrain is so easy to learn, caregivers generally pick it up right away and join in with you. It's also fun to encourage everyone to lift their babies into the air each time "Higher! Higher!" is said.

A full archive of my baby story times is available here. See a gallery of these books, with links to Goodreads, on Pinterest. Next week, watch for my list of the best action songs and rhymes for baby story time.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fizz Boom Reads: Middle Grade Novels

 Though this year's CSLP summer reading theme, Fizz Boom Read, lends itself well to nonfiction reading, it's inevitable that kids will also want to read a few good stories.  I have already shared my suggestions for fictional picture books, easy readers, and chapter books. Today I conclude the series  with middle grade novels.

Project Mulberry
by Linda Sue Park
Julia and her best friend Patrick learn a lot about each other when they team up to raise silkworms. 

The Year of the Baby
by Andrea Cheng
When Anna's newly adopted baby sister fails to thrive, she and her friends design a science experiment to find ways to help her.

Anastasia, Ask Your Analyst

by Lois Lowry
When the gerbils Anastasia brings home for her science project reproduce, she has to hide the whole family from her rodent-phobic mother.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
by Robert C. O'Brien
A group of extraordinary lab rats help Mrs. Frisby save her son, Timothy, from pneumonia, and her other children from death by plow.

The Arm of the Starfish
by Madeleine L'Engle
When Adam Eddington travels to Gaea to work with Dr. O'Keefe on the regeneration of starfish limbs, he finds himself embroiled in espionage and intrigue.

Ruby Goldberg's Bright Idea
by Anna Humphrey
When her grandfather's dog dies, Ruby decides to build a Rube Goldberg machine that can do all the things the dog used to do.

The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.
by Kate Messner
Gianna is supposed to turn in a science project about leaves, but she keeps finding ways to procrastinate as problems develop in other areas of her life. 

Every Soul a Star
by Wendy Mass
Ally, Bree, and Jack each have a different experience witnessing an eclipse at Moon Shadow campground.

by Kiera Stewart
Olivia attempts to use dog training techniques to train the boys in her school to have better behavior. 
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