Storytelling Around The World!

Storytellers Sara Walker (10th grader), Jennifer Kraar, Joan Schenker and myself told stories to an attentive yet enthusiastic audience.  An adult volunteer became the fairy–complete with wings and wand–in one of the stories and his antics had everyone laughing!

IMG_3013 IMG_3015IMG_3017IMG_3011Sara told “The Farmer’s Daughter” followed by Jennifer who told “Lazy Jack” then Kathy told the drawing story “The Pizza Maker” and the paper-folding story “The Rainhat” and the program ended with Joan telling “The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle”  It was a great morning for storytelling!







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Science is awesome!!

Storytellers Joanna Demarest and Stas Ziolkowski showed a very large crowd today how awesome science can be!  It started with a bang–twice–and ended with the stars in the sky.  We learned about radio waves, how light travels, how the telephone was invented, the pendulum and much more!

Check out these photos!

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Fizzle, Sizzle, and Twizzle!

Watch science come alive  with demonstrations and stories about Alexander Graham Bell and Galileo as local storytellers Joanna Demarest and Stas Ziolkowski present “Fizzle, Sizzle, and Twizzle!” on Friday, July 11, 2014 at 10:30am in the Children’s Department.

There’ll be lots of hands-on demonstrations in this program that is suitable for all ages.

Want to learn more?  Check these out!


Alexander Graham Bell / by Leonard Everett Fisher

Always inventing : a photobiography of Alexander Graham Bell / by Tom L. Matthews

I, Galileo / Bonnie Christensen

Starry messenger : a book depicting the life of a famous scientist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, physicist, Galileo Galilei / created and illustrated by Peter Sis

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Kids Summer Reading!

Have you signed up for Kids Summer Reading?  It’s a great way to read (or be read-to) and have chances at winning some prizes, like tickets to Kennywood or the Carnegie Science Center.  There’s also lots of programs to attend–storytimes, games, crafts, performances by local folks, and more.  It’s free, fun and one of the many things you can do this summer!

Don’t miss out!  There’s a program for teens and adults, too!

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What a coincidence!

I love it when you get surprises during the day!

This happened about a week ago . . . I was signing up three brothers in our Kids Summer Reading program.  All the boys were excited about how many books they would try to read this summer and the older two told me of milestones they had met in school.

All of a sudden the mother dashed over to where we display our magazines.  She returned with Family Fun–she had just received an email from Elmer’s Glue about the article she written in this magazine!!  Specifically the June/July 2014 issue, page 24–the article is called “Happiness Cubed” and is written by Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan, a Pittsburgher!!

So, check out the article!  There’s also a photo of the family included in the article.

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What happens next?

Come to the Summer Reading Extravaganza  on Sunday, June 8, and find out!

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Storytelling Rocks!

If you haven’t figured it out yet, most children’s librarians love to tell stories especially when the audience can join in and participate!

The Children’s Department recently received Tell Along Tales!: Playing with participation stories by Dianne De Las Casas.  Dianne is a seasoned storyteller, author and poet and has even performed at the Three Rivers Storytelling Festival!

This book is perfect for those who may just be thinking about storytelling or for those who have done is for years.  Dianne tells you why storytelling is a vital art form, where to find stories, and tips on how to learn them.  She gives you all the different ways that participation can be used as well as a discussion on audience management.  Then comes the fun part–warm-ups, chants, songs, and finally . . . the stories!  She has included many stories from all over the world.  Her tips as to how she tells them, what participation she does is invaluable . . . and of course you may come up with your own tricks!

There are lots of different ways to tell stories and Dianne has given several ideas.  You can also tell a story through puppetry, so don’t miss Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock at the 14th Annual Summer Reading Extravaganza on Sunday, June 8 from 12-5 PM at the Main Library in Oakland!

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Garden Update

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The little kids had their turn today in the library’s community garden.  Preschool Discovery children love to be outside observing and being involved with the planting!  Every Thursday this  summer they will weed and water the garden as part of their weekly program.

Debbie E. and Debbie P.

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Gardening with Homeschool Tuesdays

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The planting has begun in the community garden at the Main library in Oakland!  The children who participate in the Homeschool Tuesdays program series helped to plant a variety of vegetables today.  The Preschool Discovery group that meets on Thursdays will help to fill the second raised bed later in the week.  The First Floor department has graciously agreed to let participants from Children’s help with the maintenance and nurturing of the garden throughout the summer.

During the coming weeks the children in Homeschool Tuesdays will learn about garden journaling, pollination, helpful insects, soil, and organic gardening.  The focus this summer is nature and getting outdoors!

 Debbie E. & Debbie P.

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Anansi and other tricksters, part 1

Have you seen our puppet show this month?  The Children’s Department is presenting Anansi and The Moss-covered Rock, a West African folktale.  There’s still many days to see this production, so don’t miss it!  Plus, you’ll get a chance to see it on Sunday, June 8th at our Summer Reading Extravaganza!

Anansi is a trickster playing rather mean tricks on (of all people) his friends.  He’s lazy, almost always hungry, and un-motivated to do even the simplest of tasks, so he finds other ways to get the job done.  Most of his friends fall for the trick, but there’s one friend who watches all of this happen and decides that it’s time for the trick to go the other way.  Laughter, music and dancing are also a part of this show.

There are tricksters in many cultures–in fact so many that they can’t all be mentioned in just one post, so here are just a few.  Another list will come out shortly.  Check these out!

Monkey: a trickster tale from India


The Sticky Doll Trap


Pig-Boy: a trickster tale from Hawai’i


 Sister Tricksters:  rollicking tales of clever females


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