Dandy, Planting Stories, and Chapter Two is Missing!

These three books were taken from this list of books I plan on reading and reviewing on here this year. I grabbed these three picture books last week before I left work for New Years and read two of them the first day of the year and saved the last one to read with my son.


  • Dandy written by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Charles Santoso: My son and I have been reading Dyckman’s books for a couple years now and love Wolfie the Bunny and this book seemed in the same vein as that, so I knew I wanted to read it. It was a very cutesy and understatedly hilarious book about what really matters in life. Sweetie, Daddy’s only child, has made a friend who just happens to be a weed named Charlotte that her dad wants to get rid of, which he tries to at every possible opportunity. When his daughter is off at swim practice, him and the other dads finally get the chance for revenge against the weed, only to have it foiled by an adorable drawing of Sweetie and her friend, and he makes a grave mistake. But he more than makes for it in the end. The illustrations by Charles Santoso are excellent and hilarious. Highly recommended for ages 5-9, 5 stars.

Planting Stories

  • Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre written by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Paola Escobar. I had obviously heard of Pura Belpre before as a librarian, but didn’t know anything about her. This charming biography gives you the low-down on why she came to America, how she met her husband, how she was the first Latina to publish folk stories from back home in Puerto Rico (like Martina the Beautiful Cockroach which I had first read after I finished library school though Carmen Agra Deedy’s version), and how this influenced storytelling in libraries. I loved the idea of “planting stories” and can’t wait to share this one with my book club. Highly recommended for ages 7-10, 5 stars.

Chapter Two is Missing

  • Chapter Two is Missing! written by Josh Lieb, illustrated by Kevin Cornell. I really wanted to like this one as it looked over-the-top dramatic and fun, but it was so long it dragged and lost my interest. My son loved it though. The narrator is here to tell us that “Chapter Two is Missing!” and Milo the book’s janitor needs to do something about it, and help him find the chapter. The narrator has already hired Detective McGarrigan, and helpfully provides her information several times. Will they be able to catch the culprit who did it and recover the missing chapter? It gets an extra half star because my kid liked it so much he actually read it out loud to me. Recommended for ages 6-9, 3-1/2 stars.

Questionnaires are Awesome!

I am one of those weird people who actually enjoy filling out questionnaires, but then I also like making lists so I guess it makes sense. I found this one on either Tumblr or Facebook, I can’t remember which, so thought I might do an informational post about myself using these questions. I’m not going to do the full one because the post would go on forever and who needs all that? I added another three from this website

  • What are some of your favorite words? lugubrious, kerfuffle, splendiferous, susurrous
  • What do you label yourself as? Usually I consider myself a feisty librarian mom; an extroverted introvert/ambivert


  • Favorite age you’ve been so far? Not sure I have a favorite per se, but ones I’ve had the most fun/most interesting time is a tie between 22 when I was in graduate school in Scotland and came into my own for the first time. I had a really good grasp on who I was and what I wanted, and I was having lots of fun and traveling a lot. The second time would probably be now, at 37 a year past my divorce and with someone who finally gets me and what I’m about, and just doing my day to day with my son, family and friends. It’s not been easy but I’ve grown stronger. 
  • You can only have one sandwich for the rest of your life. Every sandwich ingredient known to humankind is available, what do you choose? I would totally go with the sandwich I used to make all the time in Italy when I was studying abroad in my junior year of undergrad: freshly made focaccia, genoa salami, pecorino toscano or pecorino al tartufo (pecorino with black truffles), pesto, fresh spinach, and marinated artichokes. 


  • You just found $100. How do you spend it? So this is assuming I’m not having an emergency or any bills to pay. I would go out for a super nice dinner with my boyfriend and then a Jurassic World toy for my son. 
  • The Celestial Gates Of Beyond have opened, much to your surprise because you didn’t think such a thing existed. Death appears. As it turns out, Death is actually a pretty cool entity, and happens to be in a fantastic mood. Death offers to return the friend/family-member/person/etc. of your choice to the living world. Who will you bring back? My maternal grandmother at full health because I miss her so much and couldn’t attend her funeral, plus I know how much my grandfather misses her.
  • Have you ever been admitted to the hospital? Only twice, once when I was five I had to get my stomach pumped after I got salmonella poisoning. And once when I was giving birth to my son. 
  • What is your favorite milkshake flavor? Right now it’s Banana Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
  • How long could you go without talking? Probably not very long. I can be introverted at times, but I tend to get lonely/bored easily and want to interact with people. Also tend to talk a lot when I’m nervous. 
  • Can you do any accents other than your own? Yes, though not very well. I can do Southern English, New Yorker, and vaguely Italian accent. My normal accent is generic American but when I get tired or am around other Southerners, my Southeastern American accent comes out. 
  • What do you like on your toast? Normally just butter and possibly some honey/agave. If they’re in season, smashed avocados. 
  •  If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today? If not, what would you change? No, I wouldn’t want to spend my last day working. I’d want to spend the day with my boyfriend, my son and my parents just hanging out, watching movies and playing games. 
  • How many of your friends would you trust with your life? Pretty much all of the ones I keep contact with on a daily basis because I know they have my back and in this case, my life
  • Other than money, what else do you get out of your current job? I love to help people so I get to do that, sharing books/DVDs with others, connecting people with their community and resources they need, helping to create a safe comfortable environment for others to enjoy their free time in

Awesome Tee For Library Assistant

Summer Reading: Libraries Rock!

The program theme for Summer Reading this year is:

Libraries Rock

I’m really grooving on the theme this year because after eleven months of being closed for repairs and renovation, the library I call home and work at has finally reopened. It looks amazing and even though we are still making it a home again, I’m glad to be back. Below is a picture of our 5th floor reading/study space.

Burton Barr 5th floor

I found the below comic this afternoon from the artist, Grant Snider, whose newsletter I subscribe to. I wanted to share because it reminded me of Summer Reading.


Summer Reading is always super important to make sure the kids don’t lose all the reading achievement they gained during the school year, aka “summer slide”. For more information on this topic, check out this article on Reading Rockets. This year I’m trying to challenge my kid to read for 1000 minutes, partially to see if he can beat me and so he can win a free book and a cool medal. He’s not bothered the last couple of years but I’d really like him to finish this year. I usually read (not counting audiobooks) between 1500-2000 minutes every June-August for Summer Reading. If you are interested in booklists for children from birth to 8th grade, please check out the Association for Library Services to Children’s (ALSC) Summer Reading booklists. For teens, check out the Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) award-winning booklists. For adults, I would recommend the Great American Reads list from PBS as it has a good mix of classic and modern books on it. So everyone keep reading! Children, teens, and adults can join the summer reading program. Just go check out your local public library and get signed up. There’s still 6-1/2 weeks of Summer Reading left. 


Saturday Micro-Fiction #1

I’m late to the Micro-Fiction or Flash Fiction party. I only figured out what it was this week while trying to come up with ideas for Teen programs, more specifically for a program we have at my current library called Teens Write/New Phoenix Voices. It’s a partnership between PPL and the Poet Laureate of the city of Phoenix, Rosemarie Dombrowski. I had my first meeting with her last week and she seems really cool and is of course very interested in helping teens explore poetry, though she normally works with new adults (ages 18+) as she teaches at one of the local colleges, ASU. She will be presenting a program on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month and then I will be helping with programming on the 1st/3rd/5th Wednesdays of the month.

Last week we did blackout poetry, where you take a page from a book (usually one that has already been weeded/discarded) and create a poem out of it in pencil first then once you’ve selected all your words, you blackout the rest of the page with permanent marker. You can also make it super decorative, but I’m not that talented yet. Apparently my poems were like “mini-fiction,” which makes sense as my poetry tends to be pretty narrative/stream of consciousness and I write a lot more fanfiction than poetry these days anyways. 


One of the first things suggested to me to do a program on was Flash Fiction, though I prefer the term Micro-Fiction. Basically it’s when you write a super short story that is anywhere from 100 words to 1000 words or less. As our program with the teens are 2 hrs long and I’m trying to keep their attention as long as possible, I figured I would start with 150 words. Originally I was just going to give them a prompt, and although we could still do this, I think it would be easier if we used photo prompts. This is where you take a photo and use it to help you write a story. Now I’m sure mine will not be the best as this was my first attempt, but I still wanted to share as I want to write and share more things this year. 


Real Life Giant, Anonymous artist/date. Taken from: http://global-pillage.blogspot.com/2016/11/blog-post_22.html

“Tiny Houses” 

Anton was not what you’d call a giant, at least not in his native Siberia, but he knew he was taller than the average person. When he finally scraped together enough money to move to America, the land of opportunity, he was amazed by how large everyone and everything was (not just tall but wide). It wasn’t until he made his way farther north to Rhode Island, the tiniest state in the Union, did he realize how colossal he was. Even the houses were shorter than his expansive shoulders and boulder-sized head. He could literally lean on the houses as they groaned under his weight. It was like he was the benevolent deity looking down on his creations and pronouncing that “they were good”. 

Ugh, how much do I hate moving?


I had to unexpectedly move again and in a hurry, so that’s mostly why I have been MIA from the blog. I got 30 days notice from my landlords to find a new place so I have been frantically searching for somewhere half decent in a safe neighborhood for my child and I. The really sucky part is that I am unable to take my dog of 9-1/2 yrs so I’ve had to find a home for her (finally managed to find one so I don’t have to put her in a shelter, so yay!). Luckily I was able to find a roommate to help me afford something a little nicer. We managed to find a good place and have spent the last two days moving in. I still have boxes everywhere and am sore, but we are about 95% moved in. Just have to get the last few things and clean the other place and I will be done. I have moved at least 16 times in my life so I should be used to it, but I never am. I luckily had a few friends to help me move, which helped tremendously as this is the first time I’ve done it pretty much on my own.

Moving Day Horse Drawn

At least it wasn’t by horse-drawn carriage

Next time, I will try to get professional movers because I’m fairly sure moving ranks right up there with divorce and childbirth for me as the most stressful things ever, because even if you try to make everything go smoothly, it almost never seems to. This time around I didn’t have enough people, then one of our beds didn’t fit, I locked the keys in the truck and by the time the tow guy came to bail us out it was too dark and we were too tired to move anything (so we had to do everything the next day). We ended up hiring a couple of guys to help us move and it went a lot smoother after that. If you ever want to get fit in a short amount of time, just lug boxes up stairs a bunch of times. You will definitely feel it in the morning. 

Today at work we decorated pencil boxes to make Dia de Los Muertos altars, so I got to release some of that frustration and focus on crafting. And this is why I crochet in the winter because crafting is relaxing.  I figured I could add a photo of my grandmother and and a candle and I would be set. 

Check Me Out

Check Me Out

Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite

To be published: Feb 6, 2018

Greta is a small town Assistant Librarian who really loves her job. Only her local library is in trouble and she takes on saving it single-handedly. She has been best friends with Will, the civics teacher and debate coach at the local high school, since they were little an he has always been there for her. Greta’s mother likes to criticize Will because he is chunky and therefore, in her opinion, not worth her time. This year for her birthday, she has asked for the perfect man and Will has delivered him in the form of his cousin, Mac. He is a poetry-spouting, drop-dead gorgeous man who likes to give her free hot chocolates whenever she visits him in the cafe that he works. Who wouldn’t want that? Plus he seems to be really into her. Is he too good to be true? To find out read this modern adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, and decide for yourself which man Greta should end up with. 3-1/2 stars. 

First things first, I usually do not read adult romance books. I would much rather read a historical fiction or a manga that has romance in it but is not the main focus. This one was pretty formulaic, and after I found out it was based on Cyrano de Bergerac, I knew exactly what was going to happen. The library element did add a bit of a twist, which I enjoyed, but pretty much everything was tied up in a nice bow at the end. Overall, I did enjoy the book. 

I picked this one up because it was about librarians, the main character has an MLIS (like me) and she thinks she might’ve found the perfect guy (courtesy of her best friend). And Mac is perfect: curly dark hair, loves poetry and writes it for her, and is gorgeous. He’s the total package, or is he? No surprise that this handsome guy can’t think on his own or that his bigger cousin is supplying all his fabulous lines. I didn’t so much like the whole “Will is fat so he can’t be a good choice for me” mentality that the main character, to an extent, and definitely her mother seemed to have. Just because you’re overweight doesn’t make you less of a person or less deserving of love and attention. I mean it was pretty obvious early on that Greta had a thing for him even if she never mentioned it out loud, especially the longer she hung out with Mac. And Will definitely had the hots for her, even if she was too dumb to figure it out. I always find it a little funny how some people can have advanced degrees but be totally clueless when it comes to love and sex. And no, this is not everyone, but it has been this way in my experience.

The librarian part of the story I enjoyed the most. While I’ve never worked as a small-town librarian, I have worked in small city branches and know all about the fight to keep yours open and viable, and the constant funding issues that you face in one. Greta was incredibly lucky to find a job right out of graduate school, as library jobs are few and far between these days. I have very personal experience with that issue. You really gotta love your job to stay a librarian long-term. I also loved her historical crush on Dr. Silver, and how he fought for integration in the local public school. I’m glad she eventually got to meet him and be a bit of a radical herself, even though the results were not exactly what she had planned. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Shadow Mountain Publishing in exchange for my honest review. 

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 3

Day 3: What are your top 3 pet peeves?

  1. People who can’t use their turn signal. Literally it takes so little effort to do this and be considerate of other drivers. If you can talk on your phone or text and drive, you can signal to indicate whether you will turn left or right before your turn. And not the second before you do it either.  See this video which encapsulates this peeve of mine (warning: cussing).
  2. Parents that dump their children in the library [or rec center], especially during the summer. I love my job. I love working with kids and their parents, even teens at times. However, I hate parents that completely disappear and leave their kids in the Children’s Area like we’re a free babysitting service. While I don’t mind watching out for your kids, they are not my responsibility. Be a parent. Act like you give a damn. Jul6th_2015_quote_good_manners_will_open_doors_featured.jpg
  3. People with no manners or common sense. This kind of ties in with number 1, but I will expand upon it. Nowadays it seems like no adults, or children for that manner, have either of these. For help on common sense with kids, check out here and here. Maybe I’m extra sensitive because I was raised in the Southeast and we were brought up with both, especially manners, but c’mon people! There is nothing wrong parents with teaching your kids manners and believe me, people will thank you for it. Esp teachers and librarians. Breaking News about Common Sense