Full disclosure upfront: I stole the title Random Fandom from a mailing list. If you came up with that title, thank you!
The theory is that we celebrate a different fandom each month, but have activities that non-fans can participate in. This particular program was planned based on an anonymous request I had to host a Pokemon program. Besides my end of summer party this was the most successful program I’ve held since beginning this job in February; 11 teens (mostly new) showed up.
The program started with a hunt for the 15 pokeballs I’d hidden around the teen space and reference (these are right next to each other). The teen who found the most won a $1 box of candy. I was afraid this would seem too juvenile (a general worry for the whole program), but was a great gathering activity and most of them really got into.
The rest of the program was mostly the teens talking Pokemon, bragging about their cards, talking about their games . . . Seriously, I know next to nothing about Pokemon, but I loved seeing the teens geek out about it. They also cleaned me out of my snacks.
I had planned two games and had cubeecrafts available. They sat around the cubeecraft table and a couple of them started, but no one finished. All were too engrossed in conversation. The games I had planned were most definitely too juvenile, though there was some minor interest no one actually played.
I am definitely looking into turning this into a Pokemon club, and I will most likely make the hunt for objects a feature of future Random Fandoms.
It’s been six years since I updated this blog. In that time I started a new job and spent five years as the manager of a busy urban children’s department. I loved that job. I loved the staff and the customers. But here I am starting another new job as a smallish town teen librarian, because family is important and I love working with teens.
So I will still talk about books, some. I also want to talk about my experience shifting focus and growing a teen department from very little.
I have three stacks of “have to be read” books. A mock Newbery list, a mock Printz list and the state award list. One of the things I’m finding interesting about this is paying attention to the varying criteria as I read. (Thank goodness we’re not tackling a mock Caldecott again this year.)
Our mock Newbery list is long!
The Prince of Fenway Park by Julianna Baggot
All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg
The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mick Cochrane
The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
The Problem with the Puddles by Kate Feiffer
The Dream Stealer by Dis Fleishman (Pictures by Peter Sis)
Brooklyn Nine: a Novel in Nine Innings by Alan Gatz
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Neil Armstrong is my Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino
The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson
A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck
The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead [By the end of June I’d already been wanting to blog about this book for ages – trust me there’s a draft – and now it is mid December and I still haven’t. I hope I will have time to reread it before our discussion.]
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Tate
The Great and Only Barnum by Candice Fleming
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose (J Biography – National Book Award Finalist)
Traveling the Freedom Road by Linda Barrett Osborne
Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone
For the mock Printz:
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson [this will be interesting as some of us have already had a contentious discussion of this title]
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
The Devil’s Paintbox by Victoria Mckernan
SLOB by Ellen Potter
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
When you Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
Everything is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis
Flygirl by Sherri Smith
All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg
I will not share my reading list for the state award. Of course there are any number of other books waiting to be read: the most recent Wheel of Time entry, Her Fearful Symmetry, Under the Dome, Splendour . . . My hope is to type up something as I visit or revisit these mock award books.
Walden Award announced. And it was just yesterday (or sometime earlier this week) that I was thinking that My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park hadn’t gotten enough attention.
I never know how many kids are going to show up on any given day. This morning it was raining heavily which means there’s always a threat of flooding and people just don’t leave the house if they don’t have to. Plus it is truly fall and all the summer people have gone home.
So I was happy to have a pair of three-year olds and an 18 month old (plus two moms and a set of grandparents at my Where the Wild Things Are program) even if they were very quiet three-year olds.
What I Did (roughly in this order):
“Open, Shut Them”
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Admittedly, I wouldn’t normally include this book for this age audience, but since that was the premise for the whole thing . . .
Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley
I love using this book with almost any age kids careening from silly to scary depending on the age of the audience. As the little girl’s eyes got bigger I had to make it sillier and sillier. She actually joined in, telling the monster to “Go away!”.
“Two Little Blackbirds”
One of my standards to grab attention.
“If You’re Happy and You Know it”
A get up a move song that usually works.
Witch’s House cut and tell
If you’re not familiar with this one, it is about a little witch who makes a house for herself and a little ghost out of an orange piece of paper. The twist being that she’s really cut a pumpkin. Shhh! They particularly loved the pumpkin.
Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara
When this book arrived at the library I immediately put it in my storyingtelling collection. It is one of those “holiday” books I’ll try and make an excuse to read anytime.
activity: make Max crowns
The original idea was to have the kids make crowns and/or terrible claws and parade around the library. The kids were so reserved that we ended up just making the crowns. The kids took marker to precut paper and then I fitted them to their heads. It was fun to watch the eighteen month old scribble and try and wipe the marks away. His markers were quickly replaced with my piggie puppet that he could chew on.
Spooky Spooky Spooky by Cathy MacLennan
I don’t love this book as much as her Chicky Chicky Chook Chook, but to be honest that would be near impossible. I love that there’s a jack-o-cucumber and jack-o-eggplant and a number of other nontraditional jack-o-lanterns.
As I do almost every October, I forgot to include the audience favorite Chocolate Chip Ghost flannel board, but I use that often enough when doing color stories that I don’t feel bad about the missed opportunity.
So, yesterday I’m sitting in a meeting with the YA team and one of my colleagues says, “I don’t know if you know this, but K blogs regularly.” Imagine my embarrassment.
Yes, I am a teen librarian now, at least part-time. It is a split position and the vast majority of the job tends to fall in the younger range. I’m finding the process of growing a teen presence in the library even more difficult than I imagined. (Also, I’m going to have to learn how to say no. I just can’t join every committee and do every presentation that comes along.)
Thanks in part to all those commitments I haven’t said no to, I have a few stacks of middle grade books waiting to be read. Look for some mock Newbery discussion in the coming weeks. Though if you want a really good Newbery discussion check out the Heavy Medal blog over at SLJ.
One thing about this new(ish) position is that every morning I get to drive over a bridge and everyday the water is different. Most days, from the apex of the bridge, I can see the ocean and when the sun is filtering through the clouds in distinct beams and the bay is glistening it truly seems to be ” an enchanted land.”