Blogger Chelsey Roos

Why Do Kids Love Thrillers?

Thrillers have been surging again in YA literature for the last few years. The popularity of thrillers ebbs and flows in YA (raise your hand if you devoured I Know What You Did Last Summer in the 90’s like I did), but Kate McManus’ One of Us Is Lying brought this genre to the top again in a big way, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Thrillers are also a perennial favorite among the middle grade crowd. What’s the appeal behind this genre, and what can we offer young thrill-seekers?

Blogger Chelsey Roos

STEAM Programs for the Scientifically Uncertain

I love doing STEAM programs, but I have never been a science person. Don’t get me wrong – I like certain elements of science. But like anyone, I have my strengths and my weaknesses, and explaining elementary level physics or chemistry is definitely not a strength of mine. I’m also not a great instruction follower, and science experiments often have very specific instructions. Paper circuits? I have no idea why the battery only works one way despite having read an explanation approximately one thousand times. Growing crystals? I’m too impatient for that kind of work. Simple machines? To me, they are Deeply Complicated machines. There are many places online to find great STEAM projects planned by experts, but if you’d like some so-simple-they-cannot-go-wrong STEAM projects, I’m here for you.

Blogger Chelsey Roos

Library Work Has a Trauma Problem – Can It Be Fixed?

The public might think of libraries as calm and gentle, but library workers know the truth: library work can cause trauma. Most of us have had at least one experience – if not many experiences – that broke our hearts, wore us out, or left us feeling alone and unsupported. A groundbreaking new study from Urban Libraries Unite has sought to dig deep into that trauma and explain why it’s happening. They also propose four changes to help mitigate library staff trauma and make sure that library staff do not feel alone in their experiences.

Blogger Chelsey Roos

Busting Myths About Autism

April is Autism Acceptance Month! Over the last decade, libraries have done a lot of work to better support autistic families. Many libraries have started sensory storytimes and programs. Some allow autistic families to visit the library before official open hours to provide a less overstimulating experience. Other libraries have converted extra space into entire sensory rooms. However, a lot of misinformation about autism continues to circulate, and it affects how libraries serve their communities. Let’s bust some autism myths together.

Blogger Chelsey Roos

Has COVID Changed How Kids Read?

Have you noticed a change in how the kids and families you serve are reading in the COVID era? Two years into the pandemic, we’ve had an intense educational disruption. Some kids were in remote learning for months. Others have been going back and forth between in-person and remote, or in-person and almost nothing. Some families have moved to homeschooling. Some kids have had parents and caregivers on hand to help them through the chaos. Others haven’t. Has all this added up to changes in what and how our kids are reading?

Blogger Chelsey Roos

Why Is Children’s Literature Still Fat-phobic?

Close your eyes and throw a dart in the children’s section, and you’ll probably hit a book that has fat-phobia. It may have a snide comment about a fat character – or a book with no fat characters at all. I’m not sure which one is worse. It’s practically a tradition in children’s literature to depict fatness as synonymous with gluttony, with ugliness, with stupidity, or with evil. In Harry Potter, you have major and minor fat villains: Dudley, Umbridge, Crabbe and Goyle. Stuart Gibb’s best-selling Funjungle series features a b-side villain referred to as “Large Marge” throughout the series, who is regularly derided as idiotic and incompetent. And if we started talking about fatness and Roald Dahl, we’d be here all day. Where does this fatphobia come from, and why do we put up with it?