Blogger Kiera Parrott

Three Great Creation Apps for Kids

Looking for some fun new apps to try with various age groups in your library? These are some of of our favorite apps at Darien Library: Doodlecast for Kids (1.99 by Tickle Tap Apps. Available on iPhone, iTouch, iPad.) This drawing app has one key feature that sets it apart from other preschool art apps- it allows users to record their voices while doodling. The result is a screencast that immediately syncs to your iPhone, iTouch, or iPad Photos folder or you can upload to YouTube. Recommended for ages 3 and up. How to use it in the library: Preschoolers will love playing on this app and rewatching their recorded creations. But the real potential is in storytelling. Try it out with a group of slightly older kids and let them draw and narrate their own short stories. For an added bonus, have the kids pair up or group into…

Blogger Kiera Parrott

How Homer P. Figg Made Me a Better Person

We know that children’s books change lives. They show us that apologies and forgiveness can be hard; that everyone deserves a second chance; that sometimes it takes an adventure or two to wind up right back where we always belonged; and that it’s better to be kind than to be right. My story begins with a confession. For the past few days, I’ve ignored a woman sitting at my subway station, holding a baby and a cardboard sign. The first time I saw her my jaded New York filters kicked in: she’s a scammer, I thought. She looks too young, too clean. She’s one of those charlatans preying upon people’s kinder natures. Or maybe she’s a sociology student working on a project for her graduate thesis; pretending to be homeless and gathering statistics on reactions from cold-hearted urbanites. She’s not really a homeless woman with a very young child, sitting on…

Blogger Kiera Parrott

What Can the Children’s Library Learn from Susan Cain’s Quiet?

I’ve been reading Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and every chapter feels like an “Ah-ha!” moment. Besides being a fascinating look into the introvert-extrovert personality spectrum, Cain’s emphasis on appreciating the intuitive listeners, the quietly creative, and the sensitive mentors among us is inspiring. Cain’s central point is that we live in a culture that places inordinate value upon extroversion and we tend to overlook those unique qualities that introverts bring to the table. Quieter types are often the deep thinkers who revolutionize with creative new ideas and methods. Introverts can be highly intuitive and their attention to body language, small details, and interpersonal relations make them surprisingly adept negotiators, analysts, and leaders. Cain finds value in both extroverted and introverted types and makes the case that each have skills and talents to contribute. It’s gotten me thinking deeply about how…

Blogger Kiera Parrott

A Valentine to Pinterest

Raise your hand if you’re on Pinterest. Keep it raised if you are simultaneously reading this blog while thinking about what images you’d like to pin. If you are anything like me or the 7 million people currently using Pinterest, you may quickly find yourself obsessively pinning and repinning images on this addictive new visual bookmarking service. I’m here with a bit of great news: your new social media obsession is okay. In fact, Pinterest might very well be the best new tech tool for children’s librarians. If you’ve yet to experience the joy of pinning, here are the basics: users can create free Pinterest profiles using their Facebook or Twitter accounts. Once created, you can begin by uploading your own images (similar to Flickr in that respect), by searching for images uploaded or pinned by other users (this is called ‘repinning’), or by pinning images you discover online. Users…

ALA Midwinter 2012

It’s been real, #alamw12

At this point I’m bleary-eyed, alarmingly over-caffeinated, and nursing a small blister (despite my sensible footwear selections.) I couldn’t be happier. It’s the best kind of exhaustion. I’ve spent the last few days talking about books, art, technology, and public service with- hands down- the smartest, most intriguing, hard-partying librarians, publishers, vendors, and assorted library-lovers. Yesterday I met my fellow 2013 Caldecott committee members and our fantastic committee chair. We discussed the upcoming year, traded ideas on how we will organize our books and thoughts, and started the process of getting to know each other before the deluge of books begin pouring in. The overall takeaway for me was to keep an open mind, stay organized, and simply enjoy the experience. Sitting in the audience at this morning’s Youth Media Awards I caught myself tearing up. Not from any particular winner or award, but from the sheer force of excitement and…

ALA Midwinter 2012

YMA Anticipation

In a few minutes I’ll be heading over with friends and coworkers to the Youth Media Awards. The energy in the air is already palpable. People are smiling more, wringing their hands a bit, chatting with strangers about their own faves and which titles they’re rooting for. It’s better than the Globes, better than the Oscars. These are the YMAs, baby! So, what are your picks this year? Add them in the comments below or tweet them with the hashtag #alayma. And for those of you playing along from home, don’t  forget to check out the live webcast.

ALA Midwinter 2012

Notable Notables at #alamw12

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Notables is awesome. If you have the opportunity to sit in the audience and listen to the open discussion, you must do it! I’ve learned more about art, design, plot structure, critique, and artful ways to agree to disagree from attending Notables than from almost any other professional experience. I was only able to stay for an hour, but in that time I heard the committee members discuss over a dozen titles, including The Secret Box by Barbara Lehman, I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen, and The Conductor Laetitia Devernay. Some choice quotes from the discussion can be found here.

ALA Midwinter 2012

Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool at #alamw12

After settling into my hotel last night, my coworker and I decided to hit the town! After sharing a delectable banana split at the Omni Hotel, we headed over to the YA Lit Trivia Night FUNraiser put on by our friends over at YALSA. Allow me a moment of true confession: In the past, I had been just a teeny, tiny bit intimidated of YALSA events. They just seemed so cool and flawlessly edgy- like your glamourously punk older sister who always kicked you out of her room when her friends came over. Well, I’m happy to report that the YALSAites I’ve had the pleasure to meet were incredibly welcoming, super fun, and just as dorky as the rest of us. But a note of warning- they know their trivia something fierce. I got my tush handed to me on that count. Next up was heading to the Hyatt for hanging…