About Allison

The name's Wonderland. Allison Wonderland. While my sense of direction could get me lost in a cardboard box, I DO know my way around a library catalog. I love all things Disney, the beach, telling bad jokes (although I still think they're "punny") the holiday season and the book "Lester's Dreadful Sweaters" by K.G. Campbell.

Ready Early, Read Rhymey

Humpty Dumpty clip artYou have probably already heard that it is never too early to start reading aloud to your child. Sometimes we field questions about what the age minimum is for summer reading, obtaining one of our library cards, etc. The answer? There really isn’t one. Birth, in utero, we aren’t picky. Literally, never too early. We mean it. That is because the sooner children are read to, then the easier their transition to reading independently will be.

“But, Random-Library-Lady-Writing-This-Blog-Post,” you’re thinking, “my brand new bouncing baby, while perfect in every way, won’t even be able to recognize a blurry version of MY FACE (you know, me, the one who gave them life?) until around three months; how can it possibly be helpful to read books to a newborn?” Continue reading

What’s a Baby, and Why Is It Staying???

Big sister and little brotherThere’s a story about my younger brother and me that’s become a bit of a legend in my family. I would like to preface this story by saying that I find the attention a little unfair. Is the tale about the time I fearlessly protected him from a menacing neighborhood cat? (Granted, it was on the other side of a chain link fence, but it looked wily…not to be trusted.) No. Is the story about the times I selflessly agreed to play the “innocent prey” (his words, not mine) to his mountain lion/crocodile/animal obsession du jour as he ambushed me from the back of the couch? No.

The story is about the moment I realized he was ours. Not going anywhere. Sayonara, only-childom. Continue reading

Dewey Diamonds in the OverDrive Rough

Captain Underpants has its own special kind of charm and place in a young reader’s literary diet. However,  if you find yourself wanting to round out your little reader’s digestive system, a good way to start is to trick…I mean encourage…your kiddo to mosey around nonfiction.

One method is what I personally like to call the “something shiny” persuasion; ebooks! The change in format can serve not only as a reason for kids to sniff around some new titles, but working with different platforms for searching also increases technological literacy. Plus, eBooks and eAudiobooks can’t be lost, become overdue, get left at Disney World, chewed on by the dog, etc. If that weren’t reason enough to check them out, we recently rolled out our new child-usage friendly eReading Room for Kids in OverDrive and it has an fantastic amount of titles available. Continue reading

But Series-ously: Juvenile Historical Fiction

Book cover for With the Might of Angels, a book in the Dear America seriesConfession: One of the most satisfying questions to get from an early reader is something like, “I really liked so-and-so book, do you have any more like that?” when you know that yes, yes, burgeoning reader, you have picked a book in a series! Let’s get as many books as possible into your hot little hands! Read! Read, you young absorbent mind – read like the wind!

While I am a firm believer in the theory that whatever a child is reading, within the parameters of law and reason of course, is good because they are reading, it is such a cherry on top when there is an educational facet to these series. See? Interdisciplinary learning can be recreational fun! Okay, maybe don’t take it that far with your child/student/patron, as you’ll likely send them running from the stacks and your vicinity in general, but hopefully you see my point.

The further good news is that while the classics of juvenile historical fiction, such as the Little House on the Prairie series, are still popular and valuable, this particular genre has really expanded over the past decade or two, especially in series form. And again, that series factor can be crucial if you need to strike while the enthusiasm for reading – I mean, the iron – is hot.

An American Girl bookBesides becoming a mega-doll industry, American Girl has managed to pump out some (and by “some,” I actually mean “oodles of”) pretty good books that cover a wide range of American demographics, periods of time, geographical location, etc., while still retaining a relevance to things girls today experience. Continue reading

Shhh! Stop Saying Libraries Are Dying!

Photo of scolding librarian

There are many, many things that I dearly love about working in a library, about providing children’s services and that absolutely thrill me about my decision to pursue my post-graduate education in library science. But people telling me…

“That’s what Google is for.”

“Nothing relevant is even in print form anymore; even books can be digital.”

“Once everyone owns a Kindle no one will even go to the library.”

“You chose, like, the Latin of professions.”

…are DEFINITELY NOT among those many, many things. (Don’t even get me started on, “You need a degree for that?”)

Because the truth is, libraries are not just giant warehouses full of musty, dated books, just like librarians are not brittle, grumpy ladies who wear ugly cardigans and cat-eye glasses on chains and shush you from on high through lipstick-stained teeth. (We are really more ChapStick people.) Continue reading