Our old friends Canela Fina! delivered yet another great event for Brompton library with their chocolate event for children. We had a full house with everyone champing at the bit to get to the eating part of the event. Of course, that came at the end, so before that we had a history of where chocolate came from and how it’s made, all with graphics on our screen, and then the chocolate song with hand actions that was so fast in the end no-one could keep up with it… but had great fun trying!
Then came the part that everyone had been waiting for – tasting the white, brown and black chocolate before drawing pictures of the Aztec god of chocolate (I hadn’t known there was one!) and then, even better, being given two little doughnuts to decorate with chocolate sauce (white and brown) and sprinkles.
On a drizzly, wet afternoon after school last week Brompton Library was pleased to welcome our friend Matthew from the Ecology Centre who brightened everyone’s day with the promise of growth and renewal by the planting of a pea!
Matthew was inundated with keen kids and their carers who were shown how to make an environmentally friendly plant pot with newspaper and a wooden press. They then added some compost and the seed and Hey Presto! – they had a seed to nurture at home.
In this part of the borough most of the housing is in flats, whether they’re in mansion blocks with their own garden squares or social housing with a local park, so many kids won’t be used to getting their hands stuck in to garden soil or watching their own plant grow from a seed to an edible vegetable.
Let’s hope that at least some survive (though I have my doubts!)
Many thanks to the Ecology Centre – the plant potters event is new to libraries this academic year and I hope it’s as well received at other libraries as it was here. See our latest events listing or ask in your nearest RBKC library for the next Plant Potters event.
We’ve got a marathon of John Byrne Cartoon Workshops today, starting right now at North Kensington Library, then moving on to Kensington Central Library (11.30am to 12.30pm), Chelsea Library (2 to 3pm) and then Brompton Library (3.30 to 4.30pm).
Marvel, as our cartoon workshop host flies from library to library… Gasp, as John leads the group through a fast paced and fun session which will get them copying his cartoons perfectly in the first five minutes… and doing their own cartoons by the end of the session!
Contact the library to book your free place for this National Libraries Day event!
This month Notting Hill Gate Library has been very engaged in new activities, such as having our first ever Story Time session. We read a range of books and even had a dance when reading “Were Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen.
Our second Story and Craft session took place on Saturday 21st November. The library was transformed into every child’s dream, where everyone had the chance to become a superhero. It went with a BOOM and a BANG!
Snow visited us with a cold start to the day, however this did not stop our brave, dedicated superheroes! They forgot their masks so we made them by using all sorts of materials and quickly put them on to hide their identities from the world.
As you can see in the picture they were all unique designs, some were inspired by their iconic superheroes for instance ‘The Incredibles’.
Everyone doing their superhero poses
As in all parties, we celebrated by marking the event in our Superhero Photo booth of the bold Batman and dazzling Wonder Woman. The superheroes were smiling from ear to ear, exciting stuff!
Parents were supportive of their mini superheroes by generously donating fruits, which the children used to create their own superhero faces. Two of the children did not know what a Pomegranate was, but once they had tasted the delicious fruit, they were hooked.
Creating superhero fruit faces
The day was saved when all our mini-superheroes came to the rescue by using their powers to help tidy the children’s library. It was a hard days work!
When I first started doing the under-5s at Chelsea I had no experience at all, in fact I had come from delivering the housebound service in Hammersmith, so I was used to dealing with the very elderly who were often slow on their feet and very polite. I was in no way prepared for the chaos of pre-schoolers: the tired and distracted mothers and the nannies on their mobiles.
My God they were a tough audience!
I soon realise why so many people were reluctant to take on the responsibility. Some fellow workers were not brave enough to put on the baritone voice of the ogre in The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
There was almost a sense that the children’s library should be free of noise and chaos.
Did we really need class visits when books were left strewn across the carpet? Well, yes we did! We needed to embrace the chaos.
I soon developed a taste for amateur theatrics and found myself thinking my way inside Mr Bear’s mind in the wonderful ‘Peace At Last’ where the adults are amused by Mr Bear’s wretched sleepless night, his snoring wife and the horrible brown letter from the Inland Revenue which appears at the end and is clearly responsible for the wiggly lines etched round his eyes.
Last month I was sent on a story-time training session in Barnet where I hoped to pick up some new tips.
Would there be some hints on puppetry?
How to throw your voice or even a magic spell to aid concentration?
The session in Barnet was led by three high octane women. They had a personal interest in all the stories and like fans of music they felt a special relationship with Lucy Cousins and Jez Alborough. They had taken ownership of the books. Their enthusiasm was a little daunting for the first timer. I both appreciated the course and squirmed with embarrassment at having to sit on a small inflatable ring in a mock-up of a farm yard. Story-time means you have to let go, become cartoonish, engage the children with eye contact and big swirling gestures.
What I learnt is that repetition in a story is great, less text too, stories that elicit a call and answer response and some of those almost silent books such as ‘Hug’ which repeat one word over and over are the best. Most important of all don’t be afraid of repeating the same story. They will soon know Jack and the Beanstalk by heart.
We had a busy Summer Reading Challenge party and began with some themed record breaker questions for the completers. No one was prepared for the weird questions quizmaster Vince Symmons prepared: the length of the longest nose hair or the greatest distance covered by a skate-boarding goat?
Answers on a postcard please.
The more absurd the question the better the children responded.
Story-craft this month was structured around monsters. Di devised some brilliantly huggable creatures with folding arms and big furry bodies – a bit like an angry sporran. Earlier we designed frogs with red woollen tongues and a squashed fly on the end.
We also had a visit from the Holland Park ecology centre. The staff brought cockroaches and millipedes to the library and they did very well with our very own two-legged mini beasts!
By DanielJeffreys Customer Service Assistant, Chelsea Library
Notting Hill Gate Library had a busy October this year, which included our Halloween display and the first Halloween Story and Craft Event on Saturday 24th October. This was a great opportunity for the children to dress up as their favourite characters and celebrate the holiday. The turn out was great and the afternoon was memorable. However, this could not have happened without the help and support from both parents and our kind volunteer Karima, who is a Primary School Teacher.
We began the afternoon with a scary story called Spooky House by Roger Priddy, in which we all participated in the reading together. After this, with the help of Karima’s teaching experience, we explained health and safety measures to the children.
With limited space in the Library, sitting on the floor worked to our advantage as it brought everyone together. The children were hooked in the making of their spider webs and loved the challenge when weaving the wool. After this, we had played a game of pass-the-parcel which engaged everyone’s attention, including the parents who also joined in.
To promote healthy eating, we created our very own pumpkins from oranges (the pumpkin’s body) and celery (the pumpkin’s stalk). In addition to this, we also made ghosts from bananas and raisins were used for the eyes. It proved to be a success.
At the end of the day everyone was sad the afternoon was over, but were cheered as each were given Halloween goody bags filled with raisins and a Halloween activity booklet.
To encourage reading I asked parents to take out a book for each child from the display, in which I had drawn inspiration from The Wizard of Oz. We all know how inspirational books can be and as it has been said ‘Today a reader, tomorrow a leader!’
Come along and join us for our next Story and Craft event on Saturday 21st November 2015 but please book early to avoid disappointment!
Chatterbooks, as we all know, is the national reading group for children and this year 11th – 18th October is Chatterbooks Week.
We got in a few days early with a great event from the very popular children’s author Steve Cole. Steve is the author of, amongst other things, the Astrosaurs and Cows in Action series, has taken over the Young Bond series from Charlie Higson and has also written episodes of Dr Who.
Over 100 KS2 pupils from local schools witnessed the most energetic author event I’ve ever seen, with Steve leaping on and off the stage and running up and down the aisles taking questions. When I asked the Reading Agency if he’d be bringing any equipment with him (I was thinking laptop, usb stick) I was told no, just his ukulele! His songs had the children screaming along with the choruses.
Steve was really strong in exemplifying the role of imagination in storytelling, improvising stories from the names of children’s (and teacher’s) pets, playing with words and making it all such fun.
The Chatterbooks reading groups are a great forum for children who enjoy reading to meet up and talk about their reading experiences, recommend books to each other and maybe do some fun activities related to reading and books like word searches and quizzes.
They are held monthly at most of the RBKC libraries – check here to find the nearest to you.
Schools have well and truly broken up for the summer and several more weeks of long holiday lie ahead… what will your children be doing? Visit your local library this summer to see all theevents and activities for childrenwhich are on offer. There are events on throughout the holidays, so there is lots to choose from!
If your children like a Challenge, why not bring them to join this year’s Record Breakers? All they need to do is read 6 library books over the holidays, and they’ll receive stickers and rewards for telling us about them.
It’s free to join, just visit your nearest library to sign up – all that’s needed is a library card. There’s a medal for everyone who reads 6 books!
What weird, wonderful or wacky records will you and your kids discover?