Which book will win the Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award?

The race is on! There are five picture books nominated to win the Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award. Voting is happening now until May 15, 2019. Libraries all over Indiana are having storytimes, collecting votes from voting stations and making special visits to preschools and child centers to help determine which of the five titles will take home the prize.

The five books were chosen from a list of titles nominated in 2018 by librarians all over Indiana who work with children. A committee of librarians chose these five books from over 30 nominated titles, primarily because the books are really good at getting children to talk, sing, read, write and play.

  • “A Hippy Hoppy Toad” by Indiana author Peggy Archer is written completely in rhyme and gets children to bop along to the beat, while they wait to see where the hippy-hoppy toad will land next.
  • “Jabari Jumps” by Gaia Cornwall is perfect for reading aloud to a loved one, particularly someone who might be afraid of taking that giant leap off the tall, scary diving board.
  • “There’s a Monster in Your Book” by Tom Fletcher is ridiculously fun, and encourages play and interaction with the silly monster at every turn of the page.
  • “Hello Hello” by Brendan Wenzel introduces children to dozens of animals and encourages conversations about animals, unfamiliar words, and saying hello to new friends.
  • “Play This Book” by Jessica Young turns the reader into a one person band, and uses illustrations of instruments to boost fine motor skills in the hands of the children who reach out to play that enticing printed piano in the middle of the book.

Ruth Fraser, the branch manager at the Klondike Branch of the Tippecanoe County Public Library loves the Firefly Award. “I love that it encourages caregivers to engage with the youngest learners, and gives kids the opportunity to have a say in their favorite books. It teaches parents how to nurture the important voices of their children.” The ballot for the award can be found here. Votes can be turned into the Indiana Center for the Book until May 15.

The Indiana Center for the Book is hoping for a record number of votes for 2019, as this is the fifth year of the award. “Five is an important milestone for children, and an important one for us,” said Suzanne Walker, director of the Indiana Center for the Book. “At five children can do somersaults. They can use a fork and a spoon and they can even rattle off their name and address. Now that the award is five, I’m hoping that every children’s librarian in Indiana knows about it and will turn in votes from their community.”

The award will be announced on May 17, 2019. For more information, visit the Firefly website here.

This blog post was submitted by the Indiana Young Readers Center.

INLLA participant Erin Cataldi strives to improve teen engagement

Every two years, the Indiana State Library hosts the Indiana Library Leadership Academy program for up-and-coming librarians in the field. Librarians across the state, and from a variety of library backgrounds, apply to attend INLLA. Each librarian is chosen based on the responses and project proposals submitted with their application. The participants selected, along with their coaches, spend four days learning about the qualities of leadership and, specifically, how those leadership qualities translate to the library profession. During the most recent INLLA, facilitator and author Cathy Hakala-Ausperk, of Libraries Thrive Consulting, contributed her expertise by sharing aspects of her library experience and talking about what it takes to be a leader.

Beginning with the four-day retreat, INLLA is a two-year commitment culminating in the completion of the projects that the participants designed to improve, enhance or strengthen some aspect of their library or community.

Pictured are Erin Cataldi, Stacey Kern and Raenell Smith at the Kwame Alexander author event held at Clark Pleasant Middle School.

INLLA participant Erin Cataldi, teen and adult reference librarian at the Clark Pleasant branch of the Johnson County Public Library, wanted to increase teen engagement in her library. She realized that reaching teenagers in a mostly residential community can be hard and that there aren’t a lot of spaces for them to congregate and hang out. She wanted to improve the teen “space” in the library to become more inviting and to be used by its intended audience – teens.

One of Erin’s innovative programs: a Harry Potter escape room at Clark Pleasant branch.

Erin wanted to begin this process by offering more innovative programming to get the teens used to coming in to the library. She also wanted to revamp the teen space to make it more appealing to teens. Her approach was to work with local businesses and organizations to offer ongoing passive programs at all times in the teen space. She also decided that working more closely with the local schools to promote the library would be a good way to let teens know that the library is a safe place to meet up, hang out, study and create.

Currently, Erin doesn’t have control over the teen space due to the size of the existing building, but a recent announcement conveyed that by 2020 the library should be breaking ground to build a bigger branch. The proposed plan includes a generous teen area for materials and activities. So, the future is bright!

Erin Cataldi and Annie Sullivan at the Whiteland Community High School author event.

By volunteering to help out at school events, such as an author visit by Annie Sullivan, Erin continued to solidify her already established relationships with the local middle and high schools, which gives the students a closer connection to the library.

Monthly makerspace at Clark Pleasant Middle School.

Additionally, Erin operates a monthly makerspace at Clark Pleasant Middle School and regularly drops off program brochures, library card applications and posters to the schools around the county. She is also launching a teen advisory board this month in order to gather input into programming ideas for teens. She also attended a young adult round table to talk about best practices for teen programming and to get ideas to supplement what she is doing at their branch.

Erin is an example of a library leader who is having an impact on her library and on her community. This process began with INLLA and the project that she created to increase teen engagement in her area. With the idea of increasing teen engagement, Erin has developed a closer relationship with the schools by volunteering at their events and making more school visits. Teens at the Clark Pleasant Branch of the Johnson County Public Library are lucky to have Erin on their side and I can’t wait to see what she does next!

This blog post was written by Kara Cleveland, Professional Development Office supervisor at the Indiana State Library.

Indiana Center for the Book partners for webinar series about books and authors

The Indiana Center for the Book and the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award are partnering on a series of webinars focused on authors and reading. All webinars are offered in partnership with the Indiana State Library’s Professional Development Office (PDO) and are each eligible for one LEU. The Indiana Center for the Book promotes interest in reading, writing, literacy, libraries and Indiana’s literary heritage by sponsoring events like these. The Indiana Authors Award seeks to recognize the contributions of Indiana authors to the literary landscape in Indiana and across the nation.

The Care and Feeding of Authors: Planning a Successful Author Visit – 1 LEU
Date: August 7, 2018 Time: 10 a.m. EST  Format: Adobe Connect Webinar
Looking to book an author at your library? Learn how to put your library’s best professional foot forward and avoid common pitfalls. Join Indiana author Kelsey Timmerman and Indiana’s Letters About Literature Coordinator Suzanne Walker for this discussion about best practices when booking an author. From making sure their dietary needs are met to paying them efficiently, there’s more to booking an author than just deciding on a date. This webinar is hosted by Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award Program Coordinator Caity Withers. Be sure to bring all of your questions regarding booking authors.
Presenters: Kelsey Timmerman, author; Suzanne Walker, director of the Indiana Center for the Book; Caity Withers, Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award

Indiana Authors: What’s New in Kids Lit? – 1 LEU
Date: August 15, 2018 Time: 10 a.m. EST Format: Adobe Connect Webinar
Indiana continues to produce great authors for kids. Join Shirley Mullin, owner of Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore in Indianapolis, for a conversation about books by new Indiana authors who write for children and discover great authors to book at your library.
Presenters: Shirley Mullin, owner of Kids Ink Children’s bookstore; Suzanne Walker, director of the Indiana Center for the Book;  Caity Withers, Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award

Diversifying Your Book Club by Selection and Membership – 1 LEU
Date: September 11, 2018 Time: 10 a.m. EST Format: Adobe Connect Webinar
Are you tired of reading the same books for your book clubs? Are you hoping to reach new audiences? Join Tiffani Carter, the manager of the West Indianapolis Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library (IndyPL) for some tips and best practices to consider when choosing your book club selections and to learn how to recruit new participants.
Presenters: Tiffani Carter, manager of the West Indianapolis Branch of IndyPL; Suzanne Walker, director of the Indiana Center for the Book; Caity Withers, Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award

Please register to attend. Registration links can be found above. All three webinars will be recorded and available on the Indiana State Library’s Archived Webinars page within 30 days of their production. Find other free webinars from the Indiana State Library here.

Submitted by Suzanne Walker, Indiana Young Readers Center librarian at the Indiana State Library and director of the Indiana Center for the Book.

Proposed Friends of the Riley Library group seeks members

My name is Dena Vincent and I’ve been the librarian at the Edward A. Block Family Library at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health for over 14 years. I received my Masters in Library Science in 2003 from Indiana University.

The children’s library at Riley Hospital got its start in the early 20th century. At the 1923 meeting of the Indiana Library Association, currently known as the Indiana Library Federation after a 1990 merger with the Indiana Library Trustees Association, members of the association pledged their support for the children’s library at Riley Memorial Hospital, today’s Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.1

I am seeking people who would be interested in starting and running a Friends of the Riley Library group. The focus of the group will be to support volunteer efforts for the library and to raise funds for the library to purchase and pay for magazine subscriptions, collection updates, supplies and, ultimately, to help fund library staff. The overall goal would be to generate the necessary funds to create and support an endowment for the library and its programs and services. The proposed friends of the library group would work closely with me and with the Riley Children’s Foundation to augment the support currently provided.

Due to increasing costs and a reduction in reimbursements, many cuts have been made in departmental budgets in the last few years. Therefore, non-revenue producing departments, like the library, will ultimately be funded by the Riley Children’s foundation.

The Edward A. Block Family Library is a library for patients and families. The library is similar to a small public library offering books for all ages, movies, video games, music CDs, magazines, phone charging, computers and printing/faxing/copying. Other services include Riley Reading Time on CCTV, dial-a-story and volunteers reading to patients and delivering book carts to their rooms.

Patients and families are welcome to come to the library, however, 35 percent of our patients are in isolation and another 25 percent are in the NICU.2 If a parent is not there to provide some distraction then these children may not have any type of distraction other than nurses or doctors. The Cheer Guild provides toys and crafts for the children, but as you can imagine children need other resources, especially reading.

The library at Riley got its start with the help of Indiana librarians and with your continued support we can provide a library to patients and families well into the future.

If you would like to be a member of the Friends of the Riley Library, call me at (317) 944-1149 or email me.

If you would like to volunteer, you may fill out an application here.

If you would like to donate monies/materials, or learn more about the library, please visit our website.

1Spencer, Rhonda, and Dina Kellams. “In Conclusion: Highlighting the Indiana Library Association-1923 Meeting at the West Baden Springs Hotel.” Indiana Libraries 31.2 (2012) 56. Abstract. Library Occurrent 6.12 (1923): 427-28. Print.

2 Riley Hospital. Riley Hospital Daily Brief. Rep. N.p.: n.p., 2016. Print. November & December.

This blog post was written by Dena Vincent, librarian, Edward A. Block Family Library at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.

Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award winner announced

Indiana Center for the Book (ICB) co-directors Christy Franzman and Suzanne Walker have announced children’s author Britta Teckentrup as the 2017 Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award winner for her book “Don’t Wake Up the Tiger.”

The Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award is an initiative of the ICB to promote early childhood literacy in Indiana. The selections are nominated by the Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Committee, made up of professionals in Indiana including teachers, librarians, caregivers and project coordinators, and the award is voted on by children six and under.

Runners-up included “Race Car Count” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, “Best in Snow” by April Pulley Sayre, “Grumpy Pants” by Claire Messer and “Music Class Today!” by David Weinstone.

“ICB is excited to be in its third year of this picture book award focusing on early literacy. Children from infancy to five are absolutely capable of enjoying books and being discriminating judges,” Walker said. “The nominated books are chosen for their ability to encourage parents and children to talk, sing, read, write and play together. It is our hope that caregivers will see this list of books as a quality go-to resource for having fun and learning with their young children.”

“’Don’t Wake Up the Tiger’ is a fun, interactive book that kids really enjoy,” Franzman said. “Getting children actively involved with books will motivate them on their road to literacy.”

Upon hearing the news of receiving the award, Teckentrup said, “That’s wonderful news. How very exciting. Even more so as the award was voted for by children. Thank you very much for the award and for nurturing the love of reading and books!”

This entry was posted by John Wekluk, communications director, Indiana State Library. For more information, email the communications director at communications@library.in.gov.

Indiana State Library’s ‘Race into Reading’ bookmark design contest now accepting entries

The Indiana State Library, in conjunction with the Indiana Center for the Book, is pleased to announce the return of its annual bookmark contest. This year’s theme, Race into Reading, was chosen to coincide with Indiana’s book choice to represent the state at the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival’s Pavilion of the States in September, “Race Car Count” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

Race into Reading is a fun theme that celebrates speed, acceleration, racing and Indiana. The state library’s suggested reading list can be found here and features a selection of Indiana-related titles focused on fast athletes, zippy race cars and speedy animals, including “Speed” by Nathan Clement and “Little Red Gliding Hood” by Tara Lazar. Children are encouraged to check out these books from their local libraries and use them as inspiration for their bookmark designs.

Sampling of last year’s entries, including the grand prize winner and three additional top five finalists.

The contest is open to all students in Indiana schools, from kindergarten to third grade. The first-place winner will have their bookmark printed in color and distributed to libraries throughout the state, their school will receive a supply of the winning bookmarks and, starting on July 1, 2017, their school or local library will receive one year of the InfoExpress library delivery service. Four honorable mentions will receive the same perks as the grand prize winner, except for the year of InfoExpress service. Bookmarks will be judged on artistic quality, use of color and use of theme. The contest entry form is available here and the form must be postmarked or emailed by March 18, 2017.

Additionally, the winning designs will be featured at Indiana’s booth at the Pavilion of the States during the National Book Festival in Washington, DC. The Indiana Center for the Book gives away thousands of bookmarks to festival participants each year. The festival is free and celebrates the joy of books and reading and features authors, illustrators and poets of all ages.

For more information, contact Michael Hicks, InfoExpress Coordinator, Indiana State Library.

This blog post was written by John Wekluk, communications director, Indiana State Library. For more information, email the communications director at communications@library.in.gov.

2017 Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award ballot announced

As the co-director of the Indiana Center for the Book (with the esteemed Christy Franzman of the Indiana Young Readers Center as the other co-director), I delight every January in working with other members of the Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Committee to finalize the ballot for the Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award. In its third year, the Firefly Award strives to present a balanced ballot of high quality picture books that appeal to our youngest book enthusiasts; children ages 0-5.

This year, I’m particularly excited that two books by Indiana authors are included: “Race Car Count” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and “Best in Snow” by April Pulley Sayre. Both these books are quintessentially Indiana in two very different ways. Dotlich’s counting concept book covers the exciting Indy-centric topic of motor sports, while never directly stating anything specific to the Indy 500. A fun addition is the back matter, where she introduces the reader to her cast of characters, a remarkably diverse cast, considering they are race cars. Sayre’s book, the only nonfiction book on the list, is illustrated by crisp photographs of Indiana wildlife and landscapes draped, frosted and dusted with snow. “Best in Snow” continues Sayre’s work of introducing science and nature concepts to young children in rhyming chant.

Along with the two Indiana books, the 2017 Firefly ballot is rounded out by animals, music and interactivity. “Grumpy Pants” by Claire Messer shows children that even if they wake up feeling grumpy, they can be the boss of their own emotions and take actions to turn their feelings around. “Don’t Wake Up Tiger!” by Britta Teckentrup is an invitation to interactive play, as children are invited to pet, stroke and sooth Tiger to keep her asleep. “Music Class Today!” by David Weinstone is the most diverse book on the list, picturing a mustachioed male guitar player leading a group of racially-diverse children and their care-givers in a rousing session of music class complete with rhythm and repetition.

I want to encourage libraries in Indiana to collect these five books, present them to children ages 0-5, and their caregivers, and give the children a chance to vote on their favorite. Voting information can be found here and can be done in a variety of ways. Some libraries create little voting booths for this program and others just have the children vote by a show of hands.

All library systems in Indiana will receive 15 copies of the ballot courtesy of TeachingBooks.net and are welcome to make more copies as needed or to print off additional copies of the ballot from the Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award website. TeachingBooks.net has also partnered with us to collect some resources for each book to assist in programming and sharing.

It’s an exciting time for the Firefly Award! Now begins the long wait through spring to see which book will win.

Submitted by Suzanne Walker, supervisor of the Professional Development Office at the Indiana State Library and co-director of the Indiana Center for the Book.