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Welcome to Think Outside the Stacks. It's a brand new year, and while it might be a harder year than we'd wish for I know you're all up to the challenge.  As always I love to hear feedback and suggestions for content at or @BethReads on Twitter. 

Librarians, start your engines. 

BN Teen 2017 Lists
Looking for upcoming books? Check out these lists from BN Teen. 
15 of Our Most Anticipated YA Debuts of 2017
10 of Our Most Anticipated Sophomore Standalones of 2017
23 of Our Most Anticipated LGTBQA YA Books of 2017
22 of Our Most Anticipated Contemporary YAs of 2017

18 YA Books We Can't Wait to Read(via Buzz Feed) 
If you're wondering what mainstream, commercially popular books you need to be sure to have then this is a great list. I can't say it has all the books I'm most excited about (cough The Hate U Give, Gem & Dixie, American Street, Goodbye Days, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life) but these are definitely going to circulate.  

Most Anticipated Children's Books of 2017 (via Parent Co.)
Basically a picture bookish version of the above (Little Ree? Spare me.) but pretty fair for anticipating patron demand if your patrons bend toward the soccer mom in a mini-van variety.

17 Middle Grade Books to Look Forward To in 2017 (via Brightly)
Middle readers have a lot to look forward to as well in 2017 including new titles from Cassie Beasley, Sage Blackwood, Nathan Hale, and Holly Goldberg Sloan.

Awesomely Asian 2017 MG/YA Books (via Airy Reads)
A look ahead at some of the 2017 books featuring Asian main characters and/or by Asian authors. 
Touch & Feel Frames for Babies (via Little Lifelong Learners)
How great are these? Plastic frames and various textures found around the house, craft, or dollar store. I'm kind of torn between gluing them to cardboard for stability or leaving them loose so that they could be washed as needed. 
How to Host Your Own Paint Party (via The Palette Muse)
Paint parties are a big trend and you can host one as a teen program with this simple project. The materials for this one are on the costly side for many budgets, so you might want to look for donations or do it for adults as a Friends of the Library fundraiser instead. 

Creative Exploration for Let's Play (via Le Pays de Merveilles)
Cute activity for Let's Play. The page is in French, but you get the general idea. To simplify it for a group you could use a black marker to pre-draw the black line and give out circle stickers for the children to add to the path. 

99 Reasons 2016 Was A Good Year (via Medium)
It wasn't all bad! 

Featured Book: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

I'm one of those people who rarely reads fantasy then absolutely adores the fantasy I do read. Maybe I should do something about that? Anyway, this is an amazing book and I don't feel like I'm exaggerating when I say this is a book I can imagine kids still reading 30 years from now. 

Flash Booktalk:
Every year the people of The Protectorate sacrifice a baby to the evil witch who lives in the woods and every year Xan rescues the babies and gives them new homes. One year, while taking a baby girl to safety she feeds the child moonlight by mistake and gives her powerful magic.

Deciding to raise the little girl herself she takes her home to live with her, an ancient swamp monster, and a tiny dragon.But, even with help, little Luna's power might be more than Xan can handle so she locks it away to protect them all.

Meanwhile, a young man begins to suspect the leaders of The Protectorate are lying to the people. Luna's magic and the support of her family just might be the way to free the people from the control of a truly evil witch, but is it enough?

What the World Needs Now..

Neuroscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65% (via Inc)
If you're stressed then listening to one particular track can help, a lot. Now this is about the stress and anxiety that we all get rather than Anxiety as a condition, but give it a try. After all, it's time to step up the summer reading planning. (Cruel, I know). 

Empathy: Stead's Common Thread (via All the Wonders)
Lovely discussion of how Phillip Stead's work has a common thread of empathy, which would be a great thing to talk about in kid terms when we share these books.The world can use a little more empathy. 

Guns and Empathy (via New York Magazine)
This is an experiment in using personal stories to build empathy for other people's positions. I won't claim to know exactly how libraries should go about this more than our current role as sharers of stories. It's becoming dangerous and complicated to face those with certain viewpoints, and many people confuse their racism and bigotry with positions on issues that have two sides. Still, there's a lot of smart people on this list with a good handle on their communities and maybe this will inspire one of you. 
White Board Prompts (via Heaven_in_7th)
Erin is a 7th-grade teacher who posts her engaging whiteboard prompts on her Instagram. Definitely worth a follow if you have a board or just want ice-breaker questions for teens and tweens. 

Seven Teacher-Tested Strategies for Finding Renewal on Your Winter Break (via John Spencer)

Winter break is pretty much over, but self-care and renewal are still important. You can always use this for spring break, and I know many public librarians who end up taking some vacation this time of year but choose to stay home for a variety of reasons. Make the most of your downtime is all I'm saying. 

How Investing in Preschool Beats the Stock Market Hands Down (via NPR Ed) 
A long-term study of high-quality early education programs revealed benefits into adulthood. These benefits went beyond purely educational outcomes and there were benefits not just for the children but for their mothers as well. 

Knitting Themed Picture Books (via Knitted Bliss)
A great list of knitting themed books as a great introduction to a kids' knitting instruction program. Younger children (under six or seven) can learn finger knitting if they aren't quite ready for needles. 
Galaxy Calm Down Bottle (via Preschool Inspirations)
Do you need an all ages activity? Maybe for Spring Break? These bottles will be hits with anyone big enough not to put the mineral oil in their mouths. I've done similar projects with teens and it was one of my most popular programs. I would start collecting bottles and jars now (you can use smaller ones) and plan on booktalking a range of space-related books and/or have the older kids write a few sentences/paragraphs about a trip to outer space. 

Just for Fun

(via Humor Train)
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