Curated news and ideas
for youth services.
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Welcome to Think Outside the Stacks. After two and a half years I must admit I look at things and don't know if I've already shared them or not. I have decided that if I can't remember you probably won't either, and what wasn't a workable idea for some of you a year ago might inspire something now.  As always I love to hear feedback and suggestions for content at or @BethReads on Twitter. 
Monsterously Fun Decoration (via Differentiated Kindergarten)
Need an idea for October that isn't actually Halloween? Round up those silly monster picture books for a display (Reading is Monsterously Fun). You can make the monsters yourself, use it as a task for teen volunteers, or have children make their own monster to add to the menagerie. 


Active Shooter Survival (LA County Sheriff) 
I shouldn't have to do this.

In Children's Storybooks, Realism Has Advantages (via NPR)
How interesting that studies have found that children learn better from more realistic books. Definitely, something to keep in mind when selecting books for real-life lessons or skills for little people. 

The Age of YA (via Epic Reads)
A timeline of recent YA historical fiction. The list includes over 100 books and there are links to high-resolution printable versions for displays.

How to Politely Say No to Extra Work (via Classy Career Girl)
You know the drill. You have a full load of storytimes/programs/classes/collection development and the minute someone wants to partner with the library or there is a special occasion to be celebrated it's another thing for the youth department to handle. Here are some tips for talking productively with your supervisor without seeming like you just don't want to do stuff. #3 is a key. 
31 Lego Challenge Ideas (via Little Bins for Little Hands)
Encourage making and building in the library or at home with this printable Lego Challenge calendar from Little Bins for Little Hands. 
The Rise of Homeschooling Among Black Families (via The Atlantic)
Are the demographics of homeschooling changing in your community? Are your programs and resources for that population diverse and inclusive? 

We Don't Make Princesses in Those Colors (via The Guardian)
The obvious take away is that we need to make sure our giveaways and craft supplies are inclusive. I'm going to take it one step further and encourage you, if you are white or otherwise in a position of privilege, to be the one to raise the question in these situations and spare mothers like Nicola from having to do the work. 

How Am I Supposed to Confront White Supremacy and Racism on the First Day of School (via Crawling out of the Classroom)
A thoughtful post about the need to build relationships and trust so that we can have the hard conversations with kids. 

Social Camouflage May Lead to Underdiagnoses of Autism in Girls (via NPR)
Autism in girls doesn't always stand out the same way it does for many boys. 

Featured Book: Want by Cindy Pon

In a future Taiwan, the wealthy corporations have ravaged the land. The air is so dirty the sky is no longer blue, the water is polluted, and the food tainted. The rich use their wealth to keep themselves healthy with special suits and filtered indoor spaces while the poor are left to suffer and die on the streets.

Jason Zhou watched his mother die because they couldn't afford healthcare and watched a friend lose his mother because she was a scientist who spoke out on environmental destruction. Jason and his friends have had enough and develop a dangerous plan to infiltrate the circles of the wealthy and bring down Taiwan's most powerful. 

If you generally pass on dystopias because they were all starting to sound the same then this is a book for you. Want is part sci-fi dystopia and part spy story with creative and culturally aware world building that will draw you into a future Taipei.

Nobody is stumbling into their destiny here, every move is planned and executed by Zhou and his crew who understand that real change doesn't come from asking your oppressors nicely. Want is one of the best and most original books I have read this year it deserves serious award and select list consideration. 

Little People

Fall Songs and Activities (via Growing Book by Book)
Fall Leaf Theme Activities (via Fantastic Fun and Learning)
Cute fall songs, activities, process art and more to add to your storytime plans. 

Taste Safe Water Beads (via Mama Instincts)
If you like including sensory experiences in your programs for little people these water beads are safe when you can't be sure the group won't eat some. I wish I'd had these two years ago to keep Miss M busy, she loves water beads. 

Donut Shop Dramatic Play (via Little Lifelong Learners)
This is the next project I'll be working on for my little person, and I know some of you have dramatic play centers in your libraries. This could easily be simplified with a basic store set-up and paper donuts that the children could decorate themselves. 

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Activities (via Pre-K Pages)
A nice collection of activities to go with one of the most recognized books in our collection. 
Rise Shine #Woke (via Cool Mom Picks)
This new album from the Alphabet Rockers looks like an interesting pick for our music collections. 


Ignore the Bullshit: iPhones are Not Destroying Teenagers (via Buzzfeed News)
A good counterpoint to the article that came out earlier this month. 

Ambient Sounds for Writers (via ittlebitz tumblr)
Share this list of audio inspiration with your teen writers, or use selections as writing prompts in a creative writing program. 

10 YA Characters We Want Spin-Offs For (via Epic Reads)
This would make a fun bulletin board, white board, or ice breaker topic for book group. Just share the list with your teens and ask for their picks. 
This is a peg board design station made from peg board, foam insulation, golf tees and zip ties. I know that I've shared similar things before, but this is something I feel like I could make so it might open up options for those of you without a lot of money or handy volunteers. 

Roundup of Roundups

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Think Outside the Stacks · Email · Cleveland Heights, OH 44118 · USA

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