Be the Hero (Tulsa City-County Library presentation).

I’ve created a Presentations page as a more permanent home for my presentation slide decks. Only two slide decks are currently stored there, but descriptions and additional presentations will be added shortly.

For now, please enjoy the slide deck created for my talk with Tulsa City-County Library staff, patrons, and educators. Additional links and resources to follow.

Be the Hero from Matthew Winner

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Let’s Get Busy with author illustrator Steve Light.

Episode 46: Talking inky hands, storytelling, and bookstore windows.
This week on the Let’s Get Busy podcast we talk with Steve Light (@SteveLight), author of Have You Seen My Dragon?Zephyr Takes Flight, and Trucks Go, about eye-catching line work, working with preschoolers, and taking field trips to an artist’s studio.

Let’s get busy.

Download for FREE on iTunes, using the Stitcher mobile app, or at LibSyn.

Episode Notes

Steve Light homepage
Story Boxes (available on GuideCraft)
Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Steve Light (from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blog)
Picture Books by Land, Sky, and Sea (Books of Wonder event on April 27, 2014)

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Tulsa Library: “Be the Hero” featuring Matthew C. Winner

Tulsa school and public library personnel, I’m coming your way!
I look forward to joining you all on Wednesday, April 16th from 4:30-6pm to talk about leading from the library, engaging learners through gaming and handheld tech, and being the hero to your students, staff, parents, and patrons. 

Download the flyer here (click HERE) and sign up using the survey at this link (click HERE).

See you soon!

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The Children’s Literary Salon - Podcasting Children’s Books: Ins and Outs, Ups and Downs

If you’re in or around the New York City Public Library on Saturday, April 19th I would love for you to join us for a panel about at the Children’s Literary Salon about podcasting in the world of children’s books. The event is hosted by Betsy Bird, author of children’s books and of one of my favorite blogs, A Fuse #8 Production (hosted on School Library Journal’s site)

For details, see information below.

The Children’s Literary Salon - Podcasting Children’s Books: Ins and Outs, Ups and Downs

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 2 - 3 p.m.
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium (Map and directions)
Fully accessible to wheelchairs
Join podcasters Katie Davis (Brain Burps About Books), John Sellers (PW KidsCast), and Matthew Winner (Let’s Get Busy) in conversation about the world of children’s literary podcasting and their experiences with the form.
Katie Davis is a children’s author/illustrator with titles ranging from picture books like Little Chicken’s Big Day to her latest, a young adult novel called Dancing With the Devil. She’s a video marketing maven and a “writerpreneur” with the #1 podcast in iTunes in the Children’s Publishing category Brain Burps About Books, and teaches tech-wary writers how to build and strengthen their platforms through video. She also coaches on social media and marketing, or as Katie calls it, “making friends and meeting people.” 
John A. Sellers is the children’s reviews editor at Publishers Weekly. He also hosts the magazine’s children’s books podcast, PW KidsCast, and edits its cookbooks e-newsletter, Cooking the Books.
Elementary teacher and librarian Matthew Winner blogs at The Busy Librarian and is the creator of the Let’s Get Busypodcast.  In 2013 he was named one of SLJ’s Movers & Shakers.  Citing “his innovative ideas and boundless enthusiasm for student learning and engagement” SLJ also highlighted that Matthew is Maryland’s 2012 Outstanding User of Technology Educator, is a White House “Champion of Change,” and a published author.

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Let’s Get Busy with artist Stephen Powers.

Episode 45: Talking striving for improvement, battling presuppositions, and creating art everywhere.
This week on the Let’s Get Busy podcast we talk with Stephen Powers, artist and author of A Love Letter to the City, about using words and paint to reach people and sharing his art with cities around the world.

Download for FREE on iTunes, using the Stitcher mobile app, or at LibSyn.

Episode Notes

First and Fifteenth (home of Stephen Powers)
A Love Letter to the City from Princeton Architectural Press

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New Reads from Chronicle Books

The most recent delivery from Chronicle Books finally made it back down to my TBR pile after lots and lots of nights in the boy’s room. Easy to see why he likes them so much!

Busy Bunny Days in the Town, on the Farm, and at the Port by Britta Teckentrup
(March 2014)
The Bunny family is busy busy getting ready for school, exploring the farm, and an enjoying a family outing at the port. In this can-you-find-it story Teckentrup shows the same scene at different times of day (6am, 9am, noon, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, and 9pm) and readers observe how the Bunny family and other town citizens interact throughout the day. A brief introduction starts the day followed by a statement of the time of day and some questions to prompt searching on each page. There’s also a town criminal, Baxter Badger, who is constantly up to no good and who will captivate readers’ attention. The evolution of Where’s Waldo or just a fantastic approach to visual storytelling, expect your readers to get lost in the details and secrets of Busy Bunny Days.

We’re Going to the Farmers’ Market by Stefan Page
(March 2014)
The popular To Market, To Market is updated in this board book to introduce young readers to the experience of going to a famers’ market. The illustrations are made up of simple shapes and the colors pop off the page. From market to farmer to home to adding the finishing touches to a cake, this stories a great one to read over and over.

I Didn’t Do My Homework Because… by Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud
(March 2014)
Nevermind the dog eating your homework. This book of excuses covers homework from inception and the scenarios are every bit as clever as a scene from one of Lemony Snicket’s Unfortunate Events books. Some of my favorite scenes include an uncle being challenged to a duel, a famous director asking to use your bedroom to shoot his new movie, and a problem involving a carnivorous plant. Just imagine what ideas of their own students will share after reading this book!

Cat Says Meow: and other Animalopoeia by Michael Arndt
(March 2014)
Using typeface and some clever placement, Arndt creates graphic animals whose identifying characteristics are composed of the letters making up their identifying sound. Meow becomes two eyes, two ears, and a set of grinning whiskers. Quack, chirp, chomphee haw, and cheep cheep cheep bring other animals to life. The whole thing is very fun to look at and I found myself hunting for the letters that comprised within the sound.

The Great Day by Taro Gomi
(March 2014)
The greatest days of all are when everything seems to work out in your favor. The Great Day is not so different. A boy is first to wake up, first to make it to breakfast, first to school, and so on. Even as the boy encounters obstacles and misfortunes, we still see his day as a series of first. Though not stated, I couldn’t help but feel that when so many things go right, it’s difficult to worry about the things that go wrong. And that would make it a great day indeed.

Run, Dog! by Cecile Boyer
(March 2014)
The text is restrained so much so in Run, Dog! that we, the readers, are permitted to follow a cause into its series of effects during a game of throw and retrieve with the family dog. As we watch the red ball fly over the dog’s head, readers flip portions of the page, animating the series of events that follows. The results are captivating and even when you can predict what will happen, you’ll still discover yourself holding your breath throughout the page turns.

At The Same Moment, Around the World by Clotilde Perrin
(March 2014)
The same moment of the day is seen through different time zones throughout the world, revealing glimpses of culture and connectivity. A beautiful book for any time.

PhotoPlay! Doodle, Design, Draw by M. J. Bronstein
(March 2014)
Confession: this doodle book might not make it into the hands of my readers. There wasn’t a single page of the book that I didn’t want to break out my fine tip Sharpie and colored pencils and start to sketch. Bronstein has assembled a lively and enticing collection of images to doodle on, add to, imagine within, and lose yourself through. And where will I start, you ask? About 10 pages in, where sits a meerkat gazing longing toward the heavens beside the sentence, Marcie would like to go to school to learn to fly. Total wonder.

Here Comes Destructosaurus by Aaron Reynolds, Illustrated by Jeremy Tankard
(March 2014)
Aaron Reynolds (Creepy Carrots, Carnivores) and Jeremy Tankard (illustrator of It’s a Tiger!) remind us of the little monsters we’ve all been at times. And while this may be true for some more recently than others, it’s an experience we all share. The narration throughout the story is that of the onlooking parent who plays witness to the mayhem and disaster a town succumbs at the hands of the Desctructosaurus. The cause of all of this destruction is revealed in a plot twist that’s equal parts sweet and remorseful. In short, Reynolds tells it like it is and we all love our desctructosaurs a little more in the process. 

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New Reads from Flying Eye Books.

Oh my! The school year got busy and the TBR pile grew taller and taller. Here is a trio of books from  the good people at Flying Eye

Pongo by Jesse Hodgson 
(November 2013)
A lonely orangutan sets out to look for the Sun, ascending higher and higher through the layers of the rainforest. Along his way he has several encounters of objects mistaken for the Sun, each urging the orangutan to climb higher and higher. Hodgson’s art in this story is textured and warm. This is evidenced most strongly in Pongo’s golden fur. Young readers won’t resist the urge to run their fingers on the pages to experience the world Hodgson establishes along Pongo’s journey. Oh, and the baboon tushy mistaken for the Sun will get giggles every time!

Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space by Dr. Dominc Walliman and Ben Newman 
(October 2013)
Professor Astro Cat guides readers through the reaches of space, both known and unknown, in language that’s easy to understand and impressive in depth. The layout and graphic design of Professor Astro Cat feels as though the book was ripped from the Time-Life Science Library books for my childhood, which is to say that each page is a treat wherein to lose yourself with unseen details to discover with each new read. While the information is not new, the way it’s presented is sure to draw readers in.

100 Bears by Magali Bardos
(March 2014)
You know how counting books usually follow a sequence and theme, like counting fruit or socks or ladybugs? Forget what you know about counting books. Those books were (are) awesome, but this book is something new for your eyes. In this outrageous tale, author Magali Bardos recounts how some bears from a forest made their way into a dinner party, scared away the guests, dressed up in fancy costumes, and proceeded to take over the party. But what sets this story apart is that the story is told through sequential numbers describing an increasingly peculiar experience. Imagine having to recount a story to a friend and having the limitation that each of your sentences must include a number beginning at 1 and proceeding in order until reaching 100. It’s crazy how well this story works and how often you smile at the surprise uncovered with the page turn.

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#WhyLib - My Teacher Librarian Origin Story

It’s School Library Media Month. Time to share your story.

A conversation was started on Twitter to share the stories of how librarians found their way to being in a library. Our paths are diverse, but we share a common thread. Hear our stories. #WhyLib
(from the Why We Became Librarians padlet shared HERE)

I didn’t choose this profession. It chose me.

I was an English major turned Elementary Education student only who only recently realized that I had something to offer that world and that it would be in the form of working with children. Not one to set longterm goals or develop clear understandings of a career path 10 or even 5 years out, I soon found myself propelled into the elementary school classroom. And what’s more, I was good at it.

But I also realized that I was good at school. Good at learning. Good at completing work with bar set high.

I had barely started work as a general education teacher in 4th grade when I felt it necessary to begin work on my Master’s. And it only took the suggestion of the media specialist at the school, Mrs. Louise Wall, to know that I was meant to go to library school. I deeply admired the way she lived and breathed passion for the written word. I loved seeing her teach and I took every opportunity I could spare to collaborate with her. She only needed to make the suggestion that I consider pursuing a career in Library Media Sciences and the seed began to take root.

Mine is not a glamorous path, but it’s an earnest one. I work hard. I hold myself to high standards. And I want to offer my absolute best to the children because I feel they deserve nothing less.

I am an LMS who adores the title Librarian. The word holds sincere connotation and invokes memories of safety, exploration, and fun.

I work in a school library, not a library media center.

I acknowledge the ill-informed views the general public holds toward school libraries and librarians, and I make it a point each and every day to live my profession on my sleeve and to change perceptions of school librarians one person at a time.

I didn’t dream of working in a library. I wasn’t raised on a diet of rich stories or adventurous literature.

But librarianship has taken its hold on me and I will devoutly work to make the profession proud and to lift the name of librarians to a noble and grand stature.

I didn’t choose this profession. But I’m glad it chose me.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Read other #WhyLib posts and stories from teacher librarians throughout the country by visiting and share your own this School Library Media month.

Here are the stories shared by some of my friends.
Sherry Gick - HERE
Joyce Valenza - HERE
Jennifer Reeder - HERE
Andy Plemmons - HERE

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Let’s get busy with author illustrator AJ Smith.

Episode 44: Talking animation, monster undies, and the magical mess.

This week on the Let’s Get Busy podcast we talk with AJ Smith (@AJSmithillustr), author of Even Monsters…, about his debut picture book, building a successful marketing campaign, and his life as an animator.
Let’s get busy.
Download for FREE on iTunes, using the Stitcher mobile app, or at LibSyn.

Episode Notes

AJ Smith’s homepage
Even Monsters homepage
"A Candid Interview with Glubb" video
Reading Rockets

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2014 Shelf Challenge Participants (+ You).

Last week I promoted our upcoming Shelf Challenge to celebrate School Library Month in April. The
premise was simple: pledge to read every book in a pre-selected section of your library over the course of one month.

2014 Shelf Challenge contributors to date.
Click HERE to view the live map.
Since that post seventy-five teacher librarians and public librarians from across the country (as well as in Canada, Italy, and Hungary) have accepted the challenge! With that much reading power we may actually hit 5,000 books! The only person we’re missing now is you!

Wait a minute. I hear your hesitation. It’s okay. Really, it is. I’m not going to sit hear and try to bend your arm to persuade you one way or the next. Instead, I’m just going to repost my thoughts from last year and let you… well… choose your own adventure.

If you want to know 7 Reasons Why You Should JOIN the Shelf Challenge, read below. If you’d prefer to read 7 Reasons Why You should AVOID the Shelf Challenge, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Did you make your decision?


Let’s waste no time getting down to brass tacks.

7 Reasons Why You Should JOIN the Shelf Challenge

  1. Challenges are fun. Especially ones involving books. And these are your books! You don’t even need to do any searching! Just pull them straight off the bookshelves.
  2. You get to cheat! If you choose to read from the Nonfiction or Fiction (Chapter Book) section, you only need to read the blurbs from the inside dust jacket or back cover.
  3. You’ll find some gems. If you’re like me, there are a ton of books in your collection you’ve never even read. This is a chance to read a sample of those books. You’ll probably come across a couple that make you roll your eyes, but you’ll also find a couple of gems you’ll readily promote to your students or incorporate into a lesson. Trust me. It will be awesome!
  4. You get to cheat some more! Forget how immense the “S” section is and just hop to a letter you know you can manage. The challenge is to complete all of the books in a lettered section (or span of Dewey numbers). Set a goal within reach.
  5. Inspire your students. You’re pulling books directly from your collection. Somebody is going to notice. Let the kids know about the challenge or invite them to read with you. They could stumble upon their next favorite author!
  6. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. No one will know if you don’t finish (except you!).
  7. I’ll cheer you on! Who doesn’t want their own personal cheer leader, right?! Well, you’ve got me and I’m happy to be on board. People will be lifting you up for School Library Month and I’ll be right there with them, only… in your inbox …and as text …but you can always turn on your computer’s text reader and make my voice sound really cool as I encourage you!
What’s stopping you?

Join up here.

Time to flip that coin. Here are your…
7 Reasons Why You Should AVOID the Shelf Challenge
  1. You have to read. Boo! You do enough work as it is. Don’t bloggers know how busy your life is already?!
  2. You’ve already read every book in your collection. Why read them twice?! And only one teensie sample of them at that.
  3. You don’t like to be challenged. What was Pepsi even thinking, anyway? It’s best if we just back off and let you enjoy your School Library Month in peace.
  4. You’d prefer to celebrate National Poetry Month instead. In this case you could actually marry the two and just read from the 811’s, but then your brain might going into poetic arrest and that would be dreadful.
  5. You don’t handle failure well. Yeah. That’s rough, buddy. If you’re really public about your progress, you could actually fail pretty hard. That wouldn’t be good for you. But if it makes you feel any better, I won’t tell a single soul. In fact, I’ll do the opposite and tell them how proud I am of you that you tried! …oh wait… AVOID the challenge. I take back everything I just said in attempts to comfort you into participating.
  6. Spring Break. Yep. I said it. I’m staring that one in the face, too, as a matter of fact. Perhaps even more ironic is that our spring break begins at the start of this challenge. Spring break’s not for reading, right? It’s for breaking!
  7. You prefer to watch. Okay. At this point I could criticize your blogger voyeuristic tendencies, but honestly… if you’re going to watch the rest of us participate, maybe you could cheer us on. …but that wouldn’t be completing avoiding the challenge after all.
Ya know… Maybe you should just join up here. It’d be a lot easier. Plus you’d get to be a part of something really awesome with a bunch of really awesome people.

And how can you resist a pitch like that?

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