Out of the Bloffice

the prediction penI know we just returned from a holiday break, but the fates have determined that I’ll be out of the office this week. Not to worry! I’ll be back and blogging on Tuesday, January 24th.

Feel like messing with destiny and the alphabet? Check out our lipogram fortune cookie activity for 9-12 year-olds.

The BiblioFiles Presents: Lois Lowry

lois-lowry-bibliofilesJust posted! A webcast with multiple award-winning author, Lois Lowry.

In 1977, Lois Lowry published A Summer to Die, a story about family, loss, life, and hope. It was Lowry’s first children’s book, written in her characteristically frank, feeling, and beautiful prose. It won the International Reading Association’s award for fiction in 1979. That same year, Lowry published the first in her now famous series of Anastasia Krupnick books. And the world of children’s literature was never the same again.

In her long and distinguished career, Lowry has written 45 books and been awarded two Newbery medals for Number the Stars in 1990, and The Giver in 1994. Her unabashed exploration of difficult subject matter has also made her a frequently challenged children’s book author. In 2015, she was awarded the Free Speech Defender Award by the National Coalition Against Censorship.

While it is difficult to summarize the decades-long career of a luminary who has produced not one, but several seminal books in the history of children’s literature, two things that stand out are Lowry’s versatility, and her respect for her readers’ level of understanding. Versatility in that she can write hysterically funny books as well as deeply poignant ones. And respect for readers in that she doesn’t shy away from difficult, embarrassing, uncomfortable, or socially charged topics. Instead, she speaks to the reader as an equal. It is the ultimate form of literary empathy, one that has the power to change a reader for life.

Follow this link to the BiblioFiles interview

Return of the Katie

return-of-the-katieAfter a year of globe-trotting and fine chocolate, Katie is back! You might recall last year’s story time post about royal pizza. At the end of the post, I introduced Katie’s interim replacement, Miss Marissa. Here’s Katie passing along the crafting crown:

crowning marissa

So where did Katie go? Everywhere. Her husband was on sabbatical in Brussels, and the whole family went with him to experience the wonders of Europe. But if you’ve been following our Instagram, you’ll see that Pop Goes the Page was never far from Katie’s mind. Cue the music…it’s time for a photo montage!


Statue of King Leopold II, Brussels


Steen Castle, Antwerp


Fountains, Luxembourg City


White chalk cliffs in Etretat, France


Snaefellsjokull National Park, Iceland


Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, France


Eiffel Tower, France


London Bridge, England


The Matterhorn, Switzerland


Brandenburg Gate, Berlin


Limestone rock formations off the Algarve coast, Portugal


Mozart Memorial in Vienna, Austria


The Colosseum, Rome


Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris


Venice, Italy


Krka National Park, Croatia


Hans Christian Andersen statue, Copenhagen


Spis Castle, Slovakia


Flower carpet in the Grand Place, Brussels


Luggage packed, Brussels


The journey ends in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

What was your favorite travel destination?

I have to choose just one? I would have to go with Iceland. The unrivaled beauty of the island is amazing. Everywhere we went, we stopped to take a million photographs or more. There is unique landscape to behold, friendly people to meet, delicious food to eat, and rich history to learn. Something about that place touched a deep spot in my wanderlust soul and I must go back. My husband and son wholeheartedly agree.

What did you miss about the States?

My family and friends. It was very hard to be that far away. And peanut butter. We found peanut pate in Brussels, but it did not taste at all like good ‘ol fashioned American peanut butter.

What do you miss most about Europe?

I miss being able to jump on a train and be in a different country within a few hours. It was incredible to suggest going to Paris or Luxembourg City or Amsterdam for a quick weekend trip and just being able to go. I also loved the convenience of living in the city and not needing a car to go about my daily business. We had everything we needed within a five block radius of our apartment: our son’s school, several grocery markets, a bakery, a meat and cheese shop, a pharmacy, many retail stores, a movie theatre, and dozens of great restaurants. It was such a freeing feeling to not have to drive a car everywhere and that I really miss. When I returned to Princeton after not driving for nearly a year, I was dizzy from all of the crazy traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike!

Do you have any awesome travel hints?

Skip the preplanned tours (if possible) and explore on your own. It may require you to step out of your comfort zone, but you could end up in places you never knew existed. One of the last trips we took before coming back to the States, we went to Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic with little planned other than to explore the towns where my husband’s ancestors lived. We ended up stopping one night in an old walled city in Slovakia that dates back to the 13th century, and the next day we explored nearby Spis Castle. We hadn’t at all expected to spend a day pretending to be knights in an enormous castle, but it was well worth the unexpected detour.

If Dr. Dana could guilt trip you about your glorious year of travel while she remained confined to the States, what would be the most effective angle for her to take?

Hmmm, she could demand I deliver more Belgian chocolate, which I’m happy to do. And she doesn’t even need to share.

So Katie has returned to the library, and got back into the swing of things immediately. Here she is testing out a new photo backdrop whilst wearing a Charmander onesie. Yup. Just another day at the office.

katie-as-charmanderIn the spirit of full disclosure, I too was wearing a Pokémon onesie. It was very comfy.


Now that Katie has returned, must we say goodbye to Miss Marissa? Nope! She’s staying on while simultaneously working on her library degree. So you’ll be seeing both Katie and Marissa on the blog from here on out. Aw yeah.