Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Book Swap!

Hello Friends!

There are some wonderful books in Skookum to start February off! Annabel, Room, The Promise of Rain, Foreign Parts, and Monkey Love to name a few!

For youth, you'll find A Corner of the Universe, The Watsons go to Birmingham - 1963, Sinbad, Avatar, and Our Planet: Earth. And look! There's an Archie comic book! Thank you so much!

For the wee ones, I have also included a series of beautifully illustrated picture books and Caillou!

Skookum is decked out for Valentine's Day! While you're visiting, grab a heart pencil, magnetic clip bookmarker, eraser, or game booklet! Also, feel free to leave a comment in Skookum's guest book if there is a particular author or book that you are looking for. I will keep an eye out for it!

Have a wonderful day and see you soon!


Skookum's Little Librarian

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Thank You!

Skookum received a very generous donation from an Abbotsford resident whose mother was an avid reader. She shared with us over 30 books from her mother's collection that I know neighbourhood readers will enjoy. I've stocked Skookum with a few of these adventurous tales for you to revel in!

Cheers and thank you!


Literacy Day in Abbotsford!

Hello Friends!

Did you have the opportunity to head out to Literacy Day in Abbotsford? I came home with a bundle of flyers on services, workshops, and courses offered in our little city. Here are a few resourceful links that may interest you too!

Abbotsford Community Services: Dads & Kids at Play
Abbotsford Community Services: Family Centre, The Parenting Place
Abbotsford Community Services: Family Education
Central Abbotsford Community School Society
The Reach: Events and Programs
West Abbotsford Community School Society



Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Special Request

Hello Friends! 

I could use your help. Skookum received a special book request from two little people. They are looking for Archie comics and a picture book on sandcastles for a class project. If you have 1 or 2 of these books around your home that you would like to donate, we would really appreciate it! 

Thank you!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Literacy Week: Pinky & Funny

Hello Friends!

Here's Pinky! Our little friend we created on Monday and wrote a story about. We've been celebrating Literacy week with crafts and writing projects to encourage creativity and learning. Yesterday, we composed a joke book and designed a home for Pinky from an applesauce box. There were a few funnies that came out of our two-liner exercise:

"What do you want to change about yourself in 2014?"
"My diaper."

"Why did the chicken cross the road?"
"Because he did NOT listen."

Earlier in the morning, I came across this wonderful infographic created by National Reading Campaign and CBC Books on reading that I have to share!

This visual sure makes a compelling argument to pick up a book and read for at least 6 minutes a day! If you're looking for a book, here is Skookum's latest stock.

Have a beautiful day and get creative!

Skookum's Little Librarian,


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Celebrating Literacy Week!

Hello Friends!

Yesterday, I sat down with a few pink pom-poms, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes and assembled a little character we now appropriately refer to as Pinky. He's kind of cute and closely resembles a bunny. In honour of our new addition, we wrote a book about his adventures and the fact that one of his eyes continually falls off.

ABC Life Literacy Canada shares a series of collaborative learning activities for children and parents to engage in during Literacy week:
  • Write a joke book with your family.
  • Read a bedtime story to the grown-up putting you to bed.
  • Make up a new recipe together and post it online.
  • Tell knock-knock jokes together while doing the dishes.
  • Organize a book swap at your school.
  • Make up riddles and tell them to your friends.
  • Create a family book club.
  • Build a drum with your family.
  • Surf the Internet and learn about your favourite animal.
  • Make up a song about your day to sing to your family at dinnertime.
  • Write messages to your family on sticky notes and post them around the house.
  • Create a story about what you’ll be doing for Family Literacy Day.
  • Play a board game together.
  • Build an acrostic poem using your hero’s name.
  • Make an origami boat and see if it will float.

Today, we're going to attempt writing a joke book. I'll let you know what we come up with tomorrow. If you have literacy activities that you would like to share, leave a comment below! I'd love to hear how you encourage learning in your home.



Sunday, January 19, 2014

Abbotsford Family Literacy Day Celebration

Abbotsford Family Literacy Day Celebration
Saturday, Jan 25th
Clearbrook Library

"The community is invited to this annual celebration hosted by the Clearbrook Library and The Reach. Enjoy free entertainment, community booths, crafts, refreshments and more. Make a stop at Fire Hall #1 (beside Clearbrook Library) from 10 am to noon for a free pancake breakfast, cooked by the firefighters and sponsored by Literacy Matters Abbotsford. Pick up your Reading Challenge log and read to win prizes!" 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Inspirational Books

The Nink in the Sink
Hello Friends!

Last week on my way to work I listened to CBC's Shelf Life with Canadian author Ivan Coyote. I enjoyed the discussion about how books influence authors and inform their writing style. This was my first introduction to the program and during the show the guest author is asked five questions:

What is your favourite childhood book?

What book would you give your younger self?

What book changed your life?

What book do you love to lend?

What book do you consider your guilty pleasure?

This inquiry sparked memories of the literature that inspired me as a child. Oh Say Can You Say and There's a Wocket in my Pocket provided hours of entertainment and laughter. There is something magical about Dr. Suess, his poetry, and especially his warm and fuzzy characters. 

Over the last couple of years, I have been recreating his illustrations and placing them in the house. We have a Nink above our sink, a Bofa on the sofa, a Woset in the closet, and Zlock behind our clock. Pictured below is our Zamp in the lamp: 

The Zamp in the Lamp
And if you look closely in the kitchen, you will find our recent addition! A Yottle in the Bottle! 

The Yottle in the Bottle
I have to say that the process of drawing a Dr. Suess character is as fun as reading one of his books. There is a great deal of latitude and flexibility in recreating his little agents of change. I have also learned about the movement of his hand as I trace his lines and about his thought process as I attempt to design such endearing and engaging characters. 

I am curious though, what authors or books inspired you as a child? Do you still carry those books with you? Do you share them with other children? What book would you give your younger self? What book changed your life?

I look forward to hearing your stories.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Your Comments!

I want to thank all of Skookum's visitors for their wonderful comments that they have left since we launched this project in December. I am thrilled to know that this little library is accepted in our community. More importantly though, I hope these comments inspire you to build a little library too!

For me, this library has come to symbolically represent the meaning education has had in my life and the responsibility I have to pay it forward. Students and their parents are very focused on the returns of higher education. What type of job will I get when I finish? How much money will I make? What will this degree buy me?

When I work with students, I like to tell them the story of my wake-up call. One afternoon at work, I glanced up at the parchment papers nicely framed and hanging on the wall. Reading the fine, calligraphy print, my bachelor's degree stated that it was "bestowed with all rights and privileges." My eyes then focused on wording of my master's degree. I noticed a profound difference. This degree was given "with all its privileges and obligations." Obligations! That simple change in wording that I noticed a decade later meant the world to me. It woke me up to the fact that I have a responsibility, right now, to pay this forward and give back to the book at a time!

Thank you again for your support, donations, and kind words.

Much love,


We're on the Map!

Image by Jacqueline
Hello Friends!

Little Free Library has added Skookum Reads to its worldwide map! Simply scroll over the Google illustration and cursor over Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. Click on the yellow house and voilà!

What I love about the map is that it provides a geographical reference for people who would like to visit these libraries and it shares the very unique and beautiful stories behind these structures. I have heard that some people plan bike rides and even wine tours with the objective to visit little free libraries along their journey.

Remember that Tim Horton's commercial where people travel across the country to visit a Tim's in each province? This would be a great idea for a Little Library adventure!



Monday, January 13, 2014

More Books!

Good Morning Friends!

Over the past 24 hours, my wonderful community has donated several books that I want to share with you: Amulet, The Lightening Thief, Look at the Rainbow, The Cheerios Playbook, Princess Academy, The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe...and more! These books and others are located in Skookum for your reading pleasure!

When I began this little library project, I was frequently asked, "How many books will Skookum hold?" Now that Skookum is in use, I have a better sense of what we can stock. Just when I think Skookum is full, it fits one more book...reminding me of an open heart...always willing to take in one more to hug and snuggle.

Thank you,


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Book Swap!

Hello Friends!

I did an early morning switch with the books for this upcoming week! For kids, Skookum is stocked with classics such as The Magic Finger, The Wish, Journey of the Sparrows, The Mystery of the Dark House, and Slime Time. For little ones! My Animals Friends, I Am Snow, Shoo Fly Guy, and Where's Spot?

For adults! Truth or Dare, Then Came Heaven, The Year of Reading Proust, Certain Girls, Dewey, and Heartbeat:

There are a series of blank journals ready to be written in. Feel free to take one home when you visit Skookum!

And, today is the reception for “The Best Most Fun Kids Art Show EVER!” at the Kariton Art Gallery from 1 to 4 p.m.

Have a great Sunday!


Friday, January 10, 2014

Thank You & A Little Gift

Hello Friends!

Since the release of the article above, I have received such warm and thoughtful responses to this initiative. I sincerely appreciate your support. I hope that you come by Skookum and grab a book. We have so many to give away. 

On another note, sometimes while reading I come across a passage that is so touching or timely that I like to write it down. I have journals full of quotes on love, regret, anticipation, and cheese! Yes, even cheese! I am Italian and a sharp Romano runs through my veins. I learned to journal from my mother who encouraged me to write and think creatively about my life. I would like to share this experience with you! 

I have left five journals for individuals visiting Skookum this weekend. I hope that they serve as a source of reflection and offer you the opportunity to keep a record of all the books that you'll be reading now that there is a Skookum near you! 

Thank you again for your kindness! I'll be decorating Skookum in the next few weeks! The month of love, cupids, and chocolate kisses is just around the corner!

Cheers and have a great weekend!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dewey & Annie Bazzanni

A big thank you to one of my neighbours who left Dewey! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it over the past couple of days. I think what I appreciated most about the book was Myron's historical account of Spencer, Iowa and how the town came together in order to survive disasters and economic woes. My doctoral worked focused a bit on libraries and I enjoyed reading about how Spencer's Library had experienced a variety of renovations to keep up with the times and attract more patrons. Two paws up for Dewey!

Also! This Annie Bizzanni book was hilarious! When I looked at the cover I thought, "Finally, someone with my hair!"

But it was this illustration that had me on the floor:

I am the quintessential multi-tasker. Although my toes are not nearly as talented as Annie's, I am a fan of cat's cradle. My Nonna and I used to spend hours on the couch watching The Lawrence Welk Show, eating mint chocolate chip ice cream, and playing cat's cradle. Amazing how a piece of yarn can entertain a child for hours!

Both books are back in Skookum for your reading pleasure!



Saturday, January 4, 2014

Community Events for Kids

January is packed with wonderful kid-friendly events and activities!  I'm excited to go check out The Best Most Fun Kids Art Show EVER! opening January 10, 2014 at the Kariton Art Gallery.  The Reach Gallery Museum lined up its new dates for Sunday Family ArtsBig & Little Art Hour, and Think OUTSIDE the Box.  Let's get creative!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Painted Perfection!

Wow!  Skookum received the Little Free Library distinction of Painted Perfection!  The organization uploaded our image to their Pinterest page!  Lucky us!

The Architecture of Trees

Once there was a tree....
and she loved a little boy.
And everyday the boy would come
and he would gather her leaves
and make them into crowns
and play king of the forest.
~ Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree

Over the holiday, we experienced a short period of snowfall.  The dusting of snow on the dark woody branches created a sharp contrast among the foliage.  Peering out our window, the trees' architecture illuminated fractal-like patterns across the landscape.  I loved the small gatherings of snow that had accumulated at the ends of Pink Dogwood's branches and from a distance it appeared to be blooming. The scene was incredibly beautiful. 

So, I grabbed my camera and headed outside.  While photographing the trees, I thought about the uniqueness of each branch and questioned how its architecture influenced its function.  It was evident that the branching structure influenced how snow was captured as well as the amount of snow; therefore, I wondered if this applied to other elements such as water, sun, and carbon dioxide.  I did some research and found this interesting article on a recent study investigating the branching patterns of trees. Researchers state that:

"Just by looking at a tree's branching pattern, it turns out, scientists can gather clues about how it functions – for example how much carbon dioxide it exchanges with the atmosphere or how much water transpires through its leaves – regardless of the tree's shape or species."

I also questioned if the tree's architecture is responsible for attracting certain species including insects and birds.  What do you think?  I can imagine two eagles flying by with one commenting, "Honey, that one is a fixer-upper!  I told you, I'm only interested in Oak!  The Hawks have Oak and they love it!" 

I'm fascinated by the reciprocal relationship between design and function.  Whether it's curriculum or homes, design plays a role in how we use and respond to the product.  When it comes to trees, it takes years to develop these intricate and complex structures.   There is still so much to learn from our wooded valley and I hope we will preserve British Columbia's forests for future generations to study and experience. 

“Catch! calls the Once-ler.
He lets something fall.
It's a Truffula Seed.
It's the last one of all!
You're in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.
And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.
Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax
and all of his friends
may come back.”  
~ Dr. Suess, The Lorax