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'Andrea Lorenz'

Nov 18

Great First Lines by Andrea Lorenz

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on November 18, 2021 at 4:11 PM by Genesis Gaule

“First sentences are doors to worlds.” –Ursula K. Le Guin

One of my favorite things to do is crack open a book that I’m interested in and see if the first line really catches me. I love opening a book, scanning those first few words, and being immediately hooked. I mean, who doesn’t have questions after reading: “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”1 Thirteen?! 

I love first lines that are mysterious, lines that spark the imagination like: “If I die, it will be in the most glorious place that nobody has ever seen.”2

Good first lines can introduce you to new characters, strange and bewildering: “All children, except one, must grow up”3 or characters, clever and humorous: “For the better part of my childhood, my professional aspirations were simple—I wanted to be an intergalactic princess.”4

Sometimes they frighten the pants off of you: “I believe just about anyone can kill in the right circumstances, given enough motivation. The question is, am I there yet? I think I must be,”5 or “The overseers had taken all the carcasses, at least.”6

I especially love first lines that riff on other famous first lines: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”7

The first line can make or break your interest in a story. My personal favorite? “This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.”8

Books Referenced In Order:

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver by Jill Heinerth
    796.525 HEINERTH
  3. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
    Easy BARRIE // Also in e-book, e-audiobook, and CD audiobook
  4. Seven Up by Janet Evanovich
    Mystery EVANOVICH
  5. Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton
    Mystery BOLTON
  6. Nophek Gloss by Essa Hansen
    Science Fiction HANSEN
  7. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
  8. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Oct 01

Hazards of Being a Children's Librarian by Andrea Lorenz

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on October 1, 2021 at 10:40 AM by Genesis Gaule

While Children’s Librarian seems like a fairly innocuous job, it does have some very real hazards. Here’s a quick guide to the pitfalls of children’s librarianship.

andrea-banana1) Children’s Songs

Children’s songs are insidious earworms that will hook themselves into your brain and never ever ever let go. One sing through of “Let It Go” or “Baby Beluga” and you’ll be humming it all day, the same silly words on repeat over and over again. What’s worse is that your humming will infect your coworkers! You’ll all be trapped in a terrible loop of “Baby Shark” until you go slowly insane.

2) Spoilers

Children (bless their little hearts) do not have the executive functioning skills to stop themselves from spoiling whatever is the latest, hottest book. You’d better sneak the latest Dogman book out of the cataloger’s corner and read it under your desk if you want to enjoy it without being spoiled (because you better believe the holds list on that puppy* is at least ten deep).

3) Glitter

It doesn’t matter if you are so careful, if you wear an apron and gloves and goggles, if there is a craft with glitter, you will be going home with glitter on you somewhere (usually on your face – I don’t know how it gets there either!).

andrea-puppet4) Wildly Inappropriate Stories

If you’ve hung around small children for any length of time, you know that they don’t have a filter. And they love to share! You will have to keep a straight face while a preschooler regales you with tales of their parent’s/sibling’s/neighbor’s embarrassing medical condition, practices their swear words, or makes an inappropriate observation about something or someone. You have to keep those laughs stuffed in deep until everyone leaves, you can sneak into the storytime room closet, or hit the bathroom.

5) Shushing

You will be shushed. I get shushed all the time. (They did not warn me about this in Library School.)

andrea-baby6) Growing Up

You will watch your very small friends grow from babies into toddlers then preschoolers. They’ll need your help finding chapter books and then you’ll chit chat about the latest and greatest book, but before you know it, you’re getting a graduation party announcement in the mail. It’s unavoidable†. Everyone grows up, but children’s librarians often get a front row seat to the magic of watching someone grow from a tiny bean to an independent human being. It’s a very real occupational hazard that inspires wonder and awe (and sometimes Kleenex).‡

*pun intended

† Unless you’re Peter Pan. Then all bets are off the table.

‡ (and don’t even get me started on those small friends having babies of their own. Oofda.)

Aug 27

How to Get the Most Out of Your Read Aloud Time by Andrea Lorenz

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on August 27, 2021 at 9:21 AM by Genesis Gaule

Research shows that one of the best things you can do to prepare your children for school and later success is to read aloud to them. Even just 15 minutes a day is enough to make a big difference. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your read aloud time.

1) Book Choice 

When you’re looking for your next bedtime book, look for something that will interest your child. You can choose books related to their special interests, like tractors or spiders, or you could choose books that relate to experiences your child has had lately, like losing a tooth or visiting the zoo. Whatever it is, find something your child will be into and at an appropriate reading level. (Need help choosing? Any of our librarians would be happy to help!)

2) Pre-Read

Take a look through the book before you start your read aloud. This can help you identify jokes, figure out what kind of voices you want to do, and familiarize you with the plot and the text.

3) Use Some Expression

You don’t have to have an EGOT* to be a good reader. Your child will love reading time because they love spending time with you! But a little vocal expression never hurt anyone. Find places to slow down and speed up, get louder or softer. You can even try out some voices! (I personally love making teeny tiny squeaky mouse voices.)

4) Point Out Words and Letters

As you read, follow the text with your finger. Point out specific words that you see, or specific letters that your child might be familiar with. This helps children to understand that you’re reading the words and not the pictures! You can talk about what new words mean and point out when words are BIGGER than others and what that might mean.

5) Ask Questions

You can make read alouds more engaging by asking your child questions as you read. These can be as simple as “What do you think will happen next?” or a little more complex like “What would you do in that situation?” Gear your questions toward your child’s comprehension level (for example, you might ask a three year old “What’s that?” and point to a picture on the page, but you’d probably ask a six year old “What does this remind you of in your own life?”)

6) Have Fun!

Reading time should be fun. Make silly faces and laugh. Don’t finish books you don’t like. Choose another one instead. Above all, enjoy the time you have together.

Some of Miss Andrea's favorite read aloud books:

read-alouds cover collage


Elementary School: 

Chapter Books (Elementary and up):

*EGOT: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards (People who have received all four awards are said to have an EGOT and include Rita Moreno, Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks, and more)