Posted in Fiction, Graphic Novels, Intermediate

Crafty Cat heads to Crafty Camp!

Crafty Cat and the Crafty Camp Crisis, by Charise Mericle Harper, (Aug. 2017, 01FirstSecond), $13.99, ISBN: 9781626724853

Recommended for readers 6-9

Birdie is headed to Monster Craft Camp! It’s a day of crafting at school, headed up by the custodian, but it’s a day of crafting, and Birdie – who’s alter ago is Crafty Cat – is prepared! Now, if only her best friend, Evan would show up on time… and oh, Anya, the meanest girl in school, is here today, too. Looks like this may be a job for Crafty Cat!

This latest installment of Crafty Cat tackles handling a difficult member of a group project how to make the best out of a situation when things don’t go as planned. Monster Craft Camp isn’t exactly what Birdie thought it would be, and Anya is being her rude, mean self, but just when Birdie finds herself getting frustrated and sad, Crafty Cat takes over and saves the day! It’s a fun way to communicate resiliency, optimism, and working with difficult partners.

As with the previous Crafty Cat adventure, there are crafts and at the end of the book.  A handy supply list tells readers what they need, and step-by-step directions walk little crafters through their own monster crafts. There are templates available for photocopying.

This is such a fun little series for younger readers! A definite add to the graphic novel shelf.

Posted in Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Non-Fiction, Teen, Tween Reads

Knit, Hook, and Spin teaches kids the fun of making

knit hook spinKnit, Hook and Spin, by Laurie Carlson, (June 2016, Chicago Review Press), $14.99, ISBN: 9781613734001

Recommended for ages 8+

If the kids in your life – or you – want to be crafty but aren’t sure where to start, this is a great book to have handy. Knit, Hook, and Spin is an easy-to-follow primer that includes over 70 projects for beginners. Clear instructions and illustrations teach you how to knit, crochet, spin yarn, tie dye, weave, and even make your own plarn (yarn from plastic bags). Big on making and recycling, there are instructions and invitations to repurpose clothes; unravel an old sweater to get some yarn for a new project, or tie dye a t-shirt to give it a new look. Weave a rug out of brightly colored plastic bags that you brought your groceries home in last week.

Fiber facts and tidbits about fiber art and crafting history are included throughout, giving kids an understanding of the long-standing history of handmade clothes and everyday accessories that they’ve now become part of. The emphasis is on practice and developing a love of the craft, rather than unnecessary, expensive gadgets: Carlson teaches readers to make weaving looms from sticks or paper plates; knitting needles from chopticks, if that’s what you have around. She notes when adult supervision is suggested, and I hope this gets parents and kids crafting together. There’s no downside to together time or crafting time.

This is a great book for kids and adults, who want to learn to craft but aren’t sure where to go. When I first learned to knit and crochet, I went straight to the children’s section of my library, because I wanted simple, step by step instructions. The wealth of different crafts here makes this a valuable addition to collections where there’s an interest in crafting.

Laurie Carlson’s blog is rather new at the moment, but does include a nice post on the benefits of kids crafting.

Posted in Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Non-Fiction, Tween Reads

Let’s Sew: DK helps you get started

letssew_1Let’s Sew, by DK (March 2016, DK Children), $15.99, ISBN: 9781465445087

Recommended for ages 6-10

Ready to get crafty but need a little bit of help? DK to the rescue with a step-by-step guide to beginning stitches, the tools you’ll need to begin sewing, easy, fun projects, and templates, too!

DK books are great because they’re beautifully photographed, incredibly detailed, and full of simple, explanatory text. Let’s Sew has bright, fun crafts projects, many made by using household items like that one missing sock that always seems to emerge from the dryer, or with affordable materials you can find at your local craft store.

Let’s Sew is a kid’s book, but it’s a great resource for any age. When I started knitting, I’d borrow children’s project books because of the simpler language and projects: books are for everyone, after all! Just starting up a sewing club or looking for a quick maker space project? This is your book. There are helpful templates for projects like a whale and a bird in the back of the book: just photocopy, trace onto your material, and begin!

The book includes a warning that kids will be working with sharp needles and scissors, and strongly suggests that an adult oversee or handle the tools as necessary. This is a fun, affordable addition to crafting collections; a good purchase.

 

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Posted in Non-fiction

Add Make: Paper Inventions to your Maker Library!

paper_coverMake: Paper Inventions: Machines that Move, Drawings that Light Up, and Wearables and Structures You Can Cut, Fold, and Roll, by Kathy Ceceri (Sept. 2015, Maker Media, Inc.), $19.99, ISBN: 9781457187520

Recommended for ages 5+ (with some help!)

I love maker spaces in the library. I had a small one at my last library, and I’m psyched to set one up here in my new digs. The kids love having projects to do, and you don’t need a huge area with 3-D printers chugging along to be a maker. Duct tape, construction paper and imagination are a great start. Make Magazine has been a great resource for years, as is their Maker Camp, a virtual summer and holiday “camp” that provides cool projects and a discussion space for anyone who wants in. The Maker Media books are a huge help for anyone – parent, educator, and kid – who needs some ideas on how to stir up some creative juices.

One of the latest books in the series, Make: Paper Inventions is for anyone interested in paper crafting, paper engineering, and paper technology. Offering projects for relative newbies or whose skill level is “mostly thumbs” all the way up to creating paper-based automatons, light-up cards, even a geodesic dome!

Make: Paper Inventions, like every Maker Media book, wants to educate you as well as entertain you, so you’ll find a wealth of information on the nuts and bolts, the science and math, behind paper engineering. You’ll read about paper structures, for instance, and why folded paper can hold greater weights than a plain piece of paper. You’ll also learn why paper will tear rather than stretch if you pull it, but it will bend nicely for a pencil.

There are tons of projects in here for anyone and everyone, in any space. Kids can have a blast making their own paper – their own edible paper, even – with relative ease. Like most maker movements, the Maker Media books are big on reusing, reducing, and recycling, so projects are here for all weights of paper, from rice paper to card stock, and you can use old notebooks, newspapers, or copy paper for many of these projects.  There are comprehensive materials lists and step-by-step instructions and photos for every design, and math and science concepts that you can discuss with kids will make teachers happy, and make kids realize that yes, you will use that math outside of math class, and for cool stuff, to boot. An appendix with project templates and an index round out this resource.

I can’t wait to get the kids here at my library paper quilling – it’s one of the easier projects in here that will appeal to my library group’s need for fairly instant gratification. There’s a wealth of Pinterest resources, too, which makes me really happy, because this is likely to be a program I’ll repeat. Paper circuitry looks fantastic, and who knows? Maybe that’s a project for Valentine’s Day – once I get some practice time in.

Check out some of the photos from Make: Paper Inventions, and then add this to your reference library or your crafting library. Get those makerspaces operating!

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