Book Review – The Chicken Squad: Dark Shadows

The Chicken Squad – Dark Shadows: Yes, Another Misadventure by Doreen Cronin

Love this series for beginning readers by Doreen Cronin. Perfect for 2nd – 4th graders. Follows a group of chickens as they solve mysteries. Dark Shadows is the fourth book in the series and readers will love trying to solve the mystery with this funny group of chickens. I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed the different personalities that shine through in the narration.

Visit the author’s webpage here: (and take a quiz to find out which chick you are – I am Sugar)

Check out the publisher’s webpage here:

*NOTE: This title has been nominated for the Cybils Award, and I am a first round panelist for the award. There are many nominations and other judges. We are all busy reading and reviewing! My opinions are my own and should not be construed as a sign of inclusion or exclusion on the final short list.

Posted in Book Review, Cybils, Reading | Leave a comment

Book Review – Princess Cora and the Crocodile

Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz; illustrated by Brian Floca

I very much enjoyed this book and I think any reader who likes a good fairy tale will gobble it up! This book would work well as a read aloud in a 1st or 2nd grade classroom – students are sure to giggle at what the crocodile does to the King! Princess Cora is a strong main character and the illustrations by Brian Floca are lovely. Excellent addition to any school or classroom library!

Read more reviews at Brian Floca’s website here:

Check out information about the book from Ink Well Management here:

Read notes from the author and illustrator here:

*NOTE: This title has been nominated for the Cybils Award, and I am a first round panelist for the award. There are many nominations and other judges. We are all busy reading and reviewing! My opinions are my own and should not be construed as a sign of inclusion or exclusion on the final short list.

Posted in Book Review, Cybils | Leave a comment

A post about Disney and my Mom…

This post doesn’t have anything to do with books…a girl has to have other things in life too, right?!


So, my family returned from a trip to Walt Disney World a couple of weeks ago. This picture to my personal Facebook page and Instagram account has had me thinking…

Ever since I can remember, my parents have called me Tigger. It never became a nickname that anyone else called me, but my parents probably referred to me as Tigger more than they called me by my actual name. My dad STILL calls me Tigger. Yes, Tigger is a Disney character (well, actually, an A.A. Milne character, but the Tigger of my childhood is Disney), but I never equated my nickname with anything other than just something my parents liked and that stuck. For some reason, it is not until now (this trip, actually) that I really connected it with an actual love of Disney (I’m slow sometimes…only took over 40 years). And, this has me thinking about my mom (or, as I called her up until her last day – “mommy”). Disney has been woven throughout my entire life, thanks to my mother. If you knew her, I think you are probably thinking, “Huh? The TK I knew loved DISNEY?!” I don’t think you would know that she adored Disney just by speaking to her. She never really mentioned it in conversation. Our house wasn’t decorated in anything Mickey Mouse. She would have never purchased leggings with Minnie on them. And, she was not exactly warm and fuzzy at first glance. BUT, as I think back to my childhood – we were actually at Walt Disney World a lot, considering how far away it is, considering how expensive it is, considering that my parents were not ones to take me out of school for a vacation so we always went in the summer and were DYING of heat stroke. My mom even went to Disney World (as an adult) before I was born. In fact, I feel like my parents must have been some of the first visitors to Walt Disney World. A story that I often heard during my childhood was that my mom was pregnant with me (she did not realize it at the time) and she rode Space Mountain. It was the 1970’s, and she was wearing a halter top. The ride is pretty bumpy…apparently, she gave WDW a show. My nursery was entirely done in Winnie-the-Pooh. I still have a large yellow blanket from my crib. My mom loved watching movies and some of my earliest memories are of watching The Parent Trap, Dumbo, and whatever came on the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday afternoons. I had all of the Disney books (I think I saved Greenbacks for them at Piggly Wiggly? Or maybe bought them at Bilo? Did anyone else do this?). And, amazingly enough, she even let me work there one summer when I was college. My mom was super overprotective and really would have loved it if I just lived in a bubble in her house, so looking back on this, it was HUGE!

Feeling the love!

We often talked about going back to Disney World as I got older, but for some reason, we never did. I’m not sure when our last trip together was. Adulting got in the way, I guess. I know that when she was diagnosed with lung cancer in August (5 years ago), we talked about taking one last trip. But, by the time she was diagnosed, she was in too much pain to go. So, now…when I go, I think about her. I wish she could have been on this most recent trip with us to see the joy and love of Disney being passed down to her grand daughter. My toddler loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and reads books about Mickey and the rest of the crew all of the time. I try to limit the amount of screen time she gets, but if we are watching a Disney program, that somehow doesn’t seem so bad.

To me, Disney World isn’t an expensive tourist trap filled with rides and food. It’s family. It’s a place that lives in my heart.

What places remind you of your loved ones?

Posted in Mommy, Parenting, This and that, Travel | Leave a comment

How’d that happen?

Oh goodness. It’s been over a month since I posted an update! How did that happen, readers?! Here’s how = it’s been a crazy month! I hope everyone’s school year is off to a great start! If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that this is the first year I am staying home with my toddler. Some of my teacher friends ask me if it feels odd or strange to not be going to work each day and it really does not feel all that weird. I guess that just means it was really time to take the plunge to stay home. I have a few things I am working on and I am staying busy while my little one naps by writing and we are certainly staying busy when she is awake. I teach my class at USC one evening each week and I wonder how I actually did all of this in addition to working full time (even part time)?! Parents who work full time ROCK. I also now know how much parents who stay home full time ROCK. All of it is hard. We all deserve a nap.

Here is a newsletter with highlights of things I’ve shared on the Library Goddess FB page (where I still remain active…even if I am not so active here all the time!) as well as links to blog posts I’ve written for the Columbia SC Mom Blog.

What have YOU been up to, readers?!



Posted in This and that | Leave a comment

Let me toot your horn…#librarygoddessontour

Not sure how many of you have read my About section (or remember this blog post), but after 15 years as an elementary school librarian – I am taking a break to stay home with my toddler. Books, libraries, and reading are my passion and that does not stop because I am no longer in my own library. I’d like to take this “time off” to advocate for reading, choice, and school libraries.

I want to highlight the AWESOME things going on in our local school libraries…I feel that parents, teachers and community members don’t often realize the role that the school library (and the certified school librarian in it) is playing in their child’s life.

To that end, I’d like to announce that the toddler and I are going on tour! If YOU have something awesome happening in your library, I want to come see it and write about it and share it! School Librarians don’t often toot their own horn, so I’d like to do it for you!

If you’d like a visit (and live no more than 1 hour-ish away from Columbia, South Carolina – I mean, I still need to stick with nap time, you know – I have a schedule to keep), message me your details and we’ll make it work!

We have all school year to make this happen, friends! I cannot wait to hear from you! 


Posted in School, Travel | Leave a comment

Books that might make your classroom (and the world) more beautiful! #backtoschool #readalouds

*Library Goddess blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising and linking to If you decide to purchase one of these books, money made from the links will be used for books I purchase for giveaways or for books I give to pre-service or classroom teachers.

A few weeks ago, I shared my favorite FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL read alouds = excellent books to kick off a brand new school year. You will be reading every single day in your classroom…here are some great books for making your school community more caring. Hopefully, after reading these books, you can have good conversations with your students about helping and understanding friends in the classroom, the school, and even into the larger community. Stories are powerful and by reading some of these books to your students, you will have a more beautiful and caring classroom, which will hopefully ripple out into the rest of the world! PS – You do not have to be a classroom teacher to read and share these books with kids! Read them at home with your own children! 

Wonder and We Are All Wonders by R.J. Palacio. Wonder is a novel that I think everyone should read. It is the story of Auggie, a boy with a facial deformity. He has always been homeschooled, but is now going into public school for the first time. This story will make you cry and cheer and always “choose kind.” The novel is a perfect read aloud for 4th grade on up. We Are All Wonders is the picture book companion to Wonder and is an excellent read aloud for ALL grade levels. The picture book is basically about how we are all different and special and that we need to show kindness to one another. PS – the movie based on the book comes out in November!

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney is a classic. It is the story of a woman who wants to do something to make the world more beautiful. Read this and then see what your students might be inspired to do in their community to make it more beautiful.

It is Okay to Be Different and Be Who You Are by Todd Parr. I cannot say enough how much I love Todd Parr’s books. They are simple with bright illustrations. Excellent read alouds for Pre-school/Kindergarten – 2nd grade. Great kick starters for conversations about being different and unique.

George by Alex Gino is a wonderful book for 4th grade on up. The main character is George, a transgender child who identifies with being a male, but is actually female. Read it first and decide for yourself how you would want to share this book with your students, but it is an excellent novel for children who can put themselves in George’s shoes.

The Dot by Peter Reynolds. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Peter Reynolds and I think The Dot is one of my most favorite books by him. It is all about learning how to make your mark. Do what you can to make the world a more beautiful place. So many extension activities with this book! Be sure to check out International Dot Day and have fun celebrating!

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Micheal Hall is a good book about just being yourself and about letting others be themselves. Great read aloud for all grade levels and an excellent conversation starter.

One by Kathryn Otoshi is about how one person (or number, in this case) can make a difference or “be the change.” Otoshi’s trilogy (Zero, One, and Two) are all excellent and belong in every classroom.

Wishtree by Kathryn Applegate – This book comes out September 26 and I think it needs to be read aloud in every 3rd – 5th grade classroom and even middle school and high school classrooms. So beautiful with an important story about acceptance and understanding.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena – Such a beautiful story with lovely illustrations about a young boy and his grandmother on a bus going to help others. The grandmother helps show the young boy all of the things in his city that are beautiful. Another one that belongs in every classroom.

What are some of your favorite books for community building and for showing readers how to make the world more beautiful?



Posted in Reading, School, Themed Book Lists | Leave a comment

First Day of School READ ALOUDS! #backtoschool

*Library Goddess blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising and linking to If you decide to purchase one of these books, money made from the links will be used for books I purchase for giveaways or for books I give to pre-service or classroom teachers.

Can you believe it is almost time to go back to school? Every store you go to has out school supplies and you can tell kids are kind of realizing that their care free days of summer are winding down (and moms and dads are realizing that it is time to gear up for making lunches, helping with homework, and getting to all of the after school activities that come during the school year). In schools, teachers are most likely already back. If not officially, they are working in their classrooms, they are planning with their teams, they are learning in professional development sessions, and many of them are planning what to READ on that first day of school! Here are some of my favorites! Disclaimer – there are so many great first day of school read alouds out there, it was hard to narrow it down! Please add your favorites in the comments! There are also TONS of great books out there for building community, teaching empathy, and helping out with things like recess behavior. For this post, I am focusing on first day of school read alouds only. I will share more great books for the classroom in another post – stay tuned! 🙂

Dad’s First Day by Wohnoutka. This is a great book for parents to read if THEY are nervous about the first day of school (especially perfect for Kindergarten parents).

Welcome by Mo Willems. This large board book is actually perfect for parents of newborns. HOWEVER, when I read it, I thought it would work for the first day of school too. All of the advice fits for a newborn AND for a new school year…you simply cannot go wrong with MO!

Sophie’s Squash Goes to School by Miller. I LOVED Sophie’s Squash and this one does not disappoint! A great friendship story and a perfect read aloud for kiddos who might be missing all of their toys and friends at home during the school day.

School’s First Day of School by Rex. SUCH A GOOD BOOK! Told from the school’s point of view! The illustrations are fantastic. Who knew a building could be nervous too? 😉

Bark, George by Feiffer. I love to read this book to my college students before we go through introductions on our first day of classes. Perfect way to say, “hello” and gets everyone giggling or at least smiling.

First Day Jitters by Danneberg. A classic! Sarah is super nervous about her first day of school and does not want to get out of bed…once she gets to school, things are a little better. My favorite thing about this book is the twist at the end!

Back to School Tortoise by George. Similar to First Day Jitters, in a way. This one is great for Preschool – 2nd grade. CUTE illustrations with a twist at the end!

Wemberly Worried by Henkes. Another classic. Wemberly is very worried about the first day of school…parents and kiddos are sure to relate.

You’re Finally Here! by Watt. I LOVE Watt’s illustrations. So fun and quirky. And, there are lots of fun things to do with this book on Pinterest. *NOTE – Amazon sellers are asking crazy amounts for this one, so I am not linking it to Amazon. Check it out from the library or see if your local bookstores have it. Maybe check used bookstores-must be out of print!

The Kissing Hand by Penn. Yet another classic. This one is for parents to read to their kids before the first day of school. I can see this being a sweet read aloud for bed time the night before school starts. Then, you can start the ritual from the book with your little.

I want to hear your favorite first day of school read alouds!






Posted in School, Themed Book Lists | 1 Comment