Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Meeting: LittleBits Robots

The Bookshoppers had high expectations for The Flinkwater Factor, and they appeared to agree that the actual book didn't quite meet them, which is too bad since it turns out that it's a series! The second book, The Forgetting Machine, just came out this past fall. The group consensus seemed to be that the book was "fine", but everyone wanted more details about the robots and less talk about kissing... On a positive note, none of us had guessed the big twist toward the end, and we all got to watch Carson read the last few chapters as it was revealed to him.

After pizza, catching up, and a brief chat about our favorite parts of the book, we turned our attention to creating our own robot creations using LittleBits and a bunch of other random materials (recycled boxes, cups, latex gloves, pipe cleaners, etc.). Everyone got right to work, a few with very specific ideas in mind of what they wanted their machines to be able to do and a few just exploring what's possible with LittleBits pieces. There are pictures below of the finished robots, but to really get a sense of the creative genius we tapped into on Monday night, watch the videos showcasing each robot and its abilities!

Stefan's Hand Spa


Gabriel's Destroyer and Isaac's Turtle Take 1


Carson's Robot


Avery's Hand Shaker No. 1


Christopher's Automatic Dieting Machine


Our next meeting will be Monday, May 1st, from 5:30-7:00 at the Main Library. We will be discussing The Wolf Keepers by Elise Broach.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

March Meeting: Paper Telephone and FlockDraw

There was lots of energy and silliness at our March meeting as we discussed The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, not surprising for a book whose highlight for many Bookshoppers seemed to be the farting dragon...

After talking a little bit about what was based on fact and what was based on fiction, we set about getting our creative juices flowing with a short paper-based activity. Since the book we read was "illuminated" with drawings in the style of medieval texts, I thought it would be fun to try our hand at illuminating our own short stories collaboratively through the game, Paper Telephone. Most Bookshoppers had heard of this activity before: it involves each participant writing down a short descriptive sentence and then passing it to the left for the next person to illustrate. That person then folds over the sentence so the next person they pass to can only see the image. This continues, alternating between writing and drawing, until the paper has returned to the person who started the story. Our results were confusing and, at times, vaguely disturbing, but mostly hilarious. They are displayed below.

After sharing our illuminated stories, we transitioned to a similar activity using the free online tool, FlockDraw, which allows you to draw together on the same canvas from different computers. The drawing tools are very simple, but the Bookshoppers had a blast jumping back and forth between each other's online canvases writing messages to each other, sabotaging each other's drawings, and otherwise wreaking good-natured havoc. Unfortunately, the temptation to erase everything every few minutes was too great, so there are no finished pieces to share, but we might need to revisit this tool for a future project because it was a big hit!

Our next meeting will be Monday, April 3, from 5:30-7:00 at the Main Library. We will be discussing The Flinkwater Factor by Pete Hautman.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

February Meeting: Stupeflix Book Trailers

Everyone seemed to enjoy reading Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass. The characters were interesting and funny, and the mystery discovered inside the box at the end was both surprising and satisfying. A couple Bookshoppers even joked that they want to start collecting rocks like Jeremy's dad had.

After giving Carson, our new member, a brief summary of the book and watching the author's book trailer, Emily's Stupeflix book trailer, AND the trailer for the 2011 movie adaptation, we were ready to explore the free online video creator, Stupeflix. We've used Animoto to make book trailers in the past, but the search function within Stupeflix made it a little bit easier to restrict our videos to include only images with the correct Creative Commons license for reuse.

We used the book as a jumping off point for some very interesting book trailers that may or may not have taken creative liberties with certain plot points and characters... Consider yourself warned. Enjoy!







Our next meeting will be on Monday, March 6, from 5:30-7:00 at the Main Library. We will be reading and discussing The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January Meeting: Pixton Comics

Although the group didn't love this month's book, Secret Hero Society: Study Hall of Justice, we did have a lot of fun creating our own semi-superhero-inspired comic strips using the awesome online tool, Pixton. There were a few little bugs, mostly related to the browsers we were using, but all in all, the free version of the website allows for so much freedom to really make the comics your own. You can change the characters' facial expressions, body position, and clothing and skin colors. You can zoom in and out with the backgrounds and even flip them upside-down! You can add props and fun sound effects. Check out some of our creative Pixton comics below. Click on an individual comic to view it full-screen.

Our next meeting will be on Monday, February 6th, and we will be discussing Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, by Wendy Mass. We will be using Stupeflix to create book trailers. Copies of the book can be picked up at the Children's Room desk. See you next month!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December Meeting: Stop Motion Animation with OSnap!

Everyone seemed to have enjoyed reading The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand, by Jen Swann Downey. Most of us would jump at the chance to be a Lybrarian, although there was some (valid) skepticism about the non-existent effects of changing events in the past. Savi and Mr. Kornberger were favorite characters, owing much of that favoritism to their swordplay skills...

Speaking of which, Eli and Avery remembered to bring fun sword props for our short movies, and although we ended up not being able to shoot live-action, their swords featured prominently in the two short stop action videos we made.

After splitting into two groups of three and sketching rough story boards for the scenes from the book that they wanted to portray, I gave each group a short intro to OSnap!, a free stop motion animation app available for iOS devices. OSnap! enables the user to easily take hundreds of pictures very quickly that are then seamlessly put together to create a stop motion video. There are numerous features to help keep the pictures aligned (onionskin is my favorite, which overlays the previous picture taken on to the current view so everything can be aligned) and to edit and adjust the pictures included in the video as well as the speed (frames per second). Several Bookshoppers had played around with stop motion before, and they commented that this app was so much easier than other tools they had used. Check out the finished videos below!

You Are Not Alone Savi
By Avery, Gabriel, and Stefan
 Lego Jousting
By Christopher, Eli, and Isaac
(The selected audio, a popular musical track, didn't export due to licensing restrictions, so please play your own soundtrack to accompany the video.)

Clearly, we had lots of swordplay fun and were able to create some pretty cool short videos to bring scenes from The Ninja Librarian to life.

For January, we are reading Secret Hero Society: Study Hall of Justice, a graphic novel by Derek Fridolfs, and we will be meeting on the SECOND Monday of the month, January 9th, to create our own graphic novels with a yet to be determined comic creation tool. Copies of the book can be picked up at the Children's Room desk. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November Meeting: Canva Marketing Materials

I take full responsibility for the fact that several Bookshop members found our spooky October book, The Screaming Staircase, by Jonathan Stroud, a little too creepy and decided not to read it. Those members who did read it seemed to enjoy it, and we had some good discussion about what we would do if we were in a ghost-hunting agency. A few kids got super excited to learn that Lockwood & Co. is a series with the fourth book just published this fall!

Luckily, our project for the meeting was very flexible in terms of content, so everyone was able to create cool marketing materials using Canva, whether or not they read the book. Some Bookshoppers chose to create trifold brochures, some created more traditional posters, and one made a business card. Several of their creations are displayed below:







We are reading The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand by Jenn Swann Downey for our November book, and we will be meeting on the SECOND Monday of the month, December 12th, to tap into our own inner ninja librarians and hopefully create a short movie. Copies of the book can be picked up at the Children's Room desk.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September Meeting: Silent Lego Challenge

We had a fun meeting on Monday catching up and eating lots of pizza. Many of the Bookshoppers shared favorite parts from exciting summer travel adventures. We also played a little warm-up game called This or That before moving on to our main activity.

Since there wasn't an official book to read for the meeting, I asked the group to work together to come up with a Bookshop logo out of Legos. The catch was that they could have ten minutes to talk and plan, and then they would have to do the actual building without talking. They came up with a concept pretty quickly, but there was some confusion about how to create a book out of Legos.

Once the box of Legos was opened, they did a great job of not talking to each other, using paper and pencils to write down any questions or brainstorming ideas. There was a fair amount of humming and borderline talking noises though...

Some pictures of the process along with the final product are below.

We will NOT be meeting in October (our September meeting would normally be the first Monday in October, but that falls on Rosh Hashanah so it was moved up a week), so our next meeting will be Monday, November 7. In the spirit of Halloween, we will be reading The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. It's the first in the somewhat spooky series, Lockwood & Co., about three kids who run a ghost fighting agency in London. We will be using a free online brochure-making program, Canva, to create brochures to advertise new business for the agency. Copies of the book can be picked up at the Children's Room desk.