Monday, February 16, 2015


guest post by Sue Fliess

Not that you needed a good reason to talk about the importance of libraries, but just in case you were looking for one…Books for Me! is the rhyming story of a young Hippo girl and her Dad going on an outing to their local library to find great books. This book is the third adventure with our young Hippo, illustrated once again by Mike Laughead. In Shoes for Me!, she makes a trip to the shoe store with Mom to pick out a pair of new shoes. In A Dress for Me!, she gets to choose a new dress. When I do school visits, I always get a plethora of wonderful suggestions for more “for me” adventures for Hippo. See what your class comes up with…I’d love to hear them!

Books for Me! is about the joy of discovering all kinds of books—adventure, science fiction, mystery, history, folktales, non-fiction—and how a library is the perfect place to do it. It’s an opportunity to talk to kids about fiction versus non-fiction, the different sections of the library, and what a librarian does. Get them thinking about what kinds of books they are drawn to—help them discover their favorite genre. 

Another fun activity you can do with your students as you read this book to them is to talk about rhyme. Ask them to help you finish the sentence and talk about the rhyme they hear at the end of the stanzas. For example: “Lots of choices I can see. Will I find some books for me?”

Have your students help you write a rhyming poem. I usually have kids fill in the last word of the alternating line or lines. Here’s an example:

Winter is cold, but snow is fun.
Summer is hot from the yellow _____.

In addition, you could have your students try their hand at their own poem, rhyming or otherwise. The idea is to get them thinking of their own stories and writing them down.

See if your class can identify some of the books that have been worked into the illustrations and the text, such as “Books on mittens (The Mitten by Jan Brett), broken chairs, mice and moons (Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown) and puzzled bears (The Three Bears).” They will likely recognize many. If possible, have these books on-hand also, so they can see how the covers were included in Books for Me!

Questions you can ask: 
What is rhyme? 
Can you give an example of some rhyming word pairs?
What’s your favorite book/story? Is it fiction or non-fiction?
Name one thing you learned from a book this year.
What’s your favorite part about the library?
Why do we go to the library? (no wrong answer here J)

If we can help kids see now that libraries are windows to the big world they’re in, they’ll develop a lifelong love of reading.  

Bio: Sue Fliess ("fleece") is the author of eighteen children's books (published or forthcoming) including Tons of Trucks, Robots, Robots Everywhere!, How to Be a Superhero, and most recently, The Hug Book and Books for Me! Her background is in copywriting, public relations, marketing, and event planning, and her articles and essays have appeared in O,the Oprah Magazine, Huffington Post, Writer's Digest,, Daily Candy Kids,, and more. Fliess's picture books have received honors from the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and have been used as curriculum teaching tools in elementary school classrooms as well as children's educational programs in museums. She's an active member of SCBWI, the Children’s Book Guild of D.C. and The Author’s Guild. Sue lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, two boys, and a Labrador puppy named Charlie. Visit her online at

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