Why We Love Ms. Joy – and Books Ms. Joy Loves!
By Laura Raphael, MLIS, and Joy Carr, MLIS, Youth Librarian, Tulsa City-County Library
Starting this month, in addition to our usual focus on books for children (after all, this column is called “Books”), we’re going to feature some of the amazing Youth Librarians and Children’s Library Associates in the Tulsa City-County Library. This month, Joy Carr, youth librarian at Schusterman-Benson Library, shares some of her favorite children’s books of the last year.
Joy Carr – “Ms. Joy” to her storytime fans (which is anybody who has ever been to her storytime) – is pretty, well, joyful. With her signature smile (hidden but still evident under her mask), friendly greeting and gorgeous red hair, Joy charms both children and adults at the Schusterman-Benson Library in midtown Tulsa. Even during a pandemic, they can’t help but respond to her cheerful attitude and welcoming spirit.
But don’t be fooled. Underneath that joyful exterior, Ms. Joy has crackling smarts (and a graduate degree in library science), an endless work ethic and a deep love for both children and books.
You can see it in everything she does.
As the mastermind behind such programs as Blanket Fort Night (where children were encouraged to build and then read in blanket forts after-hours in the library) and Superhero School (exactly as it sounds), Ms. Joy uses her background as a former elementary school teacher and school librarian to make these events both fun and educational. Nobody leaves without a book or the idea that libraries are where they absolutely belong.
And then there are the storytimes. LEGENDARY. You certainly wouldn’t know it now, but when Ms. Joy moved from school libraries to public libraries in 2016, she had never presented a storytime to the toddler and preschool set. She quickly started learning everything she could about the Every Child Ready to Read program (branded as Build A Reader in Tulsa) and built a storytime fan base of delighted children, parents and caregivers who look forward every week to her singing, reading and early literacy tips.
But she also regularly trains other children’s staff in the library, presents workshops on reading and learning to school librarians, and has even represented Tulsa City-County Library in several statewide and national education initiatives.
Why do we love Ms. Joy? We could try to count the ways, but can you really count to infinity?
Books Ms. Joy Loves
It’s time for the great roundup of 2021 year-end book lists! My intended contribution was to be some of my favorite Children’s Nonfiction books from 2021. However, children’s literature is just so good nowadays that the line between fiction and nonfiction often blurs.
Narrowing my list down to just a handful is already a monumental task, so I’m cheating a bit. This month, I share with you my list of mostly Nonfiction books, tethered by theme, all of them marvelous.
Kindness & Compassion
I am a Kindness Hero by Jennifer Adams
Cat Man of Aleppo by Irene Latham
One man puts himself in harm’s way to care for abandoned cats in the midst of the Syrian Civil War.
Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood by Tony Hillery
The story of how neighbors turned a trashed-filled lot into a lush, community garden.
On Our Nature Walk: Our First Talk About Our Impact on the Environment by Jillian Roberts
We Will Live in This Forest Again by Gianna Marino
When a wildfire destroys a forest, its many animal residents are driven out and must find ways to survive until the land slowly returns to life.
Cougar Crossing by Meeg Pincus
The story of the “Hollywood Cougar’s” role in developing land bridges for wildlife to safely cross major thoroughfares.
The Best Mommies and Daddies by Reina Ollivier
I Believe I Can by Grace Byers
A follow-up to 2019’s I Am Enough, this book celebrates every child’s potential, regardless of their background.
Be Your Own Best Friend Forever! by Gary Robinson
Unspeakable by Carole Boston Weatherford
Weatherford sensitively introduces younger audiences to the long-suppressed story of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Formatted in picture-book style, the gorgeously vivid illustrations are ideal for the age group. Longlisted for the National Book Award and a Kirkus Prize finalist.
We Are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorell
Laura Raphael is the Children’s Services Coordinator for the Tulsa City-County Library system.
A former school librarian and teacher, Joy Carr has been the Youth Librarian at the Schusterman-Benson Library since 2016.