Registration now open for Basic ASL for Library Staff eCourse

Asynchronous eCourse beginning Monday, May 20, 2019 (6 weeks of lessons; Participants will have a total of 12 weeks to complete course materials)
Instructor: Kathy MacMillan, NIC, M.L.S.
Cost: $195.00 (discounts available for American Library Association members and bulk registrations)
Register here.

Estimated Hours of Learning: 30 (Certificate of Completion available upon request)

American Sign Language (ASL) is an invaluable skill for library professionals. A basic grasp of ASL enhances your ability to serve deaf library users and opens up a new world of possibilities for storytime programs. It’s also a marketable professional skill that can translate to public service jobs beyond the library world. Ideal for those without previous experience, this eCourse taught by librarian and ASL interpreter Kathy MacMillan will use readings, multimedia resources, and online discussion boards to introduce basic ASL vocabulary and grammar appropriate for use in a library setting. MacMillan will place ASL within a linguistic and cultural context, aiding participants in improving library services.

Past attendees say:

“This course has been invaluable to me. I have spent countless hours reviewing all of the video, re-reading the lessons, and just generally trying to absorb as much knowledge as I could. The instructor was a gem in the way that she provided comprehensive answers to questions, feedback, tips and resources.”

“While I had taken ASL many years ago, this class has expanded my vocabulary and boosted my confidence in my abilities. I think it helped that this class specifically addressed situations I might encounter here at work.”

“This has been a great introduction to both the language and the culture!”

“This class was interesting, informative, and entertaining. It opened my eyes to a variety of ideas and concepts that can only make me a better librarian as well as a better person. I thought things were well organized and presented in an ordered and logical fashion, each lesson building on the one before.”

“Ms. MacMillan provided timely feedback to all responses, questions, and comments during the entire course.  Her answers show the mastery of content knowledge and her response time shows how much she cares about her students and the topic she is teaching. This was one of the best online courses I have taken, and I will highly recommend this course to others.”

Register now!

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NITA’S DAY now available for pre-order!

Nita and her family are back in an all-new adventure that teaches 10 basic American Sign Language signs for babies and their grownups to use throughout the day: wake up, change, clothes, eat, potty, go, play, bath, book, and bed. A simple story about Nita and her parents teaches each sign in context, and repetition throughout each story makes them easy to practice. Even better, each page slides open to reveal accurate instructions on how to make each sign, plus tabs on the side of each page make it simple to locate every sign for later reference. No signing book collection is complete without Nita!

Nita’s Day: More Signs for Babies and Parents

by Kathy MacMillan; illustrated by Sara Brezzi. Familius Press, 2020

Pre-order now:

Learn more about the Little Hands Signing series here!

Nita's First Signs final cover

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NITA’S FIRST SIGNS Named 2018 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist

Nita's First Signs final coverNita’s First Signs has been recognized as a finalist in the 21st annual Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards, in the Picture Book, Early Reader category!

As part of its mission to discover, review, and share the best books from university and independent publishers, Foreword Magazine, Inc. hosts an annual awards program each yearFinalists represent the best books published in 2018. After more than 2,000 individual titles spread across 56 genres were submitted for consideration, the list of finalists was determined by Foreword’s editorial team. Winners will be decided by an expert team of booksellers and librarians—representing Foreword’s readership—from across the country.

The complete list of finalists can be found at:

Winners in each genre—along with Editor’s Choice Prize winners and Foreword’s INDIE Publisher of the Year—will be announced June 14, 2019.

Founded in 1998, Foreword Magazine, Inc. is the only media company completely devoted to independent publishing. Publishers of a Folio: award-winning bimonthly print review journal, special interest products, and daily online content feeds, Foreword exclusively covers university and independent (non “Big 5”) publishers, the books they publish, and their authors. Foreword is based in Traverse City, Michigan, with staff based worldwide.


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SHE SPOKE featured on #KidTimeStoryTime

She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World was recently featured on the KidTime StoryTime YouTube Channel! Storyteller and her peppy puppets highlight entries about Dr. Jane Goodall, Suzan Shown Harjo, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Dr. Temple Grandin, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Malala Yousafzai. See the video here.

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Read This!: A QUESTION OF HOLMES by Brittany Cavallaro

A Question of Holmes (Charlotte Holmes #4)A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro

Summary: Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson think they’re finally in the clear. They’ve left Sherringford School—and the Moriartys—behind for a pre-college summer program at Oxford University. A chance to start from scratch and explore dating for the first time, while exploring a new city with all the freedom their program provides. But when they arrive, Charlotte is immediately drawn into a new case: a series of accidents have been befalling the members of the community theater troupe in Oxford, and now, on the eve of their production of Hamlet, they’re starting all over again. What once seemed like a comedy of errors is now a race to prevent the next tragedy—before Charlotte or Jamie is the next victim.

Anyone who has been in my orbit in the last three years knows how much I adore the Charlotte Holmes series. So I was prepared to love this final entry in the series without reservation, but I didn’t expect how much Charlotte’s hard-fought journey would resonate with me as a reader, and how wonderful it would be to see Charlotte, so often the star in someone else’s starry-eyed dream, take the lead and tell her own story. She’s a long way from the rough-edged, vibrant, damaged girl of the first book, and yet she’s not. Seeing her grow and change and start to understand how she can love and need someone and yet need to be apart from them…it was heartbreaking in the best way. I worried that Jamie would be less endearing when so little of the story was from his point of view, but no risk of that; no one appreciates Jamie like our Charlotte. How could such a series with such a heroine come to a fitting conclusion? Cavallaro gives us an answer that is the perfect mix of heartwarming, hilarious, moving, and deeply, viscerally satisfying.


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Transformed: The Perils of the Frog Prince (Tyme #3)Transformed: The Perils of the Frog Prince by Megan Morrison

The third book in the Tyme series is a slam dunk from beginning to end. In GROUNDED and DISENCHANTED, Morrison turned familiar fairy tales on their heads; in this outing, she goes one step further and upends readers’ understanding of the first two books. That’s because Prince Frog, Rapunzel’s small green companion, turns out to be none other than Prince Syrah of the Olive Isles, a loathsome, selfish lad who made the wrong wish on a well. While roaming the land of Tyme with Rapunzel and Jack, Syrah has tried desperately to get home, to someone who might be able to help him turn human again, and the All Tyme Championships in Yellow Country are his chance. But when a mysterious illness cuts the competition short and the governor lapses into a coma, Syrah has to become the world’s smallest detective to figure out what’s happening and how to be a decent human being to break the curse.

There is so much I love about this book. I love that Syrah is a royal jerk. I love that, just as she did with Rapunzel, Morrison has given us a protagonist who is not immediately likeable but is definitely relatable, and then plops us right into his perspective and shows how he justifies everything to himself. I love everything about the ending, which I won’t give away, but just trust me, READ IT. I love how much we learn about Jack and Rapunzel, even though this isn’t their story. I love how badass and awesome Deli, the object of Syrah’s affections, and her grandmother both are, and how nuanced the relationship between them is. I love how Syrah learns how he must transform to be transformed. And I love how Morrison pulls in real-world issues like GMOs, election politics, and women’s rights with the lightest touch, weaving a spell that will have readers demanding more tales from the land of Tyme.

TRANSFORMED is out now.

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Take the Read Local Challenge!

I’m thrilled to be participating in the 2018/2019 Read Local Challenge, sponsored by the MD/DE/WV Region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators! The Read Local Challenge features traditionally-published authors and illustrators from Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

We invite all schools, libraries, homeschool groups, scout troops … groups of any size to join us! Take the challenge to read as many of these books from local authors/illustrators as you can, for a chance to win fabulous prizes, such as signed books and free Skype visits with one of our Read Local authors or illustrators. Then visit our websites to find our already-scheduled book signings and events, or to schedule a visit to your school or library.

Nita’s First Signs is featured in the Picture Book Challenge, and Dagger and Coin is featured in the Young Adult Challenge.

All are welcome to take the Picture Book Challenge, the Middle Grade Challenge, the Young Adult Challenge, or all three!  Click here to learn more.






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Register Now for Sign Language for Children in Storytime or in the Classroom eCourse

Sign Language for Children in Storytime or in the Classroom: A Practical Guide eCourse

Instructor: Kathy MacMillan, NIC, M.L.S.

Asynchronous eCourse beginning Monday, April 8, 2019 and continuing for 6 weeks (Participants will have 12 weeks to complete course materials.)

$250.00 (ALA Members $225.00)

Click here to register.

Estimated Hours of Learning: 36 (Certificate of Completion available upon request)

American Sign Language is most commonly used in storytimes for babies, but the applications can go much further. In this new 6-week eCourse, Sign Language expert Kathy MacMillan explores the benefits of signing with all children. In addition to learning basic American Sign Language (ASL) vocabulary appropriate for use with children in library and classroom settings, you will also learn to teach stories, songs, and other activities that incorporate ASL. MacMillan provides you with a linguistic and cultural context to help make your programming more accessible.

After participating in this eCourse, you will:

  • Have a working knowledge of approximately 180 signs (introduced through video)
  • Create two storytime/classroom activities using the featured vocabulary that you can implement in your storytimes
  • Understand relevant aspects of child development and early literacy
  • Understand signing in a linguistic and cultural context

Feedback from past participants:

“One of the most well-organized and rewarding professional development courses I’ve taken.”

“Kathy is an amazing instructor. She made learning online very easy and comfortable. She replied quickly when students had questions and she responded with feedback with videos to help sign better.”

“I am amazed. It couldn’t have gone better. I came away learning many signs I can use and gained some helpful information for my storytimes.”

“The instructor was phenomenal, and I am already incorporating course work into everyday interactions in the library. Everything in the course is relevant and beneficial.”

Instructor Kathy MacMillan is a writer and nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter. She is the author of Nita’s First Signs (Familius Press), as well as the author or co-author of many books from ALA Editions, including Little Hands & Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together and the Storytime Magic series. She was the library/media specialist at the Maryland School for the Deaf from 2001 to 2005 and has worked in public libraries since 1996. She presents storytelling programs introducing sign language through Stories By Hand and offers training and resources for enhancing storytimes through Storytime Stuff. She is also the author of the young adult fantasy novels Sword and Verse and Dagger and Coin (HarperTeen).

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Read This!: IMMERSE by Tobie Easton

Immerse (Mer Chronicles #3)Immerse by Tobie Easton

Summary: Lia can’t wait for her parents’ coronation. Now living in the sparkling palace beneath the waves, she sneaks off to Malibu whenever possible to see Clay. Tucked away in an abandoned seaside mansion, Lia and Clay devise a plan to ensure they can stay together forever. But when an old enemy resurfaces and Lia is restricted to the palace for the safety of all Merkind, she and Clay are ripped apart once more. She fears not only for Clay, but for her best friend Caspian, who seems to be swimming down a dangerous path. He has invited the conniving Melusine to the coronation ball, convinced she’s capable of change. And no matter how hard Lia fights it, showing up on Caspian’s arm is just the start of Melusine’s insidious return to her life. With threats Below growing more ominous by the day and a powerful ancient ritual looming, soon the two girls can’t escape each other. As their fates grow increasingly intertwined, Melusine might be the only one who can help Lia find the answers she desperately needs to save everyone she loves and to achieve her happily ever after. But can Lia trust her? 

EMERGE gave a thrilling love story; SUBMERGE let us delve deeper into Tobie Easton’s meticulously built underwater world. Now, with IMMERSE, the triumphant conclusion to the Mer trilogy, Easton challenges the reader’s assumptions, letting us see Lia, the great heroine who saved the Mer, from the perspective of her enemy, Melusine. As the two characters play off one another in alternating point of view chapters, the strengths and flaws of both are thrown into sharp relief, reminding us how easy it is to dismiss what we don’t understand. Despite all they’ve been through, they face their greatest challenge when the two of them – one impulsive, warm, and sheltered, the other cool, distant, and calculating – must come together to stop a plot that would destroy the human world. This is a series finale that has it all: sigh-worthy romance, nail-biting adventure, and a gripping story of two very different girls navigating the shifting tides of family and societal expectations.

IMMERSE is out now.

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Register now for Liven Up Baby and Toddler Storytimes with Sign Language

Liven Up Baby and Toddler Storytimes with Sign Language: A 90-minute webinar

Thursday, March 28, 2018, 2:30pm Eastern/1:30pmCentral/12:30pm Mountain/11:30am Pacific

Presented by Kathy MacMillan, NIC, M.L.S.

Signing with young children of any hearing ability fosters bonding, stimulates language development, and reduces frustration for caregiver and child. Learn how to use sign language in storytimes to broaden their appeal and make them more participative. In this interactive workshop, Kathy MacMillan—American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, librarian, and storyteller—will use video examples to provide easy-to-learn signs that can be retaught and incorporated into stories, rhymes, and songs. You will be able to use the skills learned in this workshop to create programs that will help you, your staff, and parents communicate better with children. Register at

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