Children's News

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Nov 12, 2015 by amandap

Disappearances, ghosts, murders and more were the focus of this month's mystery theme.


For a creepy time over Halloween we ready mysteries. While some of the mysteries were a little more tame, featuring thefts and secret identities, most of the books we chose to read for this month were a little scarier. Kidnappings featured in a couple, murder mysteries and missing people in many others, and ghosts in quite a few. And that's what's great about mysteries as a genre: They don't have to be just one type of story. 

We did spend a good amount of time during book club talking about what does make a mystery a mystery. Some of the kids attending brought up books like Tuck Everlasting, which has a mysterious element to it but which isn't usually called a mystery when it comes to genre. So what does make a mystery a mystery? When all was said and done, we decided there's usually some sort of crime or investigation going on, whether the investigators are professionals or amateurs. Just having an unknown element isn't quite enough. Regardless of what makes a mystery, however, the group all enjoyed the ones they took. We have an extra long list of what we read this month linked to the right.

For next month we're reading graphic novels, comic books and manga. The type of story isn't the point, it's the format that matters. Take a look at the graphic novel section at any Thomas Crane Public Library branch or pick one you already have, then come tell us about it on December 8th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room.

Nov 3, 2015 by amandap

Check out our new reading program for babies, toddlers and preschoolers! 

Do you think you can read 1000 books with your child before they reach Kindergarten? It might be easier than you think! Any book you read counts, whether it's an audio book in the car, books read at a storytime, board books, ebooks, or a book you read to them. You can even count every single time you read that one old favorite over and over.

Reading aloud to and with young children encourages them to become readers themselves as they grow. Children gain new vocabulary and learn about the world around them through reading even before they can read on their own. Reading just one book (or more!) a day with your baby, toddler, or preschooler gives them a wealth of early literacy skills that will help them become lifelong readers. 

Ready to try and reach 1000 books? You can sign up at any Thomas Crane Public Library location or sign up online. Use the online book tracker to see your progress and become a Super Star Reader!

Oct 14, 2015 by amandap

Who doesn't want to read about school at the end of the summer? Turns out, we all really enjoyed it!

School Stories

Sure, it doesn't sound super fun to read stories set in schools when you've only just finished summer vacation, but that's what we did this past month. In September the group picked out books from a wide variety of school stories. Some were realistic, some were fantasy, some were nonfiction, and some were about a zombie virus plaguing an elementary school. Everyone was a little hesitant about the topic, but when we got back together this month to talk about it, turns out everyone enjoyed what they picked. 

Normally we try to steer clear of Harry Potter for this club, since everyone's already heard all about Harry. This month? I allowed it and at least one enterprising book club member worked her way through the entire series. Despite a couple of books not quite grabbing their readers, most everyone found at least one book they really enjoyed. Not terribly surprising. It's always fun to see something you know - school, in this case - put on the page in a new way. Whether it's because the story is utterly like what you live every day, or because it's like it but with the addition of magic or zombies, it's easy to enjoy a story with something familiar in it.

For next month we're reading mysteries, and while you're welcome to pick something nice and spooky to read there are plenty of mysteries out there that don't involve ghosts and won't give you nightmares. Whichever you pick, read it and come tell us about it on November 10th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room.

Sep 4, 2015 by dorothyc

Elmore Green is an only child, and he likes it that way. He has his own room, his own jellybeans, and best of all, his parents think he is “simply the funniest, cleverest, most adorable person they had ever seen.” Everything changes one day when the new small person arrives. The new small person follows Elmore around, copies whatever he does, and licks his jellybeans -- but he also shares his toys and keeps Elmore company when he’s had a scary dream. Lauren Child’s charming illustrations and humorous story perfectly capture the relationship between two young siblings and show how everything’s somehow funnier “with two people laughing than just one.” Check Our Catalog

Aug 31, 2015 by amandap

Kid-friendly tablet computers are coming to the children's sections at all Quincy library locations! And yes, you can check them out and take them home. Looking for more games and activities for your kids to play? Try a Launchpad! Each tablet comes pre-loaded with games and apps for kids and the tablets themselves are sturdy and made for kids to use. Got a dinosaur enthusiast in the house? Check out Prehistoric Playground! Learn about the alphabet with Letter Treasures! Attend Princess University! We've got plenty of options and we'll be adding more.

We suspect these items may be popular, so we're asking families to try out one at a time. Don't worry if you don't see any on the shelf! We'll be sending them around to all the different branch libraries and you can always place one on hold and reserve it when it gets returned. Take a look at the full list of Launchpad titles available to Quincy patrons.

Jul 22, 2015 by dorothyc

A beautifully crafted novel, Echo tells the intertwining stories of Friedrich, a 12-year-old in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power; Mike, an 11-year-old orphan in depression-era Pennsylvania; and Ivy, the daughter of migrant workers in Southern California, one year after Pearl Harbor. The thread connecting the kids’ stories is music, specifically a harmonica with almost magical qualities. The characters’ stories are richly told, and Muñoz Ryan’s writing makes the book a joy to read. Echo is perfect for ages 10-14 and is enthusiastically recommended for fans of historical fiction and/or magical realism! Check Our Catalog

Jul 10, 2015 by amandap

Are your kids clamoring for superheroes, but maybe a little young for comic books just yet? Have no fear! There are plenty of picture books and beginning readers to satisfy the superhero in all of us!

Sure, you could stick with the DC Superheroes Storybook Collection or the Avengers Storybook Collections and those are a ton of fun for kids looking for the superheroes they've seen on television or at the movies. After you've read through all the stories there, though, there are so many more little-kid-friendly heroes to read about! Ladybug Girl and her friends make for a fantastic introduction not only to superheroes but to the power of imagination. Can you guess the secret identity of Awesome Man? Take a look through the list below for more fun superhero picture books to read together and when you come into the library make sure to check our beginning reader section - a ton of new books just arrived and lots of them feature heroes of all kinds, from the characters from Big Hero 6 to Emmett from The LEGO Movie.

Find these books and plenty of summer programs at the library! Coming up this week we've got Mother Goose & Little Bo Peep, PJ Storytime, Music & Movement, Summer Book Club, Comic Book WorkshopPreschool Discovery and more!

Jun 29, 2015 by dorothyc

It's the summer before starting middle school, and Astrid is ready to spend it hanging out with her best friend, Nicole. The two have always done everything together, so why would this summer be any different? For one thing, Nicole has no interest in attending roller derby camp with Astrid and has signed up for dance camp instead. Over the course of the summer, Astrid learns that friends sometimes grow apart, and she learns how to work harder than she’s ever worked in pursuit of roller derby glory! A spunky graphic novel with heart, Roller Girl perfectly captures what it’s like to be a girl with an edge, at an age when everything is in flux. Check Our Catalog

Jun 25, 2015 by amandap

Summer is finally here! Come on in and see all the amazing programs we've got going on at the library this summer!

Are you looking for a craft program? A storytime? A book club? Bubbles? Superheroes? Cookies? Movies? Science? What about singing and dancing? Or maybe Dungeons & Dragons? We've got it all this summer at all four library locations in Quincy, plus more than we could possibly fit into a single blog post. 

This summer's theme is Every Hero Has a Story and we've been inspired by heroes of all kinds for our summer programs and events. Our regular Art-To-Go program starts next week with a red, white and blue wreath to hang just in time for July 4th! Crafts travel every week:

  • Main Library from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Mondays
  • Adams Shore from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesdays
  • Wollaston from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Wednesdays
  • North Quincy from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Thursdays

Also starting next week on the 29th is North Quincy's Disney Mondays, with a different Disney movie every Monday at 2:00 p.m. The first movie is Toy Story, so head on over and hang out for a movie afternoon. If you're at the Farmer's Market on Fridays this summer, starting tomorrow, we'll be telling stories from noon to 12:45.

After the July 4th weekend we'll be starting a summer full of fun with Jedi training, PJ storytime, cookie decorating and bubbles on the lawn. We've got all our summer program details up on our library calendar and on our summer website! Also check our summer website for summer reading lists and ideas and some fun activities to do online and at home. We'll be posting about our events and reading ideas all summer so make sure to take a peek and see what we've got going on!

Jun 11, 2015 by amandap

For June we got a jump on this summer's theme by reading all about superheroes (and supervillains).

Superhero Comics

Superhero Novels

To celebrate the (upcoming) end of the school year we had our annual pizza party and talked about superheroes, supervillains and super powers. You would think that this would be an easy topic to pick books for but it's harder than it seems! What is a superhero book? Do we only count characters in capes? No, of course not. Do we only count characters who fight crime? Maybe not. What counts as a superpower as opposed to magical abilities? Some superpowers are magic, after all! And some superheroes and supervillains don't have any powers at all. 

The group read from a wide variety of options and while the topic itself was a little hard to pin down, the books everyone read were all well liked. While a lot of kids were very busy this month with projects and testing, everyone found time to read at least half of at least one of the books they chose and quite a few books were renewed so kids could finish them. Plenty of books were traded across the table at the end of the discussion!

July and August are our summer book club meetings! We'll be meeting on the second Tuesdays, as usual, in the Children's Room in the Main Library. For July we'll all be reading the same book: N.E.R.D.S. by Michael Buckley. Grab a copy of the book at the desk in the Children's Room or put it on hold, then join us on Tuesday, July 14th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room.

Jun 9, 2015 by claytonc

book jacketsA new category! In previous years all books for children and teens were lumped together, but in 2015, for the first time, the Massachusetts Center for the Book has just published a list of must-read picture books that were either written by a Massachusetts author or that had subject matter related to this great state. Here is the list with links so you can reserve your next favorite right now!

Jun 5, 2015 by dorothyc

"Rain is coming. You can feel it in the air." With rhythmic language and beautiful photography, Raindrops Roll begins with descriptions of the various signs of impending rain. Insects look for shelter under leaves and inside pods, while a bird enjoys the shower from a comfy perch.

A beautifully written book, preschoolers will respond to the close-up photographic illustrations of nature, while also enjoying an introduction to nonfiction. The soothing, measured language used throughout is spare while introducing children to new words like "gather," "glob," "magnify," and "moisten." A section at the back of the book includes scientific information on water and rain, including facts like how the moisture we breathe out may eventually become part of a cloud. The photo illustrations and interesting facts like this are sure to enrapture preschoolers, while the rhythmic language will make for a lovely read-aloud book for caregivers and educators. Check Our Catalog

May 15, 2015 by amandap

For May this year we took a little break and read picture books - for big kids! 

Oversize Books

While most people think of picture books as being for younger readers, that's not always the case. Some picture books are about serious topics, others are a little scary or creepy, still others are simply much longer than most picture books and a couple even have puzzles in the pictures. These are fully illustrated picture books intended for older readers than our regular collection, so they live in their own section: J Oversize. You can find them on the back side of the Beginning Chapter Books shelves, next to the graphic novels. This month we all picked a couple of books from that section. 

The fun thing about this collection, as our book club discovered, is that while it's a small number of books, the collection is as diverse as the chapter books or picture books. There are funny books, serious books, scary books, fantasy, realistic fiction, horror, poetry. The group had fun reading them and enjoyed the pictures. They did find they could get through more than when we read chapter books, which is to be expected. Overall, it was a nice vacation during a busy time of year.

For June we'll be taking a peek at our summer reading theme: Every Hero Has a Story, by reading books starring superheroes, supervillains, superpowers and sidekicks. Pick one on your own or take a look through the selections set aside in the Children's Room, then join us on Tuesday, June 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room!

Apr 21, 2015 by amandap

Looking for something fun for kids and close to home this week? We've got plenty going on during this school vacation!

You can find musicals, storytimes, shipwrecks, lego and more at the Main Library and branches this week. No registration required for any of these programs!

  • LEGO Building - Wollaston Branch Library, Wednesday the 22nd any time from 1:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m and Thursday the 23rd any time from 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Drop in any time during open hours at the Wollaston Branch and dig in the LEGO bins to build anything you want. Just dump them back in the bins when you're done! Parents, please be aware these are regular LEGO blocks, not DUPLO, and are not appropriate for younger children.
  • Camp Frozen Story Concert - Main Library Meeting Room, Wednesday the 22nd at 10:00 a.m.  Join 4th and 5th grade students from Beechwood Knoll School as they perform a concert production of their original play "Camp Frozen", the tale of a winter weekend gone terribly wrong that includes favorite songs from Frozen. All ages welcome.
  • Shipwreck Detectives with Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary - Main Library Atrium, Thursday the 23rd from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Come explore the ocean floor and uncover the maritime secrets just off our shores. Become and ocean archeologist, map a shipwreck, try on SCUBA diving gear, learn about the fish and marine life that inhabit the Sanctuary, or listen to a story. Come for the full session, or stop in and try an activity or listen to a story. This program is for all ages; families welcome. Take a look below for a video about this program!
  • Reading Aloud to Children Workshop IN MANDARIN - Main Library Meeting Room, Friday the 24th at 10:00 a.m. Yu Fan Liu a child development gradute student at Tufts University and intern at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Family Services department will present a workshop on the importance of reading alound to very young children with tips on how to do it well. This program will be presented entirely in Mandarin Chinese and is intended for adults but your child may attend with you.
  • Saturday Storytime at North Quincy - North Quincy Branch Library, Saturday the 25th at 10:00 a.m. Join Children's Librarian Cathy deVeer for a family storytime full of spring stories about butterflies. This program is intended for children ages 2-5 years old and their families.

We hope we'll see you this week for some of our spring vacation fun! 

Apr 21, 2015 by amandap

We read poetry this April to celebrate National Poetry Month. 


As usual in April we dug into the poetry books in the Children's Room. Kids chose from both the 800 section where the poetry compilations live and from novels in verse we had pulled aside. A wide variety of both went home and were read, with almost everyone taking more than one book. While we did stress that it wasn't required to read the thicker poetry books like A Light in the Attic cover to cover, everyone got into the spirit of the month and read tons of poetry. During our discussion we talked about different poetic forms, such as haiku, sonnet, sestina, pantoum and free verse. Free verse was definitely the most popular form for most of the kids, but they all liked rhyming poems too. One of our group even brought a few poems of her own to read out loud!

For May we'll be taking a look at the Children's Room's Oversize collection - an often overlooked set of shelves full of picture books for older readers. These books are fully illustrated but have longer stories, often with more serious or in-depth topics. Take a look at the Oversize books in the Children's Room, then join us on Tuesday, May 12th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room!

Mar 31, 2015 by amandap

For March this year we went back in time with historical fiction set during World War II. 

Historical Fiction: WWII

After missing February's meeting due to the seemingly unending snow, our book club got back together in March to tackle a more serious topic. Children's historical fiction novels cover historical time periods throughout history and places all over the world, so it can be a daunting genre to jump into without a specific destination in mind. 

To narrow down our options, we picked books that take place during World War II, but that definitely doesn't limit us to just one place or one specific topic. We picked from books set in Europe, Asia and the United States both during and after the war. Most of the books we read were about kids in these places dealing with the effects of war on their homes and families. While the theme was a heavy one, the kids enjoyed the books, finding most of them interesting enough to want to keep the ones they hadn't finished yet. 

For April we'll be celebrating National Poetry Month by reading poetry books and novels in verse. Take a look in the 800 section of our nonfiction or ask for help finding a novel in verse, then join us on Tuesday, April 14th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room!

Mar 19, 2015 by amandap

Learn all about minerals or simple machines this Saturday at our Mad Science programs! 

  • Ages 3-5: Mineral Mania
    Program starts at 9:30 a.m.
    Tickets are available starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Children's desk
  • Ages 6-10: Mad Machines
    Program starts at 10:30 a.m.
    Tickets are available starting at 10:00 a.m. at the Children's desk 

Just come into the Children's Room on the 21st and pick up a ticket for the program you want. If you have children in both age ranges we suggest getting tickets for just the 10:30 program and bringing everyone to that one program.

Can't make it this weekend? Want to read up on the topic before coming in? Check out books on rocks and minerals and books on simple machines

Looking for more science for kids? Mark your calendars for Preschool Discovery at the Wollaston Branch on April 8th. We'll be exploring the science of you! Look at fingerprints, hear a heartbeat and more, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Feb 18, 2015 by amandap

Snowed in and looking for more to do with your kids this week? Check out our vacation week activities at the library!

LEGO Building @ The Wollaston Branch
Wednesday, 2/18 from 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Recommended for ages 5+
Drop by and build something new from our bin of LEGO bricks! Sorry, all pieces must be returned by the end of the program. 

Preschool Discovery: Space @ The Wollaston Branch
Thursday, 2/19 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. - Rescheduled from last Wednesday!
Ages 2+
Come in and learn about constellations, meteor craters and our solar system! 

Lunar New Year Craft @ The Main Library
Thursday, 2/19 from 2:00-4:00 p.m.
All Ages
Make your own sheep puppet to celebrate the Year of the Sheep! 

AbraKidabra Magic Show with Mike Bent @ The Main Library
Friday, 2/20 at 10:00 a.m.
All Ages
Join Magician Mike Bent for a magic show full of comedy and audience participation. 

Mad Science @ The Main Library
Saturday, 2/21
Ages 3-5 at 9:30 a.m.: The Human Body
Ages 6-10 at 10:30 a.m.: Mad Messages
Please pick up a ticket for this program at the Children's Desk half an hour before the program begins! If you have children in both age ranges, we recommend attending the 10:30 program with all of them.

We hope you're having a fun February vacation and we hope we'll see you at the library!

Feb 6, 2015 by amandap

Bring your preschooler to the Wollaston Branch to learn a little about outer space! No, we can't take off in a real space ship or visit the International Space Station. We can't touch a comet or travel to Jupiter. But we can still look up at the sky at night and we can still learn about outer space.

We'll be doing some space activities at this month's Preschool Discovery but there are things we can't do at the library that you can do at home! 

  • You can look at the night sky any clear night (though you may want to wait for some warmer weather - it's cold out there right now!) and find constellations. There are plenty of books and quite a few websites: Constellation Guide, The University of Texas McDonald Observatory, Sea and Sky (this one groups constellations by what season they can be seen in).
  • Up for taking a trip? The Boston Museum of Science has placed scale models of the planets of our solar system in and near Boston. To see Neptune and Pluto you'll have to go as far out as Saugus and the Riverside MBTA station respectively, but the closer planets are all in Boston. Check here for a guide and map.

Due to the ongoing snow, this program has been moved: Join us between 10 and 11 a.m. on Thursday, February 19th. Ages 2+ welcome, no registration needed! 

Feb 2, 2015 by amandap

Every year the American Library Association gives out a number of awards for excellent children's books.

Award winners for younger readers:


    Award winners for older readers:

The two best known awards are the Caldecott Medal and the Newbery Medal, but there are many others, such as the Robert F. Siebert Medal for children's nonfiction and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for beginning reader books. These awards and many more are announced at the American Library Association's annual Midwinter Meeting.

The lists to the right link to our catalog, so you can find award winning books from this year right here at Thomas Crane, or get them transferred from other libraries. A full list of all of this year's winners with is available here. To learn more about the many awards the American Library Association gives out, please take a look at their awards page here. You can also find lists of all past winners, in some cases going back many decades. If you'd like to see what past Newbery and Caldecott winners we own here, take a look at these lists here.

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