Children's News

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Jul 13, 2017 by amandap

Are you ready for summer vacation? Looking for some things to do? Maybe you want a summer reading program? How about crafts, science, stories, bubbles, mummies, animals, nursery rhymes, book clubs, or games? We've got it all this summer.

First, sign up for this year's summer reading program and track your reading online for a chance to win a prize! There are summer reading programs going on for kids, teens, and adults too! Parents, join in the fun and track your reading alongside your kids!

Next, take a look at our summer programs. Old favorite programs such as Art-to-Go, Mother Goose & Little Bo Peep, and Bubble Day return this year, but we're adding so much more. We have concerts, storytimes, a Bob the Builder marathon, Harry Potter Day, a solar eclipse event, and more at the Main Library! At the branches there are special programs all summer, with Creature Teachers at Adams Shore, Squishy Circuits at Wollaston, and Pyramids and Pharaohs at North Quincy. There are scavenger hunts, LEGO building challenges, tasty treats. There's more than we could cover in a single blog post, so please check out our monthly calendars for July and August, and look at our Summer Fun site to see what programs are available for your kids.

We hope we'll see you this summer at the library! 

Jun 30, 2017 by amandap

Oversize? What does that mean? This month we closed out the school year with books from this often overlooked collection in the Children's Room.


So what are they and where are they? Oversize books in the Children's Room are usually picture books, but not picture books for little kids. These aren't the sorts of picture books that make good bedtime stories or read-alouds. They're just as colorful and fully illustrated as the books in the picture book collection, but they're intended for older readers. They might be much longer than your typical picture book. They might be scarier or more sad than most picture books are. Or they might just be tackling a really tough subject that would go over the heads of younger readers. These books belong in with the chapter books, but they're too big to put on the same shelves as children's novels. So they end up with their own section and big kids have picture books to read too!

This was the perfect type of book to read for the end of the school year. With classes coming to an end and plenty of end-of-year events to deal with, the group needed short books they could zip right through. All that said, everyone took a pile of them! Reactions were good, with most kids having finished multiple books. The genres were all over the map, from fantasy to historical fiction to books with puzzles built into the illustrations. The nice part about them? The kids could easily finish even one they didn't love, then move on to another.

For July we'll all be reading The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg. There are copies set aside in the Children's Room at the main library or you can place a hold on it yourself. Grab a copy, then join us on Tuesday, July 11th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room to talk about it!

May 27, 2017 by amandap

At the group's request, this month we tackled the tough (and huge) topic of civil rights.

Civil Rights

While we normally take a little break in the spring, reading poetry in April and picture book for big kids in May, this year the Phoenix Book Club members asked if we could do a much more serious topic: Civil rights. This topic had come up in our World War II discussion, so after giving the kids some time to decide if they really wanted to do two such heavy topics so close together, we dove in.

Granted, we only meet for one hour, once a month, so there was no possible way to really go as in-depth into the topic of civil rights as one would in a classroom, but we did our best to read a wide variety of books, both fiction and non-fiction. We read books set prior to the Civil War, during the Civil Rights movement, and everywhere in between all the way up to present day. The group asked a lot of good questions about the whys and hows of many of the subtopics involved. While we all decided that "enjoyed" wasn't truly the right word to describe how we felt about the books we read, we determined that "appreciated" was. Many of the kids attending the meeting left with more books on the topic and stated their intent to read more.

For June we're taking a respite from heavy topics and reading books from the Oversize collection in the Children's Room. These books are picture books or large format chapter books intended for older readers either due to length or reading level. Ask at the Children's Room desk for help finding them! Join us on June 13th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room at the Main Library. Children who will be entering 5th grade in September 2017 are welcome to join us in June! Please call ahead so we know you're coming if you've never joined us before!

May 5, 2017 by amandap


As is tradition by now, for April we read poetry for National Poetry Month. 

By now, the kids in the Phoenix Book Club mostly know that April will always mean poetry in some form. This year we decided to mostly stick with books of poetry, as opposed to novels in verse. Next year we'll try to do the opposite, but we're never opposed to poetry in any format!

What's great about poetry is that it's not limited by topic or theme or genre. You can have fantastic poems and serious poems and silly poems and poems that tell stories. Poetry is also hugely variable in its form. This year some kids picked a few books of poetry translated from other languages into English and found them really interesting. Take a look at some formats you might not have seen before and see how you feel about them!

For May we're getting serious again and reading books that tackle the subject of civil rights. This isn't an easy topic or a small one. Books on a variety of related topics, both fiction and nonfiction, are available in the Children's Room. Historical fiction, realistic fiction set in the present day and nonfiction are all welcome. Please keep in mind this is going to be a heavy discussion. Up for it? Join us on May 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room at the Main Library.

Mar 28, 2017 by amandap
World War II 

This month we tackled the heavy topic of World War II, both in historical fiction and non-fiction. 

A few months back, when the book club knew that our historical fiction topic was coming up, they requested World War II as a time period. Now, we've done World War II before in the Phoenix Book Club, but not recently, so I warned the kids this might be a tough one but that we'd definitely do it if they wanted. There's a whole lot of area to cover with a topic like this. For one, as a historical event and time period, it's based in reality and that reality can be complicated and difficult to read about. For two, the reason we call it a World War is because the effects of it spanned our globe, so we had books about what happened in various places in Europe, Asia, and the United States. That's a whole lot going on for one single book club discussion!

What we learned was that even though this was a difficult topic to handle, we were all glad that we had. The book club had a lot of questions about the war, most of them starting with "Why?" And we learned that the answers are almost all complex. Most of the kids found their books interesting, if not always "fun" to read. A few mentioned preferring the non-fiction because they wanted to know the actual facts of the events at hand, but that they also at times wished they were reading fiction. Overall, it was a great discussion about a hard topic.

For April we'll be taking a lighter-hearted break with some poetry for National Poetry Month. Take a trip down to the 811 and 821 sections of the nonfiction in the children's room or the branches and pick out a poetry book. Know a novel told in verse? That works too! Bring it with you and tell us about it on April 11th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room at the Main Library.

Feb 25, 2017 by amandap
Award Winners 

This month we revisited older award winners and took a look at some new ones! 

Awards like the Newbery and Caldecott Medals have been around for many decades. Newer awards such as the Schneider Family Book Award and the Belpre Award are newer, but still have sizable lists of books to choose from. This month, to celebrate this year's awards, we took a look at books that have won awards in years past. The trick with award winning books is that they're still books, and judged not on some impartial numerical scale but by people on committees, so we read these books with an eye towards whether we thought they deserved to win. Overall? We agreed with the award committees. That said, one or two titles just didn't grab their readers. That happens! It's important to remember that books, like people, are all different. No one book can be The Best for every single person who picks it up, whereas other books might not win but may be loved by many readers. Take a look at what we read on the right and decide for yourself!

For March we'll be tackling the difficult subject of World War II in both fiction and nonfiction. There are books of both types in the Children's Room or you can find one on your own. Please be aware that the March discussion will be a heavy one due to the subject. Up for it? Join us at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21st (a week late, yes) in the Children's Room.

Jan 28, 2017 by amandap

Congratulations to this year's winners! Each year in January the American Library Association names the winners of all of its youth media awards.

Award winners for younger readers:


    Award winners for older readers:

While the most well known awards are the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, there are many more awards! There are the Coretta Scott King Book Awards for both authors and illustrators. There's the Laura Ingalls Wilder award for lifetime contribution to children's literature. There's the Schneider and Sibert and Belpre awards! With so many awards, there's a wealth of amazing children's books honored and plenty to choose from for readers of all ages.

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.

Jan 17, 2017 by amandap
Mythology 2017 

This month we dove into mythology from around the world for our book discussion! 

Authors like Rick Riordan and J.K. Rowling are well known not just for writing popular children's novels, but for making use of mythology and folklore in their books. This month we went beyond the bigger names to take a look at what other books out there use mythology as a jumping-off point. Okay, we read some Rick Riordan too, but how could we not? He's written books based in Greek and Roman mythology, Egyptian mythology, and his newest series features Norse mythology! He's all over the map. We found that Norse mythology is actually pretty popular these days, which is a change from a few years back when we last did mythology-based stories. 

For February month we'll be reading award winning novels from years past. Take a look here to place a hold or two or pick one up in the Children's Room and join us on February 14th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room!

Jan 6, 2017 by amandap
Graphic Novels 2016 

December brings our annual graphic novel discussion back around! 

As always for December we took a little break from the big heavy novels and tried out some graphic novels for fun. This is always a format the group enjoys, even those who don't usually like graphic novels. What's fun to see when we do graphic novels is the group finding all sorts of things they hadn't realized were in there. They find classic format superhero comic books, but also newer fantasy and realistic fiction stories. They find nonfiction and manga alike. And when we all get back to talk about them, everyone's usually found something they liked, even if individual tastes are wildly different. That's the nice thing about this being a format, not a genre!

For next month we'll be reading novels with a mythological background to them. Pick one up in the Children's Room and join us on January 10th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room!

Dec 12, 2016 by amandap

If you missed this past weekend's Coding With Minecraft program or you came and wanted more, take a look at some of the resources we've got!

Our Saturday Science program for December was a fantastic chance to learn about computer programing and coding using Minecraft, a popular online construction game. Thi Sarkis from the Rhode Island Computer Museum brought in computers ready for kids to use to learn some coding basics with the game. We had to limit registration to the number of computers available, but that doesn't mean you can't still learn some basic coding in other ways!

We hope you had fun if you came to the program and will continue to have fun with coding even if you didn't. Join us next month for our January Science Saturday on 1/14 at 10:00 a.m. for a paper airplane workshop!

Nov 26, 2016 by amandap
Ghost Stories 2016 

We had a spooky haunted book club in November after reading some ghost stories over Halloween!

Every October we pick a supernatural or horror theme to choose books from to read over Halloween. Some years it's murder mysteries, some years it's monsters, some years we go with ghosts. It feels fitting to read something a little spooky or scary for the holiday, but not everything is actually scary, we promise! Not all ghost stories are meant to spook you. Some are more mysteries than horror and others are even meant to make you laugh! There's a wide variety represented in the list linked on the right. Overall, most of our group preferred the books that were either funny or scary. When they were just mysteries with ghosts involved, they sometimes didn't move as fast as the kids wanted them to.

For next month take a little break and pick a Graphic Novel to read! You can choose from the children's graphic novel sections in any of our library locations in Quincy, or pick something you already own. Comics, graphic novels, manga - They all qualify! Pick one (or more) and join us on December 13th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room!

Oct 22, 2016 by amandap

Regular Phoenix Book Club meetings started back up this fall, kicking off with books about families of all kinds.

Sometimes for the Phoenix Book Club we pick a genre like historical fiction or adventure. Sometimes we pick a format such as graphic novels. Sometimes we try something a little harder to pin down. Family is a topic every kid can relate to and families are in almost any book you might pick up off the chapter book shelves in the Children's Room. So what makes a book about family? In choosing books, we focused on looking at whether a family and the relationships in it were the focus of the story, or just a small piece of a larger plot. We stuck to stories about kids dealing with issues within their families or a family working together in a story and overall everyone ended up very satisfied with the books they chose. One thing we did all notice is that books notably focused on families had a tendency to be on the serious (sometimes sad) side.

One book club member made an argument for including Harry Potter, and we were almost swayed! But ultimately, while Harry's family is important to who he is as a character, the plots of the books themselves aren't really just about Harry and his parents or the Dursleys. But never fear! Are you interested in reading or re-reading all of the Harry Potter books as we approach the 20th anniversary of the US publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? In January we'll be starting an entirely separate book discussion for all ages to read and talk about the Harry Potter series. Keep an eye on this blog for more information in the coming months!

Next month for the Phoenix Book Club we're reading ghostly tales both spooky and funny. Pick one on your own or come into the Children's Room to see what we have set aside, then join us to discuss your pick on Tuesday, November 15th at 7:00 p.m. Please keep in mind, we have shifted our book club meeting back a week due to Election Day.

Oct 14, 2016 by amandap

Did you miss the DinoMan and his giant inflatable dinosaurs last weekend? Have no fear! We have plenty of other science programs coming up for you and your kids to learn from and enjoy!

We've moved our STEAM Saturdays program to the second Saturday of each month this year, starting with this past week's dinosaur program and continuing on November 12th with the Sciencetellers. If you missed the dinosaurs, we've got photos and lots of dinosaur books and websites to check out! Look below for a few photos and take a look here for some dinosaur websites

What can you look forward to in the coming months? We've got a lot of fun Saturday science coming up for you! 

  • November 12: The Sciencetellers
  • December 10: Minecraft Coding - This program has a limited amount of space - check back for registration information in November!
  • January 14: Paper Airplane Workshop
  • More to come: We've got live reptiles, squishy circuits, and the Whalemobile coming in the spring! Programs are all at 10am on the second Saturday of each month. 

Large inflatable red and purple dinosaur Three large inflatable dinosaurs Large green inflatable dinosaur

Aug 23, 2016 by amandap

It's almost time to think about school supplies and homework, but not quite! We've got two more weeks of Children's programs and you've still got time to finish up your summer reading! Get those last few books read and logged now and come in to our last few programs.

What's still to come this summer?

What about fall?

We have plenty planned for the fall as well. Storytime registration begins on Tuesday, September 13th. Weekday storytimes begin the week of September 26th. Please take a look at our Storytimes page for more information on registration and the programs we offer. 

We've also got:

“Read a Blog Post Weeks 9&10” Challenge password: thanks 

Aug 8, 2016 by amandap

Are you watching the Olympics this year? It's great fun seeing everyone compete, watching all the different sports and the athletes from countries all over the world, but that's just this year! The Olympics have been going on for a very long time, going all the way back to Ancient Greece! Learn more about the history of the Olympics with some of these books:

  Looking for less history and more story? Try some of these fiction books set during the Olympics:


“Read a Blog Post Weeks 7&8” Challenge password: brazil 

Jul 25, 2016 by amandap

While there's plenty to do at the library, sometimes you just want to play outdoors. Want to host your own backyard Olympics or carnival, or just get out of the house and have some fun? There's a ton you can do at home to have a good time and maybe even cool off in the summer heat:


You can play with your baby too! Playing together can teach babies lots of important skills while you're having fun. Try some of these activities with your little ones:


Looking for some books to give you more ideas? Try some of these books!

"Read a Blog Post Weeks 5&6" Challenge password: peekaboo 

Jul 11, 2016 by amandap

Looking for a reading challenge this summer? Why not take a cue from Mr. Lemoncello from the books Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library and Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein? In Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics, the eccentric library-lover Mr. Luigi Lemoncello invites teams of kids from around the world to compete in a series of library games and puzzles. Throughout the story, Mr. Lemoncello refers to tons of books, which you can find a list of at the back of the book. We've taken that list and broken it down into three reading levels. Challenge yourself! See if you can read something from each list, or pick a list and see if you can read half of it, or more! 

For kids going into grades 5 through 8, if you’re participating in this summer’s Phoenix Book Club, pay special attention to the titles and authors on these lists! You never know when you may need them…

On Your Mark... (picture books)

Get Set... (beginning readers and easier chapter books)

READ! (longer and harder chapter books)

“Read a Blog Post Weeks 3&4” Challenge password: alphabet 

Jun 28, 2016 by amandap

We hope you and your kids have been having fun already, even though school only just got out. We here at the library have jumped right into summer with our weekly Art-To-Go craft program and our summer reading programs all starting this week, along with a concert, a movie, and a storytime! Did you miss those? Don't worry, we've got tons more programs coming up. You can also still sign up for our summer reading program! Take a look at the bottom of this post for a special password to enter in once you've registered. Putting in each blog post's password will earn you an extra raffle entry!

Looking for some summer reading suggestions to get you started? Take a peek at the camp and camping themed book list to the right for some fun stories for all ages! 

Camping Books for Younger Readers:

Camping Books for Older Readers:


“Read a Blog Post 1” Challenge password: beach

Jun 20, 2016 by amandap

Get a jump start on summer by seeing what we've got planned here at the library, learn about our summer reading programs, and find out more about what's happening elsewhere in Quincy!

This summer's theme is all about sports, fitness, all kinds of activity, and boy have we got a lot to do. Bubbles, magicians, puppets, arts and crafts, concerts, storytimes, live animals, book clubs, science, and more! So much more, it would be silly for us to try and list it all in one blog post. Please take a look at our calendar for the events coming up this summer. Want to see our events broken down by age range? Take a look here to see what's going on for your kids. Summer events at the library start up on June 27th with our annual weekly Art-To-Go program and continue through the last week of August.

Also starting on June 27th are our new summer reading programs. Use our online reading tracker to log your books all summer long. You can also win a coupon for the Friends of the Library book store, as well as complete challenges all summer for chances to win a raffle prize. Come to events, check back on this blog, and do scavenger hunts at the Main Library and North Quincy Branch for additional raffle entries. Just remember to ask library staff for the passwords! Also check the summer reading page for the summer reading suggestions from the Quincy Public Schools. Remember, those lists are suggestions only! You can read anything you want!

Looking for more to do this summer? The City of Quincy has a lot going on! The library is participating in the city's Discover Quincy programs with several special Friday evenings and a storytime at Wollaston Beach, but there's a lot more in addition to those! Take a look at the Quincy Public Schools community programs information page for info on summer camps, classes, and other programs.

We can't wait for summer to start and we hope we'll see you at the library! 

Jun 15, 2016 by amandap
Sports 2016 

We're gearing up for this summer with books about sports! This coming summer's theme is On Your Mark, Get Set, READ! And we did, with books about everything from running to baseball to spelunking!

There are a lot of books out there on a wide variety of physical activities. Sure, you've got your baseball books, basketball books, football books, soccer books, and more. But there are also books about swimming, ice skating, running, dancing, and, of course, Quidditch. For this month we read books all over that list, and then some. There are a couple of authors who figure big in any kids' sports book list: Mike Lupica and John Feinstein, and both were popular amongst the kids in our book club. But we also had fun reading about things like running just for the fun of it. Overall, a good reaction to these books, with a couple of exceptions the kids just couldn't get into. But after some book trading on Tuesday night maybe those books will find new readers? That's part of the fun of this book club.

Next month is the first of our two summer book club meetings. In July and August we all read the same book and get together to talk about it. For July we'll be reading The Fast and the Furriest, by Andy Behrens. Place a hold or grab a copy in the Children's Room, then join us to talk about it at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12th in the Children's Room.

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