Books & Beyond

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Nov 19, 2014 by amandap

This month we creeped ourselves out by reading books full of werewolves, zombies and things that go bump in the night.

With Halloween in between our October meeting and our meeting in November we all chose stories featuring monsters or supernatural creatures of some kind. Some of us went with werewolves, others chose vampires. Some picked ghost stories and others went for monsters like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. 

Most of the books we had were a little more serious, but the kids reported back that not all of them were scary! Some were about monsters like vampires just trying to live normal lives and some were downright silly. A couple of kids said they had to put down a book or two when they got just a little too spooky, but others stuck it out through the scary stuff and kept reading to the end. In general we found we all love some monsters in our books, whether they're scary or not. Two kids who took two different books from the same series swapped them while we were still talking

Since next month gets so busy for everyone and there's a shorter time than usual between this month's meeting and December's, we're going with graphic novels next! Browse our graphic novel sections in the Children's Room or at any of the branches or pick a comic book you have at home already. It can be a serialized comic, an original graphic novel, manga, or even a graphic novel adaptation of a chapter book. Pick one or more and join us on Tuesday, December 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room!

Nov 13, 2014 by amandap

Have you been missing our monthly Mad Science programs? They're back this weekend with two programs, one for 3-5 year olds and one for 6-10 year olds. This year we're handling registration differently, so read on for details!

  • Adventures in Air, for 3-5 year olds will begin at 9:30 on 11/15
  • Electricity, for 6-10 year olds will begin at 10:30 on 11/15

To attend either of these programs just come on into the Children's Room half an hour before the program starts and ask at the desk for a ticket. No more worrying about registering ahead of time and maybe missing out. We'll start handing out tickets for the 3-5 year old program at 9:00 a.m. and we'll start handing out tickets for the 6-10 year old program at 10:00 a.m. Do you have kids in both age ranges? In that case we suggest getting tickets for just the older group and bringing everyone to that one.

We're excited for our Mad Science programs to start up again and we hope you are too! If you can't make it this weekend to the November programs, check back for Bugs and Harnessing Heat on December 20th!

Nov 13, 2014 by amandap

Did you miss us this week for Preschool Discovery at Wollaston? Never fear! Check out some of these fun building and construction activities at home!

Preschool Discovery is a brand new program for parents and children in preschool (bring your 2 year olds and early elementary too if you want - we're not checking ages at the door) to explore science and math topics at the library. Each month we'll have a new topic and three new activities to try at the Wollaston Branch between 6 and 7 p.m. Feel free to come at any time during the hour our materials will be out and try one or more of the activities we've prepared.

This month our topic was building and construction. We built block towers with wooden blocks and measured them with tape measures. We looked at the block shapes and sizes and tried to predict how tall we could build. We also explored ramps with boards and wooden trains and making bridges with different types of paper and weights. These are all things you can do at home or try some of these other ideas:

  • Make your own blocks with boxes taped closed.
  • Add velcro to the sides of your blocks to build some outrageous towers.
  • Try making more delicate structures by sticking toothpicks into gumdrops.
  • If you're feeling ambitious, try using a newspaper and a blanket to make a fort!

Give some of these building ideas a try at home and join us at the Wollaston Branch Library on December 10th between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. for magnet activities! I hope we'll see you there!

Oct 31, 2014 by amandap

Our book club for 3rd and 4th graders kicks off in November with a discussion of the Newbery Medal winning book Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo. The Night Owls Book Club meets on the second Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m to discuss a book and do crafts and other activities. Through the year we'll read some great books, make some fun crafts, watch a movie or two and maybe even have a pizza night! Books are always available at the desk in the Children's Room at the main library.

For November grab a copy of the comic-inspired Flora and Ulysses and join us to talk about it:

Flora, obsessed with superhero comics, immediately recognizes and gives her wholehearted support to a squirrel that, after a near-fatal brush with a vacuum cleaner, develops the ability to fly and type poetry. The 10-year-old hides her new friend from the certain disapproval of her self-absorbed, romance-writer mother, but it is on the woman's typewriter that Ulysses pours out his creations.
-School Library Journal

The Night Owls Book Club is for children in 3rd and 4th graders. Please call or come in to let us know you'll be coming! November's meeting is on 11/10 at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room. We hope we'll see you there!

Oct 15, 2014 by amandap

This month we traveled the globe through books set in other countries. From Canada to Egypt to Russia and South Africa, we read stories from all over the world.

Around the World

After a summer full of science and math we met in September to reintroduce ourselves to the group, welcome new members, and chat about what we read and liked (or didn't like) in July and August. And then it was off on our globetrotting reading as kids picked from books set in various countries around the world. With the whole world to choose from kids picked books set in countries far and wide. 

With countries on every continent represented in the choices offered in September, kids picked multiple books each to take home. From what they ended up hooked by and finishing, Italy came out on top! And not just Italy, but fantasies set there. And not just fantasies in Italy, but three our of five were set in Venice specifically! Egypt, England, and France were just behind with two each and then Russia, Canada, South Africa, Spain, Scotland, and Tibet were all represented. Something about those Venetian fantasies, though, just clicked for several readers. At the end of our discussion a few books were traded around before we picked out books for November!

For next month we'll be reading books about monsters, creatures, and other beasties. Please note that the meeting for November is on the third Tuesday due to Veterans Day being on a Tuesday this year. Grab a monster book from the selections at the main library children's desk and join us on Tuesday, November 18th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room!

Oct 7, 2014 by amandap

Drop into the Wollaston Branch this Wednesday the 8th any time between 6:30 and 7:30 for our new science program: Preschool Discovery!

Preschool Discovery is a brand new program for parents and children in preschool (and early elementary - we won't make the kindergarteners leave!) to explore science and math topics at the library. Each month we'll have a new topic and three new activities to try at the Wollaston Branch. Feel free to come at any time during the hour our materials will be out and try one or more of the activities we've prepared.

This month our topic is your senses. Use your senses of touch, hearing, and sight, then take your curiosity home and try some taste and smell activities in your own kitchen. Can't make it this month? Check below for some activities to do at home for all five senses, take a look at some of the books in our catalog, and plan to drop by Wollaston the evening of November 12th for our next Preschool Discovery, where we'll explore with building and engineering activities!

  • Try making a texture book, like the one described here (and try out some of the other great activities on that page too!)
  • Guess which items make which sound with this mystery item sound activity.
  • Use a magnifying lens to examine things like rocks, leaves, sponges and other household items. What do you see when you look at something up close?
  • Try tasting things while blindfolded. Can you tell what they are without seeing them? Try it while holding your nose!
Sep 8, 2014 by amandap

International Dot Day is Monday, September 15th! Come celebrate with us all next week from the 15th through the 19th of September. 

Creativity is at the center of this week of dot-themed celebration. Read the inspiration for Dot Day, Peter Reynolds' book The Dot, as you walk along the windows of the main library children's room (or check out a copy to read in the library or at home), then help us make some dotty artwork at any of our locations in Quincy. Art supplies will be available in all four children's sections all week long. Just ask! On Tuesday, September 16th at 6:30 p.m. join North Quincy children's librarian Mrs. deVeer for a special dot and spot themed Teddy-Bear Storytime at the North Quincy branch library and check out the book list below for more stories about dots, spots and art of all kinds!

Aug 25, 2014 by amandap

Let's end the summer with a splash by exploring water! We're lucky here in Quincy that we have so much water in our city. Take a walk down Wollaston Beach and see if you can figure out if the tide is coming in or going out (hint: look for wet sand beyond the water) and how high the tide gets. Or look around Black's Creek and see what animals are hanging around the water there. Then head home and try some watery activities. 

Aug 18, 2014 by amandap

Hot or cool, sunny or rainy, the weather changes all the time. Did it rain today? Why wouldn't it be snow in the summer? Have you ever looked up and watched the clouds? Think about the weather this week. Try keeping a record of the weather in your science journal and keep it going into the fall. Watch the temperature get cooler as the days go by. 

Aug 11, 2014 by amandap

You can't see it but it's all around you. What is it? Air! We breathe it and fly through it and use it to generate electricity when it's moving. There's a whole lot of it and it's everywhere you go. Even though you can't see it, air is something you can observe with simple experiments and activities about air pressure, flight and wind. Try some and learn about this super essential gas!

Aug 4, 2014 by amandap

Explore numbers this week with math activities. Math isn't just addition and subtraction problems. Math goes into buildings, cars, time, anything with numbers or shapes, and those are all around us every day. Take a look around your home and see what shapes you can see. Try using a ruler or tape measure to measure things in your home or yard. Measure yourself! Try now and then again at the end of the summer, keep a log in your science journal. 

Jul 28, 2014 by amandap

No, you can't just pop into outer space but you can do some fun activities and experiments at home without going into orbit. Take a look in the night sky and try spotting some constellations. Can you find another planet from our solar system? Our neighbors, Mars and Venus? Check out our moon. Did you know the craters on our moon have names? Learn about the International Space Station and the Hubble Telescope. 


Jul 21, 2014 by amandap

Take a look in your family kitchen for some fun and delicious science. You might have already used some things from your kitchen to try out experiments with plants or magnets. Now take a look at the food itself. You can make food change colors, make things fizz and pop. Counting and measuring are important in the kitchen too! Cooking is all about science, and it's edible! Make a cake or ice cream, test out different recipies. Make something tasty while exercising your science skills.

Jul 14, 2014 by amandap

Who doesn't like playing with magnets? And there's plenty to do with them besides stick them to your refrigerator. Magnets make for great observational experiments for kids and they're easy to find and play with. Just keep them away from your credit cards! Grab some magnets off the fridge or buy some at a craft or grocery store and try some of these activities and check out the books below: 

Jul 11, 2014 by amandap

We blew bubbles on the lawn all morning! Did you miss it? Check out some bubble fun you can have at home!

What do you get with two wading pools, two water tables, four jugs of dish soap, a lot of water, a bunch of assorted household items and a whole crowd of kids? Bubble Day! We made our own simple bubble solution this morning and put it out in a number of different containers along with easy-to-make bubble blowing tools and let the kids get their hands nice and soapy. If you get soapy enough you don't even need bubble blowers - just cup your hands and blow through! We made big bubbles, little bubbles and piles of suds before washing off for the day.

If you couldn't make it, or if you did and want to try having your own bubble day at home, it's easy to do! Take a look here for some bubble solution ideas (we went super simple and just used one cup of Dawn Ultra for each gallon of water and it worked pretty well). Then, once you have your bubble solution made - it works best if it sits for a little bit - make some bubble blowing tools! Chenille stems (pipecleaners) make great bubble wands. Some cotton string tied in a loop with drinking staws strung on it for handles makes for great larger bubbles. Anything with a hole can make a bubble. Coat hangers? Sure! Funnels? Definitely! Hula hoops? You bet! It's a great way to cool off on a hot summer day.

Jul 7, 2014 by amandap

Blocks, LEGO, even paper can be used to build to new heights with engineering and building science. Sure, you might not be building a real bridge to cross a river with, or a house to live in, but even simple exercises like stacking blocks can show kids basic physics and engineering ideas.

Building experiments are easy at home. Use any blocks to build towers and bridges and see how high or how far you can go. Or take a look at some of the links below for fun building ideas:

Take a look here for our summer events and summer reading program and check back each Monday for more summer science.

Jun 30, 2014 by amandap

Summer is full of greenery, flowers, fruit, plants of all kinds and your summer vacation is a perfect time to explore them! Discovering the science of plants is as easy as peeling an orange and looking at the wedges inside, counting the seeds you find, comparing the taste of it to a grapefruit or a lemon. Or try taking a nature walk in your neighborhood and use your science journal to record the plants you see. Can you identify them using this plant guide or another you might already have?

Try planting a seed this week and watch it grow all summer. Even dried beans will sprout if you plant them. Can you grow a whole new bean pod by the end of August? Let us know! For an easy experiment, plant a couple of beans and try watering them different amounts or put them in different parts of your home to see how much light they need. Measure them and compare!

Want a faster plant experiment? Get a white carnation and try changing its color with these instructions: Two-color flower.

Take a look here for our summer events and summer reading program and check back each Monday for more summer science.

Jun 26, 2014 by amandap

Join us on Friday, June 27th at 10:00 a.m. for our summer program kick-off concert!

Two full months of summer library programs for children of all ages begin with an out-of-this-world concert with the Toe Jam Puppet Band. Get ready to take a rocket ship to outer space. All aboard!... Countdown...4-3-2-1-zero... Blast off! ... into outer space with the band. The show features a spacey dress-up puppet show and some crazy anti-gravity dancing! Children of all ages and their families are invited to this high energy kickoff to summer. Sponsored by the Friends of the Thomas Crane Public Library. 

We've got a huge summer planned, with craft programs, science projects, storytellers, music, reading and more! Take a look at our summer events page for information on what's going on in the library. Looking for summer reading? Try our Summer Reading Challenge and see the Quincy Public Schools summer reading lists. And for some fun things to try online and at home, take a look at our online fun page and our blog!

Jun 23, 2014 by amandap

Welcome to Fizz, Boom, Read at the Thomas Crane Public Library! Join us this summer for plenty of science-themed activities, stories and crafts.

 

When you can't get to your local library, or if you want to try something a little messy at home, take a look at the activities and experiments we'll be posting here each week this summer and take a look at the book list below for nonfiction summer science reading!

  • See all the colors that make up black ink with coffee filter chromatography: Instructions here and here.
  • Explore static electricity: Ideas here and here.
  • Make a science journal - Use a store-bought journal or use blank paper to make your own and record your summer science discoveries inside.

Take a look here for our summer events and summer reading program and check back each Monday for more summer science. 

 

Jun 12, 2014 by amandap

Science fiction and fiction about science aren't necessarily the same thing but we read both this month for the Phoenix Book Club.

Science and Sci-Fi

Some kids chose real sci-fi books with futuristic plots full of fictional technology and other planets where others chose books with real science or at least a basis in real science and stories that take place in the real world. We tried a little of everything to get ready for this summer's nation-wide summer reading theme: Fizz, Bang, Read!

Reactions to the books were mixed, but that's only reasonable since we had such a huge range to pick from. The denser books weren't as popular as the lighter, funnier fare but no one took home anything they outright didn't like. Even the harder books weren't so much disliked as just too heavy to get through at the end of the school year when projects and tests rule the day. Take a look at the list to the right to see not only what kids took home but also the other books we looked at for our theme.

For July and August the Phoenix Book Club shifts to Wednesday nights at the Wollaston Branch Library and we'll all be reading the same book. July's book is Ungifted by Gordon Korman, about a troublemaker who finds himself mistakenly sent to join the robotics team at a school for the gifted instead of the detention he was supposed to get. Pick up a copy at the library or bring your own to join us in the discussion on Wednesday, July 9th at 7:00 p.m. at Wollaston.


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