Books & Beyond

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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.

Jan 30, 2015 by amandap

For January we dove into fantasy with books about magic users of all kinds, from stage magicians to witches and wizards to supernatural beings. 

Magicians

Most of our book club members liked their fantasy selections. Our only exception allowed that maybe the books they'd picked were a little on the slower side and maybe they'd have liked something faster paced better. A lot of trading went on around the table when we were done telling each other about what we read. In addition, many fantasy novels these days are parts of larger series that continue to explore the fantastical worlds introduced. There's just too much to fit in a single story with a lot of these books! Many of the books we picked this month have sequels or related books, so after our meeting we took to the shelves to find more! Length was definitely not a deterrant here, so long as the story and world were engrossing.

For February we'll be celebrating the upcoming ALA Award annoucements by reading award winners from years past. There are a few books set aside in the Children's Room but you can look at the ALA Award page and check the lists here too. Don't be afraid to read something from the Batchelder, Sibert, and Schneider lists! They may not be as well known as the Newbery but they're all good! Due to the snow the February meeting of the Phoenix Book Club has been moved to 2/17 at 7:00 p.m. There's still time to grab an award winner and join us!

Jan 16, 2015 by amandap

Explore colors and inventions this weekend at Mad Science! Come on in on Saturday, 1/17 and grab a ticket for one of our programs.

  • Ages 3-5: Color Lab
    Program starts at 9:30 a.m.
    Tickets are available starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Children's desk
  • Ages 6-10: Inventionathon
    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 17th 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 get a head start on the topic? Awesome! We've got tons of color books and you can try some of the activities in our Preschool Discovery: Colors blog post. Want more information on inventions? Try taking a look at our books on inventions and inventors and check out these sites all about invention: 

Jan 8, 2015 by amandap

Bring your preschooler to the Wollaston Branch to play with and learn about colors this coming Wednesday! We'll be exploring the world of color for our January science evening at Wollaston. Sort colors, see the world through rose (or blue, or yellow) tinted glasses and make wild colored foam!

Colors are an easy science topic to explore right in your own home before and after our program (or if you can't make it in). After all, colors are all around us in the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the sky, the ground and everything else. 

  • Try adding some food coloring to the water when you make ice cubes, then let your child pick two colors to put in a glass of water. What color will the water be when the ice melts?
  • If you're up for a bit of mess, add food coloring to shaving cream for colorful foam fun.
  • Ask your child to find items in your home that match one color. Can you sort the groceries by color?

Join us at the Wollaston Branch on Wednesday, January 14th any time between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. for some color activities! Ages 2+ welcome, no registration needed! 

Dec 30, 2014 by theresat

Are you tired of reading the same old board books to your baby or toddler? If so, the BabyLit series might be for you. Jennifer Adams cleverly reimagines classic titles like “Sense and Sensibility” and “Dracula” for the youngest readers, pairing them each with a single theme like opposites or counting. Adults will appreciate the original quotes and characters used within the pages, and children will love Alison Oliver’s bold, engaging artwork. In our house, our favorite is “Anna Karenina: A Fashion Primer,” but this whole series is constantly getting pulled off the bookshelf by little hands. Check our catalog

Dec 16, 2014 by amandap

Explore the world of bugs or learn all about heat this weekend at Mad Science! Come on in on Saturday, 12/20 and grab a ticket for one of our programs.

  • Ages 3-5: Bugs! 
    Program starts at 9:30 a.m.
    Tickets are available starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Children's desk
  • Ages 6-10: Harnessing Heat
    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 20th 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 get a head start on the topic? Awesome! Check out the bug books and physics books in our nonfiction sections!

Dec 11, 2014 by amandap

This month we all picked from the Children's comic books and graphic novels selections. With the whole section to choose from, kids picked a great variety of titles!

Graphic Novels

Since December is always a busy month for kids, with school projects wrapping up before winter vacation and winter concerts happening, we always take a little break and read comic books for this month's book club. It's nice to take it easy and read something short, even if the story itself isn't lighthearted.

One of the best things about graphic novels is that they're a format more than a genre. Any type of story can be told in a graphic novel, from serious fantasy epics to funny realistic fiction. There are collections of comic strips, graphic novel adaptations of chapter books, collected issues of serialized comics, standalone stories and more. Several kids picked out adaptations of books they had already read in regular novel form and had mixed reviews for them. The illustrations in Coraline made it even more creepy, where the story didn't feel as deep for The Lightning Thief. Overall, most of the group enjoyed their comics and several picked out more to read in the coming weeks, while at least one member of the group said they prefer regular novels and will be sticking to them instead.

For next month we'll be reading books that feature witches, wizards, sorcerers and magicians. Pick out a book with someone using magic - But not Harry Potter - try someone new! Take a look at the selections at the main library children's desk and join us on Tuesday, January 13th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room!

Dec 4, 2014 by amandap

Bring your preschooler to the Wollaston Branch to play with and learn about magnets this coming Wednesday! December's Preschool Discovery evening is all about magnets and magnetism, so we'll be exploring what is and isn't magnetic, how magnets push and pull at each other, and how magnets can affect things around them.

Magnets can be a lot of fun to play with and they're easy to find. You probably have some on your fridge right now! Even with just a few fridge magnets you can have some fun, but things get even more interesting if you add horseshoe magnets, magnet wands, magnetic toy trains or magnetic tape to the mix. Craft stores often have magnets and magnet tape for sale and there are plenty of activities you can do just with those.

  • Try putting together a tray of objects from around the house and see if the magnet picks them up. 
  • Drop a paperclip into a glass of water and see if you can use a magnet to get it out without getting wet. 
  • See if two magnets stick to each other with a piece of paper in between, then see how much you have to put between them before they don't stick anymore. 
  • And if you want to get a little messy, make a magnet painting

Join us at the Wollaston Branch on Wednesday, December 10th any time between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. for some magnet activities and check out the books below for more magnet info and fun! 

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. 


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