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Books & Beyond

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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.

May 29, 2014 by amandap

Mad Science is all wet this month with Wacky Waves: A program about water, waves and oceans.

Ocean Books

Water covers most of our planet. We travel on it, swim and play in it and drink it. We're lucky here in Quincy to have beaches right in our own city. Take a trip to Wollaston beach or any of the other beaches nearby and explore tides, tide pools, waves, currents and more. Or stay home and try out some water experiments in your own kitchen or bathroom:

Come in for our Mad Science programs and learn about how oil spills are cleaned up, how waves work and more. Sign ups for our June 21st programs begin on Monday, June 2nd.

May 19, 2014 by amandap

Picture books aren't just for little kids. This month the Phoenix Book Club read from our Oversize collection of picture books for big kids.

Oversize Books

Most of the picture books in the Children's Room are intended for younger readers, though there's no reason big kids can't grab an old favorite and read it when the mood strikes! We have, however, a special collection of picture books that are intended for older readers. Some of them are simply too long to go in with the regular picture books. Some are too spooky or creepy. Some are on serious topics and go into more depth than younger readers are prepared for. Last month the members of the Phoenix Book Club got to browse this special section near the chapter books and pick out a handful of Oversize books to take a look at. In general the kids liked them! The addition of full color illustrations to a story meant for an older reader made for a fun and interesting read for many. Others liked that what seemed like a short story was far more complex with the illustrations added. Overall it was a nice easy theme for a busy month.

The Statewide Summer Reading theme for 2014 is Fizz, Boom, Read, focusing on science all summer long, so we'll be gearing up for summer by reading science books for June's book club meeting. Science fiction, science fact, books about science fairs and scientific discovery, they all count. Pick up a book from the selections behind the desk at the Main Library Children's Room and join us on June 10th at 7:00 p.m. Note: In June we welcome kids who will be entering 5th grade in September 2014! We will also be having a pizza party. So please let us know if you will be coming and make your pizza preference known when you sign up so we have enough!

May 2, 2014 by amandap

We've got two awesome topics for Mad Science this month!

Eye to Eye: For the younger children come join us for a look at your eyes and how they work. Find out about the parts of the eye, then use magnifying lenses, kaleidoscopes and more to see how our eyes see things and can play tricks on us. Want to try some vision exploration on your own? Try making a simple kaleidoscope at home or make your own red/blue 3D glasses.

Energy Blast: For older children we've got a program all about energy and motion. Learn some basics about how energy is generated, how it's conserved and how we use it. Take a look at some energy facts or try making a rubber-band powered paddle boat at home.

Both of these programs will be on Saturday, May 17th. Eye to Eye is for 3-5 year olds and begins at 9:30 a.m. Energy Blast is for 6-10 year olds and begins at 10:30. Registration begins on Monday, May 5th at 9:00 a.m.

May 2, 2014 by amandap

For April's book club we celebrated National Poetry Month.

Poetry 

Sure, some poetry can be boring, but the same is true of all kinds of literature! When we picked books for our poetry discussion there were more than a few reluctant readers, unsure they'd like anything we had to choose from. By the time we got back together to talk about our books, however, attitudes had changed! Everyone had found at least one poem they enjoyed and some had read through multiple books of poems and went looking for more. We all read some our favorite poems out to the group and they ranged from funny to serious to truly bizarre. We had rhymes and free verse and concrete and even a wonderful poem for two voices, read by two people at the same time (yes, they had to practice a little).

For May we're taking a look at what we call Oversize books in the Children's Room. Not all picture books are intended for little kids. Some books are spooky, long, tackle serious subjects or are just plain not interesting to a five year old. But they're great for an older reader who still wants to read a book with pictures. Know a 5th through 8th grader who might be interested? Grab an Oversize book from the collection in the Children's Room and join us on May 13th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room.

Apr 16, 2014 by julier

On Thursday, April 24th from 10 am to noon in the atrium at the main library discover “Whales in your Backyard” hosted by Anne-Marie Runfola, volunteer program coordinator at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the sanctuary ambassador team.  During the program you will be able to tour a life size North Atlantic right whale calf, learn how to eat like a whale, try on a blubber glove, fish for Sanctuary facts, make whale origami and more

Geared for children ages 4-12 and their families. Come for the full event or stop by for just a few minutes to try an activity or listen to a story. No registration is required.

Want to learn more about whales or read a story about whales check out our whale book list.  This is just a few of the books about whales that we have here at the library. 

 

Check the internet for more whale facts here

Right whales are the rarest of the large whales learn more about them here.

Whalenet an interactive educational site about whales and marine research

The kids page at the NOAA FIsheries website has whale facts and a humpback whale migration game to play

National Gepographic has a collection of whale videos, check themout to see different types of whales close up.

Apr 3, 2014 by amandap

Blast off into outer space in our April Mad Science programs!

Outer Space

Explore our solar system or take off for deep space, or maybe just stay at home but get a good look at the night sky and see what's visible from Earth. You can look at constellations in your own backyard even if you don't have a telescope! There's plenty to do to explore outer space without leaving our home planet behind. Look at the stars, learn about the planets and dwarf planets in our solar system, find out about the amazing robots and satellites we're using to explore places we can't go yet.

Sign-ups for our April 19th Mad Science programs start on April 7th. Take a look at the books on the right for stories and information about outer space and check out the links below for more:

Apr 3, 2014 by amandap

Celebrate National Poetry Month with us! Whether you read a single poem, read a bunch or try your hand at writing one, take a look at poetry this month.

Poetry Books

Starting in 1996 the Academy of American Poets has supported a month-long celebration of poetry in its many forms. And oh, poetry comes in so many shapes and sizes and formats! There are short poems like haiku and long epic poems, poems that look like animals and poems that tell stories. Some poems rhyme, some poems don't. Some poems have short lines and some have lines that go on and on. Poems can be silly or serious, they can be about any topic you can imagine. Different cultures all over the world have devloped their own unique poetic forms. You've probably heard of sonnets and haiku, but what about ghazals, pantoums or ekphrasis?

We have tons of poetry books in the Children's collections at the Main Library and at all three branch libraries. Take a look under 811 for American poets, 821 for British poets and the later 800s for children's versions of epic poems like the Odyssey and the Illiad and poetry from other countries. Or ask a librarian for help finding novels in poem form, like Love That Dog and Hugging the Rock. Check out the list on the right for some poetry book suggestions. You never know what type of poem is right for you if you don't look!


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