Children's News

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May 20, 2016 by amandap
Oversize 2016 

Picture books aren't just for little kids! As we have in the past couple of years, we read picture books for older readers this May. It's a busy month for kids, so we like to take it easier than usual.

In the first aisle of chapter books in the Children's Room, behind the beginning chapter books and next to the graphic novels and comic books, there's one section of books people often overlook. Older kids sometimes think that picture books aren't for them or they just don't notice them because it's not that big a collection. But these books aren't really for little kids. They're books with fantastic illustrations, they look like picture books (because they are!) but they're longer than a typical picture book, or the topic is more appropriate for older readers. Maybe they're a little scary, have puzzles to solve, or they're simply about older kids. What we found, having read them, is that they're all very different books, only really tied together by their physical format. But what was the reaction to them? Mixed! Some of the group loved these books and found them fun and interesting. Some of the group liked them okay, but definitely preferred regular chapter books and novels. We even had two kids who both read the same oversize book and one was bored by it while the other loved it. There's no one right reaction!

For next month we're getting ready for this summer's Summer Reading theme: On Your Mark, Get Set... READ! by reading sports and athletics themed books. Don't worry about sticking to the popular team sports! Pick figure skating, skateboarding, fencing, dancing, whatever you'd like! We are also, as always, happy to welcome 4th graders who will be entering 5th grade in September to our June meeting. Grab a book, read it, and come tell us about it in the Children's Room at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14th!

Apr 29, 2016 by amandap
Poetry 2016 

April usually means poetry for the Phoenix Book Club and this year was no exception. We picked from a wide variety of books, from poetry anthologies, to single author books, to novels in verse. There are so many different ways to approach poetry, it's really pretty easy to find something for everyone.

There are a few groans every year when we talk about picking poetry books for April, but what's always fun is seeing the reactions when we actually meet and talk about what we read. Without fail, poetry turns out to be a lot more fun and interesting than many of the book club members think it will be. Even if they've done poetry with us before! This year the highlights were the poems of Robert Frost, the Australian novel in verse Naked Bunyip Dancing that we read aloud (and caught the giggles) from, and Andrew Clements' Dogku, which we all read during the course of our April meeting.

For next month we're taking it easy by reading books from the Oversize collection in the Children's Room. These are picture books, but written for older readers. The Main Library has a section for these books - Please ask at the branches for assistance in finding them. Take a look, pick one out, and come tell us about it on May 10th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room.

Apr 9, 2016 by amandap

April is National Poetry Month for kids and grownups alike!

Nursery Rhymes

    Poetry Books

    Novels in Verse

Have you been reading some poetry this month? Writing some poems? Not sure where to start? Not sure if poetry is for you? Take a look at books of poetry and some online poetry resources and find out!

You could spend all month just reading Shel Silverstein and still have plenty to read come May. You could also branch out, discover some new poets and poems. No matter what you like, we've probably got some poetry you'll enjoy. You can find poetry collections full of different poets, poetry books all by one person. You can find poems from the United States, England, Africa, Finland, Japan, China, and more! How about novels told in poems instead of prose? Sure, we can help you find those too. Some poems are serious, some are funny. Some are even different shapes, like stars or sharks or piles of leaves. 

Take a look at the book suggestions in the sidebar to the right, or you can explore some of the websites below:

Apr 1, 2016 by amandap

If you've come into the library in the past couple of months you might have noticed some new items out in the Children's Room. Over the summer we added lots and lots of blocks and building toys at the Main Library and at each of the branch libraries. 

Full STEAM Ahead: Build It! 

Join an educator from the Children's Museum of Easton on Saturday, April 23rd at 10;00 am for engineering fun with Build It!

No registration required, recommended for families with children in preschool or above. For more information, click the link at the top.

Blocks are lots of fun to play with for kids of all ages, but did you know there’s more to it than just fun? Kids gain a wide variety of skills through block play, so while they’re having a good time, they’re also learning. Just stacking blocks on top of each other encourages motor skills and spatial awareness - key skills for later on in life. Beyond that, blocks encourage imagination, cooperation, experimentation and more!

There is plenty for young children to do with blocks, but older kids can have fun with them also. After all, Lego and Minecraft are basically block play too! So what have we added to the Children's Room and branch libraries?

  • Soft rubber blocks for babies at Adams Shore and Wollaston
  • Big foam blocks at North Quincy and the Main Library
  • Smaller foam blocks at the three branch libraries and wooden blocks at the Main Library
  • Duplo and Lego-like blocks at the Main Library
  • 3-D Magnet builders at Wollaston and the Main Library
  • Nut and Bolt building set at Adams Shore

While you may not see every item out all the time, check back to see what we swap in and out.

Come on in to any of the Thomas Crane Public Library locations and build something! For more information on the importance of block play and what children can gain from it, take a look at these resources: 


Mar 24, 2016 by amandap
Winter Weather

After last year's incredible winter this winter felt so easy, right? Well, we decided since we weren't overwhelmed with actual snow this year we could read about it instead. We read books about snow, ice, winter weather, winter sports and more. This theme let us really branch out, with books ranging from historical and realistic fiction to fantasy and science fiction to action and survival.

Maybe if we'd done this theme last year, while the snow was still piled high in our yards well into the spring, we wouldn't have enjoyed it so much. This year, however, the response was all positive. We all had fun catching a little bit of snowy weather without getting trapped indoors. Realistic fiction was the clear winner, with plenty of titles to choose from, but science fiction held its own too. All that said, we all agreed it was nice to be able to put the winter down and move on to spring. Maybe we'll do spring as a theme next year?

For next month we're celebrating National Poetry Month with books of poetry and novels in verse. There are some books put aside in the Children's Room or pick something on your own and come tell us about it on April 12th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room.

Feb 10, 2016 by amandap

With the newest winners announced last month we thought we'd read some of the older winners and see what the fuss was about.

Award Winners 2016

Every January the American Library Association announces the winners of its Youth Media Awards for the previous year. Most people know the Newbery and Caldecott awards, but there are plenty of others and the books that have won the Newbery and all of the others are wildly varied in terms of topic, style, genre and length. We picked out Newbery winners and runners up, Coretta Scott King winners, Sibert winners, Batchelder winners and Schneider winners and we looked at books not just from the past couple of years but going as far back as 1982. So basically we covered as much as we could.

So what was the verdict? Did we think our choices lived up to the awards they recieved? Almost unanimously the answers were "Yes!" for every book. But that's where the discussion got interesting, because not every book was the top winner for its year. Some were runners up or honor books, and in some cases the winners from that year just haven't stood the test of time. Maybe you'll disagree. Take a look at our historical lists of all the past Newbery winners and honors and see if you agree or disagree with what won and what came close.

For next month we're reading winter stories. Anything set in the winter, whether it's fantasy, realistic, mystery, survival adventure or something entirely different. There are some books put aside in the Children's Room or pick something on your own and come tell us about it on March 8th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room.

Jan 14, 2016 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, the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for books translated into English from another language, and others. These awards and many more are announced at the American Library Association's annual Midwinter Meeting which happened this year on Monday, January 11th.

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.

Dec 11, 2015 by cathyd

Moses LoBeau is a spunky, independent, 11 year old girl being raised by the Colonel and Miss Lana in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina. She would like to find her “upstream mother,” since she was found floating down the river in a hurricane as a baby, but loves and is loved by her unusual found family. When a murder occurs and her family is put into danger, Moses and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, start “Desperado Detectives” and attempt to solve the case. This book won a Newbery Honor Award for good reason. Funny and adventurous with some great colorful and memorable characters, it has realistic grit and a compelling narrative. I listened to the audiobook version, which is read very well with a great southern accent. Good for older middle schoolers and older - the adults will enjoy it with or without the kids. Check Our Catalog

Dec 9, 2015 by amandap

Comic books, graphic novels, manga, whatever you call them and whatever you prefer, we read them this month.

Graphic Novels

Going into December we always read graphic stories for the Phoenix Book Club. It's a busy time of year for a lot of kids and it's fun to do a format theme instead of a genre. Because really, graphic novels, comic books, manga, they don't all tell the same sort of story. The point here is more how the story is told rather than what story it is. 

This month we definitely ran the gamut of stories. Some kids picked out nonfiction history titles while others picked fantasy. We had historical fiction, folktales, mythology, and even some graphic novel adaptations of books the kids had already read in regular text form. Overall, the response to graphic novels was positive. Only a handful of the books picked by the kids last month went unread, mostly due to not having enough time. Every kid who attended said they'd be going back to the graphic novel aisle to look for more comics in the future.

For next month we're reading steampunk. This can be a tricky genre for kids! The vast majority of steampunk books are written more for teens and adults, but we found a few! Check out the selections set aside in the Children's Room or ask Amanda for a list to place holds from, then come discuss what makes a book steampunk on January 12th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room.

Dec 2, 2015 by cathyd

The fourth and latest book in the Land of Stories series takes the half-magic twins, Alex and Connor Bailey, back through the Fairy Tale World and beyond. In search of the masked man that looks like their deceased father, and accompanied by the unusual and highly amusing group of Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, Jack and Old Mother Goose (also known as OMG), they enter other worlds - Neverland, Oz, Wonderland, and King Arthur’s Britain. I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook of this, read by author Chris Colfer, a Golden Globe winning actor for his work in Glee. Colfer portrays his characters with such skill that you know who is speaking without being told. This book is funny and adventurous, appropriate for children, and interesting to parents. After he published the first in this series Colfer filmed a short Q&A about himself, which you can enjoy below and then Check Our Catalog

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.

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