Books & Beyond

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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!

Mar 13, 2014 by amandap

We took trips back and forth in time travel books for March.

Time Travel

Some of the books we picked were fantasy, some were science fiction, one was steampunk. Some went back in time and others went forward. A couple went back and forth between different time periods. Some traveled hundreds of years, some only a few minutes at a time. So what did we lean in our travels?

Time travel is a tricky subject! You might think that the books would all have a lot in common, but it turns out that time travel is more of a storytelling device for some books. In a couple of the books the method of time travel was the point of the plot, but in others it was just a way to get the characters into a different time period to tell a story that took place there. In general it seemed like many of the books that went back in time were more historical fiction than anything else, whereas the ones with devices or magic powers that let people go forward in time were about the traveling. So, think you know about time travel? Maybe not! Take a look at the books we read for a wide variety of stories about time.

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Help us celebrate by taking a look in the 811s and 821s in our nonfiction section and choosing a book of poems to read for our April meeting. We promise there's more to poetry than rhymes and meter. We've got silly, serious, shaped and stories, all in poem form. Know a 5th through 8th grader who might be interested? Grab a poetry book and join us on April 8th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room.

Feb 25, 2014 by amandap

They may sound dangerous, but acids and bases are all around us! Find out more about them and see them at work at this month's Mad Science programs.

Acids & Bases

Sure, some acids and bases can burn you, but there are plenty of them all around us every day. We eat them, drink them and use them all the time. Your soda has acid in it and if you use baking soda when you bake you're using a base. Have you ever seen someone make a homemade volcano "erupt" on television? They probably used vinegar (an acid) and baking soda (a base). Put an acid and a base together and they react!

Sign-ups for our March 15th Mad Science programs start on March 3rd. Take a look at some of the experiments in the books on the right and check out the websites below for some acid and base science ideas you can do at home:

Feb 25, 2014 by amandap

Should it have won? That's the question we asked about the books we read for February.

Award Winners

Everyone picked a Newbery Medal winner or honor book from a previous year. Most of what we picked were from the past five years, but a few older titles made their ways into our discussion this month. We talked about why a book might have won over others and how the Newbery Medal is given out. Just because a book won doesn't mean it's always going to appeal to every reader, and the Newbery committee knows that and doesn't pick something just because it has wide appeal.

Overall, we agreed that most of the books we read were very good, if not to everyone's taste. There were a few that didn't interest everyone in the group and one or two that different participants had very different opinions on. The closest we came to a universal winner was Savvy by Ingrid Law, but take a look at the list on the right to see what else we read this month.

For March take a trip through time with a time travel book. Pick a science fiction book about time machines or a fantasy book with magic that sends characters to another time and place. Go into the future or into the past, or both! Sound interesting? Know a 5th through 8th grader who might want to join us? Pick up any time travel book (selections are available in the Main Library Children's Room) and join us on March 11th at 7:00 p.m. to talk about it.

Feb 12, 2014 by julier

During February school vacation week join us at all library locations for puppets, crafts and movies.  Check out the schedule below for details.

Rosalita’s Puppets
Tuesday, February 18th at 10:30 in the large meeting room at the main library join Charlotte Dore of Rosalita’s Puppets for a marionette puppet show featuring a princess a unicorn, a dog and more. In Search of the Unicorn, a princess dreams of unicorns and finally proves to her uncle that they truly do exist. This show's many puppets include a fairy, a unicorn and a dog. For families with children ages 4 and older.

Drop in Craft
Make a crown fit for a King or Queen. Stop by the library this week and design a royal topper. Pick the day and time that works best for you. This project is suitable for all ages, make your crown as simple of as elaborate as you like. Materials will be available at the Adams Shore branch on Tuesday afternoon, the 18th from 2-4. Make your crown at the Wollaston branch on Wednesday evening the 19th from 6-8. On Thursday afternoon the 20th make a crown before or after the movie at the North Quincy materials will be available from 2-4. Crown supplies will ba available at the Main Library on Friday morning the 21st from 10-12.

Movies
Thursday, Febrruary 20th at 10:00 am join us in the large meeting room at the Main Library for a showing of Disney’s Planes. Dusty Crophopper is a little cropduster plane with a fear of heights and a crazy dream of being a racer. While his friends need convincing, Dusty gets the training he needs from Skipper, a veteran fighter, and qualifies for the Wings Across the World race. In the event, Dusty finds competitors who soon learn that there is something special about this underdog as he is tested to his physical and emotional limits. In doing so, Dusty soon finds enemies, and more importantly friends, who are inspired by his dream. In the face of all obstacles, the winner of this air race will be anyone's guess.
Run Time 92 minutes, rated PG

Thursday, February 20th at 2:30 pm join us at the North Quincy Branch Library for a showing of Disney’s Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure. This year’s Autumn Revelry promises to be something special. A blue harvest moon will rise, allowing the fairies to restore the Pixie Dust Tree- the source of all their magic. But when Tinker Bell accidentally puts all of Pixie Hollow in jeopardy, she mist venture out across the sea on a secret quest to set things right. Tink with some help from her friend Terence and a charming, rascally firefly named Blaze braves an astonishing new world and discovers the greatest treasure of all.
Run Time 80 minutes, rated G

No registration is required for any of these school vacation week programs. All programs sponsored by the Friends of the Thomas Crane Public Library.

Jan 31, 2014 by amandap

Your eyes will play tricks on you at Mad Science this month as we explore optical illusions.

Optical Illusion Books

Look at an optical illusion for long enough and you might see something that isn't there, or see something different from what it looked like at the start. You can find lots of books on optical illusions and you can even make your own. Sometimes they're based on colors, sometimes on patterns, sometimes on carefully drawn pictures that have two images in them (or more). Registration starts on February 3rd for our Mad Science programs on February 15th. Sign up for the 9:30 a.m. program for children aged 3-5 or the 10:30 a.m. program for children aged 6-10.

Can't make it to Mad Science? Want to take a look at some optical illusions at home? Take a look at the sites below for online illusions and activities to try on your own.

Jan 27, 2014 by amandap

The 2014 Newbery and Caldecott Medals have been announced, along with the winners and honors recipients for all of the many other awards the American Library Association gives out each year.

Award winners for younger readers:

       

Award winners for older readers:

The 2014 award winners and honors were announced this morning at the ALA Midwinder Meeting. Awards given include the well-known Newbery and Caldecott medals as well as many others. You might recognize the stickers for the Coretta Scott King awards, which are given for illustration, writing, new talent and lifetime achievement. You might not recognize the stickers for the Batchelder Award for children's books originally written in a language other than English, or the Schneider Family Book Award for books about the disability experience, but those books can be found on our shelves! Amongst the winners and honors are books for children of all ages as well as teens.

For some suggestions from this year's winners and honors books for children, take a look at the lists to the right. Some of the nonfiction titles on the list for older readers were winners of an award for young adults, but the books themselves aren't just for teens.

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 Newbery and Caldecott winners we own here, take a look at these lists here.

Jan 16, 2014 by amandap

Instead of a theme this month, everyone read both The Mysteries of Harris Burdick and at least one story from The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, then came up with an idea for a story based on one of the illustrations. While a couple of the group's members had done something similar before for school, not everyone had, and those who'd done it before picked new illustrations to be inspired by. The great thing about The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is that there are so many different pictures and so many different directions to go with them. A couple of the kids wrote down their stories or story ideas. Others had given it a lot of thought. No one came up with the same ideas for their illustrations as the professional authors did for The Chronicles of Harris Burdick.

Amongst our stories we had some horror and some humor and some illustrations were more popular than others. Leading the pack was the illustration for Just Desert (yes, that's spelled right), which depicts a woman about to cut into a glowing pumpkin. Also a popular one was The House on Maple Street, which depicts a house taking off from its street corner into the air. The other illustrations used were A Strange Day in July, Under the Rug, The Seven Chairs, The Third Floor Bedroom, Unexpected Guests, Mr. Linden's Library and Another Place, Another Time.

For February we'll be reading the Newbery Medal winners and honors books from the past five years. Since the 2014 Newbery Medal winner and honors recipients will be announced on January 27th, by the time we meet in February we'll be able to talk about both the older winners and the new ones if anyone's already read them. Sound interesting? Know someone in 5th through 8th grade who might want to join? Meet with us on February 11th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room. And check back here after the awards announcements have been made for a list of winning titles, authors and illustrators.

Dec 20, 2013 by amandap

Feel the pull of magnetism in January with our two Mad Science programs for kids.

Magnet Books

Magnets will be the topic for both the 3-5 year olds and the 6-10 year olds this month. Both groups will get some hands-on experience with magnets and get to play with magnetic fields. But one cool thing about magnets is that they're all over the place. It's easy to find some magnets of your own to play with at home. Find some at the supermarket, the craft store or just take some off your fridge and see how much fun they can be.

Take a look at some of our books about magnets listed to the right, or look online to learn more about magnets and why they work. There is plenty of information about magnets here, here and here. Want some ideas for magnet activities to do at home? Try a magnet jar or levitating magnets with younger kids. For some more involved activities for older kids (with parental supervision, of course) try some cool magnet experiments with food and batteries.

 

Dec 12, 2013 by amandap
Graphic Novels

Towards the end of the year things get busy for older kids. Projects wrap up, winter concerts take place, there's plenty to do. So to keep things easy we all read graphic novels for December. We all picked something a little different, some choosing adaptations, others choosing original works. A couple of kids took several short volumes and others took a single longer book. Opinions were mixed on the specific books picked by each reader but overall the group agreed that there's so much variety, the graphic novel and comic book format can't be judged on just one book.

While a couple of the kids had read the adaptation of The Lightning Thief and didn't much like the changes made for the graphic novel, they did agree that the artwork was good. We even got to talk a little about the differences between adapting a book for a graphic novel and adapting a book for a movie. Maybe some time in the future we'll do all adaptations and continue that discussion.

In January we'll be doing something a little different. In 1984 children's author Chris van Allsburg wrote a book titled The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, claiming that the 14 unrelated illustrations and their accompanying titles and captions had been written and abandoned by a mysterious man named Harris Burdick. In 2011 a collection of short stories inspired by those images was published. For January, kids will be looking through the illustrations, reading at least one story and then coming up with an idea for a story of their own. Write it out or just jot down an idea to share with the group. Sound interesting? Know a 5th through 8th grader who might be inspired? Grab copies of both The Mysteries of Harris Burdick and The Chronicles of Harris Burdick in the Children's Room and join us on January 14th at 7:00 p.m.

Dec 6, 2013 by amandap

Coming up in December we have another set of Mad Science programs, one for 3-5 year olds and one for 6-10 year olds. Both of this coming month's programs will be on unlocking the mysteries of chemistry. You might remember chemistry from high school or college, but chemistry is all around us and you can do some fun chemistry activities at home! Bake a cake and you've not only done some chemistry but you've got a treat to eat when you're done.

Take a look in our science project section under 507.8, our chemistry section in the 540s and check out some of these sites for activities and experiments to try at home:

Nov 19, 2013 by amandap
Ghost Stories

Halloween came right in between our October and November meetings, so to keep in the spooky spirit (see what I did there?) we read ghost stories for November. Ghost stories, though, don't have to be strictly scary. We found scary stories sure, but also sad and silly stories as well. And some stories are combinations. Not all ghosts are humans and of course some books involve ghosts but aren't necessarily stories about them. In addition to all that variety, we also had some traditional folk tale ghost stories, the kind told around a campfire or at a sleepover. The group was split down the middle when it comes to preferences. Some of us like a scary story and some of us prefer something less spooky. How about you?

For December we're going for format instead of theme and reading graphic novels. American, French, Japanese, long, short, serialized, original, adaptation, it doesn't matter. So long as it's a graphic novel, comic book, manga or a similar format, pick it up and read it for our December meeting. We've got a collection of graphic novels and comic books in the Children's room and all of our branches have similar shelves. Browse through what we have or bring something from home. Interested 5th through 8th graders are welcome to join us in the Children's room on December 10th at 7:00 p.m.

Oct 29, 2013 by amandap

With the start of a new school year comes a return of our monthly Mad Science workshops on the third Saturdays of each month. This year, however, we're running two workshops: One for children ages 6-10 and now one for children ages 3-5, because science can be fun for all ages!

For November both age groups will dig into the world of dinosaurs. Keep digging into the topic with this site about fossils, or take a look at some facts about different dinosaurs. You can try playing some dinosaur games too, or find some paleontology activities to do at home.

Or take a look at some great books about dinosaurs! Read a story or look up some dinosaur facts, crafts or jokes:

Dinosaur Stories: Dinosaur Info:
Oct 24, 2013 by amandap
Magic Tricks

Join us for a special Halloween program this year! We have magician Mike Bent presenting his Spooky Kooky Halloween Magic Show. This program is aimed at children over 4, accompanied by an adult and will be in the Main Library Meeting Room on Saturday, October 26th at 10:00 a.m. Join us for 45 minutes of magic, comedy, thrills and surprises! Want to try some magic tricks of your own? Take a look at our magic trick book collection in the Children's Room under the call number 793.8, or take a look a list of our books online and place a hold or two. We always love seeing some new magic tricks in the Children's Room, so practice your favorites and come in and show us! We guarantee we'll be impressed - magic isn't just tricks, it's tricky!

Spooky Tales

Feeling more spooky than magical? Take a look at some of our spooky (and sometimes funny) stories about ghosts, monsters and bumps in the night, and also some of our Halloween stories. What are you dressing up as this year? Come on into the Children's Room and show or tell us. Who knows? If you come in on Halloween maybe you'll see a space alien or a witch behind the desk!

Oct 24, 2013 by amandap
Greek Mythology

After a summer full of reading, the Phoenix Book Club started back up with a summer reading recap in September to introduce new members to the group. With summer behind us, we turned to Greek mythology for the fall, reading books based on or drawing from myths as well as some of the myths themselves. Plenty of books look to stories from ancient Greece for inspiration. Some are obvious, like the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan, but others are a little more subtle. Did you realize that J.K. Rowling used classic creatures from Greek mythology in the Harry Potter books? How often have you seen a fantasy novel mention a pegasus or a nymph? Those are from Greek myths too. Take a look at the list on the right to find books of Greek myths and books based on or using those myths and the characters and creatures from them.

For November we're getting haunted and reading ghost stories. Not just any horror or supernatural tale will do! It's got to have at least one ghost in it. They don't have to be scary, or even human (we've got a couple with ghost dogs!), but they do have to be spirits. If you know a 5th - 8th grader who might be interested, come take a look at the books I've put aside in the Children's Room or find a ghost story of your own and join us on November 12th at 7:00 p.m.

Sep 3, 2013 by julier

Celebrate the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds and the power of creativity. Sunday, September 15th is International Dot Day but we have had too many ideas to limit our celebration to just one day so children of all ages are invited to celebrate circles and dots with us all month long at all Thomas Crane Public Library locations.

As you enter the main library from the parking lot take a few minutes to read The Dot, posted on the children’s room windows, as you walk along the covered walkway.

The Main Library Children's Room will host a series of dot and circle activities through out the month. Beginning on Tuesday, September 3rd stop by the children’s room to participate in the 100 Dot Project.  Each person is invited to decorate and sign 1 of 100 cardboard dots which we will then use to create a giant 3 dimensional dot sculpture.

Saturday, September 7th stop by the children’s room any time from 10:00 to noon to make your very own dot wreath.

Monday, September 9th from 2:00 – 4:00 stop by the children’s room and create your own framed piece of circle art.

 Monday, September 16th from 2:00 -4:00 stop by the children’s room and create a craft.  This will be a grab bag style program featuring a number of dot and circle crafts.  Limit one craft per child.

 Monday, September 23rd from 2:00 – 4:00 stop by the children’s room and try your hand at a dot to dot puzzle or play a dot game.

 Create a framed masterpiece, do a dot to dot puzzle and help decorate our fall tree with colored circles when you visit the Adams Shore Branch in September.

 All month long the North Quincy Branch will feature a library-size connect the dots quest and a drop in art project to see what you can create with 10 black dots.

 Do a connect the dots puzzle and add your fingerprints to a giant dot when you visit the Wollaston Branch this month. We will be using these dots to create an art installation.

We will conclude our celebration of The Dot and begin our fall storytimes with two Dots and Spots storytimes for children ages 3-5, Friday, September 27th at 10:00 in the main library children’s room and on Monday, September 30th at 10:00 at the North Quincy branch. We will be reading The Dot by Peter Reynolds, 10 Black Dots by Donald Crews and Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier. A polka dot craft will be provided afterwards and plenty of dot coloring and connect the dots pages.



Aug 16, 2013 by julier

Remember to turn in your A-Z Summer Reading Challenge by this Friday, August 30th. Collect your certificate when you turn in your challenge sheet and join us in Septemebr for the medal ceremony.

We certainly hope you have had fun exploring the library collection for authors from A to Z.

Jul 25, 2013 by julier

How high do you think you can go? The task is simple: in eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top.  Try your hand at this construction challenge  on Thursday, Aug. 22nd at 2:00 pm at the Adams Shore Branch Library.

Family and Friends are invited to watch and cheer on their team but builders must be ages 7 and older. Registration is required. Beginning Thursday, August 1st register by clicking August 22nd on the online calendar at our website, stopping by the Adams Shore Branch or calling 617-376-1325.  Due to space limitations, this program is limited to Quincy residents.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Thomas Crane Public Library.

 



Jul 12, 2013 by amandap

Magician Steve Rudolph will be at our North Quincy branch this Monday, the 15th, at 2:00 p.m. Help Steve dig for a leprechaun's pot of gold, grow carrots by magic, find a pirate's buried treasure and coax a rabbit out of his hole. You'll get to see all these tricks and more at Magic You'll Dig.

This is an exciting show full of comedy, chances for audience participation and amazing tricks and best of all, you don't have to sign up ahead of time. Just head on down to the North Quincy branch on Monday afternoon to join in the fun.The show is geared towards kids ages 4 years old and up but if you've got a younger sibling to bring too that's fine!

If you're feeling more magical after the show take a look at our selection of magic trick books in our nonfiction section. Look under the number 793.8 for books on card tricks, coin tricks, sleight of hand and more. Practice your tricks and come into the library to show us what you've learned! We always love seeing some magic, both from professionals and beginners.

Jul 10, 2013 by amandap

Come in for our summer storytellers on Tuesday nights at 7:00 p.m. or our Pajama Storytimes for pre-schoolers on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.

Summer Storytellers - Tuesdays
7/16 - Rona Leventhal
7/23 - Diane Edgecomb
7/30 - Debbie O'Carroll
8/6 - Rosalita's Puppets
8/13 - The Activated Storytellers

Every summer we invite a wide variety of storytellers to come and entertain children at the library. On Tuesdays we have a different storyteller each week for six weeks, mostly geared towards an audience of children aged 5 and up. But don't think we've forgotten about the younger kids! Just because you're not in school yet doesn't mean you can't have a fun summer vacation. On Wednesday nights we are thrilled to have storyteller Cheryl Dunford, whom you may recognize from our Second Saturday storytimes during the school year, presenting a pajama storytime for the 2-5 year olds.

Pajama Storytimes - Wednesdays
July 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st
August 7th and 14th

Our Tuesday evening programs begin at 7:00 p.m. and run for about an hour. Our Wednesday evening programs begin a little earlier, at 6:30, and run from 45 minutes to an hour. We had our first program last night but take a look at the box to the right for the rest of the dates and click on a storyteller's name to see what sorts of stories you'll hear from them.

We hope we'll see you in the evenings this summer!


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