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Books & Beyond

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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!

Jul 10, 2013 by julier

I Dig Vehicles Day at Adams Shore will go on as scheduled today from 2:00-4:00 pm.

Due to rainy forecasts for both today and tomorrow we have redesigned this program.  Join us inside at Adams Shore any time between 2:00 and 4:00 pm this afternoon for a variety of indoor construction activities--make a construction hat and dump truck, build with blocks, try your skill at the dump truck bean bag toss and get your picture taken as a construction worker.

Weather permitting the DPW may still show up with a couple of pieces of apparatus that we can see up close and learn about what they do.

This program is for truck lovers of all ages.  Parents please bring along a camera for some great pictures.

Jun 17, 2013 by julier

Are you ready for a challenge? Have fun this summer and explore the whole library as you read (or listen) your way through the alphabet.  Pick up your Challenge record booklet at any library location and begin your summer of fun.

It's simple, for each letter of he alphabet read (or listen) to a book by an author whose last name begins with that letter.  You may read any kind of books you like: fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, picture books, etc.

When you complete the challenge turn in your reading record at the library and you will get a certificate, in September we will have a ceremony where each person who completes the challenge will receive a medal.

This is a program for the whole family so be sure to pick up a booklet for each family member or work as a team to complete the challenge.    

May 14, 2013 by amandap
Bottom Shelf Books

For May we explored an oft-ignored part of the library's collection: The bottom shelves. The top shelves of our chapter book sections are always well-browsed. They're at eye-level, easy to see, easy to poke through, easy to find something new on. The bottom shelves, on the other hand, just don't get much attention at all. You've got to crouch, or even sit down to really look at what's down there, but that doesn't mean the books are bad! It's just a simple matter of alphabetical order. There are treasures on the bottom shelves, if you bother to look there. Of course, not every book is going to be perfect for every reader, so we had some hits and we had some misses, but it was a good chance for everyone to take a look at books they might otherwise have missed.

For June we're going (relatively) easy and reading picture books! No, not the bedtime stories you'd read a pre-schooler. We have a special collection of picture books for upper elementary and middle school readers. We call them "oversize" books. Some of them are in this collection because they're a little too long. Some are there because they're creepy or scary. Some are simply about subjects little kids aren't interested in. If you know a 5th - 8th grader who might be interested, come take a look at our Oversize collection and join us on June 11th at 7:00 p.m.

Special note! Traditionally, the Phoenix Book Club has a pizza party in June to celebrate the end of the school year. 4th graders who will be entering 5th grade at the end of the coming summer are welcome to join us, but please let us know so we know how much pizza to get!

Apr 29, 2013 by amandap

Our fourth Saturday program in April was a Manga drawing workshop for children aged 8 and up. Massachusetts-based artist Shauna Leva led the workshop, which focused on teaching the kids how to use manga and anime art styles to make their own cartoons. The kids had a great time learning to draw faces and characters and came into the Children's Room after to show off their work.

If you missed the workshop but are interested in this style of comic drawing, take a look at some of our drawing guides in the 740 section of our nonfiction.

If videos are more helpful for you, there are a lot of tutorials online. Try this one to start and look around for more.

And if you'd like to get some suggestions for kid-friendly manga titles, check out this page of titles and resources.

We hope you've had some artistic inspiration and invite you to join us for May's fourth Saturday program, an origami workshop for aged 8 and up. Registration begins on May 6th.

Apr 29, 2013 by amandap
Sports Books

The Phoenix Book Club is our book discussion group for kids in grades 5 through 8. In this group we all read different books from the same theme, then meet to tell each other about what we read. Themes range from genres to subjects to character types and change every month.

For April the Phoenix Book Club celebrated the birthday of two of our members by having some cupcakes before we talked about our books. Some special events happening elsewhere meant a smaller-than-usual group, but we had a lively discussion all the same. Maybe it was because the books themselves were so full of activity? Soccer was the sport of choice for most of our readers, but it was joined by dog agility, white water rafting and even Quidditch.

For May we're moving away from reading a specific subject and instead going for geography. Namely, the geography of the library. Everyone picked a book from a bottom shelf of our chapter book section.  Our poor bottom shelves. No one thinks to look down there but they're full of hidden treasures! If you know a 5th - 8th grader who might be interested, grab a bottom shelf book and join us on May 14th at 7:00 p.m.


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