Children's News

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Jun 9, 2015 by claytonc

book jacketsA new category! In previous years all books for children and teens were lumped together, but in 2015, for the first time, the Massachusetts Center for the Book has just published a list of must-read picture books that were either written by a Massachusetts author or that had subject matter related to this great state. Here is the list with links so you can reserve your next favorite right now!

Jun 5, 2015 by dorothyc

"Rain is coming. You can feel it in the air." With rhythmic language and beautiful photography, Raindrops Roll begins with descriptions of the various signs of impending rain. Insects look for shelter under leaves and inside pods, while a bird enjoys the shower from a comfy perch.

A beautifully written book, preschoolers will respond to the close-up photographic illustrations of nature, while also enjoying an introduction to nonfiction. The soothing, measured language used throughout is spare while introducing children to new words like "gather," "glob," "magnify," and "moisten." A section at the back of the book includes scientific information on water and rain, including facts like how the moisture we breathe out may eventually become part of a cloud. The photo illustrations and interesting facts like this are sure to enrapture preschoolers, while the rhythmic language will make for a lovely read-aloud book for caregivers and educators. Check Our Catalog

May 15, 2015 by amandap

For May this year we took a little break and read picture books - for big kids! 

Oversize Books

While most people think of picture books as being for younger readers, that's not always the case. Some picture books are about serious topics, others are a little scary or creepy, still others are simply much longer than most picture books and a couple even have puzzles in the pictures. These are fully illustrated picture books intended for older readers than our regular collection, so they live in their own section: J Oversize. You can find them on the back side of the Beginning Chapter Books shelves, next to the graphic novels. This month we all picked a couple of books from that section. 

The fun thing about this collection, as our book club discovered, is that while it's a small number of books, the collection is as diverse as the chapter books or picture books. There are funny books, serious books, scary books, fantasy, realistic fiction, horror, poetry. The group had fun reading them and enjoyed the pictures. They did find they could get through more than when we read chapter books, which is to be expected. Overall, it was a nice vacation during a busy time of year.

For June we'll be taking a peek at our summer reading theme: Every Hero Has a Story, by reading books starring superheroes, supervillains, superpowers and sidekicks. Pick one on your own or take a look through the selections set aside in the Children's Room, then join us on Tuesday, June 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room!

Apr 21, 2015 by amandap

Looking for something fun for kids and close to home this week? We've got plenty going on during this school vacation!

You can find musicals, storytimes, shipwrecks, lego and more at the Main Library and branches this week. No registration required for any of these programs!

  • LEGO Building - Wollaston Branch Library, Wednesday the 22nd any time from 1:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m and Thursday the 23rd any time from 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Drop in any time during open hours at the Wollaston Branch and dig in the LEGO bins to build anything you want. Just dump them back in the bins when you're done! Parents, please be aware these are regular LEGO blocks, not DUPLO, and are not appropriate for younger children.
  • Camp Frozen Story Concert - Main Library Meeting Room, Wednesday the 22nd at 10:00 a.m.  Join 4th and 5th grade students from Beechwood Knoll School as they perform a concert production of their original play "Camp Frozen", the tale of a winter weekend gone terribly wrong that includes favorite songs from Frozen. All ages welcome.
  • Shipwreck Detectives with Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary - Main Library Atrium, Thursday the 23rd from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Come explore the ocean floor and uncover the maritime secrets just off our shores. Become and ocean archeologist, map a shipwreck, try on SCUBA diving gear, learn about the fish and marine life that inhabit the Sanctuary, or listen to a story. Come for the full session, or stop in and try an activity or listen to a story. This program is for all ages; families welcome. Take a look below for a video about this program!
  • Reading Aloud to Children Workshop IN MANDARIN - Main Library Meeting Room, Friday the 24th at 10:00 a.m. Yu Fan Liu a child development gradute student at Tufts University and intern at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Family Services department will present a workshop on the importance of reading alound to very young children with tips on how to do it well. This program will be presented entirely in Mandarin Chinese and is intended for adults but your child may attend with you.
  • Saturday Storytime at North Quincy - North Quincy Branch Library, Saturday the 25th at 10:00 a.m. Join Children's Librarian Cathy deVeer for a family storytime full of spring stories about butterflies. This program is intended for children ages 2-5 years old and their families.

We hope we'll see you this week for some of our spring vacation fun! 

Apr 21, 2015 by amandap

We read poetry this April to celebrate National Poetry Month. 


As usual in April we dug into the poetry books in the Children's Room. Kids chose from both the 800 section where the poetry compilations live and from novels in verse we had pulled aside. A wide variety of both went home and were read, with almost everyone taking more than one book. While we did stress that it wasn't required to read the thicker poetry books like A Light in the Attic cover to cover, everyone got into the spirit of the month and read tons of poetry. During our discussion we talked about different poetic forms, such as haiku, sonnet, sestina, pantoum and free verse. Free verse was definitely the most popular form for most of the kids, but they all liked rhyming poems too. One of our group even brought a few poems of her own to read out loud!

For May we'll be taking a look at the Children's Room's Oversize collection - an often overlooked set of shelves full of picture books for older readers. These books are fully illustrated but have longer stories, often with more serious or in-depth topics. Take a look at the Oversize books in the Children's Room, then join us on Tuesday, May 12th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room!

Mar 31, 2015 by amandap

For March this year we went back in time with historical fiction set during World War II. 

Historical Fiction: WWII

After missing February's meeting due to the seemingly unending snow, our book club got back together in March to tackle a more serious topic. Children's historical fiction novels cover historical time periods throughout history and places all over the world, so it can be a daunting genre to jump into without a specific destination in mind. 

To narrow down our options, we picked books that take place during World War II, but that definitely doesn't limit us to just one place or one specific topic. We picked from books set in Europe, Asia and the United States both during and after the war. Most of the books we read were about kids in these places dealing with the effects of war on their homes and families. While the theme was a heavy one, the kids enjoyed the books, finding most of them interesting enough to want to keep the ones they hadn't finished yet. 

For April we'll be celebrating National Poetry Month by reading poetry books and novels in verse. Take a look in the 800 section of our nonfiction or ask for help finding a novel in verse, then join us on Tuesday, April 14th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room!

Mar 19, 2015 by amandap

Learn all about minerals or simple machines this Saturday at our Mad Science programs! 

  • Ages 3-5: Mineral Mania
    Program starts at 9:30 a.m.
    Tickets are available starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Children's desk
  • Ages 6-10: Mad Machines
    Program starts at 10:30 a.m.
    Tickets are available starting at 10:00 a.m. at the Children's desk 

Just come into the Children's Room on the 21st and pick up a ticket for the program you want. If you have children in both age ranges we suggest getting tickets for just the 10:30 program and bringing everyone to that one program.

Can't make it this weekend? Want to read up on the topic before coming in? Check out books on rocks and minerals and books on simple machines

Looking for more science for kids? Mark your calendars for Preschool Discovery at the Wollaston Branch on April 8th. We'll be exploring the science of you! Look at fingerprints, hear a heartbeat and more, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Feb 18, 2015 by amandap

Snowed in and looking for more to do with your kids this week? Check out our vacation week activities at the library!

LEGO Building @ The Wollaston Branch
Wednesday, 2/18 from 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Recommended for ages 5+
Drop by and build something new from our bin of LEGO bricks! Sorry, all pieces must be returned by the end of the program. 

Preschool Discovery: Space @ The Wollaston Branch
Thursday, 2/19 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. - Rescheduled from last Wednesday!
Ages 2+
Come in and learn about constellations, meteor craters and our solar system! 

Lunar New Year Craft @ The Main Library
Thursday, 2/19 from 2:00-4:00 p.m.
All Ages
Make your own sheep puppet to celebrate the Year of the Sheep! 

AbraKidabra Magic Show with Mike Bent @ The Main Library
Friday, 2/20 at 10:00 a.m.
All Ages
Join Magician Mike Bent for a magic show full of comedy and audience participation. 

Mad Science @ The Main Library
Saturday, 2/21
Ages 3-5 at 9:30 a.m.: The Human Body
Ages 6-10 at 10:30 a.m.: Mad Messages
Please pick up a ticket for this program at the Children's Desk half an hour before the program begins! If you have children in both age ranges, we recommend attending the 10:30 program with all of them.

We hope you're having a fun February vacation and we hope we'll see you at the library!

Feb 6, 2015 by amandap

Bring your preschooler to the Wollaston Branch to learn a little about outer space! No, we can't take off in a real space ship or visit the International Space Station. We can't touch a comet or travel to Jupiter. But we can still look up at the sky at night and we can still learn about outer space.

We'll be doing some space activities at this month's Preschool Discovery but there are things we can't do at the library that you can do at home! 

  • You can look at the night sky any clear night (though you may want to wait for some warmer weather - it's cold out there right now!) and find constellations. There are plenty of books and quite a few websites: Constellation Guide, The University of Texas McDonald Observatory, Sea and Sky (this one groups constellations by what season they can be seen in).
  • Up for taking a trip? The Boston Museum of Science has placed scale models of the planets of our solar system in and near Boston. To see Neptune and Pluto you'll have to go as far out as Saugus and the Riverside MBTA station respectively, but the closer planets are all in Boston. Check here for a guide and map.

Due to the ongoing snow, this program has been moved: Join us between 10 and 11 a.m. on Thursday, February 19th. Ages 2+ welcome, no registration needed! 

Feb 2, 2015 by amandap

Every year the American Library Association gives out a number of awards for excellent children's books.

Award winners for younger readers:


    Award winners for older readers:

The two best known awards are the Caldecott Medal and the Newbery Medal, but there are many others, such as the Robert F. Siebert Medal for children's nonfiction and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for beginning reader books. These awards and many more are announced at the American Library Association's annual Midwinter Meeting.

The lists to the right link to our catalog, so you can find award winning books from this year right here at Thomas Crane, or get them transferred from other libraries. A full list of all of this year's winners with is available here. To learn more about the many awards the American Library Association gives out, please take a look at their awards page here. You can also find lists of all past winners, in some cases going back many decades. If you'd like to see what past Newbery and Caldecott winners we own here, take a look at these lists here.

Jan 30, 2015 by amandap

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


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

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

Jan 16, 2015 by amandap

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

  • Ages 3-5: Color Lab
    Program starts at 9:30 a.m.
    Tickets are available starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Children's desk
  • Ages 6-10: Inventionathon
    Program starts at 10:30 a.m.
    Tickets are available starting at 10:00 a.m. at the Children's desk 

Just come into the Children's Room on the 17th and pick up a ticket for the program you want. If you have children in both age ranges we suggest getting tickets for just the 10:30 program and bringing everyone to that one program.

Can't make it this weekend? Want to get a head start on the topic? Awesome! We've got tons of color books and you can try some of the activities in our Preschool Discovery: Colors blog post. Want more information on inventions? Try taking a look at our books on inventions and inventors and check out these sites all about invention: 

Jan 8, 2015 by amandap

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

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

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

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

Dec 30, 2014 by theresat

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

Dec 16, 2014 by amandap

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

  • Ages 3-5: Bugs! 
    Program starts at 9:30 a.m.
    Tickets are available starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Children's desk
  • Ages 6-10: Harnessing Heat
    Program starts at 10:30 a.m.
    Tickets are available starting at 10:00 a.m. at the Children's desk 

Just come into the Children's Room on the 20th and pick up a ticket for the program you want. If you have children in both age ranges we suggest getting tickets for just the 10:30 program and bringing everyone to that one program.

Can't make it this weekend? Want to get a head start on the topic? Awesome! Check out the bug books and physics books in our nonfiction sections!

Dec 11, 2014 by amandap

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

Graphic Novels

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

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

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

Dec 4, 2014 by amandap

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

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

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

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

Nov 19, 2014 by amandap

This month we creeped ourselves out by reading books full of werewolves, zombies and things that go bump in the night.

With Halloween in between our October meeting and our meeting in November we all chose stories featuring monsters or supernatural creatures of some kind. Some of us went with werewolves, others chose vampires. Some picked ghost stories and others went for monsters like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. 

Most of the books we had were a little more serious, but the kids reported back that not all of them were scary! Some were about monsters like vampires just trying to live normal lives and some were downright silly. A couple of kids said they had to put down a book or two when they got just a little too spooky, but others stuck it out through the scary stuff and kept reading to the end. In general we found we all love some monsters in our books, whether they're scary or not. Two kids who took two different books from the same series swapped them while we were still talking

Since next month gets so busy for everyone and there's a shorter time than usual between this month's meeting and December's, we're going with graphic novels next! Browse our graphic novel sections in the Children's Room or at any of the branches or pick a comic book you have at home already. It can be a serialized comic, an original graphic novel, manga, or even a graphic novel adaptation of a chapter book. Pick one or more and join us on Tuesday, December 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the Children's Room!

Nov 13, 2014 by amandap

Have you been missing our monthly Mad Science programs? They're back this weekend with two programs, one for 3-5 year olds and one for 6-10 year olds. This year we're handling registration differently, so read on for details!

  • Adventures in Air, for 3-5 year olds will begin at 9:30 on 11/15
  • Electricity, for 6-10 year olds will begin at 10:30 on 11/15

To attend either of these programs just come on into the Children's Room half an hour before the program starts and ask at the desk for a ticket. No more worrying about registering ahead of time and maybe missing out. We'll start handing out tickets for the 3-5 year old program at 9:00 a.m. and we'll start handing out tickets for the 6-10 year old program at 10:00 a.m. Do you have kids in both age ranges? In that case we suggest getting tickets for just the older group and bringing everyone to that one.

We're excited for our Mad Science programs to start up again and we hope you are too! If you can't make it this weekend to the November programs, check back for Bugs and Harnessing Heat on December 20th!

Nov 13, 2014 by amandap

Did you miss us this week for Preschool Discovery at Wollaston? Never fear! Check out some of these fun building and construction activities at home!

Preschool Discovery is a brand new program for parents and children in preschool (bring your 2 year olds and early elementary too if you want - we're not checking ages at the door) to explore science and math topics at the library. Each month we'll have a new topic and three new activities to try at the Wollaston Branch between 6 and 7 p.m. Feel free to come at any time during the hour our materials will be out and try one or more of the activities we've prepared.

This month our topic was building and construction. We built block towers with wooden blocks and measured them with tape measures. We looked at the block shapes and sizes and tried to predict how tall we could build. We also explored ramps with boards and wooden trains and making bridges with different types of paper and weights. These are all things you can do at home or try some of these other ideas:

  • Make your own blocks with boxes taped closed.
  • Add velcro to the sides of your blocks to build some outrageous towers.
  • Try making more delicate structures by sticking toothpicks into gumdrops.
  • If you're feeling ambitious, try using a newspaper and a blanket to make a fort!

Give some of these building ideas a try at home and join us at the Wollaston Branch Library on December 10th between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. for magnet activities! I hope we'll see you there!

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