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Books & Beyond

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Apr 29, 2013 by amandap

In April our Mad Science Workshop for ages 4-8 investigated creepy crawly (and useful and interesting!) bugs. Sure, no one likes a mosquito bite, but bugs can be fascinating and also helpful! Take a look for bugs outside then see what you can learn about them in a book or online.

For some great bug stories and bug information, try looking in our catalog.

For more bugs online, try these sites:

Take a look at this Insect Field Guide to identify any bugs you find.

Check out National Geographic's bug pages.

Did you know you can eat bugs? Read about the bugs people eat here, then, if you're feeling adventurous, check out some insect recipes.

Think you know a lot about bugs? Take this insect quiz to see how much you've learned.

Have fun this month learning about bugs. Next month's Mad Science topic is rockets. We hope we'll see you there!


Mar 28, 2013 by julier

Our fourth Saturday program for 8 and up this month was an Egg Decorating Eggstravaganza.  Eggs are a classic symbol of spring, but if you eat them regularly, you can have free crafting all year long.

All of the eggs we used were blown eggs; removing the insides from the intact eggshell means you can have your eggs and eat them too.  You take a pin (I prefer a corsage pin) and make a very small hole in the top, a larger hole in the bottom, then use the pin to prick the egg inside.  Hold the egg over a bowl, and blow into the small hole.  The insides can then be used for your scrambled eggs, omelets, or mixed into the brownies.  Rinse out the eggshell and let it dry.  The blown eggs will not rot, and can be saved forever. These instructions include a video.

Eggs can be colored, painted, glued, decorated in any way. Glitter and stickers seemed especially popular, but we had some amazing designs by the children using many techniques.  A sharpie marker is a great and waterproof way to make the most elaborate artwork.  Scrapbooking supplies, or just anything around the house to glue onto the shells can embellish the eggs and provide a very fun crafting time.

Mar 20, 2013 by julier

In March our Mad Science Workshop for ages 4-8 investigated polymers, better known to our young scientists as "ooze, goop and slime."  This workshop always makes me think of Dr. Seuss's Bartholomew and the Oobleck a terrific oozy story to read before you begin your experiments.

A simple and fun polymer science experiment to play with is oobleck. Mix 2 parts cornstarch with 1 part water in a large bowl or dishpan and watch what happens.  Now poke it, pick it up, roll it into a ball and generally just get your hands deep into it and see what happens.  This can get messy as the scientists attempt to pick up the oobleck and play with it. Cleans up with soap and water but to minimize the drips place your bowl of oobleck in the sink or bathtub to play. 

For more experiments to try at home check out these books:

Cool Chemistry Concoctions: 50 formulas that fizz, foam, splatter & ooze  lots of fun but can be messy

Plastics and Polymers: science fair projects using hair gel, soda bottles and slimy stuff  experiments and projects best suited to older children

Mudpies activity book and More mudpies  and Mudpies to Magnets  are especially good to use with preschoolers

There are many great polymer experiments available online here are a few to get you started

Make your own slime  the title says it all

Make your own bouncy ball with Bouncy Polymer Chemistry

You can even make your own glue using milk using a recipe from this site

Have fun this month experimenting with polymers. Next month's Mad Science topic is bugs we'll see you then for more science fun.

Mar 15, 2013 by amandap
Ocean 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.

Unfortunately for the Phoenix Book Club, a snow storm rolled in just in time for what would have been our February meeting. We postponed our ocean-themed discussion to March but of course everyone had been planning to talk about their books in February, so our memories were a little fuzzy. Thank goodness the snow has since melted and our March meeting went off without a single snowflake in sight.

We read a wide variety of books that take place in, on or near the ocean. Living in Quincy, the ocean is right there down the road, so it seemed like a good idea to read about it. Some of the books we read were Girl at Sea, Tink, Adrift, The Ocean Within and No Moon. Take a look at our book list to see everything we read and some comments from our book club members.

For April we'll be reading books about sports, athletics and physical activity. This can mean team sports like hockey or lacrosse, solo sports like running or gymnastics, other physical activities like dance and even dog agility training. And yes, Quidditch qualifies, even if we can't really play it with flying broomsticks. If you know a 5th - 8th grader who might be interested, grab a sports or sort-of-sports book and join us on April 9th at 7:00 p.m.

Mar 6, 2013 by gailc

Storytime for 3's featured Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin. Pete keeps movin' and groovin' and singing his song . . . because it's all good when you can sing and learn colors and subtraction at the same time. Visit Pete's website and you will find more activities to extend your child's storytime.    

We read Jim Aylesworth's version of The Mitten. Jan Brett also has her version and as always Jan's illustrations are beautiful and very detailed = a good lap book!  Visit her website to see activities to go along with all her books.

Finally if you feel the need to sing along with Skidamarink one more time check out this site for free downloads of children's songs.

In the Just for 2's storytime we read Paul Galdone's  Three Little Kittens. I love Paul Galdone's books- large pictures and easily told folk tales. Check out his other books at the library.

Mar 1, 2013 by julier

Welcome to “Books and Beyond” the new blog for the Children’s Room at the Thomas Crane Public Library.  Blog posts will expand on and highlight library programs and services.  Check in regularly to see what our book groups are reading, find links to books and experiments that complement each month’s Mad Science program, try out reading and math to activities for your preschooler and lots more.  What have we been up to lately? Check the posts below.

Mar 1, 2013 by amandap
Award winners for younger readers:

  

Award winners for older readers:

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

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.

Mar 1, 2013 by amandap
Magic Trick Books

For our last weekend program in February, magician Debbie O'Carroll presented a magic trick workshop for children aged 8 and up. Kids who attended learned how to do some card tricks, some illusions and even some sleight-of-hand. If you missed this program, don't worry! We've got plenty of books to help you learn some tricks on your own. Take a look at this list of magic trick books or go browse under the number 793.8 in our collection.

For upcoming program for older children on the fourth Saturdays of each month, please check our monthly calendar.

Feb 15, 2013 by amandap

The Library’s 4th Saturday program for kids 8 and up in January was chocolate themed!  This cold day hosted a program that was wonderfully messy, loud, and a whole lot of fun. The kids ate three flavors of chocolate fondue (they voted the dark chocolate their favorite), played games with Oreos and Hershey’s kisses, and made handmade truffles to take home to a special person (or their own stomach).

If you missed it, but would like to make your own truffles, Ghiradelli chocolate has a very easy recipe on their website: Milk Chocolate Truffles.

A more local and very interesting chocolate company is Taza, located in Somerville. For information about their stone-ground, Mexican style organic dark chocolate and factory tours, visit www.tazachocolate.com.

The kids also tried to guess candy bars from a picture of a cross section.  Dozens of these are found at www.scandybars.tumblr.com if you would like to test your chocolate IQ.  One hint: the earliest entries are the most familiar. Other fun trivia questions are at www.chocolatesource.com/trivia where I learned the first chocolate introduced to the United States was in none other than Dorchester, Massachusetts, circa 1765.

Next month’s Saturday program for the older children will be an exciting workshop with magician Debbie O’Carroll on February 23rd. Learn how to make and perform some astounding magic tricks with illusions, sleight-of-hand effects, and card tricks. Registration is required starting Monday, February 4th.


Feb 13, 2013 by amandap
Animal 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 January we read books that featured animal characters who could talk or people who could talk to animals. Some of the books we read were James Howe's Bunnicula, Livi Michael's City of Dogs and Kate DiCamillo's The Tale of Despereaux.

Check out our book list to see what some of the kids had to say about what they read: Talking Animals

What with the blizzard, we didn't meet in February but on March 12th we'll be meeting to talk about books set in, on or near the ocean. If you know a 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th grader who might be interested, come on in and grab a book from the Children's Room and join us on March 12th at 7:00 p.m.!


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