Thursday, June 7, 2018

Summer Reading is here!

Each year the Brookline school librarians put together some suggestions of books for students to read in the summer. This year's list can be found here:

By Monday, June 11 I will have book-talked the new titles with each of the K-5 classes. Talk to your child about what they might enjoy reading this summer. I usually talk summer titles with the middle schoolers (grades 6 - 8) after my K-5 classes end-- so soon the upper grade students will also have been introduced to the titles on their lists.

I recommend thinking broadly about summer reading-- in addition to traditional books, students might listen to an audio book, read an e-book (the public library has lots of both formats that you can borrow for free), or read children's magazines like Cricket (a literary magazine) or Chop Chop (a cooking magazine). We also subscribe to Beanz which is all about coding for kids. This kind of reading may spur more enriching, engaging activities in your family's summer time together!

Please reach out to me at if you have questions about summer reading.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Anna Alter visits Lawrence K - 1 students!

We had a special author/ illustrator visit today with Anna Alter! The kindergarten and first grade students got to meet an author to learn how books are made and how much work goes in to creating the words and the art for a picture book.

Ms. Alter has written many picture books and now a series of short chapter books (Sprout Street Neighbors) and this is the second time she's visited Lawrence School. We read one of her picture books, Disappearing Desmond, in the library and students have also been borrowing her other books to bring home.

She told us all the parts of making a book and even showed us her brainstorming notebook and her early sketches. She was kind enough to demonstrate how she draws some of her characters--you can see two of the drawings on display outside the library!

Ms. Alter encouraged all students to start drawing and writing their story ideas--she's been a writer since she was their age!

Thanks to the PTO for funding this fun event!

Friday, April 6, 2018

MCBA school winner!

All the votes have been counted and the 5th and 6th graders chose The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley as our MA Children's Book Award Winner for Lawrence School. The winner for the state will be announced on Monday, April 9.

The book is a work of historical fiction about a young girl, Ada, who is living in London during World War II. She is living with a club foot that has never been corrected and is tormented by her mother who doesn't think Ada will amount to anything. Ada gets her chance to go with her brother, Jamie, to the safety of the English countryside, escaping her tyrannical mother and experiencing living outside the city for the first time. She and Jamie are placed with a reluctant guardian, Susan, who warms up to the children as they learn to trust her.

Our students have good taste in books: this book also was selected as a Newbery Honor book in 2016! The sequel, The War I Finally Won, was recently released for those who want to know what happened next! Both books are available in our school library.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Online resources

Students in grades K - 2 may find information they're looking for on It is an online nonfiction resource for primary grade students. Our students have used it for animal projects,  insects, biographies, and US symbols among other things. You can reach it through our library homepage.

Older students have been using PebbleGo Next (also available through our library homepage). Fourth graders use it for research on regions of the US and Native American tribes.

I've demonstrated the following databases for some fifth graders recently-- Biography in Context, World Book Student, and Encyclopedia Britannica. These subscriptions are all provided by the district because we can be confident that the information is reliable and is updated frequently. Check out our library homepage to see what's available. 

All of the above online resources can be used at home or at school. They are convenient and reliable resources to answer your students' questions!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Family reading ideas

I just found a blog that's part of The Horn Book, one of my go-to journals for the best in children's literature. The blog is called "family reading" and the link to it is here:

Blog entries on Family Reading seem to vary, but what they all have in common are suggestions for what you might read with your children around a variety of themes. A recent post was called "Stories that Build on a Common Humanity" and another was called "Picture Books about Jewish Women". Very interesting reading for all of us who are interested in promoting a love of reading in children!

I would also recommend the following for family reading (just some recent titles that come to mind):

Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon-- Humorous fiction for all about Dory, a young girl with a great imagination!

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker-- Another funny girl who lives in Boston with her parents. Clementine is always in trouble because people say she doesn't pay attention to ANYTHING--but in her mind she actually pays attention to EVERYTHING! So much so that she misses the directions and frequently lands in the principal's office.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser -- I've mentioned this one before but I can't say enough about it! It a slightly more modern family story set in present-day Brooklyn. The family has been told they need to move from the apartment that they all know and love so well. The children set out to convince the grumpy landlord that he should keep them as tenants.

The Explorer by Katherine Rundell -- This book reminded me of Hatchet (by Gary Paulsen). Four children are in an airplane that goes down in the Amazon jungle. They need to figure out how to survive with piranhas and snakes surrounding them at every turn. An exciting adventure! The main characters are a variety of ages so I can imagine a family read-aloud of this title that everyone could enjoy.

Checked by Cynthia Kadohata -- A hockey story -- very well written. Puts you in the shoes of a young hockey player moving through the various levels of juvenile hockey. But it's also a story of a father and son and their Doberman who was diagnosed with cancer. Effective on multiple levels and not just for hockey fans!

The Truth As Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor -- Realistic fiction about Mason who is bullied by his classmates and saddened by the loss of his one good friend. Lucky for Mason a new boy in school befriends him and they build themselves a fort in Mason's backyard. There's a nice dog story here, too. Probably best for grades 4 - 6.

Happy family reading!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Jarrett Krosoczka author visit

Our 2nd - 5th graders were treated to a special visit with author/ illustrator, Jarrett Krosoczka on January 30. Students learned his process for creating his popular series "Lunch Lady" and about how persistent he had to be to get his early picture books published. He showed us the first book he wrote and illustrated in 3rd grade and answered students' questions with enthusiasm.

We are so grateful to the BEF and, specifically, The Saker Fund, for funding and organizing this visit.

If you'd like MORE of Jarrett Krosoczka, he'll be at the Main Library in Brookline Village on Thursday, February 15th! He will be presenting a workshop to 75 students -- for more information, see the library's website:   Registration is required for this event and based on students' reaction to his visit, I'd say you should register early!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

K - 3 recent library lessons

Just an update on what we're doing in the library!

Kindergarten classes: we finished reading all of the McDuff books by Rosemary Wells and read a winter story of generosity called Rabbit's Gift. We've just started reading the very funny Bear and Mouse stories by Bonnie Becker--the first one is called A Visitor for Bear.

First Graders: We listened to the story Big Snow by Jonathan Bean and noticed the patterns in the words and in the illustrations. Several of the first grade classes are now borrowing two library books--a very exciting development!

Second Graders: We've read three pourquoi tales: How the Guinea Fowl Got Her Spots, How Chipmunk Got His Stripes and Coyote Places the Stars.  I try to coordinate reading these tales with the classroom teachers' study of folktales.

Third Graders: All third graders were taught to use the library online catalog in December. They have had a chance to practice their new skills and are off and running looking for the books they'd like. Now we're learning about the Caldecott Medal and Honor books which will be awarded mid February this year. We read "After the Fall" by Dan Santat which is thought to be a contender for this year's award. Next we will look at a whole range of other contenders and rank our favorites!