Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Vacation ideas

Family Trees at the Concord Museum:
The Concord Museum has limited the number of visitors so that all can continue to enjoy this annual tradition! This is the 25th year that trees have been decorated at the museum -- each tree represents a particular children's book. Witness the creativity of local volunteers who enthusiastically participate each year. The exhibit runs through Sunday, January 3. 

Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children 5 to 17 years. Free for children under 5.

Steve Sheinkin's Author - Fan Faceoff series! Fun videos with some of your favorite authors! Links to all the YouTube videos appear on Steve Sheinkin's Blog. 

A superfan of various authors meets the author on zoom and challenges the author to answer trivia questions about his or her book! Very funny! See if you can answer these tough questions, too! 

See you all in the new year! Have a wonderful break! 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Snow stories & recs for vacation

Have you seen the district-wide library webpage with snowy day read alouds? Some are read by our school librarians and some are read by other special readers. Enjoy! 

Need more snow stories? Here's a great list from the Boston Atheneum.

The Sisters of Straygarden Place by Hayley Chetwins

Seven years ago, the Ballastian sisters’ parents left them in the magical Straygarden Place, a house surrounded by tall silver grass and floating trees. They left behind a warning saying never to leave the house or go into the grass. “Wait for us,” the note read. “Sleep darkly.” Ever since then, the house itself has taken care of Winnow, Mayhap, and Pavonine—feeding them, clothing them, even keeping them company—while the girls have waited and grown up. Mysterious and eerie, this book will keep you turning pages to find out what happens next! 

The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann

Ernestine is beyond excited to go camping. She follows the packing list carefully (new sleeping bag! new flashlight! special trail mix made with Dad!) so she knows she is ready when the weekend arrives. But she quickly realizes that nothing could have prepared her for how hard it is to set up a tent, never mind fall asleep in it, or that swimming in a lake means that there will be fish — eep! Will Ernestine be able to enjoy the wilderness, or will it prove to be a bit too far out of her comfort zone?

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Book bundles for tweens and teens!

Brookline Library news! 

The public library is now offering book bundles of 5 books for teens and tweens! Here is their announcement of this special pre-vacation program:

Stop by and pick up some vacation reading today! 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Book suggestions in time for winter break!

 Book suggestions

The Willoughbys Return
by Lois Lowry

Although they grew up as wretched orphans, the Willoughby siblings also became heirs to the the Melanoff candy company fortune. Everything has turned out just splendidly, except for one problem: Richie Willoughby, son of Timothy Willoughby, is an only child and is quite lonely.

Winifred and Winston Poore have long admired the toys of their neighbor Richie Willoughby and finally befriend the mysterious boy next door. But just as Richie finally begins to make friends, selling sweets is made illegal, and the family's fortune is put in jeopardy. To make matters worse, Richie's horrible Willoughby grandparents—frozen atop a Swiss mountain thirty years ago—have thawed, remain in perfect health, and are making their way home again. This sequel to The Willoughbys which was published in 2008 will remind readers of the Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events books. It is full of dark humor and perilous moments for the characters. 

Packs: Strength in Numbers by Hannah Salyer

Groups, packs, herds of millions, and more—our world teems with animals on land, air, and sea.

Packs is an inspiring celebration of how togetherness helps many creatures thrive, in both nonhuman and human communities. What are the advantages of working together and being part of a pack? Beautiful illustrations and thought-provoking text. 

If You Come to Earth
by Sophie Blackall 

What would aliens find if they came to Earth? The main character in this book addresses an alien directly and explains what the Earth is like, who lives here, what they need to survive, and more! Gorgeous illustrations with lots of detail just made for poring over again and again. This is one of our Caldecott Contenders this year! Go to the district's library website to find out more! 

Here are some other places to find the best books of the year: 

School Library Journal's Best Books of 2020

New York Times' Best Children's Books of 2020

Publishers' Weekly Best Books of 2020

Don't forget about our local bookstores as you do your holiday/ winter break 

book shopping! 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Booksale highlights & book suggestions

Booksale at the Main Library

Brookline Library (Village branch) has a TON of great kids' books in their outdoor booksale area. They seem to have had lots of new or almost new books donated -- many from popular series like Wimpy Kid and Henry and Mudge and Ivy and Bean (and many more). Check it out if you're in the area (next to Pierce School and Town Hall).  

Outdoor activites

LL Bean's partnership with the National Wildlife Federation-- opportunities for kids' outdoor activities. Click here to learn more. 

Book suggestions

Saucy by Cynthia Kadohata
Being a quadruplet can make it hard to stand out from the crowd. Becca's three brothers all have something that makes them...them. Bailey has his music and dancing, Jammer plays hockey, and K.C. thinks they're all living in a simulation and doesn't see the point of doing much of anything. Becca is the only one with nothing to make her special.

But when she finds a tiny, sick piglet on the side of the road, Becca knows this is it. This is her thing. She names the piglet Saucy and between her own pleading and Saucy's sweet, pink face, Becca convinces her family to take her in. Soon, Saucy is as big a part of the family as anyone else--and getting bigger. With each pound Saucy gains, the more capable she becomes of destroying the house and landing Becca in trouble. Becca's cause becomes bigger when she finds out there are more piglets out there who need her help! Great family story & could be a good read-aloud. 

Fly on the Wall by Remy Lai

Henry Khoo's family treats him like a baby. He’s not allowed to go anywhere without his sister/chaperone/bodyguard. And he definitely CAN’T take a journey halfway around the world all by himself!

But that’s exactly his plan. After his family’s annual trip to visit his father in Singapore is cancelled, Henry decides he doesn’t want to be cooped up at home with his overprotective family and BFF turned NRFF (Not Really Friend Forever). Plus, he’s hiding a your-life-is-over-if-you’re-caught secret: he’s the creator of an anonymous gossip cartoon, and he's on the verge of getting caught. Determined to prove his independence and avoid punishment for his crimes, Henry embarks on the greatest adventure everrr. . . hoping it won’t turn into the greatest disaster ever. By the author of Pie in the Sky. This illustrated novel has a little bit of everything: adventure, overcoming your fears, family, and lots of humon! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Easy reader surprise + book suggestions

Brookline Public Library branches are now offering an Easy Reader surprise bundle that you can check out from the libraries without putting the books on hold! Just go to any of the branches and tell them you'd like to borrow an "easy reader surprise". You'll get 10 randomly selected Easy Reader books! Click here to learn more. 

Book suggestions:

Brave Like That by Lindsey Stoddard

Cyrus Olson’s dad is a hero—Northfield’s former football star and now one of their finest firefighters. Everyone expects Cyrus to follow in his dad’s record-breaking footsteps, and he wishes they were right—except he’s never been brave like that. But this year, with the help of a stray dog, a few new friends, a little bit of rhythm, and a lot of nerve, he may just discover that actually…he is. Excellent realistic fiction. Themes of what it means to be brave, being yourself, and promoting true friendships are all a part of this middle grade story. 

There Might Be Lobsters
by Carolyn Crimi

Lots of things at the beach scare Sukie. Lots. Because she is just a small dog, and the stairs are big and sandy, and the waves are big and whooshy, and the balls are big and beachy. And besides, there might be lobsters. A beautiful picture book about worry and overcoming your fears. 

Collection of winter holiday titles: Follow the link to a collection of our winter holiday books. Students can request any of the titles by putting them on hold in the library catalog or by writing the title on their request form if they are in grades 1 and 2. 

Monday, November 30, 2020

Cranberry contest winners!

Cranberry Contest winners

Thanks to all who participated in the annual Cranberry Counting Contest! Here are those whose estimates were closest to the actual number without going over. There were 261 cranberries in this year's jar. 

K - 2: Sayaka  (2K) with a guess of 240
3 - 5: Marina (5B) with a guess of 259
6-8: Reid (8MH) with a guess of 256
Staff: Ms. Vitti , art teacher, with a guess of 253

Winners should stop by the library this week to pick up their prize: a gift card to Brookline Booksmith or The Children's Bookshop. 

Thanks to the PTO for sponsoring this year's prizes. Please support our local bookstores as you begin your holiday shopping! 

Coloring pages

Coloring pages on a library theme!  Get inspired to do some writing and coloring:

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The annual cranberry counting contest!


Annual Cranberry Counting: 
Every year for the past 50+ years Lawrence teachers and students estimate how many cranberries are in a jar. This year we have a touchless way to see the jar, make your estimate, and enter to win a bookstore gift card if your estimate is the closest in your category. 

There are 4 categories:

K - 2 students
3-5 students
6 -8 students

First: Watch this video 

Then: Make your estimate

Last: Open this google form and enter your name, class and estimate! 

Winners will be announced the week after Thanksgiving! Good luck estimating! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Public library events and book suggestions

Author event!

Nathan Hale, author of Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales, is doing a virtual event at An Unlikely Story, an independent bookstore in Plainville, MA! Tuesday, November 24 at 7 pm. You don't need to buy a book to attend, but his new book is due out the same day. Here's the link to sign up.  

Book Suggestions

Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake

Badger has a nice quiet life doing his Important Rock Work-- identifying and labeling his rock collection. One day there's a knock at the door and Skunk arrives announcing he's Badger's new roommate! Badger doesn't want a roommate and makes it difficult for Skunk at first. But he is gradually won over by Skunk's positive personality, delicious breakfasts and (believe it or not) a large flock of chickens that are drawn to Skunk. This would be a great family or class read aloud. Only 136 pages with great illustrations by Jon Klassen. (First in a new series) 

Pixie Pushes On
by Tamara Bundy
This is an historical fiction book about a girl named Prudence whose nickname is "Pixie". When the story begins Pixie is mourning the death of her mother and is missing her sister who has polio and has been sent to a special hospital a good distance away from her grandparents' farm. She has to find a way to keep going despite her sadness. One way that she begins to heal is by caring for a baby lamb that she names Buster. A school story and a family story with plenty of humor, Pixie's life story will keep you turning the pages. 

Brookline Library-- new page for teachers

Here's one page that answers all your library questions, teachers! How to get a library card, or cards for your class, setting up a virtual class visit from a public librarian, and current programs like the 100 Books Before High School program are all explained here

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Book Reviews

Did you vote (for your favorite book) yet? 

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is continuing to collect votes through November 9 (next Monday). So check out the list of books and cast your ballot! Winners will be announced on November 12! 

Book suggestions

Spy School Revolution by Stuart Gibbs

The latest in the Spy School series was released in October. In it, Ben our main character, is at the CIA with his parents to finally reveal to them that he is a spy. As the revelation is made an explosion interrupts their meeting and it appears that Ben's friend Erica is responsible! This leads Ben on a mission to find Erica and solve secret messages going back to the time of George Washington. Set in Washington, DC the locations include the Library of Congress, George Washington's home, Mount Vernon and more that you will recognize. Action packed and full of cliff hangers, this book is hard to put down! 

Three Keys
by Kelly Yang 
This is the sequel to Front Desk. Listen to the author speak about the book! 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

News podcasts and book suggestions

News Podcasts

Here are some links to news podcasts for kids. 

Books that encourage art exploration

When I Draw a Panda by Amy June Bates

When a girl draws a panda, it comes to life and helps her embrace her own creativity and unique way of seeing the world. She might not draw it the way others do, and they might encourage her to make changes, but the panda she draws (along with other creatures) is the one that makes her happy.

Beautiful Oops
by Barney Saltzberg

The author gives suggestions for what to do when we create a scribble or paint a blob. How do we fix our art when it doesn't look exactly the way we want it to look? Saltzberg would say that none of these things is a mistake and all can be made into beautiful art! 

The Dot
by Peter Reynolds

Art class is over, but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper. The words of her teacher are a gentle invitation to express herself. But Vashti can’t draw - she’s no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. "There!" she says. That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti’s journey of surprise and self-discovery. What can you make from a simple dot? 

Brookline Public libraries are providing a new service! Families can pick up a bundle of 10 picture books at a time-- no need to reserve in advance, just go to your library and ask the staff person for a "picture book surprise" bundle! Here's a description of how it works.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Author interview & voting for favorite books

Massachusetts' Children's Book Award: 

Here's a challenge for students in grades 4 - 6: the MA Children's Book Award list is out. On it are 30 titles. You are encouraged to read at least five of the thirty titles so that you'll be ready to vote for the best one this spring. The official website is here

 And added these resources for the contest: MA Children's Book Award:

Author interview: 

Here's an interview with Dusti Bowling about her newest middle grade book, The Canyon's Edge. Bowling is the author of Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus. I haven't read The Canyon's Edge yet, but it's on my list-- it's been getting great reviews. 

Kids Vote For Books!

Kids of any age can vote for their favorite books here: Voting starts today in this contest run by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Books about voting

 Book suggestions

The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom
by Colleen AF Venable 

This funny description of each instrument in the band might just help you to find your perfect instrument! The band director leads the reader through each instrument and how each one works. Felicity frequently interrupts by banging on her drum, but by the end even she has chosen just the right instrument! The last pages contain short biographies of some real band members who inspired the characters in the book. 

Cubs in the Tub by Candace Fleming

This nonfiction book tells the story of Helen Martini, the Bronx Zoo's first female zookeeper. In the 1940s the rules about keeping wild animals weren't as strict as they are now and we knew less about how to properly care for animals like tigers in captivity. Mrs. Martini's husband worked for the Bronx Zoo and when some tiger cubs were being ignored by their mother at the zoo, he brought them home for his wife Helen to care for them! She treated them just like human babies and they thrived to the point that she could return them to the zoo. This became a tradition of bringing home animals for Helen to care for until she established a nursery at the zoo. The story of a groundbreaking woman who stopped at nothing to care for animals who needed her help. 

Anya and the Dragon by Sofiya Pasternack

Anya and the Dragon is the story of fantasy and mayhem in tenth century Eastern Europe, where headstrong eleven-year-old Anya is a daughter of the only Jewish family in her village. When her family’s livelihood is threatened by a bigoted magistrate, Anya is lured in by a friendly family of fools, who promise her money in exchange for helping them capture the last dragon in Kievan Rus. This seems easy enough, until she finds out that the scary old dragon isn’t as old—or as scary—as everyone thought. Now Anya is faced with a choice: save the dragon, or save her family.

Collection of books about elections and voting: 

Here are some titles from the Lawrence School library that are about voting and elections. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Halloween books

 Book suggestions

Chirp by Kate Messner

When Mia moves to Vermont the summer after seventh grade, she's recovering from the broken arm she got falling off a balance beam. And packed away in the moving boxes under her clothes and gymnastics trophies is a secret she'd rather forget.

Mia's change in scenery brings day camp, new friends, and time with her beloved grandmother. But Gram is convinced someone is trying to destroy her cricket farm. Is it sabotage or is Gram's thinking impaired from the stroke she suffered months ago? Mia and her friends set out to investigate, but can they uncover the truth in time to save Gram's farm? And will that discovery empower Mia to confront the secret she's been hiding--and find the courage she never knew she had?

The Problem with Problems by Rachel Rooney

Have you ever met a problem? They come in all shapes and sizes, and can pop up at the most inconvenient times. But you should know some things about problems that will help you make them disappear...

The author and illustrator personify the problems as brightly colored creatures and help teach strategies that will make problems disappear. A creative and entertaining story to help with all types of anxieties and worries. 

She Was the First: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm
by Katheryn Russell-Brown

Even as a young child growing up in the 1920s, Shirley Chisholm was a leader. At the age of three, older children were already following her lead in their Brooklyn neighborhood.

As a student at Brooklyn College, Shirley could outtalk anyone who opposed her on the debate team. After graduating, she used her voice and leadership to fight for educational change. In community groups, she stood up for the rights of women and minorities. Her small stature and fiery determination often took people by surprise. But they listened.

In 1964, Shirley took her voice and leadership to politics, becoming the first Black woman elected to the New York State Assembly, and in 1968, the first Black woman elected to Congress. Then in 1972, she became the first Black woman to seek the presidency of the United States. She pushed for laws that helped women, children, students, poor people, farm workers, Native people, and others who were often ignored. She fought for healthcare. She spoke up for military veterans. She spoke out against war

A collection of Halloween books at Lawrence School library: 

This collection contains some fall and Halloween-themed books that we have at the library. Students in grades 3- 5 can request these for curbside delivery and soon, when grades 1 & 2 reenter the building they will be able to request books from the Lawrence Library. Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Book Suggestions

The Vanderbeekers: Lost and Found by Karina Yan Glaser

This is the fourth book in the Vanderbeekers series and it doesn't disappoint. The Vanderbeeker kids uncover the mystery of who has been living in the garden shed and why! This leads them to try to help out a friend (as they always do!). At the same time their upstairs neighbor Mr. Jeet has some health issues that impact the whole family. Always fun, funny and full of heart, the Vanderbeekers again rise to the various crises that life throws at them. Can't wait for the next book, due out next fall (2021)! 

We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly

Cash, Fitch, and Bird Thomas are three siblings in seventh grade together in Park, Delaware. In 1986, as the country waits expectantly for the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger, they each struggle with their own personal anxieties.

Cash, who loves basketball but has a newly broken wrist, is in danger of failing seventh grade for the second time. Fitch spends every afternoon playing Major Havoc at the arcade on Main and wrestles with an explosive temper that he doesn’t understand. And Bird, his twelve-year-old twin, dreams of being NASA’s first female shuttle commander, but feels like she’s disappearing. In the weeks leading up to the launch of the Challenger, readers follow the three siblings as they face their own day-to-day struggles. Realistic, historical fiction by a Newbery Award winning author! 

The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America's Presidents by Kate Messner

This fascinating nonfiction book traces the history of the presidency in an interesting way: what were the next presidents doing when George Washington was elected? What was Donald Trump doing when John F. Kennedy was elected? And what are our future presidents up to right now as we get ready to elect our next president? Interesting facts about each president and what they did before they became president are presented to the reader with beautiful illustrations. 

My First Book Club

Candlewick Press has developed their website to include lots of materials for learning at home. One section is called My First Book Club.  They suggest lots of intermediate chapter book titles like Mercy Watson, The Infamous Ratsos and Princess in Black. Each title comes with resources like puzzles related to the book, a suggested activity, coloring page, and discussion questions. 

Curbside Pickup is up and running for grades 3 - 5! 

Students can request print books from our library by placing a hold on them in the library catalog, and then stop by Lawrence to pick them up on Tuesday afternoons from 2:30 - 3:30 pm at the door by the school garden. I hope to expand this service to additional grades, but am starting slow to make sure I can do it well and safely! Stay tuned!