Thursday, December 17, 2009

When a wave leaves, where does it go?

The play area looks a little different today. The wave has moved on for new adventures, and the children's librarians are excited about the puppet theater that is being built for the room as we speak.  A painter is putting the final touches on the library walls, and the play area should be open in another day or two.  Be sure to stop in to see the progress!

Today's book review honors the wave's depature:

Lee, Suzy (2008).  Wave (All Ages).

A girl meets the ocean in this remarkable wordless picture book.  She eyes the approaching water, then scares it away with a fearsome roar.  She stomps in puddles, digs in the sand, and watches the water with a flock of seagulls.  Each wave has a personality, bringing new thoughts and sometimes a surprise.  Whether we've been to the beach or not, we as readers take delight in the water, the horizon, and the girl's marvelous imagination.


When a wave leaves, where does it go? 

Write a poem, tell a story, or draw a picture, then share it here on the children's room's blog!  You can leave a comment or click the link under "Reviews by Kids" to the right to send your work to a children's librarian.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Readers' Report: songbooks for young children

Today's book recommendations came from a small group of professors and staff members at Wellesley College who wanted share their favorite songbooks for young children.  Needham owns some of the books, and other Minuteman libraries own the rest.  You can request a copy from another library to have it sent to Needham.

Seeger, Ruth Crawford (1980). American Folk Songs for Children (Ages 4-8)
Mike and Peggy Seeger have recorded many of the songs in both of Ruth Crawford Seeger's books on a number of CDs.

Seeger, Ruth Crawford (1950). Animal Folk Songs for Children (Ages 4-8)

Raffi (1997). Baby Beluga (Ages 3-8)

Almost everyone knows some Raffi songs, but "Baby Beluga" has its very own picture book to go along with the music.

Blood, Peter (1988). Rise Up Singing (All Ages)

The reader reports that this book has "cradle songs, ballads, funny songs, songs of love, songs from many nations ... train songs, cowboy songs, travel, etc." for children, adults, and everyone in between.

Fox, Dan (1987). Go in and out the Window (All Ages)

Art and music, all in one book!  Each song is paired with artwork from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Hall, Nancy Abraham and Jill Syverson-Stork (1994). Los Pollitos Dicen: The Baby Chicks Sing (Ages 4-8)

This playful book is in both Spanish and English and looks at playtime and traditions in Spanish-speaking countries.

Wells, Rosemary (2002). Getting to Know You! (Ages 2-8)

Rogers and Hammerstein come to life with Rosemary Well's characters.  Broadway classics meet picture-book favorites!


Do you want some more songbooks?  Look in the non-fiction section, starting with 780.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Not Your Average Fairy

Anderson, R.J. (2009) Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter (Grades 5-7)

In a mighty oak tree, a dying colony of faeries struggles with a mysterious disease that slowly drains the life out of each faery.  These, however, are not typical faeries: they have no magic--it disappeared at about the same time that the disease began to claim the faery lives--and they have become selfish, fearful, and ignorant.  Knife, an orphan and the youngest faery in the colony, becomes the group's designated hunter and, during her trips into the wild, meets a young man.  Her forbidden friendship with this human reveals a startling secret about the faery colony, Knife's mother, and the source of the disease that is slowly destroying the faeries.

Adventure, mystery, and a twisting plot will keep readers on the edge of their seats as Knife's courage and determination unravel her colony's dark history.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Holiday Display Is Ready!

The weather might not feel wintry, but winter holidays are just around the corner!  Stop by the children's room to see the new display of books about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the winter solstice.  You can take home picture books, easy readers, novels, craft books, and more about these four important holidays.

Is our display missing your holiday?  Leave a comment to let the children's librarians know.  If we have books about the holiday, we'll display them, too.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Science Fiction in Victorian England

Some books don't fit into the usual genres.  Historical fiction, science fiction, humor, and fantasy are all easy enough to recognize, but what do you do when all four collide in the same book?  Philip Reeve wrote just such a book (and then wrote two sequels for good measure).

 Reeve, Philip (2006). Larklight. (Grades 6-8)

Arthur Mumby and his very proper sister, Myrtle, live in a remarkable house--in outer space.  The year is 1851, and, thanks to Sir Isaac Newton's discoveries about gravity, humans have invented ships that can take them to the moon and beyond.  Queen Victoria's British Empire, for instance, stretches all the way from Venus to Mars, and explorers spend plenty of time around Jupiter.

When Arthur's family receives an unexpected visitor, he and Myrtle are launched into a daring adventure with alien moths, space pirates, and giant white spiders that threaten the Mumbys at every turn.  Arthur tells most of the story himself, but Myrtle's diary entries make regular appearances to fill in some gaps.

Despite the ever-present danger, Larklight and its sequels--Starcross and Mothstorm--are wildly imaginative and humorous books.  You can read an excerpt from the first chapter here!  If it sounds a little strange when you read it, just be patient.  It's supposed to sound like an old, Victorian novel, but it doesn't take long to get used to.  Be sure to pick up a copy of the book itself: the illustrations make the book even more fun to read.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Straight from the horse's mouth

You never know when you'll find a good recommendation at the library.  Today, for instance, the following note was left on a shelf:

The reader has a good point.  Hank the Cowdog is one of the funniest characters out there.

Erickson, John (1983). Hank the Cowdog. (series) (Grades 4-6)

Hank is a cowdog.  More importantly, Hank is the Head of Ranch Security--at least, he's the Head of Ranch Security if you ask him.  If you ask anyone else on the ranch, you'll get a very different answer.  Hank is always getting into trouble with the ranchers and the other animals, despite his best intentions.  He's not as smart or as good-looking as he thinks he is, but he makes up for it in determination.  When a mysterious adventure arises, he's the first to run into it.  For instance, he stands his ground in the face of a plane (a "silver monster bird" trying to steal a steer, according to Hank) and almost manages to catch it before it veers away.

Hank's gruff way of talking and hilarious misunderstandings make these books fun to read aloud or alone, and the series is extensive enough that you'll always have your pick of books.  Although the first book is a good place to start, there's no need to read the series in order.  Each book stands well on its own and doesn't need anything more than Hank's own introduction: "It's me again, Hank the Cowdog."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Crafts for Keeps: Thankful Turkeys

Thanksgiving is almost here!  You can start the celebration early by making a Thankful Turkey to show all of the things you're thankful for.  Click here for easy instructions.  You'll need some colorful construction paper, scissors, glue, and a pencil or marker.

Once you've made your turkey, use the feathers to write in everything you're thankful for this year.  The more thanks you give, the more feathers your turkey can have!  You can glue your turkey to an empty toilet paper tube to help it stand up on a dresser or table.  Put it somewhere special to remind you of all the good things around you.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Audio Books: Now for your own MP3 players!

OverDrive, a new audio and e-book service through the Minuteman Library Network, allows library users to put audio books and e-books onto their computers and MP3 players.  You can use these electronic books whether you have a Windows computer or a Mac, so iPod users can finally download audio books from the library!

These books work a lot like the physical books that you check out at the library: you "borrow" an item and get to listen to or read the book during that loan.  When the book is due, it's automatically "returned" to the library--no overdue fines!  If the title is available after the due date, you can always check it out again.

Books for kids are conveniently set aside in their own "Juvenile Fiction" collection for you to browse.  There are 26 titles right now, so check one out today and see how the new service works!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wordless Picture Books

Although most picture books have written text to accompany the illustrations, some books rely entirely on the pictures to tell the story.  As with most genres, wordless picture books range from very simple stories to complex plots.  They can help new readers acclimate to left-to-right reading and context clues, and they're equally useful in teaching older students about plot, setting, character development, and general storytelling.   Readers have the opportunity to tell the story using their own words and ideas.

Here's a short list of titles to get you started.  Stop by the children's room for more suggestions!

dePaola, Tomie (1978). Pancakes for Breakfast. (Ages 2-6)

A little, old lady attempts to make pancakes for her breakfast, despite a lack of ingredients and the interference of her two pets.

Lehman, Barbara (2004). The Red Book. (Ages 4-8)

A girl in a dreary, wintry city finds a red book in a snowbank.  When she opens the book, she sees a boy on a tropical beach, holding another red book and looking back at her.  The adventure continues as she buys balloons and floats to the island, dropping the book along the way for another person to pick up and explore.

  Lehman, Barbara (2006). The Museum Trip. (Ages 4-8)

When a boy's class takes a trip to the art museum, he finds himself magically transported into the books and exhibits around him.  Was his experience real?  Or was it part of his imagination?

Wiesner, David (2006). Flotsam. (Ages 5-10)

During a trip to the beach, a boy finds an old camera that has washed up on the shore.  The photographs inside reveal other children who have found the mysterious camera as well as snapshots of incredible, mysterious underwater worlds.

Tan, Shaun (2007). The Arrival.  (Ages 12+)

A man leaves his home and family and travels to a new land where everything is unfamiliar and impossible to understand.  Readers will share in his bewilderment at the foreign alphabet, strange-looking plants and animals, and new customs.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Almost Astronauts

On this day in 1998, John Glenn became the oldest person ever to travel in space: he was 77 years old at the time.  That moment in history inspired today's review.

Stone, Tanya Lee (2009). Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream. (Gr. 5-7+).

The first seven American astronauts, dubbed the Mercury 7 in 1958, were all men.  The first woman to enter space, Sally Ride, launched on a space shuttle in 1983.  The twenty-five years in between those two dates were filled with women who tried to be astronauts but were nearly always turned down.

Thirteen women in 1960 and 1961 took a series of grueling tests--the same or harder tests that male astronauts took--to see if women would be strong enough and brave enough to fly into outer space.  Each of the thirteen women, all of whom had broken gender barriers to be pilots, passed the tests they were given with flying colors.  NASA and the United States government, however, stepped in just before the majority of the women were allowed to take the final test, and those thirteen women were permanently shut out of American space travel programs.

This book is well-written with a quick, compelling narrative that readers will tear through.  Even more importantly, it's a thorough, hard-hitting look both at what it means to be an astronaut and at women's struggles for equality and representation in the greatest adventure of modern times.

Almost Astronauts won a 2009 Boston Globe - Horn Book honor award for non-fiction.  The video below is the author's acceptance speech at that awards ceremony.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween Treats

Enjoy this Halloween with yummy, homemade treats to share with your friends and family!  Here are a few book picks for crafts and recipes to get your holiday going in truly spooky style.

Maggipinto, Donata (1998). Halloween Treats.

Make your own trick-or-treat bag, design a candy cauldron, or munch on some black cat cookies.  You can enjoy crafts, treats, and more with this family-friendly Halloween recipe collection.  Parents, there are great Halloween-themed meals for adults, too!  The curried pumpkin soup and autumn salad with tangerines, avocado, and pumpkin seeds look particularly delicious, as do the baked maccaroni shells stuffed with cheddar.

Bowers, Sharon (2009). Ghoulish Goodies (Gr. 3-8)

Monster Eyeballs, Spiderweb Cookies, and Screaming Red Punch are just a few of the creepy treats included in this cookbook.  Beware: these recipes are a project for the whole family!  Unless you're a whiz-kid in the kitchen (and even if you are), you'll probably need some extra help from an adult.  Even so, who could resist a cupcake with tentacles?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Crafts for Keeps: Make your own book

You can make a book out of just about anything!  The best part of making is a book is that you get to choose what to put in it.  So make yourself a coloring book, a sketch book, or a journal--it's easier than you think, and it won't require any special tools.

The links below use materials that you can find around the house: paper, cardboard, cereal boxes, glue sticks, and maybe some ribbon or sticks.  If you want to get fancy, find some wrapping paper or a fun magazine cover to add decoration.  An adult should be involved in the whole process, especially if scissors and needles come into play!

Ages 3+
Make an alphabet book
  • There's no cover on this book, but you could create one from a manila folder.  Just punch holes into both the folder and the pages, then tie with ribbon or string.  Use markers, crayons, or pictures from magazines to decorate the cover.
  • Make different coloring books by printing out free designs online.  Crayola has lots of coloring pages!
Ages 5+
Make a book with a stick and a rubber band
  • A small stick from the yard will work well, or you can experiment with Tinkertoys, chopsticks, or anything else stick-like around the house.
  • Try a piece of ribbon or some yarn if you can't find a rubber band.
Ages 7+
Sew a small book with a needle and string
  • Have an adult help with this one!  You'll need to poke holes with a big needle and sew with a smaller needle.  (Dull needles are best for this kind of book binding.)
  • Even though this book won't have many pages, the paper will lay flat when you open it--great for writing or drawing!
Ages 9+
Make a book with a hard cover
  • This one needs a knife and sharp scissors, so let an adult handle the cutting.
  • Find some cool paper for the front and back covers.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

McKendry, Joe (2005)  Beneath the Streets of Boston. (Gr. 4-7)

With winter creeping up on the greater Boston area, it's time to start thinking about fun activities that keep you warm and dry.  Why not take a tour of the country's oldest subway system?

Joe McKendry's informative and elaborately illustrated book about the T is a fascinating history of Boston, trains, and city transportation from the late 1800's through to more recent years.  You'll learn about what makes the Red, Blue, Green, and Orange lines distinct from each other: discover the meanings behind their names and the differences in their construction methods.  You'll also see snippets of the heated controversy surrounding the very first subway plans for the city, the discovery of more than 900 unmarked graves, and clear drawings showing the structures and machines that made the trains possible.

After reading, find your CharlieCard, grab your coat, and head into the city to explore the T firsthand!  Want to know why it's called the CharlieCard?  Listen to this famous song about a man named Charlie, who took a fateful ride on our very own T

If you stop at Copley Square, you can go to the Boston Public Library and see their interactive Literacise exhibit just for kids.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Click Magazine: There's more fun online!

Click Magazine has great articles about science, investigation, and discovery for children between the ages of 3 and 6 years old.  You can find the printed issues of the magazine in the Needham Public Library's children's room, but did you know that you can also go online for stories, information, and activities from Click?

For October 2009, explore caves and learn how to make a flapping bat puppet from paper, string, and a pencil.  You can also meet Click and his friends, find books about caves, play games, and send someone a message made from magnetic letters.

You can find even more great websites by visiting the Association for Library Services to Children's online suggestion list!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Otoshi, Kathryn (2008)  One.  (PreS-K)

"Red is hot, and Blue is not."  Blue is quiet and gentle, even when taunted by a bully.  But Red's meanness leaves Blue feeling blue.  Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple try to tell Blue that blue is cool ... but no one stands up for Blue when Red is around.  Red bullies and sneers and makes the other colors feel small and unimportant.  No one wants to go against Red.  Not until One shows up.  With One's help, all the colors start to stand up for themselves and for each other--and they learn that everybody counts.

The simple shapes and lines of this book introduce both colors and numbers as characters--maybe even as friends.  The delicate watercolor textures lend themselves to close, quiet readings between a parent and child, but the simplicity and scale of the illustrations would also work well for smaller group read-alouds.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Farmington, MA in the 1850's

Barker, M.P. (2008) A Difficult Boy.  (Gr. 5-8)

Children in the United States today aren't bound as servants when their parents owe too much money, but indentured servants were an important factor in how this country was colonized and developed.  In this fictional account of 19th century Massachusetts, Ethan's father, a farmer who is better at planting than at managing his finances, sends his 9-year-old son to work off their debts to the family's creditor, a local storeowner and respected business man. The other bound servant, an Irish boy several years older than Ethan, is a victim of the storekeeper's violent discipline. Ethan, who sees beyond the rude stereotypes that the other farm workers have against the Irish, befriends the older boy and slowly pieces together their master's unknown dark side.

This is a fine work of historical fiction with strong characters, a well developed setting, and a plot that reveals ethnic discrimation, struggles with poverty, and small-town social classes of rural Massachusetts more than a century ago.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: the book before the movie

Barrett, Judi (1978). Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

Chewandswallow is a tiny town where it rains orange juice, snows potatoes and peas, and blows in gusts of hamburgers. The weather brings in all kinds of treats, three times a day, and the townspeople look forward to each meal. Trouble begins, however, when the food is too big to eat and starts to destroy the town. Imagine a flood of spaghetti and giant pancakes that cover the school! The townspeople have to find a way to live and eat in peace.

This classic tall-tale brings weather and food together in an imaginative adventure that will leave you laughing, wondering, and maybe a little hungry.

** Did you see the movie? Send your review to the Children's Library and have it published on this blog!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Congratulations, Summer Readers!

What a summer! The summer reading program was a success, thanks to the 233 independent readers who read 2,965 books and the 93 read-to-me's who listened for 510.8 hours. If you signed up for the program and met the goal (5 books or 5 hours), don't forget to pick up your goody bag. You certainly earned your prize!

Now that school has started, stop by the library to pick up books for school, for your own learning, or just for fun. We have great new books about everything from buried bones in colonial Maryland to a book of colors in Braille to the zany (fictional) adventures of space travel in Victorian England.

Come back for reviews, reading suggestions, and more information about everything happening in the children's room.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer Reading Program: 6/16-8/18

Summer is right around the corner and the Needham Public Library is once again runnning a Summer Reading Program.

This year's theme is:
Register between June 16 and July 28
Join one of two clubs:
Read to Me (ages 3-6) or Independent Readers (grades K-6).

Sign-up at the Children’s Library or register and maintain your reading log online:

For rules and prize information, click here.

Contact the library for more information, (781) 455-7559 ext. 204.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"The Girl Who Could Fly"

Forester, Victoria (200 ). The Girl Who Could Fly. Grades 5-8.

Meet Piper McCloud, a farm girl who has never left her hometown, not even to go to a school. When she realizes that she can fly, she amazes herself and shocks her parents. No matter how much her parents try to discourage her from continuing to fly, Piper feels that it is a special gift and that she should use it. Before she can master her flying skills, she is taken to a secret government facility, which is led by Dr. Letitia Hellion. Piper is immediately placed in a classroom with other kids who have a variety of special abilities. Piper is amazed with the quality of life at the school. Meals are the best that she has ever tasted and all of her needs are seen to. However, it is soon apparent that Dr. Letitia Hellion may not have been honest with Piper and her reason for bringing her to the facility. In order to discover the truth, Piper must work with the other children to figure out why they were all brought to the same place.

Friday, May 29, 2009

"The Name of This Book Is Secret"

Bosch, Pseudonymous (2007). The Name of This Book is Secret. Grades 4-6.

The author of this book does not want to share too much information with you, including the names of the characters, where they live, or what they look like. Instead, he provides fictional names and let's you the reader use your imagination in realizing the setting and character traits.
If you can get past the first few pages where the author goes on and on explaining just why he is doing this, you will find that this book is a quirky mix of adventure and mystery.
Cassandra and Max-Ernest, the two main characters, are both outsiders at their school. When Cassandra's grandfathers are given a mysterious box that was found at a recently deceased magician's home, Cassandra notices something strange about it. This is where the adventure begins. Cassandra and Max-Ernest pair up to figure out the secret that the magician does not want anyone to know. They have to keep this box and any other contents they find away from the villains, Mr. L and Mrs. Mauvais, who may somehow be connected to the magician's death.
And if you enjoy this book, don't forget to read the sequel: If You're Reading This, It's Too Late.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What would you do if you were kidnapped?

Kehret, Peg (2008). Stolen Children. Grades 5-8.

Fourteen-year-old Amy is hired at the last minute by Mrs. Edgerton to babysit her three-year-old daughter Kendra. Watching Kendra should have been an easy job, but things quickly take a turn for the worse. When Amy goes to wake Kendra up from her nap she finds that Kendra is gone! Amy frantically searches for her inside and outside the house. Then a horrible thought hits her, what if she was kidnapped? Before Amy has time to call the police, the kidnapper finds her and she is forced to go with him. Both girls are taken to a cabin in the woods where the kidnappers plan on keeping them while they await a ransom from the Edgerton family. But Amy doesn't plan to sit back and wait to be released. She comes up with a plan to send clues to her family and friend in the videos the kidnappers make. Will the clues help them locate Amy and Kendra? She can only try and hope that they do.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Picture Books on Themes of Nature

Casanova, Mary. One Dog Canoe.
A girl and her dog set out in a canoe and are joined by various animals until there is no more room.

Hines, Anna Grossnickle. What Joe Saw.
Joe is always the last student to line up or stay with the group, but this allows him to see more things around him.

Paulsen, Gary. Canoe Days.
A man takes a canoe ride on a quiet summer day and points out the different animals that live around the lake.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"A Drowned Maiden's Hair"

Schlitz, Laura Amy (2006). A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama. Grades 4-6.

Eleven-year-old Maud is known as a trouble maker at the Barbary Asylum for Female Orphans. When we meet her character, she has been locked in an
outhouse (outdoor bathroom) by a teacher as punishment. Several girls are awaiting adoption by three wealthy sisters, but to her teacher's astonishment, Maud is chosen over the others. Maud can not believe her luck! New experiences await her, including a train ride, eating exquisite foods, wearing beautiful clothes, and having her own room. At first she does not question why her room is in the attic or why she can't be seen by the neighbors, but Maude grows curious and eventually the sisters inform her that they are spiritualists who hold seances and that she is needed to act as a spirit. Maud knows that what they are doing is wrong, but she decides to play along with their charade. Only when she is left behind during a house fire does Maud realize that the women do not share her affection and that she is nothing more than their prop.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Falling Bibles from the Sky?...

Horvath, Polly (2008). My One Hundred Adventures. Grades 4-7.

Twelve-year-old Jane Fielding lives year-round in a small, coastal town in Massachusetts with her poet mother and three siblings. She wishes for one hundred adventures this summer, but instead gets fourteen. These include going up in a hijacked hot-air balloon, delivering bibles with the local pastor, visiting a fortune teller, babysitting for the five Gourd children, and meeting several of her mother's past boyfriends, one of which may even be her father. Although Jane does not reach one hundred adventures, the adventures she does experience range from funny to poignant and they allow her to better understand herself. Jane is a very observant and intelligent character. Horvath's other characters add humor, are memorable, and will appeal to many readers.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Donavan's Double Trouble

DeGross, Monalisa (2008). Donavan's Double Trouble. Grade 4-6.

Fourth grader, Donavan is looking forward to Heritage Month at his school. Every year, kids can bring in a person that will share something special about their heritage and it seems that everyone, including his sister Nikki, has someone lined up for the event. Donavan, however, is preoccupied with a few of his own dilemmas. At school he is having trouble with his math class and at home he is having trouble adjusting to his Uncle Vic who lost his legs while serving in the military. While Donavan's father attempts to teach him a few strategies for solving math problems, Donavan works on overcoming his discomfort around Uncle Vic. In the process, Donavan discovers that solving math problems doesn't have to feel horrible and realizes that he's not the only one with reservations about his Uncle's new way of life.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Story of friendship in 1926 South Carolina

Fuqua, Jonathon Scott (2002). Darby.* Grades 4-6.
Set in 1926, nine-year-old Darby Carmichael lives in Marlboro County, South Carolina where racial tensions are high. Her father owns a store and is a farmer who employs black sharecroppers. One of Darby's good friends is Evette, the daughter of a sharecropper. When Evette tells Darby that she wants to be a newspaper editor, Darby begins to have writing ambitions of her own. Evette helps Darby with her first newspaper article for the local paper and after that Darby is a local celebrity, but when Darby begins to observe and write about the racial inequality and tension in her town, some citizens are less than thrilled. Unfortunately, her family becomes targeted by a group of whites that disagree with Darby's opinion.
This is a great story about a young girl who is not afraid to speak the truth, no matter the consequences. Great book for a book club or classroom read-aloud.

*NPL does not own this title.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Depression Era Murder Mystery

Collier, James Lincoln (2008). The Dreadful Revenge of Ernest Gallen. Grades 5-7.
Set during the years following the Great Depression, Gene Richards begins hearing a voice, which asks him to solve a mystery involving a murder. At first, Gene tries to ignore the voice, but each time the voice returns it becomes harder to do so. Then he learns that his friend Sonny's dad also heard a voice, which urged him to walk off a construction plank and die. Gene believes that this is the same voice he is hearing and must figure out a way to solve the mystery before the voice convinces Gene to hurt himself or worse.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Comic Workshop at the Needham Public Library!

If you are in Grades 3-6, enjoy graphic novels and drawing, you can join Gareth Hinds, illustrator of Beowulf, King Lear and other graphic novels for a comic workshop!

Time & Place:
Monday, May 4, 2009 from 3:30-5 pm in the Community Room.

Participants will learn about the various stages of illustrating a story and through examples and exercises presented by Mr. Hinds will be able to create their own illustrations. Explore some of his sketches and books online:

Registration begins on Monday, April 27 and is limited to 20 children. Visit the Children's Reference Desk to register or call 781-455-7559 ext. 204.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fun Picture Books and an Online Art Class

If you are looking for some funny picture books to read with your children, look no further!

You'll enjoy Jarrett Krosoczka's Punk Farm and Punk Farm on Tour about farm animals who-- unbeknownst to their farmer--decide to start a rock band and then go on tour!

If you're interested in how Krosoczka illustrated these picture books, click here to watch the picture come alive on Just One More Book's video of a special art class with the author.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What would happen if you invented a new word?

Clements, Andrew (1996). Frindle. Grades 3-5.

Nick Allen always came up with clever schemes to stall a teacher right before the bell rang, which usually meant no homework, but this year is going to be different. Nick is in the fifth grade and his teacher Mrs. Granger does not tolerate any type of nonsense. When Nick asks a question right before the bell, Mrs. Granger asks him to find out and report on the answer the next day! His report leaves him with an idea--he decides to get back at his teacher by inventing a new word, "frindle," which spreads like wild fire throughout the school. Soon Nick can't control the popularity of his new word and neither can Mrs. Granger. This new word catches the attention of the media and entrepreneurs, who sell products with "frindle" written on them and "frindle" is eventually included in the dictionary. Find out how Nick feels about his new word and whether he and Mrs. Granger can look past their differences.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fans of Rick Riordans' Percy Jackson series

While you're waiting to read the The Last Olympian, the final book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, why not read some other books about gods, godesses, and other mythological characters.

Here are a few suggestions:

Abouzeid, Chris. Anatopsis.
In the realm from which the Greek gods ruled the universe thousands of years ago, the immortal witch Anatopsis uncovers the true objectives of her demi-god tutor Mr. Pound and attempts to prevent him from carrying out his evil plans.

Deming, Sarah. Iris, Messenger.
After discovering that the immortals of Greek mythology reside in her hometown of Middleville, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Iris listens to their life stories, gaining wisdom, beauty, and startling revelations about her past.

Henessy, Carolyn. Pandora Gets Jealous.
Thirteen-year-old Pandy is hauled before Zeus and given six months to gather all of the evils that were released when the box she brought to school as her annual project was accidentally opened.

Jones, Diana Wynne. The Game.
Sent to a boisterous family gathering in Ireland by her overly strict grandmother, orphaned Hayley feels out of place until her unruly cousins include her in a special game involving travel through the mythosphere, the place where all the world's stories can be found, and where some secrets of her past are revealed.

Mebus, Scott. Gods of Manhattan.
Thirteen-year-old Rory discovers a spirit world that thrives alongside his contemporary New York City, filled with fantastical creatures and people from the city's colorful past who have become gods and goddesses and who have chosen Rory to perform a dangerous mission.

Ursu, Anne. The Shadow Thieves. (The Cronus Chronicles, bk.1)
After her cousin Zee arrives from England, thirteen-year-old Charlotte and he must set out to save humankind from denizens of the underworld, Nightmares, Death, Pain, and a really nasty guy named Phil.