Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all the Book Buddies members and their families. See you in January!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Vacation Week Reads

Christmas vacation is now upon us and to help keep you occupied during your break from school, here are some new books you might like to read...

Murder Afloat by Jane Leslie Conly

Benjamin Franklin Orville is kidnapped with a group of immigrants and forced to work aboard one of the most ill-reputed oystering vessels in Baltimore. Soon the boy knows only hard work and hunger, a little bit of German, and a whole lot about injustice.

Under the Green Hill by Laura L. Sullivan

While staying with distant relatives in England, Americans Rowan, Meg, Silly, and James Morgan, with their neighbors Dickie Rhys and Finn Fachan, learn that one of them must fight to the death in the Midsummer War required by the local fairies.

Edison's Gold by Geoff Watson

Tom Edison and his friends become embroiled in a mystery involving his "double-great" grandfather's inventions, a secret society, and a vendetta being carried out by a descendant of inventor Nikola Tesla.

Touch Blue by Cynthia Rylant

When the state of Maine threatens to shut down their island's one-room schoolhouse because of dwindling enrollment, eleven-year-old Tess, a strong believer in luck, and her family take in a trumpet-playing foster child, to increase the school's population.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

December Meeting Wrap-Up

The Book Buddies Book Club met this past Monday afternoon to discuss our December book, The Christmas Genie by Dan Gutman. Everyone really enjoyed the book and we had a great time talking about (and making) wishes!

We talked a lot about wishes, about the kinds of wishes the kids in the story made and the kinds of things we wish for in our lives. We discussed good wishes and bad wishes and not considering the consequences of our wishes when we make them.

We reviewed examples of bad wishes in literature, including in other books we've read in book club. The Chocolate Touch, which we read last year, is an example of bad wishing, as is the story it's based on, King Midas. Half Magic and The Magic Half were other books we thought of where the wishing wasn't always the best.

We discussed why we thought the author chose to set this story at Christmas and if it could have taken place at another time. We thought about which elements in the story were most magical and therefore Christmas-y.

Overall we had a great meeting and enjoyed some special holiday treats (cupcakes and cookies). Thanks to all the Book Buddies members for joining me on Monday and for participating in book club this year! See you in January!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder that the Book Buddies Book Club will meet this coming Monday, December 20th at 3:30pm in the John Clarke Children's Program Room to discuss our December book, The Christmas Genie by Dan Gutman.

Come for a great discussion and some holiday treats!

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Events @ the Library

We have a couple of events happening this Saturday at the library that you might want to know about!
First at 10am Airborne Jugglers, Joe Murray and Susan Kirby, will dazzle you with a high energy juggling show. Audience volunteers will find themselves in the middle of the action!

Then at 2:30pm, the Children's Department will be offering a matinée screening of Despicable Me. In Despicable Me, Gru, an evil villain, delights in all things wicked. Surrounded by an army of tireless yellow minions and armed with his arsenal of shrink rays, freeze rays and battle-ready vehicles for land and air, he vanquishes all who stand in his way. Until the day he encounters the immense will of three little orphaned girls who look at him and see something that no one else has ever seen: a potential dad.

No registration is required for either event - just drop by. Both events will be held in the lower level program room. For more information contact the Children's Department at 401-847-8720 ext. 204.

Hope to see you Saturday!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dan Gutman Online

First, I wanted to share this interview with Dan Gutman that I found very interesting and this profile by Simon and Schuster with some revealing questions and answers.

I also found a couple of videos for you to enjoy:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December Author: Dan Gutman

Dan Gutman is the wonderful author of our December book, The Christmas Genie. He has a terrific website with a very interesting biography that I encourage you to take a look at. He has written a TON of books for kids including the Baseball Card Adventure series and the My Weird School series. Here are a few of his other books that you might want to read:

The Get Rich Quick Club (2004)

Summer vacation in their small Maine town does not look too promising until twelve-year-old Gina and four of her friends make a pact to become millionaires before school starts in September.

Getting Air (2007)

After foiling a terrorist hijacking aboard their airplane, fourteen-year-old Jimmy, his younger sister, and two skateboarding friends crash-land the plane and try to survive in a forest wilderness until help arrives.

Nightmare at the Book Fair (2008)

When fifth-grader Trip Kindleman, who does not like to read very much, is hit on the
head by a heavy box and becomes a character in a series of different books--from a sports story to a science fiction novel to an adventure tale--his view of reading is changed forever.

The Talent Show (2010)

After a devastating tornado destroys much of Cape Bluff, Kansas, residents come together as a community to put on a talent show as a fund-raiser.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December Book

The December meeting of the Book Buddies Book Club will take place on Monday, December 20th at 3:30pm in the John Clarke Children's Program Room. This month we are reading.... The Christmas Genie by Dan Gutman!

I hope you enjoy the book!

When a meteorite crashes into a fifth-grade classroom at Lincoln School in Oak Park, Illinois, the genie inside agrees to grant the class a Christmas wish--if they can agree on one within an hour.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Meeting Wrap-Up

The Book Buddies Book Club met yesterday afternoon to discuss our November book, We the Children by Andrew Clements. We had a terrific discussion and everyone really enjoyed the book. We are all anxiously awaiting book #2 which comes out in January...

We began by talking about the main character, Ben, who he is and his relationships in the book. We talked about what type of story We the Children is and how it starts off with a lot of action right away which is a clue - it let's us know that it's likely to be an action-packed, plot-driven kind of story.

We talked about Mr. Keane, the school janitor, and why he chose to trust Ben with the mysterious coin and the mission of protecting the school. We though Ben felt lucky to be chosen for such an important job and maybe a little scared but also fiercly determined to save his school from demolition. We thought he chose to confide in Jill and seek her help because she's a good friend and a useful ally to have.

We spent a bit of time talking about the idea of change. Change is a major theme in this book with the possible demolition of Oakes School and Ben's parents getting separated. We thought about times when change is a good thing and times when we feel that things should stay the same. Certainly in the case of Oakes School it's important to preserve a piece of history and not let it be destroyed simply for an amusement park. We felt that Ben handled all the changes in his life well but that he had some hard things to work through. Many of us felt we'd be preoccupied and have some difficulty if we were in his shoes.

We discussed the important event Ben relates during the story, the event which he calls a "tipping point" in his life. We thought about what that might mean and what tipping points we've experienced in our own lives.

We thought about sailing and how Ben's knowledge of boats and sailing is an asset to the task he has at hand. We also agreed that saving Robert during the big race was the right thing to do, regardless of the fact that it meant he lost the race.

Finally, we talked a lot about the ending and about series books in general. We the Children definitely leaves the reader hanging; there is no resolution and nothing is explained. Instead, it is really just the beginning, setting the scene and characters for future books. We all enjoyed the book very much but it was a little difficult to be left hanging so badly! We all eagerly await book #2, Fear Itself and hope some of the mystery will be explained!

Following our discussion we spent some time online, visiting Andrew Clements website and our own Book Buddies Blog. We also viewed a couple of videos online which were fun to see:

First the We the Children Book Trailor:

Then a couple of really neat videos featuring Andrew Clements:

It was a terrific meeting and thanks to all the Book Buddies members for attending!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder that the Book Buddies Book Club will be meeting this coming Monday, November 29th at 3:30pm to discuss We the Children by Andrew Clements! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We the Children Read-Alikes

If you've been enjoying We the Children, here are a few other books you might like:

Framed by Gordon Korman

Griffin Bing is in big trouble when a Super Bowl ring disappears from his middle school's display case, replaced by Griffin's retainer, and the more he and his friends investigate, the worse his situation becomes.

Sammy Keyes and the Dead Giveaway by Wendelin Van Draanen

While investigating why someone is trying to force people from their homes to expand a recreation center, Sammy is distracted by the lies she must tell to cover an accident she caused, but which was blamed on her nemesis, Heather.

The Seventh Level by Jody Feldman

Twelve-year-old Travis is invited to become a member of The Legend, Lauer Middle School's most exclusive secret society, but first he must solve seven puzzles.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

National Gaming Day

If you like to play card and board games, come to the library this Saturday, November 13th for a celebration of National Gaming Day! From 2:30pm - 4:30pm, children ages 4 and up and their families are invited to come and play a variety of games including Uno, Battleship, Sorry, Pictureka! and Chutes & Ladders. Refreshments will be provided. No registration is required, just drop-in! Held in the lower level program room.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Andrew Clements Video

Click to watch a short video with Andrew Clements and be sure to also visit his website!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Author Andrew Clements

For the first time in Book Buddies history, we are repeating an author! This month we are reading We the Children, the first in a new series by the fantastic author Andrew Clements. Those who've been in the book club since the beginning will remember that way back in December of 2007 we read another Andrew Clements book, The Last Holiday Concert. We loved that one and I'm sure we're going to really enjoy this new one!

Andrew Clements is a truly fantastic author and has written many, many books for children. Here are just a few of his books that I've especially enjoyed:

Frindle (1996)
An Andrew Clements classic!

When he decides to turn his fifth grade teacher's love of the dictionary around on her, clever Nick Allen invents a new word and begins a chain of events that quickly moves beyond his control.

A Week in the Woods (2002)

The fifth grade's annual camping trip in the woods tests Mark's survival skills and his ability to relate to a teacher who seems out to get him.

Lunch Money (2005)
Twelve-year-old Greg, who has always been good at moneymaking projects, is surprised to find himself teaming up with his lifelong rival, Maura, to create a series of comic books to sell at school.

Room One: A Mystery of Two (2006)

Ted Hammond, the only sixth grader in his small Nebraska town's one-room schoolhouse, searches for clues to the disappearance of a homeless family.

No Talking (2007)

The noisy fifth grade boys of Laketon Elementary School challenge the equally loud fifth grade girls to a "no talking" contest.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Letters About Literature

The annual Letters About Literature letter writing contest is back! Children in grades 4 - 6 can compete in level 1 by writing a letter to an author about a book that has special meaning to them.

So, all you have to do is find a book that you have strong feelings about. Then write a letter to the book's author explaining why you love the book and why it's so important to you. Remember to speak from the heart and skip any plot summaries. Let the author know how and why their work has touched you.

Submit your letter by December 22, 2010 and you might be a winner!

For official rules and details about the contest, visit the Letters About Literature website.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November Book Selection

Our November book is We the Children by Andrew Clements, the first in his new series, Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School. We will meet on Monday, November 29th at 3:30pm in the John Clarke Children's Program Room to discuss the book. Hope to see you there!

Sixth-grader Ben Pratt's life is full of changes that he does not like - his parents' separation and the plan to demolish his seaside school to build an amusement park - but when the school janitor gives him a tarnished coin with some old engravings and then dies, Ben is drawn into an effort to keep the school from being destroyed.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Trick or Treat @ the Library

This weekend come and Trick or Treat @ the Library! On Saturday, 9:30am - 5:45pm, and Sunday, 1:00pm - 4:45pm, kids are invited to stop by the Children's Desk for a free Halloween treat. One treat per child while supplies last.

And have a very safe and happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Haunted Halloween Craft Party

Calling all ghouls and goblins ages 6 and up!

This Saturday, October 30th, I'll be hosting a Haunted Halloween Craft Party in the John Clarke Children's Program Room from 2:30pm - 4:30pm. Come in costume and make a variety of spooky crafts. Light Halloween refreshments will be served.

See you there!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October Meeting Wrap-Up

The Book Buddies Book Club met yesterday afternoon to discuss our October book, The Ghost, The White House and Me by Judith St. George. We had a great discussion, enjoyed some Halloween cupcakes and finished up with a pumpkin craft!

Everyone really enjoyed the book and found it to be a spooky story perfect for Halloween. We all thought that KayKay was a really interesting main character and liked that she was an adventurous person who appreciated a good mystery (like so many of us!)

In the story, KayKay mother has just been sworn in as President of the United States and we spent some time discussing the idea of a female president. We all thought it was very exciting to think that a woman could be president and we feel confident that it's an event that will happen in the near future. We liked that the author chose to write the story this way instead of having KayKay's dad be President, and we especially liked that it was just another fact of the story and not the main focus of the story. We talked about how the story would have been different if it were KayKay's dad who was President and felt that it would have been a dramatic change, since one of the driving features of the story was KayKay's mom being so busy as President and not as available to her kids.

We discussed what it would be like to live in the White House and have our own secret service agents following us around all day long. Most thought it would be sort of cool to live in the White House but like anything else, there would be pros (Chef Toni's cooking!) and cons (no privacy).

We spent quite a bit of time talking about the idea that the White House is haunted, an idea that persists in real life, not just in the story. We read from the non-fiction book Who's Haunting the White House? by Jeff Belanger about some of the ghostly happenings that have be reported in the White House especially all of the ghost stories surrounding Abraham Lincoln and his ghost. We talked about KayKay's dad's idea that the White House is haunted by history and how that might be. There is so much history here in New England, we talked about the ghosts that might be around Newport and how Newport might be haunted by history as well.

We discussed KayKay's relationship with Borden, the former President's grandson, and how it changed over the course of the story. In the beginning, KayKay didn't really like Borden but she also didn't really know him. As the story progressed, she realized that Borden was actually a pretty interesting person and they became good friends.

We also talked about the prank KayKay and Annie played and how it went wrong and how they were punished.

Overall we all really liked The Ghost, The White House and Me and we are looking forward to reading more from Judith St. George!

It was a terrific meeting and thanks to all the Book Buddies club members who attended!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder that the Book Buddies Book Club will meet this coming Monday, October 25th at 3:30pm in the John Clarke Children's Program Room to discuss our October book, The Ghost, the White House and Me by Judith St. George. Come for a great discussion and some Halloween treats! See you there!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Featured Book: Haunted Houses

October's featured children's book is new to our collection. It is Robert San Souci's spooky Haunted Houses, a collection of ten scary stories about haunted houses, pirate treasure and ghosts. Read if you dare!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Haunted Halloween Reads

Halloween is almost here! Here are a few ghost stories you might want to read to get into the spirit of the holiday...

The Ghost on the Stairs by Chris Eboch (2009)
Thirteen-year-old Jon and his eleven-year-old sister, Tania, are typical kids, except for the fact that Tania can communicate with ghosts. Their mom and stepdad are producers of a ghost-hunter reality television show, but they have no idea that Tania possesses this ability, and Tania wants to keep it that way. While filming at an old hotel in Colorado, Jon and Tania find themselves trapped in a ghostly love story that happened more than a century ago. Local legend has it that a ghost bride still wanders the hotel, waiting for her lost husband. Can this fearless brother-sister duo reunite a newlywed couple, and put these ghosts to rest at last?

The Hanging Hill by Chris Grabenstein (2009)

While working at a summer stock theater, eleven-year-old Zack and his stepmother encounter the ghost of one of Connecticut's most notorious criminals.

All the Lovely Bad Ones: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn (2008)

While spending the summer at their grandmother's Vermont inn, two prankster siblings awaken young ghosts from the inn's distant past who refuse to "rest in peace."

The Scary States of America by Michael Teitelbaum (2007)

Twelve-year-old Jason Specter, self-proclaimed "clearing house for the weird," introduces and presents his favorite stories of the paranormal--one from each state of the Union--submitted to the Web site he created after his own encounter with a ghost at school three years earlier.

The Ghost's Grave by Peg Kehret (2005)

Apprehensive about spending the summer in Washington State with his Aunt Ethel when his parents get an overseas job, twelve-year-old Josh soon finds adventure when he meets the ghost of a coal miner.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Who's Haunting the White House?

Our October book, The Ghost, the White House and Me by Judith St. George, is about two sisters (the president's daughters) who hear rumors that the White House is haunted and decide to investigate. For a book with a similar theme, try the non-fiction book, Who's Haunting the White House?: The President's Mansion and the Ghosts Who Live There by Jeff Belanger. (2008) Welcome to a tour of the White House that very few people have ever taken.

You're going on a supernatural investigation to look for ghosts in this very famous and very haunted building! As you move forward, you'll hear from past Presidents and First Ladies, as well as from people who work inside the White House every day.

It's been said that the original White House landowner calls out in a strange, far-off voice from the Yellow Room; that the ghost of Andrew Jackson makes his presence known in the first family's living quarters; that Abraham Lincoln saw an ominous vision in a mirror; and that Harry S. Truman had a ghostly encounter he couldn't explain.

Enter now and learn about all the unearthly goings-on in America's most famous house.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Author Judith St. George

Judith St. George is the wonderful author of our October book, The Ghost, The White House and Me. She has written many non-fiction books and biographies for children and currently lives in Connecticut with her family. Visit her website for more information and pick up another book by this great author!

Stand Tall, Abe Lincoln (2008)

Abraham Lincoln grew up poor and without schooling in a Kentucky wilderness and lost his mother before he was ten. It was sparkplug Sally Bush Johnston who married his father, brought a library of books to their log cabin home, and believed in Abe from the beginning. She was an inspiring turning point for young Abe, who went on to become America's sixteenth and most popular and respected president.

Mystery Isle (2007)
What seems a harmless enough trip to the family's ancestral home on a Maine island turns into something much more dangerous for thirteen-year-old Kim.

Make Your Mark, Franklin Roosevelt (2007)

Young Franklin Roosevelt grew up knowing the finer things in life - sailing, horseback riding, and foxhunts on his family's large estate. Growing up wealthy meant he could live a gentleman's life, like his beloved papa. Yet gentlemen weren't supposed to go into politics, right? But why not? As young Franklin learns from a famous uncle and a famous mentor, there is more to the world than he thought. And about politics? Well, maybe there is more to that, too.

So You Want to Be President? (2000)

Presents an assortment of facts about the qualifications and characteristics of U.S. presidents, from George Washington to Bill Clinton.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October Book Selection

Our October book selection will be Judith St. George's The Ghost, The White House and Me. We will meet to talk about the book and have some Halloween treats on Monday, October 25th at 3:30pm in the John Clarke Children's Program Room.

When eleven-year-old KayKay Granger learns that the White House is haunted and uses that knowledge to play a prank on her family, she lands in big trouble with her mother, the United States President.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Falling In Read Alikes

Falling In by Frances O'Roark Dowell is a terrific story about a girl who falls through a door and into another world. Once there she goes on an adventure to find the mysterious witch whom all the children fear. Falling In is a light fantasy with many magical elements to it. If you like that sort of story, here are a few other books you also might like to read...

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice falls down a rabbit hole and discovers a world of nonsensical and amusing characters.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Four English schoolchildren find their way through the back of a wardrobe into the magic land of Narnia and assist Aslan, the golden lion, to triumph over the White Witch, who has cursed the land with eternal winter.

Hansel and Gretel retold by Rika Lesser, ill. by Paul Zelinsky
A poor woodcutter's children, lost in the forest, come upon a house made of bread, cakes, and candy, occupied by a wicked witch who likes to have children for dinner.

The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children by Keith McGowan

Eleven-year-old inventor Sol must recover his self-confidence if he and his eight-year-old sister, Connie, are to escape the clutches of Hansel and Gretel's witch, to whom they have been led by their new stepmother and the man they believe to be their father.