Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Meeting Wrap-Up

The Book Buddies Book Club met on Monday to discuss our January book, Angel of the Battlefield by Ann Hood.  It was a terrific meeting with a wonderful discussion that lasted the full hour!

We started by talking about the Newport mansions, which ones we have visited and how Elm Medona seems to be pieces of many of the real mansions put together.  We looked at the Elm Medona floor plans (included in some of the paperback books and available on The Treasure Chest website) and discussed how the name Elm Medona might be an anagram of sorts or perhaps a combination of some of the main characters names.  We thought about what it might be like to live in one of the Newport mansions and decided that although it might be creepy it would also be really cool because there would be lots to explore and there would be more than enough space to store your things.  Everyone agreed that they would prefer to live in the main part of a mansion though, and not the servant's quarters.

We talked about the twins, Felix and Maisie and the ways in which they are similar and how they are different.  Felix, we decided is the nicer twin, who we felt was more relatable, someone who follows the rules.  We all found Maisie to be really bossy, much more daring and definitely a rule-breaker.  We thought that she was, at times, much too mean to Felix and didn't understand how he was feeling.

We talked about the incident with the broken Ming vase, why Maisie pocketed a piece of it and what may have been going on there.  We thought that Maisie might have taken a piece because it was so interesting, the way it was broken so exactly, and because she knew the vase was priceless and wanted a piece for herself.  A few of our club members have read ahead in The Treasure Chest series and assure us that the situation with the vase is explored further in future books and it's meaning becomes more clear. 

We explored Maisie's relationship with her Great-Aunt Maisie and how it really transforms over time.  In the beginning, Maisie isn't too fond of her Great-Aunt, finding her old, boring, and maybe even a little bit crazy.  Over the course of the book she realizes how special her Great-Aunt is and comes to appreciate her wisdom and knowledge of the things that have happened to Maisie and Felix.

Of course we had to discuss the time-travel adventure, how the twins ended up in Massachusetts in 1836 and how at first they were unhappy to be there.  They really wanted to go back to their original home in New York City but they came to realize they had a very important job in delivering the letter to a young Clara Barton.

We all enjoyed reading about Clara Barton and learning more about her amazing life and work. 

According to Ann Hood's website there are going to be 8 books total in the Treasure Chest series.  Books 1 -5 introduce Felix and Maisie to historical figures including Alexander Hamilton, Pearl S. Buck, Harry Houdini and Crazy Horse.  We thought a lot about who the twins might meet in the last three installments and considered the possibility of a former U.S. president (a less well known president), a former First Lady (maybe Martha Washington or Mary Todd Lincoln), or perhaps Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell or Helen Keller.  We are all very anxious to find out who the twins will really meet as the books are released in the next few years.

Overall it was a fantastic meeting with a really excellent book discussion.  Thanks to all the Book Buddies members who attended and I look forward to seeing you again next month!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

ALA's Newbery Award Winner!

The ALA Youth Media Awards were announced on Monday and the winner of the very prestigious Newbery Medal, for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature, went to Katherine Applegate for The One and Only Ivan!  Three books were also given a Newbery Honor:  Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz, Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.  Congrats to all the amazing winners!

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life.

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

When Clara vanishes after the puppeteer Grisini and two orphaned assistants were at her twelfth birthday party, suspicion of kidnapping chases the trio away from London and soon the two orphans are caught in a trap set by Grisini's ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it is too late.

Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

Recounts the scientific discoveries that enabled atom splitting, the military intelligence operations that occurred in rival countries, and the work of brilliant scientists hidden at Los Alamos.

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Washed ashore as a baby in tiny Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, Mo LoBeau, now eleven, and her best friend Dale turn detective when the amnesiac Colonel, owner of a café and co-parent of Mo with his cook, Miss Lana, seems implicated in a murder.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder that the Book Buddies Book Club will meet on Monday, January 28th @ 3:30pm to discuss our January book, Angel of the Battlefield by Ann Hood.

New readers are encouraged to attend!  If you like talking about books and hanging out with other kids, please join us!  Book club consists of book discussion, snacks and a related activity.  It's very laid back, there are no quizzes or tests and no wrong answers or opinions!

If you are new and want to join the club, please shoot me a quick email to let me know that you are coming.  You can email me at  You can also call the Children's Desk to sign up (401-847-8720 ext. 204).

Hope to see you Monday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Award Season

It is officially awards season and while we breathlessly wait for the ALA Youth Media Awards to be announced on January 28th (including the Newbery and Caldecott winners!) there are other prestigious awards to take note of as well. 

As I mentioned last week, the 2013 Edgar Award nominees have been released and also last week the winner of the 2013 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction was announced.  The winner of this wonderful award named in honor of legendary author Scott O'Dell (Island of the Blue Dolphins) is:

Chickadee by Louise Erdrich

In 1866, Omakayas's son Chickadee is kidnapped by two ne'er-do-well brothers from his own tribe and must make a daring escape, forge unlikely friendships, and set out on an exciting and dangerous journey to get back home.

Chickadee is book four in the Birchbark House series.  Check out all the books in the series by visiting the library today!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Books About Time Travel

In the Treasure Chest series, each installment features twins Felix and Maisie traveling back in time and meeting famous historical figures including Clara Barton, Alexander Hamilton, Pearl Buck and Harry Houdini. 

As I was searching for other time travel adventures to recommend, I was astonished at how many there are to choose from!  I never realized that time travel was such an overwhelmingly popular subject!  With that in mind, here are just a few of the more recent time travel adventures you might like to read:

Bridge of Time by Lewis Buzbee

Best friends Lee Jones and Joan Lee have a lot more in common besides their names. On the eve of their class trip, they each learn their parents are getting divorced. Ugh. The class trip is a dud, so Lee and Joan steal away to talk. What follows is an afternoon nap in a lighthouse, walking up to find the Golden Gate Bridge gone - gone! - and meeting a young man named Sam Clemens, who is on the run from a mysterious stranger. Lee and Joan wonder: Where are they? What year is it? Why don't their cell phones work? How will they get back? Do they even want to? Will life ever be the same?

 Ted & Me: A Baseball Card Adventure by Dan Gutman

When Stosh travels back in time to 1941 in hopes of preventing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II, he meets Ted Williams, one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. Includes notes about Williams' life and career.

The Last Musketeer by Stuart Gibbs

In Paris with his parents to sell family heirlooms, fourteen-year-old Greg Rich suddenly finds himself four hundred years in the past, and is aided by boys who will one day be known as "The Three Musketeers."

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book 5 Coming Soon!

Book #5 in the Treasure Chest series is called Crazy Horse: Brave Warrior and will be released on March 7, 2013!

In book five, Felix and Maisie re-enter the Treasure Chest and suddenly find themselves in the midst of a Lakota village. While exploring they meet a young man, soon to be known as Crazy Horse--and embark on an adventure that includes fascinating vision quests and exciting battles.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Edgar Award Nominations

The Mystery Writers of America have announced the nominees for the 2013 Edgar Awards!  The awards will be presented at a gala banquet in New York City on May 2, 2013. 

Here are the nominations for Best Juvenile Mystery.  Read the books and decide who you think should win!

Fake Mustache: Or, How Jodie O’Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Savedthe U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind by Tom Angleberger

Lenny Flem Jr. is the only one standing between his evil-genius best friend, Casper, and world domination as Casper uses a spectacularly convincing fake mustache and the ability to hypnotize to rob banks, amass a vast fortune, and run for president.

13 Hangmen by Art Corriveau

"Some people won't believe any of this story. You might be one of them. But every single word is true. Tony DiMarco does catch a murderer, solve a mystery, and find a treasure--all in the first few days after he moves, unexpectedly, to 13 Hangmen's Court in Boston. The fact that he also turns thirteen at the same time is not a coincidence." So begins the story of Tony and his friends--five 13-year-old boys, all of whom are living in the same house in the same attic bedroom but at different times in history! None are ghosts, all are flesh and blood, and somehow all have come together in the attic room, visible only to one another. And all are somehow linked to a murder, a mystery, and a treasure.

The Quick Fix by Jack D. Ferraiolo

When the star of the basketball team is blackmailed, it’s up to Matt, the lone voice for justice in a morass of middle school corruption, to figure out who’s behind the scheme. Is it eighth-grade crime lord Vinny “Mr. Biggs” Biggio, who has made his name peddling forged hall passes and leading a crew of social assassins who send enemies to the Outs with a humiliating squirt-gun blast below the belt? Or is it his lieutenant and Matt’s former best friend, Kevin? Or a pair of scheming twins who sell Pixy Stix to sugar-addicted classmates? One thing’s for sure: There won’t be a quick fix for the trouble at this middle school.

Spy School by Stuart Gibbs

Twelve-year-old Ben Ripley leaves his public middle school to attend the CIA's highly secretive Espionage Academy, which everyone is told is an elite science school.

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Washed ashore as a baby in tiny Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, Mo LoBeau, now eleven, and her best friend Dale turn detective when the amnesiac Colonel, owner of a café and co-parent of Mo with his cook, Miss Lana, seems implicated in a murder.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Inauguration Day

President Barack Obama will be sworn in for a second term as President of the United States on Monday, January 21, 2013.  Relive his last inauguration in 2009 with the following books:

Praise Song for the Day: A Poem for Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration, January 20, 2009 by Elizabeth Alexander

On January 20, 2009, Elizabeth Alexander served as the fourth ever inaugural poet and a central participant in one of the most closely watched inaugurations in American history. Selected by Barack Obama, Alexander composed and delivered her original poem "Praise Song for the Day" to an audience of millions.

Celebrating the Inauguration of Barack Obama in Pictures by Jane Katirgis

Barack Obama made history on January 20, 2009, when he became the first African-American president of the United States. The historic inauguration--from the whistle stop train tour to the inaugural balls--is captured with stunning photos of President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Malia and Sasha, as well as the enormous crowds who traveled from all over the country to witness this important event in United States history.

Learn more about the Presidential Inauguration with Facts, First and Precedents and read a biography of our President, Barack Obama.

Pretend that you are moving in to the White House and read Liberty Porter, First Daughter by Julia DeVillers.

On her first day at the White House, nine-year-old Liberty exuberantly explores her new home while making new friends and giving unique tours of her own.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Clara Barton

In Angel of the Battlefield, Felix and Maisie travel back in time to Massachusetts in 1836 where they meet a young Clara Barton who would later become founder of the American Red Cross.  Clara Barton is an important historical figure who played a profound role in the American Civil War.

Learn about Clara Barton by reading about her at the American Red Cross website or by reading a short biography from Women in History. 

There are also a number of biographies of Clara Barton that can be checked out from the library including:

Clara Barton by Christy Devillier
Clara Barton: I Want to Help! by Cathy East Dubowski

Friday, January 11, 2013

Books Set in Rhode Island

The books in the Treasure Chest series are just some of the books out there that take place in our wonderful state of Rhode Island.  Here are some other books with a local setting that you might like:

The Case of the Furtive Firebug by Peggy Nicholson (Kerry Hill Casecrackers #1)

Hally Watkins, her younger brother Jason, and other young people they meet in Newport, Rhode Island, must prove that their friend Tuyet is not responsible for burning down the house she has been hired to paint.

The Art of Keeping Cool by Janet Taylor Lisle

In 1942, Robert and his cousin Elliot uncover long-hidden family secrets while staying in their grandparents' Rhode Island town, where they also become involved with a German artist who is suspected of being a spy.
Gold Medal Summer by Donna Freitas

After fourteen-year-old Joey experiences her first kiss and learns that her best friend wants to quit competitive gymnastics, she considers giving up her dream of winning gold medals in order to have a normal life, even as her sister and assistant coach urge her to reach a new level.

The Amazing Adventures of John Smith, Jr., aka Houdini by Peter Johnson

Thirteen-year-old John "Houdini" Smith tries to write a book about what is happening in his life, from his parents' worries about money and his brother in Iraq, to his new understandings of people while he and his friends rake lawns in their East Side Providence, Rhode Island neighborhood.

The Scrimshaw Ring by William Jaspersohn

A young boy living in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1710 enjoys imaginary adventures with make-believe pirates, until the day that real pirates come ashore for evil purposes and leave him a remarkable memento. Includes ideas for activities related to family heirlooms.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Treasure Chest series

Angel of the Battlefield is the first book in The Treasure Chest series.  Each book involves Felix and Maisie traveling through time to meet a famous historical figure.  Check out the other books in the series today!

Little Lion

An old coin in The Treasure Chest transports twins Felix and Maisie to the island of St. Croix in 1772, where they meet seventeen-year-old Alexander Hamilton who is about to embark on a journey to New York.

Jewel of the East

When Felix gets a crush on his friend Lily, who was adopted from China as a baby, he decides to try to take her back in time to learn more about China. After being caught by Maisie, the twins find themselves transported to a small village on the Yangtze River, leaving Lily behind in the present. In China, the twins meet Pearl Buck in the days just before the Boxer Rebellion. With bandits chasing them, they flee to safety in Shanghai. The twins return home to find their father and their Great Uncle Thorne at home and the Pickworth Family mystery deepens.

Prince of Air

Twins Felix and Maisie, along with their Great-Aunt Maisie and Great-Uncle Thorne, are transported back in time to Coney Island where they meet a young Harry Houdini.

Coming Soon!
The Treasure Chest #5: Spring 2013
The Treasure Chest #6: Summer 2013
The Treasure Chest #7: Fall 2013
The Treasure Chest #8: Spring 2014

Friday, January 4, 2013

January Featured Author of the Month

Each month of 2013 I'll be featuring an author who's birthday falls within that month.  January's featured author, who's birthday is today (Happy Birthday!) is Phyllis Reynolds Naylor! 

Ms. Naylor is the Newbery award-winning author of over 100 books for children and young adults including the Shiloh books and the Alice series. Her newest books are Emily and Jackson Hiding Out and Alice on Board.
Find out all about her at Reading Rockets and watch a video interview. 

Visit the library today to check out her amazing books for children.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January Author: Ann Hood

Ann Hood is the amazing author of our January book, Angel of the Battlefield.  She is a local author, living in Providence, Rhode Island, and has written many books for children and adults.  Find out all about her on her website.

And don't miss Penguin's (the publisher) Treasure Chest website for more information about the author, all the books in The Treasure Chest series and activities for kids!

Also by Ann Hood:

How I Saved My Father's Life (And Ruined Everything Else)

After her father leaves and marries the glamorous Ava Pomme, Madeline blames her mother for their difficult new life, but in spite of the twelve-year-old's efforts to achieve sainthood, it takes a summer trip to Italy to put her family into perspective.