Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rhode Island Children's Book Award

Voting for the Rhode Island Children's Book Award 2014 is a mere 6 months away!  I hope you've all been reading the books since the list was published in March.  As a reminder to read these excellent books so that you'll be ready to vote next year, I'll be featuring 4 titles each month, September - January.  See our special RICBA display in the library and check out one of these books today!

Barnum's Bones by Tracey Fern

Do you love dinosaurs? Would you like to be a “Bone Hunter?”
Barnum Brown did and was! As a boy Barnum loved bones and he dreamed about finding bones from a species that no one had ever found before. Read this true story about an unusual boy who became famous for finding bones.

Double Dog Dare by Lisa Graff

Fourth grade students Francine and Kansas are in a double dare contest
to win the morning announcer spot for their school. These dares are out
of control until the two enemies discover their common secret.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Inspired by the true story of a gorilla who spent 30 years alone in a
cage at an indoor zoo in a mall, this beautifully written book is told
from the point of view of Ivan, the Gorilla. Follow his struggle to free
himself and a baby elephant from his down and out “domain.”

Snakes by Nic Bishop

Are all snakes poisonous? How do they find their prey? Did you know
they hear by using the bones in their jaws? Explore the fascinating and
sometimes horrifying world of snakes with vivid, full page photographs
and engaging facts that will give you a new appreciation of these scaly
silent creatures.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September Meeting Wrap-Up

The Book Buddies Book Club met yesterday afternoon to discuss our September book, Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai.  We had a terrific discussion followed by an "All About Me" activity.

We began by talking about the character of Ha, who she is as a person and how we would describe her to others.  We all agreed that she is very brave and kind and would make a great friend.

We talked about her relationships with her mother and three brothers, Pam and Steven and Miss Washington, her tutor.  We also discussed how hard it was for her to leave Vietnam and everything she had ever known to come to America.  Not speaking the language or understanding the customs was very challenging for her and made more so by the way many people treated her and her family.

We all enjoyed the novel-in-verse style of Inside Out & Back Again and would highly recommend the book to our friends.

Following our discussion we decorated "All About Me" posters and talked about creating family trees.

It was a wonderful first meeting of the new school year and I look forward to getting together again in October.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder that the Book Buddies Book Club will meet on Monday, September 23rd at 3:30pm to discuss Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai!

There's still time to register and we are always looking for new members.  If you are in grades 3, 4 or 5, like to read, talk about books and meet new people, join Book Buddies!  Book Buddies is very low key and lots of fun.  No test or quizzes and no wrong answers.  Get together with friends who share a love of books and reading!

Sign up by visiting the children's desk, call 401-847-8720 ext. 204 or emailing me at

Hope to see you Monday!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Vietnamesse Water Puppets

Watch this interesting video of a Vietnamese Water Puppet show performed by the Ho Chi Minh City Puppet Company!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Building a Family Tree

Inside Out & Back Again is the story of Ha's family and their journey from Saigon to Alabama.  Ha has never met her relatives in North Vietnam and does not remember her father who was captured by communists when she was 1 year old.   

One of the best ways to learn your family story is by creating a family tree.  Most of us know our parents and grandparents but do you know who you're great-grandparents were?  Do you know where your family comes from?

Build your own family tree by visiting Family Tree Kids or by checking out Basic Genealogy for Kids by Bonnie Hinman and Do People Grow on Family Trees?: Genealogy for Kids and Other Beginners by Ira Wolfman.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Stories of Immigration

In Inside Out and Back Again, Ha and her family immigrate from Vietnam to Alabama.  Learn more about immigration by visiting Scholastic's Meet Young Immigrants.  You'll hear real stories of real kids who have recently immigrated to the United States. 

You can also check out a few other stories featuring young girls new to America:

Hope in My Heart by Kathryn Lasky

After her family immigrates to America from Italy in 1903, ten-year-old Sofia is quarantined at the Ellis Island Immigration Station, where she makes a good friend but endures nightmarish conditions.

Wild Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff

When twelve-year-old Lidie leaves Brazil to join her father and brother on a horse ranch in New York, she has a hard time adjusting to her changed circumstances, as does a new horse that has come to the ranch.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Reading Recommendations

Enjoying Inside Out & Back Again?  You might also want to read the following...

Stories of Vietnam:

When Heaven Fell by Carolyn Marsden

When her grandmother reveals that the daughter that she had given up for adoption is coming from America to visit her Vietnamese family, nine-year-old Binh is convinced that her newly-discovered aunt is wealthy and will take care of all the family's needs.

Journey Home by Lawrence McKay

Mai returns to Vietnam, the land of her mother's birth, to discover both a new country and something about herself.

Other novels in verse:

The Wild Book by Margarita Engle

In early twentieth-century Cuba, bandits terrorize the countryside as a young farm girl struggles with dyslexia.

Pearl Verses the World by Sally Murphy

Pearl feels like an island in school, isolated and alone, but at home she feels loved and secure until her grandmother's illness changes the way Pearl views her world.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Learn About Vietnam

In Inside Out & Back Again, Ha's family leaves Saigon (now known as Ho Chi Minh City - the largest city in Vietman) for Alabama. 

Learn about Vietman at National Geographic Kids and by visiting Time for Kids for a Vietnam sightseeing guide.  There are also great books at the library on a variety of Vietnam-related topics!

Cooking the Vietnamese Way by Chi Nguyen

An introduction to the cooking of Vietnam featuring such recipes as spring rolls, sweet and sour soup, and Vietnamese fried rice. Also includes information about the land, history, and holidays of this south-east Asian country.

Vietnam in Pictures by Stacy Taus-Bolstad

Detailed information on the geography, history and government, economy, people, cultural life and society of traditional and modern Vietnam.

One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

After being adopted from Vietnam by a loving family in Canada, Tuyet undergoes a series of operations to correct her foot, which was turned inward by polio, so that she may someday walk, run, and play like other children.

Children of the Dragon: Select Tales from Vietnam by  Sherry Garland

An illustrated collection of Vietnamese folktales.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Featured Author of the Month: Kimberly Willis Holt

Kimberly Willis Holt (birthday September 9) is the featured author of the month!  Ms. Holt has written many books for children including My Louisiana Sky, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town and the Piper Reed series.  She lives in Amarillo, Texas with her family.

Read an interview with her and visit the library today to check out her amazing books.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Author Thanhha Lai

Thanhha Lai is the wonderful author of our September book, Inside Out & Back Again!  I was fortunate enough to hear her speak when she visited Rhode Island for the Kids Reading Across Rhode Island event back in June.  She was delightful, funny and very interesting.  Inside Out & Back Again is her first novel.  It won the 2011 National Book Award for Young People's Literature and a 2012 Newbery Honor - not bad for a first book!  Hopefully there will be many more to come.

Find out more about Thanhaa Lai and read her letter to you, the reader! 

Learn the correct pronunciation of her name and see her read from her book at the 2011 National Book Award finalists reading:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Browse Inside - Inside Out & Back Again

Take a look inside Inside Out & Back Again with the Browse Inside widget from HarperCollins!  

Browse Inside this book
Get this for your site

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September Book Buddies Book

The Book Buddies Book Club will hold the first meeting of the new school year on Monday, September 23rd at 3:30pm.  The September book will be.... Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai.  Inside Out is this year's Kids Reading Across Rhode Island selection!  Copies of the book are available at the Children's Desk. 

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

Registration is required and children who are interested in attending should plan on reading the book before the meeting.  To sign up for book club, visit the Children's Desk, call 401-847-8720 ext. 204 or email me at 

Hope to see you this year!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Featured Homework Resource

Each month I'll be featuring a different library or online resource that will help you with your homework assignments this school year.  This month it's time to get reacquainted with Live Homework Help!

Students of all ages can find the help they need through Live Homework Help (LHH).  Get one-on-one tutoring with real tutors in real time with LHH on demand.  Communicate with your tutor anonymously through an instant message style of chat and dual access to an online whiteboard.  Tutoring is available in Math, Science, English and Social Studies and is available to both English and Spanish speakers.  LHH is open from 2pm - 10pm, 7 days a week.

LHH also includes access to the Internet during your tutoring session for sharing the best websites as well as file sharing - tutors can send students worksheets for additional practice and students can upload papers for review.

In addition to real-time tutoring, LHH also includes the SkillsCenter Resource Library which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.   The Resource Library includes homework resources consisting of thousands of lessons, worksheets, study guides, videos and more.

Take advantage of this amazing service by visiting the library's homework help webpage.

Questions?  Visit the Children's Desk or call 401-847-8720 ext. 204 for more information.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month

September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month!  If you've never had a library card, now is the time to get one. 

A library card is one of the most important back-to-school supplies you can have.  With a library card you can:
  • use computers in the library
  • borrow books, movies, music, magazines, playaways and more from the library
  • check out eBooks from the E-Zone or 3M Cloud libraries
  • access Encyclopedia Britannica online from home
  • access databases such as Student Research Center and Kids Search
  • borrow museum passes for places like the Roger Williams Park Zoo and the Newport Art Museum
  • and much more!
Library cards are free if you have never had one in Rhode Island before and just $1 if you need to replace your card.  Children under 17 must have the application form signed by a parent or guardian.

Visit our website for more information about getting an Ocean State Library Card from the Newport Public Library and start the new school year off right!