Welcome to Baxter Memorial Library’s summer reading program! I’m Baxter, your helpful library dragon. Included in your packet are reading and writing challenges, lots of fun writing prompts, stickers, notebooks, magnetic bookmarks and more!
Do you have to do everything? Of course not! Pick and choose what looks most fun to you. Do you like to color? (There are some pretty cool coloring sheets.) Maybe you prefer to draw. (Did you see the create-your-own-books? Or the blank comic strips?) Or write. (Check out the 100 crazy writing prompts!) Hey, I’ve even included an invitation to a weekly virtual craft hour!
What about the usual reading log? It’s here, too! You can track any way you like!
1. You can use the sticker sheet and small stickers that are included. Write on the sticker sheet how much reading time each sticker stands for: 5 minutes, 10 minutes, a half hour – it’s up to you! 2. You can write down the names of the books you read. 3. You can write down the names of the books you read and how long you read them. 4. You can draw a picture of each book you read. 5. You can take a photo of yourself with each book and send them to email@example.com.
Have another idea? That probably works, too!
How do you get books from the library these days? Curbside pickup! Just call or email to let us know what books you want to read, and we’ll gather them up, get them ready for you, and put them on the porch for you to pick up. Keep track, and at the end of the summer, turn in your reading log, and you’ll receive tickets that you can use to enter our end-of-summer raffle.
“How can I earn extra tickets?” I hear you asking. (I have very good hearing. I am a dragon, after all.) Completing the reading challenge on the yellow sheet, or the writing challenge on the orange sheet will earn you extra tickets. (Yes, yes, I hear you. That writing challenge is huge! Okay, even just completing a line – like in BINGO – will earn extra tickets.) Use the create-your-own-books in the packet and earn extra tickets. Or, maybe you have a better idea! If it’s reading or writing related, it very well might earn you some extra tickets – just show me what you’ve got!
Now for the part you’ve been waiting for… the PRIZES! The library will be raffling off some stellar prizes later this year, including lots of brand new books! At the end of the summer, you’ll be able to use your raffle tickets on whatever prizes you like most – maybe you’ll win! More info on prizes will be coming soon.
Have fun reading and writing all summer long! If you need anything from me (another sticker log, some coloring pages, more books – you name it), just let me know. A library dragon always loves to help.
America in 2020 seems to insist that we have several difficult conversations all at once, conversations about politics and power, economies and trade-offs, illness and death and safety and fear…
Racial conversations are difficult enough for adults, but if you have young children, you may be struggling to know how or where to begin – or whether to begin, at all. How much are children already learning from television and the Internet – and what, exactly, are they learning? How can we help them make sense of what’s happening? How can we answer the questions they will inevitably ask?
A good place to begin is with books. Books beg us to slow down and consider things. They give us time to assimilate or question the information they present, unlike a television program that moves quickly from scene to scene.
And books, when read to a child, seem to insist on closeness, a closeness that helps to allay fears and unease. They encourage parents and children to talk. They suggest things to discuss, and they offer ways to enter into those difficult conversations.
Baxter Memorial Library has many books that can help with these discussions. From board books and picture books to graphic novels and books for older, independent readers, the list below highlights some of our offerings.
Picture Books on Inclusion and Kindness
Books on kindness are always a good place to begin. Here are several choices for the youngest among us.
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (we also have this title on DVD) “Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect—until her first day of school. “You’re named after a flower!” teases Victoria. “Let’s smell her,” says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again?”
The Invisible Boyby Trudy Ludwig “Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine…. This gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish.”
Each Kindnessby Jacqueline Woodson “Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.”
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you. “There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.”
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli (ON ORDER) “Mr. Hatch is a drab, predictable gentleman who leads a painfully ordered and uninteresting life, his dreary routine at the shoelace factory barely broken by the same joyless lunch day after day. One Valentine’s Day a giant candy-filled heart is delivered to Mr. Hatch with a note that reads, ‘Somebody loves you.’ Just the thought of someone taking an interest in him completely changes the way Mr. Hatch interacts with his neighbors and co-workers. The newly adorable gentleman becomes so much a part of people’s lives that when it is disclosed that the heart was delivered by mistake, his friends and neighbors rally around him in a loving demonstration (Publishers Weekly).”
Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller “When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate wants to make her feel better, wondering: What does it mean to be kind? From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this moving story explores what kindness is, and how any act, big or small, can make a difference―or at least help a friend. With a gentle text from the award-winning author of Sophie’s Squash, Pat Zietlow Miller, and irresistible art from Jen Hill, Be Kind is an unforgettable story about how two simple words can change the world.”
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson “Can one child’s good deed change the world? It can when she’s Ordinary Mary―an ordinary girl from an ordinary school, on her way to her ordinary house―who stumbles upon ordinary blueberries. When she decides to pick them for her neighbor, Mrs. Bishop, she starts a chain reaction that multiplies around the world.”
PictureBooks on Ways of Seeing
One scene, many accounts. Why? How can one person see a situation in one way, and another person, another? These books show how each person’s (or, in this case, creature’s) perspective can be different.
They All Saw a Catby Brendan Wenzel “The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws . . . In this glorious celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel shows us the many lives of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see. When you see a cat, what do you see?”
A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel “A Stone Sat Still tells the story of a seemingly ordinary rock but to the animals that use it, it is a resting place, a kitchen, a safe haven…even an entire world. This is a gorgeous exploration of perspective, perception, and the passage of time, with an underlying environmental message that is timely and poignant.”
Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young “‘It’s a pillar,’ says one. ‘It’s a fan,’ says another. One by one, the seven blind mice investigate the strange Something by the pond. And one by one, they come back with a different theory. It’s only when the seventh mouse goes out-and explores the whole Something-that the mice see the whole truth.”
Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne “Different characters tell the same story from their own perspectives in this timeless children’s story book, which explores the themes of alienation, friendship, and the bizarre amid the mundane. Four people enter a park, and through their eyes we see four different visions. There’s the bossy woman, the sad man, the lonely boy, and the young girl whose warmth touches those she meets. As the story moves from one voice to another, their perspectives are reflected in the shifting landscape and seasons.”
Books that Specifically Talk about Race
The Family Book by Todd Parr For the youngest readers/listeners, a board book about how families are different – and the same. “The Family Book celebrates the love we feel for our families and all the different varieties they come in. Whether you have two moms or two dads, a big family or a small family, a clean family or a messy one, Todd Parr assures readers that no matter what kind of family you have, every family is special in its own unique way. Parr’s message about the importance of embracing our differences is delivered in a playful way. With his trademark bold, bright colors and silly scenes, this book will encourage children to ask questions about their own families.” Includes two pages that talk about the color of families (“Some families are the same color. Some families are different colors.”)
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson “Clover’s mom says it isn’t safe to cross the fence that segregates their African-American side of town from the white side where Anna lives. But the two girls strike up a friendship, and get around the grown-ups’ rules by sitting on top of the fence together.”A “moving, lyrical narrative told in the hopeful voice of a child confused about the fence someone else has built in her yard and the racial tension that divides her world.”
That Is My Dream!: A picture book of Langston Hughes’ “Dream Variation” by Langston Hughes “Dream Variation,” about the dream of a world free of discrimination and racial prejudice, is one of Langston Hughes’ most celebrated poems. To fling my arms wide In some place of the sun, To whirl and to dance Till the white day is done…. Langston Hughes’ inspiring and timeless message of pride, joy, and the dream of a better life is brilliantly and beautifully interpreted in Daniel Miyares’ gorgeous artwork. Follow one African-American boy through the course of his day as the harsh reality of segregation and racial prejudice comes into vivid focus. But the boy dreams of a different life—one full of freedom, hope, and wild possibility, where he can fling his arms wide in the face of the sun.
Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights by Rob Sanders “A primer for peaceful protest, resistance, and activism from the author of Rodzilla and Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag. Protesting. Standing up for what’s right. Uniting around the common good—kids have questions about all of these things they see and hear about each day. Through sparse and lyrical writing, Rob Sanders introduces abstract concepts like “fighting for what you believe in” and turns them into something actionable. Jared Schorr’s bold, bright illustrations brings the resistance to life making it clear that one person can make a difference. And together, we can accomplish anything.
The Colors of Usby Karen Katz “Seven-year-old Lena is going to paint a picture of herself. She wants to use brown paint for her skin. But when she and her mother take a walk through the neighborhood, Lena learns that brown comes in many different shades. Through the eyes of a little girl who begins to see her familiar world in a new way, this book celebrates the differences and similarities that connect all people.”
Can I Touch Your Hair: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship by Sean Qualls and Selina Alk “Two poets, one white and one black, explore race and childhood in this must-have collection tailored to provoke thought and conversation. How can Irene and Charles work together on their fifth grade poetry project? They don’t know each other . . . and they’re not sure they want to. Irene Latham, who is white, and Charles Waters, who is black, use this fictional setup to delve into different experiences of race in a relatable way, exploring such topics as hair, hobbies, and family dinners.”
ABC of African American Poetry by Ashley Bryan And God stepped out on space, And he looked around and said: I’m lonely — I’ll make me a world. ~ James Weldon Johnson “Thus begins Coretta Scott King Award-winner Ashley Bryan’s collection of inspiring excerpts of poems by celebrated African American poets. Beautifully illustrated with his own tempera and gouache paintings, Ashley Bryan’s unique alphabet book will delight readers of any age.”
Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson “Soonie’s great-grandma was just seven years old when she was sold to a big plantation without her ma and pa, and with only some fabric and needles to call her own. She pieced together bright patches with names like North Star and Crossroads, patches with secret meanings made into quilts called Show Ways — maps for slaves to follow to freedom. When she grew up and had a little girl, she passed on this knowledge. And generations later, Soonie — who was born free — taught her own daughter how to sew beautiful quilts to be sold at market and how to read. From slavery to freedom, through segregation, freedom marches and the fight for literacy, the tradition they called Show Way has been passed down by the women in Jacqueline Woodson’s family as a way to remember the past and celebrate the possibilities of the future. Beautifully rendered in Hudson Talbott’s luminous art, this moving, lyrical account pays tribute to women whose strength and knowledge illuminate their daughters’ lives.”
Let’s Talk about Raceby Julius Lester “‘This wonderful book should be a first choice for all collections and is strongly recommended as a springboard for discussions about differences’ (School Library Journal).In this acclaimed book, the author of the Newbery Honor Book To Be a Slave shares his own story as he explores what makes each of us special. A strong choice for sharing at home or in the classroom. Karen Barbour’s dramatic, vibrant paintings speak to the heart of Lester’s unique vision, truly a celebration of all of us. ‘This stunning picture book introduces race as just one of many chapters in a person’s story’ (School Library Journal). ‘Lester’s poignant picture book helps children learn, grow, discuss, and begin to create a future that resolves differences’ (Children’s Literature). Julius Lester says, ‘I write because our lives are stories. If enough of these stories are told, then perhaps we will begin to see that our lives are the same story. The differences are merely in the details.’”
Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Libraryby Carol Boston Weatherford “Where is our historian to give us our side? Arturo asked. Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro–Puerto Rican named Arturo Schomburg. This law clerk’s life’s passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages. When Schomburg’s collection became so big it began to overflow his house (and his wife threatened to mutiny), he turned to the New York Public Library, where he created and curated a collection that was the cornerstone of a new Negro Division. A century later, his groundbreaking collection, known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has become a beacon to scholars all over the world.”
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.by Doreen Rappaport “Doreen Rappaport weaves the immortal words of Dr. King into a captivating narrative to tell the story of his life. With stunning art by acclaimed illustrator Bryan Collier, Martin’s Big Words is an unforgettable portrait of a man whose dream changed America-and the world-forever.”
Before She Was Harrietby Lesa Cline-Ransome “An evocative poem and stunning watercolors come together to honor an American heroine in a Coretta Scott King Honor and Christopher Award-winning picture book. We know her today as Harriet Tubman, but in her lifetime she was called by many names. As General Tubman she was a Union spy. As Moses she led hundreds to freedom on the Underground Railroad. As Minty she was a slave whose spirit could not be broken. As Araminta she was a young girl whose father showed her the stars and the first steps on the path to freedom.”
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Lifeby Ashley Bryan “Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful picture book that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away. Imagine being looked up and down and being valued as less than a chair. Less than an ox. Less than a dress. Maybe about the same as…a lantern. You, an object. An object to sell. In his gentle yet deeply powerful way, Ashley Bryan goes to the heart of how a slave is given a monetary value by the slave owner, tempering this with the one thing that CAN’T be bought or sold—dreams. Inspired by the actual will of a plantation owner that lists the worth of each and every one of his “workers”, Bryan has created collages around that document, and others like it. Through fierce paintings and expansive poetry he imagines and interprets each person’s life on the plantation, as well as the life their owner knew nothing about—their dreams and pride in knowing that they were worth far more than an Overseer or Madam ever would guess. Visually epic, and never before done, this stunning picture book is unlike anything you’ve seen.”
And for older readers:
New Kid a graphic novel by Jerry Craft “Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?” Winner of the Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award, and Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature.
Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow a graphic novel by James Strum and Rich Tommaso “Baseball Hall of Famer Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige (1906 – 1982) changed the face of the game in a career that spanned five decades. Much has been written about this larger-than-life pitcher, but when it comes to Paige, fact does not easily separate from fiction. He made a point of writing his own history . . . and then re-writing it. A tall, lanky fireballer, he was arguably the Negro League’s hardest thrower, most entertaining storyteller and greatest gate attraction. Now the Center for Cartoon Studies turns a graphic novelist’s eye to Paige’s story. Told from the point of view of a sharecropper, this compelling narrative follows Paige from game to game as he travels throughout the segregated South.
March I, II, and III a graphic novel trilogy by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin “Discover the inside story of the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of one of its most iconic figures, Congressman John Lewis. March is the award-winning, #1 bestselling graphic novel trilogy recounting his life in the movement, co-written with Andrew Aydin and drawn by Nate Powell.”
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Irbram X. Kendi (ON ORDER) “The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited. Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.”
Why Do We Fight?: Conflict, War, and Peaceby Niki Walker “Battles, protests, standoffs, strikes. We hear about them all the time. On the surface, a battle and a protest don’t seem to have much in common, but they’re really just two ways of handling a dispute. One uses violence, the other uses signs and picket lines. But both start as a disagreement between two groups of people. Both are conflicts.” This book will spur many good discussions.
Racial Profiling: Everyday Inequalityby Alison Narie Behnke “In the United States, racial profiling affects thousands of Americans every day. Both individuals and institutions―such as law enforcement agencies, government bodies, and schools ― routinely use race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of an offense. The high-profile deaths of unarmed people of color at the hands of police officers have brought renewed national attention to racial profiling and have inspired grassroots activism from groups such as Black Lives Matter. Combining rigorous research with powerful personal stories, this insightful title explores the history, the many manifestations, and the consequences of this form of social injustice.”
Life on the Underground Railroad (Way People Live) by Stuart A. Kallen “Kallen presents his material in lively, yet objective prose, buttressed by well-chosen quotations from relevant 19th-century documents. The introduction and the first chapter review the history of slavery in America to 1861 and describe a slave’s treatment, labor, cabin, and diet. Subsequent chapters describe terrifying journeys on the “railroad,” and how runaway slaves worked with underground conductors and stationmasters to outwit bounty hunters. A brief final section links the impact of the Underground Railroad experience on African-American military service for the Union and the events of Reconstruction. The text is supplemented by a generous selection of black-and-white maps and period photographs and illustrations, all with much sharper images than found in other volumes in this series. Shaded boxes highlight major figures and interesting facts.” (School Library Journal)
Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America’s First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone “World War II is raging, and thousands of American soldiers are fighting overseas against the injustices brought on by Hitler. Back on the home front, discrimination against African Americans plays out as much on Main Street as in the military. Tanya Lee Stone examines the little-known history of the Triple Nickles, America’s first black paratroopers, who fought in an attack on the American West by the Japanese. The 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, in the words of First Sergeant Walter Morris, ‘proved that the color of a man had nothing to do with his ability.’”
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rightsby Steve Sheinkin “On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors who were at the docks, critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks, and shattering windows up to a mile away. On August 9th, 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were addressed. When the dust settled, fifty were charged with mutiny, facing decades in jail and even execution. The Port Chicago 50 is a fascinating story of the prejudice and injustice that faced black men and women in America’s armed forces during World War II, and a nuanced look at those who gave their lives in service of a country where they lacked the most basic rights.” A National Book Award Finalist, a YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
Other Books for Young Readers Featuring Black Characters
Here are some of the picture books and easy readers at Baxter that feature black characters:
Love Is by Diane Adams Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer Daniel’s Good Day by Micha Archer Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow Dragons and Marshmallows (Zoey and Sassafras #1) by Asia Citro Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall Island Born by Junot Diaz Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel by Nikki Grimes Yo, Jo by Rachel Isadora Ben’s Trumpet by Rachel Isador The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats Flossie and the Fox by Patricia C. McKissack Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner Thank You, Omu by Oge Mora Raising Dragons by Jerdine Nolen The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison How to Find Gold by Viviane Schwarz Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe The Jones Family Express by Javaka Steptoe My Name is Blessing by Eric Walters Coming on Home Soon by Jacqueline Woodson The Jones Family Express by Javaka Steptoe Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe My Name is Blessing by Eric Walters Coming on Home Soon by Jacqueline Woodson
And nonfiction picture books: Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters by Michael Mahin A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant
For Older Readers
The library also owns quite a few junior fiction and young adult novels that deal with issues of race.
Junior Fiction Novels
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson Stone Mirrors: The Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis by Jeannine Atkins The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson Night on Fire by Ronald Kidd Sarny: A Life Remembered by Gary Paulsen A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee Jason Reynold’s Track Series: Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor Paperboy by Vince Vawter My Name Is Not Friday by Jon Walter The World Beneath: A Novel (One South African Boy’s Struggle to be Free) by Anice Warman The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Young Adult Novels
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi Solo by Kwame Alexander The Crossover by Kwame Alexander Booked by Kwame Alexander Dread Nation: Rise Up by Justina Ireland Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson Letters from a Slave Girl by Mary E. Lyons Light It Up by Kekla Magoon Handbook for Boys: A Novel by Walter Dean Myers Monster by Walter Dean Myers Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds Miles Morales: Spider-man by Jason Reynolds Dear Martin by Nic Stone The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (also on DVD) On the Come Up by Angie Thomas Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon American Street by Ibi Zoboi _____
We also have junior reader biographies of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Toni Morrison. _____
If you’d like to discuss specific titles or offer suggestions on purchasing, I’m always more than happy to talk. You can email me or give me a call at the library on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays (763-2875). If there’s any way I can help you navigate these turbulent waters, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
The June Newsletter is out! It’s short and sweet but jam packed with info on RBdigital (a new audiobook/ebook service for patrons), interlibrary loans, curbside pickup and more. Click on the button above and check it out today!
Today, I bring you a grab bag of of fun Upper Valley and Vermont resources! There’s also information about curbside service starting on Monday (yay!) and the Baxter Show-Off Show that rolls into town on Monday, as well! Let’s delve right in….
Montshire Live at Home – Creepy Crawly Cockroaches Join Montshire Educators, Rebecca and Amy, Friday at 11:00 am for a live Zoom webinar featuring the museum’s hissing cockroaches and another surprise visitor! Ask your insect questions, play some bug pictionary and see the cockroaches super close-up! Upon registering you will be sent the Zoom Webinar link. The webinar is free, but space is limited so please register for this event in advance. Upon registering you will be sent the Zoom Webinar link. The webinar is free and will be recorded and available at the Montshire at Home resource page if you cannot attend the live broadcast.
Math Among Peers (MAP) MAP is an entirely free, student-run source for virtual math help during this time of learning at home with offering peer support and preparation for fall classes! Started by Miriam Viazmenski, a junior at Hanover High School. Miriam says, “I love sharing my passion for math with others and have enjoyed tutoring peers for several years. My idea for this project grew out of the need for instructional support in the face of our new educational reality. I have organized a group of high school students enthusiastic about sharing their love of math with peers.” You can check out the Facebook page at the link above or sign up here.
Green Mountain Chronicles The Vermont Historical Society has re-released their vintage Green Mountain Chronicles radio program from the 1980s as a podcast series. The episodes tell the history of Vermont in the twentieth century using archival sound recordings and oral history interviews. The latest episode is about the 1918 Flu epidemic. Other episodes focus on the introduction of the telephone in Vermont, the Long Trail, the popularity of the trolley, and more.
HOP@Home Each week, HOP@Home virtual stage brings adventurous artistry into your living room. The Hop offers a varied weekly line-up of online programming including live-streamed performances, film recommendations and live chat, digital dance parties for kids and grown-ups, and projects cooked up by Hop directors. Tonight, don’t miss a free show with local fiddler Patrick Ross as he recreates from home the great music and joie de vivre of his band Atlas Key, and this weekend, he’s back with his daughter Ophelia performing shows for the younger crowd! There’s lots more coming up, and quite a few recordings of past presentations. You can find some of the recordings at their YouTube page. (Kids might be particularly interested in Simon Brooks’ wonderful storytelling videos.)
Musicians as Mentors Every Tuesday at 2pm through June 2, Musicians as Mentors will present a 30 minute ZOOMCAST with a guest recording artist! This presentation is provided for free by the Upper Valley Music Center. Parent permission for those under 18 is required. If you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
And now, for the moment we’ve all been waiting for…. (Drum roll, please!) Curbside pickup begins Monday, May 18th! How will it work, you ask? Read on….
1. Choose the materials you’d like to request. Feel free to place holds online if you’re comfortable doing so. If not, just send your requests to me at email@example.com, and I’ll place the holds for you. You can also call the library at 763-2875 and leave a message specifying which items you’d like. Remember, some items (such as puzzles) may not be entered into the system, so if you know we have something but you can’t find it in the catalog, just let me know.
2. Using gloves, I’ll gather your requests, disinfect the covers, and place them inside a grocery bag. Then, I’ll set the bag on the back porch. It will have a tag with your name and instructions for disinfecting or quarantining items once you get them home.
3. I’ll contact you via email and/or phone when your items are ready. (If you can only pick up items at certain times, email me to let me know, and we can make arrangements.)
How long is the lending period? The lending period will be one month for all materials – old and new, books, DVDs, games, puzzles, you name it. As usual, we’re not crazy-strict with return dates, but please consider that others might be wanting to read the material you’ve checked out (especially if it’s new).
Can I request items through interlibrary loan? The interlibrary loan service was put on hiatus for a spell, and libraries are just beginning to start it back up. Once there’s a sufficient number of libraries using the system, we’ll start back up, too. I’ll let you know when that happens.
How will returns work? Please return materials in the book slot in the front door and not the book drop in the back. (The height of the book drop makes it difficult to retrieve items safely.) If you have any items out currently, please return them using the book slot as soon as you are able.
How will you handle returns? Using gloves, I’ll retrieve items and then quarantine them for 10 days before handling them.
If you have any questions or concerns, send me an email or give me a call. I’m happy to chat any time.
And, in other news, the Baxter Show-Off Show will roll into town on Monday!! What’s the Baxter Show-Off Show, you ask? Well….
Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, children of all ages! Step right up and join Baxter’s Show-Off Show! Come one, come all to an unbelievable online event filled with daring crafts and awesome arts, marvelous stories and mind boggling poetry!
What have you created during the quarantine? SHOW IT OFF at Baxter’s Show-Off Show!
Painting, music, poems, science experiments, works of clay or wood or metal, videos, knitting and crocheting projects, art parodies, origami, photography, gardens, stories, Lego constructions, computer programs, comics – even face masks! Whatever it is, here’s your chance to SHOW IT OFF May 18-22!
Extra, extra! Read all about it! Baxter Memorial Library will begin providing curbside pickup again on May 18th (coinciding with the upcoming, amazing Baxter Show-Off Show)! Get those requests ready, library friends, and I’ll provide more info in the coming days.
Today, though, I have some fun and intriguing resources for both word aficionados and science buffs. The first resource is such a wonderful idea for lonely book lovers that it makes my heart sing just thinking about it. For those of us who are natural introverts but who are still weary after being stuck at home for weeks on end without any meaningful social contact, this may be just the ticket. Most Zoom meetings, for me at least, still require a hefty amount of emotional preparation, but a reading party hits the sweet spot – a feeling of being around others while still being able to relax. Simply put, I don’t have to be on.
WordGeek Series: Silent Reading Party On Thursday, May 14th from 7-8pm, The Space On Main is hosting its first Silent Reading Party! Make yourself a snack, pour yourself a drink, and read whatever you feel like reading silently to yourself. Relax as musicians Don Sinclair and Jenn Grossi (D&J Music, Summer Street Music) delight your ears with acoustic music. It’s an excellent excuse for you to make time for you, take a break from your day-to-day, and feel a little less lonely while inside the comfort of your own home. This event is by donation. Proceeds will be split between The Space On Main and our guest musicians. Tips to the musicians are encouraged. If this is a hit, they’re thinking about making it a weekly event with a different musician each week!
Have you been taking time to write during the quarantine? Check out this free interactive writing class sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council!
Writing Class with Melanie Finn Join novelist Melanie Finn in three online sessions via Zoom starting on Wednesday, May 20 at 4pm. Participants will write a short story set in the Northeast Kingdom, based on a local newspaper story of their choice, and will evolve their work over the sessions. The workshop will include one-on-one feedback, group discussions, and required “homework.” The subsequent workshop sessions will meet on Saturday, May 23 and Saturday, May 30 at 4pm. Register via the online form by Monday, May 18.
And now for some science-y resources:
VT Ecostudies – Loon Behavior and Rescues Wednedsday, May 20 at 9am, Eric Hanson will present a webinar focused on the life and conservation of loons. Loons are unique in that we can watch these interactions during every daylight hour. He’ll go over results of 25 years of banding research in Wisconsin by Dr. Walter Piper detailing what is happening during loon territorial interactions, when and where chicks return to, and other stories. In addition, he’ll share some rescue stories, some successful, some not, but always interesting.
FourScienceVT VINS, ECHO, Fairbanks and Montshire museums have come together to offer science- and STEM-based resources to Vermont kids. There’s a LOT to delve into. Create giant bubbles or learn to sprout seeds with Montshire’s video tutorials, inflate a balloon with baking soda or try your hand at an engineering design challenge at ECHO, take a virtual visit to the Fairbanks planetarium, or learn about the descendants of dinosaurs at VINS – and much, MUCH more!
And remember to take photos of your experiments and send them to me so I can post them during Baxter’s Show-Off Show, May 18-22!
Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, children of all ages! Step right up and join Baxter’s Show-Off Show! Come one, come all to an unbelievable online event filled with daring crafts and awesome arts, marvelous stories and mind boggling poetry!
What have you created during the quarantine? SHOW IT OFF at Baxter’s Show-Off Show!
Art pieces, music, poems, science experiments, works of clay or wood or metal, videos, knitting and crocheting projects, art parodies, origami, photography, gardens, stories, Lego constructions, computer programs, comics – even face masks! Whatever it is, here’s your chance to SHOW IT OFF May 18-22!
I don’t know about you, but I’m going just a little stir crazy these days. I’m lucky, though, to live close to the Ompompanoosuc River. After just a short hike through the woods near my house, I’m there, and it’s glorious. I can’t help but sit down on the rocks, close my eyes, and let the sounds take over. Then, I open my eyes and write. On the walk back, I’m calmer. Happier. And, I notice more – wild strawberry leaves, a pencil-tip tree stump sculpted long ago by an industrious beaver, a tiny fern tenderly unfurling. By the time I arrive home, I always have a few stones in my pockets, maybe a feather or two, and a lot less weight on my shoulders.
If you, too, feel a sense of ease when you leave the world of screens and enter the world of growing things, and if writing about or drawing the things around you sounds like it might be a bit of fun, then check out these resources.
Northern Woodlands Tic Tac Toe Treasure Hunt Northern Woodlands Magazine (located in Lyme, NH) has been posting a new series called “This Week in the Woods” with spring sites you can find right here in the Upper Valley. Take a look and see how many you can find!
Cedar Circle’s Nature Journal Club Cedar Circle’s Nature Journal Club is a new program to encourage nature connection and social connection. Every Monday they share a prompt video, and during the week, kids do that prompt in their journal (along with anything else they’re inspired to do). Join in live with fellow nature journalists every Friday at 10am, (emailMeredith for the invitation link) or simply visit Cedar Circle’s Facebook page where you can send in pictures of your journal entries, ask questions and talk about the things you’ve noticed.
The Nature Journal Club The Nature Journal Club is a diverse community of artists and naturalists, of all levels, who meet together through Facebook to connect to nature through art. Though centered in the San Francisco Bay Area it is open to anyone with a passion for exploring nature with a journal.
How to Teach Nature Journaling If you or your children thrive on structure, consider downloading a free pdf of John Muir Laws’ and Emilie Lygren’s book How to Teach Nature Journaling. It’s aimed at teaching children how to keep a nature journal (but in learning how to teach others, you, of course, learn yourself). It’s beautifully laid out and is bursting at the seams with great ideas. You’ll need to add the book (and, if you like, its free companion book Opening the World through Nature Journaling: Integrating Art, Science & Language Arts) to your cart and then input your name and address (even though it’s a digital download). No credit card is requested. This resource is highly recommended!
Looking for something to keep the kids entertained (dare I say enthralled)? Perhaps a podcast is just the thing! Podcasts for kids have come a long way. Here are a handful that run the gamut – from science to mindfulness, old-timey radio to ethics, and even (since this is a library website, after all), a book club!
Book Club for Kids A free, 20-minute podcast devoted to middle grade books and readers. Each show features a trio of students discussing a favorite book, an interview with the author, and a celebrity reading. The Times of London named the program one of the “Top 10 Podcasts for Children” in the world.
Brains On An award-winning science podcast for kids and curious adults from American Public Media, Brains On has already produced over 100 episodes. Each week, a different kid co-host joins Molly Bloom to find answers to fascinating questions about the world with topics like “Can you dig to the center of the earth?” “How scientists are working to stop the coronavirus” and “Mary Shelley and the science of Frankenstein.”
Eleanor Amplified Eleanor Amplified is an adventure series for the whole family. Listen together as our hero, the world-famous radio reporter Eleanor Amplified, foils devious plots and outwits crafty villains, all in pursuit of the big story… Eleanor will spark laughter and conversation the whole family will enjoy, while preparing kids to appreciate journalism and make smart media choices in the future.
Ear Snacks Andrew & Polly and their friends consider music, science, art and culture in a fun-filled family-friendly podcast that parents enjoy and younger kids eat right up.
Peace Out These short stories are meant to help children calm down and relax by guiding them through visualization and breathing exercises. Peace Out was created as an accessible resource to teach children about their emotions and social skills as well as finding calm and peace in their daily lives in a fun and relaxing way.
Short & Curly SHORT & CURLY is a fast-paced fun-filled ethics podcast for kids and their parents, with questions and ideas to really get you thinking. It asks curly questions about animals, technology, school, pop culture and the future.
And finally, who couldn’t use a little nostalgia, these days? If you’re somewhere around my age (forty-ahem), you probably remember ABC’s Schoolhouse Rock with fondness. Well, you can watch every short episode (and share them with your kids) for free! Check them out on ABC’s website.
Today, I’m sharing a handful of truly wonderful resources. From free local therapy to free documentaries to rap versions of Dr. Seuss classics, there’s some good stuff here.
Upper Valley COVID Relief Over 20 licensed Vermont and New Hampshire psychotherapists have volunteered to provide free support to workers impacted by the coronavirus in the Upper Valley with free, 30-minute telehealth support sessions. Support is available to any worker impacted by the virus, including but not limited to retail and grocery workers, first responders, all hospital employees, nursing home/home health aides, correctional officers, and any worker furloughed or unemployed due to COVID. Please contact Lisa Gardner with any questions.
Izoizolyacia Art museums around the world are showcasing recreations of famous pieces done by those of us stuck at home with excess time and creativity on our hands, but the movement seems to have outgrown the museums. In just over a month, a Russian Facebook group for art re-enactors has gained 540,000 followers around the world. The group’s name, Izoizolyacia, combines the Russian words for “visual arts” and “isolation.” Do yourself a favor and check out the site; the results are stunning.
Dr. Seuss Raps over Dr. Dre Beats Were Dr. Seuss classics written to be rapped? It seems so when you watch Wes Tank’s versions of Green Eggs and Ham, Fox in Socks, The Lorax and more. If you haven’t seen these yet, you’re in for a real treat!
NETFLIX – Free Documentaries To help teachers and students learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Netflix is making a handful of documentaries available for free on its YouTube channel. At the moment, there are 10 documentary films and series available. Each comes with educational resources, like discussion questions, ways to take action and more info. Netflix says it plans to add Q&As with some of the project creators soon.
Noggin – 60-Day Free Trial Over 1,000 ad-free episodes of children’s shows like Dora the Explorer, Peppa Pig, Blues Clues and Paw Patrol, as well as games and educational videos, the younger crowd will find a lot here to get excited about. (A credit card is required.)
Musicians Uncovered Musicians as Mentors presents Musicians Uncovered, a 30-minute Zoom-cast (think podcast but on Zoom) taking place over six weeks (April 28 – June 2) on Tuesdays at 2pm for a half hour. You’ll hear from real DJ’s; Hip-Hop, Folk, RAP, and Country recording artists; vocalists and poets; singer-songwriters; as well as sound and light and music producers. Free and open to all Upper Valley high school youth ages 14-19. Hosted by Em Zanleoni, Upper Valley musician & youth advocate and sponsored by Upper Valley Music Center.
Wide Open School Wide Open School is a free collection of the best online learning experiences for kids curated by the editors at Common Sense. There is so much good happening, and we are here to gather great stuff and organize it so teachers and families can easily find it and plan each day. With categories like Live Events, Emotional Well-Being, Special Needs, Life Skills, and Field Trips, as well as Reading & Writing, Math, Science, History and the like, Wide Open School is, perhaps, the most helpful resource for “Crisis Schooling” I’ve come across. Highly recommended!
EPIC! A huge digital library for kids 12 and under, EPIC! offers 40,000 ebooks and audiobooks, learning videos, quizzes and more, and they’re offering 30 days for free (they do require a credit card).
Today’s resources are mostly literary, and I thought I’d start with a poetry open mic, seeing that it’s still National Poetry Month! (Oh, I’m so glad poetry gets its own month, rather than just a week!) Poetry open mics are very close to my heart. I spent years running a few, and they changed my life. Literally. I met my son’s father at an open mic when I was 19 years old. Granted, there’s probably not much chance you’ll fall in love at a Zoom meeting, but you never know!
Literary North and Still North Books & Bar Poetry Open Micinvites you to celebrate National Poetry Month on Sunday, April 26 from 4:00 to 5:30 pm. The open mic will take place on Zoom and features readings by Laura Jean Binkley, Vievee Francis, Kristin Maffei, Rena J. Mosteirin, April Ossmann, and YOU!
Looking for some writing inspiration? River Valley Community College’s WriterSpace is now meeting online Mondays and Wednesdays at 6pm and Fridays at 9am. For the weekly link, more questions, and to learn about WriterSpace Kids, send an email to RVCCWriterSpace@ccsnh.edu
To acknowledge the heroism and sacrifice of Vermont’s medical and service personnel in the fight against COVID-19, the Vermont Holocaust Memorial (VTHM) has launched an essay competition that will challenge Vermont students (grades 4-12) to reflect on those neighbors and relatives on the front lines against this historic threat and how their values echo those rescuers of the World War II Holocaust. Cash prizes for the top three entries in each grade category will be awarded. The entry deadline is September 30, 2020.
Have you and your children been reading up a storm during the quarantine? Log your reading minutes, and Save the Children’s 100 Days of Readingwill provide books and educational resources to children in need.
And finally, in celebration of Earth Day, White River Indie Films is offering a free screening of EARTH, a documentary film by Nikolaus Geyhalter. After watching, you can join a live-stream discussion of the film, EARTH & the De-Materialization of Our Economy, with the Sierra Club Upper Valley Group on April 25 from 7:30-8:30 PM. The film will be available until Sunday, April 26.
The first Earth Day in 1970 mobilized millions of Americans for the protection of the planet. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet. The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event.
Earth Day led to passage of landmark environmental laws in the United States, including the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. Many countries soon adopted similar laws, and in 2016, the United Nations chose Earth Day as the day to sign the Paris Climate Agreement into force.
Relating deeply to nature is a profound and crucial human desire, one that modern living had all but forgotten – until the world turned upside down. Now, many of us are taking daily walks. We’re tucking seeds into the tender earth and watching for returning songbirds. We’re enjoying the glorious sun, the pinhole stars, and even the occasional snowflake. Try to spend some time each day sitting in the grass, walking beside a brook, searching out the perfect stone for your pocket, cloud watching, looking at the sky through the spring leaves of a tree, or contemplating the moss growing beneath your feet.
This year, while we can’t gather together to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, we can make our voices heard in other ways. Today is a wonderful day to set our intentions for the year. We make New Year’s resolutions – to lose weight, to eat better, to be more productive. Why not use Earth Day as a day to make eco-resolutions? Do you resolve to buy less plastic? To compost? To plant ten trees? To eat less meat? Maybe this is the year you finally trade in the gas guzzler for an electric car. Or put solar panels on the roof. Or start taking your children on weekly hikes.
What else can we do? We can sign petitions. We can call our legislators. We can write letters to the editor. We can get involved with the town’s Energy Commission.
We can donate our money or our time to causes that matter to us. We can grow a row for Willing Hands so that more people will have access to the earth’s bounty. We can give to conservation causes. We can join a climate strike.
We can participate in Green Up Day activities – not just on May 30, but every day. We can help keep the earth around us beautiful and thriving. We can take the Earth Day Challenge, 22 days of activities that encourage us to see how we can make a difference in the world.
And we can join with others – online. Today (and the rest of this week) is the perfect time. There are so many Earth Day celebrations and calls to action. You can start with Earth Day’s own website. Then, check out Earth Day Live for a three-day live stream of events starting today.
Feeling the Earth Day spirit? Looking for more activities? Here’s a grab bag full.
Learn Something New
Celebrate Earth Day by joining Billings Farm’s educators on the next Ask Billings Farm Live on Facebook, April 22 at 1PM EDT. Learn how land use ideas changed and how Billings Farm’s founder continues to inspire sustainable practices today. Send your questions about Earth Day to firstname.lastname@example.org. The celebration will continue at Billings Farm at Home – an online resource and education tool for families – with an array of information, videos, downloadable craft activities, and fun! Visit us at www.billingsfarm.org/billings-farm-at-home/.
Participate in Earth Challenge 2020, the world’s largest citizen science initiative. Get the app for Android and iOS devices that enables you to gather scientific information on air quality and plastic pollution near you. Earth Challenge is a joint initiative by the Earth Day Network, the Wilson Center and the U.S. Department of State.
Attend a Virtual Conference
Earth Optimism Digital Summithosted by the Smithsonian Conservation Commons. April 22-26. It is open to all and free. The program includes a film night; virtual workshops; virtual social networking; video competitions; and panels on envisioning the future, global health, sustainable food, climate change, protecting biodiversity, environmental justice, international perspectives, climate communication, and resilience. Speakers include Jose Andres, chef and humanitarian; Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the U.N. Climate Change Convention; Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University; Bob Inglis, executive director of republicEN.org; Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund; Bill McKibben, environmentalist and activist; and many more. The event also includes an opportunity to share your nature-themed artwork.
Earthx Conferences, in partnership with National Geographic, will be held April 22-27. They are open to all and free. The series of conferences will focus on energy, law, cities, technology, capital, women in the environment, the future and more. The 50th Earth Day Celebrationwill be livestreamed April 22, 12-7:30pm CST. It will include EarthxFilm from 1:30-2:30pm CST, speakers including Tia Nelson, daughter of Earth Day founder, Gaylord Nelson; National Geographic explorer Enric Sala; chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Neil Chatterjee, and more.
Crafting the Planet is a virtual Earth Day conference organized by the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The conference will explore the convergence of traditional conservation and restoration of the planet, and ecological innovations taking place in areas such as genetics and engineering. The program includes pre-recorded and live sessions. April 20, 8:30am-8:30pm CST. Registration is free.
Here’s a poem that was sent to me by Sharonite and former library trustee Paula Duprat. Today seems the perfect day to post it.
The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Don’t forget, you are a part of the earth, too. Taking care of the earth is taking care of yourself. Happy Earth Day, everyone.