2020 Summer Reading Program Guide

Library dragon
drawing by Puput Wira Satya

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 sharonbaxterlibrary@gmail.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.

Happy reading!

Using Books to Talk about Racism

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…

…and race.

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 Boy by 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 Kindness by 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.”

Picture Books 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 Cat by 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 Us by 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 Race by 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 Library by 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 Harriet by 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 Life by 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 Peace by 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 Inequality by 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 Rights by 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.

Wishing kindness and understanding for all,

Curbside, Show-Offs, and Resources for 5/14/2020

Hiya, everyone out there in library land!

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. 

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 emzanleoni@gmail.com

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 sharonbaxterlibrary@gmail.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!

Just send a photograph, document or file of your Show-Off to Shana any time or post it on Baxter Memorial Library’s Facebook page May 18-22!  We’ve already received some spectacular creations – you don’t want to miss out on the excitement!

Next week is BIG! I can hardly wait!

Stay safe, stay well, and stay kind,

Curbside Resumes and Literary & Science Resources for 5/12/2020

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.

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!

Stay well!

Show & Tell – for Everyone!

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!

Just send a photograph, document or file to Shana any time
or post it on Baxter Memorial Library’s Facebook page May 18-22!

See you at the show!!

Home Education in the Time of Coronavirus

(Apologies to Gabriel García Márquez)

Dear Library Friends,

We live in interesting times.  Curse or not, it’s our new reality, at least for the foreseeable future, and we’re each trying to make the best of it, in our own ways.  We’re learning how to be with each other (and without each other).  We’re learning how to occupy ourselves and our children in new ways.  We’re taking on new and different work responsibilities, or else we’re learning to live with being un- or under-employed.  And many of us are also learning how to take charge of our children’s education – at a time when our children are also struggling to adjust to this same new reality. 

Home education isn’t easy, but it can be simple.  I know because I’ve been there.  In addition to homeschooling my now-22-year-old son from kindergarten through his senior year, I also published a magazine on home education. 

That’s how I can say that, without a scrap of doubt, you can do this.  It will take some getting used to, sure, but I know you can do it.  And I’m here to help in any way I can.

First, you should know that, in the home education community, it’s well understood that, when a child leaves school to begin homeschooling, there’s a period of time when very little that resembles learning takes place.  It’s a period known as “deschooling” or “decompressing.”   For some children, this might take a few weeks; for others, a few months.  Don’t worry.  It will pass.  Be gentle and provide guidance and learning opportunities, but try to abstain from forcing too much.  Remember, our children are experiencing the same upheaval to their lives that we are, and stress simply isn’t conducive to learning.  Be patient.

Second, don’t feel like you have to be an expert at everything.  You don’t.  Instead of always teaching, sometimes homeschooling is learning along with your children.   Learning with kids shows them that learning never ends.  We’re always learning new things – from the moment we’re born until the moment we die.  It also allows children to see learning in action.  We can model how to learn – perhaps the most critical skill of all.  

Third, make learning fun Endless worksheets and quizzes may fill time but may also make your job harder down the road.  Children thrive on novel experiences.  (We all do, really.)  If things get too samey, children are likely to push back and eventually refuse.  Instead, find fun ways to learn – together.  Consider allowing a child’s interest to fuel their learning (there’s math in knitting and baking and playing piano, there’s history in Greek/Egyptian/Norse mythology, there’s English in writing a letter to a pen pal, there’s science in growing a garden…).  If this sounds like something you’d like to try, and you’re wondering how to work with a particular interest, please let me know.  That’s what a librarian is for, after all.

Fourth, talk.  A lot.  It’s amazing how everyday conversation, seen in a different light, is actually learning.  Talk all day long.  About everything.

And finally, don’t worry that it’s all on you, that, if you fail at this homeschooling thing, you’ll scar your child for life.  It’s a common fear, but an unnecessary one.  I’ll leave you with something I wrote years ago for the magazine:

“So, you’re not his teacher, then….”

Well, yes I am. He learns many, many things from me. He asks me questions, he discusses things with me, he debates me. We talk. A lot. I bring him things I think will interest him. I keep an eye out for books, movies, websites, articles, games, magazines, exhibits, and people to feed his passions. He assumes I will do these things for him. He knows I will use the power I have as an adult to make the world more accessible to him. Yes, I am his teacher.

But, so is every person he meets, the neighborhood pool, our community, the pets we own, the Internet, the books he reads, the artwork he sees, every insect that catches his interest, the music that surrounds him, trees, television, dirt, stores, every place he visits, everything he notices.

Teachers are everywhere. In fact, my son, himself, is a teacher – an amazing, inspiring teacher.

Remember, you can do this.  And if you have any questions, any nagging worries, any anything, really, I’m here.  And so are all the other parents treading these unfamiliar waters.  You are not alone. It takes a community to raise a child, and the community of Sharon, though mostly virtual at the moment, is brimming with people ready and happy to help.

Stay safe, stay kind, and stay well,