Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Back to school, back to the library!

Welcome back to Lawrence School! I hope your summer was filled with great family time and great family reading!

Our library will open to students on Monday, September 12. Regular library hours are:

Monday 7:50 am - 2:45 pm
Tuesday 7:50 am - 2:45 pm
Wednesday 7:50 am - 3 pm
Thursday 7:50 am - 3 pm
Friday 7:50 am - 1:40 pm
Any changes to that routine will be posted on the library door.

Stop by and borrow some books soon!

K - 3 students will receive a large bookmark when they visit the library for the first time. The bookmark is for you to keep. On the bookmark you will see a reminder of which day is your child's library day. Please help younger students to bring their library book on library day--this will ensure that they get in good library borrowing habits and that they can borrow a book each week.

Our summer reading lists are a great resource all year long when you're looking for titles of books that your child might enjoy. I have a few hard copies of the list in the library, in addition, here's the link to the digital version: http://brooklinesummerreading.weebly.com/

Thursday, January 28, 2016

We have e-books and digital audio!

In the last two years we have greatly increased the number of e-books and digital audio books in our school library. We own 132 e-books and 27 digital audio books. All are available for students to check out from home or from school. 

Students can access these materials from any device, at home or at school, they just need their login information which is available through the school library. Students should go to the library catalog, choose the item they want to borrow, and login with their assigned username and password. Please speak to Ms. Moriarty for a username and password if you'd like to check out an item. 

Some titles in these formats are listed below:

Clementine (audio)
Clementine and the Family Meeting (audio)
The Lightning Thief (audio)
The Breadwinner (e-book)
Out of the Dust (e-book)
Great Women of the American Revolution (e-book)
Battles of the Revolutionary War (e-book)
Fish in a Tree (audio)

If you have suggestions for additional purchases, please let Ms. Moriarty know. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Caldecott and Newbury winners!

I had the privilege of being present at the American Library Association's Midwinter conference which was held on Monday in Boston. The day began with the announcement of the 2016 Youth Media Awards!

The Caldecott Medal was announced and the winners are as follows:

Caldecott Medal: Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Caldecott Honors:

  • Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews, illustrated by Bryan Collier
  • Waiting written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
  • Voices of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
  • Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson
The Newbery Medal was also announced:

Newbery Medal: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Newbery Honors: 
  • The War that Saved My Life by Kimberty Brubaker Bradley
  • Roller Girl written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson
  • Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
We own many of these titles--stop by and check them out! They are also available through the public library and through our local bookstores. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Best Books of 2015!

Many organizations have started to publish their lists of the best children's books of the year. These are good sources of ideas for holiday giving! And are published just in time for vacation reading!

A few links to those lists are below:

School Library Journal's Best Books 2015: http://www.slj.com/category/reviews/best-of/

Horn Book's Fanfare 2015: http://www.hbook.com/2015/11/blogs/read-roger/fanfare-2015/

New York Times' Best Illustrated Children's Books:

New York Times' Notable Children's Books of 2015:

Check in with the public librarians and with our local bookstores to see what the book sellers recommend, too! We are lucky to have so many sources for good reading in our community!

Happy reading!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cranberry Contest and Family Trees in Concord

Cranberry Counting Contest

Each year for 47 years the Lawrence School library has held an annual Cranberry Counting Contest. Students and staff estimate how many cranberries are in a jar. Local bookstores, The Children's Bookshop and Brookline Booksmith,  donate the prizes for each of four categories (K - 2, 3 - 5, 6 - 8 and staff). This year's winners are listed below:

K - 2: Yuen May C. in 1L

Grades 3 - 5: Lily S. in 5N

Grades 6 -8: Yuen Ler C. in 7-3

Staff: Mrs. Miller, our school nurse

Thanks to all who participated and to our local bookstores for once again supporting this annual tradition!

Family Trees at the Concord Museum

Each year The Concord Museum celebrates children's literature with a display of more than 30 trees, each decorated with a theme from a particular children's author. This year is no exception. From November 25th through January 3rd you can visit the museum and see all the trees on display. Sunday, December 6th several of the authors will be at the museum to sign their books and visit with attendees.
Here's a link to the museum's information: http://www.concordmuseum.org/special-events-family-trees.php

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Picture book month

November has been designated "Picture Book Month"!

We celebrate picture books all year round in the Lawrence School Library. They are sources of beautiful artwork and excellent literature for students of all ages.

We encourage students to borrow and read picture books at all ages because of the rich vocabulary and complex sentence structure -- something they won't find in an "early reader" style book.

Listening to the text read aloud will enrich the listener's vocabulary and will help them to understand the structure of stories -- which can be applied to the books they read for the rest of their lives.

Here are some recent additions to our library that are good examples of picture books:

It's Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr
Simple illustrations with a big, important message!

Any Questions? by Marie-Louise Gay
A story about how writers create stories that become books. This book shows students all the choices that writers have to make when they write.

A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston
Beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture book about all the types of nests in the animal kingdom.

Read a picture book today!
For more information about Picture Book Month, please visit this website: picturebookmonth.com

Monday, October 19, 2015

Boston Book Festival October 23 & 24

The Boston Book Festival is happening next weekend October 23 & 24. Lots of book-related events are planned: activities, author panels, books read by authors and characters to meet. Those invited include Louis Sachar (author of the Wayside School series among many other titles), Patricia Reilly Giff, Rebecca Stead and Molly Bang (author of When Sophie Gets Really Really Angry).

Here's the link to the schedule: http://bostonbookfest.org/

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Library basics

Students in grades K - 3 received a long narrow bookmark in their first library book of the year. The bookmark reminds you about which day is your student's library day and gives the library hours.

In general, students may borrow 1 book at a time in Kindergarten & 1st grade, 2 books in second grade, 3 books in third grade, 4 books in fourth grade and 5 books in fifth grade. After 5th grade students generally don't need more than 5 books at a time, but I work with each student on a case-by-case basis depending on their needs. If K - 3 students come before or after school with a parent they may borrow additional books from our library. Please stop by and check out some books!

We encourage students to also use the public libraries in Brookline and Boston which have many additional resources.

Our library website provides access to online resources like online encyclopedias, databases, and e-books which can be accessed from home. Here's the link:
Please see the librarian for passwords as some resources require that you login. 

Coming soon: Boston Book Festival October 23 & 24, 2015! http://www.bostonbookfest.org/

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Welcome Back to School!

Soon the 2015-16 school year will begin -- here are some great books to start the year off on the right foot!

For younger students:

How to Read a Story by Kate Messner
This is one we'll be reading in the library this year. How does one choose a book when there are many to choose from? Where is the best place to read? What do you do if you don't recognize some of the words? This book answers all those questions and will inspire young readers to read great books!

What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada
A wonderful book that inspires creative thinking and the persistence that is needed to see your idea through.

For older students (grades 4 and up):

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (4th - 8th grade)
Ada has always felt that her unusually shaped foot is shameful and should be hidden away. It's not until she is sent to the countryside of England during World War II that she experiences the freedom that most children take for granted. Ada and her brother Jamie are taken in by a woman who isn't sure that she is up for caring for children--it turns out that over time she and Ada save each other.

The Detective's Assistant by Kate Hannigan (4th/ 5th grade grade)
Orphan Nell Warne tries to win over her aunt by assisting her with various sleuthing assignments. She fears she'll be sent to "The Home for the Friendless" if she can't impress her aunt with her detective skills! Based on the true story of the first female detective, this novel is full of surprises!

Auggie and Me: Three Wonder Stories by R.J. Palacio (4th- 6th grade)
For students who couldn't get enough of the realistic novel called Wonder-- three short stories about the characters in that novel.

The Swap by Megan Shull (7th/ 8th grade)
Ellie and Jack barely know each other but over the course of this book they swap places so that each gets to know the other VERY well! Ellie is a 7th grader, Jack is an 8th grader and when they switch places they find they have a better understanding of each others' lives.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Summer reading coming up!

Summer reading lists have been posted here: http://brooklinesummerreading.weebly.com! Each year the Brookline schools' librarians revise each list to make sure it contains the newest and best reading material for our students. This year is no exception. Hard copies will be distributed the week of June 15, but feel free to print the list yourself by following the link above.

In addition to our local lists, check out these sites with suggested summer reads and tips:

Friday, May 08, 2015

Spring project time!

This time of year Lawrence is humming with projects at all grade levels. I recently worked with 7th graders on their Ancient Rome project and third graders are finishing up animal research, and I know 1st graders will be doing insect research soon, as well! Here are some places to go if you need information for a project:

Books--visit our school library or the public library near you to see what's available on your topic.

Magazines -- we subscribe to several periodicals that could help with a science or social studies project.

Online Encyclopedias-- starting from our library home page students have access to two online encyclopedias--World Book and Britannica. The site can be set to read the text to the student, too.

Pebble Go -- an online tool for young readers, this resource contains facts about people, science topics, and animals. It will read the text to the student, too. Kindergarten students and first graders have used Pebble Go in class to learn about animals, maps, and US symbols.

Databases-- I showed 7th graders how to access two useful databases for their project-- World History in Context and Biography in Context-- from our library homepage. There are many other databases listed on our homepage.
Databases are paid for by the district so you can be sure that we look at them each year to see that they contain useful and complete information for our 5th - 8th grade researchers.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Resources for read alouds

Families and teachers sometimes ask for recommended read-alouds.  Here are some of my favorite resources for read-aloud ideas:

The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
The classic guide to reading aloud. Trelease begins with reasons for reading aloud to your child from birth until long after they can read to themselves. The "treasury" takes up the last two-thirds of the book -- it is a lengthy annotated list organized by the age of the child. There are several editions of the book; the seventh edition was published in 2013.

How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell
Even if your child already loves reading, this is a huge resource that is organized in a family-friendly way. It was published in 2003, but is worth requesting from the library. Esme is a Chicago-area teacher, librarian and parent who has a great love of children's books. She has organized the book by the age of the child and by subjects that appeal to kids. She recommends many titles for family read-alouds

Children's Book Almanac Blog http://childrensbookalmanac.com
by Anita Silvey
A title a day with a nice summary of the book, suggested age range, and links to other similar titles. You can also search the archives by title, author, subject, or age of the child. A very handy daily reminder of some really great books, old and new!

Monday, March 09, 2015

Author visit for grades 1 & 2!

Author/ illustrator Grace Lin will visit Lawrence School on Tuesday, March 17. Thanks to the generosity of the PTO, she will meet with grades 1 & 2 to talk about her work, show students how a picture book is made, and lead them in a draw-along of one of her characters!

Ms. Lin is the author of many picture books, chapter books and early readers. Ling and Ting, Not Exactly the Same was a summer reading choice for students entering grade 2. She also wrote the illustrated chapter book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, which was named a Newbery Honor book in 2010.

We have been preparing for her visit by reading her picture books in the library and in classrooms. You will find many of her titles at the public library. Her website contains a list of her published works and activities to go along with her books: www.gracelin.com

All are looking forward to this special event!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lawrence Reads!

For the third year in a row, Lawrence Reads will bring together families on the evening of March 5th.

The literacy team has selected four books, one for each of four grade levels, which we ask families to read together. Please register for the event, and come on the evening of March 5th for a fun time talking about books with other students, parents, and teachers.

This year we selected excellent nonfiction titles.

The selections are:

Grades K - 1: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

Grades 2 -3: The Boy Who Invented TV: The Story of Philo Farnsworth by Kathleen Krull

Grades 4 - 5: My Life with the Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall

Grades 6 - 8: The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming

Our school library, the public libraries, and our local bookstores will have copies of the books on hand. Please join us! 

Thursday, February 05, 2015

And the winners are...

Caldecott and Newbery Medals were awarded on Monday, February 2nd. Here are the winners:

Caldecott Award: The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

Caldecott Honor: 

  • Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo
  • The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mary GrandPre
  • Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
  • Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales
  • The Right Word by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
  • This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Third through fifth graders had a chance to look at many of these books and I'm happy to say that a few of our predictions showed up on the award list this year! Beekle was a favorite!

Newbery Award: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Newbery Honor: 
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Sibert Award (for informational books):
The Right Word by Jen Bryant Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Sibert Honor:
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming
  • Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell
  • Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy
  • Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Some authors have their timing DOWN! This book was published this year--it perfectly suits our experience in Brookline in the last 24 hours!

John Rocco is the author. A wise third grader scooped it up from our library before going home on Monday afternoon--you may find a copy at your local bookstore or library. 

The author tells the story of the blizzard of '78 as he remembers it. He was a child in Rhode Island in 1978 and his vivid memories are recorded along with beautiful artwork in this very timely book! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Caldecott Awards

Recently the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders have been examining picture books during their library time. I selected a number of books that are possible Caldecott Award winners (winner to be announced on February 2nd), spread the books out over the library tables, and divided students into groups to examine each book and fill out a ballot giving their assessment of the book.

Each class created a list of their favorites and on February 2nd we will compare our preferences with those the Caldecott committee selected! Students were intent on evaluating each book carefully and were fully engaged in finding their favorites.

In other grades:

Kindergarteners have been listening to stories by Phillip and Erin Stead (A Sick Day for Amos McGee; A Home for Bird; Bear Has a Story to Tell).

First graders have been listening to a variety of texts: Big Snow by Jonathan Bean; Down the Back of the Chair by Margaret Mahy; and coming soon: books by Grade Lin as we get ready for her visit on March 17th!

Second graders were engaged in listening to and borrowing "pourquoi" stories (how and why stories) in November, winter poems in December, and recently we've been reading books by Susan Meddaugh. Soon we will start reading some picture books by Grace Lin as we prepare for her visit to Lawrence on March 17th!

Friday, January 16, 2015

New resource for K - 3

We recently added a subscription to PebbleGo, an online resource for early readers. It provides nonfiction information about animals, biographies, and social studies with audio support for those who need it.

It is a terrific resource for kids to get answers to their questions and to enhance what they're learning in the classroom about famous people, insects, national symbols, etc.

The website is pebblego.com

Please see Ms. Moriarty in the library for login and password information.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

New books for middle grades

Many excellent new books have come in to the library lately for students in grades 3 and up. Here are some of my favorites:

Rain Reign by Ann Martin
This novel is narrated by a young woman, Rose, who is diagnosed with autism. She has a love of homonyms and so when she adopts a stray dog she names the dog Rain because it has an interesting homonym, Reign! Her relationship with Rain is central to the plot of the book and is important in that it helps her to develop friendships with students in her class. Beautifully written, the book leads the reader to care deeply about Rose and Rain.

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff
Albie is in the fifth grade at a new school in New York City when the story begins. His mom hires a new nanny to watch him after school (even though he thinks he doesn't need "watching")! He has never felt like the smartest student but is kind and very observant, in fact, he thinks "noticing" is the thing he does best. When his new school turns out to not be a very friendly place, he finds the support he gets from Calista, the nanny, is invaluable. Albie is a complex character students would like to get to know -- his experiences will stay with the reader long after they've closed the book.

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell
Whilemena, Will for short, loves her freewheeling, independent lifestyle in Zimbabwe. She has a pet monkey, explores wherever she and her friend Simon would like to go, and her father loves her adventurous spirit. At a moment of crisis, Will is forced to fly to England to attend an all-girls boarding school. She finds herself unequipped for her new environment and she can't imagine how she'll survive the mean girls, new climate, and new expectations. All the things she was praised for in Africa seem to have no value at her new school--in fact they give the other students reasons to torment her. How will she manage to thrive in this new place?

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
An orphaned brother and sister move from Ireland to England to work at a mysteriously spooky house with a tree growing up through the center of it. The roots seem to have a life of their own and a mysterious figure with muddy boots is heard walking through the house at night. It will take all of Molly and Kip's courage and ingenuity to survive the evil that threatens all who live in the house.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Best books of the year!

This is the time of year when journals start to publish their "best of the year" lists. School Library Journal has released their list which can be accessed via this link: http://www.slj.com/best-books-2014/

The New York Times has released their list of best illustrated books: http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2014/10/30/books/review/2014-BEST.html?_r=0

Here is NPR's list for kids: http://apps.npr.org/best-books-2014/#/tag/kids-books

I like to point these lists out to families because sometimes these aren't the books being prominently displayed at big book chains or on Amazon, yet professionals in the field of children's and young adult literature have found the books to be worthy of special recognition.

We are very fortunate to have two independent book stores in Brookline which WILL feature these titles. Please visit Brookline Booksmith and The Children's Bookshop during this holiday season!

Also, did you know that Brookline Public Schools has its own "best books" list? A team of librarians, teachers and local bookstore folks have been working on this list for many years. You can access our own best books list here: http://brooklinesummerreading.weebly.com/best-books.html

The Caldecott and Newbery Awards will be announced in January. Stay tuned!