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Talking to your kids about the news

The past few weeks have seen especially scary events around the country. With so much violence in the news, some adults may wonder how to talk about the news with the children in their lives. The Oakland Public Library has compiled a wonderful list of children's and teen books to discuss together as well as online resources to help parents talk about justice, racism, and violence in the United States. Continue reading
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Witchcraft and Wizardry in North America

Those of you who follow Harry Potter news closely may already know that J.K. Rowling has started releasing tantalizing tidbits about the history of magic around her Harry Potter world. Now, fans know the name of the North American school of magic--Ilvermorny--and where to retreat in the icy winters (I'd choose Brazil's wizarding institute, Castelobruxo).  

Today, Rowling published online the first in a series about North American magic, with more installments each day this week.  Enjoy!

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Looking for Bongo

Earlier this month, I got a sneak peek of Westchester resident Eric Velasquez's new picture book, an adorable tale of a boy searching for his favorite stuffed animal. I also learned the delightful backstory to this charmer, due out in February.  

At last year's Chappaqua Children's Book Festival, Eric spied a young boy who looked just right for a picture book. And after talking with the child's parents, he invited them all to his studio to take photos to serve as models for the boy in his latest story! Though Eric based the boy's apartment, the parents, and the grandmother on his own childhood in Spanish Harlem (right down to the orange lamps), the inspiration for the boy diligently hunting for his stuffed antelope comes from right here in Chappaqua.

(Here we are, both being very excited about the book.)



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Be a Part of Holiday History

The world has shown itself to be a pretty scary place recently. StoryCorps hopes to bring the global community a little closer together this Thanksgiving by collecting tens of thousands of stories, doubling their archives in one holiday weekend. By sharing and listening to the lives of our family and friends, we can learn about our collective history and get insight into our immediate community's experiences.  

Consider working together this Thanksgiving to add a new voice to the archive--the StoryCorps app makes recording and posting simple. Or listen to one of the 65,000 stories already available and see the world just a little bit differently.

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The Sport of Kings (is built from LEGOs)

 In LEGO Club yesterday, we invented our own sports and games and built the fields of play out of LEGOs.  The rules of each sport are still a little unclear, but stay alert! The consequence of failure is mostly death.  


Stay on your toes to enjoy our obstacles courses!


Our races!


And our perilous climbing walls!


(With proper respect to the inspiration: American Ninja Warrior.)

We have one more week, so come back to invent with us again or join us for the first time.  



Tagged in: Lego Club
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LEGOs by the book

More like "from the book," actually.  At this school year's first LEGO Club meeting, we built creations inspired by scenes from books.  Some were classics, like The Night Before Christmas.


Or this race (if only we could remember the name of the book . . .)


Others were new favorites, such as Louis Sachar's Newbery Award-winning Holes. (With an assist from Dr. Who's TARDIS--what better way to escape juvie in the desert?)


Or Clariel, part of Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series. 


A couple were mash-ups--hey there, Dr. Who!--with one many-tentacled monster from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea menacing a jail.  


And, finally, one can only be termed a "future bestseller" since it may not have come from a book (yet).


But of course, the most important part of any book is the pages and pages and lines and lines of words.  So, here's to you, written text!



Tagged in: Lego Club
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Bon Voyage, James Potter!

J.K. Rowling casually mentioned on Twitter this morning that Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley's firstborn child, James Sirius Potter, is taking his first trip on the Hogwarts Express today.


Who else wishes they were on their way to wizarding school?

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Two classics unite! (It may depend on your definition of classic . . .)

I love when non-children's book people mess around with famous picture books.  At least I love it when they end up so hilarious.  Thank you, Mallory Ortberg, for this sentence: "You have given him not a cookie but your own self-esteem."  And you're welcome, everyone else.

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Book Dominoes

After testing out theories, stacking and spacing, we carefully created a multi-level book domino course in our theater.  Thanks to everyone who helped us build!







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Lois Lowry on Tumblr

Lois Lowry wrote some of my all-time favorite books.  In my head, I'm still friends with Anastasia Krupnik. I wrote my Master's thesis on The Giver and Gathering Blue.  Lowry answered questions today on Tumblr about her books and explained why books do not belong to their authors alone. 

I think about those things all the time because those things happen all the time.  But each time a reader picks up a book, he makes it into his own book.  It isn’t what I have written, necessarily. He, the reader, adds in his own memories and imagination and dreams.  This is as it should be. So I am not troubled by individual interpretations.  -Lois

I'm so glad she feels that way, because I know I have taken her books for my own.  

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