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Readers, get ready!

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It's Chappaqua Challenge time again! Readers in grades 4-6 form teams of 3-4 people and read from a list of 12 great books. Then all the teams get together in March to quiz each other, have a party and get gift certificates for more books. There's no score, winners or losers, so it's really about trying different types of books and having fun. Click here for more info.

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Barn Dance Video!


This was such fun! Around 70 people danced, watched and otherwise and enjoyed the rousing talents of the Walker Family Band. There's nothing like swinging your partner and do-si-do-ing in the early evening light. We hope to make this an annual event--maybe you can come next time!

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Should authors for kids have some of their own? Or not?

This was an interesting piece in the Times yesterday. In it, award-winning author Maile Meloy muses on her experience of writing for children without having had any. 

I plan to discuss this question with the Young Critics at our next meeting in September. Past Young Critics groups have already discussed why authors often get rid of parents in their stories, but this is another issue. "Write what you know" is probably the most common advice given writers. But does "knowledge" of kids need to include having some of your own, or is having been one enough? We've all done that!

Side question: If you only write what you know, how do we get fantasy, science fiction, or even historical fiction?

What do you think? If you're in 4-6 grade and wonder about this stuff, too, join us once a month on Thursday nights for Young Critics. The first month, we'll be discussing whatever you're read recently. (If you've haven't read Meloy's The Apothecary yet, try it--it's terrific!)

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We're Doing Something Very Right

As reported in the New York Times yesterday, pediatrician and literacy advocate Peri Klass, M.D. reports on some exciting new research: scientists are establishing just what happens in children's brains when we read to them. Think it's all just cute bunnies and clueless hippos? Think again! Critical brain networks and visual skills show much greater development when children listen to stories. 

So don't skip that bedtime story tonight!

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What's YOUR favorite Roald Dahl book? Movie?

So last night we had a lot of fun discussing the book and the movie James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl--and eating pizza! We talked about the various artists who've illustrated the book, who were our favorite characters, and why authors often get rid of parents in their stories. It was interesting to hear the kids' ideas about how the book and movie differed, and why the filmmakers might have made those changes.

Did you know that Roald Dahl disliked Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory--the film adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-- so much that he refused to permit any other film adaptations of his work until after his death? He thought the movie was too much about Willy Wonka and not about Charlie--and judging just from the title, I'd have to agree!  So Matilda--a big favorite in our group (maybe we'll do that next summer)--and Fantastic Mr. Fox, to name a few, had to wait.

We also talked about other books by Roald Dahl, and which ones were favorites, and why. Have you read Boy: Tales of Childhood, his autobiography? If you have, you can guess why he has so many cranky, even evil adults in his books. And candy. And rats...

We're doing another Read the Book, See the Movie program in two weeks, so if you like movies, join us! We'll be doing How to Eat Fried Worms on August 7th, for entering 4-6th graders. Please register so we know how many pizzas to get! We promise not to make you eat any worms.

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Llamas in the Library!!

Weather permitting, our Llama storytime will go as planned on Thursday July 9th at 7:00 PM.  There is a chance of rain and thunderstorms on Thursday so feel free to contact the library to confirm if the program is on or has been postponed.  We also suggest you bring something to sit on (blanket or chair), especially if we have rain earlier in the day and the ground is soft or wet.


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"Summer Afternoon"

A famous adult writer, Henry James, once claimed that the words "summer afternoon" were the most beautiful in the English language. I have to agree, especially since I'm going on vacation next week and may have some afternoons free. I don't know about you, but I always imagine that my vacation will be spent catching up on all the books I've been meaning to read for the last few months or maybe even years, like

 The Carpet People by      Image result for Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Pointe Middle School     On the Move: A Life   or ones that I just discovered yesterday, like flight of the phoenix and . It's very exciting, but how will I carry all of my choices? Leaving one behind seems like giving up on a dream or a potential friend. And loading them all on a Kindle isn't the same. Kindle on the beach? Not sure about that. And can I get them all for free? 

Sometimes I plan to bring books one way, and donate them to the local library after finishing them. When I don't actually read everything I bring (how could I? unless I never swim, eat, cook, bathe or get dressed?) I usually can't bear to leave any of them behind. So I tote them all home again. 

Anyway, wish me luck. And if you come into the library later in the summer, I'll tell you which ones I really loved.

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