Monday, December 31, 2012

January Book Display

For the month of January, we'll be highlighting our extensive collection of children's historical fiction. I've been working in this field for many years, and I continue to love some of my old favorites in this genre---Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski, and The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth Speare, to mention a few.  But, I have to admit, I think the books just keep getting better and better.  City of Orphans and Seer of Shadows are two great new offerings from Avi, the Richard Peck series that begins with A Long Way From Chicago was a classic the moment it was published in 1998, Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse brought me to tears in its description of Dust Bowl life in the 1930's, and The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr is one of my favorite read-alouds.  And that's just a few! Come on in and take a look--there are some wonderful books here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Steve Blunt Visits! the holiday mood, and waiting for Steve!
It's time for some singin' and dancin'!
Do what Steve does!
Monday afternoon, we were treated to a visit from our all-time favorite family-friendly musician, Steve Blunt.  The room was packed, but somehow we all found room to get up and do some singing and dancing---and I think we were all in the holiday mood by the time we said goodbye...

See the slideshow at left for  more pics (courtesy of Marti Warren---doesn't she take amazing pictures?)

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Designing Girls" Create Rooms for their American Girl Dolls!

This Saturday, 10 creative girls gathered at the library with Miss Sarah and Miss Sue Olsen to design rooms for their favorite American Girl dolls.  We had a blast! Presented with plain, white tri-fold boards, the girls got right to work transforming them with paper, fabric, and lots of bric-a-brac.  Although they all started out the same, by the time we were through, every one was a unique reflection of the girl that created it.  See the slide show at the left to see all of the amazing "rooms" that we made!

And the winner is...

Well, I guess it should come as no surprise that the most votes for "favorite book (or series)" were cast for (drum roll....) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling !! This series continues to enchant young and old alike.  However, our ballot box was stuffed with over 60 votes (!), and many other books were mentioned.  Also receiving multiple votes were:
Don't Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems, The Warrior's series by Erin Hunter, TinTin by Herge, Ninjago books, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, and the Rainbow Fairies series by Daisy Meadows.

 Whatever book you voted for, we are so glad that you love reading :-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Amherst Kids Vote For Books!

Well, it's that season that we here in New Hampshire know so well---election season! And just to get us all in the mood, we've set up a voting booth here at the library.  No, we're not getting political, we're just giving everyone a chance to cast a vote for their favorite book!  So come on in and let us know your favorite--and get a special sticker for participating.  Results will be posted after Election Day.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Today is the 60th Anniversary of the publication of Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White.  60 years old!   This is one of those children's classics that never seems to get "old".  The characters are so real, and so believable that we worry right along with Wilbur, we put up with Templeton even when he doesn't deserve it, and we cheer Charlotte on right to the end, when our hearts break...
Maybe it's that heartbreak that has made this book such a classic--a tale so beautifully told, that carefully reveals some of the great questions of life, death, and the way the two interlace.  Sometimes I think that we don't give children credit for being able to explore these questions--but the long-standing love that children have for this book might suggest that not only can they handle it, but maybe they're even thirsty for it..
And even though both of you are no longer living---Thank-you, E.B. White, for giving us this absolute gem of a story--and thank you Garth Williams for the images that have stayed with me since I read, and loved, this book as a child.  Like Charlotte's children, the story and the illustrations have gone on to have lives of their own, enriching ours in the process.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Storytimes are in Full Swing!

Come on down to the Children's Room, and join us for one of our weekly storyhours! We have programs for infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers, too---check our storytime page for detailed information.
Look at these "slithering snakes"!
Watch out, Miss Sarah---this room is full of "spooky spiders"!
This week, we were joined by Miss Leslie from the Amherst Recreation Dept..  Miss Leslie teaches yoga classes for children at the Peabody Mills Center, and was here to help us learn some yoga poses to go with this week's books. (for  information about Miss Leslie's classes, click here) We had a blast, and it was so nice to have a chance to work with our colleagues in the Recreation Department.
Don't let those "crocodiles" bite, Miss Sue!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer's over.....what were my favorite summer reads?

It's hard to believe that everyone's heading back to school---could this glorious, hot, humid summer really be over?
Transitions always set me to thinking, and as a passionate reader of children's books, I'm often thinking about what I've read....
Even in the midst of this busy summer season, I managed to read some great books. In case you're looking for something to get you through the slow spots in the  next few weeks, here's a few of my picks:
For the younger kids:

1,2,3 Peas by Keith Baker---these are the cutest lil' peas you've ever seen, and they're all busy making their way through this charming counting book.  Not only will your child love looking closely at all the various "pea" activities, they'll want to find the ladybug on every page...
and, speaking of counting books, try taking a look at the world of great big numbers in How Many Jelly Beans? by Andrea Menotti.  As a boy and a girl try to outdo each other in their requests for jelly beans, we see the numbers grow and grow...
I'll also mention a pair of great adventure stories for the young set---both tales of knights and dragons. Elephant Joe, Brave Knight by David Wojtowycz, is a tale about a knight who also happens to be, you guessed it--an elephant! And King Arthur's Very Great Grandson, by Kenneth Kraegel, is the story of a young knight searching for a battle.  They are both wonderfully sweet adventures.

One of my favorite books for early chapter-readers is the new book by Alexandar McCall Smith, starring Precious Ramatswe as a child, solving mysteries at her school in Botswana.  It's called The Great Cake Mystery.

And here's a handful of my favorite reads for the older kids, in no particular order:
Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke---Funke's latest is part family mystery, part ghost story, and all good!
The Graverobber's Apprentice by Allan Stratton---an adventure fantasy with an evil archduke, a lost prince, a feisty young countess, wolves, hermits, and, of course, a graverobber. It's a great story!
Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland---okay, so it's a tried and true, and very familiar genre---the animal fantasy based on a civilization of some species (think Erin Hunter's Warrior series).  This time it's animal civilization dragon-style.  We've heard it all before, but Sutherland does a solid job, building a world we can believe in and creating characters we care about---kids will eat it up!

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage and Tinfoil Sky by Cyndi Sand-Eveland are two realistic fiction stories about girls facing different challenges.  Three Times Lucky is a sweet story of a girl who was orphaned as an infant trying to solve a mystery in the present while also trying to solve the mystery of her past.  Tinfoil Sky tells the story of a girl who is trying to come to terms with the strange nomadic life she leads with her mother---is it wrong for her to want to stay in one place?

For non-fiction lovers, there's Citizen Scientists by Loree Burns--learn how to be an active scientific research assistant in your own town!
For those of you who enjoy graphic novels, Stickman Odyssey by Christopher Ford is one of this summer's most popular titles.

Of course, there are so many more great books here in the Children's Room. Come on in and discover some new ones yourself!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Toe Jam Puppet Band Visits the Children's Room!

 It was a WILD and CRAZY afternoon here at  the library--- Tom and Vinny started in with their silly songs and unbelievable antics, and they just didn't stop!!! They had all of us dancing, singing, and, most of all---laughing! We all had so much fun!

Friday, July 27, 2012

1st Annual Amherst Town Library Pet Show!

Nick and his corn snake, Tidbits
 The weather smiled on us, and gave us a beautiful, breezy summer day for our first ever PET SHOW.  Kids brought their pets,  kids came to see, and a wonderful time was had by all!
Molly (left)introduces a friend to her guinea pig, Rosey
Heather and her Black Lab, Ginger
 I wish I had room here to showcase all of our participants--there were several wonderful dogs, 2 rabbits, a gerbil, a guinea pig, a snake and a fish---look at the slideshow on the left for all of our pics!
Marjorie checks on her fish, Scuppers
Something tells me Sophie and her dog, Rosie, are best friends

Friday, July 13, 2012


A full house gathered to see the amazing tricks performed by Peter Boie, magician extraordinare! And, guess where Peter learned to do his first magic tricks? From a book he checked out of his local library, of course!