Creating an Independence Day Celebration!

Yesterday, we shared a post with some cookbooks for grilling and dessert-making to help you prepare for today. But no celebration is complete without music or decorations! 

Check out this book of 4th of July crafts you can do with your kids to show off your red, white, and blue patriotic pride. While you’re crafting, or during the cookout, listen to some patriotic music on hoopla. Classics for the 4th of July has quintessential American songs such as “The Star-Spangled Banner”, “America (My Country ‘Tis Of Thee),” and “This Land is Your Land.” The appropriately named 4th July Cook Out – 30 Tracks for Your Barbeque Celebrations will have you singing along to “We Are Young,” “You Belong with Me,” and, of course, at least one patriotic song: “Star-Spangled Banner.” It will be the “Greatest Day” (track 5)! Now That’s What I Call The U.S.A. features such well-known artists as Brooks & Dunn, Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, and more! 

For more kid-friendly titles, try Sing About America, with songs that will help teach kids facts about the United States, including the names of all the states and their capitals. For something more fun, check out Fourth of July – Children’s Party, including patriotic titles such as “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and more general titles such as “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” and “We Are the Champions.”

For a soundtrack to play if you’re having drinks in the backyard with your buddies, listen to the adult-oriented Acoustic Backyard BBQ with titles such as “Drink a Beer,” “The Lazy Song,” and “Sweet Caroline.” 

Before you enjoy your cookout, or after you have eaten, you can even learn the history of the American Revolution and the struggle towards independence with titles on Overdrive/Libby and hoopla. You can read historical American texts in The Declaration of Independence and Other Great Documents of American History. The British Are Coming is an audiobook that contains a bonus introduction read by the author. The first in a trilogy about the American Revolution, it recounts the first 21 months of the violent war for American Independence. Find out about the events of 1774, from the Boston Tea Party to the Battles of Lexington and Concord, in acclaimed colonial historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist Mary Beth Norton’s 1774: The Long Year of Revolution. These ebooks on hoopla contain more nonfiction titles, as well as fiction ebooks set during the Revolutionary Period (1775 – 1800).

Teach your kids Symbols of U.S. Independence, about the American flag and the Articles of Confederation. American Independence is an interactive workbook that will teach kids history with bold colors. Judy Dodge Cummings’ and Tom Casteel’s The American Revolution even has some activities kids can do to learn in an interactive way. Take those extra marshmallows from making s’mores and build a marshmallow cannon!

Kids can also read about some of the key players in the Revolution – Alexander Hamilton, Anna Strong, Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and more! 

Browse through these other titles for kids about the American Revolution on Overdrive/Libby and hoopla. No matter how you spend the holiday, we hope you have a Happy Independence Day!

Pen Pals in Lockdown!

Are you missing your friends? It’s tough not to see your favorite people at school every day! Maybe you’re tired of texting or Zooming with them–it’s just not very fun anymore.

Maybe you feel like the very bored giraffe in this funny chapter book: Sincerely Yours, Giraffe

Or maybe you’re here but want to be there – with your friends – like the characters in this wonderful picture book: From Here to There.

Here’s an idea: write your friends letters instead! REAL letters. On paper. With a pen or pencil. Sound like a plan?

Okay, so maybe this is a new thing for you. It really can be fun! You don’t just have to write words. Think about the pictures in books you like. Could you draw what you want to say to your friend? Maybe a picture of the place where you spend most of your day. Or your favorite lockdown food. Or your pet. Who knows where your crayons will take you?

Oh, and don’t forget the stickers! And maybe just a teeny bit of glitter…

On to the next step: what will you put your letter in to keep it safe? Maybe you don’t have any envelopes at home right now. What to do? Don’t worry–here’s a video that shows you just how to make one yourself! All you need is paper and glue:

What next? Ask a grown-up for a stamp and some help with addressing your letter. That way you can send it through the mail. If you can’t find a stamp, try taking great photos of the envelope and letter and sending those to your friend by text. Maybe they’ll write you back, and you’ll become real pen pals!

What’s a pen pal? Sometimes it’s someone you don’t even know. You can become friends by writing letters. But you can definitely be pen pals with someone who’s your friend already. You might even learn things about them that you didn’t know before! Here’s an audiobook on hoopla –featuring a favorite character–to give you some inspiration: Arthur’s Pen Pal.

Be careful to wash your hands before creating your letter and envelope, as well as before you send it, after touching the mailbox, and after you touch a letter you’ve received. Talk to your parents about whether you should put letters you receive in a safe place for a while before reading them. And be sure not to touch your face when you’re handling letters.

Homeschool with hoopla!

While home during shelter-in-place, it is practical to keep new digital learning resources coming in to help with burnout and boredom. Check out all of the Abbot Public Library’s e-collections and digital resources online. Today we are spotlighting homework help on hoopla.

Parents can borrow any of these picture and chapter ebooks as “Bonus Borrows.” They do not count toward the five borrows a month limit. Use your Bonus Borrows for supplementing nonfiction books for kids. The collection of ebooks covers diverse subjects, from astronomy to zoology, and is geared to grades K-5. Update homework help with fresh, factual materials.

Below are some engaging examples:

Rosie Revere’s Big Project Book for Engineers by Andrea Beaty
Cooking Class: Global Feast! By Deanna Cook
Junk Drawer Algebra by Bobby Mercer
How Plants Grow by Donna H. Rice (also available as a Read Along)
The Solar System by Laura Hamilton Waxman, part of the Early Bird Astronomy series

You can also check out the School Closed? collection on Overdrive or through Overdrive’s Libby app for more books to keep kids learning while at home, as well as other activities for kids that were posted on the blog!

ARTfull at Home with the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum

The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum wants you to get your creative energy flowing! Part of their ARTfull at Home program, they have put together a handy virtual guide of creativity prompts to inspire kids and kids at heart alike to create art with what they have.

Designed to get little ones engaging with their built and natural environments in experimental ways, the guide includes a list of objects from your home or backyard that can be used for art projects, as well as prompts for creating, such as sound sculptures, shadow art, paper planes, and looking for patterns in nature. 

The deCordova has a lot of other great virtual content, including an ARTfull at Home Story Time featuring Andrea Beaty’s Iggy Peck, Architect (you may also know Iggy’s friends Rosie Revere, Engineer and Ada Twist, Scientist, too!). They’ve also got a lot of content for the not-so-littles (i.e., grown ups), like a virtual tour of the sculpture park, that is not to be missed.

For more inspiration to jumpstart your creative projects at home, check out these titles from our digital collections:

Books for Art Project Inspiration:

Art Lab for Kids and Art Lab for Little Kids by Susan Schwake

Art For Spring (from the Outdoor Art Room Series) by Rita Storey

Books About Artists:

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant, ill. by Melissa Sweet

The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock, ill. by Mary GrandPré

Viva FridFrida Kahlo,a by Yuyi Morales

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

Books About Art & Design in Our World:

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds (also available on hoopla as an audiobook)

The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola

Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell, ill. by Rafael López

Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty (also available on hoopla as an ebook, audiobook, movie, and Read Along!)

Stay Connected Through Poetry

April is National Poetry Month! As we distance ourselves from each other during this difficult time, what better way to keep us connected than with the powerful words of poetry? 

Poets.org is dedicated to providing all there is to know about this wonderful literary celebration. Search the biographies and works of over 3,000 classic and contemporary poets, find virtual poetry readings, explore different poetry activities to do at home, and so much more. Would you like to receive a Poem-a-Day?! Sign up here.

Want more poetry? Check out the titles offered to all ages through Overdrive/The Libby app and hoopla, featuring both classic and contemporary poetry, including the following:

On Overdrive/Libby:

The Poetry of Emily Dickinson 
Devotions by Mary Oliver
Poisoned Apples: Poems for Your, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann
Shake Loose My Skin by Sonia Sanchez

On hoopla:

101 Great American Poems by American Poetry & Literacy Project
Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith
I Could Pee On This and Other Poems by Cats by Francesco Marciuliano
Live or Die by Anne Sexton

On Overdrive/Libby and hoopla: 

Dante’s Divine Comedy: Inferno by Dante Alighieri
ebook on hoopla and audiobook on Overdrive/Libby

The Road Not Taken and Other Poems by Robert Frost
on Overdrive and hoopla

The Lunatic by Charles Simic
on Overdrive and hoopla

Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
on Overdrive and hoopla

Visit Our Museums — Virtually!

Did you know: the Abbot Public Library offers free or reduced passes to fourteen of the Boston area’s best museums and attractions?

While these organizations are closed for the time being, they have been working hard behind-the-scenes to bring the museum experience to your home! We will be collecting fun activities and virtual tours created by museum staff and sharing them here with you, along with ways to get the most out of your virtual visit using the library’s digital services. In the meantime, please show our museum partners some love by visiting their websites and social media — there is a lot of wonderful content to find there!

To stay inspired and engaged at home, check out these websites: 

Boston by Foot

Boston Children’s Museum

Cape Ann Museum (our newest museum pass!)

deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum

Harvard Art Museums

The House of the Seven Gables

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Arctic Fox at Stone Zoo

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

Museum of Fine Arts

Museum of Science

New England Aquarium

Peabody Essex Museum

Zoo New England

Check back here to the Abbot Public Library Blog for other ways to use the library and to enjoy cultural institutions from home!

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum