Full STEAM Ahead to Children’s Learning!

Get kids ready for the upcoming school year with STEAM materials they can check out online or in print for Curbside Pickup with Abbot Public Library! If you are new to our Curbside Pickup Service, please carefully read these instructions for how to reserve items and set up an appointment to pick them up after they come in.

Hoopla’s STEAM Lookbook Collection has a number of items for students of all levels. STEAM Lab For Kids not only has science projects, but Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math activities as well. The book explores the connection between art and other STEM subjects, giving kids tools for problem solving and critical thinking. Check out even more fun projects in Math Art and Drawing Games for Kids which combine artistic skills with STEM concepts, such as making pixel art with graph paper. Overdrive also has fun STEM activity ebooks such as STEM Lab, in which you can learn concepts by racing wind up cars or making a homemade guitar.

A similar book in print format to reserve for Curbside Pickup is 100 Easy STEAM Activities: Awesome Hands-On Projects for Aspiring Artists and Engineers. Included are games and projects to help kids learn concepts in science, technology, engineering, art, and math such as shaving cream rain clouds or a pool noodle obstacle course. 

For young science lovers, the Bill Nye the Science Guy DVDs may be just the thing to help kids learn about friction, animals, light optics, pressure, energy, and more! During Curbside Pickup service, there is no checkout fee for DVDs, so you can explore science with Bill Nye for free! Some fictional characters that can help kids learn about STEM concepts are Ada Twist, Scientist (in print and on Overdrive/Libby app and hoopla) and Rosie Revere, Engineer (in print and on Overdrive/Libby app and hoopla).

These are just a few of the library’s offerings! Browse through hoopla’s STEAM Lookbook Collection or search for more online science, technology, engineering, art, and math items for kids on hoopla and Overdrive/the Libby app, or reserve physical titles through the library catalog for Curbside Pickup. Read about how the Curbside Service works here.

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month!

July is National Ice Cream Month. And no wonder, with how hot the summer can be! If you want to practice social distancing away from those long lines at the ice cream stores, here are some ebooks to help you make, enjoy, and celebrate this tasty summertime treat! 

Get the scoop on how to make ice cream in Charity Ferreira and Lou Seibert Pappas’s ebook with 25 recipes for homemade ice creams and frozen desserts. The A to Z Ice Cream: Making Ice Cream at Home for Total Beginners by Lisa Bond is another great way to start learning how to make this popular frozen dessert, as well as facts about ice cream you can share with friends and family! Find 51 recipes in Nicole Weston’s How to Make Ice Cream, including classics such as coffee and chocolate, as well as original flavors like goat cheese and honey, maple bacon, and more! Or learn from master chef Louis P. De Gouy in The Ice Cream Book, which includes over 400 recipes. We guarantee you will find The Best Ice Cream Maker Cookbook Ever in our hoopla collection! If you care about cows so much you don’t eat dairy products, try Vegan A La Mode by Hannah Kaminsky, with 100+ recipes made from almond, coconut, and other dairy alternatives. 

Once you have your frozen dessert in hand, enjoy while reading an ice cream-themed adult mystery or romance! Jen and Sherry try to solve the Chunky Raspberry Fudge Murder in Penelope Manzone’s cozy mystery. Listen to Lexy Baker and her grandmother, Nans, solve a mystery in Leighann Dobbs’s audiobook, Ice Cream Murder. For A Deadly Inside Scoop, Abby Collette’s wintertime mystery features a recent MBA grad who took over her family’s ice cream business and found the body of a man with an old feud with her family.

If you want something more romantic, Eileen Dreyer’s The Ice Cream Man features Jenny Lake investigating an ice cream man who may be selling something else from his ice cream truck. You could also travel back in time to Grace Thompson’s Ice Cream in Winter, about a woman trying to run a struggling ice cream shop in the winter of 1940. Or take a contemporary road trip in Tiffany Carby’s romance, $(mint)en Chocolate Chip, in which a successful blogger takes a road trip to find the best ice cream spots.

What goes well with ice cream? Dogs! In Drawing with Mark: Happy Tails & We All Scream for Ice Cream, children will learn about popular flavors of the frozen dessert, and they will be taught how to draw an ice cream cone and truck! They’ll also learn how to take care of and draw puppies and kittens. If you want to see doggos enjoying their own frozen treats, take a look at the photos in Diana Lundin’s Dogs vs. Ice Cream! Splat the Cat and Stick Dog also have something to scream or dream about ice cream in the children’s books by Rob Scotton and Tom Watson.

Check out the rest of hoopla’s ice cream-themed items, which include recipe books, fiction, music, and other entertaining items for all ages!

Who Also Comes to the Picnic?

There are, of course, the people that you invited. But sometimes there are also the uninvited! Bees, flies, mosquitoes, squirrels, and other animals. Let us not forget the ants! Here are books for early readers that are filled with facts about ants, as well as stories starring an ant. Learn about the tiny uninvited visitors to your next picnic. You might appreciate them more! 

How Strong is an Ant? by Kurt Waldendorf

Part of the Comparison Fun Series 

Learn about the characteristics, habitat, and the role in nature of ants. 


The Adventures of Mr. Ant by Lloyd Shores 

Sweet stories of an ant’s mild adventures. 


Ants are Farmers and Other Strange Facts by Gary Sprott 

Learn surprising facts about ants. 


Ants by Sophie Lockwood

Part of the World of Insects Series

More about species of ants and their characteristics and activities.


Anthony Ant by Linda Dennis 

He is noble and he is an ant. 


Anthony and the Ants by Gemma Raynor 

Things start going wrong with the arrival of ants, but turn out alright in the end. 


Common Critters: the Wildlife in Your Neighborhood by Pat Brisson 

Learn about the usual creatures (including ants), that live and thrive in your backyard or neighborhood.


Explore more ant books for children on Overdrive/Libby and hoopla. Now you can also request print copies of children’s ant books for Curbside Pickup. And, for even more facts about ants, visit the Abbot Public Library’s Gale Elementary database!

Outdoor Listens for the Great Indoors(wo)man on hoopla!

After an unusually cooped-up spring, the longed-for season of the great outdoors is here! If the balmy weather is stirring up long dormant wanderlust, the Abbot Public Library is here to help you with your “itchy feet”! You’ll find a library-curated, one-stop adventure guide on hoopla.

If you’d really prefer just to ponder the wonders of nature from the comfort of an easy chair placed squarely in front of your AC, you can pop on your headphones, close your eyes, and tune in to a series of three NPR Soundtrek audiobooks. Adventures will help you shake off the dog-day doldrums with “whitewater rafting on the Hudson River, mountain climbing in the Himalayas, kayaking in Alaska, air boarding in Oregon’s Cascade mountains, or bungee jumping in Australia”–take your pick, or try them all! Get up close and personal with the world’s feathered folk in Birds, which interweaves colorful stories from ornithological experts with sample bird calls. Or listen in on a plethora of creatures in their natural habitats as they communicate and go about their daily lives in Animals.

For the armchair philosophers out there, take a dive into Izaak Walton’s classic, 17th-century The Compleat Angler. Far from just a fishing handbook, this delightful text brings to vivid life the joys to be found at the riverside, from baiting the hook to cooking the catch (yes, there’s a recipe involved!)–as well as the glory of British landscapes.

If you really do want to get out there but just don’t quite know how to do it (and are too embarrassed to ask your outdoorsy friends), you can get expert advice and learn vital basic skills from the comfort of your earbuds. First stop: How to Survive Your First Trip in the Wild: Backpacking for Beginners. From the basics of tent set-up to the nitty-gritty of what–and what not–to pack, seasoned outdoorsman Paul Magnanti has the answers. 

Worried that your kids aren’t getting outside enough but unable to commit to a full-on camping trip? Angela J. Hanscome’s Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children can be your playbook for creatively and intuitively improving that connection to nature on a daily basis. Get your own nature fix in a low-key fashion with a similar offering for adults who feel trapped in a concrete jungle–Sue Belfrage’s Down to the River and Up To the Trees: Discover the Hidden Nature on Your Doorstep.

So whether your idea of an escape into nature’s paradise is literal or virtual, you’ll find plenty on this audio bookshelf to aid you in your quest! 

If you’re new to hoopla, have a look at the FAQs page. If you need a library card, you can get started here.

*Quoted material from publisher description via hoopla.

For more about nature, find out how to go on a backyard safari and connect with nature during difficult times.

Introducing Gale Elementary – A Free Educational Resource For Kids!

Have you perused the items in Homeschool with hoopla or the School Closed? Overdrive collection but still want more resources for kids?

Formally called Kids Infobits, Gale Elementary is a free database through Abbot Public Library with which kids through grade 5 can learn about a variety of subjects, including Health, Literature, Science, Social Studies, Sports, Technology, and more! The new kid-friendly design allows you to explore each category visually.

For example, when you click on “Animals,” you will find a topic tree with a circle of different subcategories, including Mammals, Pets and Farm Animals, Fish and Sea Creatures, and Dinosaurs and Extinct Animals. When you click on a subcategory circle, say “Mammals,” the database will show the most popular species or related topics with photos.

Under “Mammals” it shows photo circles of Arctic Foxes, Armadillos, and Baboons as the top three in an alphabetical list of the most popular mammals. Clicking on “Arctic Foxes” reveals a little bit of information to help you learn what it is. For further details, click “Keep Reading” to find more specific information, such as what it looks like, what it eats, where it lives, and so on. All the text is geared towards kids through fifth grade, to help them learn and understand. 

Another feature for the new-and-improved database is it’s “I wonder…” questions. If you wonder what a hedgehog eats, or who invented basketball, or how old J. K. Rowling was when she wrote her first story, these questions and more are answered for you! 

So, if you would like to find out more about dinosaurs or trucks or the different continents, or if you have to research something for school, try Gale Elementary!

Check out the posts from our Children’s category with more educational information for kids, including practicing yoga, making music, going on a backyard safari, exploring resources for stargazing, cooking and doing other kitchen activities, and more!

Get Wild at Home with the New England Aquarium and Zoo New England!

We may not be able to visit our favorite furry, feathery, or fishy creatures, but the amazing folks at the New England Aquarium and Zoo New England have found some creative ways to bring a little bit of wild into our homes. 

Bonnethead Shark at New England Aquarium

The Aquarium’s Virtual Visit page features daily presentations starring southern rockhopper penguins, harbor seals, bonnethead sharks, and more! A particular highlight is Reggae the Harbor Seal’s tooth brushing routine. The Aquarium has also curated a list of fun at-home activities and educational resources, from making a 3D turtle shell out of items at home to a tide pool aerobics class.

Zebra at Franklin Park Zoo in Boston

Zoo New England is bringing the #ZooToYou through daily videos and activities on their Facebook pages, letting viewers check in on all of their favorite animals at the Stone Zoo and Franklin Park Zoo. They also have a great kid’s activity and resource page on their website, featuring word searches, coloring pages, instructions on how to make a butterfly garden and compost, printable animal masks, and much more.

Be sure to also explore our digital collections for more resources about these animals and the natural world. hoopla has an extensive selection of National Geographic nature documentaries, running the gamut from wild pandas and tigers to killer whales and emperor penguins. And for our Libby app users, check out Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus, a New York Times bestseller and finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction featuring the octopi of the New England Aquarium!