Reserve Your Halloween Library Items Today To Get Them Before the Building Closes to Staff Next Week!

You may have read our important update about the building being closed to staff next week for air duct cleaning, which means if you want to check out physical copies of Halloween titles (or any titles for that matter), this Saturday, October 24th, is the last day to pick up physical materials before Halloween via the Abbot Public Library’s Curbside Pickup Service.

Likewise, if you have any items you would like to return before the building’s closure, please put them in a library return bin by 3:00 pm on Saturday, October 24th. After 3:00 pm, the library return bins will be closed to ensure they don’t overflow with uncollected returns.

If you would like to reserve any title(s) available in Marblehead for Curbside Pickup this Saturday, you should reserve them on your library account today. Don’t forget to click “Limit to Available” when searching so you only see titles that should be ready for pickup by Saturday. 

Please wait for a notification that your items are ready for you before you make an appointment for Curbside Pickup, either online or by calling 781-631-1481, Ext. 201 during Curbside Pickup hours (weekdays 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm and Saturday 9:30 am – Noon and 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm). 

Below are some titles that are currently available in Marblehead, and therefore are able to be reserved for Curbside Pickup for this Saturday. Reserve these titles online or search the catalog for available titles you’d like to check out for next week. 

Halloween is definitely not the same this year. Plan a safe stay-in Halloween with help from the following books about decorating and Halloween crafts for all ages! 

Search through more available books, including some ebooks, about Halloween decorating here

Children who want to read books about Halloween next week can borrow some of these titles, including collections of spooky stories or fiction titles about witches, vampires, characters celebrating Halloween, and other related books. 

There are plenty of selections for adults as well, from the cute Halloween cozy mystery to terrifying thrillers and horror stories. Browse through available Halloween fiction and horror, which include: 

We also have plenty of titles to choose from online, some which have been mentioned in previous blog posts such as our witch fiction and Summertime Hocus Pocus posts. Reserve any available physical titles for Curbside Pickup this week, or check out what our online collections have to offer you to help you celebrate a safe Halloween.

Books To Celebrate This Week’s Perseid Meteor Shower!

The Perseid meteor shower is active this week. This annual summer sky show brings hundreds of shooting stars overhead. With a clear night sky, dozens of bright meteors will be visible each hour.

Meteor showers happen as our planet moves through a debris field left in the wake of a comet or asteroid. Earth intercepts this field during its annual orbit. In the case of the Perseids, those tiny stones come from a long-ago passage of the comet.

Here are some books for families to share to understand comets, asteroids, and meteors. Go out together at night and take in the sight! Reserve the print copies today for Curbside Pickup! If you’re new to Curbside Pickup, please carefully read these instructions

*book descriptions are from the publishers

Rocket Says Look Up! written by Nathan Bryon ; illustrated by Dapo Adeola

Aspiring astronaut Rocket draws her community together to see a rare appearance of the Phoenix Meteor Showers, hoping especially that her big brother, Jamal, will look up from his phone.

Meteor Showers by J. A. Kelley

An illustrated introduction to meteor showers that explains the differences between a meteor and a shooting star, how meteors travel through the Earth’s atmosphere, and related topics.

Comets, Asteroids, and Meteorites by Roy A. Gallant

An introduction to the celestial phenomena of asteroids, meteoroids and meteorites, and comets.

Call me Ahnighito by Pam Conrad and pictures by Richard Egielski

A huge meteorite describes how it lay half-buried in Greenland for centuries until it is finally excavated by members of a Peary expedition and begins a new journey.

Meteors by Melissa Stewart

Part of the National Geographic Kids Series

Blast off on a trip to discover the fascinating world of meteors. In this image-packed book, kids will learn all about these objects hurtling through space and into our atmosphere. Written in an easy-to-grasp style to encourage the scientists and explorers of tomorrow!

Comets and Meteors: Shooting Through Space by Chana Stiefel, Part of the Inside Outer Space Series

What has a head, two tails, and shoots across the sky? A comet. Coming from the far edges of the solar system, most comets travel around the Sun, while meteors appear as flashing streaks of light in the night sky. Explore these amazing celestial wonders as they zip through space! This book looks at the difference between comets and meteors and their effects on Earth. The physical characteristics of each are identified in detail. This book won’t come crashing down! It’s filled with fun facts that give additional information on this exciting science topic. This book allows students to use observations of the Sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.

Read more about space in our past Shoot for the Stars blog post.

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!

It Is SO Hot!

Phew! It is so hot! Below are books for both younger and older children describing hot summer weather and heat waves. What to do when it is hot, why it is hot, and how to stay safe are some of the topics explored.

* All descriptions are from the publishers

Disaster Zone: Heat Waves by Vanessa Black (also available as a Read-Along ebook)

Part of the Disaster Zones Series

In Heat Waves, early fluent readers learn about the conditions that lead to and result from catastrophic heat waves. Vibrant, full-color photos and carefully leveled text will engage young readers as they learn about the deadliest heat waves and how to stay safe in heat wave conditions.

An infographic illustrates how a heat wave forms, and an activity offers kids an opportunity to extend discovery. Children can learn more about heat waves using our safe search engine that provides relevant, age-appropriate websites. Heat Waves also features reading tips for teachers and parents, a table of contents, a glossary, and an index.

Weather in Summer by Maddie Spalding

Part of the Welcome, Summer! Series

Engage readers with the story of weather in summer. Readers are introduced to the ways that Earth changes in the summertime. Additional features include a table of contents, a phonetic glossary, an index, an introduction to the author, and sources for further research. A kid-friendly project inspires creativity and hands-on fun.

On a Hot Day by Donna Herweck Rice

Part of the My Words Readers Series

Sprinklers, sunglasses, lemonade, and ice cream. These are all things that we use when it’s hot out! Perfect for 1st grade students, this book teaches these 7 high-frequency words from Fry’s First 100 words list: who, can, use, some, on, this, and day. The short sentences and clear images support the text to help with memorization. The rebus pictures and simple text build grade 1 reading comprehension in a format that is appealing to children. Beginning readers will learn the essential sight words and gain confidence as they learn to read independently.

Adapting to Severe Heat Waves by Tamra B. Orr

Part of the Science to the Rescue: Adapting to Climate Change Series

Like a row of dominoes, persistent and repetitive heat waves also threaten the environment, exacerbate current climate-related problems, stress a country’s health system, damage its infrastructure, and strain its energy resources. Readers examine efforts, including drought and heat-resistant energy-efficient “smart” homes and buildings, green roof gardens, next-generation building materials, and alternative energy sources as well as technologically advanced climate modeling, weather prediction, and emergency warning systems. Also highlighted are governmental efforts that can be made to alleviate human suffering, including energy conservation initiatives, the opening of public shelters and cooling centers, and the organizing of neighborhood watch programs for heat-vulnerable residents. Most importantly, readers learn how they can learn to reduce their carbon footprint while also coping with increasing heat and remaining healthy.

How’s the Weather in Summer? by Rebecca Felix

Part of the 21st Century Basic Skills Library: Let’s Look at Summer Series

This Level 1 guided reader explores the concept of seasonal changes in weather in the summer. Students will develop word recognition and reading skills while learning about the changes in summer weather we can see and feel.

Why is Summer Hot? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfelf

Have you ever wondered why the days are so long in the summer and short in the winter? Or why we have hot weather and colder weather? Read on to learn about the Earth, how it spins around the Sun, and the seasons!

If you need to cool down now, take a look at this post about swimming books.

Children Can Enjoy the Camping Experience In These Books!

Some families go camping in the summer and some kids go away to summer camp. In the current summer, some of these activities will be different. But there is still fun to be had. Here are some stories that celebrate the silly and the fun aspects of camping outdoors. Some of the great stories below feature campfires, sleeping under the stars, hiking, and maybe even s’mores!

*All book descriptions are from the publisher

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look

Here’s the second book in the beloved and hilarious Alvin Ho chapter book series, which has been compared to Diary of a Wimpy Kid and is perfect for both beginning and reluctant readers.

Alvin, an Asian American second grader who’s afraid of everything, is back, and his worst fear has come true: he has to go camping. What will he do, exposed in the wilderness with bears and darkness and… pit toilets? Luckily, he’s got his night-vision goggles and water purifying tablets and super-duper heavy-duty flashlight to keep him safe. And he’s got his dad, too.

Fred and Ted go Camping by Peter Eastman

Fred and Ted—beloved canine stars of P. D. Eastman’s Big Dog… Little Dog—are back in an all-new Beginner Book written and illustrated by P. D.’s son, Peter Eastman! In this story, Fred and Ted go camping, and as usual, their uniquely different approaches to doing things (such as packing equipment, setting up camp, and fishing) have humorous—and sometimes surprising—results. A charming introduction to opposites that beginner readers will find ruff to put down!

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

In Be Prepared, all Vera wants to do is fit in—but that’s not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera’s single mother can’t afford that sort of luxury, but there’s one summer camp in her price range—Russian summer camp.

Vera is sure she’s found the one place she can fit in, but camp is far from what she imagined. And nothing could prepare her for all the “cool girl” drama, endless Russian history lessons, and outhouses straight out of nightmares!

Spy Camp, the second in the Spy School series by Stuart Gibbs

In this follow-up to the Edgar-nominated Spy School, top-secret training continues into summer for aspiring spy Ben Ripley—and so does the danger.


Ben Ripley is a middle-schooler whose school is not exactly average—he’s spent the last year training to be a top-level spy and dodging all sorts of associated danger. So now that summer’s finally here, Ben would like to have some fun and relax. But that’s not going to happen during required spy survival training at a rustic wilderness camp, where SPYDER, an enemy spy organization, has infiltrated the spies’ ranks. Can Ben root out the enemy before it takes him out—for good?

A Clatter of Jars by Lisa Graff

In this magical companion to the National Book Award nominee A Tangle of Knots, it’s summertime and everyone is heading off to camp. For Talented kids, the place to be is Camp Atropos, where they can sing songs by the campfire, practice for the Talent show, and take some nice long dips in the lake. But what the kids don’t know is that they’ve been gathered for a reason—one that the camp’s director wants to keep hidden at all costs.

Meanwhile, a Talent jar that has been dropped to the bottom of the lake has sprung a leak, and strange things have begun to happen. Dozens of seemingly empty jars have been washing up on the shoreline, Talents have been swapped, and memories have been ripped from one camper’s head and placed into another. And no one knows why.

With a camp full of kids, a lake full of magic, and a grown-up full of secrets, A Clatter of Jars isa  story of summer, family, and the lengths we go to win back the people we love.

Summer at Meadow Wood by Amy Rebecca Tan

Vic Brown did not want to go to camp this summer.

Even though it’s nice being back with her friends at Meadow Wood, Vic still can’t forget about the secret reason her mom wanted her and her brother out of the house—or how much her family is going to change. When her home life is blowing up, it can be hard to focus on campfires and canoeing.

But there is something about summer and surprises that go together like blueberry pancakes and maple syrup. And soon, Vic starts to feel like—just maybe—a summer at Meadow Wood was exactly what she needed.

What the Tide Leaves Behind

When you’re wading in the waves, what can you find? When the tide retreats, what is left on the beach? Here are three books that help kids identify and understand some of the things left behind in the seaweed and sand.

Oceans Alive Series: Sea Shells by Shari Skeie

Find out how little creatures live in shells, and the various types of shells.

Let’s Read and Find Out Series: What Lives in a Shell?  By Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld and Helen K. Davie

A shell serves as protection and shelter for many types of marine creatures and animals on land. Look at examples such as crabs and clams, as well as turtles and snails.

Critters By the Sea Series: Crabs On the Beach by Jonathan Potter

Learn some amazing facts about crabs.

Creating Sand Beaches with Poop by Anita Louise McCormick. part of the Power of Poop Series

Read about parrotfish, which eat coral, digest the algae that grows on it, and excrete out lots of white coral sand. 70 % of white sand beaches come from parrotfish! Yucky thought, but true.

For kids who want to learn more about sea creatures, both on the shore and off them, check out the marine life collections of ebooks and audiobooks on hoopla and Overdrive, as well as the Fish and Sea Creatures section of the Gale Elementary database, which was discussed in a previous blog post. All are accessible to you with your Abbot Public Library card!

Identity, Community, and Struggle: Books For Kids On Big Issues

Race relations and protests are difficult topics to explain to children. Books detailing the momentous events of the 1960s can be the vehicle to help those discussions. The following award-winning books use historical background and distinctive viewpoints to aid understanding of significant events and news. Here are four children’s books at different reading levels that explore identity, racism, protest, and justice.

The Other Side written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis, an audiobook for ages 5-9

A fence divides both racial sides of an unnamed small town. Both girls, Clover and Annie, wonder about this and take the halting steps towards friendship despite adult rules. The story ends with both girls and their friends sitting on the top of the fence together. A moving and thoughtful story of children making choices and changes.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, historical fiction for ages 10+

Three sisters are sent from their Brooklyn home with their grandmother to spend a month with their estranged mother in 1968 Oakland. During that month, their mother places them in a Black Panther day camp, and the girls absorb ideas of identity, black community, and revolution in their distinctly individual ways. The themes of the times are quietly explored, as well as family issues. 

The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis, historical fiction for ages 10+

This book is both funny when describing the sibling antics in the loving Watson family, and very serious and moving about the infamous church bombing that they encounter in Birmingham on a visit to their grandmother. Told from the viewpoint of 10-year-old brother Kenny, the family journey brings sudden hatred and violence in juxtaposition to family dynamics.

Let the Children March written by Monica Clark-Robinson and illustrated by Frank Morrison, a historical fiction picture book for ages 6+

The inspiring and shivery events of the Children’s Crusade of 1963 are described through the eyes of two siblings who participate in this moving story of resistance and courage. Children had volunteered to march in protest against segregation laws in the south, and were then arrested and jailed. This story brings out the fear and hatred they encounter, and the effects that their march had in the broader Civil Rights Movement. 

A Day at the Beach

Whether or not you take the kids to the beach, it is fun to start thinking about it and reading about it. Here are four picture books from the silly to the serious about the beach and the wonderful things to find and do there.

The Seashore Book written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Wendall Minor, a picture book for ages 4-8

A gorgeously illustrated story about the sensory experience of a day at the beach, from hunting shells to watching waves. In this classic favorite, a mother describes what it would be like to spend a day at the shore to her son who has yet to see it.

Bats at the Beach, written and illustrated by Brian Lies, a picture book for ages 4-8

Instead of fun in the sun, what if bats went to the beach? Would it be fun in the gloom? In this book, the answer is yes! The bats in this goofy picture book do all the favorite family beach activities during the night hours. Lots of silly details in the illustrations make this a fun choice for kids to compare what they do with the imaginary bat families.

Summer at the Seashore by Sue Tarsky and Claire London, from the Taking a Walk series, a picture book for ages 2-6

Walk along the shore and what do you see? A fun counting book for colors, shapes, and numbers. Each page names the different items to search for and count, whether umbrellas or dogs.

Water Sings Blue: Water Poems written by Kate Coombs and illustrated by Meilo So, a poetry picture book for ages 5-9 

This book features soft watercolor illustrations and short poems about all kinds of wonders to be discovered in the ocean and on the beach. Suitable for reading and discussing aloud.

Middle Grade Fiction Picks For Ages 10+ Dealing With Struggles

As adults, we have so many different and conflicting feelings each day of the COVID-19 pandemic. Children are feeling similar emotions with the loss of their routines and worries for their families. Here are some middle grade books that explore difficult life situations that children can experience. Despite their struggles, the characters in these stories demonstrate resilience, and learn how to understand and accept their own emotions.

The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead

In this story, narrator Bea looks back on when she was a fifth grader, her parents divorced, and her father remarried. The list of things that will not change was to console her through all the things that did. Bea must deal with anxiety, a new stepsister, prejudice against her gay father, and her own failures with anger management.  But with support from adults, including a helpful therapist. Bea learns to see the emotions behind her behavior, and finds the strength to cope.

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Powerful historical fiction that uses three parallel stories to show the migrant experience from the point of view of three different kids migrating by boat in three different time periods. The two boys and a girl are fleeing from Nazi Germany, Cuba, and Aleppo. Their journeys have much hardship and fear, and experiences of loss. The behavior of the adults they encounter runs the gamut of exploitation to generosity. These three stories demonstrate the very real value of hope.  

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden

Middle schooler Zoey has to look after her three younger siblings while her mother works her shifts at the local pizza parlor. The family lives in a rural part of Vermont, and her family’s poverty causes many hardships for her. Her homework isn’t always done, her clothes are few and dirty, and food and basic transportation needs are challenging. A sympathetic teacher finagles her into the debate club, where she learns to speak up for her friends and herself, find her voice, and start imagining a future.

Find more books for kids you can access for free with your library card on Overdrive (or in the Libby app) and hoopla!