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!

Shoot for the Stars: Resources for Stargazing and Learning About Outer Space

A Boston Globe article from May 6 highlighted a family-friendly quarantine activity that is out of this world: stargazing! The current lockdown has led to a reduction in light and air pollution, resulting in better conditions for observing the night sky. Caity Sullivan, education associate at the Charles Hayden Planetarium of the Museum of Science, outlines some tips and tricks in the article for at-home stargazing with your family, including free star-viewing apps and what to look for in the night sky.

Though you can’t visit the Hayden Planetarium in person, Sullivan and the folks at the Museum of Science have made it possible for the Planetarium to come to you! Check out their Facebook page for Virtual Planetarium events — you can view past presentations and stay informed about upcoming events, including livestreams of what to view in the night sky. If you miss the presentations, take a look at the Museum’s handy May Sky Chart & Viewing Guide — May is a great month to start backyard stargazing as there will be a rare Mercury sighting the week of May 19th!

For even more space-related fun, listen to Pulsar: A Podcast from the Museum of Science. Their episode on Living in Space, featuring Sullivan, is a must listen, as well as their namesake inaugural episode, All About Pulsars. And for young astronomers, learn about our universe through hands-on activities, such as the Museum’s Our Place in Space family STEM activity and Boston Children’s Museum’s treasure trove of Beyond the Chalkboard NASA-inspired activities, including inventing your own constellations, building paper rockets, and keeping a sky observation journal.

Want more galactic goodness? Check out these fiction and nonfiction titles for all ages — some of many available on Overdrive/Libby with your library card number — to keep your whole family shooting for the stars:

8 Little Planets by Chris Ferrie
Moon! Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty (audio) 
Stars! Stars! Stars! by Bob Barner
Fly Guy Presents: Space by Tedd Arnold
Ada Twist’s Big Project Book for Stellar Scientists by Andrea Beaty
Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House #8) and its companion Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Space by Mary Pope Osborne

Junior Genius Guides: Outer Space by Ken Jennings
How to Be A Space Explorer by Lonely Planet Kids
Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Hidden Figures (Young Readers’ Edition) by Margot Lee Shetterly (audio)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown

And for some further space exploration, check out encyclopedic text about the solar system in Salem Press, or take a peek at our selection of Great Courses videos about astronomy and the mysteries of the universe:

Our Night Sky
Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe
The Search for Exoplanets: What Astronomers Know
The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries
The Remarkable Science of Ancient Astronomy

Happy stargazing!

Thinking About Adding a Dog to Your Family?

Many people during lockdown are considering or have acquired a new dog as a family pet. With so many people at home, there is time available for training a new animal companion. But people should still consider carefully before getting one.

We have ebooks that are geared for young children who are beginning readers to learn about different dog breeds and about the specifics of pet care. All family members can help take good care of a pet dog. If they understand what animals need. These three easy books contain fun and informative facts that are entertaining whether or not readers are getting a dog. 

Start with Choosing a Dog: How to Choose and Care for a Dog by Laura Jeffrey

What age dog should you get? What breed? An easy to read book that covers the ways to find the right sort of dog, steps to getting a dog, and taking good care of one.

For the beginning reader, we have Amazing Dogs, a DK Reader by Laura Buller. Charming pictures with very easy text reveal fascinating facts about dogs.

The next one won’t help with whether or not to get a pet dog, but early readers will enjoy world record facts and stories about dogs. The Guinness World Records’ I Can Read Series: Daring Dogs by Cari Meister describes truly amazing feats by dogs. 

These and more ebooks about dogs are accessible on Overdrive/Libby and hoopla through the Abbot Public Library. Learn more about breeds and dog care at all reading levels!

Kids in the Kitchen: A Curated Collection of Cookbooks and Activities to do at Home

Our friends at the Boston Children’s Museum, the Museum of Science, and Institute of Contemporary Art have been hard at work creating fun and educational STEAM content that you can do at home, even in the kitchen. We’ve rounded up the best-of-the-best kitchen science activities for the whole family to try!

Watch Boston Children’s Museum’s Kitchen Science for Kids YouTube series, which includes how-to videos on making butter, composting with kitchen scraps, and fermenting your own veggies. Their Beyond the Chalkboard site is another great resource for food-related activities, from becoming an effective food detective, to designing a healthy dip for fruits and veggies, to making art with food. Be sure to also check out their daily activity archive for more wonderful and engaging content! 

At the Museum of Science, learn about acids and bases using blueberries and other ingredients in your kitchen! Take a peek at their #MOSatHome page for even more fun family STEM activities, virtual exhibits, and presentations (including a snake taking a bath!). 

And over at the Institute of Contemporary Art, check out their guide for eco-dyeing fabric for crafting using fruit and veggie scraps and other kitchen materials. Interested in more great activities? Their Art Lab at home has everything from DIY flip books to virtual quilts (maybe made with all that fabric you just eco-dyed).

After you’ve tried these awesome activities, work on those kitchen and nutrition skills with this curated list of cookbooks for junior chefs:

On hoopla:

Stir Crack Whisk Bake: A Little Book about Little Cakes by America’s Test Kitchen

This interactive board book walks little bakers through making the tiniest of sweet treats — cupcakes!

Plant, Cook, Eat!: A Children’s Cookbook by Joe Archer & Caroline Craig

This cookbook takes you from the garden to the kitchen with handy tips & tricks for starting a kitchen garden and how to turn your harvest into healthy, delicious, kid-friendly meals.

Kitchen Science Lab for Kids by Liz Lee Heinecke 

Using basic kitchen ingredients, everyone from toddlers to big kids can whip up these exciting experiments at home!

On Libby:

Cooking Class by Deanna F. Cook

Designed for 6- to 12-year-olds, this instructive cookbook teaches budding mini chefs basic kitchen techniques and over 50 yummy recipes.

National Geographic Kids Cookbook by Barton Seaver

Part craft and activity book, part how-to and cookbook, master chef Barton Seaver’s National Geographic Kids Cookbook teaches you how to start a kitchen garden, host a family cooking competition, and everything in between.

On hoopla & Libby:

The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids

From the pros at America’s Test Kitchen come over 750 kid-tested and approved recipes for all skill levels with the goal of empowering young chefs to feel confident in the kitchen.

On Overdrive and hoopla

The Forest Feast for Kids by Erin Gleeson 

*a hoopla Bonus Borrow through today

This colorful cookbook includes the most kid-friendly recipes from the vegetarian hit The Forest Feast