Cool Off With Christmas in July!

Winter is often a time of joy, when people come together to sing carols and spend time with family and friends. Often throughout the year, we forget what is important. The spirit of giving and the season to spend time with those you love can be celebrated all year long. So, to instill these feelings we experience during the popular winter holiday, here are some ebooks, audiobooks, music, and movies about the Christmas season! 

Ebeneezer Scrooge is the quintessential Christmas grumbler in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (also available on hoopla), a story that has inspired countless retellings as books (see these ebooks on hoopla), movies (seven of which are available on hoopla), and even holiday plays such as the one shown at North Shore Music Theater. The unforgettable ghostly quartet that visits the greedy guy, led by the spirit of Scrooge’s deceased partner, Jacob Marley, are enough to change a man’s entire outlook and remind him of what is important in life, especially at Christmastime.

John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas is a popular modern classic which inspired the movie Christmas with the Kranks (available to watch on hoopla with no wait!), starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee-Curtis. If ever there were characters who forgot what the holiday season was about, it’s the Kranks. They decide to skip Christmas and set sail on a caribbean cruise. But will they go through with their holiday plans, or will something remind them of why this time of year is so special despite all the holiday hassle?

Mystery fans will love to cuddle up with some Christmas cozies on Overdrive and hoopla. Get ready for A Little Yuletide Murder with Jessica Fletcher in book 11 of the Murder, She Wrote Series. Who killed Santa Claus? All Jessica Fletcher wants to do is enjoy a nice holiday in Cabot Cove, but someone killed the guy who plays the small town Santa Claus every year, and Jessica wants to wrap up the case by Christmas. 

Baker and amateur sleuth Hannah Swensen is on the case in Joanne Fluke’s dessert-filled delectables, which can be checked out on Overdrive or hoopla. Included in the holiday-themed titles are a spectacular Christmas ball, a deceased Mrs. Claus, and recipes for delicious desserts!

If you’re more into movies than books, stream one of the many holiday movies available on hoopla! Not only will you find the aforementioned Christmas with the Kranks and various versions of A Christmas Carol, but you’ll find family friendly movies like Small Town Santa, in which the sheriff arrests a home intruder who claims to be Santa Claus; or Christmas with the Andersons, to show how you can enjoy the holiday even if you lose your job. For more mature movies, Christmas Kiss or Back to Christmas might be the romantic movie you want to see.

All these titles are just the tip of the iceberg! Check out even more on Overdrive/the Libby app or on hoopla!

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!

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!

Threads of Connection – Make a Quilt Square for the ICA’s Virtual Quilt

At a time when community is more important than ever, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, has found a unique way to foster this connection through their Threads of Connection Virtual Quilt. Originally an installation by Merrill Comeau in ICA’s Art Lab, this community quilt project has now gone virtual!

The ICA is inviting participants to create a quilt square, using materials from home, that represents what makes you, you. They ask: “What makes you special? What do you love about your community? What are you proud of? What do you believe in?” Think about what makes you unique, have fun making your quilt square, and submit your quilt square to the ICA for a chance to be a part of their virtual quilt community. Be sure to also check out their website as well as their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for inspiration and further instructions. 

After creating your quilt square, take a moment to enjoy these family-friendly titles — available from Overdrive/Libby and hoopla with your library card number — and their stories of community, memory, quilts, and the threads that connect us all: 

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson
The Nesting Quilt by Catherine Falwell
Cloth Lullaby by Amy Novesky
The Quilt by Gary Paulsen
The Quilt Walk by Sandra Dallas