Believe in Ben!

One of my favorite children’s authors wrote a great book about Ben Franklin that is fun to browse or read straight through and a perfect companion to the library’s exhibit. In Ben Franklin’s Almanac, Candace Fleming reminds us that Ben rose each morning and asked himself this question. “What good shall I do today?” Thank goodness for all of us that Ben Franklin lived to be 84 years old!

Busing Brewster by Richard Michelson

Brewster is excited about starting first grade. His mother tells him that he will not go to the school in his neighborhood. He will ride the bus to another school across town, a school with predominantly white children. His experience starts off rocky. Parents are protesting outside the school. A rock is thrown through the bus window and a mean kid tells him that he “Wished his kind would have stayed at Franklin.” After Brewster, his brother and the kid are sent to the library for detention; Brewster discovers a world of books and the positive impact a librarian can have on young lives. Richard Michelson powerfully introduces young readers to desegregation in the 1970’s. A segment of Barak Obama’s speech given at the ALA 2005 Conference about the importance of libraries in children’s lives is excerpted in the author’s note at the end (see below). R.G. Roth’s collage illustrations capture the triumph and challenges of busing students in the 1970’s.

“The moment we persuade a child, any child, to cross the
threshold into a library, we’ve changed their lives forever,
and for the better…We all have a responsibility as parents,
librarians, educators and citizens, to instill in our children
a love of reading so that we can give them the chance to fulfill
their dreams.”
Barak Obama, 2005 ALA Conference

Franklin Family Fun

Read the entertaining novel Ben and Me by Robert Lawson, attend the book discussion/craft program, and then bring the whole family to the Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World exhibit. Amos the mouse, Ben Franklin’s “closest friend and adviser”, has quite the ego and sense of humor. His descriptions of Franklin’s inventions and adventures are filled with wisdom and warmth. The opportunity to explore the remarkable Ben Franklin from to fact to fiction, will be available through July 8th!

A Long Walk to Water

Linda Sue Park's engaging story, A Long Walk to Water, is based on real-life experiences during two different decades in Southern Sudan. In 1985, young Salva is forced to flee from his village to escape civil war. He makes a dangerous trek to uncertain safety in Kenya, along the way facing hunger and violence from cruel soldiers. Other refugees have doubts that such a young boy is anything more than a burden. Salva’s perseverance over hardship and eventual travel to America as one of the Lost Boys of Sudan makes for inspirational reading.

The story of Nya, another Sudanese youngster, takes place in 2008 and is interwoven throughout Salva's story. Nya makes an eight-hour daily trip to and from a pond that is her family's only source of water. When the pond is found to be contaminated, the village begins the project of digging a well. Physical and financial obstacles, as well as the doubts of the villagers, must be overcome for the project to succeed.

Park's terse but beautiful prose and powerful socially-conscious message in A Long Walk to Water will resonate with both children and adults.

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April 24, 2011 Easter Sunday

Climbing Lincoln’s Steps: The African American Journey by Suzanne Slade

From the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln, to the speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the steps of the Lincoln Memorial have meant change; one step at a time. Climbing Lincoln’s Steps: the African American Journey, chronicles some of the significant events in the African American struggle for freedom and equality. Suzanne Slade brings past to present with a common symbol of America, the Lincoln Memorial. Short biographies of prominent African American’s are included at the end of the book.

Party with Josh Casey!

Josh Casey is coming all the way from California to celebrate National Library Week with us and we are really excited because he cracks up the crowd every time! Josh will juggle and pull off wacky stunts with hapless victims from the audience. It all happens this Saturday, April 16 at both the Downtown and Pittsfield libraries.josh logojosh logo


Come to the library this Saturday for a cozy reading time with a R.E.A.D dog. All beginning readers can have this opportunity on every Saturday at 10:00 am at the Traverwood Branch during the whole month of April! This week our friend Gloria will be volunteering with her dog Annie, who is an excellent listener!

In The Prophet’s Garden: A selection of ahadith for the young Compiled by Fatima M. D'Oyen

The sayings and teaching from the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are collected in this beautiful book for children. Inspirational as well as practical advice for living life with peace, gratitude, morals and manners. A must read for anyone who wants to learn more about the teachings of Islam.


Last week we had great new readers show up for a special, cozy reading time with a R.E.A.D dog. All beginning readers can have this opportunity on every Saturday at 10:00 am at the Traverwood Branch during the whole month of April! This week our friend Jared will be volunteering with his awesome dog Bella.TherapawsTherapawsBellaBella

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