Wise and Witty Mo LoBeau, 11-Year-Old Mystery Solver

Middle grade readers who are looking for a good book for the summer, check out Three Times Lucky, by Sheila Turnage. This was a Newbery Honor book for 2013 and it is an excellent mystery story for readers in about fourth through seventh grades. It's also available as a book on CD, so if you have a car trip planned, take this one on the road.

The story stars 11-year-old Mo LoBeau, a wise and witty “rising sixth grader” who lives in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina. Mo was discovered as an infant washed ashore during a hurricane and has grown up with the Colonel, a restaurant owner with a mysterious past, and Miss Lana, hostess at the restaurant. When a murder occurs in her quiet town, Mo and her pals are on the case. While touching on a few serious issues such as family abuse and alcoholism, the novel is mostly light and highly entertaining. There are plenty of plot twists and turns to keep you reading. Mo has a wonderful quirky sense of humor, and when she talks about the people in her town, readers won’t be able to stop laughing. A sequel is planned.

Yarn Bomb the Library: Knit & Tag

Saturday, June 8 | 11am-1pm | Pittsfield Branch | Grade 6th- Adult

June 8 is International Yarn Bomb Day! We have two yarn bomb programs at Pittsfield to celebrate. First up:

Help us yarn bomb the exterior of the Pittsfield Branch Library! What is yarn bombing? It’s a form of knit graffiti and public art. We will be adding a coat of knitted color to the trees outside Pittsfield.

At the program you’ll learn how to knit simple pieces with our knit-cam and an instructor (the multi-talented Karen LePage of One Girl Circus) to help guide you. At the end of the program we'll use the pieces we created to yarn bomb the front of Pittsfield. We'd love your help with this art collaboration! The knitting instruction starts at 11am, and it’s not an easy program to arrive late to if you plan to knit for the first time.

We highly encourage experienced knitters and crocheters to also join us. Or if you have a piece already made, bring it to the program and we’ll direct you to the yarn bomb zone!

We have a ton of yarn on hand, but ask that you bring needles size 8 or 9 if you have them. For the younger patrons we have a yarn bomb program for grade K- Adult at Pittsfield from 3-5pm!

For more info on yarn bombing see this great website, and check out the book Yarn bombing: The art of crochet and knit graffiti. For better visuals, visit the Downtown library garden, which was yarn bombed in May!

The Adventures of Theater Kids

From the gregarious Glee kids to the harmonious horde of High School Musical, kids these days love their theater! And it’s not just on TV or in music. Check out one of these great books and read about awful auditions, big solos that bring the house down, backstage drama and pursuing your dreams! There’s no business like show business!

Better Nate Than Ever – Unbeknownst to his parents, Nate skips school and runs off to the Big Apple to audition for a fabulous role in E.T. The Musical. Will Nate be the next big Broadway star, or will his parents catch him and drag him back to his mundane small town life?

Starring Jules (as herself) – Jules can’t wait to be on TV! She has an audition for a mouthwash commercial, but everything keeps going wrong! Can Jules land the part, and also befriend the new girl?

Drama – Callie is the stage manager for this year’s big musical, and she is committed to making it the best one the school has ever produced. Enter, the twins, stage right. Justin and Jesse both have amazing voices, as well as a knack for getting Callie into confusing romantic entanglements. What’s a young theater professional to do?!?

Yarn Bomb the Garden

Sunday, May 19 | 1:00-3:00pm | Downtown MPR | Grades 6th-Adult

Help us yarn bomb the garden at the downtown library! What is yarn bombing? It’s a form of knit graffiti and public art. We will be adding a coat of knitted color to our luscious outdoor garden.

At the program you’ll learn how to knit a small piece with our knit-cam and an instructor to help guide you. At the end of the program we'll use the pieces we created to yarn bomb the exterior garden by attaching them to trees and the like. We'd love your help with this art collaboration! The knitting instruction starts at 1pm, and it’s not an easy program to arrive late to if you plan to knit for the first time.

We highly encourage experienced knitters and crocheters to also join us. Or if you have a piece already made, bring it to the program and we’ll direct you to the garden yarn bomb zone!

We have a ton of yarn on hand, but ask that you bring size 8 or 9 needles if you have them.

For more info on yarn bombing see this great website, and check out the book Yarn bombing: The art of crochet and knit graffiti.

Meet the the Author & Illustrator of the “Vordak” books!

Friday, April 26 | 7:00-8:00pm | Pittsfield Branch | K-8th Grade | Adults

Author Scott Seegert and illustrator John Martin, both from Michigan, are responsible for the wildly funny and silly Vordak the Incomprehensible book series. They’ll both be at the Pittsfield branch on Friday, April 26 talking about their books, leading a drawing exercise, and will perhaps be bringing a little surprise! If you’re into funny books, drawing, and super villains, then this event is for you.

The Vordak books, including How to Grow Up and Rule the World, Rule the School, and Double Trouble, are most appropriate for kids in grades 3rd – 8th, but this library program will be enjoyed by those grades in K-8th, as well as adults! It’s always fun to hear an author talk about their work and then get to meet them, and here we’re lucky to meet the author AND the illustrator!! Be sure to also check out the Vordak website, with all sorts of fun things to do.

Books will be for sale after the program, and there will be a book signing.

Totally Cool Totes!

Wednesday, April 17 | 7:00-8:00pm | Pittsfield Branch | 6th - Adult

It's National Library Week! Let's celebrate the DIY way.

Stencil up a plain canvas tote bag any way you’d like! We'll have the totes, the paint, and stencil supplies, you bring the design ideas. We'll be exploring freezer paper and contact paper methods. It’ll be totes fun. (Feel free to bring a drawing or a print of a design you think would work as a stencil to put on a tote.)

Audiobook for Kids: Spunky Girl Detective

Have you ever wanted to solve a mystery?

Well, in Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen, thirteen-year-old Sammy has no intention of becoming a detective until she happens to see a theft at the hotel across the street… and the thief sees her too. And she thought starting seventh grade was her biggest worry! Now Sammy is dodging the police, trying to outsmart a thief and hiding out from a suspicious neighbor, all while navigating the treacherous world of junior high.

This excellent audiobook series continues with Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man, Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy, Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf, Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Mustache Mary, Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy, Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes, Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception, Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen and Sammy Keyes and the Dead Giveaways.

Fans of spunky, modern girl detectives may also wish to check out these audiobooks: Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison, Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams and Shakespeare’s Secret by Elise Broach.

Liar & Spy Audiobook: Give It a Listen

In Liar & Spy, Georges’ best friend has left him to join the popular kids, and now Georges is alone and bullied at school. When his family moves into a new apartment building, he finds a note advertising a spy club and soon finds himself joining to spy on mysterious neighbor Mr. X with his new best friend Safer. But not all is as it appears to be in this funny, tense, beautifully-layered novel.

After listening to it myself, I can say that translates into an excellent audiobook, especially during those edge-of-your-seat moments, which really did have me on the edge of my seat.

Liar & Spy is written by Rebecca Stead, whose previous novel, When You Reach Me, won the Newbery Medal in 2010.

ALA Announces 2013 Newbery, Caldecott, and other Youth Media Awards


Every year at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, librarians from across the continent gather for the most exciting event on the youth fiction calendar--the announcement of the ALA Youth Media Awards. These awards, from the venerable Newbery medal to the relatively new Stonewall Book Award, are awarded to what can only be termed the rockstars of the youth media world, and the enthusiasm surrounding the event carries out this comparison. Books nominated for these prizes are enshrined in their own sections of libraries, assigned in schools, and treasured by decades of readers, young and old. The 2013 winners were announced this morning in Seattle, Washington.

The 2013 Newbery Medal for the most outstanding children's literature of the year was awarded to Katherine Applegate for her book The One and Only Ivan.

The Caldecott Medal, celebrating its 75th year of honoring the best of the best of children's picture books, was awarded to Jon Klassen for This Is Not My Hat.

The Coretta Scott King Book Award for an outstanding publication that represents the African American experience was given to illustrator Bryan Collier for I, Too, Am America and author Andrea Davis Pinkney for Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America while The Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement recognized Demetria Tucker, librarian and youth media advocate, for her longstanding contributions.

The Pura Belpré Awards for works that best represent the Latino experience honored Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert for David Diaz's illustrations, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz for text.

The Michael L. Printz Award for the best book written for young adults was awarded to Nick Lake for In Darkness.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for a lifelong contribution to children's literature in the United States was awarded to Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia and many other beloved books, and The Margaret A. Edwards Award for contribution to teen literature went to Tamora Pierce for her quartets The Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small.

For a full list of winners and honorable mentions, visit the American Library Association's awards page or the ALA Youth Media Awards Facebook page, and be sure to check out our section of award winning children's books in the Downtown Library youth room.

Where My Peeps At?

Wednesday, March 20 | 6:00-8:00pm | Pittsfield Branch | 6th grade- Adult

Make a mini stuffed marshmallow Peeps bunny using felt and hand-sewing techniques! We’ll have all the Peeps-colored felt necessary to make the cutest little Peeps bunnies. Guaranteed to be a fun evening of sewing and chatting. Join us!

For more projects with felt, check out these books.

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