Monday, September 19, 2016

First Meeting of the 2016-17 Year

Hello Bookshoppers!

Our first meeting of the 2016-17 school year will be a week from today: Monday, September 26, 5:30-7:00. If you or your parent has not contacted me yet to formally register for the program this year, please email me at to save your spot.

I hope you had a wonderful summer, and I can't wait to hear about all of the wonderful books you read!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

June Meeting: Free Choice Books and Legos

Our last meeting of the year went by way too quickly! We had so many great books to share, lots of delicious cupcakes to decorate, and fun book-inspired Lego scenes to create.

After stuffing ourselves with pizza and cupcakes, we each shared a little teaser booktalk about the book we had read. We had a wonderful and diverse selection of books represented, from nonfiction to fantasy to realistic fiction to sci-fi! Then, we moved over to the Lego table and attempted to re-create a scene, image, or plot point from the book using Legos. This turned out to be harder than it sounds, especially considering the limited Lego people and blocks available, but the Bookshoppers came up with some awesome literary creations. There are pictures below, but they will also be on display at the Main Library on the third floor until Monday morning, June 27, so stop by to check it out!

Getting the creative juices flowing...

Isaac: N.E.R.D.S.: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society by Michael Buckley

Eli: Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Chris: Tesla's Attic by Neal Shusterman

Avery: The Complete Dog Breed Book by DK Publishing

Gabriel: Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Shayla: The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Our book-inspired Lego display in the Children's Room

The June meeting was our last Bookshop meeting for this year. Have a wonderful summer, and we'll be back in September. Happy reading!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

May Meeting: Scratch and PicoBoards

We had a blast at Monday's meeting talking about all of the fantastical places Milo visits in The Phantom Tollbooth and then taking a stab at creating our own using Scratch. Two members of the MIT Media Lab's Scratch team attended the meeting and brought PicoBoards for us to try out. These little sensor boards allowed us to create coded interactions based on a button, a slider, a light sensor, and a sound sensor in addition to what is typically available within Scratch.

We got so invested in our work that we ran out of time, so I wasn't able to get videos of everyone's Scratch projects. I did get some pictures of the process (but not of Isaac who created a very cool hybrid cat-dog that spun around, among many other things), but you'll just have to take my word for it that the Bookshoppers came up with some awesome Milo-inspired projects by the end of our meeting.

Hard at work
Avery: fat man/thin man/tall man/short man controlled by the slider and the button
Chris: game where you use the slider to help Milo collect As and avoid Zs and bombs
Eli: game involving the slider and this sinister skeleton guy eventually changing colors and dissolving into a whirlpool effect
Stefan: slider controls Milo in his car zooming back and forth

Get excited for our last meeting of the school year on Monday, June 20th! Bring a book to share!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April Meeting: Glogster Spy Club Posters

Monday's meeting flew by with lots of excitement about upcoming books (The Cursed Child!!!) and movies (Rogue One!!!). Everyone seemed to have enjoyed Liar and Spy, and we had a lively discussion about who was the liar and who was the spy. We also looked at some books about Georges Seurat and his incredible pointillism art technique since that was a theme throughout the book. 

After a delicious birthday blondie treat (happy belated birthday and thank you, Avery!), we started exploring Glogster, our new online tool of choice. Because Georges and Safer's whole friendship began with a mysterious spy club poster, we decided to create our own spy club posters. Some of them are still works in progress, but they would definitely get my attention and pique my curiosity!

Avery's Glog:

Chris's Glog:

Eli's Glog:

Gabe's Glog:

Isaac's Glog:

Shayla's Glog:

Stefan's Glog:

Our next meeting will be on Monday, May 23, from 5:30-7:00. PLEASE NOTE: this is not the last Monday of the month since the last Monday of May is Memorial Day and the library will be closed. We are reading The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, and our top-secret special Scratch activity will be led by staff from the MIT Media Lab!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March Meeting: Audacity Audio and War Slogan Posters

We had a small but enthusiastic group at Monday's meeting. We talked about everything from aliens landing next door, to the awesome manga series, Library Wars, to who saved whose life in our March book, The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. (Consensus was reached that they sort of all saved each other in one way or another.)

We then launched into our first activity for the evening: writing a letter from one character in the book to another. We were pretty impressed by the animals in the book, since both Butter the horse and Bovril the cat played pretty big roles in Ada and Jamie's lives in the country. Thus, several Bookshop members chose to embrace magical realism and write letters from the point of view of one of the animals. The one member who chose to write from a human perspective tackled a British accent with impressive success. After finishing the hard part of writing, we rehearsed a bit before recording ourselves live using Audacity, a free Open Source software tool. The entertaining results are below. Enjoy!

While taking turns to record, we took inspiration from some vintage WWII British War Slogan posters and created some of our own posters.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

February Meeting: Animoto Book Trailers

We had a fabulous meeting on Monday with a spirited discussion about Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar. The group gave the book another unanimous thumbs up, although the thought of an exponentially growing biological disease like Sachar's "fuzzy mud" was pretty terrifying to most of us. We all wished that the book had been longer with more character development and plot build-up and suspense. That said, the book's inherent suspense and creepiness lent itself very nicely to the book trailer medium, as you can see in the awesome examples below.

To create our book trailers, we used Animoto, a free online tool that allows you to quickly and easily match short snippets of text with images and music in a variety of different slideshow styles. Some of the features require payment, but we were able to obtain an educational account through the library, which enabled us to access most of the features. After a bit of a learning curve (and some frustrating browser issues), everyone was happily trolling the internet for cool pictures of sinister mud and evil bullies to include in their projects.

Enjoy our finished products below*, all of which will surely pique your curiosity and make you want to run over to the library to grab a copy of the book!

Josie's Book Trailer:

Stefan's Book Trailer:

Isaac and Gabriel's Book Trailer:

Christopher's Book Trailer:

Eli's Book Trailer:

Emily's Book Trailer:

*We ran out of time before the students were able to include their image and music credits.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January Meeting: LittleBits Tinkering

After a long break, we met this week to talk about Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein. It was a unanimous group favorite, with everyone very excited about the new book, Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics, just published this month! Some highlights from the library (and that we wish we had here at the CPL) include: the librarian and tiger holograms, the video dome, and the electromagnetic hover ladder to reach high bookshelves.

Having eaten our fill of pizza and engaged in playful discussion about what an awful person Charles Chiltington was and what we all would have done if faced with a similar challenge to escape the library, we turned to the LittleBits and channeled Mr. Lemoncello's inventive mind. LittleBits are magnetized electronic building blocks that can be used to create everything from a simple circuit that powers a small motor (or light, buzzer, fan, etc.) to a remote-controlled car and beyond. In short, they're AWESOME. A few pictures and one short video below give a little insight into the creations that we made. Most of them focused on how to alert Mr. Lemoncello if Charles Chiltington entered the library (i.e. LOTS of buzzing and blinking lights). One of the circuits involved a mat that when stepped on by a patron, triggered a welcome sign light to come on. And yet another imitated a book scanner using a roller LittleBit and a pipe cleaner, among other materials. We've got some very inventive minds in Bookshop!

Our next meeting will be on Monday, February 29, from 5:30-7:00. We are reading Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar and will be making book trailers using the free online tool, Animoto. Stop by the children's room desk to pick up a copy of the book if you didn't take one at our last meeting!