Monday, December 29, 2014

What WFL Children's Librarians are reading (and loving)

Do you ever wonder what the WFL Children's Librarians are reading?  While we can't read every Children's and Youth book out there, we try to keep up with the best of the best, the most popular books, and also those that interest us personally!

Here are some books that I've read recently (and enjoyed):

Picture Book:

Sophie's Terrible Twos by Rosemary Wells

You generally can't go wrong with Rosemary Wells, creator of the beloved Max and Ruby characters.  I have been reading her newest book, Sophie's Terrible Twos, with my toddler nearly every day for the last few weeks and she can't get enough.  Sophie is a mouse who just turned two and "got up on the wrong side of the crib."  After a grumpy morning she goes out on the town with her granny and comes home with an unexpected surprise!

Children's Fiction:

The Other Half of my Heart by Sundee T. Frazier

This book caught my attention when it was nominated from the Massachusetts Children's Book Award last year, and I'm so glad I finally got a chance to read it! It tells the story of biracial twins who look very different: one with their father's light skin and fine hair and one with their mother's dark skin and curly hair.  The girls travel from their small and very white town in Washington State to North Carolina to stay with their grandmother and participate in the Miss Black Pearl Preteen of America program.  Throughout their trip and experience with the pageant/program, both girls develop new understandings of identity, prejudice, bravery, wisdom, and sisterhood.  While this book could potentially read like an after-school special or a didactic tale, it does neither, instead presenting important lessons along with a rich plot and a story that is a joy to read.

Young Adult Fiction:

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

I'll be honest that I had no interest in reading this book when I first heard of it.  There was something about the description and the cover (and let's be honest, we do judge books by their covers at times) that seemed unappealing to me.  But after the umpteenth award nomination and starred review, I felt it was my duty to give it a try.  And I am so very glad I did!  Although a completely bizarre premise - it is narrated by Jacob Grimm, who, as a ghost, accompanies the main character throughout his life in small-town America - the plot draws you in and then takes unexpected turn after unexpected turn.  From teenage romance to fairy tales and game shows, there is nothing formulaic or predictable about Far Far Away.  I can't say too much more other than that a very satisfying ending (as opposed to a cliff-hanger) is much appreciated in a YA novel these days, and this book certainly delivered.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Free ebooks for Winter Vacation Reading!

Looking for ebooks for your kids over Winter Vacation?  Visit the Kids Digital Reading Room through the Minuteman Library Network at for free ebooks and downloadable audiobooks!  Be sure to log-in with your library card to view all available titles.

Additionally, this winter StarWalk KidsMedia is offering free access to its 520 ebook collection from December 24 through January 5!  It is completely FREE of charge for anyone with Internet access - no passwords, no logins!  Visit beginning on December 24 to start reading!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Great gifts for Middle Schoolers: graphic novels!

Looking for something new and fun to read?  Look no further than our latest additions to the Youth Room Graphic Novel section! These books would also make great holiday gifts for avid Middle School graphic novel readers!

The latest from Raina Telgemeier (author/illustrator of Smile and Drama) about her relationship with her sister over the course of a family cross-country trip.

The Graveyard book  
Graphic Novel version of the dark Newbery-medal-winning book about a young orphan who is adopted by ghosts in a graveyard.

The Shadow Hero 
Well-known graphic novel author Gene Luen Yang invents an origin story for the not-well-known superhero, The Green Turtle, the first Asian-American superhero character.


Through the Woods 
This is a spooky collection of fairy-tales gone wrong.  Not for the faint-of-heart, grizzly tales are made even more dark by haunting illustrations.


Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey 
This non-fiction graphic novel portrays the travels of Earnest Shackleton as he explored the Antarctic. 


Lies in the Dust: A Tale of Remorse from the Salem Witch Trials 
A letter of apology from Ann Putnam Jr., a key witness in the Salem Witch Trials, comes to life in this graphic novel.


El Deafo
An autobiographical story about a girl navigating making friends and fitting in while using a hearing aid.

The Dumbest Idea Ever 
This fun autobiographical graphic novel tells of how the author discovered his love of comics and illustrations while bedridden, after missing out on his championship basketball game due to illness.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Happy Computer Science Education Week!

Happy Computer Science Education Week from the Wellesley Free Library Children's Department!

Be sure to check out this month's app list of computer coding apps for kids, also available in paper form at the WFL.  We will also feature science and math apps this month on our wall-mounted ipads.

This Wednesday's Hour of Code program for Middle Schoolers is completely full, but you can still check out free Hour of Code tutorials for kids of all ages at

Monday, December 1, 2014

How to find the perfect book

Today I had an interesting request from a young patron.  They were looking for a historical fiction book for a book review project.  But this was not all...  This young patron specifically wanted a historical fiction book that was funny, that took place in the 19th century, AND that prominently featured animals!  Although the librarian's mental catalog of the right book for the right child at the right time is vast, nothing jumped to mind for this specific request. Luckily, I knew just where to look!  Through the Wellesley Free Library website, all patrons (and library staff) have access to NoveList, a fantastic fiction recommendation website, and even better book-finder tool!  NoveList is so useful because it searches many elements of a book.  Open up the advanced search function and you will find everything from Lexile range, to Author's Cultural Identity, to number of pages.  The general search box allows for a wide keyword search, as it searches full book summaries.  So when you are looking for that book that you read once, and it might have been about a doll and a grandmother and Thanksgiving, these thoughts are usually enough to take you through a successful NoveList search.

Another great feature of NoveList is its read-alikes feature.  If there is a book you have read recently, find it on NoveList and check out the read-alikes listed on the right.  None of those look good to you?  Scroll down to "Search for More" and click the checkboxes next to the aspects of the book you liked the most.  While some kids might like Harry Potter because of the wizardry and the detailed writing style and go for books by Diana Wynne Jones, others might like it because it was suspenseful, fast-paced, and had a boy main character, and prefer read-alikes such as Artemis Fowl or Gregor the Overlander.  NoveList does a great job of helping to pull out the features of a particular book, and find similar books.

Once you have found a book, use the "Search the Minuteman Catalog" link to check if the Wellesley Free Library, or another network library, has a copy available!

Because there are so many features to this tool, feel free to ask a librarian to show you how it works the next time you visit the library! And check out our other book recommendation tools and booklists on our website at

Monday, November 24, 2014

The best books for young toddlers: Leslie Patricelli

Having a hard time with potty training?  Have a kiddo who resists taking a bath?  Does your tot try to eat everything they can get their hands on?

Allow me to introduce you to your new best friend, Leslie Patricelli, author of fun board books for young toddlers.  She present countless lessons about life in a simple, humorous manner, through a football-headed baby.

From No No Yes Yes to Binky to my personal favorite, Toot, Patricelli's books are fun for young kids and even their parents.  They will surely become favorites in your household, with kids shouting, "Again! Again!" and you not even minding it!  Unlike many books that aim to directly teach lessons, these books are actually fun and engaging to read, and speak to toddlers on their own level.

Find Patricelli's books in the Board Book section of the Wellesley Free Library, or on the Minuteman Catalog here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Children and Technology roundup: screen time, best apps, and more!

Some interesting things have been happening in the world of screen time research and recommendations for kids!

This article sums up a new report from Zero to Three about screen time and young children, which is based on the last decade of scientific research about screen time and child development

This info-graphic from demonstrates how there are many different kinds of screen time, and what the benefits are of each kind.

For those of you with elementary-age kids, get recommendations for great fun and educational apps from a Children's Librarian at the Wellesley Free Library on Friday December 5th.  Sign up here!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2014 Teens Top Ten Booklist!

Looking for a great book that other teens have loved?  Look no further than YALSA's 2014 Teens Top Ten list, a list of the 10 best books written in 2013, nominated and voted for by Teens!  Most of these books are available in the Youth Room at the Wellesley Free Library, and many are available as downloadable ebooks.

  1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  2. Splintered by A.G. Howard
  3. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
  4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  5. Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne
  6. Earth Girl by Janet Edwards
  7. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
  8. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
  9. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
  10. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

Friday, October 3, 2014

Wall-mounted ipads in the Children's Room!

Have you seen our new wall-mounted ipads in the Children's Room?

Each week, each ipad will display a different app for you and your child's viewing and playing pleasure!  The ipad near the storytime room will feature apps that promote early literacy skills.  The ipad in the non-fiction will feature educational apps for kids in grades K-5.

This week our apps are:  The Three Little Pigs by Nosy Crow and Weird But True by National Geographic

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

6 books to read before 6th grade

In the last question of the Countdown to 6 challenge, we asked Wellesley's rising 6th graders to name and review 6 books they thought all rising 6th graders should read.  Here are the top 6 answers!

#1 Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling

Reviewed by Ultimate Fangirl

AMAZING. About a boy with magical powers who defeats an evil wizard. (Honestly, I could go on for hours about it, it's that good.)

#2 Percy Jackson (series) by Rick Riordan

Reviewed by SophieM

Percy Jackson has never been normal. He has dyslexia and ADHD and has been kicked out of every school he's ever attended. His life about to get weirder, when in one day he arrives at a camp for
half-bloods, find out he's half god, his mother is kidnapped, and the gods are on the point of a civil war. Can he and his friends set things right?

#3 Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Reviewed by GingerNeev

August is a boy who was born with 'extreme facial abnormalities' and is homeschooled. He then switches to private school entering fifth grade, and he struggles being another ordinary student while lots of kids are staring whispering and talking about him in the hallways. Even how he looks on the outside is extraordinary, he is ordinary inside; he is really smart and funny. Along the school year, August finds friends which appreciate him for who he is, and he realizes that he is special to not only his family but to the world. Read the book to find out more. 

#4 Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper

Reviewed by Snowhusky

It's about a girl named Melody who can't walk, talk, or write.  It's been like that since she was born.  But when she goes up a grade the special kids join the normal kids, and Melody becomes friends with Rose.  But is Rose really a good friend?

#5 Dork Diaries (series) by Rachel Renee Russell

Reviewed by Artistic Mind

The reason I think that Dork Daries is such a great book is that it is about a girl named Nikki J. Maxwell who is new to the school and most of the people that go to this school is kind of rich ad the only reason she is in this school is from her dad working for the school and she faces some challenges with the mean girl aka (Mackenzie). But she over come her troubles with her friend. So she is starting to like her new school.

#6 The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Reviewed by eddiebaseball

Bilbo Baggins meets nice people and evil goblins on his quest to a mountain full of gold! I liked it because it was very exciting.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Friendliest book characters

We asked our rising 6th graders what five book characters they would like to have as friends.  Here's what they said!

UltimateFanGirl said:

Annabeth Chase from Percy Jackson
Ginny Weasley from Harry Potter
Alex Bailey from the Land of Stories.
Hazel Grace Lancaster from The Fault In Our Stars
Amanda Lockhart from Kingdom Keepers

Penguin said:

Cindy from Deaf Child Crossing
Josie from For Keeps
Anabelle from Boys are Dogs
Melody from Out of my Mind
Maggie from The Meaning of Maggie

HP123 said:

Harry Potter
Ron Weasley
Luna lovegood
Neville Longbottom 

(Can you guess what the HP in their username stands for, based on their answers?!)

Star said:

Alex from the Unwanteds
Kate from The Sound of Your Voice, Only Really Far Away
Donovan from Ungifted
Nikki from Dork Diaries
Percy Jackson from the Lightning Thief

AJSeal said:

Athena from the Goddess Girl series
Pacy from Year of the Dog
Minli from Where The Mountain Meets The Moon
Leafpool from the Warriors series
Cassidy from the Mother Daughter Book Club.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Introducing the Awesome Box!

Introducing the Awesome Box!

Have you read something awesome? Share your awesome titles with us! Starting this summer you will be able to tell us about the awesome books you are reading and we will display them online at the WFL Awesome Box.
How will we find out about these awesome books? Place your awesome books in the special Awesome Box book drop on the first floor of the main library. Check out other awesome titles suggested by other readers!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Books into movies!

It seems like every other day a kids or teen book is made into a movie!  But, of course, some are left out.  Here are Wellesley's rising 6th graders' takes on what books they wish would be made into movies!

Andrew2014 would like to see "The Twits by Roald Dahl because I would like to see if the movie producer changes the story line in any way and the book is already really funny so I would like to see if the movie plot line is more or less funny."

Henry2014 would like to see I Represent Sean Rosen by Jeff Baron "because it would be great to see Sean pretending to be his own manager and trying to get his movie made."

Bob123 says "The book The Saturday Boy [by David Fleming]should be made into a movie because it is really funny and you never know what will happen. Also, some parts will be heart touching and emotional just like real life."

Pennywar would like to see "The Grimm Conclusion by Adam Gidwitz because the author described things so well I had a whole "movie" playing in my head.  If there was a movie, I could compare my version with the real one."

What do you think?  What book do you think should be made into a movie?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Rising 6th graders read non-fiction!

Our rising 6th graders have been reading away as part of the Countdown to 6! summer reading game!

Check out some of the things they learned from non-fiction books this summer!

Bob123 learned that a language dies about every 14 days!

Artistic Mind learned that Roald Dahl, at age 21, thought that teeth were too much work / trouble so he choose to get all of his teeth pulled out and replaced them with dentures.

SophieM learned that snails only live in the last compartment of their shells. They sometimes fill the other compartments with gas to help them float.

Cloudster101 learned that internal Combustion is what pushes the pistons and makes the car go.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Favorite genre books from rising 6th graders!

Our rising 6th graders have been reading away as part of the Countdown to 6! summer reading game!

Check out some of their reviews of books in their favorite genres!


The Giver by Lois Lowry
Reviewed by SophieM

Jonah lives in a society where your family is matched up for you, as is you future job and life. Jonah is happy until he receives his job. As receiver he must bear all the bad memories of the community. He also must do it alone. As he progresses he learns things, dangerous secrets, secrets that lead him to question everything he has ever believed.

Realistic Fiction:

Holes by Louis Sachar
Reviewed by EWC

Everyone knows that Stanley Yelnats spelled backward is Stanley Yelnats, so what's the big deal? Actually, it's a big deal. It is amazing that Sachar can make up so many different stories and combine them all together to make a book. I can't even keep track of the stories! Sachar adds comedy and suspense into his book, and I'm very happy that they also made a movie of the book.

Science Fiction:

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Reviewed by michaeljn

My favorite science fiction book is Zita The Space Girl. It is a book about a girl who goes through a portal to an alien planet that is about to be destroyed by a meteor. An alien steps on the devise that creates the portal and it needs to be fixed. She has to stop the meteor from destroying the planet and leave or else she is done for.

Historical Fiction

Will Sparrow's Road by Karen Cushman
Reviewed by cloudster101

Will Sparrow's mom ran away and his dad sold him away. He worked in an inn but ran away as a criminal. He meets new friends and enemies, has fun adventures, and changes his criminal ways.
- All in All 10 in 10 a fun adventure for kids any age.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Spotlight on Series: Middle School Book Reviews

Looking for something to keep you busy over the summer?  Start a new series!  Check out these reviews of the first books in series, written by Middle School students participating in the 25 in 25 Reading Challenge.  Find these books, and more, in the Quigley Youth Room at the Wellesley Free Library!

Heist Society by Ally Carter
Reviewed by mdubwags, grade 6

This book was really exciting, and made me want to read it a lot! Kat's whole family has a very crooked past. When she was three Kat's parents took her to the Louvre to case it, and for Kat's seventh birthday she and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Australia to steal the crown jewels. She's trying to get a new life, but crime has called to her

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Reviewed by beastmode24, grade 6

I enjoyed this book. It is about a kid who is dropped in a mysterious world and remembers nothing about himself except for his name. The world is surrounded by a dangerous maze. The author makes the book have a lot twists.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Reviewed by 4869, grade 7

This book is about a girl named Katsa who has an amazing skill of fighting and killing. The king, Randa, uses her skill to punish his people unfairly. Katsa does not like how she is being used and she runs away. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy action. This is a story for both boys and girls.

Middle School- The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson
Reviewed by Wardog5000, grade 7

This was a great book. It really kept my attention. The characters were well thought out and very realistic. I also very much enjoyed the illustrations. This is a fun read with a lot of laughs.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Reviewed by t_mac, grade 8

This book was great! It is about a boy named Ethan who lives with his dad in a small town where nothing ever seems to happen. Then, weird things start to happen. A song called "Sixteen Moons" appears and disappears on his iPod at random. Also, a new girl shows up- and Ethan thinks she is beautiful. However, she is part of a family that has powers-but these powers come with consequence. On Lena's sixteenth birthday, The Book of Moons (a book that controls the fate of her family) will decide whether she will be Light or Dark-good or evil. To find out what happens, read the book!

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Reviewed by wms111, grade 8

Although this is a long book, it's an amazing one for all those who love fantasy with dragons, mystery and adventure in it. Beware of the Shades... You never know where they are... Unless...