Poet David Elliott is coming!

After weeks of reading his poems and learning about the creatures he loves, the K-2 classes will meet poet David Elliott on Thursday, April 26! David will present “And Here’s to the Animals” and engage our students in a group poetry-writing experience. Stay tuned for student reflections!

Check out this short video “Book Trailer” of David reading selected poems from his book, In the Wild.

David’s visit is made possible by a grant from the Cambridge Arts Council, the CPS Library Department, and the fundraising efforts of our Library Literacy Committee.

Cambridge Arts Council

Donate to the library!

Donate to King Open Library



The King Open Library is having a fundraiser from November 8-December 23, 2011.

Make a tax-deductible donation in any amount by clicking the link above. 100% of your donation will go directly to books for our library. We’ll be able to replace lost classics, add new pleasure reading and curriculum materials, and make up losses from budget cuts.  We will also purchase books by David Elliott, a poet who will visit our Kindergarten-2nd grade students in the spring.

Donations go directly into our account at Follett Library Resources, our primary book vendor. Follett will match donations by 10%! Our goal is to raise $1000 by December 23.

Thank you for supporting King Open readers. If you have any questions, please ask Jen Mason Stott.




Back in the swing

The King Open library is bustling! Settle in for a long post about activities K-8 this September and October.

Ms. Jen hopes to see you at the BOSTON BOOK FESTIVAL on Saturday, October 15. It’s FREE and there are activities for kids and adults all day long.

Kindergartners are learning to be thoughtful library citizens, caring for and checking out books. We’ve read books by Mo Willems, who will be at the Boston Book Festival. We’ve enjoyed hearty laughs at Knuffle Bunny and Amanda and her Alligator! Soon, we will welcome Liz Danner, from the Cambridge Public Library (Valente Branch), who will help us get public library cards for all kindergarteners. We will also begin a project modeling Lois Ehlert’s beautiful book, Leaf Man. Thanks to art teacher Kelley Mowers for her help!

1/2 students also enjoyed some Mo Willems books and old favorites. In October, we are looking at nonfiction, starting with pumpkins, apples, and other edibles. Next, we will move to nonfiction and folk tales about places that are important to us.

3/4 students are gaining independence as library searchers, learning how to locate books on the shelves using the author’s last name, and getting to know one another’s reading interests. We will research American rivers next, using print and online sources.

5/6 judges have begun reading the 2011-2012 Massachusetts Children’s Book Award titles, in preparation to vote for their favorites in March. After kick-off presentations by Ms. Jen to each of the 5 classes, the MCBA bookshelf is just about empty at all times – a good sign!

Ms. Jen attended the community day at Farrington with the 7/8 students and advises readers on great YA literature; soon, we’ll begin the Cambridge Middle School Book Award program.  7th graders have begun a 10-week unit on Digital Citizenship with Ms. Jen, while 8th graders take KYB.

And now for one book recommendation…

When fall arrives, my reading choices shift from breezy beach books to the meatier stuff of mysteries. Check out Sheela Chari’s first novel, Vanished, about a modern-day Massachusetts sixth-grader who loses her veena, an antique musical instrument passed to her from her grandmother. Her search for the veena takes her from Harvard Square to India, as she gathers clues about and tracks down shifty suspects. Sheela Chari will be at the Cambridge Public Library on October 22 – go! It’s free!

Float into summer on a raft of books!

The school library is closed for the summer.
But the Cambridge Public Library is the cool place to be – literally! Stop by any of the seven branches for free air conditioning, great programs, and of course, BOOKS!
Cambridge Public Library (CPL) – Summer at the Library for Kids!
CPL Teen Room – Find out about Young Adult programs and books (middle school and up).

More reading suggestions…

All ages:
The Horn Book’s list of Great Summer Reads 2011
Entering 5th/6th:
Massachusetts Children’s Book Award
Entering 7th/8th:
Cambridge Middle School Book Award
Letters from 8th graders, humanities summer reading & supply list

Mitali Perkins – coming March 23

Mitali Perkins

One of life’s greatest joys is to create spaces where children feel safe, welcome, and beloved. Stories are one such space.Mitali Perkins

On March 23, our 7/8 students will have the pleasure of meeting local author and blogger Mitali Perkins. She has written several novels about growing up between cultures. Most of her books are funny, poignant stories about South Asian girls; her most recent book, the critically-acclaimed Bamboo People, is an exciting survival story set in war-torn Burma. It’s about two fifteen-year-old guys fighting on opposite sides – and how their worlds collide, forcing them face their prejudices and decide what kind of men to be.

Bamboo People

The library has copies of all of Mitali’s books and quite a few students are reading Bamboo People. These students will have lunch with Mitali before she presents to the entire 7/8.

Mitali is not just an author – she is a voracious reader. I think she reads and reviews even more teen books than most librarians I know! She writes about “books between cultures,” be they faraway lands or different generations. Check out her two fantastic web sites to find out what she’s reading and writing.

Mitali’s Fire Escape – Read Mitali’s blog to find out what she is reading, where she’s going, and enter a poetry contest for immigrant or internationally adopted teens!

Mitali Perkins dot com – Find out even more about the author and her books on this “official” web site. (There is some overlap with the blog.)

March means MCBA!

SixtBook cover for The Other Side of the Islandy 5/6 students packed into the library on Wednesday, March 9. Why? To celebrate books, of course! Students have been reading books from the Massachusetts Children’s Book Award list all year, and those who read five or more were eligible to vote in the statewide program. And the King Open winner, with 16 votes, was…

The Other Side of the Island, by local author Allegra Goodman.
We’ll find out the statewide winner on April 4. In the meantime, ask a 5/6 student for a book recommendation – they have many favorites to share!

Special props to Cam, Noah, and Sophie, who read all 25 books, and Milo and Julia, who read 24.  And thanks to the many parents who baked treats and helped the celebration run smoothly!

Maps from the past – what’s in the center?

In our social justice curriculum, we look at cultures around the world and the places where people live. Maps are great primary sources that help us understand the landscape, as well as the perspective of the mapmaker. We think of maps as unbiased tools, but people who make maps have to decide: what will be in the middle? What symbols will I use to express my ideas?

Students in Room 110 are transitioning from a study of the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. We looked at two maps from the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library. Take a look – what do you notice?

Bunting Map of Jerusalem - 1581. From http://maps.bpl.org/details_M8795/

Bunting Map of Jerusalem - 1581. From http://maps.bpl.org/details_M8795/

Cellarius - Solar System - 1661. From http://maps.bpl.org/details_M8727/

Cellarius - Solar System - 1661. From http://maps.bpl.org/details_M8727/

Gift ideas – for kids, and for your school

As the calendar year winds down, the list-makers wind up. Librarians rely on The Horn Book for high-quality, up-to-date book reviews. View The Horn Book list of the best children’s and young adult books of 2010. Great for gift-givers shopping for the readers in their lives!

As always, a gift to the Friends of King Open is a welcome way to honor your teachers, as funds go directly to crafts, field trips, technology, books, and more. Go to the King Open Family Web Site to give through PayPal.