Tag Archives: Ann Lattinville

The Plant Hunters: True Stories of Their Daring Adventures to the Far Corners of the Earth

12 Jan

By Ann Lattinville

The Plant Hunters: True Stories of Their Daring Adventures to the Far Corners of the Earth

Risking your life for plants and flowers? Encountering dangerous animals, deadly diseases, remote and rugged terrain? Why on Earth…? That’s just the question Anita Silvey’s book seeks to answer. Reading more like an adventure novel than a history of botanical specimen collection, this title grabs you in the very first paragraph and delivers on the promise of answering that ubiquitous question of why– why anyone would risk their life in search, of all things, plants! With its intrigue and gritty detail, this book is sure to appeal to readers young and old, whether you’re a gardener or a budding scientist. I couldn’t put it down!



Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure

3 Jan

By Ann Lattinville

Stop into the Children’s Room at the Scituate Town Library and take a look at the display we’ve put up of fantastic books that were released in 2012. The breadth and depth of this treasure trove of reading is remarkable. From fiction to nonfiction, picture book to novel, there’s something for every reader. It will be very interesting to see who wins the Caldecott and Newbery Awards this year with such a great field of contenders from which to pick.

One of my favorite nonfiction reads from this year was Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure by Jim Murphy and Alison Blank. The book tracks the fascinating, if grim, history of tuberculosis. Illustrated with archival photographs, this history explains in detail the efforts to cure the disease before germ theory was common knowledge and takes the reader to the workings of the purpose-built hospitals (sanatoria) to care for victims of the tuberculosis. Readers will learn as well about the social stigma attached to contracting tuberculosis. The book concludes with a chilling (but not too scary for kids) account of the resurgence of cases of tuberculosis in recent years, despite our knowledge of how the disease spreads and what kinds of modern medicines can be used to combat it.

Invincible Microbe is available at the Scituate Town Library in hardback. You can also place a hold and pick it up when you are notified of its availability, as there are 16 copies of the book in the Old Colony Library Network.


Pair Invincible Microbe with Breathing Room by Marsha Hayles and a young reader will get a perspective of what was like to be a patient at one of the numerous sanatoria across the country and suffer from this disease. Scituate Town Library has one hardcover copy of this book. Both books are recommended for Grade 5 and up.


Best of 2012: Children’s Books Display

27 Dec

By Ann Lattinville

As you enter the children’s room, we have a small book case with a rotating display.  Sometimes we shelve craft and activity books– which we like to call “boredom busters”– and sometimes we shelve “staff picks”, or summer reading suggestions, or other thematic groupings. The list of ideas for featuring the collection is virtually endless.

We have decided that for the next few weeks the display will contain a mix of picture books, easy readers, and chapter books in fiction and nonfiction. What these books all have in common is that they have each appeared on “Best of 2012” book lists.

Best of 2012 Display 2

Not surprisingly, each of these titles are also books we have checked out to patrons and re-shelved over and over again. From Z is for Moose, by Kelly Bingham, (a perennial favorite at pre-school story time) to The Fairy Ring, or Elsie and Frances Fool the World, by Mary Losure, a fantastic work of nonfiction that reads like a mystery novel, there’s something that is sure to appeal to every one.

Both books mentioned in this post are available through the Old Colony Library Network. Scituate Town Library owns both as hardcover editions.  Abington Public Library owns The Fairy Ring, or Elsie and Frances Fool the World on audio CD! You can request it through the Old Colony Library Network by placing a hold. You can pick it up at the Scituate Town Library and return it to the Scituate Town Library when you’re done.

For a look at some of the “Best of 2012” book lists, follow these links to: School Library Journal, Booklist, or the New York Times.

Best of 2012 Display 1

Wonder, by R. J. Palacio

27 Dec

By Ann Lattinville

If you’re looking for a great book for a child in Grade 4-7, you might consider Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  The story’s central character is Auggie Pullman, an ordinary kid who has overcome some extraordinary circumstances. Born with genetic facial abnormalities, he’s had over 27 surgeries by they time the reader meets him at the beginning of the book. Auggie doesn’t dwell on that though and tells the reader up front that he’s not going to describe his birth defects, so don’t bother asking.  Instead, he moves the reader right past that to his more immediate problem: he’s been home-schooled up until the present day but his parents have decided it’s time for him to start Grade 5 at Beecher Prep!

Now he’s got to navigate the social minefield that is middle school. As you might expect, there are issues with being the kid who is “different.”  But with patient, humorous parents and a few good friends who have his back, Auggie’s story of his first year in school with other kids unfolds to a satisfying conclusion.

When I went to the schools to talk to students about summer reading ideas last spring, I brought this book. Kids immediately gravitated toward its striking cover and asked about it. At one school, a student was simply unable to contain his enthusiasm for this novel and impressed upon his peers that everyone should read this book, including grown-ups. Now that’s high praise from the fourth grade! And I heartily agree with that student.


For excellent parental observations about the book, see Maria Russo’s review in the New York Times.


More gift book ideas for children

5 Dec

By Ann Lattinville

Small and Tall Tales of Extinct Animals by Helene Rajcak and Damien Laverdunt
This book is a quintessential gift book: it’s over-sized, it’s beautiful, and it’s a topic that perennially fascinates budding scientists.  Extinct animals from all over the globe are featured in this book as the author presents scientific facts alongside myths about each one. Adults and children alike will enjoy spending time examining the details of the drawings as they learn about the passenger pigeon and the giant moa, among other animals.
A Gold Star for Zog by Julia Donaldson
From the author and illustrator pair who brought you Room on the Broom and The Gruffalo comes a new and equally wonderful book: A Gold Star for Zog.  Zog tries really hard at all his endeavors at dragon school but he always manages to get a bump or bruise. Lucky for him, each time he needs help, a young girl appears and knows just what to do. You have to read it to find out if Zog gets his gold star– and to find out more about the helpful girl!  Told in rhyme, this one is sure to delight a variety of youngsters.

Need a gift for a special kid in your life?

3 Dec

By Ann Lattinville

Try one of these great books!

Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team by Audrey Vernick

Imagine having enough siblings to form your own baseball team! That was exactly the case for the amazing members of the Acerra family. Twelve of the sixteen children formed a winning semi-pro baseball team and played throughout the 1930s, 1940s and into the 1950s.  This true story,  told by author Audrey Vernick, is beautifully illustrated by Stephen Salerno with vintage-inspired artwork.  Perfect for a family story time read aloud, Vernick’s prose is warm and engaging. This book is sure to delight baseball fans in any sized family!


Becoming a Ballerina: a Nutcracker Story by Lise Friedman

Do you know someone who loves to dance? Then this book with its splendid photography is for that child. Becoming a Ballerina focuses on a young dancer playing the role of Clara for the first time. While the topical focus is the Nutcracker, making it perfect for the holidays, the glimpse into the backstage world a ballet production also makes it a perfect choice for year round enjoyment. I know I would have loved this book as a young dancer myself.


Why Hold Craft Programs at the Library?

28 Nov

By Ann Lattinville

In mid-November, 10 children came out to the Library on a windy stormy, day and made their way down to the program room.  There they found strips of construction paper about 1/4 inch wide, toothpicks, and white crafting glue.  With a little bit of instruction from two creative staff members, these children went home with beautifully crafted artwork. What was the skill they learned? Quilling.  Quilling is a centuries old art form where paper is curled and placed on edge to form filigree designs. The best part about our adapted version of this technique is that the children are likely to have the materials at home, or would have easy access to purchase them.

We undertook the program for less than $2.00 worth of glue and paper we had on hand.  One child asked if we could have a “Quilling Club” from here on out– that speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

So why hold a program like this at a library? In addition to being low-cost, these programs emphasize use of the library to explore new skills and knowledge in a hands-on manner. We provide context for each activity’s origins and history while we work on the projects. These programs also foster literacy skills, chiefly the ability to follow directions, express creativity, and expand a knowledge base. For younger patrons who may find reading daunting, knowing that there’s a place for them at  a library even if they don’t consider themselves “readers” is an important offering.

The success of this program led us to plan our December origami program, which will also feature a low-cost implementation by using recycled books. Children will learn about the origins of origami while working on a project to take home.