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BPL Social Media Followers’ Favorite Picture Books

Posted on November 24th, 2015 by BPL News in General

November is National Picture Book Month. In celebration, the Boston Public Library asked its Facebook and Twitter followers to name their (or their children’s) favorite picture book. Here are their answers. Find a list of these titles in our catalog via

1. The Story of Ferdinand
by Munro Leaf

Books12. Good Job, Little Bear
by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Barbara Firth

3. The Paper Bag Princess
by Robert N. Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko

4. Make Way for Ducklings
by Robert McCloskey

5. I Had A Favorite Dress
by Boni Ashburn, illustrated by Julia Denos

6. The Incredible Book Eating Boy
by Oliver Jeffers

7. The Tiger Who Came to Tea
by Judith Kerr

8. The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash
by Trinka Hakes Noble, illustrated by Steven Kellogg

9. Madeline
by Ludwig Bemelmans

10. Gigantosaurus
by Jonny Duddle

Books211. Green Eggs and Ham
by Dr. Seuss

12. Pierre in the Air
by Andrea Beck

13. The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings
by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers

14. In the Night Kitchen
by Maurice Sendak

15. D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
by Ingri D’Aulaire

16. King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub
by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood

17. Blueberries for Sal
by Robert McCloskey

18. Corduroy
by Don Freeman

19. No, David!
by David Shannon

20. Benjy’s Dog House
by Margaret Bloy Graham

Books321. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs
by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ronald Barrett

22. Goodnight Moon
by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd

23. Ladybug Girl
by David Soman and Jacky Davis

24. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
by Bill Martin and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert

25. The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams Bianco



Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit

A Wednesday in Teen Central

Posted on November 19th, 2015 by BPL News in General

Teen CentralWriting workshops; graphic design software; video games; and, of course, books – all this and more is waiting for teens at the Central Library’s Teen Central, which combines the best of traditional library resources with cutting-edge technology, housed in a welcoming, vibrant space. Since opening in February 2015, Teen Central has become the go-to place for area teens to not only read and study but to also learn and use advanced digital software, explore many interests, and hang out with friends.

When Teen Central’s doors open at 9 a.m., teens are already waiting to come in. It is a popular place for teens from nearby high schools to work on homework or relax during their free periods. On the morning of Wednesday, November 4, Kiahna Morales and Diamante Gause, both seniors at Snowden International High School, are studying in Teen Central’s diner-style booths. Kiahna has checked out a laptop – one of Teen Central’s most used resources – and is working on homework for her history class. She says she and Diamante visit Teen Central every day during their free periods to do homework, use the digital lab, and play video games. In the media lounge, a colorful space decorated with vintage video games, another group of teens lounge in bean bag chairs and play NBA 2K on the two eighty-inch monitors. Teens can access over thirty different games to play on Wii U, PS4, and Xbox.

YoungWritersProgramAround 2:30 p.m., as schools are letting out, Teen Central fills up with teens from high schools all over Boston. Each month, librarians offer a number of programs, including technology workshops and author talks. At 3 p.m., librarian Anna Draves hosts the Young Writer’s Program, a weekly event during the month of November which gives teens participating in National Novel Writing Month the chance to write together and exchange tips and tricks. Jordy, a junior at Snowden International, hopes to complete one hundred pages of a horror novel by the end of the month. On this Wednesday, he is using prompt cards to help him gather ideas for his plot. Anna Draves says that the Young Writer’s Program challenges the idea that writing is a solitary activity by bringing teens together to support one another.

At 4 p.m., Teen Central’s Teen Tech Mentors arrive. The Teen Tech Mentor program encourages peer-to-peer learning by training the mentors in the Lab’s TeenTechMentorstechnology – including software for coding, graphic design, 2D animation, and creating and editing movies and music – so they can in turn teach other teens these skills. Fahad Anwar, a freshman at Boston Latin School, and Teneh Exilien, a sophomore at Boston Latin Academy, are the inaugural members of the Teen Tech program. They have completed their month-long training in the lab’s technology and are currently assisting with technology workshops including Tween Tuesdays and helping other teens on a one-on-one basis. In the spring, they will each plan and lead four technology programs of their own. As part of this paid program, Fahad and Teneh will also participate in career trainings and create a resume which highlights their work as mentors. Teneh praises the program for giving teens the opportunity to learn technology through teaching others.

“There is never a dull moment in Teen Central,” says Jessi Snow, Team Leader of Central Library’s Teen Services. “The space is buzzing with activity all day. From the media lounge to the digital lab, from our great collection of books to dedicated space for studying and hanging out, there is something for every teen.”

Ongoing and upcoming Teen Central programs and events include the Anime Society, a Cosplay Design Workshop, and an author talk with young adult author Sister Souljah.

For Teen Central’s hours, visit, and find the full schedule of programs via

Author Picks: Matt Tavares Top Ten Picture Books for Older Readers

Posted on November 16th, 2015 by BPL News in General

Matt Tavares is the author and illustrator of such picture books as Growing Up Pedro and Zachary’s Ball. In honor of Picture Book Month (November), he supplied us with his picks for top longer picture books. 

I like short picture books. I even like wordless picture books (In fact, I’m currently attempting to create one myself). But I also like longer picture books, and I feel like they’re getting a bad rap these days. Maybe it’s because kids are being pushed to chapter books sooner, leaving picture books for the little kids. Maybe it’s because there happen to be a slew of new authors and illustrators who are really good at making books with very few words, or no words at all (Jon Klassen, Molly Idle, Aaron Becker, and Mac Barnett, to name a few). But for whatever the reason, picture books are shorter than ever.

As an author-illustrator, I fully appreciate the brilliance of a book like Maurice Sendek’s Where the Wild Things Are, or Jon Klassen’s This Is Not My Hat. There is a sort of magic trick that happens in a picture book when it’s done right, when the words and pictures work together seamlessly to tell a story.

Maybe I’m biased (I just checked online and found that Growing Up Pedro has just over 1,700 words), but I believe that the same magic trick happens in longer picture books too. Even at 1,700 words, a lot of the storytelling is still done with pictures. Sure, sometimes a 2,500 word picture book is way too long and should have been chopped in half. But sometimes 2,500 words is just the right amount of words needed to tell the story.

So I want to shine a spotlight on some of my favorite longer picture books. These are books that might take you twenty minutes to get through in a read-aloud; books that you might need to stick a bookmark in at bedtime and continue reading the next night. But they’re also books where you can slow down and take time to get to know the characters, to celebrate their triumphs and feel the full weight of their grief. These books are perfect for kids who are good enough readers to read chapter books, but still love reading picture books.

  1. MarianWhen Marian Sang, by Pam Muñoz Ryan, illustrated by Brian Selznick: This picture book biography of singer Marian Anderson has around two thousand words, which is a lot for a picture book. But to tell a person’s life story in two thousand words is no small task. So much of the story is told in Brian Selznick’s powerful, immersive illustrations, which set the tone of the book with their limited color palate and theatrical lighting. When I started writing my own picture book biographies, this is the one book I read over and over more than any other.
  1. Moonshot, by Brian Floca: I was thrilled when Floca’s masterpiece Locomotive won the Caldecott Medal a couple years ago, not just because he’s a great guy and works really hard and makes amazing books (all true), but because I really didn’t think that a 2,500-word nonfiction picture book could win the Caldecott Medal these days. I almost put Locomotive on this list, but instead I’ll include Floca’s other masterpiece, Moonshot (which also should have won a Caldecott, in my opinion). It’s so much fun to read, and he packed so much information into it, you could spend hours just poring over the details in the endpapers. (See how I didn’t count Locomotive as one of my top ten, but I still mentioned it? I am sneaky.)
  1. When Jessie Came Across the Sea, by Amy Hest, illustrated by P. J. Lynch: One of my all-time favorite picture books by one of my favorite illustrators, this book tells the story of a young Jewish girl who leaves her village to start a new life in America. It’s an epic tale, told with so much heart.
  1. ShipWe Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, by Kadir Nelson: Of all the books on this list, this is the longest at over 16,500 words and 96 pages. It tells the history of Negro League Baseball in nine “innings,” so it’s almost a chapter book, but there are pictures on every spread. Nelson won a bunch of awards for this one but did not win a Caldecott. Maybe the committee just felt that other picture books were more distinguished that year, but I wonder if it’s because they decided that it just wasn’t a picture book. The text is outstanding, but the heart of the story is in Nelson’s breathtaking oil paintings and in the faces of the players. I say it’s a picture book. As an illustrator, I look at the sheer awesomeness of We Are the Ship and think, “Man, what’s a guy gotta do to win a Caldecott around here?!”
  1. Library Lion, by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes: This is an awesome read-aloud, a timeless classic that looks and feels like it’s been around forever. I’ve read it countless times with my kids, and never get tired of it. Candlewick Press sure does make nice books!
  1. WidoThe Widow’s Broom, by Chris Van Allsburg: When I was a junior in college, after I had decided I wanted to write and illustrate a picture book as my senior thesis, a classmate brought this book to the art building one day, and I was blown away. Early in my career, this book influenced me more than any other, because it made me realize I could illustrate my book in pencil. At the time I was working hard to get better at working in color, but my best work was black and white. And Van Allsburg’s atmospheric drawings in this book are as good as it gets.
  1. Brothers At Bat, by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Steven Salerno: This excellent picture book tells the true story of an all-brother baseball team, from their childhood in the 1920s right up to their visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997. It can’t be easy to weave the stories of twelve brothers into one forty-page picture book that is a perfect read-aloud, but that’s what Audrey Vernick did here. And Steven Salerno’s stylized illustrations feel just right. My kids love this book, and so do I.
  1. Cathedral, by David Macaulay: David Macaulay is another one of my illustration heroes. I could have picked Castle, or any of Macaulay’s other books, really. I am amazed by all the tiny architectural details in his ink drawings. Just to sneak one more book into my top ten list, anyone interested in learning how picture books are made should check out the book Building the Book Cathedral, which lets us peek behind the curtain and really see Macaulay’s process—a fascinating look at how a cathedral is built, and how a book is built.
  1. TimeTime of Wonder, by Robert McCloskey: I almost picked Make Way for Ducklings, but everyone in Boston already knows about that.
    Time of Wonder is another masterpiece. It’s a totally different style from the monochromatic drawings of Make Way for Ducklings, with lush watercolors that capture all the wonder of summertime on the coast of Maine. A book that makes you slow down and appreciate all the details, just like the characters do.
  2. The Junkyard Wonders, by Patricia Polacco: I never really paid much attention to Patricia Polacco’s books until my daughter started checking them out of the school library every week last year. We read this one together. With a whopping 3,500 words (kudos to her editor for not chopping it in half. Or maybe she did . . .), it almost reads like a chapter book. Polacco doesn’t sugar coat her stories. These are real, intense stories, where bad stuff happens sometimes. I think that’s what draws my daughter to her books. They’re picture books, but not baby books.

Boston Public Library Presidential Search Listening Session

Posted on November 5th, 2015 by BPL News in General

What qualities should the next president of the Boston Public Library have? Join the Chair of the Boston Public Library Search Committee, John Palfrey, for a public listening session on Tuesday, November 10 at 3 p.m. at the Mattapan Branch, located at 1350 Blue Hill Avenue. This will be the first of many opportunities for the public to be a part of the presidential search process.

Boston Public Library’s November Author Talk and Lectures

Posted on October 30th, 2015 by BPL News in General

Author talks and lectures continue this November at the Boston Public Library’s Central Library and branch locations. Highlights include art tile in Boston’s Gilded Age, a musical lecture from the Boston Lyric Opera, and National Book Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson.

Fall author talks and lectures run through December. A full list of events at the Central Library in Copley Square is available via, and November highlights include:

  • Boston Public Library staff members outline resources available to help uncover the lineage of your family home and enrich your understanding of where and how your family lived on Wednesday, November 18, at 6 p.m. in the Abbey Room at the Central Library in Copley Square. Part of the Local & Family History Series.
  • The Boston Lyric Opera explores the evolution and history of opera through musical performances in “Opera in an Hour” on Thursday, November 19, at 6 p.m. in the Abbey Room at the Central Library in Copley Square. Presented in partnership with the Boston Lyric Opera.

A variety of author visits and lectures will also be held across the BPL’s neighborhood branches. Highlights include:

  • Isabel Quintero discusses her novel Gabi, a Girl in Pieces, which won the William C. Morris Award for YA Debut Novel, on Monday, November 9, at 6:30 p.m. at the Connolly Branch, located at 433 Centre Street.
  • Carla Marrero, author and illustrator of CJ’s Hideaway and The Magical Cat, leads Family Literacy Night on Tuesday, November 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the South End Branch, located at 685 Tremont Street.
  • Author James Biggie and artist Frankie Washington speak about their graphic novel Robot God Akamatsu on Thursday, November 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Brighton Branch, located at 40 Academy Hill Road.
  • Jacqueline Woodson, author of the National Book Award-winning and Newbery Honor book Brown Girl Dreaming, speaks on Thursday, November 19, at 7 p.m. at the Dudley Branch, located at 65 Warren Street, part of the BPL’s Brown Girl Dreaming initiative, with support from Bank of America.

You can find a wide variety of events for all ages and interests at Boston Public Library locations including story times, concerts, book discussions, crafting groups, films, and more via by searching the date, age range, location, and event type.


Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit

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