Online Graphic Novels from Libby

ebooks for children and teens

Kids love Graphic Novels. Did you know that many of your kids favorites can be found free online ? Libby is an app that allows students to browse books, read a short sample, and download their choices. It’s available for most public libraries.

Adults can find e-books and audio books at

NC Virtual Science Festival

Suppose you had the opportunity to take your children on a tour of North Carolina’s best museums including the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, Discovery Place in Charlotte, and the Asheville Museum of Science during April 2020.

The North Carolina Science Festival has gone virtual for April 2020. You and your children can access daily live activities each day and locate additional activities from some of the best science educators in North Carolina.

Discovery Place in Charlotte and Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh provide a calendar of activities for each day of the month and allows parents and children to see them all at once. The Marbles Museum includes a daily video.

There are at least six virtual events each weekday on the searchable calendar. The user can search for programs by age level or subject. The Greensboro Science Center features videos on penguins, sharks, and snakes as well as do-it-yourself projects like creating play dough and experiments with acids and bases, all with simple materials from around the house.

While many of these museums have developed wonderful virtual activities during the pandemic, the NC Science Festival puts it all in one place. There are also contests and other opportunities for children to share their projects online.

I only wish I had found out about this wonderful resource earlier.

Disclaimer-I have no affiliation with the NC Science Festival or any of the organizations or any of the many other organization contributing to this event.

Great Family Read Aloud-The Wednesday Wars

WednesdayWarsDuring your time of forced togetherness, consider this family read-aloud for older children. Parents and teens will enjoy the adventures of Holling Hood Hood in “The Wednesday Wars.”

It’s 1967, and Holling Hood Hood is in for a rough year. His teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates him. It’s not like he’s a troublemaker like Doug Swieteck, famous for keeping a list of 401 ways to torture teachers or Doug Swieteck’s brother who had visited three police stations in two states and once spent a night in jail.  Holling Hood Hood is just trying to stay out of trouble.

And the school year only gets worse. On Wednesday afternoon half the class is dismissed early for Hebrew instruction and the other half attend Catholic instruction, leaving Holling alone with the teacher who “hates” him. And it’s not like she’s going to give him a break like most teachers would. She has decided that they will read Shakespeare together “for fun.”

So Holling Hood Hood begins his tale of gloom and doom in the seventh grade.

While this story is set in the sixties, today’s teens will relate to young Holling struggles with bullies who demand cream puffs, first love, and two evil rats, Caliban and Sycorax., (named after monsters in “The Tempest.”)

“Let me tell you it’s a pretty hard thing to be a seventh-grader with new death threats hanging over you every day.”

Holling Hood Hood in “The Wednesday Wars.”

Surprisingly, Holling enjoys Shakespeare. He agrees to be in the community theatre production of”The Tempest” never realizing that means wearing yellow tights with white feathers on the butt. This is bad enough on the stage, but when his dressing room is locked, he is forced to meet his idol, Yankees baseball player, Mickey Mantle, while wearing his fairy costume  (with white feathers on the butt.)  He then returns to school, to find pictures of himself as Ariel the Fairy posted all over the school.


Holling’s melodramatic narration is reminiscent of “The Wonder Years.” There are many laugh-out movements and some poignant scenes as well.

“Okay for Now” is a companion book to The Wednesday Wars. It features Holling’s friend and known troublemaker, Doug Switeck, as he moves to a new town and tries to change his image as a thug.

The Wednesday Wars is available on Libby, free from your public library’s website.

Now is the Time for E-books.

children-reading-4159235_640We didn’t see it coming. First, the basketball tournaments were canceled then Broadway shows and Disneyland. Then our libraries shut their doors and parents are teaching their own children.

While there are many directions to go in educating our children, The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development states “Reading is the single most important skill necessary for a happy, productive and successful life.”

This is the perfect time to take advantage of your library’s online resources.

Start by visiting your public library’s website. You will likely find e-books and other online featured on the home page.

Almost all libraries subscribe to e-book services. You can gain access to a large selection of books. These free e-books can be downloaded to your tablet or cell phone.

Virtual services will vary by library. Urban areas may provide access to music streaming services, magazines and videos.

In North Carolina, NC Digital Kids and RB Digital provide many options for reading. nc-kids-logoIt provides 715 popular picture book videos, almost 17,000 ebooks for children and over 1700 graphic novels. Children and teens can browse selections, read a sample and download books to a tablet or cell phone.

RBdigital_R-G_Black_Background-JPGAdults can use RB Digital (owned by Recorded Books) to access bestsellers, classics, and other favorites. Although RB Digital lacks the browsability of NC Digital Kids, it allows readers to create a profile by profile features.


So visit your public library’s website and get access to great books.


Hogwarts, Bear Hunts and Dolly Parton


Gaspard and the Quiet Day

Children’s author, Zeb Zoanes, has created a delightful story about social distancing, the Corona Virus and helping others in difficult times,  He’s also a wonderful storyteller.   Check out his video on YouTube:

Gaspard and the Quiet Day



Hogwarts Virtual Escape Room

A librarian in Pennsylvania has created a virtual Hogwarts Escape Room.  I tried it out. It’s going to be challenging for most children. I would recommend it for 9 and up.  I think it’s a great group activity because there are lots of problem-solving skills involved and different children have different strengths. It was fun!


Bear Hunts have caught on in my area.   There were 82 bear sightings in one subdivision. If you haven’t already,  put a teddy bear in the window for the children in your neighborhood.

While “Going on a Bear Hunt” has been around for years, Michael Rosen’s book made it more popular.  Nobody can lead the bear hunt quite like him.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt with Michael Rosen

Finally, Dolly Parton has launched a new online series, Good night with Dolly, Check it out here.


I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan, a young adult romance and adventure novel.

“I’ll be There” by Holly Goldberg Sloan begins with a sweet romance and turns into a harrowing adventure tale. Readers will find this suspenseful book hard to put down. Sometimes her plots stretch credibility, but I don’t care. I love her books anyway!

Sam Border has led the life of a vagrant. His father, Clarence, is a conman and criminal. He drifts from place to place with his two sons, often to stay ahead of law enforcement. He spends his time stealing and pawning goods. Sam has not been to school since the second grade. He and his brother, Riddle, stay hidden during the school day and emerge from their low-income apartment later in the day to go dumpster diving.

Clarence finds the boys useful. People are less suspicious of a single dad with two sons. As the boys grow older, he resents them. Neither boy is willing to steal making them useless in his eyes.

Emily Bell is your all American girl. Her parents are loving people who want to make a positive mark on their world. Emily plays second string soccer and excels in school. She is curious about people and notices things that others fail to see.

When a series of random meetings brings her and Sam together. Emily finds him fascinating. He’s not like any guy she’s ever known. He’s quiet and humble, a welcome change from the arrogant Bobby Ellis, who has had his eyes on Emily for months.

When Emily’s parents realize she is in love, they insist on having Sam over for dinner. Mr. Bell discovers that Sam is a musical prodigy. It’s not long before Sam and Riddle become a fixture in the Bell household.

It’s scary for Sam who is beginning to realize how strange his life really is. Riddle, Sam’s brother, stands out even more. He’s five years younger and small for his age. He rarely talks and spends most of his free time creating intricate drawings in old phone books.

The book takes a sinister turn when Clarence Border finds Emily Bell’s cellphone in his son’s pocket. Clarence is very angry about his sons’ secret lives. He vows to seek revenge.

Meanwhile, the senior Bells are unaware that Sam and Riddle live in a moldy house on the worst side of town or that many of their meals come from trash cans. When Mr. Bell’s car is vandalized, Sam realizes that he has put the Bell family in danger.

 When Sam and Riddle arrive home, Clarence is throwing everything into the trunk and angrily orders them inside. They have headed again for an unknown destination.

They are now caught in a life or death spiral. Clarence vows revenge. From this point, it’s a wild ride for the brothers who must not only deal with Clarence’s wrath but also navigate a remote wilderness without supplies or assistance.

This is a great book for anyone who loves a good love story or adventure. It’s light reading at its best.

You can download this book and many others at or through any public library in North Carolina. Other libraries also have e-books available.

Great Picture Books: Mother Bruce

Bruce is a grumpy bear.. He does not like sunny days, rain or cute little animals.

Bruce does love to cook. He loves eggs and enjoys making fancy recipes from the Internet. When he finds a recipe for hard-boiled goose eggs drizzled in honey salmon sauce, he can hardly wait to prepare this delicacy.

But Bruce is in for an unpleasant surprise, When he gets distracted from boiling geese eggs, he finds himself with four baby goslings that won’t go away. In fact, they decide that Bruce must be their mother. Bruce does his best to resist the ducks but in the end, they form a most unusual family.

You can read Mother Bruce and many other books on Libby or check your library’s web page for more information about e-books.

Hear Mother Bruce read aloud by Jaqueline Mitchell

Get Mother Bruce printables from Disney/Hyperion ONLINE-ACTIVITY-SHEETS.pdf

More ideas for Mother Bruce Activities with Literary Hoots

Smile by Raina Telgemeier: A Review

The current crisis is a great time to explore some fun Young Adult Books. I am planning to review some of my favorites.

Let’s face it. Middle School is traumatic!  Middle schoolers think eveyone notices everything they do. Classmates can be cruel. Anything that makes you different from your classmates feels like torture.

Smile by Raina Telemeier is an autobiographical graphic novel chronicling the ups and downs of middle school and high school, a tough season for any adolescent especially if there’s something that sets you apart from your classmates.

At age 12, Raina fell on the pavement resulting in losing her two front teeth. Six year olds with missing front teeth are adorable, twelve years olds not so much. Raina’s life for the next four years includes dental surgeries, trips to specalists and two sets of braces.Most of all, she feels different from her classmates. Her story navigates crushes, friendships and other teen drama.

Smile encourages the reader to laugh and sympathize with Raina’s recollections. When she spies her crush in the hall, she is so enamored that she walks right into a row of lockers.  When she tries on extensive headgear for her braces, She exclaims, “C’mom Mom, let’s go get me some glasses, a pocket protector and some velcro shoes.”

Raina begins her story with sixth grade and ends in high school. Along the way, she learns to chose her friends more carefully and pursue her talents for drawing and singing. She gradually settles in with a new group of artsy friends that are kinder, more authentic and accepting.

Kids love graphic novels.  Teachers and librarians are increasingly realizing the benefits of this genre.  Smile, however, is an exceptional graphic novel.  It won the Wil Eisner Award for best books for teens.  Telgemeier has published other graphic novels.