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Crow Smarts

Crow Smarts

Crow Smarts

If you were asked to name an intelligent animal, what would you say? A gorilla? The chimpanzees studied by Jane Goodall? A dolphin maybe? When I think of an intelligent animal I usually think of Koko first, the gorilla Mr. Rogers visited who knew American Sign Language. I doubt if I would name a bird, any type of bird, let alone a common one like a crow.

In Crow Smarts, I learned that birds are actually really smart. I learned to think about human brains and animal brains differently. As the book says, “…there is more than one way to build a brain.” (page 27) Birds CAN problem solve and use tools, their brains are not exactly like ours, but they can still do similar things.

It was also really interesting to meet Gavin and Guido – two scientists who study crows. Really great photographs show what it is really like to be a scientist studying animals out in the wild. I liked getting to know them. What a great job they have!


More Books About Smart Animals:

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Staff Pick: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

Staff Pick: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

A witty and suspenseful tale of a brutal governess and the three brave young souls under her care–Bonnie, Sylvia, and Simon–who together must save the Willoughby estate from the destructive effects of her terrible reign.

When I picked up The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, I knew it had been around a long time, but I thought I would give an “oldie” a chance . . . 12 books later, I’m ready to recommend these titles by Joan Aiken to anyone who loves wicked mean bad guys, occasional witches, (both good and bad) solid and true underdogs, and tales of adventure with suspense and . . . well, yes, occasionally there are gruesome parts when the bad guys seem to be getting ahead.

Set in London in a period in the early 19th Century during the fictional reign of King James III before cars and airplanes, the characters travel by carriage, ship, and on foot to realistically imagined locations speaking in dialects that reflect social classes in England and surrounding countries. Dido, Simon, and the other characters in this series are often witty in the gritty and absurd situations that occur in their lives. Like The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, or Peter and the Starcatchers, these books will grab you and keep you up reading at night long after your bed time.

IndyPL has these titles in audio CD, eAudio, eBook, paper and hardcover book formats. On a side note, The Whispering Mountain is considered #0 in the series.

Recommended by: Raylene Jordan – The Learning Curve @Central Library

More Staff Picks

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Kind is the New Cool

Kind is the New Cool

Believe it or not, there is a movement going on in schools around the country involving KINDNESS. Students are being taught the importance of kindness towards others, then asked to perform random acts of kindness themselves. Kids can change the world by acting with kindness!

Be Cool. Get in on the KINDNESS craze by reading one of these books!



the-hundred-dresses The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes – Wanda Petronski is different from all the other girls in Room 13. Every day she wears the same faded blue dress to school, and every day she tells about her hundred dresses at home. Her classmates joke about her imaginary clothes – until they learn the wonderful secret of the dresses. Newbery Honor Book, 1945 Print, eBook,  eAudiobook
each-kindness Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson – Chloe realizes that she and her friends have been wrong in making fun of new student Maya’s shabby clothes and refusing to play with her. Print, eAudiobook
because-of-winn-dixie Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo – Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie. Newbery Honor Book, 2001. Print, CD, Spanish, eBook, eAudiobook
the-bfg The BFG by Roald Dahl – The Big Friendly Giant is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and it’s lucky for Sophie that he is. If she had been carried off by any of the other giants she would have been breakfast. When Sophie hears that the giants are headed to England to steal some little children, she and the BFG decide they must stop them once and for all. PrintSpanish, CD, eBook, eAudiobook
charlottes-web Charlotte’s Web by E.B White – Wilbur, the pig, is desolate when he discovers that he is destined to be the farmer’s Christmas dinner until his spider friend, Charlotte decides to help him. Print, CD, Large Print, Spanish, eBook, eAudiobook
thank-you-mr-falker Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco – At first, Trisha loves school, but her difficulty learning to read makes her feel dumb, until, in the fifth grade, a new teacher helps her understand and overcome her problem. Print, SpanisheAudiobook
great-joy Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo – Just before Christmas, when Frances sees a sad-eyed organ grinder and his monkey performing near her apartment, she cannot stop thinking about them, wondering where they go at night, and wishing she could do something to help. Print, Spanish
el-deafo El Deafo by Kate DiCamillo – Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful–and very awkward–hearing aid. The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear–sometimes things she shouldn’t–but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2016-2017, 4-6 Nominee. Print, eBook
wonder Wonder R.J. Palacio – Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2014-2015, 4-6 Nominee. Print, CD, Large Print, Spanish, eBook
tua-and-the-elephant Tua and the Elephant by R.P. Harris – In Chiang Mai, Thailand, nine-year-old Tua releases an abused elephant from its chains–can she complete the rescue by getting it to an elephant refuge without being caught herself? Print, eBook
boxes-for-katje Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming – After a young Dutch girl writes to her new American friend in thanks for the care package sent after World War II, she begins to receive increasingly larger boxes. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2006-2007, K-3 Nominee. Print
counting-by-7s Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan – Twelve-year-old genius and outsider Willow Chance must figure out how to connect with other people and find a surrogate family for herself after her parents are killed in a car accident. Print, CD, eBook, eAudiobook
somebody-loves-you-mr-hatch Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli – An anonymous valentine changes the life of the unsociable Mr. Hatch, turning him into a laughing friend who helps and appreciates all his neighbors. Print

Books recommended by: Kristen Williams, guest blogger and former Indianapolis school teacher

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Indy Author Fair Oct. 29 – for Kids!

Indy Author Fair Oct. 29 – for Kids!

kids-writing-300You are invited to the Indy Author Fair on Saturday, October 29, at Central Library. Work on your writing skills. Listen to and meet some of your favorite authors! The fair will feature special activities for kids including these 2 free workshops! 


  1. Illustration for Kids by Kids Workshop (12 – 1 p.m., Learning Curve Arena) – A hands-on illustration workshop presented by Art with a Heart

kids-meeting-authors-3002. Writing for Young People Panel (1:30 – 3 p.m., Clowes Auditorium) – Interested in becoming a writer? Authors will share their experiences and expertise covering writing styles ranging from young adult novels to chapter books and picture books. Meet some of your favorite authors:

John David Anderson (aka Dave) is the author of critically acclaimed books for middle grade audiences, including john-david-anderson-photo“Sidekicked,” “Minion” and “Standard Hero Behavior.” A former writing instructor at the University of Illinois, he currently lives with his wife and two kids in Indianapolis, where he writes full time while also fulfilling the duties of a house-spouse. He thinks writing is the best…job…ever – except maybe for being a chocolate-stirring Oompa Loompa in the Wonka factory. That’d be sweet.

Standard Hero Behavior Print
Sidekicked Print, eBook
Minion Print, eBook, eAudiobook
The Dungeoneers Print, eBook
Ms. Bixby’s Last Day Print, eBook, eAudiobook
Insert Coin to Continue Print



Skila Brown is the author of verse novels “Caminar” and “To Stay Alive,” as well as the picture book “Slickety Quick: silka-brownPoems About Sharks,” all with Candlewick Press. She received an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in Kentucky and Tennessee and now lives in Indiana where she writes books for readers of all ages.


Robert Kent is the author of the horror novels “All Together Now: A Zombie Story” and “The Book of David,” the middle robert-kentgrade novel “Banneker Bones and the Giant Robot Bees,” and the novellas “Pizza Delivery” and “All Right Now: A Short Zombie Story.” He runs the popular blog for writers, Middle Grade Ninja. http://www.middlegradeninja.com/


Sarah J. Schmitt is a K-8 school librarian and Youth Service Professional for Teens at a public library, where she runs a sarah-schmittteen writing program that combines Skype visits from well-known authors and screenwriters and critique group style feedback. She is the author of the YA novel “It’s a Wonderful Death.” Print, eBook


Be sure to check out books by some of this year’s Indiana Authors Award winners and finalists! Their first-ever Genre Excellence Winner, April Pulley Sayre and one of this year’s Emerging Author Finalists, Bill Kenley.

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The United States presidential election of 2016 will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. It will be the 58th U.S. presidential election. Becausee of the term limit established by the Twenty-second Amendment, the incumbent president, Barack Obama cannot be elected for a third term. The 2016 election will determine the 45th President President of the United States. The two candidates are Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hilary Clinton.


Indiana Websites:

Artifacts at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis:

Voting Machine

Thousands of Marion County, Indiana residents voted at this machine between the 1930s and the 1980 election. During this time, many African Americans struggled to gain the civil rights Caucasian men and women enjoyed. Even though the 15th Amendment granted all American citizens the right to vote regardless of “race, color or previous condition of servitude,” African Americans still struggled for the right to vote particularly in the southern United States. In Indiana, African Americans continued to Voting Machine 2work for equal rights welcoming two significant federal laws, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voter Rights Act of 1965, helped to ensure African Americans the right to vote. Artifacts at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis 

See More Elections Artifacts from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ Collection

Books about Elections:

Election Day Getting Elected Presidential Races Voting
Womens Right to Vote Presidential Elections and Other Cool Facts Lillians Right to Vote Heart on Fire

Stories about Elections:

Big Nate Mr. Popularity Caste Your Ballot The Ellie McDoodle Diaries Ellie for President I Am a Genius of Unspeakable
The Kid Who Ran for President The Misfits How to Run for Class President Dont Vote for Me
Granddaddy's Turn Vote the Theory Practice and Destructive Properties of Politics
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