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Finding Winnie: the True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

Finding Winnie: the True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

Finding Winnie

Finding Winnie is the story of a veterinarian named Harry Colebourn who was a soldier in 1914 during World War I. Harry’s job was to take care of the calvary’s horses. A cavalry is a group of soldiers who fight on horseback. Harry was from Winnepeg, Canada, which is located north of the border between North Dakota and Minnesota.
Winnie the True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh
To get to the east coast to catch a boat to Europe, Harry rode on a troop train. Trains were a very common way to transport troops during the war. During one of the train’s stops on its way East, Harry took a walk on a train platform. While walking, he ran into a trapper with a baby bear. Harry could not walk away from that bear! He bought the bear for $20, and took it with him on the boat to Europe! He named the bear “Winnie”, after his home town of Winnepeg and she became his unit’s mascot.

If you think for just a few seconds, you can think of another bear you know named “Winnie.” Could there be two? An odd coincidence. But what if there was only one? Read this one to find out what this Winnie, the London Zoo, the bear you know, and a little boy named Christopher Robin (the real one!) have to do with each other! Finding Winnie in Print and on DVD.


Book Trailer:

Military Animals:


Bears & Zoos:


Other Working & Helping Animals:

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Identifying Leaves

Identifying Leaves

Have you been assigned making a leaf collection yet? If you have started your collection already but haven’t identified the leaves yet, here are some websites and books that will help you figure out the names of the trees your leaves came from.


Pinterest Logo 25More Websites, Printables & Activities on the IndyPL Kids Pinterest Board: Leaves & Leaf Identification

Local Places to Find Leaves:

If you haven’t started your collection yet or want to add to what you already have, there are two great places you can go in Indianapolis to find leaves, Crown Hill Cemetery and Butler University. Both places have websites you can go to for maps and directions. They even label the trees so that you know for sure what kind of leaf you have. Put on some old shoes and go on a leaf hike. The sun is shining, you get a map, the trees are labelled – Easy A!

Crown Hill Cemetery Logo 700 West 38th Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46208
Phone: 317-925-3800

Butler University 4600 Sunset Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Phone: 317-940-9413 or 317-940-8302

101 Trees of Indiana 3300 Wabash Avenue
Terre Haute, IN 47803The “Indiana Veterans Memorial Mile” is a one mile walking trail around Indiana State University’s Memorial Stadium located at Wabash and Brown Avenues on the Historic National Road.


If you want to check out one of the libary’s tree identification books, don’t wait until the last minute to put one on hold. These go fast! And if you want to read about someone who feels your pain – try Gianna Z, she’s got a leaf collection due also, and if her disorganizatin and procrastination keep her from getting it done, she can’t run in the cross-country sectionals. She is feeling the pressure to find the leaves and identify them before it is too late.
Golden Guide Trees of North America Golden Guide Trees 101 Trees of Indiana National Audobon First Field Guide to Trees
Eyewitness Trees Strange Trees and the Stories Behind Them Trees of Indiana Tell Me Tree
Tree Deep Roots Eyewitness Tree 20 Ways to Draw a Tree
The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Super Simple Leaf Projects Apple Trees to Cider Please
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Novels in Verse

Novels in Verse

Do you like to read poetry?
Then read these books and see
All that a novel written in verse can be!

Has a teacher, librarian or parent asked you to diversify your reading? Meaning they don’t want you ONLY reading graphic novels or sci-fi? (What they mean is, try something different – read outside your normal box!) Try one of these books written in verse. Great stories in a quick to read version!


Moo Moo by Sharon Creech – Brand New! This uplifting tale reminds us that if we’re open to new experiences, life is full of surprises. Following one family’s momentous move from the city to rural Maine, an unexpected bond develops between twelve-year-old Reena and one very ornery cow.
Love That Dog Love That Dog by Sharon Creech – A young student, who comes to love poetry through a personal understanding of what different famous poems mean to him, surprises himself by writing his own inspired poem. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2003-2004, 4-6 Nominee.
Hate That Cat Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech – Jack is studying poetry again in school, and he continues to write poems reflecting his understanding of famous poems and how they relate to his life.
Brown Girl Dreaming Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson – Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. National Book Award 2014
The Crossover The Crossover by Kwame Alexander – Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.
Out of the Dust Out of the Dust by Sharon Hesse – In a series of poems, fourteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family’s wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression.
May B May B by Caroline Starr Rose – When a failed wheat crop nearly bankrupts the Betterly family, Pa pulls twelve-year-old May from school and hires her out to a couple new to the Kansas frontier. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2014-2015, 4-6 Nominee.
Words with Wings Words With Wings by Nikki Grimes – Gabby daydreams to tune out her parents’ arguments, but when her parents divorce and she begins a new school, daydreaming gets her into trouble. Her mother scolds her for it, her teacher keeps telling her to pay attention, and the other kids tease her…until she finds a friend who also daydreams and her teacher decides to work a daydreaming-writing session into every school day. With a notebook “thick withdaydreams,” Gabby grows more confident about herself and her future. This verse novel poignantly celebrates the power of writing and the inspiration a good teacher can deliver. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2016-2017, 4-6 Nominee.
The Red Pencil The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney – After her tribal village is attacked by militants, Amira, a young Sudanese girl, must flee to safety at a refugee camp, where she finds hope and the chance to pursue an education in the form of a single redpencil and the friendship and encouragement of a wise elder.

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

The books on this page are chapter book stories…written in verse. You might not think of these kinds of books right away when you think of poetry. The word “poetry” probably makes you think of “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and Shel Silverstein. But these books are poetry too, and how amazing, an author writing a whole chapter book in verse! If you like these stories, here are some more:

Brains for Lunch All the Broken Pieces Gone Fishing Inside Out and Back Again
Little Dog Lost Planet Middle School Running With Trains The Wild Book
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Staff Pick: My Basmati Bat Mitzvah

Staff Pick: My Basmati Bat Mitzvah

My Basmati Bat Mitzvah

Tara Feinstein, proud of both her East Indian and Jewish heritage, questions what it means to have a bat mitzvah and deals with her own doubts about her faith.

Like more and more American kids, Tara struggles to find her identity among two cultures: one Jewish, one East Indian. At the same time, she is going through the universal experience of being a teenager: learning to find her own voice within her family, navigating changing relationships and owning up to her mistakes. If you feel like a minority in your school or if you have diverse classmates you are curious about, this is a great read. Particularly fun if you like languages (includes a Hindi-Hebrew-Yiddish-English glossary at the back)!

Recommended by: Danielle Wilkins – College Avenue Branch

More Staff Picks

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Favorite Teachers in Fiction

Favorite Teachers in Fiction

World Teachers Day
October 5, 2016, World Teacher’s Day & May 3, 2016, National Teacher Appreciation Day are both great times to remember favorite teachers, thank-a-teacherboth real and imagined. Is this the year for a favorite teacher for you? Do you have anybody that is McGonagall good? Listed below are some all-time favorite teachers from kids’ books. When the librarians in Indianapolis made suggestions for this list – Miss Honey from Matilda was suggested the most often. She gets a gold star!

Anne of Avonlea Miss Shirley in Anne of Avonlea – Anne, now sixteen years old and a teacher atAvonlea school, finds that she isn’t much different than her mischievous and spirited pupils.
Because of Mr Terrup Mr. Terupt in Because of Mr. Terupt – Seven fifth-graders at Snow Hill School in Connecticut relate how their lives are changed for the better by “rookie teacher” Mr. Terupt. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2012-2013, 4-6 Nominee
Clemetines Letter Mr. D’Matz in Clementine’s Letter – Clementine’s beloved teacher, Mr. D’Matz might be leaving for the rest of the year to go on a research trip to Egypt. The only solution, she decides, is to hatch a plan to get Mr. D’Matz back even if it means ruining his once-in-a-lifetime chance.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Professors Dumbledore, McGonagallSnape in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Wizards and Witches.
Ida B Ms. Washington in Ida B. – In Wisconsin, fourth-grader Ida B spends happy hours being home-schooled and playing in her family’s apple orchard, until her mother begins treatment for breast cancer and her parents must sell part of the orchard and send her to public school. A Junior Library Guild selection; Young Hoosier Book Award, 2006-2007, 4-6 Nominee
Junie B Alohaha Mr. Scary in the Junie B. Jones, First Grader Aloha-ha-ha! – Junie B. and her family are going on a vacation to Hawaii! And ha! Mr. Scary is giving Junie a real, actual camera to keep a photo journal of her trip! But taking good vacation pictures is not always easy. ‘Cause what if your airplane is full of grouchy ladies? And what if there is an unfortunate inner tube incident at the swimming pool? (And, oh my! Let’s not even mention what happens if a tropical bird gets tangled in your hair!) Will Junie B.’s vacation end up picture perfect? Or will her trip to Hawaii be-horrible?
Mockingbird Mrs. Brook in Mockingbird – Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2013-2014, 4-6 Nominee.
Operation Yes Miss Loupe in Operation YES by Sara Lewis Holmes In her first ever teaching job, Miss Loupe uses improvisational acting exercises with her sixth-grade students at an Air Force base school, and when she experiences a family tragedy, her previously skeptical class members use what they have learned to help her, her brother, and other wounded soldiers.
Gooney Bird is so Absurd Mrs. Pidgeon in Gooney Bird is so Absurd – Mrs. Pidgeon’s second grade class studies poetry and her students write haiku, couplets, free verse, and finally, a tribute to Mrs. Pidgeon‘s mother organized by the irrepressible Gooney Bird Greene.
Love That Dog Miss Stretchberry in Love That Dog – A young student, who comes to love poetry through a personal understanding of what different famous poems mean to him, surprises himself by writing his own inspired poem.
Math Curse Mrs. Fibonnaci in Math Curse – When the teacher tells her class that they can think of almost everything as a math problem, one student acquires a math anxiety which becomes a real curse.
Matilda Miss Honey in Matilda – Matilda applies her untapped mental powers to rid the school of the evil, child-hating headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, and restore her nice teacher, Miss Honey, to financial security.
Mr Lincolns Way Mr. Lincoln in Mr. Lincoln’s Way – When Mr. Lincoln, “the coolest principal in the whole world,” discovers that Eugene, the school bully, knows a lot about birds, he uses this interest to help Eugene overcome his intolerance.
Science Verse Mr. Newton in Science Verse – When the teacher tells his class that they can hear the poetry of science in everything, a student is struck with a curse and begins hearing nothing but science verses that sound very much like some well-known poems.
The Art of Miss Chew Miss Chew in The Art of Miss Chew – Describes how a teacher named Miss Chew encouraged individuality, and accepted learning differences, and helped a young student with academic difficulties get extra time to take tests and permission to be in advanced art classes. Inspired by the author’s memories of her art teacher.
The Secret Life of Mrs Finkleman Miss Finkleman in The Secret Life of Ms Finkleman – Spurred by a special project from her social studies teacher, seventh-grader Bethesda Fielding uncovers the secret identity of her music teacher, which leads to a most unusual concert performance and a tutoring assignment.
Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School Miss Jewls in Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School – Join Mrs. Jewls’s class and try solving over fifty math puzzles and brainteasers.
The View from Saturday Mrs. Olinski in The View From Saturday – Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition.
The Wednesday Wars Mrs. Baker in The Wednesday Wars – During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker’s classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.
Word After Word After Word Ms. Mirabel in Word After Word After Word – A visiting author teaches five friends about the power of wordsand writing. A Junior Library Guild selection
The Year of Miss Agnes Miss Agnes in The Year of Miss Agnes – Ten-year-old Fred (short for Frederika) narrates the story of school and village life among the Athapascans in Alaska during 1948 when Miss Agnes arrived as the new teacher.
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