Library Resources

Reading is essential to learning in all forms. In addition to building fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary, reading for pleasure allows students to explore their interests, imagine new worlds, and ultimately develop a lifelong love of reading. Throughout distance learning, it is more important than ever that students continue to read books that they are excited about every day. On this page, you will find a variety of resources to help access books and library materials from home.
Dear Renbrook Families,
As we prepare to be away from school during the coming weeks, it is more important than ever that students are inspired to read every day and have access to titles they are excited about. Below are some platforms you can use to access eBooks from home.

In addition to the resources below, we have our own Renbrook Library webpage where you can explore eBooks, databases, and online learning tools. 

Sora
This is the main eBook system Renbrook uses. Go to soraapp.com/library/gbclama and select ‘Renbrook School’. Students can read online on any device, as well as through the Sora by Overdrive App for tablets and phones.
Username: the student’s library card number

MackinVIA
MackinVIA has access to thousands of classic titles available to check out. Go to mackinvia.com and select “Renbrook School, West Hartford, CT”. MackinVIA is also available as an app for iOS and Android devices.
Username: the student’s library card number
Password: renlib

Capstone Interactive eBooks
Capstone offers thousands of interactive fiction and nonfiction eBooks. Go to mycapstonelibrary.com or use the Capstone Interactive app to access these titles.
Username: continue
Password: reading

West Hartford Libraries - Text to Libraries
Libraries are closed, but our staff continues to work to answer your questions and connect you to services. You can now text 860-935-2898 with your questions. Or, call 860-561-6990 (or 6991) to speak to a librarian Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For a complete list of library and town resources, click HERE.

If you have any questions about accessing these resources, please feel free to email me at kjustus@renbrook.org. Your public library can also provide eBooks and other resources. While physical locations are closed, many are still available via phone or email to get a library card.

Happy reading,
Kathryn Justus
Director of Library Services
In uncertain times, literature can serve as a powerful platform for solace and comfort. Every few weeks, Director of Library Services Kathryn Justus will be sharing curated book lists around uplifting topics for Preschool-Grade 8 students. This first list focuses on stories of hope and resilience with characters showing courage in the face of obstacles.

List of 3 items.

  • Preschool - Grade 2

    Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña
    Every Sunday, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them. This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.

    Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman
    Carl is an earthworm. He spends his days happily tunneling in the soil until a field mouse asks him a simple question that stops him short: "Why?" Carl's quest takes him on an adventure to meet all the animals of the forest, each of whom seems to know exactly what they were put on this earth to do, unlike the curious Carl. But it's not until the world around him has changed that Carl begins to realize everyone, no matter how small, makes a big difference just by being themselves.

    The Book of Mistakes by Corinne Luyken
    As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas—and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.

    Saturday by Oge Mora
    In this heartfelt and universal story, a mother and daughter look forward to their special Saturday routine together every single week. But this Saturday, one thing after another goes wrong--ruining storytime, salon time, picnic time, and the puppet show they'd been looking forward to going to all week. Mom is nearing a meltdown...until her loving daughter reminds her that being together is the most important thing of all.

    Say Something by Peter Reynolds
    The world needs your voice. If you have a brilliant idea... say something! If you see an injustice... say something! In this empowering new picture book, beloved author Peter H. Reynolds explores the many ways that a single voice can make a difference. Each of us, each and every day, have the chance to say something: with our actions, our words, and our voices. Perfect for kid activists everywhere, this timely story reminds readers of the undeniable importance and power of their voice. There are so many ways to tell the world who you are... what you are thinking... and what you believe. And how you'll make it better. The time is now: SAY SOMETHING!

    After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Up Again) by Dan Santat
    Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after? Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat's poignant tale follows Humpty Dumpty, an avid bird watcher whose favorite place to be is high up on the city wall―that is, until after his famous fall. Now terrified of heights, Humpty can longer do many of the things he loves most. Will he summon the courage to face his fear? After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) is a masterful picture book that will remind readers of all ages that Life begins when you get back up.

    The Day You Begin by Jaqueline Woodson
    There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. Jacqueline Woodson's lyrical text and Rafael López's dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.
  • Grades 3-5

    The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
    Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes. In the tradition of timeless stories like Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create an unforgettable story of friendship, art, and hope.

    Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech
    Louie doesn't have the best luck when it comes to nurturing small creatures. So when his father brings home a sickly newborn mini donkey, he's determined to save him. He names him Winslow. Taking care of him helps Louie feel closer to his brother, Gus, who is far, far away in the army. Everyone worries that Winslow won't survive, especially Louie’s quirky new friend, Nora, who has experienced loss of her own. But as Louie's bond with Winslow grows, surprising and life-altering events prove that this fragile donkey is stronger than anyone could have imagined. Written in the spirit of Creech favorites Moo and Love That Dog, this standout tale about love and friendship and letting go will tug at the heartstrings.

    Rules by Cynthia Lord
    Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying to teach David the rules from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public" -- in order to head off David's embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a surprising, new sort-of friend, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?

    The Hero Two Doors Down by Sharon Robinson
    Based on the true story of a boy in Brooklyn who became neighbors and friends with his hero, Jackie Robinson. Stephen Satlow is an eight-year-old boy living in Brooklyn, New York, which means he only cares about one thing-the Dodgers. Steve and his father spend hours reading the sports pages and listening to games on the radio. Aside from an occasional run-in with his teacher, life is pretty simple for Steve. But then Steve hears a rumor that an African American family is moving to his all-Jewish neighborhood. It's 1948 and some of his neighbors are against it. Steve knows this is wrong. His hero, Jackie Robinson, broke the color barrier in baseball the year before. Then it happens -- Steve's new neighbor is none other than Jackie Robinson!

    Save Me A Seat by Sarah Weeks
    Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they're both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL.
    Joe's lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own. Ravi's family just moved to America from India, and he's finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in. Joe and Ravi don't think they have anything in common — but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week.
  • Grades 5-8

    Refugee by Alan Gratz
    A tour de force from acclaimed author Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087), this timely and powerful novel tells the story of three different children seeking refuge. Josef is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world. Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America. Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe. All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers - from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end.

    Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt
    "Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid." Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there's a lot more to her - and to everyone - than a label, and that great minds don't always think alike.

    Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
    From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she's the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she's not very smart. If you've ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be. When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to "sing" to him! But he's three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him? Full of heart and poignancy, this affecting story by sign language interpreter Lynne Kelly shows how a little determination can make big waves.

    The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
    Life is harsh in Chennai's teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Rukku arrive, their prospects look grim. Very quickly, 11-year-old Viji discovers how vulnerable they are in this uncaring, dangerous world. Fortunately, the girls find shelter - and friendship - on an abandoned bridge. With two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, the group forms a family of sorts. And while making a living scavenging the city's trash heaps is the pits, the kids find plenty to laugh about and take pride in, too. After all, they are now the bosses of themselves and no longer dependent on untrustworthy adults. But when illness strikes, Viji must decide whether to risk seeking help from strangers or to keep holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom.

    Front Desk by Kelly Yang
    Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number one: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, 10-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number two: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they've been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number three: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia's courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?

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