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Read Across Lawrence for Kids 2015

Read Across Lawrence for Kids is a fun and unique way for get kids all over town reading the same book at the same time as well as participate in various activities offered through the library. Join us for Read Across Lawrence for Kids 2015 in the month of February! The #RALKids book will be Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett.

About Chasing Vermeer

chasing vermeer

Set in Hyde Park, Chicago near the University of Chicago, the novel follows two children, Calder Pillay and Petra Andalee. After a famous Johannes Vermeer painting is stolen en route to the Art Institute of Chicago, Calder and Petra work together to try to recover it. The thief publishes many advertisements in the newspaper, explaining that he will give the painting back if the community can discover which paintings under Vermeer’s name were really painted by him. This causes Petra, Calder, and the rest of Hyde Park to examine art more closely.

About Blue Balliett

blue balliettBlue Balliett’s acclaimed and bestselling mysteries each combine real settings with an unlikely array of real-world ingredients. Hold Fast breaks new ground in ways that will startle. Or is it sparkle? In Balliett’s work, surprise at many levels is the name of the game. Balliett has won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Novel, Chicago Tribune Prize for Young Adult Fiction, Chicago Public Library Foundation’s 21st Century Award, Book Sense Book of the Year Award, Great Lakes Book Award, Friends of American Writers Award, Agatha Award for Best YA Novel, Chicago Tribune’s Chicagoan of the Year for Literature 2010, and a place in the official White House library as The Danger Box was handed to President Obama in January 2011 as a gift from the American Booksellers Association. She has appeared twice on NBC’s Today Show. “

Having grown up in New York City and studied art history at Brown University, Blue Balliett has lived in Chicago for many years. She was a classroom teacher at The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools but now writes full-time, working in the laundry room of the Hyde Park home she shares with her husband. They have three kids who still love the neighborhood, a recent grandson, and a large and cowardly cat. (From

“How do I get a copy of the book?”

There’s no special sign-up to participate in Read Across Lawrence. Just grab a copy, start reading, and show up at activities – it’s that easy!  Here are a few ways to get a copy of Chasing Vermeer:

  • Come to the Read Across Lawrence Kick-Off event on January 31st at 2:00 p.m. in the Auditorium.  We’ll have pizza, create a mysterious art piece to display in the children’s room, and talk about the amazing lineup of programs. 500 copies of the book will be handed out at the event.
  • Come to the library and get a copy from the Welcome Desk after Jan. 31, while supplies last.
  • Check-out or reserve a copy from Lawrence Public Library.
  • Team up with somebody else who has a copy and share.  Enjoy talking about it afterward!



Read Across Lawrence for Kids Pizza Party Kickoff!
Saturday, January 31, 2:00-3:30 pm.
Ages 7-11

Join us for the kickoff event for Read Across Lawrence for Kids! We’ll be giving away 500 copies of Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett, have pizza and talk about all the amazing programs happening during the month of February! We’ll also create a mysterious art piece to display in the children’s room!


Science Art Optics & Illusion
Wednesday, February 4, 3:30 pm
Readers’ Theater
Ages 7-12

Create your own Camera Obscura as you explore the science of art, optics, and illusion. The Spencer Museum of Art will lead this program.


Wacky World: Believe it or Not!
Saturday, February 7, 10:30 am
University of Kansas Natural History Museum
Ages 7-11

Join us at KU’s Natural History Museum to explore the strange and wonderful world of plants and nature!


Lego Club
Saturday, February 7, 1:30 pm
Wednesday, February 11, 3:30 pm
Ages 5-11

Lego Club and art will collide this month! Come and create your own masterpiece in the medium of Lego!


Art Detectives and Thieves
Saturday, February 14, 3:00 pm
Readers’ Theater
Ages 7-11

The Spencer Museum of Art and Lawrence Public Library are gathering all you super sleuths to find art clues and uncover the secret stories of art!


Mysterious Mustache Book Club
Sunday, February 15, 1:30 pm
Readers’ Theater
Ages 8-12

At this meeting of the Mysterious Mustache Book Club we’ll be discussing our Read Across Lawrence for Kids pick: Chasing Vermeer! We’ll have a snack, crack some codes and decide what questions we’ll ask the author at our finale event!


Letterboxing Workshop
Wednesday, February 18th, 3:30 pm
All ages

Meredith Moore, from Wonder Fair’s Secret Order of the Black Diamond, will lead this workshop! We’ll learn about the history of letterboxing and how it works. We’ll then make our very own signature stamp to use during the Letterboxing adventure on February 21st!


Codes and Cryptography
Friday, February 20, 1:30 pm
Readers’ Theater
Ages 7-11

Join us to explore the world of codes and how to decipher them. Dr. Perry Alexander will be our special guest!


Who Stole the Vermeer?: A Letterboxing Adventure
Saturday, February 21, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
All ages

Someone has stolen A Lady Writing by Johannes Vermeer! Follow the clues on this mysterious letterboxing adventure to find the culprit. Meredith Moore from Wonder Fair and a couple brave librarians will be your guides!


Skype with Brett Helquist
Sunday, February 22, 1:30 pm
Ages 7-11

The incredibly talented illustrator of Chasing Vermeer and A Series of Unfortunate Events will join us via Skype!


Exploring Vermeer
Wednesday, February 25, 3:30 pm
Readers’ Theater
Ages 7-11

Lead by art historian Lindsey Waugh, we’ll delve into the life and times of the fascinating artist Johannes Vermeer. We’ll also make our own artwork inspired by the artist!


Blue Balliett: Skype and Sundaes!
Saturday, February 28th, 2:00 pm
Ages 7-11

For our finale event for Read Across Lawrence for Kids we’ll interview the author herself! Join us for a sundae topped with blue M&Ms (in honor of characters Calder and Petra!) and learn more about the author that brought us Chasing Vermeer!


Previous RAL for Kids Selections:

2013 - Turtle In Paradise by Jennifer Holm

2012 - The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkowski