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#WNDB Contemporary Realistic Edition

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

The last couple of weeks, we’ve been focusing on some exciting, adventurous, or straight-up fantastical books for #WeNeedDiverseBooks. But those aren’t the right reads for every person or every time – sometimes you just want to read about people like you, living in a world like yours. Contemporary realistic books can range from funny to heart-wrenching, from small issues to big, from friendships to family to romance. But they all reflect the world around us. If you’re looking for a good book featuring the real world and true-to-life people, try one of these contemporary realistic reads. Descriptions are from goodreads.com.

Check Out The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live

Check Out All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan KielyRashad is absent again today.

That’s the sidewalk graffiti that started it all…

Well, no, actually, a lady tripping over Rashad at the store, making him drop a bag of chips, was what started it all. Because it didn’t matter what Rashad said next — that it was an accident, that he wasn’t stealing — the cop just kept pounding him. Over and over, pummeling him into the pavement.

So then Rashad, an ROTC kid with mad art skills, was absent again…and again…stuck in a hospital room. Why? Because it looked like he was stealing. And he was a black kid in baggy clothes. So he must have been stealing.

And that’s how it started.

And that’s what Quinn, a white kid, saw. He saw his best friend’s older brother beating the daylights out of a classmate. At first Quinn doesn’t tell a soul…He’s not even sure he understands it. And does it matter? The whole thing was caught on camera, anyway. But when the school—and nation—start to divide on what happens, blame spreads like wildfire fed by ugly words like “racism” and “police brutality.” Quinn realizes he’s got to understand it, because, bystander or not, he’s a part of history. He just has to figure out what side of history that will be.

Rashad and Quinn—one black, one white, both American—face the unspeakable truth that racism and prejudice didn’t die after the civil rights movement. There’s a future at stake, a future where no one else will have to be absent because of police brutality. They just have to risk everything to change the world.

Cuz that’s how it can end.

Check Out Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire SáenzA lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz. 

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common.

But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship — the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Check Out If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo – Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda’s terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that at her old school, she used to be Andrew. Will the truth cost Amanda her new life, and her new love?

If I Was Your Girl is a universal story about feeling different — and a love story that everyone will root for.

Check Out The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork – Vicky Cruz shouldn’t be alive.

That’s what she thinks, anyway — and why she tried to kill herself. But then she arrives at Lakeview Hospital, where she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she’s never had.

Yet Vicky’s newfound peace is as fragile as the roses that grow around the hospital. And when a crisis forces the group to split up — sending her back to the life that drove her to suicide — Vicky must find her own courage and strength. She may not have any. She doesn’t know.

Inspired in part by the author’s own experience with depression, The Memory of Light is the rare young adult novel that focuses not on the events leading up to a suicide attempt, but the recovery from one — about living when life doesn’t seem worth it, and how we go on anyway.

Check Out Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz – Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels and categories that seem so important to everyone else in her small Nebraska hometown.

Everywhere she turns, someone feels she’s too fringe for the fringe. Not gay enough for the Dykes, her ex-clique, thanks to a recent relationship with a boy; not tiny and white enough for ballet, her first passion; and not sick enough to look anorexic (partially thanks to recovery). Etta doesn’t fit anywhere — until she meets Bianca, the straight, white, Christian, and seriously sick girl in Etta’s therapy group. Both girls are auditioning for Brentwood, a prestigious New York theater academy that is so not Nebraska. Bianca seems like Etta’s salvation, but how can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself?

The latest powerful, original novel from Hannah Moskowitz is the story about living in and outside communities and stereotypes, and defining your own identity.

Check Out Push Girl by Chelsie Hill and Jessica Love Push Girl by Chelsie Hill and Jessica Love – Kara is a high school junior who’s loving life. She’s popular, has a great group of friends and an amazing boyfriend, and she’s a shoe-in for homecoming queen. Even though her parents can’t stop fighting and her ex-boyfriend can’t seem to leave her alone, Kara won’t let anything get in the way of her perfect year.

It’s Friday night, and Kara arrives at a party, upset after hearing her parents having another one of their awful fights, and sees another girl with her hands all over her boyfriend. Furious, Kara leaves to take a drive, and, as she’s crossing an intersection, a car comes out of nowhere and slams into the driver’s side of Kara’s car.

When Kara wakes up, she has no memory of the night before. Where is she? Why are her parents crying? And, most importantly – why can’t she feel her legs? As Kara is forced to adjust to her new life, where her friends aren’t who they seemed to be and her once-adoring boyfriend is mysteriously absent, she starts to realize that what matters in life isn’t what happens to you – it’s the choices you make and the people you love.

Co-written by “Push Girls” star Chelsie Hill, whose real life closely mirrors Kara’s experience, this novel will open the eyes of readers everywhere who have never met someone who lives with paralysis.

Check Out To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved – five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Road Trip Books and Media

By: Kate Easley, Youth Librarian

I’m about to embark on a 10 hour car trip to Alabama with my husband and our two kids (ages 4 and 1). To say I’m nervous is putting it lightly. This could all go very wrong within the first hour of the trip. However, I have been preparing my bag of goodies for weeks. It contains treats, crafts, toys, movies and lots of books. I’m packing books the kids can look at independently, like search-and-find and touch-and-feel books as well as books that come with a CD.

I’ll also be checking out Playaway Views. If you haven’t had a chance to try out the Playaway Views, you should. They are like little tablets that are pre-loaded with multiple videos and are small enough that your child can hold them easily. My kids are big fans of them because they are easy to use and fun to watch. Hopefully, the trip to Alabama will just fly by. Wish me luck!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Ode to Festivals

By: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Picture Overlooking A Carnival Scene

Carnival season is upon us! Unfortunately, I never get to go to the Taste of Glen Ellyn. It always coincides with my nerdy weekend. It’s a shame, because I LOVE festivals! They’re like farmers markets with rides.

I enjoy seeing the shows and just soaking in the carnival culture. Funnel cake is a must. Growing up, my favorite rides were the spinning teacup type rides and the swings. Now that I’m older, my body has turned against me and I feel sick just looking at them.

Hot Air Balloons Taking Off During Eye To the Skies Festival, Lisle 2013

Eye To the Skies Festival, Lisle 2013

Stick Figure Scarecrow With Pumpkin Head at the Scarecrow Festival, St. Charles 2012

Scarecrow Festival, St. Charles 2012

What I do enjoy are free samples, fortune tellers, demolition derbies, live music and animals. It’s a great way to get outside and see what life has to offer. Festivals sometimes show different ways of living life, so go out there and expand your horizons!To find even more festivals to attend this season, go to Festing.com.

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

#WNDB Fantasy and Sci-Fi Edition

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

This week we have our second #WeNeedDiverseBooks booklist, and it’s made up of two genres that have always been near and dear to me: fantasy and sci-fi! I’m a huge fan of anything speculative fiction, and if you can throw a dragon in there, I might just swoon. But these are also genres that are often even less diverse than others, so it’s always exciting to me when I can pick up a book that fits in my beloved fantasy category, but that also moves beyond the usual genre landscape. See if one of these books will satisfy your fantasy/sci-fi cravings! Descriptions are from goodreads.com.

Check Out the Book A Hero at the End of the World by Erin Claiborne A Hero at the End of the World by Erin Claiborne – Sixteen year-old Ewan Mao knows one thing for certain: according to prophecy, it’s his destiny to kill the evil tyrant whose dark reign has terrorized Britain. Although he’s just a normal boy, deep down Ewan is confident that he has exactly what it takes to be a hero. But when Ewan’s big moment comes, he freezes. His best friend, the clever and talented Oliver Abrams, defeats the villain for him, and Ewan’s bright future crumbles before his eyes.

Five years later, Oliver has a job as an Unusual in the government’s Serious Magical Crimes Agency, the life he and Ewan always dreamed of. But a routine investigation leads him and his partner, Sophie Stuart, to uncover a dangerous and powerful cult… one that seems to have drawn his former best friend into a plot to end the world.

A deftly plotted, hysterically funny take on Chosen One narratives, A Hero at the End of the World expertly walks the fine line between satire and sincerity. Its sensitive depiction of a broken friendship and wry take-down of unfairly great expectations will appeal to all readers of modern fantasy.

Check Out Huntress by Malinda Lo Huntress by Malinda Lo – Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn’t shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people’s survival hangs in the balance.

To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls’ destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.

The exciting adventure prequel to Malinda Lo’s highly acclaimed novel Ash is overflowing with lush Chinese influences and details inspired by the I Ching, and is filled with action and romance.

Check Out Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac – Years ago, seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen and her family lived in a world of haves and have-nots. There were the Ones — people so augmented with technology and genetic enhancements that they were barely human — and there was everyone else who served them. Then the Cloud came, and everything changed. Tech stopped working. The world plunged back into a new steam age. The Ones’ pets — genetically engineered monsters — turned on them and are now loose on the world.

Lozen was not one of the lucky ones pre-C, but fate has given her a unique set of survival skills and magical abilities. She hunts monsters for the Ones who survived the apocalyptic events of the Cloud, which ensures the safety of her kidnapped family. But with every monster she takes down, Lozen’s powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear to Lozen that she is not just a hired gun. As the legendary Killer of Enemies was in the ancient days of the Apache people, Lozen is meant to be a more than a hunter. Lozen is meant to be a hero.

Check Out Pantomime by Laura LamPantomime by Laura Lam – In a land of lost wonders, the past is stirring once more.

Gene’s life resembles a debutante’s dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility. Gene is both male and female. Then she displays unwanted magical abilities – last seen in mysterious beings from an almost-forgotten age. Matters escalate further when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees home, dressed as a boy.

The city beyond contains glowing glass relics from a lost civilization. They call to her, but she wants freedom not mysteries. So, reinvented as ‘Micah Grey’, Gene joins the circus. As an aerialist, she discovers the joy of flight – but the circus has a dark side. She’s also plagued by visions foretelling danger. A storm is howling in from the past, but will she heed its roar?

Check Out Proxy by Alex London Proxy by Alex London – Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.

Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.

Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.

Check Out The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness – What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

Check Out The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi The Star Touched Queen by Roshani ChokshiFate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire.

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

Check Out Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee Zeroboxer by Fonda LeeA Sci-Fi Thrill Ride Set in the Action-Packed Sports Arena of the Future.

A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm––a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity and stolen his heart along the way.

As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices place everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Five Senses Science

By: Bari Ericson, Youth Programming Associate

Astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble said, “Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.”

Children use their five senses every day to gather data about their world. Here are a few fun activity and book ideas to fuel your young scientists’ explorations.

FIVE SENSES OVERVIEW

The outside world shapes children’s development through experiences, which include using their five senses—hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch. Drawing a child’s attention to the five senses and discussing them increases understanding of and communication about the world around them.

 

SEE

When children play games that involve sight, they’re also practicing early literacy skills! Sight games help children recognize words, patterns, objects…and help them develop their memory!

  • Play “I Spy”: While reading a book or taking part in everyday activities, play “I Spy” with the child about things he/she sees on different pages of the book, throughout the house or out on errands.
  • Memory Game: Place four or five familiar objects on a tray. Give children one minute to look at all of the items and then cover the tray and ask the children to share what they saw on the tray. As children get used to this game, they will begin to focus more on the objects so that they are able to share when the tray is covered again.

 

SMELL

Over time, children will recognize certain smells as comforting, yummy, scary, exciting, etc. Encourage the child to experiment with scents and smells that he/she recognizes and those that are more unfamiliar.

  • Blindfolded Smell Test: Blindfold the child and place some familiar scents under his/her nose, such as chocolate, cinnamon, playdough, etc. Ask him/her questions such as: What do you smell? Do you recognize it? Does it remind you of something else?

 

HEAR

Like other skills that children learn, listening takes practice. Developing good listening habits helps children get important information from family members, teachers, friends and coaches.

  • Patterning: Using your hands or another object, make clapping patterns. Take turns having the adult lead, followed by the child leading a pattern, and vice versa. After doing clapping patterns, try the same routine with bells or another noise-making object. Ask the child: Which sequence is harder to repeat—the claps or the bells? Which sound do you prefer to listen to? Which sound is louder?
  • Take a Sound Hike!: Whether taking a sound hike at the mall, a nearby park or on a family trip, ask children to notice the sounds they hear and then use sound words as they describe them.

 

TASTE

Children develop taste preferences based on what they are fed when they’re in the early years of their lives. Helping children think about which tastes they do and do not prefer will encourage them to try new foods and/or new combinations of foods.

  • Identify Foods: Gather up different foods (preferably that the child enjoys!) and have each child taste each food and guess what it is as he/she is blindfolded or has their eyes covered. While the child is tasting, discuss certain words such as sweet, salty, sour, bitter, fruity, etc. that will help him/her understand the meaning of the words.

 

TOUCH

Children learn about their bodies and how to communicate with others through touch. Most of the feeling that we do happens through our feet and our hands.  Taking part in activities where children feel with their feet and hands help them learn how to write, button their shirts, tie their shoes, etc.

  • Feeling With Your Feet: Have the child, barefooted, feel things with his/her feet and think about the way it feels. Some things to try include paint, playdough, grass and carpet. Ask the child questions such as: What does it feel like? Do you like the way it feels? Is it rough or smooth? Cold or hot? Does it tickle your feet? Do the same activity with your hands!
  • Pillow Play: Place familiar objects inside of an empty pillowcase. Let the child try to guess what the objects are. Help the child describe how each object feels. Vary the activity by using holiday/seasonal items or items with a theme such as animals or shapes.

 

Sources For More Ideas:

Read, Write, Think: Engaging the Five Senses to Learn About Our World

University of Illinois Extension: Teaching Children about the Five Senses

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

#WNDB Action and Adventure Edition

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

As We Need Diverse Books celebrates two years of doing good work this spring, I thought we’d go one step further than just a display. After all, a display doesn’t tell you how to find the perfect book within your preferred genre. But you know what can do that? A great booklist! So for the rest of the month, we’ll highlight great titles in some popular genres. For this week’s list, action and adventure fans can try one of the books below (descriptions from goodreads.com) to find a great, exciting read!

Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy Book CoverBreaking Sky by Cori McCarthy

In this high-flying, adrenaline-fueled debut thriller, America’s best hope is the elite teen fighter pilots of the United Star Academy.Chase Harcourt, call sign “Nyx,” is one of only two pilots chosen to fly the experimental “Streaker” jets at the junior Air Force Academy in the year 2048.

She’s tough and impulsive with lightning-fast reactions, but few know the pain and loneliness of her past or the dark secret about her father. All anyone cares about is that Chase aces the upcoming Streaker trials, proving the prototype jet can knock the enemy out of the sky.

But as the world tilts toward war, Chase cracks open a military secret. There’s a third Streaker jet, whose young hotshot pilot, Tristan, can match her on the ground and in the clouds. Chase doesn’t play well with others, but to save her country she may just have to put her life in the hands of the competition.

Fake ID by Lamar Giles Book CoverFake ID by Lamar Giles

Nick Pearson is hiding in plain sight…My name isn’t really Nick Pearson.

I shouldn’t tell you where I’m from or why my family moved to Stepton, Virginia.

I shouldn’t tell you who I really am, or my hair, eye and skin color.

And I definitely shouldn’t tell you about my friend Eli Cruz and the major conspiracy he was about to uncover when he died—right after I moved to town. About how I had to choose between solving his murder with his hot sister, Reya, and “staying low-key” like the Program has taught me. About how moving to Stepon changed my life forever.

But I’m going to.

Far From You by Tess Sharpe Book CoverFar From You by Tess Sharpe

Nine months. Two weeks. Six days.

That’s how long recovering addict Sophie’s been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend, Mina, died in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone wrong – a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered.

Forced into rehab for an addiction she’d already beaten, Sophie’s finally out and on the trail of the killer—but can she track them down before they come for her?

Ms. Marvel PosterMs. Marvel vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

Marvel Comics presents the new Ms. Marvel, the groundbreaking heroine that has become an international sensation!

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman?

Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey!

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis Book CoverOn the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

January 29, 2035.

That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter near their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.

Then a last-minute encounter leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship that’s scheduled to leave Earth behind and colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But each passenger must have a practical skill to contribute. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?

When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Book CoverThe Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

My name is Michael Vey, and the story I’m about to tell you is strange. Very strange. It’s my story.

To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey is an ordinary fourteen-year-old. In fact, the only thing that seems to set him apart is the fact that he has Tourette’s syndrome. But Michael is anything but ordinary. Michael has special powers. Electric powers.

Michael thinks he’s unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor also has special powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up this way, but their investigation brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric children – and through them the world. Michael will have to rely on his wits, powers and friends if he’s to survive.

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older Book CoverShadowshaper by Daniel José Older

Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.

Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present and future.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee Book CoverUnder a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier.

But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Happy Birthday!

By: Emily Richardson, Youth Programming Associate

Multi-Colored Balloons
 
It’s my birthday month! Cue celebratory balloons!

This year I became curious about who shares a birthday with me, and thought I’d do a little research. Check out the list below to find your own birthday, then check out a book to learn more about your new birthday buddy.

January
J.R.R. Tolkien Creator of Languages and Legends by Doris Lynch Book Cover
Betsy Ross (Revolutionary)
J.R.R. Tolkien (Author)
Elvis Presley (Singer)
Duchess Catherine (Kate Middleton, World Politics)
Ernie Banks (Sports)
Al Capone (Crime)

February
Elizabeth Blackwell (Medical)
Laura Ingalls Wilder (Author)
Barnum Brown (Paleontologist)
Wilson Bentley (Snowflake Photographer)

March
Justin Bieber (Singer)
Alexander Graham Bell (Inventor)
Dr. Seuss (Author)
J.S. Bach (Composer)
Cesar Chavez (World Politics)

April
Hans Christian Andersen (Author)
Imogen Cunningham (Photographer)
Abigail Breslin (Actor)
Charlie Chaplin (Actor)
James Buchanan (US President)

May
David Beckham (Sports)
Catherine the Great (World Politics)
Adele (Singer)
Nellie Bly (Reporter)
Johannes Brahms (Composer)
Gary Paulsen (Author)
Mary Pope Osborne (Author)
Mary Cassatt (Artist)
Rachel Carson (Biology)

June
Anne Frank (Author)
Eric Carle (Author)
Helen Keller (Activist)

July
Diana Princess of Wales by Tim O'Shei Book Cover
Princess Diana (World Politics)
Calvin Coolidge (US Presidents)
P.T. Barnum (Circus Owner)
Ringo Starr (Drummer)
J.K. Rowling (Author)

August
Tom Brady (Athlete)
Louis Armstrong (Musician)
Neil Armstrong (Astronaut)
Suzanne Collins (Author)
Usain Bolt (Athlete)

September
Beyonce (Singer)
Jane Addams (Activist)
Ruby Bridges (Activist)
Roald Dahl (Author)

October
John Lennon (Singer)
Robinson Cano (Athlete)
Richard Byrd (Explorer)
Hillary Clinton (US Politics)

November
Daniel Boone (Explorer)
Marie Curie (Scientist)
Louisa May Alcott (Author)
Winston Churchill (World Politics)

December
Black Elk's Vision A Lokota Story by S.D. Nelson Book Cover
Black Elk (World Leader)
Clara Barton (Medical)
Jacques Cartier (Explorer)
Ty Cobb (Athlete)

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

#WeNeedDiverseBooks

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

We Need Diverse BooksAs you may recall, last May we had a display celebrating the We Need Diverse Books movement. This movement started with a simple Twitter hashtag about two years ago, with people from all over the country sharing reasons why we need more diverse books, particularly books for children and young adults. One of our teen volunteers wrote about We Need Diverse Books a few months after it began, and you can read what she had to say here to get a great overview of the movement.

In the two years since the Twitter campaign started, We Need Diverse Books has become a full-fledged non-profit, devoted to encouraging diversity not only in books, but in the publishing world in general. They give awards and grants to encourage and recognize diverse books, publishers, editors and more; they help educate publishers, librarians and booksellers; they organize mentoring programs to help people break into the publishing industry and much more. Their work has certainly increased discussion and recognition of the diversity issue in publishing. So once again, we want to celebrate the work We Need Diverse Books is doing, and highlight some of the diverse young adult books from our own collection!

This month, stop by our #WeNeedDiverseBooks display to find a great adventure like Ink and Ashes or Endangered, or maybe some historical fiction highlighting experiences you may have missed, such as Under a Painted Sky or Honey Girl. If contemporary is more your style, you can check out All American Boys, Everything Leads to You, or Tiny, Pretty Things. Into real life people? You might like Laughing at My Nightmare or Rethinking Normal. We also have science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance and more on display. So stop by and find a great new read in your favorite genre, and see why #WeNeedDiverseBooks.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Favorite Preschool Visit Reads

By: Katy Almendinger, Early Literacy Librarian

Miss Katy here. I’m hoping some of you have heard of me. Part of what I do includes visiting Glen Ellyn preschool classrooms on a regular basis. I bring a bag of books, my favorite songs and sometimes an interactive game to classrooms.

I can hardly believe it’s almost time for summer vacation! April and May visits are sometimes the last time I’ll see a classroom before summer. It’s always bittersweet—I know that some preschoolers will be attending kindergarten in the fall. In honor of the end of the year, I thought I’d share some of our favorite reads.

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak Book Cover
One class in particular will ask for this book every single time I visit. Kids love The Book with No Pictures so much that some can even recite the text with me. It makes audiences (even big kids) howl with laughter because it forces adults to say silly things and make silly sounds.

Hooray for Hat by Brian Won

Hooray for Hat by Brian Won Book Cover
“Remember the book with the animals and the hats? That one’s my favorite.” I always know a book was a hit when kids ask me about it the next time I visit. I asked kids to shout “Hooray for Hat!” with me when we read this one.

Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera

Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera Book Cover
The title alone makes this one a winner! Underwear, for some strange reason, makes kids giggle. Readers are invited to guess which underwear belongs to which animal based on clues seen in the underwear’s design. For example — carrot themed underwear belongs to a bunny. How many times can I say underwear in a short paragraph?!

Mix It Up by Herve Tullet

Mix It Up by Herve Tullet Book Cover
“Miss Katy, that book is magic!” Preschoolers always have stunned expressions on their faces when we read Mix It Up. This book, and the author’s other books, are completely interactive. The narrator instructs kids to shake the book or turn it to the right to see what happens to the paint. And the results are magical.

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins
 

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins
There’s a slight gross out factor with this nonfiction title. It shares unique, size-related animal facts in a fun way. You’d be surprised by how many preschoolers know that anteaters have really, really long tongues.

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood Book Cover
This book makes readers so anxious for the ending — and then it ends with a twist! The illustrations are beautiful, too. And you know it’s good when it’s one of Miss Bari’s favorites.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

What I Just Read – The Memory of Light

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork Book CoverI told you there was going to be more book talk coming down the line. And unlike last week, I know exactly how I feel about today’s What I Just Read.

What I Just Read: The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

What’s It About (Jacket Description): Vicky Cruz shouldn’t be alive.

That’s what she thinks, anyway—and why she tried to kill herself. But then she arrives at Lakeview Hospital, where she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she’s never had.

Yet Vicky’s newfound peace is as fragile as the roses that grow around the hospital. And when a crisis forces the group to split up—sending her back to the life that drove her to suicide—Vicky must find her own courage and strength. She may not have any. She doesn’t know.

Inspired in part by the author’s own experience with depression, The Memory of Light is the rare young adult novel that focuses not on the events leading up to a suicide attempt, but the recovery from one—about living when life doesn’t seem worth it, and how we go on anyway.

Do I Like It: It’s amazing!

Thoughts:  The Memory of Light was, believe it or not, much less of a downer than I expected. While it deals with extremely heavy subjects, the writing is so beautiful, the main character so strong and all the characters so compelling that far from bringing me down, it mostly made me feel contemplative and hopeful. That said, there were some dark moments in the book, and it’s hardly sunshine and roses at the end.

Vicky is a main character who is easy to sympathize with, even if you don’t have depression like she does. The grind of feeling inadequate, struggling in school, family strife and more were easy to relate to. And despite her difficulties, Vicky was a really kind, caring and strong character. It’s clear early on that her suicide attempt was not a result of weakness. If anything, it seemed like a result of deep exhaustion and lack of knowledge. Watching her connect with the members of her group and her therapist, as well as learn more about herself and what it means to be depressed, was really powerful. In fact, despite a slow plot, I found myself lingering in my car for just a few minutes more when I parked to hear more of her story.

The writing in The Memory of Light is top notch. The way Vicky described being depressed was descriptive, evocative and really made me as a reader understand what she felt and really grasp what she was going through. There was also a really well done writing trick in the text, which especially came through in the audiobook. At the beginning, Vicky’s voice is a little dull and, at least in the narration, monotone. But as the story progresses and she begins to deal with some of her depression and find some rays of hope, the prose gets more lively and the narration does too. It was such a great way to reflect Vicky’s experiences and mental state.

Lastly, this review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the side characters. Ignore the Breakfast Club-like description, because none of the characters in Vicky’s group are “types.” They’re all living, breathing characters with their own stories and issues outside of Vicky. But the way they bond with each other and with Vicky, and the way their stories play out, was really engaging to read about, and made me feel like I knew them all. The same thing goes for Vicky’s family.  Despite their flaws and failures in taking care of Vicky when she needs them, they never came across as caricatures or villains, but as people who just didn’t understand what was going on, and didn’t know how to care for someone they loved.

This is not the book for you if you’re looking for a fast-paced plot, drama (really) or action. But it is a character-driven, incredibly realistic look at what depression is like and what comes after a suicide attempt, and it’s told through beautiful prose and a compelling and sympathetic protagonist. It’s a wonderful, quiet, powerful read that I highly recommend.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School