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Reading Slumps

By: Katy Almendinger, Early Literacy Librarian

Have you signed up for our Summer Reading Program yet? We have programs designed for babies to adults. Kids have started to come in and log their reading hours. It’s pretty impressive. So many readers have already reached their 10 hour prize. But there are also a handful of kids who have already read 35 or more hours. I’m so proud of every reader that I’m starting to feel guilty about my own reading habits.

Check Out Booked by Kwame AlexanderMy current reading habits are kind of pathetic. I’ve read two books since our summer reading program has started. Only two. One was The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin. The other was Booked by Kwame Alexander. And the fact that I haven’t been reading much has been bothering me. But it’s not just something that happens to me–it’s known as a reading slump. If you’ve ever found yourself not reading for a while, you might just be in a reading slump. Here’s a few ideas to help get you out of that evil slump.

Listen to an audiobook. You can listen to an audiobook while doing something else at the same time. Audiobooks are especially helpful if you’re busy or if you don’t have time to sit down and read.

Re-read an old favorite. Harry Potter, anyone? Enough said.

Check Out A Time to Dance by Padma VenkatramanAsk a librarian for a recommendation. A solid recommendation can even help you out of a book-mourning period. We also have plenty of book recommendations on our blogs. You could also check out a book from the Monarch, Bluestem and Caudill lists. I did that–I’m currently reading A Time to Dance.

Set goals. I hear a lot of kids talking about how they want to read at least an hour a day to help get them to their prize levels. I should follow their advice. Set aside a specific time, maybe right before bed, to read a little bit every day.

Put the book down. That’s right. Put the book down. If it’s taking you a really long time to finish a book, it might be causing a reading slump. One of the things librarians believe in is that it’s totally okay to abandon stop reading a book if you aren’t into it.

Check Out The Honest Truth by Dan GemeinhartSwitch genres. I tend to get frustrated with reading when I read a lot of one genre in a row–usually with fantasy. I read so many fantasy books in a row that I start to crave realistic fiction. I recently picked up The Honest Truth as a change from fantasy and I loved it.

Read with a friend. Talking about a book with a friend can help motivate you to read it. Or, if you’re ambitious, you could even try to start a book club!

Ultimately, it’s okay if you don’t want to read. It doesn’t hurt to take some time away from it. But I know that, eventually, you’ll find a book that’s perfect for you and pulls you out of your reading slump.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Blurryface Review

By: Hannah O., Teen Blogger

Check Out Blurryface by TwentyOne PilotsBlurryface is an interesting album by a musical duo that is quickly gaining popularity, twentyønepiløts. The album consists of 14 songs, each one different from the next. The album’s main idea is of the villain, Blurryface, who creates vibes of depression, anxiety and insecurities. When I listened to this album, there were a lot of emotions, such as happiness, emptiness, sadness and fear. The album really leaves an imprint on you after you listen, through the use of metaphors in lyrics and sound effects. The songs have interesting combinations of Tyler Joseph’s vocals, ukulele, piano and Josh Dun’s drum playing that is finished off with interesting electronic sounds. Blurryface is classified as alternative or “schizo-pop”, which is an unofficial subgenre of pop.

Some of the most popular songs on the album are “Tear in My Heart” and “Stressed Out.” “Tear in My Heart” is the most upbeat song on the album and probably the only romantic song as well. It’s very joyful and has a memorable intro with piano chords and drums that lead into the first verse. “Stressed Out” is more thought provoking and is centered around growing up. I feel that many people like this song because people of all ages can relate to how stressful it is to grow up and have responsibility. Personally, my favorite song on the album is “Goner,” which is very slow and deep. It starts very simple with vocals and piano and slowly adds drums and more sounds effects. It’s very meaningful and my favorite part is when everything dies out until Tyler Joseph screams “don’t let me be gone.”

I would recommend Blurryface to teenagers who like some darker music and themes but enjoy different music and thoughtful lyrics. Overall, this album is definitely worth the 52 minutes and 23 seconds it takes to listen to it.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Middle School Reviews –

Check Out Salt to the Sea by Ruta SepetysWhat’s your name?: Kylie

What school do you attend?: Saint Michael

What grade are you in school?: 8th Grade

What are you reviewing?: A book

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: Salt to the Sea

Did you like it?: I LOVED THIS NOVEL! It was the perfect blend of Young Adult and Historical Fiction. I have been a fan of this author, Ruta Sepetys, for a while now, and her newest book did not fail to impress me. Told in four perspectives, Salt to the Sea is a thrilling tale of the virtually unknown ship sinking that occurred during Operation Hannibal. Lovers of history and mystery will be exhilarated while reading this spectacular book!

Who would like this?: Someone who like Holocaust books.

How many stars would you rate this?: Five Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

Middle School Reviews – Who Was Clara Barton?

Check Out Who Was Clara Barton? by Stephanie SpinnerWhat’s your name?: Jordan

What school do you attend?: Hadley

What grade are you in school?: 6th grade

What are you reviewing?: A book

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: Who Was Clara Barton?

Did you like it?: Yes I did like it it was inspirational. Clara Barton was a young girl when she started working everyone was. When she got older she needed to earn money so she got a job as a summer school teacher. She liked being a summer school teacher so she wanted to be a full year teacher, but full year teacher was a boy’s job. But they asked her to do it and she said,”I will only do it if I get the same amount of money a guy would get.”, and she did. A few years later she opened her own school because there were kids on the street at school times and later she had hundreds of kids in her school. And she made her school even bigger and she was the principal’s assistant and the principals was a guy so she decided to get a new job. She did and she got paid a much as a guy would.

Who would like this?: Someone who needs an inspiration.

How many stars would you rate this?: Five Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

What I’m Reading Now – Outrun the Moon

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

Check Out Outrun the Moon by Stacey LeeAs you may recall, last summer I was raving about Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee, a book I adored when I read it and continue to talk about. So I was psyched to get Lee’s next book on audio, and am finding my car rides extra enjoyable while listening to it!

What I Just Read: Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

What’s It About (Jacket Description): San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.

On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the army to bring help—she still has the “bossy” cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?

Do I Like It: As expected, I’m loving it!

Thoughts: Only two books in, and already I am learning to count on Stacey Lee for amazing historical fiction, strong and well-rounded young woman protagonists, and incredible depictions of friendships between girls. Those are all things that Outrun the Moon has in common with Under a Painted Sky, along with fascinating glimpses at Chinese beliefs and culture. But Outrun the Moon is its own distinct story as well, and Mercy is an amazing heroine.

One of my favorite things about Mercy is that she is compassionate, brave and caring, but these qualities exist right alongside her ambition and difficulties abiding by the rules. From the very first pages, we learn that Mercy is impetuous and headstrong (which leads to a very exciting trip in a hot air balloon) and not long after we discover that she is determined to become a successful businesswoman and lift her family out of poverty. While certainly Mercy’s ambition is understandable, particularly given how her family struggles with prejudice and being poor, it’s also lofty. She’s not just striving for better, she’s striving for the best. I love that this is part of her character, and that her ambition is part of what makes her strong and determined and supports her better self.

I’m also loving, as I expected, the friendships that Mercy is developing. While I felt her connection to her friend Tom and to her family right from the start, watching her slowly growing friendships with some of the girls at her school is delightful. Each one of Mercy’s friends clearly has her own life, hopes, dreams and wants, and all seem like real people. I’m closing in on the halfway point, and really looking forward to seeing how the relationships develop in the rest of the book.

On top of incredible character and a rapidly increasing plot pace, Outrun the Moon is a can’t-put-it-down read. Add in the incredible research and wealth of detail that makes 1906 San Francisco come alive, and I have a feeling this won’t be the only time I’m reading this book. Highly recommended for anyone who likes historical fiction, great characters and incredible relationships.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

The Classics

By: Emily Richardson, Youth Programming Associate

Introducing your children to the classics can be difficult; they’re old, boring, have stilted language, etc. What if there were books that made reading about classics fun, even for the littlest readers?


BabyLit: This series might be more fun for the parents than for the kids. Each book is a “primer,” focusing on different learning activities, such as counting, clothing types, emotions and weather, all based loosely on the world of the original classic.

Les Petits Fairytales: This series tells simplified fairy tales quickly and in ways for the smallest children to understand and begin to become familiarized with them.

Picture Books/Early Readers

Graphic Novels and FictionWhile reading the original classic is always fun, sometimes it can help to start off with an adapted or shortened title instead.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Middle School Reviews – Pick and Roll

Check Out Pick and Roll by Kelsey BlairWhat’s your name?: Jordan

What school do you attend?: Hadley Jr. High

What grade are you in school?: 6th grade

What are you reviewing?: A book

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: Pick and Roll

Did you like it?: It is a good book so I do like the book, and it is a book about a girl that plays basketball and I love basketball because it is a sport that you use your hands in. It’s a short book. It’s an ok book. I would recommend this book to everyone who likes basket ball. It’s a good book.

Who would like this?: Someone who like short books and likes basketball.

How many stars would you rate this?: Four Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

Middle School Reviews – Pie

Check Out Pie by Sarah WeeksWhat’s your name?: Emily

What school do you attend?: Hadley Jr. High

What grade are you in school?: 6th grade

What are you reviewing?: A book

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: Pie

Did you like it?: Yes! I love this book so much! It is about this little girl named Polly who started this book… she had this great passion for baking pies. When she got older and her mom and dad died she made this store for pies. She named it PIE. When she opened the store everyone tried her delicious pies and she got famous for them. It is really just a great book.

Who would like this?: Some of my friends, even some that are curious.

How many stars would you rate this?: Four Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

Middle School Reviews – The City of Ember

Check Out The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrauWhat’s your name?: Samantha

What school do you attend?: Glen Crest

What grade are you in school?: 6th Grade

What are you reviewing?: A Book.

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: The City of Ember

Did you like it?: I love this book because it is full of adventure. Ember is a city that was built by the Builders to try to ensure that the human race wouldn’t die out. About two hundred years later this city’s resources start to dwindle and there soon won’t be enough supplies left for the people. Also, the lights are starting to flicker. When Lina finds an old, ripped up message, she is certain that it holds a secret that could lead to the way out of Ember. So, she and her friend Doon try to figure out the message before the lights go out for good.

Who would like this?: Someone who enjoys science fiction and adventure.

How many stars would you rate this?: Five Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

Middle School Reviews – The Maze Runner

ChecK Out The Maze Runner by James Dasner What’s your name?: Alex Orozco

What school do you attend?: Hadley Jr. High

What grade are you in school?: 6th grade

What are you reviewing?: A book

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: The Maze Runner

Did you like it?: I really liked it because it has lots of action that leads up to the end.

Who would like this?: Someone who likes The 5th Wave.

How many stars would you rate this?: Five Stars. 

Posted in Middle School Reviews