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The 2016 Caudill, Bluestem and Monarch Award Winners!

By: Melissa Hilt, Youth Department Assistant Director

It’s been over a month since the Caudill, Bluestem and Monarch awards were announced, but people are still surprised to see that we now have the 2017 nominees on display; and everyone wants to know which books won for 2016. So without further ado, I present to you the 2016 winners.

The Caudill Winner Is…Michael Vey: the Prisoner of Cell 25 By Richard Paul Evans
Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Book Cover

To see a list of the final totals, visit: Rebecca Caudill 2016 Final Totals


The Bluestem Winner Is…The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths
The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths Book Cover

To see a list of the final totals, visit: Bluestem Final Totals


The Monarch Winner Is…Breaking News: Bear Alert by David Biedrzycki
Breaking News: Bear Alert by David Biedrzycki Book Cover

To see a list of the final totals, visit: Monarch Final Totals

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

What I Just Read – More Happy Than Not

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera Book CoverI hope you’re braced for another few weeks heavy on book talk, because boy have I been reading some amazing things lately. This is one that actually, I’m still a little unsure on – but it’s a book that’s stuck with me since I finished it almost a month ago.

What I Just Read: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

What’s It About (Jacket Description): In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

Do I Like It: Well, as I mentioned above, I’m still not totally sure what I feel about this book. But since I’m still thinking about it and I will probably read it again, I think I’ll go with yes on this one!

Thoughts:  First off, let’s be really clear – I think this was an excellent book in terms of writing, theme, plot, characterization and more. My mixed feelings have to do with a couple of things that could be construed as flaws, but mostly with my own personal feelings about the book. So, let’s get to it.

More Happy Than Not is without question a gripping, super readable book. Thanks to the sense I got of Aaron’s New York and the realistic dialogue, even the scenes or sections where it seemed like not much was happening were still great to read. And when things began to pick up with the arrival of Thomas and strife within Aaron’s friend group, it became even harder to put the book down. The best parts of this book for me were the way the side characters and Aaron’s interactions with them really informed the plot and his character growth, without any of them ever being reduced to only the role they play in Aaron’s story. In fact, I felt like I wanted to read books about Genevieve, Thomas, Evangeline, Aaron’s brother and Aaron’s mother, since they all so clearly had their own stories.  But this was Aaron’s story, and as in real life, it was his interactions with these people around him that really drove it.

There is an abrupt shift in the way the story moves forward about two thirds of the way through, and a development I found really unexpected towards the end, which I think is where my conflicted feelings come from. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – I haven’t made up my mind how I feel about these turns of events, but I do plan on re-reading this book down the road to try and make sense of what I think. And given that my standard for good books is usually whether or not I would re-read them, More Happy Than Not certainly passes that test with flying colors.

If you’re looking for a nearly realistic fiction book (the near-future/sci-fi element is so light it’s almost unnoticeable) that will make you think, an immersive experience into a tightly knit neighborhood and group of friends, a character-driven but still gripping novel or an exploration of some philosophical questions through a great narrative voice, More Happy Than Not is a book I would highly recommend. It’s sure to leave you with plenty to think about and lots of feelings.  And if you do read it, please come talk to me about it, because I’m dying to discuss this one!

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Earth Day

By: Leigh Ann Vock, Youth Department Page

What does Earth Day mean to kids? Do they think of our planet as something that needs care? Earth Day is a perfect day to bring attention to the job of being good stewards of our planet. The first Earth Day Celebration was started in 1970 after a massive oil spill in California inspired the need to teach others about our environment. This celebration has reached global proportions and we can all do our part to participate.

Nature walks are a good place to start to begin the appreciation of all that our Earth gives to us. Other ideas might include a technology free day and lights out early to save energy. For school age kids, work together to pack a waste free lunch, no baggies or paper sacks allowed.

Planting can be another way to celebrate Earth Day. Planting seeds or saplings can be a wonderful activity for children and they will enjoy watching the results of their labor. Giving back to the Earth for our generations to come is a practice that we do not want to lose. The Glen Ellyn Park District will host its 2016 Earth Day Celebration at Maryknoll Park on Friday, April 22 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Admission is free.

There are many resources to expand you and your child’s interest in this special day at the library. Earth day starts with us helping teach our children the importance of caring for our ecosystems.


Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

If you’ve been by the library in the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed a small (or arguably big) change to my appearance. After nearly a month of agonizing (really) I cut off almost a foot of hair and went from braids and ponytails to a short pixie cut. Can you tell from the picture how nervous I was?

Hannah Before Cutting Her Hair Hannah After Cutting Her Hair
But! As much as this may seem like an excuse to brag about my new hairstyle (which I love) what I actually wanted to talk about was the decision making process. Because let me tell you, deciding to cut off that much slow-growing hair was not easy. And while this decision wasn’t as difficult as some of the ones you are facing right now (AP or honors classes, college choices, friendships and relationships, etc. etc.) it did make me think about how we make decisions. Here are some of the things that helped me make my decision:Research. I read about what are the best cuts for thin, fine hair like mine. I researched how long it would take for my hair to grow back. I read personal stories of people who had cut their long hair short and loved it (and some who hadn’t been happy with it.) I looked at hundreds of pictures of pixie cuts, and tried to find people whose facial shape was similar to mine. By the time I was heading to the solon (decision still un-made) I was armed with everything I could possibly need to know about what I wanted and how to take care of it. Feeling knowledgeable is a great way to make up your mind, and feel confident in whatever decision you make.

Analyze your reactions. This is harder than it seems. I was changing my mind every two hours for a couple of weeks, but things clarified a little when I thought about what I was feeling while I was leaning one way or the other. For instance, when I thought about getting the cut, I was mostly feeling excited. When I was leaning towards not getting my hair cut, I was mostly feeling scared. Now, sometimes listening to the fear response is a good thing (for instance, if you’re considering dropping out of school, trying heroin, and hitchhiking to California, being scared is probably a good thing and you should absolutely listen to that fear response.) But in this case, I was talking about hair. So it made a lot more sense to listen to the excited feeling instead of the scared feeling.

Keep in mind worst scenarios. I don’t mean this as a way of being pessimistic, but as a way to put your decision in perspective. For instance, in the drop-out, drugs, hitchhiking scenario, the worst case outcomes include death, prison, addiction, etc. – pretty bad stuff. In the hair-cutting scenario, the worst case outcomes include…a not-so-great haircut for a few months until it starts to grow back. Which is really not so bad.

Flip a coin. Really. I did this right before I went into the salon. Not that you have to do what the coin flip says. But flip a coin, see what the result is and go with your gut. If the coin says “yes” to the haircut/college/class/relationship and your gut clenches and you’re disappointed, then don’t go with that decision. If the coin says “yes” to the haircut/college/class/relationship and you start to smile and get excited, then go with that decision! Coin flips, magic 8 balls or other randomized decision makers can sometimes be the best way of getting right to the heart of the matter and figuring out what you really want amidst all the noise of overthinking.

So whether or not you are considering a dramatic haircut, what college to go to or even what book you read next, I hope some of these steps that helped me make a small but hard decision might help you too!

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Poetry: The Short and Long of It

By: Amy Waters, School Liaison

“If not for the cat,

and the scarcity of cheese,

I could be content.”

Whether you like your poetry short and to the point like this haiku by the first Children’s Poet Laureate, Jack Prelutsky, about the mouse’s yearning for the content life, free of cats and with abundant cheese in If Not For The Cat

or if you like your verses in many different forms in page after page of a complex story like the one that unfolds in the beautiful autobiography “brown girl dreaming” by the multi-award winning author Jacqueline Woodson

Poetry has something for everyone. Silly or serious, short or long, one voice or two, poems that celebrate sports or pets or poems that can be read from the top to the bottom and back again, all can be found on the shelves in your library. And if you can’t find a poem you like, then write one. April is the perfect time to find out you’re a poet, even if you didn’t know it!

Feast your ears and eyes on these and ask at the youth desk for help finding more:



Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

National Poetry Month

By: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

April is National Poetry Month, and I think that it’s important to respect and embrace poetry. Good poetry can be difficult to write, even if it doesn’t rhyme, but there are other ways to reflect your creativity.

Now, I’m not saying I’m good by any means, but I did try to get my poetic hands dirty by creating some of the different types of poetry.

Found Poetry
Picture of Page of Tom Sawyer Hilighting Words To Create Found Poetry
Found poetry is kind of like a “literary collage,” gathering bits of existing written word and converting it to something else.
had ceased
disturbed him
a single
half and hour
and the village
no longer”


Spine Poetry
Books Stacked on A Shelf So Titles Create Poem
Spine poetry is made with… book spines! It’s pretty much a different type of found poetry. Those are some crafty goats!
“Look Both Ways
The Goats
Bottled Up
get well soon”

Haiku Poem On A Chalkboard: flowers are blooming | the gnome travles at midnight | watch out for the slugs
Remember, I never said I was good at this poetry thing. This haiku was featured on our chalkboard wall in The Middle!
“flowers are blooming
the gnome travels at midnight
watch out for the slugs”

Write your own poetry using magnetic words, or on our Poe-tree during Crafternoons! For more poetic inspiration, check out this video!

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School


By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros Book CoverI don’t know about you, but I have a hard time keeping up with all the great new books coming out. I read reviews as part of my job, so I’m always learning about books being published that immediately go on my “to be read” list, and even though I’ll never catch up, I valiantly keep trying. It would be so easy to make it a decade or more without reading anything older than a few months or years. But things are always slipping through the cracks, and if I only read brand new books, I’d miss out on a lot of older titles.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer Book CoverYou all may not have quite the same problem, since I’m guessing you aren’t reading book reviews by the dozen, but there’s still a lot of hype and buzz around new books. Plus (and I don’t mean this in a bad way) you’re young. A lot of great young adult books were published while you were still too young to read them, or even hear about them. Heck, Twilight was published over 10 years ago! And while that one is still popular, there are many more wonderful books that were published around the same time or before then that have faded out of our consciousness. They don’t fade because they’re not good, just because they’re old. And that doesn’t seem quite fair to me.

Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac Book CoverSo this month’s display, Throwbacks, is dedicated to all those older YA titles that can be every bit as good as the newer ones, but that maybe you haven’t heard of or had a chance to read. Stop by this month to find out what you’ve been missing. Whether it’s the classic Forever by Judy Blume, a book you might have missed when it was assigned like The House on Mango Street, or an exciting adventure that you may never have heard of like Code Talker, you’ll find all kinds of books in our display. You might reconnect with some old favorites while you’re at it – several of Sarah Dessen’s novels were written over ten years ago, and the much-acclaimed Walter Dean Myers wrote plenty of his best work well before the last few years. So this spring, find a comfortable place to enjoy that warm weather and get a blast from the past with one of our YA Throwbacks.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Welcoming Children with Disabilities at the Library

By: Renee Grassi, Youth Department Director

You may have heard about our brand new Sensory Storytime program, which is being hosted at the library for the first time this week. This program is the first in an effort to make the Youth Department a more welcoming place for children with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities. In fact, Glen Ellyn Public Library staff are already hard at work cultivating partnerships with local organizations such as Philip J Rock, WDSRA, Glenbard West High School and D41 just to name a few! The library is the perfect place in the community for people of all abilities, and we look forward to welcoming all families through our doors.

Speaking of all abilities, you may have heard that April is Autism Awareness Month. In fact, some even say April is Autism Acceptance Month. So, if you are looking for materials to share with your child about autism this month, the library is a great place to start. Here are a few featured titles, as well as some juvenile fiction and non-fiction lists directly from the library’s catalog. Be sure to check them out!


Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

What I Just Read – X: A Novel

By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

X by Kekla Magoon and Ilyasah Shabazz Book CoverIt’s been a while since I wrote about what I’ve been reading, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some great books in my life over the past few weeks. Today’s What I Just Read was not only a great read, it had the added bonus of being a really fantastic audiobook.

What I Just Read: X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon

What’s It About (Jacket Description): I am Malcolm. I am my father’s son. But to be my father’s son means that they will always come for me. They will always come for me, and I will always succumb.

Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that’s nothing but a pack of lies—after all, his father’s been murdered, his mother’s been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There’s no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls and reefer.

But Malcolm’s efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory when what starts as some small-time hustling quickly spins out of control. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he’s found is only an illusion—and that he can’t run forever.

X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.

Do I Like It: Yes!

Thoughts:  I admit, when I was assigned chapters from The Autobiography of Malcolm X in college, I skimmed them and then mostly forgot about him. I didn’t know much about Malcolm X, aside from the fact that he was a famous activist who found direction in prison, until I picked up X: A Novel. I certainly didn’t know anything about his life before prison, which is the focus of this novel. But after reading some rave reviews, and realizing that Ilyasah Shabazz is one of his daughters, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this novel, and it did not disappoint.

X: A Novel was immersive right from the start – the very first line plunged me right into the middle of Malcolm’s life: “Friends tell me trouble’s coming. I ease out of the restaurant onto the sidewalk, gun in my pocket.” And it just kept going from there. From his family and upbringing in Lansing, Michigan, to the jazz clubs of Harlem, I couldn’t get enough of the atmosphere and feel of the 1940s, especially the parts of that era that I’d never known much about. But even more than that, I was fascinated to learn more about Malcolm X. The great thing about historical novels like this one is that I got the feel of a novel and fiction, but most of what I learned about the person was accurate (seriously – there was a phenomenal author’s note at the end that really outlined what was real, what wasn’t, and why those changes had been made.) As he appears in this novel, Malcolm was an arrogant, brilliant, angry and charismatic man. Those traits, which later led him to become a powerful civil rights leader and activist, also led him to be a successful hustler and petty thief, immersed in the seedier parts of Boston and Harlem.

Hearing about Malcolm making bad choice after bad choice could have been almost painful. But it was so clear from the book why he was doing destructive things, what the appeal was, and how he was using these choices to distract himself from his own anger and grief and the injustices around him. And knowing all that made it understandable and relatable to read about, even as I was shaking my head at his decisions. Watching Malcolm grow and mature almost in spite of himself was almost as much fun as discovering everything that made him so remarkable. I never got tired of hearing what he was up to next, about his interactions with the people around him, and about the loyalty to his family and sense of injustice that he never could erase, no matter how much he tried.

X was a wonderful novel as historical fiction, as an immersive look at a time and place, and as a character study of a fascinating, frustrating and ultimately incredible man. How much did I love it? Well, I just checked out The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and I can’t wait to dive in.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Around the World in One Sitting

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Programming Associate

Does the cold weather get you down? Do you feel sometimes like you’d rather be somewhere else? Maybe somewhere warm, or fun, or new? Well, there is quick and easy way to solve this! One amazing thing about books is that they allow us to travel anywhere we want, if only for a short period of time. Here is a wonderful series that will take you on a fun adventure right from your house! This list consists of only a few in the series, but there are more!

In each of these books there are fun activities you can do in your own home. The activities provided relate to the region that you are exploring! Enjoy a fun craft while you’re traveling all over the world.

In addition to this, there are tons of facts about each country in order to give you a well-rounded experience. There are facts about landmarks, traditions, and of course, all the yummy food. Happy travels!


Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth