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GEPL Summer Reading: School Challenge Winners Announced!

By: Amy Waters, School Liaison

This summer, the grade school students in Glen Ellyn proved themselves to be a community of Super Readers. Summer reading at GEPL is opened to all students and this year, with our Read to Build program, we surpassed our goal of 70,000 hours read, racking up over 82,500 hours. All of this reading meant good things for those growing readers, and it also meant we were able to donate appliances to a home being built by Habitat for Humanity for a local family. Making a difference for themselves while also having a philanthropic impact in their community raised the value of all this reading to another level.

We had participation from all 10 community elementary schools, but only one school can win the Glen Ellyn Public Library School Challenge. This year, the Super Reader trophy goes to students at:

Briar Glen Elementary School

Congratulations to our School Challenge WINNERS!

Briar Glen Elementary School Trophy Presentation Photos

Photos by Mitch Dubinsky

The students from Briar Glen, who were enrolled in our summer reading program, read an average of 44.1 hours this summer. Congratulations on your wonderful achievement! You truly helped GEPL Read to Build this summer. *

*To be eligible to participate in our Elementary School Challenge, we require all schools have 15% of their K-5 students registered for the GEPL summer reading program. School enrollment is provided by the district or school office.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Enjoying the Application Process

By: Elizabeth A., Teen Blogger

A Pie Chart of the College Admissions Process

With the start of this school year, many teenagers are beginning their senior year of high school, which often brings up different thoughts and emotions.

While some people are counting down the days until graduation, others are hoping that the remainder of their high school days will go by slowly because that means more time for college applications. Senior year is definitely a busy year that helps to transition into a new and exciting stage of life. One thing is for sure, the application process can be daunting and stressful for many people.

As my older sister was in the middle of the college application process two years ago, I remember her spending many late nights working on her application and countless essays for the 11 schools she was applying to. Going into my senior year, I’m hoping that my college application process is not as exasperating as hers was, and I hope that by being the second child in my family to go through the application process, it will be less daunting. Like many of my friends and other incoming seniors I’ve talked to, I’m looking forward to the college application process, and I’ll be excited when I start to hear back from the schools that I’ve applied to. I’ve gone on a few different campus visits, including Notre Dame, Miami of Ohio, and Northwestern, and I am just beginning to seriously work on the Common App and the essays that go along with the application.

Looking back at the various campus tours I’ve done, I would definitely recommend that you start touring colleges relatively early in your high school career. I think end of sophomore year or junior year is definitely the prime time to begin college tours because that way you can look at schools with an open mind that is not too overwhelmed with ACTs and other standardized tests. It’s also important to make sure you visit different sizes and locations of campuses because that will allow you to get an idea of what you actually want by seeing different options.

I know for me it is important for schools to be strong in academics, and being a competitive figure skater, it is a requirement that any potential schools have an ice rink that is easily accessible or on campus. By making a list of my priorities, such as these, which I have for colleges, I feel that it’s easier to pick schools to look at and apply to. After visiting schools, I would recommend making a list of the pros and cons of the different campuses because it’s often difficult remembering specifics about schools when you’ve visited lots of various colleges. Even perusing through books and college websites can help to begin the college search process for those wanting to start early or anyone looking to work on the college process from the comfort of home.

As you get started with the application process, it’s extremely important to be proactive in asking questions to the right people, so you have time to get the right answers. Don’t procrastinate in filling out applications and writing scholarship essays because you’re going to have to do them eventually. In fact, your senior year will probably be more enjoyable and slightly more relaxed if you’re proactive and zealous with the entire application process. After completing the applications and waiting to hear back from schools, take the time to think about and prioritize what you’re really looking for in a school. Talk with current students or alumni of the various schools you’re looking at, and work with family, friends, and teachers to help you make a decision once you’ve heard back from all of your schools.

To sum up, I believe that the college search and application process can be stressful, but it’s important to prioritize your time and reflect on what you envision for yourself in the future. Although I haven’t had the perfect moment on a college campus, I think it’s exciting to realize that all of us will have that moment where we discover where we will spend the next years of our lives. Take the time to enjoy your application and searching process while having a successful and fun senior year of high school.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

“Music People”

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

Revolution Radio by Green DayA couple weeks ago, the band Green Day released their first new music in about four years, the single “Bang Bang,” along with information about a new album that will be released in October. I listened to the song at least fifteen times the day it came out (I stopped counting after that), and have had it on pretty heavy rotation ever since then.

Green Day has been my favorite band since I was 13, and I have had similar excited freak outs relating to pretty much all the new music they’ve put out since then. I’ve seen them in concert during every tour they’ve had, went to New York to see American Idiot when it premiered on Broadway (and caught it again when it came to Chicago), and have memorized a pretty hefty quantity of their songs. I am, if it weren’t clear, a huge fan.

What’s interesting though is that generally speaking, I don’t consider myself a “music person.” I love plenty of music, sure, but I sometimes go days without really listening to music. I don’t seek out new bands or new acts. As a general rule (Green Day and a few other bands excepted) I’m not really in to seeing live music. But there are still artists, bands, composers and songs that have the capacity to inspire a level of devotion that almost nothing else does.

And I don’t think I’m alone in this. I know from talking to you all when you visit the library, as well as what I see in the world at large, that music is a huge part of most of your lives. While everyone has different tastes, there does seem to be something about music that reaches in to a deep part of us and engages us in a way that nothing else does. I’m not sure why this is, but I’m sure smarter people than me have spent years trying to figure it out.

Music NotesOne of the beauties of music is that there is so much of it, such a wide range of styles, and so many ways of interacting with it. You may not appreciate catchy pop music, but you could love 40s classics or Bach. Or you could love all of it–despite the massive differences among types of music. Maybe you don’t play an instrument but you love live music, or possibly blasting headphones is your preferred method of engaging with your favorite songs and pieces.

No matter how or why you love it, music has something for everyone. Those of you who are music people probably have a lot of music that speaks to you. But even for those of you who don’t feel like you’re “music people,” take a second look. Maybe there’s music you associate with your favorite memories. Maybe you have a song you can’t get out of your head. Maybe you’ll learn to play an instrument that will change your life. Maybe you just have one band that you can’t get enough of. But deep down inside, I think we’re all music people.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

National Peach Month

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Programming Associate

Hello Everyone!

Do you have a favorite fruit? I am sure most of us do. I love peaches! In fact, August is National Peach Month, meaning you can celebrate peaches all month long. Did you know there are several ways to eat peaches? You can eat it on its own, bake it into a pie, dip it in Cool Whip, put it in your salsa, and even make a smoothie! Peaches are a healthy and nutritious snack.

Did you know?

  • Peaches are the third most popular fruit grown in America.
  • China is the world’s largest producer of peaches.
  • The World’s Largest Peach is in South Carolina and weighs over 10,000 pounds!

Have fun creating unique and delicious peach combinations this month! Whet your appetite for peaches by checking out one of these books. Who knows, it might just become your favorite fruit!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

The Feared Back-to-School Week

By: Ally K., Teen Blogger

Good Luck on the Transition from Doing Nthing at Home to Doing Nothing at School.Back to school week. The week that every teen dreads and every parent diligently waits for. As a teen I can tell you that back to school week is not something that I am particularly excited for. Just the idea of upcoming homework, tests and essays gives me a headache.

However, the idea of seeing all my friends is something that I do look forward to. The excitement of finding out your new schedule and the rush to see if your friends have class with you is a feeling that I have experienced first-hand.

It is no secret that the main stressor in most teenagers’ lives is school. With the combination of never-ending homework, weekly tests and huge projects it is a wonder that teens have any free time at all. Not to mention, all the sports teams require a major commitment from the players. Practices every day and games every weekend leave kids sweaty and tired, only for them to get home and need to complete a mountain of homework. The reason why stress levels in teens are surpassing those of adults is not some hidden mystery. School and the stressors of teenage social life put a ton of pressure on kids, so it is no wonder that they are not very eager to get back to it after a leisurely summer break.

I just made school seem like the bane of every teen’s existence, which in some ways it can be, but for every reason that there is to hate school there is a reason to love it. School is the glue that holds many friendships together. It allows you to meet new people and gives you something to talk (or complain) about with other people. School literally forces people to hang out with their friends every day, therefore strengthening friendships and keeping people in touch. As someone who is fairly antisocial, I can tell you that without school I would not have many of the friends that I have today because school is what introduced me to all of them.

Friends are wonderful, but people don’t only go to school for their friends, they go to learn new things. After all, learning is the whole reason that schools exist. Almost no teen will admit it, but they all love to learn new things about what they are interested in. School is how they learn about these things and a gateway to find their passion. With all of the classes and extra-curricular options that students are able to take, everyone has something that will pique their interest. Exploring new opportunities is made possible by everything school offers to students.

All in all, while school does have many of its downsides and stressors, it is something to look forward to rather than dread. The promise of knowledge and new friendships await students who walk the locker-lined halls. Why go into it with a bad attitude, when there are plenty of silver linings to find.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Middle School Reviews: Mario Kart 8

Check out the Mario Kart 8 Video GameWhat’s your name?: Matthew 

What school do you attend?: Wheaton Christian

What grade are you in school?: 7th grade

What are you reviewing?: A video game

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: Mario Kart 8

Did you like it?: I like this video game a lot. It is the best Mario kart game yet. The graphics are great. This game is different from Mario Kart 7. It can have up to 12 racers! DLC IS available for this game. Also what’s new in this game is the hover wheels. Instead of the replay option you can choose highlights of the game. I highly recommend you rent it and play the rainbow road from the special cup. That particular race is space station themed a bit. Of course since they updated it the graphics are better than before, but they still have classic courses.

Who would like this?: Anyone who likes Nintendo video games.

How many stars would you rate this?: Five Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

Middle School Reviews: The Neptune Project

Check out The Neptune Project by Polly HolyokeWhat’s your name?: Amal

What school do you attend?: Hadley Jr. High

What grade are you in school?: 7th grade

What are you reviewing?: A book

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: The Neptune Project

Did you like it?: I liked the book “The Neptune Project” because it is about a girl named Nere and how much she loves the sea and the creatures living in it, especially dolphins. But when Nere learns that she is not a normal human but can breathe under water she must leave her mother and learn to survive in it the ocean. Before she leaves, her mother tells her that she must travel to this place call The Neptune Project so that she will be safe. Nere and two of her friends brave the ocean and all the creatures in it so that they can come to the place they will now have to call home

Who would like this?: Somebody who likes the ocean and a little bit of action.

How many stars would you rate this?: Four Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

Middle School Reviews: The Mysterious Benedict Society

Check out The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee StewartWhat’s your name?: Skylar 

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?: The Mysterious Benedict Society 

Did you like it?: I liked the Mysterious Benedict Society because it was very intriguing and exciting to read. I liked the creative names of George “Sticky” Washington, and Constance Contraire. I also enjoyed the amount of suspense and not knowing if they would get caught or not.

Who would like this?: Someone who likes mystery books and suspense.

How many stars would you rate this?: Five Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

New Schools and Next Steps

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

First Day At A New School And Trying To Make Friends? Scream And Run Away Every Time Someone Says Hi.As August draws to a close, it’s back-to-school for everyone (ugh.) While many of you are returning to the same high school you were in last year, for many of you, this month heralds a new beginning.

Maybe you’re an incoming ninth grader and getting your first taste of high school life. Maybe you’re moving in to college over the next couple of weeks. Maybe you moved, or transferred, and have to integrate into a whole new environment midway through high school.

And no matter who you are, a new school is probably some combination of exciting, scary, fun and nerve-wracking. How could it not be?

But even for those of you who aren’t starting at a new high school or college, you probably have some transitions on your horizon. You could be heading off to study abroad. You could be deciding what to do after high school–college?  No college? Which college? What will you do if it’s not college? Whatever is changing in your life, the end of August certainly seems like an appropriate time to contemplate the next steps.

In this month’s display, New Schools and Next Steps, located just outside the Teen Scene room, you’ll come across main characters facing all sorts of transitions, fresh starts, and yes, new schools. In Look Both Ways by Alison Cherry, Brooklyn is off to a theater camp that she hopes will transform her into the performer she’s always wanted to be. In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Junior is leaving the reservation to start at a new–mostly white–school and facing the unfamiliar. Cath from Fangirl is nervous not only about starting college, but about doing it more separated from her twin than she has ever been.

And even characters in speculative fiction face the same transitional challenges–from Dove in Karen Bao’s Dove Arising who embarks on a tough military training program to help her family, or Iolanthe from The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas who comes from a magical world and must pretend to fit in to a boarding school in our world. So whether you’re struggling with keeping a secret from your new school like Amanda in If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, or feel a kinship with Marcelo’s struggles to move into a world that doesn’t understand him in Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork, or are moving to a new place and the new school that goes with it like Lea in Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings, you’ll be able to find a character going through the good and the bad of transitions similar to your own in our New Schools and Next Steps display.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Olympics

By: Katy Almendinger, Early Literacy Librarian

There’s something amazing about the Olympics. Every four years athletes from around the world gather to compete as the rest of the world watches. The 2016 Summer Olympics are in Rio. It’s the first time South America has hosted the games.

Some really great moments have come out of Rio. Like Fiji winning its first medal ever—and it was gold. Or that time when Andy Murray reminded a television reporter that women can win gold medals, too. And two Team USA athletes have more in common than just their name (Simone).

I’m obsessed. Can you blame me? NBC plans to produce 6,000 hours of TV footage. It’s almost always on TV. And my social media feed has been full of hilarious re-tweets, memes and video clips. Remember Gymnast McKayla Maroney’s not impressed face from 2012? Now we have #PhelpsFace.

Like father, like son. #PhelpsFace

I’ve been craving sports books because of the Olympics. Here’s a round-up of some fiction and non-fiction titles perfect for Olympic fans or aspiring athletes. You can find them here at the library.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth