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GEPL Tweens: Tween Movie Review – Toy Story

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What’s your first name and school?: Samantha, Hadley

What are you reviewing?: Toy Story

What did you review?: A movie

What did you like about it?: Toy Story is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen! it has humor for all ages and is perfect for little kids. The story line is perfect for a Disney movie. It is about two toys that are fighting over their owner. If you like animated comedy movies you will definitely like this one. It made me laugh out loud and will make you laugh too.

Who would like this?: Someone who likes Disney or Pixar.

On a scale from yuck to best ever, how much did you like it?: Best ever.

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews

GEPL Kids: Neighborhood Story Club

By: Bari Ericson, Youth Programming Associate

For several summers my porch became the destination for our neighborhood kids. Twice a week my children and I made popcorn and juice, and then set out scratch paper and markers or colored pencils. At 1:30, the kids came on foot, bikes and scooters. They snacked and drew while I read aloud. We progressed through a few chapters of a book each afternoon, stopping after about half an hour, unless the story invited us to go longer.

It was, frankly, a Mayberry kind of moment (if you are old or nostalgic enough to catch the reference.) The ceiling fan hummed, the markers rubbed, the popcorn crunched and I was able to share some solid literature with an assortment of kids who otherwise would not know each other or the books we read.

And once they had been gathered, the children would often play together outside afterwards.

Story Club was easy and inexpensive. It provided a respite of art and literature to contrast with our otherwise busy, screen-oriented days. Grateful neighbors would occasionally send along a plate of treats. And the kids still talk about the friends and characters they met on those peaceful afternoons.

Whether you decide to give Story Club a try in your neighborhood, or just want to curl up with your own child on a warm afternoon, here are a few ideas for classic read alouds that appeal to a wide range of ages.




Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Genre Prejudice

Teens Blog BannerBy: Elizabeth W., Teen Blogger

Blog Entry 157 - ImageRecently in an interview, J. K. Rowling, a leading fantasy writer, said that she doesn’t read fantasy or sci-fi novels. Another author, Kazuo Ishiguro, wrote The Buried Giant, a novel set in a fantasy realm involving dragons and monsters. The real point of his story is to deal with topics like memory loss and old age. However, Ishiguro was afraid that readers would be scared off by the fantasy “surface elements” and think the book is a fantasy novel. Both Rowling and Ishiguro seem to have a dislike towards the fantasy genre while using it in their own books. So why are the genres of fantasy or science fiction looked down upon by some?

I think there is a misconception that fantasy books either deal with less serious topics or are hard to read. However, fantasy novels can be used as allegories to our lives and can deal with serious topics such as loss or forgiveness. Fantasy and Science Fiction books are not necessarily of lower quality of writing either. There are a lot of classics that are fantasy or science fiction, which are really hard to read. That’s why I couldn’t get all the way through the Lord of the Rings.

This issue of not respecting the fantasy genre has been with us for a while now. J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, once wrote a work entitled On Fairy Stories to defend why he wrote fantasies. In it, Tolkien said that “Fantasy is a natural human activity. It certainly does not destroy or even insult Reason; and it does not either blunt the appetite for, nor obscure the perception of, scientific verity. On the contrary. The keener and the clearer is the reason, the better fantasy will it make.” Fantasy is not a denial of reality or reason. Instead it can bring out real issues in a way that impacts us differently than realistic fiction would.

Fantasy can be a valuable genre to read even though it may appear unrealistic. The dragons and other mythical creatures may fool you, but inside a lot of fantasy there are hidden truths that can be just as valuable as those that are learned through nonfiction or realistic fiction. If you haven’t picked up a fantasy book in a while I would encourage you to read one. It can be really rewarding. If after this you realize that fantasy isn’t your thing, that’s okay too. The important thing is to not judge a book by its genre.

-Elizabeth W.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: Space – The Final Frontier

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By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I went to space camp when I was a kid. That, however, isn’t my only outer-worldly experience. As a kid, I moved around a lot. I lived in Seabrook, Texas in fifth and sixth grade.

Christina's House Growing Up

My house via Google Maps. Truck not included.

I was a 7 minute drive from the Johnson Space Center. My fifth grade school was named after the astronaut Ed White that died in a pre-launch test. My fifth and sixth grade education were heavily influenced by outer space themes. One week of fifth grade was spent at Ellington Field, where astronauts train for space by experiencing less gravity inside a really fast plane.

Being so close to the space center, the subdivision I lived in was populated by astronauts. An astronaut that we knew personally was even featured on Sesame Street. Because some of our neighbors were astronauts, we were invited to a few space shuttle launches at Cape Canaveral, as well as a few landings in Houston.

I was here, although not featured in this video.

Space has been a significant part of my upbringing, and I am excited to share a new experience with you. July 1 middle schoolers will be learning about the Earth’s coordinates with a craft, and making submissions to the International Space Station. They will take pictures of the coordinate positions from space and send them back to us. Registration is not needed for this program, so I hope to see everyone July 1 at 1:30 pm!

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Nerf Wars

Teens Blog BannerBy: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Blog Entry 156 - ImageWell folks, you’ve done a great job reaching your first reading goal (you already average well over one book per teen!) which means it’s time for me to face the music. Or rather, face the darts!

As you may know, we have an awesome after-hours program coming up on June 26. From 6-8:30, we’ll be open just for middle school and high school age students participating in our Marvel vs. DC Nerf Wars. There will be pizza and drinks, and a chance to carry on some great Nerf battles throughout the library. High school age teens will be on the second floor, while the middle school students and Christina will be taking over the first floor of the library. But you will all get to come together for one glorious moment, and a chance to take your best shot at Christina and me.

Wearing some impressive facial gear to represent our chosen comic universes (I called dibs on Marvel as soon as we planned the program,) Christina and I will submit ourselves to the fury of your Nerf guns, and film it all for posterity (aka, the internet.)

So not only will you have a chance to play some pretty epic games of Capture the Flag, Humans vs. Zombies, and more, in a library that’s entirely yours for the night, but you’ll get to witness the first step of our summer-long quest for extreme public embarrassment. Be sure to register so you can reserve your spot (and to make sure you get your permission slip, which is the only downside of an after-hours program). Christina and I will see you next Friday!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: Tween Book Review – Flygirl

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What’s your first name and school?: Samantha, Hadley

What are you reviewing?: Flygirl

What did you review?: A book

What did you like about it?: Flygirl is an historical fiction book about Ida Mae a young African American girl from the South. She wants to become a pilot but nobody wants to give an African American a flying job. She then gets an opportunity to join WASP. This book is really good for all Historical fiction lovers. It starts out with a slow plot but as you progress in the book it gets really suspenseful. There are lots of twists and turns in the story which is what makes it such a good book.

Who would like this?: People who like historical fiction.

On a scale from yuck to best ever, how much did you like it?: Best ever.

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews

GEPL Tweens: Tween Book Review – The Fault in Our Stars

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What’s your first name and school?: Samantha, Hadley

What are you reviewing?: The Fault in our Stars

What did you review?: A book

What did you like about it?: The Fault in Our Stars is a really amazing read. It follows two characters, Hazel and Augustus. Hazel and Augustus are both fighting cancer. This story is both happy and sad. It’s like an emotional roller coaster. Also they both have different views on life. Hazel is always talking about how everyone will die and Augustus is focusing on the positive. John Green wrote a masterpiece and called it The Fault in Our stars. You should definitely check this book out.

Who would like this?: People who like paper towns.

On a scale from yuck to best ever, how much did you like it?: Best ever.

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews

GEPL Tweens: Tween Book Review – Storm Runners

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Strom RunnersWhat’s your first name and school?: Eric Hadley Jr. High

What are you reviewing?: Storm Runners

What did you review?: A book

What did you like about it?: I liked that it was about weather and I like to learn about weather. I just get really interested in it. Also it was about this family trying to survive the storm, and I also like survival books. At the end of the book it was left in a cliff hanger which I like.

Who would like this?: People who are interested in survival books.

On a scale from yuck to best ever, how much did you like it?: Pretty good.

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews

GEPL Kids: CultureGrams: Travel the Globe with Your Library Card!

By: Renee Grassi, GEPL Youth Department Director

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Do you have an exciting overseas vacation booked this summer? Are you getting ready to load up your car for a cross-country road trip? Maybe your family really enjoys learning about different cultures of the world. Then CultureGrams is for you!

CultureGrams is an online resource available FREE with your Glen Ellyn Public Library card. For students in Grades 2 through 8 and their caregivers, it introduces history, customs, and every life of countries around the world. Four editions are available with the Library’s subscription to CultureGrams, including the World Edition, Kids Edition, States Edition and Canadian Provinces Edition. It can be accessed online 24 hours a day simply by using your library card.

What makes CultureGrams so exciting for kids or adults? It includes photo galleries of thousands of full-color high-quality images. It has a distance converter and a Currency converter. You can read interviews with native children from countries around the world, download or stream videos, or even try recipes from different cuisines. It even has sound files of national anthems and state bird sounds!

So before you pack your bags this summer, take some time to explore CultureGrams as a family and learn all you can about your destination!

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – The Power of One

Teens Blog BannerBy: Ashley M., Teen Blogger

Blog Entry 155 - ImageThe Power of One is “a true classic,” as my dad has told me multiple times (this being from the man who reads roughly two novels a week, if not more). I have to admit that I am in the middle of the very long novel right now (page 301 to be exact). So I will not be able to tell you all the juicy details, because obviously I haven’t read them all yet. But what I can do is tell you the interesting, nail biting, and heart felt parts that I have read so far.

Let’s start with a quick little back ground for you!

Setting: South Africa during the Second World War. There is constant conflict between many different cultures and groups of people that make up South Africa. These groups are the Afrikaners (white people who have sided with Adolf Hitler in the war), the Boers (who are white British people that are greatly hated by Afrikaners and vice versa), and there multiple African Tribes included as well; Zulu, Swazi, Ndebele, Sotho, and Shangaan.

Characters: Peekay the main character, a five year old boy that we (as readers) get to follow along as he grows and matures. He is highly intelligent (speaking more than 4 languages, and is three grades past his age level), he is very curious, and will try something new whenever the chance is given. For example, he has met many friends (most of them being inspiring adults, who teach him life skills and useful information that seem to come in handy quite often). I have loved getting to know the little boy and going through the major events and tragedies of his childhood.

Events: Peekay’s first boxing tournament is truly a nail bitter, I remember being on the edge of my seat. The main theme of the boxing aspect of this novel is using your head before involving your emotions, self-control, and appropriate confidence.

Another is when Peekay befriends a chicken (Grandpa Chook) his only friend while away at boarding school. He plays with him, teaches him tricks, and talks to him when he becomes lonely. Grandpa Chook is the first name on a long list of Peekay’s interesting friends. Others include; an interesting music professor obsessed with Cacti, an older, very clever librarian, and a prison inmate.

I don’t want to give away too much, but I truly have enjoyed reading this book. I’m going to warn you that the chapters are long, but other than that there are no complaints here. We will have to see if that remains the same when I finish the book, and see what happens to Peekay in the end. My fingers are crossed that it is good wrap up of the story. Personally I hate when books are put together so well, and the ending is just flat and dare I say lame. In other words, I do encourage you to read this book, its long but well worth it (I hope). Happy Reading!

-Ashley M.

Posted in GEPL Teens