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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

Summer Reads for Summer Reading

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

A Book Sitting Open, Spine Up, With An Ocean ViewLast week we talked about all the reasons our summer reading program is awesome. Now let’s talk about all the reasons reading in the summer is awesome! Summer in general, and on vacation in particular, is about my favorite time to read. There’s something about being able to sit outside in the sun, or in a cool library or coffee shop on a hot day, and immerse yourself in a book.

While anything is fair game in the summer, I always find myself gravitating towards books set in the summer, or in hot climates, during these months. Reading about a character taking on a summer job, eating ice cream, sunning on the beach or any number of other summery, warm weather activities just helps me really immerse myself in the season. And I find that somehow, reading about hot sticky weather, dirt and mosquitos outdoors, and even drama and heartbreak, make even those things seem more fun – or at least when it comes to mosquitos, more tolerable.

Whether you’re like me and want to read about the season all summer or you just want to sneak in just one or two summer and warm weather themed books, boy have we got the display for you. You can pick up Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe to read a first chapter entitled “The Rules of Summer,” feel the southern California heat in Mexican White Boy, go surfing in Hawaii in Juniors, enjoy the glamor of Hollywood while finding love in Everything Leads to You, or sweat it out while running from demons on New York streets in Shadowshaper. Our “Summer Reads” display features books for everyone that will help you sink into summer and enjoy everything this hot, unique and wonderful season has to offer.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Because Cats

By: Renee Grassi, Youth Department Director

Cats Sanchez and Gus Lay Together On A Couch

“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” – Albert Schweitzer

I happily embrace the cat-loving librarian stereotype. If I happen to see a cat book on display in the adult section of any library, I can’t help myself—I must absolutely check it out. I proudly display my cat calendar and cat mouse pad in my office. You will often find me gravitating to the cat themed cards in any card or stationary shop, as they are one of my favorite things to purchase. And I have spent many hours volunteering at shelters helping socialize and taking care of cats in need.

I am also the proud cat guardian of two adopted cats: Gus and Sanchez. Both of my cats know how to sit on command, as long as a salmon flavored treat is provided. And when an Amazon package arrives, they eagerly size up the box by sniffing and stepping into it to see if it will make for their new favorite bed.

Cat Gus Sits Among A Pile Of Tissue Paper
Gus has beautiful grey and white markings. He’s a quirky gentle giant who loves people. He’s quite a talker and often wakes me up in the morning with a friendly greeting. He has an affinity for sitting in tissue paper and has an aversion to storms. He loves to run around my home chasing his feather toy. And every time I take the ice tray out of the freezer, Gus runs to the kitchen with excitement. One of his favorite things is having fresh ice in his water bowl.
Sanchez Sits In A Box
Sanchez is the quintessential feline diva, and he knows it. He loves to be pet and carried around like a baby, but only on his terms. He has a gorgeous black coat from head to toe like a jaguar. Actually, his namesake is a black crow named Sanchez from an episode of Scrubs. Even at 10 years old, he will still jump and spin around mid-air to chase the laser pointer or his favorite caterpillar toy. And it’s become part of my routine to open the blinds every morning just for Sanchez because he loves to lay next to the windows and sunbathe.

 
All you cat lovers out there may know that June is Adopt-a-Cat Month. For me, my two adopted cats are part of my family. If you have a young person in your life who shares this sentiment or has an interest in learning more about cats, take a moment to peruse this list. You just might find them the purr-fect book!

Cat Gus Laying On The Couch
Picture Books and Early Readers
Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea
Captain Cat by Syd Hoff
Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert
Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj
Square Cat by Elizabeth Schoonmaker
Cool Cat by Nonny Hogrogian
Space Cat by Doug Cushman
Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Love by Kim Dean
Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton

Juvenile Fiction
Cat Diaries by Betsy Byars
Stick Cat: A Tail of Two Kitties by Tom Watson
Cat Found by Ingrid Lee
Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech
Kaspar the Titanic Cat by Michael Morpurgo
Fat Cat of Underwhere by Bruce Hale
Binky the Space Cat (Bink Adventure Series) by Ashley Spires
The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin
Into the Wild (Warriors Series) by Erin Hunter
Sanchez Laying On The Couch
Juvenile Non-Fiction
M is for meow: A Cat Alphabet by Helen Wilbur
Cat Crafts by Linda Hendry
Choosing a Cat: How to Choose and Care For a Cat by Laura Jeffrey
Toots the Cat by Karla Kuskin
Dewey the Library Cat: a True Story by Vicki Myron
Is My Cat a Tiger? How Your Pet Compares to Its Wild Cousins by Jenni Bidner
How to Talk to Your Cat by Jean Craighead George

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Glen Crest Middle School Battle of the Books Winners!

By: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

This spring, GEPL and Glen Crest Middle School joined forces to offer Glen Crest students a challenge. We provided a list of books, and faced them against each other in a battle… of the books!

The contenders:

Glen Crest middle schoolers submitted their bracket predictions and voted for which book they wanted to win. There were over 400 brackets this year!!! Wow!

Weeks and votes went by, and the bracket slowly filled up.

Picture of the Battle of the Books Bracket at Glen Crest Middle School

Picture of Christina Keasler Handing Marena Keci Her Prize
 
Out of those 400+ brackets, one student, Marena Keci, predicted all but the winning book. That took some major skill. I’m super impressed.
Picture of Christina Keasler Handing LaDaveya Williams Her Prizes
 
During the battles, one Glen Crest student read every single contender! LaDaveya Williams went above and beyond in this competition, so we made an extra award just for her.
Both winning students received a jumbo candy of their choice, and LaDaveya also won a $16 gift certificate from The Book Store in Glen Ellyn – one dollar for every book in the battle. I can’t wait to find out what books she picks from her winnings!

Great job to all Glen Crest students that participated in this year’s battle of the books. I’m proud of all of you. Keep reading!

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

Middle School Reviews – Tangerine

Check Out Tangerine by Edward BloorWhat’s your name?: Anna

What school do you attend?: Hadley

What grade are you in school?: 6th

What are you reviewing?: A book.

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

Did you like it?: I loved this book. In this book, a boy named Paul moves from Texas, to Tangerine County, Florida. Paul has inch thick glasses, and is legally blind. He was told that he was blind because he looked at a solar eclipse too long when he was three, but he does not remember. He loves soccer, and he has a brother, named Erick, who hates him and bullies him.

Who would like this?: Someone who likes realistic fiction.

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

Posted in Middle School Reviews

Summer Reading

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

Dog Wearing Party Hat Surrounded by Balloons First things first, the school year is over, finals are over, and congratulations to you all!

And with the end of the school year comes the start of summer reading!

Yeah, I know.  Most of you are probably not nearly as excited about this as I am. But summer reading is different from reading for school, and while there is immense educational value in reading your assigned books, summer reading is more fun and, at least for me, more rewarding. So here’s four (and a half) reasons that summer reading is better than assigned reading:

A Young Boy Holding a Gift. Here's A Gift Card. Don't Spend It All In One Place... (ecards)1. You get prizes for reading. Sign up for summer reading, get a backpack. Read five books, get not only a $5 gift card to Amazon or Starbucks, but also an entry into a grand prize drawing for a $100 Ticketmaster gift card. And if you read more books than any other teens in this summer’s program, you’ll win the other grand prize, another $100 Ticketmaster gift card. I feel confident in saying that being given backpacks, Starbucks and concert tickets is not typically part of assigned reading.
 
1a. The exception to the above is, if you read assigned books during summer reading, you do get prizes! Just log your assigned books along with everything else you read over the summer, and it counts.
 
Check Out Nimona by Noelle Stevenson 2. You get to choose what you read! Seriously, read whatever you want. Graphic novel? Fine. That one romance you’ve re-read so many times the cover is falling out? It counts! All 10 books in an epic (and epically long) fantasy series? Great, that’s two gift cards! Audiobooks?  Still books, still count. I mean, okay, if we see you logging Elephant & Piggy books, we may want to talk to you about whether or not you’re really reading at your level. But if Elephant & Piggy books are at your reading level? Then those totally count. Plus, let’s be honest, they’re great books.
 
Uncle Sam I Want You To Help WIth Habitat For Humanity 3. You’ll be contributing to your community just by reading! This year’s theme is Read to Build, and we are partnering with Habitat for Humanity. If the Glen Ellyn community meets their summer reading goals, the Friends of the Library and the GEPL Foundation will donate enough for the new appliances that are the finishing touches on a house for a family in need.

 
Baby Making Face Playing with Nerf Guns; Didn't Get Shot In The Eye 4. There are fun programs all summer as part of summer reading! Let loose next Friday, June 10, with our After-Hours Nerf Wars. This year the theme is The Middle vs. The Teen Scene, so if you bring your middle school sibling, you’ll even have a chance to shoot at them with a Nerf gun (no aiming for the eyes allowed.)
 
In July, you can contribute to families in need another way by participating in our Volunteer at Habitat for Humanity – Teen Edition. Bonus, you get to see me trying to remember everything I learned about power tools during my Theater Tech class in college. And in August, if high schoolers meet their reading goals (regardless of how the rest of the library does) you get to see me and some familiar faces from school humiliating ourselves at the Carnival of Embarrassment. If you’re one of our top readers, you’ll even get a chance to dunk me in a dunk tank.
 
So there you go – four ways that summer reading is something to look forward to, even if you’re a little burnt out from your school year. Sign up here, and get started on a great summer!

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Summer Weather

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Programming Associate

We’re so close to summer I can almost taste it! And with summer, comes lots of changes in climate. Here are some books that you can take home in order to prepare for the upcoming weather. Get ready to grab your umbrella and to pull out your sunglasses!

But of course, the best part of summer weather is the Sunshine!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

#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