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Speak Your Mind, But Keep It Civil

By: Amy Waters, School Liaison

Kids smiling at the camera.There was an election this week. If you’ve listened to radio or TV, or if you have spent any time on social media, you know that people are stressed out, angry and anxious. And if adults are feeling this way, kids are going to be worried and anxious, too.

As I write this, I do not know the results of the election. But we all know that it has been contentious and we have heard difficult things from both sides. As we exercise our right to vote, let’s also exhibit our best behavior toward one another, the children are watching.

In a 2012 Psychology Today online article (written long before this election!), Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D. talks about civility like this: “The foundational virtue of citizenship, civility is behavior that recognizes the humanity of others, allowing us to live peacefully together in neighborhoods and communities. The psychological elements of civility include awareness, self-control, empathy, and respect.”

So, how do we help our children navigate some of these complex feelings and relationships, which are essential to who we are in community with one another? I believe that books can be great gateways to difficult conversations with kids of all ages. Take time to snuggle up with your sweet child, offer a hug and share a story. Here are a few books that may help foster discussion, empathy and respect for the world around us. Ask at your library for help finding more titles.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Mad Men Review

By: April G., Teen Blogger

Mad Men PosterThe 1960s were a very complicated time in the United States. There was an ongoing war in Vietnam, women were expected to be housewives, and every teenager was infected with Beatlemania. Mad Men is a period drama that takes place in this intense decade, and the show covers the smoke-filled building of advertising firm Sterling Cooper on Madison Ave. in Manhattan.

Donald Draper, a very successful ad man, is the main character, and he has the world at his fingertips. Don, as he is called throughout the show, is married to Betty Draper. Together, they have a beautiful girl and a bouncing baby boy. Betty is a housewife who believes she is happily married and has a perfect life, while Don is an unfaithful husband behind her back.

The show is worthy of obsessing over because of all the twists and the variety of characters. The 60s were life changing for every single American, whether they were poor or rich. Of course, sexism and alcoholism are a big part of the show, but at the time it was normal to drink at work and treat your secretary like rubbish and a second wife.

Even though Mad Men takes place in the 1960s, people fell in love instantly when it premiered in 2007. America was placed in a different world every Thursday night for eight years. As Mad Men came to a close after 92 episodes, an era came to an end. Mad Men has received 16 Emmys and five Golden Globes, which goes to show that it is significantly important and will forever be remembered.


Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School


By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

A teenager checking out books in the Young Adult section, while short old man checks out books in the old child section.It may have become very clear, if you’ve read more than two of my entries on this blog, that I read an awful lot of young adult fiction. I love it dearly, and it’s one of the reasons I love my job so much. But even I, who spend my days reading reviews of YA books and my nights reading books themselves, occasionally like to shake it up. After all, who wants to read the same thing all the time? And while YA isn’t a genre in the same way that fantasy, romance, literary fiction, etc. are, it is still a category of books that all have certain things in common (usually teenage characters). And as much as I love reading these books, sometimes I’m in the mood for something different. Sometimes I want to read about the problems that come with adulthood or parenthood, or a relationship that’s 10, 20, 30 years old, or other things that just can’t be found in YA books. And here’s the thing – I’m guessing you all sometimes want that as well, despite the fact that you actually are teenagers.

Similarly, I know I’m not the only adult who wants to read YA sometimes. In fact, it’s a category that’s increasing in popularity with adults. But I also know that most adults don’t have the chance to learn as much about YA as I do, or become as familiar with the amazing authors, books, stories, and themes you can find in our teen room. So this month, I’ve created a display celebrating some of the adult books that are most likely to appeal to teens, and the teen books that are most likely to appeal to adults.

The best part about a cross-genre display like this is that anyone can find something they love, even within some pretty niche areas. Love historical fantasy, but wanting to read about adults instead of teens? Try Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho or Soulless by Gail Carriger. Are you an adult looking for an exploration of mental illness? You’ll find outstanding writing in The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork and Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman. And of course, there’s plenty of great books within larger genres as well – try a memoir like Life in Motion by Misty Copeland, or invest yourself in a gritty YA fantasy like An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa TahirCheck out a take on family life, including compelling teen characters, in the adult title Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, or read a YA title that includes older teen and young adult characters such as Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell or Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. Whether you’re an adult or teenager, you’ll be able to find something for you from our adult and YA shelves on our Crossovers display – adjacent to the Teen Scene room on the second floor.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Snuggle Up with These Series

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Programming Associate

As we all know, winter is just around the corner. While some may be dreading winter, it happens to be one of my favorite seasons! The time is coming for hot chocolate, mittens, ice skating, and yes, that’s right, Christmas! But I am getting ahead of myself. The chilly air and sprinkling snow presents several opportunities to snuggle up with a good book. And what is better than a good book you might ask? A great SERIES of course! Here are some fantastic series that will make you happy that you have the chance to sip on some hot chocolate and cocoon yourself in blankets.

Check Out A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
A Series of Unfortunate Events
This is an older series, but still a really magnificent read. The completed series follows The Baudelaire orphans—Violet, Klaus, and Sunny—and the terrible Count Olaf, who is after their family fortune.

It is full of adventure, humor, angst, and even vocabulary lessons. This is a great series to snuggle up with this winter (if you haven’t already) and will keep you guessing until the very end. Grades 3 and up.

Number of books: 13.

Check Out Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
You’ve probably heard of this graphic novel series. It is extremely popular, and for a good reason. The story follows siblings Emily and Navin, who move with their mother into their great grandfather’s house. The story unravels from there when they discover an old secret and an evil monster that will change their lives forever.

If you enjoy action and fantasy, then this series is for you. Grades 4 and up.

Number of books: 7 (with two more to go!)

Check Out The Grimm Legacy by Polly ShulmanThe Grimm Legacy
This series centers on Elizabeth, a young girl who has just started working as a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository. This place serves as a library of objects, including something called the Grimm Collection. When objects start disappearing from the Grimm Collection, Elizabeth and her co-workers find themselves wrapped-up in a daring adventure.
While each book follows a different person, readers will learn more about the overall world in which the characters live. Grades 6-8.

Number of books: 3

Check Out Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
Three Times Lucky
This action-packed series centers on Moses LoBeau and takes place in Tupelo Landing, NC. Moses lives with a Colonel and Miss Lana, who own and work at a café. Moses’ world turns upside down when a lawman comes to the café talking about a murder. With the help of her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, Moses embarks on a perilous journey to save her family.

Buckle up as this story keeps you on your toes and has you laughing from page to page. Grades 4 and up.

Number of books: 3.

Check Out Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett Krosoczka
Lunch Lady
If you are looking for something lighter, and perhaps funnier, then this is the series for you. This ongoing graphic novel series takes place in a school where the hero is the lunch lady. Join her as she serves up justice for the school and its students. Grades 3 and up.

Number of books: 10.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Invincible by Robert Kirkman

By: Peter F., Teen Blogger

Invincible: Volume One Family MattersAs a person who mostly only reads novels or “actual books,” I normally forget to read any graphic novels or comics. They can seem less important or just not as engrossing/intriguing due to the shorter stories and the lack of words. However, due to newer stories and authors that create amazing worlds brought to life through illustrations, the more recent generation of comic books have certainly caught my attention.

The graphic novel titled Invincible tells the story of a teenage boy, Mark, going through high school and living a normal life when all of a sudden, the super-powered genes from his father start to kick in and bestow him with superman-like power. He meets with other high schoolers that, like him, have superhuman abilities and he begins to be a full-fledged superhero who saves the world and conquers evil. The first few issues seem to be a sort of cut and dried superhero story, but Robert Kirkman quickly upheaves the generic story of heroism and reveals a darker and more mature backstory.

The author, Robert Kirkman, was also the writer for the comics The Walking Dead, which had been adapted to TV with extreme success. The classic zombie storyline, intertwined with mature themes that are usually left forgotten, created a comic and TV show that were amazingly popular. I, along with many other people, found older comics to be generic and plain with tired storylines that showed little innovation or risk taking. Once comics turned into graphic novels, however, the stories became exotic and fresh.

Invincible is one of the comics that knows this transformation from generic to exotic, and pokes fun at it as well. The issues are full of humor and satire, yet the authors tackle controversial topics and explore them with a sense of understanding and maturity. The fact that the story is centered around a teenage boy doesn’t mean that the comic is only applicable for teenagers. The themes the story introduces are wonderfully open and accessible for anyone. This comic book series is already popular, and for good reason. This storyline is absolutely one of my favorite graphic novels ever written.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Re-Read Value

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

Check Out Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire by J.K. RowlingOne of my “reading resolutions” this year has been to allow myself to re-read more books. As much as I love doing this, it’s often hard – there are so many new books that I hear about (and usually, purchase for the library) that I want to read, it’s hard to make room even for my old favorites. But when I do take a moment to go back to something I love, I never regret it. Right now, I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series for the I-don’t-know-how-many-th time.

And while it’s certainly a different experience than the first time around, or even the first couple times around, it’s still fun. I may know exactly what’s going to happen when Harry faces the Hungarian Horntail or gets transported to a mysterious graveyard (why yes, I did just finish Goblet of Fire!) but somehow, I still find myself caught up in the moment and eager to turn the pages, even if they’re turning a little slower than they did the first time through.

Immersing myself not just in a re-read of a book, but of an entire series, has got me thinking about what exactly makes something re-readable. I’ve always said that re-read value is a huge factor in my favorite books. No matter how much I enjoy a book my first time through, if I can’t read it again (and again, and again, and again…) it’s not going to make it onto my list of favorites. But what exactly makes certain books so re-readable for me? One thing is for sure, it’s very personal – what I think of as great reasons for reading a book again may be totally different from anything other people look for in a book to return to. But I think I’ve identified a few things that many of my favorite re-readable books have in common.

1.) A happy ending. Look, I’m not saying everything should always be sunshine and roses, and there are a lot of great books that have dark or straight-up depressing endings. But the books I return to over and over all end with some level of cheer and hopefulness. Spoiler alert, Voldemort doesn’t win. Sure, there’s a battle, and some deaths that sometimes still reduce me to tears, but at the end of the series, I’m left feeling good about the outcome and the characters’ futures. Which brings me to my next point…

Check Out Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz2.) Great characters. I’m always drawn to good characters in books, but it’s an absolute necessity if I’m going to be re-reading something. After all, I know what events are going to happen in these books, so I’m not going to be quite as riveted by the plot the second or twelfth time around. But really great characters never get old. Reading about Aristotle and Dante, Cath Avery, Rae Seddon, Emma Woodhouse, Dorian Gray, Hermione Granger, Keladry of Mindelan, and other beloved characters is like visiting with old friends. I may know what I’m getting going in, but it’s comforting and delightful just to be in their company again. And in anything really well-written, I’m probably finding out new things about the characters and getting to know them better even after half a dozen readings.

3.) Companions/friendships/critters. This is a broad category, but what it really comes down to is the side characters. There is very little I like reading about better than a great friendship, a relationship that grows into respect and trust, or an animal BFF (“critter”). It’s what drew me to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series so long ago, it’s what makes the main trio of Harry Potter so iconic, and it’s what makes me eager to read about the same characters, plot, and worlds over and over again.

These are just a few of the reasons I re-read a book (it should go without saying that “dragons” is also a good reason to return to any book), and I’m guessing they differ from your reasons. Do you re-read? If so, what do your favorites have in common? What keeps you coming back to the same books time and again?

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Preschool Fair

By: Katy Almendinger, Early Literacy Librarian

Picture of four preschool aged kids with arms around each other's shoulder.Do you have a preschooler at home? Or maybe you have an almost preschooler? We know that thinking about sending little children to preschool for the first time can be intimidating. Believe it or not, now is the time to start thinking about preschool enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year.

Don’t know where to start? Well, if you’re like me, you probably headed right to Google. A quick Google search will pull up great lists of qualities to consider and questions to ask preschool directors. It will provide distinctions between the different educational approaches, from Montessori to Reggio-Emilia. It can also help you decide whether or not preschool is right for your family. But what Google can’t do is provide face-to-face opportunities to interact with preschool directors and educators.

That’s where the Preschool Fair comes in. The library will host a Preschool Fair on Wednesday, November 2 from 6-8 pm. Think of it like a college fair but for preschool. Glen Ellyn Preschools have been invited to host an informational table at the library. Preschool directors and educators will be on hand to meet prospective families, answer questions about their program, and share specific information about curriculum and enrollment. It’s a great opportunity for families to come and explore all of Glen Ellyn’s fabulous preschool options in one place.

We hope to see you there! Questions about the Preschool Fair or the library’s preschool services can be sent to Early Literacy Librarian Katy Almendinger at calmendinger@gepl.org.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Korean Dramas

By: Hafsa A., Teen Blogger

Korean Drama W - Two Worlds PosterMany people might not watch Korean dramas, but for me it’s like enjoying any other TV Show. Korean dramas don’t usually have multiple seasons and typically have around 16 to 20 episodes. A drama’s episode is 1 hour, or even more, depending on which show you watch.

The reason I like watching Korean dramas is because they are interesting and also they have subtitles. I’m not much of a reader, but I like reading subtitles because it helps me improve my reading. There are many genres of Korean dramas but I mostly watch some fantasy shows, and a lot of comedy, romance, romantic comedy, and suspense.

The Korean drama that I recently watched and that I recommend to others is called W – Two Worlds. The genre of the drama is fantasy plus romance. The drama starts off with a young boy who is an Olympic Gold medalist. After a small celebration of the main character (Kang Chul – Actor: Lee Jong-Suk), he goes home to his family but experiences a tragic accident. Through ups and downs in his life, Kang Chul tries to get revenge. But, the only thing wrong is that the character is made up and he is part of a web cartoon created by the main girl lead’s (Oh Yeon-Joo – Actress: Han Hyo-Joo) father. Throughout the drama the fantasy plays a role by having two worlds, a web toon world and a real world. Both characters are dragged together by fate and romance and suspense builds on. It gives a perfect but confusing twist that makes you want to watch more.

I recommend others to watch Korean dramas if they have nothing else to watch because they are really interesting and have various plots that differ from American TV Shows. Many people might think that they wouldn’t be interested in watching foreign dramas. For instance, my first reaction to the idea of watching Korean dramas was, “Ew, why would I watch something foreign that I can’t even understand?” But one day, I told myself I would try to watch a drama, and ever since then I love them.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

What I Just Read – The Girl From Everywhere

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

Check Out The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig.Sometimes, you find a book that is just what you need right at that moment. In this case, it was a blend of action, drama, and great supporting characters (with a little dragon thrown in for good measure). Who knows if I would have loved this book as much at another time, but one thing is for sure: when I was in the mood for a great adventure story, this was the perfect choice!

What I Just Read: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

What’s It About (Jacket Description): Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.

Do I Like It: Absolutely

Thoughts: I’d been hearing some buzz about this book for a long time before I read it. But to be honest, Doctor Who aside, time travel is not usually my thing. I like visiting the different periods, but I get frustrated trying to wrap my head around the rules governing time travel. But when I was looking for an audiobook that would be exciting, populated with good characters, and something that wouldn’t make me cry, The Girl From Everywhere stood out for me and I am so glad I gave it a chance.

This may sound weird after talking about action, adventure, and excitement, but one of my favorite things about The Girl From Everywhere is that it takes time for quiet moments. Yes, there’s tense scenes, pounding waves, attacks and fighting. But there’s also time for characters to talk, for their relationships to grow, for the setting and scenery to sink in, and for the story to breathe. Sometimes I find it exhausting to go through a story at breakneck speed, always worrying about what’s happening next, but I didn’t have to do that with this book. The pacing was amazing, and a perfect balance of quieter moments and exciting scenes.

Nix herself, while a relatable main character, definitely didn’t stand out to me as much as the amazing supporting characters. Every crew member on The Temptation was at least as interesting as Nix, and I would gladly read a book about any one of them. But Nix was perfect for bringing them all together, and acting as an entry for the reader to get to know them. She had distinct relationships with each character that all rang true, even her complicated relationship with her father. Even the characters Nix meets off the ship all glowed for me, except one that I could have done without (partially because I thought he introduced a totally unnecessary love triangle element). But overall, the characters managed to outshine the incredible world-building and settings, which is saying a lot.

I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot, but if you’re looking for an exciting, well-paced adventure with great characters and well-realized settings, this is the book for you. Plus, there’s that small dragon I mentioned…

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Go Retro With Classic Disney Movies

By: Emily Richardson, Youth Programming Associate

Back in March, I went to see Zootopia in theaters. I consider myself fairly savvy when it comes to figuring out movie plots ahead of time; but by halfway through, Disney had upended my entire idea of where the movie was going and who was actually behind the terrible plot. Disney is good at this. While some might fall through, there’s usually one or two every five years that really shine.

Disney’s next big film, Moana, is slated to release at the end of November. But what’s a Disney fanatic to do in the next month before this new and amazing princess graces us with her presence? Why not take a trip into the past? Go retro and find that old Disney animated film from the 1930’s, or discover an unsung hero, overshadowed by the larger films during Disney’s Golden Era of the 1990’s.

Check Out Pinocchio

Snow White, the first film by Disney ever, is still fairly well known. But did you know Pinocchio is the second oldest? With classics such as the song “When You Wish Upon a Star,” and the character Jiminy Cricket, this movie is a must.

Check Out The Sword in the Stone

The Sword in the Stone often gets overlooked (and, in the spirit of honesty, I actually prefer Quest for Camelot, but the two are very different).

Following the story of King Arthur before he becomes king, The Sword in the Stone is a fun, forest-filled romp through Merlin and Arthur’s training, leading up to the actual joust where Arthur pulls the legendary sword from the stone.

Check Out The Aristocats

“A Lady does not start fights. But she can finish them.” Classic Marie in The Aristocats.

Check Out The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under

The Rescuers brings mice solving crimes and rescuing kidnapped children, missing diamonds, evil crocodiles, poachers, bird “airplanes” and one of the most adorable marriage proposals ever.


Check Out Hercules

Overshadowed by greats such as The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, Hercules is a hero in its own way.

From witty Megara to the three muses’ singing, to Hades sass and Phil’s grumpy nature, this cast of rambunctious and loveable characters will make you laugh for the entire length of the movie.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth