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GEPL Tweens: Christina Check Up!

Tweens Blog Purple BannerBy: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Hi guys. I know what you’ve all been thinking – “What’s Christina been up to these days?” You want to know what I’ve been reading and playing, and I get it! Well, this is your chance to get a sneak peek at Christina behind the scenes.

What I’m Reading

I have quite a few books checked out right now, and I’m working my way through all of them.


What I’m Watching

I have Spectre checked out (finally!) I also need to check out more Dr. Who seasons since Netflix took them away from me. I’m also super stoked that Venture Brothers are back!

Spectre

Spectre Movie Poster

Venture Brothers

Venture Brothers Poster


What I’m Playing

I’ve been digging the Goat Simulator, and Ark for a bit now. I also have been hooked on a digital card game called Star Realms for quite a while.

So, yes, right now I’m hogging the library’s copies of these. If you’re interested, you can a) put them on hold or b) wait until I’m done with them. Then once you’re finished, be sure to stop by the library and tell me what you think!

What are you reading, playing, or watching? Make sure you write a review on our website!

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

GEPL Teens: African American History Month

By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

As you almost certainly know already, from school if nothing else, February is African American History Month. Now, if you’re anything like me, you know this month celebrates interesting, important, and often overlooked people and events in history. But if you’re anything like me, you also prefer reading novels to textbooks or lectures. Luckily for us, historical fiction exists! While of course these books are fiction, good historical fiction is always rooted in great research and real events, so it’s a wonderful way to learn a little while still immersing yourself in a good book. With that in mind, here’s a few of the many books you could read to help you celebrate African American History Month!

Copper Sun Copper Sun by Sharon Draper Book Coverby Sharon M. DraperStolen from her village, sold to the highest bidder, fifteen-year-old Amari has only one thing left of her own: hope.

Amari’s life was once perfect. Engaged to the handsomest man in her tribe, adored by her family, and living in a beautiful village, she could not have imagined everything could be taken away from her in an instant. But when slave traders invade her village and brutally murder her entire family, Amari finds herself dragged away to a slave ship headed to the Carolinas, where she is bought by a plantation owner and given to his son as a birthday present.

Survival seems all that Amari can hope for. But then an act of unimaginable cruelty provides her with an opportunity to escape, and with an indentured servant named Polly she flees to Fort Mose, Florida, in search of sanctuary at the Spanish colony. Can the elusive dream of freedom sustain Amari and Polly on their arduous journey, fraught with hardship and danger? (Description from Goodreads.com.)

Willow by Tonya Cherie Hegamin Book CoverWillow by Tonya Cherie HegaminIn 1848, an educated slave girl faces an inconceivable choice — between bondage and freedom, family and love.

On one side of the Mason-Dixon Line lives fifteen-year-old Willow, her master’s favorite servant. She’s been taught to read and has learned to write. She believes her master is good to her and fears the rebel slave runaways.

On the other side of the line is seventeen-year-old Cato, a black man, free born. It’s his personal mission to sneak as many fugitive slaves to freedom as he can. Willow’s and Cato’s lives are about to intersect, with life-changing consequences for both of them. Tonya Cherie Hegamin’s moving coming-of-age story is a poignant meditation on the many ways a person can be enslaved, and the force of will needed to be truly emancipated. (Description from Goodreads.com.)

X by Kekla Magoon and Ilyasah Shabazz Book Cover X by Kekla Magoon and Ilyasah ShabazzI 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. (Description from Goodreads.com.)

Invasion by Walter Dean Myers Invasion by Walter Dean Myers – Walter Dean Myers brilliantly renders the realities of World War II.

Josiah Wedgewood and Marcus Perry are on their way to an uncertain future. Their whole lives are ahead of them, yet at the same time, death’s whisper is everywhere.

One white, one black, these young men have nothing in common and everything in common as they approach an experience that will change them forever.

It’s May 1944. World War II is ramping up, and so are these young recruits, ready and eager. In small towns and big cities all over the globe, people are filled with fear. When Josiah and Marcus come together in what will be the greatest test of their lives, they learn hard lessons about race, friendship, and what it really means to fight. Set on the front lines of the Normandy invasion, this novel, rendered with heart-in-the-throat precision, is a cinematic masterpiece. Here we see the bold terror of war, and also the nuanced havoc that affects a young person’s psyche while living in a barrack, not knowing if today he will end up dead or alive.  (Description from Goodreads.com.)

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley Book Cover Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin TalleyIn 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept separate but equal.

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it. (Description from Goodreads.com.)

These books cover just a few moments in American history, but there are many more out there. Check out other books by these authors, or come by and ask a librarian if you need more good historical fiction suggestions this month!

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

The Gift of Books

By: Amy Waters, School Liaison

February is a month of celebration. In addition to Valentine’s Day, February is a month of birthdays. Yes, we celebrate the births of Presidents, but for me, it’s a time to celebrate the births of family members, friends and the soon-to-be-53 years I’ve been alive. When you’re a book lover like me, birthday presents are easy. When you give a book, you give a memory.

Book ShelfMy now adult children tease me because I still have shelves filled with youth books, many that I purchased long after they left the nest. But a glance at the shelf is a trip down memory lane: books that I loved as a child, books that my children loved or books that were gifts from cherished friends or family members.

Books are precious moments with family and friends: I love the photos of my children being read to by a late great-grandmother, or a friend from a long ago neighborhood.

Amy Waters Great Grandmother Reading to Her
Neighborhood Friend Reading to Children

Little Kid Wearing Turtle Costume
 
 
 
Books are costume opportunities:

Books are generosity: For my 50th, friends shared their favorites with me so that I could donate them to the Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center. What a gift to see their choices and then pass them on!Amy Waters Surrounded by Books

 
Books are shared connections: This Christmas, my nephew, Jack, and I were in the kitchen working on dinner and he said “Aunt Amy, remember that book “Brave Potatoes”?” I started to quote the rhyming couplets about potatoes at the fair, making a daring escape from the cook. He started to laugh and suddenly he was 5, not 22, and our shared book history continued as an enduring connection.

When you are thinking of giving a gift, think of a book. Then sit down with the child and read with them. That’s a gift of love that can last a lifetime. At Valentine’s, or any time.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – Ink and Ashes

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani Book CoverI only just returned from a vacation, and being the book nerd I am, that means I read a lot over the past couple of weeks. I got through many great books, so you may be getting a few editions of What I Just Read in the next few weeks, but I wanted to start with my first vacation read, a super exciting and engaging mystery.

What I Just Read: Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani

What’s It About (Jacket Description): Claire Takata has never known much about her father, who passed away when she was a little girl. But on the anniversary of his death, not long before her seventeenth birthday, she finds a mysterious letter from her deceased father, addressed to her stepfather. Claire never even knew that they had met.

Claire knows she should let it go, but she can’t shake the feeling that something’s been kept from her. In search of answers, Claire combs through anything that will give her information about her father . . . until she discovers he was a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The discovery opens a door that should have been left closed.

So begins the race to outrun his legacy as the secrets of her father’s past threaten Claire’s friends and family, newfound love, and ultimately her life. Ink and Ashes, winner of Tu Books’ New Visions Award, is a heart-stopping debut mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page.

Do I Like It: I couldn’t put it down!

Thoughts: Ink and Ashes was the perfect book to read on an airplane, because from the moment the mystery began to appear in the first few chapters, I didn’t want to put it down. It kept me absorbed from take off until I finished it, and made me forget I was crammed in the middle seat next to two strangers while functioning on way less sleep than usual. But while the excitement and captivating nature of the book were definitely highlights, there was more to love beyond that as well.

Claire was a great main character, especially for a mystery. She was smart, ultra-curious, athletic, and sometimes made really dumb decisions (that of course just helped the plot thicken.) She was surrounded by supportive friends and family, and her concern and care for them heightened the stakes when things started to get ugly. I loved that she was flawed but strong and powerful, and her need to keep digging at a mystery was great for me as a reader, since I was dying to figure things out almost as much as she was. Another small element that I loved was the way Claire, who has mainly been friends with her brother and other guys her whole life, came to realize how much she valued her friendships with other women as well as with her group of guy friends.

Another element I liked was that a lot of what was going on was different from anything I’ve read before. I’ve never read or seen much involving organized crime, and I knew nothing about the yakuza going in to the story, so everything – from the significance of tattoos to the concepts of honor that govern the eventual climax – was new to me. It was fun to benefit from Claire’s knowledge, as well as to learn new things alongside her. It’s not like this book made me an expert on Japanese organized crime, but it was fascinating to get even a small glimpse into a world I knew nothing about before this book.

Overall, I think Ink and Ashes was a great, gripping mystery that was strong in both plot and character. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Claire, her family, and her friends, but even if there is no sequel planned, I’ll be eagerly looking forward to whatever Maetani writes next!

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Congratulations, Patch Club Contest Winners!

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Programming Associate

One of our fun reading programs at the Glen Ellyn Library is Patch Club. Patch Club is for children in kindergarten through 8th grade. For every 5 hours of reading, kids will receive a patch of their choosing. After earning 6 patches, children are awarded with a Glen Ellyn Public Library canvas bag. You can earn 16 patches per season. You can have fun decorating all kinds of things (including your new Glen Ellyn canvas bag!) with these easy iron-on patches. And what better way to showcase all of the reading you’ve done?

This year, we held a Patch Club Contest in the fall. Children of all ages submitted their best designs and the ones with the most votes won! It was a tough choice to make, as we received so many unique designs, but the outcome was magnificent. Congratulations to our marvelous Patch Club Contest winners. Their patches turned out great!

Design A Patch Winners Patches
  • Peek-a-Book
    by Abigail Bergmann (Grade 5)
  • Line Design
    by Clara Voswinkel (Grade 1)
  • Reading Thru the Winter
    by William Hohe (Grade 7)
  • Reading is Fun in Fall
    by Jason Abeln (Grade 3)
  • Sweet Treat
    by Kate Zima (Grade 2)
  • Alien Al
    by Thang Dot Pau “PauPu” (Grade 5)
There’s still time to sign up. So make sure you come on in to the Youth Department desk to register for Patch Club and to check out the amazing new patches! You’ll have your own patch in no time!
Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Tweens: Mardi Gras

Tweens Blog Purple BannerBy: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Mardi Gras Parade It’s Mardi Gras season! I spent a large portion of my childhood years in Louisiana. My grandparents live very close to a few parade routes, and my family would walk from their house to see the parades.

Up until a few years ago, I had giant garbage bags filled with all the beads I collected over the years. I even met John Goodman early one morning. He lives in New Orleans and is a part of a specific parade each year.

Even though I don’t live in Louisiana anymore, I try to celebrate Mardi Gras in some way now. I have bought boudin online and it was shipped in a Styrofoam box with dry ice, but still delicious. I haven’t gone so far as to make king cake on my own, but I have looked up recipes. Last year I made beignets and they were delicious!

This year, we’re going to New Orleans! I am super excited, but it’s just dawning on me that it’s coming up very soon. I’ve made a mental checklist while waiting the months between buying plane tickets to actually going on the trip.

  • Have beignets and hot chocolate from Café Du Monde
  • Go to Audubon Zoo
  • Eat at the Lebanon Café
  • Visit the World War II Museum
  • Ride a Trolley
  • See some parades

So the only problem with this list is that we’re only there for 4 days. We’ll have to be very productive with our time. I didn’t put “spend time with grandparents” on there, because I assume they will be doing at least some of these activities with us.

Water Taffy Cart at the Audubon ZooWhen we go to the Audubon Zoo, I’m really looking forward to the salt water taffy cart.

The last time we went, I talked it up to my husband and IT WAS CLOSED! My heart broke. When we go to the zoo, I’m bee lining it straight to the cart. Priorities.

The Lebanon Café is somewhere our family goes whenever we’re in the area. They have the BEST shawarma. I love it, and can’t wait to be eating the deliciousness.

The World War II Museum wasn’t my idea, but I didn’t even know it existed sadly. It’ll be interesting to go, especially since it’s the national museum.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually never ridden on a trolley, or at least not in my recollection. I can’t be held accountable if I went on one as a baby and don’t remember. My family’s so big we didn’t want to spend the money on tickets for everyone. We will be remedying this on this trip.

Of course, we’re seeing some parades. It’s a given! I was sad to find out that we won’t be in town for the parade with John Goodman. That parade is so early, I didn’t think to bring a camera the last time I went. I wanted photographic proof of meeting John Goodman and shaking his hand. Sadly, this will not be the year that this happens.

I’m sorry if this blog is kind of rubbing it in readers’ faces that I’ll be in New Orleans while everyone is up here in the chilly Midwest. It’s actually due to snow on the days we’re flying out and back. But if it makes you feel better, New Orleans is only supposed to be in the 50s.

If you come visit me after I get back, I’ll give you some beads.

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – See No Color

Teens Blog Orange Banner

By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

See No Color by Shannon Gibney Book CoverI seem to be on a kick lately of reading books featuring baseball, which is strange, since I don’t really like watching baseball all that much. Lately though, it seems to be an indicator of a book that I definitely will like!

What I Just Read: See No Color by Shannon Gibney

What’s It About (Jacket Description): For as long as she can remember, sixteen-year-old Alex Kirtridge has known two things:

  1. She has always been Little Kirtridge, a stellar baseball player, just like her father.
  2. She’s adopted.

These facts have always been part of Alex’s life. Despite some teasing, being a biracial girl in a white family didn’t make much of a difference as long as she was a star on the diamond where her father her baseball coach and a former pro player counted on her. But now, things are changing: she meets Reggie, the first black guy who’s wanted to get to know her; she discovers the letters from her biological father that her adoptive parents have kept from her; and her body starts to grow into a woman’s, affecting her game.

Alex begins to question who she really is. She’s always dreamed of playing pro baseball just like her father, but can she really do it? Does she truly fit in with her white family? Who were her biological parents? What does it mean to be black? If she’s going to find answers, Alex has to come to terms with her adoption, her race, and the dreams she thought would always guide her.

Do I Like It: Absolutely! Despite (or because of?) the baseball.

Thoughts: See No Color was one of the first books I read in 2016, and boy did it start the year off right!
This was a fast read, but I felt like I really go to know Alex and understand some of what she was going through. After all, all of us can understand what it feels like to question who we are and where we fit in – it’s just that for Alex, these issues are even more overwhelming and impossible to avoid.

One thing I loved about Alex as a character was that she started out not even thinking about the issues she faces of race and identity – she buries them under academic excellence, baseball, and her family. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there, and it’s clear from little things she thinks even right from the beginning that burying these things in her subconscious hasn’t made them disappear. It’s such a realistic discovery, that these things were bothering her that she didn’t even know were bothering her, and it makes it cathartic to read about her finally trying to figure things out, even when it’s tough as well. I also love that she was a hugely flawed character. There are reasons for the things she does (mostly notably, lying – a lot – to people who don’t deserve it) but that doesn’t make them right, and that doesn’t stop them from having consequences.

I thought Alex was incredibly compelling and relatable to read about, even though I have never been in her position. Again, part of this is that issues of identity and finding your place are so relatable to anyone, but also because I loved getting a glimpse into an experience that was so totally different from my own. From adoption to baseball to race to Alex’s impulsive personality, there was so much there that was different from my lived experience, and it was great to have a chance to empathize with her. And the parts that I could relate to – Alex’s anxiety, her relationships with her parents and siblings, her struggle to figure out who she is – just made it easier to slip into her world. Add in a swoony romance, and this book was a home run for me (bad pun totally intended.)

See No Color is fantastic realistic fiction that I recommend for any high school age teens. Between sports, self-identity, self-discovery, romance, and family, there’s something in this book for everyone.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

GEPL Teens: Morris Awards 2016

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

As you may or may not know, earlier this month, the American Library Association announced the winners of their Youth Media Awards – famous awards like the Newberry and Caldecott, or the Printz award for young adult literature. But they also announced the winner of a slightly less famous award, but my own personal favorite: the William C. Morris YA Debut Award. I love that this award honors new authors in YA, and I’ve rarely read a finalist or winner of this award that hasn’t been fantastic.

This year’s finalists were no exception – five excellent books, each of which I loved for different reasons. I truly cannot wait to see what each of these authors does next. I’ve already written about the winner, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, but I did read all four of the others before the announcement of the winner, so I wanted to share some mini thoughts on each of the other finalists.

Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas Book CoverBecause You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

Description (from goodreads.com): Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.

A story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances, this debut is powerful, dark and humorous in equal measure. These extraordinary voices bring readers into the hearts and minds of two special boys who, like many teens, are just waiting for their moment to shine. 

Thoughts: Because You’ll Never Meet Me was one of those books I might never have picked up if it hadn’t been a Morris finalist – and I would have been missing out! While I’m usually not drawn to epistolary novels, the unique voices of Ollie and Moritz, along with the length of their letters, made this book feel like a more traditional narrative. It still kept a lot of the fun of epistolary novels though, like how each boy getting to choose how much to reveal, and the back-and-forth of their interaction with each other. While Because You’ll Never Meet Me falls solidly into the sci-fi category, despite the fact that the world its set in is our own, it was its realism that particularly drew me. The way each boy dealt with their disabilities and their guilt differently, the relationships they had with their parents and friends, and the way they helped each other find the strength to discover the truth and explore the world around them. And to top it all off, this book was funny, as well as sincere, emotional, and impactful.

Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert Book Cover Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert

Description (from goodreads.com): Ten years ago, God gave Braden a sign, a promise that his family wouldn’t fall apart the way he feared.

But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden’s father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in the upcoming trial.

Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four-mile-per-hour pitch al- ready has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.

Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.

Thoughts: This is another title that I would probably never have chosen to read without the Morris, and I am so grateful that I had a reason to pick this up. Conviction was a stunning story, and so masterfully created that I could hardly believe that it was Gilbert’s first novel. It was exciting, captivating, powerful, and character-driven. I was hooked on the plot, waiting to see what else Braden would reveal, even as I started to put the pieces together. I was riveted by Braden’s struggles with his religion, his guilt, his game, and his relationships. I found Braden, Troy, and their father such realistic, complicated characters. Gilbert expertly revealed bits from the family’s past, as well as the events of the night of the accident, that never contradicted each other, built tension, and slowly made me realize what lay beneath the surface. I already know I want to read this novel again, just to see what details and complexities I missed the first time around. But don’t think that means it was a difficult read – I raced through Conviction. I’m not usually drawn to stories about sports, religion, or father/son relationships, but Conviction was probably one of my favorite reads of 2015, despite being all those things (and so much more as well.)

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes Book Cover The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

Description (from goodreads.com): The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself. 

Thoughts: This book was getting a lot of buzz from other librarians I know even before the Morris nomination, and when I started reading, it was immediately clear why. From the very first words – “I am a blood-soaked girl” – Minnow Bly kept me riveted. I expected to find the flashbacks to Minnow’s past in the Kevinian cult fascinating, but as it turns out, I was almost equally interested in the pages dealing with Minnow’s life in prison and her adjustment to the world away from the Kevinians. Watching Minnow’s growth as a character – through her youth and in her prison life – was one of the highlights for me. There were also a lot of interesting elements dealing with being a woman, religion, finding meaning in life, and so much more, but the book never felt preachy or dull. Rather, I was completely gripped and couldn’t wait to turn the next page. And despite how different Minnow’s life was from mine, her story felt relatable and relevant.

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore Book Cover The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

Description (from goodreads.com): For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.

Thoughts: I was lucky enough to see Anna-Marie McLemore at the conference I attended in November, and saw her speak on two different panels. So I was thrilled to hear she had been nominated for the Morris Award and had high expectations for The Weight of Feathers. While the book wasn’t exactly what I expected, it was wonderful. The book was magical, and not just because of characters with feathers growing out of their heads or scales on their backs. The Weight of Feathers beautifully illustrated how our lives are shaped by our stories and our families, and how that can be both a good and a bad thing. Both Lace and Cluck find some of their strongest support and wonderful friends within their traveling families, but they also both suffer from the weight of those families’ expectations. On top of that, both must learn to separate the truths of their own – and each other’s – families from what they have been told their whole lives. But this book isn’t just literary themes and philosophies. It is also a beautiful love story, a simultaneously modern and timeless take on a classic story of forbidden romance, and an incredibly immersive world of magic – whether faked by talented performers, real and surrounding the main characters, or the magic of love and family.

 

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr.

By: Emily Richardson, Youth Programming Associate

This year, we celebrate what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 87th birthday. Such a celebration offers the perfect opportunity to begin a discussion with children of any age on civil rights issues, race, and diversity. Below are a few books that might aid in the learning process.

Picture Books

Desmond and the Very Mean Word by Desmond Tutu Book CoverDesmond and the Very Mean Word by Desmond Tutu
While riding his new bicycle Desmond is hurt by the mean word yelled at him by a group of boys, but he soon learns that hurting back will not make him feel any better.

The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler

The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss

The Soccer Fence by Phil Bildner
Each time Hector watches white boys playing soccer in Johannesburg, South Africa, he dreams of playing on a real pitch one day. After the fall of apartheid, when he sees the 1996 African Cup of Nations team, he knows that his dream can come true.

I am the World by Charles Smith
Illustrations and rhyming text celebrate the diversity of cultures, languages, countries, and people of the world.

Non-Fiction/Biography

Every Human Has Rights by National Geographic Book CoverEvery Human Has Rights by National Geographic
Poetry of the sixteen winners of the ePals Human Rights Writing Contest reflects the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Molly Bannaky by Alice McGill
Relates how Benjamin Banneker’s grandmother journeyed from England to Maryland in the late seventeenth century, worked as an indentured servant, began a farm of her own, and married a freed slave.

Civil Rights Movement for Kids: A History with 21 Activities by Mary Turck
Describes the struggle for civil rights for African-Americans in the 1950s and 1960s and profiles important civil rights leaders. Includes suggested activities.

The Little Rock Nine by Rachel Tisdale

The Dream of Martin Luther King by Liz Gogerly
Provides an overview of Martin Luther King’s life and accomplishments, describes the events surrounding his assassination, and discusses his impact on the American people and American society.

Chapter Books

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry Book CoverNumber the Stars by Lois Lowry
In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis.

Iggie’s House by Judy Blume
When a black family with three children moves into the white neighborhood, eleven-year-old Winnie learns the difference between being a good neighbor and being a good friend.

Revolution by Deborah Wiles
It’s 1964 in Greenwood, Mississippi, and Sunny’s town is being invaded by people from up north who are coming to help people register to vote. Her personal life isn’t much better, as a new stepmother, brother, and sister are crowding into her life, giving her little room to breathe.–From publisher description.

The Watsons go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis
The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Tweens: The Middle

Tweens Blog Purple BannerBy: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Have you stopped by our middle school room yet? If not, you should. We christened the room with our Middle School Room Kick-Off Week, which was a lot of fun. Mikey Reif from Glen Crest Middle School stopped by too. Mikey came up with the winning name suggestion for our room, now named The Middle.

Middle School Room Name Contest Winner Mikey Reif

Mikey is an 8th grader from Glen Crest, and also one of the vice presidents of the Teen Advisory Board through the school library. When thinking of a name suggestion, she thought of what it was currently being called – The Middle School Room, and just abbreviated it to The Middle.

When she got the call that her room name suggestion was chosen as the official name, she was very surprised. Or, as surprised as she could have been because she was sick with a cold.

Mikey is currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. WOW! Her top three books are the Harry Potter books (I let her count those as one), Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and Emma by Jane Austen. Needless to say, historical fiction is her favorite book genre.

Her favorite places to be in Glen Ellyn are Danby Station, and the library of course. She plans to visit her grandparents in sunny California this summer. Mikey wants to be a corporate attorney when she grows up. She likes the idea of combining law, paperwork, and business and swimming around in money like Scrooge McDuck.

Make sure you come by The Middle soon, and if you see Mikey, congratulate her on her genius!

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School