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Bizarre Holidays in March

By: Emily Richardson, Youth Programming Associate

There’s some pretty bizarre holidays out there. Whether they’re official or not, it can still be a fun way to spend an afternoon. Here’s a few for March, paired with books to add to the fun!

3/2: Dr. Seuss Day/Read Across America Day

3/3: If Pets Had Thumbs Day

3/4: Unplugging Day

3/10: International Bagpipe Day

3/11: Johnny Appleseed Day

3/12: Genealogy Day

3/14: National Pi Day

3/15: Ides of March

3/17: Submarine Day

3/20: World Storytelling Day

3/22: National Goof-off Day

3/25: Waffle Day

3/28: Barnum & Bailey Day
Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Teens: Women’s History Month

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Yes, we understand – you get history all the time in classes, on TV, and even these days, on Broadway (see a previous blog entry on the smash hit Hamilton.) But there’s a reason for the ubiquity of history in our world. It’s full of exciting, moving stories, not to mention connections to our current world and foreshadowing of events happening and that might happen in our future. History is what our civilization is based on, and that makes it great for learning, watching, and of course, reading!

Women's History Month Image With Rosie the RiveterWomen’s History Month specifically celebrates the contribution women have made to history. Women have been often-overlooked driving forces in our country’s history and the history of the world, contributing to everything from science to religion to politics to war. So this March, celebrate women’s history by reading some historical fiction (and maybe a little non-fiction!) centered on the famous and not-so-famous, the real and not-so-real, women who helped shape our world.

If you’ve always been fascinated by World War II, pick up one of Elizabeth Wein’s stunning books, Code Name Verity or Rose Under Fire. Prefer your history tinged with mythology? Check out The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. If you love a good friendship and adventure story, or are just a fan of the Oregon Trail games, you’ll enjoy Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee. If you’re usually more into magic or the supernatural, you can find a combination of both fantasy and history in Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger.

Graphic novel fans can find history and stunning artwork combined in Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang. Ready for a heart-wrenching love story and a good cry centered around a historical event? Printz Honor book Out of Darkness might be for you. Whether you want a good mystery like A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee, a look at the early history of our country like Copper Sun by Sharon Draper, or an early 20th century drama like Cinders & Sapphires, our Women’s History Month display is sure to have something for every reader.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

National Reading Awareness Month

By: Melissa Hilt, Youth Department Assistant Director

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” – Jackie Kennedy

Read Aloud 15 Minutes InfogrpahicDid you know that March is National Reading Awareness Month? It is never too early to start reading to your child. Studies show that just 15 minutes a day will set them up to be better prepared for Kindergarten.

As a child, I loved books and was read to all of the time. I have a brother that is three and a half years older than me and I have very fond memories of him reading The Wizard of Oz to me, before bedtime, when we were young.

As I grew older, I continued to love reading on my own. I read things like The Babysitters Club and my friend and I would go to the Glen Ellyn Public Library, checkout a big stack, and then go home and read them together.

When my nieces were little and I babysat them, I would always spend time reading to them and letting them look at the books. As they got a little older, they started reading to me and now that they are older, they both are excellent students that still love to read.

Read Aloud 15 Minutes Infographic Parent's It's Up to YouA fun way to get in your 15-minutes of reading is Reading to Dogs, which is a program we have at the library once a month. The next date is Saturday, March 5 from 10:00-11:00 am. Check out our online calendar to reserve your 15-minute slot!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Tweens: Technology

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By: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

March 6-12 is Teen Tech Week. Even if your age doesn’t end in “teen,” this is a perfect time to discover and embrace new technologies that can affect your world. Technology is all around us. For starters, you’re using tech to read this blog post right now!

If you’re looking to learn about a new technology, the library can help you out. We try to stay current on all the technology trends.

Be sure to also check out our Digital Media Lab (with a grown up) and see even more tech toys like our green screen!

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

GEPL Teens: Abe Lincoln Awards

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award LogoIf you’re a reader, you may remember voting for the Bluestem and Caudill awards as an elementary or middle school student. If you don’t remember, here’s a quick primer: these awards are given by the Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA) to authors of great books, based on votes from students around the state. It’s a great way to get kids actually involved in choosing what books win awards and accolades.

What you may not remember, or may never have known, is that there is a similar ISLMA award based on votes from high school students – the Abraham Lincoln Award. Like the other ISLMA awards, the Abe Lincoln Award is given to the author of a book deemed the best, based on the votes of high school students. In order to vote, teens just need to have read four of the nominated titles (there are twenty nominees this year). Titles are nominated by teachers, librarians, and students, so the award is centered around high schools and high school students right from the start.

Why am I telling you all this? Because voting for the Abraham Lincoln Awards is going on now, and will end on March 15, and I want you all to vote! You still have time to read more, if you haven’t read quite enough to qualify – you can see all the nominees here. And you can vote by checking in with your high school librarian, or attending Abe’s Books in the Glenbard West library during PLC on March 14.

This of course leads me to Abe’s Books! Abe’s Books is a reading club sponsored by the library’s Teen Leadership Council and the Elliott Library at Glenbard West. Teens read and discuss the nominated books, and the year will culminate with a voting party on March 14 (yes, there will be snacks!) You can learn more about the awards and how to vote at the school here.

So what’s the takeaway from all this?

TL;DR: You can vote on which books win a big prestigious award! Just read four of the nominated titles (some of which you may already have read) and check in with your high school librarian. It’s that easy to give a book or author some love!

If you have any questions, check in with me (Hannah) at GEPL, or with one if your high school librarians. And, because you read this whole blog entry without getting one stupid joke or picture of a cute animal, I’ll conclude with a kitten cuddling with a fawn.

Cat Laying On Top of a Fawn

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Homeschool Programs

By: Kate Easley, Youth Librarian

Did you know we offer homeschool programs at the library? They are a great way to meet other homeschooling families, and get some extracurricular work into your curriculum.

It’s hard enough to fit all the schoolwork in a day, but trying to do science experiments at your own home can be daunting. Let us help you with that! Join us for Wheels, Levers and Pulleys, a program led by specialists from the DuPage Children’s Museum. It will be a lively and humorous study of seven simple machines. Explore the force of friction, experience the power of levers, and experiment with gear ratios.

This program is for children is grades 1- 5, but we didn’t forget about the younger kids! They are invited to a special session of Smart Starts, our hands-on, interactive science program for adults and children. The theme on March 8 is Patterns Take Turns. We will have lots of fun working together.

Also, coming in April, we have a session of Let’s Build! for homeschooling families, where you can show us your building skills by using our LEGOs® to make an amazing creation. I can’t wait to see what all of you can make!

If you have any questions about homeschooling programs or are interested in other services we can provide to homeschooling families, please contact me. I’d love to meet you and hear what you are studying!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – None of the Above

Teens Blog Orange BannerBy: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio Book CoverI’m going to indulge myself a little today and talk about one more of my wonderful vacation reads from earlier this winter. There were so many good ones, I have to talk about at least one more!

What I Just Read: None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

What’s It About (Jacket Description): What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

Do I Like It: Enthusiastic yes!

Thoughts: None of the Above was an engaging, emotional read almost from the very start. Kristin was a very likeable, realistic protagonist. Sure, most of us aren’t scholarship-level athletes, but I could definitely relate with Kristin’s passion for her sport, her close relationship with her two best friends, and her relationship with her father, so she was easy to connect with right away. Despite being in her head, it took a little bit for her flaws to expose themselves, which was actually nice for me as a reader – I already liked her before I started seeing any reason why I shouldn’t. And don’t get me wrong, flaws and all, Kristin is still super likeable and relatable the whole book.

This was also a very emotional read though. In large part, this was because of Kristin’s struggle to figure out her identity and who she is after being blindsided by the truth about her body. But it was especially emotional after her secret gets revealed to her classmates. The bullying she experiences felt very visceral, and very real – there was nothing so extreme it wasn’t believable, which made Kristin’s pain all the more relatable, and the bullying all the more ugly. And because the bullying centered around something very new to Kristin as well, it just made her question herself even more, which was sad to see.

As usual for me, one of my favorite parts of the books was Kristin’s relationships to other people – particularly to Faith and Vee, her two best friends, and to her father. Each of these relationships is complicated in some way. With Faith and Vee, Kristin has to deal with the betrayal of one friend, and the inability of the other to help her in any meaningful way. But she is also tied to both of them by a long history and deep mutual affection, so watching them find their way through a difficult situation was really satisfying. And Kristin’s relationship with her father was everything it should be – complicated but loving, occasional difficult but usually a support system, and tinted with their shared grief over the death of Kristin’s mother. Kristin’s relationships weren’t always easy or simple, but they were all realistic, layered, and compelling to read about.

None of the Above was wonderful on any number of levels, and a great read for anyone trying to figure out who they are, anyone dealing with a sudden change in their lives, anyone who has been bullied, or anyone who enjoys a great, complex realistic fiction novel.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Presidents Day

By: Leigh Ann Vock, Youth Department Page

When I was growing up in Glen Ellyn we had both Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, and Washington’s Birthday, February 22, off of school. I recall very specific learning activities celebrating each renowned president.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act was signed into a law in 1968 and took effect on January 1, 1971. From this point on, the celebration of these presidents’ birthdays was melded into one day, now known as Presidents Day. Some choose to use this as a day to celebrate all presidents and others prefer the traditional, honoring both our first and sixteenth president.

In this very colorful election year, my hope is that this month can be used to take time to educate young ones on what the role of our president is. When visiting the library and selecting reading material, our non-fiction section is an excellent source for eager learners. We have so many wonderful selections on Presidents.

Take time to engage in discussions with questions such as “What would you do if you were President?” and “What do you think is the same for a President today and a President that was in the White House fifty years ago?” Make this month a truly patriotic celebration that encourages citizenship in our young readers.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

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 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