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GEPL Teens: Women’s History Month – Part IV

Teens Blog BannerMarch is almost over, so this will be our final Women’s History Month book list.  This set of books all feature women in history…but with a little extra.  Whether it’s ghosts, steampunk, a death god, or something else, these books add elements of speculative fiction without sacrificing research and historical accuracy.  As always, descriptions are from Goodreads.com unless otherwise specified, and librarian notes are in italics.

Blog Entry 136 - Image 1The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Hannah’s Note: This book won’t be out until May 2015, but don’t worry, we’ll have it! With the combination of historical fiction and mythological re-telling, I already think it’s going to be an irresistible read. For drama lovers, there’s murder and revenge and love. For history lovers, there’s an ancient setting. And for mythology lovers like me, there’s a whole story built around the tale of A Thousand and One Nights. What’s not to love?

Blog Entry 136 - Image 2Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversWhy be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Hannah’s Note: This is a long book, but it doesn’t feel like it when you’re reading it, because the action and intrigue are non-stop. Ismae is a strong, tough, and determined character. She’s devoted to her work, and to her country – a country I didn’t know much about until I read this book. Although St. Mortain, the god of Death, haunts the book, it is really a story of politics, assassination, faith, and love, with a fierce and powerful character at its center. And if you like it, there are two more in the series!

Blog Entry 136 - Image 3The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope – In 1558, while exiled by Queen Mary Tudor to a remote castle known as Perilous Gard, young Kate Sutton becomes involved in a series of mysterious events that lead her to an underground world peopled by Fairy Folk—whose customs are even older than the Druids’ and include human sacrifice. (Description from Goodreads.com)

In 1558 while imprisoned in a remote castle, a young girl becomes involved in a series of events that leads to an underground labyrinth peopled by the last practitioners of druidic magic. (Description from Worldcat.org)

Hannah’s Note: This book has been a favorite of mine for years. While the fantastical elements are light, they add depth and tension to an incredibly well-researched and well-depicted historical setting. Although the setting is historical, the story itself is timeless in its own way, because it is about the old vs. the new and innovation vs. tradition. But none of this – the research, the plot, even the Fair Folk themselves – would be as compelling if it weren’t for Kate, one of my all-time favorite main characters. Give The Perilous Gard a try and see if you agree!

Blog Entry 136 - Image 4Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger – Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

Hannah’s Note: Is it possible for a book to be witty, fun, old-fashioned, modern, exciting, and dramatic all at once? Yes. Oh yes. Etiquette & Espionage is all this and more. There are werewolves, robots, petticoats, evil plots, catty arguments, strong friendships, boarding schools, dirigibles, and a mechanical dog named Bumbersnoot. Beyond that, I just want to say that this book is one of the most enormously entertaining books I’ve read in a long time, and it beautifully combines Victorian culture with Steampunk fun and Carriger’s own unique brand of humor. It’s wonderful.

Blog Entry 136 - Image 5In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters – In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

Hannah’s Note: There’s a reason Cat Winters’ books have appeared on two of these lists. She writes fantastic, and fantastically well-researched, historical fiction featuring strong women characters. This book juxtaposes the frightening realities of World War I and the influenza epidemic against the frightening specters of ghosts and spirits. Equally as fascinating are Mary Shelley’s relationships – with her first love, told in flashbacks, with her aunt she barely knows and sometimes disagrees with, and with a world trying to tell her what women can and can’t do.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Kids: Parent Teacher Collection

By: Katy Almendinger, GEPL Early Literacy Librarian

The Youth Department doesn’t just have books for kids. We also have non-fiction books (and DVDs) for caregivers in the Parent/Teacher collection. Items in this collection focus on child development and behavior.

Brain Rules for BabyBrain Rules for Baby by John Medina is just one of the many titles in our Parent/Teacher collection. Backed up by recent science, Dr. Medina tells readers how to raise smart and happy children. I picked up this book hoping to learn more about what goes on in a baby’s brain. And it delivered:

“Parentese makes the sound of each vowel more distinct; this exaggeration allows your baby to hear words as distinct entities and discriminate between them.” This ability is also known as phonological awareness, which helps children learn how to read.

“We now know that open-ended activities are as important to a child’s neural growth as protein.” There are amazing benefits, including increased problem-solving skills and creativity. Want to try open-ended play at home? Play with blocks, sensory bins, or even finger-paints.

“The brain follows a developmental timetable that is as individual as its owner’s personality.” Babies, even siblings, will reach milestones at different times. Medina recommends praising effort by saying things like “You worked really hard!” Why? Kids praised for effort not only want to explore the world around them but will later outscore peers in academic achievement.

Unconditional Parenting The Science of Parenting Already read Brain Rules for Baby? Try The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland or Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn.

Medina, John. 2010. Brain Rules for Baby. Seattle, WA: Pear Press. | http://www.brainrules.net/

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Tough Stuff Display

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 135 - Image      In a generation of self-destruction and abuse, teenagers are struggling to get through these years. Teenagers face a lot of uncertainty because of broken homes and divorces between loved ones. It is hard to find to stability during these tough times. Books can help to give a sense of stability because they help you fall into another world. A tough stuff book display was set up to help teens and other people who are going through hard times. Life is saturated with artificial hopes and promises and this book display will help teens realize they are not alone.

In the display, there are a variety of issues addressed. There are books addressing abuse including Room by Emma Donoghue, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Handling abuse is difficult and these books can help teens feel supported and understood.  Another issue this book display addresses are self-destructive behavior and some of the books that address this specific topic is Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Go Ask Alice by Anonymous. The books from this topic might help you feel less lonely. There are also books that talk about substance abuse like Looking for Alaska by John Green and Crank by Ellen Hopkins. Hopefully this display will provide a type of security and hope to teens. Even though all of these things are hard to turn around and handle, books can provide a certain amount of help. Come check out this display to understand the issues teens are facing right now.


Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: When I Was Eleven


By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

The library is abuzz with word about Thursday’s screening of the documentary I Am Eleven and subsequent tween discussion. While the movie focuses on what it means to be eleven in different cultures, the film is meant for audiences of all ages. Watching the movie should make you reflect on what it was like for you to be eleven. The filmmakers have even made a secondary website http://www.wheniwaseleven.com/ where people of all ages and locations to share the story of their eleven year old self.

This got me thinking. What was I doing at eleven? *envision the wavy memory-fade screen change with harp music to indicate flashback* Christina Keasler

Eleven was a huge year of transition for me. I had just started fifth grade, and had to move from Illinois to Texas a week after school started. It was such a short-notice move, we had to live in a hotel for a while. I had 5 brothers and sisters. That’s right – Two adults, six kids, a cat and a dog all living in a hotel. During the summer between fifth and sixth grade, I had the “brilliant” (but really, just weird) idea to become nocturnal. I’ll just tell you right now that it didn’t work.

Space Camp

It was awesome.

After seeing a commercial for it on TV, I randomly asked my dad to go to Space Camp, to which he replied “Ok.”. Just like that. So, I went to Space Camp. Right before I went, I started to get scared of accidentally being launched into space like the movie from the 80’s with the same name.

Mine looked exactly like this.

Mine looked exactly like this.

Tamagotchis were huge back then. I had saved all my birthday money to buy one, and couldn’t wait to start it. I had zero patience and even though I was leaving for a week, I couldn’t wait to hatch my little Tamagotchi egg. I arranged for a friend to babysit my little electronic pet. I know. I KNOW.

Space Camp Actor with Robot Well, anyway. I had a great week at Space Camp, and I didn’t get accidentally launched into space, or meet a young Joaquin Pheonix or a really 80s robot. TamagotchiWhen I got home, I was anxious to see what my Tamagotchi would look like fully grown without doing any of the work. Well I hate to tell you, but I got the ugly one.


What was/is your life like at eleven? Send your picture and story to ckeasler@gepl.org and you could see it on the Tween Blog!

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Women’s History Month – Part III

Teens Blog BannerWelcome back to Part III of Women’s History Month celebrations on the blog!  Once again, we’re focusing on women in world history for today’s list.  But this time, we’re looking at books set within the last two centuries.  And of course, the books on this list don’t even begin to cover all the amazing books out there, but at least it’s somewhere to start!  Like last time, librarian notes are in italics.

Blog Entry 134 - Image 1Wildthorn by Jane Eagland – Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove has never enjoyed the life of the pampered, protected life girls of wealth were expected to follow in nineteenth century England. It was too confining. She would have much rather been like her older brother, allowed to play marbles, go to school, become a doctor. But little does she know how far her family would go to kill her dreams and desires. Until one day she finds herself locked away in an insane asylum and everyone–the doctors and nurses–insist on calling her Lucy Childs, not Louisa Cosgrove.

Surely this is a mistake. Surely her family will rescue her from this horrible, disgusting place. But as she unravels the mystery, she discovers those are the very people she can’t trust. So who can she? There’s one person–Eliza. As their love grows, Louisa realizes treachery locked her away. Love is the key to freedom. (Description from Amazon.com)

Hannah’s Note: There’s something so gothic, so Wuthering Heights-ish about an asylum story.  Even in a book that is a realistic look at a terrifying and terrible system that went on in the nineteenth century, there is still something ghostly about asylums.  So whether you like gothic stories, romance, or well-researched historical fiction, this is a great pick.

Blog Entry 134 - Image 2Anahita’s Woven Riddle by Meghan Nuttall Sayres – When Anahita, a nomadic weaver in nineteenth-century Iran, learns that her father wants her to wed the leader of her tribe, a man she finds repulsive, she is determined to design her own fate. She devises a contest in which suitors must guess the meaning of a riddle woven into her wedding carpet. Her idea draws the attention of an extraordinary group of men and brings unexpected consequences for those around her.

Who will match Anahita is this game of wits? Or more important, win her heart? This enchanting tale set in an ancient land on the crest of change is enriched with details of Persian culture and Sufi poetry. (Description from the author’s website, www.meghansayres.com)

Hannah’s Note: It’s hard for me to resist a story about a girl avoiding a terrible suitor.  This is part of why I love Catherine, Called Birdy so much, for instance.  In this book, Anahita’s intelligence and wit anchor a story full of wonder and historical detail.  Not only that, but the author is a tapestry weaver, so her expertise lends authenticity to Anahita’s craft, making the world of this book even richer. 

Blog Entry 134 - Image 3Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang – In two volumes, Boxers & Saints tells two parallel stories. The first is of Little Bao, a Chinese peasant boy whose village is abused and plundered by Westerners claiming the role of missionaries. Little Bao, inspired by visions of the Chinese gods, joins a violent uprising against the Western interlopers. Against all odds, their grass-roots rebellion is successful.

But in the second volume, Yang lays out the opposite side of the conflict. A girl whose village has no place for her is taken in by Christian missionaries and finds, for the first time, a home with them. As the Boxer Rebellion gains momentum, Vibiana must decide whether to abandon her Christian friends or to commit herself fully to Christianity. (Descriptions from Goodreads.com)

Hannah’s Note: This is a two-part graphic novel set by a Printz-winning author.  The intertwined stories remind us that people involved in wars and conflicts aren’t usually heroes and villains – usually they are good people who are fighting for what they believe in and what they love.  That, along with the great characters and a chance to learn about a fascinating time in Chinese history, make this graphic novel set a winner!

Blog Entry 134 - Image 4Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed – Rose Cliffe has never met a young lady like her new mistress. Clever, rich, and beautiful, Ada Averley treats Rose as an equal. And Rose could use a friend. Especially now that she, at barely sixteen, has risen to the position of ladies’ maid. Rose knows she should be grateful to have a place at a house like Somerton. Still, she can’t help but wonder what her life might have been had she been born a lady, like Ada.

For the first time in a decade, the Averleys have returned to Somerton, their majestic ancestral estate. But terrible scandal has followed Ada’s beloved father all the way from India. Now Ada finds herself torn between her own happiness and her family’s honor. Only she has the power to restore the Averley name-but it would mean giving up her one true love … someone she could never persuade her father to accept. (Descriptions from Goodreads.com)

Hannah’s Note: Sometimes, you just want to read a good, dramatic story of love and friendship and family drama.  Cinders & Sapphires is all of that, and combine that with a lush pre-World War II aristocratic setting and some great “upstairs-downstairs” dynamics, and this is a perfect read for drama fans, Downton Abbey fans, history fans, and a whole lot of other readers in between.

Blog Entry 134 - Image 5Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys  – Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart. (Descriptions from Goodreads.com)

Hannah’s Note: When read about World War II, most of what we read tends to focus on the US involvement, or Nazi Germany, or England’s valiant defense efforts.  And obviously there are some incredible, fascinating stories told about those parts of the war.  But there are some other amazing World War II stories to be told as well, like this one about a girl suffering hardships under a crushing dictatorship…just not the dictatorship we’re used to hearing about in World War II. 

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Kids: Gallant Girls

By: Courtney Moore, Youth Programming Associate

Not every girl wants glitter or pink flowers. I was a girl who grew up lost and confused in the world of makeup, sequins and other girly girl things. I wanted to jump in the mud, dance in the rain and climb up trees. Imagination led me to worlds where I was the knight in shining armor, or better yet, the princess who ignored the knight and went on her own adventure. When I was younger, I thought that since I wasn’t a girly girl, I was stronger than other girls. The good news is that as I grew up, I learned that my likes and interests didn’t make me better than anyone. Every girl, regardless of how they dress or act, has strength in them. It doesn’t matter what their interest are, but rather their inner strength and passion.

What helped me grow up? Books of course!

What better way to learn than from the mistakes of others. Books allow you the opportunity to explore the failings of fictional characters, and see how they came out of it stronger and wiser. If a character has a problem, you can watch them solve it out without any personal consequence. My favorite books are ones that, not surprisingly, centered on strong girl characters. These are strong-willed girls who aren’t afraid to be themselves, make mistakes, and work for what is important. They are adventurers in fantastic yet familiar worlds they live in.   These girls take the story in their own hands and keep walking forward.

They are strong.

They are gallant.

Celebrate the strength in girls with these great titles!

Picture Books


Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Madeline, smallest and naughtiest of the twelve little charges of Miss Clavel, wakes up one night with an attack of appendicitis.

Pirate Girl

The Pirate Girl by Cornelia Funke

Ferocious pirate Captain Firebeard THINKS that he and the ruthless crew of the “Horrible Haddock” rule the high seas. But Firebeard and his band meet their match when they kidnap a small but feisty girl named Molly.

Lottie Paris Lives Here


Lottie Paris Lives Here by Angela Johnson

Relates a day in the life of a little girl who lives with her Papa Pete in a house across from a park.

Ladybug Girl


Ladybug Girl by David Soman

After her brother tells her she is too little to play with him, Lulu, dressed as Ladybug Girl, makes her own fun.


1st– 2nd Grade

Bink and Gollie

Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo

Two roller-skating best friends–one tiny, one tall–share three comical adventures involving outrageously bright socks, an impromptu trek to the Andes, and a most unlikely marvelous companion.



Babymouse Series by Jennifer Holm

An imaginative mouse dreams of being queen of the world, but will settle for an invitation to the most popular girl’s slumber party.

Nancy Clancy

Nancy Clancy Series by Jane O’Connor

In her chapter book debut, Nancy Clancy must find the culprit when a prized possession goes missing at school.

Lulu and the Brontosaurus


Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst

Lulu’s parents refuse to give in when she demands a brontosaurus for her birthday and so she sets out to find her own, but while the brontosaurus she finally meets approves of pets, he does not intend to be Lulu’s.


3rd-5th Grade

Mixed Up Files

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Having run away with her younger brother to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, twelve-year-old Claudia strives to keep things in order in their new home and to become a changed person and a heroine to herself.

Ella Enchanted


Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

In this novel based on the story of Cinderella, Ella struggles against the childhood curse that forces her to obey any order given to her.



El Deafo by Cece Bell

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful–and very awkward–hearing aid.

Tower of Treasure


Three Thieves Series by Scott Chantler

As an acrobat in a traveling circus, 14-year-old orphan Dessa Redd flies through the air with ease. Still, she is weighed down by troubling memories. But when her ragtag circus troupe pulls into the city of Kingsbridge, Dessa feels a trickle of hope. Maybe here in the royal city she will finally find her twin brother — or the mysterious man who snatched him away when they were just children.


6th-8th Grade


East by Edith Pattou

A young woman journeys to a distant castle on the back of a great white bear who is the victim of a cruel enchantment.

Esperenza Rising

Esperenza Rising by Pan Munoz Ryan

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.



Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Callie rides an emotional roller coaster while serving on the stage crew for a middle school production of Moon over Mississippi as various relationships start and end, and others never quite get going.


Foiled by Jane Yolan

Aliera is a star at fencing, but at school no one notices her–until her new lab partner Avery begins flirting with her. Aliera’s mother just bought her a foil from a garage sale, and it has a strange jewel attached to the hilt. Will Aliera’s first date be ruined when magical creatures try to steal her foil?

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – The Call of the Wild

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 133 - ImageReviewer: Elaine

Book Title: The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Description: Buck, a sturdy crossbreed canine (half St. Bernard, half Shepard), is a dog born to luxury and raised in a sheltered Californian home. But then he is kidnapped and sold to be a sled dog in the harsh and frozen Yukon Territory. Passed from master to master, Buck embarks on an extraordinary journey, proving his unbreakable spirit…

First published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is regarded as Jack London’s masterpiece. Based on London’s experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and his ideas about nature and the struggle for existence, The Call of the Wild is a tale about unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike. (Description from Goodreads.com)

Review: A tame and powerful dog named Buck lives on Judge Miller’s estate in California’s Santa Clara Valley. At that time, the sled dog is high demand; Buck has been kidnapped and sold to a ferocious dog trader who treats Buck badly. He beats Buck constantly to makes him obey his order.

After that, the dog trader sends him north to the Klondike which is a chilly place for a normal dog to live. After Buck sees Curly, another dog on the same ship as him, killed by a group of huskies, he feels he needs to be strong to gain his life. Later on he becomes a sled dog too and starts to learn to fight against other dogs, to scavenge for food, and to adapt the cold environment. Buck became stronger and stronger, he kills the leading dog, replaces him, and becomes the leader.

After his owner sells him to a new master, He wins 1600 dollar wagers for his new master and a sled for him. When his master search for the gold, Buck receives the call from the wild and befriends wolves but he still always comes back to see his master. But one day he finds out his master was killed, then he gets revenge for his master and returns to nature.

This book is pretty significant for me because this is first book I read that was written by Jack London, who is one of my favorite authors. Many of his books are about relationship of living things and nature, which makes people think deeply about human nature and wild instincts. From his writing, London reveals his adoration of nature and optimism about life. He used his entire life to explore what life is like and what life means. Whether in his life or his writing, we can find his pursuit of exploration, strong determination, and respect for life.


Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: Butterfly Feeder


By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

50 Degrees in the Fall and in the Spring

Man! How about that weather last weekend? The library’s been a lot less busy because everyone is outside. Lots of people (including myself) aren’t wearing coats or socks. Sure, it’s kind of chilly today, but I think we can safely say the worst is over. The flowers have sprouted out of the ground, and soon we will be surrounded by the beautiful sights, sounds and smells of spring, and the allergies they bring with them.

Along with flowers and birds, we will soon hope to see butterflies fluttering about outside. Today, I will show you how to make a really easy butterfly feeder so you’ll be able to observe their beauty, as well as help feed struggling butterflies.

What you need:

A sponge

Yarn or twine

¼ cup sugar

1 cup water

What to do:

  • Bring water to boil.
  • Reduce heat, stir in sugar. Let mixture simmer until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Remove from heat, let cool completely.
  • Cut sponge into 4 smaller pieces.
  • Thread yarn or twine through one of the ends of the sponge. Tie ends together to make a loop.
  • Let the sponge absorb solution. Drip out excess.
  • Hang the sponge from hook or branch – wherever you want your butterflies to flock
Butterfly Feeder

picture from http://petdiys.com/sponge-butterfly-feeder/

To learn more about butterflies, visit the North American Butterfly Association.

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Women’s History Month – Part II

Teens Blog BannerWomen’s History Month is still in full swing, so we’re here with another list of great historical fiction about women!  We’re going way back for this list, into Pre-Renaissance world history.  These books don’t even begin to cover all the amazing history that happened in ancient and medieval times, but they’re all great peeks into some fascinating cultures and eras!  All descriptions are from Goodreads.com unless otherwise noted, with librarian notes in italics.

Blog Entry 132 - Image 1Forbidden by Kimberly Griffiths Little – In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

Hannah’s Note: This might be the only YA book I’ve ever heard of set in a Mesopotamian culture!  Combine that with the kind of star-crossed love story anyone can relate to, and there’s something for everyone.  Check it out for a fascinating look at a seldom-written about (in fiction, at least!) world.  

Blog Entry 132 - Image 2Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett – Ariadne is destined to become a goddess of the moon. She leads a lonely life, filled with hours of rigorous training by stern priestesses. Her former friends no longer dare to look at her, much less speak to her. All that she has left are her mother and her beloved, misshapen brother Asterion, who must be held captive below the palace for his own safety.

So when a ship arrives one spring day, bearing a tribute of slaves from Athens, Ariadne sneaks out to meet it. These newcomers don’t know the ways of Krete; perhaps they won’t be afraid of a girl who will someday be a powerful goddess. And indeed she meets Theseus, the son of the king of Athens. Ariadne finds herself drawn to the newcomer, and soon they form a friendship—one that could perhaps become something more.

Yet Theseus is doomed to die as an offering to the Minotaur, that monster beneath the palace—unless he can kill the beast first. And that “monster” is Ariadne’s brother . . .

Hannah’s Note: This re-telling of an ancient myth blends mythology with the real history of Crete.  And for my money, Ariadne is one of the most interesting characters from ancient Greek mythology, one who certainly deserves her own book!

Blog Entry 132 - Image 3Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter – The only daughter of the last queen of Egypt watches her beloved father–Mark Antony–fall on his sword in front of her. Then she hears the haunting wails of the priestesses of Isis on the island of Pharos and knows her mother died. It is the end of Cleopatra’s rule and the start of Selene’s nightmare. Her parent’s vicious enemy, the snake-like Octavianus, forces Cleopatra Selene to march through the streets of Rome in golden chains and then sentences her, along with her brothers, to live as political prisoners in his own home.

There she fights desperately to keep her brothers safe from poisonings and secret assassination attempts. Selene plots furiously to do what she knows her mother Cleopatra would want her to do–reclaim her destiny as the queen of Egypt. While plotting with her mother’s agents in Rome, Selene knows her best shot at retaking Egypt’s throne is to beguile her despised captor’s nephew, Marcellus, the beautiful, golden-haired heir to Octavanius. But Selene unexpectedly falls in love with a fellow political prisoner setting off a deeply personal crisis: Does Selene choose the man she loves over the man who could help her rule Egypt? (Description from Amazon.com)

Hannah’s Note: Everybody’s heard of Cleopatra, and probably a little something about her affairs with two of the most powerful men in the ancient Roman world.  But what is often forgotten are her children – children torn from their native country and brought to the center of one of the most powerful civilizations in history. 

Blog Entry 132 - Image 4Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang –  Athletic and strong willed, Princess Emmajin’s determined to do what no woman has done before: become a warrior in the army of her grandfather, the Great Khan Khubilai. In the Mongol world the only way to achieve respect is to show bravery and win glory on the battlefield. The last thing she wants is the distraction of the foreigner Marco Polo, who challenges her beliefs in the gardens of Xanadu. Marco has no skills in the “manly arts” of the Mongols: horse racing, archery, and wrestling. Still, he charms the Khan with his wit and story-telling. Emmajin sees a different Marco as they travel across 13th-century China, hunting ‘dragons’ and fighting elephant-back warriors. Now she faces a different battle as she struggles with her attraction towards Marco and her incredible goal of winning fame as a soldier.

Hannah’s Note: It’s always fun to look at famous historical figures from the fictional point of view of those around them.  This is especially fun, since we do have Marco Polo’s own writings to tell us about him.  But what about the people he was writing about, in the distant (for him) worlds he was visiting?  

Blog Entry 132 - Image 5Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman – “Corpus Bones! I utterly loathe my life.”

Catherine feels trapped. Her father is determined to marry her off to a rich man–any rich man, no matter how awful.

But by wit, trickery, and luck, Catherine manages to send several would-be husbands packing. Then a shaggy-bearded suitor from the north comes to call–by far the oldest, ugliest, most revolting suitor of them all.

Unfortunately, he is also the richest.

Can a sharp-tongued, high-spirited, clever young maiden with a mind of her own actually lose the battle against an ill-mannered, piglike lord and an unimaginative, greedy toad of a father?

Deus! Not if Catherine has anything to say about it!

Hannah’s Note: Okay, I know this is aimed a bit younger than high school students, BUT!  This is, hands-down, one of my favorite historical fiction books I’ve ever read.  Catherine is sassy, relatable, funny, and someone it’s easy to care deeply about.  The research into the historical details is amazing – and it’s fun to read historical fiction that doesn’t shy away from the dirty, yucky aspects of the medieval world!  If you haven’t read Catherine, Called Birdy before, give it a try.  And if you have, it makes a quick and delightful re-read!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Kids: Community Partnership helps us “Feed our Hungry Neighbors”

By: Amy Waters, School Liaison

The Glen Ellyn Public Library is “so much more than books”. But you already knew that! Maybe you’ve been to our Smart Starts program, created something on our 3-D printer, used a database to learn how to speak Spanish, or rented your Friday night dvds from us. But did you know that the Glen Ellyn Public Library also works with many partners in our area to help meet other needs of our community members?
Last summer we piloted a summer meals program in cooperation with the Northern Illinois Food Bank. We are excited to be participating again this year.
We know that there are many things that can lead to summer slide in education. We want to help fill that gap by helping connect children with books over the summer. But before some of our neighbors can even think about what to read, they are wondering “when will I get something to eat?”
The Glen Ellyn Public Library is an open Summer Meal site. That means, all children 18 an under are invited for lunch. No qualifying, no questions asked. So, if your child has a friend that might benefit but is shy about attending, invite them to eat together. All are welcome! If you have any questions about the Summer Meal program at the GEPL, please feel free to contact me at awaters@gepl.org, 630-790-6737.
Summer Meals
Posted in GEPL Kids