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Because Cats

By: Renee Grassi, Youth Department Director

Cats Sanchez and Gus Lay Together On A Couch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Glen Crest Middle School Battle of the Books Winners!

By: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

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

The contenders:

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

Middle School Reviews – Tangerine

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

What school do you attend?: Hadley

What grade are you in school?: 6th

What are you reviewing?: A book.

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

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

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

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

Posted in Middle School Reviews

Summer Reading

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Summer Weather

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Programming Associate

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

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

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

#WNDB Contemporary Realistic Edition

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

The last couple of weeks, we’ve been focusing on some exciting, adventurous, or straight-up fantastical books for #WeNeedDiverseBooks. But those aren’t the right reads for every person or every time – sometimes you just want to read about people like you, living in a world like yours. Contemporary realistic books can range from funny to heart-wrenching, from small issues to big, from friendships to family to romance. But they all reflect the world around us. If you’re looking for a good book featuring the real world and true-to-life people, try one of these contemporary realistic reads. Descriptions are from goodreads.com.

Check Out The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live

Check Out All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan KielyRashad is absent again today.

That’s the sidewalk graffiti that started it all…

Well, no, actually, a lady tripping over Rashad at the store, making him drop a bag of chips, was what started it all. Because it didn’t matter what Rashad said next — that it was an accident, that he wasn’t stealing — the cop just kept pounding him. Over and over, pummeling him into the pavement.

So then Rashad, an ROTC kid with mad art skills, was absent again…and again…stuck in a hospital room. Why? Because it looked like he was stealing. And he was a black kid in baggy clothes. So he must have been stealing.

And that’s how it started.

And that’s what Quinn, a white kid, saw. He saw his best friend’s older brother beating the daylights out of a classmate. At first Quinn doesn’t tell a soul…He’s not even sure he understands it. And does it matter? The whole thing was caught on camera, anyway. But when the school—and nation—start to divide on what happens, blame spreads like wildfire fed by ugly words like “racism” and “police brutality.” Quinn realizes he’s got to understand it, because, bystander or not, he’s a part of history. He just has to figure out what side of history that will be.

Rashad and Quinn—one black, one white, both American—face the unspeakable truth that racism and prejudice didn’t die after the civil rights movement. There’s a future at stake, a future where no one else will have to be absent because of police brutality. They just have to risk everything to change the world.

Cuz that’s how it can end.

Check Out Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire SáenzA lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz. 

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common.

But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship — the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Check Out If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo – Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda’s terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that at her old school, she used to be Andrew. Will the truth cost Amanda her new life, and her new love?

If I Was Your Girl is a universal story about feeling different — and a love story that everyone will root for.

Check Out The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork – Vicky Cruz shouldn’t be alive.

That’s what she thinks, anyway — and why she tried to kill herself. But then she arrives at Lakeview Hospital, where she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she’s never had.

Yet Vicky’s newfound peace is as fragile as the roses that grow around the hospital. And when a crisis forces the group to split up — sending her back to the life that drove her to suicide — Vicky must find her own courage and strength. She may not have any. She doesn’t know.

Inspired in part by the author’s own experience with depression, The Memory of Light is the rare young adult novel that focuses not on the events leading up to a suicide attempt, but the recovery from one — about living when life doesn’t seem worth it, and how we go on anyway.

Check Out Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz – Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels and categories that seem so important to everyone else in her small Nebraska hometown.

Everywhere she turns, someone feels she’s too fringe for the fringe. Not gay enough for the Dykes, her ex-clique, thanks to a recent relationship with a boy; not tiny and white enough for ballet, her first passion; and not sick enough to look anorexic (partially thanks to recovery). Etta doesn’t fit anywhere — until she meets Bianca, the straight, white, Christian, and seriously sick girl in Etta’s therapy group. Both girls are auditioning for Brentwood, a prestigious New York theater academy that is so not Nebraska. Bianca seems like Etta’s salvation, but how can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself?

The latest powerful, original novel from Hannah Moskowitz is the story about living in and outside communities and stereotypes, and defining your own identity.

Check Out Push Girl by Chelsie Hill and Jessica Love Push Girl by Chelsie Hill and Jessica Love – Kara is a high school junior who’s loving life. She’s popular, has a great group of friends and an amazing boyfriend, and she’s a shoe-in for homecoming queen. Even though her parents can’t stop fighting and her ex-boyfriend can’t seem to leave her alone, Kara won’t let anything get in the way of her perfect year.

It’s Friday night, and Kara arrives at a party, upset after hearing her parents having another one of their awful fights, and sees another girl with her hands all over her boyfriend. Furious, Kara leaves to take a drive, and, as she’s crossing an intersection, a car comes out of nowhere and slams into the driver’s side of Kara’s car.

When Kara wakes up, she has no memory of the night before. Where is she? Why are her parents crying? And, most importantly – why can’t she feel her legs? As Kara is forced to adjust to her new life, where her friends aren’t who they seemed to be and her once-adoring boyfriend is mysteriously absent, she starts to realize that what matters in life isn’t what happens to you – it’s the choices you make and the people you love.

Co-written by “Push Girls” star Chelsie Hill, whose real life closely mirrors Kara’s experience, this novel will open the eyes of readers everywhere who have never met someone who lives with paralysis.

Check Out To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved – five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Road Trip Books and Media

By: Kate Easley, Youth Librarian

I’m about to embark on a 10 hour car trip to Alabama with my husband and our two kids (ages 4 and 1). To say I’m nervous is putting it lightly. This could all go very wrong within the first hour of the trip. However, I have been preparing my bag of goodies for weeks. It contains treats, crafts, toys, movies and lots of books. I’m packing books the kids can look at independently, like search-and-find and touch-and-feel books as well as books that come with a CD.

I’ll also be checking out Playaway Views. If you haven’t had a chance to try out the Playaway Views, you should. They are like little tablets that are pre-loaded with multiple videos and are small enough that your child can hold them easily. My kids are big fans of them because they are easy to use and fun to watch. Hopefully, the trip to Alabama will just fly by. Wish me luck!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Ode to Festivals

By: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Picture Overlooking A Carnival Scene

Carnival season is upon us! Unfortunately, I never get to go to the Taste of Glen Ellyn. It always coincides with my nerdy weekend. It’s a shame, because I LOVE festivals! They’re like farmers markets with rides.

I enjoy seeing the shows and just soaking in the carnival culture. Funnel cake is a must. Growing up, my favorite rides were the spinning teacup type rides and the swings. Now that I’m older, my body has turned against me and I feel sick just looking at them.

Hot Air Balloons Taking Off During Eye To the Skies Festival, Lisle 2013

Eye To the Skies Festival, Lisle 2013

Stick Figure Scarecrow With Pumpkin Head at the Scarecrow Festival, St. Charles 2012

Scarecrow Festival, St. Charles 2012

What I do enjoy are free samples, fortune tellers, demolition derbies, live music and animals. It’s a great way to get outside and see what life has to offer. Festivals sometimes show different ways of living life, so go out there and expand your horizons!To find even more festivals to attend this season, go to Festing.com.

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

#WNDB Fantasy and Sci-Fi Edition

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

This week we have our second #WeNeedDiverseBooks booklist, and it’s made up of two genres that have always been near and dear to me: fantasy and sci-fi! I’m a huge fan of anything speculative fiction, and if you can throw a dragon in there, I might just swoon. But these are also genres that are often even less diverse than others, so it’s always exciting to me when I can pick up a book that fits in my beloved fantasy category, but that also moves beyond the usual genre landscape. See if one of these books will satisfy your fantasy/sci-fi cravings! Descriptions are from goodreads.com.

Check Out the Book A Hero at the End of the World by Erin Claiborne A Hero at the End of the World by Erin Claiborne – Sixteen year-old Ewan Mao knows one thing for certain: according to prophecy, it’s his destiny to kill the evil tyrant whose dark reign has terrorized Britain. Although he’s just a normal boy, deep down Ewan is confident that he has exactly what it takes to be a hero. But when Ewan’s big moment comes, he freezes. His best friend, the clever and talented Oliver Abrams, defeats the villain for him, and Ewan’s bright future crumbles before his eyes.

Five years later, Oliver has a job as an Unusual in the government’s Serious Magical Crimes Agency, the life he and Ewan always dreamed of. But a routine investigation leads him and his partner, Sophie Stuart, to uncover a dangerous and powerful cult… one that seems to have drawn his former best friend into a plot to end the world.

A deftly plotted, hysterically funny take on Chosen One narratives, A Hero at the End of the World expertly walks the fine line between satire and sincerity. Its sensitive depiction of a broken friendship and wry take-down of unfairly great expectations will appeal to all readers of modern fantasy.

Check Out Huntress by Malinda Lo Huntress by Malinda Lo – Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn’t shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people’s survival hangs in the balance.

To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls’ destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.

The exciting adventure prequel to Malinda Lo’s highly acclaimed novel Ash is overflowing with lush Chinese influences and details inspired by the I Ching, and is filled with action and romance.

Check Out Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac – Years ago, seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen and her family lived in a world of haves and have-nots. There were the Ones — people so augmented with technology and genetic enhancements that they were barely human — and there was everyone else who served them. Then the Cloud came, and everything changed. Tech stopped working. The world plunged back into a new steam age. The Ones’ pets — genetically engineered monsters — turned on them and are now loose on the world.

Lozen was not one of the lucky ones pre-C, but fate has given her a unique set of survival skills and magical abilities. She hunts monsters for the Ones who survived the apocalyptic events of the Cloud, which ensures the safety of her kidnapped family. But with every monster she takes down, Lozen’s powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear to Lozen that she is not just a hired gun. As the legendary Killer of Enemies was in the ancient days of the Apache people, Lozen is meant to be a more than a hunter. Lozen is meant to be a hero.

Check Out Pantomime by Laura LamPantomime by Laura Lam – In a land of lost wonders, the past is stirring once more.

Gene’s life resembles a debutante’s dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility. Gene is both male and female. Then she displays unwanted magical abilities – last seen in mysterious beings from an almost-forgotten age. Matters escalate further when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees home, dressed as a boy.

The city beyond contains glowing glass relics from a lost civilization. They call to her, but she wants freedom not mysteries. So, reinvented as ‘Micah Grey’, Gene joins the circus. As an aerialist, she discovers the joy of flight – but the circus has a dark side. She’s also plagued by visions foretelling danger. A storm is howling in from the past, but will she heed its roar?

Check Out Proxy by Alex London Proxy by Alex London – Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.

Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.

Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.

Check Out The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness – What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

Check Out The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi The Star Touched Queen by Roshani ChokshiFate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire.

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

Check Out Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee Zeroboxer by Fonda LeeA Sci-Fi Thrill Ride Set in the Action-Packed Sports Arena of the Future.

A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm––a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity and stolen his heart along the way.

As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices place everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Five Senses Science

By: Bari Ericson, Youth Programming Associate

Astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble said, “Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.”

Children use their five senses every day to gather data about their world. Here are a few fun activity and book ideas to fuel your young scientists’ explorations.


The outside world shapes children’s development through experiences, which include using their five senses—hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch. Drawing a child’s attention to the five senses and discussing them increases understanding of and communication about the world around them.



When children play games that involve sight, they’re also practicing early literacy skills! Sight games help children recognize words, patterns, objects…and help them develop their memory!

  • Play “I Spy”: While reading a book or taking part in everyday activities, play “I Spy” with the child about things he/she sees on different pages of the book, throughout the house or out on errands.
  • Memory Game: Place four or five familiar objects on a tray. Give children one minute to look at all of the items and then cover the tray and ask the children to share what they saw on the tray. As children get used to this game, they will begin to focus more on the objects so that they are able to share when the tray is covered again.



Over time, children will recognize certain smells as comforting, yummy, scary, exciting, etc. Encourage the child to experiment with scents and smells that he/she recognizes and those that are more unfamiliar.

  • Blindfolded Smell Test: Blindfold the child and place some familiar scents under his/her nose, such as chocolate, cinnamon, playdough, etc. Ask him/her questions such as: What do you smell? Do you recognize it? Does it remind you of something else?



Like other skills that children learn, listening takes practice. Developing good listening habits helps children get important information from family members, teachers, friends and coaches.

  • Patterning: Using your hands or another object, make clapping patterns. Take turns having the adult lead, followed by the child leading a pattern, and vice versa. After doing clapping patterns, try the same routine with bells or another noise-making object. Ask the child: Which sequence is harder to repeat—the claps or the bells? Which sound do you prefer to listen to? Which sound is louder?
  • Take a Sound Hike!: Whether taking a sound hike at the mall, a nearby park or on a family trip, ask children to notice the sounds they hear and then use sound words as they describe them.



Children develop taste preferences based on what they are fed when they’re in the early years of their lives. Helping children think about which tastes they do and do not prefer will encourage them to try new foods and/or new combinations of foods.

  • Identify Foods: Gather up different foods (preferably that the child enjoys!) and have each child taste each food and guess what it is as he/she is blindfolded or has their eyes covered. While the child is tasting, discuss certain words such as sweet, salty, sour, bitter, fruity, etc. that will help him/her understand the meaning of the words.



Children learn about their bodies and how to communicate with others through touch. Most of the feeling that we do happens through our feet and our hands.  Taking part in activities where children feel with their feet and hands help them learn how to write, button their shirts, tie their shoes, etc.

  • Feeling With Your Feet: Have the child, barefooted, feel things with his/her feet and think about the way it feels. Some things to try include paint, playdough, grass and carpet. Ask the child questions such as: What does it feel like? Do you like the way it feels? Is it rough or smooth? Cold or hot? Does it tickle your feet? Do the same activity with your hands!
  • Pillow Play: Place familiar objects inside of an empty pillowcase. Let the child try to guess what the objects are. Help the child describe how each object feels. Vary the activity by using holiday/seasonal items or items with a theme such as animals or shapes.


Sources For More Ideas:

Read, Write, Think: Engaging the Five Senses to Learn About Our World

University of Illinois Extension: Teaching Children about the Five Senses

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth