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GEPL Teens: Teens Write – What I Don’t Read

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 148 - ImageLibrarian note: we talk a lot on this blog about what people do read, and what they love. But sometimes, we find that certain types of books or genres just don’t appeal to us – and that’s okay! One teen blogger explores some of the books that she doesn’t read, and why.

Many teenagers enjoy reading fantasy books and science fiction because they are fun and easy to read. I myself have read the Harry Potter series and the Lord of Rings when I was middle school. The only reason I read these books is that they are popular in our school and many of my friends love them, so they recommend them to me. But overall, I don’t really like to read science fiction. In my opinion they are fantastic books to read for killing time, but I personally didn’t find any deeper thought and knowledge from them.

To be honest, Harry Potter is the most interesting book I have ever read, and I was waiting for the movie to come out so anxiously when I finished reading the books. But even though I like the plots of science fiction, I find only can read them for entertainment. For science fiction books, I often borrow them from library instead of buying them. Not only because they are expensive in the bookstores but also they make me feel boring when I read them second time. Just like entertainment movies, for example, I wouldn’t watch them many times. But after all, science fiction is still a popular genre for many teenagers to read.


Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: Read for Heroes


By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

Summer reading is upon us! You can even register online. Students entering grades 6-8 will be stylish all summer in their GEPL sunglasses that they will receive by registering for our summer reading program. The last couple years, GEPL readers have helped local organizations, and this year is no different. 2015’s theme is Read for Heroes. After reaching our goal, $2,000 will be split and donated to our local police and fire departments. This money will be used to help bring in new recruits that help make Glen Ellyn a safe place.

If the altruistic theme, and sunglasses, weren’t enough, we have prizes to reward you for all of your hours spent reading. The reading tiers have rewards like bowling, rock climbing, and mini golf passes, and of course FREE PIZZA!

After our ice cream social on June 8, readers earn a drawing slip each day they check in. Middle schoolers can use these drawing slips to enter for a weekly chance to win gift cards from Amazon or iTunes, rock climbing passes from Vertical Endeavors, or movie passes from Studio Movie Grill – or enter into our summer-long drawing to try and win a new Nintendo 3DS!

I know, this is awesome. And you can get this all for just reading!

But we’re not done yet.

Young Christina

Did that get your attention? Right now you’re asking, “What in the world am I looking at?!?!?!”

Well, I’ll tell you. You’re looking at a picture of me from eighth grade. Not my finest hour. This year, Teen Librarian Hannah and I are creating a competition between middle school and high school readers. Now, the more you read, the more crazy and embarrassing things Hannah and I have to do. I am asking middle schoolers to read an average of 60 hours this summer. In good faith, we are both releasing an embarrassing picture to get started. Here’s the plan:

15 hours: Hannah and I take part in the Marvel vs. DC Nerf War happening June 26. I’m repping for DC.

25 hours: We have to wear funny/weird outfits for a week.

35 hours: With our powers – and legs – combined, Hannah and I will do a timed three-legged race around the GEPL parking lot.

45 hours: It’s a break dance fight!

60 hours: A secret, public, and LIVE event!

All of these stunts will be documented and posted online, so don’t worry about missing it. Once either middle school or high school reaches a tier, we are bound to perform the stunt. The group that has read the most by the end of the summer will not only receive bragging rights, but the correlating librarian will have to do AN EXTRA EMBARRASSING (secret) THING!

Don’t let me down guys. I know we can stomp the high schoolers!

I’ll start practicing my breakdance moves.

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – Dove Arising

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 147 - ImageJust when I think I’m over the dystopian or futuristic totalitarian government thing, I read something that gets me excited all over again about these types of books, and today’s sci-fi/dystopia hybrid What I Just Read definitely got my psyched about the genre again!

What I Just Read: Dove Arising by Karen Bao

What’s It About (Jacket Description): Phaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the Moon. She’s barely spoken since her father died in an accident nine years ago. She cultivates the plants in Greenhouse 22, lets her best friend talk for her, and stays off the government’s radar.

Then her mother is arrested.

The only way to save her younger siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the faceless army that polices the Lunar bases and protects them from attacks by desperate Earth dwellers. Training is brutal, but it’s where Phaet forms an uneasy but meaningful alliance with the preternaturally accomplished Wes, a fellow outsider.

Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom: that’s the plan. Until Phaet’s logically ordered world begins to crumble…

Suspenseful, intelligent, and hauntingly prescient, Dove Arising stands on the shoulders of our greatest tales of the future to tell a story that is all too relevant today.

Did I Like It: I really, really did!

Thoughts: Okay, so yes, a lot of things about this book in theory remind me of a lot of other dystopian novels. But in practice, it just means that the things I know and love about other dystopias – the slowly growing awareness of the main character that something is wrong with her world, the intense fighting and training scenes, the deep love and ties that bind people together despite bad circumstances – are also present in this book. So I really think that if you loved Divergent or Legend or The Hunger Games, you will love Dove Arising. But of course, it’s not enough for a book to have things we love from other books, it has to have something special. And I think Dove Arising has something special – a lot of somethings special. If I’m totally honest, I liked it even better than Divergent, and I can’t wait for the sequel!

As always with me, a lot rides on the characters. And Phaet is a great main character. Her quiet and calm are something relatively rare in a genre featuring a lot of outspoken, impulsive, and (yes) awesome women. Phaet is as strong and powerful as any of them, but in her own way. She is crazy smart, and particularly drawn to math and science, knowledge that helps her in her military training as well. She loves growing things and the stars, almost as much as her family. She is exceptionally driven, and works extremely hard to achieve academic as well as physical success. She is much more interested in securing a future for herself and her family than she is in any kind of romance, but she maintains these priorities without dismissing the importance of love and affection.

I also thought the world building was an added element of awesomeness. Because of the nature of trying to survive on the moon, a lot of the more restrictive aspects of the government make sense, and it also makes sense that people would put up with it. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of corruption and a lot of bad things happening, but it makes the whole world seem more believable and realistic. Between the world, a plot that moves quickly, and plenty of action and excitement, I couldn’t put Dove Arising down. I do have to add one negative to my thoughts, though: this book will leave you desperate for more, with no release date yet for the sequel! The agony!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: Tween Programming This Week


By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

May the Fourth Be With You


Man! We have a lot of middle school programming happening this week! Monday was National Star Wars Day.



Edible R2D2Kids from 4th through 8th grade were able to make edible R2D2s and fold origami Yodas.

While Monday was the official day to celebrate Star Wars, fans have taken it the extra mile – and an extra day (or 2).

But I’ve heard “Revenge of the Fifth” and “Revenge of the Sixth”. Both can work. What do you use?

Revenge of the Fifth

Friday from 12-3, any middle schooler that’s not in school is welcome to come to the library to eat pizza, play with board games and iPads, and hang out in general. Be sure to visit, as we’re unveiling our newest toy: the Sphero. See the possibilities!


Finally, this Saturday at 12:00, participate in our Super Smash Brothers Brawl competition! We will be playing on the Wii console, and competitors are welcome to bring their own controller if they wish. First, second, and third place will receive a gift card from GameStop. First place will also win the coveted GEPL trophy and bragging rights.

We have a lot happening for tweens this week, and I hope to see you soon!

What are the odds? The information I learned about kites came in handy last weekend. I totally seemed like a kite expert. THE MORE YOU KNOW!

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Kids: May the Fourth Be With You

By: Courtney Moore, Youth Programming Associate

Are you a Jedi? Have you dedicated your life to the light side of the Force? May 4th, May the Fourth Be With You, is a day dedicated to all things Star Wars. Are the Jedi not quite your style? Many fans show their dark side on May 5th, Revenge of the Fifth, a day celebrating Sith Lords and Star Wars anti-heroes. After all, the Dark Side has Cookies!

May 4th might be considered the best day to jump into the epic adventure of Star Wars, but its never too late to begin. Below are some books that are great for beginners as well as veteran fans.

No matter which side of the Force you choose, remember that the Force is like Duct Tape. It has a Light side and a Dark side, and it holds the Universe together!

Picture Book Collection

The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight by Tony DiTerlizzi

Retells Luke Skywalker’s journey from a Tatooine farm boy to a Jedi Knight, as he learns how to use the Force in the battle against the Empire. In this picture book collection filled with brilliant pictures, young children can follow Luke’s adventure right from the very beginning.


Easy Reader Collection

Meet the Rebels by Sadie Smith

Introduces some of the characters from the series “Star Wars Rebels,” a television show, set between Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It follows the former Jedi Kanan Jarrus and his ragtag crew aboard the starship Ghost as they struggle against the evil rule of the Galactic Empire.

Fiction Collection

Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown

Roan’s one dream is to leave home and attend Pilot Academy like his older brother, father, and grandfather. But just as Roan is mysteriously denied entrance to Pilot School, he is invited to attend Jedi Academy–a school that he didn’t apply to and only recruits children when they are just a few years old. That is, until now…


Youth Books Referencing Star Wars

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Sixth-grader Tommy and his friends describe their interactions with a paper finger puppet of Yoda, worn by their weird classmate Dwight, as they try to figure out whether or not the puppet can really predict the future. Includes instructions for making Origami Yoda.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.

For Adults/Parents

Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown

What if Darth Vader took an active role in raising his son? What if ‘Luke, I am your father’ was just a stern admonishment from an annoyed dad? In this hilarious and sweet comic re-imagining, Darth Vader is a dad like any other– except with all the baggage of being the Dark Lord of the Sith.

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Staying Motivated

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 146 - ImageSummer is right around the corner, which means school is finally coming to an end. After nine months of testing, homework, and studying, it is time to give yourself a break and spend the days sitting at the beach or watching Netflix till 1:00 a.m. Unfortunately there are still a few weeks left until you can completely relax and take time for yourself, and it can be difficult to motivate yourself to push through the little bit of school left. There are a few things you can do to inspire yourself to finish the year off strong though.

The first thing is to think about the fun things that will happen during summer break, like vacations or seeing your friends or spending time with family. This will help you remember that fun things are coming soon, but not until after you work hard and push yourself through school. The second thing to motivate yourself is to study or do homework outside. Spending time outside will allow you to enjoy spring/summer weather while getting your work done. A third tip is to reward yourself for the little things that you do like getting a good grade on a test or finishing another week of school. Rewards can be a simple pleasure like getting ice cream or going out with friends, and rewarding yourself will motivate you to do more and accomplish more while you are slipping into summer mode. My fourth tip is to give yourself “me time” to reflect on the school year and also to ground yourself in your surroundings. This will help you be more practical when it comes to finishing loads of homework and studying for difficult tests. My last tip is to set up goals you want to accomplish before the school year ends. Having goals will keep you on track throughout the last few weeks of school. Every student and teacher wants it to be summer and everyone wants to start relaxing, but you cannot forget that there are still tests and finals coming up shortly. These tips will help you stay engaged while school is winding down and summer is getting closer.


Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Game of Thrones Read-Alikes

Teens Blog BannerNow into its fifth season, Game of Thrones on HBO has brought high fantasy mainstream. Many of those who didn’t think they would be interested in ice zombies, dragons, magic, or crazy names like “Cersei” and “Melisandre” have been hooked. Between the drama, politics, backstabbing, mysteries, in-depth explorations of flawed characters, and (of course) a fascinating fantasy world, a wide variety of people have found something to love about the Game of Thrones TV series. But the show is only one for ten episodes once a year, and fans want ways to keep the excitement going! Whether you’re looking to complement a viewing of the TV series with some similar reading, or want to build up your to-be-read pile to tide you over between seasons, here’s a few books you might want to try:

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – Just released this week, An Ember in the Ashes is set in a brutal and violent world based in part on ancient Rome. With battles, warriors, and spying, and chock full of political and social conflicts, An Ember in the Ashes is a great choice for those who appreciate how gritty and brutal GoT is, as well as its strong characters and world-building.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson – If the combination of fantasy and politics is what you love about GoT, Rae Carson’s fantasy trilogy about a princess who has to learn to be a leader will definitely appeal to you. Bonus points for fantasy religious elements, if debating the Seven vs. the Red God is more your style.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore – First of all, seven kingdoms. Second of all, main character with staggeringly awesome fighting prowess who is at the mercy of her cruel king. Katsa’s story in some ways is like if The Hound or The Mountain decided to fight for justice instead of the Lannisters. Third of all, a truly corrupt and sadistic antagonist who you will probably hate at least as much as Joffrey.

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Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers – This series opener is mainly historical, with only the lightest elements of fantasy, so those of you who are less into swords and sorcery and more into the politics, intricate power alliances, and backstabbing of GoT, this book is for you! Not to mention it features assassin nuns – seriously!

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik – Soldiers riding companion dragons into war, complete with military strategy? Dany fans rejoice. Oh, and did we mention the dragons? Because this series has LOTS of dragons.

Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien – The elder statesman of all fantasy, did anyone doubt this would make the list? While many parts of GoT actually break down fantasy tropes like the good vs. evil battles and the heroic actions of the Fellowship, Tolkien’s masterpiece does feature outstanding world-building and new languages, not to mention romance and action. If you love to immerse yourself in Westerosi cultures and languages, LoTR might be the right choice for you.

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Prophecy by Ellen Oh – The main character of Prophecy is the only female warrior in the king’s army, which probably reminds you of a certain lady knight we all know and love. With high fantasy and action, and yes, dragons, this book is perfect for all of you who kind of wish they’d make a whole show about Brienne.

The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson – For those who really don’t want anything to do with fantasy outside of GoT, give The Tyrant’s Daughter a try. A girl coming to grips with the reality of her dictator father may remind you of Dany learning just how terrible the Targaryens could be, and the maneuvering between Laila’s mother and the CIA will satisfy your urge for politics and manipulation.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski – Fantasy without so much of the sorcery, but with plenty of other elements to recommend this fictional world. With politics galore, warring factions, slave rebellions, and a star-crossed friendship and love, The Winner’s Curse is perfect for anyone particularly invested in the actual game of thrones portion of GoT.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu – This dark fantasy from the author of Legend features a deeply flawed main character with a lust for power, who will definitely remind you of some of the anti-heroes who we know and love (or hate) on GoT. And Lu is not afraid of some viciousness and violence in her world, which is something many will recognize from Westeros.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Kids: Screen Free Week

By: Kate Easley, GEPL Youth Librarian

Next week is Screen-Free Week which is a great time to put down your phone or tablet, turn off the t.v., and enjoy time with your family and friends. Use this week to go outside and play, plant a garden, or just lay in the sun. Bring the family to the Library so you can stock up on books, magazines, and audiobooks or play at the train table or puppet theater. Enjoy your time off from the screen and show your kids how fun it can be to unplug!

These books have fun ideas to do while you take a break from the screen:

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – The House on Mango Street

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 144 - ImageBook: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Reviewer: Sabrina

Summary: Acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero.

Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers. (Description from Goodreads.com)

Review: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is a series of vignettes that teach the importance of writing and literature. The whole book has a theme about how writing will set you free. Esperanza is the main character in the book and experiences a life far from lavish. She continues to move from one place to another, not knowing where she is going to go next. She is uncomfortable in her own skin, and this is a problem that a lot of teens can relate to. Esperanza is a character who is clumsy and awkward but you can’t help but fall in love with her. All the characters string together to show the difficulties in life that prevent one from accomplishing dreams.

I would rate this book at an eight out of ten. I love how even if you aren’t a Latina teen girl, you can still relate to many of the struggles in this book. The author wonderfully illustrates what coming of age looks like for teens and the hardships teens have to go through. I do have to say though that the vignettes are sometimes unrelated to each other and you do have to dig deep to get a greater understanding of the themes. Overall, I feel like this is good short read but holds a lot of great literature.



Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: Kites


By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

It’s certainly been windy outside lately. This is the perfect weather for kite flying. Now, you’re probably saying, “Miss Christina, why in the world would I want to fly a kite? That’s dumb.” To which, I would reply “Nonsense, middle schooler! Flying kites is super cool!” And you would believe me, because you always have to believe a librarian – a guardian of knowledge.

Flying a Kite

I told you flying kites was cool.


Did you know there are many different types of kites? I’m not just talking about the ones that fly, and the ones that drag on the ground, but the different shapes have different names. Some are even specific to a particular geographical region.

These are the “big three” in kite-dom. I know, now you’re super excited to fly a kite and you’re thinking, “Way to go, Miss Christina. Now I really want to fly a kite immediately, but don’t have one. What am I to do???”

Well, my awesome middle schooler, I have a solution: MAKE ONE IMMEDIATELY!

The library has quite a few books that will teach you how to make a kite or many other flying objects.

Kiteworks by Maxwell Eden

Kiteworks by Maxwell Eden

Find out about Flight by Peter Mellett

Find out about Flight by Peter Mellett

Additionally, Instructables.com has a great tutorial to make your very own diamond-shaped kite.

Pictures of your kites, or any other tween creation can be sent to ckeasler@gepl.org.

Posted in GEPL Tweens