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GEPL Teens: Teens Review – The Pixar Touch

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By: Matt J., Teen Blogger

The Pixar Touch by David Price Book CoverI read a book not too long ago called “The Pixar Touch”, based on the titular company. It talks about the history of Pixar Animation Studios and how they went from a low level group to the world’s greatest animation studio. The book begins with future president of Pixar Ed Catmull dreaming of being an animator, though he couldn’t be qualified, so he switched the CG, and eventually got bought by George Lucas to form the Lucasfilm computer graphics division. Then a fired Disney animator John Lassiter was hired by Catmull to work for the division. Eventually, they were bought by Apple creator Steve Jobs in 1986 and they became Pixar.

They made CG shorts before Disney allowed then to make a movie, which turned out to eventually become “Toy Story,” the first ever computer-animated film and goes deeper into the making of the film and the corporate feud they had with former Disney chairman Jeffery Katzenberg and eventually Disney CEO Michael Eisner and how they were acquired by Disney. Unlike “The Pixar Story” documentary, this book goes deeper into the history of the company. What I enjoy the most of this book were the things that the film never showed to us. I liked reading out the 1998 battle between Pixar and DreamWorks (“A Bug’s Life” vs. “Antz”), as well as the two lawsuits for “Monsters Inc.”, first with a Wyoming poet who claims they stole the idea from her and then with a well know artist who claims Mike and Sully were taken from his own characters. Overall, I enjoy this book more than the movie because it goes deeper into the history of Pixar Animation Studios.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: What I’m Reading Now – Walk on Earth a Stranger

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae CarsonIf you’ve ever heard me raving about The Girl of Fire and Thorns series, it should come as no surprise that I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the first book in Rae Carson’s next series. Lucky for me, I managed to score an advanced copy to get a sneak peek at the book, which will be released on September 22!

What I’m Reading Now: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

What’s It About (Jacket Description): Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

Do I Like It: I’m racing through it and it’s written by Rae Carson, so I think it’s safe to say yes!

Thoughts: Walk on Earth a Stranger is a very different book from The Girl of Fire and Thorns series, but that’s not necessarily bad. If you do want to know what it has in common with the GoFaT series, rest assured that Lee is a strong, smart heroine, that there is action and adventure, and that the magic is compelling and a big part of the main character’s life.

Walk on Earth a Stranger is in many ways a Western – a trend that seems to be popping up more and more in young adult literature, and which I’m starting to be a fan of. Lee has grown up in a small Georgia town that was founded on a gold rush, though even her ability hasn’t been able to keep her family rich, unless they want the world to know about her magic and try to use her or hurt her as a result. So Lee mainly helps provide for her family by hunting, caring for their animals, splitting wood, and doing whatever else she can to keep their small farmstead running. Unlike many novels, this isn’t portrayed as Lee being better than other more “ladylike” women, but instead as a simple necessity for her family. I really like that aspect of the book, since I sometimes get tired of a heroine being portrayed as better just because she’s less girly. In Lee’s case, she’s not better, just different.

I also liked how quickly Carson establishes the world of the story. In the first few scenes, we are introduced to Lee as a character, some of her abilities (like hunting and gold-seeking,) and her family. I immediately felt connected to Lee and her family in just a short time, which is important so that we as readers can understand how devastating it is for Lee when things start to go wrong. Where I’m at, the tension is really starting to ramp up, and new adventures are beginning. I’m excited to see where the story goes, how the hints of a more widespread magical world play out, and how Lee’s abilities come into play in this only slightly altered version of our own world. Walk on Earth a Stranger promises to be a great adventure story, a good friendship story, well-researched historical fiction, and an introduction to a fascinating magical system.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Kids: SRP Wrap-up: Thank You, Summer Reading Donors!

By: Renee Grassi, Youth Department Director

Read for Heroes Male Firefighter and Female Police OfficerThis year’s Summer Reading Program “Read for Heroes” was a resounding success!

In the Youth Department, kids finished the summer reading a total of 80,254 hours. That’s 10,254 hours over their 70,000 hour community goal! In addition, kids managed to make their 70,000 hour goal 4 days before the end of summer reading—a new record! Glen Ellyn is surely a community of readers!

We are fortunate that our annual Summer Reading Programs receive such strong support from local businesses each and every year. The Youth Department is especially grateful for the multitude of donations that were given as incentives and rewards to children who achieved their reading goals. Thank you, local businesses, for supporting our Summer Reading Program and for encouraging the next generation of life-long readers! We couldn’t have done it without you!

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Fandoms

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By: Ashley H., Teen Blogger

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Book CoverI recently read an interview of Cassie Clare and Maggie Stiefvater about the darker side of their fandoms through the internet. Explaining that some of their “fans” on social media made them feel dehumanized. The article talked about the hate that the authors received from some people in their fandoms on a daily basis. In my opinion there will always be hate, it’s just human nature. But now with the internet, people can make threats that still are seen but through a computer screen.

Even though the article focused on the fans that aren’t truly fans, that’s only a small portion of a fandom. To me a fandom is like a bunch of new friends who love the same show or book as I do. It’s a collective group that supports each other. People create and share beautiful fan art of their favorite characters or write fanfiction, creating a new character and placing them in their favorite universe, or they scroll through Tumblr to see what other people have created and reblog it. In some cases people find new friends due to fandoms, because of how much importance a certain book or TV show has to them. Another amazing thing is that with social media, fans can share their amazing art and stories with each other and even with actors or authors. They can even ask questions and get answers, or even get retweeted and be seen by some of their idols. What I have experienced with my many fandoms isn’t hate, though it exists, but love and support. As upset as I am that some people would cross the line between fan and hater, I am happy to say that both authors, Cassie and Maggie, recognize that there are people in their fandoms that do love their books and even defend them against hate that is sent. Fandoms in their entirety is one of the best things about a book or TV show, and I hope that people will experience the same things I have if they ever join one.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Great Character Alert – Willowdean Dickson

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Dumplin by Julie Murphy Book CoverYou guys, if you haven’t already heard of this book, it is officially time to get super excited about Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. This book has been getting a lot of buzz, and I was able to score and advanced copy for my ereader. As of the time I’m writing this, I’m about 20% in, so I won’t be reviewing the book as a whole. But at 20% in, I can tell you for sure that the main character, Willowdean Dickson, is worthy of a top level Great Character Alert, because she is FABULOUS.

Willowdean lives in a small town in Texas famous for its teen beauty pageant, which her mom (a former winner) helps run every. Willowdean, however, is more interested in her best friend Ellen, music, and her work crush Bo than she is in beauty pageants. She is also, in her own words, a “resident fat girl.” As far into the book as I am, I already love Will. She is unapologetic about her size, her ideas, the fact that she has a crush on a jock, or anything else. She loves her best friend more than almost anything, puts up with her mom’s pageant diets and criticisms while still loving her, and sticks up for a girl at school getting teased.

All of which is not to say that Will is perfect, or that everything is going perfectly for her. She does get insecure sometimes, especially when it seems like Bo might be interested in her. She is also insecure about her friendship with Ellen, which comes out when Ellen starts talking more with a work friend from the trendy boutique she works at. She is not immune to being frustrated with her mother, or apathetic about school. She misses her aunt Lucy, who died before the start of the book, and sometimes takes this out on others.

But Will is smart, funny, confident, thoughtful, and witty. She loves to sing to Dolly Parton, spends mornings and afternoons at the pool with Ellen, and jumps at a chance to try on one of the hallowed pageant crowns, despite her disinterest in the competition overall. Her realness and fun makes her someone that I can not only picture knowing in real life, but someone I wish I knew in real life! I’m sure I’ll continue to love Dumplin’ as I follow the rest of Willowdean’s story, and if you place your holds now, you can find out ASAP when the book comes out in September if you feel the same!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Kids: Digital Resources

By: Bari Ericson, Youth Programming Associate

During the GEPL Youth Department remodel, check out these digital resources, available 24/7!

BookFlix LogoBookFlix
This site provides video versions of popular picturebooks. Each of the over 110 stories is paired with a simple non-fiction e-book title to explore the subject further. Puzzles and games are offered to try out what you have learned. Themes also have links to other educational websites that allow you to explore the topics in greater depth. Designed for pre-school through 3rd grade.

CultureGrams LogoCultureGrams
The CultureGrams Online Database is a leading reference for concise, reliable, and up-to-date cultural information on countries across the globe. This resource includes thousands of images and interviews with native inhabitants. Fun extras include state bird sound files, a distance calculator and at least five recipes from each country.

GoGrolier LogoGrolier Online
Eight encyclopedia databases are combined on one site to help with homework and welcome exploration. This digital resource offers an extensive general encyclopedia, dictionary and maps. Look for science topics in “Amazing Animals of the World” and “Popular Science.” Research state history and current events in “America the Beautiful,” or other countries and cultures in “Land and Peoples.”

International Children's Digital Library LogoInternational Children’s Digital Library
This foundation promotes tolerance and respect for diverse cultures by providing access to the best in children’s literature from around the world. Browse by age, genre, book length, character types, or even the color of a book’s cover. ICDL is a great resource for books in other languages.

ScienceFlix LogoScienceFlix
A vast variety of topics in the areas of earth science, space, life science, health and human body, physical science, technology and engineering are profiled. View experiments which explore a hypothesis, objectives, procedures, observations and results. Other features include information about careers in science and recent news.

TrueFlix LogoTrueFlix
Over 80 non-fiction social studies, history and science themes are explored in video and e-book formats. All of the titles are paired with an introductory video quiz and vocabulary practice that you can complete before and after you read. Designed for grades 3 and up.

Tumblebooks LogoTumbleBooks
TumbleBooks adds animation, narration and music to favorite picturebooks. Non-fiction and foreign language titles are also included. Chapter books with sequence highlighting and narration are offered as Read-Alongs. E-Books and audiobooks may be viewed online or downloaded. Be sure to try the National Geographic videos and games! Aimed at pre-school through elementary school-aged children.

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – All The Bright Places

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By: Allison G.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven Book CoverWhat I Just Read: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Jacket Description: An exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death. Every day he thinks of ways he might die, but every day he also searches for—and manages to find—something to keep him here, and alive, and awake.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her small Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school—six stories above the ground—it’s unclear who saves whom. And when the unlikely pair teams up on a class project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, they go, as Finch says, where the road takes them: the grand, the small, the bizarre, the beautiful, the ugly, the surprising—just life live.

Soon it’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a bold, funny, live-out-loud guy, who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet forgets to count away the days and starts living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is a heart-wrenching, unflinching story of love shared, life lived, and two teens who find one another while standing on the edge.

Did I Like It: Definitely one of my favorite books now, I couldn’t put it down!

Thoughts: Having just finished this book, I’m still thinking about it and feeling all the emotions that books like this make you feel. I was hesitant to start reading this book because I was afraid it would be solely focused on the fact that both main characters had contemplated suicide, which wasn’t the sort of book I wanted to read. But I finally started to read it and I became pleasantly surprised. Once I got into it, I loved reading about how their relationship was progressing. As Finch and Violet went on adventures and got themselves into all kinds of mischief, they learned more about each other and I learned more about myself. This book gave me different perspectives on life since it’s told from the viewpoints of both Finch and Violet, who obviously live very different lives.

Nothing about this book disappointed me, I loved every single page. This quote from the School Library Journal perfectly sums up my feelings on this book: “The writing in this heartrending novel is fluid, despite the difficult topics… Finch in particular will linger in readers’ minds long after the last page is turned.” Just as the quote says, Finch’s character and his personality have stayed with me (as weird as that might sound). I find myself seeing parts of his personality in other people and parts of Violet’s personality in myself. Lastly, I was excited to learn that All the Bright Places is going to become a movie starring Elle Fanning as Violet and it’s set to be released in 2017.


Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: Top Middle School Reader

Tweens Blog Purple BannerBy: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

Meet our top middle school reader, Jeff Johnston! He’s an eighth grader at Hadley Junior High and finished up the summer reading program with 171 hours and 45 minutes!
Jeff Johnston Standing By Book Shelves

Wow! His secret: listening to Playaways while doing chores like mowing the lawn and walking the dog. He loves that the library has such a variety, and reads all genres. If he had to pick a favorite, it would be realistic fiction.

Somehow, beyond all that reading, Jeff, a former GEPL volunteer, has had a very eventful summer. When he’s not reading or listening to books he’s playing sports. He enjoys soccer and basketball, but soccer is his favorite. He visits the Glen Ellyn Park District Rec Center to play basketball, ultimate Frisbee, and wall ball with his friends.

He even went to Europe for three weeks in July, and made it back in time to compete against the Glen Ellyn firefighters in our tug of war.

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Summer Reading Wrap-Up

Teens Blog Orange BannerBy: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Much to everyone’s dismay, the end of summer is finally almost here. School starts next week, the weather is getting cooler, and of course, summer reading is over – though the humiliation for me is not!

The most important thing about this year’s summer reading is that you guys rocked it! Seriously, seriously rocked it. All told, you read 1,170 books, compared to 649 books last year. That’s about 180% of what you read last year, which is amazing. You nearly doubled your number of books read, even though there were actually two less people participating than last year, and averaged about 8 books per person. CONGRATULATIONS! Our top reader got through an impressive 110 books, and the two winners of our grand prize drawing read 122 books between the both of them.

And of course, with that incredible reading, came incredible embarrassment for me! You reached all your goals, which means I have:

Shown you a picture of me at 18

Exhausted Hannah, Age 18

Been pelted with Nerf darts

Worn ridiculous outfits to work for a week, like this one (the rest are here)

Hannah Looking "Old-School Nerd Style" In Oversied Flannel Shirt and Large Glasses

Done a three-legged race with Christina, our Middle School Librarian

Faced off with Christina in a break dance competition

And there’s more!

Because you reached your goal (in record time!), Christina and I will be doing a live performance at the library’s open mic night on September 2, 6:30 p.m., at Shannon’s Irish Pub. We’ll be videotaping it of course, so I can share my shame with the world, but I highly recommend the in-person experience. And because you beat out the Middle School students and reached your goal first, I will also be lip-syncing my heart out sometime soon. Probably to a song from the 80s.

So all in all, I think this was a fantastic year for teen summer reading – you smashed your reading goals, you helped the library achieve our overall goals and raise money for the police and fire departments in town, and you forced me to do embarrassing things which are now on the internet forever. It doesn’t get much better than that, but we’re already making plans for next year!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Kids: Back to School Basics

By:  Sia Paganis – Youth Department Programing Associate

Kids Running with Backbacks OnEvery year at this time I marvel at how fast time flies in the summer. As a parent, I always seem to be rushing around filling out those last minute forms for school, checking supply lists and realizing that my kids have out grown every piece of decent clothing they own.

My kids are trying to finish up any summer reading at the last minute or completing a summer packet . Sometimes we spend so much time physically preparing for ‘Back to School’, that we forget that kids need to be emotionally prepared as well.

Many kids will be transitioning to new schools or classrooms. Talking openly about what it might feel like on the first day will help children recognize their emotions and validate any feelings of nervousness. Anticipating emotions in new situations could lead to a conversation on how to deal with some of those emotions. For example, some kids who feel very anxious might benefit from simple self-management tools like taking deep breaths or counting.

As a middle school educator, I talk with my students about how we ‘feel’ when we are actively learning; and then ultimately how do we get ourselves in this feeling before a lesson or activity. It is amazing how this simple discussion leads to a more productive learning environment!

Many resources are available online for parents to help them prepare for ‘Back to School’. From suggested sleep routines, healthy food suggestions to general safety; listed below are a variety of links to reputable sources. Each year brings new promises for our kids to grow, learn and have fun. Happy ‘Back to School’!

Best Back to School Tips from Happiness Matters

Back to School Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Guiding Our Children Through School Transitions by Dr. Sharon Sevier

Parents: Start With A by Matt Levinson

Back-to-School Resources for Parents

Posted in GEPL Kids