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GEPL Tweens: Sweet Snowman


By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

Holy snow, Batman! We certainly got a lot of snow over the weekend. I am so tempted to dig tunnels through the piles and build an under-snow fortress. Did you build any snowmen? Do you permanently have songs from Frozen stuck in your head? For your viewing pleasure, I have compiled a list of different snowmen. Maybe this will inspire your future yard creations. Feel free to send us pictures of what you’ve made.

One option is to do a cutesy sweet snow-thing:

snowman 2

snowmansnowman 1










Would you like to build an evil snowman?

snowman 4

snowman 6snowman 5









Why not build one based on one of your favorite characters?

snowman 10

snowman 7snowman 8










If you’re feeling ambitious, you can go really big!

snowman 11

snowman 12snowman 13









Whatever the muse, snow creations are fun to make, and fun to spot. Once you’re done making your own, take a wintry walk around your neighborhood to see what other people have thought of.

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Teens Review – The Fault in Our Stars

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 121 - ImageThe Fault in Our Stars, a novel that I have recently read and instantly fell in love with, is the subject of this blog. If you haven’t read or even heard of this amazing novel by John Green, you should find a copy as soon as possible. The story is narrated by a young cancer patient named Hazel Grace. She takes you through her journey with her newly found love, Augustus Waters. Augustus uses his clever and quite witty personality to give Hazel a new perspective on her complicated life. Before meeting Augustus she had to be pushed out of the house by her parents, she didn’t have anything to live for or to be excited about. But after her first time meeting Augustus her whole life took a turn for the better. This book is full of emotional content, some moments will make you laugh out loud, while others will make you start to cry your heart out. You may think I am exaggerating, but ask anyone who has read it; they will most definitely back me up.

During the novel you will travel to Amsterdam with Hazel and Augustus to seek out answers from Hazel’s favorite author. While in Amsterdam, Augustus tells Hazel life altering information that inspires her to make the most out of her life. The trip to Amsterdam created a lifelong memory for both Hazel and Augustus. After the once in a lifetime trip Hazel’s life gets more complicated; her health and the health of some of her new found friends start to influence her decisions and the way she spends her time. I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot, so I will leave it to you to find out the rest of the story for yourself. All I can say is, you won’t believe the connection that will develop between you and the characters in this story. You will fall in love with their unique personalities and views on life. Soon enough you will talk about them as if they were old friends! You can tell that the author cared about each character as if they were real people, and strived for you to make individual connections with each one.

The Fault in Our Stars is most definitely on my list of top 10 books that I have ever read. This book is what I call a true page turner. I read this book in less than two days, and it is over 300 pages! If that doesn’t prove the awesomeness of this novel I don’t know what will. This book will not let you down; you will instantly fall in love with the characters and the thought behind the plot. But just a warning, you may want a box of tissues by your side while reading this book, for your happy tears and the not so happy tears. If you haven’t yet realized it, I truly believe that you should read this book as soon as possible. So pick up a copy on your way home or from the library, and start reading! You will be glad you did. Once you have finished the novel, you can rent the recently released movie that depicts the novel as well as any Hollywood production can. Happy reading!

-Ashley M.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Kids: Great Read-Alouds for Elementary Aged Children

By: Kate Easley, GEPL Youth Librarian

Think your child is too old to be read aloud to? Think again! In Scholastic’s recent Kids & Family Reading Report 40% of children ages 6-11 said they wished their parents still read aloud to them. Children who are read aloud to and have parents that enjoy reading are much more likely to become frequent readers themselves.

So feel free to continue the bedtime reading tradition as long as your child is interested. Choose the books together so everyone is excited about reading! Novelist K-8 Plus is a great place to look for books to read. This super useful database has lists of books by genre and age range as well as readalikes for books you love. Novelist K-8 Plus can be accessed through the Library website.

A few suggestions to get you started:

Grades K-2

The Ramona series by Beverly Cleary: Ramona can be quite a pest, but she’s so endearing you’ll surely root for her. Also, check out the Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.



My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett: A wonderful story about a boy who helps save a dragon that is being mistreated. This story is great for animal lovers!



A Book by Mordecai Gerstein: The girl in this story has no idea what kind of story she wants to be in. A mystery, a fairy tale, a story about outer space?

The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne: Journey back in time with Jack and Annie and have lots of exciting adventures.



Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg: Two bored children find a board game that comes to life in this exciting fantasy everyone will enjoy.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst: Well who hasn’t had a day like this? Great for reading in one sitting.


Grades 3-5

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl : Charlie is invited to tour Mr. Wonka’s chocolate factory and what happens inside is unbelievable!



Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis : Four children who are sent to live with their uncle find a magical world behind a wardrobe door.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin: Minli goes on a journey to help her poor family find their fortune and meets new friends along the way.



Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: Re-read this favorite fantasy story with your young reader!

Wayside School series by Louis Sachar: These wacky stories about the students at Wayside School are guaranteed to make you laugh!



Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White : Enjoy this classic about friends Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider and explore the meaning of friendship.

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Tweens: Make Recycled Seed Paper

By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian


recycledseedpaper I don’t know about you, but I am counting down the days until spring (52 days). Here’s another “green” craft you can do to fight the incoming Spring Fever. Today I’ll show you how to make recycled seed paper so you’ll be ready to plant as soon as the snow melts.




What you need:

Scrap paper

Small seeds of native plants

Large bucket

Blender OR bowl and eggbeater

Measuring cup

An old frame – no glass is ok!

Mesh screen – the stiffer the better

Stapler, or tacks

Wax paper – as big as your frame

Rolling pin

Rags or newspaper – bigger than your frame




  1. Make your frame
  2. Use the stapler or tacks to pin the mesh screen tightly across the frame
  3. Prepare your pulp
  4. Tear the paper in tiny pieces
  5. Soak in water for 30 minutes
  6. Add to blender and mix until smooth
  7. Put pulp in the bucket
  8. Add Seeds
  9. Dip the frame into the mixture, try to get an even layer
  10. Lift and drain as much water out as you can
  11. Place the frame on the rags or newspapers
  12. Put a piece of wax paper on top, and use the rolling pin to squeeze out more water.
  13. Place frame mesh side up on a rag, lift the frame up – the paper should come out of the frame.
  14. Layer the paper between rags, put a piece of cardboard on top of the stack. Put the books on top of the cardboard to weigh it down and get more moisture out.
  15. Let it dry overnight.
  16. Gently separate from cloth
  17. Plant in a pot or garden, indoors or outdoors, and wait for the seeds to sprout!

What seeds are you going to put in your paper? Try different colors with food coloring, or diffrecycledseedpaper1erent types of paper. Make it into a bookmark and give it as a gift!

Last year, we made recycled paper with SCARCE at our STEAM Fair – see what’s going on this year at the 2nd Annual STEAM Fair.

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Tweens: Tween Movie Review – The Faults In Our Stars


What’s your first name and school?: Hadley Jr. Highfaultinourstars

What are you reviewing?: The Faults In Our Stars

What did you review? : A movie

What did you like about it? : I like the faults in all stars because its about this girl named hazel grace that has cancer and shes dying each day she lives so her mom and dad decided to put her in this club like thing to help deal with people that have all types of cancer so that all of them can deal with there problems.Then one day she meets this guy named Gus and Gus really likes hazel but she really doesn’t notices until he keeps staring at her in that cancer room. As they become more and more close they began to date.They call each other everyday the text and then this no phone call changed her life they just keep saying OK,then Gus says maybe OK would be our always.at the end its really sad it makes you cry it makes you laugh.

Who would like this? : Me

On a scale from yuck to best ever, how much did you like it? : Best Ever.

Posted in GEPL Tweens, Tweens Reviews

GEPL Kids: A New Year’s Resolution for Language Learners

By: Renee Grassi, GEPL Youth Department Director

If your New Year’s resolution is to learn a new language or pass on your native language, why not get the kids involved and include the whole family?

There are a variety of benefits of starting language learning early on in your child’s development. Learning a language provides children with an opportunity to improve memory and analytic abilities. It also helps a child strengthen their problems solving skills. Learning a language contributes to a child’s overall cognitive development, while also preparing him or hear for their participation in the global marketplace. If someone in your family is fluent in a particular language and is part of the learning process, there is a greater ability for the child to learn with a near native accent.

With your Glen Ellyn Public Library card, you and your family have 24/7 access to the library’s comprehensive list of online resources, which includes two new resources that have recently been added to the library’s collection of youth databases: Muzzy and Little Pim.

LittlePim-01Little Pim offers tutorials for children in Pre-K to Grade 2. It covers Spanish, French, Chinese, English, Italian, Japanese, Hebrew, German, Arabic, and Russian. You and your children can enjoy a variety of animated videos that teach kid about a variety of basic scenarios, including mealtime, playtime, and bedtime routines.

Muzzy-01Muzzy is an online training system that offers language learning for children birth through age twelve. Through story and play-based games and vocabulary lessons, this database offers kids the chance to learn Spanish, French, German, English, Russian, Portuguese, and Italian.

Don’t forget that the library offers a wide array of print and audio-visual materials to supplement your family’s language learning, including books, audio books, CDs, and kits. Want to brush up on your own language learning? MangoBe sure to check out Mango—an adult online language-learning system that teaches conversation skills for over 60 languages from around the world, including English as a new language. Brush up on your grammar, the culture of the country, and compare your speech to a native speaker.

For more information or for a brief tutorial, stop by the library and ask a librarian!

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: Art Contest Deadline Extension

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 119 - ImageYou’re done with finals – CONGRATULATIONS!  Now that they are over and you have brains that can think about anything other than tests, we’re going to take a moment to get a little repetitive here.  As you may recall (if, for instance, you read our last blog entry…) GEPL is having an ART CONTEST!  The contest will help us decorate our teen space with art created by local teens.  Plus, because your finals changed and we want to give you some time afterwards to get your submissions in, we are extending the deadline!  The new deadline to enter the contest is January 31 – which gives you over a week to pick your favorite piece of art and enter!

Now that we’ve covered the details, on to the important stuff!  Our goal with this art contest is that it will be good for you all and the library.  We hope this will be good for you because it gives you a chance to show off your work to a new audience, and use that project you did in art class for something else.  And it will be good for you because three winners will receive a $100 gift certificate to Dick Blick, and six runners up will get a $25 gift card there.  That’s nine chances to get money for all those pricey art supplies!  Plus, of course, nine chances at the glory of having your art on display in the library.  And to top it all off, everyone who enters will have their pieces displayed at an art reception on February 15.  So no matter who wins, you’ll all get a chance to show off a little!

This contest is good for us because the time to personalize the teen room is long past.  It’s your room, and we want your art decorating it.  Plus, the rest of the second floor got a fancy makeover this fall – we think the teen room deserves the same!

You’ve still got a few more days to enter – we’re accepting submissions through January 31.  So do yourselves and us a favor, and go to http://gepl.org/teen/art_contest and enter our contest ASAP!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: Being Green

By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

tween-blog-bannerI’ve been thinking about “being green” lately. I was pleased to find out that studies have shown that kids today are more interested in the environment than ever before. Have you done anything lately that’s “green”? I have a great project to show you. It’s from a blog by Chez Larsson. This weekend you can make a pillow out of your favorite old T shirt!

What you need:

  • A t-shirt you’d rather have as a pillow
  • A pillow form/insert or filling
  • Needle and thread or a sewing machine



greenproject (1)



Step 1:

Turn the t-shirt inside-out and put the insert inside to make sure it fits.

Step 2:

Pin the edges down around the pillow insert.

greenproject (2)


Step 3:

Remove the pillow and sew three edges. Chez recommends a zig-zag stitch to reduce puckering.

Step 4:

Cut and trim the excess t-shirt.

Step 5:

Turn the t-shirt right side in again, and place the insert inside.

greenproject (3)

Step 6:

Tuck in the edges of the opening. You can either sew this last edge or leave it as is. The cotton clings to itself, keeping the insert in place. If you chose to use filling, you should definitely sew up the end!

greenproject (4)


And there you have it! Your super cool pillow that gives a new life to an old t-shirt that may have otherwise been thrown away. What t-shirt do you plan to use? Do you have any other upcycled craft ideas? Let us know!




And make sure all you eighth graders register for our T Shirt Design program Thursday, February 19 and make something like this! tweentshirtdesign

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Teen Art Contest!

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 119 - ImageTeen librarian fun fact: I am a terrible artist. I always have been. To this day when I doodle, my hearts are misshapen and my stars are uneven. I don’t have great handwriting. My photos tend to be passable, but not awesome. And don’t even ask me about things like composition and balance and color – the most you’ll get is “I like this picture because it has a puppy, and I personally don’t care for the color yellow.” I’m hopeless, and I accept that.

That said, none of this stops me from doodling or creating or making some kinds of art. Even at my most self-conscious when I was a teenager, I doodled stick figures and shapes in the margins of my notes. I sketched dragons who, while they didn’t look right on the page, were beautiful in my imagination. I even once agreed to a request to draw someone – and let them see the drawing. I love to take pictures, even if my photos are only passable. Something about visual creation has the same inherent appeal to most of us, I think, as listening to music or dancing or creating with words. We are constantly bombarded by the visual, and there’s something satisfying about contributing to our visual world somehow, even if we prefer our creations never be seen by anyone except ourselves.

And for some people, of course, art is more. Whether through hard work, talent, passion, or some combination of those three things, many people are artists, creating art they want people to see, and hope to share with the world. I love those people, even if I will never be one. And the library loves those people too!

Which brings us to the library’s Teen Art Contest to decorate our teen room! We want teens to be the ones filling the walls of their own space, and we want to showcase the wonderful things that local teens are creating. Moreover, we want to celebrate any teen artist who enters. So in addition to selecting winners to be displayed in our Teen Scene, we will be hosting a reception in February to celebrate every artist and every piece that is submitted to our competition.

We have a whole page on our website dedicated to the rules and submissions, but here’s the quick and dirty of what you need to know:

  • We are accepting submissions through January 25, and we welcome any projects you created for school this semester!
  • The three winners will receive a $100 Dick Blick gift certificate, and the six runners up will each receive a $25 gift certificate.  All nine winners and runners up will have their work displayed in the Teen Scene.
  • Local artists and art teachers will be judging, so you won’t be at the mercy of my complete lack of artistic talent.
  • We will host an art reception on February 15 for everyone who enters the contest, because we’re pretty excited to show off everyone’s work.
  • We are super excited about this opportunity to celebrate creativity and creation, and get some fantastic artwork for our Teen Scene.

So celebrate art, and yourselves, and enter our Teen Art Contest ASAP!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Study Tips

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 118 - ImageIt’s no secret that studying can be tiresome and boring, especially when there are other priorities during the week. But what if there was a way that you can make studying a little more appealing? Actually there are tips that will make studying more comfortable, fun, and quicker.

The first tip is using highlighters.  Yes, highlighters. Highlighters are the best tools given to students because highlighters can be so helpful. First of highlighters can be used to mark important words and vocabulary words. Also highlighters can be a good visual tool when you want to focus on one specific thing.

The second tip is being comfortable. How can someone study when they aren’t comfortable?  The times when you are going back and forth between different places, you can still be comfortable. You can listen to background music, wear comfortable clothes, drink coffee, light some candles, etc. As much as being comfortable can help, it can also be your worst enemy. You shouldn’t be comfortable to the point where you are falling asleep because that won’t get you any closer to finishing you work.

Tip number three is clear all of the distractions around you as much you can. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re around things you can’t control the sound of but try to get rid of as much distraction as you possibly can. Turn of the TV even if you think you can “double task.” Even though I said music can help you work, make sure once you pick your playlist you don’t keep checking your phone or changing the song because that will also distract you.

Tip number four is do not cram. I say it again, do not cram. Cramming all of the information in your head will not help you in the long term and make things so stressful. Make sure you give yourself an appropriate time to study but also make sure to give yourself enough time to rest.

This goes right into my fifth tip which is get enough rest. Sleepiness causes headaches and a lot of times not enough sleep can make it hard to focus. Sleep is so crucial in a student’s lives and many teens don’t get enough of it. Always try to get a good amount of sleep (7-10 hours) especially before a test.

The last tip is to give yourself 5-10 minute study breaks about every 40 minutes. We all need breaks when we are trying to absorb all this information. Either listen to music, have a snack, turn on the TV for a little bit, draw, journal, take a walk, etc.

Hopefully, using these tips can make studying just a little less boring!


Posted in GEPL Teens