Enter your email address to have the latest GEPL news sent directly to your inbox!

You're in all Blogs Section

GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – Ink and Ashes

Teens Blog Orange Banner

By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani Book CoverI only just returned from a vacation, and being the book nerd I am, that means I read a lot over the past couple of weeks. I got through many great books, so you may be getting a few editions of What I Just Read in the next few weeks, but I wanted to start with my first vacation read, a super exciting and engaging mystery.

What I Just Read: Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani

What’s It About (Jacket Description): Claire Takata has never known much about her father, who passed away when she was a little girl. But on the anniversary of his death, not long before her seventeenth birthday, she finds a mysterious letter from her deceased father, addressed to her stepfather. Claire never even knew that they had met.

Claire knows she should let it go, but she can’t shake the feeling that something’s been kept from her. In search of answers, Claire combs through anything that will give her information about her father . . . until she discovers he was a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The discovery opens a door that should have been left closed.

So begins the race to outrun his legacy as the secrets of her father’s past threaten Claire’s friends and family, newfound love, and ultimately her life. Ink and Ashes, winner of Tu Books’ New Visions Award, is a heart-stopping debut mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page.

Do I Like It: I couldn’t put it down!

Thoughts: Ink and Ashes was the perfect book to read on an airplane, because from the moment the mystery began to appear in the first few chapters, I didn’t want to put it down. It kept me absorbed from take off until I finished it, and made me forget I was crammed in the middle seat next to two strangers while functioning on way less sleep than usual. But while the excitement and captivating nature of the book were definitely highlights, there was more to love beyond that as well.

Claire was a great main character, especially for a mystery. She was smart, ultra-curious, athletic, and sometimes made really dumb decisions (that of course just helped the plot thicken.) She was surrounded by supportive friends and family, and her concern and care for them heightened the stakes when things started to get ugly. I loved that she was flawed but strong and powerful, and her need to keep digging at a mystery was great for me as a reader, since I was dying to figure things out almost as much as she was. Another small element that I loved was the way Claire, who has mainly been friends with her brother and other guys her whole life, came to realize how much she valued her friendships with other women as well as with her group of guy friends.

Another element I liked was that a lot of what was going on was different from anything I’ve read before. I’ve never read or seen much involving organized crime, and I knew nothing about the yakuza going in to the story, so everything – from the significance of tattoos to the concepts of honor that govern the eventual climax – was new to me. It was fun to benefit from Claire’s knowledge, as well as to learn new things alongside her. It’s not like this book made me an expert on Japanese organized crime, but it was fascinating to get even a small glimpse into a world I knew nothing about before this book.

Overall, I think Ink and Ashes was a great, gripping mystery that was strong in both plot and character. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Claire, her family, and her friends, but even if there is no sequel planned, I’ll be eagerly looking forward to whatever Maetani writes next!

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Congratulations, Patch Club Contest Winners!

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Programming Associate

One of our fun reading programs at the Glen Ellyn Library is Patch Club. Patch Club is for children in kindergarten through 8th grade. For every 5 hours of reading, kids will receive a patch of their choosing. After earning 6 patches, children are awarded with a Glen Ellyn Public Library canvas bag. You can earn 16 patches per season. You can have fun decorating all kinds of things (including your new Glen Ellyn canvas bag!) with these easy iron-on patches. And what better way to showcase all of the reading you’ve done?

This year, we held a Patch Club Contest in the fall. Children of all ages submitted their best designs and the ones with the most votes won! It was a tough choice to make, as we received so many unique designs, but the outcome was magnificent. Congratulations to our marvelous Patch Club Contest winners. Their patches turned out great!

Design A Patch Winners Patches
  • Peek-a-Book
    by Abigail Bergmann (Grade 5)
  • Line Design
    by Clara Voswinkel (Grade 1)
  • Reading Thru the Winter
    by William Hohe (Grade 7)
  • Reading is Fun in Fall
    by Jason Abeln (Grade 3)
  • Sweet Treat
    by Kate Zima (Grade 2)
  • Alien Al
    by Thang Dot Pau “PauPu” (Grade 5)
There’s still time to sign up. So make sure you come on in to the Youth Department desk to register for Patch Club and to check out the amazing new patches! You’ll have your own patch in no time!
Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Tweens: Mardi Gras

Tweens Blog Purple BannerBy: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Mardi Gras Parade It’s Mardi Gras season! I spent a large portion of my childhood years in Louisiana. My grandparents live very close to a few parade routes, and my family would walk from their house to see the parades.

Up until a few years ago, I had giant garbage bags filled with all the beads I collected over the years. I even met John Goodman early one morning. He lives in New Orleans and is a part of a specific parade each year.

Even though I don’t live in Louisiana anymore, I try to celebrate Mardi Gras in some way now. I have bought boudin online and it was shipped in a Styrofoam box with dry ice, but still delicious. I haven’t gone so far as to make king cake on my own, but I have looked up recipes. Last year I made beignets and they were delicious!

This year, we’re going to New Orleans! I am super excited, but it’s just dawning on me that it’s coming up very soon. I’ve made a mental checklist while waiting the months between buying plane tickets to actually going on the trip.

  • Have beignets and hot chocolate from Café Du Monde
  • Go to Audubon Zoo
  • Eat at the Lebanon Café
  • Visit the World War II Museum
  • Ride a Trolley
  • See some parades

So the only problem with this list is that we’re only there for 4 days. We’ll have to be very productive with our time. I didn’t put “spend time with grandparents” on there, because I assume they will be doing at least some of these activities with us.

Water Taffy Cart at the Audubon ZooWhen we go to the Audubon Zoo, I’m really looking forward to the salt water taffy cart.

The last time we went, I talked it up to my husband and IT WAS CLOSED! My heart broke. When we go to the zoo, I’m bee lining it straight to the cart. Priorities.

The Lebanon Café is somewhere our family goes whenever we’re in the area. They have the BEST shawarma. I love it, and can’t wait to be eating the deliciousness.

The World War II Museum wasn’t my idea, but I didn’t even know it existed sadly. It’ll be interesting to go, especially since it’s the national museum.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually never ridden on a trolley, or at least not in my recollection. I can’t be held accountable if I went on one as a baby and don’t remember. My family’s so big we didn’t want to spend the money on tickets for everyone. We will be remedying this on this trip.

Of course, we’re seeing some parades. It’s a given! I was sad to find out that we won’t be in town for the parade with John Goodman. That parade is so early, I didn’t think to bring a camera the last time I went. I wanted photographic proof of meeting John Goodman and shaking his hand. Sadly, this will not be the year that this happens.

I’m sorry if this blog is kind of rubbing it in readers’ faces that I’ll be in New Orleans while everyone is up here in the chilly Midwest. It’s actually due to snow on the days we’re flying out and back. But if it makes you feel better, New Orleans is only supposed to be in the 50s.

If you come visit me after I get back, I’ll give you some beads.

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

GEPL Teens: What I Just Read – See No Color

Teens Blog Orange Banner

By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

See No Color by Shannon Gibney Book CoverI seem to be on a kick lately of reading books featuring baseball, which is strange, since I don’t really like watching baseball all that much. Lately though, it seems to be an indicator of a book that I definitely will like!

What I Just Read: See No Color by Shannon Gibney

What’s It About (Jacket Description): For as long as she can remember, sixteen-year-old Alex Kirtridge has known two things:

  1. She has always been Little Kirtridge, a stellar baseball player, just like her father.
  2. She’s adopted.

These facts have always been part of Alex’s life. Despite some teasing, being a biracial girl in a white family didn’t make much of a difference as long as she was a star on the diamond where her father her baseball coach and a former pro player counted on her. But now, things are changing: she meets Reggie, the first black guy who’s wanted to get to know her; she discovers the letters from her biological father that her adoptive parents have kept from her; and her body starts to grow into a woman’s, affecting her game.

Alex begins to question who she really is. She’s always dreamed of playing pro baseball just like her father, but can she really do it? Does she truly fit in with her white family? Who were her biological parents? What does it mean to be black? If she’s going to find answers, Alex has to come to terms with her adoption, her race, and the dreams she thought would always guide her.

Do I Like It: Absolutely! Despite (or because of?) the baseball.

Thoughts: See No Color was one of the first books I read in 2016, and boy did it start the year off right!
This was a fast read, but I felt like I really go to know Alex and understand some of what she was going through. After all, all of us can understand what it feels like to question who we are and where we fit in – it’s just that for Alex, these issues are even more overwhelming and impossible to avoid.

One thing I loved about Alex as a character was that she started out not even thinking about the issues she faces of race and identity – she buries them under academic excellence, baseball, and her family. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there, and it’s clear from little things she thinks even right from the beginning that burying these things in her subconscious hasn’t made them disappear. It’s such a realistic discovery, that these things were bothering her that she didn’t even know were bothering her, and it makes it cathartic to read about her finally trying to figure things out, even when it’s tough as well. I also love that she was a hugely flawed character. There are reasons for the things she does (mostly notably, lying – a lot – to people who don’t deserve it) but that doesn’t make them right, and that doesn’t stop them from having consequences.

I thought Alex was incredibly compelling and relatable to read about, even though I have never been in her position. Again, part of this is that issues of identity and finding your place are so relatable to anyone, but also because I loved getting a glimpse into an experience that was so totally different from my own. From adoption to baseball to race to Alex’s impulsive personality, there was so much there that was different from my lived experience, and it was great to have a chance to empathize with her. And the parts that I could relate to – Alex’s anxiety, her relationships with her parents and siblings, her struggle to figure out who she is – just made it easier to slip into her world. Add in a swoony romance, and this book was a home run for me (bad pun totally intended.)

See No Color is fantastic realistic fiction that I recommend for any high school age teens. Between sports, self-identity, self-discovery, romance, and family, there’s something in this book for everyone.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

GEPL Teens: Morris Awards 2016

Teens Blog Orange Banner

By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

As you may or may not know, earlier this month, the American Library Association announced the winners of their Youth Media Awards – famous awards like the Newberry and Caldecott, or the Printz award for young adult literature. But they also announced the winner of a slightly less famous award, but my own personal favorite: the William C. Morris YA Debut Award. I love that this award honors new authors in YA, and I’ve rarely read a finalist or winner of this award that hasn’t been fantastic.

This year’s finalists were no exception – five excellent books, each of which I loved for different reasons. I truly cannot wait to see what each of these authors does next. I’ve already written about the winner, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, but I did read all four of the others before the announcement of the winner, so I wanted to share some mini thoughts on each of the other finalists.

Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas Book CoverBecause You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

Description (from goodreads.com): Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.

A story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances, this debut is powerful, dark and humorous in equal measure. These extraordinary voices bring readers into the hearts and minds of two special boys who, like many teens, are just waiting for their moment to shine. 

Thoughts: Because You’ll Never Meet Me was one of those books I might never have picked up if it hadn’t been a Morris finalist – and I would have been missing out! While I’m usually not drawn to epistolary novels, the unique voices of Ollie and Moritz, along with the length of their letters, made this book feel like a more traditional narrative. It still kept a lot of the fun of epistolary novels though, like how each boy getting to choose how much to reveal, and the back-and-forth of their interaction with each other. While Because You’ll Never Meet Me falls solidly into the sci-fi category, despite the fact that the world its set in is our own, it was its realism that particularly drew me. The way each boy dealt with their disabilities and their guilt differently, the relationships they had with their parents and friends, and the way they helped each other find the strength to discover the truth and explore the world around them. And to top it all off, this book was funny, as well as sincere, emotional, and impactful.

Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert Book Cover Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert

Description (from goodreads.com): Ten years ago, God gave Braden a sign, a promise that his family wouldn’t fall apart the way he feared.

But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden’s father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in the upcoming trial.

Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four-mile-per-hour pitch al- ready has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.

Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.

Thoughts: This is another title that I would probably never have chosen to read without the Morris, and I am so grateful that I had a reason to pick this up. Conviction was a stunning story, and so masterfully created that I could hardly believe that it was Gilbert’s first novel. It was exciting, captivating, powerful, and character-driven. I was hooked on the plot, waiting to see what else Braden would reveal, even as I started to put the pieces together. I was riveted by Braden’s struggles with his religion, his guilt, his game, and his relationships. I found Braden, Troy, and their father such realistic, complicated characters. Gilbert expertly revealed bits from the family’s past, as well as the events of the night of the accident, that never contradicted each other, built tension, and slowly made me realize what lay beneath the surface. I already know I want to read this novel again, just to see what details and complexities I missed the first time around. But don’t think that means it was a difficult read – I raced through Conviction. I’m not usually drawn to stories about sports, religion, or father/son relationships, but Conviction was probably one of my favorite reads of 2015, despite being all those things (and so much more as well.)

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes Book Cover The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

Description (from goodreads.com): The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself. 

Thoughts: This book was getting a lot of buzz from other librarians I know even before the Morris nomination, and when I started reading, it was immediately clear why. From the very first words – “I am a blood-soaked girl” – Minnow Bly kept me riveted. I expected to find the flashbacks to Minnow’s past in the Kevinian cult fascinating, but as it turns out, I was almost equally interested in the pages dealing with Minnow’s life in prison and her adjustment to the world away from the Kevinians. Watching Minnow’s growth as a character – through her youth and in her prison life – was one of the highlights for me. There were also a lot of interesting elements dealing with being a woman, religion, finding meaning in life, and so much more, but the book never felt preachy or dull. Rather, I was completely gripped and couldn’t wait to turn the next page. And despite how different Minnow’s life was from mine, her story felt relatable and relevant.

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore Book Cover The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

Description (from goodreads.com): For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.

Thoughts: I was lucky enough to see Anna-Marie McLemore at the conference I attended in November, and saw her speak on two different panels. So I was thrilled to hear she had been nominated for the Morris Award and had high expectations for The Weight of Feathers. While the book wasn’t exactly what I expected, it was wonderful. The book was magical, and not just because of characters with feathers growing out of their heads or scales on their backs. The Weight of Feathers beautifully illustrated how our lives are shaped by our stories and our families, and how that can be both a good and a bad thing. Both Lace and Cluck find some of their strongest support and wonderful friends within their traveling families, but they also both suffer from the weight of those families’ expectations. On top of that, both must learn to separate the truths of their own – and each other’s – families from what they have been told their whole lives. But this book isn’t just literary themes and philosophies. It is also a beautiful love story, a simultaneously modern and timeless take on a classic story of forbidden romance, and an incredibly immersive world of magic – whether faked by talented performers, real and surrounding the main characters, or the magic of love and family.


Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr.

By: Emily Richardson, Youth Programming Associate

This year, we celebrate what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 87th birthday. Such a celebration offers the perfect opportunity to begin a discussion with children of any age on civil rights issues, race, and diversity. Below are a few books that might aid in the learning process.

Picture Books

Desmond and the Very Mean Word by Desmond Tutu Book CoverDesmond and the Very Mean Word by Desmond Tutu
While riding his new bicycle Desmond is hurt by the mean word yelled at him by a group of boys, but he soon learns that hurting back will not make him feel any better.

The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler

The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss

The Soccer Fence by Phil Bildner
Each time Hector watches white boys playing soccer in Johannesburg, South Africa, he dreams of playing on a real pitch one day. After the fall of apartheid, when he sees the 1996 African Cup of Nations team, he knows that his dream can come true.

I am the World by Charles Smith
Illustrations and rhyming text celebrate the diversity of cultures, languages, countries, and people of the world.


Every Human Has Rights by National Geographic Book CoverEvery Human Has Rights by National Geographic
Poetry of the sixteen winners of the ePals Human Rights Writing Contest reflects the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Molly Bannaky by Alice McGill
Relates how Benjamin Banneker’s grandmother journeyed from England to Maryland in the late seventeenth century, worked as an indentured servant, began a farm of her own, and married a freed slave.

Civil Rights Movement for Kids: A History with 21 Activities by Mary Turck
Describes the struggle for civil rights for African-Americans in the 1950s and 1960s and profiles important civil rights leaders. Includes suggested activities.

The Little Rock Nine by Rachel Tisdale

The Dream of Martin Luther King by Liz Gogerly
Provides an overview of Martin Luther King’s life and accomplishments, describes the events surrounding his assassination, and discusses his impact on the American people and American society.

Chapter Books

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry Book CoverNumber the Stars by Lois Lowry
In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis.

Iggie’s House by Judy Blume
When a black family with three children moves into the white neighborhood, eleven-year-old Winnie learns the difference between being a good neighbor and being a good friend.

Revolution by Deborah Wiles
It’s 1964 in Greenwood, Mississippi, and Sunny’s town is being invaded by people from up north who are coming to help people register to vote. Her personal life isn’t much better, as a new stepmother, brother, and sister are crowding into her life, giving her little room to breathe.–From publisher description.

The Watsons go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis
The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Tweens: The Middle

Tweens Blog Purple BannerBy: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Have you stopped by our middle school room yet? If not, you should. We christened the room with our Middle School Room Kick-Off Week, which was a lot of fun. Mikey Reif from Glen Crest Middle School stopped by too. Mikey came up with the winning name suggestion for our room, now named The Middle.

Middle School Room Name Contest Winner Mikey Reif

Mikey is an 8th grader from Glen Crest, and also one of the vice presidents of the Teen Advisory Board through the school library. When thinking of a name suggestion, she thought of what it was currently being called – The Middle School Room, and just abbreviated it to The Middle.

When she got the call that her room name suggestion was chosen as the official name, she was very surprised. Or, as surprised as she could have been because she was sick with a cold.

Mikey is currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. WOW! Her top three books are the Harry Potter books (I let her count those as one), Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and Emma by Jane Austen. Needless to say, historical fiction is her favorite book genre.

Her favorite places to be in Glen Ellyn are Danby Station, and the library of course. She plans to visit her grandparents in sunny California this summer. Mikey wants to be a corporate attorney when she grows up. She likes the idea of combining law, paperwork, and business and swimming around in money like Scrooge McDuck.

Make sure you come by The Middle soon, and if you see Mikey, congratulate her on her genius!

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

GEPL Teens: What To Do With Your Four Day Weekend

Teens Blog Orange Banner

By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

If you go to Glenbard West or Glenbard South, by the time you read this, you’ll be done with your finals. Congratulations! Before you go back to face your second semester, you have a glorious four day weekend of awesomeness. Many of you will be spending this weekend traveling with your family, but for those who are staying at home, here’s a few ways you could enjoy this wonderful, homework-free four day weekend:

Dog Sleeping in Bed with Stuffed AnimalSleep approximately 50% of the time. Let’s be honest, you probably need a few 12 hour nights of sleep to get caught up, and who doesn’t like sleeping?

Binge watch Jessica Jones or another Netflix series. One of the great things about Netflix (or other streaming services) is that you don’t have to wait for each episode of a series to come out – you can just start and go. Jessica Jones is just one of many new streaming series that you could easily knock out in a four day weekend.

Empire Poster Catch up on your favorite traditional TV show! I haven’t even had finals, but with the holiday craziness still in the recent past, I still haven’t caught up on all the Empire episodes from last fall, but you can bet that if I had a four day weekend at home, I’d get totally up to date!

Visit somewhere close by. Whether it’s a trip into Chicago with your friends to see the sights, shop, or catch a show, or just visiting your friend who moved two towns away, those distances and time spent in transit are a little easier to take without the looming threat of homework.

Ms. Marvel Poster Read a book or three that’s not for class. Class reading takes a lot of time – we get that. But it’s easy to forget how much fun reading is when it’s all assigned. Four days is plenty of time to barrel through a book, or even a few books, on your own. Not feeling big blocks of text? Try picking up a new comic book series like Ms. Marvel and getting yourself up to date.

Play video games until your thumbs hurt. I mean, how often do you have a chance to just immerse yourself in a story-based game, or spend a day improving your first person shooter skills? Take advantage of it!

Picture of Girl Laying On Couch with Three Dogs Surrounding Her Lie on the couch surrounded by comforts. Make a nest with books, TV remotes, blankets, hot drinks, pets (if available), and of course, comfy pants. Curl up and enjoy not having anything you need to be doing.

Any or all of these are not only great ways to enjoy the weekend, but will help you recharge before school starts up again. Have a relaxing weekend, and good luck next semester!


Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

New Baby Books

By: Kate Easley, Youth Librarian – Homeschool Services

When I was expecting my second child I wanted to prepare my son as much as possible for the new addition to our family. We talked about the new baby, practiced holding baby dolls, and of course we read books about babies.

The Boss Baby by Marla Frazee Book CoverThere are a LOT of books about new babies. It can be a lot to sift through. Some of them are highly entertaining and laugh out loud funny. Mail Harry to the Moon and The Boss Baby are both hilarious takes on having a baby in the family. However, these books and a lot of other new baby books put a not-so-positive spin on the baby.

If you are trying to gently introduce the idea of a new baby there are some other books that are better choices. My all-time favorite book to introduce siblings to their new baby is What a Good Big Brother by Diane Wright Landolf. Cameron’s mom and dad show him all the ways to help his new baby sister when she’s crying. At the end of the story it is Cameron who figures out how to soothe his new sister. It’s a great story about helping a new baby sibling.

I'm A New Big Sister by Nora Gaydos Book CoverHello in There: A Big Sister’s Book of Waiting by Jo Witek is a wonderful book about a big sister excitedly waiting for her new baby. I’m a New Big Sister by Nora Gaydos is another helpful story about all the ways big siblings can help mommy and daddy.

Be sure to check out all our other new baby books in the newly organized picture book bins under Changes / New Baby!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Teens: Great Character Alert – Adelina Amouteru

Teens Blog Orange Banner

By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

The Young Elites by Marie Lu Book CoverOnce again, it’s time for a great character alert! Today’s great character appears in some equally great books, but I really want to focus just on her wonderful, relatable, anti-hero/villain awesomeness. This will come as no surprise to those of you who have read The Young Elites and The Rose Society, but I’m talking today about Adelina Amouteru.

For those unfamiliar with Marie Lu’s dark fantasy series, The Young Elites takes place in a world where a terrible blood fever has ravaged the land, leaving many survivors – called “malfettos” – marked with scars or strangely colored hair or other signs of their ordeal. And a select few of these malfettos, the young elites, have also developed strange powers. Adelina is one of these young elites, although she doesn’t know it at the beginning of her own story. What she does know is that as a malfetto she is hated, despised, and persecuted, even by those who should love and protect her.

Part of what makes Adelina such an incredible character is her growth over the course of the two novels. She starts out bullied by her father, envious of her sister, and desperately seeking to escape an arranged marriage. But soon after, Adelina’s powers start to show, and she must completely redefine how she views herself. Her slowly growing confidence, her internal struggles as she deals with a power that feeds on fear and hatred, and her changing relationship with her sister and her country are amazing to watch, and completely believable.

It’s not just her growth that makes Adelina such a great character though – it is her flaws. And she has many flaws. Even at the beginning when she is struggling to overcome her victimization at the hands of her father, Adelina is far from perfect. She resents her sister to an extreme degree, despite loving her. She hates her father, but still somehow craves his affection and approval. She is mistrustful of everyone, not smart enough or confident enough to outwit an enemy who blackmails her, and still afraid of her growing powers. As the story unfolds, some of Adelina’s faults magnify – her desire for power, her grudge holding, and her mistrust lead her down a dark path. But because we are in her head, because we see why she does what she does, it’s hard for us readers to hate Adelina. It’s obvious early on in the series that Adelina will never be a hero, but whether she will be an anti-hero or a villain is a question that makes her addicting to read about.

A great character isn’t always a hero. Often, they aren’t even people we would want to be friends with. Adelina is one such person – while I admire her love for her sister, her sense of the injustices against malfettos in her world, and her fierce determination and independence, I wouldn’t want to be dealing with her jealousies, her ambition, and her cruelty in my life. But the way she rings so true as a character, and struggles with a variety of physical, moral, and emotional dilemmas, and the incredibly realistic growing and changing of her character make her one of my favorite characters I’ve read about this year. The end of The Rose Society left me desperate for the next installment of the series – and desperate to know what will happen next to Adelina.

If you love anti-heroes, realistic character growth, or complicated, difficult, compelling characters, this great character alert is meant for you! Check out The Young Elites and get to know Adelina Amouteru for yourself.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School