Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth Blog

Youth Media Award Winners

By: Melissa Hilt, Youth Assistant Director

It’s that time of year again, award season!  I’m not talking about movies awards, although it’s true those were on recently. On Monday, January 23, I was at home streaming the Youth Media Awards on my iPad.

The YMAs include the Newbery, Caldecott, Geisel and Coretta Scott King awards as well as many others. Each award seeks to highlight the best in books published for children and young adults during the previous year. The full list of honored titles can be found here.

I thought I would highlight the Newbery and Caldecott titles for you, since those are the ones I am most excited about.

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

Check out The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly BarnhillThe Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
An epic fantasy about a young girl raised by a witch, a swamp monster, and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, who must unlock the powerful magic buried deep inside her.

Three Newbery Honor Books also were named:

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz
Crossing paths at an inn, thirteenth-century travelers impart the tales of a monastery oblate, a Jewish refugee, and a psychic peasant girl with a loyal greyhound, the three of whom join forces on a chase through France to escape persecution.

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Twelve-year-old Annabelle must learn to stand up for what’s right in the face of a manipulative and violent new bully who targets people Annabelle cares about, including a homeless World War I veteran.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

Check out Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka SteptoeRadiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat illustrated by Javaka Steptoe
Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message that art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean –and definitely not inside the lines — to be beautiful.

Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named:

Leave Me Alone! illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol
Grandmother wants so badly to be left alone to finish the knitting for her grandchildren that she leaves her tiny home and her big family to journey to the moon and beyond to find peace and quiet to finish her knitting.

Freedom in Congo Square illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Carole Boston Weatherford
As slaves relentlessly toiled in an unjust system in 19th century Louisiana, they all counted down the days until Sunday, when at least for half a day they were briefly able to congregate in Congo Square in New Orleans. Here they were free to set up an open market, sing, dance and play music.

Du Iz Tak? illustrated and written by Carson Ellis
Readers are invited to imagine the dramatic possibilities to be found in the natural world, even the humblest back garden! With exquisitely-detailed illustration that will appeal to children and art-lovers alike, and a wonderfully playful invented language, we soon find ourselves speaking “Bug” … Du iz tak? What is that?

They All Saw a Cat, illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel
In simple, rhythmic prose and stylized pictures, a cat walks through the world, and all the other creatures see and acknowledge the cat.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Groundhog Day

By: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Check out Ten Grouchy Groundhogs by Kathryn HelingGroundhog’s Day has come and gone, and for the life of me I can’t understand the appeal. This seems very anti-children’s librarian of me, I know, and I know I’m in the minority on this one, as hotels in Punxsutawney cost more than hotels for the Super Bowl this year. I am a big believer in superstition and magical things, but if a meteorologist can’t predict snow in two days, how can an animal’s shadow? Also, the groundhog is surrounded by lights during this escapade. Isn’t it guaranteed that not only is his shadow going to be there, but you would think the large draw of crowds would make any animal skittish?

My groundhog grinchiness aside, I decided to look further into this nationally acknowledged festivity to maybe unshroud the skepticism and maybe get some enjoyment out of this weird day. The first American Groundhog’s day was celebrated in 1887, but this holiday was recognized long before that in Germany and nearby territory. This holiday is based off an old religious tradition of Candlemas held between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. “If Candlemas Day be bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.” Add that to German farmers’ practice of relying on badger’s hibernation habits to predict when they should begin the year’s farming work, and poof — there’s your weird holiday. When Germans settled on this continent, they found a shortage of badgers and switched to another mammal. Other sources say the original animal was a hedgehog, and switched to the next best available critter. Punxsutawney Phil was used to predict the seasons, settlers relied on Br’er Groundhog, which sounds right out of a Beatrix Potter book. Phil was named after King Phillip, and has been used for over a hundred years.

Whoah. Phil’s been around for over 100 years? The average stats of a groundhog are 12-15 pounds and lives 6-8 years. Every summer at the Annual Groundhog Picnic, the 20 pound Phil is given a magical elixir that not only increases his girth, but also extends his life another seven years.

Fun fact: We’re not the only weirdos to celebrate a rodent meteorologist. Canada also celebrates Groundhog’s Day.

Now I’m going to read “Ten Grouchy Groundhogs” because that’s what I feel like right now — a grouchy groundhog.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

My Library History

By: Leigh Ann Vock

Farewell wonderful Glen Ellyn Public Library! I am relocating to Denver Colorado (to work in yet another library) after living in Glen Ellyn and Wheaton my entire 56 years. I would like to take you on a trip down memory lane to my library life.

Old Wheaton Public Library BuildingAs a young child, weekly trips to the library were a way of life. I will be forever grateful to my parents for instilling this as a family practice. I lived in Wheaton until age eight and have pivotal memories of traipsing up to the third floor of this historic building, then known as the Wheaton Public Library. I was allowed to choose “three books, no more no less.”

There were no “play areas” and we were always quiet for fear of disturbing the librarian. The stacks of books were taller than me but I knew were to find my favorites. It was a dark, cold place but still held my fascination as to the wonders that were housed on its shelves.

Moving to Glen Ellyn as a young girl felt like an earth shattering event.  How could my parents expect me to adjust to a new school, new town, new friends, NEW LIBRARY?!

Old Glen Ellyn Public Library Building

To my delighted surprise the Glen Ellyn Public Library became my favorite spot. A mere mile from my home off of Crescent Boulevard, I would walk by myself and spend time amongst my favorite things, books. The children’s section was down a few stairs and brightly decorated in bold avocado green and yellow. The staff knew me by name and would greet me with a smile.

The card catalog was an amazing tool, pre computers, to help find the materials you needed. The Dewey Decimal System was a piece of cake to navigate, as this was taught and retaught in school on a regular basis. I remember graduating out of the children’s section to the upstairs adult section, and I felt so old. I have fond memories when I recall my time in this building. Fast forward to years later…

Current Glen Ellyn Public Library BuildingI have had the delight to be a part of the staff of Glen Ellyn Public Library Youth Department for over fifteen years.  It is a different library experience from when I was young and I am continually amazed at how GEPL serves the community with excellence and innovation.

I will miss my colleagues, my town and my library. Village of Glen Ellyn consider yourself very fortunate to have this wonderful place at the center of your community.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Baseball is Coming!

By: Amy Waters, School Liaison

Staff in Cubs gear.It may seem like baseball season just ended, however, at this writing, it’s been 78 long days since the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. I still get goosebumps saying that! But because this last season was so exciting for me, I am even more anxious for the new season to start.

Here’s a quick countdown to baseball as of January 19:

  • 37 days until Chicago Cubs 1st Spring Training Game 2/25 split squad Oakland/@SF
  • 37 days until Chicago White Sox 1st Spring Training Game 2/25 @ Dodgers
  • 72 days until CWS 1st Regular Season Game 4/1 @ Brewers
  • 73 days until Cubs 1st Regular Season Game 4/2 @ Cardinals
  • 74 days until CWS Home Opener 4/3 vs. Tigers
  • 81 days until Cubs Home Opener 4/10 vs. Dodgers

Some of you may have managed to get passes for the Cubs Convention to tide you over until the season starts. Or maybe you are making the trek to Mesa, AZ in February or March to catch some Spring Training. This year I’m taking my mom and daughter and we will be cheering on the Cubs and catching our first glimpse of some of the new players on the team.

If you’ll be home reading or listening to the latest sports news and just waiting until Opening Day, here are some things to help you pass the time:

  1. Go to the library and check out books on baseball: find the latest on your favorite teams at the baseball call number J796.357, your favorite players in the Biography section, or ask at the desk for help finding a fiction book, picturebook or movie about baseball. See a sampling below. While you’re at the library, be sure to check out the display cases. They are often filled with some great sports memorabilia collections.
  2. Follow local baseball news at the following websites for the Cubs, Sox or Kane County Cougars:
  3. Play Ball! Register to play baseball through the Glen Ellyn Park District. Look for Glen Ellyn Youth Baseball information here.
  4. Practice the words to Go, Cubs, Go!

Some titles to tide you over:

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Resolutions for Reading

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Programming Associate

As it goes, with each start of the new year comes new resolutions. People vow to go to the gym, to eat healthier, to travel more, to work less, and my personal favorite, to read more books. It can be hard getting back into the swing of things after a busy holiday season, so my advice is to start slow.

Oftentimes, it’s best to narrow your search by the genres or authors that you tend to like. For example, I love the author Lemony Snicket and plan on beginning his current series All the Wrong Questions. Maybe you like to read funny stories, so you could read the Justin Case series. Whichever book you choose, make sure you choose it wisely. The more passion you have to read it, the better the chances are of you finishing it! Ultimately though, your resolutions should be fun and exciting — not stressful.

Here’s a few books you might like to get you started!

It can even be fun to make your own chart like the one below, so you can track your progress as you read.

Title Pages Read Pages to Go End Goal Date Rate out of 5 stars
The Wishing Spell 438 0 Finished! 4 out of 5
Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty 32 0 Finished! 5 out of 5
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier 15 241 1/22/17 Undetermined

However, the most important part of all is that you are reading. Try not to get too bogged down by numbers and crossing books off of your list. Just enjoy the book!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Judge a Book by Its Cover

By: Katy Almendinger, Early Literacy Librarian

Let’s talk about book covers. There are usually two teams when it comes to book covers. Some readers say book covers are a key element to what draws readers to the book. Other readers firmly believe that the synopsis is the best way to decide whether or not a book is for you.

I’m with the first team, especially when I’m browsing in the library. I’m a sucker for a beautiful book. I definitely found some eye-catching book covers in 2016, as shown below in this blog. Some of my favorite book covers feature gold foil, simple typography, clever illustrated art, or a really great color scheme. Synopses of my latest book selections are included for readers that want them, but feel free to go ahead and judge these books by their covers.

Wolf Hollow: A Novel by Lauren WolkGrowing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.

Brilliantly crafted, Wolf Hollow is a haunting tale of America at a crossroads and a time when one girl’s resilience, strength, and compassion help to illuminate the darkest corners of our history.

Check out School's First Day of School by Adam RexIt’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him?

The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he’s not the only one going through first-day jitters, as described in School’s First Day of School.

Things are only impossible if you stop to think about them. . . .

Check out Hour of the Bees by Lindsay EagarWhile her friends are spending their summers having pool parties and sleepovers, twelve-year-old Carolina — Carol — is spending hers in the middle of the New Mexico desert, helping her parents move the grandfather she’s never met into a home for people with dementia. At first, Carol avoids prickly Grandpa Serge. But as the summer wears on and the heat bears down, Carol finds herself drawn to him, fascinated by the crazy stories he tells her about a healing tree, a green-glass lake, and the bees that will bring back the rain and end a hundred years of drought. As the thin line between magic and reality starts to blur, Carol must decide for herself what is possible — and what it means to be true to her roots. Readers who dream that there’s something more out there will be enchanted by this captivating novel of family, renewal, and discovering the wonder of the world in Hour of the Bees.

Check out A Child of Books by Oliver JeffersA little girl sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy. She invites him to go away with her on an adventure into the world of stories… where, with only a little imagination, anything at all can happen.

Irresistibly engaging characters by Oliver Jeffers set sail and chart their way through Sam Winston’s fascinating typographical landscapes in this extraordinary ode to the power and promises of storytelling. Forty treasured children’s classics and lullabies are featured in the pictures, providing endless opportunities for discovery, memories and sharing.

Woven together by a simple story line, the one-of-a-kind illustrations in a A Child of Books provide an unforgettable reading experience that will inspire and encourage readers of all ages to explore, question, and imagine timeless stories of their own.

Check out Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane OrgillWhen Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn’t own a good camera, didn’t know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off? Jazz Day is a captivating collection of poems, in which author Roxane Orgill steps into the frame of Harlem 1958, bringing to life the musicians’ mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer’s day. Francis Vallejo’s vibrant, detailed, and wonderfully expressive paintings do loving justice to the larger-than-life quality of jazz musicians of the era. This book includes bios of several of the fifty-seven musicians, an author’s note, sources, a bibliography, and a foldout of Art Kane’s famous photograph.



Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Play is All Around

By: Stephanie Rivera, Youth Director

Librarian with a new Playpack over her shoulder.Play is an essential literacy skill and an important part of how children learn. Allowing time for your child to play can help to build confidence, problem-solving skills, and a stronger imagination. If you’re looking for ways to entertain your young children over winter break, try checking out a Playpack at the library. Our new collection of Playpacks are a circulating collection of toys designed to promote early literacy. Each Playpack features two to three toys centered on a specific concept or theme. Featured items include toys such as puppets, puzzles, games, or pretend play sets. Playpacks are available to GEPL cardholders and they circulate for three weeks (no renewals). Below are a few featured playpacks; please check our catalog for the full list of items available.

Getting Dressed Playpack: Learn how to get dressed with three dressing frames that have easy-to-grasp features. You can also learn how to lace and tie shoelaces with a wooden lacing shoe and extra-long lace.

Music Playpack: Introduce your child to making music with instruments such as bells, maracas, a xylophone, and a drum. Children can also learn the sounds of eight instruments by using a sound puzzle where removing each piece produces a different sound.

Sorting Playpack: Introduce your child to sorting and different shapes to help develop hand-eye coordination. Toys such as ring stacks and blocks provide an introduction to size, stacking, identifying and matching shapes.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Winter Break at GEPL

By: Emily Richardson, Youth Programming Associate

Snowman stuffed toy in snow.Ah, winter break. The time for snowball fights, sledding, and hot cocoa with marshmallows. But then the boredom hits. And suddenly, it’s “what are we going to do today? There’s nothing to do.”

Good thing the library has some great resources to keep you busy, learning, and having fun during your winter break.

If you’re in middle school, come check out our awesome board games and art cart available at any time in The Middle. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, from 3:30-5 pm, you can join other middle schoolers for Crafternoons. You can also check out a MacBook from the Youth Information Desk (just bring your library card or school ID). If you forgot your ID, there’s plenty of desktop computers, too.

Our 3D printers have been busy lately; stop in to see them at work sometime over break.

If you’re in elementary school and love action and history, come by this morning from 11 am – Noon for I Survived, based on Lauren Tarshis’ I Survived series. Or check out one of our new Launchpads. Each Launchpad has different games and activities, so feel free to try your hand at a few in order to find what level or game you like best. Our desktop computers are available, too.

You may have noticed our collection display cases in the front of the Youth Department. Our wait list is down from four years (!) to a little over a year, so it’s the perfect time to get your name on the list to show off all your cool Lego creations, book collection, stuffed animals, or more.

You don’t even have to leave your warm house to enjoy the library. We have some great online databases for the whole family to enjoy. Whether you’re learning a new language, reading books, or watching movies, check out all our databases for all sorts of inspiration and fun from the comfort of your living room.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

National Gluten-free Baking Week December 17-23

By: Megan Stepniewski, Youth Programming Associate

So you poured your sweat and tears into making batches upon batches of cookies to give as a loving gift to family, friends, and coworkers. You go around handing them out basking in the glory of your own handiwork getting praise from everyone around you until you get to that one person who looks up at you and says:

Man sitting on the ground with words "I'm gluten free."

Wut? You were sure that making homemade delicious sugar cookies — painstakingly hand decorated mind you — would please everyone (making up for last year’s marshmallow blow dart fiasco). You could just sincerely say you are sorry and go on your merry way, maybe make them a card to make up for the lack of cookies. But no! This cannot be! Everyone must enjoy your handiwork, after all those cookies were delicious!

Anime woman tries to pour flower into bowl, instead it explodes everywhere.

Have no fear! This week is National Gluten-Free Baking week and unlike ten years ago, there are so many actually delicious recipes out there now. I’ve included here my favorite Gluten-Free Christmas Cookie Recipe perfect for any desire to appease your family, friends, and co-workers — yes, even the gluten-free ones. It’s all so easy now it’s hard to fail, and if you do, at least you can binge on chocolate chips like I often do…

Anime woman binge eating chocolate chips.

Happy Gluten-Free Baking Week!

Check out these amazing Gluten-Free Baking Books here at the Library!
Check out Gluten Free Baking by Rebecca Reilly

Cool Wheat-Free Recipes (J641.56318)
Gluten-Free and Other Special Diets (J641.56 LUS)
Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Food for Kids (641.5638 SAN)
Gluten-Free Baking (641.5638 REI)

Gluten-Free Cookbook (641.5638 WEI)
Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread (641.5638 HUN)
Gluten-Free Baking (641.5638 KID)

Additional Resources:
Royal Icing: Great for the Christmas Cookies – just double check ingredients for gluten, technically it’s gluten-free.

French Bread: Sooooo good. Perfect accompaniment with any nice warm soup!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting: I mean, seriously, who wouldn’t want to indulge with these?

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Great Books for Gifting

By: Kate Easley, Youth Librarian

It’s the season of giving!  Books always make a great gift — they are easy to wrap and the choices are endless. If you’re struggling to think of some good titles to give, we’ve got you covered. You can preview all of these titles before you buy at the library.

Check out Paws off the Pearl by Geronimo StiltonFor the wimpy kid lover in your life, there is a new title out — Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down. And for the reader not quite ready for Wimpy Kid, try the Geronimo Stilton series. The new Geronimo Stilton Cavemice title, Paws Off the Pearl, is sure to be a hit with any new-to-chapter-books reader.

If you’re shopping for a Pokemon fan, be sure to pick up a copy of the Pokemon Deluxe Essential Handbook. This book has facts on over 700 Pokemon and will be sure to please all Pokemon aficionados.

Middle school readers will love the Middle School series by James Patterson (yes, that James Patterson). The newest release Middle School: Dog’s Best Friend has main character Rafe starting a dog-walking business that goes hilariously awry.

If you’re looking for an avid reader that doesn’t mind some genre-mixing, be sure to pick up The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz. With tons of history, humor, and medieval adventure this one will be keep them reading right into 2017.

One more historical fiction favorite is The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Set during World War II in England this book will engage any middle grade and older reader who loves historical stories or books that tug at your heartstrings.

Check out If You Give A Mouse a Brownie by Laura Joffe NumeroffFor those younger readers, there’s a new Cookie Mouse book titled If You Give a Mouse a Brownie. This would be the perfect gift for any hungry preschool reader.

Also, check out Journey by Aaron Becker. This absolutely stunning wordless picture book is the first of a trilogy that will make a great gift for virtually anyone.

If you need more personalized recommendations please stop by the Youth Desk. We are always happy to help you find the right title.

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth