Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth Blog

Snuggle Up with These Series

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Programming Associate

As we all know, winter is just around the corner. While some may be dreading winter, it happens to be one of my favorite seasons! The time is coming for hot chocolate, mittens, ice skating, and yes, that’s right, Christmas! But I am getting ahead of myself. The chilly air and sprinkling snow presents several opportunities to snuggle up with a good book. And what is better than a good book you might ask? A great SERIES of course! Here are some fantastic series that will make you happy that you have the chance to sip on some hot chocolate and cocoon yourself in blankets.

Check Out A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
A Series of Unfortunate Events
This is an older series, but still a really magnificent read. The completed series follows The Baudelaire orphans—Violet, Klaus, and Sunny—and the terrible Count Olaf, who is after their family fortune.

It is full of adventure, humor, angst, and even vocabulary lessons. This is a great series to snuggle up with this winter (if you haven’t already) and will keep you guessing until the very end. Grades 3 and up.

Number of books: 13.

Check Out Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
You’ve probably heard of this graphic novel series. It is extremely popular, and for a good reason. The story follows siblings Emily and Navin, who move with their mother into their great grandfather’s house. The story unravels from there when they discover an old secret and an evil monster that will change their lives forever.

If you enjoy action and fantasy, then this series is for you. Grades 4 and up.

Number of books: 7 (with two more to go!)

Check Out The Grimm Legacy by Polly ShulmanThe Grimm Legacy
This series centers on Elizabeth, a young girl who has just started working as a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository. This place serves as a library of objects, including something called the Grimm Collection. When objects start disappearing from the Grimm Collection, Elizabeth and her co-workers find themselves wrapped-up in a daring adventure.
While each book follows a different person, readers will learn more about the overall world in which the characters live. Grades 6-8.

Number of books: 3

Check Out Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
Three Times Lucky
This action-packed series centers on Moses LoBeau and takes place in Tupelo Landing, NC. Moses lives with a Colonel and Miss Lana, who own and work at a café. Moses’ world turns upside down when a lawman comes to the café talking about a murder. With the help of her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, Moses embarks on a perilous journey to save her family.

Buckle up as this story keeps you on your toes and has you laughing from page to page. Grades 4 and up.

Number of books: 3.

Check Out Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett Krosoczka
Lunch Lady
If you are looking for something lighter, and perhaps funnier, then this is the series for you. This ongoing graphic novel series takes place in a school where the hero is the lunch lady. Join her as she serves up justice for the school and its students. Grades 3 and up.

Number of books: 10.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Preschool Fair

By: Katy Almendinger, Early Literacy Librarian

Picture of four preschool aged kids with arms around each other's shoulder.Do you have a preschooler at home? Or maybe you have an almost preschooler? We know that thinking about sending little children to preschool for the first time can be intimidating. Believe it or not, now is the time to start thinking about preschool enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year.

Don’t know where to start? Well, if you’re like me, you probably headed right to Google. A quick Google search will pull up great lists of qualities to consider and questions to ask preschool directors. It will provide distinctions between the different educational approaches, from Montessori to Reggio-Emilia. It can also help you decide whether or not preschool is right for your family. But what Google can’t do is provide face-to-face opportunities to interact with preschool directors and educators.

That’s where the Preschool Fair comes in. The library will host a Preschool Fair on Wednesday, November 2 from 6-8 pm. Think of it like a college fair but for preschool. Glen Ellyn Preschools have been invited to host an informational table at the library. Preschool directors and educators will be on hand to meet prospective families, answer questions about their program, and share specific information about curriculum and enrollment. It’s a great opportunity for families to come and explore all of Glen Ellyn’s fabulous preschool options in one place.

We hope to see you there! Questions about the Preschool Fair or the library’s preschool services can be sent to Early Literacy Librarian Katy Almendinger at calmendinger@gepl.org.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Go Retro With Classic Disney Movies

By: Emily Richardson, Youth Programming Associate

Back in March, I went to see Zootopia in theaters. I consider myself fairly savvy when it comes to figuring out movie plots ahead of time; but by halfway through, Disney had upended my entire idea of where the movie was going and who was actually behind the terrible plot. Disney is good at this. While some might fall through, there’s usually one or two every five years that really shine.

Disney’s next big film, Moana, is slated to release at the end of November. But what’s a Disney fanatic to do in the next month before this new and amazing princess graces us with her presence? Why not take a trip into the past? Go retro and find that old Disney animated film from the 1930’s, or discover an unsung hero, overshadowed by the larger films during Disney’s Golden Era of the 1990’s.

Check Out Pinocchio

Snow White, the first film by Disney ever, is still fairly well known. But did you know Pinocchio is the second oldest? With classics such as the song “When You Wish Upon a Star,” and the character Jiminy Cricket, this movie is a must.

Check Out The Sword in the Stone

The Sword in the Stone often gets overlooked (and, in the spirit of honesty, I actually prefer Quest for Camelot, but the two are very different).

Following the story of King Arthur before he becomes king, The Sword in the Stone is a fun, forest-filled romp through Merlin and Arthur’s training, leading up to the actual joust where Arthur pulls the legendary sword from the stone.

Check Out The Aristocats

“A Lady does not start fights. But she can finish them.” Classic Marie in The Aristocats.

Check Out The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under

The Rescuers brings mice solving crimes and rescuing kidnapped children, missing diamonds, evil crocodiles, poachers, bird “airplanes” and one of the most adorable marriage proposals ever.


Check Out Hercules

Overshadowed by greats such as The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, Hercules is a hero in its own way.

From witty Megara to the three muses’ singing, to Hades sass and Phil’s grumpy nature, this cast of rambunctious and loveable characters will make you laugh for the entire length of the movie.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Homework Help Available @ GEPL!

By: Renee Grassi, Youth Department Director

Research, projects, and papers….oh, my!

We in the Youth Department can tell this new school year is officially in high gear. We are fielding all sorts of homework questions from kids and caregivers alike—and we love it! This is the time of year when your friendly librarians can help you and your child find the perfect book or the right resource to support your educational needs. Aside from our comprehensive juvenile non-fiction, biography, and fiction collections, we have a plethora of kid-friendly online resources available FREE 24/7 from home with your Glen Ellyn Public Library card. So, take a look at some of our favorite resources below. Who knows—they might come in handy the night before that big project is due!


CultureGrams LogoStudents in grades 2 through 8 will have the world at their fingertips—literally. Learn about history, customs, and everyday life of countries around the world. Culturegrams features concise, reliable, and up-to-date information about the world’s countries. There are four different editions available, including a World Edition, Kids Edition, States Edition and Provinces Edition.

New Book of Knowledge Encyclopedia

The New Book of Knowledge from Scholastic GoNew Book of Knowledge is that go-to research tool for students in grades 3 through 8. It is a generalized reference resource, which means it provides overviews of a variety of topics that are accessible and credible. Students will find a variety of digital nonfiction texts and articles across a wide range of core content areas. Information is organized by topic, grade, level and Lexile.


ScienceFlix Logo

With the increase of STEM related research and school projects, ScienceFlix is the perfect resource for your child. Perfect for students in grades 3 through 8, ScienceFlix offers a mobile-ready interactive interface designed for those wanting to learn more about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Multimedia content is closely aligned with the latest science standards as well.


TrueFlix Logo

TrueFlix is an online resource for students in grades 3 through 8 providing digital books, texts, and videos that help student build knowledge of subject-area content. Offering information across a wide variety of topics that are aligned with 21st Century Skills and state standards, TrueFlix helps support student’s academic needs through inquiry and discovery.

To access the library’s complete list of online resources available for kids, simply click here!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Toddlers and Technology

By: Megan Stepniewski, Youth Programming Associate

30% of children are obese.

30% developmentally delayed.

14.3% diagnosed with mental health disorders.

20-30% of children experience learning difficulties.

And 1 in 11 now have technology addictions.

All aforementioned problems are associated with overuse of technology.


After reading these statistics and seeing parenting and psychology articles spouting all over the place about the dangers of technology, it is no wonder that many parents feel like banishing technology from their house all together! It becomes harder still when you take into account that despite wanting to abstain from technology, it is everywhere and eventually your child will need to learn how to properly utilize technology to function in school and eventually in the workplace.

But some of us love technology! The great storytelling and complex critical thinking in gaming, the complete access to information about anything and everything, being able to communicate with friends and loved ones at any time in any place, and the opportunities for creativity, all stem from the wonderful use of technology in our lives. It’s no wonder that we would want to share these exuberant experiences with our children!

So what is a parent to do? Use Aristotle’s Golden Mean.


Aristotle was definitely not a moron when compiling his Golden Mean. Essentially, it boils down to this: the right course of action falls in between two extremes — one of excess and one of deficiency. Here we have our two extremes: let our kids have free rein on any and all technology (our excess), or completely vanquish technology from our children’s lives altogether (our deficiency).

This is what I kept in mind after diving through a plethora of academic articles, scholarly journals and research papers to find a decent road for parents to take. Here is what I found:

  • For the purpose of linguistic, physical, mental, emotional and relational development, all children under the age of 2 should not be passively exposed to screens and/or touch screen technologies.
  • Children need their parents, and in the absence of a connected parent, children will attach to devices.
  • During the earliest years, infants and toddlers interact primarily with people. Their interactions with toys are usually in the context of human interaction as well. They need to freely explore, manipulate and test everything in the environment to properly develop.
  • Technology creates wonderful bonding experiences where parent and child can enjoy gaming, reading and exploring together.
  • Enjoyable and engaging shared experiences that optimize the potential for children’s learning and development can support children’s relationships both with adults and their peers.
  • Effective technology tools connect on-screen and off-screen activities with an emphasis on co-viewing and co-participation between adults and children and children and their peers.

For children with special needs, technology has proven to have many potential benefits. Technology can be a tool to augment sensory input or reduce distractions. It can provide support for cognitive processing or enhancing memory and recall.

Ultimately, we need to keep in mind that technology is a tool — just like a book, a crayon, a microwave, or a car. Way back when, parents and psychologists held the belief that when books became more accessible to children, it would harm and damage their proper development. Now we see children’s books as a wonderful growth tool and is encouraged for proper development. We may not have all the scientific research on how technology affects children yet, but technology is here to stay and so it is best that we learn to adapt it into our lives while continuing to proceed with caution.

Don’t stress. You are an AWESOME PARENT! YOU — CAN — DO — IT!

If you liked this blog post, then check out these articles and books about toddlers and technology! (It’s where I got most of my information from.)

Remember proceed with caution, because a lot of them use scare tactics — obviously to get more readers, but you have Aristotle on your side, so what is there to fear? 


Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Lego Creative Building VS Sets

By: Kate Easley, Youth Librarian

Check out The Lego Ideas Book by Daniel LipkowitzIf you have a school-aged child in your house, the chances are good that you have some LEGOs lying around. If you are like me, you have three giant tubs of LEGOs in your house. It makes me cringe every time my 5-year-old son asks me to buy him another LEGO set. “Do you really need MORE LEGOs? What about the 52 million already in the basement, in your room and all over the carpet?” I ask him.

The appeal of the packaged LEGO sets is strong. Kids love the themed designs and fancy vehicles and who can blame them? They are super cool! There is much discussion on whether these building sets hamper creativity. I think it’s good to encourage both free-building and also building the themed sets. Free-building can cultivate a child’s creativity and imagination while the sets help him follow directions and work on spatial reasoning.

My goal has been to encourage my son to do more free-building with his loose LEGO bricks, mainly so I can avoid buying more of the costly sets. This has been a challenge, but I have found some ways to push him along. First, I pull out the tubs of loose LEGOs and show him the cool bricks I find. Then I ask him what he thinks we can build with the bricks we have. Usually he builds a small castle or spaceship and then plays pretend with his minifigures around his new creation. At least it gets his creative juices flowing! The Lego Ideas Book is great for coming up with ideas of what to build. So, pull out those tubs of LEGOs and get building!


Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Activities You Can Do With Your Middle Schooler

By: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Middle schoolers are back in school, and back to their highly-scheduled program. Even though they have homework, sports, music lessons, religious ed, and so many more activities through the week into the weekend, it’s important to schedule in some fun, quality time for the family. It may seem tough. Your middle schooler may be starting to enter the “everything’s embarrassing” phase, but you can find a happy medium of an activity you both like.

Different ways of decorating pumpkins without a knife.Believe it or not, having a middle school aged kid is a great opportunity. They’re finally old enough to do things that may have been too risky or intense when they were younger. You may finally be able to trust them with the carving tools to make a wicked pumpkin. If not, there are some really cool pumpkin decorating techniques that don’t involve a knife.

Maybe you’d like to learn a new skill together. While your middle schooler may not be up for the tandem karate class, maybe you’d both like to learn advanced, or remedial, yo-yo tricks, or maybe how to properly fly a kite.

This fall may be a great time to try that scarier haunted house, or the giant corn maze that was too difficult in the past. You know, the one with the crazy chainsaw guy at the end? It’s possible they’re more up for it than you, but you may find that your suspenseful jump into midair may make you walk a little closer the rest of the way through.

If you’re not wanting to go the scary route, try creating something together. Middle schoolers absolutely love making things. Keeping the Halloween theme, make a scarecrow or some other decorations that may put the little ones in the trick-or-treating mood.  You can try upcycling some discarded magazines, or something low maintenance like painting pottery.

If you’re just tired from running around all week, why not try a family movie night instead? Here are some titles that can keep adults and kids entertained:


Check out Zootopia on DVD.
Zootopia is a city like no other, comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, and is a melting pot where animals from every environment live together. But when optimistic Officer Judy Hopps arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy.

Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde.

Princess Bride

Check out The Princess Bride on DVD.
Heartbroken over the death of her beloved Westley, beautiful Buttercup finally succumbs to the advances of the wicked Prince Humperdinck. Yet, when she’s suddenly kidnapped by a motley band of deviants, what gallant hero comes to the rescue? None other than Westley–alive, well and as wonderful as ever.

But before these two can live happily ever after, they must first overcome formidable odds. Will these star-crossed lovers ever fulfill their destiny?

Song of the Sea

Check out Song of the Sea on DVD.
When Saoirse and Ben’s mother mysteriously disappears into the ocean, the two children go on an epic journey to find out the truth about her. In the process, they discover mystical secrets about both their mother and Saoirse herself.

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Check out The Tale of Princess Kaguya on DVD.
Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her, but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime.

When Marnie was There

Check out When Marnie was There on DVD.
When shy, artistic Anna moves to the seaside to live with her aunt and uncle, she stumbles upon an old mansion surrounded by marshes, and the mysterious young girl, Marnie, who lives there.

The two girls instantly form a unique connection and friendship that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality. As the days go by, a nearly magnetic pull draws Anna back to the Marsh house again and again, and she begins to piece together the truth surrounding her strange new friend.

Monster House

Check out Monster House on DVD.
A group of kids discover that a neighborhood house is actually a monster. To solve the mystery of the house they must go inside it, before it takes everyone that crosses its path.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Banned Books Week: September 25−October 1

By: Melissa Hilt, Youth Department Assistant Director

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Over the years we have had many banned book displays and members are always shocked to learn that books are still, to this day, banned and/or challenged. Now, just because a book is banned in one place doesn’t mean that is banned everywhere, thankfully. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the thought of someone telling me I should not or cannot read a certain book just because they don’t agree with something that is in the book. I might have different beliefs than someone else about the same topic and we should both be able to have access to books that we find helpful or enjoyable.

Some books you might have read over the years that have been banned or challenged are titles like:

Check Out James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
James and the Giant Peach

Challenged For: Inappropriate language, encourages disobedience to parents, references to drugs and alcohol, and because it contains “magical elements.”

Check Out Buster's Sugartime by Marc Tolon Brown
Buster’s Sugartime

Challenged For: Featuring a lesbian couple.

Check Out Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
Hop on Pop

Challenged For: Someone thought it encourages children to use violence against their fathers.

Check Out The Adventures Of Super Diaper Baby By Dav Pilkey
The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby

Banned from the Channelview, Texas Independent School District (2011) because it contained the phrase “poo poo head.”

Check Out Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter Series

This is one of the most banned and challenged series. Many people feel there are occult/Satanism and anti-family themes.

Check Out And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Tango Makes Three

Challenged For: Containing themes of homosexuality.

Come celebrate your freedom to read and check out a banned or challenged book! We have a special display in the Youth Department next to the magazines.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

First Friends

By: Leigh Ann Vock, Youth Department Page

Tinkers the Tabby CatFirst friends for many young children are beloved stuffed animals. Some children develop a stronger attachment than others. My granddaughter’s present best friend is a much-loved and tattered tabby cat named “Tinkers.” Tinkers is real to her and possesses feelings that she is careful to be considerate of.

I recently spent some time convincing my son that his daughter’s obsession with Tinkers was normal and healthy. There are many benefits to having a pretend first friend. This relationship helps a child deal with separation anxiety by having a familiar object with them when parents are away. Temper tantrums are sometimes a result of a child’s inability to express what they are feeling. Having a comrade to explain how something has made them feel can be helpful.

Children in the toddler age group are in a language explosion. When a child speaks to their pretend first friend they hear the sound of their own voice and this improves their pronunciation along with their vocabulary. Toddler-aged children are at the beginning stages of making friends. Having a stuffed animal or doll allows them the opportunity to model sharing, taking turns, following rules and developing empathy. All good things that outweigh the possible frustration that ensues when the toy gets lost or takes a much needed washing machine bath.

Enjoy some of my selections of wonderful books about fluffy, stuffed first friends. All have been Tinkers-approved.


Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Summer Reading: School Challenge Winners Announced!

By: Amy Waters, School Liaison

This summer, the grade school students in Glen Ellyn proved themselves to be a community of Super Readers. Summer reading at GEPL is opened to all students and this year, with our Read to Build program, we surpassed our goal of 70,000 hours read, racking up over 82,500 hours. All of this reading meant good things for those growing readers, and it also meant we were able to donate appliances to a home being built by Habitat for Humanity for a local family. Making a difference for themselves while also having a philanthropic impact in their community raised the value of all this reading to another level.

We had participation from all 10 community elementary schools, but only one school can win the Glen Ellyn Public Library School Challenge. This year, the Super Reader trophy goes to students at:

Briar Glen Elementary School

Congratulations to our School Challenge WINNERS!

Briar Glen Elementary School Trophy Presentation Photos

Photos by Mitch Dubinsky

The students from Briar Glen, who were enrolled in our summer reading program, read an average of 44.1 hours this summer. Congratulations on your wonderful achievement! You truly helped GEPL Read to Build this summer. *

*To be eligible to participate in our Elementary School Challenge, we require all schools have 15% of their K-5 students registered for the GEPL summer reading program. School enrollment is provided by the district or school office.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth