Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth Blog

Summer Weather

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Programming Associate

We’re so close to summer I can almost taste it! And with summer, comes lots of changes in climate. Here are some books that you can take home in order to prepare for the upcoming weather. Get ready to grab your umbrella and to pull out your sunglasses!

But of course, the best part of summer weather is the Sunshine!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Road Trip Books and Media

By: Kate Easley, Youth Librarian

I’m about to embark on a 10 hour car trip to Alabama with my husband and our two kids (ages 4 and 1). To say I’m nervous is putting it lightly. This could all go very wrong within the first hour of the trip. However, I have been preparing my bag of goodies for weeks. It contains treats, crafts, toys, movies and lots of books. I’m packing books the kids can look at independently, like search-and-find and touch-and-feel books as well as books that come with a CD.

I’ll also be checking out Playaway Views. If you haven’t had a chance to try out the Playaway Views, you should. They are like little tablets that are pre-loaded with multiple videos and are small enough that your child can hold them easily. My kids are big fans of them because they are easy to use and fun to watch. Hopefully, the trip to Alabama will just fly by. Wish me luck!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Five Senses Science

By: Bari Ericson, Youth Programming Associate

Astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble said, “Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.”

Children use their five senses every day to gather data about their world. Here are a few fun activity and book ideas to fuel your young scientists’ explorations.


The outside world shapes children’s development through experiences, which include using their five senses—hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch. Drawing a child’s attention to the five senses and discussing them increases understanding of and communication about the world around them.



When children play games that involve sight, they’re also practicing early literacy skills! Sight games help children recognize words, patterns, objects…and help them develop their memory!

  • Play “I Spy”: While reading a book or taking part in everyday activities, play “I Spy” with the child about things he/she sees on different pages of the book, throughout the house or out on errands.
  • Memory Game: Place four or five familiar objects on a tray. Give children one minute to look at all of the items and then cover the tray and ask the children to share what they saw on the tray. As children get used to this game, they will begin to focus more on the objects so that they are able to share when the tray is covered again.



Over time, children will recognize certain smells as comforting, yummy, scary, exciting, etc. Encourage the child to experiment with scents and smells that he/she recognizes and those that are more unfamiliar.

  • Blindfolded Smell Test: Blindfold the child and place some familiar scents under his/her nose, such as chocolate, cinnamon, playdough, etc. Ask him/her questions such as: What do you smell? Do you recognize it? Does it remind you of something else?



Like other skills that children learn, listening takes practice. Developing good listening habits helps children get important information from family members, teachers, friends and coaches.

  • Patterning: Using your hands or another object, make clapping patterns. Take turns having the adult lead, followed by the child leading a pattern, and vice versa. After doing clapping patterns, try the same routine with bells or another noise-making object. Ask the child: Which sequence is harder to repeat—the claps or the bells? Which sound do you prefer to listen to? Which sound is louder?
  • Take a Sound Hike!: Whether taking a sound hike at the mall, a nearby park or on a family trip, ask children to notice the sounds they hear and then use sound words as they describe them.



Children develop taste preferences based on what they are fed when they’re in the early years of their lives. Helping children think about which tastes they do and do not prefer will encourage them to try new foods and/or new combinations of foods.

  • Identify Foods: Gather up different foods (preferably that the child enjoys!) and have each child taste each food and guess what it is as he/she is blindfolded or has their eyes covered. While the child is tasting, discuss certain words such as sweet, salty, sour, bitter, fruity, etc. that will help him/her understand the meaning of the words.



Children learn about their bodies and how to communicate with others through touch. Most of the feeling that we do happens through our feet and our hands.  Taking part in activities where children feel with their feet and hands help them learn how to write, button their shirts, tie their shoes, etc.

  • Feeling With Your Feet: Have the child, barefooted, feel things with his/her feet and think about the way it feels. Some things to try include paint, playdough, grass and carpet. Ask the child questions such as: What does it feel like? Do you like the way it feels? Is it rough or smooth? Cold or hot? Does it tickle your feet? Do the same activity with your hands!
  • Pillow Play: Place familiar objects inside of an empty pillowcase. Let the child try to guess what the objects are. Help the child describe how each object feels. Vary the activity by using holiday/seasonal items or items with a theme such as animals or shapes.


Sources For More Ideas:

Read, Write, Think: Engaging the Five Senses to Learn About Our World

University of Illinois Extension: Teaching Children about the Five Senses

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Happy Birthday!

By: Emily Richardson, Youth Programming Associate

Multi-Colored Balloons
It’s my birthday month! Cue celebratory balloons!

This year I became curious about who shares a birthday with me, and thought I’d do a little research. Check out the list below to find your own birthday, then check out a book to learn more about your new birthday buddy.

J.R.R. Tolkien Creator of Languages and Legends by Doris Lynch Book Cover
Betsy Ross (Revolutionary)
J.R.R. Tolkien (Author)
Elvis Presley (Singer)
Duchess Catherine (Kate Middleton, World Politics)
Ernie Banks (Sports)
Al Capone (Crime)

Elizabeth Blackwell (Medical)
Laura Ingalls Wilder (Author)
Barnum Brown (Paleontologist)
Wilson Bentley (Snowflake Photographer)

Justin Bieber (Singer)
Alexander Graham Bell (Inventor)
Dr. Seuss (Author)
J.S. Bach (Composer)
Cesar Chavez (World Politics)

Hans Christian Andersen (Author)
Imogen Cunningham (Photographer)
Abigail Breslin (Actor)
Charlie Chaplin (Actor)
James Buchanan (US President)

David Beckham (Sports)
Catherine the Great (World Politics)
Adele (Singer)
Nellie Bly (Reporter)
Johannes Brahms (Composer)
Gary Paulsen (Author)
Mary Pope Osborne (Author)
Mary Cassatt (Artist)
Rachel Carson (Biology)

Anne Frank (Author)
Eric Carle (Author)
Helen Keller (Activist)

Diana Princess of Wales by Tim O'Shei Book Cover
Princess Diana (World Politics)
Calvin Coolidge (US Presidents)
P.T. Barnum (Circus Owner)
Ringo Starr (Drummer)
J.K. Rowling (Author)

Tom Brady (Athlete)
Louis Armstrong (Musician)
Neil Armstrong (Astronaut)
Suzanne Collins (Author)
Usain Bolt (Athlete)

Beyonce (Singer)
Jane Addams (Activist)
Ruby Bridges (Activist)
Roald Dahl (Author)

John Lennon (Singer)
Robinson Cano (Athlete)
Richard Byrd (Explorer)
Hillary Clinton (US Politics)

Daniel Boone (Explorer)
Marie Curie (Scientist)
Louisa May Alcott (Author)
Winston Churchill (World Politics)

Black Elk's Vision A Lokota Story by S.D. Nelson Book Cover
Black Elk (World Leader)
Clara Barton (Medical)
Jacques Cartier (Explorer)
Ty Cobb (Athlete)

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Favorite Preschool Visit Reads

By: Katy Almendinger, Early Literacy Librarian

Miss Katy here. I’m hoping some of you have heard of me. Part of what I do includes visiting Glen Ellyn preschool classrooms on a regular basis. I bring a bag of books, my favorite songs and sometimes an interactive game to classrooms.

I can hardly believe it’s almost time for summer vacation! April and May visits are sometimes the last time I’ll see a classroom before summer. It’s always bittersweet—I know that some preschoolers will be attending kindergarten in the fall. In honor of the end of the year, I thought I’d share some of our favorite reads.

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak Book Cover
One class in particular will ask for this book every single time I visit. Kids love The Book with No Pictures so much that some can even recite the text with me. It makes audiences (even big kids) howl with laughter because it forces adults to say silly things and make silly sounds.

Hooray for Hat by Brian Won

Hooray for Hat by Brian Won Book Cover
“Remember the book with the animals and the hats? That one’s my favorite.” I always know a book was a hit when kids ask me about it the next time I visit. I asked kids to shout “Hooray for Hat!” with me when we read this one.

Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera

Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera Book Cover
The title alone makes this one a winner! Underwear, for some strange reason, makes kids giggle. Readers are invited to guess which underwear belongs to which animal based on clues seen in the underwear’s design. For example — carrot themed underwear belongs to a bunny. How many times can I say underwear in a short paragraph?!

Mix It Up by Herve Tullet

Mix It Up by Herve Tullet Book Cover
“Miss Katy, that book is magic!” Preschoolers always have stunned expressions on their faces when we read Mix It Up. This book, and the author’s other books, are completely interactive. The narrator instructs kids to shake the book or turn it to the right to see what happens to the paint. And the results are magical.

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins
There’s a slight gross out factor with this nonfiction title. It shares unique, size-related animal facts in a fun way. You’d be surprised by how many preschoolers know that anteaters have really, really long tongues.

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood Book Cover
This book makes readers so anxious for the ending — and then it ends with a twist! The illustrations are beautiful, too. And you know it’s good when it’s one of Miss Bari’s favorites.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

The 2016 Caudill, Bluestem and Monarch Award Winners!

By: Melissa Hilt, Youth Department Assistant Director

It’s been over a month since the Caudill, Bluestem and Monarch awards were announced, but people are still surprised to see that we now have the 2017 nominees on display; and everyone wants to know which books won for 2016. So without further ado, I present to you the 2016 winners.

The Caudill Winner Is…Michael Vey: the Prisoner of Cell 25 By Richard Paul Evans
Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Book Cover

To see a list of the final totals, visit: Rebecca Caudill 2016 Final Totals


The Bluestem Winner Is…The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths
The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths Book Cover

To see a list of the final totals, visit: Bluestem Final Totals


The Monarch Winner Is…Breaking News: Bear Alert by David Biedrzycki
Breaking News: Bear Alert by David Biedrzycki Book Cover

To see a list of the final totals, visit: Monarch Final Totals

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Earth Day

By: Leigh Ann Vock, Youth Department Page

What does Earth Day mean to kids? Do they think of our planet as something that needs care? Earth Day is a perfect day to bring attention to the job of being good stewards of our planet. The first Earth Day Celebration was started in 1970 after a massive oil spill in California inspired the need to teach others about our environment. This celebration has reached global proportions and we can all do our part to participate.

Nature walks are a good place to start to begin the appreciation of all that our Earth gives to us. Other ideas might include a technology free day and lights out early to save energy. For school age kids, work together to pack a waste free lunch, no baggies or paper sacks allowed.

Planting can be another way to celebrate Earth Day. Planting seeds or saplings can be a wonderful activity for children and they will enjoy watching the results of their labor. Giving back to the Earth for our generations to come is a practice that we do not want to lose. The Glen Ellyn Park District will host its 2016 Earth Day Celebration at Maryknoll Park on Friday, April 22 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Admission is free.

There are many resources to expand you and your child’s interest in this special day at the library. Earth day starts with us helping teach our children the importance of caring for our ecosystems.


Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Poetry: The Short and Long of It

By: Amy Waters, School Liaison

“If not for the cat,

and the scarcity of cheese,

I could be content.”

Whether you like your poetry short and to the point like this haiku by the first Children’s Poet Laureate, Jack Prelutsky, about the mouse’s yearning for the content life, free of cats and with abundant cheese in If Not For The Cat

or if you like your verses in many different forms in page after page of a complex story like the one that unfolds in the beautiful autobiography “brown girl dreaming” by the multi-award winning author Jacqueline Woodson

Poetry has something for everyone. Silly or serious, short or long, one voice or two, poems that celebrate sports or pets or poems that can be read from the top to the bottom and back again, all can be found on the shelves in your library. And if you can’t find a poem you like, then write one. April is the perfect time to find out you’re a poet, even if you didn’t know it!

Feast your ears and eyes on these and ask at the youth desk for help finding more:



Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Welcoming Children with Disabilities at the Library

By: Renee Grassi, Youth Department Director

You may have heard about our brand new Sensory Storytime program, which is being hosted at the library for the first time this week. This program is the first in an effort to make the Youth Department a more welcoming place for children with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities. In fact, Glen Ellyn Public Library staff are already hard at work cultivating partnerships with local organizations such as Philip J Rock, WDSRA, Glenbard West High School and D41 just to name a few! The library is the perfect place in the community for people of all abilities, and we look forward to welcoming all families through our doors.

Speaking of all abilities, you may have heard that April is Autism Awareness Month. In fact, some even say April is Autism Acceptance Month. So, if you are looking for materials to share with your child about autism this month, the library is a great place to start. Here are a few featured titles, as well as some juvenile fiction and non-fiction lists directly from the library’s catalog. Be sure to check them out!


Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Around the World in One Sitting

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Programming Associate

Does the cold weather get you down? Do you feel sometimes like you’d rather be somewhere else? Maybe somewhere warm, or fun, or new? Well, there is quick and easy way to solve this! One amazing thing about books is that they allow us to travel anywhere we want, if only for a short period of time. Here is a wonderful series that will take you on a fun adventure right from your house! This list consists of only a few in the series, but there are more!

In each of these books there are fun activities you can do in your own home. The activities provided relate to the region that you are exploring! Enjoy a fun craft while you’re traveling all over the world.

In addition to this, there are tons of facts about each country in order to give you a well-rounded experience. There are facts about landmarks, traditions, and of course, all the yummy food. Happy travels!


Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth