Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth Blog

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

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

Welcome Back!

By: Bari Ericson, Youth Programming Associate

It’s finally done, and you are going to be delighted with the results! After months of squealing drills and banging hammers, the dust has cleared, and we have opened our newly remodeled Youth Department! (I know I’m not supposed to use so many exclamation marks, but I’m so excited for you to come see it! I will try to restrain myself from here on.)

As a very service-oriented staff team, we have hated turning you away empty-handed, with only promises that your book would arrive in a few days or with directions to another library. But all that has changed, and we can’t wait to see your faces as you walk into the newly remodeled space. The entire map has shifted with resources for older kids near the west entrance and materials for younger kids to the east. There is a fabulous study and hang-out space for the Middle Schoolers and expanded play area for the little ones. The program room has been expanded to allow for higher attendance and more diverse activities.

I had the privilege of buying new toys for the play space. Here are some of the fun and educational things awaiting your visit:

Picture of Caterpillar Gear Toy
Picture of Color Mixing Blocks Toys
Picture of Add Subtract Abacus Toy
Picture of Tough Trucks Toys

There is much, much more, and you just have to come in and experience it. We can’t wait to see you!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Miss Deanna’s Favorite Things

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Programming Associate

Picture of Deanna SiegelHi there!

My name is Miss Deanna and I’m new to the Youth Department. These are a few of my favorite things that I would like to share with you. Maybe these are some of your favorites, too!

Come by and tell me about your favorite things! I can’t wait to hear.


Miss Deanna

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Memories of the Glen Ellyn Public Library

By: Carolyn Wissmiller, Youth Programming Associate

I’m retiring at the end of this year. Yikes! That’s not so very far away. While I’m looking forward to more free time to pursue a variety of activities, it’s also a great time to reflect on the more than 11 years I’ve spent here at GEPL.

Things that have changed:

  • The Library is totally different on the inside:
    • The Adult Staff offices have been relocated from the second floor to the third floor.
    • The Adult Department has been extensively remodeled, adding several more study rooms and a Digital Media Lab.
    • The Youth Department is about to reopen in a beautifully recreated space.
    • We have two new boilers, courtesy of the April 2013 flood.
  • The outside of the Library has changed too:
    • We have created the beautiful Christy Stigailo Memorial Butterfly Garden.
    • The parking lot use to flow counter-clockwise; but now it goes the other way around.
    • Because of the 2013 flood, there are 15” concrete parapet walls that prevent flood water from penetrating the building and swales to hold and redirect rain water away from the Library.
  • Technology has exploded:
    • We no longer keep track of Summer Reading or Patch Club on index cards; we use database software.
    • Movies are on Blue-ray; no more VHS tapes.
    • We have iPads and MacBooks for children to use while in the Library.
    • With our digital library resources, members can check out e-books, audiobooks, music, movies, magazines, without even coming to the Library; in fact, they can check out materials when they’re across the country or around the world.
    • In the Digital Media Lab, members can create music and videos, convert VHS to DVD and musical records to digital files, and edit digital creations in Garage Band, iMovie, or Audacity.
    • Thanks to the proliferation of cell phones, children no longer know their phone numbers.

Things that have stayed the same:

  • The favorite items in the Library’s Youth Department are still the toys.
  • My favorite books from when I was a child, many, many years ago, are still part of our collection. My old favorites and some new ones are listed below.
  • Members of the Glen Ellyn community and my co-workers are fantastic.
  • I will deeply miss everyone I’ve had the privilege to serve and the pleasure to work with.

Here are some of my favorite books now and then:

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: Book Babies

By: Katy Almendinger, Early Literacy Librarian

Have you been to Book Babies? It’s a half hour of fun designed especially for you and baby. We know it probably feels silly to bring a baby to storytime. A quiet library is not a place for a screaming, drooling infant. Wrong. Librarians love to see babies. We understand that babies can be messy and fussy.

Bringing baby to the library as early as possible will only help raise a reader. There are endless other benefits, too. The activities in Book Babies help develop baby’s language skills. And the program has plenty of opportunities for gross and fine motor development. Book Babies also teaches the basics– how to listen, how to hold a book, and how to turn a page.

Still not convinced? Read on…

  • Book Babies is not about sitting quietly in a circle a half-hour. Librarians expect babies to explore, wiggle, and make noise during storytime. It would actually be scary if a room full of babies was quiet and stationary the whole time!
  • Book Babies is a social experience. It’s a great way for you and baby to meet new friends. We even reserve a bit of time at the end of the program for play and socialization.
  • Snuggling up to read, sing, or rhyme together is a valuable bonding experience for you and baby.
  • You don’t need to register. We know you’ve got a busy and (sometimes) unpredictable schedule.
  • Book Babies isn’t just for Mom & Baby. Dads, Grandparents, Nannies, Aunts & Uncles… everyone is welcome to attend Book Babies with baby.
  • We have bubbles.

Our regular storytime schedule will start in January. Check out the schedule.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: Book Crush

By: Leigh Ann Vock, Youth Department Page

I have a crush, a book crush. Amy Rosenthal’s Exclamation Mark is the newest addition to my long list of book crushes. I have an affinity for picture books that appeal to celebrating differences. Exclamation Mark is an endearing book that does just that. It is a creative story about a sad punctuation point who cannot find his place in the grammar world. Among the myriad of periods, Exclamation Mark sticks out and is unable to fit in. Along comes inquiring Question Mark and a friendship begins and differences are embraced. Sharing literary works that display kindness and acceptance is invaluable. At one time in our child’s lives they will likely question their differences and the differences of others. This book teaches children compassion and acceptance and throws in a punctuation lesson as a bonus.

When I added Exclamation Mark to my book crush list I had to add other titles by the same author. Equally as inspiring is The OK book, which contains a wonderful message of its ok to be just ok. Spoon, is a creative tale of overcoming self- doubt and delivering the important message that each of us are special in our own way.

The message of liking oneself and the differences in others is never wasted on a child or an adult for that matter. These books do just that in a way that is humorous, creative and memorable. My crush list is always available to share. Exclamation Mark and the others will remain in a prominent place on my book crush list.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: For When Times Are Scary

By: Melissa Hilt, Youth Department Assistant Director

Did you hear what happened in Paris? How about all of the violence that happens on a daily basis in nearby cities? Do you ever feel like you are surrounded by negative news?

We often don’t think about how much these events affect the little ones since they aren’t often sitting there watching the news. However, I have found that even when children are nearby playing, they are picking up on what is being said on TV.

For times when things get a little scary here are some books about peace and people around the world that you can read with your children:

If the World Were a Village by David J. Smith Book Cover
Peace is an Offering by Annette LeBox Book Cover


Peace, Baby! by Linda Ashman Book Cover
The Peace Book by Todd Parr Book Cover


All the World by Elizabeth Garton Scanlon Book Cover
Snowflakes Fall By Patricia MacLachlan Book Cover


Silver Buttons by Bob Graham Book Cover
Let There be Peace Prayers From Around the World Book Cover
Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: Gratitude

By: Amy Waters, School Liaison

Assorted Pumpkins In Front of Large Red Wheelbarrowgratitude

syllabification: grat·i·tude
Pronunciation: /ˈɡradəˌt(y)o͞od/
Definition of gratitude in English:
Noun – The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
From the Oxford English Dictionary Online

This Thanksgiving is going to be a simple one at our house. Work and distance mean that our adult children won’t be here and we won’t be traveling. But that’s okay. As a parent of adult children I look back, with gratitude, for the time I had my little ones at home. I feel grateful but I wonder, do they know how thankful I am for them?

I tried to teach my children to say thank you by example, by saying thank you to others and by expressing my thanks to my children when they were helpful and kind. I wish, though, that I had been more specific.

“Thank you” followed by an acknowledgement of a specific act or a quality that is unique to each child reinforces the fact that who they are is what makes us appreciate them, not just what they do. Then, they will start to think of themselves as kind and appreciative people.

When we ourselves are grateful, our children learn to appreciate the world around them, they learn to recognize a kindness shown to them, and they want to return that kindness.

  • Thank those that provide food for you: at the grocery and at the table.
  • Express appreciation for the world around you: the silly and the serious.
  • Keep a “grateful” list: the big and the small, not just “things”.
  • Share a meal with someone.
  • Write a note of thanks or of appreciation.

An attitude of gratitude also means allowing yourself to be on the receiving end of giving. Sometimes the best gift is allowing someone to give to you. So, this Thanksgiving, offer thanks. And when someone thanks you, accept it as a gift, don’t brush it off. A warm “you’re welcome” can teach children that giving and receiving should both be done in a spirit of appreciation.

My children may live far away. But near or far, there are ways to show your appreciation for the special qualities in those you care about. Share a hug. Make a phone call or send a text. Place a note at the table or under the pillow of your loved ones. This year, I’ll write a note of thanks to my children, and when I tell them how thankful I am for them, I’ll be sure to be specific.

Thank you, for reading. Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are some books to read with your children that can help you start a conversation about appreciating the world around them:


Before We Eat by Pat Brisson Book Cover
Gracias~Thanks by Pat Mora Book Cover
The Best Part of the Day by Sarah Ban Breathnach Book Cover
Ten Thank-You Letters by Daniel Kirk Book Cover
Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson Book Cover
An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton Book Cover
Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: Snacktime Storytime

By: Emily Richardson, Youth Programming Associate

I love food. Possibly more than reading. If I ever find myself on a sinking ship off the coast of a desserted island (pun intended), I probably would grab food, then books… then a life vest.

So I thought today we’d explore both of my two favorite things today by looking at picture books that also serve up an interesting afternoon snack.

Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert Book Cover

Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert

Summary: “An alphabetical tour of the world of fruits and vegetables, from apricot and artichoke to yam and zucchini.”

At Home: Finding all of these would be a bit difficult of an undertaking just for an afternoon snack. Try trying in just two or three that are mentioned in the book.

Spider Sandwiches by Claire Freedman Book Cover

Spider Sandwiches by Claire Freedman

Summary: “Max the monster’s diet consists of many things we might find odd, including toenail scrambled eggs, lice rice, and hairy fried bat’s ears, but his favorite treat is spider sandwiches.”

At home: Make a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but cut the bread into a circle. Use stick pretzels as legs poking out the sides and stick two raisins in the bread as eyes.

Lulu’s Party by Kit Chase Book Cover

Lulu’s Party by Kit Chase

Summary: “Lulu is excited to have her friends Oliver and Charlie over for a rainy day party, but something goes wrong with her special treat and Lulu fears that her party is ruined, so her friends come to the rescue and save the day.”

At Home: This is probably more of a special treat than an afternoon snack, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious. The easiest and most delicious recipe I’ve found is this one.

The Popcorn Book by Tomie de Paola Book Cover

The Popcorn Book by Tomie de Paola

Summary: Tony likes to cook. Tiny likes to read. But both twins like to eat…POPCORN! So while Tiny cooks it, Tony reads about what it is.

At Home: This book includes step-by-step guide in the back to making stove-top popcorn, but feel free to change it up a little depending on your own family’s traditions. Personally, I like my popcorn with butter, salt, and parmesan.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff Book Cover

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Summary: “Relating the cycle of requests a mouse is likely to make after you give him a cookie takes the reader through a young child’s day.”

At Home: Your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Have a glass of milk handy, too.

Check one of these books out today and eat alongside your favorite characters.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth