Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth Blog

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

GEPL Kids: Reading to a Toddler

By: Kate Easley, Youth Home School Services Librarian

Baby Reading On CouchBefore I had kids, I would picture what it would be like to read to my children. I would sit in a sunlit room, my toddler cozily sitting on my lap, and we would laugh and point out pictures as she calmly listened to the story. As with everything about parenting, I was very wrong. My daughter, Delilah, is 16 months old and reading to her is anything but relaxing, at least for me. She has just learned to walk and that’s all she wants to do. She wants to explore the room, pick up her toys, chase the dog and knock breakable items off the bookshelf. Reading to her can be a bit of a challenge. However there are lots of ways to keep your toddler engaged and excited about reading.

  1. Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton Book CoverFocus on fun, not time. Don’t worry about how many minutes or how many books. Just make sure that reading is fun! Find books she enjoys and let her pick her favorites. If she vetoes a book, put it away and try a new one. Try a time that works best for your child – first thing in the morning or before nap or bedtime, whenever she is more attentive. Be sure to make time for reading every day.
  2. Keep it active! It’s very hard to hold a toddler’s attention, but songs and rhythm help. Try a book you can sing along with like Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton or a book with rhythm like Tanka Tanka Skunk by Steve Webb. Books with motion are great too, like From Head to Toe by Eric Carle. The touch-and-feel books are also a sure hit if your little one likes to touch everything.
  3. Where Is Baby's Belly Button by Karen Katz Book CoverHang in there. If you are like me you probably like reading a book all the way to the end. You may be frustrated when your toddler pulls the book out of your hand halfway through Where is Baby’s Belly Button or has a meltdown during Goodnight Moon. Don’t worry – before you know if you will have a 4-year-old who will beg for you to read the same book over and over (and over). Not long after that you’ll be cuddled on the sofa reading Harry Potter and you’ll have to remind your child that it really is bedtime and you cannot read just one more chapter.

Enjoy this time with your little explorer and keep reading!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: How the Library Can Help Your Child with Learning Disabilities

By: Renee Grassi, Youth Department Director

Drawing of 3 Kids "1 in 5 Children Have Learnibg Disabilities"The library can be an intimidating place to children with learning disabilities. Libraries are synonymous with books, reading, learning—things that can be challenging for a child with a learning disability. In fact, the mere thought of making a visit to the library to check out a book can be instantly overwhelming and stress-inducing. If a child has a learning disability, it may affect aspects of that child’s experience, including ways that child listens, speaks, thinks, reads, writes, spells, or computes math. What, then, does the Glen Ellyn Public Library have to help parents and caregivers with children with learning disabilities?

Audio books: Listening to a book being read aloud is an enjoyable experience for any child, but it can be especially helpful for children with learning disabilities. For some readers, the process of listening to a book, as opposed to reading it, can significantly help improve their comprehension and retention. The Youth Department offers books on CD, as well as playaway formats for children who are auditory learners to listen along to their favorite story.

Digital Books: In a similar way, the process of reading an interactive digital book can make the experience of reading a positive one for a child with learning disabilities. The Library subscribes to several online resources, such as Tumblebooks and BookFlix, which are excellent for children with learning disabilities. These online resources have a “Read Along” feature which highlights each word as its being read out loud for the listener. With your GEPL library card, you have access to these resources 24/7 from your home computer or your mobile device. Be sure to check it out!

Storytime: Storytime is not just for babies here in Glen Ellyn! It’s a language-rich environment that supports and encourages children to be lifelong readers. We in the Youth Department are excited about books and hope to share our enthusiasm with children and families that attend. Whether it’s through song, movement, dance, or even flannel board stories, we often adapt stories in a variety of ways to be welcoming to all learners. We also show a brief film at the end of each Family Storytime, which are animated shorts of beloved picture books. In January after the Youth Remodel project is complete, the Youth Department looks forward to bringing back our ever-popular schedule of storytimes for children of all ages. Be sure to check in at GEPL’s Storytime page for more information about our winter session of storytimes and consider bringing your child to this shared reading experience.

Friendly Staff: Children, regardless if they have a learning disability or not, pick up attitudes and perceptions about reading from the adults in their lives. One thing that Youth Department staff can do is be a friendly, non-judgmental face in your child’s life that encourages their own interests and gets to know them. We want to help your child love books as much as we do, so don’t hesitate to ask us if we can help you and your child find the next good book to read. We have lots of suggestions and a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books to choose from!

Need more tips for students with learning disabilities? Check out this online article by PBS Parents or the Learning Disabilities page on Reading Rockets website.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: Picture Book Recataloging

By: Bari Ericson, Youth Programming Associate

If you have been in our temporary space this fall, you may have noticed that our Picture Book collection has developed a split personality!

In our old space, the books were organized by author. This was great when you were looking for Curious George stories that are all written by the same author, but not so great when you wanted a book about trucks. Then we had to search the catalog and take you through the collection hunting down truck books by Barton, Stickland, etc.

Baby Bear Series Blue by Ashley Wolff Book Cover With New Library LabelWe are currently in the process of re-cataloging all 10,000+ of our picture books by subject. That means all of the truck books will be together under “Transportation Trucks.” Under the Changes category, you will find books to help your child adjust to a new sibling — “Changes New Baby,” a new house — “Changes Moving,” or a new school year — “Changes School.” In all, there are about 15 main categories, divided into 10 or more sub-categories each.

Not to worry, we have kept many of your favorite authors, like Eric Carle, and favorite characters, like Berenstain Bears together.

We have to admit, it has not always been easy to categorize each and every picture book! Just what does one do with a book about a Birthday party on a Train for Dinosaurs? We have done our best and think you will agree that it is easier to find the type of books your child wants. And you may discover new ones in the process!

If you are have any questions about the new organization, or are having trouble locating that book with the green cover that was on the bottom shelf of aisle two in the back – please don’t hesitate to ask!

The huge perk of this assignment has been getting to read through so many picture books! Here are some of my favorite discoveries!

Kaleidoscope by Salina Yoon Book Cover

Kaleidoscope by Salina Yoon (JP Activities Art Y) Turn the spinning kaleidoscope lens and watch each magical page transform before your eyes! Award-winning artist Salina Yoon invites readers on an unforgettable poetic journey filled with colorful surprises.

The Otter Who Loved to Hold Hands by Heidi Howarth Book Cover

The Otter Who Loved to Hold Hands by Heidi Howarth (JP Animals Water H) Otto the otter feels safest when he holds hands with his family, and he needs something to persuade him to face his fears and finally let go.

Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein Book Cover

Before After by Anne-Margo Ramstein (JP Concepts General R) Everyone knows that a tiny acorn grows into a mighty oak and a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. But in this clever, visually enchanting volume, it’s also true that a cow can result in both a bottle of milk and a painting of a cow.

My Side of the Car by Kate Feiffer Book Cover

My Side of the Car by Kate Feiffer (JP Nature Weather F)Sadie and her father have been planning a trip to the zoo for a long time, so when they finally start out and her father sees some raindrops, Sadie insists there is no rain on her side of the car.

When Blue Met Egg by Lindsay Ward Book Cover

When Blue Met Egg by Lindsay Ward (JP Places City W) Blue spends months seeking the mother of the strange white egg that appeared in her nest one winter’s day, enjoying New York City with her chilly friend, but as the weather grows warmer Egg becomes smaller.

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman Book Cover

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman (JP Roles Siblings D) When her parents find a baby wolf on their doorstep and decide to raise him as their own, Dot is certain he will eat them all up until a surprising encounter with a bear brings them closer together.

I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black Book Cover

I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black (JP Stories Funny B) When a bored girl meets a potato who finds children tedius, she tries to prove him wrong by demonstrating all of the things they can do, from turning cartwheels to using their imaginations.

The Last Train by Gordon Titcomb Book Cover

The Last Train by Gordon Titcomb (JP Transportation Trains T) The bygone era of the mighty iron horse are paired with detailed paintings that pay tribute to life around a little railroad station.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: Meet Emily Richardson, New Youth Programming Associate

By: Emily Richardson, Youth Programming Associate

Picture of GEPL Youth Librarian Emily RichardsonHello!

My name is Miss Emily and I’m new to the Youth Department here at GEPL. Since I’m new, you probably don’t know much about me, so I put together a fun get-to-know-me list.

What Do I Look Like? I have brown hair and blue eyes. I’m the perfect height to be a Disney Princess, and tend to sing and dance as much as one too.

Favorite Food: Macaroni and cheese, artichokes, chicken dumplings, steak and potatoes, and chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

Favorite Animals: Giraffes, Snow Leopards, Penguins, Elephants, and Lemurs

Fun Activities: Archery, dancing, debating, reading, biking, and making puns

Least Favorite Things: Zucchini, snakes, stingrays, and swimming

Favorite Places to Hang Out: Libraries, coffee shops, parks, Museum of Science and Industry (side note: Have you heard of the Museum Pass? You should check it out—literally)

This Year’s Halloween Costume: I’m dressing up as Amelia Earhart.

Favorite Books: The Rithmatist, The Glass Sentence, A Corner of White, Ender’s Game, Mysterious Benedict Society, Magic Tree House, Alanna: The First Adventure, Chasing Vermeer

If you could be any fictional character, who would you be? I would either be Eowyn from LOTR or Fa Mulan.

Favorite thing about GEPL: Helping kids and adults find fun books to read, and Storytime.

Come visit me in the Youth Department. I’d love to get to know you too!

See you soon,

Miss Emily

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: Cubs, Playoffs, World Series, Oh Yes!

By: Carolyn Wissmiller, Youth Programming Associate

Summer of ’69. Great Bryan Adams’ song. And the best summer ever to spend at Wrigley Field! Because of a set of unique circumstances in 1969, I found myself occupying the Left Field Bleachers in the Friendly Confines for many a day that summer. Aah!

I’d arrive when the gates opened, and spend the pre-game time watching batting practice, chatting up other enthusiastic fans, or knitting a poncho. My ears warmed to the sound of Ronnie “Woo! Woo” Wickers leading the cheering crowd. My nose enjoyed the pleasures of coconut-scented suntan oil, mustard-infused hot dogs, Cracker Jacks, and Cub fan sweat wafting through the atmosphere. Nothing more intoxicating!

Once the game started, I faced the three-ring circus dilemma of where to look. The crazed fans cheering in the stands or the ones perched precariously on pre-fenced-in rooftops? Vendors hawking their wares? Birds and planes flying overhead? But most of all, I focused on the players on the field. And I have the 15-cent score cards to prove it.

When the games ended with a Cubs’ victory (and most of them did), we didn’t yet have Steve Goodman’s Go! Cubs! Go! to sing, but we did have glorious Ron Santo doing his sky-high heel click.

The summer of 1969 is long gone, but in 2015, the Cubs are a winning machine! (Tip of the hat to Ernie.) Cubs in the playoffs! Who could ask for more? Well, Cubs fans, of course. How about a World Series? I’ll take it.

Until the World Series starts on October 27, here are some great books that family members can enjoy together:

Cubs Nation by Gene Wojciechowski Book Cover

Cubs Nation by Gene Wojciechowski relates 162 games, 162 stories and one addiction to illustrate the history of a team that often had everything going for it, but endured so many losses that the Cubs came to define the term “Lovable Losers.”

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth