Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth Blog

Sensory Storytime at the Library

By: Katy Almendinger, Early Literacy Librarian

Check out our new services and programs for children with special needs and their families!

Sensory Storytime

Boardmaker Storytime SymbolThe Youth Department is excited to offer a new storytime! It’s called Sensory Storytime. Sensory Storytime features adaptations designed for children with Autism or other special needs. Everyone is encouraged to attend — including families, siblings and children of all abilities. Sensory Storytime will meet on April 9th and May 14th from 1:30 – 2:30 pm. Don’t worry, the storytime isn’t a full hour. Half of the program is set aside for sensory play and socialization.

In some ways, Sensory Storytime is like our other storytimes. There will be rhymes, songs, books and plenty of opportunities to shake out the wiggles. But Sensory Storytime also has a few unique elements:

  • The Visual Schedule. Children want to know what’s coming next, so the visual schedule will include symbols for each part of the program. Our schedule will be created with Boardmaker images — children in early intervention therapy classes will probably already recognize the symbols. We will review the schedule at the beginning of the program and remove activities as they are completed. A PDF version of the Sensory Storytime schedule will be available on our website soon.
  • The Small Group. It won’t be as loud and fast-paced as some of our other storytimes. It’s a calm, safe environment for children with special needs and their families.
  • The Interactive Format. Each book will be interactive in some way. One of the first books we’ll share is Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin and Eric Carle. With this book, felt pieces will be used so children can participate throughout the entire story. Our goal is to engage the senses with each activity.

Interested in attending? Be sure to reserve your spot! If you have questions about Sensory Storytime, please contact Miss Katy at calmendinger@gepl.org.

Social Story

Make sure you check out the new Special Needs section of our website. We’ve added some new features to our web page. We created a downloadable “This Is My Library” social story. Using simple first-person text and real pictures, the Social Story walks children through the Youth Department and all it has to offer. A Social Story can be a great way to prepare children for their library visit.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Spring Break Books and Day Trips

By: Bari Ericson, Youth Programming Associate

Spring Break in Chicagoland can be a challenge. We have to travel quite far to get somewhere that actually looks like spring, and when we get there, we discover everyone else had the same idea. At my house, we decided to make Spring Break a time to explore the city and suburbs. Saving money for summer vacation, we slept in our own beds and ate our favorite breakfast cereals. We often read a book or watched a movie the night before to get ready for the next day’s outing. Below are some of our favorites, with pairings of library materials to set the stage. Enjoy your adventures!

Outing: Jelly Belly Warehouse Tour (Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin)

Candymakers by Wendy Mass Book Cover

Fiction: The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

Non-Fiction: Sweet!: The Delicious Story of Candy by Ann Love

Picture Book: Little Pea by Amy Rosenthal

Movie: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Bizarre Holidays in March

By: Emily Richardson, Youth Programming Associate

There’s some pretty bizarre holidays out there. Whether they’re official or not, it can still be a fun way to spend an afternoon. Here’s a few for March, paired with books to add to the fun!

3/2: Dr. Seuss Day/Read Across America Day

3/3: If Pets Had Thumbs Day

3/4: Unplugging Day

3/10: International Bagpipe Day

3/11: Johnny Appleseed Day

3/12: Genealogy Day

3/14: National Pi Day

3/15: Ides of March

3/17: Submarine Day

3/20: World Storytelling Day

3/22: National Goof-off Day

3/25: Waffle Day

3/28: Barnum & Bailey Day
Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

National Reading Awareness Month

By: Melissa Hilt, Youth Department Assistant Director

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” – Jackie Kennedy

Read Aloud 15 Minutes InfogrpahicDid you know that March is National Reading Awareness Month? It is never too early to start reading to your child. Studies show that just 15 minutes a day will set them up to be better prepared for Kindergarten.

As a child, I loved books and was read to all of the time. I have a brother that is three and a half years older than me and I have very fond memories of him reading The Wizard of Oz to me, before bedtime, when we were young.

As I grew older, I continued to love reading on my own. I read things like The Babysitters Club and my friend and I would go to the Glen Ellyn Public Library, checkout a big stack, and then go home and read them together.

When my nieces were little and I babysat them, I would always spend time reading to them and letting them look at the books. As they got a little older, they started reading to me and now that they are older, they both are excellent students that still love to read.

Read Aloud 15 Minutes Infographic Parent's It's Up to YouA fun way to get in your 15-minutes of reading is Reading to Dogs, which is a program we have at the library once a month. The next date is Saturday, March 5 from 10:00-11:00 am. Check out our online calendar to reserve your 15-minute slot!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Homeschool Programs

By: Kate Easley, Youth Librarian

Did you know we offer homeschool programs at the library? They are a great way to meet other homeschooling families, and get some extracurricular work into your curriculum.

It’s hard enough to fit all the schoolwork in a day, but trying to do science experiments at your own home can be daunting. Let us help you with that! Join us for Wheels, Levers and Pulleys, a program led by specialists from the DuPage Children’s Museum. It will be a lively and humorous study of seven simple machines. Explore the force of friction, experience the power of levers, and experiment with gear ratios.

This program is for children is grades 1- 5, but we didn’t forget about the younger kids! They are invited to a special session of Smart Starts, our hands-on, interactive science program for adults and children. The theme on March 8 is Patterns Take Turns. We will have lots of fun working together.

Also, coming in April, we have a session of Let’s Build! for homeschooling families, where you can show us your building skills by using our LEGOs® to make an amazing creation. I can’t wait to see what all of you can make!

If you have any questions about homeschooling programs or are interested in other services we can provide to homeschooling families, please contact me. I’d love to meet you and hear what you are studying!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Presidents Day

By: Leigh Ann Vock, Youth Department Page

When I was growing up in Glen Ellyn we had both Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, and Washington’s Birthday, February 22, off of school. I recall very specific learning activities celebrating each renowned president.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act was signed into a law in 1968 and took effect on January 1, 1971. From this point on, the celebration of these presidents’ birthdays was melded into one day, now known as Presidents Day. Some choose to use this as a day to celebrate all presidents and others prefer the traditional, honoring both our first and sixteenth president.

In this very colorful election year, my hope is that this month can be used to take time to educate young ones on what the role of our president is. When visiting the library and selecting reading material, our non-fiction section is an excellent source for eager learners. We have so many wonderful selections on Presidents.

Take time to engage in discussions with questions such as “What would you do if you were President?” and “What do you think is the same for a President today and a President that was in the White House fifty years ago?” Make this month a truly patriotic celebration that encourages citizenship in our young readers.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

The Gift of Books

By: Amy Waters, School Liaison

February is a month of celebration. In addition to Valentine’s Day, February is a month of birthdays. Yes, we celebrate the births of Presidents, but for me, it’s a time to celebrate the births of family members, friends and the soon-to-be-53 years I’ve been alive. When you’re a book lover like me, birthday presents are easy. When you give a book, you give a memory.

Book ShelfMy now adult children tease me because I still have shelves filled with youth books, many that I purchased long after they left the nest. But a glance at the shelf is a trip down memory lane: books that I loved as a child, books that my children loved or books that were gifts from cherished friends or family members.

Books are precious moments with family and friends: I love the photos of my children being read to by a late great-grandmother, or a friend from a long ago neighborhood.

Amy Waters Great Grandmother Reading to Her
Neighborhood Friend Reading to Children

Little Kid Wearing Turtle Costume
Books are costume opportunities:

Books are generosity: For my 50th, friends shared their favorites with me so that I could donate them to the Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center. What a gift to see their choices and then pass them on!Amy Waters Surrounded by Books

Books are shared connections: This Christmas, my nephew, Jack, and I were in the kitchen working on dinner and he said “Aunt Amy, remember that book “Brave Potatoes”?” I started to quote the rhyming couplets about potatoes at the fair, making a daring escape from the cook. He started to laugh and suddenly he was 5, not 22, and our shared book history continued as an enduring connection.

When you are thinking of giving a gift, think of a book. Then sit down with the child and read with them. That’s a gift of love that can last a lifetime. At Valentine’s, or any time.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Congratulations, Patch Club Contest Winners!

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Programming Associate

One of our fun reading programs at the Glen Ellyn Library is Patch Club. Patch Club is for children in kindergarten through 8th grade. For every 5 hours of reading, kids will receive a patch of their choosing. After earning 6 patches, children are awarded with a Glen Ellyn Public Library canvas bag. You can earn 16 patches per season. You can have fun decorating all kinds of things (including your new Glen Ellyn canvas bag!) with these easy iron-on patches. And what better way to showcase all of the reading you’ve done?

This year, we held a Patch Club Contest in the fall. Children of all ages submitted their best designs and the ones with the most votes won! It was a tough choice to make, as we received so many unique designs, but the outcome was magnificent. Congratulations to our marvelous Patch Club Contest winners. Their patches turned out great!

Design A Patch Winners Patches
  • Peek-a-Book
    by Abigail Bergmann (Grade 5)
  • Line Design
    by Clara Voswinkel (Grade 1)
  • Reading Thru the Winter
    by William Hohe (Grade 7)
  • Reading is Fun in Fall
    by Jason Abeln (Grade 3)
  • Sweet Treat
    by Kate Zima (Grade 2)
  • Alien Al
    by Thang Dot Pau “PauPu” (Grade 5)
There’s still time to sign up. So make sure you come on in to the Youth Department desk to register for Patch Club and to check out the amazing new patches! You’ll have your own patch in no time!
Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

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