Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth Blog

GEPL Kids: Libraries Celebrate Banned Books Week By Helping You Exercise Your Freedom to Read!

By: Amy Waters, GEPL Youth Department’s School Liaison

Banned Books 2015 LogoWhat do Junie B. Jones, Harry Potter, Captain Underpants and The Giver have in common? All these, and more, have been banned or challenged.

What’s the big deal about banning books?

A ban or a challenge happens when an individual or group has an objection to a book and they believe it should not be read by anyone so they request its removal from a school or library.

Could they be right?

It’s true that every book is not right for every reader. Reading is personal. But who gets to decide? The Freedom to Read means that you get to decide which books are right for you and your family. As a public library it is our responsibility to provide material for all of our readers.

Know your reader. When my son was little a walk to school could take forever “don’t step on the ants” he would warn, as we tip-toed our way along the sidewalk. The same caution was applied to the books he wanted to read. When I approached the library reference desk for a recommendation I would say to the librarian “no books where animals are hurt or killed”.

That’s what we do at the library, help you find the books that are right for you: whether it’s reading level or subject matter, or books with or without certain content, at the library, we help guide you to books that will fit your needs.

A child may be struggling with the death of a pet and need to read a story about that experience to help them cope. Removal of all books on animal death would not serve that child. And it wasn’t what I was asking for, either. I expressed my needs, but didn’t assume that my point of view and needs were the same as everyone’s.

To learn more about banned and challenged books and the freedom to read visit:

The American Library Association, Banned Books

The Freedom to Read Foundation

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: Technology and Kids – 3D Art

By: Christina Keasler, GEPL Middle School Librarian

There has probably been a time where a child has out-teched you. It’s nothing to be ashamed of – it’s happened to everyone. Kids live in such a digital world these days. They are introduced to innovative technology so early it’s second nature, while we may be comparing the Samsung Galaxy S6 with our old Nextel walkie talkie. They are able to maneuver a touchscreen device before learning how to walk.

Technological advances don’t need to be necessarily avoided. There are plenty of studies that say these gadgets can be beneficial when in moderation. This can also be said about 3D printing technology.

3D Printer with Red Rabbit Sitting in MachineThere has been a shift from 2D to 3D animation, and art created by children doesn’t need to be different. There are apps that transform 2D drawings into 3D objects ready for printing, and many software choices to smoothly transition someone’s interest in 3D design into a hobby.

From now through November 1st, GEPL is accepting 3D project entries to our 3D design contest. Community judges will choose two winners different age group brackets, one for creativity and one for complexity. Submissions will be accepted from 3rd grade and up. Learn more about our 3D Competition.

Use this as an opportunity for you and your child to learn 3D drafting skills together. Beginning software options pride themselves on being accessible to all ages. Your shared interest can be a talking point for both of you, and give you the chance to build upon a hobby that you can share.

Beginner 3D Drafting Software Options:




Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: Family Fun Time

By: Kate Easley

What’s your favorite part of being a youth librarian Miss Kate? There are so many fun parts, but I love doing the weekly Family Storytime. It’s so great to see moms, dads, grandparents, big siblings, and babysitters interacting with their little one – singing songs, doing silly dances, and listening to stories. Family storytimes are a great time for everyone to have fun together and learn at the same time.

During storytime we often sing some of our favorite tunes. I love music and I have so many favorite storytime songs I can’t keep track of them sometimes. One of my favorite storytime songs is Laurie Berkner’s “We Are the Dinosaurs”. It’s a great song to sing while you stomp around like a big T-Rex. I also love “Alabama, Mississippi” by Jim Gill which is a fun one to sing while shaking a shaker egg. My all-time favorite storytime song is “The Milkshake Song” on Songs for Wiggleworms because who doesn’t love a milkshake? Make mine chocolate please!

So come join us for our Family Storytimes that we will be doing at three different locations throughout Glen Ellyn. We miss seeing all of your smiling faces and would love to see you soon!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: SRP Wrap-up: Thank You, Summer Reading Donors!

By: Renee Grassi, Youth Department Director

Read for Heroes Male Firefighter and Female Police OfficerThis year’s Summer Reading Program “Read for Heroes” was a resounding success!

In the Youth Department, kids finished the summer reading a total of 80,254 hours. That’s 10,254 hours over their 70,000 hour community goal! In addition, kids managed to make their 70,000 hour goal 4 days before the end of summer reading—a new record! Glen Ellyn is surely a community of readers!

We are fortunate that our annual Summer Reading Programs receive such strong support from local businesses each and every year. The Youth Department is especially grateful for the multitude of donations that were given as incentives and rewards to children who achieved their reading goals. Thank you, local businesses, for supporting our Summer Reading Program and for encouraging the next generation of life-long readers! We couldn’t have done it without you!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: Digital Resources

By: Bari Ericson, Youth Programming Associate

During the GEPL Youth Department remodel, check out these digital resources, available 24/7!

BookFlix LogoBookFlix
This site provides video versions of popular picturebooks. Each of the over 110 stories is paired with a simple non-fiction e-book title to explore the subject further. Puzzles and games are offered to try out what you have learned. Themes also have links to other educational websites that allow you to explore the topics in greater depth. Designed for pre-school through 3rd grade.

CultureGrams LogoCultureGrams
The CultureGrams Online Database is a leading reference for concise, reliable, and up-to-date cultural information on countries across the globe. This resource includes thousands of images and interviews with native inhabitants. Fun extras include state bird sound files, a distance calculator and at least five recipes from each country.

GoGrolier LogoGrolier Online
Eight encyclopedia databases are combined on one site to help with homework and welcome exploration. This digital resource offers an extensive general encyclopedia, dictionary and maps. Look for science topics in “Amazing Animals of the World” and “Popular Science.” Research state history and current events in “America the Beautiful,” or other countries and cultures in “Land and Peoples.”

International Children's Digital Library LogoInternational Children’s Digital Library
This foundation promotes tolerance and respect for diverse cultures by providing access to the best in children’s literature from around the world. Browse by age, genre, book length, character types, or even the color of a book’s cover. ICDL is a great resource for books in other languages.

ScienceFlix LogoScienceFlix
A vast variety of topics in the areas of earth science, space, life science, health and human body, physical science, technology and engineering are profiled. View experiments which explore a hypothesis, objectives, procedures, observations and results. Other features include information about careers in science and recent news.

TrueFlix LogoTrueFlix
Over 80 non-fiction social studies, history and science themes are explored in video and e-book formats. All of the titles are paired with an introductory video quiz and vocabulary practice that you can complete before and after you read. Designed for grades 3 and up.

Tumblebooks LogoTumbleBooks
TumbleBooks adds animation, narration and music to favorite picturebooks. Non-fiction and foreign language titles are also included. Chapter books with sequence highlighting and narration are offered as Read-Alongs. E-Books and audiobooks may be viewed online or downloaded. Be sure to try the National Geographic videos and games! Aimed at pre-school through elementary school-aged children.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: Back to School Basics

By:  Sia Paganis – Youth Department Programing Associate

Kids Running with Backbacks OnEvery year at this time I marvel at how fast time flies in the summer. As a parent, I always seem to be rushing around filling out those last minute forms for school, checking supply lists and realizing that my kids have out grown every piece of decent clothing they own.

My kids are trying to finish up any summer reading at the last minute or completing a summer packet . Sometimes we spend so much time physically preparing for ‘Back to School’, that we forget that kids need to be emotionally prepared as well.

Many kids will be transitioning to new schools or classrooms. Talking openly about what it might feel like on the first day will help children recognize their emotions and validate any feelings of nervousness. Anticipating emotions in new situations could lead to a conversation on how to deal with some of those emotions. For example, some kids who feel very anxious might benefit from simple self-management tools like taking deep breaths or counting.

As a middle school educator, I talk with my students about how we ‘feel’ when we are actively learning; and then ultimately how do we get ourselves in this feeling before a lesson or activity. It is amazing how this simple discussion leads to a more productive learning environment!

Many resources are available online for parents to help them prepare for ‘Back to School’. From suggested sleep routines, healthy food suggestions to general safety; listed below are a variety of links to reputable sources. Each year brings new promises for our kids to grow, learn and have fun. Happy ‘Back to School’!

Best Back to School Tips from Happiness Matters

Back to School Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Guiding Our Children Through School Transitions by Dr. Sharon Sevier

Parents: Start With A by Matt Levinson

Back-to-School Resources for Parents

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: What Is Your Phone Number?

By: Carolyn Wissmiller – Youth Department Programing Associate

Little Girl on Cell Phone

Photo From:

For the past 11 years, I’ve been registering kids for our Summer Reading program. Here’s one major cultural shift that’s occurred during that time: children no longer know their phone numbers.

Here are some of the responses I’ve received to the question, “What’s your phone number?”

  • I don’t know.
  • Mine or my mom’s? I don’t know my mom’s. I’m not sure what mine is.
  • Our home number? Mom, what’s our home number?
  • I don’t have a phone yet.

These responses came from all age groups – preschoolers through 8th graders.

I distinctly remember teaching my children our phone number when they were three-years-old. Of course, I have to admit it was our one and only phone number. It was a preschool assignment. If your child does not know your phone number, how will they reach you in an emergency? They don’t have to memorize every number, but make sure they know at least one parent’s number.

Here are some website with tips and tricks for helping your child learn phone numbers:

Lasting Thumbprints:
Fun Way To Learn Phone Number
8 Ways to Teach Kids Addresses and Phone Numbers

Learning Phone Numbers

Your Modern Family:
Teach Kids Their Name and Number

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: Who Are Your Heroes?

By:  Katy Almendinger – Youth Department Early Literacy Librarian

At our Read for Heroes events I heard Glen Ellyn police officers and firefighters tell stories about their jobs. They talked about the importance of teamwork, what it means to be a volunteer fireman, and how to stay safe. These men and women are definitely heroes in our community. Inspired by their stories, I started thinking about my own heroes.

Merton Almendinger and Other FirefightersMy grandparents are high at the top of my heroes list. My grandpa Almendinger, John Merton, was a volunteer fireman in Warren, Illinois for many years. He passed away before I was born so I didn’t get to listen to him tell stories about his time as a fireman. So I started asking my dad for more information. I learned that Merton was a fireman for 33 years. He’s in the picture to the left, front and center, wearing a white hat and white coat because he was fire chief for 15 years. He was a fire chief for so long that a button for the fire siren was in the Almendinger’s kitchen. My grandpa also served on almost every community service organization, like the Lions Club and the village board. Merton was the kind of hardworking soul that “retired” but never stopped working. That, combined with many other reasons, is why Merton Almendinger is one of my heroes.

So now it’s your turn. Think about who your heroes are. Merriam Webster defines a hero as “a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities.” But the magical thing about heroes is that it’s up to you to decide who your heroes are. Heroes don’t have to be brave or strong, they can have other characteristics that you admire. They can be funny, generous, or really good at explaining things. Heroes can be a coach, teacher, neighbor, a fictional character, or even your best friend. I’m challenging you to share at least one story about your favorite hero. You can share it with your parents, child, grandchild, or anyone! Let’s make sure that stories about our heroes are shared across generations.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids – Deja Vu

By: Leigh Ann Vock – Youth Department Page

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown Book CoverWhen I was given the happy news that I was to become a grandparent, the first purchase I made was a book. And then another and another. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and The Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood were purchased because they were favorites of my children. I couldn’t wait to share these classics with my granddaughter and nurture the love of reading to yet another generation.


Leigh Ann Vock's Grandchild Sitting Her In LapThe first time my granddaughter sat in my lap and we read together brought me immediately back to my own children’s introduction to books. It was déjà vu of the best variety. “Never too young to be read to” was the adage I had adopted from my former teaching years and I was determined to put this into practice. I was thrilled at the attention my granddaughter gave to the images and simple words that were being shared during our story time. We also read We are in a Book by Mo Willems, twice. She needed to hear the amazing voices I had created for the wonderful characters of Elephant and Piggie.

The Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood Book CoverI have day dreams of hearing that delightful plea “Again?” at a book’s end. I will gladly read over and over again a favorite book to her just as I did with my own children. I Skyped with my granddaughter and her parents yesterday and heard about their day and their trip to the library. When the little toddler was asked what she did today, my heart melted when I heard one of her first words “ BOOKS!”

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: July Birthdays

By: Melissa Hilt, Youth Department Assistant Director

Young Melissa Blowing Out Candles On Birthday CakeJuly is birthday season for the girls in my family. Within eleven days, four of us will have a birthday and this week is my birthday!

When you get to be an adult, birthdays aren’t as fun as they used to be, I mean who wants to feel older or look older? Working with kids allows me to remember just how fun birthdays can be.

We have some great books at the library about birthdays and birthday parties, come on in and check some out!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth