Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth Blog

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

GEPL Kids: Graphic Novel Recommendations

By: Katy Almendinger, Youth Early Literacy Librarian

Want to find something new to read? Stuck in a reading slump? Try a graphic novel! Graphic novels have tremendous kid appeal for both advanced and reluctant readers. And it’s not just because they’re easier than chapter books. Like chapter books, graphic novels are complex, rich with literary elements, and engaging.

There’s a graphic novel out there for everyone! There are mysteries, animal stories, historical fiction, fantasy, biographies, and even graphic novel adaptations of classic stories like A Wrinkle in Time. Graphic novels aren’t just about superheroes anymore! Here’s a list of some of my favorites.

Binky the Space Cat
Blinky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires Book Cover“Binky, a beloved house cat, tries to prepare a rocket ship so he can explore outer space, but he has second thoughts about taking off as he wonders how his owners would protect themselves against aliens if he weren’t there to help them.”

Why I Recommend It: This hilarious series tries to answer one of life’s most important questions—what is your pet thinking about? Binky’s story is perfect for animal lovers who still want illustrations with their chapter books.

Roller Girl
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson Book Cover“Twelve-year-old Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole. So when Astrid signs up for roller derby camp, she assumes Nicole will too. But Nicole signs up for dance camp with a new friend instead, and so begins the toughest summer of Astrid’s life. There are bumps and bruises as Astrid learns who she is without Nicole…and what it takes to be a strong, tough roller girl.”

Why I Recommend It: GO READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW. And then come tell me how much you love Astrid. I love her because she always tries to do the right thing, but she doesn’t always do it, because doing the right thing is hard sometimes. Roller Girl is perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile or Cece Bell’s El Deafo.

Amulet: The Stonekeeper
Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi Book Cover“Graphic novel star Kazu Kibuishi creates a world of terrible, man-eating demons, a mechanical rabbit, a giant robot—and two ordinary children on a life-or-death mission.”

Why I Recommend It: Sure, this one sounds really weird, but kids LOVE this series! Kibuishi’s fast-paced storytelling and gorgeous illustrations might have something to do with it.

Mal and Chad: Biggest, Bestest Time Ever
Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever by Stephen McCranie Book Cover“Mal is a super kid genius and Chad is a talking dog, but no one knows it. What’s it like to be so extraordinary and yet so invisible? Not even Megan, Mal’s secret crush, has any idea that Mal is anything more than a dork. Fortunately, Mal and Chad are best friends with a penchant for adventure . . . even if the time-traveling does get them grounded by Mal’s mom.”

Why I Recommend It: I really love the set-up of this story. A school assignment turns into a series of crazy adventures! Mal and Chad tend to remind readers of another loveable graphic novel duo named Calvin and Hobbes.

The Storm in the Barn
The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan Book Cover“Facing his share of ordinary challenges, from local bullies to his father’s failed expectations, eleven-year-old Jack Clark must also deal with the effects of the Dust Bowl in 1937 Kansas, including the rising tensions in his small town and the spread of a shadowy illness.”

Why I Recommend It: Historical fiction isn’t my favorite genre, so when I do read it I want a little bit of everything. The Storm in the Barn has that perfect combination of tall tale, thriller, and historical fiction. Not convinced? Just check out this book trailer!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

GEPL Kids: Patch Club’s Design A Patch Contest

By: Melissa Hilt, Youth Department Assistant Director 

Are you an artist? The creative type? I always wished that I could draw well, but the truth is that I can’t. Even my stick figures are a little on the sad side.

When I was a Girl Scout, around 4th grade, we were all given the task of drawing an image that we liked and it was going to be turned into our very own stationary. This was exciting and terrifying at the same time. Exciting because well, who wouldn’t want to feel famous and have your drawing made into an entire pad of stationary! Terrifying because I couldn’t draw and I was going to have this image on hundreds of pieces of stationary. It didn’t have to be big, they just want something that would go in the corner of the paper, a character was suggested. I practiced and practiced and came up with Susie Hop! I have no idea why I named her Susie Hop, poor girl didn’t have a body or really even a head. I only created her eyes, nose and mouth but I had created her and it was turned into my very own stationary!

Now it’s your chance to be creative and share your image with members of the Glen Ellyn Public Library Patch Club! You don’t have to be an expert artist. The last time we held a design a patch contest, some of the best ones were what one might call simple designs.

I mean, how awesome would it be to Create an original and fun patch design for Patch Club! Kids have been reading and earning colorful patches for over ten years at the Glen Ellyn Public Library. Contest winners will be announced on December 1. Winning designs will be available to Patch Club members beginning in January.

To submit a design you must:

  1. Be a member of the Patch Club.
  2. Have an original design.
  3. Complete a contest entry form and submit your design to the Youth Department no later than October 12.

Limit one entry per person. Entry forms are available at gepl.org/design-a-patch.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

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