Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth Blog

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

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