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2019 Reading Goals

By: Melissa Hilt, Community Engagement Librarian

As discussed in a previous blog post, many of us make New Year’s resolutions. It’s a way to start our year off on the right foot and motivate ourselves, if you will. For one of my resolutions, I always set a personal reading goal. Last year, on Goodreads, I pledged to read 65 books in

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A Little Bit of Kindness Goes A Long Way

By: Kelli Rolston, Youth Associate

Winter…the season of love and kindness. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but if your kids are anything like mine, they may not have been showing the love at home, especially with the recent snow and record low temperatures keeping everyone inside. So how do you teach your kiddos to be a little more

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ALA Book Awards

By: Kate Easley, Youth Librarian

Last week was an exciting one—not just with the bitter cold, but also with the ALA Book Awards announcement, including the Newbery and Caldecott winners. So, what won? Merci Suárez Changes Gears won the Newbery Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literature. It tells the story of 6th grader Merci who is having some friend trouble

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Chu's First Day of School by Neil Gaiman

Are You Ready for Kindergarten?

By: Katy Almendinger, Early Literacy Librarian

Whether it’s your littlest child or your oldest child, transitioning to kindergarten can be very emotional. You want them to be confident and ready for every new experience. It’s difficult to anticipate how much your child will learn, change, and grow between now and the first day of kindergarten. We’re unrolling a band-new series of

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Celebremos! Celebrate Hispanic Heritage and El Día De Los Muertos

By: Cristina Bueno, Youth Associate

National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated from September 15 through October 15, honors the histories, cultures, and contributions of people from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. El Día De Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a multi-day holiday celebrated October 31 through November 2. It originated in central and

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Picture of what a page in a bullet journal looks like.

Dear Diary

By: Katy Almendinger, Early Literacy Librarian

Are you ever overwhelmed by all the events you have planned or the tasks you need to complete, but you don’t want to be tied to a traditional calendar? Enter the bullet journal, or bujo for short. It’s basically a hybrid diary, planner, and to-do list housed in one completely customizable notebook. Bullet journals are

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Dive Into Reading

By: Cristina Bueno, Youth Associate

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” — Jacques Yves Cousteau Need some help getting started on your summer reading? Check out our new ‘Dive into Reading’ display featuring books about summertime, swimming, pirates, mermaids, and more! It’s located near the windows when you first walk in

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Little Dog, Lost by Marion Dane Bauer

Free-Verse Poetry for Children

By: Stephanie Rivera, Youth Department Director

Poetry has always been my favorite type of writing, both as a child and as an adult. This type of writing forces the author to be intentional in their choice of words, which can create a powerful statement. Poets use words to show rather than tell. For example, instead of writing “I was so mad!”

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Indoor Gardening: Growing Air Plants, Terrariums, and More by Lisa J. Amstutz

Get Outside and Get Gardening!

By: Cristina Bueno, Youth Associate

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” – Cicero The days are (thankfully) getting warmer, and soon we’ll start to see the arrival of spring! This means trees will get their leaves back, flowers will begin blooming, and more animal friends will come out to play. March is a

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Get to Thirty Million Words

By: Katy Almendinger, Early Literacy Librarian

Do you find the human brain fascinating? Are you a parent, grandparent, or caregiver? Are you an educator or are you interested in education? Are you a speech therapist? Do you love the power of language? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to read Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s

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Grow, Grow, Grow!

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Associate

Despite the ever-changing weather in Illinois this month, I promise spring is coming! Spring brings flowers, sunshine, and plants. To jump start your spring and end your break from school, why not plant a garden in your house? There are many plants that you can buy and start planting now without waiting for the more

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Host Your Own Mock Caldecott Awards!

By: Heather McCammond-Watts, Youth Department Director

Youth library staff love to talk about their favorite children’s books, and this is the best time of the year to do so, because the annual awards are right around the corner. The American Library Association (ALA) will announce the winners of the Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King, Geisel, and other notable honors on January

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Is It Spring Yet?

By: Amy Waters, School Liaison

The calendar may have said spring a month ago, but with snow as late as April 19 and several ball games postponed because of the weather, it’s easy to think that spring forgot to show up. The good news is that the forecast ahead is for warmer days. Even though I tell myself that snow

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Is This Book for Me?

By: Alexa Moffat, Youth Associate

Recently, I helped a family looking for Vox[1] books. I showed them our selection and watched as they perused the available options. I pointed to one book on the opposite side of the display, titled Hey Black Child, indicating that it was also a Vox book. The parent considered it quickly and said, “Oh, that

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Christina's son gets ready to head to his first day of summer camp.

It’s Back to School Time Once Again!

By: Christina Keasler, Youth Technology Librarian

Back to school – it’s a bittersweet time! Parents breathe a silent sigh of relief as they get back into a school routine, and teachers take a breath of empowerment to get energized for the next nine months. Families and teachers alike start their routines. For some families, like mine, it’s a new experience. My

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Ticket to Ride First Journey Board Game

Keeping Your Kids Occupied On A Rainy Day (Or A Long Trip)

By: Christina Keasler, Youth Technology Librarian

Summer vacation is here! School is out; GEPL’s summer reading program is underway (have you signed up?); and parents are thinking of plans, or survival skills, to make sure the kids don’t drive the parents, or themselves, crazy with the idle time. We know the importance of outside play, but there are times when that’s

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New to Nonfiction? Recommendations for Young Readers

By: Kate Easley, Youth Librarian

My second grader recently brought home his reading log from school. This year the students in his class are tasked with finding books from different genres, and the first three assigned were fantasy, realistic fiction, and nonfiction. My son loves fantasy, and almost everything he reads includes a talking toilet, lifelike robot, or complaining crayons.

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Kids listening to something on headphones.

Podcasts for Kids

By: Kate Easley, Youth Librarian

Recently, I attended a workshop that was all about podcasts for kids. While I know many people who listen to Serial or other popular podcasts, I didn’t know a lot about podcasts just for kids. However, the idea of podcasts for kids makes so much sense because they are a great way to enjoy some

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Freshman by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Prepping for College Book List

By: Josh O'Shea, Young Adult Librarian

Heading off to college this fall? Here are some great, relatable books to read this summer. And, if you do read them, be sure to log them in so they count towards your summer reading. The more you read, the more prizes you receive – and you help make a difference in your community! You

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The Water Princess by Susan Verde

Ready or Not, Here They Come!

By: Kelly Mahoney, Youth Associate

If you’ve been to the Youth Department in the past week or so, you may have noticed that our Rebecca Caudill, Bluestem Award, and Monarch Award displays just changed. Each now displays the 2019 nominees. One of the great things about the books nominated for the Caudill, Bluestem, and Monarch awards each year is that

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Official photo of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex families and bridal party.

Royally Good Reads

By: Kate Easley, Youth Librarian - Homeschool Services

In case you missed it, there was a royal wedding that took place recently. Prince Harry married Meghan Markle, or as the Chicago Tribune tweeted “Northwestern Graduate Marrying British Guy.” It was an exciting and beautiful ceremony to watch. I definitely had fun watching all the celebrities arrive, eventually followed by the bride. If you

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A young girl alone playing the guitar.

Sing Your Heart Out

By: Josh O'Shea, Young Adult Librarian

Some of us sing and want no one to ever, ever — not in a million years — hear us. Dogs start howling. Cats scream and run. Chickens cluck like they’re possessed. Nearby babies wail. Fish swim deeper. Sounds terrible, eh? (Pun intended!) But what happens to us when we sing is, well, oh so

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Sloths, Narwhals, and Llamas… Oh, My!

By: Cristina Bueno, Youth Associate

Sloths and narwhals are two of my absolute favorite animals, and llamas are pretty cool, too. These three animals have been growing in popularity over the last few years with an increasing number of clothes, school supplies, and even books featuring them. Grownups, you may have found your child asking for these creatures, or perhaps

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Time to Travel!

By: Christina Keasler, Youth Department Assistant Director and Youth Technology Librarian

Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s cabin fever, but around this time of year I start getting antsy and wishing to go on vacation. I begin planning my camping trips and other excursions. It appears I’m not the only one—the library processed nearly 200 passport applications in January. (Yes, GEPL can accept passport applications! Click

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A horizontal stack of classic books.

Transitioning to the Classics

By: Kate Easley, Youth Librarian - Homeschool Services

My family and I recently visited Walt Disney World and it was a wonderful, magical trip.  One thing we did was visit Tom Sawyer’s Island in the Magic Kingdom. This tiny island is designed to look just like the setting of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. You take a raft over to the

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Veterans Day: Making it Meaningful for Kids

By: Kelli Rolston, Youth Associate

Every year, on November 11, we honor veterans, living and deceased, who have served our country. It is difficult for many children to imagine the ways service members risked their lives and the hardships they endured to protect our freedom. How can you help your child show veterans their appreciation and gratitude? 1. Display your

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What Does the Vox Say?

By: Melissa Hilt, Community Engagement Librarian

Over the past few years, we have had more and more people telling us they no longer own a CD player at home, and new cars often don’t come with one, either. Playaways are available at the library for adults and older kids, and we also have apps to check out books on a mobile

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Denton Little's Death Date by Lance Rubin

What I Just Read: Denton Little’s Deathdate

By: Josh O'Shea, Young Adult Librarian

What I Just Read: Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin Summary: In a world where everyone knows the day they will die, a teenage boy is determined to outlive his upcoming expiration date. Thoughts: I just finished this one. In the near future, bio-science enables people to know when they’ll die — down to the day. People don’t know

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What I Just Read: Fat Girl on a Plane

By: Megan M., Teen Blogger

In Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly Devos, Cookie Vonn is very passionate about fashion and has dreamed of working in the industry since she was a little girl. Now she is a senior in high school, wondering why she can’t get into Parsons School of Design. Cookie is considered “plus-size,” which makes it

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What I Just Read: Retribution Rails

By: Josh O'Shea, Young Adult Librarian

Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman is the first western novel I’ve read. Ever. Yeah, it’s weird it’s my first. Sometimes, we never know we like something until we try it. Sometimes, we don’t ever try it until we get a hunger. Then it’s like getting a surprise, and we’re like “Wait, what? I like this?

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A single leaf falling to the ground.

What I See: Observing the World Around Me

By: Saaniyah S., Teen Blogger

A leaf falls upon my window sill in my room. It gives me an idea and I look around. Sketchbook? Check. Wooden pencil? Check. Eraser? Check. With these things in hand, I wrap a sweater around me, step outside, and sit on my front porch. My next door neighbors are playing outside, the kids are

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A Picture of Mary Shelley and her monster.

Why Frankenstein Still Connects with Us 200 Years Later

By: GEPL Staff

In 2018, the world is celebrating the creation of Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s monster. Thanks to the movies, many of us have a picture of Frankenstein’s monster in our heads as a giant, green-hued goliath marked with stitches and held together with bolts. But the vision in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein: Or, The Modern Prometheus was

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