November Notables….

November is the month to be thankful for these authors celebrating their birthday!  Here are some of them, with links to their websites and materials we have available at the library.  Some of them have been around for quite some time and their work is extremely recognizable!

November 9Lois Ehlert, author and illustrator


No doubt, you would recognize some of these childhood favorites:

ehlert1 ehlert2 ehlert3 ehlert4


November 10Neil Gaiman,



November 14- Nancy Tafuri

Read about her here:


and explore some of her works here:


November 16- Jean Fritz, historical fiction and biography author

November 25- Marc Brown…ARTHUR!  Need we say more? Learn more about him and what’s new on his website:


November 26: Charles Schultz (Charlie Brown)


November 27-  kevin henkes??

November 29- C.S. Lewis
Madeleine L’Engle
Louisa May Alcott

November 30- Mark Twain

Why not find a book by some of these authors to read this month and celebrate their works?

Staff Picks, Part 2…

Here’s round 2 of Staff Picks that includes some spooktacular choices! Remember, these books are available near the front of the Youth Department, waiting just for you!

Miss Erin’s Picks:


     Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead   Playaway J F STE

Told from different characters’points of view, this novel weaves together the stories of several middle and high school students from Manhattan, NY, as they navigate their way through a new school year, find friends, make difficult decisions, and deal with the consequences of their actions. This book touches on lots of real-life situations that teens and pre-teens may associate with.

   Space Case: A Moon Base Alpha Novel by Stuart Gibbs              J GIB

Dash and his family are off on the adventure of a lifetime: they are part of a group of lunarnauts chosen to live on the moon!  Lunar living isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and then tragedy befalls one of the scientists on the base. So Dash takes it upon himself to prove that Dr. Holtz’s death wasn’t accidental-he believes the beloved scientist was murdered.  This is a fun, lunar mystery with some interesting alien twists.

    The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud  J STR

This second volume of the Lockwood & Co. series showcases more stunning sleuthing and ghost fighting from Lockwood, George, and Lucy-three junior ghost hunters in London.  The trio works to unravel the mystery of an item stolen from a grave; Lucy is hearing strange whispers from a ghost skull in a jar; and the agency is competing with another to be the first to solve the case.  Also available as: Audio CD J F STR

Miss Liz’s Picks:


   Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty  J BEA

This book is filled with mystery, history, evil, and adventure.  Read about Serafina and her Pa who are living secretly in the basement of the Biltmore Estate.  Serafina does not know where she comes from or anything about her mother.  She starts to find out about her past when children start to disappear.

   Seven Dead Pirates: A ghost Story by Linda Bailey  J BAI

It’s a great adventure with pirates, ghosts, and a hero!

  Pig Has a Plan by Ethan Long  E LON

Pig is trying to take a nap, but all his friends are making too much noise!

 Miss Alissa’s Picks:


   Little Robot  by Ben Gatje   J GN HAT

When a little girl finds a lone robot and accidentally powers him up, she discovers the best friend she has always wanted!  But she isn’t the only one interested in the little robot.  Can she save him from the bigger, badder robots out to get him?

  Sleeping Bobby  by Will Osborne & Mary Pope Osborne       J 398.2 OSB        

Everyone knows the story of Sleeping Beauty, but Sleeping Bobby?  This take on a favorite fairy tale has our prince take the place of a sleeping princess, with a feisty princess to the rescue!

  That Is Not a Good Idea!  by Mo Willems  E WIL

When Mama Goose heads into town and meets a charming wolf, her fun story has you rooting for the family of geese, all the way to the surprise ending!

Miss Jen’s Picks:


 Dare to Be Scared:  Thirteen Stories to Chill and Thrill   by Robert D. San Souci  J 398.25 SAN    

Hop in bed, pull the covers up over your head, grab a flashlight, and dare to be scared by these spine-tingling, spooky phone calls to killer ants–only the brave can handle these eerie tales.  This book is the first in a series of four, so there are even more stories to keep you awake at night!

   Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins  E WAT

Who knew cakes could be so rude?  Cakes are supposed to be sweet, right? Watch as a not-so-sweet cake almost gets his just desserts, but instead winds up learning an important life lesson from…a group of giant cyclops. This is a goofy, yet perfect book for teaching young children about manners.

  The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall  by Mary Downing Hahn  Playaway J F HAH and J HAH

Florence is beginning a new life at Crutchfield Hall with her great uncle, his sister, and James, her sickly cousin.  As she settles into her new room, she gets an eerie feeling that someone is watching her, and then starts hearing laughter in the halls.  What Florence doesn’t expect is for the house to be haunted by the ghost of her cousin Sophia, who died a tragic death.  Sophia is a wicked ghost that was just as nasty in life as she is in death.  She can even play mind games and force people to say and do things beyond their control.  Will Florence be able to convince everyone that there is real danger in the house and stop Sophia before it is too late?

Authors and Illustrators of October

oct2October is the month of skeletons, goblins, and all things spooky as everyone knows.  But did you know that these children’s authors and illustrators were born in October?  And judging by some of their works, it seems to be an eerie coincidence….

5- David Shannon wrote and illustrated his first book at age 5- pictures of things he shouldn’t do with the words “No, David” on each page …His mother later sent him this early work which resulted in him writing and illustrating his popular book No, David!

The illustrations in the Jon Sieszka Trucktown series are Shannon’s work.

People and things from his real life help him develop story ideas- He really has a dog named Fergus, that looks like the dog in his book Good Boy, Fergus! You can see Fergus in the video below:

Check out more about David Shannon at his website:


or find these books by the tree:

  No, David   E SHA

   A Bad Case of Stripes   E SHA

  Pirates Don’t Change Diapers   E SHA

8th-  R.L. Stine started writing at the age of 9 when he found an old typewriter in the attic…his first works were jokes!

In the 1970’s, he created a children’s humor magazine called Bananas!  He even wrote jokes for the Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum comics. (Ask mom or dad if they remember that!)

His first Goosebumps book was written in 1992 and has since been translated into 32 different languages.

R.L.Stine’s website below has some really cool games and activities:


Here’s a peek at a few titles…

  Attack of the Jack-o-Lanterns    JP STI

   The Ghost Next Door   Playaway  J F STI

     Halloween Night II  JP STI

but we have many, many more… including DVD’s!

19- Ed Emberley has written and illustrated close to 100 books, including books with “how to draw” lessons.


 Go Away, Big Green Monster    E EMB

    Ten Little Beasties    E EMB

  Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Weirdos  J 743 EMB

Listen to Ed talk about his work here and try your hand at drawing:

19- Dan Gutman wrote Honus and Me in 1994, but was rejected by 10 publishers before his work was finally printed.  He then went on to write 12 books in the Baseball Card Adventure Series.

There are over 50 titles in the My Weird School, My Weird School Daze, My Weirder School, and My Weirdest School collections.  He has recently branched out into non fiction writing using his My Weird School characters in My Weird School Fast Facts.

His newest series, The Genius Files, is about a set of twins named Pepsi and Coke MacDonald.  This guy is a writing machine!!


 Miss Mary is Scary  J GUT

and many, many more from all the My Weird School series!

  Honus & Me  J GUT

and many more Baseball Card Adventures!

   The Genius Files- Mission Unstoppable  J GUT

Here is another website about Dan, where you can learn more about him and his work:gutman2

Perhaps reading about a few of these great October celebrities will inspire you to start illustrating or writing your own stories….spooky or not!

Pumpkin Pandemonium!

Fall is in the air and it definitely ’tis the season for all things pumpkin!


Whether you are decorating for fall, preparing for Halloween, or just noticing pumpkins wherever you go, you might like to brush up on your knowledge of these orange globes which are invading the area.  Here are a few interesting tidbits to share with others:

  • Morton, Illinois (near Peoria) is the pumpkin capital of the world (self-proclaimed, that is).  Illinois is one of the largest pumpkin producers in the U.S.
  • Pumpkins are 90% water.  They are members of the cucurbit plant family which includes gourds, melons, cucumbers, and squash.
  • Pumpkins are a surprisingly healthy food, full of vitamins and low in fat and calories – until they become sweet treats topped off with whipped cream or cream cheese frosting!
  • An estimated 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins are produced each year. The top pumpkin producing states are Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.
  • The tradition of carving Jack-o-lanterns originated in Ireland hundreds of years ago to ward off evil spirits….however, turnips and potatoes were originally used. When Irish immigrants came to America, they started using pumpkins.
  • Save your seeds to plant next year’s crop. Remember to plant them near the end of May or early June so they’ll be ready for harvest in 90 to 120 days.

Learn more about pumpkins at these websites or stop in to browse the card catalog for our books:



How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? E MCN

How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow?  E MIN

Pumpkins  E 635.62 ROB

Pumpkins   E 635.62 STO

Pumpkins!    E 635.62 FAR

Pick a pumpkin, pick a book, pumpkins are everywhere you look!

What shall I read?? Fall Staff Picks to the Rescue!

They’re here!!  The new staff picks are on the shelves and ready for you to browse.  In case you’re new -or have forgotten- the staff picks are located on the shelves at the front of the Youth Department, right behind the “new” book section by the computers.

groupstaffpick-pic  staffpick-area

Each of the Youth Services staff members choose a few of their favorite books to recommend to you throughout the year.  When you’re struggling with trying to figure out what to read next, this could be a good place to start.  Since we all love to read, it is with great joy we share our picks with you.

Over the next few weeks, several picks from each staff member will be featured here. Hopefully there is something for everyone!

carolyn2    A few of Miss Carolyn’s Picks:

    Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds  E REY 

Jasper the Rabbit loves eating carrots, but one day the carrots start following him.  He decides to come up with a plan to keep them away. This is a fun book with a surprise ending.

  Owls: Hunters of the Night by Elaine Landau J 598.97 LAN

This book tells readers how owls see in the dark, where they live, and how they hunt.  There are a lot of pictures, a glossary, and fun facts.

 Toy Story of Terror by Disney/Pixar  J DVD TOY

Here’s a short film with all your Toy Story friends.  Mr. Potato Head goes missing at a strange roadside motel.  Can Woody, Buzz, and the gang solve the mystery of what happened?  Will they be reunited? Watch and find out!

dana2  A few of Miss Dana’s Picks:

The Notorious Benedict Arnold : A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery by Steve Sheinkin  J B ARN  

Find out about the man who would grow up to be one of the most infamous villains in American history.  How did Benedict Arnold get to the place where he would betray his country? What experiences did he have that would lead him down that path?

 Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard

by Annette LeBlanc Cate  J 598 CAT– You think looking at birds is boring? Think again.  In this beginning book about bird watching, discover hints about where you should look, what you should look for, and how you should listen.  You’ll be amazed at what can be found in your own backyard!

  The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller E KEL

The states get bored with their positions on the map and decide to change places for a while.  But when they get to their new homes, they soon discover it’s not all they hoped it would be!


A Few of Mr. Scott’s Picks:

 Meanwhile by Jason Shiga  J GN SHI

For those of you who love choose-your-own-adventure books, this graphic novel will appeal to you.  The simple question of chocolate or vanilla leads to disaster for Jimmy.

 Un Lun Dun by China Mieville  J MIE

Twelve-year-old Zanna enters a secret passage to Un Lun Dun, the twisted version of London.  There, giraffes eat people, a simple cloud is evil, and the residents need a hero to save them from their own strange world.

 The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman E GAI

Fantasy master Neil Gaiman gives us his spooky spin on the alphabet in this ominous, intricately-illustrated A to Z.

Stay tuned for more picks…..




Pachyderm Party! September 22nd is National Elephant Appreciation Day

Have you ever heard of such a thing?  I had not, until I started looking for unusual celebrations each month.  This September celebration was begun in 1996 by Wayne Hepburn, mostly because of his fascination with these majestic creatures.  You can read about its origins here:


The World Wildlife Fund, WWF, is a good resource to learn more about the Asian, Indian, and African elephant.

elephants     african-elephant

Five Fun Facts about Elephants:

  • Elephants spend about 16 hours per day eating.
  • Elephants’ eyelashes are about 5 inches long.
  • Elephants are the only mammal that can’t jump.
  • Elephants do not like peanuts.
  • Elephants can get sunburned so they cover themselves with sand.

A few of the many books available here in the library:

 E ROO     J 599.67 LOC   J 599.67 BLO

If you’re in the mood for a little STEM thinking, you could try this activity using the book Twenty One Elephants and Still Standing and the website Playground Parkbench:

Engineering Science for Kids - Build a Bridge for Twenty One Elephants

engineering-science-for-kids-cup      engineering-science-for-kids

This is a delightful story about the Brooklyn Bridge, people wondering whether or not the bridge would be safe, and P.T. Barnum rising to the occasion!  After reading the story, try the challenge of building a bridge for 21 elephants out of household items.

Happy Birthday to…..

The month of September is also time to celebrate these famous authors.  Click on their websites below to learn more about them and find some fun activities.  We also have books for you to take home and enjoy.  Perhaps your parents enjoyed these authors when they were your age!!

September 8th- Jack Prelutsky, poetry and other stories:

Jack’s original career was as a singer, but he now has published over 70 books of poetry.  In 2006, he was named the nations 1st Children’s Poet Laureate.  He has a frog collection of over 3000 items!
jackpre webpage

  J 811.54 PRE     E PRE    J 811.54 PRE

September 13th- Roald Dahl- James! Charlie! Matilda! and more:

2016 is the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth.  Not only did Roald write children’s books, he also wrote the screenplays for “Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang” and the 007 movie “You Only Live Once”.


September 16th- H.A. Rey, author of Curious George:

Curious George was first published in 1941- 75 years ago- and is still popular today.  These books are available in more than 9 languages!  The Reys loved animals and would stop in at the zoo in every city they visited.

rey curious george

  E REY     E REY   E REY

September 25th- Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree, A Light in the Attic and more:

Shel Silverstein had to wait 4 years before anyone would publish “The Giving Tree”-publishers felt it was too sad.   “Don’t Bump the Glump” was his only book published in full color.


  E SIL    E SIL   E SIL

Stan Berenstain, The Berenstain Bears books:

Dr. Seuss was the editor and publisher of Stan and Jan Berenstain’s first book.  In 1992, their son Mike, started co-writing with them.


  E BER     ER BER     E BER

Celebrate these classic authors with a fun family storytime!

September Snapshot …What’s up this month?

While many families have been busy getting back into the swing of things with a school schedule again, the new month brings new special days and celebrations to observe and think about.  September is Library Card Sign-up Month, according to the American Library Association.  This year, Snoopy is featured in their promotion:

PEANUTS_WEB_PSA_728x90If you’re a New Lenox resident, and do not have a library card, stop in today for a visit and pick one up! And grab a Fall Program Guide while you’re at it to see what’s coming up over the next few months.

September is also Children’s Good Manners Month.   Take a look at this poster first issued to Queensland, Australia schools in 1898.  It’s evident that good manners haven’t changed all that much over the years!

good manners

Here are just a few books in the library to learn more about manners:

 E MAR   Monster Be Good by Natalie Marshall

 J 395 GIB  Don’t Slurp Your Soup! by Lynne Gibbs

 J 395.122 MAN  Manners Mash-Up by Tedd Arnold (and others)

Some upcoming special days in September:

5th- Labor Day–   Read about it here in the library,

 J 394.261 HAM  Labor Day by Lynn Hamilton

at Time for Kids

tfk laborday

or Ducksterslaborday2

Sept. 11th- Patriot Day, remembering the tragedy of 9/11/2001

J 303.625 MAC   The September 11th Terrorist Attack by Fiona Macdonald

 J 327.676 DEE    14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy

J TAR   I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 by Lauren Tarshis

More information can be found at Kidzworld   patriotday kidzworld




and Ducksters  septll ducks

More September Snapshots to follow….

Wildlife and Wildflowers….Nature Nearby continued…

Remembering that it’s National Parks Month (the National Park Service is celebrating it’s 100th birthday on August 25th), and that there aren’t too many national parks nearby, there are several wonderful state parks and trails that offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature with hiking, biking, and just being outdoors.  Here are a few more wildlife and wildflower settings that are relatively close to us:

Starved Rock State Park  is about an hour west of New Lenox. Starved Rock has an interesting history along with beautiful geological formations featured on the many hiking trails.


From the East (via Ottawa):
I-80 W to IL Rt. 23 S (exit 90) to IL Rt. 71 W

From the East (Bypassing IL Rt. 178 at Utica):
Continue on I-80 W to I-39 S (Exit 79A) to IL 71 E

Be sure to visit the Starved Rock Kids’ Corner for more information and fun activities to prep for your outing.

starvedrock kids page

The historical I & M Canal  is also in our area. The actual canal starts at the Chicago River and runs close to 100 miles, ending at LaSalle. Access near us would be in Rockdale, Channahon, or Morris. You can step back in time to see how travel along the towpath was conducted in the mid-1800’s. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources highlights some of the state parks and historical sites along the towpath trail.

illinois dnr i& m canal

As always, we have books for you to learn more about these sites and their history in the 977’s of our non-fiction section area:

 J 917.3 FLY  National Parks Guide U.S.A.

J 977.3 MAR   What’s Great About Illinois? by Kristin Marciniak

Uniquely Illinois  by AndrewSantella J 977.3 SAN

I & M Canal pioneers’ stories : bringing history to life in the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor  LH 977.3 REC

977.3 CRE  (Adult section) Starved Rock State Park: The Work of the CCC Along the I & M Canal by Dennis Cremin

Enjoy the great weather as you take a walk on the wild(flower & life) side and celebrate nature!


Wildlife and Wildflowers…Nature Nearby

As you may have noticed, I have a tendency to write about special days or holidays each month.  It’s enjoyable to look for little (and big) things to celebrate while maybe learning a fun fact or two along the way.  While I have already listed a few things about August, I just read that August is also National Parks Month.  You can check out the National Parks website  to see what parks are located near us in Illinois.  national park service

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is actually listed with the National Forest Service, but has much to offer, just a few miles south of Elwood.
midewinLast year, bison were introduced to this park and can sometimes be spotted as you drive by. However, they love to roam, as the old song states, so you may need to find a trail and have your binoculars handy. Actually, it’s “oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam…” (are you humming it right now??) This fact sheet, provided by the Forest Service, will help you learn the difference between bison and buffalo:


Several baby bison were born earlier this summer. Stop in at the visitors’ center to find out more about them, as well as other features, trails, programs and volunteer opportunities at this park. Here are some books we have available in the nonfiction section for basic bison information:


970.004 Region Plains


   J 599.643 ROB

    J 599.643 PER

    J 599.643 GEO

Perhaps you’d like to learn more about prairies.  Visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:


or stop by to pick up these books and others before you visit the prairie:

J 577.44 MIL

 J 583.73 ROO

 J 635.95178 COL

Find flora, fauna, and facts galore as you explore the prairie ecosystem!

To be continued……