The Early Bird Catches the Worm!

Looking for an activity that can reduce stress, improve your memory, develop patience, and sharpen your observation skills? Spring is a great time to start a new hobby or pick up where you left off last spring with bird watching!! You can start by looking and listening around your home. This is the season of nest building, egg laying, and baby birds chirping. Find out what kind of nest you see and what you can do to help our feathered friends in the area. In the process, you can enjoy nature and breathe in the fresh air! My favorite local webpage is the Will County Forest Preserve site…so much information is available about our surrounding area:

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has this cool guide to hear different songs of birds that are common to us too:

Q: Why did the little bird get in trouble at school?
A: Because he was caught tweeting on a test.

Here are a few of the books we have available in the library:

Don’t forget we have magazines, like Ranger Rick, with information too!

If you prefer e-books, here are search results from Hoopla:

The Audubon Society is a wonderful website to learn about all kinds of birds and some beginning birdwatching tips:

The following Audubon articles introduce you to birds in a greater area- the Great Lakes. You can compare the information with the more local Will County website to really become an expert!

The Happy Birder is another site that has great activities and resources to get started with birdwatching and learning about the great outdoors:

Remember to stop, look up, and listen to start this adventure with our neighbors in nature. Gather some background knowledge, a few simple supplies, and then head outdoors to begin your birding experience…

and Happy Birdwatching!

Fall is in the air…or is it?

Just as the days are getting shorter and it seems the temperatures are cooler, thoughts turn to sweaters, falling leaves, and pumpkins (or all things pumpkin spice, ha)…and then it’s hot again!! Fall weather is unpredictable for now but will soon be here to stay.

The official first day of autumn is Monday, September 23rd this year according to this post from the Farmer’s Almanac.

The “Weather Dude” also has some interesting facts about autumn along with a song and links to the other seasons:

The Weather Dude

Of course, we have these books and many more for you to check out about the fall weather!

Fall by Harriet Brundle- E 508.2 BRU

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak- E PAK

Weather in Fall by Jenna Lee Gleisner- E 508.2GLE

If you’re thinking of taking a drive or traveling to see the fall colors, this interactive map will give you a time frame for leaf changes :

Fall Foliage Map

For a quick refresher on why the seasons change, this video provides an easy explanation:

The Four Seasons

Even though we are looking forward to crisp autumn days with bonfire nights, this is also the time to think about spring! Fall is the time to plant tulip, daffodil, and other spring bulbs so you will be able to enjoy them after the bleak days of winter.

Gardening With Kids

The Will County Forest Preserve has several upcoming events to enjoy the outdoors in the changing season. You can find a program or hike the trails to learn about nature.

Forest Preserve District of Will County

Whether you call it fall or autumn, we hope you find some useful information to enjoy the upcoming season!

It’s that time of year!

We’re back!! Welcome to the Youth Services Department Blog. The purpose of this blog will be to inspire you to visit us at the library, inform you of some of our programming and activities, hopefully be an interesting resource for reading and learning ….and much more! From time to time, we will feature author’s birthdays, special holidays or seasons, staff picks, and available programs and activities we have planned for you.

Summer vacation is nearly over, and soon it’s back to school. It’s an exciting time but can also be a little stressful no matter what grade level you’re dealing with.

Here are several websites to offer ideas for a smooth transition from summer:

A Google or Pinterest search will also provide tons of ideas for organizing the routine of getting back in the groove. 

Some of my favorite tips from these articles to help with staying organized at home:

  • Homework station caddy for school supplies –even an over the door shoe organizer would work to keep things in one spot
  • An in-box or file holder for papers that need parent signatures or forms to be returned to school
  • A library book basket or tub so those books aren’t lost under the sofa or intermingled with personal book collections to help with returning by the due date (Serves double-duty for us, too!)

The Today Show came up with this list of back-to-school books, some of which are here at NLPL! Sometimes a cute picture book will help lighten the mood at any age.

by Ryan T. Higgins
by Keith Calabrese
by Anna Dewdney

Perhaps you’re looking for something more factual, so these books may interest you:

by Melinda Radabaugh E 372 RAD
by Alec Greven
J 372.18 GRE

Be sure to stop in to see what other books we may have to start off the new school year and check back soon to see what homework helps we have!

Have you heard about NoveList K-8?

Search for fiction or non-fiction books on all grade levels from Kindergarten through 8th grade, or browse the suggested Read-Alikes. You can even tell it what kind of main character you like to read about or give it a book you liked to get Read-Alike suggestions. You can access Novelist K-8  here.

Find Just Right Books for Younger Readers

Have kids who love action/adventure? Kids who want to read books just like their favorite, Harry Potter? Students who have to find nonfiction books at their reading level? NoveList K-8 makes it easy to find just right books that match each reader’s interests and reading level.

Created by Book Experts

NoveList is lovingly created by librarians and book experts. We have over 25 librarians on staff, plus teachers, school media specialists, and children’s librarians from around the country who contribute their expertise. Our hand-crafted recommendations are created by professionals, so you can trust them to be high-quality. We tell you who wrote a recommendation and why the recommendation makes sense.

Resources for Teachers and Parents

If you teach with books, NoveList K-8 is the place to go for inspiration and education. Need lists of books by topic or unit of study? We have ready-to-go materials that are quick and easy to use. Need books for your lessons that meet Common Core State Standards? We have Curriculum Connections and other materials that will get you started.

A Single Place for Reviews

Tired of searching multiple places just to find out what people are saying about a book? NoveList includes reviews from professionals (Booklist, Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal), as well as from readers (Goodreads, Chilifresh). One stop shopping!

NoveList Has Appeal

Appeal factors are terms that help kids decide whether or not a book is “their style” Looking for funny graphic novels? Or exciting rescue stories? We have appeal terms that will help!

Award-Winners, All in One Place

There are A LOT of book awards out there – Caldecott Medal, ALA Notable Books, Newberry Medal, Parents Choice, and more. Wouldn’t it be great if there was one place to find lists of award-winning books? NoveList has that.

School Daze…

Another summer is winding down, as signaled by the start of the school year.  While some kids may outwardly grumble about it, deep down inside, they probably are looking forward to the daily socialization with friends again…and yes, maybe their teachers too!


If you are looking for a few pointers about getting back in the school groove,  is a good resource. Whether you’re new to this with a Kindergarten student, or a seasoned veteran with middle-schoolers, there are tips dealing with topics from reluctant students to setting up an effective homework space at home.



Common Sense Media is another helpful website for parents with school-aged children. This article recommends apps to enhance math and reading skills. The website is also useful for family friendly reviews of books, videos, movies, apps, and more.



It’s important that kids continue to read for enjoyment, not just assignments. Follow these tips from the blog:

  • “Never fear! We have some helpful “back to school reading resolutions” to ensure families read every day at home once school begins.
  1. Ask your kid’s new teacher at back-to-school night for a list of books to read for fun at home, as kids say their teacher is a top resource for book ideas.
  2. Keep books in the home for independent reading time all year. Frequent readers have twice the amount of books in the home in comparison to infrequent readers.
  3. Read aloud at home – and keep it going beyond ages 5 and 8, as 66% of kids ages 6–11 say that “reading together is fun” and 72% of kids say “it is a special time together.”
  4. Talk to your local public librarian or school librarian for book suggestions. They are a year-round resource for great book ideas for families.
  5. Look for children’s books that feature characters that are “smart, brave or strong” and who “face a challenge and overcome it.” Kids need to connect with stories and characters in order for them to associate reading as an enjoyable activity.

And don’t forget to let children choose their books to read for fun. 9 in 10 kids say their favorite book is the one they picked out themselves.”

Here are a few books to help get over those back-to-school jitters or to give you a good laugh!

    Back to School, Mallory by Laurie Friedman  J FRI

  Back to School is Cool by Jim Jinkins    ER JIN

  The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by    J MUR

  The School is Alive! by Jack Chabert  J CHA

School Days According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney  J BIR



Middle School: Get Me Out of Here! by James Patterson   J PAT



On the list above, number 4 is why we are here: Talk to your local public librarian or school librarian for book suggestions. They are a year-round resource for great book ideas for families.” We love helping you find books to read or listen to for the simple joy of reading. Be sure to visit us throughout the school year to help with your assignments or to find something you might just enjoy!  Have a good school year; we’ll be here waiting to see you!



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!

Christmas Around the World


The holiday season lends itself to learning about traditions from other countries. Discovering customs from your relatives’ homelands can add new traditions to your celebrations while touching on the history of America being a “melting pot” of cultures. When you visit the following websites, you can click on a country to see how Christmas is celebrated there:

Christmas Around the World from


Christmas Around the World from


If you want to learn more about your ancestors’ homelands, our library has a very useful resource called CultureGrams.  It can be found on our webpage in the Research and Learning tab >Homework Help:

homeworkhelppg   cultgram

Adults with a library card also have access to ancestry resources- and Heritage Quest under the Research and Learning tab:


Perhaps your family is looking to start a new tradition? Try one of these suggestions from


or Parents Magazine:


And just for fun, here are some “Santa sites” to explore:

Google Santa Tracker has a few learning activities, a few coding activities, and of course, fun games…

google-santa  northpole

This website has the option for kids, parents, or teachers to set up an account-which allows you to write a letter to Santa and receive updates- or just visit the website, which includes crafts, recipes, gift ideas, reading activities, and more games!!

And finally, check out the NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) Santa Tracker  for more games and activities, as well as information about NORAD and a countdown to the sleigh sendoff:


As always, we have plenty of books-from all around the world- to help you learn more about your homeland traditions:

J 394.2663 THO

  J 394.2663 MAN

 J 394.2663 END

We also have many holiday stories, movies, and music cds available to make the season bright.  Come visit us and we’ll help you find something to cozy up with on these chilly winter nights!  Wishes for peace and happiness during this busy holiday season from all of us in the Youth Services Department!!

New Year, New Goals…

Image result for 2017 free image

As the year begins, thoughts and conversations revolve around making new resolutions or changing behaviors.  Mostly, these changes are about doing something differently or better, eating habits, or exercise…so this year, why not commit to exercise your mind? An easy way to do this would be to read a little more, and a fun way to read a little more would be to start a book club!  Adults do this, classrooms and schools might too-even libraries have programs (see Guys Read or Girls Rock here at NLPL), but kids can try it with friends, classmates, cousins, neighbors or family. To get started, you might need a little help from an adult (parent, teacher, librarian, etc.) or older sibling to get organized and maybe help with the first few meetings. Get a few friends, set some ground rules, put together a list of book suggestions, and you’re good to go!  The websites and have some helpful suggestions for kids and parents:

readwritethinkscholastic has information for a more parent-involved club, including ideas for a mother-daughter group and guidelines for getting started as well :


Reading becomes a social activity for kids in book clubs and promotes so many benefits: respecting others’ ideas and perspectives, building cooperation & collaboration skills, being accountable by being prepared and keeping track of books read, just to name a few …and teachers will be thrilled when comprehension improves! Creativity abounds when an art project relating to the book is part of the meeting.  Book clubs can also be a springboard for community involvement after a discussion- for example helping at a pet shelter, volunteering to help keep park areas clean, or recycling projects- or any other theme found in books.  Kids learn to listen to each other and make decisions together (respect and collaboration again) regarding how often to meet, where to meet, which books to add to the reading list, will there be snacks, and the list goes on….!  Of course, the Youth Services Staff will be happy to assist you in finding appropriate books.  A place you might start would be in our Staff Picks section at the front of the department:


or the Caudill, Bluestem, and Monarch State award nominees:

:caudills      20160721_165314     20160721_165307

So in 2017, exercise your mind, enjoy time with friends, and cozy up to a good book- you might enjoy the results! In my humble opinion though, the best result of a book club is fostering a love for reading!!



Happy New Year of the Rooster!


Happy New Year …again!!!  Happy Chinese New Year, that is! Following the Chinese zodiac, 2017 is the Year of the Rooster. The 12 zodiac symbols possess different character traits, and cycle every 12 years.  People born under the sign of the Rooster are believed to be very observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous, talented, and have a lot of confidence! If you were born in any of these years, you’re a rooster: 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017. The  websites below have some fun facts about the different Chinese New Year traditions, including the zodiac traits. Check out the year of your birth on one of the sites and see if your personality matches the characteristics!


National Geographic for Kids

Here are a few of the animal personality traits from

  • Rat: quick-witted, smart, charming, and persuasive
  • Ox: patient, kind, stubborn, and conservative
  • Tiger: authoritative, emotional, courageous, and intense
  • Rabbit: popular, compassionate, and sincere
  • Dragon: energetic, fearless, warm-hearted, and charismatic
  • Snake: charming, gregarious, introverted, generous, and smart
  • Horse: energetic, independent, impatient, and enjoy traveling
  • Sheep: mild-mannered, shy, kind, and peace-loving
  • Monkey: fun, energetic, and active
  • Rooster: independent, practical, hard-working, and observant
  • Dog: patient, diligent, generous, faithful, and kind
  • Pig: loving, tolerant, honest, and appreciative of luxury

This year’s celebration began on January 28th and will last until February 11th. Most families begin the celebration with housecleaning before the New Year to sweep away and clean out the previous year’s bad luck.  Then, there is a family celebration dinner, which includes fish to bring good luck.  In fact, many customs and traditions relate to ensuring good luck for the year. Instead of wrapped presents, red envelopes with money are given as gifts for good fortune.  Firecrackers are lit to scare away bad luck and welcome the new year.  Even wearing red underwear is said to keep away bad luck!  The Lantern Festival closes out the celebration with the famous Dragon Dance in many places.  Lanterns are hung as decorations, carried in  parades, sent skyward, or set afloat in water. Watch the video below from

Of course, we have books for you to learn more about Chinese New Year and the culture of this area.  Here are a few:

  J 394.261 SIE

  J 394.26 SIM

 J 641.5951 LEE

  J 915.1 RIE

These are just a few of many books we have available if you are interested in exploring this culture.  And don’t forget to look around online at CultureGrams on our website.


It’s a great resource to learn about other countries and their customs.       Stop in to see us, tell us about your celebration, and Gōng hè Fat Choy!!

Marching into Spring!

Image result for month of march free clipart

March is a month with many exciting happenings… we “spring” ahead with our clocks as we eagerly await the start of spring (even with a late season snowstorm), leprechaun sightings abound as we notice an abundance of green for St. Patrick’s Day, thoughts turn to basketball with a March Madness bracket, and everyone celebrates the birthday of a beloved children’s author….

March kicked off with all things Seuss by celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Seuss Geisel on March 2nd.  Schools across the country held fun reading activities for the day, week, and even the whole month. His wild and wacky characters, vivid illustrations, and catchy rhymes have delighted children and adults for over 70 years!  Here are a few facts about Dr. Seuss:

  • Seuss is his mother’s maiden name, and actually rhymes with the word voice.  He gave up trying to have people pronounce it correctly.
  • He is not really a doctor.  He added that to his name because his father had hoped he would earn a PhD.  He eventually did receive an honorary doctorate from Dartmouth and Princeton.
  • His first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was actually rejected by publishers 27 times!
  • The Cat in the Hat was written to help young children read.  His books made children’s literature and learning fun. Green Eggs and Ham was written when a friend made a bet with him that he couldn’t write a book with 50 words or less.  (He won the bet.)
  • His books have sold over 200 million copies. One of his more recent books, Oh The Places You’ll Go was originally written for  parents to read to their newborn babies, but is actually more popular as a graduation gift for students. and are some awesome websites to explore and learn more about Dr. Seuss with games and information:

There are also many Pinterest and blog entries with STEM projects associated with Dr. Seuss books.  Read the book, then try your hand at a project to learn a little about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math:

We have over 100 types of materials available in the library, including biographies, stories, movies, and music cds for you to check out and enjoy!

So have fun with reading or STEM activities or exploring websites or even trying to write your own rhymes, and remember…..

Dr. Seuss Quote #1