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Sunday, February 7, 2016

2016 Year of the Monkey

In Mandarin, one says, "Gong Xi Fa Cai." 

In Cantonese, one says "Gong Hey Fat Choy."

In whichever language it is said, it means Happy New Year. The Chinese lunar calendar determines the Chinese New Year.  The new year begins with the new moon.  The 2016 Chinese New Year begins February 8th and is the Year of the Monkey.

The last fifteen days of the old year are spent preparing for the upcoming New Year celebration.  This is the time for cleaning the house, cooking special foods for the feast, making banners and decorations to get ready for the celebration.  Sounds a lot like our Christmas, right?  When the New Year begins, the partying lasts for 15 days!  These days are spent eating, performing dragon and lion dances, and attending lantern festivals to help usher in the new year.

Each Chinese New Year is named after an animal and each animal has certain characteristics.  There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, - one for each year of the lunar cycle.  So what characteristics does a monkey have, you ask?  Monkeys are smart, skillful and successful.  They are knowledgeable and discriminating.  They are friends of people born in the year of the Dragon and the Rat, but not of the Tiger.  Hmm, I was born in the year of the Goat.  I wonder if we could be friends?  If you want to see your Chinese Zodiac animal, check out this site Chinese Zodiacs for Kids.  The site has some great information on the Chinese Culture for families and kids.

During Chinese New Year, you might notice a lot of red and gold.  Why is that?  Red symbolized good fortune and joy.  It is custom for elders to give the younger ones a red envelope to welcome in the new year and give a blessing to the younger ones.  The red envelope is a symbol of prosperity and often contains money.  I would not mind getting a red envelope!  Gold is considered the most beautiful color.  It symbolizes good luck.  

If you are interested in learning more about the Chinese New Year, the library has some great books on the subject.  Did you know we also have books written in Chinese, if you happen to be able to read Chinese?  How cool is that!  I wish you a Gong Xi Fa Cai or a Gong Hey Fat Choy!

Chinese New Year books

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Citizen Science and You!

Image result for nature study 

Are you curious about the natural world? Did you know that you can help scientists learn about the planet from your own home? Citizen scientists are everyday people who observe the world around them, and share what they have observed with scientists. Citizen scientists have discovered new stars; found new species of flies; and have started a global revolution in the way modern science works. Discovery is now a collaborative effort between experts and enthusiasts. 

Image result for birds
Every year, scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society ask people all over the world to help them track migrating birds. The upcoming project, The Great Backyard Bird Count, collects data from participants in more than 100 countries! If you have 15 minutes, you can help real-life scientists learn more about birds and migration patterns. Go to to sign up! At the library, we have a whole mess of bird books to help you identify your new feathered friends. 

If birds aren’t your thing, you can participate in The Great Nature Project, a collaboration between National Geographic and  By observing, photographing and sharing photos of the natural world you can help scientists learn about biodiversity. The cool thing about this project is that it is collaborative. If you have a photo of a butterfly, but you don’t know what kind, other people can help you to identify it. Sign up at If you are inspired by this project and want to spend more time outside, then check out our collection of nature study books! 

Try your hand at citizen science—and see if a life of a scientist is right for you with our Scientists in the Field series. 

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Monday, January 25, 2016

2016 Newberry, Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Winners!

It's award season.  You may have seen the Golden Globes on TV recently or heard the nominees for the Oscars or Academy Awards.  Well, it's also time for some big book award announcements.  Last week the American Library Association named the winners for several major literary awards.   Drum roll please for the winner of the 2016 John Newberry Medal for most outstanding contribution to children's literature is.......
Matt de la Pena
Author Matt de la Pena is the first Latino author to win the 94-year old Newberry Medal.  Christian Robinson's illustrations explore race and class through the eyes of a young boy and his grandmother.  The prize is one of the most cherished among children's writers.  Last Stop on Market Street almost won two awards as it was the runner-up for the Caldecott Medal for the top illustrated book.  Which leads me to the unveiling of that prestigious award....let me hear another drum roll.........

The winner of the 2016 Caldecott Medal for best illustrated picture book is...
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of 19th Century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott.  It
Sophie Blackall
is awarded each year to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.  This year's winning illustrator is Sophie Blackall, who you might recognize as the illustrator of the Ivy and Bean series.  Finding Winnie:  The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear, written by Lindsay Mattick, is a story of the friendship and love shared between a solider and the real bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh, a children's classic.  The illustrations are done in her distinctive Chinese ink and watercolor art and portray a captivating view of the intimate and historical events that are perfect for a child's eye.  "Children will learn of Winnie's journey from the forests of Canada to the pages of the Hundred Acre Woods," states Caldecott Medal Committee Chair Rachel G. Payne.  If you don't know Winnie-the-Pooh, you need to stop by and grab the classic stories by A.A. Milne. 

And now, the final award.  The winner of the Coretta Scott King Award is.....(don't forget that drum roll)......

Rita Williams-Garcia
Rita Williams-Garcia has won her second Coretta Scott King Award in three years for the best book by an African-American writer.  Gone Crazy in Alabama is the third in the trilogy about the Gaither sisters, who travel from the streets of Brooklyn to spend the summer with their grandmother in the rural South.  Talk about culture shock!  Be sure to check out the other titles in the series, One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven.

The library has copies of these fabulous award winning books for your reading pleasure.  Just stop by and ask.  We would be happy to put them in your hands!

Winne-the-Pooh books
Ivy and Bean
Rita Williams-Garcia books
Matt de la Pena books 

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Martin Luther King Day

It’s Martin Luther King Jr Day! 
For a lot of people, it's just another day off of school. Not many people know that it took 15 years for Martin Luther King day to become a National holiday. In 1983, Congress passed legislation to create MLK Day but did you know that Illinois was the first state to adopt this day as a state holiday? Illinois had been celebrating Martin Luther King for 10 years already! 
So who was Martin Luther King, Jr? He was a Baptist minister and civil rights leader. He worked hard to secure rights for African Americans at a time when they didn't have very many rights at all.  
Have you seen our biography section? You can read about Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, and many other civil rights leaders.

You can also read about Bass Reeves, a U.S. Marshall in Indian Territory. He captured over 3,000 fugitives in his 30 year career! 
Or how about Matthew Henson, Polar Explorer! He traveled with Admiral Peary to the North Pole on the famous 1909 expedition. 
Do you like music? Do you know about DJ Kool Herc, the creator of hip hop?
We have over 1,000 books in our biography section! From ancient queens to modern presidents, there are hundreds of people to read about.
  Book Jacket for: Barack Obama : our forty-fourth President                                                                                     Book Jacket for: Cleopatra

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Offer Kids a Graphic Novel

Imagine opening up a book with colored scenes so vivid that you can image yourself there.  Or a book with black and white images, whose texture you can feel as you go through the book.  Imagine looking at windowed panels and panes that lead you through the realm of the world the book has to offer.  Sound exciting?  Sound inviting?  Welcome to the world of graphic novels. 

You probably remember growing up on comic books and your parents and teachers telling you that you weren't really reading.  But if they stopped to look at the vocabulary used in the comic book or the illustrations that told the story, they might have taken those words back.

The best thing about graphic novels is that they are written in short bursts of text and often in fun fonts with lots of vivid images bringing the story alive to all kinds of readers, regardless of their language.  For struggling readers, graphic novels provide an alternative format of reading that support students with concise text, paired with detailed images which help them decode and understand the text.   There is less text to decode, so they don't feel as overwhelm, yet they are exposed with new vocabulary and effective language usage.

Graphic novels are still wonderful reading material for skilled readers, too.  The text in these novels have to be succinct, so they model for readers how to communicate stories in short, brief text.

What's fantastic about graphic novels is that they come in an array of genres such as fantasy, science fiction, fiction, biography and classics.  There are even outstanding nonfiction resources for learning science or about famous people, places and events.  Graphic novels are even getting recognized for awards.  This year the title, Sidekicks by Dan Santat has been nominated for the Bluestem Award.  Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi and Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka were previous year's nominees.  

 Youth Services offers a lot of different choices in graphic novel titles.  Looking for Big Nate?  We got it.  Looking for Baby Mouse?  We got those.  Looking for titles by Raina Telgemeier?  Of course, we have her books.  Stop by the YS desk and we can help you find some great choice.  If you need help proving that graphic novels are good reading choices, we have research on that too!

Graphic Novels catalog
Raising a Reader
Using Graphic Novels with Children and Teens

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Storytime: What's Up With That?

It’s time for a new round of storytime sessions here at the library and we are excited to see all of our storytime friends again! 

If you have ever attended a storytime, you may have noticed that there is more than reading happening. There is singing, talking, and playing too. All of these components add up to a robust experience for your child’s developing brain.

By experiencing language in a variety of contexts, your child learns how language works. 

When we sing, the language slows down. This makes it easier for children to hear the sounds that make up words. 

When we talk, children learn how to move words around to communicate their ideas. 

When we play, we connect children to language in a joyful way and provide them an opportunity to try out language through narration and role-playing. 

Sing, talk, and play: These are three of the five methods to building early literacy skills. 

What are early literacy skills?

Early literacy skills are the building blocks for learning to read and write. They include concepts like alphabet knowledge, understanding that written words represent real-world things, and knowing how books function (this is the front, these are the words, you read the words to make a story). These are skills you build when you talk, sing, read, write, and play with your babies and children.   

At the library, we have storytimes for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.  Each storytime is tailored to the audience’s age level and developmental stage.

In Tots & Tykes (for 6-19 months) storytime, your child will experience music and books surrounded by other babies and caregivers. 

In Toddler Tales (for 20-25 months) storytime, your child will get the opportunity to create hands-on crafts in addition to being exposed to books and music.

In Preschool storytime, we have recently incorporated more kindergarten readiness skills into the basic early literacy component.  

If you have never attended a storytime, we invite you to attend an all-ages drop in storytime. We have a Tuesday night session from 6:30-7:00pm and a Thursday morning session from 10:30-11:00 am.

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Be Royal for a Day on January 9th

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a princess?  I know I did when I was younger.  When I was growing up, there was a huge royal wedding in England that took place - Lady Diana Spencer to Prince Charles. It was so popular that people were up at 3 AM (there is a time zone difference) so that they could watch all the proceedings.  The same took place not very long again when Prince William (Charles and Diana's son) married Kate.

I know I'm not the only one interested in royalty.  There are plenty of fictional books and movies on becoming a princess.  The most famous is The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.  You probably have seen the popular movies with Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews.  (Sidenote:  Meg Cabot just started a new spinoff series of The Princess Diaries called From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess featuring Mia's half sister.)  Oh, and let's not forget about The Tales of a Frog Princess series by E.D. Baker where our heroine princess kissed a frog and suddenly become one herself.  Even Shrek married into royalty when he married Princess Fiona.

If you want to learn about real-life monarchs (and not the butterfly kind), check out our biography section.  We range from current monarchs all the way back to the infamous Cleopatra.  

What I'm trying to say is that people are always curious about royalty.  Did you know that Roselle has it's own royalty?  Yep, it sure does.  Every March, Roselle high school women can have the opportunity to compete in a pageant where they can win a college scholarship and be the Queen of Roselle for one year.  During this time, the Queen gets to ride in the annual Rose Parade float as well as make appears around the town to promote events.  Why, she was just here with Santa for Celebrate the Season.

You are probably wondering why I am talking about queens and princesses.  I'm trying to tell you that
you can have the opportunity to be royalty for a day.  On January 9th from 2-3:30 PM, Roselle's very own Rachel Gebka will be here for the Rose Queen Tea!  It's your opportunity to spend an afternoon with her and be able to create your tiara, play fun games and eat some delicious desserts with her.  She can tell you what it's like to be the Rose Queen of Roselle, your hometown!  Registration for the event begins on December 28th and it's open to anyone in K through 6th grade.  Why not come and spend some time with her.  Pull out your favorite gown and be a "Princess!"  Who knows, maybe becoming royalty will be in your future.

Princess Diaires by Meg Cabot
The Tales of a Frog Princess series
Kings Queens Rulers books

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