Category Archives: Displays

That time a nun read my kindergarten class Oscar Wilde


Sister Catherine was awesome. Sister Catherine taught me how to read, and my phone number, and what prayer meant and the beginnings of self-control.

She read to us. Two books I particularly remember were Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and The Selfish Giant. Because she was a Sister and it was kindergarten, it was kind of a shock to me as an adult when I realized that anyone might consider either of those books controversial.

Sylvester, like a lot of children’s books, features animal characters acting like people. The main character is a donkey and when he mysteriously disappears, his family calls the police. The controversy over this book, published in 1969, is that the police are depicted as pigs.

It’s hard to describe “The Selfish Giant” without giving away the ending, but on one level it’s a fairy tale and on another it has Christian symbolism. It’s considered a classic and has been included in anthologies such as A Treasury for Six Year Olds, The Children’s Book of Faith, and Easter Treasures.

I guess I didn’t really think about who the author was until (at a previous job) someone questioned my classifying the book with some other Christian fiction. My first thought was that someone might have stripped the story of the more explicitly religious elements while adapting it to picture book format. But as I thought more about it, I realized that the the person who raised the issue might really have been objecting less to the actual book and more to who the author was.


Because if you ask, “Who was Oscar Wilde?” the answer usually includes these elements: he was a writer, he was known for his flamboyant personality, and he was imprisoned for homosexual acts. But because of Sister Catherine, his notoriety isn’t the first thing I think of. The Selfish Giant is still a book I put out on display at Easter time every year (and I was upset when our last picture book version of it got lost last year and relieved when it reappeared on the shelf this spring).

When I was asked to pick some books for the GLBT Book Month display in the lobby, I thought of some of the classic, much-loved authors who fall into this category. I actually forgot to put any Langston Hughes books in last year’s display, but several artists have recently made beautiful picture books by illustrating his poetry. I’m also planning to feature books by Hans Christian Andersen, whose fairy tales are even better known than Oscar Wilde’s.

The resources for GLBT Book Month include tools to find books by contemporary authors. The Stonewall Book Awards and the Rainbow Book List can help you find books with characters who are gay, or gender-fluid, or living in a diverse community or just figuring things out. The display will have something– old or new– for everybody.




Ramadan Reading


Due to a generous donation from a patron, our library received a Ramadan READy Kit with books and decorations! Stop by to see the decorations in the display case near the juvenile World Languages collection. The kit also included books, which are being processed and added to the collection.

It’s Ramadan, Curious George by Hena Khan, illustrated by Mary O’Keefe Young

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan

Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story by Hena Khan

Ilyas & Duck and the Fantastic Festival of Eid-Al-Fitr by Omar Khawaja

The Shapes of Eid According to Me by Samia Khan; illustrated by Maria Ahmed

Check out our Ramadan and Eid display in the holiday section for more books, or ask us for help finding books about religion, holidays and celebrations.

Ramadan paper lanternsThe kit also included materials for making Happy Ramadan paper lanterns. This will be one of the crafts available at our Make-it Take-it craft program on Saturday. Drop in any time between 1:30 to 3:30 to make a craft while supplies last. We will also have materials for making a paper mosaic peace picture or an origami crane.

Last chance to see student projects!

Students from Bolingbrook High School wrote and illustrated their own children’s books about endangered animals in French, German, and Spanish. Come and take a look! They will be on display in the Children’s Services department of the library through Sunday, May 7.

“Everything is art. Everything is politics.” (quote from Ai Weiwei)

This past weekend, my dad and I had a chance to attend Ai Weiwei at Meijer Gardens:
Natural State. Some of the first pieces you see when you walk into the building are large, hollow, white structures in the shapes of gods or supernatural creatures that are hanging from the ceiling.

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I knew Ai Weiwei was an activist, but I did not know the story about his father. It made me think of this book:

Red Kite, Blue Kite by Ji-li Jiang, illustrated by Greg Ruth

In the story, a boy’s father is sent to a labor camp during the Cultural Revolution in China. They make a plan to each fly a kite for the other to see at a certain time every day since they don’t have any other way to communicate. In an author’s note at the back of the book, Ji-li Jiang explains that the picture book was inspired by the personal history of a family friend. In the end, he says, “My friend’s father survived the Cultural Revolution, and my friend grew up and became a poet.”

Red Kite, Blue Kite is one of the books included in our current display for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. It includes children’s books that have received the South Asia Book Award or the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Come take a look!

Alex made something amazing!

titanic model

Alex made a model of the Titanic that won 2nd place at the science fair at Woodview Elementary School! He brought it in to display at the library. Come take a look! While you’re here, you can check out some of our books about the Titanic to learn more.

Big Birthday on the Prairie


Author Laura Ingalls Wilder was born 150 years ago on February 7, 1867.  You can read a couple of reflections at the New York Times and Shelf Awareness.  Stay tuned for a special program about Laura Ingalls Wilder this summer!