Tag Archives: books

New series: Lucy’s Lab

Have you been longing for more early chapter books about a girl who loves science? Try this new series! On Lucy’s first day of second grade, she’s excited to meet her new teacher, Miss Flippo, and find out everything’s she’s going to learn about this year in school. And when Miss Flippo tells the class that they’re going to have their very own science lab, complete with lab coats and goggles, Lucy can’t wait to start exploring.

Nuts About Science by Michelle Houts
While learning about habitats in second grade, Lucy convinces her school to plant a new tree as a home for squirrels.

Solids, Liquids, Guess Who’s Got Gas? by Michelle Houts
Lucy learns all about states of matter, and a school field trip and the Fall Harvest Festival gives her the chance to put her new knowledge to good use.

Prevention is one part of the whole picture

Let’s talk about sexual assault.

Watching the news over the past few days, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight again some of the library’s resources for children and parents related to sexual abuse.

Most of them can be found under the subject “child sexual abuse prevention.” They include books for parents, books for children in English and in Spanish, and a DVD. Most books now teach more than “stranger danger,” which is important since the majority of sexual assaults are not committed by strangers.

There are also books that feature characters who are survivors of assault. Most books like this are in the Young Adult collection, but there are some books for younger readers.

9781492466574Lauren’s Kingdom by Lauren Book
Lauren’s Kingdom is a picture book about a girl who being touched inappropriately by her babysitter. She meets a boy who is being physically abused. Together they make a plan to tell an adult what is happening, and these adults make sure they are safe so they both have happy endings. The book includes some suggestions for figuring out who could be the adults in a child’s own life that they can go to if they are uncomfortable or upset. The website Lauren’s Kids is also recommended as a resource.

Jumping the Scratch by Sarah Weeks
Jumping the Scratch is a chapter book recommended for approximately grades 4 to 7. The main character is an eleven-year-old fifth grade boy who is dealing with several problems, one of which is the memory of being molested by a man in the trailer park where he lives. As in the previous book, an adult family member helps the child get help.

The Summer of Owen Todd by Tony Abbott
This book is in our Young Adult collection, but some reviewers recommended it for readers as young as age 10 or fifth grade. It takes place in the summer before sixth grade when a boy tells his best friend (the main character) that a babysitter is abusing him. The story focuses on Owen’s struggle over what to do, since Sean has threatened to kill himself if Owen tells anybody.

It’s unfortunate that none of these three books covers the most common scenario, which is a girl being sexually abused by a man (often a family member). One book that does is Not In Room 204, which is available from other libraries in our library system*. This is a picture book that features a teacher sharing information, and would be a good choice to read to a classroom.

Here are some more resources that might be helpful:

Child sexual abuse statistics are available from The National Center for Victims of Crime, National Sexual Violence Resource Center and RAINN.

In Illinois, these are some of the adults who can help if a child is being abused:

  • doctors
  • teachers
  • day care and child care workers
  • police officers

These are some phone numbers that might be helpful:

911 for emergencies

Child Abuse Hotline to report suspected abuse in Illinois 800-25-ABUSE (800-252-2873)

(815) 730-8984 is the hotline for the Sexual Assault Service Center in Joliet, which offers counseling and advocacy for assault survivors as well as prevention education such as “Safe and Unsafe Touch” for children and “Healthy Relationships” for adolescents.

Let’s do what we can to prevent abuse, to help and support those who have experienced abuse, and to encourage empathy.

*UPDATE: We will be getting the new edition of Not in Room 204 soon!

Find something to read… online

24501857023_f3dd8c86e7_zMaybe a trip to the library doesn’t fit your schedule, maybe you don’t want to lose a library book or maybe you just don’t want to leave the house. Ebooks can be great for those situations! Ms. Wendy just shared a blog article with me about different ways kids can read for free online. I’m going to highlight my favorites here, but the article includes specialty sites for reading comprehension, books in languages other than English and more:

Storyline Online: Popular picture books read aloud by favorite actors

DOGOnews: Kid-friendly news (both articles and videos)

Sports Illustrated Kids: Sports articles from the children’s magazine

“YOUR local public library”: Our digital collection has popular new chapter books, comics and more things that you can only get for free through your library.

Want to find out more about eBooks available from your library? Come to the Digital Bookmobile Blast on Thursday, June 14. A special digital bookmobile from the OverDrive eBook service will be visiting Fountaindale to show you how to make the most out of your eReader and OverDrive’s digital collection. There will prizes and music and more!

New books featuring the history and culture of India

All about India

I is for India by Prodeepta Das
In this photographic alphabet book, is a celebration of India in all its colorful diversity, focusing not only on the rhythms of the bustling cities, but also on the village life in this vibrant subcontinent.

Indian Heritage by Tamra Orr
Indian Heritage in the Celebrating Diversity in My Classroom series explores the geography, languages, religions, food, and culture of India in a fun age-appropriate way.

Historical Fiction

Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar
Gandhi asks for one member of each family to join the fight for independence from the British, and when ten-year-old Anjali’s mother is jailed for doing so, Anjali must step out of her comfort zone to take over her mother’s work.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.

Fantasy and Adventure

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
Twelve-year-old Aru stretches the truth to fit in at her private school, but when she is dared to prove an ancient lamp is cursed, she inadvertently frees an ancient demon.

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta
Up until her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala considered herself an ordinary sixth-grader in Parsippany, New Jersey, but then her parents disappear and a drooling rakkhosh demon shows up in her kitchen, and soon she is swept into another dimension, full of magic, winged horses, talking birds (very annoying), and cute princes–and somehow Kiranmala needs to sort it all out, find her parents, and basically save the world.

Art and Artists

Following My Paint Brush by Dulari Devi
Dulari Devi, who works in the traditional Mithila style of Indian painting, describes her life of poverty until a job working as a domestic for an artist led her to discover her own artistic talent.

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Outside In by Jennifer Bradbury and The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, A Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art by Barb Rosenstock both tell the story of a self-taught artist and his secret art project, the Rock Garden of Chandigarh.

The Patua Pinocchio adapted from Carol Della Chiesa’s translation of the book by Carlo Collodi with illustrations by Swarna Chitrakar
A Bengali artist interprets the story of Pinocchio with art in the style of traditional Patua scroll paintings, making Pinocchio a sort of trickster figure.

Picture Books and Comics

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Three picture books by Sourav Dutta tell traditional stories of Ganesha with comics and rhymes.

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions and the topic of India is permanently closed. For Pri, her mother’s homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film.

History and Biography

A Children’s History of India by Subhadra Sen Gupta
Take a look at India’s history from ancient times into modern independence.

Gandhi for Kids: His Life and Ideas, with 21 Activities by Ellen Mahoney
Plenty of illustrations and hands-on activities help bring history alive.

I am Gandhi by Brad Meltzer
The popular “Ordinary People Change the World” series continues with a comic for young readers about Gandhi’s life and methods of nonviolence.

Be sure to check out our display in Children’s Services for more books for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!

Mrs. C.’s Best of the Best Reading List


Do you need something to read? Start your summer reading with Mrs. C.’s list of favorite books that she’s shared at local schools this year! Don’t forget, you can also find lots of cookbooks by looking under the number 641.

Books for Autism Awareness Month

When Wendy asked if I was writing an article for Autism Awareness Month, I turned to a resource that I recently learned about from other children’s librarians. Disability in Kidlit is a website “dedicated to discussing the portrayal of disability in middle grade and young adult literature” written by people who have disabilities. Their Honor Roll includes two children’s chapter books featuring boys with autism, one a fantasy and one a realistic fiction story:

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold

You can find reviews of several more chapter books there, including some mixed ones by reviewers who feel that the authors did some things well but also got other things wrong. Another interesting feature is interviews with authors.

Another resource I have used in the past is the Schneider Family Book Award. This award is for “an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.” The page for the award also includes a bibliography of some recommended children’s books that feature characters who have disabilities. The list of award-winners and the bibliography both include some picture books for younger readers, which is outside the scope of Disability in KidLit. The jury that decides the award is supposed to be made up of people with “knowledge of disability experiences,” but they might not all have disabilities themselves. Looking through those lists, I only identified one picture book that featured a character with Autism:

Silent Days, Silent Dreams by Allen Say

Best new Jewish books for kids

On January 10, the 2018 Sydney Taylor Book Awards and the 67th Annual National Jewish Book Awards were both announced. Two books won awards in both:

The Language of Angels: A Story About the Reinvention of Hebrew by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Karla Gudeon
A picture book influenced by the style of illuminated manuscripts shows how Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and his son, Ben-Zion, created new Hebrew words for modern ideas and objects.

Refugee by Alan Gratz
Although separated by continents and decades, Josef, a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany; Isabel, a Cuban girl trying to escape the riots and unrest plaguing her country in 1994; and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015 whose homeland is torn apart by violence and destruction, embark on harrowing journeys in search of refuge, discovering shocking connections that tie their stories together.

We also own several of the books honored or recognized as finalists or notable:

Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom, Salaam adapted by Fawzia Gilani-Williams, illustrated by Chiara Fedele
Yaffa and Fatima live on neighboring date farms. When very little rain leads to a poor harvest, each woman goes to extra measures to make sure that her neighbor doesn’t go hungry.

Viva, Rose! by Susan Krawitz
In El Paso, Texas, in 1915, fourteen-year-old Rose Solomon seeks her missing brother’s return and inadvertently ends up running with Pancho Villa and his revolutionary army.

This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang
In 1983 seventh-grader David Da-Wei Horowitz has a lot to worry about–his bar mitzvah is coming soon, his Jewish and Chinese grandmothers argue about everything, his teammates for the upcoming trivia contest, Scott and Hector, do not like each other, he is beginning to notice girls, and Scott has persuaded him to begin digging a fallout shelter just in case the Cold War heats up.

The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero
At the beginning of World War II, Karolina’s spirit magically travels from the war-torn Land of the Dolls to the Krakow, Poland, shop of the Dollmaker, Cyryl, and together they take great risks to save their Jewish friends.

Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar
In 1960s New York, fifth-grader Ruthie, a Cuban-Jewish immigrant, must rely on books, art, her family, and friends in her multicultural neighborhood when an accident puts her in a body cast.