Tag Archives: environment

New Things to Read for Earth Day

All That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and Our Problem with Stuff by Meghan McCarthy

The Animal Book: Over 100 Incredible Creatures and How we Share the Planet with Them by Ruth Martin

Dark Matters: Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution by Joan Marie Galat

Down to Earth: How Kids Help Feed the World by Nikki Tate

The Frog Scientist by Pamela Turner

Let’s Eat: Sustainable Food for a Hungry Planet by Kimberley Veness

Maker Projects for Kids Who Love Greening Up Spaces by Megan Kopp

Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story by Suzanne Slade

Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators that Saved an Ecosystem by Patricia Newman

What Milly Did: The Remarkable Pioneer of Plastics Recycling by Elise Moser

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Shark Week!

10 Fascinating Facts About Sharks by Rachel A. Koestler-Grack
Did you know that there are more than 500 species of shark? Or that they range in size from smaller than a ruler to longer than a bus? Those are just some of the fascinating tidbits kids will discover in 10 Fascinating Facts About Sharks.

Amazing Sharks by Steve Parker
Provides an overview of sharks, describing key characteristics of such species as the great white shark, blue shark, sand tiger shark, and whale shark.

Bow Wow by Spencer Quinn
Bowser the mutt lives with eleven-year-old Birdie Gaux and her grandmother in the normally quiet Louisiana bayou town of St. Roch, but news that a Bull shark has somehow made its way into the swamp has everyone excited, and the cash bounty for landing the shark has lured some very shady characters into town–one hunter in particular is prepared to go to any lengths to collect the money.

Deadliest Sharks by Melissa Abramovitz
Profiles some of the world’s deadliest sharks, including the spotted wobbegong, shortfin mako, and bull shark.

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams
A nonfiction picture book tracing the repercussions of what would happen if sharks disappeared from our planet.

Please Be Nice to Sharks: Fascinating Facts about the Ocean’s Most Misunderstood Creatures by Matt Weiss; photos by Matt Weiss & Daniel Botelho
A humorous book that humanizes the incredible, much-maligned shark through breathtaking underwater photography and incredible facts dispels many of the myths that have led to various shark species being hunted to extinction.

Sharkpedia by Nancy Ellwood and Margaret Parrish
Through hundreds of photographs, diagrams, maps, and illustrations, readers will learn where sharks lurk, what they eat, and why they do what they do, as well as hear from scientists and shark-attack survivors.

Sharks by Sarah Fowler
Get up close and personal with all kinds of sharks—from bullhead to cow to carpet sharks—and learn how to identify different types, which is strongest, and so much more with this exciting book full of amazing images, fun quizzes, and incredible information.

Sharks and Other Sea Creatures senior editor Carrie Lowe; photographer Ruth Jenkinson
Packed with fun activities, crafts, reading games, and amazing facts, kids can take a dive under the waves and meet all the colorful creatures beneath–from clown fish to starfish to jellyfish–in this educational project book.

Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks by Skila Brown; illustrated by Bob Kolar
From the enormous whale shark to the legendary great white to the enigmatic goblin shark to the small cookie-cutter shark, Slickety Quick is a delightful frenzy of shark mayhem. … Sneaky shark facts ripple through each spread to further inform the brave and curious young reader intrigued by the power–and danger–of these amazing creatures.

Thoreau investigations

You would expect Daniel Pinkwater, author of The Hoboken Chicken Emergency, to have a quirky taste in books. If you tuned in to the radio in 2003 you might have heard him introducing a series of picture books that has a number of unusual characteristics. For one thing, they feature a main character based on writer/naturalist/philosopher Henry David Thoreau. Secondly, the main character (and everyone he interacts with) is a bear. Third, the books are illustrated in a sort of Cubist Expressionist style that you hardly ever see in children’s books.




This July 12, Thoreau turns 200 years old. If you want to introduce your children to his work, the library has a few books that will let children enjoy his writings in his own words:

Henry David’s House shares selections from Walden alongside beautiful illustrations. Singing America includes two of his poems in a collection with works by other authors.

There are also several books (past the picture book level) that feature Thoreau as a hero or icon. The Dragon Tree opens with a quote from Thoreau, and imagines a magical tree with quotes from all kinds of literature on it leaves. This book was the inspiration for the architectural “trees” decorating the Children’s Services department. It’s also the eighth book in the Hall Family Chronicles, which includes

The Mysterious Circus, in which the Halls foil a new enemy’s plan to build a Henry Thoreau theme park across from their home (with humor and magic).

It’s not too different in theme from

The Trouble With Henry: A Tale of Walden Pond, in which Thoreau defends his beloved woods from a toothpick factory.

Moving into the modern day, we have

Octavia Boone’s Big Questions About Life, the Universe, and Everything. Seventh-grader Octavia puzzles over lifes biggest questions when her mother seems to find the answers in a conservative Christian church, while her artist father believes the writings of Henry David Thoreau hold the key.

Kids who love humor might prefer

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters. When Alvin‘s father takes him camping to instill a love of nature, like that of their home-town hero Henry David Thoreau, Alvin makes a new friend and learns that he can be brave despite his fear of everything.

If you want to read more about the life of Thoreau, we have several biographies. There’s also a guide in our homeschooling section called Henry David Thoreau for Kids: His Life and Ideas, with 21 Activities. Or you could follow this link to see how he invented No. 2 pencils (no, really!). Be sure to check out our display of books!


Now twice, due to popular demand!


Sea to Shining Sea
Friday, January 27, 10:30 a.-noon
Friday, January 27, 1:30-3 p.m.
For homeschool teachers and their K-5 students
Enrich your homeschool experience by joining us in discovering the geography, stories, music, and crafts of the United States of America. Drop in.

This month, we will explore the Southeastern United States.  You can:

  • squeeze fresh orange juice
  • learn about estuaries and make an otter puppet
  • try reading Braille like Helen Keller
  • fly balloon rockets as you learn about Cape Canaveral

Since our homeschool programs have been so popular, we are now offering two sessions!


Halloween Happenings (and more)

We have some great Halloween Happenings coming up at the library, and there’s even more going on for children around the neighborhood!  Here’s a list of all the spooky fun we were able to find:

Johansen Farms Children’s Zoo & Pumpkin Farm Illinois
Visit the link for information on activities, times, and prices.

Friday, October 21
Family Halloween Fun Night and Parkie’s Pumpkin Patch at the BRAC.
The Bolingbrook Park District is offering activities for children and parents.  Our bookmobile staff will be telling stories!  Follow the links above for details, including cost and registration information.

Monday, October 24
Tweens can sign up for Spooky Tech in Studio 300 to experiment with LED lights and black light and make a glowing mummy hand to take home.  Free.

October 24-31
Bass Pro Shops is offering photos and free activities at their Bolingbrook store.  See their Great Pumpkin Celebration page for details.

Saturday, October 29
Dave Rudolf’s Halloween Spooktacular
11 a.m. at Fountaindale Public Library
Come in costume and have a “monsterously” good time in a not scary, totally interactive family show with the award-winning performer Dave Rudolf! Watch the kids do the Frankenstein Dance. See the little tykes try to assemble the Skeleton Bones. Be amazed at the Ghoul-Limbo.
Drop in until the room capacity of 90 is reached. All ages, preschoolers with an adult. Seating is first come, first served.  Free.

Monday, October 31
Visit the Village of Bolingbrook website for Bolingbrook Trick or Treat hours and a list of safety tips for families.

Saturday, November 5
Pumpkin Pitch 2016 at Lewis University in Romeoville
Composting your old jack o’lantern is way more fun when a catapult is involved!  Grown-ups can also bring old personal papers to be shredded.  Visit the Will County Green website for event details such as times, limits on what you can bring, and contact information for the organizers of the event.

Noche de la familia– Family Night!


¡Bajo el océano!
el lunes, 9 de mayo, 7:00-8:00 p.m.

Todas las edades, niños en edad preescolar con un adulto. No hay ningún registro requerido.

Invitamos a todas las familias a disfrutar una tarde bilingüe (inglés y español) con actividades prácticase interactivas del océano.

Under the Sea!
Monday, May 9
7:00 PM-8:00 PM

Bring the family to enjoy a bilingual (English and Spanish) evening of hands-on ocean activities as part of our Noche de la familia series!

Meeting Room A
All ages, preschoolers with an adult. Drop in.

Milkweed Seed Success


Waiting for spring to come?  Here’s a project you can start indoors now that will bring butterflies to your yard in warm weather.

The caterpillars that become monarch butterflies eat only milkweed leaves.  The number of monarch butterflies has gone down a lot in recent years, so many people are planting milkweed seeds to help the butterflies.

There are many kinds of milkweed.  Three that you can usually find in the Chicago area are common milkweed, swamp milkweed, and butterfly weed.

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The easiest time to plant milkweed is in the fall.  If you made a seed bomb at our Marvelous Mariposas program and planted it that night, then all you need to do is watch for leaves.


If you saved your seed bomb, or found some milkweed seeds this spring, then there are a couple of extra steps to take.  The seeds need a signal that winter is over and it is safe to start growing.  If the seeds have been sitting indoors all winter, that means that they need to spend time chilling as if they had been freezing outside.

To chill your seeds, wet a paper towel and wring it out. Spread your seeds on one half of the damp paper towel. Fold the empty half of the paper towel over the seeds to cover them. Put the seeds and paper towel inside a plastic bag. Keep the bag in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 weeks. You can plant the seeds once the danger of frost is over, around May 15.

If you’re trying to decide what kind of milkweed to plant and where to plant it, here are a couple of things to consider.

All milkweed plants need plenty of sunlight.  The big differences between common milkweed, swamp milkweed, and butterfly weed are their height and the types of soil they like.

Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is the least fussy about its soil.  This is the type that you are most likely to see in the wild and the type that is mostly likely to “volunteer” in your yard.  In terms of looks, it is the tallest (typically 3 to 5 feet and up to 8 feet) but its flowers are not as brightly colored as swamp milkweed or butterfly weed.  It blooms between May and August.

Asclepias incarnata or swamp milkweed, as you would expect from the name, likes soil that is damp most of the time.  It is 2 to 5 feet tall and can have bright pink flowers.  You can sometimes find plants for sale in garden centers.  It blooms in late summer and early fall.

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is much shorter than the other two at only 1 to 2 feet tall and has orange flowers.  It likes well-drained sandy or loamy soil and it blooms between May and September.  Seeds are relatively easy to find for sale.  Its pods are long and skinny, like this:


Save the Monarchs Bolingbrook has made free seed packets available at Village Hall (while supplies last), and I have had luck in the past asking the Bolingbrook Park District for permission to gather seeds near Hidden Oaks.  Seed pods for common milkweed are rounder, and this time of year have usually faded from green to gray:


Websites like monarchjointventure.org, monarchwatch.org, and wildones.org have more detailed information on creating a yard or garden that is butterfly-friendly.  In addition to planting milkweed, some other steps you can take are planting flowers with nectar to feed adult butterflies and avoiding pesticides that can harm these insects.  We will also be happy to help you find gardening books, butterfly books, and other resources at the library!