Tag Archives: websites

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!

Yes, it’s OK to read audiobooks!


Did you know you can count listening to audiobooks for the Summer Adventure? If you find yourself hesitating, the article Audiobooks Are Not Cheating (FREE poster offer) | Books on Tape has some great arguments in favor of recorded books. My favorite reason is that you can listen to a book in the car without getting a headache (the way you would reading with your eyes).

If you want to check out audiobooks from the library, you have a couple of options. We have books on CD (pretty self-explanatory), Playaways (those things in the orange boxes), and downloadable audiobooks.

Playaways are a little like having an iPod with something already downloaded on it. These are getting popular because not everyone owns something to play CDs on anymore. All you need to do is stick in your headphones and press play. Alternatively, you can use a cable to connect a Playaway to a car stereo so that everyone can listen to it together. The Findaway World company has details here: playaway-cars

Another option that you might not notice if you’re just looking at our shelves is downloadable audiobooks. The Digital Collection page of our website lists the different options for downloading audiobooks. At the bottom of the page, you can find help pages for the different apps and some guides to device compatibility.

Need a recommendation for a good audiobook? There are awards especially for audiobooks, like the Odyssey Award (for titles for children and young adults) and the Audies (for books for adults, children, and teens). The Association for Library Service to Children also puts out of yearly list of Notable Children’s Recordings, which includes both audiobooks and music (lists from past years are also available).

We must be kind to one another

Saturday I was moving materials in and out of the Vortex for the library’s hardworking teen volunteers.  I noticed the teen department had a display for GLBT Book Month and thought to myself that I really needed to get it together and make a display for our department already…

IMG_0675[1]and then the next day I caught a couple of headlines before work, and by the time I had a chance to read a little further it had become clear that there had been a terrible shooting targeting the gay community in Orlando, committed by a man with some kind of association with ISIS.

I’ve already shared the best resources I know for talking with children about scary things in the news.  Today I want to share some resources for talking with young people about tolerance and about extremism.

One of the most thoughtful people addressing this topic is Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core.   Living in the Chicago area, you have probably heard him interviewed.  This is from the introduction to his book Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation:

This is a book about how some young people become champions of religious pluralism while others become the foot soldiers of religious totalitarianism.  Its thesis is simple: influences matter, programs count, mentors make a difference, institutions leave their mark.  When we look back in the lives of young religious terrorists, we find a web of individuals and organizations that shaped them.  These young killers are not, for the most part, dramatically deranged individuals.  They are kids who fell into murderously manipulative hands. …And then we should ask: why weren’t the hands of people who care about pluralism shaping that kid instead of the hands of religious totalitarians?

He writes about people from a variety of backgrounds who have fallen into extremism, as well as his model for people of different faiths learning and serving together.  It’s a good book for any adult who cares about young people.

The American Muslim Teenager’s Handbook is a title that is focused on individuals rather than an interfaith movement.  I’m listing it because it offers basic information (an important alternative to online searches), is inclusive (taking the approach that it’s OK for people to disagree), and contains advice for how to “avoid extremism, fanaticism, radicalism, and other pesky ‘isms’.”

Not My Kid: 21 Steps to Raising a Nonviolent Child has advice for any parent who worries about children living in a violent world.  There is practical advice on raising children and preventing violence, and specific information on what behavior might be a sign that a child needs professional help.

Two organizations that are well known for identifying and opposing hate groups are the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.  They offer tools for Education and Outreach and Teaching Tolerance.  (A bonus this time of year is that in addition to resources for the school curriculum, there are also resources for summer camp.)

PFLAG is another well-known organization, offering support through local chapters to “LGBTQ individuals, family members and allies.”  They are a good first place to look for information, resources, and community.

The GLBT Book Month link above has some resources for finding recommended books (“authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community”) including the Stonewall Book Awards List (which includes fiction and nonfiction for adults, children, and young adults) and the Rainbow Book List, which has titles for children and teens.  The Horn Book Magazine also featured an article not long ago about Maurice Sendak, Arnold Lobel, James Marshall, Remy Charlip, and Tomie de Paola, five gay men who created beloved picture books.

It can be hard to talk to children about difficult and scary topics.  But it’s important to make a start, to keep talking, and sometimes to get advice from other people who are also working to make their world a better place.








Hidden Gems: Alice in Many Languages

Alice in Wonderland

My boss just shared an article she found about the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland and how the book has been, and is being, published in multiple languages.  At the top of the article, you’ll see a slideshow of illustrations from Alice in Wonderland.

If you would like to see or hear Alice in another language, the library owns Alice in Wonderland and other Lewis Carrol stories in Spanish, including an Alice in Wonderland audiobook in Spanish.

Since Alice in Wonderland is old enough to be out of copyright, you can also find some versions online for free.  Project Gutenberg has it available in German, Esperanto, and Finnish.  manybooks.net (which is compatible with the Go Read app on our nooks) offers the story in German, Esperanto, and Italian.

What’s new in children’s books? Multiplatform storytelling!

One of the new trends in children’s chapter books goes by names like transmedia or multi-platform series.  These terms usually refer to books that have a connection to an online game (although I would also includePatrick Carman’s Skeleton Creek in this category, a series that featured related online videos and slightly predated the books with online games).

The Maze of Bones
An early example, which is still going strong, is The 39 Clues.  The books feature puzzles to solve and plenty of adventure, as well as some educational bits about different times and places in history.  Fountaindale owns this series in Spanish as well as in English.  The stories in this series have been written by a number of popular authors, ranging from Rick Riordan (known for the Percy Jackson series) to Jude Watson (known for Star Wars chapter books) to Linda Sue Park (known for award-winning historical fiction).

Wild Born
Another ongoing series, Spirit Animals, continues this method of using lots of popular authors.  In this case, the stories are more of a fantasy quest.  I had a chance to hear one of the authors (I think it was Maggie Stiefvater) talk about a reason publishers are trying multiplatform books.  She said her brother was a gamer who didn’t spend a lot of time reading.  She asked what would get him to read more, and he said if he knew a bit about a character and world (and didn’t have to spend time getting into the story and maybe deciding he wasn’t interested) he would be more willing to try something.  A series like this can be a good choice for a reluctant reader, because they can “try out” the story through the game.

Book of the Dead
by Michael Northrup is a brand new series inspired by ancient Egypt featuring plenty of magic and danger.  The Copernicus Legacy by Tony Abbott is also pretty new, featuring an around-the-world quest.  Infinity Ring, a series that appears to have recently concluded, features time travel.  Infinity Ring offers an app that can be used on a variety of devices, something I didn’t see mentioned for the other books’ games.

If you’ve been clicking on the links, you will have noticed that most of these series come from Scholastic.  The publisher recently created a website to cover several of the series at once.  You can take a quiz to see which series you would probably enjoy, or if you’re already a big fan you can interact in a moderated forum with other fans or look at fan fiction and author videos.

And now, a word from Daredevil


I was checking the links on the Children’s part of the library website when I found that the children’s page for the Talking Book and Braille Service had disappeared.  I got in touch with the Illinois State Library, and they recommended that children and adults use the website at the link below:

Visit the Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center website!

Fountaindale has some Braille books for children, but you can get a lot more through the Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service.  They also have digital books and descriptive videos for children.  Search the word juvenile in their catalog to find children’s materials.

The Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center describes their services this way:
“We provide free library service for anyone unable to read regular print because of low vision, blindness, or a physical disability. We register your for talking books and playback equipment. Talking books are mailed free to and from library patrons, wherever they reside. There is no charge, whatsoever, to the patron. Currently, we serve approximately 12,500 active readers.”

If you are interested in the services the Talking Book Outreach Center provides, there is an application on their website.  Librarians are on the list of people who can certify that a person has a physical disability or visual impairment, and we would be happy to help fill out the forms.  A person with a reading disability must have a doctor certify the application (full details are on the same page as the application), so this would be a good thing to take along if you have a checkup before the first day of school.

Party in your PJs!

Bedtime Math

Children aged 6 to 9 can sign up now for the Bedtime Math Pajama Party on Tuesday, April 8, from 7:00-8:00 p.m.

Come enjoy snacks, wacky math problems, and tangrams and giant dominoes you can take home to keep!  Pajamas are encouraged, but not required.