Nov 19, 2021

Book Spotlight: The Whole World Inside Nan's Soup


There's something special and delicious inside Nanni's big metal pot. When her granddaughter asks what's bubbling on the stove, she gets an unexpected answer: Seeds. And soil. The farmers that lovingly and gently tend to their plants and harvest them. The trucks that drive the food to different corners of the world... and the roads that carry them. Even the sun, moon, and stars are found inside the pot. But what's the best soup ingredient of all? The one that really makes the soup special? That ingredient would be love; Nanni's soup recipe has been passed down through the generations and is meant to be shared. When Nanni asks her granddaughter if she'll remember all the ingredients she responds with, "The whole world!" 

Young readers can flip through this book over and over and still walk away with something new. The illustrations are incredibly detailed. With every ingredient listed, Nanni's granddaughter imagines the people, places, and things it took to make it possible to be inside Nanni's pot on the stove. Spreads are divided between a blue palette, similar to a vintage plate, and full color with an emphasis on beautiful peaches, oranges, pinks, and tans. While the picture book is wordy, it's the dialogue that gives momentum to the story and drives it forward, and the humor and sweetness shared between Nanni and her granddaughter can't be missed. This is a touching celebration of interconnectedness and journeys. So often now, children are disconnected from the work that goes into harvesting the food on their plates. This picture book, granted in a romanticized way, prompts young readers to think of how food goes from the farm to the table. Great for fans of Fry Bread, Thank You, Omu, and One Little Bag.

Nov 1, 2021

Book Spotlight: It Fell from the Sky

It fell from the sky on a Thursday, the beautiful, wonderful, mysterious thing. Despite their marveling, none of the insects in the garden know what it is or where it came from. Some say it's a gumdrop. Others say it's an egg. Is it a magical chrysalis? A fallen star or planet? Whatever it is, it fell near Spider's house. And Spider sees it as an opportunity. He invites insects far and wide to see the object on display for just a leaf, and it becomes an instant sensation. Spider grows greedy, however, building an expensive amusement park in the style of P.T. Barnum with other wonders from the sky. When interest wanes and a five-fingered creature from the sky snatches away the wonderous object that started it all, Spider is left alone and must decide what to do. 

Fans of The Night Gardener and The Barnabus Project will be happy to see another magical, luminous picture book from the Fan brothers. The illustrations and story are not only whimsical, but funny too. The personalities of the insects are clear through their expressions and their hypotheses about the wonder from the sky. The soft monochrome art makes the flowers and insects look like they could come alive and float off the pages, and it makes the colored object from the sky even more wonderous and illuminated. Enjoy this picture book for the fun story, or use it as a way to dive deeper into the themes of generosity, community, and wonder.  

Oct 26, 2021

Fall Crafts

What's better than a morning of crafting and eating cookies? Struggling to think of an answer? Same here! On Saturday, October 16th we offered a Crafts & Cookies program where families could enjoy a cookie or two (or three or four, we don't count when it comes to cookies) and a variety of fall-themed crafts. If you weren't able to join us, never fear! We're featuring some of the crafts below. We always have activities and crafts available in the Children's Department so make sure to visit and see what you can make with us. 

Thankful Turkeys
Brown paper bag
Colorful feathers
Construction paper in black, white, orange, and red

On the smooth side of a paper bag, glue a variety of feathers at the top. Flip the bag over.

Draw and cut out two white colored circles. Draw and cut out two smaller black circles. Glue the black circles onto the white circles to create eyes for your turkey. Glue them on the top rectangle of the paper bag. 

Draw and cut out an orange colored triangle for your turkey's beak. Draw and cut out a red colored wiggly line for your turkey's wattle. Glue the beak and wattle under the eyes.

Write what you're thankful for under the turkey's face.

Mini Monsters
Play-Doh (We purchased small jars of Play-Doh from Walmart, but feel free to use a DIY recipe to add to the fun)
Pom poms
Pipe cleaners
Googly eyes

Sculpt a monster out of Play-Doh and complete your friend by adding pom poms, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and any other crafty accessories you want. Disassemble and reassemble for maximum monster creating. If you'd like your monster friend to be permanent, consider using an airdry clay instead of Play-Doh. 

Pasta Pumpkins
Pasta noodles in whatever fun shapes you'd like. We used shells for the pumpkin bodies and rigatoni for the stems and leaves. Wheels and fusilli would work nicely too.
Rubbing alcohol
Gel food coloring in green and orange
Ziploc bag
Construction paper and scissors (optional)

To get your pasta a pumpkin's signature orange color, you'll need to dye it. Mix together 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol and 5 to 6 drops of orange gel food coloring in a Ziploc bag. Add a box of pasta noodles to the bag. Toss the bag to coat all the noodles with the mixture. Let the pasta sit for at least 30 minutes. The longer your pasta sits, the brighter the color will be. Remove the pasta from the bag and let it dry on foil.

Repeat the process for the pasta you want to be green. You can use regular food coloring if you don't have the gel version around the house; you'll just need to add more to get the vibrancy that gel food coloring creates. 

To make pumpkins, glue orange noodles in pumpkin shapes on a piece of construction paper. Use green noodles for leaves and stems. You can also draw and cut out additional shapes from construction paper to complete your masterpiece.      

Beaded Pumpkins & Maize
Pipe cleaners in orange, brown, and green
Pony beads in orange, yellow, red, and brown

To make a pumpkin, twist 6 orange pipe cleaners into a star or snowflake shape. String orange beads onto each leg of the star (each pipe cleaner end). Leave at least 1 inch from each end without beads (about 15 beads total). 

Bring all of the ends together and twist them to form the pumpkin's stem. Trim the stem to the size you'd like. Bend the beaded pipe cleaners into a pumpkin shape. Wrap a green pipe cleaner around the stem to make it thicker and green. Wrap another green pipe cleaner around the base of the stem to make vines. Curl the ends with a pencil. 

To make maize, follow a similar process. Twist 8 brown pipe cleaners into a star or snowflake shape. String yellow, orange, red, and brown beads in a random pattern onto each leg of the star (each pipe cleaner end). Leave at least 1 inch from the end without beads (about 15 beads total). 

Bring all of the ends together. Take 1 pipe cleaner end and wrap it around the others. If it's not secure enough, wrap a new pipe cleaner around the ends. Bend your beaded pipe cleaners up into a narrow corn shape. 

Pumpkin Weaving
Construction paper in orange and black
Cardstock in fall patterns, cut into 1 inch wide strips 

Draw and cut out a large pumpkin shape from orange construction paper or cardstock. Fold the pumpkin in half and cut slits across the paper. Start at the fold and stop at least 1 inch before the edge of the paper. 

Unfold the paper. Weave paper strips over and under the slits. Alternate the start of each strip: First one starts under, the next one starts over, etc. 

When you are done weaving, arrange the strips to your liking, then glue down all the loose ends with a tiny drop of glue. Trim off any extra paper around the pumpkin. 

If you want to make your pumpkin a Jack-O-Lantern, draw, cut out, and glue black paper face shapes onto your pumpkin. 

Oct 18, 2021

Fall Books Preview, Part 2

If you're looking for more books to add to your ever-growing TBR pile (You never really look for books; they just seem to find you, don't they?) or if you need some suggestions in order to push through your GoodReads goal for the year (there's only 11 weeks to go!), we put together another Fall Books Preview. Below is a mix of picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, and nonfiction books that will be hitting our shelves in October and November. Your GMPL librarians are always ready to help you find your next favorite book.

Jeremy Worried About the Wind by Pamela Butchart
Jeremy is a worrywart. He worries about everything! He worries about old socks, spotty bananas, evil squirrels (especially evil squirrels), burnt toast, untied shoelaces, even dinosaurs and the wind. His friend Maggie doesn't worry about anything; she's fearless! When Maggie wants to play outside on a very windy day, will Jeremy discover that a little courage can lead to exciting adventures? Books published by Nosy Crow are always a hit, such as Open Very Carefully and There's a Bear on My Chair, for their silly, colorful nature. Quirky and sharing a reassuring message, this title is sure to be a favorite too. 

Soul Food Sunday by Winsome Bingham
Prepare to be hungry. This picture book is a celebration of traditions, love, and delicious food. On Sundays, everyone gathers at Granny's for soul food. For the first time, Granny's grandson is old enough to help prepare the meal and she teaches him everything from grating cheese to cleaning greens to prepping meat for the grill. When Granny says the meal is ready, her grandson decides to make his own contribution, sweetening the family tradition and furthering it for years to come. 

Dumpling Day by Meera Sriram
If you're still hungry, take a look at this rhyming celebration of one of the world's most beloved foods: dumplings. Ten families cook dumplings in preparation for a neighborhood potluck. Dumplings are added to plates one by one, offering a fun opportunity for counting. Authentic recipes for dumplings and a map are included. India, the United States, China, Nigeria, Japan, Israel, Mexico, Syria, Russia, and Italy - what dumplings will be your favorite?    

There's a Mouse in My House by Ross Collins
Librarians rejoice! (And readers everywhere). There's finally a sequel to the hilarious, rhyming There's a Bear on My Chair. The tables have turned and this time it's Mouse that's making a commotion in Bear's house. He's eating all the food, listening to loud music, even spilling bathwater all over the floor, but when there's an unexpected knock at the door, Bear decides that perhaps mice are rather nice. Get ready to use these two picture books side by side at storytime. 

Stretchy and Beanie by Judy Schachner
Our handsome butterscotch boy is back again. Seriously, is there any cat cuter than Stretchy McHandsome? Stretchy has found a loving home with fierce, ginger-haired Beanie, but Beanie decides she should train Stretchy into being the most magnificent pet. Beanie's lessons really curl Stretchy's whiskers and when hiding from Beanie isn't even enough, he has to take a big leap to show Beanie how important it is to be an accepting friend. 

The Swag is in the Socks by Kelly J. Baptist
Perfectly content to play his Switch and look out his bedroom window, Xavier Moon is not one to steal the show. For his birthday, however, Xavier receives a pair of funky, loud socks from his great-uncle Frankie and a challenge to get into the Scepter League, an elite after-school club that only admits the most confident and suave boys. His new socks are already getting attention. Does that mean it's time for Xavier to come out of the shadows? Baptist received rave reviews for her coming-of-age tale Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero. Her second book is highly anticipated. 

Tidesong by Wendy Xu
If you're a fan of Studio Ghibli and The Tea Dragon Society, you'll want to check out this magical graphic novel. Sophie is pressured by her mother and grandmother to attend the Royal Magic Academy, the best magical school in the realm, even though her magic is... well, shaky at best. To prepare for the entrance exams, Sophie is sent to live with relatives she's never met. Instead of helping her practice though, Sophie's cousin and great-aunt give her chore after chore, leading her to clumsily attempt magic on her own and accidently entangle her magic with a water dragon named Lir. Lir is incredibly skilled at magic and just might be able to get Sophie into the Royal Magic Academy... but at the expense of his memories. What should Sophie do?

What Can You Do with a Rock? by Pat Zietlow Miller
You can skip a rock. You can paint a rock. You can sort rocks and you can share rocks. What else can you do with a rock? This picture book speculates about all that can be done with a variety of rocks found in a multitude of places. Back matter includes how to identify the three main types of rocks, suggestions for organizing a rock collection, and more resources to learn about rocks. A fantastic title to inspire young readers to look at the ground a little more and with wonder. Sure to be a hit with teachers.

Amos McGee Misses the Bus by Philip C. Stead
It's been ten years since we were introduced to Amos McGee, a friendly zookeeper who is very considerate and always on time. In this new adventure, Amos McGee is tired after spending a late night planning a surprise for all his friends. He's so tired that he falls asleep during breakfast and misses his bus to the zoo! Even worse, he won't have time now for the surprise he planned. Unbeknownst to Amos, everyone agrees to pitch in and help their sleepy friend. Heartwarming and humorous, Amos McGee Misses the Bus is a triumphant return.   

Battle of the Butts: The Science Behind Animal Behinds by Jocelyn Rish
The fastest way to get a young reader's attention? Talk about poop, farts, and butts! From wombats to beetles to sea cucumbers, this book is packed with facts about ten animals, their habitats and behaviors, and their "terrific tushies." Butts are used for breathing, eating, swimming, talking, and more. Which animal has the coolest butt power? 

Sep 10, 2021

"Do you have any scary books?"

As a child of the 90s, I remember Goosebumps books being everywhere. I was always more of a historical fiction girl, but I have clear middle school memories of visiting my school's snack cart before the morning bell and being able to check out Goosebumps books and buy WarHeads candy (the two are forever linked my mind). We get requests year-round for scary books, but the Goosebumps series is just one option. Below are some classic and new titles to send shivers down your spine as we approach the fall season.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Schwartz’s iconic series of scary folklore has entertained and spooked generations. There's something for everyone: skeletons, haunted houses, vampires, mad killers, witches, and more. Short stories range from creepy to silly to haunting, and the illustrations by Stephen Gammel set the tone with a chilly and eerie vibe. 

Don't Turn Out the Lights by Jonathan Maberry
Featuring stories from R.L. Stine and Madeleine Roux, this horror anthology is a tribute to Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. So turn off your lamps, click on your flashlights, and prepare (if you dare) to be utterly spooked by these 35 tales. 

Hide and Don't Seek: And Other Very Scary Stories by Anica Mrose Rissi
A game of hide-and-seek goes on far too long. A look-alike doll makes itself right at home. A talent show act leaves the audience aghast. In another ode to Alvin Schwartz, Rissi has created a contemporary collection of short stories sure to elicit chills, laughs, and screams. 

The Puppet's Payback and Other Chilling Tales by Mary Downing Hahn
Hahn is a go-to whenever a reader is looking for ghost stories and other scary tales. She is a master at stretching out suspense, mixing thrills with chills, and keeping plots fast-paced and riveting with creepy descriptions of the settings and realistic characters. In the Puppet’s Payback, each tale turns something ordinary, like a pigeon, a white dress, or a stranger on the bus, into a sinister link to the supernatural. 

Out to Get You: 13 Tales of Weirdness and Woe by Josh Allen
13 ordinary kids. 13 ordinary towns. Danger lurks around every corner and spooky things hide in plain sight. Debut author Josh Allen concocts 13 short horror stories similar in style to R.L. Stine. 

The Monsters of Rookhaven by Padraig Kenny
Mirabelle has always known she is a monster. When the glamour protecting her unusual family from the human world is torn and an orphaned brother and sister stumble upon Rookhaven, Mirabelle soon discovers that friendship can be found in the outside world. But when something far more sinister comes to threaten them all, it quickly becomes clear that the true monsters aren’t necessarily the ones you can see. 
The Sleepover by Michael Regina
When the Russo family returns home from vacation to discover their nanny has unexpectedly passed away, Matthew takes the news the hardest. His best friends decide to cheer him up with a night of junk food, prank calls, and scary movies. Matthew’s mother hires a new nanny on the fly to watch over him and his younger sister, and the nanny is all too happy to have Matthew's friends over. Although she seems like the perfect babysitter, there’s something about her that Matthew doesn’t trust. This new graphic novel is perfect for fans of Stranger Things

A World Full of Spooky Stories by Angela McAllister
This collection features spooky stories from all over the world. Feel your pulse race and your skin tingle as you read about the fearsome witch Baba Yaga, the serpent woman from Spain, the rescue of Tam Lin from the bewitching Queen of the Fairies, how Father Death gets caught in the Enchanted Apple Tree, and the water dwelling Bunyip from Australia.  

The List of Unspeakable Fears by J. Kasper Kramer 
The War That Saved My Life meets Coraline in this historical horror. Essie O’Neill is afraid of everything: cats, electric lights, a family heirloom, her nightmares. Soon Essie discovers more to fear. Her mother has remarried and they must move from their dilapidated tenement in the Bronx to North Brother Island where Essie’s new stepfather runs a quarantine hospital. Essie knows the island is plagued with tragedy so she begins investigating her terrifying new house, stepfather, and her own painful history. 

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectors, a somewhat inept ghost hunting team, but Cass herself can really see ghosts. In fact, her best friend Jacob is a ghost. When The Inspectors head to Edinburgh, Scotland for their new TV show, Cass finds herself surrounded by ghosts… and not all of them are friendly. When she meets Lara, a girl who can also see ghosts, the two find themselves in the center of an epic fight between the worlds of the living and the dead.  

Beneath the Bed and Other Scary Stories by Max Brallier
A lot scary books are geared towards middle graders and it can be difficult to find the right mix of scary for young readers. For beginning readers looking for scary-but-not-too-scary stories, Brallier’s Mister Shivers series is a great place to start. 5 authentically scary stories, easy-to-read text, and creepy, colorful artwork help boost reading fluency and elicit shivers. Other notable series for early elementary readers include Ballier's Eerie Elementary and The Notebook of Doom by Troy Cummings. I've also found younger readers responding well to the Bunnicula series by Deborah Howe. For readers looking for more adventure and just a small amount of horror, Bralliers' The Last Kids on Earth series is a great option.

Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker
The haunted season has arrived in the Antler Wood. No fox kit is safe. When Mia and Uly are separated from their litters, they discover a dangerous world full of monsters. In order to find a den to call home, they must venture through field and forest, facing unspeakable things that dwell in the darkness like a zombie who hungers for their flesh, a witch who tries to steal their skins, and a ghost who hunts them through the snow. 

Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie
Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She’s a scientist, which is why she can’t think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour… he’s gone. Claire tries to brush off the incident, but then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her. 
Thornhill by Pam Smy
Mary is an orphan at the Thornhill Institute for Children at the very moment that it’s closing down for good. When a bully goes too far, Mary’s revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself. Years later, Ella moves to a new town where she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute. Determined to befriend the mysterious, evasive girl she sees there, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s history and uncover its secrets. Part text, part art, Ella’s story is told through striking art and Mary’s is told through diary entries, eventually intersecting and revealing the truth behind the Thornhill Institute.  
The Gathering by Dan Poblocki
Some houses are more than just haunted, they’re hungry. Dash, Dylan, Poppy, Marcus, and Azumi don’t realize this at first. They think they’ve been summoned to Shadow House for innocent reasons, but there’s nothing innocent about Shadow House. Something within its walls is wickedly wrong. Nothing and nobody can be trusted. Hallways move, doors vanish, ghosts appear, and children disappear. The way out? That’s disappeared too. This is the first book in the Shadow House series. 
The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away by Ronald L. Smith
12-year-old Simon is obsessed with aliens, the ones who take people and do experiments. When he’s too worried about them to sleep, he listens to the owls hoot outside. Owls that have the same eyes as aliens, dark and foreboding. Then something strange happens on a camping trip, and Simon begins to suspect he’s been abducted. But is it real, or just the overactive imagination of a kid who loves fantasy and role playing games and is the target of bullies and his father’s scorn?