Meet Joan Bauer!

Children’s book author Joan Bauer stopped by the library Tuesday for an awesome talk about her life and work. Before she stepped on stage, we asked her to do a live interview on Twitter. Here’s the recap of our chat:

Posted by Annabelle | Posted under Books & Reading, Youth
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Family Science Expo


On Sunday, March 9, the library hosted a Family Science Expo packed with all kinds of hands-on experiments and projects for parents and kids to experience.  They discovered that one wrongly placed apparatus could completely destroy a bridge when too much weight was distributed. Using both a paper model with coins for their weighted objects, and a computer generated bridge, they were able to explore their own building ideas. Also one of the most enjoyed experiences was being able to peddle on a stationary bike that would become an electrical source. The more they peddled, the faster they went and more and more lights would come on or a modified blow-dryer would propel a ping pong ball higher into the air.

While these are just a few of the highlights from the expo, we would like to thank all of our exhibitors for taking the time to come out:

You can see great pictures from our event on our Flickr Page .

Save the date. Our 2015 Family Science Expo is scheduled for Sunday, March 8, 2015.

Posted by brad | Posted under Youth
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Under the Cover Review: Jumped In

Jumped-inJumped In
by Patrick Flores-Scott
Reviewed by Leland M.
Lincoln Junior High School, 7th Grade

The story is about a student named Sam. He lives in Aberdeen out on the Washington coast, with his two best friends, named Rupe and Dave. They have the same passion for a hard-rocking, butt-kicking band called Nirvana. They hope one day they will make their own band and be like Nirvana and rock their hometown. Things change. Sam is forced to move to his grandparents home and go to school there. Suddenly, his mom moved to Phoenix and Sam was angry. He never talked to his new classmates at his new school. He was almost nonexistent at his new school, even the teachers rarely talked to him. Time passed quickly, and one day a man named Luis changed Sam’s life. Luis is a strong looking man, and he is a gang member. Sam is scared of him, and he notices that Luis has a scar on his neck. He didn’t want to ask him about it because he thought if he did, Luis would beat him up. After a while, the English teacher started the poetry unit, and she told the students about the poetry project. Sam got paired up with Luis by the English teacher. Luis suddenly said three words that made Sam surprised which were, “We’re doing this.” So everyday after school, Sam and Luis worked on the project at Luis’s home. A lot of things happened and finally, it was time for the presentation. They had worked so hard on it and put in tons of effort. Luis wasn’t there with Sam. Even though everyone liked it, Sam was still sad that Luis didn’t come and he wanted to tell him all about it. The next day, Luis didn’t come, and the next day, too. Sam became worried and he wanted to find what happened to him. He tried to find many clues, and he asked many teachers as well as Luis’s family members. Finally, he found out what happened to Luis, and the truth about the scar on Luis’s neck.

I was just looking for a book that was good, and I didn’t think I would get a book that was perfect. This book caught my eye, and I picked it up and I got a feeling that this book was going to rock. Still now, after I have finished reading it, I don’t regret what I thought; this book is amazing! This book made me want to read more and more. It made me laugh in some parts, it made me sad in some parts, and I kept turning the pages, one by one. I absolutely loved it. Also, the ending made me speechless, and there was a lesson worth knowing at the end. The best part of the book is the friendship of Sam and Luis, the loss in the story, and the effectiveness of the words! This book is good for anyone between 6th grade and 9th grade. I hope you will buy or borrow this book, and sit down and enjoy it. Finally, I hope that Patrick Flores-Scott will keep writing these kinds of stories.

Under The Cover is your chance for to submit reviews on the books you love. If you would like to write a review, send an email to lsawyer@skokielibrary.info

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Under the Cover Review: Pawn

by Aimee Carter
Reviewed by Grace L.
McCracken School, 6th Grade

Pawn is the first book in a new science fiction series by Aimee Carter. It starts off with the main character Kitty who is angry because she received a III. What is a III anyway? Well, in this society, the people have to take a test once they turn seventeen. The results of this test determine what part they will play in the society. Kitty is desperate to stay with her boyfriend Benjy, but that’s hard when she has to go across the country to Denver. She takes on a new job, hoping that she can somehow stay with Benjy, but a mysterious person shows up and he offers her the opportunity to be a VII, only the prime minister’s family, the Harts are VIIs. Soon Kitty finds out that she was surgically transformed into Lila, the niece of the prime minister, to stop the rebellion that Lila started.
The characters each have unique personalities and they all had interesting motives and histories. At first this book seems slow, but that slowness at the beginning is important, so don’t give up on it. You get to know each member of the Hart family as Kitty begins to become “one of them”. The author was good at adding surprises that I didn’t see coming. You might think from reading the back of the book that Pawn will be “another one of those books”, but after I read further I realized that there are many unique aspects of this book’s plot that I haven’t seen before in many other books. So be prepared for the thrilling, chilling story of Kitty Doe, who will never get to be quite herself ever again when you read Pawn by Aimee Carter.


Under The Cover is your chance to submit reviews on the books you love. If you are interested in reviewing send an email to lsawyer@skokielibrary.info

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Under the Cover Review: Period 8

period8Period 8
by Chris Crutcher
Reviewed by Priyanka P.
Niles North High School, 10th Grade

Period 8 is lunch for Paulie and his friends, they all go to Mr. Logsdon’s room and talk about life. Paulie’s life isn’t the best though, he just broke up with his perfect girlfriend, and there’s a lot of mysterious things happening with his friends that he doesn’t know about. This is a book that would be good for anyone who enjoys dramas, and mysteries. The book starts off very slow, and nothing much happens at the beginning, but once you get into the book, you won’t be able to put it down. The main conflict in this book is that people are going missing, and acting strange, and Paulie and his friends can’t tell who to trust. When I first started reading the book, after every chapter I would think “what did I just read?” But I kept on reading and then a lot was happening at once, and I ended up reading the whole thing in one night. It’s a fast read, and definitely a good book. Everything starts to unfold nice and slow at the end. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries because it’s different from your average mystery books. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens to Paulie and his friends.


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Under the Cover Review: Hanging by a Thread

Hanging-By-A-ThreadHanging by a Thread
by Sophie Littlefield
Reviewed by Priyanka P.
Niles North High School, 10th Grade

Hanging By A Thread is about a teenage girl named Claire who has a special gift which allows her to get visions about people when she touches their clothes. For the past two years, a teenager has been murdered on the Fourth of July in a small town in California, and Claire finds herself getting involved unintentionally. I recommend this book to teenage girls who enjoy a mystery. Also, if you aren’t interested in fashion, the book references things related to clothing and fashion throughout the whole book since the main character loves to design clothing. The book moves at a quick pace, and the most unexpected things happen towards the end. There’s also a bit of romance, but not much. The story is a bit boring at the beginning because nothing really happens, but the last half of the book is very thrilling and I caught myself reading the last half of the book in an hour because of how exciting it was. You have to be very patient with this book because it takes a while for things to get rolling. Other than that, I would recommend reading this book.


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Under the Cover Review: Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill

9780316231756_p0_v2_s260x420-2Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill
by James Patterson
Reviewed by Sam M.
McCracken School, 7th Grade

Rafe Khatchadorian doesn’t like following the rules. In fact, he practically lives to break them. This has left him with quite a record of infamy, and in order to stay in the one school that he actually enjoys, he has to do some extra academic work. This is where Camp Wannamorra comes in, a camp that Rafe will stay at for the summer. It sounds like fun in the sun–except for the part where it’s actually a summer school camp that runs on a super-strict list of rules (no electronics, curfew is 9:00p.m., lights-out 10:00p.m., wakey-wakey 7:00a.m., school 8:00 a.m., the list goes on).

Sorted into the Muskrat Hut, Rafe makes quick friends with his cabinmates (or cabin inmates, so to speak): the big guy Two Tunz, the blue-haired Smurf, the super-tall Dweebs, the super-short Cav, the “specially talented” Bombardier, and the geeky Booger Eater. If you haven’t already inferred, Booger Eater is suffering endless bullying from the other kids, and even though he hides his feelings Rafe knows that he wants it to stop. But, that is easier said than done, as they have to put with the snobby and spiteful Bobcats that have been on their backs since day one. When their heartless pranks on the Muskrats grow bigger and worse, Rafe becomes the general in this cabin-vs-cabin war, and it’s not going to be an easy victory.

I thought Patterson’s last two books were masterpieces; well-written big-hearted comedies that are easy to read and hard to forget. The same goes for this entry. When Patterson’s witty and almost tongue-in-cheek writing style makes us root for the Muskrats, feel for Booger Eater, and despise the Bobcats, that is some pretty amazing writing. And that’s a great adjective to describe this book. Any James Patterson fans or anyone who enjoys Diary of a Wimpy Kid or similar series will love this novel.


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Under the Cover Review: The True Meaning of Smekday

The_True_Meaning_of_Smekday_coverThe True Meaning of Smekday
by Adam Rex
Reviewed by Sam M.
McCracken School, 7th Grade

Gratuity “Tip” Tucci is an eighth grader at Daniel Landry Middle School, assigned with writing an essay with a minimum of five pages about, as the book title suggests, the true meaning of Smekday. If her essay is chosen from thousands of entries, it will be buried in a time capsule to be opened a century into the future. It all began when we found out that there was intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, when the aliens arrived. Anarchy spreads like wildfire following the visitors’ arrival, discussing plans of renaming Earth to Smekland (to honor Captain Smek) and forcing the entire American population into one state.

If there’s someone who has a lot to tell about their experience, it’s Tip. First of all, her mother just isn’t herself lately. Maybe it has something to do with that strange glowing mole on the back of her neck. Then there’s a friendly visitor who becomes Tip’s friend, dubbing itself “J.Lo”. (I’m dead serious.) But the invasion quickly gives way to a cross-country adventure as J.Lo, Tip, and her cat Pig travel to find Tip’s mom at the Happy Mouse Kingdom. Along the way, they make friends including Chief Shouting Bear, Vicki Lightbody, and the Brotherhood Organized against Oppressive Boov (BOOB). The trio is going to need all the gas in their hovercar if they’re gonna cook up a plan to save the country, maybe even the world.

I think I came across this when I was looking for a good science-fiction book to feast my eyes on. And I’ll tell you, The True Meaning of Smekday is more than good. It is absolutely sublime. This is the best science-fiction book I’ve ever read since Maximum Ride, and I can break it down intellectually to tell you why. It has an exquisite sense of humor, it’s part-graphic novel, Tip is a great character, it has additional pictures to deepen the experience, vivid dialogue, unique story structure, and an absolutely shocking ending. If you’re looking for something fresh and fluid from sci-fi, look no further.


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Under the Cover Review: A Certain Slant of Light

certainslantA Certain Slant of Light
by Laura Whitcomb
Reviewed by Kayla G.
Niles North High School, 12th Grade

“Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you’re dead.” With these first words, Laura Whitcomb draws us into Helen’s remarkable story. Helen has been dead for 130 years and has never encountered anyone who could see her before. Helen is immediately intrigued that Billy Blake can see her and surprised to find out that a spirit named James is actually occupying his body. Suddenly, Helen who has been drifting for decades finds a reason to exist. She and James find themselves immediately attracted to one another, but there’s a little problem: he’s in a body and she isn’t. Desperate to be with one another in the corporeal world, they find her a body: Jenny Thompson.

Now Helen must navigate the human world and adjust to her overly-religious parents. When Jenny is prohibited from dating Billy (he’s a bad influence and not in her church), they must find ways to meet in secret. Everything is going according to the plan until Billy is arrested and Jenny put under house arrest. Choices that were made before Helen and James were inhabiting their bodies and their own choices mix together creating chaos.

As Helen and James fight to save Jenny and Billy, they see glimpses of their past lives, slowly piecing together the truth. As their pasts come to light, Helen and James have a renewed hope of finally reaching heaven, but must first save Jenny and Billy. Laura Whitcomb’s debut novel is well-told, creative, compelling, and original. A Certain Slant of Light gives readers a new take on the spirit world and brings to light important issues relating to religion, drugs, relationships, and much more.


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Craft of the Month: Picture Frame

Picture Frame craftWinter time always brings families together – whether by celebrating holidays or simply staying inside because of the weather – the winter time always encourages enjoyable time with our loved ones. With school on break, we thought that we would provide the perfect opportunity for everyone to create their own picture frame. Hopefully you have shared some awesome moments with your friends that actually got a chance to be captured on photo! Maybe you spent time with cousins or family members you have not seen in a while, or went sledding with a few of your friends. Whatever the case may be, you now have the chance to create your own personalized picture frame to display that fun time you had over winter break! You will be able to use different colored construction paper along with cardboard to construct your picture frame.

The picture that you choose to place inside your finished picture frame does not have to be one from this winter – it can be from anytime. Do not miss out on this wonderful opportunity to create a picture frame for your most cherished moments!

Posted by Kenny | Posted under Arts & Crafts, Just for Fun, Youth
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