Youth Services Blog

Authors and Illustrators of October

oct2October is the month of skeletons, goblins, and all things spooky as everyone knows.  But did you know that these children's authors and illustrators were born in October?  And judging by some of their works, it seems to be an eerie coincidence....

5- David Shannon wrote and illustrated his first book at age 5- pictures of things he shouldn't do with the words "No, David" on each page ...His mother later sent him this early work which resulted in him writing and illustrating his popular book No, David!

The illustrations in the Jon Sieszka Trucktown series are Shannon's work.

People and things from his real life help him develop story ideas- He really has a dog named Fergus, that looks like the dog in his book Good Boy, Fergus! You can see Fergus in the video below:

Check out more about David Shannon at his website:


or find these books by the tree:

  No, David   E SHA

   A Bad Case of Stripes   E SHA

  Pirates Don't Change Diapers   E SHA

8th-  R.L. Stine started writing at the age of 9 when he found an old typewriter in the attic...his first works were jokes!

In the 1970's, he created a children's humor magazine called Bananas!  He even wrote jokes for the Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum comics. (Ask mom or dad if they remember that!)

His first Goosebumps book was written in 1992 and has since been translated into 32 different languages.

R.L.Stine's website below has some really cool games and activities:


Here's a peek at a few titles...

  Attack of the Jack-o-Lanterns    JP STI

   The Ghost Next Door   Playaway  J F STI

     Halloween Night II  JP STI

but we have many, many more... including DVD's!

19- Ed Emberley has written and illustrated close to 100 books, including books with "how to draw" lessons.


 Go Away, Big Green Monster    E EMB

    Ten Little Beasties    E EMB

  Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Weirdos  J 743 EMB

Listen to Ed talk about his work here and try your hand at drawing:


19- Dan Gutman wrote Honus and Me in 1994, but was rejected by 10 publishers before his work was finally printed.  He then went on to write 12 books in the Baseball Card Adventure Series.

There are over 50 titles in the My Weird School, My Weird School Daze, My Weirder School, and My Weirdest School collections.  He has recently branched out into non fiction writing using his My Weird School characters in My Weird School Fast Facts.

His newest series, The Genius Files, is about a set of twins named Pepsi and Coke MacDonald.  This guy is a writing machine!!


 Miss Mary is Scary  J GUT

and many, many more from all the My Weird School series!

  Honus & Me  J GUT

and many more Baseball Card Adventures!

   The Genius Files- Mission Unstoppable  J GUT

Here is another website about Dan, where you can learn more about him and his work:gutman2

Perhaps reading about a few of these great October celebrities will inspire you to start illustrating or writing your own stories....spooky or not!

Pumpkin Pandemonium!

Fall is in the air and it definitely 'tis the season for all things pumpkin!


Whether you are decorating for fall, preparing for Halloween, or just noticing pumpkins wherever you go, you might like to brush up on your knowledge of these orange globes which are invading the area.  Here are a few interesting tidbits to share with others:

  • Morton, Illinois (near Peoria) is the pumpkin capital of the world (self-proclaimed, that is).  Illinois is one of the largest pumpkin producers in the U.S.
  • Pumpkins are 90% water.  They are members of the cucurbit plant family which includes gourds, melons, cucumbers, and squash.
  • Pumpkins are a surprisingly healthy food, full of vitamins and low in fat and calories - until they become sweet treats topped off with whipped cream or cream cheese frosting!
  • An estimated 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins are produced each year. The top pumpkin producing states are Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.
  • The tradition of carving Jack-o-lanterns originated in Ireland hundreds of years ago to ward off evil spirits....however, turnips and potatoes were originally used. When Irish immigrants came to America, they started using pumpkins.
  • Save your seeds to plant next year's crop. Remember to plant them near the end of May or early June so they'll be ready for harvest in 90 to 120 days.

Learn more about pumpkins at these websites or stop in to browse the card catalog for our books:





How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? E MCN

How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow?  E MIN

Pumpkins  E 635.62 ROB

Pumpkins   E 635.62 STO

Pumpkins!    E 635.62 FAR

Pick a pumpkin, pick a book, pumpkins are everywhere you look!

What shall I read?? Fall Staff Picks to the Rescue!

They're here!!  The new staff picks are on the shelves and ready for you to browse.  In case you're new -or have forgotten- the staff picks are located on the shelves at the front of the Youth Department, right behind the "new" book section by the computers.

groupstaffpick-pic  staffpick-area

Each of the Youth Services staff members choose a few of their favorite books to recommend to you throughout the year.  When you're struggling with trying to figure out what to read next, this could be a good place to start.  Since we all love to read, it is with great joy we share our picks with you.

Over the next few weeks, several picks from each staff member will be featured here. Hopefully there is something for everyone!

A few of Miss Carolyn's Picks:

    Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds  E REY 

Jasper the Rabbit loves eating carrots, but one day the carrots start following him.  He decides to come up with a plan to keep them away. This is a fun book with a surprise ending.

  Owls: Hunters of the Night by Elaine Landau J 598.97 LAN

This book tells readers how owls see in the dark, where they live, and how they hunt.  There are a lot of pictures, a glossary, and fun facts.

 Toy Story of Terror by Disney/Pixar  J DVD TOY

Here's a short film with all your Toy Story friends.  Mr. Potato Head goes missing at a strange roadside motel.  Can Woody, Buzz, and the gang solve the mystery of what happened?  Will they be reunited? Watch and find out!

A few of Miss Dana's Picks:

The Notorious Benedict Arnold : A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery by Steve Sheinkin  J B ARN  

Find out about the man who would grow up to be one of the most infamous villains in American history.  How did Benedict Arnold get to the place where he would betray his country? What experiences did he have that would lead him down that path?

 Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard

by Annette LeBlanc Cate  J 598 CAT- You think looking at birds is boring? Think again.  In this beginning book about bird watching, discover hints about where you should look, what you should look for, and how you should listen.  You'll be amazed at what can be found in your own backyard!

  The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller E KEL

The states get bored with their positions on the map and decide to change places for a while.  But when they get to their new homes, they soon discover it's not all they hoped it would be!


A Few of Mr. Scott's Picks:

 Meanwhile by Jason Shiga  J GN SHI

For those of you who love choose-your-own-adventure books, this graphic novel will appeal to you.  The simple question of chocolate or vanilla leads to disaster for Jimmy.

 Un Lun Dun by China Mieville  J MIE

Twelve-year-old Zanna enters a secret passage to Un Lun Dun, the twisted version of London.  There, giraffes eat people, a simple cloud is evil, and the residents need a hero to save them from their own strange world.

 The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman E GAI

Fantasy master Neil Gaiman gives us his spooky spin on the alphabet in this ominous, intricately-illustrated A to Z.

Stay tuned for more picks.....

Pachyderm Party! September 22nd is National Elephant Appreciation Day

Have you ever heard of such a thing?  I had not, until I started looking for unusual celebrations each month.  This September celebration was begun in 1996 by Wayne Hepburn, mostly because of his fascination with these majestic creatures.  You can read about its origins here:


The World Wildlife Fund, WWF, is a good resource to learn more about the Asian, Indian, and African elephant.

elephants     african-elephant

Five Fun Facts about Elephants:

  • Elephants spend about 16 hours per day eating.
  • Elephants' eyelashes are about 5 inches long.
  • Elephants are the only mammal that can't jump.
  • Elephants do not like peanuts.
  • Elephants can get sunburned so they cover themselves with sand.

A few of the many books available here in the library:

 E ROO     J 599.67 LOC   J 599.67 BLO

If you're in the mood for a little STEM thinking, you could try this activity using the book Twenty One Elephants and Still Standing and the website Playground Parkbench:

Engineering Science for Kids - Build a Bridge for Twenty One Elephants

engineering-science-for-kids-cup      engineering-science-for-kids

This is a delightful story about the Brooklyn Bridge, people wondering whether or not the bridge would be safe, and P.T. Barnum rising to the occasion!  After reading the story, try the challenge of building a bridge for 21 elephants out of household items.

Happy Birthday to.....

The month of September is also time to celebrate these famous authors.  Click on their websites below to learn more about them and find some fun activities.  We also have books for you to take home and enjoy.  Perhaps your parents enjoyed these authors when they were your age!!

September 8th- Jack Prelutsky, poetry and other stories:

Jack's original career was as a singer, but he now has published over 70 books of poetry.  In 2006, he was named the nations 1st Children's Poet Laureate.  He has a frog collection of over 3000 items!
jackpre webpage

  J 811.54 PRE     E PRE    J 811.54 PRE

September 13th- Roald Dahl- James! Charlie! Matilda! and more:

2016 is the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl's birth.  Not only did Roald write children's books, he also wrote the screenplays for "Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang" and the 007 movie "You Only Live Once".


September 16th- H.A. Rey, author of Curious George:

Curious George was first published in 1941- 75 years ago- and is still popular today.  These books are available in more than 9 languages!  The Reys loved animals and would stop in at the zoo in every city they visited.

rey curious george

  E REY     E REY   E REY

September 25th- Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree, A Light in the Attic and more:

Shel Silverstein had to wait 4 years before anyone would publish "The Giving Tree"-publishers felt it was too sad.   "Don't Bump the Glump" was his only book published in full color.


  E SIL    E SIL   E SIL

Stan Berenstain, The Berenstain Bears books:

Dr. Seuss was the editor and publisher of Stan and Jan Berenstain's first book.  In 1992, their son Mike, started co-writing with them.


  E BER     ER BER     E BER

Celebrate these classic authors with a fun family storytime!