Youth Services Blog

Happy New Year of the Rooster!


Happy New Year ...again!!!  Happy Chinese New Year, that is! Following the Chinese zodiac, 2017 is the Year of the Rooster. The 12 zodiac symbols possess different character traits, and cycle every 12 years.  People born under the sign of the Rooster are believed to be very observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous, talented, and have a lot of confidence! If you were born in any of these years, you're a rooster: 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017. The  websites below have some fun facts about the different Chinese New Year traditions, including the zodiac traits. Check out the year of your birth on one of the sites and see if your personality matches the characteristics!



National Geographic for Kids


Here are a few of the animal personality traits from Infoplease.com:

  • Rat: quick-witted, smart, charming, and persuasive
  • Ox: patient, kind, stubborn, and conservative
  • Tiger: authoritative, emotional, courageous, and intense
  • Rabbit: popular, compassionate, and sincere
  • Dragon: energetic, fearless, warm-hearted, and charismatic
  • Snake: charming, gregarious, introverted, generous, and smart
  • Horse: energetic, independent, impatient, and enjoy traveling
  • Sheep: mild-mannered, shy, kind, and peace-loving
  • Monkey: fun, energetic, and active
  • Rooster: independent, practical, hard-working, and observant
  • Dog: patient, diligent, generous, faithful, and kind
  • Pig: loving, tolerant, honest, and appreciative of luxury

This year's celebration began on January 28th and will last until February 11th. Most families begin the celebration with housecleaning before the New Year to sweep away and clean out the previous year's bad luck.  Then, there is a family celebration dinner, which includes fish to bring good luck.  In fact, many customs and traditions relate to ensuring good luck for the year. Instead of wrapped presents, red envelopes with money are given as gifts for good fortune.  Firecrackers are lit to scare away bad luck and welcome the new year.  Even wearing red underwear is said to keep away bad luck!  The Lantern Festival closes out the celebration with the famous Dragon Dance in many places.  Lanterns are hung as decorations, carried in  parades, sent skyward, or set afloat in water. Watch the video below from History.com:

Of course, we have books for you to learn more about Chinese New Year and the culture of this area.  Here are a few:

J 394.261 SIE

J 394.26 SIM

J 641.5951 LEE

J 915.1 RIE

These are just a few of many books we have available if you are interested in exploring this culture.  And don't forget to look around online at CultureGrams on our website.


It's a great resource to learn about other countries and their customs.       Stop in to see us, tell us about your celebration, and Gōng hè Fat Choy!!

Snuggle up with a Staff Pick...Winter edition, part 1


Even though the days are getting longer-(really!)-it's still chilly, and that's the perfect time to snuggle up with a staff pick!  Some of these would also be a great choice for a book club selection as mentioned in the last blog. Here are a few of our choices:

Scott's picks...

 Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus  J PRE
When the Nazis invade Norway, teenage Espen becomes a young spy for the resistance movement.  Living in constant danger, he and his family seek a way to escape the war.

Explorer: The Hidden Doors edited by Kazu Kibuishi   J GN EXP 
The next in a series of graphic novels brings together seven great comic artists to tell seven stories of strange doors.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy J MEL
When Prue McKeel's little brother is kidnapped by crows, she must go into the Impassable Wilderness, a strange and fantastic realm, to save him.

Carolyn's picks...

Baking by Laura and Jess Tilli   J 641.815 TIL
Winter is the perfect time to make some delicious baked goods! Try the sweet Strawberry Jam Shortbread Cookies or the savory Mini Sausage Batter Bites.  The recipes have simple step-by-step instructions and beautiful photographs.  Tips, techniques, and symbols on when to ask for an adult's help are included.

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown  J BRO and Audio CD J F BRO
Roz is a robot who is shipwrecked on a wild island with no idea who she is or what to do.  She must figure out how to survive in this hostile environment.  She adopts a gosling, and the island animals start to welcome her into their community.  Then one day, everything changes, and Roz must fight to survive again.

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanore Estes  J EST
A young girl moves to a new school and is picked on because she wears the same dress every day.  She tells her classmates that she has a hundred dresses at home, but they don't believe her.  Her classmates pick on her but later regret their behavior.  It's a touching, timeless story about being kind to others.

Alissa's picks...

Katie Woo: Who Needs Glasses? by Fran Manushkin ER MAN
Katie's friend Pedro gets new glasses, but he doesn't want to wear them.  When he tells his class that he loses them, can Katie figure out what really happened?

The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson  J EPS         Magic isn't just for humans!  Aldwyn, an orphan cat, wanders into a pet shop and is adopted by a wizard.  But when his wizard and new friends are kidnapped, Aldwyn needs to use his own kind of magic to save them.

 How to Survive in the Wilderness by Samantha Bell  J 796.5 BEL
Wilderness survival shows are all the rage, but could you make it out in the woods alone?  This handy book preps readers with things like daily tasks, types of wood to burn, and how to avoid dangerous bacteria in drinking water.

Dana's picks...

Dog vs. Cat by Chris Gall    E GAL
A dog and a cat, both newly adopted, are forced to share a room.  They don't really get along, finding fun ways to torture each other, until a howling, smelly, terrifying newcomer unites them in a common cause!

 The Forbidden Stone (Copernicus Legacy #1) by Tony Abbott  J ABB  
It begins when four friends receive a strange and coded email from Uncle Henry just before he dies.  The four set off for Germany to attend the funeral and discover that Uncle Henry has left them another confusing message that they must figure out.  They end up on a dangerous quest to unlock an ancient and guarded secret that could destroy the world.

 Accidental Keyhand  by Jen Swann Downey    J DOW
In the Ninja Librarians series Book #1, Dorrie and her brother Marcus accidentally open a portal to Petrarch's Library, where they discover a secret society of warrior librarians who travel in time protecting the world's greatest thinkers from torture and death for sharing knowledge and ideas.

Check back soon for the rest of the staff's picks, and be sure to visit this area in the library to see all of our choices and pick up a list...happy reading!

New Year, New Goals...

Image result for 2017 free image

As the year begins, thoughts and conversations revolve around making new resolutions or changing behaviors.  Mostly, these changes are about doing something differently or better, eating habits, or exercise...so this year, why not commit to exercise your mind? An easy way to do this would be to read a little more, and a fun way to read a little more would be to start a book club!  Adults do this, classrooms and schools might too-even libraries have programs (see Guys Read or Girls Rock here at NLPL), but kids can try it with friends, classmates, cousins, neighbors or family. To get started, you might need a little help from an adult (parent, teacher, librarian, etc.) or older sibling to get organized and maybe help with the first few meetings. Get a few friends, set some ground rules, put together a list of book suggestions, and you're good to go!  The websites readwritethink.org and Scholastic.com have some helpful suggestions for kids and parents:



Pbs.org has information for a more parent-involved club, including ideas for a mother-daughter group and guidelines for getting started as well :


Reading becomes a social activity for kids in book clubs and promotes so many benefits: respecting others' ideas and perspectives, building cooperation & collaboration skills, being accountable by being prepared and keeping track of books read, just to name a few ...and teachers will be thrilled when comprehension improves! Creativity abounds when an art project relating to the book is part of the meeting.  Book clubs can also be a springboard for community involvement after a discussion- for example helping at a pet shelter, volunteering to help keep park areas clean, or recycling projects- or any other theme found in books.  Kids learn to listen to each other and make decisions together (respect and collaboration again) regarding how often to meet, where to meet, which books to add to the reading list, will there be snacks, and the list goes on....!  Of course, the Youth Services Staff will be happy to assist you in finding appropriate books.  A place you might start would be in our Staff Picks section at the front of the department:


or the Caudill, Bluestem, and Monarch State award nominees:

:caudills      20160721_165314     20160721_165307

So in 2017, exercise your mind, enjoy time with friends, and cozy up to a good book- you might enjoy the results! In my humble opinion though, the best result of a book club is fostering a love for reading!!


Christmas Around the World


The holiday season lends itself to learning about traditions from other countries. Discovering customs from your relatives' homelands can add new traditions to your celebrations while touching on the history of America being a "melting pot" of cultures. When you visit the following websites, you can click on a country to see how Christmas is celebrated there:

Christmas Around the World from Kids-World-Travel-Guide.com


Christmas Around the World from WhyChristmas.com


If you want to learn more about your ancestors' homelands, our library has a very useful resource called CultureGrams.  It can be found on our webpage in the Research and Learning tab >Homework Help:

homeworkhelppg   cultgram

Adults with a library card also have access to ancestry resources- Ancestry.com and Heritage Quest under the Research and Learning tab:


Perhaps your family is looking to start a new tradition? Try one of these suggestions from pbs.org:


or Parents Magazine:


And just for fun, here are some "Santa sites" to explore:

Google Santa Tracker has a few learning activities, a few coding activities, and of course, fun games...




This website has the option for kids, parents, or teachers to set up an account-which allows you to write a letter to Santa and receive updates- or just visit the website, which includes crafts, recipes, gift ideas, reading activities, and more games!!

And finally, check out the NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) Santa Tracker  for more games and activities, as well as information about NORAD and a countdown to the sleigh sendoff:


As always, we have plenty of books-from all around the world- to help you learn more about your homeland traditions:

J 394.2663 THO

J 394.2663 MAN

 J 394.2663 END

We also have many holiday stories, movies, and music cds available to make the season bright.  Come visit us and we'll help you find something to cozy up with on these chilly winter nights!  Wishes for peace and happiness during this busy holiday season from all of us in the Youth Services Department!!

Thankful Thoughts

The week before Thanksgiving, we set out a basket with slips of paper where patrons could share their thankful thoughts.  

Responses included: family- mommy, my dad, sister- friends, my dog, yummy food,  my house, the "libary", my doll Julie, making snowmen, and even Miss Carolyn got a shout out! But this was our favorite:


This holiday season from Thanksgiving through the New Year, there are many ways to consider being thankful and spreading kindness and good cheer to others.  Here are a few books we have for children...

  E WOO      E LES        E EVA

   E MUR    J 179.9 AMO  E HEN

These books could be used as a discussion starter about simple things to do for others in a "pay it forward" kind of way.  What are some simple things to do for family or neighbors that show kindness and that only require time, effort, or minimal cash?  Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Let someone go ahead of you in line
  • Send cards to soldiers or nursing homes
  • Donate gently used books or toys to others
  • Shovel a neighbor's sidewalk or driveway
  • Bring a neighbor's trash containers up the driveway
  • Carry groceries for someone
  • Open or hold the door for someone
  • Give thank you cards to people: bus driver, custodian, parents
  • Do a chore for somebody
  • Cheerfully do your own chores
  • Say hello to everyone you see, and share a smile
  • Give someone a compliment
  • Donate canned goods to a food pantry, or supplies to an animal shelter
  • Sing carols in your neighborhood
  • Make a bird feeder for your feathered friends
  • Clear the snow off someone's car
  • Help a sibling with homework
  • Bake cookies and share with a friend or neighbor
  • Call a relative just to say hello
  • Read to a younger child...or an older person...or anyone!

Any of these small things can show someone you care and brighten their day, not just during the holidays, but all year long!