Youth Services Blog

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!

Turtle Time!


If you thought you saw a variety of turtles around the library last Saturday, your eyes weren't playing tricks on you.  It was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Extravaganza!

img_7587-2  img_7617  img_7608

The TMNT candidates had to first decipher their Ninja name, then decorate a shuriken, or throwing star to use at a training station.

ninja-name-1  img_7570 img_7569

Next, the TMNT candidates were required to complete 5 training exercises, consisting of:

Accuracy- Toss the turtle into the sewer lid

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Agility- Do a spin move, throw the ninja star into the pizza box


Balance- Carry the pizza box across the balance beam

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Endurance- Hold your best ninja pose for 10 seconds

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Patience- Transfer the sushi using chopsticks

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img_7578     img_7625

Stealth- Move through the lasers without sounding the alarm

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And check out the radioactive ooze- how it all started for the Turtles!


As the candidates finished the training course, they showed their completion form...

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and were awarded their official TMNT headband!

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles LOVE pizza, so to end the day, the new "heros-in-a-half-shell" decorated pizza cookies,

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   img_7602  img_7598  img_7609

and then enjoyed their treat after a hard day's work!

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Staff Picks, Part 2...

Here's round 2 of Staff Picks that includes some spooktacular choices! Remember, these books are available near the front of the Youth Department, waiting just for you!

Miss Erin's Picks:


     Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead   Playaway J F STE

Told from different characters'points of view, this novel weaves together the stories of several middle and high school students from Manhattan, NY, as they navigate their way through a new school year, find friends, make difficult decisions, and deal with the consequences of their actions. This book touches on lots of real-life situations that teens and pre-teens may associate with.

   Space Case: A Moon Base Alpha Novel by Stuart Gibbs              J GIB

Dash and his family are off on the adventure of a lifetime: they are part of a group of lunarnauts chosen to live on the moon!  Lunar living isn't all it's cracked up to be, and then tragedy befalls one of the scientists on the base. So Dash takes it upon himself to prove that Dr. Holtz's death wasn't accidental-he believes the beloved scientist was murdered.  This is a fun, lunar mystery with some interesting alien twists.

    The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud  J STR

This second volume of the Lockwood & Co. series showcases more stunning sleuthing and ghost fighting from Lockwood, George, and Lucy-three junior ghost hunters in London.  The trio works to unravel the mystery of an item stolen from a grave; Lucy is hearing strange whispers from a ghost skull in a jar; and the agency is competing with another to be the first to solve the case.  Also available as: Audio CD J F STR

Miss Liz's Picks:


   Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty  J BEA

This book is filled with mystery, history, evil, and adventure.  Read about Serafina and her Pa who are living secretly in the basement of the Biltmore Estate.  Serafina does not know where she comes from or anything about her mother.  She starts to find out about her past when children start to disappear.

   Seven Dead Pirates: A ghost Story by Linda Bailey  J BAI

It's a great adventure with pirates, ghosts, and a hero!

  Pig Has a Plan by Ethan Long  E LON

Pig is trying to take a nap, but all his friends are making too much noise!

 Miss Alissa's Picks:


   Little Robot  by Ben Gatje   J GN HAT

When a little girl finds a lone robot and accidentally powers him up, she discovers the best friend she has always wanted!  But she isn't the only one interested in the little robot.  Can she save him from the bigger, badder robots out to get him?

  Sleeping Bobby  by Will Osborne & Mary Pope Osborne       J 398.2 OSB        

Everyone knows the story of Sleeping Beauty, but Sleeping Bobby?  This take on a favorite fairy tale has our prince take the place of a sleeping princess, with a feisty princess to the rescue!

  That Is Not a Good Idea!  by Mo Willems  E WIL

When Mama Goose heads into town and meets a charming wolf, her fun story has you rooting for the family of geese, all the way to the surprise ending!

Miss Jen's Picks:


 Dare to Be Scared:  Thirteen Stories to Chill and Thrill   by Robert D. San Souci  J 398.25 SAN    

Hop in bed, pull the covers up over your head, grab a flashlight, and dare to be scared by these spine-tingling, spooky phone calls to killer ants--only the brave can handle these eerie tales.  This book is the first in a series of four, so there are even more stories to keep you awake at night!

   Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins  E WAT

Who knew cakes could be so rude?  Cakes are supposed to be sweet, right? Watch as a not-so-sweet cake almost gets his just desserts, but instead winds up learning an important life lesson from...a group of giant cyclops. This is a goofy, yet perfect book for teaching young children about manners.

  The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall  by Mary Downing Hahn  Playaway J F HAH and J HAH

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!