Youth Services Blog

Beautiful Art and Fun Books

Today, we will cover the work of an excellent artist: Johannes Vermeer.

Vermeer was born in Delft, in what is now the Netherlands, in 1632. He married Catherina Bolenes in April of 1653, and together they had 15 children. Sadly, Vermeer did not live very long, and he died on December 15th, 1675.

As an artist, Vermeer is known for his beautiful paintings—the most famous of which is Girl with a Pearl Earring—and for his very clever use of light and shadow.

Here is an example of one of his paintings. This one is called Woman in Blue Reading a Letter. What do you notice about it? What about the lady in the painting? Does she look happy? Confused? Serious? How about the other things in the room, like the chair, map, and book? What do you think about the bright colors Vermeer uses here?

Woman in Blue Reading a Letter

(image source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/d2/03/0d/d2030d2d7b1eabfb4ef322fe5f4b809c.jpg)

Historical facts courtesy of Wikipedia: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Vermeer)

One great book about Vermeer’s work (including Woman in Blue Reading a Letter) is The Vermeer Interviews: Conversations with Seven Works of Art, by Bob Raczka (J 759.9492 RAC). In this book, the author invites the reader to examine the paintings carefully, and presents interesting imaginative conversations with the people in them. Come check it out!

That’s all for today; check back soon for all the fun stuff going on here at the library, and please come visit us soon!

What Do You Suppose...

Which paper column can hold up the most books?

…A piece of paper can hold?

You might be surprised!

For this super-cool experiment, you will need:

At least three sheets of paper (regular printer paper, please!)

Scotch tape

Picture books, or other flat objects that can be piled on top of each other.

Directions: Fold each piece of paper carefully into a triangular, a square, or a circular column (as in the picture above) and tape carefully.

Then, set each column on its end, and pile books or other flat objects on it one by one, and see which shape is strongest!

Good questions to ask before the experiment:

  1. Which shape do you think will be strongest?
  2. Why?

Good questions to ask after the experiment:

  1. Which shape was actually strongest? Why?
  2. Were your predictions about the shapes’ strength right?
  3. What was surprising about the outcome of the experiment?
  4. Can you think of ways to try it again with some changes? For example, what effect do you think stronger paper or cardstock would have on the shapes?

That’s all for today, folks! Make sure to check back soon for more fun stuff, and be sure to come visit us at the library!

(Picture and all content from: http://creeksidelearning.com/stem-activities-for-kids-how-strong-is-a-piece-of-paper/)

Book Review Thursday: Frindle

Welcome back to our totally awesome Youth Services Bulletin! Today, we launch our newest series: Book Review Thursday. Every Thursday, we’ll review a great book that you may have missed, and tell you where you can find it.

This week, we’re starting with Frindle, by Andrew Clements (J CLE).


Frindle is about a clever boy named Nick Allen, who has a lot of great ideas. When Nick’s teacher, Mrs. Granger, teaches him how words come to be created and used, Nick decides to have some fun. He invents the word frindle, a new way to say “pen”, and spreads it around town with the help of his friends. However, frindle becomes a bigger phenomenon than Nick ever anticipated! This well-written, fun book is great for 4th-grade and up.

If you have any favorite books you would like to recommend, please let us know!

Until next time, happy reading!

Staff Picks: Final Edition!

At last, our super cool series comes to an end. Don’t worry, though! We’ve got lots of cool stuff coming up, so check back with us on Thursday. In the meantime, here are some books to help you finish (or start!) our Winter Reading Challenge.

Our final staff picks come from Miss Alissa, Mr. Scott, and Miss Rebekah.

Poop Happened! A History of the World from the Bottom Up

Poop Happened! A History of the World from the Bottom Up by Sarah Albee J 363.7288 ALB

Have you ever wondered what people did before we had fancy flushing toilets? Or why poop is responsible for making so many people sick? Fun stories include how astronauts poop in space, and whose job it was to empty castle latrines. Learn all the gross-out facts about how bodily waste changed history!

Brian's Winter

Brian’s Winter by Gary Paulsen – J PAU

In this alternate sequel to Hatchet, Gary Paulsen tells us the story that happens if Brian hadn’t paddled out of the wilderness to safety and had to camp for the winter. Best read on a cold day in a warm house.

Prairie School

Prairie School by Avi ER AVI

Noah works very hard on his family’s farm, and doesn’t see the use of learning to read. When his Aunt Dora comes to teach him, however, he may change his mind about books.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Staff Picks series as much as we enjoy sharing our favorite books with you! Please come visit us at the library, and don’t forget to color in those paw prints on your reading logs!

Still More Staff Picks!

Hi Everyone!

We hope you’re settling back into your usual routine after the excitement of Christmas and the New Year. Today, we are excited to share more of our Staff Picks with you; this time, we have some of Miss Alissa’s and Miss Rebekah’s favorites.

Battle Bunny

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett E SCI

When Alex gets a book he doesn’t like, he decides to take matters into his own hands. Suddenly, sweet Birthday Bunny becomes Battle Bunny! This book is lots of fun for kids who like to create their own stories.


Holes by Louis Sachar J SAC

Stanley Yelnats is always in the wrong place at the wrong time, thanks to his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. When Stanley is sent to Camp Green Lake for a crime he did not commit, however, this wrong place may turn out to be just right.

These books, along with all the other staff picks, can be found on the Staff Picks shelf across from the new books. Please check back soon for more awesome staff picks and fun activities, and don’t forget to come visit us soon!