Youth Services Blog

Spotlight Series: Staff Picks!

Today, we continue our awesome Spotlight Series with Staff Picks! Staff Picks are books and other materials that we librarians just love so much we can’t keep it to ourselves. Instead, four times a year, we gather them all up and display them on the shelves, the better to share them with you! You can find them on the shelf across from the graphic novels. Please check some out and let us know what you think!

Today, we will begin with some of Miss Nicole’s favorites:

Stranger in the Woods

1. Stranger in the Woods: A Photographic Fantasy by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick E SAM – This adorable picture book uses real photographs to show animals’ reactions to a snowman in the woods.


2. Tyrannoclaus by Janet Lawler E SAW - ‘Twas the night before Christmas in dinosaur land… Tyrannoclaus is busy wrapping up Christmas presents for all the dinosaur children when his volcano suddenly erupts! Will he be able to deliver all of his presents on time? This fun story is sure to make you smile.

Origami Toys: That Tumble, Fly and Spin

3. Origami Toys: That Tumble, Fly and Spin by Paul Jackson J 736.982 JAC – Learn how to make cool paper creations that will amaze your friends!

That’s all for today, folks! Tune in next time for more great staff picks, and be sure to visit us soon.

Totally Awesome: Bubbles!

Soap Bubbles

Are you bored out of your mind? Do you want to do something totally awesome? Try making bubbles! (NOTE: we have not tested this recipe. Please let us know if you like it!)

You Will Need:

5 c. Water

2 c. Dish Soap

½ c. Karo syrup

You Will Also Need:

Different things to use as bubble wands! Try wire coat hangers or pipe cleaners bent into cool shapes.

Once you’ve collected your wands, examine them and think about the different types of materials you’re using. Are there any that you think will make good wands? Are there some that might not work as well? Why or why not?


Combine the water, dish soap, and Karo syrup in a wide-mouthed container like a bucket or a big bowl. Then, dip your wands in, and go wild!

That’s all for today, folks! Check back soon for more totally awesome stuff, and please come visit us at the library!

(All credit goes to: http://bitzngiggles.com/2013/08/no-fail-homemade-bubble-solution.html and http://showmelibrarian.blogspot.com/2015/07/exploring-bubbles-in-science-club-jr.html)

Fun Stuff for Rainy Days: It Begins!

Welcome back to our fabulous Youth Services Bulletin!

Today, we launch a totally awesome new series: Fun Stuff for Rainy Days, where we will pair a fun indoor activity with a great book, movie, or CD that you can borrow from our collection.

Today’s theme is Calvin and Hobbes and Forts!

Calvin and Hobbes Tree House

Fort-building is an awesome boredom buster for rainy, snowy, or just plain icky days, but works anytime! Here’s how to make a great fort:

For a Fort, You Will Need an Assortment of:

  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Cushions
  • Clothespins
  • Cardboard boxes

Let your imagination run wild! It doesn’t have to be as complicated as Calvin’s tree fort, but even the simplest fort can turn a rotten day upside-down! (Just make sure to clean up when you’re done.) Here’s a simple couch fort to get you started:

Sofa Fort


Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin and Hobbes is a hilarious comic strip by Bill Waterson, now collected in graphic novels. Calvin is an imaginative, creative boy with a penchant for pranks. Hobbes is Calvin’s stuffed tiger who comes to life, and together they fight off killer mutant snow goons, have secret club meetings in their fort, and ponder such deep questions as: why isn’t there more research to find a scientific cure for jerks? And what fun is it being “cool” if you can’t wear a sombrero?! Some of the best are: The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book; Something Under the Bed is Drooling; and There’s Treasure Everywhere (all under J GN WAT). These are best read in your snazzy fort.

That’s all for today, folks! Check back soon for other awesome boredom busters, and be sure to visit us at the library!

Spotlight Series: Stormbreaker: An Alex Rider Adventure

Stormbreaker cover image

Cold, rainy weather can often leave us wishing summer would re-appear! Needless to say, long nights and chilly days are less than fun. Never fear, though, because our great Spotlight Series continues to provide great books with which to curl up on the couch.

Book: Anthony Horowitz’s Stormbreaker: An Alex Rider Adventure (JP HOR) This action-packed book fairly crackles with edge-of your-seat excitement: Alex Rider, a fourteen-year-old British boy, has been raised by his uncle Ian for most of Alex’s life. When Ian dies, Alex discovers that his uncle was actually a secret agent for MI6 (sort of like the British version of the CIA), and has been training Alex to be an agent, too.

When Alex learns the truth, he is thrust head-first into a dangerous mission where his success may prevent the release of a dangerous weapon—and his failure could have catastrophic consequences. This book is reviewed for readers in grades 5 and up.


  1. Make Invisible Ink! enter image description here
  2. Survive the Laser Maze

    You will need:
    1. An adult’s permission. Also, make sure you clean up after yourselves!
    2. Masking Tape
    3. Red string or yarn
    4. Scissors
    5. A chosen area of your living room/hallway/basement

To Do:

Cut a very long piece of string or yarn, and use masking tape to attach it to walls or pieces of furniture at funky angles, until it looks like this:

Laser maze

The strings are laser beams that will set off an alarm to alert the enemy of your presence if you touch them! One by one, as shown in the picture, try navigating the maze without touching any of the strings. It’s harder than you might think! Once you’ve mastered the maze, try it using only one hand!

There you have your rainy-day mission, should you choose to accept it. Check back next time for another great installment of the Youth Services Bulletin, and have a Happy Fall!

Spotlight Series: Zita the Spacegirl

Hello, Everyone!

Now that summer is over and school is back in session, we’re back with another round of our famous (wildly so in some corners of Tuscany and Albania) Spotlight Series!

This time, we will focus on an awesome graphic novel called Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke.

Zita the Spacegirl

In Zita the Spacegirl, (J GN HAT) Zita and her friend Joseph are cast far away, across the galaxy, to another planet where a group of aliens called the Scriptorians are holding Joseph hostage. In order to get her friend back, and to have any hope of getting home, Zita will have to team up with some pretty unlikely friends, including a giant mouse who hates his name, a robot named Randy, and a wizard named Piper.

Together, they will face terrible enemies, including giant mechanized spiders, the Scriptorians, and another kind of alien called the Screed. Will Zita save Joseph and get them both home? Will they make it before a terrible asteroid destroys the planet? And what in the universe is Door Paste?

Find out in Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke, recommended for ages 8 and up. There are also two sequels, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl and The Return of Zita the Spacegirl.


Make alien balloons! (Based on this craft: http://www.parents.com/fun/birthdays/themes/alien/?page=2#page=2 )

Materials Needed:
1 Pack of Party balloons, or balloons left over from a birthday party or other activity
Glue sticks
Assorted construction paper
Safety scissors

Step 1: Blow up some fun balloons in different colors; green looks especially cool.
Step 2: Use the safety scissors to cut fun shapes out of the construction paper, to look like alien eyes.
Step 3: Using the glue sticks, attach the alien eyes to the balloons. Let dry, and enjoy your cool/creepy aliens!
Snack: Make-Your-Own-Planets or Moons! (adapted from http://www.thingstoshareandremember.com/eat-the-moon-space-snack/)

You will need:
Rice Cakes (unsalted)
Cream Cheese

Instructions: Spread cream cheese on rice cakes and top with fruit to form continents or craters to your heart’s content! You could also use different kinds of fruit cut in fun shapes, or raisins for moon rocks.

Tune in next time when we will continue our series with another fun title. Happy Autumn, everyone!