Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Miss Spitfire by Sarah Miller

Annie Sullivan took the job nobody else wanted--the nearly impossible job of teaching a girl who was both blind and deaf. Helen had almost no way to communicate and was allowed to run wild on her parent's estate of Ivy Green. Armed with cake (Helen's favorite treat) and determination, Annie turned Helen's life around. The struggles, the frustration, even the missing teeth (that Helen knocked out of Annie's mouth) are worth it in the end when Annie makes that miraculous breakthrough and reaches Helen at last.

Miss Spitfire (the title comes from Annie's nickname as a child when she was in the orphanage) is a great story. You might know the story of Helen Keller, but this fictional telling breathes new life into it. Annie Sullivan, the orphan who grew up partially blind in a state home, is the girl you want for your friend, a girl who won't give up until she meets her goal. Even if you think you have no interest in the story of Helen Keller, give this a try--the story of Annie Sullivan and the wild girl she tames will draw you in and keep you hooked until the end.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wombat Divine

Wombat Divine by Mem Fox is one of my favorite Christmas books. I love the story, and the pictures are so sweet that it's a pure pleasure to read this book out loud to little kids. This story is about a little wombat who wants to be in the Christmas play. He goes to the try- outs with hope in his heart. Too soon he finds out that he is too big, too small, too heavy, not quite right, and so on. But he is ever hopeful that there will be a part in this play for him; and there is! I think that's what Christmas is like too. We want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, we want to find our part to play. If we're lucky, and we have good friends like little wombat, maybe we'll find our part this year too.

Edward's Eyes

Like most people, I usually read the inside or back cover of a book to see what it's about and decide if I want to read it. Sometimes I even read the first page then decide if it's worth checking out. Not this time. With Edward's Eyes I jumped in and hoped I would be rewarded with a good story. Maybe it was the best selling, award winning author, Patricia MacLachlan, that I trusted would not disappoint me. Or it could have been the cover photo of a young boy looking up happily, expectantly with an open baseball glove on his hand, that drew me in. I wanted to find out what put that smile on his face and by page 10 I would learn that Edward is one of those rare individuals who is just born happy, finds goodness all around him and easily shares it with others. Edward's Eyes is a moving story about a growing family that learns some gifts live on and on.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Gift Bringers

Do You Believe in Santa? Do you think that there really is a Santa Claus? Visit us for some classic stories that answer these questions and more. One of my all time favorite books on Santa Claus is a wonderful book called Christmas Gift-Bringers! " Santa, Santa, Santa, Phooey" declares big brother Sidney! With that, Father opens the book and begins the story of the Christmas Gift-Bringers, and a history of Santa Claus begins. We have many books of Christmas customs celebrated around the world waiting for you to check out for this most wonderful time of the year! So come in and check out Santa Claus.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Have you checked out the Youth Services Magazine collection? Did you know that we have nearly 3 dozen subscriptions on hand? Family Fun is an excellent magazine with wonderful ideas for family crafts, family vacations, family recipes. I guarantee you'll find something you'll want to try in any issue you read. Home Education is another magazine that is overflowing with information, helpful tips and relevant articles for the homeschooling crowd. The November/December 2007 issue contains articles on how to direct a homeschool play, the challenges of homeschooling boys, and how to make edible maps. And my all time favorite is New Moon,The Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams. If you know a girl between the ages of 8 and 14, guide her to this periodical then sit back and wait for her to rave about it. She'll love the articles, drawings and poems all done by young girls and you'll love the advertising free layout. A word of warning, when she's done with her first issue, she'll want to get her own stories or artwork published!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Special programs this January!

Sign-up is now open for our January 2008 programs! These are one-time events with a limited number of spaces available for each, so email us or call us at (708) 474-2447 to reserve your place. Don't miss them--they won't happen again!

For ages 3-6:
Snow Much Fun Storytime!
Wednesday, January 2 at 11:00 a.m.
Celebrate winter with us! Hear some snowy stories and make a craft to take home.

For readers in grades 1-5:
Aunt Flossie's Hats
Saturday, January 12 at 1:00 p.m.
Join us for a special reading of Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later), then make your own hat to take home.

For readers in grades 3 and up:
Take the Cake! Cake Decorating
Thursday, January 3 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
Come decorate a cake (or maybe two) in this fun, edible afternoon.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Holiday Display

'Tis the season to be jolly...
What better way to be jolly then to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and a good holiday book. The Youth/Teen services department has over 350 holiday books on display for easy viewing.
Come down and check out all of our beautiful decorations then check out a Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza book to take home and enjoy! Some things to look for in the Youth/Teen Department: How many Christmas trees do we have? What are the names of all the Youth Services staff? Can you find the purring kitten? What books are displayed with Aslan? What kind books will you find under the big Christmas tree? Where are many of the red cover books?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


The Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah begins tonight at sundown. Hanukkah lasts for 8 days. This celebration is also known as the festival of lights. The story of Hanukkah began during the reign of Alexander the Great. Alexander conquered Palestine, but allowed the people to continue to observe their own religion. The trouble began when Antiochus IV took over control of the region 100 years later. He prohibited the practice of Jewish religion and desecrated the Temple. The conflict lead to an uprising that was headed by Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee.
They revolted against the oppression and fought against the assimilation of Jews into the culture of that time. The revolution was successful. And now Hanukkah is the celebration of the rededication of the Temple. I learned all this from a web site called Judaism 101. When I was in college, I lived in an international house. I had roommates from all over the world. One of my roommates was a Jewish girl from the United States. That was the first year I celebrated Hanukkah. For eight days we said the prayers and exchanged gifts. I learned how to play the dreidle game with pennies. I won some, I lost some. Mostly, I remember a shared time with friends learning about a new culture, singing songs in a language that I did not know and reciting beautiful prayers that my friends translated for me. This is one of my most cherished memories from college. So, I learned facts from the web site, but I "experienced" the celebration of Hanukkah with my friends.