• Cozy Up on the Couch with 10 Heartwarming Animated Movies (That You Won't Find On Disney+)

    Blankets? Check. Popcorn? Check. The perfect movie for a warm night in? We’ve got you covered.

    The following titles are available at the Barrington Area Library.



    Kiki’s Delivery Service

    Studio Ghibli

    Runtime: 103 minutes

    Young Kiki is eager to become a witch, but first she's got to make it on her own. With the help of her trusty talking cat, Jiji, she flies to a faraway city and sets up a magical delivery service. She befriends her new neighbors, helps bake a herring-and-pumpkin pie, and saves the day, all while growing up and determining her own place in the world. This gentle, magical adventure focuses on the little moments in life, and its adorable protagonist is sure to warm your family's hearts.


    Hotel Transylvania

    Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation

    Runtime: 91 minutes

    Who knew Dracula was such a great dad? After suffering the tragic loss of his wife, Count Dracula opens a 5-star hotel with his daughter, Mavis, catering to all sorts of creepy characters. Despite his love for his daughter, Dracula -- "Drac" -- grows overprotective of her, and when he finds out she wants to explore the human world he tries to interfere... only for a human to find his way into the hotel and shake things up. This silly animated feature is sure to be a hit with little monsters everywhere.




    Shaun the Sheep Movie

    Aardman Animations

    Runtime: 85 minutes

    This hilarious adventure from the minds who brought us Wallace and Gromit stars Shaun, a bored sheep on the farm. After a series of mishaps involving a bump to the farmer's head, sheep shearing, and celebrity hairstyling, Shaun suddenly finds himself loose in the city... Maybe the quiet country life is better, after all (at least, for sheep). Based on the hit television series, Shaun the Sheep Movie is a silly, action-packed romp jam-packed with adorable animal characters.



    Ernest & Celestine

    Le Parti Productions/Les Armateurs/Melusine Productions

    Runtime: 80 minutes

    Celestine is a mouse. Ernest is a bear. Their friendship is a little... complicated. Mice live in fear of the bears who roam the outside world, and with good reason -- when Celestine, an aspiring dentist, ventures away from her home to collect cubs' teeth, she encounters Ernest, a starving bear. What begins with one trying to eat the other transforms into a heartwarming friendship that defies prejudice and stereotyping, sending a message to mouse- and bearkind that they can get along if they try. Originally French language; English dub is available.

    Contains some scenes viewers may find disturbing -- Ernest almost eats Celestine at the beginning, and there are some scenes of arson.



    The Boxtrolls


    Runtime: 97 minutes

    Set in Victorian Britain, The Boxtrolls tells the story of Eggs, a young boy abandoned on the streets of Cheesebridge. Eggs was raised by Boxtrolls, strange creatures who name themselves after their boxes (Fish, Fragile, Oil Can, etc.). Eggs and his pals spend their days scavenging, exploring the city, and avoiding the watchful eye of the White Hats, the town's cheese-loving rulers, and their minions. This delightful (and delightfully strange) feature from the studio who brought us Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings will be a hit for fantasy-lovers of all ages.



    Song of the Sea

    Cartoon Saloon/Melusine Productions

    Runtime: 94 minutes

    Inspired by Irish mythology and folklore, Song of the Sea follows 10-year-old Ben and his sisters, Saoirse. Ben has always had a troubled relationship with his sister, as shortly after her birth their mother disappeared. Ben blames his sister for their mother's disappearance, but he's forced to put his feelings aside when, upon Saoirse's sixth birthday, she reveals that she is a selkie, a mythical water spirit. Ben and his sister travel the sea to rescue fairies trapped by the magic of the Owl Witch, Macha. This beautifully-animated sea-faring tale is full of heart and wonder, and kids (and adults!) fascinated by mythology will eagerly plunder its depths.


    The Grinch

    Illumination/Universal Pictures

    Runtime: 86 minutes

    Everybody in Whoville is ready for the holidays... everybody, that is, except for the grumpy Grinch, who lives in a cave overlooking the town. The green grouch menaces the town for fun, playing pranks and ruining their festivities. A chance encounter with little Cindy Lou Who forces the Grinch to confront his loneliness, and suddenly he finds himself offered a shot at redemption. Even the grinchiest Grinch will find their heart growing three sizes during this adorable adaption of Dr. Seuss's timeless book.



    Mary and the Witch’s Flower

    Studio Ponoc

    Runtime: 103 minutes

    Mary recently moved in with her great aunt Charlotte, and she. Is. Bored. After a less-than-great run-in with a local boy, Mary stumbles upon some strange flowers... and when she accidentally bursts one of the bulbs, she suddenly has the powers of a witch! These are "fly-by-nights," magical flowers that can turn you into a witch -- but only for one night at a time. Mary tricks her way into the local witch's school and learns the tricks of the trade, only to learn that hiding who you really are never works out for anyone. This feature film from former Studio Ghibli employees is a spirited, high-flying tale of friendship and self-acceptance.



    Rise of the Guardians


    Runtime: 97 minutes

    Jack Frost, the Spirit of Winter, enjoys delivering snow days to bored schoolkids. But he's lonely -- nobody believes in him, and he doesn't have any friends. That is, until he's forced to team up with the Guardians, a crack team of heroes -- Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and the Easter Bunny -- to stop Pitch Black, the bogeyman, from cursing the children of the world with endless nightmares. Did I mention that this Santa is a tattooed Russian strongman? Or that the Easter Bunny is actually Australian? This fantasy romp is based on the children's book series by William Joyce (creator of Rolie Polie Olie, among others). Fans of fantasy, sci-fi, and the holidays will have lots of fun with these great characters.



    My Neighbor Totoro

    Studio Ghibli

    Runtime: 86 minutes

    Sisters Satsuki and Mei move with their father to the Japanese countryside, so they can be closer to the hospital where their mother is staying. Their new house isn't so... new: it's dusty, musty, and filled to the brim with magical sprites. One day Mei wanders into the forest and encounters Totoro, a huge spirit, and takes a nap with him. This is the start of the sisters' friendship with the strange creature, who helps them appreciate the magic that surrounds them, from the spirits in their house to the magical Cat Bus. This gentle, heartstring-tugging story is more about the small things than a grand adventure. Families will surely love Totoro and his newfound friends.


    Looking for more recommendations? Fill out our form to get a custom list of reads or a Browsing Bundle for pickup.

      Youth Services Librarian Chris 


  • A Holiday Gift Guide

    This is the perfect holiday season to consider giving the children in your life a book or two. There’s no better break from school screen-time (as well as from the troubles of real life) than losing yourself in a good story. The following books published in 2020 are particularly great options to give to young people.


    For the mini mathematician: 



    Circle! Sphere! 

    The Last Marshmallow 

    Up To My Knees

    What Will Fit? all by Grace Lin 

    Babies and toddlers don’t need advanced calculus to be mathematically-minded. They need simple yet charming stories that gently examine ideas like size, shape, and number, which is exactly what the Story Telling Math board books provide!


    For the preschool puppy pal: 


    Paolo, Emperor of Rome by Mac Barnett

    An old-fashioned story book about a little daring dog who seeks out adventure through the streets and sites of Rome. Give a young child the gift of travel through books, while most international vacations are still off the table.


    For a little language learner:


    Literally: Amazing Words and Where They Come From by Patrick Skipworth, illustrated by Nicholas Stevenson

    Discover the meaning and rich global history of twelve fascinating and fun-to-say words, including ukulele, zero, karaoke, and jaguar. Dynamic, two-page artworks accompany each short entry. A beautiful and engaging introduction to etymology. 


    For a young romantic:


    Eight Princesses and a Magic Mirrorby Natasha Farrant

    An enchantress agrees to help bring up her brand-new goddaughter to be an "excellent princess," but she realizes she’s not sure what that means! So she sends her Magic Mirror across the world to learn about 8 different princesses and what makes them extraordinary. A gorgeous, full-color book, great for ages 8-11, sure to be a keepsake turned to again and again.


    For the curious-about-anything-but-books child:


    What Breathes Through Its Butt? Mind-Blowing Science Questions Answered by Emily Grossman, illustrated by Alice Bowsher 

    Over 200 pages of mind-blowing answers to all kinds of questions kids might wonder themselves. Color art, photography, speech bubbles, and a dynamic layout may get your reluctant reader turning pages way past bedtime.

    For the socially-conscious teen: 

    Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

    This adaptation of Ibram X. Kendi’sStamped From the Beginningis a mega-bestseller, and for good reason - it’s a powerful, inspiring read for young activists.

    For the Harry Potter superfan: 

    Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow (plus Books 1-2) by Jessica Townsend

    For middle-grade fantasy fanatics, this fun series may be a good choice, since it’s flown a bit under the radar. Give your reader all three books (so far - 9 are planned) for a Morrigan Marathon! 



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    Youth Services Librarian Allison