2020 Summer Reading has been going great so far and we have gotten so many great responses. With a few weeks left of 2020 Summer Reading here is an update on what some of your fellow readers, and pre-readers, have been doing this summer!


Book Reviews 

Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska, Daniel Mizielinski

"I love this book because I love learning about the world and all cultures. This book is easy to read, love the pictures and all the information about the countries." - Maximiliano, 7

From Me to You by K.A. Holt 

"There was a girl her sister Clara died. At the beginning of 8th grade Amelia accidentally recives a letter that Clara has written to her self. On the list was all the things Clara wanted to do just in time before the 8th-grade year ends, but Clara never completed the list. Amelia think if she finishes the list for Clara will her heart stop hearting? You guys have to read this book this book is mostly about friendship breakups and boys. I hope u guys love this book. ?" - Hiba, 11.5

Dog Man Fetch 22 by Dav Pilkey

"Dog man fetch 22 is for all ages 1- 100. It is a very funny book. You also can read it to your dog, cat, child or kid." - Leela, 8

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

"This book was very good. It is thrilling and it is a good book for a person who likes mysteries and law." - Colin, 12

TBH, I Feel The Same by Lisa Greenwald

"This was a really interesting book. It's about 7th grade girls who are friends. They go away on a school trip. I liked it because I didn't know what was going to happen next. I didn't know if they were going to have the same cabin bunk or if they were going to win the swim meet. I highly recommend this book." - Caitlin, 9.5


Activity Responses

Find out what some of your fellow readers have been doing to complete activity challenges this summer! Have you found all 5 iguanas hiding outside the library yet? 



Prize Updates

There are still plenty of days left to enter our Summer Reading Prizes! Here is a glimpse of how many tickets are entered in the grand prizes.

Pre-Readers Grand Prize:

16 Tickets Entered 


Readers Grand Prizes: 

173 Tickets Entered

688 Tickets Entered

Remember to enter in weekly drawings for some amazing gift cards for places around Barrington. Keep up the great reading everyone!

Take a Mindful Moment: Imagine you are holding your favorite flower. What is it? What does it smell like? Who would you give it to? 

  Youth Services Assistant Librarian MaryJo Nitz

Watch “Daniel Visits School/Daniel Visits the Doctor” on Kanopy Kids using your Barrington Area Library card number to log in, and come back to this blog post to enjoy some family activities that will enhance your child’s learning around the episode. 


Now that you’ve watched the episode, here is a companion video that will demonstrate some ways to practice mindfulness when your child is feeling nervous or worried.




Here are some questions that will help you unpack some of the topics in the episode with your child.

  • Is there something new in your life that you are nervous or worried about? What is it? What questions do you have about the new thing? Talk through some of your concerns with a trusted adult.  Sometimes just talking about it helps you feel better, and they can help you answer some of the questions that you have!
  • When you feel nervous or worried about something, how does it make you feel? Can you think of something to do that might make you feel a little better? What are some things that make you smile?


Below are some other activities to try as a family.


Here are the books I mentioned in the companion video.

Here and Now by Julia Denos, E. B. Goodale |, Hardcover | Barnes ... Here and Now by Julia Denos, illustrated by E.B. Goodale
Quiet by Tomie dePaola, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

Quiet by Tomie dePaola

Listen by Holly M. McGhee, Pascal Lemaitre |, Hardcover | Barnes ...

Listen by Holly M. McGhee, illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre

 Tiny, Perfect Things by M.H. Clark, Madeline Kloepper |, Hardcover ... Tiny, Perfect Things by M.H. Clark, illustrated by Madeline Kloepper
 Big Breath: A Guided Meditation for Kids by William Meyer ... Big Breath: A Guided Meditation for Kids by William Meyer, illustrated by Brittany R. Jacobs
 Your Mind is Like the Sky: A First Book of Mindfullness by Bronwen ... Your Mind is Like the Sky: A First Book of Mindfulness by Bronwen Ballard, illustrated by Laura Carlin



    Youth Services Assistant Librarian Stefanie Molinaro

Anyone who knows about the Barrington Area Library Youth Services Department knows that we love play of all kinds! One type of play that we just love is pretend play - from putting on some dress-up clothes to transform into a puppy dinosaur, to using play kitchen supplies to play house, to building a ship with blocks to sail the wide open seas. Sometimes children may not even need any toys or manipulatives to come up with fantastical scenarios.

Even when the pretend play seems so outlandish that it no longer has any connection to reality, children are engaging in a process that will greatly benefit them later in life.


Most obviously, pretend play is a great way for children to flex their creative skills but it also allows them to work on critical thinking and problem solving skills. By working through the scenarios they create they are building cognitive abilities that will translate to real world skills. 

Pretend play also allows children to develop social and emotional health. Engaging in cooperative pretend play means that children are learning how to navigate social situations and learning how to interact with others, such as taking turns, making compromises, and understanding others. It also helps regulate emotional responses. Becoming too aggressive or throwing a tantrum if things don’t go the child’s way will inevitably stop the play, and no one wants that! Pretend play is also a great place for children to work through real life emotions, such as being scared or upset. They can work through these big feelings in a safe space and learn how to handle their emotions once they leave their imaginary world behind.

If that wasn’t enough, pretend play also helps develop language and communication skills. It takes a lot of non-verbal cues, talking it out, and clearly communicating the scenario for a pretend play session to be successful and fun for all involved - who wants to play if you can’t figure out what’s happening? Children will quickly learn how to use language and communicate with one another to provide themselves with the best play experience possible. It also gives them a chance to test out new vocabulary they may have learned at a visit to the doctor, zoo, or even the grocery store.


We all know how great pretend play is, but what can you do as a parent to make sure they are getting enough of the good stuff to make it happen? 

Talk to them. As you go through your day explain what you are doing and point things out to them - this increases vocabulary and gives them the building blocks to create their pretend worlds. 

Provide some simple props. While there are some really great high tech toys out there, sometimes simple is best. A few dress up items, a couple dolls, and even some (child safe) kitchen items you no longer need are all fair game.

Encourage them. As children are building up an imaginary world, they may want to tell you all about it. Ask some questions and let them work through the answers all on their own. Sometimes they may not make much sense to us, but they are working on it!


Further Reading

The Benefits of Pretend Play

The Need for Pretend Play in Child Development

Why Pretend Play Is Important to Child Development

8 Ways to Encourage Pretend Play in Kids


  Youth Services Librarian Demitra Badino-Mendoza




With a few weeks left for 2020 Summer Reading, there is still plenty of time to log your reading and activities for a chance to earn more tickets! Here are some cool prizes that you could put your tickets in to win. 

Weekly Drawings 

Did you know we do drawings weekly? 

Here are some of the weekly drawing options: 


  Gnarly Knots: A $10 gift card to Gnarly Knot.
Sweet Spot: A $10 Gift card to the Sweet Spot.
Marvin's Toy Store: $25 gift card to Marvin's Toy Store in downtown Barrington. 
Barnes & Noble: $25 Gift Card to Barnes & Noble. 




Grand Prizes: 

Grand Prizes have a limit of 10 tickets total. There is only one drawing done for each of these prizes, at the end of Summer Reading! Each ticket entered is an additional chance to win. 


Pre-Readers Grand Prize Option: 

Radio Flyer 5-in1 Stroll 'N Trike



Readers Grand Prizes: 


Razor Scooter 



Nintendo Switch Lite with the Animal Crossing Game included

Remember to keep logging to earn tickets, and place those tickets in the prize you would like the most! Grand prize drawing winners will be informed of their winnings after August 19th.


Take a Mindful Moment today and list three people, things, or places you are grateful for today.  


  Youth Services Assistant Librarian MaryJo Nitz


On August 1, we’re inviting everyone to draw or color a picture of an iguana, hang it in your window, then take a walk through your neighborhood to see how many iguanas you can spot. Ask your neighbors and friends to join you in participating. You can even look outside around the Barrington Area Library to find a few! 

Our Iguana Hunt is inspired by the “bloodsucking” iguanas of our Book of the Summer, Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts by Esta Spalding. Fortunately, paper iguanas won’t attack, though Allison found out the hard way just how ferocious they can be in “real” life… 

Find more activity ideas inspired by
Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts on our Book of the Summer webpage or YouTube channel!

Youth Services Librarian Allison Parker



Light painting is one of my favorite programs to do with kids. It's simple, requires very few materials, and no matter the skill level, the pictures always turn out great.

You only need a few materials to do light painting:

1. A flash light. Glow sticks, finger lights, and Christmas lights can also be fun.


2. A camera set to a long shutter or slow shutter.

If you use the camera on a smart phone or iPad, you can use apps such as Slow Shutter or Long Expo. The longer it takes for the shutter to close, the more time you will have to do your design. You can experiment with how long you want the shutter to be open. If you are using a digital camera, your camera's manual will help you find how to change your camera's settings. The long shutter setting may show a night icon.


3. A dark room. Try to make the room as dark as possible.


Check out the video below for more details on how to do light painting at home.



Light painting can be fun for kids of all ages. Younger kids can stand in front of the camera, and wave the flashlight. Older kids can be the photographer or try drawing specific shapes and drawings. Adults may discover a passion for light painting too!


Once you get the hang of light painting, you can try more complicated designs. At the Barrington Area Library, we love seeing your creations. If you would like to share your light painting designs, email them to youthservices@balibrary.org.


Looking for more fun activities? See a list of the library’s upcoming events for kids.


  Youth Services Librarian Ann McWilliams-Piraino





Our 2020 Summer Reading program still has a month left and we have gotten so many great responses already. Remember to keep logging, to get tickets for a chance to win our grand prize and gift card prize drawings! Here is a look at what some of your fellow readers have been doing this summer. 


Picture Reviews: 


Big Nate Blasts Off by Lincoln Pierce 

Picture Review by: Hiba, 11.5



The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene

Picture Review by: Niharika, 10


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Video Review by: Aaina, 8




Pictures from Activity Tracks:


Code Breaker: Create a treasure hunt of your own and tell us what you did? Take a picture and send it to ys@balibrary.org.

"I created a treasure hunt for my dad on Father’s Day. The prize was a basket of secretly baked cookies!" -Colin, 12


Garden Guru: Plant some seeds and email us a photo of your plants as they grow (youthservices@balibrary.org). What did you plant?

Natalie planted some pumpkin seeds! -Natalie, 7.5 


  My Home: Make a map of your home or neighborhood. What are some of your favorite spots?          

 "Thank you for having this challenge each year! My neighbors and I have a tradition of doing it every year together and this year we didn’t know if it was gonna happen this year because of the virus but when we heard it was we were so happy! Thank you!" -Camryn





Activity Track Responses: 



Keep up the great reading, everyone! Remember, it's not too late to sign up for Summer Reading!



Take a Mindful Moment: Have your next snack in slow motion. Try to eat it as sloooowly as you can.



  Youth Services Assistant Librarian MaryJo Nitz


Watch “Elmo Finds a Baby Bird” on Kanopy Kids using your Barrington Area Library card number to log in, and come back to this blog post to enjoy some family activities that will enhance your child’s learning around the episode.


Here are some questions that will help you unpack some of the topics in the episode with your child.

  • When Elmo and Rosita find the baby bird, they can’t figure out what the baby bird is trying to tell them. Have you ever tried to communicate something to someone, but they couldn’t understand you? How did that feel?
  • “Chasing the cheese” was a silly and fun way for the inhabitants of Sesame Street to get some exercise. How have you been moving your body and exercising lately? Can you think of a fun and silly way to get some exercise with your family this summer?
  • During Elmo’s World, Elmo asked children how they play with their pets. Do you have a pet? If so, how do you play with your pet? If you don’t have a pet, have you ever played with a friend or relative’s pet? What did you do?


Below are some other activities to try as a family.


    Youth Services Assistant Librarian Stefanie Molinaro

You can now register to pick up a Take-and-Make Kit during the Barrington Area Library’s Parking Lot Pickup hours, bringing a fun new art project home to explore. Here are instructions for each kit:


Toddlers & Preschoolers: Contact Paper Stained Glass and Nature Art

Contact Paper Stained Glass

  1. Cut out different colored shapes from the cello paper.
  2. Remove the backing from the contact paper, carefully setting the sheet down sticky-side up. 
  3. Press the cello paper down onto the sticky contact paper. 
  4. Display your artwork in a window, letting the light shine through. 

Contact Paper Stained Glass

Contact Paper Nature Art 

  1. Go outside, gathering up small leaves, sticks, and flowers.
  2. Remove the backing from the contact paper, carefully setting the sheet down sticky-side up.
  3. Press the objects from nature down onto the sticky contact paper.
  4. Feel free to add any other materials from your own supplies.
  5. Display your artwork!

Contact Paper Nature Art


Grades K-2: Sidewalk Stained Glass

Turn your sidewalk or driveway into a work of art, while having fun in the sun.

  1. Find a square of sidewalk or driveway, or make a large square or rectangle out of tape.
  2. Stretch and stick a piece of painter’s tape, any size, across the space in any direction. 
    Stick another line of painter’s tape in a different direction.
  3. Keep going to create different geometric shapes. 
  4. Once your square of sidewalk is broken up with a good number of lines, start coloring in the shapes with sidewalk chalk.
  5. Use one color for each space.
  6. Once all the visible pavement is colored over, pull off the painter’s tape.


Grades 3-8: Sun Prints

Use the power of the sun and objects from nature to create beautiful designs.

  1. Find some objects you’d like to print - leaves, flowers, rocks, or anything you’d like to use to make a print. 
  2. Once you are ready with your objects, remove the blue sun-printing paper from the manila envelope. 
  3. Place the paper in the sun, and then immediately place your chosen objects on the paper. 
  4. Allow to sit in the sun until the sun-printing paper turns very pale blue, about 2 minutes.
  5. Remove the objects from the paper, and quickly remove the paper from the light.
  6. Immediately soak the paper in a container of plain tap water for about 1 minute. 
  7. Dry flat.

Youth Services Librarian Allison Parker


For a silly summer read, I recommend this funny take on mermaid life and drama.

You can download Bad Mermaids Make Waves by Sibéal Pounder on Overdrive. 

Subscribe to our Youth Services YouTube channel for more videos of book recommendations, story times, and activity how-tos.

Youth Services Librarian Allison Parker



Is hand washing becoming a hassle? Try these simple tactics…

    • Make it easy to do. Use a step stool or a faucet extender.
    • Your kids are going to learn from you. Make sure you are washing your hands too! 
    • Sing a song as you scrub along.


Sung to the tone of: Wheels on the Bus

The soap on your hands goes sud, sud, sud.

Sud, sud, sud. Sud, sud, sud. 

The soap on your hands goes sud, sud, sud.

And the germs go down the drain.

Sung to the tune of: Are you Sleeping, Brother John?

Tops and Bottoms,

Tops and Bottoms,

In between, 

In between,

All around your hands, 

All around your hands,

Now they’re clean,

Now they’re clean.


Sung to the tune of: Row, Row, Row Your Boat 

Wash, wash, wash your hands,

Wash them nice and clean. 

Scrub them here (hand motion scrubbing together) 

Scrub them there (hand motion scrubbing tops of hands) 

And scrub them in between (hand motion scrubbing between fingers) 

Wash, wash, wash, your hands, 

Play our handy game 

Rub and scrub, scrub and rub, 

Germs go down the drain HEY! 

Wash, wash, wash, your hands 

Play our handy game


Looking for some other ideas of things to do with your little one(s)? 

See a list of the library’s upcoming events for young children (Birth to PreK). 

  Youth Services Assistant Librarian Venessa Arnold


I don’t know about you and your families, but I’ve been using a lot of canned goods these days: from beans to tomatoes to hot peppers. With a few materials from around the house you can  upcycle those tin cans into a cute planter, pencil holder, or even a change canister.


    • Tin can: any size will do, but make sure it has been washed, any sharp edges have been smoothed down, and the label has been removed: ask an adult for help!
    • Markers, crayons, colored pencils: you can use one of them, all of them, or whichever medium you most enjoy to decorate with.
    • Craft sticks: fat, skinny or a combo, totally up to you.
    • Paper: an alternative if you don’t have craft sticks. You can use construction paper, computer paper, textured paper, or whatever you have around the house.
    • Rubber bands: the plain, boring kind, or a colorful variety will work; it should fit around your can. You’ll need these if you are using craft sticks.
    • Tape: plain tape, colored, or decorative, as long as it sticks to the can: you’re good! You’ll need this if you are using paper.
    • Scissors: you’ll need these if you are using paper. Don’t forget to follow good scissor etiquette: pointy part down if you are walking, and never point the pointy part toward someone else.
    • Ruler: if you are using paper to wrap your can, you might want this to take measurements. 
    • Ribbon: optional, but I like the flair it adds.

Now that you have your chosen materials, watch the video below for a step-by-step guide to create your own tin can decor.

  Youth Services Librarian Demitra Badino-Mendoza