Did you know? April is Arab American Heritage Month in Illinois. Arab Americans are people in the U.S. who have ancestors from an Arab nation, one of 22 countries throughout Northern Africa and Western Asia. Read one of these books to celebrate and learn from the perspectives of Arab or Arab American people.


Deep in the Sahara by Kelly Cunnane

Recommended for ages 3-6

Lalla lives in the Muslim country of Mauritania, and more than anything, she wants to wear a malafa, the colorful cloth Mauritanian women, like her mama and big sister, wear to cover their heads and clothes in public. But it is not until Lalla realizes that a malafa is not just worn to show a woman's beauty and mystery or to honor tradition - a malafa for faith - that Lalla's mother agrees to slip a long cloth as blue as the ink in the Koran over Lalla's head, under her arm, and round and round her body. Then together, they pray.


Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story by Reem Faruqi

Recommended for ages 5-9

Now that she is ten, Lailah is delighted that she can fast during the month of Ramadan like her family and her friends in Abu Dhabi, but finding a way to explain to her teacher and classmates in Atlanta is a challenge until she gets some good advice from the librarian, Mrs. Carman.

  Salma the Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan, illustrated by Anna Bron

Recommended for ages 5-8

All Salma wants is to make her mama smile again. Between English classes, job interviews, and missing Papa back in Syria, Mama always seems busy or sad. A homemade Syrian meal might cheer her up, but Salma doesn't know the recipe, or what to call the vegetables in English, or where to find the right spices! Luckily, the staff and other newcomers at the Welcome Center are happy to lend a hand--and a sprinkle of sumac. With creativity, determination, and charm, Salma brings her new friends together to show Mama that even though things aren't perfect, there is cause for hope and celebration.


The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter

Recommended for ages 6-10

In the spring of 2003, Alia Muhammad Baker was the city of Basra's real-life librarian. She was the keeper of cherished books and her library was a haven for community gatherings. But with war imminent in Basra, Iraq, what could this lone woman do to save her precious books?

This true story of one librarian's remarkable bravery reminds us all how, throughout the world, the love of literature and the respect for knowledge knows no boundaries.


Farah Rocks Fifth Grade by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Recommended for ages 8-12

Farah and her best friend, Allie Liu, are getting excited to turn in their applications to the Magnet Academy, where they both hope to attend sixth grade. But when new girl Dana Denver shows up, Farah's world is turned upside down. As Dana starts bullying Farah's little brother, Samir, Farah begins to second-guess her choice to leave him behind at Harbortown Elementary/Middle School. Determined to handle it on her own, Farah comes up with a plan--a plan that involves lying to those closest to her. Will her lies catch up with her, or can Farah find a way to defeat the bully and rock fifth grade?


Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

Recommended for ages 9-13

Jude never thought she'd be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives. At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven't quite prepared her for starting school in the US--and her new label of "Middle Eastern," an identity she's never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises--there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.


City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda

Recommended for ages 9-13

Thirteen-year-old Iraqi American Sik wants a simple life going to school and helping at his parents' deli in the evenings. But all that is blown to smithereens when Nergal comes looking for him, thinking that Sik holds the secret to eternal life. Turns out Sik is immortal but doesn't know it, and that's about to get him and the entire city into deep, deep trouble. Sik's not in this alone. He's got Belet, the adopted daughter of Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, on his side, and a former hero named Gilgamesh, who has taken up gardening in Central Park. Now all they have to do is retrieve the Flower of Immortality to save Manhattan from being wiped out by disease. To succeed, they'll have to conquer sly demons, treacherous gods, and their own darkest nightmares.


Want more reading lists delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for our e-newsletters to discover the newest and best books for kids.

Youth Services Librarian Allison 

Thank you to everyone who created a piece of our patchwork murals to celebrate Earth Day! Just like the Earth and all its inhabitants, these individual artworks are diverse, lively, colorful, and surprising. Yet when we step back, we see a unified world, connected and dependent on all its pieces. 

Stop by the Library to see more of these Earth artworks, created by kids in our community.

Youth Services Librarian Allison 


Bring home a fun new project! Sign up from our Library Calendar and pick up a kit at the Youth Services desk or through our Parking Lot Pickup service between April 12-23.


Toddler & PreK: Make a Puppet

 Create a unique puppet of your own. Register for the April Toddler & PreK Take-and-Make Kit here.




Your kit contains:

1 glue stick

1 bag of feathers

1 brown bag filled with 4 googly eyes

2 foam sheets

2 colored goody bags

3 or 4 crayons

Not included: Scissors



1. Lay a colored goody bag on its smooth side. Keep the bottom flap facing up. (Point the opening toward you).




2. The flap will be the mouth of the puppet. Have your child draw or decorate the puppet as they please.

Scissors are not provided in your kit. However, please feel free to utilize your own scissors. If appropriate, have your child cut out shapes or different designs. You may also choose to cut out different shapes and designs for your child if they are unable to do so themselves.



3. Have your child use the glue stick to glue the googly eyes, feathers and foam shapes to their puppet.


4. Once the puppet has dried, your child may use their puppet! Have them slide their hand into the opening and curl their fingers up and under the flap. They can extend and curl their fingers to make the puppet “talk.”




Optional talking points to consider: Use this activity as an opportunity to practice color recognition; ask your child to find the “blue feather”. Cut out different shapes from the foam paper and have your child identify the shapes. Have your child create patterns with the shapes you have cut out. Talk about different body parts and have your child locate theirs as well as their puppets.




There are enough materials to make two puppets! (You may also use the brown bag that the googly eyes came in to create a third puppet!)


Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org



Grades K-2: Glue and Chalk Art

Experiment with glue and chalk pastels to create a colorful work of art. Register for the April Grades K-2 Take-and-Make Kit here.


Your Kit Contains:

5 sheets of white construction paper

5 sheets of black construction paper

1 pencil

1 bottle of school glue

1 bag of chalk pastels




1. Open the box and empty out your supplies.

2. Select either a white or black piece of paper for your first creation.

3. Trace out your design with pencil – bold designs like flowers and leaves lend themselves nicely to this technique.



4. Trace your pencil lines in glue. Try not to touch the tip of the glue bottle directly to the paper. Instead just lay a continuous line of glue.



5. Wait for glue to completely dry. This will take time – be patient!



6. Time to add color! Use your chalk pastels to color both the inside and outside of your design. Use your fingertip to blend some of the colors together.




7. Enjoy your finished art piece!



Concepts to explore:

Positive and negative space – the inside of your design is the positive space and rest of the paper is negative space. How can you choose colors to show the differences between those two elements?

Warm and cool colors – colors like reds, oranges and yellows are warm, while blues, purples and greens are cool. How can you blend your pastels to create more warm or more cool shades?


Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org



Grades 3-8: DIY Magnetic Poetry Kit 

 Create your own magnetic words set and use it to write poetry. Register for the April Grades 3-8 Take-and-Make Kit here.


Your kit contains:

  • 1 8x10 magnetic adhesive sheet
  • 1 printed sheet of words
  • 1 tin box
  • Extra magnetic sheet/blank paper


You will also need:

  • Scissors
  • Pencil (for tracing)
  • Pen




1. Lay the full sheet of paper with the words on it face up and lay your magnetic sheet on top. Trace the shape of the magnetic sheet onto the piece of paper, making sure that all of the words will fit onto the magnetic sheet. Cut the paper where you traced, just trimming the excess.





 2. Once you’ve trimmed the sheet of words, carefully peel the cover off of the magnetic sheet, so that the adhesive is facing up.




3. Place your sheet of words onto the adhesive very slowly, starting from the top, and working your way down, making the paper fit as smoothly as possible onto the magnetic sheet. Be careful not to stick it on all at once. This part is a little tricky, so feel free to ask a grown up for help!

4. Once your words are fully stuck to the adhesive, smooth it over with your fingers a few times to make sure it’s sticking really well.

5. Do you notice any blank spaces? Feel free to write your own words in those spaces, or trace some rectangular shapes to fill in words later. I recommend doing this part before you start cutting, to make the process a little easier.



6. Now you’re ready to cut! Begin cutting your words out. I recommend cutting the page into strips, and then trimming the individual words from there. Place your words into your tin box as you cut them out.






7. It’s time to get creative! Now you can use your words to write some poetry. Place them on your fridge, a magnetic board, a cookie sheet, or anything else you can find that is magnetic. Think of some more words you could add? You have been given an extra piece of magnet and blank paper to personalize your kits.


Some ideas for how to use your DIY Magnetic Poetry Kit:

  • Check out a book on poetry to go along with your Take and Make Kit for inspiration!
  • Write a poem with your family and/or friends. Take turns adding a word each until you’re satisfied.
  • Make it into a game! Give each person participating a specific number of words (like 10 or 15). See what you all can come up with!


Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org.

Youth Services Librarian Allison 


There’s nothing cuter than two animals that are best friends. Here are eight books about true animal friendships that will tug at your heart and make you go, “Awww!”


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

  Youth Services Librarian Ann 


Check out one of these books that celebrate math-minded kids and might even teach your reader a new mathematical concept.

Want more reading lists delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for our e-newsletters to discover the newest and best books for kids.

Youth Services Librarian Allison 


Bring home a fun new project! Sign up from our Library Calendar and pick up a kit at the Youth Services desk or through our Parking Lot Pickup service between March 8-19.


Toddler & PreK: Ping Pong Ball Painting

Use ping pong balls to create a unique work of art. Register for the March Toddler & PreK Take-and-Make Kit here.



Your kit contains:

·         4 containers of different colored paint

·         4 ping pong balls

·         10 sheets of cardstock




1.      Remove all the items from the box.

2.      Place one sheet of cardstock into the bottom of the box.

3.      Open the paint containers.

4.      Dip each of the ping pong balls into a different color of paint.

5.      Place them on top of the cardstock in the box.

6.      Leave the box open and move the box back and forth to roll the ping pong balls across the cardstock. Watch the paint as it streaks across your cardstock.

7.      Remove the ping pong balls.

8.      Take the piece of cardstock out of the box and admire your art work!

9.      Rinse and dry the ping pong balls to make another work of art!


Talking points to consider and alternate ways to create art:

·         Talk to your child about the different colors of paint. Have them identify each one individually.

·         Talk about the new colors created as the original colors mix together.

·         Use only one, two, or three of the ping pong balls with different colors and talk about how the art looks different with less or more colors.

·         Instead of leaving the box open, close the box with the ping pong balls and paint inside and give it a good shake! Compare the art you make with the rolling technique vs. the shaking technique.


Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org


Grades K-2: Light-Up Lines

Create a picture that glows. Register for the February Grades K-2 Take-and-Make Kit here.


Your kit contains:

1 length of electroluminescent wire with battery pack

1 sheet of black paper

Clear tape

Black masking tape


You will also need:

Scissors (optional, to help cut tape)

A dark space

A camera



1.      Roll out the black paper and tape to your workspace.

2.      Lay out the wire on the black paper, using tape to keep it in place.

3.      You can “draw” an image or just random patterns.

4.      Use the clear tape to allow the light to shine through. If you want to stop and start your line (for example, for letters or separate images), you can use the masking tape to “black out” the line. 


5.      When you’re done, turn on your wire, turn out the lights, and see your creation pop! You can take a picture from above.



6.      Carefully peel off the tape and create something new!


Questions to explore:

How is using a wire to create an image different from using a pencil or marker?

Can you write your name or initials with the wire? In print or cursive?

How does your creation change when the room is dark?

What other household objects could you use in this artwork?

If you take a picture, experiment with where you stand and how you hold the camera. Can you change the way the picture looks by tilting the camera? Can you change how much of the artwork you see by zooming in or out?

Taping to the paper creates a flat image (or two-dimensional). Can you also create a sculpture that stands up (three-dimensional) with the wire? How?


Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org


Grades 3-8:  Cloud Slime

Create a cloud made of slime for a fun sensory experience. Register for the March Grades 3-8 Take-and-Make Kit here.


Your kit contains:

  • 5 plastic cups
  • 1 bottle of Elmer’s glue
  • 1 plastic bottle of liquid starch
  • 2 bottles of food coloring
  • 2 popsicle sticks
  • Instant snow

In addition to these items, you will need a ¼ cup measuring cup, and a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon.

  1. Pour ¼ cup of the glue into a plastic cup.
  2. Pour some of the liquid starch into one of the plastic cups.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of liquid starch to the cup with the glue.
  4. Stir well with Popsicle stick.
  5. Add food coloring and stir well.
  6. Your should start to see your slime clump together.
  7. Put the slime on a surface that is okay to get messy, such as a plastic plate or bowl.
  8. Knead the slime together, pulling it back and forth and folding it over itself.
  9. Continue to add small amounts of liquid starch to your slime, and knead the slime. Your slime should start to feel less sticky and gooey. The more starch you add, the less sticky the slime will be. However, make sure to add the starch slowly because too much starch will make your slime rubbery.  
  10. Once you are happy with your slime, pour the instant snow into one of the plastic cups.
  11. Add 2.5 tablespoons of water to the instant snow and stir.
  12. Knead the instant snow into your slime. You may have extra snow.

Check out the video below to see a visual!


Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org.

Youth Services Librarian Allison 


Have you completely exhausted your Disney+ options? Watched Frozen and How To Train Your Dragon more times than you can count? The Library is here to shake up your family movie nights! Consider one of these foreign films for something a little different.

Kiki’s Delivery Service 

Available on Blu-Ray and DVD

A plucky young witch-in-training sets out to discover her talent in a new city, accompanied by a sarcastic kitty named Jiji. Japan’s Studio Ghibli films are always my first stop when families are looking for something different. Their gentle stories and sweet characters make them great for families with preschoolers, but they are visually and narratively interesting to keep older kids and adults enchanted, too. Plus the English dubbing is excellent - no subtitles required.




The Secret of Kells 

Available on Blu-Ray, DVD, and streaming through kanopy

A boy learning the art of illumination (illustrating sacred texts) finds a mysterious child-like spirit in the forests surrounding the medieval monastery and a mystery involving an ancient book. I fell in love with the vibrant animation style, unusual setting, and stirring music in this Irish film.



The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales

Available on Blu-Ray, DVD, and streaming through hoopla

A pig, rabbit, and duck take on the task of delivering a bitty baby to her home after Stork hurts his wing. A fox plots to raise stolen eggs into delicious chickens, with hilarious consequences. And all the barnyard animals, smashing a plastic Santa decoration, fear they’ve killed the real Father Christmas and decide they must take on the gift delivery themselves. Adapted from French comic books, these stories are delightful. The dialogue is smart and funny, and the artwork (especially the big googly eyes) works perfectly with the light and silly story lines.


Marona’s Fantastic Tale

Available on Blu-Ray or DVD

The often tragic story of one sweet dog, shuffled between three different owners, who all abandon her for different reasons. Created in France, this film has much to offer, though probably only for families with older kids. (Content includes occasional crude language, scenes of smoking, and animal abuse/neglect.) The animation is gorgeous and strange, the English dubbing is fantastic, and the story is deeply affecting. Make sure you have the tissue box handy - you’re going to need every last one.



Available for streaming through hoopla and kanopy

A boy who loves stargazing can’t sleep one night when he sees the stars are disappearing. In his search for answers, he discovers that there’s a secret world of whisperers, dream writers, dew sprinklers, and countless other jobs to make sure nights proceed as intended. This Spanish film offers a unique and charming story with unusual character design and animation (you’ll either love it or hate it!).


Did you know? The Barrington Area Library offers cardholders free streaming videos through our hoopla and kanopy apps. Check them out!

Youth Services Librarian Allison 

Honor Black History Month by reading one of these powerful historical fiction books, many that center young African American perspectives, to turn back time and experience the Civil Rights Movement. These books are good choices for readers 9-13.


The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

An unforgettable family on a road-trip during one of the most important times in the civil rights movement. When the Watson family - ten-year-old Kenny, Momma, Dad, little sister Joetta, and brother Byron - sets out on a trip south to visit Grandma in Birmingham, Alabama, they don't realize that they're heading toward one of the darkest moments in America's history. The Watsons' journey reminds us that even in the hardest times, laughter and family can help us get through anything.



Night on Fire by Ronald Kidd

Thirteen-year-old Billie Sims doesn't think her hometown of Anniston, Alabama, should be segregated, but few of the town's residents share her opinion. When Billie learns that the Freedom Riders, a group of peace activists riding interstate buses to protest segregation, will be traveling through Anniston on their way to Montgomery, she thinks that maybe change is finally coming and her quiet little town will shed itself of its antiquated views. But what starts as a series of angry grumbles soon turns to brutality as Anniston residents show just how deep their racism runs. The Freedom Riders will resume their ride to Montgomery, and Billie is now faced with a choice: stand idly by in silence or take a stand for what she believes in. Through her own decisions and actions and a few unlikely friendships, Billie is about to come to grips with the deep-seated prejudice of those she once thought she knew, and with her own inherent racism that she didn't even know she had.


The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon

The Time: 1968. The Place: Chicago. For thirteen-year-old Sam it's not easy being the son of known civil rights activist Roland Childs. Especially when his older (and best friend), Stick, begins to drift away from him for no apparent reason. And then it happens: Sam finds something that changes everything forever. Sam has always had faith in his father, but when he finds literature about the Black Panthers under Stick's bed, he's not sure who to believe: his father or his best friend. Suddenly, nothing feels certain anymore. Sam wants to believe that his father is right: you can effect change without using violence. But as time goes on, Sam grows weary of standing by and watching as his friends and family suffer at the hands of racism in their own community. Sam begins to explore the Panthers with Stick, but soon he's involved in something far more serious--and more dangerous--than he could have ever predicted. Sam is faced with a difficult decision. Will he follow his father or his brother? His mind or his heart? The rock or the river?


Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney

Loretta, Roly, and Aggie B., members of the Little family, each present the vivid story of their young lives, spanning three generations. Their separate stories -- beginning in a cotton field in 1927 and ending at the presidential election of 1968 -- come together to create one unforgettable journey. Through an evocative mix of fictional first-person narratives, spoken-word poems, folk myths, gospel rhythms and blues influences, Loretta Little Looks Back weaves an immersive tapestry that illuminates the dignity of sharecroppers in the rural South. Inspired by storytelling's oral tradition, stirring vignettes are presented in a series of theatrical monologues that paint a gripping, multidimensional portrait of America's struggle for civil rights as seen through the eyes of the children who lived it. The novel's unique format invites us to walk in their shoes. Each encounters an unexpected mystical gift, passed down from one family member to the next, that ignites their experience of what it means to reach for freedom.



Betty Before X by Ilyahsah Shabazz

In Detroit, 1945, eleven-year-old Betty's house doesn't quite feel like home. She believes her mother loves her, but she can't shake the feeling that her mother doesn't want her. Church helps those worries fade, if only for a little while. The singing, the preaching, the speeches from guest activists like Paul Robeson and Thurgood Marshall stir African Americans in her community to stand up for their rights. Betty quickly finds confidence and purpose in volunteering for the Housewives League, an organization that supports black-owned businesses. Soon, the American civil rights icon we now know as Dr. Betty Shabazz is born. Collaborating with novelist Renée Watson, Ilyasah Shabazz illuminates four poignant years in her mother's childhood, painting a beautiful and inspiring portrait of a girl overcoming the challenges of self-acceptance and belonging that will resonate with young readers today.


Revolution by Deborah Wiles

It's 1964, and Sunny's town is being invaded. Or at least that's what the adults of Greenwood, Mississippi, are saying. All Sunny knows is that people from up north are coming to help people register to vote. They're calling it Freedom Summer. Meanwhile, Sunny can't help but feel like her house is being invaded, too. She has a new stepmother, a new brother, and a new sister crowding her life, giving her little room to breathe. And things get even trickier when Sunny and her brother are caught sneaking into the local swimming pool--where they bump into a mystery boy whose life is going to become tangled up in theirs.


One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She's had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. But when the sisters arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with their mother, Cecile is nothing like they imagined. While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer.


Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson, the acclaimed author of Red at the Bone, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child's soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson's eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.


For more books and resources on exploring racism and anti-racism with children, see our “Let’s Talk About Racism” blog post from the summer of 2020.

Youth Services Librarian Allison 

So many books, so little time! These new graphic novels are sure to make your TBR list grow longer. 

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

  Youth Services Librarian Ann 


We are so pleased to share a new service: Browsing Bundles! 

With the Library building currently closed to the public, we know that our customers are missing the experience of browsing. Especially with children, the time spent in person - paging through books, seeing the artwork, and gauging text complexity  - is often so helpful, even necessary, to ensure that young readers are finding what they need.

Now a Barrington Area Library cardholder can complete a brief online form (or call us, if you’d prefer), and we’ll create a bundle full of fantastic options (books or movies) hand-selected by your local book experts based on your child’s age and interests. Simply come to the Library for Parking Lot Pickup once you’re notified the Bundle is ready, and we’ll check them out and bring them to your car. 


Perhaps your preschooler is all-about teddy bears (we can relate)...

Or your middle schooler is looking for more thought-provoking and moving realistic fiction like Wonder or A Good Kind of Trouble...

We’ve got you covered! Give our new Browsing Bundles a try to make choosing books for your reader a breeze.


Youth Services Librarian Allison 

For Valentine’s Day, try a romantic read all about first crushes and kisses (perfect for kids not quite ready for Young Adult books).

Danny Constantino's First (And Maybe Last?) Date by Paul Acampora

When Danny Constantino asks his old-friend-turned-Hollywood-movie-star, Natalie Flores Griffin, to his local school dance and homecoming parade, she surprises him . . . by saying yes! Unfortunately, now everyone in Cuper Cove has something to say about Danny's love life - especially since Natalie is the hometown hero. Throw in herds of TV reporters and NFG groupies, his mom using Natalie's arrival for free publicity, and a pep rally gone horribly, horribly awry, and Danny's left absolutely clueless in this new world of crushes and becoming (kind of) famous.



Never Evers by Tom Ellen

Thirteen-year-old Mouse is pretty sure her life is totally over. Now that she's been kicked out of ballet school, she has to go on her new school's ski trip basically knowing no one. Meanwhile, Jack's life is just about to begin. He's on the way to the slopes with his school too, and all he can think about is how to successfully get his first kiss. But with new friends by her side, Mouse has more fun skiing and building igloos than she expected. And when Jack catches Mouse's eye at the ski resort, he's smitten. All's well -- that is, until mega pop star Roland arrives on the scene and sets his sights on Mouse, too! A week in the snow is about to get complicated. . .


Keep It Together, Keiko Carter by Debbi Michiko Florence

Seventh grade is supposed to be a game changer. And Keiko thinks she's got it covered, especially with Audrey and Jenna by her side to shop for a new look, pick out a prime lunch spot, and even hit up that cute new bubble tea place after school. Her trio is ready to tackle life as they always have... together. But when Audrey decides they need boyfriends before Fall Ball, it looks like things may be changing in all the wrong ways. Jenna is sick of caving in to Audrey's demands, and soon Keiko's besties are barely talking, leaving her caught in the middle. While she's been dreaming about triple-dates, first kisses, and a boy she really shouldn't have a crush on, the friendship she's always thought was rock-solid is beginning to crumble. Keiko feels pulled in two directions. Should she try to help her friends -- even if it means losing one of them -- or follow her heart? When it comes to flirting, friendships, and fallouts, how is Keiko supposed to keep it all together?


Redwood and Ponytail by K. A. Holt

At first, Tam figures Kate is your stereotypical cheerleader; Kate sees Tam as another tall jock. And the more they keep running into each other, the more they surprise each other. Beneath Kate's sleek ponytail and perfect façade, Tam sees a goofy, sensitive, lonely girl. And Tam's so much more than a volleyball player, Kate realizes: She's everything Kate wishes she could be. It's complicated. Except it's not. When Kate and Tam meet, they fall in like. It's as simple as that. But not everybody sees it that way.



Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

Scarlett Martin has grown up in a most unusual way. Her family owns the Hopewell, a small hotel in the heart of New York City. When the Martins turn fifteen, they are each expected to take over the care of a suite in the once elegant, now shabby Art Deco hotel. For Scarlett's fifteenth birthday, she gets both a room called the Empire Suite, and a permanent guest named Mrs. Amberson. Scarlett doesn't quite know what to make of this C-list starlet, world traveler, and aspiring autobiographer who wants to take over her life. And when she meets Eric, an astonishingly gorgeous actor who has just moved to the city, her summer takes a second unexpected turn. Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwind of thievery, Broadway glamour, romantic missteps, and theatrical deception. The show, as they say, must always go on . . .


Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan 

Bea Hogg is shy, but she has a fiery core that she doesn't let many see. When the national dance competition Starwars comes to her school looking for talent, she wants to sign up. It's just her luck that her best friend Kat ditches her and agrees to enter with school super-witch Pearl Harris (and Bea's former best friend). Bea is determined to fight back! But when the school hottie, Ollie Matthews, who also happens to be Pearl's boyfriend, decides to enter the competition with Bea to jive dance, she will have more than a fight on her hands. Book 1 of the Ladybirds series.

Cake Pop Crush by Suzanne Nelson

Sometimes friends, school, and boys can be a recipe for disaster! This sweet treat of a read is irresistible. Alicia Ramirez has always loved baking. Her family owns Say It With Flour, the small bakery in town. And Ali's specialties are cake pops: delicious confections on a stick. But Ali's sweet life turns sour when a sleek coffee shop opens across the street, giving her bakery a run for its money. Worst of all, the owner's son, Dane McGuire, likes to bake, too. He's the new kid in Ali's school... and happens to be annoyingly cute. When Dane and Ali engage in a bake-off to prove who is the cake-pop master, it's Ali's chance to save Say It With Flour. But will she be able to rise to occasion... and ignore what her heart might be telling her? Book 1 of the Wish series.


The Swap by Megan Shull 

With one random wish, Jack and Ellie are living life in each other's shoes. He's her. And she's him. ELLIE assumed popular guys didn't worry about body image, being perfect, or talking to girls, but acting like you're cool with everything is tougher than it looks. JACK thought girls had it easy--no fights with bullies, no demanding dads, no power plays--but facing mean girls at sleepovers and getting grilled about your period is way harder than taking a hit to the face at sports practice. Now they're dealing with each other's middle school dramas--locker room teasing, cliques, video game battles, bra shopping, and a slew of hilariously awkward moments--until they hopefully switch back! Though not quite a romance, a clever, laugh-out-loud dive into the minds of the opposite sexes.


Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm

Life is real enough for Dylan—especially as the ordinary younger sister of Dusty, former Miss Mississippi and the most perfect, popular girl in Tupelo. But when Dusty wins the hand of the handsome Scottish laird-to-be Ronan on the TRC television network’s crown jewel, Prince in Disguise, Dylan has to face a different kind of reality: reality TV. As the camera crew whisks them off to Scotland to film the lead-up to the wedding, camera-shy Dylan is front and center as Dusty’s maid of honor. The producers are full of surprises—including old family secrets, long-lost relatives, and a hostile future mother-in-law who thinks Dusty and Dylan’s family isn’t good enough for her only son. At least there’s Jamie, an adorably bookish groomsman who might just be the perfect antidote to all Dylan’s stress . . .


Looking for personalized reading suggestions? Fill out our form to get a custom list of reads or a Book Bundle for pickup, just for your reader.

Youth Services Librarian Allison 

Bring home a fun new project! Sign up from our Library Calendar and pick up a kit through our Parking Lot Pickup service between February 8-19.


Toddler & PreK: Create Your Own Puzzle

Use paint and stamping to create a unique heart-shaped puzzle that can be enjoyed again and again. Register for the February Toddler & PreK Take-and-Make Kit here.

Your kit contains:

  • 1 paint brush
  • 1 sponge with handle
  • 2 sponges (without handles)
  • 3 containers of (different) colored paint
  • 1 heart puzzle


1. Take the puzzle out of the box and place it on a flat surface. (You may want to place some newspaper down first.)

2. Open the paint containers and allow your child to choose which medium(s) they want to use (sponge, sponge with handle or paint brush). Have your child paint the puzzle any way they would like.


3. Once your child has finished painting, allow your puzzle time to dry.

4. Once the puzzle is dry, allow your child to put together their masterpiece puzzle - as many times as they want!

Talking points to consider:

  • Talk to your child about the different colors of paint. Try having them identify each color individually.
  • Have your child make a prediction about what happens when you mix two colors together - and then try it!
  • Ask your child what each color makes them feel.
  • Ask your child to tell you about their painting.
  • Have your child identify something else that is the same color they are using. ("What else is blue?")

Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org


Grades K-2: Pom Pom Picture Frame

Create a colorful picture frame for your favorite photo. Register for the February Grades K-2 Take-and-Make Kit here.

Your kit contains:

  • One bottle of glue
  • One wooden picture frame
  • Pom-poms


1. Decide on a pattern for your picture frame: stripes, color patches, or random-rainbow! If you want, you can use a pencil and ruler to pattern your picture frame before you start.

2. Place small dots of glue on the frame, and press pom-poms down on the glue.

3. Once you're finished, let the frame dry for at least 1 hour.

4. Carefully remove the back panel, add a photo, and display!

Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org


Grades 3-8: Styrofoam Printmaking 

Learn the basics of printmaking and design your own art print with simple materials. Register for the February Grades 3-8 Take-and-Make Kit here.


1. Using the pencil, draw a design onto one of the foam plates. The marks you make with the pencil will show up in white. You will be unable to erase lines.


2. Squeeze some paint onto a tray.

3. Roll the paint onto your foam brayer.


4. Using the brayer, cover your foam plate with paint. Press firmly onto the paint while you use the brayer, this will add more paint to your plate.


5. Place a piece of sulphite paper on top of the paint covered foam plate

6. Press down and rub all over the piece of paper. Try to get all of the corners.

7. Lift the paper up and see your print!


  • As you continue to make prints, you may need to go over the design again with your pencil.
  • If the paint is very light on your print, try adding more paint to your brayer and pressing firmly down on the print as you roll the brayer.
  • If you want more than one color on the print, roll paint on one section of the foam plate, wash the brayer, and then roll paint on another section of the plate.


Show us what you created! Send us pictures at youthservices@balibrary.org.

Youth Services Librarian Allison