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


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


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

Youth Services Librarian Allison 


While the Barrington Area Library has many books about Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass, we also have outstanding biographies about lesser-known or lesser-celebrated African American leaders, thinkers, activists, and artists. Take a look at these picture-book biographies, beautifully illustrated and written, to expand your child’s knowledge of the vast and varied impact of Black History.

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 


Dance is so much more than a ballet or tap class! Dance and creative movement are great indoor, at-home activities that can benefit your young child as well as get older children and caregivers moving!

Both structured dance with prescribed moves and free-flowing creative movement have real benefits.

  • Physical Fitness - the most obvious benefit of boppin' to the beat is that it is great exercise. Plus a bonus benefit of getting the wiggles out!
  • Body Awareness - young children may not always know exactly what their bodies can and can't do or how to stay in their own space. Dance and creative movement helps them learn coordination and spatial awareness.
  • Social Skills - everyone moves through the world a little differently and dance helps show that not everyone will interpret the beat or rhythm of life the same way. Be you always!
  • Concentration - following instructions or trying to remember what comes next in a sequence of events are important skills in early childhood development. Dance and creative movement give children a fun and active way to work on these important skills.

These are just some of the great benefits that dance and creative movement have to offer.

Here's a few ways you can enjoy the benefits at home:

  • Plan a dance party! Make a short playlist with a couple songs that have prescribed movements and a couple songs that are just fun to bounce around to. Dance with your child so they have a model to follow when in doubt about their own creative confidence. Register for our Virtual Story Time Dance Party on February 16, 2021!
  • Play freeze dance! Put on a few of your favorite kid-friendly tracks but make sure your child knows when the music stops they stop. Play around with giving instructions on how to freeze - like make a silly face or pose like a statue.
  • Dance with scarves! Sometimes figuring out how to move is hard. Having a manipulative helps focus the movement and gives an opportunity for following instructions.

Need help finding some music? Check out this blog post or contact Youth Services for some recommendations.

  Youth Services Librarian Demitra 

You've checked out Mock Caldecott Kits, read the books, hosted discussions, and sent us your ballots in our first-ever community-wide Mock Caldecott Medal Vote. Five books were nominated, but only one will be crowned the Barrington Area Library's favorite picture book of 2020!

Here's a reminder of the nominees: 

All Because You Matter written by Tami Charles, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming & Eric Rohmann

My Best Friend by Julie Fogliano & Jillian Tamaki

The Cat Man of Aleppo by Irene Latham and Karim Shamsi-Basha, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade 

And finally, we are pleased to share that the winner of the 2020 Barrington Area Library Mock Caldecott Medal is: 

We Are Water Protectors 

by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade 

What a fantastic book! Great reading and voting, everyone. Thank you to all who participated! 

Find out which book will win the real Caldecott Medal, awarded by the American Library Association, on Monday. You can even watch the Youth Media Awards announcements live at 8 AM (CST) - it's like the Oscars, but for people who love #KidsLit! (And don't mind waking up early!)

Find out more about our Mock Caldecott here.

Youth Services Librarian Allison 


We have a ton of different materials for our littlest customers, including our expanding Early Learning Backpack collection. We have several new Early Learning Backpacks. 

Active Play  

The active play kits feature books, balancing stones, or another interactive toy that promotes active and pretend play. Playing is an important component of early literacy development. 

Balance Stepping Stones  

Let your little one get active with some stepping stones. The kit features 4 stepping stones that help promote gross motor movement. They also help your little one with balancing and coordination. Get creative and allow some imaginative play with the stepping stones as well. 


Melissa & Doug Pizza Party Play Set 

Have your child explore imaginative play and have some fun with a pizza party. Create and design your favorite pizza creations. With 63 pieces, your little one can play pretend, which will help with developing their abstract thinking skills. 


Learn different ways to share while playing, as you cuddle up to read some books. 

Blocks by Irene Dickson 

Can I Play Too? by Samantha Cotterill


Active play will help keep your child engaged and learning. Check out all of Early Learning Kits available at the library. 


  Youth Services Assistant Librarian MaryJo 


Looking for a video game similar to Animal Crossing? Check out the video games below!


Stardew Valley

Available for checkout on the PS4 and Xbox One. The Nintendo Switch version can be found on the Nintendo eShop.

You've inherited your grandfather's farm, and it is up to you to create the farm of your dreams.As you cultivate your land, you'll meet other townsfolk and help them with their requests, start a family, raise animals, and explore mysterious caves full of monsters and treasure.


Little Dragons Cafe

Available on the Nintendo Switch and PS4.

This game is a mix of Overcooked and Animal Crossing. When your mom suddenly falls ill, it's up to you and your sibling to keep the family cafe open. A mysterious wizard informs you that in order for your mom to get better, you must raise a pet dragon. Together, with your dragon, you gather ingredients in the wild, cook delicious dishes, and manage the many demands of the cafe's customers.


 Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

Available on the Nintendo Switch. 

You've been shipwrecked on the mysterious island Gemea. The island is afflicted with an evil murk that blights the island. Together, with magical Sprites, you must try to restore the land and help the townspeople with their gathering, building, and crafting. This open world game, focuses on exploration, gathering, and running errands, and has no combat.

My Time In Portia

Available on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PS4.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, you have inherited your father's run down workshop. It is up to you, to improve the workshop, and help out the villagers while you craft items, mine resources, and explore ruins.

Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town.

Available on the Nintendo Switch.

Like other games on this list, you have inherited your grandfather's farm. While growing your crops and raising livestock, you'll make relationships with the people of Mineral Town, fish, and enjoy special seasonal events.


 Looking for more recommendations? Fill out this form, or contact us through email, chat, or text.


    Youth Services Librarian Ann 

Bring home a fun new project! Sign up from our Library Calendar and pick up a kit through our Parking Lot Pickup service between January 11-22.


Toddler & PreK: DIY Activity Dice 

Color and create your own movement dice game, then have fun rolling it again and again! Register for the January Toddler & PreK Take-and-Make Kit here.

Your kit contains:

  • 1 cube-shaped box
  • Velcro dots in two envelopes - keep them separated!
  • Labels for the dice
  • Con-Tact film
  • Crayons
Icons used on dice labels made by Freepik from



1. Assemble the cube box as your dice. 

2. Have your child color the 6 Animal Action labels, 6 Song labels, and 6 blank labels. Decide together what the blank set will be. It could be types of dances, colors to seek and find, sounds to make - it's up to you! 

3. Peel the backing off the Con-Tact film, then cover the front of the decorated labels to laminate them.

4. Place the 72 Velcro dots on the four corners of the back of each label. Place them as close to the corners as you can to ensure that the labels will line up. Take care to use only the Velcro from the envelope marked for the labels. The colored sticker on the envelope does not matter.

5. Place the 24 Velcro dots for the dice on the four corners of each side. Take care to use only the Velcro from the envelope marked for the dice. The colored sticker on the envelope does not matter. Some of the box's sides will be a little longer than the square labels, so it's okay if the Velcro are not precisely lined up with the corners. 

6. Stick one set of labels to all sides of the dice, roll, play, switch, and repeat!

Show us what you created! Send us pictures at


Grades K-2: Design a Calendar

Personalize and decorate a calendar you can use the whole year. Register for the January Grades K-2 Take-and-Make Kit here.

Your kit contains:

  • 9 colored pencils
  • 1 sheet of stickers
  • 1 blank calendar
  • list of holiday dates

It might seems a little obvious, but the first piece to teaching kids about the calendar is to make sure they understand what a calendar is. A calendar is a series of pages that shows the days, weeks, and months of a particular year. It is a tool we use to help us keep track of the days, and it allows us to see when different events will happen. 

1. Flip open the calendar, in the long rectangle on the top of each calendar page, have your child label the months.

2. Have your child number the days of the month in the corresponding boxes.

3. The holiday stickers correspond with the dates on the provided half sheet. Help your child locate the dates and add the correct sticker.

4. Allow your child to add dates that important to you and your family: birthdays, play dates, lessons, beginning of a new season, appointments, special plans, etc…

5. Use the provided colored pencils and have your child decorate the calendar however they choose. Feel free to use any material you have at home to add to the calendar design. Consider having your child cutting out images in unused magazines and make a collage. 

More ideas to consider:

Research and discuss holidays that you do not celebrate.

Talk about how:

  • Each square represents one day, 
  • A group of 7 days in a row is called a week,
  • One week is equal to 7 days, and 
  • Each day of the week has a name. 
  • Show where the names of the days of the week are shown on a calendar.
  • “If we are this day” (point to a square), “1 week later would be...” (point to square underneath).
  • Ask them which square would be 2 weeks later, or 3 weeks later.
  • Explain that a square above shows 1 week ago (in the past).
  • Ask them which square would be 2 weeks ago or another number of weeks ago.

Show us what you created! Send us pictures at


Grades 3-8: Quirky Winter Terrarium

 Create your own tiny winter scene, complete with snow and a miniature dinosaur! Register for the January Grades 3-8 Take-and-Make Kit here.

 Your kit contains:

  •  Glass jar or cookie jar
  • Container with instant snow
  • 4 wooden blocks
  • Glue dots
  • Tacky glue
  • 2 animal figurines
  • 1 piece of greenery

1. Remove all of the items from the glass jar or cookie jar. Your kit will contain either a small glass jar with a gold lid or a cookie jar with a silver lid.


2. Attach your animal figurines to the wooden blocks with a glue dot. 1 or 2 glue dots should be enough to attach your dinosaur.


3. Attach your piece of greenery to one of the wooden blocks with a glue dot. You may need to secure the greenery to one of the sides of the block, instead of the top.


4. Have an adult cut the tip off the tacky glue bottle.

5. Using the tacky glue, glue your wooden blocks with the figurines and greenery to the bottom of the jar. If you have any remaining glue dots, you can also secure the blocks to the jar with a glue dot.

6. Let the glue dry completely.

Once you are done creating your scene, and the glue has dried completely, it is time to add your snow! Pay close attention to what type of jar you have. Depending on which jar you have, that will determine how much water you add to the instant snow.

7. Pour the instant snow into your jar.

8. If you have a cookie jar with a silver lid, add 1/3 cup of water to the jar.

If you have a glass jar with a gold lid, add 6 teaspoons of water to the jar.

Your snow will expand, and you will have finished your quirky terrarium! The instant snow will last about 2 weeks, after which it will start to shrink and gather moisture.


Show us what you created! Send us pictures at

  Youth Services Assistant Librarian Alyssa 


Did you know that the Barrington Area Library has databases which can help with elearning and homework? Before going straight to Google or Wikipedia, try these databases first. To access the databases from home, you will need a Barrington Area Library card. 



Britannica Library - A great place to start your research. Britannica Library has articles on a wide variety of topics including history, science, geography, and biographies. For kids in grades K-5 try Britannica Library Children. Kids in middle school, or those looking for more complex articles try Britannica Young Adult. Both versions allow you to favorite, email, cite, and send articles to Google Drive.   


HelpNow - Looking for help on your homework? Try HelpNow by Brainfuse. HelpNow lets you connect to a live tutor every day from 2:00 PM-11:00PM. This database also has practice tests and lessons on reading, writing, math, social studies, and science for kids in grades 3-12. To access the lessons and tests, click on the SkillSurfer section. Make sure to create your own account, which will allow you to save your progress on tests and access past sessions with tutors.


Mango Languages - Mango Languages is great for kids studying a foreign language or for those who would like to start learning a new language. With over 50 languages, including Pirate, this database will help you with vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar.


Looking for more resources to help with eLearning? Contact the Youth Services department to receive additional help.


  Youth Services Librarian Ann 



While 2020 brought our world many challenges, it also brought us some really stellar books for children. Here are a few favorites from this year. Make sure to check out our full list of best books as well!

Chris recommends...

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender


Alyssa recommends...

The Forest of Stars by Heather Kassner


Ann recommends...

Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian by Tim Probert


Stefanie recommends...

Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar

Betita’s life is turned upside down when her Papi isn’t there to pick her up from school. She later learns that there has been an ICE raid, and that her father was deported to Mexico, separated from her and her pregnant mother. When Betita and her mother try to visit him at the border, they end up getting detained and sent to a family detention center outside of Los Angeles, California. During this horrifically trying time for her and her family, Betita turns toward her love of poetry (and the book is fittingly written in verse), and the knowledge that her Papi has told her over and over since she was a young child--that she is a crane, descended from the Aztecs of Aztlan, and the land that they inhabit in the Southwestern United States is in fact, their promised land. A heart-wrenching but necessary read.

Allison recommends...

There Must Be More Than That! by Shinsuke Yoshitake


MaryJo recommends...

Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, illustrated by Luisa Uribe


Mitch recommends...

Little Bird by Cynthia Voigt, illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins

Little Bird is a crow, the smallest in her flock. After an attack on her roost’s oak tree, she decides that she can recover her kin’s “luck,” a necklace that had been woven into the nest. So off she goes, and as with any quest, there are many dangers, adventures, and strange encounters, from sassy blue jays to peanut butter to a wise and witty goat. She returns home a kinder and wiser crow, ready for new adventures. Characters featured in Voigt’s earlier Davis Farm books—Angus and Sadie, Young Fredle, and Toaff’s Way—also make brief appearances, but you don’t need to have read the earlier books to enjoy this one. A fine for choice for solo readers, or as a family read-along.

 See even more of our 2020 favorites!


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