We have many different types of materials for our littlest customers, including our Early Learning Backpack collection. We have several new Early Learning Backpacks available for checkout. Two of our newest Early Learning Kits, available to check out today, are the World Traveler and Families kits. 


World Traveler 

Start learning about cultures around the world with books, activities, and puzzles in this kit. Recommended for ages 3+. World Traveler kit will provide you with the tools to help your child begin to learn about the world around them. 


Children of the World puzzle is a great tool to help start the discussion of children around the world. The puzzle includes 18 children from 18 different countries. Building the puzzle will also improve your child's hand-eye coordination, strengthen their fine motor skills, and allow them to practice critical thinking and problem-solving skills. 


A Puzzle Globe

Puzzle Globe from Learning Resources. The puzzle globe will allow your little one to build their fine motor skills and start to practice spatial awareness. The puzzle globe is an accurate globe of the world, and will allow your child to start to learn about other continents, oceans, and things that could be seen in each continent.  


Learn how to say "hello" in other languages

Hello From Around the World cards from Lakeshore Learning. Learn how to say "Hello" 25 different ways. Each card includes how to pronounce how to say hello in each language. These cards are a great way for children to begin to understand other languages and cultures from around the world. 


Books and a movie 

Cuddle up with this book and movie, and learn about how different kids from around the world live their lives. This will help expand your child's world.

This Is How We Do It: One day in the lives of seven kids from around the world by Matt Lamothe. 

DVD Let's Go Luna! Friendship around the world




Families come in many different shapes and sizes. Learn about families with books and activities. Recommended ages 3+. The Families kit will help begin the conversation about many different types of families there are in the world, and what those families might be. 

Mix and Match families 


Mix and Match Magnetic Families from Lakeshore Learning. Through the Mix and Match Families set, a child can begin to explore unique and different types of families. The magnetic pieces will also help build stronger hand and eye coordination. 


Books and a movie about different kinds of families 

Cuddle up with these books and learn about all the different types of families in the world today. Learn about the importance of family, and the love of a family. These titles are a great way to begin to discuss with your child your family and other types of families they may know. 

Families Around the World by Margriet Ruurs, illustrated by Jessica Rae Gordon 

Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer

Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne Lang & Max Lang. 

DVD: Highlights: Family Fun!


Both the World Traveler and Families kits will help keep your child engaged and learning about different cultures, places, and people from all around the world. 


Check out all of the different Early Learning Kits available at the library. 


  Youth Services Assistant Librarian MaryJo 


Bring home a fun new project! Sign up from our Library Calendar and pick up a kit through our Parking Lot Pickup service between December 7-18.



Toddlers and Preschoolers: Mail A Hug

Brighten someone’s day by mailing them a hug. Register for the Toddler/Preschooler Take & Make Kit here.

Instructions for Mailing a Hug:

1. Unfold the sheet of butcher paper.

2. Trace child’s head, arms and torso on paper.

3. Allow your child to fill in and decorate their silhouette.

Ideas to consider: Talk to your child about different body parts and different colors.

Use the multicultural crayons to help your child determine the color of their skin and expand on the various skin tones we all have.

4. Cut around your child’s silhouette. If appropriate, allow your child to cut it themselves.

5. Fill in the provided letter (if desired).

See Venessa's original blog post that the inspired the Take & Make Kit!  

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

Grades K-2: Make Your Own Playdough

Make your own dough, then customize it with colors, scents, and textures. Register for the Grades K-2 Take & Make Kit here.

The kit has enough supplies to make two batches of playdough. Things you will need in addition to the items in the kit:

  • 1 cup measuring cup
  • 1/2 cup measuring cup
  • 1/4 cup measuring cup
  • 1 tablespoon measuring spoon
  • warm water
  • large bowl & mixing spoon

Instructions for 1 batch of playdough:

1. Measure 1 cup of the flour and pour into a large bowl.

2. Measure 1/4 cup of the salt and add to bowl.

3. Measure 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar and add to bowl.

4. Mix dry ingredients.

5. Measure and add 1 tablespoon of oil.

6. Measure and pour 1/2 cup of warm water into bowl. 

7. Stir until the mixture combines and thickens. Switch to your hands to continue kneading to make a smooth dough. 

8. Optionally, add several drops of food coloring, at least 15 drops to get a vivid color. Knead well with hands until no streaks remain.

9. Optionally, add some of the provided glitter.

10. Optionally, add some of the provided colored rice, tinsel, or anything else that might provide a unique sensory experience.

11. Optionally, add a drop of vanilla extract or essential oils for another sensory experience.

Watch the how-to video here:

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


Grades 3-8: Pendulum Art 

Make a one-of-a-kind painting when gravity and art combine in this STEM based experiment. Please note, this project can get messy! Register for the Grades 3-8 Take & Make Kit here.

Things you will need in addition to the items in the kit:

  • Tape
  • Ruler

Instructions for Pendulum Art:

1. Take the items out of the box.

2. Using the pencil, poke a hole in the bottom of one of the Styrofoam cups.

3. Poke 2 holes in the top of the cup directly across from each other.

4. Poke another 2 holes at the top of the cup directly across from each other.

5. Fold 2 paperclips into a W shape.


6. Tie one of the pieces of string to a washer.

7. Slide the washer and string through one of the bent paper clips so that it is hanging in the middle of the W.

8. Insert the paper clip and washer with string into two of the holes at the top of the cup.

9. Insert the 2nd paper clip into the remaining two holes. You may need to bend the ends of the paper clip a little to secure it around the cup. You have now made your pendulum!

10. Spread the newspaper on the floor. Get approval from an adult about where you can make your painting. It will be messy!

11. Tie the pendulum to the wooden dowel

12. Tape the wooden dowel between 2 chairs or 2 tables

13. Place a sheet of cardstock below your pendulum and on top of the newspaper.

14. Start out by having the cup about 6 inches from the ground. You can adjust the height later.

15. Measure a 2 to 1 ratio of paint to water into one of the Styrofoam cups. You can start with 10 ml water and 20 ml paint.

16. Mix paint and water together. The paint should be fairly runny.

17. Cover the hole in the bottom of your pendulum with your finger and pour the paint into the cup.

18. Swing back the cup and let your pendulum fly! Paint should start to drip out of the cup.

19. Try swinging the pendulum in a circular motion.

*If your paint is not coming out of the cup, try adjusting the paint and water ratio. We started with a 2 to 1 ratio.  Try adding a little more water to the mixture slowly and then a little more paint if needed.

As you make your pendulum paintings, experiment! What happens if….

  • You adjust the paint and water ratio?
  • Poke another hole in the bottom of the cup?
  • Adjust the height of the pendulum?
  • Add more washers to the pendulum?
  • Add another color to your painting?

Watch the how-to video here:

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


Family: Pom-Pom Party

For December only, enjoy a special box with an activity for everyone. Transform yarn into colorful pom poms for decorating gifts, trees, mantels, or yourself! Register for the Family Take & Make Kit here. 

In addition to the Take & Make Box, you will need one sharp pair of scissors.

Directions to make a pom-pom: 

1. Select a yarn color (or two, or three!) and a pom-pom maker. (There are four different sizes.)

2. Pull one half of the pom-pom maker away from the white circle. You should see a crescent shape now, pointing away from the main pom-pom maker.

3. Wrap yarn around the crescent, many times. The more yarn you use, the thicker and fluffier the pom-pom will be.

4. Once it's pretty thick, cut the end of the yarn. Don't stress about the end of the yarn - you can trim it later if needed.

5. Push the crescent, now wrapped up in yarn, back into the center of the pom-pom maker.

6. Pull the other half away from the center, and wrap this crescent in yarn. Try to do about the same amount of yarn, but don't worry about making it perfectly even.

7. Once both sides look about the same thickness, cut the yarn again, and fold up the crescents towards the middle. It should now look like a disc with fuzzy sides.

8. Find the seam running under the yarn strands. Wiggle your scissors into that little gap, and cut the yarn wraps across. The yarn should start fluffing out, but it shouldn't fall out of the pom-pom maker. Repeat on the other half.

9. Set aside the pom-pom maker, now bursting with yarn strands. Grab the extra yarn (or string you might have) and cut a short length, 6-8 inches or so. 

10. Pull the thread through the pom-pom maker gap that you just cut along. Pull tightly and tie on the other side. Double or triple knot to keep it secure.

11. Pull the crescents away from the pom-pom. 

12. Pull the two circles apart, so now your pom-pom is free.

13. Trim any long strands if you'd like to make the pom-pom as round as possible.

Watch the video to see how it's done:



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

  Youth Services Assistant Librarian Alyssa 


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 Mirror by 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’s Stamped From the Beginning is 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! 



Sign up for our new e-newsletters to discover the latest and greatest books for kids, delivered straight to your inbox every month!

Youth Services Librarian Allison 


We absolutely love to hear how families share reading. It’s such a fantastic bonding experience, not to mention modeling the importance of reading to children. But finding books that work for chapter-a-night read-alouds can be tricky. If the book’s too long, kids lose interest. Too mature, and the 4-year-old won’t “get it.” Too babyish, and the 8-year-old will roll his eyes. (Maybe the grown-up will, too!)  

Here’s a roundup of newer, fantastic read-aloud options, especially for families with different ages of children. These books all have short chapters, occasional illustrations, and gentle stories and themes that can be enjoyed by young children, older children, and perhaps even the adults reading aloud!



The Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-el

Meet Duane the polar bear, who discovers many potential friendships in other arctic creatures up in the Very, Very Far North. These gentle stories may remind you of Winnie the Pooh. Perfect for reading aloud!



Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott 

When Jaxon is sent to spend the day with a mean old lady his mother calls Ma, he finds out she's not his grandmother--but she is a witch! She needs his help delivering baby dragons to a magical world where they'll be safe. A perfect fantasy adventure for young readers.


Megabat by Anna Humphrey 

A boy adjusting to his new house bonds with a cute little fruit bat (accidentally shipped from the Borneo rainforest) who talks and has a love of all things sweet. A very funny animal story, with a sequel!


The Littlest Voyageur by Margi Preus

A little red squirrel watches men rowing canoes, off to an unknown adventure, and longs to join them in their quest. Stowing away in the canoe, the squirrel finds his true identity - Jean Pierre Petit Le Rouge - and calling as a voyageur. A charming historical fiction novel for young readers and families.


Good Dog, McTavish by Meg Rosoff

When Ma Peachey declares a strike, the rest of the family finds themselves abandoned to chaos: no one cooks dinner, no one picks up the dirty laundry, the children are always late for school, and there is a good deal of squabbling and squalor. Enter McTavish, a rescue dog who, true to his mission, is ready to teach this family some new tricks. A witty tale for family sharing.


Sign up for our new e-newsletters to discover the latest and greatest books for kids, delivered straight to your inbox every month!

Youth Services Librarian Allison 


During Native American Heritage Month, and all year long, one of my top priorities is to ensure that the depictions of Indigenous and Native people in the books I read and promote are authentic and accurate. Many traditional Thanksgiving-themed books contain harmful portrayals and stereotypes of Indigenous and Native communities, but these contemporary #OwnVoices selections are written and/or illustrated, and celebrated by the communities they represent. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how to interrogate children’s books that depict Indigenous and Native communities, I highly recommend American Indians in Children’s Literature, a blog run by Debbie Reese (Nambé Pueblo) and Jean Mendoza. Reese and Mendoza also adapted a book for adults by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz for a middle grade and young adult audience, called An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People, which chronicles the settlement of the “new world” from the perspective of Indigenous people, and highlights their resistance and resilience.

For more book recommendations, check out this book list from the American Indian Library Association, and the past and current winners of the American Indian Youth Literature Award.



We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, Frane Lessac, Hardcover |  Barnes & Noble®

We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frane Lessac

Learn about a year in the life of contemporary Cherokee family, and the ways in which they express gratitude throughout each season.

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, Michaela Goade, Hardcover |  Barnes & Noble®

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

A powerful and poignant look at the Indigenous fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the interconnectedness of all inhabitants of Mother Earth.

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, Juana  Martinez-Neal, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Fry bread might seem simple on the surface, but its history is not. Dive into this almost 150-year long tradition and its importance to Native American families of many different nations (Did you know there are about 573 federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States currently?). The author even includes his own recipe, so you can try it yourself!

A Day With Yayah by Nicola I. Campbell, Julie Flett, Hardcover | Barnes &  Noble®

A Day with Yayah by Nicola I. Campbell, illustrated by Julie Flett

Set in the Nicola Valley of British Columbia, Yayah takes her grandchildren on an adventure in nature, teaching them to forage plants and mushrooms, and sharing her vast knowledge of the natural world.


Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu

Jenna daydreams about jingle dancing, a tradition that is shared by the women in her family, and can’t wait until she can dance at the next powwow. The only problem is, Jenna doesn’t have enough jingles for her dress. Join Jenna as she collects all the jingles she needs on her journey to her first official jingle dance. A beautifully illustrated and heartwarming tale of tradition and family, with an author’s note about the origin and varying practices of jingle dancing at the end.

Bowwow Powwow by Brenda J. Child, Jonathan Thunder, Hardcover | Barnes &  Noble®

Bowwow Powwow by Brenda J. Child, translate by Gordon Jourdain, illustrated by Jonathan Thunder

Windy Girl loves to hear Uncle’s many vibrant stories while riding to the powwow with her dog Itchy Boy. One night after taking in all that the powwow has to offer, Windy falls asleep to the steady drumbeat, snuggled up with Itchy Boy, and dreams of jingle dancers, traditional dancers, a visiting drum group, and so much more--all of them with paws and tails, just like Itchy Boy! This is a joyful tale in celebration of the magic of the powwow.


At the Mountain's Base by Traci Sorell, Weshoyot Alvitre, Hardcover | Barnes  & Noble®

At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre

At the mountain’s base, there is a Cherokee family living  in a cabin, patiently weaving, singing, cooking, worrying, and waiting for the safe return of a relative serving as a pilot in the United States Armed Forces. This book pays tribute to Native women such as Ola Mildred “Millie” Rexroat, who have served, and continue to serve their country by going to war.

 Powwow: A Celebration through Song and Dance by Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane,  Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

Powwow: A Celebration through Song and Dance by Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane

A comprehensive history of the Indigenous tradition of the powwow, from its origins, to a breakdown of powwow culture, to an explanation of various songs and dances, and a look at powwows as they occur in modern days throughout the United States and Canada. With the author’s family background and photos interspersed, this is a powerful and thorough tribute to the powwow.

 What the Eagle Sees: Indigenous Stories of Rebellion and Renewal by Eldon  Yellowhorn, Kathy Lowinger, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

What the Eagle Sees: Indigenous Stories of Rebellion and Renewal by Eldon Yellowhorn and Kathy Lowinger

This is a nonfiction book that chronicles the many invasions that Indigenous people have faced throughout history, and how they defended themselves, fought back, and sustained their livelihood. From the Vikings to Christopher Columbus, just to name a few, these stories are all told from an Indigenous perspective, one that we don’t often see in many of our history books.

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day

For most of her life, Edie has always known that her mom was adopted, and that Edie has Native American heritage, but that is pretty much the extent of her knowledge. Join Edie as she discovers a mysterious box in her attic, which contains a photo of a woman who looks just like her, and begins a journey to uncover her family’s history, no matter how difficult it may be.

Indian No More — Traci Sorell

Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell

A heartbreaking but necessary read, set in 1957, this book tells the story of Regina and her family, who are Umpqua and have always lived on the Grand Ronde reservation. Their world is turned upside down when a bill that is signed into law mandates that Regina’s tribe no longer exists, and they are displaced, having to move from Oregon to Los Angeles to find work. For the first time in her life, Regina has had to grapple with racism that is directed toward her, and the kids in her neighborhood, and must try to keep her Native identity alive in a completely unfamiliar and unwelcoming environment.



    Youth Services Assistant Librarian Stefanie 


Librarians Ann and Demitra can't get enough of virtual escape rooms. So we created another one for kids, friends, and family to enjoy, just in time for Thanksgiving! Work together to figure out clues, solve puzzles, and decode the cyphers to escape your Great Aunt Gertrude's house before Thanksgiving dinner.

This escape room is designed for grades 3-8, but kids and adults of all ages can enjoy it. This is a great group activity to do over Zoom with friends and family. Solve the escape room as a group, by having the host of the Zoom meeting share their screen for everyone to see.

Ready to start? Click here to access the escape room.


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

  Youth Services Librarian Ann 


Bring home a fun new project! You can now register to pick up a Take-and-Make Kit from the Youth Services desk. Here are the instructions for each kit:


Toddlers and Preschoolers: Paint with Pom Poms



Pompoms are great for fine motor play. Before beginning the painting activity, you may consider taking an opportunity to allow your child to explore the texture of the pompoms. Additional activities to consider when allowing your child to manipulate the pompoms; providing spoons, tweezer and/or the provided clothes pins to allow for an unstructured play activity. If you wanted to add an additional educational activity you can add cotton balls and help your child create a pattern or use the pompoms to teach counting or one-to-one correspondence.


Let’s get started!


Unroll the rolled paper and place it on a flat surface.


Pinch one clothes pin, to each pompom. This is a great fine motor activity for your child to try.



Have your child match the color of the pompom to the color of the paint. This is a wonderful opportunity to work on color recognition. (It will also help remind your child which pompom goes with which paint).

Now that you and your child have created pompom paint brushes, let your child explore making dots and creating their master piece!


 Register for a Toddler/PreK Kit here



Grades K-2: Paper Lanterns



Things you will need in addition to what is included in the kit:

  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil



1.      Take Items out of the box.

2.      Gather extra supplies – scissors, ruler, and pencil.

3.      Uncap the glue and snip the top of the applicator. Ask an adult to help!

4.      Remove the rubber band from the craft sticks.

5.      Create a square using 4 of the craft sticks.

6.      Place a dot of glue on each of the four corners of your square in between the craft sticks.

7.      Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have 5 squares.

8.      Carefully set all but one square aside to dry.

9.      Use your ruler to measure the side of the square.

10.  Now, using your ruler, measure out 5 squares on your tracing paper. If you cut your tracing papers in half first it will help you make sure you have enough paper to cut all of your squares.

11.  Use your scissors to cut out all 5 squares.

12.  Now it is time to decorate! You can decorate all 4 sides, just one or any number in between.

13.  You can use your mandala stencil and markers, or you can use your markers to make any design you want! Remember one of the squares goes on the bottom, so you don’t need to decorate that one.

14.  Glue each of the paper squares to the craft stick squares. You don’t need much glue, just a dot on each corner of the craft stick square.

15.  Let all the glue dry before moving on to the next step.

16.  Use your washi tape to add some flair to the sides of the lantern.

17.  Assemble the lantern by gluing the squares together to create a cube with an open top. You may need an adult to help with holding the pieces in place as the glue sets.

18.  Wait for project to completely dry.

19.  Turn on the LED tealight and place in the lantern.

20.  Enjoy the glow!


Register for a Grades K-2 Kit here.



Grades 3-8: Washi Tape Bookmarks

  1. Cut strips of washi tape.
  2. Decorate a bookmark with the strips of washi tape however you like.
  3. Loop a tassel through the bookmark's hole. 


Register for a Grades 3-8 Kit here.


  Youth Services Assistant Librarian Alyssa 


Watch “Daniel’s Birthday/Daniel’s Picnic” 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.

Daniel's Birthday

  • Can you think of your perfect cake or birthday treat? Draw a picture with your grownup and/or describe what your perfect cake or treat would look, feel, and taste like. 
  • When Daniel’s cake gets smushed, he is disappointed, but his dad helps him to realize that it probably still tastes pretty yummy! Can you think of a time when something like that happened to you? How did you feel? Even though you were disappointed, can you think of something good about the situation?

Daniel's Picnic

  • Daniel, Miss Elaina, and Prince Wednesday are pretty disappointed when it starts to rain on their picnic. I know that I am feeling a little disappointed that it’s getting colder outside, and I won’t be able to hang out with my family and friends outside as much. Can you brainstorm ways that you can hang out with your family and friends in the fall and winter virtually, such as a virtual picnic or a fort-building night?

Below are some other activities to try as a family.


Here is some further reading on the topics discussed in the episode.

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble® A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
Baby Cakes by Theo Heras, Renne Benoit, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble® Baby Cakes by Theo Heras, illustrated by Renne Benoit
  The Perfect Birthday Recipe by Katy Hudson
 Saturday by Oge Mora, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble® Saturday by Oge Mora
 Apple Cake: A Gratitude by Dawn Casey, Genevieve Godbout, Hardcover | Barnes  & Noble® Apple Cake: A Gratitude by Dawn Casey, illustrated by Genevieve Godbout
When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox by Jamie L.B. Deenihan, Lorraine Rocha,  Hardcover | Barnes & Noble® When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox by Jamie L. B. Deenihan, illustrated by Lorraine Rocha
 Mommy and Me Bake by DK, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®  Mommy and Me Bake by DK
Good Morning, Neighbor by Davide Cali, Maria Dek, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble ® Good Morning, Neighbor by Davide Cali, illustrated by Maria Dek
When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Deenihan, Lorraine Rocha,  Hardcover | Barnes & Noble® When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L. B. Deenihan, illustrated by Lorraine Rocha
The Rough Patch by Brian Lies, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble® The Rough Patch by Brian Lies
9781609922795: Cakes (My Cookbook) - AbeBooks - Tilli, Laura; Tilli, Jess:  1609922794 My Cookbook of Cakes by Laura Tilli
I Got a Chicken for My Birthday by Laura Gehl, Sarah Horne, Hardcover |  Barnes & Noble® I Got a Chicken For My Birthday by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Sarah Horne



    Youth Services Assistant Librarian Stefanie 

 Have you heard of Mock Caldecotts? Across the country, fans of picture books meet in groups to vote for their favorite illustrated books, inspired by the official committee of librarians, educators, and experts who award the real Caldecott Medal to one lucky book each year.

Now the Barrington Area Library is hosting a community-wide Mock Caldecott vote. You can host your own Mock Caldecott with friends, families, or classmates, in-person or online. Start by checking out one of our new kits, complete with five outstanding books of 2020, chosen by your librarian friends, along with guides to help you make your discussion a success. 

Drop off a ballot, also included in the kits, to participate in the big community vote by January 18.

Here are the five picture books, selected by your Youth Services Librarians. Which book will win our Mock Caldecott Medal? You decide! 

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 


Find out more about our Mock Caldecott here.

Youth Services Librarian Allison 


Looking for a shocking tale that will leave you peeking over your shoulder? Here are five collections to check out, available at the Barrington Area Library.


Dare to Be Scared: Thirteen Stories to Chill and Thrill 
by Robert D. San Souci and David Ouimet

A young girl receives a phone call from her aunt. Problem is, her aunt’s been dead for a while.
A young boy is trapped in a nightmare he can’t wake up from.
A trip to the Caribbean goes horribly wrong.
Scares abound in this collection of original short stories by Robert D. San Souci, complemented by David Ouimet’s wonderful illustrations.
Some of the stories are only mildly spine-tingling, while others are positively frightening. Recommended for middle grade and slightly younger readers.


Don’t Turn Out the Lights 
by various authors

A young boy steals a small, wooden bear statue. The bear changes again and again, and soon it is apparent the boy is being hunted.
A small town keeps a strange “holiday” in which impossibly tall, rail-thin creatures appear and demand gifts from the townsfolk.
A hapless ghost is desperate to frighten a child, but is unsuccessful at every turn.
In this chain-rattling collection, popular authors including R.L. Stine, Margaret Stohl, and Josh Malerman come together to pay tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Some of the stories are kid-friendly, while others border on young adult. Recommended for middle grade readers and older, though some stories may be appropriate as read-alouds for younger siblings.


Ghost: Thirteen Haunting Tales to Tell 
by various authors

A fateful slip beneath icy waves.
Eyes in the trees, watching your every move.
A mirror that contains more than your reflection.
These thirteen grim tales, penned and inked by the creative collective Illustratus, are concerned with “the only true ghost stories,” as told by a creepy old storyteller. These stories are creepy, made creepier by the artwork, and appropriate for middle grade readers.


Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 
by Alvin Schwartz

An old woman finds a severed toe and decides to make a soup out of it. Then the toe’s owner comes looking for their lost appendage.
A young woman is disturbed to find a zit on her cheek… a zit that keeps growing bigger, and bigger, and bigger…
Two bored farmers make a scarecrow and name him Harold. Harold is the butt of their jokes, a way for them to pass the time… until Harold starts making noises on his own.
This classic collection of frightening tales is the first in a trilogy. Alvin Schwart’s storytelling is straightforward, but effective, complemented by Stephen Gammell’s horrifying art. There is a newer edition, pictured above on the right, with less-frightening artwork (by Brett Helquist) that will be more appropriate for younger readers.
The original edition (left) is recommended for middle grade and older readers. The newer edition (right) is also recommended for middle grade readers, but may be more appropriate for a slightly younger audience.


Through the Woods
by Emily Carroll

Two brothers enter the woods, looking for the monster that harasses their village. Only one brother returns.
A young woman discovers a shocking secret in her new husband’s beautiful manor.
A young girl struggles with her ability to see ghosts.
This collection of short comics by artist Emily Carroll combines Halloween-appropriate horror with fairy tale storytelling, complete with a twist on “Little Red Riding Hood.” The art is gorgeous, though sometimes scary, and will leave readers thoroughly disturbed.
Recommended for teen readers of graphic fiction, fantasy, and horror.


Tip: Want personalized reading suggestions? Fill out this form and you’ll receive a customized list direct to your inbox!

  Youth Services Librarian Chris 


Are you and your little ones looking to get into the Halloween spirit? Here are some kid-friendly tales that won’t leave your child hiding under the covers.


Creepy Pair of Underwear!
by Aaron Reynolds

Jasper Rabbit may think he’s big and brave, but when he discovers that his new pair of underwear glows in the dark, he realizes he may not be as brave as he thought! And no matter how many times Jasper throws the creepy underwear away, they just keep… coming… back!


Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody
by Michael Rex

“Goodnight tomb. Goodnight goon. Goodnight Martians taking over the moon.”

This hilarious parody of Goodnight Moon follows a little werewolf as he gets ready for bed, only for a naughty Goon to show up and keep him awake. Readers will laugh aloud at the Goon’s antics and the frustrated werewolf’s attempts to get some shut-eye.


The Halloween Tree
by Susan McElroy Montanari and Teresa Martinez

The saplings on the tree farm are excited to grow up and become Christmas Trees… except for one grumpy tree. He doesn’t like lights, garlands, and he really doesn’t like people. He wants to stay right where he is… and he does just that, as time passes and a new neighborhood is built around the old tree. The grumpy tree may not be a fan of people, but he soon finds himself at the center of a new holiday tradition: the Halloween Tree!


The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything
by Linda Williams and Megan Lloyd

Clomp, clomp… shake, shake… clap, clap…

The little old lady hears a lot of scary noises as she walks through the woods at night, but that’s okay -- she’s not afraid of anything… right?

This holiday classic offers up plenty of opportunities for readers to act out the scary noises and silly scenes.


Moldilocks and the Three Scares: A Zombie Tale 
by Lynn Marie and David Rodriguez Lorenzo

Moldilocks is a little zombie with a big appetite. One day, while Mama, Papa, and Baby Scare away, Moldilocks sneaks into the house for a snack, a comfortable seat, and a good place to sleep. Too bad the Scares are about to come back! This heartwarming twist on a story time classic is just right for getting readers into the holiday spirit.


Tip: Want personalized reading suggestions? Fill out this form and you’ll receive a customized list direct to your inbox!

   Youth Services Librarian Chris 

Watch “Daniel’s New Friend” on PBS Kids, and come back to this blog post to enjoy some family activities that will enhance your child’s learning around the episode.

A New Friend Visits Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Chrissie


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

  • What does it mean to be alike and different? Ask your child(ren) how the characters in the show are alike? How are they different?
  • Talk to your child(ren) about things that they have in common with their family or friends. What do you all like or do that is the same? Then ask them about the ways in which you all are different. Do you have different hair colors, have a different favorite food, or are you different heights? 

Below are some other activities to try as a family.


Here is some further reading on the topics discussed in the episode.

Daniel's New Friend by Becky Friedman and Jason Fruchter

Neither by Airlie Anderson

Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, illustrated by Luisa Uribe
  What's the Difference? Being Different is Amazing by Doyin Richards
  Be You! by Peter H. Reynolds
  It's Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr
I'm New Here by Anne Sibley O'Brien
Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Christian Robinson
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
   I am Perfectly Designed by Karamo Brown, illustrated by Anoosha Syed
The Same But Different Too by Karl Newsom, illustrated by Kate Hindley
   You Matter by Christian Robinson



    Youth Services Assistant Librarian Stefanie