Do you like sports? History? Poetry? We've got you covered!



All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg

1970s. After being abandoned by his American father, given up for adoption by his Vietnamese mother, and airlifted out of war-torn Vietnam, Matt Pin has a lot to think about: where does he belong? Who is he? Should he feel guilty for escaping the chaos of his childhood? Haunted by these questions -- and nightmares -- Matt turns to baseball and music for comfort. All the Broken Pieces is a beautiful story about healing and self-acceptance. Historical fiction, sports fiction.


Audacity by Melanie Crowder

1900s. Inspired by a true story. Clara Lemlich has just emigrated to New York from Russia with her family, and despite the disapproval of her family has just gotten a job at a garment factory. The factory workers are treated terribly, and told that they don't have rights... but Clara refuses to accept this, and decides to stand up for what's right. Clara ends up inspiring the largest woman-led workers' strike in United States history, forcing the factories to treat their employees with dignity and respect. Historical, narrative non-fiction.


Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

1960s and 70s. Inspired by the author's own experiences. Jacqueline's parents have split up, and now she feels split in two, as well. On one hand, Jacqueline spends time in South Carolina with her grandparents, where she experiences the evils of Jim Crow firsthand; on the other hand, she gets to spend time in New York, where things aren't as bad. Jacqueline must learn how to bridge the gap between her vastly different experiences and find her place in the world. Historical, autobiography/memoir.


The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

2010s. Josh Bell loves basketball. He lives for basketball. So does his twin brother, Jordan. Despite being star players on the basketball court Josh and Jordan face a lot of new obstacles: they've just started middle school, they both have feelings for the same girl, their father is ignoring his failing health... and, despite their love for the game and each other, the brothers are starting to drift apart. Will things ever be the same? Will Josh and Jordan ever see eye-to-eye again? Read and find out! Sports fiction.

Under the Broken Sky by Mariko Nagai

 1940s. Natsu and her little sister Cricket live with their father in Japanese-occupied Manchuria. Their happy, quiet life is shattered when their father is recruited by the Japanese Army. Things get even worse when the Soviet Army invades and forces them out of their home. Orphaned, homeless, and desperate, Natsu and Cricket embark on an adventure across China. A beautiful story about remaining strong even when it feels like the whole world is against you. Historical fiction.


Looking for some personalized selections? Fill out this form and you’ll receive a customized list direct to your inbox!


  Youth Services Librarian Chris 


Some kids are back to school, but technically summer’s not over yet! Enjoy this summery title about a lovable wannabe-farmgirl. Great for a family read-aloud, or an independent read for kids in grades 2-4. 


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

Youth Services Librarian Allison 


Looking for a fantastical escape? These books will whisk you away! 



The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as a sacrifice for the forest witch, Xan, who shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. But she accidentally feeds one of the babies with moonlight, giving the girl extraordinary powers that have dangerous consequences when she turns thirteen. This is a beautiful fairy tale that feels like a modern classic!


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Meet 12-year-old September from Omaha, NE. She leads a very ordinary life until a Green Wind sweeps her out the kitchen window and ferries her to Fairyland, where her help is needed to defeat the Marquess, the new and unpredictable ruler of Fairyland. This book feels like Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan all rolled up together for a fantastic adventure. Plus it’s the first in a five-book series.


Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones

When young Sophie Hatter is turned into an old woman by the Witch of the Waste, she seeks the help of the fearsome Wizard Howl and his fire demon Calcifer to break the spell. But Howl is not so fearsome as he’s led the land of Ingary to believe, and he needs Sophie’s help in turn to discover what’s happened to the prince who’s recently gone missing. Whimsical, fantastic, and with a touch of romance, you won’t be able to put this one down! 


 The Dragon With a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis

Have you ever met a dragon? Have you ever met a dragon who loves chocolate? Well, you’re about to! Aventurine is a brave young dragon who longs to explore the world outside of her family’s cave. But the world is a dangerous place for a dragon, and when she’s tricked into drinking an enchanted hot chocolate she’s turned into the most fearsome creature of all: a human. Now Aventurine has to figure out how to get back to her true form, as well as where she can get her hands on more delicious chocolate. This book is a fun journey that just might make you hungry! 



The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

This is a twisty page-turner of a  book that takes place on the mysterious island of Vane. When Faith Sunderly’s scientist father is murdered, she discovers a tree that only bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. When eaten, the fruit delivers a hidden truth. The tree just might be the key to unlocking the truth of Faith’s father’s murder—or may lure the murderer directly to Faith herself.




  Youth Services Assistant Librarian Alyssa 


 Looking for an easy way to brighten the day of a loved one? 



Supplies Needed:


  • Butcher paper (alternatives: blank side of wrapping paper or opening up a large brown paper bag)
  • Markers or crayons
  • Scissors
  • Stamp and envelope


Optional: Paper and pencil (to add a special note)



  1. Spread out a long sheet of butcher paper.
  2. Trace child’s head, arms and torso on paper.
  3. Decorate.
  4. Cut out.
  5. Fold it up, put it in an envelope and mail it.


Optional message (create your own or use the one below):


“I miss you when you’re far away.

I’d love to see you every day.

But since I can’t come over to play,

I’m mailing you a hug today.


Although it might be quite a sight,

Wrap my arms around you tight.

Repeat daily to keep your smile bright,

Until we get to reunite!”

Looking for more fun activities? See Barrington Area Library’s upcoming events for kids.

  Youth Services Assistant Librarian Venessa


Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Here at the Barrington Area Library, we are big fans of escape rooms. Since, we can't hold an escape room at the library, we decided to create a virtual one!  See if you can solve all of the puzzles, find the clues, and escape the library!

The escape room can be done individually or in a group. If you find you are having trouble, try the escape room as a family!

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

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

  Youth Services Librarian Ann 


Finally, Chicago baseball is back, and fans have something to cheer for! If you can’t make it in person, one of these books will surely take you out to the ballgame. (Hotdogs not included.)


Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi

The apocalypse begins on the day Rabi, Miguel, and Joe are practicing baseball near their town's local meatpacking plant and nearly get knocked out by a really big stink. Little do they know the plant's toxic cattle feed is turning cows into flesh-craving monsters...ZOMBIES!!! The boys decide to launch a stealth investigation into the plant's dangerous practices. Rabi and his friends will have to grab their bats to protect themselves (and a few of their enemies) if they want to stay alive...and maybe even save the world.

Also available in audio.



Who Got Game? Baseball: Amazing But True Stories by Derrick Barnes

The author of this nonfiction book shines a spotlight on 45 fascinating baseball records, personalities, and anecdotes rarely mentioned in popular baseball lore. Like John “Bud” Fowler, William Edward White, Moses Fleetwood Walker, and Weldy Walker—four African Americans who integrated white teams decades before Jackie Robinson. Or Jackie Mitchell, the 17-year-old girl who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Tons of fun for baseball fans.


Soar by Joan Bauer

Jeremiah is the world’s biggest baseball fan. He really loves baseball and he knows just about everything there is to know about his favorite sport. So when he’s told he can’t play baseball following an operation on his heart, Jeremiah decides he’ll do the next best thing and become a coach. Hillcrest, where Jeremiah and his father Walt have just moved, is a town known for its championship baseball team. But Jeremiah finds the town caught up in a scandal and about ready to give up on baseball. It’s up to Jeremiah and his can-do spirit to get the town – and the team – back in the game. 

Also available in audio.


The Rhino in Right Field by Stacy DeKeyser

It's 1948, Milwaukee, and all Nick Spirakis wants to do is play baseball, even if it means risking a run-in with a rhino, since he and his friends share a field with the city’s zoo! When the new owner of the city's minor league team, the Mudpuppies, announces a contest to crown one lucky boy Mudpuppy For a Day, Nick is ecstatic at the chance to play some real ball in a real stadium. It will take some practice, and maybe a little scheming around his parents, to make it to the competition.


Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! by Sarah Kapit 

Vivy Cohen wants to play baseball. Ever since her hero, Major League star pitcher VJ Capello, taught her how to throw a knuckleball at a family fun day for kids with autism, she's been perfecting her pitch. And now she knows she's ready to play on a real team. When her social skills teacher makes her write a letter to someone she knows, she writes to VJ and tells him everything about how much she wants to pitch, and how her mom says she can't because she's a girl and because she has autism. And then two amazing things happen: Vivy meets a Little League coach who invites her to join his team, the Flying Squirrels. And VJ starts writing back.


Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages

Meet Katy C. Gordon, or just "Gordon" while she's playing ball. Even in 1957, the neighborhood boys don't care that she's a girl; with a pitch like that they wouldn't care if she was a zebra. She's good enough to pass try-outs and make it into Little League. But when the people in charge find out that "Casey" is a girl with hair tucked into a cap, they insist she's ineligible. Katy is determined to prove them wrong and learns all about the amazing history of women’s baseball in the process. 

Also available in audio. 


A Long Pitch Home by Natalie Dias Lorenzi

Ten-year-old Bilal liked his life back home in Pakistan. He was a star on his cricket team. But when his father suddenly sends the family to live with their aunt and uncle in America, nothing is familiar. While Bilal tries to keep up with his cousin Jalaal by joining a baseball league and practicing his English, he wonders when his father will join the family in Virginia. Maybe if Bilal can prove himself on the pitcher’s mound, his father will make it to see him play. But playing baseball means navigating relationships with the guys, and with Jordan, the only girl on the team—the player no one but Bilal wants to be friends with.


Gabby Garcia’s Ultimate Playbook by Iva-Marie Palmer

If life were a baseball game, all-star pitcher Gabby Garcia would be having her Best. Season. EVER! Until she’s suddenly sent to another school and her winning streak is about to disappear—both on and off the field. But Gabby never gives up! She has a PLAN to keep her champion status intact, and every step is written out—PLAY by PLAY. How could it not work? Really fun story with illustrations throughout.


How Oscar Indigo Broke the Universe (And Put it Back Together Again) by David Teague

Oscar Indigo has never been good at baseball, so naturally he’s nervous when he has to fill in for his team’s injured All-Star, Lourdes. Luckily, Oscar has a mysterious gold watch that can stop time, which he uses to fake a game-winning home run. Now Oscar’s the underdog hero of his town and even Lourdes wants to be his friend. But the universe is a precarious place, and you can’t just steal time without any consequences. If Oscar doesn’t find a way to return the time he stole, the universe will unwind completely. A really funny baseball book with a sci-fi twist!

Looking for some personalized selections? Fill out this form and you’ll receive a customized list direct to your inbox!

Youth Services Librarian Allison 


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


Toddlers and Preschoolers: Chenille Stick Weaving

Young children work on fine motor skills and create a unique piece of three-dimensional art. Toddlers will want to master this new process. When you’re done, take it apart and make something new!

Inside the Toddler/PreK Box:

1 plastic canvas

10 chenille sticks

Bonus activity for older preschoolers - 1 craft paper bag w/ blunt plastic needle and yarn for simple sewing

Chenille Stick Weaving:

1. Take hold of a chenille stick and push it through one of the small holes in the plastic mesh.

2. Pull it through from the other side – a little or a lot, it’s up to you!

3. Take the same end and weave it back through the plastic sheeting.

4. Do this several times with each stick.





Simple Sewing (for older Preschoolers)

Preschoolers work on hand strength and fine motor skills, while exploring the basics of sewing.

1. Thread your plastic need with yarn.

2. Push the needle through one side of the plastic canvas and pull until the yarn is partially through.

3. Pull the needle through another hole, in the opposite direct.

4. Experiment with making lines and shapes, or simply enjoy pulling the needle through the mesh.


Grades K-2: Postcards

Let everyone know what a great summer you've had with a fun, personalized postcard!

Make a Postcard: 

1. Take your postcard, stamp, markers, and sticker bag out of the box.

2. Decorate your card with stickers…

3. …or draw something cool with your markers (or both!)

4. Write a nice message to someone you care about on the back…

5. …and make sure you write down their address and stick on a stamp, too!

6. Now you can mail your postcard (make sure a grown up helps you with this part)!



Grades 3-8: Ombre Dip Dye 

Lower fabric gradually into a dye bath to create a cool textile effect: gradual layers of lighter and darker color.

In addition to the Take-and-Make Kit, you will need: 

A plastic tarp or large garbage bag 

A plastic container for the dye, big enough to hold the entire bandana, but less than 12 inches wide on one side. (You could line the Take-and-Make box with a plastic bag and use that!)

A disposable plastic bag

Water - between 2 and 3 cups should do it

Paper towels to catch spills

Some stackable items - boxes, cans, etc. These should be around 4-6 inches high, about the same size & shape, and you might get dye on them! I went with 4 tissue boxes.

Ombre Dip Dye:

1. Lay out the tarp or large trash bag to protect your work surface. Doing this outside is a great idea! 

2. Place your container on the tarp, then create two stacked towers around the container, around 18-20 inches tall. The dowel rod will sit on top of the stacks, and the bandana will hang into the container. 

3. Use the binder clips to attach one side of the bandana to the dowel rod. Set aside. 

4. Put on the gloves, then add water to the top line of the dye bottle. Shake, then pour into the container. Add some more water, until there's just enough liquid so the bandana will rest in the liquid. (This will depend on the size of your container.) 

5. Carefully set the dowel rod on top of the stacks, making sure the bottom edge of the bandana is getting wet. 

6. Wait about 3 minutes, then carefully add 2-3 more bottles of water to the container (to dilute the dye). Holding the dowel rod in one hand, carefully remove the topmost blocks from the stack, and rest the dowel rod on the lower levels. Once again, make sure the fabric is hanging in the liquid. 

7. Wait another 3 minutes. Continue in this way, diluting the dye bath and lowering the rod, until there are just a few inches of fabric not dyed. 

8. Get the plastic bag ready, laying it open next to the dye bath. Carefully raise the dowel rod, allowing the drips to fall into the bath for a few moments, and then gently wring out the fabric with your gloved hand, making sure not to touch the topmost part of the bandana.

9. Place the bandana in the plastic bag, keeping the dowel rod at the top of the bag, and bring it to a sink. 

10. Leaving the dowel rod attached, carefully rinse out the bandana, allowing the water to move from the top to bottom. Keep rinsing until the liquid runs clear. 

11. Remove the dowel rod and wash the bandana in your washing machine, alone, on cold settings. You can dry it in the dryer, or let it air dry. 


  Youth Services Assistant Librarian Alyssa 


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


Book Reviews 

Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska, Daniel Mizielinski

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

From Me to You by K.A. Holt 

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

Dog Man Fetch 22 by Dav Pilkey

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

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

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

TBH, I Feel The Same by Lisa Greenwald

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


Activity Responses

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



Prize Updates

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

Pre-Readers Grand Prize:

16 Tickets Entered 


Readers Grand Prizes: 

173 Tickets Entered

688 Tickets Entered

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

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

  Youth Services Assistant Librarian MaryJo 

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


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




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

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


Below are some other activities to try as a family.


Here are the books I mentioned in the companion video.

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

Quiet by Tomie dePaola

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

Listen by Holly M. McGhee, illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre

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



    Youth Services Assistant Librarian Stefanie 

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Further Reading

The Benefits of Pretend Play

The Need for Pretend Play in Child Development

Why Pretend Play Is Important to Child Development

8 Ways to Encourage Pretend Play in Kids


  Youth Services Librarian Demitra 




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

Weekly Drawings 

Did you know we do drawings weekly? 

Here are some of the weekly drawing options: 


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




Grand Prizes: 

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


Pre-Readers Grand Prize Option: 

Radio Flyer 5-in1 Stroll 'N Trike



Readers Grand Prizes: 


Razor Scooter 



Nintendo Switch Lite with the Animal Crossing Game included

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


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


  Youth Services Assistant Librarian MaryJo 


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

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

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

Youth Services Librarian Allison