This Valentine's Day, check out some books that show your little ones how much you love them!

Looking for something fun to do with your young one? Here’s a list of upcoming events at the library.


   Youth Services Assistant Librarian Claire 


The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual event where bird enthusiasts around the world come together to watch/listen for and count as many birds as they can. The event lasts for four days, and anyone can participate! According to the Great Backyard Bird Count website, all you have to do to participate is:

  1. Decide where you’d like to watch birds. 
  2. Watch birds for at least 15 minutes, over the four days of the bird count, between February 18 and February 21, 2022.
  3. Count all the birds you see or hear within the time you’ve planned your bird watch. 

For more information on how to participate, check out the Great Backyard Bird Count’s website. 

Here at the Barrington Area Library, we have a plentiful amount of books to help guide you on your birdwatching journey, but here are a few that we think might be especially helpful.


We’d love to hear about your experience with the Great Backyard Bird Count! Email us at with any photos or tales from your birding adventures!







    Youth Services Specialist Stefanie 

Ever wondered what reliving the same day over and over again would be like? In celebration of Groundhog Day, here are some books where the characters are stuck in a time loop!

Tired of reading the same books again and again? Fill out this form to get some new suggestions from our librarians!



   Youth Services Assistant Librarian Claire 

If you loved The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, try one of these unique animal stories next.


Audrey (Cow): An Oral Account of a Most Daring Escape, Based More or Less on a True Story

by Dan Bar-el

“Audrey is a cow with poetry in her blood, who yearns for the greener pastures beyond Bittersweet Farms. But when Roy the horse tells her that she is headed for the slaughter house, Audrey knows that she must leave her home and friends sooner than she ever imagined. With the help of animals and humans alike, Audrey attempts to escape the farm - and certain death. Cleverly written as an oral account, this unique illustrated tale of an animal on the run, uses over 30 narrative voices, including six humans, four cows, three sheep, two sheep dogs, one pig and a very silly rooster.” 

Audrey is sweet, the cast of characters is hilarious, and overall this makes a perfectly delightful read for an animal lover.



The Simple Art of Flying

by Cory Leonardo

“Born in a dismal room in a pet store, Alastair the African grey parrot dreams of escape to bluer skies. He'd like nothing more than to fly away to a palm tree with his beloved sister, Aggie. But when Aggie is purchased by twelve-year-old Fritz, and Alastair is adopted by elderly dance-enthusiast and pie-baker Albertina Plopky, the future looks ready to crash-land. In-between anxiously plucking his feathers, eating a few books, and finding his own poetic voice, Alastair plots his way to a family reunion. But soon he's forced to choose between the life he's always dreamed of and admitting the truth: that sometimes, the bravest adventure is in letting go.” 

I loved the attitude on this snarky parrot! The story itself is touching and surprising.




Gorilla Dawn 

by Gill Lewis

“Deep in the heart of the Congo, a baby gorilla is captured by a group of rebel soldiers. Imara and Bobo are also prisoners in the rebels' camp. When they learn that the gorilla will be sold into captivity, they swear to return it to the wild before it's too late. But the consequences of getting caught are too terrible to think about. Will the bond between the gorilla and the children give them the courage they need to escape?” 

This chapter book is intense, gripping, and eye-opening. A moving read for young conservationists.


Let us shop the shelves for you! Fill out a Browsing Bundle request, and a Librarian will bag up a small collection books or movies we think you'll love. 

Youth Services Librarian Allison 


Have you always wanted to make your own video game or website, but you don't know where to start? Don't worry, that's what I'm here for!

Here are five kid-friendly books on coding, featuring step-by-step instructions to get you started.

All of these books (and more!) are available at the Barrington Area Library. 

Kids Can Code! Fun Ways to Learn Computer Programming
Ian Garland

This guide is chock full of fun activities that will help you make your own blog, design a video game, create an animated video, or even make music. Garland introduces readers to different coding languages and programs, such as JavaScript and Scratch, and explains why one style of coding may be more appropriate for a specific task than the other. The author also includes visual examples so you can compare your work to his, and makes sure to break big ideas into smaller, more manageable components so readers don't get overwhelmed. If you want to dip your toes into a few different coding languages before committing to one, be sure to check out Kids Can Code!


Coding Games in Scratch: A Step-by-Step Visual Guide to Building Your Own Computer Games
Jon Woodcock

Now we move on to a specific coding program, Scratch. Scratch is a kid-friendly coding application in which users can link blocks of code in order to perform a specific action: making a cartoon character jump, walk around, speak, etc. In this book, Jon Woodcock shows you how to make your very own video game using Scratch, from platformers to puzzles. Woodcock starts off by talking about computer games generally -- what are they? how are they fun? -- before moving on to specific game styles, as well as explaining the importance of solid game mechanics. This would be a great introduction to coding for anyone interested in video games, whether as a fan or as a future developer.



Ruby Wizardry: An Introduction to Programming for Kids
Eric Weinstein

Unlike the first two examples in this article, Eric Weinstein's Ruby Wizardry mostly centers around learning a coding language for the sake of coding, not just for video game design, animation, etc. This comprehensive introduction to the Ruby programming language includes real life applications, step-by-step guides, and personal anecdotes from the author. Please note that unlike Scratch, Ruby must first be downloaded onto your computer -- so kids, make sure you have your parents' permission! -- but Weinstein helpfully walks you through the installation process. This book does not contain as many graphics as the previous two. Recommended for readers grades 5 and up.


Mission Python: Code a Space Adventure Game!
Sean McManus

McManus walks readers through the basics of the Python coding language, from installation to application. After readers/coders have grown comfortable with the ins and outs of Python, McManus shows them how to build their own video game from the ground up. Like Ruby Wizardry, this book contains some pretty intensive coding work. Recommended for readers grades 5 and up.


Create the Code: How to Write Code for Your Smartphone
Max Wainewright

Our previous titles focused on computer programming, but let's take a look at smartphone programming. In this kid-friendly how-to guide, Max Wainewright shows readers how to program applications for smartphones using Scratch and MIT's App Inventor. Kids will learn how to program using the phone's browser, as well as create apps and even new photo filters! Please note that this book is primarily intended for Android users, but contains modified instructions for iPhone users.



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

  Youth Services Librarian Chris 


We’ve counted all the votes for our 2021 Mock Caldecott winner. The Barrington Area Library’s favorite picture book of 2021 is…

Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor


This cute little bird won our hearts with his steadfast commitment to flight (despite a loooooong fall from his nest). The book itself is beautifully designed, with cheerful artwork and a dynamic whole-book flip that makes this read-aloud (and Mel’s eventual success) so surprising and joyful. Watch MaryJo’s booktalk of Mel Fell here.

Thank you to everyone who read our nominees and voted! We will all find out the real Caldecott Medal winner on Monday, January 24. (You can even watch the American Library Association’s award announcements live starting at 8 AM.) 

Our nominees were:

Zonia's Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-Neal
Strollercoaster by Matt Ringler, art by Raúl the Third and Elaine Bay
Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor
Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrations by Floyd Cooper
Wishes by by Mu̕ọ̕n Thị Văn, illustrations by Victo Ngai

Find out more about our Mock Caldecott here.

Youth Services Librarian Allison 



Does your little one love dinosaurs -- let's be honest, who doesn't? Take a trip to the Dinosaur Discovery Museum in Kenosha, Wisconsin! But before you do, be sure to take advantage of the Explore More Illinois program.


Explore More Illinois, offered and operated by RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library Systems), makes it easier for cardholders to visit various museums, historical sites, and other educational sites across Illinois (and part of Wisconsin).


Paleontologists of all ages are sure to be amazed by the stunning exhibits on display at the Museum, marvel at the story of Little Clint the Tyrannosaurus rex, and be fascinated by the science of fossil preservation and study. Kids can also take part in an Eye Spy activity that covers the entire Museum.


If you're eager to take your little ones on a trip through prehistory, I encourage you to check out our Explore More Illinois page. Barrington Area Library cardholders can take advantage of a 20% discount on a gift shop purchase. Excludes books, media, and consignment items.


For more information, visit this page. Please be sure to check offer availability prior to reservation. You can also contact us at

  Youth Services Librarian Chris 


Here are the final two contenders for our Mock Caldecott community vote. Watch our videos, read the books, and vote for your favorite picture book published in 2021!

Find all of our Mock Caldecott videos on our YouTube playlist.

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 2021, 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 19. 

Zonia's Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-Neal
Strollercoaster by Matt Ringler, art by Raúl the Third and Elaine Bay
Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor
Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrations by Floyd Cooper
Wishes by by Mu̕ọ̕n Thị Văn, illustrations by Victo Ngai

Find out more about our Mock Caldecott here.

Youth Services Librarian Allison 


Lots of great books were checked out to our community in 2021. The top checkouts tended to be titles from the Illinois Readers Choice Awards (Caudills, Bluestems, and Monarchs). We also saw some serious circulation from the always popular Mo Willems and Jeff Kinney. Here are the most frequently checked-out books from the Youth Services department in 2021:

Picture Book:


SumoKitty by David Biedrzycki



Beginning Reader:


Happy Pig Day! By Mo Willems


Juvenile Chapter Book: it was a tie!


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney 


Inkling by Kenneth Oppel


Teen Fiction:

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga


Graphic Novel:


Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol




 Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship” by Deborah Heiligman




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




Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End by Jeff Kinney


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 

Snowy season is here! Enjoy 3 of our favorite Story Time Rhymes about snow!

Bumpin’ up and down in my little blue sled

Bumpin’ up and down in my little blue sled

Bumpin’ up and down in my little blue sled

Won’t you be my darlin’


Snow is fallin’ down in my little blue sled

Snow is fallin’ down in my little blue sled

Snow is fallin’ down in my little blue sled

Won’t you be my darlin’


Wavin’ to my friends in my little blue sled

Wavin’ to my friends in my little blue sled

Wavin’ to my friends in my little blue sled

Won’t you be my darlin’ 


A chubby little snowman,

Had a carrot nose.

Along came a bunny,

And what do you suppose?

That hungry little bunny, 

Looking for his lunch,

Ate that snowman’s carrot nose

Nibble, nibble, crunch!


Snow on my forehead, 

Snow on my knee,

Snow on my glasses,

Getting hard to see!

Snow on my boots,  

Snow on my hair,

Snow on my mittens,



Follow along with more of our rhymes on our YouTube channel!

  Youth Services Librarian Demitra 

Winter break is here-HURRAY! Celebrate by cuddling up with one of these excellent winter reads, a nice cup of hot cocoa, and a cozy blanket.


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



    Youth Services Specialist Stefanie 

This month, pick up a special Take-and-Make Kit with all sorts of art supplies to inspire you. The challenge? Create something awesome! Come up with your own design and creation using this kit. You can use other materials or tools you might have in your house if you’d like. 


Once you’ve created your masterpiece, email us a photo at and we’ll feature your art on the YS Blog.

Take-and-Make Maker Challenge Kits are available for pickup starting Monday, Dec. 20, while supplies last. Recommended for kids in Kindergarten through 8th grade. No registration required.


Discover more programs and events on the Library Calendar

Youth Services Librarian Allison