Watch "Friends Help Each Other/Daniel Helps O Tell a Story" 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.

“Friends Help Each Other”

  • In this episode, Katerina accidentally knocks the tea set on the floor, and she is so sad that she thinks she ruined the party! Sometimes, things don’t always go as planned, but our friends and family can help us when we need it. Can you think of a time when something unexpected happened? How did that make you feel? 
  • When Daniel and Katerina are cleaning up, they turn it into a game. Can you think of a time where you turned a not-so-fun situation into a better one? What happened?


“Daniel Helps O Tell a Story”

  • Daniel is so excited that O will read to him since Daniel doesn’t quite know how to read yet. Has anyone ever done this for you? Talk about one of your favorite read-aloud memories with your loved ones. Ask them what their favorite read-aloud memory is too!


Below are some other activities to try as a family.


    Youth Services Assistant Librarian Stefanie Molinaro

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: Spray and Drip Painting



Materials provided for Spray and Drip Painting:
● Watercolor paper (3)
● Spray bottles filled with liquid watercolor paint (3)
● Pipettes (3)
● Empty plastic containers (3)


Spray (Bottle) Painting: help strengthen grip and control while having fun spray painting with a
spray bottle!

● Arrange the watercolor paper in an area that you envision best for this activity- We
highly recommend somewhere outdoors! (Outside on the grass, thumbtacked to a tree,
clipped to an art easel).
● Provide your child with the prefilled squirt bottles and let them go to town!
● You will need to allow this to dry. We recommend leaving it in grass and placing rocks
around the edges to avoid it blowing away.

Drip Painting: Using pipettes is a great way to strengthen fine motor skills and help get little
hands ready for writing.


● To use the pipettes, pour some of the liquid paint (found in the squirt bottles) into the
plastic cups.
● Squeeze pipette, place squeezed pipette in paint cup, release finger grip to suck up paint
● Squeeze pipette over paper to release paint.

Looking to turn this into an educational activity?
- Add letters or numbers for your child to spray or drip on as you call them out. This
activity would be great for letter recognition, letter sounds, hand grip, fine motor
control, and following directions.
*Adding water to the liquid watercolor paint will give you more paint but less vibrant colors.


Grades K-2: Tissue Paper Painting



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

-cup of water




1. Take the items out of the box.

2. Cut the colored tissue paper into smaller shapes. A variety of sizes and shapes will make your artwork more interesting!

3. Arrange your tissue paper shapes onto one of the white watercolor papers.

4. Use your paintbrush to apply water all over the tissue paper. Make sure to get everything nice and wet so the colors bleed through.

5. Wait for the paper to dry.

6. Remove the now dry tissue paper from the watercolor paper and discard.

7. Enjoy your watercolor masterpiece as is or...

8. Use the watercolor art as a background for more art with your black permanent marker!



Grades 3-8: Kindness Rocks 



1. Take your rocks, markers, mandala stencils, and phrases out of the box.



2. Take some inspiration from the phrases sheet and use the markers to write something nice to a loved one…




3. …use the mandala stencils to make a calming design…



4. …or just draw something silly and sweet to give to a pal.



5. There’s only one rule for making kindness rocks: do it with kindness!

6. Once you’ve made a kindness rock, give it to someone you care about.


  Youth Services Assistant Librarian Alyssa Wees


We live in an unusual, sometimes frightening time, and it’s only natural that your little one may be a little stressed out. Now that school is back in session, that stress may have doubled -- but don’t worry! Here are 5 fun, anxiety-busting activities the whole family will enjoy.



1. Calm Down Jars
Using warm water, glitter, glue, and a jar, kids can create a simple sensory object that can aid in stress reduction. Children can focus on the dancing glitter, practice deep breathing, or simply distract themselves by shaking the jar. Calm down jars offer a simple introduction to mindful practice -- consciously focusing on a present moment or object without worrying about the looming, larger concerns in your life.


2. Worry boxes

Worry boxes are exactly what they sound like -- kids can make little boxes, write down their worries, and put those worries away in the box. This symbolic exercise affords children a sense of control over their anxieties, allowing them to create boundaries for intrusive thoughts and stressors and putting them out of sight for a while… and maybe out of mind, too.


3. Slime therapy

Slime isn’t just fun to play with -- it can be therapeutic, too. Manipulating slime can be an enjoyable source of sensory stimulation for little ones.

Playing with slime can also give children a sense of control over their environment. COVID totally transformed the way children interact with their peers and environment -- it changed what behaviors are acceptable or unacceptable, where they can go, who they can be around, etc. -- and retaining a semblance of control can help ease a troubled mind.

Plus, slime is just fun.


4. Blowing bubbles

Blowing bubbles can help children practice deep breathing, which regulates anxiety. Bubbles can’t be formed by sharp, violent exhalations; they can only form when the blower is gentle and deliberate. This simple deep breathing exercise can help children regain a sense of control over their own physiological response to anxiety or stress.

Kids -- and adults -- can also visualize their anxieties flowing into the bubble. When the bubble pops and disappears, so does the image of whatever’s bothering the blower.


5. Coloring

Children can use coloring as a gateway to mindful practice: when you color, you give in to “the moment” and shut out big, intrusive thoughts as you devote yourself to this simple activity. Extraneous thoughts are pushed to the side, allowing children to “meditate” while coloring.


Looking for more fun activities? We’ve got you covered:


Why these activities can help:


   Youth Services Librarian Chris Confer 


There are lots of articles about all the many things you ought to be doing to raise a smart, successful, independent, empathetic, basically perfect human being. This is not one of those articles! I’m happy to tell you that raising a reader is not an intimidating challenge, and you are already doing it better than you think. In fact, I bet you’re crushing it! Here are the five activities that prepare a child to learn to read in the first five years of their life.


1. Read

Research shows that reading even to babies is beneficial for their brain development. But reading to babies, and especially to walking toddlers, can be very difficult. Some children take to books like cats to cream; while others… not so much! It doesn’t mean you should be worried, or that you should force a child to read when they would rather toddle around or play with a ball. Here are some other ways to share “reading”:

  • Keep board books available along with toys as a part of play time. 
  • Let your child flip through the pages, even if it’s too fast for you to read the words. They are learning how a book “works,” which is important, too! 
  • Point and identify ANY words or images, even outside of books. You are teaching your child that pictures mean something, which is the basic building block of reading.
  • Pick up a book - one from your shelf, or even one of your child’s - and quietly read in front of your young child, even for a few minutes. Demonstrate that it’s a valuable part of your life. 
  • Come to one of our story times! We will share fun and new-to-you books, as well as songs and rhymes that you can do at home.
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash


2. Talk

The more sounds and words your child hears, the better equipped she is to start pulling from that bank of phonemes when she starts learning how reading works. You’re also giving your little one the chance to practice the oh-so-important back-and-forth rhythms of conversation, even if they are just babbling with you, like in the video below. Sometimes it can be exhausting to think of things to talk about with your baby or toddler - try narrating whatever you’re doing. For instance, driving, cooking, cleaning, playing.


3. Play

Play is physical, mental, emotional, and social. It’s practice for all of life, including reading. Playing with small objects develops fine motor skills needed for holding books, turning pages, and writing letters. Playing with anything enhances critical thinking - think about cause & effect (block towers knocked down!), object permanence (peek-a-boo!), and problem solving (puzzles!) - all of which will become more abstract as reading comprehension and narrative skills develop. Playing in an imaginative way increases a child’s understanding of emotions (playing “bad guy” and seeing the consequences on someone else) and narrative structures (First, this happens, then….). There’s SO MUCH benefit to play, and thankfully kids need no encouragement from us to do it. But adult facilitation can add much to play, even just the bonding that naturally happens through enjoyable shared experiences.

Photo by Leo Rivas on Unsplash


4. Sing

Any kind of music can be beneficial to a baby’s development, but singing is in particular a valuable pre-literacy activity because it slows down our speech. Pairing a note with a sound and a beat gives little brains more time to process phonemes. (Sing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” in your head, and you’ll notice how each syllable gets its own separate note.) Babies don’t care if you’re tone-deaf, so sing with abandon. (Though if you just can’t stand the sound of your voice, try saying the lyrics on beat.) Songs often have the added benefit of rhyming, which gives little brains more opportunities to hear and connect similar sounds.


5. Write

Don’t panic: your 2-year-old should not be writing their name yet! Writing as a pre-literacy activity just means preparing your child for the eventual fine-motor skills that will be required to grasp a pencil and create recognizable letters on a page. It really means strengthening little finger muscles! Here’s what “writing” might look like:

  • Grasping or sorting small objects
  • Fingerplay rhymes & games 
  • Baby sign language
  • Playing with or using crayons, markers, glue sticks, chalk, etc.
  • Tracing lines or letters

Photo by Tina Floersch on Unsplash


In all likelihood, you recognize at least a few of these activities in your daily life with a very young child. Pat yourself on the back - you are doing it! You are raising a reader!

Youth Services Librarian Allison Parker



Earlier this year, we shared some books and resources to help your families unpack racism and the injustices that have deep roots in our society. These conversations are crucial in creating a more loving and compassionate world, and equally important are stories that amplify Black joy. It is not enough to share the pain and suffering that Black folks experience--we also need books that depict the beauty of Blackness. Not only do Black children need to see themselves reflected in the stories they read, but it's also necessary for all children, especially white children, to learn about the varied experiences and identities around them.

This idea can be explained by the term “mirrors and windows,” which was coined by Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, Professor Emerita of Education at Ohio State University. Bishop describes this perfectly in her essay “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors:”

“When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful message about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part. Our classrooms need to be places where all the children from all the cultures that make up the salad bowl of American society can find their mirrors.


Children from dominant social groups have always found their mirrors in books, but they, too, have suffered from the lack of availability of books about others. They need the books as windows onto reality, not just on imaginary worlds. They need books that will help them understand the multicultural nature of the world they live in, and their place as a member of just one group, as well as their connections to all other humans."


I hope that the following books provide some mirrors and/or windows for all of the beautiful children in your life.



Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration by Samara Cole Doyon ...

Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration by Samara Cole Doyon, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

An inspiring, poetic ode to many different shades of brown, full of gorgeous imagery evocative of autumn.

 Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy, Ekua Holmes |, Hardcover ...

Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

A child is disheartened when it sinks in that Black is not a color associated with a rainbow, but they go on to find that Black is not just a color that describes everyday things such as a crayon, a feather, or a wheel on a bike. Black is so much more: it is rhythm and blues, it is a culture and history, it is community, and it is power and beauty. A must-read, this captivating book can be used as a primer to open up conversations about a myriad of movements and historical figures.

Your Name Is a Song — The Innovation Press

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

On the first day of school, a young girl’s name keeps getting stuck in her teacher’s mouth, and none of her classmates can pronounce it either. Feeling dismayed, her mother tries to cheer her up by teaching her that her name is a song, and that anyone’s name can be sung with a beautiful melody. She is strengthened by this knowledge, and works up the courage to share her song with her class. This book will have you singing your name and the names of your loved ones all day long!

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, Gordon C. James ...

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James (coming soon!)

The newest picture book from the team who brought us the award-winning Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut. This radiant love letter affirms that Black boys are full of possibilities and that they are indeed “every good thing.”

 My Hair is a Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

My Hair is a Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera

Mackenzie has not had the best relationship with her hair growing up. Her classmates have also been pretty cruel and often tease her about it. One day, she finds refuge at her neighbor, Miss Tillie’s house. Miss Tillie teaches her that her hair is like a garden--if she nourishes it with love and care, and weeds out all the negative thoughts and insults, it will grow into something beautiful and bountiful. And be sure to check out Cabrera's newest book, Me & Mama, coming to the library soon!

 Cool Cuts by Mechal Renee Roe, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

Cool Cuts by Mechal Renee Roe

No matter what kind of cool cut you rock, a high-top, curls, or lively locs (to name a few), this book will remind you that you were born to be awesome!

 Happy Hair by Mechal Renee Roe, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

Happy Hair by Mechal Renee Roe

A celebration of all kinds of hair styles and types--this book is sure to boost your self-esteem and promote a little self-love!

Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown, A. G. Ford |, Hardcover ...

Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown, illustrated by A. G. Ford

Journey through a day in the life of a sweet brown baby in this cozy, heartwarming book. A perfect bedtime story for all kinds of babies.

Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins, Bryan Collier ...

Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Useni Eugene Perkins's classic poem has been brought to life by the incomparable Bryan Collier to create an uplifting love letter to every Black child.

Layla's Happiness by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, Ashleigh Corrin ...

Layla’s Happiness by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin

Layla shares all of the things that make her happy, including dancing in the garden with a ladybug on her finger, feeding her chickens, and reading poetry with her mom. Layla will help you to see the bright side of life, and encourage you to think of all the things, little and big, that give you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, Daniel Minter ...

Going Down Home With Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter

A gorgeously illustrated story about a family who travels south for a family reunion at their grandmother’s house, each of them preparing a unique and personal tribute to their family history.

M Is for Melanin: A Celebration of the Black Child by Tiffany Rose ...

M is for Melanin: A Celebration of the Black Child by Tiffany Rose

An alphabet book full of affirming messages celebrating Blackness.

I Believe I Can by Grace Byers, Keturah A. Bobo |, Hardcover ...

I Believe I Can by Grace Byers, illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo

An empowering book full of beautiful affirmations around self-worth, making mistakes and trying again, and always believing in oneself.

Black Girl Magic: A Poem by Mahogany L. Browne, Jess X. Snow ...

Black Girl Magic by Mahogany L. Browne, illustrated by Jess X. Snow

Mahogany L. Browne’s famous poem that pushes back on stereotypical notions of Black girlhood, is now accompanied by striking illustrations and infused with magic on every page. Most appropriate for older elementary and teen readers.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy by Tony Medina, Javaka ...

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy by Tony Medina

Dedicated to “Black and Brown children/whose every breath is affirmation,” this is a beautiful anthology of poems with accompanying illustrations representing the many varied experiences and ways of being a Black boy in this world.

Young Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present ...

Young, Gifted, and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present by Jamia Wilson, illustrated by Andrea Pippins

Vibrant and illuminating, this book celebrates Black heroes, from Bessie Coleman, Harriet Tubman, and Madame C.J. Walker, to modern icons like Esperanza Spalding, Solange, and Ava Duvernay.





    Youth Services Assistant Librarian Stefanie Molinaro


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 Confer


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 Parker


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 Wees


 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 Arnold


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 McWilliams-Piraino


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 Parker


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 Wees