You may have had more time to look out the window and watch the antics of neighborhood squirrels this spring. Here’s a collection of ebook fiction featuring these bushy-tailed critters: 

Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping by Melanie Watt

A squirrel who doesn’t love the great outdoors? Scaredy Squirrel isn’t a fan of sleeping under the stars, but with careful preparation—and despite some unexpected encounters—he survives the wilderness in this funny picture book.

 

 

 

Squirrel in the Museum by Vivian Vande Velde

Twitch the squirrel can’t wait to visit the science museum, but the school field trip stowaway isn’t welcomed with opened arms. This short chapter book takes the squirrel on an unusual museum tour, with security guards in hot pursuit.

 

 

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo

When Flora rescues a squirrel  from a neighbor’s fancy new vacuum cleaner, she doesn’t expect Ulysses to develop superpowers, and an unusually poetic streak for a squirrel.

 

 

Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins

Jed the squirrel survives being carried off by a hawk, and vows to find his way home, while his two best friends resolve to find him. What follows are woodland adventures, both harrowing and hilarious.

 

 

Toaff’s Way by Cynthia Voigt

Toaff is a young squirrel on a Maine farm. When a winter storm knocks down the tree he lives in, the curious squirrel embarks on a voyage of discovery around the farm. He encounters situations that are dangerous, funny, and comforting while making some unusual new friends.

 

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

 

  Youth Services Librarian Mitch 

 

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? I don’t know how you feel about poetry, but it has always been a little intimidating for me (I even took a whole class on poetry in college and it’s still kind of scary!). I never know how to start a poem, what I should even write about, and the most nerve-wracking part for me is sharing what I’ve written with a loved one or friend.

If this sounds like you--I have a solution. Spine poetry! So, that thing that’s sticking out on our bookshelves at the Barrington Area Library, you know, the one with the title of the book on it? That’s called the spine! If you have a few books lying around at home, take a look at their titles. How can you arrange them so it looks and sounds like a poem? Here’s one that I wrote with some of my books at home.

Matilda,
Who are you?
A light in the attic,
Finding mighty.

My fiancé, Erik, wrote this one.

 

Once upon a memory,
A monster calls…
YOU, the ruby in the smoke,
Out of the dust.

Spine poetry takes some of the pressure off for those of us who are a little intimidated by writing poetry. You already have a pool of words to work with, now you just have to figure out the best way to arrange them. After writing a few spine poems, you might even gain the confidence to try writing poetry on your own!

 

Snap a photo of your poem, or type it up, and send it to us at youthservices@balibrary.org by Friday, May 8!

 

Mindful Moment

Writing a mantra is similar to writing a poem. A mantra is a phrase that you repeat to yourself throughout the day to help you get through it. It can be something like “today is going to be a good day,” or “I can breathe through this moment,” or “I am thankful.” Think of a mantra that will help you through today. Take a deep breath and repeat it to yourself three times. Repeat as many times as you need to throughout your day.


    Youth Services Assistant Librarian Stefanie 

“April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.”

  • -- T. S. Eliot

Wow. It’s like he knew everyone would be cooped up 24/7 in April 2020. I don’t know about you, but this whole pandemic thing is making me feel a little… claustrophobic. And bored! So. Bored. I think we all have a lot of complicated feelings about our current situation, and it’s easy to let those feelings stress you out or make you feel a little… hopeless.

And it’s okay to feel that way! This is a tough time for everybody -- you can’t hang out with friends, everything is closed (my favorite Vietnamese restaurant is closed for the month and this makes me sad), and the future feels uncertain. And that’s not even mentioning the whole “you’re still going to school” thing.

So what do we do with these feelings? We can’t just bottle them up and ignore them -- that wouldn’t be healthy. Maybe we should find some ways to express the way we feel and (hopefully!) have some fun doing it.

April is not only the cruellest month, it’s National Poetry Month. Sure, the month's almost over, but let’s celebrate together anyway! Here are 5 ways teens can celebrate National Poetry Month.

Oh -- one more thing! And when the Barrington Area Library reopens, be sure to check out some of our great poetry collections!

 

1. Check Out the National Poetry Foundation!

Reading poetry is the best place to start. The National Poetry Foundation has put together a lot of great resources to help you dip your toes into the world of poetry, including podcasts, articles, and most importantly, poems. They also have a “Featured Poet” section where they introduce you to a classic poet. Make sure to take a look at the “Poems for Teens” section on this page -- they’ve put together an anthology of poems you might enjoy.

 

2. Watch a Poetry Slam!

It’s important to remember there’s no “right” way to write poetry. I’ve noticed that a lot of people think poetry has to be written a certain way, or that some subjects aren’t worth writing about. Don’t sweat it! Poetry is, above all, about self-expression. If it matters to you it’s worth writing about. Poetry slams are a great way to showcase this.

“Okay, Chris, but what’s a poetry slam?” you might ask. Poetry slams are competitions in which people perform their own spoken word poetry in front of an audience and a panel of judges. They can be local, national, or even international. The beautiful thing about a poetry slam is that it features a variety of people talking about what matters most to them -- they get to make themselves seen and heard in front of an audience.

Youth Speaks is a great way to introduce yourself to the world of poetry slams. It features poetry by teens from all over the country, including the Chicago area. You could try watching some at random or look for poems relating to things that are personally important to you. 

 

3. Can You Haiku?

Poetry doesn’t have to be long or complicated. Sometimes the beauty of a poem comes from its simplicity. Haiku is a Japanese poetic form that emphasizes simple language, immediacy, and our relationship with nature. 

Haiku are only three lines long, and often contain only 17 syllables. That’s 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third. This isn’t actually a rule of haiku, though -- the poets who created it certainly didn’t restrict themselves to only 17 syllables.

When you write haiku you’re trying to capture a snapshot of something that’s happening. For example, here’s one of the most famous haiku, by the poet Basho:

“The old pond;
A frog jumps in --
Water sound.”

See?

Haiku doesn’t have to be serious, either. Here’s a poem by another famous haiku poet, Issa:

“New Year’s morning --
Everything is in blossom!
I feel about average.”

Since you’re stuck in quarantine, why not try flexing your haiku muscles? All you have to do is sit and watch as the world unfolds around you, and when you think you’re ready jot down three simple lines.

In the meantime, check out Teen Ink. They feature poetry by teenagers, for teenagers.

 

4. Blackout!

Poetry doesn’t have to come out of thin air. Sometimes you can use things you already have to create something new. For example, try blackout poetry!

All you need to make blackout poetry is a marker and an old book, magazine, or newspaper you don’t need anymore. Use the marker to draw a square around the words or phrases that jump out at you. Your mind will slowly form a story or poem out of the things you’ve picked.

 Remember: it’s okay if you “mess up.” Sometimes writing takes you somewhere unexpected, so just go with it!

If you’re looking for inspiration check out Newspaper Blackout.

 

5. Most Importantly, Express Yourself!

Write whenever the urge hits you. Now that you’ve got a few different types of poetry to explore, why not write some? It doesn’t matter if it’s “good” or not -- it’s yours, and you made it, and that’s what’s important.

Even if you never show another person your poetry, you should be proud that you wrote it.

Snap a photo of your poem, or type it up, and send it to us at youthservices@balibrary.org by Friday, May 8!

 

Mindful moment

Get up, stretch, and go outside. Take a walk. What do you see? What do you hear?

That’s poetry.


  Youth Services Librarian Chris 

 

It is said that “Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast." Music has so many qualities. It makes us dance, smile, dream, and it puts us to sleep. In difficult times it can take us away and ease our minds. Putting music on when we're doing activities can bring such warmth into what we do.

Today, try downloading some songs FREE from Freegal.  Freegal is a combination of “Free” and “Legal” and all of the songs come to us from the Sony Music Catalog. Freegal may not have your favorite artist, but why not try someone new? 

Each week your Barrington Area Library card gives you access to download 5 songs (the week begins on Sundays) and best of all, they are yours to keep..forever! Login with your library card number to start downloading and add some music to your day.

 

Caspar Babypants: My personal favorite children's artist. You just can't help but move around with his silly, upbeat songs! 

 

 

 

 

 

Justin Roberts: If you're missing baseball, try this baseball inspired CD by a Chicago-based, Grammy-nominated artist. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Yarn: There's something for everyone with this little country, blues, and classic rock 'n roll album. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sara Lovell:  This album won the Independent Award for Best Children’s Album of 2019. Can't get much better than that! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mindful Moment

Choose a comfortable place to listen to a soft song. Inhale gently through your nose and exhale deeply through your mouth. Notice the music, the sounds of the different instruments or tempo changes. Talk about how the music makes you feel. 

"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything." Plato

  


    Youth Services Assistant Librarian Nancy

 

Snuggle up with a tablet for a digital story time at home. Here are five fantastic picture books available on Overdrive:

Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey 

Pig is a greedy and selfish Pug. He has all the bouncy balls, bones, and chew toys a dog could ever want yet he refuses to share with his poor friend, Trevor. Join Pig as he learns to share in this very silly, rhyming story. First in a series! 

 

 



Little Excavator by Anna DewdneyLittle Excavator by Anna Dewdney

A sweet, rhyming read-aloud by the author of Llama, Llama, Red Pajamas, perfect for toddlers who love construction vehicles.

 

 

 

 

 

The Rabbit Listened, book coverThe Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld 

When a child’s block sculpture comes crashing down, all the animals come to help. But sometimes the only thing a problem needs is a listening ear. A lovely little story - with big opportunity for emotional growth.

 

 

 

A Big Mooncake for Little Star, book coverA Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin 

Little Star loves the delicious Mooncake that she bakes with her mama. But she's not supposed to eat any yet! What happens when she can't resist a nibble? A beautiful, award-winning picture book perfect for bedtime. 

 

 

Thank You Omu, book coverThank You, Omu! by Oge Mora

Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu's delicious stew. One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself? An oh-so-special story of community and care.

 

 

 

 

Need a library card? No worries; you can apply online and get your card number without leaving your house.


  Youth Services Librarian Allison 

 


What is solitary play?

Solitary play or independent play is play that allows a child to entertain themselves and learn independence without interaction from adults or other children.

 

But doesn’t that mean I’m just ignoring my child while I engage in other tasks?

No! Solitary play is an important part of childhood development and allows children to develop independence, imagination, creativity, concentration, and problem solving skills. 

 

Okay, solitary play is good, but now what?

Create a child safe zone for the play to happen. If you can designate a space that is free of hazards but within eyesight that would be best. Provide one or two open ended options for your child - too many options may actually overwhelm a child and lead to a less meaningful play experience. This can be a set of age appropriate blocks or even some kitchen items like Tupperware that can be stacked or sorted. Consider combining a few items to encourage imaginative scenarios for slightly older toddlers or preschoolers.

 

Can I get more information about solitary play?

 

Mindful Moment

Take a moment to close your eyes and breathe slowly. Acknowledge your feelings both positive and negative. Breathe deeply as you accept that these are valid. Be patient with yourself. 


  Youth Services Librarian Demitra