The Anthropocene Reviewed Fandom Kit

Posted & filed under Blog, Book Discussions, Youth & Teen.

What is The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on the Human-Centered Planet?

It’s a book based on the podcast where best-selling young adult author John Green (The Fault in our Stars, Turtles All the Way Down) reviews facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale. The cover is designed by Grace Han. Intended to be like a memoir, The Anthropocene Reviewed is a book of essays that take the form of extremely in-depth Yelp reviews. John described it as “beginning in my childhood when I saw Halley’s Comet and smelled scratch-and-sniff stickers and moves through my adolescence when I became fascinated by the internet and then through my twenties when I worked at a children’s hospital and survived a mental health crisis, and then, into adulthood, and becoming a parent.”

According to Anna Sale, author of Let’s Talk About Hard Things, “The Anthropocene Reviewed somehow satisfies all the contradictory demands I have for a book right now: it stimulates my brain while getting me out of my head while taking me to faraway places while grounding me in the wonders of my everyday. I’m so glad it’s here. I need it.”

I (Ms. Eti) have created this Teen/Adult Fandom Grab & Go Kit to celebrate the release of this highly-anticipated book, which will be released on May 18, 2021. Our physical kit will be available in our Great Green Box starting the week of May 18th, as well as by the Adult Services desk. Stop by the library or contact us to reserve a kit to pick up.

Share what you’re created with me at and we’ll spotlight it on our social media! Special thank you to fellow Nerdfighter Christina M., who helped me craft this kit.

John Green’s books are poignant, powerful, and emotional, and as a book that does address some difficult topics, including loss related to COVID-19, we wanted to share some of our community mental heath resources:

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 74`741.

Sensory Reviews

We have included a couple items (Diet Dr. Pepper and Scratch-and-Sniff stickers) for you to explore to create your own sensory experiences and think about how you would review them. Some ideas to consider: what are your childhood memories of these items? What feelings do you associate with them? What is their origin? What do you think is their appeal? What connections to have to your friends and family and these items? How many stars would you give them? Use the stars we’ve provided 😊 Then, check out John’s reviews.

Hiroyuki Doi Circle Drawings Magnet

In the “Works of Art by Agnes Martin and Hiroyuki Doi” podcast episode, John reviews the “the monumental circle drawings” of the Japanese artist Hiroyuki Doi, who began drawing after the death of his brother, because he found that the circles gave him “relief from the sadness and grief.” John shares, “I also find that repetitive actions offer relief– provided I choose them and don’t find them too physically or mentally taxing. Of course it’s easy to chalk that up to my having obsessive-compulsive disorder, but studies have found that most people are more focused and retain more information when they are doodling than when they are not.” John has a long-term plan to draw 170,000 or so circles. In fact, The Anthropocene Reviewed end papers are based on his circle drawings and they’re beautiful!

Using the green sharpie, draw circles on the wooden disc magnet we’ve provided, hopefully while listening to “This Year” by the Mountain Goats, checking out the “Works of Art by Agnes Martin and Hiroyuki Doi” episode or “What’s wrong with taking the back streets?” Vlogbrothers video.

Share pictures of your creations with us! (Be careful to use magnets safely and keep away from young children.)

Signature Art

John has signed every copy of the first printing for the United States and Canada, which amounts to signing his name 250,000 times! Check out his Vlogbrothers video, “How to Sign your Name How to Sign Your Name 150,000 Times” for autographing insights. If you go to the end paper opposite the signature page, there’s a review of autographs. Using the green sharpie, try to apply his advice to crafting your own signature. Hide the notecard in a book for someone else to find it.

Read Readalikes

Check out our bookmark of The Anthropocene Reviewed readalikes. Whether you’re interested in beckoning lovely, innovative artists & creators, your relationship to nature, the hidden world of everyday design, or robots appearing overnight, this list has something for everyone.

Here’s the list of suggested readalikes:

Somebody’s Daughter: A Memoir by Ashley C. Ford (expected publication date: June 1st, 2021)

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Everything Is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid: A Baopu Collection by Yao Xiao

How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life by Lulu Miller

You are an Artist: Assignments to Spark Creation by Sarah Urist Green

The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design by Kurt Kohlstedt and Roman Mars

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Write Your Own The Anthropocene Reviewed-Style Review

Select something from the human-centered planet to write a review in the style of The Anthropocene Reviewed. You can even select a topic from the book, write your own review, and then see how it compares with John’s assessment. Like all reviews, it’s just for fun and totally subjective. You can even use the notebook to write down your review and share it with us.

Here’s a template to help you get started:

  • Start by defining the thing you’re talking about:
  • Do some basic research to learn more about that thing.
    • Where did it come from? Was it invented, and if so, who made it? Our library has lots of resources on our website under the page, “Research and Learning.”
  • Make personal connections.
    • When did you first experience it? What are your associations with it? What are some emotions you feel when you think about it? Don’t be afraid of meaningful tangents or rambles. It’s all about the journey. (You can always go with “but we’re not here to talk about the [insert number of stars thing] here.”)
  • Find a way to make your reader cry or feel some sort of way about the thing.
  • Come to a conclusion about the thing and why you approve/disapprove of it. End by giving your rating.

By the way, if you attend John Green’s virtual book tour, he’ll actually write a new review together using a strategy he developed for the book!

Gratitude Journal

John shared in the “We Could All Use a Little Change” Vlogbrothers video how “a gratitude journal made by Kurzgesagt, the people behind those phenomenally beautiful and informative videos,” changed his life by writing down what he was grateful for every day. Use the notebook included to make your own gratitude journal or use it for whatever you like 😊: it’s yours.

Beckoning Lovely

Eti’s favorite essay/podcast episode is about Auld Lang Syne, which is also about the late author Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who helped us all see magic and hope, as John writes, “Although she was a playful and optimistic writer, Amy was not deluded about the nature of suffering, or about its centrality in human life. Her work–whether picture book or memoir–always finds a way to acknowledge misery without giving in to it.”

We’ve included some coloring sheets inspired by her book, Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal. We invite you to color them, write a quote from the book on the back, and send it to someone as a surprise. Send 5-stars to someone in your life who is unequivocally a 5-star person. You can use the card we’ve provided to mail them a note to tell them how awesome they are. You can even add a scratch-and-sniff sticker or the stickers we made to bring them joy.

Coming Together

We’ve all experienced some form of isolation over the past year. Through Coming Together’s 2021 season, we invite you to reconnect with neighbors, family, and friends to let them know you’re thinking of them. Visit for more information. Reach out to a friend or neighbor with the postcards we’ve provided to tell them you are thinking of them during these difficult times. In addition to sending postcards, you might choose to make a phone call to neighbors and/or friends you know. Pick up the phone and let them know, “I was thinking of you today and thought I would give you a call.” Then be prepared to listen and share in a conversation.

If someone you talk to needs help with resources for healthcare, housing, food, mental health support, etc., you may suggest they call the Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center/IDHS hotline at 847-933-0051 x609.

Attend the Virtual Tour

John is going on a virtual tour for The Anthropocene Reviewed and there will be a special guest each night! Tickets are available now, supported by independent bookstores across the USA! More info here:

Review the Book

First, get a copy of The Anthropocene Reviewed. You can, of course, put it on hold at our library.

Authors really appreciate reader’s reviews of their books – and it’s a huge part of gaining visibility and interest in their books. If you read The Anthropocene Reviewed, share a review on Goodreads, social media, or share it with the library and we’ll post it on our social media.

Is there another book you’ve loved this year? Show that author some appreciation and write a quick review and share it.

Review this Kit

We’d love to hear from you about what you thought of this kit, which has been created because of feedback we received to make more tween/teen/adult kits.

Please take a couple minutes to share your feedback with your Lincolnwood Public Library Youth and Teen Librarians and evaluate us on a 5-star scale. We will use this information to plan future Grab & Go Kits, just for you!

Fill out the form and you’ll be entered into a gift card raffle.

Here’s the link:

And finally, I give you 5 stars. : Teacher Created Resources Gold Stars Foil Stickers (1276) :  Academic Awards And Incentives Supplies : Office Products

But wait, there’s more! Check out the incredible The Anthropocene Reviewed Map: a fan project from Ret and Jim, where you can Send in a photo of your copy of the book, write a review of your location, and see it on the map!

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Posted & filed under Blog, display, Early Literacy, Youth & Teen.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! You can learn more about the origins of this month designed to “celebrate and pay tribute to the contributions generations of Asian/Pacific Americans have made to American history, society and culture” here. To celebrate, our librarians curated lists of books by Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander creators for readers of all ages to enjoy all year long. Below, we have included photos of our staff picks displays, learning resources, virtual events to attend, and ways to take action to support our AAPI community.


You can stop by to browse our displays and/or click the titles below to put materials on hold at our library or other libraries in our system. The pictures below are just some of the books we’ve put on our displays. This is definitely not a definitive list of books or resources, but hopefully a good place to start reading, discussing, and sharing. We’d love to hear from you about the resources you find useful.

Picture Books

Picture Books pictured above from left to right:

Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku by Ellie Crowe, illustrated by Richard Waldrep

Like the Moon Loves the Sky by Hena Khan, illustrated by Saffa Khan

A Map into the World by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Seo Kim

The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh By Supriya Kelkar, illustrated by Alea Marley

Watercress by Andrea Chang, illustrated by Jason Chin

Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee, illustrated by Man One

Ohana Means Family by Ilima Loomis, illustrated by Kenard Pak

Drawn Together by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

A Different Pond by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui

The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho, illustrated by Jess X. Snow

Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom by Teresa Robeson, Illustrated by Rebecca Huang

Sugar in Milk by Thrity Umrigar, illustrated by Khoa Le

Middle Grade/Chapter Books

Middle grade/chapter books pictured above from left to right:

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat

The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat

Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices, edited by S. K. Ali and Aisha Saeed, illustrated by Sara Alfageeh

A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi

Stargazing by Jen Wang

Awesome Asian Americans: 20 Stars who made America Amazing by Philip Amara & Oliver Chin, illustrated by Juan Calle

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park

Finish the Fight!: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote by Veronica Chambers & the Staff of The New York Times

Game of Stars (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #2) by Sayantani DasGupta

Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh Lê, illustrated by Andie Tong

Dawn Raid by Pauline Vaeluaga Smith

Young Adult

Young adult books pictured above from left to right:

Finding My Voice by Marie Myung-Ok Lee

Flamer by Mike Curato

Come on In: 15 Stories about Immigration and Finding Home, edited by Adi Alsaid

Shine by Jessica Jung

Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Gurihiru

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar

Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir by Robin Ha

Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience, edited by Patrice Vecchione and Alyssa Raymond


Adult books pictured above from left to right:

The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui

Oleander Girl: A Novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Making of Asian America: A History by Erika Lee

Chinatown Pretty by Andria Lo & Valerie Luu

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls: A Memoir by T Kira Madden

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Iep jāltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter by Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner

Asian Americans PBS series (all episodes also available streaming online here)

In addition to our physical displays, you can access many of these titles, as well as films, documentaries, ebooks and audiobooks on Overdrive and Hoopla. Kanopy has also curated a selection of films and documentaries for Asian American and Pacific Islander month that you can access with your library card.

Virtual Events

There are incredible virtual events across the country that we can attend from our homes. I’ve selected a couple suggested events, but there are definitely many happening throughout this month and beyond.

Dakota County Library in Minnesota is hosting a variety of programs to uplift diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) experiences and voice including:

*music and dance performances

*author talks with Paula Yoo, author of The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement, An Na, author of The Place Between Breaths, V.T. Bidania, author of the Astrid and Apollo series, and Kao Kalia Yang, author of Somewhere in the Unknown World

*a talk with historian and librarian Sarah Okner to learn about the intern​ment of more than 120,000 Japanese American adults and children during World War II

*conversation about Asian American Adoptees in Children’s Literature with award-winning poet, educator, and Korean adoptee Sun-Yung Shin along with library science professor and adoption scholar Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen, and so much more!

Register here.

Join the Asian Author Alliance for AAPI Book Month, “a month-long celebration of AAPI identities and cultures. AAPI authors and artists will come together for virtual panels and events throughout the month of May! Join us for discussions and celebrations of Asian and Pacific Islander identities and cultures!” Set reminders to attend their YouTube Panels, which you can always watch at your convenience.

We’re especially excited for the Diversity in YA 10 Year Anniversary Discussion (Instagram Live) with Malinda Lo and Cindy Pon on Friday, May 7 at 7pm CT.

“A decade ago, Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo launched Diversity in YA, a national book tour and website that celebrated diversity in young adult books. Today they look back on the ten-year anniversary of DiYA and talk about what’s changed and what hasn’t since 2011.”

Some of the best learning experiences we’ve had this year have been at Skokie Public Library’s Civic Lab. Civic Lab returns on Monday, May 10 from 7:30-8:30pm CT for a session on Asian American Activism.

“The term “Asian American” did not come into existence until the 1960s. Learn about the history of the term, its inclusion of Pacific Islanders, and the legacy of Asian American solidarity movements.” Register here.

Take Action

“Introduced by Sen. Villivalam and Rep. Gong-Gershowitz, the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act (HB 376) will paint a more complete picture of our shared history by adding Asian American history to the Illinois School Code.” According to the Asian American Caucus, “This bill would ensure Asian American students learn stories that reflect their experiences. Further, all students will have a better understanding of Asian American communities, experiences, and histories as part of our country.”

The bill has passed in the Illinois House of Representatives, and now goes to the Senate. You can email your Legislators to Co-Sponsor and vote to pass the TEAACH Act ((HB 376 and SB 648) here. You can learn more about the efforts to pass this bill here.

Support organizations like Stop AAPI Hate, Hate is a Virus, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

Participate in bystander intervention trainings and continued education.

Support providing Asian American Studies and Asian American Literature classes. Check out the Defining Safe podcast hosted by Yiming Fu with Albert Chan, a social studies teacher at Niles North High School & Niles West High School, about the process to create the Asian American studies class in D219.

What other ways are you taking action?

Learning Resources

Want to find even more excellent books? Check out the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, which is awarded by the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA).

Check out the Guide for Parents of Asian/Asian American Adolescents (William James College Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health (CMGMH) Asian Mental Health Program, in collaboration with the Massachusetts General Hospital  (MGH) Center for Cross Cultural Student Emotional Wellness).

Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen has created an invaluable (and continually growing) collection of Asian American K-12 Resources.

You can watch all five episodes of PBS’s Asian Americans documentary series for free online.

“Asian Americans is a five-hour film series that delivers a bold, fresh perspective on a history that matters today, more than ever. As America becomes more diverse, and more divided, while facing unimaginable challenges, how do we move forward together? Told through intimate and personal lives, the series will cast a new lens on U.S. history and the ongoing role that Asian Americans have played in shaping the nation’s story.”

You can also access behind-the-scenes process interviews, educational resources and lesson plans, and an interactive gallery.

Embrace Race offers incredible webinars (with recordings available afterwards) for caregivers, educators and community members including the recent Violence Against Asian Americans: How Do We Support the Children?.

Attend the on-demand webinar from Learning for Justice about Teaching Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Spring Break Staycation Kit

Posted & filed under Blog, Early Literacy, Youth & Teen.

Our Youth & Teen librarians have created a special Staycation Kit which includes yarn, DIY Tic Tac Toe, DIY puzzle, a Take a Break with a Book list for the whole family, books, and more to help you spend time with family and create new, special memories together.  You can also request DVD and book bundles to help with your spring break entertainment.

Lincolnwood residents can sign up for a Staycation Kit (pictured above). Fill out this form to request a kit – while supplies last. One kit per family, please.

The Lincolnwood Public Library is brimming with resources to help our community celebrate traditions, create memories, learn new skills, express gratitude, and spend time with family. Here are a few ideas compiled by our librarians to help everyone enjoy time together!

Finger Knitting Kit 

Artists and crafters of all skill levels can find thousands of classes on CreativeBug. To access CreativeBug on our library’s website, go to Research & Learning, select Quick Links, then CreativeBug and log in with your library card. You can access the Finger Knitting class here. Use the yarn we’ve provided to make something fun! 

DIY Tic Tac Toe 

Cut two long strips and two shorter ones from your scrap fabric to use as the lines on your tic-tac-toe ‘board.’
Glue down strips of fabric in the shape of the # sign.
Decorate your game pieces with either the traditional ‘x’s and ‘o’s or something more creative.
You’ll need five of each design.
Introduce your child(ren) to the simple rules of the game and then you’re ready to play!
If you used a fabric bag as your ‘board,’ when you’re done playing, you can store the game pieces inside for easy clean-up.


You can create special family time by working together to color your own puzzle in the style of your choice. Feel free to share pictures of your finished products with us!

Host a Movie Night

Use our Movie Night Guide to plan a memorable movie night at home. Check out our suggestions of movies that can be fun for the whole family to watch together.


There’s nothing like a good book to enjoy inside while it’s cold outside – or to bring outside with you while spring begins. Our librarians have curated this Take a Break with a Book Booklist to offer suggestions for exploring places, experiences, and stories all from the comfort of home. This is just a list to get started. You can put these books on hold here. You can also always call or email our librarians to get personalized recommendations just for you or submit a Book Bundle request form at We have included two FREE books you can read and keep.

Ty’s Travels: All Aboard! by Kelly Starling Lyons, Illustrated by Nina Mata

Ty’s Travels: All Aboard! is a fantastic read aloud for families – and a marvelous first independent read for beginning readers. Use the activity sheets in the Kit to continue sharing Ty’s world. You can access more resources here. Explore the power of imagination together by creating your own cardboard train and setting off on incredible adventures together. You can even upcycle the Staycation Kit box! 

Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed, Illustrated by Barbara McClintock

This book is an enjoyable read aloud for all ages, capturing the joy of winter in its poetic prose. Work together to create a collaborative piece (ex: poem, comic, drawings) about twelve kinds of a natural feature, object, person or experience. Use this book as a mentor text to write or talk about a family memory of winter or spring. 

The library has many activities to explore on our YouTube channel and Facebook page, including storytimes, youth activities and crafts, author visits, program recordings, technology tutorials, book talks, and much more. There’s truly something for everybody!

Which activities are you excited to do over spring break? Feel free to share your suggestions with us!


We are eager to get feedback from our community about our Grab & Go Kits. We rely on your input to help us develop future kits. Tell us what you and your kids think by competing our quick feedback form & you’ll be entered into a gift card raffle! You can access it at

Lincolnwood Reads: Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham

Posted & filed under Blog, Book Discussions, Early Literacy, Youth & Teen.

Our youth librarians chose Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham as our youth Lincolnwood Reads selection. Participate in Lincolnwood Reads on Beanstack by creating an account.

Our youth librarians chose Outside, Inside as our youth Lincolnwood Reads selection, recognizing as Kirkus noted, that this book is “a powerful ode to community [delivering] a timeless message of humility, perseverance, and hope.” With her signature gorgeous and affirming style that reflects her deep, empathetic understanding of young readers, LeUyen Pham uses the concepts of inside/outside to help offer support, care, and insight to both document this moment in time – and also show how caring for each other is timeless.

As a book about the past year, please note Outside, Inside does discuss and show loss related to COVID-19. It is a beautiful book that deals with hard things in a hopeful, compassionate way. We wanted to share some resources to help you take care of yourselves and express any feelings you’re feeling.

Watch our archived Lunch Break Storytime: Feelings. You can also download our Storytime Handout.

How To Recognize and Respond To Big Feelings (Sesame Street Communities)

How Big Is Your Scary Feeling? (Sesame Street Communities)

Our community also has a variety of mental heath resources available:

Turning Point Mental Health Services

JCFS Chicago Response for Teens

No Shame On U

Metropolitan Family Services

Outside, Inside Grab & Go Kit

Our Youth Librarians have created a special Grab & Go Kit to explore Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham together and extend the literacy experience with a variety of reading, writing, crafting, and connecting activities. Several of the activities in the kit are Beanstack tasks you can complete, check off, and win prizes! We’d love to see what you create so feel free to share pictures or videos with us at You can pick up a free Grab & Go Kit in our Great Green Box while supplies last. You can also use all of the ideas and resources available in this digital kit.

*Please note that several activities come from the activity guide created by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group..


Read Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham. You can put a copy on hold at our library. You can share it by asking open-ended questions. This is a technique called ‘dialogic reading,’ and research shows that it helps children increase their reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. Some suggested questions: Where is the cat? What do you notice? What do you wonder? How does this spread make you feel?


Call our Dial-a-Story line at 847-999-7600 to listen to a Read Aloud of Outside, Inside, read by Ms. Ann. This is a wonderful activity you can do as a family.

Join our Outside, Inside Book Discussion/Storytime

Attend our family book discussion/storytime on Wednesday, April 7 at 6–7pm CST! Register here. You can even share what you’ve created using this kit during our program! We will make the paper house together in the program.

Write a Thank You Note*

Every day nurses, doctors, grocery-store workers, post-office employees, teachers, and many others help make a world a better place. Write a thank you note to someone who has made a difference in your community. You can use the card, worksheet and envelope. Sesame Street Communities has resources to provide ways for everyone to say thank you. You can even create this Mail a Hug craft.

Interview Someone You Love*

Is there someone you miss seeing every day? Call them on the phone or set up a video call and interview them! You can use the worksheet for ideas for questions. You can even interview them for My Lincolnwood Story!

Shop Local

Support our local independent bookstore partner, Booked in Evanston, by purchasing a copy of our Lincolnwood Reads selections here. You can also email them at to request any of our readalike titles – or any book you desire! They are the best!!


Draw a picture of your favorite thing to do outside.

Draw a picture of your favorite thing to do inside.

We have also included some activity pages from the readalike book, Why Are You So Quiet? by Jaclyn Desforges & illustrated by Risa Hugo.

Make a Memory Jar

Inspired by In a Jar by Deborah Marcero and Memory Jars by Vera Brosgol, create your own memory jar. A memory jar can be a time capsule of an hour, a day, an event, or an entire season/year. Use the scrapbook paper and your own art supplies to draw or write down words that remind you of moments or feelings you want to capture. You can even put little objects into the jar. This is an activity you can do with the whole family. You could even make the jar to share with a friend or family member.

Host a Dance Party

Host a family dance party with your favorite music and dance moves. We have created a fun playlist of music we love to help you get moving and get everyone at home involved in creating your epic playlist. You can use speakers or a computer for quality sound. You can even dim the lights and set up some string lights or color-changing led lights to make it fancy. We’ve provided a glow stick bracelet and connector to add to the fun, which are recommended for ages 3 years old and up.

Paper House

Make a paper house using the provided template from the Eric Carle Museum. Watch the tutorial video with LeUyen Pham to learn how to make the paper house. The project starts at around 16 minutes.

Speaking of the Carle Museum, check out ART in PLACE: Social Distancing in the Studio, “an exhibition featuring inspiring artworks created by more than 20 of today’s leading picture-book artists during the global pandemic. Each illustrator shares one artwork, a self-portrait taken in their studio, and a statement about their selection.”

Mentor Text

The pairing of opposites of outside/inside offer an opportunity to use this book as a powerful mentor text for writers of all ages. Use the format of Outside, Inside as a prompt for a creative writing response after reading this book.


Watch virtual author visits and storytimes with LeUyen Pham talking about creating Outside, Inside.

LeUyen Pham launch Event from An Unlikely Story Bookstore

We recommend attending OUTSIDE, INSIDE: Teaching, Learning, and Reflecting on Life During the Pandemic on Monday, March 15 at 5:30 CST. All author proceeds will benefit the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

“Using Outside, Inside, rich conversation, and multimodal activities, author/illustrator LeUyen Pham and educator Kass Minor will help caregivers and educators develop a foundational landscape for engaging kids in authentic conversation and reflective practice grounded in and connected to the 2020-21/Global Pandemic teaching and learning experience. Kids, teachers, and caregivers have few opportunities to talk about how COVID-19 has shaped their lives, and many have become desensitized to its omnipresent force. LeUyen Pham’s newest book Outside, Inside offers a gentle touchstone for initiating and/or continuing these conversations.” This session is recorded so you can always register and watch it at your convenience.

Explore Readalikes

Check out readalike books that explore similar themes, such as community, kindness, family, creativity, various emotions, and resilience. Picture books are for everybody!

You can also pair Outside, Inside with other kinds of media such as poetry performances, art, comics, and film. Watch National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman read her poem, ‘The Miracle of Morning (presented in April 2020). You can access a performance video here.

We’d love to hear what you think about our Grab & Go Kit! Fill out our survey with your input and you’ll be entered into a prize raffle.


A librarian always shares their sources 🙂 Here are some of the awesome learning resources we’ve found and used to create this Grab & Go Kit and Lincolnwood Reads programs:

KidLit These Days Podcast: Stay Safe

Strength as One (Librarian’s Quest)

Asian Lit for Kids Review

Sondra Eklund Review

In a Jar + Memory Jar Craft (This Picture Book Life)

Outside, Inside: The LeUyen Pham Interview and Trailer Reveal (Fuse #8)

LeUyen Pham: Evidence of love in a most difficult year (BookPage interview by Julie Danielson)

Teachers Books Reads Blog

Bookends Blog

‘Outside, Inside’ Is a Time Capsule That Helps Kids and Adults Reflect on Pandemic Life by Kara Newhouse (Mindshift)

Get Out the Vote 2021

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

For several years, Lincolnwood Public Library’s Junior Justice League, our community activism program for young people, has participated in Get Out the Vote projects to inspire our community to vote, which included posting signs and/or sending out postcards for the 2018 midterm elections, village, school and library elections, the 2020 spring primaries and the 2020 fall election.

Civic engagement and participation in our democracy is something we’re passionate about all the time! This spring our library will support our community in voting on April 6 for the 2021 consolidated elections for mayor, school board, library board, etc. Local elections often do not get as much attention as national or state elections – but they are incredibly important to every community.

Join Lincolnwood Library’s youth Junior Justice League, our virtual community activism program seeking to make a difference in our world while staying connected to our community, for our Get Out the Vote initiative to promote voting in the upcoming local elections. This program will take place on March 16 at 3:30pm CST on Zoom. This is a fantastic activity to do together as a family. You can register here

You can pick up a free Get Out the Vote Grab & Go Postcard Kit at the library on our Voting Displays and in our Great Green Box to participate in this activity on your own time, while supplies last. Our all-ages Get Out the Vote Postcard Kit (with art made by Kate) can offer a fun, engaging opportunity for families and friends to come together to talk about civic engagement and democracy, whether in person or virtually. You could even host your own postcard writing activity on Zoom! You can also use your own postcards. All you need are some basic art supplies. Middle school and high school friends, you can even get service hours for making and sending out postcards!

Get Out the Vote Postcards Directions

Using your own style, decorate the postcard and write a personal message to inspire others to vote, such as “Raise your Voice,” “Every Vote Matters,” “Make a Plan to Vote.” You can watch the video above for inspiration from our JJL kids!

Address the postcard on the right side of the postcard. You can attach a stamp or if you bring the postcard to the Youth & Teen Librarians, we can mail the postcard for you. Make sure to mail your postcards before the election. 

Treat yourself to a Voting sticker for a job well done.  

Make a plan with your family to vote this spring. Remember you can always register to vote by mail.

You can access our Get Out the Vote Postcard templates and directions here.

Voting Resources

Lincolnwood Library provides lots of resources about voting to help you find the information you need about registering, researching candidates, finding your polling place, and more.

You can check our Informed Voter page at

School District 74 Candidate Videos

Niles Township Government Voter Information, which includes information about early voting, your polling place, vote by mail, the advisory referendum on the ballot, and lots more!

Check out our Voting display in the library & borrow some fantastic books to learn more about raising your voice for all ages. You can also easily put them on hold to get through curbside pick-up.

Magic by Randy Show and Teaching Program

Posted & filed under Blog, Uncategorized, Youth & Teen.

If you missed out on our Magic by Randy show and magic teaching program, you can visit his website. Here’s some highlights of what you missed in both programs!

Some magic cards Randy showed participants how to use in his magic teaching program
  1. In the teaching program Randy showed everyone how to use math in a magic trick that will get the same number every time
  2. How to make cards move in mysterious ways
  3. how to craft your own magic trick

in the performance, Randy

  1. moved objects and made objects move inside a glass (Without touching it)
  2. Pulled all sorts of objects from his mouth
  3. Did card tricks with the help of audience participation

You can also check out some of his videos from other performances on his website.

The library has other magic books for all ages and skill levels that you can check out to build upon Randy’s teaching program.

Mathemagic: Number Tricks – Lynda Colgan

Magic Tricks with Coins, Cards, and Everyday Objects by Jake Banfield

Simple Slight of Hand by Paul Zenon

OEB Magic Handbook: Paper Tricks by Jon Tremaine

Best Books of 2020

Posted & filed under Blog, Book Discussions, Youth & Teen.

We have several different lists and ways you can access some of our staff’s favorite picks of the year. Included are books for all ages, from infants to adults! Check it out and check back regularly for more recommendations.

On YouTube, we have regularly occurring book talks, including some that wrap up all of 2020 in books!

Here is a record set for some of the staff’s favorite Youth books that the library owns!

Our newsletter featured some of the staff’s favorite titles, which you can search below.

Rich – Youth and Teen Services

Almost American Girl by Robin Ha

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

Speechless by Adam P. Schmitt

Paula – Information Services

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Emily – Youth & Teen Services

The Living Dead by George A. Romero and Daniel Kraus

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Do Fish Sleep? by Jens Raschke, Jens Rassmus (Illustrations), Belinda Cooper (Translation)

Barbara Friedman – Information Services

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Afterlife by Julia Alvarez

Ask Again Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Brian – Information Services

Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

Kevin – Youth and Teen Services

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo 

We Unleash The Merciless Storm by Tehlor Mejia 

The New One by Mike Birbiglia and Jen Stein 

Author Visit with Next Wave Muslim Initiative writers, Sasa and Fatima

Posted & filed under Blog, Book Discussions, Youth & Teen.

We are SO excited and honored to welcome Next Wave Muslim Initiative writers and contributors of I Am the Night Sky & Other Reflections by Muslim American Youth anthology, Salihah “Sasa” Aakil & Fatima Rafie, to our virtual library on Tuesday, February 2nd at 6pm CST!

Sasa and Fatima will present and discuss their important works. Attendees will gain insights from these incredible young creators about their creative process to make the anthology, offering learning opportunities for young people who are interested in expressing themselves. Attendees will ALSO be entered into a raffle to win a free copy of I Am the Night Sky. You can also purchase copies from Shout Mouse Press.

Are you curious about how young people (just like you!) wrote and published a book?

Are you passionate about the power of stories to help young people “show their true selves, to build connection, and to create more inclusive and welcoming communities for all”? 

Are you interested in telling your own story? 

Then, this is THE program for you! Please register here to join our live Zoom with your email. You don’t have to read the book beforehand to enjoy our authors’ presentation; we hope it will inspire you to check it out or get your own copy. All are welcome to join us!

UPDATE: You can NOW watch the recording of our program on our YouTube Channel below.

Curious to know more about their book?

I Am the Night Sky & Other Reflections by Muslim American Youth is an essential addition to your home, classroom, and library collections! It received a Starred review in Kirkus and was named a Best Book of 2019. It is highly recommended from the Rich in Color blog. It was included on the 2020 Rise: A Feminist Book Project List for Ages 0-18. It was also on the In the Margins Book Awards Recommended Non-fiction list.

We have created a special Grab & Go Kit to accompany our upcoming virtual author visit that you can pick up from our Great Green Box! We have collected excellent resources to help celebrate and enjoy this visit! 


We’ve provided you with a writer’s notebook to help you express yourself. Use it to respond to any of the Shout In Place Prompts, which was Shout Mouse Press’s initiative this past spring “to collect stories from young people during the pandemic and help young people process and capture their unique experience of this historic time.” We have included a couple examples in the kit. You can see all the prompts here, which also includes young authors’ writing, art, and reflections. You can also submit your own response or share them with us. You can also use the I Am the Night Sky Writing Prompts developed by Kathy Crutcher, Shout Mouse Story Coach to inspire you.


Get inspired to write by watching the powerful compilation video of Shout Mouse Press authors’ responses to the “Who Am I?” #ShoutInPlace prompt!

Try the Shout in Place prompt from Week 18: The #WhoAmIChallenge. Being as creative as possible, you are challenged to describe who you are. Using the #WhoAmIChallenge Template as your script, answer the question Who Am I? 5 times. Make sure to add details that show us how unique you are.


Fatima Rafie created an incredible series of collages for this anthology. Using the collage materials provided, as well as your own craft supplies, magazines, or upcycled books, create a collage that explores the theme of identity. You can even use the I Am the Night Sky Writing Prompts to help inspire your art. We have also included some pictures of Fatima Rafie’s artwork to serve as mentor texts to help you get started. Feel free to share what you create with us!


Read and reflect on Salihah “Sasa” Aakil’s piece, “I am the Night Sky,” which became the title of the anthology. As Sasa writes in the introduction:

“In the end, the title we chose came from a piece in this collection, a line that speaks to the power we all felt while writing. The power to declare who we are. To reframe and reclaim. To tell our own stories, when all you’d heard was theirs.

We know who we are. We are intelligent, athletic and energetic, funny and strange, young and alive, writers and artists. We are boundless. We do not fit in anyone’s box. We are the night sky, and we wrote these stories, reflections, and reminders so that you can know us for us. Not for what they declared us to be…

This collection, like us, contains multitudes… We wrote our truths here, all in the hopes that you will remember us for who we are. We are. And we are here.”

The entire anthology is an incredible work of art! You definitely will want to check it out from the library and get your own copy, too!

We have included some amazing articles to learn more! 

“Book Launch: I Am the Night Sky” by Salihah Aakil (7/26/19)

“All the Ways I Learned to Become the Night Sky as a Muslim Teen” by Salihah Aakil (5/4/20)

“This D.C. press helps diverse young writers express themselves ‘from a place of power’” by Avery J.C. Kleinman (10/17/20)

Meet the Bright Muslim Writers and Artists Giving Life to the American Muslim Experience by Nadamousa 

You can check out Salihah Aakil’s official bio.

You can check out Fatima Rafie’s official bio.

Learn more about the Next Wave Muslim Initiative.

Learn more about Shout Mouse Press.

You can learn more about Shout Mouse Press in the videos below:

Caldecott Club Voting Party 2021

Posted & filed under Blog, Book Discussions, Early Literacy, Youth & Teen.

Welcome back to our 2021 Caldecott Club! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians at Lincolnwood Library. We have come full circle during this, our 4th Caldecott Club, inspired by the fantastic program that Brian Wilson created at Evanston Public Library in 2016. This year we are hosting a collaborative virtual Caldecott Club WITH Mr. Brian and Evanston Public Library. We have been learning so much about how to host this program virtually – and it’s been so fun to join together across our community to geek out about gorgeous picture books!

We met together on Zoom on January 19, 2021 with a group of wonderful readers, their families, and friends to talk about all things picture books. We designed this program to be open to kids from around 1st grade through 8th grade and up because picture books are for everybody and everyone can learn from each other. I’ve tried to recap their brilliance in this post. (You can read the recaps from Session #1 here, Session #2 here, and Session #3 here.) We reached the culmination of our hard work picture walking and evaluating picture books for months: The Voting Party! We were joined by our program buddy, Ann, and our Evanston Library buddy, Laura. We also were joined by a special guest, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blogger, author, and librarian, Julie Danielson!

During this program series, different kids have attended a variety of sessions so it was pretty exciting to have most of our regular attendees – and some new friends attend our culminating program. The wonderful thing about picture books is their accessibility for engagement, whether you’re a first timer at Caldecott Club or a longtime fan. 

We began our session by reviewing what the Caldecott award is, which is “most distinguished American picture book for children awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children.” Mr. Brian, as usual, revealed the books we’d discuss and helped get us excited! He also encouraged us to listen to each other and approach each book with an open mind. We then jumped into our discussion. We started the conversation about each book with a quick booktalk/picture walk to ensure everyone was familiar with the books. (The summaries below are from the descriptions from the publishers’ pages.) During our discussion, we asked the kids to share what they liked about the art, starting with the positive things first, as per the CCBC Book Discussion Guidelines, and then share what didn’t work for them about the art. A reoccurring theme throughout our discussion that the kids brought up was comparing the books to each other, which is a helpful strategy for all committees.

Our essential questions were:

  • What did you like about the art?
  • How well did the art express the themes/ideas/story? 
  • Why should it win our Caldecott Club Award? 
  • What could have been done better? Why shouldn’t it win our Caldecott Club Award?

Lift by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat


Iris loves to push the elevator buttons in her apartment building, but when it’s time to share the fun with a new member of the family, she’s pretty put out. That is, until the sudden appearance of a mysterious new button opens up entire realms of possibility, places where she can escape and explore on her own. But when she’s forced to choose between going at it alone or letting her little brother tag along, Iris finds that sharing a discovery with the people you love can be the most wonderful experience of all.

Brian led our discussion about Lift. He started with a fantastic booktalk to recap Iris’s whirlwind adventures with the magical elevator button. He pointed out the unique features of the art in the comic-book style, the evocative facial expressions and body language, the use of humor, the dramatic page turns and double-page spreads, and use of perspective.

One reader shared how the art showed the girl’s emotions and how mad she got each time she didn’t get to press the button. Mr. Brian affirmed, “you could feel what she was feeling.” M. shared, “I love Lift because it’s drawn super well with all the little details.. and how every time [she] goes to a different place…” This led us into a discussion of the medium of Lift, which is usually found on the copyright page, but not in this book. The art is so fantastic and seems like it could be oil painting. We looked back at our notes and determined that it was made using Photoshop and Procreate. I have linked a video from Politics & Prose with Minh Lê and Dan Santat where Dan shows his process illustrating the book, including many of the things he changed between drafts (yay for the magical places inspirations)! A. shared that “every page has a special detail.” It was interesting how the comic book style worked for some readers and others did not prefer the format. Readers did share how they liked how it really showed emotion. L., shared, “I like it just fine. I actually love it. It’s one of my favorites.”

The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey & Jarrett Pumphrey

When is an old truck something more? On a small, bustling farm, a resilient and steadfast pickup works tirelessly alongside the family that lives there, and becomes a part of the dreams and ambitions of the family’s young daughter. After long days and years of hard work leave the old truck rusting in the weeds, it’s time for the girl to roll up her sleeves. Soon she is running her own busy farm, and in the midst of all the repairing and restoring, it may be time to bring her faithful childhood companion back to life.

Julie led our discussion about The Old Truck. She shared an excellent booktalk about the little girl growing up on the farm with the old truck as the constant in her life, and eventually she fixes up the old truck. Julie pointed out how it’s made with a mixture of traditional stamps and digital art, the limited color palette, simple shapes and patterns that express big ideas about working hard and family, inspired by the women in the creators’ family who worked really hard. Julie also pointed out how the truck stays in the same place in each spread. Y. shared that “this story is kind of unique. Most people end up buying different vehicles, but they keep this one, like it’s just as special as their family.” S. added, “I like how you could see the time passing.” R. said, “it’s kind of interesting to see how she grows up on every page.” M. added, “I really liked how the whole stamp thing. It looked really cool and I loved the color scheme – and I could see myself painting my walls using it.” Jules helped us think critically about the use of earth tones to convey meaning in The Old Truck – and how fitting it was for the themes of the story. Lu. shared how when we flipped through the book, it felt like a movie seeing the truck in the same place with everything changing. (10 points to us for making digital versions of the books available!)

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

Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption–a bold and lyrical picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and vibrantly illustrated by Michaela Goade.

Water is the first medicine.
It affects and connects us all . . .

When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth
And poison her people’s water, one young water protector
Takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource. 

I (Eti) led the discussion for We are Water Protectors. I reminded our group that it was illustrated by Michaela Goade, using watercolors, which is absolutely fitting and perfect for this book. I talked about how this book focuses on our relationship to water, and when the black snake/oil pipeline threatens the water, plants, animals, and people, the Indigenous-led resistance movement rises up to speak up and protect the water, which continues on today. H. shared, “I like this book because it teaches people how to treat the environment.” La. added, “I liked the watercolors. It really showed nature. I also liked why it was written and explained what was happening and why it’s bad.” You know I love good back-matter, too, my friend. Y. shared, “What I like about this is that they’re fighting for their water, just like some people right now during COVID, who don’t have water which is why they’re suffering so much.” (This powerful comment shows how incredible both this young reader is – and this gorgeous book that provokes this thoughtful comment. I can’t help but be reminded about the vital importance of access to clean water in Indian Country.) M. shared her favorite spreads when people are in a circle, declaring, “We stand/with our songs/and our drums./We are still here. She also really liked the spread that shows the negative impact of the pipeline on the wildlife, recognizing the creativity to express it.

The Ocean Calls by Tina Cho, illustrated by Jess X. Snow

A breathtaking picture book featuring a Korean girl and her haenyeo (free diving) grandmother about intergenerational bonds, finding courage in the face of fear, and connecting with our natural world. Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo just like Grandma. The haenyeo dive off the coast of Jeju Island to pluck treasures from the sea–generations of Korean women have done so for centuries. To Dayeon, the haenyeo are as strong and graceful as mermaids. To give her strength, Dayeon eats Grandma’s abalone porridge. She practices holding her breath while they do the dishes. And when Grandma suits up for her next dive, Dayeon grabs her suit, flippers, and goggles. A scary memory of the sea keeps Dayeon clinging to the shore, but with Grandma’s guidance, Dayeon comes to appreciate the ocean’s many gifts.

Julie led our discussion about The Ocean Calls. Julie talked about how Dayeon overcomes her fear of diving to join her grandmother, who is a haenyeo. Julie pointed out how the art was made digitally, pointing out the textures throughout the book, the mermaid imagery, playful perspectives, and magical purple. Julie also pointed out that Jess X. Snow worked really hard to accurately represent the haenyeo women in their culture. H. shared, “when they draw the ocean, if I were to do that, I would draw a straight line, but they drew waves, which is kind of cool.” Y. shared that he liked how Dayeon overcame her fear. M. shared how much she liked the backgrounds and surroundings with the colors, especially the ocean and the field. Lu. commented, “the ocean looks so real, you can almost feel it.” Julie talked about how the medium was really effective to express these ideas. Another reader added, “I like the way they draw everything. It makes it look super realistic and shows the expressions. Everything looks really fitting to the story.” B. shared, “I really like that they made the shadows into mermaid shapes. Also, I love mermaids. They’re one of my favorite things.” Julie shared that there’s a lot of mermaid imagery since the haenyeo are, as the author’s note states, “fondly known as Korea’s granny mermaids” and also “Indigenous marine biologists.” H. shared, “I think it should win since Dayeon had a fear of the water … and she went through it bravely and it tells the reader that fear is just another reason why you should try harder to do the things you’re afraid of.”

Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki 

Cover of Our Little Kitchen

In this lively, rousing picture book from Caldecott Honoree Jillian Tamaki, a crew of resourceful neighbors comes together to prepare a meal for their community. With a garden full of produce, a joyfully chaotic kitchen, and a friendly meal shared at the table, Our Little Kitchen is a celebration of full bellies and looking out for one another. Bonus materials include recipes and an author’s note about the volunteering experience that inspired the book.

Ann led our discussion of Our Little Kitchen. She shared a fantastic booktalk about community kitchen bringing everyone together. She pointed out how it was drawn with nib pens and colored digitally, with a comics art style. She also pointed out how the book uses onomatopoeia to visually show the sounds, immersing you in the kitchen noises and smells, with a mixture of realism and surrealism. Ms. Ann also pointed out the excellent author’s note and recipe endpapers. Y. shared, “I like how in the end, the kid says, ‘Ok, time to clean up!'” H. shared how she liked the use of onomatopoeia “to show the reader what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.” A. shared that she’s learning about onomatopoeia in school for writing, which is such a great personal connection. B. shared how she liked how there’s so much detail on all the pages. She also noticed the shape and size of the text. S. shared that she liked it because she likes graphic novels and also likes to cook and bake. R. pointed out how the book starts out quiet, gets loud and then gets quiet again. Ann pointed out how the use of white space helps communicate in the book. J. shared, “This is my favorite book. I like how the art is like a comic book.” Ann modeled a fantastic text-to-text comparison to reflect on the comics features between Our Little Kitchen and Lift. L. shared that the comics features felt stronger in Lift but liked Our Little Kitchen better because of the drawing style that feels like a page of well-drawn doodles. H. shared that “they’re making food to help people who don’t have it, so that’s nice to know . . . so it’s kind that they’re helping others.”

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Captain Swashby loves the sea, his oldest friend. And he loves his life by the sea just as it is: salty and sandy and serene. One day, much to Swashby’s chagrin, a young girl and her granny commandeer the empty house next door. All Swashby wants is for his new neighbors to GO AWAY and take their ruckus with them. When Swashby begins to leave notes in the sand for his noisy neighbors, however, the beach interferes with the messages that are getting across. Could it be that the captain’s oldest friend, the sea, knows what Swashby needs even better than he knows himself?

Laura led our discussion of Swashby and the Sea. She framed it as a story of “eventual friendship,” which is such a perfect way of putting it. Laura helped point out how the art shows how the sea is another character in the book. She shared how the expressions are larger than life, especially noticing the character’s eyes, noting the muted colors to convey it’s a beach story. H. shared how she liked how it’s an unlikely friendship story, appreciating how the girl never gives up and keeps coming back. B. added how it’s funny and liked how the ocean didn’t wash all the letters out, but made different words from the letters. L. declared that, “it should be first. It’s a good book – it’s about friendship – and I’m all about friendship. And it’s very funny too.” Y. shared that it’s also a favorite, and like The Ocean Calls, the girl went into the ocean even though she didn’t want to.


After we had walked through each book in a whirlwind of color and conversation, we were ready to vote for the winner of our 2021 Caldecott Club. This year, since we met virtually, I created a google form for people to vote for their first, second, and third choice. (If you’re interested in the technical details, I downloaded the results into an spreadsheet, calculated the number (1st place gets 3 points, 2 gets 2, and 3rd place gets 1) and then added up the totals. I then was able to screenshare to show how we got our results for full transparency. Finally, the math was complete and we were ready to announce our winners!

The Winner of our Evanston Public Library and Lincolnwood Library 2021 Mock Caldecott is….

Lift by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat


Our group selected 3 Honor Books:

Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki

Cover of Our Little Kitchen

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

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The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey & Jarrett Pumphrey

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But wait, there’s more!

We will have a live Youth Media Awards Viewing Party on Zoom on Monday, January 25 at 8:00am CST! You can even get a special Grab & Go Kit in Lincolnwood Library’s Great Green Box. Register here.

Then, in the evening, we’ll meet up together at our regular Caldecott Club time (Monday, January 25 at 7pm CST) to watch selections from the Youth Media Awards webcast and react to the winners.


You can put Caldecott Club books on hold at our libraries here.

I have created a RESOURCE GUIDE with activities, videos, podcasts, program kit supplies, handouts, and more to share the sources we’ve used and continue the learning! We hope it will be useful for you to explore these books at home!

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Caldecott Club! Thank you so much to Mr. Brian for this incredible collaboration! Thank you so much to Ann and Laura for being our awesome buddies and facilitators. Thank. you to our special guest, Julie Danielson, for joining our Caldecott Club community, leading two discussions, and sharing your notable picture book expertise! And of course, thank you to our friends, families, and young readers who are our Caldecott Club!

Author & Illustrator Visit with Alicia D. Williams & Jacqueline Alcántara

Posted & filed under Blog, Book Discussions, Early Literacy, Youth & Teen.

We are so grateful to host author Alicia D. Williams & illustrator Jacqueline Alcántara of Jump at the Sun: The True-Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston, at an interactive presentation about the art and craft of making books, including a live drawing demonstration and a drawing activity. This event was offered in partnership with Winnetka-Northfield Public Library on January 14, 2021.

You can purchase your own copy of Jump at the Sun from our local independent bookstore partner, the Book Stall!

Jacqueline and Alicia prepared a wonderful multi-faceted event for our libraries that had our group engaged throughout the entire program!

It began with Alicia sharing an outstanding and captivating read aloud of Jump at the Sun: The True-Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston that demonstrated her incredible skill as a storyteller, performer, and writer. (Seriously, I hope that they produce an audiobook of Jump at the Sun and hire Alicia as the narrator, with Live Oak Media producing it to help bring Zora’s story to life.) Alicia shared the beginning of the story with us – and left us intrigued to find out more. (Make sure to check out the recording to watch for yourself!) As Alicia pointed out, make sure to look for the wonderful hats and animals throughout the book.

Jacqueline then led us in a drawing activity to learn how to draw Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox in motion. You can see the finished illustration below and then our group’s creations! It was so helpful to have Jacqueline break down each step of the creation of these characters into smaller pieces. (And the good thing about the recording is that you can watch it and pause it if you want more time with your drawing, too.) I love when grown-ups and kids can draw together. Everyone did a fantastic job! Feel free to share your Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit drawings with us!

Alicia then shared a captivating folktale about Brer Rabbit getting thrown in the briar patch that had us all laughing out loud throughout the tale. Honestly, I could listen to Alicia tell stories all day. (Make sure to check out the recording only available for the next two weeks to watch for yourself. You don’t want to miss it.)

Finally, Jacqueline and Alicia kindly took questions from our audience. Our group had great questions about research, the art process, favorite animals, and more. It made me see the book in new ways after learning how Jacqueline “played compositionally with Zora, the sun and the horizon.” Alicia shared how she used jumping at the sun to create structure for the courageous moments when Zora jumped. As Alicia shared, make sure to check out the fantastic back-matter in Jump at the Sun. There was so much to learn from these creators! (I also just learned that you can buy beautiful original edition prints from Jump at the Sun from Jacqueline Alcántara!)

And of course, the time went by so quickly while we were having fun. Thank you to Anny from Winnetka-Northfield Public Library for collaborating on this event! Thank you to our program buddy Ann for all of your help!

Thank you SO much to Alicia D. Williams & Jacqueline Alcántara for visiting our virtual library and sharing your beautiful book with our communities! It was such a pleasure to host you – and we look forward to having you visit again in the future. We highly recommend inviting Alicia and Jacqueline to your school or library for an unforgettable visit!

You can check out the additional resources we’ve curated below to continue learning and sharing!

Program Recording

A recording of our author visit will be available here for 2 weeks (until February 3, 2021) after the program to watch and enjoy at your convenience.

Grab & Go Kit

Lincolnwood Library created Grab & Go Kits to celebrate these wonderful authors and their beautiful book! You can get them while supplies last from our Great Green Box outside the library. As always, they are free and available for everyone. You can also use the resources in this post to make your own kit. Here are some of our suggestions we included in the Kit to explore the book’s themes.

Create your own stories with the DIY Storytelling Discs.

Make your own book. Use the first page for our drawing/writing activity.

Watch the Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun documentary on Kanopy.

Get your own copy of Jump at the Sun: The True-Life Tale of Unstoppable StorycatcherZora Neale Hurston from The Book Stall.

Interview a family member or friend, facilitated by a library staff member for My Lincolnwood Story.

Have fun with the Jump at the Sun Coloring Sheet.

Learning Resources

We have collected lots of resources to prepare for our visit and learn more. Check them out below:

Alicia D. William’s Website

Jacqueline Alcántara’s Website

Interview with Alicia D. Williams & Jacqueline Alcántara with Mr. Schu

The Picture Book Buzz – Interview with Alicia D. Williams

Book Website (Simon & Schuster)

Publisher’s Weekly Review

Kirkus Review

Alicia D. Williams MFAC ’13 celebrates oral storytelling tradition in new picture book

Politics & Prose Live Event on Thursday, January 14, 2021 – 10 a.m.

Alicia D Williams & Jacqueline Alcántara in conversation with Vanessa Brantley-Newton on Jan 30, 2021 at 11:00 AM ET (Park Road Books)

Teaching Guides/Coloring Sheets

Jump at the Sun Coloring Sheet

Alicia D. Williams – 2020 Newbery Honor Reaction

Meet the Author: Alicia D. Williams

Alicia D. Williams – Path to Publication The Yarn Podcast Series

Meet Jacqueline Alcántara (Voyage Chicago)

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #576: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Jacqueline Alcántara

The Field: An Interview with Baptiste Paul & Jacqueline Alcántara (This Picture Book Life)

Check In on your Neighbors (Obama Foundation #OFCareChallenge art by Jacqueline Alcántara)

Upcoming Projects

I know we’re excited about the books that these incredible creators will publish in the future. Start counting down now for these amazing books!

Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress by Alicia D. Williams & illustrated by April Harrison (Publication Date: June 01, 2021)

Your Mama by NoNieqa Ramos, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara (Publication Date: April 06, 2021)