Materials We Have

Orion and the Dark by Emma Yarlett

Orion is a boy with a big imagination, and because of that, he also has many fears. Dogs, spiders, monsters, storms, and Grandma (at times) are all frightening to Orion, but there is one thing that frightens him more than all of his fears combined: the DARK.

After trying all sorts of ways to avoid the dark (eating a LOT of carrots, staging a protest, using night vision goggles) and finding no success, Orion decides that he has had enough, and that is precisely when the Dark pays him a visit. Together, Orion and the Dark explore all of the scary nooks and crannies in his house (the back of the closet, underneath the bed) and discover that the scariest places can also be the most fun.

By the end of the night, when the Dark fades away, Orion is sad to lose his new friend, but he soon finds that night time and the Dark will always come back to him.

Author-illustrator Emma Yarlett (Sidney, Stella, and the Moonhas created a beautifully illustrated story about a young boy who, with a little bit of bravery and an unexpected friendship, is able to conquer his fears. Recommended for ages 3-5.

2016 Children and Teen Book Award Winners

The American Library Association announced the 2016 youth media award winners today, including recipients of the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz and Coretta Scott King medals! Check out some of the award winners and honor books below, and find your next great read here at ELPL!

John Newbery Medal (Recognizing outstanding contribution to children’s literature)

Winner: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

Honor books: The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley; Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson; Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan. 


Randolph Caldecott Medal (Recognizing distinguished American picture books for children)

Winner: Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, written by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

Honor books: Trombone Shorty, written by Troy Andrews and illustrated by Bryan Collier; Waiting, written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes; Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Ekua Holmes; and Last Stop on Market Street, written by Matt de le Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson. 


Coretta Scott King Author Book Award (Recognizing an African American author of outstanding books for children and young adults)

Winner: Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia

Honor books: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely; The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds; and X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon.


Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book Award (Recognizing an African American illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults)

Winner: Trombone Shorty, illustrated by Bryan Collier and written by Troy Andrews

Honor books: The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; and Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson and written by Matt de la Peña .


Michael L. Printz Award (for excellence in literature written for young adults)

Winner: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Honor books: Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez; and The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick.


See a full list of awards and recipients at the ALA website.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Book List for Kids

On Monday January 18th, the library will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. If you are looking for books to share with your young readers that explore Dr. King's life, legacy, and the civil right's movement, check out the following titles, available for checkout here at ELPL.

Babies & Toddlers

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara


Preschool & Kindergarten

Martin Luther King Jr. Day by Margaret McNamara

We March by Shane W. Evans

Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport

My Uncle Martin’s Big Heart by Angela Farris Watkins


1st – 3rd Grade

Martin Luther King Jr. Day by Trudi Strain Truet

Martin Luther King Jr. Day by Rebecca Rissman

Love Will See You Through by Angela Farris Watkins

Coretta Scott by Ntozake Shange

Women Who Broke the Rules: Coretta Scott King by Kathleen Krull

My Brother Martin by Christine King Farris

I Have a Dream illustrated by Kadir Nelson (ebook)

Martin and Mahalia by Andrea Davis Pinkney

I Am Martin Luther King Jr. by Brad Meltzer


4th – 6th Grade

A Dream of Freedom by Diane McWhorter

Martin Luther King Jr. In His Own Words by Ryan Nagelhout

Martin Luther King Jr.: A Great Civil Rights Leader by Jennifer Fandel

M.L.K.: A Journey of a King by Tonya Bolden

I See the Promised Land by Arthur Flowers

Night on Fire by Ronald Kidd

Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.? by Bonnie Bader (ebook)

Miss Eva's Favorite Picture Books of 2015

It’s hard to start a new year without spending a little bit of time looking back on some of the previous year’s bests, and for a children’s librarian, that means books! So without further ado (and in no particular order besides alphabetical by author), here are some of my favorite picture books that were released in 2015. Find them all at ELPL!

Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett. Leo is a friendly house ghost -- but when a family moves into his house, and tries to get rid of him, he leaves and roams the city looking for a friend.

The Skunk by Mac Barnett. A man is followed by a skunk all day -- until the tables turn.

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton. Princess Pinecone would like a real war horse for her birthday, but instead she gets a plump, cute pony. But sometimes cuteness can be a kind of weapon, especially in a fight with dodgeballs and spitballs and hairballs and squareballs.

Big Bear Little Chair by Lizi Boyd. In pictures and simple text the book presents unexpected opposites, like a big zebra sweeping with a little broom, or a big lion riding in a tiny wagon.

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt. One day, Duncan is happily coloring with his crayons when a stack of postcards arrives in the mail from his former crayons, each of which has run away or been left behind, and all of which want to come home.

The Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena. A young boy rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things.

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman. When her parents find a baby wolf on their doorstep and decide to raise him as their own, Dot is certain he will eat them all up until a surprising encounter with a bear brings them closer together.

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry. Stick and Stone are both lonely until Pinecone's teasing causes one to stick up for the other, and a solid friendship is formed.

The Only Child by Guojing. In this wordless story, a young girl traveling from her city apartment to her grandmother's country home becomes lost and enters a fantastical world in the clouds.

Waiting by Kevin Henkes. An owl, a puppy, a bear, a bunny, and a pig wait for marvelous things to happen.

Beyond the Pond by Joseph Kuefler. Tiring of his everyday routine at home, a little boy decides to explore the depths of his pond with his dog, where he discovers a not-so-ordinary world, ready to be explored.

Float by Daniel Miyares. A beautiful wordless picture book about a boy who loses his paper boat in the rain. 

Lizard From the Park by Mark Pett. When a lizard hatches from the egg Leonard finds in the park, he names it Buster and takes it all around the city, but Buster grows bigger and bigger until Leonard realizes he must devise a way to return his pet to the deepest, darkest part of the park and set him free.

What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss. A posthumously published work by Dr. Seuss in which a boy wants all of the pets in a pet store, but he and his sister can choose only one.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell is one of the most acclaimed authors in young adult fiction right now (in 2013 her books Eleanor & Park and Fangirl were both named on the New York Times as some of the year's best in young adult fiction), so it might be a little redundant to recommend her newest book Carry On, but I can’t help myself for a couple of reasons. One, I absolutely loved it. And two, I realized that I’ve talked about this book with at least four people since I’ve read it (including ELPL Librarian Annie!), mostly to rave about it, and also to explain the premise of it. I figured if I’m spending that much time talking about it, it deserves a recommendation!

And also, a little bit of clarification. Carry On is different from Rowell’s other books in that it isn’t realistic fiction – it’s fantasy. But it’s fantasy with a twist. In Fangirl, the main character Cath struggles to find her place during her first year away at college, and she takes refuge in a fictionalized version of the Harry Potter series, writing fanfiction about the prodigious young wizard Simon Snow and his escapades at a magical British boarding school. Carry On is the story of Simon’s seventh and final year at the magical school Watford. It definitely has shades of Harry Potter – which makes sense, given that it’s supposed to be a take on those stories in the first place – but also has its own unique spirit and sense of magic.

While Rowell has said that Carry On isn’t meant to necessarily be one of Cath’s stories or one of the “books” from the series, it can be read as either one. The book is a standalone, and starts at the beginning of Simon’s seventh year at Watford, but Rowell skillfully gives just enough background information throughout the story that we know exactly what might have gone on during those first six years as well. The story itself is funny, wry, suspenseful, and immersive, and both mega-fans of Harry Potter as well as newbies will find something to connect with in Simon’s world.

You don’t need to read Fangirl to appreciate Carry On, but they’re both outstandingly well written, so if you have the time, I say read both. Plus, the experience of seeing how much Simon and company mean to Cath in Fangirl makes the emotional resonance as you read their adventures first hand that much stronger. Find both Fangirl and Carry On here at ELPL!

Only Superhuman

Only Superhuman, by Christopher Bennett, is a hard scifi superhero novel.  Set in the future, genetically-enhanced humans have moved apart from the normals and gone to live in colonies on the astroid belt.  Some of these humans have powers that are decidedly beyond those of the average man, and to help preserve law and order, a group of such humans have banded together to fight crime.  The group that they have formed is called, "The Troubleshooters". 

The Troubleshooters have their work cut out for them, from fighting terrorist groups to investigating shady superhuman collations, to evaluating partnerships with other groups.  Bennett's story follows the adventures of a Troubleshooter named Emerald Blair, a.k.a. the Green Blaze, as she is drawn into a web of intrigue.  After all, in order to stop evil, you first have to recognize it as such.

The story's strengths are those traditionally associated with a comic book.  There are excellent fight scenes and an action-packed story keep the reader engaged.  Also, now we get to hear more of a superhero's inner monologue.  I found this to be somewhat entertaining at times, particularly the sections of the book that involve Blaze's concerns about making an entrance and tossing off one-liners.  Lastly, I respect Bennett for writing a plausible, hard-scifi superhero story.  "Hard Science Fiction" is a term usually reserved for stories with scientific advances which, given the state of science at the time of the books publication, seem both futeristic and reasonably plausible.  (The opposite would be "soft" scifi, where the science works in a manner functionally indistinguishable from magic.  Think of Superman's "I'm an alien with a human body type and I can fly!") 

However, the story is not without weaknesses.  There were quite a few romantic endeavours chronicled in the story. I don't mind romance in the books that I read, but I do mind frequent scenes with gratuitous details.  However, that is the only quibble that I have with the book.  Should one enjoy an action-packed superhero story and find such detriments as I have mentioned tolerable, then I would certainly recommend this book.

Bread and Jam For Frances by Russell Hoban

Russell Hoban’s Frances series is a staple of my childhood, and this book just might be my favorite of them all. The title character, Frances, is a lovable but imperfect badger who’s sometimes a little too stubborn and headstrong for her own good (hmm, I wonder why I related to her as a child…). In Bread and Jam For Frances, she decides that the only food she wants to eat is, drumroll: bread and jam. Her parents indulge her, and while at first it’s fun to have her favorite food for every meal, she quickly realizes that she’s missing out on a whole wide world of delicious food.

Although these books were written in the 1960s, their charm and heart and humor stand the test of time. I love that Frances is always allowed to make her own mistakes and learn her own lessons (usually in a way that’s both funny and heartfelt). I’ve been holding onto my childhood copy of this book my whole life, and whenever I pick it up to thumb through it, I remember why.

The Story of Jumaji

JUMANJI!!! Would be what one yells upon winning the game created by Chris Van Allsburg - that is if you can make it through! Jumanji is the tale of siblings Peter and Judy and how they attempt to entertain themselves while their parents have gone out to the opera. Their parents left them with one direction, "please keep the house neat." How can two kids manage to keep the house neat when battling lions, monkeys, rhinos, and a monsoon? The most important part of the game Jumanji, is that it is not over until one player reaches the golden city and yells out Jumanji. Who knows what the roll of the dice will bring to the game? Do you think you'd have what it takes to finish the game? Read this Caldecott Medal book and look at the way Chris Van Allsburg tells the story, not just through his words but also through his beautiful illustrations.