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.

Books & Bagels at 2.0 - January 2016

ELPL 2.0 Maker Studio - Downtown East Lansing

A great way to share the love of reading with your friends.  Books & Bagels is a discussion group just for 4th through 6th graders.  Each month we discuss a book and enjoy bagels and a hands on activity.  January's book is El Deafo by Cece Bell

Thank you to Panera Bread of Frandor for providing the bagels, and many thanks to a generous, anonymous donor for providing copies of Books & Bagels titles to the first 15 program participants.

Upcoming titles for Books & Bagels in 2016:


Please note, Books & Bagels will be held at the ELPL Maker Studio, located in the Marriott Hotel.

East Lansing Marriott at University Place
Suite 212
East Lansing, MI  48823

The move is due to the library's renovation project which begins in December.

Want to know more about the renovation of the East Lansing Public Library?  Visit:




Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente

I first picked up this book when I noticed it was a future story for our Books & Bagels group, and then was further convinced to read it when I saw a review by my favorite author, Neil Gaiman, on the cover.

Thankfully I trusted in his review and our children's librarian Eva who picked it, because this book was an absolute delight to read. It features a 12-year-old girl named September who is whisked away from her mother in Omaha, Nebraska to go to Fairyland, where she has all sorts of adventures and finds true friendship with a wyvern named A-L (his father was a library, of course) and water-loving marid named Saturday along the way. The prose reads magically (almost in a Gaiman-esque way) and kept my attention throughout the story. Each chapter features a different adventure that September and her friends go on, from meeting alchemists in a land that is forever Autumn, to a bathhouse with a lonely soap golem, all part of the main goal of the story, which is September retrieving a sword for the Evil Marquess.

Like I said, this book is a delight, and a stunning example of why adults shouldn't neglect YA and children's fiction! This book was one of my favorites this year, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a tale with a very happy ending.

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.

Literacy Through Lip-Reading

There’s a whole host of reasons to read, sing, and talk with your babies every day, from sharing a special bonding moment together to helping build their literacy skills, and now a new study about the speech development of infants confirms it: your babies learn to talk by listening to (and watching) you!

It’s not only the sounds of speech that helps teach babies how to talk. A recent study at the Florida Atlantic University shows that at around six months old, babies begin watching our mouths rather than our eyes as we speak to them. By essentially lip-reading, they start to figure out how to make those shapes and sounds on their own. At around one year old, they will start making eye contact again when spoken to, unless they encounter a new language, when they might watch lips more closely again.

So when you’re talking and singing to your babies, reading aloud to them, or bringing them to storytimes at the library, keep in mind that all of these interactions contribute to their literacy, helping them learn to speak and eventually read.

Read more about the study here, and find lots of books to share with your little ones at ELPL!

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett

This is such a fun book!  The premise is that there was a book called Birthday Bunny that a young boy, Alex, has altered to become Battle Bunny.  Each page has the "original" artwork and text that Alex has drawn over, added to, and altered in pencil.  If you just picked it up you might think the book had been vandalized.  So Alex tells the story of the Battle Bunny attempting to take over the world on his birthday.  Highly recommended for the young and young at heart.  My mother absolutely loved it when I showed it to her.

As an added bonus you can go to for a preview and you can download the original Birthday Bunny to print off and "vandalize" to make your own story!


Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

It is a duck?  Or a rabbit?  Kids will love this silly book that changes perspectives from a duck to a rabbit.  It's fun to have them weigh in on which one they see.  I've been waiting for the follow-up to this book - there's a teaser on the last page!


If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

Kadir Nelson's artwork is amazing!  With spare text and breathtaking oil paintings, If You Plant a Seed demonstrates not only the process of planting and growing for young children but also how a seed of kindness can bear sweet fruit.  


What the Sun Sees, What the Moon Sees by Nancy Tafuri

This book is so much fun to read.  It describes what happens with the sun during the day, then halfway through the book it changes to the moon's perspective.  Also, the book's orientation changes so you have to turn it upside down and back around to read the different parts.  Very ingenious...and children love it!

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

The story of a little girl who wanted to travel and see faraway places.  Encouraged by her grandfather, his one thing more she must do:  "You must do something to make the world more beautiful."  So little Alice grew up and became a librarian.  She traveled the world and finished her days with that special "one more thing...".  This was one of my daughter's favorite books from her childhood.  I still count it as a book for all to read for all time.

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.

The Day the Crayons Came Home

Have you ever wondered what happens to your missing crayons? Well, in The Day the Crayons Came Home, Duncan is about to find out! One day, Duncan receives a stack of postcards tracking the adventures of his missing crayons. Pea Green - now referred to as Esteban...the Magnificent! - has run away to see the world. Yellow and orange were left outside and got melted together, and now they just want to come home. Neon red crayon was left behind on a family vacation in Florida, now he's traveling the world to get home to Duncan. Read the book to find out what happens to Glow in the Dark and Gold Crayon. This story is written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. For further adventures of crayons, read The Day the Crayons Quit, also by Daywalt and Jeffers.