For children 2 and under.

Storytime Kits Are Here!

Storytime Kits at ELPLELPL is excited to announce the debut of our newest section of the children’s collection: storytime kits! Storytime kits are just what they sound like – collections of books, music, and activities with a central theme that let you have your own mini storytime at home. With kit themes like animals, colors, ABCs, and more, you and your little readers are sure to find a fun kit to take home and enjoy.

Each kit comes with several books, a music CD, an interactive toy, and a tips sheet featuring songs, rhymes, and activities caregivers can use to supplement the materials and have their very own storytime at home (or in the park, or on the go! The possibilities are endless). These tip sheets focus on the five key concepts of the Every Child Ready to Read program, which emphasizes the importance of reading, writing, talking, singing, and playing in pre-readers. Engaging in these activities through stories, music, and play – both at home and at the library – builds a foundation for life-long reading skills.

Storytime kits can circulate out like all other library materials, and are checked out for 3 weeks. Don’t see a storytime kit on the shelves? They may be checked out, but you can place a hold on them as you would any other library materials so that they will be reserved for you when they are returned. Find all our storytime kits here!

These kits are funded by a generous grant from the East Lansing Rotary Club – many thanks for their support!

King Baby by Kate Beaton

Okay, I love Kate Beaton. I’ve already recommended her first picture book, The Princess and the Pony, here. I hoarded our copy of Hark! A Vagrant! for several weeks.

My New Mom and Me by Renata Galindo

It’s always such a nice, warm-and-fuzzy feeling to come across a new picture book that’s sweet, well-written, engaging, and that you can tell immediately is going to resonate deeply with many of its readers, and My New Mom and Me by Renata Galindo is exactly such a book.

Babies Learn Language Through Social Interaction

I’m always on the lookout for more information on how little ones learn through play and interaction, and this article on gaze shifting in babies recently caught my eye (no pun intended!). Based on a study that appeared in Developmental Neuropsychology, it discusses evidence for the idea that we can gauge when babies are making mental connections for later in life based on tracking their eye contact, especially as it shifts between objects (such as toys and books), and the adult they’re with.

So what does that mean for how little ones learn? According to the study’s coauthor Rechele Brooks, “Our findings show that young babies’ social engagement contributes to their own language learning—they’re not just passive listeners of language. They’re paying attention, and showing parents they’re ready to learn when they’re looking back and forth. That’s when the most learning happens.”

There are many implications for this information, especially as it pertains to learning and language development (including foreign language building) in children, but it particularly reminds me of the importance of the services libraries offer for families and children. Libraries are a great place for little ones to interact and play, both with their grown-ups and other children, on their own or at storytimes and playgroups, all in a rich literary environment. And this study confirms it: “Babies learn best from people,” Brooks says. “During playtime your child is learning so much from you. Spending time with your child matters. Keeping them engaged—that’s what helps them learn language.”

So when you bring your babies to the library for storytimes, read and play together, and spend quality time interacting and sharing, you’re not only fostering a strong relationship with your little one, you’re setting them up for a lifetime of learning, literacy, and growth!

There Is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith

I picked this book up as I was going through my semi-regular scouring of the lists of potential 2017 Caldecott Award contenders (which is a great way to stumble across new and wonderful picture books). Out of the most recent stack I checked out, There Is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith was by far and away my absolute favorite. I expected to like it (I’ve been a fan of Lane Smith’s work since my own childhood when he teamed up with Jon Scieszka to illustrate several of his books, including The Stinky Cheese Man and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs), but even with that expectation, I was blown away by just how beautiful and touching this book turned out to be.

The premise of the book is straightforward enough: we see an unnamed, leaf-clad child in nature as he encounters different groups of animals and learns the names for their various communities (a pod of whales, an unkindness of ravens, and so on). We watch him join in with these different communities and take part in their rituals and experiences before moving onto the next. What initially seems like it might be a disparate set of encounters turns out to be his journey as he eventually makes his way towards his own group, a – you guessed it – tribe of kids. And although it’s clear that his path is designed to take him towards this tribe where he belongs and recognizes himself in its others members, we still see him joyfully experiencing life among the other groups of animals as he makes his way there, even if they aren’t his own tribe.

The text is sparse while still being engaging, and the illustrations elevate this book to something really beautiful and immersive. They are rich, textured, and whimsical, with so many things to discover that you almost have to go back to certain pages. From his very first meeting with a colony of penguins, I was hooked on this gorgeous celebration of nature, communities, and the joy we can feel while immersed within both those things.

Find it here at ELPL.

Welcome to Summer Reading!




Welcome to 2016’s Summer Reading Program at East Lansing Public Library! Our theme this year, On Your Mark, Get Set, Read! focuses on games, sports, and activities – a great opportunity to try out a new sport, get outside, play your favorite games, and of course, read! With the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro coming up, this summer is the perfect opportunity to exercise our bodies and our minds.

Why should you take part in the summer reading program? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Summer reading is for everyone! Kids, teens, and adults can all sign up and win prizes every week. Even little ones from birth to age three can take part in our SRP Jr. program!
  • It helps fight the “summer slump,” the decline in reading skills that can occur while kids are out of school for the summer. Setting aside time to read on a regular basis during the summer helps your family stay on top of their reading skills so they can come back to school in the fall at the top of their game and ready to learn. Plus, it’s fun!
  • Weekly prizes! Each week you participate, you can earn a new reward.
  • A chance to get out in the community! We’re partnering with lots of local groups and organizations to offer fun, free weekly programs and activities all around East Lansing.

So what does our Summer Reading Program (SRP) involve?

Starting June 13th, you can sign up and win a cool new prize every week you complete our weekly challenge. Weekly challenges involve reading, answering trivia questions, attending library programs, and more.  You can complete challenges online at, or get a paper form from the library.

We’ll also have a fun, free event each week centered on a different sport or game, as well as weekly storytimes and more. Make sure to pick up our summer newsletter to find out when and where they all take place, or visit our online calendar of events at

And don’t forget to join us at our Summer Reading kickoff party on Tuesday, June 14 at 5:30 p.m. for games, crafts, team sports demonstrations, and more. Plus, bring a picnic dinner, or purchase one from the Grand Grillin’ food truck that will be on site. We can’t wait to see you there and get started on another great summer!

Find out everything you need to know about SRP here:

Spring Reads for Kids

Spring has finally sprung! Ready for a great read about all things spring? Check out the following titles available here at ELPL!

Babies and Toddlers
Baby Loves Spring! by Karen Katz

Preschool and Kindergarten
Springtime In Bugland by David A. Carter
Spring Surprises by Anna Jane Hays
When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes
Groundhog Weather School by Joan Holub
999 Frogs Wake Up by Ken Kimura
The Thing About Spring by Daniel Kirk
Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms by Julia Rawlinson
Poppleton In Spring by Cynthia Rylant
Carrot Soup by John Segal

1st – 3rd grade
Melody and the Sea Dragon by Katy Kit
Clementine and the Spring Trip by Sara Pennypacker
Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies by Erica Silverman
Almond Blossom’s Mystery by Kay Woodward

4th - 6th grade
The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall (ebook)
Persephone by Sally Pomme Clayton
Tales From A Not So Dorky Drama Queen by Rachel Renee Russel
The Ice Castle: An Adventure in Music by Pendred Noyce


March Is Reading Month Events

Looking to celebrate March Is Reading Month? The Early Childhood Literacy Coalition is partnering with ELPL to offer a Literacy Celebration on Sunday, March 13th at the Hannah Community Center, and a special Curious George storytime on Friday, March 18th at All Saints Episcopal church, featuring a character visit from Curious George!

Literacy Celebration:
Sunday, March 13, 2016 from 1:00 - 3:30 p.m.
Join us for an interactive stage show featuring The Storytellers. Come see a unique program that combines hands-on fun with musical instruments from many cultures, beautiful music, and interactive storytelling. Also enjoy children's activities, games, a scavenger hunt, and meet your favorite storybook characters:

  • Pout-Pout Fish                                    
  • Paddington Bear
  • Clifford the Big Red Dog
  • Curious George
  • Little Critter

Please note that this event will take place at Hannah Community Center, 819 Abbot Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823.

Curious George Storytime:
Friday, March 18, 2016 at 10:30 a.m.
You're invited! Celebrate March is Reading Month by joining us for a very special Curious George themed storytime -- including a visit from George!

Please note that this event will take place at All Saints Episcopal Church, 800 Abbot Road East Lansing, MI 48823.

In addition to these events, find a full list of character visits in the area below.



Print Exposure Builds Literacy

Print exposure – the act of making written words visible to young children – is a key component in developing children’s reading skills, and a new study confirms that it is an integral part of developing pre-reader's sense of how meaning is attached to words.

In a study conducted at Washington University in St. Louis, researchers found that children who are not yet able to read can already recognize that printed words have specific meanings attached to them. Even without explicitly being taught, young children grasp early on that printed words have unique meanings, demonstrating a “surprisingly advanced knowledge about the fundamental properties of writing.”  In this experiment, when non-reading children were shown printed words (say, “tree” or “puppy”), they were less willing to accept synonyms or incorrect substitutions for those words than when shown a picture representing that word, indicating that they recognize there is a specific and unique meaning linked to the printed word itself. Researchers also found that “preschoolers who are regularly read to have an advantage in learning that written words have specific meanings.”

So what does this mean for you and your emerging reader? The more they are exposed to written words – through being read to, having written words pointed out to them, and having a print-rich environment around them – the stronger their reading skills! Seeing written words is the first step to recognizing the meaning behind them, and then stringing those words into sentences. So when you point out written words during a visit the grocery store, share a book before bedtime, or check out books and attend storytimes at the library with your pre-reader, you’re helping build literacy skills that will last a lifetime!

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.

End of Year Library Closures

ELPL will be closed on:

Wednesday, December 24
Thursday, December 25
Wednesday, December 31
Thursday, January 1

The library will be open regular hours on any dates not listed above.  Regular hours are:

Monday-Thursday, 10am-9pm
Friday and Saturday, 10am-6pm
Sunday, 1-5pm (Labor Day through Memorial Day only)

"At Your Library"

Here are all of the great things you can do at your library. What can you do for your library?


Find out more at


"At Your Library"
Performed by: Back row (L to R): Kristin Shelley, Jill Abood, Mary Mitchell, Amanda and Charlotte Stratton, Phyllis Thode
Front row (L to R): Jacob Bungard, Josh White Jr., Cliff Gracey, Karrie Korroch

Written by: Phyllis Thode

Filmed and Edited by: Ron Stratton