Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: current events

National Portrait Gallery and Black History Month

portraits of African Americans in National Portrait Gallery
portraits of African Americans in National Portrait Gallery

Let’s visit the National Portrait Gallery without even leaving the house! Google arts and culture has created a virtual exhibit of notable African Americans, which is a great exhibit to explore any time, but especially during Black History Month.

To extend your experience, we’ve put together a list of books about some of the famous figures featured in this virtual art exhibit. Place a hold or come to the main library to check one out!

Presidents’ Day

Mount Rushmore figurine
Mount Rushmore figurine
Photo by Takefreebies on Unsplash

What is Presidents’ day? To find out, I looked it up in one of our digital resources, Britannica Library Children’s edition. It says:

“Presidents’ Day is a U.S. holiday that honors Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Its official name, however, is Washington’s Birthday. […]

In the 1880s the U.S. government made the birthday of Washington (February 22) a national holiday. New YorkIllinois, and some other states made the birthday of Lincoln (February 12) a holiday, too. In 1968 the U.S. Congress passed a bill to move Washington’s Birthday from February 22 to the third Monday in February. At the time, some members of Congress wanted the holiday to honor Lincoln as well. They tried to change the official name to Presidents’ Day, but they failed.

Today many states and individuals call the holiday Presidents’ Day, despite its official name. They consider it a celebration of Washington and Lincoln, or even of all U.S. presidents. Some states, such as Illinois, also still recognize Lincoln’s birthday as a separate holiday.”

We put together a resource list that includes information on the holiday, individual presidents, and some fiction books about presidents and elections. Happy reading!

Lunar New Year

lunar new year/Chinese new year books
lunar new year/Chinese new year books

The Lunar New Year starts on February 12th. Lunar New Year, sometimes called Chinese New Year, is celebrated in China and Chinese communities around the world. The celebration lasts 15-days, beginning with the new moon and continuing until the full moon. 2021 is the year of the Ox.

You can learn more about this holiday by checking out our materials on the subject.

You can also learn more using the databases found on our Homework Help page! A couple of newer databases that we like are Pebble Go, for kids who are beginning readers, and Scholastic Teachables, which is a database that offers fun games, activities and worksheets that you can print and use.

If you need assistance finding materials on this or any other subject, please contact youth services at 847-290-3320 or at KidsRead@mppl.org.

Happy World Read-aloud Day

child reading a story in Spanish

Happy World Read-aloud day! We wanted to share with you some resources for some great read alouds online.

You can enjoy story time videos from your friendly MPPL staff on the library’s youtube channel.

The World Read Aloud activity hub has a list of celebrity readers.

And author Kate Messner has a great video with lots of excellent authors reading from their work.

Don’t forget, you can also find lots of great read-aloud books in Hoopla and Overdrive! Check one out today!

child reading a story in Spanish
Photo by Gabriel Tovar on Unsplash

Black History Month 2021

Today is the first day of Black History Month! According to Britannica Library for Children:

The month of February is African American History Month, also known as Black History Month, in the United States. It was first celebrated in 1926 as Negro History Week. It was created to highlight the contributions Blacks have made to American history and culture. Within a few decades, the event had become an important part of African American life and had spread throughout the country. The United States government declared it a monthlong celebration in 1976.

You can learn more about Black history by researching in our online databases, or come into the library and check our display on Black History Month, which features just a handful of the materials we have about the achievements and history of Black Americans.

Black History Month books
the Black History Month display in youth services

You might also enjoy checking out our Black Joy reading recommendations, featuring many #OwnVoices* authors.

*The term #OwnVoices was coined by the writer Corinne Duyvis, and refers to an author from a marginalized or under-represented group writing about their own experiences/from their own perspective, rather than someone from an outside perspective writing as a character from an underrepresented group. (thanks to Seattle Public Library for this concise definition.)