Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Staff Picks

Parent Category of Picks

Book review: Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade book cover

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Cozbi Cabrera  

J B BROOKS, G. 

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade book cover

Discover the life and legacy of this famous Chicagoan in a biography that is beautiful to read and look at. 

Gwendolyn Brooks grew up on the South Side of Chicago in a family that didn’t have much money, but was rich in love and books. Hearing her father read poems made her want to write her own poetry, and her parents truly believed in her dream to become a great poet. Her first poems were published when she was only 11, but writing poetry didn’t help her make friends or pay bills once she became an adult. But still she wrote and wrote, and before long, she won the greatest prize in poetry, the Pulitzer Prize! Her poems were about her life on the South Side of Chicago, and about the inequalities she and her neighbors faced because they were Black. 

I loved learning about Gwendolyn’s life in this quick, award winning read with gorgeous illustrations. I bet you will too! 

-Review by Claire B, Youth Outreach Librarian

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.

What is Chasing Duck?

What Is Chasing Duck? (The Giggle Gang, #1) by Jan Thomas book cover
What Is Chasing Duck? (The Giggle Gang, #1) by Jan Thomas book cover

What is Chasing Duck? by Jan Thomas

A delightful, silly, cumulative story. Duck is being chased by something and runs away as fast as he can. Sheep and Donkey are scared too so they run with Duck. What creature could possibly be chasing them and why? Read the story to find out! Perfect for fans of Elephant and Piggie and other funny early readers.

What is Chasing Duck? is on the 2021 Monarch book list, an annual list of books for K-3 students created by Illinois librarians. Students all over Illinois read books from this list during the year and get to vote on their favorites. We have a display with all the 2021 Monarch books in the Youth Services Department, come check it out and read some excellent books!

Review by Anne W.