Women’s History Month Highlights: Girls Survive

Girls Survive History Series Book Club | Small Online Class for Ages 9-13 |  Outschool

                History is full of some really scary events. Some that are caused by nature, some by complete accident, and others by people. The I Survived series highlights quite a few of those historical events, but never like this. The Girls Survive history series covers an astonishingly broad number of historical events, some of which we’ve only ever heard about. The cool thing? All of these stories are created by authors who have a personal connection to their books in some way.

I Survived #4: I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 by Lauren  Tarshis
Alice on the Island: A Pearl Harbor Survival Story (Girls Survive): Shimose  Poe, Mayumi, Forsyth, Matt, Trunfio, Alessia: 9781496580122: Amazon.com:  Books

Comparing between Alice on the Island and I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, each book uniquely covers the same event. However, we see Danny’s point of view, a young white boy whose mother moved him to Hawaii from New York, versus Annie’s, a young Japanese girl whose only crime was being Japanese in Hawaii after the bombings. The fallout of both of these events are covered completely differently; Danny must survive the day and find his mother. As a bit of a spoiler, we hear how the Japanese were treated after the event. Alice, on the other hand, must survive the day, and every day after that; her father gets detained just for being Japanese and her friends turn on her for the same reason, even though she and her family had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks. We also hear about what the attacks meant for Japanese Americans along the West coast of America.

This is not to say that one series is better than another; these books show different perspectives of the exact same event in ways one may not have imagined before. It sheds new light on these historical events and teaches its readers how other kids may have felt or acted during these moments in history.

While learning about these important and nearly unbelievable moments in world history, we also get to learn about the author’s personal connection to the story they’ve written, whether it’s having personally been involved in the more recent events, having family who witnessed or were victims of these events, or even just growing up in a place where the story of what happened never truly went away.

Everywhere from the Middle Ages to just a few years ago, this series touches on some interesting and important subjects in history that are great for kids to learn about. And the best part? At the end of each of these books is a learning connection. Each book asks a series of questions called “Making Connections” that teachers can use to broaden their student’s reading comprehension, their thoughts on world history, and sometimes has them compare the events from their book to today. An example of this would be in the book Ruth and the Night of Broken Glass, wherein the Making Connections portion asks: “Early in the story, Ruth and her family try to stay calm as the environment they live in becomes more dangerous for Jews. Identify a point in the story at which their attitude shifts. What specific events contributed to this change in attitude?”

Currently, the Moline Public Library has only a handful of these books in our collection, but you can order the rest with your library card by clicking here.

Women’s History Month may be coming to a close, but History marches ever forward. If you’re interested in some more amazing moments in history and the women who made them happen, why not check out some of these other books:

Review: Too Many Jacks by Mac Barnett & Greg Pizzoli


From the publisher: “The Lady gives Jack a gift. It’s a lab kit! Jack goes into the shed to experiment and doesn’t come out until he’s made another Jack and another Jack and another. But one Jack was already too many. Can Jack stop his naughty robot clones before they destroy the town?”


Jack the anthropomorphized rabbit is what my grandma would have called “ornery”, as you might be able to guess from the expressions of the robot Jacks on the cover. He loves to steal snacks and make a mess with lipstick and generally get into trouble. This, of course, makes him a delightful main character and I’ve enjoyed the other Jack books (Hi, Jack!; Jack Blasts Off!; Jack Goes West; Jack at Bat; Jack at the Zoo; and Jack Gets Zapped), but this is my favorite yet. This latest misadventure has Jack receiving a gift of a lab kit from the Lady. At first, he’s disappointed, but after several days holed up in the shed he emerges with several robot Jacks to do his bidding.

It takes a skilled writer to create something that is funny for both kids and adults, and Mac Barnett has managed it perfectly. There was one page involving a statue that made me laugh out loud reading it. Barnett’s matter-of-fact narration makes Jack’s antics even more amusing while keeping to a vocabulary simple enough for beginning readers to manage on their own. Pizzoli’s art only adds to the hilarity – I’m particularly fond of Jack’s slanted eyebrows when he is about to get into some new naughtiness.

Check it out on the catalog here!

Longer Easy Reader Recommendations

If you’ve enjoyed the books we’ve featured for the Pop In Party, you’re in luck! I also wanted to highlight some of the longer beginner readers that are a bit more challenging than say, Elephant and Piggie, but are excellent books for kids ready for the next step. Click on the links to go the catalog.

Meet Yasmin by Saadia Faruqi

Emma Every Day: A Trip to Grandma’s by C. L. Reid

Camila the Video Star by Alicia Salazar

Princess Truly: Off I Go! by Kelly Greenawalt

Unicorn and Yeti: Sparkly New Friends by Heather Ayris Burnell

Sofia Martinez: Lights Out by Jacqueline Jules

Ana and Andrew: Family Reunion by Christine Platt

Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same by Grace Lin

Don’t Throw it to Mo by David Adler

Sydney and Taylor Explore the Whole Wide World by Jacqueline Davies

Browsing the New Books: Tween Graphic

Click on the titles below to read more about them or put them on hold.

Hooky – Miriam Bonastre Tur

All My Friends – Hope Larson

Tidesong – Wendy Xu

Living with Viola – Rosena Fung

Wonder Cat Kyuu-chan – Sasami Nitori

Treasure in the Lake – Jason Pamment

Star Wars Adventures: The Weapon of a Jedi

City of Dragons: The Awakening Storm – Jaimal Yogis and Vivian Truong

Another Kind – Cait May and Trevor Bream

Best Books of 2021 (According to Everyone Else)

Now that you’ve read our top 10 books of 2021, check out what other people had to say about the best books of the year!

Best Picture Books from Chicago Public Library

Best Books for Kids from New York Public Library

Best Picture Books and Best Middle Grade Books from Publishers Weekly

Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth from Booklist

Best Picture Books and Young Readers from Barnes and Noble

Best Board Books, Picture Books, and Middle Grade from Kirkus Reviews

Best Picture Books, Best Chapter Books, Best Middle Grade Books, and Best Graphic Novels from School Library Journal

Best Children’s Books from Goodreads Choice Awards Winners

Best Children’s and Young Adult Books from Shelf Awareness

Best Children’s Books from The Horn Book

Banned Books Week: The Librarian of Basra

Banned Books 2018 - The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq -  Marshall Libraries

The Librarian of Basra, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter, was published in 2005. It is the true story of a librarian, Alia Baker, who lives in war-torn Basra. After the war begins, everyone abandons the library leaving books to be lost or burned. Alia takes matters into her own hands and removes the books, saving 70% of the library from a fire.

This book has been challenged in 3 different school systems for being un-American, for promoting the Koran and praying to Muhammad and for violent illustrations and storyline.

Here’s why The Librarian of Basra is Christina’s favorite banned book!

I find the story inspiring. Not being one to tolerate violence or blood in movies (ask my husband!) I felt the pictures told the story well without being over the top. This (real) story, an act of bravery, took place during a war. Just with books on the Holocaust, this book made me think of the situation and ask myself questions like: What would I do in that situation? What would it be like to live in a country being fought over. Would I be brave enough to do the things these extraordinary people did to save the lives and livelihoods of others? It saddens me to see this beautifully told and illustrated book challenged.  It is a wonderful story to share with your child and begin a conversation.

Celebrating Banned Books Week is not just a time to be aware what books people want to get rid of for others’ “protection.” It is a time to celebrate our freedom to read whatever we want and to choose what we feel is best for our children, even if others do not agree.  

At the beginning of this book there is a quote by Alia Muhammad Baker taken from the New York Times: “In the Koran, the first thing God said to Muhammad was `Read’.”

What a wonderful first word.  Choose to Read!

Banned Books Week: Goosebumps

Goosebumps is a horror/thriller series for children written by R. L. Stine. The first novel, Welcome to Dead House, was published in 1992 and has spawned several spinoff series, a TV show, and more recently movies starring Jack Black. They are still being published today, with the most recent (Judy and the Beast) having been released earlier this month! It is the second bestselling children’s book series of all time, behind only Harry Potter himself. Goosebumps was 15th on the list of most challenged or banned books in the 1990s and 94th in the 2000s. It was challenged for being too scary for kids and containing occult or demonic themes.

Here’s why Goosebumps is Jessica’s favorite banned book!

I loved reading the Goosebumps series when I was a kid, and I’m so glad to see that it is still popular with readers today. Goosebumps is great for reluctant readers with imaginative monsters and cliffhanger chapter endings. There is also a huge variety of the scary situations that characters find themselves in and with each book a stand-alone, readers can pick and choose from Stine’s immense back catalog. While the books are spooky, readers see the young protagonists face terrifying situations and escape or overcome them through their wit and courage. As a kid I was also excited to see that many of the books had girls as protagonists and that they were just as brave, clever, and determined as their male counterparts. R. L. Stine is the perfect introduction to the horror genre and has created tons of lifelong horror lovers (like myself!).

Banned Books Week: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Wikipedia

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a trilogy of short story collections written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell. First published in 1981, it has thrilled and terrified kids ever since. It was challenged for – no surprise – being too scary. The American Library Association listed Scary Stories as the most challenged series in the 1990s and the 7th most challenged in the 2000s. It even popped up on the list again in 2012, more than 30 years after its initial publication.

Here’s why Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is Tess’s favorite banned book!

My favorite is the Scary Stories series by Alan Schwartz with the illustrations by Stephen Gammell.  I loved all the spinetingling stories and illustrations! I re-read this series so many times when I was in grade school, and the compelling stories and drawings never failed to creep me out.  As an adult, I appreciate the storytelling more.  The tales can be easily memorized, adapted and retold, which makes them perfect for telling spooky stories around the campfire! I would recommend it for anyone who likes darker spooky tales and very creepy illustrations. 

Banned Books Week: Captain Underpants

This week is Banned Books Week! But what is Banned Books Week, and why is it important?

The American Library Association began Banned Books Week in 1982 to bring attention to the increase in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries. Challenging a book means someone has requested that it be removed from the library, bookstore, and/or curriculum. If a book is banned, the request is successful and the book is removed. Banned Books Week is an annual event usually held in the last week of September and is intended to highlight the importance of the freedom to access and express ideas and information, even those that are unpopular. You can read more about it on the ALA’s website here.

This year, Banned Books Week is September 26 to October 2. This year’s theme is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”

This week, we will each be sharing our favorite banned book and why we love it. Be sure to also check out our display all this week of other children’s books that have been banned or challenged and a banned books-themed scavenger hunt.

The man behind "Captain Underpants" - CBS News

First published in September of 1997, Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series has shown up consistently as one of the most challenged books beginning in 2000, even hitting the #1 spot in 2012.  There are 12 books in the series with the most recent being published in 2015. Reasons have varied for challenges against it but consistently offensive language, encouraging disruptive behavior, as well as encouraging children to disobey authority have been cited as reasons why it should be removed. 

First up is Marta! Here’s why her favorite banned book is Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey.

The Captain Underpants series is absolutely one of my all-time favorites! I read this with my own children and it quickly became a series we bonded over for many reasons. While yes, there is potty humor (I mean, who doesn’t giggle at a good fart joke?), there are also opportunities to have kids connect themes in the books to bigger issues they see in the real world.

Don’t believe me? Based on story lines from this series, my children and I had conversations about what it is to be a good friend and how they saw those characteristics not only in characters from the story but in themselves and their friends. These books also opened us up to discussing right from wrong and standing up for what’s right. We talked about how to do that respectfully, and what to do when the people in charge are doing the wrong thing. We looked at characters in the book as examples and this helped them apply these concepts in real-life examples they saw in the news or at school.

The other reason this series has a special place in my heart is because one of my children has ADHD which sometimes made sitting down to read a challenge. Often while I read aloud he would keep his hands busy by drawing his own really cool comics. After reading Captain Underpants he also started making his own Flip-O-Ramas. When he was ready to read chapter books independently, this series was the first he picked up to read on his own because the format is perfect for people who need short chapters or illustrations to break things up and provide a visual clues. I also loved getting to share with my son that the author, Dav Pilkey, has ADHD too, as well as Dyslexia. I loved sharing such a successful series with my son written by someone like him!

Be sure to check back later in the week to see Tess, Jessica, and Christina’s favorites as well!

New Back To School Picture Books

Back to School time can be exciting and nerve-racking all at once. Luckily there are some great picture books out there to really get your kiddo ready for this adventure. The books in this post are the newest on this topic in our collection, but we have many many more available here at the library. Stop in and we can connect you with just the right book for your student. Click the titles below to read more about our newest additions or to place these great titles on hold.

Super Milly and the Super School Day by Stephanie Clarkson

El Cucuy Is Scared, Too! by Donna Barba Higuera

First Day of School by Esther van den Berg

The Night Baafore the First Day of School by Dawn Young

Never, Not Ever! by Beatrice Alemagna

Sounds Like School Spirit by Meg Fleming

Time For School, Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle