NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program!

Do you have someone in your family who loves loves LOVES to write? Or maybe that someone is you! Well, you’re in luck; this year during the month of November –which just so happens to be National Novel Writing Month– the Moline Public Library is hosting a special program for Young Writers through the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program!

But what is NaNoWriMo? It’s exactly like their website describes:

“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, empowering approach to creative writing. The challenge: draft an entire novel in just one month. Why do it? For 30 wild, exciting, surprising days, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!

To work on a novel, you can join an official event (like NaNoWriMo in November, or Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July), set a word-count goal, and try to reach it by the end of the month. The Young Writers Program allows participants to set individualized goals. 1,000 words? 10,000? 100,000??? It’s up to you! Use the progress-tracking tools on our site to stay on track. If no official event is happening, you can create a personal challenge with your own deadline for a new or existing project.”

“Young writers can write directly in their YWP writing space (or in a separate document), find inspiration in our noveling resources, and tap a worldwide community of fellow writers for support in our forums.”

And the best part? It’s completely free! You just can’t beat that!

But wait!” I hear you cry, “I don’t know where to start! How can I possibly come up with a goal and meet it if I don’t know what I’m writing?” Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! For this year’s NaNoWriMo, we’ve separated our program into two different age groups: one for the Kindergarten-2nd grade writers, and one for the 3rd-5th grade writers! You can chat with your fellow writers on the dashboard and workshop ideas even before the program begins – but make sure not to start logging your words until the 1st of November! Once the contest starts, each week will have new writing prompts and ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

To write your book, you can work directly on the Young Writers Program website or use Word, Google Docs, or any other way to write and manually update your progress! As long as you are writing, you don’t have to log every day. But you do get some cool online badges for doing so.

At the very end of NaNoWriMo, if you happen to finish your novel, you can print it out and bring it in to the library to share with others, or even get it published directly from the NaNoWriMo website! Sadly, it does cost to publish your book, but not as much as you might think it does. If you have a full book ready to be printed, NaNoWriMo will print a paperback version of your book starting at $2.99! But it’s always more fun to print your own book. Or you might even keep it for yourself just because.

So what are you waiting for? You can sign up for the program here and start planning right away! Curious to know more before you sign up? Check out the How It Works page here to learn more. We can’t wait to see what you come up with, and where your creativity will lead you!

Free Comic Book Day 2022!

Members of the 501st Legion were in attendance, too!

This past Saturday, May 7th, was Free Comic Book Day at the Library! We had such an amazing time getting everything prepared, and it looks like our patrons had a great time with the games and activities we had set up in addition to getting to take home some free comics! Wouldn’t you know it, our table ran out by 3:00!

Free Comic Book Day is an all-ages event, and we mean ALL AGES! The teens and grown-ups even got in on the fun this year!

Once again, a huge thank you to our sponsors for this event: The Friends of the Moline Public Library, and Mellow Blue Planet!

Thank you to everyone who attended this amazing event, and we hope to see you next year for Free Comic Book Day 2023~!

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:  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.