Looking Ahead to Valentine’s Day!

After the rush of the winter holidays, mid-January starts to feel a little dreary. My instinct is to find something to look forward too. Thankfully a holiday filled with love is right around the corner!

My family doesn’t do anything fancy to celebrate this particular holiday. It typically falls in the middle of some serious school time chaos but I love to do a little baking, and if some extra energy reserves are available a little something to give away to friends. This year my daughter is getting into the game and helping motivate my efforts!

Since we are still social distancing, she decided to put together little gift buckets to drop off on her best pals porches. Because I’m determined to incorporate more math into her world, I saw this as the perfect opportunity. She has been given a budget per bucket as well as a total amount to spend. Now off to the internet for research!

We have plenty of fun cooked up at the Library as well. Craft kits for all kid age groups, a Family Fun Challenge and more! Need some details? Click here

The library has loads of holiday books perfect to help spark some ideas on how to celebrate! My favorites though are the ones that help us learn how to be more kind and loving to the people around us, friends and stranger alike. Each title below will link to the catalog, ready for you to place it on hold for checkout at the drive-thru! Happy Valentines Day!

By: Emily Pearson
By: Pat Miller
By: Carol McCloud
By: Mij Kelly and Gerry Turley
By: Nancy Rose
By: Ruth Owen
By: Megan Borgert
By: Mike Berenstein

Halloween Celebrations!

Due to some truly boring and frankly hard to spell medical stuff, my middle child was unable to eat most common foods until he was roughly 9. This meant 9 holiday celebrations that we had to find different ways for him to be included. My daughter’s 4th birthday was celebrated surrounded by a house of unopened packing boxes, in a brand new city, with a cake we had literally just grabbed from the grocery store. Another time a particularly rotten cold and flu season had us laid up during Christmas. One of the benefits in having older kids is being able to look back and see that we will all miss out on some particular celebration due to things outside our control. And sometimes those moments really do create some truly magical memories.

There are some really fun ways to celebrate a holiday or event even without the traditions you may have been expecting. Here are some of the fun ways I have found:

Halloween Fairy

This lovely lady is a life saver. She usually comes during the night of Halloween to whisk away the bulk of the candy your darling children have received through their Trick of Treating, and leaves behind a new book or small toy. This is particularly wonderful for those of us who have no self-control and will be the ones eating the majority of those mini-Snickers. It’s also nice for families dealing with food allergies! Perhaps this year, she might be filling their Trick or Treating buckets with candy and other surprises for them to find.

You’ve Been Boo’ed!

Have your children help you put together small bags or buckets filled with Halloween themed goodies to deliver to the front porch of friends and families. Make sure to include a note letting them know who “booed” them!

Pumpkin Patches

There is no reason not to continue this outdoor tradition! Fall weather and pumpkin patches are one of the big perks to living in the Midwest. So triple check the ever-changing temperatures, grab a mask/hand sanitizer, and have a great time picking your pumpkins and burning off some kid energy!

Family Fun Challenge

After you bring home your pumpkin patch pumpkins, it’s time to decorate them! Carving them and roasting the seeds is always fun, but with little’s it might lean towards the “are you kidding me” level of project. Instead you can readily find plenty of kits that will help your family decorate the pumpkins in style. Even a page of stickers can be the perfect way to let their creativity shine. Once you are all done, submit a picture to enter to win 1 of 5 Party Packs from the library!

Library Drive-Thru

The week of Halloween, put those costumes on your kids, toss them in the car, and stop by the library drive-thru. We will have plenty of candy to give your little darlings as well “ohhs and ahhs” at the ready to marvel over their costumes!

My crew of kiddo’s are all over the age of 10, so I can ask them what they remember about those non-traditional holidays. Did they miss out? Did they feel different? Sad? And other than my daughter wishing to keep 50 pounds of candy(never going to happen), they remember nothing but happiness. We can’t always create the picture we have in our heads of the experience we want to give out children. This year has been particularly filled with those moments and will likely continue to be. All we can do is focus on our children, and remember that they won’t feel like they missed out. They will remember their family, happily celebrating in the best way they can.

Book Suggestion Super Heroes aka Librarians!

One of my favorite parts of being a librarian is helping someone find the perfect book. That book that calls to them when they have to put it down. The book filled with characters that become friends and family. The book that allows the person to escape for a time. It’s really good stuff.

I haven’t been able to do this as often in person lately but it doesn’t mean that I can’t help from afar! We have several options to help find you the perfect book for yourself or your child. So, jump in and put us to work!

Book Fix

Book Fix is a fantastic option set up by our amazing staff members to have you answer a couple questions and then we pick out up to 6 books for you based on that information. Then we pull those books, give you a call/email when they are ready, and you pick them up in the drive-thru! You can use this service for kids or adults. I got to put together a pile of books for a kiddo last week full of construction vehicles and monsters. It was so much fun! Click on “Book Fix” above to get started or find this service under “Readers Advisory” on our home page under “Services”.

Themed Book Lists and Award Winners

Looking for books all about the same theme? Or curious about all the Caldecott winners for a specific year? Need some help with potty training? Explaining divorce or other challenging issue?

We’ve got books for that. Click on the link above to see!

We’ve put together lists of books by theme. Simply click on the desired theme and you will be taken to the page for those titles. On that page will be a list of books that you can click on and then place them on hold. We pull the books from the shelves and then give you a call/email that they are ready. A trip through the drive-thru later and you have a new stack of books ready to go!

So whether you want a stack of surprises or the best books on insects we are ready to help! Books for littles, school age, teens or you, we would love nothing more than to put together a stack tailored to your individual house.


Youth Services @Derby Library

Grow a Reader Packs

Click here to put one on hold today!

Feeling a little cooped up? Are the small children at your house staring at you wanting to know, what’s next? Worried you aren’t providing enough education for your small charges?

The Library can help.

First off, you are rocking this whole parent thing. The kids are all fed and brushed most of their teeth so you deserve a huge gold star! We do have something to help entertain and educate them though. Check out a Grow a Reader Pack.

There are 15 themed Grow a Reader Packs. Each pack comes in a blue backpack filled with books, games, puppets, and more! Everything found in a pack will help strengthen your child’s early literacy skills. Just by bringing one home, you can pat yourself on the back for scoring a few more parenting points.

You can put one pack on hold and then pick it up in the drive-thru. Don’t even take those lovely littles out of their carseat! We are taking extra steps to ensure each pack is clean and ready to go. A couple clicks and you are this much closer to super parentdom. Way to go!

Cathy’s Book Chat

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr Review

                The One Memory of Flora Banks is a wild ride! This story is about a seventeen year old girl named Flora who has suffered from anterograde amnesia since the age of ten. The book is told from Flora’s point of view so she frequently repeats to herself the few things she can remember or she writes them down (on post-its, in her journal, or on her arms). Flora is on medication for her amnesia and she lives with her parents. Paige is her only friend, they’ve been friends since they were quite young, but lately things with Paige are fractured. Drake, Paige’s ex-boyfriend kisses Flora on the night before his trip to Svalbard. A few days later, Flora’s parents flee to Paris to be with Flora’s brother, Jacob since he is very ill. Flora is tasked with staying home and having Paige look after her. The only problem is that she kissed Paige’s boyfriend, so Paige backs out of this plan and Flora is home alone. Will Flora be able to care for herself while her parents are gone? Will things with Drake become more than just a kiss? Read this adventure to find out!

                I found the perspective of this story to be quite interesting. Since the reader only has Flora’s thoughts to work with, you learn bits and pieces of her past as well as her current reality. It becomes a mystery for the reader to connect the dots of Flora’s life. At times I felt annoyed by Flora’s repetitive nature, but overall I really felt for what Flora and her loved ones were going through. It must be annoying and frustrating for them to have to retell Flora about her life, but it would be even tougher to be stuck in a state of unknown. This book teaches the reader to have sympathy for what other people are struggling with. This is a story you will not want to put down! It has adventure, mystery, love, and a unique narrator.

Love, Cathy–Youth Services

Ready to put this on hold? Click here!

Chelsea’s Confessions

Confession: I am a Youth Services Library Assistant, and I do not (typically) enjoy reading elementary and middle grade fiction. I reread my favorites, and introduce them to my kids, but it is quite difficult of my heart to leach on to most books of the genre. I read “Small Spaces” as a suggested project during quarantine, and I must thank Miss Carrie for it.

First line: October in East Evansburg, and the last warm sun of the year slanted red through the sugar maples.

Summary: Olivia Adler escapes the world she can no longer love through her books. After an eventful day at school, the eleven year-old pedals her bike to her favorite spot. There she finds a woman crying; worse yet, the woman is throwing an innocent book into the river! Olivia rescues the book and becomes encapsulated in the mystery it presents. When mystery finds its way into her world looking much like the mystery of her novel, she has to choose her direction carefully.

Highlights: The first line, while beautiful, worried me the novel would be an attempt at a literary award which forgets the plot for the sake of its own beauty. Luckily, I was let down. The writing remains beautiful throughout the novel. The plot does not suffer for its beauty—thank goodness.

One of the first rules a writer learns is “Show, don’t tell”. Arden presents this skill artfully in the example of Olivia’s mother. To my recollection, the words “die”, “death”, or “dead” are never used in conjunction with Olivia’s mother. Her absence is felt like a hole in the main characters heart, ever present and without words.

The characters who join Olivia in her quest, purposeful or not, are also well developed. Each character gets a chance to surprise the reader. All in all, I thoroughly recommend this book to any reader, big or small.

Lowlights: As some parts of this story are quite dark, it is not suitable for all audiences. This is targeted toward elementary and middle grade readers, so be certain of their capability to read “creepy stories” before you put this book in their hands.

FYI: This is the first story in a series! It is a great stand-alone, but I look forward to joining Ollie for another mystery soon.

Chelsea–Youth Services Librarian Assistant

Ready to put it on hold? Click here!

Cathy’s Book Chat

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of Sea is about a sixteen year old girl named Shirin. Shirin wears a hijab and is treated extremely unkindly by her classmates, teachers, and complete strangers. This story takes place in 2002 in a town obsessed with basketball. Shirin has become quite good at suppressing her emotions and blocking out the world with music and a tough exterior. The only solace in her day is breakdance practice with her brother, Navid and his friends. Then she meets a classmate by the name of Ocean who makes her think that maybe there are people worth talking to. Ocean is the star basketball player at school and he desperately wants to get to know Shirin. When their interactions make others angry and cruel, the two must decide whether the connection they have is worth protecting.

At the beginning of the novel I felt like Shirin was a bit harsh to those around her. She didn’t have the best attitude and seemed really passive about life. Then I learned more about her experiences with racism and how she felt like she couldn’t confide in her parents about her personal life. When her breakdancing partners and brother confronted her about how she comes off to other people, I could see Shirin start to grow and reconsider her approach. When you are sixteen it’s easy to be angry with the old, on top of normal teenage emotions Shirin was going through both verbal and physical abuse all because of her religion. I began to feel her frustration and wanted to scream at her peers, too. This book may be fictional, but there are enough bigoted people out there that it is easy to be up in arms about the treatment minorities face in this country. Surprisingly Shirin was able to block that ugly side of people out and focus on what made her happy. That was what made her story inspiring and brave.

Happy Reading!

Cathy–Youth Services

Ready to put this book on hold? Click here!

Youth Services Summer Reading Program @Home

Since we can’t be together as we normally would we have a developed a fabulous and innovative Summer Reading Program!  Derby Public Library’s Youth Services Department has created ways to bring those programs you love into your home, while coming up with new programs to keep them busy and entertained.  Whether you have a newborn or an 18 year old at your house, we have planned programs that will tickle their funny bones and engage their imaginations.

Beanstack and Prizes

This will be our first summer using Beanstack, a free app that patrons will use to track their reading and earn prizes!  May 26 is the first day of SRP and the final day for submitting reading times and picking up prizes is July 26. Every child who finishes the reading challenge will win the following prizes:      

  • New Book!     
  •  Derby Bowling Alley for 2 free games
  • Other prizes as available due to Covid-19

Finishers will also be entered into their age groups Grand Prize Drawing:

  • Tiny Tales:  Baby’s first library: $200 gift card to Watermark Books and personal bookshelf
  • School Age: Nintendo Switch Bundle
  • Teen: Beats Headphones and Wireless Speaker

Facebook Events

We will be doing most of the digital programming from a Facebook Event so make sure to click “Interested” to stay up to date. However, you do not need a Facebook account in order to participate in these events. They are available for all the public to see.

New Programs

School Age and Teen kids will be able to pick up a craft kit at the drive thru or the front of the library, roughly once a week throughout the program. We also have put together art supply kits featuring crayons, scissors, four Sharpies, and a glue stick for those families in need just ask for an Art Supply Kit at the drive thru. A special Moviecraft program for teens has been morphed into one that can be done on your couch! We’ve even created a StoryWalk @ the Library has been created to exist on the sidewalk surrounding the library to help our littlest patrons enjoy some library time outside.

Links to the Fun

Check out the links below for our website and the Facebook Events.  Please let us know if you have any questions or would like more details.  We can’t wait to see you this summer!

Thank you for your patience during this time of adjustment. At this time our drive-thru is open to help get you the materials you may want or need. Including any materials available for the Summer Reading Program. We will keep you posted as things change. We miss you and can’t wait to hear from you this summer!

Cathy’s Book Chat

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy is a book filled with spirit, loyalty, and self-discovery. Our story begins with the last few days of summer before Ramona’s senior year of high school begins. Ramona lives in Eulogy, Mississippi where she works two jobs and lives in a trailer with her sister and father. Ramona’s older sister, Hattie is pregnant with her first child and Ramona feels a certain responsibility to stick around and help her sister when the baby comes. Over the summer Ramona has been spending time with a tourist named Grace. Ramona has come out as a lesbian, but Grace is still in the closet. On top of this, Ramona’s childhood friend, Freddie has moved back to Eulogy. Once school starts, Ramona’s relationship with Grace dwindles and Freddie fills the gap. Freddie introduces Ramona to swimming at the YMCA, it’s there that she meets a retired swim coach who encourages her to pursue collegiate swimming. Will Ramona choose to leave her family and try something new? Will Ramona find herself in this year of change? Take a dive and find out!

A lot is happening in Ramona’s world. I think this story does a good job of showing the chaos that is your senior year of high school, all of a sudden you are having to make major decisions about your future. This time can make a person feel lost and insecure. Luckily, Ramona has her friends, Saul and Ruth in addition to her loving family and Freddie. She is able to discover new things about herself when she thought she knew what path she was going to take. I remember the uncertainty of being a high school senior, it was not easy to figure out the “best” direction for myself. I relied a lot on my loved ones during this time as well. I think this novel is perfect for people who feel a bit lost when they want to have everything planned out. Ramona Blue, in typical Julie Murphy fashion, presents the reader with a wide range of characters, humor, and a lot of heart.

Love, Cathy from Youth Services

Cathy’s Book Chat

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver Review

I’ve been excited to finally dive into this book for quite some time. The only thing I knew about it before I started reading, was that the main character used they/them pronouns. Personally, that was enough to intrigue me. Until reading I Wish You All the Best, I had never read a book about someone who identifies as non-binary. I think it’s important to educate myself on topics I know very little about, so I felt ready to read on.

The protagonist of this novel is named Ben. The reader first meets Ben when they are about to come out to their parents. Ben ends up getting kicked out of their home, because their parents are shocked and repulsed by this news. Luckily Ben decides to call their sister, Hannah who moved away ten years prior. Hannah and her husband, Thomas are very welcoming and even enroll Ben at the high school Thomas teaches at. The pair also get Ben a psychiatrist to talk through their circumstances with. Ben loves to draw and paint, so they are excited to have a supportive art teacher and impressive art room to work on their projects. They also meet a boy named Nathan who becomes a close friend and helps Ben come out of their shell. In addition, Ben gains support from a YouTuber named Mariam who has gone through a similar situation as Ben. Will Ben and his parents make up? Will Ben continue coming out to people? Take this book for a spin to find out!

I Wish You All the Best focuses on Ben’s coming out experience and working through the trauma of having difficult parents. I think this book would be really helpful for someone who feels different or alone with their identity. I like that the book shows Ben getting professional help, finding a strong friend group, and dealing with issues even when they are a lot to carry. When you are a teenager (or any age really) it is easy to feel alone with whatever is going on in your life, this story shows you that there is always someone out there willing to help. I’m really impressed and inspired by the direction young adult books are going in these days. I Wish You All the Best is a great example of the power of representation and finding your voice.

Love, Cathy from Youth Services