Explore These: National Hispanic Heritage Month

From September 15 through October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month serves as a time period to recognize what Hispanic Americans have contributed to the culture, history, and enrichment of the United States. Reading the following books is a good way to celebrate Hispanic Americans not only during this time period of recognition, but all year round!

These books are available through the Shelby County Public Library System. Place a hold through our online catalog or call 439-5509.


Crafts with Ms. Carol: Give a Hoot!

Do you think you can make a fun birdie craft, using only simple tools and materials that you probably already have around the house?   Well, owl think you can!


  • a brown paper grocery sack
  • some colored paper (you can use construction paper or just a colored envelope from your household mail)
  • a pencil
  • a saucer
  • a cup
  • kids’ scissors
  • glue or a glue stick
  • a black pen or maybe a button or two from your adult’s sewing kit.


Place the folded paper grocery sack flat on a sturdy table and, on it, use your pencil to trace around an upside-down small saucer.  (This will be your owl’s body and head). Then, on the same sack, trace your left hand and then your right hand – – your adult can help with this. (These hand tracings will be your owl’s wings.)

Trace around hands and saucer.
Looks good!

Now cut out the circle and the tracings of your hands, using kids’ scissors.

Cut out the tracings. Ask your adult if you need help!

Then, on the colored paper, trace an upside-down cup; this circle will be your owl’s face.  Also trace a plastic pop-bottle cap twice, to make your owl’s eyes. Cut these three circles out, too.

Use whatever color of paper you like to trace around the cup and bottle cap!

Use glue or a glue stick to attach your hand tracings to the owl’s body, for wings. Glue the large colored circle to the owl for his tummy. Cut out and glue a tiny colored triangle shape for his beak, and glue the two small colored circles for his eyes. 

If you happen to have some googly eyes in your craft box, you can use them to finish his eyes.  Or maybe your adult will share a dark button or two for his eyes.  If you don’t have either of these, use a dark pen to draw the small circles in his eyes.  If you like, you can even make him wink!!

Nice to meet whoo!

What’s Ms. Carol Reading?

Hi there, North Shelby Library friends!  Ms. Carol here. While the library’s closed for a while, I’ve found that I can still enjoy some really wonderful books online with Libby/Overdrive… Books about all sorts of things! Last night, while I was reading a story before bedtime, I suddenly heard a strange sound from the big old oak tree outside my bedroom window:  Woo woo… woo woo wa woooooo! “Why, that’s my old friend, the barred owl,” I said. And then I thought I’d look on Libby to see if I could find some good books about owls.

The first book I found was Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan.  What a fun way to explore the night with a little owl friend! It’s evening in the forest and Little Owl wakes up from his day-long sleep to watch his friends enjoying the night. Hedgehog sniffs for mushrooms, Skunk nibbles at berries, Frog croaks, and Cricket sings. A full moon rises and Little Owl can’t understand why anyone would want to miss it… Don’t you miss it!  Check out this wonderful bedtime book!

Then I “tuned in” to Baby Owl’s Rescue by Jennifer Keats Curtis.  This book, with its beautiful, very realistic illustrations tells the story of a baby owl who falls out of his nest at the top of a tall, tall tree and lands on the ground at the very bottom of his tree.  What’s he going to do?  What would you do to help?

Two kids live in the house near Baby Owl’s tall tree, and luckily they have a resourceful mom who knows a lot about helping animals in distress.  Read this book to find out what happens to Baby Owl.  Can his friends help him get home?  You’ll have to check out this book to learn the end of his story…

What have you been reading? Your librarians would love to know!     

Also, don’t forget about to check out North Shelby Library and Mt Laurel Library’s Cabin Fever Reading Challenge! Go here for more information     and to register: http://shelbycounty.beanstack.org/.

What's Ms. Vanessa Reading

What’s Ms. Vanessa Reading?

Hey, everyone! Ms. Vanessa here. I’ve been reading some books that I really want to share with everyone! I love stories about unusual creatures and the friendships they make, and the characters in the following books are definitely unusual and very awesome:

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Inkling by Kenneth Oppel
One night, a splotch of ink frees itself from a sketchbook. The sketchbook belongs to Ethan’s dad, an artist and creator of a popular comic book series who is going through a creative slump. Ethan discovers the ink splotch and names him Inkling. Whenever Inkling absorbs ink from books and pictures, he gains a greater understanding of the world around him (and he can also become whatever he wants since he’s made of ink). Inkling appears right when Ethan’s family needs him the most: he helps both Ethan and his dad with their artistic projects, and he becomes the dog that Ethan’s sister has been wanting for so long.

Full of humor and adventure with a touch of sadness, Inkling is a moving story about family and friendship and being true to yourself while helping others.

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Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead
It’s been five years since Livy visited her grandmother in Australia, and she forgot about quite a few things since she’s been away. Somehow, she forgot about Bob, a mysterious, green creature who’s been waiting in the closet for Livy to return like she promised she would. She also promised Bob that she would help him figure who he was and where he came from. And she intends to keep that promise.

Magical and meaningful, Bob is a touching mystery that will captivate young and old readers alike. A good story for independent reading or family read-alouds!

Both of these books are available digitally through Libby/Overdrive.

What have you been reading? Let Ms. Vanessa know! Also, don’t forget about North Shelby Library and Mt Laurel Library’s Cabin Fever Reading Challenge! Go here for more information and to register: http://shelbycounty.beanstack.org/.

We also have a new virtual book club for tweens (Grades 3rd-5th)! Tweens can make and share short videos about what they’ve been reading using Flipgrid. They can respond to other videos with their own video comments as well! If your tween is interested in joining, please email Vanessa at nschildrenslibrarian@shelbycounty-al.org for more information!

Explore These

Explore These: National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, a whole month-long celebration of poetry in all its many forms. We’ve compiled a list of books written in poetry or verse that we think you might enjoy! These books are available either in eBook or digital audiobook formats on Libby/Overdrive and/or Hoopla. So go ahead if something catches your eye: explore it!

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Salsa by Jorge Argueta
(Grades PreK – 2)
eBook available on Hoopla

Two siblings sing and dance their way through this poetical recipe for tasty salsa. Complemented with illustrations by the multiple award-winning Duncan Tonatiuh, Salsa is a delicious poem that will satisfy the whole family!

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Gracias/Thanks by Pat Mora
(Grades PreK – 2)
eBook available on Libby/Overdrive

A sweet bilingual celebration of family and friends and the world around us as a young boy expresses gratitude for all of the different things that enrich his life.

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Button Up!: Wrinkled Rhymes by Alice Schertle
(Grades K-2)
eBook available on Libby/Overdrive

Do you ever wonder what your clothes might think about their roles in life? In this fun collection, various articles of clothing from shoelaces to bicycle hats express themselves in verse form. Delightful illustrations of animals modeling the clothes add to the whimsical charm of Button Up!.

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Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus
(Grades K-3)
eBook available on Libby/Overdrive

A lyrical and richly illustrated ode to America, and all of the symbols, places, and people that make it so unique. America represents something to everyone, and everyone represents America.

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Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
(Grades 1-3)
eBook available on Libby/Overdrive

A classic collection, Where the Sidewalk Ends is where an unusual and zany world begins. Here, you will read about everything and anything from crocodiles who go to the dentist to a place where shoes fly!

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Out of Wonder: Poem Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander, et al
(Grades 3-6)
Digital audiobook available on Hoopla

What better book to celebrate poetry than Out of Wonder? Featuring 20 poems dedicated to 20 poets and their unique styles, this book provides a great introduction into the world of poetry.

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Moo by Sharon Creech
(Grades 3-6)
eBook available on Libby/Overdrive and Hoopla

Blending poetry and prose, Moo tells the story of a young girl who moves from the city to the Maine countryside with her family. The young girl, Reena, didn’t know what to expect, but she certainly didn’t expect to befriend a particularly stubborn cow.

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Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
(Grades 4-6)
eBook and digital audiobook available on Libby/Overdrive

Through her powerful poems, Woodson shares her childhood experiences in poignant detail. Growing up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, she was raised in both New York and South Carolina and struggled to not only find a place to call home, but also to find herself. As she grows older and becomes more aware of herself and the world around her, she discovers a love of stories that would lead her to her future career as a writer.

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Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
(Grades 4-6)
eBook available on Libby/Overdrive and Hoopla

Written in verse, Other Words for Home tells the story of a young girl who, along with her mother, leaves her home in Syria to live with relatives in the United States. Now, she has a new identity in a new country. Not everything is as she expected, or hoped for, in America, but there are some pleasant surprises as well.

What's Ms. Vanessa Reading

What’s Ms. Vanessa Reading?

Hello, everyone! I hope you all have been able to get some fun reading in during this time at home. Ms. Vanessa has been catching up with some good books! Here are a couple of books I’ve been reading that tween readers might enjoy:

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The Unteachables by Gordan Korman
The Unteachables, the most infamous group of challenging students at Greenwich Middle School, are paired up with teacher Mr. Zachary Kermit, who is older and tired and ready for his early retirement. Can any good come of this besides hilarious mayhem?

Told from the perspective of several characters, The Unteachables showcases the potential of children (and teachers) who are perceived as lost causes. Humorous with a heart, this read is a fun choice for tweens looking for books about friendship and school issues.

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The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Summer is not complete without an unforgettable trip, and the Penderwick sisters spend this particular summer at the sprawling estate of Arundel with their father and faithful dog, Hound. They meet a few people during their stay, such as Jeffrey, the gardenar Cagney, as well as the chilly Mrs. Tifton.

Ms. Vanessa can’t believe she took this long to start reading this series! It’s been highly recommended by many young patrons. Touching and fun, this read is a good choice for anyone looking to explore an expansive estate with a group of sisters who are both strong as a family and as individuals.

Both of these books are available digitally through Libby/Overdrive. The digital audiobook for The Unteachables is available through Hoopla.

What have you been reading? Let Ms. Vanessa know! Also, don’t forget about North Shelby Library and Mt Laurel Library’s Cabin Fever Reading Challenge! Go here for more information and to register: http://shelbycounty.beanstack.org/.

~ Ms. Vanessa