The Underdogs of 2020: Ten Picture Books You May Have Missed

There are so many picture books to choose from that it may be hard to decide which ones are the best for your little ones. I know as a mother of a three year old, I get overwhelmed with the amount of books to choose from. Here are ten of my favorites.

From Vanessa Brantley-Newton, the author of Grandma’s Purse, comes a collection of poetry filled with engaging mini-stories about girls of all kinds. The book is filled with attractive illustrations featuring bright colors and layered textures and patterns, with such variety that each page has its own feel to suit its story. The poems are simple, upbeat, and affirming—a great reminder of what is to be gained when girls appreciate their own uniqueness and that of others. A dynamic, uplifting, and welcoming world of girls.

Now that you know how to babysit your grandma and grandpa, it’s time to teach them how to read with you! In this hilarious new addition to Jean Reagan and Lee Wildish’s bestselling How to… series, the kids are in charge! Kids can show their grandparents how to choose a great book, find the perfect spot to read together, and use their best reading-out-loud voices. Even after the book is done, there are lots of activities that kids and their grandparents can do together!

An alien has just crash-landed in your book, and it’s up to you to return him to space. You’ll have to twist, shake, and bounce your book to complete the mission; but before you launch your alien into the void, ask yourself: does he have to go?

Mommy needs to wrangle her sweet creature in bed so that the whole family can sleep. From tigers to squirrels to snakes, the little boy dodges around his bedtime, until he is tired enough to finally sleep. His imaginative animal friends weave their way through the illustrations, eventually joining him in curling up for the night.

From funny to sweet, silly to sincere, the lyrics of Mister Rogers explore such universal topics as feelings, new siblings, everyday life, imagination, and more. Through these songs—as well as endearing puppets and honest conversations—Mister Rogers instilled in his young viewers the values of kindness, self-awareness, and self-esteem. But most of all, he taught children that they are loved, just as they are. Perfect for bedtime, sing-along, or quiet time alone, this beautiful book of meaningful poetry is for every child—including the child inside of every one of us

Saddened by her classmates’ and teacher’s mispronunciations of her name, a girl is empowered by her discovery that names are like songs when she and her mom celebrate the musicality of African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx, and Middle Eastern names.

Tameika is excited to audition for the school’s Snow White Musical, but when she overhears her classmates say she is too tall, chubby, and brown to play Snow White, she questions whether she is right for the part.

Did you know that po cha, the traditional tea in Tibet, is thick and salty like soup? Or that in Iran, tea is served with a rock? (A rock candy, that is!) Or that afternoon tea was dreamed up in England by a duchess who complained of being hungry between lunch and dinner?

Kai, merboy, loves to share hugs with his mother, but learns that some friends prefer fin bumps, tail claps, tentacle shakes, or claw pinches.

Hedgehog and Tortoise were the best of friends. They wanted to give each other a great, big hug. But they weren’t allowed to touch. “Don’t worry,” said Owl. “There are lots of ways to show someone you love them.” So the two friends wave to each other, blow kisses, sing songs, dance around and write letters. And even though they can’t hug and they can’t touch, they both know that they are loved. A gorgeous, uplifting, inspiring picture book that makes social distancing fun!

If you like any of these books, click on the image you want to put it on hold. All you need is your Lindenhurst Memorial Library card!

Pretend Play – Let’s Shop!

If you are the parent or caregiver of a toddler or preschooler, you may be very familiar with one phrase: LET’S PLAY! 

Despite the immense benefits of play, sometimes it can be downright draining to come up with new ideas to keep your little one happy. That is where imaginative play comes in.  

Pretend play is hugely beneficial to development. By acting out everyday scenarios, your child gets lessons in vocabulary, social skills, and problem solving. 

In an effort to inspire pretend play, we have come up with a simple game for you and your child.  

How to Play Shop

  • Encourage child to play shop with you. Together select items in your home to be the merchandise for your shop. Your shop can be specific (such as a hat shop, toy store, grocery store) or it can have various departments. 
  • Once your items are selected, display them in various different parts of the room. In this case, you can encourage your child to sort items that are alike. For example, if you are playing grocery store, group together dairy items, sweets, etc.  
  • Time to price your items! You can either print the price labels we have provided below or simply pretend stickers are price labels. (suggestion: this soccer sticker means the item is $5!) 
  • Ask your child if they would prefer to be the shopkeeper or the shopper. You may take turns while playing.  
  • Open your shop! You may use the printable sign provided below or create a sign yourselves using crayons and construction paper. 
  • Ask questions! 
  • “How much is this item?” 
  • “Do you have any milk?” 
  • “Can I have a bag?” 
  • “What hat looks best?” 
  • “Can I help you find anything?” 
  • “Oops! I dropped the oranges. Can you help me clean them up?” 
  • “Can you help me to restock the shelves?” 
  • When you’ve completed your shopping, it’s time to pay. Use the free printable money included below or use play money or precut pieces of green paper. 
  • When finished, reserve all your items used to play the game so that you can explore pretend play again. 

We hope this activity helped your child learn, explore, and discover! Check back for more pretend play ideas and free printables from Lindenhurst Memorial Library! 


These can be printed on regular paper or sturdy cardstock. To ensure future use, you may also choose to laminate these printables. In an effort to save paper, you do not need to use printables to play this game. Any stickers, signs, etc. will do, as long as you use your imagination! 

Let’s Get More Sustainable!

There are simple but effective ways to encourage sustainability in your household. Whether you make your own compost, reuse plastics to make crafts, or are mindful of recycling items, the steps you take are not only beneficial to the earth, but also beneficial to your child as they learn and grow from your choices.

The Lindenhurst Memorial Library is a proud member of the Green Business Partnership, and we make an effort each day to make greener choices for our library, the community, and our planet. Our library has paper, plastic, and battery recycling, and we make a conscious effort to only order sustainable supplies or utilize recycled supplies in our inventory.

Did you know that many of the craft supplies used in the children and teen departments are eco friendly? From the construction paper to the cups used to hold our glue and paint, we are always thinking about how we can lessen our impact on the world and change our habits for the long term. We aim to buy less, make more and re-use what we already have.

If you are interested in teaching your child about sustainability, start by stopping by our green library and checking out a few of these wonderful picture books. Or check out some of our sustainable programs in our newsletter. Every step towards a sustainable earth makes a difference!

Reading Challenges Made Fun

Spring may have just sprung, but here at the library we are looking forward to summer! Summer Reading Clubs and weekly prizes will be available for all age groups. Plan for some fun in the sun with tons of outdoor events and programs throughout the town of Lindenhurst. Registration will begin in early June- don’t miss it! Mark your calendars, and remember to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to get all the updates about this year’s events.

Don’t want to wait until June? Try one of these ongoing challenges. They are available throughout the year and have come up with some creative ways to help your child explore the wonders of reading without making them feel like it’s a chore. Don’t like any of these challenges, try creating your own. One that fits your lifestyle.

Read Native 2021

American Indian Library Association invites you to participate in the inaugural reading challenge. With this challenge we support and recognize our Indigenous authors, scientists, legislators, storytellers, and creators throughout the year, not just during the national Native American Heritage month.

Throughout the year, find and read books and publications by and about Native Americans; visit tribal websites; search peer reviewed scholarly journals; visit Native-owned bookstores; and check with Native librarians for all of the best sources for learning more about Native Americans and Indigenous people around the world

Macaroni Kid  2021 Reading Challenge

Macaroni Kid offers a very simple reading challenge. Download and print a list of 20 books to celebrate your child’s literacy.


Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. They offer a yearly reading challenge, where you decide how many books you want to read for the year. The user logs in the book that they have read and Goodreads will keep track for you.

Need help looking for a title to complete your book challenge?

Stop on in and ask a librarian. We would be happy to help guide your reading journey. Can’t make it to the library? You can always call us @ 631-957-7755, chat with a librarian on our website, check out our book suggestions, or let us curate some “Librarian Specials” for you, using an online form. You can also check out our huge collection of ebooks and audiobooks. Set up an account with your library card to gain access to thousands of titles.

And remember, reading is not only amazing, it can also change your life! According to the American Association of School Librarians (2007), “reading is a foundational skill for learning, personal growth, and enjoyment. The degree to which students can read and understand text in all formats (e.g., picture, video, print) and all contexts is a key indicator of success in school and in life. As a lifelong learning skill, reading goes beyond decoding and comprehension to interpretation and development of new understandings”.

Award Winning YA Books and Audiobooks

Do you like to read or listen to award-winning books? American Library Association announced the top books, digital media, and audio books for young adults of 2021! 

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults: 

Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story) by Daniel Nayeri, is the 2021 Printz Award winner! The Michael L. Printz Award is an American Library Association literary award that annually recognizes the “best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit.”

This story is about a boy who flees Iran as a small child, detours through a refugee camp in Italy, then winds up in middle school in Oklahoma, where he is met with both curiosity and suspicion.

The four Printz Honor titles were:

“Apple (Skin to the Core),” by Eric Gansworth, “Dragon Hoops,” created by Gene Luen Yang, color by Lark Pien, “Every Body Looking,” by Candice Iloh and “We Are Not Free,” by Traci Chee.

The 2021 winner of Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults is Kekla Magoon! Margaret A. Edwards was an educator and librarian who was at the forefront of the movement for young adult services in the 20th century. Some of the winner Kekla Magoon’s books are: “X: A Novel,” co-written by Ilyasah Shabazz “How It Went Down,” “The Rock and the River” and “Fire in the Streets.”

The Odyssey Award is an annual award given for Excellence in Audiobook Production. The winner of the 2021 Odyssey Award is “Kent State,” by Deborah Wiles and narrated by Christopher Gebauer, Lauren Ezzo, Christina Delaine, Johnny Heller, Roger Wayne, Korey Jackson, and David de Vries.

Kent State is a free-verse novel that explores the killing of four American students who were protesting the Vietnam War.

Here are the other teen Odyssey Honor Audiobooks that were also selected:

“Clap When You Land,” written by Elizabeth Acevedo and narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo and Melania-Luisa Marte; “Fighting Words,” written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and narrated by Bahni Turpin; “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You,” written by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi and narrated by Jason Reynolds

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

YALSA stands for Young Adult Library Services Association. “The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh,” written by Candace Fleming, is their 2021 Excellence in Nonfiction winner.

The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh is the biography of an American hero who was deeply flawed.

The four other books that were finalists for the award were:  

“All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team,” written by Christina Soontornvat, “The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival,” written by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess with Laura L. Sullivan, “How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure,” written and illustrated by John Rocco and “You Call This Democracy?: How to Fix Our Democracy and Deliver Power to the People,” written by Elizabeth Rusch.

The William C. Morris Award is for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens.

The 2021 winner was “If These Wings Could Fly,” written by Kyrie McCauley.

If These Wing Could Fly is about a girl dealing with domestic violence, first love and her town in chaos due to thousands of crows.

Four other books were finalists for the award:  

“Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard,” written by Echo Brown, “The Black Kids,” written by Christina Hammonds Reed, “It Sounded Better in My Head,” written by Nina Kenwood and “Woven in Moonlight,” written by Isabel Ibañez.

If you enjoyed this list, check out the rest of the award winning books here.

Citizen Science

Citizen science, also known as crowd science, volunteer monitoring, or crowd source science, is scientific research conducted in part by amateur scientists. Citizen scientists often partner with professional scientists to achieve common goals. This allows scientists to complete research that would be too expensive or time-consuming to accomplish on their own with large volunteer networks.

When I was in fourth grade I had the best science teacher; Mrs. Schwartz and she was really great at teaching us how scientists are working all around us to learn new things about our environment and how those things were relevant to us and how they could be fun. Citizen science feels like a natural extension of things I learned from Mrs. Schwartz back in fourth grade; a great way to learn about my environment and have fun doing it.

Want to learn more about citizen science and how you and your family can get involved? Register for our upcoming Zoom program on March 25th, 7:00-8:00 pm, Conservation Science & Citizen Science with Ranger Eric of CEED LI and learn how to help local plants and animals by contributing to Citizen Science Projects.

Want your teen to actively participate in citizen science and earn community service credit? Register them for our Citizen Scientist program on April 20th at 3:00 pm. Students in Grades 6-12 will meet at Irmisch Park; go for a walk and take pictures of different plants and animals we see and upload them to iNaturalist to connect with nature and generate scientifically valuable biodiversity data.

Looking for more Citizen Scientist Activities to participate in with your family? Check out these resources:; the EPA’s website on citizen science projects and click on They have an extensive catalog of projects that you can get involved in that are supported by the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies. Is someone in your family interested in a particular field of science? You can search for that.

Scistarter is an online citizen science hub with more than 3,000 projects searchable by location, topic, age-level and more. Projects have been listed by NGO’s, universities, federal government’s and more. Everyone in your family is sure to find a project that fits their interests and level of participation here.

Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. Now, more than ever, girls need inspiration to help build up and motive themselves. Women’s History Month commemorates all those who have contributed and made a difference in American History and every year since 1987, we have been celebrating all that they’ve done and continue to do. The National Women’s History Project recognizes and promotes these women by providing information, educational materials, programs, and choosing themes each year to mark the beginning of Women’s History Month. Themes like 2020’s when we honored Women who fought for voting rights or in 2009 when we honored Women for taking the lead to save our planet. You can find a full list of themes for Women’s History Month here.

This year the theme is being extended from last year, “Women for Vote,” since the Pandemic put a stop to many of the celebrations. The organization is determined to recognize and celebrate the important roles of multicultural suffragists and voting rights activists…their voices will not be silenced! The honorees are:

Here, at the library, we can help you recognize and learn more about these ladies and the Women’s Suffrage Movement both past and present. “Ask a Librarian” on our website, peruse our catalog online, or come in and we’ll direct you to the books you need.

Click for books, e-books, & audio books!
Infobase Publishing - American Women Leaders and Activists, Second Edition

15 Apps Parents Should Know About

Recently, the local sheriff’s department released a list of the top 15 apps parents should be aware of. These apps can reveal your location, data mine, and expose your children and teens to strangers on the internet or in person. Here are the apps and what you need to know:

  1. MeetMe

MeetMe is a dating social media app that allows users to connect with people based on geographic proximity. Users are encouraged to meet each other in person.

2. WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a popular messaging app that allows users to send texts, photos, make calls and video chats worldwide. This app uses an internet connection on smart phones and computers.

3. Bumble

Bumble is similar to Tinder however it requires women to make the first contact. Kids have been known to use bumble to create fake accounts and falsify their age.

4. Live.Me

Live.Me is a live-streaming video app that uses geo-location to share videos so users can find out a broadcaster’s exact location. Users can earn “coins” as a way to “pay” minors for photos.

5. Ask.FM

Ask.FM is known for cyber bullying. The app encourages users to allow anonymous people to ask them questions.

6. Grindr

Grindr is a dating app geared towards gay, bi and transgender people. The app gives users the option to chat, share photos and meet up based on a smart phone’s GPS location.

7. Tik Tok

Tik Tok is used to create and share short videos with very limited privacy controls. Users are vulnerable to bullying and explicit content.

8. Snapchat

Snapchat is one of the popular apps in recent years. Even though the app says that photos/videos will disappear, new features including ‘stories’ allow users to view content for up to 24 hours.

9. Holla

Holla allows users to meet people all over the world in just seconds. Reviewers even say they have been confronted with racial slurs, explicit content and more.

10. Calculator%

Calculator% is only one of several secret apps used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.

11. Skout

Skout is a location-based dating app and website. While users under 17 are not allowed to share private photos, kids can easily create an account using a different age.

12. Badoo

Badoo is a dating and social networking app where users can share photos, videos and their location. The app is intended for adults but teens are known to create profiles.

13. Kik

Kik allows anyone to contact and direct message your child. Kids can bypass traditional text messaging features. Kik gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

14. Whisper

Whisper is an anonymous social network that promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user’s location so people can meet up.

15. Hot or Not

Hot or Not encourages users to rate your profile, check out people in their area and chat with strangers. The goal of this app is to hook up.

YALSA 2021 Best Fiction Titles

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) announced its 2021 Best Fiction for Young Adults list!

The list is made up of 85 titles that are selected from 124 nominations, which were posted and discussed in YALSA’s blog The Hub. The nominees can also be found on this blog. After receiving feedback from teens, the team created a list of the top ten titles.

Be Not Far from Me by Mindy McGinnis

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Deeplight by Frances Hardinge

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

This Is My America by Kim Johnson

We Are Not from Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez

What I Carry by Jennifer Longo

The suggestion form for the 2022 Best Fiction for Young Adults list is open. If you’d like to suggest a title to the blogging team for consideration as a nominee, you can fill out the form here.

And The Winner Is…..

On January 25, 2021, the American Library Association announced the winners for outstanding books, digital media, video and audio books for children and young adults. Some of the more notable awards given were the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz awards.

John Newbery Medal is awarded to the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature. This year’s winner is:

When You Trap a Tiger,” written by Tae Keller, is the 2021 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House. “When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her halmoni’s Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history. Long, long ago, Halmoni stole something from the tigers. Now, the tigers want it back. And when one of those tigers offers Lily a deal–return what Halmoni stole in exchange for Halmoni’s health–Lily is tempted to accept. But deals with tigers are never what they seem! With the help of her sister and her new friend Ricky, Lily must find her voice… and the courage to face a tiger”-Goodreads

Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded to the most distinguished American picture book for children. This year’s winner:

We Are Water Protectors,” illustrated by Michaela Goade is the 2021 Caldecott Medal winner. The book was written by Carole Lindstrom and published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings. “When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people’s water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource”.-Goodreads

Michael L. Printz Award is awarded for excellence in literature written for young adult. This year’s winner:

Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story),” by Daniel Nayeri, is the 2021 Printz Award winner. The book is published by Arthur A. Levine, an imprint of Levine Querido. “The story of a boy who flees Iran as a small child, detours through a refugee camp in Italy, then winds up in middle school in Oklahoma, where he is met with both curiosity and suspicion.”-Goodreads

If you wish to view the entire list of winner and honor books, it can be view at

Want to read any of these books? Click on the link to the Lindenhurst Memorial Public Library homepage and reserve you copy today.