Category: Youth Services Blog

Manheim Community Library Youth Services Blog



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Summer Reading is Happening Now!

Happy summer, friends!

We’re so excited to get started with summer reading, and guess what? We have in-person programs again this summer! Hooray! All programs will be held outdoors at the pavilions of either Mummau or Memorial Park (across from the pool). Paper logs, Fitness Quest logs, and goodie bags are available in the library beside the self-checkout kiosk, so stop by today!

You can also use Beanstack (the app we used last year). On Beanstack, you can sign up each individual reader in your family for their age group, as well as for Fitness Quest. New this year, you can also use Beanstack for the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program!

Hope to see you at our kickoff party on Wednesday, June 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the large pavilion at Memorial Park! Turtle Dance Music will perform (music, bubbles, and comedy), we’ll have balloons, a sign-up station for summer reading, goodie bags, prizes, and FUN! Please register, so we know how many kids to expect, and so that we can inform you ahead of time if we have any weather-related changes.

Learn more and register here:

Book Review: Among the Hidden (Shadow Children, Book #1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Reviewed by MCL Staff Member Harriet Engle

Luke is the third child in a family of Father, Mother, Matthew, and Mark. Because of his third-child status in a world where having more than two children means the parents have broken the law, Luke must stay hidden – at all costs. When this story begins, he is somewhere near 12 years old. On his sixth birthday, Luke’s mother told him why he could not go to school, and could not ride to town in the pickup truck. He could play and explore the woods around his house, but even that was taken away from him, too.

He wondered: Am I the only “third child” in the world? One day while looking out of the vents in his attic bedroom, he discovers Jen in one of the houses that now occupies the his woods, and his small world stretches open just a little bit, possibilities become more real, tragedies . . . well, I will let you read the story.

This is a story about possibilities in a world where governments try to take control of the human spirit and the basic but profound needs of that spirit: the need for relationship; the need for freedom; the need for self-expression, to name a few. It is a story about a government going well beyond defining what is right or wrong.


From the publisher:

  • Reading age : 8 – 12 years
  • Lexile measure : 800L
  • Grade level : 3 – 7

Book Review: The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tale Detectives, Book 1 by Michael Buckley

Reviewed by library staff member Harriet Engle

Here you have it:  parents who disappear, two orphan sisters, magic, villains, heroes, giants, fairies, a magic mirror, and more – all in one book!

After several short stays in various foster homes, orphans Sabrina and Daphne Grimm move to the quaint village of Ferryport Landing. Rather, they move to the country surrounding this village where they meet a grandmother they didn’t know they had. Almost 12-year-old Sabrina is looking for a way to escape, but younger seven-year-old Daphne is thoroughly taken in by this doting and loving grandmother who cooks weird food of weird colors and warns them about going out of the house – even opening windows is forbidden!


Sabrina just wants to get away from all this weirdness, dragging a reluctant Daphne with her. However, she meets just more weirdness! Sabrina and Daphne will take you on an adventure to beat all adventures. Come, take a look inside the world of the Grimm family and their long history of living with magical characters.



From the publisher:

  • Reading age : 8 – 12 years
  • Lexile measure : 780L
  • Grade level : 3 – 7

Guest Review by Alexis: Winnie the Horse Gentler Series

Calling all horse lovers!


Dandi Daley Mackall will satisfy your heart for horses as she takes you along through the Winnie the Horse Gentler series. Starting with “Wild Thing” where Winnie, a 12 yr old girl who loves horses, faces tragedy as her mom dies in a car accident, and her dad moves her and her sister Lizzy all over the country. Never in one place long enough to settle down, now they are in Asheville, NC. When Winnie meets her dream horse she doesn’t want to leave. But the owner of the horse doesn’t want to give it up.

Dandi Daley Mackall describes things very well. She gives lots of details. There is suspense woven throughout this book.

Happy reading.


Hey, kids! Would you like us to post your book reviews on the MCL Youth Services Blog, just like Alexis? If you would like to contribute a review to introduce other kids to a book you love, just email Lindsay Bandy at

Book Review: Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief (Book #1) by Wendelin Van Draanen

Reviewed by Harriet Engle


Binoculars, beards and wigs, burglars, a punch in the nose, and a new seventh-grader with a lot a time on her hands and loads of curiosity – that is Sammy Keyes. Add to that, Sammy lives where she should not be living (in an apartment just for seniors – with her grandmother) and a habit of jay-walking. Anyway, with the binoculars and a lot of time, Sammy spots a thief in the act of burgling in a hotel across from her grandmother’s apartment.

It takes Sammy some time, of which she has a lot, and the help of her friend, Marissa, to figure out who is behind the recent thefts in her neighborhood. Of course, it could be this person or that person, but Sammy discovers the clues that lead to the crafty and sly man responsible for lifting money and jewelry from unsuspecting neighbors.

From the Publisher:

  • Reading age : 10 – 12 years
  • Lexile measure : 760L
  • Grade level : 5 – 6

Check out this book and the rest of the Sammy Keyes series at Manheim Community Library today!

Celebrate International Dark Sky Week with a Free Webinar for Parents and Educators

Did you know that April 5-12 is International Dark-Sky Week?

Keystone Canyon Press presents Building Next-Generation Environmental Activists with renowned author and dark-sky advocate Paul Bogard. Parents, educators, and anyone interested in engaging young children in environmental sciences are encouraged to join the FREE Zoom presentation* on April 8 at 5 P.M. PDT.
Paul Bogard’s children’s book, What if Night?, discusses the impact of light pollution in a simple yet engaging manner.
*Please not that this event is presented by Keystone Canyon Press and is not sponsored by Manheim Community Library.

About Paul Bogard: A native Minnesotan, Paul grew up exploring the forest and watching the stars near a lake in the northern part of the state. Today, Paul loves to read picture books with his two-year-old daughter, Amalie, in their south Minneapolis home, and to take her out under the moon and stars at their northern Minnesota lake cabin.

Paul Bogard is also the author of The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light, shortlisted for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, and The Ground Beneath Us: From the Oldest Cities to the Last Wilderness, What Dirt Tells Us About Who We Are. He is the editor of Let There Be Night: Testimony on Behalf of the Dark, a collection of essays by twenty-eight writers on the value of darkness and the costs of light pollution; author of numerous articles and essays; and a noted speaker about the importance of natural darkness. A graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, he is currently an associate professor of English at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
To learn more, visit his web site at Paul Bogard (



Attention Teens: PA READS YA Needs You!

The creators of Bookish in the ‘Burgh, Pittsburgh’s Teen Book Festival, are seeking teen applicants to build and lead the vision of PA Reads YA, a new project designed to support the development of virtual and in-person young adult literature programs created by teens and for teens across Pennsylvania. Applicants should be teen residing in Pennsylvania.

All meetings will be virtual and tasks will depend on the interests and capacity of teens involved including marketing, event planning, community engagement, writing for blogs and newsletters, and more. An interest in teen books is great but not required. Teens with diverse interests, skills, and backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Applications are due by March 29, 2021.

To apply, please fill out this google form:

Questions? Email Kelsey Ford at

March Take + Make: Free Kids’ Mindfulness Journals

It’s finally starting to feel like spring! As we continue to focus on the emotional and mental well-being of families this month, we hope you’ll stop by the library to pick up one of our FREE Kids Mindfulness Journals!

These journals feature a variety of activities from Head and Heart Mindfulness, including coloring pages, a daily feelings “check-in,”  breathing and gratitude activities, and drawing prompts. Grab one in the lobby today, and you’re good to go!

Kids in elementary school will be able to complete the journal independently, but there are lots of great conversation-starting prompts and activities to share with the whole family. Preschoolers can complete this journal with their caregivers’ help.


Enjoy being more mindful by talking about your feelings together!


Kids Book Review: The Nerviest Girl in the World by Melissa Wiley

Reviewed by Harriet Engle

This is a story about Pearl, a nine-year-old girl with three older brothers. With three older brothers, she had to be nervy. Pearl and her family live on a ranch in southern California where they raise cattle, sheep, and ostriches. Pearl takes care of the ostriches as her daily chore – feeding them, collecting their eggs, and cleaning out their pen.

This book was written about a time before automobiles became the common way to travel, early 1900s. It also was a time before smart phones, “You Tube,” instant entertainment, and, of course, two-car garages. In fact, if anyone wanted to get anywhere, they rode a horse. It is about silent movies, the entertainment of the time. The silent-movie producer comes to town to make movies, and he needs fast-riding cowboys. He hires Pearl’s brothers. An unexpected fast and nervy ride of her own puts Pearl in the sights of the camera and the producer, and before she knows it, she is in the movies.

Ms. Wiley lived in this part of the country for more than ten years, and to write this piece of historical fiction, she thoroughly researched the silent movie industry. She catches the attention of the reader with some tricky stunts that only a nervy little farm girl with three older brothers can do.


From the publisher:

  • Reading age : 8 – 12 years
  • Lexile measure : 900L
  • Grade level : 3 – 7