Normal Public Library provides many enriching events and resources for kids of all ages, parents, and families.
The Children’s Department offers lots of activities to educate and entertain kids. There are story hours for various ages, crafts, guest authors, robotics and other science and tech activities, and of course, Summer Reading
A Place to Discover
Whether we have an official activity going on or not, you can always find fun things to do in Children's Services.
The Discovery Room
The Discovery Room is a popular area for imaginative play, with tons of puppets and a wonderful puppet theater, a dress-up center, Velcro wall, gear table, and more. We even have a Tot Spot area reserved for our youngest patrons.
The Book Nook
The Book Nook is a welcoming area to find a comfy seat and enjoy a book, put some puzzles together, or build a DUPLO masterpiece.
Jump on an iPad and play learning games in our Tech Playground. The Tech Playground can be a busy place! If all of the iPads are in use, or you want to sit somewhere else in the library, check out an iPad for in-house use.
The library has lots of services and resources that can help teachers and homeschoolers.
We are happy to offer storytelling or information programs to nursing homes, churches, community centers, and schools. For more information, please contact us at 309-454-4668.
New Books for Kids
The Museum of Odd Body Leftovers
Welcome to the weirdest museum you’ll ever explore—the one inside your body.
Did you know your amazing, incredible body is a walking, talking museum of evolution? In The Museum of Odd Body Leftovers, tour guides Wisdom Tooth and Disappearing Kidney lead readers through a wacky museum dedicated to vestigial structures: body parts that were essential to our ancestors but are no longer useful to us—even though they’re still hanging around.
From goosebumps and hiccups to exploding organs and monkey muscles, each room in the museum shows us that these parts have stories to tell us about our past. By the time we make it to the gift shop, we’ll understand that evolution is not only messy and imperfect, but also ongoing. Our bodies are constantly changing along with the environment we live in—and there’s so much that is still unknown, just waiting to be discovered.
Empanadas for Everyone
Every Saturday, Carina visits Tía Mimi in her barrio, which is always humming with life. There is música that hums from the windows, old cuentos floating on the breeze, and the honking of cars that creates the soundtrack of the morning. Every Saturday, she loves to make empanadas with her aunt, singing: “I like empanadas! I like you! ¡Me gustan las empanadas! ¡Me gustas tú!”
Not this Saturday though. This Saturday, Tía Mimi has gone to volunteer at the neighborhood food center and asks Carina to collect the ingredients all on her own. But maybe, with a little guidance from friends, Carina will be able to help Tía Mimi—and learn a little about what connects a community along the way.
I Want to Be Spaghetti!
Even from Ramen's small shelf in the supermarket, they see spaghetti propaganda everywhere. They want to be celebrated, too. Maybe, Ramen misguidedly thinks, I have to change to be loved like that. "I want to be spaghetti!" they proclaim to the dismay of the rest of the instant noodle section.
But when Ramen's brought home and placed in a warm bowl of broth alongside new friends like Chashu, Narutomaki, and Nori, they realize they've always been perfect exactly the way they are.
How to Get Your Octopus to School
Getting your octopus to school won't be easy. He would much rather stay home with you and play hide-and-seek or dress-up. But you know your octopus will love school if he gives it a chance. And you'll tell him that . . . as soon as you can find him . . .
Cleopatra in Space #1: Target Practice
When a young Cleopatra (yes, THAT Cleopatra) finds a mysterious tablet that zaps her to the far, REALLY far future, she learns of an ancient prophecy that says she is destined to save the galaxy from the tyrannical rule of the evil Xaius Octavian. She enrolls in Yasiro Academy, a high-tech school with classes like algebra, biology, and alien languages (which Cleo could do without), and combat training (which is more Cleo's style). With help from her teacher Khensu, Cleo learns what it takes to be a great leader, while trying to figure out how she's going to get her homework done, make friends, and avoid detention! Now a TV series on NBCUniversal's streaming service, Peacock!
The School for Good and Evil
With her glass slippers and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she'll earn top marks at the School for Good and join the ranks of past students like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks and wicked black cat, seems a natural fit for the villains in the School for Evil.
The two girls soon find their fortunes reversed—Sophie's dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School for Good, thrust among handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.
But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are?
Unicorn Diaries #1: Bo's Magical New Friend
Bo Tinseltail loves going to Sparklegrove School with the other unicorns. Every unicorn has a magical power. Bo is a Wish Unicorn with the power to grant wishes. Bo has lots of friends, but one thing Bo wants more than anything is a best friend. When a new unicorn named Sunny Huckleberry pops into the forest, will Bo's big wish finally come true? And what will Sunny's Unicorn Power be?
Sunny #1: Sunny Side Up
Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer. At first she thought Florida might be fun -- it is the home of Disney World, after all. But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park. It's full of . . . old people. Really old people. Luckily, Sunny isn't the only kid around. She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they're having adventures of their own: facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors. But the question remains -- why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place? The answer lies in a family secret that won't be secret to Sunny much longer. . .
Whatever After #1: Fairest of All
Mirror, mirror, on the basement wall . . .
. . .Once upon a time my brother and I were normal kids. The next minute? The mirror in our basement slurped us up and magically transported us inside Snow White's fairy tale. I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. But hey -- we're heroes! We stopped Snow White from eating the poisoned apple. Hooray! Or not. If Snow White doesn't die, she won't get to meet her prince. And then she won't get her happy ending. Oops. Now it's up to us to: - Avoid getting poisoned- Sneak into a castle- Fix Snow White's story. But Snow White's REAL happy ending might not be quite what we expected . . .
Keeper of the Lost Cities
Twelve-year-old Sophie has never quite fit into her life. She’s skipped multiple grades and doesn’t really connect with the older kids at school, but she’s not comfortable with her family, either. The reason? Sophie’s a Telepath, someone who can read minds. No one knows her secret—at least, that’s what she thinks…
But the day Sophie meets Fitz, a mysterious (and adorable) boy, she learns she’s not alone. He’s a Telepath too, and it turns out the reason she has never felt at home is that, well…she isn’t. Fitz opens Sophie’s eyes to a shocking truth, and she is forced to leave behind her family for a new life in a place that is vastly different from what she has ever known.
But Sophie still has secrets, and they’re buried deep in her memory for good reason: The answers are dangerous and in high-demand. What is her true identity, and why was she hidden among humans? The truth could mean life or death—and time is running out.
The Boxcar Children
Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny are brothers and sisters. They're orphans too, and the only way they can stay together is to make it on their own. When the children find an abandoned boxcar in the woods, they decide to call it home—and become the Boxcar Children!
Humphrey's Really Wheely Racing Day
Everyone’s favorite classroom pet is now starring in chapter books!
Humphrey is one happy hamster. He lives in Room 26 at Longfellow School. He has a big comfy cage with a wheel perfect for spinning and a room full of friends. But when Humphrey goes to Mandy’s house one weekend, he learns that her hamster has something Humphrey has never seen before—a hamster car!
Humphrey wants one, too, but school is not usually the place for toys. Then his teacher talks about bringing in something special for a project. Is Humphrey getting a really wheely surprise?
The Green Ember
Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world. Kings fall and kingdoms totter. Tyrants ascend and terrors threaten. Betrayal beckons, and loyalty is a broken road with peril around every bend. Where will Heather and Picket land? How will they make their stand?"
The Bad Guys
Mr. Wolf has a daring plan for the Bad Guys' first good mission. They are going to break two hundred dogs out of the Maximum Security City Dog Pound. Will Operation Dog Pound go smoothly? Will the Bad Guys become the Good Guys?
Mr. Wolf's Class
Mr. Wolf has just started teaching at Hazelwood Elementary. He wants the first day of school to go well, but he's got his hands full with his new class. Some of his students include: Margot, who is new in town and is trying to make friends. Sampson, who brought something special to school for show-and-tell. Aziza, who just wants everyone to be quiet and do their work. And Penny, who is VERY sleepy because she has a new baby brother at home, goes missing!
Upcoming Kids' Events
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is an education initiative with three main goals: to promote early childhood literacy, to prepare young children for kindergarten and to facilitate family bonding through reading. Find more information about 1,000 Books and register here.