Author Archive for Angela Pilkington

Iowa City Food Pantries & Free Meals list

by Angela Pilkington on January 29th, 2019

The extreme cold and school cancellations can add strain to our local families. Here is list of food resources in Iowa City and Iowa City Food Pantries & Free Meals:

Johnson County Crisis Center Food Bank
1121 S Gilbert Ct.
Iowa City, IA 52240
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 12-4:30pm
Tuesday: 12-7:00pm
Thursday: 9:30am-4:30pm
Phone: (319) 351-0128

Iowa City Catholic Worker
1414 Sycamore Street
Little Free Food Pantry is available
Meal is served:
Saturday 4-7pm
Sunday 12-4pm

ICCompassion Food Pantry
1035 Wade St.
Iowa City, IA 52240
Wednesday: 12-4pm (Free community meal from 5-6pm)
Thursday: 5:30-7pm
Phone: (319) 330-9883

The River Community Church Food Pantry
Must be a resident of Iowa City
3001 Muscatine Ave.
Iowa City, IA 52240
Wednesday: 12-5pm
Phone: (319) 354-3118

Salvation Army
1116 S Gilbert Ct.
Iowa City, IA 52240
Food items to take-
Monday-Friday: 1-2pm
Soup kitchen-
Monday-Friday: Meal served at 5pm
Sunday: Grab and go bag lunch at 9:30am
Phone: (319) 337-3725

Free Lunch Program
1105 S Gilbert Ct. Suite 100
Iowa City, IA 52240
Monday-Saturday: 11:30am-1pm
Phone: (319) 337-6283

Agape Café (Old Brick Church)
Free made-to-order breakfast served during the school year (August-May)
26 E Market St.
Iowa City, IA 52245
Wednesdays: 7-8:30am
Phone: (319) 351-2626

Stay warm, Iowa City!

And the Award Goes to…

by Angela Pilkington on February 12th, 2018

The Newbery and Caldecott awards were announced this morning at the American Library Association’s midwinter conference in Denver. Erin Entrada Kelly won the 2018 John Newbery Medal for her novel Hello, Universe. Matthew Cordell won the 2018 Randolph Caldecott Medal for Wolf in the Snow. 

Three Newbery Honor Books were named: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds; Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson; and Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James.

There were four Caldecott Honor Books: Big Cat, little cat by Elisha Cooper; Crown: An Ode to the Fresh CutA Different Pond by Bao Phi,‎ illustrated by Thi Bui; and Grand Canyon by Jason Chin.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas won three prizes, including the William C. Morris Award, for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens, Corretta Scott King Book Award honor, the Printz Honor, and the Odyssey Award, for excellence in audiobook production. Jason Reynolds won both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for his novel Long Way Down.

Coretta Scott King Book Awards recognizing African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults: “Piecing Me Together,” written by Renée Watson, is the King Author Award winner.

ICPL ran a mock Newbery and Caldecott awards this year. We were excited to see some of our choices make the Honors, but our winners didn’t match this year. Our winner for the mock Newbery was Pashmina and the mock Caldecott winner was Little Fox in the Forrest! Thanks to all who participated and voted for your favorites.

To see the entire list of winners go here.  And to find out more about the Youth Media Awards check here.

Real Friends

by Angela Pilkington on November 3rd, 2017

Last week Publisher’s Weekly announced their best books of 2017 list. While looking over the children’s list I came across a couple titles that I had somehow missed, so I have set out to read them before the end of the year.

The first one I grabbed was Real Friends by Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale, with artwork by LeUyen Pham. This graphic novel is a semi autobiographical account of Shannon growing up from Kindergarten to fifth grade and finding her real friends.

If I told you this book did not bring up memories of my own childhood and finding friends or that I am now going through this with my own 10 year old daughter, I would be lying. I can vividly remember my mother soothing my tears and giving me her best advice on how to deal with the cruel words or actions of the girls. I now have her advice and this book to talk to my daughter with when situations, like being a part of the club arise’s.  Like Shannon in the book, there were days when I was part of the club and other days when I suddenly found myself on the outs.

That said, I still really enjoyed this book and Shannon’s story. LeUyen did a wonderful job with her artwork to bring out the emotions from Hale’s characters with facial expressions. You will truly feel Shannon’s insecurities, her happiness, her sadness, and her confusion. More importantly, though, you will feel. You’ll be feeling the entire time, but you’ll root for Shannon, and a lot of that comes from Phan’s artwork.

This story was perfect for my 10-year-old and really for any child. Real Friends looks at the complex relationships among elementary school girls and by reading it together we were able to discuss important feelings and our reactions. The book echoes to readers that good friends don’t treat you badly and that in the end, all the hard work and the journey that comes with it are worth it.

Stories Told Through Letters

by Angela Pilkington on September 30th, 2017

I love you, Michael Collins by Lauren Baratz-Logsted is an epistolary story. It doesn’t have any chapters in it because it is a story told through a collection of letters that 10 year old Mamie Anderson sends to Michael Collins in 1969 as he prepares to go to the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

What started out as a one-time class assignment of writing to the astronauts of Apollo 11, turns into a summer of writing to Michael Collins. She is the only kid in her class to chose to write to him. All the boys write to Buzz, because he is the best, and all the girls write to Neil, because he is the best. But Mamie is determined to show that the one who stays with the ship is the best. Through her funny and charming letters to Micheal, she tells him all about her life during the summer of 1969 and just how important it is for her to stay with her ship. The book is very well written and a quick read with a satisfying ending.

I am not sure what made me pick this book up off our new shelf, but I am glad I did. Since I was a child, I have found that I really like reading books in this format, so I was pleasantly surprised when I flipped through to see it was an epistolary story. If you would like to pick up a book in letter form, we have a great collection of them in the Children’s Department.

Junior Fiction:

Dear Mr. Henshaw: In his letters to his favorite author, ten-year-old Leigh reveals his problems in coping with his parents’ divorce, being the new boy in school, and generally finding his own place in the world.

Dying to meet you: Ignatius B. Grumply moves into the Victorian mansion at 43 Old Cemetery Road hoping to find some peace and quiet so he can crack a wicked case of writer’s block. But 43 Old Cemetery Road is already occupied by eleven-year-old Seymour, his cat Shadow, and an irritable ghost named Olive.

Love, Ruby Lavender: When her quirky grandmother goes to Hawaii for the summer, nine-year-old Ruby learns to survive on her own in Mississippi by writing letters, befriending chickens as well as the new girl in town, and finally coping with her grandfather’s death.

Unusual chickens for the exceptional poultry farmer: Through a series of letters, Sophie Brown, age twelve, tells of her family’s move to her Great Uncle Jim’s farm, where she begins taking care of some unusual chickens with help from neighbors and friends.

Picture Books:

The day the crayons quit: When Duncan arrives at school one morning, he finds a stack of letters, one from each of his crayons, complaining about how he uses them.

Click, clack, moo : cows that type: When Farmer Brown’s cows find a typewriter in the barn they start making demands, and go on strike when the farmer refuses to give them what they want.

XO, Ox : a love story An epic, if initially unrequited, love affair between a graceful gazelle and a clumsy, hapless ox. Romance will never be the same.

Dear Yeti: Two young hikers set out to look for Yeti one day, and with the help of a bird friend, they trek further and further into the woods, sending letters to coax the shy creature out of hiding. 

Jim Gill comes back to Iowa City!

by Angela Pilkington on June 26th, 2017

Music lovers of all ages will find themselves clapping, singing, dancing, jumping and sneezing along with the folk music of family entertainer, Jim Gill, as he strums his energetic, rhythmic tunes on the banjo at the Library during his “Vote For Jim” musical performance, in the library’s meeting rooms on Thursday, June 29 at 10:30 am.

Jim Gill is a musician and author, but also a child development specialist, having completed graduate studies in child development at the Erikson Institute of Chicago. His special brand of music contains the opportunity for interaction between children and their caregivers or parents, and promotes family togetherness through play.

Jim has six award-winning CDs to his credit, as well as two children’s books, including, A Soup Opera, a sing-along opera inspired by concerts which received an American Library Association award in 2010.

Jim has won acclaim for bringing the same emphasis on family play to his live concerts. Anyone who has ever attended one of Jim’s family concerts knows that rather than performing for the children and parents, Jim leads them to sing and play together.

Jim has released six award-winning CDs of music play for young children that are favorites in family rooms, classrooms and playrooms. We have them available for check out in the Children’s Department. He is also the author of two children’s books. His latest, A Soup Opera, is a sing-along opera inspired by concerts that Jim performs with symphony orchestras.

You and your kids will have a fantastic time doing the list dance or taking a spin in a washing machine at his free concert this Thursday! Don’t miss it!



Free Online Magazines For Kids!

by Angela Pilkington on May 20th, 2017

Kids can get in on the fun and read magazines just for them online for free using the Library’s Zinio service. The best part? Unlimited checkouts, unlimited loan period, no fines, and highlightsno chance of miss-placing the magazine or losing pages!

You can read full digital copies of favorite kid magazines on your computer, tablet or mobile device on Zinio. All you need to know is your library card number and PIN.

Your library card number is located on the back of your library card. When entering your barcode number leave no spaces or dashes between the numbers.  If you have forgotten your PIN, you can reset it: Here.

Zinio requires the creation of two accounts – a library Zinio account to view the Digital Johnson County collection and a free account to read magazines online or via the Zinio Reader app on a mobile device. Users can visit their device’s app store to download and install the Zinio Reader app to read magazines, or usamerican-girle a web browser to browse and check out new issues of Library magazines. So kids, get your grown-up to help or if they have questions about Zinio, let us know! If you prefer to drop in with your device so we can help you get set up, look for our Tech Help experts in the Computer Lab.

After you have your account set up, you can sort the collection to only show children’s magazines to choose a magazine to get started! Digital Johnson County currently offers more than 175 digital magazines, 18 which are for just kids, to residents of Coralville, Iowa City, North Liberty, Hills, Lone Tree, University Heights, and rural Johnson County. You must have a library card from your home library to use this service.


For more information, please visit the Coralville Public LibraryIowa City Public Library, or North Liberty Community Library websites.


Did I mention these will be perfect to load up on for the upcoming travel season? Happy reading!


And the Award Goes To….

by Angela Pilkington on January 25th, 2017

This is the season for awards. The Grammys, the Oscars, but most thrilling of all, the ALA YMAs. What is that you ask? They are American Library Association Youth Media Awards, and they were announced this past Monday.

The oldest of these awards are the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature and the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children.

I am always excited to learn who wins the Coretta Scott King, Robert F. Sibert and Theodor Geisel awards, too.

The 2017 Newbery winner is The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill. Is about Luna, whose magical
abilities are emerging, who was raised in the forest by a witch, a swamp monster, and a dragon, but when a young man from the Protectorate is determined to kill the witch, Luna must use her magic to protect her family.


Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,” illustrated and written by Javaka Steptoe is the 2017 Caldecott Medal winner and also the winner of the 2017 Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award.   The book presents the life of the artist, who was inspired as a child by a book of anatomy given to him by his mother after being injured in a car crash.


The 2017 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent affirms new talent and offers visibility for excellence in writing and/or illustration at the beginning of a career as a published African-American creator of children’s books.  This year’s winner is Nicola Yoon for “The Sun Is Also a Star”.  Is about Natasha, whose family is hours away from being deported, and Daniel, a first generation Korean American who strives to live up to his parents’ expectations, unexpectedly fall in love and must determine which path they will choose in order to be together.

The complete list of winners and honorees is available here. Take a look to see which of these honored books you might enjoy sharing with your children.



Thanks for giving- Kids books that inspire giving

by Angela Pilkington on November 22nd, 2016

As parents, we tirelessly work to instill a sense of gratitude within our children and in today’s culture of more and better, it’s easy to overlook the many small blessings in our everyday. So as we turn our attention on giving thanks this week, let us not forget the power and importance of expressing gratitude all year long. Children’s books are fantastic resources when talking to kids about the importance of giving. Whether we choose to incorporate books about generosity into our daily reading rotation, or serve others as way of giving thanks, let’s continue inspiring grateful young hearts at home today and every day and in every way. Here are a few books to get you started.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

If you’re looking for a children’s book that teaches generosity or unselfishness, most people will point you right to The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein’s lovely story of a tree that will do anything for the boy it loves — and for good reason. This classic is always a good place to start.

An Awesome Book of Thanks! by Dallas Clayton

A delightfully quirky list of things we ought to be thankful for, from the simple to the extraordinary. It teaches children how beautiful life can be when we give thanks. Your child will love the whimsical childlike artwork of magical unicorns, robotic dinosaurs, aerobic alligators combined with heartwarming prose is sure to make this book a family favorite.

It’s Mine! by Leo Lionni

Lionni is the master of picture books with simple, inspiring messages that never feel preachy. And a lesson on sharing is the first one kids need on their way to generosity. In this one, three selfish frogs spend their days arguing with the same refrain: “It’s mine!” T
hen a bad storm (and a big brown toad) teach them that sharing is indeed more rewarding than trying to lay claim to everything for ourselves.

The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell

 Mooch the cat decides to give his pal Earl the gift of nothing. But there’s an important message in this picture book about knowing how to recognize when you have enough — and Earl, in fact, has everything he needs. Turns out a gift of nothing — save friendship — is just right, and often giving our friendship is everything.

Look and Be Grateful by Tomie dePaola

A young boy awakens with the dawn, opens his eyes and looks closely at his world. He admires all that surrounds him, large and small, from the radiant sun to a tiny, but exquisite ladybug. “Today is today, and it is a gift.” We are encouraged to be thankful and to express gratitude for each unique day.

We could add several more to this list, what are some of your favorite books about being grateful?

We Vote for These! Picture Books For Election Day

by Angela Pilkington on November 3rd, 2016

With the Presidential Election less than a week away, talk of politics are everywhere and children are bound to be curious about what the adults are talking about. Talking to children about the voting process in the United States is important.

These seven books will help introduce your children to the complexities of our electoral process in terms they can understand. They’re funny, engaging, and might even make voters out of your kids.

Bad Kitty for president / Nick Bruel  All politics is local, and that couldn’t be clearer in Bad Kitty for President. When it comes time to choose the new president of the Neighborhood Cat Coalition, Bad Kitty learns the importance of registering to vote. Meanwhile, the neighborhood holds its breath to see if the election will be decided by a single ballot.

Vote! / Eileen Christelow  Using a town’s mayoral election as a model, this lively introduction to voting covers every step in the process, from the start of the campaign all the way to the voting booth. There’s even a recount! The cast of characters includes two dogs (and a cat), whose questions and comments mirror those of young readers and help to explain some of an election’s more confusing aspects.

Vote for me! / by Ben Clanton   The donkey wants your vote. So does the elephant. And each will do just about anything to win your support. Brag? Sure! Flatter? Absolutely! Exaggerate, name-call, make silly promises and generally act childish? Yes, yes, yes and yes. What happens when the election results are in? Well, let’s just say the donkey and the elephant are in for a little surprise!

Duck for President / Doreen Cronin  Duck isn’t happy with things on the farm, so he takes matters into his own hands and convinces the other animals to let him replace Farmer Brown. However, Duck discovers that running things is hard work, so he does what any self-respecting politician would do — he runs for higher office.

Grace for president / by Kelly DiPucchio  Where are the girls? When Grace’s teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first. And she immediately starts off her political career as a candidate the school’s mock election. But soon, she realizes that she has entered a tough race. Her popular opponent claims to be the best man for the job–and seems to have captured all the male votes–while Grace concentrates on being the best person. 

Amelia Bedelia’s first vote / by Herman Parish  Letting an elementary school vote on school rules? It probably won’t end well, but Amelia Bedelia’s first foray into the democratic process is a clever way to engage kids in a discussion of the upcoming Presidential election. Kids will learn about absentee ballots, run-offs, and the power of persuasion. They may even learn how to convince the administration to adopt homework-free Wednesdays, but you didn’t hear it from me.

So you want to be president? / by Judith St. George  On this stroll through 43 of our past Presidents (apologies Barack Obama, who was elected after the book was published) you’ll learn what it takes to make it to the White House, as well as some of our former leaders’ idiosyncrasies.

Find these books and more in the Children’s Room in the library!

New Program: Story Play

by Angela Pilkington on October 27th, 2016

Where fun & learning come together!story_play1

The library is a great place for little ones to begin or enhance their educational journey through our Storytime programs. Story Play will help to build upon and to incorporate social and emotional components to our Storytimes.

Our newest program encourages you to bring your child to the library for a play-date! There will be books, toys, music and games to play and interact with. Caregivers can have the chance to meet and talk with one another. Story Play will take place on Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s after Storytime beginning November 7th from 11:30-12:30 in our Storytime Room.
Many studies show that young children actively explore their environment and the world around them through learning-based play. Play is a vital part of a child’s optimal social, cognitive, physical and emotional development. Researchers agree that play provides a strong foundation for intellectual growth, creativity, problem-solving and basic academic knowledge. ICPL hopes that through Story Play young ones will grow in their learning skills through play with others.
Please feel free to bring lunch or snacks for you and your little one! No registration required. For ages 0-5 with a caregiver who must be present the entire time their child is at the library.