The Usual Suspects

by Maurice Broaddus

Thelonius Mitchell is tired of being labeled. He’s in special ed, separated from the “normal” kids at school who don’t have any “issues.” That’s enough to make all the teachers and students look at him and his friends with a constant side-eye. (Although his disruptive antics and pranks have given him a rep too.) When a gun is found at a neighborhood hangout, Thelonius and his pals become instant suspects. Thelonius may be guilty of pulling crazy stunts at school, but a criminal? T isn’t about to let that label stick.

Summer Reading Program

Thanks to all who participated in our summer reading program, including our over 50 volunteers! We had 655 children read over 4,600 hours this summer during Once Upon a Summertime! Great work everyone!

Teacher Materials Request

Teachers, do you need more materials to support learning in your classroom? The La Grange Park Public Library would be happy to fill the request for you.

Click here for more information and the request form.


Social Story

Take a look at our social story! The social story is a wonderful way to help children of all abilities get acquainted with the library.

Upcoming Events

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Local Schools

Homework Help

Talking Books

  • Talking Book and Braille Service — The Talking Book and Braille Service (TBBS) provides audio and braille library service via mail or digital download to any Illinois resident who is unable to read standard print material due to a permanent or temporary visual or physical disability.
Just For Fun

Author Websites

Some of our favorite authors have GREAT websites for kids! Here are just a few:

Jacqueline Woodson

Visit the extensive website of this award-winning author who is now our Ambassador for Young People’s Literature!

grace lin
Grace Lin

This versatile, Newbery Award winning author has many activities on her fun website, including Chinese lessons!

Jeff Kinney

Author Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid website.

Dav Pilkey

Author of Captain Underpants and Dog Man

gene luen yang
Gene Luen Yang

This National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature is the founder of Reading Without Walls. Try the challenge yourself!

Pigeon Presents

Don’t let the pigeon use this site!

Safe places to play games and read books online

And much, much more…

families together

Families Together Booklist

This booklist features resources for children, teens and adults about family separation and how we can help keep families together.


Caldecott Medal & Honor Books

The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

Newbery Medal

Newbery Medal & Honor Books

The Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.


Coretta Scott King Book Award

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.

Batchelder Award

Mildred L. Batchelder Award

The Batchelder Award is given to the most outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States.

Pura Belpre medal copy

Pura Belpré Medal

The Pura Belpré Award is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.

Sibert Medal

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal

The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is awarded annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year.


Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel Award

The Geisel Award is given annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year.


Stonewall Book Awards

The Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Stonewall Book Award honors books for exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience.


Schneider Family Book Award

This award honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent readers.


Américas Award

CLASP (Consortium of Latin American Studies Program) founded the Américas Award in 1993 to encourage and commend authors, illustrators and publishers who produce quality children’s and young adult books that portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States, and to provide teachers with recommendations for classroom use.


Asian Pacific American Librarians Literature Awards

The goal of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature is to honor and recognize individual work about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, based on literary and artistic merit.


Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Book Award

The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience. Presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries since 1968, the award encourages the publication and widespread use of quality Judaic literature.


American Indian Youth Literature Award

The American Indian Youth Literature Awards are presented every two years. The awards were established as a way to identify and honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians. Books selected to receive the award will present American Indians in the fullness of their humanity in the present and past contexts.

Tween Services Webcast

Children’s Notable Lists

Each year the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children’s books, recordings, videos and apps.


We Need Diverse Books

We Need Diverse Books™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry. Our aim is to help produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.

Meet the Children’s Team

Rose Hopkins-LaRocco

Children’s Services Director

Miss Rose has spent a good amount of her life in libraries. Her grandmother was a librarian and in high school, Miss Rose’s first job was as a page at her local library. She strayed briefly to receive a degree in Theater at Columbia College Chicago and work in children’s theater, but she always came back to the library. Some of Miss Rose’s favorite books are the Harry Potter series (don’t ask her to pick a favorite book from the series unless you want to have a really long conversation ;-), When I Reach You by Rebecca Stead, Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein, and Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler & R. Gregory Christie.

Margaret Whalen-Stec

Children’s Services Librarian

Before coming to The La Grange Park Library, Ms. Margaret worked in a bookstore and taught first grade for several years. She believes being a children’s librarian is the perfect mix of her two favorite things: books and children! Working in the library has been a great opportunity to use her teaching experience for planning story times, after school programs and reader’s advisory skills. She really enjoys connecting young readers to new books and developing their passion for reading. Some of her favorite childhood stories include: Millions of Cats, The Little House, The Secret Garden, James and the Giant Peach and Mouse Tales.

Stephanie Martinez

Children’s Services Assistant

Ms. Stephanie studied English in school because of her passion for reading, writing, and learning. She loves to motivate children to engage in reading as an exciting way to improve academic and social skills. In her downtime, Ms. Stephanie likes to relax by reading and writing poetry. Her favorite children’s books of all time are Corduroy by Don Freeman and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Fun Facts: Ms. Stephanie will instinctively read Mo Willems’s books out loud because she feels that’s how Willems wants his books to be read (even when no one is listening…) and she hopes to own the entire Elephant and Piggie series one day.

Gianna Ziccarelli

Children’s Services Assistant

Miss Gianna has the height and the heart of a child, but the ambition to become a Children’s Librarian. Her favorite novel is always changing, but as of right now it’s Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. She will forever love the children’s book series Junie B. Jones and the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff. You can usually identify Miss Gianna in the library by her fun, festive leggings or nail polish.

Christina McPhail

Children’s Services Assistant

Miss Christina has spent most of her life with a book in her hand. As a child, she would walk to the library almost every day, searching for a new story to read. Not much has changed since then, except that now she gets to help children find new stories that they will love! Her favorite children’s books are Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz and Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea. When she’s not reading a book, Miss Christina enjoys playing guitar and relaxing with her cat, Olive.