Most Popular Children’s Books of 2023

Have you ever wondered what the most checked out books are at your local library? Well, you are in luck because we have the answers for you! Let us look back at 2023’s most popular children’s books at UMFPL.

Twenty Thousand Fleas Under the Sea by Dav Pilkey

For fans of Captain Underpants or Cat Kit, Twenty Thousand Fleas Under the Sea brings a new installment to the popular Dog Man series. In this edition, Piggy is back, and his newest plot is his most diabolical yet. Read along as Dog Man and the rest of your favorite characters join together to save the city.

Mary Anne’s Bad Luck Mystery: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-Sitter’s Club) by Cynthia Yuen Chen

From the popular graphic novel adaptation of The Babysitter’s Club comes Mary Anne’s Bad Luck Mystery. When Mary Anne throws away a chain letter that she gets in the mail, bad things start happening to everyone in the Baby-sitters Club. With Halloween around the corner, everyone is spooked. Read along as Mary Anne unravels the mystery of the chain letter.

Moon Rising: A Graphic Novel (Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland

For fans of dragons and fantasy, Moon Rising: A Graphic Novel by Tui Sutherland continues the Wings of Fire series in this sixth installment. In this new addition to the Wings of Fire series, Moon finds herself overwhelmed by her secret powers with strange thoughts, including those of a possible dragon enemy. When someone starts attacking dragons within the academy, Moon has to decide whether to stay hidden or risk everything to save her friends.

Big Nate: Prank You Very Much by Lincoln Pierce

If you love humorous tales of a middle-school kid, then Big Nate: Prank You Very Much is the perfect book. Based on the Big Nate T.V. show, Big Nate: Prank You Very Much features stories from two shorts and two complete episodes. This graphic novel combines the animated series’ artwork with the hand-drawn illustrations familiar to fans of the Big Nate comics. Be sure to check out his awesome compilation of Big Nate’s most epic pranks!

School Trip by Jerry Craft

One of the best graphic novels for kids in recent years, School Trip by Jerry Craft follows a group of friends from Riverdale Academy Day School on a school trip to Paris. When their trusted school chaperones are replaced at the last minute, the school trip takes an unexpected turn. How will the friends embrace a new language, unfamiliar food, and a different culture? Will they all end up feeling like the “new kid”?

We hope you enjoyed looking through the most popular children’s books from 2023 at UMFPL. Graphic novels have become increasingly popular due to their ease of reading and eye-catching illustrations. Curious about our juvenile graphic novel offerings? Stop in or check them out HERE.

6 Facts About Teens and Reading (Plus Some Cool Recommendations!)

Developing a teen’s love of reading and engaging their literacy skills can be tricky. With online streaming, video games, and after-school activities, teens often find it difficult to count books as their main choice of entertainment. Looking to change your teen’s (and your!) mindset? We can help! Read on to learn about ways to draw your teen back to books.

All Reading is ‘Good’ Reading

               As we grow older, the emphasis to read ‘quality’ books grows stronger. But teens don’t have to read classics to boost their literacy skills. To guide your teen back to books, emphasize that any form of reading counts. Whether that’s closed captions on a TV show or a short comic book, all practice is good practice.

Graphic Novels/Manga

Do you cringe when your teen is reading a graphic novel? Did you know that graphic novels contain complex narratives that teens can interpret? Thanks to the graphics, teens can infer character’s thoughts and motivations through both text and images. This makes graphic novels as challenging as any other book! If your teen enjoys watching anime, consider guiding them to read manga. Many have been adapted into anime shows.

Recommendation: ”Demon Slayer” by Koyoharu Gotogue


Unconventional Narrative

Unconventional narratives feature more readable stories with the same complexity in narrative structure.  This could be done through journal entries, letters between two or more people, or group texts.  A book such as “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” by Holly Jackson is a good example. This books follows a thriller/podcast structure and offers fun alternatives to traditional stories.

Recommendation: ”Sadie” by Courtney Summers



We’re here to tell you: audiobooks do, in fact, count as reading. For teens with learning disabilities, audiobooks are ideal.  Readers can listen along as they follow the text of the book. The voice acting can help struggling readers better understand a character’s motivations, too. We offer a variety of ways to listen to audiobooks, so be sure to stop in with your teen to browse or search our catalog HERE.

Recommendation: ”Concrete Rose” by Angie Thomas


Watch it … and then talk about it!

If your teen cannot be drawn away from the TV, consider sitting down next to them! All TV shows and movies start as screenplays, which are works of literature. So sit down, watch something, and talk about what you thought. Believe it or not, this works the same analytical part of your brain as reading a book!

Recommendation: ”Princess Mononoke



You can read, too!

If your teen is competitive, consider trying a book challenge. Starting a book challenge with your teen can motivate both of you to get reading. Not the competitive type? Having a partner in crime lessens the pressure of having to read, but keeps your teen engaged with you and the joy of reading. Consider teaming up with your teen to help them complete UMFPL’s 100 Books before Graduation Challenge and get reading!

We hope these ideas bring a bit of excitement to your teen’s literacy journey. Remember the key is to keep it enjoyable. If your teen tries something they don’t like, it’s okay to move on. Looking for more ways to support your teen’s reading adventures? Check out our Teen Zone in-person or online!

Lily Reilly

Assistant Librarian



Elevate Your Year: Dive into a Learn it Live adventure!

The best choice you can make for the New Year is joining Learn it Live! You’ll find live and recorded classes on topics such as health, wellness, spirituality, career and personal development. Joining for me was a no-brainer. And with a library card, it’s free!

Engaging classes

If your New Year’s resolution includes calming stress or relaxing more, then Learn it Live is for you. I greatly enjoyed the “De-Stress and Succeed” class, which was part of a seven-week workshop. I learned how my personal beliefs contribute to my stress and how I can choose to create change in my life. If you’re ready for change, I highly recommend taking this class!

Maybe your career needs a makeover. Consider enrolling in the “How to Get Promoted” course. Hosted by two career development experts, the course provides step-by-step advice for interviews. You can also complete a mock interview, discuss what you’ve learned, and plan your next steps for success. I found the course easily understandable and applicable for a variety of career paths.

Did I mention all the yoga classes? So many different types of yoga to choose from — restorative, yin, laughter yoga. I can’t wait to try laughter yoga!

Tips for using Learn it Live
It’s easy to find classes from your favorite presenters. Simply go to their profile to find a playlist of classes they’ve hosted. I found the “My Classes” tab incredibly helpful when using the app. By clicking this tab, I can access all of the classes I’ve registered for. I can also find classes I might be interested in through the suggestions provided. I’m looking forward to trying that yoga class next!

Try it yourself!
Joining Learn it Live is easy! Head to your Libby app, tap the library icon at the bottom, scroll down to extras, and there it is — Learn it Live, your gateway to mindfulness. Grab your library card to create your account and gain access to all the great classes. Try it now! It’s free!

Outreach and Community Engagement Librarian

My December reads:
Land of Milk and Honey by C Pam Zhang
Roaming by Jillian Tamaki; Mariko Tamaki
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Enola Holmes: The Graphic Novels by Serena Blasco

Staff Spotlight – Cathy

Staff Spotlight: Cathy – Executive Director

This past October, UMFPL underwent an exciting staffing change. On November 12, Cathy, formerly our Public Services Director, officially stepped into her new role as the UMFPL Executive Director. Though you may recognize her from her 20 years of service with us, we thought it’s time for our friends, neighbors, and patrons throughout Upper Moreland to get to know her a little better. And there’s no better way to begin our new Staff Spotlight series on our new blog than with a spotlight of our new Executive Director!

Cathy is an avid gardener, cat lover, and (of course) reader. When she’s not at the library you can find her walking in the park, playing with her cats, or digging in the garden! Some of her other favorite hobbies include antiquing, swimming, vegan cooking, baking bread, and watching Instagram cat videos.
She’s also always happy to watch just about any nature program or documentary, as long as it’s about cats. If you’re in the same boat, then you should check out her recommendation, Kedi (get it through MCLINC here).

Contrary to what you might expect, Cathy doesn’t personally own very many books. Instead, she’s happy to borrow all of the books, movies, and media her heart desires through the library. Speaking of the library, one of Cathy’s favorite aspects of working in a library is “working in a place where anyone can come to explore what interests them”, and the feeling that we’re making at least one person’s day better every day!” Working for such an amazing and diverse community, Cathy is eager for people to learn all about everything our library can do! When asked to name something she wished more people knew about UMFPL, she had this to say:


“At UMFPL we love to respond to our community’s wants and needs! Our musical instruments, board games, and play-date-in-a-bag collections exist because we learned about these needs when talking to community members. Whether it’s gardening equipment, puzzles, or information about attracting birds to your yard, we want to know what YOU want to know about so we can be sure to provide that. Feel free to stop me 

in the library and tell me what you wish UMFPL would circulate or have more resources about!”

We hope you’ll join us in offering Cathy a huge and heartfelt congratulations in her new position!
Want to learn more about UMFPL? Check out our Who We Are page to find out more about our past and present within the Upper Moreland community!

Book recommendations –
Murder Past Due: A Cat in the Stacks Mystery by Miranda James
Practically vegan: more than 100 easy, delicious vegan dinners on a budget by Nisha Melvani
The regenerative garden: 80 practical projects for creating a self-sustaining garden ecosystem by Stephanie Rose
A good bake: the art and science of making perfect pastries, cakes, cookies, pies, and breads at home by Melissa Weller

Welcome to our NEW BLOG!

Adventures Beyond Words

Let’s begin with an introduction! We are Upper Moreland Free Public Library (UMFPL), and we provide knowledge and adventure beyond words. We offer nearly 70,000 physical items, plus downloadable books, magazines, audiobooks, streaming audio, video, and author talks, and a variety of unique items for you, our patron, to borrow for free.

We have story times, take and make crafts, book discussions, and plenty of other programs you can find on our events page. We connect you with information you need, from seasonal tax assistance, to help navigating your (and our) technology, to ESL and adult learner tutoring. We even host your state representatives at the library so you can get information and support from them.

As a key component in what makes our community great we want to share who we are and what we can do for you. In our blog, you’ll find insight into the inner workings of the library, as well as highlights that connect you with information, programs, events, and (of course) books. We want to show you that UMFPL has something for everyone in our community, and we’d like to help you get to know the staff you see when you visit the library.

What are the types of things we’ll share? Coming soon, we’ll offer staff spotlights (we were serious when we said we want you to get to know us!). We’ll introduce you to the services we provide and some how-to… information for using library services and resources. Have you always wondered “why” about anything at the library? Let us know and we will provide an explanation here!

We are here for you, in person at the library or virtually. We are excited to show you what we have to offer through these blog posts!

See you at the library!

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams (fiction)
Find Your People by Jennie Allen (nonfiction)
The Library Book by Susan Orlean (nonfiction)
How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander (fiction age 4-8)