Book Review: A Girl Named Disaster

A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer

SUMMARY: Twelve-year-old Nahmo, fleeing an impending marriage to a cruel man with three wives, sets out for Zimbabwe on a leaky boat. Soon, strong currents sweep her entirely off track and she struggles to overcome drowning, starvation, and attacks by animals. Nhamo's journey brings her closer to the African spirit world as she struggles against lonliness and toward a new life.

OPINION: Although this book is set in Africa, it is not fantasy like Farmer's book The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm. It is historical fiction, set in the early 1980s, when Mozambique and Zimbabwe had recently won their independence from colonial Portugal and Britain. This book deals with the intersection of tribal traditions and modern lifestyles, and tells a gripping story as well!


Book Review: Saving Francesca

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

SUMMARY: Francesca (Frankie) is one of only 30 girls at the formerly-all-boys St. Sebastian's...and the only girls she knows from her old school are psycho. Throw in living with a depressed mother, being dissed by former friends, and being surrounded daily by lots of gross, sexist boys, and you can see why Francesca needs saving!

OPINION: This book nicely walks the fine line between fluffy chic-lit and serious drama. It deals with friends, boys, and romance...but also concerns a family falling apart from depression. It takes place in Australia, so there are a few obscure cultural references. But it is a great read, simultaneously humorous and serious. FYI--This book was on the BBYA 2005 Top Ten list.


The Pharaoh's Curse Is Lifted!

The Pharaoh's Curse mystery event was a big success! We had 25 teens attending, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Clare Burke (aka Laura) was the murder, and Megan G. collected tons of clues to prove this. She won a copy of Egyptology by Emily Sands, et al. The theme food was excellent too, with mummy cookies, scarab cookies, cookie & starburst pyramids, candy in coptic jars, and decaying mummy punch.

Huge thanks to our 11 actors, especially those who dressed up! You looked great, and I am totally sorry that I have no pictures of you. We were so busy dealing with falling scenery and other issues that, for once, I neglected the camera! Anyway, even more thanks goes to the Teen Advisory Board for the hours of work they spent on scenery, props, set-up, and clean up. Contact me if you would like to be a part of the TAB! We are planning many more cool events in the future.


The Pharaoh's Curse Is Here!

Tonight is the big night! We will be doing our very first teen mystery night, The Pharaoh's Curse , from 7:00 to 8:30 at Sellers Library. Students in grades 6 through 12 are welcome to attend. Bring your friends...no permission slips are needed! The Teen Advisory Board has worked EXTREMELY hard to bring you this event... THANK YOU TAB !!!!! Check out the photos below to see them working on scenery for the mystery!


Knitting Forever!

The teen Knitting Club held its final spring meeting last Tuesday. Group members ate, shared their projects, and learned the purl stitch. The group will actually continue meeting, but they will now switch to crochet so they can hook their blanket squares together. Also, crochet will come in handy for a fabulous fluffy flip-flop craft coming in June!!!


Wacky Writers' Workshop

Today, the writing group did a round-robin writing game. Each person started a story. About every 5 minutes, the stories changed hands and the next person would continue the story. Giselle, Caitlin the Elder, Kaitlyn the Younger, Maria, and Gretchen each worked on the stories. By the time they made it around the table, the stories were totally bizarre!! Especially because Giselle's purple pen inspired her to write about Barney in nearly every story! Check out our stories below.

Maria Started This Story

A long time ago in 1986, there was a clutzy fellow named Seymour. He hosted a run-down television show about people's issues. The show was only watched by the psychopathic people on skid row. The producers looked at Seymour and bashed his show. "Why do we work on a stupid show like this?" they asked.

Just then, the building started to shake. It got a huge hole in the ceiling and a green light appeared. And then, a limosine landed in the studio. Out of it came a woman that looked like Marilyn Monroe, if she had worn spandex and leg warmers. "You wouldn't believe the problems I have!" the woman bawled. "I just have to get them off my chest! But I don't know how!"

Seymour grinned at the crying beauty. This was his chance to make the big time. Ths lamentable lady would put his show on the map. He turned to the woman and said, "Shout them out. Tell all. Yell to the heavens."

So she did, but what she said turned out to be a curse. "Seymour, you make me sick!" she yelled. "You sit on your butt all day and say advice you get off other TV shows. By the power vested in me by the gods, you shall be a big purple dinosaur for the rest of your life! You will be payed less than minimum wage and will work with children who are stuck up and snotty! Your television career will be over!"

The following day, Seymour declared bankruptcy. He walked into his studio one last time to find it was already taken over by another program. Ther producer spotted Seymour and handed him a lumpy purple bundle. "Get this on ASAP and report to your new studio, you worthless sniveling bunch of lard. And be happy about it!"

Seymour had no choice. When the spandex-clad Marilyn woman cursed him, she made him unable to disobey direct commands. So, Seymour skipped to the loo and clapped his hands because he was happy and he knew it. His inability to refuse commands became a problem, though, when he had to sing certain songs on his crappy TV show. One fateful day, he and the annoying children were dancing and singing a song about Humpty Dumpty. Seymour the Dinosaur was playing Humpty, and just couldn't get the death scene right. The director said, "You should just die and get it over with!"

So Seymour did. And when he woke up in the afterlife, he was handed a purple dinosaur costume in which to act out his eternal punishment on hell's cable access channel, WSIN, channel 666.

Don't Ask Alice

Did you know that the famous diary Go Ask Alice is really just anti-drug propaganda written by adults, including Beatrice Sparks? Beatrice Sparks wrote several other fake diaries about issues like teen pregnancy, AIDS, and homelessness. To find out more, read some of the negative reviews on Amazon or visit the Snopes urban legend article about the book.



Remember, The Pharaoh's Curse Murder Mystery Event will be happening NEXT FRIDAY from 7:00-8:30. Sign up today!!!

Looking for something fun to do online? Try these interactive websites to learn about ancient Egyptian mummies:

1. Mummies Unmasked--see under King Tut's mask and scroll over a picture of a mummy in the making
2. Egyptian Mummy Exhibit--find out about the Egyptians' belief in the afterlife
3. Mummy Maker--play this game to learn about the process of making mummies
4. Egyptian Tomb--this easy game introduces you to items commonly found in Egyptian burial sites
5.Egypt Timeline--use this interactive timeline to help you straighten out the periods of Egyptian history
6.Journey into the Mummy--click on "play a game" to test your skill at death hieroglyphics
7.Mummy Road Show--solve the mystery of a mummy brought to America as a souvenir
8. Mummification--read about the process of making mummies and play a game about the underworld


Book Review: Boy2Girl

Boy2Girl by Terence Blacker

SUMMARY: Matthew's American cousin, Sam, has come to London to live with the family. Matthew and his "mates" decide that Sam must undertake a challenge to prove that he will be a loyal friend: he must start the new school by year posing as a girl for an entire week!

OPINION: This book is really funny and upbeat. It is not an "issue" book and does not really address issues of gender or sexuality. The situation with Sam just escalates until it is way out of control, invoving a soccer riot, a smitten 12th-grade hunk, a dad who just got out of jail, and a school talent show gone bad!


New Books!

I just covered ten NEW books for the teen corner, so look for them next time you come in!

1. Boy2Girl by Terence Blacker
2. The Artemis Fowl Files by Eoin Colfer
3. Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
4. LBD: It's A Girl Thing by Grace Dent
5. Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin
6. It's Your World--If You Don't Like It, Change It: Activism for Teenagers by Mikki Halpin
7. Talk by Kathe Koja
8. Brother Hood by Janet McDonald
9. The Search for Belle Prater by Ruth White
10. A Thief in the House of Memory by Tim Wynne-Jones


Book Review: Heaven

Heaven by Angela Johnson

SUMMARY: Marley has lived in Heaven since she was two years old, when her mother found a postcard postmarked HEAVEN, OH on a park bench and decided that was where she wanted to raise her family. And for twelve years, Marley's hometown has lived up to its name. Then one day a letter arrives from Alabama, and Marley's life is turned upside down. Marley doesn't even know who she is anymore--but where can she go for answers, when she's been deceived by the very people she should be able to trust the most?

OPINION: This book is short and beautiful. It includes unique and mysterious characters, and is a satisfying read. This book is a partner book to The First Part Last, which is about teen-aged Bobby and his daughter, Feather. Although this book is about Marley, Bobby and Feather are characters, and we get a glimpse of how he is managing.

Book Review: Hard Love

Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger

SUMMARY: Since his parents' divorce, John's mother hasn't touched him, her new fiancé wants them to move away, and his father would rather be anywhere than at Friday night dinner with his son. It's no wonder John writes articles like "Interview with the Stepfather" and "Memoirs from Hell" for his zine, Bananafish. Hanging out at Tower Records, John finds other zines, like the amazing Escape Velocity by Marisol, a self-proclaimed "Puerto Rican Cuban Yankee Lesbian." When John meets Marisol, hard love is born.

OPINION: This book was not at all what I expected it to be. And I really liked it for that. The story is an intimate look at a not-so-intimate friendship. If you are a writer of any kind, you will appreciate the centrality of teens' writing to this story.


Poetry Slam!

You Know, we should have a poetry slam fundraiser
So, we can either write poems or collect poems from other poets, you know? We could have low-watt institutional lighting, Candles, Coffee, Tea, etc. And we would have it late at night and we would have a donation bucket for it, Dont you think? Remember, *Snaps fingers* Come on!



Celebrate National Library Week

April 10-16 is National Library Week, so come on in and visit us! You know you love your library! Also, check out Google...their "Google doodle" artist designed a logo including a book. When you click on it, it links you to info on National Library Week. Yay Google!

If you want to see other Google doodles, go to http://www.google.com/intl/en/holidaylogos.html. Also, learn more about the artist, Dennis Hwang, at http://wk.koreaherald.co.kr/SITE/data/html_dir/2002/03/22/200203220003.asp.

The Pharaoh's Curse is Coming!

On Saturday morning, four TAB members and myself met to work on scenery for the Pharaoh's Curse Mystery event. You can see that we were very busy painting Egyptian gods for the decorations. The scenery is looking really great.

This event will be held on Friday, April 22, from 7:00-8:30. The basic idea is that the prom queen gets murdered, and we have to figure out who did it. You can play the part of a suspect or a detective...there is still room left, so sign up NOW!!!

Thanks so much to the people who showed up!!!

Knitting Knews

The knitting club is finishing up their spring session. Participants made scarves, purses, and other small projects. Then, they started making squares that Mrs. H. and Ms. McDevitt will crochet together to form a blanket. The group will donate the finished blanket to a local organization. Check out the photos below!



There is going to be a Teen Advisory Board meeting tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. We will be making scenery for the Pharaoh's Curse Mystery Night. Hope you guys come, I promise to make myself into a proper Frenchman again. :- {)

Purple Lover

Ask An Expert

Is there a subject that you are really curious about? Are you working on a research project? Are there just a lot of random questions that pop into your head? Check out the Ask An Expert website, where you can direct your questions to professionals who know what they are talking about! And it is totally free!

Book Review: Bad Boy

Bad Boy: A Memoir by Walter Dean Myers

BEST QUOTE: "My response to my problems was to immerse myself in literature. Books are often touted by librarians as vehicles to carry you far away. I most often saw them as a way of hiding one self inside the other. What I had to hide was the self who was a reader, who loved poetry." (page 126)

SUMMARY: As a boy, Walter Dean Myers was quick--tempered and physically strong, always ready for a fight. He also read voraciously--he would check out books from the library and carry them home, hidden in brown paper bags in order to avoid other boys' teasing. He aspired to be a writer. But growing up in a poor family in Harlem, he began to doubt himself and the values that he had always relied on, attending high school less and less, turning to the streets and his books for comfort. This autobiography is a interesting window into Harlem as it was the 1940s and 50s.

OPINION: Walter Dean Myers is one of the most famous YA writers, not even counting the fact that he is one of a few people writing convincingly about young black men. If you have not read his books, look for Monster, Shooter, Hoops, or Scorpions next time you are in the Teen Corner.


Book Review: The Winter Prince

The Winter Prince by Elizabeth E. Wein

SUMMARY: Medraut, illegitimate eldest son the high king of Britain, cannot be heir to the throne. Instead, his younger half-brother, Lleu, fragile and inexperienced, is chosen. Medraut cannot bear to be commanded and contradicted by this weakling brother who he feels has usurped both his birthright and his father's favor. Torn and bitter, he joins Morgause, the high king's treacherous sister, in a plot to force Artos to forfeit his power and kingdom in exchange for Lleu's life. But this plot soon proves to be much more--a battlefield on which Medraut is forced to decide, for good or evil, where his own allegiance truly lies.

OPINION: This book uses a unique storytelling style, which is cool but also hard to follow in the beginning. Nonetheless, it is a great story with plenty of treachery and betrayal to keep you interested. Plus, it draws inspiration from the Arthurian legend. This is the first book in a trilogy that also includes A Coalition of Lions (book 2) and The Sunbird (book 3).


Book Review: A Coalition of Lions

A Coalition of Lions by Elizabeth E. Wein

SUMMARY: After the death of virtually all of her family in the battle of Camlan, Goewin, Princess of Britain, makes a desperate journey to African Aksum to meet with Constantine, the British ambassador and her fiance. But Aksum is undergoing political turmoil, and Goewin's relationship with its ambassador to Britain makes her position more than precarious. Caught between two countries, with the power to transform or end lives, Goewin fights to find and claim her place in a world that has suddenly, irrevocably changed.

OPINION: This is the second book in the trilogy that also includes The Winter Prince (book 1) and The Sunbird (book 3). I liked this book very much, expecially because it has such a strong female character! It is also the only one that has an author's note at the end explaining the history behind the books. It was really interesting to learn about the real events and people that inspired the book!


Another New Display!

Today, I put up a new display in the teen area. This one features wordless picture books. These books tell their stories through detailed pictures, rather than text. You might think to yourself: "those are for babies." Well, I am here to tell you they are not just for babies anymore. Some of the books tell stories that are really complicated and just plain crazy. (For example look at The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang or Sector 7 by David Wiesner.) Recently, some students in the PEPP after-school program wrote stories to go with the books. See their stories and look at the books on the windowsill by the door.

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

SUMMARY: Charlie is a freshman. And while's he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. He's a wallflower--shy and introspective, and intelligent beyond his years, if not very savvy in the social arts. We learn about Charlie through the letters he writes to someone who he hopes will be a good listener. Charlie encounters the same struggles that many kids face in high school--how to make friends, the intensity of a crush, family tensions, a first relationship--but he must also deal with his best friend's recent suicide.

OPINION: This was Chbosky's first novel, and it is amazing. Charlie is a unique character, yet his high school experiences are very realistic. Whether you love high school or hate it, whether you agree with his choices or not, you will feel infinite along with Charlie as you read this book. This is a classic coming-of-age novel with a striking perspective.