5.31.2008

Cleaning the Craft Closet

Last night, 9 teens came to our first-ever Craft Closet Cleanout program. There were a lot of leftovers from previous DIY craft programs, including this year's Toolbox Jewelry, Pimp My Phone, and Crafts for Your Hair events. I even managed to help one guy make a duct tape holder for his DS without any actual directions. He didn't even have the DS with him, but the case turned out really well! Everyone went home with several new crafts and I got rid of leftover stuff. So everybody got something out of this event!! We will do this again at the end of July.

5.30.2008

Anime Club

Today, 9 members of the Anime Club showed up for our May meeting. It was a small group, but we had a great time. Tim planned a special Azu Manga Daioh event, complete with voting for favorite characters, copies of the manga, and prizes from Japan. Tim is seriously dedicated to anime, and we are really lucky to have him!

The Anime Club will continue to meet this summer on the final Fridays of June and July. We will also have two manga drawing classes in July, run by artistic library grads. Check out the summer schedule for more details!

I made fake chicken stirfry for our snack. It's really just pineapple
chunks, cashews, and colored fruit roll ups!

Checking out Tim's display

Looking at artwork

Eating with chopsticks

5.28.2008

Book Review: The Last of the High Kings

The Last of the High Kings by Kate Thompson
Click on the book cover to see which libraries own it.

SUMMARY: A generation after The New Policeman, J.J. Liddy's daughter Jenny is running wild. She disappears into the countryside for hours on end, constantly inconveniencing her family and refusing to go to school. Jenny's mental stability is also questionable, as she claims to converse with a ghost and a goat. But as J.J. discovers that Jenny is speaking the truth, and that she is involved in something potentially sinster, he is forced to reveal family secrets that have long been hidden.

OPINION: Despite being labeled as a sequel to The New Policeman, this book stands alone as a wonderfully atmospheric tale of fairy and other legendary folk. The infusion of Irish lore into a contemporary setting made it feel entirely possible for the fairy realm to actually exist alongside our own. It started out slowly, but all the parts of the story came together into an exciting climax. I began it while eating a plate of nachos, kept reading after they were gone, and ended up finishing the entire book while sitting at my table! Even if you usually prefer your fairies to be more urban punk than Irish pranksters, you will not be disappointed by The Last of the High Kings.

5.26.2008

Book Review: The Dead and the Gone

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Reviews by Gretchen, Meg, and Debbie (Meg's mom!)

Click on the book cover to see which libraries own it.

GRETCHEN SAYS: The Dead and the Gone is a companion to Life As We Knew It, and it is even more chilling. It made me change my Facebook status to "Gretchen just finished The Dead and the Gone and feels the urge to stock up on canned goods." In this book, the disaster and survival scenario is replayed in New York City rather than rural Pennsylvania. On the day of the disaster, siblings Alex, Brianna, and Julie find out their parents are among the gone. As they try to survive on their own, they face all kinds of struggles in their once-familiar neighborhood. Although the references to their Puerto Rican heritage sometimes feel like a plot device, the reactions and interactions among the three siblings are totally believable. Despite echoes of 9-11, the author thoroughly portrays the new horrors that tidal waves and tsunamis bring to this city of islands. The urban enviornment also adds new levels of chaos with food shortages, death in the streets, an active black market for all kinds of goods, and major illness epidemics. If you have not read these books before, start with Life As We Knew It. Even though The Dead and the Gone an incredible page-turner, I still want to know what happens next! There is a sequel in the works, known as P3B (for Possible Third Book), which you can read about on Susan Beth Pfeffer's blog.

MEG SAYS: What would happen to the world if an asteroid pushed the moon closer in orbit to the earth? Like Susan Beth Pfeffer's earlier novel Life as We Knew It, this is the question that is explored in The Dead and the Gone. Rather than continuing the story of a rural Pennsylvania family from Life, the author instead focuses on the same events from a different perspective. This book is about 17-year-old Luis, who lives with his sisters in New York City. The book follows his struggles to survive after his parents die in the initial distruction the asteroid causes, and later as the city descends further and further into chaos. I loved Life as We Knew It, and this companion piece lived up to my expectations. I enjoy fairly realistic sci-fi novels, and this was no exception. The book remains realistic in its portrayals of a world gone crazy, from stampedes in food lines to Luis' increasingly desperate search for a way to get his sisters out of the city. I also liked that, while Luis and his family were devoutly religious, the various priests and nuns were characters rather than stereotypes, and the book rarely got preachy. I would highly recommend both his book and the original to anyone looking for a fast-paced, realistic dystopian novel.

DEBBIE SAYS: The Dead and the Gone retells the story of Life as We Knew It, detailing the impact to life on Earth when an asteroid hits the moon, knocking it closer to Earth. The perspective of this version is of a teenage boy whose parents die in the initial impact, and who now must care for his two younger sisters. This family lives in an apartment building in NYC. The original version is about a teenage girl living with her mother and brother in rural Pennsylvania. The author paints a vivid, realistic picture of life in the post-impact world with none of the utilities and resouces that we take for granted today. My only disappointment was with the depth of the character description. I felt I knew and understood the characters in the original version much more and found them to be more believable.

5.22.2008

Summer Teen Schedule!

Even though I won't be here for a lot of the summer, we are still having programs! Beth Hallowell will be "me" for the summer, and she is awesome. Check out the list of great events below. (I didn't include our two book groups because they are not accepting new members. But they will meet all summer as well!)

TEEN SUMMER READING CLUB
June 9 through August 15
Read for school, read for fun, read whatever! Fill out a sheet for every five age-appropriate fiction or nonfiction books, magazines, audiobooks, or graphic novels you read. They can be from the library or from your own collection. Turn in the sheet at the children’s desk, get a small prize, and be automatically entered to win our weekly book prizes, including some signed by the author. Big end-of-summer prizes can also be yours at our Prize Party!

SPECIAL EVENTS

Nintendo Night
Friday, June 6, from 6:30 to 8:30

Race head-to-head in a Mario Kart DS tournament, enter a Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournament on the big screen, play games on an original NES, and more! Permission slip required. Registration begins May 19.

Big Bad Bug Movies
Tuesday, June 17, from 1:00 to 4:00

Come enjoy two great bug movies at our teen summer reading kick-off event! First, we’ll watch the cheesy horror movie Them (NR). Giant mutant killer ants run rampant in this 1954 classic! Then, we’ll enjoy Men in Black (PG-13), a 1997 sci-fi action thriller starring Will Smith. Creepy snacks will be provided. Registration begins May 19.

Book Swap & Disney
Saturday, June 28, from 1:00 to 4:00

Trade in your old books for new reads, enjoy Enchanted (PG) and Disney Scene It? on the big screen, and eat food! Sponsored by the Teen Advisory Board. Registration begins May 19.

Breaking Dawn Bridal Shower
Friday, August 1, from 6:30 to 8:30

Get ready for the August 2 release of Breaking Dawn at our bridal shower. We hope that Bella and Edward tie the knot, but who knows what Jacob will do! Celebrate Stephenie Meyer’s popular vampire series at this event sponsored by the Teen Advisory Board. Registration begins July 7.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Celebration
Tuesday, August 5, from 1:00 to 4:00

Get ready for the release of the movie Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 on August 8! We will watch the first Sisterhood movie (PG), make denim crafts, eat snacks, and enjoy activities related to the movies and books. Registration begins July 7.

Dance Dance Revolution
Tuesday, August 12, 2:00 to 4:00

Show your moves at our Xbox DDR program! We will project the game onto the wall so four people can dance at a time. Dance for fun, or enter our dance contest! Permission slip required. Registration begins July 7.

Teen Summer Reading Prize Party
Friday, August 15, from 7:00 to 8:30

If you participated in the teen summer reading club, you are invited to this event! (Not sure? Ask a librarian.) Every slip turned in over the summer will be put in a drawing for great prizes. The more you read, the more you can win! Everyone will go home with something. Can’t make it? If your name is drawn, you will still get the prize. No registration.

PROGRAMS CREATED BY TEENS

Manga Drawing Classes
Fridays, July 11 and July 25, 6:30 to 8:30

Library grads Marissa, Kara, and Caitlin will teach you skills to improve your manga drawing. Basic materials will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own supplies and artwork. Sign up for one program or both! Registration begins June 16.

Summer Knits
Thursdays, June 19 to August 14 (No meeting June 26)
2:30 to 4:30

Join our summer knitting group open ages 10 to adult at any experience level! If you are a beginner, Meg will teach you the basics and get you started on your first project. If you are an experienced knitter, bring your own project or work on a charity project with the group. Some materials provided. Drop in anytime and stay as long as you would like! No registration.

DROP-IN CRAFTS
Come by the library between 2:00 and 4:00 any Tuesday in July to make a craft! No registration. The projects will be available until supplies run out.

Flower Power
Tuesday, July 1, 2:00 to 4:00

Make a vase of colorful paper flowers to keep or give away.

Robot Uprising
Tuesday, July 8, 2:00 to 4:00

Make a funky robot or two to hang on your key chain, zipper, phone, or anywhere!

Beaded Bracelets
Tuesday, July 15, 2:00 to 4:00

Make a cute beaded bracelet on memory wire.

Dog Days of Summer
Tuesday, July 22, 2:00 to 4:00

Make a toy and a treat for your favorite dog.

Craft Closet Cleanout
Tuesday, July 29, 2:00 to 4:00

Materials and instructions for a variety of projects will be available. Surprise yourself with a random craft!

CLUBS

Gaming Club
Mondays, June 2 to August 11 (no meeting June 23)
3:30 to 5:00

Bring your Yu-Gi-Oh! deck, Game Boy, Magic: The Gathering deck, PSP, or any other game stuff you’re into. We'll also hook up the Wii or Xbox for multiplayer gaming. Hang out, relax, and play whatever you want! Players provide their own gaming materials. Permission slip required. Must register by June 16 to participate for the summer.

Anime Club
Fourth Fridays from 3:30 to 5:00 pm
June 27, July 25, no August meeting

Join our anime club! We meet once per month to watch and discuss great shows, as well as do anime-related activities. If you like to watch or create Japanese-style animation, this club is for you! Permission slip required. Registration is ongoing.

Primos Branch Young Adult Book Group
Third Mondays, 7:00 to 8:00
June 16, July 21, August 18

Open to students entering grades 6 to 12, this group meets at the Primos Library at 409 Ashland Ave. in Primos, PA, 19018. Call them to register: 610-622-8091.

5.21.2008

Library Teen Podcasts

Today was the first meeting of our podcasting program. Hopefully by next week, we will have a completed podcast to post on this blog. Meanwhile, we are not exactly on the cutting edge of technology...other library teen groups have been podcasting for a while. Check out these podcasts from all over the country!

Cheshire Public Library Podcast (CT)
"a teen-driven cultural magazine"

Hennepin County Library (MN)
teens present reviews of books, movies, and more

Bluford Library (MO)
the Teen Library Club (TLC) podcasts about their lives, issues, and the library

If you would like to create your own podcasts, here is a helpful article published by YALSA for Teen Tech Week 2008. It is written for librarians, but it walks you through the process in a way that is easy to understand. Also, check out Podcasting News, a one-stop info website for podcasters of all levels. Too complicated? OurMedia lets you create your own audio and video podcasts right on their site!

To make our library podcast, we are using free Audacity software. We will upload our finished product to the Internet Archive and link it to this blog. We might use copyright free music from Creative Commons to keep it interesting...and legal!

5.20.2008

Book Review: Night Road

Night Road by A. M. Jenkins
Review by Kaitlyn B.

Night Road was absolutely amazing! I have read a lot of vampire books, and I have to say that this book is almost at the top of my list. I think that it was pure genius the way A. M. Jenkins came up with a story with two extremely pessimistic main characters and then threw an extremely lighthearted and optimistic main character into the mix. The optimistic character brought a twist of comedy into this genre, making it a completely original novel that anyone would enjoy. I would definitely recommend Night Road to any vampire novel fan. With all the comedy, suspense, and action packed into this book, it is impossible for any reader not to fall in love with it!

5.18.2008

Philadelphia Night

Last Friday, 20 teens came out for our first-ever Philadelphia Night! As people came in, they wore a nametag of a famous Philadelphian for a tic-tac-toe style icebreaker. There are lots of people who are linked with Philly besides historical figures like Ben Franklin! We did several activities related to our city, like a Tastykake spelling test (brought to you by the letter K) and a cheesesteak trivia quiz. We watched movie clips from Rocky and National Treasure, showing great Philadelphia landmarks. For a craft, everyone made three marble magnets of Philadelphia symbols. Sports team logos, college seals, and public art were some of the items people put on their magnets. Our snacks included cheesesteaks, and Herr's Potato Chips (not strictly from the city, but at least regional!). It seemed like everyone enjoyed themselves, so maybe we can do this again sometime!

More Philly stuff we didn't even get to do...

1. We tried to watch some YouTube videos, including American Bandstand and the mummers, but I had a setting wrong on the computer and couldn't get the screen to come up on the projector. So, watch them now!

2. Philly has been a backdrop for many movies and TV shows, so check out this Wikipedia article to find out what to watch.

3. We didn't even talk about public art in Philly, like our murals or our giant clothespin. Maybe next time we can do a clothespin craft!

4. Philadelphia Soul, popularlized in the 1970s, is an actual genre of music named for our city. At the next Philly Night, we'll have to listen to some of the famous songs.

5. We also didn't talk about our pretzels, sports teams, radio stations, and public transit system...all things that make us unique!

5.16.2008

Rings-N-Things

On Wednesday, 7 teens showed up after school to make rings for their fingers and toes! It was a lot of fun, and I wish more people had been there. As it was, everyone went home with bunches of rings. We made stretchy rings with beads and buttons, memory wire thumb rings, and even rings out of paper clips. If you couldn't be there, look for some of these projects at the Craft Closet Cleanout on Friday, May 30, from 6:30 to 8:30.


Hard at work!

Modeling the creations.

5.15.2008

Stuffed Shelves

The teen section is literally going to explode one of these days from overcrowding! Here's the latest. I linked all the titles that were reviewed by the Teen Advisory Board or me on this blog.
  • Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
  • Exodus by Julie Bertagna
  • Airhead by Meg Cabot
  • The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
  • The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
  • Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
  • Genius Squad by Catherine Jinks (sequel to Evil Genius)
  • Cheated by Patrick Jones
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
  • Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr (sequel to Wicked Lovely)
  • Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers
  • How to Be Bad by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle
  • The Final Warning by James Patterson (Maximum Ride series)
  • Teen, Inc. by Stefan Petrucha
  • Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman (companion to His Dark Materials series)
  • Demon Apocalypse by Darren Shan (Demonata series)
  • Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth
  • Big Fat Manifesto by Susan Vaught
  • Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

5.12.2008

Purse Projects

On May 2, 9 girls came out to design purses at our first-ever purse project night! You know I am not the craftiest person in the world, so I am really glad that only 9 people came. Even then, it was completely crazy and I ended up finishing projects for people the next day. Nonetheless, everyone went home with two cute projects. One was a clutch made out of a folded placemat, and the other was a hand-beaded bag.

If you missed this event, make your own! I got our supplies at Dollar Tree and JoAnn Fabric and Crafts, so it is fairly inexpensive. Here are some helpful books with great ideas:
  • Designer Style Handbags: Techniques and Projects for Unique, Fun, and Elegant Designs from Classic to Retro by Sherri Haab
  • The Hip Handbag Book: 25 Easy-to-Make Totes, Purses, and Bags by Sherri Haab
  • Crafty Bags for Stylish Girls: Uniquely Chic Purses, Pouches & Pocketbooks by Elizabeth Ingrid Hauser
  • Chic Bags: 22 Handbags, Purses, Totes, and Accessories to Make by Marie Enderlen-Debuisson

Beading purses

Another purse-beading shot

Posing with the purses!

5.08.2008

New to Us

Teen books continue to crowd the shelves, so here's what is newest:

FICTION

  • Names Will Never Hurt Me by Jaime Adoff
  • Zenith by Julie Bertagna (sequel to Exodus...I ordered it from England!)
  • Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
  • Dreamland by Sarah Dessen (replacement copy)
  • Bratfest at Tiffany's by Lisi Harrison (Clique series)
  • Sealed with a Diss by Lisi Harrison (Clique series)
  • Another Kind of Cowboy by Susan Juby
  • Frostbite: A Vampire Academy Novel by Richelle Mead
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  • Baby by Joe Monninger
  • The Highwayman's Footsteps by Nicola Morgan
  • ttyl by Lauren Myracle (replacement copy)
  • School's Out--Forever by James Patterson (Maximum Ride series; replacement copy)
  • Dragonfire by Donita K. Paul
  • Dragonknight by Donita K. Paul
  • Dragonquest by Donita K. Paul
  • Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul
NONFICTION

  • Comic Book Guy's Book of Pop Culture
  • Halo 3: The Official Guide
  • MarioKart Wii (Prima Official Game Guide)
  • Naruto: The Official Fanbook
  • Pokedex: Official Pocket Version
  • The Ralph Wiggum Book
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Prima Official Game Guide)
  • World of WarCraft Master Guide

GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, volume 15, by Clamp
  • Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, volume 16, by Clamp
  • Pita-Ten, volume 3, by Koge Donbo
  • Naruto, volume 28, by Masashi Kishimoto
  • Naruto, volume 29, by Masashi Kishimoto
  • Gon, volume 1, by Masahi Tanaka

5.06.2008

Book Review: Generation Dead

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
Click on the book cover to see which libraries have it.

Review by Meg

What would you do if your best friend died, and then knocked on your door a week later looking for a place to stay? This is the problem facing America in Daniel Waters' novel Generation Dead. It is set in an upper-middle-class high school with one of the best programs for the "differently biotic" in the country. A few normal students, like Goth-girl Phoebe and football star Adam, develop close relationships with the living dead, but the majority fear them. Some, namely the mentally unstable Pete, want the dead to stay dead--and aren't afraid to use violence to make it happen. When Phoebe finds herself falling for the leader of the living impaired, it sets off a chain of events that will change the lives (or afterlives) of everyone involved.

I loved this book for its extraordinary characters, fast-paced action, and deeper message. I will the be the first to admit that, upon discovering the "zombies in high school" premise, I was expecting comedy, and likely bad comedy at that. Instead, despite occasional flashes of humor, the book quickly takes a turn toward the dark side as the plot unfolds. Obvious comparisons can be drawn to racism and the Civil Rights Movement, but the novel never gets preachy. Of course, the book isn't perfect. There are several threads that never really get followed to their conclusions and detracted somewhat from the main plot (Did the augmentation work? What was the deal with the white vans?), but on the whole Generation Dead is one of the best books I have read in a while.


Review by Caitlin C.

The word “zombie” is a very powerful one. One cannot mention it in casual conversation without invoking images of reanimated, rotting corpses shambling through town, feasting on the brains of the living. This is why Oakvale High asks its students to use the terms “living impaired” and “differently biotic” when referring to their less-than-living classmates.

Some readers may be feeling pretty confused now, but that’s nothing compared to the inexplicable mystery of how teenagers cheat death in Daniel Walter’s first young adult novel Generation Dead. As expected, the living impaired aren’t welcomed with open arms into the High School, and vigilantes have already killed some of these teenagers a second time. There are some particularly active undead students, such as Karen, Evan and Tommy, who don’t let their biological differences hold them back, but most of the others walk and act in a similar fashion to their B-movie counterparts, minus the appetite for grey matter. When Alish and Angela Hunter set up a program at Oakvale High to increase awareness and acceptance of the differently biotic, only a few students attend the program, including the two protagonists, Phoebe Kendall and Adam Layman.

Phoebe is a student with an all black wardrobe and an iPod filled with songs by such artists as the Creeps and the Misfits. Adam is a football player who began studying karate after severely injuring a running-back from an opposing team with an illegal move. At first glance, one would hardly believe the two were childhood chums, or that Adam is hoping to take the friendship further. However, everything changes when Tommy Williams, a zombie classmate, tries out for the football team. The three meet up after school once a week along with other classmates interested in the cause; Karen, a skirt-loving girly-girl who’s unusually perky for a zombie, Thorny, the na├»ve freshman, Evan, the redheaded jokester whose only regret is that death won’t let him whistle, and Margi, who still suffers guilt for shunning her reanimated friend, Colette, in her time of need. Whether the students laugh at the misspelled hate-mail sent to the Hunter Foundation, sport the latest t-shirts advocating “Zombie Power”, or dance at the nightclub/halfway home aptly named “the Haunted House”, it seems like nothing can break up this group. Still, there are plenty of people gumming up the civil rights movement for zombies such as those in the suspicious white vans that appear during the murders of the living impaired, and Pete Martinsburg, whose hatred for the differently biotic stems from a frustrated home life and grief over his dead girlfriend, Julie, who didn’t come back.

It’s very easy to become interested in Generation Dead, and the reading is fluid and enjoyable. The teenage characters are three dimensional and well developed, and each one has something different to contribute to the story. One of my favorite characters was Karen, who disproved many of the stereotypes about the differently biotic, with her fluent speech and her ability to drink coffee. The adult characters seemed too much like cardboard figures or plot devices to be believable, and several of them, like Alish Hunter, Coach Konrathy and Skip Slydell, were never seen again once their purpose for the story was fulfilled. The teenagers are central to the story in young adult novels, but if adults are going to be introduced in a story, they should be just as deep and three-dimensional as the rest of the characters.

Book Review: How to Be Bad

How to Be Bad: A Novel by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle
Click on the book to see which libraries own it.

Review by Alexa

Although How to Be Bad started off slow, and I considered not reading past the first few chapters, I pursued the book on the sheer facts of who the authors are and my preference for them. I'm glad I did. The story begins in the Niceville, Florida, the hometown of Vicks and Jesse, where the two best friends work at the local Waffle House. Enter Mel, a cute rich girl whose only wish is to become part of the Vicks-Jesse duo. As Jesse is facing family problems, she comes up with the idea of "borrowing" her mom's car and driving Vicks down to the University of Miami to reunite with her boyfriend. Mel isn't invited...until she invites herself by promisng to pay for the hotel and the food. Jesse and Vicks agree only because they don't have much money between the two of them. The girls hit the road and the trip turns into something no one expected--a girl-talking, emotion-sharing, friendship-creating, boyfriend-picking-up adventure in which Vicks, Mel, and Jesse become as close as none of them ever thought they would. And there are boys too! I love this book because it is written in alternating chapters among the three authors as the voices of the three friends. Anyone who knows the value of a good friendship or two will definitely enjoy this story.