African-American Fiction Update

We just added a bunch of new and replacement African-American fiction for the teen collection!
  • Fabulous by Simone Bryant (Kimani Tru)
  • The Exorsistah by Claudia Mair Burney
  • Chasing Romeo by A. J. Byrd (Kimani Tru; additional copy)
  • 16 Isn't Always Sweet by Cassandra Carter (Kimani Tru; additional copy)
  • Next Semester by Cecil R. Cross II (Kimani Tru)
  • Jason & Kyra by Dana Davidson
  • Courtin' Jayd by by L. Divine (Drama High series; replacement)
  • Keep It Movin' by L. Divine (Drama High series; replacement)
  • Darkness Before Dawn by Sharon M. Draper (Hazelwood High trilogy; replacement)
  • Forged by Fire by Sharon M. Draper (Hazelwood High trilogy; replacement)
  • November Blues by Sharon M. Draper
  • Romiette and Juilo by Sharon M. Draper (replacement)
  • Dirty Jersey by Phillip Thomas Duck (Kimani Tru; replacement)
  • Dirty South by Phillip Thomas Duck (Kimani Tru; replacement)
  • You Don't Even Know Me: Stories and Poems about Boys by Sharon G. Flake
  • A Matter of Attitude by Hayden (Kimani Tru)
  • Payback by Paul Langan (Bluford High series; replacement)
  • Deal with It by Monica McKayhan (Kimani Tru; replacement)
  • Indigo Summer by Monica McKayhan (Kimani Tru; replacement)
  • Jaded by by Monica McKayhan (Kimani Tru; additional copy)
  • Hotlanta by Denene Millner and Mitzi Miller (Hotlanta series; replacement)
  • What Goes Around by Denene Millner and Mitzi Miller (Hotlanta series; replacement)
  • Crystal by Walter Dean Myers (replacement)
  • She Said, She Said by Celeste O. Norfleet and Jennifer Norfleet (Kimani Tru)
  • The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez by Alan Lawrence Sitomer
  • Lost and Found by Anne Schraff (Bluford High series; replacement)
  • Someone to Love Me by Anne Schraff (Bluford High series; replacement)
  • Gettin' Hooked by Nyomi Scott (Kimani Tru)
  • Lesson Learned by Earl Sewell (Kimani Tru; replacement)
  • Keysha's Drama by Earl Sewell (Kimani Tru; replacement)
  • The Promise by Chandra Sparks Taylor (Kimani Tru)

DIY Craft: Jeans to Purse

If you've worn through the knees on your favorite jeans, give them new life as a bag! You don't even have to know how to sew for some of these.

Pocket Purse
Use the back pockets of a pair of jeans to make a cute, small purse.

Jean Leg Purse
Use the legs to make a little purse with a braided strap.

Booty Bag
This roomy purse is made from the top of a pair of jeans!

Booty Bag with Flap Closure
This set of directions has great step-by-step pictures. To modify this into a messenger bag, just use men's jeans rather than your old low-rises and make a longer strap.


New Manga

OK, so this sounds funny, but I bought us a pile of random new manga at the Salvation Army! I went in there to get cheap shirts for Nat, and came out with two bags of books. What can I say...the kids' clothes are right by the book section. I couldn't resist; the manga looked like it had never been read and it only cost $2 per book!!

Here's what we got:
  • Hellsing, volume 1, by Kohta Hirano
  • Ghost Hunt, volume 1, by Shiho Inada
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Seed, volume 2, by Masatsugu Iwase
  • Eureka Seven, volume 2, by Jinsei Katako and Kazuma Kondou
  • Love-Com, volume 5, by Aya Nakahara
  • Fruits Basket, volumes 2 and 3, by Natsuki Takaya
  • Rurouni Kenshin, volume 28, by Nobuhiro Watsuki
  • Trinity Blood, volume 2, by Sunao Yoshida
  • Airgear, volume 3, by Makoto Yukon


Nerd Appreciation Night!

On Friday night, 21 people showed up for Nerd Appreciation Night. Nitha suggested this program to the Teen Advisory Board over the winter, and it was definitely a success. I guess you could call almost any program we do "Nerd Appreciation Night," but this one was special because it had such a wide variety of nerds!

Everyone picked a nerd nametag as they came in, or made their own. The list included fictional characters like Hermione Granger, Steve Urkel, Lisa Simpson, and Peter Parker, but also some real people like Ben Stein, Weird Al Yankovic, Tina Fey, and Susan Boyle. We played Simpsons Scene-It for about 15 minutes while everyone arrived.

Our major activity for the evening was the Battle of the Nerds. Nitha suggested that we should let everyone defend their nerdish passions, so I set up some NCAA-style brackets and filled in a Sweet Sixteen of nerds. We pitted nerd against nerd in one-minute rounds where each person had 30 seconds to talk about his/her chosen subject. The group voted for the winner of each round, who then moved on into a new bracket. We had a good mixture of guys and girls from a variety of backgrounds, so topics ranged from the expected (role-playing games, fantasy books/movies, writing, drama) to the far-out ("the human mind," "the multiverse theory"). Our final round ended up being Anas (physics) against Nitha (celebrity obsession), with Anas declared the victor for his rational descriptions of how physics is related to real life. Anas won a DVD of the SyFy channel's original miniseries Tin Man, a retelling of The Wizard of Oz.

We also did a nerd quiz slideshow, with a question for the whole group on each slide. People raised their hands to answer and won Nerds (of course) for correct answers. I tried to come up with questions for all kinds of nerds so everyone had an opportunity to win. Some of the questions asked for demonstrations, and that's where we met some true nerds. For example, you're probably a nerd of some type if you can do an actual card trick from memory!

We had chips and candy for snacks, and we watched a movie clip from Spaceballs and a few Monty Python sketches. We ran out of time for nerd media so we definitely have to do this again! We didn't even get to The Princess Bride, Lord of the Rings, or Napoleon Dynomite. Look for another Nerd Appreciation Night next year!


Nerd and Geek Books

In honor of Nerd Appreciation Night tonight, here are a list of books that you might want to read with "nerd" or "geek" in the title!

  • Geek Abroad by Piper Banks
  • Geek High by Piper Banks
  • Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
  • NERDS: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society by Michael Buckley
  • Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern
  • Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen
  • The Queen Geek Social Club by Laura Preble
  • Queen Geeks in Love by Laura Preble
  • Geek Magnet by Kieran Scott
  • Nerds: Who They Are and Why We Need More of Them by David Anderegg
  • Confessions of a High School Word Nerd edited by Arianne Choen and Colleen Kinder
  • She's Such a Geek! Women Write about Science, Technology, and Other Nerdy Stuff edited by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Anders
  • American Nerd: The Story of My People by Benjamin Nugent


Like, Totally Radical 80s Crafts

Yesterday, 13 people showed up to make 80s crafts! We snacked on popular food of the 80s (Reese's Pieces, Sour Patch Kids, microwave popcorn, and Fruit Roll-Ups) and rocked out to great songs like "Video Killed the Radio Star." I got to wear my very 80s cassette tape earrings and "Jason" heart necklace in honor of the day! The program itself was chaotic, but everyone left with three awesome crafts.

A few weeks ago, I ordered BeDazzlers from their (complete waste of time) website for this program. Note to self: never order anything "As Seen on TV" again!! They charged an arm and a leg for shipping, but never bothered to ship my order. Luckily, they never actually charged my credit card, either. I called and cancelled the order this week, but that left us without BeDazzlers to decorate our tote bags. So, I had to run around like crazy to see what I could get in the craft stores and ended up with iron-on studs as the most economical choice! This meant, of course, that we were treated to an endless variety of "stud" jokes from Jamie as I described the activity, but at least we got to do it!

So, we started with the retro-graphic tote bags, cutting apart the iron-on studs and positioning them on the bags. But, the directions said to turn the item inside-out before ironing, and then all the studs fell off as people did that. We ended up turning the bags inside out first, then sticking on the studs by reaching inside, which worked much better. (It would have been so much easier with BeDazzlers. Grrrrr.) Anyway, the bags turned out pretty well and only a few rogue studs had to be stuck on with craft glue. I hope everything stays on when people use the bags!

We then made a quick necklace modified from the jewelry book Hardwear by Hannah Rogge. It was just plastic tubing and screw eyes, connected in the front with a safety pin for a great industrial punk look. Very 80s, but also cool now.

At the end, I taught everyone about the magic of shrinky-dinks! We did some quick drawings with Sharpie, cut them out, and punched a hole in them. The library does not have an oven, so we used my toaster oven from home, which worked just fine. In less than two minutes, everyone got amazing small versions of their drawings! A lot of people safety pinned them on to their tote bags, which was a cute idea. We are definitely going to make shrinky-dinks again, but we will probably use colored pencils so the colors are not so dark. (If you want to do them yourself, the only craft store around here that sells the paper is A. C. Moore.)

Check out our pictures:

Tote bags get a thumbs up.

Fun with scissors.

Finished products!


New TAB T-Shirts

The new Teen Advisory Board t-shirts are here, and they look great! If you didn't make the meeting or if you forgot your money, the shirts are on the book group shelf. Bring in your $5 (or $8 for long sleeve), and you can have it anytime.

The front

The back...drawn by Anas!

The usual silly picture!!! I almost forgot, so thanks for the reminder.


Book Review: After

After by Amy Efaw

Click on the picture to find a library copy.

SUMMARY: Fifteen-year-old Devon Davenport lies on the sofa mindlessly watching morning TV. She is in physical pain, and her only recourse is to mentally disconnect. Suddenly her life turns upside down and she is left wondering what happened. Why is she being charged with attempted murder? Through a series of conversations with her court-appointed attorney, Devon begins to uncover deep-seated resentments and awaken to the fact that she had been pregnant, has given birth to a baby, and thrown the infant into a Dumpster. Devon begins as an unsympathetic character who grows, giving readers a better understanding of her choices. This is a skillfully written, emotionally raw story detailing one girl's difficult journey from denial of her circumstances to acceptance and redemption. (from School Library Journal)

OPINION: After is written in the third person, but the narrator is actually Devon herself. This unusual style gives voice to the fact that Devon is completely disconnected from reality, and has been for the last nine months. We, the readers, only know what Devon knows, and she is in such a deep state of psychological denial that the details are revealed piecemeal as events trigger her memory. This book is an answer to the question I think to myself whenever I hear a news story about human tragedy: "What kind of sick person would do something like that?" Get inside Devon's head in this dramatic novel, and be prepared to get emotional as Devon's case goes to trial. This book made me angry, it made me frustrated, it made me scared, and it made me cry.


Rock Band Jam Session

Last Wednesday, 13 people showed up for our spring Rock Band Jam Session. There was no love for The Beatles, but Rock Band 2 and Lego Rock Band got a lot of time. We had a lot of different people singing, not just our usual two or three. I did Two Princes by the Spin Doctors! I am going to get more Rock Band songs before our next event this summer, so that's something to look forward to. Thanks to everyone who showed up to play!


Book Suggestions

This month's Teen Scene email newsletter describes lots of great new books, as well as a list of one-of-a-kind graphic novels. Sign up now to get monthly reading suggestions delivered to your inbox! Here are some I am really interested in reading:

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (science fantasy)
Finn is trapped in Incarceron, a brutal, futuristic prison imbued with artificial intelligence and so vast that it's like a city. Claudia, the daughter of Incarceron's ruthless warden, is being forced into an arranged marriage for political reasons. The two of them live in completely separate worlds, but each is desperate to escape--and they may be each other's only hope. Readers of either science fiction or epic fantasy who love complex, twisting plots, intricate world-building, elegant writing, romance, and plenty of political intrigue are sure to be hooked by this riveting read.

Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki (realistic fiction graphic novel)
Being a geek never really bothered Emiko...but now her geeky friends are excited about attending a young executives' retreat over the summer, and Emi isn't interested. Then, just when it seems that her summer will be all babysitting, all the time, shy Emi is handed a flyer advertising weekend performance-art "Freak Shows," and she's both intrigued and terrified. After she finally works up the nerve to go to one of the shows, her whole life changes. Check out this slightly angsty, gently funny, and completely engaging read to see how Emi goes from geek to superstar on the road to becoming herself.

You Don't Even Know Me: Stories and Poems about Boys by Sharon Flake
Lots of books tell stories about the trials and tribulations of being a teenage girl; the poems and stories in this companion to the girl-focused collection Who Am I Without Him? are all about guys and their lives. From 17-year-old Tow-Kaye, who's both excited and scared about marrying his pregnant girlfriend, to James, who's contemplating taking his own life after the death of his twin, to Eric, who loves his North Philly 'hood, the African-American young men you'll meet in this book are realistic characters that you'll care about and remember.


New Books for You

These are the new books that came through processing this week. A lot of them were purchased with money raised by the Random-A-Thon! I put labels in the front of all of those, so everyone will know. Some of the others were review copies from the county, which is always a great way for us to get free books. Come in and look for these:


  • In the Space Left Behind by Joan Ackermann
  • ArchEnemy by Frank Beddor (Looking Glass Wars series)
  • Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor (Looking Glass Wars series)
  • The Sky Inside by Clare B. Dunkle
  • Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
  • In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth
  • Everlost by Neal Shusterman

  • Burn by Camilla d'Errico
  • Maid Sama!, volumes 1-4, by Hiro Fujiwara
  • Kimi Ni Todoke, volumes 1-3, by Karuho Shiina


  • The Art of Drawing and Creating Manga: Advanced Techniques by Peter Gray
  • The Art of Drawing and Creating Manga: Women by Peter Gray
  • The Art of Drawing and Creating Manga: Mechas and Monsters by Peter Gray
  • The Art of Drawing and Creating Manga: Action by Peter Gray


Book Swap & Miyazaki

Last Wednesday, 27 teens showed up for our spring break Book Swap and Miyazaki event! Ten people swapped 36 old books for new reads, so I hope they are enjoying their selections. We watched a double feature of Miyazaki's anime movies, which was great for me because I have never seen any of them. Several members of the Teen Advisory Board suggested this event, and I am grateful because it was really popular. I was astonished, though, at how much food was eaten during the program. The group demolished a six-pound bag of gummy bears, two gallons of lemonade, an entire batch of chocolate cupcakes, and a giant container of snack mix! It's a good thing I went to BJs to stock up the day before. Anyway, we'll definitely combine Miyazaki and book swap again in the future because there are a lot more movies to watch. However, look for a different book swap and movie theme on the summer schedule!


Shiny and New

Be the first person to check out these new additions to the teen fiction section:
  • Duplikate by Cherry Cheva
  • Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook
  • Winter's Child by Cameron Dokey (Once Upon a Time series)
  • The Walls Have Eyes by Clare B. Dunkle
  • Anastasia's Secret by Susanne Dunlap
  • Crossing Stones by Helen Frost
  • Into the Wild Nerd Yonder: My Life on the Dork Side by Julie Halpern
  • How to Steal a Car by Pete Hautman
  • No Way Out by Peggy Kern (Bluford High series; two copies)
  • Search for Safety by John Langan (Bluford High series; two copies)
  • The Fallen by Paul Langan (Bluford High series; two copies)
  • The Gun by Paul Langan (Bluford High series; two copies)
  • Schooled by Paul Langan (Bluford High series; two copies)
  • Shattered by Paul Langan (Bluford High series; two copies)
  • Ash by Malinda Lo
  • Fade by Lisa McMann
  • Downsiders by Neal Shusterman
  • Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma
  • Homestretch by Paul Volponi