Teens' Top Ten

It's time to make your selections for this year's edition of the Teens' Top Ten! Have your say about the most popular books of the year. The winners will be announced during Teen Read Week in October. You only get to vote for three, but there are lots of great choices on the list, including:
  • Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Heist Society by Ally Carter
  • City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  • Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  • Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
  • If I Stay by Gale Forman
  • Witch and Wizard by James Patterson
  • Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld


August Anime Club Meeting

Today was the August meeting of the Anime Club, right on the eve of everyone returning to school. Tim showed us some clips from the Sonic the Hedgehog anime movie, clips from the Japanese video game it was based on, and some bonus Japanese Sonic commercials! Our manga drawing theme for the meeting was back-to-school, so we also watched some school-themed anime clips. I had super-cute school supplies--piggy pencil sharpeners and panda/frog erasers--for the four winners. (I got them at the dollar store by H-Mart, if you want to track down some for yourself.) Here are all of the drawings:

Actual school supplies!

Kelliann had the most beautiful shading in her picture of a schoolgirl. It was my first choice for a winner.

A schoolgirl

Another schoolgirl

Yet another schoolgirl

For a change of pace...a schoolboy! OK, he's looking at a schoolgirl, but it's a start. Max won a prize for being the only person to draw a schoolboy.

A schoolgirl with talking school supplies

Kathy drew a really cute comic about a school of fish! I gave it a prize for originality.

Still another schoolgirl

Out of all the schoolgirls, I deemed this one the cutest, so Lynn won a prize.

The last schoolgirl


Playaways: Books for Your Ears!

We have purchased a growing number of Playaways for the teen and J sections this year, but you may not even know what they are! Playaways are audio books that come pre-loaded on mp3 players. You just plug in your headphones and go! They are way more portable than books on tape or CD. Some libraries charge to borrow Playaways, but the Upper Darby Libraries do not. You can borrow them for three weeks and renew them twice, just like books.

Here are the Playaways that we own in the teen section:
  • The Six Rules of Maybe by Deb Caletti
  • Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (NEW!)
  • The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau (NEW!)
  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
  • Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (NEW!)
  • The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Dunk by David Lubar
  • Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar
  • Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer (NEW!)
  • Flocabulary: The Hip-Hop Approach to SAT-Level Vocabulary Building by Blake Harrison


Craft Closet Cleanout

Today, 17 teens dropped in to cleanout the craft closet! It was pretty busy, but everyone got to make a variety of stuff. I emptied at least six boxes of leftover projects, so I say it was a success! Several people did extra projects from this summer, including Relief-Painted Bottle Vases, Decoupaged Boxes, Fingerpainting, and Painted Picture Frames. There were also many other crafts hanging around from the past year, such as Message in a Bottle, Jean Leg Autograph Pillows, Scratch-Painted CD Magnets, and Vampire Glitter Gel. Check out the pictures:


Relief-Painted Bottle Vases

Jean Leg Autograph Pillows

Decoupaged Boxes

Look what we made!


Summer Reading Winners, End-of-Summer Prize Extravaganza!

Because the teen summer reading grand prize was coming directly from Delaware County library system this year, I did not hold a teen prize party as I have the past two summers. However, I had a bunch of stuff to give away for the end of summer, so here's a big list!
  • Cindy, grade 6, won two free games of bowling at Wynnewood Lanes.
  • Tobi, grade 7, won a basket with two books, a water balloon kit, a toilet-shaped puzzle book, candy, and a water bottle.
  • Christina, grade 11, won a hardcover book and a $5 gift card to Panera Bread.
  • Laurel, grade 9, won a UDHS book bag with two hardcover books, locker magnets, a water bottle, tie-dyed shoelaces, and candy.
  • Peris, grade 9, won a hardcover book and candy.
  • Tim, grade 8, won five free games of bowling at Sproul Lanes.
  • Tarzan, grade 7, won a hardcover book and a $5 gift card to Dollar Tree.
  • Tanpreet, grade 8, won a hardcover book and candy.
  • Anureet, grade 11, won two passes to visit the Eastern State Penitentiary.
  • Anas, grade 11, won a hardcover book and a $5 gift card to Borders.
  • Laura, grade 9, won a beach bag with two hardcover books, candy, flip flops, and a water bottle.
  • Hannah, grade 6, won a hardcover book and a $5 gift card to Wawa.
  • John, grade 10, won two passes to visit the Eastern State Penitentiary.
  • Shannon, grade 6, won a hardcover book and candy.
  • Samantha, grade 6, won two free games of bowling at Wynnewood Lanes.
  • Shariah, grade 7, won a basket with two hardcover books, candy, a water bottle, a toilet-shaped puzzle book, and a water ballook kit.
  • Anne, grade 7, won a hardcover book and a $5 gift card to Panera Bread.
  • Mohammad, grade 11, won two passes to visit the Eastern State Penitentiary.
  • Melvin, grade 7, won a hardcover book and a $5 gift card to GameStop.

Summer Reading Winners, Week Nine

Here are the last of our weekly winners for the summer:
  • Andrea, grade 9, won a beach bag with two hardcover books, a water bottle, candy, and flip-flops.
  • Gabe, grade 9, won a hardcover book and a $5 gift card to GameStop.
  • Sarah, grade 11, won a t-shirt that says "The Book Was Better" along with a popcorn bucket and copies of five books that have been made into movies.
  • Christine, grade 6, won a hardcover book and $5 gift card to Borders.

Congratulations! Thanks for participating.


Mockingjay Tidbits

OK, so we are ravenously awaiting the final volume in The Hunger Games trilogy! Called Mockingjay, it is under strict embargo until next Tuesday, August 24. (I have six copies sitting here at the library that I'm not allowed to look at. It's torture!) So what's a fan to do? Read ABOUT the book!!

Interviews with the Author:
Hunger Games Movie:
Hunger Games Fansites:
Hunger Games Fanfic: Check out one of these communities!


Check These Out!

Here's what we just put on the shelf in the teen section:

  • Confessions of a First Daughter by Cassidy Calloway
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (second copy)
  • The Not-So-Great Depression by Amy Goldman Koss
  • One Fat Summer by Robert Lipsyte
  • Deception by Lee Nichols (Hauting Emma series)
  • My Perfect Life by Dyan Sheldon (replacement copy)
  • Poser by Sue Wyshynski


Pirate Party

Yo-ho-ho! Last Friday (the 13th!) we had our end-of-summer teen pirate party, and 39 people showed up. It was insane!! Everyone made fill-in-the-blank pirate nametags and we watched a clip of Pirates of the Caribbean to get started. After that, I judged the costume contest because I wanted to get it done before we went outside, while they still looked good. Thanks to everyone who dressed up...you made the party more festive!

Then, we made our pirate weapons: marshmallow shooters! It was so easy: just cut the bottom out of a cup, tie off a balloon and cut the end off, and stretch the balloon over the cut-out botttom. Then, put a marshmallow down in the cup, pull the knot back, and let it fly! All 39 of us trooped outside and lined up to take three shots. We did a distance competition (sorry, everyone, I don't trust you enough to let you shoot them AT each other...), and Monet won with a marshmallow that flew for 70 feet! It wasn't even helped much by the wind.

We came back in to watch a clip from a documentary about real pirates, plus laugh at the antics of Captian Feathersword and the Wiggles. Then everyone lined up for rations of cupcakes and pirate snack mix. The last thing we did was work in groups of four to translate the final battle from Harry Potter #7 into pirate language, with hilarious results. The group with the best story won treasure...aka candy necklaces! At the end, everyone took home a squirty shark, pirate ducky, or pirate flag keychain, as well as a pirate pencil. Hope you all had a great time! Thanks to Judy, Christine, and Kathy for decorating help before the event, and to the Teen Advisory Board for helping with the expenses.

What a bunch of scurvy sea dogs!

Our winners: a tech pirate, a vampirate (Team Edwarrrrrd), and a more realistic entry

Avast, me hearties! Ye shall surely slay the enemy with such fearsome weapons!


Family Water Fun Day!

Last Wednesday, Mrs. Ryan and I put together our first-ever summer fundraiser, called Family Water Fun Day. We were assisted by library staff and a small army of teen volunteers, and it was definitely a success! Since the summer reading theme was Make a Splash, it wasn't hard to come up with a lot of creative and inexpensive water-themed stations for families to enjoy. We had all kinds of activities: water science, a fish pond, crafts, face painting, games, and (of course) snacks. But the best station was obviously Soak the Librarian! Mrs. Ryan and I were drenched from head to toe 292 times, according to the number of tickets collected. Altogether, we raised over $400 to help with our fall programs for kids and teens.

Some of the signs for the stations.

Fish Pong

Face Painting

Mrs. Ryan takes one for the team!

Water Science


Summer Reading Winners, Week Eight

I chose four more winners in a computerized random drawing today, so here they are:
  • Tarzan, grade 6, won a bumper stickers, pin, and magnet from the Philadelphia Union soccer team, plus a team England soccer ball.
  • Tisa, grade 11, won a hardcover book and a $5 gift card to Panera Bread.
  • Ciera, grade 9, won two free bowling games at Wynnewood Lanes.
  • Stephen, grade 6, won a hardcover book and candy.

Congratulations to these winners! And remember, teen summer reading ends next Saturday, August 21, so get your slips in before then!! I will be doing a drawing for week 9, as well as an end-of-summer prize blowout, so get ready to win.


This Week's New Items

Come check out the newest of the new in the teen section:

  • Player's Ruse by Hilari Bell
  • Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block
  • Good Fortune by Noni Carter
  • The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
  • Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn
  • Salt by Maruice Gee


  • Profiles in Black by Marvin A. McMickle


  • Ristorante Paradiso by Natsume Ono


Book Review: Dreams of the Dead

Dreams of the Dead by Thomas Randall
(Click on the cover to find a library copy, or ask me for a free one!)

SUMMARY: Sixteen-year-old Kara Harper is an outsider in Japan, but is doing her best to fit at the private school where her father is teaching English for the year. Fortunately she’s befriended by Sakura, a fellow outsider struggling to make sense of her sister’s unsolved murder some months ago. No one seems to care about the beautiful girl who was so brutally murdered, and the other students go on as if nothing has happened. Unfortunately, the calm doesn’t last for long. Kara begins to have nightmares, and soon other students in the school turn up dead, viciously attacked by someone . . . or something. Is Sakura getting back at those she thinks are responsible for her sister’s death? Or has her dead sister come back to take revenge for herself? (from the back cover)

OPINION: This book combines Japanese culture with horror and suspense, all from an American perspective. Even though she has spent years studying Japanese language and customs, Kara is still gaijin, a foreigner, to the other students at her private school. Kara's outsider status is a challenge, particularly after the nightmares and killing begin. As the story progresses, there is a shift from realism as a supernatural element is introduced. This shift is a little rough at times, and the story looses some of its momentum. However, because the supernatural element was culturally authentic, I remained intrigued. The ending felt a bit rushed after all of the explanation, but it was a thrilling ride and the final scenes with Sakura were particularly intense. If you are a Japan-obsessed manga reader, this is a novel for you! I also think older teen readers of horror, suspense, mystery, or supernatural books would be interested in this title. There are two more books in the series, called Spirits of the Noh and A Winter of Ghosts, so be sure look for those if you like Dreams of the Dead.

A NOTE ABOUT THE BOOK AND THE AUTHOR: This book was written by Christopher Golden, using the pseduonym of Thomas Randall. It was originally the first book in a series called Gaijin Girl, but was repackaged to focus more on the supernatural horror elements. It was given a new cover and a new series name (The Waking) for hardcover publication, but the book title remained the same. The paperback version of the book will be released on August 31, 2010, and the cover is completely different. It's so confusing!!

RANDOM FACTS: I researched the setting of this book a little bit, and found that Amanohashidate, Japan, is a real place. The beautiful bay and sandbar are exactly as described, and people really do view it through their legs to see it as a bridge to heaven!Link


What Games For My Wii?

In case you didn't already know, most Gaming Club meets I bring in my Wii for use in the back room, mainly so there can be two different games being played simultaneously. In the beginning, I mainly just brought in Wii Sports, sometimes we play Super Smash Brothers Brawl on it and something else like Rock Band on the projector, and recently I have been bringing in New Super Mario Brothers Wii.

My question to whom it may concern is "What games would you like to see me bring in for use?"

Keep in mind that they must be age-appropriate for the Gaming Club (Teen rating at worst, and probably only for violence) AND approved by Gretchen. Oh, and multiplayer goes without saying, but somehow I still feel the need to say it.

So, if you have any suggestions, by all means give me your feedback.


Summer Reading Winners, Week Seven

I did a random drawing on the computer this morning, and here are the winners for this week:

Ross, grade 9, won a basket with a card game, a water balloon kit, a water bottle, candy, and two hardcover books.

Yasmine, grade 8, won a hardcover book and a $5 gift card to DSW.

Barkev, grade 6, won a bumper sticker, pin, and magnet from the Philadelpha Union soccer team, plus a USA soccer ball.

Zoe, grade 9, won a hardcover book and a $5 gift card to Borders.

Congrats and enjoy!!


Family Water Day Is Coming!

Support programs for kids and teens at our Family Water Day Fundraiser this Wednesday, August 11, from 1:00 to 4:00. Buy a $5 card to participate in activities, or just soak the librarians for 25 cents per throw!

The Teen Advisory Board (TAB) worked hard this week to make signs for the stations, and they will be working on Wednesday as well. Come visit us and bring your little siblings or cousins to the fundraiser! Remember to bring money for yourself as well as the kids.


Holla! Libraries Get a Shoutout from Newsweek

From Newsweek (8/9/10)

The number of carbon emissions required to make 40 to 50 books is equal to the carbon emissions required to make one e-reader, so walking to the library is still the most ecofriendly way to read.


Writer's Ink Wrap-Up

Last Wednesday, July 28, was the final meeting of our summer Writer's Ink workshop, let by Nitha for her summer project. She and I put together an anthology of work that the group produced, so look for it at upcoming programs. At the last meeting, everyone got to look at the anthologies, as well as do favorite activities from previous meetings over again. Thanks for a great program, Nitha!!

Magnetic poetry

Everyone's a poet!


Sharing some writing

Look what we wrote!

A silly picture with the anthologies.


Summer Reading Winners, Week Six

I did another random drawing on the computer today, and we've got four teen summer reading winners this week:

Jamie, grade 12, won a basket with two hardcover books, a water ballon kit, a water bottle, candy, and a deck of cards.

Sujoy, grade 7, won a hardcover book and a $5 gift card to Wawa.

Carine, grade 10, won a UDHS bag with two hardcover books, candy, a water bottle, locker magnets, and tie-dyed shoelaces.

Julie, grade 11, won a hardcover book and a $5 gift card to DSW.



Scary Stories with Vicky Town

Last Friday, 34 people showed up to hear Vicky Town tell scary stories! Vicky used to be a local storyteller and actress, until she moved out of the area. She loves to come back, though, so we still get her to do programs. The last time we had her do scary stories for teens was in 2004, which means it was definitely time to do it again, even though it didn't really fit in with the summer theme.

Vicky created a chilling atmosphere with her three unusual tales of ghosts, werewolves, witches, and vampires. My favorite story was the first one, about a family who moves into a home, only to find that a body in the basement is searching for justice. Some people were really scared, while others were extremely brave, but everyone paid attention because Vicky is a great storyteller. I fed everyone a bowl of "fruit salad," which was a watermelon cupcake and some fruit-flavored jellybeans. It was more cute than scary, but still fun.

Thanks for coming to visit us, Vicky!!

Our group picture

The fruit salad