Book Review: My Unfair Godmother

My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison

Review by Saranjeet
(This book will be released on April 12, 2011)

My Unfair Godmother was a well-written sequel to My Fair Godmother, from my perspective.  It had humor, romance, and morals.  Many many morals.  The main character, Tansy, is a normal teenager who has strange ways of making things look better.  I think the way she faces her problems is very creative.  I like how her sidekick in this book was a boy.  The romance in this story made it more interesting and made me not want to put the book down.  My favorite character in the book was Chrissy, the teenage fairy godmother, because she added the humor and a bit of suspense to the story.  In the beginning, I loved how the story was set up as a term paper and that the conflict was how Chrissy would get into Fairy Godmother University.  I was concerned about the obstacles that Tansy faces in the book. I felt she solved the problem of Robin Hood and his Merry Men like anyone else would have, but I would have rather seen her overcome that obsacle in a different way.  Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and I felt like it lived up to my expectations after reading the first one.


Wimpy Kid's First Flight

I was lucky enough to be at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year for the first flight of the Wimpy Kid balloon!


Bento Box Resources

Before Anime Club last Friday, we did a little bento box workshop and made some cute food!  Bento is a Japanese box lunch, and there are many different varities.  We did mostly oekakiben ("picture bento"), in which the food is arranged to look like people, animals, plants, etc.  If you want to try this at home, it is really easy.  Just grab a plastic container from the cabinet, use the food you have in the house, and apply your creativity!

You can get this book from the library:
You can buy books:
And there are tons of great websites:
There's even an iPad app called Bento Master!


Book Review: How They Croaked

How They Croaked:  The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg

Review by Arig
(This book will be released on March 15, 2011.)

SUMMARY:  How did Cleopatra, a Queen of Ancient Egypt, die? Cleopatra allegedly died from a snake’s bite. Or did she? How They Croaked is a book that brings together famous historical figures and describes their deaths. It gives a brief background about the history of each person but then describes in gory detail the death of each one and their sicknesses. You’ll journey the life adventures and death beds of royals like King Tut and King Henry VIII and other famous people like Einstein or Dickinson. Details that you never hear of in school (that are true) are revealed and they keep you laughing, grossed out, and thanking God for the advanced technology we have today. For example, did you know that Columbus on one of his expeditions got diarrhea? Or that for the men to go to the bathroom on ship they had to hang their rear ends off of the plank of the ship and use a dangling piece of rope to wipe? Sometimes ‘the poop got on their hands and they ate and shook hands with others after’. Eww! Gross! Yet very very funny. There’s more between the book covers.

OPINION:  I’ve got to stay, don’t judge a book by its genre. Who would’ve ever thought that nonfiction would be sooo interesting and funny? It expanded my knowledge on all these famous yet ancient people. The book was hilarious, gross, and totally awesome. My siblings, friends, and classmates stole the book from me so they could get a piece of info on how Einstein died or how King Tut was robbed in his own grave. Not only did kids my age and younger enjoy it, but even most adults found it unavoidable. You will love it! You won’t be sorry you picked it up. I would recommend this book to all ages. Warning: Make sure your stomach won’t flip on some of the nasty facts discovered. Do NOT eat while reading this book.


Recommendation: Lulu Dark and the Summer of the Fox

Lulu Dark and the Summer of the Fox by Bennett Madison
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Recommendation by Arig
Should we keep it? YES
Why?  It was a great book.  The Lulu Dark books always keep you on edge and they are hilarious.

This book was part of the Last Call display in the teen section.  Arig checked it out, read it, and filled out the bookmark with her recommendation.  You can do the same...there are a lot more books that need a boost from readers like you!


Harry Potter Movie Marathon

Last Saturday, 29 intrepid teens showed up for our Harry Potter Movie Marathon, featuring back-to-back-to-back showings of movies four, five, and six!  We started at 9:30 and ended at 4:30.  It was kind of insane, but a lot of fun.  The idea was that it would prepare people to go see the new movie.  A few people had already seen it, and several others had plans for Sunday or later this week.  However, one fanatical group literally left the marathon and went off to the theater!

Back in the summer, Morgan approached me about doing this program.  He didn't just have ideas...he had three pages of notes, including snack ideas and a cost breakdown!  How could I say no!?  A few things changed, but his original idea stayed the same.  As people came in, the "sorting hat" assigned them to a Hogwarts House. 

Morgan asked trivia questions during the movies, which earned people candy for themselves and points for their houses.  At the end of the day, the team with the most points got a prize, even if some of their members came late or left early.  (Something I wanted to do but forgot:  put wizard cards in with the candy.)

Slytherin -- 91
Hufflepuff -- 76
Ravenclaw --75
Gryffindor -- 57

During the second movie, I put out a golden snitch papercraft.  I thought it would be fun to do while watching because those little cuts and folds take patience.  Too much patience, apparently, because only a few people saw it through!  But, it's really cute, so try it yourself.  Also, check out this pattern to make a Ministry of Magic owl paper airplane.

Huge thanks to Morgan for making this possible!  And extra credit to Morgan, Kelliann, Edythe, Drew, Claude, Mike, Egypt, Owen, and Sahva who stayed all day!!


Wanted: Your Old Gift Cards!

Do you have partially used gift cards taking up room in your wallet?  Make space for all of the new ones you'll be getting by donating the old ones to the library!  From now until January 15, pick up an envelope in the children's or adult rooms.  Donations will be consolidated and used to purchase materials and prizes for the 2011 summer reading program.  Every little bit helps...last year, we raised over $100 from this project!


December Drop-Ins!

I added some drop-in programs on Wednesdays in December!  There's no registration, so just stop by after school and bring your friends.  (Yes, there will be snacks.)

Rock Band Drop-In
Wednesday, December 8, 3:00 to 5:00
Enjoy all of our Rock Band games at this laid-back event! We've got five editions: RB2, RB3, Lego, The Beatles, and Green Day.

Dance Dance Revolution Drop-In
Wednesday, December 15, 3:00 to 5:00
Show your moves at our Xbox DDR program! We will project the game onto the wall so four people can dance at once.  No permission slip required.

Craft Closet Cleanout Drop-In
Wednesday, December 22, 3:00 to 5:00
Make something you missed or make something totally new. You never know what we'll pull out of the attic!

Safe Dates Cancelled!

The four remaining sessions of Safe Dates have been cancelled due to lack of registration. There is no teen program today. However, I am planning some drop-in days for the Wednesdays in December, so stay tuned!

New Additions

Here are the newest books to look for in our teen section:

  • You by Charles Benoit
  • The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan (Demon's Lexicon series)
  • Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler
  • Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
  • Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn
  • The Half-Life of Planets by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin
  • Butterfly by Sonia Hartnett
  • A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner
  • Queen of Secrets by Jenny Meyerhoff
  • The Ghosts of Ashbury High by Jaclyn Moriarty
  • Blood Prophecy by Stefan Petrucha
  • Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series; additional copy)
  • Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy)
  • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy)
  • Wired by Robin Wasserman (Skinned trilogy)
  • Zero Regrets:  Be Greater Than Yesterday by Apolo Ohno
  • Foiled by Jane Yolen


Recommendation: Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls

Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls by Bennett Madison
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Recommendation by Arig
Should we keep it?  YES
Why?  It was awesome!  I read it in exactly 1 and 1/2 hours. I literally couldn't put it down.  Just give it a chance and spread the word, and people will get it.  Five stars for the mystery.

This book was part of the Last Call display in the teen section.  Arig checked it out, read it, and filled out the bookmark with her recommendation.  You can do the same...there are a lot more books that need a boost from readers like you!


November Teen Scene Book Suggestions

This month's Teen Scene email newsletter has lots of great reading ideas.  On the list of suggested new books are several that we own, including Manifest by Artist C. Arthur (Kimani Tru) and Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier.  The newsletter also contains two other theme lists, one called "Science and Ethics" and the other called "Sometimes Love Is Funny."  There is something for every kind of reader, so check out the list online or subscribe to get future emails!


New Hybrid Schedule

No, I'm not going green.  But I did just make a late fall schedule of teen events that also includes some winter event previews!  A lot of our fall events were already over, so I just filled up the space with things to look forward to in 2011.  Pick up a copy of the schedule next time you are in so you have the latest info.  I also included a page about the Last Call display currently in the teen section.  Read and rescue a book from now until the end of the year!


A Real-Life Downsiders Moment

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love abandoned places, so books and movies that take place in the forgotten layers of cities are right up my alley.  Recently, I read Downsiders by Neal Shusterman, which draws heavily on the real-life forgotten underground parts of New York City.  However, I didn't really do any actual research on the places he mentioned.  Then, a few days ago, Sara A. posted a really interesting link on Facebook about a spectacular abandoned subway station and I realized that it features prominently in Downsiders!

The station is the old City Hall Station, which was closed when they redesigned the train cars and stations in the 1940s because the curved exit platform caused a dangerous gap.  (Click on that link for a nice slideshow of pictures.)  In Downsiders, this location is called the "Hall of Action" and is used for large, important gatherings of the population.  The history of the City Hall Station is described quite nicely on pages 172-3 of the book. 

There are many abandoned stations all over New York City, and there are even some in Philly!


Book SOS!

It's getting close to the end of the year, and that means it's time for some housekeeping in the teen section.  The shelves are really crowded, so I have to look at all the books and see what is not getting checked out.  Stuff that has gone out fewer than three times in 2010 is in danger of getting taken off the shelves and sent to the book sale!

HOWEVER, I don't want to get rid of things people might actually like, so I made an opportunity for you.  Look for the Last Call display in the teen section from now until the end of the year.  It is located on top of the teen nonfiction section, and every book is yelling things like "Save Me!" and "Act Now!"  You can't miss it. 

Just check out a book, read it, and fill out the bookmark to tell me if you think it's worth keeping.  The display will rotate every few days, so there will always be new books to rescue.  And there will probably be a small reward for those who fill out and return the bookmarks!

Fall Nintendo Night

Last Friday, 32 people attended our fall Nintendo Night!  We tried something new this time:  one-on-one battles with a two-tier tournament system.  Instead of having one big tournament with first- and second-place winners, everyone who lost in the first round automatically moved into the lower tournament bracket and kept competing.  Of course we had our usualy technical difficulties (no power cord arrived with the projector I borrowed...really!?!?) and the tournament ran long, but I generally liked how this idea played out. 

In the main tournament, David J. emerged victorious over all and won a $50 gift card to GameStop.  He and the other semi-finalists, Ranier, John E., and Andrew C., all got candy.  (All of these last initials are important because we had lots of multiple names at this event!)  In the second tournament, Morgan beat out Evan for the $25 GameStop gift card.  Semi-finalistst Evan, Joseph, and Edgar, along with Morgan, all got candy as well.  I also gave out one bonus box of candy to Roy, who, as a 6th grader, was the only middle-schooler to make it into the third round of the main tournament.  Even though he was beaten out, he was proud to represent!

Thanks to a grant from the Delaware County Office of Behavioral Health for helping to make this event possible.  See you at our next tournament this winter!!


Hip-Hop Essentials

On October 22, over 30 teens showed up for Hip-Hop Essentials  Featuring The One Sun Lion Ra and DJ Ambush!  We were in the middle of the adult library, so there were a lot of other people who stopped by the program or listened while they were on the computers.  The program was a positive, interactive discussion of hip-hop history and culture.  Ra also did some rapping and beat-boxing, and got a few kids up on the mic at the end! 

This program was funded by a grant from the Delaware County Office of Behavioral Health.  Thanks for your support!  And thanks to DJ Ambush for filling in when DJ Brother Jamar couldn't make it.  It was great to have you.

 Ra talking to the group


 Another shot of Ra talking  :)

A few guys were brave enough to freestyle on the mic.  They did an amazing job, rapping about everyday stuff like school, fast food, and their families.


Bluford Cart Display

We have too many books to fit on the shelves in the teen section, so I have been creating cart displays on different themes for a while.  For the next few weeks, look for "Beyond Bluford" books on the cart in the teen room.  If you have read all of the Bluford High books, I have a lot of suggestions.  I included books with urban settings, books with African-American characters, and books with "drama," so there's something for everyone.  Check it out!


Conditioning with a Twist

Only five people showed up today for Conditioning with a Twist, but it was fun anyway!  We learned how to make exercise less boring by incorporating different props and making up our own games.  We did everything from backwards races with a ping pong ball on a spoon to jumping around cones in a silly game of follow-the-leader.  We also did some more structured activities using sponge balls, jump ropes, and exercise bands.  I learned a lot, and I hope the teens there did too.  Thanks to Pat from Ageless Exercise and the Verizon Fit for Life grant for making this possible!

Fresh Picks

We're always adding new stuff to the teen collection, so look for these next time you're in or place a hold from home!

  • The Karma Club by Jessica Brody
  • Chasing Romeo by A. J. Byrd (Kimani Tru)
  • Shrimp by Rachel Cohn (replacement copy; signed by the author!)
  • Flash by Michael Cadnum
  • You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn (signed by the author!)
  • We Were Here by Matt de la Pena (signed by the author!)
  • Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey (signed by the author!)
  • Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (replacement copy; signed by the author!)
  • Secret Speakers and the Search for Selador's Gate by K. S. R. Kingworth
  • How to Be Bad by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle (replacement copy; signed by two of the authors!)
  • The Emerald Flame by Frewin Jones
  • I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan
  • The Knife that Killed Me by Anthony McGowan
  • Alice in Charge by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Alice series)
  • Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft
  • Shojo Fashion:  Manga Art School:  How to Draw Cool Looks and Characters by Irene Flores
  • Girls Rock:  How to Get Your Group Together and Make Some Noise by Robyn Goodmark (replacement copy)
  • The Good Neighbors, volume 3, by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh
  • Peace Maker, volume 2, by Nanae Chrono


YA Night of Awesome!

Last night, I went to the YA Night of Awesome at Children's Book World in Haverford.  Rachel Cohn, David Levithan, Matt de la Pena, E. Lockhart, and Sarah Mlynowski all read from their new books, answered questions, and signed books.  It was such a fun night!  They all drove down from New York together for the event, so they were like a bunch of teenagers on a road trip.  Random things I learned include that E. Lockhart also writes children's books under the name Emily Jenkins and that Matt de la Pena's book Ball Don't Lie is being made into a TV series.  We have books by all of them in our teen secton, so check them out.  (I got some of our library copies signed.)  I definitely recommend going to events at Children's Book World...they get some amazing people in there!! 

I also got some books signed for teen summer reading prizes next year:
  • Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn
  • Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (2 copies)
  • The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart


Book Review: Low Red Moon

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
Review by Elena
(Click here to find a library copy.)

Low Red Moon is a story about a 15-year-old girl, Avery Hood, who has lived her whole life in the woods.  One night, her life is changed as she sees her parents being murdered in that very woods, but she somehow does not remember any of it.  The only detail she can recall is seeing a bright silver color all around her for about a second before it was gone.  With no parents, she goes to live with her grandmother, whom she doesn't like very much.

At school, Avery finds herself sad all of the time.  She notices a new boy, named Ben, who she has a crush on at first sight.  She later finds out that Ben is a werewolf of the woods but can never remember what happens to him when he transforms.  Through some sort of special connection these two are able to hear each other's thoughts and find out their feelings toward each other are mutual.

One night, Avery sees the same silver color from the night of her parents' murder, but it is only Ben. Then, the next day a man is found dead in the woods, almost the same kind of murder as her parents'.  This leads Avery to believe that Ben killed the man and her parents, although he denies it.  Avery later finds out the truth about her parents' murder through painful and unfortunate events that occur.  Low Red Moon is a captivating and enjoyable story that I suggest everyone should read!