Monday, December 13, 2004

More teen activities

Well, I just noticed that I have been very negligent in posting to my teen zone blog! My apologies to those of you out there who keep up with it. I need to mark it on my calendar or something to remember it more often! Definitely one of my New Year's resolutions ... update blog more often.

But, as usual, I have been busily reading for RITBA. Right now I have Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever sitting on my night table. It's a story about a girl whose dad dies and she is still trying to cope with her grief a year later. She lives a very orderly life but ends up working with a very disorganized catering company. I haven't finished it yet but it's interesting so far.

The other book I have been reading is The Painters of Lexieville by Sharon Darrow. This one is a lot shorter in length than the other so I think I'll have it finished first. It's about a very poor family in a rural area just trying to get by but it's sad because the main female character just got badly beaten by a neighbor man who was always going after her! It was pretty horrible the way the beating is described. Hope something good happens in the end!

Also, Teen Zone has been busy lately which is great and we've had bead night, Sculpey clay and collage craft nights! Tomorrow night is movie night and we'll watch a very funny movie: Dodgeball starring Ben Stiller & Vince Vaughan!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

one of those hideous books where the mother dies

Just the other day I was talking to a ninth grade girl who told me she liked the book What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones. I haven't read this yet but one of the new books on my stack of books to read was One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, also by Sonya Sones, so I read that one. This is another novel written in the form of a poems. In this one the narrator's voice is the same for each one and it's the girl who is the main character of the book.

Since I do enjoy poetry, I have no problem with the format and I feel as if they are very quick to read. Ruby writes about her life after her mother dies and she is sent to live with the father she never knew. This isn't a new theme in teen fiction except this time her father is a famous movie star who lives in L.A. so she is adjusting to life without her mother and adapting to a very different lifestyle at the same time.

I'm planning to suggest this title for the RI Teen Book Award list if it isn't on there already!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Girl, 15, Charming but Insane

Once again, another British writer and another wacky British teenage girl. Girl, 15, Charming But Insane by Sue Limb has an eye-catching cover with a teen girl made to look like the painting The Birth of Venus. Jess is a girl who wants to fit in and at the same time be noticed. When she wants to impress people at a party she makes fake breasts for herself by filling balloons with minestrone soup leading to a very, messy result when she springs a leak.

The other book I read this weekend is one that won't be published until February 2005. It's called The Secret Under My Skin by Janet McNaughton. She's a Canadian writer who gives a very bleak view of the future, one where people are afraid to be outside during the day because the ozone layer is nearly gone. The main character lives in an orphanage until she is taken to live and help another young woman who has been chosen to be a Bio-Indicator.

So far this year I've read about 73 books. Most of what I've read this past year have been books written for teens and they're all really good! Let me know if you have any suggestions for books to read for me!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

still reading

Once again I spent part of my weekend reading ... this weekend I finished two books that I'm reading as part of the RI Teen Book Award Committee. The one I really enjoyed was Faerie Wars (2003) by Herbie Brennan. This book caught my attention from the beginning because the main character is a boy in present day England who deals with his parents' separation and his lack of friends. Then we meet a boy in another realm who cares about animals and nearly gets killed in the first scene. Later we find out that he is the son of the emperor who ends up accidentally sent to present day England meeting the boy from the beginning of the novel. Good book, really kept me going

The other one I just finished is Breath (2003) by Donna Jo Napoli. I had high hopes for this book because the other book I read by the same author Beast (2000) was really good. This book was interesting but confusing. Napoli seems to always take a story we're all familiar with like Beauty and the Beast or, in this case, the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Do you know this story? The town is plagued by rats and the piper offers to get rid of the rat for a price. When he isn't paid he spirits all of the children out of the town, into the hils outside the town and they are never seen again.

This sequence doesn't occur until nearly the end of Breath but in the meantime we meet a boy named Salz who suffers from a weird breathing disorder (in the afterword we learn it was cystic fibrosis) who remains healthier than his family and neighbors when a bizarre illness overtakes one and all. The whole story is a bit hard to follow but you may like it more than I did!

Monday, October 04, 2004

New teen fiction

Now that I'm reading for the Rhode Island Teen Book Award committee again, I am immersed in teen fiction once again. At the same time I am on the lookout for good books to add to our list. Last week I went to Manchester, New Hampshire for the New England Library Association's annual conference.

One of the best talks I went to was called "Quick Picks for Young Adults." In this session we were givnen a list of recently published books that have teen appeal. Some of them I had read and have in the library but one book she raved about I hadn't picked up yet. The book is called Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn. (She told us another book by the same author and with the same characters called Shrimp comes out this spring.)

Basically she told the crowd that we should all read this book. Her enthusiasm got the better of me and I went back to my library and found it on the shelf. Truth be told this book caught my eye when I first started as the teen librarian because it has a great black and pink striped cover . The young girl who is the main character in the book is named Cyd Charisse and her doll is Gingerbread. Cyd has never really met her biological father having been raised by her mother and stepfather. But, after a series of missteps, Cyd is sent to New York to visit the father she never knew.

This description isn't doing the story justice but the book has great characters and situations. I'm really glad I read this one. Cyd is a very unique girl and doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the world. She is sure of herself and her feelings in many ways but she also needs Gingerbread to help her out sometimes. Let me know if you've read this one because it was a lot of fun.


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Keeping You a Secret

Going through the stack of new books I've received in the Teen Zone, I decided to read Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters. This book was pretty intense since it focused on a topic I haven't read much in fiction (or non-fiction, for that matter.)

When Holland meets Cece, she feels something stirring that she didn't expect. Even though she has a steady boyfriend, Holland really cares about Cece who is an out and proud lesbian. Throughout most of the book you read about the ups and downs of high school life for a smart, college-bound, student council president but when Holland's family finds out she is gay, her whole carefully planned life veers way off course.

This book is well-written and the voices of the teen characters ring true. The author has also written two other books, Luna, about a transgendered boy, and Define Normal. If you have a chance to read something by Julie Anne Peters, let me know what you think!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Head Games

Someone just asked what the second great book I read last weekend was ... it was Head Games by Mariah Fredericks. While reading for the Rhode Island Teen Book Award committee last year, I read and enjoyed her first book, The True Meaning of Cleavage so I was eager to read another one of hers.

This time the character is immersed in a role playing game online in order to fill her time she used to spend with her best friend who suddenly won't talk to her. Then she realizes someone else playing the game knows her and she wants to find out who it is!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Head Games

Since I volunteered to read for the Rhode Island Teen Book Award Committee again, I spent the weekend reading two great books. The first one I read was Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini. I read the first book he wrote which was true stories about his high school adventures. This time out Vizzini wrote, what I think, is a great novel with real characters, one of whom experiences something sort of unbelievable. The main character swallows a pill, called a squip, which teaches him to be cool. With the squip in his system he goes to parties, makes out with girls and aces a test without studying. Of course there is a down side to the squip but I'm not going to reveal the ending, of course.

Aside from this unbelievable twist, I think the dialogue and characters were very good. If you're looking for something different, try this one!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Vote for Larry

Just in time for the November election comes the sequel to The Gospel According to Larry entitled Vote for Larry. Author Janet Tashjian writes about a high school boy who tries to make a difference. When I visited at Tolman High School for a health fair in November of last year, a student told me about this book. It wasn't until earlier this month that I read it and just now finished reading the sequel.

Both books are great and I can see why that student was so excited about the book. The books made me think about my own involvement in change and thinking about keeping my number of possessions to a minimum. Unlike Larry I do love to shop, but mostly for off-beat and inexpensive things. Last weekend I actually went to the mall and didn't buy anything. It was still fun!

Saturday, July 31, 2004

summer reading

As of right now I have 33 "Rate that Book!" forms that have been turned in to me for prizes. I'm pretty excited about it because I had hoped for 50 by August 24th and it looks like we just might make it!

Remember, this project is the Teen Summer Reading Program where you earn a small prize for every form filled out which also equals each book read. It's okay if you're reading these books for school, that's the plan ... for all of you to get some added incentive for the books you are already reading!

See you in the Teen Zone!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

amelia rules! the whole world's crazy

Amelia Rules! The Whole World's Crazy by Jimmy Gownley is a graphic novel with a 9-year-old main character but it can definitely be enjoyed by all ages. Amelia & her nerd friends are very amusing, whether they're on a camping trip with Amelia's dad or in gym class.
 
Amelia and her mom have just moved in with her aunt because her parents are divorced. This is a source of frustration for Amelia but she copes by making friends with the kids in the neighborhood.  Unfortunately she realizes too late that she has made friends with the outcasts of school including one kid who wears his pjs all the time and is called Pajamaman!
 
This collection of Amelia stories may remind you of the "Peanuts" cartoons... Charlie Brown and the gang are a lot like Amelia and her hapless bunch.

Friday, July 09, 2004

another new book

Another new book that came my way through publisher Harper Collins FirstLookTeen.com is Comedy Girl by Ellen Schreiber. This book is funny, just as its name implies. High school student Trixie Shapiro is a funny girl who wants to do stand-up comedy but freezes when she's in the spotlight.

But Trixie finally gets her chance on stage at a local comedy club and she's a hit. She also lands a date with the boy she's had a crush on for a long time. Things couldn't be better, right? Well, you'll have to read this one when it comes out to know how it ends!

Keep your eye out for new books in the Teen Zone. We've also gotten some new computers in the area too ... just to look up library items and use research databases, but it should be helpful.

Friday, July 02, 2004

a new book

As you all know, I am always reading something ... usually two or three books at the same time. Right now I've been reading a new book called Airborn by Kenneth Oppel. I received an advance uncorrected proof through its publisher Harper Collins. It's fantasy but based in reality with airships being the main type of transportation in this world.

The main character, Matt Cruse, is a cabin boy who wants to work his way up the ranks to being an airship captain someday. So far I'm about a third of the way through it and it's keeping my attention.

Also, there is a really cool website www.airborn.ca which has cool diagrams of the airship and mock-up old newspapers. Check out the website or even the book!

Monday, June 28, 2004

rate that book!

The first "Rate that Book" form was turned in today by a girl entering the ninth grade in September. She actually filled out this very short evaluation sheet while sitting at the desk in front of me, it's that easy!

Today a lot of kids and parents came in search of summer reading list books. Some schools are assigning specific books to read but others are letting kids choose from a long list of suggestions. If you have a choice, don't just pick from the list. Everyone is picking from the list. Use your imagination! Think outside the box and try another book by an author you know or ask your friends the names of books they've read and liked.

As a last resort, you can always ask the Teen Librarian! Hope to see you soon.

Friday, June 25, 2004

duct tape wallets

We had over 50 people here to watch the movie "50 First Dates" on Tuesday night. It was very funny ... Adam Sandler & Rob Schneider are really good together!

The next event for Teen Tuesdays @ the Library is Tuesday, June 29 when you have a chance to make your very own duct tape wallet! Those who like offbeat, funky accessories will have a lot of fun. All materials will be provided for you, of course!

Just recently I saw duct tape wallets for sale at a store on Thayer Street for $18!! See you Tuesday!

Monday, June 21, 2004

teen movie night

Well, tomorrow night we'll show "50 First Dates" with Adam Sandler & Drew Barrymore. I haven't seen this movie yet so I'm looking forward to watching it with all of you, too!

As always lemonade & popcorn will be available for snacking ... we just have to watch the mess this time! Last time there was a lot of popcorn on the floor which meant a lot of work for the custodian the next day.

Speaking of movies, I finally went to see "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" and I really liked it! Last year before the new book came out I listened to all of the previous books on CD so I was ready for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix but I haven't read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for a few years so maybe my memory isn't the best but I thought it was well done! Definitely go see it!

Thursday, June 17, 2004

lots of new books

Spent the morning in the Teen Zone looking over and shelving new books. There are so many great books that come out each year. Definitely one of my favorite parts of being a librarian is when I get to order new books. Earlier this week I went to New England Mobile Bookfair with another librarian and we bought lots of great books, all of which are ready to be checked out.

Next time you're in the library, head up to the Teen Zone and say hi ... I'll show you some of the new paperbooks such as Francesca Lia Block's I Was a Teenage Fairy and You Don't Know Me by David Klass.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

library scavenger hunt

Well, 12 people hunted for information inside the Pawtucket Public Library last night! Nearly everyone found all the answers ... no matter how obscure! Of course I would've liked a bit more hunting of clues rather than asking library staff members for the answer but that's okay. As I said, everyone who started with the hunt, finished it and returned for some prizes.

Now I want to see how many students in grades 6 and up will read and report in the Teen Zone this summer. Those who contribute to at least 50 books being read this summer will enjoy a pizza party at the end of August, so start reading! Nearly everyone has to read for school over the summer so by signing up for the Teen Summer Reading Program, you get a chance to earn some rewards.

But last night was fun ... talking to my scavenger hunt participants, looking at their answers and just sharing a snack together was great! The best thing was when one boy described me as not just a library but a book freak, but he didn't mean that in a bad way ... I definitely take it as a compliment!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

teen zone photos

Well, as the Beastie Boys would say: Ch-Ch-Check-it out! The Teen Zone has made its debut on the webpage. Your very own Teen Librarian took the photos and now you have an idea what our area looks like, in case you've never been there! How cool is that?

Come up to the Teen Zone, make a Magnetic Poetry poem, look at new books, read a comic or a magazine but just come into the library and see what's there!

Don't forget, your comments and suggestions are always welcome! It's great talking to teens who come up in or around my desk up there. I was talking to a Tolman student on Friday who told me he just read Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I had a few suggestions for other offbeat titles. Can't wait to hear what he liked!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

summer reading

Trust me, even though I am a librarian and like to read, I know that few people want to complete reading assignments over the summer. But since most schools require some reading during vacation, wouldn't it be nice to get an extra reward for the effort?

Well, that's the idea behind the new Teen Summer Reading program. It's part of Teen Tuesdays @ the Library. Starting June 15 at 6 pm, every Tuesday there will be something: movies, crafts, games. And, as always, it's free and fun!

But to get credit for the reading you're doing for school, you need to sign up with me beginning June 15, check back with me when you've finished a book, fill out a short form and pick up a prize or two! Sounds simple, right? Well, it is but it's a new program so it may take time to work out the details.

Keep checking the website for updated info!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

teen movie night

Well, there were about 30 people who showed up to watch the movie this evening ... unfortunately not everyone stayed for the whole thing but My Baby's Daddy with Anthony Anderson, Eddie Griffin & Method Man, among others, had some funny moments.

The next movie being shown will be 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler & Drew Barrymore. Hope this one is as funny as it looks!

Next Tuesday, June 15th students in middle and high school should come to the library to sign up for a summer reading program. Do you need to read for school during the summer? Well, if you do, sign up with the teen librarian and earn some prizes for your effort! Still not sure? Just come to the library on Tuesday at 6 pm to see what it's all about!

Monday, June 07, 2004

monday in the teen zone

Well, here it is, another Monday afternoon in the library.

Just put up a few new postcards I got at a library conference on Friday. They were given out by a company that makes audio books. I've read all three books: Fat Kid Saves the World by KL Going, A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly and Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez.

My favorite of these three books is definitely Fat Kid Saves the World because it's a good story even if it's a little strange. The fat kid of the title is ready to throw himself in front of a subway when an elusive kid named Kurt convinces him to become the drummer in his band. Never mind that he doesn't really know how to drum, it's enough that Kurt believes in him.

Everyone I know who's read it has really liked it... let me know what you think.