Dystopian teen fiction

Since I’m currently obsessed with anything Hunger Games and Mockingjay-related*, I came across this article from The New Yorker about dystopian fiction for teens.

* (Mockinjay was a huge topic of conversation at a wedding this past weekend, we sat with one of the editors who had some great stories to tell about working with Suzanne Collins. My favorite was how the book was pitched at a lunch meeting as a futuristic dystopian story and they all just trusted that she would tell a great story.)

A cool toy I want to share

Last week, I went to Tech Day hosted by our local consortium. I heard about some interesting tools that you can use in your library but I think my favorite is this one.

It’s available from xtranormal.com. All you do is type up a script and it films and creates the video for you. I think it could be used in so many cool ways. I’m working on one to promote my September teen program. They are going to be creating a Teen Read Week video using our Flip camera.

Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams Published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (June 22, 2010). Review copy provided by publisher.

Holly and Lizzie are sisters. Only a year separates them and they have always been best friends. They take care of each other.

One morning Hope finds Lizzie with a gun pointed at her head. Lizzie is taken to the hospital. Hope must deal with her sister’s attempted suicide and uncover the terrible secrets that made her sister wanted to take her own life. Set in the rural South the girls isolation that is a reality for many rural children and their mother’s chosen profession makes the girls bond stronger and the story more powerful.

A gripping and heart-wrenching book written in verse. I couldn’t put this book down. Carol Lynch Williams amazed me with The Chosen One and her fans will be equally amazed with this book. Fans of Ellen Hopkins’ books will also love this book.

(cover image from Goodreads)

Monthly Bulletin features:

June’s Big Picture – Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve, reviewed by yours truly. Thoughtful in the vein of When You Reach Me but with a bit more younger audience appeal, considering the talking bugs and magical rhubarb.

June’s Dozen – Caped Crusaders and Daring Deeds – A Superhero Dozen to satisfy both kid and teen readers.

June’s Stars – what we starred this month.

What is on my TBR shelf –

Nancy Werlin’s Extraordinary
“In seventh grade, Phoebe befriends Mallory, the secretive new girl in school. The girls become as close as sisters until Mallory’s brother appears and takes hold of Phoebe. Phoebe soon learns the truth about Mallory and Ryland and the age-old debt they expect her to repay.” – from the publisher

The Death and Further Adventures of Silas Winterbottom by Stephen M. Giles
“Meeting for the first time, cousins Milo, Adele, and Isabella soon realize that nothing is as it seems: Lured to their sick Uncle Silas’s home under the pretense of becoming heirs to a vast fortune, the trio figures out too late that Silas is a bone-chilling villain who will stop at nothing to prevent his own death.” – from the publisher

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
“Edward Scissorhands meets The Catcher in the Rye in this wildly imaginative and frighteningly beautiful horror novel about an unusual boy and his search for a place to belong.” – from the publisher

Books to Movies, etc.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower as a movie with stars from Harry Potter and Percy Jackson?!  Sounds sublime.

Also, I saw a commercial this week for the Pretty Little Liars series on ABC Family.  Question is, will it be as amazing as my favorite ABC family drama Make It or Break It or as bad as the books?  🙂

Bringing the Boys In

This past Monday I experienced something I’ve haven’t experienced yet in my nearly one year as a youth & teen librarian, I had twice as many boys at a program than girls. *Gasp!*


All it took was bringing in a local comic book artist and pizza. Anthony Oropeza the creator of the Amigoman comic book visited our library to do a comic book drawing class. He presented on how his character was created and what inspired him to create the Latin Avenger. Several kids who attended my program are working on their own comic books so he talked about what goes into producing a comic book.

The second half of his presentation was showing the kids how to draw comic book characters. Most of them are already really good artists and thought that going back to square one to draw a face was frustrating but in the end I know they were really proud of themselves.

Overall, it was a great program. I know the pizza brought in a couple of kids who weren’t that interested in drawing but like comic books and had a good time. As far as how much this program cost, it was along the lines of some of my more expensive craft programs. Between the artist and pizza it came in just over $100.

You probably have comic book artists in your town and I highly recommend doing this sort of program. We’ll have Anthony back for a more extensive drawing program because there are definitely interested teens.

8:30am – Stop by the library on my way to the elementary school to pick up and change into my Summer Reading Presentation outfit (shorts, a  lei, snorkeling mask, and summer reading t-shirt). Head to the elementary school.

8:45am – Arrive at the elementary school to do Summer Reading Presentations and meet my colleague, Ms. J. The office isn’t sure what we’re supposed to be doing, then the librarian sees us and ushers us into the library. She gives us a schedule and off we head to the third grade.

9am-11:30am – Ms. J and I visit every grade pod (they have the four classes for each grade in a pod with a common area just outside of all of the classrooms for that grade). When we ask the kids what they are going to do this summer and then ask the teachers what they would like the kids to do this summer, the teachers all answer correctly – READ! There are a lot of groans in the fourth grade about how boring reading is.

The fifth grade teachers decide that our time in their pod is time to stand in the corner (about five feet away from me) and talk. When we try to involve the teachers during our riddle contest they obviously haven’t been paying attention and seem annoyed that we would ask them to participate. I’m always amazed when I’ve visited classrooms that some teachers decide they don’t need to listen to my presentation but they get after the kids who are not paying attention.

We change our presentation around a bit for the kindergartners since they may not quite get our game of “Is the book title real or fake?” I read The Sea Serpent and Me by Dashka Slater to them. I’m so nervous because Ms. J does storytime at our library and I’ve never read in front of a group with her in the room.

11:30am – Ms. J and I are exhausted from our school visit but we head back to work for the rest of our day.

11:45am – Arrive back at the library and change clothes. Ms. J and I talk to the director about how the school visit went. It’s our first elementary school visit of the month for summer reading. Two more to go but now we have our routine down.

12pm – Cover the front desk for lunches. Attempt to finish rating the vendors bids for our “Opening Day Collection.” (It’s 10 months late but we had to wait until all of the other construction upgrades such as much-needed sound panels, window shades, a screen in the meeting room and various other things were done to the library to make it a more workable building.)

12:30pm – Lunch. Time to take a deep breath and read.

1pm – Back at the front desk for an hour. Still working through a couple of bids to put comments in the rating sheet. I’m so excited that someone else is going to be analyzing our collection, especially juvenile nonfiction. I’ve been weeding and slowly replacing juvenile nonfiction and I’m always surprised to find a book from the 1970s or 1980s on the shelf. There have been books that looked old when I was a kid in the early 1980s that I wouldn’t have picked up that are on our shelves. I know every library has them but it’s really embarrassing when the only information that’s available to a kid is 20 years old. I definitely don’t subscribe to the “something is better than nothing” philosophy, especially when it comes to books for school reports.

2pm – Meet with the director and assistant director and discuss our ratings of the book vendors for the Opening Day Collection. In the meeting, I realize my form wasn’t as thoroughly filled out as it should have been so I had to give justifications for my ratings on the spot and make notes as we go. Ooops!

3:15pm – Back at my desk to type out my comments on the rating form and readjust a couple of my ratings after our discussions in the meeting. We find out which vendor had the highest rating, it was close but not too close. The discounts were one of the main deciding factors.

3:30pm – Try to work on getting the June programs to appear in the correct order on the website. I pull out a print calendar and number each event to make my life a bit easier with the website. Our website is done with WordPress so each post has to have a specific date to appear in the correct order. Sometimes I wish there was an easier way. Finally, I decide that it’s not worth fretting over today and I’ll work on it tomorrow afternoon.

Follow up with a phone call to the comic book artist who will be doing a comic book drawing class at my library next Monday. Still need an invoice from him so that it can be approved at the board meeting tomorrow.

Start putting together Summer Reading Guidelines for teens.

Answer a couple of patron questions regarding summer teen volunteering.

Unpack the Ellison Dye Cut machine that’s just arrived from another library and show a colleague which dyes need to be cut, how many and which colors for each.

Start to inventory summer reading prize books that left over from last summer in preparation for my visit to the Scholastic Warehouse Book Sale on Wednesday. Realize that there is a reason a lot of them are left over and also wonder how long they have been in our prize box. Picture books and chapter books are really sparse. Teen books are just horrible, does anyone read Sweet Valley University? The teens last fall made it very clear that I need to include manga in the summer reading prize books.

4:30pm – Time to head home and enjoy the beautiful day!