27 April 2009

Volunteer Appreciation Reception

Franklin Lakes Library thanks our volunteers!
Here are just a few pictures from this Saturday's Appreciation Reception.

Some of the boys... I believe Peter was crowned champion of the games...

Some people are at least pretending to listen to me as I thank them for all of their hard work. :)

Adult Services/Reference Librarian Linda with Jennifer (and her mom) and Kevin, our super-volunteer with well over 50 hours.

Stiff : The Curious Life of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

A Head is a Terrible Thing to Waste. Crimes of Anatomy. Life after Death. Dead Man Driving. How to Know if You’re Dead.

These are just a few of the chapter headings of Stiff, a book about the various real-life uses for dead bodies in the worlds of medicine, religion, and car crash tests, among others. Mary Roach doesn’t have a science degree, but she sure does have a sense of humor, and a knack for writing humorously, about subjects that we don’t know are funny until we read what she has to say about it. Roach doesn’t hold back on graphic descriptions of dead bodies, their insides, or their remains, so don’t expect an effortless read; you’ll learn more about your body than you ever wanted to know. All the same, who knew that dead bodies could be so cool?!

(Also, I haven't read them, but two books were mentioned in Stiff that sounded intriguing enough to look up; BCCLS owns both of them: Burried Alive : The Terrifying History of Our Most Primal Fear by Jan Bondeson and Thomas Edison's The Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison, edited by Dagobert D. Runes.)

Recommended for high school readers of all shapes and sizes.
Call number: YA 611 ROACH

Reviewed by kate the librarian

21 April 2009

Taco Bell for High School Graduates!

I'm not necessarily one to endorse fast food as part of your regular eating habits. And with that disclaimer out of the way, I will admit that I love Taco Bell. As far as I'm concerned, Taco Bell would win out over BK, McDonalds, and Wendy's any day of any week, ever. I will be forever grateful for the one who introduced me to Taco Bell (even if I'm grateful to him for nothing else).

Onto the real reason for this post...
Participating Taco Bell Restaurants will donatd 15% of their gross sales on THURSDAY, APRIL 23, 2009 to the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, the company's nonprofit organization dedicated to helping teens graduate from high school and be prepared for college, careers, and life.

As an added bonus, the Foundation is providing consumers a chance to win one of four $25,000 scholarships to be used for tuition at an accredited college or vocational school. The sweepstakes invites consumers visiting participating Taco Bell Restaurants on April 23 to receive a special code that must be entererd on
www.tacobellgraduation.com for a chance to win. No purchase necessary.

The one-day fundraiser is part of a $5 million annual giving goal that will directly fund teen programs at Boys & Girls Clubs across the country.

Do you have
Facebook? Show your support for this cause by adding this application and uploading a photo to the World's Largest Yearbook. The Foundation's goal is to build a Facebook Yearbook with one million "friends," representing the current number of teens who drop out of high school each year.

The high school dropout rates are staggering in America, with one student dropping out of high school every 26 seconds. More than 30 percent of teens in the U.S. and up to 50 percent of Latinos and African Americans fail to graduate with their class. Dropouts are more likely than high school graduates to be unemployed, in poor health, living in poverty, in prison, or on public assistance.

For more information on the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens and its national initiatives or to make an online donation to the campaign, visit
www.tacobellgraduation.com. You can also follow them on Twitter: Twitter @Tacobell4teens.

The Taco Bell Foundation, Inc., dba Taco Bell Foundation for Teens (TBFT), a non-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation, is committed to addressing the growing number of high school dropouts in the U.S. by providing at-risk youth with mentors and real-world experiences that will motivate them to stay in school and achieve more in life. Since 1995, TBFT has donated more than $23 million to support teen programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of America with the help of on-going customer, franchisee and employee donations. For more information about TBFT, visit

While you're in the giving mood, consider making a donation to my Relay for Life Team Page --
Boys' Night Out -- in support of the American Cancer Society. You can donate online or print out a donation form.

16 April 2009

Book Club - MAY - Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

All over the country, a strange phenomenon is occurring. Some teenagers who die aren't staying dead. Termed "living impaired" or "differently biotic," they are doing their best to fit into a society that doesn't want them. Fitting in is hard enough when you don't have the look or attitude, but when almost everyone else is alive and you're not, it's close to impossible. With her pale skin and goth wardrobe, Phoebe has never run with the popular crowd. But on one can believe it when she falls for Tommy Williams, the leader of the dead kids. Not her best friend, Margi, whose fear of the differently biotic is deeply rooted in guilt over the past. And especially not her neighbor, Adam, the star of the football team. Recently, Adam has realized that his feelings for Phoebe run much deeper than just friendship. He would do anything for her; but what if protecting Tommy is the one thing that would make her happy? (http://www.hyperionbooksforchildren.com/)

Ø Were there things you wanted to know that the author didn’t tell you?

Ø What makes a zombie different from a living person?

Ø Do zombies have souls? In the same way as living beings?

Ø What kind of groups of people might these zombies represent? (Minorities in a white school, the special ed students who get teased at lunch time, teens involved in mixed relationships, or just the strange kid in the seat next to you, the one who wears all black and hates going to football games.)

Ø Why do zombies have different rights than others, or no rights at all? What do you think about this? What kind of rights do you think they should have, if any?

Ø What do you think are the medical reasons that some teens are coming back to “life.”

Ø What kinds of things do you think might be going on behind the doors of the laboratories at the Hunter Foundation for the Advancement of Differently Biotic Persons?

Ø What are some ways to get involved in society reform or political activism? How can one reach out to a group that doesn’t seem to be listening? Is there any point in “preaching to the choir”?

Ø Tommy’s blog is still active (
www.mysocalledundeath.com). What do you think about using modern technology and resources to extend a story beyond its “natural” life within a book’s pages.

Ø What do you think would happen in a sequel? Would you read it?

For food, I'm thinking gummy worms... maybe some fruit from Karen's lunch... or some after school snacks in honor of Phoebe & Margi (maybe something coffee-flavored?)...

Third Place -- Teen Poetry Contest


As each of heaven's tears drop and bless our given Earth,
The sky of wonder turns a deep dark shade of gray.
As the sun is slowly blinded by the clouds,
All cares are lost and evaporated away --
Leaving our soul free and innocent from worries . . .
Each drop of salty water relieves the grass's thirst,
Each drop of cold rain leaves ornaments on a spider's web,
Each drop a rounded gem sliding down the flower's petals,
Leaving a tear-stained face.
The moon reveals beneath the clouds;
Silence envelopes the dark midnight reverie.
Yet, in the drifting distance, the thundering sobs echo . . .

written by Kaity, Bergen Academies

Second Place -- Teen Poetry Contest

Fabric tears,
Colors fade,
Stitches unravel,
Friendships remain.
They sit there
Stranded on a shelf
Of old toys
And baby pictures.
Sometimes they were guests
At luxurious tea parties.
Most times, they were
Best friends I could share secrets with
Long into the night.
Now the days of pretending have ceased.
They are just button eyes,
Staring me down
Welcoming me home.
At times I want to pack away
My childhood days
But somehow I can't bring them up
To the attic, where
They will accumulate dust, where
Childhood friends
Can disappear
written by Olivia, Eisenhower Middle School

First Place -- Teen Poetry Contest

To be Free

Shyness sits in the corner of the room,
Staring out fearfully.
Watching the world carefully,
She wants to be alone.
Watching me move around,
I look up, feeling her.
I see her in the corner waiting,
Waiting to be free.

So I leave,
But I hover near the door.
Watching carefully.
Slowly, she creeps out of her corner.
She pauses, checking all around.
Wondering why I left.
Wishing to be free.

Shyness is sure she is alone.
She clears a path,
Through the clutter.
There is a place to be free.

She opens her mouth,
Releasing a bell-like note.
A beautiful sound.

I watch her closely,
Seeing her every movement.
I listen carefully.
So carefully, soaking up the beauty.
The beauty coming from the one note.
The wonderful note,
So solid and still.
It is quavering, breaking off.

She closes her mouth,
Cutting off the note.
Silence falls,
An unbearable silence.
So quiet, so placid, so peaceful.
She leaps up twirling,
And lands.

She leaps higher,
Twirling the whole time,
And lands.
She jumps again.
She almost touches the ceiling.
She lands.
She leaps one final time.

Touching the ceiling.
She lands.
She stops.
She stands.

I dare not move,
In fear of her catching me watching.
I dare not breathe,
I fear she will hear me.

She pulls out a pen,
Out of my drawer.
She pulls out my chair.
And sits.
I know now who she is.
Why she is here,
She is me.
I am her.

written by Kimi, Franklin Avenue Middle School

2nd NLW Teen Poetry Contest

Congratulations to the winners of the second annual National Library Week Teen Poetry Contest at Franklin Lakes Public Library!

Kimi Braun, an eighth grader at Franklin Avenue Middle School in Franklin Lakes, received First Prize: a $50 American Express Gift Card.
Olivia Surgent, an eighth grader at Eisenhower Middle School in Wyckoff, received Second Prize: a $25.00 Starbucks Gift Card.
Kaity Hsieh, a sophomore at Bergen Academies, received Third Prize: a $25.00 Starbucks Gift Card.

The Teen Poetry Contest was part of the celebration of National Library Week 2009. At Franklin Lakes Public Library and area schools, teens were given a contest entry form and encouraged to create original poems or song lyrics. We received 43 awesome poems or songs, and three winners were chosen. Copies of the winning entries can also be found on display in the library. Thank you so much to all the teens who submitted entries for this contest - It made the job of choosing just three winners very difficult for the judges! Thank you for your participation.

07 April 2009

Truancy by Isamu Fukui

This action-packed, blood-soaked, single-minded adventure is a common tale of good vs. evil filled with characters who all believe that they are on the side of “good.” The Mayor and his Educators fight to maintain control over The City by restricting the actions and knowledge of their students. Former students and their leader, Zyid, make up a group known as Truants to battle the Educators for their physical, emotional, and academic freedom. And then there is Umasi, one of the Mayor’s sons, who lives in isolation as a pacifist – sympathetic to the plight of the students, but refusing to be party to the violence on either side. When Tack’s little sister becomes an innocent victim at the hands of a Truant, he vows to enact revenge. Ironically, with Umasi as a mentor, he has learned skills that make him one of the top members of the Truancy, allowing him to fit in easily among the other runaway students, and he uses the advantage to build trust with Zyid. Complications mount as Tack begins to recognize his loyalty to the Truancy, and how that interferes with his plans to avenge his sister’s death. He must come to his own conclusions . . . but at the risk of how many lives?

The book could have benefited from a thorough editing job. The amount of adjectives in every sentence could rival a thesaurus, and often the characters seem wooden and one-dimensional. However, the fast pace that carries along the action, adventure, and mystery are likely to keep the reader’s attention and interest. Those who are reading more for the excitement of the story will be enthralled, as long as they aren’t too critical of the dialogue.

Appropriate for older middle school and early high school, and recommended to boys and girls alike. Teen readers will love that this book was written a high school student from NYC.

Call number: YA FUKUI (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

02 April 2009

Book Club - APR - The Boy In the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

(Be warned of spoilers! This book is best read when you know as little about it in advance as possible!)
Check out this massive discussion and information guide:

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas depicts a fictional friendship set during World War II. Bruno, the eight-year-old son of a newly-promoted Nazi officer, moves with his family from a comfortable life in Berlin to a lonely existence in the countryside. An adventurous boy with nothing to do, Bruno ignores his mother's instructions not to explore the back garden and takes off for a "farm" he has seen from his bedroom window. As he approaches a barbed wire fence, Bruno sees Shmuel, the boy in the striped pajamas, on the other side, and an unlikely and life-changing friendship develops.

Some great thought-provoking questions are included in this packet.

A group of eighth and ninth grades got together at the library to watch the movie a few days before we met to discuss the book, and there were mixed reviews about the visual representation of the story. It seems that my readers either loved it or hated it. Me, I read an advanced review copy of the book almost three years ago, so the movie didn't conflict with my feelings about the story. I still cried at the end from sheer horror and sadness.

The official discussion of the book was fabulous. The group really "got" what was going on, and how history impacts the world we live in now. Any thoughts?

Jon suggested that we eat some chocolate cake as we discussed the book, in honor of Bruno's edible gifts to Shmuel during their short-lived friendship.