30 July 2009

Scrapbooking & Collage

...And the revealing of what we've been working on for the past few weeks at one of our Express Yourself! Summer Reading Program programs. Basically, for an hour a week, we offered a complete artistic free-for-all. Seriously good times.
(Mine isn't complete. It will eventually be a photo album of sorts for the 3 newest girls in my life and their parents.)

28 July 2009


Anyone in grades 4-12 is invited to play Nintendo Wii at the library the second Friday afternoon of each month, 3:30-5:30 p.m. Check the library's calendar for a schedule of dates/times, or stop into the library to pick up a flyer.

Marble Magnets

Despite Taylor's confusion/suspicion/hesitation, our marble magnets came out pretty cool. And they were super easy to make (just the way I like it). The inspiration and instructions came from the blog, Not Martha.



In an ideal world, I would have had more magnets (especially because we had lots of marbles and a few minutes leftover)... hmm, and a better camera.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

While not for every reader, Marcelo's story is one that transcends boundaries: geography, race, mental and physical ability, gender, and age all become meaningless as his character relates to each and every individual.

Marcelo is a high-functioning seventeen-year-old on the autistic spectrum. When asked, he tells people, "From a medical perspective, the closest description of my condition is Asperger's syndrome." But he doesn't have all of the characteristics usually associated with Asperger's syndrome and autism; he functions very well in most situations, but he lacks the ability to interpret many of the social cues that the rest of the world absorbs mindlessly. In an effort to help Marcelo become more self-sufficient and capable, his father, Arturo, insists that he take a job in the mail room of the offices where he works as a lawyer. It is in this very "real world" situation that Marcelo begins to learn more about others, himself, and the way the world around him truly functions. Not all choices are black and white, not all decisions are right or wrong, but Marcelo must figure out how to live life the best way he can, which sometimes means working hard, making mistakes, and learning to trust.

Recommended to all readers!
Call number: YA STORK (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

25 July 2009

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

I don't know what it is about Sarah Dessen that makes me love chick lit, but I just can't get enough of her stories. (And there are enough to choose from... Just Listen is another one of my favorites.)

When Auden receives a picture from in the mail from her brother (who is spending some international time away from home... for the past two years) that says "Time of your life," she decides to take a chance and head down to the beach to stay with her father and stepmother for the summer months. Heidi just gave birth to Auden's sister, Thisbe, and they've been inviting Auden to their home for months. She decides that it will allow her some time to bond with Dad, get an advance on some of her school reading in preparation for her freshman year of college, and maybe relax a little bit. What she ends up with is the realization that her father isn't the greatest dad, school maybe isn't everything, and she still can't sleep at night. But what she also finds is that through Eli, she's been given a chance to reclaim her childhood, take some chances, and experience new things -- like riding a bike, taking care of a baby, and PROM! Life isn't always as it seems at first glance, and sometimes all you need is a second chance, or a third, or as many as it takes to get it right.

Recommended to girls of all ages, especially those with a (hidden) romantic side.
Call number: YA DESSEN (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

Honor Society

I recently went to a Jonas Brothers concert for their 2009 World Tour. There was a band touring with them called Honor Society. I've never heard of them (until now) and I think their music is fantastic! I recommend for teens to check their music on iTunes or buy their album in stores today!

Reviewed by Caroline, age 12

There is currently nothing available in our libraries by Honor Society, but you can check out a variety of music by the Jonas Brothers through the Franklin Lakes Library collection.

Lines, Vines and Trying Times: ROCK CD 4108
Jonas Brothers: Music from the 3D Concert Experience: J CD 3117
2009 Grammy Nominees: ROCK CD 3892
Radio Disney Jams 10: J CD 3088
A Little Bit Longer: ROCK CD 3633
Disney Channel Holiday: J CD 3027

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Jessica Packwood is a completely normal teenager about to start her senior year of high school, and is very excited about turning 18, her developing crush on Jake, and Math League. The one thing freaking her out is the new foreign guy who she swears called her "Antanasia." Jessica knows that she was adopted and that her birth name is Antanasia, but NO ONE else (besides her adoptive parents) knows that, not even her best friend Melinda. What freaks her out even more is when Lucius Vladescu moves onto her parents' property as a foreign exchange student. He tells Jessica that he is a vampire . . . and so is she! She is descended from Romanian vampire royalty and they are destined to be married because of some pact that was signed when they were infants, before their parents were killed, to ensure peace between their families! What?! He's crazy, right?

This book is yet another title on the growing list of books highlighting the current popularity of vampires. If you can keep in mind that Jessica is NOT Bella, and Lucius is NOT Edward (althoug he's certainly strong and handsome and sensual), and that the setting is rural Pennsylvania, and not Forks, Washington . . . well, if you can do that, then you will be able to appreciate this story's sense of humor and interesting cast of characters, even if it isn't originial or particulary well flushed-out. There's just something about a vampire love story that's hard not to get sucked into (no pun intended)!

Recommended to teen girls.
Call number: YA FANTASKEY (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to be invisible? The Schwa doesn't need to wonder, because he just is, almost all the time, until he finds his way into Antsy's life. Antsy and his friends are intrigued by the Schwa (real name: Calvin Schwa) because he can seemingly pop up out of "nowhere," and almost everyone he comes into contact with ignores him completely or forgets about him immediately. For fun, they decide to test out "the Schwa Effect," and amazingly it appears that Calvin Schwa really is invisible -- at least to teachers and classmates. Could it be possible that money can be made off of the Schwa's ability to disappear and reappear virtually unnoticed? The course of events that take places are hilarious, but along the way the Schwa and Antsy develop a very serious friendship with each other and with Old Man Crawley and his blind granddaughter, Lexie, all of whom must try to help keep the Schwa from disappearing forever.

This book is recommended to all readers, middle school age and older, especially those with an interest in first kisses and ultimate adventures. The prolific Neal Shusterman offers titles that cover a wide range of interests for all ages; for more, try Unwind, Everlost, and The Schwa's sequel Antsy Does Time.
Call number: YA SHUSTERMAN (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

21 July 2009

Summer Reading Program SCHEDULE CHANGE: Creative Writing

FYI for all those interested: due to a lack of sign-up, Creative Writing sessions will not take place on Tuesday Eveninings; instead, please join us in the Local History Room on Thursdays for Scrapbooking & Collage Making from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and Creative Writing from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Questions? Email me at kate_thelibrarian@yahoo.com, call the library at 201.891.2224, or check the library website.

20 July 2009

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

This book states many repetitive themes in the last three books of the Twilight series. Unlike J. K. Rowling and Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer's unoriginality destroys her cycle and therefor diminishes the reputation of her book, Breaking Dawn.

Reviewed by Edward, age 16

16 July 2009

Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks

Cadel Piggott is a genius. Really. At age seven he was brought to see a psychologist because he kept getting in trouble as a result of his manipulation of computer and security equipment. By his thirteenth birthday, he was in his 11th year of school and was causing traffic jams, demolishing building construction, and had the capability to wreak general havoc on his classmates and the surrounding community. After high school graduation, his adoptive parents agreed to enroll him at the Axis Institute, an institute of higher learning that was founded by his long-time psychologist, Thaddeus Roth. The institute was designed to "tap into the unrealized skills of those who have lost their way in a community of fosilized values and blunted minds."

Once at the Institute, Cadel becomes more and more aware of the differences between himself and the other students and teachers. He begins to recognize a pattern of evil, blatantly obvious from some of the course titles: "Computer Science" was Infiltration; "Accounting" was Embezzlement; "Law" was Loopholes. What Cadel does not yet realize is that he could be responsible for complete destruction, without even trying.

For more, check out Genius Squad, the sequel to Evil Genius.

Recommended to middle school readers interested in action, adventure, mystery, and odd suspense!

Call number: YA JINKS (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

14 July 2009

Beads by Bethany

Next week the library welcomes Beads by Bethany, a jewelry designer, Science teacher at West Essex Junior High School, and advisor to the Junior High Jewelry Making Club. On Monday at 4:30 p.m., we'll be making necklaces with glass and pearl beads. You can register for this program by calling the library or online.

Book Boxes

...made from discarded library books! I think that our favorite part was ripping the pages from the attached covers -- gasp! There's just something about destroying something sacred that feels so gratifying. :) This is what we started with:

And this was the result... Fun times!

08 July 2009

Duct Tape

We had an awesome time with Duct tape at one of the Crafternoon programs as part of the Express Yourself! Teen Summer Reading Program at the library. There is so, so much you can do with Duct tape (pretty much anything, really!). Here are some pictures of Taylor making this totally functional, practical bag:

For some great ideas for Duct tape projects, try some of these links:
www.ducktapeclub.com (check out their Ductivities; also, you can purchase some great colors of tape from this site)
http://thecraftychica.blogspot.com (this is where we found directions for the bag that Taylor's putting together)
Also, I can't get enough of Hardwear Jewlery where they also have directions from some jewelry you can create using Duct or electrical tape.

BOOK CLUB - NOV - The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Very often, I avoid books that get a lot of press. Very often when I do that, I'm missing out on some awesome books. (I found this out with Hunger Games and Harry Potter. It's a good thing I got into Twilight before anyone knew about it.) Sherman Alexie's YA title has gotten some rave reviews from day one, and it's a National Book Award winner, so naturally I just got around to reading it this week (because I had to). And I have to say, for a story that took me about an hour to read all the way through (maybe I'm exaggerating), I don't know what took me so long!

Fourteen-year-old Junior wants more from life than to epitomize the stereotypical life of a Native American on the Spokane Indian Reservation. He doesn't want to grow up to be a drunk like his dad or an ex-drunk like his mom. He's one of the smartest kids in his class, and with a little encouragement, he wants to believe that he can contribute to making the world a better place... so he tells his family that he wants to enroll at a (mostly white, middle- to upper-class suburban, prejudiced) school off the rez. The story follows Junior as he attempts to make his way through daily life as an outsider at his new school, and his struggles to play his role as a member of the rez. With touching authenticity, Junior finds hope in his dreams.

Recommended for all teen and adult readers. The illustrations add the best touches of humor to a story that absolutely, truly relates to those from all walks of life.
Call number: YA ALEXIE (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

06 July 2009

Book Club - JULY 22 - The Gospel According To Larry

Josh Swensen is not your average 17-year-old. At the age of two, he was figuring out algebraic equations with colored magnetic numbers. He is a prodigy who only wants to make the world a better place. Josh's wish comes true when his virtual alter ego, Larry, becomes a huge media sensation. Larry has his own Web site where he posts sermons on anti-consumerism and has a large following of adults and teens. Meanwhile, Larry's identity is a mystery to everyone. While it seems as if the whole world is trying to figure out Larry's true identity, Josh feels trapped inside his own creation. What will happen to the world, and to Larry, if he is exposed?

Ø In his quest to be antimaterialistic, Josh has just seventy-five possessions, including shirts, shoes, keys, books, CDs, and underwear. If you had to limit the things you own to seventy-five items, what would they be?

Ø Josh states, "I've only wanted one thing in my life–to contribute, to help make the world a better place . . . not with technology, but with ideas." Is Josh true to his vision?

Ø Is the way Josh/Larry manipulates his followers any different from the way the media, big business, or politicians manipulate the public?

Ø Josh steals confidential documents from Peter's briefcase in order to attack the companies his stepfather represents. Is he right to do this? Does the end justify the means?

Ø Paint a picture of Josh's character. Why is it that he has only one friend? Discuss his relationship with Beth. Do you think he would have created the Larry Web site if he had told Beth how he felt about her?

Ø Discuss the ethics of spouting views on the Internet, or in any medium, under a false identity. Betagold claims that Larry is a coward for keeping his identity a secret. Do you agree? Or is Larry right to think that revealing who he is would detract from his message?

Ø Discuss Josh's motivation for creating the Larry Web site. Is he being honest or is he just playing a game? He is disturbed by the magnitude of the response to his Web site and by the hero he becomes, but he does not close down the web site. Why?
Josh is disillusioned by the reaction of the public once his identity is known. No one seems to be interested in his message–people are interested only in him as a celebrity. The producer of 20/20 tells him, "They want to know about you. You're the story, just you. People want gossip; people want sizzle." Ø What does this tell you about how the media views the public? What happens when the sizzle fizzles?

Ø Josh says that we feast on celebrities, caring for people who have no idea who we are. How do you feel about this? Should we care about the private lives of our favorite rock stars? If you were a celebrity, how would you handle fame?

Ø "No offense, Josh, but this idealism thing is a phase, like so many other things you've been through. . . . You don't have enough life experience. You don't know how the real world works yet." How much of what Peter says to Josh is true, or is it as Josh responds, "Adults always say that to keep kids quiet?"

Ø Some of Josh's actions might be considered unethical. Do you think anything Josh does is immoral? Is the writing of his story the solution for Josh, or is it just another way to avoid taking responsibility? How will Josh find peace? Is he on the right path?

Ø Josh's/Larry's sermons rail against exploitation of third-world countries, celebrity worship, and the way big business manipulates our lives, to name a few issues. What are the things about society that you and your friends hope to change?

**Summary and discussion questions were obtained from Random House and the Teen Reads blog (as prepared by Clifford Wohl, educational consultant).

And to eat? Mmm... apples with peanut butter...

02 July 2009

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

I'm reading the second book of the Twilight series, New Moon. It's a great book and very entertaining. I highly recommend this series to all young adults.

Call number: YA Meyer (Teen Room)

Reviewed by Caroline, age 12

Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes

This story is for the outcasts. The rebels. The loners. The activitsts, innovators, expressionists, and those who desire to be more - so much more - than how the world labels them. This story is for those who are who they are, and don't need to prove anything to anyone. This story is for those who don't even know who they are yet.

Naomi is Olivia's best friend and the self-recognized Scene Queen for Opequonsett High School's school paper. And she's now the "official biographer" who attempts to tell the full, complete story of the creation and development of the band, Lemonade Mouth. As a journalist, she collects pieces of the story from each of the key elements: Wen (trumpet) is looking forward to finding some new friends (any friends would be great, really) in 9th grade; Stella (ukalele) is the dumbest member of her scientist-activist family, is the new kid in town, and is like six feet tall; Charlie (drums times 10) is always getting teased about his weight and his frizzy hair, and he just wants a chance with Mo; Olivia (vocals) is a little overweight, super quiet, and kind of weird (maybe you would be too if your mom skipped out when you were little and your dad's in jail for armed robbery and manslaughter); and Mohini (bass) is totally struggling with her desire to make her Indian family proud and to live a normal American teenage life, complete with a boyfriend. Oh, and of course, there's Mrs. Reznik who used to be a bassist with the Newport Philharmonic, but now she's stuck in the basement in a high school where the music program has been eliminated.

Alternately hilarious and heartwarming, Lemonade Mouth's music touches lives -- especially their own -- in ways that each member would never have thought possible.

Recommended for readers and musicians of all ages.
Request this book through the BCCLS catalog or ask a librarian.

Reviewed by kate the librarian

Transformers II

Last week I saw the movie Transformers : Revenge of the Fallen with a few friends of mine. To me, it was an amazing movie full of action and adventure. I recommend this movie to anyone 10 years old and older, even though it is rated PG-13 (note: which just means you might need to see it with your mom or dad). The reason I recommend it to all ages is because it is so full of excitement that you'll walk out of the theater amazed at how great the movie was.

Reviewed by Caroline, age 12