28 April 2011

Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

Kit Corrigan grew up in a nontraditional poor Irish family of five: she's one of three triplets, "the Corrigan Three,"  raised by her father and his sister.  As an oddity in the 1940's, they preformed and played parts for local advertisements and shows.  While Muddie was "the shy one" and Jamie the adventurer, Kit was always the beautiful, charming little girl in the spotlight.  And it suited her well.

At nineteen, she's trying to make it big in New York City, trying her hardest just to land small roles in small theater shows.  When her boyfriend's (ex-boyfriend's?) father, Nate Benedict, a wealthy lawyer, offers her an apartment to stay in while she's looking for more work, promising it as an apartment that she can share with Billy when he returns home after completing his duties in the Korean War, she doesn't see how she can refuse.  But she soon finds that the apartment doesn't come with "no strings attached" as promised.  She's conveniently offered a job as a dancer at the Lido Club and is asked to spy on regulars and report back to Nate.  When one of the regulars turns up murdered, she's terrified to learn that Nate is defending the hitman and what role she herself might have played in the whole thing.  How did she get mixed up with Nate "No Witnesses" Benedict, and how will Billy react when he uncovers the truth?  What exactly is the truth?

A mix of 1940's and 50's mob history with romance, mystery, and adventure is sure to grab the attention of more than one type of reader.  This story throws a lot of punches and leaves a few bodies in its wake and these aren't characters that will be easy to forget.  Recommended to all readers looking for an enthralling telling of underground business and everyday life.  And as an added bonus, like What I Saw and How I Lied by the same author, this is one of the best-told stories I've read in some time.
Call number: YA BLUNDELL; YA CD BLUNDELL (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

26 April 2011

Teen Poetry Coffeehouse

The library celebrated poetry and the winners of the Teen Poetry Contest at a Poetry Coffeehouse and Open Mic Night!  Congrats to our four winners (two are pictured here: Andrew and Marica, first place and runner up winners) and thanks to all who participated!

Our poetry contest winners celebrating with their families.

 Marica reading her poem "How a Hippo is a Cookie" and Andrew reading his award-winning "Dandelions."

 Marica and Andrew with Teen Librarian, Kate.

 ACCT was selling bracelets and cookies to raise money for the Japan relief effort through "Save the Children."  Great job ACCT and thanks for coming to hang out for a while!

18 April 2011

Winner -- NLW Teen Poetry Contest


Rolled up cobwebs drifting everywhere
Drifting through deserts
Drifting through fields
Like a spirit looking for a home
Until at last
The wind dies down
Then . . . Slowly . . .
Finally at rest.

Written by Andrew K. Fong, age 11.

3 Runner Up -- NLW Teen Poetry Contest

Your FairyTale

You built yourself a fairytale
A world of castles and Dragons
You created your knight in shining armor
To fight with you through everything
You dreamed yourself some dragons
Tu guard and to protect you
You built yourself a tower
To watch over your kingdom like a hawk
You created yourself a pedestal
You were above everyone
You had your moment in the light
You had your time in power
You built yourself a FairyTale
But you didn't think of how to disassemble it
Your kingdom is crashing down on you
Your knight has turned against you
Your dragon is breathing fire over you
Your tower windows fogged up
The pedestal you built yourself is crumbling down
Your kingdom has fallen out from under you

If only you had built a way out.

Written by Danielle, age 14.

2 Runner Up -- NLW Teen Poetry Contest

How a Hippo is a Cookie

A hippo that dances on your tongue
Only sweeter
And lighter
And warm

A hippo that can melt in your mouth
Only smaller
And yummy 
And soft

A hippo that lifts you; makes you fly
Several seconds
Off the ground
'Til it's gone

A hippo is a warm cookie
Right from the oven
With a cold glass of milk
On a Sunday afternoon.

Written by Marica Lesznik, age 15.

1 Runner Up -- NLW Teen Poetry Contest

The Candle
Somewhere in the darkness
A lone candle burns.
It burns with its flame eternal,
Burning bright, so bright.

Its radiant light shines like a star,
A beacon of hope to all,
It fights the dark like a toy soldier, on and on
Fighting forever, never faltering.

The dark, it does not like the light.
It tries to wrap it with its wispy tendrils,
It tries to extinguish its flame,
Burning bright, so bright.

But no matter how hard the darkness tries,
It shall never succeed, no matter how it fights,
For the candle burns its radiant flame brightest in the night,
Burning bright, so bright.

Written by Michael, age 13.

National Library Week Teen Poetry Contest Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of the annual National Library Week Teen Poetry Contest at Franklin Lakes Public Library!
Andrew Fong, sixth grader at Franklin Avenue Middle School, will receive First Place, awarded with a $50 American Express Gift Card, for his poem “Dandelion.”  Three runners’ up prizes will also be awarded each with a$25.00 Barnes and Noble Gift Card:  Michael Park, eighth grader at Franklin Avenue Middle School, for “The Candle”; Danielle Linz, also an eighth grader at Franklin Avenue Middle School, for “Your FairyTale”; and Marica Lesznick, sophomore at Ramapo High School, for the original poem, “How a Hippo is a Cookie.”

Contest winners will receive their prizes and be specially recognized at a Teen Poetry Coffeehouse and Open Mic Night at Franklin Lakes Library on Monday, April 25, 2011, 6:30-8:30 p.m.  All teens and families are invited to this event to share original and favorite pieces of writing.

The Teen Poetry Contest was part of the celebration of National Library Week 2011 and National Poetry Month.   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 over 25 poems and a Grand Prize winner plus three runners’ up were chosen by an array of local judges and library workers.  Entries were judged on creativity, originality, flow and polish, and overall impact.  Copies of the winning entries can be found on display in the library.  Thank you so much to all the teens who submitted entries for this contest!

14 April 2011

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King

Vera Dietz loves Charlie Kahn more than anyone.  She loves him more than anyone else loves him, and she also loves him more than she's ever loved anyone.  Too bad she also hates him.  And worse yet, she started to hate him even before he died and left her.  Vera and Charlie grew up as neighbors and best friends.  They were both pretty much outcasts with too many shameful secrets.  But as Vera tried harder and harder to stay invisible in high school, Charlie ended up popular and deviant. 
Some things they had in common: drinking (though Vera's addiction began after Charlie's death); secrets (they knew each others and swore to never tell); moms (both of theirs had always been emotionally nonexistent); fear and insecurity.
Some things that made them different: Charlie liked the spotlight, Vera liked shadows; Charlie had to run from trouble after he ran headfirst right smack into it, Vera saw trouble coming and tried to avoid it; Charlie is dead; Vera is alive; Charlie knows his final secret, Vera needs to find it and tell the whole story.

This story is really good, and I'm grateful for however I heard about it.  I cried at the end, but not because I was happy or sad, just that I was glad for some final emotional peace.  It was awarded with a Printz Honor and deserved it.  Recommended to all high school readers -- there's lots of drinking, swearing, and general rough stuff (just the way I like it).

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

Teen Writers

You're a writer?

Check out this blog post from Class of 2K11.  There's a lot of great stuff out there to help you get going, and to help you keep going. 

You're a writer and you're looking for some things to DO this month?

Franklin Lakes Library is hosting a Teen Poetry Coffeehouse and Open Mic Night.  All teens are welcome to bring some favorite or original poetry to read aloud, or just bring your friends and family and hang out with a cup of tea and some snacks.  We'll be honoring the winners of the Teen Poetry Contest at that time, too! (Winners will be announced here on this blog tomorrow!)

Plus, there's a five-week Teen Writers Group on Thursday afternoons at the library beginning on April 28.  (You can register online or shoot me an email: kate_thelibrarian [at] yahoo [dot] com.)

Just contact me for more info, or find the programs listed on the library's Calendar of Events!

i. d. : Stuff that Happens to Define Us edited by Kate Scowen & illustrated by Peter Mitchell

A compilation of stories that are simply written, filled with complex emotions and behaviors, highlighted with straightforward illustrations, and supported by brief backgrounds of the authors, all tell very personal tales of individuals figuring how to deal with life and how to uncover who "you" are.  Some of the authors tell stories of betrayal, fear, longing, and heartbreak, and all delve deeply into the heart and soul of the individual.  But the most wonderful thing about this collection is that it doesn't feel heavy, or overwhelming, or depressing.  Nor is it over-dramatically inspiring, or unrealistically hopeful, or fake.  It is a seemingly perfect balance of what it really feels like to be stuck in a teenage time -- knowing that there's a whole wide world up ahead of you, but truly feeling like everything is here and now and just too much.  The stories are quick to read and teens (and adults) of all ages will be able to find themselves, perhaps along with a bit of perspective.

Recommended to pretty much everyone.  Pick it up; it really is a quick read.  
Call number: YA 155.5 SCO (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

Shadoweyes by Ross Campbell

Have you ever wished that you could be a superhero?  That you could wipe out all the bad in the world?  That you could make other people happy and be happy?  That you could be the answer to pain and loneliness?  Unfortunately, we've learned from many of our traditional superheros that in order to relieve pain in others, pain often needs to be absorbed elsewhere.  Taking on the burdens of others can sacrifice the superhero himself.  Or herself.

Scout is NORMAL.  She's seventeen, she's part of the Neighborhood Crimewatch, she likes kittens (at least she wants to save battered ones), she loves her mom, and she's not always as tough as she thinks she is.  When she finds that she has the ability to transform into Shadoweyes, she takes on her mission to eliminate suffering diligently and seriously.  But when this ability actually traps her inside her new form, she must learn to figure out how to balance being a community superhero (with a shady reputation) with keeping her mother and her friends safe and coming to terms with never being a "normal" girl ever again.  (The sequel, Shadoweyes in Love, is available July 2011.)

Bold black-and-white images serve to enhance the dramatic adventure as well as to intensify the learning and growing that take place inside Scout as she battles with herself and her world.  Recommended to most comic book readers, especially those who secretly wish for a bit of a superhero inside of themselves . . .
Call number: YA GRAPHIC CAMPBELL (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

Celebrate National Library Week!

While you're waiting for the announcement of the National Library Week Teen Poetry Contest winners, check out some of these awesome ways to celebrate libraries!

50 Great Ways to Celebrate National Library Week

05 April 2011

Trapped by Michael Northrop

It started out like another average day.  There was a basketball game that night and maybe a pop quiz on Friday.  And even when the snow started to come down, it wasn't really a big deal.  Scotty and Pete even let Jason talk them into staying at the school after the early dismissal to work on his go-kart project in the shop classroom.  Even though there wouldn't be any late buses that day because of the weather, Jason knew that his dad would be okay with picking them all up on his way home from work later that day.

Unfortunately, no one came even close to the school later that day.  Or for many of the days that followed.  Scotty, Pete, Jason, and four other kids were stuck at school, during what was really truly the blizzard to beat out all blizzards.  Once the power and the heat went out, the seven bundled up in whatever they had, and felt their way through the cafeteria so that they wouldn't starve to death.  They slept when they could, the saved whatever battery power they could find, and they prayed.  But they knew that no one could save their lives.

Recommended for all middle school and high school readers looking for an adventure and ultimate survival story.  
Call number: YA NORTHROP (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian.