Monday, January 25, 2010

What Mrs. N's Been Reading - Shift

Just finished Jennifer Bradbury's Shift. Best friends Chris and Win, set out on a cross country bike trip just after graduation, planning to go from their hometown in West Virginia to Washington state, then take the bus home in time to go their separate ways to college. Seven weeks into the trip, Win suddenly takes off while Chris is fixing a flat, and Chris can't find him. Since Win had been grating on his nerves and doing stupid things most of the trip, Chris just gives up and goes home, figuring Win would do the same. But weeks later, as Chris is starting college, no one has heard from Win, and the FBI and Win's father are dogging Chris with questions. The story is told in alternating chapters, switching from the events of the trip to present day as Chris is being hounded with questions and is trying to figure out happened himself. An enjoyable read, good for both middle and high school students. No objectionable content, so fine for middle schoolers. High school students who may be contemplating a post-graduation adventure, or who have a friend like Win (annoying as heck, but you gotta love 'em cause you've been best friends as far back as you can remember), can relate.

More Bubble Wrap Critter Pics

As promised, here are some additional pics from yesterday's program. If some of these photos don't put a smile on your face, you've got issues that I can't begin to help you with!
For those of you who attended, I think I have at least one picture of either you and your critter, or a close up of your critter. If you'd like any other photos, just shoot me an email with your name and what critter was yours, and I'd be happy to email any additional pics that you or your creation were in.
This one was the most fun I've had here since Aquapalooza! Thanks gang!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bubble Wrap Critters

What a blast! As expected the teens put my elephant to shame (and I actually thought my elephant was pretty darn good!) The group was kind of hesitant at first, probably because directions were pretty minimal, but once they got rolling it was great. If someone got stuck on how to make a part they needed, someone else had already done something similar and could offer tips. Here are some pics. Judge for yourself. I'll post more pics tomorrow when I have more time (thelibrary's closing in a few minutes.) Everyone's came out so great that I hate to leave anyone's out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Harmless

Just finished Dana Reinhardt's Harmless. This is another one told from 3 different perspectives, 3 high school freshman girls, who sneak out to a party, get caught lying to their parents about their whereabouts, and invent a cover story. As the story unfolds, the girls' cover story takes on a life of it's own, dragging several other people down, while the girls deal with the emotional aftermath of events at the party. It's straightforward, relatively simple style would make it a good choice for reluctant readers. There are some valuable lessons in here as well. It deals with some mature subject matter, but does it without being graphic or explicit. A good choice for high school students. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day

Gotta talk this one up a little ahead of time. If you've been wondering about the Bubble Wrap Craft program scheduled for this coming Sunday, January 24, here's the kind of thing we'll be doing. I put this one together this morning as an example, but I'm sure teens will do a much more creative job than I did - they almost always do. Although I must say that mine looks better in person. Between the lousy light in my office and my marginal-at-best photography skills, the photo doesn't quite do it justice. Call or stop by the Info Desk to sign up! See you Sunday at 2!

Monday, January 18, 2010

What Mrs N's Been Reading - The Human Fly and Other Stories

Took a little side road with my reading recently and picked up T.C. Boyle's The Human Fly and Other Stories, a collection of short stories. Boyle has written several books, in addition to his many short stories, which have been published in The New Yorker, Harper's, GQ, and many other magazines. This collection is definitely for older teens and adults. It covers a broad range of topics, from the early spread of AIDS in Africa, to teenage infanticide, to an impromptu elephant hunt in India, and more. Well-written, but again, due to subject matter, definitely not for the younger end of the teen age-range.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Newsletter News

Hopefully some of you have been either picking up the new Teen Scene newsletters in the library or downloading a copy from this blogsite. Back in the fall we switched from just a brochure with program info, to a full-blown newsletter with the program info, but also articles and poetry submitted by teens, puzzles, book reviews, surveys, you name it. The best part was that it was done entirely by teens, specifically some members of the library's Teen Advisory Group. What we've found, however, is that with school workloads, the wonderful folks who have been doing the newsletter are having a tough time getting it out as regularly as we'd like, especially to get program info out in a timely fashion. So here's Plan B...
Starting now, we're going to simply separate the program info from the rest of the newsletter. The program info brochure will retain the Teen Scene name. The newsletter will be renamed as soon as we think of something catchy, but not dorky (send suggestions if you got 'em). The Teen Scene program brochure for January and February is currently available in the library in hard copy, half-sheet form, scattered around the teen area. A full sheet, downloadable PDF version is available by going to the link to the right. We hope to have a newsletter soon. Watch this space for the downloadable version.
In the next few weeks I will also have a link put up here that will allow you to sign up to receive either, or both, automatically in your email. There will also be a separate automatic email with just gaming program info. I hope you find them useful. If there's anything else you'd like to see available via email, just let me know.

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Enthusiasm

Finished Polly Shulman's Enthusiasm a few days ago. I don't tend to gravitate toward "chick books" voluntarily, but as I've been reading some in the past year or so, I've found myself generally liking what I've picked up. This one was no exception. If you have one of those goofy friends that you love dearly, but they frequently drive you nuts, and you sometimes cringe at the thought of being seen in public with them, then you can relate to Julie, the narrator of this book. When her best friend Ashleigh latches onto a subject, or an interest, she dives in headfirst and completely. Her latest thing is Jane Austen, particularly Pride and Prejudice. She decides that she loves the book and should have been born in that era, so she dresses in period clothes, uses the language of the period, you name it. When she proposes that she and Julie should crash the very formal dance at the nearby private boys boarding school, Julie thinks she may have hit her limit as to how far she'll follow Ashleigh, but follow she does. As they are about to be tossed to the curb, 2 boys rescue them and they actually get into the dance. The four become friends, but life gets complicated when Ashleigh develops a crush on one of the boys. Problem is, Julie likes the same boy, but hides her feelings so as not to betray her friend. The characters are very likable, and there is nothing objectionable in the book. Fine for both middle school and high school students. A light, fun read. And it was nice to not be hit with any language or adult situations, just a few kisses.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Girls Day In - Spa Day Update

I think these Spa Days are going to become regular programs. We keep getting real nice turnouts (19 young ladies today) for them, and everyone has a great time. This time, in addition to the facials (including a new kind this time, using yogurt, honey and cosmetic clay), nails, hair, and herbal teas and sparkling waters, we also had a Mary Kay consultant to do makeup demonstrations, a massage chair, and hot chocolate. A big, big thank you to Linda Walde, our makeup consultant extraordinaire! She does a wonderful job with this age group! Another big thanks to Katie B for supplying the massage chair. That was fabulous! If you missed, what can I say? Besides, well, you blew it. But here are some pics. Watch for this one again in the fall.

Monday, January 04, 2010

What Mrs N's Been Reading - The True Meaning of Smekday

I was long overdue for something light and funny. Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday fit the bill quite nicely. Eleven-year-old Gratuity (her mom didn't realize what the word meant when she named her) is asked to write an essay, for inclusion in a time capsule, about the true meaning of the holiday, Smekday. Smekday, December 25, commemorates the date of the invasion of Earth by the Boov, a race of aliens. Gratuity's initial essay is kind of terse and cynical (understandable!) The bulk of the book is her detailed rewrite of her view of the events leading up to, including, and after the invasion. Oh, and did I mention that after the Boov took over and transported everyone they could find to Florida, another alien race, the Gorg, attempted a takeover and moved everyone to Arizona? All the while Gratuity is traveling across the country in a car that has been souped up into a hovercraft by a wayward Boov named JLo, who is traveling with Gratuity disguised as a dorky, shy little brother who insists on being covered by a sheet at all times, looking for her mother, a previous alien abductee who disappeared right as the initial invasion was starting? JLo was a fun character, well written. The book is interspersed with short comics, drawn by JLo, explaining Boov and Gorg history. A great, fun, light read for middle schoolers.