Thursday, September 27, 2012

Novels in Verse

Have a teen who loves to read novels in verse? 
Here's a list for you!

Special thanks to Kimberly, fellow YA Librarian and
Novel In Verse connoisseur for creating this list!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Teen Program: Scream-In

One of my most successful programs is the annual Scream-In my library hosts in October.  What, you ask, is a Scream-In?  It is a program adaptable to any library situation and sure to entertain your youth!

For details on my initial Scream-In Program please see the TTR chapter I wrote in 2011.

2012 Ideas Are:
Shadow Pumpkins
Black Oil-Based Paint Pens
Black Puff Paint
Small/Medium White Pumpkins

Directions:  Use paint pens and puff paint to create spooky shadows on small to medium-sized pumpkins.  Print some examples of "spooky eyes", spiders, witches and black cats from the Internet.

Bloody Cupcakes
Cupcakes without icing (If you don't feel like baking, talk to your local grocery store)
White Icing
Red Gel Icing (lots)
Halloween Sprinkles
Plastic knives
Small plates

Give each teen at least one cupcake, a knife and a plate.  Have teens ice cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles.  Then give each teen a tube of the red gel icing and let them go to town.  They can stick the tip of the tubes into the cupcakes to add "blood" inside the cupcake and decorate the outside.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Spirit of Texas Reading Program

Ready-made programming for schools and libraries. 
The intent behind the Spirit of Texas Reading Program is to connect teens, librarians, and teachers with Texas authors and illustrators.  The SPOT Committee strives to provide programming designed for use in both schools and public libraries.  Authors and illustrators who participate in SPOT visit schools and libraries either in person or via the Internet to discuss books and writing with students.  Through this program SPOT hopes to raise awareness of Texas author and illustrators as well as build relationships throughout the literary world.
SPOT exists at two levels: Middle School and High School with active, academic and passive programming designed for specific grade/age range.  Many thanks go out to Mrs. Andrea White for originating the idea.

Spirit of Texas 2012-2013 Featured Authors
High School
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Gail Giles
Rosemary Clement Moore
Ashley Perez
C.C. Hunter
Jennifer Ziegler
Middle School
Andrea White
Veronica Goldbach
Jennifer Archer
Karen Blumenthal
Chris BartonScott Westerfeld
While the purpose of SPOT is to raise awareness of Texas authors and illustrators, these programs can certainly be used by schools and libraries outside of Texas.

If you have questions about the 2012-2013 SPOT Program please contact:
High School - Natasha Benway
Middle School - Jennifer Smith

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: 'Halloween with Matthew Mead' by Matthew Mead

Looking for some new spooky ideas this Halloween season?
 Look no further!

Halloween with Matthew Mead has over 140 pages of wonderful treats, tricks and craft ideas for ghouls of all ages.  Learn how to make Purple Shaggy Cake, Cousin Harry Cupcakes, Alien Eyeball Cookies, and many more delicious treats surch to delight the eyes as well as the tastebuds.  Craft and decorating ideas include Ghost Portraits, Painted Eggs, White Magic Party and new ideas for pumpkin carving and painting.

Fifteen themes are covered, detailing dozens of projects with easy to follow instructions.  Filled with gorgeous color photos and supported by a website with templates, recipes and downloads, this book is a great addition to any library collection, but especially a library who serves teens and likes to provide a spooktacular Halloween experience.
Highly recommended.

Book Source: Local Library
Reviewer: Rebecca

Recommended Ages: 12+ Since some of the crafts and baking are complicated.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

12 Teen Crafting All Teen Collections Should Have

Adding these books to your collection will help you plan a variety of programs for your teens and allow them to express their creativity while learning.

Stray Sock Sewing: Making One of a Kind Creatures from Socks by Daniel
ISBN: 1600611990

A Greener Christmas by Sheherazade Goldsmith
ISBN: 9780756656478

Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden
ISBN: 9781594742323

Weekend Hats: 25 Knitted Caps, Berets, Cloches, and More
by Cecily Glowik MacDonald & Melissa LaBarre
ISBN: 9781596684386

Sockology: 16 New Sock Creatures , Cute & Cudley... Weird & Wild by Brenna Maloney
ISBN: 9781607054078

The Big-Ass Book of Crafts by Mark Montano
ISBN: 9781416937852

Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt
by Megan Nicolay
ISBN: 9780761137856

Zombie Felties: How to Raise 16 Gruesome Felt Creatures from the Undead
by Nicola Tedman & Sarah Skeate
ISBN: 9780740797644

Alternacrafts: 20+ Hi-Style Lo-Budget Projects to Make by Jessica Vitkus
ISBN: 9781584794569

Just Duct Tape It! by Patti Wallenfang & Leisure Arts
ISBN: 9781464701559

Eco Craft: Recycle Recraft Restyle by Susan Wasinger
ISBN: 9781600598234

Ductigami: The Art of the Tape by Joe Wilson
ISBN: 9781550464290

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: 'Hikaru no Go, Volume 1' by Yumi Hotta & Takeshi Obata

While exploring his grandfather’s shed, Hikaru discovers a Go board haunted by the spirit of Fujiwara no Sai, a great Go player from the Heian era. Since Hikaru is the only person who can see or hear Sai, he decides to take up residence in a part of Hikaru’s mind. Urged by Sai, Hikaru attends a Go Salon and unwittingly challenges a very advanced player, Akira. Playing under Sai’s direction, Hikaru defeats Akira, causing an upset in the world of competitive Go. Will Hikaru continue to play Go? Will he rely on his own skill or Sai’s? Will Hikaru or Sai ever make the Divine Move?

Hikaru is very funny, especially his reactions to Sai’s thoughts and comments. Akira is an intriguing opponent and there are informative and interesting entries on the game Go throughout the manga. I would recommend for anyone, but will hold special appeal for teenage boys.  Well written, wonderfully drawn and very entertaining.   Every public and middle school or higher library should have it in their collection.

Book Source: Local Library
Reviewer: Rebecca

Recommended Ages: 13+ Mild swearing

Recommended for Readers of:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Program: Zombie-fied Crafts

Courtesy of greyloch
Here are some zombie themed craft suggestions your teens will love:

Edible Markers (can find at Michael's & Joann's as well as online)
Jumbo Marshmallows
Pretzel Sticks
Light Corn Syrup
Sprinkles, Small Candies etc (to decorate with)

Spear Marshmallow on pretzel stick.  Then use Edible Markers to draw faces on the Marshmallows.  Corn syrup is the "glue" to paste on sprinkles and other edible decorations.  When finished take pictures then enjoy a sweet zombie treat!

1 Apple per person (green or red)
Craft Knives (1 per person)
Paring Knives
Lemon Juice
Green food dye
Wooden kabob spears
Black beads (for eyes)

Using paring knife carefully peel the apple.  Use craft knives to begin carve a zombie face in apple.  *Be VERY CAREFUL when using craft knives and make sure teens always cut AWAY from themselves.  Eyes should have a slit for beads to be pushed in to when ready.  When finished carving face soak apple in Water, Lemon Juice, Food Dye & Salt mix.  Be prepared to send these home with teens without completely finishing the project.  It can take several days for the apple heads to dry completely. Will feel like sponges when ready for beads to be inserted for eyes.
For tips on apple head carving:

Embroidery floss
Pipe Cleaners
Small Beads (for eyes)

These string dolls are very popular and inexpensive, so are great for libraries on a budget.  4YA has the best String Doll Tutorial I've come across - just follow her directions and you'll be sure to have a hit program!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Program: Sugar Skull Makeup

Photo Courtesy of Laihiu
Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday which focuses on remembering and praying for friends and family members who have died.  The celebration takes place November 1st and 2nd and coincides with the Catholic holiday of All Saints Day.  In many areas of Mexico, November 1st is reserved for honoring children and infants while November 2nd remembers adults.

Dia de los Muertos has its roots in an ancient Aztec festival celebrating the goddess Mictecacihuatl (pronounced 'Meek-teka-see-wahdl'), who presided over the Aztec underworld.  Mictecacihuatl is also known as 'Lady of the Dead' and is represented by a skeleton with gaping jaws.  You can learn more about the history of Dia de los Muertos here:
If you live anywhere in the South United States, you have probably seen the decorated Sugar Skulls used as part of Dia de los Muertos.  While decorating the skulls can be a fun program for teens this one is a twist on that tradition which transforms the teens themselves into the skulls.

White creme base (theatre makeup is fine for all makeup)
White eyeliner pencils
White powder (to set creme base)
Black eyeshadow
Black gel liner
Color palettes (Merhon or Ben Nye are good)
Dark blush
Makeup brushes*
Brush cleaner
Selection of vibrant or dark eyeshadow
Makeup sponges


  1. Use white eyeliner pencils to draw circles (eye sockets) around eyes and outline the heart-shaped space at the end of the nose that will be filled with color.
  2. Use white creme base to fill in face (except for eye and nose sockets).  Lightly powder with white powder to set creme base.
  3. Using a sponge gently apply a vibrant or dark eyeshadow in the eye sockets making sure not to cross the line into the white part of the face.  When finished with the base color use a small brush to create the "feathering" or "petal" effect around the eye socket.
  4. Select a color from the palette and fill in nose socket.  Then, using a large makeup brush, gently brush blush onto apples of cheeks.
  5. Next take a fine brush and, using the black gel liner, extend the corners of your mouth along your cheek as though tracing a line where your teeth meet when your jaw is clenched.  Use the same fine brush and gel liner create vertical slashes along the extended smile.
  6. Finally, use a small brush and black eyeshadow to trace out web designs or flourishes then trace over with fine brush and black gel liner.
  7. NOTE: These directions are just basic suggestions - you can be as creative as you want!
There are some fabulous video tutorials on YouTube:

You can also look up the artist Sylvia Ji for inspiration.

Friday, September 7, 2012

YA Books to Movies: Rumors September 2012

Here's an updated list of YA Books that have been optioned
or are rumored to be in production to be made into films.
Which of these would YOU be most interested in seeing?
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Heist Society by Ally Carter
Mazerunner by James Dashner
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
by Seth Grahame-Smith
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the
Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Maximum Ride by James Patterson
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvader
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvader
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Leave your comment (with an email address) for a chance to win a Book Monster Bookmark!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review: 'Keeping the Castle' by Patrice Kindl

I kept forgetting how ridiculously sensitive and illogical men were.
He assumed that his fortune would buy beauty; I assumed that my beauty
would procure me a rich husband. It seemed much the same thing to me,
but evidently what was permissible in a man was not in a woman.

Seventeen-year-old Althea Crawley lives with her mother, her young brother, and her two stepsisters in a castle perched precariously on a cliff overlooking the North Sea. It would be romantic, but the castle is falling apart around them, her stepsisters’ are close-fisted when it comes to their small inheritance, and the rest of them haven’t a penny to their names. If she wants to save Crawley Castle for her brother, Althea must marry someone with a fortune. She hopes luck might finally be on her side when Lord Boring moves into the neighborhood, but Mr. Fredericks, his frustrating friend always seems to be underfoot…

A delightful blend of Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle and Jane Austen, Keeping the Castle is a charming Regency romance for young adults. It has all the hallmarks of a good Regency novel (a ball, a secret scandal, courting, excursions on horseback, to name a few), and is light and fairly fluffy. The plot, while not overly original, is perfect for escapist reading. Although I saw the ending coming well in advance, that didn’t stop me from smiling my way through it!

Where Keeping the Castle really shines, however, is with the characters. Each character has a distinct personality that slots nicely into the Regency plot, with Althea at the center. Althea is strong willed and frequently sharp tongued, but she is also smart, resourceful, and determined to assure her family’s success. Her interactions with her family (including the subtle manipulations she employs to get her stepsisters to help with the castle upkeep), her neighbors, and her suitors are spot-on, and her exasperated conversations with Mr. Fredericks are hilarious. In fact, Mr. Fredericks, for all his lack of polish and charm, is a delight in every scene.

Whether you’re new to the Regency world or old hat, Keeping the Castle is an enchanting novel, perfect for a lazy day on the couch.

Book Source: My local library
Reviewer: Kimberly

Recommended Ages: 12+ No questionable content, but younger readers might not appreciate the Regency setting.

Recommended to Readers of:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Review: 'Land of Stories' by Chris Colfer

"Conner,” Alex whispered close to him. “Look around this place! It's
like we're having our own Lucy and Mr. Tumnus moment!”
Connor looked around and saw what she meant. “If he offers us Turkish
delight, I don't care what you say: We're getting out of here.”

Ever since their father’s death a year ago, things haven’t gone well for twins Alex and Connor Bailey. They have had to move out of their childhood home, their mom is constantly working, and they’ve lost their biggest confidant. But everything changes when the twins fall into a magical book and find themselves trapped in the Land of Stories. Here, familiar fairy tales, bad guys and all, are real, and
the twins’ only chance of returning home is collecting all the items for the rumored Wishing Spell.

I am not a huge Glee fan (I watch it on fast forward), but Kurt is one of my favorite characters. When I saw that Chris Colfer, the actor who plays Kurt, had written a book (and a fairy tale book, no less), I immediately pre-ordered it. What can I say? I’m all about supporting actors and authors I enjoy. I am positive that a great majority of the book sales that landed this book on the New York Times Bestseller List are for similar reasons.

Happily, The Land of Stories was a well-written, pleasing read. The writing style is easy without being simplistic, perfect for the target audience. The basic construction of the plot isn’t overly original, but quest tales are inherently similar. There is plenty of action to keep readers turning pages, several small mysteries that are not resolved until the end of the story, and lots of adventure and daring-do. I did see the resolution to the mysteries coming a mile away, but I am a good twenty years older than the target reader and would have felt kind of silly had I not solved them. I think the mysteries will hold true for the target audience, and the twins’ adventures through the Land of Stories are sure to hook readers.

However, what elevates the story are the amazing characterizations. The twins are a perfect balance for each other: Alex is smart, serious and rule-abiding, while Connor is the sarcastic kid who isn’t averse to breaking rules. Connor’s dialogue was my favorite, by far, simply because I appreciate any twelve-year-old who has already embraced his dry, sarcastic side.  But despite Connor’s snark and Alex’s exasperation with him, the twins stick by each other through it all.

Colfer has also done an excellent job imbuing each familiar fairy tale character with a distinct personality. My particular favorites were Rapunzel as a self-sufficient outlaw, and Red Riding Hood as a clueless, bratty queen, but I also appreciated Colfer’s back story for the Evil Queen from Snow White.  It allowed other characters in the book, as well as readers, to feel compassion for her situation and introduced shades of gray into what could easily have been a very black and white world.

Colfer has obviously put a lot of thought into the structure of the fairy tale world and it shows. I listened to the audio book, so didn’t have the benefit of looking at the illustrations while I was reading, but there is a full color map of the various kingdoms (adorably named such things as the Charming Kingdom and the Sleeping Kingdom).  There are also charming pencil sketches at the beginning of each chapter that are very reminiscent of Rowling's Harry Potter novels. Every kingdom had a different feel to it, and it was fun exploring each one alongside the twins.

Celebrities often inspire an eye-roll or two when they publish a book, but occasionally there are some that are worth reading. The Land of Stories is one of those few. It certainly won’t win points for deep
insights and inspired prose, but it is a charming, well-written story that seems perfectly suited to the target audience. At the very least, it ought to make Glee fans happy!

Book Source: Purchased
Reviewer: Kimberly

Recommended Ages: Officially recommended for ages 8 and up. Will probably have the biggest appeal for tweens and young teens who aren’t ready to dive into YA fiction. And fans of Glee, obviously.

Recommended to Readers of: