Posted on June 18, 2015
More great artwork from a teen reader in Sebastopol. Don't miss the exciting sequel, Shadow Scale. Thanks Autumn!
Posted on June 17, 2015
More great teen read artwork
Gary Paulsen's Brian series is great for summer reading - lots of action, a great character and a wilderness setting. Michael B. read Brian's Hunt by Gary Paulsen and created this drawing of a scene from the book. Thanks Michael!
Posted on June 17, 2015
Summer reading: artistic representation of a book
Those of you who are signed up for Teen Read this summer (and if you're not, what are you waiting for?! Sign up at your library already!) know that you can earn 4 Stamps for your Game Card by creating an artistic representation of a book that you read this summer. Shane B. read The Fallen by Charlie Higson and submitted this drawing of a scene from the book.
Posted on May 30, 2015
Not sure what to do with yourself just yet this summer? Before the lazy days of summer kick in and your vacation has sped by, here are a few ideas and places to look for something to do that is interesting, rewarding, or lucrative.
Summer Jobs for Teens
Check out these sites and books to give you ideas of where to start looking for a job this summer.
Books to look at:
Want to be a community hero and help out? Try these!
Want something fun to do in your free time?
Sonoma County Library Teen Read Summer Reading Club
Read books, attend events, get points, earn prizes and a chance to win a Kindle Fire!
Discover and Go Museum Passes from the library
Visit a museum with your family at a discount or maybe even free. So many places to go, the Academy of Sciences, the Pacific Coast Air Museum, the Pacific Pinball Museum, the Cartoon Art Museum, and many more.
Catch a Flick!
During the week of July 21st through 24th, donate a book at participating libraries and get a free ticket to see the movie Paper Towns.
Enjoy your summer break!
Posted on May 20, 2015
Focus on Disability:
Being disabled is so much more than the "perk" of blue curb parking. Being disabled is so much more than being "inspiring" to able bodied people. Being disabled is so many things: terrifying, frustrating, isolating. And yet, people who live with disabilities work hard every day to connect, to share their experience, to learn, to love, to live. Just like able bodied people; disabled people just do it a little differently. Read a few of the titles listed here to connect to a character (or real person) living with a disability.
Asperbergers & Autism
by Naoki Higashida
The Reason I Jump is one of the most unique books I have ever come across. 13 year old Naoki Higashida is a boy with autism so severe that he does not speak. In order to tell his story, to share what life is like inside his head, he painstakingly pointed at letters and words on a letter board. What he has to tell us about the frustrations and hidden beauties of his experience is well worth the read.
by Francisco Stork
Marcelo Sandoval is one of my favorite people in all of the books I've read, and that's saying something. Marcelo has been a student at his special school for kids with autism and Aspberger's Syndrome for as long as he can remember. His horses are there, and his favorite teachers. No one teases him for his odd habits and special obsession (God). But Marcelo's father, a powerful lawyer, is determined that this summer Marcelo will join the real world. Marcelo must begin work in the mail room at his father's law firm. This summer will change everything.
by Temple Grandin
Dr. Temple Grandin one of the world's most celebrated animal scientists. In this book, Dr. Grandin merges a lifetime of study with her extraordinary perceptions as an autistic person in a groundbreaking book that will revolutionize our understanding of how animals think and feel.
by Kathrin Schrocke
Mika thinks he'll never recover from his broken heart. Then he meets Leah, a smart, beautiful, and brave girl. Though the energy between them is unmistakable, they cannot communicate. Leah has been deaf since birth. Determined to know this amazing girl, Mika decides to take a sign language course. His family and friends are skeptical, and Mika soon grows weary, too. The world of deaf people is so much different than his own. But Mika cannot shake that Leah has captured his heart.
by Antony John
by Josh Berk
When Will Halpin transfers from his all-deaf school into a mainstream Pennsylvania high school, he faces discrimination and bullying, but still manages to solve a mystery surrounding the death of a popular football player in his class.
by Marcus Sedgwick
Laureth Peak's father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers--a skill at which she's remarkably talented. Her secret: she is blind. But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness.
by Rachel DeWoskin
When Emma loses her eyesight in an accident, she must relearn everything from walking across the street to recognizing her own sisters to imagining colors. One of seven children, Emma used to be the invisible kid, but now it seems everyone is watching her. And just as she's about to start high school and try to recover her friendships and former life, one of her classmates is found dead in an apparent suicide. Emma has to untangle what happened and why - in order to see for herself what makes life worth living.
by Priscilla Cummings
After years of failing eyesight, fourteen-year-old Natalie reluctantly enters a school for the blind where, in spite of her initial resistance, she learns the skills that will help her survive in the sighted world.
by Shane Burcaw
If you didn't laugh you'd just cry all the time. Or at least that's how this author chooses to live his sometimes difficult life. Shane Burcaw describes the challenges he faces as a twenty-one-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy. From awkward handshakes to having a girlfriend and everything in between, Shane handles his situation with humor and a 'you-only-live-once' perspective on life. While he does talk about everyday issues that are relatable to teens, he also offers an eye-opening perspective on what it is like to have a life-threatening disease.
by Stephen Hawking
For the first time, perhaps the most brilliant cosmologist of our age turns his gaze inward for a revealing look at his own life and intellectual evolution. My Brief History recounts Stephen Hawking's journey, from his postwar London boyhood to his years of international acclaim and celebrity. Illustrated with rarely seen photographs, this account introduces readers to a Hawking rarely glimpsed in previous books. Writing with humility and humor, Hawking opens up about the challenges that confronted him following his diagnosis of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) at age twenty-one. Tracing his development as a thinker, he explains how the prospect of an early death urged him onward through numerous intellectual breakthroughs. Clear-eyed, intimate, and wise, My Brief History opens a window for the rest of us into Hawking's personal cosmos.
by Martin Pistorius
They all thought he was gone. But he was alive and trapped inside his own body for ten years. In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and unable to move. Martin's parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live. Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy's return to life through the power of love and faith. In these pages, readers see a parent's resilience, the consequences of misdiagnosis, abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers, and the unthinkable duration of Martin's mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body. We also see a life reclaimed--a business created, a new love kindled--all from a wheelchair. Martin's emergence from his own darkness invites us to celebrate our own lives and fight for a better life for others.
Posted on May 19, 2015
Sonoma County Library in the Rose Parade
It was a story book kind of morning. Cold and overcast at first but with a hint of something special in the air. If you were in Downtown Santa Rosa on Saturday May 16 you know that the 121st Annual Rose Parade made its way through town. Among the floats was our very own Sonoma County Library Drill Cart team!
Left to right: Dwarves Kim Dargeou, Tim Gnabasik, Bonnie Petty, Matt Conway, Kathleen Munson, and Steve Alcorta. Evil Queen Bing Minton and Snow White Hannah Minton. Not pictured: Drill Team Captain Shannon Lods.
Evil Queen's Castle
Mirror, Mirror on the truck!
Thanks to all the staff and volunteers who made this year's Library Parade entry so memorable. Read the full article about the Rose Parade in the Press Democrat.
Posted on May 12, 2015
Be a Hero - Volunteer!
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. — Aesop
As the summer approaches, imaginations may run wild with thoughts of lazy days floating down the river or adventures to far off places. Maybe thoughts of staying up late and sleeping until noon cross your mind. Perhaps, you have a job at a local restaurant or movie theater. Maybe you babysit for younger siblings or families in your neighborhood. As wonderful as a couple of months of freedom may sound after a long school year, I wonder if some of you may be searching for what you will do and how you might pass your time. What if I asked you to spend your summer being a hero? What does being a hero mean to you?
I think that those who are in service to their community and volunteer their time are HEROES. You don’t have to wear a cape and save the world from evil villains to be a hero (although that would be really amazing). Volunteering and being of service is a way to be a valued member of society. When I think of volunteers, words like courageous, brave, helpful, kind, friendly, generous, and selfless come to mind. Volunteers are real life heroes.
There are many local volunteer opportunities for teenagers. Start by looking around your community at the food pantry, homeless shelters, hospitals, animal shelters, schools, libraries (hint, hint), group homes for the disabled, political campaigns, and environmental awareness groups. Honestly the list goes on and on. Look for organizations that might tie into your interests.
There are also many opportunities to volunteer on a global scale. Whenever a natural disaster occurs, like the recent earthquakes in Nepal, many relief organizations like the American Red Cross need help for those who are struggling in the affected areas. While travel to distant places may be difficult for many, raising money for relief efforts and developing care packages are excellent ways to be of service.
In my experience, being of service brings about feelings of empathy, compassion, and fulfillment. If you are interested in exploring this further, check out one of these books or explore the links below.
Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County https://www.habitatsoco.org/
This local chapter builds and repairs houses using volunteer labor and donations.
Volunteer Now http://www.volunteernow.org/
For forty years, the Volunteer Center has been the heart of our community; matching prospective volunteers with local nonprofits to help them help others. We inspire thousands of people from all walks of life to share their skills and talents with worthwhile causes and organizations that help our community thrive.
American Red Cross www.redcross.org
Humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief, and community education.
America's Promise www.americaspromise.org
Faciltates volunteer action for children and youth.
Do Something www.dosomething.org
This non-profit organization's goal is motivating young people to take action around social changes through national campaigns and grants for projects that make an impact.
Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart. ~Elizabeth Andrew
Posted on May 04, 2015
The Sweet Life! . . . for Tweens
Do you love to bake? Cook? Get together with friends and make treats?
Sample some fun series books about doing just that, and find what suits your taste!
Start with Confectionately Yours, book #1, Save the Cupcake! by Lisa Papademetriou: "Hayley has a knack for baking cupcakes -- and cupcakes always make life just a little sweeter! But when she and her best friend Artie start drifting apart, she realizes it's going to take more than sugar and spice to make things nice."
Or try some delicious books by Lisa Schroeder, starting with It's Raining Cupcakes: "Isabel dreams of seeing the world but has never left Oregon,
so when her best friend, Sophie, tells her of a baking contest whose winners travel to New York City, she eagerly enters. Includes recipes."
Or . . . try The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer: "Annie, along with her two best friends, tries desperately to save her grandmother's
beloved, old-fashioned teashop in Madison, Wisconsin, while she also learns to accept the inevitability of change in life.
Includes proverbs, quotations, and brief stories about tea, as well as recipes."
Do you believe in magic?
What if you had the power to cook up treats that change people's lives?
Would you do it?
Find out what happens to Rose Bliss and her brothers in the trilogy by Kathryn Littlewood.
Brandon Mull, author of the Fablehaven series, the Beyonders trilogy, and Spirit Animals books
brings you magic candy and arcade game superpowers. What's not to like?
Ok guys, so you can cook.
You can chop, slice, dice, mix and whip up fabulous gourmet cuisine.
But can you solve global mysteries too?
Take a page from Neil Flambe, the series by Kevin Sylvester. It's a sure recipe for adventure and fun.
And then there's . . . The Bittersweet Life!
Teens know life isn't all sweetness & light.
Sometimes things happen, and you just have to deal with it.
But having family, or friends--and cooking skills to make that life-saving comfort food--can make all the difference.
Yes. When life hands you lemons, whip up some killer lemonade and have a party!
Hudson gave up a promising competitive ice skating career
after her parents divorced. Now she spends her time
baking cupcakes in her mother's upstate New York diner,
but when she gets a chance at a scholarship, she realizes
she's not through with ice skating after all.
8th grader Bertie Hooks has to keep his dream of becoming a
world-class chef a secret, especially from his mortal enemy,
Nick Dekker, but when they both get "flour-sack babies" for
or a week, things get really complicated for Bertie.
Francie has pastry-filled dreams and gets a chance
to meet celebrity baker Lorenzo LaRue. Francie is
sure if Lorenzo could see how passionate she is
about baking, he would help her launch her career,
and possible marry her.
Molly and Cassie are assigned to work in the kitchen
as a punishment for their food fight and realize the only
way they are going to be released from the duty is to
learn to cook. Includes recipes.
Cyril, an overweight guy who is good friends with Rose
but wishes he could be more, helps his best friend Nick
woo her with culinary masterpieces--actually made by Cyril.
A cooked up twist to the Cyrano de Bergerac story.
When she’s accepted to Taste Test a reality-TV
teen cooking competition,Nora can’t wait to leave
her humble hometown even if it means saying good-bye
to her dad and her best friend, Billy.
16 year old Elaine dreams of being
the next Julia Child, to the great
dismay of her feminist mother.
Foster McFee and her mom escape
from her mom's abusive boyfriend and
end up in a small town in West Virginia,
where they use their cooking strengths
to build a new life, with the help
of the friends they make there.
Junie, Celia, and Danielle,
3 high-schoolers in Brooklyn, form
a friendship cooking dinners together
and help each other survive
their romantic entanglements.
Growing up working in her family's
Mediterranean restaurant in Washington, D.C.
doesn’t mean 16 year old Sophie is ready to
compete on a new reality show: Teen Test Kitchen.
Posted on April 28, 2015
The world mourned the loss of one if its most creative and imaginative authors this March when Terry Pratchett's Twitter account tweeted the following:
AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.
— Terry Pratchett (@terryandrob) March 12, 2015
To the uninitiated this was Pratchett's character Death (who always talks in capitals) announcing that the beloved author had finally succumbed to his long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
Winner of the Carnegie Medal and author of more than 60 books, Pratchett is best known for his Discworld series, which both celebrates and pokes fun at the fantasy genre. I quite enjoy a good fantasy yarn myself so the Discworld series has always been recommended to me, but the fact that it consisted of close to 40 books always made me hesitant to start reading it (not that one would have to read them all, or even read them in order... but 40 books!). Any hesitation that I had was quickly put aside however once I finally jumped in. Make no mistake, these books are hard to put down. They are fast-paced, steeped in humor, and populated by quirky characters. What stands out to me however is Pratchett's ability to make the reader crack up laughing with one line, and then expound some deep "mind=blown" philosophizing three lines later.
Sound appealing? Where should you start? Might I suggest the Tiffany Aching books (chronological, left to right):
Though you can jump around most of the Discworld series in no particular order, these books should be read chronologically. They tell Tiffany's story from when she is nine until when she is around sixteen. Along the way she learns to become a witch, befriends a talking toad (who might have once been a lawyer), rescues her younger brother from the Queen of Fairyland, battles an invisible and seemingly indestructible creature, contends with the godlike being Wintersmith, and eventually returns to her homeland to care for her people. Oh, and all the while she has the aid of the mighty Nac Mac Feegle (a.k.a. the Wee Free Men)--the sword-swinging, sheep-stealing, six inch tall pictsies--whose capering and intrepid attitude keep the laughs coming no matter how dire the situation.
Tiffany's journey is full of fun and adventure, but it is also full of the important stuff that people always say fantasy fiction lacks. Not only does her story entertain but it explores what it means to be human (and a good one at that). Perhaps Terry Pratchett summed it up best when he said that "Fantasy isn't just about wizards and silly wands. It's about seeing the world from new directions."
Terry Pratchett will be sorely missed, but his legacy lives on in the many fine novels he has left to us.
Posted on April 17, 2015
Perhaps you think poetry is not for you. Think again! Poetry is a radical and liberating way to express yourself. Check out some of these titles and Celebrate National Poetry Month!
How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson
Poetry Speaks Who I Am by Elise Paschen
Troubling the line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics by T.C. Tolbert
Looking out, looking in : anthology of Latino poetry edited William Luis
Movin' : Teen Poets Take Voice by Dave Johnson
Dizzy in your eyes : poems about love by Pat Mora
Poisened apples : poems for you, my pretty by Christine Heppermann
When the rain sings : poems by Young Native Americans by The National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsoninan
Listen up! : spoken word poetry edited by Zoe Anglesey