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Youth Worldviews Project

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Worldviews Project

Altogether too often people get caught up with talk about how terrible the state of the world is. Crime, poverty, environmental crisis and inequality can get downright depressing. I know plenty of people who have simply stopped listening to the news because it gets them down. Add to that pending destruction of earth in late 2012 and the many prophecies about fire and brimstone and you'd be tempted to give up on life.

Not long ago I met a Junior High school teacher named Kate McKenzie. Kate teaches current events and as you can imagine, this can be a very heavy topic. Early on in the year, Kate's students said they were getting super depressed by all the negativity in the news. Kate didn't want to leave her students feeling hopeless, so she set out to show them all the good things going on in the world.

Because there are good things going on!

Kate is determined to prove to her students that there are ways to combat hopelessness - she is travelling to 8 countries in 8 months and documenting inspiring stories of people doing great things to build their community. Learn more about her project here.

While she's away, we are partnering to provide a youth leadership opportunity.

Kate and The Calgary Public Library want to help fight hopelessness by equipping Calgary youth with the leadership skills they need to get involved in their communities and have a positive impact. We're calling it Youth Worldviews Project.

A series of four sessions will be held in which youth can come together to discuss what they can do to make a difference in their community. Mentoring opportunities will be available including Skype sessions with Kate. Ideas like marketing, volunteer recruitment, grant writing, and event planning will be discussed.

Come! Join us! Help make a difference.

Events will be held at the Central Library on the second floor on these dates:

February 18th from 12:00-1:30 pm

April 28th from 12:1:30pm

May 26th from 11:30-1:00pm

September 15th from 12:00-1:30pm

I can't wait to hear about how you plan to get involved!

Snow White Redux

by Alexandra - 2 Comment(s)

Okay... so this whole Twisted Fairytales thing is totally blowing me away. I don't even know where to start! With TWO Snow White revamps coming up this year alone, not to mention that "Once upon a Time" TV show on ABC (yeah... it's about Snow White too...) I realized it was high-time to shed some light on this trend. Thus begins the first of a chain of blogs dedicated to unravelling, demystifying, and just plain gushing over the many adaptations of our fave classic stories.

I'll start with Snow White because that's what got this ball rolling... but FIRST! A little history:


When the Grimm Brothers first published their works in 1857, the young girl who WE know as Snow White was then known as Snow-Drop or Sneewittchen. And while I just called her a "young girl" you might be surprised to know exactly HOW young. In the original version, she is only SEVEN YEARS OLD. As time went on, I suppose people decided it was just too creepy for some random prince to come waltzing by a glass coffin, see a pretty, little [dead] seven-year-old, decide he's gonna kiss her, and then take her to his castle to be his bride. As with a lot of these stories, the disturbing and scary originals are continually adapted to fit current trends and inclinations. So! At one point the story said that Snow White was a kid when she "died" but kept aging in the coffin, so that by the time the prince got to her she was... 16... (still not great...), and eventually, people just decided that she was 16 when she went into the woods, 16 when she died, and then 16 when the prince woke her up. Check out all the sordid details about your fave Fairytales from this awesome E-resource available for FREE from the Calgary Public Library: World Folklore Today and Folklife

But now let's take a look at something a little more twisted:

Mirror Mirror

With an All-Star cast and GORGEOUS costuming, this rendition promises to be a fun flick about "the untold story" of Snow White, full of political intrigue, role-reversals (I believe Snow saves Prince Charming on several occasions...) and some light-hearted jibes at an aging Julia Roberts.

Mirror Mirror has a release date of March 16th of this year, but to tide you over, you can watch the trailer on IMDB here.


Snow White and the Huntsman

Unlike Mirror, Mirror, this redux of Snow White promises to be much darker, and much angstier. Ready to leave Bella Swan far behind her, Kristen Stewart takes on this new role with gusto. She is apparently doing her own stunts, and even if she's not doing them so well, it's much better than letting Edward and Jacob get all the action.

Snow White & The Huntsman will come out on June 1st, but if you follow the title link there are lots of video clips and images to placate you in the meantime!

Once Upon a Time is ABC's crack at the fairytale revamp. It modernizes some of our favourite childhood characters (although it must be noted that they use the Disney versions of most characters, not the original ones, as ABC is owned by Disney) and drops them into a small town in the states, where time is frozen and Snow White's daughter is the key to unlocking an evil curse. I've never seen it, but I've only heard good things.

And it's not just movies and TV shows, although if you want the full list of film adaptations available through CPL, we have a list pending. There are dozens and dozens of books featuring Snow that we have currently circulating in our collection. I've only put the highlights of the other collections and ALL the YA ones here, but feel free to come into ANY branch if you're looking for a specific version.

Picture/Storybooks in the Juvenile Collection:

Adult Spin Offs:

Young Adult and Graphix:

Non-Fiction

Review: Dead to You

by Alexandra - 0 Comment(s)

Dead to You Lisa McMannDead to You is a fast-paced, suspenseful, and page-turning Young Adult novel written by the New York Times best-selling author Lisa McMann. The book starts off with a 16 year-old boy named Ethan finally finding his family after the 9 years he has been gone. At age 7 Ethan was abducted from his driveway, and a search has been going on for the last nine years. Now that he is back at home in the town of Belleville, everyone begins to ask questions about his abduction. These memories -- or anything about his childhood, really, -- are irrevocable. Rest assured for him, everything is slowly turning back to normal, but he is hiding something. What is preventing Ethan de Wilde from recollecting all these memories? Tensions in his family between siblings and parents are becoming more and more progressive, and suspicion becomes nigh unbearable for Ethan. Something ominous from his past is slowly being revealed, and it’s going to cost him.

An amazing quality about Lisa McMann (also the author of the best-selling Wake Trilogy) is how convincingly she is able to write in a teenager’s everyday vernacular, but also how true to life the events in her realistic fiction novel are. Dead to You is a very fast-paced novel, never monotonous or stationary, always moving. One after another, events occur that cause things to happen: whether it is tensions in the family, an exuberant love life, or hurtful statements from those you love. However, McMann always leaves something better looming around the corner, until the ultimate ending. If you enjoy suspense, mystery, and engaging reads, this book is the one for you.

Reviewed by Sahad

Expected Publication Date: February 7, 2012

YAC (Youth Advisory Council), is a bunch of Calgary youth who volunteer to help shape teen services at CPL through sharing their ideas, time and talents. They have started reviewing ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) of books and we are pleased to publish them here. So... stay tuned for more reviews from YAC.

I made you a Mix

by Alexandra - 1 Comment(s)

I saw a tweet the other day from Penguin Books about "Literary Mixed Tapes" -- and I thought it was such a great idea. You make a playlist for a literary character... either as a character (What would I listen to if I was ______?) or for a literary character (If I was friends with/in love with/ had a hate-on for...) and then share it.

mixtape for edwardSo I'm going to make one. It's really a lot of fun. But before I do, I need to preface this with a little bit of information. You see, back in the day, getting a mixed tape from someone (yeah, a tape... like a cassette... like an 8-track... you need to look it up, cuz that technology was craaaazy), meant that they cared enough about you to spend a really long time making one. This was before drag-and-drop burn folders. You had to sit in front of a tape player with the song you wanted on one deck and the blank cassette in the other deck, and listen to the whole song the whole way through as it recorded. And if you messed up, you had to rewind both cassettes (which was a process in itself! Sometimes the tape would get tangled and you'd have to fix it by sticking a pencil eraser into the gear... it was a pain for sure) and then start all over again. And the ORDER of the songs was important too, because it was really annoying to try to skip from one song to another... you'd have to rewind and fast forward and you'd end up halfway through a song, and then go too far back, and then too far forward again... You'd also never know how much space you had left on the tape, so you'd keep checking and be like "ONE MORE SONG! I CAN FIT ONE MORE SO---" and then get completely cut off, and either have to deal with half a song or record a bunch of white noise over the end of the cassette... Let's just say CD's were a godsend.

At any rate. There really WAS an art to making mixed tapes. If you want to learn more about it, and read a really touching book in the process, check out "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"... which is being made into a movie later this year starring Percy Jackson and Hermione Granger and Elena from VD... well... you know what I mean.

I couldn't decide which YA Lit character to make a mix for, so I just picked a super popular one. Edward Cullen. This mix is toungue-in-cheek, with a little bit of humour, and a little bit of seriously-wake-up-and-smell-the-pancakes, Vamp... your life isn't that bad. Except for the last song... because ouch. It's too true.

So here we go. My Mix for Edward:

1) Sucks to be You -- Prozzak

2) If you want Blood -- AC/DC

3) My Bloody Valentine -- Good Charlotte

4) Bring me to Life -- Evanescence

5) Dying to live again -- Hedley

6) Addicted -- Simple Plan

7) The First Cut is the Deepest -- Cat Stevens

8) Somebody's Watching Me -- Rockwell

9) Children of the Grave -- Black Sabbath

10) Dude looks like a Lady -- Aerosmith


Feel like joining in? Post a song we missed for Edward in the comments section, or make your own and send it to: cplteenservices@gmail.com for a chance to have your guest mix posted!

Behind the Page

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Young Adult Movie PosterA new movie has come out from the makers of Juno, again looking at adolescence, again featuring adults in states of arrested development. “Young Adult” is unfortunately-and paradoxically- rated R, so intended for grownups who might relate to the challenges of growing up, which seems to become increasingly difficult as we age for some reason.

Charlize Theron's character, Mavis Gary, has not advanced since her glory days in high school. As a writer of teen romance novels, she is suddenly faced with an opportunity to return to her home town and attempt to relive these days-- with disastrous results.

The film reminded me of Gentlemen Broncos, a quirky follow up to Napoleon Dynamite, which features a home-schooled writing prodigy whose science fiction story is plagiarized by a celebrity fantasy author (Germaine from Flight of the Conchords).

These two movies are the latest in a line of films subversively setting up expectations of authors (Renee Zellweger as Beatrix Potter notwithstanding), portraying them as complicated, petty, mean spirited, fallible and completely human. Think of the tightly wound children’s author in Elf, or in another Will Ferrell vehicle, Emma Thompson’s darkly disturbed author in “Stranger than Fiction”, who is unknowingly narrating the real-life counterpart of her protagonist to his demise.

The gaping character flaws are usually played for comedic relief largely because they are counter to the conventional image of the writer, especially those writing children’s and teens fiction. After all, these are people who are supposed to have it all figured out, right? More often than not, I’d say they deserve more credit.

“No one suspects the children’s writer.” Says Mo Willems, who among many other writers of children's books, is included in the documentary Library of the Early Mind, an exploration of the art and impact of children’s literature on our kids, our culture, and ourselves. The film features nearly 40 prominent authors and illustrators talking about their work, its genesis and its impact, offering a surprising and deeply insightful look into the lives of writers, illustrators and the industry itself. We learn some surprising facts about some of our most beloved writers. For example, can you guess which author started writing books after a lengthy stint in jail for drug trafficking? Whose Orwellian childhood upbringing inspired a series of books that subversively challenged the infallibility of grown up characters?

What do you Really know about your favorite authors? Check out their biographies (we have tons! just ask), come to our information desks and check out our great reference books on authors, or try the database Something About The Author through the E-library. Let me know what you find!

Who Chooses What You Read?

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Freedom to Read

Freedom to Read Week is nearly upon us.

I think it's safe to say that most people here in Canada feel pretty confident that no one is trying to control the information they can access. I mean, we have Libraries, we have the Internet, we have Google, we have bookstores...if anything, we have too much information to deal with.

However! An abundance of information is not equivalent to equal access to information, or access to correct information, and it certainly dosn't stop people from trying to limit our access to information. There is no doubt that Canadians are among the information priviledged, so we should not stand idly by while other nations and people (sometimes in our backyard), cannot read or access the information they need.

This, our need to assert the right of all people to access information freely, is why we celebrate Freedom to Read Week! Everyone: Pick up a banned book and read it! Three cheers for the FREEDOM TO READ! Hip hip hooray!

If you can't imagine a world where the freedom to read is limited, I recommend you read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak or for something a little more fanciful try Matched by Ally Condie. The freedom to read what you want to and when you need to is incredibly important to our society's heath and well-being. If you disagree, consider recent events in Libya where the country was taken off the internet in the middle of a civil war. Or for something closer to home, look at this long list of books and magazines that were challenged here in Canada in 2011.

So, like I said, it is time to celebrate the freedom to read!!!

Announcing our annual Freedom to Read Contest: Who chooses what you read?

Here are the rules:

Express your thoughts on the freedom to read with words, film or graphic arts.

Choose one of the following methods:

Make a poster: draw, paint, or use photography and other graphic arts (8 ½ x 14” or 11 x 17”)

Write: a poem, short story, or essay (max. 300 words)

Create a film: (3 min. or less)

All content must be original, except for short, cited quotations.

Criteria:
1. Persuade an audience and support your point of view.
2. Use techniques of form effectively to engage an audience.

Contest is open to Calgary students in Grades 7 – 9. Include your name, school, grade, and telephone number with your entry. Enter by email: freedomtoread@calgarypubliclibrary.com AND upload to Teens Create; OR submit your hardcopy to any Calgary Public Library location. One entry per person. Entries must be received no later than midnight Wednesday February 15th 2011.

And of course...there will be prizes!