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One week left in our All Hallows' Read contest!

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

all hallows read poster

All Hallows' Read is coming soon!

There's one week left in our contest - the deadline is Oct. 22.

Author Neil Gaiman started a great tradition of giving away scary books for Halloween, and we want to spread the joy a little (or would that be spread the horror?). All you have to do is write a short review of a creepy book, and you could win a set of two scary YA books - one to keep, and one to give away.

Submit your review using this form, or email it to - and remember to include your contact info.

All Hallows Read Contest

by Christine A - 4 Comment(s)

Halloween may be my favourite holiday. Our parents told us never to take candy from strangers, but once a year you're encouraged to disguise yourself, venture into the darkness... and beg for it. Candy, costumes, parties and zombie walks make late October a wonderful time of year. Fantasy and horror author Neil Gaiman has created a new tradition to make it even more so.

It's called All Hallows Read. All you do is take a scary book you like and give it to your friend. That person does the same for you. Ta-da! That's all there is to it, unless you'd like to win free books for your friend and yourself!

Just submit a short review of your favourite scary book to us by October 22nd (be sure to include your contact info!). The winner will receive two copies of a scary book, one for you and one for a friend. Zombies vs Unicorns

Need some ideas? Here's a review of Zombies vs Unicorns! This book was born from an online debate about which creature makes a better story. Unicorn fans say unicorns represent both innocence and sensuality; they heal the sick and can kill things with their horn. Zombies, on the other hand, stink, drool and carry disease. Zombie fans say that zombies both represent the forces of nature and comment on our society, whereas unicorns are stupid.

Twelve popular authors each offer a short story featuring unicorns, zombies or both. When you find an author you love, you can always find more of his or her work in our catalogue. If you can appreciate titles like “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and “The Care & Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn” this book is for you.

What's Your Ideal Space?

by Carrie - 1 Comment(s)

Picture this:

you're getting ready to study for a test, do homework, or just hang out with friends.

Where are you? What does your perfect study or hangout space look like? We want you to show us your ideal spot, so draw it, photograph it, collage it, or use photoshop to build the best possible place.

Send it to us by email, or share it on Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest with the hashtag #CPLfwd, and you could win a $100 gift card to Chinook or Market Mall!

The Rules:

  • This contest is open to Calgary students in Grades 7-12.
  • Enter as many times as you like.
  • Deadline for entries is May 16, 2014.
  • If you’re emailing it to us, send your file as a .jpg, .png, or .psd to
  • Winners will be announced on our Teen Blog and social media sites on May 20, 2014.
  • Disclaimer: By entering this contest, you agree that you and your parent/guardian give consent for your work to be posted on the CPL website and reposted on our social media sites. You also agree that all work submitted is your own original work.

Teen Writer's Toolkit: Getting Started

by Emily - 0 Comment(s)

So, you've found out about our Just Write contest and you're really excited to enter, maybe you've even settled on which one of the prompts you want to write about, or maybe you're going to be daring and try to incorporate both into your story. You're sitting there with your notebook open, pen hovering, or maybe you've just turned on your laptop and your fingers don't seem to want commit to the keys. You stare at the blank page before you for longer and longer, cold dread begins to ooze into your guts, your tongue feels thick and dry in your mouth. You can't seem to look away from that blank page, and you can't seem to begin to fill it and the harsh glare of its empty whiteness burns into your retinas. Ok, that was a bit melodramtic, but you know what I mean. It can be really hard to get started sometimes can't it? Well guess what, I can help you with that. The cool thing about getting to help out with this contest and write blogs about it is that I actually am a writer, and I feel like I have some helpful stuff to share with you since I'm a bit further down the road than you. But enough about me, let's get to those tricks I mentioned:

1. Make writing special for you.

What do I mean by this? Bribe yourself. I'm not kidding. What's my way of bribing myself? Well I posted a picture of all the "bribes" I've bought myself over the years just to the left here. I buy myself really nice notebooks that I often get from indie bookstores (Pages Books and Shelf Life carry some spiffy ones) but if you don't want to spend too much cash you can often find nice ones in dollar stores. I keep all of my writing books too. I sometimes like to imagine myself at eighty re-reading my writing books and thinking What on earth was I talking about?!

I couple my fancy writing book with a pen I really enjoy writing with. For me it's a fountain pen; I like the scratchy noise it makes as it flows across the paper. But maybe you have a pen that you already really enjoy writing with. Always write with that one. Just think about it, does some half-crumpled piece of looseleaf you found on your desk and a crummy pen that doesn't work properly seem appealing to write with now? Of course not. Also taking yourself on writing "dates" can help too. I take my writing book out to a nice coffe shop sometimes if I'm getting stuck. Having things like notebooks and trips to cafes makes you eager to start writing instead of dreading it.

2. Freewrite. Freewrite, freewrite, freewrite!

This is the trick I use the most. Freewriting just means that you aren't directly working on your project, rather you're writing about it. Often it takes the form of brainstorming, you throw some ideas out there like spaghetti and see what sticks to the wall. Sometimes for me it almost takes the form of "writer's therapy" where I complain about how terrible the new scene I wrote is, and I rant about that until I feel better and then eventually solutions begin to present themselves. The key to freewriting is to, well, be free about it. Write really fast and don't worry about grammar or spelling. Don't even stop to think. Sometimes I've come up with completely different angles to approach things from just by scribbling madly about it for ten minutes.

So there you are. Two tools to help get you started. I'll be posting about Jani Krulc and the Flywheel Reading Series next week and also be giving you another installment of the Teen Writer's Toolkit. So go find your note book and Just Write! (See what I did there? How I wittily worked the name of our contest into the sentence? That's how you know I'm a pro and not some hack.)