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Opportunity Knocks! Be a Reading Buddy!!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Feeling the graduation stress? Still need volunteer hours? Looking for something to pad out that resume? We can help you with that!

The Reading Buddies program is looking for volunteers! Come hang out with kids in grades 1-3, take part in awesome crafts, and help your little buddy practice their reading in a fun-filled environment.

If you’re in grades 7-12, we would love to have you take part in this program! We still have openings at the following locations:

Alexander Calhoun: Thursdays, January 24 – March 21 from 4:30-5:45

Forest Lawn: Tuesdays, January 22 – March 19 from 4:00-5:15

Glenmore Square: Tuesdays, January 22 – March 19 from 4:30-5:45

Shaganappi: Tuesdays, January 22 – March 19 from 4:30-5:45

To register, please contact Brin Bugo (403-260-2709 or brin.bugo@calgarypubliclibrary.com) or Jody Watson (403-221-2062 or jody.watson@calgarypubliclibrary.com)! We’re looking forward to having you join our awesome team of teen volunteers!

By Brin

Dystopian Popularity Continued...

by Adrienne - 5 Comment(s)

So here we continue our dystopian saga, discussing why these current YA novels are so popular... from a Social Studies perspective. Try this analysis on one of your teachers to see what their reaction is!

Divergent by Veronica Roth, calls this into question; what are the most important human character traits to uphold in order to eradicate evil from human nature? Which would you choose: Intelligence, honesty, selflessness, amiability or bravery? Partially inspired by Roth's study of exposure therapy, Divergent questions the very definition of bravery. How do you define bravery? What do you think it means to be brave? Can one character trait exist in isolation or do they always act in multiple possible combinations? What is your utopia? Can utopia be universal? Or is one's person's heaven always another person's hell? What happens in a utopia when people are non-conforming? At what point/what causes a utopian ideology to become dystopian? Real life examples would be communism under Mao or Democracy under Bush.

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale has left both Matched and Wither trailing in its wake. All three deal with genetics, i.e. matching and slavery. Lack of choice is prevalent. Think Star Trek laced with a hint of The Giver by Lois Lowry. If you add undertones of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, a book which I first read when I was 16, you begin to get the picture.

It's rare that I read a YA novel that I immediately want to re-read just to absorb all the poetry of the prose; it's that beautiful! Plus there is so much symbolism embedded into the book that you can tell Ally Condie used to be a High School English teacher. YA novels are often all about action and suspense. Matched, moving along at an ever quickening clip, certainly leaves you breathlessly wanting more at the end. Poetry is however, central to the book. It highlights the power of art to have political influence and be a strong force to fight against the apathy prevalent in coercive societies. There's a reason books/music/art get burned/banned. Matched underscores the power of choice; why it's important to have and why it might be beneficial not to. Implicit is that choice, held either in our own hands or societies, carries with it the ability to make both mistakes and successes. We can cause ourselves and others, both joy and sorrow along the way. Ultimately Matched takes a stance that human dignity; requires it. Otherwise we can all become so en-thralled...

The Hunger Games deals with many themes including survival, loyalty, slavery, and class privilege. It is this book that originally inspired this blog. Going out to schools in Calgary to do presentations for the library I came across many Junior High Social and Language Arts teachers who were using The Hunger Games for a novel study. It's a great book with so many leads for humanities discussions. In this way it follows The Giver by Lois Lowry, a book which is often used in schools as well.Both of these books have been banned in various places but that just gives credence to the fact that they deal with serious issues!

What struck me most about the Hunger Games is how closely it mimics a reality TV show, such as Survivor. The book thus deftly comments on our cultures obsession with entertainment; our need for vicarious living and ever more potent adrenaline boosters. And I admit I was drawn in, fully entertained, gripped by all the action suspense, romance and yes... suffering. This is in combination with a strong female character we can wholly sympathize with. Vicarious living at its finest! We are supposedly far above the Romans in our taste for civilized entertainment. But are we? Movies are simulated; reality TV shows "volunteered" for, and the news? Reality relayed at 6 'O clock each evening full of... human suffering.

For some interesting thoughts on Dystopian Fiction check out the following INFOGRAPHICS:

The Dystopian Timeline to The Hunger Games

If You Liked “The Hunger Games”…

Here's why one fellow YYC teen thinks dystopian novels are so popular these days. Warning: this may be a downer.

Soooo... anyone up for writing the next UTOPIA? We could certainly use some positive societal visioning. Any budding writers out there? Check out this Cartoon version of Thoreau at Walden. We'd LOVE to hear your voices in TEENSCREATE!

Why are Dystopian Novels so popular? Because they deal with reality...

by Adrienne - 3 Comment(s)

Why are Dystopian Novels so popular? This current trend not just with teens, it is also popular with many adults. These YA novels have even your parents following them! Why? Because they deal with real life issues that we either face in the world every day, or that the WORLD at large deals with every day. The proof is in the pudding eh? So what issues DO the current faves and bests deal with?

Wither The main issue this book deals with is the possible unknown side-effects of genetic engineering and insufficiently tested cures. This applies today to more than just genetics research; we have many diseases with unknown cures and unknown causes... Do we know the full effects of a lifetime of eating Kraft diner, painting our nails with formaldehyde polish, or spraying DDT on our vegetables and consequent genetic defects? No... and on and on and on with 100 million products and experiments we conduct every day. Diseases like ALS are New and just popping up and others like AIDS and many cancers still have no known cures.

Wither also deals with objectifying women and young girls solely for their looks (very western), reproductive capacities (prevalent in various countries today) and reproductive slavery. Slavery is slavery even within the confines of comfy couches and pretty lipsticks... As well as taking a look at what love really Is and Is not.

Birthmarked also takes a hard look at reproductive slavery, as well as being a case study for third world vs. first world paradigms. Set in 2403 in a society where our world and time is labeled "the cool age", it is an imaginative rendering of post apocalyptic survival - global warming style. The book even dares to propose how various current energy solutions such as using geothermic energy could have negative effects on society; or certain members of society, whenever dictatorship reigns. Our current world deals with global warming; 1st world vs. 3rd world; class issues and divisions within society (some more stark and apparent than others and some more covert); alternative energies and dictatorships Every Day. Perhaps the resonance of these books is not in their outlandish imaginings, but rather in their expressions of current realities made more digestible through the form of story. Check out the movie trailer here.

The Graceling series is perhaps one of the most multi-layered dystopian series of the bunch, teetering into the verge of fantasy, but striking home so closely to reality that I often found the books very difficult to read (even though this consequently made them my favourites of the bunch.) Dealing with issues of literacy and class, ability vs. disability, dictatorships, sociopaths, murder, justice, memory and healing, they also insert things such as birth-control and GLBTQ as givens, positive aspects of this much troubled society.

Bitterblue is the story of both a girl and a society recovering from the effects of a regime of terror. How does one uncover truth? How are "war crimes" dealt with fairly when the entire society is both implicitly guilty and traumatized at the same time? Can a thief be loyal, just, trustworthy and lovable? Can one be treasonous, break the law and yet be loyal and just under the law at the same time? How can just 4% of the population (the statistical existence of sociopaths) cause so much damage?


For some interesting thoughts on Dystopian Fiction check out the following INFOGRAPHIC: Is It Dystopia?

Social Studies 101 coming up, in the form of case studies presented in really engaging YA novels!

Stay tuned next Sunday for Part 2 of this blog: Dystopian Popularity Continued...

Peer to Peer Study Group = Homework Help at The Library!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Okay, so it's mid semester and you're overloaded with homework. Right, ... right? Yeah, I thought so. Plus this is putting a serious cramp on your social life right? Well we, at Central, have the perfect solution for you. On Mondays (including this Monday the 26th!) from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. we have created a special study space for teens to work in on the third floor. Teen volunteers (Honours' and IB students) will be on hand to help you with your homework! Plus you can stick around until 8pm to finish what you started. Awesome right? Upcoming dates are Nov 26, Dec 03, and Dec 10. Teens in Grades 10 to 12 can come get help with your homework from other students. Plus check out some of our previous blogs for awesome homework help databases and other cool after-school programs offered at the library. Need a tutor? Due tomorrow? = No Problem! Did I mention the social possibilities of homework?? Always a way to meet new people...

As a teen I was part of the Peer-Support team at my high school. It was great! Mind you it wasn't a study group, but I definitely made some lasting friendships through it, plus learning a thing or two about psychology. My point being, that Peer to Peer homework support is a great place to do your homework in silence, and get out of the house, increasing your social network at the same time. Killing the birds of homework, better grades, happy teachers and socializing in one fell swoop. How could your parents possibly argue with that? Come on down!

In Honour of Zombies, Ghosts, Ghouls... aka Bleak, Bizarre & Beautiful

by Adrienne - 3 Comment(s)

Inspired this past May (which was Zombie Awarenes Month), this post reviews a few graphic novels that fit the theme. Fairies and Ghouls beware! Halloween is fast approaching and Calgary just had it's own Zombie walk on Saturday October 13th! Do you have your costume ready? Or are you a die hard Zombie fan who will wash and recycle their Zombie gear creating environmentally friendly apocalypse wear for All Hallows Eve? For great Zombie books and movies year round check out Alex's great Zombie Awareness Blog from last May.

For now, here are some ghouly graphic novels to get your Halloween grease moving. Grimericks by Susan Pearson and Monster Museum by Marilyn Singer are both illustrated by the lovely Gris Grimly. Think Tony Diterlizzi (The Spiderwick Chronicles) meets Tim Burton (The Nightmare Before Christmas) - on paper. Take MaryLou Jones; the java drinking, peter pan collar, blue polka dotted dress, blonde bob, pilgrim shoe wearing skeleton as a Grimly Zombie example. Both books are filled with witty puns to boot! Singer gets straight to the point with a Zombie poem that teaches us how Zombies "dance" and a ghost poem delineating all the family "types". Pearson's

Recipe for a Grimerick goes:

1 limerick, lightly salted

dash grim

slosh of spook juice

1 cup giggles

3 ripe guffaws

Mix together with 1 funny bone.

Chill in dank cave.

Turn the lights down low.

Lock the doors.

Look under the bed.

Read with relish!

I hate to admit it, but I'm actually not actually into Zombies (I know, I know ... please don't bite me!), I AM however, very into juicy, messy, blotchy, splotchy drawings. How to Draw Zombies a Fantasy Underground book by Mike Butkus & Merrie Destefano, is chock full of them! There is much exquisite mark making here showcasing all the delicate intricacies of the artists hand and/or personality - if you believe in hand writing analysis. Each drawing/painting/digital rendering is broken down step by step so that you can see all the layered marks in isolation like Mr. Dress Up - Zombie style! Anyone up for creating a Zombie Mr. Dress Up art piece? We would love to see your submissions on our Teens Create page. Looking through this gem, I have to admit that Zombies are fine ground for digging in & sketching out all the gory details. Mr. Dress Up challenge aside, if you could draw a Zombie what/who would it be?

Here are photos of Calgary's May 2012 Zombie Walk, and here are the photos for the October zombie walk. Calgary's Zombie community is Awesome!

If that's not enough, these stellar Zombie comics and novels should keep you entranced for awhile:

Plus for former Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans... we currently have Diary of a Zombie Kid on order!

When dealing with ghosts what fits the bill of beautiful? Perhaps when the meaning of a mystery lies in belief being it's own reward? Or perhaps when illustrations tinge on being creepy but really are pretty brilliant comic illustrations. Slog's Dad illustrated by Dave McKean, (who also illustrated The Sandman by Neil Gaiman) is a master at this. Written by David Almond, this graphic novel defies easy categorization or interpretation, embedding itself heavily in enigma.

Always save the best 2 for last, right? Here they are. The winner has to be Zombie's Vs. Unicorns, a great new anthology compiled by Holly Black (Team Unicorn) & Justine Larbalestier (Team Zombie). The two duke it out with witty commentary before each short story and the reader is left to decided who wins, Zombies?? or Unicorns?? This book includes many stars of YA fiction such as Scott Westefeld ( who is Justine's husband, did you know?), Libba Bray & Meg Cabot. Westefeld may have actually been playing in this sandbox for a long time. Ever think of nanos as Zombies? Specials anyone? Kathleen Duey included a particularly haunting addition in which you could most likely classify the Unicorn AS a Zombie. Isn't any creature that has eternal life sort of technically you know - a zombie? I, I admit my Zombie love is growing, fed by Unicorns of course!

Finally, because Halloween should always end with something wholesome - like apples... candied - we will end with Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol. This book could be described as Casper... for 16 year olds, with just the slightest bit of Creepy!! thrown in. If you fell down a well, ... well would you befriend that ghost? Join Anya B as she navigates private school with her ghost. As their friendship develops she discovers that being friends with a shade may or may not be all it's cracked up to be; and that somethings are more important than others. This debut graphic novel written and illustrated by Brogol is Great. It has won numerous awards... for good reason! Long live....

Win a PS3 !!!

by Jilliane - 0 Comment(s)

New Central Library survey for youth

You may have heard that we are building a new library downtown--YAY! We are all very excited.

Win a Playstation 3

We are in the really early stages of planning this new library so the time is right for you to give us feedback and tell us what you want to see in this building. In fact, we have been working really hard lately to get input from Calarians big and small (and in-between). For more info on our new library and our public engagement efforts, check out our NCL webpage. You may have seen us out and about at teen nights, afterschool programs, the ALEX, CYOC and other places. And now we have a survey--just for youth. We want to know what YOUth want to see in this new library.

And yeah, if you fill it out you will be entered into a draw to win a PS3!

So. Please fill our our short survey to tell us what you think our new downtown library should be like! The survey ends on October 30th.

15-16 years old & looking for work?

by Jilliane - 0 Comment(s)

Jump Start Poster

Live on Mars!

by Tomas - 1 Comment(s)

Curiosity on Mars!

Whew! What an intense few weeks. Amazing performances by Usain Bolt, Christine St Clair, the reunited Spice Girls, hmm, what else happened? Oh yeah…. A ROBOT LANDED ON MARS! MARS!!!

Ok, fair enough, the Olympics were a thrilling spectacle of athletic prowess, but seriously consider for a moment the magnitude of sending a rocket flying through the vastness of space and safely touching down on another planet… I think there is a team of engineers and astrophysicists that deserve to bite down on a gold medal too.

Of course, this also isn’t the first contact we've had with the red planet. Curiousity (nice name!), the plucky little rover that is currently exploring the planet is the latest in a number of robotic explorers that over the years have given us a clearer picture of the planet. The similarities in size and climate to Earth, and the tantalizing possibility of water and life continues to stoke our imaginations and ambitions to one day reach the planet.

But what will happen when we reach it? Humans don’t exactly have an impressive track record when it comes to encountering and then laying claim to ‘uncharted’ territory…so after the initial thrill of discovery, what can we expect? .

Although set on a fictional planet, Monica Hughes' classic Isis Trilogy offers one possible scenerio. Olwen, and her guardian -until recently the only residents on the remote planet of Isis- now have to come to terms with newly arrived colonists.

Recently republished on account of it's 100th Anniversary (I wonder if CPL had this book in it's collection in 1912, hmmm...) The Mars Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs is a pulpy sci fi classic. Earth man John Carter finds himself mysteriously transported to a fantastically imagined Mars, complete with Martians! Skip the disappointing film adaptation and go right to the source for this one.

As the first book in a new trilogy by David MacInnis Gill, Black Hole Sun is a dark and gritty -and at times also humourous- story of sixteen-year-old Durango and his crew of mercenaries who are hired by the settlers of a mining community on Mars to protect their most valuable resource from a feral band of marauders.

Closer to home, in stories such as Girl from Mars and the critically acclaimed Manga series Mars, the planet plays a peripheral role, but also stands as a metaphor of the terrifying and wonderful emotional terrains of the strange world we currently find ourselves on.

Bleak, Bizarre & Beautiful cont...Art Graphix

by Adrienne - 2 Comment(s)

Okay so it's been quite awhile since I have written a blog in the Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful vein. In the interim I am happy to report that we at CPL have chalked up a considerably new awesome stock of graphic novels in! Herein are reviews of some of the best graphic novels that have crossed my path over the past few months. They are what I consider to be original in format, art and story;

Here be the latest: ART GRAPHIX!!!

Chopsticks: [A Novel] in pictures & news clips is a mystery that leaves you with plenty of questions. This beautiful new art book/ graphic novel written by Jessica Anthony (who also wrote The Convalescent), photographed and designed by Rodrigo Corral.

Page by Paige is a fun quick read of Paige Turner's adventures in her sketchbook after her family moves to New York. The images and text detail her journey towards becoming an artist. Inventive and profound whilst remaining light, Paige and her friends stir things up a bit as unconventional graffiti-ists "The Agents of Whimsy". Each Chapter is headed up with a new "rule"; rules that will help any aspiring artist to fill up the Page (or just adjust to a new school...)!

How would you use a camera to communicate your view of yourself and the world around you? How do you think your friends would? Please Read (if at all possible) The Girl Project by Kate Engelbrecht is a compilation of photographs and survey submissions that gives snapshot glimpses into the lives of REAL teenage girls... as Not seen on TV. The author of this book speaks to girls, "3 years ago I became fascinated by popular depictions of you. I didn't recognize you. Bratty. Slutty. Spoiled. Vapid. Mean - even vicious.... I didn't see myself in you or even relate to you. After all, I didn't know any teenage girls anymore, and like so many adults, I understood you only through the media...I started the girl project as a way to explore my questions and confusion.. This project has become less about my curiosity of you and more to do with making sure your lives get shared. Your lives are in fact deeply meaningful... I hope you see yourself somewhere in these pages and feel reassured that, in this world, you are not alone."

Cathy's Book by Stewart/Weisman/Brigg is an epistolary (book written in diary format) complete with doodles. pictures and notes inserted. This is one of those books that I picked up to read for five minutes and didn't put down until someone else walked in to the room and I realized what time it was... A fast paced action adventure with an ArtGrrl twist plus plenty of mystery and philosophy on the side. It also features a website and ph# you can call to enhance the story! MY favourite quote from the book reads, "Without us, the world is just things, Cathy. It's our seeing that fills them with meaning. To pay attention is a painter's sacred duty. That's what real prayer is, real meditation: to hold your attention to the world like a match, until it catches with the fire of meaning."

Last but not least Timbuktu based on the novel written by Paul Aster - adapted and illustrated by Julia Goschke - with beautiful paintings and sparse text. Told from Mr. Bones' point of view after his homeless former master passes a way and Mr. Bones tries to adjust to his new life (incidentally, Mr. Bones is a dog). Poignant and real, it brings a different perspective on the freedom of homelessness and a dog's loyalty as he learns, "..that memory was a place, a real place that one could visit, and that to spend a few moments among the dead was not necessarily bad for you, that it could in fact be a source of great comfort and happiness."

Happy Reading!

writ and spoke, bi-cycled words

by Adrienne - 3 Comment(s)

Calling all Youth,

not (only) angels

Slam, slam, Slammin'!

we be jammin'

3 min, no more

bring your work to shore

writ and spoke

don't go for broke

RAISE your vOIce!

Fun and feedback

Test your score

LISTEN TO POETRY

one afternoon a month

This Sat! 2pm

in the John Dutton

Calgary International Spoken Word Festival Poets! Get Feedback from the Pro's!

(Teen Poetry Slam this Saturday in the John Dutton Theatre 2-3:30pm @ Central hosted by CiSWF, be there or be...)

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