On Line

Saddletowne blog banner

Saddletowne Blog

Excellent Books for Awesome Teens

Excellent Books for Awesome Teens

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

For about the last month, we've had a recommendation box in our teen zone at Saddletowne. Our main goal: to see what you've been reading, and what you like. While there were a few books which did not surprise us (many of them by John Green), there were some new recommendations that we hadn't thought of! And if there's one thing we love at Saddletowne, it's new book recommendations. So here is our (growing) list of what teens are reading at Saddletowne:

1. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (our most recommended book by far!)
2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
3. If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
4. Missing You by Harlan Coben
5. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
6. Harry Potter by JK Rowling
7. The Shining by Stephen King
8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
9. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
10. My Name is Parvana by Deborah Ellis

A few staff recommendations to throw into the mix:
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan (It's just been released! We are unbelievably excited.....sort of like this)
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth
How to Build a Girl: A Novel by Caitlin Moran

Now It's time for a Halloween Dance Break:

Breaking your reading routine

Breaking your reading routine

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

A friend of mine had a facebook status last week that read:

I don't know if this is a book slump or a brain slump but I can't get into anything lately and it's bumming me out.

The very next day, a gentleman came into Saddletowne asking for new book recommendations. I asked him what he liked to read. His reply: mysteries, but he also said that he felt like he had read everything in the mystery section....written by a man....with a male protagonist.

The reading slump is an all-too-common occurrence, so if you know what I'm talking about, you're not alone. Symptoms of a reading slump can include: complete disinterest in reading anything at all, lack of inspiration for finding books, over-enthusiasm for a book to where the thought of reading anything else is completely unappealing, or just difficulty focusing on the book you're currently reading.

I have been scouring the internet looking at reading blogs for suggestions on how to break a reading slump. Here are some of my favourite suggestions:

  • Set goals for yourself - much like a New Year's resolution, only for reading. Have you always wanted to tackle a book behemoth like Moby Dick? Now might be your chance.
  • Set aside intentional reading time - I know I am really guilty of not doing this. We are constantly on the go, and when we have free time, it is entirely too easy to fill it with other things. Set aside 20, 30, 45, 60 minutes of reading a day for yourself. Remember, the CBC has reported on the health benefits of reading. Read! It's good for you!
  • Find a palate cleanser - find something really different to read. This suggestion is especially helpful if you have been obsessed with a book series and you're waiting for the next book to come out, like the Heroes of Olympus or Game of Thrones....still.....waiting......
  • Switch genres - if you tend to devour mysteries, try some fantasy. If you read historical fiction, try some young adult books. If you love stories about real life, try some sci-fi. Stretch your comfort zone!

Saddletowne has a new display for the month of October called Break your Routine! Find a wide array of books for you and your family, chosen to help shake up the doldrums of the horrible, no good, very bad reading slump!

I must admit, I've been in a slump of my own. If you read my blog from May 28th, I very ardently and earnestly declared my hatred for books about love. Well, I'm so desperate to end a reading slump of my own, I have acquired a copy of a book called If You Were Mine. A book. About. Love.

This is me, eating my words.

-----------------------------------

PS - If you're looking for something creative and fun, I just saw Boxtrolls at the movie theatre last night. Fantastic story and animation, based on the book Here be Monsters by Alan Snow. Palate cleanser, anyone?

Here be Monsters!

Snap! Snap! Read a Lot!

by Fernando - 0 Comment(s)

Take a photo of your child reading or holding a book, and submit it for a chance to win a prize.

Submission details

  • Photo dimension: 4” x 6” or 5” x 7”
  • Age limit: up to 5 years old
  • Tell us what your favourite book is
  • Sign a photo release form at the service desk
  • Deadline: Oct. 30, 2014

Where

All photos will be displayed on a poster board at Saddletowne Library.

Prizes

A draw will be held at the end of the contest, awarding books to three participants.

Saddletowne presents: Adult Book Club!

Saddletowne presents: Adult Book Club!

by Alyssa - 2 Comment(s)

The Saddletowne Library is very pleased to present our newest program.....an adult reading club!

The reading club's first meeting will begin on Friday, September 19th. You do need to register for this program with your library card, but once you do, you will be able to pick up our first reading club book, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. The reading club will be a great way to meet new people, share your love of reading, and listen to different ideas about books and literature.

thirteenth tale by Diane Setterfield

At reading club meetings, we will be:

  • discussing the book
  • choosing a book for our next meeting
  • sharing our love of reading!

To register for this program, you can register online at the Calgary Public Library website, drop by the Saddletowne Library in person, or call us at 403-260-2620. Come join us!

Summer Reading for the Whole Family!

Summer Reading for the Whole Family!

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

Well, it's finally summer. And goodness, has it taken its sweet time in getting here! While it's hard to actually see summer for all of the rain, summer vacations are looming, the end-of-school is nigh, and our fair city is about to take a giant, well-earned, collective sigh of supreme relief. We made it!

We have written about the very real effect of the summer slump, so I won't belabour emphasizing it here. But the Calgary Public Library has a reading program for you and your entire family. Listed below are our programs by age and the details about participation.


Summer Reading Club

0-5 years
6-11 years

What it is: This fun and easy summer program encourages your children to read everyday in increments of either 15 or 20 minutes. Pre-registration is NOT required for this program - simply come to the Saddletowne Library and sign-up at our Summer Reading Club table. We will give you a booklet full of games, your reading notebook, a welcome sticker, and the reading ballot for the week. For children 0-5, we encourage friends and family to read to them, and to help them start to read themselves! For ages 6-11, we encourage them to find books that will challenge them and make them even better readers!

How it works: Return each week throughout the summer to submit a completed ballot, and pick up the ballot for next week. Each time you submit a ballot, you will receive a sticker, and your ballot will be entered into prize drawings for free books and GRAND prizes, like a Mad Science Party!

Yes, it really is that easy!


Youth Read 2014

12-18 years

What it is: A creative program for your teens done through email and on the Calgary Public Library website. While you do need to sign-up for this program (we need to know where to email your challenges), you do NOT need a library card to participate! Go to our Youth Read page here to sign-up, or come to the Saddletowne Library and our staff will assist you!

How it works: Five new challenges are emailed to you every Wednesday throughout the summer. Follow the link to the challenges, and complete each challenge (remember, read the instructions carefully!). Once a challenge is completed, you will be entered into prize drawings for $250.00 gift cards to the Cadillac Malls (Chinook and Market Malls!), $50.00 gift cards to the movies, an autographed John Green box set of books, and many more prizes all summer long!!

Bonus Time: Every Monday night at 6:30 pm, teens can come to the Saddletowne Library and participate in the Challenge Yourself! event. There will be a bonus challenge, and our staff will help you with any other challeneges you want to finish. Don't have a digital camera? Need some glue? Confused about instructions? Challenge nights will help with anything you need. Oh, and we'll also have snacks.

Summer. Read.

18-500 years

What it is: Why should the kids get to win all the prizes?? An easy and communal reading program for adults. There will be new themes each week, and you can come into the Saddletowne Library for a ballot, or go here to find the ballot online. Check back to see what other people around Calgary think about the books you're reading and to get the new themes each Wednesday on the Reader's Nook Blog!

How it works: Fill out the ballot, and return the bottom portion with your information to enter to win one of three iPad Minis, and many other prizes as well!

Oh....and PS. All of these programs are free. And you don't even need a library card to play! Though you do need a library card to take out books.

Fight the Summer Slump!

Fight the Summer Slump!

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

Summer learning loss is a real and widely documented problem amoung our youth.

Statistics released by the National Summer Learning Association estimate:

  • children lose about two month's worth of knowledge and learning over the summer
  • this loss is cumulative! By the time your child leaves high school, they will have lost more than two year's worth of education
  • only 25% of students are able to engage in summer learning programs, often due to financial circumstances
  • parents continually cite summer as the most difficult time of year in which to keep their children engaged and active

But the Saddletowne Library can help you and your kids fight the slump!

Youth Read - Summer Program for teens ages 13-17

Your teen can sign-up for Youth Read online here, or at the Saddletowne Service Desk. Reading challenges are released every week and prizes are given out throughout the summer! Every time your teen logs on and completes a challenge, they are entered into drawings for grand prizes - $250, $150, and $75 gift certificates to the Cadillac Malls (Chinook and Market Mall). They also have the opportunity to win free books, $25 gift certificates, and a BONUS prize - a signed boxed set of John Green novels!

Also, every Monday night at 7:00 p.m. beginning June 23rd, the Saddletowne Library will be hosting Youth Read Challenge nights. Your teen can come to the library and participate in creative challenges with other teens (which also enter them into the prize drawings!). This is a great way for your teen to keep active, stay engaged, and most importantly, continue reading!

Summer Reading Challenge - Program for children ages 4-12

Many of you have heard of TD Bank's Summer Reading Challenge before, but in case you are unaware, Summer Reading Challange is a drop-in program that your children can participate in throughout the summer, complete with scavenger hunts and other fun activities. Collect your maker notebook and read all summer to win awesome prizes! Come to the Saddletowne Library on Saturday, June 21st from 10:30 am-4:00 pm to get your summer reading started!

To read more about Summer Learning Loss, here are some additional articles:

Canadian Council on Learning
How to Curb Summer Learning Loss
Primer on Summer Learning Loss

George the Youth Read mascot!

What Are Your Cautionary Reads?

What Are Your Cautionary Reads?

by Alyssa - 1 Comment(s)

This might be an obvious statement to make, but we are really big fans of reading here at the Saddletowne Library.

And because we are such cheerleaders of the written word, we have created multiple ways to help you find your new favourite book. From our Staff Picks display, to Novelist Plus, to looking up suggestions on Good Reads; if you are stuck for a new great book suggestion, we can find you that new book to love. We have the power!

However, the subject we don't spend a lot of time talking about are books you hated. Whether they were boring, poorly written, or offended your sensibilities, we don't often get the opportunity to discuss the books you really didn't like. Sometimes, the books you hate can be even more informative than the books you loved. And let's face it - sometimes hating something is just so much fun!

The first book I remember really hating - and I mean truly hating: I couldn't find any redeemable value in whatsoever - was The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. It was 2003, and I had just seen the movie. I liked the movie well enough, and knew that it was based on Well's New York Time's Best-selling novel. I assumed that the book (as is usually the case) would be better than the movie; that it would go more in-depth into the story of these endearing, if somewhat misguided, characters. On top of that, every woman I knew seemed to be recommending this book to me! So I read it. And I hated it. I thought the writing was trite and cliched, the plot-line just seemed to meander in multiple spots to no apparent point, and in this case, I can safely say that I thought the movie actually made the book better - and I can't remember ever saying that before or since! I am sure there are many people in the world who will adamantly disagree with me, but I stand by my disgust!

So come on, everybody - jump in! What are your most hated books?? Leave your comments for us below!!

If you get stuck and can't remember your most reviled reads, here is a link to a bunch of Good Reads user lists entitled "The Worst".

Twilight ? Fifty Shades of Grey ? The DaVinci Code ?

Teen Fiction and Youth Reads 2014

Teen Fiction and Youth Reads 2014

by Alyssa Bradac - 0 Comment(s)

Remember the good old days when you had disposable time on your hands? Time that was not scheduled for homework, sports practices, studying, music or drama rehearsals, club events, or after school jobs? Yeah, neither do we. We wish we could tell you that high school is the craziest time in your lives - but that would make us horrible liars, and we generally think very poorly of lying here at Saddletowne.

So here's the deal: we know you're busy. We know how much you have on your plate, and how reading for pleasure just doesn't have the same appeal that it used to - you know, 3-4 years ago when you had all the time in the world. But I'm here to tell you that reading for pleasure is good for you. Like, really good; like will-help-you-on-test-scores-and-university-entrance-essays good. Reading fiction frequently is scientifically proven to help you:

  • read faster
  • improve comprehension
  • expand vocabulary
  • verbal fluency
  • improve test scores

And if those reasons aren't enough to make you go pick up a book for 20 minutes a day, here are some logical, every-day reasons:

  • reading for 20 minutes a day improves empathy (all the feels!)
  • provides a greater insight to human nature (understand why people behave and act so weirdly!)
  • greatly reduces over-all stress and anxiety (which we know you have...like whoa!)
  • is an excellent escape from general every-day craziness (we know what that's like!)

Here are some common myths that you might have been lead to believe you must do when picking up a new book:

1. The only books that you'll benefit from are books that are on a formal reading list!
FALSE!! Read whatever you want! Please! We beg you! We don't want you to read things that you have no interest in, we want you to read what interests YOU. Graphic novels, manga, non-fiction, supernatural romance - if you dig it, we dig it too! And more importantly, we'll help you find it!

2. If you start reading a book, you HAVE to finish it!
FALSE!! If you read 50-75 pages into a book and still can't get into it, you are under no obligation to keep reading. Seriously. The book police will not come and give you a ticket. Life is too short to read books that you don't love, and there are far too many good books in the world to waste your time with one that is not holding your attention.

While you're probably getting ready for the end of the school year right now, and are starting to think about exams and other important stuff (like anything other than reading for pleasure), just be aware that Youth Reads 2014 is on the horizon for the summer - when homework and tests disappear.

What is Youth Reads?

Youth Reads is an online summer reading contest for 13-18 year olds. Each week between June 18 and August 31, new challenges will be released - one of them will always be a reading challenge, and the other will be a challenge to show off your creative side - drawing, writing, making, and doing! Sign-up with your friends online, and come to the Saddletowne Library on Monday nights this summer for some awesome and fun activities, challenges, candy (probably!), and the chance to win prizes!! (Yeah, you read that right!)

The best part about Youth Reads?? You don't have to have a library membership to take part!

Sign up today!!

Also, if you're currently looking for new reads, we recommend checking out the Teen Blog at the Calgary Public Library homepage. Or, you know, click the hotlink.

Embracing the Graphic Novel

Embracing the Graphic Novel

by Alyssa Bradac - 0 Comment(s)

I didn't read many graphic novels as a kid. Occasionally I'd buy a Batman or X-Men "comic book" if the mood struck me and had enough money left over from my allowance. I always seemed to read these books in the middle of the story, and didn't have much of a clue as to what was happening, who was allied with whom, and most importantly, why I should care. Also, as a child, most of the graphic novels I found seemed to all be marketed for boys - I didn't see myself on the cover or even as secondary characters in the plot. I had no one to relate to.

Yet the graphic novel has evolved greatly in the last 20 years. No longer are they "comic books" (Garfield, Funky Winkerbean, Blondie), now they are graphic novels - literally, novels with graphics. The themes found in a contemporary version of Wonder Woman, for example, examine not only Wonder Woman's inherent (and somewhat over-developed) sense of justice, but she is no longer the school marm of the world, shaking her finger at those "pesky, trouble-making boys". Now she is the ultimate agent for change. Female novelist Gail Simone (who is almost single-handedly responsible for Wonder Woman's fierce conversion) said:

If you want to stop a meteor, call Superman. If you want to solve a mystery, call Batman. If you want to stop a war, call Wonder Woman.

This is but one example. The face of graphic novels is changing drastically, and not just for superheros. There are many wonderful graphic novels commenting on everything from culture and politics, to climate change and relationships. Want to read about the childhood of a female protagonist set amid the Islamic Revolution in Iran? Read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Want to learn about dual perspectives during China's Boxer Rebellion? Read Boxers Saints by Gene Luen Yang. Moreover, graphic novels help to foster visual literacy, support English language learners, motivate reluctant readers, and are an all around excellent teaching tool (Sean Connors, The ALAN Review, 2010). Did you know that most major universities now offer courses dedicated to the graphic novel artform? With wonderfully expressive artwork and common themes in humanity, let graphic novels become your new favourite read in 2014.

Who should read graphic novels?
- Anyone learning English as a second language
- Anyone who is intimidated by reading literature and novels
- Anyone who appreciates wonderful writing and beautiful artwork
- Anyone at all!

Great Graphic Novels for Adults and Teens, I recommend:

- Persepolis by Marjane SatrapiPersepolis by Marjane Satrapi (also watch the movie!)

- Boxers Saints by Gene Luen YangSaints by Gene Luen YangBoxers/Saints by Gene Luen Yang

- Blankets by Craig ThompsonBlankets by Craig Thompson

There are also some wonderful graphic novels for kids. I recommend:
- Percy Jackson and the Lightning ThiefRick Riordan's Percy Jackson Series (yes! Now in Graphic Novels!)
- Hilda and the Bird ParadeThe Hilda Series by James Pearson (Hilda and the Shadow Giant, Hilda and the Troll, Hilda and the Bird Parade)

- Olympians Series by George O'ConnorThe Gods Series by George O'Connor

Reading Recommendations - Pre-Teen Edition!

Reading Recommendations - Pre-Teen Edition!

by Alyssa Bradac - 1 Comment(s)

Sometimes recommending books to 9-12 year olds is a tricky task, especially when the power of a book series like Harry Potter holds so much captivation and influence. Are there any other series on our library shelves beyond Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or Geronimo Stilton? The answer is a resounding yes.

Here are some book series recommendations available at the Saddletowne Library, fit for the choosiest of pre-teens:

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan: The first book in a series about the demi-god son of Poseidon. Weaving Ancient Greek mythology and characters in an upgraded, 21st Century story. Magic, mystery, adventure, loyalty, and betrayal are all tested and explored in this fun, captivating book. The books in this series are also available in graphic novels, and are great for both boys and girls!

Eragon by Christopher Paolini: The first book in Paolini's Inheritance Cycle about coming of age and the embracing of both legacy and responsibility, Eragon must decide to not only save his family, but an entire kingdom...with the help of a dragon. Great book for boys!

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: The first book in Pullman's His Dark Materials series, The Golden Compass follows Lyra Belacqua as she tries desperately to search for and rescue her playmate Roger - a captive of the mysterious and treacherous "Gobblers". Why are children being taken? What is the magical and mysterious substance called Dust? A tale of courage, daring, and friendship. Great book for girls!

The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani: A twist on our expectations of what Good vs. Evil is and more importantly what it looks like, The School for Good and Evil finds two girls, Sophie and Agatha, in a mixed-up situation; Sophie, beautiful and "good", is taken to the school for evil, where Agatha, misshapen and dark, to the school for good. Has there been a mistake? Or are appearances really only skin deep? This is a brand-new series, and sure to be a big hit!

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy: The first book in the League of Princes series, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is the boy's answer to fairytales. The book tracks the stories of various and imperfect Prince Charmings (Princes Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav) after saving their respective princesses, they must also cope with their own imperfections, various kingdoms in danger, and perhaps hardest of all, truly living up to the title of "Hero". Read this book before the movie comes out!

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins: The first major series from acclaimed author Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games), Gregor the Overlander is the story of a quiet boy who goes in search of his father, and discovers a strange world beneath the streets of New York City. The first book in The Underland Chronicles, Gregor must embrace his role in a vital prophecy, or risk losing his father and his world forever.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner: The first book in The Maze Runner series, Thomas wakes up in a lift, with no memory other than his name. Outside the walls of The Glade lies an ever-changing maze - the only escape is through the giant knot - and no one has ever made it out alive. Read this book before the movie comes out!

Here are some more recommendations for your preteen:
Popular Chapter Books for Pre-Teens

12Showing 1 - 10 of 16 Record(s)