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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

The Benefits of Reading Fiction ... Children's Edition!

The Benefits of Reading Fiction ... Children's Edition!

by Alyssa Bradac - 0 Comment(s)

Reading is a cornerstone of education. But did you know that by the time children reach grade 8, their interest in reading outside of school diminishes by more than 60%? In a culture of increased gadgetry and electronics, how can we help boost our children's educational experience while combating an over-zealous obsession with media?

  • Children's interest in reading a book outside of school:
    - Kindergarten: 100%
    - Grade 4: 54%
    - Grade 8: 30%
    - Grade 12: 19%
    *The major decrease in Grade 4 is thought to be directly related to parents no longer reading outloud to their children...

  • Too much time spent with screen media is associated with:
    - Childhood obesity
    - Sleep disturbances
    - Attention span issues

  • Children who have at least 100 pieces of printed material in their homes have higher reading scores than those with less...

  • The three best places to leave books for your children to read:
    - Bedroom
    - Bathroom
    - Kitchen (at the breakfast table)

Here are some articles about the benefits of reading with your children:
10 Reasons Why You Should Read to Your Kids
5 Hidden Benefits of Reading For Kids (And Their Parents!)
The Brainy Benefits of Bedtime Stories


The Benefits of Reading Fiction

The Benefits of Reading Fiction

by Alyssa Bradac - 0 Comment(s)

We know that reading fiction has been proven to increase ingenuity and imagination. However, according to the CBC, reading fiction can also help reduce stress and benefit our over-all daily health. Here are some statistics for adults:

  • On average, people who read fiction have better:
    - Physical health
    - Empathy
    - Mental health

  • Reading for JUST 6 MINUTES can:
    - Reduce stress by 60%
    - Slow your heart beat
    - Ease muscle tension
    - Alter your state of mind

  • Reading reduces stress:
    - 68% MORE than listening to music
    - 100% MORE than drinking tea
    - 300% MORE than going for a walk
    - 600% MORE than playing a video game

More articles about the benefits of reading fiction:
Reading Fiction Improves Brain Connectivity and Function
7 Unconventional Reasons Why You Should Absolutely Be Reading Books
Brain Function 'Boosted for Days After Reading a Novel'

Incredibly Tough Books For Extreme Readers

by Lindsay B - 0 Comment(s)

Hi Everyone!

Here is an interesting post about the 50 most incredibly difficult books to read. Have you read any of the books on the list? If so, what did you think about it?

http://flavorwire.com/423424/50-incredibly-tough-books-for-extreme-readers/view-all/

Neil Gaiman: Let children read the books they love

by Lindsay B - 0 Comment(s)

Here is an interesting article. Author Neil Gaiman “physical books are here to stay during keynote speech on what he sees as future of books, reading and libraries.”

Click the link below to read the full article.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/14/neil-gaiman-children-books-reading-lecture

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