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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

Youth Read 2013

by Lindsay B - 0 Comment(s)

Hi teens out there!

Youth Read 2013 is about to start! Following the link below to register.

http://calgarypubliclibrary.com/teens/youth-read

How it works:

Every week beginning June 12th we’ll post a series of challenges — all you have to do is complete one each week to be eligible for the grand prize draw. One will always be a reading challenge; the others will let you show off your creative side. Register today and we’ll send you an email when the contest begins.

Prizes:

  • Grand prize: $250, $150, and $75 gift cards to Cadillac Fairview malls (Chinook & Market Mall)
  • Weekly prizes: Free books and $25 gift cards – 12 winners every week!
  • Special prize: Tell a friend and you could each win a $50 gift card!

Stuffie Sleepover!

by Christina H - 0 Comment(s)

Saddletowne library will be hosting "Stuffie Sleepover" on May 29th for all kids (and their stuffies) aged 5-8! This unique storytime will feature pajama stories, ryhmes, and songs! Once the storytime is over, you tuck your stuffies in for the night! The next morning, your stuffies will be waiting for you at the branch!

Register for this program in person, by phone or online today!