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Are you Free to Read? Banned Books Week is September 30- October 6

Posted on September 29th, 2012 by Mickie.
Categories: Books.

Banned Books Week is upon us! But why should you care? Everyone should care about book banning or, more commonly, book challenges. What am I talking about? Here is how The American Library Association explains it:

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.

Choosing what to read is a personal thing and if you are a teen–personal decisions may still involve discussion with your parents, your religious leader, your friends, your teachers or anyone else whom you look to for guidance. Most librarians take your freedom to read really seriously–that is why we celebrate Banned Books Week. It is a way to bring awareness to issues of censorship and have community discussions about books and why every citizen should value his or her freedom to read them.

You might be surprised by which books have been challenged or banned–often they are considered classics! Frankly, once I hear that a book has been banned, I can’t WAIT to read it! Can you name these famously banned books by their descriptions?  Give me your answers in the comments and be entered to win a signed copy of Ship Breaker by Paulo Bacigalupi. It hasn’t been challenged that I know of…it is just a wicked good book!!

Mystery Banned Book Number 1

This book is about a girl who risks her life to save her sister’s in a television program gone mad. Reasons Banned: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence

Mystery Banned Book Number 2

This book about an African-American woman living in 1930s Georgia won a Pulitzer Prize and is a frequent class pick for honors level English. Reasons Banned: homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit.

Mystery Banned Book Number 3

The book is about a crime fighter with an unorthodox sense of style. Reasons Banned: anti-family content, sexual content, unsuited to age group, violence

Mystery Banned Book Number 4

In this book about a road trip before cars were invented, two unlikely friends make discoveries and question assumptions while enjoying the scenery of Middle America. Reasons Banned: offensive language, racism

Mystery Banned Book Number 5

This book is about a neglected orphan trying to make friends at a new school while trying to unravel the secrets of his mysterious past and his parents’ deaths. Reasons banned: Occultism, Satanism, violence, anti-family




Books about Carnivals: Creepy or Cool?

Posted on September 12th, 2012 by Mickie.
Categories: Books.


After watching this video today  from the Vlogbrothers about an abandoned Ferris Wheel that still turns….10 years after the park closed, I started thinking about how creepy a carnival can be. I have never actually had a bad experience at one so why can they seem so creepy? Is it because it is so “other-worldly” to have garish lights and music going at all hours? Maybe because it is unnatural for our bodies to fly and twist they way they do on rides? Maybe. But those are also the reasons that make carnivals and theme parks SO MUCH FUN!

How do you feel about it? Have a story to share? Let me hear your best and worst carnival story in the comments and enjoy these top 5 YA carnival books….got one to add? Give me a shout back in the comments.

#5 The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Gabry knows it is wrong to sneak out of the compound's protection and into the abandoned theme park, but her friends are doing it and the boy she likes wants her to go and the fences will keep the zombies out, right? Wrong, Gabry....dead wrong.

#4 Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman

When sixteen-year-old Blake goes to a mysterious, by-invitation-only carnival he somehow knows that it could save his comatose brother, but soon learns that much more is at stake if he fails to meet the challenge presented there by the beautiful Cassandra.

#3 The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe

It's all fun and games until you are being buried alive. Tell that to Fortunato-he was partying at Carnival with his "good friend" and by the time he realizes his life is in danger, he is too drunk and too alone and too far under the city for anyone to hear his cries.

#2 The Likes of Me by Randall Platt

Where do you find work in 1918 when you are half Chinese and half Albino and all in love with a carny boy named Squirl? You join the freak show. But does that make you a freak??

#1 Something Wicked This Way Comes: Graphic Novel Adaptation by Ray Bradbury

The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmare.

BONUS BOOKS! Like adult reads? Check out these two creepy carnivals from the adult section…

The story of what is perhaps America's first serial killer. He stalked his victims on the grounds of the beautiful Chicago's Worlds' Fair. True Story Bro.

Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways.


Fame, Fortune, and the Bran Muffins of Doom: A Beta Books Review

Posted on August 31st, 2012 by Becky.
Categories: Beta Books, Books, Events.

Edrictheninja, another book fan at Beta Books, our read-’em-before-they-are-published teen book club, has submitted our latest review! Check out his thoughts below. Curious? Get the scoop here, sign out a book from the Teen Center, and mark your calendar for the next meeting!

Reviewer: edrictheninja

Title: Fame, Fortune, and the Bran Muffins of DOOM

Author: Marty Kelley

What did you think of the cover? It definetly made attracted your attention and the way he wrote the title made it clear that it takes place in elementary school.

What did you think of the book? the book was good and also pretty funny but had a lot of big words I understood most of them but i dont know if the target audience (young peaple according to holiday house a part of the marketing campiagn) would understand it. also the title made it sound as though it was more focused on bran muffins of doom versus the fame and fortune part

How would you rate this book? 3 stars – Pretty good. I wanted to see how it ended.


Are YOU Ready for School? Books about Living the High (School) Life

Posted on August 10th, 2012 by Mickie.
Categories: Books.

You probably hate school (but I hope you don’t). School is something that we all try to live through and hopefully you make it to the other side with some self esteem intact and the ability to count back change.

On the bright side, school is where your friends are and that is cool, right? But on the dark side, school is where your frenemies are. *shudders* Back on the bright side, school means tater tots for lunch. Yes! But it also means homework. *sigh*

Do you often wish your school life had more drama? It isn’t all that it is cracked up to be…just ask these books.

Frankie Stein was created in a laboratory, and when she enters Merston High School camouflaged as a "normie," all she wants is to fit in, but it takes the help of another new student who believes that everyone should be treated equally before Frankie even has a chance.

Sophomore Frankie starts dating senior Matthew Livingston, but when he refuses to talk about the all-male secret society that he and his friends belong to, Frankie infiltrates the society in order to enliven their mediocre pranks.

When fourteen-year-old Anthony "Ant" Jones from the ghetto of East Cleveland, Ohio, gets a scholarship to a prep school in Maine, he finds that he must change his image and adapt to a world that never fully accepts him, but when he goes home he discovers that he no longer truly belongs there either.

Brooklyn fourteen-year-old Kelsey Finkelstein embarks on her freshman year of high school in Manhattan with the intention of "rebranding" herself, but unfortunately everything she tries to do is a total disaster..

After an idyllic childhood of homeschooling with her mother and three older brothers, Maggie enrolls in public high school, where interacting with her peers is complicated by the melancholy ghost that has followed her throughout her entire life.

When a virus deadly to adults infects their high school, brothers David and Will and the other students soon break into gangs that fight each other for survival and the hope of escaping their quarantine.

Still not sure you want to go back? Take a peek at popular author and Grand Pooh-bah Nerdfighter John Green‘s “An Open Letter to Students” and as they say in John’s hometown,”Don’t forget to be awesome!”




Beta Books: The latest reviews are in!

Posted on August 8th, 2012 by Becky.
Categories: Beta Books, Books, Events, Words & Writing.

The readers at Beta Books, our read-’em-before-they-are-published teen book club, have been super-busy this summer! Read on for their latest reviews. Curious? Get the scoop here, sign out a book from the Teen Center, and mark your calendar for the next meeting!

Reviewer: Emma D.

Title: October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard

Author: Leslea Newman

What did you think of the cover? It matched the story because it was the scene of the incident that happened.

What did you think of the book? I loved the format of it being in poems but hearing the feelings of inanimate objects. Yes, I would recommend it, but to someone who could handle it.

How would you rate this book? 4 stars – Awesome. I loved it and would give it to a friend.


Reviewer: sema3

Title: The High-Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate

Author: Scott Nash

What did you think of the cover? I think the cover reflected the story well. I don’t think the cover should be changed.

What did you think of the book? My favorite part was the part where the half destroyed ship flew along with gabriel flying in front of the ship. Another good part was when they were steeling weapons from the crows armory. I think I would recommend the book to a friend.

How would you rate this book? 5 stars – Unbelievable! I’d rather read this book than sleep!

Reviewer: edrictheninja

Title: The Classroom: The Epic Documentary of a Not-Yet-Epic Kid

Author: Robin Mellom

What did you think of the cover? it helped you imagine all of the characters appearances

What did you think of the book? i thought it was very entertaining and funny, i would reccomend it to a friend, and my favorite part was the end where he dumped orange soda on Coreys head and he ran into the girls restroom

How would you rate this book? 4 stars – Awesome. I loved it and would give it to a friend.



Book Trailer Awesomeness: The Maze Runner

Posted on July 7th, 2012 by Becky.
Categories: Books, Movies.

It’s been a while since we posted any book trailers, and this one is so CREEPTASTIC that I had to share it.

I know, right?! Reserve it! This was done by a fourth-year cinematography major at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and it was a finalist in the Kirkus 2009 Book Video Awards. That’s right — you could totally make one of these for your favorite book. If you already have a fantasy cast list, use clips, look-alikes, and a soundtrack to make it come to life, then post it online for the world to admire (and YouTube commenters to be fooled into thinking it’s an actual movie!).


WWAR (What Would Avengers Read)?

Posted on May 15th, 2012 by Mickie.
Categories: Books, Movies.

Have you seen Avengers yet? By all accounts (especially according to ticket sales and those old fashioned box office votes known as ticket money) this movie is amazing and it is breaking records left and right! To make the movie even COOLER Joss Whedon wrote it! You may know him from such coolness as Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Toy Story, Serenity, X-Men and…need I go on? He is stinking cool. period.

I was also super stoked to see this post on The Hub this week….Maria Kramer took her super powers of library science to make you an Avengers’ Reading List! As in WWAR (What Would Avengers Read)?

Sure, the Avengers have been taking names and smashing box office records, but here’s the big question: what would members of this superteam read in their free time? Wonder no more!

She took each character and picked out a book for him/her based on that hero’s interests, personality and ability. Cleversauce!

So read the post, pick your favorite character and then check out his/her book.  Then you can let me know what you think! Was it a good match? What book would you choose for your favorite hero?




It’s a Transformation! Teen ARC Club –> Beta Books

Posted on May 7th, 2012 by Becky.
Categories: Beta Books, Books, Events.

Those of you who have visited our Teen ARC Club have probably heard the news — we’re changing the name! We voted and chose democratically: beginning in June, this group will be known as Beta Books. New name; same great flavor! Not to worry — we’ll still be reading and sharing ARCs (that’s Advanced Reading Copies — preview copies of books that haven’t yet been published!). We’ll meet 4-5 pm in the Activity Center on these days:

Friday, May 25

Wed, June 27

Wed, July 25

Wed, August 22

If you can’t make it to a meeting, never fear! You can sign out a book from the Teen Center at any time, and share your thoughts online. (However, the meetings are pretty hilar. I would recommend stopping by for the laughs and snacks if nothing else…)

Here’s our latest review from reader Maddie (thanks, Maddie!). The book is now out, so you can reserve it:

Title: Hourglass

Author: Myra McEntire

What did you think of the book? I liked everything about the book. It was well written with few if no mistakes, easy to read, and went by fast. My favorite part was when they went back in time to save the professor. I would recommend it to a friend.

How would you rate this book? 5 stars – Unbelievable! I’d rather read this book than sleep!

What did you think of the cover? I think the cover fit the book well. It showed how she’s coming from one place to the other. In my opinion, I’d like it if it showed both where shes going and where she’s coming out of.



The Library’s Most Requested: Books You’re Asking For

Posted on April 30th, 2012 by Becky.
Categories: Books, Technology, Web sites to watch.

Recently, we were asked, “What are the top requested books by tweens and teens at your library?” What a great question! Librarians in the Youth Department used our collective memory to compile the top books that we are asked for at the reference desks ALL the time. Our results are above (collaged together using the most awesome — check it out if you miss Picnik!).

What do you think? Are these YOUR personal faves, or do you do most of your book requesting online? Someday soon we’ll take a look at those stats, too, and see how they compare!


Poetry Jam workshop this Sunday!!

Posted on April 12th, 2012 by Becky.
Categories: Books, Events, Words & Writing.

Calling all writers age 12-16! This Sunday from 3-4 pm, poet Jennifer Hambrick will be hosting Poetry Jam: Bringing Your World to Life in Poetry.

Maybe you’ve never written poetry and want to try your hand at it, or maybe you’ve written some free verse and want to write more. Either way, here’s your chance!

We’ll find poem subjects from the world around us, turn them “on their heads,” mine them for meaning, and tell their stories in free verse poems. We’ll also workshop our poems and learn how to give and receive constructive criticism.

Bring plenty of paper and pencils and come prepared to look at your world a little differently! Registration requiredclick here to register online, or call 614-882-7277 x 5006.


Origami Rhino & Origami Books

Posted on April 3rd, 2012 by Becky.
Categories: Art & Craftiness, Books.

If there’s one crafty thing I’m asked for by all ages at the library, it’s origami. (Sometimes it’s Origami Yoda, but mostly it’s real origami.) I was reminded of its awesomeness when I came across this video of an origami rhino unfolding. I don’t know why it’s so magical, but it is! Enjoy it, and then check out a book on origami. Bonus: if you’re a visual person like me, don’t be afraid to look up instructional videos on how to do the complicated ones…OK…the easy ones, too. It really helps to see someone doing it!

Origami Rhino Unfolding from MABONA ORIGAMI on Vimeo.

1 comment.

Happy Pi Day!

Posted on March 14th, 2012 by Becky.
Categories: Books, Events.

It's March 14, aka 3/14, aka 3.14 or Pi Day! Everyone's favorite number that never ends and never repeats is definitely deserving of its own day. And if you think math and fiction can't overlap, think again! There's a great roundup of math-related books on The Hub, and a few highlighted below:


Making money has never been as funny as in Gary Paulsen's intro to basic economic principles.

In the near future, teenager Matt’s family exceeds their legal debt limit and Matt is taken by the government.