Teen Book Club – The Fault in Our Stars

May’s Teen Book Club was really popular because I picked probably the most popular YA book in the universe right now, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. We had an awesome discussion about the book (“What does the title even mean?” “Are they gonna make the trophy kicking scene as great in the movie as it is in the book?” “I hate Monica.” “I love books just like Hazel does.”)

I showed the trailer for the new movie coming out June 6, plus a behind the scenes video from John Green. Most importantly, though, I talked about Esther Earl, whom the book is dedicated to. She made a huge impact on John Green’s and many others’ lives. Living with thyroid cancer and being attached to an oxygen tank in her teen years did not crush Esther’s spirit. Read more about her in her own words; her family published a memoir of her diary entries in “This Star Won’t Go Out.” At the end we made constellation jars.

 

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Candy Sushi Teen Program

All the colors of the rainbow

All the colors of the rainbow

We had a great program the other night for teens and tweens at my library: CANDY SUSHI! It was so cool to watch everyone come up with different designs for their sushi. We put out lots of candy, I mean LOTS. The ingredients were:

  • Fruit roll ups (to be the nori)
  • Rice Krispy treats (to be the rice)
  • Swedish Fish
  • Gummy sharks
  • Gummy worms
  • Skittles
  • Sunkist gummy fruit
  • Airheads Xtremes (a flexible length of rainbow sour/sweet candy)
  • Twizzlers
  • Nerds

Just like the show “Iron Chef,” we also had a secret ingredient which was candied melon strips. Everyone constructed their sushi for about 40 minutes. Then they all put their plates up at the main table and voted on Most Colorful, Most Authentic, and Best in Show. The plates were numbered to keep things simple and anonymous. The winner received chopsticks, origami paper, and a Japanese snack. Best in Show got some dried fish snack too! (A gag gift but still fun!)

All the pictures from the program are up on Abington Free Library’s Picasa site here. I would definitely do this program again. It would be great for all ages, not just tweens and teens, but also families with younger children as well.


End of Year Review

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2013 is almost over. It’s been a great year at Abington Free Library. Here’s what I’m most proud of this year.

Teen Book Club

The Teen Advisory Board at the library suggested that we start a book club this year. It’s been pretty popular so far. Every time we host a book club, the first 10 teens to sign up get a free copy of the book. These free copies were purchased with money donated by the Friends of Abington Libraries and I’m so grateful!

February – Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

April – Divergent by Veronica Roth – Most popular with 22 teens attending!

June – The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

August – Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King – The author graced us with a visit, answered questions, and signed books. She is a rad lady. You should follow her on twitter: @ AS_King

October – Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

We will continue the Teen Book Club in 2014. The first book of the year will be Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.


Japanese Mascots Program

Japanese Mascots Program

From the Japanese mascot program on November 4 , 2013 at Abington Free Library

Click on the photo for more!


April’s Teen Book Club – Divergent

fanpop by bussykussi

fanpop by bussykussi

I’ve started a teen book club at my library. The Teen Advisory Board suggested it. At our first meeting in February, we read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. That was a pretty heavy book about suicide, blame, bullying, and depression. When I asked the group what they wanted to read next, they wanted something completely different than Thirteen Reasons Why. “Science fiction! Mystery! Anything not about suicide!” And I thought people would be dying to read a realistic tome about high school horribleness. 🙂

Non-realistic genres are very popular now in YA lit and popular with our teens as well. Fantasy, science fiction, and action/adventure books are always circulating. I read these genres as a way to take a break from the problems of the real world. I can see why teens like them too. Adolescence is not the most peaceful or stress-free time of one’s life. Reading fantasy or science fiction can give teens an entertaining mental break from exams, packed schedules, and social navigating.

For our next book club in April, I chose Divergent by Veronica Roth. A popular trilogy often compared to The Hunger Games, I think Divergent will prove to be a bigger, better choice for book club than Thirteen Reasons Why. While TRW had plenty of tough subjects to discuss, Divergent will appeal to teens’ desire for action, suspense, and pure entertainment. Let’s face it. Divergent will be more fun to read than a book about suicide. Now I don’t mean to discredit choosing a more serious book for a teen book club. We had an excellent discussion with multiple points-of-view and opinions about Hannah Baker’s decision to end her life. But I understand the need to mix it up and lighten the mood.

Divergent is not without its themes – issues of identity, belonging, difficult choices, questioning authority. We will talk about all those things and more at the book club. I also have an idea for a fun activity involving the book’s 5 factions of society. This fan website describes the factions really well. I want to find a way of testing the teens to see which faction they would belong to, and then see if they would change the recommendation and choose a completely different faction, just like Tris does in the book. We get to pretend we are in Tris’s world and also ask ourselves questions about our identities. Can we really be pinned down to one category or are we all “divergent?”


Harry Potter Quizzo

The Deathly Hallows

The Deathly Hallows

I held a Harry Potter Quizzo program last Wednesday for teens at my library. It was so much fun planning it, baking and buying goodies for it, writing the Quizzo questions, and watching the teens really enjoy themselves and have a great time.

Each Quizzo round was based on one of the Harry Potter books, so there were 7 rounds total with 8 questions and a bonus question each. I was rushing to fit in all the questions before our time was up! Some of the teens were Harry Potter fanatics so I really should have made the questions a lot harder than they were. These guys were so smart that they were catching me on technicalities – like the fact that in the fourth book, the person who brought Harry back to the castle after his battle with Voldemort could either be Mad Eye Moody or Barty Crouch Jr, since Barty was disguised as Mad Eye. I was floored by the things they remembered from the 4,224 pages that they read of the series. Never underestimate your teens! They will outsmart you every time.

Some other highlights from the program:

  • A group of 6 friends who dressed up in Hogwarts robes and Gryffindor scarves and ties, Luna Lovegood glasses, and even brought wands. They also baked some items from the Harry Potter cookbook and shared with everyone.
  • New friends were made! Score!
  • Everyone gobbled up my cupcakes and hot chocolate. I think chocolate is a BIG plus at events.
  • Teams gave themselves awesome names: Hermoine and the Graingers, Babbity Rabbity and the Cackling Stumps, Potterlock, and Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes.
  • Get a big group of teens together and they are gonna chat it up. I almost lost my voice that night talking over them but I never wanted to shush them. I let them do that to each other.
  • I had two wonderful volunteers who helped me to score each round. They made everything so much easier and I was so grateful!

Abington READS!

Here I am getting our teen volunteers signed in

I’ve been running a program this summer called Abington READS! It’s a buddy-reading program where we match teen volunteers with beginning readers (Grades K-2). They read picture books and easy readers together. Teens are encouraged to let the children read to them. This builds children’s confidence as they start learning one of life’s most important skills.

It’s a great way to keep up children’s reading skills over the summer. Teens also feel empowered as they inspire a new generation of readers. I’ve loved doing this program and look forward doing this year after year.

Visit our photo gallery to see Abington READS in action!