Saturday, January 24, 2015

Coolest Snowman

Frosty vs. Olaf
Who is the 
Coolest Snowman?

Winter is in full swing, and it's time to answer that all-important question! No, it's NOT "Do you want to build a snowman?" It's: Who is the Coolest Snowman?

The contenders are:

Representing the Old School Class of Snowmen, and here to defend his title, we have Frosty the Snowman. This character has been THE quintessential snowman for decades and is to winter what Rudolph and Santa are to Christmas. He even has his own theme song. 

In the other corner, representing the New School, we have newcomer Olaf of Frozen fame. Who doesn't love this adorable character who likes warm hugs, dreams of summer, and always seems to be happy!

We've got a ballot box set up in the Teen Area above the curved Fiction shelf. You can cast your vote from now until February 27. The winner will be announced March 2.

Here's the best part: Everyone who votes has the chance to win a cool prize (winner will be chosen by random drawing).

What A Pair! Fiction/Non-Fiction Pairings

Ever finish a book and think to yourself, "I'd like to read more about that topic!"? We in the Teen Department have anticipated this and put up a What A Pair! Fiction/Non-Fiction Pairings display in the magazine room window. Now you can John Green's Paper Towns and follow it with a biography on Woodie Guthrie, whose music is a key plot point in the story. Or read a memoir about the girl who inspired the near-cult favorite, The Fault In Our Stars. And much more! 

Also, if you haven't already, stop in and check out The Way We Worked, the traveling Smithsonian display OPL has been hosting since early December 2014. Hurry, though. This display leaves on Saturday January 31. You don't want to miss this!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Fashion Book

Looking to update your wardrobe for the new year, but not sure what direction to go stylistically? Look no further than The Fashion Book, dewey # T746.92B in the non-fiction section

This colorful and fun book is divided into short chapters which details fashion trends by decade and talks about the famous people who helped popularize them (everyone from Cleopatra to Marie Antoinette to Madonna and beyond). Following each chapter are tips on how to modernize these trends for today's world, because wearing a ginormous hoop skirt or 10-inch platforms are just not practical or comfortable (obviously)--unless, of course, it's Halloween. Either way, you'll find some awesome ideas in this book!

Other topics covered are fashion trends around the world, a day in the life of a runway model, and what's next for fashion. Would YOU wear a color-changing mood shirt, a skirt where you could change the pattern with only a few clicks of your Smart Phone, or accessories (or even entire outfits) printed on a 3-D printer? 

According to The Fashion Book, anything goes (and anything is possible) when it comes to crafting a signature look! Just have fun with it!

As for me? I'm totally going to hit up the thrift stores and vintage boutiques to hunt for some 60s & 70s-era styles! --AJB

Staff Favorites

You've been reading reviews of some of the books we, the Oxford Public Library Teen Staff, read and liked (or, in some cases, didn't like). But what about our favorite books? 

Here are lists of Top Five Favorites we read last year, in 2014:

Head of Teen Services, Sian Marshall's favorites trended toward realistic, somewhat edgy fiction:
1. The Brothers Torres, by Coert Voorhees (2008)
2. Homeless Bird, by Gloria Whelan (2000)
3. Dope Sick, by Walter Dean Myers (2009)
4. The Roar, by Emma Clayton (2009)
5. Night of the Howling Dogs, by Graham Salisbury (2007)

Teen Librarian Alissa Bach's favorites leaned mostly toward magical realism--with a bit of humor and romance tossed in:
1. We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart (2014)
2. September Girls, by Bennett Madison (2013)
3. Wanderlove, by Kirsten Hubbard (2012)
4. The Wrap-Up List, by Steven Arnson (2013)
5. The Eye of Zoltar, by Jasper Fforde (2014)

Reference Librarian Jessie Ciccarelli is a lover of fantasy, but also enjoyed reading many dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels.
1. Birthmarked, by Caragh O'Brien (2010)
2. The Maze Runner, by James Dashner (2009)
3. Graceling, by Kristen Cashore (2008)
4. City of Bones (Mortal Instruments), by Cassandra Clare (2008)
5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling (1998)

Reference Librarian Julie Kwon enjoyed a mix of generes. Her favorites ranged from realistic to fantasy.
1. If I Stay, by Gayle Forman (2009)
2. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher (2007)
3. Cinder, by Marissa Meyer (2012)
4. Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell (2013)
5. Paper Towns, by John Green (2008)

There you have it! OPL Teen Staff favorites from 2014. Check them out, if you like. Maybe one or two of these books will become YOUR favorite too!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

A book can transport you to the middle of the jungle as you sit reading it in the busy cafeteria at school or take you back to the middle ages with jousting knights and damsels in distress as you ride the crowded bus home after school. Some authors even use their words to create vivid, life like- pop off of the page characters. Reading can be magical- we all know that. That's the number one reason why we all search and look for those books and stories that can carry us away. After reading Inkheart by Cornelia Funke you will have even a lager passion for that feeling thanks to the incredible story and characters that she has created. You will want to read even more and possibly fill up you house with books even like Aunt Elinor.

Inkheart is a story that starts off simple enough. Meggie and her father, Mo, move around a lot thanks to his job as a book "doctor" and his passion for books which he has passed on to his daughter. Their somewhat normal and quite life changes when a man name Dustfinger shows up on their lawn. As Meggie comes to find out Dustfinger is not from their city or even their world. Nine years ago her father read aloud from the book Inkheart and he truly made the characters pop off of the pages. Dustifinger, along with several other characters from the story, were transported from the pages of the book into our world. With Capricorn as their leader they want to do no good for this new world they have discovered. With kidnappings, fires, and a bit of magic we discover more than just a passion for reading has been passed down from father to daughter.

I would defiantly recommend Inkheart to all teen readers. Even though it is labeled as fantasy (which may push some readers away) the fairy and troll elements are kept to a minimum. It is an amazing story and will make your passion (and physical care) for books even deeper.


P.S. The even better news is that Inkheart is a trilogy! I look forward to reading the next book, Inkspell!

Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why is one of the most compelling books I have ever read this year. I have to say this book is very realistic and it is an eye opener as it describes a true portrayal of teen suicide. When I was a teenager, I have never dealt with the sensitive subject like suicide but I know in this day in age, it is something we don’t want to ignore or take things too lightly. I am sure everyone goes through some ups and downs and especially girls at this age go through various levels of emotions that often need to be under guidance by an adult.

In this novel, we listen to audio tapes recorded by Hannah describing thirteen reasons why she committed suicide. These tapes were sent to thirteen people that caused her to feel like there was nowhere to turn but to lose her life. Each person that impacted the cause of her death had to listen to the tapes and pass it along to the next person. Clay, the main character in the story listens to Hannah's tapes and the narration goes back and forth between the tapes and what Clay is doing/thinking. Clay who had a crush on Hannah wondered if he had to do anything with her suicide.

The story has a lot of deep, intense emotions and the suspense gradually builds up which can make you stay up at night a few times. The story also reminded me of how important our actions are –like what we do and say. Our actions can have a huge effect on others even if it is something so small that we are not aware of. I wonder if I came across someone like Hannah who has so much emotional damage, what would I have done to save her life?


Monday, January 12, 2015

Impossible, by Nancy Werlin

Ok, so I loooove the cover of Nancy Werlin's fantasy about curses, family, and true love.  And I admit this is why I originally picked up Impossible. This book is something I tried reading several years ago, but got distracted from the task by life and other shiny things. And maybe, then, I wasn't in the mood for something of that genre (it does, after all, involve magical creatures...and I'm not always in the mood for magical creatures).

I recently revisited the story after downloading Simon & Garfunkle's version of Scarborough Fair (you'll remember I'm a big classic rock fan) and, naturally, remembered this story. Why, you ask? Easy--the song's lyrics are a major plot point of the story. 

Impossible centers around Lucy Scarborough, a 17 year old girl who is soon to be the latest victim of a terrible curse that's plagued the women in her family for generations. According to the curse, Lucy will have a child by the time she turns 18. She will then go insane, and the curse will be passed to her daughter (it's always a daughter). The only way to break the curse is to complete the three seemingly impossible tasks outlined in the Scarborough Fair song before her next birthday. But since the beginning, not a single of her relatives has been successful at this. So Lucy is not very hopeful for her own future. 

However, Lucy is the first Scarborough woman to have a supportive family (adoptive) and a caring, understanding boyfriend. So there just might be hope for her after all.


Impossible will keep you reading. It's a bit predictable (of course the reader knows she'll break the curse), but it's still worthwhile. A word of caution, though. There are a couple mature-ish topics covered (a character is raped and decides to become a teen mom rather than give the child up), so Impossible might not be the best choice for younger teens or those with conservative parents. 

Just the same, a good story.--AJB