Thursday, February 26, 2015

What's New in Teen

Looking for something fun to do in March? Look no further than the Oxford Public Library Teen Department!

Saturday Crafternoon

T-Shirt Transformation
Saturday March 7 @ noon-3 p.m.

Bring in an old T-shirt and give it new life by transforming it into a cool tote bag. This craft is easy, fun, and 100% no-sew (that means no sharp needles or threads to tangle up). We'll provide the directions, but you must bring your own t-shirt.

Teen Tech Week (March 8-14) Activities

QR Code Scavenger Hunt
all week long

Use your Smartphone's QR Code reader to solve the clues hidden around the teen department and answer questions about technology. Prizes awarded for correct answers (low-tech version available.

M.U.T Lab Lock-In
Friday March 13 @ 6-9 p.m.

AFTER HOURS! Create a Doodle Bot, try your hand at computer programming, and witness a 3-D Printer in action. Snacks and drinks provided. Registration and signed permission slip required to attend.

Anime Night
Wednesday March 18 @ 6:30 p.m.

Watch Summer Wars on our big screen and connect with other Anime and Manga fans. Cosplayers welcome!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Varjak Paw, by SF Said

Young Varjak Paw, a Mesopotamian Blue kitten, lives with the rest of his cat clan in an old house high atop a hill, a beloved pet of an elderly woman. Shunned by his siblings for being different, Varjak does his best to keep a low profile. His only solace are the stories his grandfather tells of their ancient ancestor, the great Jalal, the cat who developed The Way, a secret martial arts known only to a chosen few cats.

Then one day the old woman vanishes. In her place are a mysterious Gentleman and his sinister feline companions, and soon Varjak's whole family is in grave danger. 

Fleeing the only home he's ever known and swearing he will get help, Varjak is soon at the mercy of the City and all its dangers. 

It is here he learns Varjak faces his greatest fears and learns he is a very, very special cat--perhaps the only one who can stop the Gentleman's evil plot and save the day.

Varjak Paw by SF Said is one of this year's Battle of the Books selections, and it is well worth your time! --AJB

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Book of Life (DVD)

All my life, I've loved animated films: Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, etc. So when I saw a preview for The Book Of Life, I knew I had to check it out for myself. And I was not disappointed.

The story centers around the culture, tradition, and mythology of the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday. In the beginning of the film, the celebration is in full swing, and two bored underworld deities--one good (La Muerte), one evil (Xibalba)--make a high-stakes wager involving the fate of three young village children: Manolo, Joaquin, and Maria. The bet is which of the boys will marry Maria. Each diety picks a champion and sets about to help that boy win. Joaquin receives a special token from the diabolical Xibalba that gives him super strength and makes him impervious to harm while Manolo has the protection of the kindly La Muerte. All is going well until the three friends get into some trouble and Maria, who started the mess, is sent away to a far-off convent to learn to be a proper lady. 

Years later, the friends have grown up. Joaquin has become a decorated military hero, just like his father before him. Manolo is now a reluctant bullfighter (and not a very good one), but his true calling is music, a "hobby" frowned upon by his champion bullfighter father. 

Then comes word that Maria will return, and the wager picks up again--only this time more heated. The young men naturally fall in love with Maria, who has grown into a beautiful woman, and each tries to win her hand. But Maria isn't easily impressed as some girls by boasts of strength and achievement. She sees through Joaquin's bravado, but just when she begins to fall for Manolo, Xibalba steps in and tricks Manolo into going into the Land of the Dead, where he will be trapped forever unless he can find a way back. 

Manolo accomplishes this (with the help of his deceased family members and La Muerte) and returns just in time to save his town and (rightfully) win the girl. 

And keep an eye out for the twist at the end. Maybe you can guess it?

I adored this gorgeously-animated film about family, friendship, true love, and following your heart. The Book of Life can currently be found in the "New" section of the Teen Movie Collection. I highly recommend it! --AJB

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tales from Outer Suburbia, by Shaun Tan

A family hosts a peculiar exchange student who chooses to sleep in the pantry, asks unusual questions, and departs mysteriously one day... leaving behind a most spectacular thank you gift.

An elderly man entertains his grandchildren with the story of his wedding day. But if you're expecting a tale of dancing, cake, and fancy parties, think again. Back in those days, weddings were much more complicated affairs.

A family, down on their luck and weary of their dreary existence, discovers a secret passage within their own home... A secret passage that leads to a kind of perfect paradise. Maybe there's one in your home?

Welcome to Outer Suburbia, where a blind reindeer visits once a year to take peoples' most valued possessions, where endangered sea creatures appear (quite suddenly) on the front lawn, where mandatory government-issued missiles become a thing of beauty, where turtles need to be rescued and there exists a magic formula for growing a beloved pet out of every day random discarded objects. 

Shaun Tan's (The Arrival) bizarre and beautiful book, Tales from Outer Suburbia is packed with such stories. Some are several pages long, while others are no more than a couple sentences. Still others are mostly told through bright illustrations. Each is fantastical in a way that it will transport you the way a great story should. It's a memorable book, and I'm very happy I finally picked it up.

This one is memorable, guys! Don't pass up the chance to read it! --AJB

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Swim the Fly by Don Calame

Boys will be boys. Well unless they decide to sneak into their sisters' room and try on her clothes, while dancing to Cindy Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". They will still be boys but now completely busted boys since "said" sister now has a picture of them that could ruin the rest of their high school careers. That becomes the case for Matt, Sean and Coop when they attempt to accomplish their goal for the summer. Dressing as girls is only one mess that they get themselves into. A summer that starts off with a regular swim team practice does not end how these three thought it would.

Swim the Fly is a great book that will honestly have you laughing throughout each chapter. It is hard to put down because it seems with each flip of the page the boys find themselves in more of a sticky situation. The author does a fantastic job relating to things we have all done before. Like destroying a sibling's prized possession and trying to cover it up (no blame game here!) Or even making a fool of ourselves trying to impress that special someone that we have a crush on. In the end the boys learn some great life lessons, that we all need reminders of from time to time. And as for their summer goal... No spoilers here! You will have to read the book to find out if they accomplish it.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sometimes It Happens, by Lauren Barnholdt

You might be able to guess what this story is about based on the title. Sometimes It Happens explains a concept of friendship, love, and betrayal. The story begins with Hannah on the first day of her senior year. Although, most teenagers look forward to their last year in high school as they are about to have their freedom but Hannah, on the other hand, is dreading her first day of senior year. Why? It's because she has to face her ex-boyfriend Sebastian who dumped her at the end of her junior year, her best friend Ava who has been away for the entire summer, and of course Ava's boyfriend Noah who has been hanging around with her and their friendship blossomed to something more over the summer. So how is Hannah going to get through this day and will they still be friends when her secrets are revealed? What is her relationship with Ava going to be like? And Noah?

The story also takes you from the present to the recent past. It really helps you understand what happened before and why everything occurred that way. I got to experience everything through this book: The drama, humor, romance and adventure! *JK*

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Valentines for Vets...A Success!

We in the OPL Teen Department are pleased to announce that our Valentines for Veterans program was a success! Over the past few weeks, our Teen Patrons enthusiastically folded a grand total of 63 paper hearts! These will be sent to local Veterans groups, where they will be distributed among members with the goal of brightening someone's day.

A HUGE "Thank You" to all the teens who participated in Valentines for Veterans while visiting the Teen Department. And an extra special "Thank You" to the teens from Crossroads for Youth. 

You all rock!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Before They Were Famous--Answers!

Last month (actually December 6, 2014 thru January 31, 2015), the Teen Department ran a "Before They Were Famous They Had Regular Jobs" contest as part of the library-wide Smithsonian The Way We Worked exhibit. For this contest, you were asked to match 10 celebrities with the jobs they had before they became famous.

Now, here are the answers:
  • Beyonce (singer): Swept hair in a beauty salon.
  • John Green (author): Worked as a chaplain in a hospital.
  • Hugh Jackman/Wolverine (actor): Physical Education teacher.
  • Gwen Stefani (singer): Worked at Dairy Queen.
  • Johnny Depp (actor): Telemarketer.
  • Jennifer Lawrence (actor): Assistant Nurse at a day camp.
  • Stephanie Meyer (author): Receptionist.
  • J.K. Rowling (author): Taught English as a second language.
  • Jamie Hyneman (Mythbuster): Certified Dive Instructor.
  • Taylor Swift (singer): Worked at a Christmas Tree farm.
This was a really fun contest to put together! As it is with many of our contests and displays here at OPL, a surprising amount of research went into it. But research is fun. First was picking celebrities you Teens were actually interested in and/or had heard of (I was pretty sure no one would care that Jon Bon Jovi used to be a janitor, but knew that what John Green did before he published "Looking For Alaska" was far more interesting). I wanted to make this fun and a little challenging...but not so hard no one would want to participate.

The next step was to narrow down the chosen celebs to a list of 8 or 10 and make a poster and contest forms (a somewhat glue-y task that eventually forced me into battle with my nemesis, The Laminating Machine).

But the most fun was the research itself. The stories. Like how Beyonce had the uber-unglamorous task of cleaning up after the stylists in her mom's beauty salon. Or how it was Taylor Swift's job to make sure the trees at her family's Christmas Tree farm were insect and insect egg free before they were brought to their final destinations (once she forgot to do this, and praying mantises hatched all over the house of the unsuspecting customer)

Anyway, a Big Thank You to everyone who participated...and a Big CONGRATS to our two winners.

Stay tuned for even MORE contests and MORE chances to win!


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Book Love! (February Displays)

If books are your one great love (or even if you just enjoy reading), stop by the Teen Area in February and check out some of our seasonal themed displays! We promise, there's lots of fun to pick from!

We have:

  • Who Is Your Book Crush?, located on the curved shelf nearest the Teen Desk, is a display of books containing some very crush-worthy characters. Also, there are slips to fill out so you can let the world know who your Book Crush is. Or submit it anonymously (we promise, your literary crush will be safe with us!)
  • Blind Date with a Book, also on the curved shelf. See those big brown envelopes? Each one contains a mystery book (we let you know the type, but nothing else) that won't be revealed until you check them out. p.s. Be sure to fill out the review slip that comes with the book to let us know how your "date" went!
  • Love Is An Open Door/Absolutely NOT A Romance: On the back window between the Graphic Novel shelves is literally a display for everyone. Are you looking for a Great Romance? We've got you covered. Do you loathe "kissing books" and want a book with no yucky love stuff? We've got that too.
  • RED Any Great Books? On the small window next to the printer, we have books with Red covers. And in contrast Got the Winter Blues? (atop the curved fiction shelf across from the bathrooms) features books with Blue Covers.
  • Just down from Got the Winter Blues is a display of Award Winners. Want to check out books both the critics and fans love? Just want to read something really impressive? You'll find it here.
  • In the magazine room window is All Dressed Up and Nothing to Read? which are books whose covers feature some beautiful dresses. They may be awesome books or not so much (that's up to you to decide), but they sure do have pretty covers! (it's also a reminder that OPL is a collection site for Hope Closet). 
So no matter what kinds of books you love, the OPL Teen Department has something for you!

Skylark by Sara Cassidy

Do you sometimes feel hard done by that your friends have a cooler phone or more brand-name clothes than you? Do your parents make you clean your room, and put the garbage out?
What if you didn't have a bedroom, or even any garbage to put out because you are not living in a house? Would that make you feel differently about your life now? 
Skylark is a short, poignant book that gives readers a brief but detailed glimpse into the life of Angie, a 14 year old girl, her brother Clem,  and their mom who are 'between homes' and live in a car, a Buick Skylark.
Angie is able to cope with the situation by losing, and finding, herself in the poetry and stories she creates out of the life she is living, and being brave enough to perform them at a Poetry Slam.

Well worth reading;  doesn't take long to read but it will stay with you a long time. SM

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Missing (Book 1 of the Found Series) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Many children know little, if anything, about their pasts and birth parents when they are adopted. This lack of knowledge of course continues as they are growing up. This was the life and truth for twelve year old Jonah. He knew he had been given up for adoption and as a baby his family quickly found him and has loved him ever since. All this changes when her receives a letter "You are one of the missing". It's not only Jonah that receives this mysterious letter, his new friend Chip (who has recently moved into the neighborhood) gets one too. After a meeting with a CIA agent Jonah is led to believe that his past is not like many other adopted children's. A mystery quickly begins to unravel in front of Jonah and Chip and they aren't too sure how it is going to unfold.

This is all of the summary I'm going to give- I don't want to give away the good mystery, can't stop until the end of the chapter, parts. I will leave that up to you.

When I picked this book up it was given to me to be put away, there was no one was yelling "hey read this now!". The summary on the back looked interesting enough and I have read several other books by Margaret Peterson Haddix to know it was going to be worth my time. Boy was I right! The Missing is one of those books that you can't help but stay up late to read. You just have to know what happens on the next page. Even though it has a mystery unraveling through out the pages it is defiantly a science fiction-esq book (you will see why when you start reading and I hope you do).