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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Calling Teen Writers!

I love being a librarian surrounded by books, but for as long as I can remember, there’s been a writer in me scratching to get out. I’d scribble ideas in my journal or on scrap paper, hammer away at the keyboard and even occasionally publish an article or story.

However, just because I want to write, doesn't mean the stories always flow effortlessly. I know how hard it can be to face a blank page or screen. That empty space stares back at you as if to say, you’re not a “real writer.” Even when the ideas are flowing, it takes courage to pour yourself onto the page and it takes persistence to see a project through to the end. On top of all that, writing can be a lonely pursuit often done in solitary confinement.

Fortunately, if you've been bitten by the writing bug, you’re not alone. The library offers support and friendship through teen writing clubs at all three branches. Do you love to write? Would you like to get feedback on your work and connect with other teen writers? All types of writing are welcome: blogs, journals, short stories, poetry, novels… if you write it, we will read it!


The Fauquier County Public Library Teen Writing Clubs meet on the following dates and locations:

4 p.m. first Tuesdays - Bealeton Library (540) 422-8535
7 p.m. first Tuesdays and 7 p.m. third Mondays – Warrenton Library (540) 422-8516
5 p.m. third Tuesdays – John Marshall Library (540) 422-8527

Not only do I aspire to be an author, I love to read about other writers and their struggles and successes. I’m so in awe of anyone who achieves that dream and working in the library provides me with unlimited resources to feed that craving. Here are some titles that may inspire you to pick up the pen or power up the PC.


I listened to the audio version of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and I absolutely loved this story of Cath, a painfully shy college freshman who secretly writes fanfiction. A social misfit, Cath isolates herself in her room, working on her Simon Snow stories (the fictional equivalent of Harry Potter) while her twin sister Wren becomes the party girl. Although she’s acquired a fan base of 30,000 followers, Cath’s writing skills don’t translate to her advanced college level fiction writing course; she doesn’t think she can create fictional worlds of her own. Insecure because of her mother’s abandonment and father’s mental instability, Cath is still a quirky and endearing character; her pain and passion are evident throughout. Some language and mild love scenes make this novel suited to older teens. That said, the story has so many layers readers can relate to but most of all it’s about writing and anyone who yearns to be a writer or even just loves to read realistic fiction will want to check out Fangirl.


Adam Canfield of the Slash follows middle-schoolers Adam and Jennifer, who while serving as co-editors of their school newspaper, uncover fraud and corruption in their school and in the city's government.


In Carpe Diem, 16-year-old Vassar Spore's detailed plans for the next twenty years of her life are derailed when her bohemian grandmother insists that she join her in Southeast Asia for the summer, but as she writes a novel about her experiences, Vassar discovers new possibilities.


For older readers, Darius & Twig are two best friends, a writer and a runner, who deal with bullies, family issues, social pressures, and their quest for success coming out of Harlem. 

The library also has lots of resources that offer advice to up-and-coming young authors.

Spilling Ink combines inspirational anecdotes and writing prompts with practical writing guidance on how to find one's voice, develop characters and plot, make revisions, and overcome writer's block

In Writing Magic, Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine shares her secrets of making magic with your writing. 

Immersed in Verse is subtitled an informative, slightly irreverent and totally tremendous guide to living the poet's life.

The library also carries Teen Ink, a national magazine devoted entirely to teen writing. It offers young adults the opportunity to publish their creative work and opinions. Check out the print version at any library branch or online.

                               Teen Writing Challenge                                  


Now that you’re inspired to write, it’s time to polish up that poetry or short story and submit to our Teen Writing Challenge. The deadline for submissions is quickly approaching on April 9. Students in grades 6-12 are invited to send in their original works: up to three poems or one short story (500 words max).

It's easy to enter. First, check out the entry guidelines
Next, download an entry form online or pick one up at any library location
Contestants can submit their work online here or at any branch of the Fauquier County Public Library. If you are under 18, don't forget to get your parent's authorization before entering.

You can learn more about our writing groups and the Teen Writing Challenge as well as other programs just for teens on the teen page of our website. Also check out the writings of last year's contest winners.

Ann McDuffie, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter (Kiddosphere twitter is here) or online.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Teen Writing Challenge: Grab your pens!

Calling teen writers! Are you a poet? Do you have a story to tell? Maybe you wrote a short story for a class assignment… Now’s your chance to shine!

National Poetry Month is celebrated annually in April and once again, the library invites students in grades 6-12 to submit their original works to the Teen Writing Challenge. Our contest gives teen writers a voice, recognition, a chance at publication and the opportunity to win great prizes! 

Students grades 6-12 living or going to school in Fauquier County are eligible to enter three poems and/or one short story (500 words maximum) between March 1 and April 9. 

It's easy to enter. First, check out the entry guidelines
Next, download an entry form online or pick one up at any library location
Contestants can submit their work online here or at any Fauquier County Public Library. If you are under 18, don't forget to get your parent's authorization before entering. 

Just for the fun of it, here's a peak at last year's winners and their entries

To get you inspired, check out some of these stories in verse.

Diamond Willow by Helen Frost



Hidden by Helen Frost



The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist by Margarita Engle



Words with wings by Nikki Grimes



Winners will be recognized at an Teen Writing Challenge Reception at the John Barton Payne Building in Warrenton, Wed., April 30 at 7:30 p.m. and are invited to read their winnings works. 

Teen writers are also encouraged to check out our Teen Writing Clubs, Teen Advisory Group and other resources for teens here

Good Luck and Happy Writing! 


To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter (Kiddosphere twitter is here) or online.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Poe Trivia Contest Winners Announced

We asked. You answered! 

In January we tested your expertise on Edgar Allan Poe with a month-long trivia contest about the mysterious writer. Students responded with almost 100 entries! Now the results are in and the winning names have been drawn…

Bealeton -  the winner is Isaiah
John Marshall - the winning entry came from Courtney
Warrenton - Faith is the champ

Congratulations to our winners and to all who took the challenge online and in the libraries. 

Wondering how you did?  

Here are the answers. See if you got them all right!


Q:     Where was Poe born?
New York City; Boston, MA; Richmond, VA; Baltimore, MD.
A:     Boston, MA in 1909

Q:     Poe did all these jobs but one. Which is the fake? 
Soldier, Editor, Literary Critic, Printer
A:     Printer is false

Q:     Poe’s writing was a major influence on all of these genres but one. Which is false?
Science Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Romance
A:     Romance is false

Q:     Which of these famous Poe tales is about a murders’ feelings of guilt?
The Black Cat; Tell-Tale Heart; Casa Blanca; Moby Dick
A:    Tell-Tale Heart

Q:     Which football team is named after one of Poe’s stories?
Boston Bald Eagles; Baltimore Ravens; Washington Redskins; Virginia Cavaliers
A:     Baltimore Ravens

Q:     Which of the following is not a poem or story written by Poe?
The Gold Bug; Annabelle Lee; The Bells; Twelfth Night
A:     Twelfth Night

Q:     In “The Raven” what does the Raven say?
Nevermore; Chamber door; Evermore; Fore!
A:     Nevermore

Q:     Poe uses several literary devises to make his poetry sound more musical. 
“While I nodded, nearly napping…” is an example of which form?
Alliteration, Assonance, Meter, Onomatopoeia
A:     Alliteration (the use of a series of words starting with the same sound)

Q:     If you wanted to visit Poe’s grave, where would you go?
New York City; Los Angeles, CA; Richmond, VA; Baltimore, MD. 
A:     Poe is buried in Baltimore, Md. 
Every year on Jan. 19, Poe’s birthday, a mystery stranger leaves roses on the grave.

Q:     What was Poe best known for in his lifetime? 
Poetry; Literary Criticism; Acting; Politics
A:     Literary Criticism
While we now remember Poe for his literary work during his lifetime, he was better known during his lifetime for being a literary critic.


To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Teen Book Awards Are Almost Here...

This month marks award season not only for movies but for best youth books, too. Librarians across the country wait in eager expectation as the American Library Association honors outstanding books for children and teens.

For younger readers, since 1922 the Newbery has honored the author of the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” and the Caldecott has honored the artist of the best picture book since 1938. A relative newcomer, The Michael L. Printz Award began in 2000 and honors the best books written for teens each year.

While the process is top secret, for months prior and right up to the finale, mock committees debate and gossip abounds on which books will take the top honors. The awards will be announced at the ALA Youth Media Awards on Monday, January 27.

Until then, check out some of the contenders that have received rave reviews and see if you can pick the winner.


I listened to the audio of Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and absolutely love this heartbreaking story. Told in alternating voices of the two main characters, it captures the joy, pain and insecurity of high school life and first love. The story will make you cringe and cry.



Far Far Away by Tom McNeal, a National Book Award finalist, is a captivating modern-day fairytale told by the ghost of Jacob Grimm. When two neglected teens, a shy boy and reckless girl are abducted, it’s up to guardian Jacob to come to their rescue and rewrite his past.



Another story that plays on the fairy tale theme, September Girls by Bennett Madison, features mermaids who need a boyfriend to escape their curse. While on vacation at a sleepy beach town, Sam uncovers the secret of the community’s ocean-dwelling inhabitants.



A historical fiction contender, Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, follows a female transport pilot who is captured during World War II and sent to a German concentration camp, where she witnesses starvation, corporal punishment and medical experimentation.



All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry – When she was 14, Judith was abducted. Two years later she is back but now she can't speak. When her close-knit community of Roswell Station is attacked by enemies, Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice.



Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson – According to reviews, this is “seriously well written science fiction, of the post-apocalyptic flavor.”  In a Brazil of the distant future, June Costa falls in love with a fellow artist and rebel against the strict limits of their matriarchal government, knowing that, like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.

Good Reading!

                    Upcoming Events for Teens                     

Teen Advisory Group (TAG) Un-Valentines Party – A joint TAG meeting with games, pizza and prizes. All students in 6th grade and up are invited to this fun, informal social for a chance to meet TAG members from all three branches, share ideas and have fun!

4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 11@ Warrenton Library

Teen Writing Club – Do you love to write? Would you like to get positive feedback on your work and connect with other teen writers? Join one of the library’s Teen Writing Clubs

Warrenton Library
Tuesday, Feb. 4 & 18 @ 7 pm

Bealeton Library
Tuesday, Feb. 4 @ 4 pm

John Marshall Library
Tuesday, Feb. 18 @ 5 pm

Do you know Poe? There's only one week left to enter our Edgar Allan Poe Trivia Challenge. Pick up a trivia sheet at any Fauquier library location or enter online here for a chance to win movie passes and books.

Ann McDuffie, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library


To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Enter the Edgar Allan Poe Trivia Challenge!


Edgar Allan Poe’s stories and poems are famous for their spine-chilling terror. Now’s your chance to display what you know about the mysterious bard.


To celebrate the birthday of Poe in January, the Fauquier County Public Library has created a trivia contest just for teens. Now, through the end of the month, enter online or drop in to any library branch and grab a list of clues. Solve the myths and mysteries about the infamous writer and his tales of suspense to be entered into a prize drawing at the end of the month.

Want to learn more about Poe?  Many of his works are available from The Fauquier County Public Library in book, ebook and audio book format. 

Happy Reading! 


To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

UnRequired Reading

While you’re on winter break, the last thing you want to think about is mandatory reading assignments, right? So kick back with a book that is featured on the big screen. Check out and read the book first then watch the recently released movie. Afterward, you can decide if Hollywood preserved the story…or not! Either way, these books will provide plenty of adventure during the long, cold winter nights.


The Book Thief – This unforgettable story, narrated by Death, reveals the horrors of World War II and the story of Liesel – a courageous young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family, friends and the Jewish man they are hiding.


Catching Fire – Unless you’ve been living on Venus, you’ve heard about the Hunger Games phenomenon. In this second installment, Katniss and Peeta become targets of the Capital after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks rebellion in the Panem districts. A thrill-ride of action and heroism that will have you anxiously awaiting the final book and movie.


City of Bones – Set in NYC, a seemingly ordinary teenage girl is suddenly able to see demons. Turns out she’s a descendant of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate underworld. An entertaining fantasy that, hopefully, translates well onto the big screen.


Ender’s Game – Young Ender Wiggin must fight a desperate battle against a deadly alien race if mankind is to survive. An intense book about genius video gamers that will appeal not just to fans of sci-fi, but anyone who loves a really great story.


The Hobbit  Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return. This classic fantasy hero quest will sweep you into the Hobbit’s epic adventure.


How I Live Now – A teen and her cousins must fend for themselves in the English countryside when war plunges the UK into a violent military state. I devoured this book when it first came out several years ago. However, be warned that it has some powerful issues that make it suitable for older teens.


Sea of Monsters – When Camp Half-Blood comes close to being overrun by mythological monsters, Percy sets out to save the Camp. The whirlwind adventure continues in this second book of the Olympians series filled with jokes, magic and monsters.

    Resolve to Get Involved    

It’s that time of year to make your New Year’s resolutions.  Here's a thought; resolve to start a positive new habit…visit the library and participate in one of our many cool programs!

To celebrate the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe in January, we have created a Poe trivia contest just for teens. Throughout the month, drop in to any library branch and grab a list of clues. Solve myths and mysteries about the infamous writer and his tales of suspense to be entered into a prize drawing at the end of the month.

Another exciting new program for young adults in 6th grade and up is the Bealeton Teen Writing Club. Do you love to write? Would you like to get feedback on your work and connect with other teen writers? All types of writing welcome: blogs, journals, short stories, poetry, novels, and more!

If you’re interested in finding out more, come to the charter meeting of Bealeton library’s teen writing club. At this first meeting, we’ll discuss the best date/time for future meetings and how the club will be managed. Snacks provided by Friends of the Library.


And remember, if Bealeton isn’t in your service area, the library has two other teen writing clubs that meet at the Warrenton and Marshall branches.

You can learn more about about our writing groups, as well as other programs just for teens on the teen page of our website. 


Enjoy the break and while you're at it, be sure to reflect on all you've accomplished in 2013 and dream about all you hope to achieve in the coming year.

Happy New Year!

Ann @ Bealeton Library

Ann McDuffie, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Great Inspirations!

Is there someone in your life who you admire and look up to? A friend who encourages you to be a better person? Even a stranger that you aspire to be like? November is National Inspirational Role Models month and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s a good time to send them a shout out.

I am especially grateful for the library’s wonderful teen volunteers who donate their precious time to helping us make the library and community a better place. These teens have devoted countless hours during our Summer Reading Program, after school tutoring, and special assignments like sprucing up the library garden or planning a Halloween party for younger kids.

Cards created by teens at the Bealeton library


Most recently, the teens participated in a heartwarming community service project - Holiday Mail for Heroes. At this program, teens created holiday cards for service members. Many of these hand-made cards express gratitude, best wishes and holiday cheer to those who give the ultimate gift to our country. Completed cards will be delivered to the American Red Cross for distribution to service members around the world.

Being a volunteer is a cool way to get involved at the library, gain valuable work experience in a really great environment and earn service hours for college applications. You are the role models that others will aspire to be!

If you’re interested in joining the Teen Advisory Group (TAG) or participating in any teen volunteer activities, contact your local library branch.

Here are dates and times of TAG meetings - we hope to see you there! 
Bealeton Library - 4 p.m., the second Tuesday of each month.
Contact ann.mcduffie@fauquiercounty.gov or call (540) 422-8535 for more information.

Warrenton Library - 4:30 p.m., the last Monday of each month.
Contact jennifer.schultz@fauquiercounty.gov or call (540) 422-8516 for more information.

John Marshall Library - TAG group now forming. Contact deborah.cosby@fauquiercounty.gov or call (540) 422-8525 for details


This Month's Featured Book Review



Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Imagine a typical day. You’re riding the bus to school and wham, the world as you know it ends. The school bus crashes into the glass front of a superstore, trapping the students inside the building. In this action-packed story, cataclysmic events cause a series of disasters that wipe out most of civilization. Fortunately for the young people, the huge department store filled with supplies becomes a refuge from the mega-storm, crushing earthquake and toxic black clouds outside. Mostly working together, the kids manage to survive and form a solid family as the older teens take care of the youngsters.

Narrated by sophomore, Dean, who keeps a journal of the harrowing days, this fast-paced thriller will keep you turning pages as the group deals with contaminated air and water, murderers on the outside, even head lice. When two outsiders intrude, the gang breaks into factions; who will escape and who will remain barricaded in the fortress? A few mildly racy scenes, some substance abuse and violence make this suitable for slightly older teens, but everyone who likes a good post-apocalyptic story with a cliffhanger ending will be satisfied and look forward to the sequel.

Thanks for Reading!

Ann @ Bealeton Library

Ann McDuffie, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library