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Thursday, July 24, 2014

You're Invited: Grand Finale Party

The Teen Summer Reading Program is winding down and we've had a blast, but we've saved our biggest event for last. Come to our Grand Finale Party and celebrate with your friends. We’ll break out the games and challenge you to a round of Book Charades so brush up on popular titles. Won't it be fun to have a picture taken with your favorite Star Wars character (cardboard cutout, that is)? And it wouldn't be a party without plenty of pizza and ice cream so we've got that covered, too.

Don’t forget, every teen program you attend qualifies you for the Grand Prize Drawing of a Google Nexus Tablet!

The parties will be held at all three branches: Tuesday, August 5



          Book Reviews          


I hope you've kept up your summer reading, logging your books and earning prizes each week. Although I've been extra busy planning and presenting programs this summer, I've still managed to read a few good books.

Since the runaway bestseller, The Fault in our Stars, there seems to be a trend in young adult lit toward books about teens with disabilities or life-threatening diseases. These can be heart wrenching but powerful stories. Here are a few you will want to add to your reading list.

Pieces of Me by Amber Kizer

After a car accident leaves Jessica brain-dead, her organs and tissues are donated to help four other teens survive. What makes the story so unique is that Jessica’s spirit lingers, observing the people she saved as their lives become interconnected. The recipients become the main characters as their lives are forever changed and they each struggle with the meaning behind their salvation. For the teens, it’s an incredible gift to be given a second chance at life. They now have a chance at love and a future that they had never believed possible. Jessica also moves from anger to acceptance that her gift has made a difference. Pieces of Me is a powerful and emotional novel that will have you considering the issue of organ donation.

She is not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

British teen Laureth kidnaps her younger brother Benjamin and travels to New York to find their missing father, using clues from his notebook. Dad was supposed to be in Switzerland but a suspicious voice mail leads Laureth to believe he’s gone missing and she is determined to look for him. Not only does Lareth travel across the Atlantic to a strange city to investigate the mystery, but the fact that she’s blind makes her adventure even more amazing. That’s why she needs Benjamin (she didn't technically kidnap him) as sort of a human seeing-eye dog. The main story is interspersed with excerpts from their father’s notebook and his obsession with coincidences. Isn't it cool when you’re thinking about something and then suddenly that thing appears? It kind of makes you tingle. Coincidence happens often to Laureth and Ben as they get into and out of multiple predicaments. With the authorities bearing down and the bad guys closing in, only Laureth’s quick thinking can save them. This book will make you think about what it’s like to function in the world without eyesight.

Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly by Conrad Wesselhoeft

Guys-guy Arlo is not only a dirt-bike daredevil but he’s also a top-ranking video gamer. His skills at virtual drone warfare have caught the attention of the U.S. military – they want him to come work for them at a secret base in New Mexico. Fearless on his Yamaha 250 and in the Drone Zone, the 17-year-old is covering up his emotional scars. What’s left of his family is barely hanging on – he’s grieving the violent death of his mother, his father has lost his job and is wallowing in depression, and his little sister is suffering from a life-threatening disease and they can’t afford to get the necessary medical treatment she needs. So when the Air Force offers Arlo a substantial income to fly drones against insurgents in Pakistan, he is psyched. At first glance this novel seems made just for guys, all muscle bikes and warfare, but it’s also got emotional depth. There’s strong friendship, a love interest, a family coping with multiple tragedies and even a bit of humor.

Look for these books and more online here and don’t forget to drop in to any library branch to submit your (very short, no pressure) book reviews to be eligible for great weekly prizes!

Happy Reading!

Ann @ the 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, July 10, 2014

Happy Birthday, Batman

This month, DC Comics commemorates the 75th anniversary of Batman's first appearance in 1939.

To celebrate, here's a list of great comics from our young adult collection. We have something for every reader—whether you like your stories serious, silly, adventurous, or thoughtful.

If you're new to comics, you'll find that the visual element can add a lot of depth to the reading experience. To get started, you might enjoy this helpful essay on how to read comics by a professional comics artist.


Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli

Considering the occasion, I'll start with a Batman comic. Batman: Year One, written by comics legend Frank Miller, tells the story of Batman's first year on the job.

With its iconic portrait of a gritty Gotham City plagued by corruption, Batman: Year One is widely considered one of the best Batman comics ever. It's an exciting action / adventure story but also aims for realism, both in its characters and its stark, atmospheric art. If you're new to superhero comics, this book is an excellent place to start.



Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff

Selim, an ordinary guy in 19th-century Turkey, ends up as the unlikely accomplice to Delilah Dirk, a high-powered adventuress. Wherever Delilah goes, trouble and mayhem follow (and by "trouble and mayhem," I mean "explosions and beefy guys with scimitars.")

Cliff's gorgeous art will transport you to another place and time, and the adventures of this mismatched pair are gripping and funny. While a sequel is in the works, this volume is very satisfying on its own.



This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

This new graphic novel is a great summer read about two best friends and an emotionally intense summer spent in a beach town in Canada. (Half the artists featured in this post are Canadian—there must be something in the water up there.)

While This One Summer tackles serious issues, it's a very warm and funny portrait of two girls moving from childhood to adolescence. The vivid and expressive art pairs well with the thoughtful writing.



Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks

The high school robotics club and the cheerleading squad both want funding from student council. Charlie, the head of the basketball team, somehow finds himself in the middle of a full-scale war between the two groups—until they decide to work together.

This is a hilarious, fast-paced story of robots and high school rivalries, populated by believable characters and brought to life by Hick's polished, very funny art.




Making Comics by Scott McCloud

If you want to learn to create your own comics (or are just curious about the process), don't miss Making Comics. McCloud explains the different aspects of comics, including character design, backgrounds, and arranging panels. 

I particularly enjoyed Making Comics because you can learn a lot from it even if you're still developing as an artist or writer. Even with my merely passable doodling skills, I had fun trying out some of the exercises.


Don't forget - once you read one of these books (or any other book), log your books and submit a short book review and enter it into our teen summer reading program "Read, Review, Win Cool Prizes" contest. Drawings are held weekly for great prizes. We also have special events weekly throughout the summer reading program - a full schedule of summer reading program events for teens is available here. 

Becky @ Warrenton


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

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Something Fun for Everyone!

The Teen Summer Reading Program is now in full swing; hope you've had a chance to attend some of our events just for 6th grade and up. If not, no worries…we still have six more weeks of exciting programs every Tuesday at all three library locations.

Do you have what it takes to be a volunteer fire fighter? Local fire company members will reveal the rewarding mission and training involved in serving your community. Learn about fireworks safety and see an actual fire and extinguisher demonstration. You could be an “everyday hero.” Click here for dates and locations.

Maybe you prefer something a little less daring…then try one of our creative craft programs. Bring an old, well-loved t-shirt and we’ll show you how to turn it into a reusable, environmentally-friendly tote bag. No sewing required!

If you enjoy building things and knocking them down, perhaps you’d like one of our catapult or engineering activities. In Crazy Bird Catapults, you will create your own sling machine and hurl rubber birds at a wall of blocks.

In Science @ the Library, teams will build engineering marvels using toothpicks and gumdrops. Prizes will be awarded to the team with the strongest weight-bearing structure! This program is presented in cooperation with Wakefield School.

If you prefer a calmer craft, perhaps our knitting class is more your style. Christmas in July participants will learn to knit a simple headband or stocking ornament. It’s not too early to start thinking about holiday gifts! The library will provide yarn and knitting needles but you are welcome to bring your own if you have them.

And remember, for each program you attend, you will be entered into a special end-of-summer grand prize drawing for a Google Nexus Tablet! The more programs you attend, the more chances you will have to win!

For more details about our summer reading program, click here


           Book Reviews          


Reality television seems to have taken over the small screen. So what happens when a sleazy reality show comes to an elite arts academy? In The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer, a group of artsy friends concocts a plan to battle the show and take back their hijacked school. They secretly write and distribute a protest poem, which starts a budding rebellion. But when they are betrayed by one of their own, it’s up to the rest to reveal the high-level corruption.



Not all books of summer are light reads. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is the novel about four cousins spending summers on their family’s private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Born to wealth and privilege, their apparent idyll lives have a shocking twist that will blow you away; the events sure surprised me! After the last page, you’ll want to go back and read it again to see how you missed the clues.




Good Reading!

Ann @ the 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, June 12, 2014

Summer Reading Recommendations for Teens

Lots of people love to read young adult fiction as much as I do so we've invited library staff to post blogs about their favorite books and genres. This month, I’m pleased to introduce Elizabeth, our first guest blogger. I hope you enjoy her suggestions for great summer reads. I will return later in June!


Ann @ the Fauquier County Public Library 

Summer was made for reading. If you are a student on break, summer means a respite from homework and required reading—not to insinuate that assigned books can’t be great, it’s just nice to be able to choose what to read and on what schedule. But if you don’t have the summer off (I don’t!) the season is very conducive to reading. Whether it is on a beach, in a car, on a plane, or at home, there is no better time to pick up a book and read for fun.

I am a big fan of series books (because some stories are just too good to fit in one volume) and I believe summer is the perfect time to catch up on a series you might have fallen behind on or to start reading a brand new series. So if you are looking for a good series to try, these are good bets.


The Raven Cyde by Maggie Steifvater

* Though she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent's only gift seems to be that she makes other people's talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own--and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.

Only two of the four planned volumes have been released so far, but it is already one of my favorite YA series. The prose is beautiful and the characters are all complex and interesting: down-to-earth Blue, charming Gansey, studious Adam, rebellious Ronan, and soft-spoken Noah. I particularly love that the magical elements are not fully explained (or at least they haven’t been so far), which leaves an element of mystery to it. And really, shouldn't magic be a little mysterious? The third volume, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, comes out this fall so now is the time to get caught up!


The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Book 1: Clockwork Angel 

* When sixteen-year-old orphan Tessa Fell's older brother suddenly vanishes, her search for him leads her into Victorian-era London's dangerous supernatural underworld, and when she discovers that she herself is a Downworlder, she must learn to trust the demon-killing Shadowhunters if she ever wants to learn to control her powers and find her brother.

The Infernal Devices is set in the same expanded universe as Clare’s other series, The Mortal Instruments (City of Bones and it’s sequels), but you don’t have to have read one to understand and enjoy the other. Complete at three volumes (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, and Clockwork Princess) The Infernal Devices is easier to devour than its 6-book counterpart. The mixture of demon-hunting action, paranormal mystery, drama, romance, and steampunk elements is very well-balanced. I know it is a cliche, but this series really does have something for everyone.


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman 

* In a world where dragons and humans coexist in an uneasy truce and dragons can assume human form, Seraphina, whose mother died giving birth to her, grapples with her own identity amid magical secrets and royal scandals, while she struggles to accept and develop her extraordinary musical talents.

There’s just one book out, but a sequel is in the works. I confess that I am a huge nerd for dragons and the world of Seraphina offers a really cool take on the mythical beasts. Even though these dragons can take on human shape, their brains still work differently from humans—dragons are very logical and literal-minded—so there is an unescapable sense of other to them. The medieval kingdom invented by Hartman is brilliantly imagined (you can tell she really knows her stuff about music) and the titular heroine is likable and believable.

Of course, not everyone wants to commit to a series. Sometimes you just want a good read that is complete in one book. And as much as I love fantasy, a story more grounded in reality can be very refreshing.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell 


* Cath struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words, and worrying about her fragile father.

What the catalog summary doesn't mention is that heroine Cath is a fanfiction author, devoted to the fictional Simon Snow book series (a not-so-subtle pastiche of Harry Potter). As a fangirl of the same stripe as Cath, I was immediately drawn to this book just by the title and was blown away by how authentically Rowell captures the fanfic-writing subculture of which I am a part. Anyone who writes or reads fanfiction will have moments of instant recognition reading this book, but even those who aren't fangirls or fanboys will relate to Cath’s story of trying to balance the inner world of her hobby with the outer world of family, school, and relationships.


Other Ideas:


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell 
* Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 
* After a family tragedy, Jacob feels compelled to explore an abandoned orphanage on an island off the coast of Wales, discovering disturbing facts about the children who were kept there.

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman 
* Accompanied by her daemon, Lyra Belacqua sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North.

Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
* Nineteen-year-old returning champion Sean Kendrick competes against Puck Connolly, the first girl ever to ride in the annual Scorpio Races, both trying to keep hold of their dangerous water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

Legend by Marie Lu
* In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-olds Day, a famous criminal, and prodigy June, the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy.

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
* Eleven-year-old Alanna, who aspires to be a knight even though she is a girl, disguises herself as a boy to become a royal page, learning many hard lessons along her path to high adventure.

* Description from library catalog

Summer reading is ultimately all about choice. If paranormal romance is your thing, indulge in werewolves, vampires and fallen angels. If you prefer something more realistic, pick up some John Green. Try a new genre or a new author. A CD book is great if you’ll be spending a lot of time in your car, or if you want something to listen to during your workout, download an e-audiobook. Summer won’t last forever so read while the reading is good!

Elizabeth @ the Fauquier County Public Library

Teens, if you are love to read and have fun, check out our summer reading program, Spark a Reaction.  We start the summer with an author visit from local authors Amie Borst and her teenage daughter, Bethanie, authors of Cinderskella. Other great programs - from crafts to movies - will be part of this great annual program. Sparks are gonna fly at your library! 


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

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Author Visit will "Spark a Reaction" at Teen Summer Reading Kickoff

To kick off the teen Summer Reading Program, the library welcomes the mother-daughter writing team of the book Cinderskella. The popular middle-grade novel is a slightly spooky, super funny twist on the classic Cinderella fairytale. Amie and Bethanie Borst will talk about the inspiration behind their laugh-out-loud funny story, their experience working together, plotting and telling lots of jokes, and share tips to help you pursue your own writing dreams.

In Cinderskella, Cindy is just a normal 11-and-three-quarter year-old. At least until she wakes up one night and finds out she’s dead. Well, she isn't technically dead—she just doesn't have any hair . . . or a nose . . . or skin. Yep—all bones, no body.

Human by day and skeleton by night, Cindy is definitely cursed. And because her mother recently died, Cindy has no one to turn to except a father who’s now scared of her and an evil stepmother who makes her do the housecleaning with a toothbrush. To make matters worse, the Spring Fling dance is approaching, and Ethan, the cutest boy in sixth grade, doesn’t seem to know Cindy exists. Of course, Cindy doesn’t think letting Ethan find out she’s part skeleton is the best way to introduce herself.


While facing such perils as pickled pig’s feet, a wacky fortune teller, and a few quick trips to the Underworld, Cindy’s determined to break the curse—even for a single night.

The first book of three in the Scarily Ever Laughter series, signed copies of Cinderskella will be available for purchase at the library presentations held at all three branches. And one lucky person at each branch will win a copy of the book!

4 p.m. Tuesday, June 17; Bealeton Library
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 17; John Barton Payne Bldg.
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 24; John Marshall Library

We hope you join us for this exciting kickoff to a summer filled with entertaining events for 6th grade and up. From craft days to movie nights, science programs and even a volunteer fire department demonstration, there’s something for everyone that’s sure to “Spark a Reaction.”

Registration opens June 1 online and at all Fauquier County Public Library locations.

If you need even more incentive, for each program you attend teens can enter into an end-of-summer grand prize drawing. One lucky winner will be randomly chosen from each branch. The more programs you attend, the more chances you have to win!

Happy Reading!

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, April 24, 2014

Teens' Top Ten: Nominate Your Favorites

Hi – my name is Natalie Wheeler, manager of the Bealeton Library and I’d like your help.

This year is our 10th anniversary at our Willow Drive location and we’re celebrating all year long. This is where you come in. I’d like to compile a top ten list of the ultimate YA books. I asked some of my staff members about their favorites and this is what they had to say. 
:

“I read so many books, and reread so many more, that my favorite is usually the one that I just finished. If I have to answer the question right this second, I would have to say that The Fault In Our Stars is at the top for the moment.  Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters are characters that jump off the page. Theirs is a tragic love story, better than Romeo & Juliet, with a twist: cancer. These two teens are dealing with issues that would stop most of us in our tracks. Yet, they manage to build a relationship and deal with the messy details of living and dying with humor and courage and love.”


“Have you read the Virals series by Kathy Reichs? Each title in the series has a great mix of science fiction, mystery, suspense, and adventure!  Fourteen-year-old Tory Brennan is the niece of the forensic anthropologist, Temperance Brennan, of Bones TV fame. After her mother dies, she comes to live with her marine biologist father in South Carolina. She and some new friends discover that a science experiment on nearby Loggerhead Island has gone horribly wrong. When they investigate, they become infected with a virus that causes them to have special powers. Now, the adventures begin!” 


“I can’t help but bring up the young adult titles that I have read the most times: The Outsiders, Good Night, Mr. Tom and The Dark Is Rising series. 


The Outsiders has to be the ultimate story of teens from the “right” and the “wrong” side of the tracks trying to find their place in the world. 


Good Night Mr. Tom tells the story of a boy named Will during WWII and the bombing of London. Will comes from a rough home and is evacuated to the countryside where he goes to live with Mr. Tom. Will and Mr. Tom create their own family and are able to help each other deal with tragedies both past and present.


Finally, The Dark Is Rising series is five books set in England and based on Arthurian legend. Another boy named Will, the seventh son of a seventh son, is the last of the Old Ones born with the power to manipulate time and magic to battle The Dark. Will first becomes aware of his powers on the morning of his 11th birthday. The series follows his journey to build his powers and gain allies, as the final battle against The Dark approaches. These are old friends that I return to time and again while waiting for my next favorite to be written.”

Now - your turn!  What are your favorites?  We’d like to know what you love to read. Post a comment below or submit your favorite titles to your local librarian at any of our three branches. We’ll compile a list based on your submissions and then ask for your help with voting on Fauquier Teens’ Top Ten Books!

Happy Reading! 
Natalie @ the Bealeton 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.

   

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.