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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