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Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Friday Finds: July 28, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Sunday Reflections: The Day I Did Everything Wrong

MakerSpace: How to turn a photo into a silhouette – and make it into a book page button of course!

Book Review: The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan

Video Games Weekly: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

July #ARCParty: A look at some late summer and early fall 2017 YA lit titles

#SJYALit: Time For Confrontation: Moving Forward in the Diversity Conversation, a guest post by S. K. Ali

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THE INBETWEENERS: 25 GREAT BOOKS FOR KIDS BETWEEN MIDDLE GRADE AND YOUNG ADULT

Education Is a Political Act by Donalyn Miller

#SJYALit: Time For Confrontation: Moving Forward in the Diversity Conversation, a guest post by S. K. Ali

sjyalitThe first time I saw myself, I got scared. I was twelve and I’d brought my plate of lentils and rice into the living room in order to sit beside my dad as he watched the news. And there she was: a girl like me. On television.

The girl had on a blue hijab exactly like the one I wore to school. But this girl wasn’t going to school. She was getting bombed — by “our” side.

I remember the scene vividly; remember how my chewing slowed and how my father shook his head and how I felt a profound sense of disruption, of dissonance.

I mean I’d never seen people who looked like me on TV before. And this first time wasn’t fun TV like my favorite show, The Facts of Life.

This was my earliest memory — a searing one — of seeing myself represented, or rather, myself presented to me. I wish I could say that things got better but of course they didn’t. Due to the subsequent Gulf Wars and the North American media coverage of them, as well as books and films set abroad featuring the Sad Plight of Muslim Girls, I only saw Muslim women who were either to be hated or pitied.

Growing up, looking in the mirror meant seeing the negativity surrounding my Muslim identity reflected back, almost web-like over my real self.

Viewing yourself as others have misconstrued you either silences you or enrages you. Both these outcomes are detrimental — at the individual as well as societal level.

And here, I pause to present my privilege. I hope when you’re reading it, you think of those without this privilege and the depth of internalized pain carried around as a result.

When I think of the girl sitting beside her father, eating lentils and rice, watching the news, I also see the bookshelves lining the walls behind her.

I was fortunate to live in a home housing knowledge that challenged this negative view of myself — my father’s library had hundreds of books on Islam and Muslims that told another story — and so I was able to see through the web disfiguring me.

Yet still, the knowledge of self that I gleaned from my family, our home library, the mosque, and Muslim events stayed on a parallel course, a far one, from the “knowledge” about Muslims served daily on the news and at school by teachers who talked about “them” while one of “them” was sitting right there in her hijab.

The two streams of knowledge never met because to merge them would mean confrontation and I hated confrontation.

But then one more frustrating, negative news story about people like me led me to a decision at seventeen: I would tear at the web strands that disguised who I truly was. If it meant challenging things publicly – in classrooms, on the streets, writing to newspapers, so be it. If it meant confrontation, so be it.

Much of my University years were spent fighting Islamophobia, including undertaking a yearlong research paper surveying the depiction of Muslim women in popular culture.

This thesis, written over twenty years ago, documented the negativity surrounding Muslim identity, in particular female Muslim identity. It pains me to say that so very little has changed.

With one exciting exception.

The exception is a result of an intersection of sorts, a confrontational intersection.

The point at which real, dynamic change occurs. Where real stories, real characters, real art emerges.

The intersection happens when the authentic knowledge we hold about ourselves as we truly are, as members of marginalized communities, confronts the knowledge about us that has been in circulation for years, or, in many cases, centuries.

To have these streams of knowledge run parallel to each other, never meeting, has proven to be dangerous. The increase in hate crimes and policies affecting certain communities disproportionally provides that proof.

Old, untrue narratives hurt, internally and externally. They’re also same-old, same-old boring.

But now, we’re seeing an increase in stories arising that challenge the old. The exciting exception.

Ali - Saints and MisfitsOver the past few years, the invaluable work of diversity advocates like WNDB brought the important task of changing the publishing landscape to the fore. The #ownvoices movement sharpened the focus and asked us to consider the important question: who gets to tell “diverse” stories?

Earlier this year, #MuslimShelfSpace asked readers to reflect on whether they were making space for Muslim-authored content in the face of increased Islamophobia.

Who gets to tell stories featuring Muslims? I say it’s the children who grew up — who are growing up still — unable to see themselves clearly when they look in the mirror.

They’re the ones with the stories you’ve probably never heard. They’re the ones who’ll confront the same-old.

They’re the ones with Art to share.

Meet S.K. Ali

SKAliPicPrintS.K. Ali is the author of Saints and Misfits. She has written on Muslim culture and life for various media.

 

 

 

About SAINTS AND MISFITS by S.K. Ali

Saints and Misfits is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life…starring a Muslim teen.

There are three kinds of people in my world:

1. Saints, those special people moving the world forward. Sometimes you glaze over them. Or, at least, I do. They’re in your face so much, you can’t see them, like how you can’t see your nose.

2. Misfits, people who don’t belong. Like me—the way I don’t fit into Dad’s brand-new family or in the leftover one composed of Mom and my older brother, Mama’s-Boy-Muhammad.

Also, there’s Jeremy and me. Misfits. Because although, alliteratively speaking, Janna and Jeremy sound good together, we don’t go together. Same planet, different worlds.

But sometimes worlds collide and beautiful things happen, right?

3. Monsters. Well, monsters wearing saint masks, like in Flannery O’Connor’s stories.

Like the monster at my mosque.

People think he’s holy, untouchable, but nobody has seen under the mask.

Except me.

July #ARCParty: A look at some late summer and early fall 2017 YA lit titles

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July #ARCParty: A Look at Some Late Summer/Fall 2017 YA Lit titles// Today The Teen and The Bestie are taking a look at a few more upcoming titles. They added a lot to their TBR list.

July #ARCParty: A Look at Some Late Summer/Fall 2017 YA Lit titles



  1. Best friendship tested by long distance relationships as they start college #ARCParty sept

    Best friendship tested by long distance relationships as they start college #ARCParty sept

    They gave this one a thumbs up



  2. Secret love, "cursed ranch" The Teen: That sounds good #ARCParty oct

    Secret love, “cursed ranch”

    The Teen: That sounds good #ARCParty oct



  3. Mia's life spirals out of control in this coming of age story #ARCParty Sept

    Mia’s life spirals out of control in this coming of age story #ARCParty Sept
    They also both said yes to this


  4. HS student learns she has demon fighting skills, which might make getting into an Ivy League school a little harder. I am reading this now, fun read for Buffy fans. Includes Chinese folklore. #ARCParty August

    HS student learns she has demon fighting skills, which might make getting into an Ivy League school a little harder.

    The Teen: So, it’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    I am reading this now, fun read for Buffy fans. Includes Chinese folklore.
    #ARCParty August



  5. Teens who witness a violent act in Mexico are now wanted and try to cross the border for safety #ARCParty Sept

    Teens who witness a violent act in Mexico are now wanted and try to cross the border for safety #ARCParty Sept

     This sounds really good.


  6. Told in a series of letters and journals, what happens when you try to pursue love in unconventional ways?

    Told in a series of letters and journals, what happens when you try to pursue love in unconventional ways?


  7. A sophomore thinks her life doesn't compare to a YA novel until she starts writing down everything that happens in her life #ARCParty

    A sophomore thinks her life doesn’t compare to a YA novel until she starts writing down everything that happens in her life
    #ARCParty
    This sounds really interesting.


  8. A girl is run out of town after accusing others of gang rape and the girls decide to stand beside her to get justice #ARCParty

    A girl is run out of town after accusing others of gang rape and the girls decide to stand beside her to get justice

    #ARCParty


     The Teen is very excited to read this and noted that it would be a good companion novel with Moxie.


  9. "She refuses to be the person she once was"

    “She refuses to be the person she once was”
    Both teens agreed this sounds really interesting.

Video Games Weekly: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

 

The first video game that I played and loved back in the mid-90s was Crash Bandicoot.  I wrote all about how awesome it was in my very first VGW post for TLT, so you can imagine my surprise when I learned the creators of Crash Bandicoot came out with a remastered version (which includes three games in one) this summer!

YouTube Trailer:

 

The difference between a remastered game and a new game is the remastered version is the exact same game but with updated HD graphics.  Remastered games get a lot of criticism in the gaming community because it seems like a cheap way for game developers to make a ton of money without doing a lot of work.  How do I feel about remastered games? I’m not sure. On one hand, I love that I can go back and play all of these old games on my new system, especially because I don’t own a PlayStation 1 anymore. But, it does seem like a lot to charge $60 for this game when it isn’t exactly new…but look at the graphics!


Platform:
PS4

Rated: E10+

Single or Multiplayer: Single

Storyline: The main character is a bandicoot named Crash, who was a creature designed by an evil doctor named Neo Cortex.  Crash lives with his sister and a floating mask named Aku Aku on an island near Australia. Neo Cortex wants to destroy Crash and conquer the world, and it’s up to the player to defeat Neo Cortex to save the world.  This is the basic premise for all three games, but Neo Cortex has different minions in each game.

Gameplay:  Crash Bandicoot is a 3D platform jumper where on some levels Crash has to run left to right and some are bottom to top.  While players can simply beat the levels, each level has bonus items like gems for completing unique challenges like destroying all of the boxes in one life or a relic for beating the level under a time limit.  I have forgotten how insanely difficult this game is, especially the first one!  My favorite game in the trilogy is Crash Bandicoot Warped (the third one), because it adds more moves like double jump, belly flops, and BAZOOKAS.

They also added a secret level in this remastered version that originally wasn’t included in the first rendition of Crash Bandicoot because the creators thought it was too hard. As if the original levels weren’t hard enough…

Controls: The remastered version gives you two control options: you can use the + button to move just like in the original games, or you can use the joystick to move around. Personally, I hated the joystick because it wasn’t as accurate as the + buttons.  You don’t have to change the controls in the options menu, which was a nice feature.  Still, it took some adjusting because the majority of modern games on the PS4 use the joystick.

Audience:  This game is great for kids around 8+, families, and teens. I also think this game is great for grown ups like me who played the original in the 90s!

Verdict: Snag a copy of this game for your circulating collections, but only when it’s on sale. There’s no way it is worth $60 because it isn’t a brand new game, just a remastered version.

Pricing: $40 on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Crash-Bandicoot-N-Sane-Trilogy-PlayStation/dp/B01NAGTKX3/ref=sr_1_1?s=videogames&ie=UTF8&qid=1500851018&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=crash+bandicoot&psc=1

Questions? Comments? Tweet them at me!

By: Alanna Graves
Twitter: @LannaLibrarian

Book Review: The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan

Publisher’s description

ra6A funny, bracing, poignant YA romance and coming-of-age for fans of Huntley Fitzpatrick, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and The Beginning of Everything

lake effect | n.
1. The effect of any lake, especially the Great Lakes, in modifying the weather in nearby areas
2. The effect of elderly ladies, mysterious girls, and countless funerals, in upending your life, one summer at the beach

It’s the summer after senior year, and Briggs Henry is out the door. He’s leaving behind his ex-girlfriend and his parents’ money troubles for Lake Michigan and its miles of sandy beaches, working a summer job as a personal assistant, and living in a gorgeous Victorian on the shore. It’s the kind of house Briggs plans to buy his parents one day when he’s a multi-millionaire. But then he gets there. And his eighty-four-year-old boss tells him to put on a suit for her funeral.

So begins a summer of social gaffes, stomach cramps, fraught beach volleyball games, moonlit epiphanies, and a drawer full of funeral programs. Add to this Abigail, the mystifying girl next door on whom Briggs’s charms just won’t work, and “the lake effect” is taking on a whole new meaning.

Smart, funny, and honest, The Lake Effect is about realizing that playing along is playing it safe, and that you can only become who you truly are if you’re willing to take the risk.

 

Amanda’s thoughts

lake effectI’ve said it a million times here, but I’ll say it again: if I enjoy the characters, I will read anything. I don’t care at all about plot, whether there is one at all or not, really. The plot of “I am a person learning, growing, and figuring myself out” is big enough for me. I mean, it’s the biggest plot, right? And the most relatable. Present compelling characters, reel me in with an engaging voice that is clever, snarky, and self-deprecating (but not too much of any of those things), and I’m yours. Actually, that’s pretty much how it works for me in real life, too. And with this book, I was hooked on page one.

Briggs, the main character, is charming. Mothers love him. Years of a family that expects success and achievement and of working in a country club have taught him how to fake carefree pleasantness. Briggs is at the top of his class, class president, a star baseball player, and going to college on a full-ride scholarship. In other hands, this ultra-charming boy would be so insufferably charming that I would hate him. But here, he’s wonderful. He’s far more complicated than his accomplishments would make him seem. He has depth. His mother is into lists and schedules and his father is a total hardass, never impressed by Briggs’ achievements or proud of him because he’s just doing what is expected of him. His dad loves to remind him that failure is not an option. Unsurprisingly, Briggs has frequent stomachaches from stress and has taken a summer job an hour away from home. He’ll live with Mrs. B, a funny and quirky Serbian American 84-year-old who enjoys going to strangers’ funerals and lying on her floor. I want her to be my neighbor and friend. Briggs will spend the summer driving her around, painting (and repainting) her rooms, and fixing things. Simple, right? Except, of course, it’s not. He meets Abigail, the enigmatic neighbor girl who seems to be either suffering from or recovering from an illness and doesn’t have time for a boyfriend—which is perfect, because Briggs certainly doesn’t have time for a girlfriend. They have chemistry—like the real good kind, the full of quick banter kind. They both begin to reveal more of who they really are to each other, even though both are wary of where this relationship could possibly go. Briggs also meets other new friends (and repeatedly embarrasses himself in front of them and pisses them off), but no one is as important as Abigail or Mrs. B. Both help him see things about his life, his family, and his future that he hadn’t been able to see before.

 

This is a great summer romance story that’s light on the romance and heavy on the friendship and self-discovery. Mrs. B. totally wins the Best Elderly Character in a YA Novel 2017 award. If you like your characters smart, funny, and open to (maybe reluctantly) embracing change, this book is for you. It’s the perfect read-in-one-sitting-by-the-pool book, too. 

 

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

ISBN-13: 9780803740525

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group

Publication date: 07/11/2017

MakerSpace: How to turn a photo into a silhouette – and make it into a book page button of course!

makerspacelogo1

Arguably one of the most complicated buttons I have ever made involved learning how to use GIMP to turn a portrait into a silhouette PNG which I could then use for other types of art. To be fair, I set out to make this button because I wanted to learn how to cut a person out of a picture and turn that image into a silhouette. This was 100% about trying to learn a new skill so that I could teach it to teens in the Teen MakerSpace. The cool button was just a bonus.

silhouettebutton

Part 1: Making Your Silhouette

Instructions can be found here but the basics of it are this . . .

Step 1: Installing GIMP

First, you have to download GIMP if you don’t already have it installed. GIMP is a free online resource that you can use to manipulate photos or do graphic design. It is a really advanced program that I have yet to master, so I don’t use it often. You can also do this in Adobe Photoshop, but that program is pretty expensive.

Step 2: Opening Your Photo

You will then use GIMP to open the photo you want to turn into a silhouette. Here’s the photo we’ll be working with.

silhouette12

Today Teen MakerSpace Assistant Morgan will be our model. Thank you Morgan!

You’ll want to start with a really clean image that has a solid figure in the foreground. If possible, have your subject stand in front of a green screen or white wall. A blank background is not necessary, but incredibly helpful.

Step 3: Selecting the Figure

After you have loaded your image, you then need to select the figure you want to cut out of your picture. You will use the intelligent scissors to do this. Under the tools menu, choose selection tools and then choose intelligent scissors at the bottom of your list.

Tools – Selection Tools – Intelligent Scissors

silhouettetutorial1

You will then begin outlining your picture by clicking at various spots along the figure. Start at one location and go completely around your figure until you return to your original starting point. Each time you click, you will see a small white circle which indicates a kind of an anchor for your scissors. This shows you the area that is going to be cut out. You want to be as precise as possible to get clean lines.

silhouettetutorial2

When you have gone fully around your figure you will double click on your first circle, your starting point, and the circles will disappear and a dash line will appear around your figure. Your figure is now the foreground and it is separated from the background.

dashline

Step 4: Removing the Background

Right now, your figure and background are separated by your dash line and you are working on the foreground, your figure. If you clicked delete right now, it would remove your figure, so you have to let the program know that it is the background and not the figure (the foreground) that you want to remove. You need to invert your image. To do this, go under the select menu and choose invert. Invert lets you toggle between the foreground (the figure) and the background. You can now hit delete and it will delete your background. If you accidentally delete your figure just hit CTRL Z to undo it and invert again to select the right object to delete.

Select – Invert – Delete

hittingenter

Step 5: Selecting the Figure to Transform It

Because you have inverted, you are now working on the background image. So to continue working on the figure, you need to repeat the invert step to let the program now that you are once again working on the figure.

Select – Invert

silhouettetutorial3

At this point, you have a full color cut out of your figure. If you want, you can technically save your image here. But if you want to create a silhouette, carry on.

Step 6: Making the Silhouette

Your figure is now selected and you want to fill it with a solid black color to turn it into a silhouette. To do this, go to the tools menu and select paint tools and then select bucket fill. A bucket fill side window will open and you need to pay attention to this window. For one, you will want to make sure that the fill color selected is black. Under the section titled “Fill Area” you’ll also want to make sure that fill whole selection is chosen. You are filling the foreground so it would be FG color fill under the fill type. You’ll then move your mouse onto the figure and click enter to fill it. This should turn your figure into a black silhouette.

Tools – Paint Tools – Bucket Fill

silhouettetutorial4 silhouettetutorial5

You don’t have to use black, you can use any color you would like.

Step 7: Saving Your Silhouette

Your final step is to export and save your image. You’ll want to export your image as a .png to maintain the transparent background so that you can overlay your silhouette over another image if you would like. To do this you will go under the file menu and choose export as, making sure that you export your image as a png.

File – Export As – PNG

silhouettefinalYou now have a silhouette png that you can use in a variety of ways. For example, you can make a cameo if you so choose. For our button making purposes, we overlay the silhouette over a book page. You can do this in two ways.

Part 2: Making Your Button

The low tech way: Print off your silhouette and use small, precise scissors to cut out your silhouette. Cut the page out of a discarded book to your button size. Simply place the cut out silhouette over the circle and button it! Of course, you’ll also want to make sure your silhouette picture is sized to your button size before printing.

The high tech way: You could do this right there in GIMP, but my GIMP skills are not that advanced, so I do this part in Publisher. Save a picture of a book page. You can take a photo, download it, and upload it into Publisher. Or simply do a Google image search for a copyright free book page. Insert a circle shape and fill it with the picture. You can then insert your silhouette as a separate image and lay it on top of your filled circle.

silhouette9

The breakdown:

1. Open Publisher

2. Insert Shape-Circle

3. Size circle

4. Fill circle shape with picture of book page

circlefill

5. Insert a separate image and choose your silhouette

6. Use drag points to size image so that it lays right over your book page circle

circlefill2

7. Print

8. Cut out your circle insert

9. Button it!

silhouette11

Here I took an image of Thing 2 and did all of the above steps and turned it into multiple different art forms. I have also demonstrated the cut out image before and after I turned it into a silhouette, making a button out of both forms. I also printed off a full size page and framed it – it makes good art.

As I have mentioned, for me this is hands down the most complicated button I have made. It is also the most personal and perhaps my most favorite. I made copies of this button and gave it to family members for Christmas. It took me several attempts to learn how to do it, but now with practice I can sometimes even do it without looking at the instructions again. But only sometimes.

Sunday Reflections: The Day I Did Everything Wrong

tltbutton5Setting the Scene:

It was a T-shirt Monday. This meant that we would be spending the next six hours in the Teen MakerSpace making t-shirts with any teen who walked into the space, working straight through the traditional dinner hour. It had become our custom on these nights that someone would take our order and run out and buy us food, if we didn’t just order pizza. Mondays are glorious days of chaos and teens and being so busy you hardly have time to eat. Food would soon become our nemesis.

The Precipitating Event:

One of the teens in the space, a super regular that we had closer ties with, overheard us taking orders to go to Wendy’s. They asked if they gave us $5.00 could we bring them back some baconator fries from Wendy’s. I hesitated oh so briefly – this was new territory and I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt about it – and then I said sure. I didn’t listen to my gut and that will bite you in the bum every time.

The Drop Off:

So our person went and picked up food on their way to an offsite meeting. They texted from the parking lot that they were there and another person was sent outside quickly for the hand off. Food was eaten. T-shirts were made.

What Happened Next:

There are several teens in the room, though not the teen with the baconator fries. The fries have been eaten, the t-shirt made, and in the chaos that teen has now left the building. Suddenly another teen, we’ll call this teen Y, says to me, in an angry voice, “You know, baconator fries only cost $2.00 and X gave you a $5.00 and you owe X $3.00 in change.” To which I reply, “Okay, we’ll make sure that is taken care of.” And I keep helping someone make a shirt. But Y is angry, wants to confront me about the $3.00, so I finally look at Y and say, “I’m sorry, I don’t feel comfortable talking to you about this. It’s not a situation you are involved in. X and I will work it out.”

The Fallout:

X comes back into the space. I ask X to come speak with me in private and explain the drop off to them and tell X that I will get change asap. Here it is revealed that X asked other teen to ask me about the change, so I try to gently tell X that in the future please come directly to me, I am happy to work things out with them, I didn’t know how much the fries cost or that they were even owed change. It had all just happened so quickly and we were all so busy.

And Then:

We step back into the space and Y starts yelling at me – in front of everyone – because Y apparently volunteered to help X because we were trying to steal X’s money. Y is inserting himself, again, into a situation that he shouldn’t be involved in, and he is doing so very publicly. It’s an uncomfortable situation all around. I admit it, my feelings were hurt. We have spent days upon days upon days with these teens. They know us. We know them. They share their triumph and struggles. We listen with intent and care about them. And here they were publicly accusing us of harm over a misunderstanding about change in the middle of a chaotic day.

So I stop and say, in the middle of a crowded room full of busy teens, we will no longer be talking about this publicly, it is not okay that this is happening right now. And then I say, “In the future, we will not do things like this for you. No library staff will be allowed to take any money from you or get you any food, so do not ask.”

And Then the Knife Goes In:

So then Y says, “That’s okay, we don’t trust you anymore anyway.”

I’m not going to lie. That. Hurt. A lot.

X then flees the room.

The Apologies:

I eventually find X sitting outside with Y. I ask Y to please let me speak privately with X. At first Y refuses to leave, claims he is protecting X. But X keeps asking Y to leave and eventually he does.

The first thing I say to X is, “We were fine before this and we’re going to be fine after this. But let’s talk about what is happening.”

X says they can’t talk about it because they have anxiety and are prone to panic attacks. So I share that I also have anxiety and sometimes have panic attacks. X starts crying. We sit in silence for a while. Then we talk. We talk about what exactly happened, how I didn’t know how much the fries were and that there should have been change, about the quick drop off in the parking lot, and about how all of this could have been avoided with a bit better communication. We talked about how to handle conflict. I admitted that the lack of trust hurt my feelings, as did the fact that X didn’t come right to me to ask about the change. And about how the situation was made so much worse by who X had chosen as an emissary and they way that everyone had treated everyone and in such public spaces.

I talked to Y about how he had talked to the staff and how it wasn’t fair to anyone involved for him to insert himself into a discussion that he really shouldn’t have been a part of.

The Aftermath:

X came in the following day and everything was fine between us all.

It took Y several more days before he came back, but he did come back.

I sent a recap of the event to my staff with a reminder of what our library policies were regarding the events that had happened with an apology for the day. After discussion with my assistant director, we re-affirmed with the staff that they should not take any money from the teens or give them food outside of a library sponsored event that served food. We talked about appropriate boundaries, professionalism, and reminded staff that they represent the library at all times. It was a reminder that the library had rules regarding situations exactly like this and that we had gotten too casual with our teens and lax in enforcing them. So we went back to following the rules to protect everyone involved, including the library itself.

The Wrap-Up:

This was a hard day for me. It was emotionally exhausting, gut wrenching, and soul crushing. I had been moved by compassion because I know that most of my teens come to the library and stay for hours – often 6 or more – with no food because they don’t have money or transportation. My heart was in the right place, but the event did not play out in ways that I expected. I am not going to lie, I was stunned by the lack of trust expressed.

At one point, one of the teens in the space remarked, “What’s the big deal? It’s only $3.00.” This is when I explained privilege to this teen and explained that for many people, $3.00 was in fact life or death. It could be a meal. Or enough gas to get to work. But that it was very much a big deal and even if it wasn’t, it was still their money and they had a right to ask about it.

It wasn’t the asking about the change that was an issue, it was the how of it. And the who of it. And the when of it. It was just the perfect firestorm of events that combusted at the exact wrong time in the exact wrong ways.

And I know the title of this post says that I did everything wrong, but I didn’t. I worked hard to resolve this issue with all parties involved. I felt good about how I approached X and said, “We were fine before this and we’re going to be fine after this,” trying to re-assure this teen that I wasn’t angry and they weren’t in trouble and I was sorry and we were going to be okay, they were going to be okay. And in the end, everything was okay. Getting there was just hard.

The truth is, as a manager, I would have been upset if my staff had done this. It breaks the barriers put in place by our institution and I am a big fan of those barriers which protect patrons, staff and the library itself. But I broke those barriers and learned some valuable lessons. I just learned them the hard way.

That was the day I did everything wrong but in the end, we worked it out. And that’s important to0. Mistakes can be fixed, relationships can be mended, wrongs can be righted, and a bad day can turn around.

Also, baconator fries only cost $2.00. Knowing that ahead of time would have saved me a lot of troubles. So now you know.

Friday Finds: July 21, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Sunday Reflections: Today, as the Mother of Daughters, is a Good Day for Geekdom

MakerSpace: Button Making is All the Rage (The Complete Button Making Index)

MakerSpace: The #ButtonFun Gallery

Book Review: Madness by Zac Brewer

MakerSpace: How to Design a Button

Video Games Weekly: Stardew Valley

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Recently in book mail

tltbutton7Books, books, and more books! My neighbors probably wonder what exactly goes on over here at the house where UPS of FedEx stops nearly every day. The following are the books that have arrived here in the past few weeks. I will be reviewing many of them in the upcoming months on TLT. See something you’ve already read and need to make sure I don’t skip? Or something you’re super excited to read when it comes out? Let me know with a comment here or on Twitter, where I’m @CiteSomething.

All descriptions from the publishers.

 

call of theCall of the Alphas #1 by Ellis Byrd (ISBN-13: 9780451534477 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/27/2017Series: Animal Jam Series, #1)

The first novel in a new fiction series based on the hugely popular online game, Animal Jam, enjoyed by over 65 million users! Learn all about the origin of the Animal Jam home called Jamaa, a lush natural environment, and its brave, adventurous animal leaders called the Alphas.

Welcome to Jamaa, a peaceful place full of forests, canyons, and beaches where all kinds of animals have adventures together! But did you know that Jamaa wasn’t always so peaceful? A long time ago, evil phantoms wreaked havoc and destroyed the land. Luckily, brave animal leaders called the Alphas came to the rescue. They battled the phantoms and restored Jamaa to its natural state. Now Jamaa is back to its old self and ready to be explored by you and all the other Animal Jammers!

Fans of the popular Animal Jam game (as well as newcomers) are sure to love Call of the Alphas, which expands the online world. And readers will be given exclusive access to new online adventures through a special code in the text!

 

 

phantomThe Phantoms’ Secret #2 by Christa Roberts (ISBN-13: 9780451534484 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/27/2017 Series: Animal Jam Series, #2)

The second novel in a fiction series based on the popular online game, Animal Jam, enjoyed by over 65 million users! The brave and intrepid animals’ adventures continue as they protect their natural habitat, Jamaa.

Something’s going on in Jamaa. Plants are dying, the water is murky, and animals are spooked. Are the Phantoms back? Some of the Alphas investigate a suspicious volcano while others are hot on the trail of another lead. Can the Alphas work together to face the newest threat? It will take all of them save Jamaa…and time is running out.

Fans of the popular Animal Jam game (as well as newcomers) are sure to love this book that expands the online world. And readers will be given exclusive access to new online adventures through a special code in the text!

 

 

prettyPretty by Justin Sayre (ISBN-13: 9780448484174 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 07/04/2017)

Sophie’s perspective on what being pretty really means changes drastically in the second adjective-busting novel by the author of Husky, Justin Sayre.

Sayre details the private and public life of a thirteen-year-old burdened with far more than the middle-school adjective of Pretty. Though she appears confident, stylish, and easygoing at school, Sophie lives a nightmare at home. When her mother’s alcohol addiction spirals out of control, Sophie’s Auntie Amara steps in to help. She teaches Sophie new lessons about her family and heritage, while also challenging her to rethink how she feels about friends, boys, and even her sense of place in the Brooklyn neighborhood where she lives. Sayre, a master storyteller in the coming-of-age genre, asks readers to confront superficial assumptions about gender and beauty, and breathes new life into the canon of middle-grade realistic fiction.

 

 

cosmicCosmic Commandos by Christopher Eliopoulos (ISBN-13: 9781101994481 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 07/04/2017)

In this graphic novel adventure for readers of Hilo and Roller Girl, a pair of twin brothers accidentally bring their favorite video game to life—and now they have to find a way to work together to defeat it.

Jeremy and Justin are twins, but they couldn’t be any more different from each other. Jeremy is a risk taker who likes to get his hands dirty; Justin prefers to read, focus, and get all his facts straight before jumping in. But they do have one important thing in common: They both love video games. When Jeremy wins a cereal-box charm that brings his favorite video game to life, villains and all, he finds that he’s in way over his head. Justin knows everything there is to know about the rules of the game—he read the handbook, of course—and Jeremy isn’t afraid to try new things. Can these two mismatched brothers work together to beat the video game that has become their life?

 

lake effectThe Lake Effect by Erin McCahan (ISBN-13: 9780803740525 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 07/11/2017)

 

A funny, bracing, poignant YA romance and coming-of-age for fans of Huntley Fitzpatrick, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and The Beginning of Everything

lake effect | n.
1. The effect of any lake, especially the Great Lakes, in modifying the weather in nearby areas
2. The effect of elderly ladies, mysterious girls, and countless funerals, in upending your life, one summer at the beach

It’s the summer after senior year, and Briggs Henry is out the door. He’s leaving behind his ex-girlfriend and his parents’ money troubles for Lake Michigan and its miles of sandy beaches, working a summer job as a personal assistant, and living in a gorgeous Victorian on the shore. It’s the kind of house Briggs plans to buy his parents one day when he’s a multi-millionaire. But then he gets there. And his eighty-four-year-old boss tells him to put on a suit for her funeral.

So begins a summer of social gaffes, stomach cramps, fraught beach volleyball games, moonlit epiphanies, and a drawer full of funeral programs. Add to this Abigail, the mystifying girl next door on whom Briggs’s charms just won’t work, and “the lake effect” is taking on a whole new meaning.

Smart, funny, and honest, The Lake Effect is about realizing that playing along is playing it safe, and that you can only become who you truly are if you’re willing to take the risk.

 

 

rosieRosie Girl by Julie Shepard (ISBN-13: 9780399548642 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 07/11/2017)

Little Peach meets We Were Liars in this haunting YA debut about a troubled teen searching for her birth mom who uncovers disturbing family secrets along the way.

After her father passes away, seventeen-year-old Rosie is forced to live with her abusive stepmom Lucy and her deadbeat boyfriend, Judd, who gives Rosie the sort of looks you shouldn’t give your girlfriend’s step-daughter. Desperate for a way out, Rosie would do just about anything to escape the life she’s been handed. Then she finds a letter her dad wrote years ago, a letter confessing that Rosie’s birth mother isn’t dead, as she believed, but alive somewhere—having left them when Rosie was a little girl for reasons he won’t reveal.
Rosie resolves to find her birth mom, and she’ll put everything on the line to make that happen. She hires a PI paid for by her best friend, Mary, who turns tricks for money. Unlike Rosie, Mary’s no delicate flower and when she sees the opportunity to make some cash and help out her closest friend, she takes it. Romance blooms when the PI Rosie hires hands the case off to his handsome nephew Mac, but Rosie struggles to keep her illicit activities with Mary a secret. Things begin to unravel when Rosie starts getting creepy anonymous texts from johns looking for Mary. And then there’s Mary, the one person Rosie can count on, who’s been acting strangely all of a sudden. As Rosie and Mary get closer to finally uncovering the truth about Rosie’s mom, Rosie comes face to face with a secret she never saw coming. A visceral, poignant tale of friendship, sacrifice and identity, Rosie Girl is an unforgettable debut that will leave you guessing till the very last page.

 

 

 

because youBecause You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy by Ameriie (ISBN-13: 9781681193649 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 07/11/2017)

Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon

BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel).

 

 

library of fatesThe Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana (ISBN-13: 9781595148582 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 07/18/2017)

A romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore, perfect for fans of The Star-Touched Queen and The Wrath and the Dawn

No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The palace is soon under siege, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on one another. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?

 

 

what goes upWhat Goes Up by Katie Kennedy (ISBN-13: 9781619639126 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 07/18/2017)

Rosa and Eddie are among hundreds of teens applying to NASA’s mysterious Interworlds Agency. They’re not exactly sure what the top-secret program entails, but they know they want in. Rosa has her brilliant parents’ legacies to live up to, and Eddie has nowhere else to go–he’s certainly not going to stick around and wait for his violent father to get out of jail. Even if they are selected, they have no idea what lies in store. But first they have to make it through round after round of crazy-competitive testing.

And then something happens that even NASA’s scientists couldn’t predict . . .

From the author of the acclaimed Learning to Swear in America comes another high-stakes adventure that’s absolutely out of this world.

 

 

a promising lifeA Promising Life: Coming of Age with America, A Novel by Emily Arnold McCully (ISBN-13: 9780439314459 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.Publication date: 07/25/2017)

For as long as he can remember, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau has been told that a promising future lies ahead of him. After all, his mother is the great Sacagawea, who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition of discovery. And thanks to his mother, Baptiste’s life changes forever when Captain Clark offers him an education in the bustling new city of St. Louis.

There, his mother charges him to “learn everything” – reading, writing, languages, mathematics. His life becomes a whirl of new experiences: lessons, duels, dances, elections. He makes friends and undertakes unexpected journeys to far-off places.

But he also witnesses the injustices Clark, as a US agent for Indian Affairs, forces upon the Osage, the Arikara, the Mandan, and so many others. He sees the effect of what some call “progress” on the land and on the people who have lived there for generations. And he must choose what path he will take and what place he will have in a rapidly changing society.

 

 

shadowhouseShadowhouse Fall (The Shadowshaper Cypher Series #2) by Daniel José Older (ISBN-13: 9780545952828 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 09/12/2017 Series: Shadowshaper Cypher Series, #2)

SHADOWHOUSE RISING

Sierra and her friends love their new lives as shadowshapers, making art and creating change with the spirits of Brooklyn. Then Sierra receives a strange card depicting a white beast called the Hound of Light — an image from the enigmatic, influential Deck of Worlds. The Deck tracks the players and powers of all the magical houses in the city, and when the real Hound begins to stalk Sierra through the streets, the shadowshapers know their next battle has arrived.

WORLDS IN REVOLUTION

Sierra and Shadowhouse have been thrust into an ancient struggle with enemies old and new — a struggle they didn’t want, but are determined to win. Revolution is brewing in the real world as well, as the shadowshapers join the fight against systems that oppress and incarcerate their community. To protect her family and friends in every sphere, Sierra must take down the Hound and master the Deck of Worlds … or else she could lose everything that matters most.

 

 

run awayRun Away with Me by Mila Gray (ISBN-13: 9781481490962 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 11/28/2017)

Two friends fall into a passionate romance, but first they must confront a painful past, or else lose out on the one thing they’ve been searching for in this heartrending novel from the author of Come Back to Me and Stay with Me.

Emerson Lowe and popular ice-hockey player Jake McCallister have been best friends since third grade but as their friendship starts to morph into something more a terrible event occurs that heralds the end of innocence for both of them.

Within a week, Jake’s living on the other side of the country and Emerson is left alone to pick up the pieces of her life in a small town determined to paint her as a liar.

Seven years later, Emerson is still living on the beautiful Pacific West island of Bainbridge, helping run her family’s business. The last thing she needs is Jake turning up, bringing with him old memories and opening up old wounds. But Jake—even better looking than Emerson remembers—seems determined to revive their friendship no matter how much Emerson tries to push him away.

Forced to work alongside him for the summer Emerson can’t help but fall for Jake, and soon they’re in the midst of a passionate romance that neither of them wants to end.

But both Emerson and Jake know that if they’re to have any kind of future they must first confront the past—a past that most people want to stay buried.

 

 

you'll missYou’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon (ISBN-13: 9781481497732 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 01/02/2018)

A moving, lyrical debut novel about twins who navigate first love, their Jewish identity, and opposite results from a genetic test that determines their fate—whether they inherited their mother’s Huntington’s disease.

Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.

But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.

When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s, and the other tests positive.

These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?

From debut author Rachel Lynn Solomon comes a luminous, heartbreaking tale of life, death, and the fragile bond between sisters.

 

 

cruel princeThe Cruel Prince (Folk of the Air Series #1) by Holly Black (ISBN-13: 9780316310277 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 01/02/2018 Series: Folk of the Air Series, #1)

By #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, the first book in a stunning new series about a mortal girl who finds herself caught in a web of royal faerie intrigue.

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.


And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.


Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

 

 

snapSnapstreak by Suzanne Weyn (ISBN-13: 978-1328713469 Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers Publication date: 02/06/2018)

Eighth-grader Vee is doomed to move to a new town, away from her BFFs Megan and Lulu. To get a jump on her new social life, she starts snapping with local Queen Bee, Gwynneth. Megan and Lulu have mixed feelings about G., but Vee’s snapstreak with her is well under way when they get the biggest news EVER: The local radio station is hosting a Boys Being Dudes concert for the pair of students from different schools who can prove the longest running snapstreak! Vee could win this!

The girls’ BBD dreams are in reach when a gym class concussion lands Vee in bed, under a strict phone ban. It’s up to Megan and Lulu to keep the streak going.

 

american pandaAmerican Panda by Gloria Chao (ISBN-13: 9781481499101 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 02/06/2018)

An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her germophobia and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth—that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

From debut author Gloria Chao comes a hilarious, heartfelt tale of how unlike the panda, life isn’t always so black and white.

Video Games Weekly: Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is a popular indie game that had been released on consoles earlier this year, although it has been available on PC platform since 2016.  It’s a role-playing farming/country life game, and while that sounds pretty boring, it’s actually pretty fun!

YouTube Trailer:


Platform:
PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

Rated: E10+

Single or Multiplayer: Single

Storyline: You have inherited your now deceased grandfather’s shabby farmland in a small town called Stardew Valley. Not only is your farm decaying, the village’s Community Center is in ruins and a large company called Joja is trying to take over the town!

Gameplay:  There isn’t a good or bad way to play Stardew Valley. Players generally try to fix up the Community Center because they can get special items and unlock special areas around town.  The second thing players try to do is get married.  There are certain villagers whom you can marry if you have enough friendship hearts, and it doesn’t matter what gender the player is.  I chose to marry Elliot, a sensitive soul who lives on the beach who is trying to finish writing a novel.

https://i.redd.it/4xwhqxpg228x.png

Players have to strategize how to spend each “day” because they have a certain amount of energy.  There is plenty to do in one day like raise animals, plant crops, go fishing, mine the caves, collect items to fix up your farm and town, or talk to villagers. Some villagers have their own mini story arc, but there isn’t an overall way to “beat” Stardew Valley because the game is open-ended.  Most players try to make money as fast as possible so they can expand their farm and purchase expensive items.

Players also have to consider what items are available during the day because some items are available during one season like Fall.  There are 28 days in every season, and four seasons are in a year.  Every month has two celebrations where players can get special items.

Now, if this game sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because it’s like an indie version of the popular Nintendo game known as Harvest Moon.  In my opinion, it’s better than Harvest Moon because it improved the game mechanics and leveling system that made Harvest Moon so frustrating to play.

Like I said, there isn’t a way to beat Stardew Valley.  I got as far as about the end of my third year before I got bored of it, which translates to about 60 hours of gameplay.  What I liked most about this game is the casual pace (although the start of the game is very slow and you just have to trudge through), and that I could listen to the radio or an audiobook while playing the game.  I listened to both books in the An Ember in the Ashes series while playing Stardew Valley, and I will probably pick up the game again once the third book in the series comes out!

Audience:  Like any role-playing game, Stardew Valley will have a niche audience because it is a slow paced, relaxing game.  If you are a gamer who liked Harvest Moon, I highly recommend Stardew Valley. However, if you are a player that likes video games with a lot of action, I do not recommend playing this game. 

Verdict: I recommend getting a copy or two for circulating collections. This is not a game for programs because of its slow pace and the fact that it is single player.

Pricing: $30 on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Stardew-Valley-Collectors-PlayStation-4/dp/B01N199PG7

Questions? Comments? Tweet them at me!

By: Alanna Graves
Twitter: @LannaLibrarian