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Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

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

Recently in book mail

Around the Web

Where Are All the Black Boys? A 2017 Assessment and Comparison

Afghan Girls’ Robotics Team Wins Limelight at Competition

ROASTING Female Doctor Who Haters

When Black Hair Violates The Dress Code

Are girls free to be girly in YA? Short answer: yes.

12 Unique Bookshelves That Will Bring You One Step Closer To The Library Of Your Dreams

 

 

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

MakerSpace: How to Design a Button

Button, button, who makes the button? I do! Teens do! But how? Yesterday I shared some basics on button making, today let’s talk about designing your buttons.

For the purpose of this discussion a button insert will refer to your final circle image cut to size that is placed in between the two button parts – the shell and the pin back – which will ultimately become your button. It’s the graphic piece that you create to make a button.

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

buttons18

What Programs Do You Use to Design a Button?

We’re going to start here with the final step. I know that sounds weird, but your ultimate goal is to create and print a properly sized button insert – the graphic piece – that will make your image pop. The final step is sizing and printing that button insert. We’ll start there.

In the final steps, I recommend using a program like Microsoft Publisher to finish your button design. This allows you to create your button true to size and then print it out. For example, if you are making a 2.25 button you can use the Insert Shape feature, choose a circle, and size it to 2.25. You can use the fill feature to fill the button with your circle OR you can use it as an outline and overlay it on your image to make sure what you want to appear does in fact appear in the middle of the button.

insershapeResizing Photos for Button Makers

After you have made a design that you are happy with and appropriately sized them, you can then “group” all the parts and copy and paste them to make rows of button inserts. For example, here are some SRC buttons I designed to give to kids who participated in our 2015 summer reading program. This is what the printed out sheet of paper will look like. You then just cut your button inserts out and go through the button making steps.

buttons7

Buttons for our 2015 Super Readers!

Buttons for our 2015 Super Readers!

Why Publisher? You need a publishing program that handles graphics well and prints true to size. For example, if you create a circle image in PowerPoint, even though on screen it is sized the correct size, it doesn’t print out true to size because a PowerPoint slide is not the same size as a sheet of paper. It’s a computer focused program as opposed to a print focused program. Publisher is designed to create and print materials so it works really well for printing button inserts.

In a pinch, you can create your image in another program and copy and paste it into Word at the correct size, but it’s a few more steps. I only recently got Microsoft Publisher on my personal laptop and used Word for quite some time. It’s perfectly functional, though more complicated then I liked.

You Don’t, However, Have to Begin with Publisher to Design Your Button

So let’s go back to the beginning – designing your button insert.

Let’s be honest, if you are using Publisher to size and print your buttons, you can in fact use them to design your entire button if you so choose. But it is not the only tool I use and there are many other tools that offer other features that you may wish to explore.

Although I recommend ending and printing with Publisher, you don’t have to begin there. I most often don’t. For example, I might fall in love with a picture I have taken on Instagram so that becomes my starting point. I might design something online in Canva and then transfer it into publisher for sizing and printing. I also use a lot of photo apps that have different filters, texts, and features to enhance a photo. I just create my image and then download it to my computer and insert it into Publisher for sizing and printing. Yes, some buttons take a lot of steps. But the design process is part of what I enjoy.

More photos manipulated with photo apps and turned into buttons. Washi tape makes up the borders on some of these buttons.

More photos manipulated with photo apps and turned into buttons. Washi tape makes up the borders on some of these buttons.

Some of my favorite design programs/apps include:

See also: How Did You Do That? Photo Apps Version and Generate Marketing Creativity with iPhone Apps

Some Design Tips to Keep in Mind

All the basic rules of graphic design basically apply:

In addition, remember that here you are designing in a circle. This can present some unique challenges, especially since a lot of traditional design we do is in the square format. Try to focus your image in the center of the circle. Make sure that any important parts – including text – aren’t being cut off.

Made from an Instagram pic. Had to layer images to prevent text from being cut off.

Made from an Instagram pic. Had to layer images to prevent text from being cut off.

The most important tip: Make sure and leave a little edge around all of your design so it doesn’t accidentally get cut off when you make the actual button. Words and important image pieces should not go all the way to the edge of your circle. You can have a background color that fills the complete image, but leave a little bit of space around the edges especially when you include any text.

There are Some Online Tools and Tutorials

How To Design a Button in Photoshop [4/13/2009] – YouTube

Button Designer Make Button Artwork Online

Create Buttons | Button Design | Custom Buttons | Pin Buttons

Button Designer Make Button Artwork Online

Free Button Maker Software – American Button Machines

MakePins.com: Make Custom Pins and Buttons That You Design

I have used exactly none of these. You really can design them yourselves quickly and easily as you become more proficient at using whatever software/apps you choose and just learn what does and doesn’t work.

At the End of the Day, Not all Buttons Needs to Be Computer Generated at All!

A table full of scrap button materials

A table full of scrap button materials

Put out a tub of scrapbook paper, discarded magazines and gns/manga, stickers, Sharpies, gel pens and more! Buttons can be mixed media collages or hand drawn. Fingerprint art buttons are some of our favorite buttons to be honest.

Hand drawn Sharpie art turned into buttons

Hand drawn Sharpie art turned into buttons

Coloring pages buttons

Coloring pages buttons

You can pre-cut a bunch of plain circles and put them out with a box of markers and let teens design.

Fingerprint Art Buttons for Shark Week

Fingerprint Art Buttons for Shark Week

You can pre-cut a bunch of pre-sized circles out of blank paper and put them out with a box of markers or gel pens and teens will still design pretty cool buttons.

Sharpies + Stick Figure Art

Sharpies + Stick Figure Art

Stick Figure Art Buttons!

Stick Figure Art Buttons!

To Recap: How to Design a Button Ranked from Easiest to Hardest Method

1. Cut out a plain circle and hand draw a design

2. Use paper scraps to create a design

3. Download an image and size it in Publisher (be aware of copyright)

4. Create a design from scratch in Publisher

5. Create a design in another resource, download it, and resize it in Publisher

Have fun designing!

Book Review: Madness by Zac Brewer

When I’m reviewing books for professional publications, I stay quiet about them on social media. I’m always really excited once a review comes out to be able to talk about the book, finally! Here’s one of my most recent reviews, which originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of School Library Journal

 

madnessMadness by Zac Brewer

ISBN-13: 9780062457851 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 09/19/2017

Gr 9 Up—Finding a kindred spirit turns chilling in this exploration of depression, suicidal ideation, and toxic love. Seventeen-year-old Brooke is freshly out of a treatment program after attempting suicide. Back at school, her classmates stare, whisper, and write “RIP” on her locker. Brooke’s situation at home is strained, therapy seems pointless, and the only good thing is Duckie, her lifelong best friend. Angry to still be alive, Brooke is determined to die soon. That is, until she meets Derek, who recently moved to town with his abusive, alcoholic father. The two bond over depression and suicide attempts, Derek’s favorite topic of conversation. Brooke immediately falls in love with him and even feels that he has given her a reason to live (though, of course, her therapist encourages her to find ways to live for herself). She also begins to open up at therapy, gets involved in activities, and raises her grades, but she fixates on Derek, who is clingy, jealous, and needy and has a quick temper. Brooke’s story perpetuates the dangerous idea that love will cure mental illness. Even after her eyes are opened, she worrisomely believes Derek is ultimately a good guy but “troubled,” excusing his horrific behavior and conflating controlling, abusive behavior with love. While the novel is filled with suspense and offers a compelling, cautionary look at an unhealthy relationship, the underdeveloped characters and lackluster dialogue detract from the potential impact of the tale. Graphic descriptions of suicide attempts are included. VERDICT A strictly additional purchase only where the author’s work is popular.

MakerSpace: The #ButtonFun Gallery

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Earlier today I shared with you a summary post about button making in makerspaces. Using the hashtag #ButtonFun, I and some Twitter followers have been sharing our favorite button making tips and a gallery of our creations. Here’s a roundup.

 

The #ButtonFun Gallery//

  1. Words typed in paper. Edges inked by brushing on an ink pad. Beautiful #buttonfun https://t.co/EXZJdTcxmE

    Words typed in paper. Edges inked by brushing on an ink pad. Beautiful #buttonfun pic.twitter.com/EXZJdTcxmE
  2. This teen turned a 21 Pilots lyric into a button using a typewriter #Buttonfun https://t.co/6oBZBaLxyw

    This teen turned a 21 Pilots lyric into a button using a typewriter #Buttonfun pic.twitter.com/6oBZBaLxyw
  3. Hands down my fave button. Pic of my scrabble board taken with smart phone #Buttonfun https://t.co/ZfQaoq6qcu

    Hands down my fave button. Pic of my scrabble board taken with smart phone #Buttonfun pic.twitter.com/ZfQaoq6qcu
  4. Very Meta: We made a button of this button loving teen wearing all of his buttons #Buttonfun https://t.co/Vop8VzXWNI

    Very Meta: We made a button of this button loving teen wearing all of his buttons #Buttonfun pic.twitter.com/Vop8VzXWNI

 

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

One of our most popular stations in our Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH) has been button making. We enjoy making buttons so much that a couple of staff members have purchased their own button making machines for personal use at home (hello, yes I’m one of the guilty ones). So we decided to end our Summer Reading Challenge with a week of button making challenges. I get asked a lot of questions about buttons here at TLT, so let me try and answer them all for you here in one convenient post. Consider this the ultimate button making resource! If you have questions that you don’t see answered here, please leave a comment and I will respond.

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What kind of machine do you use?

At home and in our Teen MakerSpace, we use button making machines from American Button Machines. We have both the 2.25 and the 1.25 sizes. We’ve also made mirrors and keychains with packages we have purchased with them. Our machines in the Teen MakerSpace have held up to daily use for over a year and a half and they are still going strong. They are easy to use, durable, and quick. I can not emphasize how popular and fun this simple making tool can be.

Our button making challenge station

Our button making challenge station

What about training and instructions?

In order to help make sure our button makers stay in good working condition, we made our own button machine instructions. We also made instructions on how to resize images in order to make button: General Resizing Photos for Button Maker Instructions

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Once a teen is trained to use the laptop to make their images and use the machine to make their buttons, they are very successful in creating a variety of buttons on their own. After some initial training, 100% of teens will be capable of coming in and using the machines without any assistance.

Do you charge for your buttons?

We do not currently charge our teens to make a button. We do, however, limit our teens to 2 buttons a day. Each year for our Summer Reading Challenge we also give 100 button pieces as one of our prize options and this has proven to be popular. If we were to charge, we would probably charge around a quarter per button as this is roughly what the costs of supplies averages out to per button.

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What size button is the most popular?

Right now, it seems like the 1.25 size is the most popular. For example, if you go into Hot Topic, they always have bins full of buttons that you can buy in this size. The small buttons can pack a powerful visual impact.

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So what size button do you recommend?

This is not a straightforward question. The true answer is, it depends on what you want to accomplish.

For more artistic buttons or buttons with quotes and slogans, the 2.25 size is better.

For buttons with icons or small but powerful visual images, the 1.25 size is better.

I spy a teen guy with a ton of buttons

I spy a teen guy with a ton of buttons

What do you use to design your buttons?

To be honest, I am all over the place on this one. The simplest and most direct tool to use is a publishing program like Microsoft Publisher. It allows you to design, save and print your buttons true to size in one easy place. I have also, however, designed buttons on my phone using apps or used something like Canva and then imported the image into Publisher. Designing images on my phone allows me to engage when I am away from my computer but have access to my phone and get bored or simply am multitasking.

And now a word about Instagram and social media sized graphics. An Instagram picture seems like a great place to start when designing a button image – and it truly can be – but I recommend caution when beginning with a square image to translate into a round image. You’ll want to make sure the focus of your image is in the center or else it won’t translate well. The exception is if you overlay the square image over a background as this prevents the corners from being cut off. Let’s discuss.

For example, this is an image I created using a variety of apps while sitting on an airplane. I thought it would make an excellent button but the words get cut off because it goes to close to the edges if you try and convert it into a circle.

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So I overlaid the image over a plain image of clouds and it does, in fact, make an excellent button. So Instagram pics can translate well into button images with a little creative design and problem solving.

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You can print and make these buttons here: She Persisited 125 Buttons

How do you inspire teens to create buttons?

To help get our teens thinking creatively and past the idea that they can just print off an image from the Internet and make it into a button (and this is always a great time to talk copyright with your teens), we have put together a variety of button making challenges. You can find those challenge cards here: Button Challenge Card Examples  Button Making Challenge Cards

We always try to have a gallery of examples around to inspire our teen makers.

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Additional Button Making Posts at TLT

TPiB: The Books of Our Heart Button

MakerSpace: Thumbprint Art Buttons

MakerSpace Madness: Out of the 1, Many – Transforming Art in Multiple Ways

MakerSpace: Button Maker Challenges

Things I Learned Visiting the Cincinnati MakerSpace: Fun with Buttons (the beginning of my obsession)

Want to share some of your favorite buttons with me? I would love to see them. Tweet them at me at @tlt16 with the tag #buttonfun. Also, I would love to hear what some of your favorite button challenges might be or answer any questions you might have. Just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

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

My Sunday Reflections are usually somber reflections on the world that I see around me, in part because there is a lot to be concerned about. But today, I rejoice.

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THE NEW DOCTOR IS A WOMAN!!

We are huge fans of Doctor Who in the Jensen household. The first thing we recently did upon returning to our Texas home after several weeks in Ohio is binge watch our DVRed episodes of Doctor Who to get caught up. We cuddled up in bed, the girls and I, and watched four episodes worth of our favorite show. We laughed. We cried. We bonded and rejoiced and lamented that we would have to wait until the annual Christmas episode until we saw the Doctor again.

And then today the announcement.

The new doctor is a woman! We called everyone we know screaming the news! To say that we are excited is an understatement.

But, it gets better. They also released the teaser trailer for the new movie adaptation of arguably one of my favorite childhood books. And it is glorious!!

This summer I also got to take my girls to see Wonder Woman and help it become one of the highest grossing super hero movies of all time.

With all the news about the assault women’s reproductive rights and healthcare and the walking back of protections against campus sexual violence, it was a good day in geekdom to get to be the mom of two amazing girls. There is a lot to be worried about, but today felt like a triumph. In what seems like dark times to be a woman, I’ll take any moment of triumph I can get.

Friday Finds: July 14, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Sunday Reflections: When the Opioid Crisis Hits the Library

MakerSpace: 5 Ways We Transformed T-Shirts into Something New

MakerSpace: Summer of Shirts Index and Gallery

Book Review: The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller

YA is Ultimately for Teens, and That’s Okay

Join the TLT Teen Advisory Board!

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA July 2017

#SJYALit: Teens Taking Action in YA Fiction, a guest post by Robin Talley

Around the Web

Shout out to Maddi @littlebrarian who used one of our posts as inspiration for her own program:

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As if we needed more evidence for how supremely unqualified Betsy DeVos is…

27 Female Authors Who Rule Sci-Fi and Fantasy Right Now

I’m not interested in characters meant to teach a lesson.

New YA Novels From First-Time Authors You Need To Read In The Second Half Of 2017

We Found 81 Incidents Of Trump-Inspired Bullying That Happened Last School Year

Want to Raise Your Child to Love Reading? Read These Secrets

 

#SJYALit: Teens Taking Action in YA Fiction, a guest post by Robin Talley

sjyalitA lot of the teens I know are more passionate about social justice than the adults in their lives.

Which isn’t surprising. Teens are in the process of forming their identities and opinions, and in many cases, they’re learning about social justice issues or deepening their understanding of them for the first time. In the U.S., with our new terrifying-on-all-levels presidential administration and a congressional majority that’s actively trying to harm many of the very people who voted them into office, plenty of people of all ages are more tuned in to politics than ever before ― and more and more are turning their engagement into hands-on activism.

For teens eager to read about political activism in their fiction, too, here are a few of my favorite recent YAs (and one MG) that showcase teens cutting their activist teeth for the first time.

(Note: Since many of these stories focus on the characters’ arcs toward activism, there may be some mild spoilers in the descriptions below.)

hate-uThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2017).

One of the biggest (and certainly one of the best) YA novels of this year, this Black Lives Matter-inspired story focuses on a teenage girl who witnesses a friend’s murder and struggles through grief and complicated community dynamics to speak out about police brutality.

 

 

 

 

 

symptomsSymptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin (2016).

Riley, the genderfluid teen narrator, becomes an accidental activist thanks to their posts on a Tumblr-like social network and is forced to decide whether to abandon their online anonymity by taking a stand in person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

this side of homeThis Side of Home by Renée Watson (2015).

High school senior Maya and her twin sister Nikki disagree about the effects of gentrification on their Portland neighborhood. As student council president, Maya embraces her role as a community leader but isn’t sure how to reconcile her feelings about the changes happening around her with her longstanding ambitions.

 

 

 

 

 

all americanAll-American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely (2015).

In alternating chapters, this collaborative novel examines the aftermath of a police officer’s assault on an unarmed teenager from the perspectives of the black victim and a white classmate who witnesses the attack, climaxing in a Black Lives Matter-inspired demonstration.

 

 

 

 

 

the summer princeThe Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson (2013).

In this alternate-history sci-fi story, protagonist June Costa starts out as an attention-seeking young artist and slowly finds herself using her art to make a statement greater than herself as she joins a team fighting back against the unethical leadership of her isolated, matriarchal community.

 

 

 

 

 

two boysTwo Boys Kissing by David Levithan (2013).

One of the most-challenged books of last year according to ALA, this novel features several loosely connected stories centered on gay characters, including two teenage boys who try to set the record for the world’s longest kiss as a statement in protest of a hate crime committed against a friend.

 

 

 

 

 

differenceThe Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George (2012).

Two girls engaged in a passionate secret romance ― one closeted, one not ― wind up on opposite sides of a community-wide argument about the influence of a Wal-Mart-like corporation on their town, leading one of the girls to initiate a major protest at their school prom.

 

 

 

 

 

onecrazysummerOne Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (2010).

This middle-grade historical novel follows 11-year-old Delphine as she shepherds her two younger sisters through a tense summer living with their estranged mother in Oakland, Calif., where they attend a summer camp led by the Black Panthers and ultimately play a key role in a rally against injustice.

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Robin Talley

Robin Talley - Low ResRobin Talley is the New York Times bestselling author of four novels for teen readers: Our Own Private Universe, As I Descended, What We Left Behind and Lies We Tell Ourselves, all of which focus on LGBTQ characters. Robin lives in Washington, D.C. with her wife and daughter, and she enjoys reading about queer characters, analyzing Disney movies, and chocolate. You can find her at www.robintalley.com.