Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

#MeToo: Teens, Libraries and Sexual Harassment

svyalitOver recent weeks, a wide variety of discussion has been happening about sexual violence, harassment, and assault. These are important conversations that have wide reaching implications. Make no mistake, these things are also happening in the lives of our teens. With the discussion there has been a lot of sharing online with the hashtag #MeToo. This hashtag was begun years ago and became very active again in the past couple of weeks.

#MeToo: An activist, a little girl and the heartbreaking origin of ‘Me too’

#MeToo: Women are sharing their stories of sexual harassment

Many librarians are bringing this topic into their libraries by sharing book displays of titles that deal with the topic of sexual violence with a simple sign that says “#MeToo”. I think this is a relevant and important display for our teens. This IS a topic that they deal with, it is also a conversation that is happening right now. Our teens are online, plugged in and connected; they are very aware of the conversations and engaging in their own ways. We need to be relevant to our teens, which means we need to make sure that we are responding and putting up these types of displays. Some librarians have responded that they would not be allowed to put up a display of this nature because it is too political, but this is not about politics – this is about teens and their lives, the lives they live and the topics that they talk about. By the time they reach the age of 18, 1 in 4 or 5 will be the victims of sexual violence. And almost no female will graduate high school without experiencing some form of sexual harassment. My teenage daughter has already dealt with this on multiple occasions and it is a topic that we talk about often as I try and help her navigate how to stand up for herself and demand safety and respect. By the time they graduate high school almost all of our teen girls will be able to share their own #MeToo stories, and this is unacceptable.

svyalitbrochurepage1real talk sexual violence brochure page 2

If you are considering putting up your own #MeToo display, here are some book lists to that you can draw from.

#SVYALit: The Sexual Violence in YA Lit Project and Discussion – includes book reviews and book lists

13 YA Books About Sexual Assault And Rape Culture

#SJYALit: Ten Young Adult Novels for Sexual Assault Awareness

YA Books About Rape Culture, Fight Against Sexual Assualt

When Talking About Sexual Consent, YA Books Can Be A Parent’s Best Resource

9 Books That Are a Call to Action Against Rape Culture

#MeToo Book List by Barnes and Noble

Using Snapchat to Engage Teens at the Library

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If you want to engage the teen patrons, go where the teens are. And the teens are on Snapchat.

I’ve had this vision in my head of the perfect library Snapchat account since my first job in a teen department. A teen would register for an event that sounded awesome. In the middle of school, sports, and SAT classes, she would completely forget about the event. She barely had time to sleep, never mind check the library website! She would, however, look through all her friends’ Snapchat stories last thing before bed and on the way to school in the morning. An event reminder, posted on the library’s Snapchat story the night before, would refresh her memory and she’d be there for the game day/crochet lesson/ light painting event that she had wanted to attend.

Snapchat has grown in popularity, particularly with the teenage crowd, since the app was created in 2011. According to the Pew Research Center’s Teen Relationship Survey, 41% of all teens ages 13-17 use Snapchat. The same survey found that Snapchat was one of the top three social media apps used by this age group.

While the teens are using social media, I couldn’t help but notice that few of them follow the library’s pages. I asked why: some weren’t aware the library had a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Some felt the content wasn’t relevant to them.

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Although the Snapchat account has been marketed to our teen patrons, it isn’t limited to teen content. The Piscataway Public Library Foundation hosted a fundraiser at the local Chipotle, which was advertised across all our social media platforms including Snapchat. Collections for veterans and hurricane victims are posted. So, although the content isn’t exclusively teen-specific, we make every effort to keep it teen-relevant.

I aim for three posts of teen-relevant content a week, which is frequently enough for me to feel like the account is active, but not overloaded. The teens love searching the shelves for their own bookface ideas–an image in which they hold a book up to align with their face. They also love filter face–applying a filter to a book cover with a face on it. Asking for the teens to get involved with the posts has been met with enthusiasm. Since they are a key part of creating the content on the account, they feel ownership and pride over what is posted.

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Once a week I record book talk videos. Either I do the videos, where I highlight a YA or Middle Grade book in a one-minute video (approx. six Snapchat clips), or I ask the teens to make one. Due to waiver issues, the teens’ faces are rarely included. Instead, their voice is featured over the cover of a book they recommend. They say one or two sentences about why they like the book. I might ask a question, also done by voiceover.

Book Talk on The Wave by Todd Strasser

Piscataway Public Library launched our Snapchat at the end of August, and things have really taken off. The app makes it easy to monitor how many people our posts are reaching. The account has about forty followers, and each story is getting anywhere from twenty five to thirty five views. We can also monitor how many users screenshot a post, which lets us know if they are interested in that particular book or event.

The launch of the Snapchat coincided with a big change to the teen space of both library branches.  Instead of a social space for loosely supervised hangouts, the teen space would transform into STAR Homework Club every day for three hours after school. Some of our regulars weren’t sure how they felt about having their hangout space turn into a homework club, but reception has been positive. The STAR rules and new activities were posted on Snapchat a few times a week in the final weeks of August, to remind the teens of the new expectations we had for their behavior in the space.

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This October, the library is doing a “Snap-venger Hunt.” Teens will be encouraged to attend events and participate in the STAR Homework Club by Snapchatting themselves in the library. They will be pushed to think of their own creative picture ideas, to join study break activities, and to participate in Teen Read Week to earn points. Each task is worth a certain number of points.  When they reach twenty points, teens will be given a small prize and entered into a drawing for a larger prize.

Meet Our Guest Blogger

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Kate-Lynn is a teen services information assistant in New Jersey. She is currently a student in the Rutgers Master of Information program, which she will complete in May 2018. She loves reading thrillers and creative nonfiction. You can find her digital portfolio here and follow her on Twitter, @katelynnbrown95.

Book Review: Calling My Name by Liara Tamani

Publisher’s description

ra6Calling My Name, by debut author Liara Tamani, is a striking, luminous, and literary exploration of family, spirituality, and self—ideal for readers of Jacqueline Woodson, Jandy Nelson, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Sandra Cisneros.

This unforgettable novel tells a universal coming-of-age story about Taja Brown, a young African American girl growing up in Houston, Texas, and deftly and beautifully explores the universal struggles of growing up, battling family expectations, discovering a sense of self, and finding a unique voice and purpose.

Told in fifty-three short, episodic, moving, and iridescent chapters, Calling My Name follows Taja on her journey from middle school to high school. Literary and noteworthy, this is a beauty of a novel that deftly captures the multifaceted struggle of finding where you belong and why you matter.

 

Amanda’s thoughts

calling my nameThis quiet book is beautifully written and features a very introspective main character who interrogates her thoughts on sex, faith, dating, her future, and more. When we first meet Taja she’s 11 (I think–often her age is not specified). We follow her through her senior year of high school. Spanning such a large number of years is a risky move in a YA book and initially readers may wonder why she is so young and when the story will jump to her older teen years. Though she may be on the younger side at the beginning of the story, she grapples with the same questions throughout her tween and teen years. Raised in a religious household in Houston, Taja understands that her parents decide what’s best for her and wonders when she will get to choose for herself. She thinks a lot about church, God, religion, expectations, double standards, guilt, commitments, and what it means to truly feel alive. Her feelings change and grow as she gets older and really works to figure out what it is she believes and wants from life. An overachiever with big dreams, Taja eventually has to decide if the future her boyfriend sees for them is one she can live with.

Set, it seems, in the early 90s (again, this is not specified, but based on musical references and fashion details, I had guessed as much. The inclusion of kids with beepers really solidified that guess.), Taja’s story is light on a concrete plot but the very universal question of “who am I and what do I want?” seems like enough plot to keep readers invested as they watch Taja mature and begin to find her very own answers to some big questions. 

 

Review copy courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss

ISBN-13: 9780062656865
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/24/2017

MakerSpace: Using a Silhouette Cameo to Do Screenprinting

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This summer as part of our Summer of Shirts, we did a very low-tech version of screen printing, which turned out to be incredibly popular. So I was excited to learn that the Silhouette Cameo can be used to do a more traditional type of screenprinting. It works really well and I HIGHLY recommend it. After being pretty decent with my Silhouette Cameo, it only took me about an hour to make my stencil and screenprint my t-shirt. And since many of the supplies can be re-used for multiple projects, the cost per project is basically under $20.00, though your initial investment will be slightly higher (assuming that you already have the Silhouette Cameo of course).

Thing 2 wearing her screenprinted T-shirt

Thing 2 wearing her screenprinted T-shirt

Supplies:

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  • Silhouette Cameo and PC/Laptop
  • Weeding tool
  • Piece of 651 Permanent Vinyl
  • Scissors
  • Clear contact paper (to be used as transfer tape)
  • A wedge to be used with the transfer tape
  • A 14 inch embroidery hoop
  • Painters tape
  • A sheer fabric curtain (I purchased a white one for less than $5.00 at a local store)
  • Speedball screenprinting ink
  • A foam brush or squeegee (or credit card)
  • Gloves
  • Something to protect your work surface
  • A piece of cardboard to insert between the two layers of your shirt

Step 1: Making Your Design and Turning it Into a Stencil

Tools used in this step: Laptop, Silhouette Cameo, Vinyl 651 (permanent), weeding tool

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You begin by making your design in the Silhouette design studio. You’ll want to think about simple designs to begin with. You then send your design to the cutter unmirrored with your vinyl 651. You want to design and cut your vinyl as you would a normal vinyl project. HOWEVER, when you weed your project you want to remove the design part while keeping the edges in place to create your stencil. For example, I removed all of the guitar pieces and letters and kept the part I would normally remove attached to my vinyl backing. You final screen will look like this.

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Step 2: Turning Your Vinyl into a Printing Screen

Tools used in this step: Vinyl stencil (created in step 1), transfer tape (contact paper), wedge (used for transfer tape), painters tape, embroidery hoop, a piece of sheer curtain slightly larger than your embroidery hoop

You now have a negative image piece of vinyl that has been weeded, so you’re going to use your transfer tape (contact paper) to lift your stencil off of the vinyl backing and attach it to the screen (which is a piece of sheer fabric curtain). If you don’t know how to use transfer tape, there are instructions here: How to Use Transfer Tape for Cricut and Silhouette Projects.

After you place your vinyl stencil onto the screen and remove the transfer tape, you can cut your stencil/screen to the size of your embroidery hoop. The hoop is used to hold your stencil/screen tight for the application phase. You want to leave about 2 inches around the outside of the hoop so that you can keep it pulled tight. Use painter’s tape around the edges to help make sure you don’t go over the edge of your vinyl stencil.

The hoop plus your sheer curtain with the vinyl stencil attached is now your screen for the purposes of discussion.

A "Screen" for Screenprinting

A “Screen” for Screenprinting

Step 3: Doing the Screen Printing

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Tools used in this step: Your screen (which is the embroidery hoop with the sheer curtain piece and your vinyl stencil attached to it), Speedball ink, squeegee, gloves (if you want to keep your hands clean), surface protection, cardboard for in between layers of your t-shirt

Insert a piece of cardboard between the layers of your t-shirt to prevent bleeding through. Place the screen onto your shirt where you want it to appear. You will then put a little bit of Speedball ink onto your stencil and spread it evenly over the stencil using your squeegee. Fill in all the parts and then scrape it clean so that you have a thin layer of ink over the areas where it is supposed to print. Let it dry for a few minutes and then remove your screen.

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Your shirt is now done, but you need to let it dry for about 24 hours.

Advantages to Screenprinting vs. Vinyl Heat Transfer

Once you have created a screen, you can take it out of the embroidery hoop for storage and re-use it. From one sheet curtain panel you can create anywhere from 6 to 8 screens which you can store. This gives you a variety of ready made screens that you can pop in and out of your embroidery hoop to teach teens the basics of screen printing. Would also be great for creating summer reading shirts.

Because you are creating a screen that can be re-used, it costs less than using heat transfer vinyl on a large number of t-shirts. Heat transfer vinyl is more expensive than standard vinyl and here you are using one piece as opposed to multiple pieces for multiple shirts.

Many of the supplies and tools can be re-used, which makes this a less expensive project over time.

The t-shirts feel more like authentic t-shirts as opposed to t-shirts that have the stiff feel of vinyl on them.

What the Teens Learn:

  • Design
  • Some basic tech
  • Screenprinting

Here is a really quick tutorial that you can watch on YouTube that demonstrates how quick and easy screenprinting with a Silhouette Cameo is:

Event Recap: John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down Book Tour by Michelle Biwer

Last week John Green, bestselling author and Printz winner for his debut novel Looking for Alaska, began the book tour for his new YA novel Turtles All the Way Down. I was lucky enough to grab a ticket for the sold out event in DC at George Washington University’s Lisner auditorium, which seated 1500 other fans. The event was hosted by the fabulous independent bookstore Politics and Prose.
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John Green started off the evening by reading an excerpt from Turtles All the Way Down in which the maincharacter Aza attempts to explain the trapped in your own mind feeling that comes when struggling with a mental illness such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which both Aza and John Green share. Green took care to note after the reading that while he has OCD himself and that greatly informed his writing of the novel, his new book is a work of fiction and Aza’s illness does not manifest itself in the same ways as Mr. Green’s, nor are they the same character. He also cautioned us that there were very few turtles in this book, despite the title!

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 5.05.23 PMLack of turtles in the novel notwithstanding, the next act of the show was led by a Dr. Lawrence Turtleman who presented a legitimate 5 minute powerpoint on taxonomy. It was no shock to fans of the Vlogbrothers that the strange man in the turtle costume giving a hilarious but accurate lecture on taxonomy was John’s brother, Hank Green. Hank and John are run the YouTube channel Vlogbrothers, a popular video blog that covers everything from their daily lives, to pranks and educational video. They have a large following among teens and young adults. I’m sure it was a weird shock for those who only know of John Green through his novels, butI hope those folks had fun too.
The brothers then reunited on stage to answer more questions from the audience, followed by an amazing acoustic guitar set from Hank (he sings nerdy songs about science and YA novels). John and Hank then set up for a live mini version of their popular “comedy” podcast Dear Hank and John, where listeners write in for advice and they give dubious (read: mostly bad, but very funny) advice. Comedy is in quotes because most of their jokes are about the imminent nature of death coming for all of us (but it truly is funny, I promise!)
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There was a bit of a singalong at the end and then we all departed the theatre with swag including a tote bag, tour poster, and a signed copy of Turtles All the Way Down, which I look forward to reading very soon.

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Friday Finds: October 20, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Silhouette Cameo 101: The Manual It Doesn’t Come With, But Should (MakerSpace)

Book Review: Like Water by Rebecca Podos

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

Book Review: Ruby & Olivia by Rachel Hawkins

TPiB: Easy Peasy DIY Jack-O-Lanterns

Book Review: Here, There, Everywhere by Julia Durango and Tyler Terrones

Around the Web

‘Doon’ series by Carie Corp, Lorie Langdon set to hit the small screen

New York City’s Libraries Will Forgive All Children’s Fines

Let’s talk about American Heart by Laura Moriarty.

In Defense of the Arts and Humanities in Our Public Schools

FAITH, FAMILY, FOOTBALL

A Book Ban Like No Other

 

Book Review: Here, There, Everywhere by Julia Durango and Tyler Terrones

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 November 2017 issue of School Library Journal

 

here thereHere, There, Everywhere by Julia Durango and Tyler Terrones (ISBN-13: 9780062314031 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 12/19/2017)

Gr 9 Up—A seemingly lackluster small town becomes more appealing when two musically inclined teens fall in love and realize their time together in Buffalo Falls, Illinois may be shorter than they think. Jesús Bjorn Gunderson (who goes by Zeus), his World War II—obsessed little brother Manuel (whom Zeus calls Grub), and their mother leave Chicago to pursue her dream of opening a vegetarian café. While delivering food to a nursing home, Zeus meets Rose Santos, who’s there playing piano. Zeus begins to volunteer at the nursing home as a way to hang around Rose more, and it doesn’t take long for them to start dating. Their fun summer filled with dates to the county fair, a polka fest, a psychic, and more takes an uncertain turn when Rose reveals that she may go away to a music conservatory in the fall and when Zeus learns his mother may want to move them back to Chicago. They try to abide by the rule of one of their elderly friends—just enjoy today—but that’s easier said than done. The charming Buffalo Falls is populated with vibrant characters—from Zeus’s new friends to the residents of the nursing home—but Zeus and Rose feel underdeveloped. The plot begins to lose steam midway through, and the couple’s dialogue often feels stiff. The story takes some unexpected turns, especially regarding the nursing home patients, and the exhilaration of first love feels realistic if somewhat rushed to fit the compact time line. VERDICT This sweet but unremarkable romance is an additional purchase.

TPiB: Easy Peasy DIY Jack-O-Lanterns

So I got a Silhouette Cameo and I was trying to figure out how to use it, and how to use it with teens, when I stumbled across an easy and fun craft idea. You can do it with or without a Silhouette Cameo, it’s easily adaptable. I made my examples using the Silhouette Cameo.

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What You’ll Need:

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  • Clear plastic craft bulb/ornaments
  • Orange acrylic paint
  • Styrofoam or plastic cups
  • Black markers/stickers/or vinyl if using a Silhouette Cameo
  • OR black paper and a sticker making machine
  • Hemp cord or twine for hanging

Step 1: Painting Your Ornament Orange

You are going to be painting the inside of your ornament, not the outside. Start by saying that before anyone gets all excited and starts painting the outside, not that this has happened to me. Nope, not once.

Take the top off of your ornament and fill it with a few drops of orange paint. You’ll want to roll the ornament around a bit to make sure you completely cover the inside with paint. Place your ornament opening down into a cup to let the excess paint drip out and let it dry. It will dry quicker if you don’t use too much paint, so use paint sparingly.

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Step 2: Making Your Face

While your ornament is drying, think about what you want you Jack-O-Lantern face to look like. You then need to make your elements, which you can do in several ways.

Paper: Cut out your face elements using a template you download or hand draw. You can use glue or a sticker making machine to turn your paper into stickers and place them onto your dried ornament.

Sihouette Cameo: Download a design or make your own design, cut using Oracal 651 permanent vinyl, and place on your dried ornament.

Getting Creative:

This doesn’t just have to be Jack-O-Lanterns. You can do ghosts, monsters, robots and more. And it doesn’t have to just be Halloween, you can do a variety of animals, for example. You can also do school colors and logos, sports teams, interests and more. Or, better yet, have teens make an ornament that represents their favorite books and see what they come up with. See also, our annual Great Ornament Hack.

Book Review: Ruby & Olivia by Rachel Hawkins

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Publisher’s summary:

A contemporary story with a twinkle of magic, RUBY AND OLIVIA is a pacey, gently creepy book filled with lovable characters and snappy humor. At its core, this is the story of two girls who are not friends learning that they might have more in common than they ever expected – even if it takes the magic and mystery of a rumored-to-be haunted mansion to bring them together.
Ruby is bold and opinionated, while Olivia has always been respectful and well behaved. They don’t get along at all, but they share a best friend – Olivia’s twin sister, Emma. Olivia’s good-girl image is tarnished when she takes the fall for one of Emma’s misdeeds. And now Olivia is stuck with Ruby all summer – at a community service day camp for troublemakers. To kick off the spirit of service, the campers are tasked with cataloging the contents of an abandoned mansion called Live Oaks. Sorting through objects in an old house sounds boring, and working with each other is the last thing the girls want to do, but the stuff is actually kind of cool – there’s everything from mink stoles to golf clubs to stuffed deer heads.
However, it isn’t long until little tricks – like wash water turning freezing cold and doors slamming and shadows rising – start to spook the girls. They’d like to think the other campers are pranking them, but soon realize that this empty mansion might just be looking for new residents. To solve the mystery at Live Oaks, Ruby and Olivia will have to put their grudges aside and figure out how to be a team, with or without Emma.
While Rachel’s haunted house will give readers a thrill, the real treat is being enveloped in her warm and inviting world – full of family, friendship, and the ups-and-downs of growing up. The girls’ story is told with all the heart, humor, and authenticity that make Rachel Hawkins a favorite with kids, parents, and teachers alike
9780399169618My thoughts:
As the publisher describes, this is a mildly creepy ghost story, but its real strength is in being a delightful examination of the ins and outs of becoming friends in the tween years. Olivia’s identical twin, Emma, began trying to assert her independence about a year before the beginning of the novel when she asked for separate bedrooms. Since then she has gone on to reinvent herself several times, each time trying out a new set of friends. Ruby is one of her previous friends whom she has left behind. While the story alternates between Ruby & Olivia, and Ruby’s perspective is enlightening and humorous, this is really Olivia’s story. She is so hurt and bewildered by her sister’s behavior – and this is so common among girls of this age. She has been left behind by her best friend and doesn’t know who she is on her own. This is the story of her coming to terms with who she is as an individual as well as the story of her learning to make friends on her own, rather than as part of a pair. The beauty of it is both in its realistic dealings with the issues of friendship in the tween years combined with the warmth and hopefulness of the way it is told. I would highly recommend this for any tween who is struggling with friendship issues. It will show them that they are not alone and that there is a way forward.
photo_Rachel_HawkinsAbout the author:
Rachel Hawkins is the author of Journey’s End, the Rebel Belle series, and the New York Times bestselling Hex Hall series. Born in Virginia and raised in Alabama, Rachel taught high school English before becoming a full-time writer.
 
 
 

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

IMG_7423Now that I work in an elementary library, I’m reading a lot more titles for younger readers. Rather than review all of them like I usually do, especially as many are older, I’m going to steal Karen’s Post-it note review idea and share the titles with you that way. It’s been super interesting to me to see what the students (grades K through 5) check out. I’ve spent so long completely in the world of YA and am glad for an opportunity to work with younger readers and to read all of the great picture books, chapter books, and middle grade books I’ve missed out on!

Edward Bear says this was his favorite book, but it needed some dachshunds. 

 

Descriptions of the books are from the publisher.

 

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Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence, Elizabet Vukovic (Illustrator)

The first book in a new chapter book series featuring a spunky Japanese-American heroine!

Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is a flamingo fan, tree climber, and top-notch mess-maker!

She’s also tired of her big sister, Sophie, always getting to do things first. For once, Jasmine wishes SHE could do something before Sophiesomething special, something different. The New Year approaches, and as the Toguchi family gathers in Los Angeles to celebrate, Jasmine is jealous that her sister gets to help roll mochi balls by hand with the women. Her mom says that Jasmine is still too young to join in, so she hatches a plan to help the men pound the mochi rice instead. Surely her sister has never done THAT before.

But pounding mochi is traditionally reserved for boys. And the mochi hammer is heavier than it looks. Can Jasmine build her case and her mochi-making muscles in time for New Year’s Day?

 

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Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill, LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)

It’s the 1920s, and Bo was headed for an Alaska orphanage when she won the hearts of two tough gold miners who set out to raise her, enthusiastically helped by all the kind people of the nearby Eskimo village.

Bo learns Eskimo along with English, helps in the cookshack, learns to polka, and rides along with Big Annie and her dog team. There’s always some kind of excitement: Bo sees her first airplane, has a run-in with a bear, and meets a mysterious lost little boy.

Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill is an unforgettable story of a little girl growing up in the exhilarating time after the big Alaska gold rushes.

 

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Ghost (Defenders Track Team Series #1) by Jason Reynolds

A National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature.

Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

Running. That’s all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?

 

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Patina (Defenders Track Team Series #2) by Jason Reynolds
A newbie to the track team, Patina must learn to rely on her teammates as she tries to outrun her personal demons in this follow-up to the National Book Award finalist Ghost by New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

Patina, or Patty, runs like a flash. She runs for many reasons—to escape the taunts from the kids at the fancy-schmancy new school she’s been sent to since she and her little sister had to stop living with their mom. She runs from the reason WHY she’s not able to live with her “real” mom any more: her mom has The Sugar, and Patty is terrified that the disease that took her mom’s legs will one day take her away forever. So Patty’s also running for her mom, who can’t. But can you ever really run away from any of this? As the stress builds up, it’s building up a pretty bad attitude as well. Coach won’t tolerate bad attitude. No day, no way. And now he wants Patty to run relay…where you have to depend on other people? How’s she going to do THAT?

 

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Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm (Illustrator)

Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer.  At first she thought Florida might be fun — it is  the home of Disney World, after all.  But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park.  It’s full of . . . old people.  Really old people.

Luckily, Sunny isn’t the only kid around.  She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they’re having adventures of their own: facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors.  But the question remains — why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place?  The answer lies in a family secret that won’t be secret to Sunny much longer. . .

 

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Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm (Illustrator)

Summer’s over and it’s time for Sunny Lewin to enter the strange and unfriendly hallways of . . . middle school. When her Gramps calls her from Florida to ask how she’s doing, she always tells him she’s fine. But the truth? Sunny is NOT having the best time.

Not only is the whole middle school thing confusing . . . but life at home is confusing, too. Sunny misses her brother Dale, who’s been sent to boarding school. But when Dale comes back, she STILL misses him . . . because he’s changed.

Luckily Sunny’s got her best friend and a mysterious new neighbor on her side . . . because she is NOT going let all this confusion get her down. Instead, she’s going to remain Sunny-side up!

 

 

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Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin
From the critically acclaimed author of Anything But Typical comes a touching look at the days leading up to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and how that day impacted the lives of four middle schoolers.

Ask anyone: September 11, 2001, was serene and lovely, a perfect day—until a plane struck the World Trade Center.

But right now it is a few days earlier, and four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he hates and the grandmother he loves. Will’s father is gone, too, killed in a car accident that has left the family reeling. Naheed has never before felt uncomfortable about being Muslim, but at her new school she’s getting funny looks because of the head scarf she wears. Aimee is starting a new school in a new city and missing her mom, who has to fly to New York on business.

These four don’t know one another, but their lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined. Award-winning author Nora Raleigh Baskin weaves together their stories into an unforgettable novel about that seemingly perfect September day—the day our world changed forever.

 

 

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The Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley

WATCHER. SHADOW. FUGITIVE.

Harlem is home to all kinds of kids. Jin sees life passing her by from the window of her family’s bodega. Alex wants to help the needy one shelter at a time, but can’t tell anyone who she really is. Elvin’s living on Harlem’s cold, lonely streets, surviving on his own after his grandfather was mysteriously attacked.

When these three strangers join forces to find out what happened to Elvin’s grandfather, their digging leads them to an enigmatic artist whose missing masterpieces are worth a fortune — one that might save the neighborhood from development by an ambitious politician who wants to turn it into Harlem World, a ludicrous historic theme park. But if they don’t find the paintings soon, nothing in their beloved neighborhood will ever be the same . . .

In this remarkable tale of daring and danger, debut novelist Natasha Tarpley explores the way a community defines itself, the power of art to show truth, and what it really means to be home.

 

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Real Friends by Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)

Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale and New York Times bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham join forces in this graphic memoir about how hard it is to find your real friends—and why it’s worth the journey.

When best friends are not forever . . .

Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen’s #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying others.

Now every day is like a roller coaster for Shannon. Will she and Adrienne stay friends? Can she stand up for herself? And is she in The Group—or out?

 

 

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Kristy’s Great Idea: Full Color Edition by Raina Telgemeier, Ann M. Martin 

Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey are best friends and founding members of The Baby-sitters Club. Whatever comes up — cranky toddlers, huge dogs, scary neighbors, prank calls — you can count on them to save the day. Baby-sitting isn’t always easy, and neither is dealing with strict parents, new families, fashion emergencies, and mysterious secrets. But no matter what, the BSC have what they need most: friendship.

Raina Telgemeier, using the signature style featured in her acclaimed graphic novels Smile and Sisters, perfectly captures all the drama and humor of the original novel!

 

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The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez

From debut author and longtime zine-maker Celia C. Pérez, The First Rule of Punk is a wry and heartfelt exploration of friendship, finding your place, and learning to rock out like no one’s watching.

There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school—you can’t fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.

The real Malú loves rock music, skateboarding, zines, and Soyrizo (hold the cilantro, please). And when she assembles a group of like-minded misfits at school and starts a band, Malú finally begins to feel at home. She’ll do anything to preserve this, which includes standing up to an anti-punk school administration to fight for her right to express herself!

Black and white illustrations and collage art throughout make The First Rule of Punk a perfect pick for fans of books like Roller Girl and online magazines like Rookie.

 

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Turn Left at the Cow by Lisa Bullard

Thirteen-year-old Trav has always wondered about his dead-before-he-was-born dad. But when he heads from California to his grandmother’s house in rural Minnesota, hoping to learn about his past, he gets more than he bargained for.
It turns out his dad was involved in a bank robbery right before he mysteriously disappeared, and the loot from the take is still missing. Along with Kenny and Iz, the kids next door, Trav embarks on a search for the cash. But the trio’s adventure quickly turns dangerous when it becomes clear that someone else is looking for the money—someone who won’t give up without a fight!