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Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Teen Book Club – Creating a Place to Read and Belong! (a guest post by Sheri Schubbe)

Everyone who works with teens in an educational library setting knows it’s a struggle to compete for a their time and attention. We’re up against schoolwork, sports, various extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, social media and technology. We want teens to spend time in our libraries and love reading, but it can be challenging to get them in the doors. Three years ago, after being a classroom teacher for many years, I became our district’s library media specialist. One of my first goals was to start a book club and, over the past few years, it’s become one of the most successful extra-curricular activities in our school. This year we have 530 students in our school, and about 40 are involved in Book Club. Here’s what I’ve learned since its inception in 2014.

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  • Start by partnering with the Youth Services Librarian from your local public library. When the school and public library work together, a community is strengthened. Katelyn Boyle, the Youth Services Manager at the Peotone Public Library, assists in planning and is able to access books through our  interlibrary loan system. She even comes to each book club meeting! Our teens know her as a public library partner to their education, which is a positive thing.

 

  • Meet regularly. Our book club meets one Friday a month at 7:30 AM. Yes, that’s early, but this is the time that conflicts the least with sports, clubs, and part-time jobs. I serve a simple continental breakfast at each meeting and am flexible in allowing bus-riding students to arrive late. We only meet during the school year; we tried a summer meeting one time, but it was not successful.

 

  • Create a welcoming, comfortable, and accepting environment. In our Media Center, we push tables together so everyone faces each other. There are also couches and lounge chairs nearby, so students have a choice of where to sit at the meeting. From the beginning, students understand that there are no topics off-limits and all viewpoints are welcomed.There have been discussions where members have expressed different opinions, but we have never had a situation where a student was disrespectful to another. Our kids are aware and proud of this!

 

  • Select the books yourself. Some school librarians may disagree and believe it’s best to give students a choice, but Katelyn and I feel it’s best we take that responsibility. Our students trust us to pick books they will enjoy. And that is critical. Choose books they will enjoy, not books you, as the librarian, believe would enrich the curriculum. We’ve tried a few award-winning non-fiction titles, but they have not been well-received by our group. Students told us that they are too similar to their required reading for their classes. Listen to what your teens tell you! If they love what they’re reading with the book club and get involved in the discussions, they will keep coming back!

 

  • Obtain as many copies of your book club selection as possible to hand out at the meeting. Sometimes, we are unable to have enough copies for everyone, so our faster readers know to turn in their books to me as soon as they are finished. I keep a list and contact students when copies become available. To assure that we can obtain many copies of a book through interlibrary loan, we often choose titles that are a few years old.

 

  • Have activities and discussion questions prepared for each meeting. Sometimes, I’ll start with a brief readers’ theater, book trailer, author interview video, or book review video I find on the author’s website, on YouTube, or on the publisher’s website. In case it’s needed, I always have questions available in a jar that students can randomly pick to get discussion started. Most of the time, it’s not needed.

 

  • Offer opportunities for book club students to get involved with more than just the monthly meetings. For example, our students help decorate the media center, volunteer at the Eighth Grade Orientation Night to promote our program, work at our annual Barnes & Noble Bookfair, attend book-to-movie outings, participate in book craft events, and work as “Library Helpers” assisting with tasks in the school library. Some of our non-meeting activities are held at the public library to encourage students to become more familiar with the building and the resources available there.

 

  • Plan activities for your teens to share their love of reading with others. Reading to elementary students in the district or participating in community literacy events are great outreach activities. This year so far, our teens have led a literacy activity for children at the University of Illinois Youth Literature Festival and our district book fair.

 

  • Reward your awesome teen readers with an author visit. Our students love to read a book, and then meet the author. Even schools on a tight budget, like ours, can find local authors who do not charge a fortune, but give terrific and motivational presentations to teens. Always meet with students ahead of time and help them to prepare for the event by planning questions and comments for the author.

 

  • Promote your book club by reaching out to younger students in your district. It’s important to meet with middle grade students to  tell them about Book Club and encourage them to get  involved. The continuation of your program depends on new members each year. Ask your current members to tell eighth graders about the Book Club. Our middle schoolers love to hear from the high school students!

 

  • Communicate often with your readers. I use a group email (all students have a school gmail account) and my teacher website to touch base with my students regularly. I also use the Remind App for text communication. Recently, with administrative approval, we started a Peotone High School Book Club Instagram page. Students cannot post directly to the page, but may e-mail photos to our club gmail account for consideration. In addition to our current members, several of our junior high students and alumni follow the Instagram page. It’s another way to encourage younger students to join the group once they get into high school and to keep in touch with our grads.

 

  • Design a Book Club T-shirt. We design one each year that members can purchase at a reasonable cost. It gives us that “team” feel, and we look great when we dress alike for events. Consider adopting a slogan as well. We use a John Green quote, “Great books help you understand, and they help you to feel understood.” This year, since our teens participated in the Youth Literature Festival, I bought a professionally printed vertical banner for our group. It displays a beautiful book graphic with our school logo and our slogan. The kids love it!

 

  • Personally invite students to join Book Club. At any point in the school year, when I see a student who seems to need a “place,” I invite him or her to join. The mix of students in our group is one of my favorite things. Students who probably would never talk to each other in the Commons before school, are interacting and forming friendships at Book Club!

 

  • Word of mouth! Encourage some of your most enthusiastic members to tell their friends how much they love Book Club. Word will get around, and you’ll be thrilled when students wander into the library media center asking how they can join!

Sheri Schubbe

Library Media Specialist, IL

Things I Never Learned in Library School: The Best Made Plans . . . Still Sometimes Fail

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On paper, it’s the perfect program.

Con Con Flyer

An afternoon spent making as we help teens learn various tasks they may need to participate in cosplay? Sounds like a great idea. It was an idea sparked by a comment made by a presenter at ALA in 2016. And we ran with it because 1) we have an awesome Teen MakerSpace and 2) we have on staff a pretty spectacular cosplayer. We called in the Con Con, the convention to help teens learn about and get ready for conventions. Con Con wasn’t just a fun program idea, it’s fun to say.

So we started to plan. We experimented with ideas, spacing, layouts, staffing and budgets. The ideas were not a problem, but space, staffing and budgets really were. I developed a program planning worksheet to help us plan this program. A lot of time, thought and energy went in to investigating how we might be able to make our program idea a reality. As you can see, we even made flyers promoting our event, although they never were made public because we didn’t promote the event. We postponed it – not once, but twice. Then we cancelled it. Now we’re working on modifying it in ways that work realistically for our library.

Obstacle #1: Staffing

Our Teen MakerSpace is staffed by 2 part-time people, both of whom are both excellent with teens and enthusiastic about our cosplay con idea. But pulling them out of the Teen MakerSpace to do a program of this magnitude would leave the space unstaffed on another day and time, and this would be a problem for both our regular teen users and the circulation staff. The circulation staff is right across from our Teen MakerSpace and when the TMS is left unstaffed, which it sometimes is when an emergency or illness comes up, there is an increased burden on circulation staff who are left answering teen complaints about the TMS and dealing with the behavior issues of bored teens who came to the library to use the TMS only to find that it isn’t available on this day.

In addition, doing a program of this magnitude would require more than the 3 staff we have available to us. We were looking at sessions and stations and more. It’s a pretty big program idea to pull off with a small amount of staff.

Obstacle #2: Money

But staffing wasn’t our only issue, space and money were issues as well. Having a program of this magnitude would have ended up using a large portion of our yearly budget in one pop. This meant that we may have been forced to forgo important TMS supplies later in the year. And as I have mentioned before, our TMS is popular and well trafficked, I would hate to find ourselves without the supplies we needed later in the year because we spent all of our financial resources on one big program.

Obstacle #3: Space

And then there is the issue of space. If you have attended any conference or convention of any kind, you know that space is a huge issue. If we wanted to have multiple sessions for people to choose from, we needed multiple locations. We are a small library with one decent size meeting room. The demand for this space, both internally and from the public, is high, so finding a day and time that is available is already a challenge – that’s how we landed on a Sunday. We could have, in theory, also used our small genealogy room to host a class, but we know that we have many out of town visitors who come to use these resources, so if they happened to show up on that day then our plan would be a bust.

We discussed the pros and cons of having the program after hours vs. during normal operating hours so that we could have more space, but then we came back around to staffing. Each concern looped back into another concern. If we had the program after hours, we would need more additional staff but couldn’t afford to pull the additional staff off of the normal operating schedule.

The Value of Questions, Instinct and Experience

We postponed the program twice as we felt uneasy about some of the kinks we kept spotting in our plan. In the end, we decided that the negatives far outweighed the positives for our library at this time and we decided to scrap our plan for a large, one day con. Although it’s a great program, it’s not the right program for a library our size with a staff and budget our size at this time. I think all parts of that sentence are important – it wasn’t the right plan for OUR LIBRARY at THIS TIME.

Failure is Not Always Failure

But it’s not all a failure.

We are now working on adapting the sessions to fit into our TMS program model. You see, we rotate themes and ideas in our Teen MakerSpace. In April, for example, we will be celebrating National Poetry Month by hosting a variety of poetry related activities. We will be hosting Star Wars STEM activities the week of May the 4th. As part of our TSRC, we will be having Mod-A-Tee Mondays (I’ll be sharing more about that with you soon). This allows us to have drop-in programs that teens can come to at their convenience as opposed to ours and keeps our TMS new, fresh, and invigorating. So we’re breaking the Con Con sessions into modules for the month of October. October seems like a good time to learn some cosplay skills. This IS the right plan for OUR LIBRARY at THIS TIME.

We have a program model that is currently working well for us. It works for our library staffing, space, size and budgets. It’s working for our teens. It’s working for our community. It’s working for a small library with one public meeting/library program room with high demand. It just works, so instead of fighting against it we are embracing it. We took a step back, evaluated where we are at right now, and made what we feel is the best decision given all of the data we possess.

This is not the first time I have had a program idea fall through, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. But it is a reminder to myself that planning is essential, and that even the best made plans sometimes fall through. I’m glad we listened to our gut about our concerns and pulled the plug and re-evaluated before we had an epic public failure (though yes, I’ve had those as well). We planned and we couldn’t make our original plan work, but that’s okay because we’re working on making a plan that works better for us. That means we’re good at our jobs.

Quick Book Review: The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend

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Basic Synopsis: A teen conceived through IVF goes in search of answers about her past and finds herself examining what it means to be a family.

Karen’s Quick Thoughts: So this book was fun, heartwarming and enjoyable. It covered a topic I have never seen discussed in YA – kids conceived by donor sperm. 5 teens who are conceived via the same sperm donor track each other down and deal with their emotions as they try to figure out what family means to them.

Also, this is one of the few books that has a teen dealing realistically with severe food allergies. As the parent to a child with food allergies (though none are annaphallactic), I thought this did a good job of addressing the concerns and fears.

This book does mention some statistics and science regarding the psychological challenges of teens who grow up knowing they were conceived via an anonymous sperm donor, so if you were interested more in the idea of teens conceived through anonymous sperm donors here are some interesting articles:

MTV teen meets 15 siblings from sperm-donor dad | New York Post

Teen offspring of anonymous sperm donor find each other

Teenager finds sperm donor dad on internet | Science | The Guardian

I Was Conceived Through a Sperm Bank | Teen Vogue

For more on teens and food allergies, see these TLT posts:

Take 5: YA Lit with Food Allergies

MakerSpace: Rethinking Food in Programming, Again? Yes, Again

Let’s Talk Teens, Food and Programming

Support Libraries, Save the IMLS

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Earlier this week, the newest proposed federal budget was introduced and it included massive cuts to many services (see link below for a complete look at the budget in the Washington Post). Included in those potential cuts would be a complete elimination of the IMLS, the Institute of Museums and Library Services. The IMLS provides a variety of grants that provide quality and unique programs that serve local communities. TLTer Heather Booth tweeted at length in support of the IMLS by sharing a variety of projects that are funded by the IMLS. You can read those Storified tweets here: https://storify.com/TLT16/heather-booth-on-saveimls and see the many ways that the IMLS benefits local communities.

Trump budget cuts: U.S. federal funding 2018 – Washington Post

 

The ALA released a statement regarding the proposed elimination, which you can read here.

I spent some time tweeting about libraries, the 40 Developmental Assets and in support of the IMLS as well. You can read those Storified tweets here: https://storify.com/TLT16/support-libraries

Because I work at a library in Ohio, I see library budgets being attacked in several directions. In Ohio, public libraries receive state funding and Governor Kasich is proposing cuts to the state library funding at the state level. This is not the first time that Ohio libraries have been in this position and I am sure it won’t be the last. In 2010, the year after Thing 2 was born, I stood on the steps of the state legislature with The Teen as I shared how I had used library resources, including Inter Library Loan, to help better understand some of the health related problems my newborn baby had. I’m not just a fervent library supporter because I’m a librarian, but because I myself have used the vast resources of libraries at many times in my life to help navigate a crisis, to meet the special needs of my children, to help me cope with the loss of a pregnancy, and more.

In support of libraries, I spent the day today designing a variety of postcards to send to my representatives at all levels to share my love of libraries. If you would like, please feel free to download them and use them as well. Save them as an image and upload to Word, or another graphics program that you may use. Make sure they are 4×6 size to be postcard size; you can print 2 per page. Print on card stock so they can travel through the mail. jTo give them a personal touch, on the left side of your postcard on the back you can share your own stories. On the right, address and provide postcard postage. If you are interested in making your own, I use the postcard templates available in Canva to design mine. Please note, from everything I have heard calling your representatives is best, but I’m calling and sending postcards.

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MakerSpace: April National Poetry Month Activities

In the Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH), we’re getting ready for National Poetry Month (April). We have a variety of activities that we will be hosting all month long in our makerspace using our materials to get teens thinking about and creating poetry. Some of our ideas include making our own chalkboards for teens to write poetry on, turning poetry into digital art and turning them into buttons, and creating visual poetry using methods like Black Out Poetry or Post It note art.

This will be our second year doing poetry in our Teen MakerSpace, so we tried to build on what worked for us successfully last year and provide even more options with more material choices.

Poetry Activities 2017  Poetry Activities 2017 part 2

If you have some other creative suggestions, we would love to hear from you. It’s never too late to add some fun, new ideas.

Video Games Weekly Disney Emoji Blitz

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This week, I was going to review the new Legend of Zelda game, but due to a shipping mix up, I haven’t received my copy yet!  So, this week is about a “freemium” game that I have been addicted to for the past few months called Disney Emoji Blitz.  If you shop at Walmart, you might have noticed Disney has started a new line of emoji merch, and that is directly related to this game.

YouTube Trailer:

 Platform: iOS and Android Devices

Rated: Not officially rated by the ESRB, but I personally would give it an E

Single or Multiplayer: Single, but you can link your Facebook profile to enter a weekly high score competition with your friends.

Gameplay: The game is exactly like Bejeweled and Candy Crush.  What you do is move emoji characters to align three in a row in order to get points. If you align more than three emojis, you get special power ups that can clear many emojis at a time. You also choose which special Disney emoji character you want to play with, and each of these characters have a special move responsible for clearing many emojis of the emojis at once.  You only get 60 seconds per round, so try to get as many emojis as possible!

Image: https://cdn3.recombu.com/media/mobile/Apps/Disney/Disney1_w720_h423.png

Unlike Bejeweled and Candy Crush, this game also puts random items on the board for you to try to collect at the bottom.  Some of these items are rare, but are more likely to appear depending on the specific type of Disney emoji you are playing with.  There are many different types of “item collections” to keep you occupied, as well as special events.

Image: https://jaysenheadleywrites.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/img_9178.jpg?w=1355

It’s Free to Play…Sort of: This game is called a “freemium” game, which means the game itself is free, but players are encouraged to spend real money in order to progress quickly in the game.  In this case, Disney Emoji Blitz tries to get players to spend money to unlock special Disney characters and lives.  The game limits players to getting a maximum of 5 lives at a time, which essentially means you get to play 5 games then have to wait for your lives to regenerate.  Players also have to watch a few ads or can opt out of watching ads in exchange for more lives, but the good news is all of the ads are kid-friendly.

Image: https://www.google.com/search?q=disney+emoji+collections&espv=2&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiA_-qRlc_SAhXLqFQKHcrxD3MQ_AUIBigB&biw=1432&bih=679#tbm=isch&q=disney+emoji+blitz+emoji+board&*&imgrc=Knndl1sr2TR08M

 

Sending emojis on your phone: The other bonus to playing Disney Emoji Blitz is when you unlock emojis, you can use them outside of the game.  You can add them to your keyboard, and from what I’ve tested they work on text messages and Google Hangouts.

Images: https://19807-presscdn-pagely.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/c15/41/Disney_Emoji_Blitz_Android_3.png Image courtesy of Daily Dot

 

 

Audience: This game is for anyone who wants to play a quick game on their lunch break, or any Disney fan.  It’s easy to play, and it gives you cute emojis.  What’s not to love?

 

Pricing: Free! Look for it on your app store!

Questions? Comments? Tweet them at me!

By: Alanna Graves
Twitter: @LannaLibrarian

Book Review: BRACED by Alyson Gerber

The first time I ever had to wear my backbrace in public, I threw up. That’s what I remember the most. We were going to one of my brother’s baseball games and I was anxious that everyone would be able to tell that I was wearing it. So I barfed, as one does.

The second thing I remember is the clothes I had to wear. I wore elastic waistband pants to fit over the awkward brace and large, oversized shirts that I had hoped hid the fact that I was wearing a brace at all.

One day as we walked to school, a boy and I got into some type of altercation. I don’t remember what it was about, all I remember is that he said he was going to punch me in the stomach. Instead of begging no, please don’t punch me, I got this evil Grinch smile on my face – you know, the one where the Grinch decided he’s going to go down to Whoville and steal all the presents – and I told him go ahead, punch me his hardest right in my stomach. He did and got the surprise of his life as his fist met the resistance of my fiberglass brace. I suppose, looking back, I’m lucky he didn’t break his hand, or at least a finger or two.

I don’t remember my doctors or any office visits. I mostly just remember the brace itself, the way it made me feel about my body, and my attempts to keep it hidden like some deep, dark secret.

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So I was very interested in reading BRACED by Alyson Gerber. I can think of very few books that tackle the topic of Scoliosis and what it is like to wear a corrective brace. At the time when I was a teen, the only book I had was DEENIE by Judy Blume, which meant everything to me. Everything.

BRACED is the story of Rachel Brooks, who is a devoted soccer player that has a family history of Scoliosis – Scoliosis can run in families. She soon finds herself having to wear a back brace to help correct her Scoliosis in an effort to avoid surgery, which her mother has had. What follows is the intense roller coaster of emotions that accompany her having to wear this brace 23 out of every 24 hours.

Many of the scenes in this book really resonated with me; I felt that Gerber accurately depicted the emotions of trying to find clothes, telling friends, and adapting to life in a brace. This is not surprising as Gerber herself wore a corrective back brace. I found it remarkable that Rachel is told that she can continue to play soccer; during my time in the brace I was taken out of PE and everything. But I admired Rachel’s dedication and commitment as she tried to continue in a sport that obviously means so much to her.

There were some other parts of the story that felt a little more didactic to me, which can happen when writing an issues based novel. Rachel’s conversations with her parents particularly came across as stilted and unnatural, in part because this is where Gerber reminds the audience what is at stake for Rachel. I did, however, appreciate the narrative arc that led to Rachel opening up to her parents and to all of the members of the Brooks family learning to be better and more honest communicators with one another.

And I really appreciated the strong friendships that Rachel has to help carry her through as she adjusts to life in a brace. I found her friends to be authentic and supportive, though realistic issues do indeed come up.

This book is set in a middle school setting, and it is successfully written to that age range. I wouldn’t call it high quality literature, but I think it hits all the right emotional notes and addresses a topic that is often overlooked so I definitely recommend it. All readers will appreciate Rachel’s emotional struggle and dedication to finding a way to be the best at something she loves despite challenges. I’m glad I read it and wished I had it to read when I was wearing my own brace.

Publisher’s Book Description:

The first contemporary novel about a disorder that bends the lives of ten percent of all teenagers: scoliosis.

Rachel Brooks is excited for the new school year. She’s finally earned a place as a forward on her soccer team. Her best friends make everything fun. And she really likes Tate, and she’s pretty sure he likes her back. After one last appointment with her scoliosis doctor, this will be her best year yet.

Then the doctor delivers some terrible news: The sideways curve in Rachel’s spine has gotten worse, and she needs to wear a back brace twenty-three hours a day. The brace wraps her in hard plastic from shoulder blades to hips. It changes how her clothes fit, how she kicks a ball, and how everyone sees her — even her friends and Tate. But as Rachel confronts all the challenges the brace presents, the biggest change of all may lie in how she sees herself.

Written by a debut author who wore a brace of her own, Braced is the inspiring, heartfelt story of a girl learning to manage the many curves life throws her way.

Scholastic, March 28, 2017

 

Sunday Reflections: Who Gets to Decide What it Means to be “Real”?

sundayreflections1Real American

Real America

Real Christian

Real Patriot

Real Man

Real Woman

There is a lot of talking lately about being real.

Real America, many people argue, lies in the heart of the poor, rural Midwest communities with silos and farms. As if the big cities no longer matter. Coastal elites, they claim, don’t represent REAL America.

Real Christians vote Republican.

Real women have curves.

Real men don’t cry.

Real patriots don’t question their country or its leaders.

But who gets to define what it means to be real?

I have lived in both California and the rural Midwest. The view outside my window was different, but the issues were the same. Both locations are full of people trying to navigate life, trying to pay their bills and trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be.

I have been both a conservative and a progressive Christian – and even a nonChristian. But whether conservative or progressive, the people are wrestling with the same issues: What does it mean to be a follower of Christ in this day and age? There are different approaches to the questions and very different answers, but at the heart of it people are wrestling with the same questions.

I have no idea what it means to be a man, but I know that my husband was the realest and the rawest when I broke down crying after his father passed away. Emotions are real. Humanity is real.

I have been both anorexic and overweight, and in both situations I was a real woman.

My biggest freedom came to me when I decided that other people didn’t get to own the terms and make the definitions for me.

I am a mom who works. I love working and I travel and leave my daughters for several days in a row in order to do this job that I love. I love my daughters but I don’t always love the details of parenting. But I am a real mother. I’m even a good mother, though not a perfect one. I don’t judge mothers who choose to stay at home and they don’t get to judge me for making different choices. Those of us who raise children, whether they be children born to us or children that have come to us in other ways, are mothers.

Men who cry, men who make art, men who play video games, men who play sports, men in business, men who stay home and raise their children. They are all real men.

Women who decide not to have children. Women whose bodies won’t let them have children. Women who work. Women who don’t work. Women who are thin. Women who have curves. Women who wear make-up. Women who don’t. Women who play sports. Women who love fashion. They are all real women.

Americans who question their government. Americans who take a knee during the national anthem to make a statement. Americans who stand and place their hand over their hand. They are all real Americans.

The truth is, there is no one right way to be a thing. And we don’t get to define it for each other.

For me, being an active American citizen means putting country over party, and being a good Christian means putting people over both.

For me, that’s what loving my neighbor means.

Working with teens, I have often been privileged to see the moment when my teens stand up straight and say in their hearts, “you don’t get to define me anymore.”

You don’t get to define me anymore.

I may not think like you or act like you, but I am real. A real American. A real Christian. A real woman. A real mother.

No one gets to own the definition of what it means to be real. I define myself.

Video Games Weekly: Abzu

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The video game Journey, which I talked about at length here, is one of my favorite video games at all time.  The same creator recently came out with a new video game called Abzu, which I pre-ordered because I loved Journey so much.  Although it’s not the same experience as Journey, I think many parents and librarians who are looking for video games that are rated E or T will be pleased to have Abzu as an option.

 

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Rated: E

Single or Multiplayer: Single

Storyline: There isn’t really a storyline in Abzu.  The best way I can describe the game is it is structured to be more like an experience instead of a story.  Your character is a diver, and you spend the entire game exploring the depths of the beautiful ocean.  That’s it. There aren’t any enemies, no goals, no time limits, you just swim about as you wish until you get bored.  Similar to Journey, you can discover a small narrative about the world’s history by examining hieroglyphics on walls, but they are vague enough for you to interpret them in a multitude of ways.

 

You’re probably wondering why gamers bother playing Abzu if you just wander around in a virtual world with little to do.  First, Abzu is a stunning work of art, but only if you are playing on a newer TV.  I just moved to an apartment that came with an older TV from the early 2000s, and the difference in graphics alone is enough to make or break the gamer’s experience.  I first tried out Abzu on the old TV, and I was bored after playing for about 10 minutes because the artwork looked clunky and unimaginative.  Then, when I tried it out on my 1080p Smart TV, I was stunned at the difference.  So, if you are going to give Abzu a chance, please be sure to play it on a TV that can produce high quality graphics!

 

The other reason Abzu is intriguing is because in a world of Call of Duty and other high stimuli games, it’s nice to be able to kick back and play a relaxing game.  The game did an excellent job on developing the artwork and musical score, and it feels similar to meditating.  Being able to divert my attention to something beautiful and relaxing is something that I find myself needing every time I read the news…and your patrons might be looking for the same thing!

Gameplay: The controls are basic, although there are some secret controls that the game doesn’t tell you about.  Here’s the link to an article that goes into more detail.

Audience: This game is tricky because it will probably not be appealing to large audiences.  One reason why I purchased it is I have had many parents complain to me that the XBox One doesn’t have rated E or T games for their kids.  This may not be the most stimulating game, but at least it’s an option I can give to these parents.  I also wanted to have at least one example of a video game as a piece of artwork in my collection, even if I know it will not circulate well.

Verdict: I recommend taking a look at how much Journey has circulated, and think about if patrons want/could benefit from a relaxation game.  If the answer is yes, buy a copy, but don’t purchase it for more than $20.  I don’t recommend this game for Teen Game Night programs because it’s a single player game and a little too chill for a program.

Pricing: $20 on Amazon

Questions? Comments? Tweet them at me!

By: Alanna Graves
Twitter: @LannaLibrarian

A Day without Women

Today is the National Day without Women and TLT is a blog created by and run by women. As news came down the pike recently that the ACA replacement plan would not require insurers to cover maternity care at the same time that there are assaults on a women’s ability to get coverage for things like birth control while those in government refer to women as “hosts”, we have decided to go silent today here at TLT. Without women, this amazing blog dedicated to serving teens and raising awareness of YA lit would not exist. Without women, libraries around our country would not be able to open their doors today as librarianship is a female dominated profession. Women’s rights are human rights. Women matter.

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If you are interested, here are some of our previous posts on women’s rights issues that you may wish to read today.

I’m Just a Girl? Gender issues in YA Lit

Dear World, Here’s What We Want You to Know about Teenage Girls

“Nevertheless, She Persisted” A Take 5 List

STEM Girls: Books with girls rocking science and math

#NastyWomenRead: A Book List

You can also check out the FEMINISM tag here at TLT

We will be back tomorrow with new posts. Today we wear red and ponder what a world without women would be like.