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Book Review: The Burning by Laura Bates

Publisher’s Book Description:

A rumour is like a fire. You might think you’ve extinguished it but one creeping, red tendril, one single wisp of smoke is enough to let it leap back into life again. Especially if someone is watching, waiting to fan the flames …

New school.
New town.
New surname.
Social media profiles?

There’s nothing to trace Anna back to her old life. Nothing to link her to the ‘incident’.

At least that’s what she thinks … until the whispers start up again. As time begins to run out on her secrets, Anna finds herself irresistibly drawn to the tale of Maggie, a local girl accused of witchcraft centuries earlier. A girl whose story has terrifying parallels to Anna’s own…

The compelling YA debut from Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project and bestselling author of Girl Up.

Karen’s Thoughts:

The Burning is very much designed to be feminist literature that ties in several issues of today – slut shaming, revenge porn, female sexuality and reproductive rights – and links them to historical issues of the past, including witch burning. There was a time when my teen patrons couldn’t read enough books about witches and the witch trials of the past and I would have loved to have had this book to hand to them. It deftly draws a distinct line between the fervency of the witch trials to the patriarchy and the ways in which we try to repress, control and then shame female sexuality.

This book is set in Scotland and Anna and her mom have just moved to escape the intense slut shaming and bullying that Anna was receiving online and in real life. Soon after her father passed away Anna found herself in love, at least it felt like love, and over time with some grooming and intense pressure and emotional coercion, Anna shares some nudes with her boyfriend. When he asks for me she refuses and he retaliates by leaking what she has already shared in an act of revenge porn.

Revenge porn has been defined by the government as “the sharing of private, sexual materials, either photos or videos, of another person without their consent and with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress.”

Source: Psych Central https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-is-revenge-porn/

While in her new home and new school, Anna begins researching for a local history assignment and learns of Maggie, a woman who appears to have been accused of witchcraft. Anna develops a strong interest in and seems to have an even stronger link to this young woman, and the parallels between what the two have been and are going through are inescapable.

Because the Internet is forever, Anna soon finds herself once again being tormented by her past. And as her torment escalates, she is drawn even more deeply into the web of history surrounding Maggie. The two events are weaved together and used to talk about the ways in which we have tried to control, shame, and eviscerate young girls who dare to embrace their sexuality. The Burning doesn’t fail to point out, either, the double standard that we hold for girls and boys when it comes to bodies, sex, or sexuality.

Issues touched on include the historical witch trials, sexting, revenge porn, deepfakes, reproductive rights, bullying, slut shaming, and LGBTQ representation. There are frank discussions about sex, nude photos, and pornography in this book, though I think they are all obviously necessary to the book and handled well.

There’s a lot to unpack and discuss in The Burning, which isn’t surprising given the author’s previous work and writings. Laura Bates is an unabashed feminist who founded the Everyday Sexism project in 2012. In The Burning, Bates challenges us all to think deeply and critically about a lot of issues surrounding teen girls. Towards the end of the book several characters make radical choices and powerful statements that made me cheer. Definitely recommended.

This book will be released April 7th, 2020 from Sourcefire Books. I read an ARC of this book and immediately handed it over to my teenage daughter so that we can talk about it.

Information Literacy: We Need to Be Talking About Deepfakes (and The Burning by Laura Bates)

Weeks ago I was driving and heard a disturbing story on NPR that introduced me to the concept of Deepfakes. A deepfake is a video that is created by using an existing video but editing the video in such a way that it makes it look like another person is doing or saying what is being depicted in the video.

NPR: What You Need to Know About Deep Fakes and the 2020 Election

This is an example of a deepfake video. Tom Halland and Robert Downey, Jr. are not in Back to the Future

I was reminded of this topic once again while reading an ARC of the upcoming book The Burning by Laura Bates. Once again, YA literature proves itself to be on top of current events and encouraging teen readers to think deeply about important and relevant topics.

The Burning is the story of a teen girl, Anna, who moves to a new town to escape the torment and bullying she receives when a boy releases nude photos she shared with him. She is slut shamed and bullied to the point that simply going on seems impossible so her mother moves her to Scotland to start a new life. But as I hope we all know by now, the Internet is forever, and it isn’t too long before someone discovers Anna’s secret and the bullying and slut shaming start all over again.

This time, however, it’s different. It escalates to the point that somewhere shares a porn video that makes it appear that Anna herself is performing these sexual acts. It’s a deepfake, a friend informs her. It’s not a huge part of the story and not a lot of explanation is given, just enough to make teens aware that this is a thing that can happen. And in the context of this story, it makes sense. In this story of how social media can be used to bully and slut shame teens, adding the deepfake element is a profoundly simple yet effective way to get teens thinking about information literacy and the importance of questioning what they are seeing online.

Resources for Talking with Teens About Deepfakes

Forbes: The Best (and Scariest) Examples of Deep Fakes

KQED: Deepfakes, Can You Spot a Phony Video

Deepfakes: What They Are and Why They Matter

To help teens look deeply at the video content being shared online, you can share this checklist with them. Critical analysis is important when it comes to viewing and sharing online content, and we should make sure our teens have all the information and tools they need to be critical information consumers.

Sunday Reflections: Reflecting on My Reflections. On a Sunday, of course.

On Sundays, I often write posts that I call Sunday Reflections. They are much more personal, a choice I’ve made to live my life more authentically and more open to raise awareness about issues that I face in my life, both personally and professionally. I’ve talked about growing up as a teen with an eating disorder. I’ve talked about living as an adult with a mental health issue (I have depression, anxiety and on occasion panic attacks). I’ve talked a lot about being a teen librarian and being a parent, and how the two parts of my life often intersect, especially now that I am the parent of both a tween and teen. I’ve talked about being a survivor of sexual violence and trying to raise two daughters in a world that objectifies and sexualizes girls at such a young age. I’ve talked about the financial struggles of working in an underpaid profession and how challenges in maintaining a work/life balance while struggling to make ends meet has been challenging for both my husband and I. I’ve talked about how working with teens has opened my heart and mind to things I never understood before, like LGBTQIA+ issues and teenage homelessness. I’ve talked about the importance of representation and the harm of stereotypes. I’ve talked about what it’s like as a librarian who has always loved reading to raise a struggling reader. I’ve talked about learning, growing and changing my mind. Over the last nine years I’ve changed my mind more than once about things, because it’s okay to change your mind when you have new information.

Today I thought I would share with you some of my favorite Sunday Reflections from the past. Because, why not.

There are a little over 120 Sunday Reflections here on TLT. A vast majority of them have been written by me, though in the early days there were some occasional guest posts by others. I’ve learned that during really depressive times of my life, I don’t really write Sunday Reflections. Sometimes I’m also overwhelmed with all the negative I’m seeing in the world and in those times, I write less as well because I can’t figure out where to even start.

My sincere hope is that one day my daughters will one day stumble upon this blog, which I imagine will long be no longer updated by then, and have a better idea of who I am and what I tried to do in the world, the life I tried to live and the legacy I tried to leave behind. They are, of course, fully aware of this blog. No picture or post that references them is done so without their consent. My oldest, The Teen, has chosen to follow my example and life her life struggling with anxiety in very open ways because as she reminds me, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. And it’s not. It’s part of why I talk about it here, I don’t want her or her sister to be ashamed of any part of who they are or this life that they live.

I love being a teen librarian. I love and believe in libraries, in books, in the power of words and the importance of story to help develop compassion and wisdom and understanding. But more than anything else, I love my family. It’s a gloriously messy thing to be both a teen librarian and the parent of a teen, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Most days.

Cindy Crushes Programming: Mermaid Hair Clips

Background: I have been observing how popular mermaids, unicorns and fantasy creatures are at my library. I did a fairy tale hair bow program last year and had a great crowd and  so I thought I would do a mermaid hair clip. This is a cheap and simple craft. It only takes about half an hour.


  • Sharpies
  • Hot Glue Guns and Glue
  • Seashells
  • Alligator Curl Clips
  • Optional Ribbons
  • Fake Pearls


  1. Pick out a seashell. There are many shapes and sizes of seashells to choose from. You can buy bulk orders of sea shells online from places like Amazon and other online vendors.
  2. Color with sharpie. I chose mermaid colors–blues, pinks and purples.
  3. Let the sharpie dry thoroughly before moving on to the next steps.
  4. Once dried, you can add embellishments. I used a leftover mermaid scale ribbon to attach to my seashell. I also added a plastic pearl as a focal piece.
  5. Hot glue the seashell to the hair clip. Make sure patrons know which side of the seashell they want to be viewable before they hot glue.
  6. Wait for it to dry and place in hair to make sure it works.

Pinterest Board of DIY Hair Clips

38 Brilliant Mermaid Crafts for Teens

Mermaid Makeup Tutorial

Final Thoughts: This was such a simple craft. If your teens love mermaids this is a must do. Let your teens take control of their creations. They will often make much better looking crafts than you make.

This would be a great program to do with the 2020 Summer Reading theme Imagine Your Story.

Thinking About Teen Programming in New Terms: Environmental Impact and Zero Waste Programming

We think about programming in a lot of different ways: outcomes and objectives, goals, target audience, staff time, developmental appropriateness, appeal factors, cost, etc. I’ve written articles, posts, and contributed to an entire book that talks about these very considerations. And outside of yearly Earth Day programs, I haven’t thought a lot about programming in terms of environmental impact. Until now.

Late last year I stumbled upon a post by Lindsey Krabbenhoft at Jbrary that talks about Zero Waste Programming. This post asks us to look at programming in terms of how much waste each program creates and to make a target goal of have a certain percentage of your programming be zero waste. I’ve been thinking about this post a lot.

A great majority of teen programming in libraries either involves gaming or crafting/making. Gaming is a pretty self-contained program. The materials can be used over and over again. This is especially true if you work in a library that circulates video games, which I highly recommend. You can just pull video games from your circulating collection for each gaming program and then they still get used by the larger community during the rest of the week. But when it comes to waste and environmental impact, not all programming is created equal.

What Does Zero Waste Mean?

In comparison, a craft/diy/making program usually results in the purchase of a lot of crafting materials. Every piece of fabric cut can result in fabric scraps. Every pipe cleaner snipped results in pipe cleaner ends in the trash. Don’t even get me started on the environmental impact of glitter, which is just bits of microplastic unless you are making a concerted effort to buy environmentally friendly glitter. So a bulk of our programming has built in waste. Even as we’re trying to do good in our local communities we are often doing harm by the amount of waste we are producing in our libraries.

The Programming Librarian on Cheap and Zero Waste Programs

Even when we do upcycling programs that turn old CDs into candy dishes and disco balls, we’re still creating other types of waste. In many ways it can be argued that upcycling programs create a net zero good because we’re still producing waste, even as we use things like discarded books and cds as our primary medium.

Using donated Legos, multiple use robots, and other items that can be used multiple times over long periods can help reduce programming waste

There are some exceptions here. Plarning, for example, creates very little waste. Plarning is the act of turning plastic bags into yarn and crocheting with it. You can make sitting mags or small area rugs completely out of plarn and it helps to re-use those plastic bags that you see littering the sides of our highways. You can also turn Capri Sun like pouches into wallets and purses, turn tin cans and condiment jars into decorative jars to hold your stuff (I’m sure that’s the technical term), and turn plastic bottles into plant holders and bird feeders. These are all good ways that we can think about the environmental impact on our craft programs.

And libraries have always been very good about holding onto a lot of those snips and scraps for future programming. Every library I have worked in has struggled to find enough storage space for all of those leftover bits and pieces that we famously hold on to just in case. Librarians are excellent hoarders.

A t-shirt can be turned into a tote bag to help reduce waste in programming and at home

My library system recently had a craft supply swap to help address this problem in another creative way. All 15 libraries in our system was invited to send in the supplies that they didn’t want and the staff member organizing this event (not me, for the record) put together a type of craft supply flea market that everyone came in and browsed. One person’s trash is, after all, another person’s treasure. It’s a great way to get craft supplies out of storage and turn them into programming.

But what is the next step? I think the article in Jbrary is correct, we need to take the next step and make a conscious effort to engage in zero waste programming. This means that for every program that we put together we need to do an audit to see how much waste we will create. At the end of the day, our goal should be zero. As often as we can, we should try and make sure our programs create zero waste for our communities.

One of the benefits to the Teen MakerSpace that I ran at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County is that it could be a natural dumping ground for all those bits and pieces. We watched a lot of teens turn that smallest bits of seemingly nothing into the most amazing pieces of art. But not every library has a space like this.

This means we may have to rethink the way that we do a lot of our programming. Maybe we need to seek out more programming like gaming, which allows us to use the same tools over and over again. Maybe we decrease the amount of crafting, diy and making we do and engage in more social oriented programs. Maybe it means that we repeat our programs more often.

Don’t get me wrong, zero waste programming isn’t going to solve the environmental crisis looming over us. A vast majority of the waste polluting our environment is being caused by large corporations. And recent rollbacks on environmental regulations are not going to help the situation any. Plastics and microplastics, septic waste, etc. are all of vast concern and aren’t something that most of us can really address at our local public libraries.

Infographic Source: https://graphicriver.net/item/global-environment-problems-solution-infographics/10428141?irgwc=1&clickid=0KYWyowZwxyOU0QwUx0Mo3cgUknQ6g35xwVczE0&iradid=275988&irpid=1244580&iradtype=ONLINE_TRACKING_LINK&irmptype=mediapartner&mp_value1=&utm_campaign=af_impact_radius_1244580&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_source=impact_radius

But we can start looking at our own programming and consider the local environmental impact that we have. We can set a goal to make a certain percentage of our programs zero waste to help minimize our library’s carbon footprint. And we can call in local agencies to do zero waste training to help our patrons learn how they can produce less waste at home.

Steps to Move Towards Zero Waste Programming and Decreasing Your Library Programming Environmental Impact:

  1. Analyze the types of programs that you do and the amount of waste they produce. Do a programming audit and make sure that you are offering a wide variety of programming options. Diversify the types of programs that you offer to decrease the amount of waste you produce.
  2. Invest in program supplies that you can re-use multiple times for engaging programming. Some examples include: Board and video games, robots, Legos
  3. When doing craft or making programs, look for recylcing and upcycling options. Use what you have first and buy as few new supplies and materials as possible.
  4. Host craft material swaps in your library system or for your community.
  5. Set a target goal for each year of what percentage of your programming you want to be zero waste. Track your programming and make sure you meet that goal, increasing it each year.

Every Sunday at my house I have a group of friends over for dinner. I used to buy paper plates and plastic cups and plastic utensils because it was easier to do clean up. Since encountering this article last year and as I talk more and more with The Teen who has a lot of climate change anxiety, we’ve changed a lot of things in our home. We no longer buy 2 liters of pop to drink on Sunday nights, we now buy kool aid and mix it in a reusable picture. We now use our regular plates, utensils and cups and just take the time to do the dishes afterwards. My trash can is less full every week as I take it out to the curb on trash day. We are not by any means a zero waste family, but we have started thinking a lot more about the amount of waste we produce. With new information, we made changes at home. As the education centers of our local communities we can be creating these same types of a-ha moments for our patrons through the types of programs that we offer.

We need to be doing the same things at our libraries. I hope that you will join me in making changes at home and at your library to create more zero waste opportunities. Let your goal in 2020 be to make 25% of your library programs zero waste.

Please share your zero waste program ideas with us here in the comments.

Book Review: The Last Confession of Autumn Casterly by Meredith Tate

Publisher’s Book Description:

When band-geek Ivy and her friends get together, things start with a rousing board game and end with arguments about Star Wars.

Her older sister Autumn is a different story. Enigmatic, aloof, and tough as nails, Autumn hasn’t had real friends–or trusted anyone–in years. Even Ivy.

But Autumn might not be tough enough. After a drug deal gone wrong, Autumn is beaten, bound, and held hostage. Now, trapped between life and death, she leaves her body, seeking help. No one can sense her presence–except her sister.

When Autumn doesn’t come home, Ivy just knows she’s in trouble. Unable to escape the chilling feeling that something isn’t right, Ivy follows a string of clues that bring her closer to rescuing her sister… and closer to danger.

Autumn needs Ivy to find her before time runs out. But soon, both sisters realize that finding her also means untangling the secrets that lead to the truth–about where they’re hiding Autumn, and what Autumn has been hiding. 

Karen’s Thoughts:

I picked this book up thinking I was going to read an engaging psychological thriller with paranormal twinges, which I did. What I did not realize was that I was going to be reading a thoughtful commentary about sexual violence and the long term effects of trauma in the life of teens. I’ve been thinking a lot about this book after finishing it, which is always a positive sign. There are layers upon layers of social commentary that I was not expecting in this book.

At the end of the day, this is a rich, feminist novel that looks at the resiliency of sisterhood, the power of friendship, and the ways that we accept the abuse of our daughters as the collateral damage to live in the patriarchy and the long term harm that does. It’s also a book about healing in a wide variety of ways.

As someone who works with teens and has been reading some about trauma informed librarianship, it’s also a stark reminder that there is always a reason for a teen’s difficult behaviors and that before we dismiss our challenging teens out of hand, we should extend to them grace and help to connect them with the tools they need to unpack their trauma and find their pathway to thriving. The story of Autumn is a shameful reminder that we, as a society, are failing our youth every day in a wide variety of ways.

Although both main characters are white, Ivy is a fat girl who is mostly okay in her body, though she does wish others would stop commenting on her weight and diet. Ivy also has a wide variety of strong friendships and there is some rich LGBTQ representation here as well. I appreciated Ivy’s story in this just as much as I did Autumn’s. Ivy is strong, brave, and inspiring while still being very real and flawed. I thought the various issues she talked about, including her relationship to her body and her complex feelings of self worth in her home and friend relationships, were complex, authentic and relateable.

There’s a lot to unpack in this feminist novel disguised as a paranormal mystery. Strongly recommended for all readers. And then I hope we will all sit with it a while.

This book was released February 11, 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Kicky’s Post It Note Reviews: A Teen Reviews He Must Like You, My Eyes are Up Here and Four Days of You and Me

It’s time for another installment of Kicky’s Post It Reviews, in which The Teen reviews some of the recent YA lit she has been reading.

Publisher’s Book Description:

A new swoon-worthy romance following a couple’s love story on the same date over four years.

Every May 7, the students at Coffee County High School take a class trip. And every year, Lulu’s relationship with Alex Rouvelis gets a little more complicated. Freshman year, they went from sworn enemies to more than friends after a close encounter in an escape room. It’s been hard for Lulu to quit Alex ever since.

Through breakups, make ups, and dating other people, each year’s class trip brings the pair back together and forces them to confront their undeniable connection. From the science museum to an amusement park, from New York City to London, Lulu learns one thing is for sure: love is the biggest trip of all. 

Post It Note Review: Super cute and had a very optimistic perspective.

Some Added Info: As you may now, The Teen usually reads murder books. Lots and lots of murder books. So I was surprised when she picked this book out of the ARC pile and even more surprised that she liked it. But when I mentioned that it’s different than her typical read she very astutely replied, “sometimes you just need to read something fun.”

This book comes out May 5th from Sourcefire Books

Publisher’s Book Description:

Libby’s having a rough senior year. Her older brother absconded with his college money and is bartending on a Greek island. Her dad just told her she’s got to pay for college herself, and he’s evicting her when she graduates so he can Airbnb her room. A drunken hook-up with her coworker Kyle has left her upset and confused. So when Perry Ackerman, serial harasser and the most handsy customer at The Goat where she waitresses, pushes her over the edge, she can hardly be blamed for dumping a pitcher of sangria on his head. Unfortunately, Perry is a local industry hero, the restaurant’s most important customer, and Libby’s mom’s boss. Now Libby has to navigate the fallout of her outburst, find an apartment, and deal with her increasing rage at the guys who’ve screwed up her life–and her increasing crush on the one guy who truly gets her. As timely as it is timeless, He Must Like You is a story about consent, rage, and revenge, and the potential we all have to be better people.

Post It Note Review: Talks about a lot of important issues in a good way.

Additional Information: The Teen talked to me about this book and she’s not wrong, it talks about a lot of important issues including social media use and privacy, sexual harassment and what happens when a teen turns 18. We had a lot of conversations surrounding this book and we both highly recommend it.

This book doesn’t come out until July 14th from Viking Books, but you should definitely get it.

Publisher’s Book Description:

My Eyes Are Up Here is YA novel from debut author Laura Zimmerman about a teenage girl struggling to rediscover her balance—and her voice—in the year after a surprising growth spurt.

A “monomial” is a simple algebraic expression consisting of a single term. 30H, for example. 15-year-old Greer Walsh hasn’t been fazed by basic algebra since fifth grade, but for the last year, 30H has felt like an unsolvable equation–one that’s made her world a very small, very lonely place. 30H is her bra size–or it was the last time anyone checked. She stopped letting people get that close to her with a tape measure a while ago.

Ever since everything changed the summer before ninth grade, Greer has felt out of control. She can’t control her first impressions, the whispers that follow, or the stares that linger after. The best she can do is put on her faithful XXL sweatshirt and let her posture–and her expectations for other people–slump.

But people—strangers and friends—seem strangely determined to remind her that life is not supposed to be this way. Despite carefully avoiding physical contact and anything tighter than a puffy coat, Greer finds an unexpected community on the volleyball squad, the team that hugs between every point and wears a uniform “so tight it can squeeze out tears.” And then there’s Jackson Oates, newly arrived at her school and maybe actually more interested in her banter than her breasts.

Laura Zimmermann’s debut is both laugh-out-loud funny and beautifully blunt, vulnerable and witty, heartbreaking and hopeful. And it will invite readers to look carefully at a girl who just wants to be seen for all she is. 

Post It Note Review: Very body positive and shows girls supporting other girls in a great way.

Additional Information: This book moved The Teen to sobbing tears several times, in good ways. Many girls will resonate with this story of trying to learn to love your body and be comfortable with the skin you’re in. We are both so glad that this book exists and it brought about a lot of important, meaningful dialogue for us both. Highly recommended.

This book comes out June 24th from Dutton Books for Young Readers.

Sunday Reflections: Dear Adults, Please Stop Talking About How Much You Hate Your Body in Front of My Children

A couple of months ago, The Teen told me about a teacher who was eating a salad at lunch and talked to their students about being on a diet and needing to lose weight.

Another couple of friends were on a diet and talked about it a lot in front of my children.

A family member told my kids how many calories were in each snack as she handed it to them throughout the course of a visit.

And last night, my 11-year-old and her troop were selling Girl Scout cookies. A lot of people politely declined, following it up with some statement or other about how they were on a diet or needed to lose weight. A simple no thank you will suffice.

The first time one of my daughters commented on their body negatively they were 7. And as someone who has struggled with a body image issue and eating disorder since middle school, it broke my heart and filled me with fear. I’ve hated the skin I’m in for 47 because no one ever told me I could or should love it and I don’t want that for my children.

I’ve read 1 million parenting books on how to help your daughter love their body and the one thing that is mentioned over and over again is to be careful about how you look at and talk about your body in front of them. I have worked really hard to deconstruct my own issues and not project them onto my girls. It turns out what I can’t control is the other adults that have influence on them.

In our society we are bombarded with millions of subtle and not so subtle messages every day that enforce unrealistic and harmful body image messages. From the toys we buy to the TV and movies we watch to the ads we see on billboards as we drive down the freeway, we are subjected to so many messages that make it clear that thin (and tall and white) are beautiful.

I know very few people who are happy in the skin they’re in. And we communicate this to the children in our lives in a variety of ways and perpetuate the cycle. We talk about being fat, losing weight, and communicate our self hatred on a daily basis. It’s exhausting and once you learn to recognize it, it’s hard to escape how insidious it is.

Don’t get me wrong, I do talk with my girls about food, just as I talk with them about other issues like consent and healthy relationships. We talk about our bodies needing a wide variety of nutrients to function properly and how to look at the foods we eat and the range of nutrients we are or are not receiving. We talk about calcium building bones, vitamin c helping to build strong immune systems, and how other nutrients support the nervous system. My husband has high blood pressure so we talk about diet in terms of having a healthy diet to help support healthy heart function, for example. You can talk about health, wellness and nutrition without body shaming and making young kids hate their bodies as they drown in negative self esteem.

Growing up, I heard a lot about how it takes a village. And I have found this to be true and both positive and negative ways. I would love it if the adults in the life of my children would stop talking about how much they hate their bodies in front of them. I hate that we have all learned to hate ourselves and our bodies so much that we do this without even thinking about how we’re projecting our issues onto our children.

My sincere hope is that you love yourself and your body. But if you are one of the millions of adults who have bought into the lie that you don’t deserve to for whatever reason, please consider helping to stop the cycle by refraining from talking about it in front of the children. If you are an adult who works with youth, I hope that you understand and will consider what type of an impact your words and actions have on the youth you serve and talk about your body and diet in healthy ways. The children are listening.

Cindy Crushes Programming: DIY Body Scrubs and Face Masks

Today, my co-worker Ariel Nelson joins me to talk about a program we hosted together. I had planned a body scrub program for adult and teens when Ariel came and asked if she could combine her facemask program with my body scrub program. I was really excited because Ariel is very knowledgeable about home beauty care products! She makes her own all the time. We both love to use Pinterest to find recipes! It was also nice to have two people running this program. We each did our own recipes in groups of ten and had the patrons switch stations.


  • Containers for scrub and facemask to go in
  • Magic Bullet
  • Mixing bowls and spoons (make sure to get the right size)
  • Mint Cucumber Scrub
  • Cucumber
  • White Sugar
  • Coconut Oil
  • Peppermint
  • Oats
  • Plain Milk
  • Rose Water
  • Plain Yogurt
A blue bowl on a table

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9 Homemade Body Scrubs

Cindy’s Cucumber Mint Body Scrub

Here are the directions:

You can find the original directions borrowed from Creations by Kara: https://www.creationsbykara.com/cucumber-mint-sugar-scrub/


  • 4 Cucumber Slices
  • 3/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil
  • 4 drops of Peppermint


1.           Use the Magic Bullet to puree the 4 cucumbers slices

2.           Pour in mixing bowl

3.           Add 3/4 of a cup white sugar and mix

4.           Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and mix

5.           Add four drops of peppermint and mix.

6.           Poor into the plastic bag and it is ready to take home.

7.           Please refrigerate until use because of the cucumbers.

A picture containing table, food, plate, indoor

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7 DIY Face Mask Recipes

Areil’s DIY Oatmeal Face Mask


  •  3 teaspoons oats (slightly blended)
  • 1 teaspoon of plain milk (warmed slightly)
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  •  1 teaspoon plain yogurt


1. Mix oats with slightly warmed milk until the mixture forms a thick paste.

2. Add in rose water and yogurt to the mixture and stir until all the ingredients are uniform.

*As an alternative to using plain milk and plain yogurt, you can use 1-2 teaspoon(s) of raw honey instead: Mix oats, rosewater and honey together to form a paste*


1. Apply face mask to clean, slightly damp face and neck area

2. Leave facemask on for 15-30 minutes

3. Rinse facemask off with warm water

*Store your facemask in the fridge for up to 1 week if you plan to use it multiple times.


1. Happy, healthy skin starts from the inside out. Make sure you are staying hydrated by drinking AT LEAST four 8-ounce glasses of water and follow a healthy, balanced diet.

2. Prior to face mask application, make sure that skin is cleansed thoroughly and wash your hands before applying mask.

3. The most hygienic way to apply a facemask is with an applicator: a bristle brush or a brush with a silicone wand.

4. After applying your facemask and cleansing your skin, moisturize your skin with a moisturizer formulated to your skin type.

Final Thoughts:  We thought this program went really well. All the patrons were really happy and were excited to use their new skin care products.  This is a more costly project but you can always look for sales and find cheaper recipes. This project would be less expensive for patrons to recreate at home.

More Programming Fun with Spa Themed Activities:

First Look: Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn

What do Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Ben Affleck and Robert Pattinson all have in common? They all have or will play Batman, which has been rebooted what seems like a million times on the big screen. But in the comic books, there are a lot of worlds in which “the bat” is a woman. You can currently see Batwoman on the CW, for example. But what if the mantle of the bat was taken on by a teenage girl? Not just any girl, but a teenage assassin! We are so excited to share this first sneak peek at Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn and Nicole Goux with you. After the synopsis, check out a couple of pages from this exciting new graphic novel that comes out today from DC Comics!

Cassandra Cain, teenage assassin, isn’t exactly Batgirl material…not yet, at least. But when Batgirl goes missing from Gotham, can Cassandra defy her destiny and take on a heroic mantle of her very own?

Cassandra Cain is the daughter of super-villains and a living weapon trained from birth to be the ultimate assassin. But that doesn’t mean she has to stay that way, right? She’ll have to go through an identity crisis of epic proportions to find out. But how do you figure out who you’re supposed to be when you’ve been trained to become a villain your entire life?

After a soul-shattering moment that sends Cass reeling, she’ll attempt to answer this question the only way she knows how: learning everything she possibly can about her favorite hero–Batgirl. But Batgirl hasn’t been seen in Gotham for years, and when Cass’s father threatens the world she has grown to love, she’ll have to step out of the shadows and overcome her greatest obstacle–that voice inside her head telling her she can never be a hero.

Sarah Kuhn, author of Heroine Complex and I Love You So Mochi, takes on her favorite hero of color for a new audience of readers. Featuring the edgy art style of Nicole Goux, Shadow of the Batgirl tells the harrowing story of a girl who overcomes the odds to find her unique identity. 

This graphic novel is a part of DC Comics line in which the background stories of various characters are explored in fun, new and interesting ways. You can see more of their upcoming titles here.

You can add Shadow of the Batgirl on Goodreads or follow the buy links on Goodreads to purchase it today. You can also visit your local indie bookstore to purchase this title and don’t forget to request it at your local public library!