Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPiB: Squishy Circuits

“I’m going to show you two things you can’t do – these things are dangerous and can destroy the materials, which means no more fun. Then you guys can do whatever you want with this stuff.”

“Anything we want? Like, there’s no instructions?”
“Well, I have some instructions if you want them. They’re over on the counter. But it’s up to you.”

“Woah. Cool.”

Giving teens the freedom to explore and watching them all take their own path in a scientific investigation was the best part of this program. The low cost, innovative approach, and flexibility were pretty great too.

Meet Squishy Circuits. Here’s how it works.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M3Dow20KlM]
Squishy Circuits is a way of safely and easily playing with and learning about electricity by using homemade play dough. The dough is simple to make and costs pennies. The other components can be bought on the cheap at a hardware store or Radio Shack, or purchased together for $25 in a reusable kit.

I ran this program with my illustrious Coding Club, who usually just work on computers. They loved having a hands-on project, and were flat out thrilled to be given free reign.

The basics are simple. In addition to two types of homemade dough, you need a power source, some wires, and something to show that the electricity is flowing – an LED, a motor, or a buzzer. The two types of dough figure into the project not just for building structures or shapes. One is conductive, and one in insulating. This allows you to build series and parallel circuits, create short circuits, and even make batteries. All of the recipes and details are on the University of St. Thomas site, available as easily printable PDFs so you can have them on hand for kids to explore on their own.
The best part of this for me was seeing the three teens each take on a different project and work independently — and then help each other solve the problems they had encountered by using the knowledge they gained in their own explorations! 
I come to this with very little technology background and no prior experience working with circuits and it went very smoothly. Even if STEM programs are intimidating to you, this is definitely one you can handle. Give it a shot, and check out the Robot Test Kitchen as we add more reviews of electronics and robotics projects for youth and teen librarians.

TPiB: Sharpie “Tie Dye” T’s

Every summer I run at least one T shirt decorating program because they are surefire hits for my group.  Tie dying is the classic, but truth be told, it really pushes the limits of my willingness to tolerate mess and spend gobs of setup and cleanup time. This year we’re trying a different spin on the familiar style, using permanent markers. Fortunately, it dovetails nicely with this summer’s CSRP, Spark a Reaction, thanks to the hidden science that we’ll get to later.

Here’s how it’s done:

Stretch your T-shirt over a pice of cardboard (above, I used a flexible plastic place mat which also works). Alternately, you can stretch your T over a plastic cup and rubber band it taut to give you a circular workspace.
Experiment with ink patterns and shapes. In the above example, the yellow/orange/red section was created by dotting the ink on, and the blue/green/purple one was done with lines.
Spray or drip rubbing alcohol onto your design, starting from the center. If desired, use a chopstick or pencil to poke the center up, ensuring that the alcohol moves away from the center.
The result is a blending and bleeding of colors that simulates the tie-dye look.  Teens can also get creative, drawing designs and spraying them to give them a glow effect.  Below, you can see how my daughter salvaged her drawing of princesses by spraying the heck out of them to turn them into something much more interesting and mystical (in my opinion). Karen says: Weeping Angels!
Send teens home with instructions to iron it on the highest setting for the fabric once it has dried. This will help set the color so it won’t fade too quickly in the wash. I recommend washing alone the first time, and using cold water. 
The hidden educational bit here is that what you’re doing is basic chromatography. By spraying the alcohol on the ink, you see the colors change and blend because, in part, they are separating into their components.  If you’d like to play up the science end of things, consider purchasing the Sharpie Pen Science kit from Steve Spangler Science

T shirts, bandanas, or other fabric items
Rubbing alcohol
Spray bottles, eye droppers, or straws
Plastic cups
Rubber Bands

If you already have the Sharpies and kids bring their own T shirts, you could run this for as little as the cost of a bottle of rubbing alcohol, about $2.

15 minutes to 1 hour


Great for both tweens and teens


More T-Shirt Fun:
Meme All the Shirts
Making a Tardis T-shirt

Playlist: Science Rocks My World

I am a firm believer that music makes everything better…  whether it’s driving through massive traffic, cleaning house, or summer reading programs. Since my system has gone with the Collaborative Summer Reading Program theme this year (SCIENCE for ALL) I have come up with the ULTIMATE playlist to get myself into the zone for any program we’re having. Got your player ready?

Now, a lot of these are available in various download stores in singles, and some I had from albums already. If you’re going to use them as background for a public program, make sure that you get the rights for the music before playing them- no need to be sued over music. However, there’s no reason why you can’t rock out in the car or in the back room of the library before a program starts, or use it for a killer game of musical chairs in copyright approved snippets. Also, my musical tastes vary like crazy, so if you ARE going to use these in public, be sure to check the lyrics first. Most are OK, but some may not be the most, well, family friendly, depending on the family.

  • Rocket Man by Elton John
  • She Blinded Me With Science by Thomas Dolby
  • Quantum Theory by Jarvis Cocker
  • Sounds of Silence by the Beastie Boys
  • Dr. Funkenstein by Parliament
  • Why Does the Sun Shine by They Might Be Giants
  • The Scientist by Coldplay
  • Science by System of a Down
  • Biological by Air
  • Chain Reaction by Diana Ross
  • Atomic by Blondie
  • White and Nerdy by Weird Al
  • Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
  • History of Everything by Barenaked Ladies
  • Galvanize by Chemical Brothers
  • Wonderful World by Sam Cooke
  • Element Song (my favorite is by The Animaniacs)
  • Chemical World by Blur
  • Electricity by Suede
  • Beautiful People by Books
  • Glorius Dawn by Carl Sagan
  • Einstein a Go-Go by Landscape
  • Weird Science by Oingo Boingo
  • Iron Man by Black Sabbath
  • All About the Pentiums by Weird Al
  • Space Oddity by David Bowie
  • Spaceship Coupe by Justin Timberlake
  • Rapture by Blondie
  • Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1 by Flaming Lips
  • Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys
  • Motorway to Roswell by the Pixies
  • Set Controls for the Heart of the Sun by Pink Floyd
  • Germs by Weird Al
  • I Think I’m a Clone Now by Weird Al
  • Slime Creatures from Outer Space by Weird Al
  • Particle Man by They Might Be Giants

What would you add? Share in the comments!

Take 5: Science and Lit resources for the Collaborative Summer Library Program

This year’s collaborative summer reading theme, Fizz Book Read or Spark A Reaction, has a science theme to it. Today, I’m sharing a couple of fun resources that you may want to use in your programming or share with your tweens and teens. Actually, in this case these resources are mostly Tween friendly except for the Basher Basics books which I think have universal appeal.

Code Busters Series Guide from EgmontUSA
The Code Busters Club is a tween mystery series from EgmontUSA. They have a website and a STEM discussion guide. It’s definitely for the younger tween crowd, but you can pair it with some CSI type activities and have a fun program or book club meeting.

Nick and Tesla
My Tween is actually reading this series as I write this. She has finished book one and is currently half way through book 2 and really likes it. The Nick and Tesla series has its own built in activities right inside the books. And at the website, there are YouTube videos of Science Bob demonstrating the projects found inside the books. I am a fan.

Science Comics for Summer Reading
Diamond Bookshelf has put together a guide to comics that introduce comic readers to various types of science. I am particularly looking forward to the Howtoons: Tools of Mass Construction coming in August.

Basher Basics
This series of books is a MUST HAVE for any collection. It focuses on Math and Science and provides basic, easy entry and discussion into a wide variety of topics. We have a large collection of these in my home thanks to the Scholastic Book Fair and I can not recommend them highly enough.

The Tween actually introduced me to this resource, which would be great to put on the desktops of your library computers for the summer reading challenge. Edheads describes itself as “an online educational resource that provides free science and math games and activities that promote critical thinking. Choose from Simple Machines, Virtual Knee Surgery or Stem Cell Heart Repair, among others. All activities meet state and national standards.” It comes with at least one tween endorsement.

TPiB: Fizz Boom Read Movies for the Family

In an ideal world we would be teen specialists ALL the time; however, in real life that rarely happens. The most frequent occurrence is that teen and youth services are put together, and we are programming for all ages, especially in summer. Never fear, however, for we have pulled together a list of G/PG rated movies that tie in with the Fizz/Boom/Read (science) Collaborative Summer Reading Program for you to use! Print out this list and use these as a start for a summer movie feature, or as a fail-safe in case a presenter or a staff member falls sick and you need a last-minute fill in! 
Note:  Please remember to check with your particular umbrella license before showing a movie- you do not want to loose your job over a DVD.

Rated G 
Meet The Robinsons
The Iron Giant
The Lorax
Jack the Giant Slayer
Finding Nemo
Monsters, Inc.
Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension
 Flash Gordon
Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl
Ghostbusters 1 & 2
Apollo 13
Astro Boy
Back to the Future 1, 2 & 3
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 1 & 2
Despicable Me 1 & 2
Flight of the Navigator
Batteries Not Included
G Force
Honey, I Blew Up The Kid
Hotel Transylvania
The Pirate Fairy
Inspector Gadget

TPiB: 2014 Summer Reading Movies

If you are like me, spring break has already passed and you are frantically trying to fill out your summer reading planning. Part of the problem is that you don’t know when school is going to end exactly- while here in Texas we’re less apt to have to stretch the school calendar, others I know are having to make plans for their public library summer reading programs to be almost halved due to snow days…. Another part of the problem is lack of funding, lack of staff, and lack of money.

However, one thing that can always bring in a crowd here during a hot summer afternoon is a movie! We pay annual for a public performance license, which allows us to show movies from certain studios as long as we don’t charge a fee. We take a projector, blow it up large on the wall, set up chairs and large speakers, dim the lights, and roll the DVD. I tend to tie in crafts with mine, just because all of my tweens and teens love to do crafty things and never seem to have the time in school or the materials at home.

If you’re following the Collaborative Summer Reading Program this year (general theme science), follow the break for a huge list of movies that will fit in with the theme!

Note: I’ve put the rating after the title, and the science themes it would generally fit in parenthesis afterwards to work with a tie-in if you’re doing themed weeks as specialists often do. If you work with others in your system, definitely think about working out a rotation schedule so that you have the same movies playing at each location but on different days- that way, a teen who is on vacation on week 1 would have another chance to see the movie on another week, and you and your partners would only have to come up with half (or less) as many crafts!

WarGames  PG (computer science, war science, political science)
Hackers  PG-13 (computer science, political science)
Ender’s Game  PG-13  (war science, political science, computer science)
Marvel’s The Avengers series  PG-13 (alien science, physics, bioengineering, superhero science)  In viewing order
  • Iron Man
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Iron Man 2
  • Thor
  • Captain America
  • Marvel’s The Avengers
  • Iron Man 3
  • Thor The Dark World

The Amazing Spider-Man  PG-13 (bioengineering, physics, chemistry)
Weird Science  PG-13 (computer science, bioengineering)
Jurassic Park  PG-13 (paleontology, genetics)
October Sky  PG (aeronautics and aerospace)
Apollo 13  PG-13 (aeronautics and aerospace)
Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows  PG-13 (criminology)
Arachnophobia  PG-13 (entomology)
Contagion  PG-13 (virology)
World War X R (virology)
Back to the Future Trilogy PG  (time travel)
James Bond Series PG-13 (criminology, espionage)
Despicable Me & Despicable Me 2  PG (espionage)
Megamind PG (alien, superheroes)
Serenity  PG-13  (aliens, space travel, mutants)
Harry Potter series  PG & PG-13 (magic)
Man of Steel  PG-13 (superheroes)
Mission to Mars PG (space travel)
Gravity  PG-13  (space travel)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers  PG (but with nudity) (alien tech)
 What other movies can you think of? Share in the comments!

TPIB: Secret Agent Man for the Summer

A lot of librarians I’ve talked to who are working within the Collaborative Summer Reading Program are doing ground things for “Dig Up A Good Book”- touch a truck programs, digging animals, etc. And for “Beneath The Surface” there are a lot of spa treatment programs, mermaids, and technology. I must be weird because my brain went directly to SPIES and SECRET AGENTS. Maybe it’s because I’ve just finished reading two assassin/mystery books back to back- who knows. At any rate, if you are thinking about going the spy and secret agent route, I’ve pulled together activities, crafts, and movies after the jump! See if you can get through a program without humming the Mission:Impossible theme, The Pink Panther theme, or Peter Gunn.


Scatter picture clues around the room (or around the library) and give out mystery sheets that have secrets to the clues to each participant. You could do shadow figures of literary characters, or hide cards in specific type of books (bring back a Wookie Cookie from the Star Wars Cookbook). Tweens/teens can go solo or do it in groups, and it can be an active part of your program, or a self-directed part of your summer reading, just by changing up the pictures and clues every couple of weeks.

Create a multitude of secret identities beforehand based off of literary and movie spies and detectives (James Bond, Austin Powers, Agatha Christie, Encyclopedia Brown) with a cheat sheet of characteristics that describe each secret agent. Hand these out to each participant. Taking a second list with just the names, cut them apart and place them in a bucket or a hat. Then have each person playing take pull a name out of the hat, and they will have to investigate each other to figure out who their secret person is, without lying but without giving away their secret identity. The first to figure out who their suspect is without being discovered is the winner.


I’m always surprised about how many of the teens/tweens I work with have *never* played Clue- it was a game I grew up with and was a staple at our house. You can do a host of things to make it interesting- do a live Clue version, or take the board game but replace the weapons with larger ones (an actual wrench and candlestick, a water gun and a fake knife, etc.). Break the group up into teams, and have at it.

Take a spin on madlibs by creating your own spy story. Find short mysteries stories, and copy them out leaving key words blank, then have tweens/teens fill them in without knowing the results.

The object is to get rid of all your cards (and catch a comrade in a lie along the way). Each player gets seven cards, while the rest are turned face down in a drawing pile. The dealer starts by laying a card or cards from his hand face down on the table, then declaring their value (for example, “three sevens”). The next player has to add a card or cards of the next highest value (in this case, eights). If he or she has no such card, the choice is either to pick from the drawing pile–or to fake it. Any player can challenge by saying, “Lie detector,” but when the truth is revealed, whoever is wrong inherits all the cards in the facedown pile. 

Set up your own spy training by creating an indoor obstacle course.  Use crepe paper streamers or string to create a crazy maze that they must twist and turn to get through, and tie chairs together that they must crawl under or over.

If your tweens/teens have the tech and the ability, give them an outdoor activity and hide a set number of geocache on library property. Set them up in teams, point them in the right direction with a time to be back, and have them search for the secret mission!

My tweens and teens are still in love with mustaches. Find printables online for all different types of mustaches and weird glasses, and run them off on card stock. Have them cut them out, and make their own “sneaky” disguises and take pictures to show off.

Every spy needs their own binoculars.  You can pick up craft kits at places like Oriental Trading Company, or make your own with toilet paper tubes and leftover craft materials. Sample directions can be found here.
ID Kits

Every spy needs their own case file, so why not create one? Break into the office supplies and liberate the manila file folders and stamp a bunch CONFIDENTIAL, then place a bunch of activity sheets in them, like message decoders, a spy identity card, and randomize what agency they work for and what missions they have performed.
I am in LOVE with our public performance license, and love showing movies- and my tweens and teens seem to love finding “new” to them movies that they may not have watched before.  Below are selections of movies (G, PG & PG-13) that fit in the spy/secret agent genre that are covered by Movie Licensing USA- please don’t show a movie if you aren’t covered. If you’re looking for others, please check their website.

Austin Powers Series
James Bond Series
Agent Cody Banks 1& 2
Adventures of TinTin
Dick Tracy
Despicable Me
Inspector Gadget
The Incredibles
The Pink Panther
Scooby Doo Series
Spy Kids Series
Turner and Hooch
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Jack Reacher
Bourne Series
Mission:Impossible series

Also, some of the activities on this CSI TPiB would work well for the theme as well.

TPiB: Magic in Books and Movies, past, present and future (part 1)

I am a huge fan of fantasy fiction, and whenever I can do anything that ties that into a program, I am all for it. Add in the huge popularity of a HUGE movie franchise, a recent movie release, and an upcoming movie, and it’s a recipe for excitement! Not to mention, they absolutely fit within the Collaborate Summer Reading Program themes…..

First up, Neville! Oh, wait, I mean, Harry Potter!

Pass the Mandrake
Decorate a stuffed item or plushy (or more than one for added chaos) to simulate the screaming mandrake plants from the world of Hogwarts. Gather everyone in a circle. When the music starts (to the soundtrack of the movies, of course), have the participants toss the Mandrake around the circle (if you have more than one, have one passed around the circle while one is tossed). When the music stops, those who have possession of the Mandrake are OUT. The winners are the ones who last the longest. 

Feed the Norwegian Ridgeback

Prepare a piece of cardboard by drawing a dragon face on it and cutting a hole where the mouth would be – large enough for say, rolled up socks or bean bags to be thrown through. Lean the dragon face against a chair and place it 6-8 feet away (depending upon the abilities and ages of your group). Create your own “food” for the dragon by decorating beanbags or rolled up socks to be fun.  Everyone takes a turn throwing three items of “food” into the dragon’s mouth.  If you want to make it harder, draw lines with masking tape on the floor in different distances and make them step back in each round, or design a three headed dragon (or substitute a picture of Fluffy,the three headed dog) and have them have to hit all three mouths.
Azkaban picture
Create a frame out of cardboard saying “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS WIZARD?!?!?!?” and AZKABAN PRISON NUMBER with hole for kids to put their faces through. Then have someone with a digital camera take pictures with the patrons making their scariest or weirdest faces. Upload them to the library’s social media site (as your policies permit) so that they can download them to their own social pages.
Draw Your Own Marauders Map
Newsprint or construction paper

Have the participants draw their own Marauders Map (from the Weasley’s twins)- a map of Hogwarts Castle and all the classrooms. Award prizes for the most creative, and who adds in the most detail.

Book of Monsters
Book or journal
Construction Paper or Paper Bag for Book Cover
Googly eyes
Fake Fur
Other Embellishments
There is an awesome tutorial about how to create bookcovers on Family Crafts– just have your youth bring their own book or journal.
Declare Your Allegiance
Drag out the button maker, and let your tweens declare their allegiance. Are they Hufflepuffs, Sylverin, Griffendors or Ravenclaws? Print out templates of the various house crests for them to color, then cut to size and create their own crest buttons. Get wild and let them create their own buttons to fit in the books. If you need examples, the books are rife with them: Hermione’s S.P.E.W. button, Ron’s buttons for the Chuddley Cannons or Draco’s Potter Stinks button…
Next, a classic and a recent release…. 
While the original Wizard of Oz that everyone is familiar with shows the citizens of the Emerald City, the Land of Oz is actually split into four separate sections, one for each of the witches to rule over.  Start out your program by separating out your teens into North (Gillikins- Locasta) , South (Quadlings- Glinda), East (Munchkins- Evanora), and West (Winkies- Theodora) for their respective lands.  If you have stations for crafts and activities, these can be used to rotate teens around the room.
Broomstick Races
Get four or more broomsticks (ask staff to help with borrowing them for the program- no wiffers allowed), and break your group into the number of teams. When the clock starts, the first person on each team has to fly around the room (skipping, no running for safety of all concerned) at least once (twice maybe depending on the size of your room), and then tag the next person on their team. The race is won when the first team finishes. You can bother teams (place obstacles and whammies in their way) by hitting them with blue raffia (water) or Toto, or other things from the original OZ movie which would send someone back to start.
Another various would be to have certain people be designated the wicked witches, while other are Tin Men, Scarecrows, Lions and Totos, and have the witches try and catch the others.
OZ Relay
In the movie, Oz has to do some quick changes in costumes, especially near the end. Have your tweens do a relay race by having two sets of clothes for each team (make sure they’re big enough for your biggest kid). Set each outfit (including a hat, pants, shirt, shoes, and tie) at opposite ends, and the teams in the middle. When you say go, have the first person from each team run to point A and get dressed, then tag person B in the middle. While person B gets dressed, person A must get UNDRESSED. When B is fully dressed, they run to the middle and they tag C, who takes A’s clothes back to start. C then tags D who takes B’s clothes back to start. Only one person can be missing from base at a time. Everyone from the team MUST take a turn getting dressed and MUST take a turn running the clothes back in order to win.
Thinking about crafts for your teens and looking for inspiration?
What about creating hot air balloons and letting loose your own wizard to Oz?  Bkids has an awesome idea for hot air balloons using helium balloons, food product netting, and small baskets….  And if you can’t get helium use water bottles, baking soda and vinegar.
Or, create your own flying monkeys!  Take a standard, like these from Oriental Trading Company, and let the teens decorate with markers, and add in construction paper wings for your own flying monkey army!
If your teens are into jewelry, check out Spoonful’s Shrink Oz charms!  If you don’t have the means to create shrink charms at work it would mean taking your work home with you, or morphing it around to mod podging pictures onto bottle caps or other media, but I love the effect!  Or, if you don’t want to let your teens loose with mod podge, search around craft stores for iconic beads and charms that would fit the theme and let them create away.
You can make personalized snowglobes easily with pictures, empty jars and glycerin.  Instead of calling them snow globes though, call them tornado globes. Complete instructions here.

Modify crafts you already know and love to fit the theme: You can do Oz themed marble magnets, bottle cap crafts, or felties. Teens can use images from the movie or use words like heart, brain, courage.  In fact, you can ask teens: If they were going to see the Wizard, what would you ask him for?
You can set up a scavenger hunt throughout the library and have teens search for a heart, brain, courage, ruby red slippers and more.

Next Up? A new release! The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones . . .

TPiB: Mummies

Tweens and teens in my library are separated not only by that HUGE stretch of year (twelve going to thirteen) but by what they are interested in. My teens seem to want movie programs where they can chill, do crafts, and play games in corners and socialize, or gaming programs where we have a variety of things for everyone.

My TWEENS, however, want ACTION and ADVENTURE and EVERYTHING! I have done Angry Birds, Just Dance 4 Wii, and am actively planning my summer themes to blend the two collaborative themes: Dig Up a Good Book (the youth theme) and Beneath the Surface (the teen theme) as these patrons are stuck between the two worlds.

The first one I’m attempting is a mummy/archeology themed program, and I’ve pulled together ALL of my notes to share with you!  Follow the break to see what I’ve pulled together, and note that a lot of these can work for or be aged up to work with teens…

Mummy Wrap:  Team up into pairs, and have one person be the mummy, and one person be the embalmer.  Take rolls of toilet paper, and on the start whistle, have the embalmer wrap the mummy from head to toe in paper.  Mummy must be completely still while the embalmer runs around the mummy.  When the mummy is done, the embalmer and mummy must cross the finish line together.

Spider, Spider: Have the players gather in a circle, and one person is designated it.  That person closes their eyes and placed in the middle of the circle.  Then another player in the circle is given a plastic spider to hide behind their back.  Everyone else then hides their hands behind their back as well.  At the signal, the spider hunter opens their eyes, and then has three chances to guess where the spider is by looking at the other players.
Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:  Play exactly like Hot Potato, except with a plastic (or stuffed) snake to throw around.  Can be set to music from Indiana Jones movies or The Mummy movies, and when the music stops, the person holding the snake is out.  Those that are out go to tables to color while the rest plays.
Obstacle Course:  Using props like hoops to step in and chairs with streamers to climb under, create and obstacle course to avoid the evil bad guys.  Those with the best times will compete to see who wins the treasure!

Dance of Death:  Create a playlist (or mix CD) of music from Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and other music from mummy and archeology films, as well as those with an Egyptian theme (Walk like an Egyptian, etc.).  Set chairs around the room for the number of players that you have, minus one.  When the music beings, everyone moves around in the circle in various styles (walk like a mummy, shuffling your feet; walk like you’re sneaking past the bad guys, etc.).  When the music stops, everyone scrambles to find a chair- the last one to not have a chair is out.  They go to a table to color and watch while the rest continue. 
Bendable Mummies

Gumby like mummies using simple flexible wire and muslin.  Or make it a recycle craft by using strips of old t-shirts.  Cheap, easy and full of win.  More information at Family Chic.


·         Materials:  hole punch, toilet paper tubes, yarn, markers, glue, self adhesive jewels
·         Punch holes into the tops of toilet paper tubes ahead of time
·         Take two toilet paper tubes and glue together.  Loop string around the ends of each side, then tie together so that they make a lanyard for the binoculars to hang off the neck.  Decorate at will with leftover materials.
·         Materials: containers (Kleenex boxes, shoe boxes, Pringles tubes, etc). Gold Construction paper. Glue. Scissors. Self adhesive gems. Markers.
·         Have tweens take safe scissors and cut an opening into the container if there isn’t one already there.  Take construction paper and cover the containers completely, gluing were appropriate.  Decorate with markers and self-adhesive gems.

Hierogrlyphics Stone Tablet

You can use salt dough or self hardening clay to make Hieroglyphic stone tablets. Complete instructions here

Mummify a Barbie

Visit your local thrift store and by some super cheap Barbies then allow your tweens to mummify them with this condensed process.  You can eliminate steps if you want, or go for accuracy.  There are also great instructions here.


If you don’t feel confident doing crafts on your own with scrounged materials (some don’t and that’s fine- do what’s comfortable for you), then there are always kits available at a variety of online places. Do a search for Egypt or archeology or mummys and see what comes up. I found things like these from Oriental Trading Company- see what you can order to fill out your program.

I always like having movies available to me, especially since we pay for a public performance license. With tweens it gets tricky because I really don’t feel comfortable setting them down for a PG-13 movie, yet they always assure me they’ve seen them (or R movies) all the time. I just keep telling them that because they’re under 13, I can’t show it them or I will loose my job, and that ends the discussion. You, however, can show whatever you’re comfortable with. I’ve pulled a list of movies that (generally) fit with the theme that are rated PG and are covered under the Movie Licensing USA agreement. (NOTE: If you do NOT have a public performance license, please do not show movies- it is NOT worth your job or the fines if you get in trouble).
Encino Man
The Flintstones
The Goonies
Hotel Transylvania
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Journey to the Center of the Earth
The Jungle Book
National Treasure 1 & 2
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Secret of NIMH
The Corpse Bride

Graphically Speaking: From Page to Screen, summer movies based on graphic novels

I am in *love* with movies that are based off of comics and graphic novels. Nothing makes me happier than an excellent adaptation of them, and nothing ticks my inner geek off more than a crappy one. And it’s such an excellent way to tie those readers who swear they aren’t readers (or don’t think they are) into reading and browsing your collection!  We have such a wonderful line-up of movies coming through, you should definitely see what you have and tie it into your display! (And, superheros and mystery and secret identities and plots all work for the Collaborative Summer Reading Program themes….)
 [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEIVPiTuYkQ?rel=0] 
Based on the Iron Man Extremis storyline
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DaPBBOHfsA?rel=0]
Man of Steel isn’t going to be based off of *any* of the previous histories, but uses the same characters we’re all familiar with, according to this article.   Random House and DC is also doing a Superman Day for libraries on June 15.
RED 2 
 [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTcWTf-pfyU?rel=0] 
The comics may not be suitable for a teen collection, but I know my older teens (older ya) and new adults (college age and up) love the movie based on Ellis and Hamner’s works.
One that *just* released a trailer is Rest In Peace Department, all undead officers working to uphold the law on the other side.   It’s to star Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker and Jeff Bridges, and is set for a July 2013 release.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X07xNrVd7DU?rel=0&w=560&h=315]
 The Wolverine 

 [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-TdhnFW0As?rel=0] 

 is based off of Chris Claremont’s acclaimed 1982 Wolverine story arc, set after X-Men: last Stand (2006); there have also been animation versions of what could be some of the storyline airing on television’s G4 channel in the last few years.
Kick Ass 2
 [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0zu5isIBZo?rel=0]
Following the first movie, which drew huge criticism for having a nine-year-old Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl, Kick Ass 2 is amping it up and following the comics right along the storylines, if the trailers are any indication.

And that, my friends, takes us until the end of the summer, at least graphically speaking….  BOOK WISE is a WHOLE ‘NOTHER story…
Which ones are you looking forward to?  Share in the comments below!