Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPiB: Quick Doctor Who Decorations/Ornaments

The other day in the Programming Librarian Interest Group on FB page someone (Melissa Hozik) mentioned that they were having a Doctor Who themed holiday program. And someone (Evan Mather) then mentioned that they should call it a Doctor Wholiday Party. Genius!! As a huge Doctor Who fan I was disappointed in myself for not coming up with this FANTASTIC and BRILLIANT idea, but I quickly got over it. The Teen and I are now planning our own Doctor Wholiday party. The best part is that because I know a lot of libraries are trying to do winter programming as opposed to Christmas programming to be inclusive, we are doing ours in January because you can have a Doctor Wholiday party any time. There is no wrong time to celebrate Doctor Who! And we spent the weekend test piloting ideas for our program.

The Doctor Who Tree


Ornament #1

We took pictures of some of our favorite Doctor Who artifacts and blended them with galaxy effects to create our ornaments. We then printed them off and laminated them. Hot glue them to a clothespin and you have a quick, easy and definitely not permanent Doctor Who tree.


Then, because I had a brainstorm, I did the same thing with book covers. Print the covers, laminate them and hot glue them to a clothespin. Bam! You can make a book tree (pictured above). They also hang well on twine to make garland.

Ornament #2


You can take plastic craft ornaments and do the whole paint thing. I had to look all over for plastic ones because I wasn’t brave enough to do glass with the teens. You basically pour a small bit of paint into the ornaments – 2 to 3 colors – and swish the paint around. Dry over night on a paper plate with the open side down so that the excess runs out. Be sure and write the teens name on the plate so you know whose ornament is whose. We did ours using Doctor Who tardis and galaxy colors to make our ornaments Doctor Who themed. You can find better instructions here.

Ornament #3


If you are really lucky you can find clear plastic ornaments that are in halves that you can fill and decorate. We used these to make Dalek themed ornaments. We used a black paint marker to make a bunch of dots on the inside and then painted a solid color behind them. I’m not going to lie, I love the Dalekish ornaments.

Ornament #4


A coworker had shown me this new melty bead craft that involved using metal cookie cutters and melty beads. You simply put the cookie cutter on a piece of parchment paper, fill it with melty beads, and cook it in an oven set at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. We used snowmen and star ornaments to go along with our Doctor Who theme, and because The Snowmen is one of my favorite Christmas episodes of Doctor Who. You can push them out of the cookie cutter to re-use said cookie cutter, but it looked better when we left it in the cookie cutter as kind of a metal frame. So buy a lot of cookie cutters cheap. I followed the instructions that I found here.

Ornament #5

You remember when we used to fold a piece of paper up into a tiny triangle and then cut away at it to make paper snowflakes? There are lots of examples of this with a Doctor Who theme on the Internet. For example, here and here. The best part about this is that after having to buy cookie cutters, melty beads, ornaments, clothespins and paint, it’s super cheap!

Ornament #6


This one is all The Teen’s doing. She made a bow tie – because bow ties are cool! – out of duct tape. She hot glued it to a clip so that she can wear it in her hair, but you can also easily clip it to a tree branch. Double duty! To make a duct tape bow tie you simply make a two sided sheet of duct tape and accordion fold it. Pinch it together in the center and affix it with a piece of duct tape.

So my “Doctor Wholiday Party” – thank you Evan – test run is at my house this Sunday. I invited some fellow Whovians and the TLT TAB that is local to me over to see how it works. I will also be pulling some ideas from a previous post on Doctor Who, including some of the food we will be making. It’s a great sacrifice having this test run, but it’s one I’m willing to make . . . for the teens of course. 🙂

Sherlock and the Case of the Diversity Problem (and why representation matters)

The creator of the BBC Sherlock reboot is none other than Steve Moffat, who also is currently helming another popular BBC show – Doctor Who.  One of the things that has always impressed me about Doctor Who as I began watching it was the diversity of the show.  When we first meet the reboot Doctor, number 9, he takes a decidely white Rose into space and time with him, and sometimes her very non-white boyfriend joins them.  After Rose, the Doctor is accompanied by Martha, also not white.  And they have several adventures with Captain Jack Harkness, who later gets his own show called Torchwood, who is very white but is also decidely not straight.  In fact, there are a wide variety of characters that appear in both Doctor Who and Torchwood and the most amazing thing is – no one every comments really on their non-whiteness or their sexuality (I won’t say never, because it does come up in context a couple of times), because it is understood that we live in a diverse world and there is no need for commentary.

Early Doctor Who Reboot
Sarah Jane, Mickey Smith, Jackie Tyler, Rose Tyler, Doctor, Martha Jones, Donna Noble and Capt. Jack Harkness
Check out this article at The Mary Sue as the BBC responds to critics of racism in Doctor Who
So we have Mickey, Martha Jones, Tosh (on Torchwood), Captain Jack, Ianto (and they kiss – a lot), and a variety of supporting characters who pop in and out and THERE IS DIVERSITY.  Then Steven Moffat took over, and things changed.  And then he rebooted Sherlock.

So what happens to Sherlock?  Well, Sherlock lacks diversity.  All of the main cast of characters is decidedly white male, most of the supporting characters are as well.  But here’s the deal, later day Doctor Who and Sherlock are under a different creator/writer.  And this change has brought about some diversity issues.

To make matters worse, there is an undercurrent of homophobia running throughout the relationship of Sherlock and Watson, as if being a couple – gasp – would be THE. WORST. THING. EVER.  I mean, they feel the need to stop in the middle of murder investigations and make sure that everyone understands that there is no way in hell they would ever be a couple as if that is more important than the fact that people are dying.  I understand that there are men in real life who would definitely not want to be identified as homosexual, what I don’t get is why we feel the need to write it in as a running gag and a source of amusement on a show that already has so much going on.  It’s unnecessary and contributes to the continued harassment and stigmazation of a people group that has spent centuries being persecuted.  Keep in mind that identifying as GLBTQ in today’s world is one of the leading causes of teenage bullying, homelessness and suicide.  Making them the butt of the jokes on a popular show contributes to this ongoing epidemic.  And whatever one may personally feel about homosexuality, I don’t think it is okay to create a hostile environment for them.  Full stop.

Infographic Source

Of course Sherlock did try and give a nod to diversity once in an epic fail of an episode called The Blind Banker.  For a variety of reasons, this is my least favorite episode of the series to date.  Mostly, I simply don’t really care all that much for the story.  But also, this episode is one of the few episodes where we get some main characters of color and they are full of stereotypes.  There is a good discussion of the problem of diversity in The Blind Banker hereOr this post which points out that the script for The Blind Banker calls for “Soo Lin Yao, a fragile little porcelain Chinese doll; a stupid brute of a Sikh warrior; Japanese geisha nicknacks for sale in a Chinese…not a shop…the script calls it an emporium…”  It’s like the writers reached into their grab bag of Asian stereotypes and threw them all against a wall to see which would stick, and apparently they all did.

Molly Hooper: BBC

Then we come to the character of Irene Adler, which Christie already talked about on Monday.  I have such mixed feelings on Irene.  She is definitely shown as being a strong female character, a woman who confounds and beguiles Sherlock.  But her power comes primarily from her sexuality.  In fact, when Sherlock first meets her she appears in her birthday suit, she is using her nudity as a powerplay.  So although I love that we have a strong female character, I wish that her power could come somewhere other than her sexuality.  It seems as if our popular culture continues to assert to young women that they can only be powerful if they can harness and exude their sexuality.  In comparison, we have the character of Molly Hooper, who is once again a stereotype.  Molly is a smart girl, the token science geek girl if you will, so of course she must be mousey and socially akward and pine after Sherlock.  Imagine for just a moment if we could have had a strong, intelligent science minded woman who found power in her intellect and ability to help Sherlock as opposed to the only real female representation of power that we get in Irene Adler.  This is an interesting look at the character of Irene Adler, and more interestingly about how the role of Moriarty undermines the role of Irene Adler.  And perhaps my favorite comment about Irene Adler can be found here: “Well, to be fair, BCC Sherlock did turn Irene from a master of disguise and all-around genius who easily saw through Sherlock’s ruse into a pawn of Moriarty who needs to be told how to deal with Sherlock.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: ABC

Why does this matter?  Sherlock is a reboot, an updated take on the popular character.  In the original works, these issues would make more sense because they were written in a time period that thought differently than we do today.  But this Sherlock appears in modern day London.  As we update the setting, we also need to update the representation of people who are not white men to reflect modern day sensibilities.  Look around you, the modern day world is not as white as the world of Sherlock would lead us to believe.  And this is important because it affects how we perceive the world around us and how people who are not white men perceive themselves, and each other.  People often say that entertainment entertains but it does not influence.  But I can’t help but wonder, if we know that marketing works, and we do, then how can we suggest that what we see in our media doesn’t influence how we think about our world, ourselves and each other?  The answer is, I think, that we can’t.  Diverse representation matters because people need to know that people of color can be strong, intelligent, and powerful without being a bad guy, a red shirt, a token, or – gasp – a maid or gas station attendant (or a fragile porcelain Chinese doll).  And girls (women) need to know that they can be powerful because of their intelligence, their contributions to society, and in their friendships – it doesn’t have to come from sexuality, it isn’t all about sexuality.

Here’s the thing.  I really, really love the BBC’s Sherlock.  I love the way it looks visually, how you see how Sherlock is processing the evidence and coming to his conclusions.  I love the quirkiness that is Sherlock, and how he is kind of a despicable, arrogant character but has glimpses of humanity, often in relation to Watson or Mrs. Hudson.  Mostly, I love that it is intelligent drama that asks you to pay attention.  But I can’t pretend it is perfect even though I am an enthusiastic fan.  Just as I can’t pretend Doctor Who is perfect.  I want my tweens and teens to grow up in a world where they are represented in healthy and realistic ways so that they develop healthy images of themselves and their place in this world.  Sherlock needs to do better.  And yes, my teens are watching.

P.S. All these same arguments hold true for our MG and YA lit.  Diversity is important.  Representation matters.  Readers need to see realistic representations to have their existence, their place in this world, affirmed.  And readers need to have realistic depictions of those that are different from themselves so that they develop realistic and healthy ideas about those that are different than them.

“If she can’t see it, she can’t be it”
Beth Revis: I See You, Representation Matters (great post, read it)
Ramp Your Voice: Why Representation Matters in Children’s Books and Media
Actually, just Google “representation matters” for lots of great posts

More Diversity at TLT:
Racial Stereotyping in YA Literature
Race Reflections, Take II
Building Bridges to Literacy for African American Male Youth Summit recap, part 1
Friday Reflections: Talking with Hispanic/Latino Teens about YA Lit
See also the Diversity in YA Tumblr by Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo

More on Gender and Sexuality at TLT:
I’m Just a Girl? Gender issues in YA Lit
Girls Against Girls
Teach Me How to Live: talking with guys about ya lit with Eric Devine
Let’s Hear It for the Boys: Boys and body image
Who Will Save You? Boundaries, Rescue and the Role of Adults in the Lives of Teens
The Curious Case of the Gender Based Assignment 

You want to put WHAT in my YA?
Taking a Stand for What You Believe In
Annie on My Mind and Banned Books Week on My Calendar
Queer (a book review)
Top 10: For Annie and Liza (Annie on My Mind)

Sunday Reflections: The Curious Case of Doctor Who Kissing without Consent, and why it matters

More about consent from The Feminist Anthropologist

She was 2 years old.  I had just strapped her into her car seat which held her in pretty tightly.  We were getting ready to pull out of her grandma’s driveway, but we weren’t going far – just to run some errands and such.  “Can Grandma have a kiss?”, she asked.  And the 2-year-old, who always spoke her mind, said no and turned her head away.  That was when the Grandma reached out and pinned her arms down and kissed her any way.  There she was, 2-years-old, already strapped in and now she was being forcibly held down so she could not resist and kissed even though she had just clearly said no, she didn’t want a kiss right now.  But that wasn’t respected.

After she was released, the 2-year-old smacked her grandmother in the face.  Surprised, and angry, she looked at me and said, “You should teach your children it’s not nice to hit.”  And although that is indeed true, my response to her was not what she expected: “You can’t hold people down and kiss them against their will, that’s not nice either.”  That’s the thing, people have a right to say no to being kissed, hugged, or touched in any way.

Consent: “permission for something to happen or agreement to do something”

As my children are growing older, I think often on this day.  To me, as an outsider, I was shocked by how violent the whole encounter was; the way my child’s wishes were totally disregarded and she was held down – disabled by someone more powerful than her – and forced to do something that she didn’t want to do.  I get it, 2-year-olds are cute.  And they don’t stay that little for very long.  Trust me, I am all too aware of how quickly they grow and change.  But when did we develop this notion that just because we want something – just a simple kiss, right – that it’s okay to take it?

Source: ColorLines.com

In Protecting the Gift, Gavin DeBecker talks about one of the most important things we can do to help protect our children from sexual abuse is to let them know from birth on that they have control and agency over their bodies.  This means that we do not force them to kiss or hug relatives when they don’t want to.  Yes, even grandmothers that they may only see on a rare occasion.  It’s a radical notion for some, I have seen it debated often online, but I don’t understand why just because children are small we feel that we can force them to express acts of affection without their consent.  And I can see the danger in setting this precedent where we teach our children even if you don’t want to kiss or hug someone, we do it because it is “nice”.  Or because they – the adult – wants it.  So how do they differentiate when they are a little older and it is a teacher or a coach or some other authority figure – or a boyfriend – asking them to do something they don’t want to do, that doesn’t feel right?  We have taught them that they have to do this thing because we do what adults say, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised when they are confused when authority figures ask them to do things that they think probably aren’t right – they certainly don’t want to do these things – but they have been taught that they can’t say no.

Which brings me to Doctor Who.  Yes, it’s a big leap, so stay with me here.  My two daughters and I started watching Doctor Who this summer and we are BIG FANS.  We have seen all of Doctors 9, 10 and 11 – multiple times.  We may watch an episode almost daily.  Don’t judge.  But I love many things about the Doctor: he is a moral, compassionate being, he seems genuinely accepting of all – not just all races, but all species – he is open to exploration and adventures . . . But over time the Doctor has changed.  In fact, since the introduction of Clara, I find the show to be particularly problematic.  Though I don’t blame Clara, it’s a writing problem.

So this Christmas, we sat together to watch the 11th Doctor’s fond farewell.  We were anxious, a little sad, a little sorrowful because we had grown so fond of him.  And then it happened and to be honest, it was a real let down.

Actually, I had grown worried about it earlier in December when early promo pics had come out:

Please, please, please do not let this be a case of the Doctor does the manly work of saving the day while the girl cooks the turkey I tweeted.  But honestly, that’s kind of what it was.  In fact, the Doctor saved the day AND saved the turkey while Clara did – well, nothing really.  Actually, read these two reviews to get a handle on what some of the problems were (I excerpted the points relevant to my discussion below):

“The sexualization of Tasha’s power and her attempts to assert her autonomy became extremely problematic during the scene when the Doctor kisses her without her consent. When the Doctor releases Tasha she orders him to only kiss her when asked, and the Doctor replies “Only if you ask nicely,” and they immediately give each other bedroom eyes. The Doctor receives no punishment for kissing her without her consent, and her protest at having been kissed without her consent is trivialized and sexualized. It’s not a big deal she was kissed without her consent, the show tells us, because she secretly liked it.

Even more disturbing is the fact that this is the second time in a year I’ve had to write about Doctor Who‘s problematic treatment of sexual assault. Including the scene in “The Crimson Horror” where the Doctor laughs off Jenny’s protest that he forcibly kissed her was bad enough, but including a second scene in which the Doctor is portrayed laughing off a woman’s protest that he forcibly kissed her so soon after receiving a strong backlash to the first is particularly galling, and it’s hard to read it as anything other than a deliberate provocation.”

“Despite her rank and the supposed power of her position, she was easily taken over by the Daleks (don’t get me started to the whole eyestalk in the forehead thing) and when she eventually did manage to fight back her consciousness, the Doctor decided to lay a smacker on her without her consent.”

But more importantly, there was the kiss.  In a moment of celebration, the Doctor grabs Tasha’s face and kisses her.  Please note, he forcibly grabs her face in both hands and kisses her full on the mouth – he has all the power in this moment.  And as the above review mentions, this is not the first time during series 7 that this Doctor has done that.  So much forcible kissing.  And I am glad to see there are people talking about it because we should be talking about it.

We are in the midst of a cultural revolution right now.  Steubenville and other moments like it have opened some real dialogue about how we talk to our teens about respecting other people’s person-hood and the idea of consent.  And it IS an important idea.  A fundamental right.  You don’t get to kiss someone just because you want to.  Not if the are two and you are their grandma and you think they are cute.  Not if they are 16 and you have just bought them dinner and taken them to a movie.  Not because you are more powerful than them.  Not if they are . . . well, never actually.  That’s the point.  Human rights are important.  Bodily autonomy is an important human right if you ask me.  Consent matters.

In addition to all of our regular blogging here at TLT in 2014, we are dedicating the year to discussing important teen topics like sexual violence in the lives of teens and YA literature.  Join us on Wednesday, January 29th for a virtual panel with authors Carrie Mesrobian (Sex & Violence), Christa Desir (Fault Line), and Trish Doller (Where the Stars Still Shine) as we discuss sexual violence in the lives of teens and in their novels – and why it matters that we talk about it. 

Here’s the 411:

We’re going to Google Hangout and do a “virtual discussion panel” with authors Carrie Mesrobian (Sex & Violence), Christa Desir (Fault Line) and Trish Doller (Where the Stars Still Shine) on Wednesday, January 29th at Noon Eastern to discuss Sexual Violence in the lives of teens and YA lit.  You can join us for our virtual panel.  We will also be attempting to record it so you can view it later.  Some of the questions we will be discussing include how writers go about making realistic representations to raise awareness and give teen survivors a voice. These are all good books with some good discussion and I recommend reading them.  In fact, read them before January 29th and join us.

More About Sexual Violence in YA Lit on TLT:
What It’s Like for a Girl: How Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama made me think about the politics of sexuality in the life of girls
Sexual Assault Awareness Month, talking to teens about consent and rape part 1 and part 2
Should there be sex in YA books? 
Plan B: What Youth Advocates Need to Know 
Because No Always Mean No, a list of books dealing with sexual assault
Who Will Save You? Boundaries, Rescue and the Role of Adults in YA Lit.  A look at consent and respecting boundaries in relationships outside of just sex. 
Incest, the last taboo 
This is What Consent Looks Like
Street Harassment
That Time Matt Smith Perpetuated Street Harassment Culture at Comic Con
An Anonymous Letter to Those Who Would Ban Eleanor and Park
Take 5: Difficult books on an important topic (sexual violence) 

TPiB: On a Stick

This is how some program ideas come to me: I am flipping through a new book that comes into our library and it sparks some inspiration.  It’s a win/win: patrons get cool books and I get great program ideas.

I like the idea of food on a stick.  There are some glorious recipes in here: Pizza Skewers, Cake Pops, Cinnamon Rolls (on a stick! You dip them into the icing.), Deep Fried Ravioli . . . So many great recipes. Give me a second, I have to clean the drool off of my keyboard.  As I looked through this book, I couldn’t help but think of all the programming and party planning ideas that could come out of it.  Sometimes all it takes is a little spark and you get entire party themes.  I think having a stick party is kind of the best idea ever.  But you can take it in other directions as well.  Wait, let me tell you some of the ideas that came to me as I flipped through.

Stick Puppets

I know what you’re thinking, “Stick puppets, really?”  But I have found that tweens and teens like to be creative if you give them the opportunity.  So give it to them.  Have them create stick puppets and then bust out your digital device and encourage them to make Vines or short YouTube clips.  Stick Puppets don’t have to be simple, you can create really elaborate ones (and clean out your craft supply closet) with hair, clothes, and more.  They can be people, animals, and even made up creatures.  Then feed your teens tons of glorious food on a stick.  They will love you.  And again I say to you, having a stick themed party is just quirky enough to be fun and interesting.

You can also play games like Hangman, Pick Up Sticks, and more at your stick themed party.  Or use pipe cleaners to make stick people and make stop motion Vine videos.

Spam and Pineapple Skewers and a Post Apocalypse Survival Party

When I saw this in the book I immediately thought: Post Apocalypse Party (or book discussion group).  Well, actually first I thought: “Ewwww, Spam.”  Then I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to have a post-apocalypse discussion group/survival party?”  You could do things like make Paracord bracelets, discuss survival strategies, and even talk about your favorite post-apocalypse fiction.  Better yet, make it an ongoing book discussion over a series and discuss several books and do a different survival related activity at each book discussion meeting.  You could also include fun things from the Quirk Books Worst Case Survival Handbook.  And I happen to own the Worst Case Scenario Boardgame.  When you are running from zombies, you’ll want to make sure you know how to survive falling into quicksand.

You could also combine some of the recipes here with the ideas found in this Kitchen Road Trippin’ program outline to create a read around the globe book discussion group.

Cookies on a Stick

Have a Cookies on a Stick version of Cupcake Wars.  If you have not ever seen Cupcake Wars, you basically are given a theme and you bake and decorate cupcakes to highlight that theme.  In this version, you would provided cookies on a stick and allow participants to decorate the cookies around a theme.  You could take it up a notch and have them use their decorated cookies to create a scene, much like they do with Peeps Dioramas.

From Bake with Ginger

Bake with Ginger has a fun tutorial for creating Mustache Cookies on a Stick which you can use to make fun mustache pics – and then eat!  You could even have a mustache themed party with mustache crafts and a fun photobooth.

S’Mores (on a stick of course!)

Scary stories around a campfire – perfect for October.  Of course, you would have to create a fake campfire if you were going to do this in a library.  But get out a copy of your Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, eat some S’Mores on a Stick, and have fun.

Fish and Chips

Probably in part because I am obsessed with British TV (think Doctor Who, Sherlock & Downton Abby), I immediately thought about having a British TV/Film festival where you would of course serve Fish and Chips – on a stick.  The Robert Downey versions of the Sherlock Holmes films are covered under by Movie Licensing USA.  And you can buy some cool Union Jack Duck Tape to make some very British duct tape crafts.

As part of Quirk Books Week, Quirk Books has generously donated a prize package for one lucky winner that will include 2 of the above cookbooks, a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, the first book of the Lovecraft Middle School series, and a copy of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. I’ve tried to give you as many ways as possible to enter so pick the one (or ones) that work best for you and do the Rafflecopter thingy below.  The giveaway closes on Saturday, December 14th and is open to U.S. Residents.  The books will be sent to you from Quirk Books and they are worth it.

Take 5: YA Lit for Rose Tyler fans (Doctor Who), a guest post by Amy Diegelman

“The first nineteen years of my life, nothing happened.
Nothing at all.”  

Image property of Megan Lara at Megan Lara Tumblr

Rose Tyler.

Companion, friend, comforter, badass.

Resourceful, empathetic, brave, determined.

I could go on for days and days about all Rose Tyler’s amazing qualities (and trust me, I’ll get back to that in a second) but there is one aspect I don’t think we talk about enough. Before she was the Bad Wolf, Rose Tyler was just a shop girl with minimal education living in an estate with her mother. Her life is chugging forward in the mundane, slightly below average way everyone expects it to.. Jackie indicates that a butcher shop would be more suitable work for Rose because the department store was too fancy. Rose has no A-levels, the requirements for college. Estates like the one the Tylers inhabit are not just apartment buildings but large housing projects (often owned by the government or non-profit organizations) for the lower end of the economic scale. She’s a chav – a British stereotype and derogatory term similar to calling someone ‘white trash’ or ‘ghetto.’ The implication is always there in Rose’s history and fashion, and in the episode “New Earth”, when the ever-fabulous Cassandra inhabits Rose’s body, she openly despairs, “I’m a chav!”

I love a character like Rose. A girl who leads a disadvantage life, who is simply following the path set out for her when a door to something better opens up. Once given the chance, Rose proves that she is more than up to snuff. Through the new life of adventuring she is able to show everyone, including herself, that she is brave and smart and compassionate. She saves herself, strangers, friends, and the Doctor more than once. She becomes the Bad Wolf and puts her mark on time itself. So I’ve made up a small list of characters who are pulled from low circumstances to extraordinary ones, and prove that they themselves are extraordinary.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella in the future. I tend to think any characterization of Rose Tyler as Cinderella to somewhat miss the mark. But Cinder isn’t the classic Cinderella either. Cinder is a cyborg, and that makes her, like Rose, a second class citizen to most people. And though her family lives in a certain level of luxury, Cinder herself earns most of the wages as a mechanic and sees few of the benefits. Regardless of all that, when trouble turns up, Cinder rises to the occasion. She throws herself into danger when she doesn’t have to, because it is the right thing to do. What is perhaps most Rose Tyler-esque, is the fact that Cinder doesn’t question it. She doesn’t stand around and agonize over things. She sees what needs to be done – often who needs to be helped – and she finds a way to do it. Neither she nor Rose have fairy godmothers. They prove themselves all on their own.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers – Raised by a man who never wanted her, sold off to an abusive husband. These are the only things we really know about Ismae’s life before she is taken in by the nuns of St. Mortain- better known as Death himself – to be trained as an assassin. Its not often you can say a girl raised by assassin nuns is similar to, well, anyone – but Ismae came to mind right away when I started this list. She is taken from a life of being beaten and neglected, to one where she is shown how truly amazing she can be. Its Ismae’s faith and fidelity (along with a fair amount of badassery, of course) that really connect her with Rose. Ismae is firmly dedicated to what she feels is right, and to Death, who she has sworn to serve, even though she has every reason to believe only in the terrible things and people in the world.. It makes me think of the scene in the Satan Pit episodes when everyone believes the doctor is dead but Rose stands firm, “You don’t know him. Cause he’s not. I’m telling you he’s not. And even if he was, how could I leave him?”

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld – In this alternate, steampunk, bioengineered version of World War I Deryn is a commoner girl disguised as a boy so she can serve in the British Air Service. And boy is she good at it. Oh man, how much do I love Deryn Sharp? So much. Smart, funny, brave – Deryn goes after what she wants and takes it. The best part? What she wants isn’t power or wealth or fame, she just wants to do what she loves – flying. Deryn doesn’t hesitate, and she doesn’t give up. She’d do anything for her friends, she doesn’t blink before tossing herself into danger to save another. She and Rose would be fast friends, I have no doubt.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – Alina is an orphan serving in the military with her best friend Mal. Her life is truly average. But when a unique ability manifests in her, she is swept up into the elite, majestic world of the Grisha and their leader, the Darkling. I agonized a bit over this one, but in the end I decided that Alina deserved a spot on this list. Don’t get me wrong, I love Alina and adore this book (Epic fantasy with a Russian twist? Yes, please!) but I wasn’t sure she was Rose Tyler material. Alina is a bit of a Rose in training. She struggles with a woe-is-me attitude for quite some time, but to be fair the Darkling, while powerful and mysterious, isn’t quite the inspirational figure the Doctor usually is. But at the end of the day she is much like the Bad Wolf – an immense power just waiting to find her way.

Color of Rain by Cori McCarthy – Rain’s story is much darker than Rose’s. She and her little brother are the only surviving members of their family, living in an abandoned pool and scrounging for a life in the crime and grime of Earth City. When Rain’s brother’s life is at risk she gives up everything to save him. She trades herself to a man named Johnny in exchange for passage on his ship to The Edge, where there may be a cure for her brother, whole will have to make the trip cryogenically frozen. But Johnny’s ship, a city all its own, proves to be almost as dangerous as Johnny himself. Rain is one of my favorite YA heroines of the last couple of years. Her life is ugly and often awful, but she never gives up. NEVER. There were so many moments when I couldn’t imagine even having the will to continue, but Rain finds a way. And she does her best not to trample anyone in the process. Rain shares with Rose the ability I love most in them both – a refusal to be beaten, without a loss of compassion.

Amy Diegelman is a Young Adult Librarian in Massachusetts, with an MLS and Specialization in Youth Services from Indiana University. She lives on an island, and Batman is her one true love.

Sunday Reflections: Librarians are to Libraries as Companions are to their Doctor

When book people and librarians think of library services in relation to Doctor Who, the first comparison is that the TARDIS is like a library and the librarian and library staff are like the Doctor. I’ve said it, Karen’s said it, everyone else has either said it or thought about it. But what if, instead of the library being the big blue box, the library is actually the Doctor, and the library staff are the Companions?

OHHHHHHHHHHHHH, I threw you a twist. Think about it for a minute. The Doctor has been around for over 900 years, his personality changes with each regeneration into a completely separate person yet he keeps the memories of the Doctor before. He strives to do good in the Universe, yet can constantly lose his way if not guided. He has the capability to be amazing and brilliant, yet if left to travel alone will fall into depression, funk and worse (we’ve seen it with Doctors 10 and 11, and in older ones as well).

With me so far?

Libraries have been around since the 7th Century with the King of Assyria, up to present day. (Old and growing older). Their personalities change with the communities around them, and with each remodel and reconstruction or new building that they’re moved into, yet they attempt to keep the history of what they’ve done and what their area contains as well as the knowledge they’ve collected (regeneration, anyone?). If you look at a library’s core, their goal is to educate, inform, and entertain (do good) yet if they don’t have strong staff, administration, and support from the community and their city/county they can fall into disrepair and crumble.

See the parallels?

So if libraries are the Doctors, then LIBRARIANS are the Companions.

If you watch a season of Doctor Who (or actually certain episodes, but really, can you watch just one?), you can tell that the Companions have enormous impact on their Doctor. Just from the current reboot (Doctors 9 {Eccleson}, 10 {Tennant}, and 11 {Smith}), you have Rose turning 9 from a Doctor full of hate and anger to one that’s capable of love and forgiveness, and Captain Jack turning into a loveable rogue. 

You have Rose, Jack, Martha, Donna, and River shaping 10 into the brilliance that he is, and knowing that he touches so many lives and does so many things, yet is not entirely the person he thinks he may be, because he still pines for Rose, regrets what happens to Captain Jack and Doctor Donna, and the final confrontation with the Master. 

You have Amelia and Rory and River shaping 11 and facing his death, his wife, his in-laws, and death in a way that hasn’t been explored before. And now we have Clara bringing 11 back from his funk, and having him figure out why she’s the Impossible Girl, and always there.

The Companions are the ones who are shaping and guiding the Doctors’ experiences, and giving them something to breathe and a way to showcase themselves, to make them better than who they are alone- challenging them and expanding on themselves in ways that a Time Lord may not have ever been before.

That’s EXACTLY what librarians should be doing in libraries- shaping and changing and expanding to not just what their communities needs and want, but thinking beyond that, ahead of that. Showing their communities the possibilities that the library could be, and what the possibility the community could be if they back the library. It doesn’t matter that the “traditional” model of a library is about physical books, or that the “new” model is all e-books- it matters whether your community needs, wants, or will want it. We need to be the inspiration and the spark in libraries.

We need to be the in love and flirty River Song for our 10

We need to be the sarcastic Rose poking at the ego of our 9

But most of all, we need to be Clara, challenging our 11

Favorite Doctor Who Quotes from a Tween (by Maria Selke)

Today I bring you a guest post from one of my all time favorite people – my nine year old son!

He’s just the tiniest bit obsessed with Doctor Who at the moment. He asks to watch episodes during almost all of his free time. He dressed as Tennant for Halloween. Ten is “his Doctor”.
Favorite 10 DW Quotes
(note not in favorite order)



  1. Everyone thinks they can run with the Doctor forever, eventually everyone can’t keep up. -River Song
  2. You Think You’re A Doctor, Well Stitch This Mate! -Jackie Tyler
  3. Thats the second time a mother hit me. -The Doctor
  4. Well a leg is a leg and a axe is an axe, Do It! -Donna Noble
  5. You are not Alone. -The Face of Boe
  6. You know what my friends sometimes call me? The Face of Boe. -Captain Jack Harkness
  7. I only take the strong never the weak. -The Doctor
  8. Don’t you hear it doctor, the never ending drumming getting closer and closer? – The Master
  9. You know time goes just like this *Snap*. -Adam’s mom
  10. You can’t fix the world by yelling at it. -Wilfred Mott

I wrote this because I like watching Doctor Who and because sometimes the quotes are really funny.

This post is part of TWO marvelous blogging events! 


Sci-Fi Month is brought to you by Rinn Reads. Check out the full schedule of Sci-Fi Month posts! There are reviews, discussions, giveaways, and more!

Doctor Who Week is a joint venture between my blog Maria’s Melange and Teen Librarian Toolbox. We have a full week of fun posts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.

Doctor Who Week: Christie’s Favorite Companion

When people ask me who my favorite companion is for Doctor Who, I always have to qualify my answer because I liked them all differently.

I liked Rose because she helped 9 learn to love again, and 10 find his heart.

I liked Martha because she was brilliant, and ended up leading squadrons of UNIT and walked the Earth to save it.

I liked Donna because she stood up to the Doctor and never backed down.

I liked Amy and Rory because even though they fought and bickered, and it seemed like she was in love with the Doctor, she was always in love with Rory, and they were each other’s everything.

I like Clara because she seems to have infinite possibilities, and I’m looking forward to seeing how she’ll balance 12.

However, my absolute favorite companion was there for all of four episodes, and some say is not a companion at all.
My absolute favorite is Captain Jack Harkness.
Because of his growth.
Think about it.
We meet him with 9 and he’s pulling scams with space junk, and caused the mutation of the human race. Then he saves everyone by trying to sacrifice himself. Then he draws off the fire of the Daleks to give the Doctor time to save the Earth again. And Rose gives him immortality, and he’s left behind. He has to fight his way back to current time and space, and learn how to live with this new “life” he’s been given, and how to deal with everything with a new perspective- that everyone will die around him and he will live on. Yet he takes on Torchwood, changes it’s history, and makes it GOOD, and makes a force of change with ordinary humans.

That, in and of itself would make him a top companion.

And then, to top it off, there’s this:


This post is part of TWO marvelous blogging events!

Sci-Fi Month is brought to you by Rinn Reads. Check out the full schedule of Sci-Fi Month posts! There are reviews, discussions, giveaways, and more!

Doctor Who Week is a joint venture between  Maria’s Melange and Teen Librarian Toolbox. We have a full week of fun posts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.

A Tween Top 10: Favortie things from Doctor Who

In my house, Doctor Who is a family affair.  We don’t go a night without my Tween asking, “Can we watch Doctor Who tonight?” I can never think of a reason to say no, so we do.  So I thought we would get a Tween perspective.  Here is my Tween, nicknamed Kicky, writing about her favorite Doctor Who things in her own words.

My favorite Doctor Who moments are:

Favorite Doctor -10 because of his white converse and his favorite phrase “Allons-y” (French for “let’s go”)

Favorite Companion –Rose Tyler and Mickey because they are so caring and they listen

Favorite Villain –The Daleks because they are so evil and smart at the same time

Favorite Alien Friend – Madame Vastra because she is so loyal and trustworthy and awesome

Favorite Episode – New Earth because Rose, Cassandra, and flying cars (Editor’s note: The episode her and her sister watch the most is actually The Curse of the Black Spot, so this surprised me.)

Favorite Earth Person Who Meets the Doctor –William Shakespeare because he is amazing with words

Favorite Weapon Used – The poisonous lip gloss Melody used to try to kill the doctor

Favorite Robot –  K-9 because he risked his life for his owner

Favorite Technology –Sonic Screwdriver because the doctor uses it so much and it can do cool things
Favorite Quotes – “Spoilers”, she says it with such style

These are my favorite Doctor Who things (LOL)

I LOVE DOCTOR WHO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So here is my 2 cents based on the categories that she chose . . .
Favorite Doctor – 9, in part because he was my first.
Favorite Companions – So much harder to say because I love the story arc of Amy and Rory but I love the personality of Donna Noble and the way she both stood up to and humanized 10, who was so very broken. Um, so it’s a tie.
Favorite Villain – No contest, the Weeping Angels.  But I am also very fond of The Silence which makes me think of The X-Files, another show I love.   The Daleks actually make me laugh every time I see them.

Favorite Alien Friend – Actually, I think Madame Vastra is a good choice because of the morality and dignity of her character, the truth she stood for, and just the way she kicked ass.  But I am also a huge fan of Strax because he is comedic relief.

Favorite Episode – So very, very hard.  Possibly The Snowmen because I love the way Clara is presented, you have Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax, and it has this melancholy haunting to it.  But I also love The Angels Take Manhattan, The Satan Pit, The Doctor Dances, and, of course, Blink.

Favorite Earth Person Who Meets the Doctor – Donna Noble’s grandfather Wilfred Mott.  He just breaks my heart with his earnest love for his granddaughter and the part he plays in the life of 10.

Favorite Weapon Used – I guess I never pay attention to the weapons, so sure – the poison lipstick works just as well for me in this category.

Favorite Robot – K-9, just for its coolness factor.  I mean, it’s a robot dog.

Favorite Technology – Yep, the sonic screwdriver.

Favorite Quote – I talk about this in another post, but if I had to choose one it would be, “We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”

This post is part of TWO marvelous blogging events!

Sci-Fi Month is brought to you by Rinn Reads. Check out the full schedule of Sci-Fi Month posts! There are reviews, discussions, giveaways, and more!

Doctor Who Week is a joint venture between  Maria’s Melange and Teen Librarian Toolbox. We have a full week of fun posts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.

Top 5 Companions according to a Tween, a guest post by Maria Selke

This Doctor Who post is being brought to you from our Doctor Who Week companion (see what I did there) Maria Selke from Maria’s Melange.

Today I bring you another guest post from one of my all time favorite people – my nine year old son!

Source BBCAmerica

We were discussing an article I had seen recently on Buzzfeed, where someone ranked all of the Doctor’s Companions. Of course, this lead to our our conversation about HIS favorites. I was greatly amused by his list and his reasons for each ranking.

Companions List:
1) Rose – I have seen her the most so far.
2) Donna – She yells at the world constantly and it is funny.
3) Clara – She is mysterious (at this point he’s only seen her in two episodes)
4) Amy & Rory – I like them, but not as much as the others. They are not with the Doctor I like the most.
5) River – She is mysterious, too. Not as much as Clara. I like her in A Good Man Goes to War.

When I asked him why Martha didn’t make his list, he said that she would be #6, but he was sticking with a top 5 for his official list. Sarah Jane would come in right after Martha.

Doctors (He wanted me to point out that these are the only Doctors he has seen – so far)

10 – This is HIS Doctor – and the one he dressed up as for Halloween.
11 – He is funny.
9 – Better than four and one.
4 – The special effects are corny.
1 – I haven’t seen any aliens yet for this one.

Where do I stand on this matter?


I would keep Rose and Donna in the top two, absolutely. I freely admit to totally “shipping” the Doctor and Rose. I don’t want all of my companions to have a romantic interest in him, though, which may be why Martha wasn’t one of my favorites. I wouldn’t have Clara in my Top 5, though. I do like the eventual reveal of her mystery and purpose, but I wish that her “deal” wasn’t just being mysterious. I didn’t feel like I really got to know her. River would come in higher for me. I just LOVE her spunk, and I mimic her “spoilers, sweetie” on a regular basis.



I’m going to stick to my guns on Nine here and put him first. He’s the one who brought me in the Whoniverse and I love his darkness and his spontaneous goofy grins. Fantastic!

Ten comes next. He’s just so stinking adorable, with his cocked eyebrow and his ruffled up hair. He has the dark streak from Nine (I like to say, “Your nine is showing!”) and the start of the silly from Eleven.

Eleven comes after these two. He’s like the goofy older brother of your best friend that just makes you shake your head and grin so much of the time. I keep waiting for him to fall over something.

I can’t wait to see more of the older Doctors so I can feel like I have a more informed opinion about them.
This post is part of TWO marvelous blogging events!
Sci-Fi Month is brought to you by Rinn Reads. Check out the full schedule of Sci-Fi Month posts! There are reviews, discussions, give aways, and more!
Doctor Who Week is a joint venture between my blog Maria’s Melange and Teen Librarian Toolbox. We have a full week of fun posts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.