Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Author Cecil Castelluci is Offering a Book Based Gaming Package to Libaries

Author Cecil Castelluci (Tin Star) has made a table top RPG for Tin Star, kind of like D&D, where you play aliens who dock on the space station and interact with the characters from the book on a mini adventure. You don’t have to have read the book to play the game, or play the game to read the book.

It’s a free download which you can find here:

Rules here http://www.macteenbooks.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/TinStar_QuickstartRules.pdf

Adventure here http://www.macteenbooks.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/TinStar_ASimpleFavor.pdf)

Castelluci has some other goodies to offer while supplies last, so email for more information at misscecil@gmail.com

About Tin Star:

On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist’s leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station.

When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula’s desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind.

The sequel, Stone in the Sky, comes out February 24th, 2015 from Roaring Book Press:

In this thrilling follow-up to Tin Star, Tula will need to rely on more than just her wits to save her only home in the sky.

After escaping death a second time, Tula Bane is now even thirstier for revenge. She spends much of her time in the Tin Star Café on the Yertina Feray—the space station she calls home. But when it’s discovered that the desolate and abandoned planet near the station has high quantities of a precious resource, the once sleepy space station becomes a major player in intergalactic politics. In the spirit of the Gold Rush, aliens from all over the galaxy race to cash in—including Tula’s worst enemy.


Game Review: Star Fluxx

I have introduced my tweens and teens to a monster. No, not Bigfoot or The Blob, it is the card game called Star Fluxx. They are addicted in every sense of the word. Any time there is a break and there are two or more of them together, they can be seen shadowing the doorway to my office, trying to find their next fix.

Miss, do you have time to play Star Fluxx?

If you’ve never heard of it, Fluxx is a card game with ever changing rules and goals produced by Looney Labs. There are typically 5 types of cards in each deck of Fluxx cards:


Creeper Cards

 which you put face up immediately in front of you and can stop you from winning

Action and New Rule Cards

which you play during your turn
(and occasionally the Surprise Cards depending on the type of Fluxx game you are playing)

Goal Cards
which tell you what you need need to have in order to win the game

and Keeper Cards
good cards that allow you to win the game 
(see the example) 

To start, you take out the Basic rules card:

and place it face up on the table in front of all the players.

Then shuffle the deck, and deal three cards to each player. If anyone has any Creeper cards, they are placed immediately face up in front of the player, and then that player draws to replace the Creeper card. The person who goes first is the person who says, “I’m going first!” They then follow the Basic Rule: draw one card from the draw pile, and then play one face up. It can be a Keeper, an Action, a Goal or a New Rule. Then players follow the directions on the card- if it’s an action, they follow that action, if it’s a New Rule, then the player and the ones following abide by that new rule.

Rules can change (draw 2, draw 5, can only have 4 keepers), Goals change constantly, and Creepers and Keepers have various actions (some allow you steal other cards, while others protect you from harm). Not only does it keep players on their toes, but for those who need to work on their reading, it’s an excellent way to sneak in practice while they’re having fun. Make everyone read OUT LOUD the card they’re playing so that EVERYONE knows what’s going on, and no one is singled out. The vocabulary can be difficult, but in the excitement of the game they’ll be willing to have the challenge.

And the added bonus of having “their” librarian take the time to sit and play games with them makes it all the more special.

Star Fluxx is one that I constantly keep in my office, not only because of the educational value and the added bonus of assisting with a number of the 40 Developmental Assets for Teens and hitting a number of the bullets of the newest YALSA Initiative, it hits my geek buttons. It has the Time Traveler (Doctor Who) and the Mechanic (remarkable resemblance to Kylie from Firefly), along with references to 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Hitchhikers Guide’ to the Galaxy, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and other books and movies and tv shows that a space geek would love.

DEFINITELY RECOMMENDED for a teen gaming collection. You can usually find it at your local comic shop (mine carries it and other Fluxx titles), and at other retailers such at Barnes and Noble and Target from time to time. You can also order it online.

TPIB: Divergent Truth or Dare

My tweens and teens are completely excited for the Divergent movie. You have NO idea- I have been getting asked for MONTHS when it’s coming out, can we go see it together, when are we going to go see it… and these are GUYS. So those of you with a mix of teens I know are having tons and tons of teens excited- which is completely wonderful because they are excited about something that came from BOOKS. So what better way to celebrate than with a huge themed game of Truth or Dare!

Where did it come from?
First, the wonderful Veronica Roth and the Epic Reads Crew shared how to do a Tea Party:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB3gzdvSINo?rel=0]
which is awesome, but got me thinking…. how can you do that with teens and no heat source?!?!? Nope, not gonna work. Soooo doesn’t work for me. BUT, I could combine CANDOR and DAUNTLESS into a huge Divergent themed TRUTH or DARE.
Think about it. CANDOR stands for brutal honesty, right? That’s always what is supposed to happen in Truth or Dare. So that would be the Truth part. And DAUNTLESS is fearlessness. So the Dare part. The only thing would be it would need to be controlled….  It would need to be harnessed…  It would need….

Nope, just a little planning.

Before your party, create a list of cards for CANDOR (truth) and DAUNTLESS (dare). You can print them out using publisher or anything else you have, or you can write them out on index cards; if you want to be really fancy, you can even put the faction symbols on the back.
Make sure that they question/challenges are things that the can answer without too much embarrassment or ribbing from friends and the challenges that you can actually do in the space that you have. You don’t want things to come out that are extremely sensitive, and always make sure that people have an out clause if they want one. Teens should always be able to be a part of something without actually participating if they don’t want to- if they want to be part of the game without playing, they could be a timer for a challenge, or a scorekeeper.
CANDOR questions could include:
  • If you could be anything- regardless of talent or restrictions of any kind- what would you want to be when you become an adult?
  • What is your dream school?
  • What is your favorite type of candy?
  • What book that everyone loves about that you hate?
  • If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
  • What is one subject in school that you actually like and why?
  • Name a movie that you love that other people don’t like
  • Name an actor that you don’t like
For DAUNTLESS you could use challenges from Minute to Win It or Fear Factor. I’ve done Fear Factor as a program before, and used a lot of edible challenges like lime jello with pimentos and bacon bits made into a brain, Buddy the Elf spaghettios, and mixed up baby food. Other ideas:
Note: for set up of dares, I like to put them together in bags or boxes with labels that I know what they are but others don’t, so I can grab them and go, or have a cart set up but covered so that it’s all a mystery how things get put together. Then again, I am usually the only person running my programs.
 Also keep an eye out for particularly hard questions and challenges that still will work with your teens and space. They could be more intense questions, or more intricate questions, or redoing a challenge that they did but with a faster time. Create those cards, but set them aside in case you need them for the DIVERGENT variant. These will be the Aptitude Test questions.

I plan to subtly dress in Faction colors during the week, although there’s no way I’m doing red pants. Sorry. For the party, however, I think I’m going to have to do Erudite since I’m leading everything- but if you’re looking for ideas, the web is full of them. Definitely encourage your teens to dress in faction colors as well.
To actually play, split up your teens into comfortable sized groups. I tend to use 4-5 per group/team, and depending on the group I’ll either let them split themselves up or split them randomly. With this being a Divergent party, if you can get them split into factions first (or five groups) even better. There are quizzes that you can print out and have them take, you can randomly assign them, you can pinpoint colors that they’re wearing- all sorts of options.
Have them sit in separate spaces, similar to the Factions set up during the Ceremony. Then get it started. The person with the first letter in the alphabet walks up and chooses CANDOR or DAUNTLESS. Then they will have to perform the task- question or challenge. 

And here is where it can get interesting- you can play AMITY (and let everyone keep going even if they don’t complete the challenge or someone decides and proves they’re lying) or you can play for DIVERGENT (and make someone sit out if they fail). If you play AMITY, play nice until all the questions are complete, or people are tired of the game and want to switch to something else. If you play DIVERGENT, then the winners are the members still standing in the last Faction. However, you now take on the role of hunting out the DIVERGENT among the City, and those that are suspiciously able to go through the CANDOR and DAUNTLESS questions and challenges must face the APTITUDE tests.

And have fun!

Previously, Cindy Shutts talked about her awesome party plans earlier and I am completely jealous that she’s going to be able to get her teens to eat quietly.

Karen gave us wonderful instructions on how to make really cool rainbow loom Divergent bracelets with and without faction bottle caps. Note: I have found that using the actual Rainbow Loom products from Choon’s Design are far superior to the knock-offs. I’ve had tweens come in with their own bands and we’ve finger-weaved together (me using my stash as I haven’t had a loom makerspace yet, and they with their knock-off bands), and theirs will snap/break. So if you can, buy the original.

And we are still pinning to our Divergent pinterest board– and will be adding to it as I bet the movie will take off similar to The Hunger Games.
What wonderful things are you doing? Share in the comments!

TPiB: Divergent Programming, a guest post by Cindy

Divergent Program Outline
Faction Quiz. J-14 style
Amity Art Contest design a new cover for  Divergen
Erudite Quiz on Divergent and Chicago history
Dauntless (Truth or Dare) Divergent edition
Abnegation  Divergent Snacks
Candor (Who are you challenge)

Divergent is very popular right now and the movie is coming out soon, so we know it will only grow in popularity. Living in a suburb near Chicago, the buzz around the books is great because teens love talking about landmarks they recognize. We have included Divergentin our previous programs doing shrinky-dinks with faction symbols, and for our summer reading program our theme was Have Book Will Travel, so we created literary passports in which many of our teens used Divergent as one of their destinations. We have regular Teen Advisory Group meetings and the teens mentioned wanting to have a Divergent event so I know I had to do it. 
Take the Faction Quiz at Divergent Fans
We are not having our Divergent Program until after the movie comes out. I have learned to do related programs a week after the movie releases. We plan for our program to be held on March 25. Before the program, I plan to ask each of the teens a secret question and pretend it is related to a future program. This will actually be the abnegation portion. But they will not know that until later. 
The next part of the program will be the choosing of the faction ceremony. The teens will pick one of the five factions –Amity, Erudite, Dauntless, Abnegation and Candor.  I am going to make buttons for all of the factions so that they can wear the buttons during the program. The faction ceremony will divide the teens into teams making awarding of the prizes during the program easier. We will then have contest based on each of the factions.  The first contest will be the Amity art contest where each team will create a new symbol for their factions. Points will be awarded for creativity.
Erudite quiz will test their knowledge of the series, but most questions will come from the first book so that teens who have only read it will be able to do all right. We will also include Chicago trivia because the books take place in Chicago. Points will be award on correct answers.
The dauntless challenge will force teens to face their fears in the ultimate game of truth and dare. There will be physical challenges to complete during this section so that the teens can get up and move around.
The fake abnegation challenges will be to eat in the abnegation manner where the food is passed to the right and the teens will have to wait until everyone is served to eat. They will also have to eat plain food and eat quietly. They will be asked not to talk while eating. This is will be fun to see if the teens can succeed at this challenge. After the portion is over we will announce that this was a fake challenge and the real challenge was when they came in and the points will be updated accordingly as long as the teens do not kill us for messing with their minds. 
Candor is a harder challenge so I am going to have them draw a picture of a window and in the window they will have to draw who they are. An example of this kind of drawing for myself would be a window with a dog and a heart, A heart that has a lock on it to show I have a hard time letting people into my heart by when I do they stay there forever. Anyone who puts effort in this will get all the points.
We will then total the points and the find the winner who is a real life Divergent. I am hoping to have Divergent swag to give to the winners. I was able to pick up signed copies of the paperback edition of Divergent for this event. 
Cindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL. You can follow her on Twitter at .

TPiB: Humans vs Zombies (Lock-In Version with Doctor Who twist)

v:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} Twice every year, right around Martin Luther King Jr. weekend and the beginning of school, I hold a lock-in for teens who have reached a particular reading goal. For the Summer Reading Lock-In, they must read 65 hours or more in order to stay 13 hours in our community building. I have the schedule down pretty tight- anything that is a group activity is required, and we always start off the night with a massive game with everyone. This time around, I took inspiration from the guys over at humansvszombies.org and modified what they call a survival or short game to fit what we needed.

And OH, what fun it was. 
Pause between rounds and reconfiguring bandanas

Game in progress

Discussing strategy
The nice thing is that it can definitely be adjusted for a library game for an after hours event, or a large party with minimal effort. 
Really, all you need is bandanas- I added the extras to make it more interesting…

Background Scenario 

Your library is ground zero of a horrific plague. Food from the local gas station was contaminated with a genetic mutation and turn anyone who eats them into a flesh-eating zombie.

No one knew.

It took hours for the mutation to take place after eating them, and no one knew until after the library doors were closed for the library’s lock-in/program.  

The zombies currently look like anyone else, but after a while . . .

not all Non-combatants may be used in the game

Humans: those who did not eat takis and now must fight the zombie invasion (active participant) 

Zombies: those who did eat the takis and now must try and turn the humans into zombies (active participant) 

Quartermaster(S): person or persons in charge of distributing supplies to the humans. Not zombie food. Marked with a whistle. ( 1-4 players, non-combatant) 

W.h.o. doctor(s): those who will call whether a zombie has infected a human if there is cause for discussion. Marked with a bowtie. (1-4 players, non-combatant) 

U.N. Investigator(s): those who are in charge of making sure game play is fair and safe for all. Marked with a badge. (1-6 players, non-combatant) 

Game Master: person overseeing all game play, punishment, and side quests

For humans 

Goal of the game: survive. The one who is the last to be turned into a zombie is the winner. You wear your bandana on your arms or wrist.

Sock stuns must hit the torso. Zombies are stunned for a count of 10 as demonstrated by the game master.
Humans can form teams of three for survival.
You turn into a zombie if a zombie tags you on the arms, back or legs. You then move your bandana to your head. 

For Zombies

The goal of the game is to turn all of the humans. The game is over when all the humans are dead. You wear your bandana on your head. 

You turn humans by tagging them on the arms, back or legs. No tags on the head, torso, or feet. No flying tags or any other type of tag that will cause injury. 
You can be stunned by the throwing of socks to the torso. You must count to 10 in the manner demonstrated by the game master. Any faster and you will have to start again. 
Zombies can hunt in packs of six. Any more than that and you get confused and wander off by yourselves.

    For the quartermaster
    1-4 players depending

    Your mission is to supply the humans with their only weapon against the zombies, smelly socks left in the lost and found. These weapons stun zombies.
    You must recharge used socks by collecting them from the combat area and taking them to the weapon depot or way station to regain their stun abilities.
    You have immunity from the zombie infection due to your continuous contact with laundry soap.
    You must wear your assigned whistle at all times.
    Humans can carry up to 5 separate socks at a time- you are not allowed to give them more than that.
    Zombies can track your location for a 15 count, so be careful how you get your supplies to humans. You do not want to lead zombies to humans.
    The main weapon depot will be at (designate an area), but you may create up to two more way stations of ammunition at the beginning of the game. You must let the U.N. Investigators know the locations of the way stations.

    For W.H.O. Doctor(S)

    1-4 players Depending

    You are called in to investigate whether or not a human has been turned into a zombie if there is a dispute.
    Humans are turned into a zombie if they are tagged on the arm, leg or back *only*. No other tag is allowed.
    You must wear your assigned bowtie during the entire game play.
    You wander around the entire gameplay area unless otherwise called to a specific area.
    You may give infected humans a chance to earn their life back through the ‘Weeping Angel Challenge’ (see below) 

    The Weeping Angel Challenge:

    Tell the infected human this: You have one chance to gain back your humanity- If you decline, you will become a zombie and must join the ranks of the undead. If you accept the challenge and win, you will become human again. If you accept the challenge and fail, you will die and sit out the rest of the game. What is your answer?

    If they accept the challenge, give them a weeping angel card and tell them to report to the game master. If they decline the challenge, they become a zombie immediately.

    For U.N. Investigator(S)
    1-4 players depending

    You Must wear your assigned badge at all times during gameplay. 
    You wander the site making sure that zombies, humans, W.H.O. doctors, and quartermasters are following the rules. If they are found to not be playing fair, the following penalties will apply:

    Flying tags or other unsafe tags by zombies: immediate death and sent to the game master
    Stunning to the head or other places to cause pain on purpose: send immediately to the game master
    Humans found to be carrying more than 5 socks: immediate turning to zombie.
    Humans in more than squads of 3: immediate disbandment.
    Zombies in more than packs of 6: immediate confusion and wandering alone.
    Zombies counting too fast during stunning: counting to 100.
    Quartermaster supplying too much ammunition: downgrade to human.
    W.H.O. doctor not performing duties: report immediately to game master for punishment

    For the Game Master 

    You are in charge of the ‘weeping angel’ challenge. You will need to have the following equipment in order to discharge your duties: a stopwatch, weeping angel masks, random quests (if desired), a watch/timer (for timed games), an announcement system, infection result cards, bandanas, socks, copies of these instructions for all participants, weeping angels, and other things as devised. 

    Rules of the Games

      • Those who want to be active participants (humans or zombies) need to let the game master know before start of game
      • Game master assigns Bowties to W.H.O. doctors, Whistles to Quartermaster(S), and Badges to U.N. Investigators so all players know who they are. They are then released into the game arena.
      • Active Participants are given their infection status. Humans are immediately sent from the room to meet with the Quartermaster to gain ammunition and form a plan. Zombies meet with each other before brain functions complete disintegrate.
    Weeping Angel Challenge
    Scattered around the game play area are weeping angels. You have a certain time limit to bring back ONE (1) angel. Fail and you are dead and must sit out the rest of the game as the angels have gotten you. Succeed and you return to the human race to battle the zombies. You Must wear a weeping angel mask on your head (not necessarily on your face) so that other participants know that you are on a challenge. The first challenge will be set at a particular time. After the first successful challenge is completed, the next person will have to meet or beat that time. The time will keep getting shorter and shorter as the game goes on.
     This game is an adaptation of the original Human vs. Zombies game found here.  Christie adapted the rules to fit her library programming and add her own unique Doctor Who twist with the Weeping Angel challenge.