Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Friday Finds – June 14, 2013

The Friday Finds is your spot for a summary of topics we’ve covered this week. We will have a list of things you may have missed here on TLT, as well as an item or two from the archives you may want to revisit. Each week’s recap will conclude with some links to interesting reading from the web.

This Week at TLT:

Karen writes about damaging stereotypes and the lack of diversity in YA literature.

Robin writes about her (rather disastrous) experience with this year’s World Book Night. 

Mermaids get the Teen Program in a Box treatment.

Karen reviews Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown and goes behind the scenes of reality TV with a look at two compelling reads.

Keeping track of sequels is an endless job. We have a list of popular YA sequels coming out soon.

Kicky (Karen’s tweenage daughter) recommends 5 audiobooktitles you should try. And June is Audio Book Month! Enter our audio book giveaway!

Everyone loves Top Ten lists! We have a chance for you to win a whole book of them.

Previously on TLT:

Summer is a time when teens have traditionally had more time to get involved in their communities. Teens can often feel disconnected and at loose ends (or have an excess of energy looking for an outlet.) Why not steer them towards one of these opportunities to get involved and make a difference?

Around the web:

Wondering where all the good teen female role models are? The Mary Sue has an awesome (and convenient) list of “9 Female Characters We Wish We’d Been More Like In High School” including some of my favorites!

Chuck Wendig runs down the basics of “25 Things You Should Know About Young Adult Fiction” over on his blog Terrible Minds.  The next time someone astounds you with a mindbogglingly incorrect assumption or a false claim to know ‘just what YA is,’ send them here.

Over at The Washington Post, Valerie Strauss discusses the biggest scandal in America – childhood poverty. She presents the current statistics and discusses poverty’s impact on student success in education and the failure of federal policy to address the problem.

Got a tip for some great Friday Finds? Email RobinReads at Bellsouth dot net or Tweet her @RobinReads

TPIB: Beneath the Sea: Mermaids

Summer is coming, and so is this year’s SRP theme “Beneath the Surface”.  Christie is going with a mermaid theme for one of her weeks because they are definitely beneath the surface.  And mermaids are hot right now in part thanks to Animal Planet’s Mermaids: The New Evidence, which was its highest rated telecast ever (and is also a complete hoax, but that is another story).  Here are some great reads and programming ideas for you if you are looking to tap into the current hot topic: mermaids.



Some librarians like to set the scene and create an environment.  You can decorate your programming room and create an under the sea atmosphere.  You could even create a photo booth area and do Instagram crafts.

Use the party ideas from this Pinterest board to put together a mermaid themed program

Balloon Bubbles
Using these clear balloons to create an underwater effect.

Crepe Paper Walls of Water or Seaweed

Use green and blue crepe paper to create water or sea weed decoration effects.

Gather a bunch of rocks and tree branches and spray paint them oranges, yellows, blues and greens to create an under the sea landscape.

There are a lot of great craft ideas out there that are mermaid, fish and sea related.  Here are just a few of the ones that I thought would be reasonable in terms of time and money but still appeal to tweens and teens.

Mermaid Mural
Adapt this blanket idea to create a cool mermaid mural.  Instead of fabric use paper and layer to make your wall look like a mermaid tail of scales.  This would make a great picture background.

Mermaid Picture
I am a huge believer in open ended art projects because they help tweens and teens tap into their creativity, which is so important.  I love the idea of this picture and, as a bonus, you can use it as one of those clean out your craft closet types of activities.

Mermaid Party
There is a lot of good stuff here, including decorations and food items. 

Origami Fish
Pretty self explanatory, but origami is cool.

Mermaid Scale Globe
This would make a great room decoration for your program room or teen area, but tweens and teens can also make one to take home and decorate their room.  It is a variation on the disco ball.

Mason Jar “Snow” Globe
Turn the tradition concept of the snow globe around an create an under the sea globe.

Gyotaku: Fish Prints
In college, one of the art departments annual traditions was to make fish print t-shirts based on the Japanese artform Gyotaku.  Yes, they used real fish.  But you don’t have to; fake fish will also work.

Sand Dollar Necklaces
Jewelry crafting is always popular with my tweens and teens, so I recommend including at least one jewelry project if you can.

Mini Message in a Bottle Charms
If you do a Google search for “mini seashell bottles”, you will get a ton of great images of little bottle necklaces that are charming.  Unfortunately, most of them are on sale at Etsy and there are no awesome craft tutorials available.  I think, however, they are pretty easy to replicate.  You can buy the little bottles Oriental Trading (link below) and fill with sand, seed beads and smaller sized sea shells.  Maybe even write a mini-fortune to put in there for safe keeping.

You can buy sea shells and seed beads from the craft store to make your own hair clips, jewelry and necklaces. When all else fails, jewelry is my standby.  Buy a bunch of forks at your local thrift store and make “Dinglehopper” necklaces, inspired by The Little Mermaid.  Note, you’ll need to pre-drill holes in the forks for stringing.  Again, there are a lot of examples on Etsy which should be easy to replicate.

There are a lot of really great craft, food and decorating ideas on Pinterest.  Here are two of my favorites: http://pinterest.com/lclazarus/party-mermaid/ and http://pinterest.com/jenhall/mermaid-party-ideas/