Teen Tuesday – Summer Reading Makes a Splash!

Our Summer Reading Program is well underway and we’re so excited about the number of teens who’ve already signed up. There’s still plenty of time to join! The program doesn’t end until August 2nd, so stop by the Young People’s Dept. You’ll be eligible for the grand prize, a $50 Target gift card, just for signing up and when you read 20 books, you’ll earn your ear buds and carrying case.

Plus, to keep you motivated, we’re giving one book buck for every 5 books you complete. Spend your book buck by August 16th on anything in our used book nook, or buy anything on the Club Read Cart in the Young People’s dept. There’s some pretty incredible bargains there . . . and remember, whatever you read (or listen to) counts toward your summer reading goal – graphic novels, comic books, e-books, nonfiction, etc. Looking for something fun to read? Try this–swimthefly

15 year-old Matt and his best friends, Sean and Coop, have set themselves up with a summer goal – to see a real girl totally naked. Then Matt falls in lust with beautiful swimmer Kelly West and suddenly decides to impress her by volunteering to swim the butterfly during championships. Now he just has to gulp down some of the protein powder his mother has stocked in the closet, borrow his brother’s weights to build muscle, and sneak into the country club pool for some unobserved practice time.  No worries! He has all summer.  In the meantime, Sean has a great idea that will get them into the girls’ locker room and one eyeful away from realizing their naked girl goal.  What could possibly go wrong? Continue reading


In the Stacks: Summer Reading and YOU!

In the Stacks: A Blog Straight from the Mind of Steve

This week’s subject: Summer Reading and YOU!

Well I know by the time this hits the Facebook page, the Summer Reading Program will have already started in full swing. I am standing at the Circulation desk right now, and I see vacant spaces all along our pathway to YPL. It is 10:30 am on Sunday June 1st, but I can just feel the energy that is awaiting us as the day progresses. I know that kids and parents alike are going to literally be swarming this whole library with a buzz of excitement at getting registered for the program.

For all of you fellas out of the loop, the Summer Reading Program begins today, June 1st, and will continue all the way until August 2nd. Here are some of the fantastic details:

            You sign up at the Young People’s Department.

            You automatically are entered into a drawing for a $50 Target gift card.

            You automatically get a beautiful purple wallet to hold your library card.

            All you have to do to finish the program is read 20 books. JUST 20 BOOKS!!!

steve Continue reading

Teen Tuesday – Hungry for More HUNGER GAMES? Check This Out!

Well, “Own the Night,” this year’s Teen Summer Reading Program is officially at its end, and we want to congratulate the over 380 Whitney Library teens who participated.  Great job!  We hope that you’re loving the many purchases you’ve made with your book bucks and, like you, we can’t wait to find out who will be the lucky grand prize winner of the Sony WiFi eReader.  In the meantime, take a look at this amazing five page Hunger Games flow chart created by the library staff of Lawrence, Kansas.  With almost a month left of summer, there is still plenty of time to check out at least one of the excellent recommendations featured.  Have a favorite Hunger Games read-alike that was overlooked?  Post a comment and share your suggestions with us!

Teen Tuesday – Out of This WORLD!

We’ve been featuring books that complement our Teen Summer Reading Program theme, “Own the Night” and let’s say you’re out at night, looking up at the sky and maybe you’re contemplating life on other planets, say Mars.  So imagine we finally make it to Mars, and establish not just an outpost, but eventually towns and a government and citizens to whom Earth is nothing more than a giant ball of ancient history.  But like many civilizations, there’s lawlessness and political corruption and soldiers of fortune ready to take advantage of it all.  Welcome to the setting of Black Hole Sun, David Macinnis Gill’s blazing sci-fi novel that’s got it all — adventure, horror, humor and enough chase scenes, explosions and shoot-outs that you may be thinking Die Hard in space.  What the author actually had in mind was more a sci-fi version of the classic Japanese film, Seven Samurai.

Both the film and book share a similar plot line: a shunned warrior assembles a ragtag group of fighters to help poor villagers fight off evil forces that vastly outnumber them.  The warrior in Black Hole Sun is 16 year-old Durango, and the villagers are miners who live and work deep underground in Mars’ polar region.  They are terrorized by the Draeu, cannibal hybrids led by a psychotic queen, who want the treasure they think the miners’ are hiding, and the miners’ children as sacrifices.  In addition to the little band of mercenaries he recruits, Durango is aided by his second in command, Vienne, herself an ultimate fighting machine, and Mimi, his former chief who’s now taken up residence in his brain as an artificial intelligence implant.   A fast-paced sci-fi thriller full of hi-tech gear, cheeky dialog (swearing in six foreign languages!) and a few surprises thrown in for good measure.   A great summer read!

Like the book?  Then check out the sequel, Invisible Sun, or the film that was the inspiration, Seven SamuraiYou could even check out the anime version, called Samurai 7, which takes the original story and sets it in a futuristic post-war period.

Teen Tuesday – What dreams are made of!

Attention, Teens!  It’s already week four of the Summer Reading Program!  Still not signed up yet?  Don’t worry, there’s a whole month left to earn book bucks and enter into the grand prize drawing for a Sony eReader.  Register online or visit the nice people at Whitney’s Young People’s Department.  Trying to figure out what to read?  Talk to us, in person or on Facebook!  And speaking of what to read, here are some great suggestions….

In the following three books, dreams are more than just little movies for the sleeping mind.  They play a major role in each story.  But the books share other themes as well.  They all include school settings and troubled homes, parents who are damaged in some way, and main characters who share a deep sense of isolation and helplessness.  Because all three books have real world settings with contemporary family drama, fans of realistic fiction may enjoy these titles more than readers who favor fantasy.  Descriptions of graphic violence and sexual situations (particularly in the Wake series) make these titles more appropriate for older teens.

Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King – Lucky Linderman is not a very lucky boy.  Bullied by a classmate and ignored by his parents, he begins having vivid dreams of his grandfather who went missing in action in Vietnam, dreams that are becoming more realistic.

 A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Conor is visited by a monster at night who is ancient and demanding, telling him stories of murder, betrayal and loss, but this is not what scares him.  It’s the monster from his nightmares that he finds truly frightening.  Winner of the 2012 Carnegie Medal.

Wake by Lisa McMann – first of a trilogy.  Janie doesn’t have dreams of her own.  Instead, she’s forced into others’ dreams through a special power that is beginning to physically affect her.   Then, she makes the startling discovery that in some dreams, she can be seen.

It is OUR dream that you read for fun this summer and earn prizes!  What books are keeping you up into the night?

Meet Tanya, our awesome Youth Services Department Head!

Tanya is our new Children’s Services Department Head and has been working at Whitney for almost one whole month!  She has held many positions at different branches in the Library District for the past 10 years.  One of Tanya’s favorite things about her job is doing storytime for toddlers and preschoolers, but her FAVORITE thing is learning alongside other learners because she is naturally (and insatiably) curious.

Tanya wants to remind everyone that our Summer Reading Program is continuing until the end of July, and it’s a great way to help kids establish a love of reading.  It’s still not too late to sign up!  You can visit our web site or stop by the children’s desk at the library.

Tanya thinks the best kids’ book in the world is The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf.  She also recently read and loved a book for adults: Blue Nights by Joan Didion.

Tanya has never had chicken pox, and her BFF is her precious Pekingese Prince.

Tanya and the rest of us thank you for using the Whitney Library, and we hope to see you soon!

Nifty Nonfiction Book Review: Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber by Anita Yasuda

Grades 3-8

Do you have Bieber Fever?  You will LOVE this new book all about the life of your favorite star.  Learn fascinating facts about Justin, like wear he was born and how he became famous.  This book includes key events in Justin Bieber’s career, the obstacles he has overcome, and his many achievements and successes.  You will also learn what it takes to make it in the music business and read some helpful tips on writing a biography of your own.  This book is short and easy to read and will appeal to Justin Bieber fans of all reading levels!

Justin’s new CD Believe is out today!  Click here to request a copy.

Nifty Nonfiction Book Review: Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery
Grades 4 – 12

Temple Grandin has always been different.  As a child, she rarely smiled, laughed, or hugged her parents.  She hated wearing new clothes because the fabric felt so scratchy on her skin, it hurt her.  Her own father wanted to put her away in a mental institution.  Her mother didn’t know what to do with her.  When Temple was finally diagnosed with autism, not a lot was known about the condition.  Nobody thought Temple would amount to anything.  Temple proved them wrong.

Temple Grandin’s love of farm animals inspired her to use her brilliant mind to create new designs and equipment to help animals used for food so they are less frightened and feel less pain.  Her designs are now used all around the world, and big companies like McDonalds ask Temple for advice on the most humane farms to purchase their meat.  The little girl who was once petrified of talking to people is now a strong woman who speaks in front of audiences of thousands about her passion.  She is still different, but in her case as in many, different is a good thing.  Temple Grandin says if she had a choice, she would not get rid of her autism.  It has helped make her who she is today and has helped her accomplish all the wonderful things she’s accomplished.

Maybe you know someone who is a little bit different or has autism.  Just remember that our differences make us unique and special, and that someone with a unique mind might create something amazing someday.

Teen Tuesday – PROM!

Signed up for the Teen Summer Reading Program yet?  Do it online or in person in the Young People’s Department.  With this summer’s theme “Own the Night” as our inspiration, last week’s challenge was to recommend books that took place over the course of a night, and what night is bigger in a teen’s life than . . . PROM?!

The dresses!  The dancing!  The decor!  Here are two recent titles that take decidedly different views of prom night.  First up is Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber.  Clever use of college essay questions begin each chapter of this fast-paced, action-packed thriller.  Gobi is a shy, homely foreign exchange student living with Perry’s family.  Up to now, Perry has managed to kindly ignore her until his mother forces him to take Gobi to the prom, which happens to be the same night that Perry’s band has their first gig in New York City.  Hoping to make a quick evening of prom so he can still perform with his band, Perry has no idea that Gobi has a plan of her own — one that will put his family in danger and get him chased, beat up, kidnapped and shot.  If the Alex Rider series ever took Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen to a dance, it would probably look something like this.  Over the top, but fun.

In Ditched: a Love Story by Robin Mellom, Justina is literally climbing out of a ditch when her story begins.  Prom was supposed to be Justina’s chance to maneuver her best friend, Ian, into the perfect kissing spot and declare her true feelings for him.  It was definitely not supposed to be the “abandoned with strangers” night that it turned into.  Sitting in a 7-Eleven, Justina tells her sad story using her dress stains and bruises as visual aids.  Disastrous decision-making and kooky characters may have some readers wondering if Ian was on the right track when he ditched Justina in the first place, but fans of books like Anna and the French Kiss will enjoy this romantic comedy.

We want to hear from YOU!  This week’s challenge: comment on our Facebook post and tell us about your favorite prom book or a favorite moment from your own prom and you’ll win something awesome.

Teen Tuesday – Up All Night

Our Teen Summer Reading Program “Own the Night” just kicked off June 1 (and there is still plenty of time to get signed up if you haven’t already!).  Let’s start with that theme and see if we can get some suggestions for teen books that take place over the course of a night…and a day — a book where everything occurs in a 24 hour period.  Let’s start off with The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer Smith.  Here’s a review of this great book by our very own Miss Judi:

17-year-old Hadley is going to spend seven hours fighting her claustrophobia on a red-eye flight to London.  Once there, she’ll race the clock to make it to her father’s wedding because she’s a bridesmaid — to a new stepmother she’s never actually met, and one she’s determined to hate.  Her only saving grace is Oliver: charming Londoner, Yale college student, and new airport acquaintance who just happens to have the seat right next to her.   Can one overnight flight be the beginning of a real relationship or are family events going to get in the way?   If you’re a romance fan with a fondness for English settings, here’s a book that will keep you up at night — only because you’ll be racing to finish it!

Can you think of any other books for teens that take place over a 24 hour period?  Or, just tell us what you’re reading for the Summer Reading Program!  Comment on our Facebook post and we’ll give you a cool bookmark the next time you come to the library to help you keep your place in all the awesome books you’re reading this summer.