Teen Lib.

A weblog about teen literature and library services.

Websites worth knowing about

March 23, 2006 by · 4 Comments · Book Reviews

I have stumbled upon a few more websites that are worth knowing about if you are involved with Young Adult library services.

The first is a Wiki called Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki. This is a Wiki site (which means that any viewer can edit it, like Wikipedia) which is dedicated toward successful library practices. It also has sections which are particularly applicable to teen librarians such as a gaming section, a Programing for Young Adults section, and much more. Check it out at http://www.libsuccess.org/index.php?title=Main_Page

The next is the website for Free Comic Book Day 2006. This day is just what it sounds like. It is a day where people can go to their local comic book store and receive a free comic book. The point of this is to encourage comic readership and introduce none comic readers to the art form. Check out the site for more info and a list of comics that will be offered. http://www.freecomicbookday.com/

The last link for now is a blog called The Shifted Librarian. This is a great blog dealing with technology and libraries. The most current post talks about videogaming in libraries and mentions the Gaming wiki I mentioned earlier. If you are interested in finding new ways to integrate technology into your library you should check this blog out. http://www.theshiftedlibrarian.com/.

There are plenty of other good sites which I will try to keep you up on but this is a good start. Check them out and let me know what you think. Definitely comment and tell me if you know of other sites or resources I should be aware of.

Adolf Vol 1: A Tale of the Twentieth Century

March 16, 2006 by · 5 Comments · Graphic Novels

Adolf by Osamu Tezuka is one of the most intriguing graphic novel series I have read in a long time.  It is a five volume series which begins with Adolf, Vol 1” a tale of the twentieth century.  These books take place during the years leading up too and during WW2.  The setting switches between Germany and Japan.  It involves two stories that at the beginning seem quite different, but as the volumes play out become intricately intertwined.  The first is the story of a Japanese reporter who is in Germany to cover the Olympics in Berlin.  During his time there, his brother who was also in Berlin is murdered because of his connections with the communist party.  Toge, the reporter, attempts to track down his brother’s murderer and the secret behind his murder.  The other story involves two boys named Adolf as well as the Adolf Hitler.  The boys both grew up in Japan; one comes from a Jewish family from Germany who has been living in Japan ever since he was born.  The other Adolf has a Japanese mother and a German father who happens to be a fairly important man in the Nazi party.  The story follows as this unlikely pair becomes best friends, and continues as one rises to prominence in the Nazi party and the other roots himself firmly in his Jewish and Japanese heritage.  These stories quickly become one as all of these winds together into one of the most intricate and different stories about the war that has been put to pen.  Tezuka’s position of having lived during the war, in Japan puts him in the unique position to write about the alliance between Japan and Germany without an American bias.  This book is well written and the art is quite good.  Any body that has interest in the war or simply an interest in an exciting and griping story would benefit greatly from reading Tezuka’s Adolf series.

Video Game Links

March 15, 2006 by · 3 Comments · Video Games

I have recently stumbled upon three different sites/groups which deal with video games and are well worth looking at. The first is a Google group called LibGaming and it is a group forum to discuss video gaming in libraries. There are all sorts of worthwhile threads that discuss everything from how to justify using Dance Dance Revolution in the library to  video game websites worth checking out.

The second site I stumbled upon is the site for the Video Game Voters Network. This is a group that is dedicated toward helping gamers stand up for their rights and for the rights of free speech in relation to video games. They encourage viewers to join and take action by being voters and by writing to our senators in opposition to the Family Entertainment Protection Act. The site also has all sorts of interesting info in regards to gamer facts, violence in video games, and issues surrounding video games.

The last site is a blog called Game On. This is a blog is contributed to by people in libraries and it deals with video game news and reviews. It is a great place to go to find the latest news about video games and good insight about how they relate to libraries.

Here are the URLs for the above mentioned sights.




Rock and Roll Library Tour

March 14, 2006 by · 4 Comments · General Rantings, Library Services

In one of my young adult lit classes we will be helping a local rock group kick off the first show of their National Library Tour at the Detroit Public Library. The Band is called “The High Strung” and they are a rock band who sounds somewhat like a British Invasion band, the Ramones, and a modern indie rock band. They have had a video on MTV and have been favorably reviewed in many music magazines, including Rolling Stone, which referred to them as “one of the best new, young rock & roll bands in America”.

The cool thing about this band and this tour is the fact that it is taking place in libraries across the countries. William Harmer, the Young Adult Librarian at the Baldwin Public Library is the brain child behind the event. Years ago he organized a concert at his library with a popular band called the Brian Jonestown Massacre. The high-strung opened for this show and absolutely loved playing in a library. This might be in part because the band is quite literate; in fact one band member wrote a novel recently which should be published soon, and they are regular library patrons. Any way, when reflecting upon this show Harmer came up with the idea of a library tour. He pitched the idea to The High Strung and thus the rock and roll library tour was born. Last year they simply toured Michigan playing in libraries and it was very well received. This experience was even related on an episode of National Public Radios This American Life. This year they decided to take the tour across the country.

The band will play for about an hour and then they will take a while to talk with the crowd answering questions about what it is like to be in a successful rock band, what it is like to go on tour, or even what it is like to be on MTV.

If you have been trying to find ways to get teens to your library, and to show them that the library can be cool to, what could be better than being part of the Rock and Roll Library Tour. Teens will jump at a chance to see a band live, for free, that they would normally be shelling out twenty bucks to see at some other venue. For more info, check out the bands website or email William Harmer at [email protected]. If you are in the area, stop by during the opening show at the Detroit Public Library on April 5th at 5:30 pm.

Speak : by Laurie Halse Anderson

March 7, 2006 by · 2 Comments · Book Talks

If you’re at all involved with young adult literature you have probably already read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.  For those of you who haven’t, you need to.  It is one of the more important books in the genre and it deals with some very big teen issues.  You will get a brief idea of what the book is about from the book talk.  I can’t recommend this book enough to librarians.  While it may not be appropriate for every young adult, it can be very helpful to others and librarians need to be aware of it. If you like this book talk, please use it. For more info check out Amazon or Laurie’s website.

Laurie Halse Anderson:  Speak

Do you remember your first day of high school?  You probably felt small, scared, or insignificant.  Everybody was trying to find his or her way into a new clique.  Old friends are not nearly as close as they used to be and you don’t know many of the people around you.  These are just a few of the feelings that Melinda Sordino is feeling as she begins her first year of high school.  Only for her they are all much worse.  Over the summer something happened that caused everybody to hate her.  Her old friends won’t have anything to do with her and all the potential new friends have heard about the incident and wont talk to her.  If only she could talk to them, tell them what happened, then maybe everything would be ok, but she can’t, she won’t.

Her only refuge is found in an art class where she lets her frustration out into her art, and in an old, unused janitors closet where she has found a place to hide.  It seems like things could not get worse but they sure don’t show any signs of getting better.  What would you do in her situation I wonder?  Would you open up and let everything out thinking that life might get better, or would you keep everything bottled up until you cant take it anymore.  Melinda sure doesn’t know what to do; the only thing she knows is she can talk about it.  Anything is better then speaking.

Stotan: by Chris Crutcher

March 6, 2006 by · 3 Comments · Book Talks

Stotan is a very fun and important book, by Chris Crutcher, one of the premier young adult authors out their.  It is about four boys on a high school swim team together and how their adventures during one hellish week of swimming during Christmas break will help them weather some very hard times together.  If you haven’t read anything by Chris before this would be a great book to start with.  It is exciting, funny, and touching.  As with all of Chris’s books, this one seems to have a great grasp of who teens are and how they interact with each other.  If you want to learn more about this book check out the reviews at Amazon or go to Chris Crutcher’s Website, but for now here is a book talk I wrote for it.

Stotan Week,

Dec 17 to Dec. 21,

8 A.M. to Noon Daily,

Volunteers only,

Looking for a few good men,


This is the sign that greeted Walker, Jeff, Lionel, and Nortie after early morning workout on Nov 5th.   Max Il Song is the Montana born and bread Korean Cowboy who coaches the Frost high school swim team.  Max won’t say anything about this stotan week, but the guys can already tell its going to be some week.  Knowing Max as they do they know that this week is going to push them to the utmost limits physically and it will probably be aimed at teaching them all some sort of lesson or another.  Despite their reservations they all decide to volunteer and to spend that week living in Lionel’s near condemned apartment for the week.  However this decision leaves them wondering what is a stotan, what is this week going to be all about, and will they come out of it in one piece.  For the answers to these questions and many more pick up Stotan, by Chris Crutcher.

Runaways Vol. 4: True Believers

March 1, 2006 by · 3 Comments · Graphic Novels

Runaways Vol. 4: True Believers was I must say my favorite of the runaway series yet, which is saying a lot as anything Brian K. Vaughan does is A ok in my book. Any way, for those of you who might be unfamiliar with the Runaways story, it is about a bunch of kids who discover they have super powers. Unfortunately this discovery came on the heels of another discovery which was simply, that all of their parents were part of a syndicate of super villains called the pride and that they were all evil murderers. If you haven’t read any of these books yet I suggest you go out and pick up the first three volumes and read them. However I also suggest you stop reading now as this will contain a brief recap of earlier volumes, which means spoilers.

At the end of Runaways Vol. 3 we saw the group of runaways defeat their parents, and of course the traitor Alex, and escape from the underwater lair where apparently the Parents died. Now, in Runaways Vol. 4 we see the group, as they have rejoined each other after escaping from the various foster homes they had been put in. They are now trying to use their powers for good to battle all of the evil elements which have surfaced in the wake of The Pride. Unfortunately this task becomes much harder when someone from the future tells them about a horrible villain from her time that they need to stop while he is still a kid. To make matters even harder for the group they are being tracked by a group of former b-list super heroes who have formed a support group for kids with super powers. This group is trying to capture all of the runaways so they can help them avoid the mistakes they made at their age. In this volume Vaughan mixes a very interesting story with some of the very witty writing he has become known for. Anyone who has been a fan of Marvel comics will enjoy the references from past members of the Marvelverse including Darkhawk, Chamber, Wonder Man, and a variety of others. This installment is also rife with funny reference to pop culture and does a great job making its characters appeal to teens. This is perhaps the best volume yet in the series and it shows us that this could be a popular series to come.

For more info check out Brian k Vaughans website BKV.TV or Amazon

Videogame collection test

February 27, 2006 by · 3 Comments · Video Games

I just found an article posted on a video gaming site by a librarian refered to on the site called the video gaming librarian. The article talked about a test he conducted by building a collection of PS2 games in his library this last year. The test was, according to the article, a succes. Read the article “The Video Game Librarian: It’s The End of the Year As We Know It” by John Scalzo to find out more, or check out all his articles at the Gaming Target.


February 27, 2006 by · 3 Comments · Book Reviews, General Rantings

So it has been a few days now and I have not had much time to post.  Tonight unfortunately is no exception.  I have however had a lot of time to read, and in some cases listen to, books and graphic novels lately.  So in the next few days you can be expecting me to begin posting a few reviews.   Among the books are “Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky and the Brian series, which is led off with “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen.  In the world of graphic novels I have recently finished reading “Adolf, Volume 1 : A Tale of the Twentieth Century” by Osamu Tezuka and “Runaways Volume 4: True Believers” by Brian K. Vaughan.  There are a few other books as well that I have been meaning to write about when I can find that ever elusive time.  However until that point let me tell you this.  All four of these books are awesome.  You can not go wrong with any of them, and if you are working with Young Adults you frankly should read all of them.  So I will soon tell you more about them as well as all three of these great authors but while you wait, go pick up any of these books and read, you won’t be disappointed.

Superman: Birthright. by: Mark Waid

February 22, 2006 by · 3 Comments · Graphic Novels

Birthright cover image

Mark Waid, like many before him, has developed a new vision of the origins and beginning of superman.  In this world, Clark Kent is a young, traveling reporter who has been trying his best to hide his powers from the world.  After some startling events in Africa Clark decides it is time to use his powers for good.  He and his mother design his suit and alter identity so he can become the popular superman we all know and love.  This story takes many cues from the popular TV show Smallville.  One example of that is that in this story Lex Luthor also grew up in Smallville and was a good friend of Clarks.  The basic thrust of the story is the idea that Clark needs to find a way to come to grips with who he is, and once he does that, becoming superman, find a way to make the public accept him.  The story is fun and it moves at a nice fast pace.  There are some holes which make the story less plausible.  One is that it brings up the ever present hole in all superman comics of the glasses.   How does a simple set of glasses disguise who Clark Kent really is.  While this is always a problem with Superman, writers and readers alike are content to just ignore it usually, but in this story Mark Waid tried to explain it without much success. This explanation forces the reader to consider how ridiculous the concept of using only glasses as a disguise really is.   All in all Superman: Birthright is an enjoyable read which is appropriate for all ages, but it does not add anything particularly important to the superman story.   It does however come jam-packed with fantastic images which will keep you reading despite your feelings about the book.