Wellington City Libraries

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Teen Blog

Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

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Happy birthday Pride and Prejudice!

In historical milestone news, last week (the 28th of January to be exact) marked the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen! It’s a great read with a cast of oddball characters, and it will take up that “classics” spot in your school reading log quite nicely.

200 years is a long time, and there have been a whole bunch of different adaptations and versions of P+P. Here are a few of our faves:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Of course.

The 2005 movie with Keira Knightley in it. Bingley, please.

Prom & Prejudice, a modern retelling of P+P. Same names and everything! But set in a high school.

The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, an online video series adaptation in the form of vlogs. It is super good! Also, it was co-created and developed by Hank Green of vlogbrothers fame i.e. brother of John Green.

This excellent cartoon summary version.

And finally, this has got to be the prettiest edition of the book ever:

Book cover courtesy of Syndetics

Check it out in real life to see the extent of its prettiness – bright coloured page edges, embossing and a silky matte cover. It’s designed by Jessica Hische (my favourite graphic designer!) and you can see a few more from this series on her website.

Happy P+P anniversary, enjoy in any way you wish!

K-Pop

Here are some songs by a few Korean bands. Korean pop is called K-pop! (Also Japanese pop is called J-pop!) It is marked by catchy songs, incredible dancing, and hyper-fashion.

Do you like it? Should the library buy some of their CDs for the teen section? Thanks for your comments below (or on our Facebook page)!

This first group is Super Junior, and the song is called Sexy, Free, and Single. It was only released a week or so ago, so is very new and fresh. Super Junior has about nine or ten members! (I can’t count higher than six.) If you like it you will probably love their older song, Mr. Simple.

Aaand the next track is by SHINee. It is called Lucifer and you know what, it has the best dancing ever. Prove me wrong! It’s a couple of years old, though, but they’ve a newer song, Sherlock, which is also comes highly recommended (by me and some other people).

Another new song is No Mercy, by B.A.P. Click to watch! They are also a (large) boyband with great hair. I don’t know if I like this song as much as the others. Thoughts?

Finally! Here’s AAA’s No Cry No More. It is J-pop, okay.

So don’t forget to comment here or on our Facebook if you have any suggestions.

Best of 2011: Lauren’s Pick

Love is the Higher Law, David Levithan

“Three New York City teenagers struggle to come of age amid the chaos and aftermath of September 11. Peter’s, Claire’s, and Jasper’s lives weave together as they come to terms with a new reality. A welcome addition to any YA fiction collection where there are few examples on the topic.” (Library Journal)

Love is the Higher Law showed another side of the events of 9/11 – what teens actually went through in NY, where they were when the planes hit the world trade centre and the events that followed.

~ Lauren

Best of 2011: Julie’s Picks

2011 is nearly over, so we thought we’d ask some library staff what their favourite books of the year were. Here are the first reviews of an interesting, ecclectic bunch!

Naked, Kevin Brooks

London 1976, during the height of IRA bombings and the emergence of the punk scene, teenagers Lili and Curtis are living their dream by playing in their punk band called ‘Naked’.

William Bonney, a Belfast boy joins the band as guitarist and Lili is immediately drawn to him. She finds herself caught up in his Irish past which inevitably follows him to London. This is a characteristically gripping novel from Kevin Brooks.

Out of Shadows, Jason Wallace

This is the story of Robert Jacklin a thirteen year old boy who arrives from England to Zimbabwe at the end of the civil war – Robert Mugabe has just taken over as president. Robert is sent to a very traditional boy’s boarding school where bullying is rife and he quickly learns that instead of remaining friends with one of the school’s few black students it is in his interests to be loyal to the white elite. Over his five years at the school he turns into a thug’s accessory and chooses to ignore his own morals.

The story turns into a fast paced thriller as Robert’s mentor becomes more and more focused on achieving what he think is right.

Author, Jason Wallace grew up in post revolutionary Zimbabwe so the portrayal of the boarding school and political climate is very real. While in many ways it left me feeling shocked it was a very powerful novel.

~ Julie

Banned Books Week

It is Banned Books Week! At least it is in America, where books are banned more zealously than here, in NZ, where no one seems to mind. We have a lot of the books that are most often challenged (in the US, of course!) in our fantastic Young Adult collection, where they remain happily unchallenged. Here is a list! (You can read more about each book by clicking on the link, and reading why they were challenged/banned here (pdf) and more recently, here (PDF also). Here’s a handy map, also.)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Twisted and Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
Snakehead, by Anthony Horowitz
Baby Be-Bop, by Francesca Lia Block
House of Night series, by P. C. Cast and Kristen Cast
Deadline, by Chris Crutcher
Geography Club, by Brent Hartinger
Vegan, Virgin, Valentine, by Carolyn Mackler
The Bermudez Triangle, by Maureen Johnson
Lesson from a Dead Girl, by Johanna Knowles
Vampire Academy series, by Richelle Mead
Twilight series, by Stephenie Meyer
Forever in Blue : The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood, by Ann Brashares
ttyl, by Lauren Myracle
Living Dead Girl, by Elizabeth Scott
Unwind, by Neal Shusterman
Only in your Dreams : A Gossip Girl Novel, by Cecily Von Ziegesar

Here are some picture of the covers, for added colour.

New Zealand Music Month at Wellington City Libraries

Ash Graham 16 year old singer songwriter who is one of the performers for NZ Music Month.

It’s May! So once again it’s New Zealand Music Month. What’s the Library doing this year to celebrate & profile Wellington musicians?  Well…

This May, Wellington libraries will turn into temporary concert venues – showcasing young local talent. Up-and-coming young artists will perform afternoon gigs at Wellington Central Library and at the Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie), Newtown, Johnsonville and Karori branch libraries. These free events will take place Monday 16 to Friday 20 May.

nzmm-2011

– Kilbirnie on Monday 16 from 4 to 5pm
– Newtown on Tuesday 17 from 4 to 5pm
– Johnsonville on Wednesday 18 from 4 to 5pm
– Karori on Thursday 19 from 4 to 5pm
– Central on Friday 20 from 4 to 5pm

There will also be evening performances at ZEAL and The Jimmy Bar at the St James Theatre.

Wellington City Council is organising these live performances in partnership with Play It Strange, a trust established in 2003 to encourage young New Zealanders to develop interests and skills in songwriting and musical performance.

Other Music Month events include a series of Music Workshops.

On Monday 30 and Tuesday 31 May Toi Poneke Arts Centre will hold free workshops for independent musicians. The workshop on Monday is for musicians who want to break into the Australian market and will be full of hits and tips for people who have already crossed the Tasman.

This is followed on Tuesday with the launch of the Instrumental’s Musician’s Publicity Toolkit – with a live performance from Mara TK. The toolkit is a musician’s essential guide to self-publicity and online marketing.

A full list of events, times and venues in Wellington for New Zealand Music Month can be found on the Toi Poneke Arts Centre’s Facebook page

Further facebook details with a full list of performers after the jump

Read More

Top 10: Laurens

  1. Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver. Lauren Oliver’s blog is here. She uses blogger.com (if you’re interested in blogging).
  2. Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, Eileen Cook. This one gets the Lauren Award for the best book cover with the name Lauren in the title.
  3. TTYL, Lauren Myracle. TTFN and L8r, G8r too. Her blog is here.
  4. Fallen, Lauren Kate. There’s also Torment, and then Passion, which comes out in June (reserve it now! Become a Facebook fan).
  5. L A Candy, Lauren Conrad. The first in the series that also contains Sweet Little Lies and Sugar and Spice.
  6. Chestnut Hill series and the Heartland series, Lauren Brooke. For horse lovers.
  7. The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger. We also have the DVD starring Anne Hathaway ($4 for one week).
  8. The rise and fall of a 10th-grade social climber, Lauren Mechling and Laura Moser. Lauren Mechling blogs using WordPress here.
  9. Lauren Conrad: style, Lauren Conrad with Elise Loehnen. Not fiction, fashion this time. Have a look at the Fashion Friday post inspired by The Hills.
  10. Lauren the puppy fairy, Daisy Meadows. Unlock the magic within at the official site.

TAFN, Lauren.

Two Great Reads by David Almond

Syndetics book cover

Clay / David Almond – I have enjoyed David Almond’s books such as Skellig and Kit’s Wilderness because the stories and characters are so gripping and Clay was no exception. The story is told by Davie, a teenage boy. Davie is an altar boy, along with his best mate Geordie, and they make money at funerals and hang out together in their hideout plotting out the next attack on a rival gang of boys.  Apart from the threat of Mouldy, the leader of the rival gang of boys, (a boy as big as a man and often reeking of beer who seems to take their battles too far) theirs seems a comfortable, naive existence.

Then Stephen Rose moves in with his aunt “Crazy Mary”. Stephen Rose was sent away to train as a priest at 11 years old but was thrown out and returned to his parents. Shortly afterwards his mother father died and his mother went mad.

Davie’s mum and the priest encourage him to make friends with this lonely boy who has come to the village in such tragic circumstances. Stephen has a gift for making beautiful creatures out of clay.  He loves clay because it is “alive” –  it’s the material from which God shaped Adam and the silky suppleness of wet clay is malleable like the human skin.

This book, like the others, is grounded in the real world. Because the world and the relationships between the characters and everything is so real it is easy to enter fully and I think it is the whole-hearted acceptance of the world which makes the supernatural events as they emerge (so slowly like a dripping tap) so unsettling.

The story is interesting for the dynamics of the relationships between all the characters and the movement from innocence to terrible knowledge. The book explores ideas of  power of creation, the right of creation, good and evil, revenge …

I would recommend this book to: people who like realism with a bit of the fantastical (but incredibly believable) thrown in and also books like the Robert Cormier’s  The Chocolate War which explore the dynamics of human relationships and power struggles.

The main characters in the book are boys but I think it is suitable for girls as well.

I would also recommend this as something different to try for people who like gritty books like Precious as I think, although it enters into fantasy, it carries the same intensity and delves similarly into human relationships and power struggles. I would also potentially recommend it to vampire book lovers because Stephen Rose definitely has the makings of an undead hero.  I think people who enjoyed Abssynia and The Red Shoes etc. by Ursuala Dubosarsky would enjoy these.

My name is Mina / David Almond – This is a new book by David Almond.  It is a diary by Mina, a strange and creative girl who doesn’t quite fit in with school and other kids. The book has a bold format which is part of the storytelling style.  It was more difficult to just lose myself in this story compared to other books written by David Almond because the character,rather than the narrative, is given central stage. Also perhaps this story is less about relationships between people than it is about what is going inside the head of one central character.  This, however, is just because of my personal preference of how to enjoy a story; I’m not that great at reading graphic novels and I’m not a patient reader so I don’t enjoy picking and piecing out all the bits and pieces of a story. At the same time the story has stuck with me and I keep going back and puzzling over bits I didn’t quite understand.

What I didn’t realize until I read someone else’s review of this book, which is pretty obvious (except I’m no good at remembering character names) that this is Mina from Skellig before she meets Michael (she meets him right at the end of the book, he is the new boy who has moved in next door so this is a prequel to Skellig)

Because this is a very visual book I would recommend this to people who like reading graphic novels (although it plays more with font rather than illustration) and also books like Shaun Tan’s The Arrival. I would also recommend it to people who enjoyed Sophie’s World because of the slightly disjointed way the story is put forward – you sort of need to piece it together – and also the way philosophical thought and ideas are explored in the book.  Maybe also people who enjoy reading diary formats.  Also I think again readers of Ursuala Dubosarsky’s books and particularly people who enjoyed Abyssinia would enjoy this book.

What I’ve been reading

I have just had three weeks off so finally a chance to lie on the beach and read through the pile of books that have been sitting on my must read list. These are the books that have stood out for me when reading the many reviews before making the decision to buy or not to buy.  It would be great to know what you think….

Trash, Andy Mulligan

In an unnamed third world country three young teens, Rat, Raphael, and Gardo live with thousands of other kids in a garbage dump. They dig through the rubbish looking for anything that could be profitable. One day Raphael unearths a leather bag containing a map, a wallet and a key. Keeping the discovery secret from the police the three boys soon find themselves in a mission involving a secret code, a corrupt politician and a search for six million dollars. The adventure is told through the voice of all characters, including their thoughts, feelings and perspective.

A gripping adventure story while also giving an insight into the lack of social justice that exists in parts of the world. If you enjoyed Slumdog millionaire give this a go.

 Unhooking the moon, Gregory Hughes

This is the author’s first novel and has won the Booktrust teenage prize!

It is a very unique story of two teenage orphans, Bob and his sister Marie Claire aka Rat who travel from Canada to New York in search of their uncle. Rat is a funny, football playing, singing, dancing and psychic ten year old and I was entranced.  Bob is her older brother and takes on the role of protector of his ‘crazy’ sister. The story follows the two through New York where they come across some very interesting characters including a drug dealer, up and coming rap-star and thieves. While the story itself is a page turner, for me this book was all about the characters. I would be keen to know what you think!

Boys don’t cry, Malorie Blackman

While Dante is waiting for his A level results he gets an unexpected visit from ex girlfriend, Melanie and her baby Emma. Her reason for the visit is to leave the baby in Dante’s care. All of a sudden Dante’s life is turned upside down as comes to grips with fatherhood at seventeen. As a sub plot Dante learns to accept his sixteen year old brother Adam’s homosexuality. This a genuinely moving story, that explores topics not widely covered in teen fiction.

Annexed, Sharon Dogar

Most of us know Anne Frank’s story, however this is a novel written from Peter’s point of view, who is also hiding in the annexe with his mother and father. When the story commences Peter is irritated by Anne but finds himself falling in love with her. As a result of his confinement Peter begins to question his religion, wondering why being Jewish has inspired such hatred. Anne’s diary ends in August 1944, however in ‘Annexed’ Peter’s story continues on beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi concentration camp.

While there has been controversy surrounding this book I found it powerful and engrossing.

Double O seven

The YA DVD collection will soon be somewhat expanded by the addition of almost all (maybe all; I’m too lazy to confirm) the James Bond films. They’re not quite in yet but you can reserve them – YA DVDs are 50c on a YA card, and reserves for ya’ll are free.

Here they are in our catalogue. If you’ve never seen any of the classic Bond films you really should, as they’re great fun.

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