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  • January 2012
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Picture Book: Kodak, Instagram, and the Future of Photography

Photo by Wikipedia user camerafiend.

Earlier this month, Eastman Kodak — the film giant that once accounted for 90% of the film sold worldwide – filed for bankruptcy. Kodak was the big cheese in photography back when everyone still used film in their cameras, but they’ve been outpaced in the digital age; ironic because Kodak pioneered digital photography. (Pioneered the technology, but was unable to capitalize on their creation.)

The whole Kodak thing got me thinking of my first trip to Europe. I was sixteen, and I’d raised money for my travels by going door-to-door in my town, asking for donations and grovelling in front of the school board. Between my stumping (and my saintly parents somehow coming up with the balance) I was soon off to another continent. Continue reading

Just Try to Remain Silent: Sign Up for The Silent Library Program

Do you think you could remain silent while someone plucked a hair from inside your nose?  Could you prevent yourself from laughing at the sight of a good friend being fed baby food while dressed in a diaper and bib?  Would you be able to refrain from squealing in horror after seeing yourself made up by a person wearing a blindfold?  If you answered yes to all of these questions, then you could win big on Tuesday, February 7th!  Just like the popular MTV game show, we’ll be holding our own version of Silent Library (minus the vomit) in the Main Teen Center.  We dare you to remain silent while you and your teammates humiliate yourselves whilst attempting outrageous and embarrassing stunts for prizes.  Registration for this event is required.  Reserve your spot today!

Want to participate, but you think you’d die of embarrassment?  Check out these books instead:

How to Survive Anything by Rachel Buchholz

Advice on surviving natural disasters, embarrassing moments, and social situations.

Schadenfreude, Baby!: A Delicious Look at the Misfortune of Others (and the Pleasure It Brings Us)

by Laura Lee

Taps into our universal longing to gawk and smirk at the people who stand—or fall—for all of us.

“What’s That Smell?” (Oh, It’s Me.): 50 Mortifying Situations and How to Deal

by Tucker Shaw

Tips for dealing with the embarrassment that is the teenage years.

Mega Traumarama!: Real Girls and Guys Confess More of Their Most Mortifying Moments!

from the Editors of Seventeen Magazine

Delight in the humiliation of your peers!

Teen review: Hungry by Crystal Renn

My name is Jenna. I go to a high school where I’m part of the marching band and the cheerleading squad. I’m pretty busy, but I always find time to read. I’m also very creative and I like doing little crafts out of random things I find.


Hungry by Crystal Renn

Crystal Renn is one of the most famous plus sized models today. But, she went through a lot to get there.

At just fourteen years old, she was approached by a modeling scout and told her she could be a supermodel living in New York at just one condition; she had to lose weight. This one scout, on that one day, is what caused Crystal to become anorexic.

Being skinny is the only thing Crystal cared about. She once had a brilliant mind with great ideas, but she lost all of her knowledge when she became dangerously skinny. Inevitably, Crystal began to gain weight, despite her frantic workouts and absence of eating. The modeling agency didn’t want a “fat model”.

It was then that Crystal Renn had an epiphany but decided that she loves modeling too much to let it go. So she becomes a plus-sized model. She gained weight and is now at her normal and healthy size, and she couldn’t be healthier.

All throughout this memoir, Renn bestows her knowledge about bodies, models, and society. Everything that she says is so true, and she has a way of making you want to take her advice. This book has to the ability to completely change your outlook on the human body. I absolutely recommend this book if you want an inspirational read.

And the Winners Are: The 2012 Michael L. Printz Award

On Monday, January 23rd, the American Library Association announced the award-winning books written in 2011.  For those of you who fondly remember hunting through the shelves of your library as a child looking for the round foil medals of Newbery and Caldecott award books, I have good news for you.  There’s a teen award called the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature that is given out to a book that “exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature”–  a.k.a. a really good teen book!  Check your library’s shelves for the four titles that will be sporting a new Printz award sticker or reserve a copy today!
Winner:
Seventeen-year-old Cullen’s summer in Lily, Arkansas, is marked by his cousin’s death by overdose, an alleged spotting of a woodpecker thought to be extinct, failed romances, and his younger brother’s sudden disappearance.
Honors:
Sixteen-year-old Min Green writes a letter to Ed Slaterton in which she breaks up with him, documenting their relationship and how items in the accompanying box, from bottle caps to a cookbook, foretell the end.
When the twelve-year war between the Uplanders and Downlanders is over and Cam returns home to his village, questions dog him, from how he lost an arm to why he was the only one of his fellow soldiers to survive, such that he must leave until his own suspicions are resolved.
Nineteen-year-old returning champion Sean Kendrick competes against Puck Connolly, the first girl ever to ride in the annual Scorpio Races, both trying to keep hold of their dangerous water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.
~Kelly, CLP – Woods Run

Sticks and Stones (No Name Calling Week)

January 23 – 27 is No Name Calling Week , a national initiative started to combat bullying in schools and help prevent teen suicide.

Reading the stories of others offers insight, comfort and a much needed escape when faced with bullies, drama, and stress. The Library carries many titles that tell stories of bullying, harassment, survival, and triumph.

Check out the books below to see if one of them speaks to you! And always know there is a Teen Specialist at every CLP location if you need someone to talk to!


Have you ever felt different because of how you look? Age. Weight. Gender. Complexion? The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake talks about the self-esteem issues black girls face when they are darker skinned. Maleeka is self conscious of her complexion until her whole life is changed when she meets a teacher with a rare skin condition. Check out this book if you want to hear about how Maleeka finds love with a boy named Caleb, overcomes her bully Charlese, and learns to love the skin she’s in!


Darell Mercer moves from Philadelphia to California. There he finds a new life, a new school, and a new bully. After spending months in fear, he is faced with a big decision. He can either keep running from his bully or find some way to fight back. To find out what happens to Darell check out The Bully by Paul Langan.


Thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod really hates middle school. Bullies harass him, the principal is watching him closely, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. And Vlad has a big secret: His mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and growing fangs while trying to hide his identity. On top of everything he is being stalked by a vampire hunter! Check out The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer and read all five books in the series to find out what happens to Vlad!


Much like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Loser List tells the oddball story of Danny Shine. He is a geek who loves reading comics, trading comics, drawing comics, and buying comics. Find out how he loses a best friend, gets humiliated in front of the whole school… and somehow still manages to save the day!


In 50 Cent’s book Playground he uses his life experiences to tell the story of a 13 year old bully named Butterball. In the story, Butterball finds himself overweight and unhappy in a new school. One day, in an angry haze, he fills two socks with D batteries and heads to a fight at the playground. You will have to read to find out what happens to Butterball and how he finds redemption.

-Michael @ CLP Hazelwood

Favorite Books for When You’re Sick

This past weekend while the snow was coming down, I was home battling the mid-winter sickness that seems to be plaguing pretty much everybody around this time of year.  It’s the kind of cold that doesn’t seem too terrible symptoms-wise, but that definitely leaves you feeling somewhat off and vaguely terrible.

When I get this kind of cold, all I want to do is curl up in my bed with an old stand-by.  You know, the kind of books that you can (and want) to read over and over again and just make you feel better by turning through the pages?  The kind of books that you’ve read so much you know which parts you can skip to get to the really good parts.  Those are the best for when a cold’s got you down.

Here’s a short annotated list of some of my favorite books to read when I’m sick.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley – This is my all-time favorite vampire novel, and I’ve read quite a few vampire novels in my day.  It’s a stand alone novel from a great author that encapsulates a really fascinating world.  It’s kind of like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, minus high school drama, plus a little more magic and a bakery.  There’s a Big Bad, a brooding hero, and an epic battle at the very end.  Sunshine, the titular character, is a delight to read and always makes me feel better when I’m fighting off the sniffles.


Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George – I love fairy tales, like a lot, and this book is an adaptation off my absolute favorite fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses.  It’s also a combination of a million other things I love including, the Regency Period, Germany, royal families, strong female heroines, and the hero is a boy who knits.  This book is usually a fast read for me now (since I know it so well) and I can finish it up then still have time to nap away my cold!


Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater – This book is relatively new to my list.  It’s about a girl who feels a strange connection to the wolves that seem to be terrorizing her quiet mid-western town.  I love reading about cold places or people being in the cold while I’m all snug and cozy on the couch or in my bed.  I don’t know why, I think it makes me just feel warmer.  And what’s colder than werewolves in a Minnesota winter?  And, as you might have guessed, I’m a sucker for a good romance, especially when I’m feeling bad.  If you like this one, check out the sequels, Linger and Forever.  But don’t spoil that last one for me!  It’s on my “to read” list.


What are your favorite books to read or things to do when you’re home sick?

-Morgan

Super Bowl XLVI Preview

Remember the NFL lockout?  I didn’t think so!  Back in June and July, it was a struggle to even get football season started.  But now here we are in late January, awaiting the last game of the season.  Most people here in Pittsburgh are probably still upset about the Steelers loss to Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos, but it still promises to be a good game.  Super Bowl XLVI (that’s Super Bowl 46 for those of you not schooled in Roman numerals) will feature the New York Giants against the New England Patriots.  This is a rematch of one of the best Super Bowls of all time just a few years ago, when the Giants knocked off the undeated Patriots and ruined their perfect season.  Will it be Tom Brady joining Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks to win four Super Bowls, or will Eli Manning lead the Giants to their fourth Super Bowl (and his second win)?  Hopefully, this game will be as good as the last one featuring these two teams!  Enjoy!

Who are you rooting for in this year’s Super Bowl?  Who do you think will win?

For Science!

Carnegie Mellon University recently had its third annual Build-18 festival.  It’s basically a science fair for college-level electrical and computer engineering students.  WPXI wrote a story about some of the inventions this year – a mind-controlled car, a desktop levitator, and the Embarrass-You-Awakinator, among other things.  And they were all built in less than a week, with practically no budget, from whatever parts the students could find.

101 Things You Wish You’d Invented …And Some You Wish No One Had
by Tracey Turner and Richard Horne

Maybe you have an idea for a really cool product like these, but you don’t think you’ll ever be the one to build it.  Maybe you don’t think you’re good at science and math, or that they’re boring, or there’s so much work it’s not worth it.  But it doesn’t have to be that way!  I mean, if you think inventing mind-controlled cars for a living is boring, then I don’t know if I can help you.  But you definitely don’t have to be overwhelmed by the work.

Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail
by Danica McKellar

Did you know that there already aren’t enough people doing science and technology jobs?  Even when unemployment is high, tech companies have trouble finding people with the skills they need.  Because this shortage of employees is only expected to get worse, schools, libraries, and other educational organizations are developing tools to help you get ready now, as a middle or high school student.

How to Be a Genius
by John Woodward

For example, there’s a page of the Carnegie Library’s website that focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math.  Whether you’re interested in a career as an inventor or you just need help with next week’s exam, this is a good place to start.  Make sure you look at the tab for Pittsburgh STEM if you’re interested in joining a group or entering a contest.

Plant and Animal Science Fair Projects: Using Beetles, Weeds, Seeds, and More
by Yael Calhoun

Of course, you can also visit your library to find out if there are any other contests or events in your area, and for more homework help and ideas.   And feel free to share your cool inventions with us when they’re ready!

-Denise

Welcome the Year of the Dragon

In my neck of the woods many of us have just finished celebrating the New Year, but a huge percentage of the world’s population is just getting started.  This year the Chinese New Year falls on January 23 and is the beginning of the Year of the Dragon.  New Year’s day in China is actually the first day of 15 days of celebration devoted to bringing good luck to everyone in the coming year.

In the weeks leading up to the New Year, Chinese people all around the world prepare by cleaning their homes, repaying debts, buying new cloths and getting their hair cut.  The traditional belief holds that a messy home and life will bring the bad luck of past years into the new one and its everyone’s goal to bring good luck to the future.

Many homes decorate by hanging beautiful paper cut designs.  Traditional themes of good luck are the most popular.  Check out these books to learn a few paper cutting skills.

In Chinese culture the year a person is born has much greater significance than the month or day.  Each year in the Chinese zodiac relates to an animal and that animal’s qualities are able to be seen in those who were born that year.  In Chinese communities all over the world people celebrate their birthdays together on the same day.  The seventh day of  the Chinese New Year translates to “the birthday of all humankind.”  So whenever your birthday, you can still celebrate!   Learn all there is to know about the Chinese Zodiac in these books.

No holiday would be complete without traditional foods.  The Chinese New Year revolves around variety of foods associated with good luck.  Many foods associated with New Year celebrations are homophones for words like prosperity, health and fortune.  For that reason oranges, dumplings and a New Year Pudding figure heavily on Chinese tables at this time of year.   Try your hand at making a few traditional chinese dumplings with one of many Asian cookbooks from the library!

So make sure to find time to do a little celebrating for the Chinese New Year, its good luck!

-Brooke, CLP

Series and Sequels for 2012

How about starting the new year by picking up a series you may have never read before? The following are series with new installments (or are sequels to a title) coming out in 2012. Start from the beginning now and you won’t have long to wait!

The Fallen Series by Lauren Kate



Creepy old school, teen pining, angels….and demons.

First Book: Fallen   Coming out in 2012: Rapture

The Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver

A future America where the part of the brain that feels love is surgically removed to ensure civil obedience.

First Book: Delirium    Coming out in 2012: Pandemonium

The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

The First World War given a steampunk/sci-fi makeover.  It’s biology versus technology. The last book in the trilogy, Goliath, just came out at the end of last year. A companion book called The Manual of Aeronautics is coming out in 2012.

First Book: Leviathan

The Evernight Series by Claudia Gray

The new girl at a private school hooks up with the popular crowd, who likes to go out for a ‘bite’ every now and then.

First Book: Evernight   Coming out in 2012: Balthazar

The Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan

More mythological mayhem from the author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. The demi-gods of camp Half-blood discover there’s another camp like theirs. Are they friends or foes?

First Book: The Lost Hero   Coming out in 2012: The Mark of Athena

The Kane Chronicles Series by Rick Riordan

A brother and sister find out that they are part of an ancient Egyptian clan of magicians. Another outstanding mythological, magical adventure from Rick Riordan.

First Book: The Red Pyramid  Coming out in 2012: The Serpent’s Shadow

Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

A future world dealing with the consequences of melted ice caps, risen sea levels, no fossil fuels, and malicious science.  The Drowned Citiescoming out in 2012,  is the sequel to the 2011 Printz Award Winner Ship Breaker.

As you can see, there’s something for everyone’s taste, so try one, or try them all. Enjoy!

Steve – CLP Lawrenceville

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