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  • July 2014
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Do you have what it takes to be a leader?

Of course you do!  Leadership is hard, but everyone can be a leader.  It takes work, practice, and experience, even for folks who are more comfortable with the role.  Fortunately, there are many different ways to be a leader, and you will find one that works for you.

Are you a natural born leader?  Do you want to become a better leader?  Does leadership make you nervous?  There are all kinds of leadership opportunities available through Teen programs at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.  Whether it’s a Teen Advisory Council/Board or other program, you help decide what happens at the library.  And this time of year, you can help us plan our Halloween parties.  You can even receive volunteer hours for some of these programs, so talk to your Teen Specialist.  Leadership roles, especially formal ones, look really good on school, job, and college applications.  Check out these programs (and books) about leadership, and start leading!

Teen Time: Teen Advisory Council
Monday, September 30, 2013
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

East Liberty
Teen Advisory Council Meeting: More Haunted House Planning!*
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
*registration required

Volunteer Time: Teen Advisory Board
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Halloween for Teens
Thursday, October 3, 2013
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Out of Nowhere


Career Ideas for Teens

A Long Walk to Water

Ender's Game

Happy leading!

Amy, CLP-Lawrenceville

Gardening Thyme

Gardening Thyme Facebook event image

Mt. Washington

Mt. Washington

Squirrel Hill

Squirrel Hill

Main Library

Main Library

Main Library

Main Library

Woods Run

Woods Run



Allentown Pop-up

Allentown Pop-up



West End

West End

West End

West End

East Liberty

East Liberty

South Side

South Side



Garden Dreams Urban Farm and Nursery

Garden Dreams Urban Farm and Nursery

White House Kitchen Garden

White House Kitchen Garden

Click here for more information about the Gardening Thyme Community Gardens and Programs.  It’s not too late to get involved with your library’s community garden.  Fall planting starts soon.

National Read Across America Day

Dr. Seuss from quickmeme.com

Dr. Seuss from quickmeme.com

Tomorrow is National Read Across America Day!  This date was chosen to coincide with the birthday of Dr. Seuss (pictured in the meme above).   The whole point of this day is to promote reading (derh!).

Seeing as how my coworkers are avid readers (working in a library and such), I figured I would ask them what they plan to be reading on Read Across American Day.  Below are recommended reading by CLP-Lawrenceville staff:

Civil War

I am legend

Scott Pilgrim

The moon and more**Karen’s a cheater because she’s reading an ARC of The moon and more!**


The ultimates 2

I hope to catch you all reading on Saturday, March 2!  Leave us a comment about what you plan to read on National Read Across America Day!


Happy reading!

-Amy, CLP-Lawrenceville

Home Sweet Home at CLP-Lawrenceville

CLP-Lawrenceville is now re-open for business!  After a six-week closure, all staff is back from our temporary homes and we are ready to show off our newly spruced- (and still sprucing-) up branch.  While work is not entirely complete, the changes look promising and fabulous.

Instead of waiting for the dust to settle, we are rushing right back into programming.  What better way to check out this freshened up branch than by joining us for one of our great teen programs scheduled this month?  Stop by for:

Teen Time – Video Games
Saturday, 12/1

Teen Time: Holiday Party with Gingerbread Houses
Saturday, 12/15

Teen Time: Epic Movie Adventure and Pizza Taste Test
Saturday, 12/29
**registration required

Instead of placing a photo of the structurally-sound branch here,
I am placing a photo of an architecturally challenged gingerbread house
I made several years ago.
Join us for the Holiday Party and make your own house!

See you there!

Amy, CLP-Lawrenceville

Counting the Days

Yesterday was February 29, Leap Day, which, as we all know, happens every 4 years. Have you ever wondered why there’s a leap day at all, and why it’s 4 years and not, say, 7?

In 1582, then Pope Gregory issued a new calendar to be used by the Christian Church in Europe. Due to  the differences between the then current Julian calendar, the solar year, and the lunar year, the dates for the Easter holiday had been inconsistent for some time and Pope Gregory wanted to change that.

  Easter was calculated to fall on the first Sunday, following the first full moon, after the vernal equinox (the first day of spring), which had always been around March 21st.  It was known that the length of the solar year – the time between two vernal equinoxes – was actually 365.25 days, not an even 365. However, the more precise length of time between vernal equinoxes is really 11 minutes shorter.

 This discrepancy meant that, after many centuries, the vernal equinox was occurring about 10 days earlier than March 21st. Consequently, the date for Easter (and everything else) kept moving further back in the calendar because the date of the vernal equinox kept moving – slowly, but still moving.

 Pope Gregory’s new calendar added one day to February every 4 years to make up for the approximate ¼ days not accounted for in the Julian calendar. Since 1583 this has fixed the date for the vernal equinox at, or as close as possible to, March 21st, and has given us what we now call the Gregorian Calendar.

 Following February 29 we come to March and that famous line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “Beware the Ides of March!” Well, what is an ‘Ides’ anyway?

 In the Roman calendar the ‘Ides’ of a month referred to the middle, or half way point, of the month. That day was actually the 13th day for most months, but was the 15th day for March, May, July and October.

 The ‘Kalends’ (taken from a Greek word, hence ‘calendar’) was the name for the 1st day of the month. The ‘Nonnes’ was the name of the 8th day before the Ides. It was called Nonnes, ‘the ninth’, because using the Ides as day 1 and counting 8 more days gave you the day.

Other days of the month were referred to by counting back from one of the 3 days, and you counted the named day as ‘day 1’.  For example, March 3rd would be ‘the 6th day before the Nonnes of March’ and so on. It’s kind of strange for us to think about dates in the last two weeks of a month like that – March 20th wasn’t ‘the 6th day after the Ides of March’, but rather ‘the 11th day before the Kalends of April’ – but that’s how it went.

Oh those nutty Romans. Imagine doing this kind of thing in Latin too – ugghh!

 Check out the following titles for more crazy calendar conundrums – if you have ‘the time’ that is!

Leap Day: A Novel

Leap Day by Wendy Mass

Taylor is only 4 years old…but she’s getting her drivers license?  Born on February 29, she is now 4, or 16 if you prefer, and getting her license is only one way she plans to celebrate.

Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History

Mapping Time by E.G. Richards



The Dance of Time by Michael Judge

Calendar by David Duncan

Royalty and Royal Teens

This week is the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain ascending the throne.  Although only 25 at the time, Elizabeth still had a few years on other famous – and infamous – monarchs who had assumed crowns in, or barely out of, their teen years.


King ‘Tut’ became Pharaoh of Egypt on the death of his father Akhenaten in 1333 B.C.  He was 10 years old.  His reign only lasted 10 years as he died at age 20, possibly from malaria. The discovery of his tomb and mummy in 1922 renewed the world’s interest in the history and culture of ancient Egypt.

Augustus Caesar

Gaius Octavius Thurinus – better known as Octavian – was the great-nephew of Julius Caesar.  Caesar’s will named Octavian as his adopted son and heir, and upon Caesar’s assassination in 44 B.C.,  when Octavian was 19 years old, the political power which Caesar had obtained passed to him. After first sharing control of Rome with, then fighting against, Marc Antony, Octavian became Rome’s first emperor in 27 B.C. and was given the title of ‘Augustus’ ( the divine one).


When her father died in 51 B.C., 18 year old Cleopatra and her 10 year old brother Ptolemy became co-rulers – and last Pharaohs -  of Egypt. Unwilling to share power, she took advantage of the Roman civil wars at the time to align herself first with Julius Caesar, then with Augustus’ enemy Marc Antony, in order to legitimize her reign with the help of Roman military power.

King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine

Arguably the most famous royal couple of the middle ages. Eleanor of Aquitaine (i.e. modern western France) had a very busy year in 1137. She became the feudal lord of a large part of modern France, she married the heir to the French throne, then she became Queen of France when her father-in-law died 10 days later. Oh, and one last thing – Eleanor was 15 years old.

Henry II was the grandson of King Henry I of England. At age 14, he and the Norman nobles supporting him attempted to seize the English throne from the hated King Stephen – and failed.  In 1150, at age 17, Henry was made Duke of Normandy.  Two years later he married Eleanor, whose first marriage to the French King had been annulled. In 1154 Henry finally succeeded in taking the English throne. He became King of England, and the feudal lord of half of France, at age 21.

Queen Victoria of Great Britain

The great-great-grandmother of Queen Elizabeth became queen in 1837 when she was 18. She reigned until her death at age 82 in 1901. She is the longest reigning English Monarch at just under 64 years. Her rule during  most of the 19th century saw Great Britain become the center of a world spanning colonial empire. It’s not called The Victorian Age for nothing.

Do you think you could handle being a teen monarch? Would you rule with a velvet glove, or an iron fist?

-Steve, CLP-Lawrenceville

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

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

Dreaming of 2012 – great books being published in 2012

I just read an article by Lev Grossman (author of The Magicians and The Magician King, both of which I enjoyed immensely) about the seven books he’s looking forward to next year.  Sounded like a good idea to me, so here we go!

(Please note: most of these are too far out to be in our catalog yet.  Keep checking, though…I’m sure we’ll order them all for the Library, and you can request them as soon as we do.)

8 Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2012

(I did 8 instead of 7 because prime numbers scare me a little.)

8. Intentions by Deborah Heiligman (release date 8/14/2012)

I don’t know very much about this book.  However, I do know that Deborah Heiligman won the new nonfiction award a couple of years ago for the very fabulous Charles and Emma, and I can’t wait to see what she does with fiction.  The description from the publisher makes this sound like a suspenseful coming of age story with a plot that relates to the main characters Judaism, which sounds fascinating.

7. Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear (release date 8/12/2012)

This is another one I don’t know anything about.  However, it appears to be steampunk and involve faeries and reform school.  And do you see that cover? Gorgeous!

6. Various Positions by Martha Schabas (release date 2/14/2012)

Another new author, another great cover, another book I don’t know much about.  Various Positions received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, though, and was also well-received by VOYA.

I was never a dancer, at least not after I quit ballet when I was six, but I’ve always been fascinated by what dancers go through for their art.  I think I’ll really enjoy this book about a 14-year-old Canadian ballerina with a dysfunctional family.

5. Fever by Lauren DeStefano (release date 2/21/2012)

I picked up Wither, the first book in DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, based solely on its cover.  However, the story of a dystopian society where life ends — literally — at age 20 sucked me in.  I’m looking forward to reading more about Rhine’s quest to avoid her arranged marriage (when everyone dies young, everyone must marry and have children young, too) and her search for her brother in this sequel.

4. Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen (release date 2/14/2012)

You know the story of Robin Hood, right? About Robin and his merry men, robbing from the rich to give to the poor?  Then try this on for size: what if Will Scarlet isn’t actually a dapper young man, but a young woman who is a skilled pickpocket with a dark secret? That’s the premise in Scarlet, and it’s GREAT.

Oh, I should probably tell you that it’s a bit honest to say I’m looking forward to Scarlet.  I’ve already read it, thanks to Walker Children’s and Netgalley.com, but I am looking forward to hearing what everyone else thinks of it.

3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Okay, full disclosure: I’ve read this one, too. And I really liked it.  And I hate when I’m already fiending for the sequel before the first volume’s even been released!

This is a retelling of the Cinderella story, complete with the evil stepmother, the handsome prince and the glass slipper.  The twist is that, instead of being a human girl, this Cinder is a cyborg, forced to work for her stepmother and blamed when her stepsister gets sick.  A thinking, feeling mind inside the body of a machine…

This one reminds me a bit of Windup Girl, a novel written for adults by Paolo Bacigalupi.  You’ll see more about him further down the list.

2. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (release date 1/10/2012)

This is by John Green. I love John Green and pretty much everything he’s ever done, either alone or with someone else.  I’m sure this will be awesome.  Not to mention that Lev Grossman said “I can see this book sitting next to Catcher in the Rye,” which is high praise indeed.

1. Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi (release date 5/1/2012)

OMG, this is going to come out right before my birthday! There’s no cover image available, but this follow-up (companion, not sequel) to Printz Award-winning Shipbreaker is the book that I’m most looking forward to in 2012.  Shipbreaker was everything good about sci-fi/dystopia, and Drowned Cities, I’m sure, will be at least as good.

Happy Reading,


Foodie Fiction

I like food.

I like cooking it, I like eating it, I like watching TV shows about it, and I like reading about it.  I like planning meals and going grocery shopping.  My favorite kind of party is a pot-luck.  I consider myself a failure if I use cans or boxes or prepared foods in a meal.  I grew up helping in the kitchen, and started cooking meals for my family when I was in middle school – and I know I’m not the only one who liked to cook as a teenager.  Yet, for a long time, it was hard to find depictions of teen chefs in fiction.  That seems to be changing, though.  Below you’ll find some recent titles of fiction for foodies – if you like to cook, or even if you just like to eat, you might enjoy one of the titles below.

Sizzle by Lee McClain

Sizzle tops the list because it’s the title that inspired me to write a blog post about foodie fiction for teens.  When this arrived at CLP – Lawrenceville and I saw that not only was it about food, it’s also about Tucson, AZ (where I went to college) and about Pittsburgh, PA (where, duh, I live now), I knew I had to read it.

Sizzle is about Linda, a fourteen-year-old Mexican-American who lives with her aunt in Arizona and helps her run a Mexican restaurant.  While she usually has to wait tables, she’s spent most of her life cooking with her aunt in the kitchen and has always had free rein to try out new recipes.  However, her aunt is getting older, and one day she collapses in the kitchen.  Linda’s ready to help out even more, but her aunt has another idea: while she goes to Texas to recuperate with her aging parents (who, apparently, aren’t very nice people), Linda’s going to move to Pittsburgh to live with her “Aunt” Pat.

Aunt Pat’s not really an aunt – she’s some sort of vague relation.  Pat picks up strays.  She has seven kids — eight, now that Linda’s there — and only one of them is her biological child.  Another thing about Pat: she’s the queen of canned food cooking.  Literally.  She has a TV show about it and everything, and she never cooks anything fresh.  Plus, she won’t let Linda into the kitchen.

Can Linda adjust to life in Pittsburgh, and life without food?  Can she survive, only talking to her friends back in Arizona via the internet? And what’s with that cute kid, Dino, the one who smells so delicious?  With shout-outs to Oakland and the Strip District, Sizzle is a book and Pittsburgh food-loving teen will like.

The Sweet Life of Stella Madison by Lara Zeises

Lara Zeises is the author of several great books, including Anyone But You: a Novel in Two Voices and Bringing Up the Bones, but her newest book (published in 2009) tackles food in a fun way.

Unlike Linda in Sizzle, Stella is not a great cook.  In fact, she’s totally addicted to junk food.  But her parents are both foodies — world-famous chefs, to be exact — and they refuse to accept that Stella’s really just not that into it.

There’s one good thing about having chefs for parents: they’re able to help her get a coveted summer job at the newspaper.  The bad news is, she has to write about food.  Could be a recipe for disaster.  Add to that a boyfriend who is WAY more into their relationship than she is, parents who are separating and maybe even dating other people, and a cute new guy on the horizon, and Stella has all the ingredients for the worst summer ever.

The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski

Sheridan is used to being a big fish in a small pond.  She might not be the most popular girl in school, but she’s the only person to turn to if you need a cake for an event.  She’s been decorating cakes in her grandmother’s bakery for as long as she can remember – just like her mother used to do.  Sheridan’s dream is to keep doing what she’s doing: making the most beautiful, elaborate, amazing cakes anyone’s ever seen.

Sheridan’s dad is also a pretty big fish.  More like a whale, really.  He’s the chef and owner of the hottest restaurant in town.  His dreams are really different from Sheridan’s, though: he wants to move out of their sleepy Michigan town and have a cooking show of his own.

When Sheridan’s dad is offered the chance to have a food show, he’s thrilled.  Sheridan is less so.  Why? Because this “great opportunity,” as her dad keeps calling it, would require they move to New York City.  Away from her grandmother, away from the bakery, away from her best friends…and away from the only place her mother would look for her.

Sheridan’s dad’s become more and more distance since their mother walked out on them.  Sheridan holds fast to the idea that if she stays where she is, her mother will come home.  Find out if Sheridan’s desire to find her mother and her dad’s desire to find fame can ever be reconciled in The Sweetest Thing.

Love, Inc by Yvonne Collins and Sally Rideout

When I started this blog post, I knew I wanted to include this book.  However, I could not for the life of me remember the title. So I did might be considered crowd-sourcing: I asked on Facebook.  Here’s what I posted:

“Seeking title of book: three (or four?) teen girls find out they’re all dating the same guy. Seek revenge. Then start a business to help other girls [get revenge on? meet? break up with?] their guys. One of the teens is a gifted cook.”  Here’s some of what my friends (and other librarians) said:

“…that sounds so familiar to me… I hope someone remembers the title..” (Oh, good. I’m not alone.)

“They made a movie out of that, didn’t they? Oh man…racking brain…” (Nope, no movie, at least not that I know of.)

“Love Inc by Yvonne Collins? ‘When three fifteen-year-old Austin, Texas, girls who met in group therapy discover that they are all dating the same boy, they first get revenge and then start a wildly successful relationship consulting business.’” (Yes! That’s it!)

But…that synopsis didn’t mention the cooking.  And I KNEW I remembered the cooking.  So I did what anyone would do, and I googled the main character’s name (which I found in our catalog) + the title + “cook” and found this awesome webpage, all about the book.

The cooking in this one is more peripheral than in the other titles.  Zahra is the character who loves to cook, and she’s not only dealing with the cheating jerk but also with a disconnect between her Scottish and Pakistani heritage.  She uses creativity in the kitchen as a way to calm herself and channel her energy…and it may or may not play a role in eventually helping her find a guy who’s NOT a jerk.

So, there you have it.  Four fun, fluffy, foodie books.  Are these great literature? No, I don’t really think any of them are going to win the National Book Award.  But they’re all really entertaining, especially if you like your fiction with lots of delicious imagery and a little bit of romance.  Just don’t read them when you’re hungry.


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