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  • June 2009
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Summer Introspection

Art Journal pic

All those hot days by the pool or the beach make summer a great time for pondering who you are, what you do, and why you do it. What mistakes did you make during the year that you don’t want to repeat? What did you do that turned out better than you ever dreamed it could?

You know, a journal can be as simple as something you write with a pen and a notebook, or it can stand alone as a work of art. Many famous artists, writers, and inventors kept journals that inspired and informed their master works. Someday people all over the world might want to read your journal, so it can’t hurt to make it look great! Check out these books for some art journaling tips and techniques:


Sara Dora CLP-Hazelwood

Stories that Never Get Old: Children’s Books for All Ages

The Little PrinceDid I ever tell you how much I love my job? Well, I love my job! Every morning, I get to settle down into my comfy office chair and read the book reviews that you wonderful people have posted for Teen Summer Reading (Quick digression: If you haven’t signed up for TSR yet, you should. I mean, right NOW. You’re already online so just go to carnegielibrary.org/summer and do it!)

The other day as I was clicking through the reviews, I saw that Sema had read the Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupery, and I was so excited. I love that book! I would give you a little spiel about its greatness, but she did it so well that I am just going to let her do the honors.

Here is what Sema (13) had to say:

“I first picked up this book because a friend told me how good it was. Flipping through the first pages of The Little Prince, however were quite discouraging. For it seemed that this book was only a children’s book. But to my extreme pleasure the book provided to be an excellent read! Full of mystery, adventure and above all; lessons for life. I ended the short 100-some page book with a tear in my eye, only a few hours after I started it. It’s an amazing book, definitely not JUST for kids, and I highly recommend it. “

Thank you Sema and everyone else who has been reading and writing reviews! Keep them coming: You people are AWESOME!

Sema’s review got me thinking about all the great books that teens choose not to read because they are so called “Children’s Books.” It’s a shame really. I hope that you will not let a book’s label keep you from reading some of the funniest and most touching stories ever. The following is a list of some of my favorite Children’s (but really for everyone) Books.


In the future, the Earth is under attack by an alien race known as the “buggers.” Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is sent to Battle School to train for the inevitable war – His commanders think that he is “the one”- the one who will save mankind-but what does Ender think?


Artemis Fowl, boy genius, doesn’t want to save the world. He just wants gold and lots of it, but he will have to outsmart LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police Reconnaisance) officer and fairy, Holly Short, to get it.



Will Stanton is the last of the Old Ones, warriors of the Light who are sworn to fight back the forces of the Dark. In order to stop the rise of the Dark, Will must find the six medallions before the black-cloaked Rider finds him.



Author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda, Roald Dahl tells the story of his own childhood in England.




It is hard growing up, and Ponyboy has enough to figure out without a murder on his hands.




Meg and Charles Wallaces’ father was working on a secret government project when he disappeared. Now it is up to Meg, Charles, and their friend Calvin to travel through the tesseracts, or wrinkles in time, and rescue their father.



Ella is cursed with the gift of obedience, but she manages to defy her step-mother, finishing school, and even ogres on her way to happily ever after. The most charming retelling of Cinderella to date.



The four Pevensie children find their way through an old wardrobe to the magical land of Narnia. There they must help the lion, Aslan, to defeat the White Witch who has condemned Narnia to eternal winter.


Aerin, the daughter of a northern witch woman, feels like an outsider in her father’s court. However, when she discovers the secret to killing dragons, she can no longer hide from her destiny.



In her small Puritan community, Kit sticks out like a topical bird trapped in a flock of sparrows, and after she befriends Hannah, the old woman who lives by Blackbird Pond, her neighbors begin to wonder, is Kit a witch as well?


Stranded in the Sahara Desert after experiencing engine failure, a French aviator comes across an odd yellow-haired boy, the Little Prince, who tells him the strange but beautiful story of how he has travelled across the universe looking for a friend.

What Does Your Face Say to the World?

Back in March, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – East Liberty sponsored a creative writing contest to encourage teens to express what their face says to the world.  The prize was lunch with Sharon Flake, Pittsburgh resident and author of The Skin I’m In, Money Hungry, Begging for Change, Bang! and other great books for children and teens.

sharonflakelunch2The winner was announced and the prize was awarded in May. This photo was taken at Tana’s Ethiopian Cuisine, where Gerard Doswell-Hardrick, author of the winning poem, shared a lunch with Ms. Flake; Gwen Moulton, Teen Specialist at CLP – East Liberty; Karen Gelston, Gerard’s Communications teacher; second place winner Josie Nolting; and Josie’s father.  Gerard’s poem is below.



What Does My Face Say to the World?

That look,
That special, happy, funny look I always have on my face.
I’m a very silly person.
People think.

Do they know who I am?

Do they know what is inside?

They must not, but it’s ok.
I know, I know what’s inside.

The truth…
only the deepest, most painful truth there is.
The only thing people say to get away from trouble.
When they think they’ve escaped it…
they just only make it worse.

Do you know now what my face says to the world?

Well, don’t judge a book by its cover.

My face is a lie.

Gerard Doswell-Hardrick
8th grade
Pittsburgh Montessori

Lookin’ for something to do? Grab a blanket, some snacks, and watch a movie under the stars!

Pittsburgh Parks and Recreation are, once again, showing movies in city parks this summer. Schenley Park in Oakland, Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville, Brookline Memorial Park, East Liberty, Mt. Washington’s Grandview Park, Observatory Hill’s Riverview Park, and the Elliot Overlook in West End are all sites for this great free program. Just a few of the featured titles are Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Slumdog Millionaire, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and The Dark Knight. Call 412.937.3039 or go to their site for more information.  After seeing the movie, you may be inspired to make your own film; check out Digital Filmmaking for Teens to get started!

digital film index.aspx

Woo…No more high school!!!!! umm…What do I do now?”

Hello! I don’t believe we’ve met. My name is Lily, and it is a pleasure to meet you. I’m new to the CLPTeensburgh blog (this is my very first post, YAY!) so please allow me to introduce myself. I am student at Stanford University, and this summer I am an intern at the Carnegie Library in Oakland. Hopefully, you will be hearing from me at least once a week, and I look forward to hearing from you too. So without further ado…

To all the recent high school graduates out there… Congratulations! I know (and you know) how hard you have worked to get to this moment. Now, you are going out into the world: to college, to take a year off, to work, to wherever your dreams take you, and I am sure that you are ready. However, just in case you have a little extra room in your suitcase, here are some of my thoughts about the summer after high school.

1. On Life after High School

Please humor me for a minute while I reminisce. At this time last year, I was at home, laying out in the sun on the back porch, talking to my friends, and enjoying the feeling of being free from homework, finals, college apps., not to mentions the SATs and the APs and the PSSAs and all the other acronyms that had made high school a little less pleasant. I could not believe that I was done with all of that. FOREVER!!! (hysterical laughter ensues). However, those test and procedures had given structure to my life, and with no more practice tests to eat up my day, I was just a little bit lost as to what to do with my life.

In case you find yourself in a similar rut, here are some ideas of what to do during the summer months:

  • Apply for scholarships: College is pricey, and even if you have great financial aid, a little extra money won’t hurt you (in fact, sometimes the essay/artwork/movie is really fun!). In the search for scholarships, here are some helpful guides: Scholarships 101 (book) , The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2009, The Scholarship & Financial Aid Solution (book) , Fast Web (website), and your high school/college financial aid offices. Often, all you need to do is keep your eyes open, and if you see a scholarship/contest that catches your fancy, APPLY (only good can come out of it (plus with some of the more obscure scholarships/contests your changes are good, really good)). Finally, please remember that your local librarians would be happy to help you out!
  • Volunteer/Get a Job I am more than a little in love with the library, so whenever I have looked for a volunteer position or job, I have always looked at the library first. Even if you are not quite so enamored with the whole library thing, your job search can start here too. The new CLP website has a wonderful page on volunteer/job opportunities in the area. Your family, friends, and neighbors are also great resources so don’t be shy about asking around. Try to find something that you enjoy. Even if you know that chasing after 10 yr. olds or making friends with a copy machine is not your life’s calling, something about the work should make you smile.
  • Plan Ahead If you are all set for the summer with a job, nights out on the town, pool side naps, etc., this might not be a bad time to start thinking about a job or volunteer position during your first year at college. This is by no means necessary: Plenty of people find jobs once they get to school or choose to focus on academics their freshman year. If you are interested or just bored, your college will probably have a career center of sorts so go ahead and take a look at your college’s website.
  • Just have fun I know that sometimes there is a lot of pressure to do something that will look good on an application, but there is nothing wrong with doing something that is just for you. Afterall, what is the point of a jam packed resume if you are not happy and having fun? So…hang out with your friends, climb a tree, go shopping, go swimmming, bake something, what ever you want!

2. On Summer Reading (for school)

It might be long, it might not be your cup of tea, it might be completely and totally incomprehensible, but then again it might not be. Give it a shot. Even if you don’t like it, at least, it will give you something to talk about with your other friends who also have summer reading to do.

Side note: I personally believe that schools want their students to enjoy their summer reading so chances are that your summer reading won’t be bad at all.

3. On Summer Reading (for fun-includes #2)

Just do it. READ!!! It’s fun. It’s easy. And at the library, it’s free. If you are looking for a good read, here are some of my favorites: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (I know it’s a children’s book, but I still read it at least once a year. It’s that good.) , In the Woods by Tina French (hidden identities, mistaken identities, a all around great mystery and more), and A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold (advertised as a comedy of biology and manners – it’s really funny. I promise.)

CLP also has a new teen website with many many book lists for you to pursue at your leisure. There are also links to fun activities, job/volunteer opportunities, and more. Check it out!

Happy Summer!

Refer Friends to the CLP TEENS Facebook group (or Myspace page) and Win a $10 Borders Gift Card

We’re giving you a chance to win a $10 Borders gift card! Invite YOUR FRIENDS to our CLP TEENS Facebook group or Myspace page and have them post your name on our Facebook or Myspace wall. Whoever gets the most referrals wins!

The contest ends JULY 4TH! Celebrate your independant reading by winning a $10 Borders gift card today!

(Also: make sure your friends know that they can do the same thing. Have them invite their friends for their own chance to win!)


Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main

Another day, another challenged book

shocked On Monday, Fox News did a segment on their morning show (Fox & Friends) called “Unfit to Print”.  You can watch it by clicking here.  In it, the hosts interview two moms from Leesburg, Florida and their reasons for objecting to the placement of Gossip Girl books in the young adult section of their public library.  

 One of the mothers had gone to the library with her daughter, who picked books “randomly from the shelves”  for leisure reading on a road trip.  When she leafed through them and found out that they contained “ribald” content she decided to ask the library to move the books to the adult section.  She says she is not a proponent of censorship, just that the books would be moved “so that unsuspecting students and parents wouldn’t go in like we did and have this information.”  The other mother proposes having a shelf that requires parental consent for books to be checked out.

The National Coalition Against Censorship‘s Kids Right to Read Project has written a letter in response to this challenggossipgirle, opposing it.  You can read the letter in full here.  In part, it states that “both titles are recommended for exactly this age group.  While books in the Young Adult section of the library may contain themes that are too mature for some teens, they may be meaningful to others.  The books should be considered on the basis of their merit for the teens they serve, not based on a particular viewpoint, and as entire works, not based on excerpts some find objectionable.”

What do you think?  Do you think it is the job of a librarian to make sure that the young adult section is only full of books that can be grabbed “randomly” off the shelf  and provide clean mother-daughter entertainment, as the two mothers in Leesburg seem to want?  Or do you agree with the NCAC that “parents may be equipped to make choices for their own children, but, no matter how well-intentioned, they simply are not equipped to make decisions for others”?  Do you think that the suggestion of the mothers is censorship, or that moving the books from the young adult section is not censorship?  Let us know in the comments.

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