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  • September 2011
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There is no such thing as a safe tan…

Everyone has words or a phrase that they hate to hear but know is true. Eating that is bad for you. You drive too fast. If you only applied yourself. There is no such thing as a safe tan…

That last one makes me cringe. How true. How sadly true. I love the glow of UV (ultraviolet) rays from both the natural sun and the humming gods we call tanning beds. I first met a tanning booth when I was 14 and it was love at first bake. And just like nearly half of all teenagers, I never used sunscreen.

For me, nothing cleared and masked my acne prone skin as easily as regular UV exposure. Although, there is now research that says tanning salons can be breeding grounds for acne and infection causing bacteria. Unfortunately, that healthy glow so many love is a very unhealthy one. As skincancer.org states, “The skin of teens is thought to be more vulnerable than adults.  Teens may be especially susceptible to skin cancer because their cells are dividing and changing more rapidly than those of adults.”

A few months ago I noticed that overnight a big brown spot had appeared on my lower lip. After visiting a dermatologist I was told it was caused by excessive UV exposure and I need monitor its growth and have multiple precancerous moles removed from my shoulders and back. Since I used a tanning booth regularly as a teen I am 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to develop skin cancer in my lifetime than people who never artificially tan. 

Since tanning is so common and the negative effects are felt later in life, it is easy to ignore the damage you are causing. Since you skin is so important to your overall mental and physical health it is important to learn about good care and hygiene. There are numerous reputable online resources where you can learn about skin health like WebMD, Medicine Plus, and Discovery Health. One great article on WebMD called Top Teen Skin Problems – and How To Solve Them is worthy of a look too! Click on the book below to order For All to See: A Teen’s Guide to Healthy Skin from the library.

-Michael B. – CLP Hazelwood

Mapping Censorship for Banned Books Week

That’s right, it’s the last week of September once again and that means Banned Books Week is upon us. Need a refresher on what Banned Books Week is? Here you go:

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

In plain English, we want you to read the books that others ban! As librarians, intellectual freedom is very important to us. When it comes to your reading habits, we believe that you should be free to read whatever you like.

You might not realize it, but books are challenged and banned pretty often. Crazy, right? According to the American Library Association (ALA), there were at least 348 challenges in 2010, and the ALA estimates that 70 to 80 percent are never reported!

BandBooksWeek.org came up with a great map called Mapping Censorship.

“Mapping Censorship” was created by Chris Peterson of the National Coalition Against Censorship and Alita Edelman of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. This map shows the sites of recent challenges (2007-the present), lists what book was challenged, as well as information about the book.

In celebration of Banned Books Week, here’s a list of the ten most challenged books of 2010 (and the reasons they’re most often banned or challenged). Click on the title and order one today!

Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2010

And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language, racism, religious viewpoint, sex education, sexually explicit, violence, unsuited to age group

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit

Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
Reasons: drugs, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit

The Hunger Games (series), by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: sexually explicit, violence, unsuited to age group

Lush, by Natasha Friend
Reasons: drugs, sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group

What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich
Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint

Revolutionary Voices edited by Amy Sonnie
Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit

Twilight (series), by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence, unsuited to age group

– Corey, Digital Learning Librarian

Something Like Hope – A Neglected Read

Normally the new teen books from East Liberty get checked out a couple of times before they become just regular teen books. But sometimes a book or two slips through the cracks for some indiscernible reason and doesn’t get checked out at all. Nothing! For six months, many sets of eyes pass these books by.  Well, I can’t let that happen!  As a teen services librarian, I felt duty bound to get to the bottom of the Mystery of the Unchecked-Out Book.

Something Like Hope by Shawn Goodman is one of those books, and looking at the stats of the other copies in the system, it is having trouble getting into reader’s hands in the majority of other branches.  Why?  I’m not sure.  My haphazard guess is that the cover looks like it contains a maudlin story with a plot leaning heavily towards  the Canada Goose-centric.

What do you think?

The story that is told, once you get past the cover, is decidedly not schmoopy.

Shavonne’s life isn’t as dire as Precious‘s from Push, but it’s not too far off. We meet her in a cell of a juvenile detention facility.  She wants to get released so she can raise her daughter, but there’s something holding her back from behaving the way she needs to in order to gain her freedom.  She betrays the people who are nicest to her and she becomes a target for a sociopathic guard.  She doesn’t want to get close to anyone else because she can’t stand caring about people, in case they get hurt.

Something Like Hope is short and it stings – it’s like a slap in book form, and each chapter is short and narrated in Shavonne’s terse thoughts.  But it makes your head feel clearer once you’re through it (also like a slap? I’m not advocating slapping anyone.)  After I was done I wanted to Do Something, but I didn’t know what.  I wanted to help Shavonne, but she wasn’t real.

She could’ve fooled me, though.

Check out Something Like Hope today, or try one of these readalikes:




I don’t wish nobody to have a life like mine : tales of kids in adult lockup / David Chura.


Real stories of the teenagers that are living in lockup.





Upstate / Kalisha Buckhanon.


What a locked up teen really says to his girlfriend.



Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen


A true story of a girl’s stay in a mental institution and how she figures herself out.


-Tessa, CLP – East Liberty

DIY Shrinky Dinks

You can recycle plastic to make your own Shrinky Dinks!  Yay!  I got the idea from this website.

Here’s what you will need:

  • Plastic with the #6 inside the recycle symbol (cleaned up of course) – you can find these in grocery stores, delis, any place that sells food really (ask for some, you might get some for free).
  • Permanent magic markers
  • Scissors
  • Aluminum foil
  • Oven mitts
  • an Oven (or toaster oven)
  1. After cleaning and drying the plastic, cut off the sides to make a flat sheet. You can use either the top or bottom of the container.
  2. Draw or write your design/message.  I’m not good at drawing but I can color, so  I printed out a cupcake clipart image from a Google and traced it.
  3. Pre-heat the oven (or toaster oven) to 350 degrees, and put the a rack in the lowest position.
  4. Create a tray with the aluminum foil by turning up the sides, and place you shrinky dink on it.
  5. If your oven has a light, turn it on so you can watch it shrivel up and then straighten itself out.   The cupcake started out at 2 1/4  inches in length and took about a 1.5 minutes to shrink, ending up at almost 1 inch.

See, it really does work.  Recycle your plastic to make anything, sun catchers, ornaments, gift tags, etc.  If you make some of your own shrinky dinks, please post a photo.  I’d love to see them!

~Kim, CLP – Squirrel Hill

Finding another favorite author

Even though I enjoy reading novels of all types, my favorite kind of story involves relationships.  I love reading realistic fiction about families and friends.  I love finding an author that I previously didn’t know about that engages me with a story so vivid and so touching, that it makes me want to read all of their books. Dana Reinhardt is my new favorite author. 

I recently listened to the audio edition  of the book The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt.  The audio-book is narrated by Shannon McManus

Meet 13-year-old Drew Robin Solo.  She lives with her Mom.  Her father died when she was just 3 years old and she never really knew him.  Her mom owns a cheese shop and Drew spends a lot of time there.  She’s become close with Nick, a “surfer dude” and Swoozie, a woman her mother’s age, who both work at the shop. 

Drew does have a few friends her own age, but they will be away for  the summer.  “This summer I would get a taste of friendlessness.”  “Anyway, I still had Swoozie.  I still had Nick.  I still had Hum.”  Hum is Drew’s pet rat:  “His Excellency the Lord High Rat Humboldt Fog”. 

One day, while looking in her mother’s closet for a shawl, Drew finds a notebook.  It was a book of lists from her father:  likes, dislikes, fears, regrets…Drew reads the lists over and over. 

Thanks to Hum, she also meets a mysterious boy, Emmett Crane.  How can you describe the most meaningful friendship of your life?  With Emmett at her side, Drew receives gifts from Hum and her father. 

Find all of Dana Reinhardt’s books @ your library.

~Marian  CLP–Mt. Washington

If you liked Little Women…

Then try March by Geraldine Brooks.


This is the story of Mr. March, the absent father from Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, Little Women. This is the story of a man who leaves for the civil war a preacher, a teacher, a philosopher, a husband, and a  father.

How will he return?

This is his story.

BritLit On the Brain

In four days, I’ll be on a plane flying in to Edinburgh, Scotland.  This trip, which will take fourteen days total and will begin in Scotland and end in London, has been on my mind for MONTHS. Literally. Months and months and months.  For about a year, I’ve watched primarily TV shows set in the British Isles and read books that help transport me across the Atlantic.

I wish I could take you all with me.  But since I can’t, I’ll give you some information so you can travel with me in your imagination — and tell you a bit about a couple of the books I read to get myself into the right mood.

Let’s start in Scotland, shall we?

 

This beautiful place is Oban, Scotland, and is the first stop on our grand adventure.  Oban, on the West coast of Scotland, is the seafood capital of Scotland. Yum!

Rick Steves told me that Oban is also known for lawn bowling, and you certainly don’t have to go to Scotland to give that a try!  There’s even a U.S. Open of Lawn Bowling.  Maybe when I get back we can have a lawn bowling tournament at the Library?

Of course, I couldn’t find any books set in or near Oban — if you know of any, won’t you let me know?

Next up is Edinburgh.  I went to Edinburgh once before, but I was sick for most of the trip.  The only thing I really remember is climbing

the hill (through city streets) to Edinburgh Castle.  This time, I hope to do so much more!  I’m a little disappointed that we won’t be there for the Edinburgh Festivals, but you can’t have everything.

Edinburgh has tons of amazing history.  My friends and I are hoping to go on a midnight tour of the underground vaults, and I have it on good authority that every tourist MUST try haggis.  I’m a little worried about that, but I’ll try anything once!

We also might go on a literary tour and see all the places where great authors like James Joyce hung out.

If you want to learn more about the history of Edinburgh, there’s lots of resources to check out.  But if you like your history mixed with fiction, here’s a historical fiction title to try:

Davidson, Jenny

The Explosionist

In Scotland in the 1930s, fifteen-year-old Sophie, her friend Mikael, and her great-aunt Tabitha are caught up in a murder mystery involving terrorists and suicide-bombers whose plans have world-shaping consequences.

Next up is the Lake District.  Oh my goodness, isn’t that beautiful?  The Lake District is known as an amazing place to go for long walks, and I’ve even been running in an attempt to build up my cardiovascular strength and endurance so I can do this region justice.

We’re staying in a place called Keswick, which sounds like it’s both lovely and quaint and vibrant and active.  There’s a world-renowned theater in town and a stone circle nearby, but I’m most excited about going Hill Top Farm, which Beatrix Potter bought with the proceeds from her work.

I loved Peter Rabbit, Flopsy, Mopsy and the rest when I was a little kid.  I have a tattered and torn Peter Rabbit stuffed animal with a music box inside that plays “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” that I still sleep with occasionally, if I’m feeling particularly sad and lonely.

An amazing book set in the Lake District, about another girl who considered Peter Rabbit a friend, is the graphic novel The Tale of One Bad Rat by Helen Talbot:

The Tale of One Bad Rat is the story of a young girl, Helen Potter, who runs away from home to escape an uncaring mother and a sexually abusive father. Eventually she finds her way to the Lake District, drawn there by her love of the work of Beatrix Potter, and in that beautiful landscape she at last finds peace.

Is that enough to whet your appetite? Those three locations will take us through the first week of our epic United Kingdom vacation — maybe when I get back I’ll tell you all about it!

Karen

CLP – Lawrenceville

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