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  • April 2012
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Blogging Birthdays

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that–on your birthday–you don’t typically find out you are a wizard (need I mention Harry Potter?), have magical fairies granting you a wish, or become a werewolf. Recently, my best friend celebrated her birthday, this past Tuesday in fact. Happy Birthday, Anna! The anticipation of being one year older is expected, but also probably very PREDICTABLE. In our ordinary lives, expecting extraordinary things to happen is probably not a normal train of thought.

In fact, birthdays, if celebrated, are usually spent with family, friends, pets, maybe even the homeless guy down the street, with some sort of candle sticking out of the dessert, (Lemon Meringue pie for you, Anna!), whatever suits your fancy. Maybe you go out, maybe you stay in, or maybe you don’t do anything at all.

However, thank goodness for imagination! Check out these titles for they will be certain to liven up your birthday as they give you a chance to jump in and enjoy some far-out, crazy, pretty awesome, or awful events that happen on these characters’ birthdays. Still, don’t go too far, you’re gonna want to come back to blow out the candles and make a wish!

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.

The Rise of the Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell

Expecting to become a super villain on his sixteenth birthday, Damien Locke, son of one of Golden City’s most notorious super villains, is horrified to discover that he may instead be destined to become a superhero.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

In a future world where those between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can have their lives “unwound” and their body parts harvested for use by others, three teens go to extreme lengths to uphold their beliefs–and, perhaps, save their own lives.

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Seventeen-year-old Violet Eden’s world is turned upside down when she falls for the sexy and aloof Lincoln and discovers he is part angel and part human. As Violet gets caught up in an ancient battle between dark and light, she must choose her path because the wrong decision could cost not only her life but her eternity.

– Colleen, CLP-Woods Run

Teen Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

When I first started The Book Thief I was skeptical as to whether I would like it or not, because I heard mixed reviews. But don’t let the negative reviews fool you, this book is brilliant to say the least!

The book technically is narrated by Death. Throughout the book, readers learn about Death and his feelings. But Death introduces the readers to a girl named Leisel Meminger. The book basically jumps back and forth from Leisel’s viewpoint and Death’s viewpoint. In the very beginning of the book, I was a tad confused about how this book was written but it’s surprisingly easy to follow.

This book’s setting is in Nazi Germany during WWII. Another reason this book is unique is because it is told from the German’s viewpoint during the war, not the Jews. Zusak proves to readers that not all Germans were horrible people through the main character Leisel and her family and friends.

One important thing to realize about the characters: you will fall in love with them. The characters in The Book Thief are SO loveable. Leisel, a 10 year old girl, moves in with her foster family in the beginning of the book, and she changes everybody’s life. Her papa, Hans Hubermann, is her best friend and closest confidante. Her mama, Rosa Hubermann, completely personifies the phrase ‘tough love’. Another character that will become a readers’ favorite is Rudy Steiner, Leisel’s best friend. Readers will be touched when they see just how powerful and sweet a friendship could be. Leisel will pull readers into her world of hiding Jews, book stealing and word loving, and how hard it is to be happy in Nazi Germany. This young girl could most definitely teach adults valuable life lessons with a mind like hers.

Another important note on this book is that it is extremely sad. If you are one that does not like to get emotional, I would not pick up this book! Since Death is the narrator, he could be rather blunt. In fact, for almost all of the events of the book, Death will tell us the end first, and then fill in the details leading up to the end.

The Book Thief is sure to surprise any reader because of how unique it is. Everything to the main characters, the narrator, and to the way it’s written is different and unique. This book is must-read!!

Interview with Siobhan Vivian, Author of The List

In this video, teen volunteer Jenna interviews local author Siobhan Vivian about her book The List, which chronicles the lives of eight young women who have been identified as each grade’s hottest–or ugliest–girl at their school. Watch it below!

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main

Truth and Myth of Paul Revere’s Ride

courtesy of paulreverehouse.org

On April 18th, 1775, 237 years ago today, a man known to modern America as a patriot took what some would call a “midnight ride” through the Massachusetts countryside in order to warn his fellow rebels that the British were marching their way.

So, on the anniversary of Paul Revere’s Ride, immortalized in American legend via a timeless poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, let’s breakdown a few of the myths that arose due to the artistic license taken with this patriotic tale.

  • Revere, in fact, did not ride alone that night, leaving separately but traveling the same route into Lexington as another man, William Dawes, with both men later being accompanied by Samuel Prescott further on towards Concord.
  • All the events described in the poem did not happen exclusively on April 18th.  Preparation for sending news of British troop movements was made days in advance, and the dead bodies mentioned in the Old North Church courtyard were caused by the battle of Lexington, which began a day later.
  • Revere did not arrive safely in Concord to warn the rebels there, but was captured–along with his fellow riders–by the British just outside the town and was questioned at gunpoint for several hours.  Exciting stuff!

For more information on the truth and the myth surrounding this and other revolutionary events, check out some of the following books:

The Secret of Sarah Revere by Ann Rinaldi.

Paul Revere’s Ride by David Hackett Fischer.

Don’t Know Much about History by Kenneth C. Davis.

~Morgan, CLP-Main Teen

Will this be the Pirates’ year?

Can the Pirates end their infamous losing streak this year?  In two words- probably not.  In the early part of the season, there has been a glaring weakness for the team- they CAN’T HIT the ball!  They rank near the bottom of almost every hitting statistic in the league.  They are last in batting average, home runs, and on base percentage.  And they are not even last by a point or two.  It’s a pretty big gap in almost every stat between them and the next worst team.  Their power hitter of the future, Pedro Alvarez, is batting around .050 and is on pace to break the alltime record for strikeouts by a better in one season!  On the bright side, the pitching looks pretty good, Andrew McCutchen is signed to a long term deal, and PNC Park is still a great place to watch a game.  But to me, that is not nearly enough to end the Pirates‘ 19 year losing streak.  It looks like they will make it two straight decades of losing.

Dive in…

Maybe you’re fascinated by the upcoming anniversary of the Titanic sinking.  You might be curious about tsunamis, like the one that contributed to the Fukushima disaster.  Or maybe this summer weather is just making you daydream about the beach.  If you’re obsessed with the ocean, reel in one of these books and start exploring the deep.

Oceans: Exploring the Hidden Depths of the Underwater World
by Paul Rose & Anne Laking

Journey Into the Deep: Discovering New Ocean Creatures
by Rebecca L. Johnson

Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion
by Loree Griffin Burns

Going blue: A Teen Guide to Saving Our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, & Wetlands
by Cathryn Berger Kaye

Careers for Aquatic Types & Others Who Want to Make a Splash
by Blythe Camenson


PS: Don’t forget the Free FAFSA Assistance workshop this Saturday at CLP – Main from 12-3!

Black Cats and Broken Mirrors, How Will You Celebrate Friday The 13th?

It’s Friday the 13th!  So on this day devoted to being very superstitious I thought we could spend a little time looking at some of the world’s craziest superstitions.   Some superstitions are observed moment by moment, while others are connected to a specific holiday or religion.  All superstitions revolve around the idea that doing or not doing certain things can bring bad luck.  Many of our common superstitions like black cats or tossing salt over your left shoulder are related to ancient Christianity but others are built up by individuals or communities over time.

The sports world is particularly dependent on superstition.  Many people know that Michael Jordan wore his college (North Carolina) team’s shorts under his Chicago Bulls uniform throughout his career for good luck.  But did you know that in Nascar driving a green car is considered bad luck?  Or that in Detroit throwing an octopus onto the ice before the beginning of a playoff game helps to guarantee a championship win for the Red Wings?Although good luck on game day is pretty important it’s not quite as important as good luck on your big day.  That’s probably why there are so many superstitionssurrounding weddings and marriage.  Did you know that most people wear wedding bands on the 4th finger of their left hand because it was believed that a vein leading straight to the heart could be found in that finger?  Or that a groom traditionally carries his new bride over the threshold of their home to prevent evil spirits from entering along with the bride. The tradition of the Groom not seeing Bride before the wedding came from ancient times when marriage wasn’t much more than a business contract.  The father of the bride would want to marry his daughter off to the most successful man he could find and if his daughter wasn’t exactly the fairest in the land he would try to keep the groom from seeing her until after the deal was made.Almost everyone is a little superstitious.  Just ask someone who is growing a playoff beard or anyone who says “Bless you” after you sneeze.  Just to be safe (at least for the rest of the day) I’m going to keep my eye out for cracks in the sidewalk and be really careful around mirrors.


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