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  • July 2020
    M T W T F S S

Reading & Writing This Week at CLP

I’m sure that by now, Teen Summer Reading (TSR) is old news.  However, if you haven’t signed up yet, I do encourage you to stop by your local library, say hi to your librarian, and sign up!  You can earn nifty prizes and free books, as well as an invitation to your branch’s spectacular End of Summer party just for teens.

If you’d like to share what you’re reading with other teens, look no further than Hazelwood’s Teen Lounge and Book Club on Tuesday, July 2 from 2-3pm.  Bring a book you are reading and share what you loved or hated about it over snacks, crafts and games.  Refreshments and free books are provided.

Reading memehttp://memebase.cheezburger.com/tag/reading

Let’s say you’ve been reading all summer long, and you figure that you’ve already read a fair amount of books by different authors, of varying genres and writing styles.  You figure it’s about time you try your hand at writing something of your own.  Look no further than East Liberty’s Creative Writing for Teens on Saturday, July 6 from 3-4pm.

This special creative writing workshop will feature special guest and YA author Siobhan Vivian, author of The List and Burn for Burn.  Not only do you get to meet this fabulous author, but she will also help you improve your writing!  Registration is required, so register here, or by calling 412-363-8232 or emailing barbert@carnegielibrary.org.

one does not simply write a novelhttp://writerswrite.co.za/writing-truths-16810

Happy reading & writing!

-Amy, CLP-Lawrenceville

End of Summer- BOO! End of Summer Party- YAY!

When I was a teenager, I couldn’t stand those back-to-school advertising campaigns that seem to kick in while summer is still in full swing.  And how about the stores that start selling fall jackets when it is still 90 degrees outside?  For me personally, the count down to the new school year was such a drag that even a full scale-gratuitous-shopping-binge didn’t prove therapeutic.  So now that the Teen Department at CLP Main is hosting an End of the Summer Celebration on Friday 8/24 from 2 pm to 5 pm, I feel like such a traitor.

But really- we’re on YOUR side.  We’re not trying to pour salt in the wound, we simply want to reward you all for your participation in this year’s Teen Summer Reading program (which, by the way, it’s not too late to sign up for….).  And the truth is, we’ll use any excuse to throw a party here in the Main Teen Department.  So, come- despite yourself- and just try to enjoy the last sliver of summer….

Friday, August 24

2pm to 5pm

CLP Main- Teens

4400 Forbes Ave.

Pittsburgh, PA

All teens in middle or high school welcome.  For more information, contact teensmain @ carnegielibrary.org or 412.622.3121.

Hot Summer Reads

The heat wave that’s been gripping most of our country has technically broken, or at least The Weather Channel isn’t currently predicting any highs in the 90s in Pittsburgh’s near future.  That’s fantastic news to me because I really don’t function well at those temperatures.  I get irritable and restless, but I can’t do anything but lay on the couch, and my attention span is completely shot.  I basically just try to keep myself as distracted as I can and hope the worst of the weather passes quickly.

But of course, this heat wave was in no hurry to move on, and I’m afraid my brain has literally melted and run out of my ears.  Since there’s no way I can focus on an entire full-length book right now, I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels.  (In fact, I’ve mentioned how perfect they are for just such an occasion before.)  Here are a few of my recent favorites –

Luz Sees the Light by Claudia Davila

Luz lives in a world where power outages are occurring more and more often, and gas prices are soaring.  As she begins to understand why these things are happening, she decides she wants to do something about it – start a community garden in an abandoned lot.  But can she convince the neighborhood to help her?

The Littlest Pirate King by Jason B.

A ghost ship full of long-dead pirates has been roaming the seas for years, looking for a way to end their miserable existence and move on to the next.  But in the meantime, they maintain the traditional pirate lifestyle of killing and plundering other ships.  When they discover a living baby has survived one of their raids, they decide to keep him.  Of course, it’s only a matter of time until the boy grows up…

Nursery Rhyme Comics, edited by Chris Duffy

Each of the 50 nursery rhymes in this collection is illustrated by a famous cartoonist.  I was really impressed by several of the stories, but my favorite was probably Lucy Knisley’s take on “The Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe.”

Freshman: Tales of 9th Grade Obsessions, Revelations, and Other Nonsense by Corinne Mucha

Annie’s just started high school, and it’s already not going well.  Her old best friend has gotten weird and isn’t speaking to her, and she’s not completely comfortable with her new friends yet either.  Her brother convinces her that freshman year sets the course for the rest of your future, but she can’t even figure out what she’s good at.  She’s terrible at sports, and she’s not sure about acting either.  Even her love life seems hopelessly doomed.  Can Annie get it together before it’s too late?

Have you read any good graphic novels (or anything else) lately?  Make sure you sign up for Teen Summer Reading and log them, so you can be eligible for fabulous prizes!


Rural reads

I grew up in a tiny town in the corn belt where the first kid to ride his tractor to school was not the last. We swam in ponds as often as in pools. The super-spacious Midwestern sprawl and lack of public transport meant that, once I learned to drive, I usually got where I was going with the windows down at…um…a totally legal and safe speed.

That car now is scrap metal, and as summer activities go, Pittsburgh beats the flatlands with no contest!  But gorgeous summer afternoons, grilling with friends, cinema in the park and some of the most ridiculous jams from the 90’s have the power to send me back to my neighborhood with force. These books do the same, and it’s kinda nice!

The Oxford Project by Peter Feldstein and Stephen G. Bloom

In 1984, the author set out to photograph everyone in his hometown of Oxford, Iowa, instructing them to “come as you are.” Twenty years later, Feldstein hunted down the same people who had stood in front of his lens the first go-around and published the photographs side-by-side. Each set of photos comes with a brief interview of the participant, and they range from downright wacky to mundane. I’ve never thought of small town life as stunning, but this series of portraits absolutely changed my mind.


Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Joey was 16 when his mother tragically died and he was shipped from Chicago to rural Iowa to live with a father he barely knew. Living with a near-stranger is hard, but finding out the stink in your shack comes from the graves your dad is robbing? Arguably worse. This takes the small (and big) town mantra “nothing ever HAPPENS around here!” and runs it through the wringer. This book is not for the weak of stomach, but if you enjoy a thoughtfully dark read, you will get what you came for with Rotters.


Need to get out of the city – if only for a little while? Check out some of these other awesome reads with rural settings.



Whitney, CLP – Main

The Last Day of School…the Movie!

The end of the school year….  Ahhhhh….  It’s so close, you can taste it, right?  Soon the public pools will open, Extravaganza and Teen Summer Reading will be in full effect, the Pirates will be crushing the competition (well…. hopefully….), and you’ll be homework free for a solid two or three months.  When I think back to my school days, I remember those last ones the fondest.  The summer held so much anticipation and so much promise!  I almost didn’t even mind attending school, because I knew my days there were numbered.  The school days were short, the tired teachers showed films instead of- well- teaching, and the only writing we students did was in yearbooks.  Turns out many others have found inspiration in those last days of school, so much so that there are entire movies dedicated to those last days of school.  Teens of Pittsburgh- you are almost there!  Join us at CLP Main- Teen on your last day of school- Wednesday, June 13 at 3 pm- for a screening of a classic of the genre.  Until then, you’ll just have to experience the excitement the last days through film.  Below are some of the best and they are all available to check out from the library.

Can’t Hardly Wait

Dazed and Confused

I Love You Beth Cooper

Rock ‘N’ Roll High School

Say Anything

Summer School

The Wackness

Feel inspired to make your own last day of school film?  Check out CLP’s QuickFlix 2012 contest and free digital filmmaking workshops!

Recent Books That Caught My Eye

Summer is the best time to read because you can read anything that you desire.  It is not too late to sign up for Teen Summer Reading.  Don’t forget to add the books that you have already read this summer to your book log.

500 Health and Fitness Tips

I just completed a ten week fitness walking program, so Seventeen Presents 500 Health and Fitness Tips:  Eat Right, Work Out Smart, and Look Great!  attracted my attention right away.  Sorry guys, but this book is for girls.  This is not a diet book!  This chunky (no pun intended) little book is chock full of great tips on how to get into shape and how to eat to stay healthy and fit.  Tip #399–don’t ditch cookies (I love this book!), but stick to made-from-scratch cookies, and add in healthy nuts and dried fruit for an even better treat!  Check out these two great sections:

  1. Work out in the park:  tone your whole body and get some fresh air with this strength routine by celeb fitness trainer Radu Teodorescu.
  2. Get ready for tryouts:  start this pre-season workout also by celebrity trainer Radu Teodorescu 3 weeks before your sports tryouts and you’ll run faster, jump higher–and make the team!

The next book is The Accidental Genius of Weasel High by Rick Detorie.  Larkin Pace is a 14 year old aspiring (and frustrated) filmmaker that is working on a project for his English class.  This book can be described as part regular novel and part graphic novel.  Some have called it an illustrated novel.  I will declare it as super funny with lots of great pop culture and film references.

Here is Larkin’s  list of “TEN THINGS THAT BUG ME ABOUT MY SISTER” (pages 70-71).

10.  She goes ballistic whenever I touch her stuff.

9.  She leaves the stuff I’m not supposed to touch everywhere.

8.  She borrows my stuff without ever asking.

7.  She rolls her eyes at everything I say.

6.  She and her friends giggle whenever I pass by.

5.  She pasted little heart stickers all over my skateboard.

4.  She put lime gelatin in my favorite shoes.

3.  She posts dorky pictures of me on the Web and forwards them to her friends.

2.  She always gets her way.

1.  Actually, everything about her bugs me.  Seriously.

The Accidental Genius of Weasel High

Consider the scenerio where you are a senior in high school and looking forward to heading off to college.  “It’s Daisy Crispin’s final semester of high school, and she plans to make it count.  Her long-awaited freedom is mere months away, and her big plans for college loom in the future.  Everything is in control.  Or is it?”

Check out Perfectly Invisible by Kristen Billerbeck.

“I miss Gil.  I want men in my life who know how to get what they want, who aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in, even if it makes them unpopular.  I wish I knew if either Chase or Max was that kind of guy.  But right  now, they both seem like luminous wimps to me.  Which makes looking forward to college all the more important to me.  Somehow I hope that everything will be different there, that my life will change with a new venue.”  (page 123)

Perfectly Invisible

I was also intriged by Eva’s recent book suggestion: How They Croaked:  The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous.    A great and fun book for browsing this summer.

~Marian, CLP–Mt. Washington

Please share your favorite books that you have read this summer!

Read away the summer…

It’s my 4th favorite time of year (precluded by Christmas, Black Friday, and my birthday, naturally)! YALSA has released the list of titles picked for 2011 Teens’ Top Ten Nominations!

The teens that do the nominating are members of teen book groups that span across sixteen schools and libraries throughout the country. They chose the 25 books that they felt were the best that teen literature had to offer in the last year. Here is the list of books with some nice descriptions to help you decide which you’re going to read this summer!

From Aug. 22 until Sept. 16, teens between the ages of 12-18 can vote for their favorite book– the top ten will be announced during Teen Read Week!

Here are my favorites from the list that you should definitely check out–

Are there any books on here that you wouldn’t have picked? Any that are missing that you feel should’ve been included?

– Julie, CLP– Beechview

I prefer to listen

It’s full-on summer reading time.  This makes me happy, but what about those of you for whom a page of print is a slow and treacherous journey, or would prefer that someone just tell you a tale? 

For you, my friend, there are audiobooks.  (Yes, they count as summer reading.)

photo from flickr user nguyendai

The library, being a library, has several options for you to get audio recordings of the books that you would like to listen to.   In fact, there are 601 records that turn up in a search for Teen-designated books on cd when I search Catalog Explorer, including the amazing Paper Towns by John Green, the harrowing Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, the buzzed about London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd, the pointy Fang by James Patterson, and the summery Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen… AND MANY MORE! 

How would you do this search? I’m glad you asked.

1. Click on the following link for Catalog Explorer.

2. Type an asterisk (it’s above the number 8 on your keyboard) in the search box.

3. Look on the right side of your screen and click on “Teen” under “Age Group”

4. Look at the icons right above your search results and click on “Book on CD”

5. Ta-da!  Put your audio books on hold.

BUT BUT BUT! You say.  I don’t want to go to the library to pick up my audio book.  Is there an option where I can download it right now right this second?  Onto my computer and then my mp3 player?


The library pays for a service called Overdrive.  You can do just this thing with Overdrive.  To browse the audiobooks available, go HERE.

They have such books as:

Jane Slayre, by Sherri Browning Erwin (“Raised by vampyre relatives, Jane grows to resent the lifestyle’s effect on her upbringing. No sunlight, keeping nighttime hours, and a diet of bloody red meat is no way for a mortal girl to live.”) 

The Wild Things, by Dave Eggers (“The Wild Things is about the confusions of a boy, Max, making his way in a world he can’t control. His father is gone, his mother is spending time with a younger boyfriend, and his sister is becoming a teenager.“).  And, as always, many more.

The selection is different depending on what kind of mp3 player you have, and you will have to download the Overdrive software to get and play the audiobooks.  More information is available here or from your personal librarian.

What else?  Every week until September, there are two free Teen audiobook downloads at SYNC.  One is a modern book and one is a YA classic on the same theme.  This week they are offering Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, and in two weeks you could be downloading the audiobook of the Hunger Games for free!  You can sign up by clicking on the Sync logo above.

Happy listening!

– Tessa

Murder, Thievery and Other Dastardly Deeds

Every day when I open the newspaper (or the newspaper’s website, as the case may be) I’m assaulted by stories of crime — abuse, murder, burglary.  After my car was broken into a couple of months ago, those stories really began to hit home, and I now read the newspaper more often and with greater attention.  Frankly, it depresses me to read about all of the horrible things that are happening in the world, but I rather feel like it’s my duty to be aware of them.

I also feel, though, that it’s important to know history and to have an understanding of where we have come from.  History’s fascinating, both because of stories that make me think “wow, that explains a lot” and those that leave me wondering “what were they thinking?!?”

It’s the latter thought that crossed my mind most often while reading this article about the newly released England and Wales Historical Register, 1791 – 1892.  Punishments were, to my modern mind, ridiculously harsh — can you imagine being sentenced to death for cutting down a tree?  Or being deported to New Zealand for stealing table linens?  There was often little difference between sentences for petty thievery and murder.

My fascination with crime and history combine to make me a lover of historical fiction, and perusing the Register got me thinking about all of the exciting and thought-provoking teen fiction titles set during the 18th and 19th century.  Below are some examples — along with information about the crimes involved!

**Please note: Access to the England and Wales Historical Register requires registration, although they are offering a two-week free trial.  To research your ancestry or find other historical information for free, check out one of our databases!  Another great resource for information about historical crime is Victorian Crime and Punishment. All definitions in green below come from Dictionary.com.**

Body Snatching: The act or process of robbing a grave to obtain a cadaver for dissection.

Medical science made great strides in the 18th and 19th centuries, and scientists were always looking for bodies to dissect for studies of human anatomy.  In Great Britain, the only bodies that could legally be used for dissection were those who had been condemned to “death and dissection” by the courts.  While this was fine in the 18th century when so many people were executed for various crimes, in the 19th century the number of people condemned decreased dramatically — and so scientist had to find another source of bodies.  Body snatching became commonplace.  It was considered a lesser crime than larceny and was punishable by fine and imprisonment.

Richards, Justin

The Death Collector

What starts as an ordinary picket-pocketing incident in Victorian London unites three teens against a madman. Eddie is the pickpocket; George is an assistant at the British Museum; Elizabeth has a nose for trouble—and all of them are being hunted by Augustus Lorimore.  Lorimore is a sinister factory owner, a villain bent on reanimating the dead, both humans and dinosaurs—and one of each is already terrorizing the streets of London. It’s up to Eddie, George, and Elizabeth to stop Lorimore’s monsters . . . or die trying.

Welsh, T.K.

Resurrection Men

London, 1830s. Twelve-year-old Victor, an orphan, knows that life is dangerous, and death by disease or accident is common. But to Mr. Tipple and Mr. Biggs, these are streets teeming with possibility, where a child, once dead, is a commodity, and a fresh subject can fetch as much as nine guineas. In this dark underworld, Victor must uncover the identity of the ghoulish murderer who is at the heart of London’s furtive trade in human corpses.

Highway Robbery: Robbery committed on a highway against travelers, as by a highwayman.

Most highwaymen committed their crimes from horseback and were considered a higher class of criminal than common footpads — in fact, they were sometimes refered to as “Gentlemen of the Road.”  There’s a strong tradition of highwayman  “robber heroes” (think Robin Hood), but most highwaymen were notorious villains.  Highway robbery with violence was punishable by death, although many highwaymen were deported instead.

Morgan, Nicola

The Highwayman’s Footsteps

Inspired by “The Highwayman,” the famous poem by Alfred Noyes, this dramatic and moving historical adventure is set on the stark, ghostly moors that seem as menacing as the pursuing redcoats. A thrilling adventure featuring a feisty heroine, a rebellious young man, and a galloping, heart-clutching story.

Rees, Celia


In 1794 England, the rich and beautiful Sovay, disguised as a highwayman, acquires papers that could lead to her father’s arrest for treason, and soon her newly-awakened political consciousness leads her and a compatriot to France during the Revolution.

Infanticide: The act of killing an infant.

Despite severe punishments (usually execution), many unwanted infants were murdered or left for dead by their mothers.  In some cases, however, women were executed for infanticide even if they miscarried or their child was stillborn.

Gavin, Jamila

Coram Boy

“Coram Boy” is a tale of two cities and a tale of two boys: Toby, saved from an African slave ship, and Aaron, the illegitimate heir to a great estate. It’s also a tale of fathers and sons: slave-trader, Otis, and his son Meshak; and landowner Sir William Ashbrook and the son he disinherits.

Hooper, Mary

Newes from the Dead

Anne can’t move a muscle, can’t open her eyes, can’t scream. She lies immobile in the darkness, unsure if she’d dead, terrified she’s buried alive, haunted by her final memory—of being hanged. A maidservant falsely accused of infanticide in 1650 England and sent to the scaffold, Anne Green is trapped with her racing thoughts, her burning need to revisit the events—and the man—that led her to the gallows.

Larceny: The unlawful taking or removing of another’s personal property with the intent of permanently depriving the owner.

A common sentence for larceny was hard labour, the length dependent on the severity of the crime.  Individuals who committed larceny also risked deportation or, in some occassions, execution.

Buckley-Archer, Linda

Gideon the Cutpurse

1763.Gideon Seymour, cutpurse and gentleman, hides from the villainous Tar Man. Suddenly the sky peels away like fabric and from the gaping hole fall two curious-looking children. Peter Schock and Kate Dyer have fallen straight from the twenty-first century, thanks to an experiment with an antigravity machine. Before Gideon and the children have a chance to gather their wits, the Tar Man takes off with the machine — and Kate and Peter’s only chance of getting home. Soon Gideon, Kate, and Peter are swept into a journey through eighteenth-century London and form a bond that, they hope, will stand strong in the face of unfathomable treachery.

Updale, Eleanor

Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman

When a petty thief falls through a glass roof while fleeing from the police, it should have been the death of him. Instead, it marks the beginning of a whole new life. Soon he has become the most successful — and elusive — burglar in Victorian London, plotting daring raids and using London’s new sewer system to escape. He adopts a dual existence to fit his new lifestyle, taking on the roles of a respectable, wealthy gentleman named Montmorency and his corrupt servant, Scarper.

Smuggling: To import or export (goods) secretly, in violation of the law, especially without payment of legal duty.

In the 18th century, excise taxes for importing goods were very high and many merchants resorted to smuggling their goods.  This was a lucritive endeavor both for the merchants and the seafarers and fishermen doing the smuggling — but not without a large price if caught!

Bajoria, Paul

The Printer’s Devil

After printing the “Wanted” posters for some of London’s most notorious inhabitants, a printer’s boy is entangled, by a genuine convict, in a series of mistaken identities and events leading back to the boy’s own mysterious past.

Lawrence, Iain

The Smugglers

Young John is charmed by the Dragon, the schooner he is planning to sail to London and use for the honest wool trade.  But a mysterious gentleman delivers an ominous warning to “steer clear of that ship,” because the ship was “christened with blood.”  The ship looks clever and quick, and the crew seems to know how to man it, but with such a warning John is left to wonder how well he really knows what lies ahead.  Will he heed the advice given by the mysterious man?  Or will he brave the unknown on his own?

Treason: The offense of acting to overthrow one’s government or to harm or kill its sovereign.

In the 18th and 19th centuries (and even into the 20th century) any protest or activism against the government could be considered treason, if you were attempting to overthrow the government or some part of it.  For example, in the early 19th century a protest over food costs and supplies in Ely, Wales got out of control and turned into a riot.  300 fought, 80 were arrested, and five were hung for treason.

Grant, K.M.

How the Hangman Lost His Heart

What’s a nice girl like Alice doing with a hangman called Dan Skinslicer? He likes a good clean killing and a hearty supper afterwards. She likes pretty dresses and riding a well-bred horse. But fate throws them together on a mission of mercy–to save Alice’s poor uncle Frank’s head and restore his dignity. Soon they find themselves on the run from every soldier in London. It could be their necks next!

Woodruff, Elvira

The Ravenmaster’s Secret: Escape from the Tower of London

It’s 1735. Forrest Harper’s life inside the Tower of London consists of three ways to pass the time: chores, chores, and more chores. His only friends are the spirited ravens he tends with his father. So when vicious Scottish Rebels are captured, Forrest can’t wait to prove his courage by standing guard. If only Forrest’s prisoner hadn’t turned out to be a noble and daring girl named Maddy. And if only Maddy wasn’t about to be executed…

Enjoy reading about dastardly (and not-so-dastardly) deeds!

Karen Brooks-Reese

Teen Services Coordinator

Metemorphasize Your Tank Top!

Metemorphasized tank top
Metemorphasized tank top

BYOTTBring Your Own Tank Top in and we’ll metemorphasize it into a beach bag.

When: Saturday, July 12th 1:00 – 2:30PM
Where: CLP-Squirrel Hill Library
-Kim/CLP – Sq. Hill
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