Category Archives: Teens

Resources for High School and College Grads

By Jessica Dunkel, Reference Department

Graduating from High School or College is wonderful. You’ve put so much effort into getting your diploma and now you’re finally done! Congratulations are in order, and unfortunately, so is the brick wall of reality that usually starts with these questions:

What do I do next? Can I afford college? Do I even want to go to college? Can I get a job with my Associate’s/Bachelor’s degree, or will I need an additional schooling? What do I even want to do with my life?

And that’s the million dollar question – what DO you want to do with your life? If you haven’t figured it out, don’t fret – you’re not alone. Even some adults don’t know what they want to do when they grow up (we may look like we know what we’re doing, but that’s very far from true). Unlike us adults, you – my darling, doe-eyed, young reader – have time on your side. And although you have more time to figure things out, how you spend that time is important.

That’s why we’ve put together a long list of resources to get your started. Note: this is NOT an exhaustive list. Putting some serious effort into researching these things can make a HUGE difference in the trajectory of your life, even if you already have a life plan. (Example: having to go back to college to get a second degree after realizing majoring in Psychology was fun, but careers in Psychology are not. True story.)

The list below is numbered, but there’s no real order when it comes to researching. If you feel like you’re all over the place, you’re still doing it right because you’re doing something. The resources below can point you in the right direction regardless of where you’re at.

1. Find out who you are.

Not all of us had a “calling” since birth, or even know what our dream job would look like. So take some time to explore your interests. Volunteer. Take career aptitude tests to see what you’re good at. If you put time into learning your interests, strengths, and values, you’re already ahead of a lot of people.

1Career Tests

Volunteering

Books at the Main Library (click to go to our online catalog):

2. Make a 5-year plan.

I know this sounds daunting and even unrealistic. Like, I can’t even decide what to eat for dinner, how can I make a 5-year plan? The thing is:2
A lot of students think that going to college or getting a job is enough – they don’t need to plan for their futures until later. But what will you do when later becomes now? When you plan ahead, you start envisioning your ideal future. And when you set and accomplish goals along the way, your ideal future becomes your reality.

How to make a general 5-year plan

  • WikiHow: Easy steps to get you started.

If you’re going to college

If you’re not going to college (or aren’t sure)

If you’ve graduate from college

Other tips

  • Create a 5-year-plan Pinterest board for visual inspiration.

Books at the Main Library (click to see the book in our online catalog):

3. Get to work on your plan.

After you’ve envisioned where you want to be in the future, you need to get to work on your goals. Below are some websites and books to help you get started on implementing your plan.3
If you’re going to college

If you’re not going to college

If you’ve graduated from college

Whew! That’s a lot of resources.

Figuring out your life’s path and working towards your goals is definitely overwhelming – but if you take time to find out who you are, make a plan, and work hard on it, you can be sure you’re on the right path – your own.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DISASTER

By Howard Shirley, Teen Department

with apologies to Joss Whedon and Sam Raimi

CAST

RickUscropRICK, or Rick Grimes, is the lead character of the graphic novel and television series, The Walking Dead written by Robert Kirkman, which features a zombie pandemic that turns much of North America (and presumably the rest of the world) into a land dominated by re-animated corpses that attack any other living thing, including Rick’s band of survivors.

Ash vs Evil DeadASH, played by Bruce Campbell, battles his own version of undead zombies in the popular Sam Raimi films, The Evil Dead, The Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness. Part horror films, part camp comedy, the story was recently revised as a television series starring Campbell. ASH’s line about the shotgun is borrowed from the films.

JAYNE or Jayne Cobb was the “muscle” character in the short-lived sci-fi cult series, Firefly, as well as the movie set in the same universe, Serenity, 1363454-jayne07-2and a series of graphic novels written by the show’s creator, Joss Whedon (writer/director of the hit Avengers movie). Many of the stories in the series feature the “reavers,” which, while not actually undead zombies, are clearly inspired by classic zombie horror films, and appear to equally hard to stop and equally hungry for human flesh. Vera is Jayne’s favorite gun. JAYNE’s description of Vera is taken from the television series.

life2Afterlife02ARCHIE is the famous comic character from the long-running comic book series. JUGHEAD is his best friend. Recently both feature in Afterlife With Archie written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, graphic novels set in an alternate universe, where the town of Riverdale, including many of Archie’s friends, succumb to a zombie plague.

SETTING

A high school cafeteria room, with tables and chairs. There are double doors with frosted glass window panes set in them that lead out of the room. A podium has been set up on one of the tables. RICK stands behind the podium, holding a gavel. The others, except for JUGHEAD, move about the room.

RICK: I now call the first meeting of the Zombie Survivalists Society to order. First on the agenda–

(Noise from the back). No, Jayne, we are not changing the name to the “Not-Deaders Gang.”

JAYNE: But I *like* that name.

RICK (pounds gavel): As I was saying, first on the agenda, did anyone lock the door?

ARCHIE: Jughead went to do that!

RICK: Both doors?

ARCHIE: Sure. Don’t worry. We can trust Jughead.

JAYNE: What kinda mother names her kid “Jughead?”

ASH: Same kind that names her son “Jane.”

JAYNE: It’s JAYNE. With a “Y.”

ASH: And I’m Ash. With a chainsaw.

(SOUND EFFECT: Loud chainsaw revving.)

RICK (pounds gavel): Ash, turn that thing off. The undead will hear it!

ASH: Let ‘em. I got plenty of gas.

RICK: Off, Ash.

ASH: All right, all right. No need to get your gavel bent outta shape. It’s off.

RICK: I think that’s tip one, folks. Noise attracts the undead. So it’s best to keep as quiet as you can, even if you’re well-armed… or, uh, have a chainsaw for an arm.

JAYNE: Wait, that thing is part of you? You ain’t got no hand under there?

ASH: Lose a hand, gain a chainsaw. Groovy.

ARCHIE: They had a chainsaw at the hospital?

ASH: Hospital? Naw, kid, I got this in Hardwares at S-mart. Shop smart, kid. Shop S-mart.

ARCHIE: That doesn’t sound all that smart.

ASH (shrugs): Smart, dumb– I’m the one with the chainsaw hand.

ARCHIE: What does that even mean?

RICK (pounds gavel): Okay, okay. Let’s get back to business. Seems like a good time to talk about armament.

ASH: Chainsaw and boomstick (waves shotgun)— The twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington, S-Mart’s top of the line. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. It’s got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. Shop smart, shop S-mart!

ARCHIE: Who talks like that? It’s like I’m trapped in an alternate universe.

JAYNE: Shiny. But I got Vera. (Holds up military rifle) It’s a Callahan full-bore auto-lock. Customized trigger, double cartridge thorough gauge. It is my very favorite gun. Can’t get that at your S-mart.

ASH: Can’t get ammo for it, either.

RICK: Solid point. A gun’s no good without bullets.

JAYNE: Oh, I got lots of bullets. Armor piercing, Alliance armory stuff, best you can buy in the Black.

RICK: Why would you want armor piercing rounds?

JAYNE: In case them goram reavers pick up some body armor off dead Alliance troopers.

ARCHIE: Wait, what’s a whatchamacallit “reaver?”

JAYNE: What we’re talking about, right? Come at ya’ fast, rippin’ ya’ apart. Only way to stop ‘em is to kill ‘em fast. And Vera will do that, full auto, broad spread.

ASH: You gonna get head shots on a horde of deadites with full auto?

JAYNE: Head shots? Why head shots?

ASH: Because that’s the only way you kill deadites—take out the brain. Or say the right words.

RICK: Words? What words?

ASH: Klaatu barada nikto… or something like that.

ARCHIE: How is a quote from The Day the Earth Stood Still supposed to stop zombies?

JAYNE: Zombies? Ain’t we talking about reavers? Ya’ know, men what’s gone nuts on account of the Alliance mucking around with folks brains?

ASH: Naw, we’re talking about deadites, the living dead, summoned from the grave by unholy magic and dumb teenagers.

ARCHIE: Hey!

ASH: No offense, carrot head.

RICK: “Unholy magic?” Where’d you get that? All the zombies I know of are caused by a viral plague. They bite, you get infected, die, and the virus brings your corpse back, with a raging hunger for human flesh.

JAYNE: Hang on, I’m taking notes. Can you guys talk a bit slower?

ASH: Well, those deadites never made me a zombie, but they possessed my hand. Had to cut it off for this! (Revs chainsaw again.)

ARCHIE: Cut off your own hand? That is completely gross.

ASH: Gross? Naw. Kiddo, it’s groovy.

JAYNE: So you guys are saying instead of insane killer nutjobs from the Black, you’re fighting superfast dead people from Hell? Told Mal he shoulda sent Shepherd Book to this shindig instead of me.

ARCHIE: Ours aren’t fast. They just kinda shuffle, like Frankenstein. (He mocks the walk.)

RICK: Yep, that’s about right.

JAYNE: You guys can’t run away from that?

ASH: Sure woulda made my life a lot groovier.

ARCHIE: Hard to run when the whole high school just keeps walking after you, never stopping, moaning for your flesh, like this—(Moans) URRRRRRRRR….

RICK: Whole school? Make that the whole world. As far as I can tell, it’s a global pandemic.

ASH: Groovy.

JAYNE: I ain’t thinking that’s any kind of what I’d call ‘groovy,’ Sawboy.

RICK: Look, this whole thing is about survival. And that’s more than just having the right weapon or knowing where to shoot. You need a plan, dependable transportation, a safe route for evacuation, supplies and more. And you have to make certain everybody in your family is on the same page, so they all know what to do and where to go when disaster strikes.

JAYNE: That’s a bit more than I can write down on this candy wrapper.

ASH: I’m surprised you can write anything down.

RICK: You don’t have to. The Center for Disease Control has already created a preparedness plan for dealing with a zombie plague. You can find it on the Internet at http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/zombies.htm.

ARCHIE (using a tablet): I’ve got it right here. Look, they even have a graphic novel we can download. http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/zombies_novella.htm

ASH (to JAYNE): Groovy. That oughta make it easy enough for you to understand.

JAYNE: Ha. Funny. (to RICK) But if this plan is for zombies like you’re talking about, why are me and Lefty here?

ASH: Hey…

JAYNE (continuing): Sounds like we got totally different monsters to fight.

RICK: The plan works for just about any disaster—zombie plagues, reaver attacks, or more realistic events like floods, tornadoes, disease outbreaks and more. The right things to do are pretty much the same, no matter what happens.

ARCHIE: I gotta show this to the gang. We could have been much better prepared when it all started. Jughead, Moose, Reggie, Betty, Veronica—sure would have helped.

RICK: Speaking of Jughead, where is that friend of yours? He should have been back by now.

ARCHIE: Well, I dunno. Wait, there he is!

(All turn to look at a shadow appearing in the windows of the doors into the room. It’s Jughead’s trademark crown-toothed hat.)

JAYNE: Nice hat. I’d wear that.

The door opens, and Jughead staggers into the room, one arm out, one clutching his stomach mouth open.

JUGHEAD (moaning): Muh-urrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…

ASH: Deadite!

JAYNE: Reaver!

ARCHIE: Zombie!

ALL (except JUGHEAD): RUN!

There is a mad dash for the exit, with yells, screams and knocking over of chairs. JUGHEAD alone remains in the room.

JUGHEAD: …urrrppp! ‘xcuse me! Man, that was a long time coming up. Any of you guys want a sandwich, too? Guys?

THE END?!?

NOTES

The CDC Zombie Preparedness Guide is real, if tongue-in-cheek. Though centered around an imaginary zombie plague, the guide offers real tips and advice for general disaster preparedness.

 

Comics and Graphic Novels 101

By Katy Searcy, Children’s Department

Comics and graphic novels. When I say those magic words, there are typically some pretty strong feelings evoked: I either receive rants and raves or wailing and gnashing of teeth. I’m here for those of you who may fall into the latter category. Maybe you hate them because you feel they aren’t “real” literature, because there’s absolutely no way cartoons can contain value. Maybe you hate them because your kid won’t read anything else. Or maybe you just hate them because you don’t know anything about them. So I’m here to provide you with a crash course in comics and graphic novels with the hope that hating them will no longer be your first reaction.walking dead

Comics vs. Graphic Novels: What’s the Difference?

Comic books are periodicals that contain a single story or a collection of stories, often featuring a continuing set of characters. Comic books are a form of sequential art, following a left-to-right, panel-to-panel reading convention and containing textual devices such as speech bubbles, captions, and onomatopoeia to convey dialogue, narration, and sound. Many American comic books involve adventure stories that incorporate elements of fantasy and science fiction. Superhero characters in comic books are especially popular. Some comic series have been merged into giant collections, like The Walking Dead, so they read more like a graphic novel.

A graphic novel is a book-length story that combines pictures and text. Graphic novels do resemble comic books, but they’re typically much longer than comic books with more serious subject matter. Many graphic novels do explore adult themes, but there are just as many graphic novels created specifically for children and young adults. Graphic novels are not necessarily novels—the format includes fictional stories, informational text, essays, reports, memoirs, biographies, and even poetry told using a combination of text and images following the panel-to-panel conventions of comics.

happy happy cloverWhere Does Manga Fit?

Manga are Japanese comics. The panels and text are read from right to left, and the reader turns the page in a right-to-left fashion as well. This can catch many readers off guard, but trust me, once you start, it’s easy to catch on. The art style of manga, however, differs drastically from its American counterpart. Manga characters are hyper-stylized, typically drawn with large eyes, small mouths, and giant heads of brightly colored hair. Emotions are exaggerated and can take over a character’s entire body.

Why Should We Read Them?

  • The first reason is obvious: Comics and graphic novels are fun! Why should reading be boring and miserable? It shouldn’t. Letting kids read something fun of their choosing gives them a sense of initiative and responsibility towards their own reading, and they’re less likely to view reading as a chore.
  • We live in a hyper-visual culture, and the visual sequences in comics and graphic novels just make sense to kids.
  • Kids use complex reading strategies when comic books and graphic novels. Readers must rely on dialogue and visual cues to infer what is not explicitly stated by a narrator, and they develop multiple literacies through the combination of pictures and text.
  • Comics and graphic novels are GREAT for reluctant readers. For kids who are intimidated by large amounts of text, the combination of text and images makes the book seem more accessible.
  • Personally, I read them when I want a more immersive, inclusive reading experience. I’ve found that some stories are just told better through a visual medium.

Which Ones Should I Read?

I’m glad you asked. If you’d like to know more about comics as a genre, Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (call number YA 741.5 MACC) is a wonderful resource. Often used as a textbook in literature classes (I needed it a total of three times during my undergrad and graduate work. Three!), McCloud delves into nearly every historical and perceptual aspect of comics. As far as good comics and graphic novels to read, here is a basic list of some of my personal favorites for each age group that we have available here at WCPL.

Grades 2-4:lunch lady
Babymouse: Queen of the World! (J 741.5 HOL)
Squish: Super Amoeba (J 741.5 HOL)
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute (J 741.5 KRO)
Chi’s Sweet Home (J 741.5952 KON)

Grades 5-6:amulet
Zebrafish (J 741.5 EME)
Roller Girl (J 741.5973 JAM)
Amulet: The Stonekeeper (J 741.5973 KIB)
Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity (J 741.5973 ROM)

Grades 7-8:battling boy
Brain Camp (J 741.5 KIM, 7th and 8th shelf)
Chiggers (YA F LAR)
Battling Boy (J 741.5 POP, 7th and 8th shelf)
Drama (YA F TEL)

Grades 9-12:runaways
In Real Life (YA F DOC)
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life (YA F OMA)
This One Summer (YA F TAM)
Runaways (YA F VAU)
The Shadow Hero (YA F YAN)

Adult:pleasant
Fun Home: An American Tragicomic (741.5973 PEC)
Over Easy (741.5973 PON)
Saga (741.5973 VAU)
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (92 CHA)
Blankets (F THO)


Sources:

Get Away With Teen Read Week

By Erin Holt and Howard Shirley, Teen Department

Teen Read week is here! Sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association, Teen Read Week highlights books and reading for teens and young adults. This year’s theme is “Get Away at Your Local Library,” and we’ve compiled a list of new books to help teen readers do just that. We’ve recently added all of these books (and many more) to our collection at the Franklin Teen Room, so come by, grab a book, and get away!

Get Away to Another Time: Capture the experience of the past, whether long ago or even simply a few decades, with these recent works of historical fiction:25163300

  • Audacity by Melanie Crowder, YA F CROWDER: A historical novel in verse about Clara Lemlich, a real life heroine in the fight for women’s labor rights at the turn of the century.
  • The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz, YA F SCHLITZ: Be taken back to 1911 with Joan, a fourteen year old who just wants her life to turn out like the books she reads and loves. This novel explores feminism, the role of women in history, and how dreams aren’t as far out of reach as we think.

Get Away to Another Planet: Soar away with new science fiction adventures:Avalon

  • Avalon and Polaris by Mindee Arnett, YA F ARNETT: A teenage boy fights for freedom in his family’s aging spaceship in this future space adventure series.
  • Serenity, Firefly Class 03-K64: Leaves on the Wind by Zack Whedon, YA F WHEDON: Fans of the short-lived science fiction television series Firefly can recapture the adventure with this graphic novel, set in the time immediately following the events of the movie Serenity. (Suitable for older teens.)

Get Away to Another Life: Stay in the present (and near future) with these new contemporary adventures:Mosquitoland-314x475

  • We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach, YA F WALLACH Go on a journey with 4 high school teenagers as they face themselves, each other, and their inner demons as they await a meteor to hit Earth. This stunning debut is best suited for older teens.
  • Mosquitoland by David Arnold F YA ARN: Combine a road trip, a romance, a homeless man, and a cast of quirky character and you’ve got a surefire hit with this awesome debut novel.

Get Away to Another World: Fantasy: Get whisked away into a world like you’ve never known in these fantasy novels.

  • 23569428Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman, YA F HERMAN: The first installment of the brand new Blood of Gods of Royals series, this book will leave you wanting more! Join main character Katerina as she embarks on a royal mission, involving murder and a love triangle!
  • The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang, YA F YAN: This graphic novel tells the story of an American Chinese teen in the time leading up to World War II, whose mother vows to turn him into a superhero. Based on an actual pre-war comic book hero created by a Chinese-American artist, the book is pure fantasy, but also a revealing look at the American Chinese culture of the time.

Get Away with Girl Power:Looking for a strong and confident main character who is a girl? These books are for you!24957546

  • Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, YA F MUR Willowdean is fat, and okay with it. When a beauty pageant opportunity arises, it’s her big chance to prove how beauty comes from this inside as well as the outside, regardless of size.
  • Queen of Shadows by Sara J. Maas YA F MAAS If you love the THRONE OF GLASS series, get in line for the next installment in this awesome series about assassins, espionage and more as you follow the path of the strong and awesome Celaena Sardothien! A combination of fantasy and girl power all rolled into one!

Forgotten History: The WWII Novels of Ruta Sepetys

By Howard Shirley. Teen Department

The Battle of Britain. Pearl Harbor. Stalingrad. The Holocaust. Seventy years later, the events and places of the Second World War echo in our minds, in stories we’ve told over and over, in novels, memoirs, television and film. One might think there is nothing new to discover, no secrets left unexamined. But the truth is that much of that history still remains hidden and forgotten, not because of conspiracy or government secrets, but merely because few have bothered to look— except for novelist Ruta Sepetys.

rutasepetys_photoThe daughter of a war refugee from Lithuania, young Ruta grew up hearing stories of her family’s escape from war-torn Europe. A Lithuanian military officer, Ruta’s grandfather found himself in the crosshairs of Stalin’s secret police, when the Soviet Union overran Lithuania and her sister Baltic states, Estonia and Latvia, in the opening months of World War II. Knowing without any doubt what he and his family’s fate would be, the officer fled into Germany with his family, including Ruta’s father, a young boy. They lived out the war in a refugee camp, little more wanted by the German government than the Soviets. Eventually, the family immigrated to America; the boy grew up, married, and Ruta was born.

But as Ruta herself says, that was only ever half of the story. Because though the war had ended, Lithuania would remain in the Soviet grip for fifty years. And among those in that grip, were the other half of the Sepetys family—the aunts, uncles and cousins she never knew, who had not slipped from Stalin’s noose.

And a noose it was. From 1941 through 1944, Stalin arrested, tortured, deported and murdered Lithuania’s political and intellectual classes en masse, in a ruthless effort to crush the Lithuanian nation and erase its culture from Europe, replaced by the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Communist Party.

Ruta’s family was part of that purge. Herded into crude train cars built for cattle, with the outside labelled “Thieves and Prostitutes,” Lithuanian doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, and their families, including the elderly, children and even infants, were shipped across the breadth of Russia to Siberia, some even forced to settle in the tundra above the Arctic Circle. Denied food, medicine, winter clothing and even the most rudimentary shelter, countless numbers died from neglect and exposure. Others were killed outright by the brutal NKVD, the forerunner of the KGB of the Cold War era. And, of course, any of Lithuania’s political or military classes, not to mention college professors and journalists, were never sent to Siberia; they were carted into Soviet prisons on trumped up charges, tried, convicted and executed by Stalin for the Glory of Mother Russia.

Most in the West had no idea, or for that matter, even cared.

Until Ruta Sepetys asked what happened to her cousins.

In her curiosity, Sepetys found the forgotten story of her family and the Lithuanian people—a story she had never fully known. As she says, there was only one thing she knew to do: pick up a pen, and write.

tumblr_mg09hdS6En1rgach4o7_400And she did. She wrote her first novel, Between Shades of Gray, the tale of a girl very much like the Sepetys cousins, a teenager with dreams of being an artist, who is instead swept up into the nightmare of Stalin’s greed. Between Shades of Gray is her story, but it is also the story of the Lithuanian people—the forgotten history that to this day Russian strong men wish to keep hidden. It is a tale of survival, of fortitude, of hope, and of love. Now translated into over 30 languages and sold in 45 countries around the world, Between Shades of Gray has broken open the lock of history, and the story of Lithuania and her Baltic neighbors is now known around the world, and will never be forgotten.

But this blog is about novels, not just one book.

Because Ruta has found another forgotten piece of history to bring before the world. And it’s the answer to this question:

What is the greatest maritime disaster in history?

The sinking of the Titanic?

Not even close.

It is the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustoff, a civilian liner acting as a refugee ship, and filled by Baltic and German civilians trying to escape the rape of eastern Europe by the Soviet Red Army. The Gustoff went down in the freezing Baltic Sea, in the winter of 1945, sunk not by an accidental encounter with an iceberg, but a torpedo strike from a Soviet submarine. On board were an estimated ten thousand people; almost all were civilian refugees. Barely a thousand survived.

Nine thousand souls lost. Nine thousand stories forgotten.

But not by Ruta.

34352-1With her latest novel, Salt to the Sea (February 2016) Ruta Sepetys once again takes a moment in history the world has overlooked, and restores it fresh before us. Four teens flee the Soviet onslaught, each with their secrets, their fears, and their dreams. Four stories converge on a German port, the Baltic Sea, and the Wilhelm Gustoff. Through the eyes of these teens, Sepetys explores questions of guilt, forgiveness and redemption, what is truly meant by bravery and cowardice, and what happens when the soul abandons compassion for self-deluding pride. Ruta’s writing is always captivating; the simplest sentence carries weight beyond its words. The smallest detail sparks a vivid image, sometimes stark, sometimes brilliant, but each time beautiful. With her words, Sepetys captures moments in time, like memories renewed to life. With this story, Sepetys explores the human heart. There is adventure, there is mystery, there is villainy, there is tragedy, and there is hope. In Salt to the Sea, the forgotten are forgotten no longer, and in Ruta’s pen, the sea gives up its dead.

You’ll have to wait until February to read Salt to the Sea, but Between Shades of Gray is available now on our Teen Room shelves. Pick it up, and transport yourself into a history you never knew, and a story you will never forget.

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter! (And Neville Longbottom, too.)

By Howard Shirley, Teen Department

9610573944_25fc1360f5_o_dBorn as the seventh month dies, as all Harry Potter fans know, is the haunting prophecy that forever establishes the boy wizard’s birthday as July 31. Though Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone* was first published in 1997 (making the series nearly 20 years old), according to Rowling the character himself was born in 1980, making the wizard a thirty-five year old father of three, with his adventures beginning in 1991 and coming to an end in 1998, when he was 18.

So, what’s Harry been up to for the last 17 years or so? The series ends with an epilogue featuring Harry’s two sons headed for Hogwarts, set presumably in September 2017, when Harry is 37. In it we come to know that Harry is an Auror, more or less the equivalent of a wizardly policeman/ secret agent.** Aside from this, little else is offered, although during the years, she has dropped hints and tidbits about her characters’ lives . It’s pretty much up to the fans to imagine what his life is like, though the scene implies it’s a happy one.

Last year, JK Rowling offered a tidbit about Harry and his friends through her Pottermore web site, featuring an article written by (notorious) wizardly gossip columnist Rita Skeeter (introduced in the fourth novel, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). Of course, whatever Rita Skeeter writes is “deliciously nasty,” to quote Albus Dumbledore, and less than accurate. In this case, it’s more or less a “seen and heard” column about audience members at the Quidditch World Cup,*** with Skeeter’s nastiness limited to cracks about gray hairs (Harry), thinning hair (Ron), and more than dubious rumors of unhappiness at home in the Potter marriage. The article itself is only available on Pottermore, but a further summary of the contents can be found here.

tumblr_mt0ozs1irR1qdibyzo1_r1_500But there are other developments going on as well. JK Rowling has already penned a new Harry Potter screenplay, based on her short book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (by Newt Scamander), itself a fictional bestiary of magical creatures which Harry and company use as a textbook at Hogwarts.**** Eddie Redmayne, an Oscar winner for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking, has already been signed to play the titular author, and an open casting call has been made for a young heroine named Modesty, Newt’s daughter. The film is initially reported to be a trilogy. For more info, the magic of the web will guide you to the following articles:

But those are not stories about Harry, as they are set some seventy years before Harry is born, and apparently in New York City (so perhaps we’ll see what life is like for American wizards and witches?).

Rowling has instead crafted another Harry Potter tale, though it’s neither a story nor a novel, but a stage play. Scheduled to open in 2016 in London’s West End theatre district, the title is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and was co-written with award winning playwright Jack Thorne. Rowling has said it’s “not a prequel,” though it tells more of the story of Harry’s parents. And of course we have yet another magical link.

So there you have it—all that is happening in the wizarding world (at least that we Muggles know of).*****

On a side note there is some “old news” that even local fans may not be aware of—there is a Tennessee connection with the Harry Potter novels (and films). It involves a famous legend and ghost story of middle Tennessee, and the connection appears in every novel of the series. It’s not until the fifth novel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, that the full legend comes into play (with a little hold over into the sixth novel). What’s the connection? Well, let’s just say it involves a famous witch, a poltergeist (a spirit who throws things), and a family curse. If you want to find the connection, read the books again!

And that’s our birthday present to you—more to learn (and love) about…images

 


*The novel was retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for its American release, and the name of the title object was similarly changed, but otherwise it’s the same book.

** So, does he introduce himself to the bad guys as “Potter. Harry Potter,” and order his butterbeer shaken? We remain in mystery.

*** Quidditch is a wizard’s sport, sort of combination of field hockey , soccer, cricket and dodgeball, combined with a one-item “I spy” hunt and played on broomsticks. Really, where have you been for the last twenty years that you don’t know this?

**** Hogwarts is the boarding school where Harry and other young witches and wizards go to learn about magic, and, apparently, fight various nasty creatures and servants of the evil wizard Lord Voldemort, who seems to have a habit of terrorizing the school at least once a year. But only during term.

*****Non-magical people who can’t cast spells or fly around on broomsticks, but have to ride cars and airplanes and use telephones, e-mail and Twitter instead of owls to convey our messages. Really, do try to keep up!

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

By Rebecca Tischler, Reference Department

Redqueen

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.


I actually enjoyed this book despite the numerous YA novel cliches that it invokes.  Yes, there is an oppressive government, the main character is one of the oppressed and discovers she’s “special”, she becomes part of the revolution, and there is a love triangle.  However, this typical story is made more interesting when the oppressive group are armed with superpowers, such as super-strength, super-speed, telepathy and various abilities to manipulate metal, plants, fire, water, animals, ect., which makes it much more difficult for the oppressed to fight back.  Unfortunately, the characters are a little predictable and flat, with the main character acting inconsistent and thoughtless, but the revolution and the rebel’s plans make it much more interesting.  When battling against a superhuman group, sometimes dark and violent decisions have to be made.

Overall, it feels like a typical YA government oppression book, but it saves itself with a ruthless rebellion and superpowers.  These two aspects add an edge that heightens the tension and danger in the book and makes the reader want to discover what happened.  My hope is that the rest of the trilogy focuses on darkness of the rebellion instead of the romance or the drama between characters.

Guest Post: Teen Reviewers

DragonBallZ Volume 1001_1
Review by: Mantrez Hodge

Goku is one great fighter; he bypasses all others before him. His race was destroyed and was sent to Earth to live and one day be ruler of the universe only for him to forget and have a son named Gohan. Gohan was born with strength like his father; fast and powerful. When Goku dies, his friend / enemy Piccilo takes in Gohan for training for when the rest of the sayans come.


Holes by Louis Sacharholes
Review by : Marquis Scruggs

A boy gets caught up in some trouble with a pair of shoes and gets the easy way out he thinks, by getting sent to Came Greenlake. The meaning of manual labor is pushed to the limit with activities such as digging deep holes and from time to time, having to kill poisonous lizards. But through his journey at Camp, he meets a friend named Zero. I would say more but you have to read it to find out more!

LGBTQ Teen Reads!

By Erin Holt, Teen Department

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer month and in recognition, we have compiled a list of TEEN reads that have characters and themes around LGBTQ. Check our shelves and chat with our Librarians for more info!

lgbtq

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
Two teens with the same name have paths that cross, bringing them together in unexpected ways.

Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by John Green & David Levithan
Tiny Cooper is BACK … and in a musical! This sequel to Will Grayson, Will Grayson is one that you definitely don’t want to miss!

See You At Harrys by Jo Knowles
Fern and her brother Holden (who is gay but hasn’t told anyone yet) world is changed when a tragic accident tears their family apart.

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
What it means to be not a boy, not a girl, but both.

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Twins Jude and Noah each tell their side of the story…without realized that the other half to their stories is missing.

George by Alex Gino
What happens when a boy wants to play a girl in a school play. This book tackles the issue of transgender in today’s society.

For other books dealing with LGBTQ issues, check the YALSA website.  Learn about nationally observed months implemented by Presidential Proclamation, Executive Orders and Public Law at the Library of Congress.


** As always, the opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and in no way reflect the philosophies or principles of Williamson County Public Library, its staff members, their parents, children, friends, or housepets.

Guest Post: Teen Reviewer – Marquis Scruggs


Teen DVD Reviews

By Marquis Scruggs


 STEP UP 2: The StreetsStep_Up_2_the_Streets_1253827830_2008

The movie is about a kid named Tyler who was not doing so well in life, getting in tons of trouble and being in bad laces at bad times. So he found an outlet at a College of Dance. He finds a deep passion with this and sees what real friends are made of. I think that the movie teaches people that with bad comes good, you just have to find what you love and go with it. Never let the word of others stop you from being happy.


Teen Book Reviews

By Marquis Scruggs


  Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

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Harry is getting older. And his friend Rowling is getting better. Rowling has loaded the shelves of literature and mythology creating a big bowl of additional information.The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault In Our Stars

A girl has a sickness and her boyfriend loves her and does everything to keep her happy. She loves him cause she knows she isn’t alone.

enders_game_yaEnder’s Game

Ender is a really smart 6 year old who thinks his life is over because he’s a “third” but he stays in good mind and battles through all the challenges until he has reached his goal.

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