Posted by emather on 11.18.14

Fight the slipperiness, press the valves firmly,
play the love, the hate,
the misery, the hope,
the freedom that I wanted, never wanted, can’t have;
that doesn’t exist.
 
 
In The Sound of Letting Go, seventeen-year-old Daisy, an exceptional trumpet player, often feels like a “third parent” for her autistic younger brother, Steven. She and her parents feel trapped by their responsibilities towards Steven, and the burden has put definite strains on her parents’ marriage. The family is growing more fearful of Steven’s increasingly violent outbursts. These have become worse since he “has morphed from challenging autistic boy/ to dangerous, nonverbal near-man." After her parents decide to move Steven to a residential facility, Daisy is upset. The usually-responsible Daisy tries to work through her complex and conflicting emotions by rebelling. Some of these are mild, like wearing edgier outfits involving more black and an increase in eyeliner. Some are more out-of-character, like getting steamy in parked cars with the local “bad boy,” and ditching band class.
 
Author Stasia Ward Kehoe wrote the novel in verse from Daisy’s first-person point of view. The poetic style serves the tone and character well, instead of becoming another cliché or gimmick. The irregular asymmetrical rhythm of the writing reflects both Daisy’s love of jazz and her conflicted emotions. It’s through music that she best expresses and understands the world, where her muddled emotions find more solid ground. (It’s also nice to find a character so involved in school band, something that’s so common in real life but rarely seen in YA books.) The novel doesn’t offer any grand statements or easy answers. Still, like all good jazz, the strands of melody converge and build a complex harmony.
 




Posted by alice on 11.16.14

This week, we're asking you to doodle on Evan's face!
 
 
This is how it works...
 
  1. Print out or download this picture of Evan.
  2. Draw a cool beard pattern onto Evan's face. You can use a photo editing software like Pixlr. (Tip: It helps if you use a bright color!)
  3. Send it to teens@ahml.info or tag it with #ShaveEvansBeard
  4. We'll put your drawings to a vote next week!
  5. In December, our awesome Teen Advisor, Evan, will shave his beard to look like the winning drawing!
 
Think about it... Evan could shave his beard to look like Seneca Crane's!
 
 




Posted by emather on 11.05.14

We had an awesome time last Thursday at the HORRORible Movie Roast. We watched the hilariously awful movie Troll 2. (Just to show you how bad it is: It's not even about Trolls. It's about goblins.)
 
Teens rotated as roasters, using an app called MuVChat to type their jokes and mockery on screen with the movie. Here's just a taste of some of the best jokes teens made while laughing at this cheese-tastic horror flick. 
 
#NoFilter
 
#NoFilter
 
 
Seems Legit
 
Free warm milk from a total stranger? Seems legit...
 
 
 
Groot
 
I...am...GROOOOOT?!?!?!?
 
 
And this scene? This scene is so amazingly terrible that we were left speechless by convulsive giggles. (Warning: People in terrible goblin costumes pretend to eat a puddle of green goo that I guess used to be a person? So kind of gross maybe? But also hilarious.)
 
 
 
 
Hope you'll join us for our next Movie Roast, whenever that may be!
 




Posted by Trixie on 10.31.14

“I’m a gamer and I kick arse. No, seriously. I organize a guild online and I’m looking for a few of you chickens to join me.”
 
 
In Real Life is a coming-of-age graphic novel that opens with Anda’s birthday. She’s a gamer girl who just moved to a new town and is trying to figure out where she fits in. Enter Liza McCombs – she heads an all-girl guild in Coarsegold Online, a massive multiplayer roleplaying game. Not only does the game provide a place for Anda to explore her identity, but it also allows her to investigate socioeconomic issues around the world and close to home.
 
Cory Doctorow knocks it out of the park in his debut graphic novel! He highlights complex topics like gold farming, economic inequality, and labor rights all with a feminist message.
 
Jen Wang’s illustrations are stunning. Real life characters are juxtaposed with their online avatars and in some panels the lines are blurred. The characters’ expressions are exquisite – they convey feeling and humanize the drawings. Her art is dynamic with perfect coloring.
 
I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages. It’s a page turner and will pique interest in “real-life” issues.
 




Posted by emather on 10.01.14

 
 
 
Last week was Banned Books Week, where we celebrate our right to read and intellectual freedom. In the Hub on Tuesday, September 23rd, we played Dangerous Knowledge: Banned Books Trivia, where we ate pizza and learned tons of weird and hilarious/depressing trivia about books that have been banned or challenged.
 
Some examples of questions:
 
Q: What personal account of a girl's life from 1942 - 1944 was banned for "being too depressing"?
 
 
Q: What author of an often-banned fantasy series had trouble boarding a plane with the only manuscript of her upcoming book?
A: J.K. Rowling (the Harry Potter series)
 
The winning team members each won a gift card to Amazon (hopefully to buy a banned book.) Then everyone took some mugshots with their favorite banned books. Check 'em out:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




Posted by alice on 09.25.14

Last Tuesday we had a delicious, colorful, and (at times) messy night at the Nuke Your Food! program. High schoolers met up in the Cardinal Room to create some nommy noms, such as a mug cake! The twist on this cooking class was that we made everything in a mug and just using a microwave.
 
 
What was doubly awesome about the night was that we also got to decorate and keep our food receptacles (mugs) using ink-based Sharpies!
 
 
All you need to do is buy special ink-based/paint markers, decorate a ceramic mug, and bake it in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees!
 
Want to eat some delicious noms using just a mug and a microwave? Try out this recipe for the Easy Peasy Mac & Cheesy below! Enjoy!
 
 
EASY PEASY MAC & CHEESEY
Ingredients
1/3 cup pasta
1/2 cup water
1/8 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, whatever you’ve got!)
Optional: 1/2 tablespoon butter or margarine
 
Cooking Instructions
1. Put the pasta and water into your mug and microwave for 2 minutes
2. Stir and put it in the microwave again for 2 minutes (continue to do this until pasta is fully cooked)
3. Add milk and cheese to your mug and microwave for 1 minute
4. Stir, let cool, and enjoy!
 
Want more recipes? Email us at teens@ahml.info!




Posted by Trixie on 09.12.14

 
Last month the library launched a community-wide reading program: One Book, One Village! This fall we'll rally around the book Ordinary Grace written by William Kent Krueger. Besides reading and discussing, teens can participate in other ways. There are programs you can attend over the next couple of months including an author visit. In the Hub, we'll have One Book, One Village related drop-in activities and contests.
 
Stop by and join the conversation!
 
SEPTEMBER
  • LEGOsota 1961
    Stop by the Hub and help us recreate New Bremen using LEGOs. Drop in.
  • youD 3D Contest
    What object or symbol from Ordinary Grace do you think best represents the book? Post to any of our social media pages with the tag #youD3D or email us at teens@ahml.info. Make suggestions for participants to 3D model at the youD 3D program on Monday, October 27th. If your object is selected, get a 3D print of your suggestion!

OCTOBER

  • DIY Dog Tags
    Make your very own military dog tags in the Hub. Drop in.
  • Photo Reenact
    Reenact a scene from Ordinary Grace and post to one of our social media accounts with the tag #OBOVphoto or email us at teens@ahml.info for a chance to win.
 




Posted by Trixie on 08.25.14

You may have noticed the Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral over the past few weeks. Well, the Hub's staff was challenged. Naturally, we accepted.
 
 
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease) is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Degeneration of motor neurons, leads to weakness and muscle atrophy throughout the body, eventually leading to difficulty with walking, swallowing, and even breathing. Most diagnosed with this disease die from respiratory failure.
 
We've put together this list of resources to help you understand ALS. Before you take the plunge, learn about the disease that's been brought into the spotlight with clever marketing.
 
 




Posted by emather on 08.21.14

This book review is by Max B. All summer, we had teens submit book, music, and movie reviews for a Left Brain challenge. Max's was chosen as the best submission all summer, and in addition to winning a tablet, we're posting his awesome review here. He's got a great book to recommend!
 
Ashfall, an apocalypse novel by Mike Mullin, surpassed all of my expectations, yet fell short of being a truly great read.
 
Alex Halprin is an introvert living in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Alex’s family goes to visit his uncle in Warren, Illinois, leaving Alex behind. Everything is going fine until a super volcano underneath Yellowstone National Park erupts.
 
Alex leaves Cedar Falls to find his family, and along the way he meets Target, an ex-convict that is taking advantage of a lawless land. He also meets the Edmunds family, most notably Darla, who soon bonds greatly with Alex. Alex and Darla set off together to find Alex's family and chaos ensues.
 
There are two broad ways to describe the book: Ashfall the apocalypse novel and Ashfall the stand-alone novel. Mullin did an amazing job writing Ashfall as an apocalypse novel. The words are well thought out, the tone is consistent, and though the overall plot is good (if a tad cliché,) it’s the plot arcs themselves that are unique and well done.
 
On the other hand, Mullin didn't do nearly as good of a job writing Ashfall as a stand-alone novel. It is poorly written, and most of the dialogue follows the same pattern with excessive amounts of arguing and thanking. The relationship between Alex and Darla turned from a promising friendship with hints of a relationship in the future into a sappy, poorly written and unnecessary romantic subplot.
 
Although Mullin didn't spend too much time on the romance, the time he did spend on it simply wasn't well done. It wasn’t so much the romance that bothered me, but rather the deviation and lack of consistency. The novel was presented as an apocalypse story, but with how often it deviates from that format it stops being so.
 
Most parts of Ashfall are unique, interesting and most of all genuine. When apocalypse stories are made, there is a factor of irrationality that turns it into a joke. However the threat within Ashfall is realistic and could be viewed as a valid concern.
 
As far as apocalypse novels go, Ashfall is one of the best; as far as novels in general go, it falls as hard as the ash within the novel.
 
 




Posted by alice on 08.20.14

 
Best Overall
Dementia: Resurrection by Robert Kraybill
 
 
 
Best Comedy
Math is Fun by Nick Szubart
 
 
 
Best Documentary
World Premiere by Molly Mensch
 
 
 
Best Action/Drama
CLASH by Daniel Carpenter
 
 
 
Best Experimental/Animation
Dumming it Down by Garrett Strother
 
 
 
Best Music Video
You Make Me by Stephanie Spalding
 
 
Congrats to all our winners and a big thanks to everyone who submitted a film! You can watch many of the 43 films submitted for the 8th Annual Teen Film Fest here!
 
Remember to keep those cameras rolling. Next year's Teen Film Fest will be here before you know it, and we'd love to see what you can create!