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“Music People”

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

Revolution Radio by Green DayA couple weeks ago, the band Green Day released their first new music in about four years, the single “Bang Bang,” along with information about a new album that will be released in October. I listened to the song at least fifteen times the day it came out (I stopped counting after that), and have had it on pretty heavy rotation ever since then.

Green Day has been my favorite band since I was 13, and I have had similar excited freak outs relating to pretty much all the new music they’ve put out since then. I’ve seen them in concert during every tour they’ve had, went to New York to see American Idiot when it premiered on Broadway (and caught it again when it came to Chicago), and have memorized a pretty hefty quantity of their songs. I am, if it weren’t clear, a huge fan.

What’s interesting though is that generally speaking, I don’t consider myself a “music person.” I love plenty of music, sure, but I sometimes go days without really listening to music. I don’t seek out new bands or new acts. As a general rule (Green Day and a few other bands excepted) I’m not really in to seeing live music. But there are still artists, bands, composers and songs that have the capacity to inspire a level of devotion that almost nothing else does.

And I don’t think I’m alone in this. I know from talking to you all when you visit the library, as well as what I see in the world at large, that music is a huge part of most of your lives. While everyone has different tastes, there does seem to be something about music that reaches in to a deep part of us and engages us in a way that nothing else does. I’m not sure why this is, but I’m sure smarter people than me have spent years trying to figure it out.

Music NotesOne of the beauties of music is that there is so much of it, such a wide range of styles, and so many ways of interacting with it. You may not appreciate catchy pop music, but you could love 40s classics or Bach. Or you could love all of it–despite the massive differences among types of music. Maybe you don’t play an instrument but you love live music, or possibly blasting headphones is your preferred method of engaging with your favorite songs and pieces.

No matter how or why you love it, music has something for everyone. Those of you who are music people probably have a lot of music that speaks to you. But even for those of you who don’t feel like you’re “music people,” take a second look. Maybe there’s music you associate with your favorite memories. Maybe you have a song you can’t get out of your head. Maybe you’ll learn to play an instrument that will change your life. Maybe you just have one band that you can’t get enough of. But deep down inside, I think we’re all music people.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

National Peach Month

By: Deanna Siegel, Youth Programming Associate

Hello Everyone!

Do you have a favorite fruit? I am sure most of us do. I love peaches! In fact, August is National Peach Month, meaning you can celebrate peaches all month long. Did you know there are several ways to eat peaches? You can eat it on its own, bake it into a pie, dip it in Cool Whip, put it in your salsa, and even make a smoothie! Peaches are a healthy and nutritious snack.

Did you know?

  • Peaches are the third most popular fruit grown in America.
  • China is the world’s largest producer of peaches.
  • The World’s Largest Peach is in South Carolina and weighs over 10,000 pounds!

Have fun creating unique and delicious peach combinations this month! Whet your appetite for peaches by checking out one of these books. Who knows, it might just become your favorite fruit!

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

The Feared Back-to-School Week

By: Ally K., Teen Blogger

Good Luck on the Transition from Doing Nthing at Home to Doing Nothing at School.Back to school week. The week that every teen dreads and every parent diligently waits for. As a teen I can tell you that back to school week is not something that I am particularly excited for. Just the idea of upcoming homework, tests and essays gives me a headache.

However, the idea of seeing all my friends is something that I do look forward to. The excitement of finding out your new schedule and the rush to see if your friends have class with you is a feeling that I have experienced first-hand.

It is no secret that the main stressor in most teenagers’ lives is school. With the combination of never-ending homework, weekly tests and huge projects it is a wonder that teens have any free time at all. Not to mention, all the sports teams require a major commitment from the players. Practices every day and games every weekend leave kids sweaty and tired, only for them to get home and need to complete a mountain of homework. The reason why stress levels in teens are surpassing those of adults is not some hidden mystery. School and the stressors of teenage social life put a ton of pressure on kids, so it is no wonder that they are not very eager to get back to it after a leisurely summer break.

I just made school seem like the bane of every teen’s existence, which in some ways it can be, but for every reason that there is to hate school there is a reason to love it. School is the glue that holds many friendships together. It allows you to meet new people and gives you something to talk (or complain) about with other people. School literally forces people to hang out with their friends every day, therefore strengthening friendships and keeping people in touch. As someone who is fairly antisocial, I can tell you that without school I would not have many of the friends that I have today because school is what introduced me to all of them.

Friends are wonderful, but people don’t only go to school for their friends, they go to learn new things. After all, learning is the whole reason that schools exist. Almost no teen will admit it, but they all love to learn new things about what they are interested in. School is how they learn about these things and a gateway to find their passion. With all of the classes and extra-curricular options that students are able to take, everyone has something that will pique their interest. Exploring new opportunities is made possible by everything school offers to students.

All in all, while school does have many of its downsides and stressors, it is something to look forward to rather than dread. The promise of knowledge and new friendships await students who walk the locker-lined halls. Why go into it with a bad attitude, when there are plenty of silver linings to find.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Middle School Reviews: Mario Kart 8

Check out the Mario Kart 8 Video GameWhat’s your name?: Matthew 

What school do you attend?: Wheaton Christian

What grade are you in school?: 7th grade

What are you reviewing?: A video game

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: Mario Kart 8

Did you like it?: I like this video game a lot. It is the best Mario kart game yet. The graphics are great. This game is different from Mario Kart 7. It can have up to 12 racers! DLC IS available for this game. Also what’s new in this game is the hover wheels. Instead of the replay option you can choose highlights of the game. I highly recommend you rent it and play the rainbow road from the special cup. That particular race is space station themed a bit. Of course since they updated it the graphics are better than before, but they still have classic courses.

Who would like this?: Anyone who likes Nintendo video games.

How many stars would you rate this?: Five Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

Middle School Reviews: The Neptune Project

Check out The Neptune Project by Polly HolyokeWhat’s your name?: Amal

What school do you attend?: Hadley Jr. High

What grade are you in school?: 7th grade

What are you reviewing?: A book

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: The Neptune Project

Did you like it?: I liked the book “The Neptune Project” because it is about a girl named Nere and how much she loves the sea and the creatures living in it, especially dolphins. But when Nere learns that she is not a normal human but can breathe under water she must leave her mother and learn to survive in it the ocean. Before she leaves, her mother tells her that she must travel to this place call The Neptune Project so that she will be safe. Nere and two of her friends brave the ocean and all the creatures in it so that they can come to the place they will now have to call home

Who would like this?: Somebody who likes the ocean and a little bit of action.

How many stars would you rate this?: Four Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

Middle School Reviews: The Mysterious Benedict Society

Check out The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee StewartWhat’s your name?: Skylar 

What school do you attend?: Hadley

What grade are you in school?: 6th grade

What are you reviewing?: A book

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: The Mysterious Benedict Society 

Did you like it?: I liked the Mysterious Benedict Society because it was very intriguing and exciting to read. I liked the creative names of George “Sticky” Washington, and Constance Contraire. I also enjoyed the amount of suspense and not knowing if they would get caught or not.

Who would like this?: Someone who likes mystery books and suspense.

How many stars would you rate this?: Five Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

New Schools and Next Steps

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

First Day At A New School And Trying To Make Friends? Scream And Run Away Every Time Someone Says Hi.As August draws to a close, it’s back-to-school for everyone (ugh.) While many of you are returning to the same high school you were in last year, for many of you, this month heralds a new beginning.

Maybe you’re an incoming ninth grader and getting your first taste of high school life. Maybe you’re moving in to college over the next couple of weeks. Maybe you moved, or transferred, and have to integrate into a whole new environment midway through high school.

And no matter who you are, a new school is probably some combination of exciting, scary, fun and nerve-wracking. How could it not be?

But even for those of you who aren’t starting at a new high school or college, you probably have some transitions on your horizon. You could be heading off to study abroad. You could be deciding what to do after high school–college?  No college? Which college? What will you do if it’s not college? Whatever is changing in your life, the end of August certainly seems like an appropriate time to contemplate the next steps.

In this month’s display, New Schools and Next Steps, located just outside the Teen Scene room, you’ll come across main characters facing all sorts of transitions, fresh starts, and yes, new schools. In Look Both Ways by Alison Cherry, Brooklyn is off to a theater camp that she hopes will transform her into the performer she’s always wanted to be. In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Junior is leaving the reservation to start at a new–mostly white–school and facing the unfamiliar. Cath from Fangirl is nervous not only about starting college, but about doing it more separated from her twin than she has ever been.

And even characters in speculative fiction face the same transitional challenges–from Dove in Karen Bao’s Dove Arising who embarks on a tough military training program to help her family, or Iolanthe from The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas who comes from a magical world and must pretend to fit in to a boarding school in our world. So whether you’re struggling with keeping a secret from your new school like Amanda in If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, or feel a kinship with Marcelo’s struggles to move into a world that doesn’t understand him in Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork, or are moving to a new place and the new school that goes with it like Lea in Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings, you’ll be able to find a character going through the good and the bad of transitions similar to your own in our New Schools and Next Steps display.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Olympics

By: Katy Almendinger, Early Literacy Librarian

There’s something amazing about the Olympics. Every four years athletes from around the world gather to compete as the rest of the world watches. The 2016 Summer Olympics are in Rio. It’s the first time South America has hosted the games.

Some really great moments have come out of Rio. Like Fiji winning its first medal ever—and it was gold. Or that time when Andy Murray reminded a television reporter that women can win gold medals, too. And two Team USA athletes have more in common than just their name (Simone).

I’m obsessed. Can you blame me? NBC plans to produce 6,000 hours of TV footage. It’s almost always on TV. And my social media feed has been full of hilarious re-tweets, memes and video clips. Remember Gymnast McKayla Maroney’s not impressed face from 2012? Now we have #PhelpsFace.

Like father, like son. #PhelpsFace

I’ve been craving sports books because of the Olympics. Here’s a round-up of some fiction and non-fiction titles perfect for Olympic fans or aspiring athletes. You can find them here at the library.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

TV vs. Movies (Take Three)

By: Ashley H., Teen Blogger

Picture of an old TV on one side and a movie reel with film streaming off it on the other.I love storytelling. I love the concept of creating characters that are relatable to an audience and plots that keep everyone on their toes. As time and people change, the presentation of these stories evolve. From cave paintings to campfire stories, storytelling continues to adapt.

In today’s society we see storytelling in books, graphic novels, movies and TV. Though all are great ways to portray engaging stories to an interested audience, it has been brought to my attention that for visual storytelling one method is gaining more popularity with the public.

Typically, we assume that movies are the visual outlet for great storytelling given that Star Wars, Titanic and Pirates of the Caribbean are household titles. But recently it seems that television is becoming the greater storytelling medium. Personally I can understand why TV is becoming the more popular style of visual storytelling because it can reach a wider audience (depending on if they have cable or not) without the cost of movie tickets or the need to leave one’s home.

TV also offers longer screen time to develop plot and show character development, which is not always possible in 2 hour movies but is common in twenty-four 40-minute episodes. Though it has the possibility of having more to develop and explore, television does not offer the same budgets or popular actors that can be found in movies. But this doesn’t mean that television does not create stories that are addictive to watch. From the viewpoint of a 17 year old fangirl, I love TV. It is our generation’s way of sharing stories in the digital era. Yes, movies create stories that will become legends, but television creates stories with characters that we can relate to and see grow within their own crazy environments. For me, TV is the way to make stories come to life.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

What I Just Read – A Torch Against the Night

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

Check Out A Torch Against The Night Usually when I talk about books I’ve read on this blog, I stick with the first book in the series, or a whole-series review. But I’ve been fortunate enough to get an advanced reader copy of a much-anticipated sequel, and I am way too excited not to talk about it! Warning, Spoilers Ahead for anyone who hasn’t read An Ember in the Ashes.

What I Just Read: A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

What’s It About (Jacket Description): A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.

In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead.

Do I Like It: Loving it so far!

Thoughts: After I read An Ember in the Ashes last year, I was recommending it far and wide. It was exciting, gritty, pulse-pounding fantasy with dystopian elements, and I couldn’t put it down. It wasn’t a perfect novel – few debuts are – but I enjoyed it and saw a ton of promise for expanding on the world-building, delving deeper into characters and relationships, and giving the incredibly evil, awful, hate-able villain more room to make readers cringe. So it will come as no surprise to anyone that when I had a chance to read an advance copy of the sequel, I jumped on it. And I am thrilled to say that A Torch Against the Night is not only meeting my expectations, but I’m finding that so far, I’m enjoying it at least as much if not more than the first novel.

The sequel takes us on a trip through the Empire, with our main characters Elias and Laia running from the terrifying new Emperor and of course, the ice cold, cruel, and brilliant Commandant. I love the chance to see more of the Empire, and so far the pacing in this book seems even better than An Ember in the Ashes. I definitely enjoy watching Elias and Laia’s friendship – and more? – develop now that they are on more equal footing. Laia’s increase in leadership and power make her more of a match for Elias (and eliminates the creepy slave dynamic from the first book), and that power extends to her other relationships as well. Even the hints of a love triangle are bothering me less than they usually do, since both love interests have a good mix of swoon-worthy qualities and serious faults. And because I’m a sucker for friendships, I’m excited about the return of Izzi, who like Laia, is growing in strength and confidence, and promises to be a wonderful friend and foil for the main character.

But while all of this is great and wonderful, I think my favorite parts of A Torch Against the Night are Helene’s points of view. I found Helene one of the most interesting and fascinating characters in the first book, and getting to see her suddenly gifted with newfound power as she struggles with her warring loyalties to Elias, her family, and the empire, is incredibly compelling. Helene isn’t a “good guy” by a long shot, but she’s also not the same style of heartless villain as we get in the Commandant and the Emperor. She is flawed and fascinating, with her own moral code, and promises to grow a lot as a character in this installment of the story.

On top of all this, I can’t put it down – I read the first 150 pages of this book in two sittings, and am eager to gulp up the rest of it. For fast-paced, dark fantasy, this series is an easy winner. Add in some of my favorite book elements in any book like strong women characters, great friendships, and complicated morals, and it’s easy to see why A Torch Against the Night is keeping me glued to the page!

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School