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GEPL Teens: College Books

Teens Blog BannerSpring is in the air – or at least we’re all pretending it is – and that means, for you college-bound seniors, the clock is ticking down to college.  Whether you made your decision months ago or are still weighing the options, I wanted to highlight a few books set in college, or right before.  These books will either help you feel collegiate and academic while you procrastinate on your decision, or get you psyched about where you already know you’ll be going in the fall.

Blog Entry 41 - Image 1Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell – Disclaimer: I am currently obsessed with this book.  To the point where I have actually dreamed about it and am considering reading it several times in a row to get it out of my system.  But I will at least try to describe it in a way that is not scarily enthusiastic.

Cath and her twin sister Wren have always done everything together.  Always, that is, until college.  Now instead of rooming with Cath and helping her write her epic fanfiction based on the popular Simon Snow novels, Wren has decided she wants to live with another roommate in another dorm and abandon Simon Snow for more normal college pursuits.  So Cath starts college alone, anxious, and hurt.  She hides in her room writing fanfiction and living off of protein bars for the first two weeks of college, and even when she begins to branch out a little, it is really hard for her.  Whether you’re wondering what “fanfiction” is or you’ve been writing it since you were three, whether you are a Wren looking to branch out or a Cath with no desire to leave your comfortable routine, you can almost certainly find something to sympathize with in Cath’s struggle to find herself and figure out what kind of adult she wants to be.

Blog Entry 41 - Image 2Roomies, by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando – East Coast Elizabeth and West Coast Lauren begin exchanging e-mails when they find out they will be rooming together when they start college in the fall.  Throughout the course of the summer, their e-mails fly thick and fast.  Elizabeth and Lauren begin to develop a friendship before even meeting, as the summer leads to surprises and worries for both of them.  Roomies shows how just one small thing – an e-mail to a future roommate – can change the course of a summer, or even the course of a life.  The e-mail exchange format and the distinct voices of each girl make Roomies a unique read, and a must for anyone whose thoughts are traveling to this fall’s new roommates.

Blog Entry 41 - Image 3The Moon and More, by Sarah Dessen – Emaline is planning on enjoying the summer before she starts college in her hometown of Colby, and in the company of her boyfriend of several years, Luke.  But when an artistic newcomer shows up in Colby, Emaline is drawn to him immediately.  Theo represents the academically elite world that Emaline could enter by attending an Ivy League school.  But she also still loves Luke, and Colby, and the world she has grown up with.  Emaline wrestles with tough choices about her future while at the same time trying to enjoy her last summer before moving into whatever future she chooses.  Sarah Dessen fans will of course love The Moon and More, but it will also be a great read for anyone still questioning their college decision or wondering how they will transition into a new life.

Blog Entry 41 - Image 4The Final Four, by Paul Volponi – For those of you more excited about college sports than roommates or academics, The Final Four is for you.  Set at the end of March Madness, this book focuses on four players on the last four teams in the competition.  Although they each have different reasons for wanting to win, Malcolm, Roko, Crispin, and M.J. are all desperate to leave the tournament with the championship.  Readers will get to know each character’s history and personality as the moment of decision approaches, and find themselves rooting for their favorite or mourning his loss.  The Final Four will appeal to not only sports fans, but to most fans of realistic fiction and stories with multiple perspectives.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Why I Love… Singin’ in the Rain

Teens Blog BannerOnce again, I’m feeling the extreme love of something.  In this case, my favorite movie of all time, Singin’ in the Rain.  Before I even get started on why I love this particular movie, I should state for the record that pretty much all of my favorite movies are happy movies.  Injections of joy into my life.  Not that serious/dramatic/sad movies can’t be good, but I’m much less likely to want to watch them over and over.  So obviously my favorite movie is a wonderful, joyous, musical celebration of awesomeness.

But why do I love this one so much?

Blog Entry 40 - Image 1 (496x640)Because of Gene Kelly’s smile – This may be shallow, but seriously, look at that mug!  That smile is made of charm and friendliness and handsomeness and class.  It’s a smile that lights up a room.  The man is every kind of classically handsome and suave you can think of.  Really, he is.  The rest of Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood is pretty awesome too, what with the suits, the voice, and the talent.  But that smile definitely deserves its own spot on this list.  However, that does lead me to…

Because of the crazy fantastic singing and dancing by crazy talented performers – Gene Kelly as Don is one of these, but Donald O’Connor and Blog Entry 40 - Image 2 (500x376)Debbie Reynolds as his best friend Cosmo and girlfriend Kathy manage to hold their own, which leads to an incredible trio of talent.  They sing lovely ballads and funny songs, tap dance and ballet dance, and Cosmo rocks the slapstick routines.  There’s a cameo from one of the most impressive dancers I’ve ever seen, Cyd Charisse.  The songs are catchy and well-performed, and in many cases iconic (“Good Morning”, the title song.)  Everything about this movie as a musical is perfect.

Because it’s funny! – Just because a movie is older doesn’t mean it can’t be hilarious.  For starters, basically every word said by Lina Lamont – Don’s Blog Entry 40 - Image 3 (400x299)mean girl acting partner – is comedic gold.  For that matter, most of the lines about Lina are funny too – “Lina.  She can’t act, she can’t sing, she can’t dance.  A triple threat.” And pretty much any scene with Don Lockwood and Cosmo Brown is chock-full of quippy goodness.  Don (desperate to avoid his over-adoring fans): “Cosmo, call me a cab!” Cosmo: “Okay, you’re a cab.”  But believe me when I say none of these quotes do justice to the movie’s delivery and physical comedy.

Because it’s a genuinely happy, touching movie – Don Lockwood learns something about himself.  There’s a genuinely sweet romance with Kathy Blog Entry 40 - Image 4Seldon.  Lina Lamont gets what’s coming to her (but it’s nothing too terrible.)  Don dances and sings in the rain from sheer joy.  In the end, the good come out on top, better people for what’s happened over the course of the movie.  And while that’s not exactly the most unpredictable or shocking way for a story to go, it sure does leave me happy each and every time I get to the end of this wonderful movie.

It’s hard to describe just what makes Singin’ in the Rain such a classic, and such a wonderful movie.  But these are a few of the reasons I personally love it so much.  Check it out and let me know if you agree, or tell me what’s special about your favorite movie!

Posted in GEPL Teens

Library to Host Tween Mini Robot Fair

news-blog-bannerrobot

Explore the possibilities of robotics with the Glen Ellyn Public Library’s Tween Mini Robot program on April 24th.

The Mini Robot program will teach participants how to work with basic electronics and spark an interest in science, technology and engineering. Attendees will make a simple robot out of a toothbrush head, motor and battery.

After designing and decorating robots, attendees can enter Robot Wars Arena or race against friends. They can even create robot art by dipping the toothbrush bristles in paint and letting them dance across the paper.

Want to see mini robots in action before the GEPL’s program? Visit Glen Crest Middle School’s Literacy Fair on March 28.

Posted in GEPL News, GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Divergent Party!

Teens Blog BannerIt’s true that even months later we’re all still recovering from the ending of Allegiant, and the ensuing feelings, but it’s time to move forward with our Divergent fandom.  It’s time to celebrate the release of the movie!  There’s so much to be excited about with this movie.  It was filmed in Chicago, so it will have an authentic Chicago feel and the fun of recognizing a bunch of filming locations.  It stars Shailene Woodley, who John Green thinks the world of after her role in The Fault in Our Stars, and who looks pretty awesome as Tris in the previews.  We’ll get live-action Tris/Four romance.  There will be wicked cool action sequences that we all know were practically begging to be filmed.  We’ll get to see Kate Winslet grace our screens, which is always a good thing.  And we’ll get to see the movie that Veronica Roth herself thought did a great job of bringing her words to screen.

With so much to be excited about, I know most of you will be seeing this movie on Friday when it’s released, or in many cases Thursday night when it premieres at midnight shows.  You’re already pumped, but I say: GET MORE PUMPED!

With that goal in mind, we’re having a party at the library just for the purposes of getting pumped for the Divergent release.  Tomorrow night, March 20, from 6-9 in the meeting rooms downstairs, we will be celebrating all things Divergent.  Costumes are strongly encouraged – I myself will be rocking some red and yellow.  There will be fun games for those with the Amity connection, or more intense Wii sports games for the Dauntless trying to get some training in.  There will be trivia for Erudites, a chance to honestly reveal yourself for Candor, and an opportunity to make something for others for anyone feeling Abnegation generosity.  And because we know everyone is a little Divergent inside, you can experiment with all these faction activities.  There will be food, including Dauntless cake for everyone, and pizza because pizza is awesome.  There will be prizes and drawings, including temporary tattoos to help with your Dauntless costumes (or just for fun).

But most importantly, there will be a whole lot of Divergent fans excited about the books and excited about the movies.  So come celebrate, unleash your excitement, and get yourself primed and ready for the Divergent movie release!

Blog Entry 39 - Image

Posted in GEPL News, GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Trying New Things

Teens Blog Banner9780142410974_JustListen_CV.inddLately, I’ve been on a big realistic fiction kick, with a definite skew towards the romantic.  If it tells you anything, I’ve read three Sarah Dessen books in the last couple months, among many other things.  This is notable because as a general rule, I prefer speculative fiction to realistic fiction, and I tend to avoid books with overtly romantic themes.  The preferring speculative fiction is not surprising – my love of speculative fiction has been developing my entire life, ever since I learned to read on a picture book version of The Nutcracker, all the way through my obsession with dragons and Tolkien, on to my current taste for dragons (yes, still), vampires, the supernatural, dystopias, and generally speaking anything not of this world.  And you know what?  That’s fine.  I like what I like, and there’s absolutely no reason I should have to read anything I don’t like.

Blog Entry 38 - Image 3My mistake, I think, was in ruling things out – like realistic fiction and romance.  I’m pretty sure I’ve always liked some romance with my books.  Not that I need it in every book, but it’s definitely something I’ve enjoyed when it appears.  My prejudice against anything that I knew was “romance-y” was entirely that – prejudice.  My avoidance of realistic fiction was less of a prejudice, and more of a “I know I usually prefer speculative fiction” thought turning into a “why would I pick up a realistic fiction book?” response.  Combine the romance prejudice with my natural tendency to grab books I have a high likelihood of enjoying and my laziness about testing my limits, and you know what?  I was missing out on a lot of good books.

Style: "Porcelain vivid"This isn’t to say I’m suddenly un-interested in reading fantasy or anything like that.  Quite the contrary – I’m actively holding myself back from re-reading a bunch of my favorite speculative fiction series simply because I don’t have the time to commit to reading a whole series at the moment.  But discovering all these new books I’d been missing out on has been delightful.  Unexpected, but delightful.

So I challenge you to pick up something different next time you’re at the library.  Pick up historical fiction instead of something contemporary.  Pick up an action heavy book instead of a calmer, character-centered story.  Try fantasy instead of realistic fiction or something realistic instead of fantastical.  Challenge your prejudices and assumptions about your own taste – you could easily find yourself very pleasantly surprised!

Posted in GEPL Teens

Kids Receive Free Burger at March 16th Meatheads StoryTime

news-blog-bannerThe Glen Ellyn Public Library would like to invite children ages 3-7 and their families to a St. Patrick’s Day themed StoryTime at Meatheads Restaurant (549 Roosevelt Road) on Sunday, March 16th at 4:30pm.

Youth Librarian, Miss Jill, will read St. Patrick’s Day themed stories and, as an added bonus, all kids will receive a coupon for a free burger, compliments of Meatheads!

For more information about the Glen Ellyn Public Library’s March 16th StoryTime at Meatheads, please click here.

Posted in GEPL Kids, GEPL News

GEPL Teens: What I’m Reading Now – Maggot Moon

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 37 - ImageOnce again I’m reading an awards book – not the winner, but an “honor” book for the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.

What I’m Reading Now: Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner.

What’s It About (Jacket Description): What if the football hadn’t gone over the wall. On the other side of the wall there is a dark secret. And the devil. And the Moon Man. And the Motherland doesn’t want anyone to know. But Standish Treadwell — who has different-colored eyes, who can’t read, can’t write, Standish Treadwell isn’t bright — sees things differently than the rest of the “train-track thinkers.” So when Standish and his only friend and neighbor, Hector, make their way to the other side of the wall, they see what the Motherland has been hiding. And it’s big…One hundred very short chapters, told in an utterly original first-person voice, propel readers through a narrative that is by turns gripping and darkly humorous, bleak and chilling, tender and transporting.

Do I Like It: I think this is a phenomenal book and I can’t put it down…but I also can’t say I’m exactly enjoying it.  I’ll have to get to the end to see if this goes on the re-read shelf!

Thoughts: The short answer is to see what I said about “do I like it.”  Maggot Moon is unquestionably a great book – original, compelling, immensely readable, and extremely well-written.  The alternate history/dystopia setting is reminiscent of Nazi Germany and Cold War Russia, but with details that are uniquely its own.  Despite the 1950s flavor, this dystopia feels like it could exist at any time and in any country.

Standish is an interesting narrator.  Despite his unique voice and turns of phrases, his character takes a while to begin coming through.  I’m about halfway through, and Standish’s character is finally starting to appear.  He daydreams often about escaping the prison-like Zone 7, but is caught in a tension between a passiveness that allows him to keep existing and a dangerous stubbornness and fearlessness that could threaten his life.  He’s an interesting character, but I’m still not fully invested – I’ll have to see how the second half of the book plays out.

This book is incredibly readable.  The chapters are short, the questions that I hope to have answered are many, and I am RACING through it.  Standish’s gramps, in particular, is a character I’m dying to know better, and I’m hoping we learn more soon.  The action is harsh and violent, but definitely keeps things moving.  And I’m desperate to uncover even one or two of the secrets the regime is holding.

So for many reasons, this is a really good book.  I think what’s holding me back from enjoying is the straight-up bleakness and brutality of the world Standish exists in.  Even as a reader, it’s hard to really see a way out or a way to fight back.  This world is people disappearing around you with no notice, near-starvation in winter, reporting on your neighbors to feed your children, teachers beating children to death, and on and on.  It’s a difficult world to be immersed in, so “enjoyment” is a hard state to reach.  That said, so far it’s absolutely worth it, I have high hopes for the rest of the book, and I can unequivocally say I would recommend this to a lot of different people with a lot of different tastes.

Posted in GEPL Teens

S.T.E.A.M. Fair Spotlight: Elgin Paranormal Investigators

news-blog-bannerWho you gonna call? E.P.I.!

Ever think your house is haunted? Elgin Paranormal Investigators have been searching and documenting paranormal activities since 2007. Allowing facts and evidence to guide their investigations, E.P.I.’s main goal is to collect scientific data that contributes to the debate of the existence of paranormal activity.

Elgin Paranormal Investigators’ booth at the Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead Fair will encourage members to get a hands-on experience with real ghost hunting equipment and to watch footage from some of E.P.I.’s investigations.

For more information about GEPL’s March 8th Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead Fair, please visit: gepl.org/steam.

Posted in GEPL Kids, GEPL News, GEPL Teens, GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: S.T.E.A.M.punk

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 36 - ImageWe’re still thinking S.T.E.A.M. here at GEPL (remember to come to our S.T.E.A.M. Fair tomorrow!), and this month I’m turning that into a whole display…in a manner of speaking.  This month’s display is Steampunk!  I’m still learning about Steampunk myself, but I’m finding my first forays into this genre pretty awesome, and I’m excited to highlight some great books.

“Steampunk” is something I’ve been vaguely aware of for a long time, mostly based on the look.  I really didn’t know what it was though.  And then someone recommended the author Gail Carriger to me, I picked up one of her adult books, and I was hooked.  I was thrilled when I found out she was venturing into the young adult world with Etiquette & Espionage!  Steampunk – at least what I’ve read and seen of it so far – is an incredibly fun mash-up of old-fashioned manners and fashion (Victorian, in the case of Carriger’s books) and all the techy goodness of classic sci-fi.

So whether you like action and adventure, manners and period clothes, sci-fi or historical fiction, steampunk has something for everyone.  Shadowhunters fans can check out The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare for steampunk-flavored demons.  If you have a taste for classic literature or graphic novels, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen will be right up your alley.  For a crash course in the genre, try Kelly Link’s Steampunk! anthology.  Me, I’m hoping to check out all of these (when you’re done with them) and more.  They have a lot to live up to after Etiquette & Espionage, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy finding out how they compare!

Posted in GEPL Teens

S.T.E.A.M. Fair Spotlight: Vulcan Materials

news-blog-bannerThe Glen Ellyn Public Library is excited to announce the Vulcan Materials Company will participate during our Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead Fair on Saturday, March 8th from 10:30am to 2:30pm.

Vulcan Materials Company, the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates—primarily cushioned stone, sand and gravel—works to actively grow STEAM learning among the nation’s school children.

David Clement, Senior Vice President, Central Region says that Vulcan Materials “deploy STEAM learning every day to manufacture high-quality materials in a socially and environmentally responsible way. That’s why we partner with local schools and organizations to help make STEAM learning exciting and relevant.”

To help improve student learning and develop the workforce of tomorrow, the company deploys its engineers and personnel into the community and uses its mining and production facilities as real-life classrooms to bring STEAM learning to life for teachers and students.

For more information about the Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead Fair, please visit: gepl.org/steam.

Posted in GEPL Kids, GEPL News, GEPL Teens, GEPL Tweens