Friday, January 30, 2009

Book of the Week: Watchmen

This is the weirdest book I've ever read. I seriously have never read a book with so many disturbing twists and turns ever. So teens should really like this book. Watchmen by Alan Moore is a graphic novel that tells the story of a group of superheroes who are nothing like Batman or Wonder Woman. People like Rorschach, who wears a mask like the ink blots, came from a dysfunctional family, and the Silk Spectre, a female heroine, has a rough relationship with her daughter who follows in her footsteps. Then there's the mystery of solving the murder of the Comedian, a sleazy member of their crime-fighting group that had a lot of enemies. There are so many other stories within this story, I can't remember them all, and this book really needs to reread to be understood.

Though it's confusing to me, it's still a fascinating read, especially when Moore writes about the characters' personal lives. The illustrations by Dave Gibbons are haunting as well. The old-fashioned look of the characters contrast with the modern problems they have. I don't how the blockbuster movie coming out in March can match the darkness and sadness of the novel, but we'll see. I'm choosing this book to start off my Young Adult Graphic Novel club in March and this book should make it a very interesting start.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gaming Thursdays next February

Next Thursday is gaming for elementary school kids, but with tweens and teens playing together lately, I may change it to all ages. The games are Amped and Super Monkey Ball Blitz. If you don't like those games, bring your own, but it has to be E or T. If you bring an M game, a parent has to come and say it's ok for you to play. But I'll deal with that later. Thanks to the kids that came!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Teen Gaming Tomorrow!

It's Teen Gaming tomorrow at the library. Halo and Rock Band are the featured games and the Wii will be out for open gaming. I'll see you teens tomorrow from 4 to 6 .

Monday, January 26, 2009

Are Wii Games Not Meeting Their Potential?

This article is about Wii games not " living up to their potential'', but I don't get it. If games are popular, does it matter if they're good? Paul Blart: Mall Cop is the number one movie, but it's not very good. ( Though I haven't seen the movie, I think I can safely assume it won't win any Oscars). On a subject I'm familiar with, music, there are people who like Soulja Boy, a popular, but not brilliant, rapper. I don't really care for his music, I wish people would listen to Lupe Fiasco more, but if other people like it, fine. People like silly movies, games, and songs. One person's " bad'' game may be brilliant to another person. It's all a matter of opinion. When "critically acclaimed'' games sell more, Wii and Nintendo will make more. Just as with movies and music, the only thing that matters is what people will buy.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Book of the Week: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

I loved this weird, short, great book since I read it a couple of years ago. It's the story of a girl, Coraline Jones, that moves into a new house and explores an abandoned hallway. After walking down the hallway, she finds a house identical to hers and finds her ''other mother''. The mother is attentive and cooks, unlike her "real mother'', and Coraline wants to stay with her except the "other mother'' isn't quite what she seems.

In this other world with the other mother, the mother has black button eyes, has built everything in the other world, and won't let Coraline leave. Trapped, Coraline finds other children that the other mother has kidnapped . Coraline realizes she has to escape the other mother, fight to get home to her parents , and save the other children with her.

Coraline was a best-seller when it first came out and should be again when the movie version comes out February 6. I chose this book as a discussion book for February 19 for teens, but both tweens and teens should enjoy the book. It's creepy without being too scary and gives great lessons in what makes a family and what it mans to be brave. Coraline is a book that packs a lot of meaning into a few pages.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Teen Gaming January 29!

Teen Gaming is next week and it's open gaming, bring any game rated E or T with Halo being an exception by popular demand. Thanks to the kids ( and teens) that showed up today to play Wii games and DDR. There's going to be a DDR tournament Saturday February 21, more details to follow!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Gossip Girl Spinoff: More Rich Teenagers on TV Coming Soon!

There's supposed to be a new Gossip Girl spin-off coming soon (link below). I don't get the books or the show, but I'm sure some teens will be happy. If you want an alternative to spoiled, irresponsible, rich teenagers, watch Degrassi: The Next Generation on the N. These teenagers are spoiled and irresponsible, but they're not all wearing Prada and Gucci and have real problems, like illness, pregnancy, and eating disorders. I know teens want fun and I watched the original 90210 , ( yes, I'm old), but I also liked those after school specials that dealt with racism or drug abuse. I'd rather watch shows that tell me my problems can be solved than ignore the fact that there are problems. But that's me. You teens enjoy your new Gossip Girl and hopefully, Degrassi, too.

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Day/Inauguration Day

How will you teens celebrate these historic days? Will you write a song like those cute kids who turned one of T.I.'s songs into a call to vote " You Can Vote However You Like?'' Will you help the elderly or tutor little kids? Read Barack Obama's excellent books, Dreams From My Father or Audacity of Hope? ( I'm a librarian, I recommend books for every occasion).

This is a historic time and teens are interested in politics like never before. Take that interest and put it into things you care about. If you care about having enough money for college, e-mail a Congressperson to vote to expand grants and scholarships. If you care about the environment, recycle and use public transportation. Blog about your concerns, too! I know that the Internet is a powerful tool and can be used to do a lot of great things. Stay informed by reading about the latest issues. Enjoy a day off or two, but also remember the brave Americans who led us to this day. Like President -elect Obama himself said, it's not presidents who changed America, it's everyday people like you and me. OK, enough lecturing from me, enjoy the next couple of days.

Friday, January 16, 2009

PS3 Price to Come Down?

Here's a short article about the price of the expensive PlayStation 3 coming down to increase sales.

Best Games of '09!

Here's an article about the most anticipated games of '09. Will you teens get these games ? Should the library get these games? E-mail or comment to let me know!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gaming Thursdays are a huge hit! Teen open games in two weeks!

Thanks to every teen that came to play today! Your enthusiasm and energy really woke up the library. In two weeks, it's Teen Gaming again and it's Open Gaming. If you don't like the scheduled games, NBA 2K '08 and Forza Motorsport, bring your own! Just make sure they're rated Everyone or Teen, no Left for Dead or Grand Theft Auto allowed. See you January 29, River Grove teens!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yanda's Book of the Week: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Vol 1 The Pox Party

I heard about this book for a while and it's on the New York Times best-sellers list, but I just got around to reading this really fascinating historical novel set right before the Revolutionary War by M.T. Anderson. Octavian is an African-American boy who's living as the slave of Boston academic Mr. Gitney, along with his mother. Though he and his mother are owned by Mr. Gitney, there isn't a clear master-slave relationship. Mr. Gitney teaches Octavian the violin, dresses him in fine clothes, and he teaches him to read classic literature. It's only when Octavian discovers papers in Mr. Gitney's room that changes that relationship forever.

The papers Octavian discovers show that Mr. Gitney was treating Octavian to violin and reading lessons not as part of his education, but as part of an experiment to show African-Americans are inferior to Whites. Octavian is insulted, especially when a sponsor
of Gitney's attributes Octavian's violin playing to a deal with the devil, but he tolerates the experiments for the sake of research. Mr. Gitney takes the experiments too far, though, when he gives a " pox party'' to give guests and Octavian's mother smallpox to see if African-Americans and Whites react differently to the disease. The discovery and results of this experiment drive Octavian over the edge and make him question every part of his life as a slave, especially against the backdrop of the start of the fight for American independence.This book was a little hard to read at first because of the language, but it's not ''Shakespeare hard''. Rereading the sentences helped me a lot and this book is so well-written and thought-provoking, I want to reread the whole book. I'm sure you've never read a book about the Revolutionary War or slavery like this, and it should be required reading for high school students learning about that war, slavery, or American history in general. Octavian Nothing is a refreshing young adult novel that really makes history come alive.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kids Gaming Thursday January 22: Boys Vs. Girls

Thursday January 22 is Kids Gaming and the featured games are DDR Extreme 2 and Wii Play. It's Boys vs. Girls, so there will be treats for all who attend and special treats for winners! See you then!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gaming Off to a Great Start!

I wanted to thank every kid that showed up for our first Gaming Thursday in a long while. It got off to a great start, but can always get bigger and better! Kids, come back in two weeks for a Boys vs. Girls DDR and Wii Play Competition. There will be fun and treats for all who attend! This week, it's teen gaming with Rock Band and Guitar Hero III. Teens, spread the word and come rock out at the library! If you have ideas about what other games you want to see at the library, email me at to let me know. See you Thursday!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

KIDS GAMING TODAY! /Wii Sports best-selling game

Today's the return of Gaming Thursday! I hope you kids come out and play Mario Kart Double Dash. On a related note, here's an article about Wii Sports being the best-selling game ever.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Hi, kids, this is another reminder about gaming tomorrow! Elementary school kids can come out and play Mario Kart Double Dash tomorrow from 4 to 6 PM! Teens, you all come play Rock Band and Guitar Hero next Thursday. How often does a librarian want you to play video games in the library? I hope every kid gamer in River Grove shows up!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Yanda's Book of the Week: Sunrise Over Fallujah

I've always loved Walter Dean Myers' hard-hitting, realistic books for teens from Fallen Angels to Monster. Sunrise Over Fallujah is another gritty look at teenage life, but this time from the perspective of a young soldier in Iraq.

In this book, the main character, Robin arrives in Iraq before the start of the war. He's already stressed because he went against his father's wishes and he's never fought in combat before. He relaxes once he makes friends with fellow soldiers like Jonesy, a weird, but wise blues-loving man, and Marla, a cocky young soldier who affectionately calls Robin '' Birdy''. Their job is to serve as liasions between civilians and other American soldiers. Robin believes that the war will be quick and the Iraqis will be welcoming to the Americans, but after the initial '' shock and awe'' and Saddam's fall, the war quickly becomes more complicated.

The insurgency ( Iraqis against Americans) against the American soldiers grow and soon Robin doesn't know which Iraqis are welcoming and which are threatening. He grows even more tense and worried and after his first combat battle where he kills an insurgent, he becomes more unraveled. Soon, more death and destruction in his squad make Robin wonder if his fighting in Iraq is worth it to make Iraq free or if it's a waste of time and lives.

As a person who doesn't know much about the Army, I learned so much from this book about Army life. I learned that soldiers are really a family in battle and that anything comforting is a luxury from American food to music. I also learned that no matter what you may think about the war and whose side you're on, after reading Sunrise Over Fallujah, you'll always be on the side of the soldiers and respect the heartbreaking sacrifices they make to serve America.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Celebrate It's Ok to be Different Month!

I know that as teens, you have a hard time fitting in, and it doesn't help that every adult tells you to just be yourself. But, as I've learned, it is best to be yourself, especially if you're different. A great YA ( young adult) book shows this: Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

It's the story of a Native American boy, Junior, who lives on a reservation in Spokane, Washington. Life on '' the rez'' is not a happy one, with a drunken father and Junior not learning anything form 30-year-old textbooks in school. To improve his education, Junior transfers to an all-white school in a neighboring town. There, he has to deal with the culture shock of being the only Indian at the school besides the mascot and hiding the fact that he's poor from a girl he wants to impress. There's not only racism at school to deal with, but there's rejection from his own tribe for being a ''traitor'' and leaving the reservation. On top of all that, Junior has to deal with death and how to live on his own terms in two worlds, Indian and white.

Though the book sounds sad, there's plenty of humor to keep the book light. Junior is a silly, weird, but thoughtful and insightful character that will make you root for him. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian will make you laugh, cry, and show that sometimes your parents are right: It's ok to be different and you should always be yourself.

Are Handheld PSP'S on the way out?

Here's an intersting article about the decline of handheld PSP's.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Another change to Gaming Thursday January 8

The first game being played on January 8 is just Mario Cart Double Dash from 4 to 6 pm!