Monday, March 31, 2008

Found Object!

Secret note found in the stacks:

Dear Stalker,
How is your mother doing? I understand she has come down with a bout of measels [sic] and weasels and is feeling rather poor. Bake her some crumpets for me, okay?

Toodle-oo pip pip,

Never a shortage of love at the library.

Just for fun, help us come up with a random story of what would lead someone to write a note like this. The crazier, the better!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Special Art Club Meeting: Ohanami!

Whoa, everyone watch out! April is on its way and it's not kidding around.

April in Pittsburgh can be a bit of an indecisive flirt. Just when you think it's going to stay warm and sunny, it flip flops back to the cold and the gray. Boo. Well, April in mainland Japan is quite different. It is the time for new beginnings: new school year, new friendships, and definitely blooming cherry blossoms (sakura). During this time, people hang around under trees, stuffing themselves with food and drink, being merry with friends and family.

So to celebrate this fabulous time of year, we are doing a special Art Club meeting that is going to be, to quote one special patron, made of awesome.

We are going to
  • draw Japanese flowery landscapes
  • make origami
  • drink delicious green tea in adorable little Japanese cups

Ohanami is going on at Teen on Wednesday, April 16, at 3pm. Pick up a loud pink bookmark when you drop by to remind you!

And just because I'm a sucker for pictures, here's one of me (Violeta) in front of sakura in Japan.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Two Amazing Reviews by the Illustrious Katie D.!

by Brian K. Vaughn

How many times in your life have you thought your parents were evil? I’m guessing that would be a lot, especially if you’re a teenager. But what if they actually were? And I don’t mean confining you to your room, grounding you for life, or taking away TV priviledges. We’re talking secret-society, super-powers, blowing-up-Los-Angeles evil.

This is what a group of teenagers discover in the graphic novel Runaways, written by Brian K. Vaughn and illustrated by Adrian Alphona. It’s not your average superhero comic, and that’s what makes it interesting: instead of muscled-up, costumed heroes punching eachother out on top of the Empire State Building, you have normal teenagers faced with the fact that their families have been lying to them for years.

In the first volume of this entertaining series, at a yearly “get together,” the main characters, while exploring a passageway in Alex Wilder’s house, overhear a meeting where their parents, in full super-villain costumes, commit a yearly sacrifice for some unknown reason. Disturbed by this encounter and completely sure that something is very wrong, four of the five teenagers run away from home to try and find the body of the sacrifice. They end up not only finding a psychic velociraptor and some sort of ancient book, but having to save the fifth from all of their parents—something that’s easier said than done, as it turns out.

This graphic novel is a great new angle on the tired superhero genre, and totally fun to read. The dialogue is fresh and not too overdramatic (HA HA! I SHALL KILL YOU, et cetera…) and all of the characters, as you see later, have their own personalities. It’s the perfect blend of a little sci-fi, a little action, a little fantasy, and a whole lot of humor. Don’t worry if you can’t find the second book in the series—I couldn’t, either, but I managed to continue on to volume three and only miss a little.

As a student at Rogers CAPA middle school, I have had to suffer through weeks of teacher hysteria, spontaneous group craft projects, and people constantly being called out of class for costume fittings.

The source of all of this chaos was the one act plays by three Rogers 8th grade writers being performed, a whole-school activity that (un)fortunately, I wasn’t involved in. The scripts of these plays are available online at CafePress. Since I’ve been reading these plays since the earliest drafts, I thought I might review them here are prove that you should SO TOTALLY order the book, now.

The first of the plays presented in the book is “Entanglement” by Juliana Collins. The play, to sum it up in a sentence, is about the relationship of a couple from opposite sides of the class and race divide. The dialogue is spot-on, of course, and the idea was good, but (oh dear god Juliana will kill me for saying this) it ends up being a leetle bit *pinches fingers to show how leetle* unresolved at the end. Still, it’s a really interesting story.

The second play is my personal favorite. Entitled “My Blood Is Still Red” and written by Claire Matway, a hugely talented poet and writer, it’s about what happens to an average middle-class family when their teenaged son reveals a huge secret. What’s the secret? You really think I’m going to tell you?! Go read it and find out for yourself, already! There’s nothing I can say about this play except, IT’S. AMAZING.

DeeDee Reaves, the author of the play “Twists of Heaven and Earth” had better look out, because her play is going to be a little bit critically challenged in this review. Her dialogue is fast and funny and full of great pop culture references (the SpongeBob line is particularly great) but it just… falls apart into a scene that’s a little bit soppy and tries a little too hard to make the end seem very much like an after-school special. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy the plays, though *wink*

You can find the plays here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Deadpool's Blog

Devin, a hiliarious regular here at the teen space, wrote this imagined interview with Marvel Comics fan favorite Deadpool - the infamous "Merc with the mouth." Hope you enjoy!

Deadpool’s Blog

Hello my friends and fans of my comic book. This is Deadpool the merc with the mouth. Entertainment Weekly interviewed me, which is weird because I force fed chimichangas to the staff and writers while they were duct taped to their chairs. Come on at least I didn’t kill them. They would drop the law suit if I agreed to do an interview with them.

Question: How did you get your powers?
Answer: Cancer, weapon x, insanity.
Question: What do you do for a living?
Answer: Merc for hire you stupid magazine creators.
Question: How many girlfriends have you had?
Answer: Outlaw, Psylocke, Siren.
Question: What is the craziest mission you ever did?
Answer: The time Cable hired me to steal a force field thingy. I had
to kill undead clowns - and I hate clowns.
Question: Which hero team would you join?
Answer: The New Avengers because they need comic relief and a guys guy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Christian Fiction and Religious Books at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main

Inspired by a recent email question about teen Christian fiction titles, here are some resources the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main-Teen provides.

We carry a few series here that are considered contempary classics in Teen Christian fiction.
Melody Carlson , series titles: "Diary of a Teenage Girl" and TrueColors
Stephanie Perry Moore, series title: "Payton Skyy"
Tim F. LaHaye , series title: "Left Behind: The Kids"

If you are looking for books about Christianity and other religions, we have books lists on our own Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Teen website. Our religious fiction booklist, Believers and Doubters, has books that explore the many ways in which religion affects our lives. Are you more of a fact-focused religion researcher? A Non-fiction book list will bring you happiness.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Opportunities for Pittsburgh Teens

Pulse Blogfest!

March 14-17 |

Who is participating in Pulse Blogfest?

It’s a veritable who’s who of teen fiction. More than 110 teen authors have committed to participating, including such bestsellers as Scott Westerfeld (Uglies), Ellen Hopkins (Glass), D.J. MacHale (Pendragon), Holly Black (Ironside, Spiderwick), Kate Brian (Private), Cassandra Clare (City of Bones), Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising), James A. Owen (Here, There Be Dragons) and many, many more. See the end of this email for a complete list of confirmed authors.

How will it work?

Each day of the blogfest will be devoted to one question submitted by a teen ahead of time. The questions will be general and will provide a range of subjects, some writing-related, some not. The questions have been chosen from those submitted by our Pulse It Board, which is Simon & Schuster’s teen advisory board that currently has more than 700 members. More information on the Pulse It Board (and how teens can join) can be found at . The questions will not be made public until the Blogfest begins.

How often will authors post?

The participation of every author will vary depending on their schedule. Every author will answer at least one question, while many authors have committed to participate on at least five different days.

Will teens be able to post during the Blogfest?

Teens won’t be able to start their own brand-new blog entries. However, anyone will be free to submit comments to any particular blog entry, which will appear below the relevant entry once the comment has been approved. (To make sure that no confidential information is given out, or any spam or obscenity creeps in, every comment will be carefully screened before going up.) Some authors will be coming on to the blog to address those comments, and others may not have the time to. Text on the blog will make it clear that teens should not expect every author to necessarily be able to respond to all comments, and that some authors, due to time constraints and touring schedules, may not even be able to see the comments until after the Blogfest is over. However, all authors that participate will receive a transcript after the Blogfest is over that contains all the comments that teens made to their posts.


Malin Alegria • Kim Antieau • Marc Aronson • Avi • Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Lisa Barham • Lauren Barnholdt • Hilari Bell • Phil Bildner
Franny Billingsley • Holly Black • Judy Blume • Jennifer Bradbury
Kate Brian • Robin Brickman • Teri Brown • Linda Buckley-Archer
Marina Budhos • Christian Burch • Melvin Burgess • Niki Burnham
Nancy Butcher • Deb Caletti • Janet Lee Carey • Patrick Cave
Cassandra Clare • Rachel Cohn • Rhody Cohon • Susan Cooper
Melissa de la Cruz • Kavita Daswani • Stacia Deutsch • Cheryl Diamond
Allison van Diepen • Cameron Dokey • Frances Dowell • Erin Downing
Sharon M. Draper • Kathleen Benner Duble • Kathleen Duey • Clare B. Dunkle
Kelly Easton • Jennifer Echols • Thomas Fahy • Terri Farley
Susan Fletcher • E.R. Frank • Diana Gonzalez • Lorie Ann Grover
Randi Hacker • Margaret Peterson Haddix • Cathy Hapka • Pete Hautman
Julie Hearn • Karol Ann Hoeffner • Nancy Holder • Ellen Hopkins
James Howe • Jeffry W. Johnston • Cynthia Kadohata • P.G. Kain
Ronald Kidd • Annette Curtis Klause • Chris Krovatin • Nancy Krulik
Evan Kuhlman • Dakota Lane • Hope Larson • Richard Lewis
Julie Linker • Greg Logsted • D. Anne Love • Whitney Lyles
Chris Lynch • D.J. MacHale • Eric Marcus • Amanda Marrone
Kelly McClymer • Lisa McMann • Nico Medina • Kai Meyer
Sarah Miller • Annabel Monaghan • Kate Morgenroth • Taylor Morris
Sarah Mussi • Donna Jo Napoli • Phyllis Reynolds Naylor • J. Adams Oaks
Ken Oppel • James A. Owen • Bronwen Pardes • Jamie Ponti
Staton Rabin • Deborah Reber • Randi Reisfeld • Ashley Rhodes-Courter
Paul Ruditis • Alex Sanchez • Robyn Schneider • Lisa Schroeder
Elizabeth Scott • Gloria Skurzynski • Brian Sloan • Thomas E. Sniegoski
Sonya Sones • Todd Strasser • Wendy Toliver • Roderick Townley
Kristen Tracy • Adrienne Maria Vrettos • Judy Waite • Robin Wasserman
Scott Westerfeld • Suzanne Weyn • Matt Whyman • Ellen Wittlinger
Elisabeth Wolfe • Bil Wright • Janet Ruth Young

The YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Office of Racial Diversity and Inclusion

The deadline for essay submissions is Friday, March 21, 2008

The YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Office of Racial Diversity and Inclusion (formerly the Center for Race Relations) is pleased to announce that our annual Student Essay Contest will take place in the Spring of 2008. The Racial Justice Student Essay Contest supports anti-racism efforts by raising awareness among young people and acknowledging their own search for racial harmony and equality. This year we are asking middle school students in grades 6, 7, and 8 to respond to the following question:

If you were elected into a public office, what would you do to eliminate racism? Describe your plan of action. (300 words or less)

Here is a link to the complete contest rules and an entry form. Each student essay must have a completed form, including parent/guardian signature. We encourage you to participate by advertising the contest throughout your school/organization and distributing directly to your young people. We have found it helpful to assign a specific individual as a coordinator for the Student Essay Contest to generate interest, provide technical writing assistance and advice where needed, and assume responsibility for submitting the essays.

The deadline for essay submissions is Friday, March 21, 2008.

A panel of judges from the greater Pittsburgh educational community will select the essay contest finalists, who will be notified by Friday, April 4, 2007. Students selected as first, second, and third place finalists will be honored with at a recognition ceremony on Thursday, April 24, 2008 at the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh.

Thank you for your assistance in promoting the contest and best of luck to your participants!

Debra Mason
Director of Racial Diversity and Inclusion

Questions? Email or call 412-255-1466.
Entries must be received by Friday, March 21, 2008.

From Poet to Playwright: August Wilson Poetry and Spoken Word Contest

Sponsored by the August Wilson Center for African American Culture

Open to high school students (grades 9-12) in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties
$1,000 prize for one winner from each county
Submissions due: April 9, 2008

Before he became an award-winning playwright, August Wilson was first a poet. In 1965, Wilson purchased his first typewriter for $20 and began to write poetry. In the late 1960s, he became part of a group of poets, educators and artists who formed the Centre Avenue Poets Theater Workshop in Pittsburgh. High school poets and spoken word artists are invited to submit a poem inspired by August Wilson’s life and work. Whether you’ve seen or read one of Wilson’s plays, or read a biography of him, this is your opportunity to honor his words with your words.

Poems will go through a blind judging process, and will be judged on four criteria: style, grammar, creativity and content. Winning poems will demonstrate an outstanding understanding of August Wilson’s life and/or work, and a high level of creative expression. Entries will be judged by staff of the August Wilson Center, community volunteers, members of the poetry community, and relatives/former colleagues of August Wilson.

Eligible participants include all high school students (grades 9-12) in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties. Employees of the August Wilson Center, its Board of Directors, and their immediate family members are not eligible to participate in this contest. All entries become the property of the August Wilson Center and will not be returned.

Each participant may submit only one poem. A poem must be no longer than two pages, and must be typed in a legible, 11- to 12-point font. A submission must also include a maximum one-paragraph statement explaining how the poem draws upon themes in August Wilson’s life and work. No identifying information (name, school, etc.) should appear on the poem or the explanatory statement. Participants must submit five (5) copies of both the poem and the statement.

A submitted poem must be accompanied by a stapled cover sheet with the following information: name, complete address, phone number, e-mail (if available), county of residence, name and address of high school, and if applicable: name of the teacher, librarian or other adult who assigned the poem, and the name of their organization (school, library, community organization, etc.). Participants should submit only one (1) copy of the cover sheet.

Entries must be received in the August Wilson Center offices by 5 pm on Wednesday, April 9, 2008. Entries may be mailed or dropped off in person. Electronic submissions will not be accepted. Semi-finalists and winners will be notified via mail/e-mail/phone before or by April 18, 2008. Entries that do not follow ALL contest requirements WILL NOT be considered.

A prize of $1,000 will be awarded to one winner from each of the five counties. Winners will also be invited to read their poems at the Second Annual August Wilson Birthday Celebration, starring Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance, on Saturday, April 26, 2008 at the Byham Theater in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Please send all entries to:

August Wilson Center for African American Culture
Attn: Sarah Williams
Regional Enterprise Tower
425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 1750
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Call 412.258.2664 or e-mail for further information.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Enter: New library assistant Violeta

Hi all!

My name is Violeta (pronounced "vee-oh-LETT-a," more or less). I just started working at CLP Teen a little over a week ago and I *definitely* want to get to know you guys.

To introduce myself, here's some random Violeta trivia.
  • Even though Spanish is my first language, I can't roll my "R"s to save my life.
  • I lived in Japan for three years. Just about the coolest thing I did there was play several koto (Japanese harp) concerts at a zazen temple on a hill. I don't know, I might never top that one.
  • I'm happiest when eating sushi or breakfast tacos with a creamy cilantro salsa. Yumminess! See this? I had just about everything edible on this table-- and more-- during one of my soba outings.
  • My favorite anime is Azumanga Daioh. We have it at the library so check it out if you haven't already! I can't wait for the new season of Code Geass. And can someone explain FLCL to me? I enjoyed it and I loved the music, but I was at a complete loss...

I'm a bit of a camera fiend so it was tough finding one picture that truly captured my essence. I think this one is at least interesting. It was taken in Osaka, Japan, with a friend and a trio of Japanese fashionistas rocking the yamanba style. I'm the one making the really weird peace sign. I don't know what I was thinking.

Anyway, if you ever want to practice your mad Spanish, French, or Japanese skills-- or if you just want to talk about your favorite book or manga-- come on over and let's chat.