Posts by Kathlyn, Teen Librarian

White Plains Summer Reading Lists

Around this time of year, we’re usually busy buying and unpacking boxes of books to support the summer reading lists from the White Plains Public Schools. This year, we’re not sure when we’ll be able to order or receive those boxes of books. Instead, we’re offering digital versions of this year’s summer reading recommendations. We ask that everyone be mindful of an important difference between physical books and digital books. Paperbacks and eBooks check out the same way: a book can only be checked out to one person at a time. But eBooks are often four–or even six–times more expensive
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Featured, Homepage Kids, Homepage Teens, Kids, Library News, and Teens.

International Day of Friendship: YA Fiction

In honor of the International Day of Friendship on July 30, I read When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk, a new release that I’d been looking for an excuse to read. Somewhat ironically, the friendship at the heart of this book actually goes up in flames… but its true value becomes painfully clear through its absence. High school sophomores Cleo and Layla have been best friends for years. But when Layla realizes her dream of joining the school choir and gains a new group of friends, Cleo’s left behind. Flashbacks reveal the initially subtle rift in the girls’ friendship
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

COVID-19 Mindfulness Book for Children

As our region progresses through the phases of reopening, many parents are beginning to bring our children out into a very different world. A friend, Mandy Facchin, described the stresses of observing new COVID-19 regulations with her two-year-old at a recent pediatrician visit. Mandy, who holds a Master’s degree in education, created a printable book to help her daughter become more comfortable in a mask-wearing world. Each page of the book features a wellness-related affirmation statement and a space for children to add their own illustrations. The affirmations are lovely, a wonderful way for children to practice mindfulness during this
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Categories: Authors & Books, COVID-19, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

Juneteenth: YA Fiction

I didn’t expect to have much trouble gathering some historical fiction titles telling celebratory stories about emancipation. I found one promising book that turned out to be narrated by the daughter of a Texas plantation owner complicit in concealing the news of emancipation—not at all what I was looking for. I continued searching. I found books about slavery during the Revolutionary War, time travel mysteries, and one alternate history featuring Civil War zombies, but I had a hard time finding a perfect fit for Juneteenth. I ended up reading Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. It’s told over the span
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

July & August Teen Book Clubs

Virtual book club sessions have been the highlight of spring for librarians Lauren and Kat. We are looking forward to four more sessions this summer, this time with the theme of summer reading. Each month, one book club meeting will feature one title from a Highlands Middle School recommended reading list, and the other will feature a title from the White Plains High School recommended reading list. All four books are available with unlimited copies on Hoopla, and multiple copies on OverDrive. While these books are on recommended reading lists for various grade levels, the book clubs are open to
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Categories: Authors & Books, Book Discussion, eNewsletter, Events, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

Antiracism YA Fiction

Typically, when choosing books for my Dive into Diversity posts, I mostly try to avoid titles that focus on racism, police or gun violence, or other trauma. Instead, I prefer to highlight books that show a diverse range of teens dealing with everyday life. In this moment, though, it's time to feature books that demonstrate the impact of violence and oppression on teens. These stories are heavy, but they are important. Especially if you don’t identify with the protagonist, I challenge you to read and consider the character’s situation with an open mind. Let these stories be windows into another
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Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

Antiracism Resources for Teens & Adults

This may seem irrelevant to the topic of antiracism, but I want to start by saying that I’m a knitter. In January 2019, the knitting community began a moment of reckoning with racism in the fiber arts industry. If you’re interested, you can read more about those conversations here, but suffice it to say that this event brought me to a new awareness of racism. After that, I thought a lot more consciously about my privilege, my place as a white librarian working with primarily teens of color, and my responsibility to teach my young children about antiracism. By no
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Featured, Homepage, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

Family Month: YA Fiction

In addition to being Pride Month, June is also Family Month. I wanted to take the opportunity to showcase YA fiction that celebrates families in their many wonderful forms. I’m happy to share one of my favorite YA books, The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend: the story of four teens who share the same sperm donor. Milo Robinson-Clark has serious food allergies; after yet another doctor visit, he makes the decision to track down his sperm donor in hopes of finding medical information. Along with his one known half-sibling, Hollis Darby-Barnes, he embarks on a quest to find genetic relatives.
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Library News, and Teens.

Pride Month: YA

The last couple years have seen an avalanche of excellent YA fiction featuring a broad range of LGBTQIA+ characters. This made it difficult to pick one to review for Pride Month, which is a very good problem to have. I ultimately chose We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra, and absolutely loved it. The story is told entirely through the letters of two high school students randomly paired up for an English assignment. At first, dedicated Walt Whitman cosplayer Jonathan Hopkins and football star Adam Kurlansky seem totally incompatible. But as the weeks pass, their lives slowly intertwine. Jo and Kurl
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Library News, and Teens.

Virtual Book Club for Teens

Due to uncertainty about large public gatherings this fall, the Battle of the Books (BOB) competition has been postponed until October 2021. We (librarians and BOB coaches Lauren and Kat) are glad this decision has been made in the interest of safety… but we worry we’ll miss our BOB team too much! So, we’re excited to begin a monthly virtual book club for teens. Each month, we’ll read and discuss a book that’s available with unlimited copies on Hoopla. We’ll also keep our BOB skills sharp with Jeopardy games, trivia questions, and maybe even drills to improve our speed on
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Featured, Library News, and Teens.

Bullet Journaling

A few years ago when I returned to work after maternity leave, I found myself struggling to balance my new full-time jobs: mom and librarian. I’ve kept a bullet journal ever since, allowing me to keep my calendar, to-do list, a running list of questions for my pediatrician, and meeting notes all in the same place. My bullet journal has helped me prioritize work tasks, remember funny things my kids say, and train for a half marathon. While my bullet journal is plain and practical, for many it’s an opportunity to incorporate artistic expression and even mindfulness into daily life.
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Categories: eNewsletter, Featured, Homepage, Homepage Teens, and Teens.

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month: YA Fiction

Having missed out on Star Trek as a child, I first heard of George Takei about ten years ago when he began posting hilarious memes on Facebook. More recently, he’s been known for his political activism and for sharing his childhood experience in an internment camp during WWII. This is the topic of his 2019 graphic novel They Called Us Enemy. Takei relates the circumstances of his family’s forced removal from their Los Angeles home and the four years they spent behind bars. He tells the story as he experienced it as a child, layered with facts he learned from
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Library News, and Teens.

Jewish American Heritage Month: YA

While making a list of potential titles for this month, I was drawn to In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton. It’s historical fiction, set in Atlanta in 1959 (rather than WWII, as many other YA historical fiction titles are). I just had to see what the author would do with this setting and time period. When Ruth’s father suddenly dies, her mother resettles the family in a guest house belonging to her own wealthy parents. Ruth’s grandmother is heavily invested in the local debutante scene and encourages Ruth not to mention her Jewish faith around her new
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Library News, and Teens.

Hoopla Creative Writing Resources

Writing can be a cathartic and stress-reducing activity, making it well suited to our current reality. Just as reading a good book can be a comfort right now, getting lost in a writing prompt can also be a portal into another world. Luckily, Hoopla offers a wealth of resources for writers of all ages, from children to adults. I’ll start by recommending a creative writing book by one of my favorite authors, Gail Carson Levine. I’ve loved her books since middle school, when I read Ella Enchanted, an original fairy tale about a girl who is cursed with the gift
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Categories: eNewsletter, Featured, Homepage Kids, Homepage Teens, Kids, Library News, and Teens.

Star Wars YA Fiction

I am something of a latecomer to the Star Wars universe. In fact, a couple of years ago I assembled a Halloween costume from a Stormtrooper helmet and a lightsaber, blissfully unaware of my error. But recently my preschooler has begun reading Star Wars graphic novels, helping me become more familiar with the setting and characters. For example, he now refers to his baby sister as “a Sand People from Tatooine”—that’s a good thing, right? He adores Kylo Ren and celebrates the accomplishments of “Separatist Leader General Grievous.” Actually, I’m afraid my child might be turning to the Dark Side.
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

Arab-American Heritage Month

For this month’s column highlighting titles by Arab-American authors, I leaped at the chance to open a book from my to-read list: Darius the Great is Not Okay, by Adib Khorram. When Darius’ grandfather is diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, his parents take Darius and his little sister on their first trip to Iran. Even the pronunciation of Darius’ name is different in Iran, but the change frees him to try new experiences, discovering a talent for soccer and making new friends. The book addresses a range of issues in Darius’ life: the medication he takes to treat his
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Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

DIY Masks and FAQ

Over the past few weeks, recommendations on the use of fabric masks have evolved rapidly. At first, there was skepticism that homemade alternatives were effective. However, since the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that everyone should wear a fabric face cover in public, I’ve seen an explosion of mask-making information online. With Governor Cuomo's new decree requiring everyone to cover their mouths and nose in public, we will likely see even more. Sorting through the sheer number of patterns, and the contradicting information about the effectiveness of various filter materials, has been overwhelming and even
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Categories: COVID-19, eNewsletter, Featured, Homepage, Homepage Kids, Homepage Teens, Kids, Library News, and Teens.

Autism Acceptance and Awareness Month

While browsing available ebooks on the Libby app, I was pleased to find a Big Library Read selection that complements Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month. The current selection is a memoir: Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic, by comedian Michael McCreary. I enjoyed reading about McCreary’s experiences, beginning with his diagnosis at age five and continuing along his path to success as a stand-up comedian. McCreary shares hilarious anecdotes of relatable social awkwardness and moments of self-discovery. He also has a knack for explaining autism—at least, his experience of it—in an approachable way. As McCreary says, not every 22-year-old might feel
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Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

Lynda.com for Teens

By Kathlyn Carroll, Edge Librarian. As we enter week three (has it only been three weeks?) of quarantine, you may find yourself with some extra time on your hands. Now’s the time to get the hang of that new skill you’ve always wanted to learn, or spend some serious time on a project you’ve been hoping to finish. I’ve selected some beginner-friendly videos on a range of topics from Lynda.com. If you don’t see your specific interest here, feel free to browse the list of subjects. Once you login here, you can search for the courses listed below. Photography Photography
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Categories: eNewsletter, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

Lynda.com Writing Resources

By Kathlyn Carroll, Edge Librarian. Like many others suddenly working from home, I’ve been focusing on professional development opportunities that would otherwise go on the back burner. While browsing a Library database, Lynda.com, I came across a surprising variety of writing tutorial videos that would also help teen writers. Whether you’re struggling through ELA essays assigned virtually by your teachers, or using the extra time to tackle a personal creative writing project, one of these videos may guide you on your quest. Once you login at the link above, you can search for the learning paths and videos below. ELA
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Categories: eNewsletter, Evergreen, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.