Posts by Kathlyn, Teen Librarian

Mental Illness Awareness Week: YA Fiction

The National Alliance on Mental Illness honors Mental Illness Awareness Week during the first week in October. To mark the occasion, I'm highlighting some of the many characters in YA fiction who deal with mental health challenges. I first read I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, by Erika L. Sanchez, a couple of years ago. I considered it when working on last month’s post, and decided to listen to a little bit of the audiobook to refresh my memory… and just kept listening as the story hooked me in all over again. The audiobook was excellent. The narrator really
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Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

Race Consciousness: Recommended Reading, Part 1

On Wednesday October 21st, Sachi Feris of the blog Raising Race Conscious Children will lead a workshop to help parents and caregivers learn how to talk about race with young children. Each week until the workshop, I’ll share an article or resource to help you begin thinking about some related topics. Let’s begin with a look at some of the key concepts involved in talking to children about race. Our first article, “Talking to Children About Racial Bias,” is from HealthyChildren.org, a website run by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Doctors Ashaunta Anderson and Jacqueline Dougé begin with basic information
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Categories: Events, Featured, Homepage, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

Creative Writing for Middle Grades

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is celebrated every November and encourages writers of all ages to pledge to write 50,000 words, or a novel, in one month. In the spirit of encouraging creative writing, White Plains Public Library will present a series of virtual creative writing sessions for children grades 4-8 at 4 p.m on Wednesdays November 4th, 18th and 25th. Instead of focusing on a specific word count, or finishing an entire novel, we will dive into the structure of stories, have fun with fanfiction, discuss personal experience with NaNoWriMo and provide free writing time using fun prompts as
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Categories: Events, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

Hispanic Heritage Month: YA Fiction

Hispanic Heritage Month is observed between September 15th and October 15th. To celebrate, I had fun putting together a list of books by Hispanic authors. This month, I read American Road Trip by Patrick Flores-Scott. Surprisingly, the road trip itself is a fairly minor part of the storyline, which contains so many layers that it’s difficult to write a spoiler-free summary, but here goes… Teodoro Avila puts no effort into academics, and his family life is tense due to the absence of his older brother Manny, stationed in Iraq. In preparation for Manny’s return, Teodoro and his sister, Xochitl, make
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Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

Youth Poetry Workshops

Westchester’s first Youth Poet Laureate, Danielle Kohn, is leading two poetry workshops for young people in October. Danielle was named Youth Poet Laureate in January 2020, and has since been busy sharing her love of poetry with libraries and communities around Westchester. Danielle believes that poetry is for everyone. She uses approachable activities to encourage participants to give it a try. In these workshops, participants will learn about different forms of poetry, engage in fun writing games, follow stimulating prompts, and create their own masterpieces. The virtual workshop on Tuesday, October 6th at 4:30 p.m. is for children in grades
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Categories: Events, Featured, Homepage Kids, Homepage Teens, Kids, Library News, and Teens.

Stamped Book Discussions for Children and Teens

This fall, join the Youth Services department for a series of events surrounding the Library’s city-wide reading initiative, One Book, One White Plains. We'll be reading Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. The book is available in regular print, large print, and CD audiobook from our physical collection and as a digital audiobook and eBook from OverDrive and Libby. Stamped is the title for the October session of librarians Kat and Lauren’s book club for teens. We’ll discuss the book and play a round of trivia.Teens in grades 7-12 are invited to join the
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Categories: Authors & Books, Book Discussion, Events, Featured, Homepage Kids, Homepage Teens, Kids, Library News, and Teens.

September Book Club for Teens

Calling all middle and high school students for a monthly virtual book club for teens. Each month, join librarians Kat and Lauren to discuss the featured book and compete against friends in a mini trivia game. Our next virtual meeting has been rescheduled and will take place on Friday, September 11th at 6:30 p.m. This month, we’re reading Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, which has also been made into a Netflix movie. Willowdean, nicknamed Dumplin’ by her mother, feels comfortable in her plus-size skin. But she faces constant criticism from her mom, a former beauty queen who still runs the annual
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Categories: Authors & Books, Homepage Teens, and Library News.

Race Consciousness Workshop

If you’re a parent or caregiver of young children and you’re looking forward to Ibram X. Kendi’s upcoming event, get ready to mark your calendars for this workshop in October. Sachi Feris, of Raising Race Conscious Children, will help parents and caregivers become more comfortable discussing race with young children. The virtual workshop will take place on Wednesday, October 21st, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Register for the workshop here. A couple of years ago, I came across some racially stereotypical illustrations while reading Dr. Seuss’ And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street to my toddler. I
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Categories: eNewsletter, Events, Featured, Homepage, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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.

Summer Reading Highlights: YA Fiction

This summer, there is no single required title on the middle and high school reading lists. Instead, teachers and school librarians have collaborated to come up with several great book recommendations for each grade level. It’s clear that they prioritized titles written by a diverse group of authors and featuring a wide range of characters. With such a variety of titles, everyone will be able to find a book they’ll like. Below, I’ve highlighted my favorite book from the recommendations for each grade level. In addition to being available through the school system’s Sora app, these titles are also available
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Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Teens, 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 and Library News.

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.