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poetic in just ice

by Tomas - 0 Comment(s)

ee cummings poem

I vividly remember my introduction to the poetry of e.e. cummings, via a film called "The Boy Who Liked Deer”, shown to our class in Junior High. I can’t remember the reason we were shown it, but the trauma it inflicted is still fresh in my mind. I’m not going to spoil the story (you can watch it here, but seriously, this recommendation comes with some heavy trigger warnings, be warned!), but I will say the poem is by overshadowed by the heavy-handed emotional tragedies that two characters experience.

It took finding a reference to his work in The Perks of Being a Wallflower to make me finally work through my aversion to give e.e. cummings another try. Thankfully, e.e. fares better in this book. While Charlie’s English Teacher provides a lot of off-curriculum book recommendations, he discovers e.e. outside of the classroom via Mary-Elizabeth, who gives him collection of the author's poetry. It does take some convincing, however, for Charlie to finally commit to reading it.

I also came across yet another, if slightly oblique, reference. In Matched, the main character Cassia is secretly introduced to the work of Dylan Thomas, but in an interview author Ally Condie speculates that Cassia would also most likely have been a fan of e.e. cummings, among others, had she lived in this time.

So what is it about e.e. cummings?

Experimenting with line and word spacing, and writing in lowercase before it was cool, cummings was one of the literary pioneers in the early 20th Century who broke conventions of English language; how it could be used, and what it could mean. You can find more about him here. We also have a healthy collection of his poems in various collections.

In the end, I decided to revisit “In Just”, a poem in celebration of spring. Admittedly, it’s not my favourite poem by the author, but definitely not deserving of the, ah, ‘critique’ it receives from the boy who liked deer.

Perks of Being a Wallflower Matched ee cummings ee cummings ee cummings

ee cummings

Books Recommended by Calgary Teens

by Courtney N - 0 Comment(s)

Teen volunteers on Crowfoot Library's Teen Advisory Group sent us mini book reviews of their top recommendations from Calgary Public Library.

InkheartLulu's Pick:

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Inkheart is an excellent book for teens interested in fantasy adventure novels. The storyline is great, with a few unexpected plot twists in the middle. The characters are very well-developed, and I especially like the character Dustfinger. Hope you will enjoy this book!

 

Gone with the WindMaya's Pick:

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

One of my favourite novels is Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. The story follows the southern belle Scarlett O’Hara through the American Civil War and her struggle to rebuild her life afterwards. It touches upon a myriad of ideas including: dreams, hardship, loss, change and personal strength. Scarlett is surrounded by many unforgettable characters such as the lovable mammy, frustrating Prissy, sweet Melanie, honourable Ashley, and, of course, the wild Rhett Butler.

DivergentLisa's Pick:

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I'm Lisa and one of my favourite books is called Divergent, written by Veronica Roth. This book is set in a dystopian society where people are divided into factions that fits a particular personality trait. It is a fast paced and exciting book. I particularly liked the main character because she represents the typical sixteen year old teenage girl, but she takes matter into her own hands and creates her own destiny. This makes her a relatable and interesting character to read about. I would definitely recommend this book.

Aya of Yop CityNicole's Pick:

Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet

Aya of Yop City is a series of six Franco-Belgian graphic novels, and is the second of the series. It is a novel that follows the lives of many different people living in Côte d'Ivoire during the 1970s. All of the characters are connected by the main character, Aya, as she assists and helps them through numerous issues. This book is a well-written graphic novel that is light-hearted, a great source of discussion, and reveals a lot about the culture Côte d'Ivoire during the 1970s. I definitely recommend this series as a whole.

A Child Called ItInsiyah's Pick:

A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer

This book is simply amazing. It tells a story about a child and his survival through child abuse. There are times in this book that can make you cry your eyes out or sometimes even get violent. It's very well written and told perfectly.The way the boy explains what's happening to him will just break your heart. This is a really good one time read and it truly opens your eyes against something that is still a very big problem in our society. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has a stomach for vicious and disturbing things.

5 Characters More Miserable Than You

by Christine A - 0 Comment(s)

Lately I've noticed that no matter how funny or fantastic my choice of book may be the main character always has a rough life. That's my favourite story really: boy (or girl!) from nowhere makes good. Who doesn't love a story about someone overcoming adversity? So in the following descriptions I've included an Adversity Check List, letting you know just how unhappy the protagonist is...

Doll Bones by Holly BlackDoll Bones by Holly Black

√ Poor
√ Abandoned by One or Both Parents
√ Physical Hardship

12-year-old Zach escapes into fantasy because he’s unhappy at home. His dad abandoned the family to pursue dreams of fame and fortune. Zach hadn’t seen him in years. Now he's back and thinks he’s going to tell Zach how to live his life. He doesn’t want a son who plays with dolls, so while Zach is at school he throws all Zach's action figures in the garbage. Zach is so upset by the loss of his fantasy characters he can’t talk about it, not even to his two best friends until they all start having nightmares about a creepy bone china doll. It tells them her human soul is imprisoned in the doll and that the friends must go on a quest to return her to her grave... or else! The trio decide they will go on a real life quest no matter what the danger or how far it leads them from home.


Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie RyanThe Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

√ Poor
√ Horror (Zombies!)
√ Orphaned by One or Both Parents
√ Unrequited or Thwarted Love
√ Physical Hardship

This book is Divergent meets The Walking Dead. The world as we know it ended seven generations ago when humans tried to conquer death. Our quest to live forever brought about an undead plague that destroyed our civilization. 16-year-old Mary, our heroine, lives in a tiny village in the heart of a vast, dark forest, surrounded by a chain link fence that keeps the “Unconsecrated” dead out and the living imprisoned inside. Her life is further circumscribed by her community’s archaic traditions enforced by the Sisterhood. The Sisterhood determines who you marry, where you can live, even how many children you can have. Things seem pretty bleak until one day a redheaded girl from the outside world appears at the gate. She’s immediately captured by the Sisterhood and despite Mary’s efforts to free her, the outsider disappears...

Far Far Away by Tom McNealFar Far Away by Tom McNeal

√ Poor
√ Persecuted
√ Orphaned by One or Both Parents
√ Unrequited or Thwarted Love
√ Physical Hardship
√ Horror

Mr. Johnson became a shut-in when his wife ran off with another man, leaving his shy son Jeremy to financially support them both. Jeremy has a special ability though--he can hear ghosts. One famous, ancient ghost becomes his surrogate father, encouraging him to study hard, get into university, and hopefully live happily ever after. When Jeremy falls for the local Amazon, Ginger, they play a little prank on the neighbourhood baker leading to Jeremy's ostracism by the townspeople and his capture by a serial killer.

Immortal Lycanthropes by Hal JohnsonImmortal Lycanthropes by Hal Johnson

√ Ugly
√ Persecuted
√ Friendless
√ Orphaned by One or Both Parents
√ Physical Hardship
√ Horror

A shameful fact about humanity is that some people can be so ugly that no one will be friends with them. It is shameful that humans can be so cruel, and it is shameful that humans can be so ugly. It would be easy to paint a sob story here, but I am trying to remain objective. So: Myron Horowitz, short, scrawny, and hideous, had no friends. From page 1 of Immortal Lycanthropes

As you’ve probably figured out, Myron gets bullied a lot but luckily it turns out Myron is an immortal lycanthrope. A lycanthrope is not a werewolf, but rather a were-mammal that can assume human form. This is an exciting and strangely hilarious story that actually ends all in one book—no waiting 5 years for the series to end!

Plain Kate by Erin BowPlain Kate by Erin Bow

√ Ugly
√ Poor
√ Persecuted
√ Friendless
√ Orphaned by One or Both Parents
√ Physical Hardship
√ Horror

Katarina Svetlana is an orphan with mismatched eyes, barely surviving in the eastern European village of Samilae. Despite her unfortunate circumstances, Plain Kate has an extraordinary skill: the ability to carve exquisite amulets which the villagers say will ward off evil and bring good luck. But once illness and hunger scourge the land, they start calling Plain Kate “witch-blade,” taking her artistry and unattractiveness as evidence she is a real witch that must be burned in the town square. After a neighbour tries to murder her with an axe, Kate gives the mysterious sorcerer Linay her shadow in exchange for her heart’s wish. This book was written by Canadian award-winning author Erin Bow.

The Skills to Pay the Bills

by Tomas - 0 Comment(s)

youth hiring fair

Looking for a summer job?

The City of Calgary Youth Employment Centre is hosting its 16th Annual Youth Hiring Fair on Tuesday, April 8th. Over 5,000 youth between the ages of 15-24 are expected to attend this event, representing a variety of skill and educational levels, and there will be more than 80 employers who are looking to hire YOU! The Centre has a great website, www.nextsteps.org, including videos with advice on what to expect, how to dress, and how to prepare for the fair.

If you can't make it to the hiring fair, don't worry! The library has lots of great resources to help you with your career:

  • Friday April 11th, join us for Summer Jobs: Opportunities and Options. The Youth Employment Centre will lead a discussion on summer job strategies, with special guests from Calaway Park, The City of Calgary Recreation Department and Canada Safeway.
  • On Saturday April 26, the Calgary Public Library hosts: Accelerate Your Career: Career Conversations, an event specifically for youth aged 13 and up, where you can meet one-on-one with a wide range of professionals.
  • Beyond this one-day event, the library offers group programs and one-on-one assistance in building resumes and cover letters, and Interview skills. take a look at all the offerings available here.
  • You can also find a lot of great resources through our E-library, including resume building, job searching and more.
  • If you're considering college or university, the Crowfoot Library is hosting a Post-Secondary Prep night on May 8th, where you can connect with representatives from Mount Royal University, SAIT, ACAD, Bow Valley College, and the U of C. It's rare to get them all in the same room so this is a great opportunity to check out your options!
  • Volunteering is another way to and to explore a variety of professional fields and to build skills and experience. Propellus (formerly Volunteer Calgary) has a number of great opportunities to explore. If you are in Grade 7 or higher, there are a lot of opportunities available at the Calgary Public Library. Check out Monique's post for some good links and tips.

Good luck!

Tabletop Day at CPL

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

tabletop day

You may not know this, but I have a deep and abiding love for tabletop strategy games. The addiction started years ago with Settlers of Catan, but has grown (and grown) to include so many other great games - immersive, hours-long games like Dominion, Talisman, and Hacienda; quick, humourous games like Poo, Zombie Dice, and Get Bit; beautiful meditative games like Tsuro - honestly, there's almost nothing I won't play.

Which is why I'm so happy to announce that we will once again be celebrating International Tabletop Day at Calgary Public Library! All ages are welcome and you don't need to register - just drop in and play something awesome.

You can join us at four locations on April 5th, from 12-4 pm:

  • Central Library (on the 2nd floor - that's where I'll be!) - 616 Macleod Trail SE
  • Forest Lawn Library - 4807 8th Avenue SE
  • Shawnessy Library - 333 Shawville Blvd. SE (South Fish Creek Complex)
  • Village Square Library - 2623 56th Street NE

And if you just can't wait that long, come to the Nose Hill Library (1530 Northmount Drive NW) for an early celebration on March 30th from 1-4 pm.

Neil Gaiman's Visit to Calgary

by Emily - 0 Comment(s)

At the end of February, Calgary had the great pleasure of getting a visit from one of our favourite authors, Neil Gaiman. While Neil was here he taught a master class for students in the English graduate program at the University of Calgary and also gave a reading, as the 2014 Distinguished Visiting Writer for the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program (CDWP), that was free for the public to attend.

I was lucky enough to get to attend the private reception for Neil before his reading and decided to conduct an eccentric interview with him, using post-it notes, for filling Station magazine where I volunteer.

I decided I should also get him to answer a post-it note question for the teen blog. If you're looking for some recent Neil Gaiman books to read check out Unnatural Creatures and The Silver Dream.

Image of Post it note with question and an answer by Neil Gaiman

Youth Read Remixed - Teen Art Contest

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

Remix the Youth Read mascot and you could win some great prizes!

Youth Read, our epic summer reading program for teens, starts in just 95 days (yes, I'm already counting down)! If you took part last year, you probably remember George the Unicorn:

george lifting weights george gift fiery george
i'm a treasure george reading george trophy

For this year's program, we want to give George a bit of a makeover, and that's where you come in. Just grab the .jpg template below (or click here for the photoshop file), and draw any new poses, costumes, or accessories you like. We want you to get creative, and as you can see from the examples above, it's ok to get a little weird...

The Rules:

  • We'll be awarding points for creativity and for how well your new version fits George's style
  • Digital or hand drawn art are fine; hand drawn art should be scanned, not photographed (visit your local library if you need a scanner)
  • Send your file as a .jpg, .png, or .psd
  • Enter as many times as you like
  • Send all entries to teenservices@calgarypubliclibrary.com by March 30, 2014.
  • Disclaimer: By entering this contest, you agree that you and your parent/guardian give consent for your work to be posted on the CPL website and used to promote Youth Read. Entries may be edited or altered as needed. You also agree that all work submitted, apart from the basic unicorn template, is your own original work.

The Prizes:

We have great YA books, artist prize packs, and gift cards up for grabs and no limit on the number of winners - anyone whose art we use will win.

plain george

Send all entries to teenservices@calgarypubliclibrary.com by March 30, 2014.

Youth SLAM!

by Emily - 3 Comment(s)

calgary spoken word festivalDo you have what it takes to belt your poems out on the mic? If so you should definitely sign up for Youth Slam, the Calgary Spoken Word Festival's event for teens under the age of 19. In order to compete you need to bring 3 poems, no longer than 3 minutes each. You may not get to perform them all, but bring them just in case you make it through all three rounds. You could have a chance to win the grand prize: $150!

Maybe you love poetry, but you're not quite sure that you're brave enough to read just yet. No worries! Why not come and be a part of the audience? Part of the poet's score is based on audience reaction, so make sure to come out and support your favourite poets!

Event Details:

Saturday, April 05 - 11:00 AM - Free

The Central Library – John Dutton Theatre – 616 Macleod Trail SE

Calling All Volunteers

by Monique - 0 Comment(s)

Need volunteer hours? Looking for somewhere to volunteer? Looking for something to boost your resume or school portfolio? We have the solution for you! Not only is it a rewarding feeling to know that you have helped someone learn something new, or improve on a skill, but it provides you with an opportunity to learn and grow as well. Gather a couple of friends and volunteer together; not only will you gain some valuable experience, you can have fun doing it.

If you are in grades 7 to 12, we have several great volunteering opportunities at any of our 18 branches: Computer Buddies, Cyber Seniors Connect, ESL Teen Talk, Reading Buddies, and Curious, the Library Mascot. Interested in volunteering at a specific branch? Check out our current opportunities. If you are looking for more information about volunteering at the library, check out our volunteer blog. If you are interested, fill out an application form online or drop by any of the eighteen branches to get an application form.

Our Freedom to Read Contest Winners

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

book locked upFreedom to Read Week is nearly over, and as a final note, we wanted to share the winning entries in our writing contest. We are always impressed with the creativity and insight shown by the students, and this year, the choice was just as difficult as always. In the end, we chose two essays and a poem that we hope will make you reflect on this freedom that we all too often take for granted. Without further ado, here are the winning entries:

Freedom by Emily G.

Freedom. Seven ordinary letters come together to form an extraordinary word. It is something many of us in North America take for granted, but many people in other countries around the world will go to tremendous lengths to obtain freedom. Take for example the story of 15-year-old, Malala Yousafzai and her struggle for education. Anyone will tell you that the foundation of education is literacy, and literacy comes from reading.

Reading is not limited just to books however. All sorts of media fall under this category. Newspapers in particular have always been a very influential form of expression, especially during the American Revolution. Newspapers offered a platform to share ideas about politics and military strategies, and they were also a way to rebel against the government itself.

During the Second World War, the freedom to read was often challenged. Any book written by a Jew of an enemy of the Nazis was burned publicly, biasedly filtering the content that children learned. In Canada today, we have an enormous number of choices when it comes to what to read: Chaucer, Tolstoy, Lewis, and Rowling to name a few popular authors, and an endless array of different genres as well. If our freedom to choose the books we read was limited, our perception would narrow along with our entire understanding of literature and the world.

Although it may seem unrelated, picture for a moment your plate at the supper table. Roast beef, potatoes with gravy, and a fresh garden salad. Each of these foods and their respective groups are vital to a balanced diet and a healthy body. Take away any of these and you’ll become moody and lethargic. The same is true with literature; take away the variety and you are left with an entire nation ignorant of the broad spectrum of learning and the immense pleasure of reading. Take away our freedom, and you injure our minds.

A New Chapter: A New World by Rachel H.

Every swish of a flipping page welcomes a fresh chapter of your life; a fresh chapter brimming with greater amounts of knowledge and a stronger understanding of the world around you than you had previously thought was obtainable. Literature is the word that plants the seeds of success and opens our eyes to the world, fostering a greater understanding of far away lands and cultures.

As stated in Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, “You will never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb inside his skin and walk around in it.” Literature provides the means to view the world through the eyes of the author and may provide information about other cultures which can build bonds between citizens around the globe. By allowing your mind to indulge in novels such as the Breadwinner Trilogy, you can truly comprehend the hardships endured by the citizens of war-torn countries. Instilling empathy into the citizens of the world by means of literature is the only way to establish peace among all of humanity.

Literature is the key that will open the door to world peace and understanding, yet governments and religious institutions around the globe still believe that it is appropriate to ban novels that are perceived to show political or cultural demerits. You must not hesitate to raise your voice against literacy bans because without the universal freedom to obtain any novel that we desire, how can we expect to truly understand each other and create worldwide harmony which will benefit us all?

Within Books by Jasmine Y.

Forward eleven years,
You might find a graveyard,
Burrowed in our mistakes,
Intense scientific nightmares,
Come adrift near our blackout,
Perhaps destiny has led us so,
But more-so, our questionable choices,
Slammed into a soulless shed.

Like the strong feet of the elephant,
Push into our selves,
Passive but stable,
There, concealed in our hearts,
Brave quotes that give life a boost,
Wise thoughts to shy away from doom.

As an infant,
So much stronger,
So fearless,
We march upon the bridge,
Connected to our inside world,
Only needing protection,
Against the outside world.

Without those creatures,
The parallel worlds of you and I,
The glorifying princes,
That await your arrival,
No doubt,
Would our minds be sucked,
Into an army of ten thousand men.

Can you feel my lungs?
Pounding with the liberation,
The colourful life we could give,
Planning a feast of words to the children,
Giving a stick to the frail,
Creating insight into another's mind,
And sharing our stories,
Woven into a thread of past.

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