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Read Across Canada — Saskatchewan

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

We've now made it to our next stop on our country wide road trip. We've made it into Saskatchewan, where rumour has it, you can see your dog running away from home for days. Saskatchewan, like Alberta has many great authors to celebrate, so, we've narrowed it down to 3.

Far from her farm roots near Regina, Melanie Schnell takes us to civil war-torn Sudan with her multiple award winning first novel, While the Sun is Above Us. Melanie lived and researched for this book in South Sudan for 7 months, and her dedication to her writing shows. Through powerful and emotional prose, Melanie gives us two intertwined characters, Adut and Sandra. These women, of vastly different circumstance, experience a violent local conflict that changes their lives forever. While Melanie has written for television and has had fiction, poetry and non-fiction published, While the Sun is Above Us is her first novel. It has been shortlisted for four Saskatchewan book awards, Book of the Year, Regina Book Award, Fiction Award and the First Book award. She is currently working on her second novel.

Alice Kuipers, currently living in Saskatoon, has written several YA novels, including her first award winner, Life on the Refrigerator Door . It has been published in 28 countries and was named as a New York Times best book for teens. Her second novel, The Worst Thing She Ever Did, has won an Arthur Ellise Award. Her most recent and third young adult novel, 40 Things I Want to Tell You was a 2013 CLA Young Adult Book Award Honour Book. She will also have a picture book, The Best-ever Bookworm Book by Violet and Victor Small, will be published in 2014. All of her works have been published in 29 countries.

In 40 Things I Want to Tell You, Alice’s main character Amy, a.k.a. Bird, writes an advice column for teens called Top Tips that I imagine she really wishes she had followed. Self-searching and filled with inner turmoil, Alice Kuipers’ latest book shares with readers much more than just 40 Things.

Arthur Slade was born in Moose Jaw, but currently lives in Saskatoon. He has written severl YA novels, including the novel Dust, which won the 2001 Govenor General's Award as well as the 2001 Saskatchewan Book Award. His most recent work is Island of Doom, which is the fourth and final book in The Hunchback Assignments. The other titles in this series include The Hunchback Assignments, The Dark Deeps, and Empire of Ruins.

In, Island of Doom, Modo, a shape shifting, masked spy is on a personal quest....to find his biological parents. Along with some characters from the previous novels, some good and some not so good, Modo and a fellow spy, Octavia, make a thrilling dash towards the conclusion of this series.

Points of Departure

by Tomas - 0 Comment(s)

Although stories often veer off into wildly imaginative terrains, they often set off from real life spaces. Whether peculiar, mundane or unexpected, these places are nonetheless imbued with potential and serve as important gateways into the constructed literary worlds. These places are created in collaboration between the imaginations of the writer and reader, but comparing this vision with the reality can also offer added insight. With this in mind, I thought I would try to track down some of these points of departure.

Cassiar ConnectorVancouver’s Cassiar Connector, which serves as the entrance way to the realm of the Half World, was pretty easy to locate, thanks to some rather specific instructions the antagonist, Mr. Glueskin, gives our heroine.

…”Where was I? Ahhh, yes. If you ever want to see your mummy again, and so on and so forth, leave the house immediately and proceed to the Cassiar Connector. Enter the tunnel that is farthest west. I really don’t know where you’ll end up if you go through the wrong Gate. So PAY ATTENTION!” he roared.

“West side,” Melanie sobbed.

“Good girl,” the vile voice soothed. “You’ll find there are numerous doors lining the inside wall. Go through Door Number Four! Get it? Door Four! Your prize-winning entry into Half-World!”

graveyard East Grinstead

Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book is inspired by an experience of a cemetery near his childhood home. As he recounts in the foreword to the book:

“The idea had been so simple, to tell the story of a boy raised in a graveyard, inspired by one image: my infant son, Michael – who was two, and is now twenty-five, the age I was then, and is now taller than I am – on his tricycle, pedaling through the graveyard across the road in the sunshine, past the grave I once thought had belonged to a witch.”


Kings Cross Station

London's Kings Cross Station became one of the most famous rail terminals in the world after Harry Potter used it as the starting point of his journey to Hogwarts. It is now a tourist destination for countless Potter fans who continue to flock there in search of platform 9 ¾. In honour of the literary homage, a luggage cart was installed halfway through the wall. However, as intrepid fans have noted, the platform isn’t quite in the same place as mentioned in the books. Rowling admits her memory was a bit foggy on this detail, and had based it on another nearby station.

Forest Park

The Impassable Wilderness, otherwise known as Forest Park in Portland Oregon, is the world that Prue has to enter in order to rescue her baby brother, along with many other quests and adventures in Wildwood.

As long as Prue could remember, every map she had ever seen of Portland and the surrounding countryside had been blotted with a large, green patch in the centre, stretching like a growth of moss from the northwest corner to the southwest, and labeled with the mysterious initials "I.W."

Even in real life, the forest lives up to its literary moniker, leaving so much to the imagination.

Half WorldGraveyard BookHarry Potter and the Deathly HallowsWildwood

Read Across Canada: Alberta

by Patricia - 1 Comment(s)

Time to continue on our cross-country road trip!!! Get out the chips and pop, and keep the donuts coming.

We've made it over the Rockies to the prairies: beautiful skies as far as the eye can see, wheat fields stretching on and on and on... What DO Albertans do on those long winter nights? Apparently write, because there are lots of great authors in this province. But I've had to narrow it down to just three:

Monica Hughes wasn't born in Canada, but we're proud to have lured her in. After doing things like, oh, CRACKING CODES during WW II, she ended up living in good ol' Alberta. Although she was almost fifty when her first book was published, she ended up writing over 35 books and became known as one of Canada's best writers of science fiction for children and young adults.

Invitation to the Game is a dystopian novel set on Earth in the year 2154. Lisse and her friends struggle to survive until they are chosen to partipate in 'the Game', a virtual reality surival experience which leaves them unsure of the line between real life and fantasy. The Story Box is set on the island of Ariban, where imagination is forbidden. Then Colin discovers a young woman from a different land, who holds a beautiful chest in her hands she calls 'the story box'. And in her last book, The Maze, Andrea and two of her 'girl gang' tormentors are magically placed in a maze, where they all depend on Andrea for rescue.

But The Isis Trilogy is maybe her most well known work. In The Keeper of the Isis Light, Olwen Pendennis lives on the planet Isis, with Guardian as her only companion after her settler parents die. When colonists from an overpopulated and polluted Earth come to live in the valleys, Olwen fears her world will be changed forever. The Guardian of Isis takes place decades later, after the settlers have replaced their technological knowledge with myth. When a natural disaster threatens the colony, the overly-curious Jody N'Kumo goes searching for the truth. And finally, in The Isis Pedlar, Moira's father Michael Joseph Flynn brings great new stuff to Isis, like his magic firestone, delicious ambrosia, and mysterious Forever Machine. Only Moira knows what a charlatan he really is, and it's up to her to expose him before it's too late!

David A. Poulsen has been a broadcaster, teacher, football coach, actor, and of course, writer. But his coolest and most Albertan activity is - rodeo announcer! Last year, when he wasn't at rodeos, he was busy being Writer in Residence at the Chinook Arch Library System in southern Alberta.

David Poulsen's first work was the award winning short story The Welcomin’. He's written twenty books since. You could check out Last Sam's Cage, in which Eddie runs away from his abusive stepfather to live at the Calgary zoo. He's also written lots of 'jock' stories, like Wild Thing, Blind Date, and Cowboy Cool, set (mostly) in Lawrence 'Jock Joint' High . And in Numbers, misfit Andy Crocket finds out his cool Social teacher Mr. Retzlaff is giving his class a skewed look at history, especially WW II.

His latest, Old Man, is about a road trip (ha! see how that ties in?) involving 16- year-old Casey and his 'old man' - NEVER 'dad', since he left when Casey was five. Casey has plans for the summer: get fit, get some money, and get the girl. But when the 'old man' calls unexpectedly, he's forced into giving up all his plans, to go who knows where, for who knows what reason, with this dude that he doesn't know at all. Not to give anything away, but they end up in Vietnam, hoofing it through the jungle. Casey has an ironic sense of humour which makes his first-person account really enjoyable.

Martine Leavitt was born in Alberta, went to the University of Calgary, and raised her seven children (whew!) here. She still lives here when she's not working a the University of Vermont. She writes contemporary and fantasy novels.

You'll find her first three novels, Dragon's Tapestry, Prism Moon, and The Taker's Key - aka the Marmawell Trilogy - under the name of her 'alter ego', Martine Bates. Many of her books are award winners, like Keturah and Lord Death, Tom Finder - which is set in Calgary - and Heck Superhero.

My book of life by Angel is her latest book. There are a few reasons why it's of special interest. First, it's a 'novel in verse'. If that worries you, don't let it. It's a quick read, but the story and writing are still amazing. And you think 'poems' are all about daffodils and kittens? Think again! This one is about a 16-year-old drug-addicted prostitute living with her pimp, 'Call', in downtown Vancouver (yes, we've gone back over the Rockies, but it's all still Canada, right?) When Call brings home a 13-year-old girl, Angel knows she has to do something to get her out of there, especially since there are rumours of a serial killer preying on the 'girls.' This story tells it like it is, without any preachy 'after school special' moments. The Canadian Library Association just named this their winner for the Young Adult Book Award for 2013!

Well, that should give you lots of stuff to read, when you're not checking out the Badlands or hitting the Stampede. Next stop - Saskatchewan!

Book cover Book cover Book cover Book cover Book cover Book cover Book cover

Read Across Canada — B.C.

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

OK, we all know Canadians have a lot to be proud about - great actors and musicians, beautiful natural spaces, and of course, our ability to survive even the coldest of Canadian winters. We also have a ton of super talented Canadian authors! The snow is melting now and if you're already dreaming of (or dreading) your summer vacation, come along on our virtual reading road trip - this week, we're starting off in B.C.

susin nielsenSusin Nielsen lives in Vancouver and used to write scripts for TV shows including Degrassi High. These days, she writes funny, realistic novels with characters you'll wish you knew in real life!

In Word Nerd, Ambrose is being homeschooled after a near-fatal run in with bullies, and he is B-O-R-E-D. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with Cosmo, his landlord's ex-con son, and they bond over the strangest of things - competitive Scrabble.dear george clooney book cover

Dear George Clooney, Please Marry my Mom - that's what Violet decides is the only answer after her father trades in his life for a seemingly better one and leaves her mom behind. Violet is disgusted when her mom starts dating the terribly named Dudley Wiener, the latest in a long line of awful relationships, and decides it's time to take matters into her own hands.

Henry K. Larsen is only writing this journal because his therapist says he has reluctant journal book coverto. He's seeing a therapist because something terrible has happened to his family, and they have moved to a new town to start fresh. Despite the tragedy, Henry's story is full of humour and hope, and you'll wish you could reach into this book and give him a hug. Also of note - this book just won the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award!

hunt of the unicorn cover

author cc humphreysAuthor, actor, and swordsman (yes, swordsman!) C.C. Humphreys lives on Salt Spring Island, B.C., and has written a swashbuckling YA novel called The Hunt of the Unicorn. Elayne's family tells stories about stepping through a tapestry into a world of mythical creatures, stories that she has always loved. Stories that could never happen in the real world, in modern day New York, where she lives. Until one day, she visits The Cloisters, a medieval art museum in New York, and sees her own initials woven into an ancient tapestry. Then she hears the unicorn calling her - and falls into the world her family always warned her about.

I could go on, of course, but I think that's enough for one excursion - next stop: Alberta!

CLA Award Winners!!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

My Book of Life by Angel, What Happened to Ivy, and 40 Things I Want to Tell You. What do these three books have in common? They are all awesome, all deal with tough, tough things and all are winners or honour books for the 2013 Canadian Library Association's Young Adult Book Award!

My Book of Life by Angel, by local author Martine Leavitt, takes the cake (aka is the winner). Angel, a teen prostitute in love with her pimp Call, decides to keep a diary when her friend becomes one of the many girls who are mysteriously going "missing" (being murdered), however when 11 year old Melli shows up she realizes she has to do more than that, preserving what innocence a dark and hardened teen can have. My Book of Life by Angel is also a verse novel so it's appropriate that this award was annouced during International Poetry Month!

In 40 Things I Want to Tell You, by Alice Kuipers, Amy has it all - great parents, a sexy boyfriend, and an amazing best friend. In fact, she's so together that she writes an online advice column to help other teens. This all changes when Pete enters her life. He is exactly the opposite of Amy, yet she is drawn to him, and it might just be that losing control of one thing could make her lose everything.

Kathy Stinson offers a summer seaside workshop for kids and teens, and also wrote What Happened to Ivy. David's sister, Ivy, was born with multiple serious disabilities, and she needs constant attention, usually from him. He loves Ivy, but sometimes he hates that she always seems to be the center of his parents attention, and that his parents only see him as her helper. That changes when girl-next-door Hannah enters his life; she makes him feel special. Then Ivy has an accident, and suddenly everything is different. David must confront his feelings of guilt and wrestle with the idea of forgivenss as he struggles with the questions surrounding Ivy's death.

All of the finalists are excellent books by great Canadian authors so be sure to check out the rest of the short list:

cover of the callingcover of bright's lightcover of yesterdaycover of henry k. larsencover of such wicked intentcover of the last song

So you have some difficult Questions? Who you gonna call?

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

 

You know those questions you don't want to ask ANYbody? Or you talk about all the time but your friends seem useless at? Yeah those questions... Sometimes it's much easier not to .. or to browse the Internet or..., well we have just added some Teen Health & Wellness Links to our TeenZone page precisely for that reason! Plus we have a great book list. Warning= Scroll down on the page to see them! We also have more - lists on particular subjects such as Death & Disease, My Body, GLBTQ, Disabilities & Disorders under our INTENSE Booklists tab. Last year I wrote a blog called My Life Just Turned Upside Down that has some great book suggestions in it as well! To access the page normally click on our Teens page. There are health & wellness and a jobs & career links tabs which both get you to the same place. Or - you can access them through the Information tab under our Booklists on the top left hand side of the Teens page.

Here is a list of what's on the page and how it might be helpful. I encourage you to check out the pages - lots of them have interactive elements like live chat, places to submit your own art and writing and to take quizzes/ games at. Some feature videos, clubs, and courses you can take as well.

kids help phone logo

Kid’s Help Phone

24 hour Confidential counselling, information and referral for youth up to age 18.

By phone or On-line Chat. Legal Advice.

Website has some great mini pages on Bullying, Dating, Finding a place to live etc.

connecteen logo Connect Teen (Calgary Distress Centre)

24hr Counselling & Emergency Service.

Chat on-line or on the phone.

Connect Teen also offers a Youth Blog.

maple leaf

Just for You

Youth Health Information (Government of Canada):

A comprehensive information source for teen health.

calgary sexual health centre logo

Calgary Sexual Health Centre

Offers teens information about birth control, safe sex, STD’s, relationships and coming out.

calgary outlink logo

Calgary Outlink

The Inside Out Youth Group is a fun, Calgary, casual, peer and social group for GLBTQ youth. The group is a safe and welcoming place for all. Group facilitators are trained volunteer youth peer support and adult support.

mental health logo

Canadian Mental Association - Got a Brain?

Education around mental health and positive ways of managing it. Includes resources about stress, suicide, eating disorders and teen depression.

Submit your story, play on-line games.

between friends logo

The Calgary Between Friends Club

Fun and fellowship for disabled youth!

ldaa

Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta-Calgary Chapter

Support for teenagers with learning disabilities.

Programs, services, on-line library.

Perspectives = On-line magazine.

street survival guide cover

Street Guide for Calgary Youth

Names and addresses of dozens of organizations to help youth living on the streets and with general

 

Looking for a job, house or career advice (yes we are aware that teens need this type of advice on occasion) our Jobs and Careers links can help as well as this great booklist!

WE HOPE THIS HELPS!!

Explore other dimensions of your favorite Sci-Fi characters

by Tomas - 1 Comment(s)

Dr. Who reading

Fiction has always been a vital part of the Sci-Fi equation, and literature regularly figures into the plots of classic and contemporary TV series. Think of Mark Twain's visits to the Star Trek Universe, Data's obsession with Sherlock Holmes, or The Doctor's interest in pulp fiction (no spoilers here, check out the Angels Take Manhattan finale in the 7th season... coming to the library soon!).

Nathan Fillion - Kids Need to ReadSome of the crossovers aren't as conventional, and extend into the lives of the actors themselves. Looking at the line up for the upcoming 2013 Comic Expo, I came across an interesting tidbit about Nathan "Mal" Fillion. In addition to his work on Firefly, and later shows like Castle and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, this former Edmontonian is co-founder of Kids Need to Read, a non-profit organization which aspires to provide underfunded libraries with more books!

Another Expo guest, comic legend Stan Lee, recently formed the Stan Lee Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting literacy, cultural awareness and artistic diversity throughout the arts (as if his 50+ years of output through Marvel Comics didn't already provide enough encouragement...)

Across the pond, the BBC has launched a series of storytelling segments by some of the U.K.'s biggest celebrities, including -naturally - cast members from Dr. Who, such as John Barrowman (also a guest of the Expo). Come on, who hasn't wanted a bedtime story told by The Master, or Captain Jack (???)

Geordi and DataAnd then, there's Levar Burton: As a long time fan of his run on Reading Rainbow, as well as his turn as Chief Engineer Geordi Laforge on Star Trek: TNG, nothing could prepare my 15 year-old self for the mind bending moment when the two shows / universes paradoxically combined in one glorious episode!

Mind bending in an entirely different way is Leonard Nimoy's, ah, unique rendition of Tolkien's The Hobbit. Much more concise than Peter Jackson's take, but just as exhilarating an experience!

Students of Verse (psst! April is International Poetry Month!)

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Psst! April is International Poetry month. Now that you know you can get busy: writing poetry and submitting it to our TeensCreate Page, participating in the Youth Slam at the Calgary International Spoken Word Festival, coming to one of the poetry events the library is hosting in April, reading our previous poetry blogs, checking out the hottest YA verse novels And... looking forward to our upcoming WORDLE contest where you could win some swag!

Here are some titles I would definitely recommend (btw you can read a verse novel in an hour!). Sisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill is a great and funny book involving many sisterly pranks conspiring around avoiding an arranged marriage, finding love and making glass in Venice (Murano) in the 1500s!

Fishtailing by Wendy Phillips details the intertwining lives of four high school students.

God Went To Beauty School by Cynthia Rylant is a humorous take on what would happen if God decided to be human.

Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay: "My wish / is to fall / cranium over Converse / in dizzy daydream-worthy / LOVE. / (If only it were that easy.)"

Students of verse may also be interested in poetry written by what very well may be your high school teacher, that is if you go to school in YYC! Lessons in Falling by T. B. Perry includes things you may and may Not want to know about how your teachers think about you. Ever been bullied by a photocopier? T. B. Perry has, but he was also a Poet Laureate Nominee by Calgary Arts Development in 2012. So life's not all bad right?

And I can't forget my favourite verse novel to date, due to its multi-layered complexity and beautiful imagery: Psyche in a Dress by Francesca Lia Block is about the effects a father and mother can have on your love life - maybe? I admit I'd have to read a few more times to fully decipher the meaning (but of course that's why I like it... ;0).

Autobiography of a Graphic Novel

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

What is the next generation of Graphic Novels? In addition to Manga and Anime, beautiful art novels, true life to high school tales, classic remakes, & your standard super hero sagas, I have noticed a fair number of interesting biographies gracing the stacks lately.

Steve Jobs died last year and shortly afterwards (in addition to the proliferation of blog posts, newspaper articles, and books), a graphic novel biography of his life: Steve Jobs : genius by design, appeared on our shelves.

The Dalai Lama visited Calgary at the Saddledome two years ago, providing a unique contrast to my experience of this concert space (I went to a John Mayer concert there shortly afterwards). There are films and books about his life in addition to his own books, and now... a graphic novel version, in Manga no less! Check out The 14th Dalai Lama : a manga biography.

You might be aware of the Famous Five because of the statue gracing Olympic plaza, but did you know that Nellie McClung was Calgarian and you can visit her house as a historic site, at 803 - 15 Avenue SW? (No I'm not a history expert...I used to live just down the block so that's how I know.); and now... there's a graphic novel version of her life! Hyena in petticoats : the story of suffragette Nellie McClung

Speaking of Calgarians, local author James Davidge has written and published a graphic novel rendition of local Ranch legend John Ware "The Duchess Ranch of Old John Ware", full of subtle poetics and beautiful illustrations by Bob Prodor. I had the pleasure of attending James Davidge's most recent book release at Shelf Life books just this fall...

See a trend? Well Houdini breaks it... sort of, he was always good at breaking out of boxes, that is as Houdini : the handcuff king. We do have a great graphic novel version of his life, however I have no personal anecdote to embellish it with, just a high level of endorsement for the fascination he inspires...


In terms of actual autobiographies, there are some great ones I would recommend about high school kids telling their own stories; Persepolis, Escape from "Special", and A Game for Swallows.

And for fans, yes we do have Stephenie Meyer and Justin Bieber biographies... in graphic novel form. So go ahead, have some fun, be inspired and brush up on your people's history!

International Tabletop Day at CPL!

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

tabletop day logo

If you're a geek or a gamer you've probably already heard that March 30th is International Tabletop Day, created by geek legends Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton to encourage us all to play more games (and to celebrate the anniversary of their online show TableTop). It's a day to unplug from your console and explore the wide world of tabletop games. Today's fantastic strategy games really make you use your brain, and what better place to do that than your local library? Calgary Public Library will be hosting three events this Saturday to celebrate:

Central Library, 2nd floor, 10:30 am to 4 pm

Forest Lawn Library, 12 pm to 4 pm

Glenmore Square Library, 10:30 am to 4 pm

These are all-ages events and everyone is welcome! Bring your own favourite game or play one of our selections, ranging from Settlers of Catan to Carcassonne to Poo (yes, we have a game called Poo - try it out at Glenmore Square). You don't need to register, just stop by one of these three locations, join a game, and have fun!

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