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Snow White Redux

by Alexandra - 2 Comment(s)

Okay... so this whole Twisted Fairytales thing is totally blowing me away. I don't even know where to start! With TWO Snow White revamps coming up this year alone, not to mention that "Once upon a Time" TV show on ABC (yeah... it's about Snow White too...) I realized it was high-time to shed some light on this trend. Thus begins the first of a chain of blogs dedicated to unravelling, demystifying, and just plain gushing over the many adaptations of our fave classic stories.

I'll start with Snow White because that's what got this ball rolling... but FIRST! A little history:


When the Grimm Brothers first published their works in 1857, the young girl who WE know as Snow White was then known as Snow-Drop or Sneewittchen. And while I just called her a "young girl" you might be surprised to know exactly HOW young. In the original version, she is only SEVEN YEARS OLD. As time went on, I suppose people decided it was just too creepy for some random prince to come waltzing by a glass coffin, see a pretty, little [dead] seven-year-old, decide he's gonna kiss her, and then take her to his castle to be his bride. As with a lot of these stories, the disturbing and scary originals are continually adapted to fit current trends and inclinations. So! At one point the story said that Snow White was a kid when she "died" but kept aging in the coffin, so that by the time the prince got to her she was... 16... (still not great...), and eventually, people just decided that she was 16 when she went into the woods, 16 when she died, and then 16 when the prince woke her up. Check out all the sordid details about your fave Fairytales from this awesome E-resource available for FREE from the Calgary Public Library: World Folklore Today and Folklife

But now let's take a look at something a little more twisted:

Mirror Mirror

With an All-Star cast and GORGEOUS costuming, this rendition promises to be a fun flick about "the untold story" of Snow White, full of political intrigue, role-reversals (I believe Snow saves Prince Charming on several occasions...) and some light-hearted jibes at an aging Julia Roberts.

Mirror Mirror has a release date of March 16th of this year, but to tide you over, you can watch the trailer on IMDB here.


Snow White and the Huntsman

Unlike Mirror, Mirror, this redux of Snow White promises to be much darker, and much angstier. Ready to leave Bella Swan far behind her, Kristen Stewart takes on this new role with gusto. She is apparently doing her own stunts, and even if she's not doing them so well, it's much better than letting Edward and Jacob get all the action.

Snow White & The Huntsman will come out on June 1st, but if you follow the title link there are lots of video clips and images to placate you in the meantime!

Once Upon a Time is ABC's crack at the fairytale revamp. It modernizes some of our favourite childhood characters (although it must be noted that they use the Disney versions of most characters, not the original ones, as ABC is owned by Disney) and drops them into a small town in the states, where time is frozen and Snow White's daughter is the key to unlocking an evil curse. I've never seen it, but I've only heard good things.

And it's not just movies and TV shows, although if you want the full list of film adaptations available through CPL, we have a list pending. There are dozens and dozens of books featuring Snow that we have currently circulating in our collection. I've only put the highlights of the other collections and ALL the YA ones here, but feel free to come into ANY branch if you're looking for a specific version.

Picture/Storybooks in the Juvenile Collection:

Adult Spin Offs:

Young Adult and Graphix:

Non-Fiction

I made you a Mix

by Alexandra - 1 Comment(s)

I saw a tweet the other day from Penguin Books about "Literary Mixed Tapes" -- and I thought it was such a great idea. You make a playlist for a literary character... either as a character (What would I listen to if I was ______?) or for a literary character (If I was friends with/in love with/ had a hate-on for...) and then share it.

mixtape for edwardSo I'm going to make one. It's really a lot of fun. But before I do, I need to preface this with a little bit of information. You see, back in the day, getting a mixed tape from someone (yeah, a tape... like a cassette... like an 8-track... you need to look it up, cuz that technology was craaaazy), meant that they cared enough about you to spend a really long time making one. This was before drag-and-drop burn folders. You had to sit in front of a tape player with the song you wanted on one deck and the blank cassette in the other deck, and listen to the whole song the whole way through as it recorded. And if you messed up, you had to rewind both cassettes (which was a process in itself! Sometimes the tape would get tangled and you'd have to fix it by sticking a pencil eraser into the gear... it was a pain for sure) and then start all over again. And the ORDER of the songs was important too, because it was really annoying to try to skip from one song to another... you'd have to rewind and fast forward and you'd end up halfway through a song, and then go too far back, and then too far forward again... You'd also never know how much space you had left on the tape, so you'd keep checking and be like "ONE MORE SONG! I CAN FIT ONE MORE SO---" and then get completely cut off, and either have to deal with half a song or record a bunch of white noise over the end of the cassette... Let's just say CD's were a godsend.

At any rate. There really WAS an art to making mixed tapes. If you want to learn more about it, and read a really touching book in the process, check out "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"... which is being made into a movie later this year starring Percy Jackson and Hermione Granger and Elena from VD... well... you know what I mean.

I couldn't decide which YA Lit character to make a mix for, so I just picked a super popular one. Edward Cullen. This mix is toungue-in-cheek, with a little bit of humour, and a little bit of seriously-wake-up-and-smell-the-pancakes, Vamp... your life isn't that bad. Except for the last song... because ouch. It's too true.

So here we go. My Mix for Edward:

1) Sucks to be You -- Prozzak

2) If you want Blood -- AC/DC

3) My Bloody Valentine -- Good Charlotte

4) Bring me to Life -- Evanescence

5) Dying to live again -- Hedley

6) Addicted -- Simple Plan

7) The First Cut is the Deepest -- Cat Stevens

8) Somebody's Watching Me -- Rockwell

9) Children of the Grave -- Black Sabbath

10) Dude looks like a Lady -- Aerosmith


Feel like joining in? Post a song we missed for Edward in the comments section, or make your own and send it to: cplteenservices@gmail.com for a chance to have your guest mix posted!

Behind the Page

- 0 Comment(s)

Young Adult Movie PosterA new movie has come out from the makers of Juno, again looking at adolescence, again featuring adults in states of arrested development. “Young Adult” is unfortunately-and paradoxically- rated R, so intended for grownups who might relate to the challenges of growing up, which seems to become increasingly difficult as we age for some reason.

Charlize Theron's character, Mavis Gary, has not advanced since her glory days in high school. As a writer of teen romance novels, she is suddenly faced with an opportunity to return to her home town and attempt to relive these days-- with disastrous results.

The film reminded me of Gentlemen Broncos, a quirky follow up to Napoleon Dynamite, which features a home-schooled writing prodigy whose science fiction story is plagiarized by a celebrity fantasy author (Germaine from Flight of the Conchords).

These two movies are the latest in a line of films subversively setting up expectations of authors (Renee Zellweger as Beatrix Potter notwithstanding), portraying them as complicated, petty, mean spirited, fallible and completely human. Think of the tightly wound children’s author in Elf, or in another Will Ferrell vehicle, Emma Thompson’s darkly disturbed author in “Stranger than Fiction”, who is unknowingly narrating the real-life counterpart of her protagonist to his demise.

The gaping character flaws are usually played for comedic relief largely because they are counter to the conventional image of the writer, especially those writing children’s and teens fiction. After all, these are people who are supposed to have it all figured out, right? More often than not, I’d say they deserve more credit.

“No one suspects the children’s writer.” Says Mo Willems, who among many other writers of children's books, is included in the documentary Library of the Early Mind, an exploration of the art and impact of children’s literature on our kids, our culture, and ourselves. The film features nearly 40 prominent authors and illustrators talking about their work, its genesis and its impact, offering a surprising and deeply insightful look into the lives of writers, illustrators and the industry itself. We learn some surprising facts about some of our most beloved writers. For example, can you guess which author started writing books after a lengthy stint in jail for drug trafficking? Whose Orwellian childhood upbringing inspired a series of books that subversively challenged the infallibility of grown up characters?

What do you Really know about your favorite authors? Check out their biographies (we have tons! just ask), come to our information desks and check out our great reference books on authors, or try the database Something About The Author through the E-library. Let me know what you find!

Who Chooses What You Read?

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Freedom to Read

Freedom to Read Week is nearly upon us.

I think it's safe to say that most people here in Canada feel pretty confident that no one is trying to control the information they can access. I mean, we have Libraries, we have the Internet, we have Google, we have bookstores...if anything, we have too much information to deal with.

However! An abundance of information is not equivalent to equal access to information, or access to correct information, and it certainly dosn't stop people from trying to limit our access to information. There is no doubt that Canadians are among the information priviledged, so we should not stand idly by while other nations and people (sometimes in our backyard), cannot read or access the information they need.

This, our need to assert the right of all people to access information freely, is why we celebrate Freedom to Read Week! Everyone: Pick up a banned book and read it! Three cheers for the FREEDOM TO READ! Hip hip hooray!

If you can't imagine a world where the freedom to read is limited, I recommend you read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak or for something a little more fanciful try Matched by Ally Condie. The freedom to read what you want to and when you need to is incredibly important to our society's heath and well-being. If you disagree, consider recent events in Libya where the country was taken off the internet in the middle of a civil war. Or for something closer to home, look at this long list of books and magazines that were challenged here in Canada in 2011.

So, like I said, it is time to celebrate the freedom to read!!!

Announcing our annual Freedom to Read Contest: Who chooses what you read?

Here are the rules:

Express your thoughts on the freedom to read with words, film or graphic arts.

Choose one of the following methods:

Make a poster: draw, paint, or use photography and other graphic arts (8 ½ x 14” or 11 x 17”)

Write: a poem, short story, or essay (max. 300 words)

Create a film: (3 min. or less)

All content must be original, except for short, cited quotations.

Criteria:
1. Persuade an audience and support your point of view.
2. Use techniques of form effectively to engage an audience.

Contest is open to Calgary students in Grades 7 – 9. Include your name, school, grade, and telephone number with your entry. Enter by email: freedomtoread@calgarypubliclibrary.com AND upload to Teens Create; OR submit your hardcopy to any Calgary Public Library location. One entry per person. Entries must be received no later than midnight Wednesday February 15th 2011.

And of course...there will be prizes!

For the LOVE of Books...

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Okay so there are some books you AVOID reading with all you might BECAUSE you know you are going to love them and not be able to put them down and not being able to do anything until you've read every single offering the author has ever written. Right? Right, you know what I mean. Harry Potter is like that for me. YES! I confess I know it's sacrilege but I have never actually read Harry Potter precisely BECAUSE I know I would love it and have to read it along with all of Rowling's books and that would be like, 2 months of my life gone, POOF! just like that! I'm not saying that I wouldn't enjoy it... I just happen to have responsibilities, you know, a life, a cat, a job...

So Alex suggested and was surprised that I had never read a Tamora Pierce book.... and thought I would love them. I had the sneaking suspicion she was right. BUT, precisely because of that I've been avoiding them. She has like, what... 30 or MORE books out, right? Can you even do the math on the reading of that (in months)!!!

However, last week I happened upon a collection of SHORT stories by Tamora Pierce "Tortall and other lands: a collection of tales". I thought, "it's SHORT what can it hurt - I can just read one... maybe I'll like it, maybe I won't." Last night before going to sleep I started a paragraph of Student of Ostriches the first short story in the collection just to check it out and... I couldn't put it down! What an exciting, engrossing read! So... uh, I guess I'm in trouble now...

And then this morning* I came to the Library and, low and behold Alex had written a blog about Tamora Pierce! How weird (synchronistic) is that! See Alex's blog here. And check out what Tamora Pierce has in the works for us here. All the way to 2015!

*this blog was originally written on November 15th 2011.

So my New Year's resolution? To read at least one book I've been avoiding reading for a long time :0) - the rest of Tortall was just as good ;0)P

HAPPY READING!

I'll be home for Christmas...

by Alexandra - 1 Comment(s)

Everyone has a list of Christmas Classics that they work their way through every year. I only have three that I haven't yet watched in 2011 (both "Grinches" and "Home Alone")... but it's only Christmas Eve! I like to keep the magic going and watch a bunch of movies well into Boxing Day as well. "Love, Actually" and "The Holiday" are two that I've already seen six times this year, but that's 'cause they're good year-round, and I'm a perennial Christmas-in-July-er.

But when I was looking at my list, I realized that there's a pretty huge gap in the genre, and that movies geared towards teens just aren't factoring into the Hollywood Christmas equation. I find this strange, since Teen Choice is pretty much ruling the scene in every other facet of entertainment. At any rate, it seems like flicks go straight from sickly sweet Kid's movies to R-rated College movies, and there's no mid-range for Jr. High or High School. Maybe I'm wrong though. Maybe you can help me compile a list of the best of the best for Teen Christmas. It's going to be piecemeal, we're going to have to stitch it together bit by bit, but maybe that's what Teen Christmas is all about... holding on to what remains of your childhood, grasping on to what you want out of your future... and add a healthy dose of sarcasm and humour. Merry Christmas... and pardon my gifs.

There is one GLARING exception to that statement, which is, of course, the glaring exception to MOST things. It's Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. Part Christmas, part Halloween, part creepy, part adorable, mix some morbid, macabre, grossie bits with equal parts lovely, romantic, heartfelt bits, and you've got yourself an instant teen classic. It's not for kids (I wasn't allowed to watch it 'cause my mom new I'd get... nightmares...) and not for adults, unless they grew up with it (Movie Maniac Moe can't watch ANY Tim Burton movies because the animations freak her out). But teens hold up Jack Skellington as a paradigm of awesome; you can see his face plastered on everything from hoodies to watches... and poor Sally fits into our metaphor of a patched-together Christmas perfectly.

Mean Girls is NOT a Christmas movie, but it does have two of the greatest snapshots of School Christmas ever to be caught on film: 1) Candy Grams, the best-tasting, most bittersweet test of popularity to ever exist, and

2) The annual Talent Show/Christmas Pagaent/Winter Musical showcase of mediocre "dance skillz" by resident school hotties.

This is pretty much exactly what Jr. High was like for me, and if you haven't seen it yet, watch it, and tell me if it holds up to your school experience. I LOVE THIS MOVIE!

Ummmmmmmm Charlie is a kid in the first Santa Clause, and a graffiti-ing teen in the second... that counts, right? Teens love spraypaint, right?

There's a pretty excellent scene in the full-length Grinch where our green buddy tries shaving for the first time. That's a standard teen trope if ever I saw one!

Buddy the Elf's parents were High School sweethearts. And now I know I'm stretching this way too far. Also thanks to hawkeyefan31 for this gif. If you can't tell, I'm just learning how to make them, and they're pretty sad.

And of course, Christmas Classics aren't limited to movies. After all, what is Christmas without music. Here are some of my favourite Christmas tunes... I'm sure I'm missing plenty, so please send along your favourite playlist so I can add it to mine.

Top of the list is Sufujan Stevens Songs for Christmas. If you haven't already heard it, I'm really sorry Christmas is over and you'll have to wait until next year (because we all know Christmas music after the 26th is a taboo - right?). Songs for Christmas is a brilliant album where Stevens remixes a ton of Christmas classics, mostly religious, in his folksy, quirky way. He also throws in some great original compositions.

Next on my list is Hawksley Workman's First Snow of the Year which captures the joy you feel as a kid when you look out the window and shout 'It's snowing!!' and also, his great tune Merry Christmas (I Love You)

I just recently discovered The Bones of Winter by Said The Whale. This is a darker, more sombre tune that captures the desperate feeling we sometimes have around winter solstice when we know there are 3 more months without sun... it is a lovely song.

Similarly, Joni Mitchell's River is sad song capturing the desparation of loneliness... absolutely beautiful.

I love Fall Out Boy's cover of What's This? It's lots of fun.

And what is Christmas without Vince Guaraldi Trio's Christmas Time is Here ! I'm sure I don't need to tell you that this masterpiece is a Christmas staple and among the most popular Christmas tunes.

So there you have it. The best of the best we could come with with for Christmas and Teens. If you know of a teen movie or song that I'm missing out on, weigh in on the comments board. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas, and we'll see you on the other side.

***Stars, dust & magic***= Bleak, Bizarre & Beautiful continued...

by Adrienne - 4 Comment(s)

With holiday magic in the air, I thought I might get away with writing about some great fantastic (and magical books) without having a bunch of people vomit all over me... However, I also happen to know that a lot of you secretly and not-so-secretly love fantasy. And these are books with a twist.

As a teen, a friend introduced me to The Sandman by Neil Gaiman and although I had always shunned comic books, an instant romance was born. Gaiman is a mysterious magician weaving stories that are bizarre and strange, that usually leave you with more questions than answers. He also picks stunning illustrators to work alongside him. One of my favourites is Charles Vess. Vess' style could be best described as Art Nouveau meets 1930's comic book. Instructions, also by Gaiman, is a fairytale poem that might leave you rather quizzical and Stardust: Being a Romance in the Realm of Faerie, is pure indulgence! Go on fairy lovers, love it up! Of course you can always count on Gaiman to never follow the staight and narrow... There's DVD and Blu-Ray versions too. MirrorMask is a lovely, bizarre story that I reviewed earlier as an audiobook. It explores the intricacies and complications of mother/daughter relationships and I had the priviledged coincidence of listening to this in the car this summer while travelling back from Drumheller with my mother. Here's to unplanned synchronicity! MirrorMask is also a beautiful graphic novel illustrated by Dave McKean and a great video.

I discovered that Charles Vess has also illustrated some YA novels by one of my favourite Canadians (Saskachewanite to be precise), Charles DeLint! They're great! And short. In Seven Wild Sisters ginseng, bees and faeries mix! Featuring an Apple Man, an Old Aunt and Wild Hills, here's a short excerpt: "Most of her time was taken up with the basic tasks of eking out a living from her land and the forest... But you could buy your food instead of having to work so hard growing it.' 'Sure I could. But I've had to have me money to do that and to get the money, well, I'd have to work just as hard at something else, except it wouldn't necessarily be as pleasing to my soul.'... 'You find weeding a garden pleasing?', 'You should try it girl. You might be surprised.' " Medicine Road stars the Dillard twins Laurel and Bess (from Seven Wild Sisters) in a wild adventure in the Native Southwest. Check 'em out! Charles DeLint is also an artist, poet, folklorist & critic as well as playing in various bands -- he has just released a CD The Loon's Lament with his wife MaryAnn Harris and John Wood. It features cover art by Calgary's own Lisa Brawn!

The latest superstar to hit the scene earned his stripes working on animation for Toy Story! William Joyce has come up with the brilliant idea of re-working the characters of St. Nicholas, The Man in the Moon the E. Aster Bunnymund and others into "The Guardians of Childhood"; modern day super heroes inhabiting familiar, yet not-so-familiar folktales. These display some stunning SteamPunk style illustrations with a ton of adventure to boot. Maurice Sendak has said that The Man in the Moon is "a fabulous recapturing of an old, real fairy-tale world. Dark Mysterious. Stunning!" and Joyce's latest release Nicholas St. North and the battle of the Nightmare King has hit the shelves... just in time for the holidays.

And what fantasy suite is complete without a title such as The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle? “We are not always what we seem, and hardly ever what we dream.” The graphic novel adaped from Beagle's 1968 classic is lushly illustrated by Renea DeLiz and coloured by Ray Dillon. The library has just ordered Beagle's new book First Last Unicorn and other Beginnings. This includes letters, an unpublished novella about The Last Unicorn, interviews, correspondence and other snippets giving delightful insight into the creative process of this beloved master of fantasy. Over the holidays watch the DVD and Blu-Ray versions and then check our stacks in the New Year for the new book. Start the year off right!

Tolkien and Robin Hood Fans will appreciate Mouse Guard by David Petersen. Mouse life is treacherous and towns must be gaurded. Hence the formation of.. "The Mouse Guard"! Immerse yourself in a leaf-ridden, Ork-like medieval mouse's reverie (nightmare or dream?)! Mouse Guard vol. 01 Fall 1152 was critically acclaimed as best Indy Adventure Book of 2006 by Wizard Magazine and I can see why.

Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard vol. 01 also created by David Petersen. This album brings together 17 different comic artists - aka "mice", as they gather together at June Alley Inn to compete to clear their pub tabs by telling the most creative and fantastic stories (a fun nod to the classic "Canterbury Tales" by Chaucer!)

AND... I'm so excited I can barely contain it!!! Alex may geek out about being a Potter fan but I'm a total Lord of the Rings girl and.. Yes! they released an unexpected trailer for Peter Jackson's upcoming The Hobbit! .... Why can't it be next year already?!?!?!?

en...JOY!

Review: Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse

- 2 Comment(s)

Book CoverEverything You Need To Survive the Apocalypse is the first novel written by Lucas Klauss. The story is very extreme and out of this world, but I found myself relating to it. It’s a book about the everyday life, issues, and conflicts of a teenage boy--with a unique twist.

It starts off with the protagonist, Phillip, falling in love with a girl at first sight. He gets invited to go to church by this girl, Rebekah. He realizes that Rebekah is a very strong Christian believer and the only way to spend time with her is to go to church. To achieve this, Phillip has to go behind his father’s back who happens to be a strong atheist. Later he begins to question his reasons for getting involved in church.

I recommend this book for anyone who likes to reflect because it makes the readers question what is right and wrong. The novel has a lot of information, rules, and opinions about Christianity, so be sure you’re okay with that. Although there are many parts on Christianity in the book, there is also a relationship conflict with family and friends and the book can relate to many different readers. The protagonist understands that friendships can be broken just as fast as they are made, and that love is complicated and the best anyone can do is try. All in all, the book is great for pleasure reading and for critical thinking.

Reviewed by Harshini

Expected Publication Date: January 3, 2012

YAC (Youth Advisory Council), is a bunch of Calgary youth who volunteer to help shape teen services at CPL through sharing their ideas, time and talents. They have started reviewing ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) of books and we are pleased to publish them here. So...stay tuned for more reviews from YAC.

Coming of Age and Religion

by Jilliane - 2 Comment(s)

One of the reasons I love yalit is the coming of age theme that runs throughout it. Coming of age stories come in all shapes and sizes--naturally, because our lives have many different problems and concerns. At the core, coming of age stories are looking at identity and transitions. Transitions from childhood to adolescence to adulthood...and, well, I believe we are all transitioning all the time so coming of ages stories are relevant to all of us.

Although these stories can come across as melodramatic or angst-y at times, I think they are pretty awesome. Coming of age stories allow us to learn something about the human experience. They give readers the ability to play out different scenarios in their mind, to explore new ideas and to see how other people experience the world--and they are often very beautiful.

One of my favourite coming of age stories is Converting Kate. What I love about this book is the theme of religion--a rarely tackled topic in the coming of age genre. Transitioning to adulthood is a time of exploration when trying out new ideas and ideologies is like exercise for the mind--totally essential for your health. This book beautifuly illustrates this experience.

Book Cover

Converting Kate explores the effects of being raised in a strong religious tradition. 16-year-old Kate's world is rocked when her father passes away and she is torn from her home in Arizona. She and her fundamentalist mother move to Maine to help her Aunt run a bed and breakfast. Thrust into a new community and grieving her father, Kate, who has long been questioning her faith, begins to reveal her true feelings to her mother. Having been raised in the fictitious Church of the Holy Divine, Kate has followed a long list of commandments unwaveringly--only reading church-approved materials, always wearing a skirt, never going to the mall, fasting every Sunday and the list goes on and on and on. For the first time Kate refuses to go to church, igniting a lasting debate with her mother. Kate's inner conflict is illustrated through her narrative of sorting through her thoughts and feelings and pulling her own ideas away from the inner dialogue of her church. Kate emerges as a strong-willed, independent thinker and realizes that there is more to the world than her very censored, sheltered upbrining allowed her to explore.

It's a lovely depiction of the difficult and common experience of the faith crisis by debut author, Becky Weinheimer.

As I said, religion is a rarely tackled topic in the coming of age genre--have any good reads to suggest?

My world just turned... UPSIDEDOWN!

by Adrienne - 5 Comment(s)

What do we do when our world falls apart? Many of us turn to books and movies -- as a means of escape and coping -- but in addition to solace, books offer solutions and advice, empathy and new ways of thinking; and not just non-fiction. Much of the best new advice and ideas are fostered in fiction. Perhaps this is why dystopian novels are so popular. As a teen I read several books which definitely saved my butt. These include: "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion zimmer Bradley (this was a life changing book for me), "Girl Interrupted" by Susan Kaysen, Victor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning", "Sophie's World: a Novel on the History of Philosophy" by Josten Gardner, Huxley's "Brave New World" and others. I found it interesting to see that many of these titles are on our lists for Adult Books for Teens... Looking back I was probably going through a "midlife" existential crisis - at the tender age of sixteen! This, I realize, is not all that uncommon. As teens, our lives are tough. We are dealing many things, many crises, big and small (the zit on my nose! ahh! my parents' divorce ahhh!). And we are relatively new at coping, rarely having had to practice these skills because our parents or caregivers shield us from most of the struggles of childhood. Sometimes we are not new, as Sherman Alexie points out in an article on a recent visit to a Seattle alternative high school. "When I think of the poverty-stricken, sexually and physically abused, self-loathing Native American teenager that I was, I can only wish, immodestly, that I’d been given the opportunity to read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Or Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. Or Chris Lynch’s Inexcusable....And now I write books for teenagers because I vividly remember what it felt like to be a teen facing everyday and epic dangers. I don’t write to protect them. It’s far too late for that. I write to give them weapons—in the form of words and ideas—that will help them fight their monsters. I write in blood because I remember what it felt like to bleed."

Regardless, in addtion to being entertaining, books offer glimpses into other peoples' lives, hopes, dreams, problems, solutions and resolutions. Books, or rather stories, can make us resilient. I'm going to be bold and go so far as offering up books as lifesavers. Claiming their rightful place in the creation of a sane society. So I thought this would be a nice tie-in to Canadian author Steven Galloway's book "The Cellist of Sarajevo", for CPL's 'One Book One Calgary' intitiave (read it, it's good!). It explores the resiliency and power of the human spirit so I created a display called "My world just turned... UPSIDEDOWN!" which showcases some of these books. I've included some bizarre and strange Graphic Novels as I think stretching our imaginations is one of the best ways of envisioning new possibilites. They also provide delicious escape -- which it is essential to do many times in order to maintain one's mental health. So whatever you are dealing with (as I'm sure there's something, whether you are a teen or not..) here are some literary life jackets:

RAPE

SUICIDE/ ANXIETY/ DEPRESSION/ CUTTING

and FYI Cynthia Voigt is one of my new fave authors - check out some of her fantasy books too!

+ check out this ladies blog!! http://simpleeserene.com/

EATING DISORDERS

PREGNANCY

SEX

GIRL POWER / CENSORSHIP

GLBTQ

STREET KIDS/ SCHOOL SUSPENSION / FIGTHTING

DRUGS

... and one short tear jerker on the resiliency of the human heart...

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