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Win a Signed Copy of The Rithmatist!

by Carrie - 2 Comment(s)

Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson is an award-winning author renowned for the intricate and immersive worlds he creates, and for his highly detailed systems of magic. Recently, he has brought those talents to YA with the publication of his first teen novel, The Rithmatist.

Brandon kindly answered our questions AND sent us two signed copies of his book to give away! Leave your name and contact info in the comments to enter the draw (we won’t publish your details). The answers below were transcribed from audio recorded for this interview.

Q: This is your first teen novel, although you are well known for your adult science fiction and the Alcatraz series for middle grade readers. What motivated you to write for a YA audience?

A: I do read quite a bit of YA fiction. In fact, during the era when I was trying to break into publishing—the late 90s and early 2000s—a lot of the really exciting things in sci-fi and fantasy were happening in YA and middle grade. Garth Nix, J.K. Rowling, Diana Wynne Jones and others created some wonderfully imaginative writing during this time.

alcatraz versus the evil librariansI dipped my toes into middle grade with my Alcatraz series soon after I got published. I hadn’t written a YA before, but I wanted to—for the same reason I write epic fantasy: there are awesome things I can do in in epic fantasy that I can’t do in other genres. And there are awesome things I can do in teen fiction that I don’t feel I can get away with in the same way in adult fiction.

Science fiction and fantasy have a very fascinating connection with YA fiction. If you look at some of the series I loved as a youth—the Wheel of Time, Shannara, and the Eddings books, for example—these have enormous teen crossover. In fact, when you get to something like the Eddings books, you’ve got to wonder if they would’ve been shelved in the teen section in a later era.

Back up even further to the juveniles that were written by Heinlein and others, and we see that teen fiction has been an integral part of science fiction and fantasy. Some of the early fantasy writings—things like Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass and C.S. Lewis’s works—were foundational in how the fantasy genre came to be.

So YA feels like a very natural thing for me to be writing because I enjoy it and I respect what it has done for the genres.

way of kingsQ: I imagine this is a bit like asking a parent to pick a favourite child, but your projects have varied from standalone fantasy (Elantris, Warbreaker), to epic series set in intricate worlds (Mistborn), to novellas (Legion), to writing for children and teens (Alcatraz, The Rithmatist), to finishing Robert Jordan’s iconic Wheel of Time series – which of these projects did you find most difficult, and which was most rewarding?

A: When I’m done with one project, I want to do something very different to refresh myself. This is the reason I write such varied things. It keeps me excited as a writer because each project has its own measure of things that interest me and obstacles that challenge me.

The most difficult project was finishing the Wheel of Time. Stepping into someone else’s shoes—particularly someone I respected so much—and taking over a long-running series was a real challenge. Writing those books was the hardest thing I’ve done so far in my career.

The most rewarding project was the release of The Way of Kings. It was my pet project. I’d worked on it in one form or another basically since I was a teen. Finally being able to release that in its finished form was a very fulfilling experience as an artist.

Q: In The Rithmatist, the female protagonist, Melody, has been chosen as a Rithmatist, which is a great honour but also something that she really struggles with. I think that many youth feel this kind of pressure - to be special, or to excel at something that they didn’t necessarily choose - and then feel as though they aren’t measuring up. Was it a conscious decision to have Melody deal with that issue, or a natural extension of her character?

A: This part of Melody’s character was intentional. Being a square peg in a round hole and parental and societal expectations are things I think about a lot. Your teen years are when these things come crashing down around you. Often books have a character who is the chosen one, who is naturally gifted and talented, but what happens if you get chosen and whoever chose you was wrong, and you just aren’t any good at it? That was an interesting conflict that felt very real to life. When I figured out this aspect of Melody, she really came to life as a character.

Remember to leave your name and contact info in the comments for a chance to win a signed copy of The Rithmatist, and check back next week for the second part of this interview!

Ready...Set...READ!

by Carrie - 2 Comment(s)

youth read 2013Ready...Set...READ!


It's finally time to read - or draw - or write - or paint - or whatever, and win!

Youth Read is our online summer reading program for teens, ages 13 to 17. Take part this summer and you could win a piece of over $2,000 in prizes.

Here's how it works:

Every week we’ll post a series of challenges — all you have to do is complete one each week to be eligible for the grand prize draw. One will always be a reading challenge; the others will let you show off your creative side. Every challenge you complete gets you another entry in the weekly draws, and entries that are especially creative or amazing will be chosen by our judges for each week's Top Ten.

Prizes:

  • Grand prize: $250, $150, and $75 gift cards to Cadillac Fairview malls (Chinook & Market Mall)
  • Weekly prizes: Ten free books every week, plus $25 gift cards for the Top Ten and for the reading challenge!
  • Bonus prizes: one challenge every week comes with a sweet extra prize attached.
  • Special prize: Tell a friend and you could each win a $100 gift card! Registration continues all summer so keep telling your friends - and remind them to put your name when we ask where they found out about the program.

Ready to read and win?

register here

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!

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!

Prom Dress Extravaganza!

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

girl in dress

Grad will be here before you know it - will you be ready? It's your chance to make a splash and really show off your unique style. But - what can you do if you just can't find the right dress? Or maybe you found it, but the price tag had a few too many zeroes...

The answer, of course, is Prom Dress Extravaganza! It's a free program where you can find the pre-loved dress of your dreams and get great tips from our volunteer designers so you can make it your very own. If you already own a great dress that just needs a resize or an update, we can help with that too! Imagine strutting your stuff on the dance floor in a one-of-a-kind designer creation.

You do have to register but all you need is a library card to take part in one of these sweet events:

Saturday, March 2nd at Bowness Library
OR
Saturday, March 9th at Forest Lawn Library

1:00 - 3:30 p.m. Ages 15 to 18.


If your closet is already stuffed, we would be happy to take donations of gently used dresses at any library location!


photo by Katlin Lewis http://www.flickr.com/photos/chingchong/313118785/

A World Without Choices

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

freedom to read poster What would your world look like without the freedom to read?

I just read (and loved) Ally Condie's Matched, which could be a post all on its own, but one thing in particular struck me about the story. In Cassia's world, the powers that be decided that their culture was just too cluttered, so they chose 100 of everything and got rid of the rest - can you imagine? 100 poems, 100 books, 100 movies, 100 songs - to last you the rest of your life. Everything else is forbidden.

That's one vision of a world without the freedom of expression - what's yours? Tell us in words, images or video and you could win a great CPL prize pack and get published in next year's Freedom to Read Week kit. But hurry - the deadline is February 15th!

You can enter in one of three ways:

  • Make a poster (draw, paint or use photography and other graphic arts, 8½ 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 your own work, except for short, cited quotations. Contest is open to Calgary students in grades 7 to 9. Include your name, school, grade and telephone number with your entry.

To enter:
Send your project by e-mail to freedomtoread@calgarypubliclibrary.com OR submit a hardcopy to any Calgary Public Library location.

One entry per person.
Deadline for submissions is Friday, February 15, 2013

2013 Freedom to Read Week Contest!

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

 

Did you love The Hunger Games? Are you a fan of Harry Potter? Have you ever read a book by John Green, Neil Gaiman, or Lauren Myracle?

Would it surprise you to know that these books and authors, and many more, have been the targets of challenges meant to stop teens just like you from reading them? In fact, many of the 100 most challenged books of the last decade have been books for kids and teens - you can see the whole list here.

Every February Canadians celebrate Freedom to Read Week as a reminder of one of the fundamental freedoms set forth in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression - which includes reading and writing. We're lucky to live in a society that is mostly free from censorship, but even here in Canada we have to keep our eyes open. There are always people who want to "protect" teens by taking away books that offend them - like the ones I just mentioned:

hunger games coverharry potter coverlooking for alaska titlem is for magic coverttfn cover

But books are important, especially difficult, painful, possibly offensive books. As YA author Cheryl Rainfield says,

"Books saved me - realistic books that helped me know I wasn’t alone and fantasy that helped me escape. Books helped me survive the extreme abuse that was my childhood and teenhood. I know how important it is to know you’re not alone in your pain. That’s part of why I wrote Scars...I know what it’s like to have no one to turn to, nothing to help you hang on, except books. To have a book that might help anoth­er teen be kept from them—it seems wrong to me on a deep level."

It seems wrong to us, too. That's why we hold the Freedom to Read Week Contest every year. This year, the question is, "If you didn't have the freedom to choose what you read, what would that look like?"

You can enter in one of three ways:

  • Make a poster (draw, paint or use photography and other graphic arts, 8½ 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 your own work, except for short, cited quotations. Contest is open to Calgary students in grades 7 to 9. Include your name, school, grade and telephone number with your entry.

To enter:
Send your project by e-mail to
freedomtoread@calgarypubliclibrary.com
AND upload to Teens Create
(http://www.calgarypubliclibrary.com/teens/teens-create)

OR submit a hardcopy to any Calgary Public Library location.

One entry per person.
Deadline for submissions is Friday, February 15, 2013

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