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Great Graphix for 2014—Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful continued

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

It may be a bit early to think of this year's Comic Con coming up in April however Camilla d'Errico's 2nd volume of Tanpopo is just hitting the stacks sooo... I thought it might be appropriate to highlight some great new and old additions to the fabulous Teen Graphix collection we have. Tanpopo is a 3 volume story of a girl raised by a machine-driven mind prison, who frees herself and goes on a journey of emotional and intellectual self discovery guided by a "boy" who is either a devil or trickster character or both. D'Erricco uses text from Goethe's "Faust"(and it is a Faustian journey that Tanpopo embarks on!!), Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio by Liaozhai Zhiyi.

Goethe started writing Faust when he was 19 and finished it a week before his death - how's that for the work of your life? Camilla uses the text and re-contextualizes it to create her own poetic story, complete with her sparse but beautiful comic illustrations all rendered with a fine point acrylic brush. Hailing from Vancouver d'Erricco has also published a YA graphic novel called Burn and several books of her art. One of which I just happened to get hand autographed with a drawing of her own when I met her at last year's Comic Con. (I'm sure she'll do the same for you if you go this year, nudge, nudge), she is, generous like that, and cool; hence me being so excited about her latest release. Did I mention that she snowboards and makes her art into designs for cell phone skins, laptops, snowboards, dresses, leggings, chairs, wallets, make-up cases and toys for the likes of Haysbor, Disney, Tokyopop, Neil Gaiman and the ilk. Her HelmetHeads paintings have a sweet pop sensibility to them. She's even published a book about how to emulate the same in your own comics. This could perhaps... hint, hint... be used as an inspiration to submit a comic of your own to our TeensCreate page, just sayin'....

Speaking of literary pop sensibilities; did you know that Frank L. Baum actually wrote not just 1 but 11 OZ novels? And not all starting in Kansas... Eric Shanower and artist Skottie Young have turned them into a series of great graphic novels for your eyes to enjoy. I think perhaps in an alternate universe D'Erricco's Tanpopo and Skottie Young's Dorothy and Ozma could all be sisters. The wonders of OZ never cease ;p

To conclude our brief but delectable journey, a great version of Faust has just been republished and acquired here at CPL. The illustrations by Harry Clarke hail from the Art Nouveau era (think Aubrey Beardsley) creating a visual feast that rivals the Steampunky details of d'Errico's HelmetHeads. So if you like Tanpopo you just might enjoy. Happy Reading!

 

Steampunk H.G. Wells, Wollstonecraft and Poe? Yes please!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Not had enough of things that creep in the dark post-Halloween? Ready to start designing next year's costume? Zdenko Basic's New Steampunk Series puts the ghostliness into the steam. It includes Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, and Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, amongst others.

Each book features a SHORT insightful introduction which gives some interesting tidbits about each author's life as well as some historical context. Lushly illustrated with which creep their mood from mechanical to ghostly to gory, there's plenty here to fuel the steam engine of your imagination. Especially if you are a Steampunk fan. And if you've never heard of Steampunk before but like horror and gore this might just turn your crank enough to start dreaming of making Next year's Halloween costume involve gears, lace and, rivets.

I'm sure you can imagine and design your own steampunk characters or dress up your favourite YA Hero/Heroine. What would a Steampunk Katniss or Harry wear???

Soooooo... design a costume and photograph yourself or draw your favourite YA character Steampunk style and submit these to our TeensCreate page! These books may help: Steampunk Fashion & How To Draw Steampunk. For further inspiration check out CPL's great and growing Steampunk Collection. Then continue the adventure by reading Kady Cross's Steampunk Chronicle's trilogy starting with The Girl in The Steel Corset, (which includes many descriptions of awesome Steampunk outfits...) and finish with Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey. May your engines be well oiled!

Fall into Graphics - Bleak Bizarre & Beautiful continued...

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

For the purposes of this post let's expand "Graphic Novels" to include books that have Great Graphics in them, and are a cabinet of curiosities in and of themselves! Admittedly, these are not technically graphic novels, but are still well worth it!

Let's start with The Curiosities, a collection of stories compiled for the most part from a blog started by 3 YA all-stars: Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton & Brenna Yovanoff. Its purpose is to challenge the authors with weekly writing exercises outside of their current novels in progress; this great collection of short stories includes many drawings and, fun, hand-written notes by fellow authors commenting (often sarcastically), on the writing of their peers.

Highlights include..... A diagram of Brenna's brain, 5 signs of a Maggie story (angst, cars, sarcasm, kissing, geniuses), drawings of each of their respective work spaces; (Yovanoff's includes just a ghost, a chair and, a monster coffee mug...), and comparative charts of their average story lengths (Tessa's being a ladder to the sky that never ends); complete with snide comments on the side. ;0)-

And if you're squeamish... this book is not quite as creepy as the original Cabinet of Curiosities. Trust me...

Venturing into fairyland; Wish by Beth Bracken & Kay Fraser includes sumptuously illustrated pages in full colour making you feel like you are reading through someone's fancy fairy journal.

Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman, features black & white engravings by master carver John Lawrence, as well as photos of newspaper clippings and bills giving it an old time, 1800's, steampunky feel. This short book gives you some unknown background into the characters featured in Pullman's His Dark Materials Series (The Golden Compass).

Unnatural Creatures is a great new book of short stories out by Neil Gaiman dealing with curious creatures such as griffins, sunbirds and werewolves. Titles include such curiosities such as "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees" & "Ozioma The Wicked".

And speaking of Mr. Gaiman... Guess who's coming to town on February 24th to speak for the Calgary Distinguished Writer's Program?..??? for FREE! Yes, that's right folks - get your (Free!) tickets on-line on October 24th at 12 noon sharp to make sure you don't miss out!

Mr. Gaiman recently presented a speech about the importance of imagination and science fiction to our culture. Check it out here! And remember to enter our All Hallow's Read contest for a chance to win one of his books, plus another scary title to give away.

Based on the acclaimed animated film Amaqqut nunaat = The Country of Wolves is a centuries old Inuit folktale that is beautifully retold by Neil Christopher and hauntingly illustrated by Ramon Perez.

Being so close to Halloween I would feel somewhat amiss if I failed to mention that we also have 2 brand NEW Graphic novels versions of two of Edgar Allen Poe's classics; The Pit and The Pendulum, & The Tell-Tale Heart . Happy Hallowed Reading!

nevermore

Word! It's Never too late for a Poetry Contest!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

You may be asking what exactly is a Wordle? Well.. it's a collection of words arranged in a visual way to make a concrete poem. Okay, okay what is a concrete poem? It's a visual poem = words arranged in a visual way to have an effect = a unique hybrid of both art and poetry. As you can see on the left I was inspired by our recent deluge of rain. Local poet derek beaulieu is a master at it! (& in case you hadn't noticed I've also included some Wordle examples) So... we are inviting you to get busy with a graphix program and design your own Wordle and submit it to our Teens Create page to win! The prize you may ask? A fabulous journal - what every poet and artist is always wanting more of... deadline is June 5th (aka get this in before Youth Read starts! - we know you'll be busy with all the other amazing challenges then - P.S. did you know you can Pre-Register for Youth Read?) Chop! Chop! Don't forget to also submit your name and contact ph#/email in the comments as well as submitting your Wordle on the Teens Create page (and don't worry we will NOT publish your contact info). And if you are at a loss as to how to use Photoshop or Illustrator to do this you may want to take advantage of our Free Ed2Go online instructor-led courses! May the best WORD-le win!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!!

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!

Celebrate Your Freedom with Us!!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Freedom to Read week starts today! Check out the Freedom To Read Website for ideas on how you can revel between February 24th & March 2nd.

Join us this Thursday the 28th at 7pm at Shelf Life Books for our Youth Award Celebration to honour our A World Without Choices contest winners. We received many great submissions in words, images and video that answered the following question: "What would your world look like without the freedom to read?" Check out some of the awesomeness submitted on our TeensCreate page!

AND, drum roll please... the winners are:

Ethan G. for his great essay, "Silenced Voices"

Alexa I. for her wonderful FTR essay, and

the amazing video duo Julia C. & Danika V. - check out their video Here!

In addition, the Freedom to Read Committee has awarded the 2013 Freedom of Expression Award, sponsored by FFWD Weekly, to the Calgary Idle No More Movement. Chantal Chagnon is accepting the award as a representative of the movement. Committee member Darlene Montgomery has provided the following statement to support the Award:

The Freedom of Expression Award is presented annually during Freedom to Read Week. The Award is presented to a person or group in the Calgary area who best demonstrates leadership in promoting freedom of expression, an important cornerstone of democracy. The Award is sponsored by FFWD Weekly. This year the Freedom of Expression Award will be presented to the Calgary Idle No More Movement. The Calgary INM Movement has demonstrated a commitment to freedom of expression by taking a public stand to raise awareness of the rich cultural heritage and history of our First Nations people; the social, educational and economic issues affecting their lives; and the obligation of governments to respect the treaty rights of First Nations people. Chantal Chagnon, a local organizer and spokesperson for the Calgary Idle No More Movement will accept the Award on behalf of the Movement at our annual celebration on February 28.

Chantal, the teen winners, family members and supporters will all be on hand for the annual celebration.

Today (February 25th) the Freedom To Read Committee at CPL made their Book Selection presentation to City Council. This year, the selected book is Shine, by Lauren Myracle. Myracle has been touted as "This Generation's Judy Blume". Betsy Fraser, ardent teen-lit enthusiast and CPL Selector, submitted the following nomination:

My suggestion for this year’s Freedom to Read week book would be Lauren Myracle’s Shine. Lauren has been a fantastic example through the years of an author whose books have been targeted as “unsuitable” for their target audience on the one hand, while being lauded by reviewers and those very teens on the other as speaking to and for them… In the past year, Lauren was catapulted into the media when her book was erroneously mentioned as a short-listed title for the National Book Award. Instead of being bitter, she used the ensuing media storm to garner support and attention for gay rights, ‘shining a light’, if you will, on the downtrodden, bullied and abused. Ms. Myracle is a wonderful speaker, and while a hate crime is a dark subject, I ask the committee to consider Shine as its title for 2013 Freedom of Expression Award.

The author's long history of challenges, coupled with her courage in tackling a very difficult subject, led the committee to choose this moving novel. While it begins with a hate crime, it is ultimately a story about hope, and about letting your inner light shine through when darkness surrounds you.

Join us! Thursday February 28, 2013 7 p.m. at Shelf Life Books, 100, 1302 - 4th Street S.W.

And Read on! ;0)

by Adrienne, with many thanks to Allison Thomson (Chair, Calgary Freedom to Read Week Committee) and Carrie, our awesome Teen Cybrarian.

Finding My Way Eyre

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

I admit that when I first saw Jane it was the cover that initially caught my attention, and that this was the first "Jane Eyre" book I ever read. Not that my friends had not been recommending the book ever since, oh - Grade 9! They did, I just... never got around to it. So when this beautiful moody cover caught my eye, I decided to make a go of it. This retelling by April Lindner, is set in NY with an art school dropout who becomes a nanny and falls for... a famous rock star. I was not disappointed. The book is great! Emma the BookAngel has even made a soundtrack for the book! Hot on its heels, I was putting holds on Catherine, Lindner's remake of Wuthering Heights. Also set in modern NY, this time with the daughter of the owner of a very famous night club as ‘Catherine’!

Then, it just so happened that the graphic novel remake of Jane Eyre landed in my lap. So I read that next, super curious to compare Jane to its original without delay. From my experiences with Manga Shakespeare I knew that reading the graphic novel is a great way to introduce oneself to a classic right away. No fuss, no problem, no big time commitment and no trouble understanding what's going on. I highly recommend it for all your Shakespeare assignments - plus any other classics you are asked to read for English class. Not because the originals aren't great, but rather because they ARE. It's great to have something on hand that can clarify what is going on, allowing you to focus on appreciating the book rather than struggling through it.

So finally yes, I actually read Jane Eyre after all these years. First off, for all the fashionistas out there I want to mention that the version that I read was a Couture edition by Penguin Classics - with cover and images designed by fashion designer Ruben Toledo = perfectly moody graphics!

Classics are classics for a reason and are generally good ground for expounding upon; they become a post-modernist's delightful playground (think Mash-Ups). I admit however that some classics are so stuffy that it's almost impossible to penetrate through their dense or obscure language and receive their enlightening rays of nectar and fruits of insight. Jane Eyre is, refreshingly, not, especially if read with a poetic eye and a philosopher's heart. There were words I was unfamiliar with but I found this antipathetically refreshing - welcome nectar to a vocabulary that has been thirsting for expansion. One learns to write by reading. One gleans semi-archaic vocabulary by reading semi-archaic tomes. (ha,ha).

Jane Eyre is moody and romantic. It arouses a passion of spirit, a storminess of temperament which, like the novel itself, is quite satisfying in its quietude. Jane herself is like that calm before the storm... Mr. Rochester the storm... Jane again, like the rain that pours down quenching your thirst with the ether of sweet negative electricity that bathes the air after lightning.

Jane Eyre contains phrases such as, "Her soul sat on her lips and language flowed", and thoughts such as "Then, my sole relief was to walk along the corridor of the third storey, backwards, and forwards, safe in the silence and solitude of the spot, and allow my mind's eye to dwell on whatever bright visions rose before it... to open my inward ear to a tale that never ended - a tale my imagination created, and narrated continuously; quickened with all of incident, life, fire, feeling, that I desired and had not in my actual existence." Jane is a formidable character. At the end of the book I found myself wishing I had read it when I was in Grade 9! Through tumultuous and harrowing experiences she has such a sense of her own self worth, and is so grounded; it would have been welcome food back then. I'll warn you though, that the book is a bit preachy in the last few pages. That said, the rest of the books is so fabulous that's it's worth that little bit at the end. I encourage you to read and enjoy!

Other Eyre remakes to check out include Jane Airhead, A Breath of Eyre, and Wish you Were Eyre. For more advanced adult books, check out Mrs. Rochester, Death of a Schoolgirl, Jane Slayre, and Adele : Jane Eyre's hidden story - a highly interesting remake of Jane Eyre told from Mr. Rochester's ward's perspective.

If you want to find out more about the life of the author (Charlotte Bronte), I recommend the following books as well: Becoming Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre: Portrait of a Life, & Governess: The lives and Times of The Real Jane Eyres. There are also a bunch of renditions of Jane Eyre on DVD to check out. (I've heard the 1986 version is great.) Comments and feedback on your favourite are welcome!

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