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One week left in our All Hallows' Read contest!

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

all hallows read poster

All Hallows' Read is coming soon!

There's one week left in our contest - the deadline is Oct. 22.

Author Neil Gaiman started a great tradition of giving away scary books for Halloween, and we want to spread the joy a little (or would that be spread the horror?). All you have to do is write a short review of a creepy book, and you could win a set of two scary YA books - one to keep, and one to give away.

Submit your review using this form, or email it to teenservices@calgarypubliclibrary.com - and remember to include your contact info.

What's Your Ideal Space?

by Carrie - 1 Comment(s)

Picture this:

you're getting ready to study for a test, do homework, or just hang out with friends.

Where are you? What does your perfect study or hangout space look like? We want you to show us your ideal spot, so draw it, photograph it, collage it, or use photoshop to build the best possible place.

Send it to us by email, or share it on Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest with the hashtag #CPLfwd, and you could win a $100 gift card to Chinook or Market Mall!

The Rules:

  • This contest is open to Calgary students in Grades 7-12.
  • Enter as many times as you like.
  • Deadline for entries is May 16, 2014.
  • If you’re emailing it to us, send your file as a .jpg, .png, or .psd to teenservices@calgarypubliclibrary.com.
  • Winners will be announced on our Teen Blog and social media sites on May 20, 2014.
  • Disclaimer: By entering this contest, you agree that you and your parent/guardian give consent for your work to be posted on the CPL website and reposted on our social media sites. You also agree that all work submitted is your own original work.

Youth Read Remixed - Teen Art Contest

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

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

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

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

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

The Rules:

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

The Prizes:

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

plain george

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

Youth SLAM!

by Emily - 3 Comment(s)

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

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

Event Details:

Saturday, April 05 - 11:00 AM - Free

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

Celebrate Freedom to Read Week with us!

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

Three great ways to celebrate Freedom to Read Week:

eleanor & park

1. Read Eleanor & Park (or any other challenged book)

This morning, members of the Calgary Freedom to Read Week Committee presented a copy of Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park to City Council as part of the official launch of Freedom to Read Week 2014. Eleanor & Park is a bestselling and award-winning novel about two teenage misfits falling in love in 1980s Omaha, and it was the centre of controversy in Minnesota this past summer when two parents objected to the book's use of language. The author's planned visit to the school was cancelled, and the ultra-conservative Parents Action League got involved, demanding that all copies of the book be removed from both the school and public libraries, and that the librarians who had chosen the book for the summer reading program be disciplined for choosing to offer this "inappropriate and profane" book (their words, not mine!). Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed.

2. Join us this Thursday at Owl's Nest Books

Every year, the Calgary Freedom to Read Week Committee recognizes the winners of our teen writing contest, and also presents the Freedom of Expression award to a Calgarian who exemplifies the fight for intellectual freedom. This year, they are presenting the award to local radio personality Dave Rutherford.

The celebration is at Owl's Nest Books (815A 49th Avenue SW, in the Britannia shopping plaza) on Thursday, February 27th, at 7 p.m.

3. Read the winning entries in our Freedom to Read Week writing contest!

The sad truth is, material for kids and teens is the most likely to be challenged, which makes YOU the victim of censorship. Every year CPL hosts a writing contest for local students, and as always, this year's winners impressed us with their responses.

Our 2014 winners are Jasmine Y., Rachel H., and Emily G., and we'll post their entries at the end of the week — so if you want to hear them earlier, you'll have to join us at Owl's Nest.

Freedom to Read Contest

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

freedom to read week

Why is the freedom to read important to you?

Canada celebrates Freedom to Read Week every February, as a way of reminding ourselves to think about intellectual freedom, censorship, and our right to access the information that we choose. We often take it for granted that we can read whatever we like, but the truth is that every year, great books are challenged or banned across the world — and that includes Canada.

This year, Freedom to Read Week is February 23rd to March 1st, and as always, we're running a contest to help celebrate!

Tell us why the freedom to read is important to you using words, pictures or video and you could win a great CPL prize pack and a chance to get published in next year's Freedom to Read Week kit. But hurry — the deadline is February 20th!


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 12. Please 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 Thursday, February 20, 2014.

Announcing the Winners of the 2014 Just Write Contest!

by Carrie

gold trophyOur first Just Write teen fiction writing contest was a big success!

The judges were so impressed with the creativity we saw from every single contestant, and it was definitely a close contest. In the end, though, we only had three prizes to give away, so we had to choose.

Our winners were:

3rd place – April Tian, “The Pawn Shop” – she wins a prize pack of books by local authors & a reading at flywheel, with coaching from Emily Ursuliak

2nd place – Tia Christoffersen, “Face to Face with Hope” – she wins a mentoring session with local author Jani Krulc

1st place – Jessica Chen, “The Bookstore” – she wins a spot at Drink the Wild Air, a winter writing retreat for teens.

Congratulations to April, Tia, and Jessica!

If you didn't win, don't despair; we are running a nonfiction writing contest right now for Freedom to Read Week, and we will definitely be running Just Write again next year. Keep reading this blog for more chances to win!

 

The Pawn Shop

by April Tian

It was at the fall of dusk that I found myself standing without a penny to my name under the glowing neon signs of an anachronous pawnshop, Pretty Treasures. Overhead, the setting sun blanketed the once bustling street in a sluggish sheet of velvet. The sign above shone proudly, battling away the listless hues with a vibrant and radiant gold. However, to know what was in the shop you had to go inside; the patina of dust on the front window was thick, but once I thought I made out the shape of an owl on the other side of the glass, its wings lifted in frozen flight, forever.

Compelled by unknown forces, my fingers found themselves wrapped tightly around the handles. The solid oak doors flung open effortlessly, followed by a gust of chocking air, riddled with the musky scent of things long forgotten.

The room was dark. Strange shapes flickered black against the monotonous grey backdrop. I felt a cry tear at my throats, but the tenacious gurgle of my stomach indicated otherwise. My whole body shivered in delight as a sweet smell of roasted meat trickled from with in.

“Oh honey, you must be famished!” I turned around to face a well-worn woman, her hands and cheeks probably pink from spending days by a hot stove and her inviting smile glistened in the dark.

“I was just having some dinner, be a doll and join me would you?” Her voice flowed like a soothing river, washing away all the branches and clumps of grass in its way. And I too, much like a fish, was swept away by her gentle currents. “I do get lonely sometimes.” She admits sincerely.

Still in shock at this show of kindness, I nodded dumbly and together we made our way to the back of the homey shop. To my surprise, the dinner table was small but big enough as if it was made just for two. Upon the table sat a single porcelain dinner plates, piled high with slices of roasted beef, strings of sausages and strips of bacon, and beside it twinkled a devilish red glass of cranberry juice. The woman gestured for me to sit while having no indication of doing so herself.

Are those all for me?

“Go on. You must eat. You are way too skinny for a pretty thing like you. Just look at those pretty curls and that delicate face. Go on and dine to your hearts content.” The woman smiled reassuringly.

Without a moments delay, I dug in heartily, the food flooded my body with warmth. Between bites, I gulped down mouthfuls of the exotically sweet juice that made my head spin in happiness.

Unknowingly, while the other was eating, the older woman never once left her initial position. She smiled as if hearing a joke for the first time. And if you were to lean in closer, you would hear her mumble repetitiously:

“Such pretty treasures.”

 

Face to Face with Hope

by Tia Christoffersen

The message had reached everyone successfully. They were all there, hovering above my shaking hands, above the life-changing object at the ends of my fingertips.

At any moment, the Authorities could burst through the door and arrest us all for our secret meeting, or “Unjust Gathering”, as the Authorities called it at criminals’ executions. Treason would surely be on our criminal repertoires after they got their hands on the espérer.

“What we’re doing here is dangerous,” I say, enclosing my fingers around the espérer.

“We know, Veruca,” someone says, followed by a murmur of understanding from the group of women.

“Goggles on, then,” I order. “The switch,” I hear the familiar buzz indicating I may proceed.

The wires are easy to manipulate, but the small circuitry is always daunting. I feel my hands tremble, worse now. It is now only a matter of time before the electricity coursing into our supposedly abandoned cellar is noticed, and the Authorities come storming in.

After several moments of anticipation, a spark erupts from the small yet powerful object, and shoots down the wire we have laid on the floor, out the window, and to the Country’s power source, its motherboard, which is located one mile from our workshop.

Two loud, short raps on the window from our lookout indicate she saw the spark, too. A moment passes before one loud, unanimous cheer bursts from the mouths of seven women, who have spent their lives being stifled by their Commanders, the Authorities, the dominant group.

Sixteen years of work for one split second spark that will change the lives of thousands.

Three raps are suddenly delivered on the window, meaning something much worse than that lovely couple I heard earlier. A loud shriek. A gunshot. Our lookout is dead.

The room is silent as we wait. We adapt our stony expressions of resilience, which we have employed so many times in our lives.

The cellar door bangs open, and boot stomps sound against the muddy, concrete stairs. I do net let go of the espérer.

“Run,” I whisper. But no one does. They all knew that by being here they were accepting their imminent death. They all knew. And still, they came. Along with taciturnity, we accept our fate.

The next moments go by in a blur. The object I have hunched over for sixteen years is ripped from my clutches, and I am beaten into oblivion. To my ears comes silence, but for the angry shouts from the Authorities.

My eyes are swollen to the point where I can see only through slits, and my bloodied body is dragged harshly up the stairs to its demise.

But what I see when I reach the light of day…. is darkness. And rioting. People standing up to the Authorities. Commanders lie facedown, murdered, in the street.

I let myself succumb to unconsciousness, knowing that espérer has worked. It lives inside us all.

writing prompt

 

The Bookstore
by Jessica Chen

The bookstore on the corner was my home.

Not literally, of course—I lived two blocks over, but I spent most of my time in the bookstore. It didn’t look like a bookstore on the outside. To know what was in the shop you had to go inside; the patina of dust on the front window was thick, but once I thought I made out the shape of an owl on the other side of the glass, its wings lifted in frozen flight.

Inside, there was no owl. There were just books—rows and rows of them, spilling off the shelves.

The owner of the bookstore was an old woman named Mrs. Durand. I was perhaps her only regular customer, and while we had rarely spoken but for the exchange of money for book, we still gave each other unsure smiles when we saw each other. She was old enough to have remembered World War II, a young woman living in the terror of France.

Sometimes I thought about how she was another story in a store filled with stories. I usually didn’t linger on it, preferring to curl up with one of her books instead, but today I held a story about the French Resistance, and my curiosity peaked.

I walked up to the counter, where Mrs. Durand sat in an armchair. When she saw me, she looked up and heaved herself out of the chair, walking unevenly to the counter. “Hi,” I said nervously. I had never been great at speaking to people, even Mrs. Durand, even after all these years. “I’d like to hear a story.” Realizing that this may have sounded demanding, I added hurriedly, “If it’s all right with you.”

“Hear a story?” Her voice was thickly accented with French. “Not read a story. Surely that book you have in your hands would be fascinating.”

I nodded. “It is interesting. I like it. That’s why I kind of want to hear one ... please. You lived in France during World War II, didn’t you?”

At my words, a touch of sadness appeared on her face. “You should come back here,” Mrs. Durand said, gesturing to the space behind the counter.

I had been regularly visiting the bookstore for the better part of two years, and I had never been behind the counter. I sunk into the second squishy armchair.

“When World War II started,” Mrs. Durand said, “I was eight years old. I remember a lot of it, though—I saw it through the eyes of a child.” And with that, she let sixty years of locked-up memories flow. She told me about her family, the terror, the air raids, and I listened to all the stories she had to share.

It was better than any story I had ever read.

When I left the bookstore that day, I knew that even when I wasn’t in the dusty-windowed bookstore, I would hold the stories of everyday people close to my heart forever.

Just Write Teen Fiction Writing Contest

by Carrie - 10 Comment(s)

New year, new contest! If you resolved to be a better writer this year, we have a great way to get you started and help you improve your craft.

I’m proud to announce our brand new teen fiction writing contest – Just Write. We have fantastic prizes lined up, including a spot at a weekend writer’s retreat for teens, a one-on-one mentoring session with a local author, a chance to read your work at the flywheel Reading Series, and book prize packs (of course!).

Ready to write? Here’s how it works.

The Prizes:

  • A spot at Drink the Wild Air, a weekend writing retreat for teens run by Young Alberta Writers (Feb. 21-23 at Kamp Kiwanis).
  • A one-on-one mentoring session with local author Jani Krulc.
  • A prize pack of teen books and works by local authors, along with the chance to read at the March session of the flywheel Reading Series put on by filling Station magazine (March 13th at Pages on Kensington).

The Prompts:

To know what was in the shop you had to go inside; the patina of dust on the front window was thick, but once I thought I made out the shape of an owl on the other side of the glass, its wings lifted in frozen flight. (The sentence)

writing prompt

(The picture)

The Rules:

  • This contest is for teens, ages 13-17.
  • You MUST use at least one of the two writing prompts provided above – your work will either include the sentence provided, or be based on the picture (or both).
  • Entries must be no longer than 500 words. Prose, poetry, and graphic/comic formats are all welcome (graphic formats must include some writing).
  • Send your entries to teenservices@calgarypubliclibrary.com by the end of Saturday, January 25th, 2014.
  • Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges and announced at Calgary Public Library's Writer's Weekend on Saturday, February 1st, 2014.

The End.

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!

All Hallow's Read Giveaway

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

all hallow

It's time for one of my favourite new traditions - All Hallow's Read!

This marvelous event started when author extraordinaire Neil Gaiman decided that there just aren't enough traditions that involve giving people books. To rectify this oversight, he invented his own, reasoning that Halloween would be an excellent time to give someone you love a terrifying tale. That's all there is to it - just pick a book, whether spooky, creepy, or downright frightening, and give it to a friend or family member for Halloween.

Great idea, right?

To help you get in the spirit, we have six sets of scary stories to give away - one to keep for yourself, and one to give to a friend. Just tell us your name, phone number, and closest library branch in the comments (we won't publish your personal info), or send an email to teenservices@calgarypubliclibrary.com. We'll pick the winners on October 25th (so you can have the books in hand for Halloween).

Meanwhile, make this mini-book of Edgar Allen Poe's haunting poem The Raven to hand out to trick-or-treaters (you decide if it's a trick or a treat), read one of our recommendations, or tell us what frightening book you would give a loved one in the comments below.

anna dressed in bloodgraveyard bookreplacementmonstrumologistmiss peregrine's home

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