The Giver, by Lois Lowry

The GiverImagine living in a world where everything is the Same. There is no color. There is no weather. There are no hills. There is no sunshine, wind, or rain. The world is defined by Sameness. Everything is controlled, from when you got your first bike (age 9), to when you are assigned your role in the community (age 12). People are “released” when they are too old. If twins are born, the “runt” is “released.” Sexuality and reproduction is controlled. This is the world that Jonas lives in.

When Jonas turns 12, he is selected to become the Receiver. There is only one Receiver at a time, and the current Receiver who “trains” him becomes “The Giver.”

At the same time that Jonas is selected to be the new Receiver, his father (a Nurturer) brings home a “baby” named Gabriel who has the same light-colored eyes as Jonas. There’s something special about Gabriel, and when the decision is made to release him because of his constant fussiness at night, Jonas must decide if he is going to step in and try to save Gabriel.
Will Jonas make the decision to try to escape with Gabriel to Elsewhere? Will they start a new life there? Or perish?

The Giver, by Lois Lowry, was reviewed by Michelle Frost.

The movie version comes out August 15th. You can view a trailer here.

The Giver on Facebook.

The Giver on Twitter.

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak (2 reviews)

Our first review is by your fellow teen Sara: I DON’T WANT TO SPOIL THE BOOK FOR ANYONE. SO I WILL JUST SAY THAT IT WAS AN AMAZING. FILLED WITH AMAZING DETAILS AND AMAZING CHARACTERS. YOU HAVE GOT TO READ THAT BOOK.

And now a review from librarian Michael Perry:

The Book Thief
“Here’s a small fact: You’re going to die.”
Sometimes a story gets written that endures past the “flash in a pan” stage. There have been some great series that have lasted for a decade or more. Remember “The Princess Diaries”? the whole “Gossip Girl” series? Sure they were fun to read, but if you are thinking of really great books, you probably would be talking about Scott Westerfield’s “the Uglies” series or Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” series or just about anything by John Green.

Keeping that in mind, here’s a book from 2006 that you really have to read. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Told with Death (Yup, Death itself!) as the narrator, this book takes place during World War II in Nazi Germany and explores the life of Liesel, a young girl who ends up in a foster home. At her brother’s funeral, she steals a gravedigger’s handbook. Here’s the twist. Liesel can’t read! Her foster father finds the title and then teaches her to read. Later, during a book burning in the center of town, the mayor is the only one who sees Liesel snatch a book from the pile. He takes a chance with her and shows her his dead son’s library. And there’s more.
The book is fantastic, one of the few that really put you in the place and time of the plot. Liesel comes alive through the pages and you will find yourself staying up into the late hours of the night as you turn pages, following her life.

Get this one. You’ll be glad you did.

The Book Thief on e-book
In addition to the book (on paper) we have this title as a downloadable e-book, a downloadable audiobook and an audiobook on CD. It came out as a movie in late 2013 and was released this spring on DVD and Blu-ray.

Google Doodle Contest 2014, or Make Some Cash for College and Be Famous, Too!

Google Doodle? What’s that?

Have you ever visited Google.com and noticed that there is some artwork there in place of the word “Google”? That’s a “Google Doodle” and usually celebrates a famous person’s birthday, a particular event or a cultural icon. Famous people have included Harriet Tubman, Leon Foucault, and Maurice Sendak. A Doodle has been made for the first day of summer, National Library Week, and the 100th anniversary of the crossword puzzle. There’s even been one for Star Trek.

Every year, Google hold a contest for kids in grade K-12. All you have to do is print out the application form, doodle your version of the Google logo based off this year’s theme and submit it online or by mail. State prizes are $5000. National prizes are $50,000. More details are here: https://www.google.com/doodle4google/faq.html

This year’s theme is “If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place…”

Here’s the site: https://www.google.com/doodle4google/ The deadline for your submission is March 20th, 2014. So go on, download the form and give it your best! What will your Doodle look like?

To get you inspired, here’s last year’s Doodle. It was done by Sabina Brady, 17. Good luck!!!

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–Michael Perry

Make your own movies!

Do you have that creative itch? The need to visually document what you see around you? To create what you see only in your mind? We do, too. YouTube and Vine showcase talent every day. You KNOW you have it in you, but how do you edit what you record into something for the world to see?

Below are several apps that will let you take the raw video that you have on your device and create masterpieces! Well, something that is watchable, right? Check out the apps below for both iOS (iPads, iPod Touches and iPhones) and Android (phones and tablets) and see if one of them can make you the next Hitchcock. Or Smosh. Or whatever.

iMotion HD (iOS: Free, Upgrade Available)
This app lets you create time-lapse or stop-motion photography. You combine still photos into a movie. Think growing plants or use toys or action figures. Think the Lego Movie! With the full version of the app, users can add music and get access to extra export features like uploading their movie straight to YouTube.
PicPlayPost (iOS: $1.99)
This lets users combine videos and still images. The videos will play either at the same time or in turns. And the still images will be placeholders in the frame. It’s an alternative to a traditional slideshow. Music can be added, too.
Magisto Video Editor & Maker (Android: Free)
Shoot video from inside Magisto, then edit and create a movie, all in one package. Add some music and you’re good to go. To save the movies, you will need to set up an account.
iMovie (iOS: $4.99)
You can edit video that you have already taken with your iPhone or iPad. You can use the built-in themes and templates to add titles, transitions and music. Features include slow motion and panning over still photos.
Andromedia Video Editor (Android: Free)
This app lets you edit video that you have already recorded on your device. You can organize clips, crop video and apply the “Ken Burns” filming technique to still images and videos. You can record audio and even record a narration using the microphone on the device. This app also has several sharing features, too.

–Michael Perry

Teen Tech Week 2014

TTW14_Facebook_cover
It’s almost March again! Bring on the sun! Bring on the rain! Bring on the warmer temperatures! Bring on the DIY Tech classes at the Library! Yep!! During the month of March, we’re celebrating the American Library Association’s DIY Tech Tech Week at the library. Not only will you be able to attend some pretty sweet workshops at your local branch, but there’s a great event happening at Central Library, too. And did we mention two free iPod Touches and free 1GB USB wrist bands? Read on…..

Central Library first: Saturday, March 8 from 11-3 p.m., we are going all out with various Tech Art Crafts, a real 3D printer demonstration and you can listen to author Mike Mullin give a presentation on how taekwondo is like writing (complete with book sales and signings!).

Branch workshop details:

DIY Switchcraft - Learn about switches and other components of electrical circuits while you make your very own set of bracelets that light up when you place them next to each other!

DIY Comics – Find out about the basics of creating a drawing a comic. You can bring your own characters to life and turn ideas into stories. You’ll leave with your own six-page comic book.

DIY Permaculture – Learn how to work with nature instead of against it, about sustainable living and make your own solar cooker.

Protect Your Tech with Duct Tape – You’ll create your own protective cover for a favorite piece of portable technology.

3D Printing – Find out about all the great things that can be made on a 3D printer.

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What about the iPod Touches? And the USB bracelets? We didn’t forget… There will be a system wide drawing for two iPod Touches and every branch will give away a copy of one of Mike Mullin’s books. And be sure to ask about the Teen Tech Week puzzle. Solve it and you’ll get a cool 1GB USB wrist band.

 

See you at the Library!

 

– Michael Perry