June 21st hit and we have ignition for the ‘Spark a Reaction’ Teen Summer Reads. If you have signed on but haven’t picked up your Chipotle Restaurant gift card and SR pin, stop by the Children’s Desk and receive! I’d love to give all 100 away (and I have a good start) but there is nothing like giving away a good deal, which this is. Reviews have started. Thank you! Next week’s program with the Teen Artists’ Coalition still has a few openings. This will be SO AMAZING! Supplies provided but you can bring an item (clothing, too) that you’d like to steampunk out as well. Continue the Good Times and Thank You.
This week’s download connection…go to SYNC
Reading, writing, dreaming, steampunking, Hunger Games survival training…and more. Register for Teen Summer Reading at http://www.readsinma.org/sandwich. ‘So easy and you receive a gift card to Chipotle Restaurants. Please search high and low for great things to do this summer (including relaxing) and don’t forget your local library (or any library, anywhere). There is still room in the Steampunk Oddments Workshop with Nettie Berkeley. Register online at http://www.sandwichpubliclibrary.com, Events. You need to have hit the lucky ’13’ years to do this, though. Have a great summer and keep in touch.
Sync this week has one of my favorite books from the past year. Remember, FREE and GOOD are a great deal.
“Hahn writes with such beauty and persuasion that she could make me believe in anything. She writes the sort of prose you give yourself to willingly. This is a rare and special book, a magical book; I’ve been searching for it and didn’t even know it.”
—Kristin Cashore, New York Times best-selling author of Graceling and Bitterblue
“Rebecca Hahn captures that elusive sense of an experience just out of reach—a memory, a dream, a voice in the woods, a road not taken. I love the book and hope she dreams up many more.”
—Franny Billingsley, National Book Award finalist for Chime
Sometimes – most of the time – other people write better than me. Throwing in a couple of review snippets from authors you may have read, I will put in my own 2 cents for this title that I found pretty darn readable. Three key words to describe this first-time author’s book: wild, dragonly, sensory…but let’s add three more: allegory, choices, fantasy. And there are more words that could pull out a sense of the book but this is the gist of the story. Marni is a girl of 16 living in the near wilds with her ‘Gramps.’ She converses with the ‘wild things’ in the wood beyond the stonewall, the fairies, the woodland creatures, the ‘Lady’ upon occasion. This dangerous roaming of the woods is kept secret from her Gramps. Girls go missing in the woods, girls who want more than just a settled life in the village. Marni is like that only more so. As you read her story, Gramps is introduced as the former King of the land who gave up his kingdom so he could keep his granddaughter alive after her mother, his daughter, had been slaughtered by the now King, her brother. Sounds gruesome, it is, and the reason this Princess was slain is one of secrets in the story. Marni goes to live in the castle once her Gramps has died and she becomes sole heir to the throne. Strange things are happening (Remember, this is fantasy.) as the woods encroach on the farms and fields and strange creatures have been seen. Marni has her own journey to make as the strange calling of the woods brings her face to face with the father she has never known and whom all in the kingdom fear. Her choices make her life what it will become. I found the characters to be unique. There really is no huge climax to the story but like the large wave that hits you every so often on a beach, you can still feel the power of a good story told. To me the story was part allegory; part fantasy. This is a strong title for female readers. Marni’s character may return in another book. I would welcome her. A good summer read or dark of the night winter tale. Really.
STEAMPUNK is a subgenre of fiction and an active subculture that highlights advanced technology in the altered past….whew! For our purposes, though, it’s the basis for creating the heck of nuts and bolts, old watches, lace, feathers, decaying leather belts and belt buckles, old jewelry, almost anything is fair game. Nettie Berkeley, one of the co-founders of the Teen Artists Coalition of Cape Cod, brings it all together for you on Tuesday, July 1st from 3-6 pm. Bring yourself, ideas, maybe something you’d like ‘steampunked’…REGISTRATION IS NECESSARY BECAUSE SPACE IS LIMITED. TEENS 13 – 19 years only. Please register online HERE.
Your imagination is the only limitation! Create Steampunk artwork, crafts, jewelry, Steampunky Victorian – inspired accessories, gearhead goggles, repurposed projects and more!
Teens, if you’d like to adorn any of your current fashions, please feel free to bring them along to Steampunk them out!
RECOMMENDED READ is LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld
Writing a book review isn’t easy. For one thing reading IS personal so there is a risk of revealing one’s self simply because you say, ‘I like this book.’ And it is not easy to reveal oneself to anyone. Take the narrator in this book, Laurel, whose adored older sister, May, is dead at the beginning of the book. And, when the English teacher’s first assignment of the year is to write a letter to a dead person, May is not the person who Laurel addresses the letter to…it’s Kurt Cobain. The other dead people who ‘receive’ letters from Laurel include Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Judy Garland, Janis Joplin, E.E. Cummings, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Elizabeth Bishop…you guessed it, besides being dead, let’s just say that some of the dead died tragically and we ask ‘why?’. The memory of her sister, May, the beautiful and talented but flawed older sister who is no more, is so vivid in Laurel’s life that she has stopped trying to find her own. And one could say this is a book of tragedy only it isn’t. Who of us hasn’t quietly uttered very important matters so silently no one else could hear but we needed to express them aloud somehow, some way. In the beginning I cringed for the innocence of Laurel and her attachment to certain characters who were ‘not good choices.’ But there is a secret in this novel, the secret of Laurel’s inability to recognize how her sister’s death must be acknowledged in the open by herself and her parents who could not handle the death either. This is an incredible piece of writing and the ‘letters to the dead’ ‘device’ is fascinating. Very strong themes run through this book: suicide, innocence, parental emotional abandonment, molestation, coming out but the author has blended and mixes characters bad, good and despicable in a realistic story. Laurel has a very strong voice even when she is weak. The complexity of our inner and outer worlds, self-expression, redemption are all explored here. This book to me was not a ‘downer’. It’s not Judy Moody either. I highly recommend it for its literary quality, the voices of the characters, and the themes it explores so well.
Click for the author’s website
PS: Stephen Chbosky suggested she write this book…how’s that for being a good friend!