Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wimpy Kid Book Release Party

This month The Third Wheel, the 7th book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, or what will be asked for by children and parents at the question desk as the brown book, hit the shelves. To celebrate at our library, we had a book release party for tweens. Last year, for the release of Cabin Fever, we had a local comic book artist come and do a class with the kids, which was great, but this year I wanted to do a full on party complete with games, prizes, food and crafts.

I came across a very helpful resource online to plan the games portion of the party, an event kit for Dog Days, the 4th book. I went ahead and used three of the games after slightly modifying them. 

Every kid received a raffle ticket and a name tag with a Wimpy Kid character placed on their back upon arriving.  The Name Tag Game was a great ice breaker. Kids had to guess their character’s name by asking others questions about their character.  

The initial group game we played to get the kids warmed up was Cheese Touch.  Our version of this was much like Hot Potato. I pulled two yellow bean bags from our children’s storytime supplies and used these as the cheese touch. All the kids sat in a circle and passed around the cheese touch while I played music. Every time I stopped the music, the kids all screamed and laughed and whoever had a bean bag got out of the circle.  The winner of the game received The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book.

After, we divided the kids up into four teams and had two rounds of the "Wimpy Kid" Trivia and Secret Word Game, which was very much like Taboo and pushed the kids to overcome shyness and think outside the box. We had over forty kids so it was a little crazy at times but a lot of fun. Luckily, I had staff and teen volunteers helping out. I was impressed by how many of the kids remembered such specific details from the books. Instead of giving a prize for winning, everyone on the team received raffle tickets for every point or question answered correctly.

For food I decided to go with school lunch type of snacks, including string cheese, juice boxes, goldfish crackers, cookies, fruit snacks and fruit roll ups. They disappeared in no time at all.

We raffled off prizes that included a few of the old Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, Wimpy Kid 2013 calendars with Jeff Kinney’s autograph that library staff had picked up at ALA Annual, book lights, and copies of The Third Wheel. The raffle was quite an event because due to the games the kids had multiple raffle tickets to consult every time a winner was picked. Plus, no kid left empty handed   Every attendee received a free kid’s meal coupon to a nearby restaurant.

We finished the party by decorating journals. Each kid received a composition notebook and in the middle of each table was a mix of markers, stickers, scissors, glue, magazines, fabric and construction paper so they could get creative and use all kinds of mediums to personalize their covers.

I’m looking forward to the next installment in this series that gets so many kids reading, into the library and excited about books!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The End is Here...11.16.12!

Woo Hoo or Boo Hoo?!?

Speaking of love triangles, Courtney, did you know that Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is premiering tomorrow, November 16th?!? Of course you did because you are one of the rabid fans who are probably gathering their sleeping bags and coolers in preparation for the midnight premier camp out. :) One of my adorable teen regulars tried to coax me into taking him and his group of friends to the midnight premier but, alas, I will be sound asleep while the rest of you bask in the glow of Edward's glitter.

Whether you're sad that the Twilight series movies are about to be over or happy to no longer have to hear about Team Edward vs. Team Jacob, you probably have a strong feeling one way or another about Twilight. I know the teens certainly do. So when the opportunity came up to receive some amazing giveaways from 42West, the PR firm for the company producing the film, I had to jump on it.  I received posters, keychains, pens, bracelets, temporary tattoos, and to bump up my attendance, I decided to give everything away at my regularly scheduled teen craft program, Crafternoon. What a hit! Teens were lined up waiting nearly 30 minutes before the program even started. No matter what your feelings are for the series or the movies, you have to love that they're getting teens into the library and into books!

Just a few of my happy, satisfied teens!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Triangles in Young Adult Literature

It's a well worn trope now: the completely normal (although absolutely fascinating) girl must choose between two very different boys who are both madly in love with her for unknown reasons.   Is this ringing a bell yet?  The gentlemen in question are always polar opposites.  First, we have the gentle, mysterious and oh so classically handsome pick.  He is generally first on the scene.   You can expect him to perform some life saving measure on swoon worthy girl before the plot picks up too much.  Enter boy #2.  In stark contrast, this character will be attractive in a much different fashion.  Blonde hair v. Black hair.  Blue eyes v. Brown eyes.  Vampire v. Werewolf.   : ).   Boy #2's startling honesty and openness are a foil to the mystery that surrounds our first gentlemen.   And when completely boring, but absolutely captivating girl is pushed to choose between the two – good ol’ teen, drama ensues.
So, what's with the triangle that seems to have taken over young adult literature in recent years?  It's unfair to pin Stephanie Meyer with the full responsibility of this new feature.  After all, love triangles have existed since Cathy and Heathcliff.  And yet, there is no denying the spate of books featuring the now quite common triangle.  And don't be mistaken, this is not just a feature of the, also ├╝ber popular, paranormal titles like Fallen by Lauren Kate and Nightshade by Andrea Cremer.  These triangles can be found in realistic fiction like The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson and dystopian titles such as Matched by Ally Condie and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

So, what gives?  Are we to believe that young adult authors are attempting to reveal a universal teen truth?  Do all teens experience some sort of triangle?  Or, do all teens simply want to think that a triangle is possible?   Quite possibly, it is the choice itself that attracts such a keen readership.  After all, the choice is always dangerously poised between danger and safety.  Bella always knew Jacob was safer choice than Edward; choosing Edward literally kills her.  Ultimately, all these titles position the reader to ask themselves, “who would you choose?” and perhaps more importantly, “what does that choice say about you?”

Friday, November 2, 2012

Teen Read.....Month?

When I began thinking about what I wanted to do for my first ever Teen Read Week as a Youth Services Librarian, I was a little overwhelmed. It was early September, Summer Reading Program just ended (I was looking for a much needed breather), and when looking at my community room calendar, I realized it was totally booked through 2012. What could I do that would spark some interest and not require a group gathering? I looked to YALSA'S Teen Read Week website ( for ideas and ta-da! Short Story Contest! Being that the theme was "It Came From the Library," I thought it would be fun to do a short SCARY story contest.
I looked into my programming funds and unclaimed SRP 2012 raffle prizes and I was ready to go. I was going to have two age divisions: high school and middle school. First place winners would receive Kindles, second place - $25 Target gift cards, and third place - $10 ITunes gift cards. I made a flier and plastered it all over the walls, posted on Facebook, and emailed every high school and middle school principal within a 10 mile radius. It was mid September at this point and the contestants would have until October 26th to turn it in.
I have to say, receiving my first entry was by far the most exciting moment of the contest for me. The poor girl just about jumped a foot when I screamed as she handed it over. They were writing! This might work!
Come October 26th, I had 62 middle school contestants and ONE high school contestant. Yay for all the entries, bummer about my high schoolers. I quickly rearranged the divisions: 6th-7th graders and 8th - high school.
Luckily, my Branch Manager and Library Assistant agreed to help me score the stories and by announcement date (November 2nd), we had our winners.
I posted the winners on a sign in the library entrance way, on Facebook, and I called them individually. It was a blast telling the winners, especially Joshua (see picture) who said that he's never won anything his whole life. His mom whispered to me that nobody in their family had ever won anything.
It took a lot of time reading and judging those stories, but I got a lot of chuckles out of it and I actually got scared way more than I thought I would. This might be a new Carmel Valley tradition!  Question to ponder for next year: how do I get more high school entries?