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July 17, 2014

Poetry is something that I’ve enjoyed at times, but not very often. I rarely found myself entranced with a poem or reading all of one poet’s work as I’ve done with regular prose writers or musical artists. Sure there was the occasional poem that I found “neat” or “interesting” but it never really blew my mind.

This is until I experienced my first spoken word performance.

I was at WPL's Inspiring Ideas launch where I had heard that Nereo, a spoken word artist, would be first on stage to get ideas flowing. I didn’t really know what a spoken word artist was, but didn’t think too much about it. When he got up on stage, he got right into it. It took a few moments for me to realize that what he was actually doing was performing a poem. His rhyme and rhythm, his expressive tones, his breaks and speed were something that I would not have been able to appreciate fully if written on a page.

Nereo at Inspiring Ideas Launch April 28 2014

Had I not seen that performance, the thought of attending a spoken word event would never have occurred to me. And last month, Winnipeg hosted its first Spoken Word Festival. The experience itself was worth it. The involvement of the crowd was something I was not accustomed to, and the genius writing and expression of the performers did in fact blow my mind! Many of the performers stood out with wit, truth, and an openness that I feel doesn’t usually translate as well onto paper.

If you're interested in Spoken Word Poetry be sure to check out Word. In the Park. on Friday, August 1 from 1-3 p.m. in the Millennium Library Park (right behind Millennium Library). Special guest T'ai Pu and emerging artists from the Graffiti Gallery will present an afternoon of literary rap, creative b-boy and b-girl dance moves and interactive spoken word.

The art of spoken word is relatively new, although actually stems from the ancient tradition of reciting poems aloud. When I think of poems performed, I think of Homer, Virgil, Sappho, Catullus and their rhapsodes touring the ancient Mediterranean world performing the poems that we still read today. Somehow, over time, and probably because of academia, poetry became known as a written art, something found on a page that you read on your own time, alone, or discussed in a classroom. Marc Smith, the founder of poetry slams, decided to change that and bring poetry back to the people. He discusses this in The Spoken Word Revolution where you can find a variety of spoken word artists and their poems, and, most importantly, listen to them perform their work on the accompanying CD. A new collection of spoken word was published a few years later in Spoken Word Revolution Redux.

Spoken Word Revolution  Spoken Word Redux

Winnipeg also has their own youth poetry slam club called Voices, Ink which meets for a poetry slam every third Thursday of the month at Sam’s Place on Henderson Hwy. It’s open to youth 14-22 years old, and there’s no need to perform anything, but if you want, the only requirement is that you perform two poems and that they are no longer than three minutes each.

If you’re interested in going, you can get ready by registering and attending our poetry workshops with Ariel Gordon at the West Kildonan Library today from 6 – 8 pm and the Louis Riel Library on Thursday, July 24 from 6 – 8 pm. Check the poster to register!

If you're into awesome prizes be sure to register for our online Teen Summer Reading Club and submit your best poem to the library's Poetry Contest for your chance to win!

There's also the 2nd Annual International Junior Authors Poetry Contest going on right now. See the info here.  It is free to enter and open to young writers ages 9 - 21. You have until December to submit your best poem.

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July 10, 2014

Looking for a new book to read?

Are you interested in joining a book club but unsure about participating in meetings and group discussions?

Try this on for size:

The Laid Back Book Club for Teens at Louis Riel Library.

No deadlines.

No meetings.

No pressure.

Just good books.

Take a look at our suggested title, check back monthly for a new suggestion, and read it at your own pace. We will supply you with some questions/topics to think about while enjoying your new read. Feel free to stop by the Louis Riel Library information desk to let us know what you thought of the book, jot down your thoughts & questions in our confab scratchpad, or you can drop us a line by phone (204.986.4576) or e-mail. Or not. We’re laidback. And that’s about the gist of it!

SmileLaid Back Book Club: Pick #1

Ever had braces? Ever had a bad trip to the dentist? Or maybe your teeth have always been nice and straight (lucky you!), but I’m sure there’s been some point where you’ve felt awkward, embarrassed, or just plain different from everyone else. If so, July’s laidback title is for you:

Smile by Raina Telgemeier: Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there's still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.

Copies of this month’s title are waiting for you at the Louis Riel Library. You can also request the title online or through one of WPL’s helpful staff to have a copy brought to your local branch for pick up.

Join in the fun this summer and stay cool, laid back literary style.

-Laura

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July 3, 2014

The shade of the moonBy Sophie

It's always fun to wonder "WHAT IF??"...

Take for example one of our recent polls of the week, which asked "if you were forced to give up one of your five senses, which would you let go; hearing, sight, smell, taste or touch?" So far, the wide majority have voted for smell, and I guess that's because of how vivid those UNpleasant smells are in our memories... we're willing to give up smelling the roses if it means not having to ever smell the toilet again. :P

But just think of what life would be like if you had no sense of smell... would it even be possible to still have a sense of taste as well? Imagine being able to TASTE a cupcake but not smell it. It would be like having a perpetual cold, your food tasting dull and flat because of how much the smell of the food adds to the experience. It's fascinating to think about!

The shade of the moon

Dreaming up "WHAT IF??" situations is what dystopian fiction authors do best. They take otherwise normal people and thrust them into situations that test how people will live/react/survive if the common structures of society are changed, bent or destroyed altogether.

One of my favourite dystopian series - Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer - asks "what would happen if everything that makes our lives run smoothly (crops grown and transported across the world, cars and elevators to move people and things around, oil and electricity to heat our buildings) was suddenly removed due to uncontrollable worldwide disasters?" The four books in this series (the most recent, The Shade of the Moon, just came out this year) take place in the US after a massive asteroid stike to the moon throws 'life as they knew it' completely out the window. Stronger tidal patterns means huge floods along coastlines, taking out huge parts of coastal cities like New York and Los Angeles, and that's just the beginning. The increased gravitational forces between the earth and the moon means massive worldwide volcanic action; soon the ash and gases are filling the air, blocking out the sun and putting the earth on the verge of a new ice age. It's an unlikely prospect, of course, but the ideas it raises opens plenty of "What If??" doors. Just how much would it take for the world's transportation industry to break down? If no food could be transported to Winnipeg in the winter, how long do you think we could survive? And if our electrical grid went down, and people were too busy panicking & fleeing town to fix it, or if fixing it wasn't physically possible, again, how long would we survive? Would people band together and help each other, or would they loot, steal and kill other people to keep themselves alive?

The second book in this series, The Dead and the Gone, is my favourite because it sets the story in the harshest environment imaginable in this situation: the island of Manhattan in New York City. Not only is there little-to-no electrical power (so many skyscrapers; no elevators) but it's also an island with 1.5 million people living on it, cut off from any farm land by miles and miles of surrounding city. When the ocean water hits after the accident, thousands die in washed out streets and flooded subway tunnels. Alex, our narrator, loses his parents in the flood and finds himself suddenly the sole support for his two younger sisters, alone in a dangerous frozen city where people die in the streets and others rob their corpses to survive. It's not a feel-good novel (in fact, there are some torturous, make-you-sick-to-your-stomach moments) but it sure does put normal every day problems in perspective. 

If you like the sound of these books, give them a try, or check out some of the other titles on our Dystopian Fiction summer picks lists, available on our TeenSRC Book Picks page. You can also Pin your favourites from our Pinterest page:

 

 

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June 26, 2014

By Terri

Finally.  Summer is here.  Time to lay around in the backyard, at the beach, in the park, and read all those great titles that I haven't had time to read.  This summer I'm trying out a few titles that wouldn't normally be my pick, just to change things up.  Of course, I want to read Divergent and The Fault in our Stars (I'm a little behind in my reading - I'm probably the only person that hasn't read those yet!)  But here are a few that have piqued my interest too...

Wise Young foolWise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin is the story of teen rockstar Ritchie Sudden.  It's not all music and parties, currently he's spending 90 days in a juvenile detention centre.  He tells his story of the year leading up to his arrest in a raw and hilarious voice.

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn is really not my typical summer read, but something about it has my attention.  The reviews all say things like 'dark & twisted,' 'gripping' and 'grabs the reader by the throat' - I particularly liked that last one.  Andrew Winston Winters has a secret and the story is told between flashbacks to his 10 year old self and his current day living situation at a boarding school in Vermont.  Win is damaged that's for sure, but the murky circumstances aren't clear until the shattering ending when everything falls into place.  If you like a little bit of gritty realism, then this one is for you.

Popular: a memoir: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Waganen.  Maya was unpopular and in Popularher words stuck at the bottom of the social ladder of high school, when she finds a 1950s guide to popularity she decides to follow it for a year.  Maybe you can imagine how it turns out, maybe you can't, either way it's going to be a funny and poignant read.

Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson.  Princess Lia is a young princess doomed to an arranged marriage and she flees to a new life on the day of her wedding.  She creates a new peaceful life for herself until two young men arrive in town.  One the jilted groom and one the assassin sent to kill her.  This reminds me of all the fairy tales I've loved in the past, so it made the list.

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour.  At first this sounds like a typical summer read, L.A., Hollywood film sets, heartbreak and love - and that would be enough but this book might have more to offer. Emi and her best friend Charlotte find a letter from a deceased Hollywood legend and set out to find who it belongs to...this leads them to Ava, a girl who prefers to live in a homeless shelter rather than focus on the extravagance of Hollywood.

Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor.  Bettina has led a sheltered life and is shocked when her very Greek father allows her to date the very handsome basketball star Brady.  At first she is thrilled by her freedom and first love but then Brady's dark side emerges.  She finds comfort and friendship with Cowboy, a mechanic at the local garage, a relationship that she knows her father would never condone. (Also, the reviews say it has a shocking ending - and I can never resist that!)

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson.  Emily and Sloane have been best friends since Sloane moved to town.  Then one day Sloane is gone, she and her entire family vanish.  Emily is lost and heartbroken, until the day a to-do list arrives in the mail from Sloane.  Emily plans to accomplish all the tasks on the list including "skinny-dipping" and "dance until dawn" in the hopes that the list will lead to her friend. Instead she finds that the list is forcing her to participate in her own life rather than standing on the sidelines.

CCreature of Moonlightreature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn. I don't think of myself as a fantasy reader yet I'm often drawn to these kinds of titles.  Marni is the sole heir to a kingdom surrounded by wood and ruled by a powerful dragon.  Instead of taking over the kingdom, Marni must live in exile because her father is the dragon and her mother a runaway princess.  When her grandfather dies, her only protector, she is sent to live at the court of her uncle experiencing what a truly human life would be like.  Her dragon blood continues to call her to a life full of magic and mystery in the woods, and Marni must make a choice.

So there you have it, my list.  What's on your list for the summer?

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June 19, 2014

By Jeremy

If you love manga and anime, you'll want to join Sir William Stephenson Library's Manga Club this summer! We will be discussing a variety of manga and anime, discovering new manga, learning manga drawing techniques, creating manga collage and much more.

With comics, the merging of art and words creates a unique medium. The art pulls in the mind, and the words make the reality. A picture may be worth a thousand words, while words may convey what art cannot, but the two types together are truly powerful.

Some of the awesome manga we'll be reading this summer?

Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma
The entire series of this manga is based on a 5-year old girl named Yotsuba Koiwai who just moved into a new town. She has adventures throughout the entire series like meeting neighbours, getting a new bike and even meeting a giant robot. She explores her daily life and learning new things like manners and etiquettes like how a 5-year-old should be. This lovable character is well known in her own town thanks to her quirkiness and her inquisitiveness. The manga won an Excellence Award at the 2006 Japan Media Arts Festival. Be ready to laugh and feel child-like when reading this book.


Bakuman Story by Tsugumi Ohba & Art by Takeshi Obata
Average student Moritaka Mashiro enjoys drawing for fun. When his classmate and aspiring writer Akito Takagi discovers his talent, he begs Moritaka to team up with him as a manga-creating duo. But what exactly does it take to make it in the manga-publishing world?


Fushigi Yugi Story & Art by Yuu Watase (3 volumes in 1)
The discovery of a mysterious book transports Miaka and her best friend Yui into a strange new world reminiscent of ancient China. They set out to find and befriend seven Celestial Warriors, including dashing mercenary Tamahome and wannabe empress Nuriko. Only then can Miaka summon the power of the god Suzaku, find her true love, and get home safely.


One Piece Story & Art by Eiichiro Oda
A new shonen sensation in Japan, this series features Monkey D. Luffy, whose main ambition is to become a pirate. Eating the Gum-Gum Fruit gives him strange powers but also invokes the fruit's curse: anybody who consumes it can never learn to swim. Nevertheless, Monkey and his crewmate Roronoa Zoro, master of the three-sword fighting style, sail the Seven Seas of swashbuckling adventure in search of the elusive treasure "One Piece."

Ouran High School Host Club Story & Art by Bisco Hatori
One day, Haruhi, a scholarship student at exclusive Ouran High School, breaks an $80,000 vase that belongs to the "Host Club," a mysterious campus group consisting of six super-rich (and gorgeous) guys. To pay back the damages, she is forced to work for the club, and it's there that she discovers just how wealthy the boys are and how different they are from everybody else.

 

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