Teens’ Top Ten

Whether you stridently agree with Stephen Colbert that “a young adult novel is just a regular novel that people want to read” or you just need a few great recommendations to share with a lucky teen in your life, YALSA (the Young Adult Library Service Association) and a few of our awesome local teen book groups have got you covered.

CC Image courtesy of Enokson on Flickr
CC Image courtesy of Enokson on Flickr

Each year, teen book groups throughout the country agree to read, review, and select their top picks from over 30 large and small publishing houses. In exchange, participants are able to receive free advanced reading copies of the books and the opportunity to share their thoughts directly with those in the book industry. The result? An annual list of 25 amazing titles, hand-picked by teen readers as well as an annual Teens’ Top Ten, voted on by librarians, educators, and readers.

Before I share this year’s highly anticipated selections, please join me in giving a huge thanks and shout-out to the teen book clubs of the Bainbridge Island and Port Orchard Branches of Kitsap Regional Library, who are completing a third year as one of sixteen groups in the country chosen to participate. Because of the hard-work of these teens, program coordinator Stefanie Graen, staff, and amazing volunteers, readers may enjoy witnessing first love among the chaos of family turmoil, a terrifying silent alien invasion, or an adrenaline filled mash-up of Inception and The Matrix through this year’s list. Interested in becoming a Teens Top Ten participant? Contact Stefanie Graen at the Bainbridge Island Branch or Bradley Post at the Port Orchard Branch for more information.

And without further ado, drumroll please:



3D Printing. What can you do?

The world of 3D printing has opened up a new way to think about how we design and build. With some computer software and a printer, we can customize just about everything we use in everyday life.

Makerbot Industries - Replicator 2 - 3D-printer 09/ Flickr
Makerbot Industries – Replicator 2 – 3D-printer 09/ Flickr

3D printers aren’t just some science fiction technology. They are real, and KRL has one.

The printer we work with prints using a material called PLA (Polylactic acid). This is a biodegradable plastic normally made from corn starch. We simply load digital files into the printer and watch as it turns our computer creations into real objects.

With a 3D printer you can print all sorts of amazing things.

Minecraft worlds.

Garden view/ Flickr
Garden view/ Flickr

Creative projects.

Hold Your Ideas in Your Hands with Shapeways 3D Printing : The Deer Cup/flickr
Hold Your Ideas in Your Hands with Shapeways 3D Printing : The Deer Cup/flickr

Or even a statue of yourself.

3D scan then 3D print of yours truly. Courtesy of Vert Design and a hacked Xbox Kinect./ Flickr
3D scan then 3D print of yours truly. Courtesy of Vert Design and a hacked Xbox Kinect./ Flickr

But 3D printers are not just limited to plastic. Other materials include:

Foods like chocolate….

#Chocnology-6/ Flickr
#Chocnology-6/ Flickr

…or sugar.

Delicious powdery 3d printed sugar thanks to @thesugarlab./ Flickr
Delicious powdery 3d printed sugar thanks to @thesugarlab./ Flickr

Even metals like gold, silver and brass.

Brass 3D Prints by Shapeways/ Flickr
Brass 3D Prints by Shapeways/ Flickr

And that just scratches the surface. People and organizations are printing buildings, cars and even human organs like kidneys.

3D printing is really whatever you want it to be. With a little creativity, some modeling software and time to explore and learn, the sky is the limit. This printing technology opens up a new way to rethink the objects around you. A way to design things by you and for you.

Interested in learning how to 3D model and print a design? Join us for a 2 hour workshop with BiblioTEC Librarian, Seth Ciotti. The workshop takes place on Friday, Nov. 7 from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. at the Sylvan Way branch of Kitsap Regional Library. Registration is required. To sign up, send your full name and email address to bibliotec@krl.org For ages 12-18. Space is limited to 10 participants.

BiblioTEC classes and labs take place at the Sylvan Way branch of Kitsap Regional Library every Friday. Please refer to the KRL calendar, located at http://www.krl.org, for future 3D printing events and more tech programming.

21 Again: the Library is a Place for Dreaming

If you are pondering any aspect of retirement and the freedoms it brings, you will relate to my musings today. My groups of friends are mostly 7-10 years away from retirement, but a few have taken the plunge early. We dream different dreams, but we all dream.

As I listen to the excited chatter of creating a whole new life, the possibilities of moves, of pursuing different careers, time for hobbies, traveling or relocating, I hear the longing for independence and self-determination or the longing for more connection in those eager voices, the anticipation of going in any direction one chooses.

This all reminds me so strongly of something…something I’ve been through before…something really exciting and really important…what is it? What is it?

Ah…21 again!! THAT’S what it is. It reminds me exactly of planning far ahead in my mind about going away to college, leaving home, finally being “myself” somewhere new, of dreaming and planning life after school, all full of infinite potential and most of all, freedom and self-determination.

What better place to explore your dreams than the library. Whether your own re-invention is happening right now or only in your dreams, learn more, do more and be more with us.

conscious living project renewment supercharged

Music for Kids that Adults will Love Too!

Finding music that both children and adults enjoy can be a difficult task. Between capturing a melody that is catchy but not overwhelming to the senses (or the nerves) and creating lyrics that appeal to a wide age range, it’s no wonder that some people avoid “children’s music” all together.

Don’t give up quite yet! KRL has a wide selection of music CDs that both kids and adults will love. Sound too good to be true? Check out some of these albums and you might find yourself listening even when the kids aren’t around!

a little loveRenee and Jeremy A Little Love.  These two singer-songwriter friends harmonize together in a way that is beautiful and calming.  This personal favorite of mine includes sweet covers of popular songs like “Give it Away” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and “Yellow” by Coldplay – a rainy day go-to.  Also checkout: Lisa Loeb’s Catch the Moon

can you canoeThe Okee Dokee Brothers  Can You Canoe?  This album won a 2013 Grammy Award for Best Children’s Music.  It’s fun, fresh and lively and great for the whole family. The bluegrass/folksy feel will have you tapping your feet and singing along.   Take it on a family road trip!  Also checkout: Johnny Cash’s The Johnny Cash Children’s Album

you are my little birdElizabeth Mitchell You Are My Little Bird.  Any Elizabeth Mitchell album is a definite winner if you’re wanting a successful pairing of sweet melodies and sincere lyrics. This is perfect whenever you want a feel good pick-me-up or some cuddle time with your little one!  Also checkout: Frances England’s Mind of My Own and Dan Zanes’ Little Nut Tree.

this is funCaspar Babypants This is Fun.   Caspar Babypants continues to be one of my all-time favorite music-for-kids-for-adults artists.  Caspar Babypants, aka ‘Chris Ballew’ of the band Presidents of the United States of America, creates music that is silly, catchy and down-right fun regardless of your age.   Any of his CD’s will be a winner.  Also checkout: Laurie Berkner’s The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band

are we thereThe Verve Pipe Are We There Yet?  From the same band that released record-breaking hits in the 90’s comes this fun and energetic album that will have the whole family singing along. Perfect for long car rides or a mood-lifting dance party!  Also checkout: The Barenaked Ladies’ Snacktime! and They Might Be Giants’ Here Comes Science.

family timeZiggy Marley Family Time.  This 2009 Grammy Award Winner is filled with uplifting lyrics, toe-tapping harmonies and fun reggae beats that are sure to have both children and adults singing along. This would be a fun selection for anytime!  Also checkout: Bob Marley’s B is for Bob

Family music time doesn’t have to end here, however. Create your own music with your little ones using some of these great and simple to use apps:

Toca Band

Yo Gabba Gabba! Music is Awesome!

Sketch-A-Song Kids

Kids Music Factory

Fabulous Nonfiction Books, Oh, My!

What do the titles Parrots Over Puerto RicoA Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, and The Nazi Hunters have in common? Each is an award-winning, nonfiction book written for children or teens.

blog - parrots     blog - splash     blog - nazi h

While most people have heard of the  Caldecott or Newbery Medals, awards presented specifically to authors and illustrators of informational (nonfiction) literature are not as well-known. However, lists of major children’s nonfiction book award winners and honor books are treasure troves of well-written, engaging books that children and teens can enjoy on their own and that educators can mine for complex, informational literature to use in a classroom.

Although nonfiction books are eligible for consideration by the Caldecott and Newbery Committees (and there are many informational books on the lists of Medal winners and Honor books for the two awards), only nonfiction or informational titles may be considered for the following awards.  (Because of space, I’ve included only four of the many organizations that annually honor nonfiction books written for children and teens.)

The first, is The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal, which is “awarded annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book for children published in the United States  in English during the preceding year.”

“The YALSA Award for Excellence In Nonfiction honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18) during a Nov. 1 – Oct. 31 publishing year.”

The National Council of Teachers of English annually presents the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children to promote and recognize excellence in the writing of nonfiction for children.

And don’t forget the International Reading Association, whose IRA Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Awards are intended “for newly published authors who show unusual promise in the children’s and young adults’ book field.”

And the National Science Teachers Association annually releases a list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 that were published during the previous year.

So, take a look–you may be surprised by what you find:

blog-almost astronauts  blog-balloons  blog-courage  blog-kakapo  blog-drawing  blog-bodies


Books to Inspire

Staying current with the latest world news is likely to turn you into a pessimist. It’s a very good thing, then, that there are people in the world doing good work and authors who choose to write about them. Any one of these new books can help you feel better about the world we live in.

Birds of PandemoniumThe Birds of Pandemonium by Michelle Raffin shares the stories of saving and breeding birds close to extinction with the goal of releasing them into the wild. Readers will get to know many of the individual birds housed at this sanctuary and learn why it is so important to care for these fascinating and beautiful creatures.

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing GoodBurnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn has a subtitle which speaks volumes: A Memoir of Food & Love from an American Midwest Family. Flinn shares family recipes which show that food is also a wonderful form of communication.

Elephant CompanyElephant Company by Vicki Croke is the inspiring story of a British soldier who worked behind enemy lines in Burma during World War II. When the war began, he was already an expert elephant handler because he had worked many years logging teak forests with elephants. He respected and cared for these animals and this is a wonderful tale of bravery and friendship between man and animal.

In a Rocket Made of IceIn a Rocket Made of Ice by Gail Gutradt is the story of a children’s orphanage in Cambodia. It was originally founded with fifty dollars by an ex-Marine medic who was a Viet Nam War veteran. The author was at a crossroads in her life when she first went there to volunteer but it turns out that she was the one who was transformed by the children she met there. Her book is warm and moving.

A Path AppearsA Path Appears by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WeDunn is a follow-up to their book Half the Sky which examined the inequalities faced by girls and women around the world. Here the authors look at what is being done by individuals and groups to address social and economic problems in the U.S. and elsewhere. If you want to be part of the solution, this book shows you how you can help.

The Promise of a PencilThe Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun has the subtitle: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change. This book’s title reminds me of the time I spent over 35 years ago in Sri Lanka where the children were asking tourists for “school pens”. If I had known how important a pen would be to such children, I would have brought a bag full! Adam Braun’s life changed when a child in India asked him for a pencil. After leaving a prestigious job, he started his own philanthropic foundation with only $25 and has now built over 200 schools for children.

Getting Library eBooks Just Got Easier!

OverDrive appYes, the new OverDrive app is here! This newest version eliminates use of the Adobe ID, which means that getting set up to download from the library just got infinitely easier.

First-time users of the new app will be prompted to create an OverDrive account, a simple process: just type in your name, an email address, and a password. To complete your sign up, click the link OverDrive sends you in your verification email.

Here are some of the great features that come with an OverDrive account:

  1. No Adobe authorization! Hopefully you don’t know or don’t remember what this is; those of us in libraryland are thrilled that this step has been eliminated. Really, librarians around the country are doing a mass Happy Dance.
  2. Sync your reading/listening across devices. Open the OverDrive app and sign into your OverDrive account on each device.  Your progress and your bookmarks will be automatically synced across every device registered in your name, so now when you move from your iPad to your Nexus 5 you won’t have to spend time scrolling through pages or fast-forwarding to find your place or favorite passages.
  3. Easily search your saved OverDrive libraries simultaneously. Hopefully you already have your free library cards from Seattle Public Library (SPL) and King County Public Library (KCLS). No? Just go to a physical branch (SPL has 27 and KCLS has nearly 50) with your KRL card and a photo ID with your current mailing address. It’s easy and free! Once you have saved those libraries on your app, go to overdrive.com, sign into your account and search for a title – click on ‘Borrow’ and the results will tell you which of your saved libraries have that title in their downloadable collection! In addition you will have the option to buy the title from this screen, but don’t forget that if KRL doesn’t have it you can ask us to buy it using our OverDrive catalog; after doing a search click on ‘Additional Titles to Recommend’ and click on the book cover you’d like us to purchase.

As always, if you have any questions or if there is anything we can do for you, please let us know!


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