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Coming This Summer!

May 1, 2015 | Alice | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

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TPL Teens: Summer Edition, a fuller, funner version of the blog you already know and love! 

All summer long, we'll be ramping up content around here and adding some new stuff to make summer something to look forward to even more than you already do. 

Summer is all about a relaxed, good times vibe, and we're planning to bring it! Come by often for:

  • hottest books recommendations from our expert YA readers
  • contests and great prizes
  • reviews and articles by teens
  • memes and games to show off your wit
  • awesome workshops across the city
  • discussions with other youth
  • music and movie suggestions

It all starts in July, and we can't wait! 

Teen Review: Vast Fields of Ordinary

May 20, 2015 | Alice | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Vast Fields of Ordinary, by Nick Burd

Review by Olivia S. 

OrdinaryFirst of all, if you are looking for an action type of book, the book might not be your best choice. Like the title suggested, it’s a book about an ordinary boy in a suburban area. Also, the word “suburban” appeared so many times in the novel that it doesn’t even look like a real word to me anymore. So grab yourself a cup of tea, some cookies, and then read this book like an old lady on a rainy day. This book took a spin on the topic of LGBT communities. While most of books and slash fictions out there, pictured being gay and having a popular boyfriend as a “happily ever after” ending. This is how this book started. It definitely left a sour taste when I finished reading the book.

The main character is always in the state of confusion and trance. He might be a little too ordinary for my likings, but he is very relatable and convincing. The author did a great job on creating the atmosphere and the tone of this novel. The storyline of the book is not very clear, which is intended to show the puzzlement, but it conveys the emotions of the main character. It is also an open ending book, which is interesting to read. I felt the frustration of the main character creeping out of the book, and interfered with my emotions. The last time I felt that way was when I was 5 and watching Lion King.

The content of the book is a little on the explicit side. While the book is more on the serious side than a fluff, I have to say that the last name swipe between Alex and Dave is extremely cute and adorable. The book also tackled problems with substance abuse. If you are not comfortable with that, well, you have been warned. Overall, I think this book is quite an intense read, but it’s definitely worth your time.


A book you can fly through - THE BUNKER DIARY reviewed

May 20, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Review by Melissa, age 15

The bunker diary coverThe Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks is the type of book that you can fly through in a few hours. It's unique, interesting, and it has a mysterious air to it. Linus, the main character, gets tricked by a man and ends up trapped in a bunker. Soon after, he realizes that he's being watched by security cameras with microphones. This book tells Linus's story in a journal style, starting from the day he finds himself trapped the the bunker alone. It is mostly text, with a few select images drawn to get the point across on things such as certain objects and floor plans. He has many challenges to overcome, starting when he finds a little girl in the mysterious elevator one morning. Personally, I quite enjoyed this book. Kevin Brooks was able to capture a lot of emotion in Linus's character, and make him funny and easy to relate to. In fact, at one point in the novel, Linus gives some great advice: "Tip for the day: never eat a bible when you're starving to death." This book is a bit dark, but I think that a wide group of teens would be able to find content that they can relate to, or hits close to home.

"Very hard to forget" - TUNNELS reviewed

May 19, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Tunnels book coverReviewed by Sura, age 14

Will Burrows is a normal teenage boy who lives with his mom, dad, and twin sisters. He goes on with his everyday life along with his best friend Chester. Nothing could have been better for Will until one day Will's father goes missing. Suddenly his perfect life is abruptly stopped by this turn of events. Many days go by and no one can figure out what happened to Will's dad. So Will takes matters into his own hands. With the help of Chester he searches for his dad. After many days of hopeless searching, Will finally finds something; behind the shelf in his garage is a secret tunnel. Will decides to leave and search the tunnel hoping to find his dad, and he brings Chester along with him. Once they enter the tunnel, their lives change forever, as they discover a whole new world hidden underneath the ground and the only way in is the tunnel. This is an action-packed thriller where you go on a journey with Will and Chester in hopes of finding Will's dad.

The day I picked up Tunnels, I met two new friends, Chester and Will, and I was submerged in a whole new world. The character development in this book is so outstanding, the characters are so well written that you can connect with the characters very deeply. I love how the book really takes its time, slowly connecting you with each character so that later on you learn to consider the characters as your own special family.

Once I picked up this book I couldn't stop, each page is packed with suspense and action that will make it outrageously hard for you to stop. It's really hard for a book to get you hooked in only the first paragraph, but this book does exactly that, by the first paragraph you won't be able to stop.

I deeply recommend this book to anyone, it has a beautiful story, it's amazingly written, and the connections between the character and yourself are ones that are very hard to forget.



Music Video Mondays - The Eurythmics

May 18, 2015 | Cameron | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

What can anyone say about The Eurythmics? They have influenced many musicians, fashion designers, artists, etc. The duo of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart dominated the charts for most of the 80's and then Annie did the same for most of the 90's. So here we pay tribute to this iconic due and the amazing music and video's that they made. Starting us off is their first hit single that shot them into fame - "Sweet Dreams":


Then we move onto the mid-80's and another huge hit "There must be an angel":


and to end this post we have one of their later videos "I need a man" which features Annie all glammed up.


Five Frames From . . . May 16th Edition

May 16, 2015 | Cameron | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

What movie are these images from?






All rights reserved, all wrongs reversed.

TCAF Draws 24,000!

May 15, 2015 | Ken Sparling | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

With thanks to Alice Quinn

Toronto Comic Arts Festival crowd at Toronto Reference Library

Last weekend, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, affectionately known as TCAF, attracted about 24,000 people to its various venues over the course of the festival. More than 20,000 of those converged on Toronto Reference Library on Saturday and Sunday, May 9 and 10.

One of the many successful events during the festival was the kickoff, which featured a number of prominent comic artists from revered Canadian publisher Drawn & Quarterly, celebrating its 25th year of producing quality graphic books.

The kickoff featured a panel of prolific, talented alternative cartoonists, reminiscing on their years (some on their decades) of creating comics with Drawn & Quarterly.

Journalist Sean Rogers started the conversation asking all the creators about their earliest experience with D&Q.

Seth was one of the first to respond, saying he was drawn to the publisher because when he talked to Chris Oliveros, founder of D&Q, Chris actually listened rather then jumping in to offer criticism. From that first meeting, Seth said he felt encouraged rather than cringing about the edits the publisher might want.

Adrian Tomine said that comics were a hobby for him, but he was inspired by D&Q's body of work and sent them some of his stuff... that was in 1998 and he has been publishing comics with them ever since.

Jillian Tamaki was disheartened after finishing university with a degree, and then finding herself with nothing more to work towards; she found joy in reading D&Q books and sent in her work to them on a whim.

Jason Lutes wanted to tell stories, so he started a comics club in his school and serialized Jar of Fools in a free weekly newspaper while he interned for an American publisher. The American publisher never gave his work a chance, but Chris at D&Q was excited about Jar of Fools.

Lynda Barry couldn't find work after 2002, and D&Q approached her about publishing a collection of her newspaper strips. She pitched them her new ideas as well and they wound up working together on both.

Here is some other stuff that got said during the discussion:

- D&Q has always been supportive of female cartoonists - not because they are female and would fill that quota, but because they were talented and had great stories to tell.

- D&Q was an essential part of the creating comics as art movement during the late 90s (when that wasn't cool yet).

- D&Q is a publisher that cares about print, choosing the highest quality paper, ink and binding, and taking care to produce a printed edition that fulfilled the creator's desires.

- D&Q never was a publisher to edit much or in some cases at all - they invest in their artists rather then just signing them on for a book - which is why many artists continue to work with D&Q on more projects.

There was a great deal more discussed in the panel but this is where my notes finish. It is hard to concentrate on making notes when you are so intrigued by the creators on stage! You get pulled in to their anecdotes and find yourself with rapt fascination on the edge of your seat. I will leave you with  one particularly compelling story that I remember so clearly, punctuated as it was by Lynda Barry's amazing laugh. Oh I know I am not doing this story justice but I hope you will enjoy this as I have:

Lynda was doing a strip in a free weekly, but was otherwise looking for work. She had sent in a strip to a local publisher and got a call from a woman who said, "I am looking at your comic, and I want to talk to you about it." Lynda nearly hung up on the woman in her rush, replying that she lived around the corner and would drop by. Lynda said that in making this comic she had drawn all the women as women and the men as prickly cacti that smoked. So Lynda got to the office nearly completely out of breath, and the woman who called told her that Lynda's comic was offensive and the worst comic she have ever seen and then kicked her out. As Lynda was going out, feeling dejected, this guy poked his head out of his office and asked if Lynda had just come from that woman's office? Lynda replied yes... and the guy offered to print the comic on the spot! He had a page he could do whatever he wanted with and he despised this woman enough to print Lynda's strip without even looking at it just cause this woman had rejected it!

This event was such a great way to kick off TCAF  - What was your favourite part of the festival this year?

Pan Am Poetry Slam: The Finals

May 15, 2015 | stephen | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Pan Am flyereditThis is the big one ladies and gentlemen!

In the spirit of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, Canada's most talented young poets take their skills to the stage. 

Included in this showcase, are the winning poets from the Poetry Saved Our Lives showcase. Come out and cheer on the contenders at this inspiring event. 

The finals will feature 12 young artists and 7 emerging artists but only one will emerge with the crown. 

If you missed out on the Pan Am Poetry Showcase last month, this is your chance to catch some of the most creative artists you will ever have the pleasure of hearing. 

Come out and witness greatness

Friday May 22, 2015

Toronto Reference Library

Bram & Bluma Appel Salon


Doors open at 6pm

Grab your tickets now!

A classy night of spoken word and music - literary salon style!

May 14, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Posted by Kathleen Chen

SalonposterThe tradition of literary salons was prominent in France in the 17th and 18th centuries, where a lady of high society would invite friends over for discussions about literature and ideas. Salons were cultural hubs where guests would show off their skill with art, etiquette and conversation.

We are inviting you to a classy evening of performances of verse, prose and music, featuring members of Toronto French School’s Writing Club. In the spirit of exchanging ideas, we would like to share our art with you, and hear yours during the open mic session! Please join us on Wednesday, May 20 at 7 pm at 318 Lawrence Avenue East for an invigorating and refreshing celebration of art in our community.

Proceeds collected from the event will be donated to a charity that recognizes and promotes the power of art: Literature for Life. This organization has several social programs aimed at helping mothers and children in unstable situations develop confidence through relevant reading and writing exercises. One of their after-school programs, ChalkFarm Super Readers, is in danger of closing down due to a lack of funds. We want to support this program’s mission of helping children of recent immigrants, who are usually the primary English speakers of their households, develop essential literacy skills and find their inner superheroes.

In addition to ticket sales, we are raising money by selling zines (mini magazines of student art and writing) and student visual art. Tickets are $10 each, or $11 with a zine. Please contact Kathleen Chen or Julia Wong with any questions!

Kathleen Chen is a member of Toronto Public Library's Editorial Youth Advisory Group. Check out her story, 'Flight', on page 9 of Young Voices 2014.


Celebrity Instagram Photos of the Week

May 14, 2015 | Claire A | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

This week's Celebrity Instagram posts include Lea Michele, Meghan Trainor, Kevin Hart, Lady Gaga, Ashley Benzo, and Ian Somerhalder.  

@msleamichele  @meghan_trainor

@kevinhart4real  @ladygaga
@itsashbenzo  @iansomerhalder

Poetry Saved Our Lives Showcase: Event Review

May 13, 2015 | stephen | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

PsolfinalAn event review submitted by Farhiya from Jane/Dundas.

"A few weeks ago, the YAG group had been invited to go to something special. There was a program Poetry Saved Our Lives set up to let the youth get to perform for the first time  It was happening at the North York Central library and we'd been invited as guests to watch. Straight off the bat as soon as we got to the venue, there was a cool DJ and the workers were handing out gift bags with notebooks, post-it notes, pencil and pens. When everyone was seated and ready to go, there was a workshop that started before the actual competition. It was by a man named Ian Keteku and he was a very well-spoken, funny poet. He ran through some writing exercises with everyone there to help us be comfortable with our writing skills, then showed us how to write like we have synesthesia. If you guys don't know what it means, it's a rare condition where your senses are connected for example, with synesthesia, might be able to hear different colours. Some people got to stand on the stage and share what they wrote, and I thought it was a really eye opening experience. After that, the poetry competition started and the competitors got ready to share their pieces with us. There were some really amazing poets that came out to compete that night, and it was pretty awesome. Some pieces were really inspirational, some were funny, and some were sad. There were all sorts of different emotions and messages in each different poem. Aside from the competitors, there were some professional poets that came out that night to perform amazing pieces that really blew me away. It was a pity I couldn't stay for the whole night, but that was a really memorable day for me."


If you missed it don't worry, stay tuned for details on the Finals!

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