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Young Voices Writers Conference tickets going, going...

October 6, 2015 | Ken Sparling | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Register now to be part of the 2015 Young Voices Writers Conference! Tickets are going fast!

FREE for Toronto teens.

You don't want to miss this full day of workshops, networking with other writers, an open mic, and the chance to get published in an instant anthology!

TRL2014_YoungVoicesConfer_Morn-Session_mg_2939Meet teen writers from across the city. Learn from the pros at eight awesome workshops, including: a crash course in making comics; a chance to work on your script with a professional actor and playwright; an opportunity to learn about the power of spoken word; help confronting bias in journalism; and more.

Young Voices Writers Conference

Saturday, Oct. 10, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

North York Central Library

UPROOTED - a review - from SUBLIME READS

October 5, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Hello readers! I, Sarah, have braved the waters of school, homework, and parental control to bring you this book review. If you brave the waters of this review and like it, you can read more great reviews posted by me and my partner at

Coloured limes

Uprooted book coverAgnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

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October 4, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Review by Elaine, age 15

The son of neptune book coverIn this new Percy Jackson adventure, he wakes up in California with all of his memories wiped. He finds his way to the Roman demigod camp and meets new friends there. Percy feels like this is deja vu because it is, sort of. Percy is a Greek demigod who has been fighting for monsters since he was 12. After he arrives at the Roman camp, he goes on a quest with his new friends, Frank and Hazel to find the twelfth legion's golden standard which was lost on a quest in Alaska years ago.

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ENDER'S GAME reviewed

October 4, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Review by Elaine, age 15

Enders game book coverEnder's Game is a sci-fi book for young adults. It is about a brilliant boy named Andrew (Ender) Wiggin who is recruited to attend Battle School up in space at the age of 5. He is taken from his family and trained to be the commander of a fleet of ships on the way to fight an alien species, the buggers. In Battle School he is tested again and again to see his emotional and physical tolerance. It truly touched my heart to see how such a young hero could carry such a heavy burden.

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October 4, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Review by Elaine, age 15

The Mark of Athena book coverThis is one of my favourite books of all time. It is filled with humour and adventure which makes it a wonderful read. The dangerous story of these young demigods will make you laugh, cry and relate to some of the troubles they face. The Mark of Athena follows seven present day demigods in their attempt to stop the Greek Earth goddess Gaea from waking up and destroying all of mankind. Greek demigods join with Roman demigods, although they have a rocky history together and travel from the US all the way to Greece and defeat some monsters on the way. Along the way, one of the crew members, a daughter of Athena, goes on a quest to find the Athena Parthenos, a statue that has the power to heal the rift between the Roman and Greek demigods.I don't want to reveal the ending, but the way Rick Riordan concludes this book in the series will truly touch your heart. I hope you can enjoy this book as much as I do!

Three reviews by Mandy!

October 3, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Push book cover Chandas Secrets book cover Three little words book cover

Push by Sapphire is for a more mature audience as the issues and language of the book are quite graphic and violent. Push is about a 16-year old named Precious Jones who at 12 years old was impregnated by her father. At the age of 16, she is once again pregnant and finally stands up for herself to her abusive mother. Push shows readers how Precious, with the help of her teacher and peers, managed to learn how to read and write and make a living and care for herself. This was a really great book that made me have a different perspective of life. Sapphire really wrote an amazing book that can really change your life after reading it. However, I do say once more that this book is very graphic and can make some readers uncomfortable. I do think that this book should be read at least once in your lifetime as it is truly life-changing and encouraging.

Another book I would absolutely recommend is Chanda's Secrets" by Allan Stratton. This book is about a girl named Chanda who lives in Africa with her family. Where Chanda lives, AIDS is a huge issue that no one wants to talk about; or they are afraid to talk about. All her life, Chanda had to deal with issues and death. However, when someone very close to Chanda gets AIDS, she must decide what to do and how to stay strong for her siblings. This story is really touching and really shows the importance of family. I really enjoyed this book because readers are able to actually envision what is going on in other countries. Countries like the one Chanda lives in. This book is worth a read if you enjoy survival and courageous stories with a strong female lead. 

Three Little Words: A Memoir by Ashley Rhodes-Courter is a book where Ashley (the author) writes about her experience in the foster care system. Ashley has endured many things in her childhood that children really shouldn't have to go through at such a young age. In fact, Ashley has been put into around fourteen foster homes. Some worse than others. At the same time, she still tries to stay and care for her brother. This is sometimes hard, however, since some foster homes only allowed girls. This book will make you realize how the world isn't always what it seems. Three Little Words is definitely one of those books that's hard to put down and I would for sure recommend it.

KATANA reviewed

October 3, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Reviewed by Emily, age 15

Katana book cover Katana by Cole Gibsen centres around the concept of rebirth and ancient Japanese stories. We meet Rileigh Martin, who thought that she was an ordinary girl, and why shouldn't she? She had a best friend, went to school, and had a loving Mom and home. That's why she brushed off any concern on her fending off three muggers one night and labelled it as adrenaline and her uncanny courage in those situations. However, that may not be the case. And why does she always dream about 15th century Japan?

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Zoie from ZOIE'S BOOKSHELF reports on Sarah Henstra's Writing Workshop

October 2, 2015 | E Writer in Residence 2015 — Eve Silver | Comments (11) Facebook Twitter More...

Fridays on the TPL Teens blog are all about writing tips, current reads and a chance to win cool books. First up, the writing tips. Scroll down for the contest. 

I was thrilled when Zoie from Zoie's Bookshelf offered awesome writing tips that she picked up at Sarah Henstra's Writing Workshop. Take it away, Zoie!


Unnamed-1I recently attended the Flesh & Blood Characters writing workshop at the Toronto Reference Library, which was held on August 13th. I was really looking forward to it, especially because it was being conducted by Sarah Henstra, author of Mad Miss Mimic. I had read her debut novel earlier this summer and was amazed by the beautiful writing, and even more impressed with the believable characters she had managed to create. I was excited to learn about all her tricks, and all the ways to improve my own writing and characters.

When I entered the auditorium, I was eager to see that half of the room was already filled, full of aspiring writers just like myself, people who were curious to learn and create. It was a pretty special thing to come upon, because who knew how many fellow writers were also in the city? By the time the official program actually started, the auditorium was packed, brewing with energy.

Sarah Henstra decided to start the workshop by having us warm up our writing skills, and we performed a few exercises. One that particularly stuck with me was the first one we did. It was to write down as many words that begun with the letter d in three minutes. Sounds easy right? I was surprised to say that it was not, in fact. About halfway through I was running out of ideas; I began to use the same words over, just changing the suffixes to alter them slightly. I felt like a cheater, because surely that wasn’t how it worked! The purpose of the writing exercise was to show us that even throughout our uncertainty it was possible to overcome them. It taught me that you need to keep your chin high while writing, and not let self-doubt interfere with your creative mind, which is extremely important to know.

Once the exercises were over, we listened to the author as she explained how she made her characters so believable. Here are some points I felt were very helpful:

  • Your characters must feel real! Let your readers be able to see and feel the way your characters does.

  • Characters have a job to do, and that is to move the story forward. Readers will put your work down if there is no rising tension. Your protagonist should have a problem, because a problem is the root of conflict. The story revolves around the problem- it is the most important aspect of your character. Without one, there would be no forward thrust, and it would be boring to read. The earning and desire of your character moves the story along. Ask yourself the question: What does your character want most in the world?

  • Characters should develop over the course of the story, and they must change in a realistic way. Throughout your writing your character should keep consistent opinions, until the point where they have changed. Make sure to gradually develop your characters in a way that makes sense.

  • Show us your character in the world- don’t tell. Every gesture and action shows the true personality of your characters. Dialogue is also huge for revealing character, but still think about what their bodies are doing while their mouths are moving.

  • Try and create each character as an individual. Make them all different- remember, characterization is key!

Sarah Henstra also suggested setting a timer for your writing. The goal is to continuously write for the allotted time. Reward yourself when you succeed, and then do it again, prompting new ideas. Experiment while you’re under pressure. If you don’t think too hardly about what you are writing, but let yourself write freely, it’s amazing to see what you can create!


Thanks for a wonderful summary, Zoie! Anyone else attend the workshop? Do you have any tips to share?

Now for the contest! This week's prize is a copy of The Heir by Kiera Cass PLUS a copy of Four by Veronica Roth.


1. To enter, just leave a question or the title of your Friday Read or writing tip or a general comment in the Comments section. 

2. You must live in Toronto to win this contest. 

3. You must provide a valid e-mail address so you can be contacted if you win a prize, and you must be able to come to a TPL branch to pick up your prize (see privacy statement below for more information).

4. One entry per person per Contest - you can leave more than one comment, but only your first comment will count as a contest entry. 

5. Contest ends Thursday October 8, 2015 at 11:59 pm. 

6. Winner will be announced on the following Friday.

Personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the Public Libraries Act, s.20 (a) and (d) and will be used to administer the Library's TPL Teens contest. Questions about the collection or management of personal information should be directed to library manager Jayne Delbeek-Eksteins- 416-396-8858.

 And a reminder to all Toronto teen writers: Send me your writing for feedback!

Not sure what and how to submit? Check out the post on submissions to the E-Writers in Residence 2015 (that's me!). 

Five Frames From . . . October 2nd 2015 Edition.

October 2, 2015 | Cameron | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

What movie are these images from? First to get it right gets a prize.






All rights reserved, all wrongs reversed.


October 1, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Reviewed by Emily, age 15

The Body Finder book cover This book was thrilling, and it gave me goosebumps! I couldn't put it down all night; the action, mystery and romance were all very well balanced and made me shiver with anticipation.  

In The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting, we meet Violet, who was a special child, and she knew she was different. Ever since she was young, she would find dead things, and would know exactly where they were.

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Young Voice Electronic Writer in Residence. My Curved Border

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