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Summer School

August 2, 2016 | Youth Advisory Group | Comments (0)

by Riane, Northern District YAG

SUMMMER-SCHOOLIt's the summer, and while everyone else is heading to their cottage, I'm stuck in summer school. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's taking summer school and no, I am not taking summer school because I have to, I'm taking it because I want to. But as a young teenager, I have to complain and rant on about why I hate everything.  

  The whole purpose of summer is to get away from school and enjoy your life to the fullest. Summer allows students to wake up any time of the day and gives a student freedom. We no longer have to worry about our grades and do not have to waste our energy on school projects. I however, am stuck in a classroom. Everyday I have to wake up early. Everyday I have to worry about my grades. Top it off, I have an exam to write at the end of the course. Literally everyone I know is going to Canada's Wonderland or going to the beach. I however, cannot do any of those things and need to study for my future tests and exams. Plus, by the time I finish my course, half of my summer will be over, limiting me from doing any crazy adventures. As much as I want to attend summer school, I wish that I wouldn't have to sacrifice half of my summer. I'm just thankful that I decided to only take one course in the summer as opposed to two. As for those who are taking two courses, one in July and one in August, I wish you good luck.  


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

May 14, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

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.


#fridayreads Teen Writer Maria Yang Interviews YA author Paul Yee

November 14, 2014 | E Writer in Residence - Emily Pohl-Weary | Comments (3)

Paul YeeThis edition of #fridayreads is an interview with author Paul Yee led by TPL Editorial Youth Advisory Group member Maria Yang

Paul was born in Saskatchewan but grew up in Vancouver. For thirty years, he has written about Chinese Canadians, both in fiction for young readers (from picture books to Young Adult fiction) and in non-fiction for everyone (e.g. Saltwater City: the Illustrated History of the Chinese in Vancouver). He has lived in Toronto since 1988. 

Maria: What do you think is more important: writing what you care about or winning awards? Do you give any thought to winning awards when you’re writing?

Paul: Writing on what matters to me is far more important; I never muse about awards. I find it more useful to focus what you can control instead of what you can’t. 

Maria: There are lots of books about Chinese people in North America. Can you tell me what makes your books different from others?

Paul: Maria, as you say, there are lots of books about Chinese people in North America, and I see each one as being unique. That makes it hard for me to compare my work with “others,” because there are so many different kinds of “others.”  If I compare myself with North-American-born Chinese writers, my background is different in these ways: I spent many years doing volunteer work in Vancouver’s Chinatown. This gave me a political perspective on who has power and who does not in our society. This work also helped me keep my ability to speak Cantonese (unlike most North-American-born Chinese, who lose that ability due to assimilation). Even today, I like to struggle and try to read fiction written in Chinese.  I believe that having access to the Chinese language makes me a better writer.

Maria: Does your work experience—such as being an archivist—benefit your writing? How?

Paul: Being an archivist made me value doing research, which I saw as one way of getting close to something called “truth.”  That proximity to real lives as truly lived gave me confidence to take chances with my characters. 

Maria: Which of your family members has most influenced your writing?

Paul: My Aunt Lillian was born in 1895 in Vancouver and lived through many decades of anti-Chinese racism. She was my direct link to the pioneer generations of the community, and made the history come alive in a way that books could never.

Maria: In Chinatown, you describe the Chinese immigrants’ lives from early poverty and marginalization to success and integration. What do you think is the most important reason Chinese immigrants survive and thrive across Canada?

Paul: In my opinion, traditional Chinese thought and western capitalism share a belief in upward mobility through self-effort and education.

MariaBorn in Beijing, China, Maria Yang moved to Canada in grade 6, and is glad to be a new Torontonian. She studies at St. Joe's and volunteers with the Toronto Public Library's Editorial Youth Advisory Group. Loves nature and animal. Enjoys reading, painting, drawing, travelling, skiing, cooking, food, and caring for vulnerable people and voiceless living beings.

Classics of Teen Urban Fiction

August 18, 2014 | Erin | Comments (0)

Did you know that urban fiction is not just for adults? There are a whole ton of them featuring teen and young adult characters geared towards the issues that inner-city teens face.

Did you know that it is also not limited to pulp romances geared towards women? There is science fiction urban fiction, fantasy urban fiction, mystery urban fiction, the list goes on.

Did you also know that it is not new? It started to appear as a genre back in the late 80s/early 90s. Additionally, many earlier classics fall under the umbrella, such as The Sport of the Gods by Paul Laurence Dunbar and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. They too are set in a city, examine harsh socio-economic realities, and focus on the underside of city living. You could even say they started the genre.

Did you also know that multiple ethnicities and cultures are represented? Writers of the genre are primarily African-American, but there are also Canadians, Caribbeans, Hispanic peoples, South Asians, Caucasians, and Asians to name a few.

After much talking to teen readers I know, researching on my own, and consulting fellow staff (Cherine at Weston and Soheli at Cedarbrae) who are knowledgeable on the topic I’ve come up with a comphrensive (but by no means exhaustive) list of some classics of the genre below.

Here they are, in no particular order:Street love

When I was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

We Were Here by Matt de la Peña

Street Love by Walter Dean Myers

Keysha’s Drama by Earl Sewell

      also available in eBook version

Boy vs. Girl by Na'íma bint Robert

Yummy by Greg NeriBoy vs girl

Tap Out by Eric Devine

      also available in eBook version

Teenage Love Affair by Ni-Ni Simone

Bad Boy by Dream Jordan

Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree

Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes

Playground by 50 Cent

     also available in eBook versionRikers High

Rikers High by Paul Volponi

     also available in eBook version

Sleep On, Beloved by Cecil Foster

Romiette and Julio by Sharon M. Draper

     also available in audiobook version

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

     also available in eBook and eAudiobook versions

Bad boyMy Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt

     also available in eBook version

Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia

     also available in eAudiobook version

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

     also available in Audiobook version

The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura

     also available in eBook and eAudiobook versions

Split Ends by Jacquelin ThomasRomiette and Julio

The Harem by Safia Fazlul 

Help! Homework Help is Here. And PS3 and Xbox 360...

January 9, 2014 | Ray | Comments (0)


Looking for free homework help? Or a place to hang out after school?

The library has two After School Newcomer Hubs for teens in grades 7-10.  Tutors are on hand to provide free homework help in a variety of subjects, such as math, English, French, history, and science.

No homework? Awesome! Come hang-out, play Wii, Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.

Laptops are also available!

Centennial hub

Hubs run at the Centennial and Sanderson branches, Monday through Wednesday:

Centennial:                                                  Sanderson:

Mondays 3:30 - 8:00 pm                                 Mondays 3:30 - 7:30 pm
Tuesdays 3:30 - 6:30 pm                                Tuesdays 3:30 - 7:30 pm
Wednesdays 3:30 - 5:30 pm                            Wednesdays 3:30 - 7:30 pm


 All teens are welcome!

Going to university or college in the fall?

June 27, 2013 | Erin | Comments (1)

Then you'd best be prepared for higher level essay writing. Clip_Art_Writing_1

Luckily, there is a free four-part workshop being offered at Cedarbrae Branch starting July 16. Plus it's taught by a university professor. It's a great opportunity to learn from someone who could very well be grading your papers one day ;)

Registration is required. Space is very limited. Please call 416-396-8850. See the link above for more details on the workshop content.

Students entering grade 12 are welcome as well.

Are you Sri Lankan and like to write?

June 25, 2013 | Erin | Comments (0)

Are you a Sri Lankan-Canadian with a desire to write? We've got an exciting opportunity for you to team up with an established author and get started!

First: a little background about the organization that is making this happen:

"Sri Lankans Without Borders is a growing not-for-profit network based in Toronto that provides Canadians of Sri Lankan origin with opportunities to connect, build and lead initiatives that promote dialogue and cross-community engagement in  the Sri Lankan Canadian diaspora..."

SLWB is about connecting Canadians that trace their origins back to Sri Lanka and helping them grow, create and better the communities they are part of.

To support this mission, the Cedarbrae branch will be pairing up with SLWB to offer Pen Pals: a creative writing workshop to help grow and nurture creative writing skills. We'll be having this in our Learning Centre on the afternoon of Saturday, July 6 from 1:30-4:30 PM.

You'll get the benefit of working with Koom Kankesan, author of the funny and insightful Panic Button, as well as a new book, The Rajapaksa Stories. You'll have access to the library computers, refreshments and a wide variety of library resources to help support you in your work.

Did I mention all this is for free?

If you've got more questions, or are ready to register, be sure to contact the SLWB directly. You can get in touch via email ( or call Amra, the program coordinator, at 647-924-9443.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

We are Oakwood, we are all Toronto - Yell the Truth! Contest Winners!

May 14, 2013 | Ray | Comments (2)

Congratulations to Oakwood Village YAG on winning the grand prize for the Yell the Truth! contest sponsored by the Assets Coming Together (ACT) for Youth research project, York University!

What a great video - with such a true message!  Love it, great work Oakwood YAG!


Girls Club! Program for Teen Girls @ Albert Campbell

January 2, 2013 | Winona | Comments (0)

Girls Club header


Are you interested in doing something fun (and free!) after school? Do you enjoy hanging out with your friends and making new ones? Would you like to try new things in a girls-only environment? Then come and join our Girls Club at the Albert Campbell branch of the Toronto Public Library!

  • WHO: Girls age 12-16
  • WHAT: A different activity each week. Watch movies, learn new dance moves, play games and sports, make jewellery, try out leadership activities, and gain new life skills. Share ideas, meet friends, and have fun!
  • WHEN: 4-6 p.m. every Wednesday for six weeks, starting January 16, 2013
  • WHERE: In the auditorium at Albert Campbell, 496 Birchmount Road (Birchmount and Danforth Road)
  • WHY: Because being a teenage girl can be harder than it looks. But it can also be FUN!

To sign-up, call 416-396-8900. Space is limited so register early. This program is presented in partnership with Griffin Centre.


Interested in reading some honest writing about what it feels like to be a girl? Check out these great anthologies by and for girls and young women:


GirlSpoken edited by Jessican Hein, Heather Holland, and Carol KauppiGirlSpoken: From Pen, Brush, & Tongue is a collection of intensely personal stories, journal entries, poetry, and artwork by Canadian girls and young women aged 13-19.

The book is assembled into four main sections: "voice: telling truths about ourselves and our girlhoods"; "beauty: rants & reflections on love, desire & the beauty beast"; "strength: speaking out about our struggles & calling for change"; and "becoming: tales of where we've been & visions of where we're going."

This is the kind of book you can open to any page and find something genuine and moving expressed there. You might even recognize something of your self.


She's Shameless edited by Stacey May Fowlels and Megan Griffith-GreeneShe's Shameless: Women Write About Growing Up, Rocking Out, and Fighting Back is an anthology of frank and funny first-person accounts about what it's like to be young and female and ignored by the mainstream: as young women of colour, as queer youth, as artists, as activists, as freethinkers. 

This book is organized into five parts: "Breaking the Good Girl Mould"; "Things They Didn't Teach Me in Health Class"; "Getting Grounded: Run-ins with Authority"; "Relationships: For Better and Worse"; and "Extra Credit: What I Wish I'd Known All Along." It was put together by the same people who founded Shameless Magazine and features lots of awesome local writers, like Emily Pohl-Weary and Zoe Whittall.

Bonus: check out this interview the library did with one of the book's editors, Stacey May Fowles!


If I'd Known Then edited by Ellyn SpraginsHave you ever wished you could go back in time and give advice to yourself when you were younger? What do you think you would say?

In If I'd Known Then: Women in Their 20s and 30s Write Letters to Their Younger Selves, 35 women write candid letters to their younger selves full of advice about how to handle their actual past experiences with bad relationships, bullies, eating disorders, and crises of faith. Contributors include:

If you love Persepolis, you'll like "A Game for Swallows"

December 27, 2012 | Ray | Comments (0)

A Game for Swallows by Zeina Abirached is her story of growing up in Beirut during the 15-year Lebanese civil war. Using a strong, black-on-white drawing style, the images capture your eyes as the story draws you into the lives of her family, friends, and neighbours.

Gameforswallowscover                Here's Persepolis: Persepolis cover  Persepolis2cover


Showcase your talent at Teen Talent Night - Don Mills, Dec. 20th

December 19, 2012 | Ray | Comments (0)

Do you sing, love to dance, do stand-up comedy, recite poetry or play an instrument? Do you have a unique talent? Showcase it at Teen Talent Night.

Want to be in the show? If you are between the ages of 12 and 19 and would like to perform, just email

No registration required. For more information call 416-395-5710.

Help is out there. You are important. Resources online, by phone, and in person.

November 13, 2012 | Ray | Comments (0)

This week is National Bullying Awareness week.  Life is hard and some people aren't making it any easier. Sometimes you just need to talk to someone. Here are a few places to get support:

LGBTQ Youthline - Confidential, free, and non-judgemental peer support. Real understanding people who care. Also offer instant messaging.

Kids and Teens Help Phone - Has phone hotline and online forum with real youth mentors who address your personal case. 

Naseeha - Muslim Youth Helpline - website - Both male and female counsellors are between the ages of 18-30. "By providing peer to peer counselling, we build trust through our qualified and young counsellors, and omit the generation gap and cultural restrictions of an adult-run service."

Toronto Rape Crisis Center's hotline - Confidential and free. For survivors of sexual assault, incest, and for family and friends.

 And It Gets Better


In person - for safe, positive hangout space:

The Studio at DYS - meet other awesome youth - hangout, be yourself. Mean-free zone. Offers workshops, cooking classes, and a space to develop your own interests and talents. At Yonge + Eglinton.

STARS project at DYS - youth directed project for queer and trans youth and allies ages 13-21. Come chill with us at Mon-Thurs 3-8pm at our youth space, The Studio.  

Trans Youth Toronto - at the 519 Community Centre. Weekly social drop-in for trans, genderqueer, and and questioning youth under 27.

Queer Asian Youth - Provides social spaces, workshops, volunteer opportunity for LGBTQ, curious, undecided, or questioning East and Southeast Asian youth and their friends.

Youth Drop-in Centre at Native Child & Family Services and Youth Programs at Native Canadian Centre of Toronto

Youth at Access Alliance -  fun and exciting programs for newcomer youth 13 to 24 years old.

Delisle Youth Services - for all youth. A million ways to get support and be empowered.


Homework Help - More Branches

November 5, 2012 | Ray | Comments (0)

Get free help on your subjects! Check out the times and location:


  • Mondays, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Co-sponsored with North West Scarborough Youth Centre. Program be on Tuesday if Monday is a public holiday.



  • Wednesdays, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
  • Grades 2-12
  • Meet in Teen Zone.
  • Snacks!

Get free basic help from University Volunteer tutors.


Eatonville Meeting Room

  • Tuesdays, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Grades 5-10

Join this free after-school program for teens once a week. Call R.A.Y. (Rathburn Area Youth) at 416-626-6068 or the Eatonville Library at 416-394-5270


Peer Tutoring Club

Parkdale Program Room

  • Fridays, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

In the Peer Tutoring Club, youth get help with their home work assignments or any other academic assistance from their volunteer peers tutors and the youth worker.

In partnership with the Parkdale Community Information Centre.


Pleasant View Auditorium

  • Tuesdays, 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Grades 7-12

Homework Help is here

September 27, 2012 | Erin | Comments (0)

FormulaCalculus mystifying you? Can't quite get that French conjugation right?  Get free basic help with homework from volunteer tutors!

Branch locations:

After-School Newcomer Hubs also offer homework help:

Continue reading "Homework Help is here" »

Swamped! Homework Help for newcomer teens!

September 13, 2012 | Ray | Comments (0)

800px-Golden_RatioSwamped? Newcomer teen?

After-School Newcomer Homework Hubs are free help with math, science, English, French, and other subjects. The Hubs feature skill-building workshops, laptops for assignments and research, video games, and more! For all teens in grades 7-10.  

Hubs are at Centennial and Sanderson    Join us!  

Centennial: Mondays Tuesdays Wednesdays
  3.30-8.00pm 3.30-6.30pm 3.30-5.30pm
Sanderson: 3.30-7.30pm 3.30-7.30pm 3.30-7.30pm

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