No not this
We're talking about this
February is Personal Finance Month: and it's not just for adults. If you're like me when I was a teenager, the mere thought of anything "financial" makes you yawn. Man do I wish I had known better! Money makes the world go round, for better or for worse, and understanding it is the key to either being in control of it, or letting it control you.
The library has a series of workshops and information sessions this month that are just for teens and youth. Come learn how to make it rain.
York Woods Library Youth Hub
Mon Feb 6
Sanderson Library Youth Hub
Wed Feb 15
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Sanderson Library Youth Hub
Tue Feb 28
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Mon Feb 27
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Cedarbrae Library Youth Hub
Tues Feb 21
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Can't make it out? Read up!
The Sink or Swim Money Program, by John E. Whitecomb (ebook)
I have to admit before reading this book I didn’t know much about North Korea. My knowledge was limited to news reports on nuclear weapons, Communism, a young leader named Kim Jong-Un and that’s about it. I watched The Interview which I thought was funny, but I don’t think that counts for any real knowledge about North Korea.
Every Falling Star changed this for me. As soon as I finished the book I wanted to research more about this complex and paradoxical country. The book is the author’s childhood memoir which chronicles a time when he went from a life of comfort and security to one of extreme poverty and violence. For reasons he cannot disclose, Sungju and his family were moved from the capital of Pyongyang to the poor town of Gyeong-Seong. There his family is eventually driven to the brink of starvation. His father makes the decision to take the dangerous journey to China where he will smuggle back supplies. After a long time without word, Sungju’s mother decides to leave town to visit his aunt where she might find food. Neither of his parents return and so Sungju is forced to live on the streets as a kotjebi or street boy. On the streets he is joined by his former schoolmates and they form an unbreakable bond and undying brotherhood. Together they face horrible street violence, unspeakable military brutality, starvation, drugs and death but through it all an undeniable hope.
What I loved most about this book was that it didn’t seem to be written as an intentional tear jerker, instead it was a realistic depiction of what life looks like when young people are faced with extreme conditions.
The book was co-written by Susan McClelland author of the Bite of the Mango Part of the proceeds of the book go to the Citizens Alliance for North Koreans Human Rights to help North Koreans in China.
Place a hold on Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea, by Sungju Lee or read the ebook.
This, sadly, is my last post as E-Writer in Residence. It’s been such a gift to connect with you in person at various libraries and events, and online through your writing. I feel fortunate to have been given this opportunity to read (and listen) to your words. I am immensely grateful for your trust in me. That said, my last day isn’t until Friday, November 25, so please keep sending me your writing!
When I began this position, my inspiration for the “Ask Vivek” posts was centered around you—I wanted to ensure that my posts spoke to questions you had about writing and art. I also think there can be so much mystery and solitude around writing. My hope was these posts would provide information to help making writing feel more accessible to you. I also hoped these posts would provide you a sense of support.
For this final post, I have compiled a list of tips and highlights from my previous posts.
This past week has been a hard week. But I feel especially inspired by writers like Lawrence Hill who are speaking out about the various injustices that are taking place in the world. Please let me know what is inspiring you this week in the comments!
This week’s question is about how to write about the personal—specifically, how to write personal narratives based on or including friends and family.
Different writers approach this in different ways, but it is something many of us struggle with. In my case, I am often inspired by family and the people around me. But instead of worrying about asking for permission or how others will react, I focus on the writing. For me, it the story that I want to tell that is most important.
When possible, I try to write ethically. I change the names of individuals and settings. I change the description of individuals’ appearances.
When writing about my family, I try to write about them with respect and compassion, even when the story I want to tell is hard or unflattering. Sometimes I share these stories with my family but only after it’s been completed or published. This is so that I am not swayed by their opinion or emotions during the writing process. Other times, I have asked my parents to just not read certain books.
I am less concerned when writing about violence that has happened to me. In these instances, I prioritize my right to speak about my experience over trying to “protect” the person who has hurt me.
One thing I am cautious about is writing about the experiences of others. Of course, I am inspired by events around me. But some stories aren’t mine to tell or take.
So in short, I would say when writing about the personal, centre around the story you want to tell. Ultimately, when a story lands on the page, it becomes a form of fiction anyway.
Thank you again for your question. Please keep sending me questions and I will keep answering them here!
Lastly, this week I feel inspired by Vancouver-based poet Amber Dawn. She is someone who writes about the personal in various genres including memoir and poetry. What personal writing inspires you? Let me know in the comments!
“You live but once; you might as well be amusing.” - Coco Chanel
I must admit, I don’t read a lot of non-fiction books for fun but when I saw this book I was instantly drawn in. This book looks at different women from the past and present. It discusses the contributions of women in the fashion world and beyond that. I really enjoyed reading about each person’s bio. The book was also filled with cool photographs and illustrations. Each person in the book had challenged the status quo and social norms of their times. From scantily clad queens who rolled out of carpets to female artists who rode donkeys into school hallways and lit firecrackers during lectures. Some of the style rebels included women who wore banana skirts, swan dresses or sported stuffed animal sweaters! It also featured women who pioneered some of the styles commonly seen today such as pants, wearable clothing and tailored suits.
The clothing part of the book was probably the “accessory” and main focus of the book was about the lives of the women that wore them. Overall, a great read about some of the about some of history’s most interesting style rebels and a great source for clothing and costume inspiration.
Further reading as suggested by the author
Do you eat food? Are you concerned about the environmental state of our planet? Do you want to be your best by striving for perfect health? What are you doing about it? Most of us are clueless about two of the most important issues we face; the health of ourselves and the health of our planet.
Local Motion: The Art of Civic Engagement in Toronto
Edited by Dave Meslin, Christina Palassio & Alana Wilcox
Local Motion serves as a great introduction to understanding Toronto’s municipal relationships and how to best navigate City Hall for citizens’ benefit. It is a collection of essays with real stories from citizens just like you and me. Readers are taken through the occasionally frustrating and bureaucratic, but ultimately rewarding journeys of change-makers who forever enriched the lives of their communities with their hard work and creative problem-solving ideas. Essays cover many topics including voting, budgeting, urban planning, and “creating change outside the system” - all with a focus on civic engagement and making the system work for us.
Three Reviews by Glody
If there's anybody interested in gang stories, or that of religion, coming of age, action and adventure or even a sweet romance, then check out The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1925, Malcolm Little was the seventh child two black parents. His father, Earl Little, a charismatic Baptist preacher and a black nationalist, died when he was a little boy. Moreover, his mother was placed in a mental hospital after failing to keep her family together, leaving Malcolm and his siblings sheltered into various foster care. From that point on in his life and through the entire book, Malcolm begins to take on drastic changes in his life and especially in his identity, from bad and worse to good and excellent.
1. Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
Maggie Thrash has spent basically every summer of her fifteen-year-old life at the one-hundred-year-old Camp Bellflower for Girls, set deep in the heart of Appalachia. She's from Atlanta, she's never kissed a guy, she's into Backstreet Boys in a really deep way, and her long summer days are full of a pleasant, peaceful nothing . . . until one confounding moment. A split-second of innocent physical contact pulls Maggie into a gut-twisting love for an older, wiser, and most surprising of all (at least to Maggie), female counselor named Erin. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for a girl to fall in love with another girl, and Maggie's savant-like proficiency at the camp's rifle range is the only thing keeping her heart from exploding. When it seems as if Erin maybe feels the same way about Maggie, it's too much for both Maggie and Camp Bellflower to handle, let alone to understand
Who do admire in your life? Is it someone you know personally? Maybe someone famous from the past? Or is it a character from a book that you love to read from cover to cover every chance you get?
I really enjoy reading about people with lots of personal strength, especially strong female protagonists, and have always admired characters like Jo March, Nimona, and Laureth. These characters seem able to exist beyond the confines of their stories, and are the types who go off into their respective worlds with such passion that their personalities just leap off of each and every page. They are the kinds of people that I would love to meet in the real world, and believe that everyone should try to be just as daring and as brave as they are. So, if you are looking for some other strong women to admire, both real and fictional, then be sure to check out the following seven books from our 100 Summer Reads list at the library this summer.
1. Lumberjanes created by Noelle Stevenson -- Friendship to the max! At Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's camp for hardcore lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together-- and they're not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! This entire comic book series is also available online as eBooks.
2. Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson -- Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City -- until she's suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she's comin' for you, New York!
3. Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz -- Like all A-Z books, this one illustrates the alphabet-but instead of "A is for Apple", A is for Angela-as in Angela Davis , the iconic political activist. B is for Billie Jean King , who shattered the glass ceiling of sports; C is for Carol Burnett , who defied assumptions about women in comedy; D is for Dolores Huerta , who organized farmworkers; and E is for Ella Baker , who mentored Dr. Martin Luther King and helped shape the Civil Rights Movement. And the list of great women continues, spanning several centuries, multiple professions, and 26 diverse individuals. There are artists and abolitionists, scientists and suffragettes, rock stars and rabble-rousers, and agents of change of all kinds.
4. Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson -- For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid's life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school… in short, strong enough to be a roller girl. This graphic novel is also available as an eBook.
5. Rookie Yearbook Four edited by Tavi Gevinson -- Rookie Yearbook Four takes a good look at topics such as friendship, crushes, speaking out, taking action, and learning about yourself. Our senior year is full of beautiful art and photographs, playlists, DIY tutorials, advice ranging from how to get over trauma to how to write a college admissions essay.
6. Step Aside, Pops: a Hark, a Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton -- Ida B. Wells, the Black Prince, and Benito Juárez burst off the pages of Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection, armed with modern-sounding quips and amusingly on-point repartee. Kate Beaton's second Drawn+Quarterly book brings her hysterically funny gaze to bear on these and even more historical, literary, and contemporary figures. Irreverently funny and carefully researched, no target is safe from Beaton's incisive wit in these satirical strips.
7. This Side of Home by Renee Watson -- Twins Nikki and Maya Younger always agreed on most things, but as they head into their senior year they react differently to the gentrification of their Portland, Oregon, neighborhood and the new--white--family that moves in after their best friend and her mother are evicted. This book is also available as an eBook.
Wanna see your creative work published in 15,000 copies of Young Voices?
You have till Tuesday, April 5, 2016 to send us your best creative endeavours for consideration in this year's issue. Submit online now!
Send poems, stories, rants, raps, comics, reviews, or black and white artwork or photos!
If you miss the deadline, don't panic! We take submissions all year round, so you can send us something for the 2017 issue!
Questions? Contact me, Ken Sparling, 416-397-5970, firstname.lastname@example.org
Review by Claire, Grade 12 student, Oakwood C.I.
In November 2011, as an eighth grader, I picked up Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis (the singer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers). At first, I was shocked by the things that Kiedis got up to at the ripe old age of 13. But what was more relevant were the emotions behind the madness. He truly captured the importance of learning from mistakes and rising above ones past.
In Grade 9, when I read the book again, I understood what messages were being conveyed through his wild adventures and near-death experiences. As someone who is driven by music, I found the book was easier to relate to, for Kiedis’ passion for making music is what kept him going through much pain and many struggles.
Review by Jamie, Grade 12 student at Oakwood C.I.
“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”
As Hunter S. Thompson delves deeper into his savage journey to the heart of the American Dream over the following two days, I was in a trance for the next two-hundred pages of unadulterated excitement. The founding father of Gonzo journalism’s objective was simple: cover the Mint 400 motorcycle race. But when road tripping to Las Vegas, the home of sin and the embodiment of the Holy Dollar, one must partake in every drug imaginable to keep from feeling utterly ashamed of the state of humanity. Over the course of Dr. Thompson’s expedition, he experiences all that the city has to offer and does not withhold on any impulse of his sedated mind. And as he does so well, finishes on the other side with a book as sharply written and brilliantly observant as ever.
Review by Gigi, Grade 12 student at Oakwood C.I.
Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential is a daring tell all of the culinary underbelly. Bourdain provides a unique perspective of the culinary industry filled with passion, indulgence, gore, testosterone, and glory. He tells his story from beginning to end. Starting with his first understanding of true cuisine, cold soup on a french cruise ship, then continuing to his first culinary role model, a pirate-costume-wearing, fornicating, drunken beast of a man, more concerned with quantity than quality. Once Bourdain’s arrogance catches up with him, he goes to study at the Culinary Institute of America.
Review by Sam, Grade 12 student at Oakwood C.I.
If I dropped out of high school right now what would happen? How would my family react? How would my friends react? How could I grow up properly without the standard issue education system holding my hand every step of the way? David Gilmour’s The Film Club captures the real life version of the fantasy of leaving school that’s run through the minds of so many students. Speaking from his peculiar experience, David Gilmour’s memoir explains the most interesting time in his life as this divorced father learns to raise his son who has just made the choice to drop out of high school.
Review by Nolan, Grade 12 student at Oakwood C.I.
The author of Boy Alone, Karl Taro Greenfield displays a whole new point of view of the condition known as autism. At an early age, it became known by his parents that Noah was not like the other kids; he vomited more often than most, and had speech problems and other negative signs which at first were masked by his innocent nature. The family is saddled with the idea that their son Noah is “retarded”, a term used by the many doctors they visit searching for any sort of hope for a cure. At the time, there was a limited amount of knowledge on autism, so it was a very frightening and worrying life. There was not any source of information of the condition. No books on how to treat autism or any proven facts of the origin of autism.
Review by Victoria, Grade 12 student at Oakwood C.I.
In this short heartwarming memoir, you really get a sense of how much Mr. Alexander was a remarkable man. He strove for equality among the races in Canada. He encouraged young people, especially minorities, to go to school and get as much education as possible. He says in the book: “I hoped my victory, would encourage others to believe that they could be elected as well, regardless of their race, creed, colour or religion.” Mr. Alexander had anything but an easy childhood growing up, but if it wasn’t for his mother constantly reminding him to go to school and get an education, he would not be as successful as he was.
Review by Thena, Grade 12 student at Oakwood C.I.
The memoir Eat Pray Love is about a woman named Elizabeth Gilbert who gets a divorce and decides to travel the world to find herself. She travels to Italy, India and Indonesia and meets many new people and discovers many new things. This book really captures her emotions well, whether it be something difficult that she struggles with or her joy of learning about different cultures and religions. This memoir also gives you a little taste of how things go down in these beautiful places Elizabeth is so lucky to visit on her vacation.
Review by Julia, Grade 12 student at Oakwood C.I.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler offers an intimate look at both the hilarious and harrowing moments that turned an everyday girl from a small town in Massachusetts to the comedic powerhouse she is known as today. Poehler seamlessly weaves poignant stories of self-acceptance and death with stories of dating and her love of improv to create a memoir that is honest and beautiful. It is never preachy but full of good advice and at times can be heartbreaking but always leaves the reader with an underlying message of hope.
Review by Jenna, Grade 12 student at Oakwood C.I.
Girl, Interrupted, author Susana Kaysen’s memoir, tells the terrifying story of a young girl who is sent to a psychiatric hospital after a less than an hour long session with a psychiatrist. After telling him about her suicide attempt, she is put in a taxi and sent off without protest. While hospitalized, she meets other young women stuck: within the confines of the hospital walls; within the stigma around mental illness; and within their own expectations from life. This book is as much about Kaysen, and her confrontation of her darkness, as it is about the other women, and the deep sadness the hospital embeds in their thoughts.
Fitness Information For Teens, 3rd ed. edited by Elizabeth Bellenir (2012)
Broken into seven sections, this comprehensive resource provides guidance on establishing a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise. It covers the basics of a variety of popular sports, exercise fundamentals, safety and best practices and also includes many sidebars with fun sports-related facts.
A Girl's Guide to Fitting in Fitness by Erin Whitehead and Jennipher Walters (2013)
Offering practical advice that girls can use regardless of their fitness level, this is a fun guide that aims to help teens live a healthier life.
The Green Teen Cookbook edited by Laurane Marchive and Pam McElroy (2014)
Full of recipes for delicious and healthy meals and snacks, vegetarian and otherwise, and created by teens from around the world, this cookbook also introduces readers to sustainable eating concepts such as eating locally, seasonally, and organically.
Growing Up, Inside And Out by Kira Vermond (2013)
Introducing young teen readers to the physical and emotional changes experienced during puberty, the book offers advice on how to deal with these changes mindfully. Chapters are well written, easy to understand, and each features current and relevant information.
Mindful Teen: Powerful Skills To Help You Handle Stress One Moment At A Time by Dzung X. Vo, MD (2015)
Focusing on the power of the present moment and the importance of awareness, breath, and mindful movement to de-stress and concentrate, this book includes step-by-step exercises that are accompanied by audio tracks available online.
The Smart Girl’s Guide To Going Vegetarian by Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RDN (2014)
From the veg-curious to the vegan, the book covers all aspects of the vegetarian spectrum. Complete with fresh and healthy recipes, nutrition information and tips for eating out.
Think Confident, Be Confident For Teens: A Cognitive Therapy Guide To Overcoming Self-Doubt And Creating Unshakable Self-Esteem by Marci G. Fox, PhD and Leslie Sokol, PhD (2011)
Offering tips and exercises, based in cognitive behavioral therapy, this book aims to help teens strengthen their confidence and develop skills to manage feelings of self-doubt.
How short can a piece of short fiction be? 250 words? 100 words? What about six words?
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
This story is often attributed to Ernest Hemingway, though the link between them has never been conclusively proven. The words are powerful and poignant and tell a complete story. The reader can feel the pain, the sadness, the loss. We can visualize that pair of brand new shoes, never worn by the baby they were intended for, never to be worn by that child.
Asked to sum up their life stories in six words, teens from around the globe contributed to a very cool book of six-word memoirs.
I can't keep my own secrets : six-word memoirs by teens famous & obscure edited by Smith Magazine
Now I'm asking you to share your flash fiction stories and six word memoirs. And there's a prize! Yay! So put your six word story in the comments and you'll be entered to win a copy of Dumplin' by Julie Murphy!
1. To enter, just leave your flash fiction/six-word story in the comments.
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 29, 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.
Thinking of submitting your work to me for feedback? Contact info and details here.
Go Teen Writers "exists to provide encouragement, instruction, and community for teen writers." There are posts on craft and getting published and more.
Teens Can Write, Too supports and encourages teen writers and though the blog officially closed in August 2015 there are many archived posts that are great resources.
Scholastic's Write It Community is a message board where young writers can connect with other teen writers, post works in progress for peer review, offer your opinion on the work of other teen writers, and try step-by-step writing workshops.
NaNoWriMo's Young Writers Program is an event that happens every November 1st to 30th (NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month) and offers young writers (17 and under) a chance to challenge themselves and set writing goals. The NaNoWriMo adult program challenges those over 17 to write 50,000 words in a month!
The Aboriginal Arts and Stories Competition is open to Canadians of Aboriginal ancestry (Status, Non-Status, Inuit and Métis) between the ages of 14-29. The contest welcomes short stories, plays, poetry, and screenplays. Submission deadline is March 31, 2016.
The Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Contest for Canadian Youth invites submissions in two age categories. Deadline is January 15, 2016.
The Writers' Trust of Canada invites high school students to submit their work. The details of the 2016 writing contest will be announced in early 2016.
Write for a Better World is a writing contest run by World Literacy Canada for Canadian students in grades 5 through 8 challenging students to create a story of 400 words or less. Submissions are closed for 2015, but bookmark the page and watch for the 2016 contest!
The Junior Authors Short Story Writing Contest invites young authors ages 11 through 21 to submit their short stories (under 1,000 words) in various age categories. Entry is free. The 2015 contest is closed, but check the site on April 1, 2016 to enter next year!