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A Gripping Tale of Wonder

August 26, 2014 | Christine | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick coverWhat would you do if you thought your father had gone missing? What if no one believed you? This is what happens to Laureth Peak, the 16-year-old daughter of Jack Peak, a British author who has been trying write a novel about coincidence for several years. Her mother thinks he’s obsessed, and Laureth thinks he’s on the verge of a complete mental breakdown. During a time when her father is supposed to be doing research in Austria, his personal notebook is found in New York City. Sensing that something is terribly wrong, Laureth tries to figure out what has happened to her father. On an impulse, she steals her mother’s credit card, and with her seven-year-old brother Benjamin in tow, takes a flight across the Atlantic to the United States. Over the next twenty-four hours, Laureth and Benjamin are reunited with the notebook, and must then try to follow the clues written inside to find their father in the bewildering streets of New York City. The siblings face many challenges and threats over the course of their journey, all of which are even more difficult for Laureth. That’s because Laureth Peak is blind.

I think that She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick is an excellent book. I really enjoyed reading this novel, and liked the challenge of trying to see the world from Laureth’s perspective. I felt that her character had a very strong presence, and that her interactions with other characters were very believable, especially those with her brother Benjamin and his toy raven Stan. I also liked the inclusion of hand-written images from the father's lost-and-found notebook. I felt that this gave a lot of depth to the story, and provided a lot of details about the different kinds of research the father had been doing for his writing about coincidences. If you are looking for an exciting and intriguing book to read this summer, I highly recommend this novel.

What do you think of She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick?

Movies for Mass Social Change

August 19, 2014 | Christine | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow cover image16-year-old Trent McCauley eats, sleeps, and breathes movies. He wants nothing more than to spend all of his time making movies on his computer by sampling and reassembling footage of long-dead actors he has found online. Unfortunately, in near-future Britain, this is completely illegal and has placed him directly under the scrutiny of local law enforcement units. When Trent is caught breaching “copyright through several acts of illegal downloading” for a third time, his family’s access to the Internet is officially cut off for an entire year, without exception. Without this, his father’s career, his mother’s health, and his younger sister’s education are all nearly destroyed. Ashamed and shattered, Trent decides to run away to London, where he must learn how to stay alive on the streets while still retaining his own self-respect. It is here that he meets the charismatic Jem, the Jammie Dodgers, and the mysterious 26, in a world of artists and activists who are trying to fight a new government bill that will criminalize digital copying on an even more harmless level than what Trent had previously done, making millions of people felons with a single stroke. Things are looking bad, but Trent and his friends are going to try to change people’s minds for the better with the power of a movie.

Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow was a very interesting novel. I enjoyed reading all of the movie terminology in Trent’s inner dialogues, and I liked the different film concepts that he and his friends put into play during the story. I felt that the grittiness of life on the streets in London was very realistically portrayed, and I liked seeing Trent’s character mature over the book’s timeline. If you are interested in the world of underground film-making and a story about the kinds of social repercussions that movies can bring about in a near-future setting, then I suggest you take a look through this book.

What do you think of Pirate Cinema? Let me know. :)


August 18, 2014 | Monica | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

Congratulations to Kaj on winning the Collage Contest!

Check out Kaj's cool Frankenstein collage below:


"There is a great significance for a companion in an individual’s life. The creature wants to have a companion to make him feel less lonely. The creature’s in need of a companionship shows that he is need of love and compassion. Thus, the scene shows that the creature was in need of a female companion. It also represents how the creature and Adam wanted companions to eradicate their loneliness."

A special shout out goes to July222 for her entry, it was definitely a close race!
Keep up all the good work!



Rainbow Rowell Gives Word Out a Shout Out!

August 17, 2014 | Thomas Krzyzanowski | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...



FangirlEarlier in the year, the amazing and talented Rainbow Rowell stopped by our Northern District branch for a chat with Elaine Lui of The Social LaineyGossip. We were thrilled that Rainbow filmed a short video for us in the Word Out program! Check it out!

Join the discussion about Rainbow's amazing book Fangirl on our site! Or let us know about any of the other great books you've enjoyed this summer.

An Interview with Jennifer Gold

August 14, 2014 | Christine | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Soldier Doll by Jennifer Gold coverJennifer Gold, author of Soldier Doll, took some time this summer to answer a few questions with me about her book, her writing process, and the works that have inspired her. Here is what she shared:

1. What inspired you to write Soldier Doll?
I was at the Jewish Museum in Prague with my husband about a year or so before our first child was born. There was an exhibit of children’s art from the Terezin concentration camp, and one of the characters in Soldier Doll, Eva, popped into my mind. It took two years from that point before I had fully fleshed out the idea in my mind and started to write. 
2. How did you come up with the title?
Actually, I initially called it The Soldier Doll, but my publisher suggested dropping the "The," which was probably a wise decision. Mark Zuckerberg dropped "The" from Facebook and it’s definitely worked for him!
3. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Getting the different voices to line up in terms of audience. My novel is set in both the present and different periods of the past involving war, so a big issue was that some parts felt more middle grade, other parts felt YA, and others were entirely adult. It took a lot of work to ensure the characters and their voices were suitable for a YA audience.
4. When did you start writing?
I've always been a writer in one way or another. I won a short story contest sponsored by Lipton's soup when I was nine, but for a long time after finishing grade school I didn't  write any fiction. In the back of my mind, though, I always dreamed of writing a novel. When I was on maternity leave with my son, I decided I would finally give it a go.
5. Who is your favourite author and how do they inspire you?
This is a tough one! There are so many amazing authors out there who I admire, but I'd have to say Meg Rosoff. When I read How I Live Now I  was just blown away by not just the voice and the story but the fantastic writing style. Since then I've made an extra effort to work on not just writing a great story but crafting beautiful sentences as well.
6. Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
I haven't in the traditional sense that I sit and stare panicked at a blank screen, but I do experience what I call "writer's fatigue." This usually happens about halfway through a manuscript when I start to get a bit sick of my characters and worry the plot is going nowhere. What usually helps is to take a break and come back to it with fresh eyes.
7. What is your favourite subject to write about?
It's a tie between contemporary YA and historical fiction. I really enjoy the research that goes in to writing something that takes place in another time, and the world-building involved is fun and satisfying as a writer. For contemporary, I love writing snarky dialogue and creating scenes that involve humor. 
8. What books have had the most impact on your life?
There are so many books I love, but these are probably the ones that I still go back to re-read once a year or so:
The Chrysalids (John Wyndham)
How I Live Now (Meg Rosoff)
The Time-Traveler's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
The Historian (Elizabeth Kostova)
9. What books are you reading right now?
Year of Wonders (Geraldine Brooks)
Maggot Moon (Sally Gardner)
10. Final question: if you had to choose, cake or pie? What kind?
There's only one proper answer to this question, and that's cake. Chocolate cake, dense and moist, with a fluffy vanilla buttercream or chocolate fudge icing.

How to Make Your Own Popular Culture

August 12, 2014 | Christine | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Big Book of Pop Culture by Hal Niedzviecki cover imageWritten by Hal Niedzviecki, founder of Broken Pencil magazine, The Big Book of Pop Culture: a How-to Guide for Young Artists is a great book for anyone interested in current pop culture trends and wants to try making their own mark.

The first part of the book, “Everything You Need to Know Before You Make Your Own Pop Culture,” talks about how popular culture works and why you should make your own. It covers all sorts of creative ideas and thoughts, including everything from do-it-yourself (publishing your own book or making a music video) and culture jamming (disrupting media culture, like highway billboards, to promote a completely different message), to things like plunder (taking familiar riffs and pop culture images to create something entirely new) and underground (an artistic subculture that exists outside of mainstream popular culture). There are also come great reading lists provided in this section, along with interesting interviews with TV critics, authors, and zines about current pop culture trends.

The second half of the book, “From Acting to Zines: The A – Z’s of Making Your Own Pop Culture,” offers advice about the hands-on side of popular culture.  Starting with the do’s and don’ts of writing
and publishing you own zines, this part continues with everything you need to know about subjects like: how to create your own original movies; how to create your own pirate radio station online; and even how to set up your own indie TV station. There are lots of great pointers included in this section, like how to ensure you’re not breaking copyright laws, how to keep things interesting for viewers and readers alike, and how to make yourself heard using equipment combinations that won’t break the bank.

I think that The Big Book of Pop Culture would be a great reference for anyone who wants to create their own piece of independent art, music, or writing. I really enjoyed leafing through this book, and found the information to be relevant and useful for anyone who wants to share their own independent artistic expressions. Everything is very clearly written, and the inclusion of interviews and book lists in each chapter provide some great resources that can be found either online or even through your local public library branch.

So, what do you think of The Big Book of Pop Culture? Let me know.

Henna Adventures at Weston

August 9, 2014 | Thomas Krzyzanowski | Comments (5) Facebook Twitter More...

Henna Hands by Robert Benner Sr
Image by Robert Benner Used under CC BY 2.0

Stop by the Weston Branch for a fun-filled Henna workshop! A henna expert will be designing and applying designs, demonstrating how to apply your own, and providing tips on how to make your henna application last!

Space is limited, so make sure you get a spot by registratering with the branch. Call 416-394-1016 or stop by the library to get on the list for this exciting afternoon!

This is a teen program, for youth aged 13 - 19.

Weston-library-01Henna Workshop
Weston Branch (2 King Street)
Monday Aug 25, 2 PM
Call 416-394-1016 to register


Henna SourcebookSecrets if the Henna Girl  Henna PaintingHenna from Head to Toe

Fabric Printing at the Eatonville Branch

August 6, 2014 | Monica | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

Fabric-printing-inkingFor all those creative folks out there, the Eatonville Public Library has just the program for you! Join us on Wednesday, August 20th at 4 PM for an interactive workshop on fabric printing.

The amazing people at the Textile Museum of Canada will be running a workshop for youth where you will have the opportunity to create a logo to represent your own personal brand by identifying patterns and symbols that define the most distinguishing features of your identity.

You will then be able to print your design, and add it to clothing, or exchange it with friends.

When: Wednesday, August 20th
Time: 4-6 PM
Where: Eatonville Public Library

Space is limited. Please call 416-394-5270 to register or email [email protected]

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

August 5, 2014 | Christine | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

The Rule of Thirds by Chantal Guertin cover imageThe Rule of Thirds by Chantal Guertin is a sweet novel about 16 days in the life of Philadelphia Greene, a high school student preparing for the upcoming Vantage Point statewide photography competition. An avid photographer, Pippa (as she’s known to her friends) has been preparing for this competition for the last six months, and wants nothing more than to win a place at that year’s Tisch photography camp in New York City. The problem is, on top of all of this, she also has to deal with her school’s mandatory volunteer hour placement at St. Christopher’s Hospital, a place that Pippa had hoped never to set foot in again. Despite her trepidations, the teen dives into her new candy-striping job head-on with lots of pluck and humour, and tries to find the happier side of a place she only associates with death and sadness. Along with all of this, Pippa must find a way to juggle her changing relationship with her best friend/model-in-training Dace, the attentions of love interests Ben and Dylan (!), and try not to let debilitating panic attacks stop her from getting to Vantage Point.

I think that The Rule of Thirds is a charming book that explores love, loss, and friendship in a very touching way. I felt that Pippa's interactions with the other characters at the school and in the hospital were very well-written, and I liked seeing all of the different rules that the main character had for different situations in her everyday life, such as:

1. Answer when she calls”


1. No one gets in the house.
2. If you’re about the let someone in the house, remember Rule #1.”

I also enjoyed reading about some of the different photography techniques that Pippa was using to make her shots, like focusing on items in the foreground while letting the background stay blurry, doing wide angle shots for her school newspaper, and making use of the titular “rule of thirds.” This was a very funny and enjoyable read, and I think that it would be a great book to have on your shelf this summer.

What did you think of The Rule of Thirds by Chantal Guertin?

SWEET! A Chocolate-Themed Workshop at Don Mills

August 2, 2014 | Thomas Krzyzanowski | Comments (5) Facebook Twitter More...

Various_chocolate_typesSome people create art with paint on canvas. Some people choose to write to express themselves, or find their creative outlet through dance. Too bad these folks haven't considered using CHOCOLATE to get creative!

The Don Mills Library will be hosting a special workshop called "Get Creative With Chocolate Tales" in a few weeks. Stop by the library to learn about the history of chocolate, and some techniques for creating particularly delicious chocolate creations.

This program is for 12-19 year olds and space is limited. You can call 416-395-5710 to sign up or get more information. Or of course you could always just stop by the branch!

Don-mills-library-01Get Creative with Chocolate!
Friday August 15, 2:00 PM
Don Mills Branch
888 Lawrence Avenue East
Call 416-395-5710 for info or to register


Note: only nut free chocolate is used in this workshop. If you have other allergy questions or concerns, contact the branch.