teens

Calling All Nerdfighters - Don't Forget to be Awesome

Looking for Alaska  'It always shocked me when I realised that I wasn't the only person in the world who thought and felt such strange and awful things' - the words of a character in John Green's young adult novel 'Looking for Alaska' - but surely the words every reader has said or thought at some time after reading a particularly well written book - the kind of book that brings an understanding of the thoughts and motivations of another human being, albeit a made up one, directly into the mind and heart of the reader.  

If you haven't heard of John Green, you are probably not a teenager who spends hours on Youtube following vloggers (video bloggers). John and his brother Hank Green are among the elite of vloggers who broadcast their thoughts and doings to thousands of people. They have their own Youtube channel 'Vlogbrothers', their catchcall is DFTBA or  'Don't forget to be awesome' and they often refer to themselves and their fans as Nerdfighters. It's a space where 'nerdy' people, who are into books and / or science and never want to let go of their fourteen-year-old selves can hang out and be the coolest people on the planet.

Jobs for the girls!

Dublin City of Science 2012 logoInternational Women's Day logoApart from a little maths, the nearest thing to science I ever studied in school was Domestic Science. While knowing how to cook and sew is undoubtedly very useful, I am painfully aware that huge swathes of knowledge are beyond my comprehension and always will be.

There is always a chance I can answer a literature question on University Challenge, maybe even the odd music or film question, but science subjects are a complete mystery. Don't even understand the questions most of the time.

Yes, my knowledge of science is based entirely on what I have learned from watching 'The Big Bang Theory' - and while I have great sympathy for that cat in the box, I'm not sure I really get it.

Happy Valentine's and Romantic Reading!

The Next Always

Being the day that's in it, I thought I might throw a glance as to what titles classified as 'romantic fiction' featured amongst the most borrowed fiction titles (from our branch libraries, that is) during the month of January. And in doing so I was somewhat amazed that so few romance titles seemed to feature amongst the most borrowed, crime novels appearing to dominate the list in fact. But maybe that is not such a surprise, crime novels have always been hugely popular, while romance novels might be said to have a niche audience. And why so, or am I wrong?? Are we all not romantics at heart?!

Time and Tide

Anyways, while I wondered whether or not we might have seen the demise of romantic fiction to some degree, I came across this article in the Telegraph newspaper, 'Romance is a closed book: now we’re all losers in love', whose author also seems to think that crime has very much knocked romantic fiction down the pecking order. But as the author states, "feasting on felony and felony alone is not the healthiest diet", so with those words of wisdom, let me champion some romantic fiction titles that might rekindle your interest (and mine!) in the world of romance!

Picks of 2011, Children's and Teen

There are no cats in the bookPart 3 of my three part comments on my own reading during 2011.  Non-Fiction was the first in the series with Adult Fiction second. This is my Children's and Young Adult or Teen reads.  Some great fantasy is being published in the Teen section and I do enjoy the reads.

I read a lot of books over the last year, approximately 290 of which I noted from the library.

Of all the books I read from the library some stood out, I couldn't pick a small number but I'm going to put them into themes and pick the best of that theme.  Sometimes it's hard to pick just one, the first listed is my favourite, the rest are in no particular order.  This isn't a definitive list, it's a list of books that are readable alone or are the start of a series, that I read during 2011, that stood out above the others and that I would recommend to others.

Graffiti - Art or Vandalism?

Graffiti posterUsing a variety of drama and visual arts programmes, young people from many areas of Dublin City will work with professional artists and writers to explore the question ‘Graffiti – Art or Vandalism?’.

This programme of activities, presented by Dublin City Public Libraries, is aimed at educating children, whilst encouraging them to comment creatively on the social conditions in which they find themselves.

Seventeen libraries will participate in this ambitious public programme throughout the Autumn / Winter of 2011 and Spring 2012, using a broad range of learning strategies to deliver this very important message.

A Winning Night at Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards

     Irish Book Awards  Ireland's 'glitterati' came out in force last night at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards Ceremony in the Concert Hall of the RDS. In a night when Seamus Heaney received the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by fellow poet Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, it would be easier to say who wasn't there, than who was - even former US President Bill Clinton appeared in a pre-recorded tribute to 'one of the world's favourite poets'.

The Irish Book Award winners are voted on by the public and the various categories were hotly contested. All winning and shortlisted books are available to borrow from Dublin City Public Libraries. Winners on the night were;

Ireland nominates Conor Kostick for Astrid Lindgren Memorial Prize

Conor Kostick photo by Mark GrenierAuthor Conor Kostick has just been nominated by Ireland for the prestigious international award The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. 'It's very flattering', Conor told me when I met up with him on one of his visits to Cabra Library to meet young readers. 'I'm really proud of the honour and very proud of the association with Astrid Lindgren herself. In Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren created one of the most delightfully irreverent and independent characters in children's literature; this creation was connected to the fact that Astrid Lindgren herself was a radical humanist and opponent of violence. There is a humanist philosophy at work in my books and maybe they (the nominating bodies) picked up on that. I'm extremely proud to be associated with her legacy.'

Authentic Irish Voices in Novels for Teens

The Real RebeccaIn my earlier blog posts I've mentioned the amazing talent Ireland is producing in illustrators and picturebook creators - but recently I've also noticed that Irish authors are writing very interesting books for older children and teenagers. In fact, you could do worse than have a read of them yourself - even if it's a long, long time since you were a teenager!

'The Real Rebecca' by first time author Anna Carey, is a light-hearted tale of a real Dublin schoolgirl, Rebecca, whose otherwise ordinary life is made miserable when her mother (more mortifying than most, it seems) writes a book about a cringe-inducing teenager and claims that Rebecca is the inspiration! I enjoyed every minute of Rebecca's predicament, then doubly enjoyed giving it to my daughter to read, to prove that I'm not the most embarrassing mother in creation - not be a long shot!

iFestival at the Central Library

iFestivalThe annual iFestival will be held in the Central Library, Ilac Centre from the 10th to the 30th of June 2011. This interactive exhibition will showcase the highly innovative ICT and multimedia projects undertaken by pupils in primary and secondary schools, as well as young people from community centres in Dublin's inner city. The festival, involving the work of 800 young people, will be launched in the Central Library on Friday June 10th at 12pm.

Projects will include comic making, animation, robotic lego, podcasting, computer games and multimedia. Prizes are awarded for the best entry in each category. The projects represent the culmination of a year's work by these young pupils, their teachers and facilitators under the CLIC programme - the Computer learning in Communities programme, run by the DIT Foundation. The programme co-ordinator is Ian Roller. This initiative encourages teachers to integrate information technology into the curriculum not only to enhance their IT skills but also to make learning fun and enjoyable. Students involved have shown an improvement in attendance at school as well as increased concentration and motivation. The CLiC programme is just one aspect of the DIT Community Links programme whose main objective is to alleviate educational disadvantage and to allow individuals to reach their maximum potential.

May is Busy Month for Childrens Book People

October is the month for Children's Book Festival, and Christmas is the time most children's books are bought, but May is shaping up to be the busiest month in the calendar for people interested in books for children and young people - at least in Ireland - it's been a whirl of award ceremonies, book launches and 'talking heads' events and I've been lucky enough to attend many of them. I'm even getting used to seeing lollipops served alongside the wine - though I haven't tried that mixture yet!

It started with the announcement of the Bisto Children's Book of the Year Awards in the National Library on 16th - which I've already blogged about - congratulations again to Chris Haughton for winning the overall award with 'A Bit Lost' and to Sheena Wilkinson for receiving the Children's Choice award for her novel 'Taking Flight'. Sheena also gets the prettiest coat award for her lovely floral affair - sorry I don't have a picture!

Feedback