Category Archives: Tweens

YA Fiction Review

The Dark UnwindingThe Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of The Dark Unwinding at BEA this past spring and I was eager to read it. Mine didn’t have the pretty cover, but I had a postcard with what it would look like. I defintely really enjoyed reading this story. I thought the characters were very well done. The main character was interesting because she wasn’t your typical saintly, innocent heroine. She had a job to do and her own interests to look after, especially in a time when females typically had no income without a husband or someone to take care of them.

It was a well-told tale, full of intruging imagery and mysteries that kept me wondering. I did crave a bit more darkness and maybe some more romance. But it is still a creepy and chilling tale, without even being supernatural, which is usually the case for these types of Victorian/Gothic/Clock-work-ish novels. Because of this, I would recommend it for younger teens +.

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Sunday Quiz

Can you name the Harry Potter fact based on the previous answer?

Good quiz! I didn’t get to finish it because I was watching SNL on demand. Definitely will be attempting it later 🙂

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Hunger Games!!!! (i.e. YA Book Review)

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know, I was kind of worried about reading this again because it was just so amazing the first time. But enough time passed that I was a bit fuzzy on some of the details, so I had to re-read it before the movie. Yup – still amazing.

Anyone who says differently is selling something. 😉

(P.S.) Totally bought myself a mockingjay pin today!

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Tween Patrons Get Library Space and Programs of Their Own

Tween Patrons Get Library Space and Programs of Their Own.

Good article from School Library Journal on the importance of tween spaces and programs in libraries. We say teens get overlooked, but sometimes I feel like the tweens get lost even more, and they are the ones who are actually more inclined to come to library programs, as many of them are not yet “too cool.” If we can catch them young, there will be more teens in the library who will be used to attending programs.

This just gave me an idea for rearranging the children’s room….hmmmm…..

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YA Audio Book Review

Leviathan (Leviathan, #1)Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Such an incredible story! I’ve been meaning to read this for awhile and I finally snagged the audio book from the YA shelves at my library. The book is read by Alan Cumming, who does a great job with the voices and accents. The alternate history is really interesting, as it winds around real events and fiction. The idea of the Darwinist technology is pretty cool. Characters are very well done, well-rounded. I’m already listening to the second one, Behemoth, also read by Alan Cumming. It’s just as good as the first one! This is my first “Steampunk” experience. Loving it!

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Harry Potter Club

Here are some crafts we’ve done in Harry Potter Club in the past few months!

For one meeting we did a “Dragon Study.” I grabbed all the books we had with illustrations and “facts” about dragons and put them out. Then I read descriptions of the different dragon breeds from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The kids looked at the books and tried to find pictures that looked like the descriptions I read. They drew some of their favorites. We also talked about where these dragons appeared in the different HP books.

I believe this is a Welsh Green...or possibly a mixed breed 🙂

Quill Pens

These are super easy to make. All you need is a pen that you can take apart, a feather and some glue. Cut the end of the feather – this will leave the plastic part hollow. Remove the ink “part” (I don’t know what it’s called) and push it inside the hollow feather. You probably want to use a glue gun or super glue to make it stay. The book I borrowed the idea from did not mention putting the outer plastic pen-shell back on, but it seemed like it would make the pen easier to hold/use. Plus you could put the cap back on. You can also do this with a mechanical pencil.

Golden Snitch Ornaments: A variation on the Golden Snitch magnets we made a while ago, except we used foam balls and ornament wire-hanger things. Also gold glitter. This one took a little while to dry. Some kids just glued on some gold tissue paper that we had. Very easy to make – just stick white pipe cleaners into the foam ball and decorate. You can even decorate and then put in the pipe cleaners. It seemed to work OK both ways.


This is what Neville’s Gran sends him in the first book. It is a glass ball that turns red when its owner has forgotten something. Malfoy steals it during their first flying lesson, and Harry takes off after him to get it back, and does so well that he ends up as one of the youngest Seekers on a Hogwarts Quidditch team in years. Yes, this little Remembrall is very important!

I found the glitter balls in a Wal-Mart clearance bin for $1.50. We used Sculpy to make a ring around the ball – this one I actually glued down with a glue gun before it hardened so it would stay on once it dried. Then I glued some rhinestones on it for a bit of “flair.” The kids did some really cool things with them – making stands for them and different patterns, etc. Of course, I forgot my camera so I only have pictures of my samples. They were fun to create and they make interesting conversation pieces. (Sadly, this is not the weirdest thing on my desk in my office.)

I got most of these ideas from this book:

It has some really great ideas that are easy and don’t cost too much. The kids want to make the “Monster Book of Monsters” next month…..wish me luck!

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Tween Book Club

Yesterday I had my Tween Book Club. We read PIE by Sarah Weeks. I was lucky enough to get the ARC at BEA, and I reviewed it awhile ago. This is a really cute mystery that also makes you hungry for pie, as it has a yummy pie recipe at the end/beginning of each chapter.

I had 7 kids and one mom in attendance. We had a total of 4 apple pies (1 homemade by one of the girls in the group – so good!) and 1 chocolate cream pie. Obviously, we should have coordinated! We polished off the cream pie and almost 2 apple pies while we talked about the book. Most of them really liked it, while a couple hadn’t finished yet. They seemed to not be all that interested in it. It isn’t the most exciting book maybe, but out of the kids who did read it, they really loved the setting, the characters, the fat cat named Lardo, and most especially, the PIE! One girl asked to renew the book a second time so she could make 2 of the pie recipes for friends.

We discussed some themes in the book: friendship, loss, family relationships. We also talked about characterization, mostly the difference between flat and round characters and why both are important in a novel. They had some great insights. They also had a lot of pie, and therefore a lot of SUGAR. I did manage to get them to vote on the December book before I lost them to the sugar rush, and they chose The Tilting House by Tom Llewellyn. I also have this ARC, but I haven’t read it yet. From what we read on the back of my copy, it sounds pretty interesting. Looking forward to reading it! I just hope there’s some good food in it – it’ll be hard to top PIE for that!

Click the link below for Sarah Weeks’s blog. It has the first chapter of PIE and a link to an interview with Sarah about the book. (This was helpful for my discussion questions, especially since the book just came out and there isn’t much online about it.)


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