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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Winners Announced: Teens' Top Teen 2015!

The votes are in! The Teens' Top Ten 2015 winners have been announced! This list, straight from the American Library Association website, is as follows:

1. The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen. (Scholastic) War is on the horizon in Carthya, and Jaron needs to protect his country. However, the ruler of Avenia has also captured Jaron’s best friend and love, Imogen. Jaron needs to save both his friend and his country, but everything that possibly could go wrong, does go wrong.

2. I Become Shadow by Joe Shine. (Soho Teen) Ren Sharpe was abducted at fourteen, chosen by the mysterious F.A.T.E. Center to become a Shadow: an unstoppable guardian of a future leader/world changer. After four years of training, she is assigned to protect Gareth Young, one of these future beings, an easy assignment, until a team of trained and armed professionals attempt to abduct him in broad daylight. With nowhere else to turn, Ren breaks F.A.T.E. rules and tracks down the only person she can trust; a fellow Shadow named Junie Miller, and decides that her kidnappers may be able to see the future, but they are unprepared for the killing machines they've created.

3. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. (Simon & Schuster) Lara Jean has a teal hatbox under her bed filled with all her precious things, old feelings, and memories that should be buried forever. In that box, there are letters Lara has written to all the boys she has ever loved with no intention of ever sending them. One day, the hat box goes missing, marking the beginning of a series of confrontations she never thought she’d have to face.

4. My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak. (Sourcebooks) As the perfect girl who had everything scheduled, always looked nice and studied hard, Jackie couldn't predict her parents’ accident. She also didn't see her future consisting of moving from New York to Colorado and living with twelve boys. How can she cope with her parents’ death, a dramatic change in lifestyle while still being the perfect girl she was?

5. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. (Bloomsbury) Celaena, the King’s Champion, has faced many challenges throughout her life, but none compare to what she must now face. As the King of Adarlan seeks to destroy all that she cares about, Celaena must learn to control her powers while deciding who should fight back: Celaena the assassin or Aelin the Fae princess. *Annotations provided by the Teens’ Top Ten book groups.

6. The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. (Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry) Magnus Bane, the mysterious High Warlock of New York, has been alive for a long time and has a mysterious past unknown to most of his companions. In this thrilling novel, secrets and stories are revealed, of lovers, of adventures, and of friendships.

7. The Young Elites by Marie Lu. (Penguin/G.P. Putnam's Sons) Adelina Amounteru is a survivor of the plague, a Malfetto, a freak to the rest of society. The treatment of abuse over the years has caused a darkness to brew inside her. She believes there is hope for her yet as there is a group of other Malfettos, called the Young Elites. The Young Elites have not only survived the plague, but have developed unexplainable abilities. Is refuge with these people what Adelina always wanted, or are they just going to end up using her like everyone else?

8. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. (Macmillan/ Henry Holt & Company) As Lia tries to run from her bounty hunters, she begins uncovering one of her kingdoms deceptive secrets, hidden by the years passed. Meanwhile, she begins falling in love with two men who are not who they seem to be...

9. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. (Simon & Schuster) Emily and Sloane are the bestest friends having an amazing summer, until one day Sloane disappears. Sloane leaves behind a to-do list of 13 tasks Emily would normally never try without Sloane by her side. With the help of Frank Porter, and a few other friends, will Emily finish the list?

10. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith. (Hachette/Poppy) Lucy and Owen get stuck in an elevator in a New York City blackout. When they finally get out of the elevator, they spend the night looking at the stars. Soon after the blackout, Lucy moves away to Scotland while Owen heads out west. With that night in-grained into their minds, they try to stay in touch with each other while trying to figure out what that night truly meant for both of them.

And, here is the video announcement:

Come out to the Mountain View Public Library to checkout these winning titles!

What are your thoughts on the list? Did your favorites make the cut? Is it strange that three out of the teen have the word "shadow" in the title--what's up with that? Comment below!

Post by Allie C., Homework Assistant

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My Favorite TED Talks

I love TED talks. For those who don't know, TED talks spread powerful ideas through talks that are under 18 minutes. These talks cover a wide variety of topics, from creativity to science to leadership, so there is something for everyone. And with my school deciding to host a TEDx event, I thought I would share some of my favorites.

How many lollipop moments have you had?

This TED talk is short but incredibly powerful. Dudley demonstrates how leadership is not in positions or grand actions, but in the little things we do every day that make other people's lives better. As an example, he recalls a day in which his humor encouraged a young woman to stay in college and caused her to meet her future husband. His actions helped that woman tremendously, but he didn't remember it at all. He dubbed this moment and others like it "lollipop moments". For a funny, quick TED talk, I would highly recommend this video.

2. The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This TED talk is all about representation, storytelling, and stereotyping. Adichie starts off this talk by telling the audience how, as a child, she only wrote stories about Western cultures, because that was the only culture represented in the books she read. After reading stories featuring African culture, she started writing stories with African characters. From there, she explains how having only one story of a person or a culture is damaging, talking about stereotypes she faced living in America and stereotypes that she believed of other cultures. This talk deftly explains the connections between stories and stereotypes without any blaming or shaming.

3. Why City Flags are the Worst-Designed Things You've Never Noticed by Roman Mars 
City Flag of SF. As it turns out, it's very badly designed 
This TED talk is very unique. The most striking difference is that it is presented like a radio show, complete with a presenter that is (gasp!) sitting down and with prerecorded interview segments. Another difference is that unlike in most TED talks, this topic is not discussed very often and, at first glance, does not seem very significant.  Despite this, it still manages to be insightful as well as entertaining, using a fairly simple topic to explain elegant design principles that can be used in many other things.

4. Play This Game to Come Up With Original Ideas by Shimpei Takahashi 
And finally, another short talk, this time about creativity. In this, Takahashi shares a simple game that he uses to generate ideas for his job at a toy company. This game may not be useful for all creative endeavors, but the principle behind the game is quite so. That is, maintain an open mind and consider any and all ideas that come to you, even if they seem unorthodox. Not all of your ideas will end up working, but eventually you will find the few "golden" ideas that you may not have thought of otherwise.

I hope you enjoy these! Feel free to share some of your favorites TED talks
in the comments below.

Written by Jenna M., Homework Assistant