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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Favorite Documentaries


Girl Rising
What's to love: I've seen this stunning documentary three times, and each time it has managed to re-inspire me. It tells the story of several different girls from around the world as a method for addressing girls' education on an international scale.
See the trailer here
How to Watch: You can download the movie online here

Happy
What's to love: Just like Girl Rising, this is a documentary that will take you on a trip around the world. Happy is on a search to determine what makes us, as humans, happy.
See the trailer here
How to Watch: Happy is available on Hulu here
Exit through the Gift Shop
What's to love: Documentaries are a fun way to learn about a topic that is particularly foreign. Herein lies the appeal of "Exit through the Gift Shop", which chronicles one filmmaker's attempt to track down and befriend Banksy, a world renowned street artist who has famously managed to keep his identity a secret.
See the trailer here
How to Watch: Exit Through the Gift Shop is available on Netflix.
Babies
What's to love: Babies chronicles the first year of four babies, from San Francisco, to Tokyo, to Namibia, to Mongolia. It's awesome to see how different infanthood is around the world.
See the trailer here
How to Watch: You can stream"Babies" via Amazon here
Chef's Table Episode 1
What's to love: While each of the six episodes that make up Chef's Table is interesting in a unique way, the first of the series was by far my favorite. This installment follows Italian chef Massimo Bottura's rise to prominence in the culinary world. There are also elements of this episode that feel like a romantic comedy so it's a win-win.
See the trailer here
How to Watch: Chef's Table is available on Netflix
The Woman Who Wasn't There
What's to love: File this one under 'weird but strangely engrossing'. IMBD describes this doc as "a psychological thriller that goes inside the mind of history's most infamous 9/11 survivor." What makes Tania Head, the former president of The World Trade Center Survivors' Network, so infamous? Head was never in the Twin Towers on 9/11 and her "epic story of grief was a complete fabrication". 
See the trailer here
How to Watch: "The Woman Who Wasn't There" is available on Hulu
The House I Live In
What's to love: I was really surprised by how engrossing this story was. "The House I Live In" explores America's ongoing "War on Drugs" from the perspective of everyone from the "dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator". This movie will provide a whole new perspective on one of the US's most pressing domestic issues.
See the trailer here
How to Watch: "The House I Live In" is available on Amazon.


First Position
What's to love: For those outside of the world of dance, First Position provides a fascinating look at the cut-throat daily lives of the world's most elite ballerinas.
See the trailer here
How to Watch: First Position is available on Netflix and iTunes


Post written by Allie, Homework Assistant

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Milk Tea

By now, it is more than likely that you have tried milk tea at least once, with many shops in Mountain View.  If you have somehow never heard of this drink or want to learn more, read on.



What is it?
Milk tea starts off as regular tea (either black or green) that is mixed with syrup and condensed milk. From there, things like powder, fruit, or artificial sweetener can be added for flavor. This allows for specialty flavors like caramel or honeydew. Finally (and most distinctively), mix-
ins like chewy tapioca balls (also known as boba) or fruit jelly can be added for texture.



How Did it Start?
There are many origin stories on the internet but it is widely accepted that milk tea had its start in Chun Shui Teahouse in Taiwan. Liu Han-Chieh, the founder, was inspired to make iced tea after seeing iced coffee on a trip to Japan. From there, product manager Lin Hsiu Hui poured tapioca balls into iced tea on a whim during a boring meeting. Loving the drink, the shop put it on the menu, where it sold very well. The company decided not to trademark the drink, allowing it to spread throughout the world.


Where to Get It? 
As mentioned earlier, milk tea has spread globally. For some local milk tea, check out these Mountain View shops: 

In downtown Mountain View: Teaspoon, Tea Era, Jazen Tea, Verde Tea, Tapioca Express 
Near Mountain View High School: Ocha, Tea Annie 

I hope you find this post informative! Feel free to share some of your favorite milk tea spots in the comments.

Written by Jenna M., Homework Assistant 

Monday, May 23, 2016

International Summer Festivals

With less than a month left in school, summer can't be coming any quicker. While waiting for that lovely time, I began wondering how other countries celebrate summer and what festivities they have. This is what I found:



1. World Bodypainting Festival (Austria)  
This colorful festival takes place in Carinthia, Austria for one week in July. Tens of thousands of people from 40 countries around the world travel there to learn about the craft and enter an intense competition with some of the best bodypainters in the world. The festival is open to the public, so families often visit to see the bodypaint and the accompanying dance performances.



2. White Nights of Summer (Russia) 
"White nights" refer to the extremely long daylight hours in St. Petersburg. The residents of the city take advantage of the lack of night by holding festivities from May to July. One of these festivities is street markets selling ice cream and large, juicy watermelon called arbus. One of the most iconic events of this time is the Stars of the White Nights Festival, which takes place at the Mariinssky Theatre. This festival features daily performances such as ballet, opera, and classical music concerts.

3. Sonar (Spain):
Sonar is a multimedia music festival that takes place in the Museum of Contemporary of Museum Arts in Barcelona for three days in June. This festival features music, fashion, and films. The focus in sonar is in electronica music, but there have been performances from artists in other genres such as M.I.A., Bjork, and the Beastie Boys. There are also performances of more experimental genres such as "digital concert". Clearly, if you are a music lover, this is the place for you.

4. Tanbata (Japan)
Tanbata is also known as the Star Festival and takes place on July 7th. This festival has its origins in traditional Japanese mythology involving the stars Vega and Altair (known as Orihime and Hikoboshi in Japan, respectively). In that story, the two stars were lovers that were separated by the Milky Way, and they can only meet on that day. To celebrate this meeting, people write poetry or a wish onto paper streamers and hang them on either bamboo or a Wish Tree. 

Do you know of any other interesting festivals? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

Written by Jenna M., Homework Assistant 













Teen Summer Reading!!!!

Image result for summer scene
It's almost summer and that means it's time to sign up for Teen summer programs at the library!

We've got some favorites - henna, beaded jewelry, hula - and some brand new programs - folded book art, learn to solder - there's something for everyone!

Registration for programs is open now! Click here to go to the summer program flyer. Click on the name of any program you want to register for and the registration page for that program will open in your browser.

Sign up for as many programs as you want, but only for programs you are going to actually attend!

Questions? Email marie.richardson@mountainview.gov

Friday, May 6, 2016

DIYs for Mother's Day

Sunday, May 8, will mark Mother’s Day this year, and if Amazon Prime can’t deliver your Mom’s gift in time, you can invest your time to make her day just as special with a homemade touch. It could cost you absolutely nothing to make her one of these sweet crafts and show her your love!

So let’s start easy: make her a homemade card!

These stitched hearts are TOO cute and pretty simple to make. Grab a needle and thread and you're set.


Too complicated? Don’t fret! You can also make basic designs just as memorable. Start with inspiration from KellyConnorDesigns Etsy cards, boasting humorous phrases such as, “Mum, thanks for sharing your DNA. Now we are both fabulous.”

Most importantly, don’t forget to fill that card with meaningful, heartfelt words. 

Who knew wood pallets could be downsized into adorable coasters? That's exactly what this blogger did, and the results are nothing short of amazing. A set of four makes the perfect gift for Mom.
Get the full instructions at WashiTapeCrafts.
Alright, now that we’ve crossed the hurdle of making a card, we can step it up a notch:
make her a homemade gift!

These little coasters are made of just popsicle sticks and washi tape. (P.S. I have made these before and they are adorable, just make sure you use sturdy glue!)


Valentine's Day Recipe: Strawberry Sprinkle Cookies | Evermine Blog | www.evermine.com
Maybe crafts still aren’t your thing? Upcycle a mason jar and fill it with pretty sugar cookies and create the same effect. I can’t get over how pretty these cookies are! Trying to perfect that pinky shade might be a stretch, but these are so aesthetically pleasing, I bet it’s worth it ;)

Lastly, make her a homemade treat!

Will it be breakfast in bread or a surprise dessert? If you have any culinary talent, definitely consider preparing a special food for your mama!

Cook up some pancakes with extra love! This mess-free recipe is kind of amazing, super quick, and you even get to try out your hand at pancake art.

If your mom is all about eating healthy, make a scrumptious fruit bowl with all the good kinds of sugar. Simply take her favorite berries, process in a blender, and decorate to your heart’s content with granola and toppings!

Let me know if you tried any of these ideas for Mother’s Day, or share what you gave your mother! Have fun celebrating!


Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant

Thursday, May 5, 2016

What is Tidal?

As you may have heard, Beyonce has recently dropped her new visual album Lemonade on HBO. This is a full studio album paired with an extended video.


This album has garnered a lot of attention, discussing possible infidelity by Jay-Z and triggering backlash against Rachel Roy on Instagram and Twitter. Despite this attention, the video itself is hard to find because for a while, one could only stream it through Tidal.

Tidal is a streaming site owned by prominent artists including but not limited to Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Daft Punk. Tidal distinguished itself from other music services by offering a premium music service with hi-fidelity, lossless sound quality for $20. (There is another, standard definition account for $10).  It also prides itself on being owned by artists and offering greater royalties to artists compared to other streaming sites.

Despite these commendable traits, Tidal has attracted criticism by others in the music industry. Singer Lily Allen shared her concerns about making big artists exclusive to an expensive streaming service, which could encourage piracy. Recording artist Marina and the Diamonds and band Mumford and Sons disagree with how Tidal consist of only big names in music and does not represent or vouch for smaller, independent musicians.

Personally, I am not enough of an audiophile to pay twice as much for music in exchange for better sound quality. But what do you think about Tidal? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!

Written by Jenna M., Homework Assistant 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven King, the fourth and final book in Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle series, has arrived!



Click here to place a hold on one of the library's two copies.

And just in case you can't quite remember what happened in books 1 through 3, I've collected the summaries from Booklist magazine here for a quick refresher!

Warning - there are a couple of spoilers in the following summaries, if you haven't yet read the first three books and you want to stop here!

 The latest from Stiefvater, author of the Printz Honor Book The Scorpio Races (2011), defies easy synopsis. Consider that it is the story of 16-year-old Blue, from a family of psychics though she herself is not one. However, she does have the gift of amplifying others’ psychic experiences. Oh, and she has been told that if she kisses her true love, he will die. Then there are wealthy, handsome Gansey and his three friends, Adam, Ronan, and Noah, all of whom are “Raven Boys,” students at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. Gansey is obsessed with finding the body of the legendary sleeping king of Wales, Owen Glendower, using ley lines, invisible lines of energy that connect spiritual places. That a sinister someone else is also searching for the sleeping king adds chill-inducing danger to the complex and artful plot. Indeed, reading this novel is like walking through a tangled thicket and coming across one unexpected and wonderful surprise after another. In that respect, the book is marvelous, for not only is it filled with marvels but it is also a marvel of imagination and, more prosaically, structure. Rich, too, in characterization, this fantasy-mystery rises to the level of serious literature, leaving readers hungering for more. 

 In this continuation of The Raven Boys (2012), Printz Honor Book recipient Stiefvater continues the compelling story, keeping the focus once again on the Raven Boys themselves: privileged Gansey, tortured Adam, spectral Noah, and darkly dangerous Ronan. This time, though, their quest for the legendary sleeping Welsh King, Owen Glendower, takes a backseat to a spate of secrets, dreams, and nightmares that appear to be sapping the ley line—an invisible channel of energy connecting sacred places—that runs beneath their small Virginia town. Could this be the reason that the mystical forest, Cabeswater, has inexplicably disappeared? Who is the mysterious Grey Man, and why is he searching for the Greywaren, a relic that enables its owner to steal objects from dreams? How does this involve secretive Ronan? Visceral suspense builds as the characters pursue answers to these and other questions, and a palpable sense of foreboding and danger increasingly permeates the novel. Richly written and filled with figurative language (buildings are “tidy as library books”; a “murmur of guests” attend a party; a woman looks “fresh as a newscaster”), this story of secrets and dreams, of brothers, and of all-too-real magic is an absolute marvel of imagination and an irresistible invitation to wonder.


They’re back: privileged Gansey, lonesome Adam, dangerous Ronan, and spectral Noah—the Raven Boys of Stiefvater’s eponymous Raven Boys cycle. Volume 3 finds them still searching for sleeping Welsh king Owen Glendower, though they learn now that there is not one sleeper but three: one to waken, one not to waken, and one in the middle. Joining them again in their search is beautiful Blue, the only one in her family who is not a psychic. Blue’s mother, Maura, has vanished underground, and the five teens go spelunking in search now of both her and the king. But they’re not the only ones searching for something: the truly evil Colin Greenmantle and his awful wife, Piper, are looking for the Greywaren, an object that allows the dreamer to remove objects from his dream. Unknown to them—but not the reader—is that Ronan is the Greywaren and that both he and Adam have inextricably close ties to the magical forest Cabeswater, to which they turn for help. Like the first two volumes, Stiefvater’s third is a marvel of imagination and invention. Beautifully written, too, it is rich in simile and metaphor: an autumnal town is “a paint box of colors,” “the dread was like blood.” As for the characters, they are—not to put too fine a point on it—to die for. And the tone, at once mysterious and foreboding, is a perfect match for the material. Blue Lily, Lily Blue is, simply, a triumph.

Marie R. Teen Services Librarian