Posted on February 8th, 2016 by Anna in Teen Services
Tags: dating, love, romance, Valentine's Day
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. Historians believe that Americans didn’t start celebrating the holiday until the early 1700’s. The first mass-produced valentines were made in the 1840’s by Esther Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine”. Today, over 1 billion Valentine’s Day greeting cards are sold each year, second only to Christmas cards (2.5 billion Christmas Cards sell every year.).
So, how did this holiday come to be? Actually, there is no one story about Saint Valentine.
One version tells of a priest living in Rome during the third century. The priest continued to hold weddings after the emperor decided that single men made for better soldiers and outlawed marriage. Valentine’s actions were eventually discovered and the emperor called for his death.
A second version says that Valentine was killed for helping Christians escape Roman prisons. He fell in love with the jailor’s daughter, writing her a note that was signed “from your Valentine”, a phrase that is still used today.
Join us in Teen Central for a Valentine’s Day Party on February 11th from 4-7pm. Dress up or down. There will be photo booths, dance competitions, and prizes! This party was organized by teens for teens, so don’t miss out!
Looking for books to help celebrate your Valentine’s Day?
Check out our list, here, for everything from dating advice to the story of chocolate and a wide variety of teen romance novels.
Posted on February 1st, 2016 by Anna in Teen Services
Tags: Black History Month, black is
The Origins of Black History Month
- In 1915, American historian, Dr. Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland started an organization known as the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) which was dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans.
- ASNLH first celebrated Black History Week on February 12, 1926 because they believed in the need to celebrate the achievements of African-American men and women.
- They chose the date because it includes the anniversaries of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and the death of Frederick Douglass
- Symbolically, this period reflected Woodson’s belief that African-American history was American history.
- After the first Black History Week, city mayors across the country began to recognize it and celebrate it
- Schools and communities were inspired to organize celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures
- President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
- Today ASNLH is known as Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)
Looking for specific books to celebrate Black History Month?
We have a Black History Month list in our catalog here to get you started.
Black is… is a booklist in our catalog of recent titles, developed annually for Black History Month. This list can also be found here as a printable brochure.
Posted on January 27th, 2016 by firstname.lastname@example.org in Movies, Programs, Reviews - Staff, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services
Serial Experiments Lain [R 17+] is a powerful science fiction anime series from 1998. This psychological thriller centers on the experience of Lain Iwakura and her introduction to cyber-life in “The Wired” [Internet]. After a tragic suicide by a girl in her high school class, she and many other classmates receive emails from the girl after she has died. This mystery sets the scene for the main thrust of the story.
Other characters include Lain’s best friend Arisu Mizuki and her larger circle of friends, Masami Eiri – apparent designer and god-like figure of The Wired, Knights – “men in black” who are ambiguously involved with the wired, Lain’s family and father who is a computer expert, and a group of younger children who provide another perspective to the developing sense of cyber-life.
Masami serves as the main foil in the series. A large portion of the plot centers on ideas of self, divinity, physical versus spiritual, real versus virtual, and other wrenching questions often faced in the teen years. The visual palette contains strong use of “white field” contrasts and fills as well as other shadow fills using “blood pool” and collage-like patterns. The white fields get repeated emphasis as a sunlight effect in the morning scenes as Lain leaves her house for school. After a few appearances, the technique is familiar and the artistic style of the series is clearly set apart. Its continued use serves to amplify the sense of drudgery and emptiness that Lain experiences going to school. At the same time, the technique itself is stark and almost blinding, creating a confusing crosscurrent to an otherwise static and low energy scene. It’s truly masterful. The soundtrack is very strong with its selection of music and an audio “hum” effect that is used to represent the ever-present activity on The Wired. It is usually combined with views of power lines and transformers at scene changes.
Serial Experiments Lain has received notable praise from the critical community and I strongly recommend it for Anime fans. You can watch it for free on Kissanime.com and Animefrost.com
Posted on January 25th, 2016 by email@example.com in Movies, Music, Programs, Reviews - Staff, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services
Samurai Champloo is an action [shonen] anime from 2004-2005. Based on the original manga, this story is an adventure combined with poignant drama and comedy that follows the heroine’s search for the “Samurai that smells of sunflowers.” We have some episodes available on DVD but the title is widely available over streaming sites. Ask your teen librarian!
The three main characters are Fuu, Mugen and Jin. Fuu is a teenage girl with a happy-go-lucky attitude and always seems to be hungry. She is searching for the famous samurai. Jin is a ronin [roaming samurai] with the classic stern character of the period. He wears glasses which were actually available at the time but his are modern and lend a stylish flare to his otherwise quiet character. He is of course, a master swordsman. Mugen is another great swordsman but of an unconventional style. He wears his hair in short crazy dreadlocks, and his sword is curved more like a scimitar with z shaped hilt. He has a chip on his shoulder and is always looking for a fight.
The art work is quite good with strong “brush lines” and solid earthy colors. The drawing style is slightly elongated with a linear quality that distinguishes it from other modern series such as Fairy Tail and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. One great feature of this series is the inclusion of Hip Hop music and samples. The theme music is a hip hop song that viewers will probably want to listen to each episode. Hip hop culture and even Chinese kung fu are referenced several times during the series and at least once each with more focus in their own episode. These elements as well as a few other surprises add an entertaining enhancement to the ongoing story line and themes. Fight sequences are strong and dynamic, and character development is sensitive and engaging. Viewers will not be disappointed.
Posted on January 25th, 2016 by firstname.lastname@example.org in Books, Movies, Reviews - Staff, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services
The Hyde Park Branch recently added two books on Anime to our Teen non-fiction collection. Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle, by Susan J. Napier and Anime and the Art of Adaptation, by Dani Cavallaro.
Napier’s work was well researched and effectively supported with lots of end notes and references to the works she examined. She covers a lot of ground including controversial genres and the edges of popular culture. She also provides a lot of insight on the influences of Japanese political and economic history.
Two titles she analyzed in particular were of great interest to me. Akira, the groundbreaking film from 1988 and Serial experiments Lain, a powerful television series from 1998. With Akira, she interprets the surrealistic and cataclysmic ending in a different way than I did. I did further research and found corroboration for my interpretation from criticism of the original Manga and film versions by other authors. Still, the symbolism and dramatic devices she addressed are clearly present and used to great effect in the film. Serial Experiments Lain is a mesmerizing psychological thriller in the form of cyberspace science fiction. Napier’s analysis inspired me to watch the series. Lain lived up to her criticism and I was very impressed with the visual and audio effects in the series.
I have only just started Anime and the Art of Adaptation, by Dani Cavallaro. I was pleased to see a still from Grave of the Fireflies used as the cover for the book. It gets analyzed in chapter two under the title “The Nightmare of History.” The atomic bombings that ended WWII had a deep and far-reaching impact on modern Japanese culture. It’s effects can be seen in many different areas of the Anime genre and should be explored by all fans. We Anime Otaku [Anime Fans] are all too familiar with the challenges of adapting Manga titles to moving animation and I look forward to reading more. Cavallaro’s book is also well researched and includes a filmography and extensive bibliography.