Teens

Black History Month

Posted on February 1st, 2016 by Anna in Teen Services
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black history month

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)

 

books

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.

Anime Review: Serial Experiments Lain

Posted on January 27th, 2016 by jkenney@private.bpl.org in Movies, Programs, Reviews - Staff, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services

serial lain

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

Anime Review: Samurai Champloo

Posted on January 25th, 2016 by jkenney@private.bpl.org in Movies, Music, Programs, Reviews - Staff, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services

samurai champloo

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.

Scholarly Books on Anime

Posted on January 25th, 2016 by jkenney@private.bpl.org in Books, Movies, Reviews - Staff, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services

anime napier anime adapt

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.

Job Readiness Programs

Posted on January 25th, 2016 by jsnow@private.bpl.org in Teen Services

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Are you ready to apply for SuccessLink in February?   SuccessLink is one of the best ways you can apply for jobs in the summer as well as through the school year.  You apply in mid February choosing organizations that you would be interested in working for like the Boston Public Library, Franklin Park Zoo, 826 Boston and more.  You can learn some great job ready skills to help prepare you for jobs when you finish school.  Check on the Division of Youth Engagement and Employment and here on the BPL Teen page for more information to sign up.

Here are some other ways to help prepare you to become job ready;

Are you interested in learning about possible jobs and/or careers?  How about getting ready to apply for jobs, steps you may need? Come and learn from some professionals in different fields you may be interested in.  The below programs are in Teen Central, Central Library 700 Boylston Street 617-859-2334

February 8, 2016 4:00 pm

Carrie Dirats, Stage Manager, Boston Ballet

Elizabeth Fitzsimons, Outreach Manager for the Aquarium’s sustainable seafood program at the New England Aquarium

Josh Turka, Executive Chef at the Salty Pig

February 22, 2016 4:00 pm

Lisa Quinones, Veterinary Technician, Angell Hospital, Massachusetts Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  (MSPCA)

Jeff Lindsey, Technology Access Manager, Boston Public Library

Siobhan Scanlon, Global Chief Client Officer, C Space (Formerly Communispace)

February 19, 2016 3:00-4:30

Get your resume put together.  Do you have a resume or would you like help in getting it better shape? ABCD presents a resume workshop

March 1, 2016 5:00-6:30

Standing Out in the Interview Process.  Presented by the Division of Youth Engagement and Employment

March 8, 2016 5:00 pm

Career: What Employers Value.  Presented by the Division of Youth Engagement and Employment