Category Archives: Teen Services

Upcoming Teen Gaming Activities Brought to You by the Teen Gaming Specialists

Posted on November 7th, 2017 by jsnow in Teen Services

What’s good guys, it’s your boy, Justin. I’m 15 years old. I go to Brighton High. I’m one of the Teen Gaming Specialists here at the Central Library along with my friend Lilly. Hey! I’m Lilly, I’m also 15, and I go to Boston Latin School. So far, Justin and I have done only two programs in the month of October. These programs were both tournaments, but on two different games. One program was on the game “Super Smash Bros: Wii U” and the other program was on the game “Marvel VS. Capcom: Infinite.” Both these programs went smoothly. The contestants were very cooperative, and we didn’t have any issues. They were also insanely fun to watch, since everyone in the room was hyped up about who was going to win or lose.


We were thinking that for the month of December, we should have programs for teens that like to talk about games that they’ve played, and see if they like it or not. We could have a chance to get to know people who like to game. It’s also a good for getting opinions out, and maybe create a little debate. Teens could maybe come up with ideas to help improve the game or not. It would be a space for people who love video games to discuss how much they love video games.

We hope people are interested, because we know we are. We’ll probably have the programs somewhere in the beginning and towards the end of December. If you have any concerns, or if you just want to get to know us, email us at teencentral@bpl.org. See ya around, folks.

On the Radar: Five Books to Check Out in September

Posted on August 29th, 2017 by vkovenmatasy in Books, Previews, Teen Services

Get your library card handy and reserve your place in line for these new September releases! If you place a hold now, they can be in your hands before they even hit the shelf.

Please note: all summaries are taken from the Boston Public Library catalog unless otherwise noted. They may have been edited for length and clarity.


jane unlimited cover

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Summary: Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia–an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions. Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash–a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens. Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

Why We’re Excited: I read an ARC of Jane, Unlimited (thanks, Netgalley!), so I’m in a position to tell you that this is an incredibly weird book. A really great book! But when you take Jane Eyre as your inspiration and turn it into a choose-your-own-adventure style narrative where what you’re actually choosing is different genres… yeah, it gets really weird really fast. I enjoyed it tremendously; Cashore has been on my list of writers to watch ever since I read Graceling, and she more than lives up to her reputation. If a mash-up of Bronte, Vonnegut, and your favorite action movie sounds appealing to you, you’re in for an awesome read.


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Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary by Martha Brockenbrough

Summary: Complex, passionate, brilliant, flawed–Alexander Hamilton comes alive in this exciting biography. He was born out of wedlock on a small island in the West Indies and orphaned as a teenager. From those inauspicious circumstances, he rose to a position of power and influence in colonial America. Discover this founding father’s incredible true story: his brilliant scholarship and military career; his groundbreaking and enduring policy, which shapes American government today; his salacious and scandalous personal life; his heartrending end. Richly informed by Hamilton’s own writing, with archival artwork and new illustrations, this is an in-depth biography of an extraordinary man.

Why We’re Excited: The Hamilton juggernaut rolls on! (See also, in the Young Adult market alone: The Duel, Alex and Eliza, and coming in January, Hamilton and Peggy!) It’s really neat to see all the passion (and all the books) surrounding a dude who used to be, pre-Lin Manuel Miranda, one of the least cool Founding Fathers. And if you feel like doing some background reading on the beloved musical but don’t feel like plowing through all 818 pages of the Ron Chernow biography that inspired it all, Martha Brockenbrough has got your back.


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Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel Jose Older

Summary: In addition to the ordinary problems of a Puerto Rican teenager in Brooklyn, Sierra Santiago is working on developing her shadowshaping skills, and she is beginning to think she may need all the skill she can summon. It seems that when she channeled hundreds of spirits through herself in order to defeat Wick she woke up something very powerful and very unfriendly… and put her family and friends at risk.

Why We’re Excited: It took over two years, but the sequel to Shadowshaper is finally here! And look, look, look at that beautiful cover. Everybody get geared up for more magical adventures in Brooklyn!


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Too Shattered For Mending by Peter Brown Hoffmeister

Summary: “Little” McCardell is doing all he can just to keep it together after the disappearance of his grandfather “Big” and the arrest of his older brother, JT. He’s looking out for his younger cousin, trying to stay afloat in school, working in the town graveyard for extra cash, and in his spare time he’s pining after Rowan–the girl JT was dating until he got locked up. When the cops turn up asking questions about Big, Little doesn’t want to get involved in the investigation–he’s already got enough to deal with–but he has no choice. Especially not after the sheriff’s deputy catches him hunting deer out of season and threatens to prosecute unless he cooperates. Soon Little finds himself drowning in secrets, beholden to the sheriff, to JT, to Rowan, and to Big’s memory, with no clear way out that doesn’t betray at least one of them. And when Little’s deepest secret is revealed, there’s no telling how it could shatter their lives.

Why We’re Excited: Peter Hoffmeister’s YA debut, This Is the Part Where You Laugh, was a critical darling, with positive reviews from School Library Journal, Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, a Perfect Ten from VOYA, and an entry on the Best Fiction for Young Adults lists from YALSA. And books that handle rural poverty well are rare — for an avowed northern city-rat like me, it’s like a window into a completely different world, so I value the ones I find.


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Warcross by Marie Lu

Summary: When teenage coder Emika Chen hacks her way into the opening tournament of the Warcross Championships, she glitches herself into the game as well as a sinister plot with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

Why We’re Excited: Uh, it’s a new series from Marie Lu? To this day I still get kids evangelizing to me about Legend.


icon of VeronicaDid I get you interested in reading one of these books? Just click the title of the one you want and the link will take you to the relevant page in the catalog. From there you can click the green “Place a Hold” button and you’re all set!

Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow a book? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.


*”On the Radar” features book previews by Veronica, the Teen Librarian at the Dudley Branch, on the last Tuesday or Friday of every month.

On the Radar: Five Books to Check Out in August

Posted on July 28th, 2017 by vkovenmatasy in Teen Services

Get your library card handy and reserve your place in line for these new August releases! If you place a hold now, they can be in your hands before they even hit the shelf.

Please note: all summaries are taken from the Boston Public Library catalog unless otherwise noted. They may have been edited for length and clarity.


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Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds

Summary: Brooklyn Visions Academy student Miles Morales may not always want to be a super hero, but he must come to terms with his identity–and deal with a villainous teacher–as the new Spider Man.

Why We’re Excited: Jason Reynolds. Miles Morales, aka the version of Spider-Man (alongside Spider-Gwen) that I most hope to someday seen on a big screen. Did anyone else catch the quick hint in the most recent Spider-Man movie that Miles Morales may be coming to the Avengers universe soon? Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for a film with a writer as good as this book’s!


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Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Summary: Diana, Princess of the Amazons, journeys to the World of Man in this coming-of-age young adult story.

Why We’re Excited: While we’re on the subject of movie tie-ins with amazing authors — LEIGH BARDUGO (author of the wildly popular Grisha trilogy and the Six of Crows duology) is writing Wonder Woman. The quality of authors writing media tie-ins has increased exponentially since I was a kid reading Star Trek books…


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Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens

Summary: As the tomboy daughter of the town’s preacher, Billie McCaffrey has always struggled with fitting the mold of what everyone says she should be. She’d rather wear sweats, build furniture, and get into trouble with her solid group of friends: Woods, Mash, Davey, Fifty, and Janie Lee. But when Janie Lee confesses to Billie that she’s in love with Woods, Billie’s filled with a nagging sadness as she realizes that she is also in love with Woods… and maybe with Janie Lee, too. Always considered “one of the guys,” Billie doesn’t want anyone slapping a label on her sexuality before she can understand it herself. So she keeps her conflicting feelings to herself, for fear of ruining the group dynamic. Except it’s not just about keeping the peace, it’s about understanding love on her terms–this thing that has always been defined as a boy and a girl falling in love and living happily ever after. For Billie–a box-defying dynamo–it’s not that simple.

Why We’re Excited: A book about sexual (and maybe gender?) fluidity, set in a small town, that acknowledges the powerful and positive role that religion can have in teens’ lives? Featuring a group of friends who love and support each other even if they don’t always get it right? Yes please, sign me up.


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Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

Summary: Suzette returns home to Los Angeles from boarding school and grapples with her bisexual identity when she and her brother Lionel fall in love with the same girl, pushing Lionel’s bipolar disorder to spin out of control and forcing Suzette to confront her own demons.

Why We’re Excited: This book has been on my radar for a while now — there’s a shortage of books with a nuanced depiction of bipolar disorder, and Pointe, Brandy Colbert’s previous book, makes me think that she’ll get it right. I haven’t read Little & Lion yet myself, but I’ve seen it recommended as good representation by reviewers I trust.


epic crush of genie lo cover

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

Summary: The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie’s every waking thought. But when she discovers she’s a celestial spirit who’s powerful enough to bash through the gates of heaven with her fists, her perfectionist existence is shattered. Enter Quentin, a transfer student from China whose tone-deaf assertiveness beguiles Genie to the brink of madness. Quentin nurtures Genie’s outrageous transformation–sometimes gently, sometimes aggressively–as her sleepy suburb in the Bay Area comes under siege from hell-spawn.

Why We’re Excited: Uhhhh, so many reasons. I’ve been low-key obsessed with the Monkey King ever since I read the Dragon of the Lost Sea books (I’m gonna keep recommending them until you all read them, just FYI) back in the ’90s. The struggle to get into a top-tier college also consumed my every waking thought when I was sixteen, so I can definitely relate to Genie. And defending the Bay Area from demons??? Every aspect of this book sounds amazing.


icon of VeronicaDid I get you interested in reading one of these books? Just click the title of the one you want and the link will take you to the relevant page in the catalog. From there you can click the green “Place a Hold” button and you’re all set!

Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow a book? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.


*”On the Radar” features book previews by Veronica, the Teen Librarian at the Dudley Branch, on the last Tuesday or Friday of every month.

On the Radar: Five Books to Check Out in July

Posted on June 30th, 2017 by vkovenmatasy in Books, Previews, Teen Services

Prepare to add some more books to your TBR list, and feast your eyes upon the next literary masterpieces to hit your library shelves! ***Note that due to a hold on purchasing until the new fiscal year, these titles are not yet available for holds, but you can still ask your local librarian to put them aside for you as soon as they come in.***

Please note: all summaries are taken from the Boston Public Library catalog unless otherwise noted. They may have been edited for length and clarity.


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The Backstagers by James Tynion IV and Rian Sygh

Summary: When Jory transfers to an all-boys private high school, he’s taken in by the only ones who don’t treat him like a new kid, the lowly stage crew known as the Backstagers. Not only does he gain great, lifetime friends, Jory is also introduced to an entire magical world that lives beyond the curtain. With the unpredictable twists and turns of the underground world, the Backstagers venture into the unknown, determined to put together the best play their high school has ever seen. (summary via Goodreads)

Why We’re Excited: Billed as Lumberjanes for theater kids, The Backstagers is the latest super-adorable comic out of BOOM! Studios — who brought us not only the aforementioned adventures of “hard-core lady-types” away at summer camp but Goldie Vance, Giant Days, and Jonesy, to name only a few. They know what they’re doing, is what I’m saying. You better bet I’m checking out The Backstagers as soon as it shows up in my branch! If you can’t wait for the paper copy, you can also use your library card to check out individual issues of the comic on Hoopla.


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Buried Heart by Kate Elliott

Summary: In this third book in the epic Court of Fives series, Jessamy is the crux of a revolution forged by the Commoner class hoping to overthrow their longtime Patron overlords. But enemies from foreign lands have attacked the kingdom, and Jes must find a way to unite the Commoners and Patrons to defend their home and all the people she loves. Will her status as a prominent champion athlete be enough to bring together those who have despised one another since long before her birth? Will she be able to keep her family out of the clutches of the evil Lord Gargaron? And will her relationship with Prince Kalliarkos remain strong when they find themselves on opposite sides of a war? (summary via Goodreads)

Why We’re Excited: I feel like this series has been flying under the radar a bit, but now that’s the trilogy is complete (previous books are Court of Fives and Poisoned Blade, if you, like me, need to catch up), it’s a great time to give it a shot! The first book was recommended to me by a trusted friend right after it came out, but I have trouble reading a series when I have to wait a year between books — I tend to forget a lot of important details while I wait. This way, I can save myself the agony of cliffhangers and read all three in one go!


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Women In Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win by Rachel Ignotofsky

Summary: Keeping girls interested in sports has never been more important: research suggests that girls who play sports get better grades and have higher self-esteem–but girls are six times more likely to quit playing sports than boys and are unlikely to see female athlete role models in the media. A fascinating collection full of striking, singular art, Women in Sports features 50 profiles and illustrated portraits of women athletes from the 1800s to today including trailblazers, Olympians, and record-breakers in more than 40 different sports. The book also contains infographics about relevant topics such as muscle anatomy, a timeline of women’s participation in sports, statistics about women in athletics, and influential female teams. (summary via Goodreads)

Why We’re Excited: I looooooooved Ignotofsky’s previous collection of mini-bios, Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World — the stories of so many women who struggled against incredible barriers to succeed in their chosen fields are heartbreaking and inspiring, and the art was gorgeous. And I love women’s sports! So this is really a match made in heaven for me.


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I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski

Summary: Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and half weeks traveling through Europe with her childhood best friend, Leela. Their plans include Eiffel-Tower selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers. Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug-of-war. As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera… wearing only her polka dot underpants. (summary via Goodreads)

Why We’re Excited: What better way to kick off your summer than with a book by Sarah Mlynowski, the queen of the ultimate beach read? If you haven’t read Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) or Don’t Even Think About It yet, you can catch up while you wait for her latest to come in!


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The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

Summary: No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough. The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them. (summary via Goodreads)

Why We’re Excited: Fantasy book from the author of sci-fi mind-bender Mirror in the Sky? Based on Indian mythology? Revolving around a library? Yes, please! Not to mention I’m absolutely in love with the cover. Click to see a bigger version — it’s worth it!


icon of VeronicaDid I get you interested in reading one of these books? Just click the title of the one you want and the link will take you to the relevant page in the catalog. From there you can click the green “Place a Hold” button and you’re all set!

Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow a book? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.


*”On the Radar” features book previews by Veronica, the Teen Librarian at the Dudley Branch, on the last Tuesday or Friday of every month.

Finding Winnie: A Tween Time Production

Posted on May 24th, 2017 by adowds in Teen Services

**Written by Teen Central’s Teen Tech Mentors, Khalid M & Khalid I**




So, in the beginning of January, our boss Ally and Children’s Librarian Maggie told us that we would be co-leading a Tween Time project. Tween Time is a joint program between the Children’s department and Teen department for older kids, between the ages of 9-12. They get to participate in various Lab activities. The premise of this project was to make a 90 second book trailer modeled after the 90-Second Newbery Award trailers about a book of the tweens’ choosing. We had narrowed down options to Frog and Toad, The Lion and the Mouse, and Finding Winnie. The tweens chose Finding Winnie as their new movie project.


winniepic1The entire team was – Ally (Youth Technology Librarian), Maggie (Children’s Librarian), Khalid I. and Khalid M. (Teen Tech Mentors), tweens Julia, Lyla, Bella, Owen, Abel, Bethel, and Gus. To first start this project, we (mentors and tweens) had to get familiar with the picture book. Khalid and I read the book independently and then to the group. Afterwards, Maggie showed the tweens different Newbury trailers, and we discussed how each have a different theme. The next tween time, we asked the tweens to settle on a theme for the trailer, and the vote was split between an epic drama or an adventure. The tie was broken by Abel who changed his vote of fairy tale to epic drama. After settling on a trailer theme, we made a general outline of the story – plot points, characters, actions, etc. We wrote this on a white board and had tweens explain why one is important or not. The tweens then put plot points on sheets of paper, and we organized our  storyboard on the wall. We then had our scenes in their order, and our outline of characters on the board. We also assigned roles to everybody, such as Owen making the boat, Lyla making finger puppets, Bethel making Harry and the Hunter, etc. It was time to craft our sets, puppets, and pieces.


We printed pictures of the sets needed for each scene and got our supplies ready.  We taped the characters on to wooden sticks and used them for our scenes. We then also used string and marionettes to build other characters, such as a bear made through the ingenuity of Abel. We filmed all of the scenes we needed through Ally’s phone and we then put them into iMovie.  We recorded each scene and finished the filming process. We completed final edits to all of our film, added to the storyboards and presented our film to all of those involved in the making of this film.  After playing the complete video for the first time, we ran into issues with the audio and had to go back and embed the music into the scenes within iMovie.  We then began saving our final movie outside of iMovie.  


Khalid I: At the end of our first long-term program, we came out with a deeper understanding of iMovie and what it took to make and see a film through from beginning to end.  We learned how to complete a program through sequences, having to meet certain deadlines. And it was a lot of fun.

Khalid M: All in all, I found this venture to be a very enjoyable and challenging one. The main issue of this project was that it was supposed to be a six week one, ending in mid February. However, due to winter storm cancellations and gaps in attendance, the project was not done until mid-May. Other than that, it was a nice exercise in leadership and group management skills. The ingenuity of tweens making a storyboard, crafting puppets, and acting was very pleasant to work with. As a consequence, the final edition of the trailer was very enjoyable to watch.

After months of hard work, we are proud to finally reveal, Finding Winnie: The Movie by Khalid Films!