Monday, August 22, 2016

Disney Summer of Service Grant

Now through September 30, kids, 5-18 in the U.S., who are making a difference in their community have the chance to apply for a Disney Summer of Service grant through YSA.

Disney Summer of Service grants offer young changemakers $500 to gather their friends and turn creative ideas into projects that will positively impact their communities - making them healthier, greener and stronger.

Three hundred and forty winners will be awarded individual $500 grants to implement their projects and select grantees will have a chance to be recognized by Disney|ABC Television Group or their local ABC affiliate.


Grant applicants must be between the ages of 5 and 18, and live in the United States.

Legally, if you are younger than 13, you must have someone older than 13 prepare and submit the application for you.

Applications must be received by midnight on September 30, 2016, to be considered.

All applicants are required to have a sponsoring organization or school.

Grant checks are sent to the sponsoring organization or school.

The sponsoring organization or school will accept the grant funds for the applicant and work with them to utilize the funds.

YSA cannot send grant funds to an individual.

To apply, go to the Friends for Change website

Friday, August 12, 2016

Teens Top Ten Voting Opens Monday

The 2016 Teens’ Top Ten voting begins Monday. To vote, go to the Top Ten website. Here is the list of nominees: 

Baker, Chandler. Alive. Disney/Hyperion.
Stella Cross has received a heart transplant, but it has not stopped her emotional suffering.
Then a mysterious boy named Levi Zin comes into her life. Stella’s pain goes away whenever she’s
around Levi. However, Stella finds out a terrible secret about Levi. Can it be true?

Bardugo, Leigh. Six of Crows. Macmillan/Henry Holt & Co.
Young criminal genius Kaz Brekker is offered the chance to pull off a dangerous theft that can make him rich. He recruits a gang of six dangerous misfits to help him with the heist. The book follows the crew’s crazy adventure and features plot twists, betrayals, and schemes aplenty.

Black, Holly. The Darkest Part of the Forest. Little, Brown & Co.
In Fairfold, a place where both humans and Faeries live, siblings Hazel and Ben have grown up telling each other stories about the boy in the glass coffin in the woods. The boy has horns and ears pointy as knives, perhaps he’s a prince or a knight. Of course, they’ll never know because the boy will never wake. Then, unexpectedly, he does . . .

Boecker, Virginia. The Witch Hunter. Little, Brown & Co.
Elizabeth Grey is a witch hunter who is suddenly accused of being a witch. She is arrested and sentenced to burn. The only way for Elizabeth to avoid this fate is to help out her former enemy Nicholas Perevil, the most dangerous wizard around. The book is filled with magic and adventure, action and mystery and features a world full of witches, pirates and ghosts.

Brockenbrough, Martha. The Game of Love and Death. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books.
Set in Seattle in the 1920s, a romance develops between Flora, who is African American, and Henry, who is white. Despite some differences, the pair has much in common, including a shared love of jazz music. However, it turns out that Flora and Henry actually are pawns in a game played by two other characters – Love and Death. This book is full of intrigue and is, at times, heartbreaking, and will have the reader racing to the final pages.

Childs, Tera Lynn, and Tracy Deebs. Powerless. Sourcebooks Fire.
In a world full of powerful heroes and villains, Kenna is just a regular, powerless teenager who works in a lab. Then, three villains break into the lab, and Kenna decides to fight back. In the midst of this battle, Kenna is saved by a villain. Suddenly, she is forced to rethink her beliefs.

Cornwell, Betsy. Mechanica. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt /Clarion Books.
A new take on the classic story of Cinderella. Mechanica uses her wit and her mother’s old engineering textbooks to try to escape her stepmother and stepsisters. Mechanica is a strong, smart, and capable character in a book that has an inspirational message for teenage girls.

Dinnison, Kris. You and Me and Him. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion Books.
Maggie is overweight. Nash is out of the closet. They are the best of friends. But that friendship is tested when they both develop feelings for the same boy, a new kid named Tom.

Doktorski, Jennifer Salvato. The Summer After You & Me. Sourcebooks Fire.
Lucy Giordano lives on the Jersey Shore and has a crush on a boy named Connor Malloy, whose family spends many summer weekends at the home next door. The pair eventually shares an unexpected tromance. Then, Super Storm Sandy hits and alters Lucy’s life dramatically. Lucy and Connor go their separate ways. But several months later, Connor is scheduled to return to The Shore, which should definitely make for an interesting summer.

Doller, Trish. The Devil You Know. Bloomsbury.
Arcadia, or Cadie for short, is 18 years old and has been longing for something more in life ever since her mother died. Then she meets two handsome boys, cousins to one another, and they invite her and a friend on a camping trip. What seems like innocent fun takes a negative turn when Arcadia discovers one of the boys is hiding a terrible secret.

Heltzel, Anne. Charlie, Presumed Dead. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Charlie Price is presumed dead after his plane crashes. However, his body is never found. At his funeral, Lena and Aubrey meet and discover both were his girlfriend. Lena believes Charlie is still alive, and she and Aubrey set out on a journey across Europe and Asia to expose Charlie’s deceit. The girls try to work together, but the secrets they hide could prevent them from finding Charlie.

Kaufman Amie, and Jay Kristoff. Illuminae. Random House/Alfred A. Knopf.
Kady and Ezra have just broken up, and then their planet is bombed by a megacorporation. The pair
escapes to a government ship, but must put their differences aside in order to survive and stop a plague that has resulted from the use of a bioweapon.

Laurie, Victoria. When. Disney/Hyperion.
High school junior Maddie Fynn has special powers that allow her to see numbers above a person’s
forehead, which she soon discovers are death dates. She identifies the death date of a young boy, but is unable to prevent his disappearance. Then, Maddie becomes a suspect in a homicide investigation.

Matharu, Taran. The Novice: Summoner: Book One. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends.
A blacksmith’s apprentice named Fletcher discovers he can summon demons from another world. He
soon gets chased out of his village for a crime he did not commit, ending up at an academy for adepts, where he is trained to serve as a Battlemage in the Empire’s war against the savage Orcs. Eventually, Fletcher discovers the fate of the Empire is in his hands.

Nielsen, Jennifer. A. Mark of the Thief. Scholastic/Scholastic Press.
Set in Ancient Rome, a young slave named Nic finds an amulet that gives him magic powers usually
reserved for the Gods. After discovering a conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and start a war, Nic is
forced to use the magic within to defeat the empire’s most ruthless leaders and save Rome.

Niven, Jennifer. All the Bright Places. Random House/Alfred A. Knopf.
Death plays a big role in the lives of high schoolers Theodore Finch and Violet Markey. He is constantly on the verge of suicide, and she is battling grief after her sister’s death. The Indiana teens come together to work on a project and soon develop a bond, showing each other what it’s like to live.

Priest, Cherie. Illustrated by Kali Ciesemier. I Am Princess X. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine.
When they were young, best friends Libby and May created a comic character named Princess X. Then Libby was killed in a car accident. Lonely and grieving, May soon discovers an underground culture centered around a web comic at The similarities between those stories and Libby’s own stories are striking. Could her friend still be alive?

Schmidt, Tiffany. Hold Me Like a Breath. Bloomsbury.
Penelope Landlow has an autoimmune disease that forces her to remain indoors. She is also the
daughter of a notorious crime family that is involved in the black market for organ transplants. Penelope soon gains her independence and is forced to survive on her own in the big city. She learns about love, loss and how to survive in an often dangerous world.

Schreiber, Joe. Con Academy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Will Shea (aka Billy Humbert) is a con man who has scammed his way into Connaughton Academy, an exclusive school for the American elite. He soon meets Andrea Dufresne, who also has conned her way into the school. The pair soon makes a bet to see who can con the school bully, Brandt Rush, out of thousands of dollars.

Sedgwick, Marcus. The Ghosts of Heaven. Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press.
An epic story about the journey of discovery told in four episodes. The first, takes place during
prehistoric times, as a girl picks up a stick and creates some of the first cave drawings. Next, we visit the 17th century and a girl named Anna, whom many believe is a witch. Episode three is set in a Long Island mental institution and features a mad poet who watches the ocean. Finally, a trip to the future, as a spaceship travels to settle another world.

Simmons, Kristen. The Glass Arrow. Tor Teen.
Set in the future, Aya is a 15-year-old girl who has spent her life hiding in the mountains in order to
avoid the fate of most women, who are treated like property and auctioned off for breeding. Then, she
is caught. Desperate to escape, she relies on the assistance of a wolf and a mute boy in her search for

Stohl, Margaret. Black Widow Forever Red. Disney/Marvel Press.
Natasha Romanoff,  aka Black Widow, is one of the world’s most lethal assassins, and she once rescued young Ava Orlova from being subjected to a series of military experiments. Now, Black Widow and Orlova, who is 15 years old and living in Brooklyn, team up again to stop Widow’s former teacher, the evil Ivan Somodorov, from wreaking havoc on the children of Eastern Europe.

Stone, Tamara Ireland. Every Last Word. Disney/Hyperion.
Samantha McAllister seems to have it all: she is beautiful, bright and part of the popular crowd in high school. But looks can be deceiving, and she is hiding the fact she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Samantha’s life changes after she visits a place at school called Poet’s Corner and she begins hanging out with new friends like Caroline and AJ.

Westerfeld, Scott, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti. Zeroes. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse.
Six California teens have special powers that aren’t always welcome. Like Ethan, known as Scam, who has a voice inside of him that will sometimes speak out when it’s not the right time to do so. When that “power” gets Ethan in trouble, the other Zeroes are the only ones who can rescue him. However, the members of this group are not exactly the best of friends.

Weingarten, Lynn. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse.
June and Delia were best friends who grew apart. Then, Delia commits suicide. Or, at least that’s what others have been told. June believes her former best friend has been murdered, and she goes on a quest to find the truth . . . which, it turns out, is very complicated.

Yoon, Nicola. Everything, Everything. Random House/Delacorte Press.
Maddy is a teenager with a serious autoimmune disease that prevents her from leaving the house. Yet,
she seems content to stay home and read books. That is until a boy named Olly moves in next door. The two meet, and their quirky relationship is chronicled through emails, journal entries, IMs and old notes.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

August Teen Programs

Registration is open and there are spaces available for the following programs:

DIY Lip Balm & Lotion
Wednesday, August 17 at 7pm
You will learn to make your own lip balm & lotion!

Stir Fry
Thursday, August 18 at 7pm
Learn how to make chicken stir fry!

Harry Potter Party
Monday, August 22 at 3pm
Celebrate the Boy Who Lived

Teen Iron Chef
Wednesday, August 24 at 3pm
Compete against each other to see who can make the best dessert using specific ingredients.

To register for any of these events, you only need your library card! You can register online on our EventKeeper

Monday, August 1, 2016

Spider-Man Anniversary

On August 10, 1962, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko introduced a new superhero for Marvel Comics in issue #15 of Amazing Fantasy. Peter Parker finally got his own comic book in March of 1963.

Check out a preview of the first appearance on the Marvel website.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Diverse Reads

Below is a sample of some of the diverse books in the collection.

Diverse Reads

Abdel-Fattah, Randa.  Does My Head Look Big in This?   Orchard Books, 2007.                                  YA FIC Abdel-Fattah                      
Year Eleven at an exclusive prep school in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, would be tough enough, but it is further complicated for Amal when she decides to wear the hijab, the Muslim head scarf, full-time as a badge of her faith--without losing her identity or sense of style.

Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Little Brown, 2009.                       YA FIC Alexie
Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Alonge, L J. Justin. Penguin, 2016. YA Sports FIC Alonge
Justin is having a tough summer in his gritty Oakland neighborhood. In order to distance himself from his alcoholic father and his boring stepfather, he has a list of goals for himself but is torn between his love of video games and literature and his desire to fit in with the other teens in his neighborhood. When Justin's attempt to earn points with the local gang by vandalizing a store ends poorly, his friend Frank decides that the two can prove themselves by defending the neighborhood basketball court against the rival Ghosttown players.

Flake, Sharon. The Skin I’m In. Hyperion Books, 1998. YA FIC Flake; 6-8
Thirteen-year-old Maleeka, uncomfortable because her skin is extremely dark, meets a new teacher with a birthmark on her face and makes some discoveries about how to love who she is and what she looks like.

Gratz, Alan. Code of Honor.  Scholastic, 2015. YA FIC Gratz
When Iranian-American Kamran Smith learns that his big brother, Darius, has been labelled a terrorist, he sets out to piece together the codes and clues that will save his brother's life and his country from a deadly terrorist attack.

Johnson, Alaya Dawn. Love is the Drug. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2014.  YA FIC Johnson
Emily Bird is an African American high school senior in Washington D.C., member of a privileged medical family, on the verge of college and the edge of the drug culture, and not really sure which way she will go--then one day she wakes up in the hospital with no memory of what happened.

Magoon, Kekla. How it Went Down. Henry Holt, 2014.  YA FIC Magoon
When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot to death, his community is thrown into an uproar because Tariq was black and the shooter, Jack Franklin, is white, and in the aftermath everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events agree.

McCall, Guadalupe Garcia. Under the Mesquite. Lee & Low, 2011. YA FIC McCall
Throughout her high school years, as her mother battles cancer, Lupita takes on more responsibility for her house and seven younger siblings, while finding refuge in acting and writing poetry.

Perera, Anna. Guantanamo Boy. Albert Whitman, 2011. 
 YA FIC Perera                                                                                
Six months after the events of September 11, 2001, Khalid, a Muslim fifteen-year-old boy from England, is kidnapped during a family trip to Pakistan and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he is held for two years suffering interrogations, water-boarding, isolation, and more for reasons unknown to him.

Quintero, Isabelle. Gabi, a Girl in Pieces. Cinco Puntos Press, 2014. YA FIC Quintero
Sixteen-year-old Gabi Hernandez chronicles her senior year in high school as she copes with her friend Cindy's pregnancy, friend Sebastian's coming out, her father's meth habit, her own cravings for food and cute boys, and especially, the poetry that helps forge her identity.

Reynolds, Jason. All American Boys. Atheneum Books, 2015. YA FIC Reynolds
When sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing, classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend.

Sarn, Amelie. I Love, I Hate, I Miss My Sister. Delacorte, 2014.  YA FIC Sarn
Portrait of two Muslim sisters, once closely bonded, but now on divergent paths as one embraces her religion and the other remains secular.

Venkatraman, Padma. Time to Dance. Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014. YA FIC Venkatraman
In India, a girl who excels at Bharatanatyam dance refuses to give up after losing a leg in an accident.

Woodson, Jacqueline. After Tupac and D Foster. G.P. Putnam, 2008. YA FIC Woodson

In the New York City borough of Queens in 1996, three girls bond over their shared love of Tupac Shakur's music, as together they try to make sense of the unpredictable world in which they live.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Teen Writing Contest

The Houston Public Library is running its first teen writing contest. Subjects for your short story or poem are limited only by your imagination. Entries will be judged on originality, use of language and technical skill. You can submit to both categories – short story and poetry.

 1A – Poetry: Grades 6-8
1B – Short Story:  Grades 6-8
2A – Poetry: Grades 9-12
2B – Short Story: Grades 9-12

All entries will have to adhere to contest rules and deadlines. Entries will be judged on the following:
Use of Language
Technical Skill

Prizes for Each Category:
 1st Prize = $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
2nd Prize = $15 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
3rd Prize = $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

How to Submit Entry:

By Mail: Houston Public Library | Attn: Rebecca Denham - Teen Room | 500 McKinney St., 77002. Use the fillable PDF form.

Online: complete the form below. Don't forget to upload your document file!

Contest Submission Rules:

Participants must be a current student between grades 6-12.
For each submission fill out the entry form (download here) and attach to your submission. A submission consists of 1 entry form attached to 3 copies of your entry. (If you participate in two categories, you should have two Entry Forms.)

One entry per category per participant
Submit 3 copies of your entry typed on white paper with 1 entry form attached. No handwritten entries will be accepted.

Text & Formatting
Title of work should appear at the top of the submission. Your name should only appear on the entry form. Do not put your name on the copies of your short story or poem attached to the entry form.
Color – Black ink only
Font – Times New Roman
Size – 12pt
Spacing - 1.5 line spacing
No pictures are permitted

All entries must adhere to the word count. Poetry must be 800 words or less. Short stories should be a minimum of 1000 words and not exceed 5000 words.
All short stories must be stand-alone. Excerpts of larger works will not be considered.
All entries must be original work; Fanfiction will not be accepted.

All entries must be received by 5 PM on July 30, 2016

Monday, June 20, 2016

Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design Origins Awards Winners

The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design has announced the winners of the 2016 Origins Awards. The nominees and winners were selected by the Academy. 
Game of the Year
Codenames (Czech Games), designed by Vlaada Chv├ítil.
Board Games
Star Wars: Imperial Assault (Fantasy Flight Games), designed by Justin Kemppainen, Corey Konieczka, Jonathan Ying.
Also winner of the Origins Fan Favorite award!
Card Games
7 Wonders Duel (Repos Productions), designed by Antoine Bauza, Bruno Cathala.
 Also winner of the Origins Fan Favorite award!
Collectible Games
DC Comics Dice Masters: War of Light (WizKids), designed by Mike Elliott, Eric M. Lang.
Also winner of the Origins Fan Favorite award!
Family Games
Codenames (Czech Games Edition), designed by Vlaada Chvatil.
 Also winner of the Origins Fan Favorite award!
Game Accessories
Terrain Tiles (Lost Battalion Games), designed by Becky Siebe.
Fan Favorite Winner:  Castle Panic: The Dark Titan (Fireside Games), designed by Justin De Witt
Miniatures Games
Star Wars Armada (Fantasy Flight Games), designed by James Kniffen, Christian T. Petersen.
Also winner of the Origins Fan Favorite award!
Role-Playing Games
Star Wars: Force and Destiny (Fantasy Flight Games) Designed by Jay Little
Also winner of the Origins Fan Favorite award!