Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2016 Summer Clubs & Workshops for Teens at the Library

**We won!** Our teen advisory board, the Teen Think Tank, created a video, Rock Your Game at the Library, to enter in the Collaborative Summer Library Program's 2016 Teen Video Challenge. The challenge was to create a promotional video about this year's teen summer reading theme: Get in the Game: Read. The TTT's video won for the state of Massachusetts this year.
See the winning videos from other states here:

Summer clubs and workshops for teens are listed below.
All are free. Some of them require advance registration as space is limited. Sign up at the Reference desk or call 978-468-5577.


Teen Think Tank Meeting  
For ages 11 18. Thurs. June 2, 6:30 to 7:55 PM

The TTT is our teen advisory board. The TTT works with the Teen Librarian to improve library collections, and to create programs and services designed for teens. Come share your bright ideas! Earn community service credit for school! We meet 11 times a year. To join, contact Kim at:

Magic the Gathering Club  For ages 10+. 
Saturdays: 2:00 to 4:00 PM,  June 25 to August 27
Magic the Gathering is a strategy based card game, for those who enjoy magical creatures battling each other. It is easy to learn. The club is for all levels, from beginners to people who already enjoy playing the game. Come try out your decks! For more info. contact Ari at: aristotle_massos at

M.A.G.E. (Minecraft and Assorted Games for Everyone) Tuesdays, 5:00 to 7:00 PM, June 28 to Aug. 30 MAGE is run by teens, for all ages who play well with others. Bring your own laptop and have an active Minecraft membership. Beginners and advance players welcome. One Rule: No griefing. (During the summer months MAGE meets on Tuesday evenings. During the school year they meet on Wednesday afternoon.)

Dungeons & Dragons Club   For ages 14+  
First meeting will be Saturday, June 25, noon to 4PM, to make the schedule for the rest of the summer. D & D is the world’s leading tabletop RPG. Fifth edition rulesets are generally used over a variety of running campaigns. Some experience with roleplaying games is preferred, but not necessary. Beginners welcome. 
For more info. contact Kim at:

Youth Book Sale and Two Movies
Wednesday, June 29 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Stock up for the summer at this one-day-only youth book sale, organized by the Friends of the Hamilton-Wenham Library. Credit cards accepted. 
Two movies will be shown:
Pixar Shorts 1 & 2,  1:00 to 3:15 PM, (rated G)
Inside Out, 3:30 to 5:10 PM (rated PG)


Frisbee Show and Play with Todd Brodeur 
Thursday, July 7, 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Two-time World Class Champion Todd Brodeur will present a brief history of the Frisbee and discuss the aerodynamics of the game. Then, learn how to do tricks, throws, catches and combinations, and see Todd’s collection of rare flying discs. No registration required.

Get in the Game: Sport Story Photography with Toni Carolina  
For ages 11 to 18.  
This is a 2-part workshop:
1st part meets:   Thu., July 14, 3:00 to 4:30 PM
2nd part meets: Tue., August 2, 3:00 to 4:00 PM
On July 14 bring a camera (cell phone camera not acceptable). Learn how to tell a sport story in 3 to 5 images. Return on August 2nd with prints of your shots to create a sport story photography exhibit in the Young Adult area. Register at the Reference desk. Space limited.

Teen Think Tank shopping spree to Barnes &Noble
Saturday, July 9, 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM
Participants will choose books for the library’s collections. To participate you must have attended at least one previous Teen Think Tank meeting. 
To attend, call Kim Claire at: 978-468-5577 x14.

Martial Arts with Deb Mahoney  For ages 12 and up.
Monday, July 18, 4:00 to 5:00 PM    Join Tashi Deb, a 5th degree black belt from Mark Warner’s Professional Martial Arts Academy.  Learn beginning and more advanced defense techniques depending on needs/wants of the group. No registration required.

Get in the Game Still Life Pastel Painting
with Greg Maichack  For ages 11 to adult.
Thursday, July 21, 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Join Greg Maichack for a hands-on pastel painting workshop. Greg will demonstrate how beginners to accomplished artists can easily pastel paint a still life that incorporates game pieces and words. Essential techniques of pastel painting will be demonstrated. Professional grade pastels, paper, and materials are included. Register at the Reference desk. Space limited.

CAD Bring Your Own Ideas with Jeffrey Walsh
For ages 11 and up (including adults).  
Two sessions:
Thursday, July 28, 3:00 to 5:00 PM -or-
Saturday, July 30, 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM 
Is there an object you would like to make on our 3-D printer, but need help designing? Bring your idea to this workshop. Jeff will help you create your design using Tinkercad, a free program available online. 
Participants must bring a laptop for this workshop. 
Register at the Reference desk. Space limited.

Teen Think Tank Meeting
Thursday, August 4, 6:30 to 7:55 PM
Come share your bright ideas! Earn community service credit for school! We meet 11 times a year on the first Thursday of the month. To join, contact Kim Claire at or call 978-468-5577 x14.

Interactive Sword Games with Guard Up!
For ages 11 to 16.  Thursday, August 4, 3:00 to 4:00 PM  
Please arrive at least 15 minutes early, by 2:45 PM. 
An hour of high energy interactive sword games, using foam swords, with instructors from Guard Up! All participants must wear loose-fitting pants (no shorts!), a t-shirt, and indoor shoes/sneakers (no flip flops or sandals). All attendees must provide a signed Guard Up Waiver filled out by parent or legal guardian.
Register at the Reference desk. Space limited.

Get in the Game: Eat to Win cooking with Liz Barbour  
Thursday, August 11, 3:00 to 4:00 PM
Chef & cooking instructor Liz Barbour will show you what to eat, when to eat, and how much you need to eat so you can perform at your highest level in this delicious program. Presentation will be followed by  demonstration and tasting of healthy snacks. 
Register at the Reference desk. Space limited.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Turn for the Verse
There are only a few weeks left to write your poem and enter it in the Library's 6th Teen Poetry Contest.
Poetry Contest
Deadline to enter is
midnight April 30.
    April is National Poetry Month.
Celebrate poetry by reading a verse novel.You'll find them shelved in Young Adult fiction.There is a sticker on the book's spine. It looks like this:                             
Click this to see all of our novels-in-verse(including audiobooks).

Twenty-one Verse Novels

Booked, by Kwame Alexander, 2016. Nick Hall is the star player on the soccer team until a bombshell announcement shatters his world.

The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander, 2014. Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health. Awarded the Newbery Medal in 2015.

Psyche in a Dress, by Francesca Lia Block, 2006. A young woman, Psyche, searches for her lost love and questions her true self in a modern retelling of Greek myths.

Ringside, 1925: Views From the Scopes Trial, by Jen Bryant, 2008. Visitors, spectators, and residents of Dayton, Tennessee, in 1925 describe, in a series of free-verse poems, the Scopes "monkey trial" and its effects on that small town and its citizens.

Freakboy, by Kristin Clark, 2013. Told from three viewpoints, seventeen-year-old Brendan, a wrestler, struggles to come to terms with his place on the transgender spectrum while Vanessa, the girl he loves, and Angel, a transgender acquaintance, try to help.

One, by Sarah Crossan, 2015. Despite problems at home, 16-year-old conjoined twins Tippi and Grace are loving going to school for the first time and making real friends when they learn that a cardiac problem will force them to have separation surgery, which they have never before considered.

Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba, by Margarita Engle, 2009. Escaping from Nazi Germany to Cuba in 1939, a young Jewish refugee dreams of finding his parents again, befriends a local girl with painful secrets of her own, and discovers that the Nazi darkness is never far away.
Hidden, by Helen Frost, 2011. When 14-year-olds Wren and Darra meet at a Michigan summer camp, both are overwhelmed by memories from six years earlier when Darra's father stole a car, unaware that Wren was hiding in the back.

Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials, by Stephanie Hemphill, 2010. A fictionalized account, told in verse, of the Salem witch trials, told from the perspective of three of the real young women living in Salem in 1692--Mercy Lewis, Margaret Walcott, and Ann Putnam, Jr.

Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse, 1997. In a series of poems, 14-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression.

Crank, by Ellen Hopkins, 2004. Kristina Snow is the perfect daughter, but she meets a boy who introduces her to drugs and becomes a very different person, struggling to control her life and her mind.

My Book of Life by Angel, by Martine Leavitt, 2012. Angel, a 16-year-old girl working the streets of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, befriends Melli, an 11-year-old girl in the same situation and realizes she must do all that she can to save Melli and perhaps save herself at the same time.

The Realm of Possibility, by David Levithan, 2004. A variety of students at the same high school describe their ideas, experiences, and relationships in a series of interconnected free verse stories.

Up From the Sea, by Leza Lowitz, 2016. A novel in verse about the March 2011 tsunami that sent Japan into chaos, told from the point-of-view of Kai, a biracial teenaged boy.

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, by Leslea Newman, 2012. Relates, from various points of view, events from the night of October 6, 1998, when 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was lured out of a Wyoming bar, savagely beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die.

One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, by Sonya Sones, 2004. Fifteen-year-old Ruby Milliken leaves her best friend, her boyfriend, her aunt, and her mother's grave in Boston and reluctantly flies to Los Angeles to live with her father, a famous movie star who divorced her mother before Ruby was born.

The Language Inside, by Holly Thompson, 2013. Raised in Japan, American-born tenth-grader Emma is disconcerted by a move to Massachusetts for her mother's breast cancer treatment, because half of Emma's heart remains with her friends recovering from the tsunami.

Orchards, by Holly Thompson, 2011. Sent to Japan for the summer after an eighth-grade classmate's suicide, half-Japanese, half-Jewish Kana Goldberg tries to fit in with relatives she barely knows and reflects on the guilt she feels over the tragedy back home.

Love and Leftovers, by Sarah Tregay, 2011. When her father starts dating a man, 15-year-old Marcie's depressed mother takes her to New Hampshire but just as Marcie starts falling for a great guy her father brings her back to Iowa, where all of her relationships have become strained.
A Time to Dance, by Padma Venkatraman, 2014. In India, a girl who excels at Bharatanatyam dance refuses to give up after losing a leg in an accident.

The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices From the Titanic, by Allan Wolf, 2011. Recreates the1912 sinking of the Titanic as observed by millionaire John Jacob Astor, a beautiful young Lebanese refugee finding first love, "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, Captain Smith, and others including the iceberg itself.

Friday, February 12, 2016

March into STEM

During the month of March we will offer 5 science and technology workshops.
Advance registration - now at the Reference desk or call 978-468-5577.

Computer Aided Design Workshop
with Jeffrey Walsh on Saturday, March 12

For ages 10-15, sign up for the
10:30 AM to noon workshop session.
(The adults or age 16 and up workshop 
session has been cancelled.)

Before attending, please sign-up for a Tinkercad account at Participants must bring their own 
laptop to this workshop.

Limited space. Registration required. 
Sign-up at the Reference desk on the 2nd floor, or call the Library at 978-46-5577.


Make Your Own Video Game with the Rhode Island Computer Museum
on Saturday, March 26

This is a chance to put down your controllers and learn Scratch, the interactive software developed by MIT. Scratch is a computer program developed to teach software coding and allows you to create your own video game sample. The workshop aims to explain how early video games were made and give workshop participants new skills to develop their own games. The program will include an exhibit on “Historic Video Games”. The exhibit aims to explain the impact of Early Video Games.
Two hour session, for ages 11 & up.
Limited space. Registration required. 
Sign-up at the Reference desk on the 2nd floor, or call the Library at 978-46-5577.


Coding with Minecraft with the Rhode Island Computer Museum on Saturday, March 26

Calling all crafters! Learn how to summon lightning bolts with a bow and arrow or build giant rainbows in the Minecraft world with code! Spawn farm animals or monsters instantly and have fun "modding" your world. This workshop introduces coding concepts by showing how to build or change (e.g. mod) the game using the Javascript or Python programming language. The set-up is easy for beginners, challenging for experienced gamers and fun for everyone. 
Two hour session, for ages 11 & up.
Limited space. Registration required. Sign-up at the Reference desk on the 2nd floor, or call the Library at 978-46-5577.


Star Party with the North Shore
Astronomy Club on Thursday, March 31

The North Shore Astronomy Club will give a short astronomy presentation in our large meeting room, followed by astronomy-related crafts & games, and observation of the night sky through club telescopes on the field behind the library. The evening will also feature the library's new lending telescope, now open for reservations. 
This program is for all ages, though best for elementary school age to adult.

Registration is not required for this event.

Library Lending Telescope Program Brochure.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Favorite Reads From 2015

Have you set a reading goal for 2016? My goal for 2016 is to read 145 books. Whether you have set yourself a reading challenge for 2016 or not, if you are age 11 or older, you may want to participate in Hamilton-Wenham Library's 10 book challenge.
Now, before our planet travels much further on in distance and time, I thought I would share with you 28 of the 151+ books I read in 2015 to which I gave four to five stars. If you decide to read one or more of these, or have read any of them, I'd like to hear what you think. I tend to most enjoy a story line that is character-driven rather than plot-driven. Hence, my favorite reads tend to be about the inner struggle of a character. This preference, you may notice, shows up in my nonfiction top picks as most of them are memoirs & autobiographies. You may also notice that this list is heavy on speculative fiction (fantasy and science fiction), but those are my favorite genres, and these are my picks. So here from 2015 I bare all:

Kim's Top Fiction Reads From 2015

Half a King, by Joe Abercrombie, 2014. Heir to the throne Yarvi, prompted by the murder of his father, embarks on a kingdom-transforming journey to regain the throne, even though having only one good hand means he cannot wield a weapon. Epic Fantasy. First book in trilogy. Adult books for Young Adults.  ****

The Goblin Emperor, by Katherin Addison, 2014. Elevated to the throne when his father and brothers are killed in a suspicious accident, a formerly exiled half-goblin is rapidly overwhelmed by ambitious sycophants and dangerous plots while searching for friendship and love. Fantasy. Adult books for Young Adults. *****

Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo, 2015. A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist.  Fantasy. ****

Girl With All the Gifts, by M. R. Carey, 2014.  Not every gift is a blessing. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh. Melanie is a very special girl. Suspense. Horror. Post-Apocalyptic. Adult books for Young Adults. ****1/2

Manners & Mutiny, by Gail Carriger, 2015. The final book in Gail Carriger's steampunk YA adventure series about a finishing school for young spies. In an alternate England of 1851, Sophronia Temminnick is the only hope for her friends, her school, and all of London when she must put her espionage training to the test to thwart an evil Picklemen plot. Historical Fantasy. Steampunk. ****

Walk on Earth a Stranger, by Rae Carson, 2015.  Lee Westfall, a young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold, must flee her home to avoid people who would abuse her powers, so when her best friend Jefferson heads out across Gold Rush-era America to stake his claim, she disguises herself as a boy and sets out on her own dangerous journey. Historical Fantasy. First book in trilogy. ****1/2

I'll Meet You There, by Heather Demetrios, 2015. Skylar Evans, 17, yearns to escape Creek View by attending art school, but after her mother's job loss puts her dream at risk, a rekindled friendship with Josh, who joined the Marines to get away then lost a leg in Afghanistan, and her job at the Paradise motel lead her to appreciate her home town. Realistic Fiction. Romance. ****

Cruel Beauty, by Rosamund Hodge, 2014. Betrothed to the demon who rules her country and trained all her life to kill him, seventeen-year-old Nyx Triskelion must now fulfill her destiny and move to the castle to be his wife. Fantasy. Fairy tale & Folklore Inspired. ****

Razorhurst, by Justine Larbalestier, 2015. In 1932, in Sydney's deadly Razorhurst neighborhood, where crime and razor-wielding men rule, two girls with contrasting lives who share the ability to see ghosts meet over a dead body and find themselves on the run from mob bosses. Historical Fantasy. ****
A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas, 2015. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from stories, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin, a High Lord of the faeries. As her feelings toward him transform from hostility to a firey passion, the threats against the faerie lands grow. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose Tamlin forever. Fantasy. Fairy-tale and Folklore Inspired. Romance.  ****

Queen of Shadows, by Sarah J. Maas, 2015.  Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. Embracing her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen, Celaena returns to the empire--for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past.  Fantasy. Fourth book in series. ****

Dumplin', by Julie Murphy, 2015.  Sixteen-year-old Willowdean wants to prove to everyone in her small Texas town that she is more than just a fat girl, so, while grappling with her feelings for a co-worker who is clearly attracted to her, Will and some other misfits prepare to compete in the beauty pageant her mother runs.  Realistic Fiction. ****

Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng, 2014. Set in Ohio during the 1970s, this is a story of family, history, and the meaning of home. It explores the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovers the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another. Suspense. Mystery. Adult books for Young Adults. ****
Uprooted, by Naomi Novik, 2015. Agnieszka loves her valley home, but the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power. Her people rely on a wizard, known as the Dragon, to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for 10 years. The choosing is approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows--everyone knows--that the Dragon will take beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn't, and her dearest friend in the world. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose. Fantasy. *****

The Heart of Betrayal, by Mary E. Pearson, 2015.  Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Princess Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape--and even less of being together--as the foundations of Lia's deeply-held beliefs crumble beneath her while she wrestles with her upbringing, her gift, and her very sense of self to make powerful choices that affect her country, her people, and her own destiny.  Fantasy. Second book in series. ****

Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell, 2015. Simon Snow wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains. Simon can't even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can't stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. Harry Potter Fanfiction. Fantasy.  ****

Orbiting Jupiter, by Gary D. Schmidt, 2015.  Jack, 12, tells the story of Joseph, 14, who joins his family as a foster child. Damaged in prison, Joseph wants nothing more than to find his baby daughter, Jupiter, whom he has never seen. When Joseph has begun to believe he'll have a future, he is confronted by demons from his past that force a tragic sacrifice. Realistic Fiction. ****

Lockstep, by Karl Schroeder, 2014. 17-year-old Toby awakes to find himself alone and lost in space, orbiting a planet that is frozen and sunless. He's surprised to discover that he's been asleep for 14,000 years, and shocked to learn that the Empire is still ruled by its founding family: his own. Toby's brother Peter has become a terrible tyrant. With the help of a lockstep girl named Corva, Toby must survive the forces of this new Empire, outwit his siblings, and save human civilization. Science Fiction. Space Opera. Adult books for Young Adults. ****

UnDivided, by Neal Shusterman, 2014. Three teens band together in order to sway the government to repeal all rulings in support of a procedure in which unwanted teenagers are captured and are unwound into parts that can be reused for transplantation. Science Fiction. Dystopia. Fourth book in series. ****

Stand-Off, by Andrew Smith, 2015. Now a senior at Pine Mountain Academy, 15-year-old Ryan Dean West becomes captain of the rugby team, shares his dormitory room with a 12-year-old prodigy, Sam Abernathy, and through the course of the year learns to appreciate things he has tried to resist, including change. Realistic Fiction. Sequel to Winger****
MARTians, by Blythe Woolston, 2015. In a near-future consumer dystopia, Zoèe Zindleman must choose from limited, bleak housing options, including a converted strip-mall refuge that offers safety and proximity to her new place of work, ALLMART. Science Fiction. Dystopia. ****1/2

Kim's Top Nonfiction Reads From 2015

My Friend Dahmer, by Derf Backderf, 2012. In graphic novel format, the author offers an account of growing up in the same schools as Jeffrey Dahmer, who went on to become one of the most notorious serial killers and cannibals in United States history. Biography. Graphic Format. Adult books for Young Adults.  ****1/2

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, by Don Brown, 2015. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina's monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the levees around low-lying New Orleans. Eighty percent of the city flooded, property damages across the Gulf Coast topped $100 billion, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-three people lost their lives. This is a 10th-anniversary tribute that combines authoritative memoir with graphic and watercolor illustrations. History. Graphic Format.  ****

Cool Japan Guide: Fun in the Land of Manga, Lucky Cats, and Ramen, by Abby Denson, 2015. Explores Japan, offering travel tips and recommendations for dining, sights, and activities from a cartoonist's perspective. Memoir. Culture. Travel. Graphic Format.  *****

Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America, Firoozeh Dumas, 2003. An autobiography of growing up as an Iranian-American describes the author's family's 1971 move from Iran to Southern California, the members of her diverse family, and their struggle with culture shock. Memoir. Culture. History. Adult books for Young Adults. ****

I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives, by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda, 2015. Everyone in Caitlin's (age 12) class wrote to a student somewhere in a distant place. All the other kids picked countries like France or Germany, but when Caitlin saw Zimbabwe written on the board, it sounded like the most exotic place she had ever heard of -- so she chose it. Martin was lucky to even receive a pen pal letter. There were only 10 letters, and 40 kids in his class. But he was the top student, so he got the first one. That was the beginning of a correspondence that spanned six years and changed two lives. Autobiography. Culture. ****

Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat, by Gail Jarrow, 2014. Traces the pellagra epidemic that spread throughout the American South a century ago, drawing on real-life cases to describe its physical and cultural impact as well as related medical reports, news articles, and scientific investigations. History. Science. Health. ****

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek, by Maya Van Wagenen, 2014. Documents a high school student's year-long attempt to change her social status from that of a misfit to a member of the "in" crowd by following advice in a 1950s popularity guide, an experiment that triggered embarrassment, humor and unexpected surprises. Memoir. Etiquette. ****