Thursday, January 5, 2017

Perfection Teen Poetry Contest

2017 7th annual themed TEEN POETRY CONTEST    
at the Hamilton-Wenham Library

Rules:
Open to teens in grades 6 to 12, who are
residents of Essex County in Massachusetts.
Poem entries must be original work.
Maximum 3 poems per author may be entered.
THEME: Poem must incorporate theme:perfection (or have an associative "perfection" metaphor such as: whole, sublime, rareness, ideal, etc.). Judges will deduct points from poems that do not incorporate the theme.
Each poem must have a title.
All poems must be submitted by midnight onApril 30, 2017.
An online entry form must be filled out for EACH poem submitted.

Contest winners and honorable mentions will be announced at the
Poetry Reception on Thursday, May 11, 2017, 7:00 to 9:00 PM.
You must be present at the Reception to win.
$ Cash prizes to be awarded $

All contest winners and honorable mentions are required to read or recite their poem aloud at the Reception. Your poem will be disqualified if you are not present at the reception. Please do not submit a poem if you will not be able to attend the reception. Winning poems will be published on the Poetry Page of this blog and in local newspaper(s).

The 2017 Poetry Contest Reception speaker will be Erica Funkhouser. Erica Funkhouser’s most recent book of poems, Earthly, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2008. Other Houghton Mifflin titles include Pursuit (2002), The Actual World (1997) and Sure Shot And Other Poems (1992). Natural Affinities was published by Alice James Books in 1983. Included in Sure Shot are three dramatic monologues in the voices of 19th century American women: Sacagawea, Louisa May Alcott, and Annie Oakley. The Oakley poem was adapted for the stage and produced by the Helicon Theatre Company in Los Angeles. Funkhouser’s work on Sacagawea led her to become involved with the production of Ken Burns’ PBS documentary on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and her essay on Sacagawea appears in Ken Burns’ and Dayton Duncan’s Lewis and Clark(Knopf, 1997). “Singing in Dark Times,” an essay on war poetry, appeared in the Autumn 2005 issue of The Harvard Review, and a story, Snapper, appeared in The Massachusetts Review in 2006. Funkhouser’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Ploughshares, The Paris Review, Poetry and other magazines; one of her poems has been sand-blasted into the wall of the Davis Square MBTA Station in Somerville, MA. Educated at Vassar College (BA) and Stanford University (MA), Funkhouser was honored as a Literary Light by The Boston Public Library in 2002 and in 2007 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry. She lives in Essex, MA and teaches at MIT.
Link to Erica Funkhouser's books in our library catalog.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

History Pas de Deux


Each month I get to visit with two high school English classes to talk about books for independent reading. For November's visit I focused on historical fiction matched with a nonfiction book about the same time period, event, or person(s). So, shared here are some of the matched books that I brought to the classes. Fiction covers are on the left, nonfiction covers are on the right.

To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party, by Skila Brown, 2016. A young survivor of the tragic Donner Party of 1846 describes how her family and others became victims of freezing temperatures and starvation. (Novel in verse.) 

The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party, by Marian Calabro, 1999. Uses materials from letters and diaries written by survivors of the Donner Party to relate the experiences of that ill-fated group as they endured horrific circumstances on their way to California in 1846-47.
Donner Dinner Party, Nathan Hale, 2013. The Reed family struggles to survive the wagon train journey from Illinois to California as members of the ill-fated Donner Party. (comic book format)

Walk on Earth a Stranger, by Rae Carson, 2015. Lee, a young woman with the 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 Gold Seer trilogy.)
Women of the Frontier: 16 Tales of Trailblazing Homesteaders, Entrepreneurs, and Rabble-Rousers, by Brandon Marie Miller, 2013. Drawing on journal entries, letters and song lyrics to evoke the courage and spirit of female pioneers and early activists, a collection of portraits traces the heroic lives of such individuals as Amelia Stewart Knight, Miriam Colt and Clara Brown.
Projekt 1065, by Alan Gratz, 2016. Michael, son of the Irish ambassador to Nazi Germany in Berlin, is a spy for the British Secret Service. He has joined the Hitler Youth, and pretending that he agrees with their violence and book-burning is hard enough--but when he is asked to find out more about "Projekt 1065" both his and his parents' lives get a lot more dangerous.

Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler's Shadow, by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, 2005.The story of a generation of German young people who devoted all their energy to the Hitler Youth and the propaganda that brought Hitler his power, and the youths that resisted the Nazi movement.


Four-Four-Two, by Dean Hughes, 2016. Forced into an internment camp at the start of World War II, 18-year-old Yuki enlists in the Army to fight for the Allies as a member of the "Four-Four-Two," a segregated Japanese American regiment.
Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II, by Martin W. Sandler, 2013. Drawing from interviews and oral histories, chronicles the history of Japanese American survivors of internment camps.

Sweet Madness, by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie, 2015. Bridget Sullivan, a maid in the Borden household, describes the events leading up to the murder of Andrew Borden and his second wife, and how the youngest daughter, Lizzie, was put on trial for the crime.
The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden & the Trial of the Century, by Sarah Miller, 2016. Examines the Borden murders, using newspaper articles to recreate the events and the trial and acquittal of Lizzie Borden and exploring Lizzie's story to theorize on what may have happened.


Anastasia and Her Sisters, by Carolyn Meyer, 2015. A novel in diary form in which the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II describes the privileged life her family led up until the time of World War I and the tragic events that befell them.
The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion and the Fall of Imperial Russia, by Candace Fleming, 2014. Traces the story of the Russian Revolution, the lives of the Romanov family, and the story of their tragic deaths, in an account that draws on primary source materials and includes period photography.


X, by Ilyasah Shabazz, 2015. Follows the childhood of the civil rights leader to his imprisonment at age twenty, where he found the faith that would lead him to his path towards activism and justice. 
Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary, by Walter Dean Myers, 1993. Traces the life of the controversial Black leader, describes his involvement with the Nation of Islam, and looks at his speeches and assassination. See also:
Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography, by Andrew Helfer, 2006. A graphic novel that shows Malcolm Little's transformation from a black youth beaten down by Jim Crow America into Malcolm X, the charismatic, controversial, and doomed national spokesman for the Nation of Islam.


The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices From the Titanic, by Allan Wolf, 2011. Recreates the 1912 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. (Novel in verse.) 
Titanic: Voices From the Disaster, by Deborah Hopkinson, 2012. Tells the tale of the sinking of the Titanic using the narratives of the witnesses and survivors to the disaster.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Horrors: the Long and the Short


Unearthly creatures and mysterious creepy phenomena; here are a few shivery tales to tingle your spine.


Horror Fiction in the Teen Collection
See also: A Wide-Eyed Bump in the Night: Ghost Stories 

The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall, by Katie Alender, 2015. Murdered by a spirit in her house, which was previously an insane asylum, 16-year-old Cordelia wanders the house, meeting other trapped ghosts and learning the houses dark secrets, searching for a way to save her family, and perhaps herself.


Teen Frankenstein, by Chandler Baker, 2016. When science prodigy Tori Frankenstein accidentally kills a teen boy in a midnight car accident, there's only one thing for her to do--use her science project to bring him back to life. Classics inspired.


Little Dead Man, by Jake Bible, 2014. Decades after the zombie apocalypse, 17 year old Garret Weir just wants to be a normal teenager. As if dealing with the zombies isn't hard enough, his annoying twin brother refuses to leave him in peace. And it's not like Garret can just go to his room and shut the door to get away. His brother Garth is a zombie and conjoined to the top of Garret's spine. Good times.

Lucid, by Jay R. Bonansinga, 2015. At the urging of her psychologist, high schooler Lori Blaine faces her fear by going through the door that's been haunting her dreams and finds herself in a terrifying world that serves as the channel between nightmares and reality.
Wax, by Gina Damico, 2016. Seventeen-year-old Poppy stumbles into a secret workshop at the infamous Grosholtz Candle Factory and soon, a wax boy called Dud is helping her uncover an evil plot that threatens her hometown of Paraffin, Vermont. Funny.



The Girl From the Well, by Rin Chupeco, 2014. Okiku has wandered the world for centuries, freeing the innocent ghosts of the murdered-dead and taking the lives of killers with the vengeance they are due, but when she meets Tark she knows the moody teen with the series of intricate tattoos is not a monster and needs to be freed from the demonic malevolence that clings to him.
The Accident Season, Moira Fowley-Doyle, 2015. Every October Cara and her family become mysteriously and dangerously accident-prone, but this year, the year Cara, her ex-stepbrother, and her best friend are 17, is when Cara will begin to unravel the accident season's dark origins.
The Fall, by Bethany Griffin, 2014. A retelling of Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Fall of the House of Usher' in which Madeline and her twin brother, Roderick, suffer from the Usher family illness but she hears the House talking to her, filling her dreams, controlling her actions, and ensuring she never leaves the property. Classics inspired.


13 Days of Midnight, by Leo Hunt, 2015. When his estranged father dies, 16-year-old Luke inherits eight spirits who want revenge for their enslavement, and with Halloween fast approaching, he has only thirteen days to give them their eternal rest or he may join their ghostly ranks. Humorous.
The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch: At the Edge of Empire, Daniel Kraus, 2015. The story follows Zebulon Finch, a teenager murdered in 1896 Chicago who inexplicably returns from the dead and searches for redemption through the ages.

And the Trees Crept In, by Dawn Kurtagich, 2016. Sisters Silla, seventeen, and Nori, four, are trapped in their aunt's cursed manor and can only escape with the help of a mysterious boy.

Quicksand House, by Carlton Mellick III, 2013. Tick and Polly have never met their parents. Living in a dark corner of their parents' vast crumbling mansion they worry their parents have forgotten them. When the machines that provide them with food and water stop functioning they are forced to venture out of the nursery. But the rest of the house is much larger and stranger than they ever imagined.
The Madman's Daughter, by Megan Shepherd, 2013. Dr. Moreau's daughter, Juliet, travels to her estranged father's island, only to encounter murder, medical horrors, and a love triangle. Gothic horror. Classics inspired.
The Walls Around Us, by Nova Ren Suma, 2015. Orianna and Violet are ballet dancers and best friends, but when the ballerinas who have been harassing Violet are murdered, Orianna is accused of the crime and sent to a juvenile detention center where she meets Amber and they experience supernatural events linking the girls together.
In the Shadow of Blackbirds, by Cat Winters, 2013. In San Diego in 1918, as deadly influenza and World War I take their toll, 16-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches desperate mourners flock to seances and spirit photographers for comfort and, despite her scientific leanings, must consider if ghosts are real when her first love, killed in battle, returns.



Short Horror Stories 

The Living Dead, edited by John Joseph Adams, 2008. A collection of short stories about zombies includes contributions by Sherman Alexie, Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Stephen King, and George R.R. Martin.



Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales, edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant, 2014. An anthology of stories explores the intersection of fear and romance, ambition and sacrifice, loneliness and rage, love requited and avenged, and the boundless potential for connection, even across extreme borders.
Great Tales of Horror, by H. P. Lovecraft, 2012. Includes classic stories such as: "The Rats in the Walls," "Pickman's Model," "The Colour out of Space," "The Call of Cthulhu," "The Dunwich Horror," "The Shadow over Innsmouth," "At the Mountains of Madness," "The Shadow out of Time," and "The Haunter of the Dark."
Scary Out There, edited by Jonathan Maberry, 2016.  Multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author Jonathan Maberry compiles more than twenty stories and poems--written by members of the Horror Writers Association--in this collection about worst fears.
Gothic!: Ten Original Dark Tales, edited by Deborah Noyes, 2004. Drawing on dark fantasy and the fairy tale as well as horror and wild humor, ten authors pay homage to the gothic tale. Authors include: M.T. Anderson; Neil Gaiman; Gregory Maguire; Garth Nix; and Celia Rees.

Steampunk Poe, by Edgar Allan Poe, 2011. Presents a collection of Poe's short stories and poems, including "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Fall of the House of Usher," and "The Raven," accompanied by steampunk-inspired illustrations.



Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke, 2015. An anthology of stories inspired by classic horror tales.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Teens' Top Ten Nominees for 2016

Have you read any of the nominees for this year's Teens' Top Ten? I've read six, but there are a few more I'd like to read. This year the books for Teens' Top Ten were nominated by 15 teen book groups from across the country. Now it's your turn; if you are a teen you may vote for up to three of the nominated books. You have until October 15th to vote.
Cast your vote here: 
Alive, by Chandler Baker,2015. After finally receiving a heart transplant, 17-year-old Stella throws herself into her new life, but her recovery is marred with strange side effects and hallucinations, and when she meets Levi Zin, a mysterious new boy at her Seattle prep school,Stella soon realizes that she and Levi have more in common than she could ever imagine. Paranormal fiction. Thriller/Suspense.
Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo, 2015. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction--if they don't kill each other first. Fantasy fiction.



The Darkest Part of the Forest, by Holly Black, 2015. In the town of Fairfold, where humans and fae exist side by side, a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives awakes after generations of sleep in a glass coffin in the woods, causing Hazel to be swept up in new love, shift her loyalties, feel the fresh sting of betrayal, and to make a secret sacrifice to the faerie king. Fantasy fiction.
The Witch Hunter, by Virginia Boecker, 2015. Set in an alternative 16th-century England, Elizabeth Grey is the only girl in the king's elite group of witch hunters. When she's framed for being a witch herself, Elizabeth finds freedom at the hands of the world's most wanted wizard and her loyalties are tested. Historical fantasy.
The Game of Love and Death, by  Martha Brockenbrough, 2015. In Seattle in 1937 two 17-year-olds, Henry, who is white, and Flora, who is African-American, become the unwitting pawns in a game played by two immortal figures, Love and Death, where they must choose each other at the end, or one of them will die. Magic realism. Romance.


Powerless, by Tera Lynn Childs, and Tracy Deebs. 2015. Kenna feels inferior because everyone else has some talent or power, so when villains break into the lab where she interns she will not let criminals steal the research that will make her extraordinary too, but secrets are spilled and one of the villains saves her life, leading her to think what it means to be powerful and powerless. Science fiction. Superhero story.
Mechanica, by Betsy Cornwell, 2015. A retelling of Cinderella about an indomitable inventor-mechanic who finds her prince but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all. Steampunk fiction. Fairy tale/Folklore inspired.
You and Me and Him, by Kris Dinnison,  2015. Maggie Bowers thinks she knows what to expect her junior year of high school, but when she and her out-of-the-closet best friend Nash have feelings for the same boy she wonders if winning someone's heart means losing her soul mate. Realistic fiction.


The Summer After You & Me, by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski, 2015. A year after Superstorm Sandy, Lucy's life is returning to normal at the New Jersey shore, where she has grown up surfing with her twin brother, crabbing and long-boarding with friends, and working at Surf Taco, but the torch she holds for summer resident Connor, the center of The Big Mistake, still burns. Romance.
The Devil You Know, by Trish Doller, 2015. Exhausted and rebellious after three years of working for her father and mothering her brother, 18-year-old Arcadia "Cadie" Wells joins two cousins who are camping their way through Florida, soon learning that one is a murderer. Thriller/Suspense.
Charlie, Presumed Dead, by Anne Heltzel, 2015. Told in separate voices, Lena and Aubrey, each hiding her own secrets, set off in search of the truth about Charlie, including if he is really dead, after meeting at his funeral and learning that he was dating both of them. Mystery.
Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman, and Jay Kristoff. 2015. The planet Kerenza is attacked, and Kady and Ezra find themselves on a space fleet fleeing the enemy, while their ship's artificial intelligence system and a deadly plague may be the end of them all. Science fiction.

When, by Victoria Laurie, 2015. Sixteen-year-old Maddie Flynn cannot help but see the death date of everyone she meets or sees in a photograph or on-screen, and her alcoholic mother exploits this by having her do readings for money, but when Maddie predicts the death of a young boy, she becomes the center of an FBI investigation. Paranormal fiction. Thriller/Suspense.
The Novice: Summoner: Book One, by Taran Matharu, 2015. When Fletcher, a blacksmith's apprentice, learns he can summon demons, he travels with his demon to an academy for adepts where he is to train as a Battle mage in the Empire's war against the orcs, but he discovers that all is not as it seems. Fantasy fiction.


Mark of the Thief, by Jennifer A. Nielsen, 2015. Forced to enter a sealed cavern that reputedly holds the lost treasures of Caesar, slave boy Nic discovers an amulet imbued with divine power and finds himself at the center of a conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War. Historical fantasy.
All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven, 2015. Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school--both teetering on the edge--it's the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the "natural wonders" of the state of Indiana, and two teens' desperate desire to heal and save one another. Realistic fiction.
I Am Princess X, by Cherie Priest, Illustrated by Kali Ciesemier, 2015. Libby and May invented Princess X when they were in 5th grade, but when the car Libby is in goes off a bridge, she is presumed dead, and the story came to an end--except now, three years later, Princess X is suddenly everywhere, with an underground culture focused on a webcomic, and May believes her friend must be alive. Mystery. Graphic novel hybrid.
Hold Me Like a Breath, Tiffany Schmidt, 2015. Penny Landlow, 17, the overprotected daughter of a powerful crime family, has rarely left the family estate due to a blood disorder but when tragedy strikes and she is left alone in New York City, she must prove she is not as fragile as everyone believes. Thriller/Suspense. Fairy tale/Folklore inspired.
Con Academy, by Joe Schreiber, 2015. Con man Will Shea may have met his match in scammer Andrea Dufresne as they make a high-stakes deal that will determine who gets to stay at ConnaughtonAcademy, one of the most elite and privileged preparatory schools in the country, and who must leave. Realistic fiction.
The Ghosts of Heaven, by Marcus Sedgwick, 2015. Four linked stories of discovery and survival begin with a Paleolithic-era girl who makes the first written signs, continue with Anna, who people call a witch, then a mad twentieth-century poet who watches the ocean knowing the horrors it hides, and concluding with an astronaut on the first spaceship from Earth sent to colonize another world. Science fiction.
The Glass Arrow, by Kristen Simmons, 2015. Stolen from her home, and being groomed for auction, Aya is desperate to escape her fate and return to her family, but her only allies are a loyal wolf she's raised from a pup and a strange mute boy who may be her best hope for freedom ... if she can truly trust him. Science fiction. Dystopian.
Black Widow Forever Red, by Margaret Stohl, 2015. Natasha Romanov, called the Black Widow, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, rescues a young girl from Ivan, the man who once trained her as an assassin--and eight years later she is called upon to protect the teenage Ava from a threat from the past--and possibly from S.H.I.E.L.D itself. Superhero story.


Every Last Word, by Tamara Ireland Stone, 2015. Consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off, a girl coping with Purely-Obsessional OCD learns to accept herself and take control of her life through her experiences in poetry club. Realistic fiction.
Zeroes, by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti. 2015. Told from separate viewpoints, teens Scam, Crash, Flicker, Anonymous, Bellwether, and Kelsie, all born in the year 2000 and living in Cambria, California, have superhuman abilities that give them interesting but not heroic lives until they must work as a community to respond to a high stakes crisis. Science fiction. Superhero story.
Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls, by Lynn Weingarten, 2015. They say Delia burned herself to death, but June does not believe it was suicide, because she and Delia used to be closer than anything, but a year ago everything changed when they and June's boyfriend Ryan let their good time get out of hand, and now, June owes it to Delia to know if her best friend committed suicide or was murdered. Mystery.
Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon, 2015. The story of a teenage girl who's literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challengeseverything she's ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more. Romance.