Thursday, May 18, 2017

Summer Programs for Teens

Register for the Library's teen programs at the Reference desk, or call: 978-468-5577.  All programs are free of charge. This year the national summer reading theme is "Build a Better World". A few of this summer's programs were chosen with the theme as a guide. The Library's teen advisory board were also consulted for program ideas. Programs are funded by the fantastic Friends of the Hamilton-Wenham Library
Our teen advisory board won the summer reading teen video challenge for the state of Massachusetts. This is the second year in a row that we have won the Teen Video Challenge. 
Here is this year's winning video:

Please note: M.A.G.E. Club will not be meeting over the summer. 
The Club will be back in September.


Teen Think Tank Meeting  
For ages 11 to 18. Thursday, June 1, 6:30 to 7:55 PM
The TTT is our teen advisory board. They work with the Young Adult Librarian to improve library collections, and to create programs and services designed for teens. Volunteer & share your bright ideas! We meet 11 times a year. To join, contact Kim at:

Bicycle Mechanics with Jeffrey Walsh - Two Sessions
Saturday, June 24, 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Saturday, June 24, 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Discover simple tricks to keep your bicycle in tip top shape. You will learn how to fix a flat tire, & the best ways to avoid a flat tire in the first place. Bring your bike to the workshop. For ages 11 and up, including adults.  Registration required.

Youth Book Sale and Two Movies
Wednesday, June 28 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:
Beauty and the Beast (1991 animated, rated G)1PM to 2:25 PM
The LEGO Batman Movie (rated PG) 3PM to 4:45 PM


Play Miniature Golf at the Library!
Saturday, July 8, 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Play 10 holes of mini-golf on hills, jumps, bumps, twists,
 and loops on the first floor of the library. For all ages.

Green Art: Itsy Bitsy Beings Workshop
Thursday, July 13, 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Make your own insects, microbes, plankton, and tiny sculptures of all kinds in this assemblage workshop. Discover how to turn wire, e-waste, screws, and other odds and ends into real and imaginary creatures. 
For ages 10 to 15. Registration required.

Green Art: 3D Collage Workshop
Thursday, July 13, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Using various paper ephemera learn how to express a significant event, dream, or a critical observation about your surroundings using 3D collage techniques. 
For teens 13+ and adults.  Registration required.

Tuesday, July 18, 7:30 PM to 9:45 PM 
Be prepared for the solar eclipse on August 21! Children’s craft at 7:30pm, eclipse program at 8:00pm, followed by observation of the night sky through club telescopes on the field behind the library at 8:45pm. Best for ages 10 to adult.

Make, Give, & Take a Paracord Survival Bracelet
Thursday, July 20, 2:00 to 4:00 PM
Make a quick release paracord survival bracelet to send to Operation Gratitude for care packages going to deployed troops overseas; to new recruits graduating from Boot Camp; to veterans here at home, and to first responders aiding in emergency situations. And make one to take home. For ages 11 to 18.  Registration required.

Cooking & Gardening with Edible Flowers & Herbs 
with Liz Barbour 
Thursday, July 27, 6:30 to 8:30 PM 
Join chef Liz Barbour for a slide presentation and cooking demonstration of recipes featuring fresh edible flowers. Discover the many flowers and herbs you can use for culinary purposes. Open to teens & adults. Registration required.

Teen Think Tank shopping spree 
to Barnes &Noble
Saturday, July 29, 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM
Choose books & games for our teen collections. To participate you must be a TTT member and have attended at least one previous Teen Think Tank meeting during 2017.  Parent/guardian permission forms are due by July 8th.  To join the TTT, call Kim Claire, Young Adult Librarian at: 978-468-5577 x14, or send an email to:


Teen Think Tank Meeting
Thursday, August 3, 6:30 to 7:55 PM
Come share your bright ideas! We meet on the first Thursday of the month. Earn your high school required community service hours! 
To join, contact Kim Claire at or call 978-468-5577 x14. 

CAD Introductory Workshop with Jeffrey Walsh
Wednesday, August 9, 3:00 to 5:00 PM  
In this introduction to three-dimensional design learn how to use Tinkercad and build your first 3D object. We will print it on our MakerBot. Participants must set up their free Tinkercad account at and bring their own laptop for this workshop.  For ages 11 and up. Registration required.

Museum of Science Rockets:
There and Back Again Workshop   
Thursday, August 17, 3 sessions, 2PM to 5PM
This hands-on workshop explores the science behind rockets and space exploration. Participants will create an air rocket that launches across the room, and engineer a way for a payload to return safely. 
For ages 11 to 15. Registration required. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

7th Teen Poetry Contest Winners Announced

Our poetry reception last Thursday evening went very well. Once again we had a truly outstanding speaker in poet and educator Erica Funkhouser. Ms. Funkhouser donated one of her poetry books, “Earthly,” to the reception raffle. Amy Thissell won the book. Ms. Funkhouser also donated a copy of "Earthly" to the Library. It will be ready for checkout sometime next week.

This year 12 teens entered 19 poems.11 poems were from middle school age writers, and 8 were from high school age writers.Three poems per entrant could be submitted.Scoring was done independently by three judges who were given copies of the poems without any information about name or age.The judges used a rubric to score each poem.This year our judges were Library Director Jan Dempsey, Library Assistant Director Rob Pondelli, and Dan Sklar, an English professor at Endicott College. Many many thanks to our judges!

And, many thanks to the Friends of the Hamilton-Wenham Library who provided funds for the cash prizes and for refreshments at the reception. Most of the Library's teen advisory board, the Teen Think Tank attended the reception and helped with the raffle and to clean up. Thank you Teen Think Tank!

The winners of this year's poetry contest are:

Emma Sullivan, Best Entry Grades 6-8, for ""Perfect" Teen"
Lily Knudsen, Best Entry Grades 9-12, for "Im(Perfect)"
Amy Thissell, 2nd Place Grades 9-12, for "Perfection in Society"
Emma Sullivan, 2nd Place Grades 6-8, for "Words"
Lily Knudsen, Honorable Mention, for "Nostalgia"
Alex Diefenbach, Honorable Mention, for "Housecat"
Nathan Giarnese, Honorable Mention, for "Summer"
Audrey Kiarsis, Honorable Mention, for "What is Perfection"

Read all the poems on the poetry page: 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Perfection Teen Poetry Contest

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

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.