Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Choice Book

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas has been hovering at or near the top of The New York Times' Young Adult Hardcover bestseller list for 25 weeks now. It's in my top 5 favorite books for 2017, and is the book I chose to sponsor for HWRHS's summer reading choice list this year. Although, I originally considered picking from the fantasy or science fiction genre as I did last year (The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison), after reading Thomas' book the decision was over. The book sang choose me! choose me!! The story is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and could not be more relevant to our current time. The story and characters immediately draw you in and carry you through the course of a terrible event with insight, heart, and a sprinkle of humor. There was no other book I could choose over this one for the high school choice list. Tomorrow I'll be meeting with 15 of the 30 students who signed up to read the book over the summer. (53 books were sponsored this year.) A second group of 15 students will be meeting with Principal Eric Tracy as he too chose to sponsor Thomas's book. As part of my preparation for the book discussion I put together a read-a-like book list for The Hate U Give, which is shared below. Descriptions are whole or paraphrased from our library catalog. Titles are linked to the catalog.

If you liked THE HATE U GIVE, by Angie Thomas,

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor black neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Starr's life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her. But what Starr does--or does not--say could destroy her community.
Genre: Realistic; Contemporary
Storyline: Character-driven; Issue-oriented

you might also like:
these Fiction read-a-likes about Racism, Race Relations

Cover image for Allegedly : a novelCover image for Bright lights, dark nightsBright Lights, Dark Nights, by Stephen Emond, 2015. Walter Wilcox's first love, Naomi, happens to be African American, so when Walter's policeman father is caught in a racial profiling scandal, the teens' bond and mutual love of the Foo Fighters may not be enough to keep them together through the pressures they face at school, at home, and online.
Cover image for How it went down
Allegedly, by Tiffany Jackson, 2017. When Mary, a teenager living in a group home, becomes pregnant, authorities take another look at the crime for which Mary was convicted when she was nine years old.
Cover image for All American boysCover image for Flygirl
How It Went Down, by Kekla Magoon, 2014. When 16-year-old Tariq is shot to death, his community is thrown into an uproar because Tariq was black and the shooter is white, and in the aftermath everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events agree.

Cover image for Black and whiteAll American Boysby Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, 2015. When 16-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. Told through Rashad and Quinn's alternating viewpoints.

Flygirl, by Sherri Smith, 2009.  During World War II, a light-skinned African American girl "passes" for white in order to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots.
Cover image for Piecing me togetherBlackand White, by Paul Volponi, 2005. Two star high school basketball players, one black and one white, experience the justice system differently after committing a crime together and getting caught.

Cover image for American streetPiecingMe Together, by Renee Watson, 2017. Tired of being singled out at her mostly-white private high school as someone who needs support, Jade would rather participate in the school's amazing Study Abroad program than join Women to Women, a mentor-ship program for at-risk girls.

AmericanStreet, by Ibi Zoboi, 2017.  When Fabiola's mother is detained upon their arrival to the U.S., Fabiola must navigate her loud American cousins, the grittiness of Detroit's west side, a new school, and a surprising romance all on her own.

Fiction read-a-likes that are 
Culturally Diverse, Character Driven, and Issue Oriented

Cover image for The lines we cross
The Lines We Cross, by Randa Abdel-Fattah, 2017.  Basketball enthusiast Michael attends anti-immigration rallies with his parents until a friendship with Mina, a Muslim refugee from Afghanistan, compels him to question his family's politics. Their mutual attraction demands they come to terms with their family's concerns and decide where they stand in the anti-Muslim politics of the time.

Cover image for The radius of usCover image for Yaqui Delgado quiere darte una paliza The Radius of Us, by Marie Marquardt, 2017.  After being mugged, 17-year-old Gretchen is still struggling to deal with her fears when she meets Phoenix, an 18-year-old immigrant from El Salvador. Told in alternating voices.

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, by Meg Medina, 2013.  Informed that a bully she does not know is determined to beat her up Latin American teen Piddy Sanchez struggles to learn more about the father she has never met, until the bully's gang forces her to confront more difficult challenges.

If you liked THE HATE U GIVE, by Angie Thomas,
you might also like these Nonfiction books:

Cover image for Racial profilingCover image for They called themselves the K.K.K. : the birth of an American terrorist groupTheyCalled Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group, by Susan Bartoletti, 2010. Uses personal accounts unearthed from oral histories, congressional documents, and diaries, to unveil the creation of the Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee, and its spread across the American South. (Narrative Nonfiction)

Cover image for In the shadow of Liberty : the hidden history of slavery, four presidents, and five black livesCover image for Between the world and meRacialProfiling: Everyday Inequality, by Alison Behnke, 2017.  An in-depth analysis combining research with personal stories that explores the history, the many manifestations, and the consequences of this form of social injustice.

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2015. Told in a series of essays written as an open letter to his son, Coates confronts America's racial history and details what it has meant and what it means to be black in America. (Memoir)

Cover image for Invisible man, got the whole world watching : a young black man's educationCover image for March : Book OneIn the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives, by Kenneth Davis, 2016. An examination of American slavery through the true stories of five enslaved people who were considered the property of some of our best-known presidents.

MarchBooks 1, 2, & 3, by John Lewis, co-written by Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell, 2013-2016. Congressman John Lewis's first-hand account of his lifelong struggle for civil and human rights. (An Autobiography in Graphic Novel format)

Cover image for The rap year book : the most important rap song from every year since 1979, discussed, debated, and deconstructedInvisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man's Educationby Mychal Smith, 2016. A prominent journalist and contributing writer to The Nation magazine describes his education and the experiences of black masculinity against a backdrop of the Obama administration, the death of Trayvon Martin, the career of LeBron James and other pivotal influences that have shaped race relations in today's America. (Memoir)

The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed,Debated, and Deconstructedby Shea Serrano, 2015. Serrano examines the history and culture of rap music--from artists' backgrounds to issues of race, the rise of hip-hop, and the struggles among its major players--both personal and professional. Covering East Coast and West Coast, famous rapper feuds, chart toppers, and show stoppers.

Did u hear about the rose that grew from a crack
in the concrete?
Proving nature's law wrong it learned 2 walk
without having feet
Funny it seems but by keeping its dreams
it learned 2 breathe fresh air
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared!

                 --Tupac Amaru Shakur 1971-1996

The Rose That Grew From Concrete, by Tupac Shakur, 1999. A collection of verse by the late hip-hop star Tupac Shakur includes more than 100 poems confronting such wide-ranging topics as poverty, motherhood, Van Gogh, and Mandela. Included are facsimiles of the poems in Shakur's handwriting, with scratch outs and corrections, distinctive spelling, and ideographs (a drawing of an eye for I, etc.).

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.