Small town librarian discusses crafts, books, comics, media, teens, and more.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Youth Book Award predictions

I like trying to guess the books that will win the Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz awards. It lets me take a look at some of the titles from the year and be a little snarky. Snarky because of my feelings on the awards lately, and that like many others, I don't think they actually have much connection to what youth want to read. Back in May I talked about some of my feelings on the subject.

So my picks for the 2008 winners:
Caldecott: Always a tough category to call, especially for me. My favorites so far this year are Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea, Frankenstein Takes the Cake by Adam Rex, and Katie Loves the Kittens by John Himmelman. In the case of Dinosaur... and Katie Loves... I think the text and pictures match perfectly, which is the goal. Otherwise, I'm guessing it will be a title that's on SLJ's Best Books of 2008 list.

Newbery: I'm still going with The Underneath by Kathi Applet, which I admit I haven't read yet. I like her Bubba and Beau picture books, so I'll give Underneath a try.
I'd love to see a book like Diary of a Wimpy Kid win, something that is pure comedy. Or the new books by two of my favorite authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett could make the honor list for Newbery or Printz. Probably won't happen, but they are both making other lists at least.

Printz: Gotta say Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan, which I haven't read yet, but is getting lots of buzz lately. Other ones I think are likely: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, Paper Towns by John Green, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, or Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Pratchett's Nation has a chance for an honor at least I hope. The winner will probably be something no one would have guessed, if the last two years are anything to judge by.

What titles are you predicting? We'll find out in about a month. I'll be breaking in the new children's librarian at that point, so it'll be interesting to hear her views on the winners, and we'll have to try and find time to read them.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Duct Tape

Duct Tape is one of my favorite crafts to do with me teens, and one of their favorites as well. We usually do it 2-3 times a in year. This past summer one of the tweens in the group started up a business selling purses after learning how to make them at a program. Other teens have found duct tape items are a good gift. My teens seem to like it best if I leave it up to them what to make.

Supplies needed:
-Duct tape in a variety of colors. I usually get at least three or four rolls of the standard silver-grey and half a dozen in other colors. I encourage them to use the silver-grey as the base, and add decorations with the others.
-Some good scissors. Duct tape isn't hard to cut, but if they are using things like cardboard you'll need strong scissors. And yes, you can tear duct tape, but some teens have trouble with that, and cutting it leaves a cleaner edge.
-Patterns and directions. I use ones from the Duck Tape Club and books, such as Got Tape? Many of the teens are fine to figure out what they are making on their own, but the first time they usually want directions. Make extra copies of the basic ones.

Optional supplies:
-Paper punches of various shapes and sizes.
-Cardboard, to use as support in some projects
-Waxpaper. If you put a piece of duct tape on wax paper, it can then be cut into shape or put in a paper punch, and then peeled off to be stuck to something else.
-Add-ons, i.e. fake flowers, gems, fringe
-Hot glue gun

To start with, I give the teens a quick lesson in making duct tape fabric, show them the patterns, and mention a few words of caution about being patient and not taping themselves or each other to things. And then it is basically up to them, and walking around helping them.

Some things my teens have made: wallets, purses, roses, sculptures, hats, gloves, shirts, skirts, flip-flops, wings, and my personal favorite: a Guitar Hero style duct tape banjo.

Overall it is a decent priced craft to do. Duct tape is somewhat expensive, but it lasts awhile and is useful to have around.
Price: ~$25-$50 for 2-3 programs
Age range: 11 and up
Time: 1 hour or more

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Teen Craft Resources online

While there's not a lot targeted at teen librarians, there are a tons of good craft websites on the net, some general and some specifically teen geared. Here's some of my favorite to sift through:
-Instructables - How to make cool DIY project. Instructions on how to make almost anything you can think of and lots that you never would. Some of it is pretty impractical for most library programs, i.e. too complicated and expensive.
-Not Martha - Not the sort of projects Martha Stewart would generally make. Not a ton of stuff, but fun, and has good links. Someday I will knit myself this wig.
-Cut Out + Keep - Sort of like a less tech heavy version of Instructables. Slightly more practical for library programs. Sadly, not all the projects actually have instructions. If you work with teens that sew, there's a good variety here to choose from
- Craftster - Crafting Community & Forums: Crafts, Patterns, Projects & Craft Ideas. Less instructions than I'd like, but lots of cool things to look at.
- Diary of a Crafty Chica - Blog and website with some really cool stuff. Some of it is way more complex than I'd get into with my teens, but there's some workable/adaptable ideas. She's also got a line of books and craft supplies. I really like her Crafty Diva books, and have used them with my teens.

Next time, some crafts and a book list.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Teen Crafts for Libraries

As a teen librarian, I've always got my eye out for good crafts to do with teens. And I have found that there aren't really that many resources out there targeted at crafts for teen librarians, not like what there is for children's librarians or teen book reviews. So, I've decided that that's something I can do. There is a book coming out, soon rumor has it, called, The Hipster Librarian's Guide to Teen Craft Projects, which promises to be most helpful.

Stay tuned, and if you have a good craft, please comment or contact me in some way.