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Stuff for the Teen Age

One World, Many Stories: Selected Summer Reads

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Summer officially begins today, but that didn't stop kids and teens from getting started on their summer reading early. This year's Summer Reading program kicked off in style at the Seward Park Library on June 9th. Shade trees provided some relief from the sun for the crowd that gathered for the launch, but the heat of the day could have just been a result of the excitement in the air.

Music from the talented students of the Knowledge in Power Program, NYC College Prep High School's Musical Group, set the mood as families posed for pictures with Fortitude, the NYPL lion, while clowns from the Big Apple Circus entertained the crowd. Arrayed in Yankees hats — courtesy of the team — the attendees listened to speeches from members of the Library staff, City Council members, corporate sponsors and a rousing speech by last summer's top reader Brittnay Lopez, who exhorted the crowd to get reading! With Fortitude still circulating in the crowd, and Lego sculptures of both Patience and Fortitude on display, the gathering was treated to yet another lion in the form of a stunning lion dance performed by the Chinese Freemasons Athletic Club.

It was getting mighty hot outside, but there was no lack of cool programming inside the Seward Park Branch, including a magic show by Evan Paquette, arts and crafts, balloon sculpting and face painting by the Big Apple Circus, an awesome Manga drawing workshop with Ivan Velez, and a performance of traditional Mexican dances by the Annabella Gonzales dance studio that got the audience up and dancing along! Throughout the day library users signed up for Summer Reading so they can track their reading, put up reviews, create avatars, earn badges, and commit to spending the summer reading.

No matter what the season, it's always the right time to read! Whether you're on the beach at Coney Island waiting for a band to start playing, or sitting in the park, you are going to want to have a good book with you! Enjoy some of these summer picks:

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

A plane crashed on a mysterious island, leaving a fortunate few to fight for survival amidst the sandy shores and palm trees. The catch? The plane was filled with beauty queens who must stave off starvation, one another, and learn their dance numbers in case they are saved in time for the competition. It may make you rethink that tropical getaway... but it'll keep you laughing!

Yes You Can!: Your Guide to Becoming an Activist by Jane Drake and Ann Love 

Throughout world history young people have played prominent roles in fighting for social change! No matter what your cause is, or whether you’re simply looking for a way to change the world, this book will give you a crash course in getting off the couch and getting into the thick of changing things. Don’t just sit around this summer, get out and do something to change the world!

Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

Nico, Molly, Chase, Gert, Karolina and Alex seem like any normal group of teenagers, and if it weren’t for the fact that their parents are friends then they might never hang out. Yet fate is conspiring to make these teens realize that they have more in common than they had ever realized: for it turns out that their parents are actually super villains. A truly great comic book series! Read more in Ryan Donovan's summer 2010 post.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

When Lyra Belacqua’s friend goes missing she heads North on a quest to try to rescue him from his captors. Along the way she learns of nefarious plots involving horrific experiments on living subjects, joins forces with a group of boat-dwelling nomads, and befriends a fierce armored polar bear. This, the first book in the “His Dark Materials” trilogy is a great summer read, because when it’s hot outside it’s good to read a book that takes place in cold places!

Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos

Rico Fuentes feels like an outcast in 1960s Harlem and thus abandons New York City for the idyllic landscapes of rural Wisconsin. Arriving in the Midwest Rico finds himself as much an outcast there as he was in New York. Summer is an important time for self discovery, and sometimes the more we travel the more we find out where we have been the whole time.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Arthur Dent is having a bad day. He wakes to find that his home is about to be demolished to make room for an expressway but this turns out to be the least of his worries as the planet Earth is about to be demolished make way for an interstellar expressway. Soon Arthur finds himself wrapped in a madcap adventure of interstellar hitchhiking that sees him travel the lengths of the galaxy and even find the meaning of life. Hitchhiking this summer is a bad idea, but reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy this summer is a very good idea.

Find more recommendations at summerreading.org.

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