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Stuff for the Teen Age, Biblio File

Library Zine! Build a Better World


The second issue of the Library Zine!  is here! This issue surrounded around The New York Public Library's Summer Reading theme: Build a Better World. Check out the creative writing and artwork that revolved around this theme! Explore a few selections of this second issue:

"Love Like Music" by Sandra Chukwudumebi Obiora | "Be Black" by Rogerline Christopher  | "Building a Better World, One Book at a Time" by Anna Zhang | "Build a Better World" by R.M. Trenkler-Thomson | "Dream Cloud" by Mecca Alim

Concert for the inmates of the Charity Hospital, Blackwell's Island
Concert for the inmates of the Charity Hospital, Blackwell's Island Image ID:5249410

Love Like Music by Sandra Chukwudumebi Obiora

We need love like music. Love that never ends or dies.
Love that can be played, replayed, enjoyed.
Love that never fails to excite, to humble, to purify, to celebrate.
Love that never fails to remember and re-enact the happy.

We need love like the stars. Love that burns bright and bold.
Bright like the sun.
Love whose existence is never ending, always penetrating.
Love whose appearance is always intriguing, always amazing.

We need love like the notes, the notes of Beethoven that never die away.
Love like the expressions of ‘a great big world’.
Love like the fire ignited as the pianist, and violinist set their fingers in motion.
Love like the beauty of compositions come to life at the hands of concert masters.

We need love like the sun and the moon. Whose importance is undeniable.
The sun who without it everything will wither away.
The moon whose absence would have us clashing straight into the sun.
We need love like no other. Unfailing, indescribable, unimaginably possible.

We need love like music. Love that never finishes.
We need love like the stars. Love that burns bright and bold.
We need love like the notes, the notes of Beethoven that never die away.
We need love like the sun and the moon. Whose absence we could perish without.

We need love for our neighbour. For our neighbour is like the whole world.

Be Black by Rogerline Christopher

At the age of five you were convinced you had to be white to be pretty
You stood in the mirror saying if only I had blonde hair
If only I had blue eyes
If only I had known

I couldn’t sit with the blacks because I wasn’t black enough
I couldn’t sit with the whites because I was too black
I’ve finally accepted that I wouldn’t belong

You spent so much time looking at bleaching kits
Seeking white privilege
Just wondering I could do anything if i was white
I could be anything if i was white
I could be acceptable

The ideas that was considered ghetto or ratchet are now big trends
Putting perms and relaxers in ours hairs to make them as straight as barbie dolls
Us kinky 4A, 4B, and 4C hair types would do anything for straight hair
Sewing weaves in our heads
We strayed away from potential

At the age of 17 you looked into the eyes of the oppressor
Watching them make the transition from white to black
Putting on hazelnut or espresso foundations
The oppressor wanted to be me
They wanted my skin
They wanted to be black except when it came time to be black
They didn’t want to be black when we couldn’t breathe
We couldn’t breathe each time we rejected a part of our heritage

In the eyes of the oppressor chant proudly
Be Black!
Fight back!
For your heritage and culture chant proudly
Be Black!
Fight Back!

Building a Better World, One Book at a Time by Anna Zhang

The power and ability of books is often underestimated. Books are the foundation of the world, the building blocks of the future. In this day and age, modern technology has replaced books and reading in the lives of many, who instead rely on smartphones and computers for virtually everything. Of course, these technological advancements are beneficial to society, but it is easy to forget that none of these advancements would have been possible without books.
How would ancient civilizations have governed their people if the codes of law had not been written down? How would the modern airplane exist today if Orville and Wilbur Wright had not recorded the blueprints of their first airplane? How would revolutionary medicine be saving countless lives today if scientists had not recorded their experimental findings? It is clear that people learn from books. Without books, most of history and discoveries would have simply be forgotten. Books preserve knowledge from the past and allow it to be spread throughout cultures and even time periods. Books have allowed people to learn from one another, to build off of one another’s discoveries, and to ultimately progress further. They have enabled us to gain knowledge about civilizations that have been gone for thousands of years, to learn about the
cultures and lifestyles of other societies, and to understand more about people who are often
A better world is built through education, and education starts with books. Today’s younger generation will run the world in the future, and so it is crucial that they are educated, as they will be the ones who teach our children, make our laws, and care for our sick. In addition, books inspire creativity and spark imagination as well as new ideas. Imagine how monochrome and colorless the world would be if books did not exist. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is a book that takes place in a dystopian society, in which books are required to be burned and destroyed. The civilians in this society have no sense of identity, do not appreciate the beauty of nature, do not have independent thoughts, and even prefer watching television rather than spend valuable time with their families. Because books are banned, the people have no way of expressing themselves and using their imagination. Their world is simply black and white, and they prefer it that way.
Since the beginning of time, books have greatly impacted individuals and societies. They have enabled numerous technological advancements and inventions, allowed different groups of people to learn from and about each other, and have educated and inspired creativity in people of all ages from across the world. It is clear that books have shaped and built the world as we know it today, and will continue to do so for the remainder of humanity.

Build a Better World by R.M. Trenkler-Thomson


"Collage, 8.5” by 11” - “Build a Better World” - consisting of 6 “construction”-themed public-domain images obtained from (searched and found with with filter “public-domain-only”), plus words of different fonts and sizes cut and attached/taped from newspapers as well as self-printed words (for the ones I wasn’t able to find in newspaper headlines)."

R.M. Trenkler-Thomson emigrated from Germany to the Bronx, New York, more than 20 years ago. After a long career in information technology, he recently began attending arts and crafts workshops as well as writing circle groups and classes at several New York Public Library branches and the Bronx Council on the Arts' Bronx Writers Center.

Dream Cloud by Mecca Alim

Mecca Alim is a Bronx-based artist whose current body of work concentrates on char-acters in a world free from every form of bigotry and discrimination that impact the so-cieties we live in. She has exhibited her art in galleries and establishments such as The Holy Apostles Gallery in Chelsea, Patria NJ in New Jersey, Backstreet Gallery in New Rochelle, Greenpoint Gallery in Brooklyn, The Harlem School of The Arts, and more. Mecca graduated summa cum laude from The College of Westchester before transfer-ring to The College of New Rochelle, where she presented her solo thesis exhibition. She is currently a teaching artist at the Harlem School of the Arts.

See more original writing and visual art from Library patrons in Library Zine!


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

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