Tween

Great MCPL Kid’s Bake Off

A cake decorated with blue candy waves, a lightning bolt, a trident, and icing writing Percy Jackson.

The first Great MCPL Kid’s Bake Off is a wrap! We challenged 17 children to make their best book-inspired dessert. The catch? They had to include a mystery ingredient–beet root powder!

Each participant received a kit that included measuring spoons, beet root powder, some suggestions for baking books, and a copy of The Complete Cookbook for Young Scientists: Good Science Makes Great Food: 70+ Recipes, Experiments, & Activities to keep.

According to children’s librarian Kate Duneman, the participants had two main charges in creating their dessert–to use the secret ingredient and to tie in a book they’ve read, by decoration or taste.

“While I enjoyed seeing the different ways kids used the mystery ingredient, I think my favorite aspect was the literary tie-in and how wildly creative people were with it,” Kate said.

   
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Miss Quinces

Sue (Suyapa) does not want to have a quinceañera where she'd be required to wear a poofy dress and dance around, so when her mom surprises her by having planned one and invited guests during a family trip to Honduras, Sue isn't happy. That is, until she makes a deal with her mom: 1 quinceañera for 1 overnight sleep camp with her friends. However, preparing for the celebration takes a tragic turn when Sue's beloved grandmother passes away suddenly.

I love this sweet (and sad) coming-of-age graphic novel. I especially loved seeing Sue gain some of the independence she desperately craves while making connections with her family and her heritage. Recommended for readers ages 8–12.

Reviewed by Kim B., Children's Librarian

   
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Pony

When Silas's father is taken away in the middle of the night by a group of outlaws who seem to mistaken him for someone else, Silas knows he has to do something. With his best friend, a ghost named Mittenwool, Silas heads out to rescue his pa while riding his beautiful bald-faced pony. Will Silas be able to rescue his pa? And what's so special about his pony? Read this book to find out!

I didn't know too much about this book before I started reading it and thought it would be a horse story more than anything else, but there is so much more going on here; it kept me guessing and surprised me! I also loved the daguerreotypes leading each chapter and feel these and the discussions of photography throughout the book would make this a great read for anyone interested in photography and history! Recommended for readers age 10 and up.

Reviewed by Kim B., Children's Librarian

   
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Both Can Be True

Ash is a middle schooler who loves music, is a synesthete who can see sounds, and is figuring out their gender identity after being bullied at their last school for being a “flip flop freak.” It doesn’t help that Ash’s dad is putting more and more pressure on them to just choose a gender and “stick with it.” Then Ash meets Daniel at their new school. Daniel is a photography fan, kind, in-tune with his emotions, scared his parents are going to get a divorce, and mourning the loss of his dog. When Daniel saves an older dog who is about to be euthanized because the owner doesn’t want to care for the elderly dog, their worlds collide and suddenly, Ash and Daniel are pinned together in this mission—save Chewbarka at all costs.

   
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Living With Viola

Livy is starting at a new school and that's just the tip of the iceberg for her! She's growing anxious about making friends and fitting in when she feels different because of her culture as well as family expectations for her to achieve great things. Then there's Viola. The little voice in her head that tells her she's not good enough and that no one likes her. Sometimes Viola's voice is so loud that Livy has trouble expressing her own. She has to find some way to live with Viola.

This fun and funny graphic novel gives life to the concept of anxiety by featuring it as a real figure (Viola) in which Livy can interact with. Negative self-talk, worries, and feelings of overwhelming pressure plague Livy on a daily basis, but as soon as she asks her parents for help, she begins to feel relief as she learns to coexist with her anxiety.

   
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Shirley & Jamila Save their Summer

Jamila has to find a way to avoid going to boring old Science Camp and spend more time shooting hoops! So when oddball Shirley Bones offers a deal that will keep Jamila out of camp, Jamila jumps at the offer. There is only one problem - Shirley is weird. But soon, Jamilia realizes that Shirley isn't just weird, she's a detective! The two girls set out to solve the case of the missing gecko and save their summer!

This book is a wonderfully fun mystery with a lovely tale of friendship. If you fall in love with Shirley and Jamila like I did, then be sure to take a look at the sequel Shirley & Jamila's Big Fall.

Fans of books about friendship like Shannon Hale's Real Friends and for fans of mysteries like Kate Petty's The Leak: For the Love of Truth.

Recommended for ages 8-12.

Reviewed by Kim B. Children's Librarian

   
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Tween Space Mural Contest

Have you heard of our Tween Space? The Tween Space at the Downtown Library is a place where kids ages 7–12 can hang out, explore crafts and other activities, enjoy pop-up programs, work on homework, or play!

Later this summer, a local artist will be revamping the Tween Space walls with a cosmic mural. We’re calling on kids ages 7–12 to help with the design! Draw the dots of your own imaginary stars (no more than 10), the lines between them, and an outline of the figure or object the group of stars represents. Your constellation might be selected to be included in the new Tween Space mural! 

A constellation is a grouping of stars that forms the base of a recognizable shape, usually an animal, mythological character, or object. Well-known constellations include the Big Dipper, Orion the Hunter, and the constellations of the Zodiac.

   
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The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read

Mary, born into slavery in 1868, loved watching the birds fly free in the sky while she worked in the fields. She wanted to be free too! But she had to keep working. No time for rest. No time to learn. Even when Mary and her family were freed from slavery she still had to work hard.

One day, Mary was given a Bible, but all she could see were squiggly lines! Mary became determined to learn to read but there was always work to be done and a family to raise. Late in life, Mary said, "No more waiting! Time to learn!" You'll be amazed to learn Mary's age when she finally learned to read and became truly free.

This true story definitely shows that you are never too old to learn. I love how this book is full of hope and the vibrant collage illustrations by Coretta Scott King award winner, Oge Mara, really help tell the story in this amazing picture book biography. There are even real photos of Mary on the front and back covers.

   
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Youth Art Month Contest

Oceans of Possibilities Youth Art Contest Winners

Winners from left to right include: Ben McClary, Zoa Barker, Emilee Allsop, Mackenzie Wood (top), Remy Niederman (bottom), and Lola Burkson 

In March we asked children to create original artwork using the theme of our summer reading games––Oceans of Possibilities! As usual, you did not disappoint, submitting over 70 pieces of artwork to the contest!

Our staff members were pleased to receive so many creative and imaginative entries.

“It certainly made the decision tough––we ended up choosing six winners!” said Ginny Hosler, a librarian, and the contest’s programmer.

The six winning pieces will be made into collectible summer reading prize bookmarks. Children who participate in the games will receive a bookmark as their 10-point prize.

But we’re not stopping there! “There were so many great submissions that we decided to showcase all of the entries at the Downtown Library this summer. We hope everyone will come and see just how creative our community is!” Hosler said.

   
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