Saturday, April 12, 2014

More April events...

April 18

Central Library
3:30 p.m.

We will be making chalk art on the sidewalks around the Central Library, the day before the Downtown Burbank Arts Festival on San Fernando. Award-winning chalk artist Bianca Ornelas will be available to give you tips and tricks! YOU MUST SIGN UP FOR THIS: email!

April 25

Buena Vista branch
6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Sing, dance, play an instrument, do stand-up, recite poetry, or…karaoke!
YOU MUST SIGN UP FOR THIS: Send your name, phone, and what you will do, to!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Teen review: Realistic fiction

Kira Kira
by Cynthia Kadohata
YA, Realistic Fiction
Not in a series
Reviewed by F. Bustillos, 9th grade

Cynthia Kadohata's Newbery award-winning Kira Kira is a quietly heart-breaking novel that explains the life of a Japanese-American girl named Katie and her family moving from a Japanese community in Iowa to the deep south of Georgia in the 1950s. It is Katie's optimistic older sister Lynn who teachers Katie how to see the joy in life, beyond the blandness in their young lives. Lynn is the one who shows and explains to Katie the "kira-kira," the "shining, glittering" moments and little beauties in life. And it is Lynn who becomes terminally ill, causing the family to fall apart. Katie is depended upon to remind the family of the "kira-kira" that still exists in the future, even during the hard times in life.

This book is written in first person, from Katie's point of view. I felt as if some of the strong vocabulary used in the book didn't match said POV, since Katie wasn't even in middle school and she didn't get good grades, so that was a little off. I guess the reading level must be middle school and above, because the vocabulary is pretty leveled up with normal speech with the exception of a few outdated words (due to the novel's setting). Katie strongly explains her relations, thoughts, and surroundings, from her lonely environment to the feelings she has towards her interesting family members. I loved how Katie was honest throughout the book, no matter how strange or sentimental her thoughts were. And I especially adored how she explained the relationship between her and her older sister, Lynn. Those moments of both sweet and bittersweet little anecdotes in the story made it easy to fall in love with the book. Lynn taught Katie how to have fun during boring times and made sure that she was grateful for the small things in life. Lynn set such a stellar example for Katie that I feel bad that I don't set such a good example for my own younger siblings.

The turning point of the story is when Lynn falls desperately ill, and in the meantime she becomes distant to Katie. There are so many changes in the book that it's surprising that Kadohata managed to fit them all into 244 pages. The sweet sisterhood that Katie grew accustomed to during Lynn's carefree youth becomes replaced with quietness and fear. Katie doesn't fit the cliched circumstances of a main character who stores immense fortitude, and that makes this book different (in a good way.) This book is very inspiring because deep inside, Lynn still feels the same optimism she used to have before she obtains her deteriorating sickness. Katie also begins to form some "kira-kira," which shows that even through the "downs" in life, there will inevitably be an "up." I have read this book thrice, and whenever I read it, I still feel that inspiring "kira-kira" growing inside of me each time I turn the page.

I give this book a 5/5. The story is inspiring, well-paced, moments not too vague, and the literary realism it includes makes it perfect. I would recommend this to people who aren't really optimists, or anyone who wants to believe that philosophically, there will always be a rainbow after a thunderstorm.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014



CHAT with the author!
BUY BOOKS! (such a deal)
See you there???

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Brief reviews by Leon M.

Here are some opinions from a new reviewer, 8th grader Leon M. We usually like to feature reviews that are a little longer and more in-depth than this, but there is a certain satisfaction to Leon's level of succinctness! I have a suspicion that Leon MAY have read some of these for school, but...I liked the array of reading because it was a nice mix of easy, fun fiction, more challenging mystery, and a couple of nonfiction books, which is a variety to which we can all aspire. It's so easy to get stuck in one genre or type of book and never try anything new. Finally, I put them up because these are a great example of the kinds of book reviews you might do this summer on our online Teen Summer Reading Program link! More on that coming soon

Holes, by Louis Sachar
233 Pages
Fiction, not part of series
Middle School reading level

Stanley Yelnats, a boy who has bad luck due to a curse placed on his great-great-grandfather, is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention camp, for a crime he did not commit. 
This book is a fun read. Not a particularly hard book, good for new readers.

And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
173 pages
Fiction, murder mystery
8th grade up

The book revolves around a group of 10 strangers invited to an "Old Friends Party" on an island, where they eventually get murdered one by one. It constantly keeps you thinking about who the killer really is. In my opinion, it showcases the talent and skill that Agatha Christie has when it comes to showing emotion in her books. It really immerses you in the world of the story.

Editor's note: This book, also previously published as Ten Little Indians, is considered by many readers to be the best mystery novel ever written.

Night, by Elie Wiesel
120 Pages
First book in a three-part series of autobiographies (Night, Dawn, Day)
8th grade up

The book Night is a firsthand account through the eyes of Elie Wiesel, who was taken to the concentration camp Auschwitz in 1944. It shows the hardships and horrors he experienced. This is a great book if you are looking to learn about the Holocaust. It also shows what the Jewish people suffered. I would definitely recommend it to people learning about and/or interested in the Holocaust.

The Freedom Writers Diary, by Erin Gruwell
314 Pages
Nonfiction -- Journal Entries
Not part of a series
8th grade up

The Freedom Writers Diary is a collection of journal entries from the students of teacher Erin Gruwell. The journal entries show the hard life that many kids and teens in bad neighborhoods face daily, including the students of Room 203.
I would recommend it to those looking for a good book to read. Interesting to learn and read about the students' lives.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

This week at the library...

Meet the author!

On Wednesday night at the Buena Vista branch at 7:00, you will have the enormous good luck to be able to meet and spend time with John Corey Whaley! His book Where Things Come Back won the Printz Award (the highest award given in teen fiction by the American Library Association) in 2012. He now has a new book out, called Noggin, and it sounds like a hoot. Come hear him talk about it! And you can buy either/both of the books and get them autographed right on the spot. Noggin is releasing to the public on Tuesday, and we have Corey on Wednesday--yay!

By the way, if your teacher lets you get extra credit for attending this program, your teacher is awesome. No, that's not what I was going to say (though true). What I was going to say was, we will have proof of attendance slips that we will hand out to you at the end of Corey's presentation (before the autographs).