Saturday, January 9, 2016


You have ONE WEEK LEFT to submit a PHOTOGRAPH to the Friends of the Burbank Public Library's 2016 PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST! Remember that the contest is EARLIER this year, and the turn-in period only lasts for TWO WEEKS: The final due date is Saturday January 16!

HERE is the ENTRY FORM with the RULES and CATEGORIES. Read this carefully so you get everything right! No time for do-overs!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Teen review: Horror

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
by Robert Louis Stevenson
123 pages
Horror / Science Fiction
High School reading level

Reviewed by Criselin, grade 12

This book is all about Dr. Jekyll. He makes a potion to turn himself into another personality, Mr. Hyde, but it turns out to be an evil personality who kills. If the author were still alive, I would want to ask him:
  • What is the purpose for which Dr. Jekyll made the potion?
  • What if Dr. Jekyll found a solution to stop Mr. Hyde?
The cover of the book I read is good, but some other versions are not attractive to me because they are old-fashioned. I would rate this story 4 out of 5, because the author created a character that caught my attention, and the book scared me and entertained me also. This is the first time I have read a book that is about transforming a person from good to evil. The deaths in the book made me sad, and I also felt badly for Dr. Jekyll as Mr. Hyde got stronger, more aggressive and evil. Dr. Jekyll had no idea how to stop the evil thing, all he could do was hide from his friends. I believe that all people are born good, but it depends on the person whether he wants to be good or bad. But the potion in this story changed that.

Editor's note: Criselin didn't send a picture of which cover she liked, and there are many versions! Here are some of the old and weird ones, as well as a new, graphic novel version, which looks pretty cool--we'll have to order that! The library has many editions of this book, including audio, plus the movie version.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

10-12 Book Club Report

Tuesday night there were 16 in attendance at 10-12 Book Club, to discuss Ketchup Clouds, by Annabel Pitcher. Although we agreed that the protagonist, Zoe (prounced Zoey, to Zoey's disgust, despite the lack of umlauts or a y), read as a bit younger than her age, while her middle sister, Sophie, seemed more like a 13-year-old goth than a 9-year-old, and although some were irritated by her (in general and in her bad taste in men!), we all agreed that the epistolary narrative (translation: the story was told in the form of letters) and the characterizations were interesting, the mystery of who Zoe murdered was compelling, and the love interest (Aaron, not his brother!) was swoon-worthy. The final rating for the book was 7.5 out of 10.

For next month's club, which is on February 2, we will be reading Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, but the books haven't arrived yet, so be patient and we will email you when they are ready to be picked up.

For March, we used the same list as last time but added a few titles to it, and one of them triumphed over the others: The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller, nominated by Julia, which tells the story of Homer's Iliad from the point of view of Patroclus. This book made the School Library Journal Best Adult Books for Teens list.

Other books we considered:

Bellweather Rhapsody, by Kate Racculia
Locked In, by John Scalzi
The Bride's Farewell, by Meg Rosoff
The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
I'll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson
Proxy, by Alex London
Where the Stars Still Shine, by Trish Doller
All You Never Wanted, by Adele Griffin
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz
The Fifth Wave, by Rick Yancey
Inherit Midnight, by Kate Kay Myers
The Snowball Effect, by Holly Nicole Hoxter

Also, for those of you who have already read The Song of Achilles and were looking for something similar, check out Mary Renault's books, Fire From Heaven and The Persian Boy, about Alexander the Great (and his great loves).

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Teen review: Mystery

Inherit Midnight
by Kate Kae Myers
392 pages
Mystery, not part of a series
8th grade up

Reviewed by Aaron Yang, grade 10

In Inherit Midnight, by Kate Kae Myers, Avery's grandmother thinks her granddaughter is a troublemaker, and sends her away to boarding school, where she endures a miserable life. When her grandmother decides to leave the family fortune to the relative who proves him or herself worthiest (by solving puzzles and riddles on a race around the world), and an offer comes for her to compete in the last inheritance contest, Avery knows this would be her chance to escape boarding school, although she may endure hardships along the way.

I loved the plot of this book, because I have never before read such a mysterious and edgy novel. Kate has a way to make readers want to read on. Although the cover looks a little weird, you should never judge a book by its cover! I would rate this as a five-star novel, because it caught my attention and made me laugh really hard. This is a great book, and I recommend it to all readers who like mysteries and contests.

Editor's note: Burbank Public Library does not own this book, but we do have another of Kate Kae Myers's novels, The Vanishing Game, at two locations. It has been quite popular, and it's also been compared to two other popular titles (The Westing Game, and The 39 Clues), so I will put Inherit Midnight on my list to order.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Local history




The 1928 collapse of the St. Francis Dam in San Francisquito Canyon near Santa Clarita, only 36 miles from Burbank, is considered the deadliest American civil engineering failure of the 20th century. The tragedy killed more than 500 people, and brought an end to the legendary career of William Mulholland, the self-taught engineer who built the Owens River Aqueduct, the project that made the growth of modern Los Angeles possible.

Author Jon Wilkman tells us the story of this largely forgotten tragedy in his book Floodpath, explaining its pivotal place in the long history of wars over water in the West. Driven by eyewitness accounts, combining urban history and life-and-death drama with a technological detective story, Floodpath reanimates the reality behind the classic noir fiction film Chinatown.

Sometimes, here at Burbank Public Library, we like to throw in a few educational programs! So we are hosting this author on Wednesday, January 6, at 7:00 p.m. at the Buena Vista Branch. We believe this is a topical (and fascinating) program from which you students of history could benefit. Proof of attendance slips will be available, should your teacher offer this program as an extra credit opportunity. But even if he/she doesn't, we hope you will attend!