Thursday, August 10, 2017

Book Club Report, Decisions, News

Tuesday night was the joint meeting of our three book clubs, for purposes of getting acquainted and choosing books to read for September and October. (We choose two up front so that when you come together to discuss the first at your September club, we are prepared to hand over your second. Then we're "in the groove.") So those of you who were unable to attend won't have a voice in the first two choices of what to read for club; but at our September meetings, we will choose the November book, and at that point everyone can suggest books and vote, and that procedure will continue for the rest of the year. Certain people's opinions notwithstanding (ahem), Anarda and I think we brought you a good and eclectic selection of books from which to choose for your first two reads. Here are the final choices of each club:

10-12 Club
September: The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness  
October: How It Went Down, by Kekla Magoon  

8+9 Club
September: The Accident Season, by Moira Fowley-Doyle (finally!)  
October: Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon  

6+7 Club
September: Beastkeeper, by Cat Hellisen  
October: Masterminds, by Gordon Korman  
(This club please note: We couldn't get enough copies of The Case of the Missing Marquess, by Nancy Springer, so we switched to your #3 choice, which was in the running anyway.)

In other news: We had hoped to inform the entire 10-12 Club of a change of meeting day at this meeting, but since more than half of you were unable to attend this joint meeting, we will tell you here (and send you an email): This club will now be meeting the first THURSDAY of the month, rather than the first Tuesday, due to multiple scheduling problems for the four first Tuesdays that fall on the day after a Monday national holiday. We hope this schedule works for all of you (for some it may actually be better). If it doesn't work out well for this school year, we will contemplate changing it back (or to a third alternative) for next year.

For any of you who want to be proactive about putting book club dates on your calendar, you can go here to Teen Programs on our website, choose the appropriate club (10-12, 8+9, or 6+7), and instantly see all the meeting dates there. We suggest that you add them to your family's paper calendar, print them out and stick them to the refrigerator, and/or put them on your phone schedule!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tonight: Joint Book Club Meeting

Tonight (Tuesday) at 7:00 p.m. at the Central Library, book club members please attend our pre-school-year meeting of all three of our Teen Book Clubs. New members will be introduced, people will promote from one club to the next, and we will all choose books to read that we will discuss at our first official meetings in September.

If you are not a member of a book club but would like to be, email with your name, grade (going into), email address, and phone number.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Teen review: Grendel?

Grendel’s Guide to Love and War
by A. E. Kaplan
312 pages
Romance, for mature teens

Reviewed by S. L., grade 11

Grendel’s Guide to Love and War starts off with the main character, Tom Grendel. He lives with his dad in a small, quiet neighborhood with a bunch of elderly women and widows. Everything is going smoothly until one of the elderly, Minnie Taylor, passes away. Now the new neighbors, the Rothgars, have moved into Minnie’s former house.

Tom has a soft spot for their daughter, Willow Rothgar, but has been humiliated several times by her brother, Rex Rothgar, and cousin, Wolf Gates. When Ellen Rothgar, their mom, goes away to televise a hurricane over on the east coast, Rex and Wolf throw one of the loudest and most crowded parties Lake Heorot has ever seen. It drives Tom’s dad and the rest of the elderly neighbors crazy. Now it’s up to Tom to stop the party and win back peace and quiet for Lake Heorot. However, he needs help. Tom hits up his best friend, Ed Park, and his sister, Zip Grendel; and together, all three of them go on a crazy adventure and find a final solution to taking down the Rothgar’s party once and for all.

This book has been one of my favorite romance novels to read over the summer. It was so good that I read it twice in a matter of three weeks. Almost all of the characters in this book are likeable--people you would want to meet in real life. Even the cover of the book fits perfectly. The way Tom coped with the death of his mother was really interesting, and his strong bond with the elderly is also amazing. Even though the climax of the book took a little longer than other romance novels I have read, I felt so good after reading the ending; all the suspense and stress building up to get to the good parts made them an absolute pleasure.

There should be a sequel, in which Willow and Tom deepen their relationship together. I would rate this 5 swine out of 5 because it's a page-turner with an amazing and fulfilling ending.

Editor's note: Yes, it really is based on Beowulf! It's also quite humorous.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Take our survey!

Did you participate in the Teen Summer Reading Program, "Reading by Design," this summer? Did you come to a Book Café or Little Free Library program, write a book review, or get tickets for the weekly reading log drawing? Then please: TAKE OUR SURVEY!

Here is why we really need you to take it:

  1. We want to know what you thought about our summer programs, events, and activities, so that if you LOVED them, we can keep doing more of the same, but if you DIDN'T, we can do something different!
  2. If you want us to do something differently, then we need to know what! We have given space in the survey for you to express preferences between a variety of options, or even to write in your own suggestions.
  3. If you are well intentioned towards your teen librarians, then you should know that we are required by both the city and the California State Library to collect and turn in certain data about our program (it's about funding), so you'll be helping us out by responding.
  4. It's fun!

It's only 10 questions. You can find it here. If you are a teen and you came to our events or read with us or wrote book reviews this summer, then we want to hear from you!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Teen review: Urban fantasy

The Infernal Devices trilogy:
Clockwork Angel, 481 pages
Clockwork Prince, 502 pages
Clockwork Princess, 567 pages
by Cassandra Clare

Reviewed by E. C.

I chose to end my summer reading with this series. It is the prequel to the Mortal Instruments series, which I know a lot of people like, but in this case I think the prequel series is actually better. It takes place in Victorian England, where Tessa, the protagonist, has just traveled from New York, having been sent for by her brother, Nate. But instead, she is taken (not kidnapped, you'll see) by two warlocks, the Dark Sisters, who keep her for weeks, trying to unlock her previously unknown and apparently invaluable power, so that she will be prepared to marry someone called the Magister. After almost succeeding in escaping on her own, Tessa is rescued by the London Shadowhunters (demon hunters, protectors of humans, or "mundanes"). She agrees to use her power to help them against the Magister's sinister cause if they will in turn find her brother. But her world is quickly turned upside down.

What I enjoyed most about the series was the characters. Like characters should be, they are realistic in their actions, complexities, and shortcomings - as well as entertaining. In fact, one of the Shadowhunters is now among my Favorite Characters of All Time.

With regards to reading level, it is in middle school range (with the occasional need for a dictionary). With regards to the material,or content, the series is probably better suited to a high school reader. My rating: 5 out of 5. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Update: LIttle Free Libraries

Last week, we finished up painting the decor on our three LFLs. Mr. Benne, woodshop teacher (and good guy!) from Burroughs High is kindly constructing the posts on which they will be mounted, and sometime after August 2nd, we will speak with the Public Works Department to schedule installations. We will email everyone when we have dates/times, and make an event of it!

But first...on Thursday, August 3rd, we'd like you teens who designed these so thoughtfully for their various locations to come to the Central Library from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. to choose the books to go in them. We have discussed the various needs of the demographics represented at each site, and now we need to discover just the right selections that will appeal to our new "patrons."
So put it on your calendars and come browse donations
with us!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The finale is over!

And what a time we had! It was a puzzle of an evening for our 81 participants (54 attendees, 13 cast members, two writers, eight volunteers, three staff), trying to figure out whodunnit and why! We gasped, we pondered, we ate sandwiches and cake, some of us won prizes, and we all had a crazy good time. Congratulations to our teen advisory board for pulling off another amazing event, big thanks to our volunteers for making the catering and information distribution run smoothly, bravo to our cosplayers, led by Katelyn and Lorelei, for adding to the evening, and a shout out to the teams who actually guessed who the murderer was! If you want to see photos of all the fun, go to our Teen Facebook Page, to look at the picture album!

Here's our wonderful TAB team:

Chris, Bella, (ME), Kendelle, Simone, Geneva (or vice versa),
Shushan, Angelo, Grace, Louis, Zoe, Anika, Julia, in the back,
and Aaron, Alex, Zoey, and Anarda in the front! Bravo!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Finale is almost here!

REMEMBER: This Saturday, July 22nd, don't miss the Teen Summer Reading finale, "BODY IN THE BOOK SHOP." It's an after-hours, lock-in murder mystery game, written and acted by our Teen Advisory Board. There will be clues and suspects, there will be food and prizes! It's at the Buena Vista Branch, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The library closes at 5:00, so come to the side doors of the auditorium to check in. Dinner and dessert will be provided. Parents, please plan to pick up between 8:45-9:00 p.m. This event is for teens in grades 7-12 only! See you there?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Finishing up the Little Free Libraries!

Well, we should have suspected, when we were making the summer schedule, that you creative teens wouldn't settle for simple, but would instead be wonderfully detailed and complex in your designs for your three Little Free Libraries! So naturally we ran out of time during the previously scheduled sessions and therefore must schedule some more!

We will meet twice more, and if you are a member of the LFL teams, please try to attend and help out at at least one of these sessions:

Thursday, July 20th, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.(yes, it's the dinner hour, and yes, we will buy pizza)

Friday, July 21st, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. (we will have snacks)

Please note that we are moving the whole circus over to Buena Vista, since the Central Library auditorium was not available, so come to Buena Vista for one or both of these sessions!

See you there?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Third and last book review drawing

The WINNERS of the third and last book review drawing are:

Isabella S. = $15 California Pizza Kitchen gift card

Maddy B. = See’s Candy gift certificate

Mohammad D. = $15 Barnes & Noble gift card

Sid K. = $15 California Pizza Kitchen gift card

Leilani S. = $15 Target gift card

Silva T. = $15 Target gift card

Congratulations to all our winners! Your prizes are currently at the reference desk at the Central Library. Remember to bring an I.D. to identify yourself to the librarians there. If you need your prize to be sent to another location, email, and we will put them in interoffice mail (so you could pick them up Tuesday at Northwest or Buena Vista).

Keep reading, writing, and winning—not at the library (this is our last drawing), but in LIFE!

Week #6 Reading Log Winners!

This was the last week for winning with your reading log, and here are the lucky ones at the three branches:


Eddy H. = $5 In-n-Out gift card
Yogini V. = $5 Ben & Jerry's gift card
Sungjoo Y. = AMC movie ticket

Sarkis T. = $5 In-n-Out gift card
Symera J. = $5 Yogurtland gift card
Angelo W. = $10 Target gift card

Chris A. = $5 In-n-Out gift card
Caleigh P. = $10 Barnes & Noble gift card
Aidan A. = $10 Target gift card

Thanks, everybody, for reading your way through the summer with us. And remember (here comes the schmaltz-y librarian part), the more you read, the bigger a winner you will always be! (Oh, that was so so 1950s of me...)

Thursday, July 13, 2017


Friday at 2:30, in the Central Library auditorium, we will be led by Peter Abrahamson and Brandon Griffiths, two LEGO enthusiasts and experts, in an effort to "build a better world"--with LEGOs! Our plan is to build a LEGO city in the three-hour time-span, and there is an empty display case in the Central Library lobby waiting to house our creations when we are finished.

So whether you are a confirmed LEGO nut or have never touched a single building block, come to our program this Friday and help us create a city to wow people!

This program is for teens in grades 7-12 only! Sorry, small siblings, the older kids get to play this time. And there will be snacks.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

One of my favorite teen reviews of the summer

A review of Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, neatly skewered by critical reader Katrina Darwich!

Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, is a classic tale of insane passion--a love that can drive just about anyone to the point of madness and beyond. Taking place in a simpler time in Britain, a man [named Mr. Lockwood] takes shelter as a tenant in a dreary mansion known as Wuthering Heights, property of Mr. Heathcliff. But only as he remains in the town for a while longer does he learn the embittered and passionate history of the house and those who have lived there. From fiery Catherine Earnshaw, who had loved and then betrayed, and Hindley Earnshaw who had abused both person and drink in his lifetime, to Isabella Linton whose heart had lead her to a life of imprisonment, all their stories are told through the eyes of Nelly Dean, a servant who had observed the rise and fall of all at the dreaded Wuthering Heights.

Though I enjoyed the book moderately and was more or less satisfied with its ending, Heathcliff's deep and powerful passion was more of an obsession. And to be honest, I pitied the man, mostly because the object of his endless obsession was simply not worth it. She was rude, undisciplined, haughty, spoiled, and practically disgusted at the thought of being poor. Heathcliff could have done so much better, in my opinion, so it was somewhat annoying to continue reading the same lines of bitter love over and over. The rest of the characters were flawed, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. Emily Bronte writes beautifully, and though the writing is a little more difficult to understand, I still found it rustic and pleasant writing. For those who like to read of family feuds, hated rivals and maddening passion, I recommend this book to you.

Editor's note: Goodreads says about this book: "Set amid the wild and stormy Yorkshire moors, Wuthering Heights, an unpolished and devastating epic of childhood playmates who grow into soul mates, is widely regarded as the most original tale of thwarted desire and heartbreak in the English language. Heathcliff and Cathy believe they're destined to love each other forever, but when cruelty and snobbery separate them, their untamed emotions literally consume them."

Speaking of obsession, I had an ongoing one with both this book and Jane Eyre (by Emily's sister, Charlotte Bronte) from when I was 13 to when I was about 16; obviously Katrina is either a less romantic or a more discriminating reader than I was! By the way, the "simpler time" was 1847.

The only review I am tempted to rate above Katrina's is this under-10-word summation by a guy on Goodreads: "Vile people are mean to one another. The End."

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Week Five Reading Log Winners


Anoush S. = $5 Starbucks gift card
Vache S. = $5 In-n-Out gift card
Yogini V. = $10 Target gift card

Buena Vista
Mohammad D. = $5 Starbucks gift card
Christopher A. = $5 In-n-Out gift card
Holden S. = $10 Target gift card

Holden S. = $5 Starbucks gift card
Silva T. = $5 In-n-Out gift card
Maddie S. = $10 Target gift card

CONGRATULATIONS! Read, write, WIN at Burbank Public Library!

Please note that this week is your LAST chance to get your name into the bigger book review drawing that takes place on Friday, July 14. So go back to "Reading by Design," sign in, log your book reviews (taking care to do them properly in order to qualify), and you could win even bigger, better prizes!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

What we're reading: Cyber-union

Since Cory Doctorow will be joining us as one of our featured authors at Book Café this summer (next Tuesday, on July 11), I decided to pick something to read from his back list. We have read his classic teen novel, Little Brother, for two of our teen book clubs, and I enjoyed that depiction of teens using game tech to resist an oppressive government entity, but I must admit that although I have bought them for the library, I haven't kept up with all his other writings. After reading some of the descriptions from the back list, I decided that his book For the Win sounded intriguing, and checked it out for the weekend.

This book is basically about teenagers who work online inside video games to make money in various ways (both legal and illegal) for their employers. These game economies are super profitable for those who run them, but the teenagers are being paid a pittance, working in poor conditions, and doing all the work. So someone decides it's about time to unionize them.

Some people who read this book would ask, "How can a book that spends about a third of its pages on an in-depth analysis of economic principles, social and moral ideals, and business paradigms be aimed at teenagers?"

Those people would be right...and yet, I can think of some of you who would be bowled over by this book. It is, indeed, a treatise on the unionization process of workers...but when those workers are multinational and multicultural (most of the action takes place in China and India, but some in America) and are all within the confines of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) that cross all borders, that changes things up!

The strongest thing this book has going for it is its characters. From Leonard, a Jewish kid living in the OC in the shadow of Disneyland, who calls himself "Wei-dong" online and pals around with a bunch of players in China, to Mala, otherwise known as General Robotwallah, who leads a crew of dedicated players in rural India, to Matthew, who is trying to extricate himself from a cruel boss in Shenzhen to form his own gold farming team, to Jie, a savvy online broadcaster with an essential link to the factory girls of Singapore, all are vital, interesting, distinct players in this massively complicated plot to bring down the games unless their unionization movement for improved conditions and pay is acknowledged and empowered.

I learned a lot--about economics, about unions, about games. (This guy is brilliant--can't wait to meet him.) But mostly I rooted for these sometimes heroic underdogs, up against a powerful economy they hoped to make into something that brings everyone together for mutual benefit instead of continuing to separate them into the vastly richer and the more desperately poorer. It particularly resonated with current events that seem determined to send us backwards in terms of workers' rights and the economic divide in our own country. It took me a while to make my way through this book, but what a rush it gives you in the end!

There will be multiple drawings for copies of this book and Cory's other series and stand-alone titles at Book Café with Cory Doctorow--don't miss it! (Book Café is for teens in grades 7-12 only.) Tuesday, July 11, at 7:00 p.m., at the Buena Vista branch. See you there?

(Please note: If you are a cranky adult who is mad that you can't come see Cory Doctorow at Book Cafe, please be aware that he will also appear at Burbank Public Library on August 10, to discuss his brand-new book, Walkaway. So you can see him then!)

Monday, July 3, 2017

Little Free Libraries get decorated!

Friday, at 2:00 p.m., at the Central Library, is our second "decor" session for our Little Free Libraries. Last Thursday night we split up into three teams, each of which worked on drawing designs on one of our three "boxes." This Friday we will continue that process and then begin to paint. Although we're supposed to be finished with them at the end of this session, we're thinking we may need to schedule another session, which will be sometime between July 17-22, and THEN we will definitely be done!

We hope to see you Friday afternoon. Don't forget to wear clothes that you don't mind getting messy--we will begin to paint!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Week #4 Reading Log Winners



Nick W. = $5 Yogurtland gift card
Johanna L. = $5 Target gift card
Monica L. = $10 Barnes & Noble gift card

Buena Vista
Josie L. = $5 Yogurtland gift card
Luvin L. = $5 Target gift card
Symera J. = $10 Barnes & Noble gift card

Abbie F. = $5 Yogurtland gift card
Nick W. = $5 Target gift card
Symera J. = AMC movie ticket

CONGRATULATIONS! Read, write, WIN at Burbank Public Library!

Book Review Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of our second "book review" drawing! These are teens who are signed up for summer reading and who have logged book reviews of what they are reading.

LOGAN Q. wins two movie tickets

ISABELLA D. wins a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card

CATALINA S. wins a $15 California Pizza Kitchen gift card

MARCO R. wins a gift certificate for one pound of See's Candy

YOON S. wins a gift certificate for one pound of See's Candy

Do YOU want to be a winner? Go here to register (or log back in), and write us a book review! (Be sure you scroll down to the Teen program, "Reading by Design.")

There is one more book review drawing, on Friday, July 14. If you need to know exactly how to write a book review, read this page. Good luck!

(Remember, you can also win prizes simply by keeping a reading log of what you have read. Come to the reference desk to show us your log. We will give you tickets, which go in the jar on the desk, and we draw three winners at each branch every Friday.)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Teen review: Popular fantasy

Lady Midnight
by Cassandra Clare

Reviewed by A.N. , 11th grade

Lady Midnight is the first book in Cassandra Clare's newest modern-day fantasy series, The Dark Artifices. This series explores a world where nephilim (half-human, half-angel beings) protect the world from demons, rogue creatures of the night, and faeries. The book is 668 pages and is directed towards readers in high school.

Emma and Julian are parabatai, nephilim warriors who have sworn to be each other's partner in battle until the day they die. Parabatai are bound to each other, feeling when the other is hurt and working together extraordinarily in battle. In Los Angeles, bodies have been showing up, drained of their blood and bearing markings of dark magic. Emma has been looking for the murderer of her parents for years, and the condition of the dead bodies bear a resemblance to her parents' markings when they were found. Julian's brother, Mark, was taken prisoner by the Faerie Courts when the boys were children. But an opportunity is arising for Julian to pull his family together again. Julian has been avoiding Emma for a while now, going off to another country for a month and acting cold towards her. This isn't how parabatai are supposed to act. What secret is Julian hiding from Emma?

I enjoyed this story immensely. The writing style is easy to read, giving the book its own unique flow. The story is full of descriptions that pull the reader into the story. The 668 pages fly by, making me wish the book was even longer. When one question is answered, more mysteries spring up, meaning there is never a dull moment in the book. Although many characters are introduced in this book, each one has something memorable about him or her: Emma's determination and fear of the ocean, Julian's ability to paint breathtaking portraits, their friend Malcolm the warlock and how he aids those around him in times of need. The cover is an impactful scene from the book, which is great work on its own. I rate this book five stars because its plot line is thrilling and left me fully entertained.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


We are ready to decorate, ornament, personalize, stylize, illustrate our Little Free Libraries! Do you believe it? We primed, we painted, we ASSEMBLED, and (with some secret touch-up painting of the caulking by your teen librarians) we're ready to make them purty!

Thursday night at 6:00 at the Central Library, we will get down to it. We will divide up into groups to work on each of the three, and we will pull together all our ideas and start the process of transforming them into personal expressions of our desire to put books out into Burbank hands!

Bring your thinking cap, your artistic talent, your creative spirit, your willingness to work together. We will get a good start on Thursday, and then finish everything up on Friday, July 7. See you soon!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tuesday night

Tuesday night (that's tomorrow!) is the third of our four Book Café sessions for teen summer reading. We will be book-talking the whole evening this time, so be sure to bring whatever you are reading so you can tell us all about it! We'll also have a table game for you.

As usual, we will have drawings for at least five people to win a book of their choice from our fabulous stash. And everyone who attends three of the four Book Café sessions this summer gets to pick a book at the end! Also, if you haven't been yet this summer, there are still special gifts waiting for you (while supplies last). So...join us Tuesday night for cappuccino, cookies, and book-related mayhem!

Buena Vista Branch, at 7:00 p.m., in the auditorium.

Teen review: Assassin's Creed

Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag
by Oliver Bowden (aka Anton Gill)
473 pages
Historical fiction
Part of a series (book 6)
Best for grades 10-12

Reviewed by Ravindu Gunasinghe, Grade 11

Get ready for an epic journey, because this book is about take you all the way back to a time when pirates ruled the world. As the sixth book of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, this book takes you through an emotional, epic journey of a young pirate, Edward Kenway. The story kicks off with young Edward leaving his wife and daughter behind to become a pirate so he can give them a better future. As the story goes on, Edward gets involved in a fight with Templars, which puts him in a situation of life and death.

Oliver Bowden leads the reader through a number of plot twists as Edward makes progress in the story. Meanwhile, Edward teams up a group of pirates with whom he works to overpower the Templars. After a couple of chapters, the author reveals the unpredictable fates of some of the characters, which may come as a shocking to some readers. The fates of some of the most loveable characters can take you through an emotional ride. Would Edward be able to conquer the Templars? What would happen to his family? The book will answer all the questions. The story will portray how the world can overcome a man. The book will take you through an intense ride.

Black Flag was written as an adaptation of the Ubisoft’s video game Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. The book is credited for its authentic plot and storyline. The narrative style of the book makes the story intense and interesting at the same time. The book caused some controversy due to its explicit content, so it is recommended for teens above sixteen years. The book will inspire the reader to stand against injustice and to fight for what’s right. Even though the book is connected to its prequels and sequels, it can be read as a stand-alone, which means you don’t have to read any other books of the franchise to understand the story,

Overall I would give a rating of 4/5 due to its explicit content limiting it to a certain age group. But it is a pretty enjoyable book and you will find a lot of relatable characters which will make it almost impossible not to fall in love with this piece of art.

Editor's note: Burbank Public Library doesn't own this title.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Teen review: Sherlock

The Hound of the Baskervilles
by Arthur Conan Doyle
177 pages
Detective Fiction
Part of a series (Book #5)
Best for grades 7-12

Reviewed by Ravindu Gunasinghe, Grade 11

When it comes to detective novels, the first person who comes to everyone’s mind is Sherlock Holmes. The Sherlock Holmes franchise has been around for such a long time and sells thousands of books to this day.

In this book, Sherlock Holmes, a detective genius, was paid to solve the mystery behind the surreptitious death of Charles Baskerville, a friend of Dr. James Mortimer. The story is narrated from the viewpoint of Dr. Watson, who is Holmes’s assistant. As soon as they step inside the Baskerville mansion, the mystery starts to reveal itself, exposing the true nature of some of the characters in the story. After finding the footprints of a giant hound, everyone starts believing that the legend of the Baskerville hound has come to life. The Baskerville family has supposedly been under a curse since the English Civil War, when their ancestor Hugo Baskerville offered his soul to the devil for help in abducting a woman and was reportedly killed by a giant ghost hound. Sir Charles believed in the curse and was apparently fleeing from something in fright when he died. While everyone is blinded by the mythical legend, Sherlock makes his way through a lot of challenging and dangerous situations to reveal the true identity of the criminal who is behind the murders. The end of the story was definitely unpredictable and thrilling. The way that Sherlock reveals the mystery is extremely logical and realistic, and the narrative style makes the story even more interesting to read.

This is a classic book that’s praised by many readers around the world. The story contains a great plot and a great story line. The book is thrillingly realistic and most definitely will send the shivers down your spine. The only negative factor about the book is that the narrator has used a heavy style of vocabulary that might be hard to understand for some readers. But besides that, it is a great book by one of the greatest authors, and I would give it a rating of 4.5/5.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Week 3 Reading Log Winners


Buena Vista
Cami M. = $5 Starbucks gift card
Mohammad D. = $7 Coldstone Creamery gift card
Lorelei B. = $10.50 AMC movie ticket

Christopher A. = $5 Starbucks gift card
Symera J. = $7 Coldstone Creamery gift card
Nick W. = $10.50 AMC movie ticket

Eileen K. = $5 Starbucks gift card
Eddy H. = $7 Coldstone Creamery gift card
Anoush S. = $10.50 AMC movie ticket

CONGRATULATIONS! Read, write, WIN at Burbank Public Library!

Friday, June 23, 2017

The LFLs are...

The LFLs are now LFLs: Last night we assembled! I was so caught up in the various dramas (the bottoms didn't fit, mostly due to our enthusiastic three coats of paint, for one) that I forgot to take photos for the entire evening, so I grabbed this one after more than half of our team had gone home. My apologies to those who aren't in it! We will make up for it at the next sessions.

Here is almost half of last night's assembly crew for the Little Free Libraries, showing off one completed one (missing its door, which needs some touch-up before it is reinstalled).

Everybody got to try out the wood glue, the power tools, and the hammer, under the supervision of Mr. John Benne, shop teacher at Burroughs High School (center, back), who brought along all the toys and taught us to use them. Thank you, Mr. Benne! We also appreciated the able assistance from Ken Eggen, library page and (who knew?) talented woodworker (in the back at the right).

Good job, everybody! Also some real progress on finalizing the decor in between tasks.

See you all next week!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Teen review: Apocalypse?

Race the Night
by Kirsten Hubbard

Reviewed by S.J., 6th grade

If you enjoy books about passion, friendship, adventure and trust, Race the Night is the book for you! It has 275 pages and is geared toward 5th graders and up. This book fits the genre of Realistic Fiction, for everything listed in this story COULD happen in real life.

This book is about five kids named Avis, Finch, Jay, Linnet, and Eider, who live on a desert ranch in the middle of nowhere. Here they are taught that the world has ended, and they are the only kind-hearted survivors left. But Eider believes that there must be something else out in the world, because the Earth is WAY bigger than the patch of land the Desert Ranch occupies. Her head is always up in the clouds, whereas the other children’s minds are focused “inward” rather than “outward”. But this all changes when Teacher decides to create a new lesson where the children must learn how to read each other’s minds and see in the dark! The effect is to tear bonds, strengthen them, and also reveal the truth about Before and Now.

I really enjoyed this book because of all the characters' relationships and hopes! Finch and his thirst for knowledge, Avis and her love of beauty, Linnet and her passion for drawing, Jay and his skills, and Eider with her curiosity and determined attitude! They all work together on their fears and quirks. It is raw friendship and teamwork that helps them get through life without knowing much. My favorite character/s would have to be Eider and Teacher, because of their personalities. Eider is always up for an adventure and wants to know what happened to the world around them. The boundaries set on her don't keep her from fulfilling her dream and finding what she lost! Teacher is sly and tricky, making her an interesting “villain." Trusted with power, she does the wrong things, and I really enjoyed the roller coaster of events she caused. She doesn’t let people get away with what they do, and takes drastic measures to show them that! I was a bit disappointed that sometimes the author would introduce a new character or idea and then just leave it lie. For example, Charles the Hiker! You see him once, but he is never talked about again.

On the cover of my book, there is a broken wooden wall and papers flying in the air. Simple, but meaningful. The papers are all the ones Eider collected about Before the world “ended,” and the wall is the one surrounding the Desert Ranch, letting no other humans in, or any of the children escape! What I enjoy about the cover is, it shows the things that sum up the book--determination and hope. I rate this book 5 stars because it was full of unexpected twists and was really sweet!

Editor's note: Readers in this same age group (grades 5 and up) might also enjoy Hubbard's book Watch the Sky, while those in grade nine and up can read about the joys of finding yourself on a trip to Central America in Wanderlove.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Little Free Libraries: Assembly!

This Thursday night we put together all our painted pieces with wood glue, screws, and plenty of good intentions! Then we will caulk all the seams and touch up the paint. We will be led by two adults with woodworking experience, but there will be things for everyone to do (and snacks to eat in between). This session begins at 6:00 p.m. at the Central Library--by 9:00, we will have three Little Free Libraries, ready to be decorated next week! This activity is for teens in grades 7-12 only. We hope to see you at Central on Thursday! (Don't forget to wear clothes you don't care about getting messy--I repeat, wood glue, caulk, paint!)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Week #2 Reading Log Winners

Our winners at each branch for the reading log drawings are:

Northwest Branch

     $5 Yogurtland gift card = Angelo W.

     $10 Target gift card = Maddie S.

     $10.50 AMC movie ticket = Archini N.

          Buena Vista Branch

               $5 Yogurtland gift card = Sungjoo Y.

               $10 Target gift card = Aidan A.

               $10.50 AMC movie ticket = Luvin L.

                    Central Library

                         $5 Yogurtland gift card = Mary M.

                         $10 Target gift card = Maddie S.

                         $10.50 AMC movie ticket = Yogini V.

Congratulations to all our winners! You can pick up your prize at the reference desk of the library where you won the prize. Be sure to bring a picture I.D. with you--we don't want to accidentally give your prize to someone else!

If YOU would like to read, write, and win, fill out your reading log and bring it to the reference desk at any branch. You can get up to three tickets per day (one ticket per item read), which go in the jar, and once a week on Fridays at noon, we draw for prizes.

If you write book reviews online at, your name will be included in bigger drawings for larger prizes. Follow the summer book review guidelines, and you could be taking home a pair of movie tickets, a gift certificate for a one-pound box of See's Candy, or...?


Saturday, June 17, 2017

A guest at Book Café

This year we are featuring two authors at Book Café. Robin Benway will join us on Tuesday, June 20th, at 7:00 p.m. at the Buena Vista Branch. Her first teen book was Audrey, Wait!, a story about a girl who breaks up with her musician boyfriend, only to have him write a song about their break-up that goes viral and gives her dubious fame. She then wrote about three sisters with magical powers, in The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June, followed by a fun duology about a 16-year-old safe-cracker whose parents are spies, called Also Known As and Going Rogue. Her latest book is Emmy & Oliver.

The basic story of that book is: Emmy and Oliver are childhood friends. Then, at age six, after his parents have divorced and are following a common routine of the kid living with the mom and seeing the dad on weekends, Oliver's dad picks him up for a three-day weekend and never brings him back. Instead, he disappears with Oliver, and all the efforts of Oliver's mother, the police, and the FBI are unable to locate him. This is all in the past, though. When the story opens, it's 10 years later, Emmy is 16 and still living next door to Oliver's mother, who has remarried and had twin girls, and then one day, Oliver returns. He was doing a school project that required the students to be fingerprinted, and when he was, the fingerprint popped up in the missing children database, and the police and Oliver's mom retrieved him and brought him home.

Now Oliver has to adjust to being with his mom instead of his dad (who is on the lam to avoid arrest), and try to fit back into his old life, with his old friends (who are happy to see him but don't know how to treat him), and to reconnect with Emmy, his best friend from birth to six years old.

Emmy has had her own issues since Oliver disappeared, the most obvious one that it made her parents turn into "helicopter" parents (they hover). This wasn't so bad when she was 10, but now that she's 16, she is chafing under the curfews, the prohibitions, and the constant surveillance. So she welcomes Oliver back and takes particular enjoyment in (mildly) breaking some rules. As you probably figured, at some point romance ensues.

The romance is sweet, but the parts I liked best were the darker moments, including when Oliver reveals to Emmy that coming home to his mother after 10 years of living with his father felt like he was being kidnapped all over again. There is also a moving scene when Oliver expresses his bitterness that his mother was supposedly all broken up about losing him but somehow had the time and attention to get remarried and have two more kids.

We will be having a drawing to give away copies of this and Robin's other books at Book Café, including an Advance Reader Copy of her new one, which is called Far from the Tree, and is due out October 3rd! I'm sure she'll be pleased to answer all your questions about this and all her other novels.

Please join us at Book Café on Tuesday, June 20th, at 7:00 p.m., in the Buena Vista community room to meet Robin Benway! Book Café is for teens in grades 7-12 only.

See you there?

Friday, June 16, 2017

Book Review Winners!

Here are the SIX WINNERS in our bi-weekly Book Review Drawing:

Nelida Ayala = $15 iTunes gift card
Katrina Darwich = $15 Barnes & Noble gift card
Symera Jackson = two AMC movie tickets
Dhruv Kaushik = $15 California Pizza Kitchen gift card
Cami Miceli = 1 lb. See's Candies gift certificate
Silva Tatarian = $15 Target gift card
Congratulations to this week's winners! You may pick up your prize at the Central Library reference desk any time or, if that's not convenient, email and we can send your prize to one of the branches. (That will take a couple of days.) Be sure you bring your student or photo I.D. so the librarians at the desk know you are who you say you are! We wouldn't want your prize to go to someone else.

If YOU would like to win next time (two weeks from today on Friday, June 30th), write some book reviews! Go back to where you registered, here, and log your book reviews. Not sure what a book review is supposed to look like? We're so glad you asked! Go here for hints and tips. Remember, a book review is different from a book report, so be sure you write a review!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Little Free Libraries: Primer!

Tuesday in the park behind Northwest Branch Library, we took all our Little Free Libraries out of their boxes and spread them out on five picnic tables. We sanded all of the pieces, and then took turns using rollers and paintbrushes to get a coat of primer on everything. We had a great time! Go here to our Facebook page to see some more photos of the event.

We repeat this session this Thursday (tomorrow) at 4:00 p.m. at Northwest, to put the base or background coat of paint on the three LFLs, and then next week the action moves to Central, where we will assemble them all. We hope to see you there!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Little Free Libraries begin!

Last night at the Central Library, we had around 30 teens show up for the first night of the Little Free Library Project. It was a jam-packed session--we discussed where our three libraries would be located in Burbank, and what impact that would have on their design and their contents.

Our first LFL will be located on the Chandler Bike Path, at the intersection of Buena Vista Street. We chose this location along the bike path because it's a major entry and exit point for the path, as well as having foot traffic along Buena Vista. Our primary users there will be bikers, walkers, runners, and dog-walkers, and since this is a recreational destination for families, there are quite a few children passing by. Our design group decided that children's books should be included, and that books for adults should primarily be paperback, since people on foot or on a bike don't want to be weighed down too much!

Our second LFL will be at the Metro Station on Front Street. There is a heavy flow of both train and bus commuters passing by this location, and the primary users will be adults going to their jobs (during the weekdays, 81 percent of train riders are commuting to work), so this location will mostly feature material for adults, both educational and recreational.

Our third LFL will be on Glenoaks @ Scott Road, which was singled out because there is a double bus stop there, and a small landscaped area perfect for containing the LFL. There is also some foot traffic from McCambridge Park, which is a few blocks away; there are many children in that neighborhood; and some traffic from schools. Since the ethnicity of bus riders in Los Angeles is diverse, we may include some books in other languages. We will include some children's books (although not as many as at the bike path), and other books of interest to all ages.

After we talked about the locations, we discussed possible themes. Then we brainstormed a bit, and then we sketched out some ideas. Once we were done sketching, we shared them and talked through how we could perhaps combine some with others, which ones worked best for what location, and how we would accomplish the effects we want. It was an intense almost three hours!

Everyone had wonderful ideas to express the appeals of reading:


  • Modes of transportation ("Books transport you")
  • Trees (tree of books with book fruit or book leaves, people sitting under trees reading)
  • Desert island with your favorite book, "reading under the sun"
  • Book covers in layers, or lined-up book spines, with book names on them, in various colors
  • Games and puzzles (puzzle pieces with children's book themes, game board like "Candyland," playing cards, checkerboard, etc.)
  • Garden theme ("Books help your mind grow") with various flowers
  • International languages ("read" in every language)
  • Book Salad (bowl with books, dressing of words pouring over)
  • Expanding connections (world, universe, diverse hands reaching inward towards book)
  • Mirror on the back to attract children
  • Oven theme with cupcakes, cookies, etc. ("good things await inside")
  • Fairy Tales
  • Map with various locations from fictional places (Hogwarts, Narnia, Oz, Baker Street, Gotham)
  • Signposts with various locations (see above)
  • Quotes (the power of words)

  • hearts, flowers, and the word "read" repeated around the borders, or just repeating flowers
  • checkerboards (black and red or black and white), zig-zags (two color), stripes (alternating), plaid, or polka dots
  • puzzle pieces of various colors and shapes
  • ABCs
  • Twining vines with leaves (and flowers?),or simple curlicues
  • Words or quotes ("read" in multiple languages, quotes, commentary)
We talked through all these ideas and discussed what relation they had to the various locales and what would attract the eye and appeal to the particular people who would frequent that spot. Our (semi)final decisions were the following:

Genres on a map. We envision the whole box painted like a map (background color sepia/light brown/gold) with lines for roads and rivers and such (or maybe footprints, like on the "mischief managed" map in Harry Potter), leading to small illustrations such as: Castles and dragons (fairy tales), planets/space ships (science fiction), a detective with a spy glass (mystery), etc. One idea for the trim was to incorporate the multi-colored interlocking puzzle pieces with children's book titles on them.

Modes of transportation: "Let a book transport you." A road will run all the way around the three sides. It might run just around the bottom, or it might bisect the sides diagonally. Some real modes (trains, buses, bikes, planes), some fanciful (hot air balloons, camels, flying carpets, hoverboards, elephants, alien spacecraft). The background will be pale blue. Something extra that everyone would like to add to this box is a signpost with signs pointing to various locations (Hogwarts, the Shire, Wonderland, Oz) that sticks up above the box. We will only do that if we can find someone who owns and knows how to use a jigsaw, to cut out the signs for us. This will probably happen after the fact.

This one was inspired by this cartoon:

There will be a cross section of a bus continuing around all three sides (like you cut a bus in half lengthwise and were getting a sideways view), with passengers all gray and bored with their commute except for the READERS, who have words and images and colors exploding out of their minds because they are engaged with a book! There will be signs on the bus (where signs usually go, up above the passengers' heads) talking about the advantages of reading, or sharing reading quotes, etc. The background will be pale gray, with bright multicolored trim to reflect the bright colors emerging from the readers. The trim could be all one color, or a variety of colors for each piece, or we could incorporate some of our border ideas, like stripes, checkerboards, flowers, or words.

Alternatively, the bus could just wrap two sides, with the third side being given over to a sort of message board containing such flyers as "Have you seen this wizard?" with a mug shot, a request for a babysitter for children who have suffered "some unfortunate events," etc.

Great, creative ideas, everyone! Now we just have to find people both willing and capable of drawing all of this onto the LFLs!

Next week, we meet again on Tuesday to put a coat of primer paint (all one neutral color) on all of the individual pieces of the LFLs. We will continue refining our ideas at that session, to make sure we are all in consensus about what we're going to do. On Thursday, we will paint them with their final base (background) colors. On June 22, we assemble the LFLs, with the help of a couple of woodshop experts. And then we have a couple of sessions to decorate them with all the fabulous ideas!

We hope those of you who participated at our first session will keep coming back, and we invite others to join us. Just imagine how people will react when they see your beautiful Little Free Libraries out in Burbank, enticing them to take a book!

Today's winners!

Our first week of Teen Summer Reading has passed, and we have drawn three reading log winners at each branch:

At Central:
$5 Starbucks gift card = Luvin L.
$7 Coldstone Creamery gift card = Maddie S.
$10 Barnes & Noble gift card = Emilia C.

At Buena Vista:
$5 Starbucks gift card = Catalina S.
$7 Coldstone Creamery gift card = Katelyn B.
$10 Barnes & Noble gift card = George S.

At Northwest:
$5 Starbucks gift card = Sarkis T.
$7 Coldstone Creamery gift card = Katie F.
$10 Barnes & Noble gift card = Abbie F.
Congratulations to all our winners! You can pick up your prize at the reference desk of the library where you won the prize. Be sure to bring a picture I.D. with you--we don't want to accidentally give your prize to someone else!

If YOU would like to read, write, and win, fill out your reading log and bring it to the reference desk at any branch. You can get up to three tickets per day (one ticket per item read), which go in the jar, and once a week on Fridays at noon, we draw for prizes.

If you write book reviews online at, your name will be included in three bigger drawings (one every other week starting next week), for larger prizes. Follow the summer book review guidelines, and you could be taking home a pair of movie tickets, a gift certificate for a one-pound box of See's Candy, or...?


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Book Café #1 is tonight!

If you have never been to Book Café, show up tonight and find out about everybody's favorite teen program! We're starting at 7:00 p.m. at the Buena Vista branch, in the community room. We will drink cappuccino and eat (good) cookies, we will draw on the tables (because butcher paper), and we will talk about what we're reading!

Book-talking is sort of like a movie preview: You're trying to get your audience to want to read the book, so you tell just enough of the story to intrigue them, without giving away the good parts or the ending. But you don't have to book-talk--your motivation might be to find out what books others are reading, write them all down, and check them out yourself! After all, isn't reading what summer is for?

Here are some of the perks (pardon the pun) of Book Café:
  1. If you attend three of the four sessions, you get to pick out a book from our fabulous stash;
  2. We also have drawings for books for a few lucky winners at each session;
  3. We invite authors on some nights, and you get to meet them and ask them questions and hang out with them;
  4. Sometimes we do a craft (we're doing one tonight);
  5. And this year, we are also giving a special gift to all attendees (while supplies last, so don't be tardy!).
So join us at Book Café, tonight!

Not registered for Teen Summer Reading? Go here, scroll down to "Reading by Design," and sign up. There's no obligation--you can do one thing, everything or nothing! But we have a bunch of fun activities planned for you, so don't miss out!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

PFLAG in Burbank

There is a new chapter of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) in Burbank, and its members would like to invite your attendance at their meetings.

While PFLAG was formed for the purpose of helping the parents of LGBTQ kids to understand and support their children, the group emphasizes that all are welcome to attend--parents, friends, teens, siblings.

If you are a gay or transgender teen who feels uncomfortable or awkward trying to make your parents understand what your life is like (particularly if you are in the early stages of coming out), you might want to tell your parents about this group. It helps for parents to hear about what their kids are going through from other parents who have had that experience.

This can also be a source for you, if you feel unsupported, to find adults who will watch out for you and let you know that you're not alone.

The meetings take place the second Monday of every month, at the American Lutheran Church at 755 N. Whitnall Highway, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. If you want more information, you can email them at

Burbank Public Library's teen section offers book lists for LGB and Transgender teens, with both fiction and nonfiction titles that reflect your experience. Pick one up and read something during June for LGBTQ Pride Month.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

8+9 Book Club Report

Our final meeting of the 8+9 Book Club for this (school) year was Tuesday night at Buena Vista. We met to enjoy the obligatory end-of-year pizza and to discuss Killer Instinct, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Only 13 of our 22 members were present, which is too bad, since it was our final meeting.

Killer Instinct is the second in a four-book series; we don't usually read sequels, but an ordering mistake when we read the first book (The Naturals) earlier in the year left us with 16 books on hand, so we ordered a few more and read it!

Everyone in the club liked the book well enough, and some gave it truly high marks. The two people who liked it less well cited "too dark" as their criticism (and since it includes stuff about serial killers, we all get that!), but everyone liked the story arc, the suspense, and the characters, and we awarded it a final score of 9 out of 10.

We have seven members of this club promoting to the 10-12 Book Club in the fall; congratulations!

Since we don't pick our book for September until August, we then went around the circle so people could say what they were reading now. Some hadn't had time to do more than finish this book, since everyone has been in the middle of finals; but many had book lists they were going to start working on, now that summer vacation is here, and some will be starting with the other two books in this series: All In, and Bad Blood.

And that's a perfect segue into a reminder to teens to sign up for the Teen Summer Reading Program, Reading by Design. If you keep track of the books you read in your reading log, you can get a ticket for each one you record, put it in the jar at any reference desk, and be eligible for our weekly drawing on Fridays for small prizes (nine winners every Friday for six weeks). If you write a book review of your book on our online interface, you will be entered in a larger drawing (six winners every other week = 18 total) for bigger prizes. So read, write, and win! this summer by signing up.

We also hope to see you at Book Café on Tuesday!