Thursday, August 27, 2009

Black Sheep

Buddha Boy

By Kathe Koja

Justin’s life is fairly normal. He has two really good friends, Jakob and Megan, who blend in with the rest of the student body of Edward Rucher High School. Everything changes when a new student joins the fray. Michael Martin prefers to be called Jinsen, his Buddha name. He is a small boy with a shaved head who constantly wears oversized T-shirts. Along with his bizarre looks and his inclination to beg for money during lunch, Jinsen has earned the nickname, “Buddha Boy.”

Justin feels sorry for Jinsen and gives him money during lunch. Soon Justin finds out that his relationship with Jinsen is not going to end there. Justin and Jinsen are paired together for a project for one of their classes. At first Justin is apprehensive, especially when Jinsen invites him over to his house to work on the project. Soon Justin realizes that Jinsen is not just a freaky kid from school.

Their friendship grows as the two boys share their appreciation for art, despite the disapproval of Justin’s other friends. The jocks and bullies at the school start to pick on Jinsen and his prized artwork. Justin finds himself standing up for Jinsen, even when he won’t do it himself. It’s difficult being different at a new school and Justin learns just how hard it really is from Jinsen when Jinsen finally reveals his secret past. Will Jinsen ever fit in with the rest of the students at Edward Rucher High School?

Kathe Koja spins a wonderful tale about fitting in and sticking to your principles. The twists and turns of the story will keep you enthralled throughout this quick read. The friendship between Jinsen and Justin keeps you rooting for them in the end. Buddha Boy is a great story for anyone who ever thought that they were the weird kid at school.

Upcoming events fo Sept. and Oct.!

TAB (Teen Advisory Board)
Tuesday September 8 & October 13 @ 5 pm
Stop by the library every 2nd Tuesday at 5 pm for our monthly TAB meeting. This is your chance to tell us what you think. Is there a program you’re dying for the library to host? Are we missing a book or two that we just must have? This is your chance to give us some feedback. We are waiting with open ears and snacks! Grades 6-12

Wednesday, September 2 @ 5 pm
Teen Book Discussion: So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld
Hunter Braque, a New York City teenager who is paid by corporations to spot what is "cool," combines his analytical skills with girlfriend Jen's creative talents to find a missing person and thwart a conspiracy directed at the heart of consumer culture. (excerpt from Lansing Public Library catalog)
Grades 6-12

Wednesday, September 16 @ 5 pm
Movie Night: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (rated PG-13)
The roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow's idyllic pirate life capsizes after his nemesis, the wily Captain Barbossa, steals his ship, the Black Pearl, and later attacks the town of Port Royal. Captain Barbossa kidnaps the governor's beautiful daughter, Elizabeth. In a gallant attempt to rescue her and recapture the Black Pearl, Elizabeth's childhood friend Will Turner joins forces with Jack. What Will doesn't know is that a cursed treasure has doomed Barbossa and his crew to live forever as the undead. (excerpt from Lansing Public Library catalog)
Grades 6 & up

Tuesday, September 29 @ 5pm
Banned Book Talk
It’s Banned Book Week again! Do you ever wonder what the big deal is about banned books? Are you curious about why Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar was banned? Or how about the Printz Award winner Looking for Alaska by John Green? Come in to the Banned Book Talk and find out why books were banned, what they are about, and why you should read them. Don’t let censorship win. Grades 6-12

Wednesday, October 7 @ 5 pm
“On the Edge” Book Discussion: Freeze Frame by Heidi Ayarbe
The “One the Edge” book discussion group features books about edgier, more mature topics.

Fifteen-year-old Kyle doesn’t believe he deserves to live after accidently shooting and killing his best friend. (excerpt from Lansing Public Library catalog)
Grades 6-12

Teen Read Week: Read Beyond Reality @ Your Library
October 18-24
This year’s theme can be illustrated in many different ways. Science fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, and paranormal/horror are all different genres that stretch our reality to the extreme. Try to read something outside your reality this week.

Monday, October 19 @ 5 pm (Paranormal night)
Movie Night: Ghostbusters (rated PG)
When ghosts go on a rampage, only three men can save the world. Soon every spook in the city is loose and our heroes face the supreme challenge. If you want your spirits raised, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! (excerpt from Lansing Public Library catalog)
Grades 6 & up

Tuesday, October 20 @ 5 pm (Fantasy night)
Book Discussion: The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
When she is cast out of Wonderland by her evil aunt Redd, young Alyss Heart finds herself living in Victorian Oxford as Alice Liddell and struggles to keep memories of her kingdom intact until she can return and claim her rightful throne. (excerpt from Lansing Public Library catalog)
Grades 6-12

Wednesday, October 21 @ 5 pm (Science Fiction night)
Movie Night: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (rated PG)
The greatest adventure in the universe begins when the world ends. Earthling Arthur Dent learns that his planet is about to be demolished and his only chance for survival is to hitch a ride on the passing spacecraft. He discovers many things on his journey, but the most important is that everything you need to know can be found in one book: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (excerpt from Swank Motion Pictures, Inc.)
Grades 6 & up

Thursday, October 27 @ 5 pm
Comic Book Workshop and Discussion
Local comic book team Unshaven Comics will lead a discussion about comic books including how they make them and their experience with comics. Get some ideas about how you can make your own comic books.
Grades 6 & up

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to School Blues

Come in and check out our "Back to School Blues" display. Here's a sneak peek at one of the blue books.

Quaking by Kathryn Erskine

Fourteen-year-old Matt has made a few wrong turns in her life. For years Matt, whose real name is Matilda but don’t you ever call her that, has been bouncing around from distant family member to distant family member while pushing her limits every time. Now Matt is at her final stop. Her cousin, Loopy, has found a distant cousin of her own who will take Matt in. Sam and Jessica Fox are a little different than who Matt was expecting. Sam and Jessica are practicing Quakers. Matt looks like your average rebellious teenager with her black clothes and black makeup, but she is not as tough as she looks. Sam and Jessica, along with Rory, the special needs boy who also lives with them, try to find out what’s really going on in Matt’s head.

There’s a war going on and Matt has just landed in a very pro-war area. Matt realizes that she has a lot in common with Sam and his fellow Quakers, especially when the war is involved. Matt must endure oppression for her peaceful beliefs from the Social Studies teacher and the school bully and his posse. At the same time, there are reports of violent protests against churches and groups in the area that promote peace and Sam is right in the middle of them.

Matt must learn to fight the bullies of today while trying to overcome her devastating past. Quaking contains a topic not found in many books today even though it is a part of everyday life. Quakers are still present in society today and Quaking does a wonderful job of explaining their beliefs. The timeliness of the war and its controversy creates a strong connection to Matt and her family that is easy to relate to. At first, Matt is strong on the outside but weak and frail on the inside. Throughout the growth of Matt’s relationship with the Foxes, Matt finds her voice and makes her true self known.