Teen Tech Week 2018

This week is Teen Tech Week (TTW) and our library is “celebrating” only thanks to a Tweet from Leslie Fisher:

Merge Cube Tweet





After reading this, I looked up what the heck a Merge Cube was and decided, shoot, for a buck I’d get a few (ahem 35).  I had completely forgotten about TTW and after buying these I realized they would be perfect for TTW activities.  In addition I purchased five VR goggles for $5 from Walmart to add to the two library Google Cardboards and the five classroom Google Cardboards a fellow teacher is loaning us.  No, these goggles I got at Walmart don’t work with the cubes, but we can still use them with other generic AR/VR apps.  The Merge Goggles were just too expensive.  The Google Cardboards will work with the cubes; however, we have to keep the “flap” down so that the camera isn’t covered.

These cubes/VR games/adventures make up our Monday, Tuesday and Thursday activities – virtual reality “mix it up” days.  The teacher who loaned us the Google Goggles brought a few of her classes to the library yesterday for her students to try out the cubes – they had a blast.  Getting the lunch crowd to use them wasn’t quite as successful; however, I was very pleased with the cooperation/collaboration/initiative two special education students showed.  One would hold the cube and move it around while the other held my iPhone to work the plane/fighter/trigger.  Then they would switch off so the other could shoot down the planes.

After witnessing this, I will be donating a set to the special ed classroom.  They have a set of iPads.  I instructed their teacher on the name (Merge Cubes) and told her to go download the free apps and about what I observed.  She was thrilled.

Merge Cubes

Wednesday was already scheduled for our Book Club, so no TTW activities tomorrow unless our book club ends early.  We’ll be completing our discussion of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

I’ll be off campus Thursday.  Mrs. Waller, my library clerk and right hand will have to hold down the fort.  I’m hoping the teacher who loaned me the Google Cardboards will lend her a hand.  She’s taken to the Merge Cubes – she went out and bought three of her own (or should I say she ordered her husband to go get them for her)!

We’ll wrap up the week on Friday with a workshop on Garageband.  I’ll be showing those who have Apple devices how easy it is to use Garageband to create their own original beats.

The Flame and the Flower

The Flame and the FlowerThe Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

I wanted to read something I’d read before – wasn’t in the mood for something new.  Decided to pick something off my own bookshelf.

OMG (as the kids would say).  No, this isn’t a YA book; however, I did first read this when I was a teen.  In fact, this very copy.  It was my grandmothers, and re-reading it I can’t believe she let me read it at that age!

Summary from Amazon:

New York Times bestselling author Kathleen E. Woodiwiss debut romance…

The Flower

Doomed to a life of unending toil, Heather Simmons fears for her innocence—until a shocking, desperate act forces her to flee. . . and to seek refuge in the arms of a virile and dangerous stranger.

The Flame

A lusty adventurer married to the sea, Captain Brandon Birmingham courts scorn and peril when he abducts the beautiful fugitive from the tumultuous London dockside. But no power on Earth can compel him to relinquish his exquisite prize. For he is determined to make the sapphire-eyed lovely his woman. . .and to carry her off to far, uncharted realms of sensuous, passionate love.

So, this is old school romance at it’s best/worst.  The main character escapes being raped by one man, only to be raped by the ‘hero’ of the story.  Escapes again, becomes pregnant and forced to marry her rapist.  But, of course, being the romance that it is, they fall madly in love — after many trials and tribulations — and live happily ever after.

I would NEVER give this to a teen today and, as I said above, cannot believe my granny allowed me to read it!  There were so many instances where the heroine – I cannot really even call her that – accepts that what the hero does to her is okay, because he’s a man and her husband or because he loves her.  WTF. I don’t care that this is a historical romance and yes, women had little to no rights.  This was just plain wrong.

Re-reading this as an adult, I don’t know why I liked it and kept it…maybe because the main character’s name was Heather?  I know I kept it because it was one of the few things from my granny I had left when she passed away. She and I shared a love of reading.  Many a day at her house was spent in matching swivel chairs, each reading our own book while my granddad was in the living room watching TV.  While I probably won’t re-read this one again, I will be keeping it, as it is a physical reminder of my granny.

I do know that I won’t be recommending it to my teens!  Instead I’ll be recommending books like: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson or Some Boys by Patty Blount.

Crazy House

Okay, I’m going to give another go at reviewing books.  I got this one as an ARC back at ALA Midwinter 2017 in Atlanta, but finally downloaded it from RCPL with Overdrive this week.  [A student borrowed my ARC and it has never been returned!]

Crazy House by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet, jimmy patterson/Hachette Book Group, 2017

Twins Becca and Cassie Greenfield have had more hardship than most seventeen-year-olds.  Two years ago their Ma and Pa basically abandoned them and they now have  a ramshackle farm to take care of, school to pass, their designated vocation to master and only each other to rely upon.  Everyone in United and Cell B-97-4275 must pull their weight.

One fateful morning Cassie wakes up to find Becca, and more importantly, Cassie’s truck, gone.  Cassie’s initial anger turns to fear when she realizes her sister has become one of the “disappeared” – kids who go missing and never return–no reason, no warning, and no trace of them is ever found.  On the flip side, Becca wakes up in a prison for kids–where the sentence is death – and you must learn, obey, and most of all, fight in order to delay your execution.  What the two don’t know is that it was Cassie who was supposed to have been taken, not Becca!    What will happen when the switch is discovered? Will Cassie find Becca before Becca is executed?

First off, I will say I wouldn’t normally have chosen to read this, simply because I’m not a dystopian fan.  It was the mistaken twins and one being in jail that initially intrigued me enough to give it a chance!  Having said that, I’d say this one is a great choice for those who enjoyed Maze Runner by James Dashner; The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins; and Divergent by Veronica Roth, etc.   The novel is told from multiple points-of-view in short alternating chapters that I believe reluctant readers will find appealing.  This is the first of a series, so of course, there is a bit of a cliffhanger; however, the book does have an ending, of a sorts.  You just know there is more to come and not all answers have been provided – as this is a new world, conflict still remains, and so much more to resolve.  Overall I’d give this one a 3 out of 5 stars, simply because this isn’t my genre.