Books Unite Us: Banned Books Week

Banned Books week is September 22nd-October 2, 2021 and this years theme is Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us. Banned Books Week began in the 1980s, at a time of increased book challenges and bans. The American Library Association, along with 14 other organizations, works to bring an awareness of censorship during this week each year.

According to the American Library Association (ALA), “Sharing stories important to us means sharing a part of ourselves. Books reach across boundaries and build connections between readers. Censorship, on the other hand, creates barriers.”

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Another aspect that Banned Books week celebrates is the fact that many of these materials do remain available and are ultimately not banned.

The video below highlights the ten most challenged books of 2020 and why they were challenged. This years titles range from children’s novels, young adult fiction and adult fiction and nonfiction. In the past the list has included picture books:

Want to learn more? Check out ALA’s Banned Book FAQ here.

I always try to read a challenged book in honor of Banned Books Week. Want to read one of the top ten? Click on the books title for a physical copy; ebook and audiobook lead to digital downloads in Livebrary. If the physical book is not available in the Express Collection we can help you interlibrary loan it.

George by Alex Gino: ebook audiobook

Stamped–Racism, Antiracism and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi: ebook audiobook

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds: ebook audiobook

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: ebook audiobook

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie ebook audiobook

Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano audiobook

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee ebook audiobook

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck ebook audiobook

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison ebook audiobook

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas ebook audiobook

Introducing our Community Journal Project

Write in a library book? I know it’s an unusual request from us here at the library but that is exactly what we’re looking for with our new Community Journal Project. We are asking you, the members of our community, to share your thoughts, creativity, artwork and knowledge with us.

There are currently fifteen notebooks on many different topics for all age group from A Community Cookbook for all Mom and Dad’s cooking tips and tricks to A Wordless Picture Book for our youngest pre-writers. To learn more about how to participate check out our website where you can see our full guidelines and all of the available topics.

By adding your own thoughts and artwork to the journals, you or your teen or child will be engaging in dialogue and connection with other community members. All adults, teens and children are invited to join the library in this collaborative creative adventure. Look for the journals on display next to the library’s main entrance.

May is Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month—a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Originally a week long celebration it is now celebrated all month long. To learn more about Asian Pacific Islander Heritage month you can go here.

Here at the library we like to celebrate by reading and sharing some of our favorite books by Asian Pacific Islander authors and illustrators. Check out some amazing titles for teens and kids below.

More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood; A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo; From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon; Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert; Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay; Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon; Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman; We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire by Susan Tan; Sea Sirens: a Trot & Cap’n Bill Adventure by Amy Chu & Janet K. Lee; Amina’s Voice by Hena Kahn; Front Desk by Kelly Yang; Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho; A Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu; The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito; A Different Pond by Bao Phi

Another great way to learn about Asian cultures is by attending some of our library programs. Be sure to check out tomorrow night’s Indian Dance program! Click here to go to the library calendar and register.

Outdoor Adventures with Museum Passes

Now that Spring is finally here and Summer is just around the corner, I am so excited to spend more time outside with my family. We are definitely an outdoors family (except for camping; I see no reason to sleep outside when I can sleep in my nice comfy home) and we love going to the park, the beach, the botanical gardens and exploring. A lot of these places do tend to have fees which can add up and that is why I love museum passes. Not only do we have museum passes for some amazing indoor museums like the Long Island Children’s Museum and the American Air Power Museum; we also have passes for some great outdoors locations.

Museum passes need to be reserved ahead of time by date or by museum and should be reserved for the day you plan on attending. For more details on pass reservations and pick up check our website. I also like to check each museum or parks site for any additional rules or regulations before we head out.

Some of our family’s favorite outdoors passes have been:

Old Westbury Gardens This pass entitles you free admission/parking for two adults and their children. The house is closed right now but there are a number of different walks/gardens to visit. Last month we walked through the Walled Garden, the Rose Garden, the West Pond, the Terraces and stopped to visit the Thatched Cottage and even though it was very early spring there were already lots of flowers, plants and critters to see.

Empire Pass-New York State This pass provides unlimited day-use vehicle entry to most facilities operated by New York State Parks including forests, beaches, trails and more. And while most of the big beaches don’t start charging until Memorial Day some of the parks like The Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park in the picture start charging in April. This is one of our favorite parks; my kiddo and I were there at least once a week last April and May. Other parks we love to visit with this pass include Heckscher State Park, Sunken Meadow State Park, Belmont Lake State Park and Connetquot River State Park Preserve. The list of parks, preserves and beaches you can visit feels endless on this pass; for a full list check the state website.

Old Bethpage Village Restoration This pass includes free admission for up to four people. We haven’t been to Old Bethpage Village Restoration yet this year. When we last went two years ago our kiddo was really too young to find most of the houses and buildings interesting so we just walked along the paths and skipped going inside most of the buildings and we had a great time. We loved the walk, seeing the animals at the farm and both my husband and kiddo loved visiting the black smith’s shop. We will definitely be heading there again this summer.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden This pass includes free admission for two adults and all children under the age of 16. Way back before children I used to spend a lot of my free time in Brooklyn and this was one of my favorite places to go. I used to go with my friend Deb who was a member and we would spend hours just walking all the different garden paths with hot cups of tea and muffins. My husband and I have been talking about it and we think the kiddo might be able to handle the drive this year. I can’t wait to head back.

Nassau County Museum of Art This pass includes admission for two adults and four children. This is another museum we haven’t been to in a long time. It may surprise you to know that I can be kind of disorganized and at least twice I have gone when the museum was closed for an exhibition swap. Fortunately they have some lovely outdoor facilities including a sculpture garden, an arboretum with trails and a formal garden.

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium This pass includes admission for two adults and four children. We’ve never been here before but another mom recommended it to me. In addition to two indoor aquariums they have five outdoor ponds. My kiddo loves all things water and I can’t wait to check this place out.

Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society This pass includes free admission for two adults and four children. I am including this pass because the walk on the boardwalk is really great and I think you all would enjoy it but we do not visit light houses because someone (me) is afraid of enclosed spaces and cannot successfully visit the top of a tall narrow lighthouse and my family is tired of having me get half way up and then walking me back down in panic mode. But if that is not a problem for you than this is another amazing outdoor adventure.

Do you have a favorite museum pass? What amazing outdoor adventures are you and your family looking forward to this summer? Let us know in the comments.

Citizen Science

Citizen science, also known as crowd science, volunteer monitoring, or crowd source science, is scientific research conducted in part by amateur scientists. Citizen scientists often partner with professional scientists to achieve common goals. This allows scientists to complete research that would be too expensive or time-consuming to accomplish on their own with large volunteer networks.

When I was in fourth grade I had the best science teacher; Mrs. Schwartz and she was really great at teaching us how scientists are working all around us to learn new things about our environment and how those things were relevant to us and how they could be fun. Citizen science feels like a natural extension of things I learned from Mrs. Schwartz back in fourth grade; a great way to learn about my environment and have fun doing it.

Want to learn more about citizen science and how you and your family can get involved? Register for our upcoming Zoom program on March 25th, 7:00-8:00 pm, Conservation Science & Citizen Science with Ranger Eric of CEED LI and learn how to help local plants and animals by contributing to Citizen Science Projects.

Want your teen to actively participate in citizen science and earn community service credit? Register them for our Citizen Scientist program on April 20th at 3:00 pm. Students in Grades 6-12 will meet at Irmisch Park; go for a walk and take pictures of different plants and animals we see and upload them to iNaturalist to connect with nature and generate scientifically valuable biodiversity data.

Looking for more Citizen Scientist Activities to participate in with your family? Check out these resources:

Citizenscience.gov; the EPA’s website on citizen science projects and click on citizenscience.gov/catalog. They have an extensive catalog of projects that you can get involved in that are supported by the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies. Is someone in your family interested in a particular field of science? You can search for that.

Scistarter is an online citizen science hub with more than 3,000 projects searchable by location, topic, age-level and more. Projects have been listed by NGO’s, universities, federal government’s and more. Everyone in your family is sure to find a project that fits their interests and level of participation here.

What Teens Are Reading

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Genre: Adventure, Contemporary, Romance, Psychological Thriller

Format: Book, Ebook, Downloadable Audiobook

Plot: The book as a whole is about the Sinclair family who have great wealth. The grandparents own an island in which every summer their three daughters and all of their grandchildren come to visit and have fun together. The story revolves around cousins Cadence, Mirren, and Johnny, as well as Gat, Johnny’s cousin that by blood is unrelated to the Sinclairs. The four of them spend every summer together and are best friends until there is an accident that changes everything. The story goes through their relationships and memories, through love and trauma.

Review: Overall, I did enjoy this book. The build-up to the main plot twist was very long so for some people it might get boring but it is definitely worth it. The twist changed my entire perspective on the book and changed the meaning of everything (that is how influential and crazy it was). I do think that other teens would enjoy this book, especially those that love twisted endings. Its hard to put into words without giving anything away but I know for sure that it has an ending that you would never expect.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

~Alyssa, Teen Book Reviewer

Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

Genre: Adventure, Dystopian Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal Fiction, Science Fiction

Format: E-book, Downloadable Audiobook

Plot: This book is a zombie thriller who’s main character is Joe Ledger. He is brought in to run a team out of a secret government program called the Department of Military Sciences (DMS). He and the rest of DMS are there to stop any major scientifically advanced weapons from being used on the public. They have to destroy a terrorist cell network that have figured out how to make a zombie plague.

Review: This book was really, really good. The entire series is genuinely one of my favorite series of books I’ve ever read. Even though I enjoy it, I don’t really know how others would see it because the plot is very difficult to understand and if you do, you still have to be into zombie horror stuff.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

~Jonathan, Teen Book Reviewer

Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Mystery, Romance

Format: Book, Ebook, Audiobook

Plot: Simon Snow is the most powerful magician in the world. He is the Chosen One who will save the future of magic; except he can’t control his power. Watch as he and his friends solve the mystery of the evil Insidious Humdrum all while dealing with his bitter rival and roommate Baz. The good are not always good and the bad are not always bad; everything resolves itself in the end…with a twist. Bad things may happen, but you have to remember to always carry on.

Review: This book is one you will not be able to put down. It is a little confusing at first, since so much information is revealed and it is slow to start but it is worth it in the end. A thrilling story with plot twists and an unforgettable romance; I’d recommend this book to anyone, especially fans of the Harry Potter series as there are many similarities. The author has gotten the nature of teenagers spot on and she definitely puts a modern twist on the witches and wizards of fairy tales. This book has such an important message and amazing representation. It is a great read for all teenagers.

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

~Natalia, Teen Book Reviewer

The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, LGBTQ+

Format: Ebook, Downloadable Audiobook

Plot: Apollo is on the last leg of his journey, almost ready to become a god again. He and his demigod friend, Meg, have traveled the U.S. freeing oracles from Python’s grasp and destroying the evil emperors of the Triumvirate. Now they are back in New York, ready to face Nero, the most powerful emperor and Meg’s ex-stepfather. With their friends at Camp Half-Blood, what could go wrong? Will they succeed in defeating Nero? Will Apollo survive and finally take down Python, his greatest nemesis? Will he live to reclaim his throne on Mount Olympus?

Review: I really enjoyed this book. I think it was a great way to end the Trials of Apollo series. Any teen that enjoyed the Percy Jackson series would love this. I would recommend this book to any lover of Rick Riordan’s works; it is funny and tells such a deep message about acceptance that many teens struggle with. The ending is so sweet and will leave you in tears. Overall, it is such a wonderful story to read.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

~Natalia, Teen Book Reviewer

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQ+

Format: Book

Plot: Kaz Brekker, a feared gang leader, is given the job of breaking into the most secure building in the world and stealing a wanted man, who is the creator of a drug that will change everything. He assembles a team of five other outcasts, each with their own problems to complete the job and collect the huge reward. Unfortunately, they must overcome many challenges on the way: they have to outrun rivals, deal with past trauma, and keep each other safe, all while staying under the radar of the government. Deals are broken, plans are rethought, and many other surprises await these six. Will they make it in time?

Review: I love this book. There is no other book that includes such a well-orchestrated diverse group of characters. This book shines a new light on disabilities, both mental and physical, without making them the main theme of the story. This is a must-read book for any fantasy-loving teen, it has an addicting plot with twists and turns at every corner. Trust me, you’ll love it.

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

~Natalia, Teen Book Reviewer

Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott

Genre: Romance

Format: Book, Ebook, Audiobook

Plot: Two teens are in love, but there is one thing keeping them apart. They are both hospitalized with cystic fibrosis. They can’t be closer than five feet apart without risking cross contamination. The novel dissects their love story, and whether or not they ever touch.

Review: I liked the book and did not like it at the same time. I personally loved the concept, and liked reading about both of their experiences. However, I wanted more of the book to be based around their romance, and less about their personal lives.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

~Michelle, Teen Book Reviewer

Want to see your teen’s book reviews here? Have them fill out our Teen Book Reviewers Request Form. Three hours of community service available for each review; up to three reviews a year.

Real Life 101: Car Repair

A million years ago when my Aunt was a teen, they used to offer auto shop in high school. Then it shifted to Boces and only kids who were really interested could apply for the class. But, you had to give up all of your specials like art, music, home & careers and specialty science classes. You were told if you didn’t take the classes at Boces your dad would teach you how to take care of your car. My dad definitely taught me useful skills. I can tape, plaster and paint an entire apartment and if hard pressed could rent one of those giant sanders and refinish hardwood floors with help, but he definitely didn’t teach me how to check my oil or change a tire.

A friend taught me how to jump start my first car (a nifty corolla sort of like the one in the pic), check my oil, check my tire pressure and change my windshield wipers. He also taught me never to buy a car the first year they change their electrical systems or the first year of a new make and model because there will always be glitches.

I really wish I had been better prepared to take care of my car when I first started driving, but if my Dad had tried to show me; I’m not sure I would have given him the time of day. Sometimes teens just don’t want to hear things from their parents; so to that end I wanted to share a couple of resources you and your teen can look at to figure out how to take care of their car.

For beginners there is the How to’s….Car Edition playlist from the Dad How Do I? Youtube channel. A man who grew up without a father created all these repair and tool guides for other kids who don’t have someone that can teach them these skills and it’s definitely worth checking out.

Those that are already comfortable with the basics and want to figure out how to do more advanced repairs should definitely check out our Auto Repair Source Database. It has all kinds of information including step by step repairs. Check out our tutorial on how to use the database here.

If you want to be really fancy you can check out ProDemand next time you’re in the library. Prodemand is in libary use only: with it you can use the database that pros use to estimate and figure out jobs.

What other skills do you wish your teen was learning to prepare them for living on their own or going off to college? Let us know in the comments so we can help you help them prepare!

The Great Giveback

Saturday October 19, 2020 will be the third annual Great Give Back. The Great Give Back is a community service initiative created by the Suffolk County Library Directors Association and the Suffolk Cooperative Library System in conjunction with the Nassau County Library System.

The mission of The Great Give Back is to provide a day of opportunities for the patrons of the Public Libraries of New York State to participate in meaningful, service-oriented experiences.

Community service and volunteerism have always been very important to me. When I was in middle school and high school I belonged to many clubs and organizations that had community service and volunteerism as their central tenants and it’s one of the reasons I manage so many of our community service programs here.

I love our annual Great Give Back; it is a wonderful opportunity for the entire family to get involved and enjoy the benefits of community service and volunteerism. This is a great way for us to share with our children how volunteering makes a difference and how good it feels to help other people in our community and to enact change.

I am so excited for this year’s Great Give Back activities. This year for The Great Give Back we are:

Inviting teens to participate on our Instagram for Teentober. Help us promote the library by creating social media posts for our Instagram.

Inviting everyone from our tiniest tots to our wisest retirees to make cards for the residents of the Berkshires Nursing Home. Register to receive a cardmaking kit; after decorating your cards return them to the basket in the Children’s room.

Inviting everyone in our community to join us for a Clean Up our Community event. Meet us at the library for gloves, bags, and masks.

I hope you decide to join us for any or all of these amazing Great Give Back opportunities. We look forward to seeing you there!

Process Art

It may surprise you to know that I do not consider myself artistic. Most of my time spent creating displays for the library bulletin boards or coming up with crafts to do with the teens is actually spent figuring out how to get around my less than mediocre drawing ability and make my vision a reality; and that is why I love process art.

Process art consists of art activities that are more focused on what you did to create the art than what you want the final product to be. Everyone’s project is supposed to be unique and self- directed rather then following a specific set of steps or instruction that’s focused on everyone creating the exact same thing. A lot of the discussion surrounding process art is focused on younger children. Process art is great because it fosters creativity and joy in the process of creating. But process art is great for older kids, teens and adults for the same reasons and because the focus is not on the final project but on the fun of creating can also be very empowering for those that feel like they have no artistic ability whatsoever, like me.

Process art also tends to be a lot less work to set up and usually requires fewer specialized supplies. Check out the tutorials below for some fun process art activities or craft along with me on YouTube; there’s Geometric Art and Monoprinting.

We used old pediatric Tylenol droppers but if you let the salt dry you can just paint the watercolors on with a paintbrush.

Looking for more great process art ideas? Check out these books from Live-brary. I know they’re pre-school focused but I have had just as much fun (if not more fun) creating projects with these techniques as my daughter and have gotten some great ideas for things to do with the teens as well.

Do you have any favorite process art projects you want to share? Tell us in the comments!

Seed Library

Ask any teen that volunteered in last summer’s Community Gardeners program and they will tell you that I am not a gardener. I do not know what anything is called; I do not know how to weed; I do not know when things are ready to pick. Most questions were answered with either, “Hang on, let me text Ms. Joni and ask her” or “Let’s look that up!” I learned a lot doing Community Gardeners with the teens last year and was looking forward to this years program. I was also excited about trying to grow something with my daughter this year with everything I learned last year. I was a little worried since last year we tried to grow Purple Cone Flowers and we never got past the tiny green sprout.😢

This year Ms. Joni gave me seeds from our seed library to try with my daughter. She gave us some green peas, chinese greens and zinnias. We planted the peas Mother’s Day weekend.

My daughter is so excited to see her peas growing! We planted them in hanging containers and we are hoping that when they get big enough they will drape over the sides instead of having to be trained up something. (Ms. Joni says they will!)

Do you want to participate in our seed library? Check out this display the next time you’re in the library. It is immediately to the right of the front door when you first walk in. You can get seeds and in the fall you can even turn in seeds for next year.

What are you growing in your garden this year? Did you get any seeds from our seed libraries? Let us know in the comments!