Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Title: Walk on Earth a Stranger 
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (an imprint of Harper Collins)
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2015

26183396_952765984874865_5612646709608841216_n
Photo Credit: @stephanieleannebookish

There’s something so charming about Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson. At first, I was captivated by the plot and how the story opens. So, it’s 1849 and the Gold Rush is in full swing, but our main character, Leah Westfall, has an impossible secret. Leah has the magical ability to sense gold and it seems someone may be onto her secret after all.

The story opens with the death of Leah’s parents and the discovery that her Uncle, the only living person to know of Leah’s secret, has swiftly come into town to take ownership of her home, her rights, and her “witching” powers. So, Leah changes her identity and hightails it West to California.

Now, I thought this story would read more like a fantasy novel, but it reads more like a historical fiction with a magical realism twist. Leah’s magical ability is what causes the plot to move forward, but overall the story is rich with historical detail and the gruesome realities of traveling across America in search of Gold.

While I could spend a deal of time discussing how much I enjoyed the plot, though admittedly slow at times, the characters are what makes this series worth reading and ultimately what kept me engrossed. I lived for these characters, even the characters who nestled under my skin. I continued to root for each character and hope for their well being in the end.

I have read a total of five YA Westerns and have come to the realization that fleshed out and flawed characters paired with character development is what makes or breaks a Western. Yeah, you can have a thrilling shoot ‘em up, but what about the parts in between when the characters have to spend three months crossing a boring desert? That’s right, you get to know the characters, and Carson does an amazing job fleshing out and developing her characters. I am so attached to almost every ‘good’ character we meet that I feel as if I know them and I continue to think about them every day… and truly I don’t cry easily, but lord help me this book had me shedding a tear left and right!

A solid 4/5 ⭐️ read!

-Steph (Assistant Teen Librarian)

Everless by Sara Holland

Title: Everless
Author: Sara Holland
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: January 2nd, 2018

“What if the person to be feared is me?”

26318883_331501570700159_3390563061680046080_n
Photo Credit: @stephanieleannebookish

Everless by Sara Holland was an interesting read, but not my favorite. The world building is a bit lacking, so what I will say is our main character Jules lives in a world where time is currency (much like that Justin Timberlake movie In Time) and one never truly knows how much time they have left. Jules and her father used to live on a wealthy estate in Everless as a blacksmith and servant, but one day Jules saves Roan after his brother, Liam, pushed him into a fire, and everything changes for Jules and her father. Years and two different towns later, Jules and her father are in dire need of time and she must go back to Everless to help serve at the royal wedding, but once Jules arrives back in Everless she is wrapped up in a mystery that might explain everything about her past.

As I said, the world building is a bit all over the place and it took me a bit to piece together what was what, but it didn’t take away from the main point in the story, which was figuring out Jules past. Everless is shrouded in mystery and it’s what kept me so engaged, I wanted to know what was happening just as much as Jules.

As for characters, I actually like Jules and her determination. It never felt like she had the wrong motivations when it came to why she chose to go back to Everless and essentially put her life in danger in order to get closer to the Queen. Only once did I question her decisions, which is saying a lot. I do feel that the characters were fleshed out for the most part, but I wouldn’t say I connected with any of them, even Jules. I liked a few of the characters, but most of them were forgettable. Even Roan, who Jules gushes on and on about, is a cardboard cut out of a character. Though I will note that due to the ending of the book this could serve an overarching purpose, but as it stands I couldn’t care less about his character or if he develops an actual personality.

Although Everless reads like your typical YA fantasy and falls into some of the trope traps, Holland does a beautiful job of twisting tropes and conventions that made the story seem fresh. I mean TIME AS CURRENCY, what a horrific thought. Overall, the story fell flat for me and I am afraid over time I will stop caring about the plot and the characters (not that I cared about the characters much, to begin with).
So this ended up being a 3/5 for me.

-Stephanie (Assistant Teen Librarian)

The Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely

Title: Gunslinger Girl
Author: Lyndsay Ely
Publisher: James Patterson
Published: January 2018

26182350_192944431298261_6056002461154410496_nPhoto Credit @stephanieleannebookish

“Welcome to Cessation, Serendipity Jones. The last place on the continent where you can do whatever the hell you want.”

I am not sure what has come over me, but Westerns are my jam right now and it all started with The Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely! The story itself is actually set in the future, though we aren’t given a concrete time, it’s a time that has surpassed technological advances (think Westworld).

Basically, the story is set in North America after the country went through a devastating Civil War. After the war and a shift in power, a new government was established called CONA and they forced the inhabitants of America to live on separated communes, women are sold for large sums of money due to a high infertility rate, and the world resembles the old west once again. Our main character Serendipity “Pity” Jones is a sharpshooter with big dreams, but her abusive father wants to sell her off. As you can imagine, Pity isn’t having it and she runs off to Cessation, a city considered the seedy underbelly of the world, thus our plot begins to unfold!

I highly recommend this to anyone who is apprehensive about Westerns because it doesn’t read as you’d expect. The beginning is a tad slow, but it’s worth it in the end. The plot moves quickly and there are twists and turns around every corner, you never know who to trust, and the political intrigue is unbelievable. At the same time, this story is quirky and full of imagination. Everyone in Cessation must work for their keep and Pity is tasked to join the theater and use her sharpshooting as the star act. While this sounds epically cheesy, it is so much fun.

My personal favorite aspect of this story? The characters! Each character was fleshed out and unique. I lived for the banter and the theater performances and felt like I wanted this band of misfits as my friends. Did I mention that there is a slow-burning and sweet romance?

Overall I gave The Gunslinger Girl a 4/5 and would highly recommend for anyone looking for an action-packed and thrilling read.

–Steph (Woodland Public Library LTA)

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publisher: Razor Bill an imprint of Penguin Random House
Publication Date: May 2015

24127162_189630938253992_81536221787979776_n(1)Photo Credit: @stephanieleannebookish

“All the beauty of the stars means nothing when life here on earth is so ugly.”

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir is a dual perspective desert fantasy. Our first perspective is Laia, and Laia is a Scholar. Scholar are essentially slaves to the empire, although they have some agency within their lives they must live by strict rules of the Empire enforced by the Black Cliff Army or the Masks. Our second perspective is Elias, who happens to be a Mask in training, but he wants to flee the academy as soon as he graduates. And thanks to some unthinkable events, both Laia and Elias are forced to make some hearty decisions which bring them together as one and alter the course of their future for good.

I loved this book. While I know AEITA is very much a foundational book there is no lack of raw grit, emotional turmoil, and realism to the overall plot. Despite the fact that there is a magic system developing and we are seeing small fragments of that system unfolding, AEITA focuses on the intricacies of the relationships established and developing, rather than trying to info dump an entirely new and complex magical system.

Speaking of relationships there’s are a lot of love circles(?) happening within the story, though I will admit it didn’t bother me as much as the typical love triangle. Mainly due to the fact that the love aspect didn’t steal the spotlight, rather the motivations and politics were a more compelling plot point. And if anything the storyline and brutality stole my attention.

As for characters, I loved them all, good or bad, and how they interacted with one another. It says a lot when you’re dying to see what the villain of the story is going to do next. For me, a story needs to have both compelling and complex characters as well as an interesting storyline, although if there are a whole cast of well fleshed out characters I am okay with a lacking plotline, and honestly, AIETA nailed the complex characters as well as character development.

Overall this was one of the best YA fantasies I’ve read and I recommend this to all my fantasy lovers, bearing in mind this is a foundational book.

I gave An Ember in the Ashes a 4.7/5

–Steph (Woodland Public Library LTA)

Summer 2017

We started with a graduation ceremony for our senior TAB members in June and throughout summer held various events and activities for teens and children.

18620187_1326792624070511_1729393964991886656_n

A popular activity was our Teen Paint Day, where we had one of our TAB members, Amber, teach other teens how to paint.

Teens logged in over 150 hours of volunteering during the Summer Reading Party, Thursday Maker Days, Farmers Markets, Performance Set-up, Homeless Shelter Dinner, Window Display, and Square One Opening.

We appreciate all of you and thank you so much for helping build a better world in your community!

745.5 Square One!

The Teen Advisory Board helped out during the library’s grand opening of Square One!

On Sunday, July 2, from 2-5 pm, the Woodland Public Library opened 745.5 Square One, a nearly 2000 square foot makerspace and community learning lab located on the ground floor of the Library.

A makerspace is an area dedicated to education through creation where users can imagine, explore, and collaborate in hands-on learning, design, and production. The Makerspace Movement has gained momentum in recent years worldwide as a creative, collaborative space outside home, school, and work to explore and learn. This movement aligns with the library’s mission to provide education and literacy to the community. “Libraries have always been on the forefront of providing public access to emerging technology that isn’t readily available to most consumers,” stated Greta Galindo, Woodland Public Library Director.

The name of the space, 745.5 Square One, refers to the Dewey Decimal classification (how the library sorts nonfiction books) for ‘handcrafts’ (745.5) and to the place people return when they need to rethink an idea or try again (Square One).

Square One will provide the opportunity for patrons to learn important skills that can be used in the workforce—from drafting and design to the hands-on work of crafting circuit boards. Square One is designed to be a modular space to bring together the community to share knowledge and collaboratively problem solve. The central design hub, sponsored by Sunrise Rotary, consists of a dozen laptops and 8 work tables that can be rearranged for classes, large projects, or smaller group work. Surrounding the design hub are 5 work areas: a prototyping area, an art and textiles area, an enclosed wood shop, an electronics bench, and a digital arts station. These areas have all been created to be flexible spaces that can expand or contract as classes, presentations, and use require.

The Prototyping area, sponsored by the Dowling family, features a laser cutter for cutting and engraving plastics, wood, and some metals, as well as 2 3-D printers, large and small computer controlled cutting devices, and supplies to design and create projects. The Art and Textiles area, sponsored by the Thordsen Family and Woodland Sewing and Vacuum Center, consists of two portable self-contained sewing machine units, jewelry-making supplies, and other fiber arts. The wood shop contains a CNC-router, panel saw, drill press, band saw, and a full complement of hand tools for woodworking projects. The Electronics Bench, sponsored by Luna Vista Rotary, holds 3 vented soldering stations and supplies for projects ranging from introduction soldering to advanced robotics. The Digital Arts corner, also sponsored by Luna Vista Rotary, holds 2 computer workstations outfitted with myriad programs and applications for designing objects to be produced in the prototyping and wood working areas as well as for audio and video editing. This area also features video and still cameras for use.

This Open House marks the culmination of two years of work, planning, construction, and collaboration with numerous organizations. This project was funded through Measure E and J funds, and the generous financial support of the California State Library and the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the Dowling Family, Dan Chervinskas from American Industrial Coatings, the Thordsen Family, Luna Vista Rotary, Sunrise Rotary, Meg and Tom Stallard, and Pavel and Alla Tkachuk at the Woodland Sewing and Vacuum Center. The Woodland Public Library thanks our generous community for their support of Square One.

Woodland Public Library Facilities Maste

Woodland Public Library Facilities Master Plan Community Meeting
The Woodland Public Library will hold its final community meeting regarding the Facility Master Plan on Wednesday May 17th at 6:00PM in the Library Leake Room. The facility master planning process will assess the current state of facilities; analyze community and library use demographics; create a common vision based on community input; and consider new library service possibilities. The planning process began in February 2017 and will conclude in June 2017. Community input was solicited through community meetings and surveys. The Library anticipates that the Facility Master Plan will form the foundation of a future building program for the expansion and/or renovation of the existing library to meet the community’s learning needs, abilities, demographics, and changes in technology.
Please join us to learn more about the library’s future in our community.
For more information please contact: Greta Galindo, Library Services Director at 530-661-5980 or library@cityofwoodland.org http://ow.ly/i/umEIR

Open Mic Night March 31, 2017

Tab’s Open Mic Night was a great success! We had over 40 people attend and share their talents, ranging from reading poetry, playing the guitar and singing. Everyone had a lot of fun in the spotlight and we look forward to hosting another Open Mic Night!

IMG_7321

IMG_7306

Open Mic Talent Show

TAB’S MARCH UPDATE

TAB had it’s first all day training for the year on Saturday, February 25 from 8:30-2:30 in the Leake Room. 28 TAB members earned 6 hours of community service as they learned the following skills; leadership, public speaking, event planning and time management.

UC Davis’s Early Academic Outreach Program volunteered 6 Student Assistants to facilitate the training including, Maryam Irfan who was instrumental to the success of the Yolo Youth Rally. 

What made this year’s training special was that we had our TAB members; Abbigail, Anoushka, Amber, Rosaamelia and Mia assist with the training by talking about how they utilized their skills in TAB, school and life. These young ladies have been active in TAB for over 2 years and were able to share their experience and knowledge to new TAB members.

Anoushka describes the training;

This past weekend, TAB had its first training of the new year, and I was privileged to have been a co-facilitator, alongside UC Davis students from the Early Academic Outreach Program. I helped lead the welcome, then led parts of the leadership section and then led an activity called ‘Outburst’. I liked how this training went; I think it was much better than the previous trainings because it was entirely student-led, which gave room for personal stories and a change of voice. 

I think for the next training, senior TAB members should have slightly larger parts that they can take over themselves, and they can practice before hand to make sure they know their parts. I think student-led trainings can be more effective in cases like these, and it would be great to see that for TAB in the future. 

tab-2-25-17

All of TAB is gearing up to use these skills for upcoming events that include;

  • Open Mic/ Talent Show
  • Teen Pool Party
  • Teen Summer Reading Program/ Book Club
  • Homeless Shelter Dinners

We are meeting today to continue planning these events! Stay tuned! If you would like to get involved, sign up and I will contact you.

We meet every FIRST WEDNESDAY of the month at the library. Our next Saturday Training is March 25th, 8:30-2:30 at the Yolo County Office of Education at 1280 Santa Anita Court, Woodland. 

 

The Diary of Anne Frank

Anne Frank with diaryThe Teen Advisory Board attended the play, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” at the Woodland Opera House. We were very grateful to receive free tickets from Meg and Tom Stallard so that 25 TAB members and 6 parents could watch this moving, true story of a young Jewish teen girl who had to go into hiding with her family during World War II.

Natalie, a sophomore at Pioneer High writes:

I really liked the play of The Diary of Anne Frank because it was interesting and funny. First, it was interesting to see what it was like from Anne’s point of view. I liked how her voice was narrating whenever she was writing in her diary. It helped me understand what living in hiding must have been like. It’s hard to imagine not having the freedom to do whatever you want and go outside whenever you want.

It made me feel bad for Anne Frank, her family, and all the other people who experienced something like that. I think the play made the story easier to understand because I could actually see it happening. The actors did a very good job of portraying each character’s personality and made me see what the situation was like from different perspectives. I really felt like I connected with the characters, almost as if I was there with them. I liked how the play had some funny parts and wasn’t just super serious, although the ending was sad.

I learned from the play that I should appreciate the freedom that I have. It makes me sad that Anne Frank never got to be free and do all the things she wanted to do. Overall, I enjoyed the play and it helped me understand the story better. 

17264590_1245025282247246_4022099247586017980_n

Abigail, 12th grader at Woodland Christian wrote a short essay about the play which can be found here.Anne Frank

Yasmin, 9th grader at Pioneer writes:

The Anne Frank play was very inspiring. I learned a lot more about Anne Frank and what she went through. I couldn’t even imagine living in that time and being afraid everywhere I turned. And worrying whether I would be taken or if I would be split up from my family. Anne Frank must have been really scared but she made the most of it and always stayed positive.

I learned that Anne was a very hyper girl and that she annoyed a lot of people. It certainly enriched my understand of World War Two and the atrocities that occurred. I learned that in the face of danger to always stay positive whenever you are scared. The play was funny at times and sad others. I thought it was really funny when Anne tried to pet the cat and Peter didn’t let her. But the ending was sad, knowing that they were taken and separated. It almost brought me to tears knowing Anne died a month before she was supposed to be released.

The Anne Frank play was sad but funny. I have learned a lot seeing this experience first hand and I would have never thought Anne could stay positive through it all. All together this was a great play and very entertaining. I never thought life was that bad back then.