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Best in Books for Teens

by Brian Visser on February 5th, 2015

printz award

Earlier this week, the  winner of the 2015 Michael L. Printz Award was announced.  The award honors the best book in young adult literature each year as decided by the Printz Committee.  They also name honor books, which are the close, but no cigar books of the year.  Personally, I usually like the honor books more than the book that wins each year.  Here are this year’s books:

2015 Winner

I’ll Give You the SunI'll Give You the Sun

By Jandy Nelson

Published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group, (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House Company Once inseparable, twins Noah and Jude are torn apart by a family tragedy that transforms their intense love for each other into intense anger. Timelines twist and turn around each other in beautifully orchestrated stories of love and longing.

2015 Honor Books

And WAnd We Staye Stay

By Jenny Hubbard

Published by Delacorte, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., a Penguin Random House Company.

Reeling from her boyfriend’s dramatic suicide, Emily hides her anguish at a new boarding school, where she finds healing through poetry. Hubbard’s gem-like prose beautifully balances Emily’s poetry.


The Carnival at BrayCarnival at Bray

By Jessie Ann Foley

Published by Elephant Rock Books.

In 1993, Maggie is dismayed to leave Chicago and her beloved Uncle Kevin behind when she moves to a small Irish town. Yet it is within this evocative setting that Foley unwinds Maggie’s exceptional coming-of-age tale, where Maggie discovers music and forgiveness as antidotes for grief.


GrGrasshopper Jungleasshopper Jungle

By Andrew Smith

Published by Dutton Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.

Historian Austin Szerba is in love with his best girl friend, Shann. He is also in love with his best boy friend, Robby. Mastermind Smith takes these tender facts and swirls them into a whirlwind tale of carnivorous praying mantises, the history of the world, the role of the individual, and the end of all we know.


This One SummerThis One Summer

By Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

Published by First Second

Adolescence in its precarious first bloom is the subject of this sensitive graphic novel. The team of Mariko and Jillian Tamaki show and tell us of one special summer in Rose’s life, in a brilliant flow of pictures and text.

ICPL Anime & Manga Festival Feb. 26

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on February 3rd, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will host the annual Teen Anime & Manga Festival from 2 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26, in Meeting Room A.Festival2015

Open to students in grades 7-12, the Festival is an opportunity for teens to interact with fellow anime and manga enthusiasts, watch anime, discuss manga, win prizes, and eat massive amounts of candy sushi.

Those who wish to display their art work as part of the Artist Alley should bring their finished drawings to the Festival or do some freehand work during the event. Prizes will be awarded to select artists. Cosplay is always welcome and one lucky person will win Best Costume.

We will screen episodes from three different anime: Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, in which mankind has taken to the stars and formed the Galactic Alliance of Humankind and is engaged in a perpetual war with an alien species; Log Horizon, which shows what happens when Japanese gamers playing Elder Tales find themselves transported into the virtual game; and K-On!, the story of four Japanese high school girls join the light music club of Sakuragaoka Girl’s High School to save it from being disbanded. However, they are the only members of the club.

The Teen Anime & Manga Festival is a free event. For more information, call the Library at (319) 356-5200.

New Boardgame: Shadows Over Camelot

by Ella Von Holtum on January 31st, 2015

IMG_0257Full disclosure: I have not played Shadows Over Camelot. But it makes a one heck of a first impression (Omigosh, miniatures! Wooden Dice! Quests! Many tiny cardboard swords!).

Shadows Over Camelot is another cooperative game. Each player is a Knight of the Round Table, working together to defend Camelot against evil. You must complete one of six legendary quests while evil forces threaten your walls. Sometimes, there may even be a traitor in your midst!

This game is great for 3 – 7 players, and you can play a game in about an hour and a half.  This game and many more are available for teens to play in the Koza Family Teen Center on the 2nd floor of the Iowa City Public Library.

Teens interested in theater, read on!

by Ella Von Holtum on January 12th, 2015
The Juneteenth Committee and The Dreamwell Theatre are co-sponsoring a Theatrical Experience in Movement for Teens. We are looking for high school and junior high youth of all ethnicities and backgrounds to come and join a community theatre class taught by real actors and directors in our community. Youth are asked to come dressed in comfortable clothing. This is for youth who are interested in theatre and getting more involved in activities. We will also be extending an invitation to 5 youth who perform well at this class for a lead in a community play this summer.
Please join us on January 24, 2015 at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center on the second floor in the social hall from 12 to 2pm. Please bring a parent as we will need a permission slip for you to attend the class. If you need the permission slip in advance , please contact LaTasha DeLoach at or call 319.356.6090.

Book lists for teens – the best of 2014

by Ella Von Holtum on January 9th, 2015


I’m not really one for resolutions, but one thing I find myself doing in January is bringing with me the best stuff from the previous year. I clean an reorganize my kitchen, my computer, and my notebooks. I look over the things that accumulated in the previous year and try to give away, throw away, or file away everything I don’t need anymore; everything that’s a keeper goes to the top of the pile.


So one thing I love is when bloggers and librarians put together their “best of” lists. More than anything, these lists remind me what books I’ve missed, and what to keep an eye out for now that it’s off the New Shelf and running around the regular collection. ICPL has some great Staff Recommendations I’ve been looking over, but I’m also excited about this list of teen books from the New York Public Library. There is a ton of variety in this list of the best 25 books for teens in 2014, and you’ll find almost all of them at the Iowa City Public Library!

Iowa City Public Library’s January Teen Events Announced

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 5th, 2015

Animation, Minecraft and extended School’s Out tech times are just a few of the activities the Iowa City Public Library has planned for teens in January.

Do you play Minecraft? All teenage Minecraft fans are invited to the Library’s Minecraft Meetup from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Jan. 8 and Jan. 22 in the Computer Lab on the Library’s second floor.

Do you like to draw? Would you like to learn more about computer animation programs? Join us for “Let’s Learn Animation!” from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 15. We’ll learn how to use Pencil Animation, a program that lets you create hand-drawn animation on a computer. We will meet in the Computer Lab on the Library’s second floor.

TAG, the Library’s Teen Activity Group, is looking for new members. TAG members help plan teen programs and give teenage students a voice in the Library. Members also eat a lot of snacks. Anyone wanting to make a difference in the Library, and earn volunteer hours at the same time, should give TAG a try. The January TAG meeting will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, in the Koza Family Teen Center.

Finally, school will be out on Jan. 19, but the Teen Center will be open with extended Tech Time hours from 1 to 8 p.m. Check out an iPad, play video games on the big screen or simply hang out.

All teen programs are open to students in grades 7through 12.

For more information about any of these programs, contact Brian Visser, Teen Services Librarian, at (319) 356-5200.

Featured Game: Pandemic

by Ella Von Holtum on January 3rd, 2015

pandemicI love Pandemic! Unlike many games I’ve played, Pandemic is cooperative instead of competitive. Two to four people play (or up to five with the expansion) as an elite team working together to stop the spread of multiple infections across the globe. Either we all win, or we all lose, and everyone has special skills they can use to combat diseases.

You might be a Dispatcher, an Operations Expert, a Scientist, a Medic, or a Researcher, and on your turn you must coordinate your actions to stop the spread of disease and search for a cure. But at the end of each turn, the diseases will spread, and may at any time tip off an outbreak or an epidemic. Suddenly, disease spreads faster, and is harder to control. You must use your time wisely to prevent this from happening. The game is usually over in about 45 minutes, and if you haven’t discovered the cures for all four diseases, you have lost!

Whenever I play this game, it’s tense and fun. Winning is challenging, and the spread of disease is unpredictable. But the sense of accomplishment when you win – and it’s always a close one – is fantastic!

Pandemic is easy to learn and fun to play. Come by the Teen Center and ask for it!

Join our Teen Activity Group

by Brian Visser on December 31st, 2014

Small TAG

Calling all people in grades 7-12!  The Iowa City Public Library’s Teen Activity Group is looking for new members!

The Teen Activity Group (TAG) is designed to energize teen programming and services and give teens a greater voice at the Library.  We meet monthly to discuss books, plan upcoming events, and hang out.

Want to make a difference in your Library? Maybe you just love reading or want to make new friends? We’d love to hear from you! TAG meets each month during the school year.  Our next meeting is Saturday, March 21 from 1-2 in the Koza Family Teen Center.

If you’re interested in joining TAG, please drop by and find out what we’re about!

Featured Game: Dominion

by Ella Von Holtum on December 19th, 2014

Dominion_gameDominion is the original deck-building game. In it you are a medieval monarch, building a bigger and more prosperous kingdom. The cards in your deck represent all parts of your kingdom, and in each turn you try to accumulate more. Each player starts with ten cards, and over the course of play selects Treasure cards, Kingdom cards, Curse cards, and Victory cards to construct a deck and embellish their very own Dominion. The player with the most victory points at the end wins.

I played this game one New Year’s Eve several winters ago. It’s a novel, fast-moving game once you get the hang of play. It can be played with two, three, or four players, and a game takes probably half an hour. If you’ve ever played Magic: The Gathering or another CCG, but you’ve never played a deck-building game, this is the one to start with.

Come by some time with friends and play!

Special teen events at ICPL Dec. 30 and 31

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 16th, 2014

Teens, visit the Iowa City Public Library Dec. 30 and Dec. 31 for two special School’s Out for the Holidays events. Holidays-Teen

Put your game face on Tuesday, Dec. 30, because we’re having a Video Game Tournament from 2 to 4 p.m. Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will be playing on the flat screen, allowing up to four players to battle it out at one time.

Join the Teen Movie Club from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31, for a screening of Guardians of the Galaxy. Based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, Guardians of the Galaxy was released in August. The action film stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper.

ICPL teen events are for students in grades 7 through 12. All events take place in the Koza Family Teen Center on the Library’s second floor unless otherwise noted.

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.