Monday, February 8, 2016

Teen Review: The Outsiders

The Outsiders Review by JS

The Outsiders has been called by many a truly defiant and moving story, one that has stood the test of time for nearly fifty years. The story follows a fifteen year old Greaser named Ponyboy, whose parents had recently died due to a car crash. He lives with his brother Danny (who is sometimes a bit hard on him) and his other brother Sodapop (the hot one). This book actually taught me a lout about greasers in the fifties and sixties.For example, none of them sing about their romantic experiences over the summer to their friends.

That was a joke guys.

Okay, so he lives with his brothers, and then we get the backstory until we finally meet the other main character, Johnny Cade. Johnny is abused by his parents, and was mugged by the Socs (basically the rich greasers) about a year earlier, so he's a bit quiet and shy. There is also a different Greaser named Dallas, who is basically the tough guy of the tough guys.  Dallas, Johnny, and Ponyboy end up going to a drive-in movie and meet Sherri "Cherry" Valentine Valance and her friend Marcia, the only two "good" Socs in the entire book. Cherry shows Ponyboy that not all Socs are awful...except she's dating the guy that mugged Johnny. I'm not going to go into the rest of the story, because there would be some huge spoilers. But trust me on this; whether you have to read it for class, or you're genuinely interested in the book, you will not be disappointed.

The movie is pretty good, although Ponyboy isn't how I imagined him. Either way, this is surely a heartfelt story that shows an example of true friendship.

Rating: 9/10
Maturity: PG-13 (violence, some cursing, underage drinking/smoking)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

ANNPower Vital Voices Initiative

The ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative is a groundbreaking partnership between ANN INC., the parent company of Ann Taylor, LOFT and Lou & Grey, and Vital Voices to empower young women from across the U.S. to effect global progress, invest in their communities, and begin their journeys as the next generation of leaders.

WHAT IT IS:  An initiative to provide leadership training to girls, empowering them to become the next generation of global trailblazers.

WHO SHOULD APPLY: Girls who are in the 10th or 11th grade at a high school in the United States, Puerto Rico or Canada.

DATES + DEADLINES: Apply below by Tuesday, March 8 at 11:59 PM EST. Fellowships will be announced in April. The 2016 Leadership Forum will take place June 14-17, 2016.

DETAILS: From now until March 8, we are searching the country for young women who are committed to reshaping the world for positive and sustainable change - the leaders of tomorrow.

To be considered, you must demonstrate a strong commitment to leadership and potential for creating innovative solutions to problems in your community. You should also have a proven track record in your academic work and interest in extracurricular activities. Are you up for the challenge?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Black History Month Origins and 10 Little Known Facts


The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent. Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.
In the decades the followed, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the Civil Rights Movement and a growing awareness of black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses. President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since then, every American president has designated February as Black History Month.

10 Little Known Black History Facts                                                                                    

1. Before there was Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin.
Most people think of Rosa Parks as the first person to refuse to give up their seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. There were actually several women who came before her; one of whom was Claudette Colvin.

2. Martin Luther King Jr. improvised the most iconic part of his “I Have a Dream Speech.”
The night before the march, Dr. King began working on his speech with a small group of advisers in the lobby of the Willard Hotel. The original speech was more political and less historic, according to Clarence B. Jones, and it did not include any reference to dreams.  Onstage near Dr. King, singer Mahalia Jackson reportedly kept saying, “Tell ‘em about the dream, Martin,” and while no one will know if he heard her, it could likely have been the inspiration he needed.

3. Inoculation was introduced to America by a slave.
One of a thousand people of African descent living in the Massachusetts colony, Onesimus was a gift to the Puritan church minister Cotton Mather from his congregation in 1706. Onesimus told Mather about the centuries old tradition of inoculation practiced in Africa. By extracting the material from an infected person and scratching it into the skin of an uninfected person, you could deliberately introduce smallpox to the healthy individual making them immune. Onesimus’ traditional African practice was used to inoculate American soldiers during the Revolutionary War and introduced the concept of inoculation to the United States.

4. The earliest recorded protest against slavery was by the Quakers in 1688.
Quakers, also known as “The Society of Friends,” have a long history of abolition. But it was four Pennsylvania Friends from Germantown who wrote the initial protest in the 17th century. They saw the slave trade as a grave injustice against their fellow man and used the Golden Rule to argue against such inhumane treatment; regardless of skin color, “we should do unto others as we would have done onto ourselves.”

5. Of the 12.5 million Africans shipped to the New World during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, fewer than 388,000 arrived in the United States.
The Transatlantic Slave Trade was underway from 1500-1866, shipping more than 12 million African slaves across the world. Over 400 years, the majority of slaves (4.9 million) found their way to Brazil.

6. The diverse history of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Originally established to educate freed slaves to read and write, the first of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities was Cheyney University in Pennsylvania, established in 1837. By the time Jewish professors arrived, the number of HBCUs had grown to 78. At a time when both Jews and African Americans were persecuted, Jewish professors in the Black colleges found the environment comfortable and accepting, often creating special programs to provide opportunities to engage Blacks and whites in meaningful conversation, often for the first time.

7. One in four cowboys was Black, despite the stories told in popular books and movies.
In fact, it's believed that the real “Lone Ranger” was inspired by an African American man named Bass Reeves. Reeves had been born a slave but escaped West during the Civil War where he lived in what was then known as Indian Territory. He eventually became a Deputy U.S. Marshal, was a master of disguise, an expert marksman, had a Native American companion, and rode a silver horse.

8. Esther Jones was the real Betty Boop!
The iconic cartoon character Betty Boop was inspired by a Black jazz singer in Harlem. While there has been controversy over the years, the inspiration has been traced back to Esther Jones who was known as “Baby Esther” and performed regularly in the Cotton Club during the 1920s.

9. The first licensed African American Female pilot was named Bessie Coleman.
Born in Atlanta, Texas in 1892, Bessie Coleman grew up in a world of harsh poverty, discrimination and segregation. Wild tales of flying exploits from returning WWI soldiers first inspired her to explore aviation, but she faced a double stigma in that dream being both African American and a woman.
She set her sights on France in order to reach her dreams and began studying French. In 1920, Coleman crossed the ocean with all of her savings and the financial support of Robert Abbott, one of the first African American millionaires. Over the next seven months, she learned to fly and in June of 1921, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale awarded her an international pilot's license.

10. Interracial marriage in the United Sates was banned in 1664 and not overturned until 1967.

These marriages were prohibited and penalties included the enslavement, exile or imprisonment of the white perpetrators. It would take three hundred years for this law to be overturned. In 1967, Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Jeter, a Black woman, were married in the District of Columbia. When they returned home to Virginia, they were arrested and convicted of violating the state’s anti-miscegenation law. They each faced a year in jail and their case went to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court found in favor of the Lovings in the famous trial Loving v. Virginia. They ruled that prohibiting interracial marriage on state and local levels was unconstitutional; this meant that marriages between the races were legal in the country for the first time since 1664. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

School Library's Journal's Annual Battle of the Books

The Battle of the Books is back! This year's contenders are:


CHALLENGER DEEP by Neal Shusterman


ECHO by Pam Muñoz Ryan

GONE CRAZY IN ALABAMA by Rita Williams-Garcia


THE HIRED GIRL by Laura Amy Schlitz


THE MARVELS by Brian Selznick

MOST DANGEROUS by Steve Sheinkin

MY SENECA VILLAGE by Marilyn Nelson

NEST by Kenneth Oppel

NIMONA by Noelle Stevenson

RHYTHM RIDE  by Andrea Davis Pinkney


X: A NOVEL by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon

Follow along at the Battle of the Books site to see what book comes out the winner!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

AAA Traffic Safety Poster and Video Contest

The annual AAA Traffic Safety and Poster Contest brings out creativity in young people while teaching them about important traffic safety issues.

Students should illustrate a designated safety theme demonstrating correct behavior and create a catchy slogan while striving to design a visually memorable entry.

The theme for teens in Grades 6-8: How to Be a Good Passenger (buckle up, don't distract the driver). This should be a hand drawn poster.

The them for 9-12: The message should caution drivers to avoid the many dangers facing teen drivers today (distracted driving, texting, cell phone use, aggressive driving, alcohol or drug awareness, drowsy driving). Students have the option of either entering a hand-drawn poster or computer-generated poster or video.

You can download the entry form at the AAA site.

Entries are due March 11.

The Grand Award winners will received $750
First place winners will receive $300
Second place winners will receive $200
Third place winners will receive $100

The entry from must be attached to the back of the poster or the front of the DVD case. All posters must be shipped flat and will not be returned.

If submitting a DVD, it must;
Include music credits
Must include a title page with the student's name, school, and title of video
Should be 30 seconds to two minutes in length

Monday, January 11, 2016

American Library Association Youth Media Award Winners

The winners of the American Library Association's Youth Media winners were announced today. Here's the list:

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:
“Gone Crazy in Alabama,” written by Rita Williams-Garcia, is the King Author Book winner.

Three King Author Honor Books were selected:
 “All American Boys,” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
“The Boy in the Black Suit,” by Jason Reynolds
 “X: A Novel,” by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon and published by Candlewick Press.

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:
“Bone Gap,” written by Laura Ruby, is the 2016 Printz Award winner.

Two Printz Honor Books also were named:
“Out of Darkness,” by Ashley Hope Pérez
“The Ghosts of Heaven,” by Marcus Sedgwick

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience:
Middle School Winners:
“Fish in a Tree,” written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt “
The War that Saved My Life,” by Kimberly Brubaker
Teen award winner:
“The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B,” written by Teresa Toten

Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults:
David Levithan is the 2016 Edwards Award winner. His books include: “The Realm of Possibility,” “Boy Meets Boy,” “Love is the Higher Law,” “How They Met, and Other Stories,” “Wide Awake” and “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.”

Stonewall Book Award - Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience:
Young Adult Winner:
 “The Porcupine of Truth,” written by Bill Konigsberg

William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens:
“Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” written by Becky Albertalli is the 2016 Morris Award winner.

Four other books were finalists for the award:
 “Because You’ll Never Meet Me,” written by Leah Thomas
“Conviction,” written by Kelly Loy Gilbert
“The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly,” written by Stephanie Oakes
“The Weight of Feathers,” written by Anna-Marie McLemore

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults
 “Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War,” written by Steve Sheinkin, is the 2016 Excellence winner.

Four other books were finalists for the award:
 “Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir,” written by Margarita Engle;“First Flight Around the World: The Adventures of the American Fliers Who Won the Race,” written by Tim Grove
 “Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad,” written by M.T. Anderson
“This Strange Wilderness:  The Life and Art of John James Audubon,” written by Nancy Plain

Thursday, January 7, 2016

People's Choice Award Winners

Here's the list of the winners of last night's People's Choice Award:


Favorite Movie
Winner: Furious 7

Favorite Movie Actor
Winner: Channing Tatum

Favorite Movie Actress
Winner: Sandra Bullock

Favorite Action Movie
Winner: Furious 7

Favorite Action Movie Actor
Winner: Chris Hemsworth

Favorite Action Movie Actress
Winner: Shailene Woodley

Favorite Animated Movie Voice
Winner: Selena Gomez

Favorite Comedic Movie
Winner: Pitch Perfect 2

Favorite Comedic Movie Actress
Winner: Melissa McCarthy

Favorite Comedic Movie Actor
Winner: Kevin Hart

Favorite Dramatic Movie
Winner: The Martian

Favorite Dramatic Movie Actor
Winner: Johnny Depp

Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress
Winner: Dakota Johnson

Favorite Family Movie
Winner: Minions

Favorite Thriller Movie
Winner: Taken 3

Favorite TV Show
Winner: The Big Bang Theory

Favorite Network TV Comedy
Winner: The Big Bang Theory

Favorite Comedic TV Actor
Winner: Jim Parsons

Favorite Comedic TV Actress
Winner: Melissa McCarthy

Favorite Actor In A New TV Series
Winner: John Stamos

Favorite Actress In A New TV Series
Winner: Priyanka Chopra

Favorite Cable TV Actress
Winner: Sasha Alexander

Favorite Network TV Drama
Winner: Grey’s Anatomy

Favorite Dramatic TV Actress
Winner: Ellen Pompeo

Favorite Dramatic TV Actor
Winner: Taylor Kinney

Favorite Cable TV Comedy
Winner: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Favorite Cable TV Drama
Winner: Pretty Little Liars

Favorite Cable TV Actor
Winner: Kevin Hart

Favorite Premium Cable TV Show
Winner: Homeland

Favorite Premium Cable TV Actor
Winner: Dwayne Johnson

Favorite Premium Cable TV Actress
Winner: Kristen Bell

Favorite TV Crime Drama
Winner: Person of Interest

Favorite Crime Drama TV Actor
Winner: Nathan Fillion

Favorite Crime Drama TV Actress
Winner: Stana Katic

Favorite Network Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show
Winner: Beauty and the Beast

Favorite Cable Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show
Winner: Outlander

Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor
Winner: Jensen Ackles

Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress
Winner: Caitriona Balfe

Favorite Competition TV Show
Winner: The Voice

Favorite Daytime TV Host
Winner: Ellen DeGeneres

Favorite Daytime TV Hosting Team
Winner: The Talk

Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host
Winner: Jimmy Fallon

Favorite Streaming Series
Winner: Orange is the New Black

Favorite Animated TV Show
Winner: The Simpsons

Favorite New TV Comedy
Winner: Scream Queens

Favorite New TV Drama
Winner: Supergirl

Favorite Male Artist
Winner: Ed Sheeran

Favorite Female Artist
Winner: Taylor Swift

Favorite Group
Winner: Fifth Harmony

Favorite Breakout Artist
Winner: Shawn Mendes

Favorite Male Country Artist
Winner: Blake Shelton

Favorite Female Country Artist
Winner: Carrie Underwood

Favorite Country Group
Winner: Lady Antebellum

Favorite Pop Artist
Winner: Taylor Swift

Favorite Hip-Hop Artist
Winner: Nicki Minaj

Favorite R&B Artist
Winner: The Weeknd

Favorite Album
Winner: Title by Meghan Trainor

Favorite Song
Winner: “What Do You Mean?” by Justin Bieber

Favorite Music Icon
Winner: Madonna

Favorite Social Media Celebrity
Winner: Britney Spears

Favorite Social Media Star
Winner: Matt Bellassai

Favorite Mobile Game
Winner: Candy Crush Saga

Favorite Video Game
Winner: Super Smash Bros.

Favorite YouTube Star
Winner: Connor Franta

The Seriously Popular™ Award
Winner: Maddie Ziegler