Engaging Methuen Readers

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Teen Coding Club

When it comes to computers, I like to think that I know a fair amount. I can troubleshoot with the best of them, and I know that Ctrl+Alt+Del can save the day sometimes. However, when it comes to the inner workings of computers I will be the first to admit that my knowledge falls short. The coding language that makes programs work is a matter I have yet to conquer. That is why I find it so amazing when people – especially young people – are able to learn and build creations out of right combination of keystrokes.

Because of that fascination, I am happy to share our new Teen Coding Camp that will be available to teens in grades 7-12 this summer at the Nevins Library. Led by two high school students who have participated and graduated from their own coding instruction, teens are welcome to come and learn the basics of computer codes like HTML and CSS. The club runs all summer and there is still space to sign up! The club is perfect for the beginner and for those teens who have already dabbled in coding.

Starting July 5th, each Wednesday the Coding Club will meet. One week will be spent learning some coding, which will then be used in a project the following week. It’s a great opportunity to really learn and use the codes.

For more information and registration click HERE or contact Amy at 978.686.4080 ex. 35 or  Be sure to sign up before the classes fill up! I’m so excited to see what will be created through this club!


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Gotta Catch ’em All!

It’s possible you haven’t heard of the new app game sweeping across the globe, but Pokémon Go has made headlines and captured the imagination of multiple generations in just a few short weeks. Thanks to GPS and augmented reality technology, the app game allows players to travel all around the world, even in their own backyard, catching any of the original 150 Pokémon which originated in Japan. These strange and captivating critters were first introduced to the world at large in 1995 and have lasted generation to generation as a fun and addictive game, television, movie, and toy franchise.

When a player embarks on their journey in Pokémon Go they can customize key aspects of their trainer avatar and decide which team out of three they will join. Team Instinct is a team who trusts in the natural instincts of their Pokémon. Team Valor believes in training and strength. Team Mystic relies on calm analysis of situations. Once a player has joined one of the three teams they can train and strengthen their Pokémon to eventually battle at any of the designated gyms. The game creators have placed gym locations in many public spaces through GPS. Churches, stores and yes, even libraries are where trainers can flock to, to prove their team is the very best.

The Nevins Memorial is one such gym, and we’ve seen a constant shift among the three teams as to who is the reigning champion. As a special drop in program to celebrate Pokémon Go and our Nevins Memorial Library gym, we are inviting trainers of all ages to come and catch Pokémon-a-plenty as we drop virtual lures, which call Pokémon to a certain area, namely the garden outside of the library.  Join us on any of the following dates:

Friday, July 29th from 2pm to 3pm

Friday, August 12th from 2pm to 3pm

Friday, August 19th from 2pm to 3pm

Just remember that this is a family friendly program for all ages. Children under the age of twelve must be accompanied by an adult. Program will proceed, weather permitting.

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Teen Reads

Over the past several years, the teen fiction section has grown by leaps and bounds. What once was a niche area is now spreading across generations. Now granted, not every book written for a teen audience is going to appeal to an adult reader, but there are plenty that do. Check out some of these Teen Reads that are sure to appeal to you at any age.

For a look into the contemporary, there’s:

We Were Liars We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

After a mysterious accident that she can’t remember, Sloane returns to her family’s private island for Summer vacation. Only there is she able to put the pieces together of what happened to her privileged yet shattered family.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds All American Boys

After an accident Rashad is accused of stealing and is brutally beaten by a police officer for it. His white classmate saw it all happen but what is he supposed to do with that information?  In this very timely novel, Reynolds explores the racism still lingering in a post-civil rights America.

For something a bit more fantastic, check out:

The Graveyard Book The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is a master of fantasy for audiences of all ages, and The Graveyard Book is no exception. Pulling on concepts and ideas from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, this is the story of Nobody Owens who is adopted and raised by the ghostly residents of the local graveyard after his family is murdered. He grows up learning the ways of the graveyard, but must soon figure out what life will mean outside of it.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)

The first in a masterful trilogy, this is they story of Lyra, a young orphan who lives in a world where everyone has an animal familiar known as daemons. When children begin disappearing from the streets Lyra is whisked away into an adventure that will change everything she knows about the world around her.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Pulling from classic fairy tales, Meyer weaves a futuristic story where Cinderella is just Cinder, a cyborg mechanic with a robotic foot and no hope at a future. When a deadly plague claims the life of the Emperor Cinder gets tangled up in the future of her nation and her planet. Filled with unique and clever twists on the classic tale, Cinder is the first in an imaginative series that can’t be missed.

Looking for some romance? Try:

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell  Eleanor & Park

Set in the not so distant 80’s, Eleanor and Park meet on the bus on Eleanor’s first day at school. Slowly they find kindred spirits in each other while escaping the problems of their individual lives in music, comics, and each other. Realistic and heartbreaking, this is a romance to remember.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

And who doesn’t love a good laugh? Check out:

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray  Beauty Queens

When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island’s other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.

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

Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

So no matter what sort of book you’re in the mood for, there’s a teen book waiting for you!

For Teens: TAG

I’d like to take a few minutes today to talk to you about Teen Advisory Groups. A Teen Advisory Group might sound like something daunting, but really it’s nothing so extreme! We wind up shortening it to TAG after all. What’s so intimidating about that? Teen Advisory Groups have been helping libraries across the country to create better services and collections for teens and we’re looking to have that happen right here at Nevins Library! The idea is to get local teens who may already be interested in the library to invest some of their time and effort to make something even better. We want to make the teen services at Nevins something that is both helpful and interesting to the local teens. What better way to do that than to ask directly?

Each month the TAG will meet on the fourth Thursday to discuss what we can do to make the library more teen friendly. A meeting might consist of sharing suggestions of what books to order for the teen collection, brainstorming ideas to make more teens aware of what’s going on at the library for them, or creating new programming that teen volunteers can help implement.

If you or someone you know is in high school and is interested in joining the Teen Advisory Group then please join us for our first meeting on Thursday, September 24th at 7pm. We’ll meet for an hour, eat some pizza and figure out how we can make the Nevins Library even better for teens. If you can, please pick up an application for the TAG at the main desk of the library. Otherwise there will be copies available at the first meeting. While we plan to have fun and do great things, this is a commitment that should be taken seriously. Attending the monthly meeting is important to make things happen.

TAG is a great opportunity to get involved in the community, volunteer your time, and have fun with other teens who care about the library. Hope to see you there!

Book Babble

While reading, for some, might sound like a boring task that should be saved for homework and classroom discussion, there is a special set of teens that love to read above almost anything else. They squirrel away into quiet corners and comfy chairs and fall in love with the worlds within pages. For those teens we open an invitation to Book Babble.

Book Babble is our teen-only book club that meets once a month. Teens in grades 7-12 are invited to join us, with new members always welcomed. The group meets on the first Thursday of every month and chats about the chosen book over pizza and snacks. We’ll be honest though, about five million other subjects pop up in the conversation, too. So even if you don’t get around to reading the book for that month, or find you just couldn’t finish it, come to the meeting anyway! As long as you have a love for reading then you’ll always have a place at Book Babble.

20519011This month we’ll be reading The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp.

In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher “Kit” Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man’s riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.”

Book Babble’s next meeting will be Thursday, October 1st at 7pm. Hope to see you there!

Editor’s Note:  Copies of the title for discussion are made available at the Circulation Desk a month prior to each meeting.

book cover image of "Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins

Book Review “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

This book review is by our teen contributor, Abigail. 


The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, is a fast-paced novel about a young teenager named Katniss Everdeen. She lives in a country called Panem, which is the result of a rebellion that wrecked havoc on the United States. Panem is separated into 12 Districts. Katniss lives in District 12, the coal mining district. But they don’t get to keep the coal for themselves. They must give all of their earnings to the Capitol. The Capitol is essentially the government, except for the fact that they like to show their superiority and wealth by dressing in wild, vibrant clothing and getting surgery to look younger.

But since the Capitol won against a rebellion, they feel that they need to display their superiority. And they do that by forcing the youth of the Districts to take part in a tournament called The Hunger Games. Every child from every district has their name put in a glass bowl every year from the day they turn 12 to when they turn 18. Two names are selected each year in a “reaping” for the Hunger Games. Some children may also take a Tesserae, which means that their name is entered twice that year in exchange for enough grain and oil for one person to last a year. Katniss Everdeen has taken tesserae for each of the 3 members of her family (herself, her mother, and Primrose “Prim” Everdeen, her sister) every year since she turned 12. This has given her three extra entries in the reaping per year, with a total of 20 by the time of the reaping for the 74th Hunger Games, at age 16. At the same reaping, Katniss’ friend, Gale Hawthorne, age 18, has a total of 42 tesserae entries.

At the reaping, Katniss’s worst fear is that Prim’s name will be chosen. But the chances are very slim, seeing as she has just turned 12 and she hasn’t taken the tesserae due to her sister’s request, so they are very lucky. But luck is not on their side. Prim’s name is called, and Katniss runs to the stage in anger. “I volunteer as tribute!” she cries. She takes Prim’s place, and receives the silent, three-finger salute of District 12. Peeta Mellark, a boy who saved her life once before has been chosen as the other tribute. She must now fight to the death against a boy who let her live. But can she do it?

My Rating: * * * * *

This book was one that I had been putting off for a long time. I had read the Divergent series (my second favorite books) and was told that “Divergent is a rip off of The Hunger Games.” That enraged me, as it was mostly people who had only seen the movies that were telling me this. But the truth is, the two are NOTHING ALIKE!!! If you asked me to pick a favorite, I would die before I couldn’t give you an answer. Both books had brilliant and creative plot details that made them both entertaining and page turning. I read The Hunger Games in two nights!!! Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this book. Even if you are a male and think this book is “feminine,” pick it up and read a few chapters. Because I cross my heart, you’ll love it.

Does Whatever a Spider Can: Spider-Man’s Anniversary

On this day in 1962 a Spider-Star was born! Spider-Man debuted in issue #15 of Amazing Fantasy, by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. For those of you not in the know, Spider-Man was introduced as nerdy teen, Peter Parker, who was bitten by a radioactive spider and gained the speed and agility associated with spiders. Donning a red and blue costume, Spider-Man saves the day using his web-slinging and “Spidey-senses”.

Today Spider-Man is known in practically every American home, and continues to be a hero both on the comic pages and off. Here are some different ways to enjoy Spider-Man’s story today.

2111913Here Comes Spider-Man: For younger readers just getting to know the Friendly, Neighborhood Spider-Man, this book introduces the webslinger and some of the most menacing villains he’s faced. From Doctor Octopus to the Sandman, Spider-Man faces them all

Ultimate Spider-Man: For more mature readers, we have the Marvel comics featuring Spider-Man as 105920collected in this series. Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley bring Peter Parker back to print as he figures out his newly developed powers and copes with the death of his Uncle Ben.

Phineas & Ferb – Mission Marvel: In an epic crossover event, Spider-Man, along with other Marvel heroes, team up with Phineas and Ferb to save Danville. Red Skull, Whiplash, Venom and M.O.D.O.K. have teamed up with Dr. Doofenshmirtz to defeat the heroes once and for all. This is a new step for Spider-Man and the Marvel world into the wider Disney franchise.

Spider-Man: 2002 saw Spider-Man up on the big screen for the first time. Amidst stellar CGI, Tobey Maguire brings the origin of Peter Parker’s Spider-Man to life. The movie was followed up by two sequels and eventually a reboot with Andrew Garfield. See where the movie franchise began or revisit the movie that started it all!

Spider-Man – Turn Off the Dark: Spider-Man has reached across all sorts of media, including a live stage production. In 2011 Spider-Man swung on to Broadway to the music of U2’s Bono. While the show opened amidst mixed reviews, the music is something to experience.