24 years ago, I spent a summer in front of my brand-new Atari XE (Dad was convinced the NES wouldn't be successful), playing Rescue on Fractalus!, an early LucasArts 8-bit game that made me scream so often that my mother asked me to stop playing it (it was really scary when I was 11). Games have been a part of my life ever since, and I'd always dreamed of making my own.
Luckily, the tools to actually make your own games become readily available to everyday Janes and Joes (or Janes and Joes Who Don't Want to Learn How to Code, at least). If you (or maybe someone you know who loves games, is home for the summer, and is just dying of boredom) are interested in making your own video games, there are lots of (FREE!) ways you can get started. These first options are great for lower-res, 2D games like platformers and puzzles, and are great options if you're just getting started:
We’ve been hearing about the upcoming zombie apocalypse for quite some time—even the CDC has a zombie preparedness web page! Even though it’s coming, not many people have taken the steps to prepare themselves. The teens at the Central Library decided to remedy this problem. With tons of books about zombies, maps of the Central Library, and a lot of creativity, the teens created a zombie safety plan.
Some of the teens worked on a detailed map showing how we could help with triage and defense. Almost everyone made zombie warning signs and contributed to a list of things we would need at Central to keep safe. After the teens finished, we presented our plan to a member of DPL’s security team. If they implement all of the teens’ requests, you will soon see guard bears and salt moats around all of our branches.
Review books on the Summer of Reading website from Friday, June 22 through Monday, July 30 and you could have a chance to win prizes including an iPod Shuffle!
Here are some questions to think about when writing your book review:
The Plot & Characters
Is the story exciting and believable? Is it a story you can get involved in? Are the people in the story believable? Are you interested in finding out about them? Can you picture the characters in your mind?
Is it a Good Read?
Once you’ve read the beginning, does it make you want to read more? How do the characters talk to each other? Does it seem real?
I'm so excited NPR has selected Diary of a Wimpy Kid for the Backseat Book Club for 9 to 14-year-olds because I LOVE this book. It's been awhile since I was 9-14, but this book made me feel like a kid again.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid started out as a web comic on funbrain.com and it was so popular that the book series was born. Part of the appeal of these books is that they look and sound like the actual diary of a kid.
We're happy to present you with a guest post from Mary Jane Beaufrand, author of Dark River (formerly The River).
Hang around writers long enough and you’ll inevitably get The Story. “I turned in this rough draft to my college professor and it came back dripping red with edits. It looked like it had been slaughtered. He said I would never amount to anything as a writer.”
“I showed my work to my high school teacher and they told me I couldn’t bend the truth like that.”
I don’t have one particular The Story, but a lot of minor ones. I get them confused. “Now, who was it that called me a slack-jawed yokel? Not that guy—he was the one who said I was a talentless hack.”
June is celebrated as LGBT Pride Month throughout the United States to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York, often cited as the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. Teens can show their pride, too!
This year’s Denver Pride celebration will be held on June 16-17, and is sponsored by the The Center, the GLBT community center of Colorado. The weekend of events includes a Family Field Day and a parade. While you plan on celebrating your pride at the festivities later this month, check out some of these books, both fiction and nonfiction, especially geared towards glbt teens:
There are a lot of special things happening during the summer at Denver Public Libraries and teen volunteers can help make them a success! Are you 12-18 years old? Are you looking for a fun way to give back to your community? Try volunteering at your local branch library!
As a library volunteer, some of the activities you may be able to help with include: the Summer of Reading program, crafts or gaming activities, or helping to shelve library materials. However, not all branches accept volunteers – check this web page to see if the branches near you have a teen volunteer program. Several branches also have teen advisory boards where you can give the librarians input on library services for those in grades 6-12.
In 1841, fourteen-year-old Nakahama Manjirō is fishing with friends when their boat is shipwrecked on an island off the coast of Japan. They are rescued by an American whaling ship and after requesting to stay aboard the ship, Nakahama becomes the first Japanese person to set foot in the United States. This incredible true story is the basis for NPR's Back-Seat Book Club selection for May.
Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus is the story of a boy who is a simple fisherman but dreams of becoming a samurai. He never lets go of his dreams, despite living in a society where there is no chance for changing your station in life. After his rescue from the island, he is given a great opportunity: travel to California and begin a new life.