Teen Book Review Contest

Entries Due August 15th

You Could Win an iPad Mini!

What You Need to Know
The 2015 Teen Book Review Contest is open to DC Public Library customers ages 13-19. The contest runs from June 1 – Aug. 15, 2015.  Submissions should be 1-3 paragraphs long, with a maximum of 350 words. To enter, complete this online form. One entry per participant. Make sure to submit your best work! Library staff are available at each location to offer tips and check your work. Spelling and grammar count!

The top four reviewers will win iPad minis! Winners will have their reviews published on the DC Public Library website. All entrants receive the Winning Wordsmith badge towards completion of Teen Summer Reading 2015.


Things to Remember

  • Pick a book that you feel strongly about.
  • Summarize the book in one to three sentences.
  • Then, convince other teens to read this book!  

Some ideas to consider are:

  • What did you like about this book?
  • Did this book teach you an important lesson?
  • Could you relate to the characters in some way?

Apology Accepted, Trust Denied

Books about Trust and Betrayal

Caleb A's 2015 Capstone Blog Post:

"Apology accepted, trust denied" ...These were the words of a betrayed individual who lost trust because of a mistake. We all get betrayed  at some point in our lives ,trust has never really been a definite characteristic of humankind and it’s not like we can auto correct humanity. We all process acts of betrayal in different ways: some write poems lamenting a great loss, others sing dirges for losing a trusted friend, and still some acts of betrayal are portrayed in utopian and dystopian worlds of fiction.

Trust is like a piece of paper, once it gets crumpled, it can never be made perfect. It takes years to build, seconds to destroy, and forever to repair.  Many are on the road to redemption, yet it is difficult to trust those ones again - but in the world of fiction, everything is possible.


The following books will show why:

  • Atonement by Ian McEwan: In this novel thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis with little experience lets her imagination and creative talent wander in the wrong direction creating a lot of problems between two unlucky lovers from different social levels, she must later live with her guilt and attempt to atone for her sins. A perfect story of  of love, loss, betrayal and lies.
  • The Last Life by Claire Messud: In a story set between North Africa, France, and New England, the Algerian LaBasse family's secrets begin to unravel, a trigger-happy grandfather, a mother who pretended to be French, and a bastard child . A novel of betrayal, of family and country.
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: Born a generation apart , Mariam and Laila who have been through thick and thin are brought together by war and fate. Together they endure the dangers surrounding them and discover the power of both love, betrayal  and sacrifice.
  • Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: "A sweeping story of family, love, betrayal , friendship and  the fight for redemption  told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan." - from author website.
  • And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini: "Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most." - from author's website.
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri: This story features relations of children and parents and how present generation treat their parents when they get their own life and relations.

Looking for more? Here are some reviews of three more titles that touch on this subject:

  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: "It is ostensibly a love story the tale of childhood sweethearts at school in Nigeria whose lives take different paths when they seek their fortunes in America and England – but it is also a brilliant dissection of modern attitudes to race, spanning three continents and touching on issues of identity, loss and loneliness." - Elizabeth Day, The Guardian
  • All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: “Tackling questions of survival, endurance and moral obligations during wartime, the book is as precise and artful and ingenious as the puzzle boxes the heroine’s locksmith father builds for her. Impressively, it is also a vastly entertaining feat of storytelling.” –New York Times Book Review
  • The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai: "The Inheritance of Loss is the type of novel where page to page, sentence to sentence, sometimes even word to word, it's almost impossible not to get swept up in the intricate, swirling prose. I mean, take this passage, from the first pages of the book "Could fulfillment ever be felt as deeply as loss? Romantically she decided that love must surely reside in the gap between desire and fulfillment, in the lack, not the contentment. Love was the ache, the anticipation, the retreat, everything around it but the emotion itself." - Goodreads user Jesse.

Acing your College Applications

Do you feel lost in the college application process? Are you not sure what your next step should be? Get advice from a professional!

Dr. Victoria Tillson Evans is the Founder and President of Distinctive College Counseling and she will be available to answer your questions! Get advice on subjects such as finding the best fit for you, financial aid questions, how to apply to more elite colleges, how to make the most of your gap year, and many more. 

Be sure to attend one of the listed sessions to get all the answers you need! 

  • February 18 at 6 p.m. at Chevy Chase Library
  • February 25 at 7 p.m. at Georgetown Library
  • March 4 at 6 p.m. at Tenleytown Library
  • March 12 at 6 p.m. at Palisades Library
  • March 18 at 6 p.m. at Mt. Pleasant Library
  • March 22 at 3 p.m. at Southeast Library
  • April 1 at 6 p.m. at Cleveland Park Library 


Won't be able to make it to any of these sessions? Tweet us your questions @dcpl and use #collegefaqdcpl to get your question answered!  

This presentation is open to teens and their parents/guardians, and is recommended for ages 15 and up.


Space Gray iPhone 6 16GB Review





This year for Christmas like many others, an iPhone 6 was at the top of my list. Despite the fact that the phone was released in mid-September of 2014, I was not eligible for an upgrade until December/January. Without being eligible for an upgrade, the phone will set you back $649. So I definitely waited until I was eligible for an upgrade. If you have a contract with either Sprint, Verizon, or AT&T the phone is $199. 

I chose to get my new phone in Space Gray(Black) mainly because my old phone was white and I wanted a change. Also the screens on the black iPhones appear to be larger because the screen border is also black. Since the screens on iPhones are notorious for cracking, after I received my phone, I immediately got a glass screen protector installed. I have yet to buy a case for it because I like how it looks without one, and there is still not much of a selection of cases for the iPhone 6. If I do get one I will probably get a transparent case, so that the design will still be visible while protecting my phone. 

One thing that I did not like about my old iPhone 5, was that the battery life was horrible! After having the phone for nearly 2 years, a full charged battery would only last around 1-2 hours. The iPhone 6 is the complete opposite. Now a fully charged battery can nearly last me 2 days. Nonetheless, your phones battery life generally depends on how much you use it, what applications you are running, etc.

Another thing that I really love about the iPhone 6 is the camera quality. The camera clarity is superb! Actually,a common complaint is that it is too clear!

Purchasing a smartphone is definitely an investment nowadays. For most people, including myself, their life is on their phone, so keeping up with latest model is important. I tend to purchase all Apple products when it comes to my electronic devices, and I definitely believe that their latest iPhone 6 is everything but a disappointment. 


Job Ideas for Teens

Nowadays society has several words to describe the current generation of teenagers, but a word that is usually excluded is expensive! Not only are teenagers expected to keep up with the latest technology and fashion trends, but hanging out with friends can be pretty pricy. The only solution is to get a job, which is much harder than it sounds. Here are a few ideas if you have no idea what you want/are eligible to do.

Babysitting (age 13 and up)-Average pay, $10 per hour

This is a classic first-job, and although working with kids does not come naturally to everyone, it is easy to some extent. However, as a babysitter you do not have consistent hours or pay, making it hard to manage your time and money because you have no idea when will be the next time that you will work.

Clothing Store (age 16 and up)-Average pay, Minimum Wage in your area

I am sure that if you spend a lot of time at the mall you have seen some teens your age working at your favorite stores. If you decide to work at a clothing store, make sure that it is a store that you like to shop at. Most stores like Abercrombie & Fitch will require you to wear their clothing, and you don't want to have to spend money to make money, so it would help if you already had some. Also, working at a clothing store will require long periods of standing, and dealing with all types of customers. And don't forget, loads of folding! Nonetheless, it will give you an excuse to go to the mall, and you may receive an employee discount, or be the first to find out about the latest sales.

Fast Food/Sit-down Restaurant (age 15/16 and up)-Average pay, Minimum Wage in your area

This is another common first job, and several very successful people started out working at a Fast Food Joint(Madonna, Queen Latifah, Russell Simmons, and Brad Pitt). Like working at a clothing store you will have to stand for a long time. Fast Food places do require you to wear a uniform. Working at a regular restaurant, you may have a looser dress-code. Also, you will have the opportunity to gain tips.

General/Grocery Store (age 15 and up)-Average pay, Minimum Wage in your area

Places like Giant, Safeway, and CVS love hiring new young employees. Working there will also require you to wear a uniform, and stand for long periods of time. However, you can also gain discounts, and get a chance to meet a lot of the people who live in your community.

Paid internship (age 14/15 and up)-Payment varies

Internships are hard to find, and the paid ones are even harder, but when obtained they look excellent on a college application and get you closer to your dream career. In addition, when choosing an internship you can chose the field that you intern in, whether that be law, medicine, etc. If you are selected, you will probably do a lot of the dirty work for whoever hired you, however it is great experience and exposure that can help you decide if you really want to continue to pursue that career.


All in all, finding a job can be hard for teenagers. And once you get one a whole new world of responsibilities comes with it. I hope this post helps with your job search and that you remember that while money may sound good, you should always keep your education first.



Jobs 4 Teens at DC Public Library

DC Public Library is now hiring for its Teens of Distinction program. Help make a difference in the library and in your community while earning money and developing stronger skills! Teen applicants must be residents of the District of Columbia and at least 16 years of age. Visit the Teens of Distinction page of DC Public Library for the full job description, application, recommendation forms, and more information.

Applications are due to Human Resources on Friday, September 12, 2014.

Back to School Drama

My display at the Mt. Pleasant Library is about back-to-school reads. When you’re at school, or at home and need something good to read or a laugh to give, check out my display!!! So if you love high-school drama and teen romance then you’ll love these books!

My books are mostly about how teenagers can be able to fit in without the drama but drama always follows no matter what. I chose this display because everybody is nervous going into high school and it would be nice to be able to learn about it even more from these character’s experiences throughout the books, or if you just need a good laugh about how about their high school experience is, check out these books. Romance books can be interesting to read and is mostly about how teens can fall in-love anywhere in school!

My display also has books on teen challenges, from peer pressure to losing a beloved best friend and how teens like them helped deal with these types of situations and also teaches the reader how to handle them in a positive way. My books are also about stereotypes and how to be able to overcome them and be something better.

The books on my display are:

You can also find these books and more at catalog.dclibrary.org!

So, if interested in any of back-to-school reads come to the Mt. Pleasant Library downstairs Teen section where you’ll be able to find these books and also some very interesting others!

- By Mariella S.

A Peek Into History

Exploring the Middle Ages

As an admirer of medieval and  historical ways of life and warfare; I spent the past weeks reading up on how these devices worked and how the people of these times went about their daily lives.  Several books such as  The Book of Swords by Hank Reinhardt and Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer, taught me the different components that make up the many types of swords and the many little things that people did during that time that really made them stand out. For example, the death penalty was extended to children as young as seven during the 14th century.
(source :http://www.clevelandart.org/art/2014.24.a?f[0]=field_collection:836)

(source: http://armor.com/view.html?rapier168a.jpg)

It was a violent time but, despite this most of the equipment used for warfare hid this behind a sort of elegance.Above is a rapier with a swept hilt. A sword such as this was more so for show and fashion than for war use. Movies such as the Three Musketeers and The Princess Bride made these weapons known in our time. A distinguished individual would not be caught without one at his side. They were the Jordan’s of their time.

In terms of war, the rapier was not a weapon that would be seen on the battlefield. Some of the more famous weapons that would have been seen in and around the middle ages would have been a Longsword, Falchion or Broadsword. However, these only scratch the surface when concerning weapons used on the battlefield. When imaging a medieval battle, many will think of valiant knights charging in on horses and in order to best these men, new techniques and weapons were developed. A flanged mace for example would dent steel plate and cause injury to whoever was wearing it. 

(source: http://www.medieval-weaponry.co.uk/acatalog/claymore-sword.html)

The English Longbow with bodkin tips could also penetrate armor at a certain range. Even the sword and its use was altered in order to help it fight against armor. Battles were more than knights and horses, there were far more peasants fighting and even more sieges than there were battles. It would have been a truly honest and challenging time to live in but, that is what makes the middle ages so fascinating.
If this piques your interest - check out these related books from DC Public Library:

-- Jerome S.

Book Review Contest


Teen Book Review Contest

Write a one page book review about a book you think is a must-read book of the summer for teens. Bring your reviews to your neighborhood library between June 1 and August 15, 2014 to enter. Only one review can be entered into the contest per person. A book review should be written to persuade someone to read the book instead of just a summary of the book.

Be sure to include:

Title and author of the book
Your name and contact info (email or phone number)
Correct grammar, spelling and punctuation

Questions to think about when writing:

Why should someone read this book?
What did you like about the characters?

Could you relate to the characters in some way?
Did this book teach you an important life lesson?

And remember, the deadline is August 15th.

Vosges Mo's Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar

Bacon the best breakfast piece and chocolate the best sweet in the world. This bar combines the two! An odd and eccentric snack I just had to try it. I enjoyed it until the third or fourth piece. The sweet and salty mix of flavor just became overbearing. The texture of the bar was similar to that of a chocolate bar with peanuts, but instead of nuts bacon bits; crunchy and smooth at the same time. This candy bar that personified a contradiction was just too much for me to handle. Plus it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I give it 2 out of 5 stars.