Loft Blog
From Teens For Teens: Warriors Field Guide / Erin Hunter and The Replacement / Brenda Yovanoff PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 27 June 2014 00:00

Warriors Field Guide

Warriors Field Guide: Secrets of the Clans by Erin Hunter

5/5 stars


I liked the information in it. I liked how it was about cats.


(Patrick C., Evanston teen)






The Replacement

The Replacement by Brenda Yovanoff

4/5 stars


I think that The Replacement was a wonderful book with a great twist ending. It was a little slow in the beginning but turned out fine later. I think Brenda Yovanoff did a terrific job.


(Sophia W., Evanston teen)


FROM TEENS FOR TEENS: Miss Marple / Agatha Cristie PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 June 2014 18:47

titleIn the book, Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories, there are about 13 small cases that Miss Marple, an old lady, solves. She is part of a club, that every Tuesday, discusses a murder mystery. A member of the club tells the rest about the mystery, and they must try to solve it. Miss Marple is always the one who solves them. This book is very good. I really like the old fashioned style of writing Agatha Cristie uses. It is also interesting to see how Miss Marple is going to solve it. 


One story that illustrates how smart Miss Marple is is called 'Ingots of Gold.' No one was actually killed in this story. It was a holiday, and the person telling the story found another man tied up. Near the man was a gardener, who swore he was working. Miss Marple knows that gardeners didn't work on holidays, so she knew that the gardener had tied the man up. 


I have also read, 'And Then There Were None' by Agatha Cristi and I enjoyed it as well. I really like her books. 


(Rachel L., Evanston Teen)


Filmmaking Workshop Recap #1: Scriptwriting PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 June 2014 18:12

Howdy filmmakers! Last week was the first filmmaking workshop and it was a huge success! The week's topic was screenwriting and we talked about a number of things including what screenplays actually are, how to start writing a screenplay and how to use Celtx. 


Screenwriting is a fun endeavor and it's not as tricky as people make-out. At this workshop, we talked about the definition of a screenplay: a story told with pictures, in dialogue and descriptions, and placed within the context of dramatic structure. That's a bit complex, so I always boil it down to a story told visually with descriptions and dialogue. A fun tid-bit about the translation from script to screen is: one page of script equals one minutes of screen time. So, a ninety minute movie would translate to a ninety page screenplay. 


A screenplay always has a beginning, middle and end but not always in that order. There are rules to follow, just like with writing an essay or short story--and it's important to learn the rules before you break them. One such rule--and a great formula to use for any new screenwriter--is using the three-act structure when writing a screenplay. The basics of the three act structure are this: 


-ACT ONE: main character and conflict is introduced, world of movie is built

-ACT TWO: main character leaves their comfort zone and is challenged in some way, the main character must make a major decision that will decide which direction he/she will take 

-ACT THREE: final confrontation between the main character and his/her obstacle takes place, all loose ends are tied up


When writing a screenplay, or any story for that matter, it's best to write what you know and what's important to you. The best stories are those that come from experience and those that come from the heart. 


The end of our workshop culminated in everyone breaking out the laptops and giving Celtx a try. For anyone new to film, Celtx is a free scriptwriting software that allows you to write scripts in the proper screenplay format (like the Hollywood big-wigs like it). Everyone was able to get started on the beginnings of ideas. At our next session on July 3, we'll be learning about shot design and storyboarding. For a handout with more specific information about the three-act structure, stop by the Loft or bug Ashley anytime--she'll be more than happy to talk to you about all things film!


Adios for now.









From Teens For Teens: Boy 21 / Matthew Quick and Pulse / Patrick Carman PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 20 June 2014 00:00

Boy 21Boy 21 / Matthew Quick

5/5 stars


I really, really liked this book. It was really good; it was sad but very well written and it is pretty realistic. I thought it was really good and would recommend it. 


(Louisa E., Evanston teen)





PulsePulse by Patrick Carman

2/5 stars


This was an okay book, but I had some issues with it. 1) It was in third person, which I don't prefer. 2) The POV changed with no announcement, from one sentence to the next. 3.) There are so many characters that you get confused as to who is the bad guy and who is the good guy. But I like the ending, so overall some parts of the book were good but some parts were not.


(Rosalie S., Evanston teen)

Maker Corps -Ruth PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:56


…AND WE’RE BACK! Another fantastic summer of hands-on making began at the library this week with two of our DIY programs at the Chicago Avenue Main Street Branch. On Monday, we began the first of our DIY Jewelry series of programs (one of three to happen this summer). One of the great things we are doing this year is multiple dates for programs! If you missed this one….never fear! DIY Jewelry will be brought to the Main library and North Branch – check it out, and register. At DIY Jewelry, we all made different projects. We had a wire-wrapped eye necklace, wire names and bird’s nest necklaces. At the other DIY Jewelry programs, we’re also going to be making bracelets upcycled from old soda and water bottles!


Not even 24 hours later we began our next program…I can already tell it’s going to a busy summer of making! This time, we were not tinkering with wire and pliers, but paper and tape. The program was paper airplanes and origami, and it was incredibly exciting. Instead of having makers register, we had everyone drop on in and join us, and they all had a blast. It was great to see everyone push themselves and experiment with what they were making. A few makers joined us just doing paper airplanes, once they mastered those they launched into origami even making up their own folds and shapes. We ended up with airplanes everywhere, a garden of folded-flowers, and lots of smiling makers!


One of the most exciting parts of the program was seeing everyone grow. We had a few students join us who were very intimidated by some of the origami projects, and thought they were too complicated or advanced. After we worked through them together, they became confident and actually started to teach each other and then some were inspired to create new steps to add and create their own designs. It was really great to see makers who at some points were saying “this is too hard” come around and teach someone else. alt


An exciting challenge we faced was working with all different ages going through the projects. Previously, we usually have programs for specific age groups which we think are appropriate to do the projects. At Paper Planes and Origami, the program was completely open to everyone, and we pretty much got everyone. Right from the start we had some two-year olds making airplanes, seven year olds taping flowers, and twenty-five year olds folding owls. Throughout the day makers of all ages came together to figure out the creases, folds, and tape of the various designs.


Overall, we’ve had a great start to our summer of making, I can’t wait to see what else is in store!

Maker Corps - Grace PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:52

altThis week Maker Corps finally got off the ground! Ruth and I spent all of last week planning out programs and getting more acquainted with the FUSE challenges, and on Monday we were ready to pack up and set up shop in the Chicago Avenue-Main Street branch for our first Teen DIY of the summer: jewelry making!

For jewelry making, we always try to encourage kids to make whatever they want, but we did have a few projects prepared. The first was a cuff bracelet made out of recycled plastic bottles and modge podge. Ruth and I struggled a lot with this project, so it was exciting to be able to show off the cuffs we made after all the troubleshooting was over. We also had instructions for bird nest pendants made out of wire and beads and wire words that you could use to spell out your name or a word that has some sort of meaning for you.

The wire words were by far the most popular option. Of the  teens who came, two of them spent almost the entire hour spelling out their names and the names of their friends to give as gifts. They also really liked the bird nests and enjoyed just experimenting with everything in our jewelry box to make everything from earrings to pendulums to key chains. No one made cuffs, which was a little disappointing, because they were my favorite project, but hopefully someone will give them a try when we do this program again in the Loft next week on Wednesday from 4-5!

On Tuesday, we came back to the Chicago Ave-Main Street Branch to do another program with paper airplanes and origami. This was a much busier program, because there was no sign up required and no age limit. Anyone was welcome to come, so we had everybody from toddlers to adult babysitters making paper star, boxes, owls and airplanes! One of the things I really appreciated about this program was that several boys who were apprehensive about origami at first really got into the paper airplanes, and after they made all the planes, they were much more open to trying new things. It was awesome seeing them expand their skills! Because there were so many different ages, the kids also had a lot of fun helping each other. One girl became our flower expert and spent over an hour teaching others how to make them so Ruth and I could focus our energy on helping newcomers. There was so much excitement and teamwork in this program. All of the kids were sad to leave, and many parents asked Ruth and I when it would be happening again, so in honor of the National Day of Making on June 18th, we decided to hold a quick pop up repeat of the program in the lobby of the Main Branch. Having such a successful couple of programs was a great start to the summer, and I can’t wait to kick off next week with felties in the Loft on Monday!


(Grace, Maker Corps Intern)


Carnet De Voyage / Craig Thompson PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 June 2014 20:21

titleThis travel journal-as-graphic-novel chronicles a two month trip made by Craig Thompson, author of the heart-obliterating illustrated novel masterwork, Blankets, to Paris, Switzerland, and Morocco to attend book signings, give interviews, and promote his work. On his trip he is seized with illnesses, fatigue, severe hand pain, and loneliness and he captures all of these conditions with the most stunning, detailed, exquisitely rendered drawings. The section in which he visits Morocco is particularly impressive - his drawings give you a real sense of the crowded, intense melee occurring on every street. There's a good story with some humor here, as well as drama, heartbreak and longing, and Thompson's voice is compelling as it gives you some insight into his life and work. And what work it is - you'll find yourself staring for a long time at a lot of these drawings. (Jarrett, The Loft)

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