"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Thursday, July 16, 2009

No Choirboy: Murder, Violence & Teenagers on Death Row

I have to confess that I didn't really want to read No Choirboy. It's dark subject matter, and I get plenty of that in the teen novels that I like to read. This is non-fiction, and I thought that it just might be too much, or else written with so much restraint that it would be dry and impersonal. But, it is on the reading list for a Minnesota reading camp that I'm counseling at this summer, so I took it home. I'm so glad that I did, because it is excellently done: compelling, heart wringing and ultimately hopeful.

The men in this book were accused of murder and sentenced to death when they were still teens. Each chapter gives voice to a different person. The focus is not on the crimes committed, but of life afterward. Three prisoners talk about their experiences, regrets and hopes for the future. One chapter is devoted to an executed man's family: the feelings of his mother and younger brother. Another is from the points of view of the siblings of a seventeen year old employee senselessly killed in a fast food restaurant robbery.

Overall, I found the stories interesting and moving. It put a human face on the issue. These people were not necessarily given fair trials. Some had no criminal records and were successful in school and life prior to their crimes. In prison they try to do more than just survive. I was especially impressed with prisoners Roy and Nanon trying to grow and improve themselves as much as the system allows.

Even if this is not your typically reading material please give it a look, especially if you work with teens. It's worth the time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Greeting Card Crafts

Last Thursday, eight teens came to our library to make cards. I think that they did an amazing job, as you can see above. So creative!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Snuggles for stray pets

Daisy Mae from Feline Rescue

Kitty photo from the Snuggles website.

Last Thursday, eight library teens , my lovely and talented co-worker Suzie and I spent an hour learning to knit or crochet a Snuggle blanket for local homeless cats. Suzie is super at both needle crafts and got the teens into it. I can muddle by with crochet, and showed them the rose and pink Snuggle I had produced over about three Desperate Housewives episodes the night before. We intend to donate our handiwork to a no-kill cat shelter in Saint Paul called Feline Rescue. Another library friend, Amy, is a shelter volunteer and tells me about the lovely kitties who live there, such as Daisy Mae (above).

The patterns for Snuggle making can be simple and don't require much yarn (mine took 1 skein) and cats and dogs aren't critical of your stitches. In spite of my imperfect handiwork, my cat Thelma at home was crazy to try out the Snuggle as it emerged.

For more information, visit the Snuggles Project.