Creative Families 
Few artistic creations spring fully formed out of their creatorís heads, like Athena, with no previous influences. Often, a long chain of inspiration and cultural heritage influences the works that we watch, see, or read. Itís a good idea to keep an eye on what influences something you like, and not just because it helps you understand it. Exploring the artistic genealogy of a work that you like is a great way to find new things to be a fan of. Here are just a few artistic family trees Ė you can make one for your favorite creative work, too - click here!

Once you have, you can even work your way up the tree, and youíll never run out of entertainment.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians Family


Rick Riordanís Percy Jackson & the Olympians books represent the latest in a long line Ė stretching back over 2500 years Ė of adaptations of Greek Mythology. Although Riordan wasnít around to hear the Greek Myths told, himself, he certainly read adaptations, going back to Greek and Roman sources.

It doesnít have to be complicated, though. A direct adaptation is a relatively faithful re-telling of another work. A book being remade as a movie is an example of a direct adaptation: the movie might leave some things out, or make some changes, but it will pretty much follow the original plot. An example of a direct adaptation is Grant Morrisonís 18 Days series by Graphic India. (Published on YouTube.) 18 Days is a retelling of the Mahabharata Ė one of the epic myth cycles of Hinduism, along with the Ramayana. Although both Percy Jackson and 18 Days are based on a source, the Percy Jackson series isnít a straight re-telling of the Greek myths, but rather uses them as an artistic inspiration. 18 Days, however, follows the same plot as the Mahabharata, even though it chooses to tell the story in a different style (kind of like a sci-fi shadow puppet show).

You can do this with authors, artists, or directors, as well as books or movies! If you went to see a horror movie this Halloween season, it could probably trace its roots back to Charlotte BrontŽ or Edgar Allan Poe.

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Easy, At-Home DIY Crafts 
Looking for some super easy crafts to do? These are some of my favorite crafts, and Ė bonus - you should have all, or most, of these items already in your house!



Feeling like making some art for your room? Try these links!


Need something cool to wear? Try these links!


-Lynette, Teen Services, Shawnee Branch

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Teen Tech Tips #35 Tech License Manual: 10 New Tricks 
Welcome back to the blog! As you can see we have been enjoying some awesome featured Halloween reads, but now it's time to get back into some techy fun.




Our very first Teen Tech Tips blog post featured some keyboard short cuts to help you save time and work more efficiently. Click here for a review.

We are happy to share David Pogue's TED Talk from Febraury of this year as an update and addition.

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Book Review of Playground: The Mostly True Story of a Former Bully 


Playground by 50 Cent is all about Butterball, a husky bully who thinks that name is much cooler than what is printed on his birth certificate. His teachers even call him Butterball. Heís the new kid at school and to keep kids from messing with him, he gets to them first. Heís a smart kid; he just does dumb stuff. Butterball's antics have gotten him into some serious trouble: suspension and required regular visits with a therapist. At home, things are just as disastrous.

His parents are not together. His father is not nearly as concerned with his son as he should be, and Butterball has completely lost the trust of his mother. Somehow, Butterball manages to weasel the trust of his mother once more, and she allows him to attend a party. Of course, he messes up. Thatís what Butterball does. He wouldnít be Butterball if he didnít. A plan did not work out, the joke is on him, and the tables have turned: he is now the victim of bullying, and thereís nothing he can do about it.

-Alexis Austin, Teen Services, Okolona Branch


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Try Magical Realism for a Surreal Haunt this Halloween 
Itís almost Halloween, and that means many of you may be in the mood for something with a touch of paranormal. Iíll admit that horror is not my genre; I steer clear of books with too much gore. I prefer ghost stories, especially when you canít tell if the ghosts are real or imagined. When there is a thin line between the real and the surreal.

Right now, the master of surrealism for teens is Nova Ren Suma. For those unfamiliar with surrealism, it can be an acquired taste. Itís not quite realistic fiction and itís not quite fantasy or paranormal. Her books leave you with more questions than answers, and you may feel the story was dreamed rather than read. Suma says she was inspired by magical realism, which is a genre that introduces magical elements into an otherwise normal world. This isnít the magic of Harry Potter, but magic that exists at the edges of things. These books arenít fully paranormal, but as a reader you canít shake the feeling that something is amiss. If youíre the kind of reader that likes a solid ending that answers all of your questions, these may not be right for you. If you like open endings and enjoy the psychological heebie-jeebies, then you are in for a treat.



Nova Ren Sumaís YA debut, Imaginary Girls, was released in the summer of 2011. At its surface, this book is about the relationship between two sisters, our narrator Chloe and her enigmatic sister Ruby. There are parties by a reservoir, cute boys, and interesting new friends; but readers will quickly discover that things are not what they appear. The first oddity is the reappearance of a girl who drowned two years prior, but Chloe is the only one who seems to remember. There are also the stories Ruby tells about the former residents of Olive, a town flooded when the reservoir was built. Are the former residents still living beneath the water? This book isnít a traditional paranormal thriller, but it is certainly unsettling. There is a dreamy quality to Sumaís writing and this novel is unlike anything I have encountered in YA.

Favorite Quote:


ďRubyís stories didnít have morals. They meant one thing in the light and one thing in the dark and another thing entirely when she was wearing sunglasses.Ē



Sumaís most recent novel is 17 & Gone . The narrator, Lauren, is haunted by girls who disappeared the year they turned 17. Police never fully investigated the disappearances because it was believed the girls ran away willingly, but Lauren knows better. The missing girls keep appearing in her car, in her room, on the side of the road; and they want her to find out what really happened to them. The book is a mix of mystery, ghost story, and psychological thriller. There is a bit more action than in Imaginary Girls, but the same unsettling atmosphere remains. Determining what is real and what is just in Laurenís head may be the focus, but the real horror of the novel is why no one cared to investigate after the girls went missing.

Favorite Quotes:


ďI was 17. I was a girl. Didn't we matter?Ē

ďHow heartless it was for a girl to be forgotten and buried before there was even anything of her to put in the ground."

-Ruth Houston, Youth Services, Teen Underground, Main Library

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