Archive for April 30, 2007

TeenAdvisory Board Meeting

There will be a meeting of the Syosset Public Library Teen Advisory Board on Monday, May 7 at 7 PM in TeenSpace. Everyone is invited. Bring a friend. We’ll talk about upcoming library programs and decorating TeenSpace and anything else you want to talk about.
I look forward to seeing you all on Monday.
Ed Goldberg
Teen Services Librarian

Final Call for Babysitting Job Fair Registration

This is your final chance to register for the Babysitting Job Fair. To be held on Sunday, May 6 from 12:30 – 2 PM, the job fair gives you the opportunity to meet parents who need babysitters and to bond with their children. All teens who have taken a babysitting course can attend. So, if you haven’t signed up already, sign up now by e-mail at, by phone at 921-7161 ext. 242 or in person at TeenSpace. This is the best way to get a babysitting job!!!!!
Ed Goldberg
Teen Services Librarian

Great Historical Fiction Books

In answer to a request, here are some great Historical Fiction authors and books:
James Collier
Karen Hesse
Kathryn Lasky
Sonia Levitin
Donna Jo Napoli
Richard Peck
Ann Rinaldi
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Beyond the Burning Time by Kathryn Lasky
When, in the winter of 1691, accusations of witchcraft surface in her small New England village, twelve-year-old Mary fights to save her mother from execution.
Witch Child by Celia Rees
In 1659, fourteen-year-old Mary keeps a journal of her voyage from England to the New World and her experiences living as a witch in a community of Puritans near Salem, MA.
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Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.
Cast Two Shadows: The American Revolution in the South by Ann Rinaldi
A young girl living in South Carolina during the American Revolution discovers the duplicity within herself and others.
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Trouble Don’t Last by Shelley Pearsall
Samuel, an eleven-year-old Kentucky slave, and Harrison, the elderly slave who helped raise him, attempt to escape to Canada via the Underground Railroad. I enjoyed this book a lot. E.G.
The River Between Us by Rickard Peck
During the early days of the Civil War, the Pruitt family takes in two mysterious young ladies who have fled New Orleans to come north to Illinois. This is a great book. E.G.
Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue by Julius Lester
When gambling debts and greed enter the Butler household, Pierce Butler decides to host the biggest slave auction in American history and breaks a promise by selling Emma, his most valued slave and caretaker of his children–a decision that brings about unthinkable consequences.
The King of Mulberry Street by Donna Jo Napoli
In 1892, Dom, a nine-year old stowaway from Naples, Italy, arrives in New York and must learn to survive the perils of street life in the big city.
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Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
From 1939, when Syvia is four and a half years old, to 1945 when she has just turned ten, a Jewish girl and her family struggle to survive in Poland’s Lodz ghetto during the Nazi occupation. A wonderful, moving book. E.G.
London Calling by Edward Bloor
Seventh-grader Martin Conway believes that his life is monotonous and dull until the night the antique radio he uses as a night-light transports him to the bombing of London in 1940. This is a fun book. E.G.
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
In a series of poems, fourteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family’s wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression. One of my favorites. E.G.
Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez
In the early 1960s in the Dominican Republic, twelve-year-old Anita learns that her family is involved in the underground movement to end the bloody rule of the dictator, General Trujillo. A moving story. E.G.
Ed Goldberg
Teen Services Librarian

10 Deadly Teen Driver Mistakes

The 10 Deadliest Mistakes Teen Drivers Make by Joseph D. Younger (copied from
Parents with teen drivers don’t sleep well at night—and for good reason. Every year, traffic crashes claim more teenage lives than drugs, guns, suicide and AIDS combined. In fact, teen drivers have the highest collision rate of any age group; they endanger not only themselves, but also everyone else on the road. Studies show that pedestrians, passengers and occupants of other cars account for nearly two out of three fatalities in teen crashes.
After extensive research and deliberation, AAA experts have identified 10 mistakes that most commonly lead to fatal crashes involving teens. As a parent (and teen), you need to know what they are—and how you can help the young driver in your family avoid them.
1. Overestimating their abilities.
Most teens think they know everything about everything—including driving. After all, they’ve taken driver’s ed, right? As a parent and an experienced driver, you know better. Driver’s ed doesn’t make you a safe driver any more than a box of instant mac and cheese makes you a good cook.
“In New York State, it takes 5,000 hours of practice to become a licensed cosmetologist,” says Barbara Ward of AAA New York’s Traffic Safety Department. “It takes 10,000 hours of practice to earn an electrician’s license. But the law requires only 20 hours of behind-the-wheel practice to get a driver’s license and operate a motor vehicle in which teens can endanger themselves and others.” For teens, inexperience combined with overconfidence becomes a recipe for disaster.
AAA recommends at least 50 hours of supervised driving in a variety of situations. For families with busy schedules, Ward suggests keeping a log that notes the supervising driver (Mom, Dad or some other adult), the date, the duration of the session, the type of road (expressway, urban arteries, suburban streets) and weather conditions.
How you practice matters just as much as how much you practice. “The car is not the place to worry about hurting your teen’s feelings,” says Mark Kulewicz, AAA New York’s director of Traffic Engineering and Safety Services. Correct mistakes calmly but firmly. Positive reinforcement works wonders for teens, as long as they don’t get an exaggerated sense of their own behind-the- wheel competence.
2. Driving unbuckled.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, safety belts reduce the risk of injury or fatality by a whopping 45 percent. Despite these common-sense stats, however, too many teens neglect their car’s simplest and most effective safety device. Experts insist that buckling up is a habit cultivated from a very early age. If you always wear your seat belt—and insist that your teen always wears his or hers, even as a passenger—eventually your child will feel naked without it.
3. Speeding.
About one-third of all fatal teen crashes involve excessive speed. Apart from a young person’s natural inclination to move fast, your teen may have inherited a heavy foot from you. According to a recent study sponsored by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, teens with bad driving records are much more likely to have parents with bad driving records— suggesting that children’s behind-the-wheel behavior reflects their parents’. If your teen grew up watching you regularly ignore speed limits, why be surprised when he or she does the same?
You can do more than model sensible speed control, however. Increasingly, parents install event data recorders (EDRs)—so-called black boxes—to monitor their teens’ driving. Costing as little as $200, these aftermarket devices keep track not only of speed, but also of other aggressive driving indicators. Some even sound alarms when the vehicle exceeds certain pre-set limits.
If you do resort to an EDR, remember your real purpose—discouraging risky behavior. Many safety experts suggest using an EDR to monitor your own driving behavior as well and sharing the results with your teen. That way, everyone will view the black box as a family safety check, not just a tool to snoop on kids.
4. Carrying rowdy passengers. When it comes to driving, teens find no safety in numbers—quite the opposite, in fact. A teen driver’s crash risk doubles with one peer passenger. With two or more, the risk increases fivefold.
Such stats form the basis for New York State’s graduated driver licensing (GDL) law, which prohibits drivers with a junior license from carrying more than two passengers under 21 (unless the passengers are family members). Knowing the statistical risk of peer passengers, however, some parents choose to set even stricter limits.
“The law is a great crutch for parents who need to use it,” says Kulewicz. “You have to enforce state law, of course. But you can limit the number of passengers even more than the law requires. As a parent, you control access to the car and you have the power to restrict their driving.” Prohibiting all teen passengers for the first few months of driving can give your teen the chance to log valuable solo time in lower-risk conditions.
5. Indulging in wireless exchanges.
Five years after the state banned behind-the-wheel hand-held phone use, evidence about the hazards of yakking and driving continues to pile up. The wireless revolution has brought even more potentially distracting cellular capabilities: text messaging, transmitting photos and downloading videos and music, for instance.
Cell phones present such a distraction that Kulewicz suggests teens refrain from using even hands-free models during the first year of driving. As for text messaging and downloading—they’re completely out of the question.
6. Monkeying with music.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, adjusting the radio, cassette, or CD player ranks as the No. 1 distraction among drivers under the age of 20. As if those things weren’t bad enough, the iPod came along. With its thumbwheel and tiny screen, it forces you to look away from the road even longer to choose your tunes, unless you have hardware to control it through the in-dash stereo.
Although you can’t hope to separate teens from their music, you can insist that your teen not root around for CDs and or scroll through playlists while the vehicle is moving.
7. Cruising at night.
Between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., teens’ crash rate doubles. Night driving presents so great a risk, in fact, that New York’s GDL law imposes restrictions and curfews on teens with a junior license.
Even after teens earn their full license, parents need to emphasize that a car is a vehicle for transportation, not a means of amusement. “Going out for a drive at night, with no particular destination and no parental control, creates a situation in which a teen can do something dumb— and dangerous,” says Kulewicz. You control access to the car, so you need to ensure that your teen has a specific destination, especially after dark.
8. Drinking.
First, the bad news: 36 percent of all fatal teen crashes involve alcohol. Now, the good news: Drinking ranks rather low in non-contributing factors for crashes involving first-year drivers. Statistically, alcohol tends to grow as a problem for older teens.
New York’s GDL law enforces zero tolerance for drivers with a junior license, and conscientious parents insist on it even for older teens. But serious parents also guarantee a ride home for their children who may have been drinking. “It’s important for kids to know that they can call their parents anytime, day or night, and get a ride home, no questions asked until the morning,” says AAA’s Ward. “You can discuss the situation the next day. But if teens are too scared of their parents’ reaction, they might take a chance and drive after drinking.”
9. Getting into bad situations.
Driving requires good decisions, and even sober teens often make bad ones. For example, getting into a car with a driver who has been drinking can prove just as deadly as driving drunk yourself. So can cramming yourself into an overcrowded car with an overexcited driver. “Teens should know that they don’t have to get into a car with a driver who is drunk, fatigued, emotional, or angry, even as a passenger,” says Ward.
10. Taking dumb risks.
From slipping past red lights to sitting on the hood of a moving car to drag racing, the list of tragic teen blunders that “seemed like a good idea at the time” goes on and on. Of course, you can’t monitor your teen’s driving habits every minute. But you can’t throw up your hands, either.
“There’s a tendency for even responsible parents to drop out of the picture after their teen takes driver’s ed,” says Kulewicz. “You have to get involved and stay involved.”
One key tool is your ears. Keep them open. You can learn a lot about your teen’s driving habits simply by listening to his or her friends and siblings. Another is a parent-to-parent agreement. It helps you and the parents in your teen’s circle of friends enforce the same rules. And a teen-parent contract spells out the new driver’s responsibilities and sets clear consequences for violations. Those consequences may run from doing extra chores to losing driving privileges altogether.
“They’re not foolproof,” says Kulewicz, “but they can go a long way toward keeping your teen safer.”
You can learn more about parent-to-parent and parent-teen driving contracts at AAA New York also offers free, informative presentations on teen driving safety for PTA and other community groups. For details, call the Club’s Traffic Safety Department at 516-873-2378.
I thought this might be interesting.
Ed Goldberg
Teen Services Librarian

Jen Calonita’s Favorites

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Secrets of My Hollywood Life: On Location by Jen Calonita
Everyone is back in this sequel to the fun Secrets of My Hollywood Life-Kaitlin, Austin, Trevor, Skye, Lori. It seems like the summer of dreams come true for Hollywood celebrity princess Kaitlin: the media loves her (again), super-cute Austin is finally her boyfriend, and she’s starring in a blockbuster movie by her all-time favorite director, Hutch Adams. What could be sweeter? But life on set is not nearly perfect. And with a slimy ex-boyfriend and a scheming new publicist, it’s about to get a whole lot messier.
Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
“So, what I want to know is, if my dad’s an actual prince, how come I have to learn algebra?” Mia ponders this, and much more, when she finds out that her father is prince of Genovia. Living with her cool artist mom in New York City, Mia can’t imagine leaving to become princess in Genovia. But she is heir to the throne. Accepting her title means getting lessons on being a perfect princess and leaving Manhattan. Will Mia eventually give in to her father and become Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo? (first of 8 books in the Princess Diaries series; also by Meg Cabot: All American Girl, Avalon High, The Mediator Series, various Avon True Romances).
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
In this first of four books, Carmen buys a pair jeans at a thrift shop. They don’t look all that great, being worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Tibby says they’re great. Lena and Bridget also think they’re fabulous. Lena decides that they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them. Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly. Over a few bags of cheese puffs, they decide to form a sisterhood and take the vow of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . the next morning, they say good-bye. And the journey of the pants — and the most memorable summer of their lives — begins.
Bras and Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski
Everyone needs a little magic. Especially 14-year-old Rachel. Not only did her younger sister, Miri, inherit her mother’s ample bosom (so not fair), it turns out that her little sis is also a witch! Of course, there’s a chance that Rachel is a witch too–maybe her powers just haven’t kicked in yet. If only they would . . . in the meantime she’s got to suffer being a B-lister with a crush on an A-list guy, watch her best friend and social schemer, Rosie, desert her, and be an unwilling participant in her hapless father’s remarriage to STBSM (soon-to-be-stepmonster). Retch!! (aso by Sarah Mlynowski: Frogs and French Kisses and Spells and Sleeping Bags, due out in June 2007.)

Thank You to Jen Calonita

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Last night, nine lucky teens and I had the pleasure of talking with Jen Calonita, author of Secrets of My Hollywood Life and the newly issued Secrets of my Hollywood Life: On Location. A wonderful time was had by everyone as they listened to Jen divulge some Hollywood secrets, talk about being a writer and senior entertainment editor of Teen People, and her forthcoming projects. We also found out that Jen is a fan of Meg Cabot, Ann Brashares and Sarah Mlynowski. So, if you need some reading suggestions, look up these authors. Thank you, Jen, for visiting our library and talking about your books. We all enjoyed the evening.
Ed Goldberg
Teen Services Librarian
P.S. Don’t break up Kaitlin and Austin. They make a great couple. E.G.

Live Homework Help for Mac Users

Good news!!! Live Homework Help is now available to Mac users. Available 3-9 p.m. every day, merely log onto the Syosset Public Library website,, click on Homework Help under Additional Links on the right side of the webpage and enter your library card number, if you are logging in remotely. Connect with a live tutor.

2007 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association, has announced its 2007 recommended list of Best Books for Young Adults. For a complete list, go to
The Top Ten are annotated below:
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American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang and Lark Pien
Combining three different stories, one drawn from Chinese mythology, this graphic novel explores racism and self-hatred as a young boy struggles to come to terms with his heritage.
Anahita’s Woven Riddle by Meghan Nuttall Sayres
In early twentieth century Iran, a headstrong girl convinces her father that she will marry the suitor who can guess the riddle woven into her wedding carpet.
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson
He was raised as an experiment and considered a piece of property. Now that revolution has come to America, will Octavian find freedom?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Death colors (and narrates) Liesel Meminger’s attempt to survive Hitler in a small German town. Orphaned and devastated, Liesel finds salvation through stolen books. This is my personal favorite. EG.
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The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner.
Eugenides must convince his new queen, his court, and his subjects of his ability to rule, despite his disreputable past as a liar and a thief.
The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
When Matthew and his younger sisters witness a man confronting an abusive parent, they think they may have found a hero who will save them from their vicious mother.
Samurai Shortstop by Alan Gratz.
In 1890 Tokyo, 16-year-old Toyo uses traditional bushido training to improve his baseball game and comes to understand the place of Samurai values in Japanese culture.
Sold by Patricia McCormick
In this startling, frank novel in free verse, a 13-year-old Nepalese girl is sold into prostitution by her stepfather after a monsoon leaves her family destitute. This is an amazing book. EG.
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Surrender by Sonya Hartnett
As 20-year-old Gabriel lies dying, he remembers his miserable childhood and the influence of his mysterious companion, Finnigan.
The Trap by John Smelcer
In the Alaskan wilderness, Grandfather Albert attempts to escape one of his own steel-jawed traps; back in their village, Johnny worries about his grandfather’s safety while pondering his own future.
Ed Goldberg
Teen Services Librarian

Cyrano, The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood, London Calling

Cyrano by Geraldine McCaughrean
A beautiful retelling of Edmond Rostand’s moving love story, Cyrano de Bergerac. Cyrano, a man with a facial deformity (a huge nose) is in love with the beautiful Roxane, who in turn is in love with Christian. Willing to do anything to make Roxane happy, Cyrano writes the words with which Christian wooes and wins the heart of Roxane, all the while in love with Roxane himself. Can an ugly man be loved by a beautiful woman? Discover the answer by reading Cyrano.
Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
This summer Lena, Tibby, Carmen and Bee are as busy as always, so busy, they can’t all get together when school ends. They are spread far and wide for the summer–Manhattan, Providence, Vermont and Turkey. What happens with Tibby and Brian, Bee and Eric, and Lena and Kostos? Does Carmen learn what friendship is all about? There is romance, heartache and more. A must for Sisterhood fans. Let me know how you liked this installment. Then I’ll tell you what I thought about it.
London Calling by Edward Bloor
Johnny’s grandmother calls him in the middle of the night, asking whether ‘the boy’ has contacted him yet. What boy? When his grandmother dies, Johnny inherits a Philco radio dating from World War II, used by his grandfather in the American Embassy in London. Asleep one night with the radio broadcasting static, Johnny dreams he is transported back to World War II London. There he meets Jimmy who begs Johnny for help. What kind of help? Is it a dream or does Johnny really time travel back 40 years? What is life like in London during the war? This is a gripping story.

Babysitting Job Fair – Sign Up Now

Registration is beginning now for the Babysitting Job Fair. To be held on Sunday, May 6 from 12:30 – 2 PM, the job fair gives you the opportunity to meet parents who need babysitters and to bond with their children. All teens who have taken a babysitting course can attend. So, sign up now by e-mail at, by phone at 921-7161 ext. 242 or in person at TeenSpace. This is the best way to get a babysitting job!!!!!
Ed Goldberg
Teen Services Librarian