Books for Change

Because I am a book nerd, I read other book blogs. And one of my favorites is Epic Reads who recently posted a list of YA activism books because–let’s face it–there’s a whole lot of messed up stuff going on in our world right now. It reminded me of a book list that I had written last year about Black Lives Matter. There were some of the same books plus a few I hadn’t read yet. (They’re on my To Be Read list now.) There are also a few that I think could be added to both lists–books about teens and young adults who have chosen to fight back and stand up for a better world.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless. And it’s okay to feel that way, but don’t stop there. You CAN help. You can change things.

I’m not saying you have to go all Katniss Everdeen and take down President Snow. Start with little things. If you hear someone using hateful language (racist, misogynist, homophobic, Islamophobic slurs, etc.), let them know that’s not okay. Think about your own social privilege. Some of us have more than others due to race, gender, religion, socio-economic status, orientation, size and age. Speak up for those with less privilege than you and honestly *listen* to them when they share their stories. When you see something happen that you know is unjust, speak up. Tell your parents, your teachers, your online audience, the local newspaper and beyond. Share your truth.

In addition to the 19 books on the above two lists, here are another ten titles that I think should be in the backpack of every budding social justice warrior.

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  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi
  • For the Win by Cory Doctorow
  • Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
  • The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
  • The Pants Project by Cat Clarke
  • The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Being Jazz by Jazz jennings
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom



There Can Be Only One!

Everyone likes the classic card game, Uno, right?

Rejoice! The Vortex will be hosting its first-ever UNO TOURNAMENT on Thursday, August 24 from 6–7 p.m. in the Vortex. That gives you a week to register. Hurry while there’s still room!

We’ll play as many one-on-one games as it takes to get to one Uno Champion! The 1st Place Winner will take home a shiny, new gift card all their own!

Register here!


Manga Recommendation: One Piece by Eiichiro Oda

one pieceGenre: Shounen (action) / Comedy

First Released: 1997

Number of vols: 83+

Brief Synopsis: When Monkey D. Luffy accidentally gains the power to stretch like rubber at the cost of never being able to swim again, he and his crew of pirate wannabes set off in search of the “One Piece,” the greatest treasure in the world.

Where can I find it in the library?
This will be on the second floor of the library in the Vortex.



One Piece is a behemoth of a manga (or anime if you prefer, though this will be solely based on the manga). So far in the U.S., there have been 83 volumes released and there’s still more to come! As of writing this, I’m up to volume 18 and have been really enjoying it! I’m trying not to power through it TOO fast because otherwise I’m sure I’ll just get crazy overwhelmed and not go back. With 83 volumes that’s not hard to do!!

I saw the anime a looooooong time ago back when the edit was newish and was done by 4Kids (you can imagine how terrible it was). This put me off the series for a very long time. It wasn’t until I made some friends who really enjoy One Piece to convince me to give it a second shot. I’m so glad I did!

If I could describe One Piece in one word it’d be: overdramatic. Seriously. Characters do not cry in this manga, they SOB. Outright BAWLING TEARS STREAMING DOWN THEIR FACES. They’re not merely happy, they are BURSTING WITH ENERGY OF JOY. They’re not angry, they are RIP YOUR FACE OFF GONNA KICK YOUR BUTT angry. All these elevated emotions make it really fun to read! Luffy is very protective of his friends and crew which makes for a lot of interesting encounters despite how much of a derp he is. His obliviousness gets the crew of the Merry Go into a lot of trouble which makes for interesting events for us as a reader!

If you’ve been hesitant to try it but enjoy humorous action manga I really recommend giving it a shot! It’s super light hearted with deep heartbreaking stories interspersed in between.

Check it out~! ❤

Peggle Blast

peggle bjorn


Yup. It’s true. I’m addicted to another mobile game app! (Sorry Magikarp Jump, I’ll come back to you one day.) This time around, it’s Peggle Blast!

I didn’t plan on this happening (do we ever?) but when, at a wedding reception we were all playing a board game called Metagamer and we had to determine the merits of Peggle versus Angry Birds, I had to step in (Peggle won, btw. Woo!).

Back in the day, when Peggle was a thing before Popcap Games was owned by EA (those were the days), it was solely a computer game and really fun! You knock orange pegs down to earn points, get all the orange pegs and you move on! It’s a lot more fun and addicting than it sounds, I promise. Did I mention there’s a unicorn? There’s a unicorn!

PEGGLE KABLOOEYPeggle is now available as a mobile game for iOS and Android! Yay! It lets me relive my nostalgia at the convenience of whenever I want and what my phone battery will allow. Luckily it’s not too intensive though!

Go try it out! It’s super fun and doesn’t take much of a commitment at all. It’s easy to stop and start and reeeeally satisfying when you defeat a really hard level.

Brace Yourself. School is Coming.

It’s almost here.

Some of you already have your backpack filled and your first-day-of-school outfit picked out. And some of you are planning to hide under your bed and hope that August 16 just gives up and goes away.

baby crying

Either way, it’s coming. You have a little over a week to get your stuff together, find your classrooms, and google your new teachers. (Does anyone else do that? No? Just me? Okay.)

If you’re like me, you have, in past years, spent the month before school in a crowded store hunting through disorganized shelves to find  the perfect prismatic penguin pencil pouch – only to discover they’re sold out. (Actually, it was a green unicorn trapper keeper, but that didn’t fit the alliteration thing I had going there.)


You can easily turn those boring, plain school supplies into unique pieces of usable art!  

Here are a few ideas to help you customize your school supplies!

  • Follow these WikiHow instructions to make a duct tape pencil case!
  • Visit Studio 300 to make some vinyl stickers for laptops, Chromebooks, phone cases, and more!  Bring in a few silhouette .jpg images on a USB drive.  There is a charge of $1 per foot of vinyl, but you can get a LOT of stickers in one foot!

Wednesday, August 9: Fun with Fandoms

Have you been feeling blocked on what to draw or write? Looking for people who have similar tastes in books, movies, and TV shows?

Look no further!

Drop in and join us for Fun with Fandoms on Wednesday, August 9 at 3:30pm in the Vortex! (For grades 6-12 only)

We will have plenty of drawing supplies and notebook supplies to fuel your creative energy! Work on fanart, fanfiction, or your own original stuff!

See you there!

Midnight at the Electric

Midnight at the ElectricMidnight at the Electric
By Jodi Lynn Anderson
Published June 2017
Place a hold here.

Do you like futuristic fiction?  
How about historical fiction?  
How about contemporary characters?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, check out Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson. It’s set in the year 2065 when the Earth’s resources are running out and colonisation has begun on Mars. Adri has been chosen as a Colonist, one of only a handful of the planet’s brightest minds, and will soon be sent to start a new life on Mars. While waiting to embark, she spends time with a long-lost cousin and uncovers a family mystery reaching from 1910s London to 1930s Kansas and New York.

I loved the multi-time period mystery aspect of Midnight at the Electric. Each main character was so acutely shaped by her own time period. Lenore is reeling after the first World War. Catherine is trying to get by and care for her family in the Great Depression. Adri yearns to find a way to save humanity after we’ve destroyed our planet’s resources. Even Adri’s elderly cousin has her own time period. She grew up in the late 1900s (as I did) and she makes references to her past that I found hilarious. This story is an excellent reminder that everything we do has ripples that affect those around us but also generations to come.