Teen Summer Reading Challenge starts RIGHT NOW!

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Friendly reminder that the challenge I was talking about a couple days ago begins TODAY!

Mission Impossible

Sign up on our website here, pop into your local library and try your hand at Week 1’s missions and read, read, read (and then read some more), all for a chance to win a GoPro Hero 5 and to beat the challenge!  Here’s to a great summer!

Week of Geek: Pride Month Part 3! LGBTQ characters in Books!

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Hi again Geeklings!  Pride month rolls on and so does my series on LGBTQ characters.  You can read parts 1 and 2, where I’ve covered comics and screens big and small, but today I thought I’d talk about good old-fashioned books and the literary characters that inspire us to be our authentic selves.

‘Nother reminder: As with the previous posts, I am only including characters that have been confirmed as LGBTQ, either in print or from their authors.  But slash and speculative pairings are such a thing I’m thinking we should cover that next week to wrap up Pride.  Ca va?

Now, thankfully, there are LOTS of YA books that feature LGBTQ characters.  YA literature has been one of the places where LBGTQ characters and issues have been able to flourish, and it has helped readers and society at large become a little more accepting of such things.

And there’s books for the tween crowd that are definitely worth checking out too.

But there’s a few characters in particular I’d like to highlight.

Let’s start with the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, which has 6 volumes and two spin-off series and has been made into both a movie and a Netflix series.  And fans are well aware of Alec Lightwood and Magnus Bane.  One’s a Shadowhunter, one’s a 400-odd-year-old warlock, and they’re in love.  But they are far from the only LGBTQ characters in the series, and Clare has stated her support for showing such characters and relationships in YA lit.  I think we can all get behind that.

Next, let’s look at Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, which is a spin-off of sorts to her previous book Fangirl.  If you’re looking for a more down-to-earth version of Harry Potter, this book is a good option, centering on wizard and ‘chosen one’ Simon Snow trying to save the wizard community (sound familiar?).  The thing is he’s always been suspicious of his roommate, Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch, who goes by ‘Baz’.  And Baz does have a secret or two.  What could this all possibly lead to and will Simon save the World of Mages?  Find out!

And there’s been some development in the Star Wars universe lately, at least in print.  A character named Moff Delian Mors from Lords of the Sith has become the first canon LGBT character in the galaxy far, far away.  The series Star Wars Aftermath also has a gay character, Sinjir Rath Velus, an ex-officer of the Empire who ran for it after the destruction of the 2nd Death Star.  It remains to be seen if the movies will catch up with this kind of representation.  Here’s hoping.

But, no article about LGBTQ characters in our favorite books would be complete without mentioning Albus Dumbledore.

Though it’s never explicitly stated in the entire seven books or eight movies, author J.K. Rowling did confirm back in 2007 that Dumbledore is gay.  It helped explain a lot about the decisions he made when he was younger (I’m not going to say what; spoilers).  Though some fans would’ve liked to see the character come out in the series, the fact that one of the most complicated and beloved of the HP characters is gay was a huge revelation, and he’s since become one of the biggest LGBTQ icons in literature.  And with Jude Law set to play a young version of Dumbledore in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them perhaps we’ll see this side of his character developed further.

There’s a very brief overview, but which characters stand out for you?  Post away in the comments section.

Stay tuned for next week’s entry and don’t forget to check out Write It! and the TSRC, which starts on Friday!  Thanks guys, and until next time, End of Line.

Can you sing our beloved National Anthem?

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July 1st is just around the corner. What’s that you say? You’ve been living in the dark recesses of your library’s study rooms finishing off that last summative before plunging in to first name basis status with Darwin, all the while writing a ten-page English paper about Adam Smith, before realizing, “oh yea this is Economics” until your fingers fell off and so you have absolutely no idea what is so special about July 1? None. You mean you haven’t noticed all the over sized flower pots sporting the maple leaf? No radio ads? Notta one commercial or magazine article? Not even the one with Prince Harry? Well then you can hear it here first! Canada is turning 150 years old this Canada Day – yes that’s where the whole “Canada 150” phrase comes from. There are lots of ways to celebrate, but my personal fav is checking out the  Canada Day festivities – fireworks, concerts, carnival rides, funnel cake – what’s not to love? A very close second would be singing the ol’ national anthem. And if you’re like me, than you’re in luck! The first mission for TSRC kicks off Friday and one of the challenges is to make a video of yourself singing the national anthem! I say get creative with it – grab your friends, maybe borrow a GoPro or iPad from the library, you can even rent out the green room for free at CCRL if you really want to make a video that pops! To get those creative juices flowing check out my video inspired by Camp Caribou’s Chin People, or at least what I got until my phone’s memory gave out.

CLICK HERE –> Oh Canada <– CLICK HERE.

Disclaimer: Camp Caribou is an awesome Canadian TV show that people used to watch in the 80s before YouTube was a thing. Ironically you can now YouTube it, and I highly suggest you do!).

Teen Summer Reading Challenge! BOOM!

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Mission Impossible

Hiya Everybody!

Summer is fast approaching.  Like, literally, a couple weeks or something.  When you’re an adult it’s hard to keep track of such things 😉

Anyhoo, I bet by this point you’re thinking “Yeah, summer’s great and all, but what am I gonna do with all that non-constructive downtime?”  Natch, we’ve got the answer.  This year we are challenging YOU, the teens of Vaughan, to collectively (not on your own, we’re not that crazy) read 500 000 pages.  These pages can come from books, magazines, graphic novels, whatevs!

Not only does doing this give you bragging rights BUT for every week you sign into the online account we’ll have you create you get your name entered for a ballot.  A ballot would be used for a draw, and a draw would suggest a prize, right?  How about a GoPro Hero 5 Camera?  That’s right, you could win your very own GoPro, just for reading!

End of Summer Party

AND, if you want more chances to win, swing by your local library and  try one of the in-branch challenges (or ‘Missions’, if you will).  These run the gamut from scavenger hunts to fake news to origami to anagrams to poetry to shelfies to many more!  If you click on the links you’ll see the whole list and what’s happening each week.  Every library is going to run the same challenges each week so it doesn’t matter what branch you call home, it’ll be running those missions.

And don’t forget the End of Summer Party!  You can vote on a theme here!  You have your pick of a Maker Fair, a Movie Party or an Escape Room theme.  Make sure to mark you calendars for August 26th!

So if you’re aged 12-18 and live or go to school in Vaughan, you qualify!  And it starts THIS FRIDAY!  That’s right, June 23rd will be the first day to sign up and to get reading.  And just so you’re ready the day of, and because we’re celebrating Canada’s 15oth, we’ve got a list of YA books written by Canadian authors for you to check out (I would personally recommend A Spy in the House by Ying S. Lee.  Good stuff!  Plus it fits with the Mission: Impossible theme).  You may have seen the service notices around about how the catalogue is down at the moment, but it should be back up and running by the 23rd.  BOO YEAH!  Do people still say boo yeah?  I still say boo yeah!

If you have any questions give us a call, drop us an email or come chat with us at the library.  Don’t forget our other teen services like our programs or the Write It! website.  Stay tuned for more news and hope to see you this summer!

Stereotypical Canadian Moose - Celebrate Canada Join the Teen Summer REading Challenge

Week of Geek: Pride Month Part 2! LGBTQ Characters in Film and TV!

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Hi again Geeklings!  How’s it goin’?

So, continuing with the theme from last week, I thought this week I’d talk about LGBTQ characters on screen, a la movies and TV shows

Note: As with last week and with future editions, I am only including characters that have been confirmed as LGBTQ, either onscreen or from the creators.  So no speculative pairings or slash fiction.  That’s a whole article in and of itself.

So let’s break it down…

Anime:  As I mentioned last week when talking about manga, anime has a long, colorful history of featuring non-binary and gay characters.  Examples?  How about Grell Sutcliff from Black Butler, a grim reaper who’s a guy but not really.  Or Puri-Puri-Prisoner from One Punch Man.  Attack on Titan fans will know about Ymir and Christa.  And of course, we cannot possibly speak of anime LGBTQ characters and not mention Yuri!!! on Ice, not just with power couple Yuri and Viktor, but possibly Yurio and Otabek.  (Time will tell on that one, don’t rush them!)

Animated Programs:  The creators of Adventure Time have confirmed that characters Marceline the Vampire Queen and Princess Bubblegum used to date, hence the frenemy vibe they currently have on the show.  The Avatar: The Last Airbender spin-off The Legend of Korra famously ended with the title character and her female best friend getting together.  And in the show Steven Universe, having all of the alien species known as gems be female has led to some interesting questions about what it means to be female, as well as how they relate to and love each other, like with Ruby and Sapphire or Pearl’s devotion to Rose Quartz.

For the Adult Swim show Rick and Mortytitle character Rick Sanchez is pansexual, as the creators confirmed and as was on display in the episode “Auto Erotic Assimilation”.  Other more ‘adult’ cartoon shows like Family Guy or Archer have featured LGBTQ characters.

Live-Action TV Shows:  Wow, so many to choose from.  Let’s see, shows like Orphan Black, Teen Wolf and Supergirl have all featured rainbow characters.  Glee had no shortage of characters that ran the gamut, from gay to lesbian to bi to trans (and all set to music).  Though it’s left somewhat ambiguous in the show itself, the creators of Hannibal have confirmed that the main characters, both male, are in love with each other.  More DC shows with LGBTQ characters include Lucifer (the devil himself swings both ways); Arrow and Legends of Tomorrowwhere White Canary is bi; and Gotham, which has bucked supervillain convention this last season by having longtime bad guy the Penguin crushing on fellow longtime bad guy the Riddler.  Wha?

Across the pond, long-time British export Doctor Who has worked hard in it’s revamped series to include LGBTQ characters, starting with pansexual Jack Harkness and then bringing in married couple Madam Vastra and Jenny, all the way up to current companion Bill, who’s a lesbian.

And for more old-school fandoms, you can’t leave out Willow on Buffy or Charlie on Supernatural.  Much love!

Movies: There are A LOT of movies out there with LGBTQ themes, but for mainstream movies it can be hard to find LGBTQ characters.  There’s quite a few reasons for that, not many of them legit, BUT there are some characters to look to.  Of course, one of the most famous is Dumbledore, but I’ll talk more about him next week.  Disney recently made headlines by confirming that LeFou is gay in their live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, and as you’ll read in that link people are still divided over that.

Animation studio LAIKA hasn’t had too much trouble showing gay and trans characters in their films.  And… yeah, I’m kind of drawing a blank otherwise.  Let’s hope that doesn’t stay like that.  Can anyone else think of any?  Post away in the comments section.

So that’s it for this week.  Next week we’ll look at characters in books, and there is a lot to talk about there.  Hang in there as you wrap up the school year, and until next time, End of Line.