Virtual Pumpkin Decorating!

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Hi everyone!

Your Teen Librarian here! It goes without saying that 2020 has been more than a crazy year. We’ve had to stop doing the things we’d normally like to do and as we enter the autumn season, that means our Halloween plans are probably going to change. But that doesn’t mean we can’t show off our creativity!

The Mission Viejo Library’s Teen Voice Blog and the Teen Advisory Board are hosting a Virtual Pumpkin Decorating activity! Whether you’re drawing faces with markers and gluing on googly eyes or carving unique masterpieces, we want to see what you come up with!

Here’s how it works:

Decorate a pumpkin, take a picture, and email it to libraryprograms@cityofmissionviejo.org!

We’ll be accepting photos from October 19th through October 30th!

Authors We Love: Harper Lee

The Measure Of Harper Lee: A Life Shaped By A Towering Text : The ...

Harper Lee (Nelle Harper Lee, on April 28, 1926 – February 19, 2016) was born in 1926 in the southern United States in a small town in Alabama. Published in 1960, the only novel in her life “To Kill a Mockingbird” made her won great reputation and the Pulitzer prize for fiction. The novel has been translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

Her father was a lawyer and a former state legislator. After graduating from local public schools, Harper Lee studied law at the University of Alabama and spent a year as an exchange student at Oxford University in England. Six months before graduating, she left school and moved to New York to pursue her writing dream. She writes while working as an airline reservation clerk in New York. Encouraged by friends and editors, she returned to her hometown in Alabama to write stories based on fragments of her childhood. Her masterpiece was “To Kill a Mockingbird”, released in 1960. The book is still one of the greatest American novels ever written. For 40 years, she has never given an interview, although paparazzi have tracked her down to where she lives with her sister Alice in Monroeville, Alabama. She was single and childless.

In 1961, Harper Lee won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

In 2007, Harper Lee received the Medal of Freedom from US President George W. bush for her literary achievements.

The works of Harper Lee are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Why Avatar: The Last Airbender Deserves All the Hype it Gets

February 21, 2005.

The day that the legendary TV show Avatar:The Last Airbender (A:TLA) debuted on Nickelodeon. Now, you might be thinking, what’s so cool about a kid’s cartoon show? But, from it’s beautiful cultural representation to how it introduces mature themes in a lighthearted way, I can say with 100% certainty that A:TLA has forever made its mark as one of the greatest TV shows of all time.

I’m sure that all of us have heard the iconic intro of A:TLA one way or another:

“Water. Earth. Fire. Air.

Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.

Only the Avatar, master of all four elements, could stop them. But when the world needed him most, he vanished.

A hundred years passed and my brother and I discovered the new Avatar, an airbender named Aang, and although his airbending skills are great, he still has a lot to learn before he’s ready to save anyone.

But I believe Aang can save the world.”

To provide a brief summary, this TV show takes place in a world divided into four different nations that are based on elements of the world: Water Tribe, Earth Kingdom, Fire Nation, and the Air Nomads. In this universe, there are people who are called Benders, who are able to control and manipulate the element of their respective nation. And as you probably read from the opening, the Avatar is a person who is able to control all 4 elements. Aang, who is an airbender and happens to be the last one of his kind, is discovered in an iceberg (along with his amazing sky bison, Appa) by Katara, a waterbender, and her brother Sokka, who are members of the Southern Water Tribe. The Water Tribes take inspiration from Inuit, Yupik, and Sirenik Eskimos (which can be seen in their attire and their living conditions), and waterbending is a clear parallel to the Chinese martial art Tai Chi!

Because Aang was discovered to be alive, since it was widely believed that the Avatar had died (because Aang was trapped in that iceberg for 100 years), Zuko, the prince of the Fire Nation, along with his wise Uncle Iroh are on the hunt to find the Avatar and reclaim Zuko’s honor. To provide some background, during the time when Aang was in the iceberg, the Hundred-Year War raged on, allowing the Fire Nation to take over many parts of the world. The Fire Nation is a very well done portrayal of real-life imperialism, and firebending takes inspiration from the Northern Shaolin martial art.

Along the way, they encounter many different types of people, including a talented earthbender named Toph, a skilled warrior named Suki, and Azula, Zuko’s younger sister who is a firebending prodigy and a manipulative mastermind, along with her two friends, Mai and Ty Lee.

Of course, the things that I have described in this review is only a brief summary of this show and only scratches the surface of what this show has to offer. It explores how to live with the loss of loved ones, with Katara losing her mother to the Fire Nation, understanding inner turmoils when deciding your identity, which is shown in Zuko’s beautiful character arc, and even dealing with other historical events, such as underground brainwashing and corrupt governments. Yet, despite the various themes and dark occurrences that this show goes in-depth about, A:TLA still manages to capture the attention of viewers from all ages, while still having a detailed, well-written plot intertwined with the illustration of various cultures. I really cannot stress enough how much I love this show, and being able to rewatch it on Netflix after years and years of not remembering it was an amazing experience for me. So please, if you haven’t seen this show, I am urging you to watch it, and I hope that you too can embark on this journey as Team Avatar works together to save the world!!

Yip yip!

-Juianne T.

Magician by Raymond Feist

Countless tales of the struggle between good and evil in Medieval times have been told. But it takes a true artisan to delve into not only fanciful creatures but other worlds as well. Raymond Feist does this masterfully.

This book is a classic in the realm of fantasy and adventure. It has been captivating readers for more than 30 years. After reading it, I understand its appeal. The author creates parallel universes that are enthralling. A rift opens in the Kingdom, and they are attacked by the Tsurani. The Tsurani have no metal in their world, however, they are rich with magicians. These magicians are powerful and wreak havoc wherever they go. There are also many Kingdom characters who are instrumental in the survival of their world. We watch as they grow and change throughout the course of the invasion transforming to meet each challenge. There is no lack of adventure.

Don’t be put off by the length of this book (841 pages!) It will draw you in and keep your attention as you live their story. Sometimes, it is hard to keep track of all the characters, but the resolution ties all the strings together at the end and makes it worthwhile.

I recommend this book if you are someone who enjoys fantasy, adventure and doesn’t mind conflict. I give it 4 stars out of 5.

Also note, that this is the first in a series of many books that continue the Riftwar Saga.

-Elijah Y.

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

Mokhtar Alkhanshali stands at the door of a San Francisco apartment building, day after day. As the doors swing open and close at the push of a button, Alkhanshali feels his life dwindle away. Having climbed the rungs of society from his childhood in the ghetto streets of the Tenderloin district, as the son of Yemeni immigrants, Alkhanshali’s lofty dreams and aspirations seem to have only amounted to the title of “lobby ambassador.” Unironically, he resembled a cup of Yemeni coffee. Although the coffee bean originated in Yemen, around five hundred years ago, today it is deemed some of the worst in the world. Determined to restore its honor, as well as his own passion, Alkhanshali set off on a hero’s journey. Across years, war-torn lands, rebel attacks, and surprisingly trustworthy friends in low places, Alkhanshali made history upon his return in 2015. Dave Eggers, in his elemental narrative biographical style, cultivates Alkhanshali’s story in The Monk of Mokha.

Described by the New York Times as an odyssey, with sentences of “Orwellian clarity,” Dave Eggers’ writing is as equally memorable as the epic story itself. It leaves the reader searching for more, as the pertinence of the dangers Alkhashali overcame is timely. As he was wrapping up his business in Yemen, war broke out. Seeking out the American embassy, Alkhashali revealed serious snags in the help granted from his American citizenship. Due to the escalated situation, no Americans would be able to evacuate safely. His only option was to take the last resort, a thrilling, fictional-esque escape from the country. Framing Alkhashali’s struggle of race, religion, and manhood from childhood, Eggers retells an unforgettable story.

To judge is human nature. Picking up Dave Eggers’ beautifully illustrated hardback from a library shelf one day was simply a product of such judgment. Little did I know I would be sucked into a captivating world of real-life Yemeni-American hero in his classic rags to riches story. For the coffee lover, seeker of strong protagonists, or the biography consumer, Dave Eggers has written The Monk of Mokha for you.

-Maya S.

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download for free from Overdrive

Moonraker by Ian Fleming

Moonraker (novel) - Wikipedia

Sir Hugo Drax – war veteran, multi-millionaire, primary donor for Britain’s newest defense project, and…card cheater? When M requests the legendary 007, James Bond, to investigate this strange discrepancy, Bond thinks nothing of it but a lesson to teach an otherwise spotless man. But there is more to the ex-amnesiac turned benefactor than simply cheating at cards. 

As Bond delves deeper into the activities at the base of the praised Project Moonraker, Britain’s state-of-the-art defense system capable of targeting any European capital, scheduled to launch in less than a week, he realizes that some things are not as they seem. From the unusual German workers employed for construction to the mysterious death of the previous investigator, Bond must determine the truth behind both the Moonraker and its creator, Sir Hugo Drax…

Bond, however, is not alone in his endeavor. With the support of an undercover agent, Gala Brand, and, of course, MI6, he must race against time to discover the truth, which may be much, much darker than even 007 could have ever predicted…

Ian Fleming’s Moonraker, the third in the James Bond series, will not disappoint fans of 007. With plot twists and action sequences galore, Fleming manages to glorify every aspect of Bond’s newest case, from a brilliant game of bridge to the saving of millions of lives. Arguably the best Bond novel (definitely my favorite), Moonraker is a book that will be near impossible to put down.

-Mahak M.

Moonraker by Ian Fleming is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Sky: Children of the Light

Sky: Children of the Light is a very fun game. 

The stars have fallen. The darkness has conquered the light. You have a character in the game which is trying to help bring back the light. You must overcome many difficult challenges as your character pushes onward in the dark, guided by you. Who knows if you will succeed? Or will you become a star like the rest before you complete your mission? Play the game to find out!

This game is such an amazing game because of the storyline, which plays a big part in Sky: Children of the Light. However, since the graphics are so convincing, they use up a lot of your battery. So, you can change the graphics resolution so that it does not use up as much of your battery.

Tips and Tricks: Keep in mind that the Children of the Light, shown by golden glowing children throughout the levels, are usually found in places off the main path, or places which are hard to reach. Don’t be afraid to explore! Even if you get lost, you can release a call to help you find your way back. You can do this by tapping on your character to release a small call. You can also hold your character until they crouch, then release them for a much louder call. Your call will show you where the temple is, or where nearby players are. A call is extremely useful.

Candles: Every day there will be two candles in front of the door to a level. In that level, there are big bundles of candles. By lighting them, you can get candle wax, which is later used to forge a candle. If you can’t see two candles in front of a door/portal, that may be because you have not unlocked the level which has those candles. You can use candles to purchase hearts to buy things like capes, or you can use candles to buy other cosmetic items like hairstyles or spells. 

Seasons: Every couple months, a new season will begin. You can find the seasonal spirits and live through their memories, earning a new emote, stance, or call. During every season, you can find seasonal candles throughout the levels and light them for some seasonal candle wax. A seasonal candle can be used to buy cosmetics or level up emotes from a seasonal spirit. Each season is different, so seasonal candles reset every season. If you can’t get one of the seasonal spirits before they leave, sometimes some seasonal spirits from past seasons will come back to visit, known as a traveling spirit. 

Energy: You will receive more energy from children of the light, which are golden glowing children throughout all of the levels. Land roughly, hitting a rough surface, being exposed to rain, infected water, or being attacked by crabs or krill are all ways to drain your energy and to even lose the children of the light which are with you. 

Once all of your energy is gone, your light begins to drain, indicated by a flame symbol at the top of your screen. After your light drains, if you still continue hurting your character, you can lose winged light. Prevent this by trying to always have as much energy and light as possible.

So, all in all, Sky: Children of the Light is a great game. I would strongly recommend you to try out the game. I still enjoy playing the game, although I have already finished it! It is so fun to explore the varying areas.

Game Rating: 10/10

– Peri A.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Gone with the Wind (novel) - Wikipedia

Gone with the Wind is a novel written by American writer Margaret Mitchell, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937. Set in Atlanta and a nearby plantation, the novel depicts life in southern America before and after the Civil War. Scarlett, Rhett, Ashley, Melanie, and the rest of the southerners are at the center of the story. Their customs and manners, words and deeds, spiritual concepts, and political attitudes, through the entanglement of love between Scarlett and Rhett, successfully depicted the Civil War led by Lincoln and the social life in the southern area of the United States.

The Civil War destroyed the economy of Georgia and the whole South. Slaves were freed and the good old days of slave owners were gone. In order to survive, they had to put down their pride and struggle, or they would die, and even the elite of Alanta would have to condescend to selling cakes and driving wagons. Feminist literature began in the 19th century and flourished in the 20th century. The rapid development of feminism is closely related to the social environment and historical background at that time. As the ideas of liberty, equality, fraternity and natural human rights advocated by the French Revolution rapidly gained popularity throughout the world, a feminist movement began to fight for women’s equality in politics, economy, education and other aspects from the 1830s. Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, published in 1936, was written under such circumstances.

In the past, the author used to create a single and prominent character, that is, the positive character is brilliant, without any shortcomings, while the negative character is usually full of dark, cunning, and comes with a callous nature. However, Gone with the Wind breaks this way of description. The characters presented in the novel are the combination of positive and negative dispositions. This combination of personalities not only manifests the characteristics of each character in a round and vivid way, but also reveals a personal change brought by social upheaval in a deeper level.

-Coreen C.

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Price of Admission by Daniel Golden

The Price of Admission (Updated Edition): How America's Ruling ...

This book was recommended to me by my friend who accidentally found this book online while she was exploring her college options as a student who needs financial aid. I wasn’t exactly drawn to reading this book at first simply by looking at its title. The United States of American is a nation where equality, justice, and freedom prevail, I thought. But curiosity still prompted me to read the first few pages of this novel and I was truly surprised at how much the rich and wealthy alumnus parents manipulate college acceptance officers to help enroll their children in the Ivy League universities.

I didn’t feel bitter because of the rich kids who, with mediocre academic records and criminal offenses managed to get into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford. Well, life is unfair, and their parents just naturally are more powerful and connected to tycoons who with a phone call ensures the matriculation of a child into these universities. What I felt to be a decline in democracy, meritocracy, and most importantly, the prominence of the American education system—one which the U.S. proclaims to be of the top in terms of its position in the world—is the fact that scholarly institutions are no longer willing to discover talent and support intellectual efforts from the rough and lower socioeconomic tiers.

Wealthy legacy and children of generous donors occupy spots that they don’t deserve. Perhaps they don’t even think how many nights did students from working and middle class spent studying instead of partying like them. Is the advancement of education really still the major goal and core of private institutions, or in maintaining their status in the academic community and attracting tycoons their one and only aim now?

-Coreen C. 

Online Schooling

Online Schooling. An idea most never thought about, but now is a reality for almost every student in the United States in the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Many people that I know do not like any aspect of the whole concept. They find themself always distracted and unmotivated to sit in front of a computer for hours. But due to an unexpected part of our education, I have found myself taking the opportunity of having so much more free time. Personally, I have a fairly large family. With 3 other siblings all trying to stream a class at the same time. But unlike most, I have a different view on the idea of schooling on a computer.

Though it may be an unpopular opinion, I have found myself striving for the past 7 weeks of online schooling. Though I am taking many hard classes, having an online perspective is much more motivating for myself. My personal favorite aspect would be the pre-recorded lectures. Normally, I would find myself struggling to get down the important information that is being thrown at me at a very fast pace. But most of my teachers this year have been recording their lectures that students then watch on their own time. I find myself grasping the complicated concepts much faster due to the new aspect of being able to pause a lecture and write down information at your own pace.

Another factor of online schooling that seems to be going away for myself is procrastination. Normally on a school day, I would go to school around 6:50 am and not leave till about 5-8 pm. By the time I got home, I would be exhausted. Not mention my work would not start when I first got home. I would have to eat, then usually rest for a little bit of time before I could physically get myself to start work. But now, always being at home, I have found myself thriving even though I have hours of school work. Now, on a regular online school day, I get out about 1 pm and complete homework straight till about 11 pm. Give or take a couple 10-15 minute breaks. I just began to imagine having this much school work on top of my hours of extra curricular’s that I normally would have to balance.

If I could give any advice to anyone about to start their online journey would be this, take the opportunity of time that has been given, and improve your work habits. This time last year, I procrastinated beyond compare. I would always leave assignments untill the day they were due. Now, I have seemed to reinvent how I take my education. I complete the assignments the day they are assigned, and I ensure I fully understand the ins and outs of the concepts. Without this online schooling, I most likely would not be in as great of a position school wise as I am now. I am aware that my option is most likely far from most, I encourage for some to accept the new normal of most children’s education.

-Lilly G.