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Stuck at Home? Free Learning Resources for Teens

 

School’s closed, the Library’s closed, and there’s not a lot to do when you’re stuck in your house. Check out these free resources for lots of great ways to keep busy!

EBooks and EAudiobooks

MPPL’s E-Library offers a large selection of free eBooks, eAudiobooks, movies, and other terrific resources  All you need is your library card! 

No Library Card? The resources below are free – No card required! 

Audible Stories is now offering free audio stories for all ages. Stream them on your computer, phone, or tablet.

LibriVox offers free public domain audiobooks for download or online listening. 

Project Gutenberg is an online library of over 60,000 free ebooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks to download or read online. 

Scribd‘s library of magazines, ebooks, and audiobooks is offering users 30 days free, no credit card required.

Smashwords offers a selection of free self-published ebooks in epub, Kindle, and PDF formats. 

Read, Wonder, and Learn  – Author Kate Messner presents authors and illustrators read-alouds (ranging from picture books to young adult), mini-lessons on drawing and writing, and other activities. 

Browse OpenCulture’s index of free K-12 resources, ranging from free ebooks and audiobooks to online textbooks, world language lessons, videos and websites on a variety of academic subjects.

At-Home Learning Activities 

Get help with schoolwork and practice math or other skills with Tutor.com, available with your library card.

Free AP study tools from Fiveable 

Khan Academy offers free courses on many topics for learners at all levels, and a guide for parents and teachers using the site during school closures.

Scholastic Learn at Home features day-by-day projects for grades K-12.

Readwritethink includes activities and interactive lessons for students in grades K-12. You can filter by grade, activity, learning objective, and more. Many of the activities/lessons point to free information sources for the topic.  

Here’s a long list of education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings via KidsActivities.com 

Science at Home from Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry 

Learning Resources from the Field Museum 

TED-Ed educational videos from the folks who brought you TED Talks 

Creativity / The Arts 

Daily Writing Prompts  from the New York Times 

Comic Book Tutorials for Those Staying at Home During Coronavirus from the New York Times 

Comic Artist Jarrett Lerner offers activities like Finish this Comic, blank comic pages, and drawing/writing prompts.

Artists of any age will enjoy Mo Willems Lunch Doodles, mini drawing lessons from the Kennedy Center’s “Artist in Residence at Home.”

Try your hand at Online Art Lessons from Art for Kids   

Sight Reading Factory is offering a free trial of online sight-reading practice for vocal and instrumental musicians. 

Keep Dancing with free livestream dance classes for all ages. Class times, levels, and dance styles vary. 

Looking for Something Different? 

Relax and take care of you body with a little Yoga with Adriene.

Nike Run Club‘s free app offers running workouts for a variety of abilities and distances. 

Try Breakout.Edu‘s digital escape room games for grades K-12. 

Go on a Virtual Field Trip to a zoo, national park, the Louvre Museum, or the surface of Mars!

Take a Virtual Museum Tour.

Have you canceled Spring Break travel plans? Visit a Virtual Theme Park.

If you’re an animal lover, you’ll love San Diego Zoo’s Live Cams.

Prefer sea life? Try Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Live Cams — don’t miss our favorite, the Sea Otter Cam! 

Take a screen break with these Best Podcasts for Kids in elementary, middle, and high school.

If You Like…

The best and worst part of any great book is the end. If it’s a good ending, you get that satisfied feeling… that lasts until you realize that it’s OVER. Now what are you supposed to read?

Never fear, your trusty Teen Services Librarians are here with some great books to pair with that last one you loved!

Cover image: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

 

If you liked An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir…

 

…try Blood and Sand by C. V. Wyk.

 

 

We Were Liars book cover

 

If you liked We Were Liars by E. Lockhart…

 

…try When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn.

 

 

For more great pairings, come see us at the Fiction / AV / Teen desk!

Play Ball

Baseball season is here! Check out these books about the old ball game….

A Season of Daring Greatly book coverA Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White

Eighteen-year-old Jill Cafferty just made history. Her high school’s star pitcher, she is now the first woman drafted by a major league baseball team. Only days after her high school graduation, she’ll join the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Class A Short Season team . . . but not everyone is happy to have her there. On top of the pressure heaped on every pitcher, Jill must deal with defying conventions and living up to impossible expectations, all while living away from home for the first time.

Tagged Out by Joyce Grant

The inner-city Toronto Blues baseball team is having a lousy year. Shortstop Nash and the Blues can’t seem to win. They especially hate losing to their archrivals, the rich kids of the Parkhill Pirates. When all-star player Jock joins the team, it looks like the Blues might be able to turn the season around. The only problem? When the Pirates find out that Jock is gay, they ambush Nash and Jock, and Nash has to decide if he wants to stand by his teammate.

The Bat Boy by Mike Lupica

Brian is living every baseball kid’s dream: he is a batboy for his hometown Major League team. Brian believes that it’s the perfect thing to bring him and his big-leaguer dad closer together. And if that weren’t enough, this is the season that Hank Bishop, Brian’s baseball hero, returns to the Tigers for the comeback of a lifetime. The summer couldn’t get much better! Until Hank Bishop starts to show his true colors, and Brian learns that sometimes life throws you a curveball.

the Prospect book coverThe Prospect by Jason Glaser

Nick Cosimo eats, breathes, and lives baseball. He’s a place-hitting catcher with a cannon for an arm and a calculator for a brain. Thanks to his keen eye, Nick is able to pick apart his opponents, taking advantage of their weaknesses. His teammates and coaches rely on his good instincts between the white lines. But when Nick spots a scout in the stands, everything changes. Will Nick alter his game plan to impress the scout enough to get drafted? Or will Nick put the team before himself?

Biggie by Derek E. Sullivan

Henry “Biggie” Abbott is the son of one of Finch, Iowa ’s most famous athletes. His father was a baseball legend and his step-dad is a close second. At an obese 300+ pounds though, Biggie himself prefers classroom success to sports. As a perfectionist, he doesn’t understand why someone would be happy getting two hits in five trips to the plate. “Forty percent, that’s an F in any class,” he would say. As Biggie’s junior year begins, the girl of his dreams, Annabelle Rivers, starts to flirt with him. Hundreds of people have told him to follow in his dad’s footsteps and play ball, but Annabelle might be the one to actually convince him to try.

Game Seven by Paul Volponi

Since he was ten, Julio has lived in the shadow of his famous father. Not just because Julio Senior is a pitcher for the Miami Marlins, but because he fled Cuba to play professional baseball, leaving his Julio and his mother and sister branded as the family of a traitor.

Now sixteen, Julio dreams of playing for Cuba’s national team—until he finds out his father’s defection may destroy his chances. When he’s given the opportunity to flee Cuba, he has to make the toughest choice of his life. Can he abandon his family, just like his Papi did? Will freedom be worth the perilous journey and risking prison if he’s caught? Will his Papi be waiting for him on the other shore—or, with the Marlins in the World Series against the Yankees, has Julio Senior forgotten about his son?

More Great Books – The Printz Award

In our last post we profiled the American Library Association’s 2018 Best Nonfiction Books for Teens. Today we’re looking at another category of Best Young Adult books – the Michael L.Printz Awards.

The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. It is named for a Topeka, Kansas school librarian who was a long-time active member of the Young Adult Library Services Association.  The award is sponsored by Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association.

Be sure to stop by the library to get a copy of these award winners!

WINNER

we are okay book coverWe Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

HONOR BOOKS

Long Way Down book coverLong Way Down by Jason Reynolds
You can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? The whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

 

 

The Hate U Give book coverThe Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Strange the Dreamer book cover

 

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around–and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old, he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the form of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever. What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? And who is the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams?

 

 

Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothersvincent and theo: the van gogh brothers book cover by Deborah Heiligman
The deep and enduring friendship between Vincent and Theo Van Gogh shaped both brothers’ lives. Confidant, champion, sympathizer, friend―Theo supported Vincent as he struggled to find his path in life. They shared everything, swapping stories of lovers and friends, successes and disappointments, dreams and ambitions. Meticulously researched, drawing on the 658 letters Vincent wrote to Theo during his lifetime, Deborah Heiligman weaves a tale of two lives intertwined and the extraordinary love of the Van Gogh brothers.

It’s True – These Books Are The Best

Today the American Library Association awarded the top young adult books published last year. Have you read these nonfiction winners? If not, be sure to check them out!

The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction was awarded to Deborah Heiligman for her book Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers.

The deep and enduring friendship between Vincent and Theo Van Gogh shaped both brothers’ lives. Confidant, champion, sympathizer, friend―Theo supported Vincent as he struggled to find his path in life. They shared everything, swapping stories of lovers and friends, successes and disappointments, dreams and ambitions. Meticulously researched, drawing on the 658 letters Vincent wrote to Theo during his lifetime, Deborah Heiligman weaves a tale of two lives intertwined and the extraordinary love of the Van Gogh brothers.

 

Be sure to read these finalists too!

 

#NotYourPrincess edited by Mary Beth Leatherdale.

Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. In the same style as the best-selling Dreaming in Indian, #NotYourPrincess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.

 

Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos.

Robert Capa and Gerda Taro were young Jewish refugees, idealistic and in love. As photographers in the 1930s, they set off to capture their generation’s most important struggle―the fight against fascism. Among the first to depict modern warfare, Capa, Taro, and their friend Chim took powerful photographs of the Spanish Civil War that went straight from the action to news magazines. They brought a human face to war with their iconic shots of a loving couple resting, a wary orphan, and, always, more and more refugees―people driven from their homes by bombs, guns, and planes.

 

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changes Their Lives by Dashka Slater

One teenager in a skirt.
One teenager with a lighter.
One moment that changes both of their lives forever. If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.

 

The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked and Found by Martin W. Sandler

The 1650s to the 1730s marked the golden age of piracy, when fearsome pirates like Blackbeard ruled the waves, seeking not only treasure but also large and fast ships to carry it. The Whydah was just such a ship, built to ply the Triangular Trade route, which it did until one of the greediest pirates of all, Black Sam Bellamy, commandeered it. Filling the ship to capacity with treasure, Bellamy hoped to retire with his bounty — but in 1717 the ship sank in a storm off Cape Cod. For more than two hundred years, the wreck of the Whydah (and the riches that went down with it) eluded treasure seekers, until the ship was finally found in 1984 by marine archaeologists. The artifacts brought up from the ocean floor are priceless, both in value and in the picture they reveal of life in that much-mythologized era, changing much of what we know about pirates.