Thursday, May 29, 2014

Street Pharm by Allison van Diepen

Ty Johnson is at the top of his game, following in his father’s footsteps and making a fortune selling drugs. Even though his dad is serving time, Ty still gets plenty of advice from him -- including the name and phone number of a hitman to take out Darkman, a new competitor. But Ty is not just like his father and the decision he makes about Darkman and his crew might just cost him his life.

Ty struggles to find a balance between keeping his rep as “King of the Streets” and having an ordinary high school life. While his dad is relying on him to keep the business running, his mom insists he leave the streets alone. When he meets the girl of his dreams, he realizes he might need to leave his street life behind before she discovers who he really is. Street Pharm has long been a favorite among students at Passages Academy; it ranks among the most popular novels in our libraries. --Anja Kennedy

van Diepen, Allison.  Street Pharm.  New York: Simon Pulse-Simon & Schuster, 2006.  Print.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Occupational Outlook Handbook 2013-2014

Do you know the median salary of a fashion designer? (It was about $64,000 per year in 2010.)  How about the education necessary to become an athletic trainer? (A Bachelor’s degree.)  The Occupational Outlook Handbook has the answers to these and many more career-related questions.  This giant tome handily groups careers into broad categories such as art and design, healthcare, and legal occupations.  Within each section, the pages for individual occupations include quick facts (ie, median pay and necessary education) as well as more detailed writeups about the common duties of the position, workplace environment, and job outlook.  For students unable to access the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ site, it is a very useful tool.  Most readers, adult and teen, are likely to find the breadth of occupations eye- and mind-opening.   Strongly recommended for teens seeking career information and all instructors addressing career exploration. --Regan Schwartz

US Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook 2013-2014. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2012. Print.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Lure by Lynne Ewing

Fierce and independent Blaise finds herself feeling torn.  Pulled between conflicting loyalties, her painful past and her dreams for the future; self-preservation and sacrifice,  Blaise has a lot to negotiate.  Growing up in a dangerous neighborhood ruled by Trek, the leader of Core 9, Blaise and her friends see a world of limited options and tragically short futures.  Surrounded by violence, they make decisions for today, not tomorrow.  With every day a struggle to survive, can they find a way to reclaim control over their lives?

The Lure offers a lot of action for readers looking for scenes of gritty street life.  Teachers and counselors may want to know that the book discusses sexual exploitation and includes gun and knife fights. --Regan Schwartz

Ewing, Lynne.  The Lure.  New York: Balzer + Bray, 2014. Print.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Slam Kicks: Basketball Sneakers that Changed the Game edited by Ben Osborne

With a simple, yet inviting cover and colorful photographs of sneakers and the basketball stars who wore them on every page, this new acquisition has quickly become one of the most popular books in the Bronx Hope library. In addition to the attention-grabbing pictures is a collection of articles ranging from sneaker collecting to the history of the Nike Air Jordan I. The articles may not be the initial draw for students, but because they’re written in an accessible style similar to what might be found in a magazine, students are likely to pick up some interesting facts about the basketball sneaker business just through browsing. Highly recommended for basketball and/or sneaker enthusiasts and reluctant readers of all ages. --Anja Kennedy
Osborne, Ben, ed.  Slam Kicks: Basketball Sneakers that Changed the Game.  New York: Universe-Rizzoli, 2013.  Print.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids by Kip Fulbeck

This paperback volume containing arresting portraits of multiracial kids is picked up at least once a day in our library at Belmont.  Students pore over the small, matte images, regularly expressing their surprise and delight with the mixture lists, often the only text present in addition to the subject’s name.  Some of the portraits are accompanied by drawings done by the subjects themselves.  Occasionally, a portrait appears side-by-side with a quote from a parent about their child or thoughts on multiraciality.  These images and minimal text are bookended by an introduction from Fulbeck, a filmaker/photographer/spoken word performer/author, and a quote from Cher.  Adult readers may be interested in the foreword penned by Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, sister of President Barack Obama.  Student readers just go right to the portraits.  A great stress-free read for school libraries and conversation starter for teachers strategizing conversations on multiraciality. --Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Fulbeck, Kip.  Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids.  San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2010. Print.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Programming Spotlight: Poet Bob Holman

Yesterday PAL Belmont hosted a visit from poet/activist/professor/producer Bob Holman.  Holman, who has been described as “one of the most influential poets of New York City” and proved to be a master teacher visited two groups of students who had been prepared by teachers Mackenzie Magee and Erica Nadel.  Said one student participant: “ was excellent.”  We couldn't agree more.--Jessica Fenster-Sparber