by Stephanie C., Main Library
On Saturday, August 13th, a gathering was held at The Main Library to celebrate the winners of The City Library's 2nd annual Teen Poetry Contest.
The contest invites students entering grades 9-12 to submit a poem of 500 words or less. This year's theme was "Oceans of Possibilities."
Three awards were given in each category (9th/10th Grade and 11th/12th Grade), 1st, 2nd, and Honorable Mention. 1st Place winners received a $100 prize, and 2nd Place winners received a $50 prize.
Five of this year's winners were able to attend on Saturday to read their poems. The 2022 9th & 10th Grade winners are:
The 11th & 12th Grade winners are:
You can read all of the award-winning poems in The City Library's digital collection on BiblioBoard, and we've also included them here below.
Congratulations to all of the winners and participants of the 2022 Teen Poetry Contest!
Dive Through Crystal
by Erika Prasthofer (10th Grade)
Dive through crystal, pyramid-spike
ripples of tourmaline blue and teal refractions.
Swallow glassy gurgles, splintering
the throat; let apexes and edges clank,
pinch to shard, crackle, peel fleshy drapes
from their adhesion to grenadine.
Shingling downward, each pastel, cloudy-tart
ceramic, stretchy remnant piles up, clingy
textiles in the windpipe.
A gasp in salty water gushes
assortments of polygon webs of flesh
outwards, provoking whirlpool current flows,
tweedling the webs as though within a vacant,
pale dreidel that rectifies to threads, frail
twines that sink, settle:
coral’s dust, misty flush.
Drown breath in beauty, bitter ultimatum.
Respiration perished in rhinestone particle,
absence of suspension and subtle drift,
a pulse meant to sift
across this vast microcosm
of bubbles, blubber, and barnacle.
Is there hope that printed ink on modern parchment
is natural, sharp, intricate enough to inhale, inject,
sting, and swallow through even the buzzing,
dingy conscience? ...where sensation tends to suffocate,
leaking to cement across rectangular shield glass,
flat, sleek, black until flashing skips of imagery--
a different kind of blue projection
than the ocean or the diver’s sapphire studs--
a blue bound to shed the throat, the voice
of sentimentality and instinctual conviction,
the entrance of energy and fuel to heed,
to a state of elasticity, indifference: to numbness.
Mahogany and glossy-amber locks,
golden-rouge, chalky-metallic luster
are chopped like seaweed root
from snail, conch, and oyster prick--
from basalt and serpentine,
from surface-churning havoc
of the sailor’s rudder.
They tickle her ghostly, whitened cheek
and arise, hanging
midway in slanted wavers, ruffling
across water’s turquoise, a gradient
that’s sun rim skims azure
with split ends and abrasions
where dandruff falls like ashes.
When do we suffer, halt the envy,
expectation towards numbness
and illusory emotion and color?
Maybe I will dive through crystal, pyramid-spike
ripples of tourmaline blue and teal refractions:
through nothing but a sheet of paper, memory,
and a dose of hyperphantasia
to sew, stitch, string beauty, mahogany locks,
with the needle of the dolphin
through the surface gems,
and it is then that one may take a gasp,
breathe heavily again.
by Samwise Risley (10th Grade)
Sing me a song of want my siren
Sing me a song of needs
Sing me a song of all I love
Then pull me beneath your seas
Tell me of all that which I hold dear
Show me the things I love
Sing me your song from deep below
And I’ll listen from above
Help me to soften a hardened heart
And show me what I desire
Then pull me down to deepest seas
To join your siren choir
I’ve been out at sea for far too long
I long for something new
Tell me the things I should do next
My fate is up to you
Sing me possibilities
Of all that I could do
Let me learn from your age-old song
And I’ll gladly leave with you
Devour me under the crashing waves
Drag me to the depths that you haunt
For I’d rather regret that which I never did
Than to never have known what I want
My Once Endless Ocean of Possibilities
by Lucy McKillen (9th Grade)
Everything is open and on the tip of my finger - beckoning me forward like the open
My choices, my decisions - like the moment before I plunge into the cold salty water
The things then forced unto me
The pressure - the weight of all of the water on top of me as I'm being pulled down,
The ocean of possibilities, My ocean of possibilities now their ocean of
New possibilities - the darkness and limit of my previous choices
Not possibilities, challenges
Not challenges, a duty
The vast endless ocean turned into a small dark enclosure
My endless ocean of possibilities
Now my burden
Not people, family
Not family, my controllers
My once infinite ocean turned into a small pond of solitude to carry myself forward with
people looking toward -
Their ocean of possibilities
In Another World, the Titanic
by Sanskriti Negi (11th Grade)
In another world, the Titanic,
Peaceably sailed away,
Past the ice and dust and rock
And lived to see the day.
In another world, the Titanic,
Never left its English shores,
The great ship was deemed unfit to sail–
And would sail nevermore.
In another world, the Titanic,
Was never thought nor conceived,
So large a ship, so large a thought
A beast of a different breed.
In this world, the Titanic,
Sailed far away,
Never made it back home,
But it is where it will stay:
Beneath the icy ocean
Breathing beneath the waves,
A Rotting, sinking metal corpse,
Did it recall the glory days?
Setting the Sea to Find Me
by Keila Torres (11th Grade)
I wake up to see the sun’s rays
To feel the rough crashes of the sea
And touch the soft sand beneath Me
How long have I been here?
How did I get here?
My ship is nowhere to be found,
And my belongings just lay on the ground
Is this my final destination?
I do not know.
I look around
Trees span for miles
And I spot a folder of files
I pick it up, open it, and in a blink of an eye
I’m trapped under a bright blue sky
Dragged down, and down, and down
I do not put up a fight
I’m calm and alright
I hear voices telling me to drown, drown, drown
But I can breath just fine
In fact, I take a deep breath
And feel it through my spine
I’m not scared
And I realize
I didn’t have to set the sea
Because the sea is Me
by Indigo Armstrong (11th Grade)
I’ve come, as many others
Looking to the seas, as they rush outwards
Stumble inwards, and endless cycle as they chase their own inspiration
Their muse to spark that motivation, The sun departs floating down as to let sleep take
As the moon rises above, the best light in the sky
It glints in the waters as waves reach up trying to fly, I still stand in my lonesome
The sand wedges itself between my toes, I dream to achieve that undying motivation
Many people get lost with no inspiration, wishing for such motivation
The ocean goes on not in desperation, not for fame, to gloat, to achieve
It is unaware of itself unable to see it’s glory, unable to leave
Getting lost in our woes
I came to find to find my muse, yet I find I am at a loss
Toss, tossing stones into the waters It becomes clear
As the sun arises coming near, The sea cannot refuse
I however, I refuse to rely solely on the motivation the muse can provide me
I will not forever go outward only to fall back and never fully be, I use any motivation yet
Determination, will be what I rely on
The ocean holds endless possibilities, yet forever will follow towards and away from the
Such a bore, I will wield motivation that comes my way
Yet wield my determination to slay, no more pointless remedies
I see my vast possibilities before me a different sea on it’s own, the determination I can
by Saia, Glendale Branch
With a bit more free time this summer, I was able to dive into some epic manga series. Here are my top five manga that I have enjoyed over the past few months. Some of these titles I have read because I started watching the anime online or they have been recommended to me by other teens. What are your top 5 Manga reads for the summer?
Monsters called "kaiju" have been appearing around Japan for many years. To combat these beasts, an elite military unit known as the Defense Corps risks their lives daily to protect civilians. Once a creature is killed, "sweepers"—working under the Professional Kaiju Cleaner Corporation—are left to dispose of its remains.
Kafka Hibino is unsatisfied with his job as a sweeper. From a young age, he has aspired to join the Defense Corps and kill kaiju for a living. After a few failed attempts, however, he gave up on his dreams and resigned himself to the mediocrity that provided a decent paycheck.
Following a chain of unfortunate events, Kafka encounters a parasite-type kaiju that forces its way in through his mouth—turning him into a humanoid monster. With his newfound powers, Kafka aims to give his lifelong dream a final try. -Fandom.com
Each person is born with a soul, its plan determining ninety percent of one's life. People who stray from their soul's fate, whether it be through an unfortunate accident or an unplanned murder, leave behind a shattered "psycholith"—a rock that is a manifestation of their soul. When these are left behind, they stain the environment, ultimately creating "negative points"—places that interfere with a soul's plan, causing a vicious cycle of misfortune.
The righteous Sakurai and apathetic Amano are a pair of specialists tasked with ensuring that souls follow their natural paths. To that end, as part of Psycholith Collection & Cleaning, they collect and dispose of shattered psycholiths and clean up stains. But there is another side to their job, one with moral ambiguity. They must also prevent psycholiths from shattering—even if that entails killing the soul's host.- MAL
Nene Yashiro, a first-year high-school student who loves the occult and wishes for a boyfriend, summons the Seventh and most famous Wonder, "Hanako-san of the Toilet", the spirit of a girl who allegedly haunts the bathroom and can grant wishes for the right price. Upon summoning her, Nene discovers that "Hanako-san" is nothing like the rumors say; Hanako-san is a boy. With a turn of events, she is spiritually bound to Hanako and becomes his assistant, helping him destroy evil supernaturals and change rumors in order to maintain the balance between the spirit world and the human world. Along the way, Nene learns about her connection to the spirit world and the dark secrets regarding Hanako and his past.- Wiki
Who would have ever thought that the most feared gangster of his time now spends his days as a modest househusband? Seemingly giving up the way of the yakuza, the legendary "Immortal Dragon" Tatsu, best known for his prolific skirmishes against rival gangs, has abruptly vanished. Unbeknownst to most, however, Tatsu is currently staying at an apartment with his wife, doing his best to live a peaceful life.
Donning his trusty apron, Tatsu is now striving to become an efficient homemaker. Because of this, he has mastered the required skills—be it cooking the most delicious dishes, making sure to get the best deals at supermarkets, and everything in between—garnering the surprise of both of his former subordinates and enemies alike. Despite being a man with quite a controversial past, Tatsu's new way of life will only be more eccentric from here on out! -MAL
Spontaneous Human Combustion: a chaotic phenomenon that has plagued humanity for years, randomly transforming ordinary people into flaming, violent creatures known as Infernals. While Infernals make up the first-generation accounts of Human Combustion, the second and third generations became known as pyrokinetics—people gifted with the ability to manipulate and control their flames while remaining human. To combat the Infernal threat and discover the cause, the Tokyo Armed Forces, Fire Defense Agency, and Holy Church of Sol produced their answer: the Special Fire Force.
Young and eager third-generation pyrokinetic Shinra Kusakabe, nicknamed Devil's Footprints for his explosive ability to ignite his feet at will, becomes a member of the lively Special Fire Force Company 8. Upholding the brigade's duty to extinguish the blazing Infernals and lay their souls to rest, Shinra is determined to become a hero who will save the lives of those threatened by the flame terror. -MAL
by Becca, Main Library
If you've been following our posts this summer, you're probably starting to wonder "Gosh, just how many volunteers does The City Library have?" That's a good question. This year we have just over 80 incredible teen volunteers, and that's not counting the adult volunteers that help out from time to time at our branches. Neat right? Read on to meet the Teen Squad volunteers working at the Main Library this summer.
Many thanks to the rest of our Main Library Teen Squad crew!
by Stephanie H., Sprague Branch
Greetings! This is Sprague’s 2022 Teen Squad Lineup! This year our Teen Squad have helped sign up patrons, packed seeds for the seed library and put together Take and Makes! The staff and community members at Sprague have all complimented the teens on their hard work and professionalism!
Hello! I am the Teen Services Librarian at Sprague. My favorite book genres are horror and sci-fi. I am a big champion of wearing socks with sandals
Greetings dear readers of this paragraph, let me introduce myself. I am Leif, also known as Leif the Great, the Ancient One, or perhaps the destroyer of worlds. I am one of the wonderful people volunteering for Teen Squad this year! As you likely don’t know me let me enthrall you with some tid bits about myself. First and foremost, I am the biggest nerd you will ever meet, though that was likely apparent from what I have written above. As part of my nerdom I play the classic role-playing game known as Dungeons and Dragons, partake in many a virtual game, read each and every fantasy book I can find, as well as even doing a bit of sword fighting on the side. In addition to my more academic activities of course. But most importantly I am a Teen Squad volunteer, and happy to spend my summer days enjoying all that the library has to offer. I hope to see you readers soon, but until then may good fortune and a better book always be with you!
by Stephanie C., Main Library
Every summer we ask our Teen Squad volunteers what their favorite books are and what books they would recommend to other teens. That list goes up on our website August 1st and you can click directly on a title to reserve a copy for yourself. While you wait, here's a sneak peek and some quotes from our volunteers about why these books are their favorites.
Middle Grade Fiction
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
"Hatchet is a book where a boy named Brian has to figure out how to survive in the wilderness. Brian got in a plane crash and landed in a river and he's hoping someone will save him." - Mafazah
Liberty by Kirby Larson
"For my recommendation I would definitely choose Liberty by Kirby Larson. It's a book about a kid with Polio during the WWII era. I've seen very little books that happen during the WWII timeline without the main character being directly involved in the war. It will leave you thinking and is a great read" - Jasmine
Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson
"A cute, epistolary novel told entierly in text messages. A quick read, and always makes my little heart so happy everytime I read it. A tropey but adorable case of mistaken identity." - Amelie
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter
"I really enjoy this book because the story is unpredictable and you never know what's gonna happen next. I also like this book because of the amazing detail it has. This story has great romance, action, and drama that keeps the story flowing and exciting." - Mads
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
"They Both Die at the End is a sad book about two teenage boys who get a call that they are going to die, and they don't know how or when they will die, so they have to live the day to the fullest. So, they go on an adventure and find themselves and the ending will break your heart." - Kaylee
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
"This was a really great book. I would recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy. It had a combination of important themes, modern day issues, and magic. It was a beautifully written book with an interesting language style. The characters were very well developed and had realistic personalities, but it also had a lot of action. It was an exciting, fast-paced book that also developed themes and characters very well. The main basis of the story was magic and witches, but it also focused on themes like forgiveness, determination, perseverance, and love. Even though it is set in the 1800s, it talked about important topics such as racism, LGBTQ+ rights, women's rights, and worker's rights. I really enjoyed this book, and it had a good combination of deep, serious topics, as well as fun fantasy and magic." - Ria
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
"This is my favorite book because it is soft, bitter and tender, and more intimate than most novels can imagine to be. Written as a letter to an illiterate mother from her son, it follows the story of a Vietnamese immigrant family, and of which is fresh, vulnerable and ceaseless, defiant of form as it blends poetry and fiction - to call it only a book feels like an understatement when it feels so alive."
And introducing Chapman’s 2022 Summer Teen Squad!
Beatrice has been an amazing member of Teen Squad at the Chapman Branch for 5 years! She is excited to return to the branch this summer and work with the staff to serve our diverse community. This year Beatrice is planning on helping with Super Summer Challenge, changing up and maintaining some of the displays and helping with planning fall programming at the branch. She loves the TV shows Parks and Recreation and The Office and reading! (Of course!)
Hello! My name is Izobel and my passion is art and storytelling. I’m hoping to write a comic to help other people struggling with anxiety, and I’m excited to continue helping out the library!
Blog posts are written by our Teen Librarians and, in some cases, teens like you. Visit your About page to learn more about our Teen Librarians.