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Hey teens, let’s talk! :)

I'm Taylor, one of the Youth Services librarians over at Central Library.

Cartoon Taylor

Each month at the Aurora Public Library, I cover a variety of topics for teens. This month’s blog is all about mental health.

Swing by the Aurora Central Library's teen area to browse books, resources, and/or activities related to the monthly topic.

Teen Talk Mental Health

What is Mental Health?

Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being. In simpler terms, mental health affects how we think, behave, and feel—which then can affect our daily lives, relationships, and physical health. Conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, and addiction (as a few examples), can turn a person’s daily life upside down.

Read more here:

Mental Health Is Isn't list

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” The WHO stress that mental health is “more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.” Peak mental health is about not only avoiding active conditions but also looking after ongoing wellness and happiness.

The 10 Tools for Living Mentally Healthy:
1. Connect with others
2. Stay positive
3. Get physically active
4. Help others
5. Get enough Sleep
6. Create joy and satisfaction
7. Eat well
8. Take care of your spirit
9. Deal better with hard times
10. Get professional help if you need it

Read more about how to incorporate these practices into your life here:

Mental Health Check

Never forget: Your mental health MATTERS.

Read more:

Explore books & eContent regarding mental health:

Resources are also available at Aurora Mental Health.

Check back next month for our next Teen Talk!

Come join me every Thursday at 4 p.m. for our weekly Teen Hang at the Aurora Central Library. I'd love to meet you and hear about what topics you’d like featured.

Taylor's signature
-Taylor (she/her)

Posted by [email protected]  On May 02, 2022 at 2:12 PM
Teen Talk. Photo of teens laughing together.
Hey teens, let’s talk! J

I'm Taylor, one of the Youth Services librarians at Aurora Central Library.  

Cartoon Taylor  
Each month at the Aurora Public Library, I cover a variety of topics for teens. This month’s blog is all about sexual health.
Swing by the Aurora Central Library's teen area to browse books, resources and activities related to the monthly topic. 

Text: Let's talk about sex. Pop art style of two people with hand cupped around mouth, like shouting.

April is STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) Awareness Month! I didn’t know this, but it seems so fitting given that this month’s blog post is all about sexual health. Let me begin by saying sexual health is not only about preventing STDs  it encompasses a whole range of topics related to your changing body, sexual relationships and overall health. 

Some of the things you will read in this blog post may be new to you, lead you to feel uncomfortable or awkward and have you asking more questions than you did before — and that is all okay! It’s normal. You are not alone in your feelings. This is a safe space. 

Real talk: Growing up I did not have access to a lot of information regarding my sexual health. This left me feeling a sense of personal shame, confused and even stupid at times. It also affected my physical health, leading to a handful of STDs as well as an unplanned pregnancy. I hope this blog post will help you feel more informed regarding your health as well as capable of having a conversation with a trusted adult if you need more information and questions answered. 

Graphic that reads Your Sexual Health Matters 

• has one of the most comprehensive lists I’ve seen regarding adolescent and teen sexual health. I’d highly recommend exploring this page to get some of your (potentially embarrassing) questions answered.

Sex, etc. has a sex ed dictionary with almost 400 words you need to know. -

Puberty is a time of emotional and physical change. You can feel out of control and confused at what is happening inside of you. However uncomfortable, awkward and scary it may be these feelings will not last forever and are all part of normal growth and development.

Graphic of what happens during puberty
Resources about Puberty
· Puberty Topics (Videos)
· Everything You Wanted to Know About Puberty
· Puberty & Development Information
· Puberty 101

"What is it about masturbation that provokes such negative reactions from so many people? Shame, silence and stigma are common adult reactions to the topic.

Yet, the topic of masturbation is consistently mentioned in all the groups of students with whom I’ve worked. Students often ask if it is okay. Silence from adults communicates stigma to our young people: masturbation is shameful and taboo. So, young people learn not to talk about it. They hide their questions and behavior from the adults who love and care for them. Our children develop unhealthy attitudes about the ways their bodies work and feel during puberty.

[I]t is normal if someone does masturbate, and it is also normal if someone does not masturbate. Whether or not a person masturbates is an individual choice” (Wendy Sellers, 2016).

Masturbation: Totally Normal (Video)

Healthy Relationships 
Graphic listing healthy signs and warning signs for relationships

· Healthy Relationships 
· 6 Simple Ways to Understand Consent (Video)
· Consent: What Does it Mean?
· How to Tell Your Partner What You’re Ready (or Not Ready) for Sexually

STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)
STDs come with a lot of stigma and shame… Why? Despite what you may think, more people have had an STD at some point in their life than not. 

While a handful of STDs are not a big deal if treated (usually just an antibiotic for a couple weeks), if left untreated they can severely impact your life. That is why it is important to get tested regularly if you are sexually active and communicate with any sexual partners you have.

· Free, Safe, & Confidential Testing
· Do You Have an STD? You're Not the Only One
· How To Tell Someone That You Have an STD or STI
· 10 Signs You May Have an STD or STI
· How Do Teen Couples Talk About STDs?

Unplanned pregnancy can be scary and overwhelming. There are three options: raising the child, having an abortion or placing the child for adoption. It is important remember that there is no “right” option, each one is a choice — a hard one, but still yours to make. 
· Pregnant?
· Experiencing an Unplanned Pregnancy? You have options.
· The Adoption Option
· Birth Mothers Share What They Want Adoptive Parents to Know

Birth Control
 Chart showing how well various forms of birth control work
What’s the Best Birth Control for Teens?

***The most effective way to prevent pregnancy and STDs is by practicing abstinence -- meaning not having sex or any intimate genital contact (including anal sex or oral sex).***

Explore books & eContent regarding sexual health: 

Check back next month for our next Teen Talk!  

Come join me every Thursday at 4 p.m. for our weekly Teen Hang at Aurora Central Library. I'd love to meet you and hear about what topics you’d like featured.  

Taylor's signature
-Taylor (she/her)

Posted by [email protected]  On Apr 05, 2022 at 9:33 AM
Teen Talk. Photo of teens laughing together.
Hey teens, let’s talk! 

I'm Taylor, one of the Youth Services librarians at Aurora Central Library.  
Cartoon Taylor  
Each month at the Aurora Public Library, I cover a variety of topics for teens. This month’s blog is all about self-love.  
Swing by the Aurora Central Library's teen area to browse books, resources, and activities related to the monthly topic. 

Cartoon of person hugging himself 

Self-love. We hear this term quite frequently nowadays, but… What does it really mean? How do we cultivate it? Why is it important?

Self-love: “regard for one's own well-being and happiness” –Oxford Dictionary 

Self love in heart in center. Phrases on colorful sections around the heart. Phrases include don't compare yourself, note the things you're proud of, let go of past mistakes, say yes to things you love, speak kindly to yourself and let yourself rest.

Self-Love and What It Means:

“Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual
growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness. Self-love means taking care of
your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. Self-love means not settling for less than you deserve.” 

The line that really sticks out to me in this definition is: “Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others.”

I struggle a lot with ignoring my own needs in order to remain “responsible, productive, or a good friend/partner” when it actually is hurting me and hinders my ability to show up for my friends, family and coworkers. It is easy to push, push, push and think we are doing what is right. However, our bodies and minds will find ways to slow us down and stop us if we are not paying attention to our needs. Practicing self-love and learning what you need is difficult and does not happen overnight. Remember to give yourself some grace and trust yourself. 

Examples of self-love:
• Talking to and about yourself with love
• Prioritizing yourself
• Giving yourself a break from self-judgement
• Trusting yourself
• Being true to yourself
• Being nice to yourself
• Setting healthy boundaries
• Forgiving yourself when you aren’t being true or nice to yourself
A list of various ways one can practice self-love

How to (Really) Practice Self Love: 4 Things to Remember:

“Self-love isn’t just saying yes to things that we enjoy, it’s saying no to things that don’t serve us. Is that thing you’re doing self-care or self-sabotage? Are you not responding to messages because you’re holding a boundary or are you not responding because you are withdrawing and isolating? Just like every other skill  we have to learn, it takes practice and constant work.”

While self-love sometimes is doing things like taking a bath, seeing friends, cooking a healthy meal—it also is about doing those hard things, like cutting out toxic people from your life, saying no to a commitment because you do not have the capacity to fulfill it, or following through on something challenging, even if you are nervous to try. It is about finding a balance between pushing yourself and trusting your own limits. That what is tricky. Sometimes self-love is saying no. Other times self-love is saying yes, even though you want to say no. It takes practice and intention to figure out what your true needs are and what your capacity is.

A list of examples of what self love might look like

Graphic showing elements of self-love

Other articles to explore:
A Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love
Self-Love is Tough, But Not Impossible
Why Self-Love is Important and How to Cultivate It

What's your self-love language? With lists of various examples. 

Check back in March for our next Teen Talk! 

Join me every Thursday at 4 p.m. for our weekly Teen Hang at Aurora Central Library (14949 E. Alameda Pkwy.). I'd love to meet you and hear about what topics you’d like featured. 
- Taylor is cursive

Posted by [email protected]  On Feb 08, 2022 at 12:36 PM
Magic with Aurora History Museum

🔮 Magicians visit the Metro Area ✨ 
America’s most famous magician, Harry Houdini appeared in Denver many times over his career. 
Houdini was known as a “magician,” but he specialized in escapes from dangerous situations. Houdini’s most famous escape trick in Denver involved being hung upside down and in chains from the balcony of the Denver Post building. Houdini was also known for speaking out against Spiritualists, who promised to communicate with the dead, and he drew a crowd when he spoke at Denver University. Aside from Houdini, Blackstone the magician, and escape artist Penny Conrad visited the Metro area.  

Advertising handbill, 1923 DU Clarion, Oct. 16, 1924
Advertising handbill, 1923                           DU Clarion, Oct. 16, 1924

Aurora Democrat, March 23, 1934 Aurora Advocate, Nov. 12, 1959
Aurora Democrat, March 23, 1934 Aurora Advocate, Nov 12, 1959

🎩 Magicians in Aurora 🐇 
The most famous magician to visit Aurora might not be someone you recognize today, but MacDonald Birch was popular in the 1930s.   Source: Aurora Democrat Newspaper, Sept. 23, 1938 

Birch - Famous Magician Thurstons Successor Coming

Situations wanted
Aurora had its own homegrown magicians too. Two teenagers were known around town as magicians for hire. They received local press coverage and placed ads in the classified section of newspapers to find gigs around town. 

Bill Klibbe was featured in the Aurora Advocate Feb. 14, 1963. 

Bill Klibbe article

Mark Merrill was another young Aurora magician who was featured in the Aurora Advocate on Feb 25, 1970 and advertised in the same paper on February, 25, 1970. 
Mark Merrill press articles and photos

Want to learn more fun facts about Aurora's past? Visit the Aurora History Museum! More info at

Explore A World of Magic, presented by Fitzsimons Credit Union, here.
Posted by [email protected]  On Feb 05, 2022 at 1:14 PM
Breaking Down Barriers. Image of castle. Aurora Public Library logo.

Breaking Down LGBTQA+ Barriers in Teen and Adult Fiction

“Cemetery Boys” by Aiden Thomas 
Cover of "Cemetery Boys"Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him. 
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free. 
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave. 

“Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell 
Cover of "Carry On"Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen. 
That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right. 
Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.  

“The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” by Mackenzi Lee 
Cover of "A Gentlemen's Guide to Vice and Virtue"Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men. 
But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy. 
Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores. 

“Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction” by Brit Mandelo 
Cover of "Beyond Binary"Speculative fiction is the literature of questions, of challenges and imagination, and what better to question than the ways in which gender and sexuality have been rigidly defined, partitioned off, put in little boxes? These seventeen stories explore the ways in which identity can go beyond binary from space colonies to small college towns, from angels to androids, and from a magical past to other worlds entirely, the authors in this collection have brought to life wonderful tales starring people who proudly define (and redefine) their own genders, sexualities, identities, and so much else in between. 



“Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time” by Hope Nicholson 
Cover of "Love Beyond"Love Beyond, Body, Space, and Time" is a collection of indigenous science fiction and urban fantasy focusing on LGBT and two-spirit characters. These stories range from a transgender woman trying an experimental transition medication to young lovers separated through decades and meeting far in their own future. These are stories of machines and magic, love, and self-love. 



Breaking Down Protagonists of Color Barriers in Teen and Adult Fiction

“Dread Nation” by Justina Ireland 
Cover of "Dread Nation"Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations. 

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems. 

“Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi 
Cover of "Children of Blood and Bone"Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. 
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. 
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.  

“Legendborn” by Tracy Deonn 
Cover of "Legendborn"After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus. 
A flying demon feeding on human energies. 
A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down. 
And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw. 
The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates. 
She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.  

“The Gilda Stories” by Jewelle Gomez 
Cover of "The Gilda Stories"The winner of two Lambda Literary Awards (fiction and science fiction) The Gilda Stories is a very lesbian American odyssey. Escaping from slavery in the 1850s Gilda's longing for kinship and community grows over two hundred years. Her induction into a family of benevolent vampyres takes her on an adventurous and dangerous journey full of loud laughter and subtle terror.  


“The Poppy War” by R. F. Kuang 
Cover of "The Poppy War"A brilliantly imaginative talent makes her exciting debut with this epic historical military fantasy, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic, in the tradition of Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy. 
When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising. 
But surprises aren’t always good.  


Breaking Down Non-Ableist Barriers in Teen and Adult Fiction

“The Nobleman's Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks” by Mackenzi Lee 
Cover of "The Nobleman's Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks"Return to the enchanting world of the Montague siblings in the finale to the New York Times bestselling and Stonewall Honor-winning series, featuring a teenage Adrian Montague as he desperately seeks the now adult Monty and Felicity—the older siblings he never knew he had. 

Adrian Montague has a bright future. The sole heir to his father's estate, he is an up and coming political writer and engaged to an activist who challenges and inspires him. But most young Lords aren't battling the debilitating anxiety Adrian secretly lives with, or the growing fear that it might consume him and all he hopes to accomplish. In the wake of his mother's unexpected death, Adrian is also concerned people will find out that he has the mental illness she struggled with for years. 

When a newly found keepsake of hers—a piece of a broken spyglass—comes into Adrian's possession, he's thrust into the past and finds himself face to face with an older brother he never knew he had. Henry "Monty" Montague has been living quietly in London for years, and his sudden appearance sends Adrian on a quest to unravel family secrets that only the spyglass can answer. 

In pursuit of answers about the relic, the brothers chart a course to locate their sister Felicity. But as they travel between the pirate courts of Rabat, Portuguese islands, the canals of Amsterdam, and into unknown Artic waters, the Montague siblings are thrown into one final adventure as they face a ghostly legend that threatens their whole family.  

“Magonia” by Maria Dahvana Headley 
Cover of "Magonia"Since she was a baby, Aza Ray Boyle has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name. 
Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found by another. Magonia. 
Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?  

“The Blade Itself” by Joe Abercrombie 
Cover of "The Blade Itself"Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he's on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian — leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies. 

Nobleman, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, Captain Jezal dan Luthar has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules. 

Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it. 

Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glokta a whole lot more difficult. 

Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood. 

Unpredictable, compelling, wickedly funny, and packed with unforgettable characters, The Blade Itself is noir fantasy with a real cutting edge.   

“A Curse so Dark and Lonely” by Brit Mandelo 
Cover of "A Curse So Dark and Lonely"Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope. 
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she's pulled into a magical world. 
Break the curse, save the kingdom. Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what's at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.   

“For a Muse of Fire” by Heidi Heilig 
Cover of "For a Muse of Fire"Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined—and safety will never seem so far away. Heidi Heilig creates a world inspired by Asian cultures and French colonialism.    


Breaking Down Queer and Found Family Barriers in Teen and Adult Fiction

“The Weight of the Stars” by K Ancrm 
cover of "The Weight of the Stars"Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends. 
One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system. 
Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more . . . 
In K. Ancrum’s signature poetic style, this slow-burn romance will have you savoring every page.  
"Every Heart a Doorway" by Seanan McGuire
Cover of "Every Heart a Doorway"Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children 
No Solicitations 
No Visitors 
No Quests 
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else. 
But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children. 
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world. 
But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter. 
No matter the cost.    
“Labyrinth Lost” by Zoraida Cordova 
Cover of "Labyrinth Lost"
Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo she can’t trust, but who may be Alex’s only chance at saving her family.   

“The Gilded Ones” by Namina Forna 
Cover of "The Gilded Ones"Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. 
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity--and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death. 
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki--near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire's greatest threat. 
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she's ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be--not even Deka herself.  

“The House in the Cerulean Sea” by TJ Klune 
Cover of "The House in the Cerulean Sea"A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret. 
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages. 
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days. 
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn. 
An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.   
Posted by [email protected]  On Feb 05, 2022 at 11:38 AM
If You Like That, Try This!

If You Like That, Try This!
by APL Staff

Looking for something new to read? We've got you covered! Check out our staff recommendations for your favorite fantasy books and series and discover something new! Each image links to the item in our catalog so you can play a hold and start enjoying as soon as possible. Let us know in the comments which books is your favorite and which ones you're adding to your to-read list!
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Posted by [email protected]  On Feb 05, 2022 at 8:57 AM
Teen Talk

Hey teens, let’s talk!
I'm Taylor, one of the Youth Services librarians at Aurora Central Library. 

Cartoon of woman with short hair, surrounded by rainbow border on corners

Each month at Aurora Public Library, I cover a variety of topics for teens. This month’s blog is all about studying. 
Swing by the Aurora Central Library's teen area to browse books, resources, and/or activities related to the monthly topic.

Studying... Ugh! If you are anything like me, studying can be a chore. 
When I was in school, I really struggled. I didn't do well on tests, had a hard time retaining information, and dreaded learning. Now, I work at the library where I eat books full of knowledge for breakfast! 😊

Image of Buddy the Elf from "Elf" with meme font that says "I like learning. Learning is my favorite"

It can feel like if you do not do well in school that you are not smart. I am here to tell you, that is not the case! The pressure to memorize facts and make straight A’s can leave you feeling inadequate when you do not perform well. I am living proof that you can do very poorly in school and still be intelligent. It can be challenging, but it isn't impossible. You can learn how to cultivate good study habits and discover what works for you.
Hopefully this blog will give you some advice that will help you feel more confident at school. 

These 3 articles go into depth on best studying practices:
5 Research-Backed Studying Techniques
The Complete Study Guide for Every Type of Learner
- Top 10 Tips on How to Study Smarter, Not Longer

After reading the above articles, here’s a few tips I would add:
1. Reframe Studying in Your Mind
Once I reframed the way I viewed school, studying and learning from a place of dread and like something I HAD to do, to something I wanted to do/had the opportunity to do—it really did help. Our brains have miraculous powers and we can trick ourselves with our thoughts. It can be helpful to think about school and learning as a way to acquire new knowledge and discover some cool stuff about life, rather than thinking about it as collecting boring facts or useless information that you need to know for a test and then toss. Maybe you will use what you learn in school in the future, maybe you won’t... but either way, it’s rad to know things. So why not spend the time to actually learn and maintain that knowledge in your mind. 

Cartoon showing steps of Cognitive Reframing

2. Take Some Deep Breaths
Simply breathing is your best friend! Anxious, overwhelming thoughts can consume our minds. Whenever your feel stressed, nervous, like things are too much or you are not good enough—just deeply inhale for several seconds and exhale for several seconds a few times in a row. This has been a helpful practice for me while I am studying, before taking a test or giving a presentation. 

Deep breaths infographic
3. Communicate with Friends, Parents, and Teachers
This is an unconventional tip, but one that I think can help. When we communicate our needs, challenges, intentions and so forth to those in our life it can help alleviate some pressure. When I was in school there would be times when I studied nonstop, but still failed the test. My parents would be upset with me. They didn’t think I studied at all. Rather than helping support me and try to find ways to improve my studying, they blamed my bad grades on a lack of commitment. I was left filled with guilt and shame for not being smart enough. Once I started communicating more, the people in my life knew where I was coming from, which allowed for more empathy and understanding. 

Drawn images of people talking to each other

4. Explore a Variety of Tactics
What works for one person, isn’t going to necessarily work for the other. It’s important to remember that we all learn differently. Even with yourself, what might help you with math may not work as effectively with history. Trying out different studying methods to see what fits is vital. 
Study Methods infographic

Study Methods infographic
Explore books & eContent regarding studying:

Check back next month for our next Teen Talk! 

Join me every Thursday at 4 p.m. for our weekly Teen Hang at Aurora Central Library (14949 E. Alameda Pkwy.). I'd love to meet you and hear about what topics you’d like featured. 
Taylor written in cursive

Posted by [email protected]  On Jan 04, 2022 at 4:03 PM
Book Clubs

As we prepare to say “Farewell” to 2021 and usher in 2022, we’re sharing some of our favorite reads from APL’s many book clubs! Each title was selected by the staff member who runs the book club from each club’s 2021 booklist. Learn more about our book clubs at

Non-Fiction Book Club 
Cover of book "My Own Words"Staff Pick: “My Own Words” by Ruth Bader Ginsberg
The first book from Ruth Bader Ginsburg since becoming a Supreme Court Justice in 1993--a witty, engaging, serious, and playful collection of writings and speeches from the woman who has had a powerful and enduring influence on law, women's rights, and popular culture. My Own Words is a selection of writings and speeches by Justice Ginsburg on wide-ranging topics, including gender equality, the workways of the Supreme Court, on being Jewish, on law and lawyers in opera, and on the value of looking beyond US shores when interpreting the US Constitution. Throughout her life Justice Ginsburg has been (and continues to be) a prolific writer and public speaker. This book contains a sampling, selected by Justice Ginsburg and her authorized biographers Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams. Justice Ginsburg has written an Introduction to the book, and Hartnett and Williams introduce each chapter, giving biographical context and quotes gleaned from hundreds of interviews they have conducted. This is a fascinating glimpse into the life of one of America's most influential women

Horror Corner Book Club
Cover of book NOS4A2Staff Pick: “NOS4A2” by Joe Hill
Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country. Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.” Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

Books at the Bar
Book cover of The BearStaff Pick: “The Bear” by Andrew Krivak
In an Edenic future, a girl and her father live close to the land in the shadow of a lone mountain. They possess a few remnants of civilization: some books, a pane of glass, a set of flint and steel, a comb. The father teaches the girl how to fish and hunt, the secrets of the seasons and the stars. He is preparing her for an adulthood in harmony with nature, for they are the last two left. But when the girl suddenly finds herself alone in an unknown landscape, it is a bear that will lead her back home through a vast wilderness, which offers the greatest lessons of all, if she can only learn to listen. A cautionary tale of human fragility, of love and loss, The Bear is a stunning tribute to the beauty of nature's dominion.

Short Story Book Club
Staff Picks:
- “The Secret Life of Bots” by Suzanne Palmer – Read here
-“State Change” by Ken Liu – Read here
- “Open House on Haunted Hill" by John Wiswell – Read here

True Crime Book Club
Cover of Devil in the GroveStaff Pick: “Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys and the Dawn of a New America” by Gilbert King
Arguably the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century, Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing the landmark suit Brown v. Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court when he became embroiled in an explosive and deadly case that threatened to change the course of the civil rights movement and cost him his life.

In 1949, Florida’s orange industry was booming, and citrus barons got rich on the backs of cheap Jim Crow labor. To maintain order and profits, they turned to Willis V. McCall, a violent sheriff who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white seventeen-year-old Groveland girl cried rape, McCall was fast on the trail of four young blacks who dared to envision a future for themselves beyond the citrus groves. By day’s end, the Ku Klux Klan had rolled into town, burning the homes of blacks to the ground and chasing hundreds into the swamps, hell-bent on lynching the young men who came to be known as “the Groveland Boys.”

And so began the chain of events that would bring Thurgood Marshall, the man known as “Mr. Civil Rights,” into the deadly fray. Associates thought it was suicidal for him to wade into the “Florida Terror” at a time when he was irreplaceable to the burgeoning civil rights movement, but the lawyer would not shrink from the fight—not after the Klan had murdered one of Marshall’s NAACP associates involved with the case and Marshall had endured continual threats that he would be next.

Drawing on a wealth of never-before-published material, including the FBI’s unredacted Groveland case files, as well as unprecedented access to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund files, King shines new light on this remarkable civil rights crusader, setting his rich and driving narrative against the heroic backdrop of a case that U.S. Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson decried as “one of the best examples of one of the worst menaces to American justice.

Daytime Booklovers’ Book Club
Finding DorothyStaff Pick: “Finding Dorothy” by Elizabeth Letts
This richly imagined novel tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum's intrepid wife, Maud. Hollywood, 1938: As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband's masterpiece for the screen, seventy-seven-year-old Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to finagle her way onto the set. Nineteen years after Frank's passing, Maud is the only person who can help the producers stay true to the spirit of the book--because she's the only one left who knows its secrets. But the moment she hears Judy Garland rehearsing the first notes of "Over the Rainbow," Maud recognizes the yearning that defined her own life story: from her youth as a suffragette's daughter to her coming of age as one of the first women in the Ivy League, from her blossoming romance with Frank to the hardscrabble prairie years that inspired The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Judy reminds Maud of a young girl she cared for and tried to help in South Dakota, a dreamer who never got her happy ending. Now, with the young actress under pressure from the studio as well as her ambitious stage mother, Maud resolves to protect her--the way she tried so hard to protect the real Dorothy.

Armchair Generals Book Club
Cover of "Guns of August"Staff Pick: “The Guns of August” by Barbara W. Tuchman
Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman has brought to life again the people and events that led up to World War I. With attention to fascinating detail, and an intense knowledge of her subject and its characters, Ms. Tuchman reveals, for the first time, just how the war started, why, and how it could have been stopped but wasn't. A classic historical survey of a time and a people we all need to know more about, “The Guns of August” will not be forgotten.

Posted by [email protected]  On Dec 15, 2021 at 10:34 AM
Three on a Theme: Fiction

Votes have been counted and it's time for this month's Three on a Theme recommendations!

This month's options were FICTION vs. POETRY/ESSAYS celebrating Native American Heritage Month in November and the winner was...FICTION! Check out our staff’s recommendations below! 

Have book recommendation that we missed? Tell us about it in the comments!

The Round House Cover"The Round House" by Louise Erdrich
"The Round House" won the National Book Award for fiction. One of the most revered novelists of our time-a brilliant chronicler of Native-American life-Louise Erdrich returns to the territory of her bestselling, Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves with The Round House, transporting readers to the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. It is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family. Riveting and suspenseful, arguably the most accessible novel to date from the creator of Love Medicine, The Beet Queen, and The Bingo Palace, Erdrich's The Round House is a page-turning masterpiece of literary fiction-at once a powerful coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a tender, moving novel of family, history, and culture.

Elatsoe CoverYOUNG ADULTS:
"Elatsoe" by Darcie Little Badger
Imagine an America very similar to our own. It's got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream. There are some differences. This America has been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day. Seventeen-year-old Elatsoe ("Ellie" for short) lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect facade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.
Race to the sun CoverKIDS:
"Race to the Sun" by Rebecca Roanhorse
Guided by her Navajo ancestors, seventh-grader Nizhoni Begay discovers she is descended from a holy woman and destined to become a monsterslayer, starting with the evil businessman who kidnapped her father. Includes glossary of Navajo terms.
Posted by [email protected]  On Dec 03, 2021 at 7:59 AM
NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month

Join us for virtual NaNoWriMo workshops to help you reach your writing goal this November! Play fun games to get your creativity flowing and chat with other writers! 

- Tuesday, Nov. 16, 6:30 - 8 p.m., WebEx - Writing Workshop
- Tuesday, Nov. 30, 6:30 - 8 p.m., WebEx - NaNoWriMo Celebration & Reflection

Email [email protected] to register.

Facing writer's block? Use our idea dice to inspire new ideas! Download and print the dice here.
Idea dice
Posted by [email protected]  On Nov 15, 2021 at 2:05 PM
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