Monday, July 1, 2013

Tough Topics for Teens: titles to help get them through

So often we see reports in the news that are difficult to fathom. Sometimes we hear about, and even experience, these stories from being all too familiar with bullying, teen suicide, eating disorders, and many others. Being a former instructor of writing, I will never forget the stories my students were brave enough to share and the issues they were strong enough to overcome.


We hear stories about topics like these every day and at one point or another, most of us have come into contact with something that is so mind blowing, so heart wrenching, we can never forget it. Moreover, these topics aren't exclusive to schools, suburban communities, or inner city districts – they're universal, HUMAN issues. Often teens and children are reluctant to talk about their problems – or feel like discussion and intervention will only lead to more trouble. In my opinion, the important thing is to in whatever way possible, let the person suffering know that he or she is not alone.


OverDrive has created a list of titles all dealing with these tough subjects. The topics range from teen pregnancy, drug abuse, addiction, coming out, bullying, suicide, and so many others.


Titles in this collection include:


Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher


"Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice explains that there are thirteen reasons she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why."


Butter, Erin Jade Lange



"A lonely 423-pound boy everyone calls “Butter” is about to make history. He’s going to eat himself to death live on the Internet – and everyone will watch. When he makes this announcement online, he expects pity, insults, or possibly sheer indifference. Instead, his classmates become morbid cheerleaders for his deadly plan. But as their dark encouragement grows, a few voices begin to offer genuine support and Butter starts to have doubts."



See You at Harry's, Jo Knowles


"Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible. It seems as though everyone in her family has better things to do than pay attention to her: Mom (when she’s not meditating) helps Dad run the family restaurant; Sarah is taking a gap year after high school, and Holden pretends that Mom and Dad and everyone else doesn’t know he’s gay, even as he fends off bullies at school. If it wasn’t for Ran, Fern’s calm and positive best friend, there’d be nowhere to turn."


We hope that libraries and schools can use these titles to reach those who need help. We also encourage you to ask your account specialist to provide you with the preview function in Marketplace so that you can read and examine the different titles available.

Stories unite us. They make the terrifying and awful seem a little less so. By reading about the experiences of others, we can attempt to make sense of our own feelings, and we learn that hopelessness can be overcome.


Kate Seivertson is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive

The MagPi issue 14, out today!

Your free copy of The MagPi, the magazine created by the Raspberry Pi community, is available from today.

This month’s cover star is the camera board; there’s an article from our very own JamesH, who has contributed a huge amount of work to the development of the board, and talks new users through the device. (He’s also extremely modest, and seems to have written the whole thing without mentioning that he worked on it, let alone that we simply wouldn’t have a camera board without him.) JamesH will continue with a second piece on the camera board next month, with more advanced users in mind; if you follow what he’s writing about this month you should be well-prepared for August’s article! I have promised James his choice of drinks for the evening later this week to thank him for all the work on this article – if you’ve got questions for him, leave them below and I’ll pass them on.

There’s lots of hardware besides the camera board to talk about this month: you’ll find a beginner’s tutorial using Python on the Pi to control the famously inexpensive Maplin robot arm, which makes a great starter project for budding roboticists wanting to get their heads around some of the basic concepts of physical computing. For advanced users, there’s the first part of a new input/output processor project, and Derek Campbell walks you through building your own Guzunty, a DIY expansion board. If you built the Pi Matrix from an earlier issue, you’ll learn more about controlling the individual LEDs as well as columns and lines of lights.

If you’re interested in setting up a Raspberry Pi event for families, there’s a article from Dr Mike Bartley and Caroline Higgins, who set up the Bristol Raspberry Pi Boot Camp. The Boot Camps are becoming very popular; there are events of all kinds popping up now, with Raspberry Jams, Raspberry Pint meetups, and much more, so you’re bound to be able to find a template that suits you if you fancy organising something yourself.

On the software side, there’s a continuation of the Charm tutorials, a piece on Java for beginners, and more advanced Python.

This is a packed issue; our huge thanks, as usual, to the MagPi team, who are all volunteers. Congratulations are also due to the MagPi folk for getting their binders full of the first year’s magazines out to their Kickstarter supporters; we’ve got a few of the binders in the office, and they’re really professional-looking bits of kit.

And please check out the ad on page 20; when you buy swag from us, you’re donating directly to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and helping us to train teachers, and get Pis and learning materials into the hands of kids.