The Library Ninja Blog

The Ninja Reviews...The Giver (Movie Review)

I can remember reading The Giver by Lois Lowry for class in middle school.  Like many people, I was excited to hear that it was being adapted into a movie.  This was the book that grabbed my attention and made me love reading.  I was curious to see how the book was adapted into a movie.   

The Giver is about a utopian society that watches your every move in order to assign each member of the society the perfect job, family unit, and life.  To further promote the perfect society, the government has removed anything that could show a difference in people from emotions to colors.  It is during the Ceremony of Twelve that Jonas will be assigned his perfect job.  Jonas is assigned the very unique and prestigious position of The Receiver of Memories.  The Receiver’s job is to remember the time when colors, emotions, and differences existed in society.  Jonas goes on the adventure of a lifetime as he discovers what it means to live life with all the differences.  During a particular training session, the Giver (the former Receiver), Jonas uncovers a map that shows a barrier of memories.  It is believed that if the Receiver crosses this line that all emotion will return to the society.  Jonas is faced with the decision to stay in the utopian society or to venture out into the great unknown.

The movie stars Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Katie Holmes and features Taylor Swift.  The all-star cast brings to life this tale of growing up.  With the use of color slowly creeping into the film as Jonas beings to see the difference, the movie allows viewers to be submerged into Jonas’ world.  Strong performances from Bridges, Streep, and Thwaites make this movie believable.  Bridges was born to portray The Giver.  This adaptation seemed a little long at points, but arguably followed the main points of the original novel.  Although, some people including author, Lois Lowry, have voiced their criticism.  I believe that director, Phillip Noyce breathes new life into an often forgotten classic.

Written by Karen M., YTC Intern

The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry

9/15/2014 Add a Comment Share this:

The Ninja Reviews...If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Like many people, once I heard about the movie adaptation of If I Stay by Gayle Forman, I had to read the book.  After visiting multiple bookstores, I was able to snag a copy of this very popular book.

Seventeen year old Mia is a musical prodigy on the path to stardom with her cello, rock star boyfriend, and quirky yet supporting family.  Her life is perfect in every sense.  Then a simple trip to visit family friend turns her life into a nightmare.  Mia’s world is turned upside down, when her family gets into a car accident.  An unconscious Mia is sent to the hospital where she must fight for her life.  The catch is Mia must make the decision to stay in this world or to pass on to the next.  To make this decision, Mia uses a combination of flashbacks and an out of body experience to make her final decision.

This was an easy to follow book that drew me in with each flashback.  Although it was not full of action, it was a sweet tale of finding your purpose in life.  Some of the characters are a little out there like her rock star boyfriend and her quirky parents.  However, they happened to be my favorite characters.  In my copy of the book, I had bonus materials including the inspiration and reasoning behind some of Forman’s choices.  This additional information made it easier to understand her point of view including the heavy use of music in the story.  As far as the use of flashbacks and out of body experiences, I found myself as a reader skipping through the present day to the next flashback as they were more interesting.  I felt a greater connection to Mia in her flashbacks instead of the out of body experiences.  That being said, it was a unique read and I am excited to finally go see the movie adaptation.

Other books you may enjoy by Gayle Forman

9/7/2014 Add a Comment Share this:

The Ninja Reviews...Guardians of the Galaxy (Film Review)

Last year was "YOLO," this year it's "I am Groot!"  And if you have no idea where this quote comes from then you really do need to get out of your cave and make it to your local theater ASAP! Here's is a brief review on Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel's most recent addition to its cinematic universe. The movie tells the story of how five intergalactic miscreants whose paths have crossed by chance, the unbreakable bond that they develop through time, and how they unite their strengths to take on the chillingly powerful Ronan "the Accuser" in a fight for a certain relic that contains enough power to destroy anything in its path. (Including the one who's too weak to be wielding a thing like that in the first place.) On a scale of epicness, Guardians of the Galaxy certainly delivered with its stylish action sequences, as well as providing us with a perfect balance of light-hearted and intense moments.

Meet the Guardians cast: Chris Pratt will be playing the groovy space outlaw, Star-Lord. Zoe Salanda plays the role of the assassin, Gamora. (Apparently she's green in this one, guys...) Dave Batista will be playing Drax the Destroyer. Vin Diesel will be taking the role as the loveable humanoid plant Groot. Last, Bradley Cooper will be the voice behind the galaxy's most  trigger-happy raccoon, Rocket!

What really surprised me was the amount of depth that was portrayed by each member of the guardians and how a couple of the characters whom you would never guess to be the center focus of some of the most heart-felt (almost tear-jerker) scenes in the film. All in all, Guardians of the Galaxy was an enjoyable ride that all action and comic movie enthusiasts should enjoy. But don't take my word, go see it out for yourselves! Also, don't forget to also check out the original Guardians of the Galaxy comics at your local library!

One last thing, for those of you who may be new to the whole Marvel cinematic experience, be sure not to be too quick in getting up from your seats once the credits start rolling. Just a friendly tip...


Vote Now: 2014 Official Teens' Top Ten Nominees

Voting is now open for Teens' Top Ten! Voting is open to EVERYONE!

Vote between now and Teen Read Week at in order to vote for your favorites. You can vote for up to 3 titles. The winners will be announced the week after Teen Read Week on October 20, 2014.

Here are the nominees:

My votes went to: Splintered (A.G. Howard), Eleanor and Park (Rainbow Rowell), and Monument 14: Sky on Fire (Emmy Laybourne).

Who will you vote for?

Next Japan Otaku Day!

We’ll be learning about katakana, one of the building blocks that makes up the Japanese language. If you’ve ever read your favorite manga (for me it's Watamore!) and you’ve wondered why the action sounds —also known as an onomatopoeia—were written in Japanese differently than the regular hiragana, or what part of Japanese they write non-Japanese names, now you know it's Katakana. Katakana is a part of the Japanese written language used for foreign words and names, to show emphasis, or for onomatopoeias.       


(An example of Katakana used to express an onomatopoeia from the horror mangaParasyte)

(Picture from

As mentioned above, katakana is used to write out non-Japanese words and/or names. For example my name, Amina Doctrove, in katakana would be written as アミナ ドルトロバ, another example is for the lead character from Attack on Titan, Eren Jaeger, (also written as Yeager) in Katakana would be  エレン イェ—ガ—.

(Image via FUNimation)

Learning katakana isn't that much harder than learning hiragana, which used for native Japanese words and names. Don't worry if you're unfamiliar with anything about the Japanese language, the most important thing about Katakana is that it's written a lot sharper than hiragana and is used for foreign words and names. One of the activities for this month's Japan Day is for us to practice writing out our names in Katakana!

The anime this month is Wolf Children (2012) directed by Mamoru Hosoda, the same mind that brought you Summer Wars (2009). Fans of the anime Spice and Wolf will love the story of a young mother by the name of Hana who one day finds herself alone in the world caring for two half-wolf/half-human children. While Wolf Children is much different in tone than Summer Wars, it's still full of heart and a wonderful film about motherhood, identity, and finding one's place in the world.

Of course at the end of every Japan Otaku Day we do a giveaway for some awesome anime and manga-related prizes, join us and stick around until the very end!

Japan Otaku Day will be next Saturday August 30 from 2 p.m. to 5:30.

I hope to see you all there!

Written by Amina D., YTC Intern

8/26/2014 Add a Comment Share this:

What a Great Summer at the Lab!

As the summer begins to wind down I wanted to take a look back at what an amazing time we had in the Lab.  With deep space robotics camps, learning to code in the Python language, game designing with Blender, and the robotics competition the Lab was able to offer more amazing classes over the summer than ever before!  

Check out some footage from the robotics challenge below.  This summer’s challenge was to build a nanobot and to program it to perform various medical procedures such as removing a blood clot, delivering antibiotics, inserting a stint, and removing plaque, among other tasks.  The students displayed an amazing amount of dedication, innovation, and problem solving skills.

8/19/2014 by Chris Woodward Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Technology

Teen SRC Celebration!

This past Saturday, August 2nd, we close the SRC Celebration 2014 season with a first-ever celebration at the Texas Ranger's Globe Life Ballpark. Everyone who participated, and completed their required amount of hours, were invited to attend this HUGE celebration. We took over all three floors of the Hall of Fame. The teens created robots and competed against library staff. We had a vintage black-and-white photobooth complete with mustache props and all. Teens also had the opportunity to create some tile art and Cubee creations. We took out our imfamous buttonmaker and many teens create multiple one-of-a-kind pinbacks. About a dozen dedicated teens participated in gaming tournaments with our Wii and Playstation.

We also had three tables set up with various swag such as bookmarks, frisbees, books, stickers, temporary tattoos, book bags and more! Everyone went home with something!

Every teen present was also entered into a drawing to win a brand-new Kindle Fire HD. , shown in the top right photo took the grand prize home. To close, we had a round of Extreme Teen Musical Chairs. The winner tooks some more free books home but all participants walk away with a small prize.

Thank you for everyone who came out on Saturday and we hope to see you next Summer Reading Club 2015!

8/5/2014 by Raquel Reyna Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Books

Summer Studio Scribes

On July 8, 2014, Studio Scribes learned about microfiction and Twiction.  Keeping this in mind, we crafted stories that were limited to one sentence.  We had stories that discussed trees, children, and dogs. To further challenge the group, they were introduced to the art of Twiction.  Twiction is the idea of creating an entire story by using only the 140 characters that are allowed in a Tweet on Twitter.  By the end of the workshop, we had created several stories!

On July 22, 2014, Studio Scribes took time to reimagine classic fairytales.  Reimagining classic fairytales allowed our creativity to run wild!  Although we kept key points to the plot the same; we revised classic fairytales like Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs to Snow White & the Seven Cats.  We crafted one of a kind fairytales that were far different from their original forms.

If you missed this past workshop, do not worry! We will have our last Studio Scribes workshop of the summer will be on Tuesday, August 5 from 2-3 p.m.  Don’t forget to invite your friends!Written by Karen M., YTC Intern

7/28/2014 Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Awesome Authors

How to Build a Robot When You Don’t Know How

We’ve all seen the movies with Robots Of Unusual Size going through inconceivable obstacles to prove that, after all, they were only mostly dead. Then reality sets in: it’s only science fiction, after all: none of this is real, or it’s all too hard. Just like that, imagination dies.

Tell that to Leonardo da Vinci. You know him from painting the Mona Lisa, and numerous other inventions. Living nearly two and a half centuries before Benjamin Franklin’s electrical experiments, Leonardo designed a robot … without electricity. Although he never built it, scientists who read his journals did finish the robot. It worked.

Guess what? Da Vinci was, at first, bad at English and Math. Well, Latin, anyhow (which was the English of the time… and easier, in this author’s opinion).  He lacked a formal education in these things, and so his writings were ignored by more “serious” scientists of the time. He was nearly 40 when he had the chance to study math under a real teacher.

Leonardo didn’t let his own limitations get in the way of his imagination: he found ways around them. He never had electricity – he never even built the robot he designed – but he knew what he was doing, and it worked.

The next time you watch one of those movies and think, “those effects are unbelievable! This would never happen in real life,” take a moment to think of people like Da Vinci. With enough time, you could even be creating those blockbuster robots.

Written by Chris B., YTC Intern

7/23/2014 Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Books, Technology

Talent Show/ Photography Showcase @ Central

In case you missed it…

Tuesday was our big Open Mic/ Photography Showcase event here at Central! Many young and talented performers graced the stage with their original comedy skits, beautiful manga-styled drawings, and heartfelt singing performances. But that’s not all…

As we delved deeper into the evening, “rocking the crowd” suddenly turned into a family affair as one of our talented young musicians brought dad and uncle with him to the stage… and they killed it! And to top the night off, the audience also had the pleasure of being wowed by some amazing photo shoots that were all taken by our very own teen photogs who participated in this summer’s photography workshop!

This was certainly a night to remember and in case you’re feeling that you might’ve missed out this time, no worries! Just be sure to stay tuned in for our upcoming summer and fall programs as well as be on the lookout for our next talent showcase event!                                                     


 Lost in Wonderland- A photo from a concept shoot taken by Makayla and Izzy

7/18/2014 by EJ A. Add a Comment Share this: