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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

9 Books Library Staff Can't Put Down

Curious which books have library staff excited this spring?  Take a look at our What We're Reading: Spring 2017 page to find some titles to spruce up your reading list. And let us know what books you just can't put down!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Every Week is Teen Tech Week at the Library

Last week, Fairfax County Public Library and many libraries across the country celebrated the Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) Teen Tech Week. There were coding classes, robot and 3-D printer demonstrations, a Sphero robot obstacle course and even mini drone quidditch. If you missed the fun last week, don’t worry. There are tech events happening year round. Check out the library’s Maker Events, or drop by the library's booth at the 4th annual Nova Maker Faire in Reston on March 19, 2017.

If you can't make it to an event, check out one of these books to get started on your own tech projects, from coding games and websites to building robots.

Beginners can get an introduction to Minecraft and Lego coding, Python and several other coding languages with the Kids Can Code series by Patricia Harris or the Kids Get Coding series by Heather Lyons.

Learn all things Scratch, from the basics to creating your own games with Coding Projects in Scratch or Coding Games in Scratch by Jon Woodcock.  

Is Scratch too easy for you? Take it up a notch and dig into HTML, for creating web sites, and JavaScript with Max Wainewright's How to Code.

And if hardware is your thing, try building your own gizmos, machines and simple robots using Making Simple Robots by Kathy Ceceri or The Robot Book by Bobby Mercer.

--Rebecca Molineaux, Kings Park Library

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Super Science Books for Teens

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to track gila monsters by microchip or develop IQ tests for octopuses? Find out in one of the books in an amazing nature series called Scientists in the Field. Targeting middle and high school students, the series is informative enough for adults too. Many of the books in this series have won multiple awards. 

Park Scientists: Gila Monsters, Geysers, and Grizzly Bears in America’s Own Backyard, Mary Kay Carson

This book is about scientists who do research in our national parks – such as putting GPS collars on grizzly bears at Yellowstone National Park to find out where they hibernate or collecting DNA samples from salamanders in Great Smoky Mountains Park to study population genetics. Find out how the work of park scientists benefits wildlife.

Inside Biosphere 2: Earth Science Under Glass, Mary Kay Carson

Biosphere 2 is a three acre mini-Earth under a dome that scientists have created in the Arizona desert. It took four years to build and includes ocean, desert and rainforest ecosystems. It’s like an immense lab that helps scientists study our environment and factors that may impact it such as climate change.

Sea Turtle Scientist, Stephen R. Swinburne

Sea turtles have existed for 110 million years. But in the past 500 years, all seven species of sea turtle have become either threatened or endangered, largely due to human activity. Scientists are working on St. Kitts Island in the Caribbean to preserve leatherback turtles and their nests. Learn about some creative ideas scientists developed to help them.

The Octopus Scientists: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk, Sy Montgomery

Octopuses don’t live long, but scientists are discovering how clever they are- especially considering they don’t have much time to learn! Octopuses can solve puzzles and individuals will find unique ways of solving problems. They can distinguish between faces of scientists wearing the exact same uniform. Peer inside the mysterious minds of these mollusks.

More recent titles in the series include:

Mission to Pluto: The First Visit to an Ice Dwarf and the Kuiper Belt, Mary Kay Carson
Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World’s Brightest Bird, Pamela S. Turner
The Great White Shark Scientist, Sy Montgomery
The Call of the Osprey, Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

- Suzanne LaPierre, City of Fairfax Library