Tag Archives: Grey Havens

Let us set you up on a Blind Date – With a Book!

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It’s back! Time for Grey Havens Group Inc’s signature fundraiser – Blind Date with a Book. Last November, you gobbled up lots of good books for Grey Havens, but we’ve still got plenty more, and we love to share the joys of reading. Won’t you join us?

On Saturday, February 11th from 11 am – 4pm, come to Lucky’s Market in Longmont and choose a book (or two or three) to take home with you. Books are sorted by genre then wrapped in a Lucky’s bag to disguise their titles. In exchange for a donation in any amount, you can take home a reading surprise, just in time for Valentines Day!

All donations will be used to promote literacy, imagination, community and inclusion by supporting The Grey Havens Group, Inc. We hope you know by now that our nonprofit values creative and critical thinking and teaches philosophical inquiry. Grey Havens YA is our young adult chapter, but we also serve younger children, adults, and older adults all along the front range and beyond.

Right now, we are working on implementing our Philosophy in Public Spaces Initiative, increasing our young adult and kids programming, recruiting volunteers, and planning exciting new events for the community. We are also developing a podcast in order to share the benefits of Geek Philosophy with the world! This Saturday, you could help us to achieve these goals and enjoy a fabulous literary date in the process. We hope to see you there. Thank you for your support!

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May the Force be with you,
Kelly Cowling, Executive Director
Robyn Bosica, Deputy Director
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The Last Stand: Jim Kraven’s Diary #4

Círdan’s Note: Did you know that Grey Havens YA created its own roleplaying game called The Last Stand? In the game, our young adults (and leaders) get to play as any character they chose, some are original creations and others are personal takes on existing fictional characters. Our very own Jim Kraven (aka 145barbarian) is the group’s chronicler. He travels with his son Timmy as he journals about each gaming session to keeps us all up to speed. We’d like to share with you now the latest entry from Jim’s journal. Note that “limbo” refers to the times when we’ve stopped playing the game…our poor characters get stuck there a lot! 

When you support Grey Havens YA through our Saturday fundraiser at Menchies, you are helping us to continue to provide these young adults with the environment they need to be imaginative in community.  Be sure to read Jim’s latest diary before diving into this one, and check out the end of our post for the Menchies flyer and a FROYO Challenge. Enjoy!

Day 5

I wonder if anyone else here knows about Limbo. We’re all here, stuck frozen in place. Timmy is standing next to me. He looks like he’s about to cry. He can be such a baby some times. I should ask him why Limbo makes him cry. We all just gained these powers. Must be the GM’s (Game Masters) at work again.

Mango MemeWe’re all back now. Timmy’s crying. Calvin is here. He’s on a search for some quality content. Alas, he didn’t find anything. Everyone is doing their thing. We’re all still recovering from the Nightmare attack. Nova still isn’t back. He’s been gone a while. A small party is going out to go find supplies. And by a small party, the GM’s mean all of us. I threw Timmy up into a mango tree. He got some mangos! But he didn’t come back down. He can’t climb down, and I can’t climb up.

We can now read the book to summon the heavenly beings. We need to draw some symbols on the ground……I’m just gonna leave that to the rest of the group. Right now I have to get Timmy down. The two heavenly beings are here. But some rain and thunder followed. Shelter. We need shelter. There’s a cave. Somewhere. The rain is acid rain! We have to get to that cave! Good thing it isn’t far.

We all get there and Feather finds out the cave is incredibly deep. She also found a book tied to Bucky. Some sort of red book that alters Bucky’s mind. Bucky has the bunny though, so we aren’t going to read them yet. Bucky doesn’t want us to have the book. But we don’t want to destroy it. Feather is gonna hold onto it. It appears to be in Russian. Bucky sets down the bunny and goes after Feather’s backpack. Bucky’s aiming a sniper rifle at the backpack. Feather’s lute calms down Bucky. Duke Brilliance found bones rattling around deeper in the cave. The sounds are getting louder. They’re coming our way. They’re murderous. I grab Timmy and position him behind me. I tried to use my newly gained powers, but I still don’t have a handle on it. A couple of us are going to sneak around them. If we can get behind them, then we can have the advantage. I messed up. They noticed me and Feather. I left Timmy behind in the mango tree. He doesn’t need to be here during the fighting. Hopefully the tree protects him from the rain. I dodged it’s attack, then proceeded to hit it. There’s still all five skeletons. One of them lost an arm and a leg. One of the skeletons is dead. One of the skeletons hit Feather and dragged her back to the fight. She looks pretty bad.

We need to kill these skeletons. The skeletons are fighting back now. We can’t seem to kill them. Calvin’s sick roasts made the skeleton more powerful. Skeleton tears. Odd. They seem to heal them. I wonder if we can use that to heal ourselves. The skeletons hit Calvin back and he went down in one hit. He’s laying comatose in a lambo with a skeleton. I’m just watching right now. The skeletons are attacking everyone else. The demon fire flew over and hit us. There are only two skeletons left. The goddess of light is helping, but the dead skeletons are coming back to life. Bucky smashed the stone.

All the skeletons are dead now. Let’s see if our healer can be useful. The healer healed everyone. Calvin is out of his coma, but he isn’t looking good. A couple of us are pretty beat up. We’re gonna go deeper into the cave. At least, that’s what I thought. Everyone is freezing. Limbo is back. Timmy isn’t here still. I’ll write more tomorrow.

Send us an owl: What’s your favorite roleplaying game? 

And now for the promised FroYo Challenge! Visit Menchies in Longont this Saturday August 27th any time between 11am — 11pm and make a frozen yogurt sculpture! Tweet us or leave a comment in the Facebook announcement, and we’ll let the likes judge the winners! Make sure to present this printed flyer during your purchase so that Grey Havens can receive 20% of the proceeds. Thanks, everyone and enjoy! menchie's full pagejp

Keeping up with Grey Havens!

Hello, awesome Grey Havens followers, supporters, fans, and families!

Have you been a bit nervous about all these crickets chirping on GreyHavensYA.com? Never fear! We are currently in the process of revamping both of our websites, and that means a little silence here and there. The best place to find GreyHavensYA updates, photos, and fun stuff is at Facebook.com/GreyHavesnYA and @GreyHavensYA on Twitter.

Grey Havens YA is just one branch of The Grey Havens Group, Inc, a local nonprofit. Our organization’s website has migrated to GreyHavensGroup.org. Please check it out, but be aware that we are still tinkering. You can find all Grey Havens Group, Inc news at Facebook.com/GreyHavensGroup and @GreyHavensGroup on Twitter. There will be a lot of news coming about trainings, events, new discussion series, and more! Make sure you find us on social media and email us at greyhavensgroup@gmail.com or greyhavensya@gmail.com if you have any further questions.

Coming up this month:

  1. Geek Philosophy Star Trek Edition TODAY (Friday, August 11th) at Carbon Valley Regional LIbrary. Doors open at 5:30pm and the movie starts at 6pm. We’ll be watching Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and having a fabulous discussion afterward. Free and open to all!
  2. Grey Havens YA will be presenting two panels at MALCon this Saturday, August 12th! Coping with Character Deaths at 12pm and Youth in Fandom Culture at 3pm. See you there!
  3. Grey Havens will be hosting a Menchie’s Fundraiser on August 27th! We will be sharing the flyers as soon as we receive them. Make sure to take a flyer to Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in Longmont on Saturday August 27th. It’s going to be great!

And now, we’d like to share a few photos from what we’ve been up to all summer…

Our main sumer project has been Hogwarts Preparatory Academy, a summer camp for 50 young witches and wizards ages 8-11. We hope you enjoy just a few of these photos, and visit our Facebook pages for more.

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Mischief managed!

Send us an owl: What favorite nerdy thing did you do this summer?

All we have to decide…

It’s been a busy summer already for Grey Havens YA and The Grey Havens Group, Inc. We’ve been a little silent on our blogs because we’ve been rebuilding from recent changes and planning for an exciting future. We always like to post fun things on our Facebook Page, though, so make sure you like us! And stay tuned below for a feelsy post about our amazing young adults.

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This May, six of our Grey Havens YA discussion group members graduated high school and set their sights on the world beyond. It has been such a privilege to get to interact with them these past two and a half years, and last month, we chose to honor our graduates through a party. In the party presentation, we posted fandom advice and life lessons learned through our favorite stories like Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Harry Potter.

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Once such inspirational quote we shared came from Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings, and I want to talk a little more about it here. It is so central to what we do here at Grey Havens YA and the Grey Havens Group Inc. It’s also a great way to bring our graduates full circle, seeing as we started this group by meeting regularly to discuss The Hobbit.

The quotation comes from Chapter Two of The Fellowship of the Ring: The Shadow of the Past, and it was made even more famous by the 2001 film adaptation. I am going to quote both film and book because both are important to our young adults– they exist in a world where the two intermingle and both have merit.

In the book, Frodo speaks to Gandalf about the darkness growing in Middle Earth and he says, “I wish it need not have happened in my time.” In the movie, he says, “I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”

In both instances, Gandalf responds the same: “So do I … and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given [to] us.

Kelly used this quote when she made a certificate for me to recognize the Make Time for Kids Award (that truly belongs to both of us), and the words really stuck with me.

You’ve probably heard our stories before on this website or during presentations, but Kelly and I have both faced our own shadows of the past. Elements such as fantasy, imagination, and community brought us through to the other side, and that is why we do what we do. We want to help young adults (and old) find “light and high beauty” forever beyond the shadow’s reach.

That is what we have chosen to do with the time given to us. We have chosen to invest in these young adults, these teens who may have felt alone or strange or hurt or afraid. Though we ourselves have felt alone, strange, hurt, and afraid, we have chosen to create a community in which everyone is welcome to the table and hope and imagination flourish in a world full of darkness.

And we have not been disappointed. I will say it again: It is an honor to get to watch these young adults grow up. Not only do we get to see our seniors graduate and embark on new adventures, but we also get to see our middle schoolers enter high school for the first time. We get to watch new members join the group and feel like they’ve been there the whole time. In three years, we’ve watched how far these teens have come through a community of literacy, imagination, and inclusion.

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I firmly believe that one of the best things we can encourage in our young adults is confidence and security in who they are, and we get to see that blossom as they grow. We’ve gotten to watch the quietest ones speak up in large groups. My favorite times to just sit back and watch are at our Multi-Generational Discussions. As a teenager, I never would have spoken up in a discussion group that included senior adults and people my parents’ age. That’s because I would’ve never thought that my thoughts and opinions were valid or that they mattered enough in the grand scheme of things. But these Grey Havens Young Adults know that they matter, and they trust in the process of philosophic discourse so much that they are eager to add their voices to the mix.

I could go on and on about how proud I am of these teens, but if a little spark of confidence is all that I can say my time has brought to them, then I can say I have used that time well, and I am so happy that I get to keep doing it. Grey Havens YA, I hope that in times of strife, you can find comfort and encouragement in Gandalf’s words and carry on, my wayward son. I know with both my hearts that you will make the best use of the time that is given to you. My wish for you is that you stay nerdy and that your confidence and creativity only grows. I hope that you continue to think critically and imagine greatly, and know that you are, and will always be, magnificent.

In the words of a madman in a box: We’re all stories in the end, just make it a good one.

Send us an owl: What’s your favorite piece of fandom life advice?

The Last Stand (Jim Kraven’s Diary) #2

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Círdan’s Note: It has been quite a busy 2016 already for Grey Havens YA and Grey Havens Group, Inc. Make sure you’re following us on Facebook for the latest news and Phone the TARDIS if you’d like to be added to our email list. We have some exciting news to share with you this April, but for now we want to take a moment to showcase why we do what we do. One of the reasons Grey Havens YA exists is to help foster the creativity of young adults. Not only have they have blown us away with the invention of their own Roleplaying Game, the game itself has also helped to foster community and inclusion among the group, and it’s a blast to get to watch them work. Today, we get the chance again to peak into one of our member’s imaginations as he recounts the recent events of the game through his character’s diary. Jim Kraven (aka 145barbarian) serves as the group’s guard and carries his child around in his backpack. (Find his previous account here.) For this game, we split the party in two and switched back and forth for gameplay. Let’s take a brief glimpse into Jim’s mind and see what he’s thinking while in and out of this strange limbo…

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Sitting here staring at all these ropes for the last few months has been driving me insane. I say months, but I mean minutes. Feels like it though. Hopefully our GM (Game Master) lets us move soon. I wonder where Timmy is…

Oh goodie. Our overlords started with the base group. Now I’m stuck here in limbo for another couple minutes.

“My throats are at your necks,” the new person said. There you go everyone. That’s our overlord. Thank GM we have such a great person ruling over us!

It’s been twenty minutes. Still stuck in limbo. I can’t help but wonder where Timmy is. I hope he isn’t playing with the dead lion corpses. That would be gross. I might disown him if I find him doing that. That’ll show him.

All I can do is stare straight ahead, right into this mirror. At least my locket popped open. I miss my wife. Looting this place reminds me of when she and I went shopping for our new home. Oh…the good ol’ days. Now I’m here. She’s not. Timmy is though…somewhere.

Yes! Out of limbo!

Oooook. Weird noises outside. I don’t see anything from the windows. Well, nothing but fog…and a mob of zombies in the distance. A figure is running to the hardware store out of the fog. It’s Timmy! And…oh…good. He isn’t covered in blood. That’s good.

Gell went to the supermarket. I’m gonna stick around here at the store for a bit. It gives me a good view of the street incase I need to fire shots at the mob. I’m watching the supermarket with my sniper scope. The zombies are close. Dangerously close.

“Timmy,” I whisper, “Go hide behind the counter.” Timmy goes. Unknown is helping carry everyone up to the roof of the market. Good idea. Those zombies are getting really close. Apparently there is a  ladder inside. I’m gonna stay down here to watch the streets.

Timmy started crying. I got his storybook from him and started reading it to him. He stopped. “It’s ok Timmy,” I whisper, clutching him in my arms, “It’s ok.”

I un-barricaded the door to let Eadlyn in, barricading the door behind her. A loud horn just sounded out. The zombies are leaving! Timmy is gonna use his bone knife to fight off the remaining zombies…at least, he thinks he’s going to. I’m not going to let him.

Well, back into Limbo. I’ll try to write more tomorrow.

Círdan’s Note: No, Jim you can’t end it like that! I need to know what happened!! — Ahem. Excuse me. Well, hopefully we can find out next week as Grey Havens YA returns to gameplay in The Last Stand. P.S. Did you know that sometimes we want to roleplay at Grey Havens YA, but we forget to bring dice? When that happens, our members cleverly decide to use either rock-paper-scissors or a handy dice app to get the job done. We don’t let a silly thing like dice stop us! We hope you enjoy these forays into The Last Stand and all it’s zombie-goodness. 

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Send us an owl: If you were there, can you explain the parts of the story that Jim leaves out? Otherwise, what’s your favorite part about roleplaying games?

When Trivia Isn’t Trivial: One Reason to Love “Fandoms Unite”

On December 4, Grey Havens YA hosted Star Wars: The Fandom Awakens at Lafayette Public Library, part of our Fandoms Unite outreach program. As we were leaving, I called out, “Live long and prosper.” One of the teens replied, “Namárië.” Fandoms Unite, indeed!

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Eager to answer!

Fandoms Unite, our monthly program of trivia, captions contests, singing, dancing, acting, improv and general fandom craziness is always a ton of fun but it might not seem like a very important thing to offer young adults. What significant good could possibly come from teens getting together once a month to celebrate popular culture? Why would we even encourage such a thing? Isn’t popular culture, well, trivial?

The answer, we strongly believe, is no. Everyone engages in some way with popular culture. It gives many of us a significant part of the language with which we understand and speak about our world. (How many of you would know what I meant if I said that someone can be as logical as a Vulcan but as passionate as Anakin Skywalker?) It is how we engage with it that matters most.

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Star Wars Yoga: Han frozen in carbonite!

Fandoms Unite is not just an experience of popular culture; it is consciously imitative of the internet experience, the home turf of much of the growing fandom subset of popular culture. We sing and shout along to clips and GIFs. Our captions contests are practically exercises in meme-making, and our non-competitive trivia is a lot like one of those “how-much-do you know-about…” quizzes most of us have taken online. The difference between an online community and a Fandoms Unite community (and we believe both can have value) is that Fandoms Unite takes place in a room in which teens are interacting with each other in person. They see first-hand that there are other teens and even adults who take their interests seriously. We reflect the things that make them laugh and the things that spark their imaginations back to them and they, in turn, share the light of their enthusiasm and creativity with us.

Singing, "Let it Flow," a Star Wars parody of the famous Frozen song
Singing, “Let it Flow,” a Star Wars parody of the famous Frozen song

When teens experience other teens and adults celebrating the fandoms they love, they feel seen, heard and valued. When people feel seen, heard and valued, they are more confident and willing to take risks. Learning always involves taking risks. The first time you rode a bike, you had to have the confidence to risk falling. The first time you learned to read, you had to have the confidence to risk failing. Learning to think critically and independently requires the confidence to risk forming and expressing your own thoughts, based in your deep experiences of reason and feeling, even when others are telling you that you are wrong. Learning to say “no” to high-risk behaviors when everyone else is jumping off the bridge, requires the confidence to stand strong against persuasive peers and the need to feel accepted at all costs. Sometimes, that confidence can be nurtured in a meeting room at a library answering what may appear to be trivial questions about Star Wars. The intrinsic worth of confident risk-taking is one reason we say…

May the Force be with you. Live long and prosper. Namárië. Fandoms Unite!received_966898340064948.jpeg    received_966898646731584.jpeg

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Send us an owl: This post describes just one of the many reasons we believe in our Fandoms Unite programming. Have you attended one of our events? What was it like for you? 

If you love what we do and want to help us bring Fandoms Unite to as many young adults as possible, check out this fun and easy way to support us this December. Hanon le (and many thanks).

The Right to Free Imagination

Círdan’s Note: Grey Havens YA just finished discussing our fourth book, Epic by Conor Kostick. Robyn, our co-director, also recently finished an old book she acquired at Readcon: Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. She wanted to share these thoughts with you.

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Here at Grey Havens YA, we place tremendous value on the imagination. We often say, “Nothing was ever made by human hands or realized in the intellect that was not first conceived of in the imagination,” and you can read more about that on our about page.

Dr. Azar Nafisi writes of the importance of imagination and literature in her memoir:
“I have this recurring fantasy that one more article has been added to the Bill of Rights: the right to free access to imagination. I have come to believe that genuine democracy cannot exist without the freedom to imagine and the right to use imaginative works without any restrictions. To have a whole life, one must have the possibility of publicly shaping and expressing private worlds, dreams, thoughts and desires, of constantly having access to a dialogue between the public and private worlds. How else do we know that we existed, felt, desired, hated, feared?

“We speak of facts, yet facts exist only partially to us if they are not repeated and re-created through emotions, thoughts and feelings. To me it seemed as if we had not really existed, or only have existed, because we could not imaginatively realize ourselves and communicate to the world, because we had used works of imagination to serve as handmaidens to some political ploy.”

This passage made me think both of the world in Epic and the world of Grey Haven YA. The characters of Epic play a game, a game that is not played or explored for pleasure, but rather studied and completed for the sake of government. The game is the government, it’s how those in power control the people. At the end of the novel, we glimpse a possibility for a new way of government, and we talked about this in depth at our last meeting.

We talked about how the powerful in Epic seek to control the universities, and Kelly and I mentioned the idea that if you control the universities, you control the knowledge, the culture of the people. Nafisi faced this in real life in Tehran where she tried to teach literature for its own sake and not the government’s.

Even when learning about literature in the United States, one still has to fight for the beauty of it over the end result of a test score. A few of our members have told us that they don’t mind if we read books in the group that they’ve already studied in school because at Grey Havens YA, “We get to talk about the book a lot more and go deeper than we ever did in class.” It is a joy to see our YA members express their love for stories and to get to see them embrace imagination.

I don’t at all mean to downplay the horrors of the real government that Nafisi and her students faced in Tehran. What I mean to say is that I am so grateful for the insights in her book, and I am grateful that a group like Grey Havens YA exists where imagination can be encouraged and nurtured.

Our culture right now is obsessed with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields, and our young adults are caught in the tension between wanting to create but also wanting to code. Many of them want to be both artists and scientists. Isn’t it true that there could be no STEM without first imagination? And to nurture the imagination, one must first nurture the value of story. I’m so honored that we get to do that here in Grey Havens YA.

As Albert Einstein said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

If you live in the Boulder County area and would like the chance to nurture your own imagination a little more while also helping out Grey Havens YA, stop by Lucky’s Market in Longmont on Saturday, November 21st from 11am-4pm to Gobble Up a Good Book. You can donate any amount and take home a mysterious wrapped book. We hope to see you there!

Send us an owl: What are you thoughts on the value of imagination? 

Making the Magic of Grey Havens Available to the Next Generation: Meet Robyn Bosica at the Real Myth Symposium

Círdan’s note: Did you know that Grey Havens YA is going to have a major presence at this year’s Real Myth and Mithril Symposium? Check it out!

The Grey Havens Group

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About Robyn Bosica:

Robyn Bosica is the volunteer Co-Director of Grey Havens YA and currently resides in Frederick, Colorado. Robyn has been working with young adults in community events, theater programs, and service trips since 2008, and she is thrilled to be a part of a group as awesome as Grey Havens YA. For her work, she received the City of Longmont’s 2014 “Make Time for Kids Award” last November. Robyn holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Writing from Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland. Her particular interests include creative nonfiction, science fiction, and the intermingling of literature and identity. An avid Tolkien-fan from the age of eleven, Robyn seeks to encourage the next generation of young adults to follow their nerdy passions and engage in the kind of world-building imagination that shines light into life’s darker moments. Robyn blogs about those moments, along with faith, grief, and beauty at her personal…

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You Can’t Stop the Awesome!

The Grey Havens YA Awesome Box is currently visiting Frederick High School and Mead High School. (How can it be in two places at one time? Well, timey-wimey.) We will share the results from these two schools with you soon but we still have a lot of recommendations from the students at schools the blue box visited in 2014. Here are some of the results from Westview Middle School. It’s almost like the box can travel in time or something.

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Wonder by R.J. Palacio is recommended for “middle schoolers.” The book is certainly  a good read for grades 6 and up but Palacio’s story of prejudice and perseverance has proven to be one of the publishing sensations of 2014. It is a story that speaks to hearts of all ages.

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm is recommended for 5th-8th grade. Turtle is the perfect heroine for this work of adventurous historical fiction. She is just the kind of spirited, tough character the Doctor might like to meet some day.

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Continuing the theme of historical adventure, Jason’s Gold by Will Hobbs is recommended for “teens and up.” Author, Jack London, is featured as a character in this thrilling book. Did you know that a fictionalized Jack London also made an appearance in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Time’s Arrow?”

From history to a dystopian future, Among the Hidden Stars from the Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix is recommended for “anyone who likes adventure/political books.”

If you just can’t get enough of imaginative stories of future political uprisings, you can check out Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts, recommended for “anyone who enjoys dystopian fiction (Hunger GamesDivergent, etc.).” After that, you might want to turn your attention to the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. This dark tale of a society dominated by ideals of beauty is described as, not just awesome, but “super awesome.”

The Doctor definitely approves of books like these that make readers think! More awesome book recommendations will be coming your way from Westview Middle School and other libraries the Awesome Box has visited in its travels. Plus, you can park your TARDIS here for extra awesomeness from the Longmont Public Library. See you soon!

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Send Us an Owl: Have you read any of these books? Did you think they were awesome? Why or why not?