Tag Archives: literacy

Harry Potter’s Back (and more)!

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Art by Kazu Kibuishi

For more than a year, muggles, witches, and wizards alike have been asking us when we would bring back our Harry Potter discussion groups for 8-17 year-olds. We are thrilled to announce that Prefects and Junior Prefects are back at Carbon Valley Regional Library in Firestone and Erie Community Library. Both libraries are part of High Plains Library District where they know all about the magic of reading!

All of our discussion groups are conducted according to our Geek Philosophy method that encourages young people to speak and listen to each other in a spirit of wholehearted inquiry. We can’t think of a better way to approach the thought-provoking works of J.K. Rowling. 

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Send us an owl: What are the most important lessons you have learned from Harry Potter?

There is one catch to all this, however. Junior Prefects and Prefects in the High Plains Library District are being run as pilot projects. In order to continue the discussions past February, we need to show that young witches and wizards are excited to gather once a month or more to talk about magic! Please sign up and tell your friends!

Carbon Valley meetings will take place on the first Tuesdays of the month, beginning December 6. Junior Prefects meet 4:30-5:30 p.m. Prefects meet 6:30-7:30 p.m.

8-11 year-olds: Register for Junior Prefects here.

12-17 year-olds: Register for Prefects here.

Erie Community Library meetings will take place on the second Tuesdays of the month, beginning December 13. Junior Prefects meet 4:30-5:30 p.m. Prefects meet 6:30-7:30 p.m.

8-11 year-olds: Register for Junior Prefects here.

12-17 year-olds: Register for Prefects here.

Are you a Jedi as well as a wizard? Register for Fandoms Unite: A Star Wars Story to share your excitement about Rogue One and all things Star Wars with fans your own age! The story begins on December 1 at 4 p.m. Register here. May the Force be with you!

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Be sure to like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter for event updates. From time to time, events open up for an expanded age group or new spaces are added. Don’t miss out on the magic! 

You can get more information and register for any High Plains Library District programs by calling 1-888-861-7323. 

(Nerdy) Bags for Change!

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At Grey Havens YA, we provide each of our young adult members with a free copy of the books we discuss, a copy that they can underline, dog-ear, or keep in pristine condition. However they choose to keep it, it is theirs forever!

martian chronicles booksWhy do we do this? Because, as enriching as they are, our book discussions are not the last word on the story. For the rest of their lives, we want our members to go back to the stories we talk about, engaging with them as they would with a living thing. We want them to experience and re-experience the stories, themselves, rather than replacing those experiences with the things we have said about them.

The problem is that, sometimes, when we finish discussing a book, we don’t know where the money for the next set of books will come from. This, and all of the other expenses that come with running a nonprofit that serves hundreds of individuals and families, is why we depend on our supporters. Every donation helps and, this spring, even a wooden dime can make a difference!

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Thanks to votes from members of our community (thank you!), Lucky’s Market Longmont has selected us as one of the spring recipients of their Bags for Change program. Shoppers who bring in reusable bags will receive a wooden dime representing a bag credit that they can choose to donate to Grey Havens YA through They Grey Havens Group. Those wooden dimes really add up, especially since Lucky’s Market matches every single one of them with a donation of their own!

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But wait–there’s more! We wouldn’t be Grey Havens YA if we didn’t find a way to put a nerdy twist on this exciting fundraising opportunity. We asked our members and supporters, not just to bring their reusable bags to Lucky’s Market, but to shop with the nerdiest reusable bags they can find! Use #SustainableNerds to share photos of your nerdy, geeky shopping bags on social media. We would also love to see photos in the comments!

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If enough people load up enough nerdy bags with bargains, we will know where a whole year of books is coming from–from YOU! Thank you to all the #SustainableNerds out there and keep an eye on our blog for more information about another exciting fundraising event coming up in the next few weeks!

Watch this video to learn more about how Bags for Change is changing local lives:

Psst! If you love Grey Havens YA but aren’t local, please feel free to check out our Support page for other ways to keep the magic going. We hope you’ll also participate in the #SustainableNerds challenge! Thank you.

Send us an owl: Show us your nerdy bags, of course! Also, what do you like to buy most at Lucky’s Market?

What A Nerd Looks Like: Embracing Enthusiasm, Embracing the Other

wp-1454298478123.jpgDid you know that Grey Havens YA has been around for two years and nearly four months now? It has been an incredible journey so far, and we are so proud of our members and our growing community.

Many adults have come up to us over these two years and told us how much they wish they had a group like this when they were younger. They understand how uniquely valuable a haven for literature, imagination, community and inclusion can be for young teens and old teens alike. They get it because they’ve seen it in action, so now I want to take a moment to try to describe it to you.

Grey Havens YA isn’t just a book club. It is more than just fun events and fandom programming. As you’ll see in our upcoming Geek Philosophy series, Grey Havens YA is about teaching young minds to imagine greatly, live enthusiastically, and engage thoughtfully with the world around them.

As we’ve been reading The Martian Chronicles over the past two months, we have discovered something about our group of geeks and nerds: while the humans in the Martian stories fear that great, insurmountable Other, we are drawn to it.  We want to know who the Martians were, how they lived, what they would have to say to us about our own lives… As nerds and geeks who explore the world and its stories with great enthusiasm, we are drawn to the Other points of view. We want to know more about how Kylo Ren thinks; we are heartbroken over the pains Draco Malfoy has been through; we are fascinated by the friendship between the Doctor and the Master; we crave knowledge of how “the other side” thinks and feels and lives.

At our recent Multi-Generational Philosophy Discussion in which we partnered with the Longmont Senior Center to discuss Geek Philosophy with both senior adults and our YA members, one of the senior adults said something very profound to our members. We were talking about the horrors of racism, and a YA member observed that her generation may not be as inclined to prejudice as those in the past. The senior adult replied, “You said that your generation is not as racially charged. I believe that, for you [Grey Havens YA members], because you are not afraid to be enthusiastic. When you embrace being a nerd, you are not afraid to be enthusiastic, and to live.” He mentioned the notion that “Joe Cool” can be cool all his life and then realize he never actually lived, but when you embrace who you are and embrace being a nerd, you stop being so worried about looking cool and you start really living.

wp-1454299663565.jpgTo the founders of Grey Havens YA, these two concepts are intrinsically related. We are drawn to other sides, to the viewpoints of those who are different from us, because we are enthusiastic about knowledge and about life itself. In one of our favorite quotes, John Green said, “Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. … When people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness.'”

That is why we do what we do here at Grey Havens YA. We want to encourage young adults to be unashamed by their enthusiasm for the miracle of human consciousness. True, some of our members aren’t as enthusiastic all the time. Some of them struggle with depression and very real issues in their lives, but they still show up every week and they share in the enthusiasm of others. They show up every week and they discuss philosophy, darkness and light, science and art with the rest of us. They show up every week and feel safe to be themselves. It is quite a miracle itself to behold.

Grey Havens YA means so much to our members, and it means so much to us. We are so proud of these last two years, and we look forward to many more. We especially love adding to our community and watching our new members fit right in as if they’ve been with us all along. Grey Havens YA is full of  that special kind of magic. Will you help us spread it?

A star shines on the hour of our meeting,
Robyn and Kelly

Photos by Steve Eggleston

Buy a Great Series, Support Grey Havens YA!

You can probably tell that here at Grey Havens YA, we love books, and that makes it pretty exciting when the authors of those books love us back! This holiday season, the brilliant Colorado author Stant Litore is offering readers a chance to buy some great books and support Grey Havens YA all in one transaction. Keep reading to find out how!

fb_img_1448597602611.jpgStant has been a constant supporter of the Grey Havens Group, and we consider him a member even though he doesn’t live in the area. He is a part of our community, and we are honored to know him. Some of you may remember that he was one of our guest authors at the Grey Havens Real Myth and Mithril Symposium last April. It was there that he really started to connect with and experience the magic that is Grey Havens YA. In a follow-up post about the event, he writes: “Talking with these teens who are fully embracing, unashamed, their love of the imagination — all I can say is that I would have given a great deal to be part of such a group when I was a teen.”

Stant is the author of many daring works, but it’s his first series that’ll hook you and reel you in as a fangirl for life: The Zombie Bible. These five* books re-imagine Biblical stories and ancient legends as if they were set in the larger context of humanity’s constant struggle against hunger…. and the hungry dead.

We don’t think we need to say any more than that, because we know you’re intrigued already — but we will! Reading Stant’s series will not only enrich your imagination and engage your philosophical thinking, but when you purchase the Silver Edition Digital Box Set before the end of December, 50% of the royalties will be donated to Grey Havens YA.  All for only $5.99, 60% off the individual price! What a great deal!

Read more from Stant’s post on his website:

GHYA is a shoestring-budget operation, and I want to help by giving them 50% of my royalties for The Zombie Bible: Silver Edition Digital Box Set to GHYA through December 31, 2015. Please help me by sharing the word and, of course, by buying the books! If I can get GHYA just $250, that supplies their book budget for the spring. If I can get them $500-$1000, they’ll be able to increase their membership, or perhaps get equipment to replace the truly archaic and at-the-brink-of-breaking computers and projectors they currently work with.

zombiebibleStant is an incredible human being, and we’re so glad to be able to offer you such a fun and easy way to support us this season. Who knew you could do your Black Friday / Small Business Saturday / Cyber Monday shopping AND support Grey Havens YA at the same time?! Thanks, Stant! Click here to see the other ways you can support us.

*The Silver Edition Digital Box Set includes The Zombie Bible Volumes 1-5. Volume 6 will be released in 2016 — so go ahead and get caught up now! 😉

Send us an owl: Which is your favorite Stant Litore book?

High-Five a Librarian!

Today is High-Five a Librarian Day. Where would Grey Havens YA be without libraries and librarians? Where would the world be without libraries and librarians? For our partners at Carbon Valley Regional Library, Lafayette Public Library, Longmont Public Library, all the librarians in the Saint Vrain Valley School District and all the hard-working librarians everywhere, this is our version of the high-five. It is even better than a traditional high-five; it’s a sci-five! Live long and prosper.

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In December, Grey Havens YA begins reading The Martian Chronicles by the great Ray Bradbury. Here is what Bradbury had to say about how very much we need libraries. This quote was included in a beautiful post by Grey Havens YA director, Robyn Bosica, on banned and challenged books. Read the whole post here.

“Let’s imagine there’s an earthquake tomorrow in the average university town. If only two buildings remained intact at the end of the earthquake, what would they have to be in order to rebuild everything that had been lost? Number one would be the medical building, because you need that to help people survive, to heal injuries and sickness. The other building would be the library. All the other buildings are contained in that one. People could go into the library and get all the books they needed in literature or social economics or politics or engineering and take the books out on the lawn and sit down and read. Reading is at the center of our lives. The library is our brain. Without the library, you have no civilization.”

Send us on owl: What is the best thing a librarian has ever done for you? After you answer that question, head on over to the library and give the hardworking librarians and staff a high-five. They deserve it! 

Grey Havens YA at Denver Comic Con!

Denver Comic Con 2015 is still partying on, but Grey Havens YA’s panel is now completed! We had a great day on Sunday, and we want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement. The following post includes some fun photos and details about our time at the event. We may be getting more photos later, so keep an eye out on our Facebook page! Enjoy.

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Kelly and Robyn had fun wandering the exhibit hall until panel time. They had a nasty run in with some storm-troopers, but they managed to get out of it okay, good thing Robyn had her sonic screwdriver!

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We got a few of our audience members to participate in our #ThisIsWhatANerdLooksLike campaign, and we just had to take a photo of our panel name on the fancy electronic schedule!

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Grey Havens YA panelists, members, families, and next generation joined us for a photo-op before the panel. Everyone looks like they’re having an awesome time!

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To warm up, Kelly led our panelists in some nerd yoga. First, the fangirl.

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Next, the Hermione hand-raise!

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And of course, we had to dance like the Doctor.

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They were ready!

Our members were very eloquent, funny, and inspiring. They talked about how much this community means to them and what it’s like being a young nerd. They took questions from the audience that were both silly and serious — “How do you decide what’s appropriate for the whole group?” (See our book selection policy). “Have any of you ever got something spoiled for you in the group?” Yes, we spoiled the last Harry Potter book for Ethan– Ethan, we are so so sorry!

Kelly and Robyn addressed some of the details about Grey Havens YA, including the fact that we are 100% volunteers – to which one woman in the audience responded, “What? Hooowww???” We make it work because we love this group, and we believe in the power of literacy, imagination, community, and inclusion. We are so grateful to be a part of something so wonderful that has already grown far beyond our dreams in just two years. If you want to help our group grow even more, please consider supporting our efforts. Overall, it was a fantastic panel, and we are so proud of our young adult nerds.

Of course, no Grey Havens Ya event would be complete without not one, but two videos of our famous Slogo:

Send us an owl: Were you at Denver Comic Con? What was your favorite part?

Thank You for Letting Us Set You Up on a Blind Date!

On Valentine’s Day, 2015, Grey Havens YA hosted a fundraiser called Blind Date with a Book. In exchange for a donation of any amount, our members provided an adventurous reader with a book they had never met before.

Of course, we want to thank our incredibly generous hosts, Barbed Wire Books and Lucky’s Market. We have had a fruitful relationship with Barbed Wire Books from our group’s beginning, and this is not the first time Lucky’s Market has shown our group its generosity. We look forward to long and happy partnerships with both of them.

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We also want to take the time, however, to thank our donors. Every single one of you who provided us with a donation in any amount and bravely walked away with an unidentified book wrapped in brown paper gave us more than you may ever know. You gave us encouragement. You taught something very important to our young members and their families–to the ones who worked hard to prepare for the event, who stood in front of stores for hours greeting customers until their voices were almost gone, who dressed up in costume, sang, acted and read stories to entertain the crowds.

Even if, in place of a monetary donation, you offered them a kind word or a show interest in our group, you showed our members that we can engage with the community of Longmont, that you care about what we are trying to accomplish at Grey Havens YA, that you value literacy and imagination as much as we do, and that you believe Grey Havens YA is doing the right thing in giving our young members a place to belong, explore their interests and express themselves. Thank you, Longmont!

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You might be interested to learn what we plan to do with all that cash. Thanks to you, we raised more than $700!

→Firstly, the money we raised will help us to present our upcoming symposium, a low-cost exploration of imaginative literature and fandom culture that, not only advances our group’s mission and provides our young members an opportunity to shine…

→But it will also help us to raise a little more money so that we can provide the supplies and expertise necessary to host a Harry Potter Summer Camp at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center.

→Proceeds from the summer camp will fund books and activities for our current members…

AND, most importantly, those proceeds will help to cover all of the expenses that come with the complex process of changing our organization’s status from a non-profit association to a fully fledged 501C3 tax-exempt organization.

Becoming a 501C3 will open many fundraising and grant opportunities for Grey Havens Group and Grey Havens YA, allowing us to expand activities for our current members, bring in new members from our growing waiting list, and even create new chapters. The future we imagine for ourselves is finding a building that will serve both as a community center and as a base from which we can spread our values of literacy, imagination, community and inclusion across Colorado and the country. As our mission statement says, “Nothing was ever made by human hands or realized in the intellect that was not first conceived of in the imagination.” That tells us that, with your help, we can make this wonderful thing that we imagine into a reality! If you’re interested partnering with us some more, please visit our support page.

Thank you again to Barbed Wire Books, Lucky’s Market and all our friends in Longmont, Colorado! We appreciate you very much! After you finish the book you received from us at our fundraiser, please return here to Rate your Date!

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Watch this space for more photos and some entertaining videos from our event!

Send Us an Owl: Did you attend Blind Date with a Book or have you met Grey Havens YA elsewhere in your community? Tell us about it!

GHYA is Sherlocked!

Artwork done by karinaisab during the meeting.
Artwork done by karinaisab during the meeting.

Well folks, here we are again–time for Grey Havens YA to start ANOTHER book– its third book to be exact. Can you believe it? This time around, we are not reading a book, but a collection of short stories about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. 

At our last book meeting, we discussed our first story: “A Study in Scarlet.” We kicked things off with an essay put together by a mother-daughter duo from our group about how Sherlock Holmes was a nerd like us. He saw the world in a way other people did not, and this gave him an almost superhero like quality. His stories definitely fit the bill for Grey Havens YA, where it’s not about what you love, but how you love it.

We decided that Sherlock just had to fangirl with somebody, so it’s a good thing he found Watson.

We also wondered if perhaps Watson was just a puzzle Sherlock wanted to figure out… We will be exploring that idea as we continue on to “The Crooked Man” and beyond. I also challenged the YA’s to let go of previous conceptions about the character. Steven Moffat in the present day will tell us that Sherlock Holmes is a “high-functioning sociopath,” and therefore his behaviors can be traced back to some kind of differing mental state than the rest of us… But what did Doyle in the late 19th century really say about his strange new detective character?

We also had a fascinating conversation about the pros and cons of being Sherlock Holmes and whether or not we would want to take his place.

One of our members said, “Yes, I’d like to be Sherlock Holmes….if I had an off switch.”

Another said, “No– I want to be Watson!”

What about you? Please send us an owl with your thoughts on Sherlock Holmes. Did you finish A Study in Scarlet? What did you think?