The Library Ninja Blog

Nobody Knows Film Review

The film opens with a shoot of a disheveled young boy opposite a high school girl on a train. Between them is a small, bright-red suitcase that the boy holds onto tenderly. We have no idea where they’re going, nor what’s in the suitcase…Nobody Knows.

2004’s Nobody Knows (Dare Mo Shiranai), is director Hirokazu Koreeda’s moving and ultimately heartbreaking tale of four young siblings forced to rely on each other after being abandoned by their mother in a small apartment in Tokyo.

“I’m Going To Explain The Rules To You One More Time…”

Mother Keiko Fukushima has recently moved into a new apartment in Tokyo with her son Akira and has begun living in her new place on a good note, she introduces herself and her son to the new landlord and his wife, assuring they’ll cause no trouble during their stay and politely explaining her absent “husband”; he’s working overseas. While the movers are unloading their luggage into the new apartment, Akira is paying special attention to two particular pieces of luggage; after the movers have left we then see why―it’s his mother’s secret, her other children.

From bits of dialogue throughout the film, we can conclude that Keiko is a flighty mother, with questionable means as to how she makes her income and has done this previous times before, presenting Akira as her only son, while her other children live in hiding. There’s Kyoko; who’s only wish is to go to school and save up for a piano, Shigeru; the playful loud-mouthed younger brother, who seems to be the reason why they moved in the first place, and the youngest girl; sweet little Yuki.

Keiko promises Akira things will be different this time, she’s fallen in love with a man (something she seems to do very often) and once she feels like this man will provide her with the lifestyle she wants, she’ll mention Akira and his siblings to him. Akira and his sister Kyoko suspect things might not change at all. We the viewer see that Keiko leaves the children for long periods of time, during that time they are not to go outside but Akira, and none of them are given the ability to go to school. Only a couple of days after they move into their new apartment their mother leaves Akira a note and a few thousand yen (Japanese currency) barely enough to cover the utilities and not enough to buy proper food but instant noodles from the convenience store.

Nobody Knows…or Nobody Wants To Know

One of the biggest things you’ll feel while watching Nobody Knows is frustration. Frustration not so much at the fact that Akira won’t call the police and tell them that their mother has abandoned them; somewhere in his mind he hopes she’ll return, all of them do, and he knows that if he does he may not see his brother and sisters again. You’re frustrated that all of the adults, all of the people that can clearly see what’s going on but have no interest in intervening. From the many men that have had past relationships with Keiko that Akira visits to beg for more money, to the young convenience store clerk that Akira confesses to that his mother has disappeared, to shockingly towards the end, someone that could have helped immediately when what was happening to the children could not be denied any longer.

Clocking in at 2 hours and 20 minutes long, Nobody Knows, is a surprisingly gripping film. You hope and wonder if anyone will come to the rescue and watch Akira try and hold his family together, all the while all of the children maintain their child-like innocence and wonder at the smallest things around them. A book version of the film Nobody Knows was released in 2012 by Shelley Tanaka; give it a read then take the opportunity to watch this wonderful film. You won’t regret it!

Rated PG-13

Written by Amina D., YTC Intern

5/4/2015 Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Movies/TV

Get Ready For Our Teen Lit Finale!

We are beginning to wrap up our 12 week poetry workshop in Teen Zone. We gather poems and begin to memorizing the poems of our past which has allowed our students to be more open minded in learning something new through the art of word usage and poetry. With the help of Motivational Speaker, Mike Guinn, students now have a better understanding of the importance of combining classical poetry and spoken word.

Students are having fun during these workshops, while at the same time, learning about a new poet, a new song writer or a singer, and how they have a great impact  to our daily ways of thinking and emotions in today's society. "It's about being "real" " said one Nichols Jr. High student at the beginning of our workshop. Real about how they live, real about their environmental surroundings, real about school, and the realities of their decisions they have to make on a daily basis. 

In the works of Emily Dickinson, "Hope", she writes:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
One student decided to sing a rap lyric based on his own situations but inspired by Emily Dickinson:
"You can tell that, I have been from hell and back
When the heat is on, I am fighting back.
In this cold world, where's your lighters at?
Its burning down, but I'm fighting back!
Please join us on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at the Improv Arlington Highlands from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. and support our youth literacy programs through spoken word! See you there!
4/27/2015 by Veronica R. Add a Comment Share this:

2015 Official Teens' Top Ten Nominations Announced!

In case you missed it, the 2015 Teens' Top Ten nominees were announced on last Thursday, National Support Teen Literature Day.

Voting begins August 2015, so start reading and requesting!

Here are a few of the nominees:

For a complete list, click here.

My personal favorites are Unhinged and Love Letters to the Dead.

Don't forget, to check back with YALSA between August 15 and Teen Read Week at in order to vote for your favories. The winners will be announced the week after Teen Read Week.

Which ones have you read and which one is next on your list? Comment below (with your preferred library location) and receive a free book!

Go Center Presents: Police Officer Wiliams, of the Dallas Police Department

Officer Williams from the Dallas Police Department, dedicated his time during this week to talk to our teens in Teen Zone. Teens were eager to know about who he is and what he does, and showed much interest through asking a variety of questions.

Officer Williams talked about his line of work during the night shift in comparison to how police officers are portrayed in movies like "21 Jump Street" or "Let's Be Cops". There are many stereotypes that he talked about, and wanted to make sure to express to our teens that not all police officers on duty are at the donut shop drinking a cup of coffee, but rather the importance of them being very physically active in order to do there job. His experiences have been from car chases to jumping fences in order to help stop a thief from escaping, which ended up leaving him with a serious injury.

Being an police offficer is not an easy job at all, from dealing with people who have terrible attitudes, to car chases, to being injured on the job while trying to stop a criminal. Yet, they find the time to mentor our youth about how it is rewarding knowing that they have done their job to save another life or prevent an accident. 

4/16/2015 by Veronica R. Add a Comment Share this:

YTC Teen Podcasting Workshop

I’m sure most of the adult readers of the teen blog already know how amazing podcasts are, Serial anyone? Regardless of your age, if you don’t know what a podcast is, hop onto your iTunes account and prepare to be amazed! Podcasts or podcasting involves prerecording an audio show and making it available to stream online or via an mp3-enabled device such as an iPhone. A podcast can be on whatever you want. Way back in October of last year, we held a podcasting workshop where teens were taught how to organize, record, and upload a podcast of their very own. We ended the program by all coming together and doing a podcast on the goings-on in popular culture. Since we recorded in October, some of what we talked about is a bit dated (we began by talking about Halloween), however some of the other things we discussed have had a sequel (s) added to the original story, i.e. Five Nights at Freddy’s and Divergent. So if you’re totally unfamiliar with either franchise, why not let some of our awesome teen podcasters give you a primer? 

APL’s Pop Culture Poison

Take a listen at what some of our teens talked about in our first pop culture podcast. You’ll be hearing me and some of our teens that couldn’t wait to share their views with the world which include Iman Gaber aka Emma J., Chase Lee-Clinton, aka Shady Canopy, and Johnny Nguyen aka, Pongo the Dog.

*The podcast is broken down into three different sections, so you don’t have to listen to the whole thing, though I recommend you at least listen to the intro and go from there.

Intro/Section One: Halloween & Horror

Some things of interest: We talked about the (at the time) upcoming films Ouija and Annabelle and how the original Ouija board used to have a slightly creepy Saturday morning commercial. (You can watch here it.) I shared a funny story about some questionable marketing decisions with the release of the 2007 horror film Alien Vs Predator: Requiem on Christmas Day (I mistakenly say Christmas Eve in the podcast).

Section Two: Divergent

I had Emma J and Shady Canopy school me on the YA dystopian series Divergent. This would be a fun listen before you head out to see the second film Insurgent.

Section Three: VG Bros. and Five Nights at Freddy’s

A couple of our gaming obsessed teens, Pongo the Dog (whom you may know if you visit The Lab) and Shady Canopy took the wheels and gave a breakdown on the indie-game hit Five Nights At Freddy’s. FNAF’s has everyone from teens, adults, to popular YouTubers shivering in their seats. What’s Five Nights at Freddy’s about? Well, why don’t you give this section a listen?

Of course listening isn’t enough when it comes to this game; afterwards, check out the many “Let’s Play” videos of FNAF’s and see why you’ll never look at Chuck E. Cheese’s the same way again.

Everyone did an amazing job and our hope is that with this program they’ll have built up the confidence to create podcasts of their own for the world to listen to! Here at Arlington Library’s Lab at the East Branch we have mics, headphones, and all of our laptops equipped with Audacity, a free audio editing software, that we also used on this podcast. So the question is: If you had a podcast, what would it be about? When you’ve figured it out, come on by and start recording!

Written by Amina D., YTC Intern

4/13/2015 Add a Comment Share this:

Teen Review by Hannah W...The 100

I spent my spring break like any normal, well-adjusted teenager should: binge-watchng TV shows on Netflix. One of the series I uploaded to my brain was The 100, a gripping post-apocalyptic tale about a group of delinquent teenagers sent down to earth from The Ark, the space station where all of humanity has lived for the past century in order to test the planet's viability for re-colonization.

I admit, I was skeptical. The plot sounds stereotypical and formulaic, but it really worked for this show. I was hooked. So when I found out my new favorite series was based on a book, I had to check it out. I was devastated to find that the plot was entirely different from the TV adaptation, but I quickly became invested. The 100 by Kass Morgan follows four different characters: Wells, the privileged goody-two-shoes son of the Chancellor, Clarke, the former girlfriend of  Wells, Bellamy, a lower class worker who will do anything to protect his sister, and Glass, one half of a star-crossed love affair who remains on the space station. Every character must make life or death decisions on a regular basis, and the consequences are often catastrophic.

From the intense political drama unfolding on the Ark, which is only hinted at, to the struggle to survive on a planet no human has set foot on in 100 years, which is all too realistic, The 100 is addictive. The emotional conflicts of the characters are well-developed- by this I mean you will be in physical pain due to the emotional trauma of reading this book- and the physical conflicts build suspense perfectly. However, some fairly predictable moments and the radically convenient and sort of overused plot device of isolating a group of teens reminded me that this was, in fact, a YA book, not an Actual Parallel Universe of Feels-Related Suffering.

For fans of the CW show as well of fans of a really good book, I definitely recommend The 100. 4 Stars - Great. Definitely Worth It.

Written by Hannah W.

Other books you may enjoy:


4/8/2015 Add a Comment Share this:

"Attack on Titan" Ban In The U.S.?

                           (Click the image above to read the original source)

So I hate to be the bearer of bad news, guys...

As if Attack on Titan being moved to Toonami's 2AM "death slot" wasn't already bad enough, but now looking back with hindsight, we can see that this was just their way of trying to break the news to us gently...

It's seems like just yesterday that we were getting amped about the Attack on Titan Live Action movie that's making its way to theaters this summer, while at the same time, still patiently waiting for season 2 of the anime to air. Now it seems we're going to be waiting forever. (Well, that is unless you're already looking into travel passports.)

For more info regarding the almost unbelievable decision to discontinue all Attack on Titan anime, manga, and other merchandise from being distributed within the U.S., you can view for yourself all of the disappointing details at the following source link: "Corrupting Our Youth:" FCC's Ban on Popular Anime In United States.

In case you're not in the mood to read a bunch of legal talk and censorship debate, here's a summary of how exactly we're going to be affected by this decision:

What we can expect to happen soon...

  • Attack on Titan is scheduled to be removed from Toonami's Saturday night action block, and will be replaced with old school Toonami line-up anime, Hamtaro effective April 1, 2015. 
  • Attack on Titan is scheduled to be removed completely from Netflix's streaming catalog by April 1, 2015.
  • The Attack on Titan live action film will not be shown in any U.S.. theaters upon the time of its scheduled worldwide release, August 1, 2015. (Effective April 1, 2015)
  •, the host of the popular online Attack on Titan Tribute Game, will begin to terminate service to all of its North American based servers effective immediately on (you guessed it...) April 1, 2015. 

As to be expected, many die-hard fans have already taken to social media to start a petition against the FCC's decision to ban Attack on Titan from U.S.. consumers. While hope is still alive, go to the following link and sign your name on the petition to help repeal the discontinuing of Attack on Titan in the U.S.:AFW (Activists for Anime) Online Petition.

Hey, don't kill the messenger...

Click Here To Read The Original Source




And by the way... Gotcha.

Happy April Fools!

4/1/2015 by EJ A. Add a Comment Share this:

Exploring Our Past Poets

This marks the 5th week of Teen Zone's Teen Lit Poetry Workshop were teens have gather together to recite and create poetry. 

Teens learned and explored the markings of our past poets, which as allowed us to become the artist we are today whether through literature or art. 

Many Teens were excited to acknowledge a new poet they had never heard about.  For example: Langston Hughes, Lenore Kandel, Joyce Kilmer, Shel Silverstein, and Walt Whitman. The list can go on as teens began to read out loud, then recite creatively through emotions, musically through rap, or through dramatically acting it out:

Pot of Gold

Shel Silverstein

I when to find the pot of gold
That's waiting where the rainbow ends. 
I searched and searched and searched and searched 
And searched and searched, and then-
There it was, deep in the grass,
Under an old and twisty bough.
It's mine, it's mine, it's mine at last....
What do I search for now?



I Cry

Tupac Shakur

Sometimes when I'm alone I cry, Cause I am on my own. The tears I cry are bitter and warm. They flow with life but take no form I Cry because my heart is torn. 
I find it difficult to carry on. 
If I had an ear to confiding, I would cry among my treasured friend, but who do you know that stops that long, to help another carry on.
The world moves fast and it would rather pass by. Then to stop and see what makes one cry, so painful and sad. And sometimes...
I Cry and no one cares about why.


We will continue to remember our past poets as we memorize their poems that reflect our modernism and our individualities'. It is never to late to participate!

We look forward to another successful workshop this week on Wednesday at the Northeast Branch Library, Teen Zone. Check out how Classical Poetry can evolve the way we think and produce poems.  

3/30/2015 by Veronica R. Add a Comment Share this:

Gaming Update: Destiny

In case you missed it, last month many things have happened in the world of video games news but one of the most impactful events was the new update to the Destiny, Bungie's first-person shooter game, and its app have changed the game from being lackluster to top tier.

Bungie rolled out an update for Destiny's companion app for Android, iOS and the web today that makes managing your in-game inventory a lot easier. Destiny's companion app now has the option to move items to and from the Vault. App users will just need to go into their gear and inventory tabs to move things around, however, the option to transfer items to and from the Vault can't be accessed through the app's Tower Map.

Today's Bungie weekly update also has details on a new type of multiplayer feature: Inferno playlists. These new playlists, which hit the Crucible on March 3, changes how some Control games work by removing the tracker that shows the location of nearby enemy players. Inferno playlists has has simplified the scoring mechanic in the game in an effort to emphasize kills and objectives. There's less heavy ammo in Inferno, as players will only get one drop per match, which makes for heavy ammo camping almost non-existent. Finally, in the Inferno Control games, capture points are captured faster than in previous game modes allowing the players to get back into the fight a lot faster than before.

Lastly, the update brought to Destiny was the new matchmaking system for weekly heroic mission strikes that previously required players to have friends or acquaintances in order to do these in order to obtain both engrams, but even more so the highly valued strange coins needed to buy better equipment from the tower, which is the games main central hub. The new matchmaking system allows players to connect two other people, which allows the game to have a more social feel to it.
However, with all of the updates, most fans are still complaining over no matchmaking system for raid missions as well as random drop rates for some of the harder to obtain weapons such as the Gallajorn, which for this seasoned Destiny pro is the only weapon missing from his arsenal, but that is for another time.

Keep on gaming!

Destiny is rated T for Teen by ESRB

Written by Miguel M., YTC Intern

3/19/2015 Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Gaming

Teen Review by Cheyenne K....Princess Ben

Publisher's Description: Benevolence is not your typical princess and Princess Ben is certainly not your typical fairy tale. With her parents lost to unknown assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia, who is intent on marrying her off to the first available specimen of imbecilic manhood.” Starved and miserable, locked in the castle’s highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts: mastering an obstinate flying broomstick, furtively emptying the castle pantries, setting her hair on fire . . . But Ben’s private adventures are soon overwhelmed by a mortal threat facing the castle and indeed the entire country. Can Princess Ben save her kingdom from annihilation and herself from permanent enslavement?

Princess Ben is a fairy tale about a princess who is not accepted in her world. She finds herself in a locked room when she defies the queen. With nothing to do she finds a secret room and in that room is a book that holds some pretty interesting things.

You have to read Princess Ben's story to see what she does for her country with that exiting book. It has mystery and suspense threaded all along the story plot. With her parents lost to assassins, she has to find out that all she needed to do was be herself. Her aunt, the queen, is desperate to marry Ben off to the first suitor who will take her but Ben will have none of that, if she gets a say or not.

You will find yourself liking this book even if you don't like fairy tales. Never underestimate what a girl can do. Prince Chamberpot and his father will find she is quite the handful and maybe you will too! 4 STARS!!!

Other books you may enjoy:

3/14/2015 Add a Comment Share this: