teens banner

Teen Tastemakers: December Picks


Reading + Entertainment

  • Teen Tastemakers December 2018
    Teen Tastemakers, December 2018

Teens, Idea Exchange | December 1, 2018

The cold weather is here and the holidays are just around the corner. Whether you’re looking for something to entertain you while you hibernate or activities to keep you active, we can help! Read on for the Teen Tastemakers’ December recommendations:

BOOKS (Claire)

Now that the weather’s getting cold, we all need a book to read in front of the fireplace. Here are three of my absolute favourite book series that I totally recommend.

Throne of Glass Stormbreaker The Diabolic This Mortal Coil Red Queen Scythe

  1. A Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

This romantic series is about an 18-year old assassin, Celaena Sardothien who has been dragged from her labour camp before the crown prince of Adarlan. The prince offers her freedom at a price: to be his champion in a competition for Adarlan’s new assassin. Fiercely romantic and addicting, this is definitely my favourite.

  1. Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz

This adventurous series is about a 14-year old British boy, Alex Rider, whose uncle had presumably passed away in a car accident. However, when Alex uncovers the truth of his uncle’s death, he is thrust into the dangerous world of spies, involving many intelligence agencies and terrorist organizations. This series is just downright brilliant, and I urge you to check it out.

  1. The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Diabolics are humanoid creatures devoid of humanity, made to serve and protect their master. Nemesis, a Diabolic, was created to protect Sidonia, the daughter of the galactic senator. When Sidonia is summoned to the Emperor’s court as hostage, Nemesis is sent instead. Diving deeper into the galactic court, Nemesis’s humanity surfaces, becoming the only thing that could save her life, and the empire.

It was so hard to include just three books, but be sure to also check out This Mortal Coil (Emily Suvada), Red Queen (Victoria Aveyard), and Scythe (Neil Shusterman).


MOVIES (Charlotte)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Christmas Vacation DVD Die Hard

Ah, winter. The sound of carolers, a gentle tapping of falling snow. As temperatures drop, it’s so nice to cuddle on the couch and watch a movie. Here are a few holiday picks to get you in the festive mood.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Whether you prefer Jim Carrey’s Grinch, the 1966 original, or the reboot starring Benedict Cumberbatch, this fun and uplifting tale has something for everyone.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: An all-time classic, this 1989 flick stars Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo as they try to wrangle their kids, deal with annoying relatives and bosses, and try to find a little bit of Christmas spirit. It’s hilarious and endlessly quotable.

Die Hard: People debate whether it’s a Christmas movie, but who cares? It is! Bruce Willis is a tough-as-nails New York cop battling against Alan Rickman, and it’s an 80s action classic.

200 Cigarettes: Now for New Year’s: A 1999 comedy following various groups of people as they try to get to a party on New Year’s Eve 1981. The cast is stacked, featuring Paul Rudd, Courtney Love, both Afflecks, Dave Chappelle, and Kate Hudson, to name a few. It’s funny, and timelessly relatable.


FOOD (Madeleine)

My Grill : Outdoor Cooking Australian Style French Desserts Classic German Baking : The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Gugelhupf to Streuselkuchen My Sweet Mexico : Recipes for Authentic Pastries, Breads, Candies, Beverages, and Frozen Treats

For us, one of the first Christmas foods we think of is traditional Christmas cookies. But there are so many other things, especially from other countries! Here are several:

Prawns (Australia): Prawns are a typical Christmas dish in Australia. Almost half of the prawns that Australians eat are eaten during Christmas!

Crepes (France): Yum! Crepes are sort of like a very thin pancake. There are two types of crepes: savory and sweet. Try them both! My personal favourite is sweet crepes with Nutella and strawberries! They’re also great with Ricotta.

Pfeffernusse (Germany): Literally translating to “pepper-nut”, pfeffernusse is a traditional German cookie… filled with pepper! They are also known as päpanät in Plautdietsch (Low-German). They are also popular in Denmark and the Netherlands.

Caramelised potatoes (Iceland): Boil potatoes, add sugar, water, and butter, then caramelize them? Sounds good to me!

Kheer (India): Kheer (also known as Kiru) is a rice pudding, and very sweet! It’s flavoured with all kinds of delicious things, such as saffron, raisins, and almonds.

Trifle (UK): A trifle is a traditional British dish you may have heard of. It’s full of fruit, sponge fingers, and custard! It can also be topped with whipped cream. Usually it has alcohol in it, but you can make an alcohol-free version.

Champurrado (Mexico): Champurrado is basically hot chocolate with corn flour, or something similar, to thicken it up, like pudding. That sounds amazing to me!



Sometimes, when you’re looking for something to do, what you need isn’t a book. It’s a podcast! A podcast is a form of media that uses audio recordings. There are podcasts about nearly everything - literature, gardening, and politics, just to name a few. Here are some of my favourite podcasts.

Welcome to Night Vale: This podcast is an audio drama formatted like a radio show, in the strange small town of Night Vale. It is utterly bizarre and surreal, but with a lot of heart.

The Once and Future Nerd: This is another audio drama, about three teenagers who are somehow magically transported to a fantastical kingdom. It’s got everything: magic, rebellions, intrigue, battle, and talking rabbits.

Buffering the Vampire Slayer: You’ve probably guessed it already, but this podcast has a recap-style format of the beloved television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s hilarious and interesting, with fascinating insights into the world of Buffy.

Critical Role: This podcast features a team of voice-actors as they play the popular role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. If you’ve never heard of D&D, don’t worry-it’s easy to pick up and follow along.


MUSIC (Ethan)

Music has transformed over the past 30 years. From the first drum to the latest electric guitar, any music is great to listen to. There are so many benefits to listening to music. It improves mood, provides comfort, eases pain and lessens anxiety. Here are a few songs that improved my mood!

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams: In this song it reimagines the idea of being happy. Though the song is very repetitive, the upbeat sound of the bass really makes your day that much happier!

“Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd: was originally made for anti-racist club in the 1970s. The song was later published worldwide in 1973 because people found the tune very pleasant. If you are ever angry or upset listen to this song to let out some rage.

“Rumor Has it” by Adele: I have loved to listen to this song ever since I was a little kid. Adele’s voice in the chorus gives me goosebumps every time.

To conclude, music is a huge part of my life. It has helped me cope through the tough times and made me cherish the great ones. I hope that listening to these songs will improve your quality of life!


SPORTS (Jemin)

Wow, time is going so fast… It has been 11 months since I arrived in Canada. I came here to study in English, and sometimes I think it was the wrong choice.

It’s hard to live in another country, but sports and activities keep me healthy and satisfied. After I do it, I feel a sense of accomplishment.

In Canada it is cold so if you’re trying to play sports, you will be affected. Because when you move fast, or if you’re doing activities, you will burn calories and lose weight.

By myself, I like to play basketball because it’s a winter sport, and it makes me happy. I recommend you do activities in winter for sure, ok? You’ll read this and realise you have to move to Canada!



Today I want to talk about world education and schools. I'm an overseas student from China, so I want to compare the education system between China and Canada.

As we all know, the quality of education in Canada is widely recognized all over the world. Students from many countries choose to study in Canada, so Canada is also an inclusive and multicultural country. Canadian education aims at developing personal interest and creating personal value.

The concept of education: Never judge a person's ability by examination results, let alone discuss success or failure because of an examination. In China, students study in order to prepare for the university and postgraduate exams, and individual work in the future. Whether they can be admitted to a good university depends on the college entrance examination, therefore the purpose of the previous 12 years of college education is very simple, that is - preparation for the exam!

Utilization of educational resources: All of Canada’s educational resources are fully used by students. During class and free time sports fields, libraries, and e-learning equipment are open to students. All resources are utilizing the value. But in China, while many resources are in place, there are not many opportunities for students to play basketball on the sports field. Especially in high school, teachers often try to say: "Physical education class has been changed to XX class." Because in China, our teachers think that since physical education is not a formal course, it is okay not to attend it.

Idea Exchange offers many great materials about education in Canada and abroad.


Do you have exceptional taste? Do you love books, movies, and music? Would you like to be involved with the library, gain valuable resume experience, AND earn volunteer hours? If you would like to join the Teen Tastemakers, please join us at one of our upcoming meetings.