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Teen Tastemakers: February Picks


Reading + Entertainment

  • Teen Tastemakers, February 2019
    Teen Tastemakers, February 2019

Teens, Idea Exchange | February 1, 2019


Heartthrob CD Pure Heroine CD

As February begins, so does the month of love. With Valentine’s Day in a few weeks, here’s some romantic songs to celebrate.

Love They Say by Tegan and Sara: After years of writing anguished songs, Tegan and Sara came out with a poppy and earnest song encapsulating all of the happy moments of relationships. (Borrow the CD “Heartthrob” from Idea Exchange)

Just My Kind by the Julie Ruin: Kathleen Hanna is well regarded as a punk singer, but in her new band she’s let out some vulnerability in this gentle synthy track celebrating her love of her husband.

400 Lux by Lorde: Lorde is well regarded as a precocious songwriter, and this is no exception as she ponders the complexities of young love amongst sparse beats and moody instrumentation. (Borrow the CD “Pure Heroine” from Idea Exchange)

Electric Love by BORNS: This song is an upbeat rock song that is great to jam out to, but is also sweetly romantic with some great metaphors and lyrics.



Shadow and Bone Siege and Storm Ruin and Rising Six of Crows Crooked Kingdom

Fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows duology are in for a treat this year! Leigh Bardugo recently announced that she’s made a deal with Netflix to produce a television adaption of the novels. Not only will it portray the story of Alina Starkov - a soldier turned powerful Grisha who is fighting to save her country from darkness and civil war - but also the story of Kaz Brekker - a gangster and con man bringing together a crew to undertake a suicide mission to break a man out of the most secure prison in the world.

And to long-time fans afraid that Netflix will take out important aspects of the story, don’t worry! Leigh Bardugo herself is one of the executive producers on the show, and has said before in interviews that she’d rather have no adaption at all than an adaption done poorly.

There’s no release date yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long until there’s more news about the upcoming adaption. And in the meantime, you can always reread the Grishaverse novels, which are available right here at Idea Exchange.



I absolutely love writing. So much that I’ve decided that I want to be an author someday! I know a lot of other teens write too, so here are some helpful tips!

How often to write

Some people say you should write every day, some say you shouldn’t. But I find it’s best to write at least a little bit every day, especially if you’re struggling with writer’s block. Once and a while though I take a break for a couple weeks and come back with some even better ideas! Find what works for you!

Know your characters

Figure out what your characters like and dislike. Figure out if they’re introverted, extroverted, or somewhere in-between. Choose some quirks they might have. When in doubt, choose something about yourself and add it to the character’s personality. Not only will you find it easier to write about, it will be more relatable too.

Write in your head… constantly

What I mean is, think about what you’re doing throughout the day, and imagine how you would describe it in a book. For example, think about how you would write about washing the dishes - you wouldn’t just be washing the dishes, you’d probably be thinking about something while you did that. How would you describe those thoughts? Or what about hanging out with your friends at school? You wouldn’t just be talking, you’d be observing and doing things too. How would you describe those things? Figuring this out will give you a better idea of how to make your writing realistic.


Finally, research. You either love it or hate it. But there are many ways to do it. From Google to Pinterest, and even the library! Yes, the library! The library has books, and sometimes even classes on writing. Check them out!



Egyptology : Search for the Tomb of Osiris Egypt : A View from Above

Recently my trip to Egypt has really inspired me to appreciate the ancient civilization on a whole new level. After my trip I studied Ancient Egyptian culture and architecture in two non-fiction books that I borrowed from Idea Exchange called Egyptology: The Search for the Tomb of Osiris and Egypt: A View From Above.

These books really helped me uncover the secrets of their civilization and the geometrically perfect pyramids that were originally built by 4,000 workers over the course of 20 years using strength, sleds and ropes. The vast and heavily unexplored hidden tombs in the valley of the kings and in the valley of the queens contains some of Egypt’s closest guarded secrets such as mummification, beautiful artistic drawings, and larger than life statues and obelisks that were hand carved from the rock with bronze chisels and hammers and raised to stand for over 5000 years. To conclude I would recommend these two books to anyone wishing to travel abroad to the beautiful city of Cairo, Egypt.



Hot chocolate is one of the tastiest treats, especially during the winter when it’s cold. However, instead of having milk chocolate, have you ever thought of a white hot chocolate drink (hot vanilla)? Here’s a recipe from Genius Kitchen on how to make your own hot vanilla.

The ingredients that you need are:

  • Two cups of milk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of white sugar
  • One teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ½ cup of coffee (optional)


  1. Microwave the two cups of milk (merge the cups into one big microwavable mug) for about 1 ½ minutes.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and sugar. If this drink will be replacing your morning coffee, try adding half a cup of your favourite coffee and mixing it in.

Tip: If coffee isn’t really your thing, try adding one teaspoon of ground cinnamon! It will really spice up the flavour in your drink.

As well, there are so many other hot chocolate variations out there. Some of my favourites that I’ve tried include cookies and cream frozen hot chocolate (a summertime treat made with C&C bars, milk, cocoa, sugar, and ice), caramel hot chocolate (hot chocolate mixed with caramel with whipped cream and caramel drizzles on top), and KitKat hot chocolate (standard hot chocolate recipe mixed with multiple different KitKat flavours.)

So give the hot vanilla recipe a shot and try experimenting the world-famous drink with different flavours!



War Horse DVD

Movies make people's lives more colorful, and I personally like watching movies. One of my favorites is the movie "War Horse," released in 2011.

The film's plot follows the experience of the horse Joey: the location moves from the poor British pastoral farmhouse to the battlefields of the First World War, the farms in France, and the no-man's land in the war. The horse meets many characters, starting with his British owner, Albert. He then goes to a German soldier, a little girl Emilie with her French grandparents, and then he is returned to Albert. The story of each place or character is enriched by the loyal and courageous character of the horse Joey, and step by step the loyalty, love, courage and strong image of the protagonist, Albert. The many different characters Joey meets makes the story more attractive and more tangled.

In "War Horse,” the idyllic scene of the British farm, the magnificent but cruel war scene, the close-up of the horse’s eyes showing Joey’s humanity, the shot of the big white goose (which seems to be irrelevant but full of fun), and the red glow of the sky in the ending is beautiful and suitable. "War Horse" is indeed a very good film, and the interpretation of truth, goodness and beauty is vivid.

We yearn for peace and hate war destroying our homeland. Love spreads among the various creatures, and the flower of life blooms in the ruins.


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.