Worker Wednesday: A Bowman STEM Activity for Preteens and Teens

The Bowman Library will be offering a summer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program aimed at preteens and teens beginning July 5th.


Each Wednesday at 5:30 pm we will have something different to explore with special presenters and hands on activities for preteens and teens, ages 9 to 17. Space is limited so registration is required to participate, but observers are welcome. Space is limited on most dates so book mark this page to have a direct link to the registration page for each event!

July 5th – Squishy Circuits! 
legoDiscovering and making electrical circuits!

See a demonstration of a Tesla Coil in action, then get hands-on to learn about electricity by creating and lighting your own circuit with conductive play dough.

July 12th – Sound Waves


Discovering sound waves and musical pitch.

Learn how sound is created and explore musical terms with pitch. Use this knowledge to create music with Boomwhackers in different octaves, observing how the size changes the sound.

July 19th – Stone Stacking (ages 11-17)
steinmann-60007_640_burnedDiscover the challenge of stone stacking!

Local Stone Stackers will demonstrate their patience and knowledge of balance as they build creative stone  structures. There will be 8 teams creating their rock stack. (This event is for ages 11 – 17 for strength requirements and safety for all participants.)

July 26 – Animal Habitats
squirrel-47528_1280Discover the wonder of animals and their homes–burrows, nests, dens, dams.

Valley Wildlife Care will talk about how animals prepare their homes within a habitat that provides shelter and nearby food.

August 2 – Wood Plank Construction
keva_burnedTake the challenge to build with KEVA planks and construction materials.

Groups of teens will work together on challenges using wooden planks. Who can build the tallest tower? The widest bridge? Recreate a complex structure or a maze!

August 9 – Build-A-Band (All Ages Welcome!)
amber waves

Discover how to build a band with sound, style, and musicians!

Teens and their families will enjoy a performance by the Amber Waves Band while they learn about the instruments that make up a bluegrass band and their individual roles.

Summer Opportunities for Teens

Teens in middle and high school, are you ready for Summer?

The Bowman Library has some great opportunities for teens to escape the heat for some socializing, fun, and a little learning on the side.

2017 Reading By Design will continue with your favorite activities, such as Anime & Pocky, Manga Art Club, and Game Night, with a few exciting additions, like our Worker Wednesday STEM activities, and a bit of Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey with Doctor Who.

Worker Wednesdays will meet Wednesday evenings starting in July at 5:30 with special STEM challenges, including exploring circuits, challenges in rock stacking, learning about sound waves by creating music with boom whackers, and building challenges with KEVA planks. Registration will be required for participants but spectators are encouraged.

On Thursdays in July, the Teen Advisory Board will be offering a showing of the first season of Doctor Who, featuring Christopher Eccleston as the ninth doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler.

Game Night will have add on activities this summer, starting with photography in June, and in July, watch for a library sponsored Escape Room! More details on that to come.

Our Anime Nights this summer include Noragami, Hetalia, Durarara, and Voltron, with snacks, including Pocky.

Get out those calendars and mark your events!

Summer Events
Wednesdays, July 5—Aug 9 at 5:30pm (registration required)
Worker Wednesdays, STEM events for ages 9-17
Thursdays, July 6—July 27 at 5:30pm
Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey, Doctor Who Season 1

Monthly Events
1st & 3rd Mondays at 5:30pm, Manga Art Club
2nd Monday at 6pm, Teen Advisory Board
4th Monday at 6:30pm Anime and Pocky
3rd Friday at 5:30pm Teen Game Night
Saturdays at 10am, Chess at Bowman
Saturdays at 1pm, Pokémon TCG

Bowman Library Chess Club Members Win Big at Tournament

Chess Players display trophies

Matthew Clark, Henry Fowler, and James Fowler display their trophies.

Congratulations to the three members of the Stephens City Chess Club who won trophies at the SilverKnights Spring Breakout K-8 Tournament in Ashland, VA!  Three out of the four semi-finalists for the 4th to 8th grade division were Stephens City Chess Club members. Of those who made it to the semi-finals, Henry Fowler won first place, James Fowler won third place, and Matthew Clark won fourth place.

These young men have honed their skills at the chess meets hosted by Bowman Library and founded by Matthew Clark. The all-ages, all skill-levels club meets every Saturday at 10AM on the Reading Porch.  The chess meets are free and open to all, no registration required.  Check the library’s calendar for more details.  Learn more about the Stephens City Chess Club at their website:


Anime and Pocky: Your Lie in April

40e6c04e05ce1efb08815b870a6d39331412797514_fullWhen Your Lie in April aired in 2014-2015, it had anime fans everywhere reaching for their tissue boxes. Emotional, inspiring, and heartbreaking, Your Lie in April is a love story starring a boy named Kosei Arima.

Kosei used to be a child prodigy on the piano, termed by those around him as “The Human Metronome” for his stunning accuracy. However, when his mother dies, he is left traumatized – and strangely, unable to hear the sound of the piano when he plays. And so he leaves the world of music, for what he is certain will be forever.

All that changes when he meets Kaori Miyazono. She starts dating his friend, Ryota Watari, but she is spunky, straightforward, cheerful, beautiful, and an incredibly talented violinist – Kosei can’t help but fall for her. Kaori manages to convince him to accompany her for a music competition and thus, with the help of his childhood friends Tsubaki and Ryota and others close to him, leads Kosei on an inspiring journey to reclaim his lost passion.pocky

Both heartwarming and heartbreaking, Your Lie in April is a story you won’t want to miss. Middle and high school students are welcome to join us during our Anime and Pocky night at the Bowman Library Monday, April 24th from 6:00pm – 7:30pm.  We’ll provide refreshments, including pocky!

*Review by Alex Costello

Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood


Anime enthusiast and library volunteer, Alex Costello, provides us with a review of this months featured anime: Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Thank you, Alex!

Ever hear that anime can’t be real art? Fans of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood* will strongly disagree! Often declared as one of the greatest anime ever made, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood became a classic to fans all over the world. Not really into anime (yet)? This anime is considered a great starter series for those looking to dip their toes into the anime world!

“Alchemy: the science of understanding, deconstructing, and reconstructing matter. However, it is not an all-powerful art. It is impossible to create something out of nothing. If one wishes to obtain something, something of equal value must be given. This is the law of equivalent exchange; the basis of all alchemy. In accordance to this law, there is a taboo among alchemists. Human transmutation is strictly forbidden. For what could equal the value of a human soul?”

Edward and Alphonse Elric live with their mother in a small sheep town in Amestris. However, a pandemic sweeps through their idyllic world and takes their mother from them, leaving them lost and lonely. Determined to see her again, the young boys turn to alchemy in search for the secret of human transmutation, believing that they can bring their mother back to life. But there is a reason human transmutation is a taboo among alchemists: the transmutation fails, and their punishment is costly. Edward loses an arm and a leg, and Alphonse loses his entire body, forced to live as a disembodied soul bound to a suit of armor.fullmetal123

Realizing the gravity of their error, the Elric brothers seek after what they believe to be their only hope: the legendary Philosopher’s Stone. Said to give alchemists the ability to bypass the fundamental alchemic law of equivalent exchange, granting unrivaled power. The brothers believe the stone will help them restore their bodies to their whole forms. Edward joins the military to have access to their restricted research, and the two are plunged into a world of secrets and corruption that penetrate deep into the ranks of the military – and they learn that the secrets behind the Philosopher’s Stone may be darker than they ever realized.
Based off the classic manga by Hiromu Arakawa, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood offers a rich, emotional story, with unforgettable characters,  set in a fascinating world of pockyalchemy  and intrigue. Middle and high school students are welcome to join us for Full Metal Alchemist during our Anime and Pocky night at the Bowman Library Monday, March 27 from 6:00pm – 7:30pm.  We’ll provide refreshments, including pocky!

(*Quick note: There are actually two anime adaptions of Fullmetal Alchemist. The first one, simply titled Fullmetal Alchemist,  aired while the manga was still ongoing, and so it branches off into its own storyline. But due to the success of the manga and the first series, a second adaption was created, this one fallowing the manga’s story much more closely. The second one, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the one being viewed this upcoming anime night.)

February Anime and Pocky Night!

yuri_on_ice_key_visualJoin other teens on Monday, February 27th from 6:00-7:30 at the Bowman Library for our Anime and Pocky!

This month the Teen Advisory Board has chosen Yuri!!! on Ice.

Yuri Katsuki carried the hopes of Japan on his shoulders to win the Grand Prix Finale ice skating competition but suffered a crushing defeat. Returning to Kyushu, Yuri puts his career on hold. While deciding whether or not he plans to retire or continue skating, his idol, five-time consecutive world champion Russian figure skater, Victor Nikiforov, seeks him out and offers to coach him, along with  Yuri Plisetsky, a young Russian figure skater, for the next Grand Prix series. pocky

The anime starts at 6pm. Japanese inspired snacks and drinks will be served!


2017 John Newbery Medal Winner Announced!

Barnhill_GirlWhoDrankMoon_FINAL_PRNT.inddThe Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.  

Barnhill’s original fairy tale adventure is full of good and bad witches, magic, monsters, and dragons. It has been racking up accolades all year long, including being named: 

A New York Public Library Best Book of 2016
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2016
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2016
Named to KirkusReviews’ Best Books of 2016
2017 Booklist Youth Editors’ Choice

Now, as a John Newbery Medal winner, it has been awarded the field’s highest honor.  School Library Journal called it “An expertly woven and enchanting offering for readers who love classic fairy tales.”  Read the full review hereSchool Library Journal Review

HRL’s copy is currently on order and will appear in our catalog shortly.  While you’re waiting for it, try out Barnhill’s other works: Author Search: Kelly Barnhill

Newbery Honor Books

  • “Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away”– Provided by publisher.


  • Crossing paths at an inn, thirteenth-century travelers impart the tales of a monastery oblate, a Jewish refugee, and a psychic peasant girl with a loyal greyhound, the three of whom join forces on a chase through France to escape persecution.


Image resultWolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (HRL copies currently on order, look for them shortly)

  • Annabelle has lived in Wolf Hollow all her life: a quiet place, still scarred by two world wars. But when cruel, manipulative Betty arrives in town, Annabelle’s calm world is shattered, along with everything she’s ever known about right and wrong.

When Betty disappears, suspicion falls on strange, gentle loner Toby. As Wolf Hollow turns against him, and tensions quickly mount, Annabelle must do everything in her power to protect Toby – and to find Betty, before it is too late.

Powerful, poignant and lyrical, Wolf Hollow is an unforgettable story.

The Newbery Medal is a wonderful resource to help find high-quality children’s books.  You can find out more out last year’s winners here: 2016 Newbery Winner Announced! and find all past winners on our booklist here: Newbery Medal Award Winners

Anime & Pocky: Attack on Titan!


Alex Costello, a library volunteer and anime fanatic, has written a post for us to highlight this month’s Teen Anime and Pocky Night: Attack on Titan!

654681f8eefdc13ad8dee196ff2a74f71366329524_fullWe’ve all wanted to live in a fictional world, but you might want to avoid world of Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人 Shingeki no Kyojin). This world is populated by titans: giants whose only purpose seems to be feeding on humans. Appearing mysteriously over 100 years ago, they drove humanity to the brink of extinction. Those that remain are protected by three great walls – Wall Maria, Wall Rose, and Wall Sina. The only thing standing between them and total annihilation, these walls have stood tall for the last 100 years, serving as guardians. The only ones who encounter the outside world – and the titans – are the brave and almost certainly doomed soldiers belonging to the Survey Corps: those charged with exploring the territory outside the walls in hopes of reclaiming it.

To eren-jaeger, living in an outer district of Wall Maria called the Shiganshina, these walls are not protecting humanity – they are imprisoning it. Wanting nothing more than to see the outside of the walls, Eren dreams of one day become a member of the Survey Corps and serving under the Wings of Freedom. On one ill-fated day, a massive titan standing over 60 meters tall, known forever onward as the Colossal Titan, appears suddenly in front of Shiganshina. It kicks a gaping hole in Wall Maria, forcing the occupants that are able to evacuate into Wall Rose for refuge. Those that cannot are doomed to be eaten by the oncoming titan hoards. Eren loses his mother that day, and in the wake of the destruction made by the titans, vows to kill every last one of them.

Eren, his foster sister Mikasa, and childhood friend Armin Arlert all join the Training Corps with the goal of fighting off extinction and claiming victory over the titans –  a goal which to many feels as far away as the titans once did. But the key his father gave him the day of the attack may unlock the secret behind the titans and the path to victory. Eren might just be humanity’s only hope.

Now a worldwide hit, Attack on Titan is exciting, tragic, and dark. Teenagers are welcome come enjoy the show and eat some Pocky on Monday, January 23 at 6pm at the Bowman Library.

Making Sense of Manga and Anime

pokemon_episode_1_screenshotUnless you’ve been isolated from society for the the last year, you’ve probably seen many articles about the recent Pokémon GO phenomenon. I will sheepishly admit that I not only have Pokémon GO on my iPhone, but I’ve caught several in a very active Pokémon location across the street from my home. I’m hooked.

(Psst… As I am writing this, there is an Eevee and various other pokémon hanging outside of the Bowman Library right now. Hold that thought, I’m going to catch a few…)

 pokemon1 pokemon2 pokemon3

Got them!

My oldest daughters, who are avid manga and anime fans, cut their first anime teeth on Pokémon back in the late 90s, followed later by a brief flirt with Sailor Moon and Speed Racer. Back then I had only a slight understanding that this was animation that originated from Japan. It wasn’t until much later I learned more about its role in Japanese society as a major form of media for all ages. In fact, anime takes up a large portion of prime time viewing on major stations in Japan, and manga is published as a popular form of written media for adults as well as youth.

First things first. If you are not familiar with the terms, “manga” is the printed form, with “manga” being translated as “whimsical drawing” or even simply, “comic”. Anime is short for animation. Often an anime is created based on a popular manga series, similar to how Hollywood often will turn popular books into movies here in the US. However, just as frequently you have anime that does not originally have a manga origin, such as “Spirited Away” by Hayao Miyazaki. In this case, the manga was created later with screen shots from the anime.

Because animation is largely considered an art form aimed at children here in the US, we are most familiar with the Kodomo manga, such as Pokémon or Dragonball Z. (Kodomo, meaning “child” in Japanese.) However, in Japan there are several genre of manga for all ages, including Shonen, manga aimed largely at boys; Shojo, which is considered girls’ anime; Josei, for adult women; with Seinen for men – the latter two containing far more mature themes.

In the United States, anime for children will usually have English dubbing, with more mature audiences often watching with subtitles. Though more popular series are taking the time to produce English dubs, many still prefer to experience the animation in its original form, choosing the subtitles over the dubs. The choice is often made depending on the quality of the dubbing and the preferences of the individual.

souleaterShonen is fast becoming the most popular form of manga among teens and young adults in the US. This includes popular series such as Naruto, BleachSoul Eater, Full Metal Alchemist and Attack on Titan. It has become so popular that libraries, including the one here at Bowman, are including manga drawing nights, expanded manga library selections, and adding anime viewing nights for teens. In fact, manga and anime are currently a main conduit through which the Bowman Library interacts with our middle and high school patrons.

468px-manga_reading_direction-svgThese manga savvy youth learn quickly how to read manga, which is produced here in the US to be read in the same direction you would read it in Japan, from right to left. Some publishers flip them to the usual left to right format westerners are used to, but many argue it disrupts the natural flow.

If you are a teen or a parent of a teen who would like to learn more about the art of manga, the first and third Mondays of each month the Bowman Library hosts a Manga Art night at 5:30. Teens can color designs or bring a sketch book and create manga art themselves. Materials are provided. While you are here, head over to view our manga collection or try one of the popular anime DVDs on display.

pocky-sticksThe 4th Monday of the month the library hosts an Anime and Pocky night, with a selected popular anime title for teens and snacks, including pocky, a favorite snack from Japan. This season the Teen Advisory Board has selected the following anime to view:

January 23: Attack on Titan
February 27: Yuri!!! On Ice
March 27: Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
April 24th: Your Lie in April

We’d love to hear from you on additional manga or anime series you believe the library should carry. Head over to any of the libraries in the Handley Regional Library System and let us know, visit our web site to see what we have available, or suggest a title online.

A Wonderland of YA Books for Winter Break

Thank you Alex Costello for this guest blog post, just in time for winter break! 


Winter is best spent curled up with a good book. A mug of hot cocoa, wrapped up in blankets, maybe with a good fire going? Sounds like the ideal snowy day to me! Here are eight great YA (Young Adult) winter reads to help ease you into the holiday season and warm up your cold winter days:

bookthief1) The Book Thief by Mark Zusak
The Book Thief is a thought-provoking historical novel about a young German girl named Liesel. Set during World War II, the novel gives a glimpse of what life might have been life for a young girl back then. Told from the perspective of Death, it is a captivating and often heartbreaking novel about Liesel as she steals book after book and befriends several interesting people – a boy named Rudy, her foster parents, and the Jewish refugee named Max that they have agreed to hide at a great risk to themselves. This book also has a movie adaption!

shiver2) Shiver by Maggie Steifvater
Looking for something romantic? Shiver is a romantic Fantasy novel about a young girl named Grace who lives on the edge of a forest, dependent on the presence of a wolf that she calls “her wolf”. The wolf’s name is Sam, who spends his winters in the forest with his pack, and his summers as a human. They meet during the summer, but as winter approaches, Sam must fight to stay with her.

letitsnow3) Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green, Lauren Myracle
Let It Snow is a compilation of three short stories set in a town called Gracetown during a gigantic snow storm. The stories follow three teenagers – Jubilee, Tobin, and Addie – as they find love and romance during a snowstorm at Christmas time.


coldest-girl4)The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Like Vampires? The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a book about a girl, Tana, who has become infected with vampirism. Coldtowns are walled-off cities designed to contain the infected, and once inside, you can’t ever leave. In order to save herself, her ex-boyfriend, and a mysterious boy named Gavriel, she ventures into Coldtown itself in a race against time.

snowlikeashes5) Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Snow Like Ashes takes place in a fantasy world, set 16 years after the fall of the kingdom of Winter, leaving its people enslaved and its magic gone. Meira, now a teenager, is one of the few who escaped and is now living as a refugee – and is in love with Winter’s future king. Meira learns of the location of a locket that could give Winter back its magic and decides go after it herself.

shadowandbone6) Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Shadow and Bone is a story of a girl named Alina, who is taken from everything she knows after she saves her friend using a power she did not know she had. She is taken to be trained as a member of the Grisha, a group of elite magic wielders led by the mysterious Darkling. Alina discovers that she may be her country’s only hope.


shadesofgray7) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Between Shades of Gray follows a teenaged girl named Lina, whose life is turned upside down when the Soviets invade her home in Lithuania. She, her mother, and brother are forced to travel to a Siberian work camp, and Lina finds comfort in making art – and in her art she leaves clues to her location, hoping that somehow they will make their way to her father in prison camp.

Stop by any branch of the Handley Regional Library system and take a look at our Young Adult displays with more great reads for your winter break!