‘Twas the _____________ Before Christmas…


…and all through the (NOUN) not a (TYPE OF ANIMAL) was stirring, not even a…

You see we’re going with this, right?

Good. Because let’s be honest, Bits and Bramblers, fill-in-the-blanks games are awesome. And always, always funny. It might be the only thing in the universe that makes adjectives and adverbs fun. Next to old school School House Rock, obviously.

And because fill-in-the-blanks games are so awesome, we’ve created the ‘TWAS THE __________ BEFORE CHRISTMAS CONTEST!

Thaaaaat’s right, all you have to do is pick up an entry form at your faaaaaavorite library during the month of December, fill it out, and turn it in to your faaaaaaavorite librarian. Not only does that automatically enter you to win FREE GIFT CERTIFICATES TO CINEMARK, but you might see your very own Fill-in-the-Blank story here @ Bits and Brambles!

So…what are you waiting for, Bits and Bramblers? Head to your (ADJECTIVE) library in December and grab a (NOUN) and get writing!

Oh, and…not that you need it or anything (because you, Bits and Bramblers, are all wicked smart,) but just in case you don’t have your English book with you, here’s a refresher course in the parts of speech, so you’re not getting your adverbs and action verbs all tangled. Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I think you’re ready. So get ready to fill in the blanks for your chance to win!



Love the “Wake” Series? Want to Win $1000?!


Thaaaaaat’s right, if you’re a fan of Lisa McMann’s series, you can enter the “Don’t Let Your Dream Fade Vlog Sweepstakes!”

You know what a vlog is, right? Basically, it’s just a video blog (if you need a good example, you could always check out my favorite vlog…)

Aaaaaanyway, if you’re between the ages of 14-18, all you have to do is create a vlog—in less than two minutes—about how your dreams and goals are like Janie’s (she’s the main character, remember?) The winner will receive $1000 that you can put “towards furthering your life goals!”

So get out those cameras, McMann fans…and submit your vlog by visiting Lisa’s website! And you’d better get moving…your entry has to be submitted by March 8th at 12:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time!

And if you need a little inspiration, check out this awesome book trailer for Wake, the first book in the series!
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Make a Video–FAST


If you’re an expert at something or think you’ve got a special skill to show the world, now’s your chance. “Instructables,” the awesome how-to website is sponsoring a “Teach Me Fast” video contest with “Forbes.” All you have to do is demonstrate how to do something in 30 seconds or less.

I know you have some weird ability or unusual trick that you could teach others.  Just record your video, upload it to YouTube, Blip or some other hosting site and embed it on the “Instructables” site.  Then just sit back and wait for people to vote for your video as their favorite.  The grand prize winner will receive a “Flip” video camera, a T-shirt and some cool patches and stickers, not to mention bragging rights for your video being the hands down favorite. Don’t delay. The entry deadline is September 13, 2009 and the online voting will begin September 14.

If you can’t think of any unique skills that you have to share, check out the contest and vote for your favorite. Maybe seeing someone else’s unique talent will inspire you to remember something that you are famous for.

Even if you don’t want to make a video, do yourself a favor and check out some of the cool postings on the “Instructables” website. This site can give you easy instructions on how to do anything. If you want to learn how to do it, someone on “Instructables” can show you how.



Fantasy Road Trip Contest


If you’re already worried about how you’re going to occupy your empty hours this summer, here is a contest for you. Listening Library, maker of audio books, is sponsoring a video contest for teen ages 13-18. According to their site, no babies, old-people or weird baby-old people hybrids should apply! But, if you don’t fall into one of those categories, then you should get busy making your video.

Here are the particulars. Create a video between 30 seconds and 5 minutes long that answers the questions: If you could go on a road trip with a character from your favorite audio series, where would you go? What would you do along the way and how would you travel? All of the specific rules and regulations are on the Random House site.

So now you need to write your dialogue, assemble your actors and start filming. If you have some really great ideas, but don’t have a video camera to use, don’t worry we will come to your rescue. Every branch of the public library owns a “Flip” video camera that you can use to film your video. You have to film “on location” since we can’t let you take it home, but you are welcome to use our cameras and our space and can even use our computers to edit and polish your video.

If you don’t have any great ideas yet because you don’t listen to audio books, now is your chance to start. Audio books are an awesome way to pass the time on those long road trips you’ll be taking this summer. Or they can help take your mind off how hot it is while you’re trying to catch rays out by the pool. Here are just a few of the great titles that we have for your listening enjoyment:
The Compound by S. A. Bodeen
The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks
The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

What are you waiting for? Doesn’t this sound like fun? The judges are Libba Bray, Tamora Pierce and Rick Riordan, all authors of some awesome adventure books. I’m not sure about all the rules, but you might want to use one of their books to give yourself an edge. (Just sayin’) Each author will choose one winner and the three winners will receive a brand new 8GB iPod Touch. Now that ’s what I call a prize. Too bad I’m an old person and can’t enter. Oh well, at least I’m not a baby-old person hybrid. That would cause all sorts of problems.

If you’re intrigued but want some more information, here is a short video complete with a cheesy mascot that might clear up some questions. You can also look on Youtube and view some entries that have already been submitted and see what your competition is like. Don’t delay, the contest ends August 17,2009.



June 8th, 2009

It’s Summer…So EXPRESS YOURSELF!


It’s the day you’ve been WAITING for, Bits and Bramblers—and we know, because a bunch of you have been asking, “Can I sign up for the Summer Library Program?” And now’s the time! Sign up for the Teen Summer Library Program starts TODAY!

This summer, our theme is EXPRESS YOURSELF (and trust me…the library is the perfect place to help you express yourself!) Now…just in case you don’t remember how the program works, I’ll remind you…if you’re in Grades 6-12, all you have to do is head to your faaaaaaavorite M/RCPL location, and register! It only takes a few minutes to sign up—and we’ll give you cool stuff, just for doing it!

Once you’re registered, it’s all about how much you read. If you read 500 pages, you’ll earn a $5 gift card to Barnes and Noble! And if you read 1000 pages, you’ll earn an $8 gift card from either Target or Best Buy!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! If you read 1000 pages, you’ll automatically be entered in the GRAND PRIZE DRAWING…AND YOU COULD WIN A 1 GB iPOD SHUFFLE!

AND WAIT…THERE’S STILL MORE! Don’t forget about all of the awesome programs going on this summer, like Hip Hop Dance, Mitten Ice Cream Sundaes, Rock Band, and Marshmallow Shooters! Oooh, and then there’s our INSTANT WINNERS…where you can win prizes like EXPRESS YOURSELF shirts just for checking out books!

AND THERE’S EVEN MORE! We’ve also got cool puzzles and quizzes each week—like Dude, Which One Is My Car? Just match up the famous car with its TV show or movie. Once you finish the quiz, hand the paper to your faaaaaavorite librarian, and you could win gift certificates to Taco Bell or McDonalds! How cool is that?!

Let’s see…I know that’s a crazy amount of cool stuff, but is there anything I’m forgetting? Oh, yeah…keep checking Bits and Brambles for more cool stuff, because we’ll be entertaining you all summer long, with awesome books, movies, websites, and more!

So what are you waiting for, Bits and Bramblers?!?! EXPRESS YOURSELF by heading to your faaaaaaavorite M/RCPL location and register for the Teen Summer Library Program today!

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May 20th, 2009

FREE STUFF!!!!


If you like to read and you like free stuff, check out the authors’ blogs that we have listed in our blogroll. Or look for your favorite author’s blog and find out what they’ve been up to.

Teen authors are some of the friendliest and most generous people on the planet. They love talking to teens and they seem to enjoy giving away stuff like signed books, posters etc.   Lauren Myracle has a contest going on right now to publicize her new book “Peace, Love and Baby Ducks.” If you go to her website, you can sign up and start participating in her daily challenges. You’ll also get a sneak peak at the book and meet other fans of Lauren.

If you follow an author’s blog you also might find out when they might be coming to a bookstore or library near you. Imagine getting to meet your favorite author, assuming you have one, and hearing them read from their books and maybe sign a copy of their book for you. In my world (dorkville) it doesn’t get much better!

Most teen author’s also seem to love to get feedback from their fans or critics. If you really loved a book–tell the author. Or if you hated something in a book, like the ending or a character or something, that author probably wants to know. Awhile ago I read a book called “Ghost Medicine” by Andrew Smith. I liked the book, but on my GoodReads site I said that I thought the language that the teen main character used was kind of phony. He just didn’t really sound like any of the teenage boys that I know. Anyway, a few days later I had a comment on my site and the author had contacted me about my views. He thanked me and offered to send me a copy of his next book! Awesome!

While you’re searching for some cool author blogs, take a peek at this clip from one of my favorite bloggers John Green



January 21st, 2009

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Contest


The Last StrawOnline Casting Call for Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Source: 20th Century Fox January 16, 2009

 Twentieth Century Fox is holding an online casting call to find a bright, precocious and appealing young actor, age 10-13, for the lead role of Greg Heffley in the film version of the New York Times bestseller, Diary of a Wimpky Kid. Candidates are invited to visit IAmtheWimpyKid.com to learn more about the project – and to upload their audition videos.

The filmmakers will be auditioning males, ages 10-13, only. The character of Greg Heffley is slight, physically unprepossessing, and not overly cute or precocious. He has a quirky, memorable face, is bright and articulate, and possesses a vivid fantasy life — but he is cursed by the fact that he’s in middle school. Auditioning actors must be able to handle dialog and have a flair for ironic comedy.

The best-selling illustrated novel “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney, chronicles the adventures of wisecracking middle school student Greg Heffley over the course of an academic year, as told through the young man’s diary and hand-drawn cartoons.

If auditions aren’t for you, then check out the Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Do-It-Yourself Comics Contest.  Prizes include: a visit to your school from Jeff Kinney, a “wimpify your family” original comic, amd signed copies of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Do-It-Yourself Books.  Better hurry though, as the contest deadline is January 31, 2009.