Chicago Murals Speak Volumes

Street art has been around for decades and some of Chicago's murals and sticker decals (e.g. You are Beautiful) have become world-famous. I was pretty thrilled to see Chance the Rapper's Angels video inspired by Hebru Brantley's famous mural, Fly-boy, located on Wabash in the South Loop; the combination of these two artists seems so Chicago and Chance literally…
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Finding Beauty in the City

Chicago is a bustling metropolis filled with cultural diversity, history and entertainment. Yet it also contains stunning natural sanctuaries that make you feel like you're miles away from busy city streets—places like Promontory Point, one of my favorite spots in Chicago (pictured at sunrise). City life can sometimes be draining, so it's important to rediscover the…
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Amor: Discover Latin American Romance

I once thought the term "romance language” meant language about romance and love, not realizing that it refers to languages of the Roman Empire descended from Latin. I think my misunderstanding stemmed from the fact that so many of my favorite Spanish-language authors write about love. I started studying Spanish in middle school and enjoyed practicing by reading bilingual…
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A Big Year for Birds

Have you ever heard of Big Year birding competitions? The Cook County Forest Preserve is hosting one this year, so not only are Chicagoans outside counting birds this very minute, they'll be keeping an eye out for new species until the clock strikes midnight on December 31. Intrigued? Check out the following titles to find out more. Since I'm a big…
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Folded and Unfolded: The Art of Paper Engineering

Paper folding isn't just for kids anymore: this summer, you can explore Unfolded: Made With Paper, an amazing exhibit in the Block 37 building at the Chicago Design Museum. Unfolded highlights awesome works of paper created by the Chicago design community and imaginative contributions from around the world. Visit the exhibit before July 30, snap a picture of…
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Don’t Hug Your Dog!

Hey teens: If you haven't already heard, the first week of May is considered National Pet Week, so what better time is there to learn about how you could be a better friend to the dog(s) in your life? Coincidentally, there was a recent and quite timely CNN student news report as well as an…
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Feminism and Sexuality: A Short Discourse for Teens

Women's History Month has passed, but I'd still like to spend a moment longer celebrating women's strengths, wisdom and beauty, as well as honoring and respecting their bodies and sexuality. As teens become more aware of their bodies, and begin to explore their sexuality, it's important for them to have positive feelings about themselves and, when…
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Insults, Smears and Character: A Quick Guide for Teens

It seems like every day our news is full of insults and ”smears” as the tension builds in the nation’s political arena. For this very reason, I thought it would be fun to find books covering clever and literary insults over time rather than the mundane political put-downs we're bombarded with today. Sharp and spontaneous disputes…
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Warm Up With a Little Romance

It's cold, so what better time than the month of February, when everyone's talking and thinking about love, than to pamper yourself and cuddle up with a good romance! Explore my recommendations of off-beat romance for teens including the following books. In Rules for 50/50 Chances, the future is truly up in the air. Caleb is a super cute guy…
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