Teen Tech Week is finally here! “Libraries are for Creating” is a good theme for to introducing teens to Steampunk. Steampunk is not “punk” at all; the science fiction author, K.W. Jeter made up the word in the 1980’s. Think of it as science fiction meets Victorian Age. Jeter coined the word to describe some of his works, such as Morlock Night and Infernal Devices. It is not only a genre of literature, but also a style of clothes, video games, movies, and more. Steam-powered technology was prominent in Victorian times, when there was no electricity. Steampunk is a fun and creative way to get teens excited about reading and get them thinking outside the box. Not only does Steampunk inspire reading, but it also fosters creativity and encourages recycling.
Steampunk Jewelry and Creations
Steampunk jewelry can be made using many different types of materials and tools, including objects found at yard, garage, and estate sales and things you can collect in donations. Common elements are gears, cogs, hardware fixtures, watch parts, lace, ribbon, leather, and bottle caps. Also useful are jewelry-making supplies like wire, fish string, earring parts, pin backs, and glue, and tools like screwdrivers and pliers.
Did you know Steampunk movies have been around for decades? Some examples are Around the World in 80 Days, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, City of Ember, The Golden Compass, Sherlock Holmes, Hugo, The Rocketeer, Wild, Wild West, and Treasure Planet. Check to see if your library has a movie license or if not, how much it would cost to obtain one for your library or regional system, and hold a film screening.
Teens can dress up as their favorite character from a Steampunk book and have prizes, free books, and food. Try a Steampunk Tea Party: bring samples of different types of teas to
try and also some for teens to create their own!
Here are some Steampunk titles to suggest:
Airborn, Kenneth Oppel
Airman, Eoin Colfer
Boneshaker, Cherie Priest
Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare
Dreadnought, Cherie Priest
Fever Crumb, Philip Reeve
Girl Genius graphic novel series, Phil Foglio
Girl in the Steel Corset, Kady Cross
The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
Leviathan, Scott Westerfield
The Mark of the Dragonfly, Jaleigh Johnson
Mortal Engines, Philip Reeve
Skybreaker, Kenneth Oppel
Worldshaker, Richard Harland
Geared Up: Writing Steampunk, Beth Daniels, 3 Media Press, 2011
Steampunk Chic: Vintage Flair from Recycled Finds, Jennifer and Kitty O’Neil, All American
Crafts Publishing, 2011
Steampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos: A Maker’s Guide to Creating Modern Artifacts, Thomas Willeford, McGraw Hill, 2011
The Steampunk User’s Manual: An Illustrated Practical and Whimsical Guide to Creating Retro-futurist Dreams, Jeff VanderMeer and Desirina Boskovich, Abrams Image, 2014
Sara Boyd is a part-time reference librarian at Central Georgia Technical College in Georgia. She enjoys reading, camping, traveling with her husband, and spending time with friends. Sara loves to read YA fiction and is excited to serve on the Teen Tech Week committee.