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World Book Night 2014

2014 April 23
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WBN2014_logo_672x652This year for the first time, I will be a book giver for World Book Night, which is this evening! This worldwide effort celebrates reading and asks avid readers and book lovers to volunteer to hand out free books to people – the hope is that these book givers will hand the books to non-readers, people who do not have easy access to libraries, or people who may not be able to afford to buy books for themselves. The titles chosen range from middle grade to YA to adult titles; classics to contemporary works; poetry to nonfiction to fiction; English and Spanish; award winners to best-sellers. Book givers can choose which book they are passionate about and hand out 20 copies of them. The authors and publishers of these books have printed special paperback editions and are willing to go without royalties so that they can spread a love of reading and a communal passion for popular titles with everyone. The list is well developed, featuring a decent spread of genres, ethnic and racial diversity, and themes.

If this has you excited, be sure to bookmark the WBN website so you can sign up to be a giver next year. But in the meantime, you can join in the joy and passion by accompanying a friend who is giving out books or by reading one of the books on this year’s list. Here are some ways you can catch up on the YA titles that are on offer…. read more…

Jukebooks: Dangerous by Shannon Hale

2014 April 23
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Dangerus by Shannan HaleIt begins, as so many adventure stories do, with a cereal box. Maisie reads about a sweepstakes (Grand Prize – Three Weeks at Howell Astronaut Boot Camp!) and decided to enter. One would expect that from a girl named Maisie Danger Brown, even if she is missing a hand. Before she knows it, Maisie is at Boot Camp and falling in love. Then things really do get dangerous. Who would expect that a random choice of cereal would lead to saving the world?

Dangerous is also the name of a Michael Jackson album released in 1991. It enjoyed immediate, skyrocketing success. Seven singles from the album were released in the United States; the song Dangerous was not one of them. Jackson did perform to the song on numerous occasions, such as at the 1995 American Music Awards, shown below. The video clip shows his entire, amazing performance.

Jackson is obviously lip-syncing, but there is no way to fake his preternatural dance moves.

-Diane Colson, currently reading Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

Mathematics Awareness Month: Math Is All Around

2014 April 22
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As we wind our way through April, many of us take the time to celebrate poetry, but how many of us pause for Mathematics Awareness Month? It seems like the perfect time to dust off and update my second Hub post ever, Fiction + Math = <3.

Fiction math screenshot

In that post, I looked at math-related books in several categories, among them making money, sci-fi/fantasy, making sense of the world, puzzle books, amateur detectives/solving crimes, and nonfiction. Since then, protagonists Colin Fischer and Don from The Rosie Project have both lent their logical worldviews (each is on the autism spectrum) to making sense of the world. Danica McKellar has added Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape to her series of magazine-style math instruction books. And fiction books that simply put math themes front-and-center are still around, as with The Absolute Value of Mike, in which Mike’s dyscalculia prevents him from connecting with his math-professor father. read more…

Dealing with Tragedy and Terrorism in YA Lit

2014 April 21
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Last Patriot’s Day – a state holiday observed predominantly in Massachusetts but Maine and Wisconsin get in there  Massachusetts honoring the first American patriots of the Revolution – was a strange and hard day for many of us in the Bay State. It was a day off for many, and a start to school vacations for most students. There was the perennially inspiring promise of the Boston Marathon with such big stories as the amazing elite runners, the Hoyt father/son team running their last race, and the triumphs of every day people running their first or special race.

Shoes at the Boston marathon bombing memorial 2013 photo by Flickr user Megan Marrs

Shoes at the Boston marathon bombing memorial 2013 photo by Flickr user Megan Marrs

Then the bombs went off and the difficulty began. Over the next few days and since then, I’ve thought how about the marathon bombings might affect teens and especially those teens who may  have been on lockdown in their homes in Boston and many surrounding cities as the hunt for the subjects spewed gunfire along their streets.

One year later, I’ve looked to YA literature to see if anything can help us and help those teens near the disaster to deal with it. A far as I know no YA novels have been written about the tragedy yet, but it may happen as it does with many major news stories. Instead here are some books deal with running injuries or terrorism and the healing that can come after those.

Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowtiz Set in 2002 with the two main characters still reeling from the September 11 attacks in their two respective hometowns of Washington D.C. and New York, Craig and Lio try to figure out how to be normal teens in love when the Beltway sniper attacks start. I admit to having mostly forgotten about these murders when I picked up the book, but Moskowtiz captures what I would the imagine the paranoia and terror of that situation would feel like. Through her two characters, she allows us to ponder the meaning of safety and how that affects who we love and how we recover from trauma.  read more…

Conveying Disability Through Verse

2014 April 21
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national-poetry-monthEarlier this month in honor of National Poetry Month, Geri wrote a post about novels in verse with some great recommendations for stories that are told entirely through poetry. Her post gave me some books to add to my to-be-read list, and as someone with an interest in books that include characters with disabilities, it also inspired me to think about novels in verse that center around characters with disabilities. Here are some great options for verse novels that convey the experience of disability.

Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham – Told through a combination of free verse, newspaper stories and correspondence, this novel follows Jane as she recovers from a shark attack that ended with her having her arm amputated. She must relearn how to do day-to-day tasks and become as independent as she was before the attack. Moreover, as an artist, she must decide whether she can still make art in the wake of this experience. Readers who enjoy this book can follow her life further in the follow-up novel, Formerly Shark Girl, which is also told in verse. read more…

The Monday Poll: Bring ALL the tissues!

2014 April 21
by Allison Tran
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photo by flickr user xctmx

photo by flickr user xctmx

Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we asked you to choose the worst best friend in YA lit. Slytherins beware: Draco from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling came in first with 29% of the vote. Next was Ali from Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series with 23%, followed by Shay from the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld with 20% of the vote. But they’re all just misunderstood, right?! (Hmmmm…) In addition to your votes, reader Adele suggested Holly from Fiona Wood’s Wildlife. It comes out in September, so we’ll have to wait and see! You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted and commented!

This week, we have a simple- but actually very difficult- question for you. The movie trailer for If I Stay, based on Gayle Forman’s novel of the same name, was released last week, and between this movie and the theatrical release of The Fault in Our Stars, based on the John Green novel, it looks like this summer is going to be emotionally tough on us YA lit fans. We know both books are outstanding: If I Stay was named a Teens’ Top Ten pick in 2010 and The Fault in Our Stars was a Teens’ Top Ten pick in 2012. Based on the trailers, both movies based on these beloved books are shaping up to be amazing. So what we want to know is:  which movie is going to make you cry harder?

Which YA lit-inspired movie is going to make you cry the hardest this summer?

View Results

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2014 Hub Reading Challenge Check-in #11

2014 April 20
by Faythe Arredondo
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Hub Reading Challenge logoNot signed up for YALSA’s 2014 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 3 counts, so sign up now!

Happy Sunday! I am loving all the comments on the books you’ve all read and what your favorites are. So excited to see love for Boxers and Saints! Two of my favorites from last year. I put it in the hands of almost everyone and even had the children’s librarian use it as supplemental material for her book club!

What books have surprised you the most in your readings?  If you haven’t finished or even signed up yet, don’t worry! You still have plenty of time. The challenge ends on June 22.

As I said before, I’m not participating in the challenge this year, but I am still following along on social media by checking the Goodreads 2014 Hub Challenge Group and the #hubchallenge hashtag. We’ve collected some tweets from your fellow participants– join the conversation if you haven’t already!

Keep reading, and remember, you have plenty of time to get through this challenge; it ends at 11:59PM EST on June 22nd. Please keep reading and tracking your progress and check back here each Sunday to let us know how you are doing and to see how other folks are doing.

If you are have already completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list of eligible books, be sure to fill out the form below so we can send you your Challenge Finisher badge, get in touch to coordinate your reader’s response and, perhaps best of all, to notify you if you win our exciting grand prize drawing! Be sure to use an email you check frequently and do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading 25 titles. read more…

Aftermath: How YA Novels Deal With Shootings

2014 April 20
by Hannah Gómez
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photo by flickr user Andrew_Writer

photo by flickr user Andrew_Writer

I began preparing this post last spring in observance of the Columbine High School tragedy, which occurred on April 20, 1999. Then the Boston Marathon bombing occurred, so I held off on posting because I felt that there were too many fresh wounds for people to read such a post. And I had my own issues, because I lived in Boston. But now I think it’s important to write this post, because sadly, these events occur far too regularly for me to find the perfect time to post, where it’s not too recent but not too far from everyone’s minds. And it has already been 15 years since Columbine, and yet there is no shortage of similar events to fill that space.

When it comes to Columbine, today’s teens mostly have no memory of this event, which may even have occurred before they were born. And unlike tragedies of the past few years, where we have had texting, tweeting, and news streaming online to keep us abreast of events as they unfold, many of us only knew about Columbine after it happened. This brings up a lot of thoughts about safety, over-exposure, and security – if we all have Internet access in most places, is it our duty to notify others about emergencies as they take place? Does that impede the measures of emergency personnel trying to get the situation under control, or does it help more people get to safety? Is checking Twitter for news all the time healthy, does it desensitize us, or does it depress us? I recall my experience of living in Boston on the day of the manhunt; after a good four hours of watching the same five news reports over and over again, I had to turn it off, watch some fun TV, and make snacks with a friend, because it was simply too exhausting. Then again, having so much access to news forces us to engage with current events and consider how they affect our lives.

So here is a simple list of YA novels that have attempted to unravel and understand how teens deal with violent occurrences – leading up to them, during them, and after them. No commentary, just publisher copy and a Goodreads link. I hope these can be helpful, meaningful, or healing for you. read more…

Tweets of the Week: April 18

2014 April 18
by Jennifer Rummel
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Here are some tweets you might have missed this week from the world of YA lit:

Books

It Really Happened: YA Fiction Based on True Events

2014 April 18
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9781419710322_p0_v1_s260x420I wanted to write this mostly because of one YA writer who has begun the trend of basing her YA fiction books on real crimes. Initially, I thought I would focus on the increasing number of YA historical fiction books coming out that are based on true crime stories like the Jack the Ripper rip-off killings in Maureen Johnson’s Shades of London series. But, I realized that her books aren’t historical fiction, they are contemporary novels that contain events based on true historical events.  So, I will focus here mostly on contemporary YA fiction with elements based on true historical events – with a few exceptions (I can’t resist a book based on a true story where a woman pretends to be a man and gets away with it).

A Soldier’s Story: the Incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds. A Civil War Hero by Marissa Moss (2012, pbk. 2014) is   is based on the true story of nineteen-year-old Sarah Emma Edmonds, who masqueraded as a man named Frank Thompson during the Civil War. Her adventures include serving as a nurse on the battlefield and spying for the Union Army, and being captured by (and escaping from) the Confederates. Sarah narrates her riveting story as she deals with the dangers of living a lie and the horrors of war and even the complications of romance while posing as a man.

The book includes real photographs taken from the Civil War. Moss states in the epilogue that the bones of the story are all true; she used actual names of the soldiers who served with Sarah and she used Sarah’s actual diary and that of others as primary source materials. She also says that of the over 400 women who dressed a man during the war, most shared with secret with loved ones. Only Sarah was known to have lived as a man before enlisting and the only one to be recognized by acts of Congress as an honorably discharged soldier. read more…