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Sort of Like Magic

2014 October 19
by Guest Blogger
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October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Morgan Delaney from California.

BookCovers

The mind has to be the most perplexing and magical thing about the human body.

Why?

Because no matter how hard you attempt to explain the crazy, beautiful pictures you paint within the realm of your thoughts, no one will ever be able to see them. No one, but you. No one can see the detail, the exact colors, the movements, the sounds, and the vivid and animated life of your thoughts because no one has your exact imagination. It is crazy and strange, but amazing. Because it is entirely and completely your own.

It is even crazier how reading can expand your own thoughts, your imagination, to places you didn’t even know you could create. Beautiful and colorful places that only you get the privilege to see.

It’s sort of like magic.

And it is so unfortunate that so many teenagers are depriving themselves of the beauty of books. I didn’t realize what huge of an epidemic it was that teenagers didn’t read until I went out and asked teenagers the simple question: Do you like to read?

I received answers from, “No, it isn’t entertaining,” to, “No, it isn’t very detailed.”

I was baffled and incredibly disappointed that kids were judging books based on what they assumed reading was like.

It was sad, and truthfully, there was only one thing that stopped me from losing complete hope in proving to the world how wonderful reading actually is.

That was the small group of teenagers that told me they loved to read.

When they responded, “Yes,” to my question, I pushed further, and asked them why. Why did they love to read when so many kids didn’t?

And each answer to that question was like another piece to the puzzle. I began to see the pattern. read more…

Spoken Word Poetry: The Art of Performing and Storytelling

2014 October 18
by Guest Blogger
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teen_blogging_contest_winner

October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Natalie Harris from California.

LouderThanABombPoetry they say can only consist of roses that are red and little violets that are blue, but they are wrong. There is more depth to poetry than you could ever imagine.

Spoken word poetry is poetry that cannot just be left alone on paper. It demands to be performed, to be shared with someone, and to fill the world with the verses you have created.

Spoken word poetry can be whatever you want it to be about. It can be sad, funny, joyful, serious, even a little bit weird or silly. It’s a way to express yourself, and like Sarah Kay says in her TED Talk in 2011, “It’s not just the average write what you know, it’s about gathering all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected up until now to help you dive into the things you don’t know.”

I had never heard about spoken word until I immediately fell in love watching Sarah Kay’s TED Talk in my 7th grade English class. In the TED talk she performed her poems “B” and “Hiroshima.” She also talked about spoken word and her organization called Project V.O.I.C.E which educates and inspires people about spoken word poetry.

I wanted to know more about spoken word after I heard Sarah Kay, so I looked for more spoken word poets and I loved what each one brought to the table. Taylor Mali continues to make me laugh with his poems “Totally Like Whatever” and “The the Impotence of Proofreading,” I stare in awe when Rives finishes his poem “Mockingbird,” the way Lemon Andersen speaks gives me chills, and the way Phil Kaye pours his feelings and personality into every word and every poem he says is magical. I can only hope one day I’ll be able to do the same, and that all of us will be able to craft our words with such wit and beauty. read more…

Tweets of the Week: October 17th

2014 October 17
by Hannah Gómez
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Last weekend, KidLitCon was held in Sacramento, CA. While not a librarian conference, its focus on blogging, children’s and YA literature, and diversity is incredibly relevant to the work of librarians, and, as many librarians are wont to do, a few of us infiltrated the place anyway. It was also National Coming Out Day on October 11, The Horn Book at Simmons was held on the 11th and 12th, and the National Book Award finalists were announced on Wednesday! Here are some of the top tweets.
tweets of the week | the hub

KidLitCon

read more…

Reading with Pictures

2014 October 17
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teen_blogging_contest_winner

October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Today’s post is from Ellie Williams from Massachusetts.

I guess it’s my parent’s fault, the reason why I have an unhealthy obsession with words. Although, looking back on it, I suppose it’s my fault too; I didn’t have to like the books that my parents would read to me, but I did. I was always curious about words, and fascinated that writing could be a way to talk without moving my mouth at all. Drawing is sort of the same way, that just with one picture; an author can show the reader what was tucked carefully behind the walls of their heads.

I don’t remember exactly what the first graphic novel that I read was called; I just remember picking it up and being fascinated that you could use both pictures and words to tell a story. It was different for me, and strange. I remember on one occasion, coming into the library for my usual fix, one of my besties, who just so happens to be my favorite librarian, brought me over to a different part of the library that  I guess in my usual blind rampage I had never noticed before. These books had…pictures. I must say I was apprehensive at first; I mean these books were for kids, right? But oh how wrong I was.

BONEOne of the first graphic novels I read was called Bones. I loved not only the writing (it was hilarious) of the author, Jeff Smith, but also his stunningly beautiful drawings. The images in the novels flowed so nicely together that they seemed to paint a picture for me to see. If you aren’t familiar with the Bones series, well I’m not sure what you’re doing with your life.Jeff Smith creates a fictional world completely from scratch that has humans and all kinds of different creatures living in it, including the Bones, which are cute cartoonish white creatures. The series, which is nine volumes long, takes you through the perspective of three particular Bone cousins and the unexpected adventure they go on. read more…

Wilde Reads

2014 October 16
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Happy 160th birthday, Oscar Wilde! In honor of this most fascinating and talented writer, I’ve rounded up some great YA that definitely owes a debt to Wilde’s work – or his life.

darkerReadalike for The Picture of Dorian Gray
It shouldn’t be surprising that Wilde’s novel would resonate with teens – who doesn’t think from time to time about youth and beauty and the fear of growing old? While Wilde’s novel itself is already great for teens, this book may also resonate with them, and it fits into the popular paranormal genre by making what is clearly a supernatural occurrence in the original Wilde work more blatant:

  • Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul by Leanna Renee Hieber
    Natalie is mute, but she is observant and sensitive, which is why she is the one who notices that a new portrait of Lord Denbury has a bit too much life to it. It turns out that the young, handsome man’s soul is actually trapped behind the painting, and Natalie is the only one who can access it and help him escape the magic that binds him there.

 

read more…

From TV to Books: How Movies and TV Shows Bring in a New Reading Audience!

2014 October 16
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teen_blogging_contest_winner

October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Sara Boivin from California.

by flickr user o5com

by flickr user o5com

It seems today that the argument “the book is better” intrudes into every conversation about the latest hit film in theaters. But how many people truly know that anymore?

It’s no secret that when it comes to movies and books, movies seem like the much less time consuming and much more entertaining option for entertainment, especially in today’s world where time is scarce to spare.
But as an avid reader, and also a true cinema lover, I’m here to say with all seriousness that reading the book is nothing to shake your head at.
And I get it. Reading a book takes more time and the story isn’t always your cup of tea. A movie will give you that similar conclusion but usually within the much shorter time it takes you to watch it. But out of that conclusion comes a new opportunity. Just bear with me as I explain. read more…

Why I Review

2014 October 15
by Guest Blogger
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teen_blogging_contest_winner

October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Anjalika Chalamgari from Virginia.

Let’s just imagine that your super awesome blogger (whom you adore immensely) stops by the library, one of her usual hangouts, on a crisp Tuesday morning. Upon arriving, she decides to open a book near the Young Adult section whose cover seems quite interesting to her. (As we all know she never follows the expression “Don’t judge a book by its cover” when it really comes to books- a hater of all things extremely literal). She flips to the first page of the book and begins reading the long narrow text inside. Then she turns to the next page, and then the next, and then… well, I assume get the picture. The main point is I, the blogger in this instance (who else could it be, really?), become rather engrossed in the book I picked up. Unfortunately, all books come to an end. And this one did too. (Why, oh why?) read more…

Jukebooks: Get Happy by Mary Amato

2014 October 15
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Get HappyMinerva’s heart sank as she opened her mother’s gift to her for her sixteenth birthday. It was not shaped like a ukulele. It was not firm like a ukulele. Thus, by the time Minerva pulled out a blue sweater decorated with large white snowflakes, her hopes were already trampled. Not a ukulele at all.

So when Minerva marched in the music store to purchase the longed-for ukulele, it was a huge deal. The ukulele of her dreams was hers. Minerva began playing one of the few songs she knew, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” People on the street stopped to smile at her. Some began to sing along. Some began to dance.

Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, or “Iz,” was a skilled musician and a leader in the Independent Hawaii movement. His sweet rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on ukulele is irresistible. In 1997, Kamakawiwoʻole died of complications related to obesity.

The video clip below shows images of Kamakawiwoʻole floating over beautiful Hawaiian land and seascapes. At the very end, Kamakawiwoʻole’s ashes are scattered into the water.

5 YA Books to Read During Learning Disabilities Awareness Month

2014 October 14
by Geri Diorio
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learning_disabilities_awarenessLearning Disabilities Awareness Month is a time to give recognition to folks with LD and to perhaps learn a bit more about these disabilities. “Learning disabilities” is a phrase that can encompass many different things: dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, and dysgraphia. These disabilities give people trouble with reading, writing, maths, and motor skills. Learning disabilities are lifelong issues, they cannot be cured or fixed. But teachers and parents and therapists can work with folks who have LDs to help them develop skills and strategies for dealing with their difficulties. ADHD, auditory processing disorder, visual processing disorder, and autism spectrum disorders can present folks with similar types of challenges, but are not learning disabilities themselves. According to the National Institutes of Health 15% of the US population have some type of learning disorder. So it is little wonder that there are many YA literature characters who have some sort of LD. Here are five titles to explore.

dying to know youDying to Know You – Aidan Chambers (Chambers is a Printz winner)
Karl is head over heels in love with Fiorella. She has asked him to write her a series of letters, answering deep questions about love. Karl is dyslexic and is terrified that he will fail to impress her and thus will lose her. He seeks out Fiorella’s favorite author and convinces him to act as a sort of Cyrano de Bergerac, writing down Karl’s spoken thoughts. The two men, though far apart in age, develop a friendship that unexpectedly brings them both much joy.

Carter Finally Gets It – Brent CrawfordCarter Finally Gets It
Will Carter is just starting high school. He’s a popular guy, has friends, plays sports, but he is insecure and very concerned. He worries about how hard classes will be, he worries about making the team, he worries that his stutter and his LD will keep him from succeeding in many ways, but especially with girls. Crawford has written a realistical teen guy, but leavened the story heavily with humor and good cheer. Carter’s a good guy (if slightly raunchy-minded) and as the title says, he finally figures out how to survive high school. read more…

Divining Dystopias

2014 October 14
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teen_blogging_contest_winner

October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Rashika Rao, age 14.

DiviningDystopias

Ever since The Hunger Games, the craze for teen dystopias has escalated exponentially- are the novels going past the point of no return? This teen certainly thinks so. As more and more YA dystopian novels are written and published, the authors all seem to be forgetting the difference between writing in the same genre and writing with the same outline.

Recently, I’ve started to realize just how cliché dystopian novels are: it’s getting to the point where, if you just give me the first couple pages and a couple of character names, I can often predict an entire series’ main plot line.

Here is a list of what I think are the top 10 clichés in modern dystopian novels (in no particular order):
1. Dysfunctional government: there is always something wrong with the governmental system.

Some people like to argue that that’s the point of a dystopian novel. But if you look up the definition of a dystopia, it qualifies as a “an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad.” (verbatim from Google).

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d like something worse to happen than corrupt government every now and then.

Another quick point: why are these officials always so violent? Torture, secret kidnappings, you name it, they’ve got it. The excuse is always that no one will stand up to them. But, quoting my AP U.S. History teacher here, “when you keep pushing people into a corner, eventually they’re going to push back.” Well, you defenders will say, that’s the point of the rebellion/rising/see #7! Okay. Fine. But how does our main character oh so conveniently get tangled up with them? And why is she/he (mostly she) always the key to their success?

Something everyone always forgets: These characters are just children. Since when have adults trusted children this much? read more…