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YALSA’s 2015 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-In #7

2015 January 25
by Faythe Arredondo
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yalsa morris nonfiction sealsNot signed up for YALSA’s 2015 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. If you’re finished, fill out the form at the bottom of this post to let us know!

Hello Readers!

How many of you have finished? What was your favorite on each list?  I’ve read some of the books before the lists were announced for my selection committee.  Any of the reads have you puzzled?  Let me know in the comments!

If you haven’t signed up for the challenge you have about a week left! This will also help with the annual Hub Reading Challenge that will start in February after the Youth Media Awards. If you have finished be sure to brag about it in the comments and fill our the form. I’ve read some of theses books and they are great! Don’t miss out!

-Faythe Arredondo, currently in the middle of too many books to list

Tweets of the Week: January 23rd

2015 January 23
by Katie Shanahan Yu
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In case you missed it, check out what happened this week in the Twitterverse.

tweets of the week | the hub

Books

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Dealing with Suicide & Depression in Teen Literature

2015 January 23
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All the Bright PlacesAs someone whose family has been affected by both depression and suicide, I am always interested in how authors, especially those writing for teens, choose to represent aspects of a character’s mental health.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, approximately 2 million U.S. adolescents attempt suicide each year in the United States, which (and not to sound childish) makes me extremely sad and want a way to be able to reach out to those readers who might not feel comfortable talking about it, but who desire a way to process their own feelings on the subject.

Recently, I had been reading a lot of YA fiction galleys, and I noticed a trend – books about suicide and depression have definitely increased, and I think that is very good thing for not only teens, but also those who work with teens or have special teens in their lives. Society hasn’t always been kind to the topic of mental illness (still isn’t in a lot of ways, actually) – but, being about to talk about it openly without fear of reprisal is something that has gotten better over the past few years. And, with the influx of new teen literature looking at suicide and depression in responsible, caring ways there comes a new way to reach out to those who are maybe struggling with it or dealing with it in their family or group of friends. I was happy to see School Library Journal’s excellent new bibliotherapy booklist for teens – it offers suggestions for those struggling with depression and suicide, but other tough topics, as well; be sure to check it out, if you haven’t already. In today’s post, I thought I’d highlight my five favorite new books that deal with suicide – I think all of them treat it with respect and a thoughtful nature.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven: This book is actually my favorite out of the bunch; I really think this is one of the most realistic portrayals of depression and suicide that I have read in a really long time. Violet and Finch meet at the top of the bell tower at their school; they are both entertaining the thought of jumping to their deaths. Finch has been dealing with depression and bipolar disorder for quite a while, but Violet has only started entertaining the thought of suicide since her older sister/best friend recently died in a car accident. After some hesitation on Violet’s part, Finch manages to get Violet to start hanging out with him, and their relationship progresses from there. However, like life, sometimes finding a special someone doesn’t mean that your depression goes away; love doesn’t cure a mental illness, which, I think, is an unfortunate message that a lot of teen books about suicide offer up as a happy ending. Sometimes people still commit suicide even though they have someone who is trying desperately to understand and help them, and I applaud this book for showing a real-life ending – one that isn’t necessarily neat or pretty. But, this is a hopeful book full of love and future plans, and one that readers will be talking about. read more…

Midseason TV Replacements – Readalikes, Part II

2015 January 22
by Hannah Gómez
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More new television and more book recommendations for you try! Read on to get the dish on all the recently premiered or upcoming midseason shows. If you missed the first part, click here to see last week’s post.

princess-bride-bookGalavant (ABC) – starring Joshua Sasse
Having recently started, this miniseries mashes up Once Upon a Time, The Princess Bride and Glee and offers a silly medieval-inspired show complete with music and a ton of guest stars. The protagonist, Galavant, is on a quest to regain his true love, stolen from him by a prince. You can catch up with the series online and then watch on Sunday nights.
Readalikes:

  • Avalon High by Meg Cabot
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  • Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt
  • Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

 

 

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Jukebooks: Don’t You Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

2015 January 21
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Dontyouforget about meThey come to Gardnerville after hearing that it’s a magical town where no one gets ill. When they are met at the train station, the newcomers hear about the downside. Every four years, the benign magic of the town turns evil, forcing a teenager to commit a horrible crime. Skylar has lived in Gardnerville all her life. She’s seen it happen. Four years ago, it was her sister, Piper, who led a group of teens to their death. Now, Skylar is sure, it will be her.

The two sisters, Piper and Skylar, had been recording over some old mix tapes that belonged to their mother, telling their own story. One of the tapes was labeled, “Don’t You Forget About Me.” This song, performed by the band Simple Minds, can be heard at the beginning and end of the 1985 film The Breakfast Club. The video clip below blends the song with clips from the song.

-Diane Colson, currently reading Euphoria by Lily King

Genre Guide: Clifi (Climate Fiction) in YA Lit

2015 January 20
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Photo Jan 18, 11 07 53 PMClimate fiction (CliFi) books (also known as eco-fiction) are ones that deal with climate change as part of the plot in which the characters struggle to survive. A lot of dystopian novels are clifi books because the breakdown of society is attributed to a catastrophic event like a nuclear war that affects the climate. I wanted to focus here on books where the climatic event was not directly caused by a man-made event like a war, but by nature, for the most part. Not all of these novels are realistic fiction or science fiction; at least one contains fantastical elements as well.

In The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan (2014), Leilani, Photo Jan 18, 3 35 37 PM16, and Mike, her ecologist father, go to Honolulu for treatment for her epilepsy but when a cloudlike organism appears in the sky after a tsunami, it causes the world to panic and plunges the metropolitan area into chaos. She and her father find themselves detained in an internment camp and struggle to get back to their family on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Photo Jan 18, 1 50 27 PMNatural resources are at an all-time low in 16-year-old Tess’s futuristic world in Georgia Clark’s Parched (2014). Most remaining supplies are funneled into Eden, a walled city of privilege, where she was born, but the citizens who live outside the wall in the Badlands are much worse off. After the death of her scientist mother Tessa decides to combat this inequality by joining a rebel group called Kudzu and uncovers a shocking government plot to carry out genocide in the Badlands using artificial intelligence.

Two weeks after the radio in the United Kingdom started broadcasting the warning, “It’s in the rain. It’s Photo Jan 18, 2 32 17 PMfatal and there’s no cure,” the drinkable water is running out and most of the population is dead in H2O (2014) by Virginia Bergin. Ruby’s one of the survivors and she’s left with two options: persevere on her own, or embark on a treacherous journey across the country to find her father- if he’s even alive.

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Black Lives Matter: Building Empathy Through Reading (Part II)

2015 January 20
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black livesYesterday, I wrote about the duty all librarians and educators share to instill empathy and compassion in our young readers by actively promoting books that engage and educate them in the experiences of others. You can read my first post on this topic here and see the books I recommend from Slavery through Jim Crow. I’m continuing that post today with books that address various aspects of the Civil Rights Movement as well as novels that look at contemporary teenage Black lives.

Civil Rights

John Lewis is a civil rights legend and his graphic novel memoir March: Book One (2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound, 2014 Top 10 Great Graphic Novels for Teens) should be required reading in classrooms across America. The book details his childhood in rural Alabama, his introduction to non-violence, the founding of the SNCC, and ends with the historic lunch counter sit-ins in the late 1950s. With the sequel coming out today, it’s the perfect time to showcase both works!

lies we tell ourselves by Robin TalleyRobin Talley’s Lies We Tell Ourselves is a fictionalized account of the desegregation of schools in the late 1950s. Set in 1959, the story is told in two voices: Sarah, one of ten Black students attending the all-white high school in Davisburg, Virginia, and Linda, the white daughter of a prominent newspaperman intent on keeping segregation alive. The visceral accounts of Sarah’s first days at school alone make the book worth reading but it is the examination of how internal change can and does happen that truly makes the novel a compelling read.

Another book told in two voices is Revolution by Deborah Wiles which follows Sunny, a young white girl, as she grapples with the tumultuous changes happening around her during 1964’s Freedom Summer and Raymond, a young Black boy, who is coming to terms with the vast disparities between his community and the white community that surrounds him. Despite focusing more heavily on Sunny’s story, the book provides extraordinary insight into an era by incorporating numerous primary sources ranging from photographs, SNCC recruiting brochures, song lyrics, and even KKK pamphlets….fascinating stuff!

Kekla Magoon’s debut novel The Rock and the River won the 2010 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent when it came out and with good reason. A complex and layered look at the struggle for civil rights, the book tells the story of 13-year-old Sam, son of a well-known Civil Rights activist. As the story begins, Sam follows his father’s belief in non-violence unquestioningly until tragedy strikes and he finds himself siding more and more with his older brother who is a follower of the Black Panthers. The books offers no easy answers and is eloquent in its portrayal of a time fraught with tension and change. read more…

Black Lives Matter: Building Empathy Through Reading (Part I)

2015 January 19
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Martin Luther King Jr. March on WashingtonLibrarians are peddlers of empathy. We understand that reading is a chemical reaction between reader and writer producing a visceral engagement with the characters that allows us to live the lives of others, if only for for the space of a novel. We know that when we give a book to a patron, it can be at once an act of revolution, a strike against ignorance, a catalyst for change, a necessary escape, a life-saving event, a clarion call, a moment of peace, or simply a riveting read. Whatever it turns out to be though, it is always founded in empathy. As readers, each book allows us to, at turns, discover, reaffirm or reimagine what it means to be human.

In the wake of the Ferguson verdict and in solidarity with the growing #BlackLivesMatter movement, it is empathy that we need more than ever. Indeed, as I reflect on Dr. King’s legacy, I am reminded of this quote by him: “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” Ideally, this communication would happen face-to-face, two individuals in dialogue discovering what it means to be the other. However, in certain cases whether due to lack of representation, access, or will, this is simply not possible. What then? read more…

The Monday Poll: Crushworthy Girls in YA Historical Fiction

2015 January 19
by Allison Tran
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monday_pollGood morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we asked which guy from YA historical fiction is the most swoonworthy. Though not strictly YA, Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice took the lead with 41% of the vote. Jamie Beaufort-Stuart from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein came in second with 20%, followed by Jem Carstairs from Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series with 17%. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!

This week, we’re continuing the theme: which girl from YA historical fiction is the most crushworthy? Vote in the poll below, or by all means add your choice in the comments!

Who is the most crushworthy girl in YA historical fiction?

View Results

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YALSA’s 2015 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-In #6

2015 January 18
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yalsa morris nonfiction sealsNot signed up for YALSA’s 2015 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. If you’re finished, fill out the form at the bottom of this post to let us know!

How are you all doing with your reading for the Hub’s Morris/Nonfiction reading challenge? We are approaching the final weeks of the challenge, so, I am sure many readers are nearing completion. But, if you haven’t gotten started yet, you still have time before the February 2nd deadline! The challenge is a perfect way to discover new young adult authors to love or to find fantastic new nonfiction for yourself or the teens at your library. Sign up on the original post and get started with your reading!

If you have finished your reading, be sure to fill out the form at the bottom of this post to let us know and also tell us all about your challenge experience in the comments. Did you find a new favorite book? Or favorite author? Did you have any great conversations about your reading with friends or colleagues? Learn anything new from the books? What book were you most excited for and did it live up to your expectations? Let us know all of this and more in the comments!

And, for those of you who will be attending ALA Midwinter next weekend, don’t forget to submit your form before you leave so you don’t have to do it during the conference and let us know in the comments which authors and events you are most excited for while in Chicago. I hope to see lots of you there!

– Carli Spina, currently reading The Property by Rutu Modan

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