A version of this post originally appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of YALS.
The 2012 theme for YALSA’s Fabulous Films for Young Adults was “Song and Dance,” and over the ten-month nomination period, committee members, fellow librarians, YALSA members, and teens nominated more than one hundred titles. The committee was pleased and surprised to see that nominators found many ways to interpret our theme, and we selected the best of the best films that would appeal to young adults ages 12â€“18. The committee is especially pleased to have selected titles that will enhance library collections as well as support young adult programming. Some titles present beloved tales, while others take on social issues that span the past and present. Still other films offer fun, catchy songs and conversations that will have you singing and quoting your way through the stacks.
To support our list, the committee has created a list of read/listen-alikes.
Classic musicals like The Sound of Music can be explored further in Memories Before and After the Sound of Music: An Autobiography by Agathe von Trapp, the oldest daughter in the von Trapp family. Bride and Prejudice, a Bollywood musical retelling of Pride and Prejudice, will be enjoyed by readers of the countless retellings of the original. The book Bindi Babes by Narinder Dhami will provide teens with more details of Indian culture.
Established musicians in their own right have created some of the best-remembered titles on our list. Fans of Eminem will enjoy his semiautobiographical movie 8 Mile and may enjoy reading The Rose That Grew from Concrete by fellow rapper and writer Tupac Shakur, Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes, and Gangsta Rap by Benjamin Zephaniah. Musical duo Outkast provides the music and stars in the film Idlewild; their CD Speakerboxx/The Love Below will be enjoyed by viewers of the film.
But Enough about Me: A Jersey Girl’s Unlikely Adventures Among the Absurdly Famous by Jancee Dunn and The Rolling Stone Interviews by Jann S. Wenner and Joe Levy, eds., will entice readers who loved following William’s adventures in Almost Famous. For those who enjoy a little grunge in their rock, there’s Foo Fighters: Back and Forth. Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azzarad, IWantMyMTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks, and This Is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl by Paul Brannigan are great companions to Back and Forth.
Newsies and War Dance showcase social issues of the past and present, and several books lend themselves well to further exploration: Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy by Albert Marrin, Inquisitor’s Apprentice by Chris Moriarty, The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara, and A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah.
Many of the documentaries on the list depict nontraditional looks at our theme. Young adults who are considering dancing as a profession will relate to Only When I Dance and Every Little Step. Likewise, they may enjoy Bunheads by Sophie Flack, To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel by Siena Siegel and Mark Siegel, My Life, the Musical by Maryrose Wood, and On the Line: The Creation of a Chorus Line by Robert Viaga.
Finally, the committee was surprised and pleased to see a couple of nontraditional films that fit our theme on the list: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. While both films were favorites among committee members, it was their unique blend of song, dance, and visual style that made them standouts. Both films have direct ties to books: Scott Pilgrim was first a graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Dr. Horrible has been adapted for a graphic novel by Zach Whedon. Council of Evil by Andy Briggs, Audrey, Wait by Robin Benway, and So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow will be enjoyed by fans of these films.
We hope librarians from all types of libraries find this list, and their read/listen-alikes, usable in their libraries. It is the FFYA committee’s wish that the young adults in your community are able to use this list to relive some favorites and discover new films. While this list was created specifically for the young adult in the library, we encourage you to share this list with librarians working with all ages!
The theme for the 2013 Fabulous Films for Young Adults list is “Survival.” Know of a great movie that you’d like to see on the list? Suggest it to the committee!