While librarians will be arriving in droves in Orlando for the 2016 American Library Association Annual Conference in the next few days, across the continent in Anaheim, another theme-parked arena, flocks of digital content fans and creators will be swarming for the 7th annual Vidcon, June 23-25, and many of these attendees will be teens. Studies are showing that a majority of teens are big consumers of online video. Short Vines are grabbing interest, but Youtube is still where a lot of time is being spent watching favorite Youtubers, and for some of the Youtube stars, the fandoms run deep.
In honor of Vidcon, here are a handful of Youtubers with huge fan bases that have recently published books, and some YA book suggestion crossovers that might have some of the same appeals and feels.
Oakley began making videos in 2007, and is a leading youth voice for LGBTQ+ rights and teen suicide prevention. Binge can be laugh out loud funny and turn around and be deeply heartfelt and inspiring. Aside from his Youtube channel, he also has a podcast: Psychobabble Tyler Oakley.
Character-driven, heartfelt, and authentic, this will appeal to Oakley fans with both its humor and feels. Not-so-openly-gay Simon Spier is falling in love with an online friend whose identity he is uncertain of, but is pretty sure that he goes to his school. When a classmate uncovers his secret relationship, he blackmails Simon into helping him try to win over one of Simon’s best friends. Simon fears of being outed are less about being ostracized, and more about what will change once everyone knows. Though on one side this is a light-hearted and romantic novel it also deals with the difficulty of change, complexity of identity, and the importance of growth
Hold Me Closer: the Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan
Written in play format, the larger-than-life Tiny Cooper is telling his life story as a musical. A hopeless romantic with a witty take on life, Tiny hits the issues head-on. Both Tiny and Oakley serve as positive role models and cheerleaders, each with a charming sense of humor. Tiny also has real depth in his autobiographical play that Oakley fans will resonate with as he looks at the sober side of the nature of love.
This book parallels Binges as a book of self discovery, and of finding and managing the Diva within. Equally filled with hysterical hijinks, Better Nate is the story of a small town 8th-grade boy running away to New York City to follow his dreams of being on Broadway in a musical production of E.T. As Nate gradually falls in love with the city, issues bubble up around sexuality, family, and of who you are, and can be, in the world. Continue reading Vidcon Special: Youtuber and YA Book Crossovers
On Sunday, June 12, theater lovers around the country will tune in to watch the Tony Awards. Leading the field with a record sixteen nominations is Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking hip-hop musical about the life of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. Combining historically accurate language with modern vernacular, staging critical decisions about the formation of the American nation as rap battles, and making history accessible in a whole new way, Hamilton has already garnered critical acclaim, racking up a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album, and two Drama League Awards for the 2015-2016 Broadway season.
Not only are critics raving about Hamilton; it’s attracted a broad audience both on- and off-Broadway. Since its 2015 off-Broadway opening, more than 400,000 people have seen it, and only about a quarter of those are from New York. Tickets are sold out through the end of this year. The cast album has gone platinum and, since its release in April, Hamilton: The Revolution, the book containing the show’s libretto with Miranda’s annotations and commentary by Jeremy McCarter, has sold out its first and second printings. Despite the lack of tickets, a devoted fandom has sprung up around the show.
How many times have you picked up a book and had so many feelings and reactions while reading it, that you just wanted to share them with the next reader? Look no further than The Margin Project! The Margin Project is something done at many public and school libraries, as well as being championed by writer Jen Malone (find out more about her here). The Margin Project is a great way to bring aspects of social media to reading, thus socializing books!
This year the teen council at my public library held a fanfiction writing contest. Though I was not a voting member, I did read all of the entries. This was my first foray into the fanfiction world, a world that absorbs many of the teens that I work closely with on a regular basis. Through this, I learned a lot about fanfiction and its appeals, and I had to check some of my assumptions at the door.
In the 2014 August issue of School Library Journal, Chelsey Philpot took an extensive look at fanfiction and teens. This highlights the creative outlet that writing fanfiction can be, and how it can be a place to explore emotions, sexuality, and identity for teen writers. One thing that surprised me through this process was that even though a lot of teens had written some fanfiction at some point, a lot of them just like to read it, and would like others to write it for them. This got me curious as to what were the major platforms they were accessing fanfiction on, especially as I will see mobile devices being passed around with a “have you seen this one?”
First thing I had to learn was some basic terminology of the types of fanfiction that there are, and how it is referred to:
Canon – this is written in the world that the fanfiction is about and is something that could happen.
AU – “Alternative Universe” – this is where we are in the canon world but a few elements have been changed.
AU divergent – “Alternate Universe – Canon Divergence” – The story is set in a different universe from where the original takes place.
Crossover – There are characters from different fandoms in a story.
One-Shot – There is only one body of text, usually a short story that is complete.
Most teens seem to be reading fanfiction on a mobile devices through apps. These are a few of the most common:
Most of the teens I talked to felt that this was a starter site for young readers to access fanfiction. They said that this site “can be a bit sketchy,” and felt dated because of its “bad 90s graphics.” There were some ways to filter and narrow results to whether something was “in-process” or “complete,” word count, and with ratings:
K Suitable for most ages
K+ Some content may not be suitable for small children
T Contains content not suitable for children
M Contains content suitable for mature teens and older
MA Contain explicit content for mature adults only
Rebecca O’Neil’s fantastic piece on Wattpad for The Hub earlier this year shows what a great tool this is for writers. For avid readers, this doesn’t offer the easy access that they enjoy elsewhere, and seems to be a least favorite site among the teen readers I interviewed. It is a site where you need to create an account to access most of the content, and it is not as easy to filter to find desired content. However, they report that those that both avidly write and read fanfiction use this to build a writer’s community.
Of the apps, Tumblr is by far the favorite, and where most teens seem to be accessing their fanfiction. The favorite feature of Tumblr is that there are libraries and catalogs housing links to fanfiction pertaining to a particular fandom. An example of this is Phanfic, a catalog of fanfiction relating to YouTube stars Dan Howell and Phil Lester (Phil+Dan=Phan). Favorite features include “fic tags” where you can look for fiction by feels, smut levels and types of smut (smut is a very popular vocab word in the fanfic group), length, relationships, themes, and more. There are also options to submit prompts for those that would prefer to read than to write, but would like something very specific.
Not every fandom has its own catalog on Tumblr though, but teens really like the ability to sort out the type of fanfiction that they are reading. Some of this is easier done through a web browser than through an app.
This is the most popular site among the teens that I talked to, but doesn’t have an official app. The teens felt that this site had the best selection of fanfiction, and they really appreciated the many ways to filter by ratings (if and how explicit), warnings (how angsty and what types of angst), categories (relationship types), crossover, characters, relationships, and whether is was canon, AU, or canon divergence. You can also filter by word count, if it is a one-shot or if it has chapters, and if it is complete or in-progress. They appreciated that the site gave summaries of the fanfiction, and also liked that you could keep narrowing down by searching tags.
This is a website that many of the teens I talked with said they first started with, and seems to be the most child friendly. Many said this is where they first posted their first fanfictions that they wrote when they were 10-years-old or younger. Some say they still go there to read as it is easier to stay away from the “smut.”
One thing that I see being a big draw for teens to reading fanfiction, and the sites that seem to be the most popular are, that it offers them the opportunity to manage their own reader’s advisory experience through filters. There is a lot of romance happening in fanfiction, and this allows them to read about very specific situations with characters they know and love. Continue reading Reading Fanfiction
The response to the Sports Anime post was so enthusiastic that I am back again to highlight some gaming anime titles! My apologies to fans of the “stuck in a video game world” trope, you will have to wait your turn. These main characters are all into tabletop games! (If you must have a video game anime recommendation, I wrote about Summer Wars last year in my Anime Titles for Book Lovers to watch this Summer post.
What we have this month is a series about a haunted strategy board game, a dramatic show about a group of teens who trying to form a competitive memory card team, a slice of life comedy starring a mischievous student who distracts his classmate, and a series focused on trading card game battles.
Gaming is another broad sub-genre. While I attempted to select a range of games and themes, if you feel like I missed a show that this list cannot survive without, feel free to bring it up in the comments!
Hikaru no Go
Hundreds of years ago Sai Fujiwara flung himself into a river when he was dismissed from his position as the emperor’s Go instructor. Since his death, he has haunted a Go board hoping to someday achieve his dream of playing one “Divine Move.” Hikaru Shindo, the sixth grade boy he is currently haunting, doesn’t seem to mind his spectral hitchhiker. Will the two be able to work together to make Sai Fujiwara’s dream come true?
Hikaru no Go is the least spooky ghost story in the world, mostly because the show is so focused on the gameplay of Go and the interpersonal relationships of the players. While the 23 volume manga series is still available in the United States, the DVDs of the show are out of print. But do not despair! both the subtitled and dubbed versions of all 75 episodes the show are available to stream (with commercials) on Viz’s website and Hulu. If you run an anime club or a convention you can contact Viz directly on their website using this form to ask for permission to screen the show to your group.
As we celebrate a beloved series and await the next installment, let’s explore some fantastic reads for our newest favorite heroine, Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Here are some great books, new and old, that I would recommend to Rey if she came into the library during her breaks from lightsaber training and flying the Millennium Falcon.
Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
Emilia and Tio, adopted siblings and best friends, are budding young pilots who are caught on opposing sides of a war to control Ethiopia, the last unconquered African country. This is an engaging historical fiction pilot story for Rey, who would have no trouble drawing parallels between herself and Tio, who is captured by the Italians and doing his best to escape, and her friend Finn with Tio’s sister Emilia, who follows after to help save him.
Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy
In the near future, daring pilot Chase Harcourt flies one of two elite prototype jets in a race to save the United States from a deadly cold war with China. Reywould love this book because Chase is a superbly gifted pilot, just like Rey, who also finds herself on the forefront of a battle between two great powers. Continue reading What Would They Read?: Rey from Star Wars The Force Awakens
If you’ve been anywhere near Tumblr, you have probably encountered the always growing fandom for Maggie Stiefvater’s young adult fantasy series The Raven Cycle. Particularly in the weeks leading up to the release date (today!) of The Raven King, the last book in the series, the originally small fandom has grown astronomically.
If you haven’t read the books you might be confused to say the least about what the series is actually about. The official description of the first book in the series The Raven Boys is:
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.
His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
Full disclosure: I am not a fan of sports by any stretch of the imagination. After a brief (and fairly disastrous) bout with middle school basketball I have studiously avoided athletics of all flavors, even as a spectator, but I LOVE Sports Anime!
This genre tends to focus on character driven stories with boatloads of delicious drama. The four series featured below don’t assume that you have a great deal of prior knowledge about the athletic activities that they focus on and each does a great job of deftly integrating necessary information into the narrative without over explaining or talking down to their audience.Continue reading An Introduction to Sports Anime
After five years, more than 50,000,000 (yes, that is 50 million) albums sold, and 325 headlining shows played, it is probably fair to say you’ve encountered One Direction at some point. Maybe you, like me, have been to a show or two . Maybe you’ve heard someone talking about it at the library. Or maybe you’ve just seen the headlines while you tried to catch up on pop culture news. Believe me, 2015 and 2016 have definitely seen some headlines. “Zayn Malik Leaves One Direction,” “Different Directions for One Direction,” so-and-so signed a solo contract, someone else is in the studio rapping.
You may be wondering why you need to know about them if they are on hiatus. You’re busy, you’ve got other trends to keep up with, I get that. But did you know that on January 27th, Louis Tomlinson (1/4th of One Direction) tweeted a picture of himself with his 6-day-old son? Within 20 minutes, “Freddie” was trending on Twitter. 1,652 pieces of One Direction fanfiction were published on popular fanworks site Archive of Our Own (also known as AO3) over a period of just four weeks in January 2016. Those four weeks came after the hiatus, after the last promotional appearance, after the last of the new music had been released. The One Direction fandom is huge, it spans platforms, and it is as alive as ever.
Let’s start with the basics. One Direction, also known as 1D, started on U.K. reality show X-Factor in 2010. Five teenage boys auditioned for the show and got through the first round only to find out they didn’t have what it takes to make it as solo artists. Tears were shed. Dreams were crushed.
When production asked Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Harry Styles back on stage, the boys remember Harry saying it was because Simon wanted to make them cry because it would make good television. Instead he offered them a second chance at their dream. They could continue in the show, but only as a group. A boy band.
What followed was a fever dream of bad performances and terrible outfit choices, but people were captivated. By the time One Direction were eliminated, in third place, the crowds of fans waiting outside had become so large the boys needed security to escort them through and people worldwide were declaring their love for the band on Twitter and tumblr. One Direction went global before they had even recorded a single. They had a tumultuous five years of stadium tours, multi-platinum albums, and famous girlfriends, and then, in 2015, the departure of Zayn, the announcement of the hiatus, impending fatherhood for Louis, and rumors of solo plans for Harry and Liam. Zayn and Louis got into a tiff on Twitter, and Zayn signed to RCA and began working on an album for a 2016 release. This is, in the broadest strokes, the history of 1D. Continue reading Fandom 101: One Direction