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Category: Trends

What the Dang Heck Is a Webcomic??

Screenshot of Sarah Andersen’s website as viewed on my phone.

Webcomics aren’t typically given much attention by library professionals — possibly because they can’t be owned or lent; nevertheless, we should be familiar with them. After all, our goal should be to connect people with materials they love, not just materials the library owns. Additionally, if we want to be deft, resourceful readers’ advisers, we need to be familiar with all kinds of reading materials, especially the kinds of things our patrons are reading.

If you’re brand new to webcomics, this post will give you a foothold in their vast, wild world. If you’re familiar with webcomics, please leave your favorites in the comments as well as any resources you find helpful!

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Building a TTRPG Circulating Collection

 

Have you or your teen patrons jumped on the Dungeons & Dragons wagon yet? No teen program I have ever run has been as popular as my D&D club, even now, an almost-year after starting it. With the proliferation and popularity of Twitch streamers, podcasters, YouTubers, and voice actors gaming live for an audience, it’s easier than ever to get hooked. (Check out shows and podcasts like Critical Role; The Adventure Zone; Dice, Camera, Action; Acquisitions, Inc; and more.) Whether it’s a hobby, a lifestyle, a creative outlet, or a way to blow of real-life stress, lots of teens and young adults are looking to play.

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#WontBeErased: Transgender Awareness Week and Day of Remembrance

This November, Transgender Awareness Week (November 11-17) and Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20) comes on the heels of our current administration’s ban on military service for transgender individuals, along with his latest efforts to remove legal protections afforded by federal civil rights law. Raising visibility of the issues facing transgender people is even more important now, as transgender kids are increasingly vulnerable to bullying, violence, self-harm, and suicide; and library staff and educators working with young people can and should be aware of how to support them.

For many of us, this means exploring our own biases and rethinking some of our ingrained ideas about sex and gender identity, which can be a difficult task. I’ve gathered some resources below–books, videos, websites, and even a webcomic–that can help adults working with youth become more knowledgeable and understanding, and therefore better able to offer support, resources, and empathy to our transgender patrons. For excellent fiction and nonfiction to offer to transgender, nonbinary, and questioning teens, follow these two links to past YALSA Hub articles. 

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Going Viral – YA Books of Teens Managing Online Fame

There are many online platforms for sharing and creating art. Teens are taking advantage the various mediums of creating and sharing their works. But what happens when your work becomes a smash hit? How do manage instant fame? How do you take advantage of opportunity when it comes your way? Many new teen titles are exploring the effects of being or becoming an online sensation. Teens are relating to these stories both on the artist/creator end of things, and even though they may not gain instant fame, teens still have to navigate similar tricky waters in the day to day of who is a true friend, and how to manage negative comments and bullies.

The following titles are about teens experiencing internet fame:

Youtube Sensations

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Natasha “Tash” Zelenka has turned her literary crush of Leo Tolstoy to good use. With the help of her best friend, Jack, they have created a web series “Unhappy Families,” a modern retelling of Anna Karenina. When a famous vlogger gives a shout out to the series, it goes viral. Now she, along with the cast and crew, are finding what it means to be a hit sensation and are managing the adoration, and the trolls, coming their way. The instant fame is also creating tensions among the crew.  The story is paralleled with Tash, who identifies as a  romantic asexual,  navigating flirtations coming her way. Admist the fame and romance, Tash is also dealing with her older sister creating distance, her parents announcing a new sibling on the way, college applications, the impending end of the series, and the big “What’s next.”

Bang by Barry Lyga

Sebastian loves making pizza. Not your basic generic pizza, but pizza that starts with homemade dough, recipes he has thoughtfully researched, homemade sauce, and the best toppings and combinations. This isn’t enough to keeps the memories at bay though. When he was four years old, he shot and killed his baby sister, and now has plans to do the same to himself at the end of summer. When Aneesha, a Muslim girl, moves into the neighborhood she encourages him to create a YouTube channel with her about his pizza creations. Things start to shift in Sebastian’s outlook, until the YouTube channel takes off, and he is recognized, and called out for his painful childhood past.

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Books to Read Based on Your Divergent Faction

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that Veronica Roth’s new book, Carve the Mark, has been released and fans are super excited! For new fans, this book might bring them to Veronica’s original phenomenon, Divergent.

In honor of this I have compiled a list of what books you should read based on your Divergent faction. Don’t know your faction? Take a quiz here!

Get your pens and papers or Goodreads account ready, here are some books you’ll love (hopefully!) based on your faction. And if you’re divergent, your list will be even longer!

 

Erudite: The Intelligent

  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

11-year-old Flavia de Luce, who dreams of being a chemist and has a passion for poison, must clear her father’s name in a murder case. By gathering clues, Flavia is able to tie two deaths together and investigate new suspects. This book is perfect for an Erudite because Flavia is tenacious and smart and uses her incredible depth of knowledge to crack the case.

Six unlikely outcasts band together, with the brilliant criminal Kaz leading the way. They must break into a fortress that is known to be impenetrable, without their pasts getting in the way. Six of Crows is great for an Erudite reader as all six characters have to use their smarts and skills to pull off the heist of a lifetime.

Kestrel’s Commander father wants her to join the military or get married, but she has other plans. When she saves the life of a slave, she discovers he is much more than he seems and her new path is set in motion. Kestrel, just like an Erudite, uses her wits and strategic planning to find her way out of difficult situations.

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Promoting Reading and Reading Diversely in High School Libraries

As high school librarians who value diverse voices, we have always been sure to have and feature books by people of color and other under-represented groups. Like many in our field, we create monthly, thematic displays and reading lists, one example being those that highlight books by and about African-Americans during Black History Month.   Similarly, when we create our list of selected readings for our yearly summer reading program, we have been very thoughtful about being sure that there is something for everyone in terms of demographic representation and genres.

While all these actions are steps in the right direction, this school year we decided to be even more intentional about encouraging our students and staff to read more diversely. By introducing the Raptor Reading Bingo challenge, we have taken our focus on social justice and multicultural literacies to the next level. We created a bingo board that gives students and staff choice in their readings, but is designed to get them to read books by authors of color and featuring other under-represented groups like LGBTQ.

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Memoirs and Biographies of Those Who Broke Equal Rights Boundaries

When I think of social justice and equal rights, the first person who comes to mind is Martin Luther King.  But, we all know that he wasn’t fighting alone. His I Have a Dream Speech is one of the most familiar speeches ever heard, but, Congressman John Lewis can deliver a powerful and memorable one as well, as you will discover if you read March: Book Two. I’ve selected a few recently published memoirs or biographies by or about significant African-Americans, some more familiar to me than others. What they all have in common is a drive to excel and a belief in what they were striving for – something that will resonate with today’s readers of all ages.

 

misty-copelandLife in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina (Young Readers Edition) by Misty Copeland (The 2014 edition has been nominated for YALSA’s 2017 Popular Paperback for Young Adults in the biography category)

This is a recently published young readers’ adaptation of Copeland’s 2014 memoir about her becoming the first African-American principal dancer in American Ballet Theatre history. Despite not having started dancing until age 13, Misty’s talent allowed her to transcend her rough home life. Her family didn’t have much money, and she had a series of stepfathers growing up. As her talent brought her notice, she became embroiled in a custody battle between her mother and her ballet teacher, leading her to go to court to petition for emancipation. She is also frank about the prejudice she experienced as a black dancer, including the belief by some who said that black dancers had no place in classical ballet. “This is for the little brown girls,” Copeland says, but her inspiring story will be embraced by readers of all races.

img_3267Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly

The author’s father worked at NASA as did so many others in her community that she just assumed that “that’s just what black folks did.” She profiles four black women (Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden) who during World War II, were hired as “computers” – or female mathematicians by Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, in VA under NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) – later to expand to become NASA. At a time when educated black women good in math were only expected to become math teachers, these women helped the U.S.’s successes in space aeronautics. Women hired at Langley were as good or better at computing than the men but few were classified as mathematicians because that would mean they’d be on equal footing as the men. Instead, they were classified as “sub professional” and paid less than the men. The Fair Employment Practices Committee under President Roosevelt had opened up job opportunities for African Americans, desegregating the work force during the war.

Dorothy Vaughan joined the NACA in 1943 and was the first to be promoted into a management position. Mary Jackson was the first black women to become an engineer at NACA. Katherine Johnson’s math skills helped put the first American in orbit around the Earth.  Christine Darden became an expert on supersonic flight and her groundbreaking research on predicting sonic booms continues to be used today. These women opened the door for other women to become mathematicians as a career. This book, and the adult version, are the basis of the upcoming film Hidden Figures starring Octavia Spencer (as Dorothy Vaughan), Taraji P. Henson (as Katherine Johnson), Janelle Monáe (as Mary Johnson) but doesn’t include a portrayal of Christine Darden because the film focuses on the years before she started at NASA.

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Libraries and Social Justice

2016 has been a year that has brought many important conversations about social justice to the forefront: Black Lives Matter, immigration, gender equality, the rights of indigenous people, poverty and economic inequality, LGBTQ rights.

Libraries across the United States have responded to these conversations in various ways, and within our profession, valid questions have been raised about the role of libraries in social discourse. How do we as library professionals preserves the objectivity of libraries as public institutions and ourselves as information professionals when the idea that free access of information to all is still a radical ideal?

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18 Books if You Liked Stranger Things

Netflix’s new TV show Stranger Things has been wildly popular. The show, set in the 80s, begins when a young boy, Mikey, goes missing, and his friends and family uncover many strange things while looking for him, including a girl with paranormal abilities.

Season two is currently filming, but if your teens have binged season one and need some books to tide them over, check out these 18 science fiction/weird YA titles.

18-books-to-read-if-you-like-stranger-thingsWolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

What would the world be like if Hitler’s Aryan nation plan had succeeded?  It’s 1956 and Yael, a skinshifter, has been assigned the task of killing the fuhrer by entering and winning a motorcycle race.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (2016 Popular Paperbacks)

Ruby is different and her parents are afraid of her.  When Ruby survived the virus that killed all the kids, her parents locked her in the garage.  Desperate to escape, Ruby finds a place with other teens like her only to find out that her powers will be exploited.

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

Mila looks like a human teen but was actually created in a lab.  Sent to live like a human after a memory wipe, Mila finds herself on the run from her creators who want to destroy her and from people who want to use her powers for evil.

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Celebrate International Zine Month

July is International Zine Month, and July 21 is International Zine Library Day. As explained by ZineWiki, a Zine (derived from magazine) is “an independently- or self-published booklet, often created by a single person.” With this broad term, we can see zines going as far back in time to Revolutionary War pamphleteers like Thomas Paine with his Common Sense and John Dickinson who penned Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, but the modern zines took off more with the wider distribution of magazines in the20th century, and became a way of sharing fan love, especially, but not specifically, of music performers.

ZinesDuring the 1990s, networks of zine publishers started to emerge, and since then many libraries have been curating zine collections. Having a zine collection in your library is a great way to bring local flavor to your collection as well as new voices. Some libraries allow their zines to circulate, while others find it best to have them as in-house reference, much like mainstream magazines. Whichever way a library chooses to circulates, allowing teen readers access to zines is a new chance at meaningful reader’s advisory opportunities and sparks for teen creativity.
Here are just a few resources that can help with starting and/or maintaining a library zine collection:

From A to Zine

Julie Bartel’s From A to Zine is a valuable resource for thinking about zine collections, and especially how to market them to teens in the library or through programming and outreach.

Zine Library is also a wealth of information. The have information on shelving options, categories, and you can access the Zine Librarians Code of Ethics. A couple of other online resources are the Barnard Zine Library, especially for a listing of zine libraries, and the portal Book of Zines. Many of these site have links to where zines can be purchased, as does The Stolen Sharpie Revolution.

Here are just a handful of recent zines that have strong teen appeal:

My Asian-American Female Role Model of the 90's   Falling Rock National Park   Ghost Guide by Rebecca Artemisa  how to publish poems  The Prince Zine  bright circle

Claudia Kishi; My Asian-American Female Role Model of the 90’s by Yumi Sakugawa

A fanzine at its best – growing up in the 1990’s, Yumi Sakugawa, a second-generation Japanese American, didn’t see herself represented in pop culture. But there was Claudia Kishi, the talented, confident, fashionista of Ann M. Martin’s book series, The Baby-sitters Club.

Falling Rock National Park by Josh Shalek

This black and white comic is set in a fictional National Park in the American southwest. Ernesto the lizard, Ranger Dee, and various other animal characters head into the Uncanny Valley, where everything gets weird.

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