The 2021 Hub Challenge Has Arrived!

Here it is: The Hub Reading Challenge for 2021!

This year, we encourage readers to get involved at whatever level they prefer. You can aim for traditional BINGO with five in a row, or you can take on one of the bigger goals! From reading with a tissue box to laughing out loud, this year’s challenge covers a lot of ground, and it gives you the chance to read along with our Selected Lists team members. As you read new YA this year, we hope you are discovering titles that would make a great fit on the Amazing Audiobooks, Best Fiction for Young Adults, Great Graphic Novels, or Quick Picks nomination lists. When you do, we want to hear about it, so grab the field nomination form (available at the bottom of each week’s posts) and make a suggestion! When you do, you’ll be sharing the love AND earning a spot on this year’s BINGO board!

Most of the spots are self-explanatory, but we’ll make sure to highlight a few each time we check in, and if you have questions, there’s a spot for those in the sign-up form.

Click the download button below to get a PDF of the bingo board. Our first check-in will be next month, so get started!

Black History – Black Futures

As we continue in our celebration of Black History Month, we equally celebrate the voices creating rich and brilliant Black Futures. Like this short film from The Movement for Black Lives, countless YA authors are sending visions of a future world into the present and into the hearts of young adult readers everywhere. Here are a few recent or forthcoming examples:

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

This title, selected for the 2021 Best Fiction for Young Adults Top Ten, draws upon West African folklore and Western fairy tales to create an immersive and complex world that is sure to engage and delight.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Described as perfect for fans of the Dora Milaje from Black Panther, this newly-released high fantasy is poised to join a powerful cohort of strong female characters.

Continue reading Black History – Black Futures

Celebrating Black Voices

Though we champion Black voices all year long, February is Black History Month, and YALSA member Annierra Matthews has pulled together a list to commemorate and elevate this celebration. Annierra is a Research Services Library at Mercer University in Douglasville, Georgia, and has a passion for YA!


Black History Month (BHM) is quite prominent in most Black households across the United States. Founded in 1924 by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of Black leaders, musicians, writers, athletes, etc., are celebrated throughout February. For teens searching for ways to celebrate Black History Month, there are plenty of options: viewing online exhibitions and archives, binging documentaries and films, streaming special programs and recitals, and even supporting black-owned businesses.

For those who prefer to cuddle up with a book, here’s a list of compelling fiction written by Black authors and featuring Black characters. 

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

Malik must save his sister from a sinister spirit, and in order to do so, he must kill Crown Princess Karina. Karina, on the other hand, must offer a king’s heart to revive her mother. When Malik and Karina face-off in the Solstasia competition, they contend with falling in love and completing their goal.  

Continue reading Celebrating Black Voices

Dispatches from the End of the World: Survival Stories

Though it might be a bit unsettling, there are undoubtedly teens who see all the hurt and disruption in the world today and turn to dystopian futures or post-apocalyptic tales as the remedy. With those readers in mind, here is a list of titles that dive into the dark realities of an uncertain future.

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher

Cover of A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher

This 2020 Alex Award winner holds more than a few surprises, and it is a great title to suggest to the reader who has already worked through the more common dystopian titles. Griz is a finely-drawn and fully-complex character who teens will connect with, and the hunt for loyal dog Jess will keep them turning pages until the unexpected and remarkable ending.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

This book. It haunts me. Set in the early 2020s, but written in the early 1990s, it is a prescient and terrifying look at the kind of chaos and social disorder that could descend upon us. Climate change has led to massive water outages, and safety is dependent upon avoiding the mobs bent upon destruction. 15-year-old Lauren is wise beyond her years, but she is an ideal guide through this world and into a possible future.

Continue reading Dispatches from the End of the World: Survival Stories

Books to Ease the Winter Blues

Depending on what part of the world you inhabit, the beginning of February might find you suffering from the winter blahs. Some call it the Jan-Febs; others are just so tired of the slush and the cold and the wind (and the pandemic!) that traps them indoors; still others battle the very real SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

Even those libraries blessed with year-round good weather have patrons that could use a moment of joy, so let this be our subtle suggestion for the creation of a happiness corner — maybe install a light therapy fixture, add some bubbles or balloons, maybe even rent a puppy? And, of course, books that are guaranteed to bring a smile and remind that stressed-out teen of the kid they still are. From comics to picture books, these titles will be sure to bring a smile.

Maybe your teens are already familiar with Nathan W. Pyle’s Strange Planet series? If not, remedy that error forthwith!! These alien creatures do their best to describe their interactions with the new and fascinating things of Earth, and they never fail to bring a laugh. Or 100.

Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle
Continue reading Books to Ease the Winter Blues

Teens Needed for Virtual Best Fiction for Young Adults Teen Feedback Session

YALSA is recruiting teens to participate in its Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA) Teen Feedback Session. This session is scheduled to take place virtually via Zoom on Saturday, January 9th from 2-3:30pm CT. During the session, teens will be asked to give constructive feedback to the BFYA committee members on the titles that have been nominated for the 2021 BFYA list. The list of books can be found here. The session will be recorded but will not be made public. It will also only be sent to BFYA Committee members.

YALSA takes input from youth very seriously, and in order to get a wide representation, there are two ways to participate.  First, we are seeking up to 50 teens to participate virtually. Participating teens are asked to read as many of the BYFA titles as possible, but all titles do not need to be read by each teen. Secondly, librarians may gather feedback from their teens to share on behalf of their teens during the session. Both teens and librarians interested in participating in the feedback session should apply by January 5

YALSA Goals for Youth Participation:

  1. To organize and implement youth participation to support division goals,
  2. To collect a wide range of ideas from as diverse a young adult population as possible,
  3. To incorporate youth participation into programs and services in order to provide a richer experience for YALSA members,
  4. To create valuable experiences for the participating young adults in which they can gain knowledge and/or skills useful in future endeavors.

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 9 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

cover art

The Talk: Conversations About Race, Love & Truth edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson; Narrated by  Fajer Al-Kaisi, Feodor Chin, Gisela Chípe, Michael Crouch, Janina Edwards, James Fouhey, Renata Friedman, Catherine Ho, Nicole Lewis, Omar Leyva, Guy Lockard, Jesus E. Martinez, and Lisa Renee Pitts
Listening Library
Publication Date: August 11, 2020
ISBN: 978-0593121610

Through poetry, essays, lists, and letters, The Talk  gives 17 different conversations that delve into race, racism, identity, and self-esteem. Coming from a variety of experiences, which are often intergenerational and intersectional, this is a conversation starter for dissecting structural racism, moves to be more antiracist, and ways to be more inclusive with a focus on being affirming to listeners. 

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 9 Edition

2020 Teens’ Top Ten Announced

2020 Teens' Top Ten

The official titles of the 2020 Teens’ Top Ten are as follows:

  1. Wayward Son (Simon Snow, #2) by Rainbow Rowell. Wednesday Books/Macmillan. 9781250146076.
  2. Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell. Illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks. First Second/Macmillan. 9781626721623.
  3. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. HarperTeen/HarperCollins. 9780062662835.
  4. Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House. 9781524720995.
  5. Broken Throne: A Red Queen Collection by Victoria Aveyard. HarperTeen/ HarperCollins. 9780062423023.
  6. #MurderFunding (#MurderTrending #2) by Gretchen McNeil. Freeform/Disney Book Group. 9781368026277.
  7. We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya) by Hafsah Faizal. Farrar Straus Giroux /Macmillan 9780374311544.
  8. Lovely War by Julie Berry. Viking/Penguin Random House. 9780451469939.
  9. Wilder Girls by Rory Power. Delacorte Press/Penguin Random House. 9780525645580.
  10. The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy. Blink/HarperCollins Publishing. 9780310767657.

Download the full list with annotations on the Teens’ Top Ten webpage.

Thanks to all the teens for voting and congrats to all the winners!

Teens aged 12-18 can nominate their favorite titles to be considered as a 2021 Teens’ Top Ten nominee via the public nomination form by Dec. 31. For books to be eligible for consideration for 2021, they must be published between January 1– December 31, 2020. Since the start of the year, YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten book groups, which are made up of teen book groups from libraries across the U.S., have been reading advanced reading copies and nominating titles. 

A digital image of a Teens’ Top Ten seal for nominated titles is available to publishers for licensing. Arrangements can be made through ALA’s Rights and Permissions office for publishers who need permission to reproduce the seal on a paperback edition or book jacket. Contact permissions@ala.org or Mary Jo Bolduc, (312) 280-5416 or (312) 944-8741 (fax) for information.

2020 Teens’ Top Ten Voting Open

Voting is open for YALSA’s 2020 Teens’ Top Ten now through October 15. Teens aged 12-18 can vote for up to three titles from the 25 nominees. A video featuring the nominated books can be found on the Teens’ Top Ten site.

Every April, the Teens’ Top Ten nominees are posted on the Thursday of National Library Week, and readers vote online August 15 – October 15. To learn more about the Teens’ Top Ten and voting, please visit the Teens’ Top Ten website.

Share the nominees video on your library or school’s website and encourage teens to vote.