Last weekend, KidLitCon was held in Sacramento, CA. While not a librarian conference, its focus on blogging, children’s and YA literature, and diversity is incredibly relevant to the work of librarians, and, as many librarians are wont to do, a few of us infiltrated the place anyway. It was also National Coming Out Day on October 11, The Horn Book at Simmons was held on the 11th and 12th, and the National Book Award finalists were announced on Wednesday! Here are some of the top tweets.
- @MitaliPerkins Blogged This => A Checklist to “See” Race/Culture in Kid/YA Books http://bit.ly/seerace #kidlitcon @kidlitcon
- @shgmclicious #kidlitcon wrapup and also that PDF I promised you guys @kidlitcon http://wp.me/pkfk8-Mi
- @book_nut Men’s stories are universal; women’s stories are only for women and girls. This HAS to change. @haleshannon #kidlitcon
- @catagator If you were at my social media session at #kidlitcon and wanted the presentation, here you go: http://prezi.com/ynmglpoq7ou1/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share
- @farre The theme so far at #kidlitcon is you don’t have to be nice or PC anymore.
- @JensBookPage Very interesting thoughts from Tanita Davis on the #KidlitCon, 2014: NOTEPAD FORUM and following #diverse bloggers http://ow.ly/CP5kT
October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Today’s post is from Ellie Williams from Massachusetts.
I guess it’s my parent’s fault, the reason why I have an unhealthy obsession with words. Although, looking back on it, I suppose it’s my fault too; I didn’t have to like the books that my parents would read to me, but I did. I was always curious about words, and fascinated that writing could be a way to talk without moving my mouth at all. Drawing is sort of the same way, that just with one picture; an author can show the reader what was tucked carefully behind the walls of their heads.
I don’t remember exactly what the first graphic novel that I read was called; I just remember picking it up and being fascinated that you could use both pictures and words to tell a story. It was different for me, and strange. I remember on one occasion, coming into the library for my usual fix, one of my besties, who just so happens to be my favorite librarian, brought me over to a different part of the library that I guess in my usual blind rampage I had never noticed before. These books had…pictures. I must say I was apprehensive at first; I mean these books were for kids, right? But oh how wrong I was.
One of the first graphic novels I read was called Bones. I loved not only the writing (it was hilarious) of the author, Jeff Smith, but also his stunningly beautiful drawings. The images in the novels flowed so nicely together that they seemed to paint a picture for me to see. If you aren’t familiar with the Bones series, well I’m not sure what you’re doing with your life.Jeff Smith creates a fictional world completely from scratch that has humans and all kinds of different creatures living in it, including the Bones, which are cute cartoonish white creatures. The series, which is nine volumes long, takes you through the perspective of three particular Bone cousins and the unexpected adventure they go on. read more…
Happy 160th birthday, Oscar Wilde! In honor of this most fascinating and talented writer, I’ve rounded up some great YA that definitely owes a debt to Wilde’s work – or his life.
Readalike for The Picture of Dorian Gray
It shouldn’t be surprising that Wilde’s novel would resonate with teens – who doesn’t think from time to time about youth and beauty and the fear of growing old? While Wilde’s novel itself is already great for teens, this book may also resonate with them, and it fits into the popular paranormal genre by making what is clearly a supernatural occurrence in the original Wilde work more blatant:
- Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul by Leanna Renee Hieber
Natalie is mute, but she is observant and sensitive, which is why she is the one who notices that a new portrait of Lord Denbury has a bit too much life to it. It turns out that the young, handsome man’s soul is actually trapped behind the painting, and Natalie is the only one who can access it and help him escape the magic that binds him there.
October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Sara Boivin from California.
It seems today that the argument “the book is better” intrudes into every conversation about the latest hit film in theaters. But how many people truly know that anymore?
It’s no secret that when it comes to movies and books, movies seem like the much less time consuming and much more entertaining option for entertainment, especially in today’s world where time is scarce to spare.
But as an avid reader, and also a true cinema lover, I’m here to say with all seriousness that reading the book is nothing to shake your head at.
And I get it. Reading a book takes more time and the story isn’t always your cup of tea. A movie will give you that similar conclusion but usually within the much shorter time it takes you to watch it. But out of that conclusion comes a new opportunity. Just bear with me as I explain. read more…
October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Anjalika Chalamgari from Virginia.
Let’s just imagine that your super awesome blogger (whom you adore immensely) stops by the library, one of her usual hangouts, on a crisp Tuesday morning. Upon arriving, she decides to open a book near the Young Adult section whose cover seems quite interesting to her. (As we all know she never follows the expression “Don’t judge a book by its cover” when it really comes to books- a hater of all things extremely literal). She flips to the first page of the book and begins reading the long narrow text inside. Then she turns to the next page, and then the next, and then… well, I assume get the picture. The main point is I, the blogger in this instance (who else could it be, really?), become rather engrossed in the book I picked up. Unfortunately, all books come to an end. And this one did too. (Why, oh why?) read more…
Minerva’s heart sank as she opened her mother’s gift to her for her sixteenth birthday. It was not shaped like a ukulele. It was not firm like a ukulele. Thus, by the time Minerva pulled out a blue sweater decorated with large white snowflakes, her hopes were already trampled. Not a ukulele at all.
So when Minerva marched in the music store to purchase the longed-for ukulele, it was a huge deal. The ukulele of her dreams was hers. Minerva began playing one of the few songs she knew, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” People on the street stopped to smile at her. Some began to sing along. Some began to dance.
Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, or “Iz,” was a skilled musician and a leader in the Independent Hawaii movement. His sweet rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on ukulele is irresistible. In 1997, Kamakawiwoʻole died of complications related to obesity.
The video clip below shows images of Kamakawiwoʻole floating over beautiful Hawaiian land and seascapes. At the very end, Kamakawiwoʻole’s ashes are scattered into the water.
Learning Disabilities Awareness Month is a time to give recognition to folks with LD and to perhaps learn a bit more about these disabilities. “Learning disabilities” is a phrase that can encompass many different things: dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, and dysgraphia. These disabilities give people trouble with reading, writing, maths, and motor skills. Learning disabilities are lifelong issues, they cannot be cured or fixed. But teachers and parents and therapists can work with folks who have LDs to help them develop skills and strategies for dealing with their difficulties. ADHD, auditory processing disorder, visual processing disorder, and autism spectrum disorders can present folks with similar types of challenges, but are not learning disabilities themselves. According to the National Institutes of Health 15% of the US population have some type of learning disorder. So it is little wonder that there are many YA literature characters who have some sort of LD. Here are five titles to explore.
Dying to Know You – Aidan Chambers (Chambers is a Printz winner)
Karl is head over heels in love with Fiorella. She has asked him to write her a series of letters, answering deep questions about love. Karl is dyslexic and is terrified that he will fail to impress her and thus will lose her. He seeks out Fiorella’s favorite author and convinces him to act as a sort of Cyrano de Bergerac, writing down Karl’s spoken thoughts. The two men, though far apart in age, develop a friendship that unexpectedly brings them both much joy.
Carter Finally Gets It – Brent Crawford
Will Carter is just starting high school. He’s a popular guy, has friends, plays sports, but he is insecure and very concerned. He worries about how hard classes will be, he worries about making the team, he worries that his stutter and his LD will keep him from succeeding in many ways, but especially with girls. Crawford has written a realistical teen guy, but leavened the story heavily with humor and good cheer. Carter’s a good guy (if slightly raunchy-minded) and as the title says, he finally figures out how to survive high school. read more…
October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Rashika Rao, age 14.
Ever since The Hunger Games, the craze for teen dystopias has escalated exponentially- are the novels going past the point of no return? This teen certainly thinks so. As more and more YA dystopian novels are written and published, the authors all seem to be forgetting the difference between writing in the same genre and writing with the same outline.
Recently, I’ve started to realize just how cliché dystopian novels are: it’s getting to the point where, if you just give me the first couple pages and a couple of character names, I can often predict an entire series’ main plot line.
Here is a list of what I think are the top 10 clichés in modern dystopian novels (in no particular order):
1. Dysfunctional government: there is always something wrong with the governmental system.
Some people like to argue that that’s the point of a dystopian novel. But if you look up the definition of a dystopia, it qualifies as a “an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad.” (verbatim from Google).
Maybe it’s just me, but I’d like something worse to happen than corrupt government every now and then.
Another quick point: why are these officials always so violent? Torture, secret kidnappings, you name it, they’ve got it. The excuse is always that no one will stand up to them. But, quoting my AP U.S. History teacher here, “when you keep pushing people into a corner, eventually they’re going to push back.” Well, you defenders will say, that’s the point of the rebellion/rising/see #7! Okay. Fine. But how does our main character oh so conveniently get tangled up with them? And why is she/he (mostly she) always the key to their success?
Something everyone always forgets: These characters are just children. Since when have adults trusted children this much? read more…
October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s KT Massey.
When I was working my way through John’s Green books, I stumbled upon Will Grayson, Will Grayson. At the time I was a person who believed in gay rights the same way I believed my school should win its football games; casually and without much real knowledge or experience. I don’t want to say this book changed my life. But it introduced me to books that were unapologetically about queer people.
Another thing this book didn’t do: make me reach out for other books with non-heteronormative narratives. The novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Bejamin Alire Saenz did. When I picked it up I had no idea it was about two gay teens. But by the end I was struck by the depth of their relationship and the subtlety with which Saenz crafted their world and characters. He didn’t write a book about being gay or Hispanic or poor, so much as a book about being human. After this I scoured Goodreads, YA blogs, and tumblr for more. I can across and read Hero by Perry Moore, The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George, and Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You: A Novel by Peter Cameron, among others. Then I realized something about these books that was different from Aristotle and Dante.
They were all white. All the teens were white. And most were male and gay. I realized the books I was looking at, reading, and being recommended lacked characters of color, characters who were bisexual, characters who weren’t cisgender, and characters who fell somewhere in the middle of the spectrum rather than at the two ends. A lack of people who are somewhere in-between. I didn’t just notice this in books. I noticed this in TV shows, in news about only G in LGBTQ, in magazines, in movies, and so many other times of art and media. read more…
Happy Teen Read Week™!
Hunger Games actress Willow Shields, who plays Primrose Everdeen in the franchise, invites you to celebrate Teen Read Week and Turn Dreams into Reality @ your library, October 12-18,2014!
Join in on the conversation by using the hashtag, #TRW14 and feel free to share this video, as well as your events, stories, and pictures with others on our Teen Read Week site!