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Why I Love Harry Potter

2014 October 21
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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 Jacqueline Cano from Virginia.

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When I am asked what my favorite book is, I am met with a challenge. How can I choose just one? There are thousands of books that have been written; there are thousands more to be written yet. How can I be expected to pick one?  I’ve read hundreds of books. I couldn’t name them all if you paid me. But certain stories stick. And the series that sticks out most to me is Harry Potter.

And it isn’t just me. Mention Harry Potter and nearly everyone knows what you’re talking about. Some people will be enthused. Others will recognize it with apathy. There are also the ones who are fervently against it, but we mustn’t let those Muggles get us down.  That’s one of the things I love about Harry Potter– the recognizable quality it holds.  Harry Potter, which has been translated into 77 different languages, brings people of different ages and cultures together. It’s not some cool underground thing. It’s a unifying literary power.

But why?

Why do so many people care so much about a boy who grew up in the cupboard under the stairs? Why do so many people appreciate this made up story? What magic could it possibly hold? I can’t speak for everyone, but I can tell you what I think. read more…

2014 Teens’ Top Ten Titles Announced!

2014 October 20
by Anna Lam
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Teens voted and the results are in! Here are the official 2014 Teens’ Top Ten titles!

Thanks to all the teens who voted and congrats to the authors of the “top ten” titles!

Learn more about the Teens’ Top Ten here.

Beta Books: Teens Review Advance Reading Copies

2014 October 20
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ARCIt’s time for another post from the Beta Books club at my library, which reads, reviews, and generally has a grand time discussing ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) of upcoming teen books. Our review form includes a cover discussion, space to share thoughts on the book, and 1-5 star rating. Thanks to today’s reviewers for agreeing to share their thoughts on The Hub! SPOILER ALERT: Some reviews mention plot points.

gospel of winterReviewer: Piper

Book: The Gospel of Winter, by Brendan Kiely

What did you think of the cover? I really liked the cover, I really think it fit the story quite well. Also I would change nothing about the cover.

What did you think of the book? I enjoyed the overall storyline but at times it could be slow and a bit dragged on. Yes, I would tell a friend to read this book.

How would you rate this book? 3 stars: Pretty good. I wanted to see how it ended.

* * * * * * * *

splinteredReviewer: Izzy

BookSplintered, by A. G. Howard

What did you think of the cover? I liked the cover, I think it matched the story. No, I would not change anything about the cover.

What did you think of the book? I thought it was really good. I liked the romance. I wish it described more with better details. My favorite part was when her mom got better. Yes, I would recommend this to a friend!

How would you rate this book? 5 stars. Unbelievable! I’d rather read this book than sleep! read more…

Diversity Matters: Privilege & Representation in YA Lit

2014 October 20
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teen_blogging_contest_winner

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 Destiny Burnett from Louisiana.

courtesy of flickr user  patries71

courtesy of flickr user patries71

As someone who’s been an avid reader and lover of YA novels since I was nine years old, I can comfortably say that over the past eight years I’ve accumulated my own little library. In total, today, I own 382 books. Now, books I own are not all that I’ve read, of course, but out of the books that I own (and have read) 27 feature some sort of diversity amongst the characters.

Let me begin by clarifying that I consider a diverse book to be one that features a person of color, a person of a non-Christian faith, an LGBTQ theme or characters, a person with a mental illness or physical disability, or a setting in a lower class area. I consider these factors diverse for YA literature for three reasons

  • most of these are considered a form of diversity in the real world
  • people living with any variation of these characteristics experience an unfathomable amount of adversity
  • these factors are under represented in YA literature, and do not reflect the real world.

So why is representation important in YA literature? To answer that question, one must consider why they read. I read for the enjoyment of experiencing a character’s story. What makes me enjoy a story? Identifying with the character. This is why representation is important; every person who wants to read a book with a character they can identify with should have access to ones where their culture and identity is present. The reality of the situation, especially for YA readers, is that these kinds of books exist very few and far between.

Today I want to recommend some (maybe lesser known) books that promote diversity. read more…

The Monday Poll: Which Witch Book?

2014 October 20
by Allison Tran
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monday_pollGood morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we wanted to know which parents in YA lit you think deserve their own book. The Weasleys from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books topped the results with 50% of the vote, followed by Natalie Prior from Divergent by Veronica Roth, with 20%. There were some great write-in votes, too, including Mia’s parents from If I Stay, and the parents of Hazel and Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars. Check back on last week’s post to read all the other suggestions, and you can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!

This week, we’ve got Halloween on the brain. Goblins, ghouls, ghosts, and witches. Which YA book about witches is your favorite? Vote in the poll below, or add your choice in the comments!

What's your favorite YA book featuring witches?

View Results

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Sort of Like Magic

2014 October 19
by Guest Blogger
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teen_blogging_contest_winner

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 Morgan Delaney from California.

BookCovers

The mind has to be the most perplexing and magical thing about the human body.

Why?

Because no matter how hard you attempt to explain the crazy, beautiful pictures you paint within the realm of your thoughts, no one will ever be able to see them. No one, but you. No one can see the detail, the exact colors, the movements, the sounds, and the vivid and animated life of your thoughts because no one has your exact imagination. It is crazy and strange, but amazing. Because it is entirely and completely your own.

It is even crazier how reading can expand your own thoughts, your imagination, to places you didn’t even know you could create. Beautiful and colorful places that only you get the privilege to see.

It’s sort of like magic.

And it is so unfortunate that so many teenagers are depriving themselves of the beauty of books. I didn’t realize what huge of an epidemic it was that teenagers didn’t read until I went out and asked teenagers the simple question: Do you like to read?

I received answers from, “No, it isn’t entertaining,” to, “No, it isn’t very detailed.”

I was baffled and incredibly disappointed that kids were judging books based on what they assumed reading was like.

It was sad, and truthfully, there was only one thing that stopped me from losing complete hope in proving to the world how wonderful reading actually is.

That was the small group of teenagers that told me they loved to read.

When they responded, “Yes,” to my question, I pushed further, and asked them why. Why did they love to read when so many kids didn’t?

And each answer to that question was like another piece to the puzzle. I began to see the pattern. read more…

Spoken Word Poetry: The Art of Performing and Storytelling

2014 October 18
by Guest Blogger
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teen_blogging_contest_winner

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 Natalie Harris from California.

LouderThanABombPoetry they say can only consist of roses that are red and little violets that are blue, but they are wrong. There is more depth to poetry than you could ever imagine.

Spoken word poetry is poetry that cannot just be left alone on paper. It demands to be performed, to be shared with someone, and to fill the world with the verses you have created.

Spoken word poetry can be whatever you want it to be about. It can be sad, funny, joyful, serious, even a little bit weird or silly. It’s a way to express yourself, and like Sarah Kay says in her TED Talk in 2011, “It’s not just the average write what you know, it’s about gathering all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected up until now to help you dive into the things you don’t know.”

I had never heard about spoken word until I immediately fell in love watching Sarah Kay’s TED Talk in my 7th grade English class. In the TED talk she performed her poems “B” and “Hiroshima.” She also talked about spoken word and her organization called Project V.O.I.C.E which educates and inspires people about spoken word poetry.

I wanted to know more about spoken word after I heard Sarah Kay, so I looked for more spoken word poets and I loved what each one brought to the table. Taylor Mali continues to make me laugh with his poems “Totally Like Whatever” and “The the Impotence of Proofreading,” I stare in awe when Rives finishes his poem “Mockingbird,” the way Lemon Andersen speaks gives me chills, and the way Phil Kaye pours his feelings and personality into every word and every poem he says is magical. I can only hope one day I’ll be able to do the same, and that all of us will be able to craft our words with such wit and beauty. read more…

Tweets of the Week: October 17th

2014 October 17
by Hannah Gómez
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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.
tweets of the week | the hub

KidLitCon

read more…

Reading with Pictures

2014 October 17
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teen_blogging_contest_winner

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.

BONEOne 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…

Wilde Reads

2014 October 16
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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.

darkerReadalike 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.

 

read more…