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The Giver Movie: A Reader’s Perspective

2014 August 18
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The_Giver_posterAs a reader, I’m not sure if I went to the movies because I wanted to watch The Giver or because I wanted to hatewatch it.

I did a little of each. I’ll try to explain my reaction to the film, while also leaving out enough information to keep the movie surprising if you’d like to be surprised. That may leave this post incomprehensible until after you’ve seen the movie. I’m not sure. You’ll have to let me know. But be forewarned: this post either has spoilers or is impossible to understand.

I think your liking of this film will depend on how passionate you are about the book. I’m not someone who thinks movies have to stick to the book word-for-word; different media require different approaches. But I’m also not someone who likes it when a movie slaps a book title on its poster and does nothing else to base it on the novel. The Giver is somewhere in between, and it’s not really a bad movie so much as a film that suffers from the glut of dystopian movies, TV, and books and designed itself to be attractive to people just catching on to that genre, not people curious to see Lois Lowry’s beloved book come to life.

That’s not to say that readers won’t enjoy this film. The creators did a brilliant job of dealing with the colorless world. The slow transitions and back-and-forth from plain to color and back again, as Jonas learns new colors and as he goes back and forth between the colorful world of the Giver’s home to his own bland dwelling, is just perfect. The set design is spot-on, and the costumes and props are stylized but not too corny. This film has excellent trappings, but it didn’t do much to translate the power of the book to the screen.  read more…

The Monday Poll: The YA Classic You’d Like to See on the Big Screen

2014 August 18
by Allison Tran
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by flickr user o5com

by flickr user o5com

Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we asked you to choose the best book to cool off with during the summer heat. In the lead was The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, with 67% of the vote, followed by The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean, with 19%. 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’re all excited that the highly-anticipated film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s YA classic, The Giver, is now playing in theaters everywhere! Have you seen it? Did you love it? In light of this beloved book being brought to moviegoing audiences, our question for you this week is: what other YA classic would you like to see on the big screen? Vote in the poll below, or add your choice in the comments.

Which YA classic would you like to see on the big screen?

  • The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (27%, 31 Votes)
  • Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block (21%, 24 Votes)
  • Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers (18%, 21 Votes)
  • Forever... by Judy Blume (18%, 21 Votes)
  • Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden (12%, 14 Votes)
  • Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly (4%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 116

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Tweets of the Week: August 15th

2014 August 15
by Traci Glass
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Happy Friday, Hub Readers!  Check out these tweets of the week with Lauren Oliver, Red Sonja & of course, Batman!  In case you missed it…I’m here to compile it all for you!

tweets of the week | the hub

Books & Reading

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Remembering Robin Williams

2014 August 15
by Katie Shanahan Yu
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Credit: Flickr user Global Panorama, Image Courtesy: Eva Rinaldi

Credit: Flickr user Global Panorama, Image Courtesy: Eva Rinaldi

The loss of actor Robin Williams this week has been both shocking and sad for so many of us. He was always so full of life in his interviews and stand-up

performances. You always felt like you were watching someone special. He is probably best known for his television and movie performances. Today’s teens might not remember him in Mork and Mindy, but I encourage them and you to Youtube those old episodes. It’s a show from a long-ago TV era, but one that has special place in my heart alongside I Love Lucy from the Nick at Night of yesteryear. His comedic talents and sheer charisma in the show are timeless, so is his impressive work in film.

Two of his many films he made were selected for YALSA’s Fabulous Films for Young Adults – Dead Poet’s Society and Good Will Hunting, both 2010 selections. Williams was an artist who connected with many people and across many generations. Look to the sheer volume and diversity of people responding to his death on social media, in the news and on television. Just look at what’s been happening at the bench in Boston where they filmed Good Will Hunting. The cynics among us may believe this is just another example of a society obsessed with celebrity, but I believe it’s more than that. I believe he was one of the rare artists who touched our hearts and souls with the joy and love he infused in his work.

He was a teacher that showed his students that words and ideas could change the world and asked his students to find their voice before it was too late.  He was a straight shooting psychologist that helped a lost genius reconcile his anger and grief and asked him to make a move because someone can’t do everything for you. He was a wish granting genie and a best friend to a street rat. He was Peter Pan, a crossdressing father trying to see his kids, a night club owning gay dad pretending to be straight for the parents of his son’s fiancé, and a US president who comes to life afterhours in a museum. Robin Williams was all of these people to us because he brought them to life with his talent. He had the ability to make us believe in him and laugh with him. Just watch this moving tribute from super fan Jimmy Fallon:

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Oldies but Still Goodies from YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels Lists

2014 August 14
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The War at EllsmereLately, I’ve had to weed my Young Adult Graphic Novel collection because I am just running out of room.
  Weeding is always a sad process, be it in a public library or in your personal collection – I just always think, well, if I just give them another month or another week, someone will pick up this book!   I always like to think that there’s a book here for every person, and unfortunately, some books just don’t get a lot of love or get matched up with their perfect person during their time in the collection. 

That got me thinking about this post; I wanted to spotlight older titles, but how would I choose them since there are so many great books out there from years past?  Then, aha!  I had an epiphany – what if I highlighted some of my favorite comics & graphic novels from YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens lists? 

So, I went back through all the GGNT lists, and picked out some of my favorites from the 2007-2011 lists.  Now, some of these books are pretty popular and some are not, but they are all great graphic reads for all different kinds of readers.  From Star Wars to cat burglars to Batman (well, Batwoman, but, close enough), everyone will find something fun to read on this list – and these are old books!  Well, oldish – and older books can be some of the best books.   So, join me, readers, on this walk down memory lane as we revisit some favorites and hopefully, put the spotlight on some forgotten or overlooked treasures.

2007 Great Graphic Novels for Teens:

Star Wars:  Tag & Bink Were Here by Kevin Rubio & Lucas Marangon:  From the inaugural GGNT list, I chose one of very favorite comics ever!  Tag & Bink are two bumbling rebels who, when they come face to face with Stormtroopers, decide to knock them out and steal their uniforms, and thus, their times as members of the Imperial Army begin.  They aren’t the most savvy or smartest of the bunch, so in addition to not being found out by Darth Vader and his minions, they are also trying to stay alive and get back to the other members of the rebellion.  What’s funny about this book is that Tag & Bink are involved in every major event that happens in the movies – and they’re usually on the verge of messing something up or getting themselves found out.  This book is great for Star Wars aficionados as well as newbies – because it introduces something new and hilarious to established movies with no prior knowledge needed.  All of your favorite characters from Episodes IV-VI make appearances here, and this book will definitely keep you laughing until the very last page!  read more…

Jukebooks: The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan

2014 August 13
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islands at the end of the worldLeilani lives in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii. Although her mother is Native Hawaiian, her father is white, and the family had been living in California for most of Leilani’s childhood. She’s not accepted at her public high school,  partly because of her race, and partly because of the epileptic seizure that felled Leilani in the school cafeteria. It’s because of her epilepsy that Leilani and her father are flying from the Big Island to Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. As they prepare to travel, her father reenacts a family joke by singing John Denver’s Leavin’ on a Jet Plane. Fathers can be so hokey sometimes.

But while Leilani and her father are in Honolulu, the world goes berzerk. A strange green haze appears in the sky. Communication networks collapse. There are reports of nuclear power plants exploding across the globe. Soon enough, Leilani and her dad are ensconced in a makeshift camp run by the military, and the trip back to Hilo becomes a matter of life and death.

John Denver wrote Leavin’ on a Jet Plane in 1966, originally calling it Babe, I Hate to Go. Although Denver did make his own recording of the song, it was more famously recorded by the folk group Peter, Paul & Mary.  Their single was released in 1969, in the midst of Vietnam war protests. It’s wistful message of regret and tenderness touched many soldiers longing to reunite with loved ones.

Here are Peter, Paul & Mary with John Denver in 1969.

Diane Colson, currently reading The Hit by Melvin Burgess.

 

Makin’ Stuff: Books to Inspire DIY and Creativity

2014 August 13
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Making stuff isn’t something that is usually associated with libraries, but it should be. The maker movement is still going strong, and it’s showing everyone that teens use libraries for all sorts of learning- including how to make all sorts of things. YALSA’s 2014 Maker Contest is going on right now, and applicants have the chance to win some neat prizes as well as share their awesome ideas with others. The deadline to apply is September 1st and you can go here to learn more and to apply. (Get some ideas on how to create a maker/ DIY program here.)

Finding themes in YA fiction that go along with the maker movement wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be until I thought bigger and stopped limiting myself to duct tape. When I did that I found a bunch that I thought might spark some interest in doing with teens. I also found some nonfiction titles, too, to get us all started on the doing!

COOKING

pizza loce nd other stuff that made me famousPizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams follows sixteen-year-old Sophie from the kitchen in her family’s restaurant in Washington, D.C., to the set of “Teen Test Kitchen,” a new reality show about teens cooking that her best friend has convinced her to audition for. Is Sophie ready to compete with her cooking, though? Hopefully growing up in the family restaurant will have been enough training!breakfast on the go

Although Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous includes recipes, there are lots of teen oriented cookbooks out there. A Teen Guide to… cookbook series by Dana Meachen Rau covers everything from Breakfast on the Go to Quick Healthy Snacks, and includes safety tips, conversion charts, and tons of tips throughout. Even I can cook using these, and I once tried to microwave a frozen noodle dinner for seventeen minutes instead of seven!

 

 

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Reader Response: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

2014 August 12
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midwinterblood newThis post is a reader’s response to a book read for the 2014 Hub Reading Challenge.

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick  is a glorious enigma of a book, and a puzzle that I hope no reader will ever fully solve. Therefore, I won’t seek to explain it or expand much on the plot.  Instead, I want to talk about where this book took me. It seems appropriate that while reading a book that was set in multiple times and places, I was taken back to multiples times and places in my own reading life.  Midwinterblood magically transported me back to two times that I might call golden ages in my reading history.

I will call the first (forgive the melodrama) the Age of Surrender.  This time period of my reading life spanned from ages 12-16.  I did most of my reading at that time during summer vacations.  I had very few responsibilities and distractions, and, so was more able to surrender my time and attention fully to whatever book I was reading.  I think I was also able to surrender my judgement to the world of the book and only the world of the book.

These days, as a teen librarian, I read editorial reviews, blogs, and follow my fellow librarians on Goodreads.  It is almost impossible to read any YA book without hearing the interrupting voices of critics. I miss that Age of Surrender when I had no baggage to check at the first page.  Midwinterblood took me back to this place for two reasons.  First, unlike prior Printz Award winners, I hadn’t heard much about it. (Though this may have been because I was in my final months of library school when it came out).  Second, the world of the book was so intriguing, beautiful, strange and unprecedented that my own critical voice, which usually stands outside the story and makes disruptive comments, was silenced.  I felt like I was back to those summers of reading without distraction, and before it became almost impossible not to approach books as a critic.  I felt like I was reading like a teen again, which is one of the best gifts a YA novel can give an adult reader.

I will call the second golden age of my reading history the Age of Analysis. This age spanned from ages 18-21 and coincided directly with being an undergraduate English major.  Almost all the books I read during this age were later dissected and analyzed and mined for symbolism, and all interpretations, as long as they were properly supported by the text, were valid. There was no right answer, and we were never really going to figure out exactly what the author was telling us, but that was the most thrilling part of studying literature.  Readers of Midwinterblood will find countless symbols, motifs and ideas to pursue if they want to capture the heart of the story.  The fun of it is– they are never really going to capture it.

Midwinterblood was by far my favorite book of YALSA’s 2014 Hub Reading Challenge, not only because the world of the book took me multiple places at once, but also because the reading experience took me back to multiple reading eras in my own reading life.

-Emily Childress-Campbell

Want to Read S’more? Have Some Ooey Gooey Delicious Books in Threes

2014 August 11
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IMG_20140807_125805331

Summer is the perfect time for reading for fun and making s’mores. In fact, yesterday was National S’mores Day.

So I decided to combine these two concepts and give you three books on the same topic – think of them as the graham cracker, the marshmallow, and the chocolate of a s’more- all deliciously good.

Fantasy:

Hub 1

Thrillers:hub 2

read more…

The Monday Poll: Best Book to Chill Out with during Summer

2014 August 11
by Allison Tran
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photo by flickr user RC Designer

photo by flickr user RC Designer

Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we asked which “vintage” YA novel could use a cover makeover to reach a contemporary audience. The big winner was The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger, with 31% of the vote, followed by Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher, with 26%, and Interstellar Pig by William Sleator took in 17% of the vote. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted and commented!

This week, as we’re getting into the middle of August and the long, hot summer is starting to feel… well, really long and really hot, we want to know which of the following books would help cool you down. Vote in the poll below, or leave your suggestion in the comments!

Best book to cool you off through a summer heat wave

  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (67%, 36 Votes)
  • The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean (19%, 10 Votes)
  • Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick (9%, 5 Votes)
  • The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestly (4%, 2 Votes)
  • The Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 54

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