One of best programs I attended at the recent ALA Annual Conference in Vegas was the very popular session on Monday afternoon presented by Jennie Rothschild and Angela Frederick called Stranger Than Fiction: Reader’s Advisory for Nonfiction.
The books they recommended are notable for their interesting subject areas that can be read for pleasure, not just for assignments; have appealing layout/style or design, and, despite that so many are published for adults, still have great teen appeal. Rothschild noted that since there isn’t a lot of teen nonfiction published compared to children’s and adult, teens are used to reading up or down. Many of the nonfiction titles are notable for their narrative style that reads like fiction and the fact that they complement so many popular fiction books.
Here are some of the highlights:
Subject read-alikes forBomb: The Race to Build â€“And Steal â€“The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin (YALSA 2013 Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, 2013 Sibert Award Winner, 2013 Newbery Honor Winner; National-book-award-finalist for Young People’s Literature):
The Ultimate Weapon: The Race to Develop the Atomic Bomb by Edward T. Sullivan (YA)
Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, graphic novel (adults and older teens)
The Radioactive Boy Scout by Ken Silverstein (adult)
The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Keiran (adult)
The President Has Been Shot by James L. Swanson (YA)
Lincoln’s Last Days by Bill O’Reilly & Jon Zimmerman (YA adaption from adult book)
Ghosts in the Fog by Samantha Sieple (Middle Grade)
The seventh annual Odyssey award presentation was held at the ALA Annual Conference on Monday, June 30, 2014.
The Odyssey Awards are the awards for the best audiobook of the year produced for children and/or teens in English and available in the United States. It is a joint award presented by ALSC and YALSA.
The room was packed full of librarians and audiobook fans. It was definitely exciting to see all the honorees that were able to make the presentation of awards. Here is a slightly blurry photo of the awards winners that were present:
From left to right:
Booklist consultant, Rebecca Vnuk
2014 Odyssey Chair, Ellen Rix Spring
Daniel Kraus (author of Scowler, 2014 Odyssey Winner)
Timothy Federle (author/narrator of Better Nate Than Never, 2014 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)
Kirby Heyborne (narrator of Scowler, 2014 Odyssey Winner)
Kelly Gildea (producer of Scowler, 2014 Odyssey Winner)
Sunil Malhotra (narrator of Eleanor & Park, 2014 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)
The Margaret A. Edwards Award, sponsored by School Library Journal, is presented annually to an author whose works are deemed “a significant and long lasting contribution to young adult literature.” Previous winners include Lois Lowry (2007), Chris Crutcher (2000) and Gary Paulsen (1997). On June 28th, at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, YALSA presented the 2014 Margaret A. Edwards Award to Markus Zusak specifically for his novels The Book Thief, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, Getting the Girl, and I Am the Messenger.
I was really excited about this year’s presentation for two reasons: 1. I Am the Messenger is one of the best books I have ever read and 2. the ceremony was being held on my birthday. There was also an extra added bonus- I’m a native Las Vegan, so I didn’t have to travel to ALA this year. Instead, it came to me!
The Edwards Award ceremony was a brunch this year instead of the traditional lunch, which appealed to me because I’m a big fan of breakfast at any time. When I arrived at the Las Vegas Hotel there were already people in line waiting to get in and the ballroom was all set up and ready for us. In addition to coffee, quiche and other sundries attendees also received copies of two of Markus Zusak’s books. The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger, and reading group guides for both books. Attendees eagerly anticipated the presentation of the award and the acceptance speech and chatted throughout brunch until the presentation started.
For those of you who may not know, Markus Zusak hails from Sydney, Australia, so he came from the other side of the world to accept this award (and he has a lovely accent.) He listed Chris Crutcher, Gary Paulsen and Lois Lowry as heroes, and expressed some awe at being given an award that they had all previously won. After putting aside his speech and telling us he was going to keep it for reference, he told us that his writing career started in the backyard where he grew up, and shared some of the hijinks he and his siblings would get into, including setting up a tennis court in the house, boxing with one glove, and finding new ways of getting his mother to swear, like ruining her garden playing football (or soccer, for those of us who live here in the U.S.), because when she swore in her non-Australian accent it was hilarious. Continue reading ALA Annual 2014: The Margaret A. Edwards Award Brunch
My science fiction knowledge extends to Star Wars, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the new Star Trek movies. That’s about it– so I was excited to attend the session at ALA Annual that was all about science fiction for people like me: who know very little about the genre.
The program was presented by Dr. Karin Perry, Assistant Professor of Library Science at Sam Houston State University in Texas. She expertly went through a variety of books (some I had actually read!) and broke them down in the subcategories: Apocalyptic/Post-Apocolypic, Steampunk/Biopunk/Cyberpunk, Robots/Androids/Cyborgs/Artificial Intelligence, Space/Aliens/Extra-Terrestrials, Time Travel/Parallel Universe, and Virtual Reality/Gaming.
She covered so many books that it would be impossible to list here, but Karin put her slideshow online which I know I will be referring to for reader’s advisory.
Be sure to check it out if you struggle with science fiction like I do!
Following the fabulous YALSA Coffee Klatch that Lalitha Nataraj wrote about, several of my tablemates and I needed to get the 2014 Alex Awards presentation. The trek, like the layout of the Vegas strip, seemed walkable and relatively close by on paper, but ended up being at the very end of the convention center. Thankfully, all the caffeine that we had just consumed while meeting fabulous YA authors allowed us to powerwalk and arrive on time for the session.
Danielle Dreger-Babbitt, chair of the 2014 Alex Awards committee, got things started by reminding the audience of how the Alex Awards were first given out in 1998, became an official ALA award in 2002, and honor the work of Margaret A. Edwards, who was called â€œAlexâ€ by her friends. Book jackets of the ten winning titles were shown along with short descriptions.
Typically, three to four winning authors attend the award presentation at ALA Annual. This year, only one author was able to make it â€“ John Searles, who won for his book Help for the Haunted. As John began his presentation, he joked that when he heard there were nine other winning authors he killed them all and buried them in the backyard (a nice tip of the hat to 2014 winner The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell).
What followed was a truly delightful, heartfelt presentation that included home movies (cinematic proof that from an early age John wanted to be an author as the super 8 pans his childhood living room and we see him writing away in a mini steno pad); a picture from high school (with John writing, of course); a scan of a truly scathing rejection note for an early manuscript submission, and photos of John’s hometown library (where he has been immortalized on a quilt featuring local authors). Continue reading ALA Annual 2014: The Alex Awards Presentation
For the past few years, one of my favorite events at the ALA Annual Conference has been YALSA’s YA Author Coffee Klatch. A ticketed event, the Coffee Klatch provides attendees with the opportunity to chat with fabulous young adult authors about their books, youth literature in general, and- in the case of Internet Girls author Lauren Myracle- most overused emoji. Most of the authors participating in the Coffee Klatch have had their work recognized on at least one of YALSA’s six annual selected lists and/or have been recipients of one of YALSA’s five literary awards.
Similar to speed dating, there are approximately 30+ round tables set up around the ballroom at which 8 or so people are seated. Every 5 minutes, a whistle goes off and a new author joins you at your table. To give you an idea of how memorable this event is: my husband reminded me of the 2008 Coffee Klatch we attended at ALA in Anaheim, along with our tiny infant son strapped to his chest (“Hey, that’s where we met John Green!”). This year, I brought along my sister, Nirmala, who happened to be experiencing ALA and Las Vegas for the very first time (!). She’s a writer, and getting to sit with fellow authors and commune about literature and the writing process engaged her on a whole new level. As a librarian who regularly reads and shares these authors’ works in a professional and personal capacity, the Klatch is basically my chance to fangirl them (but not in a creepy way, of course…yeaaaaah).
This year’s literary line-up included Josephine Angelini, Paolo Bacigalupi, Jessica Brody, Ally Condie, Jim Di Bartolo, Matt de la Pena, Matt Dembicki, Becca Fitzpatrick, Jonathan Friesen, Carol Goodman, Alan Gratz, Claudia Gray, Collen Gleason, Ryan Graudin, Nathan Hale, Jenny Han, PJ Hoover, Katherine Howe, Lindsey Leavitt, Marie Lu, Jonathan Maberry, Lauren Myracle, Blake Nelson, Jandy Nelson, Caragh O’Brien, Mary Pearson, Jason Reynolds, Graham Salisbury, Neal Shusterman, Jon Scieszka, Marcus Sedgwick, Clare Vanderpool, Scott Westerfeld, Cat Winters, and Meg Wolitzer.
Here are some highlights from my table:
Blinding Us with Science
Jon Scieszka’s new middle-grade Frank Einstein series is STEM-based with a lot of appeal for reluctant readers. Claudia Gray discussed A Thousand Pieces of You, the first book in her forthcoming Firebird series, featuring time-bending, parallel universes, and a healthy dose of romance. Continue reading ALA Annual 2014: YALSA’s YA Author Coffee Klatch
The ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas has drawn to a close, and what a whirlwind of activity it was! More than 13,000 attendees were there to explore the over 2,500 presentations, meetings, and discussion groups, and exhibits available during the event. Over the next few days, we’ll be posting lots of great coverage of YA lit events at ALA Annual, so stay tuned– even if you couldn’t make it this time, you’ll feel like you were there too!
I’m kicking off our event coverage by setting the stage with some scenes from around the conference.
Want to get real teen input on some of the best recent titles in YA fiction? The Best Fiction for Young Adults Teen Feedback Session at ALA Annual is the place to be! Local Las Vegas area teens have been reading the BFYA nominations and are here at the conference to weigh in with their thoughts as the BFYA committee and other interested librarians observe. These teens are always sharp, witty, and honest, and the BFYA Teen Feedback Session is a highlight of the conference for many avid YA lit readers.
If you can’t be here in person, the next best way to experience this session is via the #bfya hashtag on Twitter. Follow along and tweet your thoughts– we’re streaming the hashtag here on The Hub for your convenience, and the real action starts at 1:00 pm Pacific time when the session kicks off. Enjoy!
As a follow-up to Hannah GÃ³mez’s post #DiversityatALA about the current movement to be vocal about the need for more diversity in YA literature (#weneeddiversebooks), and Kelly Dickinson’s post featuring LGBTQ titles, I’m here to list some upcoming YA books that contain non-white, non-heterosexual, non-cisgendered or differently-abled characters that you should be on the lookout for. If you are attending the ALA Annual Conference this weekend in Vegas, ask the publishers about ARCs for many of these. Not all of them will be available as ARCs because some aren’t being published until 2015, but publishers’ reps should still be able give you the scoop on them.
To start, I’m including a few recent notable books that you probably know about and a few that aren’t as obvious because the reviews might not have mentioned their diverse content, or you can’t tell from their jacket flaps.
Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark (2014 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults) is a novel about a transgendered boy while a strong pick for a nonfiction book about transgendered teens is Susan Kuklin’s Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out.
I wasn’t aware that the main character Chevron “Chevie” is descended from the Shawnee Native American tribe in Eoin Colfer’s Warp: Book 1 the Reluctant Assassin until I started reading it. The second book in the series, Hangman’s Revolution is coming out today. Park in Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (2014 Printz Honor book) is half-Korean.
In Stick by Andrew Smith the main character â€œStickâ€ is differently-abled because he was born without an ear & his older brother is gay. Chasing Shadows by Swati Avashi has a main character of Indian descent and there’s a lot about Hindu mythology in the book.
Padma Venkatraman’s A Time to Dance is about a classical Indian dance prodigy whose life seems to be over after she becomes a below-the knee amputee.
Erin Bow’s Sorrow’s Knot is a fantasy flavored by Native American cultures and Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore features a lesbian character.
Now that you’re up to speed on recently-published diverse titles, here are some upcoming books with diverse content to keep an eye out for at ALA Annual and other conferences:
Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco (Sourcebooks, August 2014) is a ghost story about Okiko, whose spirit has wandered the world for centuries delivering punishment to monsters who hurt children, but when she meets teenaged Tark, she tries to free him from the demon that invaded him.
Blind by Rachel DeWoskin (Penguin, August 2014) A 15-year-old teen girl loses her eyesight the summer before high school after a firecracker misfires into a crowd.
Positive: a Memoir by Paige Rawl (HarperCollins, August 2014) (NF). Memoir of Paige Rawl, HIV positive since birth, who was bullied in school once she disclosed her HIV-positive status and from that moment forward, every day was like walking through a minefield. Continue reading Diverse YA Titles to Look for at ALA Annual
In just over a week, Las Vegas will be filled with librarians, library workers, publishers, and vendors for the American Library Association Annual Conference. There will be professional development sessions, committee meetings, award ceremonies, receptions, and author appearances galore– and there are plenty of YA literature related events you won’t want to miss. Here’s our round-up of what to mark on your schedule:
Additionally, while YALSA’s award committee meetings are closed, the selected list committee meetings are open to all conference attendees, so if you want to see how the titles on lists like Best Fiction for Young Adults, Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, or Great Graphic Novels for Teens are chosen, sit in on a selected list meeting! You can find the details on these sessions in the conference scheduler.
If you’re not going to Las Vegas, watch The Hub for coverage of events during and after the conference. You can also keep up with conference news on the YALSAblog and on Twitter with the hashtags #yalsa,#alaac14, #bfya.
For those of you who are headed to Vegas next week, what are you looking forward to the most?
-Allison Tran, currently reading Pointe by Brandy Colbert