In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner; narrated by Michael Crouch Listening Library Release date: August 8, 2021 ISBN: 9780593399040
Cash and his friend Delaney are barely surviving in their small Appalachian town. Cash is being raised by his grandparents after his mother succumbed to opioid addiction, and Delaney is running from drug dealers and an unstable home while working at Dairy Queen. A small but profound scientific discovery by Delaney gives her leverage to earn them both places at a prestigious boarding school. Cash is torn between going and leaving behind the grandparents who have raised him and grabbing the otherwise unattainable opportunities the scholarship would give him. Convinced by Delaney to go to the new school, he discovers his inner poet, and goes through many coming of age experiences.
Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield Macmillan / Wednesday Books Publication Date: May 4, 2021 ISBN: 978-1250622235
When Tilla finds out she and her sister will be spending the summer with their often-absent father in his family home in Jamaica, she is torn. On one hand, she’s angry with him for being gone so much, but on the other, she is excited for a chance to learn about her Jamaican heritage and finally get to spend some time with her dad. Unfortunately, he leaves the girls with family in the rural countryside soon after they arrive, and as a hurricane bears down on the island, Tilla struggles to find solid ground amid a shifting, complex family dynamic.
Surviving the City, vol. 2: From the Roots Up by Tasha Spillett and Natasha Donovan HighWater Press Publication Date: October 27, 2020 ISBN:9781553798989
Miikwan and Dez’s story continues in this second volume of The Debwe Series. After her grandmother passes, Dez struggles with her loss and grief. She lives in a group home, but feels lonely and out of place. Dez’s romantic relationship with Kacey grows, but Dez hesitates to make it public. Meanwhile, Miikwan develops her own romance with new student Kiel, who is also dealing with a loss. The four attend an after-school gathering called Mino Bimaadiziwin, but when Dez tries to sit at the drum with the other young men, she is initially denied until an elder, Geraldine, intervenes. Miikwan also defends Dez, and Dez finally reveals her identity as a Two-Spirit person. The four students convince Geraldine that the old protocols are exclusionary and antithetical to Mino Bimaadiziwin or “the good life,” and Riel’s Auntie Alex is invited to share about Two-Spirit teachings. Afterward, everyone, no matter their gender or sexuality, is welcomed back into the circle.
T. S. Eliot famously opened his classic poem “The Waste Land” by proclaiming April “the cruelest month,” and students everywhere might agree when April rolls around and teachers pull out their well-worn poetry unit. April is National Poetry Month, which for poetry lovers means the spotlight shines on their favorites, old and new. We encourage the celebration of poetry year round, but in honor of the 25th anniversary of this special designation, here are 25 new titles, ideas, and resources to mark the occasion.
1. Though she needs no real introduction, we would be remiss if we didn’t start our list with NY Times #1 bestseller Amanda Gorman and her forthcoming collection, which includes her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb.”
2. Invite your teens to participate in the Dear Poet project, where young people get to engage directly with award-winning poets, such as Janice Lobo Sapigao:
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Publication Date: November 10, 2020 ISBN: 978-1534471245
Cuban-American Lila Reyes is grief-stricken after the death of her abuela and breakups with her best friend and her boyfriend. Her parents send her from vibrant, sunny Miami to gloomy old England for a change of scenery and a chance to heal, but Lila has a plan for her life, and it involves running the family bakery with her sister after high school instead of summer at her cousins’ English inn. Determined not to enjoy herself, Lila nevertheless cannot resist the call of the inn’s kitchen, which dares her to mix Cuban spice with traditional British baking. Soon, a group of friends (including the cute, thoughtful boy whose family owns the village tea shop) makes life in England not only bearable but thoroughly enjoyable. Now Lila is doing more than falling in love with her new home — she’s questioning everything she thought she knew and everything she thought she wanted.
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:
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!
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
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.
Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo; narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo and Melania-Luisa Marte Quill Tree Books Publication Date: May 5, 2020 ISBN: 978-1471409127
Told in two voices, chess champion Yahaira Rios lives in New York City next door to her girlfriend, and Camino Rios lives in the Dominican Republic with her Aunt. Yahaira was upset with her father when he left for his annual summer trip to the D.R., so when his plane crashes, her feelings are more than complicated. Also on the plane was Camino’s father, whom she only gets to see once a year. Though the two girls never met or even knew about each other before the crash, they come to find out that they have a lot in common.
Click here to see all of the current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees along
with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo Quill Tree Books / HarperCollins Publication Date: May 5, 2020 ISBN: 978-0062882769
Camino’s father spends summers with her family in
the Dominican Republic, while Yahaira’s father lives with his family in the
Bronx during the school year. Two places, two families, one father… until one
plane crash and one big secret change everything. After Papi’s death, the girls
discover that he has been living a double life, and find sisters in each other.
Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Simon & Louise by Max de Radiguès Conundrum Press Publication Date: August 6, 2019 (Originally published 2017 in France, Éditions Sarbacane) ISBN: 978-1772620351
Young love is tested in this (translated) French graphic novel told from a “his” and “hers” perspective. Louise is heading to Montpelier for the summer with family, and the day after she leaves Simon receives a break-up text from her. In Simon’s story, he sneaks away from home and hitches a ride to Montpelier to find Louise and win her back. Her story reveals that her decision to break up with Simon was less black and white and more about testing out her feelings and what she wants in relationships.
The clean art style makes it easy for young adult readers to visually follow the plot, and the accompanying text is easy to read and often humorous. The dual narrative makes this story interesting and accessible to teens, who will want to learn more about Louise’s perspective after reading Simon’s story. This is a quick, compelling read that deals with common themes in adolescence. Teens will appreciate the honesty in this book: that figuring out who they are in relation to others isn’t usually easy. Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, October 29 Edition