On Saturday, January 31, I had the privilege to not only attend the “Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA)” feedback session, I also was able to bring four of my local library teens to participate in the session. Here is a picture of the five of us after the session posing with all of our swag bags. My four teens joined up with other teen readers to comprise a group of 60, all ready to do what teens do best: share their opinions.
Just a little background, if you are unfamiliar with the BFYA list: throughout the year, librarians add books published that year to a nomination list. From this nomination list, a committee reads the titles and ultimately whittles the list down to a BFYA Top Ten list. In order to ensure that the best books make the Top Ten list, the committee holds a feedback session in which teens can share why they think a book should or should not be on the list. The teens lined up at microphones that faced the committee members rather than the large crowd of librarians and teachers who stopped in to get the firsthand knowledge presented by the teens. Each teen had no more than 90 seconds to prove their point and were allowed to write up their reviews ahead of time. Unfortunately, due to the length of the nomination list, not every title was reviewed by the teens during the session.
Before I begin to share the details of the session, here is the BFYA Top Ten list:
The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Jackaby by William Ritter
Noggin by John Corey Whaley
The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E. K. Johnston
Vango by Timothee de Fombelle
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
There was one phrase that was constantly heard throughout the BFYA session. That phrase was, “I completely disagree.” Continue reading ALA Midwinter 2015: Best Fiction for Young Adults Feedback Session Recap
Diversity in youth literature has been a big topic of late. So, for this month’s contemporary YA lit book list, I am going to highlight some titles with various aspects of diversity in them (including a book that includes financial struggle). I know I will miss some, but these are the titles that popped into my head and I want you all to tell me of more titles!
The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson
Laila’s father was killed in a coup, and her family has been exiled to the United States from the Middle East. While she’s trying to adjust to a new life and culture, her mom is conspiring to get the family throne back.
I’m Just Me by M.G. Higgins
Nasreen and Mia are two very different girls who stand out at their school, making them targets for bullying and racial slurs, both at school and online. So the girls come together and hatch a plan for revenge. Continue reading Is This the Real Life? Diversity
Happy (belated) Mother’s Day!
It’s always a tight-rope to talk about mothers in kids’ books or YA books. On the one hand, there are lots of mothers, good, bad, and indifferent, who make appearances in books for young people. However, since kids’ books are supposed to be about the kids, and YA books about the teens, the mothers often have to be shuffled into the background. It seems like a disproportionate number of YA protagonists have mothers who are dead or absent, while picture book mothers are often too perfect, since the protagonist kids need to have their adventures against a relatively safe background.
With that said, here are some picture book and YA mothers who have stuck out to me. I know I can’t begin to cover all of them, so please add your favorites (or least favorites!) in the comments, and check out Wendy Daughdrill’s post that celebrates mothers in YA lit.
The Berenstein Bears and Mama’s New Job by Stan and Jan Berenstein. The Berenstein Bears are one of those picture book families in which the mother sometimes seems a little too perfect. I feel like this tendency is more pronounced in later books in the series, especially in the ones where poor Papa Bear becomes the bad example time and again. However, the series also has a lot of good, realistic parenting moments (maternal and paternal), and I think Mama’s New Job is one of these. It shows the process of Mama going from a stay-at-home bear to a working woman and how the whole family makes the adjustment and helps her along the way. Continue reading Young Adult-Picture Book Pairings: Happy Mothers’ Day!