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Tag: Judy Blume

Throwback Thursday, Book Cover Edition: Everything Old Is New Again

It’s a truism of reading that books are judged by their covers, no matter how much we feel in our hearts that we shouldn’t be swayed by looks. In my experience, teen readers feel especially passionate about this. Shabby book? No way. Juvenile or dated-looking cover? Pass! So I pay extra attention when older books are issued with fresh new covers. In the visual world of teen marketing, it can mean a new lease on life for many older books, and discovery by a whole new generation. Here are just a few examples:

face on the milk carton pair
1990 design vs. 2012 design

 

forever pair
1975 design vs. 2014 design

What Would They Read?: That ’70s Show

That_'70s_Show_logoIt’s time once again to consider what books our favorite TV characters would read.  While reading isn’t boring, it’s not that exciting to watch.  So the question remains, what books would they read?  This month I decided to bring the past to the present.  Our six beloved teens from the 1970s probably read the classics like The Hardy Boys and books by Judy Blume.  It definitely makes me wonder what books would the gang from That 70s Show read if they were teens today.

EWilliam Shakespeare's Star Wars Verily, A New Hoperic Forman – Let’s start with the unofficial leader of the group.  When Eric is not obsessing over his on-again, off-again girlfriend or battling with his hard ass father, Eric has one other fixation, Star Wars.  We know he went to see the original several times and has even had fantasies in which he is Luke Skywalker.  I know he would plow through all of the different amalgamations of Star Wars graphic novels, from the first episode to the Clone Wars and beyond.  I would also like to give him something I stumbled upon a few months ago that is just fantastic.  Ian Doescher has blended together two things that have never combined before: Star Wars and William Shakespeare.  I would give him Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope (2014 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults).  Just the image of Jabba the Hut in Shakespearean dress is enough to make this title a favorite.

Jackie Burkhart – We know that Jackie is a reader.  On several occasions Jackie mentions reading Nancy lulu dark can see through wallsDrew mysteries.  I’d like to bring Jackie to the new millennium with a few options that are a bit more modern, but still with the Nancy Drew core.  First, I’d give Jackie Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls by Bennett Madison.  Unlike Nancy Drew, Lulu isn’t that excited to beginning investigating a mystery, but when her designer purse is stolen, she takes the case.  Instead of ending every mystery with a hot fudge sundae like Nancy Drew would do, I’d bet Lulu would celebrate every mystery with a latte.  I’m sure millennial Jackie would approve. 

National Senior Citizens Day

Romans_Dad
photo by Flickr user ritavida

In the summer of 1988, President Reagan proclaimed August 21 “National Senior Citizens Day.” With health care constantly improving, and people living longer, more active lives, it is a good thing to honor seniors, who can give younger folks the benefit of their experience.

Seniors and teens go together like peanut butter and jelly. Events like Senior Citizen Proms, and Teens Teach Tech, show how seniors and teens can benefit from spending time together. This is not to say that it is all smooth sailing from the start. People are people no matter their age, and there are ups and downs to any relationship. But everyone has something to share, and when you cross generations, the results can be so very positive.

This type of inter-generational relationship has been beautifully portrayed in YA literature. Here are six titles to explore…

Pop_coverPop by Gordon Korman
New to town, Marcus is desperate to join his new high school’s football team, so he spends his summer practicing in the local park. There he meets former NFL great Charlie Popovich, who takes Marcus under his wing. While this is great for Marcus’ football prospects, it puts him in direct conflict with Charlie’s grandson Troy, Marcus’ new school mate and rival for a spot on the team. Charlie and Marcus are antagonistic not just because of sports rivalries, but also because of Charlie’s illness, an illness Troy and the rest of the Popovich family want to keep secret.

Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan SonnenblickNotes_from_Midnight_driver_cover
(2008 Best Book for Young Adults) Alex makes a really huge mistake involving vodka, a car, and a garden gnome statue. For this, he is sentenced to 100 hours of community service. Alex spends the time in a retirement home with Sol Lewis, the meanest old man on the planet. Alex would rather shirk all responsibility and Sol seems to hate the world. But Sol was a jazz guitarist and Alex is studying guitar, so perhaps they can find some way to connect… 

Beyond Forever: Female Desire and Empowerment in YA Lit

girl sexualityIf you’re of a certain age, you will remember reading Judy Blume’s Forever… as a teen- perhaps furtively behind closed doors or brazenly in the school cafeteria. It was the kind of book people passed around, giggled about, and devoured in one sitting. No wonder, as it was one of the first books to talk frankly about sex and, even more revolutionary, acknowledge that sex was something a teenage girl could want and have responsibly without it being wrong or feeling guilty about it.

It’s been almost forty years since Forever‘s publication in 1975, and surprisingly little progress has been made in the realm of female sexual agency and sex-positive portrayals of young women. In the last decade alone, Forever was number 16 of the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books from 2000-2009, Rush Limbaugh gleefully called law student Sandra Fluke a slut for speaking in favor of contraception coverage, and Miley Cyrus won out over chemical warfare in Syria as the top headline in August of last year. What all these examples speak to is our society’s intense preoccupation with young women’s sexuality- a preoccupation that tends towards censure.  Indeed, society continues to judge women on the basis of their sexual choices and considers having sexual agency as a young woman a shameful thing.

Which makes the recent increase in YA books that speak openly and positively about teenage girls and their sexual desire all the more heartening.  Particularly, as they do so in a way that neither diminishes the need to be responsible when it comes to making sexual choices nor avoids discussing the emotional consequences—both good and bad—that come with having sex.

The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers) is the natural successor toInfinite moment of us cover Blume’s Forever.  It is the story of two very different high school graduates who find themselves improbably falling in love. Wren is a well-adjusted A-student bent on pleasing her parents. Charlie has difficulty fighting the demons in his past or accepting the love of his foster parents. Myracle expertly captures the uncertainty, ardor, and innocence that accompany that first headlong rush into full-blown, soul-consuming love.  But it is her handling of sexual intimacy that makes this novel stand out. Wren is a virgin at the start of the novel and the ways in which Myracle traces her discovery of desire, her anxiety around having sex, the accompanying vulnerability it elicits, and her subsequent enjoyment of the act itself is both beautiful and remarkably realistic.  The emphasis on communication, trust, and mutual satisfaction makes this novel all the more appealing and important for young teens (male and female alike) to read. 

The Hub Celebrates Thesaurus Day

Portrait from Medical Portrait Gallery by Thomas Pettigrew
Portrait from Medical Portrait Gallery by Thomas Pettigrew

Happy Thesaurus Day!

While not necessarily a well-known holiday, Thesaurus Day is celebrated on January 18, the birthday of Peter Mark Roget, creator of Roget’s Thesaurus.

The original version of Roget’s thesaurus, created in 1805 and released in 1852, contained 15,000 words. Over the years, the thesaurus has grown, adding thousands of additional words and synonyms. These days, in addition to print versions of the thesaurus, wordsmiths are able to access the Roget’s thesaurus online through Thesaurus.com. If you are interested in a historical perspective, a 1911 version has been cataloged as part of the ARTFL Project through the University of Chicago.

We’re celebrating a day early here on The Hub by using the thesaurus to swap words in some popular YA titles. See if you can figure out the original titles and then scroll down to check!

  1. The Tome Bandit
  2. The Bonus of Being a Loner
  3. Papyrus Municipalities
  4. An Excellent and Dreadful Virtue
  5. The Insanity Below
  6. Swivel Spot
  7. The Examining
  8. Faithful
  9. Break Me
  10. The Choice
  11. Vocalize
  12. A Chain of Ill-fated Happenings.
  13. Gorgeous Critters
  14. Audrey, Halt!
  15. The Commander of the Loops
  16. Thirteen Rationales of Cause
  17. The Categorically Bona Fide Journal of a Part-Time Native American
  18. The Sorority of the Roving Trousers
  19. Always…
  20. 13 Slight Azure Pockets
  21. The Starvation Sports
  22. The Accuracy Referring to Always
  23. The Labyrinth Sprinter
  24. Granted That I Stick Around
  25. Paired

The Books We’ll Never Forget

September 22nd is Elephant Appreciation Day, and since an elephant never forgets, I thought this might be a great opportunity to share those books we’ll never forget.

Everyone has at least one. They aren’t necessarily the best books ever written. They aren’t necessarily the deepest or the most popular. But they’re books that made an indelible mark on us in some way, the ones that we thought about for days after we finished reading them- ones that we’ve read more than once- the ones that we recommend because they are dear to our hearts and we want them to be near and dear to someone else’s heart, too. So here’s my list, and I hope in the comments you’ll add a few of yours.

the_secret_gardenThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – Kid’s stuff, I hear you say, but the relationships in this book are complex, and it was only after rereading it as a young adult that I truly understood the depth of Mr. Craven’s heartache and the loneliness of his son, Colin. The wisdom of Ben Weatherstaff was  lost on me as a kid, as it was often lost on Mary, but as a young adult I saw it in a whole new light. Dickon’s gentleness and love of all creatures is just as enchanting as it ever was. I still have my first copy of this on my book shelf at home- the front cover is torn and the spine is almost illegible due to the creases left from  my repeated re-readings. This one’s a classic for a reason!

Teen Reader Profile: Sabrina K.

sabrina feetMy taste level in reading is similar to that of food. Sometimes, I dare to be adventurous and try something new or exotic, wanting to experience different tastes or experiences from the norm. Other times, I stay in my comfort zone and eat the same thing over and over again because the expected is already known. No matter what my choice the choice is though, I always expect the best quality of food possible — in both presentation and execution.

At age 13, I found the classics to be my “calling.” The piece that stuck out to me most was Shakespeares Hamlet. I felt that I could relate to the Prince Hamlet, because I, too, felt that my perception of the world around me was quickly changing. The idea of backstabbing was all too familiar to me at age 13, and I wanted to read someone else’s account on how they dealt with the situation. It was this relatability that I had with the prince that lead me towards reading books that I, as a reader, could easily relate to. The sentiment of feeling alone, a weird teenager — that void was filled when I found books that had protagonists with similar stories and voices.

Beyond Young Adult Literature

There has been a lot of buzz in the world of young adult literature about a possible new category: new adult fiction. This is designed to “bridge a gap” between young adult fiction and adult fiction and is often characterized as featuring college-aged protagonists. Some say it’s a niche thing that will never really gain enough traction to make it a big deal. Some call it a marketing ploy. Others, especially readers on the Internet and those who note the percentage of adults who read young adult fiction, think it’s a category with a lot of potential.

adult cereals by flickr user yadniloc
adult cereals by flickr user yadniloc

Whether or not new adult literature becomes a widely accepted category (the way young adult fiction has) is not the point of this post, however. Instead, I want to share books written for the adult market by popular young adult authors and books that are shelved in the adult literature section but that are about teenage protagonists and would appeal to fans of YA.

The Edwards Award: The Once and Future Thing

YALSA’s upcoming YA Literature Symposium will explore the future of young adult literature. The symposium begins on November 2nd, but we wanted to get a head start here at The Hub, so we’re devoting October to 31 Days of the Next Big Thing. Each day of the month, we’ll bring you forecasts about where YA literature is headed and thoughts on how you can spot trends and predict the future yourself.

The Margaret A. Edwards Award has always been one of my favorite literary awards. It is YALSA’s version of a lifetime achievement award: it “honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature,” and in order to be sure that the author’s work has been significant and lasting, the committee can only consider books published at least five years prior to the year they meet. The list of winners is a who’s who of the titans of YA literature, so it is decidedly retrospective (we might call it the Last Big Thing). But in the spirit of this month’s theme and the symposium, I wanted to find out how often the Edwards Award was predictive of an author’s continued contribution to YA literature — their ability to also be the Next Big Thing.

Opening Soon! The Next Big Thing in YA Movie Adaptations

YALSA’s upcoming YA Literature Symposium will explore the future of young adult literature. The symposium begins on November 2nd, but we wanted to get a head start here at The Hub, so we’re devoting October to 31 Days of the Next Big Thing. Each day of the month, we’ll bring you forecasts about where YA literature is headed and thoughts on how you can spot trends and predict the future yourself.

Hollywood trends have similar patterns to book trends; they come in waves. Based on the megawatt success of the Big Three — Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games — Hollywood is increasingly looking to YA books for their next big blockbuster. But even this larger trend has spawned smaller waves:

But Hollywood is a notoriously fickle creature. Many books’ film rights have been snatched up by studios, only have the projects stall permanently at the dreaded “in development” stage. It’s difficult to gauge what will actually make it to the screen; even less predictable is how well these movies will do. While Hollywood is still riding the previous waves, they’re also placing bets on three other areas, hoping for the next big blockbuster.