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Tag: leslea newman

Novels in Verse for Poetry Month

national-poetry-monthYou are aware, I’m sure, that April is National Poetry Month. This brainchild of the Academy of American Poets has been celebrated since 1996, and the Academy’s website has a plethora of great ideas ideas of ways to celebrate, but why not celebrate by simply reading more poetry?

What’s that? Poetry is “too hard?” Do not fear iambic pentameter, sestinas, or villanelles! But if you would rather not attempt a sonnet, a haiku, or even a limerick, there is a great way to ease yourself into the world of poems: novels written in verse. The tales are so compelling and the verse so subtle, you won’t even realize you are reading poetry. Quite often, novels in verse tackle very hard subjects. It can be astonishing how authors cover deep, dark topics with just a few, perfectly chosen words.

Here are a few to get you started:

My Book of Life By Angel – Martine Leavitt mybookoflifebyangel
Angel is sixteen when Call gives her “candy” that makes her fly, and asks her to start sleeping with his friends. Soon, Angel is hooked on drugs and is working the streets as a prostitute. When Call brings home an even younger girl, Angel plans to escape this life she’s found herself in, and take young Melli with her. Leavitt’s books have appeared on multiple Best Books for Young Adults lists, and after reading her work, you will understand why.

freakboyFreakboy – Kristin Clark (2014 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)
Brendan seems to be a guy’s guy. He’s a wrestler, has a lovely girlfriend, and loves video games, but deep inside, he wants long hair and soft skin and a curvy body. Brendan is transexual and he’s trying to figure out who he is. He has never met anyone else who is like him, and he is frightend that he is “not normal”, whatever that means.


Books For Every Class In Your Schedule (Part 2)

Photo by naosuke ii. CC BY 2.0.
Photo by naosuke ii. CC BY 2.0.

Welcome back for the second post in our back-to-school schedule series!

Period 3: English – Laura Perenic
Today’s curriculum theme is “Humanity Through Diversity.”

Historical Fiction: Brotherhood by A.B. Westrick
In reconstruction Richmond, Virginia, brothers Shad and Jeremiah learn different lessons from attending KKK rallies.

Realistic: Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson
Laurel Daneau hides from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina by immersing herself in drugs. Estranged from her family and her own emotions, Laurel meets street artist Moses who has a more effective way to dealing with pain.

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Reader Response: October Mourning by Lesléa Newman

This post is a reader’s response to a book read for the 2013 Hub Reading Challenge.

october mourning leslea newman coverI am the Head of Children’s and Young Adult Services at the Vineland Public Library in Vineland, NJ. We have a population of about 60,000 people in a city that is both urban and rural, as Vineland is geographically the largest city in the state of New Jersey. I love reading YA, but I don’t always make the time for it. Completing this challenge forced me to read some fantastic literature that I can now recommend to our local middle and high schoolers.

Two of my colleagues read this collection of poems telling the story of the murder of Matthew Shepard and recommended that I read it for the Hub Reading Challenge. My colleagues and I had all decided we were going to complete the challenge.

I was a little apprehensive because all I knew about Newman was that she was the author of Heather Has Two Mommies, a book that, though groundbreaking at its time, was not really on the same level of subject matter as the Matthew Shepard story. I remember when it happened and the media coverage that it got, but it was during a time before the Internet was widespread and news was easily accessible, so there were a lot of details that I didn’t remember.

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2013 Audie Awards Winners

Photo Jun 01, 11 56 16 PMThe 2013 Audio Publishers Association’s Audie Awards were announced to a very appreciative audience of publishers, narrators, book sellers, and judges (many of them librarians) at its annual gala on Thursday, May 30 at the beautiful New York Historical Society. As one of the many judges lucky enough to be invited, I was thoroughly entertained by emcee Daniel Handler, author of the Lemony Snicket series, not to mention the wonderful YA book Why We Broke Up.

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