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Tag: lili wilkinson

What Would They Read?: Abby from NCIS

NCISI have watched and loved NCIS from the show’s beginning in 2003, and my favorite character has always been Abby Sciuto.  She’s smart and funny and not afraid to be herself, even if “herself” isn’t what people expect when meeting a computer and science expert. Someone as accomplished and confident as Abby surely has developed her own taste in reading, but if she were to ask me for book recommendations, this is what I’d offer her:

The Martian by Andy Weir (2015 Alex Award) is a science-packed story about a failed Mars mission. Abby would understand the science behind Mark’s attempts to get himself back to Earth, and she might even have some other suggestions for things he could try in order to survive on the red planet.

Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby (2008 Schneider Family Book Award) chronicles the life of Joey, a 13-year old who is missing out on a lot of things because she is deaf and her mother will not let her learn sign language. She meets a man who is teaching a chimp to sign, and through them Joey is able to find her voice. Abby’s mother was deaf, so Abby and Gibbs occasionally communicate using sign language.  That, and the science aspect of this story, would appeal to Abby.

pink_wilkinsonPink by Lili Wilkinson (2012 Stonewall Honor Book) follows Ava as she trades in her anti-establishment goth persona for a “good girl” look involving lots of pink. Ava finds it difficult to maintain her good-girl guise, though, just as Abby felt uncomfortable when [temporarily] forced to follow a strict dress code at work.

3:59 by Gretchen McNeil features a science whiz named Josie who gets trapped in an alternate universe and has to use her knowledge of physics to return to Earth. The complex science discussed in this book, along with the paranormal/mystery aspect, would definitely appeal to Abby.

The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden takes place in a post-Katrina New Orleans, and in addition to a setting which Abby would love, the paranormal elements would appeal to her love of all things Gothic.

A Different Light: On Identity

Photo by flickr user Guillaume Paumier
Photo by flickr user Guillaume Paumier
Identity — who we are, how we become those people — is a central theme in lots of YA novels. Given what Claire Gross calls the “still-in-progress audience” of YA literature, the prevalence of questions surrounding identity is not surprising. Two recent articles examining queer* YA were published recently: “What Makes a Good YA Coming-out Novel?” by Claire Gross in The Horn Book and “A New Way for Gay Characters in Y.A.” in The Atlantic Wire‘s YA for Grownups series. Although they’re written from different perspectives and with different questions in mind, both delve into the importance of identity in queer YA. Maybe this is unsurprising too; after all, “sexual identity” is often used as synonym for “sexual orientation.” What struck me in the articles, however, was the authors’ focus on the importance other parts of identity, parts of identity not related to who and how a character loves. Gross and Doll agree that good queer YA often focuses as much, if not more, on other questions of identity than it does on questions of sexual and gender identity. Sexual orientation may be a synonym for sexual identity, but a person’s identity is not defined solely by her sexual orientation. Gross and Doll recognize this and see the importance of it in queer YA different but complementary ways.

Youth Media Awards wrap-up

Monday was a big, big day for young adult literature. After months of speculation, Mock Printz committees, posts about the finalists for the William C. Morris and Excellence in Nonfiction Awards, and tons and tons and tons of reading by dedicated committee members, the ALA’s Youth Media Awards were announced at the Midwinter Conference in Dallas.

One of my favorite things about being a young adult librarian is the incredible sense of community that’s grown up about libraries and young adult literature, and the YMAs were a perfect example. I wasn’t able to be in Dallas this year, but luckily for me and other librarians, publishers, and YA and children’s lit fans around the world, the announcements were streamed live (in fact, you can watch the archived announcements and videos by some of the honored authors and illustrators on the YMA’s YouTube Channel).

I watched the announcements in one window and had Twitter up in another. There was plenty of buzz on Twitter–so much so that #alayma was trending for more than an hour! Lots of author names and book titles also trended following the announcement of each award. If you haven’t had the chance before, I highly recommend watching the announcements live if you can. It’s so great to hear the audience erupt in cheers when the winners are announced, and if you’re anything like me, you might find yourself cheering along. Being a reader of and writer for the Hub made this year’s awards especially fun for me. I’d read four of the five Morris finalists (two of which won other awards–including the Printz!), something which I might not have done were it not for The Hub.

Here’s the complete list of all the awards given in young adult literature. The name of each award will link to the award’s page on the ALA website, where you can learn about the history and see a complete list of winners. If The Hub did any coverage of a book before its big win, I’ve linked to that too. Enjoy!