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Flashback Friday: Books from the ’90s

The Hub Loves the '90sIt’s Flashback Friday and The Hub is taking you back to the 1990s! Last week, Jessica Lind discussed the ’90s nostalgia emerging in contemporary pop culture in her post titles The Hub Loves the ’90s. Now we’re going to be flashing back to what young adults were reading in the ’90s. The inspiration for this post was the television show Fresh off the Boat. The show based on Eddie Huang’s best-selling memoir, is about a Taiwanese-American family living in the suburbs of Orlando, FL during the ’90s. The show gave me a very funny librarian thought: what if the tweenage Eddie went to the library on Fresh off the Boat– what would the librarian recommend to him? This thought caused me to crack open the librarian vault and take a journey back to the decade that had us rolling with the homies….

So it’s time to break out your flannel, find those old shoe-lace hair clips, put on Wannabe by the Spice Girls and grab your favorite Pogs, because we’re going to the 90’s!

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B4B13: Celebrates Darkness and Outsiders in YA Literature

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Books for the Beast is a biennial YA Literature conference sponsored by the Enoch Pratt Free Library and hosted by the Roland Park Country School in Baltimore, Maryland.  Teens, teachers and librarians converged this past Saturday October 19th for the conference to talk about chosen reading lists in small discussion groups and to listen to featured authors speak from their perspective about trends in YA literature. For more information about the Books for the Beast conference and this year’s full reading list, please click here.

Robin Wasserman was the keynote speaker this year, and she discussed “Darkness in YA Literature.” It was an engaging presentation that included great insight, some humor and middle school pictures! There was also a hilarious aside about her feelings for the new movie Gravity. If you ever get the chance, you should ask her about it some time. She spoke about the need for acknowledgement that the world is full of terrible things and that through these dark stories in YA literature readers have a safe space to tackle the darkness and their fears. The book It by Stephen King was the dark novel during her YA years that helped her embrace the idea that anything could happen and you could get through it.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: A Day On, Not A Day Off

Most of us spend our days off by sleeping in and lounging around the house in our PJs. But on this day, Monday, January 21st, it is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. In his honor, this holiday is a day of service. There are lots of ways to volunteer your time for MLK Day. Many volunteer opportunities can grow into a year-round commitment with broad sweeping influence. “In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort.” Dr. King believed that service strengthened our relationship with neighbors and broke down prejudices, all of which got us closer to his ideal “Beloved Community.”

 

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Showing Our True Colors: YA Covers That Got it Right in 2012

Publishing companies aren’t putting out enough YA titles that feature protagonists of color. And when they do, some book covers try to hide or obscure the characters’ race by showing them in silhouette or in shadow, or at times whitewashing them completely. Even the most diverse library collections sometimes look homogenous when you just see the covers. Don’t believe me? Check out my post from last week: “It Matters If You’re Black or White: The Racism of YA Book Covers.”

The problem is insidious, but it’s not completely pervasive, as many of you pointed out in the post comments last week. There are a lot of publishers, authors, and books that have no problem putting people of color on the covers of their books. So I just wanted to take a moment to recognize and celebrate those folks who understand how important it is for everyone to be able to see their own identity validated on the cover of a book. Here are some books covers that got race right in 2012.

Ichiro by Ryan InzanaA.D.D.: Adolescent Demo Division by Douglas RushoffNever Fall Down by Patricia McCormickBoy21 by Matthew Quick

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