Wibbly wobbly- timey wimey.
Bow ties are cool.
It’s bigger on the inside.
Fantastic! Allons-y! Geronimo!
For the uninitiated, those phrases and words mean little to nothing. To the Whovian Fandom, fans of the British television series Doctor Who, they mean a whole lot. Doctor Who (never Dr. Who!) has been a phenomenon for over fifty years, and with each new Doctor a whole new generation of fans is born. To date there have been 13 different Doctors (if you include the War Doctor, who only appeared in the 50th anniversary special in 2013 and was played by Sir John Hurt). They are all the same person, though- a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey who regenerates every few seasons instead of dying. Though he keeps the memories of his past incarnations, every Doctor is a slightly different man, with a different way of dressing, connecting to his companions, and even reacting to the universe around him, and every Whovian has their favorite.
Chances are, if you’re a Whovian, you did just that!
Continue reading Fandom 101: The Doctor is In
This December something is happening that many people thought never would- we’re getting a new Star Wars film! Personally I am giddy over this, and in order to get ready for it I’ve been revisiting some of my favorite media in the Star Wars universe. Games, TV shows and books all complement the movies, so there’s much to see and even DO in the Star Wars universe these days. Where does one begin?
Kenobi by John Jackson Miller is an awesome book about how Obi-Wan Kenobi got himself settled on Tatooine after the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and also how he got himself involved in a whole lotta drama he didn’t really want to get involved in. It’s hard to keep a low profile when there are Tusken Raider attacks happening all around you, teenagers sneaking to your hut to spy on you, and a mother who clearly wants more for her family than living in a general store in the middle of the dusty desert asking you for advice. If anyone can handle it, though, it’s Obi-Wan (sorry, he’s going by Ben now!) Kenobi. This is a particular favorite of mine because Obi-Wan is my favorite character in the Star Wars universe.
Continue reading Light Speed: Getting Ready for “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”
The 2015 Printz Award Program was held last night, Friday, June 26th, here in San Francisco, and though my pictures aren’t as clear as I’d like (and I had to type my notes into my phone while its battery dwindled), here’s a quick breakdown of the event– which, as always, was full of laughs and emotional moments.
From left to right: Jenny Hubbard, author of Printz Honor And We Stay; Jessie Ann Foley, author of Printz Honor The Carnival at Bray; Andrew Smith, author of Printz Honor Grasshopper Jungle; Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, illustrator and author of Printz Honor This One Summer; Jandy Nelson, author of 2015 Printz Award Winner I’ll Give You the Sun; and Booklist consultant and moderator Daniel Kraus.
During Jandy Nelson’s speech, she told us that the only thing she said during the phone call, other than screaming, was in response to being told where this year’s award program would be. “I live in San Francisco!” She took this opportunity to thank the Printz committee the way she wished she had when they called her! Continue reading ALA Annual 2015: The Printz Award Program and Reception
I’ve noticed a trend in young adult literature that has been growing over the past year or so- a lot of popular YA books are getting the graphic novel treatment. I first noticed this with Twilight a few years ago, but recently I’ve seen more and more popular YA fiction titles are being reimagined as graphic novels. The reasons for this escaped me for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I like comics. I have nothing but love for Batman and Batgirl. But when books that were successful and popular without pictures suddenly started showing up in my library in a completely new picture-filled format the first thing I asked myself was why?
The cynical side of me realizes it’s a whole new way to make money off of a story. We all know that books that get made into movies tend to sell better, so putting them out in graphic form is another way to extend their moneymaking. Or perhaps by changing the format of the books publishers can get people who already own the originals to buy them again. These are certainly valid reasons, and it’s likely there’s truth there. The non-cynical side of me sees other reasons for this trend.
Continue reading Getting Graphic: Popular YA Books Adapted as Graphic Novels
In the early hours of a Monday in late January or early February, a phone rings. Someone picks up, and then a complete stranger informs them they have just won a prestigious literary award and soon a gold medal sticker will adorn all future copies of their book. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be on the receiving end of that call, but while we don’t get to experience this aspect of the Youth Media Awards unless we are on one of the committees- or one of the winners- the sense of amazement can still be experienced if you attend the ceremony. The whole room is electric with excitement, and chatter, and anticipation. The only thing missing is the red carpet!
If I am at ALA Midwinter, and these last few years I have been lucky enough to be, I always go to the Youth Media Awards. The atmosphere inside the YMAs is definitely enthusiastic. Some people wouldn’t think a room full of librarians would get that loud, or that a book/author could be cheered like a rockstar, but when winners are announced at the Youth Media Awards there are shrieks and cheers from all over the room, and it’s usually a big room. This year there were plenty of seats, but in years past it has been standing room only or even overflowing into other rooms with video feeds. This is a big deal, y’all. Continue reading ALA Midwinter 2015: Where’s the Red Carpet? An Inside Look at the Youth Media Awards
I personally love the book A Christmas Carol and I read it every December. It’s not a long book, which is probably why it’s a favorite classic of the overwhelmed high school student as well as this librarian with a “to read” list a mile long. I’m also a big fan of Christmas, and Christmas specials, and books about Christmas. I’ll admit that I’ve never been a huge fan of Dickens’ longer works. In high school we read Great Expectations, and I remember very little of it except that it was particularly hard to follow, which kind of turned me off of anything else he’d written for a while. But a few years ago I decided I’d give A Christmas Carol a chance, and it became one of my favorite books.
The language that Dickens used is unlike anything we use in everyday communication in 2014. Not once does Tiny Tim ever LOL, and none of the Ghosts ever *smh* at Scrooge and his cluelessness. Honestly, I can see how it could be hard for some to sit down and read page after page of the lengthy descriptions Dickens used- after all, we want to get to the meat of the story with the ghosts and the grumpy old man learning to appreciate kindness and friendship over money- but when we take the time to read what Dickens wrote he paints some amazing images in our heads.
Continue reading “Marley was dead: to begin with.” The enduring charm of A Christmas Carol
It’s that spooky time of year when ghoulies and ghosties are everywhere you look, so I thought it might be fun to see which books and stories memorably freaked out the Hub bloggers. Below are some of the stories that stuck with us because of the sheer terror they evoked when we read them. Some of them are straight up horror, some of them purely psychological, but all of them memorable! While Stephen King naturally gets mentioned a lot, it’s Lois Duncan’s Stranger with My Face and Daniel Kraus’ 2012 Odyssey Award winner, Rotters, that got the most mentions. Many thanks to the Hub Bloggers who shared their scares! Read them this Halloween if you dare!
I read Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry for a course, and while I loved it, I also made my husband take out the trash for a few weeks afterward in case of zombie attack (because, of course, zombies can get you in the backyard when it’s dark, but they can’t make their way into a lighted house!). I also remember that Roald Dahl’s The Witches freaked me out quite a bit as a kid.
Continue reading Books that Spooked Us!
Making stuff isn’t something that is usually associated with libraries, but it should be. The maker movement is still going strong, and it’s showing everyone that teens use libraries for all sorts of learning- including how to make all sorts of things. YALSA’s 2014 Maker Contest is going on right now, and applicants have the chance to win some neat prizes as well as share their awesome ideas with others. The deadline to apply is September 1st and you can go here to learn more and to apply. (Get some ideas on how to create a maker/ DIY program here.)
Finding themes in YA fiction that go along with the maker movement wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be until I thought bigger and stopped limiting myself to duct tape. When I did that I found a bunch that I thought might spark some interest in doing with teens. I also found some nonfiction titles, too, to get us all started on the doing!
Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams follows sixteen-year-old Sophie from the kitchen in her family’s restaurant in Washington, D.C., to the set of â€œTeen Test Kitchen,â€ a new reality show about teens cooking that her best friend has convinced her to audition for. Is Sophie ready to compete with her cooking, though? Hopefully growing up in the family restaurant will have been enough training!
Although Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous includes recipes, there are lots of teen oriented cookbooks out there. A Teen Guide toâ€¦ cookbook series by Dana Meachen Rau covers everything from Breakfast on the Go to Quick Healthy Snacks, and includes safety tips, conversion charts, and tons of tips throughout. Even I can cook using these, and I once tried to microwave a frozen noodle dinner for seventeen minutes instead of seven!
Continue reading Makin’ Stuff: Books to Inspire DIY and Creativity
The Margaret A. Edwards Award, sponsored by School Library Journal, is presented annually to an author whose works are deemed “a significant and long lasting contribution to young adult literature.” Previous winners include Lois Lowry (2007), Chris Crutcher (2000) and Gary Paulsen (1997). On June 28th, at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, YALSA presented the 2014 Margaret A. Edwards Award to Markus Zusak specifically for his novels The Book Thief, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, Getting the Girl, and I Am the Messenger.
I was really excited about this year’s presentation for two reasons: 1. I Am the Messenger is one of the best books I have ever read and 2. the ceremony was being held on my birthday. There was also an extra added bonus- I’m a native Las Vegan, so I didn’t have to travel to ALA this year. Instead, it came to me!
The Edwards Award ceremony was a brunch this year instead of the traditional lunch, which appealed to me because I’m a big fan of breakfast at any time. When I arrived at the Las Vegas Hotel there were already people in line waiting to get in and the ballroom was all set up and ready for us. In addition to coffee, quiche and other sundries attendees also received copies of two of Markus Zusak’s books. The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger, and reading group guides for both books. Attendees eagerly anticipated the presentation of the award and the acceptance speech and chatted throughout brunch until the presentation started.
For those of you who may not know, Markus Zusak hails from Sydney, Australia, so he came from the other side of the world to accept this award (and he has a lovely accent.) He listed Chris Crutcher, Gary Paulsen and Lois Lowry as heroes, and expressed some awe at being given an award that they had all previously won. After putting aside his speech and telling us he was going to keep it for reference, he told us that his writing career started in the backyard where he grew up, and shared some of the hijinks he and his siblings would get into, including setting up a tennis court in the house, boxing with one glove, and finding new ways of getting his mother to swear, like ruining her garden playing football (or soccer, for those of us who live here in the U.S.), because when she swore in her non-Australian accent it was hilarious. Continue reading ALA Annual 2014: The Margaret A. Edwards Award Brunch
May 11-17 is â€œReading is Fun Week,â€ run by Reading Is Fundamental , an organization that works to get books into the hands of children so that they can discover the joys of reading. As a youth services librarian, I often tell parents that their child will be a better reader if they read more, and a key to this is to make sure they are reading for fun. This doesn’t just apply to elementary school kids, though. Young adults and adults should be reading for fun, too. Now this got me wonderingâ€¦do teens read for fun? Come to think of itâ€¦do I read for fun?
One thing I do not remember doing much of when I was in high school was reading for the fun of it. In fact, it took a while for me to remember reading anything other than what was assigned to me in school. I really had to think about it for a while before remembering that I actually read a lot of books for fun when I was a teen. I read R.L. Stine and fantasy books, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, and I started to get more into adult fiction because there just weren’t as many Young Adult books and authors back in those days. Today, publishers and authors have tapped into the Young Adult market in a way I wish they had when I was in high school.
Continue reading Reading for the Fun of It