Fandom 101: K-pop and K-drama

YALSA-bk is a listserv with lively discussions among librarians, educators, and beyond about all things YA lit. Sometimes one listserv member will ask a question of the group and others will provide feedback. This post is a compilation of responses for one such request.

Staying up with trends and interests of teen patrons is crucial to providing up-to-date collections and developing programs that will capture the attention of a teen audience. While teens are a great resources and will likely be happy to discuss their latest obsession at length, it’s also helpful to consult other resources to get a primer on a trend. Here at The Hub, we want to make it easier, so we’re introducing our Fandom 101 series.

Fandom 101 at The HubA recent request on the YALSA-bk listserv caught my attention because it was asking for resources that would serve as an introduction to K-pop and K-drama for library staff who were unfamiliar with the culture and genre surrounding Korean music and movies but had teens in their library who were enthusiastic fans and wanted to start a club devoted to all things K-pop. These are some resources helpful members of the YA and library communities suggested as places to begin. Thanks for sharing your expertise!

Kpop CC image via Flickr User Republic of Korea
Kpop CC image via Flickr User Republic of Korea


Recently, The New York Times reported on the wild popularity of South Korean culture, known as hallyu, or the “Korean wave.” So this isn’t an isolated phenomenon. For more information in K-pop and K-drama, check out: Continue reading Fandom 101: K-pop and K-drama

Notes from a Teens’ Top Ten Book Group Participant: Playlist for All the Bright Places

TeensTopTen_winner_WMTeens across the nation vote each year for the Teens’ Top Ten book list and the results are eagerly anticipated during Teen Read Week every October– but did you know how the books are nominated for this list in the first place?

Books are nominated by members of Teens’ Top Ten book groups in school and public libraries around the country. To give you a glimpse of some of the teens behind this process, we’re featuring posts from Teens’ Top Ten book groups here on The Hub. Today we have a playlist created by Sarah Liang from the Mount Carmel Academy Book Club, to go along with your reading of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

Reading has always been a way to escape reality for me, whether it’s through a cute romance novel or a suspense thriller. I don’t think I’ve ever spent a day away from a book! Sometimes it just helps to be able to curl up with a good novel on a nice day and let your imagination run free. Along with books, I have always had a deep connection with music. I’ve found that my love for music and books overlaps constantly. I am always thinking of songs that go along with a scene in my current read, and certain novels often come to mind when I’m listening to a good tune.

The galley program is one of my favorite things about the MCA book club and library. I really enjoy reading the unpublished books and giving my feedback on them. I have discovered some of my favorite new books through the galley program, and I can’t wait to discover even more!  Continue reading Notes from a Teens’ Top Ten Book Group Participant: Playlist for All the Bright Places

Pairing Music with YA Lit: “Give a Little Love” Edition

“With the right music you either forget everything or you remember everything”–Unknown

Music is always around us, linking moments, people, and emotions to songs, genres, and artists that become special to us.  We carry our memories through a song’s lyrics, through the beat of a track, or just through that “feeling” a special song gives us.  Classic rock to bring back memories of an old crush. Anything by The Backstreet Boys to remember a particular summer.  “Paris” by Magic Man to remember a little one’s first dance moves.  We each have our own personal “soundtrack”; a mental playlist that might have a few special tracks, or more songs than there is room for on an iPhone.

You find yourself in music.

YA lit has the same effect.  Just as you can find yourself in a song, you can find yourself in the pages, in the characters, within a book.  So, why not join the two together?  YA authors have often used music in their stories–punk rock songs in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist; or the intro/outro music for Seth’s podcasts in Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto.

Given this, I decided to challenge myself (and my own knowledge of music and YA lit) by pairing YA novels with possible song counterparts.  Not all of us hear music the same way, just as not all of us see the books we read the same way, so these posts to The Hub are my interpretation of both.

And I’m very excited to start with a few recent titles which feature stories of love that overcome some pretty big obstacles.

every_last_wordEvery Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone (2015)

Summary: At the beginning of her junior year, Samantha must leave behind the relaxed, confident, happy “Summer Sam” she becomes when she is away from her popular group of friends, the Crazy Eights.  To the Eights she is “Samantha”–a follower who maintains her role within the group in worry that they will kick her out.  Especially if they found out about how she suffers from Pure-O (thought obsessed) OCD.  To ease a panic attack, Sam finds a quiet place to control her thoughts.  In doing so, Sam is led to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room where a group of students secretly share their poetry.  This opens up Sam’s world to new friends, to writing poetry, and to AJ, a boy she tormented as “Samantha” but falls in love with as “Sam.”  Through Sam’s writing, AJ sees the person that Sam has become, instead of the person she was with the Eights, and helps her through some difficult times.

Musical pairings:

Samantha actually creates some pretty great playlists throughout the novel with artists like Adele and The Shins.  But as I read Every Last Word I kept thinking: Imagine Dragons.  Particularly a few tracks off their “Smoke & Mirrors” album.  “Polaroid” seems to fit Samantha’s anxiety well, especially her thought spirals (Can’t slow down/ I’m a rolling freight train), and the beginnings of her relationship with AJ (I’m a hold my cards close/ I’m a wreck what I love most).  But Samantha is also plagued by guilt that she feels due to her association with the Eights; that’s where “Shots” comes in (I’m sorry for everything/ Oh, everything I’ve done).  “Trouble” is another Imagine Dragons song that describes how much Samantha wants to be “Sam” (I looked a little lost at sea/ I keep trying to find me).

Continue reading Pairing Music with YA Lit: “Give a Little Love” Edition