Traditional western novels denote a sense of the “Old West” as defined as a time period of American history from about the 17th century to the early 20th century where new settlers dealt with the harsh landscape, lawlessness, and/or the loner who exacts vengeance in the name of doing what is right. For westerns that are written for teens, however, they don’t always follow all the typical western tropes, but most commonly some of these themes are paired with the main character or characters coming of age through the story.
Authors to Know
There aren’t many authors who are well-known for writing westerns for teens, however here are some of the more well-known western authors:
The setting of western novels usually deem that they be set in western America. However, westerns can take place in other geographical settings where the landscape may mimic that of the “Old West.” So, it can be a landscape where there is a search for a valuable mineral or material, or there are desolate conditions that are hard to survive, or it is a new land that settlers must figure out how to tame. Whatever the case, a richly detailed landscape is one of the main characteristics of a western novel. Also, a civilized society does not exist in most western novels, usually because the land has been uninhabited and it has yet to be developed. Traditionally, western novels are set in the time period of the “Old West,” but when it comes to western novels written for teens, they do not need to be set in a historically accurate time. They can be set in the past, alternate past, present, and even future. Continue reading Genre Guide: Westerns for Teens
Tom Haverford – It is not difficult to select books for Tom. Basically, all you have to do is tell him that a celebrity endorsed the book and he would be all over it. However, I do think that is a bit like cheating. There has to be a book that fits Tom’s personality and passion for the jet-setter life. There is a book– and it’s called So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld (a 2005 Best Books for Young Adults selection). Before the name Westerfeld became synonymous with the Uglies series, he wrote So Yesterday. In this standalone novel, Hunter has the responsibility to find the Innovators, people who start trends, and present them to the retail market. Tom, with his big ideas like Entertainment 720 and Rent-a-Swag, will love the adventure Hunter embarks on in a city full of unknown pockets of cool. Unfortunately Pawnee is not a hub of trendsetting activity. Tom can live vicariously through Hunter’s story. Another title that Tom may enjoy is Feed by M.T. Anderson. In Feed, it is commonplace for everyone to have a feed similar to the Internet directly inputted into your brain. The program learns your likes and dislikes and sends you advertisements customized to you. Tom would love having all of that knowledge at his fingertips. Continue reading What Would They Read?: Parks and Recreation Part 2
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