This novel in verse follows Sarai, a first generation Puerto Rican growing up in Bushwick with her mother and her sister during the 1990s. Sarai and her family navigate the welfare system, as well as finding housing in a neighborhood with increasing gentrification. Along the way, Sarai asks questions that bring her closer to herself and her own definition of what it means to make it, as she fights all the narratives and opinions that are forced upon her by a society that actively works against her intersectional identities.
Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.
Amari and the Night Brothers. By B.B. Alston. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9781725418295).
Amari knows her brother isn’t dead. A briefcase in his closet leads her to a magical world—and the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, the place Quinton was working when he disappeared. Amari must use all her smarts and her heart to find out what really happened.
After Artie finds out her mother is a werewolf and that she lost her father to vampires, she must then battle vampires to save her friends and new wolf family while trying to practice her own potential wolf abilities.
Before the Ever After. By Jacqueline Woodson. 2020. Penguin Random House/Nancy Paulsen Books, $17.99 (9780399545436).
Being the son of Zachariah 44, football star, has always felt like a dream to ZJ. But recently it’s been more like a nightmare, with his dad’s headaches, memory problems, and dramatic mood changes defining life in their house.
Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House Publication Date: September 1, 2020 ISBN: 978-0399545436
ZT has the perfect life. He has a group of friends he’s super tight with. His family is loving and supportive, and his dad is a football superstar. But this idyllic life begins to unravel when his father starts getting debilitating migraines, ending his football career. As his father begins to lose his memory, ZT learns that not all success stories have happy endings. And sometimes supporting the people we love most can be incredibly difficult.
Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko; Narrated by Joniece Abbott-Pratt Blackstone Publishing Publication Date: August 18, 2020 ISBN: 978-1094149189
Tarisai has grown up living a privileged life surrounded by tutors, luxury, and protection in her realm, but she has never received love and closeness from anyone around her. She especially longs for attention from her mother, called The Lady. At 11 years old, Tarisai is sent to Oluwan City to compete for inclusion on Crown Prince Ekundayo’s governing Council of Eleven. If chosen, she will bond eternally with Prince Dayo and her Council siblings via a mystical Ray, and gain the human closeness she so craves. But Tarisai learns that before she was born, The Lady commanded a djinn to impregnate her with a child who must someday grant her third wish. Tarisai is that child. And The Lady’s third wish is to kill the prince Tarisai is now sworn to protect.
Click here to see all of the current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Save Steve by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publication date: September 1, 2020 ISBN: 978-0062876270
Cam is a hopeless romantic, heavy on the hopeless, because when his longtime crush, Kaia, continues to date popular bro Steve (who is definitely wrong for her), instead of Cam, he will do anything to get close to her. This includes volunteering himself as chairperson of a fund-raising committee to help Steve get the cancer treatment he needs, which will show Kaia what a great guy he is, as well as giving them serious quality time. Cam’s getting the quality time and credit for his selflessness, the only problem is that Steve is on to why Cam is so helpful, and he’s determined to make Cam pay.
After the Fire by Will Hill Sourcebooks Fire/Sourcebooks Publication Date: October 2, 2018 ISBN: 9781492669791
Moonbeam’s entire life has been confined to the Lord’s Legion compound in the Texas desert. Citing dangerous outsiders, Father John, the self proclaimed voice of God and despotic church leader, has forbidden members to leave the compound. After federal agents storm the church and it is destroyed in a fire, Moonbeam finds herself in recovery at a hospital where she must confront the reality behind Father John’s lies and come to terms with her own actions.
Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World by Mackenzi Lee Abrams / Abrams Image Publication Date: February 27, 2018 ISBN: 9781419729256
Mackenzi Lee romps through the stories of 52 intriguing women who deserve far more attention than they’ve heretofore received. Readers may recognize names such as Hatshepsut (Pharaoh of Egypt) and Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts), but they’ll also meet Khutulun, the best wrestler in the Mongolian Empire, and Annie Jump Cannon, a scientist who devised the star classification system still used today.
In 1996, the Academy of American Poets established April as National Poetry Month to encourage the reading of poetry and increase awareness of American poetry. It is a great time to support and inspire the teen writers and poets who frequent your library! Below is a sampling of fiction and nonfiction books to help you do just that.
YA Fiction Featuring Teen Writers
Words and Their Meanings by Kate Bassett
Ever since her beloved Uncle Joe died, aspiring writer Anna has lost her muse. This poignant debut novel follows Anna through her grief journey as she struggles to rediscover her passion for writing and cope with the knowledge that she may not have known her uncle as well as she thought.
In this novel in journal format, Gabi explores her feelings about her friend’s pregnancy, finds her voice in poetry, and works on her school’s zine.
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
During November of her senior year, Darcy wrote a novel for National Novel Writing Month that was picked up by a major publisher. In this unique book, chapters from Darcy’s novel alternate with her adventures in New York as she foregoes her first year of college to dedicate herself to the publication process. Continue reading Booklist: Fiction and Nonfiction for Teen Poets and Writers
Middle school (usually 5th through 8th grade) is an incredible time. Kids begin to see themselves as part of a larger world, their minds and bodies go into development overdrive, and their relationships with everyone can shift dramatically. Middle schoolers are heavily invested in figuring out their identities; they push for increased independence from adults while often desperately seeking a sense of belonging among their peers. These experiences can be especially confusing, painful, or frightening for kids who feel different–such as kids whose gender identities or sexual orientations stand out in our still very binary and heteronormative culture.
This spring, Buzzfeed published an article titled “Coming Out As Gay in Elementary School,” which interviewed a few children and their families on their experiences coming out as gay, genderless, and queer at ages ranging from 7 to 13 years old. The article also cites research and interviews with Dr. Caitlyn Ryan of San Francisco State University’s Family Acceptance Project. In a 2009 practice brief, Dr. Ryan notes that their research shows that “both gay and straight children have their first ‘crush’ or attraction to another person at age 10” and on average, adolescents in their studies identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual at age 13.4 (2). In the same report, she reiterates that children develop and express gender identity at ages 2-3 (2).
As a librarian, I want to be able to provide all of my students with stories that both reflect their lives, experiences, and identities and expand their understanding of our diverse world. Since these studies and testimonies clearly illustrate the relevance of LBGTQ+ stories to middle school students, I wondered: how many middle school age characters who identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum show up in middle grade and young adult fiction?
Happily, we are beginning to see more and more novels featuring 10-14 year old LGBTQ+ characters. However, I struggled to find representations of girls who like girls or transgender boys, which was disheartening. We’ve got some great titles currently available and several exciting titles set to be published this year. But I’d love to see even more, especially featuring lesbian/bisexual/queer girls and transgender boys!
While her painfully bad singing rules out a future as an actor, theatre fanatic Callie has found her place backstage as a set designer. When talented twins Justin and Jesse join the middle school musical, the drama on and off stage reaches new heights. Callie’s thrilled to have a fun new friend in openly gay Justin and she hopes that quiet Jesse might be the boy to help her get over her crush on her old friend Greg.
So Hard To Say – Alex Sanchez
Thirteen year old Xio is confident, bubbly, and ready for first kisses and romance. When shy Frederick starts at school, Xio is happy to lend him a pen and invite him to join her lunch table. The two quickly become close friends but as Xio’s attempts to transform their relationship into romance escalate, Frederick finds himself increasingly attracted to handsome soccer player Victor.
When thirteen year old Nate hears about open auditions for the lead in the upcoming Broadway production of E.T. : The Musical, he will stop at nothing to get to New York City and claim his rightful space in the spotlight. Along the way, Nate faces merciless competition, perilous public transportation, and growing questions about his sexuality and identity. Nate’s adventures continue in the sequel, Five, Six, Seven, Nate! Continue reading Middle School Pride : LGBTQ+ Tweens in Literature for Youth
With all the ways to watch TV today including; on demand, DVR, and instant streaming it is possible to watch an entire series’ episodes back to back rather than in a serialized week to week format. This kind of watching has been dubbed “binge-watching.” Maybe when you hear this term, an image comes to mind of someone mindlessly watching hour after hour of TV whilst eating chips. As fun as that sounds, “binge-watching” can also mean focusing on just one show over the course of many days or weeks. As a reader the way I become immersed in the characters and world of a good book are a familiar, comforting feeling, and binge-watching a quality show can offer a similar (on-screen) experience. Here are some great YA read-alikes inspired by some of my binge-worthy favorites.
Orange is the New Black – One of Netflix’s original binge-worthy series. This is the story of a Piper, a privileged woman who has to serve prison time for a crime committed in her 20s.
* Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman. The book that inspired the show; Kerman tells the tale of how she spent a year in prison the humiliations she endured, and the relationships she forged.