June is history month, and while there’s a ton of great historical fiction for teens out there, it’s also a perfect time to start asking “What if?”
What if the American Revolution never happened?
What if the Axis Powers won World War II?
Alternate history books are a great way to explore these questions, and alternate history for teens is becoming increasingly popular. Here are a few books to get you started.
These stories can blend speculative elements with historical facts, which is perfect for prompting discussion about what is truth and what is fiction in the novels discussed. They can also prompt readers to explore more nonfiction about the time period. Continue reading Booklist: YA Alternate History
I think it’s safe to say that we here at The Hub – and all of you, of course – are avid lovers of books and libraries. I remember how my grandmother was my first introduction to the glories of the public library. She would take me to story hour each and every week, sometimes multiple times if the theme was great. She always let me check out whatever I wanted and encouraged me to read voraciously. She never seemed to care if I checked out 25 books, read through them in three days, and begged to go to the library again.
As I got older, I began to develop friendships with the librarians. They knew me well enough to offer reading recommendations and cared enough to check up on my life. The children’s librarian was kind enough to stoke my thirst for knowledge and learning by letting me help with program setup and execution, giving me my first glimpses behind the scenes. I completed volunteer hours and job shadowing there to meet high school requirements. The library was my safe space, a comforting haven. It was in my childhood that I first dreamed of growing up and becoming a librarian.
Even today, the first thing I do after I move to a new city is to scope out the public library and get a library card. And now that I have a library degree myself, I not only understand the magic of a public library, I also grasp the vital role that libraries play in the community. Institutions of knowledge and learning, committed to freedom of thought and expression, stalwarts against censorship, advocates for the public. I’m very passionate about libraries and the importance they play in our society. But sometimes they also just make a darn good setting for a fictional yarn, so today I wanted to bring you some great books for a YA audience that feature a prominent library setting. Continue reading Check This Out: Libraries in YA Lit
One of the most frequent readers’ advisory questions I get is also one of the most complicated. Often, a reader asks for a “funny” book. But what does that mean?
Humor is subjective. Some readers might be looking for a book with slapstick-y humor, others might appreciate darker humor, like satire. Some readers don’t mind a book with bits of humor but more dramatic themes overall, others just want an easy, breezy comedy.
Bottom line: matching books with readers looking for a funny book can be tricky.
Since April is National Humor Month, it seemed like a good time to break down the subcategories of humor and offer suggestions for readers looking for funny books.
Satire is the use of humorous exaggeration to expose and criticize, particularly in the context of politics or culture.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (2012 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2012 Amelia Bloomer List, 2012 Rainbow List, 2014 Popular Paperbacks) is about a group of beauty pageant contestants who crash land on an island: hilarity ensues. But while a less adept writer might have just mocked the beauty-obsessed girls, but instead, she creates complicated characters who for various reasons—money, love, approval—have all bought into the rigid standards beauty pageant contestants are expected to embody, and in the process, critiques consumerism , reality TV, and of course, pageants.
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults) is the story of Jennifer Strange, a wizard for hire who becomes the last dragonslayer. Like Bray, Fforde critiques the corporate world and consumer culture in this fantasy series sure to put a smirk on reader’s faces.
Great Britain has always been a popular setting in all types and genres of literature. While I have read many books set there over the years, I never really thought about exactly how many books I enjoy are set in Great Britain until I started planning a trip to England and Scotland. But as I did start reflecting on some of my favorites, I realized how integral the British setting is to many great YA books across multiple genres. Whether you are an Anglophile looking for a new read, or are simply interested in reading books set there before planning your own trip, this list offers great British settings for fans of all genres.
Fantasy The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson(2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults) – Rory Deveaux isn’t sure what to expect when she moves from the U.S. South to a boarding school in London, but it definitely isn’t getting caught up in a series of horrifying killings copying those of Jack the Ripper. When she becomes a key witness to one of the crimes, Rory gets dragged into the case and might even become his next victim if she isn’t careful. In this, the first of the Shades of London series, plot twists and laughs both come fast and furious. You won’t be able to stop with just one book; but if you start now, there is still plenty of time to catch up with the first two books before the next one comes out early next year. Continue reading Great Britain Across The Genres
There’s one type of fantasy book I’m always getting requests for: dragon books! Since they are so popular at my library, I was thrilled to find not only quite a few new releases featuring dragons, but the selection is quite diverse. There are dragon books inspired by Asian mythology, those that take their inspiration from tales of medieval Europe, and those that imagine our world if dragons were real, or even a post-apocalyptic future where dragons are kept on reservations. Dragons can be the “bad guys,” sympathetic creatures, or even humans who can shapeshift into dragon form. It’s a good time to be a fan of dragon stories! Here’s a chart to help you select which one might be your new favorite: