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.
If you are hanging around The Hub, chances are you’re a reader. And if you love to read, statistically speaking, you probably had a mom, or some other motherly figure, who read to you when you were small. (I know, I know, lots of you are screaming that it was your dad. This is Mother’s Day. Wait your turn.) So if you are still looking for a last-minute Mother’s Day gift, why not show your appreciation by introducing her to a YA mom as fabulous as she is? Just match Mom’s style to one of the titles below, each with one of the best mothers in YA and plenty of adult appeal. You may need to include a box of tissues!
For the Mess-with-My-Kid-and-I’ll-Take-You-Down momâ€”Divergent by Veronica Roth (2012 Teens’ Top Ten winner). It’s no secret that adults everywhere are devouring this series, especially since the movie came out, but fierce mothers will have a particular appreciation for Natalie Prior. Butâ€¦butâ€¦Tris’s mom is Abnegation, isn’t she? The picture of selflessness, she supports her children’s choices and wants what is best for them, even if it means watching them walk out of her life. But threaten one of her kids, andâ€¦let’s just say a whole other side of her comes out.
In celebration of National Poetry Month, and because I am a poetry lover myself, I wanted to share some YA fiction titles in which a major character reads and/or writes poetry. If you are reading this blog entry, then you probably enjoy poetry too. And if you are like me â€“ who has not kept the promise she made to herself some time ago to read a poem every day â€“ you could do with some inspiration.
So take a look at the list below, pick out a couple novels to read and let the presence of poetry move you to read or write some verse yourself!
The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by Karen Finneyfrock
Author Karen Finneyfrock is herself a poet. Celia, the protagonist of this novel, dreams of becoming one. She also dreams of revenge on classmate Sandy for what she did to Celia in eighth grade, an act which is not revealed until late in the novel. As Celia writes: â€œThat’s the day the trouble started. / The trouble that nearly ruined my life. / The trouble that turned me Dark. / The trouble that begs me for revenge.â€ Rejected by her classmates, Celia finds comfort in writing poetry. She even turns her mom’s notes into haiku. An unexpected friendship with Drake, a boy who has just transferred to Celia’s high school, eventually opens Celia up to a new way of seeing the world and a more hopeful approach to life.
Do you know the feeling that comes sometimes when you finish reading a really great book, the one in which you don’t want the story to end? You can always hope for a sequel or a companion novel. If there is a film adaptation, you can experience the world, again, there. Or you can keep the world alive by creating something yourself.
I recently attended the DML2014 conference in Boston and found myself surrounded by people passionately talking about ways to interact with digital media. As a blogger for The Hub, I immediately focused on the ways that people were using these programs and communities to create content based on YA books. This also tied in well with last week’s Teen Tech Week theme of DIY @ your library. Below, I have listed a handful of ways that youth and adults are taking their favorite stories and making something new.
Create a Program
One of the tools that was frequently mentioned at DML2014 is Scratch, a web-based programming tool that allows users to create and share games, videos, and stories. I searched Scratch for projects related to popular YA titles and found a wide variety of program types including interactive quizzes and games, slideshows, and still image fanart. A few examples include a Divergent Aptitude Test Simulation, Snape’s Potion Game (Harry Potter), and The Mortal Instruments: Downworld Attack game. These users have found a way to continue interacting with books that they enjoyed while also learning how to code computer programs. Scratch is only one of a number of options available in this area, too. Continue reading Get Creative with YA Lit
One of my favorite types of books in the contemporary genre is the dual or multi-narrative. I’m sure I will revisit this topic again in future posts about contemporary YA fiction, but these were the first five titles that popped into my head when I started to make my list. I know I am missing a lot, so maybe this will just be part one?
Told from the point of view of two Will Graysons whose lives change drastically when they meet. Both Wills are trying to find their way, and share how their lives are affected by knowing one Tiny Cooper, who is not tiny in any sense of the word.
Recently I was sitting in my library’s teen space with a few teens (three guys; two girls) chatting about movies, books, friends, and the Spongebob Squarepants version of the Game of Life when I had a bit of a revelation. This wasn’t really a new revelation but rather a confirmation of what seems like such an obvious fact: there are no such things as “books for boys.”
During this hanging out time, some boys insisting on showing me multiple trailers for YA movie adaptations: first, Divergent; then The Maze Runner; and finally, The Fault in Our Stars. They talked about how excited they were for these movies and how they couldn’t wait to see how the movies were different from the books. One of the boys said he watched the TFiOS trailer five (!) times in a row after it was released recently. This got me to thinking about the books and media these boys were interested in. They featured both guy and girl protagonists, they were cross a couple of different genres, and were written by both male and female authors.
I realized it doesn’t matter if a book is “for” a guy or a girl; the gender of the intended audience tends to get all mixed up when you factor in the power of a good story. Boys like stories; girls like stories. Readers in general like stories. We need to forget what we think about boys and reading and find them the stories they want. Continue reading Books for Boys that Aren’t “Books for Boys”
Now, I was just as eager as any fan to get this first big peek at the film. After all, I was a fan of TFIOS from the moment I first opened my autographed, pre-ordered copy. I’ve enjoyed all of John Green’s previous novels and as a general follower of his growing online presence, I had heard quite a bit about his newest novel before its publication. However, I was thrilled to find that the novel actually lived up to my high expectations. I unwisely read the last quarter on a public bus–and attempted in vain to hide my sniffles and sobs. With very little help from me, the novel’s popularity has since exploded among the teens in my library. So after viewing the trailer myself, I was eager to hear their reactions.
The reactions were overpoweringly positive–with one or two exceptions. The few doubters I encountered expressed either a dissatisfaction with the casting or a concern that the movie would be disappointing. However, the majority of the teens I asked about the trailer were effusive in the their praise. One student mentioned that even though she hadn’t read the book yet, the trailer made her even more interested in getting her hands on a copy of the novel. Another literally made a plaintive whining sound when I first mentioned the trailer.
While not necessarily a well-known holiday, Thesaurus Day is celebrated on January 18, the birthday of Peter Mark Roget, creator of Roget’s Thesaurus.
The original version of Roget’s thesaurus, created in 1805 and released in 1852, contained 15,000 words. Over the years, the thesaurus has grown, adding thousands of additional words and synonyms. These days, in addition to print versions of the thesaurus, wordsmiths are able to access the Roget’s thesaurus online through Thesaurus.com. If you are interested in a historical perspective, a 1911 version has been cataloged as part of the ARTFL Project through the University of Chicago.
We’re celebrating a day early here on The Hub by using the thesaurus to swap words in some popular YA titles. See if you can figure out the original titles and then scroll down to check!
The Tome Bandit
The Bonus of Being a Loner
An Excellent and Dreadful Virtue
The Insanity Below
A Chain of Ill-fated Happenings.
The Commander of the Loops
Thirteen Rationales of Cause
The Categorically Bona Fide Journal of a Part-Time Native American