Me (Moth) by Amber McBride Macmillan / Feiwel & Friends Publication Date: August 17, 2021 ISBN: 978-1250780362
After Black teen Moth is in a car accident that kills her parents and brother, she has no other options but living with her aunt in Virginia. Unable to dance since the crash, the only solace and peace she seems to be able to find are in the memories of her grandfather and his Hoodoo practice, but then Sani appears and is everything Moth needs most – stoic, solid, comforting. Moth and Sani decide to take a road trip to Sani’s ancestral Navajo homeland, and as Sani gets closer to his own roots, Moth begins to find her wings again.
April is creeping out, which means the end of National Poetry Month, but that does not mean you should stop reading, writing, and celebrating poetry! To keep you inspired, we are thrilled to share this conversation with perennial favorite and poet extraordinaire, Nikki Grimes. Her memoir-in-verse Ordinary Hazards was a 2020 Printz honor title,and her newest release is sure to cement her status as one of our finest poet-teachers! Thanks so much to Nikki for taking the time to share her thoughts and words with us.
THE HUB: Your latest book Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance is an anthology, a history lesson, and a collection of new original work all aimed at celebrating women’s voices. In the introduction, you note how often women have gotten lost in history until someone (like you!) recovers their stories and shares their words or ideas. How did you go about discovering and recovering these poets? Where did you look? How did you find them?
T. S. Eliot famously opened his classic poem “The Waste Land” by proclaiming April “the cruelest month,” and students everywhere might agree when April rolls around and teachers pull out their well-worn poetry unit. April is National Poetry Month, which for poetry lovers means the spotlight shines on their favorites, old and new. We encourage the celebration of poetry year round, but in honor of the 25th anniversary of this special designation, here are 25 new titles, ideas, and resources to mark the occasion.
1. Though she needs no real introduction, we would be remiss if we didn’t start our list with NY Times #1 bestseller Amanda Gorman and her forthcoming collection, which includes her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb.”
2. Invite your teens to participate in the Dear Poet project, where young people get to engage directly with award-winning poets, such as Janice Lobo Sapigao:
Oh Riverdale – I have a special place in my heart for you, but I think your teenaged residents could use some time away from town quarantines and drug induced hallucinations and really horrible parenting. Luckily, YALSA’s 2019 award winners and nominees have books to help your beleaguered high school students cope with all the drama. (Warning: Season 3 Spoilers)
The Best Fiction for Young Adults feedback session is one of the best parts of every ALA conference. Local teens get the opportunity to read books that have been nominated for #BFYA and give their feedback about the titles. It’s always interesting to hear the perspective of real teens, and the group in New Orleans were particularly amazing. They all sounded like professional book reviewers, and I wish there had been time to talk with them at length about the books they enjoyed.
Here are some of the titles the teens particularly liked from this year’s #BFYA nominees list along with a little of their feedback and a link to each title’s nomination post (when available.)
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton Freeform Books Publication Date: February 6, 2018 ISBN: 978-1484728499
Camille is a Belle, one of a select few blessed by the Goddess of Beauty with the ability to restore beauty to the cursed people of Orleans. On their sixteenth birthday, she and her sisters must compete for the privilege of being chosen the Queen’s favorite, to live in the the royal palace and serve the royal family and their court. Camille’s journey to attain this coveted position is a riveting one, bursting with twists and intrigues at every turn. However, once she finally achieves what she’s worked her whole life for, she begins to discover that not everything is as it seems on the surface. Beneath the glimmering facade of Orleans’ stunning opulence and obsession with beauty lie dark secrets and ominous forces that threaten to topple to kingdom and unbalance Camille’s world.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo HarperTeen/HarperCollins Publication Date: March 6th, 2018 ISBN: 9780062662804
Xiomara can’t be the perfect Dominican daughter that her parents expect her to be, so she pours out her frustrations in a secret poetry journal. Her mother expects her to be confirmed and marry a good Dominican boy. Instead, she questions the teachings of her church and falls in love with her chemistry lab partner, Aman, who is definitely not parent-approved. But she can’t hide her secrets from her parents forever.
As we celebrate Black History Month, let’s reflect on one of the most culturally significant time periods of African American history: the Harlem Renaissance.
I have always been interested in the Harlem Renaissance, stemming from reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston when I was in high school. I followed that up with reading the beautiful biography by Valerie Boyd, Wrapped Up in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston. I was so impressed by the life and writing of Hurston, and what it meant for her to be such a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Before I knew it, I was exploring more. Having already been introduced to jazz music in middle school, I knew the genius of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Billie Holiday. What I didn’t know, however, was the extent of their contribution to the Harlem Renaissance movement and all the other art, music, and writing that was being created during the 1920s and 30s in the cultural epicenter that was Harlem.
If you are looking for some authors, artists, musicians, and other prolific people of the Harlem Renaissance to get you started on your search for learning more about this historic time of rebirth for the African American culture, check out some of my suggestions below. It’s my humble attempt at a beginner’s guide, so please add your own contributions in the comments!