ALA Annual 2014: Odyssey Awards Presentation

alaac14_logoThe seventh annual Odyssey award presentation was held at the ALA Annual Conference on Monday, June 30, 2014.

The Odyssey Awards are the awards for the best audiobook of the year produced for children and/or teens in English and available in the United States.  It is a joint award presented by ALSC and YALSA.

The room was packed full of librarians and audiobook fans.  It was definitely exciting to see all the honorees that were able to make the presentation of awards.  Here is a slightly blurry photo of the awards winners that were present:

Odyssey 2014 winners present

From left to right:

  • Booklist consultant, Rebecca Vnuk
  • 2014 Odyssey Chair, Ellen Rix Spring
  • Daniel Kraus (author of Scowler, 2014 Odyssey Winner)
  • Timothy Federle (author/narrator of Better Nate Than Never, 2014 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)
  • Kirby Heyborne (narrator of Scowler, 2014 Odyssey Winner)
  • Kelly Gildea (producer of Scowler, 2014 Odyssey Winner)
  • Sunil Malhotra (narrator of Eleanor & Park, 2014 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)
  • Rebecca Lowman (narrator of Eleanor & Park, 2014 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)  Continue reading ALA Annual 2014: Odyssey Awards Presentation

Diverse YA Titles to Look for at ALA Annual

Photo Jun 22, 6 52 28 PMAs a follow-up to Hannah Gómez’s post #DiversityatALA about the current movement to be vocal about the need for more diversity in YA literature (#weneeddiversebooks), and Kelly Dickinson’s post featuring LGBTQ titles, I’m here to list some upcoming YA books that contain non-white, non-heterosexual, non-cisgendered or differently-abled characters that you should be on the lookout for. If you are attending the ALA Annual Conference this weekend in Vegas, ask the publishers about ARCs for many of these. Not all of them will be available as ARCs because some aren’t being published until 2015, but publishers’ reps should still be able give you the scoop on them.

To start, I’m including a few recent notable books that you probably know about and a few that aren’t as obvious because the reviews might not have mentioned their diverse content, or you can’t tell from their jacket flaps.

Photo Jun 23, 2 15 16 AMFreakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark (2014 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults) is a novel about a transgendered boy while a strong pick for a nonfiction book about transgendered teens is Susan Kuklin’s Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out.

I wasn’t aware that  the main character Chevron “Chevie” is descended from the Shawnee Native American tribe in Eoin Colfer’s Warp: Book 1 the Reluctant Assassin until I started reading it. The second book in the series, Hangman’s Revolution is coming out today. Park in Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (2014 Printz Honor book) is half-Korean.

In Stick by Andrew Smith the main character “Stick” is differently-abled because he was born without an ear & his older brother is gay. Chasing Shadows by Swati Avashi has a main character of Indian descent and there’s a lot about Hindu mythology in the book.

Photo Jun 19, 11 31 11 AMPadma Venkatraman’s A Time to Dance is about a classical Indian dance prodigy whose life seems to be over after she becomes a below-the knee amputee.

Erin Bow’s Sorrow’s Knot is a fantasy flavored by Native American cultures and Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore features a lesbian character.

Now that you’re up to speed on recently-published diverse titles, here are some upcoming books with diverse content to keep an eye out for at ALA Annual and other conferences:

  • Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco (Sourcebooks, August  2014) is Photo Jun 22, 11 44 43 AMa ghost story about Okiko, whose spirit has wandered the world for centuries delivering punishment to monsters who hurt children,  but when she meets teenaged Tark, she tries to free him from the demon that invaded him.
  •  Blind by Rachel DeWoskin (Penguin, August 2014) A 15-year-old teen girl loses her eyesight the summer before high school after a firecracker misfires into a crowd.
  •  Positive: a Memoir by Paige Rawl (HarperCollins, August 2014) (NF). Memoir of Paige Rawl, HIV positive since birth, who was bullied in school once she disclosed her HIV-positive status and from that moment forward, every day was like walking through a minefield.  Continue reading Diverse YA Titles to Look for at ALA Annual

Fanart Inspired by YA Books

Image by deviantART user AstridRodriguez
Image by deviantART user AstridRodriguez

One of my favorite things to do with YA books, series especially, is to wait until all the books are out and then devour them in a manner of days or weeks. I’ll admit I did this with Harry Potter when I started reading them in . . . 2007, after the final book was finished! When you read series like this it lets them take over your life a little bit. Soon you are thinking in phrases from the books and seeing images from them everywhere. Even if it’s not a series that is finished, if it’s a book I like, I catch myself envisioning the books intersecting with my real life. I’ve wanted to have magical pigeon friends ever since reading Michelle Tea’s Mermaid in Chelsea Creek and I can’t see wishbones or puppets the same after reading Laini Taylor’s Daughter Smoke and Bone (one of the Top Ten 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults selections).

If I was more artsy, I would allow these book obsessions an artist outlet, but I’m not. Luckily, there this great thing called the Internet and wonderful artists who endeavor to make it more beautiful with art and more inspired by YA books! Fanfiction is a great way to respond to books as well, but I like how fan art opens up many different avenues of interpretations of your favorite characters. It allows us to stretch our visual perceptions of what those characters may be and maybe even help to us envision a world more clearly.

There are tons of places to find great fan art and other visual responses to YA books – even tattoos inspired by YA books as the website Forever Young Adult highlights. Other great places to look are deviantART, a place for digital artists inspired by anything and especially friendly to lots of fandoms. Tumblr is another great place to browse, but be warned that both places, like the unbridled and unexpected wilds of the Interweb, is not always safe for work or school.

Check out some other examples of fanart that I find really lovely…  Continue reading Fanart Inspired by YA Books

YA Books in Real Life: A Group Post for National Photography Month

May is National Photography Month and I thought it would be fun to bring together photos of places that reminded us of YA books, times we dressed up as YA characters, and book titles. I asked my fellow Hub bloggers to share their YA lit-inspired photos, and here’s what we came up with! (Click on the images for larger versions.)

Places in YA Books:
HUB 1

hub 11

Continue reading YA Books in Real Life: A Group Post for National Photography Month

Is This the Real Life? Diversity

Diversity in youth literature has been a big topic of late. So, for this month’s contemporary YA lit book list, I am going to highlight some titles with various aspects of diversity in them (including a book that includes financial struggle). I know I will miss some, but these are the titles that popped into my head and I want you all to tell me of more titles!

Tyrant's DaughterThe Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson
Laila’s father was killed in a coup, and her family has been exiled to the United States from the Middle East. While she’s trying to adjust to a new life and culture, her mom is conspiring to get the family throne back.

I’m Just Me by M.G. Higgins
Nasreen and Mia are two very different girls who stand out at their school, making them targets for bullying and racial slurs, both at school and online. So the girls come together and hatch a plan for revenge. Continue reading Is This the Real Life? Diversity

Get Creative with YA Lit

create_ credit_lorrainesantana
image by flickr user Lorraine Santana

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

Teen Tech Week: YA Fiction About Online Life

TTW14_featureslideGiven the central role that the Internet plays in so many people’s lives these days, it is hard to believe that this has been the case for less than 20 years. As with all great technologies, it has brought with it a whole spectrum of positive and negative changes, and has fundamentally altered the way that people meet friends, keep in touch across great distances, and express themselves.

Whether you want to keep in touch with friends both far and near, feel awkward in social situations, or are simply interested in connecting with others who share your specific interests, the Internet offers a whole new way to socialize, communicate and create. Continue reading Teen Tech Week: YA Fiction About Online Life

One Thing Leads to Another: An Interview with Rainbow Rowell

Check out previous interviews in the One Thing Leads to Another series here.

I don’t mind telling you that I was sophomore in high school in 1986.  I was (as so many of us were) 15 going on confused, and everything was new and weird and cool and hard and sometimes both better and worse than I’d ever imagined.  1986 was not a great year for me (understatement!) and 1987-1989 were only marginally better.  I spent a lot of time working on the school newspaper, almost as much time playing D&D with the Science Fiction and Fantasy club, and I got grounded for going to a Thompson Twins concert on a Sunday night.  I spent what little money I had on books and record albums (yes, I was a snob and only used cassette tapes for making mixes) and I shaved the sides of my head and wore a lot of black.  It was a thing.

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.  When I first started to hear the buzz about Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park I was torn.  I’m a genre reader through and through, I won’t lie, and even though I love so many works of realistic fiction, it’s not always easy for me to willingly pull them out of the pile and crack the cover.

But…1986.

So I did, and as soon as Park sat down next to Eleanor it was all over.  I won’t even start on Fangirl, except to point you back to exhibit B (D&D) above and then raise that a couple of Buffy Posting Board parties and more conventions than I can count.

Thank you so, so much Rainbow, for working with me on these questions, for your thoughtful answers, and your books.  I hope you know what I mean when I say you make it better down here.

rainbow_about_headshotAlways Something There to Remind Me

Please describe your teenage self.
Agh. This is so difficult to think about in an honest way.

I had a really painful, chaotic life as a teenager. I don’t think I had much hope for myself or for the future. So, looking back, I’m amazed that I wasn’t more self-destructive.

I was very focused on school, because school was an oasis for me. But I wasn’t every focused on grades. The high school newspaper was my life; I was editor, and I wrote a column – called Of Cabbages and Kings – and I took it all very seriously.

I took everything very seriously. I’ve never been someone with moderate emotions. If I like something, I love it. And if I’m angry, I’m outraged. That was even more true of me as a teenager.

I think I felt like a misfit, but when I look back at those years, my memories are full of friends.

Continue reading One Thing Leads to Another: An Interview with Rainbow Rowell