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
On Saturday, January 31, I had the privilege to not only attend the “Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA)” feedback session, I also was able to bring four of my local library teens to participate in the session. Here is a picture of the five of us after the session posing with all of our swag bags. My four teens joined up with other teen readers to comprise a group of 60, all ready to do what teens do best: share their opinions.
Just a little background, if you are unfamiliar with the BFYA list: throughout the year, librarians add books published that year to a nomination list. From this nomination list, a committee reads the titles and ultimately whittles the list down to a BFYA Top Ten list. In order to ensure that the best books make the Top Ten list, the committee holds a feedback session in which teens can share why they think a book should or should not be on the list. The teens lined up at microphones that faced the committee members rather than the large crowd of librarians and teachers who stopped in to get the firsthand knowledge presented by the teens. Each teen had no more than 90 seconds to prove their point and were allowed to write up their reviews ahead of time. Unfortunately, due to the length of the nomination list, not every title was reviewed by the teens during the session.
Before I begin to share the details of the session, here is the BFYA Top Ten list:
The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Jackaby by William Ritter
Noggin by John Corey Whaley
The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E. K. Johnston
Vango by Timothee de Fombelle
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
There was one phrase that was constantly heard throughout the BFYA session. That phrase was, “I completely disagree.” Continue reading ALA Midwinter 2015: Best Fiction for Young Adults Feedback Session Recap
As a follow-up to Hannah GÃ³mez’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.
Freakboy 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 â€œStickâ€ 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.
Padma 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 a 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