â€œDon’t judge a book by its cover.â€ It is one of the most common cliches in existence. And yet, during my trip to the UK this summer, I found myself doing just that. Books that I had already seen in the U.S. (or in some cases, already owned) looked so much more appealing with the covers that were designed for the UK. This made me ask several questions:
Why were different covers designed for the UK and the U.S., particularly given that the text itself was almost always identical?
What was it about the UK design sensibility that I liked?
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.
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.
The film adaptation of the first book in Veronica Roth’s bestselling and Teens’ Top Ten winning Divergent trilogy has been widely hyped over the past couple of weeks. The Internet at large has been chattering for weeks now about Divergent stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James and what is sure to be their blockbuster, star creating roles. If you want to play a fun game, then you should YouTube all recent interviews with the actors and see how long it takes the interviewer to ask them about accepting a role in such a huge movie. It seems fairly odd, given the movie hadn’t been released until this past Friday, so unless they were fortune tellers, there was no real way to know whether or not this movie would succeed critically or financially.
Sure, Divergent is a best-selling series, but then again so was City of Bones, Percy Jackson, Vampire Academy and– well, you see where I’m going with thisâ€¦ None of these films were able to capitalize on their source materials success, so how is that Divergent was seen as a forgone conclusion before the film hit theaters? Does it have something to do with the constant comparison to The Hunger Games? Or maybe it has something to do with the enigmatic Shailene Woodley who is apparently the YA book to film â€œItâ€ girl right now?
I’m wondering about all of the above, because in all seriousness, I really liked the film adaptation of Divergent. As a book and film nerd, this movie is a pretty solid B+ adaptation with a grade A for acting. There is a definite reason Shailene Woodley is the new â€œitâ€ girl for these films, and she showcases her talents well in Divergent. My filmgirl nerdiness usually means that I understand critics response to movies, which is why the 40% rotten rating from Rotten Tomatoes or this film is pretty baffling to me. It seems a pretty weird trajectory for a movie that has had such non-stop hype and one where the movie is actually a good movie. To be honest, the critical response to Divergent has me wondering if critics are having some YA book-to-movie fatigue. This movie is definitely as good as the first Hunger Games film, which had an 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes when it was first released. Continue reading From Page to Screen: Divergent
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
Veronica Roth’s debut novel, Divergent, was the #1 choice on the 2012 Teens’ Top Ten list, and now the screen adaptation is about to take movie theaters by storm. Last October, we celebrated the story’s conclusion with an Allegiant book release party at my library, and I am here to tell you how you, too, can throw an awesome Divergent themed party leading up to the release of the movie this Friday, March 21.
Costumes are key
We encouraged our party guests to dress up like their favorite character or faction. Of course, there were many dressed up like Tris in her Dauntless wear, some complete with her tattoos. However, there were a few that dressed as a faction, and interestingly enough the most popular was Abnegation. Need a refresher on what the factions wear? Veronica Roth did a few posts on her Web site in which she modeled each of the factions’ colors:
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”
I belong to a book club where we do a roll call to see what everyone is reading. I am always interested to know what other people are reading or waiting to read- but just knowing what is popular in Ohio or the whole United States no longer satisfies my curiosity. I want to know what teens are reading all over the world.
Though the nation has existed since the Neolithic Age, it just gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The first municipal library opened in 1910. In 1998 the library was officially named National Library of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan has a very unique geography which includes , steppes, taiga, snow-capped mountains, and deserts. (Kazakhstan) This diversity is reflected in its population of 16.6 million people who comprise over 130 ethnicities.
Which makes me wonder: what are all of them reading?
Thank you to Celia of Haileybury Astana who has the answers. Here’s what Celia has to say about her school: Haileybury Astana, is a private British international school with over 350 pupils from nursery up through secondary school, growing every year. The operate two libraries, one for primary students and the other for secondary students. The school is located in Astana, Kazakhstan, which is billed as the second-coldest capital in the world — so we enjoy staying indoors and reading in the winter! **All commentary here is of course my own, and is not an official statement from the school!
What are the most popular titles for teens at your library right now?
Right now our teens are picking up new dystopian novels like Matched Ally Condie, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, but others are still reading perennial favorites like Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz, Jacqueline Wilson’s fiction.
What genres are most popular with your library’s teens?
Our teens read a variety of historical, fantasy, or scary stories. Nonfiction gets a good go as well, especially in science or history, and anything in our adventure or teen relationship categories tends to go quickly!
In your teen collection, what languages are the books available in?
Most of our books are in English, but we have a growing collection in Russian â€“ and we’ve even had donations of teen books in German or Kazakh! I’d love to see our pupils get the chance to read more intelligent teen fiction in Kazakh.
Do your teens prefer to read print novels or ebooks?
Right now, they prefer print, but many haven’t yet been introduced to ebooks â€“ I hope to do that soon.
I hope to learn and share about teen reading around the world. If you or someone you know lives overseas and works as a teacher or librarian with teens, please message me so I can do a post about the country they live in. To learn more about what other teens are reading, check out my previous posts in this series:
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