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Libraries and Social Justice

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 07:00

2016 has been a year that has brought many important conversations about social justice to the forefront: Black Lives Matter, immigration, gender equality, the rights of indigenous people, poverty and economic inequality, LGBTQ rights.

Libraries across the United States have responded to these conversations in various ways, and within our profession, valid questions have been raised about the role of libraries in social discourse. How do we as library professionals preserves the objectivity of libraries as public institutions and ourselves as information professionals when the idea that free access of information to all is still a radical ideal?

The answer? By doing what libraries, librarians, and library workers do best.

We’ll create spaces that bring together different segments of our communities, but ensure that space is safe for all.

We’ll be inclusive and supportive environments for all of our marginalized patrons.

We’ll fulfill our mission to make everyone feel welcome and valued.

We’ll continue to provide information on these movements, causes, and issues so that patrons may educate themselves.

We’ll develop collections to help serve and reach and enrich underserved communities.

We’ll ensure that these collections contain a variety of viewpoints.

To this end, YALSAblog and The Hub will be sharing resources to help library staff work for and with teens for social justice during the month of December. YALSAblog will focus on programming, professional development, and advocacy, while the Hub will be focusing on collections and content curation. We’ll have 30 days worth of material focused on cultural competence, inclusivity, diversity, and equity.

Would you like to share the work you’re doing for and with teens related to social justice? How are you leveraging your collections to facilitate conversations with teens? What challenges are you facing? If you’re interested in sharing your story, please contact me at yalsahub@gmail.com.

—Molly Wetta, currently listening to The Mothers by Brit Bennett

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Booklist: Books for Fans of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Mon, 11/21/2016 - 10:03

Jenny Han’s heroine Lara Jean Song endeared herself to readers in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P. S. I Still Love You. In 2017 readers will get to read the highly anticipated last chapter in Lara Jean’s story Always and Forever, Lara Jean. This booklist will help fill the Lara Jean shaped hole in your heart during the wait until its April 2017 release.

(And, if you’re anything like me and consider yourself Lara Jean’s number one fan, you might want to check out these fan buttons I made to declare your allegiance online.)

If You Want a Book With Sensational Sisters:

  1. The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway: Sisters April, May, and June rediscover their childhood powers after their parents’ divorce. April sees the future, May disappears, and June reads minds. The powers help them cope with a tumultuous year but could they also have a bigger purpose?
  2. The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman: When Katie’s family moves from New York City to rural Fir Lake, she expects to face all of the changes with her older sister, Michaela. But the harder Katie clings to her memories of the city, the more Michaela adapts to life in Fir Lake, leaving Katie to wonder what happens when your best friend starts to look like someone you don’t know.
  3. Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu: Missing her sister as she immerses herself in college life, Montana dives head first into a friendship with Karissa, an intoxicating girl from her acting class. Throwing herself into new relationships and trying to remake herself, Montana isn’t sure if she is losing herself or finding herself for the first time.
  4. The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson: Sisters Brooks, May, and Palmer don’t know how to cope with their father’s sudden death. Brooks starts drinking, Palmer focuses on softball and middle sister May is left to hold their family together. As the girls drift apart they each gravitate to their father’s 1967 Pontiac Firebird. The Golden Firebird might be a horrible reminder of everything they have lost, but it might also be the key to finally moving on.
  5. Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan: Josie can always translate the things around her into her own native language of Josie. But living a life in translation is exhausting–especially with her sister marrying an insufferable man. Love is found in many languages. With so many things around her changing, Josie is about to get a crash course in the true meaning of the word. 

If You Want a Book With a Sweet Romance:

  1. Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2016 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, 2016 William C. Morris Debut YA Award): Not-quite-openly gay Simon is blackmailed into being the wingman for a classmate unless he wants his sexual identity (and the privacy of the amazing but still anonymous boy he’s been emailing) made public.
  2. Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira: Unsure what to do about Dev potentially liking her, bookish Phoebe turns to the heroines in her favorite books for advice. But it turns out fictional romances don’t always translate well to reality. If Phoebe wants her own happy ending, she might have to figure out the answer herself.
  3. Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein: June and Oliver have seen each other around for years, an annoying side effect of their mothers being best friends. But they don’t get to know each other until the start of senior year when their mothers arrange for Oliver to drive June to school. Every. Day. As they get to know each other, both June and Oliver will have to decide if young love has a place in a world where high school doesn’t much matter.
  4. In Real Life by Jessica Love: Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since eighth grade. They chat and text constantly. They talk on the phone for hours. They know each other better than anyone. But only online. After an impulsive decision to road trip to Vegas to meet Nick, Hannah has one night to get to know Real Life Nick and decide if she’s ready to risk her heart trying to make their friendship into something more.
  5. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon: Natasha believes in science and facts. Which is why it’s so hard to hope for a miracle on her last day in New York City. Daniel believes in poetry and fate which is why he knows the moment he meets Natasha that their lives are about the change forever.
If You Want a Book With a Love Triangle:

  1. Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler: Vanessa Park is passionate about acting and loves being on set–even with her flirty co-star Josh Chester. Van’s happy to have her new career handler, Brianna, but unsure what to do when her friendly feelings for Bri become something else.
  2. A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody: Ellison Sparks has the worst Monday ever but she knows that with a second chance she could fix everything. But what happens when she gets seven chances? As Ellie tries again and again (and so on) to get her Monday right she starts to realize that the dream Monday she’s been chasing might not be so perfect after all.
  3. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum: When she receives an email from someone (Somebody/Nobody to be more specific) offering to help make sense of her perplexing new school Jessie isn’t sure what to think. Is his offer genuine? Is it an elaborate prank? The potential for a new friend and some much-needed information win out. The more Jessie and SN email and text, the more she wants to meet him in person. But as she gets closer to discovering SN’s identity, Jessie also wonders if some mysteries should remain unsolved.
  4. The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder: In a year filled with changes and heartbreaks both small and large, Penelope will have to figure out how to move forward–especially when she knows exactly how fragile a heart can be.
  5. The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott (2012 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2011 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers): Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He’s smart, funny, and he understands her. He’s also dating her best friend. Sarah liked him first, but it doesn’t matter. She still likes him. That doesn’t matter either. At least, it’s not supposed to. The only problem is, it does.
If You Want a Book About Growing Up:

  1. Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo (2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2013 William C. Morris Debut YA Award): In a year filled with a lot of change and a lot of new things for both Amelia and Chris, this improbable pair will learn that friendships–and sometimes even more confusing feelings–can blossom anywhere.
  2. This Raging Light by Estelle Laure: Lucille is used to being responsible and she knows that if she takes things one step at a time she can handle anything. She can find a job, she can take care of her little sister Wren, she can make sure no one notices that their mother is conspicuously absent. But Lucille isn’t sure if she can do all of that while holding onto her best friend and maybe falling in love.
  3. The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart: The whole mess started with Finn. Well, technically it might have had more to do with Kim. But Finn is definitely involved. So is Jackson. And his four ceramic frogs. When it’s all said and done Nora, Cricket and Meghan are not speaking to Ruby. Kim isn’t either but that isn’t really a surprise. And that’s almost all before fifteen-year-old Ruby starts having panic attacks that lead to her eleven shrink appointments.
  4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2012 Readers’ Choice, 2012 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults): Anna Oliphant expected to spend her senior year in Atlanta with her friends. Instead her wannabe-sophisticated-noveau-riche dad has exiled Anna to boarding school. In Paris. Where the funny, charming, gorgeous Etienne St. Clair takes Anna under his wing. As Paris begins to feel more like home, Anna and Etienne have a lot of near-misses that bring their friendship to the verge of romance. Even while Etienne is very much still taken. But anything seems possible in the City of Lights. Maybe Anna and Etienne really are meant to be, maybe Anna will even learn some French.
  5. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales (2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults): Elise Dembowski has tried countless times to make herself better. Less different. Less precocious. Every time it’s been a horrible failure. Until one magical night when Elise wanders into a warehouse dance party and something finally does change. At the party Elise finds people who accept her; not some mainstreamed version of herself, not the invisible version or the fake one. Just her. In the midst of the party and the magic Elise also finds something almost as important: DJing.
If You Want a Book with a Baker:

  1. A La Carte by Tanita S. Davis: Lainey dreams of becoming a chef and having her own cooking show one day. With the lack of African American female chefs–not to mention vegetarian ones–she figures her odds of hitting it big are excellent. When her best friend (and crush) moves away, Lainey finds comfort in the kitchen as she works through new recipes and makes peace with the past.
  2. Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg: Both Macallan and Levi are pretty sure they’re better as friends than anything else. Except they can’t help wondering if the complications that come with being more than friends might just be worth it.
  3. The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil, illustrated by Mike Lawrence: Alba loves living behind the bakery, drawing comics, and watching bad TV with her friends. Unfortunately Alba’s comfortable life is thrown into chaos by the return of a boy she used to know, complications with her best friend, and the flock of doomsday enthusiasts coming to Eden Valley for the end of the world.
  4. Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler: Hudson gave up her ice skates for baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner after a betrayal completely altered her plans for her future. When she has a chance to start coaching the boys hockey team, Hudson will also haveto decide if she wants to start skating again on her own terms.
  5. Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood: Between moving, having no money, changing schools, and his father suddenly revealing that he’s gay Dan has more than enough issues without an impossible crush on the girl next door. Dan narrows all of his problems to six impossible things. With a penchant for making lists and following through, Dan is optimistic about fixing at least some of them–maybe even his mom’s wedding cake business that seems to result in more cancelled weddings than actual cakes.
Bonus: If You Want Another 2017 Release:

  1. Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan: Texan teen Piper dreams of leaving Houston far behind and attending art school in New York City with her best friends. Piper’s art might be enough to get her out of her stifling life at home, but only if she’s ready to take a chance on the unknown.
  2. Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley: When Rachel moved away she left a love letter for her crush, Henry Jones, in his favorite book in his family’s bookstore. But Henry never came. Now Rachel is back in the city and working beside Henry, the one boy she had hoped she would never see again.
  3. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo: Desi Lee is a straight A student who knows CPR, car mechanics, and definitely has her application to Stanford well in hand. Love and flirting, however, remain a painful challenge. When Luca Drakos–probably the hottest guy ever–enters Desi’s life, she decides it’s time to improve her flirting game. And she knows exactly how to do it thanks to the Korean dramas her father loves.
  4. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: Dimple Shah has plans now that she’s graduated. Those plans do not include playing along with her mother’s mission to find her the ideal Indian Husband. Rishi Patel believes in love and the tradition behind arranged marriages. He’s thrilled to have the chance to woo his future wife over the summer. Dimple and Rishi’s parents didn’t mean to start the arrangement when their children were so young, but how can they ignore the serendipity of both teens choosing the same summer program?
  5. By Your Side by Kasie West: What happens when the good girl gets locked in the school library for the long weekend with the bad boy?

— Emma Carbone, currently reading Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick

The post Booklist: Books for Fans of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before appeared first on The Hub.

Anime Club

Mon, 11/21/2016 - 07:00

Libraries all over the world offer anime clubs and the benefits are endless.  As a library worker, you are offering a space for teens with similar interests to meet and create new friendships.  Anime clubs provide opportunities to provide unique cultural experiences while never leaving town.  Anime clubs can also lead to other programs such as drawing, cooking, and using cosplay as a STEAM activity.

In the beginning, offering a monthly anime club was difficult because we were novices to this world.  We began by checking our circ stats to discover the most popular mangas and used those titles as themes.  Once we had a dedicated group of teens, we allowed them to facilitate their club and we offered support such as purchasing supplies and assisting with setup/clean up.  By allowing the teens to take over the club, they gained confidence and as a result the club grew in attendance and enrichment.

Anime Club

Below you will find a list of our most popular themes and activities.

Sailor Moon-This was our most popular meeting.  The teens watched Sailor Moon and made t-shirts using stencils and bleach.  We purchased a Crunchyroll membership with our Apple TV but you can purchase Crunchyroll online.

Pokemon-We hosted Pokemon several months before Pokemon Go but this was also an extremely popular theme.  Activities included a Pikachu ear craft, mini Pokemon tourneys, and Pokerap karaoke.

Studio Ghibli Movie Marathon-Teens tried Ramune and mochi ice cream while watching anime.

Dragonball Z-Teens learned how to make bobo tea and we had a scavenger hunt.  Someone hid a Dragon Ball while everyone watched the Superman vs. Goku video.

Attack on Titan vs. Tokyo Ghoul-Teens made buttons that represented which show they liked the most, they discussed/debated the pros and cons of both shows, tasted Japanese Oreos, and made eyepatches out of felt and yarn.

One Piece-Teens tried weird fruit and used the green screen to pose in wanted posters.

Made March-Teens watched Kaichou wa mai and Maid Latte Team. Teens also watched Youtube videos of people who visited the Maid Cafe in Japan.  The craft of the day was maid headbands.

Other Anime Club Themes:

Bento Box challenge-For the challenge, we supplied a variety of vegetables, fruit, rice, and candy. Teens had 60 minutes to make a Bento Box.

Christmas in Japan-We ate KFC because that’s what Japanese people eat on Xmas, and watched Christmas themed anime.

Valentine’s Day in Japan-The teens made chocolate cups and took pictures of Kabedon, “wall-pounding,” which is when a guy suddenly thrusts his hand against a wall, pinning a girl to it. It’s one type of situation that’s widely desired by various females and featured commonly in manga.

Manga Drawing 101-We invited a local artist to teach teens the basics of drawing manga and anime characters.

Field Trips-Many cities have Japanese grocery stores that sell all types of food, books, and toys.  If you have a store nearby, rent a bus and take a field trip.

Dawn Abron is currently reading-The Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

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2016 Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Books for Teens

Wed, 11/16/2016 - 10:30

November 14-20 is Transgender Awareness Week and November 20 is International Transgender Day of Remembrance. Transgender Awareness Week helps raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and helps to address the issues the community faces. Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day set aside to memorialize those who have been killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.

This is a great time to highlight new books that celebrate the transgender experience. 2016 has been a positive in year in publishing as we have seen more voices from the transgender community, and more representation of transgender and gender non-conforming characters in literature. There have thrillers and romances, explorations of identity and coming of age, and books for younger readers as well as teens. Here are 11 titles published this year to note:

The Art of Being Normal By Lisa Williamson

Told through alternating voices, this British novels follows the story of two transgender teens. Leo Denton has just transferred to new school where he hopes to be invisible, especially as being transgender. David Piper hasn’t come out yet as Kate, and has only confided in two friends. After a couple of bullying incidents where Leo stands up for David, they fall into a somewhat reluctant friendship. After discovering what they have in common, the information gets out to the school, causing Leo to flee.

Beast By Brie Spangler

Set in Portland, OR, Dylan, who struggles with being abnormally big, and abnormally hairy, breaks his leg after falling off his roof. Since he is often teased about his size and hair, and at school called, “Beast,” this is seen as possibly not an accident, and Dylan has to attend a therapy group for self-harmers. There he meets the beautiful Jamie who he seems to see him for who he truly is. After he starts falling in love with her, he learns that she is transgender.

Being Jazz: My Life as A (Transgender) Teen By Jazz Jennings

Fifteen-year-old Jazz Jennings, a transgender activist, YouTube personality, and reality-show star memoir recounts what it is like to be a teen, especially a transgender teen, living a very public life. Since she was six-years-old and did a televised interview with Barbara Walters, both Jennings and her family have created a life of activism trying to support other transgender children and teens.

Girl Mans Up By M-E Girard

Set in Ontario, Pen Oliveira is the second child of conservative Portuguese parents who immigrated to Canada. Pen does not want to define herself too closely, but is “not into dudes,” looks and dresses like a boy, but finds that their are too many expectations with the LGBTQ lexicon as she identifies with being a boy, yet knows she’s a girl. She just wants to be who she is. Her best friend Colby has been acting like a jerk, especially to girls, but their friendship is really tested when she finds out he has gotten a girl pregnant and is trying to shirk any responsibilities. Pen finds solace when her crush starts to reciprocate feelings and they begin to work on a photography assignment together.

If I Was your Girl By Meredith Russo

This is an #OwnVoices book. Amanda has just moved to Tennessee to live with her estranged father after violent incident outside Atlanta where she was living with her mother makes her feel no longer safe. She is hoping for a new start, and only wants to fit in at her new school. Her father is still struggling with Amanda’s recent gender reassignment, making the homelife tense. She finds herself falling in love with the sweet and gentle Grant, and wants to share more about herself.

Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity By Kristin Elizabeth Clark

After high school graduation, Jess, a transgender teen, heads out on a road trip with her best friend, Chunk, to crash her father’s wedding. The journey is one of self-awareness and self-acceptance for both teens.

Lily and Dunkin By Donna Gephart

At the start of their eighth grade year, both Lily and Dunkin are trying to establish new identities for themselves. Everyone sees Lily as Timothy, but she is ready for the real her to be known, only her father isn’t ready for the the transition. Dunkin, has just moved to Lily’s Florida town to live with his Grandmother, and would love to leave his old name “Norbert” and some painful secrets in the past. One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.

Look Past By Eric Devine

This mystery/thriller starts with a murder. When Mary, the daughter of a prominent and very conservative local pastor is killed, her best friend Avery, a transgender boy, is forced to pick up the pieces. After, the murderer starts sending Avery threats that he, or his other close friends, will be next if Avery doesn’t repent for changing his gender identity. Now, Avery has to be braver than her ever thought.

The Other Boy By M. G. Hennessey

A book written for younger readers, but is one that teens will appreciate. Shane, a young transgender boy, has transferred to a new school and is just a normal guy. He loves baseball, graphic novels and hanging out with his best friend. He even has a crush on someone. But a bully at school is determined to find out why Shane switched schools, and this causes Shane anxiety.

Symptoms of Being Human By Jeff Garvin

Riley, a gender-fluid teenager starts a blog to work through issues of gender identity that quickly goes viral. Riley’s father, a prominent politician is in the midst of a heated reelection campaign, and it has Riley wanting to keep the blog on the down-low. Riley definitely doesn’t want anyone at the new school to know about it, but Riley starts to get some threats, some that might be close to home.

When the Moon Was Ours By Anna-Marie McLemore

Filled with lush language and magical realism, this is a story of two best friends turned lovers: Miel, a girl who grows roses from her forearms, and Sam who, who paints moons to hang from the trees. When the powerful neighboring Bonner sisters want Miel’s roses for themselves, and she tries to refuse, they threaten to tell Sam’s secret that he was really born a girl.

Here are more national resources for teens – look for local resources near you:

Also see these past posts for more resources:

— Danielle Jones, currently reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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20 Books to Inspire Social Change

Thu, 11/10/2016 - 07:00

Teen Tech Week is when libraries make the time to showcase all of the great digital resources and services that are available to help teens succeed in school and prepare for college and 21st century careers.

Celebrate the next Teen Tech Week with the theme “Be the Source of Change,” March 5-11, 2017. 

Below you’ll find 20 books to inspire your teens, your programming, or your book displays.

5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

The year is 2054 and decades of gender selection in India have led to a gender imbalance where boys outnumber girls 5 to 1. This makes girls a valuable commodity. A community of women tired of the unfairness of marriage decides to wall off a city and form their own country, Koyanagar. Here, young men compete for a woman’s hand in marriage through a series of tests. The story follows Sudasa, who must take her turn picking a husband, but she is unsure she wants to be a part of it.  In this reversal of gender roles and circumstances told through the alternating viewpoints of Sudasa and Contestant Five, readers explore important issues facing various cultures today.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

When sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing, classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend. Told through Rashad and Quinn’s alternating viewpoints, All American Boys examines current social justice issues through the lens of several teens.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nahisi Coates

In a letter to his adolescent son, Ta-Nahisi Coates shares the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world and what it’s like to inhabit a black body in the United States.  Coates offers a framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis through his personal experiences.

The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan

Fifteen-year-old Amadou and his younger brother, Seydou, were tricked into forced labor on a cocao plantation in the Ivory Coast. All they can do is try to survive, until the day Khadija comes into their lives. She is the first girl who’s ever been brought to camp. Every day she attempts to escape until finally, the bosses break her. Amadou decides that he must get free, for Khadija and Seydou. The three stick together and attempt to escape one last time.

Black Lives Matter by Sue Bradford Edwards and Duchess Harris

Black Lives Matter explores a brief history of Black lives in America and ends with recent events and the legal and social aftermaths touching on well known cases such as Michael Brown and Oscar Grant. The book highlights African American’s receiving harsher treatment at the hands of law enforcement and supports this with statistics. Black Lives Matter is a good way to introduce and discuss race relations and current events.

Citizen: an American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Through images, poetry, and prose, Citizen explores growing racial aggressions in the media and everyday life. From unintentional micro aggressions to blatant and intentional offense, racism is manifest everywhere, all the time. Rankine examines the individual and collective effects of racism in our current social climate.

The Distance Between Us: Young Readers Edition by Reyna Grande

This memoir begins with Reyna’s father leaving his family in a Mexican village in order to make a dangerous trip across the border into the United States. The father promises to return with enough money to buy the family a dream home but it seems he will never return. Reyna’s mother eventually goes to meet with her husband leaving Reyna and her siblings with their grandmother and ultimately the children have to fend for themselves. At last Reyna’s mother returns to send Reyna on her own journey to live with the man who left her so many years ago.

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot to death, his community is thrown into an uproar because Tariq was black and the shooter, Jack Franklin, is white. In the aftermath everyone has something to say, but no two characters can agree on a version of events.

I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban  by MalalaYousafzai with Patricia McCormick

I am Malala is a story about Malala Yousafzai’s life during the Taliban control of her region. The Taliban’s cruel and oppressive rule chafe against what she was taught in the peaceful Pakistan that she was raised in. The book tells the account of her childhood and continues into how she became an international symbol of peace for which she received the Nobel Prize.

I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister by Amélie Sarn

In this portrait of two Muslim sisters, Amelie Sarn weaves a tale of love, loss, and devotion. Sohane and Dejlila are high school students living in France. Sohane is devout and dedicated to her religion, while Dejlila dresses liberally and chooses not to practice religious custom. When Dejlila is murdered by a local Muslim boy for her liberal ways, Sohane is confronted by the conflicts between her religion and the society in which she lives.

Made in America: Immigrant Students in Our Public Schools by Laurie Olsen and Rebekah Edwards

Laurie Olsen who spent two years at Madison High School where she interviewed the faculty, students, administrators, and parents to get an inside look at how immigrants need to become “Americanized” in this society but then are denied full acceptance because of how American society is. The book discusses the line immigrants must walk between losing their heritage to so-called multiculturalism assimilation and keeping true to their roots.

March by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin

March is book one in the graphic novel trilogy detailing the life and struggle of John Lewis for civil and human rights. Though it is mostly centered on John’s story, it also touches on other broader civil rights moments. Book one focuses mainly on his childhood in Alabama and how meeting Martin Luther King Jr. put him on the path to becoming a key figure to the Civil Rights Movement.

October Mourning by Lesléa Newman

Through poetry and various points of view, Lesléa Newman relates the events from the night of October 6, 1998. Twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was lured out of a Wyoming bar, viciously beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die.

Revolution by Deborah Wiles

Revolution takes place in the 60’s where the main character, Sunny, finds out that there are people coming down south to help with voter registration. She is very uncomfortable with this invasion of strangers and her family is not helping as they become more and more overbearing. Late night shenanigans get her caught up in an adventure where she must figure out where she fits in the world and what she wants to stand for in life.

This Side of Home by Renée Watson

This Side of Home follows the senior year of identical twins, Nikki and Maya, and is told from Maya’s perspective. Nikki and Maya have always been inseparable. However, gentrification and their reaction to the development of their neighborhood threaten to tear the two teens apart. Nikki is excited about the new developments in the area, while Maya is leery of all the changes. She thought her neighborhood was just fine the way it was, and she closes herself off (at first) to their new neighbors.

Sold by Patricia McCormick

Thirteen-year-old Lakshmi, though poor, enjoys her life until the Himalayan monsoons wash away her family’s crops and she is sold to a brothel in India by her stepfather. She remembers her mother’s wisdom about triumph through endurance and she hopes for the day when she can reclaim her life.

Spirit of a Mountain Wolf by Rosanne Hawke

Spirit of a Mountain Wolf is the story of teenage Razaq Khan who lives in a Pakistani tribe that is hit by an earthquake. His family is killed and Razaq is left to fend for himself.  While trying to find his uncle, Razaq is tricked into slavery. When he is about to lose all hope he meets Tahira who gives him newfound strength to try to overcome his agonizing situation.

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Riley Cavanaugh is a gender-fluid teenager who struggles with her identity. Riley creates a blog on the topic that goes viral and leads to an assault by a fellow classmate. Riley finds support in a new group of friends and finds courage to talk about her identity issues.

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

One night while her family is sleeping, fourteen year old Eden is raped by her older brother’s best friend. Told in four parts, through Eden’s freshmen, sophomore, junior, and senior years, The Way I Used to Be takes a close look at the devastating effects of that night on Eden’s life and her relationships with friends and family.

The Word for Yes by Claire Needell

Jan, Erika, and Melanie are three sisters trying to get used to life after their parents’ divorce. The gap between the girls widens, until a disastrous night at a party when Melanie is date raped.  In an afterward, Claire Needell addresses the prevalence of rape and discusses rape prevention.

Megan Whit, currently reading Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

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Resources for Fostering Empathy in Your Community

Wed, 11/09/2016 - 18:41

As librarians and library workers who work for and with teens, everyone at The Hub is committed to fostering an empathetic community where all are welcome.

This is a round up of posts from the past year that promote tolerance and respect and celebrate people from all backgrounds.

— Molly Wetta, currently reading As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds

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Monthly Monday Poll: November Edition

Mon, 11/07/2016 - 07:40

Hello, Hub readers!

This month we’re asking which books from the #yalsa16 Symposium’s awesome group of Book Blitz titles you’re hoping to read next. It’s a bigger group of options than our usual slate, so choose up to 5, and be sure to peruse the whole list for some fantastic reads from wonderful authors!

For more coverage of YALSA’s 2016 Young Adult Services Symposium, stayed tuned for some highlights up soon here at The Hub, and be sure to peruse #yalsa16 on Twitter; there were lots of folks tweeting out great tips and takeaways.

Update from last month’s poll: a full 73% of us are primarily reading library or personal copies of books that are officially published and out in the world, and the other 27% of us are reading a more even mix of advance/review copies and already-published titles. Literally not even one respondent was reading a majority of advance titles, and I have to say I think that says something *really* impressive about how fast y’all read once a book is out in the world!

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

— Carly Pansulla, currently reading Dune by Frank Herbert

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Women in Comics: Cooking Comics (with Recipes Included!)

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 07:00

Since I first read Relish by Lucy Knisley, I have been fascinated by comics that integrate cooking and recipes with an engaging story. Though the books on this list are very different from one another, they all share a focus on the joy that can come from food and cooking. Whether you hope to one day be a professional chef or simply enjoy a good meal, these books are sure to nourish the mind as well as the body.

Kitchen Princess by Natsumi Ando and Miyuki Kobayashi – As a child, Najika met a boy who comforted her at her time of need. Now that she is older – and an expert with food – she is on a quest to find him, a quest which takes her all the way to the fancy Seika Academy. Once there, she must use her cooking talents to win over skeptical classmates and find the boy from her childhood. Along the way, she wins a prestigious cooking competition, helps to revitalize a café, tackles difficult topics like eating disorders and learns a lot about her special skills. This manga will appeal to shōjo fans and includes recipes and extras with each volume.

Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion! by Natalie Reiss – In this comic that combines a bunch of genres into a fun mix, Peony is a baker from Earth who has an opportunity to compete in Space Battle Lunchtime. As the top TV show in the universe, Space Battle Lunchtime is a dream come true for an aspiring baker, but what will happen when Peony tries to beat alien competitors on a spaceship? This book combines a fun story with wonderful artwork that makes great use of color. It is sure to appeal to everyone who loves cooking and food and it’s particularly perfect for Great British Bake Off fans looking for a very different type of cooking competition!

Cook Korean! A Comic Book With Recipes by Robin Ha – If you love cookbooks and comics, this book is for you. Robin Ha has brought over 60 Korean recipes to life through a combination of illustrations and comic strips. The comic strips offer autobiographical details about Ha and historical details about the food, while the recipes themselves include not only illustrations of the steps but also helpful tips for those who are new to Korean food. This is a great option for anyone who loves to cook, even if you’ve never tried to make Korean food before.

Bake Sale by Sara Varon – Set in a world where food items are personified, Bake Sale follows Cupcake, a cupcake who is a skilled baker trying to grow his bakery business. His best friend Eggplant supports him along the way, even going so far as to try to introduce him to a family friend who is a famous baker. In the end, the story ends up being one about friendship and finding a balance between work and relationships. The sweet (no pun intended) story is complemented by delightful illustrations. The book also includes several illustrated recipes for readers who want to try their hand at baking.

The Manga Cookbook by Yoko Ishihara with art by Chihiro Hattori – Manga and recipes might not seem like an obvious combination, but this book will change your mind about that. With a focus on Japanese food, this cookbook covers basic recipes that anyone can easily make (some don’t even require cooking) and more complicated techniques. In all cases, the steps are demonstrated through manga-style comics. Interspersed with the recipes are short explanatory notes that not only tell more about the types of food featured in the book but also highlight where some of these recipes have appeared in famous manga. If you love manga and food, you are sure to enjoy this book!

Easy Eats: A Bee and PuppyCat Cookbook by Natasha Allegri – This book isn’t quite a comic book, but it is an illustrated cookbook that will appeal to fans of Bee and PuppyCat, who do have their own comic, so it can sneak onto this list. The recipes in this book range from variations on fairly standard recipes (NextGen Spaghetti Bolognese) to more unusual fare (Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes), so there is a little something for everyone. The book covers main courses, side dishes and desserts and features cute illustrations of the iconic Bee and PuppyCat characters.

Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos (with Recipes) by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton – This collection combines artwork of the tattoos of chefs with stories of why the tattoos are meaningful to them to offer an insight into each of the subjects. By focusing on their tattoos, the authors have chosen a very different window than most into these chefs’ lives, meaning that this book offers perspectives not often seen, even for its more famous subjects. The book also includes selected recipes. This book is not written with a young adult audience in mind and does have brief strong language, but it may appeal to older teens who are interested in becoming chefs or tattoo artists.

I hope this list will inspire readers to try not only these comics but the recipes included in many of them. And, if anyone has tried any of these recipes, I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

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2016 Middle Grade Titles with Teen Appeal

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 07:00

It can be easy to for me to forget that teens are some of the most dexterous readers out there. They can jump from reading adult novels one day, back to a young adult novel the next, and then have no qualms about picking up a book that we consider middle grade after that. I often feel that I need to be pushing older teens to move onward from young adult titles to adult titles, assuming that is what they are “growing into,” but will be surprised when one says how they have just read Sara Pennypacker’s Pax and loved it. Some teens stay loyal to the authors that meant so much to them in the grade school years, authors like Christopher Paul Curtis and Kate DiCamillo, and others will continue to read anything by Rick Riordan, no matter how old they get. Teens can still have an interest in titles that we assume they would feel are “babyish,” but for them can be a break from angst or romance, and to them are just a great story.

We have some great resources when we are looking for adult books for teen appeal. We have YALSA’s Alex Award and their annual vetted list of books and School Library Journal’s column Adult Books for Teens, but we rarely see resources out there for younger books that might have a place in a teen’s reading pile. Here is a list of recent titles, titles that can be both successful with both a 5th-grader and an 11-grader.

Realistic Fiction

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

This story starts and ends with a gunshot. Ever since the night his father shot a gun at him and his mother, Castle Cranshaw left running and hasn’t stopped since. Now in seventh-grade, he’s nicknamed himself Ghost after coming upon a track tryout, and without officially entering, taking on one of the most elite runners and winning. Now he is being courted by the coach to join the track team, and learns that you don’t always have to run away from things, but can run towards things too. Track is one of those sports that many kids and teens participate in, but it is rarely the subject of novels. Fans of Friday Night Lights with love this coach in this as much as they do Coach Taylor. This is a character-driven and plot-driven novel with many appeals, but teens that especially love a Gatsby-esque novel laden with imagery and themes will find so much to pore over in this short, but rich, novel.

The Best Man by Richard Peck

This story starts and ends with a wedding. One that is a complete train-wreck, and one that couldn’t be more perfect. This coming-of-age novel is full of snarky humor and hilarious episodes that allow you to see the world of adults through a younger generation’s eyes. Unlike Tom Sawyer and Holden Caulfield, Archer Magill is clueless to the world around him, and his best friend Lynette is always having to explain life’s nuances. Teen’s who have appreciated David Sedaris’ childhood memoir essays will feel at home in how family can be hilarious and still be the best parts of our world.

Booked by Kwame Alexander

Soccer is the backdrop to this coming-of-age novel. Nick Hall, whose father makes him study the dictionary and turn in homework to him, would love to escape the world of words and books. Nick thinks he has the world all-figured out. He lives for soccer, and both he and his best-friend are getting to play in the Dallas Dr. Pepper Open, but on different teams. Just as things seem to be going his way, especially with his crush paying a little of attention to him, bombs start to drop–his mother announces she is leaving to follow her dream of training race horses, but in a different state, and he get appendicitis right before the big tournament. Teens will appreciate how messy life can be, and appreciate those little moments when you realize that you’ve gotten it all wrong.

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart

At the start of their eighth grade year both Lily and Dunkin are trying to establish new identities for themselves. Everyone sees Lily as Timothy, but she is ready for the real her to be known, only her father isn’t ready for the the transition. Dunkin, has just moved to Lily’s Florida town to live with his Grandmother, and would love to leave his old name “Norbert”and some painful secrets in the past. This middle grade novel has strong characterization of two young teens navigating their identities. Older teens will identify with the work it takes to let others see the real you, and the hope they will accept you for who you truly are.

Fantasy

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

When Peter’s father is heading off to war, he is forced to abandon his pet fox in the woods. Unable to handle the separation, Peter runs away to find his beloved pet, Pax. Told through alternating perspective between Peter and Pax, this book is a sensitive look at grief, man’s relationship with animals, and the marks of war.

When the Sea Turned Silver by Grace Lin

The magic of story will transport readers into a new time and place filled with adventure. Pinmei has to find the Luminous Stone to rescue her grandmother who has been kidnapped by the emperor. Teens that love books of fairytales retold, with love that feeling as Lin weaves new stories that have that classic feeling.

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

Young Alice lives in a world that values both magic and color, and she unfortunately seems to be lacking both. She hasn’t seem to exhibit any magical powers similar to those in her community, and she was born with no color in her skin or hair. After her father has been missing for several years, she hears that he might be in the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, and she sets out to find him. Teens will be drawn to this Whimsical, gothic fairy tale with a narrator voice similar to Series of Unfortunate Events.

Goblin’s Puzzle; Being the Adventures of A Boy With No Name and Two Girls Called Alice by Andrew S. Chilton

Teen fans of Douglas Adams or Monty Python will love the humorous writing and twists and turns in this adventure. This follows a slave boy with no name as he tries to rescue a princess and a peasant (both named Alice), and discover what his destiny is. He seeks the help of Mennofar, a tiny green goblin, even though he can’t be trusted as everyone knows goblins are sneaky.

Historical Fantasy

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gitwitz

Set in France in 1242, this Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales-like novel starts in an inn where several travelers are piecing together the story of three remarkable, even magical, children and their unusual dog for a man known as “The Inquisitor.” The children’s path has them traversing across the country fleeing persecution as they each come into their power. This medieval time is not often explored in kid and teen lit, but this year with this, and The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry, we have two new books both set in France. This is a more irreverent look at the Crusades and Inquisition, and teens will have a fun-filled ride as they explore a time in history, and look at philosophical questions of morality and who decides what is right and wrong.

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet S. Fox

Set in England during World War II, Kat and her brother and sister are evacuated from London to a boarding school housed in an old Scottish castle. Their host, Lady Eleanor, puts Kat on edge as do unusual mechanical sounds she hears at night, the hidden spy equipment she finds, and silent children she sees wandering the grounds. But when the other children staying at the castle begin to vanish, Kat knows something is really wrong. This steampunky horror will appeal to those teens that like a creepy and atmospheric edge to their mystery.

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd

Also set WWII, young Emmaline is sent to the British countryside to stay at Briar Hill Hospital, a place for those suffering from tuberculosis. Emmaline starts to see winged horses in the hospital mirrors, and when she meets a fugitive white-winged horse in the hospital’s garden, she vows to protect the creature from a menacing black-feathered horse that is after it. Teens that like stories with an unreliable narrator will gravitate to this as it is also laden with metaphors for life and death, shows the horrors of war, and blurs the line between real and imaginary. This book leaves a lot of room for readers to debate the story’s meaning.

Snow White by Matt Phelan

Set in New York City during the Roaring Twenties and the start of the Great Depression, this graphic novel re-imagines the Snow White story with the wicked queen as a Follies star and “The Seven” as a group of young orphan boys trying to survive on the streets of New York. Teens, that often gravitate to fairytale retellings, will enjoy Phelan’s soft edges that bring the jazz era alive and let the occasional red bleed through.

Historical Fiction

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

Set during the late 1970s California, Zomorod is starting at new school with a new name, Cindy. She chose it from the popular American television show, The Brady Bunch, and she knows that it is one that everyone can pronounce. Her family has relocated to California from Iran just as things between the U.S. and Iran start to escalate over politics and oil. Zomorod finds herself getting not only having to be a spokesperson for Iran, but also having to take the blame for things such as the Iran Hostage Crisis. Filled with both humor and historical details, teens will see a time not often shown in historical fiction, and will get a better understanding of those that often have to carry a burden of homeland countries’ actions that they have no control over.

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

Also set in the 1970s, Raymie knows everything depends on her. If she can win the Little Miss Central Tire Pageant she will get her picture in the paper and her father, who has just ran off with a dental hygienist, will see it and come home. Having to do good deeds and learn to twirl the baton as part of the pageant process, Raymie is thrown into some unlikely friendships with other pageant members. Teens will be swept up with DiCamillo’s use of language and her universal themes of loss, loneliness, and friendship in unlikely places.

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Often compared as a new To Kill a Mockingbird with its themes of redemption and outsider characters, this book set in WWII in rural Pennsylvania follows 12-year-old Annabelle who is facing a malicious bully, and has to learn to navigate a grey world of right and wrong. Teens with appreciate its smart use of allegory, richly layered themes, and lyrical language as Annabelle tries to stand up for the town’s loner Toby, a shell-shocked WWI vet.

Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson

Broadway’s Hamilton fans wanting more from the Revolutionary era from new voices will appreciate Anderson’s third in the Seeds of America series. Culminating in the Battle of Yorktown, Isabel and Curzon, who are both seen as runaway slaves, make the journey from Charleston to New York as fugitives. Full of historical details and themes of human capacity to persevere, this explores the frustrating irony that during a war for freedom there should remain slavery.

Nonfiction

Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet

This book will delight E.B. White fans of all ages. Sweet’s scrapbook storytelling approach is inspiring and engaging as we see the life of the writer of beloved childhood classics such as Charlotte’s Web, The New Yorker, and many other works.  White comes to life as an observant, brilliant wordsmith with an affinity for nature.

We Will Not be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement that Defied Adolf Hitler by Russell Freedman

In this compact, suspenseful narrative nonfiction, Freedman illuminates a small but powerful student movement that used a secretive leaflet campaign to oppose Hitler’s regime. Focusing on the teen players in this movement, he shows the power of action and conviction, even when it has deadly repercussions.

Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West by Candace Fleming

William Cody was one of the first international stars, and he did this by creating a persona, an image, and a brand. In today’s world where it is all about creating your own brand for yourself, this explores the time when William Cody was the first to take image to the next level by creating an international phenomena around his persona Buffalo Bill.

This Land Is Our Land: A History of American Immigration by Linda Barrett Osborne

This timely book about the history of immigration in the United States shows how immigration isn’t just an issue today, but has always been since we started the social experiment that is the United States.

–Danielle Jones, currently reading You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson

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2016 Teens’ Top Ten Titles Announced!

Mon, 10/17/2016 - 15:20

The moment everyone has been waiting for is finally here! Here are the official 2016 Teens’ Top Ten titles!

  1. Alive by Chandler Baker. Disney/Hyperion. 9781484706831.
  2. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Random House/Alfred A. Knopf. 9780385755887.
  3. The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books. 9780545668347.
  4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Macmillan/Henry Holt & Co. 9781627792127.
  5. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. Random House/Delacorte Press. 9780553496642.
  6. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. Disney/Hyperion. 9781484705278.
  7. The Novice: Summoner: Book One by Taran Matharu. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends. 9781250080059.
  8. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.  Random House/Alfred A. Knopf. 9780553499117.
  9. When by Victoria Laurie. Disney/Hyperion. 9781484700082.
  10. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls. By Lynn Weingarten. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse. 9781481418584.

Altogether, over 28,000 votes were cast for the 26 nominees.

A list featuring the winning titles can be found on the Teens’ Top Ten page.

Now through December 31, 2016, teens aged 12-18 can nominate their favorite titles to be considered as a 2017 Teens’ Top Ten nominee via the public nomination form. Book title nominations submitted in the current year will be used for consideration of the following year’s list of nominees. For books to be eligible for consideration, they must be published between January 1– December 31, 2016.

Want to learn more about the Teens’ Top Ten? Visit www.ala.org/yalsa/teenstopten.

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7 Books If You Like The Girl on the Train

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 07:00

The Girl on the Train starring Emily Blunt comes to theaters October 7th.  Based on the best selling novel by the same title by Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train features an unreliable protagonist that may or may not have murdered someone.

If your teens have read or will see The Girl on the Train in theaters and need more books featuring unreliable protagonists, have them check out these seven titles.

Cat woke up on the beach of her summer home in nothing but her underwear however she doesn’t remember what happened.  Two years later, Cat suffers from an unknown illness and the only cure may be to return to her summer home to search for answers.

Zoe has a huge secret that she’s too afraid to share with anyone until she gets the idea to confess to a death row inmate in America.

Violet has a promising ballet career and Amber is an inmate in a juvenile center.  Their only connection is Ori and she is the only person who can release the demons haunting Violet and Amber.

Witnessing an attack on her best friend, Julie fights off the attacker and gets abducted while her friend flees.  One year later, Julie is safe home but continues to get horrific flashbacks of her 48 hour abduction.  With her best friend spiraling out of control, Julie begins to remember things and what she recalls is unexpected.

Angela has lost three year of her life, her memories, her friends and family.  With the assistance of new friends, Angela embarks on a journey to recover herself but when her memories resurface she’ll have to make life changing decisions.

After an accident Triss comes to find that her sister fears her, her parents whisper when she’s around, and she has an insatiable hunger.  When Triss begins to investigate the circumstances of her accident, she uncovers a dark city with a creepy “architect.”

Cameron and his mother are always on the run from their abusive father/husband.  After a suspicious car shows up by their house, they are on the move again and end up in a small town in a creepy farmhouse. After a couple of taunting remarks from his new classmates, Cameron decides to do some research on his new house and uncovers a possible murder 50 years prior.

Printable PDF of Girl on the Train Read-a-Likes

— Dawn Abron, currently reading Midnight Star by Marie Lu

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Collection Development Grant Supports Library Express in Scranton, PA

Fri, 10/07/2016 - 07:00

This is a post from Anna Kilcullen, a Young Adult & Reader’s Service Librarian at Albright Memorial Library in Scranton, Pennsylvania, who was awarded a Baker & Taylor and YALSA Collection Development Grant. YALSA members who work directly with young adults can apply for next year’s grant until December 1st

source

This year I was awarded one of the Baker & Taylor/ YALSA Collection Development grants to create a new and improved YA collection at the Scranton Public Library’s bookstore/library hybrid branch, Library Express. Library Express is unique not only because it is a hybrid but because it is located in the Marketplace at Steamtown, Scranton’s downtown mall.   Library Express is also the location of most of the teen programming that I conduct as the library’s Young Adult Librarian. The YA collection at Library Express was desperately in need of an upgrade so this grant came in very handy. With the grant funding, I was able to add about eighty-five new titles to the existing YA collection. In total, these new items circulated 107 times between June 2016 and August 2016. This much activity was in great contrast to the meager circulation statistics which were collected before we added the new titles.

When I ordered the items for the new teen collection, I decided to spend most of the grant funding on YA Fiction novels which could be classified as modern classics such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Monster by Walter Dean Myers, The First-Part Last by Angela Johnson and The Giver by Lois Lowry. This strategy paid off because these titles circulated well and will not become outdated so easily. The nonfiction titles and Playaways that I added to the collection did not circulate quite as well. I had a feeling that this would be the case which is why I spent the bulk of the grant funding on YA Fiction.

The effect the new collection had on our teens was remarkable. It caused quite a stir. The teens were thrilled with the new variety of titles to choose from and enjoyed picking out new titles to read each week. One teen exclaimed, “Now I don’t have to wait for a book from another library before I can check one out!” Another teen was encouraged by the new collection to use her library card for the first time! Having many titles, mostly modern classics, to choose from made this first experience with borrowing from the library fruitful and complete. It was so satisfying to witness the teen’s excitement over their new collection.

I am so grateful for having received the Baker & Taylor/YALSA Collection Development Grant.   I love that the teens in our community finally have a collection they could get excited about at Library Express.   Now that they feel that they are worthy of a substantial investment, I see the teens taking ownership of their library in new and profound ways. The teens that frequent Library Express have benefited greatly from this grant and continue to do so. I must also note that the statistics showed that, in line with the national trend, adults borrowed the new additions almost as much as the teens. Thus, the Baker & Taylor/ YALSA Collection Development Grant has given the Library Express YA collection a much needed boost and, for that, all of us at the Scranton Public Library are thankful and delighted!

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New Interest Group – Picture Books for Young Adults

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 07:00

One of my favorite audiences for booktalks is a group of middle school students. I love their tough exteriors, their hyper-aware disinterest, and their expectation that anything I say will be boring. For that reason, I like to line up my books on a table and ask them to pick which books look interesting. If there are a couple of picture books in the mix, inevitably someone will go for the laugh and select one of those. For example, I might set out these:

The picture books mixed in this line-up have a sarcastic edge that is just right for thirteen-year-old readers. They serve to break the ice and get the audience comfortable about choosing other books in my display. And it’s a way to raise awareness for the non-babyish appeal of many picture books.

The trick is finding these transcendent picture books. I have gathered a few favorites over the years. Maybe you have, too. These books are discovered not through subject headings or award lists, but through the experience of reading book after book and recognizing the appeal.

This is why I am excited to start an interest group focusing on picture books for young adults. It’s a small niche in the world of books, but such fun to explore!

Want to join me? An interest group is not like a committee in the sense that dedicated participation in required. We may decide to share our books through blog posts, or put together a conference program, but that’s completely up to our group. If you think this might be for you, just fill out this form. All you need is YALSA membership and an interest!

Diane Colson, currently reading All Involved by Ryan Gattis.

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Women in Comics: Witchcraft in Time for Halloween

Tue, 10/04/2016 - 07:00

As October begins, Halloween is once again around the corner, making this a great time to explore the mystical in the comic book world. When it comes to magic in comic books, witches have long been a popular option with creators because they offer so many possibilities. Here are some recent comics that have witches as their main characters.

Toil & Trouble by Mairghread Scott with illustrations by Kelly Matthews and Nichole Matthews – Have you ever wanted to know more about the witches in Macbeth? This comic retells the classic tale from their perspective, offering a completely new take on Shakespeare’s work. See what happens when these three sister fates delve into Scottish politics. This is a fresh take on a work that many have read in English class and is a great way to get comics fans more interested in the story of Macbeth. It is also a strong work of horror in its own right, making it a good option even for those who aren’t fans of Shakespeare.

Scarlet Witch Vol. 1: Witches’ Road by James Robinson with illustrations by Vanesa R. Del Rey, Marco Ruby, Steve Dillion, Chris Visions, and Javier Pulido – With her inclusion in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War, Scarlet Witch has been introduced to a whole new group of fans. This comic offers the perfect continuation for both long time and new fans. In this volume, Scarlet Witch must travel across the globe in an attempt to save magic and witchcraft from a mysterious figure who would destroy it. The series combines compelling artwork by a strong group of artists with an exciting story, resulting in a great reading experience.

Spell Checkers by Jamie S. Rich with illustrations by Nicolas Hitori De and Joëlle Jones – High school can be a hard enough time without also being a witch. At first, Jesse, Kimmie, and Cynthia might think that their magical powers will make their life easy and enjoyable, but as rumors start to circulate about them and their powers begin to falter, they are going to have to find their nemesis and come together to fight back. This is a darkly humorous take on high school witchcraft that has a strong style.

Black Magick: Awakening by Greg Rucka with illustrations by Nicola Scott – Rowan Black leads a dual life as both a police detective and a witch, but these two sides of her life come together when a powerful magical force starts attacking her. In volume 1 of this story, readers begin to see the larger forces of both good and evil at work in these events while leaving just enough mystery to keep them wanting more. The almost entirely black and white artwork adds to the dark atmosphere of the story and helps to make this a great read for fans of horror and supernatural. This book is definitely for an older audience due to its depictions of violence and brief nudity. It will particularly appeal to fans of Coffin Hill by Caitlin Kittredge and Inaki Miranda.

Spell on Wheels by Kate Leth with illustrations by Megan Levens – Later this month an interesting new comic about witches is debuting. The story follows three witches as they go on a road trip to recover lost magical objects. Road trips and witches seems like a great combo and with the creative team of Kate Leth and Megan Levens, this one is sure to be great!

I hope this list will help you find a great read in time for Halloween! These are some of the best comics about witches to feature female authors and illustrators, but there are a lot more out there. Let us know your favorites in the comments.

— Carli Spina, currently between books

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Monthly Monday Polls: October – Your TBR

Mon, 10/03/2016 - 07:00

Happy Monday, Hub readers! It’s time for the Monthly Monday Poll, and this month we want to hear about your reading habits, specifically whether you’re reading a ton of ARCs or not.

Last month’s poll asked if you are a fan of these seemingly endless screen adaptations, or if you prefer that Hollywood leave the complex plot lines, interior monologues, and nuanced relationship-building to the page. Folks were largely in favor of the extra reach provided by screen adaptions, with 72% of respondents glad to see something given live-action treatment, but 28% were concerned that the perils of a poorly-received or executed adaptation can overshadow the original book(s). I thought of this when I heard that Netflix is rebooting Lemony Snicket’s beloved Series of Unfortunate Events books as a miniseries starring Neil Patrick Harris, even though the first 3 books were previously adapted into a feature film with Jim Carrey in the lead in 2004 (sidenote: I cannot believe it’s been 12 years since that movie came out). Clearly Netflix believes the books’ (legion) fans want something from an adaptation that the film didn’t deliver…

This month, we’re asking about your *typical* TBR pile, specifically your ARC habits. Do you prefer (or are you required, by the nature of your work) to have your line-up of titles be mostly pre-publication ARCs, or are you generally inching up the Holds list or browsing the stacks for your next book?

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

Happy October, and happy reading, fellow Hub readers!

-Carly Pansulla, currently reading The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

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18 Books if You Liked Stranger Things

Mon, 10/03/2016 - 07:00

Netflix’s new TV show Stranger Things has been wildly popular. The show, set in the 80s, begins when a young boy, Mikey, goes missing, and his friends and family uncover many strange things while looking for him, including a girl with paranormal abilities.

Season two is currently filming, but if your teens have binged season one and need some books to tide them over, check out these 18 science fiction/weird YA titles.

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

What would the world be like if Hitler’s Aryan nation plan had succeeded?  It’s 1956 and Yael, a skinshifter, has been assigned the task of killing the fuhrer by entering and winning a motorcycle race.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (2016 Popular Paperbacks)

Ruby is different and her parents are afraid of her.  When Ruby survived the virus that killed all the kids, her parents locked her in the garage.  Desperate to escape, Ruby finds a place with other teens like her only to find out that her powers will be exploited.

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

Mila looks like a human teen but was actually created in a lab.  Sent to live like a human after a memory wipe, Mila finds herself on the run from her creators who want to destroy her and from people who want to use her powers for evil.

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

Nadia lives in Canaan-a Utopian city that erupts in chaos every twelve years called The Forgetting.  The annual “celebration” is set to arrive but Nadia is beginning to remember things she was supposed to forget twelve years ago.  Can she find answers before the next Forgetting?

Reboot by Amy Tintera (2014 Quick Picks for Young Readers)

The longer you’re dead the less human you are when you are rebooted. Wren was dead for 178 minutes making her almost nonhuman.  When a new recruit whose mostly human joins, he’s too slow and is a detriment and Wren has begun to have human feelings for him.  When he’s ordered to be terminated for his incompetence, will Wren have the “guts” to do it

Unremembered by Jessica Brody

Seraphina was the only survivor from a deadly plane crash and she doesn’t know why she survived or where her supernatural powers came from.  She needs to find answers quickly before the bad guys catch her.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Katie’s father is trying to kill the monsters and August is a monster with the gift of sucking ones soul.  When Katie and August unexpectedly team up, can they reason with their feuding fathers to end the war?

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (2016 Printz Award)

Bone Gap, Illinois is a little town that has gaps where one can fall into and never find their way out.  When Roza goes missing and creepy Finn doesn’t help her, the town suspects Finn but Finn suspects a mysterious stranger.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Marguerite is the daughter of two brilliant physicists who invent a device that allows people to travel to different dimensions.  One day, one of their interns steals the device and is suspected in the murder of Marguerite’s father.Marguerite and a second intern, Theo, travel through dimensions to find and kill Marguerite’s father’s murderer.

A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab

There are four Londons that exist in four dimensions and only two people in the world can travel between them and one of them is Kell.  Kell is a smuggler and one day his illegal activities catch up to him.

Pivot Point by Kasie West

Addison is a searcher-she can see alternate futures.  When her parents get divorced, Addison uses her special abilities to see her future with her father who lives outside their special community or with her mother who lives inside the community.  Addison sees a relationship in one future and a death in the other; which one will she choose?

3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Josie’s life is in turmoil especially when she begins to have a reoccurring dream at 3:59pm of a girl who looks exactly like her but has a perfect life.  When Josie receives the opportunity to switch lives with the other Josie, will she find happiness or more mysterious problems.

Paralell by Lauren Miller

Abby’s life is planned out perfectly but she suddenly finds herself on a Hollywood movie set and then she’s in college at Yale.  Unsure on how she’s jumping from life to life, Abby soon discovers she’s jumping between alternate universes and someone is living the life she planned.

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Miel fell out of a water tower one day and everyone thinks she’s a witch.  Sam brings her home, finds her a family, and they eventually become best friends.  Ten years later, Miel is still a mystery that is slowly being revealed.

The Rules by Stacey Kade

Ariane was created in a lab and is to live by five simple rules and one of them is to not fall in love.  When Ariane is sent to blend in with other human teens a prank has potentially exposed her to the police chief’s son.  With the help of Zane, Ariane must run from those who want her destroyed.

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Annaliese Rose Gordon disappeared from Buffalo NY a year ago.  She turns up in Oklahoma.  She looks like herself, visibly thinner, but she’s different. She’s Anna, a monster.

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

Dolssa has unexplained gifts that have labeled her a heretic.  On the run from the church, Dolssa is found by Botille and taken back to her small French town.  When Dolssa’s gifts begin to heal people, some of the townspeople look to Dolssa to heal them while others fear her.  When the church comes to town to ask questions, will Botille and her town hide Dolssa or turn her in?

Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Jonah has always known he was adopted but when he discovers his friend and other teens his age are also adopted, he begins to ask questions.  A mysterious note that tells Jonah he is one of the missing sparks Jonah to investigate his background but what happens when the FBI discovers Jonah’s inquiries?

Printable downloadable booklist

—Dawn Abron, currently reading Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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Month in Review: September 2016

Fri, 09/30/2016 - 07:00

Now that the school year’s back in swing, we’re bringing back the Month in Review roundup of resources for collection development, content curation, and teen library services.

 

Hub Highlights

An exploration of hi/lo books.

Books for fans of The Get Down.

An Interview with Francisco X. Stork.

Books and Reading

13 Mind-bending YA Books at the NYPL blog.

Amanda at Teen Librarian Toolbox has a preview of forthcoming YA titles.

Harry Potter and the transformation of fandom at Slate.

YA lit for makers at Teen Librarian’s Toolbox.

YA author Mindy McGinnis on poverty in YA lit and her new book, Female of the Species.

Reading While White did a September-long feature on #OwnVoices books: check out the reviews of Eighth Grade Superzero, It Ain’t Awful, Falafel, Outrun the Moon, and more.

At Epic Reads, the 23 most-anticipated YA books out in October.

Up your readers’ advisory game with this webinar from NoveList on unlocking the power of pop culture.

Banned Books Week

I.W. Gregorio says “Save a Life — Support a Banned Book” in Publisher’s Weekly.

At Teen Services Underground: Dealing with a Book Challenge.

School Library Journal shares data from a survey about book challenges and looks at the content of challenged books (spoiler: it’s mostly diverse books).

OK, this is funny. From The Onion: Teens disappointed in Banned Books.

Beyond Books

Interested in non-traditional collections? Check out Emma’s post on TSU about Maker Kits.

At Public Libraries Online: a library is more than a bunch of books.

ALSC on video games in libraries.

The trailer for the movie adaptation of Lauren Kate’s Fallen is circling the internet, but when will it hit big screens?

Amandla Stenberg will star in The Darkest Minds.

The Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda movie has a director.

Librarianship

On 5 Minute Librarian, 5 places for free online professional development. (We’d Add YALSA’s professional development!)

— Molly Wetta, currently reading The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu

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Collection Development and Content Curation for National History Day

Thu, 09/29/2016 - 07:00

It’s a common scene across the country – hundreds of students in various grades, one research theme for all grades, and one school librarian trying to assist each student and provide a worthy library collection. Under the umbrella of a national theme, National History Day (NHD) allows students to choose a topic, event, or person from history to research and present upon.

 

With more than half a million middle school and high school students participating each year, it is competitive, with the final goal being accepted to nationals each summer in Washington D.C.  This year’s theme is “Taking a Stand in History.” The format also varies; students can write a paper, or create a website, documentary, presentation board, or create a performance piece, which means a variety of resources can be employed during the research process.

Using NHD guidelines, grade-specific requirements, and resources provided both in the library and online, collection development and content curation for this project has evolved. It’s a collaboration between library and classroom. It incorporates the library’s physical and digital collections and online resources. The goal is to ensure hundreds of students use the library efficiently as well as meet curriculum guidelines by participating in this nationally recognized research project.

Conversation One: What Will Students Choose?

Preparation for National History Day begins in the spring semester for the next year’s theme, which is chosen by the NHD organization. I try to think of the obvious topics as well as ask all teachers what they think will be popular topics for their specific classes, such as American History or World History.

Often, teachers set guidelines for which time periods students can cover or limit how many students can research one topic.  This is helpful in sharing library books if there is a limit on how many students can research one topic.  Thankfully, there is budget for new books each year, but collection development goes beyond books. I include our online subscriptions and many free online resources listed with the library’s collection for this project.  Teachers reserve the library for classes to brainstorm topics and talking with students helps me learn if books need to be purchased.  Teachers approve the topic, but I look at a variety of sources to see if students will have enough quality material to meet the requirements – both in content and diversity of primary and secondary sources.

 

An example of a few museums included on the library’s website.

Conversation Two: Updating the Collection In Addition to Purchasing Books

As I tell the students, our library is also a bridge to other libraries and information sources. The library collection of the 21st century goes beyond traditional library tools and beyond these library walls.

Besides books, I suggest databases, museums within the Smithsonian Institute which provide online access to collections and unique primary sources, other local libraries, inter-library loan, and yes – a basic Google search. Students are familiar with search engines and the familiarity with Google in the brainstorming process helps the project seem tangible.  Learning background information with a basic search is important in order to find other key people or details. In other words, additional search terms and resources. I teach students to look at the bibliography and footnotes of articles and books and use citations to find more information.

There are many free, online resources that fit NHD each year.  For instance, the search for primary sources takes us to the Library of Congress many times.  I also show students WorldCat and how to find books from local libraries or how to request through inter-library loan. Museums and Presidential Libraries provide online access to collections and while the opening of The National Museum of African American History & Culture was last Saturday, much of the collection was online earlier. As civil rights fits into this year’s theme, I had one more resource to show students.

Providing subcategories within the Library of Congress, younger students can link directly to their focus in history. This is easier for them than navigating the full Library of Congress.

Database Instruction and Learning from Experience

When classes want database instruction, I walk students through basis searches with a few class specific examples. My first year as a school librarian I made a few handouts of database tips and reminders, a practice I did in my 10 years working for the public library. I believed students would come throughout the school days and pick up a handout when it was convenient.

I was wrong. Students sometimes will not ask for help, but will rely on Google. So I changed the way in which I taught database instruction. Now in my third year with National History Day, I walk students through a search for a popular topic.  I found it better showcased the library’s database collection. Specific topics work better than a general reminder of search strategies and Boolean operators. Also, no one takes the handouts. Instead, I walk around the table of students as they work on laptops and make everyone click along with my step-by-step instruction hoping that after participating in a database search they can do one alone.  For students who struggle with research, they are allowed to return later and we work together one-on-one. I also focus on different databases for different ages based on specific tools of each database and whether it was designed for middle grades or advanced researching.

In lieu of handouts, I update the Middle School and Upper School library’s webpage to have an NHD specific page to include online sources, journals, e-books, and primary sources. I had a realization after my first year that to better assist them – at school or at home – a helpful tool would be to create one set page for this intensive project. What appears as a collection of library resources is actually one webpage listing the online catalog and connecting students to other resources available and organizing it based by type of resource or collection.

Organizing Information: A Variety of Sources in a Variety of Locations

By having online resources, helpful links, or the online catalog on multiple parts of the webpage, I have designed it so students can find information using teacher’s terminology, alphabetically for when students know exactly what they are searching for, or list resources under a project name. This way, regardless of their level of research expertise, students can find the same resources based on their individual search habits. This ensures that students, no matter which way they search, get the full resources the library has to offer.  Teachers are also able to link my NHD page to their class website which allows students to access my information another way.

Organizational Pages I’ve designed for the library website. Online databases, ImageQuest, and the online catalog are direct links as well as listed on the NHD page.

Conversation Three: Curriculum Partnership and the Embedded Librarian

Students log into their online school account, which is where they find websites for their classes. The library is listed as a class in order for students to access our catalog and online subscriptions from any computer. This is an amazing chance for me to showcase the library resources. Besides updating project specific pages for NHD, I can create resources for grade specific projects.

Digital literacy and how to navigate the online catalog and the internet are introduced to our elementary students by their librarians and teachers. I am fortunate that when I get students in Middle School, they already have some library and research skills. This benefits their later research since students are familiar with reading a variety of sources, citing information, and organizing their thoughts. The partnership between the library and classrooms is built on a foundation of communication. I have found once the conversation has begun, teachers are more likely to use the library and give up valuable instruction time so that classes can come to the library to learn about the collection. This is the concept of the embedded librarian.  I also familiarize themselves with library knowledge and, as a result of a successful experience, respect the library (and the librarian).

— Sarah Carahan, currently between books

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The Get Down-Booklist: A Celebration of the Bronx, Hip-Hop, Disco, and Art

Wed, 09/21/2016 - 07:00

Focussing on the artistic ambitions of a group of teens living in the South Bronx in 1977, Netflix’s original series The Get Down is an explosion of force. Set in a time when Disco was large and Hip-Hop was in its earliest day, director Baz Luhrmann and producer Nas take into a time when art that would lay the path for future generations was being born.

Here is a list of books that will help continue that Get Down groove.

Fiction for Fans of The Get Down

             

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

Also set in 1977 New York City in Queens, it captures the music, the discos, the arsons, the heat, the tensions, and the night of a major blackout that was filled with businesses getting looted. Nora is about to graduate high school and teachers are pushing her to apply for college. Her main goal is to get out, and get on her own. The Son of Sam serial killings is overshadowing the city as the murderer seems to be focussing on young couples that are staying out too late.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (2016 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

A slightly futuristic Bronx neighborhood permeates this somewhat science fiction coming of age novel. Aaron Seto, a Puerto Rican teen is trying to deal with the emotional aftermath of his father’s suicide, and also coming to terms with his own failed attempt. His life seems to be permeated by complicated relationships and painful memories. He begins to contemplate the Leteo Institute’s mind-alteration procedure that can assist in wiping clean certain pockets of one’s memory.

Tyrell by Coe Booth (2007 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2007 Best Books for Young Adults, 2010 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)

Music and the Bronx are alive in this tale of a young teen trying to sidestep the easy money of dealing drugs, and instead trying to use music to raise needed money by pulling together an underground dance party. Tyrell’s life is full of tough decisions as he tries to support his younger brother, avoid the path of his father who is in jail, and staying with his girlfriend Novisha or be tempted by Jasmine.

             

DJ Rising by Love Maia

DJ Ice moves you to the dance floor. Marley, caught between keeping his scholarship at a fancy prep school and caring for his heroin-addicted mother, dreams of becoming a DJ. When he lands his first job as DJ Ice, his career as professional DJ is on the rise. Soon the realities of home force him to have to choose between following his dreams or to the ties of family.

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older (2016 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Set in nearby Brooklyn this captures the magic of graffiti art. Sierra Santiago is a muralist and third generation Puerto Rican. She has planned an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season, and the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears. Something more sinister is going on.

Show and Prove by Sofia Quintero (2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Set in the South Bronx in 1983, Smile and Nike are experiencing the pains of growing up in a time when hip-hop as proved its staying power, Reaganomics is wreaking havoc on the poor, and AIDS and crack have entered the inner-city.

Nonfiction for Fans of The Get Down

          

Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker by Julian Voloj

Set in the South Bronx in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Benjy Melendez, son of Puerto-Rican immigrants, founded the notorious Ghetto Brothers gang. His multiracial gang promoted peace rather than violence, and ended up joining other gangs to work together to fight for tenant rights, civil rights, and ultimately helping to create a space for the emergence of hip hop.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-hop Generation by Jeff Chang

A biography for the history of the hip-hop movement that traces its foundations from Jamaica to the South Bronx. It is based on over a decade of interviews and research.

Born in the Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop

A visual history of the the early hip hop movement that includes the improvisational artwork of previously unpublished street flyers of the era, Polaroids, and testimonials from influential figures such as Tony Tone, LA Sunshine, and Charlie Chase.

               

Hip Hop Family Tree: 1, 1970s-1981 by Ed Piskor

An encyclopaedic history in graphic novel format that is the beginning of a four-part series. This volume captures stars DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, as well as three kids who later become RUN-DMC.

Honorable Mention:

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett  Johnson

What is the mystery of the purple crayon?

The post The Get Down-Booklist: A Celebration of the Bronx, Hip-Hop, Disco, and Art appeared first on The Hub.

Strange Reading Coincidences

Tue, 09/20/2016 - 07:00

Have you ever been reading and the word you’re reading is also mentioned by someone nearby or by someone on TV at the same time? It’s just one of those strange instances when you see or hear the same thing repeated again at the same time or shortly afterward. 

It happened to me recently when reading or listening to two very different books. Both contained strange random facts about the same thing. 

I’ve just learned that there’s a name for this occurrence: Baader-Meinhof. It’s the phenomenon where one happens upon some obscure piece of information—often an unfamiliar word or name—and soon afterwards encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly. 

I was listening to Zac and Mia by A. J. Bett’s (2014), one of SYNC’s summer selection of audiobooks a few weeks ago. The main character,  Zac, who’s got leukemia, is a bit of a nerd when it comes to knowing strange stats about how people have died. He’s trying to get to know a fellow patient in the hospital named Mia. In trying to take her mind off her own diagnosis, he tells her about all the strange and unbelievable ways people have died. One of them was a man from NJ who died in 2009 by falling into a vat of hot chocolate. 

Now, not only did that get my attention, because I love chocolate and couldn’t believe that anyone would actual die in such a bizarre way, but because I live in NJ and didn’t remember hearing anything about it at the time.

Then, a few days after finishing listening to Zac and Mia, I started reading the galley of Holly Goldberg Sloan’s upcoming (Jan. 2017) middle grade book called Short. It’s about a girl named Julia who is grieving her beloved dog’s recent death and spending the summer playing a Munchkin in a community theater’s production of the Wizard of Oz. Their director has accidentally fallen off a ladder and broken his coccyx. One of the adults in the production, also playing a Munchkin, tells Julie that falling can be very serious. He then mentions the same case of the NJ man falling and dying in the vat of chocolate. 

Even though the books weren’t written at the same time, or by the same authors, it’s just a bit strange that two different people would write about the same incident and I’d be reading about both instances at around the same time.

Has this kind of synchronicity ever happened to you? If so, what were the books and what were they describing? 

I wonder whether the authors have an interest in these odd facts and try to find a way to incorporate them into the text, or do they present the facts more organically through the plot and development of their characters? I’m curious. 

Now I’m reading Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti (2016) (current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominee) and I just finished listening to SYNC’s summer offering of Chris Weitz’s audio edition of The Young World (2014). Guess what book the characters from both of these books really like? From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg!

Just one of those things, I guess. 

— Sharon Rawlins, currently reading Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti and listening to My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

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