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#QP2018 Nominees: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Bang by Barry Lyga

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 07:00

The impact of shootings on survivors, families and communities is a timely topic. 

Unfortunately, the daily news may include incidents of gun violence including school shootings, police brutality, domestic violence, and tragic accidents.

Young Adult authors have increasingly been writing books that address these issues, to give teens touchpoints to identify with and help them understand their world. The following two recently published books, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and Bang by Barry Lyga, help to tackle these issues for readers.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Balzer + Bray
February 28, 2017

Starr struggles to balance her life at home living in a poor black neighborhood and the private prep school she attends with much wealthier students. When she witnesses her childhood friend shot needlessly by a police officer, her whole world is turned upside down.

This compelling story is told from Starr’s point of view, where readers follow her thought processes as she navigates difficult situations and harsh, contradictory realities. The timely social issue of police brutality in black communities will grab readers’ attention. Starr’s experience perfectly illustrates one of the biggest issues faced by African-American people in the United States today. “The talk” may be familiar to many marginalized populations, and an eye opener to others. Starr is a complex introspective character that many teens will identify with, while she must come to terms with the sobering, unequal roles society has forced upon her community.

Many juxtapositions help show the complexity of the social issues being tackled within the story. Police are shown in both negative and positive lights, through officer “one fifteen”, the shooter of Starr’s friend, Khalil, and her Uncle Carlos, a police officer who is striving for justice. A poor community is depicted doing its best to protect its youth against gangs and drugs, while the youth’s attraction to the money and power brought by gangs and drugs is a heart-wrenching cycle. The conflicts between Starr’s neighborhood friends and her prep school friends serve to illuminate the complicated relationships between race, class, and privilege.

Dialog features use of teen slang and pop culture references many teen readers will appreciate. In particular, Tupac is referenced often, as his “THUG LIFE” anagram is the inspiration for the book’s title. Recommended for fans of Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely’s All American Boys and Kekla Magoon’s How it Went Down.

-Jessica Ormonde and Lisa Krok

Bang by Barry Lyga
Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers
April 18, 2017

When he was four years old, Sebastian accidentally shot and killed his four-month-old sister. Ten years later, he still can’t forgive himself. When new neighbors move in, becomes fast friends with new girl Aneesa. For the first time, Sebastian has a friend who does not know his horrific history, who doesn’t see him as a baby killer instead of a regular fourteen-year-old boy.

Teens will be drawn in almost immediately with the attention-grabbing admission that Sebastian killed his baby sister. Short, candid chapters will keep readers engaged in this character-driven story. The angst-filled household he shares with his mother, where things are emotionally intense as the ten-year anniversary of the incident occurs, propels the story forward.

Sebastian is seriously considering suicide; ending things with a bang, just as they started.  Making homemade pizzas is therapeutic and gives him a form of solace. Although his relationship with his mother is strained and awkward, she genuinely loves him and supports his pizza making ventures. Despite the heavy topics, Sebastian’s friendship with spunky Aneesa creates an atmosphere of hope, as they team up to create a YouTube channel highlighting their many creative pizza making adventures. When online haters post disparaging anti-Muslim remarks about Aneesa, Sebastian sees her courageousness and questions his own. His complex inner thoughts about his family history lead him to seek out his father…the owner of the gun that killed his infant sister.

Although this book has broad appeal for many types of readers, fans of authors who write character-driven books, such as Jeff Zentner and Jennifer Niven, especially, will appreciate the thought-provoking, well-developed characters.

-Lisa Krok


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Happy Mother’s Day: Salute to Bad Moms

Sun, 05/07/2017 - 07:00

Mother’s Day is the celebration of the woman who supported you, saved you, and loved you unconditionally.  Unfortunately the mothers below didn’t quite make the grade.


Willowdean “Dumplin” Dickson is a Texan, daughter of the Miss Teen Beauty Pageant’s coordinator, and overweight.  She has best friend issues, boy issues, mommy issues but she decides to honor her aunt by entering the pageant.

Madeline suffers from the bubble boy syndrome where she’s allergic to everything and can’t go outside. Her only human contact are her mother and her nurse. One day a new family moves in and she fall in love with Olly.

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.

Rani’s father is having an affair and her mother ignores it.  Rani is suffering because her father is having an affair and her mother ignores her.  Rani finds poetry and live performance a comfort in this realistic fiction novel set in 1990’s Hawaii.

Flannery needs a new school book but her unemployed eccentric mother would rather blog about how to be a good parent than actually taking her own advice.  When an old friend moves back to town, Flannery falls in love but soon finds out he has big problems of his own.

Katie is in love but she’s not ready to confront it and she can’t confide in her mother because her mother’s too consumed by her mentally disabled brother as well her Katie’s grandmother who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s.   Katie soon finds out that her mother may not know how to be nurturing because of all the issues her mother had with Katie’s grandmother.

Vivi has decided that she doesn’t need to take her meds and her mother acts like she cares but she’s never around.  When Vivi meets Jonah, she not only finds love but a new family but she could ruin it if she doesn’t take her medication.

Nora is graduating and has no plans.  Her mother expects her to take care of her younger brother who steals, abuses her and her mother, and might be on drugs.  Instead of seeking help for her brother, Nora’s mother makes excuses for his behavior which escalates the situation and it doesn’t help that everyone is scared of the serial killer in the city.

-Dawn Abron is currently reading: The Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

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Women in Comics: The World of Wonder Woman!

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 07:00

The beginning of next month will see the premier of the new Wonder Woman movie, so now is the perfect time to take a dive into the many different comics that have featured Wonder Woman over the years. Though her creation is credited to a man, it is not surprising that over the years many female comics creators have been inspired to tell stories about this character. Each one offers their own take on her, but any of these books would be a great place to start (or continue) your reading about this fantastic character.

Wonder Woman: The True Amazon by Jill Thompson – In this new take on Wonder Woman’s path to her place in the world, Jill Thompson shows her as a spoiled and selfish girl for whom everything has come much too easily. But, when her bad behavior leads to tragedy, she must redeem herself and come to earn her place in her society and her role as Wonder Woman. With such a different take on Diana’s origin story and such interesting art work, this book is a great option for those who have never read about Wonder Woman in the past.

Wonder Woman: Love and Murder by Jodi Picoult with art by Drew Johnson, Ray Snyder, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, and Paco Diaz – In this story by best-selling author Jodi Picoult, Diana Prince aka “Wonder Woman” is in disguise as an agent for the Department of Metahuman Affairs when she is tasked with capturing Wonder Woman. With an impossible task before her, she must juggle her efforts to exist undercover with her efforts to keep her secret. Jodi Picoult was the first woman to be a regular series writer for Wonder Woman and this arc is well worth checking out.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman – This collection has far too many authors and artists to list them all, but just a few of the women involved in this project include Gail Simone, Amanda Deibert, Marguerite Sauvage, and Amy Mebberson. Each story stands alone, which makes this a great option for those who prefer quick, discrete stories and those who want to see lots of stylistic variety. The anthology is sure to have something for everyone and it offers a nice starting place for those who aren’t familiar with Wonder Woman.

Bombshells Volume 1: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett with art by Marguerite Sauvage – Set during World War II, this series considers a version of history where the Allies call on the help of some of the greatest super heroines ever in their efforts to win the war. Readers have a chance to see Wonder Woman, Batwoman, Mera, Poison Ivy, and many more in a completely new light. Marguerite Sauvage’ artwork fits perfectly with the setting as it reimagines the iconic characters in a “bombshell” style that calls to mind actual art from the war period. These books are ideal for comics fans who also enjoy historical fiction.

Wonder Woman Volume 7: War-Torn by Meredith Finch with art by David Finch – Diana is faced with competing responsibilities as the Queen of the Amazons, a member of the Justice League, and the Goddess of War, and must try to find a way to make all of these piece of her identity come together. In the end, this is easier said than done and ultimately Wonder Woman is faced with a challenge to her role among the Amazonians. Will she be able to keep her place in her society? Though billed as a seventh volume in a series, this story mostly starts a new arc that has little to do with the major plot points of the earlier volumes, so anyone can pick up this book as a starting place. It is a great option for those who want an action-packed story of Wonder Woman’s exploits.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo – Those who aren’t fans of the graphic novel format will want to keep an eye out for Leigh Bardugo’s latest novel, which is a coming of age story starring Wonder Woman herself. In this story, Diana, Princess of the Amazons, seeks to save a mortal at the risk of being expelled by her people. This one won’t be released until August, but it is worth mentioning here since it is sure to be a popular addition to most any library’s collection.

These are just a few of the great Wonder Woman comics that have been published over the years. I’d love to hear your own favorites in the comments!

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Monthly Monday Poll: May – Favorite Dual-Market Author

Mon, 05/01/2017 - 07:00


Hello, Hub readers, and Happy Spring!

Last month we paid tribute to the explosion of incredible YA that hit shelves in 1999, and the leader of that seriously impressive pack, with 28% of the vote, was Laurie Halse Anderson’s groundbreaking work Speak. In a very close second, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban came in with 27%, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky was third with 14%. Tied for 4th with 9% each were two series-openers: Tamora Pierce’s First Test (Protector of the Small series) and Louise Rennison’s Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series). Next were Fruits Basket Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya with 6%, Lemony Snicket’s (aka Danial Handler’s) The Bad Beginning (the first book in the Series of Unfortunate Events) and Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen with 3% each, and Walter Dean Myers’ award-winning Monster, with 2%. My mind is still boggled that all of these influential and acclaimed works came out the same year.

This month, we’re asking about your favorite authors who write for multiple target audiences (and yes, let’s take a moment to acknowledge that most authors – and librarians! – would argue that “target audience” is a marketing term, not a creative one. The real target audience is anyone for whom the work will make a difference, right?). I’m always curious when someone whose writing I’ve enjoyed publishes something in a spectacularly different vein. The following authors all have work that has been categorized as YA, and other work that has been classified as Adult (as always, let me know in the comments if you have a favorite I haven’t listed):

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

— Carly Pansulla, currently (re)reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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Books to Read Based on Your Divergent Faction

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 07:00

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that Veronica Roth’s new book, Carve the Mark, has been released and fans are super excited! For new fans, this book might bring them to Veronica’s original phenomenon, Divergent.

In honor of this I have compiled a list of what books you should read based on your Divergent faction. Don’t know your faction? Take a quiz here!

Get your pens and papers or Goodreads account ready, here are some books you’ll love (hopefully!) based on your faction. And if you’re divergent, your list will be even longer!


Erudite: The Intelligent

  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

11-year-old Flavia de Luce, who dreams of being a chemist and has a passion for poison, must clear her father’s name in a murder case. By gathering clues, Flavia is able to tie two deaths together and investigate new suspects. This book is perfect for an Erudite because Flavia is tenacious and smart and uses her incredible depth of knowledge to crack the case.

Six unlikely outcasts band together, with the brilliant criminal Kaz leading the way. They must break into a fortress that is known to be impenetrable, without their pasts getting in the way. Six of Crows is great for an Erudite reader as all six characters have to use their smarts and skills to pull off the heist of a lifetime.

Kestrel’s Commander father wants her to join the military or get married, but she has other plans. When she saves the life of a slave, she discovers he is much more than he seems and her new path is set in motion. Kestrel, just like an Erudite, uses her wits and strategic planning to find her way out of difficult situations.

Dauntless: The Brave

After being sexually assaulted at cheer camp, Hermione, must not only come to terms with what happened and face her town, but is determined to find out what happened to her. Like a member of Dauntless, Hermione stands up for herself and fights for what is right.

Katniss takes the place of her young sister in a deadly government officiated event called The Hunger Games. Little does she know that she will find she is fighting for more than her life. Katniss goes to the forefront of a battle not only for her sister, but for her country, making her a natural fit in Dauntless.

Alina grows up thinking she is a perfectly normal girl, until one day she discovers a power she kept hidden deep inside. From then on she is hunted, as she is the only one that can save her world from total darkness. Just like when Tris joins Dauntless, Alina discovers an inner strength that she didn’t know she possessed, and uses it to change her world.

Abnegation: The Selfless

Most of her life Minnow has lived in a commune with her family, but she soon learns the truth about the outside world. This sets her down a path of sacrifices that she, like a true member of Abnegation, must make in order to save the ones she loves.

Liesel finds herself in a dangerous situation during World War II, where she discovers what she must do not only for herself, but for others. While maybe not born into Abnegation, Liesel would find herself choosing to be in this group after learning what is it like to help others.

  • The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

All of Aerity’s father has told her that she may marry for love and will not choose for her. When a new evil threatens their kingdom, Aerity must make hard decisions in order to save them all. Selfless to the core, Aerity is a prime example of an Abnegation member, as she gives up her dreams for her family and her country.

Candor: The Honest

A year in the life, told in diary format, of a senior in high school. Gabi goes through everything from finding her first love, to helping a pregnant friend, to being suspended for the one and only time. Her voice is honest and true, like any member of Candor, and this book has something almost everyone can relate to.

This is the story of Noah and Jude, twins with deep, dark secrets. Told in alternating voices of two spans of time, they come to terms with their lies, and learn what needs to be done. Both Jude and Noah have to learn to not only be honest with each other, but with themselves, proving to be true candidates for the Candor faction.

Romy has been telling the truth about the police chief’s son, Kellan, all summer, but no one will believe her. When a girl goes missing and another is assaulted, Romy must stand up for herself and her truth. Like a true member of Candor, Romy speaks her truth and stands up for what she believes in.

Amity: The Peaceful

  • Winter by Marissa Meyer

Winter, the fourth main character in Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles phenomenon, is as pure as you would expect a retelling of Snow White to be. Like all members of Amity, Winter is peaceful and kind, but at what cost to herself?

  • Brazen by Katherine Longshore

Henry Fitzroy “Fitz”, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII, and Mary Howard, cousin of Queen Catherine Howard, are married, but are limited by the rules of the court. Is it worth living in harmony with the king, or better to fight for their love? Like a member of Amity Mary works to keep the peace in her home and her country.

Doug comes from a family of fighters. When he moves to his new town he must not only keep the peace with his family, but with the town as whole. When you’re instantly, incorrectly, branded as a troublemaker, can you break out of that mold? A true Amity will enjoy the story of Doug as he strives to keep the peace between not only his own family, but between his family and his town.

What faction are you a part of? Or are you divergent? Do you think these books fit your faction?

— Tegan Anclade, currently reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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2017 Alex Awards Winners: An Interview with Sarah Beth Durst on The Queen of Blood

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 07:00

The Queen of Blood is the first book in Sarah Beth Durst’s Queens of Renthia series and one of the winner’s of YALSA’s 2017 Alex Awards. Today I’m thrilled to have Sarah Beth Durst here on the Hub to answer some questions about the book.

Congratulations on The Queen of Blood’s selection as a 2017 Alex Award finalist! Where were you when you heard the news? Who was the first person you told about your win?

Sarah Beth Durst (SBD): Thank you so much!!!

Shortly after I heard the news, I called my mom.

Me:  “My book won the Alex Award!”

My mom: “My dog was attacked by three coyotes.  I chased them off.”

Me:  “We had very different mornings.”

She began her day to the sound of her dog yelping.  Looking out the window, she saw three coyotes had pinned him to the ground out beside the well.  She ran outside — without any kind of anything to defend herself — and shouted at the coyotes.  Scared them off.  The dog was fine.

I began my day to the sound of the garbage truck rumbling one street over.  Looking out the window, I saw the truck hadn’t reached my street yet.  I ran around the house — without any kind of anything to defend myself — trying to empty all the trash cans and toss out anything suspiciously green and fuzzy in the kitchen before the garbage truck reached my street.  And as I was scurrying around, I was checking my email on my phone, because multitasking.  I saw an email from one of my editors that read, “Congratulations on the Alex!!!  Just heard the news!!”

I was floored.  It’s a moment I’ll never forget (though I did, in the moment, forget all about the garbage truck!).  I’ve wanted to be a writer my entire life, and to have librarians (the ultimate book experts) essentially say, “We like your book, and we think other people will too.”…  Really, it means the world to me.  I am so honored and grateful and thrilled!

What was the inspiration for The Queen of Blood? Did you always know that this book would be the start of a trilogy?

SBD: Sometimes ideas sneak up on me.  This one reached up and struck me right on the face.

I remember the exact moment this book was born.  I had just arrived for a writing retreat in the Poconos.  Each writer was given a charming wood cabin, nestled beneath the pine trees.  I was walking up to mine, glorying in the bird song, admiring the trees, reveling in the moment… and I tripped over the step to the cabin and landed flat on my face.  Cut my lip.  Tasted blood.  And had the idea that would eventually become THE QUEEN OF BLOOD:

Bloodthirsty nature spirits.

THE QUEEN OF BLOOD, book one of The Queens of Renthia, is set in a world filled with nature spirits.  But they aren’t sweet, frolicking pastoral sprites.  These spirits want to kill all humans, and only certain women — the queens — have the power to control them.

After falling on my face and coming up with this concept, the very next thing I decided was that I didn’t want to write a Chosen One story.  Don’t get me wrong — I absolutely love Chosen One stories.  I’ve seen every episode of Buffy, read Harry Potter at least five times, and am still waiting for Merriman Lyon to show up and tell me I’m one of the Old Ones.  But for THE QUEEN OF BLOOD, I wanted to write about the one who isn’t picked to save the world, the one who isn’t qualified to be a hero, the mediocre student who has to work hard to even be on the same playing field as her peers.  Daleina lacks the innate skill and talent necessary to be a queen, but she is determined to protect her family and save her world.  I wanted to write a story about someone whose true magic is her determination.

I knew very early on this was a world I wanted to explore in more than one book.  I’m currently working on writing book three of The Queens of Renthia, which will complete this story arc, and after that, I’ll be writing a standalone adventure set on the islands of Renthia, filled with lots of intrigue and sea monsters.

I am absolutely loving writing these books!  It’s been such an immersive experience.  Every day, I sit down at my computer and it feels like walking through the wardrobe into Narnia… except in Renthia, the trees can kill you.

YALSA’s Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults with special appeal to teen readers. Did you envision this series as being written/marketed to adults from the beginning? Did writing for adults change or influence your writing process compared to when you are writing books for younger readers?

SBD: Yes, I knew from the start that this would be a book aimed at adults… but I also knew from the start that it would be accessible to teens.  There’s a simple reason for this: I try very hard to write the book that I want to read, and I still love the kind of books I read as a teen.

For me, the writing process isn’t any different.  A story is a story.  No matter who the reader is, I try to tell the best story I can and be as true to the characters as I can be.

That’s really the secret to writing for different age groups: if you stay true to your characters, then everything else will work itself out.  If you write through the eyes of a twelve-year-old princess, as in my new middle-grade novel JOURNEY ACROSS THE HIDDEN ISLANDS, the book will come out appropriate for a middle-grade audience.  If you write through the eyes of an eighteen-year-old student and a forty-year-old warrior, as I did in THE QUEEN OF BLOOD, then you’ll have a book appropriate for teens and adults.

Renthia is a world inhabited by magical creatures and spirits. Of all the things that you created in this world, what is your favorite? Is there anything you created in this book that you wish you could bring to the real world?

SBD: Renthia is a world of extremes, thanks to the spirits: towering trees, endless glaciers, and sky-piercing mountains.  Aratay, the country at the heart of the Queens books, has HUGE trees — I picture a cross between Lothlorien and the forest moon of Endor.  People live in houses that are suspended about halfway up the trunks, and the bravest among them travel through the forest on terrifyingly high ziplines.  Singers perch at the top of the canopy, welcoming the sunrise and sunset with songs that echo through the forest.  It’s a beautiful place.

The spirits themselves are beautiful too.  My favorite is an air spirit that looks like an ermine with bat wings.  Daleina rides on him — you can see that scene depicted by artist Stephan Martinere on the cover of book two, THE RELUCTANT QUEEN.

But I wouldn’t want any of Renthia to exist in the real world.  I’m far too afraid of heights.  And of being eaten.

Can you tell us anything about your next projects?

SBD: My latest middle-grade novel, JOURNEY ACROSS THE HIDDEN ISLANDS, came out in April from Clarion Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  It’s about two sisters, one winged lion, and a lot of monsters.  My very first picture book, ROAR AND SPARKLES GO TO SCHOOL, about a little dragon’s first day of school, will be out in June from Running Press Kids / Hachette.  And book two of The Queens of Renthia, THE RELUCTANT QUEEN, will be out from Harper Voyager in July.  Also this year, the film adaptation of my YA novel DRINK SLAY LOVE will premiere on Lifetime as a TV movie!  I’m ridiculously excited about all of this.

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

Thank you to Sarah for taking the time to answer my questions about The Queen of Blood!

— Emma Carbone, currently reading Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler

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2017 Hub Reading Challenge April Check-In

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 07:00

Hello Hub readers; it’s time for another Hub Reading Challenge Check-In!

According to my Goodreads shelf where I’m tracking my progress, I’ve got 15 books done for the Challenge so far. My now-standard approach to the Challenge is to load up on Graphic Novels in the first couple of months; getting my numbers up early helps keep me motivated. I love the format anyway, and I work in a high school, and have had a lot of success book-talking graphic novels to students who otherwise feel like they just don’t have time to read for fun when school’s in session. I’ve definitely enjoyed the ones I’ve managed to read so far (especially, to echo Anna’s check-in post, Paper Girls. That palette!! The eco-dystopian horror-show of Brian K. Vaughn’s We Stand On Guard felt terrifyingly plausible, and John Allison’s warm, wry Giant Days has been a perfect match for some of my seniors anxious to imagine themselves into college).

But the most delightfully *surprising* thing so far about my Challenge reading this year has been all the history! I adore historical fiction, so imagine my delight when I realized that Kiersten White’s And I Darken is only tagged so frequently as “fantasy” because of the “alternative” history component (it reimagines Vlad the Impaler as a girl). I love historical fantasy too, but I frequently crave more specificity of place and time than YA historical fantasy delivers, focused as it often is on action. I loved the imagined explanation for how one of history’s most notoriously ruthless figures could have become that way, and I learned a ton about the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th c. from the perspective of Sultan Mehmed II, aka Mehmed the Conqueror, who we meet as a young teen before he has conquered much of anything (well, maybe some hearts). This is the kind of historical fiction I wish I could find more of: stories that help to address the erasure of marginalized and non-Christian people from our (Western) understanding of historical events, and serve to enrich our awareness of just how diverse humanity has always been.

Right now I’m halfway through Julie Berry’s The Passion of Dolssa, and it is (so far) a deeply engrossing look at a (different) moment of religious fervor in 13th century western Europe. Like And I Darken, The Passion of Dolssa challenges the reader to set aside contemporary national borders and delve into what came before. This sense of the malleability of borders, and the complicated national, cultural, and religious identities they foster, is hitting hard for me right now.

Both of these books speak very clearly to the enormous influence and power of religion, to individuals and to power structures, throughout human history and that, too, feels apt for our current cultural moment.

One of the nonfiction titles I read, Sady Doyle’s compulsively readable Trainwreck, had way more history than I was anticipating, and I loved all of it. Each chapter contained a case study of a key feminist figure (from Mary Wollstonecraft to Billie Holiday), and all of it left me wanting to know even more about every one of the featured women.

For my next reads, I’m moving up to some 20th c. history: Meg Medina’s story of the Summer of Sam in NYC, Burn Baby Burn, and the audio version of Ruta Sepetys’ heartbreaking WWII refugee story, Salt to the Sea, which I’ve read but want to experience in audio.


Let us know how you are doing with the Challenge in the comments below, and don’t forget about the sortable spreadsheet! Here are the guidelines in case you don’t remember:

  • Format matters: a title that has been recognized for both the print version and the audiobook version can be both read and listened to and count as two books, but a book that has won multiple awards or appears on multiple lists in the same format only counts as one title.
  • Books must be read/listened to (both begun and finished) since the award winners and selected lists have been released and 11:59pm EST on June 22. If you’ve already read/listened to a title, you must re-read/listen to it for it to count.
  • Anyone can participate, and just about everyone who doesn’t work for ALA is eligible to win our prize for Challenge finishers. Non-ALA/YALSA members are eligible. Teens are eligible. Non-US residents/citizens are eligible. (More eligibility questions? Leave a comment or email us.)
  • Once you finish the challenge, we’ll contact you with details about creating and publishing your response.
  • If you have finished the challenge, let us know here!  The grand prize winner will be selected by 11:59pm EST on June 23. The winner will be notified via email.

Happy reading, all!
— Carly Pansulla, currently reading Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving

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Fantasy and Tabletop Gaming Resources for Teen Library Collections

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 07:00

During the last working weekend before I took time off for graduate school, a teen volunteer emailed me.  He had transformed Ms. Chris into a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) character for the club’s next campaign.  This volunteer had initially struggled through his time at the library until he found his purpose: facilitating a middle and high school Dungeons and Dragons club.  Watching him gain a more serious attitude and excited to attend shifts, he helped mentor tweens and teen peers during the club.  The camaraderie and enthusiasm created helped convert the library into a popular Wednesday night hangout spot, ultimately influencing the addition of Dungeons and Dragons as well more fantasy-related resources to the teen collection.

One of the best ways to create an inviting teen library space is by starting a teen-led tabletop gaming club.  Using classics like Monopoly, Uno, Apples to Apples, Chess, Heads Up, and Jenga can initiate a starter club if D&D seems a little advanced.  If space permits, Twister and Giant Jenga are also hits.  These universal games can then become the gateway to other programs and showcasing young adult collections.    

One spinoff for those who love to role-play is a Dungeons and Dragons club.  At the heart of D&D is heroic fantasy storytelling.  Players create characters that often times are drawn from graphic novels, young adult fantasy books, and favorite television shows.  Led by a Dungeon Master, characters such as elves and archers go on quests for power, treasure, rescue missions, and battles.  For those unfamiliar with D&D, the set-up can be a bit intimidating.  What dice do you need, what books should you order, and how do you start?

As a mere and curious beginner, having knowledgeable teen volunteers as teachers and leaders can help.  A few must-have resources to start include:

D&D Player’s Handbook by Wizards RPG Team: As the D&D Bible, the Player’s Handbook has everything players need to know about developing characters, starting with skills and background history along with spells, animals, and equipment.  Depending on how many players you have, owning multiple copies of this book is essential for engagement and moving along the initial start-up process.  The D&D website can also help novice players begin developing main character traits before the Dungeon Master rolls other skills.


D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide by Wizards RPG Team: Another core rulebook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide helps the Dungeon Master weave tales.  A Dungeon Master can make or break a game and player engagement.  Other players can lack experience as long as the Dungeon Master possesses expertise and patience.  This guide offers optional rules and a variety of fantasy worlds to enhance a campaign.


D&D Monster Manual by Wizards RPG Team: A third must-have book, the Monster Manual is exactly what it sounds like: a book to create fantastical beasts and classic D&D creatures: Dragons, giants, and monsters, oh my!


D&D Starter Set: Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set (D&D Boxed Game) by Wizards RPG Team: For those, like me, who all of this seems initially overwhelming but incredibly geeky awesome to, the starter set is a great way to go.  Even with an experienced Dungeon Master, the starter kit helps new and old players work together on their first campaign.  The kit comes with pre-made characters, all required dice, a rulebook, and a story to follow.  Once teens master the kit, they can move on to more successfully designing their own D&D world, which is extremely empowering.


Along with books, you’ll need starter dice including: 4-sided, 6-sided, 8-sided, 10-sided dice, 12-sided, and 20-sided dice.   Having plenty of character sheets is also a bonus, and PDFs can be printed from the D&D website.

For those who become entranced by D&D or want similar options with equal appeal, you may also add new games to the library such as The Settlers of Catan, SUPERFIGHT, and Magic: The Gathering.


  • Magic is part of the D&D family and can be played with just two people using specialized cards to create spells and destroy creatures.  


  • Catan is a board game where players build settlements and learn how to trade.


  • SUPERFIGHT requires players to use character and attribute cards to debate who would win a battle.  For instance, Hermione might be armed with Angry Birds but cannot stop sobbing.  Her opponent might be Sasquatch who owns a lightsaber and has brain freeze.  The group decides based on cardholders’ reasoning.


All of these games summon critical and imaginative thinking.  Many teens love role-playing as a way to take on a new persona and explore new realities.  They gain confidence and feel more comfortable in the library.  Surround them with fantasy book displays and chat up intelligent pop culture.  With Netflix releasing the second season of Stranger Things on Halloween 2017 and the possibility of The Big Bang Theory coming to an end, why not begin generating interest in fantasy and role-playing through games at the library?  


As for my character?  This teen had transformed me into a Ranger 3 Wood Elf from an artisan guild.  I rode a black panther and used my talents to benefit the world—it is true, this is what librarians do.  With this teen’s help, we transformed the way we look at library resources.


Christine Frascarelli is a current MLIS student at the University of South Florida, a volunteer for a literacy organization, and a former urban librarian as well as non-profit program manager.  She loves to travel the world with a good book tucked away in her bag.    

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Update on Quick Picks and Amazing Audiobooks @ The Hub

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 09:53

Greetings! As many of you will already know, Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and Amazing Audiobooks lists have moved to The Hub in order to provide more in depth coverage of nominated titles and to allow for more virtual volunteer opportunities. (Read all about the details of the transition in this post).

I’m happy to say that our new team of Quick Picks and Amazing Audiobooks are now working hard listening and reading to books, and we’ll soon start having blog posts highlighting nominated titles.

If you have a field suggestion for a title that the blogging groups should consider, nominate using the Amazing Audiobooks form or the Quick Picks form. The full details on eligibility and criteria can be found on the Amazing Audiobooks Blogging Group Function Statement and Quick Picks Blogging Group Function Statement.

The Amazing Audiobooks blogging team is:

  • Ariel Cummings, Coordinator
  • Kennedy Penn-O’Toole
  • Beatriz Pascual Wallace
  • Melanie Wachsmann
  • Yolanda Hood
  • Katrina Ortega
  • Tommy Bui
  • Karen Perry
  • Erin Durrett
  • Amy Oelkers
  • Tracy Sumler

The Quick Picks Blogging Team is:

  • Dana Hutchins, Coordinator
  • Karen Lemmons
  • Jenny Zbrizher
  • Jodeana Kruse
  • Jessica Ormonde
  • Kay Hones
  • Lisa Krok
  • Laura Lehner
  • Allison Stevens
  • Carrie Richmond

Regarding Popular Paperbacks, regular (meaning non-selected lists Hub bloggers) will be compiling 10 themed lists a year highlighting “The Best of the Backlist” as a way to continue to provide information on popular books readily available in paperback for libraries.

Easily accessible links to an index of official nominations for QP and AA will go live in the righthand sidebar when blog posts go live, and all this information will be archived for easy access in the top navigation bar under the “about” tab.

Questions regarding selected lists? Please reach out to Molly Wetta, Hub Member Manager, at

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The Hub Seeks New Member Manager for 2017-2018 Term

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 12:09

A huge thank you goes out to The Hub’s current member manager, Molly Wetta for all the great work she’s put into the blog since 2015. Thanks so much, Molly! As Molly will be leaving her role as member manager in August of this year, YALSA is seeking a new member manager to begin August 15, with training starting in July.

Interested in the position? Read on after the jump to see the position description and qualifications and find out how you can apply. Applications including a cover letter and resume are due to by June 1, 2017. Please note that this is not a salaried staff position, but a member volunteer opportunity. YALSA membership is required for this position.

The Member Manager will lead an advisory board and together the group will be responsible for the site, including recruiting bloggers and soliciting content submissions from the YALSA community. Also, new this year, the member manager will also finish the process of transitioning the selected book lists to The Hub.

List of Qualifications:

  1. Strong project management and organizational skills
  2. Ability to delegate work and to manage a variety of contributors and volunteers
  3. Dynamic, self-motivated individual
  4. Excellent verbal and written communications skills, in order to develop content and communicate with potential content providers
  5. Experience in web publishing with responsibilities including but not limited to: utilizing video clips, audio, and social media, maintaining a high standard of writing, and ensuring compliance with policies created for the maintenance of the site
  6. Knowledge of HTML and WordPress, which YALSA uses for administration of blog sites; as well as knowledge of plugins, tagging, categories, and other WordPress tools
  7. PHP knowledge a plus
  8. Ability to set and meet deadlines
  9. Knowledge of best practices and current trends in collection development for and with teens in libraries
  10.  Ability to work well in a team environment
  11. Ability to work well in a mostly virtual setting, including using tools such as Google Drive, Google Calendar, Skype, etc. to coordinate work and communicate with others
  12.  Personal membership in YALSA
  13. A commitment to advancing the recommendations YALSA outlined in its report, The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action.
  14. A commitment to advancing and supporting YALSA’s new mission and three-year organizational plan.
  15. High ethical standards and no real or perceived conflict of interest with YALSA or its portfolio of print and web publications

General Member Manager Responsibilities:

Oversight & Coordination

  • Communicate with the Advisory Board and YALSA’s Communications Specialist on a regular basis to generate ideas for content, assign tasks, discuss marketing strategies, and discuss site management
  • Work with the YALS and JRLYA editors and YALSAblog manager as appropriate to coordinate dissemination of information to members and the library community.
  • Maintain communication with YALSA member groups whose work relates to collection development and content curation
  • Oversee the remaining transition period of moving YALSA’s selected lists to The Hub
  • Follow all established policies and guidelines, enforce them as necessary and periodically conduct a review of them to ensure currency
  • Direct questions about sponsorships, advertising, etc. to YALSA’s Executive Director
  • Develop a calendar for content, based on YALSA events and activities as well as those going on in the larger community related to library materials for and with teens
  • Write reports prior to the Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting for submission to the YALSA Board of Directors

Seek Out & Manage Content & Contributors

  • With the Advisory Board review and edit content submitted to the site to make sure the quality is acceptable, that it is aligned with YALSA principles, and that it includes YALSA branding prior to posting, when appropriate
  • With the Advisory Board manage postings regularly to guarantee quality of content and appropriate tagging and category identification
  • With the Advisory Board recruit contributors on a regular basis, which may include but is not limited to: YALSA members, authors and teens
  • Communicate regularly with bloggers to solicit content, share news, motivate bloggers, develop a blogging schedule, etc.
  • Interact with and provide any necessary training to contributors as needed, including at ALA’s Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting and via virtual means
  • Effectively motivate, support and manage a large and fluctuating group of contributors and volunteers
  • Work with the advisory board to manage comments and spam daily to guarantee that the blog content is appropriate


  • Attend Midwinter and Annual to recruit contributors and inform member groups about the site
  • Answer questions and inquiries about the site in a timely fashion
  • Work with the Website Advisory Committee and the YALSAblog Member Manager to create cross-promotion of all YALSA’s web presences
  • Utilize social media to increase awareness of the Hub and its content

Technical Maintenance

  • Work with YALSA’s Communications Specialist as appropriate to update and manage blog software
  • Monitor new technologies as they impact the site: add-ons and plug-ins to blog software, widgets or applications for hand-held devices, etc.

Selected Book Lists and Bloggers

  • Select bloggers and coordinators for YALSA’s book lists: Amazing Audiobooks, Quick Picks, Best Fiction, and Great Graphic Novels for the Hub from volunteer applications with support from YALSA staff
  • With Coordinators, facilitate the work of these blogging groups on The Hub by communicating with bloggers about editing and scheduling of reviews
  • Support the dissemination and promotion of final lists
  • Work with the Advisory and the Award and Selected List Oversight Committee will oversee blogger training and leverage existing YALSA resources to do so, and develop new as needed
  • Provide a template and sample posts.
  • Communicate regularly with selected list Coordinators
  • Work with the Advisory Board will update and/or create guidelines for the Hub, including public comment guidelines
  • Sit in on virtual meetings of blogger groups, as needed
  • Offer guidance, support, and expertise for Coordinators throughout term as needed
  • Communicates with YALSA Board and staff regarding the possible need to expand into a co-manager format, and/or increase the size or change the make-up of the Advisory Board
  • Communicates with YALSA staff regarding any possible back-end improvements needed to the site to accommodate the selected list effort

The Member Manager will be selected by the YALSA Executive Committee by July 1, 2017. The term of the appointment is one year beginning August 15, with an option to renew for a second year, based on performance. The Member Manager will receive an honorarium of $500 per year plus $500 towards travel to each Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting while serving as Member Manager. Candidates must send a cover letter and resume, which includes management, writing and web publishing experiences to All resumes, etc. must be submitted via email. The deadline for submission is June 1, 2017. Please note that this is not a salaried staff position, but a member volunteer opportunity.

The post The Hub Seeks New Member Manager for 2017-2018 Term appeared first on The Hub.

2017 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees Announced

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 11:47

If you haven’t checked them out yet, be sure to check out the list of the 2017 Teens’ Top Ten nominees in the video below, featuring some very special guest of the upcoming movie adaptation of “Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon, a 2016 Teens’ Top Ten title!  Feel free to also embed the video on your library’s homepage!

View an annotated list of the nominees here (pdf).

Be sure to encourage teens to read the nominees so they can vote for their favorites later this summer! Voting starts in August, so be sure to visit the Teens’ Top Ten page for more info and updates!

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month Booklist

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 07:00

April is sexual assault awareness month.  As some of your teens may have been a victim of sexual assault or knows someone who has, the following list may offer some assistance to help them cope.

In this reimagination of Sherlock Holmes, Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson are school mates in a Connecticut boarding school.  When a popular boy is found dead, Charlotte has been blamed and enlists the assistance of Jamie to clear her name.

Breezy is an MIT bound student when she wakes up dead in a grave.  As Breezy travels the country, as the walking dead, she’s determined to find her killer. During her journey Breezy encounters some interesting characters including: a preacher, a banshee, and cast of colorful monsters.

Hermione is at her last year at cheer camp and she’s vowed to make this the best year ever.  When she wakes up and is told she was sexually assaulted, she then vows to not be a victim.

No one would describe Emma as likable.  She wears revealing dresses and flirts with other people’s boyfriends.  When a video of her sexual assault surfaces on social media, Emma’s friends and family become unsupportive and blames her for ruining those good boy’s lives.

Michelle has a rough home life and decides to run away to New York.  She’s scared and doesn’t know anyone but when a nice handsome boy offers to help, Michelle finds herself in the middle of a sex trafficking house.

Andrew knows it’s a matter of time before he leaves this world to become a werewolf but his friends at his boarding school don’t believe him.  The new girl at school wants to believe him but terrible events from Andrews past surface and it’s a race to get him help before he does something drastic.

Aidan’s has turned to Adderall and his priest to help him cope with his home life.  When his priest’s attention becomes inappropriate, Aidan reaches out to the girl he loves and his friends only to find out he may not be alone.

Quincy and Biddy have special needs but want to be independent.  While Biddy is an introvert, Quincy is an extrovert and when Quincy is assaulted the two women must band together.

-Dawn Abron is currently reading, The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Vurtue

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Reading Without Walls Challenge

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 07:00

Graphic novelist, Gene Luen Yang, the National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature mission during his term has been to encourage readers to read more diversely with his Reading Without Walls Challenge.  It is a simple challenge that asks readers to do one of these three things:

For the month April, there is a nationwide push to have every reader participate.

The YALSA Hub has long supported creating a habit of reading diversely. Here is a roundup of recent booklists that supports each of Yang’s three areas.

Hub blogger Dawn Abron’s ongoing series Diversify YA Life has had many great posts. For new authors, be sure to see her lists of Diverse Debuts of 2017 and Diverse Debuts 2016.

Also check out these posts:

Also check out our recent booklist on The Refugee Experience for Teens, as well as the following recent booklists with LGBTQ+ characters:

Don’t miss more award winning books from The Schneider Family Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Stonewall Book Awards lists.

We have covered a variety of topics from social justice to science, and created booklists to go along with them. Here are a few from the past couple of years:



We also have some resource on the following subjects:

For other great titles on a variety of subjects, be sure to look at the award winning books from YALSA’s Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction Award.

We love promoting the other formats that Yang is encouraging. Here are some lists to help with challenge area three.


For many fantastic lists with graphic novels and comics, be sure not to miss Hub blogger Carli Spina’s ongoing series Women in Comics. Also be sure to check out our many other lists as well as the vetted lists from YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels.


Along with the vetted lists from YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults we have a few lists of own. Check out these lists:


We have many lists of books in verse to support this challenge. Check out some of these:


Other formats to consider for this part of the challenge is a book in translation, check out some new 2017 titles with our Translated YA Titles for the New Year. Also, check out our posts that involve books aimed at younger readers with these posts:

Challenge yourself, challenge others, read with windows not walls.

–Danielle Jones, currently reading A Crack in the Sea by H.M. Bouwman


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Women in Comics: A Spark Of Creativity

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 07:00

Creativity can mean many different things in different contexts. While artists usually spring to mind as the most obvious examples of those who engage in creativity, they are certainly not the only people for whom creativity is central. This list includes several graphic novels about artists but also a biography of Einstein and a book about the creative process generally. Hopefully this list will help inspire readers to jump start their own creativity.

Creativity in Progress Amanda Hirsch. CC By 2.0

Isadora Duncan: A Graphic Biography by Sabrina Jones – Though her name may no longer be familiar to everyone, Isadora Duncan was a revolutionary figure in the dance world during her lifetime. In this biography, Jones captures Duncan’s philosophy of dance and manages to use her illustrations to convey the type of motion and movement that Duncan pioneered in the art world. She also dives into the controversy that Duncan’s personal life and political activities caused during a period when women were not often thought of as powerful figures in their own right. This book is sure to fascinate those with an interest in both dance and the strong women of history.

Glenn Gould: A Life Off Tempo by Sandrine Revel – Famed as a pianist of unbelievable talent from a very early age, Glenn Gould is not only a musical and creative genius, but also a perplexing figure. In this biography, Revel, who is herself a famed artist albeit in a very different genre, explores Gould’s life, including not only his artistic career but also his choice to suddenly end his career and disappear from the public eye. This is an enlightening look at a talented but conflicted musician.

California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before the Mamas & the Papas by Pénélope Bagieu – Whether you are a fan of folk music or not, you are sure to find something of interest in this biography of Cass Elliot, one of the leads of The Mamas & The Papas. From her early career searching for work on broadway to the height of her fame with the group, readers will get a glimpse into Elliot’s life, ambitions, and talent. Clearly she was a creative powerhouse, but more than this, she was a woman intent on living her own vision of success.

Vincent by Barbara Stok – This biography of Vincent van Gogh focuses on his time in Southern France and his struggles with mental illness. Illustrated in bold colors with a simple style, this book not only brings van Gogh alive for readers, but also gives a clear view of his relationships. In particular, Stok highlights van Gogh’s relationship with his brother Theo. The love and support between the brothers comes through clearly and gives readers a window into van Gogh’s life outside of art. This is a great book for both fans of van Gogh’s work and those who are not very familiar with his story.

Einstein by Corinne Maier with art by Anne Simon – Creativity can and often does extend beyond the arts. Rarely is this more clear than in the case of Albert Einstein’s, whose creativity combined with his intellect to allow him to take science in whole new directions. This novel blends fun artwork with details of Einstein’s biography to bring his life and his work alive. Though many will know the basic outline of his life, this book highlights some lesser known details and doesn’t gloss over even some of the more negative elements of his story. It is a great read that will be interesting and relatable for both science enthusiasts and those who generally avoid the topic.

Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor by Lynda Barry – Last year Lynda Barry was inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame for her many contributions to the field of comics, but this work is a bit different from many of her others. Instead of story, this volume is a collection of writing exercises, notes, creativity advice, and other items that Barry collected and put together while creating and refining her utterly unique workshop called Writing The Unthinkable. This book will make you think about art, writing, and creativity. This is a great read, particularly for those not lucky enough to take Barry’s workshop.

Do you know any other comics about creativity and the creative process? Let me know in the comments!

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Monthly Monday Poll: April 2017 – 1999 Was An Awesome Year for YA

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 07:00

Happy Spring, Hub readers!

Last month, we got nostalgic about our most-loved YA fantasy from the 90s. In a result that should surprise no one, the opening volume of Harry Potter was the winner, with 34% of results. Runner-up with 26% was Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief, so we’ve got a lot readers (myself included!) eager for the May release of the 5th book set in The Thief‘s world, Thick as Thieves. Fully 21% of you called foul on the feasibility of accurately listing and/or choosing actual favorites from the decade of YA fantasy that helped to provide the fertile ground from which grows the vivid genre (and genre-bending) work we enjoy in today’s YA. The next 3 results were quite close, with Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials at 7%, Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy at 6%, and Neil Gaiman’s Stardust at 5%. 2% of us chose Diana Wynne Jones’ Dark Lord of Derlock. 

In the course of digging up 90s fantasy titles last month, I discovered that 1999 was a seriously *stellar* year in YA, giving us a bunch of standout titles still celebrated today. So we’re keeping the 90s theme going, and this time just focusing on this incredible list of books that ALL came out (in North America) in 1999. As always, let me know in the comments if there are titles I’ve missed!

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

— Carly Pansulla, currently reading We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out by Annie E. Clark and Andrea Pino

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2017 Hub Reading Challenge March Check-in

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 07:00

Hello everyone, how is your Hub Challenge going?

I am curious to hear how everyone approaches the Challenge. Personally, I start off with good intentions like say, reading through all of the Printz books I haven’t read yet but then get distracted by other books. Look! There’s that comic I’ve been meaning to read! Or, Ooh, I need a new audiobook for my drive home.

I’m easily distracted.

Even though I tend to jump around with my lists and books, I often find that I notice different aspects of the books and pair them together in my mind. In this year’s reading I started to notice a pattern: so many of the books that I really loved focused on female friendships. This is maybe not groundbreaking territory for YA books as friendship is so often a huge part of teens’ lives, but some of the ways in which friendship and the intense bonds between girls stood out to me.

Some of these friendships were of the awesome, ride-or-die, girl gang variety. I love a girl gang so the Paper Girls (Great Graphic Novels) and Giant Days (Great Graphic Novels)comics are great. Even if the titular Paper Girls aren’t the closets of friends, I love that they band together in the face of some seriously weird happenings in Cleveland. Cliff Chiang’s moody art doesn’t hurt either nor the “Stranger Things”-vibe. Side note: I loved “Stranger Things” but can we remake it starring the Paper Girls instead? Also, the hilarious ups and downs of the college lives of Esther, Daisy, and Susan remind me that no matter happens the most important thing is to have your friends by your side.

Other than delightful girl gang escapades, another theme I noticed in my reading was that of the unlikely friendship. Whether it’s between hard, vengeful Alex and social Peekay in The Female of the Species (Best Fiction); worldly Botille and pious Dolssa in The Passion of Dolssa (Printz, Best Fiction); or even shy Katie and her glamorous grandmother Mary in Unbecoming (Stonewall), I loved all these surprising pairs. In all these books one girl or the other sticks their neck for her friend, fighting for her safety. It’s a really nice reminder to all those who think that teen girl-dom is all about cattiness and Mean Girls-style sass that it’s also about being there for your friends.

I know that’s not all of the books in the Hub Challenge that may focus on female friendship but those are some of my favorites. Any suggestions for where I should go from here to find more great lady reads?

Let us know how you are doing with the Challenge and don’t forget about the sortable spreadsheet! Here are the guidelines in case you don’t remember:

  • Format matters: a title that has been recognized for both the print version and the audiobook version can be both read and listened to and count as two books, but a book that has won multiple awards or appears on multiple lists in the same format only counts as one title.
  • Books must be read/listened to (both begun and finished) since the award winners and selected lists have been released and 11:59pm EST on June 22. If you’ve already read/listened to a title, you must re-read/listen to it for it to count.
  • Just about everyone who doesn’t work for ALA is eligible to participate. Non-ALA/YALSA members are eligible. Teens are eligible. Non-US residents/citizens are eligible. (More eligibility questions? Leave a comment or email us.)
  • Once you finish the challenge, we’ll contact you with details about creating and publishing your response.
  • If you have finished the challenge, let us know here!  The grand prize winner will be selected by 11:59pm EST on June 23. The winner will be notified via email.

— Anna Tschetter, Hub Advisory Board

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Teens in Outer Space

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 07:00

In February, NASA scientist discover seven Earth like planets out in space.  Although these planets are 40 light years or hundreds of thousands of years away, that doesn’t stop us from wondering if there’s other life out there.  Luckily, there are authors who have wondered the same thing and you can check out their space stories below.

Nemesis is a diabolic-a killing machine.  When her master and friend is summoned to become a hostage for political gains, Nemesis protects her the only way she knows how-she must become her.

Akos, son of an oracle, lives on the farthest planet from the son-Thuvhe. His life along with many others is fated yet, he doesn’t know his fate until all the fates are announced space-wide. Now that all the fates have been revealed, all the fated including Akos and his family are in danger.  Cyra is the youngest daughter of the Shotet’s elite family. The Shotets live on Thuvhe but are at war with Akos’ people. Cyra’s family will stop at nothing to rule their planet including kidnapping and killing to change their fates.

Cinder is a cyborg and was raised by her adopted family after a crash killed her parents.  After her father dies, Cinder’s evil stepmother sells her to the government for testing to find a cure of a deadly virus.  When Cinder realizes she is immune to the virus she also learns that others may not want to use her to save her people.

Ender is special and when the government begins to notice, he is recruited to lead a team of teenagers to fight the enemy in outer space.

Darrow is a red and a member of the lowest class.  He and the other Reds believe their hard work hard is for a better planet for their kids but when Darrow finds out he’s basically a slave for the richest class, he infiltrates their Institute to find answers.

Zen likes trains especially the rails in his alternate universe in space.  When a mysterious man named The Raven pays Zen to steal a box from the train of the emperor, Zen isn’t sure if The Raven is evil or if it’s the government that’s evil.

Kady and Evan happen to be living on a planet that’s just been invaded by two megacorporations.  As they try to flee on an evacuation ship, they are faced with a new problem-a deadly virus.

Rhee is an empress who will do almost anything to claim the throne and Aly is a rising star of his planet that has been accused of killing Rhee. What happens when their two planets collide?

When a spaceliner crashes leaving two survivors, Lilac who comes from money and Tarver who comes from nothing. They must join forces to find life.

— Dawn Abron,  currently reading A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab


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Booklist: The Refugee Experience for Teens

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 07:00

The refugee experience is on a lot of teens minds these days. Many teens want to better understand the hardships that refugees face, and what leads to someone needing to flee their home. Here is a list of books for teens that explore a variety of conflicts, and the harrowing journeys that many have faced in hopes of a safer and more stable life.

Young Adult Fiction about the Refugee Experience

City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

When she was a young child, Tina fled with her mother to Sangui City, Kenya from Congo. Now in her teens, five years after her mother’s murder, Tina is determined to get revenge on her mother’s murderer. With her friend Boyboy, and her former best friend, Michael, who is also son of the man she believes is her mother’s murderer, the three sneak back into Congo looking for answers around her mother’s death only to find so much more.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (2017 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2017 Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults)

Based on true events, this World War II novel set in East Prussia during the winter of 1945 follows the plight of refugees as Germany tries to evacuate soldiers and civilians. Four teens, from different backgrounds, and each with a dark secret, connect as they vie for passage on the ship, the Willhelm Gustloff, being used to evacuate the refugees.

The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz

After the local gang kills his beloved cousin, Jaime and his cousin Ángela are targeted as the next recruits. Their families quickly put together the funds to send them north to try to make a crossing to the United States where Jaime’s older brother is living. The two endure multiple hardships as they attempt to make it north.

I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosín

Based on true events in Chile during the 1970s, Celeste is sent to America after Chile, is taken over by a militaristic, sadistic government. There she worries over her parents who have disappeared into hiding, and tries to adapt to her new life while still worrying about and missing her old.

The Good Braider by Terry Farish (2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners)

This free-verse novel follows Viola a Sudanese refugee’s journey from her home in ravaged Sudan to Cairo and finally to the Sudanese community in Maine. She is forever haunted by harrowing  memories of she’s lost as she tries to build a new life.

Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

After Deo’s Zimbabwe village is ravaged by soldiers, he must flee with his older brother, Innocent, who is mentally disabled. With no shoes and very little money, the two set out on a journey where they face constant prejudice against refugees and a lion while crossing through a nature preserve, they end up in the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa where they face more brutal xenophobia. Deo is then invited to join the soccer team that will represent South Africa in the Street Soccer World Cup.

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Based on a true story about Sudanese civil war, follows both young Salva, who becomes separated from his family after his village is attacked  in 1985. Salva’s faces a harrowing journey walking across the southern region of Sudan to Kenya, as he and other refugees face hunger,  attacks by soldiers,  lions, and violent marauders. Chapters are prefaced by young Nya, who collects water for her Sudanese village in 2008.

A Time of Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Set in the early 1990s in the war-torn Republic of Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Seven-year-old Koumaïl and his guardian, Gloria, flee violent unrest and begin a five-year arduous journey across the Caucasus toward France. In moments of despair, storytelling revive their passion for survival as they weather hardships and welcome unforgettable encounters with other refugees searching for a better life.

The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson

Set during the war in Kosovo during the 1990s this follows Meli, an Albanian Muslim girl, and her family as they flee the violence escalating in their small town. They embark on a terrible two year journey from their uncle’s farm to a crowded refugee camp where they denied permission to cross the border until they are finally sponsored church bringing them to the U.S.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

The sense of displacement and awe are explored of what it feels like to be an immigrant in a new world in this wordless graphic novel.

The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo

After their mother is shot and killed by assassins’ bullets meant for their outspoken journalist father, Sade Solaja and younger brother, Femi, are hastily smuggled out of Nigeria and taken to London and abandoned after their uncle fails to meet them at the airport. Sade and Femi must try and find their own way around a confusing and unknown city.

Blue Gold by Elizabeth Stewart

Told through three different points of view, this explores the human costs of technology with coltan, or  rather “blue gold,” a rare mineral used in making cell phones and computers. One of these voices is Sylvie is a Congolese refugee living in Tanzania.

Young Adult Nonfiction on The Refugee Experience

This Land is Our Land by Linda Barrett Osborne (2017 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Finalist)

Explores the evolution and history of governmental policy around immigration and how it is often driven by popular responses to feelings on race and ethnicity, economic conditions, and fear of foreign political concerns.

An Olympic Dream: The Story of Samia Yusuf Omar by Reinhard Kleist

After Samia Yusuf Omar competed in running at the 2008 Beijing Olympics representing Somalia, she was determined to compete again at the 2012 London games. When the Islamist militia Al-Shabaab harassed and threatened to kill her, she fled through Sudan and into Libya to find a safer place to train only to meet a fateful end attempting to reach Europe.

Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees by Deborah Ellis

Through interviews with displaced Iraqi kids and teens between the ages 8 and 19 they discuss how the Iraq war has affected their lives.

Danielle Jones, currently reading See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

The post Booklist: The Refugee Experience for Teens appeared first on The Hub.

Going Global: Resources for International YA Literature

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 17:20

Start with the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) (the U.S. chapter of IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People) Outstanding International Books List, an annual list of about 40 translations and English-language imports for readers K-12. Every year the annotated list appears in the February issue of School Library Journal. The USBBY Outstanding International Books award page links to the SLJ list and also includes a printable bookmark and a very cool Google map showing where the books are set.

You may have heard of these two novels from the 2017 list that have received a lot of buzz: Socorro Acioli’s The Head of the Saint (Delacorte), from Brazil, translated by Daniel Hahn; and The Lie Tree (Amulet Books/Abrams), from UK author Frances Hardinge. But chances are, you have yet to discover Jesper Wung-Sung’s novel The Last Execution (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum), translated from the Danish by Lindy Falk van Rooyen and based on the true story of the execution of a teenager in Denmark. Or Anna Woltz’s A Hundred Hours of Night (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic), translated from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson. This is one of those fascinating books that reflects our own country back to us through outsider eyes – in this case, the eyes of a 15-year-old Dutch runaway trapped in New York City during Hurricane Sandy.

Batchelder and Marsh Awards for Translated Books

The Mildred A. Batchelder Award is the U.S. award that recognizes a publisher for the best children’s translation of the year. Very often Batchelder winner and honor chapter books are perfect for tweens and teens, but sometimes the picture books are appropriate for older readers, too. The 2017 Batchelder winner, Cry, Heart, But Never Break (Enchanted Lion Books; written by Glenn Ringtved, illustrated by Charlotte Pardi, and translated from the Danish by Robert Moulthrop) is a good example. The strangely comforting figure of Death tells four children whose grandmother is terminally ill an allegorical story to ease their pain. This poignant and nuanced book provides a great prompt for a teen discussion about life, death, and storytelling.

Translation awards from other countries can also turn up gems. In the U.K., this year’s Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation was awarded to Helen Wang for her translation of Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan, first published by Walker in the U.K. and scheduled for release by Candlewick in the U.S. on March 14. Perfect for tweens, it is the first of this celebrated Chinese author’s books to be translated into English.

Bookbird and the Hans Christian Andersen Awards

With country, genre, and subject theme issues, Bookbird, the quarterly journal of IBBY, is an excellent place to find out about books from other countries. Watch especially for their Hans Christian Andersen Awards issues. Administered by IBBY, the biennial Andersen Awards, commonly called “the little Nobel,” recognize an author and illustrator who have made a lasting contribution to international children’s literature.  

The latest Andersen issue (Vol. 54.4) features articles about the Hans Christian Andersen Award winners and finalists for 2016, while Volume 54.2 featured one-page profiles of the 28 authors and 29 illustrators nominated for the award by IBBY sections around the world. For example, you will learn about the above-mentioned author Cao Wenxuan, the first Andersen winner from China.

USBBY Bridges to Understanding Annotated Bibliographies

Don’t miss the Bridges to Understanding series of annotated bibliographies, a five-volume reference set sponsored by USBBY and published byScarecrow/Rowman & Littlefield.

The most recent is Reading the World’s Stories (2016), edited by myself, Theo Heras, and Susan Corapi, which includes titles published 2010-2014. This project was accomplished over five years with the help of 40 annotators and input from many U.S. and international colleagues. Background essays and listings ofawards, organizations, research collections, and firms that publish global books supplement the geographically organized bibliography. Just for fun, go to a country you know little about and scan the page until you see an entry with a YA reading level. Or look up “Young Adult” in the subject index and randomly choose one of the page numbers. All of the books are recommended, and many have won awards in their home countries, so you are in for a reading adventure!

Don’t forget the Printz…and the Inkys!

Unlike ALSC’s best-known awards, the Newbery and Caldecott, YALSA’s book awards are open to books first published outside of the U.S.. It’s not unusual for Printz winners and honor books to be from Australia (Melina Marchetta, Markus Zusak, Margo Lanagan), Canada (Kenneth Oppel, Allan Stratton, Beverley Brenna), the U.K. (Marcus Sedgwick, David Almond), and on occasion, Ireland (Louise O’Neill) and continental Europe (Janne Teller).

A number of national awards in other countries also embrace books from around the world. Check out the Australian Inky Awards, run by the State Library of Victoria, a teen reader’s choice award. There are two Inky Awards: the Gold Inky for an Australian book, and the Silver Inky for an international book. The 2017 longlist for the Gold Inky includes Zana Fraillon’s The Bone Sparrow (Disney-Hyperion), a lyrical novel set in a grim Australian refugee detention center, and Nevernight (Thomas Dunne Books) by Jay Kristoff, the first in a new fantasy series.

Keeping Up

One way to keep up with international books is through USBBY.  Their next conference, with the theme “Radical Change Beyond Borders: The Transforming Power of Children’s Literature in the Digital Age,” will be hosted by the University of Washington Information School in Seattle, October 20-22, 2017. You can also follow GLLI on Twitter, like our new Facebook page, and check the resources on our website. And watch for more GLLI roundups of forthcoming international YA here on The Hub to keep up-to-date on what’s new in international YA!


This guest post was contributed by Annette Y. Goldsmith, a Los Angeles-based Lecturer for the University of Washington Information School, as part of GLLI @ the Hub!

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Booklist: Read-a-Likes for Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 07:00

Nicola Yoon’s debut novel Everything, Everything took the book world by storm when it was published in 2015. This May readers will get to see this much loved story come to life on the big screen when the film adaptation starring Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson hits theaters. In the meantime this booklist has everything, everything you might want to read if you are a fan waiting for the movie to come out.

If You Want a Book Where a Character is More Than Their Illness:

  1. The Memory Book by Lara Avery: Sammie doesn’t believe that one diagnosis can change her entire life. She starts writing down her memories big and small as her degenerative illness, Niemann-Pick Type C, begins to take its toll on her memories and her health.
  2. Zac and Mia by A. J. Betts: Zac and Mia would never be friends friends in the real world. But different rules apply when you’re in a hospital.
  3. Before I Die by Jenny Downham (2008 Best Books for Young Adults, 2015 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults): Tessa knows she is dying. Instead of waiting to disappear without a trace, Tessa decides to complete her “before I die” list in the precious weeks she has left.
  4. Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt: When disaster strikes, Penelope is thrust into a world of secrets and betrayals she is ill-equipped to understand. As she struggles to make sense of her shattered past and shape her own future she’ll also learn that life isn’t always a fairy tale. Sometimes you have to make your own happy ending.

If You Want a Book That Goes the Distance (Literally):

  1. Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid: When Leila arrives right when she’s needed most in her ridiculously red car she changes the lives of Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia forever. But it will take a 4,268 mile road trip for Leila to realize what she needs herself.
  2. So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti: Brooke moved to New York City for Scott Abrams. Will she wind up staying for herself?
  3. In Real Life by Jessica Love: Hannah thinks the Nick she’s known online can’t be that different from Nick in real life. But she only has one night in Vegas to figure that out and decide if she’s ready to risk her heart trying to make their friendship into something more.
  4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults): Anna and Etienne have a lot of near-misses and close calls that bring their friendship to the verge of being something more. 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.
If You Want a Book With a Sweet Romance:

  1. The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle (2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults): Quinn doesn’t know how to deal with his sister’s death but his best friend insists that it’s time for Quinn to rejoin the living. One haircut later Quinn meets a hot guy at his first college parts and starts to think the movie version of his life might have a happy ending after all.
  2. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (2015 Teens’ Top Ten): No one was ever supposed to see Lara Jean’s love letters except for Lara Jean. They were never meant for anyone else. With all of her feelings laid bare for these five boys, Lara Jean isn’t sure how to go back to the girl she used to be before the letters were delivered.
  3. I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil: When Bea loses her boyfriend to quirky new girl Toile, she decides to use her mathematically proven Formula for social happiness in high school to reinvent herself as eccentric and adorable “Trixie”.
  4. American Street by Ibi Zoboi:Fabiola Toussaint and her mother arrive in the United States eager to join Fabiola’s aunt and cousins. But her mother is detained by ICE at a facility in New Jersey and Fabiola arrives alone. Fabiola finds new friends and first love, but she also learns that nothing in America is what she imagined back home in Haiti–not even her new home at the corner of American Street and Joy Road.
If You Want a Book That Has Some Unexpected Moments:

  1. Something Real by Heather Demetrios (2015 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers): When their family’s reality show is cancelled Bonnie™ Baker hopes that she and her twelve siblings can start living a normal life. Then her mother announces that Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air and Bonnie™ will have to take drastic measures if she wants to protect the normal life she’s started to treasure.
  2. The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds (2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults): What happens when a boy who works at a funeral home meets a girl who never cries?
  3. My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul: When Hank’s promposal attempt ends with a fiery lawn, budding pyromaniac Peyton Breedlove blackmails him into friendship.
  4. Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley (2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2017 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers): Solomon hasn’t left his house in three years. Lisa, with help from her boyfriend Clark, decides to fix Sol and his agoraphobia. And write a scholarship-winning essay about it. But it turns out psychology isn’t so straightforward when love and friendship come into the mix.

— Emma Carbone, currently reading The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu

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