The Hub

Subscribe to The Hub feed The Hub
Updated: 23 hours 23 min ago

SYNC Audiobooks for Teens

Fri, 04/29/2016 - 07:00

The SYNC Audiobooks for Teens program, sponsored by AudioFile Magazine, and powered by OverDrive, will start next week on May 5th to give teens, librarians and educators the opportunity  to download a selection of free audiobooks during a 15-week program that ends on August 17, 2016.

Each week, SYNC offers a thematic pairing of  two YA books or a YA book with an classic adult book. You must download the Overdrive app to the device of your choice to access the audiobooks each Thursday after 7 pm (EST). Each week’s selections are only available for download for one week, so if you don’t download them during that time period, you won’t be able to get them later, since they aren’t archived. Teens, librarians, club leaders, and educators can sign up for email or text alerts to receive reminders of when they’re available.

Many of the selections are award-winners or titles frequently assigned for summer reading. They are notable for their excellent narration that enables readers to master the listening skills so necessary for literacy. During the summer of 2015, the SYNC program gave away more than 129,000 downloads to 41,000 participants.

With the continued discussions of the loss of reading skills over the summer, SYNC hopes to help keep teens engaged and stimulated throughout the summer. Public librarians have also used SYNC as part of their summer reading programs.

SYNC has a toolkit you can use to publicize it to teens and other librarians by going to their website. There are downloadable posters and a brochure with the list of each week’s audiobooks, and even audio snippets of the books you can listen to.

I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to listen to books I may not have read, or adult books I wouldn’t normally listen to. I really love that they’re free and that I can keep them forever once I’ve downloaded them. I’ve only participated over the past three or so years. Since this is the seventh year of the program, I’ve missed out on a lot of great audios! So you don’t miss out like I did, the list of what’s available is here, with annotations from WorldCat. You can also go to SYNC’s website to see the list too.

VIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Katie Coyle (Dreamscape Media) 

Sixteen-year-old Vivian Apple returns home after the alleged ‘Rapture’ to find her devout parents gone and two mysterious holes in the roof. Vivian never believed in the Rapture, or the uber powerful Church of America. Now that she has been left behind, Vivan’s quest for the truth begins.


THE GREAT TENNESSEE MONKEY TRIAL by Peter Goodchild (L.A. Theatre Works) 

Presents a dramatization of the Scope Trial in a small-town Tennessee courtroom in 1925 which set the stage for the ongoing national debate over freedom of inquiry and the separation of church and state in a democratic society.


THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER by Melinda Salisbury (Scholastic Audio)

For four years sixteen-year-old Twylla has lived in the castle of Lormere, the goddess-embodied, whose touch can poison and kill, and hence the Queen’s executioner–but when Prince Merek, her betrothed, who is immune to her touch returns to the kingdom she finds herself caught up in palace intrigues, unsure if she can trust him or the bodyguard who claims to love her.



Los Angeles lawyer and law professor, Jim Gash, tells the amazing true story of how, after a series of God-orchestrated events, he finds himself in the heart of Africa defending a courageous Ugandan boy languishing in prison and wrongfully accused of two separate murders. Ultimately, their unlikely friendship and unrelenting persistence reforms Uganda’s criminal justice system, leaving a lasting impact on hundreds of thousands of lives and unearthing a friendship that supersedes circumstance, culture and the walls we often hide behind.

100 SIDEWAYS MILES by Andrew Smith (Tantor Media) (2015 Best Books for Young Adults)

Finn Easton, sixteen and epileptic, struggles to feel like more than just a character in his father’s cult-classic novels with the help of his best friend, Cade Hernandez, and first love, Julia, until Julia moves away.



THIS BOY’S LIFE by Tobias Wolff (Highbridge Audio)

Wolff’s account of his boyhood and the process of growing up includes paper routes, whiskey, scouting, fistfights, friendship, and betrayal in 1950s America.



EVERY LAST WORD by Tamara Ireland Stone (Ideal Audiobooks) 

Consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off, a girl coping with Purely-Obsessional OCD learns to accept herself and take control of her life through her experiences in poetry club.



EGG & SPOON by Gregory Maguire (Brilliance Audio) (2015 Best Books for Young Adults)

In 1905 czarist Russia, an impoverished country girl Elena and the aristocratic Ekaterina meet and set in motion an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and the witch Baba Yaga.


WORDS IN THE DUST by Trent Reedy (Scholastic Audio)                                   

Zulaikha, a thirteen-year-old girl in Afghanistan, faces a series of frightening but exhilarating changes in her life as she defies her father and secretly meets with an old woman who teaches her to read, her older sister gets married, and American troops offer her surgery to fix her disfiguring cleft lip.



THE BOY BORN DEAD: A STORY OF FRIENDSHIP, COURAGE, AND TRIUMPH by David Ring, David Wideman, John Driver (christianaudio) 

In 1953, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, a baby boy was born–dead. The attending physician set his little body aside and tended to his mother for eighteen minutes. Now, more than sixty years later, that boy leads an internationally known ministry that encourages hundreds of thousands every year. The Boy Born Dead traces the roots of this harrowing, humorous, and heartfelt story … the real-life events of David Ring.


ZAC AND MIA by A.J. Betts (Dreamscape Media)

The last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t–couldn’t–be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note–then a friendship neither of them sees coming.


I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson (Brilliance Audio) (2015 Michael L. Printz Award, 2015 Best Books for Young Adults)

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways … until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else — an even more unpredictable new force in her life.


HOW IT WENT DOWN by Kekla Magoon (Recorded Books) (2015 Best Books for Young Adults)

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, and in the aftermath everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events agree.



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN EX-COLORED MAN by James Weldon Johnson (Tantor Media)

In James Weldon Johnson’s emotionally gripping and poignant look into race relations, a half-white half-black man of very light complexion must chose between his heritage and the art that he loves and the ability to escape the inherent racism that he faces by passing as a white.

by David Levithan (Full Cast Audio) (2016 Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner)

When Paul falls hard for Noah, he thinks he has found his one true love, but when Noah walks out of his life, Paul has to find a way to get him back and make everything right once more.



DONNY’S BRAIN by Rona Munro (L.A. Theatre Works) 

The acclaimed Scottish playwright Rona Munro has created a remarkable story about a man who wakes up from a car crash with brain damage. Now, he sees the world as the person he was three years ago, when his life and loves were in a very different place.



In a smart, compelling format with updated facts, plenty of photos, graphs, and visuals, this book encourages kids to consider the personal and global health implications of their food choices.



GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE by Andrew Smith (Listening Library) (2015 Printz Honor Winner)

Austin Szerba narrates the end of humanity as he and his best friend Robby accidentally unleash an army of giant, unstoppable bugs and uncover the secrets of a decades-old experiment gone terribly wrong.


THE YOUNG WORLD by Chris Weitz (Hachette Audio)

Jefferson, with his childhood friend Donna, leads a tribe of teenagers in New York City on a dangerous quest to find an antidote for a mysterious illness that wiped out all adults and children.



SYMPHONY FOR THE CITY OF THE DEAD:DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH AND THE SIEGE OF LENINGRAD by M. T. Anderson (Brilliance Audio) (2016 YALSA Excellence in NF Award finalist)

National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson delivers a brilliant and riveting account of the Siege of Leningrad during World War II and the role played by Russian composer Shostakovich and his Leningrad Symphony.


FAT ANGIE by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo (Brilliance Audio)

Fat Angie’s sister was captured in Iraq, she’s the resident laughingstock at school, and her therapist tells her to count instead of eat. Can a daring new girl in her life really change anything?



ON THE JELLICOE ROAD by Melina Marchetta (Bolinda) (2009 Michael L. Printz Award)

Taylor Markham is now a senior at the Jellicoe School, and has been made leader of the boarders. She is responsible for keeping the upper hand in the territory wars with the townies, and the cadets who camp on the edge of the school’s property over summer. She has to keep her students safe and the territories enforced and to deal with Jonah Griggs, the leader of the cadets and someone she’d rather forget. But what she needs to do, more than anything, is unravel the mystery of her past and find her mother who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road six years before.

by Nelson Mandela (Highbridge Audio)

The award-winning radio series documenting the struggle against apartheid through intimate first-person accounts of Nelson Mandela himself, as well as those who fought with him, and against him.



THINGS FALL APART by Chinua Achebe (Recorded Books) 

First published in 1958, this novel tells the story of Okonkwo, the leader of an Igbo (Ibo) community who is banished for accidentally killing a clansman. The novel covers the seven years of his exile to his return, providing an inside view of the intrusion of white missionaries and colonial government into tribal Igbo society in the 1890s.


JUBA! A NOVEL by Walter Dean Myers (HarperAudio)

In Five Points, New York, in the 1840s, African American teenager William Henry “Juba” Lane works hard to achieve his dream of becoming a professional dancer but his real break comes when he is invited to perform in England. Based on the life of Master Juba; includes historical note.



PENNIES FOR HITLER by Jackie French (Bolinda)

It’s 1939, and for Georg, son of an English academic living in Germany, life is full of cream cakes and loving parents. It is also a time when his teacher measures the pupils’ heads to see which of them have the most ‘Aryan’ shaped heads. But when a university graduation ceremony turns into a pro-Nazi demonstration, Georg is smuggled out of Germany to war-torn London and then across enemy seas to Australia where he must forget his past and who he is in order to survive. Hatred is contagious, but Georg finds that kindness can be, too.

by Cristina Henríquez (Penguin Random House Audio)

Arturo and Alma Rivera have lived their whole lives in Mexico. One day, their beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Maribel, sustains a terrible injury, one that casts doubt on whether she’ll ever be the same. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better. When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panama, sees Maribel in a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. It’s also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novel’s core.



From Steve Sheinkin, the award-winning author of “The Port Chicago 50” and “Bomb “comes a tense, exciting exploration of what the Times deemed “the greatest story of the century”: how Daniel Ellsberg transformed from obscure government analyst into “the most dangerous man in America,” and risked everything to expose the government’s deceit.


BONE GAP by Laura Ruby (HarperAudio) (2016 Michael Printz Award winner; 2016 Best Books for Young Adults & 2016 Top Teen Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Eighteen-year-old Finn, an outsider in his quiet Midwestern town, is the only witness to the abduction of town favorite Roza, but his inability to distinguish between faces makes it difficult for him to help with the investigation, and subjects him to even more ridicule and bullying.


CLASSIC AMERICAN SHORT STORIES by Jack London, Ambrose Bierce, Stephen Crane, Kate Chopin, James Fenimore Cooper, Mark Twain, and O. Henry (Naxos AudioBooks)

Represented here are 16 short stories by seven great American writers, dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Sharon Rawlins — currently reading The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

The post SYNC Audiobooks for Teens appeared first on The Hub.

Fandom 101: The Raven Cycle

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 07:00

Art Print from Maggie Stiefvater’s Society 6 Page

If you’ve been anywhere near Tumblr, you have probably encountered the always growing fandom for Maggie Stiefvater’s young adult fantasy series The Raven Cycle. Particularly in the weeks leading up to the release date (today!) of The Raven King, the last book in the series, the originally small fandom has grown astronomically.

If you haven’t read the books you might be confused to say the least about what the series is actually about. The official description of the first book in the series The Raven Boys is:

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

While this is probably the most concise way to sum up the basic plot of the series, it hardly does justice to how unique and multifaceted it is.  Stiefvater takes another crack at it saying, 

Still confused? But really intrigued? Let’s see if we can look at a few of the many components that really get to the heart of why so many readers are so passionate about this series.

Art Print from Maggie Stiefvater’s Society6 Page

“How much do you know about Welsh Kings?”

Unlike the British  mythology of King Arthur, there aren’t too many fantasy novels out there about the Welsh king Owen Glendower.  There’s a freshness to these legends of sleeping kings that makes your average reader willingly and eagerly suspend their disbelief when Richard Campbell Gansey lays out all facts that argue that Glendower was buried in rural Virginia. As Gansey, Blue and the other raven boys discover, “that there was such a thing as magic in the world” and readers are with them every step of the way.

For readers looking for other stories inspired by Welsh mythology try:

The Dark is Rising Series by Susan Cooper

The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander

And if you really want to take a deep dive into some of the foundational stories in Welsh folklore check out one of the many editions of

The Mabinogion

“She wasn’t interested in telling other people’s futures.”

Art Print from Maggie Stiefvater’s Society6 Page

Though Blue Sargent is not a psychic herself she lives in a house filled with clairvoyant women who support themselves by doing tarot readings for the locals, and sometimes mess around with rituals in their free time. Not only does a very specific prophesy loom large throughout the series, “If Blue were to kiss her true love, he would die”, themes of fate, the past, the future, and whether any of the above are controllable, motivate and drive every character.

For fans looking to try their hand at reading tarot Stiefvater painted her own version of the tarot  which was nominated for best deck/best illustrator by the International Tarot Foundation.

Rural Fantasy

Categorizing young adult fantasy is tricky. In terms of readers’ advisory you can’t stop at “fantasy” and really find readers what they want. In generally accepted terms The Raven Cycle might be considered “urban fantasy” since in is set in the present with fantastical elements and relies heavily on a sense of place. The setting of The Raven Boys is the opposite of urban as it takes place in the fictionalized small town of Henrietta, Virginia. Steifvater lives in a similarly small town in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia and her deep love of the region is palpable in the loving detail she uses to craft her setting. It also allows her comment on issues of old Southern wealth and rural poverty through her characters. The conflicting feelings of loving home and a claustrophobic need to get out and find something bigger and better can be highly relatable for teens, especially in a genre like fantasy that often takes place in both fictional and actual cities instead of small towns.

A Lady of many talents (and internet presences) 

Maggie Stiefvater. Photo by Robert Severi.

The fast growth of The Raven Cycle fandom may be due in part to Stiefvater’s very active Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook Page, and Sound Cloud. Before Steifvater was a writer she was a visual artist and still makes art for her own books. As an incentive to pre-order books from her favorite small bookstore, she paints bookplates specifically for the books purchased from The Fountain Bookstore in Virginia. She also writes music (typically a mix of traditional Celtic instruments) to accompany her books as well as compiling playlists inspired by her characters. Her ask box on Tumblr is perpetually full and she consistently answers questions from her fans about everything from The Raven Cycle to writing, to leaving home for college. Much of the excitement surrounding the release of the final book comes from her constant hinting about two of the most loved ships within the fandom becoming canon, and her promising, amidst shouts of dread and dismay from the fandom, that Richard Campbell Gansey will die at the end of the series, as was prophesied in the first book. This kind of engagement with her young fandom is not without it’s problems. She has put a moratorium on answering questions about certain characters, and has had to establish boundaries pertaining to fan works containing adult content. These kinds of issues surrounding authors and social media are a potential topic for discussion if you serve teens in this fandom.

Dream Me a World of Fan Works

Credit: Terrible Nerdy on Tumblr

The outpouring of fan works for such a relatively small and new series has been incredible. For just a few examples see the winners of the contest that Stiefvater sponsored. Much of the fan art for the series depicts fan’s head canons that cast many of the main characters as people of color to the point that Stiefvater has been asked if this is actual canon. She’s quick to credit the fandom and not herself for this. Due mostly to the popularity of the two main ships in the series: “Bluesey” (Blue Sargent/Richard Campbell Gansey) and “Pynch” (Adam Parrish/Ronan Lynch) The Raven Cycle fandom has created a huge amount of fanfic. Check out the nearly 2,000 works on Archive of Our Own, but mind the authors’ ratings (G is for “gen” which typically means no sexual contact and E is for “explicit” which speaks for itself) and tags to make sure you find what you want and avoid what you don’t want (remember some people already have copies of The Raven King so you’ll want to check for spoilers!).

If you haven’t already taken the plunge into this truly unique and engrossing series and all the fan works it created it’s a great time to dive in since there’s no more waiting for the next installment. For long time fans, happy release day!

-Emily Childress-Campbell, Currently listening to The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (of course.)

The post Fandom 101: The Raven Cycle appeared first on The Hub.

How to Help Teens Discover Poetry

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 07:00

Halfway through college, I still hated poetry.

I kept it hidden pretty well. You’re not supposed to hate poetry if you’re an English Education major. You’re supposed to love anything to do with writing and uphold all of these classic poets and authors who have been upheld since (what feels like) the beginning of time.

But mostly, I got bored reading poetry. Sure, it was something I was capable of doing, but it definitely wasn’t something I enjoyed. Like most students, I looked at poems as a short piece a writer double-dipped in things like “metaphors” and “conceits” before giving them to teachers to use as a way to make their students’ heads hurt as they tried to figure out the “deeper meaning” of each poem. Poetry just seemed like a lot of work.

Then Ted Kooser came to do a reading at my college.


I only went because my English professors were providing extra credit for those who attended. Then I promptly squeezed the arms of my chair as hard as possible for the next hour or so as Ted Kooser read a variety of his works.

I did not realize poetry could be like this, I thought to myself. See, Ted didn’t really seem to worry about rhyme or meter or that type of thing. His sole concern seemed to be finding ways to relate everyday moments in ways that made you stop and think. To recognize something and describe it in a way that you didn’t expect but made you blurt out “Exactly! That’s exactly right!” once you heard or read it.

And that’s when I realized that I didn’t hate poetry. I just hadn’t found the right poet until that moment. I proceeded to buy and eat up all of Ted’s books. I talked with professors and researched online and found other poets who wrote in a similar vein that I liked. Poets like Billy Collins, Donald Hall, Naomi Shihab Nye, Taylor Mali, and Tania Runyan.

Many young adults don’t enjoy poetry, but you can help them find find “their” poet and discover the joys of poetry.

I started writing poems and sending them out in the hopes of getting published. I sang the praises of poetry wherever I went. Here are some ways I’ve tried to promote poetry in my classroom and library:

  1. Go through the submissions process yourself in full view of your students or patrons – I know that not everyone loves to write and even fewer people love to write poems but modeling is so important when it comes to generating interest in students and/or patrons. If you show people that you’re not just paying lip service to poetry but you’re in the same boat as them, sending out your work to different publications, they tend to take it more seriously. I have created what I’ve named “The Pillar of Rejection” in the school library where I work now. I post the collection of poems I’m trying to get published and, as the inevitable rejections rush in, I proudly display them for all students/patrons to see. (Taking the time to white out the email addresses of the literary magazines if they’re the editor’s personal email. Some lit. magazines are run by only a few people!) The students at my school like to come in and read my rejection slips. They’ll chuckle and then look at me out of the corner of one eye to see if I’ll be offended. That gives me a chance to talk to them about rejection and how even the best writers get rejected all the time.
  1. Try to build a diverse collection of poetry – If it took me until I was twenty to find the perfect poet to act as a gateway into a love of poetry, it stands to reason that you’ll need a good collection of works from poets of different backgrounds and styles to meet diverse needs. I think it’s especially important to weave together a balanced collection of classic and contemporary poets. You don’t want to ostracize fans of either group. Contemporary poems are often the ones that are easier to connect with young people but, at least in my experience, those poems often end up connecting me with classic poets based on style and allusion.
  1. Don’t turn down your nose at poetry some might not consider “literary.” – One year when I was an English teacher, I spent a class period listening to and breaking down the poetic elements of Disney songs with my students. I wish you could have seen the look of horror on the faces of most of the males in my classes as their bearded, male English teacher did a word-for-word reenactment of “Part Of Your World” from The Little Mermaid. It seems ridiculous but it was nice to see students connect with poetry through something they interacted with on a daily basis: their music. We’d talk about how when students found a particular selection of song lyrics they liked, there was no reason we couldn’t recognize the poetic elements that were there. We’d talk about metaphors and similes and students would be amazed at the frequency with which poetic elements showed up in songs. Whenever I decorate for National Poetry Month, I make sure to try to post song lyrics from different bands to prove to students that poetry affects them in ways they’ve never thought about.

Here are poems I love to prescribe to people who tell me they’re not into poetry:

Spoken Word:

I think it’s important to show people (which in my case is mostly students) that writing is not something to take for granted. Being able to put words together in ways that move people is a skill. Showing others that there are specific poets who will speak to them is important to me because, as a teacher and now as a librarian, I’ve seen the faces of my students fall as they begin a poetry unit.

“Mr. Evans,” they say. “I don’t get poetry. I hate it.”

“No,” I reply as I pass them a book by Ted Kooser or Billy Collins. “You just haven’t found the right poet yet.”

— Ethan Evans, currently reading Made for You by Melissa Marr and listening to Dark Places by Gillian Flynn whenever he’s driving somewhere

The post How to Help Teens Discover Poetry appeared first on The Hub.

Booklist: Fiction and Nonfiction for Teen Poets and Writers

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 07:00

In 1996, the Academy of American Poets established April as National Poetry Month to encourage the reading of poetry and increase awareness of American poetry.  It is a great time to support and inspire the teen writers and poets who frequent your library!  Below is a sampling of fiction and nonfiction books to help you do just that.

YA Fiction Featuring Teen Writers

Words and Their Meanings by Kate Bassett

Ever since her beloved Uncle Joe died, aspiring writer Anna has lost her muse.  This poignant debut novel follows Anna through her grief journey as she struggles to rediscover her passion for writing and cope with the knowledge that she may not have known her uncle as well as she thought.

Gabi: A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (2015 Morris Award Winner, Best Fiction for Young Adults, Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers Top Ten)

In this novel in journal format, Gabi explores her feelings about her friend’s pregnancy, finds her voice in poetry, and works on her school’s zine.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

During November of her senior year, Darcy wrote a novel for National Novel Writing Month that was picked up by a major publisher.  In this unique book, chapters from Darcy’s novel alternate with her adventures in New York as she foregoes her first year of college to dedicate herself to the publication process.

Nonfiction:  Writers on Writing

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

In this memoir, King shares humorous and heartwarming stories of his childhood in Maine and how he came to be one of the most prolific horror writers in America.  He also frankly discusses his problems with substance abuse and alcoholism and his recovery from a near-fatal accident in 1999, along with a healthy dose of practical advice for aspiring writers.

Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir by Stan Lee

Marvel Comics Creator Emeritus Stan Lee chronicles his life from its humble beginnings as the son of Jewish immigrants to writing training films for the US military during World War II, as well as his tenure at Marvel in this funny, colorful graphic novel.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

In free verse, Woodson tells the story of her childhood as an African-American girl growing up in the 1960s and 70s, and how she found her identity through poetry and storytelling.

Poetry to Inspire the Writer in Everyone

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle (2016 YALSA Nonfiction Award Finalist)

In this evocative memoir in verse, Engle details her childhood growing up in Cuba and the United States during the Cold War years.

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

In 2015, rapper and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda took Broadway by storm with a hip-hop musical about US Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.  This book contains a complete libretto of Miranda’s revolutionary hip-hop poetry including his own annotations, as well as behind-the-scenes information about the show.

The Watch That Ends the Night:  Voices from the Titanic by Allan Wolf (2013 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults)

This riveting free verse novel tells the story of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in twenty-four distinct voices.  Perspectives include characters from all walks of life, from first-class passengers “Unsinkable” Molly Brown and John Jacob Astor to a Lebanese teenage girl on her way to a new life in America and the ship’s rat.  Enjoy this in print format, or the award-winning audio narrated by a full cast!

— Elizabeth Norton, currently reading Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

The post Booklist: Fiction and Nonfiction for Teen Poets and Writers appeared first on The Hub.

2016 Hub Challenge Check-in #13

Sun, 04/24/2016 - 07:00

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2016 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since the awards were announced counts, and the challenge runs until 11:59pm on June 23, so sign up now!

Hello fellow Challengers! How is your reading? Recently, I’ve finished What If: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe, Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa, and More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera and the three books are very different. What If is just an incredibly fun read. I actually let myself fall behind on some beloved podcasts to listen to What If at the gym instead, which is really saying something! Wil Wheaton does a great job narrating and the questions are truly absurd and entertaining.

Fans of the Impossible Life and More Happy Than Not are more similar because they are more serious works of fiction. And yet More Happy Than Not is about learning to deal with memories and past events when it seems easier to forget and Fans of the Impossible Life is not about running away from the bad stuff but trying heal and embrace it. Both were really lovely and I especially liked how Silvera explored the nature of identity and the weight of our pasts in More Happy Than Not.

Right now, I’m looking forward to reading more from the Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults list like Challenger Deep and The Bunker Diary. I’m also planning on tracking down lluminae: The Illuminae Files_01 by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff on audio since I love a good science fiction novel!

What are you looking forward to reading? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and join the conversation on social media using the #hubchallenge on Instagram, Twitter, and our Goodreads group.

If you’ve finished the Challenge already, fill out this form.

— Anna Tschetter, currently reading Gotham Academy, Vol. 2: Calamity by Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl

The post 2016 Hub Challenge Check-in #13 appeared first on The Hub.

Reality Scoop: National Autism Awareness Month

Fri, 04/22/2016 - 10:00

April is National Autism Awareness Month. According to the National Autism Society one of the nations leading grassroots autism organization, as many as one in 500 teens are thought to have autism,  Statistics have also proven that the possibility of boys having autism is more typical than in girls. Teenagers that have autism have most likely been diagnosed when they were young during their toddler years.  It should also be noted that autism is a developmental disorder and should not be mistaken for a personality disorder.  Teens that are autistic can learn skills to help interact socially with others.  In addition, most autistic teens are able to engage in school classes and age appropriate activities. Many teens with autism have been found to have an above-average intelligence.

The National Autism Society found that autism can be hard to distinguish because it is what is called a spectrum disorder. When you hear someone talk about the spectrum, this means the different severity levels of autism that require support. Level 3, requiring very substantial support, Level 2, requiring substantial support, and Level 1, requiring support.  This also means that teens with autism are all different on the spectrum levels and will not have the same symptoms, this is why it is called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  Ultimately, autism affects all teens differently.

cc image via Flickr user Vladimir Pustovit

Autism Speaks is a foundation that is working hard to raise awareness of autism.  The Autism Speaks foundation has found that many educators are not prepared to adapt their teaching methods to meet the state standards and the increasingly diverse needs of teens with autism.  Veronica Fleury an author that writes for the University of North Carolina’s Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders has been advocating to help teachers focus more on students with autism and hopes that schools will realize that jobs in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) can be ideal careers for many teens with autism.  Fleury has proven with her research that many college students with autism are interested in concentrating on STEM courses.  According to Fleury, “High school students with ASD also need ample opportunities to practice skills across settings throughout the school day…  Teaching them to monitor their own behavior can help them to use their skills in a variety of settings.”

It should also be acknowledged that not every individual with autism supports the message and work of Autism Speaks.

There are a lot of books that feature teens with autism. These books show varying degrees or levels of compassion and understanding to teens with autism and relay the message that we should treat teens with autism with kindness and warmth.  Most importantly we need to remember just because a teen has autism, it should not define who they are, nor should we expect teens with autism to let it define what they can achieve in their lives.  We should remember that the possibilities of positivity, growth, and success for teens with autism are limitless.

YA Fiction about teens with autism

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

This science fiction novel set in the near future where a comet is on an imminent course to crash into Earth stars Denise, a biracial teen with autism who is desperately trying to secure her family passage in a spaceship that may be their only chance of survival. Complex, flawed characters and a plot as thought-provoking as it is suspenseful will satisfy fans of Salvage by Alexandra Duncan or Starglass by Phoebe North.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork 2010 ALA Best Books for Young Adults Award; 2010 Teen Book Schneider Family Book Award Winner

Marcelo, a sheltered autistic teenager is asked by his father to spend the summer working at his law firm in the mailroom to help him experience life in the “real world.” While there Marcelo learns about a romantic relationship with the female coworker, rivalry, anger, and deception.

Rules by Cynthia Lord 2007 Newbery Award Honor Book; 2007 ALA Notable Children’s Book; 2007 Middle School Book Schneider Family Award Winner

Catherine, a middle school student, is concerned about appearing normal. Although she loves her autistic brother, David, she is embarrassed by his odd behavior. Catherine really wants to impress Kristi the new girl next door and doesn’t want her family to mess things up for her. In an attempt to cope, Catherine creates “rules” for David to help him understand how the world works. When she befriends Jason, a nonverbal paraplegic who uses a book of pictures to communicate, she begins to realize that being normal is not all there is to life. Catherine learns that it is more important to accept others than to follow normal rules of behavior.

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Bascom 2010 Middle School Book Schneider Family Award Winner

Jason is a 12-year-old autistic boy who wants to become a writer.  He loves to write online and through a writing forum community he has made a friend Rebecca who really likes his writing.  Jason relates what life is like being autistic as he tries to make a connection with his online writing friend and plans to meet up in person.  The only problem is that Rebecca doesn’t know that Jason is autistic.  The pain and fear that Jason feels when contemplating whether he should meet Rebecca or keep the relationship strictly online where everything is safe and sound is overwhelming.  If he doesn’t take a chance he may never have a chance at a real friendship.

Colin Fischer by Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz

14-year-old Colin Fischer is an autistic freshman. He is high-functioning and very smart but fails to fit in socially because he doesn’t know how to interact with other teens.  Colin loves to investigate things and he keeps a notebook filled with his research with his ideas and information that he has been keeping for many years.  Colin is not good at any sports.  In fact, he is possibly the most uncoordinated teen ever.  However, he does enjoy jumping on the trampoline, which has a strangely calming effect on him.  Colin’s first two days at high school are full of quirky events.  He gets sent to the principals office, becomes a witness in a shooting incident at school, partakes in a fight, decides to not tell his parents the truth, and best of all solves a crime and makes some new friends.

The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Kehoe

At seventeen, Daisy feels imprisoned by her brother Steven’s autism and the effect it has on her life.  Her only escape is playing her trumpet and submerging herself into the world of jazz, but when her parents decide to send Steven to an institution, Daisy is not ready to let him go.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher an autistic teen boy decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor’s dog. Christopher is a super champ when it comes t math and science, although when it comes to emotions, he finds those to be particularly complex for him to compartmentalize and deal with. Christopher tells us “I know all of the countries of the world and their capital cities, and every prime number up to 7,057.”  When he finds a neighbor’s dog, named Wellington murdered he decides to write about it.  The chain of events that occur through Christopher’s investigation of Wellington’s murder unravel a bit more than he bargained for.  Christopher begins to see through his own understanding the impact of his being autistic has had on his family.  He won’t give up until he finds out the truth. Not knowing that in seeking the truth he will  have to endure the most painful experiences and all of the coping skills he has learned will be challenged.

Non-fiction titles that focus on teens with autism

Same but Different by Holly Robinson Peete

Peete is an Autism Speaks board member and her book Same but Different is written in diary form and is inspired by the experiences of Peete’s twins RJ and Ryan Elizabeth.  The wonderful thing about this book is that it expresses how important it is for teens with autism to connect with one another and shares many experiences that teens with autism can relate with.

Autism Playbook for Teens by Irene McHenry

This book is broken into three parts, section one teaches teens to calm their body and mind. Teens will learn practical strategies to manage anxiety and self-calm.  Section two will teach teens how to identify their thoughts and feelings to build independence. The  power of expressing feelings, basic meltdown prevention strategies, and steps to improving their self-esteem are covered. Section three offers practical strategies to help teens reach out and connect with others. Teens will learn how to be a social scientist, advocate for themselves, make friends, and more.

Growing up on the Spectrum by Lynn Koegel

This book offers reassurance, solace, and practical solutions that can help teens with autism. Following up on their work in Overcoming Autism, which offered advice for teaching young children on the spectrum, Lynn Koegel and Claire LaZebnik present strategies for teens and young adults living with autism. By addressing universal concerns, from first crushes and a changing body to how to succeed in college and beyond, Growing Up on the Spectrum is a beacon of hope and wisdom for teens with autism.

Living with Autism by Megan Atwood

Living with Autism features fictional narratives paired with firsthand advice from a medical expert to help preteens and teenagers feel prepared for dealing with autism during adolescence. Topics include causes and prevention, current treatments, alternative treatments, public understanding and support, survival tools, learning to cope, ways to help friends with autism, and living with autism.

Did you know that something that seems as simple as going to the movies is not an option for many families affected by autism?  The Autism Society is working AMC Theatres to bring specials-needs families Sensory Friendly Films every month.  This sounds like such an amazing partnership, they turn up the lights, turn down the sound so anyone can get up and dance or walk around, sign and even shout!

Editor’s Note: Please also explore the coverage of of books feature characters with autism at Disability in Kidlit. For more information on serving neurodiverse teens, YALSA offers an archived webinar free to members.

— Kimberli Buckley, currently reading The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten, 2016 Schneider Family Teen Book Award Winner 

The post Reality Scoop: National Autism Awareness Month appeared first on The Hub.

Movie List: Movies to Inspire the Spirit of Earth Day

Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00

Earth Day is Friday, April 22 2016. This year there will be a landmark signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement, a United Nations effort to combat climate change. While it is actually better to get outside and take part in a conservation effort as a way to personally celebrate Earth Day, here is a list of teen friendly movies to get you into the spirit of things.


FernGully: The Last Rainforest, 20th Century Fox

By way of Australia, this 1992 classic introduced us to Crysta, a fairy in a tropical rain forest that was previously free from human intervention. After she accidentally shrinks a young logger named Zak, they have to work together to prevent more deforestation and the ominous pollutive company Hexxus.

WALL-E, Disney

Wall-E is a lonely robot left behind to clean up the planet after it has been abandoned by humans after it was destroyed by mass consumerism. He inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.

Into the Wild, Paramount Vantage (2010 Fabulous Films for Young Adults)

Based on the 1996 book by Jon Krakauer, a young college graduate leaves his worldly possessions behind to experience the great outdoors. His body is found in the Alaskan wilderness, this is the incredible story of a young man seeking enlightenment, but only finding death.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind; Kaze No Tani No Naushika, Disney

Caught between two warring nations, pacifist and warrior Princess Nausicaä struggles to prevent them from destroying themselves and their dying planet.

Whale Rider, Newmarket Films (2009 Fabulous Films for Young Adults)

Young Pai confronts the barriers of cultural roles, gender expectations, and generational conflict as she ascends into Maori leadership. When a pod of whales become beached on her tribes’ shore, she brings her people together to save the whales.

Hoot, New Line Cinema (Book was 2003 Best Books for Young Adults)

Based on the book by Carl Hiaasen, this follows three teens that join together to try to protect an endangered owls’ habitat from getting destroyed by the construction of Mother Paula’s All American Pancake House.

The Day After Tomorrow, 20th Century Fox

After global warming triggers a new Ice Age where tornadoes flatten the city of Los Angeles and a tidal wave engulfs New York City, climatologist Jack Hall must rescue his son, Sam, who is stranded in New York City with a very small band of survivors.

Princess Mononoke, Disney

A young warrior in search of a cure for a deadly virus becomes entangled in a clash between the forest’s animal gods and the humans that are destroying the forest for mining purposes.

The Lorax, Universal Pictures Entertainment

Based on the Dr. Seuss classic, this is the story of a young boy trying to impress a girl by finding the things she dreams most of – real trees. He meets the salty Lorax, who is doing his best to protect what little nature still exists, and learns to scary truth of what happened when the Once-ler took most of the world’s forest.


An Inconvenient Truth, Paramount Classics

Former Vice President Al Gore explains and presents arguments about the dangers of global warming, and how we are at a level of crisis. While it addresses the issues that there are those that discredit anti-global warming causes, and  also gives suggestions to how we can eradicate some of the impact of a warming planet.

Gimme Green, Jellyfish Smack Productions (2010 Fabulous Films for Young Adults)

Looks at the impacts of American lawns, and how they are embedded in American culture. This humorous look brings up effects lawns and lawn preservation has on the environment, our wallets, and our perspective.

–Danielle Jones, currently reading Head of a Saint by Socorro Acioli

The post Movie List: Movies to Inspire the Spirit of Earth Day appeared first on The Hub.

Words, Words, Words: The Bard and Me

Wed, 04/20/2016 - 07:00

Growing up with a high school English teacher for a mother meant that nothing was off-limits in our house when it came to reading. In addition to the usual bedtime stories of childhood, my mom often spun a kid-friendly version of whatever story she was teaching her students for me. As I was always a high-level reader, it was not long before I was cutting my teeth on the classics at my parents’ encouragement, and I vividly remember the day in April during third grade when Mom woke me with the announcement that “Today is William Shakespeare’s birthday, and he died on his birthday, too!” This fact tweaked something in my young mind—did everyone die on their birthday, or was Shakespeare unlucky? I never could figure it out.

The summer after fifth grade, we started taking family trips to Stratford, Ontario every year. I grew to love Stratford as a place of picnics, pretty scenery, and great theater; but more than that, I loved the challenge it posed. The first trip, we saw a musical, but the summer after sixth grade, it was The Taming of the Shrew, and a few weeks before we went, Mom pulled down her battered Shakespeare anthology from a shelf and presented it to me. I remember the feeling of awe and intimidation that washed through me when I held it—this was my mom’s book, it even had her name in the cover from her college days, and it felt precious, almost holy. Shakespeare was harder than any of the classics I had read before, but I had my mom to help me with the hard parts. Seeing the play after reading it was a magical experience. I knew what was going to happen, but the effect of seeing the words on the page brought to life in the dark hush of Stratford’s Festival Theatre was something else entirely. This was the beginning of a lifelong love affair between the Bard and me. Every summer we saw a play. Every year I would take out Mom’s Shakespeare anthology and read it before I saw it. By the time high school rolled around, I had several plays and most of the sonnets tucked away in my mind.

High school brought the chance to experience even more Shakespeare in the classroom: Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, The Tempest, Hamlet. Mom was still my guide when I needed one, though more often than not, I would refer to her Shakespeare anthology, which had long since been relocated from her bookshelf to mine, for her notes before asking questions. My senior year was also Mom’s first year teaching Senior English, so even though she was not my teacher then, we waded through much of the curriculum together, including many long discussions of Hamlet’s angst and in-depth analysis of Prospero’s final speech in The Tempest.

College came along, and Mom’s Shakespeare went with me. I did not decide to major in English until I was a sophomore, but the book was a little piece of home. After sophomore year, I got the chance of a lifetime—a one-month intensive seminar on Shakespeare and his contemporaries in London and Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

Seeing live Shakespearean plays after reading them never lost that magical quality, and nowhere has it ever been stronger than on that trip. By day, we studied, but not just textbook studying. We read the histories as a group over a shared spaghetti dinner before we saw all three parts of Henry VI and Richard III, four plays in rapid succession in just over twenty-four hours. We spent a day at Hampton Court Palace, another at the Tower of London, and learned a deeper context for Shakespeare’s writings as we saw production after production. We went to the Globe, ate lunches in pubs where Shakespeare had done his writing, stretched out on the lawn of the Houses of Parliament under the shadow of Big Ben to do homework. Not only was I seeing the best live Shakespeare plays the world has to offer, I was literally walking in the footsteps of my hero. Learning in this context made the stories even more accessible and made me appreciate them that much more. I was more than grateful for the experience, but I thought it would end up being a fun memory, not anything I would ever use in real life.

I was wrong about that. This appreciation has spread into my professional life. One of my jobs now is to manage the high school required reading collection for my library. I can commiserate with students’ intimidation, but I can also put the plays they are reading into the context of modern YA novels. Romeo and Juliet is the original star-crossed lovers story. Hamlet’s angst and indecision has deadly consequences, but today’s teens may feel the same angst over choosing a college. Modern YA literature, too, is full of the same tropes as Shakespeare used, and Shakespeare retellings abound, so the stories are more accessible now than ever. One of my favorite displays for my teen space is “Not Your Teacher’s Classics,” featuring classics displayed next to modern retellings—always loaded with the Bard.

As an adult and a professional, Shakespeare still has a profound effect on my life. Mom’s anthology has pride of place in my home, the trips to Stratford and England filed away in my memory. My cat is named Bianca after the sweet sister in The Taming of the Shrew, because you never forget your first Shakespeare. My love affair with the Bard has a long history and a bright future. I hope that the combination of my passion and the current accessibility of Shakespeare brings those stories to life for my teens, and ignites that same passion in future generations.

— Elizabeth Norton, currently reading Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

The post Words, Words, Words: The Bard and Me appeared first on The Hub.

2016 Hub Challenge Check-in #12

Tue, 04/19/2016 - 13:00

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2016 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since the awards were announced counts, and the challenge runs until 11:59pm on June 23, so sign up now!


It took me awhile, but I finally finished lluminae: The Illuminae Files_01 by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, which I read and loved, though I sort of wish I’d listened to it instead (it’s a 2016 Top Ten Amazing Audiobook.)  I was swept away by the action almost instantly, but the format…the format was so disruptive for me I found reading it a bit of a struggle.  I generally enjoy books with unusual storytelling–epistolary, journal entries, and the like–but the actual printed formatting of lluminae kept pulling me out of the experience as I scanned to see which bits I could skip (I found the document headings and page detritus were pretty repetitive and unnecessary except as decoration to add an air of authenticity.)  Plus, I found turning the book this way and that in order to read one particular characters’ sections was difficult; lluminae is not a small book!

All that said, the story itself was excellent.  Compelling characters, solid plot twists, some truly scary (and disturbing) passages, and a satisfying-but-open conclusion made me very glad I stuck with it.  As a friend of mine said, lluminae was good enough that it didn’t require any gimmicky formatting; I’m curious to check out the audiobook to see how that changes my reading experience.

Have you read or listened to anything you want to try again in a different format?  What are you reading or listening to now?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and join the conversation on social media using the #hubchallenge on Instagram, Twitter, and our Goodreads group.

If you’ve finished the Challenge already, fill out this form.

— Julie Bartel, currently reading Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson and one of Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs mysteries

The post 2016 Hub Challenge Check-in #12 appeared first on The Hub.

Booklist: YA Fiction for Fans of Game of Thrones

Tue, 04/19/2016 - 07:00

WINTER IS COMING; I promise it is and it arrives on April 24th.

Game of Thrones is very violent and very sexual; do teens watch really watch it? Yes! Some of them even watch it with their parents.  Why is Game of Thrones so popular?  It’s about maniacal kings and powerful women and dragons and war and magic. What’s not to like?

Whichever theme your teens find intriguing, there’s a book for that.

Maniacal Rulers

A reimagining of Alexander the Great where seven people have secrets and missions.

Laia is a Scholar, the lowest of the low, and her brother has been taken by The Masks.  He is her only living family member and she will risk her life to find him.  Elias is a Mask but he doesn’t want to be.  Laia and Elias’ paths cross when Laia goes undercover as a slave at Elias’ military school to get information on her brother.

King Gaius has a plan to take over Mytica at the expense of everyone including his son, Magus.

Powerful Women

Celaena Sardothian is plucked from the salt mines prisons as The Crowned Prince’s Champion to compete to be the king’s personal assassin.  Calaena must fight men three times her size, magical queens, and her own demons to become champion.

Lia, a First Daughter, is betrothed to a prince she has never met to bring peace to the kingdoms.  Lia believes in love and doesn’t want to be used as a pawn so she runs.  In her new life, Lia meets two charming men; however, one is the prince determined win her love and bring her back and one is an assassin who is hired to kill her.

Kelsea, the daughter of dead Queen Elyssa, reemerges to claim the throne.  Her uncle, the Red Queen, of the neighboring kingdom, and others will stop at nothing to kill Kelsea.

Ismae, Sybella, and Annith have escaped horrible circumstances to join a convent of assassin nuns to fight for St. Mortain, the God of Death.

Elli is the Saadelah, next in line to be queen, and has accepted her duty to serve and protect the Kupari people with ice and fire magic.  When her time to reign has suddenly begun, something goes tragically wrong and Elli is forced to hide in the Outlands with the thieves and murderers.  Her time in the Outlands is full of family, love, and a new purpose.

Safi, a Truthwitch, and Iseult, a Threadwitch, just want to escape their lives as they know it to be free and live in peace but Safi made a big mistake and now they are on the run.

Mythical Creatures

Seraphina has a secret; she’s half draconian. When a member of the royal family is murdered by a dragon, Seraphina must keep her secret while finding the murderer even if it’s her family.

Fletcher, an orphan, learns he has the unique ability to summon demons.  After a near attack from neighborhood teens, Fletcher goes to a elite school to train but he soon finds out that he must compete with noble’s kids who will stop at nothing to be the best.

Nic is a slave in Ancient Rome and on a mission to raid Julius Caesar’s tomb, he finds Caeser’s bulla.  After he puts the bulla around his neck, he gains world ending powers that are coveted by the good and the bad.

Kyra is an orphan and a fast climber and she survives by her whits.  Once day, she is summed by the Assassin’s Guild to become an assassin but she realizes that this might be a mistake.

After killing a wolf, Feyra’s punishment is to live in a giant mansion.  She soon discovers that her captor isn’t an animal but a honorable fey.


Kestral is a Valorian and the General’s daughter.  Arin is a Herrani slave who is purchased by Kestral. Kestral has the gift of seeing lies but can she see Arin’s lies?

Mare Barrow is a Red-a lowly, uneducated, slave with disgusting red blood.  The Silvers are like gods because they have powers and their veins run with silver blood.  Mare doesn’t want to be drafted but she has no choice until a stranger changes her life.  She soon finds herself betrothed to a Silver prince and forced to maintain the oppression of the Reds.

The Kingdom of Winter has been overturned and stripped of their magic.  The eight survivors go on a quest to retake their kingdom and their magic.

The royal family has been murdered and their confidant, Connor, goes on a mission to find their missing eldest son to take the throne.  The crowned prince, however, is lost and Connor finds orphans to train to impersonate the prince.

Lea is a hired assassin and a devout follower of Safraella, the goddess of death and resurrection. Lea’s relationship with a member of a feuding family causes strife and Lea finds herself fighting to survive.


Elizabeth is a witch hunter and when she is accused of witchcraft; she becomes the hunted.

Katsa is a graceling-someone who can kill with one touch.  She’s the king, her uncle’s, personal assassin but when she meets Po she discovers new things about herself.

Wilhelmina was a princess until her parents and her country was destroyed by the King.  Now orphaned, Wil and has been tasked to spy on the royal family and if their cover is blown, it could mean death.

Kel can walk through worlds and he uses this special ability to smuggle and trade antiques.  When his smuggling almost kills him, Delilah comes to his rescue.

Printable of Game of Thrones read a likes.

— Dawn Abron, currently binge-watching Making a Murderer

The post Booklist: YA Fiction for Fans of Game of Thrones appeared first on The Hub.

Resources for Discussing Human Trafficking with Teens

Mon, 04/18/2016 - 07:00

The idea for this post came from watching the documentary Playground: The Child Sex Trade in America published in 2009 through Netflix. I was disturbed to say the least and then just a few short weeks later, I read E.R. Frank’s Dime (2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults) about a girl lured into the sex industry. Frank’s gripping portrayal of pimping and prostituting is vivid, unforgiving, and gut-wrenching. But how much do students know about sexual slavery and sex trafficking?

Tenth grade students at the high school where I work do a unit on social justice. Their choices for a topic frequently center around sex trafficking because Patricia McCormick’s Sold is a part of their class reading. So what kinds of resources are available to help students learn about these topics, from the shocking statistics about its frequency in the United States, when so many shows, documentaries, and books focus on Asian countries?

I’d recommend starting with another video, created by Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, and published online. Tricked: Inside the World of Teen Sex Trafficking “will help students understand and spot the scouting and manipulating techniques that are commonly used by traffickers. Using testimony from survivors of sex trafficking, as well as insider information from a former trafficker, we talk about how to avoid susceptible behaviors. We also provide insights on how to get help if students or their friends get trapped in this terrible situation.”

The Polaris Project is another great resource because it not only focuses on sex trafficking but labor trafficking and in addition to information and facts, there is a hotline and information on how to help. For many students, projects where they can begin to advocate on behalf of others is the next logical step after reading about the issues. Contributing to issues of global importance empower our students.

If reading is where you want to start to introduce the topic, suggested titles include The Queen of Water by Laura Resau and María Virginia Farinango, Tricks and Traffick by Ellen Hopkins, Sold by Patricia McCormick, On The Edge by Allison van Diepen, and a new book published this month called Fifteen Lanes by S.J. Laidlaw, which is set in India and features two girls on different sides of culture and class intersect.

And as with the above referenced video from Fairfax, if videos and documentaries are a way to pique interest, watch Tricked: Inside the World of Teen Sex Trafficking, Chosen, In Plain Sight, Half the Sky, or Girl Rising.

Either way, a conversation needs to happen with students in the United States to make them aware of the dangers that lurk within their community, within their country, and around the world regarding sexual slavery. The more light that is shed on this $150 billion dollar global industry, the easier it will be to identify and combat it.

— Alicia Abdul, currently between books

The post Resources for Discussing Human Trafficking with Teens appeared first on The Hub.

Diversify YA Life: Islamic Mythology & Middle Eastern Folktales

Fri, 04/15/2016 - 07:00

Jinns have made a remarkable appearance in YA fiction in the last couple of years and with it comes diverse characters.

A Jinn is any of a class of spirits, lower than the angels, capable of appearingin human and animal forms and influencing humankind for either good or evil.

Below, you’ll find a list of YA fiction about Jinns.

When Zahara is released from her lamp she finds herself in a world where her magic is forbidden but when the King offers her permanent release, she must decide between freedom from the lamp or love.

This twisted tale changes one plot detail from popular Disney stories.  Whole New World asks what would happen if Jafar was the first one to summon the genie.

Azra, a Jinn, is evading her Jinn duties and masquerades as a human but when she discovers her powers are different from her Jinn friends, she must find out if her new powers will save or endanger her friends.

When Zayele is forced to marry a prince of Baghdad, she finds a Jinn and wishes to trade places.

Nalia is a powerful Jinn who was sold in the Jinn slave trade.  She’s stuck in a bottle and must grant wishes for her horrible Hollywood master. One day Nalia meets Raif who promises to free her but it’s a high price and Nalia isn’t sure she can trust him.

Amani lives in Dustwalk where nothing happens.  When her sharpshooting skills fails to aid in her escape, she finds a wanted stranger to help.

Islamic Mythology & Middle Eastern Folktales Printable Booklist

— Dawn Abron, currently watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown

The post Diversify YA Life: Islamic Mythology & Middle Eastern Folktales appeared first on The Hub.

2016 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees Announced!

Thu, 04/14/2016 - 10:10

The moment is finally here! Here are the 2016 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees!

This year’s list of nominees features 26 titles that were published between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2015.

The nominees are as follows:

  • Baker, Chandler. Alive. Disney/Hyperion.
  • Bardugo, Leigh. Six of Crows. Macmillan/Henry Holt & Co.
  • Black, Holly. The Darkest Part of the Forest. Little, Brown & Co.
  • Boecker, Virginia. The Witch Hunter. Little, Brown & Co.
  • Brockenbrough, Martha. The Game of Love and Death. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books
  • Childs, Tera Lynn, and Tracy Deebs. Powerless. Sourcebooks Fire.
  • Cornwell, Betsy. Mechanica. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion Books.
  • Dinnison, Kris. You and Me and Him. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion Books.
  • Doktorski, Jennifer Salvato. The Summer After You and Me. Sourcebooks Fire.
  • Doller, Trish. The Devil You Know. Bloomsbury.
  • Heltzel, Anne. Charlie, Presumed Dead. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • Kaufman, Amie, and Kristoff, Jay. Illuminae. Random House/Alfred A. Knopf.
  • Laurie, Victoria. When. Disney/Hyperion.
  • Matharu, Taran. The Novice: Summoner: Book One. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends.
  • Nielsen, Jennifer, A. Mark of the Thief. Scholastic/Scholastic Press.
  • Niven, Jennifer. All the Bright Places. Random House/Alfred A. Knopf.
  • Priest, Cherie, Illustrated by Kali Ciesemier. I Am Princess X. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine.
  • Schmidt, Tiffany. Hold Me Like a Breath. Bloomsbury.
  • Schreiber, Joe. Con Academy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • Sedgwick, Marcus. The Ghosts of Heaven. Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press
  • Simmons, Kristen. The Glass Arrow. Tor Teen.
  • Stohl, Margaret. Black Widow Forever Red. Disney/Marvel Press
  • Stone, Tamara Ireland. Every Last Word. Disney/Hyperion
  • Westerfeld, Scott, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti. Zeroes. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse.
  • Weingarten, Lynn. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse
  • Yoon, Nicola. Everything, Everything. Random House/Delacorte Press.

A full list of the nominees with annotations can be found at

Encourage teens to read the nominees throughout the summer so they are ready for the national Teens’ Top Ten vote, which will take place August 15 through Teen Read Week (October 9-15). The 10 nominees that receive the most votes will be named the official 2016 Teens’ Top Ten.

In celebration of the nominees being named, YALSA will be giving away 40 sets of the nominees through its 2016 Teens’ Top Ten Book Giveaway, generously funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Interested applicants can apply now through May 1, 2016 via this online form.

Learn more about the Teens’ Top Ten at

The post 2016 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees Announced! appeared first on The Hub.

International Stories in Verse for National Poetry Month

Mon, 04/11/2016 - 07:00

Books can allow readers to experience other parts of the world than where they live, exposing them to new cultures. Novels in verse can be an especially accessible way to access these stories, since the sparse, vivid language focuses on images and emotions, painting a picture of other times, places, and experiences.

These novels in verse tell stories of struggles from around the world, and are great to feature for National Poetry Month and year-round.

Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

A young girl in rural Haiti has a powerful dream of becoming a doctor. But can that dream overcome extreme poverty and a devastating earthquake? Her interest is in both traditional ways of healing and modern medicine, and her hope is to honor her brother who died as a child. This is an inspiring story beautifully told.

Caminar by Skila Brown

In this novel in verse, the horrors of the Guatemalan civil war serve as a backdrop for a young man’s coming of age. This can serve as a conversation starter for discussions on gender and war. 

Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle

In this beautiful novel in verse Margarita Engle tells us the story of the Panama Canal and the people who built it despite incredible hardship and cruelty. This history was unknown to me, and will likely be unfamiliar to teen readers as well.

All of Margarita Engle’s books are fantastic, so don’t limit yourself to picking up just one.

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pickney

An inspiring and revealing story of a young Sudanese refugee’s experience. Poetic verse and captivating illustrations make this a great book to hand to a reluctant reader.

The Good Braider by Terry Farish

In beautiful, sparse prose, Farish tells the story of a Sudanese refugee family making a new life in the United States. This is a long, hard, and ultimately hopeful journey of a young Sudanese refugee from a country terrorized by war to Portland, Maine, where cultural differences present a continuing struggle.

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

Veda is an accomplished dancer, so when an accident causes her to to lose part of her leg, she’s devastated. This story is one of resilience as she learns to dance with a prosthetic and connects to dance on a more spiritual level. Teens can relate to Veda, who realistically experiences jealousy and frustration even as she’s determined to learn to dance again.

Do you have a favorite novel in verse that set outside the United States? Please share in the comments.

— Molly Wetta, currently reading If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

The post International Stories in Verse for National Poetry Month appeared first on The Hub.

2016 Hub Challenge Check-in #11

Sun, 04/10/2016 - 21:02

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2016 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since the awards were announced counts, and the challenge runs until 11:59pm on June 23, so sign up now!

I’ve been on a graphic novel and nonfiction streak.

I finally read Nimona, and thought it was a lot of fun. I’m not generally a fan of manga, but A Silent Voice was a great look at bullying and people with disabilities, and seemed to be a very sensitive portrayal of the characters. The teens in my library tend to be drawn to the fantasy and action-filled manga, so I was glad to familiarize myself with this title so I could potentially recommend something a little different to them. I was a big fan of My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf, so I was excited to check out Trashed. I was surprised by how much research went in to it! 

I really liked Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and thought it was a great introduction to several topics legal history, and the graphics were really well done. It was great paired with Rad American Women A-Z, which introduced me to a lot of women in history that I wasn’t familiar with.

The only fiction I’ve crossed off my list is one audiobook. I listened to Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan, and it was enchanting! The narration and sound effects definitely added to the experience, and I think this is the perfect title to recommend to families looking for a road trip audiobook.

I’ve finished  11 titles for the challenge, so I’ve still got a way to go. I plan on reading some of the Alex Award winners, as past titles honored have really been great for me personally and great for readers’ advisory. I’m also excited to read Half Wild by Sally Green and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

What have you been reading for the Challenge lately? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and join the conversation on social media; look for the #hubchallenge on Instagram, Twitter, and our Goodreads group. If you’ve finished the Challenge, a) bravo! and b) fill out this form.What have you been reading for the challenge? What are you most excited to get to? Share in the comments!

— Molly Wetta, currently re-listening to Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

The post 2016 Hub Challenge Check-in #11 appeared first on The Hub.

Booklist: Books to Celebrate Earth Day and the Environmentalist in All of Us

Fri, 04/08/2016 - 07:00

Friday, April 22, 2016 is National Earth Day, a day celebrated around the globe to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Started in 1970 and gaining momentum in the 1990s, Earth Day is great time to reevaluate the impact that we are having on the planet. Environmentalism has often been a cause taken up with passion by teens and new adults, and one recent study shows that during the recession years, conservations efforts among teens rose.

In honor of Earth Day, here is a list of nonfiction and fiction titles that explore a variety of aspects of environmental issues and conservation actions.



It’s Getting Hot in Here: The Past, Present, and Future of Climate Change by Bridget Heos

Exploring the science behind global warming, Heos examines the past, present, and future of climate change, the effects of political denial, and how we can work together, tackle, and lessen the impacts of a warming world.

Plants Vs. Meats: The Health, History, and Ethics of What We Eat by Meredith Sayles Hughes

Covering the historical, nutritional, and ethical impacts of what and how humans eat, Hughes brings in discussion around popular diets; the health and science of what we ingest; environmental impacts of food production; political, ethical, religious factors that lead to personal decisions; and what the future of food may look like.

The Story of Seeds: From Mendel’s Garden to your Plate, and How There’s More of Less to Eat Around the World by Nancy F. Castaldo

Another look at the impact that food production has on the environment with the importance of plant biodiversity prolonged by seed preservation. It also explores the impact of monocultures and genetic engineering on food production.


Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines by Paul Fleischman

A guide to help teens navigate conflicting information around environmental issues that are represented in a variety of newsfeeds. Full of resources and ways that teens can make a difference. Also, see the updated resources and information from Fleischman on the book’s website.

Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World by Bill Nye

Nye applies his scientific rigorous understanding of the world to climate change, showing opportunities in today’s environmental crisis as a new beginning to create a cleaner and healthier world.

Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni

Investigative journalism  in a graphic novel format  Part diary, part documentary, this looks at our relationship with the planet and explains what global warming is all about.


Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani (Great Graphic Novels 2014)

Graphic novel memoir about three leading primatologists that have often risked their lives to study endangered primates in their diminishing habitats.

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind With the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip M. Hoose (2013 Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults finalist)

By looking at the remarkable life of B95, a 20-year-old robin-sized shorebird, we see a species of rufa red knots in peril of extinction due to environmental issues.

World Without Fish: How Could We Let This Happen? by Mark Kurlansky (2012 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Nominations)

Could it be possible that the main fish we eat, tuna, salmon, cod, and swordfish, could become extinct within fifty years? Kurlansky shows the environmental state of our oceans and the dwindling supply of our oceanic food supply, and what we can do to help preserve our seas.


We Are the Weather Makers: The History of Climate Change by Sally M. Walker (2009 Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners)

An adaptation by Sally Walker of Tim Flannery’s adult book Weather Makers. This book  looks at climate change and gives suggestions for how young people can  reduce the carbon emissions in their homes, schools, and communities.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat by Richie Chevat and Michael Pollan (2010 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award Nominations)

An adaptation for teens of Michael Pollan’s book for adults. With facts, photos, graphs, and visuals, this book encourages youth to consider the personal and global implications of their food choices.

The Green Teen: The Eco-friendly Teen’s Guide to Saving the Planet by Jenn Savedge

Filled with easy  tips for things that teens can do increase conservation efforts.


Greasy Rider: Two Dudes, One Fry-Oil-Powered Car, and a Cross-country Search for a Greener Future by Greg Melville (2009 Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners)

A humorous road-trip from Vermont to California fueled by leftover vegetable oil collected from restaurant grease and dumpsters along the way. Many stops on the way look at institutions seeking alternative energy options for a greener future.

American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau (2009 Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners)

Many teens encounter Henry David Thoreau and his writing during their course of study in the high school years. This anthology is a collection that explores some of the finest environmental writing in the United States since Thoreau’s Walden days.

An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis of Global Warming by Albert Gore

A young reader’s companion to the documentary of the same name, Gore explores the causes and effects of global warming.


The Ghost With Trembling Wings: Science, Wishful Thinking, and the Search for Lost Species by Scott Weidensaul (2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners)

A look at the approximately 30,000 species of animals and plants that go extinct every year, and those rare occurrences when a supposedly extinct species makes a surprise reappearance.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1999 Outstanding Books for the College Bound)

First published in 1962 this book   caused enough alarm and outrage that it led to the banning of the pesticide DDT. Still considered a quintessential book in the environmental cannon.

A Sand County Almanac: With Essays on Conservation by Aldo Leopold (2009 Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners)

Another classic for nature lovers and conservationists, this collection of essays and photos has been hailed as some of the finest nature writing since Thoreau’s Walden.



Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

Younger teens will appreciate this fictional and thrilling account of biotechnology gone awry, and what the frightening implications could be if ever an event was to occur.

Threatened by Eliot Schrefer (2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

A tale of survival in the deep wilds of Gabon, living among a group of Chimpanzees threatened by hunting and deforestation.

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E. K. Johnston (2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2015 Morris Award Finalist)

An alternate world where dragons thrive on carbon emissions. In an alternate  world where dragons thrive on carbon emissions, and people are unable to give up their use of fossil fuels. Dragon populations are starting to boom requiring the dependency of dragon slayers.


Skink No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen

Filled with ecological mysteries and online predators this is one wild ride through the Florida wilds.

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer   (2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 14-year-old Sophie’s life is upturned when her mother’s bonobo sanctuary is attacked and she has to rescue the apes and somehow survive in the jungle.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (2011 Printz Award, 2011 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

A look into the potential future where we need to scavenge our oil from grounded oil tankers. Young Nailer spends his days dismantling toxic waste heaps, until he finds a girl on a shipwrecked tanker, and has to make the choice to strip the tanker or save the girl.


Wolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler

A modern Romeo and Juliet with the differing sides being over the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park.

Empty by Suzanne Weyn

When oil supplies are gone and global warming is leading to devastating storms, teens join together to lead others to a more environmentally-friendly society.

The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd

In this eco-thriller, England is the first country to start carbon dioxide rationing in an attempt to combat global warming. Sixteen-year-old Laura documents the first year with  rationing as things spiral in and out of control.


The Law of Ueki by Tsubasa Fukuchi

Manga series full of supernatural beings in a tournament over who gets to be the next god of The Celestial World. Each being picks a junior high school student to fight for them. Ueki has the power for recycling trash, giving this an underlying conservationist message.

Boys, Bears, and A Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald

Jenna, an ardent environmentalist, is spending the summer in rural Canada. She finds that not everyone agrees with her beliefs  and her “Green Teen” initiative is not as well-received as she anticipated.

–Danielle Jones, currently reading The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

The post Booklist: Books to Celebrate Earth Day and the Environmentalist in All of Us appeared first on The Hub.

Throwback Thursday: Tenderness by Robert Cormier

Thu, 04/07/2016 - 07:00

It’s easy to focus on exciting new releases in YA fiction, but there are titles that stand the test of time and are still relevant to today’s readers. Throwback Thursdays highlights those novels with enduring themes and appeal.

It may seem like just yesterday when you read about the disturbing main character in Cormier’s Tenderness, but the current reader who is 16 years old was not even born when this book was published.  Television and books today are populated with crime shows, serial killers, and loads of suspense, but these books have always had an audience.

Lori is looking for tenderness.  Not the kind she receives from her mother’s boyfriends, but true tenderness where someone will notice and care for her.  She hopes to find that tenderness in Eric.  Eric is also looking for tenderness.  This tenderness seems to always be out of reach, except for that fraction of a moment before death.  The death he brings to others.  Eric is finally leaving jail at the age of 18 for killing his parents.  He claims it was self-defense, but Detective Proctor knows better.  He believes that Eric has also killed at least two other girls, but can’t prove it. This novel will keep you filled with anticipation as Lori and Eric’s lives intersect and as Detective Proctor is determined to make sure that Eric will never kill again.

#TBT Tenderness by Robert Cormier, published in 1997  

Readers who enjoy Tenderness can pick up other thought provoking titles by Cormier, such as We All Fall Down, The Rag and Bone Shop, and Heroes.

Hand Tenderness to readers who loved:

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga, published in 2012

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, published in 2013

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf, published in 2012

— Mariela Siegert, currently reading Terrible Typhoid Mary by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

The post Throwback Thursday: Tenderness by Robert Cormier appeared first on The Hub.

Booklist: Time Travel Reads for Teens

Wed, 04/06/2016 - 07:00

Time travel has been a popular subject of fiction since The Time Machine by H.G. Wells was published in 1895. Over a century later, it still captures the imagination of many readers. The mix of philosophy and theoretical physics allows for endless combinations to explore parallel universes, to go back and forward in time, and is an especially great backdrop for both adventure and star-crossed love.

There is no shortage of time travel stories in young adult fiction. With so many great time travel novels coming out this year, it’s a great time to some time bending novels to your “to read” list. You won’t even need to build a time machine to read most of these right now!

If you like your time travel with a time-crossed romance

Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

Cassandra’s summer takes a strange turn when she meets a stranger who claims her family’s beach house belongs to him and that the year is 1925. As Cassandra tries to solve the mystery of Lawrence’s appearance she will also have to try to find a way to change history if the two hope to have any kind of future together.

Ruby Red by Kersin Gier

Gwyneth Shepherd’s cousin has been preparing to time travel for her entire life. Until both girls find out that it’s Gwyneth, not Charlotte, who carries the rare time travel gene.

The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

Something strange is happening in Natalie’s hometown. Little things at first like her front door being green instead of red. Then a strange apparition Natalie calls “Grandmother” appears and tells he she has three months to save a boy she hasn’t met yet.

Return Once More by Trisha Leigh

Kaia is an apprentice with The Historians–a group of time travelers who observe and record history. Kaia doesn’t see the harm in catching a glimpse of her long-dead soulmate in Ancient Egypt but that one search sets off a series of events that will leave Kaia scrambling to save her future.

Timeless by Alexandra Monir

After her parents’ death Michele is sent across the country to live with her grandparents in New York and finds a diary that transports her to 1910 where she meets a blue-eyed stranger who has haunted her dreams for as long as she can remember.

Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Hope will have to learn how to conquer her fears before she can try to work with a group of time travelers to save her mother who is trapped in 12th Century England.

If you you want high stakes adventures across time

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Traveling across centuries and around the world, Etta and Nicholas will have to trust each other as they hunt down a long-lost artifact and uncover a truth that could threaten their natural times and everything in between.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Determined to get revenge for her father’s murder and the theft of his universe-crossing device, Marguerite embarks on a multi-universal hunt for Paul. The closer Marguerite gets to Paul, the more she begins to wonder if he really is the villain she thought.

The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove

Nearly a century ago the Great Disruption remade the world and threw all of the continents into different Ages. When her renowned mapmaker uncle is kidnapped, Sophia Tims will have to travel across Ages to rescue him.

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Nix Song has spent all of her sixteen years watching her father, Slate, use historical and mythical maps to travel to distant lands and times most people can only imagine. Slate’s quest to return to a time and place where Nix’s mother is still alive has driven him to desperate acts before. When the promise of another map surfaces, Nix will have to decide how far she is willing to go to help Slate this time.

Erasing Time by C. J. Hill

Twins Taylor and Sheridan wake up 400 years in the future to find a world they barely recognize and a totalitarian government that will stop at nothing to find out their secrets.

Wildwing by Emily Whitman

An elevator transports Addy from her dreary life in 1913 London to a castle in 1240 where she is mistaken for royalty.

If you’re looking for some time travelers who have to save the day

Loop by Karen Akins

Bree Bennis lives in the twenty-third century where, because of a special gene mutation, she can travel anywhere in time. After her solo midterm to the twenty-first century goes spectacularly wrong, Bree knows she’s in big trouble. Failing to complete her mission is one thing. Accidentally revealing herself to a boy and sort of taking him hostage? That could get Bree expelled. Or worse.

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Prenna came to New York when she was twelve after immigrating from a disastrous future. In order to try and change that future, Prenna and her community have to follow certain rules: Never reveal where they’re from, never interfere, never get involved with someone outside of the community. The only problem is Prenna might be in love with a boy from the present.

Tempest by Julie Cross

Jackson can travel through time. It’s never been a problem until his girlfriend Holly is fatally shot and Jackson accidentally travels back two years and can’t return to his present to try and save her.

Longbow Girl by Linda Davies

Merry Owen will have to use her archery skills to save her family’s land when she travels to the year 1537 and solve their current financial problems in the present.

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

For the past four years Emerson Cole has seen strange apparitions from the past that seem to be hallucinations. Instead, Emerson learns that she can manipulate time and, with help from the mysterious Michael, she might even be able to prevent a murder that happened six months ago.

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Em and Marina stand on opposite sides in a race to protect time and keep a time machine from ever being built. Only one of them can come out alive.

If you want a book about accidental time travel:

Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren

While fighting off boredom at yet another of their parent’s archaeological sites, sisters Gabi and Lia touch the wrong handprint in an ancient tomb and find themselves transported to 14th Century Italy.

The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Buehrlen

Alex Wayfare is used to getting in trouble because of her visions of the past. Turns out Alex is a Descender able to travel through time by accessing her past lives–all 56 of them.

Shadows Fall Away by Kit Forbes

Mark’s stay with his eccentric, Jack the Ripper obsessed, aunt is cut short when he is struck by lightning and wakes up in 1888. When his knowledge of the Ripper murders single him out as a suspect, Mark decides to try to solve the murders himself to clear his name and return to his own time.

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

Cat Crawford definitely doesn’t want an elaborate party for her sixteenth birthday. Instead she welcomes her father and stepmother’s offer of a trip to Italy. The only problem comes when an unusual tent transports her to Renaissance Firenze.

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

After a photo booth camera sends them back in time, four estranged friends will have to relive their summer from two years ago if they want to get back to their present.

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Anna’s world is turned upside down when Bennett–a time traveler–shows up in her perfectly ordered life in 1995 Evanston, Illinois.

If you want a novel about parallel lives/worlds

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

In 1996 best friends Josh and Emma use a free AOL CD to go online for the first time where they get a glimpse of their Facebook pages–and their lives–fifteen years in the future.

Tandem by Anna Jarzab

Thrust into a life that isn’t her own, Sasha has to play the part of a princess in a world that shouldn’t exist if she ever wants a chance to return to her own world.

Planesrunner by Ian McDonald

Everett Singh will have to use the Infundibulum–a map of parallel earths–to travel across worlds to try and rescue his kidnapped scientist father.

Now That You’re Here by Amy K. Nichols

Thrown together by the most unlikely of circumstances, Danny and Eevee will have to work together to get Danny back home to his own universe before time runs out.

Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young

Caroline can stay at her grandmother’s side in the hospital waiting for the worse. Or she can go to a party and try to forget for a little while. One decision might bring closure and one might bring something unexpected. But only one is the right choice.

Pivot Point by Kasie West

At a crossroad that will change everything, Addie will have to user her psychic ability to live both outcomes for every decision she makes to decide what she is willing to live through and who she is willing to lose.

If you want to test out your own time machine, you can check out these books later this year

Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs

Everything goes wrong when Elena and her team look into their own fates on a routine data gathering mission in the future. With only 24 hours left to get back to the present can Elena save her team and the future?

Two Summers by Aimee Friedman

What happens if Summer Everett picks up her phone and stays home all summer? What if she doesn’t answer and ends up on her planned trip to France? In both summers there will be first love and self-discovery. But how will a shocking family secret play out in each parallel world?

It Wasn’t Always Like This by Joy Preble

Emma and Charlie haven’t aged for a hundred years. Seventeen forever, the two should have a perfect romance. But dangerous forces have kept the two apart until a series of murders suggest that Emmamight have the chance to find the threat–and her lost love–at last.

The Square Root of Summer by Harrier Reuter Hapgood

Gottie H. Oppenheimer begins traveling back to key moments in her past through wormholes opening around her small seaside town. She returns to moments of first love and regret while she struggles with the loss of her grandfather in the present. When two boys from her past return, Gottie will have to confront her past–and her future–head on.

— Emma Carbone, currently reading The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

The post Booklist: Time Travel Reads for Teens appeared first on The Hub.

Crossovers: It Happened to Me

Wed, 04/06/2016 - 07:00
David and Jon Kushner

Earlier this year, journalist David Kushner published his eloquent memoir, Alligator Candy. At the core of his story is a terrible crime. When Kushner was just four-years-old, he watched his older brother, Jon, ride away on his bicycle, never to return. Jon’s mutilated body was found later. At first, Kushner is a confused small boy missing his brother, fearing that he could have prevented the crime had he not requested candy from the store. Then, as a thirteen-year-old boy, he secretly begins reading accounts from the newspapers on microfilm at the library. There were details that he couldn’t have even imagined as a four-year-old boy.

After publishing several books and articles as an adult, Kushner was ready to write about Jon’s disappearance and murder. As part of his research, he received access to police records. He discovers details that are so horrific that he wonders how his family survived.  Kushner also realizes that while Jon’s disappearance and murder devastated his family, the entire community was deeply affected by the violence of the crime.

Memoirs, by definition, are collected memories of a person’s life. Unsurprisingly, memoirs are most often written when the author is older, as in Alligator Candy. But his story speaks directly to a teen’s experience. There are numerous memoirs written by adults that look back on their teen years. Here are a couple of examples that have won Alex Awards:

The Terrorist’s Son: A story of choice by Zak Ebrahim (2015 Alex Award Winner)

In 1993, radical Islamic terrorists plotted to bomb the World Trade Center. One of these despised, shadowy terrorist was the father of Zak Ebrahim, who was just a boy at the time. (You can find Zak’s TED Talk here.)

Breaking Night: A memoir of forgivness, survival, and my journey from homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray (2011 Alex Award Winner)

At fifteen, Liz was foraging on the street, riding subways all night to stay warm. When her mother, a drug addict, dies of AIDs, Liz made the decision to start high school and forge her own destiny.

Sometimes the stories are particularly relevant for teen readers and are published for young adults.

This Star Won’t Go Out: The life and words of Esther Grace Earl by Esther Earl, Lori Earl, Wayne Earl, and John Green.

Nerdfighter Esther reflects on the mercilessness cancer, and how the knowledge that she would die inspired her to life. Her humor and intelligence attracted many friends, including the novelist John Green, who dedicated The Fault in our Stars to her. Here is Green’s vlog post to here.

Rethinking Normal: a memoir in transition by Katie Rain Hill

Katie is open about her male-to-female transition, providing support  for teens going through their own transgender journey and advice for those who love them. Katie can be seen here with Arin Andrews, author of the memoir, Some Assembly Required:The not-so-secret life of a teen transgender.

The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon

At fourteen, Brent came home from school, put on a gasoline-soaked bathrobe and sat in his bathtub. Then he lit a match. His story of physical and emotional recovery is tough but essential reading. More from Runyon can be found here.

For more good memoir suggestions, check out the nomination site for the 2017 Popular Paperbacks topic: Biography: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.

— Diane Colson, currently reading Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

The post Crossovers: It Happened to Me appeared first on The Hub.

Women in Comics: Young Adult & New Adult Novels

Tue, 04/05/2016 - 07:00

If there has been one feature of every book that I have discussed in this series of posts, it is a focus on artwork. Even the one non-comic work included in these posts focused a significant amount of text on the artwork of Wonder Woman. But, this month, I am branching out from volumes focused on artwork to discuss an emerging trend – prose novels that are based on comic book characters.

cc image via Flickr user RyC

While this concept is hardly a new one, recently DC and Marvel have greatly expanded their offerings in this regard to include new adult (albeit not promoted by that name) and young adult novels. These novels can serve the dual purpose of introducing comic book characters and storylines to readers who aren’t comfortable with comics and graphic novels and encouraging comics fans to read works by leading young adult authors. Even more importantly, these novels are just a lot of fun! Right now, there are only a limited number available, but many more are appearing on the publishing horizon.

Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond

Lois Lane is just another new kid in the big city of Metropolis. She doesn’t want to stand out and she doesn’t want to encounter any more weird events. But, somehow they seem to find her, and what kind of reporter would she be if she didn’t try to solve the latest mystery plaguing her school? Given that Lois Lane comes up regularly in CBS’ Supergirl, this book is sure to have wide appeal, particularly amongst the show’s fans. Next up in this series is Double Down, coming in May of this year, so be sure to be on the lookout for that one.

Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

Black Widow has emerged as a fan favorite from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but frustratingly she doesn’t have a movie or much merchandise to show for her staggering popularity. This book will appeal to fans who have been frustrated with the lack of options to learn more about their favorite Avenger. The story follows Black Widow and a young girl who she saves from her former teacher. The two women’s lives are ultimately more closely entwined than they first guessed, building to a shared effort to save the world once more. In the fall, we’ll see the sequel to this book, Red Vengeance, which will delve even more into the stories of Black Widow and her protege, Red Widow.

Rogue Touch by Christine Woodward

Before she was a member of the X-Men, before she was named Rogue, and even before she fully understood her powers, Anna Marie was just a young woman living in the South covered in leather and gloves to protect others from her dangerous touch. When she starts to notice a mysterious man around town, her life will never be the same. Next thing she knows, she is on the run with a perpetually freezing alien who is also on the run from his past and his planet. Though this novel was not officially marketed as a New Adult novel, it shares many of the characteristics of NA books, including a romance and a protagonist who is in her late teens. It is a great option for older teens who want to read more about the iconic Rogue. At the same time Marvel released Rogue Touch, they also released

The She-Hulk Diaries by Marta Acosta

While that book is less NA and more akin to Bridget Jones’ Diary, I think it would also have cross-over appeal for older teens. It is written as the journal of Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk’s alter ego) and focuses on her struggles trying to juggle being an attorney while also being a 650 lbs superhero with a particularly super-sized personality.

In addition to these books, both Marvel and DC are planning to rapidly expand their line of YA novels. Marvel has announced that there will be new Captain Marvel and Squirrel Girl young adult novels coming from Shannon and Dale Hale in fall of 2016, as well as a Tony Stark novel by Eoin Colfer. DC, on the other hand, announced an exciting slate of four new YA novels coming in 2017 while I was in the process of drafting this post, including three by women: a Wonder Woman novel by Leigh Bardugo, a Batman novel by Marie Lu, and a Catwoman novel by Sarah J. Maas (the final book is a Superman novel by Matt de la Peña).

Given all of these options, even YA readers who are skeptical of comic books are sure to find something that appeals to them and, with any luck, this might even cause them to reconsider their feelings about comics generally. But, even with a list this long, there are still other characters just begging for their own YA novels. Personally, I’d be excited to read books about Barbara Gordon (particularly as Oracle), Agent Carter, Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel), or Jessica Jones (perhaps as a New Adult title to allow the books to explore more adult themes as in her Netflix shows). How about you? Let me know which characters you think would be perfect for their own YA series in the comments.

Regardless of the characters they choose to represent, I hope Marvel, DC, and other comics publishers continue to explore ways to bring their stories to more formats and audiences.

— Carli Spina, currently reading Bake Sale by Sara Varon

The post Women in Comics: Young Adult & New Adult Novels appeared first on The Hub.