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Women in Comics: Mysteries

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 07:00

A truly great mystery that can keep you guessing until the last page is tough to create but very satisfying to read. While this genre isn’t particularly common in recent comics, there are some great examples of mystery stories and a biography of one of the most famous authors in this genre that will appeal to mystery fans who also love comics.

Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie by Anne Martinetti and Guillaume Lebeau with art by Alexandre Franc – In addition to writing a long list of famous mystery novels, Agatha Christie led a fascinating life that involved world travel, a stint as a wartime nurse, and multiple archeological trips. This graphic novel tells the story of her life with her most famous creation, Hercule Poirot, popping in several times to provide commentary on her choices and life events. This is a great read for those interested in an introduction to Christie’s life, though at some points the book jumps through time in an abrupt manner that leaves the reader wanting more. The book includes a timeline of Christie’s life and a bibliography of her books.

Goldie Vance by Hope Larson with art by Brittney Williams – Goldie Vance is a teen detective who is ready to join the ranks of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys as a classic of the mystery genre. Goldie lives at a fancy Florida resort managed by her father, where she is determined to become the resident detective. To achieve her goal she helps the resort’s current detective, whether he wants her help or not. In this first volume, that means uncovering a plot of massive proportions and running down the solutions no matter how many problems that might cause. Fans of mystery stories will adore this new series, which combines a truly compelling investigation with colorful artwork that brings these new characters to life.

Mega Princess by Kelly Thompson with art by Brianne Drouhard – This new all-ages comic is a great option for both young readers who are just starting to read mysteries and long-time mystery enthusiasts. In it, Princess Maxine is a young girl who is about to receive her special gift of princessly powers from her fairy godmother on her tenth birthday. Unfortunately, she’d really rather be a detective than a princess. But, when her younger brother is kidnapped, she has a chance to try out her investigative power for real. This fun series from BOOM! Studios, the same publisher that brought us Goldie Vance, is sure to be a hit.

Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy by Chynna Clugston-Flores with illustrations by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell – Two of the most popular all-ages titles from the last several years are Lumberjanes and Gotham Academy, so it is no surprise that fans were excited when a crossover title was announced. While either of these comics could have made this list of mystery comics on their own, this team-up mystery makes an even more perfect addition to the pantheon of recent mystery comics. In this story, the characters from each of the series are looking for missing people. In the case of the Gotham Academy crew, their search for a missing teacher leads them to the woods where they run into the Lumberjanes who are looking for their Camp Director. This book will appeal to existing fans of Lumberjanes or Gotham Academy, but can also serve as a great introduction to these characters for new readers. Overall, it is a perfect read for any mystery fan!

Bandette Vol. 3: The House of the Green Mask by Paul Tobin with art by Colleen Coover – With its focus on a fun young thief and her exploits, any volume of Bandette could probably be included in a list of mystery comics, but the latest volume is particularly perfect since it follows Bandette on the search for a mystery location that has become the stuff of legends. Packed with the typical humor and visual appeal of this series, this volume adds in the hunt for the House of the Green Mask and Bandette’s quest for revenge. There is a reason this series has won an Eisner and this volume is a great point of entry for new readers as well as a wonderful continuation for existing fans.

Monstress Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu with art by Sana Takeda – While this may not be a traditional investigation, Monstress nonetheless has a mystery at its center throughout the first volume. Set in a world where humans exist side-by-side with mystical creatures, this is a gorgeous, brutal, and complex story of the aftermath of war and trauma. The story follows Maika, an Arcanic, as she allows herself to be captured by the humans in an attempt to solve the mysteries left by her mother while saving the other prisoners. Along the way, she must determine who to believe and how to open up and trust others to achieve her goals. The art deco-style art provides a breathtaking and fantastical backdrop for this tale that weaves together diverse elements of myth and fantasy. This book is definitely one for older readers given the intensity of the story and the art, but for those readers it is likely to become an immediate favorite.

If you are fan of mysteries, hopefully this list will help you to find a new favorite, but if I’ve missed any of your existing favorites, be sure to let me know in the comments!

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Monthly Monday Poll: March – Favorite 90s Fantasy

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 07:00

Happy Monday, Hub readers.

Last month, we asked about circulation of books with screen adaptations currently or imminently available for viewing. Leading the pack by a substantial margin with 51% of the vote was Hidden Figures. Next was Wonder with 15% (the movie’s release date was actually just pushed back to Summer 2017, so we’ll be waiting a little longer on that), then the The Handmaid’s Tale at 12%, 13 Reasons Why with 9%, Before I Fall with 7%, a scant 1% for Riverdale/Archie comics, and no circulation boost to speak of for The Circle (I guess Emma Watson’s probably doing enough for book circs playing Belle this month…).

This month, in honor of the recent (utterly delightful) news that Philip Pullman is publishing a new Book of Dust trilogy, we’re looking back to some beloved 90’s YA fantasy gems. Since the term YA has evolved quite a bit in the past three decades, some of the series I included could be/have been considered Children’s, and some serious classics were published in the late 80s and so had to be left off (cough, Sandman, Howl’s Moving Castle, cough). As always, please share in the comments the titles I’ve overlooked!

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

— Carly Pansulla, currently reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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2017 Nonfiction Award Finalist: An Interview with Linda Barrett Osborne on This Land Is Our Land

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 07:00

In the introduction to This Land is Our Land, Linda Barrett Osborne writes how she hopes her book acts as a conversation starter for such an important part of American history. Not only does she successfully cover the vast topic of immigration in this finalist for YALSA’s 2017 Nonfiction Award, but after reading This Land is Our Land, I was certainly eager for our conversation.

How do you think the topic of immigration can be addressed for different age groups?

Almost any age group can start with finding out their own family backgrounds. Then students can share their histories with their classmates and see how many places people come from in a class. From middle school on, students can talk about what they hear in the media. Do they think the stories/treatments of immigrants are fair? On the other hand, is it a problem to accommodate many new immigrants each year? After discussing how Americans have always been ambivalent about new immigrants, see if they are surprised that our doubts and objections stretch back to the beginnings of settlement in America. How would they wish their families had been treated? How would they like some or all first generation immigrants to be treated?

During your research was there something that surprised you about America’s history?

I knew that many immigrant groups had been discriminated against, but I was surprised by the intensity and disparagement of the rhetoric used against them. There are parallels with the way African Americans have been characterized. I was also surprised at the extent to which Asian immigrants were discriminated against. I didn’t realize that before 1952, most of them were not eligible to become American citizens.

You share so many personal stories and primary resources in TLIOL. Do you feel connected as you conduct research? How do you decide what to include or how much of someone’s history to include?

Yes, I definitely feel connected to other people’s stories as I read them. I am particularly moved by oral histories that tells the stories of ordinary people in natural words. (They are more immediate than written biographies and memoirs, though these can be moving too.) When a book spans so many centuries and countries, as This Land Is Our Land does, I can’t give more than a paragraph or two to any one person. I look for words that are emblematic of the theme but also expressed in a personal and distinct way, so that each quote adds something to the whole.

As a retired senior writer and editor for the Library of Congress Publishing Office, can you tell us how you conducted research for that job? Any research techniques to pass along to students?

I retired from the Library of Congress Publishing Office in October 2011 and my job was to write and edit books using the collections of the Library as a focus, aiming the books at thoughtful lay readers. We did a lot of research before we wrote and documented everything. The Library has so many primary sources—the actual first editions from the 1860s, for example–and many more media than books: prints and photographs, manuscripts, movies and TV, music, maps, rare books, all of which we researched and used to illustrate our books. We often worked with scholars who reviewed our work.  I’ve written and published three books since I retired, using the same methods I learned at the Library to research and compile them.

  • I start with a list of basic sources I compile by looking through a subject catalog and in the library stacks. I also get recommendations from American history professors I know; in the case of your students, I think this would be teachers and librarians.
  • I also look for online sources by subject and use bibliographies from the books I find. I use post-it notes as I read, marking passages I might quote or ideas and events I want to summarize (or copy and paste from a website.)
  • When I’ve finished a book, I type out all the quotes on computer, as well as facts and summaries of ideas. I do this for each source. It really helps to mark a quote as soon as you see it (the few times I think, I’ll find this again, I don’t) and also to indicate where you found it right then. Typing these out helps me think of how I will tell my overall story. I do a chapter outline and indicate topics within the chapters and match the quotes and facts to each one. Then I start to write from the information I’ve gathered.
This Land is Our Land Chapters

You write how immigrants performed important jobs throughout America’s history, but also how people view them negatively. How do you ensure you balance all sides of history in your chapters?

That’s an interesting question. In This Land Is Our Land, I don’t balance the pro- and con-arguments for immigration in each chapter. I was more interested in all the negative feelings about immigrants and how that contrasted with our ideals stated on the Statue of Liberty and the idea of the melting pot. I wanted to show that resistance to immigration has existed through most of our history. But it’s also important to me to get the positive side in. I don’t just write about what was unjust, brutal, racist–I write about what was hopeful, courageous, enduring. Through the words of immigrants themselves, I hope to show ordinary people living lives of dignity and success despite hostility and discrimination. That’s the balance I wanted to attain. In the last chapter, from 1945 to today, I did go back and forth on some pro- and con-immigration arguments, being careful with facts and statistics. I don’t claim to understand how to reform immigration law, but I am pro-immigrant in the sense that I think all people should be treated as human beings, with respect, and not with hatred and contempt.

People know of the importance of Ellis Island which welcomed and processed immigrants on the east coast, but there is less attention given to Angel Island for doing a similar job on the west coast. How did you combat less information being available about Angel Island?

There’s a lot about Angel Island when you start to look for it! There are books, primary source records, statistics, photographs, personal accounts, and newspaper stories—more than I could use in one chapter of a book. But again, your question is interesting, because it points out the bias in the way we emphasize Ellis Island and Europe over Angel Island and Asia, which I think is beginning to change. (There are differences between Angel and Ellis Islands themselves—more people went through Ellis Island for a longer period of time and most got through. It was much harder to get through Angel Island, where hopeful immigrants could be held for years.)

Your books have ranged from points in history from WWI, civil rights, and now immigration. Do you have a favorite period in our history?

My first three middle school books were on African American history starting with slavery and ending in the present, so I think that my interest lay more in a topic than a period. But I was very interested in the period between the late 1890s and 1954 and how segregation developed in the South and discrimination flourished in the North because this was not discussed nearly as much as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. My interest in immigration came out of my interest in my own family background, when my great-grandparents emigrated from Italy in the 1880s and the 1890s. Part of the immigration story takes place during the years before, during, and after World War I, as Americans became more suspicious of foreigners. African Americans participated in the Great Migration from South to North and West during World War I, and their experience has many parallels with that of immigrants from other countries. Everything turns out to be connected. The short answer is probably 1860-1954 is my favorite period to learn more about.

You conclude with a chapter on refugees and how they differ and are, in a way, a “special kind of immigrant”. Immigration and refugees are current topics today. Where do you gather your news and information to have current and reliable information?

I use up-to date online sources or statistics and trends from places like the U.S. Census Bureau and the Citizen and Immigration Services (which is part of Homeland Security and used to be the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization). I look at the actual text of laws (not just summaries in other articles), from university websites—Yale has a useful one. I do use journalism sources like the New York Times and the Huffington Post—when I use them I am quoting opinion, not fact—but I get a lot of quotes in favor of restricting immigration from online newspapers as well. I read a lot of scholarly books written since 2010 by renowned or distinguished professors from universities, often recommended to me by an American history professor. I used United Nations websites to find information on and images of refugees (one of them is I also used organization and agency websites, like those of the Organization of American States and Pew Hispanic Center. Finally, I used the website of the Center for Immigration Studies, a non-partisan, not-profit organization that gave both pro- and con-quotes (without favoring one or the other) for the number and native country of immigration.

What are you currently reading? Or what are you currently working on?

I’m currently reading The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961-1989 by Frederick Taylor, and The Brutal Telling, a mystery by Louise Penny. I love mysteries and often alternate them with reading history. My newest book, Come On In, America: The United States in World War I, is coming out in March 2017. I’m exploring a few ideas for a new children/young adult book, but nothing definite next.

-Sarah Carnahan, currently reading The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

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Beauty and the Beast and Other Classic Retellings

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 16:43

With the highly anticipated theatrical release of Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens comes a multitude of YA retelling book display ideas.  Below you’ll find a list of YA books inspired by the classic fairy tale. If you’re looking to expand your display or reader’s advisory, I included retellings inspired by Peter Pan, Shakespeare, and Alice in Wonderland.


Beauty and the Beast

In a village surrounded by a magic forest, the people rely on wizard known as Dragon to keep the magical forest’s powers away. But when Dragon requires a young maiden to serve him for ten years to fulfill the duty, Agnieszka knows her beautiful best friend will be chosen. Or will he choose someone else?

Falling on hard luck, Yeva’s family must move to the woods with the fabled beast that is the object of her father’s obsession.  When Yeva’s father is taken while on a hunting expedition, she must return to the woods to get him back.

Belle is a lot of things and one of them is being trapped in a castle by the beast.  When Belle unwittingly touches the Beast’s rose, she discovers that her mother is the reason for the curse and Belle and the Beast search for clues to break it.

Trying to feed her family, Feyra kills a sacred animal and her penance is to live beyond the wall with Tamlin-a fey.  Illiterate and with no means of escaping, Feyra finds her life in danger by an evil queen.

Nyx’s little town is ruled by a demon who grants wishes that always has a catch.  Before she was born, Nyx’s father made a foolish wish and now Nyx must marry the demon-Ignifex.  Nyx has known of the arrangement since she was a child and her father has trained her to kill her soon to be demon husband.

Peter Pan

A deadly virus has infected London’s adults leaving children disease free.  Captain Hook believes a cure lies within children and when he takes Joanna for experimentation, Gwen; her brothers; Pete and the Lost Boys; and Bella band together to get her back.

Gwen is always moving because of her delusional mother.  On their latest move, Gwen has been granted permission to bring her best friend.  When Gwen and her friend are taken to a strange place called Neverland, she realizes that her mother’s delusions are real.  Gwen and her friend must race against time to escape Neverland or be stuck there forever.

Wylie has problems. With a brother heading to juvie and an over-scheduled life, she decides to follow the dazzling boy to his land where no one ever ages.  Wylie soon discovers that someone has been lying to her.

Wendy Darling lives a posh life in London with a great boyfriend but when a dazzling boy with god like powers called Peter enters through her window, she follows only to find a once dreamlike world has turned into a nightmare.


Hanalee, the daughter of a white mother, is mourning the death of her black father when his accused murderer is released from jail.  After claiming his innocence, Joe informs Hanalee that her father was murdered.  During her quest to find her father’s murderer, Hanalee must deal with her strange step father, the rise of the Klu Klux Klan, and her forbidden feelings for a white boy.

People are beginning to die horrible deaths at a private school where Lila and Maria are the most popular couple on campus.  Maria is in line for a prestigious award and together with Lila, Maria will stop at nothing to get it.

  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear (The Winter’s Tale) by EK Johnston

Hermione is determined to make her senior year the best year beginning with cheer camp but when she’s sexually assaulted, Hermione refuses to be the victim as she finds her attacker.

Alice in Wonderland

All Catherine wants to do is open a bakery with her best friend but her parents want her to marry the king.  When the mysterious Jest comes to work for the king, Catherine becomes enamored and quickly finds herself in his world of tea parties and Mad Hatters.  Will her love of Jest make her heartless?

Dinah is the Princess of Wonderland Palace and she’s bored of parties and tea and her only saving grace is visiting her love-the Knave of Hearts.  When a newcomer enters the palace, his presence threatens Dinah’s love and her life at the Palace.

Alyssa is beginning to hear voices and is afraid she’s going to end up in the mental hospital like her mother.  When Alyssa finds herself in a magical land, she realizes her mother isn’t hallucinating and Alyssa must pass a series of tests to save herself and her family.

Alice soon finds out that her father was right and monsters do exist.  Alice must quickly learn how to fight these monsters, zombies, to save her family.

Dawn is currently reading-Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling




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2017 Nonfiction Award Finalists: An Interview with Pamela S. Turner and Gareth Hinds on Samurai Rising

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 07:00

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune is the true story of one of Japan’s greatest samurai warriors and a finalist for YALSA’s 2017 Nonfiction Award. Today I’m thrilled to have the book’s author Pamela S. Turner and illustrator Gareth Hinds here to answer some questions about the book.

Congratulations on Samurai Rising‘s selection as a 2017 Nonfiction Award finalist! Where were each of you when you heard the news? Who was the first person you told about the big news?

Pamela S. Turner (PST): The big news (yay!) arrived one morning via an email from Donna Spurlock, the marketing director at Charlesbridge Publishing. I told my dogs right away but they were notably unimpressed.

Gareth Hinds (GH): I was at a school visit in Vermont when I got the news. They let us know a couple of days before the public announcement, so I was only allowed to tell my wife.

Pamela, what was the inspiration for Samurai Rising? In some ways this story could have focused on numerous samurai, including several of Yoshitsune’s relatives, how did you know you had found your next protagonist in Yoshitsune?

PST: The Tale of the Heike. Yoshitsune impressed me because his tale is so much like King Arthur’s or Luke Skywalker’s: all are heirs to a great tradition, yet raised in obscurity; all become  a hero, yet discover that their greatest enemy is a member of their own family. But Yoshitsune’s story is true.

I never considered writing about anyone else from that time period. Despite Yoshitsune’s faults I find him a deeply sympathetic character. According to the standards of his time and culture Yoshitsune did everything he was supposed to do and yet was betrayed in the most cynical fashion. His military accomplishments had a deep and lasting impact on Japanese history; his personal tragedy had a deep and lasting impact on Japanese art and literature. If you go to my website at, you can see some examples of how Yoshitsune’s life has inspired generation after generation of writers and artists.

Gareth, illustrating Samurai Rising is not the first time you’ve created artwork about Yoshitsune. On your blog you mention that you have an intense interest in Japan and Japanese culture. You even did an illustration project in college about Yoshitsune. What was it like returning to Yoshitsune? How did your past experience influence the choices you made in illustrating this newer book?

GH: Yoshitsune is a legendary figure in Japan, which is to say that many legends have grown up around his life, especially the parts that are a bit mysterious, like how he became such a great warrior when he didn’t go through samurai training as a child. Those legends are what I first encountered and illustrated in college. Returning to illustrate the story of his real life was a fun process of (re)discovery. One thing that stayed the same was my desire to bring Asian influences into the style of the art. I used brush painting with stark silhouettes and strong gestural poses to evoke Sumi-e brush painting — though my materials and process were not exactly traditional.

Yoshitsune’s story begins with the years-long battle between his family (the Minamoto) and the rival Taira samurai. In Samurai Rising, the Minamoto are the heroes of the story but things could easily be flipped to see the Taira as the more heroic (or even “good”) clan. How did you choose how to frame this battle and rivalry, Pamela?

PST: Since I was writing about Yoshitsune, I wanted to show how the conflict looked from his side. But I don’t let anyone off the hook. I point out the stupidity and recklessness of Yoshitsune’s father. I note that this was a struggle between the elites, and that none of the samurai cared much about the sufferings they inflicted on common people. I suggest that Yoshitsune’s loyalty in his clan was misplaced because the ones who stood by him at the very end were not  Minamoto. And I don’t pull any punches when describing the many cruel acts of Yoshitsune’s half-brother Yoritomo, leader of the Minamoto samurai. I don’t view one clan as “good” and the other as “bad.” That would not be a) interesting or b) historically accurate. In the end, an off-shoot of the Taira ends up ruling Japan. Oh, the exquisite irony!

Gareth, on your blog you give a great explanation of the process involved in illustrating Samurai Rising from the initial assignment through your sketches and digital work for each illustration or map. How did creating these illustrations for Pamela’s existing manuscript compare to illustrating and writing your own graphic novels?

GH: The process is sort of similar, but graphic novels are much larger and more complex. For those I do rough sketches of the whole book digitally, arranging pictures and type exactly the way I want them. Then I get feedback from my editors, make revisions, and then do the final art with a combination of digital and traditional materials. For Samurai Rising, I didn’t have to arrange as many elements, I just had to come up with sketches that conveyed the feeling of each chapter, and compose them so they worked opposite the chapter headings. I would do a detailed sketch, make any revisions based on Alyssa (the editor), Susan (the designer) and Pam’s feedback, then do a loose brush painting based on the sketch.

What was the most interesting text you encountered while researching this book, Pamela? What is one fact you were excited to share with readers?

PST: There wasn’t one text that was the most interesting. What was interesting to me was the work of examining the source material against academic sources and making sense of why things happened the way they did. For instance: the period source material describes how the Taira retreat to the fortress of Ichi-no-Tani and the barricades of Ikuta-no-Mori. Why didn’t the Taira defend Kyoto? Why not meet the Minamoto on open ground, especially since they had the advantage of numbers? To understand why they did things the way they did, you have to understand the advantages and disadvantages of mounted archery as a military tactic. None of that is explained in the source documents.

But I confess that as someone who practices kendo (Japanese sword fighting) my favorite set of facts to share involved the classic katana blade: why it’s curved, why it’s sheathed edge-up, why it’s a certain length, why it’s made using two different kinds of steel. None of those things are obvious but when explained make perfect sense.

Gareth, did you have a favorite illustration to make for Samurai Rising? Is there any artwork in the book that you are especially excited for readers to see?

GH: The cover is probably my favorite piece. Of the interiors, one of the hardest pieces was the ship in a storm for chapter 8, but in the end I think it’s one of my favorites. It’s hard to compare them, though, because each piece (hopefully) hits a very different emotional note.

Can you tell us anything about your next projects?

PST: I have a picture book biography, COMET CHASER, coming from Chronicle Books. It’s a Cinderella-like story about Caroline Herschel, the first professional woman astronomer. We are working on finding an illustrator so I’m guessing it won’t be out until 2019.

GH: I have a collection of Edgar Allan Poe stories and poems coming out in August, and I am currently hard at work on The Iliad, which will come out in fall 2018.

Thank you to Pamela and Gareth for taking the time to answer my questions about Samurai Rising!

— Emma Carbone, currently reading Wildlife by Fiona Wood

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Women in Comics: Let The Music Play

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 07:00

Comics may not necessarily seem like a natural fit for music fans, but in reality there are a number of great (and in some cases, even iconic) bands in comics. Best of all, many of these comics feature female musicians and are written or illustrated by women. This list collects a few of the best of these and offers a little something for everyone.

Jem and the Holograms Volume 1: Showtime by Kelly Thompson with art by Sophie Campbell – Jerrica is a skilled singer but she also has a serious case of stage fright. When the band that she and her sisters have formed has an opportunity to play as part of a video contest, she finds that she can’t even record their song due to her shyness. While struggling to live up to her sisters’ expectations, she discovers that her father has left her the technology to create a hologram to sing in her place. This is all just the background though for a story that is really about relationships of all kinds including fans, friendship, family, and romance. The story features a great and diverse cast and it will please both readers who are fans of the 1980’s Jem cartoon series and those who have never met these characters before.

Josie and the Pussycats by Marguerite Bennett and Cameron Deordio with art by Audrey Mok – Starting in the Fall of 2016, Marguerite Bennett, Cameron Deordio, and Audrey Mok reinvented the classic story of Josie and the Pussycats. Built on the same foundation as the classic comics, this new incarnation has a brand new origin and a great focus on the importance of friendship to the band’s success or failure. This is a great read for musicians, Archie fans, and those who want to read a great story about fame and friendship. The first volume won’t be out until August, but you can start catching up on individual issues now.

Zebrafish by Peter H. Reynolds and Sharon Emerson with illustrations by Renee Kurilla – This comic, which is perfect for younger fans, tells a cute story about a bunch of friends who want to launch a band. Unfortunately, only one of them can play an instrument. They’re hardly going to let that stop them though! The book incorporates a message through a discovery that the band members make about one of their new friends, but this isn’t presented in a heavy-handed manner and doesn’t limit the focus of the story. The cartoon-inspired drawing style is engaging and entertaining. Readers will really enjoy this lighthearted book, which also has a sequel entitled SPF 40.

Black Canary Volume 1: Kicking and Screaming by Brenden Fletcher with art by Annie Wu, Pia Guerra, and Sandy Jarrell – Most comics fans may know Dinah Lance as a superhero, but that isn’t her only talent. In this series, Dinah is going by D.D. as the lead singer in the band Black Canary. Along the way, she is protecting her bandmates and particularly their tween guitarist Ditto who may have some powers of her own. With such a great roster of artists, it should come as no surprise that the artwork is distinctive and really pulls the story together, helping to convey not only Dinah’s personality but also the world that the band inhabits. This is a great read for both superhero fans and music fans.

KISS by Amy Chu with art by Kewber Baal – This fall the band KISS is back in comics once again in a new series written by Amy Chu. In it, four friends must join forces to try to solve the mystery of the Council of Elders with a bit of help. Amy Chu has said that the series will appeal to fans of science fiction and fantasy as well as KISS’ existing fan base, so this should be an interesting title to watch.

Who are your favorite bands in comics? Let us know in the comments!

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Monthly Monday Poll: February – Adaptations + Circulation

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 14:30

Hello Hub Readers, and Happy February!

Last month, we asked about your reading goals and priorities for 2017, and a whopping 43% of you responded that your priority this year is to read more content that diversifies your reading list by choosing titles by and/or about people who are different from you in physical or experiential ways. Not far behind, with 38% of the responses, were readers committed to reading more titles in 2017, amassing more options to your arsenal of completed texts. 10% are prioritizing the social connections reading can foster, 5% are focused on reading the most critically-celebrated books on offer, and 4% are focusing their reading efforts beyond the offerings of the Big 5 publishers to seek out indie gems. Just the idea of all these fired up readers applying energy and resolve to the act of absorbing narratives, with all the impacts that can have, makes me more hopeful about the year ahead. If you’re looking to quantify some of these goals, we invite you to join the 2017 Hub Reading Challenge, which offers up titles to fit every one of these priorities!

This month, we’re returning to a favorite theme: page-to-screen adaptations, and their effect on circulation in your library (if your library is anything like mine, it’s considerable!). Have you seen measurable changes in the demand for the book editions of these recent and soon-to-be-released screen adaptations?

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

As always, let us know in the comments if we’ve left off a title that’s flying off your library’s shelves!

— Carly Pansulla, currently reading The Reader by Traci Chee

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Announcing the 2017 Hub Reading Challenge!

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 18:44

It’s time to kickoff the 2017 Hub reading challenge! This challenge is intended to encourage librarians, library workers, and YA lit enthusiasts to dive into the award winner and honor books and YALSA selected lists with the hope of providing excellent readers’ advisory and even discovering a new favorite title or exploring a genre outside of your comfort zone.

Eligible books are the YA titles that were named winners or honor titles the following award and selected lists:

How to Participate

  • The goal is to read any 25 books of the titles from the above lists and awards—find the list of 98 unique titles here!

  • Let us know you’re participating by commenting on this post below.
  • If you’re going to be tracking what you read/listen to on your blog or on Goodreads, LibraryThing, YouTube or some other site, include a link to your blog/shelf/channel/profile in your comment. If you’re not tracking your reading online, keep a list some other way.
  • Make it a social experience! Share your challenge progress and get to know other participants by using the hashtag #hubchallenge on Twitter and Instagram.
  • Once a month, we’ll publish a check-in post. Leave a comment to talk about what you’re reading for the challenge. If you’ve reviewed those titles somewhere online, include links to those reviews! Otherwise, let us know what you thought of the books in the comments.
  • There will be an finisher form embedded in each check-in post, so once you’re done with the challenge, fill out the form with your name and contact information.

Challenge rewards

Beyond experiencing the best of the best that YA lit has to offer, everyone who finishes the challenge will be invited to submit a response to a book they read for the challenge. The response can be text, graphics, audio, video and will be published on The Hub. Furthermore, everyone who finishes the challenge will be entered into a random drawing for our grand prize: a YALSA tote bag full of 2015 and 2016 YA lit! (If the winner is a teacher or librarian or something similar, we’ll also include a few professional development titles.)


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

If you have any questions or problems, let us know in the comments or via email. Happy reading! 

The post Announcing the 2017 Hub Reading Challenge! appeared first on The Hub.

Amazing Audiobooks and Quick Picks Lists are Moving to The Hub, and You’re Invited to Be a Part of the Team!

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 07:00

As many of you know, the YALSA board voted to change the way selected lists committees operate and share their picks for the best books for teens. You can find all the details on the change in Board Member Franklin Escobedo’s blog post on the YALSAblog.

Rather than repeat Franklin’s detailed explanation of the rationale for the change, I wanted to offer my own reasons for why I am excited about this process and invite you, Hub readers, to be a part of it!

The Hub has always been a collection development resource, highlighting books and other materials and helping librarians and library workers connect the teens they serve with resources that meet their needs and support their interests. We cover everything from podcasts and YouTube videos to manga, anime, and of course, books! But we’ve never really done straight reviews of titles. 

Likewise, the Selected Lists are great tools for collection development, but in today’s world, many library users expect to have access to materials as soon as they’re released, so waiting for the publication of a final list after the year’s already done and librarians and library workers have spent their budgets and are now looking at next year’s releases isn’t as practical as it once was.

Additionally, Selected List Committees have always deliberated and discussed the merits of various titles, but there wasn’t a mechanism for sharing those perspectives with librarians and library workers beyond the final list with very brief annotations. Now, the public will have access to some of the behind the scenes action! The system will be more transparent. Blog posts that feature nominated titles will provide more detail and context to why the YALSA members vetting these titles feel that it is a strong contender and how it fulfills the list’s criteria. Discussion of each book will emphasis its suitability for lists, but also discuss the appeal factors for each book.  This information can help librarians and library workers not only decide if it’s right for their library’s collection, but will also help librarians and library workers match books to readers. More than just collection development recommendations, the discussion of nominations on The Hub will serve as a more in depth readers’ advisory tool.

Does this sound like something you’d be interested in being a part of? Do you love not only discussing books with colleagues, but listening to audiobooks or thinking about what books can best reach reluctant readers? Would you like to grow as a reader and a writer while networking with other professionals? This is the YALSA volunteer opportunity for you!

Ready to submit your volunteer form? Do it here! Have questions or want to talk about it? Feel free to reach out to me at

— Molly Wetta, currently reading Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin

The post Amazing Audiobooks and Quick Picks Lists are Moving to The Hub, and You’re Invited to Be a Part of the Team! appeared first on The Hub.