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Your Connection to Teen Reads
Updated: 17 hours 23 min ago

Librarians Love: Books for Young Black Male Readers

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 07:00

by the Allen County (IN) Public Library

YALSA-bk is a listserv with lively discussions among librarians, educators, and beyond about all things YA lit. Sometimes one listserv member will ask for help finding books around a certain theme or readalikes for a particular title. This post is a compilation of responses for one such request.

The original request
A year ago I asked the group a question about books for black MG and YA boys, especially those who were reluctant readers. The response was Bluford High and Walter Dean Myers, and not much else. In the light of the recent loss of Myers, I wanted to pose the question again. Who do you guys see as the next go to author for books to suck in black male readers? Do you know of any such books you would recommend. I was at a session a few years ago where Matt de la Pena spoke and said a young hispanic male had told him “that’s my life in your book.” Who do you see as the authors who could wring a response like that from today’s (and future) black teens?

Suggested titles

  • Sasquatch in the Paint by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Death of Jayson Porter by Jaime Adoff
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  • He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander
  • How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen
  • Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth
  • Brendan Buckley’s 6th Grade Experiment by Sundee T. Frazier
  • Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything In It by Sundee T. Frazier
  • Nowhere to Run by Claire Griffin
  • The Great Green Heist by Varian Johnson
  • Secret Saturdays by Torrey Maldonado
  • When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds
  • 8th Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
  • Saving Baby Doe by Danette Vigilante
  • Eddie Red Undercover by Marcia Wells
  • Ultimate Comics Spider-Man trade paperback series

Suggested authors

  • Barbara Binns

  • Christopher Paul Curtis
  • G. Neri

Suggested resources

Have more titles you think should belong on these lists? Add them on the YALSA wiki or leave a comment! Looking for more compiled booklists? Check out the YALSA wiki or other booklists here at The Hub.

– Gretchen Kolderup, currently reading The Riverman by Aaron Starmer

YA Lit Gone Country

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 07:00

I love the twang of country music, the songs about trucks, independence, and falling in love. I think I fell in love with country music because most of the songs seem to tell a story, and being a bookish nerd, I loved that.

Here’s a video from Trace Atkins explaining why he sings Country in Songs About Me.

July 4th was National County Music Day and in celebration, I’ve created a list of YA books featuring country music.

Wildflower by Alicia Whitaker
Bird’s family play together with her Dad as the front man, but when he’s sick, he asks Bird to step in a lead the band. At first, Bird’s nervous, but then she finds her groove and starts to shine in the spotlight. There’s a talent scout in the crowd and he requests a meeting with her father.  Everyone’s excited about the possibility of being signed – but it turns out he just wants Bird. It’s too good of an opportunity for her to pass up, but is she ready for the hard work and fame?

Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee (2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults)
Retta Lee Jones takes the advice from her best friend and, after high school graduation, leaves her small town behind in hopes of making it in Nashville. After a string of bad luck, she meets a friend who helps her out. Can she survive and strike it big?

Paradise by Jill S. Alexander
Paisley Tillery lives and breathes drums. They could be her ticket out of small town Texas. Her dreams might be able to come true now that the band has a hot new lead singer. When Paisley falls for him, she can’t help wondering if he could help her soar or hold her back. Paisley’s mother doesn’t know about the band because she wouldn’t approve. How can her dreams come true if she can’t tell her family and have their support?

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Reagan lives life on the edge, while her BFF maintains a clean image. Lilah’s a country music star and when her long term relationship ends, she invites Reagan on tour. When a scandal erupts about Lilah, her management brings in a star for the opening act that can help with damage control. Only Regan falls for Matt and he seems to like her too.

Love Struck Summer by Melissa Walker
Quinn just graduated high school. Since she lives for music, she decides to call up her favorite record label and ask for an internship. She’s surprised enough to have someone answer the phone at 3 a.m., let alone an affirmative answer to her question. She heads for Texas to stay with her cousin where she’s excited about her job and can’t wait to find the perfect boyfriend. Her summer doesn’t go exactly as planned.

~ Jennifer Rummel Currently Reading: The Year of Luminous Love by Lurlene McDaniel

The Monday Poll: Summer Lovin’ YA Lit Style

Sun, 07/06/2014 - 23:32

Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week, in honor of the World Cup, we asked your opinion on which YA book features the best soccer game. The top choice was Akata Witch by Nnedi  Okorafor with a whopping 40% of the vote, and close behind was The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares with 32% of the vote. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!

This week, as summer is in full force, we’re longing to know your favorite YA summer romance. Choose from the following options, or leave a comment to tell us which summer love story makes you swoon!

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


Tweets of the Week: July 4th

Fri, 07/04/2014 - 07:00

Happy Independence Day! Welcome home from Vegas if you went to Annual; happy long weekend (you earned it) if you didn’t! Catch up on the Twitter world this morning before you (hopefully) unplug and enjoy the fireworks.

You know about net neutrality, but have you heard about Facebook’s mood experiment? That, along with Annual, are some of the big issues of the week. Oh, and a SCOTUS kerfuffle. And a little event happening in Brazil. It was a bit much.

ALA Annual Conference






Just Fun

–Hannah Gómez, currently reading The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen

ALA Annual 2014: YALSA’s YA Author Coffee Klatch

Fri, 07/04/2014 - 07:00

Oh, the memories! With Sarah Dessen at the 2009 YALSA Coffee Klatch.

For the past few years, one of my favorite events at the ALA Annual Conference has been YALSA’s YA Author Coffee Klatch. A ticketed event, the Coffee Klatch provides attendees with the opportunity to chat with fabulous young adult authors about their books, youth literature in general, and- in the case of Internet Girls author Lauren Myracle- most overused emoji. Most of the authors participating in the Coffee Klatch have had their work recognized on at least one of YALSA’s six annual selected lists and/or have been recipients of one of YALSA’s five literary awards.

Similar to speed dating, there are approximately 30+ round tables set up around the ballroom at which 8 or so people are seated. Every 5 minutes, a whistle goes off and a new author joins you at your table. To give you an idea of how memorable this event is: my husband reminded me of the 2008 Coffee Klatch we attended at ALA in Anaheim, along with our tiny infant son strapped to his chest (“Hey, that’s where we met John Green!”). This year, I brought along my sister, Nirmala, who happened to be experiencing ALA and Las Vegas for the very first time (!). She’s a writer, and getting to sit with fellow authors and commune about literature and the writing process engaged her on a whole new level. As a librarian who regularly reads and share these authors’ works in a professional and personal capacity, the Klatch is basically my chance to fangirl them (but not in a creepy way, of course…yeaaaaah).

Authors at the 2014 YALSA Coffee Klatch!

This year’s literary line-up included Josephine Angelini, Paolo Bacigalupi, Jessica Brody, Ally Condie, Jim Di Bartolo, Matt de la Pena, Matt Dembicki, Becca Fitzpatrick, Jonathan Friesen, Carol Goodman, Alan Gratz, Claudia Gray, Collen Gleason, Ryan Graudin, Nathan Hale, Jenny Han, PJ Hoover, Katherine Howe, Lindsey Leavitt, Marie Lu, Jonathan Maberry, Lauren Myracle, Blake Nelson, Jandy Nelson, Caragh O’Brien, Mary Pearson, Jason Reynolds, Graham Salisbury, Neal Shusterman, Jon Scieszka, Marcus Sedgwick, Clare Vanderpool, Scott Westerfeld, Cat Winters, and Meg Wolitzer.

Here are some highlights from my table:

Blinding Us with Science

YALSA Author Coffee Klatch 2014: Jon Scieszka and Claudia Gray

Jon Scieszka’s new middle-grade Frank Einstein series is STEM-based with a lot of appeal for reluctant readers. Claudia Gray discussed A Thousand Pieces of You, the first book in her forthcoming Firebird series, featuring time-bending, parallel universes, and a healthy dose of romance.

It Gets Real

YALSA Author Coffee Klatch 2014: (Clockwise): Lauren Myracle, Jandy Nelson, and Meg Wolitzer

Lauren Myracle’s yolo is the latest in the popular Internet Girls series, and is set during the girls’ transformational freshman year in college.

Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun is a “tapestry of interwoven love stories and complex familial relationships.” Following this program, my sister pretty much ran to the exhibits hall to grab a copy of the ARC.

Having enjoyed Meg Wolitzer’s adult fiction novel, The Interestings, I was really pumped to hear about Belzhar, her first YA book. Described as Breakfast Club meets Prep with shades of The Bell Jar,” Belzhar is an intimate read and like, as my friend, Anne put it, peeking into one’s teenaged diary.


YALSA Author Coffee Klatch 2014: Scott Westerfeld and Jason Reynolds

I was super elated to hear that Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds takes some of its inspiration from the Hindu Vedas and features an Indian-American girl as its main character.

Jason Reynolds wrote When I Was the Greatest to show that children living in urban cities should not have to feel ashamed or fearful of where they come from.

Way Back When

YALSA Author Coffee Klatch 2014: Cat Winters and Alan Gratz

Cat Winters, who was named a 2014 Morris Award finalist for her debut novel In the Shadow of Blackbirds, talked about her upcoming title, The Cure for Dreaming– an atmospheric novel set during the early 1900s that combines the supernatural with radical feminism.

Alan Gratz’s steampunk fantasy middle grade novel, The League of Seven is set in an alternate 1870s America – this ain’t your mama’s history book!

Dystopian futures

YALSA Author Coffee Klatch 2014: Ally Condie

Ally Condie’s new standalone novel, Atlantia, references the lost city of Atlantis, and focuses on the complex relationship between sisters. There is also plenty of mystery and romance.

Thriller in the Mountain!

YALSA Author Coffee Klatch 2014: Becca Fitzpatrick

Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush series) is coming out this fall with a romantic thriller about a girl who is kidnapped during a backpacking trip in the mountains of Wyoming.

These are just a small selection of the authors who presented at the Coffee Klatch – if you were there, what exciting new titles did you hear about?

-Lalitha Nataraj, currently reading The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi