Search on SLJ.com ....
Subscribe to SLJ
Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPiB: Undertale Party

Last week, I wrote a review about the video game UndertaleIf you haven’t read it, go ahead and skim it before trying out this program! Also, be sure to ask your regular teens if they’re fans of Undertale before deciding to do this program. Undertale is a niche fandom that isn’t nearly as big as something like Pokemon Go, so make sure you are guaranteed an audience first!

undertale

I had my Undertale program a few weekends ago on a Saturday afternoon. One of my regular teens volunteered to help decorate our program room and plan games, which was a HUGE help!  The best part about my Undertale program was how it attracted teens from all over our county who didn’t know each other, and they all exchanged phone numbers at the end!

Music: I always like to play music in the background during programs because it makes it less awkward if there’s a lull in conversation.  I recommend two different playlists for this program.  First, you can play Undertale’s soundtrack on this YouTube playlist.  But, if you want to get hardcore, you can play music from the Undertale musical. Yes, you read that correctly!  Someone made an Undertale musical, which you can find on YouTube here.  This is a bonus for your teens who are big Hamilton fans!

YouTube Video:

Food: There are a ton of ridiculous names for food in Undertale, and they’re inspirational for food creation activities (a part of me wishes I made rock candy with the teens!)For a complete list, you can click here.

I chose to buy a candy mix and called it “Monster Candy”, Cinnamon Bunnies, and Spider Cider.  I had teens create and bake their own Cinnamon Bunnies using Pillsbury dough and chocolate chips.  We made big bunnies, small bunnies, and what we dubbed “womp bunnies” for all of the bunnies whose ears fell off while eating it.  I also poured apple cider in cups and put plastic spiders in them.

Craft: I always try to give the teens something to take home from a large program like this, so I printed out Undertale perler bead patterns and let the teens go nuts.  Kandi Patterns has plenty of different character patterns available for free!  *Be sure you have PLENTY of black available, because every single character needs a black outline!*

skull-thingy

Perler beads are the perfect craft for this video game because the game’s graphics are 8-bit, and perler beads look just like the video game!  Creating perler bead crafts gave the teens something to do with their hands while they talked all things Undertale.  They talked for a long time about their favorite character, what path they played through first, and what is their favorite YouTuber “Let’s Play” video.

monkeything

Games: Figuring out games to play was a little tricky.  I did not want to play the video game itself because it’s only a single player game, and I wanted all of my teens to be engaged at once.  I decided to pick aspects of Undertale that were fun, and create activities that are somewhat related.  You could easily do your own puzzle activities, since that would fit Undertale’s gameplay.

Pun Off: Puns are a big part of the game, whether you enjoy them or not.  I planned to have a formal “Pun Off”, but it actually manifested by itself during the perler beads crafts.  The teens tried to come up with their best puns and reciting puns they memorized from the game.

Collect Gold Coins: In order to survive in the game, players have to collect coins which can be used to buy food for health.  I actually planned out a scavenger hunt for gold coins, but that fell through because our library reorganized our interior that weekend because we are renovating soon!  So, I decided to repurpose the ball pit balls that I spray painted gold and have the teens play a live version of Hungry Hungry Hippos.  Is Hungry Hungry Hippos related to Undertale? Not in the slightest, but it wouldn’t be a library program without a little improvisation!

goldballs

Disarming a Bomb:  One popular mini game in Undertale is disarming bombs in under three minutes.  I wanted to do something related to disarming bombs, which is how I discovered the video game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.  I reviewed it for TLT, which you can read here.  The teens LOVED this game, and it will now be featured at our weekly Teen Game Night program!

Marshmallow Target Practice:  I printed out a giant version of Flowey, taped him to our library building outside, and let the teens practice throwing marshmallows at it.  I made sure to buy those giant campfire marshmallows for easy throwing! Flowey is the primary boss in the game, so don’t be fooled by the cute looking flower.

Glow Stick Dance Party: I had a celebratory dance program at the very end, especially because they were full of sugar!  I turned off the lights, gave them glow sticks, and turned up the music!

Video: Glow stick party

Questions? Comments? Tweet them at me!

By: Alanna Graves
Twitter: @LannaLibrarian

 

Making Photo Booth Props: Outreach at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, Day 3

photobooth12As promised, today is day 3 in discussing our outreach modules at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County and we will be discussing making our own photo booth props for our portable photo booth that I shared with you yesterday.

Why make your own props? Well, I figured since we are a Teen MakerSpace, it only made sense to make our own. So we did. With the help of various teens. And I’m not going to lie, it was AWESOME!

The Basics

We made 20 props total with the help of about 10 teens and 3 Teen MakerSpace staff. It was more expensive then buying pre-made props, but it was a great community activity and the teens got to give us input on what props they wanted to make and be involved with the process every step of the way. It takes about $50.00 in supplies and 2 days to make 20 props.

makingprops1

Supplies

  • A computer and printer (we used this to make templates and to print off emojis)
  • Foam core poster board
  • A box knife
  • A hot glue gun and many, many glue sticks
  • Dowel rods
  • Embellishments
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paper towels

We tried a lot of different supplies, and some worked well while others were a complete fail. For example, we initially bought these cute pinwheel sticks at the craft store:

stick1

Although super cute, they did not hold up to the amount of use our props got so DO NOT USE them.

stick2

Use dowel rods, they are sturdy and hold up over the long term. You can spray paint them in bulk if you want something other than a natural finish.

We also experimented with various types of glue. A tot glue gun definitely worked the best.

For this type of an activity, you want to use acrylic paint. You can usually buy bulk packs at craft stores or buy individual colors for about .50 cents a bottle. If you know what props you want to make ahead of time, you can plan accordingly.

Making Our Props

We knew we wanted to make MakerSpace themed props for this outreach activity. This meant things like gears, science related symbols and more. In addition, our teens insisted that they wanted emojis.

makingprops3

To make the emoji props, teens simply blew the emoji up to the right size on a computer, printed them off, cut them out, and glued them to a piece of foam core. They then cut the foam core to shape and size and glued them to a stick. Amazingly simple.

props1

To make our other props, for example the gears, we printed off a template which we then traced directly onto the foam core and cut out. We used paint to add features and give them dimension. We then simply glued them to a stick. Here’s a look at some of the props that we made.

props56

props2

In addition, I happen to be incredibly lucky because I have two artistically talented Teen MakerSpace Assistants. For example, this is Morgan. She drew and painted this Einstein prop free hand.

makingprops2

We are currently working on Star Wars themed props for Star Wars Reads Day. I made these Yoda ears all by myself using first a template and then some paint. It looks like Yoda, right?

yodaears

We are also working on making emoji pumpkin props inspired by this Michael’s activity I saw at a recent event.

emojipumpkins

There wasn’t a lot of technology involved in this Teen MakerSpace activity, but a great time was had by all and I consider it a HUGE success. Because we have the photo booth, we will continue to make various themed props with our teens when appropriate.

Tomorrow, I am going to share with you Desiree’s technique for making chalkboard speech bubble photo booth props.

props3

 

Before You Ask “Where Are the Parents?”

thingsineverlearnedinlibraryschool

Where are the parents?

  1. Before you start complaining, “where are the parents?”, I would like to remind you of a few things 1/?
  2. Some parents work swing or night shift. This requires that they sleep during the day. They have no choice. 2/?
  3. Some parents gets forced into mandatory overtime. They have no choice. 3/?
  4. Some parents are juggling 2, 3 or more part-time jobs to barely make ends meet. They have no choice. 4/?
  5. We have created a business friendly environment that offers low-wage, part-time, no benefit, family busing dynamic. 5/?
  6. So where are the parents? Well, they are often at work. Or trying to find work. Trying to survive. 6/?
  7. So before you start complaining about kids today or parents today, ask yourself, what are we doing as a culture to support families? 7/?
  8. We don’t have livable wages for a large portion of our workforce.
    We don’t have benefits 4 a large portion.
    We don’t have work/life balance
  9. And no, they can’t often just go and get a better job.
    And no, they can’t often just move and get a better job.
    There are no better jobs.
  10. Or there are no good support systems.
    Or there is no good childcare.
    Or there are no good school systems.
    So they struggle & make do.
  11. And you think it won’t effect you, but it does.
    It effects us all.
    Because when a part of the body is sick, the whole body is sick.
  12. They are bone weary tired and stressed out and even sometimes depressed and fighting anxiety. They feel shame, fear…  https://twitter.com/i/web/status/780840344648880128 …
  13. What are some things that public libraries can do to help families?
    Offer a variety of programs a variety of different days and times.
  14. If you only have Storytime on weekday mornings, that means a lot of the kids who need it most can’t come, their parents are working.
  15. Try setting up rotating activities in the open spaces of your library as drop in activities. Puzzles, hands on STEM, etc.
  16. If you can find the $ and space, set up a small Maker or Craft center. Anyone can come & do hands on when it works for them.
  17. Consider circulating maker kits & book bundles on specific themes. Again, allows people to engage and explore on their own time.
  18. Repeat programs. If someone can’t come the first time, then maybe they can catch it on another day or at a different time.
  19. Consider dropping fines for overdue materials. Many people don’t have reliable transportation. As long as you get the materials back, why?
  20. Let’s just all think before we judge parents & kids. There are a lot of forces working against them.

Building Our Portable Photo Booth – Outreach at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, Day 2

photobooth12Yesterday I shared with you that this week was all about outreach and introduced you to our basic format. Today, I’m going to share with you how we created our portable outreach photo booth.

Our primary outreach event is called First Fridays, which is a downtown festival with food trucks, an outdoor concert, and an opportunity for local businesses to promote themselves with booths. On average, we have noted that we talk to anywhere between 200 and 400 people in the space of 3 hours. We had a module where we made buttons, and it turns out they are very popular but making 300 buttons in 3 hours can be exhausting. And after 3 First Fridays, we wanted to kind of spice it up and show a different side of the Teen MakerSpace. So we decided to make a portable photo booth. This turned out to be a fun and popular decision.

We needed a photo booth that was easy to transport and set up/take down. After a lot of research, we used this as our model. We only made on slight change in that we have to different sizes of cross bars so that we can have a smaller or wider photo booth depending on the size of the space we are in. Also, we have both a green screen and a black background. We just bought cheap sheets at the local store and these work fine.

photobooth1Supplies needed:

PVC Plastic Pieces/Pipes

(These can purchased at Lowe’s or some other home repair store)

2 pieces of PVC elbows (for your top connectors)

4 pieces of PVC “T” connectors (2 for your middle cross bar, 2 for your feet)

10 pieces of PVC cut to 3 feet (2 for your back cross bars, 4 for your height, and 4 for your feet)

2 pieces of PVC cut to 5 feet (if you wish to have a larger width photo booth)

Please note: all your pieces of PVC pipe should be the same. We used 3/4 of an inch in diameter. In this picture shown we have used the smaller PVC pipe for our crossbars.

Additional Supplies

  • A black flat sheet (technically you can use any color that you would like)
  • A Kelly Green flat sheet (if you want to use your photo booth as a green screen)
  • Alligator clips (to hold your cloth in place)
  • Various sizes of binder clips
  • Some type of banner
  • Photo booth props (tomorrow we will talk about making your own)

Our total cost was about $50.00, including one sheet.

Setting Up the Photo Booth

Once you have all your pieces cut to the correct size, setting up is easy. As I mentioned, we have to sizes of cross bars so our width can be either 3 feet across, which fits one person, or 5 feet across, which accommodated groups pretty well. We have used it both as a green screen and as a basic backdrop. You will need at least 2 staff to set up and take down the portable photo booth. I also recommend making step-by-step photo instructions.

photobooth2

After you set up your frame, you’ll need 2 people to drape your sheet over the frame. Especially if you are using it as a green screen, you want to pull your sheet as tight as possible. Wrinkles can cause lighting issues which can cause the green screen to not be properly replaced with your software. Good lighting is really important when using a green screen as well.

photobooth3

We used both binder clips and alligator clips to pull the material tightly in the back and keep it in place.

photobooth5

We made a banner so that people knew who we were using triangles, string and giant letter stickers. We eventually made gears to decorate our banner, which is not shown here.

photobooth7

Signage is very important – as is creating a hashtag. People were invited to take their own pictures and staff used their devices to take pictures as well using the library’s account. All pictures were tagged with the hashtag so that patron’s could go find them online. In addition, we had a slip of paper that we handed to each person telling them about the library, about the hashtag, and inviting them to come into the Teen MakerSpace where we could show them how to print their picture and make it into a button or use some of our photo apps to add text and filters.

Tips and Tricks

The night we first used our portable photo booth turned out to be a really windy night. We had to have staff sit on each side of the photo booth with their foot on the bottom bar to keep it stable. We are talking getting a bar of rebarb to slide through the bottom to help with this in the future. We also discussed sand bags, though we are hesitant to add more bulky, heavy items to our set up. Just know that if you are outdoors wind can be an issue and you may need a stabilizing agent.

For the larger size booth – 5 feet across – we cut the PVC pipe to 5 feet. This means that we had these longer pieces to carry. We are talking about cutting them in half and adding another connector so that all the PVC poles are shorter and we can fit them into a larger gym bag. The jury is still out on this.

Final Verdict

I love the portable photo booth! Everyone had a really great time and it was very easy to set up and take down. And to be honest, it was easier on staff then making 300 buttons in 3 hours.

Here are some of the pictures we took . . .

photobooth11 photobooth10 photobooth9 photobooth8

Tomorrow, I will share with you how we made our own photo booth props, what worked . . . and what didn’t.

Book Review: Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl

Publisher’s description

RADFrom the authors of the New York Times bestselling book Rad American Women A-Z, comes a bold new collection of 40 biographical profiles, each accompanied by a striking illustrated portrait, showcasing extraordinary women from around the world.

In Rad Women Worldwide, writer Kate Schatz and artist Miriam Klein Stahl tell fresh, engaging, and inspiring tales of perseverance and radical success by pairing well researched and riveting biographies with powerful and expressive cut-paper portraits. Featuring an array of diverse figures from Hatshepsut (the great female king who ruled Egypt peacefully for two decades) and Malala Yousafzi (the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize) to Poly Styrene (legendary teenage punk and lead singer of X-Ray Spex) and Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft (polar explorers and the first women to cross Antarctica), this progressive and visually arresting book is a compelling addition to women’s history.

 

Amanda’s thoughts

I’m going to crib from my review of their previous book, Rad American Women A-Z, because the same sentiment applies here:

“Please go buy this book. Buy it for your library, your classroom, your kids, your friends’ kids, your neighbors, yourself. Maybe, just to be safe, buy like 10 copies, so you have plenty to hand out for gifts. This book would make a great graduation present, a birthday present for kids of all ages, and a great gift for your adult friends, too.”

Just as you would expect, this book tells about “the lives and accomplishments of bold, brave women who lived awesome, exciting, revolutionary, historic, and world-changing lives” (as the introduction tells us). Some of the women are more well-known than others. Many of the women I already knew about thanks to an extremely extensive education in college while getting my women’s studies degree. Even though college was now 20 years ago, so many of their stories have stuck with me specifically because I never heard about their lives anywhere except my women’s studies classes. 40 women from 30 countries are highlighted. Readers will kick off their education by learning about Enheduanna (2285-2250 BCE, Mesopotamia), the world’s oldest known author. From there we jump all over the place, both in time and location. We learn about Kalpana Chawla, an Indian astronaut; Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s ardent supporter of democracy and peace; Qiu Jin, China’s revolutionary leader known as the “Chinese Joan of Arc;” Fe Del Mundo, from the Philippines, the first woman admitted to Harvard Medical School; Kasha Jacqueline Nagabasera, the “Mother of the Gay Rights Movement” in Uganda; feminist and Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Colombian street artist Bastardilla; punk singer Poly Styrene from the band X-Ray Spex (I wouldn’t be much of a punk if this wasn’t one of my favorite songs from my youth); and the Argentinian activist group Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (who I had the honor to hear speak back in the mid-90s). Those are just some of the phenomenal women included in this book. These women, and the other women written about, are many things: musicians, athletes, rulers, spies, activists, leaders, explorers, linguists, fighters, healers, educators, scientists, programmers, and more. The end of the book includes a list of 250 more rad women from around the world to check out. The bold, bright paper-cut art is dynamic and makes this already extremely appealing book even more likely to get noticed on a shelf. An excellent overview of many important women and a fantastic addition to any collection.

 

Review copy courtesy of the authors

ISBN-13: 9780399578861

Publisher: Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony

Publication date: 09/27/2016

Teen MakerSpace Outreach at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, Day 1 – Getting Organized

outreachtableAt The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, we have been working really hard to do outreach for our new Teen MakerSpace. This week, I thought I would share with you what our outreach looks like.

We have now put together 2 separate outreach packets, and I am working on a third. What this means is we have created and organized 3 standard outreach modules that are ready to go so we can easily grab one that best fits the situation and just go.

Our 3 modules include:

A Button Making Station

A Photo Booth Station

A Teen Coloring Station

Every day this week I will talk to you about what those modules look like and how we created the various pieces and parts.

Getting Organized

makerspacemanualIn addition to me, there are 2 part-time Teen MakerSpace Assistants. And we are really lucky because our Assistant Director is really invested and she has come to every one of our outreach events to date. And we have now built up a pretty loyal core group of teens who love to come and help out as well. So in terms of staffing, we have anywhere from 2 to 4 people helping out.

The directions for each outreach module can be found in the Teen MakerSpace Staff Manual, my pride and joy. I’m not kidding, I have been known to loving caress that manual. It is my career pride and joy. That’s not weird, right?

 

checklist1 Because each outreach module has a standard checklist, any of our staff can grab the sheet and go. I don’t have to be present for each outreach event, though to date I have been.

We have several standard items that go to each outreach event, which are outlined in the checklist. They include:

A black table cloth

Teen MakerSpace logo table runners

Flyers and brochures

Table, chairs, trash bags, etc.

After that, each outreach module is spelled out more specifically depending on what the activity is. Because this is a Teen MakerSpace outreach, we always want to make sure our teens are DOING/MAKING SOMETHING. But it also has to be fairly quick, light and easy to carry in, set up and tear down, and fairly inexpensive. Yes, coming up with activities can be challenging.

When we have found an activity that we found to be successful, we then finish the checklist for the activity. Each activity must include the following:

  • Detailed instructions with photos
  • Signage (this signage is kept in the manual so it also can just be grab and go)
  • And a very detailed list of supplies needed

Buttons, Buttons and More Buttons

I have talked beforebuttons18 about our first station, which is a button making station. We do either finger print or chalkboard buttons. Please note: don’t do chalkboard buttons in extreme heat, the chalk markers run and it’s not pretty.

Because we have found buttons to be so popular with our teens, when we don’t do a button themed outreach event, we have designed – with our teens and with artwork created by teens in the Teen MakerSpace – a variety of buttons which we have for the teens to pick up and wear. The masters for these are also in the beloved Teen MakerSpace Manual so they can easily be copies and made into buttons before the event. We also usually have a bag on hand for the grab and go.

 

backpackWe also ordered Teen MakerSpace canvas backpacks which we hand out and it is so cool to see teens wearing them around town and into the library. We ordered the table runners and backpacks from TotallyPromotional.com and have been very happy with the end product. We like having visuals that the teens can take with them and the best part is that they then do the advertising for us.

Tomorrow, I will tell you about our Photo Booth outreach module.

 

Middle School Monday: T-Shirt Representation

MSM1You may not have been expecting to open a Middle School Monday blog post and read about t-shirts, yet here we are.

I love casual dress days and seeing both our students and my fellow teachers displaying their interests and personalities. Seeing a math teacher and YA enthusiast wearing a shirt emblazoned with Welcome to Math ClassMay the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor is a complete win. I was excited to advertise my love of books and literature in a similar way.

As I went looking for t-shirts, I found some attractive options in terms of characters and books, but…the choices left me feeling flat.

Representation matters. We know this. We KNOW this. It matters on our shelves. And it matters in howas the librarianI am expressing what books I read and love, whether I’m expressing that in the books I personally read, the posters I hang up, or yes, in the books I wear and advertise!

The past few days have been thrilling in terms of more options.

shadowshaper_tee_unisex_m_bw_frontI love Shadowshaper and I’ve written about it before. And before. Seeing a t-shirt depiction from litographs.com with Sierra on the front? Thrilling. [Unfamiliar with Litographs? You can read more herethey make beautiful, wearable art with the text of books.]

This is the first time I’ve purchased a product from Litographs and I can’t wait to see it.

Attention: Litographs. I love this shirt! Please keep expanding your book choices to include more Native authors and authors of color.

This gorgeous shirt is available here.

 

TeeTurtle.com has adorable shirts on its site of the pop-culture, comic book, and sci-fi/fantasy varietyoften with characters depicted in their chibi form.  Recently, they’ve added two shirts I’m excited to wear.

unbreakable-t-shirt-teeturtle-marvel_largeYou may not have known that you NEEDED a chibi Luke Cage shirt, but really, how can you go back now?

It’s available here.

 

 

 

black-panther-t-shirt-teeturtle-marvel_largeThis is the first non-chibi shirt I’ve purchased from TeeTurtle, but it’s BLACK PANTHER. Am I more excited about purchasing the Ta-Nehisi Coates penned Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet? Of course. [I’ve ordered five copies.] But, I am EXCITED about this shirt. Again. Diverse books can’t just stay on our shelvesthey have to be on our walls, in our displays, in our OWN hands, and yes, if possible, on our shirts.

Find it here.

 

TeeTurtle: Please keep these coming! We need more t-shirts like this!

Where are your favorite places to find shirts that reflect awesome MG and YA books and characters?

Have a great week, everybody! I’m at @BespokeLib if you’re on Twitter [and I highly recommend that you are!].

Julie Stivers

@BespokeLib

Sunday Reflections: Where’d you go, VOYA?

Some awful things are being said by an organization that I idolized. I first discovered VOYA in the LIS Library at the University of Illinois in 2001 and reported back to my Young Adult Literature Class as if I’d just struck California gold.

Did you know? I asked, Did you know there’s a journal called Voice of Youth Advocates and it’s all about teen services?” 

I pored over the articles. In those months overwhelmed by reading assignments, I checked out back issues and read just because. I saw names that I committed to memory. Names of authors to seek out when considering collections. Names of librarians doing good work. Names of libraries with vibrant teen services and spaces. Though I never wrote for VOYA, it felt like it was mine. It was a journal that was solely concerned with the field of librarianship in which I worked. Unlike Booklist or School Library Journal which reviewed YA titles and included some content pertaining to YA librarianship, or the YALSA journal which was connected to ALA and had to hove to the priorities of a larger organization, it had a singular and piercing focus.

It felt a little bit radical.

Then I read about its founders, Mary K Chelton and Dorothy Broderick, and was in awe that such a powerhouse presence in the YA library world got its start from two people and $400 in donations. It made me feel like good, big things can happen when people believe in them enough. That was a long time ago now. The founders retired, Dorothy Broderick passed away, new editors have taken, then passed the reins, and that brings us to the present.

The awfulness started in earnest on Thursday. On Thursday, I got angry about the attitude and disregard thrown at individuals, Tristna Wright in particular, who pointed out aggression and hurtfulness in the review of Kody Keplinger’s Run. We at Teen Librarian Toolbox released the following statement:

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-8-06-28-pm

Then it didn’t get better. It got worse. Much worse.

I was angry that people weren’t being heard, that people weren’t listening, and that teens were potentially viewing this all unfold minute by minute on social media, watching professionals who stand under a banner of youth advocacy slinging invective about sexual orientation, gender identity; employing marginalization, tone policing, and othering in their responses.

There is a lot to be angry about. A lot of people heard a lot of awful things said in awful ways. If you’re still angry, I can stand with you in your anger and validate that feeling because that feeling is valid.

But I’m not angry anymore, I’m sad.

I’m sad that a legacy founded in part because of the exclusion of teen services from the library conversation is now tarnished by creating an atmosphere of exclusion.

I’m sad on a very practical level that the most efficient tool I had in my collection development drawer is now in peril and I worry about how that will impact my ability to serve my population well on my limited time.

I’m sad that GLBTQIA folks in general and bisexual, genderqueer, gender nonconforming folks in particular have been treated like little more than Googlable curiosities, and that their identities are being conflated with sexual activity when it comes to age ratings. There are plenty of venues to turn to if you need to “shield” your patrons or children from content that doesn’t jive with your worldview. VOYA, and other professional library review sources, should never be the place for that. We pinned our faith on VOYA being the journal that we could count on to put teen readership at the forefront of their reviews, taking into account literary quality and popularity in equal measure, regularly featuring teens themselves as columnists and reviewers. How did we get here? Because it’s not where VOYA came from. Roger Sutton was right: they may be in the midst of this awful, dismissive, unprofessional conduct, but once upon a time VOYA was groundbreaking:

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-9-30-58-pm

And VOYA was right about one thing: it doesn’t define their past. But it is defining their present and it will define their future.

This is a pivotal moment for the journal, the ethic, the movement, the advocacy organization that so many of us have relied upon. It’s an opportunity for evaluation, change, renewal, regeneration, and a harkening back to its origins: a focus on the needs of teen librarianship and a dedicated space for authentic and accurate reviews of the books teens want, need, and deserve.

I don’t delight at this miasma of out of touch messages and social media misfirings. It’s embarrassing for those of us who have considered VOYA as a partner in our work and for those who have been proudly affiliated with the journal in its better days. It’s disappointing that they’ve given us ample reason to mistrust their editorial judgement. It’s sad that our field has lost a voice that we counted on.

It will take a lot [seriously a lot] of work to regain the trust lost, but for a journal that began with its mission being dismissed as one with “nothing to say” I believe–I hope–that in the right hands, it can overcome this. And if not, I’m encouraged that in the same spirit of carving out space for teen advocacy, new voices are emerging and will continue to emerge and rise to the challenge.

Links of interest:

Amanda reviews Run by Kody Keplinger for TLT

Teens Review Kody Keplinger’s Run Suspense and More in SLJ

Bisexual Books has been following the issue on their site

Getting Called Out: How To Apologize on Youtube

Flickering the Gaslight: Tactics of Organized Online Harassment from Model View Culture

Friday Finds: September 23, 2016

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Sunday Reflections: Faith Shaming and Mental Illness, Reflecting on Faith and Mental Illness for the #MHYALit Project

Middle School Monday: Classroom Crossover

Book Review: The Forgetting Machine by Pete Hautman

Rural Poverty and THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES by Mindy McGinnis

Book Review: Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

#MHYALit: Kneejerk Reactions are Just Jerky, a guest post by author Stacie Ramey

Video Games Weekly: Undertale

Who in the world am I? Growing up in Wonderland, a guest post by Nicky Peacock

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Showcase and Giveaway

Around the Web

Sixth Grade Is Tough; It Helps To Be ‘Top Dog’

Don’t Believe the Charter School Hype

6 Adult Coloring Pages Inspired by Bestsellers

Back-To-School Advisory: K-12 Schools Must Address Sexual Violence | Huffington Post

I see some familiar names here.

You can meet some of us and several friends of the blog here.

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Showcase and Giveaway

Beyond the people I work with and the people this blog has led me to get to know, by far the best aspect of blogging for TLT is the constant influx of books. All of the books I get end up going back out the door in some fashion—to teen readers I know, to classroom libraries of friends, or in giveaways. I can’t read/review every book I get, but it’s fun to be able to sift through boxes and see what grabs my attention, and to see what books will find loving new homes with the right reader.

 

Today I’m sharing with you a few titles from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers’ Fall 2016 and Winter 2017 list. All annotations are from the publisher. They have kindly offered to do a giveaway with us. They are offering 5 copies of Dreamland Burning to our readers. Enter via the Rafflecopter between now and September 26th. Winners will be notified via email. US entries only, please.

 

 

treesAnd the Trees Crept in by Dawn Kurtagich (ISBN-13: 9780316298704 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 09/06/2016)

A stunning, terrifying novel about a house the color of blood and the two sisters who are trapped there, by The Dead House author Dawn Kurtagich
When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the “blood manor” is cursed. The creaking of the house and the stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too–the questions that Silla can’t ignore: Who is the beautiful boy that’s appeared from the woods? Who is the man that her little sister sees, but no one else? And why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer?

Filled with just as many twists and turns as The Dead House, and with achingly beautiful, chilling language that delivers haunting scenes, AND THE TREES CREPT IN is the perfect follow-up novel for master horror writer Dawn Kurtagich.

 

 

cloudwishCloudwish by Fiona Wood (ISBN-13: 9780316242127 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 10/18/2016)

Award-winning author Fiona Wood delivers a thought-provoking story of self-discovery and first love-one that will resonate with anyone who has ever realized that the things that make you different are the things that make you…you.

For Vân Uoc, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing or pointless. Daydreaming about attending her own art opening? Nourishing. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, star of the rowing team who doesn’t even know she’s alive? Pointless.

So Vân Uoc tries to stick to her reality-keeping a low profile as a scholarship student at her prestigious Melbourne private school, managing her mother’s PTSD from a traumatic emigration from Vietnam, and admiring Billy from afar. Until she makes a wish that inexplicably (possibly magically) comes true. Billy actually notices her. In fact, he seems to genuinely like her. But as they try to fit each other into their very different lives, confounding parents and confusing friends, Vân Uoc can’t help but wonder why Billy has suddenly fallen for her. Is it the magic of first love, or is it magic from a well-timed wish that will eventually, inevitably, come to an end?

 

blood for bloodBlood for Blood by Ryan Graudin (ISBN-13: 9780316405157 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 11/01/2016 Series: Wolf by Wolf Series)

The action-packed, thrilling sequel to Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf.

There would be blood.
Blood for blood.
Blood to pay.
An entire world of it.

For the resistance in 1950s Germany, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun.

Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against the New Order, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.

But dark secrets reveal dark truths, and one question hangs over them all: how far can you go for the ones you love?

This gripping, thought-provoking sequel to Wolf by Wolf will grab readers by the throat with its cinematic writing, fast-paced action, and relentless twists.

 


love andLove and First Sight by Josh Sundquist
(ISBN-13: 9780316305358 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 01/03/2017)

In his debut novel, YouTube personality and author of We Should Hang Out Sometime Josh Sundquist explores the nature of love, trust, and romantic attraction.
On his first day at a new school, blind sixteen-year-old Will Porter accidentally groped a girl on the stairs, sat on another student in the cafeteria, and somehow drove a classmate to tears. High school can only go up from here, right?

As Will starts to find his footing, he develops a crush on a charming, quiet girl named Cecily. Then an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that could give Will eyesight for the first time in his life. But learning to see is more difficult than Will ever imagined, and he soon discovers that the sighted world has been keeping secrets. It turns out Cecily doesn’t meet traditional definitions of beauty—in fact, everything he’d heard about her appearance was a lie engineered by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed?

Told with humor and breathtaking poignancy, Love and First Sight is a story about how we related to each other and the world around us.

 

 

frostbloodFrostblood by Elly Blake (ISBN-13: 9780316273251 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 01/17/2017)

The first in a page-turning young adult series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies—but together create a power that could change everything.

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon. All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to fight for her life in tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

 

 

tragicA Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom (ISBN-13: 9780316260060 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 02/07/2017)

In the vein of It’s Kind of a Funny Story and All the Bright Places, comes a captivating, immersive exploration of life with mental illness.
For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to conceal her diagnosis by keeping everyone at arm’s length. But when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.

As the walls of Mel’s compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst-that no one will accept her if they discover what she’s been hiding. But would her friends really abandon her if they learned the truth? More importantly, can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?

In A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, Eric Lindstrom, author of the critically acclaimed Not If I See You First, examines the fear that keeps us from exposing our true selves, and the courage it takes to be loved for who we really are.

 

 

dreamlandDreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (ISBN-13: 9780316384933 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 02/21/2017)

Some bodies won’t stay buried.
Some stories need to be told.

When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past… and the present.

Nearly one hundred years earlier, a misguided violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns.

Through intricately interwoven alternating perspectives, Jennifer Latham’s lightning-paced page-turner brings the Tulsa race riot of 1921 to blazing life and raises important question about the complex state of US race relations – both yesterday and today.

 

seven daysSeven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse (ISBN-13: 9780316391115 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 03/07/2017)

Anna and the French Kiss meets Before Sunrise in this smart and swoony debut.

Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven Days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days….Until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?