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Take 5: New YA Booklists You’ll Want to See (January 2018)

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2018 YA Diverse Books: http://www.epicreads.com/blog/2018-diverse-ya-books/

Notable Books for Teens about the Arab World: http://diversityinya.tumblr.com/post/90356654158/notable-novels-for-teens-about-the-arab-world

11 Books about the South Asian Diaspora: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/teen/brown-proud-11-books-south-asian-diaspora-read-right-now/

YA Books Hitting the Shelves January – March 2018: https://bookriot.com/2018/01/03/ya-books-hitting-shelves-january-march-2018/

Most Anticipated YA Debuts for 2018: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/teen/21-anticipated-debuts-2018/

A Collection of Tweets on the Discussion of YA Books Set in College/Post High School

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Over the past few days, there has been an ongoing discussion on Twitter about the need for YA books that highlight the post high school life and whether or not they should be marketed as YA. I tweeted a lot about it and have compiled those tweets below. I am also working on putting together a round table post from various perspectives to talk more about this issue.


A Discussion of YA Books Set in College



  1. @byobrooks This is where how we brand books get messy. Are adult YA readers (actual adults) or teen YA readers asking for YA books set in college? How do we define YA? Who is the target audience? And then, where do we put the 20 years olds, actual YAs btw


  2. @byobrooks Though the ship has long sailed, YA should have never been called YA. It should have been teen fiction. New Adult is a great place for college stories, but hasn't taken off in the ways that it looked like it might when it first cam into vogue.


  3. @dani_reviews @byobrooks From a library point of view. however, the problem is we have Pic Bks, J (MG), YA and then everything else is usually just fiction, though some libraries break them down by genre. So any contemp adult fic is just adult fic - ages 19-100+. Can be overwhelming. Thats were RA needed


  4. @byobrooks @dani_reviews I will say from a public library standpoint, we would have a hard time putting college set YA in a YA collection. We do get content complaints and it's easier to defend when set in MS or HS. Parents will read college as adult.


  5. @byobrooks @dani_reviews Now this is an interesting conversation because book stores are different than school and public libraries. Libs still get a lot of pushback about where things are shelves and how they are labelled/marketed in ways that stores don't.


  6. @byobrooks @dani_reviews I think this is also being driven by the dynamic of adult YA readers vs. teen YA readers. This dynamic is very challenging for libraries because of parental and community concerns.


  7. @byobrooks @dani_reviews I think it's a multi-faceted issue and should be discussed from all angles, for sure. I can only speak from a public library perspective.


  8. @byobrooks @dani_reviews Also, local community dynamics play a large part in all this as well. Larger, more progressive communities & their libraries will be able to adapt more quickly than smaller, rural ones. It can be challenging.


  9. @NerdyPam @byobrooks @cupcakeandy They definitely read ahead and are welcome to check out anything in the library. However, that's different then shelving and marketing adult books to teens as opposed to just having them available, when talking to concerned parents.


  10. @dancingofpens And I'm speaking from a public library stand point which is diff from a reader/writer/publisher/marketing/book store/school library perspective. It's all different.


  11. @byobrooks @dancingofpens Not just college either. What about getting first job, staying home but going to community college and working, etc. There's more than one route after HS and they should all be reflected. Focus on college reflect privilege in this discussion maybe?


  12. I do think true Young Adults, people just out of HS and in their early 20s, are underserved in so many ways in our world, including publishing and libraries.


  13. Problem 1: Who is Ya written for?
    Problem 2: Are adult readers of YA over influencing what's driving YA trends?
    Problem 3: How do we address the needs of teens? How do we address the needs of true young adults? In publishing? In libraries?
    1/?


  14. Problem 4: Recognizing that Public and school libraries very much deal with parental rights and expectations, how do we promote/shelve, etc books that technically are adult (MCs over 18 are adults) to a teen audience? How do we label,


  15. market, shelve, etc. these books to balance real life tension of parental concerns about teens reading adult content?


  16. Problem 5: Do teens sometimes read up? They always have and they always will. But just because a teen reads Stephen King doesn't make it a YA book.
    Problem 6: Are we letting adults readers of YA over influence the YA market?


  17. Problem 7: We use the wrong terminology for these age categories. YAs have never been young adults, legally or in development. They are teenagers. They deserve to be served, understood, & valued. We are the only industry that calls them young adults.


  18. The term YA is and always has been problematic for this very reason. Even book stores now call it teen fiction in their signage, as do I in my library. When I say YA to my not in the online book community readers, they draw a blank.


  19. Please note: I have no problem with adults reading YA. Everyone should read what they want. I just want us having these discussions to make sure that teens don't get pushed out of YA because they need it.


  20. Should there be books written about and marketed to early/young/new adults and things like college, moving out, etc? Yes, definitely, we need all kinds of stories for all kinds of ages. Do they need to be labeled and marketed as YA? Maybe not.


  21. Yes, middle school readers are often in limbo here as well. YA has gotten older (again I would argue due to adult Reader influence) and MG is often too young, so what about our middle schoolers?  https://twitter.com/marimancusi/status/954701521387769856 …


  22. Yes, this issue could probably be solved if we embraced New Adult as an age category and made it broader than just erotica.


  23. Interestingly enough, we now know that the brain doesn't start really developing into an "adult" brain until around ages 24 or 25 thanks to brain science. But there are legal and real world difference between a 16 year old and a 21 year old.


  24. I can tell you as a YA librarian that I have never gotten asked by a teen about YA set in college but I frequently get asked for younger/less mature YA titles. So there's that.


  25. Yes because simply "adult" is too broad a category. New adults want to read different types of stories then adults in their 30s and 40s then adults in their 60s etc. Adult isn't a stagnant development either and is way too broad. But we do it.  https://twitter.com/zachjpayne/status/954705756502151168 …


  26. Bottom Line: For a lot of libraries, if you put a book with an adult MC in a collection for and about teens, you will be on the nightly news and no library likes bad PR. The expectations for libraries are very different than a store/personal reader.


  27. Some publishers/authors/adult readers skew to the adult interests, because it broadens their audience which equals more $$$ Teens, parents, teachers & teen/ya librarians skew to the teen audience, because that is who they serve/are emotionally invested in https://t.co/Xc611tVxNY

    Some publishers/authors/adult readers skew to the adult interests, because it broadens their audience which equals more $$$

    Teens, parents, teachers & teen/ya librarians skew to the teen audience, because that is who they serve/are emotionally invested in pic.twitter.com/Xc611tVxNY



  28. Also, teen readers not heavily involved in the online book community tend to call it teen fiction. Most people go, "but they're not adults" when you call it YA. B&N has Teen Fiction shelves. Many libraries call it Teen. YA was never the right term.


  29. In an ideal library, you would have pic books flow to beginning readers flow to chap books flow to middle grade flows to twee fic flow to teen fic flow to true YA/NA flow to adult flow to later life fic. There are no ideal libs. We work w/what we have.


  30. @charlotteapaige I would not be able to and I would not be able to defend that choice. I buy them and put them in adult. Any patron can read them. But I can not market a book with an adult protagonist in my Teen/YA collection or define it as such.


  31. So from a librarian perspective, yes write and pub your post HS stories. Definitely. Just know that a lot of libraries will not be able to put/market a book with an adult protagonist as Teen/YA. It will often be shelved as adult. Teens will still read it.


  32. Libraries are diff than book stores and have a different accountability because they are tax supported public entities that have to answer to their patrons in ways that are different then a for profit business does. This disctinction matters in policies.

 

Sunday Reflections: That Delicate Balance Between Quality Patron Services and Employee Personal Boundaries

Please note: This post will share a bunch of stories of patron interactions in public libraries and no names or locations will be shared. Some of them are stories from friends, social media, and my own. None of them will reveal that communities in which they occurred to help protect all parties involved.

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The man sits at a public computer and when he sees the staff member that usually helps him isn’t around he yells out, “hey, where’s my woman?” You know that she hates how he refers to her as “my woman”, you also know that she is afraid to say anything to him because all it takes is one patron complaint. We live in fear of patron complaints, especially if they get to the board of directors. It’s hard to fully explain a bad patron interaction and in many libraries, the patron almost always wins. And sometimes, you have learned, what one staff member feels is a derogatory statement others feel the staff member should just accept as a compliment. This is part of the tension you see happening in public discussion about sexual harassment at work. Many women want to be able to go to work and not have their looks/sexuality/desirability/etc commented on. They just want to feel safe, supported by administration, and able to successfully do the job they love without being objectified.

She sits behind the reference desk, swollen, pregnant belly announcing to the world that she is expecting. But what the world doesn’t know is that this pregnancy follows a devastating loss and she is full of anxiety, doesn’t like to talk about her pregnancy with family, let alone strangers. So a man asks, “do you know if you are having a boy or a girl?” And she does, but she doesn’t want to engage. This is not a conversation she should be expected to have with a total stranger, so she tries to deflect and asks, “how can I help you?” Later that day, he calls to complain that she was impolite and wouldn’t engage in normal daily pleasantries.

A staff member walks through the library carrying a donut to their office, found in the staff lounge. Library staff lounges are famous for all kinds of goodies. But a patron sees this staff member with the donut and, noting their body size, comments that they shouldn’t be eating it. They are lectured about food and body and health. If the staff member tries to shut the conversation down or to simply just walk away, they risk a patron complaint.

Another patron walks in and asks if you’ve had your flu vaccine yet. It’s a personal question, what you choose to put into your body, and you never know where the topic of vaccines is going to go. So again, you try to deflect, but the patron is enraged when you try and suggest that this is a personal issue that you would prefer not to discuss. You hear them stop by the circulation on their way out and complain about how rude you are.

Another patron calls you sexy.

Another patron asks you if you are saved.

Another patron asks you if and where you go to church.

Another patron asks you if you have kids.

Another patron tries to talk politics with you.

Another patron wants to know what you think about transgender people using the restrooms.

Another patron asks you how you feel about Black Lives Matter.

Another patron asks you about the border wall.

Another patron asks if you think we should drug test welfare recipients.

Another patrons tells you that they think libraries shouldn’t have LGBTQ materials, that the library shouldn’t support the “gay agenda”, and that gay people are sinners who should be shot so they can just go ahead and go straight to hell because that’s where their headed anyway. They then ask you what you about “the gays”.

And each time the questions are asked, staff are faced with hard decisions. In some libraries, there are clear policies in place forbidding talking about personal politics or religion. But those policies won’t stop angry patrons, patron complaints, or the call into your manager’s office where you are forced to defend your right to help the public without making every moment of your interior life public; your right to have personal boundaries.

In many libraries, we become familiar with our patrons. For many patrons, they come almost daily to escape boredom and loneliness, just trying to find a friendly staff member to talk to. But this need is one of the trickiest parts of the library profession to balance. Sometimes, patrons reveal too much about their own personal lives, try to monopolize staff time and take them away from other patrons. Other times, they ask invasive questions and make judgmental statements. Working with the public is emotionally hard, fraught with not often discussed mine fields, and the customer is always right mentality that has permeated our society makes it difficult and terrifying to know when and how to draw and clearly articulate those personal boundaries.

The Important Emotional Labor of Librarians

There are certain entitlements that exist in our world. Men feel they are entitled to women’s minds and bodies in ways that they shouldn’t. Patrons feel that they are entitled to library staff in ways that they shouldn’t. Good customer service in public libraries shouldn’t and can’t involve asking staff engage in discussions about their personal lives or to accept inappropriate comments or conversations from the general public. But anyone who works in public libraries knows that this is tricky. Patrons have expectations in libraries that they don’t have in any other businesses. For example, patrons would never tell someone to call them at the bank, but they will tell someone to call them at the public library on the public library phone line. Because of the type of organization that a library is, it can be difficult for patrons to understand that there are still policies and procedures in place that everyone should be expected to follow. These policies and procedures should include protecting employees just as much as they care about protecting patrons.

Good patron service is not dependent on a patron knowing what staff members eat, about their health or medical decisions, about their family or family life. Good patron service is not dependent on accepting rude, belittling, or sexist comments from patrons. Good patron service is not dependent on library staff listening to patron stories about their sordid affairs, their deadbeat husbands who don’t pay child support, or about their neighbor’s nephew’s second cousin who just landed in jail – again – because of drugs.

Friendliness and approachability are not the same thing as we must be social workers and counselors and personal truth tellers. In truth, most staff members don’t have the training and knowledge they need to be those things and their attempts to do so can put the library itself in a capricious position. All it takes in one miss-step and the library can find itself in the midst of a very public PR nightmare. Respecting employees and developing and enforcing consistent policies, procedures, and expectations can, in fact, minimize patron dissatisfaction and complaints and help keep the library from those very PR nightmares we want to avoid.

Professional social pleasantries do not mean that a library employee has to discuss with patron what they did on their day off, their personal political opinions, or their thoughts on the state of the world. Sometimes, a polite no I’m sorry I don’t want to discuss that with you how can I help you IS in fact the right answer. Though we have all had patrons who have taken great offense at this. Sometimes the delivery doesn’t matter, there are many people who just don’t like to hear the word no.

But it’s a delicate balance trying to navigate these types of patron interactions, especially in smaller communities and library systems. The reality is, we are closer to some patrons than others. Employees and patrons are people with personalities and we click with some and not with others. And each employee has their own personal boundaries, which can be difficult for patrons who don’t understand why staff member A will discuss with them what they did over the weekend but staff member B just wants to have a polite, small chit chat conversation and help you find the book that you want. If you’re the staff member who doesn’t want to discuss their high risk pregnancy with a patron after another coworker just did, you are now the bitch who gets complained about. This is where it’s important for managers to do the work of standing up for employee rights and differences. Neither employee did anything wrong, the patron just didn’t like being denied the personal information that they sought and did not receive.

It’s also true that we don’t know what’s going on in a person’s personal life. I will reveal to you now that I am the person who had the pregnancy experience. Not all of the above experiences are about me, but that one is. I have been pregnant three times and have two living children. I was pregnant at the same time as some other co-workers. My last pregnancy was high risk, followed a loss, and was a nightmare for me. I did not talk about it, even to my family. So I certainly wasn’t comfortable talking about it with patrons. And when a patron asked me about my pregnancy and I refused to answer, they were angry and reported me. The complaint was simply that I was rude and thankfully, in that instance, I was able to fill in the details about what happened and what I had refused to discuss that had made that patron call me rude. I also happened to be on the Reference desk with another staff member who could corroborate my side of the situation, which is not always the case. Other library staff members may be perfectly willing to discuss their pregnancies with you, and that is certainly their right, but I couldn’t and I wouldn’t. I was just trying to make it through with my baby and I alive. It was one of the most difficult times of my life and it was not open to discussion with strangers or even regular patrons.

It’s true, we often to get to know our regular patrons in different ways. But just because a patron likes staff and likes being in the library, that doesn’t mean that they still don’t get to have personal boundaries about what they will and will not disclose, who they will disclose it to and when, and what type of abusive behavior they have to deal with.

Staff should never have to:

Deal with any type of sexist, racist, offensive or demeaning conversations

Discuss their personal health

Discuss their families

Discuss how they spend their time outside of work

Discuss how they think or vote

Discuss their personal spiritual choices

Be asked to accept violent or offensive comments and language

If a patron gets angry because a staff member refused to engage in these types of conversations, then the administration should back their staff members and remind patrons that staff are allowed to have personal boundaries.

So what does good customer service look like in a public library?

Staff should be friendly, polite and approachable.

Staff should answer any patron questions about successfully using the library and any of its resources or services to the best of their ability or refer them to someone else who can.

Staff should performs their duties as assigned to the best of their abilities with a positive attitude and take any concerns to the appropriate supervisor.

And what does library administration owe their employees?

Clear policies that outline their expectations and training on quality customer service.

A clear statement against patron harassment or abuse of any nature.

Their assurance that they understand, respect and value their employees rights to personal privacy.

An opportunity to discuss any patron complaints to make sure that a full investigation is done before any action steps are taken.

A formal process for and training on how to handle and report any patron incidents.

We’re having a lot of very public discussions these days about sexual harassment in the workplace, about racism and sexism in our culture, about human rights and more. I feel it’s important that we be having these conversations in public libraries as well. No two libraries are the same. Each community is different, the culture of the library is different, and the ways in which they train their staff to work with patrons is different. But one thing that should not be different is that we maintain and assert our employees rights to personal privacy, personal boundaries and personal safety in the workplace. The balance between good customer service and employee privacy and rights can be a difficult balance to maintain, which is why we should never stop having these conversations, never stop listening to staff, and never stop training.

#ReadForChange: Confronting Racial Injustice with Justyce in Nic Stone’s Dear Martin, a guest post by Marie Marquardt

ReadForChange copyTeen Librarian Toolbox is excited to be partnering with Marie Marquardt for her #ReadForChange project. Hop on over to this post to learn more about the initiative. Today, she and Nic Stone join us for a conversation about racial injustice and Stone’s phenomenal debut novel, Dear Martin

 

It’s so amazing to be living in this time of great change. It’s hard. It’s complicated. It’s not always pretty—I’m thinking about … protests going on because of Eric Garner and Ferguson and Treyvon Martin—the lists go on—but people are angry and done! —and with anger and done-ness comes change. So it may not always look the way we want it to look or sound the way we want it to sound but it’s change nevertheless. We have to be like water, ready to move with it. 

—Jacqueline Woodson (SLJ interview, January 2015)

 

“Ready to Move with It”

dear martinUnflinching. This is the word that comes to mind when I reflect on the experience of reading Dear Martin. Nic Stone weaves together a story that draws us in deep and refuses to let us turn away from the heartache, the confusion, the sorrow, and the violence – physical and emotional – of growing up black and male in the United States.

 

In Dear Martin, we follow Justyce McAllister – a kind, thoughtful, young black man – through his senior year as a scholarship student at an elite Atlanta prep school. We begin in the parking lot of a FarmFresh grocery store where Justyce, trying to come to the rescue of his wasted ex-girlfriend, is physically and verbally assaulted by a police officer. We see, through his experience, the dawning realization that, no matter how smart he is (incredibly smart), no matter how he dresses, no matter how he tries to stay out of trouble and be “more acceptable”, in his own words: “the world is full of people who will always see me as inferior.” His mom sums it up when she asks him, rhetorically, “It’s hard being a black man, ain’t it?”

 

But in the pages of Nic Stone’s novel, Justyce rolls like water…. Struggling to make sense of all that he experiences and wanting so much to do the right thing, Justyce writes a series of letters to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Here’s how he ends his first letter: “You faced worse shi—I mean stuff than sitting in handcuffs for a few hours, but you stuck to your guns… well, your lack thereof, actually. I wanna try to live like you. Do what you would do. See where it gets me.”

 

Justyce’s year of trying to live like “Martin” takes him, and us (the readers who root so hard for him) to places that are morally complicated and heartbreaking – places that challenge many of us to re-think what we thought we knew about the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and the racially-charged times we live in now.

 

Through the eyes of Justyce, Nic Stone helps readers see the many nuances of racial injustice, and what it must feel like to arrive at that moment of being, in the words of Jacqueline Woodson “angry and done”!  And, as Woodson reminds us, once our eyes are opened, “We have to be like water, ready to move with it.”

 

“Step One is Always Opening Your Eyes and Ears”: A Conversation with Nic Stone

StoneSmileMARIE: Tell us about the moment when you knew that this story had to be written, and that you needed to be the one to write it.

 

NIC: Dear Martin was a response to three things: the myriad shooting deaths of unarmed African American teenagers since 2012, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in response to these deaths, and the invocation of Dr. King in opposition to this movement—which didn’t sit right with me knowing what I knew about Dr. King and his M.O. So I decided to explore current events through the lens of his teachings to see what would happen. I have two little boys, so it’s really my ode to them and my way of figuring out how to approach the stuff I’ll eventually have to teach them about being black and male in America.

 

MARIE: What are some of the things you’re doing to create the world that you want your sons to live in?

 

NIC: In a word: writing. Books are hugely instrumental in shifting perspectives and opening minds, and it’s a huge honor and privilege to get to create them—and by default, influence minds—for a living.

 

MARIE: What’s your message for readers who want to take action, themselves?

 

NIC: Step one is always opening your eyes and ears. Getting a thumb on the pulse of what’s actually going on. Read. A lot. Write to process. Talk to people. Then, when it comes to the fight against systemic injustice, the next step is to find the people who are already doing the work. There are a lot of… legs to this issue—there’s police accountability, criminal justice reform, immigration reform, you name it—so figuring out where to focus one’s attention is important. Then use your gifts. Write if you write. Talk if you talk. Got a finance background? Use it.

 

“Read. A lot.” (And Listen!)

DearMartin GiveawayOkay, folks.  Time to follow Nic’s advice: Here’s a short list of non-fiction books that would be great companions to Dear Martin – they can help us “get a thumb on the pulse of what’s actually going on” and also inspire us to take action.

 

Black Lives Matter by Sue Bradford Edwards and Dutchess Harris – Written specifically for middle and high schoolers, the book explores the historical events and movements framing the tragic deaths of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, and the contemporary resistance movements that have emerged in their wake.

 

Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case by Chris Crowe – A deep look into the 1955 murder of fourteen-year-old Emmett Till, the trial and acquittal of his white murderers, and the horrific event’s role in shaping the Civil Rights Movement.

 

March by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell – A three-volume graphic memoir of the extraordinary Congressman John Lewis (who I’m incredibly proud to say is my own representative in Georgia’s 5th District!). An inspiring reminder of teenagers’ crucial leadership in the Civil Rights Movement.

 

Some more challenging reads that are absolutely worth the effort:

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehesi Coates

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race edited by Jesmyn Ward

We had Sneakers, They had Guns: The Kids who fought for Civil Rights in Mississippi  by Tracy Sugarman

 

And, a podcast, for when you’re taking a break from that stack of fabulous books:

Pod Save the People hosted by DeRay Mckesson, an activist involved in shaping the Black Lives Matter movement. It features weekly conversations on culture, politics, and social justice that offer practical ideas for how each of us can make a difference.

 

The Next Step: “Find the People who are Already Doing the Work”

Ready to take action?  Here are a few recommendations straight from Nic Stone – movements and organizations already doing the important work of fighting for racial justice.

 

RJOY: Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth – works to interrupt cycles of violence and incarceration of kids of color – using a restorative model of justice to repair harm and heal communities.

 

Color of Change: designs campaigns to “end practices that unfairly hold Black people back” and “champions solutions that move us all forward.  Until Justice is real.”

 

Black Lives Matter: A movement for “healing justice” and “rigorous love”: “We affirm our humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”

 

Then use your gifts…

Nic Stone Book Launch (1)

In October, I had the pleasure of being at Nic’s book launch event for Dear Martin, where she put her own remarkable gifts to work. Nic chose a format that wasn’t typical, but it was the perfect way to send Justyce’s story into the world. We gathered at the Center for Civil and Human Rights, where, instead of talking about the book or reading from it, Nic asked a panel of three young black men questions about their own experience, their perceptions of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy, and what they want to see change in our society.

 

When asked what we can do to help create change, one of the panelists offered this simple advice: “Read a book. It gives you a different perspective on people.”

 

Let us go forth and #ReadForChange!

Hoping to go forth and read a free signed copy of Dear Martin? Head on over to the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway. US only! We’ll be announcing the winner on Twitter @MarieFMarquardt and Instagram marie_marquardt February 1!

 

Meet Marie Marquardt

Women’s March, January 21, 2017

Women’s March, January 21, 2017

Marie Marquardt is the author of three YA novels: The Radius of UsDream Things True, and Flight Season (available 2/20/18). A Scholar-in-Residence at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, Marie also has published several articles and co-authored two non-fiction books about Latin American immigration to the U.S. South. She is chair of El Refugio, a non-profit that serves detained immigrants and their families. She lives with her spouse, four kids, a dog and a bearded dragon in the book-lover’s mecca of Decatur, Georgia.

Friday Finds: January 19, 2018

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

So, You’ve Just Tweeted That Nobody Uses Public Libraries Anymore . . .

YA A to Z: Bullying by Michelle Biwer

Penguin Young Readers Showcase and Giveaway

Book Review: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

MakerSpace: DIY Metal Stamping (A metal stamping kit review)

Anger, inspiration, and the stories we tell, a guest post by Marieke Nijkamp

Post-It Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

Around the Web

Let’s Talk About Sensitivity Readers

Why We Shouldn’t Shield Children From Darkness

Brown and Proud: 11 Books from the South Asian Diaspora To Read Right Now

The 50 most anticipated books of 2018

14 Picture Books for Raising Kind Young Citizens

18 of the Most Buzzed-About Middle Grade Books of 2018

Vote to Nominate Finalists for the 2018 Teen Choice Book Award!

Post-It Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

My helpers.

My helpers.

Now that I work in an elementary library, I’m reading a lot more titles for younger readers. Rather than review all of them like I usually do, I’m stealing Karen’s Post-it note review idea and sharing the titles with you that way. It’s been super interesting to me to see what the students (grades K-5) check out. I’ve spent so long completely in the world of YA and am glad for an opportunity to work with younger readers and to read all of the great picture books, chapter books, and middle grade books I’ve missed out on!

 

All descriptions from the publishers.

 

 

 

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Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire by Susan Tan, Dana Wulfekotte (Illustrator)

Cilla Lee-Jenkins is 50% Chinese, 50% Caucasian, and 100% destined for literary greatness! In this middle grade novel, she shares stories about a new sibling, being biracial, and her destiny as a future author extraordinaire.

Priscilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins is on a tight deadline. Her baby sister is about to be born, and Cilla needs to become a bestselling author before her family forgets all about her. So she writes about what she knows best—herself! And Cilla has a lot to write about: How did she deal with being bald until the age of five? How did she overcome her struggles with reading? How do family traditions with Grandma and Granpa Jenkins differ from family traditions with her Chinese grandparents, Nai Nai and Ye Ye?

Written by Susan Tan and illustrated by Dana Wolfekotte, Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire is a novel bursting with love and humor, as told through a bright, irresistible biracial protagonist who will win your heart and make you laugh.

 

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Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung

The next person who compares Chloe Cho with famous violinist Abigail Yang is going to HEAR it. Chloe has just about had it with people not knowing the difference between someone who’s Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. She’s had it with people thinking that everything she does well — getting good grades, winning first chair in the orchestra, et CETera — are because she’s ASIAN.

Of course, her own parents don’t want to have anything to DO with their Korean background. Any time Chloe asks them a question they change the subject. They seem perfectly happy to be the only Asian family in town. It’s only when Chloe’s with her best friend, Shelly, that she doesn’t feel like a total alien.

Then a new teacher comes to town: Ms. Lee. She’s Korean American, and for the first time Chloe has a person to talk to who seems to understand completely. For Ms. Lee’s class, Chloe finally gets to explore her family history. But what she unearths is light-years away from what she expected.

 

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Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly

Future rock star or friendless misfit? That’s no choice at all. In this acclaimed novel, twelve-year-old Apple grapples with being different; with friends and backstabbers; and with following her dreams. Publishers Weekly called Blackbird Fly “a true triumph,” and the Los Angeles Times Book Review said, “Apple soars like the eponymous blackbird of her favorite Beatles song.”

Apple has always felt a little different from her classmates. She and her mother moved to Louisiana from the Philippines when she was little, and her mother still cooks Filipino foods and chastises Apple for becoming “too American.” When Apple’s friends turn on her and everything about her life starts to seem weird and embarrassing, Apple turns to music. If she can just save enough to buy a guitar and learn to play, maybe she can change herself. It might be the music that saves her . . . or it might be her two new friends, who show her how special she really is. Erin Entrada Kelly deftly brings Apple’s conflicted emotions to the page in her debut novel about family, friendship, popularity, and going your own way.

 

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One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes
In this collection of poetry, Nikki Grimes looks afresh at the poets of the Harlem Renaissance — including voices like Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and many more writers of importance and resonance from this era — by combining their work with her own original poetry. Using “The Golden Shovel” poetic method, Grimes has written a collection of poetry that is as gorgeous as it is thought-provoking.

This special book also includes original artwork in full-color from some of today’s most exciting African American illustrators, who have created pieces of art based on Nikki’s original poems. Featuring art by: Cozbi Cabrera, R. Gregory Christie, Pat Cummings, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, Nikki Grimes, E. B. Lewis, Frank Morrison, Christopher Myers, Brian Pinkney, Sean Qualls, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, Shadra Strickland, and Elizabeth Zunon.

A foreword, an introduction to the history of the Harlem Renaissance, author’s note, poet biographies, and index makes this not only a book to cherish, but a wonderful resource and reference as well.

 

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The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff

Kids vs. parents! An epic treehouse sleepover! An awesome group of friends! An exciting new book from National Book Award finalist Lisa Graff.

Winnie’s last day of fourth grade ended with a pretty life-changing surprise. That was the day Winnie’s parents got divorced and decided that Winnie would live three days a week with each of them and spend Wednesdays by herself in a treehouse between their houses, to divide her time perfectly evenly. It was the day Winnie’s seed of frustration with her parents was planted, a seed that grew until it felt like it was as big as a tree itself.

By the end of fifth grade, Winnie decides that the only way to change things is to barricade herself in her treehouse until her parents come to their senses—and her friends decide to join. It’s kids vs. grown-ups, and no one wants to back down first. But with ten kids in one treehouse, all with their own demands, things get pretty complicated! Even if they are having the most epic slumber party ever.

In the newest novel by beloved National Book Award finalist Lisa Graff, kids turn the tables on their parents, and all the rules are tossed out the window. But does Winnie have what it takes to hold her ground and keep everyone happy?

This story, with a pitch-perfect middle grade voice and a zany yet poignant situation, is perfect for fans of Sharon Creech, Louis Sachar, and Jack Gantos.

 

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Wedgie & Gizmo by Suzanne Selfors, Barbara Fisinger (Illustrator)

Fans of Stick Dog and My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish will love Suzanne Selfors’s hilarious new illustrated series about the growing pains of blended families and the secret rivalry of pets.

“A delightfully fun read that will leave you in stitches!”—Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat

When a bouncy, barky dog and an evil genius guinea pig move into the same house, the laughs are nonstop! Wedgie is so excited, he can’t stop barking. He LOVES having new siblings and friends to protect. He LOVES guinea pigs like Gizmo! He also LOVES treats!

But Gizmo does not want to share his loyal human servant with a rump-sniffing beast! He does not want to live in a pink Barbie Playhouse. Or to be kissed and hugged by the girl human. Gizmo is an evil genius. He wants to take over the world and make all humans feel his wrath. But first he must destroy his archenemy, Wedgie, once and for all!

 

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Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier, Marc Lizano (Illustrator)

In this gentle, poetic young graphic novel, Dounia, a grandmother, tells her granddaughter the story even her son has never heard: how, as a young Jewish girl in Paris, she was hidden away from the Nazis by a series of neighbors and friends who risked their lives to keep her alive when her parents had been taken to concentration camps.

Hidden ends on a tender note, with Dounia and her mother rediscovering each other as World War II ends . . . and a young girl in present-day France becoming closer to her grandmother, who can finally, after all those years, tell her story. With words by Loïc Dauvillier and art by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo, this picture book-style comic for young readers is a touching read.

 

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The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods

Coretta Scott King Honor winner Brenda Woods’ moving, uplifting story of a girl finally meeting the African American side of her family explores racism and how it feels to be biracial, and celebrates families of all kinds.

Violet is biracial, but she lives with her white mother and sister, attends a mostly white school in a white town, and sometimes feels like a brown leaf on a pile of snow. Now that she’s eleven, she feels it’s time to learn about her African American heritage, so she seeks out her paternal grandmother. When Violet is invited to spend two weeks with her new Bibi (Swahili for “grandmother”) and learns about her lost heritage, her confidence in herself grows and she discovers she’s not a shrinking Violet after all. From a Coretta Scott King Honor-winning author, this is a powerful story about a young girl finding her place in the world.

 

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Dara Palmer’s Major Drama by Emma Shevah

“‘The lead role of Maria in The Sound of Music goes to …”
I could practically hear her say “Dara Palmer.” This was going to be my big break! But what really came out of my teacher’s mouth was “Ella Moss-Daniels.”
My heart went huuuuggggggghhhhht.

Dara Palmer longs for stardom-but when she isn’t cast in her middle school’s production of The Sound of Music, she get suspicious. It can’t be because she’s not the best. She was born to be a famous movie star. It must because she’s adopted from Cambodia and doesn’t look like a typical fraulein. (That’s German for girl.)

So irrepressible Dara comes up with a genius plan to shake up the school: write a play about her own life. Then she’ll have to be the star.

 

Anger, inspiration, and the stories we tell, a guest post by Marieke Nijkamp

before iBefore I Let Go tells the story of two girls in the arctic heart of Alaska. Two girls who were best friends, who were discovering who they could be, who were each other’s center of gravity. It tells of  grief and ice, of mystery and mental illness.

And it was, at least in part, born out of anger.

Anger is good writing fuel for me. Anger and questions. It’s where most of my story ideas start. Of course, for an idea to grow into a book, it needs far more than just a spark. It needs characters to carry it, a plot to move it forward, and beautiful Alaskan settings. Oh, how I love playing with winter.

But it started with a spark of anger.

The source of that anger? Inspiration porn. A specific instance… or ten or twenty.

If you don’t know what inspiration porn is, the late, great Stella Young defined it as such in her absolute spectacular Ted talk I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much: the act of objectifying disabled people for the benefit of nondisabled people.

It’s posters of disabled athletes with the slogan “The only disability is a bad attitude.” It’s describing disabled people as courageous simply for living. It’s quite literally describing us as inspirational.

I don’t know anyone with a disability—especially those of us who use assistive devices or are visibly disabled—who hasn’t at some point in their life had strangers come up to them to tell them how brave they are. I don’t know anyone with a disability who hasn’t at some point in their life had strangers come up to them to say, “I can’t imagine living like that, but you’re really inspiring to me.” Or, “I wasn’t feeling well today, but then I thought of you and how much worse you have it, and I pushed through.”

It happens countless times.

At the core of it is this strange idea that living with disability is either so remarkable or so terrible that the sheer act of existing is to be applauded. (And that we only exist for the benefit of nondisabled people.)

Now, on the surface, inspiration porn may seem relatively benign. Sure, it’s objectifying, but inspiration is a good thing, isn’t it?

Let’s set aside that objectifying and othering means not valuing us, means denying us accessibility, means hindering our quest toward equality.

Sometimes, it goes beyond even that. When there’s a very specific variation to the theme: when a disabled person’s death exists to inspire nondisabled people in life.

This particular version is often used specifically in the context of (romanticizing) mental illness and suicidal ideation, though there are also ample examples of it being used in broader disability representation.

And honestly, I’ve seen one too many portrayals of dead disabled characters whose death is turned into a teachable moment instead of a tragedy. Or, a flawed reminder to “make the most” out of life. And it always keeps the focus on nondisabled people.

That’s what sparked Before I Let Go. I wanted to write a book that examined and would be conversation with inspiration porn. Sure, it’s a murder mystery too. And a story of friendship and responsibility and how even the best intentions can be harmful. But Kyra’s death at the start of the book is unequivocally a tragedy.

She deserved so much more. And that’s where we start.

 

Meet Marieke Nijkamp

Credit: Karin Nijkamp

Credit: Karin Nijkamp

Marieke Nijkamp was born and raised in the Netherlands. A lifelong student of stories, language, and ideas, she spends as much time in fictional worlds as she does the real world. She loves to travel, roll dice, and daydream.

Marieke’s debut young adult novel, This Is Where It Ends, follows four teens during the fifty-four minutes of a school shooting. Her sophomore novel, Before I Let Goa haunting young adult murder mystery set during a cruel Alaskan winter, is out now.

For more information about Marieke, visit Twitter, TumblrInstagram, and her website.

MakerSpace: DIY Metal Stamping (A metal stamping kit review)

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Jewelry making has been pretty popular in our Teen MakerSpace, and I really wanted to give metal stamping a try. However, the individual components always seemed more expensive then something I wanted to spend just to try something out. Fortunately, I found a complete metal stamping kit at Target for only $24.99, and that seemed like a more reasonable price, so The Teen and I bought it and tried them out at home. Here’s what happened.

metalstamping5 metalstamping4Target STMT Kit, $24.99

The kit includes individual jewelry pieces to stamp, a small hammer, a block that you need for leverage and a complete set of alphabet letters. It also comes with a small pair of pliers and a few findings to turn your little metal pieces into jewelry. It’s a pretty good kit for getting started. We found additional pieces to stamp at Michael’s, where they also have larger letters. After trying out the little letters in this kit, I highly recommend the larger letters. These letters were very small and hard to read. We were not entirely happy with the final product, though I must admit that it took some time to learn how to hit hard enough to get a good imprint. Still, the letters are a really fine print.

Getting started, a work in progress

Getting started, a work in progress

What we created

What we created

The pieces themselves are fine for learning, particularly for making a small charm necklace or ear rings. However, you can’t really put more than initials on them. Again, it’s fine for trying it out, but you will definitely want to invest in better tools if you want to create a better product.

I will also be completely honest with you and share that The Teen was not into this at all. She found trying to line up the letters infinitely frustrating and tedious. It didn’t help that she was not impressed with the final product. Other teens, of course, will have different feelings about it.

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Impress Arts seems to be a major manufacturer of metal stamping supplies. A basic set of letter stamps at Michael’s costs around $20.00. The set I bought at Target was purchased for $25.00 and contained more than just the letter stamps. In addition to the stamp set you need a small hammer, a base to stamp on, and, of course, your additional supplies to create your jewelry including the metal you will be stamping, chains or cord, and clasps. You’ll also need some type of closure. Finals costs end up being more than I want to spend in our Teen MakerSpace.

Some Basic Info

Metal Stamping Projects DIY Projects Craft Ideas & How To’s

DIY Metal Stamping: 10 Steps (with Pictures) – Instructables

Make Your Own Hand-Stamped Necklace – A Beautiful Mess

67 best DIY Jewelry | Metal Stamping Tutorials and Inspiration images

Final Thoughts

In the end, I decided that metal stamping would be good for an individual program in our more isolated program room, but it is not a good fit for our centrally located Teen MakerSpace because it’s loud. It takes some hard hammering, which is both noisy and repetitive, to really create a good finished product. So if you have a more isolated MakerSpace where the noise wouldn’t annoy library patrons using the library, give it a try. But for us, we decided not to make it a regular component of our Teen MakerSpace because it didn’t fit our situation and it cost more than we wanted to spend for a TMS station.

So if you want to give metal stamping a try, this kit is a good starting point with clear limitations. If you are serious about metal stamping, spend the money to buy better tools and, most importantly, better (and bigger) letter stamps. Just keep in mind that it’s noisy. The final product is cool, but it’s not necessarily a best fit for public libraries.

Teen Summer Reading Planning 2018

If you are doing the Libraries Rock theme for your 2018 Teen Summer Reading Program, please note that metal stamping guitar pick jewelry looks fantastic. Here’s a link to just one example:

https://www.etsy.com/market/stamped_guitar_pick

Book Review: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

trulydeviousPublisher’s Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.

Karen’s Thoughts:

I’m a big fan of mysteries so I was really looking forward to this one, and it didn’t disappoint. Well, it did disappoint, only in that it’s the first book in a trilogy so the mystery wasn’t solved. I can not wait to read the next book.

Let me start by saying The Westing Game is one of my favorite childhood books. It is the only book that I have re-read multiple times. I used to re-read it once a year and am getting ready to read it out loud to Thing 2 (age 9) in hopes that it will also be one of her childhood favorites. TRULY DEVIOUS REMINDED ME A LOT OF THE WESTING GAME IN TONE, IN LANGUAGE, AND IN THE WAY IT COLLECTED SUCH AN INTERESTING MIXTURE OF INTERESTING CHARACTERS INTO ONE SPOT AND SET UP A MYSTERY THAT YOU WERE INTERESTED IN SOLVING. As I’ve mentioned, I have no idea how this particular mystery is solved, because it isn’t yet. And to be honest, this is two mysteries in one as it has a historical mystery and a contemporary mystery.

I love the MC Stevie, who struggles with anxiety in very realistic ways. She is just one of many quirky, intelligent and ambitious teens who come to the Ellington Academy to learn in a very nontraditional environment. Each character is very unique and fully fleshed out in complex ways. I can’t help but wonder who among them may be an evil doer? I liked the people, I liked the school, and I am glad that we are getting more of it, though I’m not going to lie: When the book “ended” I threw it down yelling, “what kind of ending is that?” I want more of these characters and this school, but with a new mystery. I wanted answers. I am impatient, I don’t want to wait. Alas, wait I must.

I highly recommend it. Teens looking for a fun, engaging mystery will enjoy it.

Penguin 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, to the elementary library I work in, to my son’s middle school, 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 titles from Penguin Young Readers. All annotations are from the publisher. I’m also doing a giveaway for three of these ARCs. Enter via the Rafflecopter between January 16 and January 19. US only. One winner will win all three books.

 

 

foldedFolded Notes from High School by Matthew Boren (ISBN-13: 9780451478207 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 04/03/2018)

The folded notes collected for this book represent correspondence surrounding one Tara Maureen Murphy, senior at South High c. 1991-1992.

It’s 1991, and Tara Maureen Murphy is finally on top. A frightening cross between Regina George and Tracy Flick, Tara Maureen Murphy is any high school’s worst nightmare, bringing single-minded ambition, narcissism, manipulation, and jealousy to new extremes in this outrageous, satirical twist on the coming-of-age novel. She’s got a hot jock boyfriend in Christopher Patrick Caparelli, her best friend Stef Campbell by her side, and she’s a SENIOR, poised to star as Sandy in South High’s production of Grease. Clinching the role is just one teensy step in Tara’s plot to get out of her hometown and become the Broadway starlet she was born to be. She’s grasping distance from the finish line–graduation and college are right around the corner–but she has to remain vigilant.

This dumb town, as we know, can be a very tricky place.” –Tara Maureen Murphy

It gets trickier with the arrival of freshman Matthew Bloom, whose dazzling audition for the role of Danny Zuko turns Tara’s world upside down. Freshmen belong in the chorus, not the spotlight! But Tara’s outrage is tinged with an unfamiliar emotion, at least to her: adoration. And what starts as a conniving ploy to “mentor” young Matt quickly turns into a romantic obsession that threatens to topple Tara’s hard-won status at South High….

 

 

givenGiven To The Earth by Mindy McGinnis (ISBN-13: 9780399544644 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 04/10/2018 Series: Given Duet Series #2)

Duty, fate, desire, and destiny collide in this intricately wrought tale, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

Although she was born to save the kingdom by sacrificing herself to the rising sea, Khosa’s marriage to King Vincent has redeemed her. As the Queen of Stille, she’s untouchable. But being Queen hasn’t stopped her heart from longing for the King’s stepbrother, Donil. And it hasn’t stopped her body from longing for the sea itself, which still calls for her.

While Khosa is made to choose between loyalty and love, Dara is on a mission for vengeance. Years ago, the Pietra slaughtered the entire Indiri race, leaving only Dara and her twin, Donil, alive. Now, spurned by King Vincent, Dara has embarked on a mission to spill the blood of Pietra’s leader, Witt, and will stop at nothing to show his people the wrath of the last Indiri.

As the waves crash ever closer to Stille, secrets are revealed, hearts are won and lost, and allegiances change like the shifting sand.

 

 

lost kidsThe Lost Kids by Sara Saedi (ISBN-13: 9780451475770 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 04/10/2018 Series: Never Ever Series #2)

This stormy sequel to Never Ever is packed with more of everything you loved in Book 1: twists, action, revenge, and romance!

Just a few weeks ago, Wylie Dalton was living on magical Minor Island where nobody ages past seventeen, and in love with Phinn, the island’s leader. Now, her home is a creaky old boat where she’s joined a ragtag group of cast-offs from the island, all dead-set on getting revenge on Phinn for betraying them. But when the Lost Kids invade their former paradise, they’re stunned to find that their once-secret island is no longer so secret, and that a much bigger enemy is gunning for Phinn . . . and all the Minor Island kids. Told from both Wylie’s and Phinn’s perspectives, this dramatic sequel reveals that when you Never Ever grow up, the past has a way of catching up to you.

 

 

bootsBoots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam by Elizabeth Partridge (ISBN-13: 9780670785063 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 04/10/2018)

In over a decade of bitter fighting, it claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American soldiers and beleaguered four US presidents. More than forty years after America left Vietnam in defeat in 1975, the war remains controversial and divisive both in the United States and abroad.

The history of this era is complex; the cultural impact extraordinary. But it’s the personal stories of eight people—six American soldiers, one American military nurse, and one Vietnamese refugee—that create the heartbeat of Boots on the Ground. From dense jungles and terrifying firefights to chaotic helicopter rescues and harrowing escapes, each individual experience reveals a different facet of the war and moves us forward in time. Alternating with these chapters are profiles of key American leaders and events, reminding us of all that was happening at home during the war, including peace protests, presidential scandals, and veterans’ struggles to acclimate to life after Vietnam.

With more than one hundred photographs, award-winning author Elizabeth Partridge’s unflinching book captures the intensity, frustration, and lasting impacts of one of the most tumultuous periods of American history.

 

 

trouble neverTrouble Never Sleeps by Stephanie Tromly (ISBN-13: 9780525428428 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 04/24/2018)

Happily Ever After gets a serious makeover in this swoony, non-stop, thrill-ride of a conclusion to the Trouble Is a Friend of Mine trilogy

Digby and Zoe have been skirting around each other for so long that you might think they’d lose their magic if they ever actually hooked up. But never fear—there’s all the acerbic wit, steamy chemistry, and sarcastic banter you could possibly hope for.

Now that Digby’s back in town he’s plunged Zoe (and their Scooby Gang of wealthy frenemy Sloane, nerd-tastic genius Felix, and aw-shucks-handsome Henry) back into the deep end on the hunt for his kidnapped sister. He’s got a lead, but it involves breaking into a secret government research facility, paying a drug dealer off with a Bentley, and possibly committing treason. The schemes might be over-the-top but this Breakfast Club cast is irresistibly real as they cope with regular high school stuff from social media shaming to dating your best friend, all with a twist no one will see coming.

 

lengthThe Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman (ISBN-13: 9780735229471 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/01/2018)
Imani is adopted, and she’s ready to search for her birth parents. But when she discovers the diary her Jewish great-grandmother wrote chronicling her escape from Holocaust-era Europe, Imani begins to see family in a new way.

Imani knows exactly what she wants as her big bat mitzvah gift: to find her birth parents. She loves her family and her Jewish community in Baltimore, but she has always wondered where she came from, especially since she’s black and almost everyone she knows is white. Then her mom’s grandmother—Imani’s great-grandma Anna—passes away, and Imani discovers an old journal among her books. It’s Anna’s diary from 1941, the year she was twelve and fled Nazi-occupied Luxembourg alone, sent by her parents to seek refuge in Brooklyn, New York. Anna’s diary records her journey to America and her new life with an adoptive family of her own. And as Imani reads the diary, she begins to see her family, and her place in it, in a whole new way.

 

 

royalsRoyals by Rachel Hawkins (ISBN-13: 9781524738235 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/01/2018)

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins serves up a deliciously royal romance, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Huntley Fitzpatrick.

Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond.

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins brings her signature humor, love of Americana, and flair for romance to this page-turning Princess Diaries turned-upside-down story.

 

foreseeableThe Foreseeable Future by Emily Adrian (ISBN-13: 9780399538995 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/08/2018)

Audrey Nelson is planning for her future after graduation, but she has no idea her future contains a swoony summer romance, Internet fame, or a nursing home.

Audrey’s life has been planned out for her since she was born, and now she’s supposed to attend Whedon College in the fall, where both of her parents work. But Audrey has a different plan in mind: She’s not going to attend college at all. She’s going to earn some money and move to Seattle, the city she’s loved since she was a child. And the best way to earn that money is by working the night shift at the local nursing home.

Seth O’Malley works there, too, and a romance quickly blossoms between them. But things get complicated when Audrey saves the life of Cameron Suzuki, Seth’s ex. A video of her performing CPR at the beach goes viral, and suddenly, Audrey’s wanted for TV interviews and newspaper articles. And just when Audrey starts to love life at the nursing home–and life with Seth–Seattle comes knocking. Does she follow the path she set out for herself, even when it means leaving behind Seth and the cast of quirky patients she’s come to care for? Or does she embrace a future with Seth–at least for the foreseeable future–at the cost of abandoning her dreams?

 

 

undeadUndead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson (ISBN-13: 9780451478238 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/08/2018)

Veronica Mars meets The Craft when a teen girl investigates the suspicious deaths of three classmates and accidentally ends up bringing them back to life to form a hilariously unlikely–and unwilling–vigilante girl gang.

Meet teenage Wiccan Mila Flores, who truly could not care less what you think about her Doc Martens, her attitude, or her weight because she knows that, no matter what, her BFF Riley is right by her side.

So when Riley and Fairmont Academy mean girls June Phelan-Park and Dayton Nesseth die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders. But they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

 

we are allWe Are All That’s Left by Carrie Arcos (ISBN-13: 9780399175541 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/15/2018)

Two lives. Two worlds apart. One deeply compelling story set in both Bosnia and the United States, spanning decades and generations, about the brutality of war and the trauma of everyday life after war, about hope and the ties that bind us together.

Zara and her mother, Nadja, have a strained relationship. Nadja just doesn’t understand Zara’s creative passion for, and self-expression through, photography. And Zara doesn’t know how to reach beyond their differences and connect to a closed-off mother who refuses to speak about her past in Bosnia. But when a bomb explodes as they’re shopping in their local farmers’ market in Rhode Island, Zara is left with PTSD—and her mother is left in a coma. Without the opportunity to get to know her mother, Zara is left with questions—not just about her mother, but about faith, religion, history, and her own path forward.

As Zara tries to sort through her confusion, she meets Joseph, whose grandmother is also in the hospital, and whose exploration of religion and philosophy offer comfort and insight into Zara’s own line of thinking.

Told in chapters that alternate between Zara’s present-day Providence, RI, and Nadja’s own childhood in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Bosnian War of the 1990s, We Are All That’s Left shows the ways in which, no matter the time and place, struggle and tragedy can give way to connection, healing and love.

 

strangeThe Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik by David Arnold (ISBN-13: 9780425288863 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/22/2018)
This is Noah Oakman → sixteen, Bowie believer, concise historian, disillusioned swimmer, son, brother, friend.Then Noah → gets hypnotized.Now Noah → sees changes: his mother has a scar on her face that wasn’t there before; his old dog, who once walked with a limp, is suddenly lithe; his best friend, a lifelong DC Comics disciple, now rotates in the Marvel universe. Subtle behaviors, bits of history, plans for the future—everything in Noah’s world has been rewritten. Everything except his Strange Fascinations . . .

A stunning surrealist portrait, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a story about all the ways we hurt our friends without knowing it, and all the ways they stick around to save us.

 

 

lies you never toldLies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson (ISBN-13: 9781595148520 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/29/2018)

Gabe and Elyse have never met. But they both have something to hide.

Quiet, shy Elyse can’t believe it when she’s cast as the lead in her Portland high school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Her best friend, Brynn, is usually the star, and Elyse isn’t sure she’s up to the task. But when someone at rehearsals starts to catch her eye—someone she knows she absolutely shouldn’t be with—she can’t help but be pulled into the spotlight.

Austin native Gabe is contemplating the unthinkable—breaking up with Sasha, his headstrong, popular girlfriend. She’s not going to let him slip through her fingers, though, and when rumors start to circulate around school, he knows she has the power to change his life forever.

Gabe and Elyse both make the mistake of falling for the wrong person, and falling hard. Told in parallel narratives, this twisty, shocking story shows how one bad choice can lead to a spiral of unforeseen consequences that not everyone will survive.