Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Penguin Random House 2019 Showcase: Books featuring coders, witches, royalty, refugees, and circus folk

IMG_8772

Book mail is my favorite of all the mail. Recently, I came home from my influenza-infested elementary school to find this excellent box of books from Penguin Random House waiting for me. WOOHOO! 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 my own school, my kid’s 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 forthcoming titles from Penguin Random House. All annotations are from the publisher. Watch my Twitter (@CiteSomething) for giveaways, where some of these titles will be included! 

 

 

her royalHer Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins (ISBN-13: 9781524738266 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/07/2019 Series: Royals Series, #2)

 

Regal romance abounds in this flirty, laugh-out-loud companion novel to Royals, by New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins. 

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. Heartbroken and ready for a change of pace, Millie decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Soon, Millie is accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Here, the country is dreamy and green; the school is covered in ivy, and the students think her American-ness is adorable.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can’t stand each other, but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, but Millie knows the chances of happily-ever-afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins brings the feels and the laughs to her latest romance.

 

 

how it feels to floatHow It Feels to Float by Helena Fox (ISBN-13: 9780525554295 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/07/2019)

 

A stunning, gutting, deeply hopeful YA novel about love and loss and living with mental illness, from an exceptional new voice

Biz knows how to float. She has her people, her posse, her mom and the twins. She has Grace. And she has her dad, who tells her about the little kid she was, and who shouldn’t be here but is. So Biz doesn’t tell anyone anything. Not about her dark, runaway thoughts, not about kissing Grace or noticing Jasper, the new boy. And she doesn’t tell anyone about her dad. Because her dad died when she was seven. And Biz knows how to float, right there on the surface–normal okay regular fine.

But after what happens on the beach–first in the ocean, and then in the sand–the tethers that hold Biz steady come undone. Dad disappears and, with him, all comfort. It might be easier, better, sweeter to float all the way away? Or maybe stay a little longer, find her father, bring him back to her. Or maybe–maybe maybe maybe–there’s a third way Biz just can’t see yet.

This is a mesmerizing, radiant debut, at once heart-rending, humorous, and impossible to put down. Helena Fox tells a story about love and grief and family and friendship, about inter-generational mental illness, and how living with it is both a bridge to someone loved and lost and, also, a chasm. She explores the hard, bewildering, and beautiful places loss can take us, and honors those who hold us tightly when the current wants to tug us out to sea.

 

 

testimonyTestimony from Your Perfect Girl by Kaui Hart Hemmings (ISBN-13: 9780399173615 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/14/2019)

 

A compulsively readable story that celebrates the awkward complexity of teenage relationships–with their families, and with each other, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Descendants.

Annie Tripp has everything she needs–Italian sweaters, vintage chandelier earrings, and elite ice skating lessons–but all that changes when her father is accused of scamming hundreds of people out of their investments. Annie knows her dad wasn’t at fault, but she and her brother are exiled to their estranged aunt and uncle’s house in a run-down part of Breckenridge–until the trial blows over.

Life with her new family isn’t quite up to Annie’s usual standard of living, but surprisingly, pretending to be someone else offers a freedom she’s never known. As Annie starts to make real friends for the first time, she realizes she has more in common with her aunt and uncle than she ever wanted to know. As the family’s lies begin to crumble and truths demand consequences, Annie must decide which secrets need to see the light of day . . . and which are worth keeping.

 

 

girl gone viralGirl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi (ISBN-13: 9780425289907 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/21/2019)

 

The inventive and hauntingly timely story of a seventeen-year-old coder’s catapult to stardom, reminiscent of The Social Network with a Ready Player One twist.

For seventeen-year-old Opal Hopper, code is magic. She builds entire worlds from scratch: Mars craters, shimmering lakes, any virtual experience her heart desires.

But she can’t code her dad back into her life. When he disappeared after her tenth birthday, leaving only a cryptic note, Opal tried desperately to find him. And when he never turned up, she enrolled at a boarding school for technical prodigies and tried to forget.

Until now. Because WAVE, the world’s biggest virtual reality platform, has announced a contest where the winner gets to meet its billionaire founder. The same billionaire who worked closely with Opal’s dad. The one she always believed might know where he went. The one who maybe even murdered him.

What begins as a small data hack to win the contest spirals out of control when Opal goes viral, digging her deeper into a hole of lies, hacks, and manipulation. How far will Opal go for the answers—or is it the attention—she’s wanted for years?

 

 

these witchesThese Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling (ISBN-13: 9780451480323 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/28/2019)

 

Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.

Isabel Sterling’s delightful, suspenseful debut is equal parts sweet romance and thrilling mystery. With everything she loves on the line, Hannah must confront this murderous villain before her coven—and any chance she has with the new girl—is destroyed.

 

 

the hauntedThe Haunted by Danielle Vega (ISBN-13: 9780451481467 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/04/2019)

 

From Danielle Vega, YA’s answer to Stephen King, comes a new paranormal novel about dark family secrets, deep-seated vengeance, and the horrifying truth that evil often lurks in the unlikeliest of places.

Clean slate. That’s what Hendricks Becker-O’Malley’s parents said when they moved their family to the tiny town of Drearfield, New York. Hendricks wants to lay low and forget her dark, traumatic past. Forget him. But things don’t go as planned.

Hendricks learns from new friends at school that Steele House—the fixer upper her parents are so excited about—is notorious in town. Local legend says it’s haunted. But Hendricks isn’t sure if it’s the demons of her past haunting her …or of the present. Voices whisper in her ear as she lays in bed. Doors lock on their own. And, then, one night, things take a violent turn.

With help from the mysterious boy next door, Hendricks makes it her mission to take down the ghosts . . . if they don’t take her first.

 

 

viralVIRAL: The Fight Against AIDS in America by Ann Bausum (ISBN-13: 9780425287200 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/04/2019)

 

Groundbreaking narrative nonfiction for teens that tells the story of the AIDS crisis in America.

Thirty-five years ago, it was a modern-day, mysterious plague. Its earliest victims were mostly gay men, some of the most marginalized people in the country; at its peak in America, it killed tens of thousands of people. The losses were staggering, the science frightening, and the government’s inaction unforgivable. The AIDS Crisis fundamentally changed the fabric of the United States.

Viral presents the history of the AIDS crisis through the lens of the brave victims and activists who demanded action and literally fought for their lives. This compassionate but unflinching text explores everything from the disease’s origins and how it spread to the activism it inspired and how the world confronts HIV and AIDS today.

 

 

when the groundWhen the Ground Is Hard by Malla Nunn (ISBN-13: 9780525515579 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/04/2019)

 

In this stunning and heartrending tale set in a Swaziland boarding school, two girls of different castes bond over a shared copy of Jane Eyre.

Adele Joubert loves being one of the popular girls at Keziah Christian Academy. She knows the upcoming semester at school is going to be great with her best friend Delia at her side. Then Delia dumps her for a new girl with more money, and Adele is forced to share a room with Lottie, the school pariah, who doesn’t pray and defies teachers’ orders.

But as they share a copy of Jane Eyre, Lottie’s gruff exterior and honesty grow on Adele, and Lottie learns to be a little sweeter. Together, they take on bullies and protect each other from the vindictive and prejudiced teachers. Then a boy goes missing on campus and Adele and Lottie must rely on each other to solve the mystery and maybe learn the true meaning of friendship.

 

 

screen queensScreen Queens by Lori Goldstein (ISBN-13: 9780451481597 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/11/2019)

 

The Bold Type meets The Social Network when three girls participate in a startup incubator competition and uncover the truth about what it means to succeed in the male-dominated world of tech.

This summer Silicon Valley is a girls’ club.

Three thousand applicants. An acceptance rate of two percent. A dream internship for the winning team. ValleyStart is the most prestigious high school tech incubator competition in the country. Lucy Katz, Maddie Li, and Delia Meyer have secured their spots. And they’ve come to win.

Meet the Screen Queens.

Lucy Katz was born and raised in Palo Alto, so tech, well, it runs in her blood. A social butterfly and CEO in-the-making, Lucy is ready to win andparty.

East Coast designer, Maddie Li left her home and small business behind for a summer at ValleyStart. Maddie thinks she’s only there to bolster her graphic design portfolio, not to make friends.

Delia Meyer taught herself how to code on a hand-me-down computer in her tiny Midwestern town. Now, it’s time for the big leagues–ValleyStart–but super shy Delia isn’t sure if she can hack it (pun intended).

When the competition kicks off, Lucy, Maddie, and Delia realize just how challenging the next five weeks will be. As if there wasn’t enough pressure already, the girls learn that they would be the only all-female team to win ever. Add in one first love, a two-faced mentor, and an ex-boyfriend turned nemesis and things get…complicated.

Filled with humor, heart, and a whole lot of girl power, Screen Queens is perfect for fans of Morgan Matson, Jenny Han, and The Bold Type.

 

 

grief keeperThe Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante (ISBN-13: 9780525514022 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/11/2019)

 

This stunning YA debut is a timely and heartfelt speculative narrative about healing, faith, and freedom.

Seventeen-year-old Marisol has always dreamed of being American, learning what Americans and the US are like from television and Mrs. Rosen, an elderly expat who had employed Marisol’s mother as a maid. When she pictured an American life for herself, she dreamed of a life like Aimee and Amber’s, the title characters of her favorite American TV show. She never pictured fleeing her home in El Salvador under threat of death and stealing across the US border as “an illegal”, but after her brother is murdered and her younger sister, Gabi’s, life is also placed in equal jeopardy, she has no choice, especially because she knows everything is her fault. If she had never fallen for the charms of a beautiful girl named Liliana, Pablo might still be alive, her mother wouldn’t be in hiding and she and Gabi wouldn’t have been caught crossing the border.

But they have been caught and their asylum request will most certainly be denied. With truly no options remaining, Marisol jumps at an unusual opportunity to stay in the United States. She’s asked to become a grief keeper, taking the grief of another into her own body to save a life. It’s a risky, experimental study, but if it means Marisol can keep her sister safe, she will risk anything. She just never imagined one of the risks would be falling in love, a love that may even be powerful enough to finally help her face her own crushing grief.

The Grief Keeper is a tender tale that explores the heartbreak and consequences of when both love and human beings are branded illegal.

 

 

art of breakingThe Art of Breaking Things by Laura Sibson (ISBN-13: 9780451481115 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/18/2019)

 

In the tradition of Laurie Halse Anderson and Sara Zarr, one girl embraces the power of her voice: rules are meant to be broken and she won’t stay silent.

Weekends are for partying with friends while trying to survive the mindnumbingness that is high school. The countdown to graduation is on, and Skye has her sights set on escaping to art school and not looking back.

But her party-first-ask-questions-later lifestyle starts to crumble when her mom rekindles her romance with the man who betrayed Skye’s trust and boundaries when he was supposed to be protecting her. She was too young to understand what was happening at the time, but now she doesn’t know whether to run as far away from him as possible or give up her dreams to save her little sister. The only problem is that no one knows what he did to her. How can she reveal the secret she’s guarded for so long?

With the help of her best friend and the only boy she’s ever trusted, Skye might just find the courage she needs to let her art speak for her when she’s out of words. After years of hiding her past, she must become her own best ally.

 

 

patron saintsPatron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (ISBN-13: 9780525554912 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/18/2019)

 

A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder.

Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.

Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth — and the part he played in it.

As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.

 

 

virtue of sinThe Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuren (ISBN-13: 9780525516545 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/25/2019)

 

A compelling novel about speaking out, standing up, and breaking free — perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Miriam lives in New Jerusalem, a haven in the desert far away from the sins and depravity of the outside world. Within the gates of New Jerusalem, and under the eye of its founder and leader, Daniel, Miriam knows she is safe. Cared for. Even if she’s forced, as a girl, to quiet her tongue when she has thoughts she wants to share, Miriam knows that New Jerusalem is a far better life than any alternative. So when God calls for a Matrimony, she’s thrilled; she knows that Caleb, the boy she loves, will choose her to be his wife and they can finally start their life together.

But when the ceremony goes wrong and Miriam winds up with someone else, she can no longer keep quiet. For the first time, Miriam begins to question not only the rules that Daniel has set in place, but also what it is she believes in, and where she truly belongs.

Alongside unexpected allies, Miriam fights to learn—and challenge—the truth behind the only way of life she’s ever known, even if it means straying from the path of Righteousness.

A compelling debut novel about speaking out, standing up, and breaking free.

 

 

we walked the skyWe Walked the Sky by Lisa Fiedler (ISBN-13: 9780451480804 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 07/02/2019)

 

A stunning, multigenerational story about two teenagers: Victoria, who joins the circus in 1965, and her granddaughter, Callie, who leaves the circus fifty years later. Perfect for fans of This is Us.

In 1965 seventeen-year-old Victoria, having just escaped an unstable home, flees to the ultimate place for dreamers and runaways—the circus. Specifically, the VanDrexel Family Circus where, among the lion tamers, roustabouts, and trapeze artists, Victoria hopes to start a better life.

Fifty years later, Victoria’s sixteen-year-old granddaughter Callie is thriving. A gifted and focused tightrope walker with dreams of being a VanDrexel high wire legend just like her grandmother, Callie can’t imagine herself anywhere but the circus. But when Callie’s mother accepts her dream job at an animal sanctuary in Florida just months after Victoria’s death, Callie is forced to leave her lifelong home behind.

Feeling unmoored and out of her element, Callie pores over memorabilia from her family’s days on the road, including a box that belonged to Victoria when she was Callie’s age. In the box, Callie finds notes that Victoria wrote to herself with tips and tricks for navigating her new world. Inspired by this piece of her grandmother’s life, Callie decides to use Victoria’s circus prowess to navigate the uncharted waters of public high school.

Across generations, Victoria and Callie embrace the challenges of starting over, letting go, and finding new families in unexpected places.

Feminist AF Fashions and the YA Characters That Rock Them

feminist

For a long time, I bought into the lie that a feminist couldn’t be girly or care too much about fashion. I believed that in order to be a feminist, you had to reject all things associated with what it traditionally meant to be female. Pink and tutus, for example, were straight out. By over time, I learned that this belief was not, in fact, feminist. This is one of the reasons why when I was designing the Feminist AF graphic, I purposely choose to use an image of a red sequined background. Young feminist Karen would have rejected anything with glitter or sequins and pearls or whatever as not feminist. Young feminist Karen would have been wrong. I love the image so much that I had a cell phone case made out of it, which is what I now proudly carry. (Ordered via Snapfish)

femphone1

The Teen models my TLT Feminist AF phone case

Meanwhile, The Teen found her own way to turn her phone into a Feminist AF fashion statement. Be sure to check out how she organized her apps.

femphone2

 

Today, guest poster Lisa Krok is talking with us about Feminist AF fashion statements and then she shares some books featuring YA characters that rock all kinds of fashion. Because feminist and fashion can go together and we can rock it!


 

While teens don’t have Cinna on hand to style them like the Girl on Fire, many choices are out there to cover feminist fashionistas from head to toe. Starting at the top, teens can keep warm and in vogue with this handmade beanie, found on Etsy. Alternatively, for a golden glam look, try David and Young’s feminist baseball cap, found on Poshmark.

fem1

fem2

https://www.etsy.com/listing/504546661/feminist-black-beanie-hat-white-text

https://poshmark.com/listing/Baseball-Feminist-hat-

What better way to accent your feminist cap than with some badass earrings!  Author Hillary Monahan creates fun and funky jewelry choices with feminist options featured in her Etsy shop.

fem3
fem5

 

fem4

https://www.etsy.com/shop/HillsPeculiarities

Up next, some trendy t-shirts to flaunt girl power.  Amazon.com hosts a plethora of listings from a variety of sellers.  One of the best ways to promote feminism is of course to support and empower each other, and resist those who do not.   www.amazon.com

fem9 fem8 fem7 fem6

Your feet need some love, too. Try these lively socks that are just a sampling of many choices from Blue Q  https://www.blueq.com/socks/ .

femsocksLast but not least, teens need the most important accessory of all: an awesome book! Feminist AF Fashionistas come in a wide array of forms and these characters (and books) prove it:

A Flair for Glam

Hair, body, face…and the DRESS!

femdress

Tough as Nails

Rock some Timbs like Bri,  shoot purple lightning from your hands, or wear a snake as jewelry.

femnails


Fashion Has No Limitations

All genders, all sizes, all cultures, and all sexual orientations.

femmultiEditor’s Note: You can also teach teens to make their own feminist fashion statements, so look for an upcoming post where I share with you just how you can do this.

Meet Our Guest Poster

lisakrok1

-Lisa Krok is a Feminist AF Ravenclaw, library manager, and 2019 and 2018 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers committee member. She is counting the days until we have a female POTUS. Lisa can be found being bookish and political on Twitter @readonthebeach.

Honoring the Heart of History, a guest post by author Roshani Chokshi

39863498When I first set out to write THE GILDED WOLVES, I had imagined a fun and lighthearted story set in an alternative Paris during the late 19thcentury. Something about that era had always tickled my imagination. I blame watching Moulin Rouge dozens of times when I was a kid…dreaming about mahogany stages, feathered silk gowns that trailed over frosted champagne flutes fallen from poet’s hands…the power of seizing an audience’s imagination so thoroughly that they followed you as if your mere shadow promised salvation. To me, 1889 Paris was opulence incarnate. What I hadn’t realized was how that imagery of an era was only slice of what it truly represented to millions of people across the world. 

In particular, writing this story made me rethink how fiction sheds light on historical truths. Nineteen century Paris is a celebration of juxtapositions. That feeling of artistic revolution was still true, but it was only a portion of the vast truth of that era. This was the epoch of Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec, of the Moulin Rouge and its red windmill promising liberation. This was a time that earned its place in “La Belle Epoque” or “The Beautiful Years.” But it was also the Age of Imperialism, an age wherein many parts of Europe set sail to colonize swathes of Asia and Africa under the guise of a “civilizing mission” to bring civilization to the “dark and savage” parts of the world.

This is something that struck me in particular as someone acutely aware of how colonialism has shaped my cultural heritage. My mother is from the Philippines, which was controlled by Spain for 300 years. My father is from India, which was similarly controlled by the British. It’s a hard truth to stomach how an era that looked so beautiful on the outside was also a time for outside forces to enslave, extort and erase the native cultures of other civilizations. This really came to a head for me when I started delving into the details of the 1889 Exposition Universelle, the world fair that incentivized the creation of one of France’s cultural icons, the Eiffel Tower. 

Once, the Eiffel Tower served as the entrance to the world fair. The world fair had multiple cultural pavilions, all of which celebrated the civilizing might of Western European powers. Their biggest draw that attracted nearly 28 million visitors was a human zoo, then advertised as a “Negro Village” where viewers could watch natives in their “natural habitat.” This is the kind of term that makes the soul recoil. It’s dehumanizing in the extremes, and something that was not a historical one-off incident. During the 1904 St. Louis World Fair, there was another human zoo, this time featuring Igorots, indigeneous Filipinos who ceremonially butchered dogs and were then forced to do so for spectacle. Hearing those stories put my own past into perspective, as I started thinking about the stories that have become forgotten, slowly swept under the rug of the highlight reels of various centuries. 

When I started writing THE GILDED WOLVES, I made the decision early on to honor the heart of the history even as I set the book in an alternate world and infused it with its own magic system. At some points, I faced pushback from early reviewers for the decision I made, but I stand by my word choice and the presentation of uglier truths. There is a great danger in sanitizing the grotesque at the risk of offending someone’s modern sensibilities. We do not live in a beautiful world. At best, it is gilded, which does not mean that it’s without beauty and splendor. For me, there’s a huge responsibility among children authors to reflect the world’s spectrum of color, ethnicities, religious backgrounds. Our histories are highlight reels, often smoothed over by the patina of 

conquerors and the threads lost between bloodshed and colonialism. Even though that was not the focus of the story, it is the backdrop. It is the emotional context which informs how the characters interact with each other and with their world.

My hope for my stories is that they spark curiosity and conversation. With this story in particular, I hope it encourages readers to be more critical of their surroundings and of history. I hope it encourages them to look to the shadows, and lift the darkness and confusion, and see what hidden truths lie there. I hope they question what is gold and what glitters. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SIC_0760-719x1024Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of Aru Shah and the End of Time, The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes, and The Gilded Wolves. Her work has been nominated for the Locus and Nebula awards, and her books have appeared on Barnes and Nobles Best New Books of the Year and Buzzfeed Best Books of the Year lists. Chokshi lives in Georgia, but doesn’t have much of a Southern accent. Alas.

Her novel, The Gilded Wolves, is available now.

Set in a darkly glamorous world The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence and dangerous but thrilling adventure.

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts:

An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

Do You Know: Reflection Press & Children’s Books as a Radical Act, a Diversity Audit Resource

I’ve been working on updating my information and resources on doing a diversity audit when I stumbled upon another wonderful resource I want to make sure everyone is aware of: Reflection Press. Reflection Press has taken information from the 2017 CCBC U.S. publishing diversity data and turned it into a very well done inforgraphic. One of the things I really like about this infographic is that is specifically compares publication data to demographic data and gives concrete numbers for how many more titles would have to be published to reach the bare minimum of representation. This breakdown of the data suggests that another 1,421 books by indigenous and poc authors would be needed to bring the number of titles published anywhere close to population data. You can view the entire infographic and their analysis of the data at Reflection Press.

2017-statistics-ipoc-books-missing-1200px-Apr2018

One of the questions I get asked every time I do a presentation on a diversity audit is, what are the target goals I should meet in building diverse/inclusive collections? I don’t have concrete answers for this question in part because I don’t want to say we should buy x number of titles by own voices authors and this number only. For one, the question itself and any answer I could give would still presume that white is the default, which is a mindset that white librarians like myself must deconstruct, dismantle and move away from if we really want to work towards achieving the goal of equity and inclusion.

So while I don’t in any way want to imply that this number is the goal – in part because achieving the bare minimum from year to year will do very little to truly help us build inclusive collections because of the way that the white narrative has historically dominated publishing and the books that already sit on our shelves – I do think that this data helps to illustrate in concrete ways how under-represented marginalized groups are and how hard everyone, but especially white librarians like myself, have to work to truly build inclusive collections in which all of our patrons find themselves represented. Because indigenous and poc authors are so vastly under-represented, this means we have to be very aware and conscious of this information and work with intention to make sure we are finding and buying own voices books.

The CCBC data and the ongoing discussion around it makes very important distinctions in books about vs. books by, as do other advocates of inclusive collections like Lee and Low books. This difference is important because it discusses who gets to tell whose story. This shift towards #ownvoices authors is something that I hope all of us in librarianship who are tasked with collection development are paying attention to. It’s not enough in the year 2019 to make sure we have books that feature diverse characters, I think we also have to pay time and attention to detail as to whose books we are purchasing, what authors we are highlighting, and how we can make sure our teen readers can find not only characters that look like them and understand their world experiences, but authors as well.

More about Own Voices http://www.corinneduyvis.net/ownvoices/

Many years ago I used to work at a library that was close to a juvenile male detention facility, which I was frequently invited to visit. I would often ask a male staff member to go with me. When I was leaving that position and was training my replacement, we had a conversation about these visits and what I did. When I told her that I often took a male staff member with me she replied, “I’m not afraid, I don’t need to take a man with me.” To which I replied, “you misunderstand, I don’t take a male staff member with me because I’m afraid, I take one with me because these are young male teens who need to see positive male role models that read and talk about reading enthusiastically and talk about working in libraries. This isn’t about fear, it’s about modeling.” I didn’t have the words then that I have now, but even back then I was beginning to understand the hows and whys of representation and why it matters. Over the years, my understanding of this concept has grown, solidified, and I believe that we all – but again, especially white librarians like myself who make up approximately 80% of librarianship – need to do our due diligence in building inclusive collections. Representation matters and we have a responsibility to our communities to understand this.

As Reflection Press and others, like We Need Diverse Books and Lee and Low, point out: building a library collection and providing access to books is a radical act. We need to make sure we are doing it right and with intentionality.

Book Review: Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Publisher’s description

our yearFrom the author of You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone comes a stunning contemporary novel that examines the complicated aftermath of a kidney transplant between best friends.

Aspiring choreographer Sophie Orenstein would do anything for Peter Rosenthal-Porter, who’s been on the kidney transplant list as long as she’s known him. Peter, a gifted pianist, is everything to Sophie: best friend, musical collaborator, secret crush. When she learns she’s a match, donating a kidney is an easy, obvious choice. She can’t help wondering if after the transplant, he’ll love her back the way she’s always wanted.

But Peter’s life post-transplant isn’t what either of them expected. Though he once had feelings for Sophie, too, he’s now drawn to Chase, the guitarist in a band that happens to be looking for a keyboardist. And while neglected parts of Sophie’s world are calling to her—dance opportunities, new friends, a sister and niece she barely knows—she longs for a now-distant Peter more than ever, growing increasingly bitter he doesn’t seem to feel the same connection.

Peter fears he’ll forever be indebted to her. Sophie isn’t sure who she is without him. Then one heartbreaking night twists their relationship into something neither of them recognizes, leading them to question their past, their future, and whether their friendship is even worth fighting for.

 

Amanda’s thoughts

I am a character-driven reader who honestly doesn’t care if there’s much plot beyond watching characters live out their daily lives and all of the complexities that come with that. Because that’s PLENTY of plot. Hinge the story on one thing, let them talk and feel and grow a lot, and I’m good. Much like with Solomon’s first book, I absolutely loved this book. Do yourself a favor and go read You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone if you haven’t already. Really great.

 

The summary up there does an adequate job of hitting all the major parts of the story, but does nothing to convey how deeply complicated Peter and Sophie’s relationship is. That’s what this story is about—a lifelong friendship, love (in its many forms), growth, pain, joy, and possibilities. Sophie has spent most of her life ignoring all other social interaction in favor of always being with Peter, her homeschooled neighbor with kidney disease. Now 18, she’s able to donate a kidney to Peter, which she of course does. He’s her best friend, she’s in love with him (a fact he doesn’t know), and she thinks that this will make them closer than ever. But, of course, life rarely goes as we wish it to. After the transplant and recovery time, Peter is able to go back to attending public school, where he has new experiences and meets new people, including intriguing musician Chase, who invites Peter to join his band. There’s a spark there between them; Peter is bisexual and out to his parents but no one else (including Sophie). Peter knows he really loves Sophie, but maybe not in that way. So much of his hesitation and thoughts revolve around wondering how their friendship would survive if they dated and then split up. Sophie confesses how she feels and suggests they just give it a try, but Peter can’t do that.

 

So maybe that’s it. They just stay friends, Peter starts to date Chase, that’s the journey. But it’s not that simple. Peter’s life becomes complicated by beginning to think about exploring religion, by his newfound freedom, and by his new friendships and having a boyfriend. Sophie makes friends with some of the girls on the dance team and begins to start to consider a life not entirely based around Peter and his plans. She grows closer with her younger sister, who lives at home with her toddler, and watches her parents reconnect with Peter’s parents after years of distance. And then, when Chase tells Peter he has got to figure out all his stuff with Sophie, things collapse after something that seems like it might finally solidify them as a couple helps drive them apart and make feelings clear.

 

Readers who like really complex relationships and lots of wonderful, well-developed secondary characters (and warm, supportive, interesting families) will love this book. It’s emotional and complicated and thoughtful. The characters grow and change in ways that are both realistic and unexpected. Great writing, unique characters, and a vivid Seattle setting all make this book one not to miss. With wide appeal, this is an easy one to recommend to teens who love realistic fiction. 

 

 

Review copy courtesy of Edelweiss 

ISBN-13: 9781481497763
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: 01/15/2019

Friday Finds: January 18, 2019

tltbutton3This Week at TLT

Thoughts on Collection Development

Cindy Crushes Programming: DIY Silhouette Mugs

Book Review: The Whispers by Greg Howard

Helping Patrons Find What They’re Looking for On Our Shelves

Sunday Reflections: My Wild and Weird YA Librarian Resume

Around the Web

Forget Screen Time Rules — Lean In To Parenting Your Wired Child, Author Says

2019 Walter Awards

Vaping has created teen nicotine addicts with few treatment options

Under Rainy Skies, Los Angeles Teachers Take To The Picket Lines

 

 

Thoughts on Collection Development

Having discussions about collection development and book selection, so I tweeted out some thoughts which I am gathering here so I have them in the future. Also, often non-library people don’t know what all happens behind the scenes to get those books into the local library and they may find this interesting.

Cindy Crushes Programming: DIY Silhouette Mugs

cindycrushesprogramming

Like most librarians, I get many ideas from Pinterest. When I saw a Disney castle mug made of decorative dots, I knew my teens would love it because Disney inspired crafts are very popular at my branch. Although we focused on Disney inspired silhouettes, any silhouette would work. In fact, you can turn your own photo into a silhouette using this tutorial.

mug2

Supplies

  • Dollar Store Mugs
  • Paint Sharpies
  • Tape
  • A silhouette image for a template (these can be made on a cameo machine). You can also use large, removable stickers. For example, large letters for initials works well.

Here’s an entire Pinterest Board dedicated to Sharpie Mug Art

Steps

  1. Wash and dry the mugs
  2. Tape a silhouette to the mug. Make sure the tape is under the silhouette. You do not want to cover the part of the mug where you will paint with the tape.
  3. Make sure all paint sharpies are prepared and shaken so the paint will come out.
  4. Have teens test sharpies on a piece of paper so they are aware of how the paint will come out.
  5. Then have the teens start adding paint dots around the silhouette. Make sure they are very close together. If the cardstock is thick enough, it is fine to touch the cardstock with the paint pen. They need to make dots all around the image and as close to it as possible.
  6. This process can be done on both sides of the mug.
  7. Allow the paint to dry and then remove your silhouette template.
  8. To complete the mugs, you can instruct teens to bake the mugs at home in an oven for 30 minutes at about 350 degrees. However, this step is recommended but it is not necessary.

mug1

While your mugs are drying, you can tie this craft into the great artistic technique known as pointillism. Artists like Georges Seurat and Paul Signac made entire masterpieces using nothing but dots and their artwork is still influencing artists of today. You can learn more about pointillism here.

Working Title/Artist: Study for A Sunday on La Grande JatteDepartment: Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary ArtCulture/Period/Location: HB/TOA Date Code: Working Date: 1884 photography by mma, Digital File DT1026.tif retouched by film and media (jnc) 9_29_11

Final thoughts: This was a fun craft. It is a little bit more expensive than some other crafts because of the cost of paint sharpies. Couponing can help. As long as the teens are patient, they should get good results.

Editor’s Note: This would also work well on a blank canvas, a t-shirt, or even on a piece of card stock that you then frame.

Book Review: The Whispers by Greg Howard

Publisher’s description

whispersA middle grade debut that’s a heartrending coming-of-age tale, perfect for fans of Bridge to Terabithia and Counting By 7s.

Eleven-year-old Riley believes in the whispers, magical fairies that will grant you wishes if you leave them tributes. Riley has a lot of wishes. He wishes bullies at school would stop picking on him. He wishes Dylan, his 8th grade crush, liked him, and Riley wishes he would stop wetting the bed. But most of all, Riley wishes for his mom to come back home. She disappeared a few months ago, and Riley is determined to crack the case. He even meets with a detective, Frank, to go over his witness statement time and time again.

Frustrated with the lack of progress in the investigation, Riley decides to take matters into his own hands. So he goes on a camping trip with his friend Gary to find the whispers and ask them to bring his mom back home. But Riley doesn’t realize the trip will shake the foundation of everything that he believes in forever.

 

Amanda’s thoughts

11-year-old Riley’s mother always told him a story about wish-granting Whispers that live in the woods behind their South Carolina home. Just leave them a tribute, tell them your heart’s desire, and the Whispers, who know all the secrets in the universe, will take care of you. When Riley’s mother disappears, he desperately hopes this story isn’t just fiction.

 

Riley’s mom has been missing for four months when we meet Riley. He’s repeatedly interrogated by a detective but can’t come up with any other details to help them find her—Riley was at home playing, his mother was napping, there was a mysterious car nearby, then she was gone. They keep going over the details, and Riley has no hope that the detective, who he thinks is incompetent, will ever find his mom. It’s up to him. It’s up to the Whispers in the woods behind his house. They must know where his mom is.

 

Riley, a self-professed mama’s boy, has been miserable since she disappeared. He’s started wetting the bed (which he refers to as “my condition”), his father hardly acknowledges him, and the bullying and teasing he’s always faced at school has gotten worse. He has one good friend, biracial Gary, and a protector in an older neighbor, Dylan, but beyond that, is alone. He’s carrying the heavy weight of guilt, worried that he somehow drove his mother away with his “other condition,” which is how he refers to the fact that he likes boys. He thinks that he’s being punished for this.

 

Deciding to take things into his own hands, Riley heads into the woods with Gary and Gary’s younger brother to camp, hoping to maybe hear more from the Whispers, who have been speaking to him lately. They tell him that “she’s here.” Believing them, believing that she’s in those woods, Riley heads deeper into the forest. He offers the ultimate tribute to the Whispers, but will it be enough for them to reveal where she is?

 

Readers will tear through this story, with many questions along the way. Is Riley hiding something from the detective? Or from the reader? What’s really going on with his neighbor, Dylan? Who is Kenny from Kentucky? What happened in the shed? Does the unlikely helper he encounters in the woods know something about his mother? Everything is eventually revealed and answered, and what readers learn will likely send them scrambling back to reread the story through new eyes. A moving, thoughtful examination of trauma, grief, and the power of imagination. 

 

 

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

ISBN-13: 9780525517498
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 01/15/2019

Helping Patrons Find What They’re Looking for On Our Shelves

I would like to propose something that will be complete heresy to many people in library land. But my friends, some of our standard operating procedures make it really difficult for our patrons to walk up to a shelf, find what they want or discover something new, and walk away a satisfied customer. So I have some revolutionary ideas I would like to propose.

We have to stop shelving books in strict alphabetical order

In most libraries, we shelve books alphabetically by author’s last name and then alphabetically by title within each author group. In a lot of cases this works perfectly well, except when the author writes a series or multiple series. What I propose is this: on our spine labels, we put the name of each series and the book number and shelve accordingly. Thus, each author who writes a series would have the series shelved numerically and patron’s browsing the shelves would clearly see what the series is and what book number it is.

seriescutters

This is a patron based system that helps make each library visit successful and satisfying for our patrons. Take, for example, Jennifer Lynne Barnes who writes multiple (all very good) ya series. Here we see that among the various series one of those is The Naturals and by putting that information on the spine label and shelving them in order on the shelf, patrons can walk up to the shelf and find the next book in the series.

dcicons

My corollary to this is that we should also think about the ways in which we catalog certain series. For example, there is currently a DC Icons series which has various titles written by popular YA authors, which means that each book in the series would be shelves by author. However, if we shelved the books by series name, DC Icons, all the DC character books would be shelved together. This one in particular is tricky because some people might want to read Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo because they are Leigh Bardugo or Wonder Woman fans and not care about the other books in the series, while some readers will want to read the entire series. In this scenario I am still inclined to shelve all the titles together as DC Icons, but it’s possible that I am wrong.

On shelf merchandising

shelf1 shelf2

Rows and rows and rows of full shelves can cause browsing fatigue. Even I, a librarian who loves YA, can walk up to a book shelf and start browsing for something new to read and I get overwhelmed by the sheer number of titles that stand before me. This is part of the reason that those in the know about marketing and merchandising suggest having your shelves no more than 1/2 to 2/3 full. But there is something else we can do on our shelves to help break up the shelves and prevent browsing fatigue:

shelf5 shelf3

If you have multiple copies of titles, face those titles out right in the middle of the shelf. This works best with multiple copies because it allows a patron to take a copy and there are still a couple before it holding the row of books up. When scanning the shelves of books, having copies facing out in the middle of a row helps to break up that browsing fatigue and keeps the eye engaged.

merchandising2

 

Putting complete series on a new book shelf display, not just the newest title

Most libraries have a new book display section or shelf where we pull and put a new book on display. Sometimes, however, that book is book 2 or 3 in a trilogy, which means a patron who walks up and browses the display sees book 2 or 3 and now has to try and find books 1 and 2 before they can start reading book 3. What if we just put the entire trilogy on a the display shelf with the new book so patrons could walk up to the display, see the series, and check it all out at once? Yes, some readers only want book 3. But if we want to make things as easy as possible for our patrons, pulling books 1 and 2 and putting them on display with book 3 will help them discover a new series and walk away satisfied patrons.

display1

Don’t get me wrong, all of these proposals require more diligence on our part when it comes to merchandising. It means we have to constantly go back into our shelves and straighten, fill holes, pull books and re-shelve them. And for most libraries, changing the spine labels to represent series would require a lot of work (and money) and re-training of staff. But if we are being truly patron centered and thinking about ways in which we can help our patrons walk away successfully with a satisfying user experience, I think the extra work is worth the effort. I think these are particularly good practices for teen readers who often want to browse the shelves but don’t always want to ask an adult staff person for help finding the next book in a series or for book recommendations. And let’s face it, even our best staff don’t know every book series order and this helps staff as well as patrons. Our goal is satisfied customers checking out books and I believe these practices help make that happen.