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Middle Grade Monday – the Power of Doorstops

The last conference I attended had a wonderful session entitled ‘Radical Hospitality in the School Library Media Center.’ And I’m not just saying that because it was a friend and colleague who was presenting. It was really wonderful. I’ve strived since my first library to find ways to make the students feel welcome and wanted in the library. Some students will always feel welcome – the library is their home! There is no place in the school these students would rather be than amongst their best friends, the books. Other students are seemingly comfortable everywhere, it would take several uncomfortable or confrontational experiences in the same place for these students not to feel welcome. These are the lucky few. Many others are either apprehensive or plainly uncomfortable in the library, and you will probably never know why. These are the students whom I am targeting.

Over the years I’ve developed several techniques beyond the obvious (friendly demeanor, seeking to meet the students’ needs, extended conversations about whatever the student cares about most that day.) The first thing I realized when was that some of my students are lacking in the basic necessities of personal care and comfort. A readily accessible supply of tissues, hand sanitizer, bandaids, and hand lotion can be a powerful draw to these students. The very fact that I keep these supplies stocked and in a ‘student supply’ area for free use has contributed greatly to the impact I’ve been able to have in their lives. They gradually begin to see the library as a place where they can get their physical needs met.

In this same ‘student supply’ area I provide (without judgement) pencils and paper, glue sticks and scissors, colored pencils and a number of handheld sharpeners, an electric pencil sharpener, a hole punch, and a stapler. Because even more of the students need these. It’s not necessarily because they do not have them, but middle schoolers are notorious for losing things for a good reason. If they’ve come to the library to work on a project and forgotten their supplies, the last thing I want them to do is waste time going back to their classroom or locker to get them.

I’ve arranged the library facility for easy use, made sure we are meeting any needs of our students with different abilities, but there was one thing I’d never thought about doing that was mentioned in the presentation. Most school libraries have very heavy, weighted, self closing doors. Some of them are even solid metal or wood with no windows – ours luckily are the kind with windows. I could get some doorstops and prop these doors open. It was like the clouds parted, a rainbow appeared, and birds began to sing. I could prop open the doors.

I can already hear some of you wondering, “Isn’t it loud in the hallway?” Sometimes. But realistically, having the doors closed doesn’t do a lot to block that noise. It muffles it slightly, but not enough to make a real difference. And also realistically, how much more likely are the students to realize that they are being supervised if the doors are open? Are they more or less likely to make inappropriate noise in the hallway? “But won’t you get students sneaking into the library when they aren’t supposed to be there?” Maybe. Is that necessarily a bad thing? It’s not like they’re unsupervised and I can quickly send them on their way (or recommend a book they might enjoy, or give them that pencil/bandaid/friendly smile they need.)

So I did it – I propped open the library doors. The students didn’t seem to notice, or maybe it’s just that they didn’t say anything. But last week, my assistant principal came in the library and said, “I just dropped in to say hello, because I felt so welcome with the doors open.”

#FSYALit: Orthodox Representation in YA Lit

Over the past year, I have seen an increase of representation of Protestant Christians in YA lit that isn’t published by a Christian publisher. Maybe it’s just because I have been looking for it more for this discussion, but it does in fact seem like there has been a genuine increase in authors recognizing and mentioning that teens can have a spiritual life even in a book that isn’t published to promote said spiritual life. But in the discussion of diversity, we want to be looking for and discussing other religious viewpoints as well. So I went out and asked people I knew and respected to help me because when it comes to faiths different then my own, I want to know from practitioners of that faith whether or not the representation of their faith in YA is in fact a good one. Today Maureen Eichner is sharing her thoughts about the representation of the Orthodox Christian in YA lit.

When I was a kid, I loved Patricia Polacco’s books. For a lot of reasons: they’re funny, they’re sweet, they have beautiful art. But partly because the people in them were like me. They ate kulichi and decorated pysanky eggs; they had icons on the walls and in the corners of their rooms. And yet, they were also American, with thunderstorms and fried chicken. It wasn’t until quite recently, re-reading Chicken Sunday, that I realized just how rare and how powerful that representation was.

According to the Pew Forum, there are 260 million Orthodox Christians worldwide. Although most Orthodox churches recognize each other and there are common core beliefs, Orthodoxy is not centralized in the way that the Catholic church is and each country or region has its own autonomous church headed by a patriarch. Many Americans think of Greece or Russia when they think of Orthodoxy, but there are historical Orthodox churches in many countries throughout the Balkans, Middle East, and Africa.

Here in the US, most Orthodox believers are immigrants or descendants of immigrants who come from historically Orthodox countries. However, there is a growing number of people who are converts from other Christian denominations or other religions.

I am one of the latter. My parents began their journey to Orthodoxy when I was a baby and I grew up in the church. The parish that I attended when I was young and attend now is primarily American, but also has significant numbers of Ukrainians and Russians, as well as Eritreans and Chinese and Filipino converts. I’ve also attended Serbian and Russian parishes which have been predominantly culturally Orthodox and Americans have been in the minority.

And, let me just be quite blunt here: there is no one like me in any story I’ve ever read. There are very, very few books with Orthodox characters at all, especially in YA.* And in the few instances where Orthodoxy features, it tends to be portrayed as an exotic, mysterious religion, stuck in the past. Priests are often described as ravens or crows, or as being scary and creepy.

The thing is, throughout my life, my faith and experiences in the Orthodox Church have been not only important but life-saving. I doubt I would have gotten through my teen years without the strength and support it gave me. For me, both American and Orthodox, navigating my way between those two identities, I’ve often felt the pressure to explain all the weird things I believe and live, to make sense of who I am in the fact of well-meaning but sometimes exhausting questions. So when in YA I see at best a depiction of my faith written from the outside, that gets everything wrong, it really hurts. This was my experience reading Shadow & Bone and The Family Romanov, both of which are highly acclaimed and both of which I found painful.

Now, I will say that Trish Doller’s Where the Stars Still Shine shows a Greek Orthodox family, several members of which are religious and attend church. The main character is not one of them because of plot-related reasons, but I appreciated this tiny mention. And in Gregory Maguire’s Egg & Spoon, I felt that the characters, especially Elena, demonstrated a reasonably authentic relationship to the church and faith.

However, considering the range and breadth of YA, and the harm that inaccurate and stereotyped portrayals cause, I don’t find two books to be adequate. I want to see immigrant kids who have to grapple with their identity, and I want to see convert kids who feel like they both are and aren’t American. I want kids who have left their faith and kids who cling to it. I want historical fiction that shows the actual nuances and struggles of people in the past, and I want recognition that readers may hope to find their own beliefs accurately and respectfully rendered. I want all of our stories, because they’re already here.

* There are some small Orthodox publishers and self-published authors who have put out Orthodox YA books, or at least books about teens. I will admit that the few I tried when I was younger seemed preachy and didactic, and not at all reflective of the actual issues that my friends and I were facing. I have heard good things about a few recent releases but haven’t tried them yet.

Meet Our Guest Blogger

Maureen Eichner is a public librarian and book blogger who lives in Indiana with her cat.

Books Mentioned

Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire

A fantasy set in Tsarist Russia.

Elena Rudina lives in the impoverished Russian countryside. Her father has been dead for years. One of her brothers has been conscripted into the Tsar’s army, the other taken as a servant in the house of the local landowner. Her mother is dying, slowly, in their tiny cabin. And there is no food. But then a train arrives in the village, a train carrying untold wealth, a cornucopia of food, and a noble family destined to visit the Tsar in Saint Petersburg — a family that includes Ekaterina, a girl of Elena’s age. When the two girls’ lives collide, an adventure is set in motion, an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and — in a starring role only Gregory Maguire could have conjured — Baba Yaga, witch of Russian folklore, in her ambulatory house perched on chicken legs

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She’s never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love–even with someone who seems an improbable choice–is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.


Sunday Reflections: She is Safe? A Personal Reflection for Sexual Assualt Awareness Month

I woke up that Sunday afternoon, groggy from an after church nap, wiping sleepies out of my eyes and wondering why my friend was standing there next to me shaking and crying. As I blinked into a form of consciousness, I feared what this moment would reveal, how it would change our lives. The longer the silent wailing marked only by her visibly shaking body stretched between us the more serious I knew this news would be.

She tried to force words out, but they wouldn’t come, too horrific to be spoken aloud. Her body convulsed with the pain and agony of what she wanted to say but couldn’t, and my terror kept inching up the Richter scale. I knew that in this moment, everything would change. And I feared the how and why of it. And I was right to.

Then the words erupted with a gale force wind that swept through our lives and changed them forever, “I just pressed charges against Jim for touching my daughter.” (Jim is obviously not his real name).

Her daughter. The same age as my daughter. Our friend, a frequent part of our lives. Someone we knew and loved. Violated by this man, the father of another friend. A friend who had just spent the night before in my home. These three families woven together in time and space, now being rewoven in truly horrific ways. In this moment, I knew, everything would change. The truth is, it had already changed for us all some time ago, we just didn’t know it until that very moment.

One of my main goals in life is to keep my children safe. Emotionally. Physically. Sexually. I just love them fiercely and want them to get out of adolescence in one piece, a gift that way too many of our children don’t have the privilege of achieving. This world breaks them into tiny fragments and some of the pieces get so lost we can never put them back together whole again. That’s how it seems for far too many of our kids.

A victim of sexual abuse myself, at the age of 12, the idea that my daughter is now 12 haunts me. I am hyper vigilant. I am on alert. I am afraid.

And it turns out I was right to be.

My daughter is safe. She was not harmed by this man, in part because I had forbidden her to go into their home, my alarm bells always going off in their presence. And not without reason, there was a safety issue that happened the first – and only – time my daughter ever spent the night there and she has never been permitted inside that home again.

I watched for two years as my daughter struggled with loneliness and rejection as preteen girls went in and out of this house that she was never allowed to cross the threshold of.  Her aching heart caused me so much parental pain. I doubted. I worried I was making the wrong decisions. But my gut, my instinct, said that I must keep firm on this path. In the summers, I tried to help her find other ways to fill her moments, and these girls were always welcome in our home. But every time I thought about letting her inside this home alarm bells went off inside me in a way that they never have before. I had to listen, their insistence demanded it. What happened that time before, though in no way the same, just couldn’t be ignored or explained away.

But in this moment I was learning a simple truth: all that heartache and vigilance had done the thing it was intended to do. It had kept her safe.

For the briefest of moments I felt a moment of relief as my friend stood there, wracked with the painful knowledge that her child’s life had been forever changed. But then the realization of what it all meant hit me. These girls, our friends, their lives would never be the same. Someone had taken something from them, someone we knew, someone she had trusted.

That day I had to sit down with my daughter and make sure. I had to ask questions no mother ever wants to ask. I needed to know for a fact that nothing had happened to her. And we had to talk about how she could support her friends during this time. Even though nothing had been done directly to her, even though she was in fact safe, a bit of innocence was taken from all of us that day as the dark corners of the world became all too real. We could no longer close our front door and pretend these things didn’t really happen, because they do. They were. There were happening right now, right here, among people that we loved and cared about. They are happening. This is happening.

I have walked around for days now with this shaky feeling inside me; my body hums with a painful vibration of memory and fear. I have to keep looking at my daughter and remind myself, she is safe. In this moment, she is safe. Nothing happened to her. She is safe. She is safe. She is safe.

But I also remember, none of us are safe. There are predators who walk among us in human skin. They are the wolves that prey upon our innocence and feast upon our pain. And until the wolves go extinct, I will continue to talk about sexual violence. And you should to. Information is power and light, knowing about the darkness makes us just a little bit safer from it, at least I hope it does. Because information is the only weapon I have and I’m going to use it. No parent should ever have to utter those words, “he touched her.”

Because when my girls reach the end of this life, I want to be able to repeat my mantra – she is safe – and I want it to be true. She is safe. She is safe. She is safe.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence, please contact RAINN. For more information on The #SVYALit Project (Sexual Violence in Young Adult Literature), please visit our project index.

Friday Finds – April 17, 2015

This Week at TLT

Sunday Reflections: YouTube Killed the MTV Star (#YouTubeWeek)

From the Screen to the Page: How the YouTube Sensation Became a YA Book, a guest post by Paige McKenzie and Alyssa Sheinmel (#YouTubeWeek)

Middle Grade Monday – YouTube for the Tween Crowd

#SVYALit: ALL THE RAGE and rape culture, Trish Doller interviews author Courtney Summers

#YouTubeWeek: A BookTube Crash Course, a guest post by AbbyRoseReads

#YouTubeWeek: What’s Hot on YouTube, a guest post by Rose

YouTube, Virtual Communities, and Teen Sexual Health

Around the Web

Just what tweens and teens need – e-cigs.

Cultural appropriation called out by a Hunger Games actress.

Holly Black’s Darkest Part of the Forest wins the ABA for Young Adult Literature!

And then there was this. *Sobs* *Thinks about orphans her friends have adopted.*

This is just weird to think about…what would I do with that money?

If you haven’t yet, have a look at the #tothegirls Tweets.

Important moments in representation. May they be as numerous as the stars in the sky.



YouTube, Virtual Communities, and Teen Sexual Health

YouTube, like the Internet as a whole, has been invaluable in helping people find their virtual tribes. You may be the only Brony you know in the tri-state area, but other Bronies are always only a few clicks away (if you have good Internet access.) Similarly, teens have been building communities through YouTube since its beginning. Think of the things your teens are obsessed with – video gaming, anime, rock climbing, just being a teenager, etc. – whatever they are into, there is sure to be a YouTube community to address that interest.

When doing reader’s advisory these days, it’s not uncommon to hear that a teen doesn’t really watch television, but they watch a lot of YouTube. Certainly, there are many rabbit holes of entertaining content down which any viewer can fall, but I think it is more common that teens are watching YouTube videos that illuminate their own interests and help provide a virtual community of like-minded individuals. These videos can open new worlds to our teens and do the important work of letting them know they are not alone*. Every teen (or welcoming adult) who makes themselves vulnerable on YouTube does this important work. Similarly, every YouTuber with a significant audience who uses their audience reach to highlight important content by lesser known YouTubers helps to make this community a little more open and a little more welcoming. One of the best things about YouTube is the way it encourages these interactions and how its algorithms actually help viewers find relevant content (whatever else you think about them.)

YouTube can also provide a community or a resource for teens who have questions they don’t know how to get answered, especially teens who comprehend spoken language better than written language, or who feel more comfortable finding information in an interactive or interpersonal way. Additionally, videos can often contain demonstrations of important material that would be difficult or impossible to convey through writing and simple images. For many teens, this information can include how to apply makeup, cook for themselves, and live healthy lives. One of the most immediate needs many teens have is for information on sexual health. Many teens live in communities where these topics are not commonly discussed, or are not allowed as a part of their overall health education curriculum in their public schools. This does not negate their need for this information. In fact, I would argue that it only increases this need. I believe that information is power, and fully informed decisions are the best possible decisions. They can turn to their virtual communities for this information.

For several years (mostly 2011 to 2013) there were almost weekly thought pieces published on the damage caused by teens’ ready access to Internet pornographic content. Headlines like “What to do when you discover your teen has been viewing porn online” and “Sex therapist expresses concern over teen porn addiction” were quite common. But in fact, an article on the Slate website summed up the situation both accurately and succinctly – How Does Internet Porn Affect Teens? New Study Says: We Have No Idea!

Fortunately, regardless of which side of that argument you fall on, there are a number of YouTube channels that address teens’ (and others’) needs for information regarding sexual health, as well as sex and gender related information that may be either difficult to find, or meet needs a teen is unaware of.

One of the best YouTube channels covering this topic in general is Sexplanations, hosted by Dr. Lindsay Doe, who is a clinical sexologist. Sexplanations has been on YouTube for almost 2 years, has over 171,000 followers and has exceeded 14 million views. More information about Dr. Doe’s background and qualifications is available in the channel’s first video. The channel covers topics ranging from human anatomy, sexual terminology, and protection from sexually transmitted diseases to gender identity and expression, consent, abuse, and healthy sexual activity. It has a really broad target audience and approaches all topics with a sex-positive, educational mindset.

The best educational, sex-positive YouTube channel geared towards young adults and new adults I’ve found is lacigreen. Laci Green is a self described sex education activist. She describes the content of her videos as being about “sexuality, gender, body image, relationships, feminism, and sex ed for the internet.” Her recent video on Dress Code Sexism helps to clarify the issues surrounding this topic, and could be invaluable to young women in supporting their defense of their rights. She offers similarly valuable clarification on issues surrounding feminism, body autonomy, and gender identity, as well as practical sexual education information.

If you’ve been reluctant to explore the world of YouTube, you are really missing out on a wealth of resources you can provide for  your teen patrons. And all of them are freely available, given reliable internet access, and part of a platform with which they are generally very comfortable and eager to use. What is stopping you?

*Some of us had to rely upon books for this – isn’t it wonderful that our teens have both?

Take 5: 5 Things You Should Know About YouTube (#YouTubeWeek)

This week we’ve been talking about YouTube – sharing our favorite YouTubers and channels, discussing it’s popularity, etc. But today I wanted to talk about YouTube in general, some interesting tidbits I’ve learned along the way about the culture that is YouTube. And make no mistake, YouTube is a very developed and popular culture with our tweens and teens. And with that culture, as with all cultures, comes the good and the bad. So without further adieu, here are 5 Things You Should Know About YouTube.

1. Diversity is an ongoing discussion in the YouTube community

Like publishing, diversity is an issue in the YouTube community. Many have noticed that the big name YouTubers, and the ones getting a bulk of the promotion, are in fact white (and often male). A recent article pointed out that even during Black History Month, the bulk of the promotion did not fall to people of color but largely to white men. See, for example, this article in Fusion about how YouTube rarely promotes black YouTube stars.

On the other hand, some argue that YouTube is a great vehicle for diversity because it allows others to gain a platform that they might not have trying to go through the mainstream media. For example, YouTube sensation Franchesca Ramsey says in USA Today, “For people of color, it’s a portal to provide authentic stories online you’re not seeing anywhere else.”

2. They have their own awards and conventions

In 2007 the YouTube community began giving out awards for some of its most popular videos and content creators. And in 2013 YouTube held its first ever video music awards. There are many musical talents that are using YouTube as a platform for to share and sell their music. The a capella act Pentatonix and violinist Lindsey Stirling, for example, have both successfully used YouTube to launch music careers.

In addition to awards, there is a large yearly convention for online video content creators called VidCon. It was started by the Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green. Vidcon is a celebration of content and content creators, which brings us to our next point.

3. They have their own scandals

Speaking of VidCon, it’s worth noting that YouTube and the YouTube community is not without its fair share of scandals. There have been numerous accounts of sexual harassment at VidCon, resulting in calls for a sexual harassment policy to be written and publicized. In addition, some of the content on YouTube can be quite controversial in and of itself. Sam Pepper is a famous YouTuber who made a name for himself making “prank” videos. However, it is worth noting that some of the pranks he has done on seemingly unknowing passerbyers would technically be considered sexual assault. Thankfully, many YouTubers themselves pointed this out and there was a lot of discussion in the press about it.

4. They have their own Memes

You are probably familiar with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral. This is an example of the YouTube Meme, a post that goes viral. Many of them take the form of challenges much like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I know that when the Tween has friends spend the night they almost always do the Blindfold Makeup Challenge and the Blindfold Taste Challenge. The Blindfold Makeup Challenge is exactly what it sounds like, you blindfold someone and let them do your makeup – hilarity ensues. And in the Blindfold Taste Challenge you blindfold yourself and let others feed you food and you try to guess what it is.

5. It’s a great place to learn more about the teens you serve in your library

One thing that major social media platforms do and do well is compile information about their users. Libraries could learn a lot from them. But thankfully, YouTube is good at sharing. Every 3 months YouTube (well, really Google who owns YouTube) shares their YouTube Insights. The insights are in some ways just an ad for Google/YouTube, but they also share market research, popular YouTube channels and personalities and more. And every once in a while there is an interesting nugget of information in there. For example, in the Issues 5 Q2 2014 edition they mention that “ad recall improves 7x by mentioning brand name twice in a video”. The take away here is that we need to make sure and remember to say the names of our libraries – at least twice – in some way if we are creating videos to help promote our libraries. Don’t expect viewers to remember that the name of your library on a screen or remembered that they saw a video on the X public library YouTube channel, make sure to actually say the name of your library out loud somewhere in your video, multiple times if it works with the script.

Better yet, talk to the teens hanging out at your library and ask them what they are watching on YouTube. It’s always great to have conversations with your teens. Experience has shown me that they love sharing some of their favorite videos with me.

According to recent stats, YouTube is THE most popular social media platform for tweens and teens. Just Saturday night The Tween had a friend over and they spent 2 hours watching video after video on YouTube. They watched countdown videos (Top 10 music videos of the week, Top 10 Disney villains, etc) and they watched DIY tutorials. And during the week, I’m just as likely to catch The Tween watching a video of Stampy playing Minecraft as I am to find her playing Minecraft herself. In fact, my niece spent all of her Christmas money on computer programs so that she can make, edit, add effects and upload her own Minecraft videos. I am by no means a YouTube expert, but I try and learn what I can to better serve my teens. I’m not going to lie, it helps having a YouTube obsessed Tween in my home who shares all the latest trends with me because man, it’s hard to keep up.

How about you, what do you need to know about YouTube that I missed here? Share your insight in the comments please.


For More Information:

Mashable: A History of YouTube

#YouTubeWeek: What’s Hot on YouTube, a guest post by Rose

Today’s post is brought to you by another one of the smart teenagers I know, Rose. Rose is here to give us a rundown on some of her favorite things on YouTube.


Yay, YouTube!

On YouTube, you can learn about new music or artists, find new makeup to try, relax, or gain new skills. There’s so many different reasons to watch YouTube videos!

I find channels that I like through recommendations from YouTubers or from suggested similar videos. The first YouTuber I remember subscribing to was StilaBabe09, a makeup guru who has 3,295,470 subscribers right now. The first video I watched was her makeup collection and storage back in summer 2012.


Some of my favorite YouTubers are:

  • WatchUsLiveAndStuff- a great channel that had Anthony from smosh, a comedic gaming channel, and Kalel from kalelkitten when they were a couple. They broke off their engagement 3 months ago and broke hearts everywhere, including mine and my boyfriend’s.

  • PewDiePie- the biggest YouTuber ever with 35,665,010 subscribers at the moment, my boyfriend’s favorite YouTuber and one that never fails to make people laugh.

  • SDK- with 170,523 subscribers SDK is a collab channel that doesn’t have many fans, but their fans are extremely dedicated. They have the funniest videos ever. The collab includes twins Adam and Nick, Jonah Green, Joey Gatto, RyansAverageLife, and Josh Sobo. Joe Santagato sadly left the channel recently.

  • Colleen Ballinger aka PsychoSoprano and MirandaSings is a very interesting YouTuber. At first she just had the MirandaSings channel, which is a comedic character that is hugely famous. She has lots of viral videos and subscribers on that channel; even people who don’t watch YouTube a lot know the name Miranda. On PsychoSoprano she does more blog style videos as herself.

  • StrawBurry17 is a nerdy girl YouTuber who has tons of fans of all ages and genders and does gaming videos, popin cookin videos, and blogs on LifeBurry.

  • TheMostPopularGirls or MPGIS is another show on YouTube that is made from Barbie dolls. It started with two guys and dollar store fake Barbies. It’s now huge and it is kind of a comedy because they put funny and inappropriate things to the dolls moving. It’s appealing to lots of ages from teens to adults. There’s not many subscribers but lots of views; you’ve probably seen gifs from the show.

  • Shawn Mendes has posted lots of covers on YouTube and now has his own music and is going on tour! I’m actually going to his April 15th concert in Minneapolis!

  • yunging19 or Ashley is a YouTuber I love who does lots of unboxing, hair, makeup, hauls and advice videos.

  • Bethany Mota is very famous from her YouTube channel with 8 million subscribers. She was on Dancing With The Stars and has her own clothing line at Aeropstale.

  • communitychannel is a comedy channel that’s been around a while. Natalie does videos about things she experiences throughout the week basically. Always super relatable and funny.

  • eleventhgorgeous are two sisters who make videos every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday about makeup, hair, beauty subscription boxes, fashion, and basically anything girly. I love their channel and the sister dynamic they have, so cute.

  • HelloKaty is a YouTuber in college now who does fashion and makeup videos that I love. She’s very pretty, comes off very calm, and is really smart and mature.

  • Ingrid is a really big YouTuber who started the famous volumes trend, vlogging every day in December.

Meet Our Guest Blogger
I’m Rose. I love fashion and beauty along with books and music. I spend most of my free time on YouTube, Netflix or Hulu. I’ve recently been addicted to solitaire on my phone and watching old seasons of America’s Next Top Model. My favorite color is teal and favorite food is chocolate, preferably with caramel. I’m in The Youth Choral Of Central Minnesota, in choir at school, and I take private voice lessons because I love singing. I’m also a huge fangirl of basically everything.

Find me on social media:
Instagram: rose_ez
Twitter: 1Drose_
Tumblr: rosezahn1
Pinterest: rosemaryez
Polyvore: rosezahn

#YouTubeWeek: A BookTube Crash Course, a guest post by AbbyRoseReads

Today’s post is brought to you by my fantastically smart teenage friend Abby. I know Abby through the YA book club I run at the public library. She has previously guest posted  on YALSA’s The Hub during Teen Read Week. Today Abby is giving us a crash course in BookTube. What is BookTube? It’s exactly what you might guess—a community on YouTube dedicated to books! 


The Beginning

For about two years I just lurked in the shadows of BookTube trying not to disturb anyone. Then I got up the courage to make an account and figured out that it is way more fun to actually engage with the other readers. After a while you start to build relationships with other booktubers and make some amazing friends. I now follow booktubers on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat and have even done a book exchange with a girl from another state. My first subscriber was a bigger booktuber that I had become friends with on Twitter. These relationships are what I love so much about BookTube. BookTube connects people that wouldn’t otherwise be connected. For me, this meant I was no longer limited by living in a small town with not a lot of book lovers.


Tips and More for Posting


My channel is AbbyRoseReads. I’m on a sort of pause because of being crazy busy with school and life, but I hope to revive the channel soon. I miss it! I love making videos. It’s like an outlet for all my book nerdiness. Before finding the library book club, I didn’t really have anywhere to share my love for books so finding a way to put my thoughts out there and getting a response was an amazing feeling.


I’m new to making videos, but I there are a few tips that I have been told by other content creators. Don’t worry about lighting or what camera you have. The quality of the video is really determined by what you do in it, not by the fancy set up or HD-ness of it. The best thing a person can do for their videos is to be themselves. Don’t try to copy someone else or worry about being too much this or not enough that. Add your own style to the BookTube community. Being unique will get you noticed. Also: be enthusiastic. It catches peoples’ attention and will keep people watching. Remember that you are allowed to read critically. Be honest about how you feel about a book even if it seems unpopular. Make what you want and what makes you happy. If everyone is making book hauls and you hate them, then make something different! Try a discussion video or a skit. Make it fun!



Some other good user tips are to be enthusiastic about reading. Voice your opinions and share your excitement. The best experiences will be from being involved. Don’t be afraid to comment. Watch a variety of videos until you find ones that fit what you like to read. Respect opinions of others. Readers interpret stories in a great number of ways.


Some Favorites

There are SOOOO many other incredible booktubers out there and these only scrape the surface of BookTube.

Ariel Bissett – Ariel and I don’t have a very similar taste in books, but I love her videos anyway. She is critical and really thoughtful. I love that she does discussion videos about book related topics and I also love that she goes outside of the book sphere in some videos too. For example, she is currently studying abroad and putting up videos of her adventures. Ariel is just a great example of why I love BookTube. Her channel and how it has grown shows how once people are able to connect over one thing (books), they can go on to create deeper connections and relationships over other things.



Bookhunter155 – Manuel has videos in Spanish AND English! Spanish BookTube is a really big community.



BookishandNerdy – Jillian is one of the queens of bookhauls. This girl knows how to buy books. She’s also great at reading and reviewing a large variety of books because of this. If you want to see some new books or get recommendations, this is a great place to look.



BrunetteBibliophile – Chloe is just on top of things. Her channel has it all. There are book hauls, tags, unhauls, reactions, and more. She is a consistent uploader with lots of fun things to say about the books she reads and is a good example of a booktuber in terms of what kinds of things they typically make.



CassJayTuck – She is like BookTube royalty. She was one of the first ones out there talking about books on YouTube before BookTube was a thing. This girl is so clever. She can be brutally honest about a book and show her love for it at the same time. Cassidy is the place to go for critical reviews and she also has hilarious book related skits and rant videos. She was the first booktuber I encountered so she has a special place in my heart.



Ciara Jav - Funny, Canadian, relatable. We have similar taste in books so I get a lot of recommendations from what she reads.



CozyTeaReads – Shannon is the sweetest thing out there. Her videos are so cute and positive. Her enthusiasm pours from the screen and I love her cheerful manner that accompanies her book reviews and such.



DylanBooks – One of the funniest people on BookTube. He’s Australian and has some of the prettiest graphics in his videos.



Elisabeth Paige - A younger booktuber.



Elizziebooks – This girl is amazing. She does so much for the BookTube community. Liz works hard on her channel and on running BookTube News on tumblr and youtube. Liz is all about community and bringing us together. She deserves an award for all her hard work she does for the community.


Jellafy – Jenny defies what is normal for BookTube and it is fabulous. German, but the videos are in English. She’ll drink a juice box and chat with the viewer about what she read last month and then have a video where there are two of her.



PeruseProject – This is the place to go if you like fantasy or science fiction. Regan is an expert.



PolandBananasBOOKS – BookTube elite. One of the firsts. Does a lot of book to movie adaptation coverage AND tons of book reviews. Look up her booktubeathon videos. She does hilarious skit videos.



thebookbasement – This girl is wise beyond her years. Beautiful channel with great videos.



twobookteens – A booktube duo. Best friends that share a channel.



Whittynovels – My first subscriber. Wonderful and very strange. I don’t even know how to describe Whitney.



A few more to check out:

thelibraryofbrittany, Readbyzoe, tashapolis, JessetheReader, Joel Books, Kassidy Voinche, katskywriter24, Little Book Owl, Maureenkeavy, padfootandprongs07



Some Cool Things Happening on BookTube

Book clubs are super popular. Different people form to make a book club and then have livestreams to discuss the book. Viewers can join and read and chat along. Check out Booksplosion on Twitter for their latest reads.

Readathons are also making their way from blogs to YouTube.

BookTubeAThon has become a huge hit. I love it and participate every time.



You can also participate in:

book haul – buying three of more books at once then showing what you bought in a video

unhaul – getting rid of the books you don’t want and getting that TBR under control and making a video of it

wrap up – video talking about all that you read in the past month (or whatever time period)

monthly TBR – video to say what you plan to read in the next month

#FridayReads – videos on Fridays to show what you’re currently reading and what your reading plans are for the weekend

tags – fun videos with some questions that you are tagged by someone else to do, you then answer and name someone else to do the same

challenges – usually something with finding or naming books, a crazy activity that is attempted to win or just to see if you can do it, these can be tags

review/discussion – talking about a book you read, a review will usually be spoiler free and discussion is kind of a free for all of anything and everything you thought about the book


Meet Our Guest Blogger

Abby is a Minnesotan teen who is a fan of reading, the internet, and strawberry Twizzlers. She is a dancer, a diver, and runs the teen book club at her local library. Abby can be found on Tumblr at yourstrulyabby and on YouTube at abbyrosereads.

#SVYALit: ALL THE RAGE and rape culture, Trish Doller interviews author Courtney Summers

Today the book All the Rage by Courtney Summers is finally released into the world. It’s a great book. It’s an important book. It’s the type of book that encourages dialogue about important and very relevant cultural issues. While Rolling Stone is retracting their UVA rape story and causing many to question the reality of rape culture, many people are being reminded once again that sharing your story about sexual assault does not come without a huge, personal price. I read All the Rage sometime last year and have been waiting a really long time for this day to finally come. Not, however, as long as author Courtney Summers has. But today is that glorious day and I encourage everyone to please go read this book. As part of our ongoing #SVYALit Project, co-host (and author extraordinaire) Trish Doller is interviewing Courtney Summers. Stay tuned until the very end because we are giving away a copy of the book.

About All the Rage:

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?


The #SVYALit Interview


Q: Where did the idea for All the Rage come from?
I’ve been working on All the Rage since around the time I was working on Some Girls Are, so–2009, 2010. The plot changed a lot over the years. I spent a long time trying to figure out how I wanted to angle the story but at its core, it was always about rape culture and there were always two girls disappearing on the same night.
Q: I’ve seen you tweet about how long you worked on the book. What took so long? (Note: I’m not asking in a snarky way. Talk us through the process of building this book.)
All the Rage was an extremely difficult book for me to write for a lot of reasons. It’s one of my most ambitious novels and I really pushed myself with it. When approaching a subject like rape culture, it’s very important to be conscious of what you’re bringing to a larger conversation; I took the long way around trying to figure out the plot–I’d think I had it, I’d draft it, and then I’d realize I didn’t have it at all. Each time I started over, I felt like I was failing, which wasn’t the right way to look at it, but the dent in my confidence slowed things down a little. Finally, All the Rage was the first book I sold after my father died–it was just a few months following his passing–and I, naively, didn’t anticipate how much it would affect my writing. I was a different person than I was before he died and it changed my process. I pretty much had to relearn it.
Q: What do you say to someone who says “Stop writing teen rape books, please!”?
No. And I say no because when someone says, “Stop writing teen rape books, please!” what they’re telling me to do is stop talking about rape culture, about the consequences of rape culture, about victim-blaming, about consent, about the ways we fail victims and survivors of sexual violence. I won’t stop talking about that. Silence perpetuates rape culture. Talking about it raises awareness and makes demands on us to to do better. We need to do better.
Q: You’ve talked before about likability and I know I am tired as hell of people who can’t sympathize with my character because she is a bitch/slut/bad daughter. Where do you think this whole notion of unlikeable characters being unworthy of sympathy comes from? What makes society believe only “good” people deserve justice?
When I talk about likability, I’m specifically talking about it as it relates to female characters and how their gender might affect reader perceptions of their likability. (Which is not to say male characters aren’t judged and deemed unworthy of sympathy, as well.) We have so many gender-related expectations of how girls should be–they must always be nice, reserved, non-violent, polite, and on and on–that as soon as a girl starts operating outside of those parameters, we becomes very hard on them. I feel the more a female character challenges those expectations, the higher the chance they will come across as unlikable to people. I think when girls challenge those expectations, we become uncomfortable. When we’re uncomfortable, often our first instinct is to punish and reject the source of that discomfort. Now, the source is really our culture–we need to take a hard look at why we box girls in this way–but not everyone recognizes that or wants to. So our first response is to deny these girls our understanding, or feel less obligated to try to understand them.
Q: I love the idea of Romy using nail polish and lipstick as armor. Was that an early choice or did it germinate as you were writing?
Thank you! I went through so many drafts of All the Rage, it’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly when the lipstick started coming into play. I think it was relatively early on. It germinated as I was writing. As other pieces started falling into place, Romy’s make-up ritual became more and more a direct response to everything happening around her.
Q: I don’t think a book has ever made me so angry with society and the rape culture. Did you deliberately set out to piss people off or was that just the pleasant result?
Thank you so much! As soon as a book is published, reader response is totally out of my hands–but I really do hope when people finish All the Rage, they’re angry about rape culture.
Q: Now that we are all really pissed off, what would you hope your readers do about that anger?
I hope they channel that anger into keeping the conversation about rape culture going, into advocating for victims and survivors, into educating themselves and others.

The Giveaway

Want to read All the Rage? Of course you do! Trish is giving away a HB copy. Just enter the Rafflecopter thingy below by Midnight on Monday, April 20th to be entered. Open to U.S. residents only please. We really want to get this book out into the world so we tried to come up with as many easy ways to enter as possible.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meet the Authors

About Courtney Summers

Courtney Summers was born in Belleville, Ontario in 1986 and currently resides in a small town not far from there. To date, she has authored five novels. Her first novel, Cracked Up to Be, was published when she was 22 and went on to win the 2009 CYBIL award in YA fiction. Since then, she’s published four more books–Some Girls AreFall for AnythingThis is Not a Test and her newest novel, All the Rage.

About Trish Doller

I was born in Germany, grew up in Ohio, and graduated with a degree in journalism from Ohio State University. Married someone really awesome and moved around with him a bit from Maine to Michigan and back to Ohio. I’ve worked as a radio personality and as a staff writer for my hometown newspaper. I also had a couple of kids along the way who have become two of the most interesting adults I’ve ever met.

These days I live, work, and sail in Florida with a relentlessly optimistic border collie and a pirate.

Trish is the author of Where the Stars Still Shine and Something Like Normal, out now. In June she will be releasing The Devil You Know (which I’ve read and it is a seriously wicked good thriller).

To learn more about The Sexual Violence in YA Lit Project, please visit our index with all the links and book discussions.

Middle Grade Monday – YouTube for the Tween Crowd

Several years ago, the school district where I work finally unblocked YouTube, and a whole world of opportunity was opened. There is so much educational content available on YouTube, and much of it is useful to the tween crowd. I’d like to start by highlighting several channels that have incredibly useful educational content (with the caveat that, like all useful content, you need to view it through the lens of your community.)

First, there is Crash Course. Originally featuring science and history content, Crash Course has branched out to cover a multitude of topics. We originally began using it with our students studying world history, then American history. They have multiple playlists featuring the topics they have covered, including psychology, chemistry, ecology, etc. Some of the videos will be beyond the interest or comprehension levels of some tweens, though, so it is important to check out their content before using them with students. Most recently, they have begun to offer some really helpful explanatory content covering government. I find the astronomy content especially useful for our sixth grade students. For younger middle grade students, there is also the new Crash Course Kids channel, which has been active a month and so far features more elementary science topics.

SciShow is a science specific channel with a number of good playlists, as well as some more ‘fun’ content – although all of the content is designed to be entertaining as well as educational. About a year ago, they spun off a series, SciShow Space, which has some really excellent content for students studying the solar system and space content in general. More recently, they have launched SciShow Kids, which features content more applicable to younger tweens. If it seems that SciShow and Crash Course are following similar trajectories, it’s because they are both produced by Hank and John Green (the vlog brothers.)

Minute Earth and Minute Physics are channels that offer short, entertaining content on a wealth of topics. Both channels feature quickly drawn images with an engaging voice-over. Much of the content is relevant to the Common Core science standards, and most of it is highly entertaining and engaging for tweens. Another channel that produces fast paced videos with voice-overs and a combination of drawings and images is CGP Grey. The videos on this channel feature mostly social science topics. I found the explanation of the difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and England very helpful. The channel has a similar video explaining what is really meant by the term Scandinavia.

Finally, for some of my more advanced students, I’ve found a number of useful videos on PBS Idea Channel. This channel has a very useful playlist – a guide to common logical fallacies, however, much of the content is pop culture related and might be slightly beyond the comprehension of many tweens. Many of the videos would be good for initiating group discussions, though.

What content have you found on YouTube that you think is useful for tweens? Leave a comment and share!