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

Middle School Monday: Summer.  Yes, Summer. By Julie Stivers

It’s summer! A magical time for school librarians…

[First, a shout-out to my colleagues in our school district and around the country who are librarians at year-round schools. You get no summer break. You transition directly from year to year. You are amazing. I couldn’t do it….]

For those of us on traditional schedules, what are we doing during the summer?

Reading.  Yes, I know that as librarians, books are not–and should not be–our sole purview. We want widespread access to information, equitable educational outcomes for our students, literacy integrated in every subject. But, come on, books! BOOKS. Summer gives school librarians time to read without pause. Find new books to recommend as class texts. And, of course, read books and authors that reflect our diverse schools. I’m going to be talking about some of my favorites over the coming weeks and I can’t wait to hear about your new finds.

Rethinking our library spaces.  In addition to a freshly painted wall [half chalkboard paint / half Carolina Blue], I sought help from a guru in our district (Thank you, @klallen!) and she had great ideas for redesigning the space to create more efficient zones for library activities [free reading / instruction / circulation]. My library is tiny! To free up space, we’re dismantling the circulation desk to just a small book drop and circulation computer.

Creating new spaces.  I’m turning my office into a space for students and bringing my desk out into the library. [Actually, my desk looks like it’s from 1952 and it is broken. I will probably just use a table.] I’m excited about being OUT in the library and am doubly excited to create another space for students to learn and play. Our school does not have an art teacher or program and I’m envisioning using this space for electives and other free time to give students creative and artistic reign to create, envision, make, tinker. Will I call it a MakerSpace? STEAM Lab? I don’t know! I think names matter–which is why I call myself a Librarian and the school space, a Library.  Anyone have any ideas for an art-focused “making” space?

Connecting with students. I’m going into school today to meet with four of my students who are coming into the library to help. My plan is for us to do some organizational work in the library, but we may end up just sitting around and talking. Either way, I’ll consider it a success. I’m lying. I hope we just sit around and talk.

MakerSpace: Making Fingerprint Pokemon Go Buttons

Pokemon Go is big – you’ve probably heard. So my library is like many libraries and we are trying to plan a Pokemon Go program for our patrons while the program is still hot. Yes, I know Pokemon has been popular for 20 years now, but this is a new level of popularity and we want to tap into the zeitgeist in a timely manner.

We’re in the brainstorm stages, but one thing I know for sure we want to do is continue to use one of our most popular Teen MakerSpace stations – our button makers – to get teens creating. So I spent a part of last week researching Pokemon related button making ideas. And then it hit me, our fingerprint buttons are already so popular, so why not try making Fingerprint Pokemon Buttons.

Which is how I stumbled down the rabbit hole of Pokemon characters. I know Pikachu and a few of the characters I have caught playing Pokemon Go, but my knowledge of Pokemon is definitely lacking. So I had to research and find characters from Pokemon that might be easier to translate in the fine art form of fingerprint art.

Pikachu, it turns out, is actually kind of the easiest. In fact, I have perfected my fingerprint Pikachu and plan on putting that on my next resume.

Scan0026

Not Just a Button, a Pokebutton

pokeball

I particularly wanted to play around with the idea of the Pokemon being in the Pokeball, but having the red portion of the Pokeball didn’t really work. Making the black bars creates the illusion of the Pokeball, but I had to make them shorter in order to provide space for the fingerprint Pokemon. The Pokeball template ended up looking like this:

pokeballtemplate1lthough we definitely want to encourage our fingerprint button makers to be creative and make whatever they want, we have found that many participants want examples that they can follow. So I made a page of examples: Pokeball ExamplesPokeball Examples-page-001

Pokeball Examples 002

Some of my fingerprint Pokemon examples were a little, um, less than successful. It’s okay, you can laugh.

Scan0030 Scan0032

My finished template page ended up looking like this:

pokeballtemplatesIt’s just one of the many activities that we will do for our Pokemon Go program, but it was a fun one to put together. And you have to admit, teen librarians have some of the most interesting resumes out there.

Sunday Reflections: It Starts in Local Communities – And it Starts with You!

A man laid down on the ground with his hands up in the air, he was shot anyway. There were bombings in Kabul and a mass shooting in Germany. The Republican convention ended with the notion that we should hang the democratic presumptive nominee for treason and the leaked news that members of the DNC and media colluded to make sure she got the nomination.

sundayreflections1

The world is a mess.

It’s easy to get pessimistic and feel like we are in the end times here just waiting for the apocalyptic event that tips the scales and has us all living out our own post apocalyptic version of The Walking Dead.

But there are things we can do. Things we MUST do.

First, vote. If you are of voting age, then please make sure to register to vote and to exercise that right. It’s not just the presidential election that matters, numerous seats in the Senate are up for the taking and we need to make a statement and fill those with people who understand that they are public servants. Vote out big money and corporate influence. Vote. Vote. Vote.

Vote for education.

Vote for families.

Vote for jobs.

Vote for unity.

Second, start changing the world one person at a time, one community at a time. Get involved locally. Volunteer. If there aren’t opportunities, create them.

Get to know your neighbors.

Make sure your local community has artistic, creative, and meaningful ways for people of all ages to engage in. Make sure they are accessible. For example, my local community doesn’t have a lot to offer youth, but it has an active soccer program which is accessible to only a few – you have to have the money to play and parents who work 9 to 5 work schedules so you can go to practice and games. Same for the softball program. That’s . . . not a lot. Opportunity is nothing if it also doesn’t have accessibility.

I happen to live in a community that doesn’t have a regular public library. There is a small public library that is part of the high school, but it doesn’t have the same breadth of collections, hours and programming that an independent library has. So a local friend of mine who is a HS librarian (different town) and I are working to put together a YA book club and discussion group. It’s not a lot, but it’s what we know.

Inspired by author Christa Desir, I now host Spaghetti Sundays at my house. I make a big pot of spaghetti and whoever wants to come comes and we hang out. Again, it’s not a revolutionary act, but it’s something I can do to help build relationships and bring positivity into the lives of my girls and our local community.

Of course as a librarian there are tons of things I do to help change my community and my teens for good, but I don’t work in the same community that I live and I know many of us don’t.

If you’re like me and you feel discouraged and overwhelmed, then let’s start trying to do what we can. (And yes, I know many of us are.) What we need is for our communities to feel connected, the people in our communities to feel respected and valued, and for our children to feel empowered and have hope.

No one person can do it alone, but together we can change the world.

Friday Finds: July 22, 2016

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Sunday Reflections: What Does the World Look Like for Teens?

Thank God It’s Monday! Blog Tour: My Best and Worst Mondays

MakerSpace: Community Feedback

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA July and August 2016

Video Games Weekly: Video Games 101: Coming this Fall! What you need to know about the newest consoles

Take 5: Quirky Towns in YA Lit

#MHYALit: There is Hope When You’re Dealing with Depression by Jodie Andrefski

Around the Web

Sony Options Hot YA Novel ‘This Savage Song’

14% of Americans — 48 million people — are “food insecure,” and it’s about to get much worse

What the ‘First Black Woman’ Librarian of Congress Means

Teen inmates to be moved off Rikers amid push for age-appropriate policies

Amandla Stenberg To Star In Adaption Of Nicola Yoon’s ‘Everything Everything’‘Hamilton’ Star Daveed Diggs Joins Young Adult Film ‘Wonder’

The Final Divergent Movie Is Skipping Theaters for a TV Debut

‘Hamilton’ Producers Adapting Neil Gaiman’s ‘Interworld’ for TV

 

Save

Book Review: As I Descended by Robin Talley

When I’m reviewing books for professional publications, I stay quiet about them on social media. I’m always really excited once a review comes out to be able to talk about the book, finally! Here’s one of my most recent reviews, which originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of School Library Journal.

 

as i descendedTALLEY, Robin. As I Descended. 384p. ebook available. HarperCollins Publishers. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062409232.

Gr 10 Up—Something wicked comes to Virginia’s elite Acheron Academy in this modern retelling of one of Shakespeare’s darkest works. Overachiever and second-most-popular girl Maria, who is bisexual, and her scheming girlfriend, Lily, who is disabled and a lesbian, are determined to have Maria win the coveted Kingsley Prize, which guarantees entrance into any college and will enable the couple to stay together after high school. A séance reveals cryptic prophecies and opens the door to a plethora of spirits, leaving the girls unable to control their own action. Their cruel and manipulative plans to unseat the most popular girl are just the first of many schemes that go horribly wrong. Before long, Maria and Lily are not the only ones admitting to interacting with spirits. Students are having bad dreams, hearing phantom noises, and seeing ghosts. The couple’s desire for power grows, and what looked like ruthlessness now seems like madness. As the tragedy unfolds, no one at Acheron is safe—least of all Maria and Lily. Talley’s novel is ambitious but successfully so. The work address racism, classism, and homophobia, all couched in a horror retelling of Macbeth. Notably, all four of the main characters—Maria, Lily, Mateo, and Brandon—are not straight. Those familiar with the source material will not be surprised at how the story plays out, but knowing the eventual outcomes does not diminish Talley’s dark tale about fate and ambition. VERDICT A highly recommended, absorbing read with wide appeal.—Amanda MacGregor, Great River Regional Library, Saint Cloud, MN

#MHYALit: There is Hope When You’re Dealing with Depression by Jodie Andrefski

Today as part of the #MHYALit Discussion we are honored to host author Jodie Andrefski. You can find out more about the #MHYALit Discussion and see the posts here.

thesocietyIn The Society, the main character, Sam, had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and then did not receive mental health treatment. On top of that, she was going through an extremely stressful time in her life—her father went to prison, her parents divorced, and she was the victim of extreme bullying. Sam felt like she just didn’t fit in at school, and often fell into the low side of her bi-polar disorder, the depression side. Because she did not have a positive support system in place that she turned to, Sam ended up dealing with all of the stressors in her life in a very unhealthy manner. And unfortunately, Sam is not alone in this.

Too many teens are going through similar stressors in their lives, whether they’ve been given a mental health diagnosis or not. In fact, many teens are not even afforded mental health care because they don’t realize that help is out there or because they themselves or the people around them, don’t recognize the signs that there is a deeper problem. Something more than a “bad day.” Or they may not have health care coverage, so they think that there are no options available. Too often, these teens may feel like there is no hope in the midst of the depression they are feeling. I’m here to encourage you and tell you that this is not the case.

In my previous work as a county crisis worker, I’ve met with many teens dealing with issues very similar to Sam’s—stress from school, home, friends, relationships, and more. The common thread that I saw repeated was how each teen felt alone or as if they didn’t fit in, and that no one would really understand what they were feeling or experiencing. As a result, it often took a long time for the individuals to reach out. They may have first tried to deal with their stress using unhealthy coping mechanisms like acting out, withdrawing from their friends or social activities, self-harming, using drugs or alcohol, or, in extreme cases, attempting suicide. This is an alarming trend.

While it’s completely normal for teens to have a rollercoaster of emotions, feeling down for an extended period of time could be a red flag that something more is going on. Some signs to look for either in yourself or a friend who you may suspect may be dealing with depression are:

  • Difficulty sleeping, or sleeping much more than usual
  • Feeling sad or down for most of the day
  • Lack of interest in hobbies or extracurricular activities previously enjoyed
  • Lack of energy
  • Regularly being cranky or irritable
  • Persistent headaches, stomachaches or other aches/pains
  • Significant weight loss or gain (without trying)
  • Abusing drugs and/or alcohol
  • Self-harming (ie cutting, burning, etc)

The reality is, a startling number of teens are dealing with depression and other mental health disorders, with teen girls being more than three times more likely to be diagnosed with depression than boys.  According to the 2014 SAMSHA report, approximately 2.8 million adolescents in the US aged 12 to 17 had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. That’s over 11 percent of the adolescent population, and according to some recent studies, that number is rising. We need to be aware of what to look for, and reach out to friends and our kids if we see them exhibiting warning signs.

There is help out there. Each county has crisis hotlines to call where you can talk to a trained crisis counselor if you feel like you are going through a tough time and don’t know where to turn. Even if you don’t have medical insurance, there is no charge to call a crisis hotline. There are also some great websites available with resources on depression and other mental health issues, as well as stressors like bullying like Sam faced.

If you are being bullied or are feeling depressed or having thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, there is help out there. Please reach out.

Some websites to visit are:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
To Write Love on Her Arm https://twloha.com/
IMALive.com www.hopeline.com

If you would like to chat right away to a trained crisis counselor via text message, send a text to 741741, and a counselor will respond via text message. (Part of TWLOHA)

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255
Counselors are available 24/7 in both Spanish and English languages.

Meet Our Guest Author

Jodie Andrefski lives in a tiny town in PA that no one has ever heard of with her teenage daughter. She received her BS in Secondary English Education from Penn State, then taught a few years before changing focus and going back to school for her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling.

Andrefski always loved both reading and writing, and wrote for several websites and magazines before deciding to write novels. She writes YA Contemporary, most of which involves at least some kissing. The Girlfriend Request was her debut novel through Entangled Crush, and The Society is her most recent release through Entangled Teen in May 2016. She’s a firm believer that just about anything can be cured with chocolate or by watching an episode or two of a favorite show on Netflix.

About THE SOCIETY

Welcome to Trinity Academy’s best-kept secret.

The Society.

You’ve been handpicked by the elite of the elite to become a member. But first you’ll have to prove your worth by making it through Hell Week.

Do you have what it takes?

It’s time to find out.

Samantha Evans knows she’d never get an invite to rush the Society—not after her dad went to jail for insider trading. But after years of relentless bullying at the hands of the Society’s queen bee, Jessica, she’s ready to take down Jessica and the Society one peg at a time from the inside out.

All it’ll take is a bit of computer hacking, a few fake invitations, some eager rushees…and Sam will get her revenge.

Let the games begin. (Published 2016 by Entangled Teen)

Take 5: Quirky Towns in YA Lit

twilightzoneFrom a very young age, I was obsessed with The Twilight Zone. My very favorite episode is the episode Time Enough At Last where the banker survives the end of the world and finally has time to read all the books he wants and then he breaks his glasses and there is no one left to fix them for him. Noooo!! This dream come true episode becomes my worst nightmare.

My other favorites include those episodes where something seems just a little bit off about a town or a society. Like when we find out that the girl who just wants to be beautiful and fit in is an outcast does in fact meet conventional beauty standards, it’s just that the world around her is so very different. Or we find out that a town is really inhabited by aliens.

Which brings me to today’s book lists. You see, I like quirky towns. Not just Stars Hollow quirky, but town with mysteries or secrets. Think Twin Peaks or Wayward Pines. It’s one of the reasons why I love A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd, about a town that once had magic but seems to have lost it (great book, please read it). So today’s list is all about town that have quirky characteristics, dark secrets, or some other thing that makes it not quite like a regular town.

Wax by Gina Damico

quirky2Publisher’s Book Description: Paraffin, Vermont, is known the world over as home to the Grosholtz Candle Factory. But behind the sunny retail space bursting with overwhelming scents and homemade fudge, seventeen-year-old Poppy Palladino discovers something dark and unsettling: a back room filled with dozens of startlingly life-like wax sculptures, crafted by one very strange old lady. Poppy hightails it home, only to be shocked when one of the figures—a teenage boy who doesn’t seem to know what he is—jumps naked and screaming out of the trunk of her car. She tries to return him to the candle factory, but before she can, a fire destroys the mysterious workshop—and the old woman is nowhere to be seen.

With the help of the wax boy, who answers to the name Dud, Poppy resolves to find out who was behind the fire. But in the course of her investigation, she discovers that things in Paraffin aren’t always as they seem, that the Grosholtz Candle Factory isn’t as pure as its reputation—and that some of the townspeople she’s known her entire life may not be as human as they once were. In fact, they’re starting to look a little . . . waxy. Can Poppy and Dud extinguish the evil that’s taking hold of their town before it’s too late? (Coming August 2nd, 2016 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Karen’s Thoughts: This was a very fun read that I thought would make a classic TZ episode. And like Human.4 below, it works really well for all ages, including younger middle school students.

Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar

quirky5Publisher Book Description: Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow in this paranormal suspense novel about a boy who can reach inside people and steal their innermost things—fears, memories, scars, even love—and his family’s secret ritual that for centuries has kept the cliff above their small town from collapsing.

Aspen Quick has never really worried about how he’s affecting people when he steals from them. But this summer he’ll discover just how strong the Quick family magic is—and how far they’ll go to keep their secrets safe.

With a smart, arrogant protagonist, a sinister family tradition, and an ending you won’t see coming, this is a fast-paced, twisty story about power, addiction, and deciding what kind of person you want to be, in a family that has the ability to control everything you are. (Kathy Dawson Books June 2016)

Karen’s Thoughts: This is an utterly fascinating book about privilege, consent, power and morality. The basic premise – that people can steal a part of your mind and control you – is creepy as all get out, but it makes a good foundation from some serious reflection and discussion.

(Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

quirky1Publisher’s Book Description: A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

Except…

There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all. (Harper Teen 2014)

Karen’s Thoughts: I don’t remember a lot of the specifics of this book, but it’s been 2 years since I have read it and it still often comes to mind. It is truly eerie and haunting.

Human.4 by Mike Lancaster

quirky3Publisher’s Book Description: Kyle Straker volunteered to be hypnotized at the annual community talent show, expecting the same old lame amateur acts. But when he wakes up, his world will never be the same. Televisions and computers no longer work, but a strange language streams across their screens. Everyone’s behaving oddly. It’s as if Kyle doesn’t exit.

Is this nightmare a result of the hypnosis? Will Kyle wake up with a snap of fingers to roars of laughter? Or is this something much more sinister?

Narrated on a set of found cassette tapes at an unspecified point in the future, Human.4 is an absolutely chilling look at technology gone too far. (Egmont 2011)

Karen’s Thoughts: I read this book years ago. I bought this book. It’s very entertaining and interesting. And yes, it was the first book that made me go: this would make a great Twilight Zone episode!

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

quirky4Publisher’s Book Description: Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are. (Balzer & Bray 2015)

Karen’s Thoughts: Naming this list quirky towns basically defies the exquisiteness of this title. This isn’t so much a “quirky” town as it is a haunting town that will stick to your bones. It’s now a Printz Award Winner, in part because of it’s haunting brilliance and storytelling. It most reminds me in style and tone of Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, which in my book is the highest compliment I can give it. But it is also truly unique, compelling and memorable. Also, it drops some important feminist truth bombs. I got a signed copy for The Teen at ALA because I hope this will be a book that she will read again and again and cherish forever.

What are your favorite books that take place in a quirky town? Please add to this list by sharing your recommendations in the comments.

Video Games Weekly: Video Games 101: Coming this Fall! What you need to know about the newest consoles

videogamesweekly

This year is a big year for video games.  Pokemon Go is sweeping the nation, and there is new hardware being released for the Big 3 consoles: Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo within the next 12 months.  Many libraries are still circulating older console games for Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii, and justifiably so since many patrons have yet to make the jump.  So, what does all this new hardware mean for libraries?

Nintendo Miniature NES

Release Date: November 11, 2016

Price: $59.99

What’s New:  This cute little system is preloaded with 30 classic NES games. This is AWESOME for gamers who want a throwback experience, or show  teens how difficult video games used to be back in the day.  It’ll come with its own NES-like controller, but it can also hook up to your Wii/Wii U remotes.

Games:  Games will come preloaded on the system, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing extra games for a circulating collection.

Should librarians buy it for programs?: Absolutely. This is going to be a gem for library gaming programs, that is, if you don’t already have a Raspberry Pi.  You can justify spending $60 because it will be used program after program, and will also have crossover appeal for all ages.  Adults, especially Millennials, will play for the sake of nostalgia.  Teens will like it because it’s new content, and these games are really hard. Heck, even kids will want to attempt to beat The Legend of Zelda even though there is no hope for them!

PlayStation VR

Release Date: October 13, 2016

Price: Launch bundle is priced at $499

What’s New: The PlayStation VR is strictly used for virtual reality games. You’re not paying for a whole new console, instead you’re paying just for the headset.  You also already have to have the PS4 and PS4 Camera, which is sold separately.

Virtual reality games are pretty controversial in the gaming community. Some predict VR is the “future of gaming”, but VR has many obstacles to overcome before it becomes a staple in the gaming world.  That being said, I’m really excited for VR gaming because it is a whole new way to get immersed in a fictional universe (as long as you don’t get motion sickness).

Games:  There will be new games released solely for PlayStation VR.  They already have Star Wars Battlefront ready to go, as well as 50 other titles.  However, I do not believe libraries should start buying these games for circulating collections quite yet.  It’s hard to say whether or not the PlayStation VR will be a success, and even then the people who will be purchasing the headset can probably afford to buy the games for themselves.  Keep your ear to the ground for any of your patrons expressing interest.

Should librarians buy it for programs?: If librarians are looking to purchase a VR headset, it is not the worst but it’s not the best either. However, it is one of the cheaper VR headsets in the market that is also of decent quality.  I would recommend checking out this list of VR headsets and corresponding reviews to learn more about VR before purchasing it. Personally, if my library had infinite money I would buy the HTC Vive, but that’s just me.

Xbox One S

Image: http://www.legitreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/xbox-one-s-2-display.jpg

Release Date: August 2nd, 2016

Price: Ranging from $299-$399 (depends on the size of the hard drive)

What’s New: A lot more storage (you can get up to 2TB when you pre-order), a slimmer design, displays in 4K Ultra HD (basically, really fancy pants graphics) and a better wireless controller.  Xbox gamers need all that extra space because when you want to play a game, the entire game gets downloaded to the game system.  I know plenty of gamers who have purchased an external hard drive just to save their Xbox games!

Games: Xbox One games will be compatible for the Xbox One S. You will not have to order separate games for this console.

Should librarians buy it for programs?: I’m going to say no.  Xbox One S’s main feature is the storage and the 4K Ultra HD experience, but how many libraries have a 4K Ultra HD TV?  I’m guessing not that many.  If you need extra storage, you can always purchase an external hard drive rather than buying a whole new system.

Xbox One is on sale though!: In lieu of the Xbox One S getting released soon, Xbox One console bundles are priced at around $275.  If you want to upgrade your library program consoles, now is a good time to do it since many companies are trying to empty their stock!

Questions? Comments? Tweet them at me!

By: Alanna Graves
Twitter: @LannaLibrarian

to show

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA July and August 2016

It’s time for another roundup for new and forthcoming YA (and sometimes not YA) books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters.  The titles I’m including here have LGBTQIA+ main characters as well as secondary characters (in some cases parents). Know of a title I missed in this list? Or know of a forthcoming title that should be on my radar for an upcoming list? Leave a comment or tweet me @CiteSomething. This list covers July 2016 and August 2016 titles. Head over to this link for the previous post (May and June 2016 titles) in this series. All annotations here are via the publishers.

 

July 2016

Help! There’s nothing on my list. If you know of any, leave the titles in the comments or tweet me @CiteSomething.

 

August 2016

athletesLGBTQIA+ Athletes Claim the Field by Kirstin Cronn-Mills (ISBN-13: 9781467780124 Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group Publication date: 08/01/2016)

In the summer of 2015, LGBTQ+ athletes were everywhere. The world watched as soccer star Abby Wambach kissed her wife on the heels of the US women’s World Cup victory. Milwaukee Brewers’ minor league first baseman David Denson came out as a gay man. And Caitlyn (born Bruce) Jenner, an Olympic decathlete, came out as transgender.

Yet it hasn’t always been this way. When tennis great Billie Jean King was outed in 1981, she lost all her endorsements—overnight. Many great athletes have stayed in the closet their whole lives, or at least until retirement. And young transgender athletes across the nation are fighting for equal access to school teams, locker rooms, and bathrooms of the gender with which they identify.

Social attitudes, institutional policies, and laws are slow to change, but they are catching up. Title IX legislation outlaws discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The National Collegiate Athletic Association has antidiscrimination policies that support LGBTQ+ inclusion at all levels. Together, athletes, coaches, families, educators, allies, and fans are pushing for competitive equity so that every athlete, regardless of identity, can have the opportunity to play at their very best.

 

 

whateverWhatever.: Or How Junior Year Became Totally F$@cked by S.J. Goslee (ISBN-13: 9781626723993 Publisher: Roaring Brook Press Publication date: 08/02/2016)

It’s like the apocalypse came, only instead of nuclear bombs and zombies, Mike gets school participation, gay thoughts, and mother-effin’ cheerleaders.

Junior year is about to start. Here’s what Mike Tate knows:

His friends are awesome and their crappy garage band is a great excuse to drink cheap beer. Rook Wallace is the devil. The Lemonheads rock. And his girlfriend Lisa is the coolest. Then Lisa breaks up with him, which makes Mike only a little sad, because they’ll stay friends and he never knew what to do with her boobs anyway. But when Mike finds out why Lisa dumped him, it blows his mind. And worse—he gets elected to homecoming court.

With a standout voice, a hilariously honest view on sex and sexuality, and enough f-bombs to make your mom blush, this debut YA novel is a fresh, modern take on the coming-out story.

 

three truthsThree Truths and a Lie by Brent Hartinger (ISBN-13: 9781481449601 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 08/02/2016)

A weekend retreat in the woods and an innocent game of three truths and a lie go horribly wrong in this high-octane psychological thriller filled with romantic suspense by a Lambda Award–winning author.

Deep in the forest, four friends gather for a weekend of fun.

Truth #1: Rob is thrilled about the weekend trip. It’s the perfect time for him to break out of his shell…to be the person he really, really wants to be.

Truth #2: Liam, Rob’s boyfriend, is nothing short of perfect. He’s everything Rob could have wanted. They’re perfect together. Perfect.

Truth #3: Mia has been Liam’s best friend for years…long before Rob came along. They get each other in a way Rob could never, will never, understand.

Truth #4: Galen, Mia’s boyfriend, is sweet, handsome, and incredibly charming. He’s the definition of a Golden Boy…even with the secrets up his sleeve.

One of these truths is a lie…and not everyone will live to find out which one it is.

 

 

edge of lightThe Edge of the Light (Whidbey Island Saga #4) by Elizabeth George (ISBN-13: 9780670012992 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/16/2016)

The climactic final installment of New York Times bestseller Elizabeth George’s award-winning saga.

Seth Darrow is a straightforward guy, and he likes life to be simple.  Lately, it’s been anything but.

Since his beloved grandfather’s stroke, Seth has been focused on getting Grand home again, before his aunt can take advantage of the situation to get her hands on Grand’s valuable real estate. Seth would also like to get his relationship with Prynne on solid ground. He loves her, but can he believe she has her drug use under control?

Meanwhile, things are complicated for the other Whidbey Island friends. Derric has found Rejoice, the sister he left behind in Uganda, but no one – including Rejoice – knows she is his sister. Jenn is discovering feelings for her teammate Cynthia, feelings her born-again Christian mother would never find acceptable. And Becca, hiding under a false identity since her arrival on the island, is concealing the biggest secret of all.

In the final book of the Whidbey Island saga, events build to an astonishing climax as secrets are revealed, hearts are broken, and lives are changed forever.

 

 

been hereBeen Here All Along by Sandy Hall (ISBN-13: 9781250100658 Publisher: Feiwel & Friends Publication date: 08/30/2016)

Gideon always has a plan. It includes running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges. It does NOT include falling head over heels for his best friend, Kyle. It’s a distraction, it’s pointless—Kyle is already dating the head cheerleader, Ruby—and Gideon doesn’t know what to do.

Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. So when both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong.

Sandy Hall, the author of A Little Something Different, is back with her signature wit in this quirky and heartfelt LGBT YA novel.

 

 

georgiaGeorgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown (ISBN-13: 9780062270986 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 08/30/2016)

Joanna meets the perfect girl for her and must decide whether to break a promise that could change everything for her and her family or lose out on love in this charming young adult romance that’s perfect for fans of Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’ and Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

MakerSpace: Community Feedback

On July 13, 2016, the most amazing letter to the editor appeared in the Mount Vernon News regarding the Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH). I tracked down the community member who had written the letter and got her permission to reproduce it here.

makerspaceeditorial2

As you can imagine, this was amazing to read. Such a pleasant surprise. There are 2 Teen MakerSpace assistants and the three of us spent some time texting back and forth this day about how awesome this feedback was. Some of us might also have mentioned tearing up. I am so proud of this space that we have put together and this amazing staff and all the work we are doing.