Monday, April 30, 2012

Harry Potter + The Fault in Our Stars = A fantastic Why YA? post by Leah Miller

As part of our ongoing Why YA? series, Leah Miller, author of The Summer I Became a Nerd, shares two titles that moved her and why everyone should read them.

Harry Potter is, as we all know, a beautifully written story. It will be with me for the rest of my life (not to mention my kids' lives, if I have anything to say about it). Sometimes, I'm not sure how I ever lived without it. I know that might sound a bit dramatic, but it's the truth. Rowling wove a story for us that could never be equaled. All sorts of topics are touched upon in the series; prejudice, love, hate, loyalty, and relationships between friends, family, and enemies, among tons of others. The way her brain works is spelled out on the page in plots, sub-plots, and even ghost plots (all my Pottermore people say, “Holla'!”). I doubt I'll ever be as in love with a story as I am with Harry Potter and his many adventures.

Advocacy 101: Be seen, Be heard, Be felt

ad·vo·cate/ˈadvəkit/



Noun:
A person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.

Also, you, the teen services librarian!

Advocacy is the act of making your library’s presence in the community known, understood and valued.  You want to make sure the community knows what your library is doing in the community and why it matters.  Basic literacy, education support, lifelong learning, helping community members find jobs, and more – every member of your community needs to know.  Publishers talk about “impressions”: each time your cover is seen it makes an impression, their goal is to get enough impressions that their book can’t be ignored.  Your job is to get your library - your teen services programming - enough impressions that it can’t be ignored. As your message is repeated and ingrained in the community culture, your community members themselves become your best advocates.  The question is, how do you do that?




Sunday, April 29, 2012

Jennifer Rummel declares "I Love YA" (with apologies to Randy Newman)


Why read YA?
I read YA because I LOVE it!

There are so many things I love about YA books, but the biggest is the first moments.  Teen years are the biggest moments for firsts – first kiss, first love, and first heartbreak. It’s a time for drama: family, friendships, school, job, and relationships.  It’s a time for finding you’re not alone in the world.  It’s a time where you learn that other people have the same questions, quirks, feelings that you have and it’s normal. It’s a time for discovery and figuring out who you really are.

The YA community is huge! I enjoy hearing about books from other book bloggers. It’s great meeting YA bloggers and YA Librarians and conversing about books.  I’m a huge fan of social networking, talking with authors, librarians, publishers, book bloggers, and readers. I blog about the books I read and enjoy reading other blogs and discovering new books to read or purchase for the library collection.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The ABCs of Hyperemesis Gravidarum, an unconventional picture book


As part of the first ever HG World Awareness Day (May 15, 2012), I am sharing my experience with Hyperemesis Gravidarum in the only way I know how as a librarian - as an ABC picture book.  Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a debilitating, life threatening pregnancy illness that can cost a pregnant woman her life.  Although one of the symptoms of HG is nausea and vomiting, this is not morning sickness.  This is a nausea and vomiting so severe that women lose tremendous amounts of weight, their bodies shut down from dehydration, and babies don't make it.  Over the course of 3 pregnancies I have thrown up more than a 1,000 times, stared death in the face, and lost one precious baby.  This is my tale . . .


Announcement
 
After my first pregnancy, which would now be considered mild HG, the announcement that I was pregnant didn't come with presents and balloons.  It came with terror and fear.  It came with prayers and pleading.  Every day I lay there wondering if today would be my last day.  Sometimes I begged for it to be.  I have stood at the edge of a cliff and stared death in the face.  My toes hung over the edge.  Death came barrelling towards me like a train on the tracks, its single headlight cascading its circular light on my chest as I stood there paralyzed in fear.  For me, the announcement that I was pregnant could just as easily have been the announcement that I was dying.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Review: The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

There are tales that in the outlying region of Scree there live a brand of people known as Peculiars.  These peculiars have many bizarre physical characteristics which make them unacceptable to modern society.  They have been shunned and labelled criminals.  And if tales are to be believed, Lena's father is one of them.  In fact, Lena has some traits of her own that suggest she may be as well.

On her 18th birthday Lena receives a letter and some money and decides that she will travel to the land of Scree to find answers for herself.  She leaves the only home she has ever known and boards a train that will lead her on more adventures than she has ever known.  In her adventures she meets Jimson, a mysterious marshal who may know - and hate - her father, the flamboyant Mr. Beasley and his crazy concoctions.  And she meets many people with secrets like her own.

After a train robbery leaves her with little funds, Lena spends time in the care of Mr. Beasley, having been asked to spy on him by the marshal and learns that the people around her are often not whom they see.  Her spying puts events into motion that causes many, including Lena, to flee in an amazing flying contraption to the land of Scree where the real adventure begins.

The Peculiars should be an adventurous addition to the steampunk genre, but there is little steam and the adventure stalls when Lena ends up in a town outside the forbidden lands trying to find a guide.  Part of the problem is that it is clear to the reader what is going on in around Lena, even when she is not.  There is a certain amount of naivete that makes sense on Lena's part; she has, after all, spent a great deal of her life hiding as much as possible because of those ailments that may make her peculiar.  But at the end of the day, the plot trapping knock you over the head with an anvil, even if Lena isn't seeing the clues.

It is Lena's naivete that sets that last third of the book in motion and the action finally picks up; but to be honest, before I got to this part I had set the book down and read three other books only to come back to it out of sheer will and determination.  I am not sure that teen readers have that driving principal to finish books that don't hold their attention.  If they do, readers will actually be rewarded in the last 3rd of the book as the cast set out into Scree - finally - in a literal flight for their lives.  The Peculiars is clearly set up for a sequel and as Lena finally starts showing some growth readers may turn in for part two.  But, to be honest, I doubt that I will.

To be fair, my co-worker borrowed my ARC, which I picked up at ALA, and she genuinely liked this book.  The actual print cover is a fantastic improvement over the ARC cover and steampunk is definitely popular this year, so you may want to give this title a try.  One definite thing that it has in its favor is that it is a much more gentler read than a lot of the YA titles I have been reading lately; it has a lightness about it in tone, theme, language and sexual tension.  It will definitely work for younger YA readers as an introduction to the genre.  3 out of 5 stars. (Karen)

Book Review: In Honor by Jessi Kirby

I finished reading In Honor by Jessi Kirby on an airplane.  I sat there for a moment and finally, I couldn't resist the urge any longer, I turned to the stranger sitting next to me - the one not drooling and snoring but playing Angry Birds on his computer - and said, "I'm sorry, I just need to tell someone - this was a glorious book."  He blinked a few times, clearly trying to understand what could possibly be happening here, and looked at me and said, "I'm . . . glad."  Sometimes a book is just so good you need to tell someone, and so I did.

In Honor is a soul satisfying read about a glorious cross country trip through the journey of grief.  Yes, I know I already told you it is glorious, and I'll work on expanding my vocabulary later, pinky swear, but it's just - glorious.  It is just such a satisfying read that reminds us that everyone must travel their own journey through the tunnel of grief; there is no right or wrong way - it just is. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Exquisite Corpse: Tweet a poem April 27th

Tomorrow, Friday April 27th, TLT and the Library as Incubator Project invite you to help us build an exquisite corpse poem!  Simply tweet your poem line with the hashtag #exquisitecorpse on Friday and we'll compile our collaborative poem.

What is an exquisite corpse poem?  An exquisite corpse poem is a poem in which each person contributes a different line of the poem.  We're going to do it via Twitter.  So tweet your line of poetry with the hashtag #exquisitecorpse and when you search that tag, a huge multi-person poem will come together.  It is most fun if you tweet your line before you read what others are saying - let nonsense reign! For more information about exquisite corpse poetry visit the Poets.org website.

What is the Library as Incubator Project you ask? It is an amazing project that focuses on bringing libraries and art together.  At their website you can find a wide variety of project kits, ideas and see how other libraries are incorporating the arts into their library programming.  Whether it be showcasing musical acts, getting patrons involved in crafts or sharing poetry, the Library as Incubator Projector is a great place to see how libraries and art go hand in hand.  Let's not forget that the written word is, in fact, amazing art!  The Library as Incubator Project will be following along and will compile our poem on their website as part of their National Poetry Month wrap-up.  This is a great website for inspiration and programming ideas.  Be sure and check them out often.  You can also follow them on Twitter @IArtLibraries.

This is a fun way to involve your teens in poetry.  For more fun poetry programs check out the TPIB: Poetically Speaking

Updated: You can find the final Exquisite Corpse poem at The Library as Incubator Project. This was a ton of fun and I hope you will join us next time.

Book Review: One Moment by Kristina McBride

This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget.

Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can’t she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below—dead?

As Maggie’s memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere: Beth Revis on the Real Fauxtographer

I am a huge fan of Margot Wood, the Real Fauxtographer.  Her photography is beautiful and I can't help but think, it must be so amazing to be a novelist and stumble across something like this.  What must it be like to discover that you inspired someone in this way?  So I put out a call to artists that have inspired Margot and Beth Revis answered.  I am particularly glad that it was Revis that answered, because Margot's pictures inspired by Across the Universe is hands down my favorite of them all.  It is a stunning portrait in and of itself and, if you know the story of Across the Universe, it brilliantly captures the essence of the story.  Margot talks more about her project in a previous post, but today I talk with Beth Revis to learn how she stumbled upon The Real Fauxtographer and what it is like to be someone's muse.

Q & A with Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe

Photo by Margot Wood, inspired by Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Edelweiss, Or Crack Cocaine for Librarians/Collection Development People (Stephanie Wilkes)

This is one of those ‘informative training type’ posts where I want to let you guys in on a little website that has completely blown my Snuggie off.  (Don’t steal my phrase…I’m gonna trademark that.)  Basically, if you are a librarian who orders books or if you work in collection development, you are going to want info about this website.  Edelweiss is a website that has this tagline: “Whether you're a bookseller, sales rep, librarian, reviewer, or publisher, you have the same goal: to connect readers with books”.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Basically, this website is an amalgamation of publisher’s catalogs.  All of them.   EVER.  Well, probably not all of them but pretty much all of the ones that you are ordering books for your collection from.  Random House, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Egmont USA, Houghton Mifflin….you name it.  (I’m not paid by anyone to rep their publishing companies at all…if I left you off it was just because of a major lack of coffee and like I said, every publisher in the WORLD is on this site.  So that is your inclusion.  I’m going to stop now.)

Monday, April 23, 2012

TLT Teen Review: Partials by Dan Wells

The world is a harsh place to live. After the war with the Partialssuper engineered organic beings that mimic humans in every way apart from their super-advanced assassin skills and military thinkingthe population has been irreparably decimated. Along with the release of RMa deadly virus with no cure released by the Partials, the entire race of mankind has been 99.9 percent destroyed. Only a fortunate few thousand still reside on the Earth due to their unique immunity.

With the threat of mankind becoming extinct, and the little government the world still actually has, mankind’s only hope is to have children. Constantly have children and hope one comes out immune like the rest of mankind that’s left. Pregnancy ages are enforced, nearing sixteen years of age, which does not sit well with some, creating the terrorist group called the Voice who show their disgust of the pregnancy law, or “Hope Act,” by kidnapping, bombing, and assassinations.

Interview with a Zombie

To borrow from Anne Rice, today TLT does an interview with a Zombie.  Monsters to be feared or sick people to pity?  What do zombies think of the current spate of zombie fiction lining library shelves?  And most importantly, what can we do to keep ourselves safe?  Joining us today to answer these zom questions is the zombified version of Rusty Fischer.

TLT: Zombie fiction is very popular right now, do you think that zombies are accurately portrayed in today's zom lit?


ZR: Let’s just say I’ll be happy with the way zombies are represented in fiction, especially YA fiction, when we’re as cool as the dudes in Vampire Diaries. I kid, I kid. Actually, some authors are far too kind in their depiction of the living dead because the majority of zombies I meet can’t string two words together, let alone have something bordering on a personality!





Friday, April 20, 2012

Atticus was Right: Guest post by Amianne Bailey (Autism and Libraries)

Atticus Was Right

*Names have been changed to protect the truly awesome.  This is part of our ongoing focus on autism and libraries.  Current statistics indicate that 1 out of 88 children are diagnosed with Autism.  This is a story about how books can make a difference.

I’m one of THOSE librarians. After I read a book that moves me, I can’t help but tell everyone I know about it. Yes, I’m a book pusher; I own it, but there are worse things to be obnoxious about. Last March I read Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper and immediately started shouting its praise from the rooftops. I blogged about it, and I went so far as to call it “required reading for all of humanity.” I pushed it into the hands of students and told any teacher who would listen to me about Melody’s story, especially the fifth grade teachers at my school; I encouraged them to read it aloud to their classes. They did because they are THOSE kinds of teachers.

Fast forward to a year later. It is a typical Wednesday in the Shaw library. There is a break between my morning and afternoon rush of classes, so kids drop by to checkout books on their own. A group of sixth grade boys huddle near the nonfiction while a cluster of girls congregate near the display of recommended chapter books. The beep-beep of the scanner serenades us as I go from group to group chatting with and checking on the kids. It’s my own little slice of library heaven.

Why YA? Victoria Scott invites you to dive into YA with Between Shades of Gray

Some of the greatest war stories have been told from the point of view of teens.  Anne Frank was a teenager when she hid her diary.  Devon recalls his teenage years when he returns to the place that haunts him in A Separate Peace by John Knowles.  And just this past week Stephanie and I rejoiced in the splendor that is Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.  Today, debut author Victoria Scott invites you to dive into the pages of Between Shades of Gray with her as part of our ongoing Why YA? series.

BETWEEN SHADES OF GREY, THE PERFECT EXCUSE TO DIVE INTO YA

I think the most accepted idea about the YA genre is that it’s meant for teens alone.

I beg to differ.

Most books that end up in the teen section are categorized there for one reason: the main character is a teen. When I explain this to non-readers, or casual readers, the response is always the same, “That makes sense.” And while it does make sense, I’m not sure everyone actually knows this. Many of my non-writing friends believe books are read by some great Lord of the Tomes. Naturally, said lord sits down each morning with a cup of Jasmine tea and the newest soon-to-be-released book, and gives it a read. After doing so, Lord of the Tomes stands, fills his broad chests, and exclaims something along the lines of “I hereby announce this book to be teen in nature. Shelve it as so. I have spoken.”

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Divergent nation - join today!

Harry Potter - Twilight - The Hunger Games

What is the next big thing?

Divergent by Veronica Roth!
All throughout the month of April fans of Veronica Roth's Divergent series are promoting the upcoming release of her book Insurgent through various contests, group efforts, and more!

If you have never heard of the Divergent Series you are missing out.

TLA Baby!

Tuesday night I left work and drove 4 1/2 hours to make my pilgrimage to TLA.  TLA baby, here I came! It was a truly amazing day where I met a ton of amazing teen authors, talked to publishers and yes, I received some ARCs (which will get their own post).

Although the exhibit halls were amazing, and I'll get back to them, the fun truly began at the Texas Teen Author Tea.  Here we were invited to speed date with a wide variety of amazing teen authors.  There were 60 authors in total present, but I didn't get to date them all.  The even was introduced by Andrea White, author of the fabulous Surviving Antarctica, which I have loved for a long time and being a new Texas transplant I had no idea she was a Texas author.  Ms. White, it was announced, gave some money to YART, the Young Adult Round Table, and they were starting some cool online resources including something called SPOT, the Spirit of Texas Reading Program.  My favorite was when she said that our goal - authors, librarians - was to help teens learn that "books are relationships", a book is more than just two covers with pages in between.  Well said.

Then the speed dating began!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why YA? 2012 Printz Award Winner John Corey Whaley tells you why!

Today as part of our ongoing Why YA? series the 2012 Printz Award Winner John Corey Whaley talks about a ya title that moved him.  Read on to learn what ya title lingers in the mind and soul of this award winning author.

I'll make a confession: I read YA books.  You know what else I read?  I read newspaper articles, blogposts, essays, poetry, and . . . . wait for it . . . . adult literary fiction.  It's possible to read them all and experience them all respectively.  But, to be quite honest, YA books have the most special place in my heart.  They are the titles I remember instantly when asked "What's your favorite book?" YA books are the ones we keep with us for years and years, lifetimes even.

Cover Reveal and Contest: Vala: Heritage by J. F. Jenkins

What an exciting day! What is it like for an author when they finally sees the cover for their newest title?  Each book is a labor of love, you pour your heart and soul into the words on a page and then you must trust an artist to come up with a cover that will help sell your vision to the world at large.  We all do, judge a book by its cover.  The cover can help determine whether or not someone takes that book, picks it up and thumbs through its pages.  The cover is the moment that helps us all decide - should I?  Today J. F. Jenkins shares the cover of her newest book, Vala: Heritage.  Today she joins us to talk about her Vala series and share what it's like to receive the cover art of a new title.


Finally seeing my cover for the first time, with any book I put out, is always a treat. Even if I don't get the final version of it the first try, there's something special about opening up my email and seeing a proof from my talented cover artist Elaina Lee. Sometimes it's instant love and cover lust, and other times it takes some back and forth to get the perfect cover image.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Book Review: Quarantine 1: The Loners by Lex Thomas

It was just another ordinary day at McKinley High—until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorpe tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning.

A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you’re as good as dead. And David has no gang. It’s just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.


Blog Tour: Embrace by Cherie Coyler


Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It's responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve. Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he's a guy harboring a secret, but she's willing to risk the unknown to be with him. Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren't there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can't find the answers, Madison seeks her own. Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover. Dangerous, intoxicating, and darkly romantic, Embrace is a thriller that will leave you spellbound. (from Amazon.com)



Embrace is a paranormal romance that touches on a topic not often seen in today's paranormal worlds.  Madison must "embrace" who she is in order to help those around her.  Embrace is published by Omnific publishing and you can find more info and view its trailer here.  You can also buy the e-book.  Embrace will melt the hearts of teens looking for paranormal romance with something other than angels, demons, or mermaids.

Monday, April 16, 2012

20 Questions: Teen Librarian 101 part 2 with Karen Jensen

Today we introduce you to a new TLT member and a new feature: 20 Questions. I am so excited to introudce you to Stephanie Wilkes, the Young Adult Coordinator for the Ouachita Parish Public Library in Monroe, Louisiana. She is also working on putting together the North Louisiana Teen Book Festival in April of 2013.  2012 Printz Award Winner John Corey Whaley is set to be the Keynote speaker.  You can read her complete bio on the Meet TLT page. On today's 20 questions Stephanie and I each answer 10 questions about our experiences as a Teen Serivces Librarian and a reader.  Now it is Stephanie's turn to interview Karen.  Be sure to catch the first part of 20 questions here.

Part 2: In which Stephanie interviews Karen

What made you decide to become a librarian?

Looking back, I always joke that I have a top 10 lists that I was destined to be a librarian. In the 8th grade, I wore a back brace for Scoliosis and couldn't do PE so they had me work in the library. I used to take all my cassette tapes (yes, really, cassette tapes) and keep them wound to side one and I organized them on my shelves in alphabetical order by the title of the artist and then in release date order. I remember my junior year in high school reading a book called The Murder of a Shopping Bag Lady, a true story, that completely changed my view of the world that I lived in.  All these little moments in my life seemed to be whispering be a librarian.

In college, I was working on getting my youth ministry degree and needed a job. The student services office suggested I apply at the local public library because they were looking for someone to work with teens and my degree seemed like a good fit. I got a job there and just knew that I had found my home. I started as a paraproffesional working with teens at the age of 20, barely out of the teen years myself.  I had the most amazing professional mentor there who is still such an important part of my life.  Every day I am thankful because I know I am one of the people in this world who gets to go to work and do what they were truly called to do.



20 Questions: Teen Librarian 101 part 1 with Stephanie Wilkes

Today we introduce you to a new TLT member and a new feature: 20 Questions.  I am so excited to introudce you to Stephanie Wilkes, the Young Adult Coordinator for the Ouachita Parish Public Library in Monroe, Louisiana.  She is also working on putting together the North Louisiana Teen Book Festival in April of 2013.  2012 Printz Award Winner John Corey Whaley is set to be the Keynote Speaker.  You can read her complete bio on the Meet TLT page.  On today's 20 questions Stephanie and I each answer 10 questions about our experiences as a Teen Serivces Librarian.

Part 1: In which Karen interviews Stephanie

Why teen services? How, and when, did you know you wanted to be a teen librarian?

When I was working in my first library job, my boss handed me Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. I was raised in a small Southern town and homosexuality was NOT discussed in my town. So, when I read this book, I read it with eyes wide open and an open mind. And I found that my world was so much bigger than what I had ever known and immediately began to wonder what else I had been shielded from. Two days later, as if by fate, a boy came into my office who served on my Teen Advisory Board, shut the door, and said, "Miss Stephanie, can you give me a book about...a boy that likes a boy? I think I like boys". Never would I have been able to do that, in fact, I may have even have talked him out of it, had I not read Levithan's book. So, I handed him Boy Meets Boy and it was right then that I realized that I wanted to connect teens with books and the right book. It was also then that I realized how imperative it was to enhance a teen's world view by letting them read about far off places, about issues that they may not be familiar with, and about life in general so that they can find themselves and find a connection through literature. I still remember my teen as well and he is happily with his partner of 3 years and they live in Atlanta and we talk often. :)

Book Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Every review you see if this book is sparse in details but tells you that you MUST READ IT.  There is a reason for that.  If I gave you too many details, I would totally ruin this book for you and you would hate me forever.  And, yet, somehow I must convey to you that you MUST READ THIS BOOK.  So let me start with this . . .

I hate historical fiction.  I hated history as a student.  If I were to have an arch nemesis it would be history.  There are important things to be learned from history.  Amazing stories to be told.  There is value in history.  It's just that if I am choosing a book to read, 99 times out of 100 it is not going to be historical.  And yet - yet I loved this book.  It is a powerful story.  If I am telling you that I loved this book, well, that in itself is a strong testament.  I can count the number of historical fiction titles that I recommend with enthusiasm on one hand.  Code Name Verity joins the ranks.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Real Fauxtographer: YA Lit + Art = Awesome (Guest post by Margot Wood)

A couple of years ago, I was googling "The Perks of Being a Wallflower quotes" when I stumbled across a beautiful photograph with a quote from the book on it.  This is when I learned that all over the Internet people were making beautiful art from their favorite YA books.  Since then, I have become fascinated with the mingling of visual art and ya lit.  I was thrilled (and awed and amazed and stunned) to stumble upon the amazing Margot Wood.  She is a photographer and YA reader who creates photographs of some of her favorite YA books.  How does she do it? What inspires her? I am honored to introduce her to you today.

Hi everyone! I am so thrilled and honored to guest blogging here at TLT. As an avid teen book reader and library go-er, I love knowing that passion for books and support for libraries is still alive and kicking in today’s digital age.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Support Teen Lit Day

Today is Support Teen Lit Day! If you support Teen Lit, there are a lot of ways you can participate.

1.  Rock the Drop

Your goal: to leave teen lit around town for people to find, pick up and read.  This event is being sponsored by readergirlz and Figment.  To participate simply follow the link and instructions.  People all over will be leaving books for the joy of discovery today.  Some authors have indicated that they will be tweeting clues as to where they are leaving them.  Some of them will be signed.  Follow #rockthedrop on Twitter to join in on all the fun.

2.  The 2012 Project

Our mission this year is to collect 2,012 pictures of teens reading and using their libraries.  Pics are coming in every day that SHOW teens still use (and love) their libraries.  That they still read.  Follow

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why YA? How the Hunger Games changed my life by Sara Ansted

As part of our Why YA? series, guest blogger Sara Ansted shares how the Hunger Games reached into her chest, pulled out her heart and changed the way she views the world we live in.  Sara actually has the honor of being our first Why YA? post but don't worry, you can write about a book that touched you.  Just follow the link to learn how.


I know what you’re thinking. Not another post about The Hunger Games. I totally understand. But this isn’t a story about The Hunger Games. It’s a story about how YA fiction can literally change lives.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Review: Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

Once upon a time . . .
There are so many don'ts in Mirabelle's life.  But the most important one seems to be that she can never go visit the town of Beau Rivage, where she was born and her parents died.  Which is why she feels she must.  Here she can finally find answers about who she is, what happened to her parents, and of course she can escape the ever watchful eyes of her overprotective guardians.  She has been planning her escape for months and is about to set foot into a magical world - it is her birthday present to herself.  What she does not know is that "birthdays were wretched, delicious things when you lived in Beau Rivage."

When Mirabelle arrives she finds herself capturing the attention of two brothers.  One pleads with her to leave town immediately.  The other woos her and sweeps her off her feet.  Like many of the people who live in Beau Rivage, they too have a secret.  One that may cost Mirabelle her life.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Dystopian Week Recap

Last week was Dystopian Week over at Random Buzzers, the amazingly cool website for Random House.  Don't say I didn't tell you because I did: I tweeted it and put it up on the TLT FB wall multiple times.  The Random Buzzers website and tweets focused on the topic of dystopian fiction, which you may have heard is all the "buzz" right now.  See what I just did there?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Why YA? Now it's your turn

Earlier this week I wrote a post entitled Why YA? in response to Joel Stein's proclamation that adults should only read adult books.  To date it is my most viewed post.  It has also received the greatest amount of feedback, publicly and privately.  So many of you have written me and talked about various YA books and how they changed your life.  And many more of you talked about how important it is for adults to be able to engage meaningfully with teens about the things that matter most to them.

So I thought we would take the dialogue and turn it into a regular feature here at TLT and give you the chance to voice your opinions and share what ya means to you and what books, exactly, you think that adults should be reading - and why?  I hope that you will participate.

Here is how it will work:

Write up a guest blog post in a word document and send it to me via email as an attachment to kjensenmls@yahoo.com.  Talk about a specific ya title, why yas like it, what it means to you, and why you think adults should read it.

Include in your email a brief bio as you would like it to appear on your post.  You can use only a first name if you would like.  Also, please include a head shot if you would like.

Don't worry about book covers, I can find and add those easily.

This isn't really about Joel Stein.  It's about adults talking meaningfully about the ya literature that moves them.  It is also about teens talking about the books that move them - teens, please feel free to share what books you love and why you think adults SHOULD read them.  And it's about bringing adults and teens together in meaningful ways because we have so much to give to one another.  Plus, ya literature is amazing.  Well, most of it.

I'll post updates as I receive them.  Hope to be hearing from you all soon.  Happy reading.

In My Basket

The Easter Bunny at my house is smart and wise it does not bring me candy, but food for the brain - books!  In my Eater basket today are 3 new books:







Friday, April 6, 2012

Reflections: Tornadoes in Texas part 2, a librarian's point of view

On Tuesday, April 3rd I was at work at my Texas library when tornado sirens started going off.  I tend to think about things.  Probably to over think them.  The next day I posted this message to the yalsa-bk listserv.  If you are a teen librarian, I highly recommend you join and actively participate in the Yalsa listserves, we share and learn a lot from one another.  And sometimes we just support one another.

Yesterday, I was at work when tornadoes started ripping through Dallas, Texas.  I live and work in the Dallas area. The sirens went off and we had to get all of our patrons to shelter. There we stood in the designated hallway and stared at one another.  Thankfully school wasn't out yet and we were fairly slow. As the storms moved on we went back to business as usual to a degree, but still had the emergency radio on because there may have been more coming. I sat at my desk when they announced that a tornado had just touched down in my hometown and gave a highway location which was the exact exit I take to go home. In that moment I was no longer a librarian but a mom with tears streaming down her face and an anxious beat in her heart.  I drive less

Reflections: Tornadoes in Texas part 1, a teen's point of view

On Tuesday, April 3rd tornadoes ripped through the Dallas, Texas area.  Here, teen book lover and blogger Aneedqah talks about her experience at school on the day that tornadoes hit.

So, as many of you know, we had some tornadoes in the DFW area.  Before I moved to Texas, I'd been in plenty of tornado warnings and watches.  Nobody where I used to live really took it seriously.  I've never actually been in a real tornado {I've had some close calls, though}.

So when my school told the whole school to get into their assigned duck-and-cover rooms, I admit, I didn't think anything was wrong.  Looking outside the windows, I saw the sky was getting increasingly darker, but I didn't think anything of it.  I just thought it was going to be a regular thunderstorm.  My class went into our designated rooms and chatted, and waited for the school to stop being so scared for what we thought was going to be a tiny little thunderstorm.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Book Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

I remember when I first saw Hourglass; the cover caught my eye and I thought to myself I need to read that.  But like all readers my list of books to read is long and some books fall in the cracks.  If I could go back in time, I would read it the moment it came in to my library and crossed my desk.  This book is that good.

One hour to rewrite the past

Emerson Cole sees dead people.  At least she thinks that is what is happening. She opens the door and there stand a woman dressed like Scarlet O'Hara.  When she tries to place a glass on a piano at a party it crashes to the floor, she is the only one who can see it.  Boys playing football, a man standing in a garden . . . Only Emerson can see them.  It's a secret that very few people know because it landed her in the hospital once when she had an argument in the school cafeteria with a boy that no one else could see.  It's the kind of thing you tend to keep to yourself.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Prom books and giveaway by HMH Teen

I wore a blue Scarlet O'Hara type dress.  Hoopskirt and white elbow length gloves.  And I drove myself and my date in a tiny little yellow car.  I could barely get the door closed thanks to that stupid hoop skirt.  Looking back, it was a hideous dress. I shudder at the horror of the memory of it.  But yes, I went to prom.  I went to prom with my high school boyfriend that I was sure I was going to marry some day.  The Mr. is not that boyfriend.  No, we broke up about 6 months later.  He was 1 grade year behind me and we decided we would go all out for prom the next year, his senior year.  He ended up taking someone else.  So let this be a lesson to you, make every prom year count because each one is special and you deserve it.  But don't go overboard with the money, it really is just one day.

To help get you ready for prom, HMH Teen is providing you the opportunity to win a prize packet of prom themed books.  Read on for detials.

Teens and Autism: What does it mean to be "typical"

Today is a guest blog post from the TLT Teen Reviewer Cuyler Creech in honor of Autism Awareness Month.  Cuyler is the "typical" older brother to Skeet.  Skeet is autistic.  He also has Down's Syndrome.  The two brothers are very close and today Cuyler shares their story.

Think back to when you were in school. Like elementary school. Can you remember a group of children who sat together at a certain lunch table? Had a classroom all to themselves? Were different somehow, but you didn’t know exactly how?

I remember those children. And until nearly seven years ago, I knew next to nothing about them. They are atypically developing children. Children with various disorders and diseases. Mental and physical abnormalities are common in such cases. And, as I’ve experienced, cruelty and unfairness is easily dealt to children with these challenges. We know there are bullies, and sometimes we do things ourselves that we aren’t even aware that we’re doing it. It’s pure and simple. Ignorance on any subject forms scrutiny. Judgment. That’s why I’ve dedicated myself to do my best to help those come to know about these children with these challenges.

What makes me qualified to do so? Why should you listen to what I have to say? Well, because I live in a situation where I’m educated every single day of my life on the subject. Nearly seven years ago, Skeet Lee Creech was born with a genetic defect called Down’s Syndrome. A gene disorder, also known as Trisomy 21, affects the twenty-first pair of chromosomes. Instead of two copies, there are three, causing mental and physical disabilities.

I am a sibling of a child with special needs.

Book Review: The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

Welcome to the future. A future full of possibilities. Promise. Oh…and you know…blood-thirsty monsters.

The human populations has been decimated, nearly to the point of extinction. In our place are beings who look just like us. They work. They go to school. They have families. They are like us in almost every way. Except they crave our flesh and blood like we crave cookies and ice cream. And if they walk out into the sun, their faces pretty much melt off.

Now that’s something a little different.

It’s a terrifying time to be a human. We are the prey. A delicacy among them. They will catch your scent and hunt you down with blinding speed and fiery determination. And if they catch you, and they will, there’ll be nothing left of you but dry, licked and gnawed on bones lying still in the dust.

A bad time to be human.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April: Special The 2012 Project Contest

Libraries matter.  They matter to our communities.  They matter in the lives of our teens.  In a bold, or perhaps foolish, attempt to show that teens do still read - that they still do need and use and love their libraries - I put forth a challenge to myself and other teen librarians that we would collect 2,012 pictures of teens using their libraries or reading.  I did it because people believe what they see more than what they hear.  I could give you a number to try and prove it - or I could show it happening.  Thus, The 2012 Project (#the2012project on Twitter).

To date, we have a little over 350 pictures.  You can see them all in the various 2012 Project photo albums on the TLT Facebook wall.  You can read more about the project here. (Photo album 1, Photo album 2, The 2012 Project page)

So how about a contest . . .

Why YA? Joel Stein says don't read this. I say think for yourself.

I am an adult.  Well, I at least play one on tv (or in real life).  Mostly.  I also read YA fiction.  Joel Stein recently said in a New York Times article that I should not.  Sure, I could stand at a dinner party after you asked me what I read and make a defense for myself and declare I have to read YA for my job, I am a teen services librarian after all.  But the truth is, I also like it.  No, I love it.  I find that I often close the back cover of my book and rejoice that once again I have read such great fiction.  That didn't happen when I read Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.  To be honest, I didn't even finsh that one.  And in my personal universe it is almost a sin not to finish a book.

In the past few years I have read 1,000s (and no, that is not an exaggeration) of teen (or ya) books.  And I have read a couple hundred adult ones.  And I have liked a great deal of both to be honest.  Yet, I find ya fiction to be well written, engaging, soul stirring, sometimes life changing, thoughtful, and yes - entertaining.  I read it all, zombies, angels, mermaids, demons.  I also read the quiet, thoughtful contemporaries.  Edgy stuff.  Fluff.  It all has value.  And to be fair, adult fiction has all the same different types as well. 

There is a Message in What You Value


Monday, April 2, 2012

Way to Go, happy book birthday and a contest

Today I present you with a guest blog post by debut YA author Tom Ryan.  His debut novel, Way to Go, comes out today.  Read on to hear more about this exciting new addition to the ya field and how it can help teens struggling with their sexual identity find peace in their lives.
This is an exciting day for me. My debut novel, WAY TO GO, has been released into the world, and I couldn't be happier. Growing up, I always hoped and imagined that I'd one day be a published author. If you'd told me in high school that this day would come, I would have been thrilled.  If you'd told me what the book was about, I would have been shocked.

WAY TO GO is about a summer in the life of Danny, a gay seventeen year old who's coming to terms with himself and the world he inhabits. It's a straightforward story, far from revolutionary, but a book like this would have been unthinkable to me when I was a teen. I've since learned that there were a few brave books in print back then that dared to describe LGBT teenagers in a positive light, but I wasn't aware of them. I wish I had been. They might have made a big difference in my life.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April is . . .

"We shall sit here, softly
Beneath two different years
and the rich earth between us
shall drink our tears" - Audre Lorde