Saturday, June 30, 2012

You want to put WHAT in my YA?

June is National Pride Month.  As today is the last day of June, my co-worker and fellow teen enthusiast Christie Gibrich presents a wrap up of her presentation from the 2012 ALA Conference on GLBTQ trends in teen fiction.  Don't forget to check out TLT blogger Stephanie Wilkes Top 10 list of GLBTQ titles.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Fill-Ins: Contemporary

Since today we are talking Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein and Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr, I thought our Friday Fill-In could be about contemporary titles as well.

Fill In the blanks in the comments

My favorite contemporary title is ________________ by ________________.

Why YA? The Story of a Girl (Sara Zarr) as discussed by Lisa Burstein

It was only earlier this year that I read Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr.  I was touched by the fact that it was a simple yet raw coming of age story about a teenage girl.  There were no bells and whistles, no magical powers or arena fights to the death - just raw, unbridled emotion.  Then, a couple of months later, I read and reviewed a book called Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein.  When I finished I wrote my review and said that Pretty Amy brought to mind Story of a Girl.  Today, in our ongoing Why YA? feature, author Lisa Burstein discusses Story of a Girl and does a brief interview with one of her writing heroes, Sara Zarr.

"A lot of people can change you - the first kid who called you a name, the first teacher who said you were smart, the first person who crowned you their best friend. It's the change you remember, the firsts and what they meant, not really the people.”  - Sara Zarr

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen's not fully convinced that Emma's the one he's been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help--no matter what the risk. (from

Mermaids are popular this year. Very.  And the other day I read my first entry into this genre, Of Poseidon by Anna Banks.

Librarians Talk 10: You Tell Us

Librarians are all about sharing, so come share your experience and passion with us. Answer any or all of the questions in the comments and join in on the conversation.

1.  How did you become a teen librarian?

2. What is your favorite teen read (book or author)?

3.  What is one thing you wish your co-workers, administrator or community knew?

4.  What is the one thing you wish your teens knew?

5.  What has been your best program to date?

6.  What do you wish there was more of in teen fiction?

7.  What teen fiction trend are you so over?

8.  What is your least favorite (or most challenging) part of being a teen librarian?

9.  What is your favorite part of being a teen librarian?

10. What do you think is the biggest challenge for the future of teen librarianship?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top 10 Apocalypse Survival Tips I Learned from YA

Post apocalyptic fiction is very popular these days in YA lit.  It can include zombies, or not.  There is often some vast government control - I'm talking to you Hunger Games, Delirium and Matched. Or simply a society that has devolved into utter chaos where it is every person out for themselves.  So here are my Top 10 Apocalypse Survival Tips I learned from reading YA lit.

Monday, June 25, 2012

World Book Night 2012

On April 23, hundreds of thousands of people joined together to spread their love of the simplest of items: the book.  World Book Night is an annual celebration, started first in 2011 in the UK, which exists simple to spread the love of reading and books from person to person.  This year, WBN made its debut in the United States and I felt honored to be one of the WBN givers this past month!  

The Geek Girls Guide to ALA

ALA Anaheim continues, but I am back because I have to work and feed small children. But it was an AMAZING experience . . .

First, I met the lovely Miss Stephanie in the flesh.  We hung out a lot and had a great time. We made a race car. We fangirled over books. We made witty commentary about stuffs. You'll just have to trust me on that one.

Stephanie Wilkes of TLT, making a car in Downtown Disney

Friday, June 22, 2012

Building Bridges to Literacy for African-American Male Youth: A Summit Follow Up (Pt. 2)

So, for those of you just tuning in, this is final post concerning the Building Bridges to Literacy for African-American Male Youth which I attended and presented at earlier this month.  If you haven't read the previous posts, you may feel a little confused, so I entourage to start here, go here, and then come back to us here at part three. 

I hope that many of you did think about your textual lineage and envision your departments and libraries and make sure that your areas are engaging and empowering.

Book Review: Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

I am a reader and a librarian, but I am also an aunt.  My sister-in-law has 4 boys, 3 of whom are autistic.  I remember once taking the "typical" sibling to a pizza place for dinner and he looked around in awe and wonder; it was almost like he had just entered Disneyland for the first time.  It was then that I realized that even though he was now in the 3rd grade, this was in fact the first time he had been to a pizza place because when you have 3 autistic siblings - your life is different.  I think often what it must be like to grow up in a home with a sibling (or siblings) that has any type of issues (in part because one of my children has some chronic digestive issues and food allergies).  And earlier this year, TLT teen reviewer Cuyler Creech wrote about his experience being the older sibling to a brother with Down's Sydrome and Autism.  And this question, this idea of what it is like growing up in a home - under the shadow often - of a sibling with issues is the core of what Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown is about, and she captures it perfectly.

We all knew what Grayson's "Difficulties" were.
Grayson's difficulties dominated his life.
and Mom's and Dad's. And mine.
Sometimes it felt like especially mine.
(Back jacket copy of Perfect Escape)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It Came from a Book: Teen Read Week Art Contest

YA Lit + Teen Created Art = It Came from a Book!

Teens - we want to see your book inspired artwork!
Librarians - we want to help you get your teens reading and creating, and we want to give you a great way to celebrate Teen Read Week (TM by ALA/YALSA).

Thus, the 2012 Teen Read Week Art Contest
It Came from a Book!

Official announcement and poster download at
Librarians, we need your help encouraging teens to read and create art.  Please download the 11x17 poster and help us get the word out.  You can share the information on your library websites, Facebook pages and other social networking sites.  You can also print copies of the poster to put up in your libraries.

To submit artwork, simply send a digital photograph, or file if your artwork is digital, to by September 30, 2012.  Teens can submit artwork themselves or librarians can submit artwork on behalf of their teens.  Please just make sure we have the information requested below.

Your e-mail submission should include your full name, the name of your school or public library, the title and author of the book that inspired your art piece, and the statement "I affirm that this is an original piece of artwork."  We will use your submitting e-mail address to keep in contact with you.

Beginning October 14th, tell your family and friends to visit the online TRW art gallery at The Library as Incubator and vote.  Online voting will determine our grand prize winner.

One grand prize winner will be announced on October 20th.  They will receive a $50.00 Amazon gift card, The Library as Incubator Project t-shirt, some photograph prints from The  Real Fauxtographer and signed copies of the books (Crewel by Gennifer Albin, Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and Divergent by Veronica Roth) that inspired them, and a gift package from EgmontUSA, including their Teens Top 10 nominated titles Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick and Hourglass by Myra McEntire.

A special note to librarians:
As you encourage your teens to read, create and submit, I want to encourage you to consider having a YA lit inspired art show at your library for Teen Read Week.  Your teens will still have their art pieces since we are only requesting digital submissions, so that means you can set up a great art gallery right there in your school or public library.  Have an opening night reception with food and drinks and give your teen artists the chance to talk about their artwork as the public comes in to view it.  For more information on this idea, check out how Justin the Librarian created a teen art gallery in his library.

Also, please share with your teens the ya lit inspired photography series of Margot Wood, The Real Fauxtographer.  She has an ongoing blog where she discusses the teen fiction she reads and shares the pictures she takes inspired by the books.

Keep your eye on Library as Incubator Project for more ways to get art into your libraries and for additional blog posts throughout the next few months regarding It Came from a Book.  You can also follow our Tweets regarding the contest at the hashtag #TRWart.

You can find the complete list of titles nominated in 2012 for the Teens Top 10 here.  Complete information about this teen choice award can be found here.

Throughout the next months we will have blog posts from the authors involved in supporting this project and more. You can visit any of the sponsoring sites - Library as Incubator Project, The Real Fauxtographer and EgmontUSA - for information.

A special thank you to The Library as Incubator Project, The Real Fauxtographer, EgmontUSA, Ilsa J. Bick, Myra McEntire, Gennifer Albin, Bethany Griffin, Beth Revis and Veronica Roth for supporting this project and encouraging teen reading and art.

Please note: This contest is not sponsored or endorsed by ALA or YALSA, it is simply an activity put together by teen librarians as a way to promote teen reading during Teen Read Week (TM by YALSA).  For official Teen Read Week information, please visit the ALA/YALSA website.

Building the Stacks: What I wish administrators, publishers and authors knew about collection development

The other day, I was interviewed by up and coming ya author Victoria Scott regarding Collection Development.  Collection development is, of course, one of the biggest parts of our job.  Although, ironically, I once worked at a library that put together a spread sheet of how much time you should spend each week of your 40 hours doing what and they allotted 1 hour a week to collection development. This was, of course, a pretty absurd time table.  It takes a lot of time to read reviews, put together carts through your jobber, weed collections, etc.  All of this helps us reach our primary goal: having collections that teens want to check out and read.

It must seem to others like some type of a magical process . . . new books keep appearing in the library.

Are you up for the Slupree challenge? (Heather Booth)

My library is in the process of examining our services and revamping our marketing strategy.  We’ve done surveys and focus groups and had lots and lots and lots of meetings.  It can be an interesting process to take a close look at why we’re doing what we’re doing, how to do it better.  I’ve been especially interested in the intersection between underutilized services and unmet needs, and it’s at this crossroads that my summer pet project was born. 

Are you up for the Slurpee challenge?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Meet the New Kids on the Blog

Stephanie Wilkes, co-blogger extraordinaire, and I are happy to announce that we have two new regularly contributing members here at TLT.  So we go from three . . .

Karen Jensen, MLS   Teen Reviewer Cuyler Creech   Stephanie Wilkes, MLIS
to six.

They bring lots of experience and some unique points of view to add to our little blog here. So, drumroll please . . .

The ALA Playbook

Right now, as I type this post up, TLT co-blogger Stephanie Wilkes is already at ALA in Anaheim.  Tomorrow, it is my turn.  And I am getting excited.  But more importantly, like any good librarian, I am getting organized! I have several goals for my time in ALA.

1.  The ARCs

I have, of course, a list of ARCs I am desperately interested in and am making a list and checking it twice.  Making sure I have publishing houses noted AND their booth numbers.  In my mind, I visualize it as a football playbook with all those Xs and Os and lines and stuff.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top 10 Manga You Should Have in Your Library

Today we are pleased to introduce you to our newest contributor here at TLT, Karen DeWysockie.  She reads graphic novels, I do not. I have tried, I really have, but they are just not for me.  But they are very important to libraries, so I wanted to make sure we had an informed way to talk about them. Voila' - meet Karen D! Not to be confused with Karen me.  Here today are her Top 10 Manga that you should have in your library.

Photobucket1) Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi

Usagi Tsukino is a normal girl until she meets up with Luna, a talking cat, who tells her that she is Sailor Moon. As Sailor Moon, Usagi must fight evils and enforce justice, in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. She meets other girls destined to be Sailor Senshi (Sailor Scouts), and together, they fight the forces of evil!

Way way back in 2002: a look back at 10 years as a teen librarian by Heather Booth

This summer marks my tenth as a teen services librarian.  It’s far less than many in our profession, and a decade more than some.  But it’s a landmark to me, and it has gotten me thinking about time.  In particular, I’m thinking about how quickly things change when it comes to the teens that I work with.   So much happens in ten years when you’re young.  As we grow into adulthood, time just seems to change, and ten years can go by in the blink of an eye.  But at sixteen, six was a lifetime ago.  A teen generation is pretty darn short when it comes right down to it. 

Some perspective on teens, teen books, and time, with apologies to the Beloit Mindset List

Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Review: The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee

Back Cover: When Rinn Jacobs moves to a new town, she hopes it will be a fresh start.  At first, everything goes according to plan.  She falls in with the popular girls at her new school and falls for the very cute boy-next door Nate.  But River Hills High School has a secret.  The ghost of a girl who died twenty years ago supposedly haunts a hallway.  rinn's not sure she believes it, but when strange things start happening to her friends, Rinn decides there's only one way to know for sure.  She needs to ditch her bipolar meds again and see what the voices are really trying to say . . .

“Can Aa-a-ana-liese come out and play?”  - Jeannine Garsee

Building Bridges to Literacy for African-American Male Youth: A Summit Follow Up (Pt. 1)

I've been home now for about a week and a half and I am still reeling from the amazing summit that I had the privilege of attending and speaking at the gorgeous University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill campus. 

The topic, as many of you know after reading my initial post, is extremely near and dear to my heart so being placed in a room with close to 100 passionate librarians, professors, authors, library science students, and advocates of African-American male literacy was a dream come true.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Review: What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

The morning that Sid left with her two best friends for the school ski trip is the morning that changes everything.

How do you talk about something you can't remember?

Cassidy, Sid to those who know and love her various other nicknames to those who don't, has a pretty good life.  She is a cheerleader, although she is not exactly a beloved member of the squad, she has a mom and brother that love her, and two amazing bffs.  Her single mom has scrimped and saved to allow Sid to go on the Ski club ski trip, which is where our story begins.

Friday Fill-Ins: Printz Edition

Since we are now about half way through the year, and because yesterday I announced a book that was one of my front runners, today's Friday Fill-Ins is about the 2013 Printz Award.

Fill in the blanks by leaving your choice in the comments

One of my front runners for the 2013 Printz Award is ______________________ by ____________________________.

Coming soon . . .

TLT is proud to announce that we will soon be joining with The Library as Incubator Project, The Real Fauxtographer and EgmontUSA for an epic Teen Read Week (Teen Read Week is trademarked by Yalsa) Art Contest.

It Came from a Book

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book Review: Every Day by David Levithan

It's not every day that you get to read a book that can be described as stunningly brilliant, but Every Day by David Levithan is, in fact, that book.

"We all contain mystery, especially when seen from the inside." (David Levithan)

Meet A.  Every day A wakes up in a new body and for 24 hours lives that person's life.  A does not know why and has no control over it.  It is simply the way things are for A.  It doesn't matter if the body is male or female, they just have to be around the same age and in the same geographic area.

The rules A has developed to cope are simple:
Don't get noticed
Don't make any decisions/changes that would affect this life
Don't get attached

Hatchet (Gary Paulsen) as discussed by Lindsay Cummings

Today, as author Lindsay Cummings waits for her thrilling new ya book The Murder Complex to be published, she stops by to write a Why YA? post about a book that means a lot to her.  You can write one too.

Everyone reads, at some point in their life.
Some of us read in school. Some of us hate it. Some of us love it.

Some of us, like me, can remember the very first time a book reached into their soul and grabbed a hold of them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A rock opera: when Twilight met the 80s (and info about Storify)

Yesterday I was hanging out with my friends on Twitter, and things got out of control.  Suddenly, we found ourselves writing a rock opera where our friends from Twilight break out into various songs from the 80s.  It went something like this . . .

Book Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Fourteen kids. One superstore. The end of the world.

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran. (from Goodreads)

Why YA? Where the Red Fern Grows (Wilson Rawls) as discussed by author Craig MacLachlan

Today, while author Craig MacLachlan waits for his first ya novel to be published, he spends some time talking to us about YA books as part of our ongoing Why YA? series.

I’ve had many memories and great times as an adult, but some of the most defining moments of my life happened during my teen years. I’m going first talk about why I think YA books are important for teenagers and it comes from my own experiences, so first a little history.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: LGBTQ Pride Month and Steph's Top Ten LGBT YA Picks!

So it’s June, already.  Summer Reading is in full swing for many public libraries and for your lucky, lucky school librarians, you should be headed toward some much needed rest and reading time!  But June is also a very important month: LGBTQ Pride Month.  I am a huge gay rights advocate and I think to be a culturally competent librarian, you must immerse yourself in ALL cultures so that you are always able to find the right book for the right reader.  So, here are my top ten picks for LGBTQ YA reads!  

An Interview with a Dragon

Earlier this year authr Rusty Fischer did an Interview with a Zombie.  It was so much fun we thought we would do it again.  Today, author J. F. Jenkins, author of several ya series including the Dragon Saga series, does an interview with a dragon.

In the hotseat today is Darien Oceina from “Legend of the Oceina Dragon” by J.F. Jenkins. Here are some questions about the great mythological beasts in his world. And Darien would know from personal experience since he is a shape shifting dragon. Leave a comment, ask him another question and he'll answer it in a reply as well as a future blog post found on J.F. Jenkins blog. The best question will win a copy of BOTH Dragon's Saga books “Legend of the Oceina Dragon” and “Legend of the Inero Dragon” and one lucky commenter will win a copy of “Legend of the Oceina Dragon”. So that's two chances to win some awesome books.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Stories in Motion: a look inside book trailer creation by Alicia Kat Dillman (guest post)

Today as part of the Daemons in the Mist blog tour, author Alicia Kat Dillman discusses the process she goes through to make a book trailer.

Hi everyone, today I’m joining you here at the awesome Teen Librarian's Toolbox to talk about book trailer creation.

The first thing I do is select what the trailer will be about, what message I’m trying to get across to the potential audience in under two minutes of running time. You want to catch the interest of your audience while not bombarding them with too much info.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Cut Through the Static, Get Feedback

You have heard me say it time and time again but my mantra is simple: you can't serve teens unless you care about them, know them, and value them.  And if you are really good at your job, you will empower them and help give them a voice. (Think 40 Developmental Assets!)  One of the best ways to do that is to get their input.  You can do this through Teen Advisory Boards, no doubt.  But I believe there is tremendous value in doing a large scale, once a year survey to get large scale feedback.

Move teens from thinking of it as "the library" to "my library

Friday Fill-Ins: Once upon a time . . . fairy tales retold

Yesterday I went and saw Snow White and the Huntsman.  It was the second retelling of Snow White I have seen this year as I also went and saw Mirror Mirror.  And many of us spent Sunday nights waiting to see which fairy tale they would incorporate into Once Upon a Time, the hit television show.  From Robin McKinely to Alex Flinn, fairy tale stories get told and retold time and time again. 

If you follow on Facebook or Twitter you know that we do a weekly featured called Friday Fill-Ins.  This is usually a discussion feature where you are asked to fill in the blanks.

So today for fun I thought we would do a fun little contest involving classic children's stories.  Below are 10 pictograms.  See if you can identify the children's classic it depicts. 

Then complete this Friday Fill-In:

My favorite fairy tale retelling is ______________________ by _________________________. 

Fill in the blanks in the comments.

5 Reasons to Love Daniel Kraus

The headline says it all, so let's just dive in shall we . . .

1. Rotters

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Antidisestablishmentarianism and the magic of words, a guest post by Anne Greenwood Brown

The birth of a guest blog post:  The other day author Anne Greenwood Brown tweeted that she had nothing to write that day and I, seeing an open door, tweeted back: "Why don't you write a guest blog post ::cough:: Wait, did I say that out loud?"  And she said, "What about?"  To which I replied, "Mermaids? A teen book you love? Antidestablishmentarianism?" 

Why antidisestablishmentarianism?  Well, in part because I was being a smart mouth.  But also in part because I have always loved that word - it is fun to say.  I am also a huge fan of onomatopoeia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, guffaw, and more.  Some words just have an amazing sound to them.  So today, Anne Greenwood Brown, author of Lies Beneath, writes about antidisestablishmentarianism - and the magic of words.  It turns out, I am not the only one who loves that word.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why YA? Bitterblue (Kristin Cashore) as discussed by Annette Birdsall

Bitterblue is book three in the Graceling Realm trilogy by Kristin Cashore.  Cashore's books (Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue) explore a fantasy world where an evil kind has ruled and some people have special abilities called a Grace.  When you write a book series, you run the risk of not satisfying some of your fans with a latter book in a series.  Keep in mind, there are many people out there that have intense negative feelings about Mockingjay and the way that Suzanne Collins ended the Hunger Games trilogy.  In that same vein, it has been interesting to read the reactions and discussion about Butterblue. Like with the Hunger Games trilogy, some fans have not been satisfied with this story.  Today, as part of our Why YA? series, librarian Annette Birdsall writes about Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore.

Race Reflections, Take II

I first read Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry a couple of years ago when it was first released - and I loved it!  In my mind, as I read the book, I could picture actor Jensen Ackles playing the quietly strong bounty hunter Tom Imura.  This seemed like a no brainer in my mind as he was perfect for the part.

Fast forward to 2012 and my friend and mentor is listening to Rot & Ruin on audio as she drives back and forth to her library job, largely because she got sick of me saying you gotta read this book you just gotta.  So she's listening to it (and liking it) and one day she calls me and we're talking about it.  We're both Supernatural fans and I say to her, "Don't you think Jensen Ackles would be perfectly cast in the role of Tom."  To which she sagely replies, why yes, perfect casting (I told you she was wise).  But then a few days later we're talking and she is all, "Jensen can't play the part of Tom." Gasp! How dare she?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday Top 10: Time Travel

Since we are talking about Mr. Was and time travel, I thought we should put today's Top 10 list together: Time Travel books! So I'll share my list of Top 10 Time Travel books for teens, then you share yours in the comments. And if you are really brave, share a day you would go back in time to change or fix or just relive because it was pure awesome.

Pete Hautman is the Mr. that Was (Why YA? Mr. Was as discussed by Pete Hautman)

When you read a lot, you can lose track of some of the books that you read.  And then, there are those titles that stay with you in one way or another.  Mr. Was by Pete Hautman is one of those titles; I read it years ago and it has really stayed with me.  It has a great concept and deals with an issue that too many teens have to deal with - domestic violence.  Well, that and time travel.  Not that too many teens are having to deal with time travel.  So I approached Pete Hautman and asked him to write a Why YA? post and was very surprised when he said yes.  And I was even more surprised when he wrote about Mr. Was.  I had just mentioned it earlier in my book review of Hourglass.  So it is with great honor and pleasure that I bring  you this Why YA? post by Mr. Pete Hautman.

Seventeen years ago I had made a good, solid start in my career as a novelist.  I had published two successful crime novels for adults, with three more under contract. I was about as interested in writing for teens as I was in learning to play the accordion. I was a grown-up guy with grown-up concerns. I had written a few dozen nonfiction kid’s books because I needed the money, but I certainly didn’t read such things.

But people change.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Book Review: Adaptation by Malinda Lo

"She couldn't remember anything from the time between the accident and the day she woke up. It was all one giant blank spot, and when she tried to think about it, pain pierced her head." - from the back cover of Adaptation.

As Reese and David sit with their teacher in an airport waiting to return home from a school function, a plane crashes.  It turns out it wasn't one plane, but many.  With all flights grounded they rent a car and try to make their way home through the chaos; cars flood the highways and the government seems to be directing traffic. In the midst of all this their teacher is shot and a gas station explodes. Soon Reese and David are in a massive car accident.

Working with Incarcerated Youth Take II, a reflection by Karen Jensen

Yesterday, in her post about racial stereotyping in YA lit, Stephanie mentioned working with incarcerated youth.  At my last library position, in Marion, Ohio where I worked for almost 10 years, I too had an outreach program to incarcerated youth.  This particular facility was a last ditch attempt at rehabilitation before teens were sent to the real deal; these teens - well, some of them - were trying to work their way out of this facility and hopefully go back to their lives and make different choices.  This facility housed teenage boys of all ages and races who had committed crimes such as setting fires, getting in fights, and truancy.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Racial Stereotyping in YA Lit, a reflection by Stephanie Wilkes

I will be the first to admit that I feel awkward at times addressing the race issue in YA literature.  Perhaps it is because I live in Louisiana, and when the word race or racism is even mentioned, people scatter so quickly away that you can immediately hear the lone cricket chirp.  Perhaps this Southern stigma has paralyzed me in some ways of really tackling a topic that has bothered me for far too long but I did not feel as if I could speak out.
Who is reading books by Sarah Dessen? It might surprise you.

Building a Bridge to Literacy for African-American Male Youth

By the time this posts, I will be in a plane leaving hot and humid North Louisiana behind and make my way to North Carolina for the Building a Bridge to Literacy for African-American Male Youth: A Call to Action for the Library Community Summit held at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. It's very hard to get to know someone through a blog and what their passions are, other than teen library services, but one of my deepest passions is working with urban and incarcerated youth.

Book Review: Cornered, 15 Stories of Bullying and Defiance

You can't turn on the nightly news without hearing news stories about how bullying is affecting the lives of our teens.  Make no mistake, bullying has always been an issue, but the impact of it seems to be changing as bullying takes to the Internet.  Teens are talking about it.  Parents are talking about it.  School are talking about it.  And authors are writing about it.  So I was interested in seeing this collection of 15 stories about bullying.

Cornered has a foreward written by Chris Crutcher.  Chris Crutcher is a fabulous author, he is one of my favorites, but he is also an adolescent psychologist with keen insight into the teenage psyche.  In his forward Crutcher notes that "bullying starts with adults" because we "don't tolerate kids finding their ways through natural developmental stages."  I also appreciate it when Crutcher says, "If you want to find the bullies, a good place to look is among the bullied.  Most of what we learn as little ones comes through our pores.  Back before language we absorb through our senses."  In some ways, when we are talking about teens, it is too late, they have already learned the ways of violence.  Crutcher's introduction provides a keen, thoughtful introduction to these varied 15 stories.  And the stories themselves will prompt some good discussion about the topic with your teens.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

We're Turning 1! Give us your feedback

TLT began as a way for me to keep doing what I love doing - being a teen services librarian - while my family was moving.  I'm not going to lie, I love it!  Because of TLT I have met some fabulous authors, met some fabulous teen services librarians, and even met some fabulous teens!  And now we are getting ready to celebrate a year.

TLT isn't even just me anymore - now it's a we.
What an honor it is to work with the awesome Stephanie Wilkes and the amazing teen Cuyler.  And have you met the new kids on the blog?

I feel like we are doing a good job covering things: books, teen services, teen issues, graphics, graphic novels, programs . . . but maybe we could be doing more. Or better.

In the next few days Stephanie Wilkes and I will be sharing with you our Top 10 posts from this past year.  But we want to hear from you as well!

So, as we get ready to celebrate a year, please take a moment to help us help you.

What features do you like best about TLT?

What has been your favorite post(s)?

What other types of information would help you better serve your teens, work with your communities, etc.?

Talk to us in the comments.

Also, we want to take a moment to say thank you!  When you visit our blog, comment on posts and share with your teens or fellow librarians, you are helping us.  TLT has renewed my passion, made me really challenge myself and grow, and given me tremendous opportunities. When you engage, whether by commenting or sharing your own posts (always welcome), you make it all worth it.  Thank you for the opportunity to journey with you as we all try to get teens reading, thriving and using their libraries.  Whether you are a librarian, author, publisher or teen, we couldn't do what we do without you and we genuinely give thanks.

Leave a comment about TLT or your favorite post, etc. between now and July 15th (with an e-mail or Twitter followback to get in contact with you) and you'll be entered to win a 5 ARC bundle from our stash.

Friday, June 1, 2012

My Journey as a Teen Blogger: Guest post by Aneeqah

I've said it before and I will say it again: the best way - the very best way - to serve teens well is to know them, spend time with them.  And to spend time reading their blogs! There are some amazing teen bloggers out there reading books and sharing what they think.  We've talked before to Marissa and Jasmine from Beneath the Moon and Stars, now meet Aneeqay from My Not So Real Life.

Before I go on and on talking about myself, I thought I would thank the fabulous Karen who has graciously invited me to write this post. You are fabulous, Karen, and we all know it!

Visit Aneeqah's blog My Not So Real Life

Cover Reveal: The Collector by Victoria Scott

It’s official, Dante Walker has arrived! And trust us when we say, being bad has never looked so good. You’ll need him, you’ll want him...and we'll let you in on a little secret:
He wants you too.