Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Friday Finds – January 31, 2014

This Week at TLT

We hosted Victoria Schwab on her blog tour for her latest novel The Unbound. Read our review and her answers to our not at all stalkerish questions.

In our Sunday Reflection, Karen talks about the 5 episode season of Torchwood, Children of Earth, and it’s uncanny look at how we really feel about the disadvantaged members of our society. 

We combine Divergent enthusiasm with Rainbow Loom fever for this week’s Teen Program in a Box.

Karen’s thoughts on some of this year’s ALA Youth Media Awards. 

Our Middle Grade Monday is Robin’s thoughts on some of the MG focused award winners from the ALA YMA. 

Book Reviews

We have a guest post and giveaway from author A.B. Westrick.  

Take 5: Reasons to read your December 2013 VOYA Magazine. 

An Introduction to our School and Public Library Collaboration series with Naomi Bates.

DRUMROLL please! Our first Google Hangout was a great success as Karen spoke with Carrie Mesrobian, Christa Desir, and Trish Doller about Sexual Violence in YA Lit.

An introduction to a new feature – Diversity Discussions with Jayla.

Previously at TLT

Karen reviewed The Archived by Victoria Schwab.

Around the Web

The first official trailer for The Fault in Our Stars was released this week to much fanfare – and also a great breakdown by PopWatch on Entertainment Weekly.

Rainbow Rowell has signed a deal with First Second Books to create two graphic novels in collaboration with Faith Erin Hicks!

If you have Hulu Plus, you can watch Teen Wolf, season 3, episode 13, right now – for those of us without cable. Sorry, I love this show!

Here’s an interesting infographic on the Characteristics of 21st Century Learning – thoughts?

Please read Stephen Krashen’s articulate takedown of the disaster that is implementation of the Common Core State Standards. 

This is a really thorough list of YA authors on Tumblr. 

FOX is reviving the Carl Sagan series Cosmos with NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON! Commence science muppet flailing.


Introduction: Diversity Discussions with Jayla from LadyBlueJayReads

Today I am very excited to announce a new monthly contributor to TLT, Jayla.  She has been gracious enough to add her perspective as a new librarian to the mix here at TLT.  She has also decided that she would like to start a new monthly column called Diversity Discussions.  So join us the last week of each month for her posts.  
Meet Jayla . . .
Hello fellow librarians and young people advocates! I’m Jayla Parks, a book blogger and future (hopefully) youth services librarian! My journey to librarianship came out of nowhere really. As an undergraduate, I majored in Theater and received credits towards a minor in English. The two English classes that I absolutely loved were the Adolescent and Children’s Literature classes. During my time in college, I also worked at the school’s library and really enjoyed helping people find what they needed and being generally surrounded by books. Toward the end of my time at school, I expressed interest in working with children to one of the reference librarians. His response — “Why don’t you become a children’s librarian?” and I thought “Children’s librarian? That’s perfect!.”
So there you have it. My MLS will be in my hands in May and I couldn’t be more excited about the field I’ve chosen to work in! In the last year or so, I’ve become heavily involved in joining professional organization where there are wide ranges of topics discussed relating to librarianship and youth advocacy.  Now, I’d like to extend my reach to contribute to those discussions! Particular on the topic of diversity.
It’s no secret that diversity in libraries and literature is becoming a hot topic. People want to see more books that represent people just like them. And it’s not a strictly racial issue. Diversity topics include sexual orientation, physical disabilities, and mental disabilities. In the coming months, I hope to present you all with lists, discussions, and ideas that will not only supply diverse populations with the information they need, but also educate ourselves so we can provide tweens and teens alike with solid, colorful information.  

Sexual Violence in YA Literature Hangout Wrap Up

About two hours ago I hosted my first ever Google Hangout on Air to (mostly) non-disastrous effects.  I’ll have to write you a post about what I learned about doing that some other time.  But what I really want to talk about is the conversation that I had with authors Christa Desir, Trish Doller and Carrie Mesrobian about their books, sexual violence in culture and in ya literature, and more.

You can see the entire conversation here in the embedded clip below.  There are a few technical hiccups, but it was a really good conversation.  I suggest listening to the audio and not watching the video itself as it freezes in a couple of places.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q-3qXsB_9I?rel=0]



About our Authors:
Carrie Mesrobian is the Morris Award finalist of Sex & Violence.  Sex & Violence is the emotional story of Evan, once a player who sets out on a journey of healing and self-evaluation after a traumatic – and almost deadly – experience.

 Christa Desir is an activist, editor and the author of FaultlineFaultline is the story of a girl (Ani) who was gang raped at a party and how her boyfriend, Ben, deals with his guilt and feelings in the aftermath.

Trish Doller is the author of many YA books, including Where the Stars Still Shine. Where the Stars Still Shine is the story of Callie. After being kidnapped by her mother as a child, Callie is returned to a family that she never really knew about and struggles with the various feelings she has about her childhood, including some sexual abuse that she experienced. It also deals with mental illness.


Some of the Highlights:

All three books have a very different perspective on the topic.  

Christa was a rape victim advocate.  She set out to tell the story from the point of view of Ben because she wanted to show how sexual violence affects others involved in the victims life and not just in the immediate aftermath but in the long time aftermath.

In Trish’s research, she learned that some people respond to sexual violence by trying to take control of their sexuality and find a more fulfilling sexual experience by pursuing many different sexual relationships.  (This is also the reaction in Faultline).  It is important to recognize that there are multiple ways that survivors respond to being a victim of a sexual crime.  All reactions are valid and we should approach them and respond with compassion.

As in Faultline, Sex & Violence also looks at the trauma of outside parties not directly involved in the rape.

Carrie talks in detail about how our current culture teaches boys to think about both woman and sex and how it is important that we talk more openly about sex because when we fail to it can allow dysfunction to grow.  We need to let boys know that it is normal to have sexual feelings so that they can talk openly and develop healthy sexual feelings and talk more openly about consent.

Christa wanted to engage boys in the conversation about sexuality and consent.  It was important that Ben was not a hero.  She wanted the discussion about the after effects to be part of the discussion.  Boys need to be involved more in the conversations about consent and sexual violence.  They need to know that men can be involved in ya literature about sexual violence and not have to be the perpetrator.

Trish began talking about the comments she has received and our tendency towards slut shaming and victim blaming.  Great quote: “Sexual abuse victims already feel shame, they don’t need more shame by being judged for the way they choose to recover.”  Christa added to this idea that we need to remove the judgment in survivors, even when we are reviewing books with sexual violence, and approach victims – always – with compassion.

Trish had presents a great discussion about the idea of “throw away girls” and how it adds to girls self perception and rape culture.  The dialogue needs to continually affirm the value of all people.

You really need to listen Carrie discussing Male and Female sexuality and slut shaming around 20:50.  And Christa added some good insight about the double standard towards guys who don’t want to be sexual conquerors.  We need to have broader categories, be more accepting, of people for being whoever they are at the time.  Carrie added that there is research called Challenging Casanova that indicates that most me,n whether straight or gay, want to be in one relationship.

All the authors agreed that it is important to have more open discussions about sex and sexual violence to help create more healthy approaches to sex.  Carrie has a great discussion about privacy around 30 minutes.  Here, she says, it where dysfunction hides.

Christa points out that rape victims can be any age, race, or gender.  There is nothing that puts you at risk and nothing that makes you safe.  Someone in your life will be a victim of sexual violence and you might be the person in their life that they choose to share with.  Christa says, “The moral of the story is have a conversation.”

If you don’t watch the whole video, do listen to what Carrie, Christa and Trish have to say around the 1 minute mark about entitlement, street harassment, and the slippery slope into sexual violence. We end our discussion by having a discussion about using rape responsibly in YA lit and discussing how the entitlement that our culture suggests we have can lead to sexual violence, street harassment and rape culture.  It also influences the way we feel about our selves and how we move about in our world. So profound this ending of the conversation.

Karen’s Closing Thoughts:

One of the questions I asked was about the response of parents, educators, social workers, etc. to their books.  The truth is, many parents and educators want to pretend that teenagers don’t think about sex, but biology is not in our favor here. For all teens, by the time they enter into high school (and for many it begins much earlier), those hormones kick in and they are in fact thinking about – and some of them are having – sex.  Pretending that it doesn’t happen and refusing to talk about it doesn’t keep them safe, but having honest discussions can.  And it can help them process their feelings and develop healthy sexual identities.  I get the fear, trust me, I am a mom.  But as Carrie mentioned, talking to your child about the circus typically doesn’t result in them running off to join the circus and talking to our teens about sex, sexual safety, and even sexual violence probably isn’t going to make them decide to become sexually active.  But giving them correct information can help them make better decisions.

The other reasons books like these authors are important is that it can help us all to develop empathy.  As Trish mentioned, there is not one way that a person responds to sexual violence.  Having multiple stories can help us in many ways:  It can help us see the signs before it happens, it can help us develop empathy and respond in compassionate ways to those we encounter in our lives that have been subjected to sexual violence, and it can help take those things that are done in the dark into the light so that it happens less because now we as a culture are knowledgeable and informed and we don’t let perpetrators hide in dark shadows.  And if someone commits an act of sexual violence against another person, it is always their fault.  As Christa mentioned, THERE IS NO BUT.

There is a scene in Where the Stars Still Shine that is just brilliant to me in highlighting survivor feelings and triggers.  Callie is in the process of getting intimate with the boy who is genuinely attentive and safe; he cares about her needs.  But the staging of the moment triggers her memory and she tells him what he needs to do to make the moment safe for her.  It is such an effective and poignant scene.

Sex & Violence is such a profound journey of both physical and emotional healing as Evan re-evaluates how he has perceived women and sex.  It reminds me so much of early Chris Crutcher, like Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, which is the highest compliment I have.

Faultline will gut you when you realize what happens to Ani.  I so admire Christa for making us think not only about how rape affects the victim, but about how it affects those who love the victim.  You can really see her experience as an advocate coming through in the way she shares this story and the depth of emotion that is portrayed.

I also mentioned the new title The Gospel of Winter for a look at the grooming aspect of sexual abuse.

I also discusses Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama and how it made me think about the issue of Street Harassment.

I want to give a special thanks to our authors for their time and thoughtful discussion.

Resources Mentioned:

The Gift of Fear and Protecting the Gift by Gavin DeBecker

Talking about using sexual violence responsibly in literature:
A Discussion of Using Rape as a Plot Device
Jaclyn Friedman post about using rape as a plot device
Maggie Steifvater discusses Literary Rape

Carrie Mesrobian has some good resources and a list of recommended titles on her blog today as well

Christa Desir also wrote about the chat yesterday on her blog in this important post

More on Sexual Violence and YA Lit at TLT:

What It’s Like for a Girl: How Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama made me think about the politics of sexuality in the life of girls
Sexual Assault Awareness Month, talking to teens about consent and rape part 1 and part 2
Should there be sex in YA books? 
Plan B: What Youth Advocates Need to Know 
Because No Always Mean No, a list of books dealing with sexual assault
Who Will Save You? Boundaries, Rescue and the Role of Adults in YA Lit.  A look at consent and respecting boundaries in relationships outside of just sex. 
Incest, the last taboo 
This is What Consent Looks Like
Street Harassment
That Time Matt Smith Perpetuated Street Harassment Culture at Comic Con
An Anonymous Letter to Those Who Would Ban Eleanor and Park
Take 5: Difficult books on an important topic (sexual violence)   
The Curios Case of the Kissing Doctor and Consent 
Book Review: The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely
Take 5: Sexual Violence in the Life of Boys

Book Review: The Rule of Three by Eric Walters

A person can last:
3 Minutes without Air
3 Days without Water
3 Weeks without Food

A community begins to die in just seconds . . . 


30 minutes before Todd’s paper is due, he is in the school’s computer lab trying to have his best friend Adam type it for him.  Suddenly everything stops working.  Computers. Cell phones. Cars.  Nothing that has a computer component to it works.

Luckily, Adam has an old beat up car, and they are able to pick up his younger siblings from school and make it home to their subdivision neighborhood.  The world is about to change.

What follows is a look at the world falling apart.  People begin to run out of food, acts of violence break out, and fear and desperation grow.  But The Rule of Three is a little different because in it the small, local community comes together to put a detailed plan into action for long term survival.  This is not a journey through the decaying landscape, but an exercise in thought, reason, and working together with your neighbors to survive.  There is conflict, but it comes mostly from outside groups that see what this neighborhood is building for itself and wants to try and take it – after all the hard work is done of course.


Where The Rule of Three excels is in its tackling of difficult discussions and a look at the importance of intelligence, planning and coming together.  Characters wrestle with turning away those in need as they do the math about how much food they can produce, how many people it can feed, and for how long.  There are discussions about killing others in the defense of preserving the lives of the many inside the neighborhood.  They even talk about the idea of situational ethics; since the world has changed, the ethics of the world has changed and they must try to find a way to balance this and still maintain their humanity.

There are a few huge plot conveniences that make the plot work, like the fact that Adam’s missing father is a pilot and Adam himself was taking flying lessons and building a small plane that still functions because it doesn’t have a computer.  Adam’s mother is also the local chief of police and his next door neighbor, Herb, is a retired some type of operative who happened to be preparing for this very type of event for a really long time.  Herb, in fact, is the big planner.  He has experience and knowledge that is invaluable to the long range survival plan, and Walters does a good job of throwing a few details in to make him a little more realistic, but Herb tends to be a little superheroish in his calm resolve as he continually comes to save the day.

At the end of the day, The Rule of Three is an interesting story and a good study for those who want to survive the post-technology apocalypse (they never say but I am thinking an EMP).  There is a lot of good information and strategy in the pages of this book hidden inside the story.  It is thoughtful in the important discussions that would need to take place.  And there is plenty of action and suspense to keep readers entertained.  There is also a sweet, slow love story tucked in there in a way that makes sense and doesn’t overpower or minimize anything.

Sometimes the conveniences made me roll my eyes (I mean, I do hope that all those people live in my neighborhood when the post-technology apocalypse happens), but overall I think this is a thoughtful look at human nature with a hopeful tone, some solid relationships, and good action.  Adam is a well developed and thoughtful main character.  Not as dark and gritty as some of the PA lit out there, making this more accessible for some readers.  There is only one scene where they mention anything sexual, and it is in jest and not graphic (strip Scrabble of course!), so this is a good one for older MG or younger YA readers, keeping in mind that there is, of course, some violence.

3 out of 5 stars, I can see a lot of readers enjoying this.

The Rule of Three by Eric Walters, published 2014.  ISBN: 978-0-374-35502-9.

ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF THE BOOK.  Just leave a comment below between now and Sunday, February 3rd at Midnight and you are entered to win.  Open to U.S. residents.  Please leave a Twitter handle or email so we can contact you if you win.

Sexual Violence in YA Literature Google Hangout with Christa Desir, Trish Doller and Carrie Mesrobian

Today at Noon Eastern (11 Central), I am going to be (attempting to) host a Google Hangout with the fabulous authors of Faultline (Christa Desir), Where the Stars Still Shine (Trish Doller) and the Morris nominated Sex & Violence (Carrie Mesrobian) to discuss sexual violence in young adult literature. 

This will be the first time I have attempted this, so it could be a hot mess.  But I am dedicating 2014 to raising awareness about sexual violence in the lives of teens and the role that young adult literature can play in increasing awareness, promoting healing, and trying to put an end to these horrific crimes.

The link for the Hangout on Air is: https://plus.google.com/events/cku5495814ho83tve44kd1d25is

And I hope to post it tomorrow for those who need an archive.

School and Public Library Collaboration, part 1 (An Introduction) with Naomi Bates

Naomi Bates is an (awesome!) public school librarian – High School – here in Texas.  She also runs a blog called YA Books and More.  I love this blog.  In fact, when I first moved to Texas I emailed her and asked her if she wanted to meet for lunch.  It didn’t happen then, but we did eventually meet.  This year we are working on a joint project to discuss ways in which public and school librarians can work together to serve teens in their communities.  We will be posting a separate question each month, vlogging our response to the question, and asking you to weigh in as well.

For our first Vlog, we thought we would introduce the project and share what our goals are for the project.

Here’s Naomi . . .

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhBaEKJztD4?rel=0]

And here’s my introduction to the project . . .


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTQi0v7sPKs?rel=0]

Here’s the 411

Each month, we’ll record a short vlog post in response to the questions below.  And as we mentioned, we really DO want feedback and input from other librarians in the trenches.  The more ideas we have, the better we all are at advocating for libraries, reading and teens.  So join us the last week in February as we discuss some of the unique challenges to school and public librarians.  Join the discussion by leaving your comments or by uploading your own video entry into the dialogue and pasting the link.  If you send me the embed code (kjensenmls at yahoo dot come), I’ll even put you in the post.

February
Unique Challenges: What you didn’t know about your school/public librarian
March
Collection Development: Goals, challenges, and are we really that different?
April
Getting Your Foot in the Door: Building a relationship with your local school/public librarian
May
Working Together: From the little things to the big, ways in which school and public librarians can work together to serve teens

Take 5: Reasons to read your December 2013 VOYA

1. MUSLIMS IN YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE

There is a great list of titles that depict Muslims in Young Adult Literature.  Since September 11th, the Muslim population has been the target of a tremendous amount of fear, bias and outright racial targeting.  This is a good and varied list that examines the Muslim life in a wide variety of ways and can help break down those prejudices. (by Amanda MacGregor, page 12)

2. CELEBRATING 200 YEARS OF PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Last year, Pride and Prejudice turned 200 years old.  There are tons of ya titles that somehow reference Pride and Prejudice, and I’m not just talking about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  VOYA has a list of titles for you and your teen Austen fans. (by Christina Miller, page 14)

3.  COLOR OUTSIDE THE LIBRARY LINES

As you know, I am a huge advocate for serving teens on the Autism spectrum in libraries.  The December issue of VOYA has a really good look at serving teens with Asperger’s or a Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NVLD).  There is also some good information on what it is and resources.  (by Madelene Rathbun Barnard, page 28)

4.  GETTING GIRLS IN THE GAME: Making Gaming Inclusive

On Tumblr, there has been a statistic going around about how girls make up 35% of the gaming community but less than 10% of the characters in games (loosely, this are not exact figures).  The truth is, I have met a lot of ya authors who are avid gamers.  And a lot of my female teens are avid gamers as well.  This article, by Hannah R. Gerber, is a good discussion about making gaming more inclusive.  I highly recommend that you do some Googling and read up on the issues that women face in the gaming community; it’s not always very pretty and can be quite serious in terms of the threats, hate and sexual and verbal threats that girls can receive. (by Hannah R. Gerber, page 44)


5.  WHY DEPRESSION HURTS YOUR TEENS

According to the article by Tina P. Schwartz, about 11 percent of teens have a depressive disorder.  That is a huge figure.  Girls are more likely than boys to experience depression.  This article is a good look at the signs, the various kinds of depression, triggers and some resources to help teens understand their mood disorders. (by Tina P. Schwartz, page 16)

Please note, TLT is a networked blog with VOYA Magazine.

The Living by Matt de Lana Pena (reviewed in VOYA December 2013)

I have been reviewing for VOYA since 2001.  This year, something really exciting happened.  On page 55 of the December 2013 issue of VOYA, I reviewed THE LIVING by Matt de la Pena.  Just yesterday, at the ALA Youth Media Awards, it was announced that this title won a Pura Belpre Honor Award. 

“The Pura Belpré Award is a recognition presented to a Latino or Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays the Latino cultural experience in a work of literature for children or youth. It was established in 1996. It has been given every other year since 1996. Beginning with the 2009 award, it will be given annually.” (from ALA)

Here’s an excerpt of my review in VOYA:

de la Pena manages to pack a lot into THE LIVING: there is an examination of social class, a pandemic (already in existence and effecting Shy’s life); the adventure saga at sea, and a conspiracy plot all of which take the reader on a whiplash of adventure.  In less deft hands, the pieces could fall apart, but de la Pena manages to make it all work.  There are a few convenient coincidences that come into play but in the end, readers just will not care because this is an excellent, enthralling ride.  Shy is an interesting main character with an authentic voice . . .

In the end, I gave THE LIVING a 4Q and 5P rating.  Watching a book I love win an award was very affirming.

Congratulations Matt on this well deserved honor!

Racism, Privilege, Shame, and a Book Giveaway (a guest post by author A.B. Westrick)


I had already written Brotherhood when I first listened to Brené Brown’s TED Talkabout shame. Growing up in the North as the child of Southern-born parents, I’d picked up on my parents’ sense of shame. Whether it was over our family’s complicity in the wrongs of the Confederacy or the Jim Crow laws, I don’t know, but I sensed it, and Brown’s TED Talk brought it home for me.

BrenéBrown is a Houston-based researcher who studies and writes about vulnerability and shame. She spends a lot of time listening to people tell their stories, and has come to believe that “you cannot talk about race without talking about privilege, and when people start talking about privilege, they get paralyzed by shame.” Once paralyzed, they stop talking; the shame intensifies, and the problem festers.

Brown says that “shame needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgment.” Her comment reminded me of an email I got from my brother after I had blogged about the emotional seeds of my novel Brotherhood. My brother emailed to say that some of his friends were African-American, and he didn’t appreciate my announcing (via my blog) that our ancestors had owned slaves. He’d never before heard that history, and he didn’t want his friends hearing it. He wanted me to take the post down.


He sent me that email in 2011, one hundred and fifty years after the start of the Civil War, and it struck me how powerful the silence has been. He was right that our parents hadn’t talked about our ancestors enslaving Africans. I’d had to push them to get that information out of them. Their parents hadn’t talked about it, either. Nor had theirparents. Such was the genius of those who sought to interpret the Civil War as the noble Lost Cause of the Confederacy—a view that minimized the slavery issue. The institution of slavery was shameful, and white Southerners don’t talk about the things that shame them.

To be fair to my brother, he hadn’t ever shown much of an interest in our family’s history—not like I had. So maybe he hadn’t asked the questions I’d asked, and hadn’t sensed our parents’ shame. I respect him, but I didn’t take down my blog post. Removing it would feed the flames of secrecy, silence and judgment. Our society has come a long way on the racism front, particularly in the past fifty years, but American still has a ways to go.

“White privilege” is a term I first heard only a few years ago, and I’ve scoured websites to understand what it means. If you’re as unfamiliar with the term as I was, I suggest reading “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” by Peggy McIntosh. The article has helped me understand that simply by virtue of being white in a white-majority country, I enjoy benefits I’m not even aware of. In the aftermath of cases like Trayvon Martin’s, some of us whites are starting to get it. There is progress, albeit slow.

Brown says that the antidote to shame is empathy. When we strive to imagine how life is for others, when we listen and say, “I’m sorry,” the curtain of shame begins to lift. If we want it to lift even faster, we need to recognize privilege, own it, and talk about it. She’s says that “Jungian analysts call shame the swampland of the soul,” and she suggests that all of us will benefit from putting on some galoshes, and mucking around in it for a bit.

Brown’s research and her talks are intriguing. If what she says about privilege and shame resonates with you, check out her other TED Talk (it’s on vulnerability).

Meanwhile, if you’d like to be entered into the giveaway of one signed copy ofBrotherhood, leave a comment below. One random commenter will be chosen to win. Deadline to enter is February 8th.  Giveaway is open to U.S. residents.  Please leave a Twitter name or email so we can get in touch with you if you win.

A.B. Westrick is the author of Brotherhood (Viking/Penguin 2013), a Junior Library Guild selection. In its starred review, VOYA notes, “Great historical fiction always feels like a gift … Westrick skillfully leads the reader toward conclusions regarding racism, letting each epiphany occur organically. All the characters, dialogue, and action support each other deftly and with no filler.” For more about Brotherhood, visit the author’s website at www.abwestrick.com.

Middle Grade Monday – Award Day!

In case you missed it, today was the day that the American Library Association announced its 2014 Youth Media Awards. Also known as ‘Youth Librarian Christmas,” among other titles. It’s so exciting!

I want to start off by saying that the dedicated committee members who basically sacrifice a year or more of their lives to read these books and discuss them have done an amazing job! Every one of them is deserving of our gratitude.

Today, I just want to highlight a few of the winners that I am especially excited to see on this year’s lists. Let’s start with the big list for Middle Grade, The Newbery Medal. This year’s winner is Kate DiCamillo for Flora and Ulysses: the Illuminated Adventures. DiCamillo has won the Newbery Award previously, in 2004, for The Tale of Despereaux, and in 2001 her novel Because of Winn Dixie was recognized with a Newbery Honor. I’m not sure how well this would go over in a middle school, but it looks like a perfect elementary title. Kate DiCamillo is also currently serving as our National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (looks like they made a good choice!)

The 2014 Newbery Honor Books are The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes, One Came Home by Amy Timberlake, Paperboy by Vince Vawter, and Doll Bones by Holly Black. I haven’t had the opportunity to read the first three (although I am a super fan of Henkes’ picture books) but I think I scared the students who were using the library when Doll Bones was announced! I was so excited I started jumping up and down. All of her novels are fabulous, but I think Doll Bones is particularly genius. It’s so fun to see someone you’re really invested in as an author be recognized for all of their hard work! Yay! (Read Heather’s review here.)

On to the Coretta Scott King Award. I have to say I was even MORE excited when I found out that Rita Williams-Garcia had won for P.S. Be Eleven! If you want to know what I really think about it – read my review here. I had hopes that it would also be recognized by the Newbery committee, but win some, lose some…

Most of the other awards I got excited about fit more into the YA category than Middle Grades, but I guess that what I get for working in a Middle School. Although I think I might be able to justify a copy of Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass for our collection now.

For a list of all the award winners, click here.