Teen Librarian Toolbox
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YA A to Z: All You Need are Dragons, a guest post by Cindy Shutts

Today for YA A to Z, guest poster Cindy Shutts is talking dragons!

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Dragons are beasts that have lived in the imagination of people all over the world and bring an element of mythology and world building to the canon of Young Adult Fiction.

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Patricia Wrede changed the role of dragons in Young Adult Fiction with her Enchanted Forest Chronicles starting with Dealing with Dragons. She wrote about Princess Cimorene who became friends with Kazul, a dragon whom she ran away with and was employed by. Wrede was tired of traditional princess roles and wanted adventure for her characters. The Princess became the hero of the series and was able to fight back. This series is great for both Young Adult and Middle Grade readers. Cimorene and Kazul turned the princess-dragon dynamic around; their friendship was wonderful to read about because it broke away from the classic fantasy tropes. The dragon is not the villain and the princess is not helpless. This was one of the first books marketed as Teen Read. By today’s publishing standards, it would be labeled as Middle Grade.

If you loved The Enchanted Dragon Chronicle, definitely check out the Dragon Slipper series by Jessica Day George. Creel’s aunt wants to sacrifice her to a local group of dragons in the hope that a knight will come to rescue Creel and marry her; so that her aunt will no longer have to support her. When she meets the Dragons, she develops a warm and rich friendship with many of them.  It explains the political structure of the dragons.  The dragons have their own complex rules of government and who are in charge.

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For an awesome Science Fiction dragon story, check out Scorched by Mari Mancusi. Trinity is forced into a world of Dragon’s, when her grandfather purchases the last dragon egg. She meets two twins from the future who are on different sides of the dragon war. One saying the egg must be destroyed and one saying it must be protected at all costs.

Goodreads List of YA Dragon Books

17 YA Books With Dragons – Epic Reads

The Best Dragon Books for Teens – The YA Shelf

Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina won the Morris award in 2013. This is one of the most beautifully written dragon books for teens. Seraphina has joined the court as a musician, but she is hiding a secret that could cost her life. Dragons and Human hate each in Seraphina’s world.  This book brings a love of music to the world of dragons and explores the dark secrets of dragons. Hartman has a new book coming out this month, Tess of the Road, another dragon fantasy that is surely to be as captivating as Seraphina.

Other great dragon Young Adult titles include: The Prophecy Series by Ellen Oh, Dragon’s Keep by Janet Lee Carey, and Firelight by Sophie Jordan. Also if you like Dragon-like creatures check out Serpentine by Cindy Pon, who is amazing!

cindydragonCindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL. You can follow her on Twitter at .

YA A to Z: Comics 101 with Ally Watkins

Today as we continue YA A to Z, our very own TLTer Ally Watkins is discussing Comics 101 with us. She writers our monthly Collecting Comics feature.

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Comics are wildly popular and fun, but they aren’t always the easiest thing to collect for libraries. But our patrons love comics, so a little information about how comics work and how to collect them for libraries can really with collection development.

An important thing to remember at the start: comics are not a genre, they’re a format. There are many genres of comic books and graphic novels, but they’re all written in the comic format.

In America, comics are sold by something called the direct market system, in which a large distributor (Diamond Comics Distributors) provides comics to local comics shops in order to meet consumer needs. Unlike regular book sales, these books can’t be returned from the shops for a refund, so comic shops try to gauge their customers’ interest through pre-orders which have to be placed a several weeks ahead of the release date.  The downsides to this system are that consumers have to take a chance on new publications before they’ve even come out, and new comics that don’t do well (perhaps because of poor pre-order numbers) are often discontinued.

Confused yet?

Basically: local comic book shops are still the primary way that comic readers purchase single issue comics (the traditional 32 page “comic books” that you’re envisioning, also called “floppies”). Individual single issues come out every week on Wednesday.  Single issues are numbered, so that’s where you might hear someone talking about “Ms. Marvel #1.”

 

If your library is very lucky, you might have a relationship with Diamond or a local comic book shop, and you can get single issue comics in your library weekly! But many of us don’t have the budget or purchasing procedures for that, so libraries often get collected editions that contain multiple single issues.

 

A collected edition most often comes in the form of a trade paperback (shortened to “trades” or “TPBs”), which might collect between 4 and 8 single issues of a comics series. These trades are numbered as “volumes.” For example, Volume 1 of the comic series Lumberjanes collects Lumberjanes issues #1-#4.  These trades generally collect a story arc or several related issues. These are just like series books, so you want to commit to collecting the whole series for your patrons.  You can buy volumes of collected issues at a variety of places: comic book shops have them, but they’re also available at Amazon, regular bookstores, and your vendors: they have ISBN numbers so they’re available anywhere books are sold.  Collected editions can also come in hardcover deluxe editions, which collect more issues than a trade paperback (or have ‘bonus’ content). These are usually longer and much more expensive.  Make sure that when you’re cataloging your collected edition, you put as much information as possible into the record. You’ll want to include the volume number and what issues it contains so that your patrons can see that in the catalog record and follow along with the series in order.

 Graphic novels are original stories told in the comic format. They are not published in issues first. These are meant to be read like books. They can be a part of a series, or they can stand alone. You may see graphic novels referred to as “OGN” or “Original Graphic Novel.”  Graphic nonfiction is also becoming increasingly popular, including the multiple award-winning March books by John Lewis. The comic format lends itself to telling memoirs and other nonfiction topics powerfully.

 Webcomics are very popular and are an excellent way for amateur artists and storytellers to get their stories into the world. Sometimes comics or more mainstream book publishers will pick up a webcomic and publish a book edition of it, like Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona or the upcoming Check, Please, written and illustrated by Ngozi Ukazu.

If you aren’t sure where to start, check out awards and lists! A major award for comics that has categories for kids and teens is the Eisner Award. Presented every year at San Diego Comic-Con, there are Eisners in categories for early readers, kids, and teens. Another great comics resource is YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens list.

Even though comics can be a little complicated, your kid and teen patrons probably love them and are tearing through them, and keeping them on the shelves is important! Stay tuned to TLT for our monthly column about comics for kids and teens, called Collecting Comics!

More Resources:

Manga 101 | School Library Journal

50 Essential Manga for Libraries – ThoughtCo

Introduction – Graphic Novels, Manga, & Anime – Library Guides

Graphic Novels and Comics in Libraries | News and Press Center

Comics, the King of Libraries – Publishers Weekly

Comic Books 101 Overview and History – ThoughtCo

Living on the Brink of Homelessness by Brenda Rufener, author of Where I Live

Where I Live (Final Cover)Growing up, my parents struggled financially, and for years we lived on the brink of homelessness. My parents couldn’t afford childcare, so on Saturdays my mother dropped my six-year-old brother and me off at the steps of our rural public library where the doors opened at 9:00 am, and we were greeted as patrons. At the time, I had no clue of my family’s struggles, and I felt like the luckiest kid on earth spending weekends in a quiet space filled with books.

 

The librarians never side-eyed my worn-out tennis shoes or my brother’s Kool-Aid stained face. They didn’t bat an eye at a parentless ten-year-old stretched out on a patchwork rug reading to her younger sibling. As long as we respected the rules, we were welcome until closing time. The library became our place of refuge.

 

A few years later, I’d become keenly aware of my parents’ financial struggles. Money became a heated topic. How we needed it but never had it. And when my father lost his job due to layoffs, the already shaky foundation of my home crumbled.

 

We shuffled back and forth between homes and couches belonging to relatives. Our days spent living with family members turned to weeks, and weeks to months. I remember friends wanting to come over and hang out, but no rested on the tip of my tongue, embarrassed of the fact that I had no bedroom of my own. “Let’s meet at the library,” I’d say.

 

My situation, although not as severe as many homeless teens, partly inspired my novel, Where I Live. When writing, I drew on personal experiences, emotions, and insecurities I had growing up while facing homelessness.

 

The statistics of homelessness are overwhelming and impersonal. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, on a single night in January, 549,928 people experienced homelessness in the United States. Over one-fifth of people experiencing homelessness were children, and nine percent were between the ages of 18 and 24. Unfortunately, this number continues to rise.

 

Public awareness has improved dramatically since I was a kid, but there is still work to be done. Today, housing insecurity, like my parents experienced during my childhood and teen years, is at an all time high. We’re seeing a large number of college students living in their vehicles because they can’t afford rent. This is especially true among community college students. We’re also seeing families forced out of their homes due to abrupt rent hikes. And an alarming number of LGBTQ+ teens being forced from their homes after coming out to their parents.

 

To compound problems, many homeless shelters are not equipped to take in teens, especially those who identify as girls. Homeless teens report that they don’t feel safe or comfortable in homeless shelters that cater to adults.

 

In college, I volunteered with a literacy program helping homeless young women. Struck by their tenacity and unwillingness to give up hope, I was drawn to their strength. How I wished teen-me had known these women. They were homeless, but never hopeless, and they helped show me how homelessness takes on many faces.

 

Homelessness is not always the weathered and grizzled man panhandling on the street corner. Yes–he exists and should be helped, but other faces exist, too. They are the student sitting next you in class. The friend living in her car with dreams similar to your own. They are ambitious young people who are much more than their crisis.

 

Today, I continue my volunteer efforts to raise money and collect supplies for teen homeless shelters. Spoiler: Shelters need tampons, deodorant, and women’s hygiene products, and they are some of the least donated items. This small act of service is a reminder to myself, and now to my own children, that homelessness has many faces and is not a one size fits all journey.

 

My novel, Where I Live, is a tribute to the resilient homeless youth I’ve encountered over the years, and to a library community that filled me with hope and possibility.

 

Credit: Carolyn Scott Photography

Credit: Carolyn Scott Photography

Meet Brenda Rufener

Brenda Rufener is a technical writer turned novelist who spent her childhood stomping through the woods of Oregon. A double major in English and biology, Brenda graduated from Whitman College, and now lives in North Carolina with her family. She is an advocate for homeless youth.

https://www.brendarufener.com/

And buy link:

https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062571090/where-i-live

Book Review: One True Way by Shannon Hitchcock

Publisher’s description

one trueWelcome to Daniel Boone Middle School in the 1970s, where teachers and coaches must hide who they are, and girls who like girls are forced to question their own choices. Presented in the voice of a premier storyteller, One True Way sheds exquisite light on what it means to be different, while at the same time being wholly true to oneself. Through the lives and influences of two girls, readers come to see that love is love is love. Set against the backdrop of history and politics that surrounded gay rights in the 1970s South, this novel is a thoughtful, eye-opening look at tolerance, acceptance, and change, and will widen the hearts of all readers.

 

 

Amanda’s thoughts

It’s 1977 in North Carolina and new girl 12-year-old Allie is immediately taken under the wing of gregarious Sam, a star basketball player who moves easily between all the social groups. She helps Allie get a spot on the school newspaper, with her first assignment being a profile about Sam. As the girls get to know one another, it quickly becomes obvious that they like each other. Sam’s parents are very close-minded, and Sam knows they would never approve of her liking girls—she says they’d immediately get put on the prayer list at her church, One True Way. Her mother calls her basketball coach, who is a lesbian and dating a fellow teacher, a pervert and an abomination. Allie thinks maybe she can be open with her parents; after all, her uncle is gay and everyone seems okay with that. But telling her mom doesn’t go how she hopes it will—her mother tells her she’s too young to know if she likes girls, that maybe it’s just a phase. It all becomes very complicated as the girls try to stay away from each other and Allie tries to see if it really is a choice, if she can maybe make herself like boys instead. Thankfully, through this painful and confusing time the girls have some very open, smart, loving people looking out for them, including the reverend from Allie’s Methodist church, Coach Murphy and Miss Holt, and, eventually, Allie’s own parents.

 

One of the things I like best about this book is the conversations Allie has with the adults in her life, especially her mother. Her mother’s initial disappointment and fear change as Allie repeatedly discusses with her her feelings for Sam. Her dad’s reaction is wonderful and loving, the therapist they all go see (for many reasons, including the death of Allie’s brother and her parents’ impending divorce) is supportive and kind, and Sam’s sister reaches out to Allie to see how to best accept and support Sam. Though worried about being gay in a small town in this era, the girls get plenty of love and support, never forgetting for too long that the important thing is to be true to yourself. We desperately need more middle grade novels with LGBTQIA+ main characters, and Hitchcock’s book is a very welcome addition to the small but growing selection. An affirming look at discovering who you really are and finding love and support when you learn to speak your truth. 

 

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

ISBN-13: 9781338181722
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 02/27/2018

Book Review: The Serpent’s Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1) by Sayantani DasGupta

Publisher’s description

SERPENTMEET KIRANMALA:

INTERDIMENSIONAL DEMON SLAYER

(Only she doesn’t know it yet.)

On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey . . . until her parents mysteriously vanish and a drooling rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents’ fantastical stories-like how Kiranmala is a real Indian princess and how she comes from a secret place not of this world.

To complicate matters, two crush-worthy princes ring her doorbell, insisting they’ve come to rescue her. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and battle demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld and the Rakkhoshi Queen in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it . . .

 

Amanda’s thoughts

I could stare at this cover all day. Isn’t it beyond gorgeous? It makes me happy to think about this book being face-out in bookstores and on displays in stores and libraries. Who wouldn’t gravitate toward it? And, in this case, you can totally judge a book by its cover: awesome cover, awesome story.

 

Kiran certainly wasn’t expecting to come home from school on her 12th birthday and find that her parents had been swallowed by a rakkhosh (demon) and sent to another dimension. Though her parents had always told her stories about her being an Indian princess, the daughter of an underworld serpent king that they rescued, Kiran never believed them. Why would she? Surely those outrageous tales were just stories. But, much to Kiran’s shock, the events on her birthday prove that those wild stories were true—and they were just the beginning.

 

She hardly has time to pack a small bag and grab the note her parents left that stops mid-sentence before she is off with princes Neel and Lal to save her parents (despite their strict instructions to not try to find them). On their adventure, Kiran encounters flying horses, the spirit of  a tree in a bottle, demons, demon groupies, a bad-joke-telling bird, mountains of illusion, and so many more unexpected and mind-boggling things (like being accused of stealing someone’s mustache). Though definitely a great adventure full of close calls and unexpected twists, DasGupta’s story is also very, very funny. This book is packed full of silliness (I kept thinking of the Monty Python quote, “On second thought, let’s not go to Camelot. Tis a silly place.”)—so many of the characters and situations are just outright ridiculous, while also being challenging and possibly threatening. While Kiran works hard to find and rescue her parents, she learns that things (and people) are not always as they seem and that everything is connected to everything. Fast-paced and hilarious, with an excellent strong girl main character, this book is a must for collections. Because of Kiran’s age and the content/length/complexity of the story, this will widely appeal to readers from upper elementary through teens. 

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

ISBN-13: 9781338185706
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 02/27/2018

A Recap of the HOPE NATION Launch Event at Irving Public Library – and a GIVEAWAY

 Hope is a decision, but it is a hard one to recognize in the face of oppression, belittlement, alienation, and defeat. To help embolden hope, here is a powerhouse collection of essays and letters that speak directly to teens and all YA readers. Featuring Marie Lu, James Dashner, Gayle Forman, David Levithan, Julie Murphy, Jeff Zentner, Renee Ahdieh, and many more!

“Hope is a decision, but it is a hard one to recognize in the face of oppression, belittlement, alienation, and defeat. To help embolden hope, here is a powerhouse collection of essays and letters that speak directly to teens and all YA readers. Featuring Marie Lu, James Dashner, Gayle Forman, David Levithan, Julie Murphy, Jeff Zentner, Renee Ahdieh, and many more!”

Yesterday The Teen and I attended the HOPE NATION launch party at Irving Public Library. One of her best friends, a big reader and also the daughter of a YA librarian, was there with us as well. We were excited to learn more about this anthology, get copies signed, and to hear the authors share their stories. Here is a recap of that event with some of the Tweets I sent out as I live Tweeted.

Read TLTer Amanda MacGregory’s Review Here:

Book Review: Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration

And yes, The Teen did wear her favorite fuzzy pink slippers to the event to meet some of her favorite authors. We kid her about them, but I also love that she is who she is, likes what she likes, and just goes with it. I think they also make a fun juxtaposition to her frequent all black wardrobe.

The panel consisted of authors Ally Carter, Julie Murphy and Angie Thomas! These are three of the contributors to the HOPE NATION anthology. And the first question was editor Rose Brock asking why they agreed to be a part of this anthology.

Texas woman taps popular young adult authors in new book for teens

As a librarian who works at a small town library with a high rate of teen poverty, I am always glad to see stories set in rural areas that reflect rural and small town poverty.

The panelists were then asked what their stories are about. Ally Carter talked about wanting to be a famous writer and getting out of her small town. Julie Murphy talked about how they lost their home her senior year of high school and the concept of having a home and having the concept of home in your heart. Angie Thomas talked about wanting to give hope back to all of the readers who had given her hope and helped to make her dreams come true.

 

When it was opened up to audience questions, an audience member asked Angie Thomas how she should respond to parents who objected to The Hate U Give being offered in schools.

A second audience question and the audience member asked how we could get guys to read these books when there are girls on the covers. The audience member also suggested that these books needed different covers without girls on the covers to appeal to male readers.

All of the panelists did a great job of discussing how we needed adult males to help break down the barriers and stereotypes about reading “girl books”. Ally Carter shared a story about a male librarian who had booktalked The Gallagher Girl series to his school and he had emailed her to say it was the most popular book series at his all guy school. This was an example of men doing the work and challenging cultural norms and stereotypes.

At the end of the event the authors did a signing and The Teen got copies of several books signed for herself and we got a copy of the first Gallagher Girls book signed for Thing 2 (she’s almost old enough now for this series!). And, guess what? I got all the panelists to sign a copy of HOPE NATION to give away here to you all. So just do the Rafflecopter thing by Friday, March 2nd at Midnight to be entered to win a copy of HOPE NATION signed by Rose Brock, Ally Carter, Julie Murphy and Angie Thomas. Open to U.S. residents only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

NCTE’s African-American Read-In by Michelle Biwer

My coworker Eileen Foley-Breck is a retired English teacher and found information about a wonderful nationwide event series created by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English, called the African-American Read-In. The purpose of the Read-In is to promote diversity in literature and “make literacy a significant part of Black History Month.” It is as simple as hosting an event during the month of February where participants read works written by African-Americans. Anything from book passages to poems to song lyrics can be read at these events.

aari photoWe hosted our library’s first annual African-American Read-In this past week and it was a great success. We did plan this program a little differently than some of our standard teen fare. When we started planning the program we knew that it might be a hard sell to get teens to attend on their own. Our library tends not to get great teen attendance for programs on weeknights unless we can offer service hours due to the busy schedules of the teens. Instead of relying on teens to come to us, we identified partners in our community to help us with the planning process and guarantee attendance at the event. We were lucky enough to partner with the Black Heritage Club at our local high school and the Housing Authority in our city. These partner organizations helped teens in their groups pick passages to read at the event and helped arrange transportation.

To kick-off the event, a local African-American Hip-Hop artist performed some spoken word poetry that he wrote. He encouraged the teens in the audience to write their own poetry, and his energy really set the tone for the event. Then the teens performed poems written by African-Americans that were meaningful to them. After the teens finished performing, our performer was gracious enough to stay and started running spoken word improv games with the teens. This was the most fun part of the night because he encouraged the teens to speak about topics that are important to them. Current events dictate that gun control and policing weigh heavily on the minds of these teens and they were not afraid to share their powerful thoughts in the form of verse. And of course the night ended with a rap battle that the teens wrote on the spot!

If you are interested in running your own African-American Read-In event, NCTE has developed a toolkit to help you get started. You can also list your event on their website for some extra publicity.

Friday Finds: February 23, 2018

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Sunday Reflections: When Adults Fail, the Teens will Save Themselves

Things I Never Learned in Library School: Toxic Masculinity and Teaching Boys to Accept No for an Answer, Even in Our Libraries

Book Review: Flight Season by Marie Marquardt

#ReadForChange: Girls Fight Back in Jennifer Mathieu’s Moxie, a guest post by Marie Marquardt

YA A to Z: Classic Hollywood in YA Literature, a guest post by Lisa Clark

Take 5: Five Reasons You Should Read THE 57 BUS by Dashka Slater, seriously right now

Book Review: Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration edited by Rose Brock

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

Around the Web

Trans Students, School Shooting, And Bill Gates Answers A Tough Question

Haven’t thought about toxic masculinity? You need to.

How To Talk With Kids About Terrible Things

Teachers with guns? Some Ohio districts arm staff but don’t tell public

My High School’s Tragedy Actually Led to Change

High School Students Are Organizing Walkouts To Protest Gun Violence

A Wrinkle in Time screenings will be free at AMC theaters for underprivileged children

 

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

Now that I work in an elementary library, I’m reading a lot more titles for younger readers. Rather than review all of them like I usually do, I’m stealing Karen’s Post-it note review idea and sharing the titles with you that way. It’s been super interesting to me to see what the students (grades K-5) check out. I’ve spent so long completely in the world of YA and am glad for an opportunity to work with younger readers and to read all of the great picture books, chapter books, and middle grade books I’ve missed out on!

 

All descriptions from the publishers.

 

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Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes

Gabby’s world is filled with daydreams. However, what began as an escape from her parents’ arguments has now taken over her life. But with the help of a new teacher, Gabby the dreamer might just become Gabby the writer, and words that carried her away might allow her to soar. Written in vivid, accessible poems, this remarkable verse novel is a celebration of imagination, of friendship, of one girl’s indomitable spirit, and of a teacher’s ability to reach out and change a life.

 

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Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick

It’s not easy being Claire. (Really.)

Claire’s life is a joke . . . but she’s not laughing. While her friends seem to be leaping forward, she’s dancing in the same place. The mean girls at school are living up to their mean name, and there’s a boy, Ryder, who’s just as bad, if not worse. And at home, nobody’s really listening to her — if anything, they seem to be more in on the joke than she is.

Then into all of this (not-very-funny-to-Claire) comedy comes something intense and tragic — while her dad is talking to her at the kitchen table, he falls over with a medical emergency. Suddenly the joke has become very serious — and the only way Claire, her family, and her friends are going to get through it is if they can find a way to make it funny again.

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Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz, Renee Watson

In Detroit, 1945, eleven-year-old Betty’s house doesn’t quite feel like home. She believes her mother loves her, but she can’t shake the feeling that her mother doesn’t want her. Church helps those worries fade, if only for a little while. The singing, the preaching, the speeches from guest activists like Paul Robeson and Thurgood Marshall stir African Americans in her community to stand up for their rights. Betty quickly finds confidence and purpose in volunteering for the Housewives League, an organization that supports black-owned businesses. Soon, the American civil rights icon we now know as Dr. Betty Shabazz is born.

Inspired by Betty’s real life–but expanded upon and fictionalized through collaboration with novelist Renée Watson–Ilyasah Shabazz illuminates four poignant years in her mother’s childhood with this book, painting an inspiring portrait of a girl overcoming the challenges of self-acceptance and belonging that will resonate with young readers today.

 

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Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

Lida thought she was safe. Her neighbors wearing the yellow star were all taken away, but Lida is not Jewish. She will be fine, won’t she?

But she cannot escape the horrors of World War II.

Lida’s parents are ripped away from her and she is separated from her beloved sister, Larissa. The Nazis take Lida to a brutal work camp, where she and other Ukrainian children are forced into backbreaking labor. Starving and terrified, Lida bonds with her fellow prisoners, but none of them know if they’ll live to see tomorrow.

When Lida and her friends are assigned to make bombs for the German army, Lida cannot stand the thought of helping the enemy. Then she has an idea. What if she sabotaged the bombs… and the Nazis? Can she do so without getting caught?

And if she’s freed, will she ever find her sister again?

This pulse-pounding novel of survival, courage, and hope shows us a lesser-known piece of history — and is sure to keep readers captivated until the last page.

 

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Bolivar by Sean Rubin

What would you do if your neighbor was a dinosaur?

Going extinct isn’t for everyone.

Sybil knows that there is something off about her next door neighbor, but she can’t seem to get anyone to believe her. Everyone is so busy going about their days in the busy streets of New York City that they don’t notice Bolivar. They don’t notice his odd height, his tiny arms, or his long tail. No one but Sybil sees that Bolivar is a dinosaur.

When an unlikely parking ticket pulls Bolivar into an adventure from City Hall to New York’s Natural History Museum, he must finally make a choice: continue to live unnoticed, or let the city see who he really is.

 

 

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Laura Ingalls Is Ruining My Life by Shelley Tougas

A life on the prairie is not all its cracked up to be for one girl whose mom takes her love of the Little House series just a bit too far.

Charlotte’s mom has just moved the family across the country to live in Walnut Grove, “childhood home of pioneer author Laura Ingalls Wilder.” Mom’s idea is that the spirit of Laura Ingalls will help her write a bestselling book. But Charlotte knows better: Walnut Grove is just another town where Mom can avoid responsibility. And this place is worse than everywhere else the family has lived—it’s freezing in the winter, it’s small with nothing to do, and the people talk about Laura Ingalls all the time. Charlotte’s convinced her family will not be able to make a life on the prairie—until the spirit of Laura Ingalls starts getting to her, too.

 

 

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Jake the Fake Keeps it Real (Jake the Fake Series #1) by Craig Robinson, Adam Mansbach, Keith Knight

For fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate comes the first book in a side-splitting illustrated series from comedian and film star Craig Robinson, #1 New York Times bestselling author Adam Mansbach, and NAACP History Maker recipient and cartoonist Keith Knight.

Jake can barely play an instrument, not even a kazoo. And his art? It’s better suited for Pictionary than Picasso. Which is a real problem because Jake just faked his way into the Music and Art Academy for the gifted and talented (and Jake is pretty sure he is neither). More jokester than composer, Jake will have to think of something quick before the last laugh is on him.

Featuring more than 160 illustrations, Jake the Fake is sure to bring the laughs with his hilarious high jinks!

Book Review: Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration edited by Rose Brock

Publisher’s description

hope nationHope is a decision, but it is a hard one to recognize in the face of oppression, belittlement, alienation, and defeat. To help embolden hope, here is a powerhouse collection of essays and personal stories that speak directly to teens and all YA readers. Featuring Angie Thomas, Marie Lu, James Dashner, Nicola Yoon, David Levithan, Libba Bray, Jason Reynolds, Renée Ahdieh, and many more!

“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.”—Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We all experience moments when we struggle to understand the state of the world, when we feel powerless and—in some cases—even hopeless. The teens of today are the caretakers of tomorrow, and yet it’s difficult for many to find joy or comfort in such a turbulent society. But in trying times, words are power.

Some of today’s most influential young adult authors come together in this highly personal collection of essays and original stories that offer moments of light in the darkness, and show that hope is a decision we all can make.

Like a modern day Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul or Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for TeensHope Nation acknowledges the pain and offers words of encouragement.

Authors include: Atia Abawi, Renee Ahdieh, Libba Bray, Howard Bryant, Ally Carter, Ally Condie, James Dashner, Christina Diaz Gonzales, Gayle Forman, Romina Garber, I. W. Gregario, Kate Hart, Bendan Kiely, David Levithan, Alex London, Marie Lu, Julie Murphy, Jason Reynolds, Aisha Saeed, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Jeff Zentner, and Nicola Yoon.

 

Amanda’s thoughts

Let me first just say that I really wish the summary for this book didn’t compare this to inspirational books like Chicken Soup or Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. For one, I’m not sure how relevant those comps are for actual modern teens, and for another thing, I see those things and immediately think, GACK, no thank you. While this is a book focused on hope and encouragement, it, to me, is nothing like those titles. It is far better. Thank goodness.

 

With the exception of Levithan’s fictional piece based on being at the Women’s March in Atlanta, the rest of this collection is essays from a wide variety of authors. Libba Bray writes about the car accident that changed her life and the hope she finds, loses, and learns will come around again. Angie Thomas discusses the current political climate, the publication of her book The Hate U Give, and three particular encounters after its publication. Ally Condie talks about, among other things, depression and the things and people that help with hope. Marie Lu writes about moving from China to America and survival and adaptation. Jeff Zentner talks about the hope that lies in young Book People and the power of stories. Nicola Yoon recounts the challenges of being an interracial couple. Kate Hart explores her combative relationship with hope. Gayle Forman takes on the topics of travel, hope, and life after 9/11. Christina Diaz Gonzalez talks about baseball, being the only Hispanic girl in her small North Florida town, and her Cuban grandmother. Atia Abawi writes about her dream of being a journalist, persistence, roadblocks, and believing in yourself. Alex London talks about the 90s, prom, drag, and the gender binary. Howard Bryant writes about his newspaper internship in a small Pennsylvania farm town and the lessons he learned there. Ally Carter reveals how long she kept her desire to be a writer a secret. Romina Garber recalls her move from Argentina to the US as a child and what it meant to be an immigrant. Renee Ahdieh  talks identity and how it shaped her. Aisha Saeed writes about apologies and being an American Muslim. Jenny Torres Sanchez discusses growing up afraid of her father and the abuse that he suffered as a child. Nic Stone talks about being African American in this post-2016 election era. Julie Murphy finds home and hope in unexpected places. I.W. Gregorio shares how a repressed teen grew up to become a urologist, and discusses breaking taboos and getting rid of awkwardness. Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely have a conversation about their tour for All American Boys and the conversations and kids who have stuck with them.

 

My favorite thing about anthologies has always been finding new authors to explore, and this collection, that offers so many personal stories and chances for readers to connect on a variety of shared experiences and interests, will surely point young readers toward new names. I am automatically repelled from anything billed as “inspirational” (it’s just how I’m built), but this look at hope and connection will show readers that they are not alone in their experiences, feelings, or concerns. Definitely worth picking up, even if just read to the pieces by your favorites. 

 

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

ISBN-13: 9781524741679
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 02/27/2018