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Friday Finds: August 31, 2018

tltbutton3This Week at TLT

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA September 2018

MakerSpace: DIY Games

Book Review: Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

#ReadForChange: Back to School with Brendan Kiely’s TRADITION

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This fall’s 11 YA novels that you just can’t miss

 

 

 

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA September 2018

tltbutton7It’s time for another roundup for new and forthcoming YA (and sometimes not YA) books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters.  The titles I’m including here have LGBTQIA+ main characters as well as secondary characters (in some cases parents), as well as anthologies that include LGBTQIA+ stories. Know of a title I missed in this list? Or know of a forthcoming title that should be on my radar for an upcoming list? Leave a comment or tweet me @CiteSomething. This list covers September titles. Head over to this link for the previous post (August 2018) in this series. All annotations here are via the publishers/Goodreads. I also have a 2017 master list and am working on one for 2018. I’m happy to send you the list if you’re interested. Tweet at me or email me to request the list. I’m amanda DOT macgregor AT gmail DOT com.

Looking for more information on LGBTQIA+ books or issues? Check out the hashtag here on TLT and go visit YA Pride and LGBTQ Reads, two phenomenal resources. 

 

September 2018

 

quarterbacks crushThe Quarterback’s Crush by John R. Petrie (ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-391-6 Publisher: Dreamspinner Press Publication date: 09/04/2018)

Do nice guys always have to finish last?

For Dylan Porter, it’s starting to look that way. His plan is to finish high school, get a football scholarship, and come out to his family and friends when he has the cushion of being away at college. But none of that is going to happen if his failing grades get him kicked off the team.

His saving grace comes in the form of Tommy Peterson, the smartest kid in school, who also happens to be the Triple S that Dylan crushes on: smart, short, sexy. Dylan falls hard and when his feelings seem unrequited, he accidentally outs himself to his entire team, expecting them to oust him. But it’s anybody’s game as Dylan learns how to be honest about who he is and keeps his eye on the prize—the heart of Tommy Peterson.

 

 

neverthelessNevertheless, We Persisted: 48 Voices of Defiance, Strength, and Courage by In This Together Media (ISBN-13: 9781524771966 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 09/04/2018)

A powerful collection of essays from actors, activists, athletes, politicians, musicians, writers, and teens, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, actress Alia Shawkat, actor Maulik Pancholy, poet Azure Antoinette, teen activist Gavin Grimm, and many, many more, each writing about a time in their youth when they were held back because of their race, gender, or sexual identity—but persisted.

“Aren’t you a terrorist?” “There are no roles for people who look like you.” “That’s a sin.” “No girls allowed.” They’ve heard it all. Actress Alia Shawkat reflects on all the parts she was told she was too “ethnic” to play. Former NFL player Wade Davis recalls his bullying of gay classmates in an attempt to hide his own sexuality. Teen Gavin Grimm shares the story that led to the infamous “bathroom bill,” and how he’s fighting it. Holocaust survivor Fanny Starr tells of her harrowing time in Aushwitz, where she watched her family disappear, one by one.

What made them rise up through the hate? What made them overcome the obstacles of their childhood to achieve extraordinary success? How did they break out of society’s limited view of who they are and find their way to the beautiful and hard-won lives they live today? With a foreword by Minnesota senator and up-and-coming Democratic party leader Amy Klobuchar, these essays share deeply personal stories of resilience, faith, love, and, yes, persistence.

 

ruleRule by Ellen Goodlett (ISBN-13: 9780316515283 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 09/11/2018)

Three Dark Crowns meets Pretty Little Liars in this sensational and striking new fantasy from debut author Ellen Goodlett. 

Three girls. Three deadly secrets. Only one can wear the crown.

The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos.

Or rather, three unexpected options.

Zofi has spent her entire life trekking through the outer Reaches with her band of Travelers. She would do anything to protect the band, her family. But no one can ever find out how far she’s already gone.

Akeylah was raised in the Eastern Reach, surrounded by whispers of rebellion and abused by her father. Desperate to escape, she makes a decision that threatens the whole kingdom.

Ren grew up in Kolonya, serving as a lady’s maid and scheming her way out of the servants’ chambers. But one such plot could get her hung for treason if anyone ever discovers what she’s done.

When the king summons the girls, they arrive expecting arrest or even execution. Instead they learn the truth: they are his illegitimate daughters, and one must become his new heir. But someone in Kolonya knows their secrets, and that someone will stop at nothing to keep the sisters from their destiny… to rule.

Magic, mystery, and blackmail abound in the first book of this sensational and striking fantasy duology.

 

 

summer bird blueSummer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman (ISBN-13: 9781481487757 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 09/11/2018)

A mixed race teen struggles to find her way back to her love of music in the wake of her sister’s tragic death in this incisive, lyrical novel that’s perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon and Jennifer Niven, by the author of William C. Morris Award finalist Starfish.

Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.

Aching, powerful, and unflinchingly honest, Summer Bird Blue explores big truths about insurmountable grief, unconditional love, and how to forgive even when it feels impossible.

 

 

navigators touchThe Navigator’s Touch by Julia Ember (ISBN-13: 978-1945053702 Publisher: Duet Books Publication date: 09/13/2018)

After invaders destroyed her village, murdered her family, and took her prisoner, shield-maiden Ragna is hungry for revenge. A trained warrior, she is ready to fight for her home, but with only a mermaid and a crew of disloyal mercenaries to aid her, Ragna knows she needs new allies. Guided by the magical maps on her skin, battling storms and mutiny, Ragna sets sail across the Northern Sea.

She petitions the Jarl in Frisia for aid, but despite Ragna’s rank and fighting ability, the Jarl sees only a young girl, too inexperienced to lead, unworthy of help. To prove herself to the Jarl and win her crew’s respect, Ragna undertakes a dangerous expedition. But when forced to decide between her own freedom and the fate of her crew, what will she sacrifice to save what’s left of her home?

Inspired by Norse mythology and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, this companion novel to The Seafarer’s Kiss is a tale of vengeance, valor, honor, and redemption.

 

 

unbrokenUnbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens by Marieke Nijkamp (ISBN-13: 9780374306502 Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Publication date: 09/18/2018)

This anthology explores disability in fictional tales told from the viewpoint of disabled characters, written by disabled creators. With stories in various genres about first loves, friendship, war, travel, and more, Unbroken will offer today’s teen readers a glimpse into the lives of disabled people in the past, present, and future.

The contributing authors are awardwinners, bestsellers, and newcomers including Kody Keplinger, Kristine Wyllys, Francisco X. Stork, William Alexander, Corinne Duyvis, Marieke Nijkamp, Dhonielle Clayton, Heidi Heilig, Katherine Locke, Karuna Riazi, Kayla Whaley, Keah Brown, and Fox Benwell. Each author identifies as disabled along a physical, mental, or neurodiverse axis—and their characters reflect this diversity.

 

 

magic weptMagic Wept by Andi Van (ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-674-0 Publisher: Dreamspinner Press Publication date: 09/18/2018)

The Mages’ Guild Trilogy: Book 2

Jorget wants desperately to hone his magical abilities, but it’s almost impossible in Archai Castle, where the mad king would kill him if he caught him using his forbidden talents. But a chance presents itself when Jorget’s mentor, the royal priest Denekk, sends him on a quest in search of a magical weapon. While it seems his opportunity to make a name for himself has finally arrived, Jorget has no idea what he’s really getting himself into.

In the Mages’ Guild of the Dragon’s Claw, Kelwin Tiovolk and his beloved, guild leader Tasis Kadara, are finally enjoying a peaceful life. Unfortunately, it can’t last—the king has designs on a weapon that can destroy the guild, and in order to protect his home, Kelwin will have to leave it.

Saving the guild seems impossible with so many determined to stop them, but if Kelwin and Jorget stand together, they might find the strength to defy the odds and preserve all they hold dear.

 

 

kensKens by Raziel Reid (ISBN-13: 9780735263772 Publisher: PRH Canada Young Readers Publication date: 09/18/2018)

Heterosexuality is so last season: Kens is the gay Heathers meets Mean Girls, a shocking parody for a whole new generation.

Every high school has the archetypical Queen B and her minions. In Kens, the high school hierarchy has been reimagined. Willows High is led by Ken Hilton, and he makes Regina George from Mean Girls look like a saint. Ken Hilton rules Willows High with his carbon-copies, Ken Roberts and Ken Carson, standing next to his throne. It can be hard to tell the Kens apart. There are minor differences in each edition, but all Kens are created from the same mold, straight out of Satan’s doll factory. Soul sold separately.
Tommy Rawlins can’t help but compare himself to these shimmering images of perfection that glide through the halls. He’s desperate to fit in, but in a school where the Kens are queens who are treated like Queens, Tommy is the uncool gay kid. A once-in-a-lifetime chance at becoming a Ken changes everything for Tommy, just as his eye is caught by the tall, dark, handsome new boy, Blaine. Has Blaine arrived in time to save him from the Kens? Tommy has high hopes for their future together, but when their shared desire to overthrow Ken Hilton takes a shocking turn, Tommy must decide how willing he is to reinvent himself — inside and out. Is this new version of Tommy everything he’s always wanted to be, or has he become an unknowing and submissive puppet in a sadistic plan?

 

 

black wingsBlack Wings Beating (Skybound #1) by Alex London (ISBN-13: 9780374306823 Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Publication date: 09/25/2018)

The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists.

Brysen strives to be a great falconer—while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She’s nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe.

Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Brysen goes for the boy he loves and the glory he’s long craved, and Kylee to atone for her past and to protect her brother’s future. But both are hunted by those who seek one thing: power.

In this first young-adult fantasy novel in a trilogy, Alex London launches a soaring saga about the memories that haunt us, the histories that hunt us, and the bonds of blood between us.

 

 

backstagersThe Backstagers and the Ghost Light (Backstagers #1) by Andy Mientus, Rian Sygh (ISBN-13: 9781419731204 Publisher: Amulet Books Publication date: 09/25/2018)

Jory didn’t know what to expect when he transferred to St. Genesius Prep, an all-boys school known for their incredible theater department. He ends up on the stage crew—or “backstagers” as they like to call themselves—and discovers the magic that happens behind the scenes of each production.

When some of the cast members decide to play with a Spirit board, the ghost light goes out. Ghost lights are supposed to protect the theater from ghosts sneaking in the shadows. The kids don’t think too much of it. However, when they decide to put on the musical Phantasm, strange things start happening right away: a fallen light, a missing prop, a star with something to hide. Could there be evil spirits in the theater?

 

 

my lifeMy Life as a Diamond by Jenny Manzer (ISBN-13: 9781459818316 Publisher: Orca Book Publishers Publication date: 09/25/2018)

Ten-year-old Caspar “Caz” Cadman loves baseball and has a great arm. He loves the sounds, the smells, the stats. When his family moves from Toronto to a suburb of Seattle, the first thing he does is try out for the local summer team, the Redburn Ravens. Even though Caz is thrilled when he makes the team, he worries because he has a big secret.

No one knows that back in Toronto, Caz used to live life as a girl named Cassandra. And it’s nobody’s business. Caz will tell his new friends when he’s ready.

But when a player on a rival team starts snooping around, Caz’s past is revealed, and Caz worries it will be Toronto all over again.

Will Caz’s teammates rally behind their star pitcher? Or will Caz be betrayed once more?

A heartwarming, funny, fast-paced story about the bravery it takes to live as your true self, no matter the cost.

 

 

nightingaleNightingale by Amy Lukavics (ISBN-13: 9781335012340 Publisher: Harlequin Publication date: 09/25/2018)At seventeen, June Hardie is everything a young woman in 1951 shouldn’t be—independent, rebellious, a dreamer. June longs to travel, to attend college and to write the dark science fiction stories that consume her waking hours. But her parents only care about making June a better young woman. Her mother grooms her to be a perfect little homemaker while her father pushes her to marry his business partner’s domineering son. When June resists, her whole world is shattered—suburbia isn’t the only prison for different women…June’s parents commit her to Burrow Place Asylum, aka the Institution. With its sickening conditions, terrifying staff and brutal “medical treatments,” the Institution preys on June’s darkest secrets and deepest fears. And she’s not alone. The Institution terrorizes June’s fragile roommate, Eleanor, and the other women locked away within its crumbling walls. Those who dare speak up disappear…or worse. Trapped between a gruesome reality and increasingly sinister hallucinations, June isn’t sure where her nightmares end and real life begins. But she does know one thing: in order to survive, she must destroy the Institution before it finally claims them all.

MakerSpace: DIY Games

makerspacelogo1

We host a monthly teen videogaming program at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County and we recently bought a Nintendo Switch to add to our array of video gaming equipment. I’ll talk more about the Switch soon, but as a new system it isn’t cheap and the games that you can buy for it aren’t cheap either. But we now have 3 video game systems and even with this number of systems and controllers, some teens still find themselves waiting for their turn to play and as you can imagine, waiting is boring. The fundamental drawback to teen videogaming in the library is the cost of the equipment and the wait in between times you get to play.

Our teens have asked for board games to play while waiting, but a large number of the games they have requested are expensive and they often don’t accommodate a lot of players, which would mean we would be spending a couple hundred dollars on board games. I know that lots of public libraries have board games and use them in their programming, but this hasn’t been something that our administration has wanted to invest in because of the cost and issues of lost pieces, etc. Plus, we are currently investing a lot of money into our Teen MakerSpace. But we have an excellent Teen MakerSpace so I thought, let’s address this teen request and get teens involved in making. My grand idea: we could combine the two and help teens create their own games to play. Thus, we started working with teens on DIY Games.diygames8Here are five ways that you can encourage teens to create and make their own games.

1. Coding

scratch scratch2LEGO Computer Coding STEM Activities for Kids

Code Your Own Games!: 20 Games to Create with Scratch

Whether you are using a PC, a laptop or a tablet, a lot of coding apps use the idea of game creation as a learning basis. Scratch is a free program from MIT that encourages game coding. And as you can imagine, there are lots of coding and gaming books out there to help teens to get started and thinking about game creation. This is, of course, the most difficult and challenging level of gaming. It’s not just thinking about the game design and play, but you have to learn the fundamentals of coding to get your game created. You can also use popular games like Crossy Road, Roblox and Minecraft that your teens are already playing to learn more about coding and game creation.

coding1 coding2 coding4

2. Bloxels

diygames7 diygames6

Bloxels – Build Your Own Video Games

Bloxels is a kit you can purchase that is designed specifically to be used with a tablet to create your own video games. You use little blocks  to create characters and layouts on a grid base and then upload them to create a gameboard. It’s similar to the idea of making a stop motion animation video by capturing a lot of pictures.

3. Build Your Own Pinball Machine

diygames1

There are a lot of ways that you can build your own pinball machine. I have a kit at home that we purchased for our girls and we have had a lot of fun with it. We also worked some on building a pinball machine from scratch using random materials. It was a teen who initially came to us and wanted to build a pinball machine and got us onto the idea, but that teen eventually lost interest in the project because building one from scratch is a longer, time consuming process.

How to Build an Arduino Pinball Machine: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

MAKERBALL – The DIY Pinball Machine Kit by MAKE & PLAY

Raspberry Pi-Powered Pinball Machine | Make: – Make Magazine

PinBox 3000: Unbox Your Imagination! | DIY Cardboard Pinball Machine

How to make a Pinball Machine with Cardboard at Home – YouTube

4. Dry Erase Game Board and Cards

diygames3 diygames5

You can buy a dry erase game board and playing cards off of Amazon and let teens create their own board games. We used Sculpey clay to make dice and you could use the same medium to make playing pieces if you found that you needed them. Dry erase is a great medium because if you find something isn’t working out, you can just erase it and start over again.

5. Legos

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You can build a variety of games using Legos. Chess and checkerboards are the easiest and most popular. Also, Lego minifigs make excellent game pieces if you are making your own games. Trying to build your own Lego mazes is also a fun challenge.

Make Your Own LEGO© Board Game – What Do We Do All Day

10 Fun Lego Game Ideas Lego Fans of All Ages Will Love

Easy DIY Checkers Homemade LEGO Checker Board Game

If you look online, there are no shortage of ways that you can get teens thinking about creating their own games and they can be high or low tech, or some combination of the two. For example, have an empty Altoid tin laying around, you can modify it to make a travel game. You can turn popular board games into live action versions like Candy Land, Hungry Hungry Hippo or Monopoly. TLTs own Heather Booth taught me how to host a live Angry Birds game, which I have done multiple times to great success. Mental Floss has an article which shares 26 life size versions of popular board games. If you have technology on hand, like LittleBits, Arduino or Raspberry Pi, you can have teens use those tools to make their own games. And if you and your teens needing even more guidance, you can purchase one of many kits easily online.

diygames4

CARNIVAL GAMES littleBits Design Challenge

Years ago as I majored in Youth Ministry, I had to take an entire class on games. That’s right, I took an entire class devoted to learning about, playing and designing games as part of my youth ministry major. If you have ever been to a Christian youth group in the 90s, you would know that there was a lot of emphasis put on games and ice breakers as part of the youth group experience. If you were born after the nineties, congratulations you’re not as old as I am. Group games are a huge area of focus in youth ministry, or at least it was in the 90s. Christian publishers publish entire books on great games for tweens and teens, and these were in fact some of my text books. For the record, these books are also good for game ideas in general, they don’t all have a distinctly Christian focus, they’re often just games for the sake of playing games. One of our assignments for this class was to create our own game from scratch. For the sake of this assigment, our game had to have an underlying purpose – what message were we trying to teach with the game? – but the actual assignment was to create a game. At the time, I thought it was an absurd assignment because they had made me purchase books and books of games and icebreakers. Why did I need to create my own games when there are books of them available? Little did I know at the time, but a lot of my professional career would be about trying to design or adapt games to make engaging teen programs. I do it for the library and not a church, but it turns out I would use that class a lot in life. And now not only am I designing them, but I’m giving teens the tools and resources and am asking them to make their own.

DIY games are a fun and entertaining ways to get teens making and in the end, they have a game designed by them to play with their friends. All in all, it doesn’t suck.

Book Review: Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Publisher’s description

dariusDarius doesn’t think he’ll ever be enough, in America or in Iran. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this unforgettable debut introduces a brilliant new voice in contemporary YA.Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s a Fractional Persian—half, his mom’s side—and his first-ever trip to Iran is about to change his life.Darius has never really fit in at home, and he’s sure things are going to be the same in Iran. His clinical depression doesn’t exactly help matters, and trying to explain his medication to his grandparents only makes things harder. Then Darius meets Sohrab, the boy next door, and everything changes. Soon, they’re spending their days together, playing soccer, eating faludeh, and talking for hours on a secret rooftop overlooking the city’s skyline. Sohrab calls him Darioush—the original Persian version of his name—and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab.Adib Khorram’s brilliant debut is for anyone who’s ever felt not good enough—then met a friend who makes them feel so much better than okay.

 

 

Amanda’s thoughts

IMG_4112I’ve been in a reading slump for what feels like forever, abandoning at least half a dozen books before I can settle in and actually read one. But this book? This book, I burned through in two sittings—and would’ve read it in one, had I not been expected to do things like parent my child. In fact, when I was reading this on the second day, I got so engrossed that I didn’t even look up for the duration of reading, not noticing how my dachshunds arranged themselves in this adorable heap and passed out next to me. Given that I usually look at them about every 30 seconds and exclaim how cute they are, this is an impressive level of reading engagement.

 

 

Darius is a Persian American sophomore living in Portland, Oregon. He works in a tea shop, is bullied at school, has depression, and often feels like an outsider even in his own family. Those are all the traits/facts that seem to define him while at home. His younger sister is fluent in Farsi, but Darius only knows food words and a few other common words and phrases. His blond-haired, blue-eyed father always seems disappointed in him, and they have trouble connecting, relying on nightly episodes of Star Trek to be the quality time they spend together. Like Darius, his father has depression, but Darius feels his dad is ashamed of this fact. He thinks Darius wouldn’t be bullied so much if he would just act more normal. When Darius’s mother tells him their family will be going to Iran to visit the dying grandfather he’s never met, Darius figures it will just be another place that he doesn’t fit in or feel comfortable. While he’s Skyped with his grandparents and other relatives plenty, he’s never met them. As noted before, he doesn’t speak much Farsi, which he knows will isolate him further. To his surprise, it is in Yazd, his mother’s hometown, where he begins to feel comfortable and to open himself up for the first time in his life.

 

 

Though Darius is often awkward and monosyllabic, we get to know him much better when he is in Iran. Darius gets to know himself much better during this time. He becomes friends with Sohrab, a charismatic neighbor boy who draws Darius out of his shell, inviting him to play soccer and helping guide him through life in Yazd. Fairly quickly, Darius feels such closeness with Sohrab, feeling like they really understand each other. Sohrab is easy and comfortable with Darius, so open and affectionate. Though it is never discussed, it is easy to read their relationship as something more than friends, or something that could potentially be more than friends. Though their time together is short, Sohrab and his friendship appear to be life changing for Darius, showing him that he can connect with other people and that there is more to him than just a bullied kid who is always the object of jokes and cruelty.

 

 

The book has a lot of other things going for it. Darius’s depression is handled well. It’s noted over and over that he has been encouraged to not feel embarrassed or ashamed for having depression, that it’s just the way his brain chemicals work. He talks about being medicated for years, about having tried various medications, about side effects, like weight gain, and we routinely see him take his medication. His mother talks to him about the fact that her parents will have a different, less understanding attitude toward depression, which does come up once they are in Iran. It is refreshing to see mental illness depicted in such a matter of fact manner—it’s just one part of Darius. Darius also helps guide readers through Persian culture by explaining cultural ideas, tradition, and Farsi words as the story unfolds. Khorram manages to make this feel like part of the natural flow of the narrative. This quiet story will resonate with readers who feel they don’t fit in, for whatever reason, and can appreciate the profoundness of finally feeling like you can connect with someone. A heartfelt, complicated, and thoughtful look at identity, family, and unexpected connections set in a place, and within a culture, we rarely see in YA. A great addition for all collections. 

 

Review copy courtesy of the publisher
ISBN-13: 9780525552963
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 08/28/2018
 

#ReadForChange: Back to School with Brendan Kiely’s TRADITION

ReadForChange copyTeen Librarian Toolbox is excited to be partnering with Marie Marquardt for her #ReadForChange project. Hop on over to this post to learn more about the initiative. Today, she and  Brendan Kiely join us for a conversation about power, feminism, toxic masculinity, taking action, and Brendan’s powerful 2018 book, Tradition. Please see the end of this post to enter to win a signed copy of this book! 

 

 

 

There’s really no such thing as the “voiceless.” There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.

– Arundhati Roy

 

“How Can Men be Better Feminists?”

 

Brendan-Kiely-Book-Tradition

Okay, folks. I’m about to climb up on my soapbox for a little bit, so get ready. (Or ignore this post until you’re prepared for a rant. These are tough times. Please be gentle with yourself!)

 

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to what’s happening in the world around you, then the claim I’m about to make will not come as a surprise. Many of the terrible ills that plague our society — and, here in the United States, also threaten our democracy — can be traced to a certain sort of privileged man. You know the type – they carry their entitlement as if it were somehow built into their DNA. They simply assume themselves to be untouchable – above the norms and laws and ethics that hold our communities together. And, if we’re being really honest, they pretty-much are able to live above or outside of those shared norms. Why? Because they live deep inside institutions that both grant them this power and protect them from losing it. They abuse their power. They abuse people because they perceive those people as objects, and not as their fully-human equals.

 

But then there are the men we may expect to be “the type” until we find out how very, profoundly wrong we are. They may be the jocks, the prep-school kids. They may be the recovering addicts. They may be the men who have made terrible mistakes, but who humbly seek guidance, looking to other people as models for how to live well. These men seek to understand the difference between right and wrong, and then they try to do what’s right. Sure, they mess up sometimes. But they try, and that means something.

 

They share a few things in common: they listen, they embed themselves in communities of trust. And by listening carefully in these communities, they learn – maybe slow and faltering – how to fight alongside their fully-human equals for what is right and good.

 

Brendan Kiely has astonishing talent. He writes stories that reveal to us both of these characters, while also unmasking the institutions that shape their lives (think: churches, police forces, and prep schools). His first novel, The Gospel of Winter is the gut-wrenching story of Aidan, a terribly broken boy, who struggles to decide whether he should reveal the abuse inflicted by his priest. I won’t claim that it’s an easy read (it’s particularly excruciating for Catholics like myself), but it’s powerful and compelling and – in the end – hopeful. In All American Boys (co-authored with Jason Reynolds), he introduces Quinn, who has to re-think everything he thought he knew about right-and-wrong, good-and-bad, when his mentor and big-brother figure, a police officer, assaults a black teenager from his high school.

 

Tradition, Brendan’s most recent novel, unflinchingly reveals life inside of a prep-school infused with toxic masculinity. More importantly, though, the story celebrates those courageous people who dare to make visible the toxic abuse of power, and of people. Tradition is, like most excellent novels, a multilayered story. But it is, at least in part, the story of how a boy named Bax, burdened by the mistakes of his past, learned to trust that he knew right from wrong and then developed the courage to do what was right.

 

“Before I act, I need to listen.”: Real Talk with Brendan Kiely

Brendan-Kiely-AuthorMARIE: Tell us about the moment when you knew that this story had to be written, and that you needed to address these tough themes head-on.  

 

BRENDAN: I’m hesitant to locate a moment, partially because I’m kind of dense and rarely respond to (or recognize when it hits me!) a bolt of inspiration, but also because I’m associative and nonlinear. Parts of my past resonate with parts of my present and when the emotions seem correlative, I know there’s a story in there. Also, as I’m looking around at the world, I formulate questions I want to try to address through fiction.

By way of example, I’ve shared this story before, and I think it does get at the crux of why I wanted to write Tradition.

Shortly before my senior prom, my high school allowed a tuxedo rental company to hang advertisements in the halls of our academic building. In the poster, four guys in tuxedos huddled around one girl in a prom dress, but the girl was tipped headfirst toward the floor, her legs in the air, spread open. In my all-boys’ high school, the poster reinforced the old trope of prom = sex, but it also signaled a deeper, more dangerous message as well: wear our tux and get what you want, because you are entitled to it.

The reality of that second message became clear to me when, a few weeks before going to college, I got a call from a friend, a girl who had been at that same prom. She’d been raped at the beach that summer. She didn’t want to share the details; she just wanted me to know. I listened. I believed her. Because I thought about that poster. I thought about the graffiti in my high school locker room and bathroom stalls. I thought about the way so many guys joked about sex aggressively, competitively. None of it was innocent. All of it reeked of entitlement.

An environment in which the boys think and are told they are entitled to sex, and all the messaging is about sex as a goal, and none of it is about consent and agency and seeing the human being, is an environment that nurtures, that is, rape culture. And a definition of masculinity that emerges from a culture which silences, shames, and gaslights women is dangerous—it harms women and robs men of the potential to be better human beings.

This all came back to me when in 2015 I saw the video of Emma Sulkowitz dragging her mattress across the graduation stage at Columbia University in an act of bravery and tenacity to remind the world she would not be silenced, that the story of her assault would not go unheard. The boarding school culture Jules and Bax grapple with in Tradition mirrors our broader society—all too many institutions are riddled with insidious and deeply entrenched misogyny—and I wanted to write about people who challenge that status quo. I wanted to write about the strength of women who stand up and speak out about misogyny, and also, especially as a man writing this book, I wanted to write a novel that asked: How can men be better feminists? What are men’s roles in this time of necessary cultural reckoning?

 

MARIE: What actions are you taking in this time of cultural reckoning? How are your actions, and the way you choose to act, shaped by your own identity?

 

BRENDAN: I love this question because it asks us writers to address the notion of accountability in our lives. Regardless of our intentions in telling the story, how do we live our lives?

As someone with a vast amount of social power and privilege, I’m white, male, cis-gendered, heterosexual, and not disabled, action is the language I’m accustomed to. That’s part of the privilege—I feel emboldened to act, I feel free to act. So though action is necessary, for those of us with these kinds of privileges, I think we should practice humility first and always. Choose to listen to the people in our lives, choose to listen so that we can better understand, but also so we can strengthen our empathetic hearts, instead of just telling myself, “here’s what I think I can (or should) do.” If I want to help create a more just and equitable world, before I act, I need to listen.

When my grandmother, a Catholic, and the matriarch of my predominantly Catholic family, read my first book, The Gospel of Winter, a novel about a 16-year-old boy struggling to decide whether or not he should tell people he’s been abused by his priest, I was nervous to hear what she thought. But she said, “Brendan, your book reminds me of Solomon asking God for a listening heart.” Her wisdom was profound and shook me to the core. In my life, my writing, my relationships, and all work I ever hope to do, I try to remind myself of her words, and strive to find, nurture, and practice, a “listening heart” before I act.

So rather than list the things I do (most of which are in organizations working toward more racial justice in various institutions), I’d rather emphasize the work I think we all need to do before we act: listening and believing the stories we hear—and for those of us who are men or white like me, particularly listen to and believe the stories of women and people of color, who have all too often been silenced or unheard.

 

MARIE: I love this wisdom! For readers who have been doing the careful work of developing this empathetic and listening heart, and who think they may be prepared for action, what’s your advice?

 

BRENDAN: I think it is important to remember that if we want to challenge established authority and status quo, there are inherent risks. It is dangerous to think we can affect change overnight, and it is dangerous to forget just how much work so many people have done before us in the work we hope to do today. Before joining or starting a movement, I think everyone should look through a few key texts to understanding to work, the cost, and the history. For example, one might check out these three graphic guides: A Brief History of Feminism by Patu, Antje Schrupp, and Sophie Lewis; March Trilogy by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell; and Introducing Feminism: A Graphic Guide by Cathia Jenainati and Judy Groves.

 

Brendan's Recommended Books (1)

 

And, after reflecting on the work that people have done before us, if you do choose to act, always act in a group, not alone. The most successful action is collective, not individual. By partnering and growing your numbers in your own organization, you can be a lot more effective in your community.

 

In my perfect world, there’d be a Feminist Club in every high school in America. So, if there isn’t already a Feminist Club at the school, I’d recommend students starting one from which to grow and connect to other organizations. And if there already is a Feminist Club, maybe consider researching the kind of actions other organizations (such as the ones below) have done or are already doing and either mirror those plans or find ways to partner with those organizations in your own school.

 

 

Ready to learn more and “strengthen our empathetic hearts”? Here are Brendan’s recommended reads

 

To get us started, Brendan recommend an excellent list of recent articles that “lay out the realities of sexual harassment and assault and rape culture”:

 

“#MeToo is a wakeup call: We need to talk to youth about sexual health and ethics” (Salon)

 

“The reckoning: Women and power in the workplace”  (New York Times)

 

“Your reckoning. And mine.” (The Cut)

 

“What does a lifetime of leers do to us?” (New York Times)

 

“#MeToo creator answers 10 questions and perfectly explains what the movement is all about” (UpWorthy)

 

“Stop telling us how to confront an epedimic of violence and abuse: Rebecca Solnit on the #MeToo backlash” (LitHub)

 

Brendan also points us all toward a couple of powerful feminist books:

 

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi

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We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

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And, when you’re ready to take a break from the books, he’s got several fabulous suggestions for documentaries and videos:

 

The Mask You Live Ina Representation Project documentary about the construction of masculinity

 

Nanette – a stand-up comedy act by Hannah Gadsby

 

Why I’m done trying to be “man enough” – a TED talk by Justin Badoni

 

 “Regardless of our intention in telling the story, how do we live our lives?” Ready to take action?  Here are a few organizations doing great work:

 

Creating Consent Culture – An international movement that educates and enlightens the masses on sexual assault and holistic healing to end sexual violence once and for all.

 

Ultraviolet – A community of people mobilized to fight sexism and create a more inclusive world.

 

NOW Campus Action Network – Young feminists bringing activism to their schools and colleges.

 

TRADITION #RFCHead Back to School with #ReadForChange

If you’re hoping to head back to school with a free signed copy of Tradition, here’s a link to the giveaway. We’ll be announcing the winner on Twitter @MarieFMarquardt and Instagram marie_marquardt September 1!

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Marie Marquardt

Women’s March, January 21, 2017

Women’s March, January 21, 2017

Marie Marquardt is the author of three YA novels: The Radius of UsDream Things True, and Flight Season. A Scholar-in-Residence at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, Marie also has published several articles and co-authored two non-fiction books about Latin American immigration to the U.S. South. She is chair of El Refugio, a non-profit that serves detained immigrants and their families. She lives with her spouse, four kids, a dog and a bearded dragon in the book-lover’s mecca of Decatur, Georgia.

 

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Here to Stay by Sara Farizan

Bijan Majidi is:
  • Shy around girls
  • Really into comics
  • Decent at basketball

Bijan Majidi is not:

  • A terrorist

What happens when a kid who’s flown under the radar for most of high school gets pulled off the bench to make the winning basket in a varsity playoff game?

If his name is Bijan Majidi, life is suddenly high fives in the hallways and invitations to exclusive parties—along with an anonymous photo sent by a school cyberbully that makes Bijan look like a terrorist.

The administration says they’ll find and punish the culprit. Bijan wants to pretend it never happened. He’s not ashamed of his Middle Eastern heritage; he just doesn’t want to be a poster child for Islamophobia. Lots of classmates rally around Bijan. Others make it clear they don’t want him oranybody who looks like him at their school. But it’s not always easy to tell your enemies from your friends.

Monstrous Devices by Damien Love

On a winter’s day in a British town, twelve-year old Alex receives a package in the mail: an old tin robot from his grandfather. “This one is special,” says the enclosed note, and when strange events start occurring around him, Alex suspects this small toy is more than special; it might be deadly.

Right as things get out of hand, Alex’s grandfather arrives, pulling him away from an attack—and his otherwise humdrum world of friends, bullies, and homework—and into the macabre magic of an ancient family feud. Together, the duo flees across snowy Europe, unraveling the riddle of the little robot while trying to outwit relentless assassins of the human and mechanical kind.

Secrets From the Deep by Linda Fairstein

It’s the end of summer, and Devlin Quick is invited to join her best friend Booker’s family on vacation at their summer home in Martha’s Vineyard. Booker has a science project for school: to take a daily bucket of water from the Vineyard Sound and submit a sample to an oceanographic DNA lab. From that, they can actually tell you what species of fish have been in those waters: striped bass, blues…and sharks! But Devlin comes up with something else in her bucket from the days when pirates hid treasures along New England coastline. With access to the crime DNA lab back in NYC (courtesy of her mother), Dev is going to solve the mystery of this treasure…and figure out all of the secrets Martha’s Vineyard is hiding.

Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist by Sylvia Acevedo

A meningitis outbreak in their underprivileged neighbourhood left Sylvia Acevedo’s family forever altered. As she struggled in the aftermath of loss, young Sylvia’s life transformed when she joined the Brownies. The Girl Scouts taught her how to take control of her world and nourished her love of numbers and science. With new confidence, Sylvia navigated shifting cultural expectations at school and at home, forging her own trail to become one of the first Latinx to graduate with a master’s in engineering from Stanford University and going on to become a rocket scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The Red Fox Clan by John Flanagan

Picking up where The Royal Ranger: A New Beginning left off, this next installment continues the story arc featuring young apprentice, Maddie, and the student-turned-master, Will Treaty. The time has come for the next generation to assume the mantle and become protectors of the kingdom of Araluen.

After passing her third-year assessment as a ranger’s apprentice, Maddie is called home to Castle Araluen. Forced to keep her ranger training a secret, Maddie feels trapped by the monotony of castle life and longs to find a way out. But there are whisperings of a new threat to the kingdom. The mysterious Red Fox Clan, a group of anarchists all donning fox masks, have threatened Castle Araluen and question Princess Cassandra and Madelyn’s succession to the throne. Will they succeed in unseating Cassandra and Madelyn and take the throne for themselves?

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

Did you drink a glass of water today? Did you turn on a light? Did you think about how miraculous either one of those things is when you did it? Of course not–but you should, and New York Times bestselling author Steven Johnson has. This adaptation of his adult book and popular PBS series explores the fascinating and interconnected stories of innovations–like clean drinking water and electricity–that changed the way people live.Innovation starts with a problem whose solution sets in motion all kinds of unexpected discoveries. That’s why you can draw a line from pendulums to punching the clock at a factory, from ice blocks to summer movie blockbusters, from clean water to computer chips.In the lively storytelling style that has made him a popular, bestselling author, Steven Johnson looks at how accidental genius, brilliant mistakes, and unintended consequences shape the way we live in the modern world. Johnson’s “long zoom” approach connects history, geography, politics, and scientific advances with the deep curiousity of inventors or quirky interests of tinkerers to show how innovation truly comes about. His fascinating account is organized into six topics: glass, cold, sound, clean, time, light. Johnson’s fresh exploration of these simple, single-syllable word concepts creates an endlessly absorbing story that moves from lightning strikes in the prehistoric desert to the herculean effort to literally raise up the city of Chicago to laser labs straight out of a sci-fi movie. In other words, it’s the story of how we got to now!

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

THE DARK DESCENT OF ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN is a stunning reimagination of the classic, speaking to the fears we all bury deep inside.

2018 Diversity Audit Resources – The Quest to Create an Own Voices Master List as an Audit Tool

Whenever I talk about doing a YA collection diversity audit (links at the end of this post), the #1 question I get asked, after how in general, is how do you know if an author is own voices or not. It’s a good question that typically takes a lot of research, even for me. I have somewhat of a basis now using my own collection and my first audit, but starting from scratch was a time consuming endeavor that had me checking and double checking lists I found online and cross checking them with my own shelf list. There are lots of good individual resources out there that focus on things like Latinx authors, or LGBTQ authors, or POC authors, but you have to find and navigate each one, which makes the task a bit more cumbersome.

Lee and Low have a good resource to help librarians understand the Diversity Gap in Children's Litearature http://blog.leeandlow.com/2017/03/30/the-diversity-gap-in-childrens-book-publishing-2017/

Lee and Low have a good resource to help librarians understand the Diversity Gap in Children’s Litearature http://blog.leeandlow.com/2017/03/30/the-diversity-gap-in-childrens-book-publishing-2017/

This year, I want to work on creating an Own Voices master list that would help other YA librarians have some starting points for doing their own diversity audits. Some other librarians have agreed to help.  Lisa Krok (@readonthebeach), Allie (@alphabeticallie) and I are working on creating a YA Own Voices Master List that we can upload to Google Docs and share with the general public. But it’s quite a task and we are working out the details. It’s a discussion in progress. In the meantime, we could really use your help.

Want to know more about Own Voices? Here’s a brief beginning.

#ownvoices • Corinne Duyvis

1. Help us create the Master List by sharing resources you know about in the comments so we can add them to our list.  A lot of people have done some initial work and compiled great lists, so if you know about them please place a link in the comments.

2. If you have some sort of a spreadsheet already and don’t mind sharing, please consider sending it to me via email. We will make sure that your work is acknowledged.

3. If you are an author who wants to be included, please comment below or email me.

A note about this list: Our goal is to create a tool to help YA librarians assess the make up of their collections in order to build the most inclusive collections as possible. We do not expect that this list will ever be exhaustive or all inclusive because new authors are always being announced and also, some authors may not wish to be identified. For example, we do not want to ever accidentally out an LGBTQ author who does not wish to be identified. We also want to work and make sure that we correctly identify authors in the ways they wish to be identified and respect their right not to be included if they so choose. We are choosing to focus not just on works that include diverse characters, which have value, but on focusing on and lifting up own voices authors to help ensure that we are not just lifting up diverse titles, but diverse authors because as recent research has indicated, children’s and YA publishing is still overwhelmingly white. We want our kids to not only read about characters that look like themselves, but to read about it from an author who looks like them and can remind them that not only can they read diversely, but that they too can grow up to be an author and share their words if they so choose.

We live in an increasingly diverse world, but many areas of our lives do not reflect this. Publishing is one of these areas, and we want to provide a resource to help libraries do the necessary work of making sure that they are purposefully curating inclusive collections. While organizations like We Need Diverse Books does the work on helping to diversify publishing, librarians need to do the work of making sure we are buying the books and building inclusive collections for our patrons.

Please note, for the purposes of this discussion, we are talking about books published as YA. I fully understand that teens read both down and up, but for the purposes of this project we will be looking at YA authors who have published at least 1 title published as YA/Teen.

Current Resources and Discussion

Diversity in Publishing

Statistics | Diversity in YA

The Diversity Baseline Survey | Lee & Low Books

Infographic Series: The Diversity Gap | Lee & Low Books

SLJ Resources for Diversity in Kid and YA Lit | School Library Journal

We Need Diverse Books | Official site of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Children’s Book Council (CBC) Diversity ;CBC Diversity Initiative | Children’s Book Council

Cooperative Children’s Book Center: Publishing Stats on Children’s Books and Diversity

Population Statistics

U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts selected: UNITED STATES

LGBT America: By the Numbers | Washington Week – PBS

Doing a Diversity Audit

Diversity in Collection Development – American Library Association

Having Students Analyze Our Classroom Library To See How Diverse It Is

Diversity in Libraries–From Collections and Community to Staff

Third Graders Assess and Improve Diversity of Classroom Library

How You Can Support the #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign

Additional Resources: Book Lists and New Releases

Diversity in YA (General)

We Need Diverse Books | Official site of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Reading While White

Rich In Color

Book Lists | Diversity in YAwww.diversityinya.com/category/book-lists/

Diversity in Young Adult and Middle Grade (1351 books) – Goodreads

31 Young Adult Books With Diverse Characters Literally Everyone

Diversity YA Life: Diverse Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror – The Hub

Diversity YA Life: Urban Fiction – The Hub

Rich in Color | Reading & Reviewing Diverse YA Booksrichincolor.com/

Diversify YA Life: Horror with Diverse Characters

50 Years of Diversity in Young Adult Literature by Edith Campbell

60 Diverse Books To Look for in 2017

10 Diverse Books by YA Authors of Color to Read in 2017 | Teen Vogue

Faces of Color on 2017 YA Books – Book Riot

#OwnVoices YA Favorites

14 of Our Most Anticipated OwnVoices YA Books of 2018 – July through December

Asian American Protagonists

Best Asian-American Teen Fiction (156 books) – Goodreads

A Round-Up of Awesome Asian American Protagonists in YA Lit

11 Young Adult Novels By Asian-American Authors – Bustle

LatinX Representation

Latinx Ya Shelf – Goodreads

13 Upcoming YA Books By Latinx Authors To Start Getting Excited

9 Books By Latinx Authors I Wish I Had As A Teenager – Bustle

Latinxs in Kid Lithttps://latinosinkidlit.com/ 

Native American Representation

American Indians in Children’s Literature

#OwnVoices Representation: Native American Authors – YA Interrobang

Teen Books With Native American Characters and Stories (66 books)

Some thoughts on YA lit and American Indians – American Indians in Children’s Literature/Debbie Reese

Books Outside The Box: Native Americans – The Hub

Teen Books by Native Writers to Trumpet Year-Round | School Library

POC Leads

10 Diverse Books by YA Authors of Color to Read in 2017 | Teen Vogue

Faces of Color on 2017 YA Books – Book Riot

12 Young Adult Novels With POC Protagonists – Bustle

14 YA Books About LGBTQ People of Color – The B&N Teen Blog

Books By and About People of Marginalized Races

BrownBookShelf

LGBTQAI+

YA Pride (formerly Gay YA) : YA Pride (@YA_Pride) | Twitter

30 Essential LGBT Books for YA Readers – AbeBooks

100 Must-Read LGBTQIA YA Books – Book Riot

23 of Our Most Anticipated LGBTQA YA Books of 2017 – The B&N

72 Must-Read YA Books Featuring Gay Protagonists – Epic Reads

LGBTQIAP+ Books By People Who Identify as LGBTQIAP+

Trans-Identifying Authors

The Rainbow Book List

Stonewall Book Awards List

Disability in YA Lit

Disability in Kidlit — Reviews, articles, and more about the portrayal of …

People First: Disabilities in YA Lit – The Hub

#ownvoices in Disability and Neurodiversity

Feminist YA

50 Crucial Feminist YA Novels – The B&N Teen Blog

34 Young Adult Books Every Feminist Will Love – BuzzFeed

100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader | Bitch Media

Body Acceptance

5 Body-Positive YA Reads to Take to the Beach – The B&N Teen Blog

Celebrating Every Body: 25 Body Image Positive Books for Mighty Girls

7 Body Positive YA Books That Slay | Brit + Co

Julie Murphy’s ‘Dumplin’ And 6 Other Body Positive YA Novels – Bustle

Religious Diversity in YA

#FSYALit at Teen Librarian Toolbox

Rich in Color | Six YA Books with Middle Eastern or Muslim Protagonists

Diversity in YA Literature: Muslim Teens – The Hub

Jewish Themed Young Adult Books, Not About The Holocaust

The Big Five (+1) in YA: Atheism and Agnosticism – The Hub

The Big Five (+1) in YA: Buddhism – The Hub

Mental Health in YA

#MHYALit at Teen Librarian Toolbox

29 YA Books About Mental Health That Actually Nail It – BuzzFeed

16 YAs That Get it Right: Mental Health Edition – The B&N Teen Blog

YA novels that get real about mental health – HelloGiggles

11 YA Novels That Deal With Mental Health Issues – Bustle

10 Must-Read YA Books That Also Talk About Mental Health – Healthline

Socio-Economic Diversity in YA Lit

Socio-Economic Diversity in YA Lit

Poverty in YA Literature

Rich Teen, Poor Teen: Books that depict teens living in poverty

#SJYALit: A Bibliography of MG and YA Lit Featuring Homeless Youth

Own Voices

MG/YA/NA #ownvoices (216 books) – Goodreads

#OwnVoices in Disability and Neurodiversity | The Daily Dahlia

11 of Our Most Anticipated #OwnVoices Reads of 2017

10 Amazing #OwnVoices Reads from 2016

LGBTQA Science Fiction and Fantasy YA by #OwnVoices Authors

Don’t forget to check out the hasthag #OwnVoices on Twitter

New Releases

YA Books Centralwww.yabookscentral.com/

Teen Reads – www.teenreads.com

Book Riot – www.bookriot.com

Barnes and Noble Teen Blog – www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/teen/

YA Interrobang – www.yainterrobang.com

YA Lit – www.yalit.com

Epic Reads – www.epicreads.com

Pop Crush – www.popcrush.com

Bustle – www.bustle.com

Adventures in YA – www.adventuresinya.com

Coming Soon

17 Upcoming YA by Authors of Color: Bustle

Teens of Color on 2018 YA Book Covers – STACKED – books

2018 YA/MG Books With POC Leads (120 books) – Goodreads

Thirteen YA Books That Feature POC Leads Coming to You This 2018

17 YA Books By Authors Of Color To Look Out For In The First Half Of 2018

2018 YA Books with (Possible) LGBT Themes (114 books) – Goodreads – please note the possible noted here

The Complete List of 2018 YA Releases | Fictionist Magazine

YA Novels of 2018 (708 books) – Goodreads

YA Debuts 2018 (96 books) – Goodreads

Electric Eighteens | Electric 18s – 2018 Debut Young Adult

*with assistance from TLTer Heather Booth

Complete YA Collection Diversity Audit Series

Doing a YA Collection Diversity Audit: Understanding Your Local Community (Part 1)

Doing a YA Collection Diversity Audit: The How To (Part 2)

Doing a YA Collection Diversity Audit: Resources and Sources (Part 3)

Diversity Audit Outline 2017 with Sources

Sunday Reflections: When Darkness Means You Can’t Read – Reflections on Mental Health and Reading

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TRIGGER WARNING: This post discusses depression, anxiety, mental illness and suicide

Recently, Time magazine reported that less 1/3 of teens don’t read for pleasure. At the same time, a lot of YA/Teen librarians are looking at their circulation statistics and wondering why they’re going down. I did a completely informal and unscientific Twitter poll, and about half of the 88 respondants indicated that their circulation stats were going down. This was not surprising to me because it’s something that I see a lot of my peers talking about and working to fix.

There are a lot of possible reasons as to why. For one, we know that more teens are reading digitally and these circulation statistics aren’t counted in traditional ways. If you use Hoopla, for example, they don’t separate YA books out in their reports. But we know that a lot of teens are migrating to digital content, both ebooks and audiobooks. In addition, a lot of teens are abandoning traditionally published fiction and embracing fanfiction on forums such at Wattpad. It’s not that teens aren’t reading, they’re just reading differently. And of course, we can’t ignore that a lot of teens are spending more time engaged with social media just as adults are.

In just the five years between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. teens who felt useless and joyless – classic symptoms of depression – surged 33 percent in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts increased 23 percent. Even more troubling, the number of 13- to 18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent. (Source: http://theconversation.com/with-teen-mental-health-deteriorating-over-five-years-theres-a-likely-culprit-86996)

But I would like to suggest that another reason for the decline in reading pleasure would be the increase in mental illness. Statistically, we are seeing a growing number of teens report episodes of depression and anxiety. The Center for Disease Control reports that incidents of depression, anxiety and suicide having been steadily rising for teens, and I think this is a significant issue that needs to be addressed for a lot of obvious reasons, but also because I think it affects reading.

I am an adult human who struggles with depression and anxiety. I am prone to panic attacks and have some serious moments of suicidal ideation. As such, I find myself involved in a lot of online forums with others who struggle with these same issues. One of the things that seems common for a majority of us is that when we are in the midst of a depression or anxiety spiral, reading is hard. Full, immersive reading that requires a type of physical and emotional investment can be hard for people struggling with mental illness. Let me explain.

For a lot of us with depression and anxiety, the most basic of functions can require an amount of energy that can be hard to muster. Your body can feel heavy, weighed down. You’re tired a lot. And if you are in an anxiety spiral, there is a lot of negative self talk that is happening in your head that takes a very dominant position. All of this is a type of clutter in the mind and body that makes everything else so much harder. So your goal is to survive and, if possible, dull the static noises inside of you. For me, and many others like me, scrolling through social media and looking at pictures or reading fluff headlines while watching fluff tv in the background can sere as a means to try and help drown out the noises. It’s a type of survival technique to help get you through the moment. I personally find that Food Network or mindless comedies are great for this. They’re not heavy, they don’t require invested attention, and the fluff of it helps me to cope. And the act of scrolling and reading on the Internet takes up a space that darkness is trying to occupy.

These are coping techniques. I’m not saying that they are healthy ones, but I find them to be employed by a lot of my fellow depression and anxiety sufferers. For many of us, there are periods of time when reading for pleasure is just simply not an option.

In the height of my worst depressive episode, I went three months without being able to read a book. I typically read about 3 books a week, but there are often times when I can read no books at all because I can’t get my mind settled enough to commit to the act of reading. I have reason to believe that I am not the only person that this is true for.

Yes, it is different for some people and for them, reading is the escape that they need. Reading can be the coping mechanism that some need while for others it is an insurmountable hurdle. No two people struggle with the same mental health issues in the same ways. But I think it is important that we acknowledge two things when considering a decline in reading:

1. We live in a world where many people are facing increasing struggles with depression and anxiety.

2. For some people, un-managed mental health issues can result in the loss of the ability to read for periods of time.

I believe that it is important that we talk more about and provide better treatment and support for mental health issues in our world. I also think if we truly want to explore things like education and reading for pleasure, this is another reason we need to look into mental health more closely. Not every teen who chooses not to read is struggling with mental health issues, but I believe that some of them are and recognizing that will help us better understand the problem and get us talking about mental health, coping strategies, support and treatment. What if part of the reasons teens are reading less is because they are hurting more? It’s a question we should investigate.

Friday Finds: August 24, 2018

tltbutton3This Week at TLT

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

How Much YA Gets Published Each Year? Discussing YA Collection Development Challenges

Post-it Note Reviews of Recent YA Releases

Book Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

We Need to Talk About LGBTQ Book Displays

Sunday Reflections: Classroom Libraries are a Stark Reminder that Not All Schools are Created Equal

Around the Web

Playtime May Bolster Kids’ Mental Health But as parents and schools emphasize academics, it’s dwindling.

Jason Reynolds and Independent Bookstores to Distribute 20,000 Books to Children in Underserved Communities This Holiday Season

12 Books to Keep You Swooning After Watching To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

High Child Poverty Is A Deliberate Policy Choice The current food stamp debate is a good example of how the federal budget disadvantages children.

A Third of Teenagers Don’t Read Books for Pleasure Anymore

 

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

Three months off for summer vacation meant I got a lot of reading done. Here are some quick looks at books I read for younger readers. I’m excited to head back to the elementary school library in a few days and share many of these titles with the students and see what everyone read and enjoyed over the summer!

Post-it Note reviews are a great way to display books in your library or classroom, a way to let kids recommend their favorite titles without having to get up in front of everyone and do a book talk, and an easy way to offer a more personal recommendation than just the flap copy offers.

All summaries here are from the publishers. Transcription of Post-it note review under the summary.

 

 

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The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Now available in paperback, this 2015 National Book Award finalist and instant New York Times bestseller is a stunning debut novel about grief and wonder.

Everyone says that it was an accident… that sometimes things “just happen”. But Suzy won’t believe it. Ever. After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory—even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…and the potential for love and hope right next door.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: A moving examination of grief, loss, friendship, and healing. Zu’s scientific approach to this loss is compelling, especially as we watch her retreat further from reality and deeper into her theory. Well-written and emotional. Ages 10-13)

 

 

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Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk

Sixth grade was SO much easier for Danielle. All her friends were in the same room and she knew what to expect from her life. But now that she’s in seventh grade, she’s in a new middle school, her friends are in different classes and forming new cliques, and she is completely lost.

When Danielle inherits a magical sketchbook from her eccentric great aunt Elma, she draws Madison, an ideal best friend that springs to life right off the page! But even when you create a best friend, it’s not easy navigating the ups and downs of relationships, and before long Danielle and Madison are not exactly seeing eye-to-eye.

To make matters worse, Danielle has drawn the head of her favorite (and totally misunderstood) cartoon villain, Prince Neptune. He’s also come to life and is giving her terrible advice about how to make people like her. When she rejects him and he goes on a rampage during a school pep rally, Danielle and Madison have to set aside their differences to stop him!

 

(POST-IT SAYS: LOVE! This will fly off the shelf. Wide appeal and will be an instant hit for Telgemeier fans. Dany’s problems are ones many kids will relate to. The fantasy element is great and fun. Ages 9-13)

 

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Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School, Book 1 by Julie Falatko, Colin Jack

Sassy and Waldo are good dogs. They spend the day keeping their house safe. Has a squirrel ever gotten inside? No! But every day their boy, Stewart, comes home from this terrible place called school smelling like anxiety and looseleaf paper.

Sassy and Waldo decide to save Stewart. But they don’t let dogs into school. So Sassy and Waldo decide to get creative. They put on an old trench coat, and now everyone at Bea Arthur Elementary thinks they are a new student named Salty from Liver, Ohio. Well, everyone except Stewart.

Sassy and Waldo love school! Everything smells like meat and dirty socks. And they discover a whole other way to help out Stewart!

 

(POST-IT SAYS: So silly and fun. Short chapters, dynamic and cartoonish illustrations, and bolded words/sentences will make this appeal to even reluctant readers. A clever and goofy story. Ages 7-10)

 

 

 

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Love Double Dutch! by Doreen Spicer-Dannelly

From the creator of the popular Disney Channel original movie, Jump In! comes a double Dutch novel perfect for fans of stories about sports, summer, and friendship.

Brooklyn middle-schooler MaKayla can only think about one thing–taking her double Dutch team all the way to the National Jump-off at Madison Square Garden. That is, until her mother breaks the news. Kayla has to spend the summer at her aunt’s house in North Carolina while her parents work out their problems . . . or decide to call it quits.

Kayla does not feel at home in the South, and she certainly doesn’t get along with her snooty cousin Sally. It looks like her Jump-off dreams are over.

Hold the phone! Turns out, double Dutch is huge in the South. She and Sally just need to find two more kids for a team. And a routine. And the confidence to stand up to the double Dutch divas who used to be Sally’s BFFs. Time to show those Southern belles some Brooklyn attitude!

 

(POST-IT SAYS: A fun, fast read with a small plot—get to the National Jump-Off competition. Lots of little obstacles to overcome keep it interesting. A good look at friendship, teamwork, and a competitive sport we don’t see much of in fiction. Ages 10-13)

 

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The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller

An emotionally-charged new classic about the science of hope, love, and miracles! Natalie’s uplifting story of using the scientific process to “save” her mother from depression is sure to take root in readers’ hearts!

How do you grow a miracle? 
For the record, this is not the question Mr. Neely is looking for when he says everyone in class must answer an important question using the scientific process. But Natalie’s botanist mother is suffering from depression, so this is The Question that’s important to Natalie. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie has hope.

Eggs are breakable. Hope is not.
Natalie has a secret plan for the prize money. She’s going to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids–flowers that survive against impossible odds. The magical flowers are sure to inspire her mother to love life again. As Natalie prepares for the competition, she will discover that talking about problems is like taking a plant out of a dark cupboard and giving it light.

An extraordinary debut about the coming-of-age moment when kids realize that parents are people, too. Think THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH meets THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Alert! A middle grade book that deals with mental health! Compassionate and moving look at families, support, therapy, and the ways depression can affect a family. As hopeful as it is heartbreaking. Ages 10-14)

 

 

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Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin

Fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and A Snicker of Magic will be swept away by Cindy Baldwin’s debut middle grade about a girl coming to terms with her mother’s mental illness.

When twelve-year-old Della Kelly finds her mother furiously digging black seeds from a watermelon in the middle of the night and talking to people who aren’t there, Della worries that it’s happening again—that the sickness that put her mama in the hospital four years ago is back. That her mama is going to be hospitalized for months like she was last time.

With her daddy struggling to save the farm and her mama in denial about what’s happening, it’s up to Della to heal her mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville, North Carolina, for generations.

But when the Bee Lady says that the solution might have less to do with fixing Mama’s brain and more to do with healing her own heart, Della must learn that love means accepting her mama just as she is.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Unbeknownst to her family, Della’s mom has stopped taking her schizophrenia meds. Della feels responsible for her mom’s illness and for finding a cure. A quiet and empathetic look at how mental illness can affect a family. A supportive community helps Della through this hard time. Ages 10-13)

 

 

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The Jigsaw Jungle by Kristin Levine

A mysterious treasure hunt helps to heal a broken family in critically acclaimed author Kristin Levine’s first contemporary tale—perfect for fans of Wendy Mass and Jennifer L. Holm

Claudia Dalton’s father has disappeared. What began as a late night at work has spiraled into a missing persons case—one that’s left twelve-year-old Claudia questioning everything she’s ever known about her father and their family.

But when she finally gets word from her dad, it turns out he isn’t missing at all. He’s just gone to “think things over” and visit an old friend, whatever that means. Feeling confused and helpless, Claudia starts to assemble a scrapbook, gathering emails, receipts, phone transcripts and more, all in a desperate attempt to figure out what’s happening with her dad. Claudia’s investigation deepens at her grandfather’s house, where she receives an envelope containing a puzzle piece and a cryptic message.

It’s this curious first clue that sets Claudia on an unexpected treasure hunt that she hopes will bring her dad home and heal whatever’s gone wrong with her family. Told through the pages of Claudia’s scrapbook, The Jigsaw Jungle is a moving story of a family lost and then found, with a dash of mystery and loads of heart, from award-winning author and middle-grade master Kristin Levine.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Interesting format with texts, emails, video transcripts, receipts, etc. The story behind the mystery is a complex one of identity and sexuality. Strong characters carry the story. A thoughtful look at family relationships and truth. Ages 10-13)

 

 

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The House That Lou Built by Mae Respicio

A coming-of-age story that explores culture and family, forgiveness and friendship, and what makes a true home. Perfect for fans of Wendy Mass and Joan Bauer.

Lou Bulosan-Nelson has the ultimate summer DIY project. She’s going to build her own “tiny house,” 100 square feet all her own. She shares a room with her mom in her grandmother’s house, and longs for a place where she can escape her crazy but lovable extended Filipino family. Lou enjoys her woodshop class and creating projects, and she plans to build the house on land she inherited from her dad, who died before she was born. But then she finds out that the land may not be hers for much longer.

Lou discovers it’s not easy to save her land, or to build a house. But she won’t give up; with the help of friends and relatives, her dream begins to take shape, and she learns the deeper meaning of home and family.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Wonderful look at community and culture. Filipino American Lou has a real talent for carpentry, design, and architecture. Lou is spirited, filled with determination and heart. Unique read. Ages 9-13)