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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Instagram Challenge

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse introduces Miles Morales, a half African-American/half Puerto Rican teen from Brooklyn, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the mask.  Spider-Verse celebrates diversity and individuality, providing an opportunity for teens to imagine they or someone they admire is a Spider-Hero.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Instagram Challenge — “What Makes You Different Is What Makes You Spider-Man.”

Sony Pictures challenges teens to create and document their very own Spider-Hero from their own universe/neighborhood in celebration of the upcoming release of Spider-Man™: Into the Spider-Verse on December 14. Teens can make an image or video, up to 30 seconds long, of what their Spider-Hero would look or sound like and post it on Instagram with the following hashtags #SpiderVerse and #everydayspiderhero.

Additionally, any teen librarian who would like to promote the Challenge can contact Rachel Breinin at rgbreinin@gmail.com, who can send them free bookmarks and great raffle prizes including Spider-Verse headphones, beanies and backpacks!


Friday Finds: December 7, 2018

tltbutton3This Week at TLT

19 2019 YA Books To Have On Your Radar

Cindy Crushes Programming: Light the Night with Fandom Themed Fairy Jars

Book Review: What You Hide by Natalie D. Richards

On PAPER GIRL and Anxiety: a guest post by author Cindy R. Wilson

Amanda’s favorites of 2018

Book Review: Unpresidented: A Biography of Donald Trump by Martha Brockenbrough

If You Buy It, Will It Circ? In Defense of Visual Merchandising and Why Public Libraries Should Do More of It

Home Away From Home: a guest post by author Merrie Destefano

Around the Web

What the world would look like if we taught girls to rage

In Love With Teen Lit

‘Dumplin” Review

Digital Divide Is Wider Than We Think, Study Says

Millennials Didn’t Kill the Economy. The Economy Killed Millennials

10 Great Parents from Young Adult SFF



On PAPER GIRL and Anxiety: a guest post by author Cindy R. Wilson

41KnHEWIJoL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I have to be honest. I didn’t expect Paper Girl to be my first published novel. In fact, I wasn’t even trying to query it or find an editor to publish it. I wanted to write big, explosive stories with strong heroes and heroines who were nothing like me. Those kinds of stories you get excited to see on the big screen when they become movies. I guess that’s mostly because my own life was kind of boring in comparison—after all, living with constant anxiety makes living in the real world with real people doing real things terrifying.

Which was partly why I wrote Paper Girl. I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder and PTSD when I was in my 20s. I’d been anxious before that, but this brought it to a whole new level. A kind of I-don’t-want-to-leave-my-house level, sort of like the heroine in Paper Girl. Zoe hasn’t left her house in over a year because of her anxiety, and I could relate to that entirely. I spent a lot of years being afraid to go places, meet new people, and push myself outside of my comfort zone because it was just too scary. But I didn’t want that for my life. As a way of working through my own anxiety, I wrote Paper Girl. For once, I wanted to write a heroine like me, socially awkward, shy, maybe even a little dorky. I wanted to see a girl like that become the hero of her own story. So I made it happen.

Zoe has to work every single day to recover from anxiety and it was wonderful for me to write a character that many of us can relate to. We all have our own struggles and hardships on big and small scales, but it’s great to see victories in tiny steps and paths we all have to take in various ways. I feel as though the characters of Paper Girl are some of my most relatable because we can all understand being afraid of something but wanting so badly to be on the other end of it and living our lives.

I still write big, explosive stories, but somehow (through a twist of events, which is a whole other story), Paper Girl is my debut YA. And once I adjusted to that fact, it actually made me really happy. This story is real and raw, and it’s something people can relate to. I get a chance to reach readers I might never have reached by simply sharing my story. So now, even though I love those big explosive stories and even write them here and there, I can’t say how much I believe in writers sharing their real struggles. There are so many readers out there who share the same issues and challenges and it’s nice to know we’re not alone. It’s also nice to know that even with those socially awkward, dorky traits, we can still be the hero of our own story, and I think that’s exactly what Paper Girl shows.


Cindy R. WiCindy R. Wilsonlson is a YA speculative and contemporary author whose own struggles with anxiety disorder inspired her to write a story with a real-life topic readers can relate to. She lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and loves using Colorado towns and cities as settings for her stories. She’s the mother of three girls who provide plenty of fodder for her YA novels.

When she’s not writing, you can find her hiking some of Colorado’s tallest peaks, reading, or listening to playlists she’s created for her next story idea.

website: www.cindyrwilson.com

twitter: @CindyRWilson

facebook: @AuthorCindyRWilson

Instagram: @CindyRWilson


Home Away From Home: a guest post by author Merrie Destefano

915ooJY2t-LWe all have our shattered years, a time when things go wrong, horribly wrong. For me, it all began in grade school, when my parents got divorced. My life fell into a dark spiral after that. Both of my parents became alcoholics and, then, when I was sixteen, my father—who was my favorite person in the world—died of a heart attack.

To say that I needed a place of escape during those years would be an understatement. I needed a place of survival. Fortunately, I found my refuge in two places: books and art.

And, more often than not, I could be found in the local library.

The public library in my hometown was magical. It stood three stories tall and overlooked the river. The bottom story seemed to be made entirely of glass—even on gloomy Midwestern days, the space filled with shafts of sunlight and colorful art exhibits. As beautiful and captivating as the first story was, it was only the beginning of the treasures this building held. Each floor was stacked high with books. There were long tables and chairs where you could take each volume for a test drive. There were long windows that looked out onto the river or the tall brown brick buildings of downtown.

And when you turned the page of a book, there were countless vistas you could look out upon. I journeyed back in time and to the future; I went to Mars and the Moon; I visited a future culture where illegal books were burned; I visited a past culture where the weak were eaten by the strong; I met a man whose body was covered in tattoos that each told a different story; I befriended hobbits, elves, and wizards.

I came to believe that my current life situation could be brightened by a handful of poetic words.

I also learned that I had stories and poetry of my own.

That library forever changed my life. I can still feel its touch, as if its fingerprints were pressed so tightly around my soul that it left indelible impressions.

The Rockford Public Library on 215 N. Wyman opened in 1903 and was the second oldest library in Illinois. It was torn down in October, 2018.

It took a part of my heart with it.

Yes, it will be rebuilt, yes, there are new dreams and visions being born, even in the midst of the ashes. But as someone who loved that library as much as a dear friend, I need to mourn its loss. I also need to remember everything I learned there and I need to count my blessings.

For many years, I was priveledged to walk through snow and rain and dark days, all the way from my red brick tenement building, all the way across the bridge and through downtown, all the way to other worlds—all because the Rockford Public Library was there.

Waiting for me.


51iwpYZMEOL._UX250_Merrie Destefano’s latest novel, Valiant, is out on December 4! ‘The Valiant was supposed to save us. Instead, it triggered the end of the world.’

Author Bio:

Novelist Merrie Destefano writes dark stories with a thread of hope. Her novels include Valiant, Lost Girls, Shade, Fathom, Afterlife, and Feast, and her work has been published by Entangled Teen and HarperCollins. Her next YA Science Fiction novel, Valiant, releases on December 4, 2018.


Author Links:

Author Website: www.merriedestefano.com

Author Blog: http://merriedestefanoauthor.blogspot.com/

Author Tumblr: http://merriedestefano.tumblr.com/

Author Twitter: @merriedestefano

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Merrie-Destefano-127750623906184/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/816280.Merrie_Destefano

Author Photo:

Photo by Mark Mendez

Friday Finds: November 30, 2018

tltbutton3This Week at TLT

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

The Cart is the Thing: Making a Magnetic Mobile MakerSpace Wall When You’re Short on Space

Post-it Note Reviews of Recent YA Releases

Take 5: Table Top Games Teens Will Love to Play

Around the Web

‘The Numbers Are So Staggering.’ Overdose Deaths Set a Record Last Year.

Why Aren’t Millennials Spending? They’re Poorer Than Previous Generations, Fed Says

2019 YA Books Starring Queer Girls

Why The Backbone of Publishing May Make Book Prices Rise


Friday Finds: November 23, 2018

tltbutton3This Week at TLT

Graphic Novels involving the Refugee Experience a guest post by Kristyn Dorfman

2019 Collection Development Resources, a handy list of resources to help you buy new books in the new year

#ReadForChange: Courage in the face of a “Dystopian Reality” in Jennie Liu’s Girls on the Line

Cindy Crushes Programming: Hosting a Teen Improv Night

Bill Konigsberg the Proud Papa Bear

Around the Web

8 Things You Need to Know About Kiersten White’s New Novel Set in the World of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Watch @billkonigsberg’s incredible Proud Fierce Papa Bear speech here

Survey Says Most Young People Don’t Identify as Straight

6 Reads to Help You Recover from Black Friday


Graphic Novels involving the Refugee Experience a guest post by Kristyn Dorfman

According to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, there are 68.5 million forcibly displaced people in the world and of that number 25.4 million are refugees. The majority of these refugees are coming from the South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria. Over half of these refugees are under the age of 18. Many are escaping persecution or civil war and are fleeing for their lives. The impact is felt worldwide and while many countries are accepting refugees many more, like the current United States administration, are drastically reducing the numbers they take in. Many people have risked their lives to be caught in a limbo.


Many writers are taking into account that this is an issue experienced by many and should be shared out to the world. Graphic Novels are a popular medium by which to provide this information and help put a human face to something that seems intangible to some readers. There are several graphic novels and graphic memoirs depicting the refugee experience. Here are some of those titles with blurbs from the Publisher.



513JR8lzdGL._SX359_BO1,204,203,200_The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.


Threads: From the Refugee Crisis by Kate Evans

In the French port town of Calais, famous for its historic lace industry, a city within a city arose. This new town, known as the Jungle, was home to thousands of refugees, mainly from the Middle East and Africa, all hoping, somehow, to get to the UK. Into this squalid shantytown of shipping containers and tents, full of rats and trash and devoid of toilets and safety, the artist Kate Evans brought a sketchbook and an open mind. Combining the techniques of eyewitness reportage with the medium of comic-book storytelling, Evans has produced this unforgettable book, filled with poignant images—by turns shocking, infuriating, wry, and heartbreaking.


Freedom HospitalFreedom Hospital: A Syrian Story by Hamid Sulaiman

It is spring 2012 and 40,000 people have died since the start of the Syrian Arab Spring. In the wake of this, Yasmine has set up a clandestine hospital in the north of the country. Her town is controlled by Assads brutal regime, but is relatively stable. However, as the months pass, the situation becomes increasingly complex and violent. Told in stark, beautiful black-and-white imagery, Freedom Hospital illuminates a complicated situation with gut-wrenching detail and very dark humor. The story of Syria is one of the most devastating narratives of our age and Freedom Hospital is an important and timely book from a new international talent.


indexVietnamerica: A Family’s Journey by G.B. Tran

GB Tran is a young Vietnamese American artist who grew up distant from (and largely indifferent to) his family’s history. Born and raised in South Carolina as a son of immigrants, he knew that his parents had fled Vietnam during the fall of Saigon. But even as they struggled to adapt to life in America, they preferred to forget the past–and to focus on their children’s future. It was only in his late twenties that GB began to learn their extraordinary story. When his last surviving grandparents die within months of each other, GB visits Vietnam for the first time and begins to learn the tragic history of his family, and of the homeland they left behind.


Young Adult/Middle Grade


611DTCgMKnL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Baddawi by Leila Abdelazaq

An arrestingly drawn debut graphic novel, Baddawi is the story of a young boy named Ahmad struggling to find his place in the world. It explores the childhood of the author’s father from a determinedly boy’s-eye view. Ahmed was raised in the refugee camp of Baddawi in northern Lebanon, one of many thousands of children born to Palestinians who fled (or were expelled from) their homeland during the 1948 war that established the state of Israel. Ahmad’s dogged pursuit of education and opportunity echoes the journey of the Palestinian people, as they make the best of their existing circumstances while remaining determined to one day return to their homeland.


51EFLPnPSNL._SX367_BO1,204,203,200_Alpha: Abidjan to Paris by Bessora, Illustrated by Barroux, Translated by Sarah Ardizzone

Alpha’s wife and son left Côte d’Ivoire months ago to join his sister-in-law in Paris, but Alpha has heard nothing from them since. With a visa, Alpha’s journey to reunite with his family would take a matter of hours. Without one, he is adrift for over a year, encountering human traffickers in the desert, refugee camps in northern Africa, overcrowded boats carrying migrants between the Canary Islands and Europe’s southern coast, and an unforgettable cast of fellow travelers lost and found along the way. Throughout, Alpha stays the course, carrying his loved ones’ photograph close to his heart as he makes his perilous trek across continents.


81wQUSqlI6LThe Unwanted by Don Brown

Starting in 2011, refugees flood out of war-torn Syria in Exodus-like proportions. The surprising flood of victims overwhelms neighboring countries, and chaos follows. Resentment in host nations heightens as disruption and the cost of aid grows. By 2017, many want to turn their backs on the victims. The refugees are the unwanted.

Don Brown depicts moments of both heartbreaking horror and hope in the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. Shining a light on the stories of the survivors, The Unwanted is a testament to the courage and resilience of the refugees and a call to action for all those who read.


IllegalIllegal: A Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin, Illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

Ebo is alone.His brother, Kwame, has disappeared, and Ebo knows it can only be to attempt the hazardous journey to Europe, and a better life―the same journey their sister set out on months ago.

But Ebo refuses to be left behind in Ghana. He sets out after Kwame and joins him on the quest to reach Europe. Ebo’s epic journey takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. But with every step he holds on to his hope for a new life, and a reunion with his family.


9781609808730Zenobia by Morten Dürr

Zenobia was once a great warrior queen of Syria whose reign reached from Egypt to Turkey. She was courageous. No one gave her orders. Once she even went to war against the emperor of Rome.

When things feel overwhelming for Amina, her mother reminds her to think of Zenobia and be strong. Amina is a Syrian girl caught up in a war that reaches her village. To escape the war she boards a small boat crammed with other refugees. The boat is rickety and the turbulent seas send Amina overboard. In the dark water Amina remembers playing hide and seek with her mother and making dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) and the journey she had to undertake with her uncle to escape. And she thinks of the brave warrior Zenobia.


91u6-Cb4wnLEscape from Syria by Samya Kullab, Illustrated by Jackie Roche

From the pen of former Daily Star (Lebanon) reporter Samya Kullab comes a breathtaking and hard-hitting story of one family’s struggle to survive in the face of war, displacement, poverty and relocation.

Escape from Syria is a fictionalized account that calls on real-life circumstances and true tales of refugee families to serve as a microcosm of the Syrian uprising and the war and refugee crisis that followed.

The story spans six years in the lives of Walid, his wife Dalia, and their two children, Amina and Youssef. Forced to flee from Syria, they become asylum-seekers in Lebanon, and finally resettled refugees in the West. It is a story that has been replayed thousands of times by other families.

When the family home in Aleppo is destroyed by a government-led bomb strike, Walid has no choice but to take his wife and children and flee their war-torn and much loved homeland. They struggle to survive in the wretched refugee camps of Lebanon, and when Youssef becomes fatally ill as a result of the poor hygienic conditions, his father is forced to take great personal risk to save his family.

Walid’s daughter, the young Amina, a whip-smart grade-A student, tells the story. As she witnesses firsthand the harsh realities that her family must endure if they are to survive — swindling smugglers, treacherous ocean crossings, and jihadist militias — she is forced to grow up very quickly in order to help her parents and brother.


61Kl9CImU7LSeeking Refuge by Irene N Watts

In this follow-up to the successful Goodbye Marianne, Irene Watts explores what it is like for a young refugee girl to flee Nazi-occupied Austria alone. The poignant story is relatable to the terrible situation facing refugees in Europe and around the world today.



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Kristyn is a Middle School Librarian at The Nightingale-Bamford School in NY. She also reviews for School Library Journal. Kristyn is a native Brooklynite and the mother of two amazing little people. You can often find her behind a book, behind a cup of coffee, or singing broadway musicals off key at inappropriate times.

Friday Finds: November 16, 2018

tltbutton3This Week at TLT

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA November and December 2018

MakerSpace: Taking Bristlebots on the Road or, How I keep re-defining and re-purposing a simple Bristlebot activity to get teens making

Book Review: The Resolutions by Mia Garcia

Cultural Humility in Librarianship: What is it? (a guest post by Adilene Rogers)

Sunday Reflections: Being a Librarian Did Not Prepare Me for Parenting a Child with Dyslexia

Around the Web

Upcoming MG Release Dates

How Schools Can Reduce Sexual Violence

The Benefits Of Taking Out Loans For College

‘Post-Millennials’ on Track to Be Most Diverse, Best-Educated Generation Yet

The Gender Gap In Children’s Books Is The Real Monster In The Room

TBRainbow Alert: YA Starring QPoC, Part 1

Former Girl Scout Goes to the Statehouse

Friday Finds: November 9, 2018

This Week at TLT

tltbutton3New and forthcoming YA and MG to know about, including a middle grade debut, a dead female DJ and an epic fantasy

Cindy Crushes Programming: Hosting a Stranger Things themed Escape Room

Book Review: This Is What It Feels Like by Rebecca Barrow

Supporting our Latinx Readers

An Open Letter to the Middleton School District from Authors in the Latinx in Kidlit Community

Sunday Reflections: Looking for Hope and Finding My Superpowers

Around the Web

We Can Do Better: Rethinking Native Stories in Classrooms

‘We’re Bringing Education Back': Takeaways From The Election

How One Woman Is Teaching Homeless & Foster Care Children To Dream



Supporting our Latinx Readers

In light of recent news, we felt it would be useful to many to have a list of resources as a starting point for supporting our Latinx patrons – any of the below would be a good place to start.

Latinx in Kid Lit

13 YA Novels By Latino Authors Everyone Needs To Read

15 Latinx Authors You Really Need To Be Reading Right Now


8 YA Books With Latino Protagonists We Wish We Had As Teenagers

5 Latina Young Adult Authors You Need on Your Radar

23 YA and Middle Grade Books To Honor Hispanic Heritage Month