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Friday Finds: December 8, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

A List of New YA Book Release Links for 2018

Take 5: Five Things I’ve Made with My Silhouette Cameo and Why I Recommend it for a MakerSpace

Amanda’s favorites of 2017

Collecting Comics: December 2017 Edition, by Ally Watkins

#SJYALit: Because Their Stories Matter, a guest post by Danielle Ellison

18 2018 YA Books To Have On Your Radar

Around the web

Marvel Launching Animated Property ‘Marvel Rising’ in 2018

Venture into the virtual world of Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One

Meet Forbes’ Youngest 30 Under 30 Member For Its 2018 Class

Support Intellectual Freedom : Keep “The Hate U Give” on Katy ISD Book Shelves

2018 Morris Award finalists announced

2018 Nonfiction Award finalists announced

2018 Teen Tech Week™ site now live

Friday Finds: December 1, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Sunday Reflections: The TLT Gift Giving Guide

The Importance of School Visits, by Kate-Lynn Brown

#ARCParty: A Look at Some January 2018 #YALit Titles

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA November and December 2017

Teen Politic: The True Politics of Being a Teen Services Librarian in Our Public Libraries

Call for submissions: YA A to Z project

Around the Web

This is what students think about ‘fake news’ and the media

Book Vending Machine Helping Young Victims Of Hurricane Harvey

‘The Kiss Quotient’ Is A Refreshing Own Voices Romance With A Heroine On The Autism Spectrum

7 Socially Conscious Books to Read After The Hate U Give

The State of the YA Novel: 2017

#RoyalEngagement reading list: Here’s what to check out for you prince & princess fix


YALLFEST Recap by Michelle Biwer

I had the pleasure of attending YALLFest a few weeks ago in Charleston, South Carolina. YALLFest is the largest Young Adult literature festival in the US, featuring over 70 Young Adult authors and numerous publishers.


I had a blast at this conference for a few reasons:

  1. ALL YALLFest events are out in the city of Charleston, not cooped up in a convention center.
  2. YALLFest is open to the public, so in addition to networking with teen librarians I met a lot of teens and their parents and talked to them about their favorite authors. Even though I’m a teen librarian, I don’t usually get to spend much time just chatting to teens from all over different parts of the country about books so that was a valuable perk!
  3. YALLFest is mostly free! There were a couple keynote events that required a small fee but other than that, really truly free! This definitely added to the fun and diversity of the event-a bunch of folks just stumbled across author signings and talks with their kids while walking downtown and just joined in the action.

On Day 1 I attended “YALLCrawl,” a Friday afternoon book signing extravaganza as well as a special event featuring Marissa Meyer and other authors hosted by the “Fierce Reads” imprint.


Day 2 was jam packed with educational panels and author meetups. First thing in the morning I waited in line to meet Maggie Stiefvater, and during an author breakfast event was given a chocolate doughnut by none other than fabulous YA author and editor David Levithan. I attended a variety of panels throughout the day–some focused on genre literature, how to love/criticize problematic work, and creating worlds. What I valued most about the conference lineup was that there were a lot of diverse authors invited, and they weren’t pigeonholed into a “diversity panel.” Instead, every panel lineup I saw was diverse and thoughtful about the importance of representation in YA literature. And of course because YALLFest is truly great and speaks to my soul, the day ended with the only YA author rock band in the world performing a Hamilton cover.


Panelists: Veronica Roth, Leigh Bardugo, Sabaa Tahir, Renée Ahdieh, Stephanie Garber, and Victoria Aveyard


YALLFest really was a great conference but like any large event there were a few issues that affected my experience. Some miscommunications about events were kindly resolved by staff. I just hope it gets expanded from 1 ½ to 2 full days! There was so much to see and very long lines not just for author signings, but even just to get to an ARC at a publisher’s booth. This was compounded by the vast and somewhat ingenious number of teens with parents sitting in lines for them so they could attend other things.

I very much hope to attend again in the future-and if you aren’t on the east coast check out YALLFest’s sister festival, YALLWest.

Friday Finds: November 17, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Diwali Exploration by Michelle Biwer

Book Review: Being Fishkill by Ruth Lehrer

Book Review: I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings

Book Review: Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza

Doing a YA Diversity Audit: Answering some follow up questions, including “What about the Conservatives?”

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

Around the Web

Iceland used to have a big teenage smoking, drinking and drug problem. Now it doesn’t.

Mara Wilson Defends Millie Bobby Brown

Jason Reynolds’ writing strives to honour the ‘pain of young people’

Screen time may be affecting teen mental health — but don’t take away your kid’s phone yet

Jesmyn Ward Wins National Book Award for ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’


Diwali Exploration by Michelle Biwer

At my library we have recently started a quarterly cultural exploration series. These events are whole library affairs in which we partner with local organizations to educate and celebrate our diverse community.

Most recently I coordinated an exploration of Diwali, a Hindu holiday celebrated by Indians worldwide (also celebrated by those of the Sikh and Jain religions). The library partnered with a local Indian cultural organization to create fun and educational activities and performances as part of this event.


Schedule of Eventsdiwalischedule[1]

These are family friendly programs, but I always try to make sure the Discover and Explore events are created with teens and have fun things for them to do as well. For Diwali, one of my teen volunteers offered to sing in the traditional Carnatic sangeetham style of music-she did an amazing job! An amazing teen Bollywood dance crew performed and was a big hit for all ages. Teen volunteers also staffed the event.



Mandala designs: We printed mandala designs on paper and patrons decorated them with colored powder in the traditional rangoli art style.

Make your own Diya: Diwali is the “festival of lights.” Lighting traditional earthen diyas (candles) is a way families celebrate. Houses are also decorated with candles and colorful lights, often with huge firework displays.

Calligraphy/Diwali Bookmarks: Volunteers wrote patrons’ names in Hindi on a Diwali bookmark.

Free Henna (this was very popular with teens)

Try on a Saree!


Caption: I also wanted to try on a Saree!

We had over 200 people attend at least part of the event and are looking forward to a Chinese New Year celebration in February!

Friday Finds: November 10, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Sunday Reflections: Where Have All the Sunday Reflections Gone?

MakerSpace: Low Tech, Low Cost Printmaking

Book Review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Book Review: The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves

Book Review: The Gatekeepers by Jen Lancaster

Book Review: Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Around the Web

A Major Studio Teen Romance, Jacqueline Woodson’s Book Deal, and More LGBTQ News

Those Pesky Kids: Our Favorite Sleuthing Teens

We’re Still Here Debbie Reese On Native People Telling Their Own Stories

‘I Am Alfonso Jones’ Brings Powerful BLM Message To Young Adult Graphic Fiction



Friday Finds: November 3, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Collecting Comics, November 2017 Edition (by TLTer Ally Watkins)

Star Wars YA Roundup by Michelle Biwer

Book Review: The Ocean in My Ears by Meagan Macvie

Book Review: Piper by Jay Asher, Jessica Freeburg, and Jeff Stokely

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

Penguin Young Readers Showcase and Giveaway

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

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

Around the Web

Obama Presidential Center will have public, not presidential library

Undocumented Youth in Immigration Facilities Face Unique Challenges

Jacqueline Woodson will publish two new books with Riverhead

What Would Martin Do?

Condé Nast to Cease Teen Vogue in Print, Cut 80 Jobs and Lower Mag Frequencies

Study links early school start time to depression in teens


Star Wars YA Roundup by Michelle Biwer

In 2014 after the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm, Disney relegated the Star Wars Extended Universe to non-canon status, leaving a new generation of writers a fresh canvas with which to fill in some of the backstories and gaps in Star Wars mythology. Of course any public librarian knows these new books are coming out fast for every age group, including some great new YA lit. The books on the list below mostly feature young people rising up against the Galactic Empire and joining the Rebellion (aka some great readalikes for teens who like dystopians and/or Star Wars).


Titles listed in Star Wars chronological order


rebel risingRebel Rising by Beth Revis: Disney Lucasfilm Press, 2017

A prequel to last year’s standalone Star Wars film, Rogue One, Rebel Rising covers Jyn Erso’s backstory including her upbringing in the heart of the Rebellion and her tempestuous but loving relationship with her adopted parent, rebel extremist leader Saw Guerrera.



guardiansGuardians of the Whills by Greg Rucka: Disney Lucasfilm Press, 2017

Baze and Chirrut were spiritual leaders on their home moon of Jedha, at least until the Galactic Empire began destroying their city and mining their religious temples for resources. This middle grade novel explains how the Empire’s takeover led these two heroes (also first seen in Rogue One) to resist and protect their home with Saw Guerrera and the Rebellion.


ahsokaAhsoka by E.K. Johnston: Disney Lucasfilm Press, 2016

Ahsoka Tano, the first female Jedi to be featured prominently in Star Wars lore and former apprentice of Anakin Skywalker, builds a resistance movement against the Galactic Empire on the Outer Rim planet of Raada. A must for fans of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels tv shows, this book covers the time between when Ahsoka leaves the Jedi Order and joins the Rebellion.


leiaLeia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray: Disney Lucasfilm Press, 2017

Princess Leia Organa is just sixteen when she joins the Junior Imperial Senate, intending to follow in the footsteps of her parents by leading the planet of Alderaan and protecting it as much as possible from the Empire. Leia soon finds out that her parents are more than just good diplomats, they are leaders of the Rebellion. This novel lays the groundwork for the very beginnings of the Rebellion on Alderaan and Leia’s involvement before the events of A New Hope.


lost starsLost Stars by Claudia Gray: Disney Lucasfilm Press, 2017

All Thane and Ciena wanted during their childhoods was to one day become imperial pilots. They both train hard to fulfill this dream but after seeing the horrors that the Empire inflicts against its people Thane becomes disillusioned and joins the Rebellion. These childhood friends find themselves fighting on opposite sides of the war in this rare, humanizing portrayal of rebel and imperial soldiers. Also a good entry point for those not as familiar with Star Wars as the main characters are first introduced in this book and not currently tied to any other part of the franchise.


certain point of viewFrom A Certain Point of View: Del Rey, 2017

Anthology featuring 40 new stories set in the Star Wars universe from the perspectives of characters you might not expect, including the monster from inside the trash compactor in A New Hope…There are gems in this collection for both the casual fan and the super obsessed, lightsaber owning fan. The star studded author lineup includes the Young Adult and Middle Grade authors Renée Ahdieh, Tom Angleberger, Jeffrey Brown, Meg Cabot, Rae Carson,  Zoraida Córdova, Delilah S. Dawson, Claudia Gray, E. K. Johnston, Nnedi Okorofor, Daniel José Older, Beth Revis, Madeleine Roux, Gary D. Schmidt, Sabaa Tahir, and Elizabeth Wein.


bloodlineBloodline by Claudia Gray: Del Rey, 2016

Bonus non YA title: Set before the events of The Force Awakens, Bloodline is a great follow up to Leia, Princess of Alderaan. Now Senator Leia, the former Princess of Alderaan is campaigning to become First Senator, essentially the leader of the new coalition government after the defeat of the Empire. Rumors spread about Leia’s true parentage, tying up a plot thread of the original trilogy with an intriguing twist.

Friday Finds: October 27, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Event Recap: John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down Book Tour by Michelle Biwer

MakerSpace: Using a Silhouette Cameo to Do Screenprinting

Book Review: Calling My Name by Liara Tamani

Using Snapchat to Engage Teens at the Library

#MeToo: Teens, Libraries and Sexual Harassment

Dispelling Some Myths about Public Libraries, One Tweet at a Time

Cover Reveal: HOW YOU RUINED MY LIFE by Jeff Strand

Introducing Medal on My Mind, a new blog about Stonewall Book Award contenders

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA October 2017

TPiB: Emoji Fortune Tellers

Around the Web

Teachers Report Stressed, Anxious Students In The ‘Age Of Trump’

Lifting Students Up Without Lowering The Bar

Disney Channel is making history with its first gay coming-out story

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

Angry librarian goes on brutal Twitter rant after journalist suggests closing all libraries


Event Recap: John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down Book Tour by Michelle Biwer

Last week John Green, bestselling author and Printz winner for his debut novel Looking for Alaska, began the book tour for his new YA novel Turtles All the Way Down. I was lucky enough to grab a ticket for the sold out event in DC at George Washington University’s Lisner auditorium, which seated 1500 other fans. The event was hosted by the fabulous independent bookstore Politics and Prose.
tour bus john
John Green started off the evening by reading an excerpt from Turtles All the Way Down in which the maincharacter Aza attempts to explain the trapped in your own mind feeling that comes when struggling with a mental illness such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which both Aza and John Green share. Green took care to note after the reading that while he has OCD himself and that greatly informed his writing of the novel, his new book is a work of fiction and Aza’s illness does not manifest itself in the same ways as Mr. Green’s, nor are they the same character. He also cautioned us that there were very few turtles in this book, despite the title!


Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 5.05.23 PMLack of turtles in the novel notwithstanding, the next act of the show was led by a Dr. Lawrence Turtleman who presented a legitimate 5 minute powerpoint on taxonomy. It was no shock to fans of the Vlogbrothers that the strange man in the turtle costume giving a hilarious but accurate lecture on taxonomy was John’s brother, Hank Green. Hank and John are run the YouTube channel Vlogbrothers, a popular video blog that covers everything from their daily lives, to pranks and educational video. They have a large following among teens and young adults. I’m sure it was a weird shock for those who only know of John Green through his novels, butI hope those folks had fun too.
The brothers then reunited on stage to answer more questions from the audience, followed by an amazing acoustic guitar set from Hank (he sings nerdy songs about science and YA novels). John and Hank then set up for a live mini version of their popular “comedy” podcast Dear Hank and John, where listeners write in for advice and they give dubious (read: mostly bad, but very funny) advice. Comedy is in quotes because most of their jokes are about the imminent nature of death coming for all of us (but it truly is funny, I promise!)
Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 5.06.38 PM
There was a bit of a singalong at the end and then we all departed the theatre with swag including a tote bag, tour poster, and a signed copy of Turtles All the Way Down, which I look forward to reading very soon.

Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 5.07.25 PM