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Friday Finds: November 2, 2018

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Book Review: Pulp by Robin Talley

Things I Never Learned in Library School: Decolonizing Our Public Libraries

Blog Roll Call: Diversity in YA Literature, a list of resources to help librarians diversify their shelves

Guest Post: Author Karen Rivers on Writing a Love Story

Book Review: This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender

What Can Librarians Do to Help Combat the Current Political Climate?

MakerSpace: Finding Inspiration in Places Other than Pinterest

Around the Web


13 Books To Read After Marathon-Watching ‘The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’

21 of November’s Best New Young Adult Books

How Americans Feel About Affirmative Action In Higher Education


Guest Post: Author Karen Rivers on Writing a Love Story

Screen Shot 2018-10-23 at 12.33.03 PMHere is one thing that I know:  It is easier to imagine a perfect love story than to live one, and goodness knows that I’ve tried.    Some days I think I’ve been lucky, to have had so many opportunities to not just fall in love, but to stay there.   Or to walk away.  

Other times, I feel cursed, like a fairy-tale princess, unable to continue to want what I thought I wanted at the start.   Which is to say, I have always been great at yearning, mediocre at real beginnings, and terrible at endings.


When I sat down to write YOU ARE THE EVERYTHING, I knew I wanted to tell a love story, but I wanted to specifically tell a love story that began with one person, alone, falling in love with the other, who was unaware.   It seems to me that this is one of the quintessential human experiences:  The crush.

Not stalking.   Nothing scary.   But simply yearning.  

I also wanted to explore something else, something that has to do at least peripherally, with social media and how we instinctively have learned to curate our lives, presenting only photo-worthy moments to the world, unfolding an Instagram calendar of laughter and white teeth and shiny hair and warm embraces.   It seems to me that to grow up in a world where everything is curated in this way is to add an element of constant striving, but worse than that, an element of never quite measuring up.   Can reality ever be as good as the stories you tell yourself?

I set out to tell a love story that has already been imagined, rehearsed, perfected.   Elyse Schmidt draws her life in a graphic novel, Me and Josh Harris:  A Love Story, unfurling on paper a wittier, more clever, less shy, happier version of herself.    A version of herself who is both in love and who is worthy of love.    Into her story, she draws Josh Harris, who has been the boy of her dreams for as long as she can remember.   

But when he finally, through a set of unimaginably terrible circumstances, notices her, can it ever be quite as good as it was on paper?    Or does she “love” only what she believes she knows, but can’t really know for sure?

This distance between what we think we know and what we do know, the gulf between what we believe we want and what is real — that is one of the veins I wanted to explore.   I thought that’s what the novel was going to be about:  the graphic novel vs. the reality.

But when I sat down to write, the plane crashed.   It wasn’t what I was expecting, but planes do crash sometimes and I had to go with it.   “Let your characters lead the way,” is the one rule that I live by, when I begin to write.  

I was as surprised as anyone.   Definitely as surprised as Elyse. 

But isn’t that the magic of telling stories?   Sometimes the stories take us to unexpected places, including into the side of a mountain.   

So there I had Elyse and Josh at the back of the plane, the part that has broken off from the rest, able to make a choice that will decide if they live or die.

This will be a love story, I decided.  


 When I was twenty-one, something happened to my heart.    The thing that happened to my heart shouldn’t have been unexpected (at least, to me) because it came after many years of depriving my body of what it needed, specifically calories, food, nutrition, hydration.   For a long time, I had punished myself ferociously for not looking the way I felt I was expected to look and the time came when I had to pay the price.  To make a long story short, I died.   For a moment, or two, or maybe three, my heart stopped beating.    In this pause between life and death, I felt at first panicked, and then safe.  

That feeling is something I took with me to this story:  The proximity to death, that terror, then finally, the sheer force of will that says, No.   

A relinquishing of control, while still battling for the choice.

Will I live or will I die?   


Elyse’s experience is at once both different and the same.


This is the first true love story that I have ever written.   I wrote it entirely from my heart, which twenty-seven years later is still doing what it needs to do to keep me here.     I want people to know that it’s the book of my heart.    I want them to know that my heart broke while I wrote it, but that it also wrote itself, it told itself to me, and all I did was write it down.    Which, after all, as a writer and a survivor myself, is all that I can do.  

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work,” said Mary Oliver and I agree, wholeheartedly, that’s all we can do.   

We imagine, we love, we see, we imagine, we listen, we write it down.  

I hope that all the people out there who have ever loved someone quietly, from afar, will see themselves in this book.  I hope they will love it, too.   



Rivers_YouAreEverything_hc_jkt_HRKaren’s latest book, You Are the Everything, is out today!


When Elyse Schmidt and her not-so-secret crush, Josh Harris, are the sole survivors of a plane crash, tragedy binds them together. They become superstars in today’s social media-driven world, and they move with their families to the wide open spaces of Wyoming for a chance to live their lives quietly, together. It’s as if their love story is meant to be. Everything is perfect, or as perfect as it can be when you’ve literally fallen out of the sky and landed hard on the side of a mountain—until suddenly it isn’t. Elyse’s whole world begins to unravel, culminating in a shocking conclusion that will have readers flipping back through the pages to reread this incredible story.


About Karen Rivers:

KAREN RIVERS is the author of twenty-one novels for children, teens, and adults, including the highly praised The Girl in the Well Is Me, All That Was, Before We Go Extinct and A Possibility of Whales. She lives in British Columbia, Canada. Find her online at karenrivers.com or on Twitter @karenrivers.

Advanced Praise:
“This is good choice for those who enjoyed E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars or books with pieces that only fit together after a surprising ending. Fans of unreliable narrators and twist endings will clamor for this story of romance and survival.”
School Library Journal, starred review“Philosophical readers will find much to love here; Rivers picks apart the nuances of friendship and romance, with their attendant loyalties and conflicts . . . [You Are the Everything] is an unusual and compelling novel that skillfully plays with narrative perspective.”
Booklist, starred review“In a novel that challenges concepts of time and reality, Rivers examines wish fulfillment and subconscious defenses . . . [and] evokes the surreal quality of the world that Elyse sees.”
Publishers Weekly

“Well-written and emotionally resonant, this is an unusual and poignant story . . . that explores unfulfilled dreams and ideas of what might have been.”
Kirkus Reviews

Friday Finds: October 26, 2018

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#ReadForChange: Women Conquer and Dragons Slay in Elana K. Arnold’s Damsel

Literacy: Privilege or Right? Highlights from the 2018 Virginia Hamilton Multicultural Literature Conference , a guest post by Lisa Krok

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA October 2018

Penguin Random House 2019 Showcase

Library Journal’s Equity in Action: Doing a Diversity Audit

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

Around the Web

15 YA Books From The ’80s And ’90s That Have Stood The Test Of Time

Can diversity in children’s books tackle prejudice?

U.S. Public Schools Have Lost Nearly 20% Of Their Librarians Since 2000


Friday Finds: October 19, 2018

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New and forthcoming YA and MG to know about

Collecting Comics: Comics take on addiction, STEM, space and more in October, by Ally Watkins

Book Review: Home and Away by Candice Montgomery

Circulation Statistics are an Imperfect Measure of Who We are and What Libraries Do

Sunday Reflections: It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye

Around the Web

YALSA Reveals Teens’ Top 10 Titles of 2018

It’s better to be born rich than gifted

The Lingering Effects of Youth Experiencing Disconnection

Katniss Everdeen Is My Hero

‘You Are Still Black’: Charlottesville’s Racial Divide Hinders Students




Friday Finds: October 12, 2018

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Wrestling with some truths in the movie “The Hate U Give”

Writing Outside Your Own Life (and Not Chickening Out), a guest post by Jacqueline West

Book Review: The Collectors by Jacqueline West

“All American Boys” Authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely Discuss Racism, White Privilege, and Censorship in Today’s Civic Landscape, a guest post by Lisa Krok

Post-it Note Reviews of Recent YA Releases

Around the Web

What are we teaching boys when we discourage them from reading books about girls?

Migrant children may be adopted after parents are deported

Legal holes allow migrant kids’ adoption in US

Creating an Inclusive Library




Friday Finds: October 5, 2018

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Operation BB Blasts Off!

Book Review: Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

YA A to Z: R is for Classic Retellings, a list curated by Natalie Korsavidis

What to know about writing twins: a guest post by Ashley and Leslie Saunders

1100 words, a guest post by Claire Rudolf Murphy

Book Review: Lost Soul, Be at Peace by Maggie Thrash

Things I Never Learned in Library School: Can You Copyright a Dance Move? A discussion of Fortnite

#SVYALit: Laurie Halse Anderson and Eric Devine talk about teaching Speak on NPR

Sunday Reflections: On Male Rage

Around the Web

Yay for Kelly Link!

Carnegie medal promises immediate action over lack of diversity

American Girl: A Story of Immigration, Fear and Fortitude

The Teens Who Rack Up Thousands of Followers by Posting the Same Photo Every Day

Poetry and Graphic Novels to Read After The Hate U Give

15 New YA Books To Know In October 2018




What to know about writing twins: a guest post by Ashley and Leslie Saunders

Growing up as twins, we always received an overabundance of attention. Being constantly compared, analyzed, pointed at and talked about turned us into extremely shy kids. We didn’t know how to handle classmates or strangers on the streets coming up to us like they knew us, asking personal intimate questions about our relationship and our appearance. We hated how it made us feel like a sideshow or a gimmick. Our sisterhood was extremely close- yes, we were identical and shared our wardrobe. Yes, we had the exact same interests such as sports and reading- but we didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. In our eyes, we were just best friends who happened to look like one another.There were definitely periods in our lives when people sought to separate us or would make us feel like our bond was “odd” or “too close”. When we felt isolated or misunderstood we looked to stories to help us feel normal. Our shining lights were all things Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Tia and Tamera from the television show Sister, Sister. Looking back, the portrayal of both sets of twins was very “kitchy” and played to stereotype, but hey, we took what we could get. Distinct memories fill our minds with being asked on the regular to sing the Doublemint gum song as the Doublemint Twins (we still know all the lyrics to this day, of course). But our most dreaded gibe was being compared to the twins from The Shining. This wildly famous depiction of twins followed us through to our adolescence and beyond, leaving the door open for questions like “which one of you is the evil twin?” “Which is the nice one?” “Stand side-by-side so I can compare you both.” “Are you identical everywhere?” “Oh, she’s the dominant one.”We totally get it. Identical twins are question-provoking, especially for twins as close as we are. Even science still has questions: why does a fertilized egg split in the first place? It’s a biological mystery.

But as we grew older, we began to learn how to cope with people’s curiosities and how to turn the narrative around. We started writing about being twins.

It was a game changer for us. We thought, why not take established twin stereotypes and make them our own? Let’s take ownership of being twins. Weaving our authentic bond into a story, giving readers an insider’s look at our unique bond using our own words, somehow lessened the sting of the constant unsolicited questions and stares.

We’re even used the assumption that most twins are tricksters who like to trade places (hello Parent Trap) and made it the log line of our story.

Our novel The Rule of One is about twin sisters born into a world where they don’t belong. Families are only allowed by law to have one child- the stakes are high. But the foundation of their relationship comes from our own. The story is told from dual perspectives; Ashley wrote all of the eldest twin Ava, and Leslie wrote Mira, the second born. It was very cathartic to write in first person about all the little details of daily twin life, adding some of our own personality traits to Ava and Mira. In our novel we tried to go deeper, beyond the initial head-turning surface that attracts people’s attention to identicals, exploring themes of identity and sisterhood being tested under extraordinary circumstances.

We hope other authors and filmmakers who decide to write about the unique dynamic of twins will approach such characters as real, three-dimensional individuals rather than regurgitations of caricatures seen in so many past media portrayals.

Screen Shot 2018-10-01 at 3.38.49 PM–Author Bio:
Hailing from the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders are award-winning filmmakers and twin sisters who honed their love of storytelling at The University of Texas at Austin. While researching The Rule of One, they fell in love with America’s national parks, traveling the path of Ava and Mira. The sisters can currently be found with their Boston terriers in sunny Los Angeles, exploring hiking trails and drinking entirely too much yerba mate. Visit them at www.thesaunderssisters.com or follow them on Instagram @saunderssisters.
Steely-vented hummingbird (Amazilia saucerrottei), perched on verbena plant, Costa Rica, July

Steely-vented hummingbird (Amazilia saucerrottei), perched on verbena plant, Costa Rica, July


In their world, telling the truth has become the most dangerous crime of all. In the near-future United States, a one-child policy is ruthlessly enforced. Everyone follows the Rule of One. But Ava Goodwin, daughter of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division, has a secret—one her mother died to keep and her father has helped to hide for her entire life. She has an identical twin sister, Mira. For eighteen years Ava and Mira have lived as one, trading places day after day, maintaining an interchangeable existence down to the most telling detail. But when their charade is exposed, their worst nightmare begins. Now they must leave behind the father they love and fight for their lives. Branded as traitors, hunted as fugitives, and pushed to discover just how far they’ll go in order to stay alive, Ava and Mira rush headlong into a terrifying unknown.

Find it here:

Friday Finds: September 28, 2018

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Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

Book Review: Dig by A. S. King, an important reflection on white privilege in YA literature

Book Review: 500 Words or Less by Juleah del Rosario

Things I Never Learned in Library School: Training Staff to Work with Transgender Teens

Sunday Reflections: It Was a Rough Week to be a Teenage Girl

Around the Web

Substantial racial stereotyping toward young children of color found among white adults who work with them

What About the Girls?

Meet Four Women of Color Who Are Revolutionizing Books for Young Readers

Assistant principal at Tennessee high school on leave after saying girls “ruin everything”



Friday Finds: September 21, 2018

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Walk the Jagged Streets of Gentrification with Ibi Zoboi’s Pride, a guest post by Marie Marquardt

Collecting Comics: September 2018 edition with Ally Watkins

New and forthcoming YA and MG to know about

Highlighting the Immigrant Experience through Art and Young Adult Literature, A guest post by librarian Lisa Krok

Sunday Reflections: Stop the Massage Train, we don’t need to be asking professionals to touch one another

Around the Web

Life as the Teacher Librarian at LeBron James’s I PROMISE School

Booksellers Navigate New Trends in Middle Grade

Fall 2018’s Can’t-Miss Young Adult Books

Trump admin moves $260M from cancer research, HIV/AIDS and other programs to cover custody of immigrant children costs


Friday Finds: September 14, 2018

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Book Review: The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown

Helping Teens Prepare for College? Don’t Forget to Talk About Sexual Violence

Book Review: Dream Country by Shannon Gibney

MakerSpace: Instax Mini Fun

Sunday Reflections: The Fight for Our Children is Exhausting, but Important

Around the Web

Detention of Migrant Children Has Skyrocketed to Highest Levels Ever

This Is What It’s Like to Be a Teacher in America

‘Watch Us Rise’ By Renée Watson & Ellen Hagan Is About Two Teens Who Start A Women’s Rights Club At Their High School — Start Reading Now!

Using Young Adult Novels to Make Sense of #MeToo

The 2018 National Book Awards Longlist: Young People’s Literature