Subscribe to SLJ
Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

My helpers while I blog and read.

My helpers while I blog and read.

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


All descriptions from the publishers.


IMG_8537 (1)

Karma Khullar’s Mustache by Kristi Wientge

In the tradition of Judy Blume, debut author Kristi Wientge tackles the uncomfortable—but all too relatable—subject of female body hair and self-esteem with this “sparkling and triumphant tale of a middle school misfit” (Heather Vogel Frederick).

Karma Khullar is about to start middle school, and she is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima. Or even that her dad is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mother to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized that she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip.

With everyone around her focused on other things, Karma is left to figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise all on her own.



Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar 

In 1942, when Mahatma Gandhi asks Indians to give one family member to the freedom movement, ten-year-old Anjali is devastated to think of her father risking his life for the freedom struggle.

But it turns out he isn’t the one joining. Anjali’s mother is. And with this change comes many more adjustments designed to improve their country and use “ahimsa”—non-violent resistance—to stand up to the British government. First the family must trade in their fine foreign-made clothes for homespun cotton, so Anjali has to give up her prettiest belongings. Then her mother decides to reach out to the Dalit community, the “untouchables” of society. Anjali is forced to get over her past prejudices as her family becomes increasingly involved in the movement.

When Anjali’s mother is jailed, Anjali must step out of her comfort zone to take over her mother’s work, ensuring that her little part of the independence movement is completed.

Inspired by her great-grandmother’s experience working with Gandhi, New Visions Award winner Supriya Kelkar shines a light on the Indian freedom movement in this poignant debut.



The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

The jumbies are coming!

Corinne La Mer isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. She knows that jumbies aren’t real; they’re just creatures parents make up to frighten their children. But on All Hallows’ Eve, Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden woods. Those shining yellow eyes that follow her to the edge of the trees, they couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they?

Corinne begins to notice odd occurrences after that night. First she spots a beautiful stranger speaking to the town witch at the market. Then this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne’s house, cooking dinner for her father. Danger is in the air. Sure enough, bewitching Corinne’s father is the first step in Severine’s plan to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and ancient magic to stop Severine and to save her island home.




The Bad Guys (The Bad Guys Series #1) by Aaron Blabey

They sound like bad guys, they look like bad guys . . . and they even smell like bad guys. But Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Shark are about to change all of that…

Mr. Wolf has a daring plan for the Bad Guys’ first good mission. They are going to break two hundred dogs out of the Maximum Security City Dog Pound. Will Operation Dog Pound go smoothly? Will the Bad Guys become the Good Guys? And will Mr. Snake please stop swallowing Mr. Piranha?!



Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes

Garvey’s father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey’s life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey, and through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father—by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports. This emotionally resonant novel in verse by award-winning author Nikki Grimes celebrates choosing to be true to yourself.



Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Jennifer L. Holm, Invisible Emmie is a humorous and surprising debut graphic novel by Terri Libenson, creator of the internationally syndicated, Reuben Award-winning comic strip The Pajama Diaries.

This is the story of two totally different girls—
quiet, shy, artistic Emmie popular, outgoing, athletic Katie
—and how their lives unexpectedly intersect one day, when an embarrassing note falls into the wrong hands. . . .

All the crushes, humiliations, boredom, and drama of middle school are compressed into one surprising day in this extraordinary novel.



Frazzled #2: Ordinary Mishaps and Inevitable Catastrophes by Booki Vivat

Abbie Wu is FRAZZLED as she navigates locker thieves, diabolical cats, and other hazards of middle school.

This is the second book in a New York Times bestselling graphic novel series that NPR’s All Things Considered called “hilarious”!

Things are looking up for Abbie Wu: this year she’ll run for class president and get a brand-new shiny locker. Until—she doesn’t…

In her second tumultuous misadventure, Abbie Wu tackles more unbelievably unfair and calamitous middle school days. From facing locker thieves and battling diabolical cats to having absolutely no idea what to build for her science project, Abbie Wu is still in perpetual crisis.

From author and professional doodler Booki Vivat, this second story follows Abbie Wu, your favorite hilariously neurotic middle school girl, as she tries to come up with solutions to what seems to be a series of inevitable catastrophes.

Akin to Smile by Raina Telgemeier, Frazzled: Ordinary Mishaps and Inevitable Catastrophes is heavily illustrated, embarrassingly honest, and sure to appeal to anyone hoping to figuring out how to survive the ordinary mishaps of middle school.



The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, LeUyen Pham

Who says princesses don’t wear black? When trouble raises its blue monster head, Princess Magnolia ditches her flouncy dresses and becomes the Princess in Black!

Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when . . . Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! A big blue monster is threatening the goats! Stopping monsters is no job for dainty Princess Magnolia. But luckily Princess Magnolia has a secret —she’s also the Princess in Black, and stopping monsters is the perfect job for her! Can the princess sneak away, transform into her alter ego, and defeat the monster before the nosy duchess discovers her secret? From award-winning writing team of Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrator LeUyen Pham, here is the first in a humorous and action-packed chapter book series for young readers who like their princesses not only prim and perfect, but also dressed in black.



The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

When Charlie Brennan goes ice fishing on her town’s frozen lake, she’s hoping the fish she reels in will help pay for her dream: a fancy Irish dancing dress for her upcoming competition. But when Charlie’s first catch of the day happens to be a talking fish offering her a wish in exchange for its freedom, her world quickly turns upside down, as her wishes go terribly and hilariously wrong.

Just as Charlie is finally getting the hang of communicating with a magical wishing fish, a family crisis with her older sister brings reality into sharp focus. Charlie quickly learns that the real world doesn’t always keep fairy-tale promises and life’s toughest challenges can’t be fixed by a simple wish . . .

Acclaimed author Kate Messner expertly weaves fantasy into the ordinary, in an important story of self-reliance and hope that will open readers’ eyes to the wonders and challenges of their world.



A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold, Charles Santoso
From acclaimed author Elana K. Arnold and with illustrations by Charles Santoso, A Boy Called Bat is the first book in a funny, heartfelt, and irresistible young middle grade series starring an unforgettable young boy on the autism spectrum.

For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.

But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.



Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. She doesn’t have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like the other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker, wise in the ways of the world and able to predict the future. So when Mama Ya-Ya’s visions show a powerful hurricane—Katrina—fast approaching, it’s up to Lanesha to call upon the hope and strength Mama Ya-Ya has given her to help them both survive the storm.

Ninth Ward is a deeply emotional story about transformation and a celebration of resilience, friendship, and family—as only love can define it.


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


Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

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


Descriptions of the books are from the publisher.



IMG_7830 (1)

Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don’t get noticed by the mean kids.

Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.

On her first day at her new school, Penelope—Peppi—Torres reminds herself of these basics. But when she trips into a quiet boy in the hall, Jaime Thompson, she’s already broken the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her the “nerder girlfriend.” How does she handle this crisis? By shoving poor Jaime and running away!

Falling back on rule two and surrounding herself with new friends in the art club, Peppi still can’t help feeling ashamed about the way she treated Jaime. Things are already awkward enough between the two, but to make matters worse, he’s a member of her own club’s archrivals—the science club! And when the two clubs go to war, Peppi realizes that sometimes you have to break the rules to survive middle school!




Brave by Svetlana Chmakova

In his daydreams, Jensen is the biggest hero that ever was, saving the world and his friends on a daily basis. But his middle school reality is VERY different—math is hard, getting along with friends is hard…Even finding a partner for the class project is a huge problem when you always get picked last. And the pressure’s on even more once the school newspaper’s dynamic duo, Jenny and Akilah, draw Jensen into the whirlwind of school news, social-experiment projects, and behind-the-scenes club drama. Jensen has always played the middle school game one level at a time, but suddenly, someone’s cranked up the difficulty setting. Will those daring daydreams of his finally work in his favor, or will he have to find real solutions to his real-life problems? The charming world of Berrybrook Middle School gets a little bigger in this highly anticipated follow-up to Svetlana Chmakova’s award-winning Awkward with a story about a boy who learns his own way of being brave!




A Boy Named Queen by Sara Cassidy

Evelyn is both aghast and fascinated when a new boy comes to grade five and tells everyone his name is Queen. Queen wears shiny gym shorts and wants to organize a chess/environment club. His father plays weird loud music and has tattoos.

How will the class react? How will Evelyn?

Evelyn is an only child with a strict routine and an even stricter mother. And yet in her quiet way she notices things. She takes particular notice of this boy named Queen. The way the bullies don’t seem to faze him. The way he seems to live by his own rules. When it turns out that they take the same route home from school, Evelyn and Queen become friends, almost against Evelyn’s better judgment. She even finds Queen irritating at times. Why doesn’t he just shut up and stop attracting so much attention to himself?

Yet he is the most interesting person she has ever met. So when she receives a last-minute invitation to his birthday party, she knows she must somehow persuade her mother to let her go, even if it means ignoring the No Gifts request and shopping for what her mother considers to be an appropriate gift, appropriately wrapped with “boy” wrapping paper.

Her visit to Queen’s house opens Evelyn’s eyes to a whole new world, including an unconventional goody bag (leftover potato latkes wrapped in waxed paper and a pair of barely used red sneakers). And when it comes time for her to take something to school for Hype and Share, Evelyn suddenly looks at her chosen offering — her mother’s antique cream jug — and sees new and marvelous possibilities.




Mary Anne Saves the Day: Full Color Edition (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix #3) by Raina Telgemeier, Ann M. Martin

When The Baby-sitters Club gets into a huge fight, Mary Anne is left to her own devices. She has to eat by herself in the school cafeteria, figure out how to make new friends, and deal with her overprotective father. But the worst happens when she finds herself in a baby-sitting emergency and can’t turn to her friends for help. Will Mary Anne solve her problems and save The Baby-sitters Club from falling apart?

Raina Telgemeier, using the signature style featured in her acclaimed graphic novels Smile and Sisters, perfectly captures all the drama and humor of the original novel!



Rules by Cynthia Lord

Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She’s spent years trying to teach David the rules from “a peach is not a funny-looking apple” to “keep your pants on in public”—in order to head off David’s embarrassing behaviors.
But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a surprising, new sort-of friend, and Kristi, the next-door friend she’s always wished for, it’s her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?




Claudia and Mean Janine: Full-Color Edition (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix #4) by Raina Telgemeier, Ann M. Martin

Claudia and her sister, Janine, may as well be from two different planets. Claudia, who pays more attention to her artwork and The Baby-sitters Club than her homework, feels like she can’t compete with her perfect sister. Janine studies nonstop, gets straight As, and even takes college-level courses! But when something unexpected happens to the most beloved person in their family, will the sisters be able to put aside their differences?

Raina Telgemeier, using the signature style featured in her acclaimed graphic novels Smile and Sisters, perfectly captures all the drama and charm of the original novel!



Dawn and the Impossible Three (The Baby-sitters Club Graphic Novel #5): A Graphix Book by Gale Galligan, Ann M. Martin 
Dawn Schafer is the newest member of The Baby-sitters Club. While she’s still adjusting to life in Stoneybrook after moving from sunny California, she’s eager to accept her first big job. But taking care of the three Barrett kids would be too much for any baby-sitter. The house is always a mess, the kids are out of control, and Mrs. Barrett never does any of the things she promises. On top of all that, Dawn wants to fit in with the other members of the BSC, but she can’t figure out how to get along with Kristy. Was joining The Baby-sitters Club a mistake?




A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

Ten-year-old Zoe Elias has perfect piano dreams. She can practically feel the keys under her flying fingers; she can hear the audience’s applause. All she needs is a baby grand so she can start her lessons, and then she’ll be well on her way to Carnegie Hall.

But when Dad ventures to the music store and ends up with a wheezy organ instead of a piano, Zoe’s dreams hit a sour note. Learning the organ versions of old TV theme songs just isn’t the same as mastering Beethoven on the piano. And the organ isn’t the only part of Zoe’s life in Michigan that’s off-kilter, what with Mom constantly at work, Dad afraid to leave the house, and that odd boy, Wheeler Diggs, following her home from school every day.

Yet when Zoe enters the annual Perform-O-Rama organ competition, she finds that life is full of surprises—and that perfection may be even better when it’s just a little off center.



The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami, Abigail Halpin (Illustrator)

Rose petal milk shakes and a world of surprises awaits Dini when her family moves to India in this spirited novel with Bollywood flair.

Eleven-year old Dini loves movies—watching them, reading about them, trying to write her own—especially those oh-so-fabulous Bollywood movies where you don’t need to know the language to get what’s going on. But when her mother reveals some big news, it does not at all jibe with the script Dini had in mind. Her family is moving to India. And not even to Bombay, which is the “center of the filmi universe” (and home to Dini’s all-time most favorite star, Dolly Singh). No, they’re moving to a teeny, tiny town that she can’t even find on a map: Swapnagiri. It means Dream Mountain, a sleepy little place where nothing interesting can happen….

But wait a movie minute! Swapnagiri is full of surprises like rose petal milk shakes, mischievous monkeys, a girl who chirps like a bird, and…could it be…Dolly herself?

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!

Penguin Young Readers Showcase and Giveaway

tltbutton7Beyond the people I work with and the people this blog has led me to get to know, by far the best aspect of blogging for TLT is the constant influx of books. All of the books I get end up going back out the door in some fashion—to teen readers I know, to classroom libraries of friends, to the elementary library I work in, to my son’s middle school, or in giveaways. I can’t read/review every book I get, but it’s fun to be able to sift through boxes and see what grabs my attention, and to see what books will find loving new homes with the right reader.


Today I’m sharing with you titles from Penguin Young Readers. All annotations are from the publisher. I’m also doing a giveaway for three of these ARCs. Enter via the Rafflecopter between November 2 and November 6. I’ll pick one winner to win all three books. U.S. only!


rookieRookie on Love by Tavi Gevinson (ISBN-13: 9780448493992 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/02/2018)

A single-subject anthology about the heart’s most powerful emotion, edited by Tavi Gevinson. Featuring exclusive, never-before-seen essays, poems, comics, and interviews from contributors like Jenny Zhang, Emma Straub, Hilton Als, Janet Mock, John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Gabourey Sidibe, Mitski, Alessia Cara, Etgar Keret, Margo Jefferson, Sarah Manguso, Durga Chew-Bose, and many more!






land ofA Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi (ISBN-13: 9780399546839 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/23/2018)

Narrated by Destiny, this heartbreaking — and timely — story of refugees escaping from war-torn Syria is masterfully told by a foreign news correspondent who experienced the crisis firsthand.

In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family . . . until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. And those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future.

In the wake of destruction, he’s threatened by Daesh fighters and witnesses a public beheading. Tareq’s family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing journey.

But while this is one family’s story, it is also the timeless tale of all wars, of all tragedy, and of all strife. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss.

Destiny narrates this heartbreaking story of the consequences of war, showing the Syrian conflict as part of a long chain of struggles spanning through time.

An award-winning author and journalist—and a refugee herself—Atia Abawi captures the hope that spurs people forward against all odds and the love that makes that hope grow.

reign of theReign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh (ISBN-13: 9780448494395 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/23/2018)

An LGBT fantasy series that follows a talented necromancer who must face down a deadly nemesis who has learned how to turn her magic into a weapon.

Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised—the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead—and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

A lavish fantasy with a surprising and breathtaking LGBT romance at its core, Reign of the Fallen is a gutsy, unpredictable read that will grab readers by the throat and never let go….



down andDown and Across by Arvin Ahmadi (ISBN-13: 9780425289877 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/30/2018)

Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. Writing the Great American Novel? Three chapters. His summer internship? One week. His best friends know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but Scott can hardly commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a passion.

With college applications looming, Scott’s parents pressure him to get serious and settle on a career path like engineering or medicine. Desperate for help, he sneaks off to Washington, DC, to seek guidance from a famous professor who specializes in grit, the psychology of success.

He never expects an adventure to unfold out of what was supposed to be a one-day visit. But that’s what Scott gets when he meets Fiora Buchanan, a ballsy college student whose life ambition is to write crossword puzzles. When the bicycle she lends him gets Scott into a high-speed chase, he knows he’s in for the ride of his life. Soon, Scott finds himself sneaking into bars, attempting to pick up girls at the National Zoo, and even giving the crossword thing a try—all while opening his eyes to fundamental truths about who he is and who he wants to be.



all we can doAll We Can Do Is Wait by Richard Lawson (ISBN-13: 9780448494111 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 02/06/2018)

Debut author and Vanity Fair film critic Richard Lawson makes your heart stop and time stand still in his extraordinary and life-affirming novel that’s perfect for fans of If I Stay and We All Looked Up.

In the hours after a bridge collapse rocks their city, a group of Boston teenagers meet in the waiting room of Massachusetts General Hospital:

Siblings Jason and Alexa have already experienced enough grief for a lifetime, so in this moment of confusion and despair, Alexa hopes that she can look to her brother for support. But a secret Jason has been keeping from his sister threatens to tear the siblings apart…right when they need each other most.

Scott is waiting to hear about his girlfriend, Aimee, who was on a bus with her theater group when the bridge went down. Their relationship has been rocky, but Scott knows that if he can just see Aimee one more time, if she can just make it through this ordeal and he can tell her he loves her, everything will be all right.

And then there’s Skyler, whose sister Kate—the sister who is more like a mother, the sister who is basically Skyler’s everything—was crossing the bridge when it collapsed. As the minutes tick by without a word from the hospital staff, Skyler is left to wonder how she can possibly move through life without the one person who makes her feel strong when she’s at her weakest.

In his riveting, achingly beautiful debut, Richard Lawson guides readers through an emotional and life-changing night as these teens are forced to face the reality of their pasts…and the prospect of very different futures.



between the linesBetween the Lines by Nikki Grimes (ISBN-13: 9780399246883 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 02/13/2018)

This thought-provoking companion to Nikki Grimes’ Coretta Scott King Award-winning Bronx Masquerade shows the capacity poetry has to express ideas and feelings, and connect us with ourselves and others.

Darrian dreams of writing for the New York Times. To hone his skills and learn more about the power of words, he enrolls in Mr. Ward’s class, known for its open-mic poetry readings and boys vs. girls poetry slam. Everyone in class has something important to say, and in sharing their poetry, they learn that they all face challenges and have a story to tell—whether it’s about health problems, aging out of foster care, being bullied for religious beliefs, or having to take on too much responsibility because of an addicted parent. As Darrian and his classmates get to know one another through poetry, they bond over the shared experiences and truth that emerge from their writing, despite their private struggles and outward differences.



defiantThe Defiant by Lesley Livingston (ISBN-13: 9780448494722 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 02/13/2018)

The darling of the Roman Empire is in for the fight of her life in this lush sequel to the acclaimed historical fantasy The Valiant.

Be brave, gladiatrix… And be wary. Once you win Caesar’s love, you’ll earn his enemies’ hate.

Fallon was warned.

Now she is about to pay the price for winning the love of the Roman people as Caesar’s victorious gladiatrix.

In this highly anticipated sequel to THE VALIANT, Fallon and her warrior sisters find themselves thrust into a vicious conflict with a rival gladiator academy, one that will threaten not only Fallon’s heart – and her love for Roman soldier Cai – but the very heart of the ancient Roman Empire.

When dark treachery and vicious power struggles threaten her hard-won freedom, the only thing that might help the girl known as Victrix save herself and her sisters is a tribe of long-forgotten mythic Amazon warriors.

The only trouble is, they might just kill her themselves first.


blood ofBlood of a Thousand Stars by Rhoda Belleza (ISBN-13: 9781101999134 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 02/20/2018)

War tears the galaxy apart, power tests the limits of family, and violence gives way to freedom in this exhilarating sequel to Empress of a Thousand Skies.  

With a revolution brewing, Rhee is faced with a choice: make a deal with her enemy, Nero, or denounce him and risk losing her crown.

Framed assassin Alyosha has one goal in mind: kill Nero. But to get his revenge, Aly may have to travel back to the very place he thought he’d left forever—home.

Kara knows that a single piece of technology located on the uninhabitable planet Wraeta may be the key to remembering—and erasing—the princess she once was.

Villainous media star Nero is out for blood, and he’ll go to any means necessary to control the galaxy.
Vicious politics and high-stakes action culminate in an epic showdown that will determine the fate of the universe.



heart of ashHeart of Ash by Kim Liggett (ISBN-13: 9780399166495 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 02/20/2018)

Ash may have escaped the immortal-worshipping cult that killed her mother, but the love of her life is still under its thrall. Dane has been possessed by his diabolical ancestor Coronado, a man who’s fabulously wealthy, dripping with fame, and the leader of Europe’s most dangerous immortal network. Dane begs Ash to join him at Coronado’s castle in Spain, and swears that his blood bond with Ash is stronger than Coronado’s hold over him. Ash is desperate to help Dane vanquish Coronado without having to sacrifice herself to the darkness. But when you’re all in, blood and salt, the only way to hold on to the light might just be by setting everything on fire.




people like usPeople Like Us by Dana Mele (ISBN-13: 9781524741709 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 02/27/2018)

A sharp psychological thriller that’s just right for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Pretty Little Liars–this story will seduce, mislead, and finally, betray you.

Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple. The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.

Debut author Dana Mele has written a taut, sophisticated suspense novel that readers will tear through and not stop talking about.


gensisGenesis by Brendan Reichs (ISBN-13: 9780399544965 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/06/2018 Series: Project Nemesis Series #2)

Can the Fire Lake sophomore class survive in a world without consequences?

Noah Livingston knows he is destined to survive.

The 64 members of Fire Lake’s sophomore class are trapped in a place where morals have no meaning and zero rules apply. But Noah’s deaths have trained him-hardened him-to lead the strongest into the future … whatever that may be. And at any cost.

Min Wilder knows that survival alone isn’t enough.

In a violent world where brute force passes for leadership, it’s tempting to lay back and let everyone else battle it out. But Min’s instincts rebel against allowing others to decide who lives and who dies. She’s ready to fight for what she believes in. And against whomever might stand in her way.

Lord of the Flies meets The Matrix in Brendan Reichs’s follow-up to the instant New York Times bestseller Nemesis.


blood water paintBlood Water Paint by Joy McCullough (ISBN-13: 9780735232112 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/06/2018)

A stunning debut novel based on the true story of the iconic painter, Artemisia Gentileschi.

Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father’s paint.

She chose paint.

By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome’s most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost.

He will not consume
my every thought.
I am a painter.
I will paint.

Joy McCullough’s bold novel in verse is a portrait of an artist as a young woman, filled with the soaring highs of creative inspiration and the devastating setbacks of a system built to break her. McCullough weaves Artemisia’s heartbreaking story with the stories of the ancient heroines, Susanna and Judith, who become not only the subjects of two of Artemisia’s most famous paintings but sources of strength as she battles to paint a woman’s timeless truth in the face of unspeakable and all-too-familiar violence.

I will show you
what a woman can do.



mappingMapping the Bones by Jane Yolen (ISBN-13: 9780399257780Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/06/2018)

From the best-selling and award-winning author of The Devil’s Arithmetic, Jane Yolen, comes her first Holocaust novel in nearly thirty years. Influenced by Dr. Mengele’s sadistic experimentations, this story follows twins as they travel from the Lodz ghetto, to the partisans in the forest, to a horrific concentration camp where they lose everything but each other.

It’s 1942 in Poland, and the world is coming to pieces. At least that’s how it seems to Chaim and Gittel, twins whose lives feel like a fairy tale torn apart, with evil witches, forbidden forests, and dangerous ovens looming on the horizon. But in all darkness there is light, and the twins find it through Chaim’s poetry and the love they have for each other. Like the bright flame of a Yahrzeit candle, his words become a beacon of memory so that the children and grandchildren of survivors will never forget the atrocities that happened during the Holocaust.

Filled with brutality and despair, this is also a story of poetry and strength, in which a brother and sister lose everything but each other. Nearly thirty years after the publication of her award-winning and bestselling The Devil’s Arithmetic and Briar Rose, Yolen once again returns to World War II and captivates her readers with the authenticity and power of her words.



hero at the fallHero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton (ISBN-13: 9780451477866 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/06/2018 Series: Rebel of the Sands Series #3)

The breathless finale to the New York Times bestselling Rebel of the Sands series will have you on the edge of your seat until the dust from the final battle clears!

When gunslinging Amani Al’Hiza escaped her dead-end town, she never imagined she’d join a revolution, let alone lead one. But after the bloodthirsty Sultan of Miraji imprisoned the Rebel Prince Ahmed in the mythical city of Eremot, she doesn’t have a choice. Armed with only her revolver, her wits, and her untameable Demdji powers, Amani must rally her skeleton crew of rebels for a rescue mission through the unforgiving desert to a place that, according to maps, doesn’t exist. As she watches those she loves most lay their lives on the line against ghouls and enemy soldiers, Amani questions whether she can be the leader they need or if she is leading them all to their deaths.


nothing left to burnNothing Left to Burn by Heather Ezell (ISBN-13: 9780448494265 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/13/2018)

The autumn morning after sixteen-year-old Audrey Harper loses her virginity, she wakes to a loud, persistent knocking at her front door. Waiting for her are two firemen, there to let her know that the moment she’s been dreading has arrived: the enormous wildfire sweeping through Orange County, California, is now dangerously close to her idyllic gated community of Coto de Caza, and it’s time to evacuate.

Over the course of the next twenty-four hours, as Audrey wrestles with the possibility of losing her family home, she also recalls her early, easy summer days with Brooks, the charming, passionate, but troubled volunteer firefighter who enchants Audrey—and who is just as enthralled by her. But as secrets from Brooks’s dark past come to light, Audrey can’t help but wonder if there’s danger in the pull she feels—both toward this boy, and toward the fire burning in the distance.



the fallingThe Falling Between Us by Ash Parsons (ISBN-13: 9780399168482 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/13/2018)

All-consuming fame and fortune prove too much for a teen popstar who suddenly goes missing—Eddie and the Cruisers for the Justin Bieber era.

Just eight months ago, fifteen-year-old Roxanne Stewart was stuck in her tiny, middle-of-nowhere hometown with no prospects of leaving. But after her boyfriend, Joshua Blackbird, posts a performance of an original song on YouTube, he becomes an overnight sensation, catapulting to the dizzying heights of celebrity, and Rox joins him on the whirlwind ride of a massive national tour.

But it’s not long before the never-blinking eye of fame begins weighing them both down—the constant hunger of managers, diehard fans who call themselves “Birdies,” record execs, paparazzi, and even family, all leeching onto Joshua.

Then one day, Joshua Blackbird disappears. Was it a suicide? An accident? Rox will stop at nothing to find out the truth. The Falling Between Us is a haunting love story and a piercing look at the costs of fame.



orphanOrphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen (ISBN-13: 9780451478733 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/20/2018)

Her name is Sarah. She’s blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish in 1939 Germany. And her act of resistance is about to change the world.

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He’s part of the secret resistance against the Third Reich, and he needs Sarah to hide in plain sight at a school for the daughters of top Nazi brass, posing as one of them. If she can befriend the daughter of a key scientist and get invited to her house, she might be able to steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. Nothing could prepare Sarah for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she’d ever imagined. But anyone who underestimates this innocent-seeming girl does so at their peril. She may look sweet, but she’s the Nazis’ worst nightmare.


way light bendsThe Way The Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen (ISBN-13: 9780399547447 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/27/2018)

A powerful novel in verse about fitting in, standing out, defining your own self-worth, and what it takes to keep a fracturing family whole.

Virtual twins Linc and Holly were once extremely close. But while artistic, creative Linc is her parents’ daughter biologically, it’s smart, popular Holly, adopted from Ghana as a baby, who exemplifies the family’s high-achieving model of academic success.

Linc is desperate to pursue photography, to find a place of belonging, and for her family to accept her for who she is, despite her surgeon mother’s constant disapproval and her growing distance from Holly. So when she comes up with a plan to use her photography interests and skills to do better in school—via a project based on Seneca Village, a long-gone village in the space that now holds Central Park, where all inhabitants, regardless of race, lived together harmoniously—Linc is excited and determined to prove that her differences are assets, that she has what it takes to make her mother proud. But when a long-buried family secret comes to light, Linc must decide whether her mother’s love is worth obtaining.

A novel in verse that challenges the way we think about family and belonging.

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.

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

Welcome to the November 2017 edition of Collecting Comics! Here are some suggestions of comics coming out in November that your teens and tweens will enjoy!


Friends and Foes (Red’s Planet Book 2) by Eddie Pittman (Amulet Books, November 7) In the second book of the Red’s Planet middle grade graphic novel series, Red has crash landed on a strange planet surrounded by a plethora of interesting alien creatures. Somehow she gets caught up in a wild election, and she and her friends must decide what’s worth fighting for.


Raid of No Return (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #7) by Nathan Hale (Amulet Books, November 7) In the 7th book of the wildly popular Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales graphic history series, Hale tackles a long-requested topic: WWII. After Pearl Harbor, a group of pilots made history by becoming the first Army bombers to be launched from aircraft carriers. Some of them crashed and were captured, and some landed in China. Raid of No Return is a story of survival during wartime. This entire series will appeal to your young history buffs.

Cici’s Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training by Joris Chamblain, illustrated by Aurélie Neyret (First Second, November 7). Cici wants to be a novelist, and she loves to watch people, especially grownups. By watching the world around her, she notices the old man who goes into the forest every week with a lot of paint. What is he up to? Filled with journal notes, doodles, and Cici’s observation, this middle grade graphic novel will thrill your young readers and writers-in-training.


The Once and Future Queen by Adam P. Knave and DJ Kirkbride, illustrated by Nicholas Brokenshire (Dark Horse Books, November 14). Rani is a chess prodigy with no plans to be any kind of leader but once she pulls Excalibur from the stone, it’s too late. Now she needs to assemble a new round table to protect earth from an invasion of Fae. This blend of magic, romance, adventure, and mythology will appeal to a large swath of your teens!

Princeless Volume 6: Make Yourself, Part 2 by Jeremy Whitley, illustrated by Emily Martin (Action Lab Entertainment, November 21).  The princess-saving team is ready to strike again! Fresh off fighting vampires, zombies, and swamp creatures, Princess Adrienne, Bedelia the Blacksmith, and Sparky the dragon set off to the mountains to save twin princesses Andrea and Antonia. The Princeless series has been charming readers of all types for several years, and your young patrons will be thrilled with the new installment.


Goldie Vance Volume 3 by Hope Larson, illustrated by Jackie Ball (BOOM! Box, November 21). Goldie Vance, aspiring teen detective, is back! And this time she’s trying to figure out who’s sabotaging Sugar Maple’s car before the big race. There’s no love lost between Goldie and Sugar, but they need to work together to get to the bottom of the shenanigans or no one will be safe the day of the big race. Collects issues #9-12 of the comic book series.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales Volume 3 by Brian Bendis, illustrated by Szymon Kudranski and Bazaldua (Marvel, November 21). After his encounter with Spider-Gwen, Miles’s life is turned upside down! And so is his mom’s. How can she cope with the situations and who will she turn to? Collects issues #15-19 of the comic book series.


Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Captain Phasma by Kelly Thompson, illustrated by Marco Checchetto (Marvel, November 28). What happened to Captain Phasma After A Force Awakens? Marvel expands Phasma’s story and reveal how she escaped the destruction of the Starkiller base. Your patrons will want to read this one before The Last Jedi comes to theaters! Collects issues #1-4 of the comic book series.

Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie by Anthony Del Col, illustrated by Werther Dell’Edera (Dynamite Entertainment, November 28). In this noir imagining that older teens will love, teen sleuths Frank and Joe Hardy are accused of the murder of their father. They team up with their friend Nancy Drew to prove their innocence and find the real killer.


Cloudia & Rex by Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas, illustrated by Daniel Irizarri (Lion Forge, November 28). Cloudia, her sister Rex, and their mom find themselves in the middle of a supernatural exodus of sorts. When their car is hit by lightning, they find themselves with some interesting supernatural adjustments. They slowly realize that they’re being used by gods for their own purposes…and that’s a lot of responsibility. Collects several single issues of the comic book series.

BONUS NON COMIC! Supergirl: Age of Atlantis by Jo Whittemore (Amulet Books, November 7). Supergirl (aka Kara Danvers) has been spotting citizens with strange abilities all over National City. If that’s not weird enough, the Department of Extranormal Operations captured a mysterious humanoid sea creature. Are these two things related?? Sure to thrill Supergirl fans!


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

Medal on my MindWe’re always happy to have guest posts here at Teen Librarian Toolbox, especially when they can help boost projects we find really cool. Today the fine folks from Medal on My Mind, a new blog dedicated to examining books that are eligible to win Stonewall Awards, join us to tell us more about their work.


Q: What is Medal on My Mind, anyway?

Medal on My Mind is a mock award blog speculating the potential results of the Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award. In anticipation of this award, which honors books about LGBTQIA+ experience, we’re taking a close look at eligible titles and assessing them the way members of the award committee might. We write long-form considerations of individual books, interspersed with the occasional round-up post that collects titles by genre, format, identity, etc. We’ll be updating on a more or less weekly basis until the award is announced at ALA Midwinter in February 2018.


Q: Who’s running these shenanigans?

We’re a small team of four queer librarians: Kazia Berkley-Cramer, Alec Chunn, Stacy Collins, Dani Crickman. (Alec, who originated the project, isn’t active on the blog this year, since he’s currently serving on the Rainbow Books List Committee.) Alec, Dani, and Kazia all work in children’s/teen services at libraries, while Stacy works as a subject librarian in children’s literature. Each of us works with children’s and YA literature in some other capacity, too, as reviewers, booksellers, and teachers.


Q: Why did you want to start MoMM?

We’d been paying attention to the other mock ALA award blogs that are well-known in our field. We couldn’t help but notice that the “general” awards (Caldecott, Newbery, Printz) are the ones our field regards most highly and the ones that get the most hype. When Alec suggested creating a blog for the Stonewall Book Award, we were all enthusiastic about the opportunity to draw attention to the growing numbers of LGBTQIA+ books being published for children and teens.


gentlemansQ: What are some books you’ve talked about already, and what are some you’re looking forward to getting to?

K – I’ve waxed on about my love for Julie Murphy’s (initially controversial) Ramona Blue, and Dani and I co-wrote a post about some truly outstanding graphic novels! I’ve also just written about Mackenzi Lee’s heartbreaking and hilarious The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, hands-down one of the funniest and surprisingly deep books I’ve read this year.


S – At this point, I’ve written about Wild Beauty, the gorgeous magical realism novel from Anna-Marie McLemore (just out this month!). I’m really looking forward to writing about AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller’s Shadow Run and April Daniels’ Dreadnought. Both speculative fiction, both with a trans/genderfluid character, but a difference in where that character sits in the narrative.


D – So far, I’ve written about Misa Sugiura’s It’s Not Like It’s a Secret, a debut novel with an adorable interracial lesbian love story that I feel hasn’t been getting the attention it deserves, and Adam Silvera’s History Is All You Left Me and They Both Die at the End. I’m looking forward to writing about Rebecca Podos’s Like Water and E. K. Johnston’s That Inevitable Victorian Thing.


wild beautyQ: Are there books you really want to win?

D – I’ve got my heart set on Wild Beauty. I love it for all the reasons Stacy illuminates in her post about it, and most especially for how it employs a premise that feels so perfect for magical realism–five cousins in love with the same person—to show that women can be queer in so many varied ways.

K – I haven’t yet had the chance to read Wild Beauty, so currently my vote goes hands-down to Ramona Blue!

S – WILD BEAUTY! Ramona Blue and Gentleman’s Guide are close seconds for me too.


Q: What do you think about LGBTQIA+ representation in children’s and YA books this year?

Several great books have come on the scene this year, and the intersection of excellent writing craft with full, nuanced representation is getting stronger every year. Our acronym is…big, with many identities featured, intersecting, and sometimes barely captured (if at all) among its letters. Our publishing world (like the rest of the world) has begun to give some attention and space (both badly needed) to uplift certain parts of that acronym. We’re looking forward to both broader and deeper representation as we move forward.


Q: What do you hope to see published in the future?

So much! More books by and about queer PoC/Native people. More books by and about trans and nonbinary people, intersex people, ace/aro people. More books by and about queer disabled people. More picturebooks, beginning readers, transitional readers, and middle grade with LGBTQIA+ representation. More queer characters in all the genres.


Q: Do you cover the Lambda awards as well?

Nope! While we might reference the Lammies or do a surprise one-off post about them, our focus here is just on the children’s/teen division of the Stonewall!


Q: With the current conversations around #ownvoices narratives and reviewing, do you think MoMM fills a void?

Yes, but it’s complicated! We definitely fill a noticeable void in terms of award blogs and discussion, which we’ve always found disappointingly absent. But in terms of #ownvoices reviewing, we stand on the shoulders of folks like Vee S. and Malinda Lo, who have been working tirelessly to make space for public discussion around queer children’s and teen literature long before us. We’re excited to be bridging the gap between these two spaces, although this, too, is complicated! Our identities as queer people are vital to the project. Drawing on our own experiences and our accumulated knowledge to talk about books–and in doing so, making more evident that this is what anyone who talks about books professionally does–is an important piece of our work. However, we’re aware of all the positions we don’t occupy and the gaps that exist in what we know. Under an umbrella as big as LGBTQIA+, where so many other identities intersect, our claim to #ownvoices is often tenuous, at best. It’s a fallible standard, but it’s a starting point, and one we’re glad to be making those steps forward.


Q: Who can join the conversation?
Anyone, including you! We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments sections of our posts. If you’ve served on the Stonewall or you have a lot to say about a title from this year, let us know and we can talk about guest post possibilities.

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


Friday Finds: October 20, 2017

fridayfindsThis Week at TLT

Silhouette Cameo 101: The Manual It Doesn’t Come With, But Should (MakerSpace)

Book Review: Like Water by Rebecca Podos

Post-it Note Reviews of Elementary and Middle Grade Books

Book Review: Ruby & Olivia by Rachel Hawkins

TPiB: Easy Peasy DIY Jack-O-Lanterns

Book Review: Here, There, Everywhere by Julia Durango and Tyler Terrones

Around the Web

‘Doon’ series by Carie Corp, Lorie Langdon set to hit the small screen

New York City’s Libraries Will Forgive All Children’s Fines

Let’s talk about American Heart by Laura Moriarty.

In Defense of the Arts and Humanities in Our Public Schools


A Book Ban Like No Other