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Friday Finds, January 17, 2020

This Week at TLT

Book Review: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Cindy Crushes Programming: March Madness Bracketology

Book Review: Saving Savannah by Tonya Bolden

The Soundtrack of Our Lives: The Teen and I Discuss what Musical Theater Means to Theater Teens and Why Librarians Should, and Can, Care

Around the Web

Next National Ambassador For Young People’s Literature Is Named

Proposed Book Banning Bill in Missouri Could Imprison Librarians

How Making A Podcast Enriched Students’ Lives

Children/YA Sales Rose, Adult Sales Fell in October

I Read 4,800 Pages of American History Textbooks

Friday Finds: January 10, 2020

This Week at TLT

Book Review: Revenge of the Red Club by Kim Harrington

Book Review: Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz, a teen review

Book Review: Flowers in the Gutter: The True Story of the Edelweiss Pirates, Teenagers Who Resisted the Nazis by K. R. Gaddy

DIY Stop Motion Book Trailers Using Giffer

Sunday Reflections: Everything I Learned about Team Building I Learned from a Teen Theater Production

Around the Web

OverDrive’s New Owners: What It Means

Upcoming YA Book Releases

Comparing Black Women to Animals Is a Residue of Chattel Slavery

The visual language of comic books can improve brain function

LGBT YA Books of January-June 2020

DIY Stop Motion Book Trailers Using Giffer

My library recently put out a call asking for staff to help promote our most circulated titles for 2019 in several categories. Seeing as how I have a deep love and devotion to YA literature, I quickly put together stop motion mini-book trailers for our top 5 circulating titles for 2019. As my library shared them I retweeted them and a lot of people contacted me to ask me how I made them and the answer is: Giffer.

The Giffer app allows you to make quick and easy Gifs which you can share on social media. You can get the Giffer Pro version for $2.99 in the App store, which is the version that I have. It does most of the work for you and it’s pretty quick and easy to learn and use. I have used it several times to make short promo pieces, Lego mini-movies, and more. I’ve tried several different options and this is my go-to app because of how quick and easy it is to use.

To make my little movies I used three things: a pad of Post It notes, a Sharpie, and my cell phone.

I looked up some of my favorite quotes from each title and wrote them on their own Post It. I then took a photo of each quote and saved it. I also took a photo of the book, which I pulled from our collection. There were a couple of titles that were checked out so I printed off a copy of the cover and used that photo.

Then I found a picture I wanted to draw for each title. For Turtles All the Way Down by John Green, I drew a turtle. I looked up how to draw a simple turtle and went through each step, taking a new photo each step of the process. It looked something like this.

For The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas I wanted to draw a rose growing up out of the concrete, as quoted in the book. It looked something like this.

After taking my photos, I uploaded them into Giffer. Giffer allows you to rearrange the order, slow down or speed up the timing, etc. You then just publish your Gif and it gives you a sharing link.

Here’s my Turtles All the Way Down by John Green stop motion promo thingy: https://giffer.co/g/xoDDzlfc.gif

And here it is tiled and filling the entire screen: https://giffer.co/g/xoDDzlfc/tiled

And here’s my The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas stop motion promo thingy: https://giffer.co/g/ZgAssZer

The sharing link gives you an option to download the Gif when you select the three dots on the right hand side of the screen. Downloading the Gif allows you to share it on social media or in a post like this so that it’s right there and your viewers don’t have to click to a separate page.

I’m obviously no artist but I like to think that it’s part of the charm. I made 5 Gifs in around 10 minutes. It cost me absolutely nothing because I already owned the app and I had fun posts to share with our readers on social media withing a half hour of being asked to help with this promotion.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to promote books, I’m a fan.

Friday Finds: January 3, 2020

This Week at TLT

Four Little Words – Changing the Narrative, a guest post by Abigail Hing Wen

Cindy Crushes Programming: Hosting a Starfinder RPG, an interview with Nicholas Vidmar

New Books Alert: Mind-readers, hackers, influencers, a middle school drag queen, and more!

The 2020 Project: Thinking About Serving Tweens and Teens with Disabilities in Our Libraries

Around the Web

Netflix’s “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” Announces Part 3 Release Date

One of the world’s largest private equity firms just bought one of the world’s largest library ebook companies

Saying Goodbye to 2019 with the Best in Children’s Books

The 2019 Cybils Finalists!

China Blocks American Books as Trade War Simmers

Library tech leaders recommend their favorite tips and tools

The 2020 Project: Thinking About Serving Tweens and Teens with Disabilities in Our Libraries

Each year here at TLT, beginning in 2014, we’ve had an over arching theme for the year in which we take a deep dive into an issue that affects the lives of our teens and we consider what it means for us as librarians, how to best serve our teens, and explore the representation of that issue in MG and YA Lit. This year we are going to be discussing disabilities in the lives of tweens and teens, what it means for us as librarians who serve them, and what that representation looks like in the literature.

Although every member of TLT deals with disability in some form or another, we are by no means experts in this topic which is why we always host this as a large, group discussion in which we ask you to participate, sharing your knowledge and experience with us as we share ours with you.

You can see all the previous years of projects here

In 2015, fellow librarian Cory Eckert gave me a gift. I was invited by her and a few other amazing librarians to talk on a panel about diversity at TLA. The day of our presentation I looked to me left and to my right and asked Cory, why did you ask me – a white, cisgender Christian middle age woman, the very stereotype and overwhelming majority of librarianship – to be on this panel? She looked at me and said, well, because you have a disability you’ve been very open about discussing and we wanted to have that representation as well on this panel. I am here to tell you that moment was a gift and a revelation. I struggle with both a chronic illness in the form of hypothyroidism and mental health issues, depression and anxiety, which are made worse since developing hypothyroidism. Having it acknowledged that this impacted my daily life felt like a burden lifted off of me.

In the years since, it has become evident that both of my daughters struggle with their own anxiety issues. In addition, Thing 2, my youngest, has been diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, which can make life very challenging for her. I know that I will talking a lot in the coming year about dyslexia, though you can see my posts from October here.

This past year, after a couple of years of very real health issues, doctors finally told us that The Mr. also has a chronic health issue that will effect him for the remainder of his life. They are still searching for a name to put with that health issue but we have been living with it for a while now. We recently sat down with our daughters and talked with them about what it meant for their dad to have a chronic illness and how we would have to work together as a family to communicate about our feelings and how we would have to work on being understanding with one another.

At the most basic level, a disability is defined as “a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities ” – Google Dictionary. Disabilities can be both seen and unseen, which means you never know if the person that is standing before you is struggling with a disability or not. In my 26+ years of librarianship, I have heard very little discussion about best practices when it comes to working with our patrons that have a disability. It seems that most libraries do the bare minimum, which is try and maintain three feet of clearance for wheelchair access and if we’re being honest, some of us aren’t even doing that very well.

Our goal in the next year is to talk about disability in general, to talk about specific types of disabilities and how libraries can better serve patrons living with those disabilities, and to look specifically at disability representation in MG and YA literature. We are certainly not the first or only people doing this work, there are lots of great resources and blogs out there and we will be referring to them over the course of the next year. And we hope that you will choose to join in the conversation by writing a guest post, putting together a book list, or sharing your own favorite programs or resources.

If you would like to participate a little or a lot, email me (kjensenmls@yahoo), Amanda MacGregor (amanda.macgregor@gmail) or Robin Willis (robinkwillis@gmail). We would love to work with you to raise awareness, break down stereotypes and stigmas, and learn more about how libraries can better serve patrons with disabilities.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Reads: Karen Jensen’s Best Books of 2019

Earlier this month Amanda Mac Gregor shared her favorites of 2019, and today I’m going to share mine with you – mostly. As I am a first round Cybils panelist for this year in the speculative fiction category, I am not going to share my opinion on any speculative fiction YA titles with you at right this moment. So here’s a look at my favorite reads of 2019 sans YA Speculative Fiction.

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

Heroine is the tale of a teen female athlete who has a terrible car accident. Over the course of her healing she becomes addicted to pain killers which eventually leads to a Heroine addiction. This book mirrors the very real opioid crisis we are experiencing here in the United States. McGinnis lives in Ohio, a state that is profoundly impacted by the opioid crisis, and she writes a realistic and compelling tale about this very real crisis with such vivid detail in part because she is living in a community so greatly impacted by it. Heroine is raw, real, poignant and cuts to the bone.

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

Mysteries are really popular right now with teen readers and this is one of my favorite series. The characters are fun, fully fleshed out and represent a lot of different personality traits. The main character is a teen girl struggling with anxiety and trying to solve an age old historical crime at a boarding school when a new crime occurs. Now, she’s got two crimes to solve, one in the past and one in the present. The friendships are meaningful, the setting is interesting, and the mysteries are complex. There is a bit of modern day politics woven into the story. This book brought The Westing Game to mind in many ways, which is high praise indeed. Start with book 1, Truly Devious, and stay until the thrilling conclusion The Hand on the Wall that comes out in early 2020. This series is so popular with so many of the teens I know, including the one I’m raising.

Spin by Lamar Giles

This is another mystery that weaves together the world of hip hop music, computer hacking and app development, and fandom. When an up and coming teen hip hop artist is murdered, her former best friend is the main suspect. She must join forces with someone she resents to clear her name and find out who really committed the crime. In addition to being a compelling mystery, I loved the way this book looked at what it means to be a female and highlighted the complexities of female friendships. Also, it gets bonus points for featuring a female hacker and app developer. I have a soft spot for YA books that highlight girls in STEM fields.

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Written entirely in verse, Shout is a memoir by YA author Laurie Halse Anderson that looks at her early life and then at her adult life as she travels the country talking with teens about the book Speak. Anderson is a survivor of sexual violence who has dedicated her life and work to not only writing amazing YA fiction, but to helping to raise awareness about sexual violence and the importance of consent education. This book makes you angry, moves you to tears, and then asks you to change the world. Every member of my family has read this book and cried. We’ve talked about it time and time again. It is hands down one of the most important books written in 2019.

Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan

What happens the summer after you graduate high school while you are waiting for the next stage of your life to begin? For many teens living in a small town, the only thing you want is to escape and college is often your only ticket out of town. In this mystery, a group of teens regroup to dig up a time capsule they swore to revisit after graduating. However, one of their group is missing, having been murdered the year before. When they dig up the capsule they also dig up a ton of secrets, about themselves and the small town that they live in. Friendships are tested, truths are faced, and nothing and no one is what they thought they were. This book gets bonus points because it’s one of the few mysteries I’ve read in a while that kept me guessing until the end.

Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

This is the story of two teens with chronic health issues falling and staying in love. It’s a moving story that demonstrates that a story can contain disability representation without killing off the main characters and it shows what happens after you fall in love. Maintaining a relationship is challenging and could make for a boring story, but it really doesn’t. It’s a moving book with a lot of satisfying emotional moments.

Guts by Raina Telgemeier

I am not normally a fan of graphic novels, though they are starting to grow on me. This doesn’t mean I don’t think graphic are real books, because they are and I do. I have just struggled with them personally as a reader. However, when discussing graphic novels with my child who has dyslexia I have come to understand better how to read them and what the appeal factors are. Guts tackles childhood anxiety, which is a growing issue in today’s world. I am a person with anxiety raising children with anxiety, so this book was meaningful to us on a personal level. I also gave this book to a friend raising a tween who has anxiety and she’s read it 100s of times. It’s not just a good book, it’s an important book that has helped a lot of tweens and teens recognize and share their struggles with anxiety with the people who love them most. I so appreciate what this book is doing for our youth.

After the Cybils shortlist is released, I’ll share some of my favorite speculative fiction reads of 2019.

Read Wild in 2020: Books to Have on Your Radar that Feature Nature

As we look forward to 2020, it’s time to start making those “to be read” lists.  I’m thrilled to see more nature stories and cli-fi coming each year and 2020 is no exception. Below are some of the books I’m most looking forward to “reading wild”.  (All summaries courtesy of publishers).

Hatchet meets Wild in this harrowing survival story from Edgar Award-winning author Mindy McGinnis.

The world is not tame.

Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof. So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. Morning brings the realization that she’s alone – and far off trail. Lost in undisturbed forest and with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive despite the red streak of infection creeping up her leg. 

When fifteen-year-old Cuban American Mariana Ruiz’s father runs for president, Mari starts to see him with new eyes. A novel about waking up and standing up, and what happens when you stop seeing your dad as your hero—while the whole country is watching.

In this thoughtful, authentic, humorous, and gorgeously written novel about privacy, waking up, and speaking up, Senator Anthony Ruiz is running for president. Throughout his successful political career he has always had his daughter’s vote, but a presidential campaign brings a whole new level of scrutiny to sheltered fifteen-year-old Mariana and the rest of her Cuban American family, from a 60 Minutes–style tour of their house to tabloids doctoring photos and inventing scandals. As tensions rise within the Ruiz family, Mari begins to learn about the details of her father’s political positions, and she realizes that her father is not the man she thought he was.

But how do you find your voice when everyone’s watching? When it means disagreeing with your father—publicly? What do you do when your dad stops being your hero? Will Mari get a chance to confront her father? If she does, will she have the courage to seize it? 

From acclaimed author Kate Messner comes the powerful story of a young girl with the courage to make her voice heard, set against the backdrop of a summertime mystery.

When Mia moves to Vermont the summer after seventh grade, she’s recovering from the broken arm she got falling off a balance beam. And packed away in the moving boxes under her clothes and gymnastics trophies is a secret she’d rather forget.

Mia’s change in scenery brings day camp, new friends, and time with her beloved grandmother. But Gram is convinced someone is trying to destroy her cricket farm. Is it sabotage or is Gram’s thinking impaired from the stroke she suffered months ago? Mia and her friends set out to investigate, but can they uncover the truth in time to save Gram’s farm? And will that discovery empower Mia to confront the secret she’s been hiding–and find the courage she never knew she had?

In a compelling story rich with friendship, science, and summer fun, a girl finds her voice while navigating the joys and challenges of growing up.

Annalise Oliver, abandoned as a baby in a small Wisconsin town, has always had a special, almost mystical connection to Renn Lake. Annalise’s happiest times are working alongside her adoptive parents at the cabins along the lake their family has owned and run for generations. But the summer Annalise turns 12, a small patch of algae quickly becomes a harmful bloom and Renn Lake is closed. Even worse, Annalise’s connection with Renn is gone. Frustrated with the authorities’ inaction, she teams up with her friends and vows to find a way to save her beloved lake. Hello From Renn Lake is a heartfelt story about community, activism, and fighting for the things you love.

Len is a loner teen photographer haunted by a past that’s stagnated her work and left her terrified she’s losing her mind. Sage is a high school volleyball star desperate to find a way around her sudden medical disqualification. Both girls need college scholarships. After a chance encounter, the two develop an unlikely friendship that enables them to begin facing their inner demons.

But both Len and Sage are keeping secrets that, left hidden, could cost them everything, maybe even their lives.

Set in the North Carolina mountains, this dynamic #ownvoices novel explores grief, mental health, and the transformative power of friendship.

Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, Carole Lindstrom’s bold and lyrical picture book We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguarding the Earth’s water from harm and corruption.
Water is the first medicine.

It affects and connects us all . . .
When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people’s water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.

Featuring illustrations by Michaela Goade.

Where does our food come from? What role do farms play? What’s it like to be a farmer? In this charmingly illustrated book, follow a farm throughout the year to discover how the farmer grows fresh and tasty food for us to eat in a sustainable and natural way.

Explore the workings of a small-scale, organic family farm and experience the rhythm of farm life. In the spring, visit the chicken coop, till the fields, and tour the farm machinery. When summer comes, plant corn, meet the pollinators, and head to the county fair. In the fall, make pies and preserves, harvest pumpkins, and put the fields to sleep. Winter activities include trimming and pruning the orchard, seed shopping, and baking bread.

To conclude your year on the farm, learn what you can do to support the farmers who pick our carrots and raise the cows for our milk. A glossary defines key sustainable farming terms.

Through this colorful and intimate look at life on a small-scale farm, children will learn not only how the farm feeds us, but how the farmer must feed and care for the farm. 

What Teen Librarian Toolbox Means to Me, by Cindy Shutts

The next two weeks are holiday weeks in a variety of ways for a variety of people, so we’re doing something a bit different. As the new year approaches, many people get reflective and we’re reflecting on what TLT means to us. Today, YA librarian Cindy Shutts shares what TLT means to her. Cindy writes our Cindy Crushes Programming column where she shares the awesome program she does with her teens. We are so honored to share Cindy’s programs here and to have her as a part of our team.

I love my job but being the only teen librarian in my building is sometimes lonely. I am lucky to have supportive co-workers and supervisors. I plan all my programs and do the collection work by myself. 

I see the best and the worst of life. Teens will come to me with horrible problems such as abuse or bullying. We deal with violence in our community and the loss of patrons who have committed suicide.

I have learned so much about being a teen librarian through Teen Librarian Toolbox. I used a series of articles on dyslexia to defend the use of large print books for teens. I have used SVYALit to better to explain issues of consent with the teens and learned how to shut down rape jokes quickly and effectively. At Teen Librarian Toolbox, we have discussed the hard conversations that affect teens and are truly needed. We talk about the development of the teenage brain and how it affects their behavior.

Karen Jensen is a person I deeply admire and look up to. I am honored to be a part of the Teen Librarian Toolbox community. I read all the articles and constantly learn from others. I share what I learn with my coworkers.

The most helpful thing Teen Librarian Toolbox has taught me is that I am not alone.  Every teen librarian is going through a lot of the same issues that I am and we are all working to be the best teen librarians we can be.

Friday Finds: December 20, 2019

This Week at TLT

Post-It Note Reviews: Picture books, graphic novels, memoirs, and more!

Cindy Crushes Programming: DIY No Sew Unicorn Pillow

Amanda’s favorites of 2019

#ReThinkLabels, Lisa Krok walks us through another segment in her Great Stories Club

Around the Web

‘Percy Jackson’ reboot may happen at Disney, according to Rick Riordan

NCTE Names 2020 Charlotte Huck and Orbis Pictus Award Winners

The 10 best YA books of the year (and the decade)

50 Must-Read Contemporary YA Novels of the 2010s

LGBTQ Issues Complicate Kalamazoo Elementary Book Program

To Outsiders, YA Is Eating Itself; To Insiders, It’s Bettering Itself.

Here Wee Read: The 2020 Ultimate List of Diverse Children’s Books (it contains MG and YA titles)

Trans YA Books by Trans Authors

Hypable List of Most Anticipated YA Fantasy Sequels of 2020

#ReThinkLabels, Lisa Krok walks us through another segment in her Great Stories Club

Back in October, I posted the first part of this series just after attending training by the American Library Association as part of the Great Stories Club grant. Read part one here. I received a matching grant from the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio (DCNEO), who have provided programming that correlates with our Great Stories Club books. This has resulted in profound discussions and more engagement from teens with the themes of the books.

The first book we read and discussed was Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson. Themes of identity and being comfortable in your own skin resulted from our discussion about this first Muslim superhero, Kamala Khan. For each book, we meet first for a small group book discussion with pizza. The following week, DCNEO comes in to dig deeper into the themes with us.   

Next, we viewed the video #ReThinkLabels, which was created by DCNEO.

*Content advisory: This video contains explicit/offensive language as we learned about rethinking those labels and challenging stereotypes.* The #ReThinkLabels video can be viewed  here.  Afterwards, we debriefed and then discussed self-perceptions using an identity wheel activity. This is basically a pie chart of how teens see themselves in terms of their own unique identities.

Results varied, see two examples below:

We talked about allyship and speaking up if someone says something harmful, and each attendee was given Tolerance.org’s pocket guide on speaking up. The pocket guide can be downloaded here.

Last, we put ourselves back into the narrative by making mini-flags with the BEST labels we would like to receive. We also created positive label flags for others in the group. This culminated in a photo booth opportunity with our flags.

Many thanks to the American Library Association and the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio. The #ReThinkLabels lesson plan is also made public for teachers and librarians.

Stay tuned for part three in this series, coming soon.

Lisa Krok, MLIS, MEd, is the adult and teen services manager at Morley Library and a former teacher in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. She is the author of Novels in Verse for Teens: A Guidebook with Activities for Teachers and Librarians, forthcoming from ABC-CLIO in March 2020. Lisa’s passion is reaching marginalized teens and reluctant readers through young adult literature. She was appointed to the 2019-2020 YALSA Presidential Advisory Task Force, served two years on the Quick Picks for Reluctant Reader’s team, and is proud to be a part of the #DiversityJedi. Lisa can be found being bookish and political on Twitter @readonthebeach.