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Karen’s Top 10 Posts for 2013

Ah, the end of the year. Time to reflect on all that we have accomplished in 2013 (or not).  Or, really, it’s time to go on vacation and I need a quick and easy post.  Plus, we have new followers (**waves hi**) and you may have missed these posts, which we really like and want to make sure you have seen.  So here are my Top 10 Posts for 2013 . . .

The one where I share what I wish my library patrons knew.

The one where author Kim Purcell tells us how we can help get teens involved by raising awareness about human trafficking.

The one where my friend and school librarian Amianne Bailey shared about how one book made a kid think differently about a nonverbal kid in her library and made our eyes leak.

The one where I discussed what it means to tell boys that they should only study boys and girls that they should only study girls, and maybe got a little ragey. Because feminism.

The one in our ongoing series on youth and poverty where I reflect on the fact that poverty doesn’t always look the way you think it does. As poverty is growing, we need to be aware and we need to work towards change.

The one where Heather reminded us all of the ways that teenagers are like cats.

The one in which author Mike Lancaster kindly opened up his life to us and shared what it was like to grow up watching Doctor Who for Doctor Who Week, it was such an amazing gift to be invited on this journey with him.

The ones where we discussed the implications of the newly proposed electronic badging process and then Christie got her snark on and proposed some other badges we could earn in part of our Things I Never Learned in Library School series.

The one where Jonathan Maberry helps me impress The Mr. and asks him, “Haven’t you learned that wives have superpowers?” Bam, take that Mr.

And the one where I discuss why The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa is more than just another vampire book because it is a reminder of the dangers of banning books.  Because education and the freedom to read are vitally important.

Robin’s Top 10 Books for 2013

So yes, to be honest, this is a somewhat odd list. These are the top 10 books I enjoyed in 2013. A couple of them are children’s books, a couple of them were published before 2013, a couple haven’t come out yet (and one I haven’t finished.) What can I say? Being a librarian is weird.

Let’s start with the children’s books. I have friends with a 4 month old who will go completely still if you read to him (a kindred soul.) My first encounter with Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry was at his house, but I have yet to find a toddler who doesn’t sit still for it. It is the perfect combination of engaging text and illustrations, regularly punctuated by the truck saying “Beep! Beep!” which all toddlers seem to love. This book is a wonder – you should by it for all of your expectant friends. The other children’s book is Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately the Milk. I was just excited to find one of his I can read without getting completely freaked out. My twin 5 year old friends loved it, too.

Two of my favorite books from this year haven’t come out yet – Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins and The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. I have to be honest, I would read a washing machine manual written by either of these authors, so when I get my hands on an advanced copy of one of their titles, I can’t resist. I reviewed Rebel Belle for TLT here. I can say with the utmost confidence that IKoM is going to be a very important book for a very long time. Add both to your list for next year.

Sarah Rees Brennan continued last year’s brilliantly funny, gender-swapped gothic fantasy Unspoken with this year’s Untold. Most readers I’ve seen comment on it are overwhelmed by the feels. I’m just along for the ride (it’s a good one.) Also, team Angela.

You can read my review of Meg Rosoff’s Picture Me Gone, which I was unsurprised to find on the National Book Awards shortlist for Young People’s Literature. (I was a bit surprised to find it in the Young Adult category of the NYT Notable Children’s Books of 2013. It belongs in the Middle Grade section. Feel free to argue with me in the comments.)

Jasper Fforde (my favorite author) finally had his sequel to The Last Dragonslayer published in the US this year. You can read my review of Song of the Quarkbeast here.

Holly Black is a certifiable genius. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is just excess evidence in this case. I gush over it here.

What can I say about Eleanor and Park that hasn’t already been said? It has one of the world’s most adorable authors (you should follow her on Twitter.)  It’s beautiful and sweet and charming and completely draws you in to its world. And it’s devastating. I confess that this is the one I haven’t finished. It just hurt too much. I could see where certain things were going and I couldn’t cope. It’s waiting for me, though, right there on my bookshelf for when I am ready. That says a lot, doesn’t it, that it’s on my top 10 list and I haven’t finished it?


And finally, there is Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. I realize that this was published in 2012, but I finally got around to reading it a couple of months ago. I remember there being a rather significant buzz about it when it came out. I also remember there being several books published in that time frame with very similar titles, and getting them all confused. The buzz was sufficient for it to make it onto my (extremely limited) library purchase list, though, and I finally picked it up when I was stuck supervising something extremely boring at work. It is amazing! I was immediately drawn in to the story, and delighted to find that the author had so completely realized her fantasy world. If you missed it as well, I highly recommend it.

Robin’s 10 Favorite Posts of 2013

2013 has been a banner year at Teen Librarian’s Toolbox! (Especially for me, since this is my first year.) Here are my 10 favorite TLT posts from this year, in no particular order:

The one where Karen talks about racial stereotypes and their impact on our teens (including the backlash from the world’s most adorable cereal commercial.)

The one about how the internet is only ‘free’ if you can pay for it. What.

The one where Karen is brave enough to call out an actor on her favorite show for being (at the very least) thoughtless. 

The one where Christie teaches us how to deal with library life by channeling The Avengers.

The one where Heather takes actual teens to a conference and the world doesn’t come to an end.

The one where we acknowledge that working in a library doesn’t protect you from…anything, really.

The one where I try to help everyone learn to use Tumblr, and mostly help Karen.

The one where Karen gets bonus points for asking A.S. King her most morbid interview question ever.

The one where Christie advocates giving teens boxcutters. (Just kidding, it’s the TPiB about Duct Tape crafts.)

This list of telltale signs that you work with teens. Don’t skip the comments!