Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

DIY Galaxy Rocks

For today’s episode of Cindy Crushes Programming, Cindy Shutts is going to walk us through creating our own galaxy rocks – a perfect activity for this year’s A Universe of Stories summer reading theme.

Our Summer Reading Program began at out library last week and our theme is “Read Under the Stars.” I wanted a space themed program for this week and I have always wanted to make Galaxy Rocks, so we did. Here’s a tutorial on how create your own galaxy rocks.

Supplies:

  • Rocks
  • Glitter Paint
  • Metallic Paint
  • Black Acrylic Paint

Step One:

Get a rock and paint it black and let it dry for about 10 minutes. Rocks dry faster than a lot of other materials.

Step Two:

Paint with the metallic paints next. There are two methods you can do one is do dots with different metallic paints or just paint with one metallic color. I liked the effect of one metallic color better but it really depends on what the teens or you want their rock to look like.

Step Three:

I used multiple types of glitter paint with a lot of layers. I try to let it dry a little before adding the next layer.

Step Four :

Let rock dry. I recommend having a paper plate for the teens to take the rocks home.

Final Thoughts: I loved this craft and the teens who came loved it too. I had low attendance but realized it was scheduled on the 8th grade graduation of both of the local middle schools, which made sense. It’s an important reminder that scheduling is everything.

Here’s a DIY tutorial on YouTube that you may find interesting:

Book Review: The Wise and the Wicked by Rebecca Podos

When I’m reviewing books for professional publications, I stay quiet about them on social media. I’m always really excited once a review comes out to be able to talk about the book, finally! Here’s one of my most recent reviews, which originally appeared in an issue of School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—A desperate search for the truth leaves 16-year-old Ruby Chernyavsky with more questions than answers as she untangles years of family lore and begins to understand that stories have more than one side. Ruby knows that the women in her family, long removed from their ancestral home in the woods in Russia, once possessed powerful magic. Ruby and her sisters grew up steeped in the family lore, stories of this magic, and the reminder to stay hidden and safe. Once in their lifetimes, the women in her family travel ahead to be in the body of their future selves at whatever age they will die. This is called their Time, and whatever they see is inevitable. But when Great-Aunt Polina dies, Ruby and her relatives learn that Polina’s vision was wrong. Ruby, who has seen her Time, must know: Can she alter her fate? When she falls for a boy with family secrets of his own and begins to confide in her long-absent mother, the stories and folklore become even more complicated. Ruby questions who the real villains are in these passed-down tales. Suddenly everything becomes about finding the courage to determine her own story and what she is willing to lose as she balances choices, consequences, and risks. Podos weaves an intricate plot full of mystery and folklore that will make readers race toward the satisfying but not-yet-tied up conclusion. 

VERDICT A beautifully rendered story about sacrifice, vengeance, survival, secrets, and lies. Recommended for all collections.

ISBN-13: 9780062699022
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication date: 05/28/2019

Take 5: Things I Learned at Book Expo America 2019

This past week I was very fortunate in that my library sent me to Book Expo America to learn about upcoming releases (thank you Fort Worth Public Library!) It was my first time going to BEA and there was a lot of information to take in and lots of new upcoming titles to learn about. Here are a few of the things that I learned.

Graphic Novels are HOT!

Meg Cabot and Kami Garcia on the DC Panel at BEA 2019

In the past at both TLA and ALA, there is a graphic novel/comic book alley which is kind of separate from the main publishing aisles but that was not the case at BEA. Graphic Novels were front and center and if I had to estimate, I would say it is a good solid 1/5 of upcoming publishing. Many well established YA authors, like Meg Cabot and Kami Garcia, are jumping into the graphic novel fray with DC Comics. Several publishers are launching graphic novel lines. And the one book I wanted to get to take home to my kids was – you guessed it – a graphic novel. I got the book, by the way, and got to be the hero. In fact, Thing 2 has, who you may recall has had a difficult time with reading, sat right down and read it once I put the coveted item into her hands.

Middle Grade is also HOT!

Middle Grade panel at BEA 2019

Though I do believe a lot of the YA was saved until BookCon, which I did not attend, there was a noticeable amount of Middle Grade being offered at BEA. I have been noticing the growth in the distribution and marketing of MG for quite some time now. Booklist recently had a special MG issue and School Library Journal recently hosted the Middle Grade Magic all day webinar, similar to its annual Summer Teen event. Like with graphic novels, you also see a lot of YA authors diving into the middle grade market. There are a lot of great middle grade titles coming our way and I can’t wait to read them.

Is Young Adult publishing on the downward slope of a high peak?

Popular YA author Leigh Bardugo makes her adult debut with Ninth House

As someone who has been a YA librarian for a while now, I can’t help but notice that there seems to be a slow down of the YA publishing market after a couple of decades of real growth. I believe in housing they call this a bubble and it’s possible that the bubble has burst. Some signs of this include the fact that a lot of YA authors are moving into the adult, middle grade and graphic novel markets. There were some hot properties by established YA authors up for grabs, but there are a lot of new names on the horizon and it’s been a while since a title or series has really taken hold of the public interest globally like vampire and dystopian properties did just a decade ago. Certainly The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and a few other titles have hit hot and have had some staying power, but overall YA feels like it’s trying to find its footing again right now while publishers take a deep dive into middle grade. It’s also interesting to note that a lot of what’s being published as older middle grade right now would have been younger YA just a few years ago.

Publishers are slowly but surely starting to really diversify

Author Rick Riordan uses his publishing line Rick Riordan Presents to promote diverse authors with a middle grade emphasis

With the creation of initiatives like We Need Diverse Books and the hard, dedicated work of a wide variety of people calling for representation, this year’s upcoming titles appear to be some of the most diverse and inclusive titles I have seen in my 26 years of buying books for libraries. I saw a lot of titles with LGBTQIA+ and POC representation and I’m very excited for what I can buy for my patrons this upcoming year.

Libraries can learn a lot about marketing from BEA


The moment you walk into BEA you are hit from floor to ceiling with book culture. It’s an exciting energy that is all about books. There are large banners everywhere. There are visual displays everywhere. It’s a pretty amazing experience that can’t help but get you excited about books.

I know that we don’t have the money to recreate what I saw at BEA, but I’m here to tell you that we should do everything we can to highlight books in this way and just really create this exciting, inviting book culture in our libraries. Take a look at this Penguin wall:

It’s just a question and some post-it notes but it was powerful and impactful. Throughout BEA you could stop by anytime and see several people scouring the wall and adding their own voice. Here’s mine:

Now that I’ve shared with you some of my takeaways from BEA 2019, if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of books to go order.

Friday Finds: May 31, 2019

This Week at TLT

New books alert: A royal romance, a North African-inspired fantasy, a feminist look at reproductive rights, and more

Digital Media: A Remix Tutorial – How an Old Photo Becomes Something New

Digital Media: Using Photo Apps to Make Pride Photos

What’s new in LGBTQIA+ YA May 2019

Digital Media: Using Apps to Take Your Photos Out of This World

Around the Web

Playing Teen Sports May Protect From Some Damages Of Childhood Trauma

Makey Makey Creators Announce GameBender, A New Game System

This campaign is bringing summer reading to kids in ‘book deserts’

Solving The Tech Industry’s Ethics Problem Could Start In The Classroom

The 17 Most Anticipated YA Books to Read in June

New books alert: A royal romance, a North African-inspired fantasy, a feminist look at reproductive rights, and more

Books, books, and more 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 my own 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. The following are the books that have arrived here in the past few weeks. I will be reviewing many of them in the upcoming months on TLT. See something you’ve already read and need to make sure I don’t skip? Or something you’re super excited to read when it comes out? Let me know with a comment here or on Twitter, where I’m @CiteSomething.

All descriptions from the publishers.

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg, Lindsay Cummings (ISBN-13: 9781335139733 Publisher: Harlequin Publication date: 07/31/2018 Series: Androma Saga Series #1)

From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings comes the first book in The Androma Saga, an action-packed thrill ride of adventure, intrigue and steamy star-crossed romance

Known across the galaxy as the Bloody Baroness, Captain Androma Racella and her motley crew of space-bound privateers roam the Mirabel galaxy on the glass starship Marauder, taking what mercenary work they can find to stay alive.

When a routine job goes awry, the Marauder’s all-girl crew find themselves placed at the mercy of a dangerous bounty hunter from Andi’s past. Coerced into a life-threatening mission, and straight into the path of a shadowy ruler bent on revenge, Andi and her crew will either restore order to the ship—or start a war that will devour worlds.

Nexus by Sasha Alsberg, Lindsay Cummings (ISBN-13: 9781335903297 Publisher: Inkyard Press Publication date: 05/07/2019 Series: Androma Saga Series #2)

Return to the high-stakes, riveting world of The Androma Saga in this dazzling finale from #1 New York Times bestselling authors Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings.

With her crew captured and her ship a smoldering ruin, notorious mercenary Androma Racella is no longer the powerful Bloody Baroness, but a fugitive on the run. And with most of the galaxy now trapped under the mind control of the bloodthirsty Queen Nor, not even the farthest reaches of Mirabel can offer safety for the queen’s most-hated adversary.

But Andi will risk anything, even her precious freedom, to save her crew. So when she finds herself stranded with bounty hunter Dextro Arez on the unforgiving ice planet of Solera, Andi seeks out the mysterious Arachnid, the one person who seems to be fighting back against the vicious queen…and uncovers the true, devastating reason for Nor’s takeover.

Back on Andi’s home planet of Arcardius, Nor’s actions have made Mirabel vulnerable to invasion from an outside force. Now allying with her mortal enemy may be the only way for the Bloody Baroness to save the galaxy—even if that alliance demands the most wrenching sacrifice of all.

Ask Me Anything by Molly E. Lee (ISBN-13: 9781640636583 Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC Publication date: 05/07/2019)

“Edgy and smart with a sweet and sexy core.” —Rachel Harris, New York Times bestselling author of Eyes on Me

I should’ve kept my mouth shut.

But Wilmont Academy’s been living in the Dark Ages when it comes to sex ed, and someone had to take matters into her own hands. Well, I’m a kick-ass coder, so I created a totally anonymous, totally untraceable blog where teens can come to get real, honest, nothing-is-off-limits sex advice.

And holy hell, the site went viral—and we’re talking way beyond Wilmont—overnight. Who knew this town was so hard up?

Except now the school administration is trying to shut me down, and they’ve forced Dean—my coding crush, aka the hottest guy in school—to try to uncover who I am. If he discovers my secret, I’ll lose him forever. And thousands of teens who need real advice won’t have anyone to turn to.

Ask me anything…except how to make things right.

The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields (ISBN-13: 9781624147371 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 05/21/2019)

On the day of Saskia’s kenning—a special bone reading that determines the apprenticeships of all seventeen-year-olds—her worst fear comes true. She receives an assignment to train as a Bone Charmer, a seer, like her mother.

Saskia knows her mother saw multiple paths for her, yet chose the one she knew Saskia wouldn’t want. Their argument leads to a fracture in one of the bones, with the devastating result of splitting Saskia’s future.

Now she will live her two potential paths simultaneously: one where she’s forced to confront her magic, and one where she tries to run from it. But when both paths become entangled in the plot of a rogue Charmer, Saskia learns that no future is safe, and some choices have unimaginable consequences. Only one future can survive. And Saskia’s life is in danger in both.

Ink by Alice Broadway (ISBN-13: 9781338331691 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 05/28/2019)

A deliciously dark, gorgeously written YA mystery that’ll prickle your skin . . . and leave a permanent mark.

There are no secrets in Saintstone.

From the second you’re born, every achievement, every failing, every significant moment are all immortalized on your skin. There are honorable marks that let people know you’re trustworthy. And shameful tattoos that announce you as a traitor. 

After her father dies, Leora finds solace in the fact that his skin tells a wonderful story. That is, until she glimpses a mark on the back of his neck . . . the symbol of the worst crime a person can commit in Saintstone. Leora knows it has to be a mistake, but before she can do anything about it, the horrifying secret gets out, jeopardizing her father’s legacy . . . and Leora’s life.

In her startlingly prescient debut, Alice Broadway shines a light on the dangerous lengths we go to make our world feel orderly–even when the truth refuses to stay within the lines. This rich, lyrical fantasy with echoes of Orwell is unlike anything you’ve ever read, a tale guaranteed to get under your skin . . .

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen (ISBN-13: 9780062933621 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 06/04/2019)

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah Dessen comes a big-hearted, sweeping novel about a girl who reconnects with a part of her family she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl—and falls in love, all over the course of a magical summer.

Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when Emma was twelve. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges.

Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family that she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.

When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is also divided into two people. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her.

Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well.

For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her—Emma or Saylor—will win out?

You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed, Toby Triumph (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781492687535 Publisher: Sourcebooks Publication date: 07/09/2019)

WHAT IF YOU COULD BECOME AWESOME AT (ALMOST) ANYTHING?

It’s not as impossible as you might imagine. If you’re the kind of person who thinks …

  • I need a special type of brain to do math
  • You’re either good at sports or you’re not
  • I don’t have a musical bone in my body

Challenge the beliefs that hold you back! Whatever you want to be good at, the right mindset can help you achieve your dreams.

Times journalist, two-time Olympian, and bestselling author Matthew Syed demonstrates how grit, resilience, and a positive mindset can help in every aspect of your life—from school to friendships to sports to hobbies. Using examples of role models from Serena Williams to Mozart, You Are Awesome shows how success is earned rather than given, and that talent can be acquired through practice and a positive attitude.

Practical, insightful, and positive, this is the book to help you build resilience, embrace your mistakes, and grow into a more successful, happier YOU!

Skyjacked by Paul Griffin (ISBN-13: 9781338047417 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 07/30/2019)

Five friends who attend Manhattan’s elite Hartwell Academy are returning from an end-of-summer camping trip together on a private plane. Everything seems normal… except one of the regular pilots is sick, so there’s a replacement; Cassie is starting to get violently ill for no clear reason; and they realize the plane is flying west, not east. Soon it’s clear: The plane has been hijacked. But by who, and why? Where are they going? What made Cassie so sick? And even if they somehow make it into the cockpit and overpower the hijacker, could they land the plane? Emotions are running high, and choosing who to trust is a matter of life or death. 

This dramatic thriller from acclaimed author Paul Griffin is a tense, ticking-clock story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud (ISBN-13: 9781338332728 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 07/30/2019)

An #ownvoices Point Paperback original that is like The Princess Diaries for this generation — pure wish-fulfillment fun, from new talent Debbie Rigaud.

Zora Emerson is not here to play. She’s enrolled in a prestigious summer program, and is ready to use what she’s learning to change the world (or at least her corner of New Jersey, for now).

Zora’s not expecting to vibe with any of her super-privileged classmates. So she’s shocked to find she’s got chemistry with Owen Whittelsey, who is charming, funny, undeniably cute…and turns out to literally be a prince. As in, his parents are the king and queen of a small European country. What?

Suddenly, Zora’s summer is looking a lot more complicated — especially when Owen asks her to be his date at his older brother’s wedding. Can her feelings for Owen, not to mention her sense of self, survive the royal chaos?

Debbie Rigaud brings sparkling humor and insight to this empowering romantic comedy that’s all about ruling your own destiny.

Spark by Alice Broadway (ISBN-13: 9781338355994 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 07/30/2019)

After her reckless actions at the naming ceremony, Leora is branded a traitor and sent to the blank settlement, Featherstone, as a spy disguised as a refugee.

But Leora is no longer sure where her loyalty lies. The blanks are just people trying to survive, not the monsters she was trained to see them as. 

After all these years of deception, Leora is finally learning the truth — about being marked, about her mother, and about her own destiny. But if Leora stops spying, the people she left behind in Saintstone will pay the price.

No matter what she does, someone she loves is going to get hurt. As the marked and the blanks inch closer to the brink of war, Leora must choose which half of herself to be true to . . . and which half to betray.

All the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle (ISBN-13: 9780525552741 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/27/2019)

Unflinching and gorgeously written, this feminist novel is important, timely, and a compulsive read. From the highly acclaimed author of the beloved The Accident Season comes an epic breakout novel examining the very topical and controversial issue of women’s sexual and reproductive rights, which has never been higher on the public’s radar. 

When Deena’s wild older sister Mandy goes missing, presumed dead, Deena refuses to believe it’s true. Especially when letters start arriving—letters from Mandy—which proclaim that their family’s blighted history is not just bad luck or bad decisions but a curse, handed down to women from generation to generation. Mandy’s gone to find the root of the curse before it’s too late for Deena. But is the curse even real? And is Mandy still alive? Deena’s desperate, cross-country search for her beloved sister—guided only by the notes that mysteriously appear at each destination, leading her to former Magdalene laundry sites and more—is a love letter to women and a heartbreaking cathartic journey.

A Song for the Road by Rayne Lacko (ISBN-13: 9781684630028 Publisher: Sparkpress Publication date: 08/27/2019)

When a tornado destroys his Tulsa home, fifteen-year-old Carter Danforth is trapped in the pawnshop where his daddy hawked his custom, left-handed Martin guitar six years earlier―and then took off, leaving Carter with nothing but a hankering to pluck strings and enough heartache to sing the blues. Injured by the storm, Carter’s mother is laid up in the hospital. She wants Carter to fly out to Reno and stay with her sister. Too bad Carter already spent her hidden cash stash to buy his dad’s guitar. Rather than tell her the truth, he embarks on an epic road trip in search of his father in Santa Monica. But Carter isn’t a runaway. He reckons he’s a “running to.”

On his way west, Carter picks up licks, chord changes, and performance techniques from a quirky cast of Southwestern charmers: a rock star, a thief, a bluesman, a chanteuse-turned-chef, and the dream of a girl back home. A Song for the Road reads like a mash-up of The Wizard of Oz and Easy Rider―by the time he reaches the end of old US Route 66, Carter has learned how to deep-fry yucca blossoms and tell the truth of his life through music.

Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson (ISBN-13: 9781681191089 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 09/03/2019)

From Newbery Honor- and Coretta Scott King Author Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Renée Watson comes a heartwarming and inspiring middle-grade novel about finding deep roots and exploring the past, the present, and the places that make us who we are.

All Amara wants for her birthday is to visit her father’s family in New York City—Harlem, to be exact. She can’t wait to finally meet her Grandpa Earl and cousins in person, and to stay in the brownstone where her father grew up. Maybe this will help her understand her family—and herself—in new way.

But New York City is not exactly what Amara thought it would be. It’s crowded, with confusing subways, suffocating sidewalks, and her father is too busy with work to spend time with her and too angry to spend time with Grandpa Earl. As she explores, asks questions, and learns more and more about Harlem and about her father and his family history, she realizes how, in some ways more than others, she connects with him, her home, and her family.

Tunnel of Bones (City of Ghosts #2) by Victoria Schwab (ISBN-13: 9781338111040 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 09/03/2019 Series: City of Ghosts #2)

The thrilling sequel to Victoria Schwab’s New York Times bestselling City of Ghosts!

Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.

She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Schwab returns to the spooky and heart-pounding world of City of Ghosts, delivering thrilling new adventures and an unforgettable spin on friendship. (Because sometimes, even psychic ghost best friends have secrets. . .)

Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl (ISBN-13: 9781624147975 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 09/03/2019)

“Saved!” meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that takes a meaningful look at consent and what it means to give it.

When CeCe’s born-again ex-boyfriend dumps her after they have sex, she follows him to Jesus camp in order to win him back. Problem: She knows nothing about Jesus. But her best friend Paul does. He accompanies CeCe to camp, and the plan—God’s or CeCe’s—goes immediately awry when her ex shows up with a new girlfriend, a True Believer at that.

Scrambling to save face, CeCe ropes Paul into faking a relationship. But as deceptions stack up, she questions whether her ex is really the nice guy he seemed. And what about her strange new feelings for Paul—is this love, lust, or an illusion born of heartbreak? To figure it out, she’ll have to confront the reasons she chased her ex to camp in the first place, including the truth about the night she lost her virginity.

The Star Shepherd by Dan Haring, MarcyKate Connolly (ISBN-13: 9781492658207 Publisher: Sourcebooks Publication date: 09/10/2019)

Neil Gaiman meets How to Train Your Dragon in this beautifully illustrated middle-grade novel about a boy, his trusted dog, and his best friend, as they race to save the stars before their light is extinguished for good.

When the world first formed, the night was black and filled with dark creatures. The Elders knew their people couldn’t survive under such a threat. So they gave their hearts to the sky in the form of stars to keep evil away.

Now, eleven-year-old Kyro is a Star Shepherd like his father. He’s spent his life tucked away in the small town of Drenn. There, the family watches the night sky for falling stars—and rushes to rescue them when they do.

When too many stars start falling at once, and disappearing before they can be saved, Kyro’s father journeys to report the threat. But when he doesn’t return, Kyro, with the help of his best friend, Andra, and his trusty dog, Cypher, must find a way to save the stars before the dark creatures make a terrifying return.

Steel Tide by Natalie C. Parker (ISBN-13: 9780451478832 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 09/17/2019 Series: Seafire Series #2)

The second book in a heart-stopping trilogy that follows the captain of an all-female ship intent on taking down a vicious warlord’s powerful fleet.

Caledonia may have lost her crew, but she’s not done fighting yet. After nearly dying at the hand of a powerful foe, Caledonia is pulled from the sea and nursed back to health by a crew of former Bullets that call themselves Blades. The Blades escaped Aric Athair’s clutches and now live a nomadic existence, ready to disappear at a moment’s notice should trouble come their way. 

But Caledonia wants to do more than just hide. She wants to find the Mors Navis and her beloved sisters. She wants to continue fighting Aric’s fleet and to take back the Bullet seas. She’ll need to do everything in her power to convince the Blades that fighting is their only option, that there has to be a life better than the one under Aric Athair’s reign, and that finding the women of the Mors Navis is the first step to revolution.

Obviously: Stories From My Timeline by Akilah Hughes (ISBN-13: 9781101998908 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 09/24/2019)

Comedian and activist Akilah Hughes shares everything about her journey from a childhood in the south to the big screen while dispensing invaluable big-sister-style advice to a generation of future YouTubers.

In Akilah Hughes’s world, family—and life—are often complicated, but always funny. Through intimate and hilarious essays, Akilah takes readers along on her journey from the small Kentucky town where she was born—and eventually became a spelling bee champ and 15-year-old high school graduate—to New York City, where she took careful steps to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer and performer.

Like Tiffany Haddish’s The Last Black Unicorn or Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? for the YA set, Akilah pens revealing and laugh-out-loud funny essays about her life, covering everything from her racist fifth grade teacher, her struggles with weight and acne, her failed attempts at joining the cheerleading team, how to literally get to New York (hint: for a girl on a budget, it may include multiple bus transfers) and exactly how to “make it” once you finally get there.

The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy (ISBN-13: 9780310767657 Publisher: Blink Publication date: 10/01/2019)

In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.

Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for Auction, a Craewick tradition in which a “worthless” person’s memories are sold to the highest bidder before she is killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.

To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.

The Speed of Falling Objects by Nancy Richardson Fischer (ISBN-13: 9781335928245 Publisher: Inkyard Press Publication date: 10/01/2019)

From the author of When Elephants Fly comes an exceptional new novel about falling down, risking everything and embracing what makes us unique. Don’t miss this compulsively readable novel about the most unlikely of heroes.

Danger “Danny” Danielle Warren is no stranger to falling. After losing an eye in a childhood accident, she had to relearn her perception of movement and space. Now Danny keeps her head down, studies hard, and works to fulfill everyone else’s needs. She’s certain that her mom’s bitterness and her TV star father’s absence are her fault. If only she were more—more athletic, charismatic, attractive—life would be perfect.

When her dad calls with an offer to join him to film the next episode of his popular survivalist show, Danny jumps at the chance to prove she’s not the disappointment he left behind. Being on set with the hottest teen movie idol of the moment, Gus Price, should be the cherry on top. But when their small plane crashes in the Amazon, and a terrible secret is revealed, Danny must face the truth about the parent she worships and falling for Gus, and find her own inner strength and worth to light the way home.

I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson (ISBN-13: 9781595148544 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 10/08/2019)

Jennifer Donaldson is back with another twisted thriller perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying and Sadie.

Zahra Gaines is missing. 

After three long years away, Ruthie Hayden arrives in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska to this devastating news. Zahra was Ruthie’s best friend—the only person who ever really understood her—and she vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Zahra vanished from a party just days before Ruthie’s return, but the more people she talks to, the more she realizes that the Zahra she knew disappeared long before that fateful night. Gone is the whimsical, artistic girl who loved books and knew Ruthie’s every secret. In her place is an athlete, a partier, a girl with secrets of her own. Darker still are the rumors that something happened to Zahra while Ruthie was gone, something that changed her forever…

As Ruthie desperately tries to piece together the truth, she falls deeper and deeper into her friend’s new world, circling closer to a dangerous revelation about what happened to Zahra in the days before her disappearance—one that might be better off buried.

In her stunning follow-up to Lies You Never Told Me, Jennifer Donaldson once again delivers a propulsive thriller with a masterful twist, skillfully creating a world where nothing is quite as it seems.

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (ISBN-13: 9780399160318 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 10/22/2019)

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray comes a gripping, extraordinary portrait of love, silence, and secrets under a Spanish dictatorship.

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography—and fate—introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War—as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence—inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain.

Includes vintage media interstitials, oral history commentary, photos, and more.

A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy (ISBN-13: 9780525518587 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 10/29/2019)

An enthralling debut perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone set in a North African-inspired fantasy world where two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown. 

Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of blood and marrow–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.

When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.

A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.

Every Stolen Breath by Kimberly Gabriel (ISBN-13: 9780310766667 Publisher: Blink Publication date: 11/05/2019)

The Swarm is unrecognizable, untraceable, and unpredictable—random attacks on the streets of Chicago by a mob of crazed teens that leaves death in its wake. It’s been two years since the last attack, but Lia Finch has found clues that reveal the Swarm is ready to claim a new victim.

Lia is the only one still pursuing her father’s killers, two years after attorney Steven Finch’s murder by the Swarm. Devastated and desperate for answers, Lia will do anything to uncover the reasons behind his death and to stop someone else from being struck down. But due to debilitating asthma and PTSD that leaves her with a tenuous hold on reality, Lia is the last person to mount a crusade on her own.

After a close encounter with the Swarm puts Lia on their radar, she teams up with a teen hacker, a reporter, and a mysterious stranger who knows firsthand how the mob works. Together, they work to uncover the master puppeteer behind the group. Though if Lia and her network don’t stop the person pulling the strings—and fast—Lia may end up the next target.

Inspired by the real-life “flash mob” violence struck Chicago in2011, Every Stolen Breath by debut author Kimberly Gabriel is a fast-paced and immersive thriller that shows just how hard one girl will fight back, knowing any breath might be her last.



Digital Media: A Remix Tutorial – How an Old Photo Becomes Something New

So this week we’ve been talking about using digital media apps to remix photos. Regular readers know that I am a big fan. I used to want to be a photographer growing up, but we never had the money for good equipment and I will never know if I have any talent or skills. But now I have a smart phone and a variety of apps and I loved to create using my device. Over the years I have shared with you a variety of apps and today I’m going to take you through a walk through. Doing digital media with teens in the teen makerspace is one of my favorite activities and the teens like creating amazing images to share on their Instagram. I also use my designs to make posters for displays and to share right here on TLT.

See the background of the painting in the picture below? We’re going to turn it into something completely different. The take away here is that you can turn anything A into something completely different and amazing B. As The Teen was painting this picture, I really liked the background so I took a picture of it before she added the trees. I’m constantly taking random photos because you never know when you can use it and turn it into something different. That’s trick 1: take a lot of photos, even of the most random things, because you never know what they can become.

So here’s the picture of the background, which is our starting point.

I then uploaded this photo into the Hipstamatic camera app. This app has a steep cost to it but it has a lot of elements that I like. One of my favorite effects is the Shanghai photo effect, which I used here.

After saving my first remix, I then uploaded this image into the Word Swag app. This is one of my favorite text and font apps, but I don’t like the filters and such. I used Word Swag for text and text only, but your mileage may vary. A little cropping, a little text and viola . . . I created this.

I use my digital media apps to create icons for TLT and I’m not going to lie, the walls of my home are covered in pictures of my children I have created using the technique I just shared with you. I have no less than 3 different printers that I use to print my photos, which I discuss here. I have also turned my photos into postcards, buttons, and canvas. The Teen and friends make fun of me because they know I’m going to be taking pictures, but they also love that they have a lot of great photos that capture some of their favorite memories.

Some of my favorite apps are:

  • PS Express: for cropping photos, filters, effects and more
  • Instamag: for making photo collages
  • Word Swag: for adding text
  • Hipstamatic: for filters
  • Be Funky Pro: again, for filters
  • Comic Book: for creating comic and graphic novel pages
  • Candy Camera: for stickers
  • SuperImpose X: for blending two or more photos
  • Fotorus and Enlight are more advanced apps that I’m just learning how to use

Do you have a favorite photo app? I’m always looking for new ones to try so please share yours in the comments.

Digital Media: Using Photo Apps to Make Pride Photos

The month of June is Pride month, a time when the LGBTQIA+ community remembers the Stonewall riots and the struggle – which continues today – to ascertain basic civil rights. In celebration of Pride, I’m going to share with you how you can create Pride themed digital media effects. On Monday I shared with you some apps you can use to create space effects on photos and today I’m going to share with you some apps you can use to add rainbows or rainbow effects to photos to create signage, avatars, social media graphics and more.

You’ll need a device of some sort with the following apps pre-loaded and a way to get photos onto the app. You can set up an in-library photo booth as discussed in Monday’s post. Once you have your photos you can begin mixing them with apps to create awesome pictures, like the one above.

Be Funky Pro

If I’m being completely honest, the only app you really need for this is the Be Funky Pro app as it has a variety of rainbow effect photos and is a full photo editor. It’s one of my favorites and I highly recommend it. There is a free version, but I recommend unlocking the app by buying the $1.99 pro version. Under the effects tab there are a variety of Pop Art effects that you can choose to create eye catching rainbow hued photos. I used the app to make all of these photo effects:

As you can see, Be Funky Pro has a variety of Pop Art effects that work great for creating Pride photos. It’s quick and easy to use and because you can add text using this app, it’s a one stop app. Those of you who read a lot of posts here know that I often use a variety of apps to create one final image, so it’s nice to have a one stop app.

PicsArt

The PicsArt app has a couple of effects that I really liked. The initial app download is free but there are in app purchases that you can buy. It did look like it had a lot of great additional features, but it has a subscription cost and of all the app purchasing options out there a subscription fee is my least favorite. I want to buy an app and be done with it. The features I used to make the photos below are found in the Pop Art and Color Gradient features. I made the pictures below without making any additional purchases so the app was completely free to use.

Rainbow Love

The Rainbow Love app allows you to add a variety of fun effects to a photo, including simply adding a rainbow onto an image. There are stickers, filters and more. You can download the app for free and use some of the features but there are additional charges for additional features. I liked that you could add a subtle yet beautiful rainbow to an image without changing the entire photo. I made the following pic using a free version of the app.

But wait, there’s more . . .

There are a variety of other apps available to add rainbow effects to your photos out there, some specifically designed to promote Pride.

Any and all of the apps mentioned here are fine but I recommend starting with Be Funky Pro or Rainbow Effects, depending on what effect you want to create.

You have a photo, now what? After you make your remixed Pride photos, you can do a variety of fun things with them:

  • Print them off and make them into buttons if you have a button maker.
  • Change your social media avatars to Pride photos
  • Decoupage them onto a canvas
  • Print them onto photo paper and paint a frame

How a Photo Becomes an Icon

The icon that Amanda MacGregor uses for her monthly What’s New in LGBTQIA+ column was made by me, an amateur, completely on my phone in less than 5 minutes. I began with the photo of a canvas that The Teen painted for a project. The canvas background is seen here in her completed picture, I just thought it was such a pretty background that I took a picture of it before she added the trees. So the background of the painting from this picture . . .

I used an app to remix the photo – in this instance I used the Shanghai filter on the Hipstamatic camera. I then used Word Swag to create the wording. And this is the story of how a photo of the canvas you see above became our LGBTQIA+ icon for our monthly feature.

So the background from the painting in the picture above plus a few magic tricks in an app becomes this icon . . .

What’s new in LGBTQIA+ YA May 2019

It’s time for another roundup for new and forthcoming YA (and sometimes not YA) books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters.  The titles I’m including here have LGBTQIA+ main characters as well as secondary characters (in some cases parents), as well as anthologies that include LGBTQIA+ stories. Know of a title I missed in this list? Or know of a forthcoming title that should be on my radar for an upcoming list? Leave a comment or tweet me @CiteSomething. This list covers May 2019 titles. Head over to this link for the previous post (April 2019) in this series. All annotations here are via the publishers/Goodreads. I also have a 2018 master list. I’m working on the 2019 list. I’m happy to send you any list if you’re interested. Tweet at me or email me to request the list. I’m amanda DOT macgregor AT gmail DOT com.

Looking for more information on LGBTQIA+ books or issues? Check out the hashtag here on TLT and go visit YA Pride and LGBTQ Reads, two phenomenal resources. 



Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju (ISBN-13: 9781534430655 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 05/07/2019)

Judy Blume meets RuPaul’s Drag Race in this funny, feel-good debut novel about a queer teen who navigates questions of identity and self-acceptance while discovering the magical world of drag.

Perpetually awkward Nima Kumara-Clark is bored with her insular community of Bridgeton, in love with her straight girlfriend, and trying to move past her mother’s unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town.

Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be—one that can confidently express and accept love. But she’ll have to learn to accept lost love to get there.

From debut author Tanya Boteju comes a poignant, laugh-out-loud tale of acceptance, self-expression, and the colorful worlds that await when we’re brave enough to look.

Tinfoil Crowns by Erin Jones (ISBN-13: 9781635830323 Publisher: North Star Editions Publication date: 05/07/2019)

Seventeen-year-old internet video star Fit is on a mission to become famous at all costs. She shares her life with her fans through countless videos (always sporting some elaborate tinfoil accessory), and they love her for it. If she goes viral, maybe she can get out of her small casino town and the cramped apartment she shares with her brother and grandpa. But there’s one thing Fit’s fans don’t know about her: when Fit was three years old, her mother, suffering from postpartum psychosis, tried to kill her.

Now Fit’s mother, River, has been released from prison. Fit is outraged that River is moving in with the family, and it’s not long before Fit’s video followers realize something’s up and uncover her tragic past. But Fit soon learns that the only thing her audience loves more than tragedy is a heartwarming tale of a family reunion. Is faking a relationship with River the key to all Fit’s dreams coming true?

Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins (ISBN-13: 9781524738266 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/07/2019)

Regal romance abounds in this flirty, laugh-out-loud companion novel to Prince Charming, by New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins. 

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. Heartbroken and ready for a change of pace, Millie decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Soon, Millie is accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Here, the country is dreamy and green; the school is covered in ivy, and the students think her American-ness is adorable. 

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess. 

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland. 

At first, the girls can’t stand each other, but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, but Millie knows the chances of happily-ever-afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it? 

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins brings the feels and the laughs to her latest romance.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781626722590 Publisher: First Second Publication date: 05/07/2019)

Author Mariko Tamaki and illustrator Rosemary Valero-O’Connell bring to life a sweet and spirited tale of young love in Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, a graphic novel that asks us to consider what happens when we ditch the toxic relationships we crave to embrace the healthy ones we need.

Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley’s dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There’s just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend.

Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy’s best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it’s really Laura Dean that’s the problem. Maybe it’s Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever.

Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.

How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox (ISBN-13: 9780525554295 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/07/2019)

A deeply hopeful YA novel about living with mental illness that’s perfect for fans of Girl in Pieces

Biz knows how to float. She has her people, her posse, her mom and the twins. She has Grace. And she has her dad, who tells her about the little kid she was, and who shouldn’t be here but is. So Biz doesn’t tell anyone anything. Not about her dark, runaway thoughts, not about kissing Grace or noticing Jasper, the new boy. And she doesn’t tell anyone about her dad. Because her dad died when she was seven. And Biz knows how to float, right there on the surface–normal okay regular fine.

But after what happens on the beach–first in the ocean, and then in the sand–the tethers that hold Biz steady come undone. Dad disappears and, with him, all comfort. It might be easier, better, sweeter to float all the way away? Or maybe stay a little longer, find her father, bring him back to her. Or maybe–maybe maybe maybe–there’s a third way Biz just can’t see yet.

Debut author Helena Fox tells a story about love and grief, about inter-generational mental illness, and how living with it is both a bridge to someone loved and lost and, also, a chasm. She explores the hard and beautiful places loss can take us, and honors those who hold us tightly when the current wants to tug us out to sea.

Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan (ISBN-13: 9780807541517 Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company Publication date: 05/07/2019)

It’s been a year since the Catalog Killer terrorized the sleepy seaside town of Camera Cove, killing four people before disappearing without a trace. Like everyone else in town, eighteen-year-old Mac Bell is trying to put that horrible summer behind him—easier said than done since Mac’s best friend Connor was the murderer’s final victim. But when he finds a cryptic message from Connor, he’s drawn back into the search for the killer—who might not have been a random drifter after all. Now nobody—friends, neighbors, or even the sexy stranger with his own connection to the case—is beyond suspicion. Sensing that someone is following his every move, Mac struggles to come to terms with his true feelings towards Connor while scrambling to uncover the truth.

Everything Grows by Aimee Herman (ISBN-13: 9781941110683 Publisher: Three Rooms Press Publication date: 05/07/2019)

Fifteen-year-old Eleanor Fromme just chopped off all of her hair. How else should she cope after hearing that her bully, James, just took his own life? When Eleanor’s English teacher suggests students write a letter to a person who would never receive it to get their feelings out, Eleanor chooses James.

With each letter she writes, Eleanor discovers more about herself, even while trying to make sense of his death. And, with the help of a unique cast of characters, Eleanor not only learns what it means to be inside a body that does not quite match what she feels on the inside, but also comes to terms with her own mother’s mental illness.

Set against a 1993-era backdrop of grunge rock and riot grrl bands, EVERYTHING GROWS depicts Eleanor’s extraordinary journey to solve the mystery within her and feel complete. Along the way, she loses and gains friends, rebuilds relationships with her family, and develops a system of support to help figure out the language of her queer identity.

Through author Aimee Herman’s exceptional storytelling, EVERYTHING GROWS reveals the value of finding community or creating it when it falls apart, while exploring the importance of forgiveness, acceptance, and learning how to live on your own terms.

Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley (ISBN-13: 9781624147357 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 05/07/2019)

Nate never imagined that he would be attacked by his best friend.

For sixteen years, Nate was the perfect son—the product of a no-nonsense upbringing and deep spiritual faith. Then he met Cam, who pushed him to break rules, dream, and accept himself. Conflicted, Nate began to push back. With each push, the boys became more entangled in each others’ worlds…but they also spiraled closer to their breaking points. And now all of it has fallen apart after a fistfight-turned-near-fatal-incident—one that’s left Nate with a stab wound and Cam in jail.

Now Nate is being ordered to give a statement, under oath, that will send his best friend to prison. The problem is, the real story of what happened between them isn’t as simple as anyone thinks. With all eyes on him, Nate must make his confessions about what led up to that night with Cam…and in doing so, risk tearing both of their lives apart.

Queer Heroes by Arabelle Sicardi, Sarah Tanat-Jones (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781786034762 Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions Publication date: 05/07/2019)

This beautiful, bold book celebrates the achievements of LGBT people through history and from around the world. It features dynamic full-color portraits of a diverse selection of 52 inspirational role models accompanied by short biographies that focus on their incredible successes, from Freddie Mercury’s contribution to music to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Published to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, this extraordinary book will show children that anything is possible.

Discover the inspiring stories of these LGBT artists, writers, innovators, athletes, and activists who have made great contributions to culture, from ancient times to present day:

Freddie Mercury, Sappho, Audre Lorde, Manvendra Singh Gohil, Frida Kahlo, Emma Gonzalez, James Baldwin, Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander Wang, Subhi Nahas, Tove Jansson, Alan Turing, Michelangelo, Martina Navratilova, Sia, Tim Cook, Pedro Almodovar, Virginia Woolf, Tchaikovsky, Vikram Seth, Yotam Ottolenghi, Johanna Sigurðardóttir, Marsha Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, David Bowie, Kasha Nabagsera, Lili Elbe, Matthew Bourne, Alvin Ailey, Harvey Milk, Willem Arondeus, Nergis Mavalvala, Rufus Wainwright, Marlene Dietrich, Larry Kramer, Didier Lestrade, Nabuko Yoshiya, Bayard Rustin, Claire Harvey, Barbara Jordan, Josephine Baker, k.d. lang, Kristen Stewart, Jazz Jennings, Elio di Rupo, Oscar Wilde, Harish Iyer, Khalid Abdel-Hadi, Lana and Lilly Wachowski, Ellen DeGeneres, and Portia de Rossi.

Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby (ISBN-13: 9781616209063 Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers Publication date: 05/07/2019)

This debut novel—about taking risks and facing danger, about love and art, and about growing up and coming out—will make its way straight into your heart.

Fig, a sixth grader, wants more than anything to see the world as her father does. The once-renowned pianist, who hasn’t composed a song in years and has unpredictable good and bad days, is something of a mystery to Fig. Though she’s a science and math nerd, she tries taking an art class just to be closer to him, to experience life the way an artist does. But then Fig’s dad shows up at school, disoriented and desperately searching for Fig. Not only has the class not brought Fig closer to understanding him, it has brought social services to their door.

Diving into books about Van Gogh to understand the madness of artists, calling on her best friend for advice, and turning to a new neighbor for support, Fig continues to try everything she can think of to understand her father, to save him from himself, and to find space in her life to discover who she is even as the walls are falling down around her.

Nicole Melleby’s Hurricane Season is a stunning novel about a girl struggling to be a kid as pressing adult concerns weigh on her. It’s also about taking risks and facing danger, about love and art, and about coming of age and coming out. And more than anything else, it is a story of the healing power of love—and the limits of that power.

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver (ISBN-13: 9781338306125 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 05/14/2019)

It’s just three words: I am nonbinary. But that’s all it takes to change everything.

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.


The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta (ISBN-13: 9781536200966 Publisher: Candlewick Press Publication date: 05/14/2019)

The spellbinding tale of six queer witches forging their own paths, shrouded in the mist, magic, and secrets of the ancient California redwoods.

Danny didn’t know what she was looking for when she and her mother spread out a map of the United States and Danny put her finger down on Tempest, California. What she finds are the Grays: a group of friends who throw around terms like queer and witch like they’re ordinary and everyday, though they feel like an earthquake to Danny. But Danny didn’t just find the Grays. They cast a spell that calls her halfway across the country, because she has something they need: she can bring back Imogen, the most powerful of the Grays, missing since the summer night she wandered into the woods alone. But before Danny can find Imogen, she finds a dead boy with a redwood branch through his heart. Something is very wrong amid the trees and fog of the Lost Coast, and whatever it is, it can kill. Lush, eerie, and imaginative, Amy Rose Capetta’s tale overflows with the perils and power of discovery — and what it means to find your home, yourself, and your way forward.

We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra (ISBN-13: 9780316524650 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 05/14/2019)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe meets I’ll Give You the Sun in an exhilarating and emotional novel about the growing relationship between two teens boys, told through the letters they write to one another.

Jonathan Hopkirk and Adam “Kurl” Kurlansky are partnered in English class, writing letters to one another in a weekly pen pal assignment. With each letter, the two begin to develop a friendship that eventually grows into love. But with homophobia, bullying, and devastating family secrets, Jonathan and Kurl struggle to overcome their conflicts and hold onto their relationship…and each other.

This rare and special novel celebrates love and life with engaging characters and stunning language, making it perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson, Nina LaCour, and David Levithan.

Trans Mission: My Quest to a Beard by Alex Bertie (ISBN-13: 9780316529037 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 05/14/2019)

A brave first-hand account of online personality Alex Bertie’s life, struggles, and victories as a transgender teen, as well as a groundbreaking guide for transitioning teen.

I guess we should start at the beginning. I was born on November 2nd, 1995. The doctors in the hospital took one look at my genitals and slapped an F on my birth certificate. ‘F’ for female, not fail—though that would actually have been kind of appropriate given present circumstances.

When I was fifteen, I realized I was a transgender man. That makes it sound like I had some kind of lightbulb moment. In reality, coming to grips with my identity has taken a long time.

Over the last six years, I’ve come out to my family and friends, changed my name, battled the healthcare system, started taking male hormones and have had surgery on my chest. My quest to a beard is almost complete. This is my story.

Accessible and emotional, Trans Mission fills a gap in nonfiction about and for transgender teens.

The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets by Gayle E. Pitman (ISBN-13: 9781419737206 Publisher: ABRAMS Publication date: 05/14/2019)

This book is about the Stonewall Riots, a series of spontaneous, often violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBTQ+) community in reaction to a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The Riots are attributed as the spark that ignited the LGBTQ+ movement. The author describes American gay history leading up to the Riots, the Riots themselves, and the aftermath, and includes her interviews of people involved or witnesses, including a woman who was ten at the time. Profusely illustrated, the book includes contemporary photos, newspaper clippings, and other period objects. A timely and necessary read, The Stonewall Riots helps readers to understand the history and legacy of the LGBTQ+ movement. 

Going Off-Script by Jen Wilde (ISBN-13: 9781250311276 Publisher: Feiwel & Friends Publication date: 05/21/2019)

A TV writer’s room intern must join forces with her crush to keep her boss from ruining a lesbian character in this diverse contemporary YA romance from the author of Queens of Geek.

Seventeen-year-old Bex is thrilled when she gets an internship on her favorite tv show, Silver Falls. Unfortunately, the internship isn’t quite what she expected… instead of sitting in a crowded writer’s room volleying ideas back and forth, Production Interns are stuck picking up the coffee.

Determined to prove her worth as a writer, Bex drafts her own script and shares it with the head writer—who promptly reworks it and passes it off as his own! Bex is understandably furious, yet…maybe this is just how the industry works? But when they rewrite her proudly lesbian character as straight, that’s the last straw! It’s time for Bex and her crush to fight back.

Jen Wilde’s newest novel is both a fun, diverse love story and a very relevant, modern take on the portrayal of LGBT characters in media.

Birthday by Meredith Russo (ISBN-13: 9781250129833 Publisher: Flatiron Books Publication date: 05/21/2019)

Two best friends. A shared birthday. Six years…

ERIC: There was the day we were born. There was the minute Morgan and I decided we were best friends for life. The years where we stuck by each other’s side—as Morgan’s mom died, as he moved across town, as I joined the football team, as my parents started fighting. But sometimes I worry that Morgan and I won’t be best friends forever. That there’ll be a day, a minute, a second, where it all falls apart and there’s no turning back the clock.

MORGAN: I know that every birthday should feel like a new beginning, but I’m trapped in this mixed-up body, in this wrong life, in Nowheresville, Tennessee, on repeat. With a dad who cares about his football team more than me, a mom I miss more than anything, and a best friend who can never know my biggest secret. Maybe one day I’ll be ready to become the person I am inside. To become her. To tell the world. To tell Eric. But when?

Six years of birthdays reveal Eric and Morgan’s destiny as they come together, drift apart, fall in love, and discover who they’re meant to be—and if they’re meant to be together. From the award-winning author of If I Was Your Girl, Meredith Russo, comes a heart-wrenching and universal story of identity, first love, and fate.

Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist (ISBN-13: 9780062642813 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 05/21/2019)

When eighteen-year-old Lexi foresees the brutal murder of a young woman outside a club in downtown L.A., she is powerless to stop it.

But then the girl’s ghost appears, seeking vengeance, and Lexi is swept into a dangerous search that could put her directly in the path of a serial killer. From the author of Devils Unto Dust, this fast-paced and literary thriller will haunt fans of Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious and Karen M. McManus’s One of Us Is Lying.  

With a touch, Lexi can sense how and when someone will die. Some say it’s a gift. But to Lexi it’s a curse—one that keeps her friendless and alone. All that changes when Lexi foresees the violent death of a young woman, Jane, outside a club.

Jane doesn’t go to the afterlife quietly. Her ghost remains behind, determined to hunt down her murderer, and she needs Lexi’s help. In life, Jane was everything Lexi is not—outgoing, happy, popular. But in death, all Jane wants is revenge.

Lexi will do anything to help Jane, to make up for the fact that she didn’t—couldn’t—save Jane’s life, and to keep this beautiful ghost of a girl by her side for as long as possible.Emma Berquist’s second novel is a haunting and atmospheric murder mystery that tackles themes of depression, loneliness, love, and identity. This high-concept novel is for fans of Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series.

Hold My Hand by Michael Barakiva (ISBN-13: 9780374304867 Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Publication date: 05/21/2019)

Michael Barakiva’s Hold My Hand is a funny, smart, relatable take on the joy and challenges of teenage love, the boundaries of forgiveness, and what it really means to be honest.

Alek Khederian thinks about his life B.E. and A.E.: Before Ethan and After Ethan. Before Ethan, Alek was just an average Armenian-American kid with a mess of curly dark hair, grades not nearly good enough for his parents, and no idea of who he was or what he wanted. After he got together with Ethan, Alek was a new man. Stylish. Confident. (And even if he wasn’t quite marching in LGBTQ parades), Gay and Out and Proud.

With their six-month anniversary coming up, Alek and Ethan want to do something special to celebrate. Like, really special. Like, the most special thing two people in love can do with one another. But Alek’s not sure he’s ready for that. And then he learns something about Ethan that may not just change their relationship, but end it.

Alek can’t bear the thought of finding out who he’d be P.E.: Post-Ethan. But he also can’t forgive or forget what Ethan did. Luckily, his best friend Becky and madcap Armenain family are there to help him figure out whether it’s time to just let Ethan go, or reach out and hold his hand.

Zenobia July by Lisa Bunker (ISBN-13: 9780451479402 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/21/2019)

The critically acclaimed author of Felix Yz crafts a bold, heartfelt story about a trans girl solving a cyber mystery and coming into her own.

Zenobia July is starting a new life. She used to live in Arizona with her father; now she’s in Maine with her aunts. She used to spend most of her time behind a computer screen, improving her impressive coding and hacking skills; now she’s coming out of her shell and discovering a community of friends at Monarch Middle School. People used to tell her she was a boy; now she’s able to live openly as the girl she always knew she was.

When someone anonymously posts hateful memes on her school’s website, Zenobia knows she’s the one with the abilities to solve the mystery, all while wrestling with the challenges of a new school, a new family, and coming to grips with presenting her true gender for the first time. Timely and touching, Zenobia July is, at its heart, a story about finding home.

Brave Face by Shaun David Hutchinson (ISBN-13: 9781534431515 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 05/21/2019)

Critically acclaimed author of We Are the Ants—described as having “hints of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five (School Library Journal)—opens up about what led to an attempted suicide in his teens, and his path back from the experience.

“I wasn’t depressed because I was gay. I was depressed and gay.”

Shaun David Hutchinson was nineteen. Confused. Struggling to find the vocabulary to understand and accept who he was and how he fit into a community in which he couldn’t see himself. The voice of depression told him that he would never be loved or wanted, while powerful and hurtful messages from society told him that being gay meant love and happiness weren’t for him.

A million moments large and small over the years all came together to convince Shaun that he couldn’t keep going, that he had no future. And so he followed through on trying to make that a reality.

Thankfully Shaun survived, and over time, came to embrace how grateful he is and how to find self-acceptance. In this courageous and deeply honest memoir, Shaun takes readers through the journey of what brought him to the edge, and what has helped him truly believe that it does get better.

The Pursuit of Miss Heartbreak Hotel by Moe Bonneau (ISBN-13: 9781250170934 Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) Publication date: 05/21/2019)

Intimate and raw, The Pursuit of Miss Heartbreak Hotel is a story about friends, family, old habits you can’t quite shake, and first love you never see coming. Bursting with undeniable swagger and neo-beat slang, Moe Bonneau’s stunning debut novel has a language and rhythm all its own.

Ours is an age-old tale of two betties, apple-Jacks forever, when suddenly one goes ace gorgeous and then, naturally, massive popular. Said popular betty ditches other unsaid, unpopular betty for superhit cool crowd. Girls don’t speak again for four years, until a chance meeting reunites them . . .

What do you do when Ms. Ancient History comes waltzing back into your life? If you’re Lu Butler, dodging sweet but clueless boys while secretly crushing hard on girls, you fall.

Amelia Westlake Was Never Here by Erin Gough (ISBN-13: 9780316450669 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 05/21/2019)

A fiercely funny, queer romantic comedy about two girls who can’t stand each other, but join forces in a grand feminist plan to expose harassment and inequality at their elite private school.

Harriet Price is the perfect student: smart, dutiful, over-achieving. Will Everhart is a troublemaker who’s never met an injustice she didn’t fight. When their swim coach’s inappropriate behavior is swept under the rug, the unlikely duo reluctantly team up to expose his misdeeds, pulling provocative pranks and creating the instantly legendary Amelia Westlake—an imaginary student who helps right the many wrongs of their privileged institution. But as tensions burn throughout their school—who is Amelia Westlake?—and between Harriet and Will, how long can they keep their secret? How far will they go to make a difference? And when will they realize they’re falling for each other?

Award-winning author Erin Gough’s Amelia Westlake Was Never Here is a funny, smart, and all-too-timely story of girls fighting back against power and privilege—and finding love while they’re at it.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling (ISBN-13: 9780451480323 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/28/2019)

Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans. 

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day. 

Isabel Sterling’s delightful, suspenseful debut is equal parts sweet romance and thrilling mystery. With everything she loves on the line, Hannah must confront this murderous villain before her coven–and any chance she has with the new girl–is destroyed.

The Wise and the Wicked by Rebecca Podos (ISBN-13: 9780062699022 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 05/28/2019)

Rebecca Podos, Lambda Literary Award–winning author of Like Water, returns with a lush, dark, and unforgettable story of the power of the past to shape our futures—and the courage it takes to change them.

Ruby Chernyavsky has been told the stories since she was a child: The women in her family, once possessed of great magical abilities to remake lives and stave off death itself, were forced to flee their Russian home for America in order to escape the fearful men who sought to destroy them.

Such has it always been, Ruby’s been told, for powerful women.

Today, these stories seem no more real to Ruby than folktales, except for the smallest bit of power left in their blood: when each of them comes of age, she will have a vision of who she will be when she dies—a destiny as inescapable as it is inevitable.

Ruby is no exception, and neither is her mother, although she ran from her fate years ago, abandoning Ruby and her sisters. It’s a fool’s errand, because they all know the truth: there is no escaping one’s Time.

Until Ruby’s great-aunt Polina passes away, and, for the first time, a Chernyavsky’s death does not match her vision. Suddenly, things Ruby never thought she’d be allowed to hope for—life, love, time—seem possible.

But as she and her cousin Cece begin to dig into the family’s history to find out whether they, too, can change their fates, they learn that nothing comes without a cost. Especially not hope.

Switchback by Danika Stone (ISBN-13: 9781250221650 Publisher: Feiwel & Friends Publication date: 05/28/2019)

An epic YA adventure story about two friends lost in the Canadian wilderness from Danika Stone, the author of All the Feels.

Vale loves to hike, but kind of hates her classmates. Ash is okay with his classmates, but kind of hates the outdoors. So, needless to say they are both fairly certain that the overnight nature hike with their PE class is going to be a hellish experience. But when they get separated from the group during a storm, they have worse things to worry about than bullies and blisters.

Lost in the Canadian wilderness with limited supplies, caught in dangerous weather conditions, and surrounded by deadly wildlife, it’s going to take every bit of strength, skill, and luck they can muster to survive.


Digital Media: Using Apps to Take Your Photos Out of This World

This year many public libraries are participating in a summer reading program that is out of this world – literally – with the Universe of Stories theme. I happen to really love 2 things: mixing photos with photo apps and a tween who wants to be an astronaut, so I am here for your space programming needs. Today I am going to share with you how you can set up a simple photo booth station and help tweens and teens create out of this world photos with just a few simple apps.

Step 1: Set Up Your Photo Booth

You can create a photo booth anywhere in the library with just a bit of space. If you have one, you can set up an actual photo booth with a screen. If not, you can use a blank space of wall or a tri-fold presentation board setting on a table. A white background works well, but any solid color background will work. What you want is a contrast because we are going to extract some of the images. You can also use a green screen and I am here to tell you that you can use a bright green tri-fold presentation board as a green screen to do things like head shots.

There is a previous post here where I talk about some simple green screen photo tricks.

You can set up your photo booth as part of a program or if you have a makerspace set it up as part of your makerspace. You’ll also need access to an tablet or smart phone with some preloaded photo apps to mix your photos.

If you want, get creative and make photo booth props as well, though they aren’t necessary.

Step 2: Mixing Your Photos

After you have taken your photo, you’re going to use your device to mix your photos with backgrounds, filters, stickers and more. Here are are a few of my favorite apps, tips and tricks.

PhotoShop Express (PS Express)

This is a good starting app to do things like apply basic filters or turn your photo into a black and white photo. Sometimes, black and white makes for a good silhoutte that you blend with a background (more on this in a minute). PS Express also allows you to do things like enhance colors, fix lighting, etc. You can download this app for free and use a lot of the features, though there is a cost to unlock additional features.

The PS Express app also has a Beta feature that allows you to add bokeh lighting and . . . the cosmos. This is a picture of The Teen leaning over a bridge staring at a lake but thanks to the PS Express app it looks like she is looking into the Aurora Borealis. This is the only photo that I created using only 1 app.

Mextures

The Mextures app allows you to mix some simple lighting and effects with a picture. I use this app to add radiance which creates the purple hue that works well for galaxy photos. The radiance feature I use is called Bonfire. The Mextures app has an initial cost of $1.99 and there are additional in store purchases you can make (I only have the initial purchase).

The photo below was created by turning a photo into black and white and then adding the bonfire radiance feature to give it the purple and blue highlights.

SuperImpose X

I have long enjoyed blending two photos together but had a hard time finding an app that did this well and was easy to use. A lot of them require you to “cut out” the part you want using a lasso feature that requires a precision I could never master. Before finding SuperImpose X, I had to use two apps to do this but SuperImpose X is so easy to use that I only use the one! This makes me happy. This app costs 4.99 but it is totally worth it.

SuperImpose X works in layers, which means that you have to layer your pictures. You always want to start with the first layer being your background picture. To make a galaxy photo, you can find copyright free background images to use as your background layer.

Your second layer is going to be your layer that has your photo of your person. You use the mask feature to cut out your person. SuperImpose X has an Auto Mask Person feature that makes everything better. Occasionally I have to fill in a few details, but for the most part it works like a charm.

After you have used the mask feature to cut out your person, you can then use the blend feature to blend your two layers together. There are a variety of options and you can mix and match until you find the balance that you like best.

Candy Camera

Candy Camera is an app I like for the stickers feature and only the stickers feature. I’ve used it many years now to make my family Christmas cards and have made some fun space themed photos featuring Thing 2 using some space stickers. (Yes, as a matter of fact, we do just happen to have an astronaut space suit laying around the house, why do you ask? LOL) This app can be downloaded for free and additional sticker packs have an additional charge.

Using a variety of apps, I was able to take pictures that each had actually 3 people in them (and I’m not showing you the original photo because I don’t have the other teens permissions to share them online) and turn them into these final photos. Beginning image after two other teens were cropped out:

Final image:

Beginning image after 2 other teens were cropped out:


Final image after mixing:

Word Swag

The final app I want to share with you today allows you to add text to a picture with a variety of fun fonts. It’s by no means the only app that does this, but I find it to be the quickest, the easiest, and to have the funnest fonts. You can literally roll the dice – there is a die icon on the bottom right of your screen – and it will show you a variety of layouts and options. This app can be downloaded for free and there are additional in app purchases that you can make, though I use the free version.

I used Word Swag to turn one of the above pictures into this great image:

After you make these images, you can do things like share them on social media, print them, or print them and then decoupage them onto a canvas if you want to take your program to the next level. I have both a Selphy and Instax Mini printer and find printing with them to be a ton of fun. If you’re going to do canvas decoupage, follow these steps.

This is a pretty easy and fun program and it gets tweens and teens thinking creatively while learning some basics of digital media. My home is full if pictures just like you see above decorating my walls.

Friday Finds: May 24, 2019

This Week at TLT

Book Review: Brave Face: A Memoir by Shaun David Hutchinson

Book Review: Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan

Cindy Crushes Programming: Find a Good Book with Miss Cindy

Writing Myself a New Story, a guest post by Jasmine Warga

Teen Services 101: Serving Teens, Challenges and Rewards

Around the Web

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Sarah Jessica Parker throws shade at de Blasio’s proposed library cut