Teen Librarian Toolbox
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Call for submissions: YA A to Z project

yaatozEvery year, TLT picks a project to work on in addition to our usual book reviews, professional discussions and makerspace and program recaps. Once we decide on our project, we ask you, are brilliant Teen Librarian Toolbox readers, to help us out. These projects began in 2014 with the Sexual Violence in Young Adult Literature Project. We have since then covered faith and spirituality, mental health, poverty, and social justice. You can find all the previous projects here at our projects index.

 

For 2018, we want to create an index of YA literature! YA A to Z will begin in January, which is coming up REALLY QUICKLY, so we need to get cracking on getting some guest posts lined up. 

 

There are 52 weeks in a year, that means every 2 weeks we will cover a new letter. For example, the first 2 weeks of January we will cover the letter A. The next 2 weeks we will cover the letter B. What will that look like? It can look however you want it to look.

 

You can guest post for us about book titles, authors and topics. You can make a book list or you can have an in depth discussion. You can talk programming. You can do an interview. You can be funny or you can be serious. You can be creative. In fact, if you have ever thought I have always wanted to talk about x, y or z but couldn’t figure out a forum for that, THIS is your forum for that.

 

Here is a Google Form that you can fill out to let us know what you would like to talk about here. We try to make guest posting as simple as possible here at TLT, but here is a simple guide if you have any questions.

At the end of 2018, we will have an A to Z guide of YA lit and it will be awesome! Please keep in mind that all previous projects will continue so if you want to write about sexual violence, faith and spirituality, mental health, social justice or poverty, those projects are ongoing.

Schedule: 

  • January – Letters A & B
  • February – Letters C & D
  • March – Letters E & F
  • April – Letters G, H & I
  • May – Letters J & K
  • June – Letters L & M
  • July – Letters N & O
  • August – Letters P & Q
  • September – Letters R & S
  • October – Letters T & U
  • November – Letters V & W
  • December – Letters X, Y & Z

 

Possible post ideas to jump-start your thoughts: 

A: Asexuality, abortion, abuse, anxiety

B: Barriers, bands, book clubs, biographies

C: Cover art, consent, class, courage

D: Disability, diversity, discovery, dance, displays, demisexuals

E: Erasure, exceptions, empowerment

F: Formats, favorites, fat, faith, families

G: Gender, grief, genderqueer, graphic novels

H: Hair, historical fiction, hate, horror

I: Identities, immigration, international YA, inclusion

J: Jobs, justice, jail, jealousy

K: Kindness, kissing books

L: LGBTQIA+, lesbians, lessons, labels

M: Mental health, music, Muslims, movies

N: New books, narration, neutral, normal, nonfiction, nonbinary

O: Orphans, optimism, opinion, organize, out

P: Programs, politics, parents, passages, pet peeves, periods, patriarchy

Q: Queer, questions, qualifications, quiet, quotes

R: Racism, rape, relationships

S: Sex, sexuality, social justice, suicide

T: Technology, teen issues, therapy, transgender, top ten lists

U: Unity, underground, unlikable characters

V: Value, victims, violence

W: Websites, weight, writing, writers

X: Xenophobia

Y: YA wishlist, YA of yore, You need to know about _____

Z: Zombies

YA A to Z: Sara Zarr

Photo credit: Jeffrey Overstreet

Why I chose Sara Zarr:

I’m a character-driven reader, and Sara Zarr excels in creating interesting characters who lead rich inner lives. Her characters aren’t always likable (and who cares about that anyway?), but they’re always well-drawn, realistic, and flawed. I often finish a novel by Zarr and think how so many pieces of the story were quietly beautiful, a description that may be meaningless if you haven’t read Zarr’s books, but hopefully will resonate for those who have. While I have greatly enjoyed all of her books, it’s How to Save a Life that stands out to me. Zarr tells the story of two teenage girls—Jill, whose mother is going to adopt a baby in the wake of Jill’s father’s death, and Mandy, the pregnant teen whose baby Jill’s mother plans to adopt. Told in alternating chapters, the girls reveal themselves to be angry, confused, hopeful, and vulnerable as they both navigate an uncertain time in their lives. It was this powerful and heart-wrenching book that ensured I would be reading anything else Zarr would write.

 

Brief biography (from her website):

Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of five novels for young adults, most recently The Lucy Variations, which the New York Times called “an elegant novel.” Her sixth, a collaborative novel with Tara Altebrando, came out December 2013. She’s a National Book Award finalist and two-time Utah Book Award winner. Her books have been variously named to annual best books lists of the American Library Association, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, the Guardian, the International Reading Association, the New York Public Library and Los Angeles Public Library, and have been translated into many languages. In 2010, she served as a judge for the National Book Award. She has written essays and creative nonfiction for ImageHunger Mountain online, and Response as well as for several anthologies, and has been a regular contributor to Image‘s daily Good Letters blog on faith, life, and culture. As of summer 2013, she’s a member of the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Sara also hosts the This Creative Life podcast. She is the current Salt Lake City Literary Death Match Champion. Born in Cleveland and raised in San Francisco, she currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband,

 

Works:

Story of a Girl (2007)

Sweethearts (2008)

Once Was Lost (2009) (Republished as What We Lost in 2013)

How to Save a Life (2011)

The Lucy Variations (2013)

Roomies co-written with Tara Altebrando (2013)

 

Find Sara Zarr online:

Website

Twitter

Facebook 

 

If you like Sara Zarr check out these authors:

Donna Freitas, Jo Knowles, Leila Sales, Siobhan Vivian, Kate Bassett, Sara Ockler

 

Today’s the last day to join the conversation!  Share a post about your favorite author OR tweet us your favorite author with the tag #YAAtoZ. While we’re sharing our favorite authors, we would love to hear about yours. We all might find some new authors we haven’t heard of before. And the more authors we share, the more comprehensive and diverse the list becomes. On Twitter, we’re @TLT16 and I’m @CiteSomething

YA A to Z: Stephanie Perkins

Guest post by Mary Hinson

“I know you aren’t perfect. But it’s a person’s imperfections that make them perfect for someone else.” – Lola and the Boy Next Door

I’m visiting Teen Librarian Toolbox today (oh, my gosh, I just realized I’m an ACTUAL teen librarian now!) to talk to you about Stephanie Perkins, writer of swoony romance and all around awesome person.

I discovered Stephanie in 2012. I was in college and having a rough time outside of the classroom, which affected my performance in the classroom. I had been diagnosed with severe depression, and my only solace some days was the joy I got in visiting the local library (not the university library, which I actively avoided). Everyone on Goodreads had been talking about this Anna and the French Kiss book so I made sure to go find it at the library.

French Kiss tells the story of high school senior Anna who is shipped across the Atlantic and dropped into a super-exclusive boarding school for the children of various VIPs: politicians, the rich and famous, and, in Anna’s case, her best-selling Nicholas Sparks-esque author father. Anna’s story is sweet, fun, and utterly relatable, being at times simultaneously heart-breaking and heart-warming. Anna’s intense loneliness was a feeling I could understand entirely at that point in my life, and the hope I felt as Anna made friends and inched her way toward an adorable romance with Etienne St. Clair–a boy with a spectacular national identity crisis–made me hope for a happy ending of my own. As a tall girl, I like tall boys, but in vertically-challenged St. Clair’s case, I would absolutely make an exception because he is a charmer! Stephanie manages to incorporate so many facets of the teenage experience in her delightful debut: crushes, new friends vs old friends, mean girls, Parent Problems, and the changes created by both distance and time. There’s a lot going on, but it feels so true to the story that you never feel overwhelmed in reading Anna; instead, I guarantee there will be at least one thing that you will directly relate to.

“I don’t understand why things always go from perfect to weird with us. It’s like we’re incapable of normal human interaction.” – Anna and the French Kiss

Immediately after I finished Anna, I requested a copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door. This companion tale (yes, it’s not a direct sequel, although Anna and St. Clair make an appearance or two!) recounts the adventures of Lola, a vivacious San Francisco girl with a passion for costuming and some serious drama with Cricket, the boy next door who moved away but comes back. Even though I enjoyed Boy Next Door, I had a harder time relating to Lola and her world during my initial read. I’ve never been a teenage girl caught between my twenty-something-year-old boyfriend and my childhood crush. I’m not all that quirky or whimsical. However, when I listened to Lola on audio earlier this year, I suddenly LOVED the story. Somehow I had missed out on its beauty the first time around.

But let’s go back to 2012. I loved Anna, and I liked Lola so when I heard there was a third book in the works, I was READY. Stephanie kept teasing about this mystery book three, but there was very little information. Finally, in 2013, this blog post popped up on Stephanie’s website. My heart broke for Stephanie as she recounted her struggles with depression, but I also felt a sense of camaraderie with Stephanie because of my own depression. I really just wanted to give her a hug and say, “it’s okay!” because I had been there. Some days, I’m still there. But Stephanie’s books and her brave admission of her struggles really helped me through that time.

“Do adults realize how lucky they are? Or do they forget that these small moments are actually small miracles? I don’t want to ever forget.” – Isla and the Happily Ever After

I am really glad that in 2014 not only did we get TWO Stephanie Perkins novels–the long-awaited Isla and the Happily Ever After and My True Love Gave to Me, a lovely anthology full of holiday short stories written by ya heavyweights and edited by Stephanie–but I have also had the immense pleasure of meeting her three times. I can tell you that Stephanie is one of the kindest and sweetest people I have ever met, author or no. Also, to hear her talk about her husband Jarrod–on whom St. Clair, Cricket, and Josh are all modeled in one way or another–is the most darling experience. Save Will and Kate, I don’t know of another real couple that I ship so hard…unless it’s Stephanie and Kiersten, the bestest author besties of all time.

I just want to end by saying if you have not yet read Stephanie’s books, I highly recommend you do so, even if contemporary romance isn’t your favorite genre. Trust me; these books will make you ridiculously happy. Also, what’s next on Stephanie’s plate? A YA slasher. Because why not?

Meet Our Guest Blogger: Mary Hinson

Mary is a ya book blogger at Mary Had a Little Book Blog and a new teen services librarian at the Irving Public Library. When not reading or fighting Dallas traffic, Mary can be found at Half Price Books, usually with Karen and her kids (who adore her).

YA A to Z: David Levithan

 Why I chose David Levithan:

In fall  of 2003, I had just finished graduate school and was working at The Children’s Book Shop in Brookline, Massachusetts (far and away my favorite job ever). I was a big fan of LGBTQ YA books, just as I am now, so whenever a new title would come in, I’d snap it up. I read Boy Meets Boy, then (probably) proceeded to make my coworkers crazy as I read passages out loud to them. I adored this book that was set in an extremely gay-friendly town. The protagonist, Paul, doesnʼt have to come to terms with being gay; he just is. He says, “Iʼve always known I was gay, but it wasnʼt confirmed until I was in kindergarten. It was my teacher who said so. It was right there on my kindergarten report card: PAUL IS DEFINITELY GAY AND HAS A VERY GOOD SENSE OF SELF.” Paul is neither lonely nor alone. Multiple love interests make Paulʼs life more complex, not to mention the colorful friends in his life (like Infinite Darlene—once Daryl—the star quarterback and schoolʼs most popular drag queen). I’ve read everything Levithan has written, but Boy Meets Boy remains my absolute favorite of his books.

 

Brief biography (from Levithan’s website):

I find it downright baffling to write about myself, which is why I’m considering it somewhat cruel and usual to have to write this brief bio and to update it now and then. The factual approach (born ’72, Brown ’94, first book ’03) seems a bit dry, while the emotional landscape (happy childhood, happy adolescence – give or take a few poems – and happy adulthood so far) sounds horribly well-adjusted. The only addiction I’ve ever had was a brief spiral into the arms of diet Dr Pepper, unless you count My So-Called Life episodes as a drug. I am evangelical in my musical beliefs.

When not writing during spare hours on weekends, I am a publisher and editorial director at Scholastic, and the founding editor of the PUSH imprint, which is devoted to finding new voices and new authors in teen literature

 

Works (from Wikipedia):

Boy Meets Boy (2003)

The Realm of Possibility (2004)

Are We There Yet? (2005)

Marly’s Ghost: A Remix of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, illustrated by Brian Selznick (2005)

Wide Awake (2006)

How They Met (2008)

Love Is the Higher Law (2009)

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, co-written with John Green (2010)

The Lover’s Dictionary (2011)

Every You, Every Me (2011)

Every Day (2012)

Invisibility, co-written with Andrea Cremer (2013)

Two Boys Kissing (2013)

Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story (scheduled for release in March 2015)

With Rachel Cohn

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2006)

Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List (2007)

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (2010)

With David Ozanich and Chris Van Etten

Likely Story (2008)

All That Glitters (2008)

Red Carpet Riot (2009)

Plus various anthologies edited and short pieces (see Wikipedia page)

 

Find David Levithan online:

Facebook

Twitter

Website

 

If you like David Levithan, check out these authors:

Nina LaCour, Rachel Cohn, Alex Sanchez, Brent Hartinger, Ellen Wittlinger

 

Join the conversation!  Share a post about your favorite author OR tweet us your favorite author with the tag #YAAtoZ. While we’re sharing our favorite authors, we would love to hear about yours. We all might find some new authors we haven’t heard of before. And the more authors we share, the more comprehensive and diverse the list becomes. On Twitter, we’re @TLT16 and I’m@CiteSomething

#YAAtoZ Schedule: Week 1 4: A ; 5: B ; 6: C ; 7: D  Week 2 10: E ; 11: F ; 12: G, H, I ; 13: J, K ; 14: L  Week 3 17: M ; 18: N, O ; 19: P, Q ; 20: R, S ; 21: T  Week 4 24: U ; 25: V, W ; 26: X ; 27: Y ; 28: Z

 

YA A to Z: E. Lockhart

Why I chose E. Lockhart:

I’m drawn to every single element of Lockhart’s books. I love her writing style, the narrative voices, the clever banter, and the way she can take totally ordinary plots (like just following a teenage girl—Ruby Oliver—through her high school travails) and make them memorable.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and the Ruby Oliver Quartet are my favorite (so I’m saying that more than half of the YA books she’s written fall under the category of “my favorite”? Yes, yes I am). Frankie is hard at work being a manipulative feminist prankster. Ruby is anxiously flailing her way through all of her relationships. And I’m riveted by both of these characters. Her characters are not perfect. They’re awkward and weird and I love them for that. These books look at what it means to be a teenage girl and the challenges and relationships that come with this time.

 

Brief biography (taken from the FAQ on her website; see the FAQ for more details, as well as her bio page for 21 facts about her):
Lockhart was born in New York City in 1967. She grew up in Cambridge, MA and Seattle, WA. She went to college at Vassar and grad school at Columbia. She has a doctorate in English literature with a focus on 19th century British novel and the history of British book illustration. She lives in the New York City area. She’s a full-time writer and teaches in a low-residency MFA program in Writing for Children at Hamline University.

 

YA books:

The Boyfriend List (2005)
Fly on the Wall (2006)
The Boy Book (2006)
Dramarama (2007)
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (2008)
How To Be Bad with Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski (2008)
The Treasure Map of Boys (2009)
Real Live Boyfriends (2010)
We Were Liars (2014)

Many children’s books and two adult books, written under the name Emily Jenkins.

 

Find E. Lockhart online:

@elockhart

Website

Tumblr

Pinterest

Blog

Website (as Emily Jenkins)

 

If you like E. Lockhart, check out these authors:

Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, Gayle Forman, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Oliver, A.S. King, Stephanie Perkins, Corey Ann Haydu, Sarah Ockler, Morgan Matson

 

Join the conversation!  Share a post about your favorite author OR tweet us your favorite author with the tag #YAAtoZ. While we’re sharing our favorite authors, we would love to hear about yours. We all might find some new authors we haven’t heard of before. And the more authors we share, the more comprehensive and diverse the list becomes. On Twitter, we’re @TLT16 and I’m@CiteSomething

#YAAtoZ Schedule: Week 1 4: A ; 5: B ; 6: C ; 7: D  Week 2 10: E ; 11: F ; 12: G, H, I ; 13: J, K ; 14: L  Week 3 17: M ; 18: N, O ; 19: P, Q ; 20: R, S ; 21: T  Week 4 24: U ; 25: V, W ; 26: X ; 27: Y ; 28: Z

YA A to Z: Kristin Cashore

Photo credit: Laura Evans

Why I chose Kristin Cashore:
Full disclosure: Kristin is one of my best friends. We met at Simmons in 2001. My love for her books, though, is separate from my love for her. Kristin writes fiercely strong female characters that exist in magnificently detailed, complicated, and perilous fantasy worlds. Kristin’s characters buck convention, choosing their own path and making their own choices. What makes her characters special is also what makes them dangerous to others and in danger themselves. They are skilled, intelligent, and flawed. They are strong and broken and uncertain and real. They are gifted and burdened. Kristin deftly addresses subjects like rape, abuse, sexuality, gender expectations, contraception, disability, and more. The feminist messages, the subversions, and the challenges take place in books full of scheming, mystery, suspense, intrigue, and romance. Her work is thoughtful and complicated, and I can’t wait to see what she writes next (see below).

 

Brief (abridged) biography (from Cashore’s website):
So, here’s the short tale of me: I grew up in the countryside of northeastern Pennsylvania in a village with cows and barns and beautiful views from the top of the hill and all that good stuff. I lived in a rickety old house with my parents, three sisters, and a scattering of cats, and I READ READ READ READ READ. I read while brushing my teeth, I read while chopping parsley, the first thing I reached for when I woke up in the morning was my book; the only two places I didn’t read were in the car and in bed. What did I do then? The one thing I liked even more than reading: I daydreamed.

And so, without knowing it, I was planting the seeds. Reading and daydreaming = perfect preparation for writing.

At 18 I went off to Williams College and it almost killed me. College is hard, man, and the Berkshires are cloudy. A (phenomenal) year studying abroad in sunny Sydney revived me. After college I developed a compulsive moving problem: New York City, Boston, Cambridge, Austin, Pennsylvania, Italy, and even a short stint in London.

During my stint in Boston, I got an M.A. at the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College. Grad school almost killed me, but I felt a lot more alive than when I was almost being killed in college. The Simmons program is stupendous. It got me thinking and breathing YA books. It got me writing.

Since Simmons, I haven’t stopped writing, not once. I’ve developed a compulsive writing problem that makes my moving problem look like a charming personality quirk. I can’t stop! It’s a dream job, which is another way of saying that when I shop for work clothes, I go straight to the pajamas section.

 

Works:
Graceling (2008)
Fire (2009)
Bitterblue (2012)
Kristin has two books in revisions, one of which is realistic YA and one of which is “experimental,” and is writing a third.

 

Find Kristin Cashore online:
This is My Secret (website and blog)
@kristincashore 

 

If you like Kristin Cashore, check out these authors:
Rae Carson, Megan Whalen Turner, Robin LeFevers, Melina Marchetta, Garth Nix, Leigh Bardugo, Robin McKinley, Tamora Pierce

 

Join the conversation!  Share a post about your favorite author OR tweet us your favorite author with the tag #YAAtoZ. While we’re sharing our favorite authors, we would love to hear about yours. We all might find some new authors we haven’t heard of before. And the more authors we share, the more comprehensive and diverse the list becomes. On Twitter, we’re @TLT16 and I’m @CiteSomething

#YAAtoZ Schedule: Week 1 4: A ; 5: B ; 6: C ; 7: D  Week 2 10: E ; 11: F ; 12: G, H, I ; 13: J, K ; 14: L  Week 3 17: M ; 18: N, O ; 19: P, Q ; 20: R, S ; 21: T  Week 4 24: U ; 25: V, W ; 26: X ; 27: Y ; 28: Z

 

YA A to Z: Laurie Halse Anderson

Why I chose Laurie Halse Anderson:
There are certain authors whose works are an immediate must-read for me, regardless of what they’re about. I don’t need to know what a new Laurie Halse Anderson book is about—I already know I’ll read it. Anderson’s powerful and memorable books never fail to affect me. I’ve read Speak, a book about rape, repeatedly, most recently for the discussion I held with my teen book club about sexual violence in young adult lit. Wintergirls, about eating disorders, and The Impossible Knife of Memory, about PTSD, join Speak as my favorite of her novels because of their honest and brave approaches to serious topics. I consider Anderson one of the pillars of modern young adult fiction.

Brief biography (from Anderson’s website):
Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous national and state awards, as well as international recognition. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Laurie was honored with the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award given by YALSA division of the American Library Association for her “significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature…”. Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Northern New York, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes.

Young Adult novels (from Wikipedia):
Speak (1999)
Fever, 1793 (2000)
Catalyst (2002)
Prom (2005)
Twisted (2007)
Chains (2008)
Wintergirls (2009)
Forge (2010)
The Impossible Knife of Memory (2014)
Ashes (forthcoming)

(click here to see children’s books)

Find Laurie Halse Anderson online:
Website
Twitter
Facebook

If you like Laurie Halse Anderson, check out these authors:
Patricia McCormick, Courtney Summers, Jay Asher, Brandy Colbert, Ellen Hopkins, E. Lockhart, Amy Efaw

 

Join the conversation!  Share a post about your favorite author OR tweet us your favorite author with the tag #YAAtoZ. While we’re sharing our favorite authors, we would love to hear about yours. We all might find some new authors we haven’t heard of before. And the more authors we share, the more comprehensive and diverse the list becomes. On Twitter, we’re @TLT16 and I’m @CiteSomething

#YAAtoZ Schedule: Week 1 4: A ; 5: B ; 6: C ; 7: D  Week 2 10: E ; 11: F ; 12: G, H, I ; 13: J, K ; 14: L  Week 3 17: M ; 18: N, O ; 19: P, Q ; 20: R, S ; 21: T  Week 4 24: U ; 25: V, W ; 26: X ; 27: Y ; 28: Z