Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Friday Finds: June 26, 2020

This Week at TLT

Book Review: I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

RevolTeens: Being the Change and Leading the Way by Christine Lively

Three YA Titles That Talk About Black Lives Matters and Protests

Book Review: My Eyes Are Up Here by Laura Zimmermann

So I Guess Now I’m Someone Who Talks About Boobs, a guest post by Laura Zimmermann

Riley’s Post It Note Reviews: A Wicked Magic, Goddess in the Machine and Havenfall

Around the Web

Summer reading lists for young people at a time of crisis

Film Adaptation Of Timely YA Novel ‘I’m Not Dying With You Tonight’ In The Works From Prominent Productions & ‘Jumanji’ Producer

Why There’s A Push To Get Police Out Of Schools

The Numbers Are In: 2019 CCBC Diversity Statistics

Friday Finds: June 19, 2020

This Week at TLT

New Books Alert: Stories of prejudice, politics, family secrets, and more.

What if paying library staff and teachers to read IS part of the anti-racist work we could, and should, be doing?

The Messy, Complicated In-Between, a guest post by Katie Cotugno

Book Review: The Last Last Day of Summer by Lamar Giles

Black Lives Matter, Trans Lives Matter and Librarians Must Do Better

Around the Web

A Teenage Wonder Woman Navigates Life as a Refugee in New Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson

Back To School For Real? Texas Officials Say Yes

The Supreme Court Blocked the Trump Administration From Rescinding DACA

Friday Finds: June 5, 2020

This Week at TLT

Because Black Lives Matter, a Collection of Resources

Book Review: You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Paper Projects: A Folding Book

Because Black Lives Matter, Read Black Authors

On Death, Dying, and Faith in YA Fiction, a guest post by Tara K. Ross

Because Black Lives Matter, a Collection of Anti-Racist Reading Lists

Around the Web

Black in Kidlit Thursday.

KidLit Rally 4 Black Lives: Anti-Racist Resources for Children, Families, and Educators

You can order today from these black-owned independent bookstores.

Books for Black Children

Where Are Our Black Boys on Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel Covers?

Black Joy Booklist for Children and Young Adults

Must read LGBTQIAP+ YA books written by Black authors

Paper Projects: A Folding Book

If you, like me, have very few craft items on hand, you can still make a homemade book. The book I’m going to show you today is made with just a few simple items. You will need paper, some kind of ribbon or string, an empty pasteboard box (cereal box type), glue, and scissors. In lieu of scissors I’m using my paper cutter, but scissors will work just as well.

The first thing you need to do is cut your paper so it is square. A simple 8.5″ X 8.5″ will do. Next you’re going to cut your box so you have two 4.25″ X 4.25″ squares. These will be your book cover.

Next, we’re on to folding the paper. Start by bringing one corner of your firs sheet of paper to the opposite corner and folding it into a triangle.

Next, you’ll want to unfold your paper so the crease is facing up.

Then you’ll want to fold your paper in half one way, unfold it and refold it in half the other way. This will create a paper with 4 equal squares, two of them having a crease down the middle.

Now comes the trickiest part. You’re going to bring together the two points that have diagonal creases in them (seen above.) This should form a folded square of paper that is 4.25″ X 4.25″. If you’ve done origami before, you should be familiar with this folding technique. When you’re finished, it should look like this:

Repeat this folding technique with each square piece of paper you have until they are all folded. Once you have them all folded, you are going to glue them together , placing ne on top of another, with their openings all facing the same direction.

Next you’ll cut a piece of ribbon long enough to wrap around the outside of your stack diagonally and have room left to tie it into a bow. You’ll want to glue this ribbon to the outside of your stack, folding the end around the corner with no openings.

Then you can glue on your pasteboard squares to make your cover, and you’re done!

Now you have a book whose pages fold out one at a time that you can decorate or use to keep your biggest secrets.

Happy writing!

Friday Finds: May 29, 2020

This Week at TLT

Book Review: Where We Go From Here by Lucas Rocha

RevolTeens: A Letter of Apology to the Class of 2020, by Christine Lively

Tween and Teen Programming Ideas: Online Scattegories is the Word Game You Need

Post-It Reviews: Nonfiction about protests, refugees, activism, the water in Flint, and more

Join us for a Parent & Teen Virtual Book Club to Discuss THE BURNING with Laura Bates

Around the Web

Chatting With Elmo About His (Not Too) Late Night Debut

Trump move could scrap or weaken law that protects social media companies

Beyond the Hashtag: How to Take Anti-Racist Action in Your Life

Paul Feig To Helm ‘The School For Good And Evil’ Adaptation For Netflix

Teens Are Working As Essential Workers While Going to High School

Video Games Don’t Have To Be Educational To Spark Learning

What Makes Writing Teen Fiction as a Teen Special a guest post by Lauren Trickey

Writing teen fiction as a teen is different than as an adult. Even at twenty, barely an adult, I can see the difference in my writing from when I was fourteen, and not just skill wise. There’s quite a few scenes in Jack of All Trades that make me cringe now, that make me think ‘oh god! Why would you ever do that?’ But I wrote it when I was the same age as the characters, and apparently the decisions they make seemed perfectly reasonable at the time. If a real-life teenager thinks it makes sense, then surely a fictional one must, too.

I started writing simply because I was daydreaming. All the time. It’s not that I didn’t like school, in fact I love learning, I just couldn’t help myself. I zone out of conversations all the time, not because whoever I’m speaking to is boring, usually they say something that somehow sparks inspiration and suddenly I’m thinking about what I could be writing, instead of focusing on the conversation I’m currently having. 

A lot of what I daydreamed about stemmed from being bullied. I was bullied through all thirteen years of school, sometimes by girls I called my best friends, and sometimes by girls I had no choice but to be around because they were friends with my friends. So, I started thinking, what if could be like Valkyrie Cain in Skulduggery Pleasant, or Clary Fray in the Mortal Instruments? What if there was something about me that made me special, something that I could remember whenever these girls were trying to make me feel worthless? And I daydreamed about it, and then because of the support of friends I made online, I started writing it. 

A big part of my novel ended up focusing on the fantastical being close to home because of this. Most children and teen fiction has characters either going to a magic school, or someone being able to get out of going to school with no repercussions. They go on these epic adventures and leave their normal lives behind, but that meant the magic was somewhere I couldn’t be. I wanted it where I was. In school. Throughout Jack of All Trades, the main characters are still attending school. Their trainer, Shadow, takes them out of class and teaches them inside the school grounds. The magic happens where they are, right under the noses of their classmates, something I endlessly wished for. 

Part of what made writing teen characters as a teen was that some of the problems they face weren’t imagined, but based on my real experiences, however trivial they seem to me now. 

Their struggles were my struggles. Aelana wishes for something to make her unique, special. Growing up, my parents instilled in me the value of being an individual and not following a trend just because it’s a trend. However, growing up with social anxiety, it was hard to be who I wanted when that also meant having other peoples’ attention on me. Aelana’s anxiety centres around her friends; she doesn’t care so much about being the centre of attention, but she knows that by branching out she risks alienating herself from her friends. She is stuck between wanting to be unique, and wanting the acceptance of her friends. 

Skylar and Phoenix, on the other hand, have that thing that makes them unique already. And are continually bullied for it. Though what they experience is dramatized for the purposes of the story, the intent behind it is the same: jealousy. Or at least, I like to tell myself that’s what it was. it’s nicer than thinking that I was just an easy target. Out of the two, Skylar is the easy target. She doesn’t want to fight back, prefers to pretend its not happening or its not a big deal, while Phoenix stands up for the both of them. 

Ash deals with the breakdown of friendships, the awkwardness and arguments that come with it. Something I’ve, unfortunately, had to deal with more than once. Though for myself, it was never clear who started it, Ash is definitely at fault in her situation. And she has to live with that; live with the fact that delving into the world of magic made has made her a different person.

Jade is no longer the perfect student she has been. While I was never a perfect student, I did well enough in school. Until the last couple of years. Ironically, when I tried to focus in class and stopped daydreaming about the adventures my characters could be going on, was when my grades were the worst they had ever been. In Jade’s case, she loses focus, stops keeping track of her school work and lets it fall by the way side.

With these struggles, Mercury, then, is what they aspire to. She has the confidence Skylar lacks, the self-assurance Phoenix tries to hide that she lacks. She is still attending school even when going on adventures, she isn’t afraid of being judged, and has a solid group of friends supporting her. Each of them can find something in her that they wish to emulate. She has all these qualities as a result of what I wanted to be, the kind of person I wanted to grow up to be. 

First and foremost, I write for myself, not just the stories I want to read, but the stories I want to be a part of. Its what made me start writing, and its what continues to fuel my writing. The most important thing for me to achieve through my writing is not to make grand statements about the world or my ideals, but simply to provide teenagers with the escape that I craved at that age. If nothing else, I hope my writing can help them to figure who they are and what kind of person they want to be, just as my favourite stories did for me. 

About Lauren Trickey

Lauren Trickey is an author living in Sydney, Australia. She was inspired to write her first novel, Jack of all Trades, at the age of 13 and published it at age 20. When she is not writing, she loves to dance and listen to music.

Friday Finds: May 15, 2020

This Week at TLT

On Being Old and New, a guest post by Amanda Sellet

That’s the Thing with the Shots, Right? a guest post by Eve Yohalem

Take 5: Things to Keep in Mind While Doing Virtual Programming

Book Review: The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Write What You Know, a guest post by Loriel Ryon

Tween and Teen Programming Ideas: Did you clean out your closet? Here are some ways to upcycle those t-shirts!

Around the Web

With School Buildings Closed, Children’s Mental Health Is Suffering

DeVos Funnels Coronavirus Relief Funds to Favored Private and Religious Schools

Rick Riordan announces new Percy Jackson TV series coming to Disney+

K-Pop Points to the Future of Live Music With Immersive Online Concerts

The Senate Could’ve Blocked the FBI From Accessing Your Web History Without a Warrant, But Didn’t

Friday Finds: May 8, 2020

This Week at TLT

Book Review: A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan

Little Gangs, a guest post by Lauren McLaughlin

Cindy Crushes Programming: Running a Virtual Dungeons and Dragons Program

Book Review: The Life and Medieval Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton

A Moment of Radical Honesty and Talking Frankly about Modern Poverty in THE LIFE AND (MEDIEVAL) TIMES OF KIT SWEETLY, a guest post by Jamie Pacton

May #ARCParty: A brief look at some of the new titles coming out in May 2020

Around the Web

DeVos’s Rules Bolster Rights of Students Accused of Sexual Misconduct

CDC Guidance For Reopening Schools, Child Care And Summer Camps Is Leaked

Jacqueline Woodson and Albertine Win 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Awards

Friday Finds: May 1, 2020

This Week at TLT

New Books Alert: Activism, summer camp, a school shooting, a supernatural feminist novel, and more

RevolTeens: Quaranteens – Proving Just How Incredible Teens Are, by Christine Lively

Things I Never Learned in Library School: Librarianing in the Time of a Pandemic

Post-It Reviews: Some ghosts, a guide to critical thinking, folktales, Chernobyl, and more

The Power of Being Vulnerable, a guest post by Kate O’Shaughnessy

We’re Not Alone, not Even in the Middle of a Quarantine – a guest post by author Kim Oclon

Novels in Verse for National Poetry Month, Week 4 By Lisa Krok

Around the Web

The Check In: Jenny Torres Sanchez

The Secret Ally to Libraries Everywhere: The USPS

Court Rules Detroit Students Have Constitutional Right To An Education

AP Exams Are Still On Amid Coronavirus, Raising Questions About Fairness

We’re Not Alone, not Even in the Middle of a Quarantine – a guest post by author Kim Oclon

“We read to know we’re not alone.” C.S. Lewis

At the start of every school year, each department was given a shirt. One year the English department shirt had all of our names on the back and a quote on the front, “We read to know we’re not alone.” Thank you, C.S. Lewis, for that wonderful reminder. We are not alone when we read. But, I’d like to expand that to say, “We read, we watch movies, we listen to music to know we’re not alone.”

If I made a list of every book, song, or film that encapsulates this quote, we’d be here for a while and I might run out of room on my hard drive, so I’d like to focus on two movies that immediately came to mind when I decided to explore this quote in terms of myself, my work, and our current state.

For me, it isn’t necessarily about having the exact same experience has one of the characters, but having the same emotions and having a place to let those emotions out. I love watching sad movies. My husband doesn’t get it. I don’t know if I completely get it. But give me a movie that lets me feel some big feelings and I will definitely watch it. Does anyone remember the 2001 film, Life as a House? I saw this one with my mom at a second-run theater as my college career was coming to an end. In a few weeks I would move to Los Angeles after graduating with a degree in screenwriting. I needed a movie that would let me get out all that end-of-college-what-am-I doing-am-I-doing-the-right thing-anxiety. And did it deliver! It might not have been the best movie, but I did cry for a good portion of the second half of the film with all the confusion and uncertainty running down my face and into a balled up tissue.

What about the 2002 film, Moonlight Mile? I saw that one when I was struggling to find a job after being in Los Angeles for several months, feeling alone and helpless. I remember being an absolute mess in the middle of the Arclight Theater on Sunset Boulevard. I’m not a man living in the 1970’s struggling with my fiancé’s murder and I’m not a teenage boy mending my relationship with my sick dad. But, when I watched these movies, I was less alone.

This quote must have been in my subconscious as I wrote my debut novel, Man Up. It is a about, David, a baseball player with a secret boyfriend. After coming out, he learns about allies roaming the halls in his school and how not only is he in need of support and acceptance but so many are in search of it too. There are teachers, other students he never gave a second glance to, and even a teammate. A subplot that unintentionally fell into this theme involves David’s dad, a carpenter who has been unemployed for a few years. Unemployment eats at him for much of the novel. His inability to find steady employment affects the whole family and it is something he dealt with on his own for a couple years.

David’s dad is not alone. David is not alone. And we’re not alone.

But right now, we are alone to some extent. Physically, but hopefully not emotionally. We are uncertain. We are confused. We are frustrated. We are sad. We are mad. In attempt to reassure my seven-year-old daughter, we talk about how not only are our friends and family feeling the same way we are, but much of the world is too.

To say I was disappointed that my launch events were rescheduled (for June…we’ll see!) would be a gross understatement. But I know I’m not alone. Other authors had their launches ruined. My friend decided to count, and she has canceled 23 events (so far) for a book that was released in February. In these times, social media has been a place to find solidarity and support. I’ve had friends, acquaintances, and friends of friends volunteer to help me strategize so this time that was supposed to be exciting and celebratory still feels like a celebration. I’m definitely not alone. If anything, my circle has grown.

I don’t think I need to watch Contagion right now or read a book set in the near-distant future that has some sort of commentary where a disease/robot/super villain threatens mankind. But I do need something that will help me find a place for all this stuff I’m feeling. I’ve been watching sitcoms before bed lately. They provide little bursts of humor that help me decompress from the day so I can get ready for the next one.

Little bursts of humor…maybe that is an accurate reflection of the current circumstances. Perhaps I need to engage with something where I see other people in unbelievable situations where things seem dire and ridiculous until some comic relief breaks the tension. Maybe it’s not the time for the sad things I usually turn to. Regardless where I find camaraderie: a sad movie, a silly show, a snarky teenager in a novel, or a song that encourages me to be better, I am not the only one searching. C.S. Lewis may have given us quote but countless artists prove everyday just how true it is.

With a background in screenwriting and fiction writing, Kim Oclon taught high school for seven years and co-founded the school’s GSA. Her first literary favorites included The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins series but she now considers The Things They Carried  to be her favorite book. Man Up is her first novel.

You can purchase Man Up from Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780999388631