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Tale as Old as Time: Fairy Tales, Mythology and Folktales Retold – a booklist for the 2020 SRP reading theme

In preparation for the upcoming summer reading program theme Imagine Your Story, I recently spent some time working on a comprehensive booklist of fairy tale, folktale and mythology retellings. I used as my starting point this great post from Epic Reads, the source of the graphic below. I had help from my friends and fellow librarians Rachel Strolle, who blogs at Rec it Rachel ,and Mary Hinson, who blogs at Mary Had a Little Book Blog. The original Epic Reads post appeared in 2014, so together the three of us worked to add new MG and YA titles posted since that date.

Image Source: Epic Reads

For the purposes of this post I looked at MG (Middle Grade) and YA (Young Adult) titles. This is probably not a complete list so if you have titles to add, please leave a comment and let us know what age group and category the title you are mentioning would fall under. Thank you!

Various Popular Series that Cover Multiple Fairy Tales

Disney’s Twisted Fairy Tales by Liz Braswell

  • Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid)
  • As Old as Time (Beauty and the Beast)
  • Once Upon a Dream (Sleeping Beauty)
  • A Whole New World (Aladdin)
  • Straight on ‘Til Morning (Peter Pan)

Disney Villain series by Serena Valentino

  • Fairest of All (Snow White)
  • The Beast Within (Beauty and the Beast)
  • Poor Unfortunate Soul (The Little Mermaid)
  • Mistress of Evil (Sleeping Beauty)
  • Mother Knows Best (Rapunzel)
  • The Odd Sisters

Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski (Middle Grade)

  • Fairest of All (Snow White)
  • If the Shoe Fits (Cinderella)
  • Sink or Swim
  • Dream On
  • Bad Hair Day
  • Cold as Ice
  • Beauty Queen
  • Once Upon a Frog
  • Genie in a Bottle
  • Sugar and Spice
  • Two Peas in a Pod
  • Seeing Red
  • Spill the Beans

The Grimm Series by Adam Gidwitz (Middle Grade)

  • A Tale Dark and Grimm
  • In a Glass Grimmly
  • The Grimm Conclusion

Descendants by Melissa De La Cruz* (Middle Grade)

  • The Islde of the Lost
  • Return to the Isle of the Lost
  • Rise of the Isle of the Lost
  • Escape from the Isle of the Lost

The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson (Middle Grade)

  • Disney After Dark
  • Disney at Dawn
  • Disney in Shadow
  • Power Play
  • Shell Game
  • Dark Passage
  • The Insider

Various Fairytale Retellings and Series by Fairy Tale

Aladdin

  • The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury – Aladdin

Beauty & the Beast

  • East by Edith Pattou
  • Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
  • Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley
  • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
  • Spirited by Nancy Holder
  • Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
  • The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison
  • Stung by Bethany Wiggins
  • The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle
  • Beastly by Alex Flinn
  • Beauty by Robin McKinley
  • Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Beast by Brie Spangler
  • A Cruse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
  • Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon (this book comes out in 2020)
  • Everlost (The Skinjacker series) by Neal Shusterman
  • Beastkeeper by Cat Hellison
  • Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin) by Robin LaFevers
  • Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
  • Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston
  • Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston
  • The Queen’s Council by Emma Theriault

Cinderella

The Frog Prince (The Princess and the Frog)

Goose Girl

  • Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith
  • Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
  • Thorn by Intisar Khanani

Hansel and Gretel

The Little Mermaid

Little Red Riding Hood

Rapunzel

Rumpelstiltskin

  • A Curse As Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
  • Spinners by Donna Jo Napoli
  • Rump by Leisl Shurtliff (MG)
  • The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn
  • The Wishgranter (Ravenspire #2) by C. J. Redwine

Sleeping Beauty

The Snow Queen

  • Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce
  • Winter’s Child by Cameron Dokey
  • Stork by Wendy Delsol
  • The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine
  • Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (MG)
  • The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
  • The Snow Queen series by K. M. Shea
  • Stealing Snow by Daniella Page

Snow White

Snow White and Rose Red

  • Blanca y Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Circuse Rose by Betsy Cornwell

 Twelve Dancing Princesses

Other Series related to Fairy Tales or Fairy Tale Like

  • Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris (MG)
  • Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (MG)
  • Hamster Princess by Ursula Vernon (MG)
  • Septimus Heap by Angie Sage (MG)
  • Twice Upon a Time by Wendy Mass (MG)
  • Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke (MG)
  • The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer (MG)
  • The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (MG, not recommended by several people for the way it discusses body image and racism)
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdeah – 1,001 Nights
  • Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh – Shahrazad story
  • The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale – Grimm’s Fairy Tale (MG)
  • The Princess and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (graphic novel)
  • The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert – General fairy tale themes
  • The Girl who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (MG)
  • The Ever Afters series by Shelby Bach (MG)
  • Ever Cursed by Corey Ann Haydu (this book comes out in 2020)

Books about Fairies in General

  • The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
  • The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa
  • Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr
  • Need series by Carrie Jones
  • Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
  • The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
  • Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins
  • The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
  • The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black
  • Mirrorworld series by Cornelia Funke
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles by Ton DiTerlizzi (MG)
  • Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull
  • Betwixt by Tara Bray Smith
  • The Faerie Path series by Allan Frewin Jones
  • Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paoini
  • The Falconer series by Elizabeth May

Books about Dragons

  • Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle) by Christopher Paolini
  • Seraphina by Rachel Harman
  • Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
  • Firelight by Sophie Jordan
  • Talon by Julie Kagawa
  • The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede
  • Scorched by Mari Mancusi
  • The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris d’Lacey
  • Fallen Isle series by Jodi Meadows
  • Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst
  • The Aurelian Cycle (Fireborne is book #1) by Rosaria Munda
  • Spark by Sarah Beth Durst (MG)
  • The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill (MG, GN)
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (MG)
  • Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells
  • Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst

Books about Mermaids in General

  • The Syrena Legacy (Of Poisedon is book #1) by Anna Banks
  • Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
  • Tempest by Tracy Deebs
  • Waterson by Amanda Hocking
  • The Siren by Kiera Cass
  • Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli
  • Waterfire Saga (Deep Blue is book #1) by Jennifer Donnelly
  • The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler (MG)
  • Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman
  • The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova
  • Undertow series by Michael Buckley
  • A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow
  • Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell

Books about Unicorns in General

  • The Unicorn Rescue Society by Adam Gidwitz
  • Beasts of Olympus: The Unicorn Emergency by Lucy Coats
  • The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla Benko
  • Here There Be Unicorns by Jane Yolen
  • Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst
  • Rampant (Killer Unicorns) by Diana Peterfreund
  • Unicorn Chronicles by Bruce Coville (MG)
  • Mirrorworld series by Cornelia Funke
  • The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horowitz (MG)
  • Zombies vs. Unicorns

Classic Literature and Folktale Retellings

Alice in Wonderland

East of the Sun, West of the Moon

  • East by Edith Pattou
  • Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Mulan

  • Reflection by Elizabeth Lim – Mulan
  • Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)  by Elizabeth Lim (Mulan)
  • The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas

Peter Pan

The Prince and the Pauper

  • Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

Robin Hood

  • Hood by Jenny Elder Moke (this book comes out in 2020)
  • Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

Other Classic Lit Retellings

  • Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige –– Retelling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
  • The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins –– Retelling of The Singing Bone by the Brothers Grimm

Folktale Retellings

  • Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste – Haitian folktale “the Magic Orange Tree” (MG)
  • Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia (Mexican folklore, 2020 publication date)

MG and YA Retellings: MYTHOLOGY

African Mythology Retellings

  • Zorah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu
  • Children of Blood and Boneod and Bone (Legacy of Orisha) by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia (African gods) (MG)

Asian Mythology Retellings

  • Eon by Alison Goodman
  • Prophecy by Ellen Oh
  • Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
  • The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee (The Monkey King)
  • The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan by Sherry Thomas
  • A Thousand Beginning and Endings short story collection edited by Ellen Oh
  • The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao
  • Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
  • Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

Egyptian Mythology Retellings

Norse Mythology Retellings

Greek / Roman Mythology Retellings

Hades and Persephone Retellings

Cupid / Psyche Myth Retellings

  • Psyche in a Dress by Francesca Lia Block
  • Destined by Jessie Harrell
  • Lovestruck by Kate Watson
  • Only Everything (True Love #1) by Kerian Scott
  • Cupidity by Caroline Goode
  • Thwonk by Joan Bauer

Helen of Troy Retellings

Rick Riordan Books

Percy Jackson & the Olympians

  1. The Lightning Thief (2005)
  2. The Sea of Monsters (2006)
  3. The Titan’s Curse (2007)
  4. The Battle of the Labyrinth (2008)
  5. The Last Olympian (2009)

The Heroes of Olympus

  1. The Lost Hero (2010)
  2. The Son of Neptune (2011)
  3. The Mark of Athena (2012)
  4. The House of Hades (2013)
  5. The Blood of Olympus (2014)

Rick Riordan Presents

  • Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
  • The Storm Runner by J. C. Cervantes (Mayan gods)
  • Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee (Fox spirit)
  • Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez (Cuban science fiction)
  • Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia (African gods)
  • Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (Navajo gods, not recommended by Dr. Debbie Reese)

As I mentioned above, although we put a lot of time and effort into researching this list, I’m sure we are missing titles and if you would like to add to the list please feel free to do so in the comments. Also, if you find any books that may be in the wrong category or that should not be on this list for one reason or the other, please let me know in the comments. You’ll note that there are a few titles on the list that have a note that they are not recommended, I chose to include this note rather then just leave the titles off of the list so that those who may not be aware of the concerns may investigate those concerns.

The Billie Eilish Readalike Playlist

Billie Eilish has been popular in my house for a while now, probably since first hearing the song Lovely back in 2018. My favorite Billie Eilish song is “You Should See Me in a Crown”, while Thing 2 seems particularly fond of “Bad Guy”. So the other day, as I watched a group of pre-teen and teen girls choreograph a dance to a Billie Eilish song, I had a moment of inspiration: I wonder if I could create a reading RA list based on Billie Eilish songs. So I sat down and started researching her various songs and what they meant. It turns out, there are websites that help you do this.

I then started getting serious about this project. I even turned it into an RA sheet for my work. So what follows is a list of a variety of YA books based on theme and song that teens may enjoy reading if they like the music of Billie Eilish. This was a fun list to create, and it is by no means complete. It only touches on a few of her songs and even on those songs there are a lot more books we could add. So if you have some titles you would like to add, please feel free to do so.

Books About Toxic Relationships

“Bad Guy”, “When the Party’s Over” and several other Billie Eilish songs are about toxic relationships, both romantic and friendships. So here are a few YA books about toxic relationships that your teens may be interested in reading.

You Should See Me in a Crown

“You Should See Me in a Crown” is inspired by the BBC series Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch. In it Andrew Scott, also known as the Hot Priest from Fleabag, plays Moriarty, Sherlock’s arch-nemesis. At one point he proclaims, “you should see me in a crown.” The rest is history. The series is a lot of fun and was extremely popular, I even had a very successful Sherlock party at the time. So here are a bunch of Sherlock retellings or books that are Sherlock Holmes like that teen readers will find interesting.

Books About Mental Health and Depression

One of Billie Eilish’s early hits was a song called “lovely” that she sings with Khalid. It’s a very melancholy song about mental health and depression and it appears on the soundtrack for the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. The title began kind of as a kind of sarcastic nod to how depressing the song is. While listening to it someone said, “oh how lovely” and the rest, as they say, is history. Here a few YA books about mental health and depression that your teens may like.

Dark Books about Dark People doing Dark Things

“Belly Ache” and “Bad Guy” are told from the point of view of monsters, whether that means psychopaths or literal monsters depends on the song. Billie Eilish has stated in many interviews that she likes to write songs that tell the story from the point of view from the monster under your bed. Here are several YA books that are about psychopaths and monsters.

Climate Change

Billie Eilish is an advocate for knowing and working to fix climate change. The topic of climate change appears in her most recent video “All the Good Girls Go to Hell”. Here are a few YA fiction titles on climate change that teens may be interested in reading. If you are Googling for additional titles, you may want to also search under the term “cli-fi”, which is a shortened version of climate change.

Basically Dark, Twisted and Kind of Awesome

If you had to describe Billie Eilish’s aesthetic, you might say she is basically dark, twisted and a lot of fun. So here are a bunch of YA books that are basically dark, twisted and a lot of fun. I like to think that Billie Eilish would like these books and recommend them to her fans.

A Brief Discussion of What It’s Like to Be a “Military Brat” in Youth Literature

I grew up in, on and around military bases. I was, as the saying goes, a military brat. What this means is that I grew up with family members who were in or worked for the military. My Dad was in the Air Force and my Mom worked for AAFES, which is a civilian organization that works with the military to staff the various places on bases where military personnel buy their groceries and such.

What it means in real life is that I moved every 2 or 3 years. By the time I graduated high school I had lived in 2 countries, 4 states, and attended 9 different schools. As a grown up, I haven’t really thought a lot about growing up as a military kid, except when I’m on Facebook and I see all my friends posting about elementary school friends and I remember that military life gave me some gifts but robbed me of others. Sometimes that romanticism of childhood friendship in youth literature burns with the force of a 1,000 suns.

However, I now work at a library that is incredibly close to one of the military bases that I grew up on. In fact, it’s where I lived when I was in the 9th and 10th grade, a teenager myself. The base is still there, though changed some and renamed. For the first time in my professional life, I know that statistically a portion of the kids who walk into my library are probably there because their parents were stationed in the area.

On Monday, I started listening to the book Fish in a Tree by because it is about a young girl with dyslexia and I am raising a child with dyslexia. But I was struck by another element of the story: Ally is the child of a military father and she talks about having to move a lot. This is a theme that doesn’t come up very often in youth literature, despite the fact that we as a nation invest more money than other nations our size in our military and we have been engaged in more than 3 wars since 9/11. So while we thank soldiers for their service on a daily basis, we often ignore the fact that they have kids in our literature.

The first time I really noticed an authentic discussion about what it’s like to grow up in a military family was when I read the historical fiction book If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth. The second time was while reading the contemporary title Beneath the Wandering Stars by Ashlee Cowles. Both of these also talked in depth about what it’s like to move frequently. And Cowles talks specifically about what it’s like to be on a military base, including visiting some of the unique shops that you can find on a military base. And the brilliant The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson invites us into the life of a teen girl who is living with a parent haunted by PTSD.

There is a lot of historical fiction about soldiers, but there is a real under representation of military kids in youth literature, especially when you consider that there are 1.2 million kids of military families in the United States. In addition, more than 2 million children have experienced a parent being actively deployed since 2001. There are more interesting facts about military children here. A brief glance of current offerings indicate that the topic is better represented in younger literature.

Looking around online I found several book lists of interest:

10 Great Picture Books for Military Families

Operation Here We Are: Children’s Books about Military Life

Operation Here We Are: Books for Kids with Deployed Family Members

Goodreads has a list of 59 YA books that contain military themes, although several books on this list are about having a sibling in the military or going into the military yourself, which is not necessarily the same as growing up as a child with military parents.

Even if you don’t live or work near a military base, you may have military kids in your classroom or life, because at some point our parents get out of the military. So please take a little bit of time to read what it’s like to be the child of a person in the military and share those stories with the young people in your life who aren’t. It’s not just the individual in the military that serves, entire families are impacted by military service, in small and big ways.

Educator’s Guide to the Military Child During Deployment

It’s weird to me now, sometimes, when I look at my kids and realize that they have no idea what it’s like to be a military kid. I’ve worked hard to try and make sure that we have moved as little as possible for my children because it personally affected me quite profoundly. Both of my girls have been on a military base once or twice as a baby, but they haven’t been for years and have no recollection of it. They have no real knowledge or understanding of how different my life was from theirs because we are no longer a military family. Well, not directly. They know that their grandparents served and we’ve talked some about what that means, but they’re life is very different than mine, which has its positive and negatives. But my hope is that they will one day have people in their lives who have known them since they were little who aren’t related to them by blood.

Do you have some books to add to our recommended reading list on books that feature children in military families? Please share with us in the comments.

Take 5: YA Lit for Teens That Love to Bake

Recently, The Teen developed a love of baking. I’m all for it because I get to eat a lot of yummy treats. And wanting to be a supportive mom but also being a librarian, I’ve put together a goody bag of YA literature that features teens that bake, which you can find below.

The Teen baked shark cookies for Shark Week

I asked for recommendations on Twitter, and you can find the entire conversation here: https://twitter.com/TLT16/status/1165658378460434432. There are a lot of mouth watering reads to be found.

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer

A novel full of heart, humor, and charm from Newbery Honor winner Joan Bauer!

When twelve-year-old Foster and her mother land in the tiny town of Culpepper, they don’t know what to expect. But folks quickly warm to the woman with the great voice and the girl who can bake like nobody’s business. Soon Foster – who dreams of having her own cooking show one day – lands herself a gig baking for the local coffee shop, and gets herself some much-needed help in overcoming her biggest challenge – learning to read . . . just as Foster and Mama start to feel at ease, their past catches up to them. Thanks to the folks in Culpepper, though Foster and her mama find the strength to put their troubles behind them for good.

Check Please by Ngozi Ukazu

Helloooo, Internet Land. Bitty here!

Y’all… I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack—our very attractive but moody captain.

A collection of the first half of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acedvedo

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.

But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life? 

The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski

In the world of Sheridan Wells, life is perfect when she’s decorating a cake. Unfortunately, everything else is a complete mess: her mom ran off years ago, her dad is more interested in his restaurant, and the idea of a boyfriend is laughable.

But Sheridan is convinced finding her mom will solve all her problems—only her dad’s about to get a cooking show in New York, which means her dream of a perfect family will be dashed.

If you have any YA reads that feature teens that like to cook or bake, please leave a comment below and let us know about the title you recommend.

If You Like The Good Place, Read This

Today YA Librarian Cindy Shutts has put together a fabulous list of recommended reads for fans of The Good Place. If you have titles to add, please leave us a comment. We’re huge fans of the show in my house and I want to hear all your reading recommendations.

Warning Spoilers!

The Good Place is the popular sitcom on NBC starring Kristen Bell and Ted Denson. The basic premise is that a group of four people are placed in the afterlife and they think they are in the good place but are actually in the bad place and part of an experiment to change how torture is done. This is the fourth and final season.  This season is about finding out if you can be a good person in a world connected to bad consequences. For example, if you drink a Coke-a-Cola, do you lose points because they are the worst plastic polluter in the world, even though you personally recycle the bottle? Is it possible to become a better person in the afterlife? What do we owe each other?

Just for fun, check out Hypable’s list of 34 of the best The Good Place quotes

Afterlife

Elsewhere: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin

Fifteen- year -old Liz has just died and moved on to Elsewhere, where people who have died age backward and get jobs. She has to learn to move on from life to the afterlife, while falling in love with a man who is also learning to age backward and whose wife is still alive.

More Than This by Patrick Ness

A boy about to die wakes up and does not know if he is in the afterlife. He will have to figure out where he is to go on with his life.

Croak by Gina Damico

Lex is sent away to spend time with her Uncle Mort, but when she is with him she finds out he is a grim reaper.  Uncle Mort is now going to teach Lex the family business, but Lex develops a taste for justice.

It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt

RJ’s soul is accidently reaped by a grim reaper and she wants to talk to a manager because she should not be dead.

I Woke Up Dead at the Mall by Judy Sheehan

Sarah is murdered and wakes up at the Mall of America. She is given a death coach and told she will have to be able to move on after her death or be forced to walk the mall forever.

Demon Chick by Marilyn Kaye

Jessica always had a rough relationship with her politician mother, but she never expected her mother to sell her soul to the devil. Jessica finds herself living in one of the better neighborhoods of hell with a demon named Brad who seems to be a nice guy.

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

The Christmas Spirits gave Holly Chase a second chance at life. She did not listen to their advice and now she is one of the ghosts of Christmas Past, who is in charge of warning people about their possible fates.

The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand by Gregory Galloway

Adam is depressed and tries to commit suicide thirty-nine times, but every time he wakes up and feels fine. He will have to find out why this keeps happening.

Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass

Tessa wakes up after a gym accident in the mall. She is very confused and she starts to relive her life and the moment that led up to her death. She has to figure out who she is and what she wants now.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Everyone used to die after a period of time, but now in a world where death has been eliminated people have taken on the role of the scythe. The people of the scythe have the responsibility of quelling the population. Two teens have been chosen to be the scythe and they must succeed, because if they do not they will be killed.

Open Mic Night at Westminster Cemetery by Mary Amato

Lacy wakes up and finds out she is dead in Westminster Cemetery. She must try to adjust to her afterlife, but it is hard not knowing how she died and what happened to the people she cared about.

Moral Complex

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson

Octavian has grown up learning philosophy and science, but as he becomes a teenager he realizes something is wrong. He learns that he and his mother are part of a science experiment testing the mental capability of Africans and that he is enslaved.

Feed by M.T. Anderson

In the near future everyone gets their entertainment from feeds in their head telling them what is cool and what is not. However, on a spring break trip to the moon Titus and his friends fall victim to a hacker who turns off everyone’s feed. Titus has to learn to live without someone always telling him what to value.

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Regina was one of the mean girls at her school, but when she is falsely accused of cheating with her best friend’s boyfriend she is expelled. She slowly learns to deal with the consequences of her actions.

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Matt is not like everyone else. He is the clone of a narcissistic drug dealer. Everyday he is in danger from people who wish him harm and the only way out is to escape.

Firecracker by David Iserson

Astrid loves her life going to a posh boarding school and her grandfather happens to be a nuclear arms dealer.  Astrid gets kicked out of her boarding school and vows revenge on everyone who betrayed her, but she starts to learn things about herself. She realizes she is a trashy person and she had to decide if she is going to change.

Eleanor Shellstrop

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina (Parent Issues)

Nora knows something is wrong with her brother, but her mother is not listening to her. She wonders if he is connected to a string of murders in her city.

Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt (Parent Issues)

Dicey’s mother abandons her and her three younger siblings. Dicey is trying to keep her young siblings together and takes them to their grandmothers home, but she does not know how to relate with having someone who wants to help her.

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang (Unlikeable Narrator)

Liz Emerson decides to drive her Mercedes into a tree because she thinks the world would be better off without her. What does her life mean and how can people impact each other?

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy (Unlikeable Narrator)

Alice had cancer and thought she was going to die, so she created a bucket list and completed most of it. Now suddenly she is in remission and has to deal with the consequences of her actions.

Chidi Anagonye

Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade (Indecisive)

Caroline is not good at making decisions and after her parents’ divorce instead of living in the real world she finds comfort in an old television show she found online.  Her mother decides to push her out into real world and Caroline must makes real life decisions.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (Nigeria)

Sunny lives in Nigeria but she was born in America. Sunny is an albino so she has to avoid direct sunlight but suddenly she discovers she has magical powers.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (Anxiety)

 Aza decides to hunt down a missing billionaire and reconnects with her old friend Davis. She has to deal with her anxiety from her OCD while solving this mystery.

Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos  (Anxiety)

James is experiencing anxiety and depression and he decides to make his own therapist, Dr. Bird. This way he can deal with his vanished sister and his abusive parents.

Tahani Al-Jamil

People Like Us by Dana Mele (Boarding School)

Kay has decided reinvent herself at her new school to cover up her past. But unexpectedly, a dead body is found near the lake of her school and her new world starts to collapse.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (Sibling Rivalry)

Three siblings who are princesses and have been raised apart are now forced to compete in a battle to the death to decide who will be the new queen.

All You Never Wanted by Adele Griffin (Sibling Rivalry)

Thea wants everything her sister has such as beauty, brains, popularity, and a good-looking boyfriend. Thea decides to spin the truth to get what she wants.

Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik (Wealth and Name Dropping)

Elise’s sister has caught the attention of Hollywood royalty and now Elise must spend time with the rich and famous. Is your importance based on who you know?

Jason Mendoza

Gym Candy by Carl Deuker (Football)

Mick wants to be the best running back for himself and his team, but he knows he needs an edge to make him bigger and faster.

DJ Rising by Love Maia (DJ)

Marley lives for music, but has to struggle with the fact his mother is an addict. Marley’s dream is to be professional DJ. When he gets a job things start to go well, but disasters at home cause everything to fall apart.

Past Perfect by Leila Sales (Pranks)

Chelsea wants to hang out with her friends and eat ice cream, but she has to get a summer job at the Essex Historical Colonial Village. She learns about friendship while being involved in an epic prank war.

Paper Towns by John Green (Florida)

Quentin lives in Florida and has lived next door Margo his entire life. When she is missing, he has to find her and goes on the adventure of a lifetime. 

Janet

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza (Robot But Not a Robot)

Mila finds out that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence. Her mother is actually one of the scientists who created her.  It has been decided that Mila should be scrapped and now she will have to fight for her life.

Your Robot Dog Will Die by Arin Greenwood (Robots)

Nano lives on Dog Island where a company has decided to make robotic dogs and this island is the home of the last of the living dogs. After a genetic experiment, dogs have stopped wagging their tails and are being recalled.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Falling in Love)

Lena lives in a world where love is considered a disease and you are supposed to receive the cure when you turn eighteen. Lena meets Alex just before she is to receive her cure and her feelings change.

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff (Artificial Intelligence)

Eve lives on a junkyard island filled with radiation. She learns she is gifted with the power to destroy robots with her mind and now she has to escape a gangster who has her on his most wanted list.

Michael

The Good Demon by Jimmy Cajoleas (Demons)

Claire was possessed by a demon, but when her demon is exorcised away from her she is left all alone. Her demon was like a friendly sister who helped her. Claire is ready to do anything to get her demon back.

The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles (Underworld)

Zoe is dealing with her father’s death in a caving accident and she and her brother are attacked and then saved by a bounty hunter called X. X is from a hell called the Lowlands and he is sent to take the soul of Zoe’s attacker. X makes a mistake and wants to capture Zoe.

The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones (Demon Deals)

Dee’s life is not going well. Her home life is terrible and she is about to be kicked out of school, but she decides to make a deal with a demon. He asks for her heart.

Serpentine and Sacrifice by Cindy Pon (Underworld)

Skybright has always wondered who she really is but has focused her time training to be a lady’s maid for her friend Zhen Liu. One night, she realizes she is not quite human and has to find her destiny.

What to Read if You Like Hadestown the Musical, by Cindy Shutts

We have one more great Broadway inspired read-alike list. Hadestown is hands down one of The Teen’s favorite musicals (the other is American Psycho, the London version). Today teen librarian Cindy Shutts shares with us her reading suggestions based on Hadestown.

“It’s a sad song, It’s a sad tale, It’s a tragedy, It’s a sad song, But we sing it anyway” Hermes

Hadestown is a Tony award winning musical retelling of the classic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. It is based on the album by Anaïs Mitchell. There are three different albums, The Broadway Cast, The Live Original Cast Recording of the New York Off Broadway Cast, and The Concept Album.

The musical takes place during the Depression. Hermes is the narrator who is a friend of Orpheus. Orpheus woos and marries Eurydice, but songs cannot keep Eurydice’s stomach full and she begins to look for more. Hades has built a large factory in the underworld which has caused much suffering. Persephone is Hades long suffering wife who is forced to go back to the underworld every winter. She hates Hades’ factory even though Hades claims he built it for her. Hades and Persephone fight until Hades says he will find someone who will appreciate the factory. Hades tricks Eurydice into the underworld by telling her that she will never be hungry again.

The rest of the musical is the traditional tale. Orpheus goes to the underworld to try to return Eurydice to the world of the living and must perform for Hades and Persephone. Hades lets them go but Orpheus must led Eurydice out of the underworld without turning around, but at the last second he turns around.

I have been listening to the Off Broadway Album for a while. I just love the passion in the voices of the casts. This is one of my favorite current musicals because I love mythical retellings. Here are some YA books I choose as read alikes.

If You Like Hadestown

Mythology

Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebelle-Henry

Raya is in love with her best friend Sarah, but when they are caught together they are sent to a re-education camp. Raya decides to change the world and become Orpheus and save her Eurydice.

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Hades is seeking a new bride and he believes Kate fits the job description. Kate agrees to spend six months being tested to be his new goddess and helps save her mother from death. Kate learns that Hades has secrets and that not everything is what it seems.

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Cassandra is caught in a war between the gods who are dying out. Athena and Hermes  found her after searching for her for a year, but they do not know that someone else has been watching and guarding her for year.

Outrun the Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

Kahina is one of the Huntresses of Artemis and she is assigned to protect Atalanta from being trapped into marriage. The two form a connection, but men from their pasts appear and threaten everything.

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

Aurora and the Narrator grow up together and have a deep connection,  but it is strained when a musician called Jack comes between them. Jack has awakened an ancient evil with his music that they will all have to face.

A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond

Claire is Ella’s best friend and suddenly feels left out when Ella falls in love with Orpheus. Claire soon finds out that Ella has died and Orpheus is broken hearted and something must be done to bring Ella back.

Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Odilia and her sister find a man’s dead body in the swimming hole and they realize it is their destiny to reunite him with his family.

Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland

Cory is born with the mythical furies in her head. By day, she is a normal teen but by night she hunts down those who have earned the furies’ wraith.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Roza, who is young and beautiful is missing and people hardly notice. Roza was with Finn when she was kidnapped and he cannot remember the kidnaper’s face. Finn does not understand why people are not concerned about where Roza went, even his brother, Sean.

Solstice by P.J. Hoover

Piper’s mother is very overprotective and the heating crisis is making it even worse.  The world keeps getting hotter and hotter as Piper realizes those myths she learned in school might be real and she has a part to play.

The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle

Sisters, Kate and Emily, have just moved to Hallow Hill where they meet Marak, a powerful magician and the King of the Goblins, who wants to claim Kate as his bride, but first Marak and Kate must work together to save the goblins of Hallow Hill.

The Great Depression

Dust Girl (The American Fairy, #1) by Sarah Zettel

Callie is living in the dustbowl state of Kansas and her mother has been keeping a secret from her, not only is she mixed race, she is also part fairy. She must avoid the dangers of the fairies that want to steal her from the world.

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

Naomi and Wash live in New London, Texas during the time of deep segregation. Life is hard and people are trying to get by during the Great Depression, but a horrible event looms on the horizon.

Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby

Mosco’s Traveling Wonder Show, a menagerie of human curiosities has one unusual person. Portia appears to be completely normal, but she has a secret. She is on the run trying to find out more about where her father disappeared.

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

Love and Death are always playing a game seeing which of them is more powerful and now there are new players. Flora, an African American girl, who dreams of being a pilot finds herself  falling for Henry, a wealthy adopted socialite, and they turn each other lives upside-down.

Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

One story from the future and two from the past come together to show a family going through post WWI era, the Great Depression and then the future.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Cassie’s family are scared that the Klan will come for them and also ruin their land after Cassie and a white girl in town have issues.

All the Stars Denied by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Estrella and her father speak up at a town meeting, but soon her family is deported to Mexico and they are separated from her father and must try to find him.

Books for fans of Hamilton: an American Musical, a guest post by Maisie

Today as part of our week dedicated to Broadway musicals, because why not, teen librarian Maisie shares with us a list of read-alikes for the hit musical Hamilton.

Hamilton: An American Musical, for those who don’t know, is a hip-hop musical that follows the life of Alexander Hamilton–you know, the founding father? It follows Hamilton from his arrival in the US to the end of his life, spanning the Revolutionary War, his marriage, and the founding of the United States.  It has become a cultural touchstone and broke the record for the most Tony nominations in 2016! While I love the music, the humor, and the fact there are several songs that make me weep uncontrollably; my favorite part of this musical is I can talk to theater kids and non-theater kids about it at my library. Everyone loves Hamilton, and that’s pretty amazing!

Their performance from the 70th Annual Tony Awards features the original cast and has a fun cameo from Barack and Michelle Obama!

But people love Hamilton for different reasons, so the read-a-likes below are broken into three categories: books for teens who loved Alexander Hamilton the person, books for teens who loved the hip-hop, and books for teens who loved this take on history. Find those suggestions below:
             

If you loved Alexander Hamilton the person:

Alex & Eliza : a Love Story by Melissa De la Cruz

When Alex and Eliza meet one fateful night, an epic love story begins that would forever change the course of American history. The first book of a recently finished trilogy!

Hamilton and Peggy! A Revolutionary Friendship by Laura Elliot

In the throes of the Revolutionary War, Peggy Schuyler finds herself a central figure amid Loyalists and Patriots, spies and traitors, friends and family. Among those friends, she develops a relationship with Alexander Hamilton, who becomes romantically involved with her sister, Eliza.

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin Manuel Miranda 

This book offers a behind-the-scenes view of Hamilton the musical, detailing the many dramatic episodes in Alexander Hamilton’s life.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow 

Though a longer adult biography, this is also the biography of Hamilton that inspired the musical and totally approachable for older teens!

Alexander Hamilton : the graphic history of an American founding father by Jonathan Henessey

This complete graphic novel-style biography presents the life and legacy of one of the most influential figures in United States history.

Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary by Martha Brockenbrough 

Complex, passionate, brilliant, flawed? Alexander Hamilton comes alive in Martha Brockenbrough’s exciting biography Alexander Hamilton: Revolutionary, which is an essential read fans of Hamilton.

If you loved the hip-hop:

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral…for all the wrong reasons.

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

When a young black teen is murdered, his two best friends decide to keep his memory alive by promoting his music — rhymes that could turn any hangout into a party — with the help of his younger sister, Jasmine, who is out for justice. As the buzz builds, it forces Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine, to each confront the death in their own ways.

Rani Patel in Full Effect by Sonia Patel

Rani Patel, almost seventeen and living on remote Moloka’i island, is oppressed by the cultural norms of her Gujarati immigrant parents but when Mark, an older man, draws her into new experiences red flags abound.

Spin by Lamar Giles

When DJ ParSec (Paris Secord), rising star of the local music scene, is found dead over her turntables, the two girls who found her are torn between grief for Paris and hatred for each other–but when the lack of obvious suspects stalls the investigation, and the police seem to lose interest, the two girls unite, determined to find out who murdered their friend.

After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson

In the New York City borough of Queens in 1996, three girls bond over their shared love of Tupac Shakur’s music, as together they try to make sense of the unpredictable world in which they live.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo 

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, she discovers slam poetry, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers, especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

If you loved the history…

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the nation. 1, The pox party by M.T. Anderson

Various diaries, letters, and other manuscripts chronicle the experiences of Octavian, a young African American, from birth to age sixteen, as he is brought up as part of a science experiment in the years leading up to and during the Revolutionary War.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Henry “Monty” Montague was bred to be a gentleman. His passions for gambling halls and late nights spent with a bottle of spirits have earned the disapproval of his father. His quest for pleasures and vices have led to one last hurrah as Monty, his best friend and crush Percy, and Monty’s sister Felicity begin a Grand Tour of Europe. When a reckless decision turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything Monty knows.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.

Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill

A fictionalized account, told in verse, of the Salem witch trials, told from the perspective of three young women living in Salem in 1692–Mercy Lewis, Margaret Walcott, and Ann Putnam, Jr.

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand

You may think you know the story. Penniless orphan Jane Eyre begins a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester–and, Reader, she marries him. Or does she? Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems…

Fever, 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.

The Notorious Benedict Arnold : a True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery by Steve Sheinkin

Most people know that Benedict Arnold was America’s first, most notorious traitor. Few know that he was also one of its greatest war heroes. Packed with first-person accounts, astonishing battle scenes, and surprising twists, this is a gripping and true adventure tale.

Meet Our Guest Blogger

Maisie is a teen librarian for the White Oak Library District who loves musicals, bogs, and Diana Wynne Jones novels. They live with two fat cats and way too many plants. 

Read Wild: Shark Week!

Happy Shark Week!  Last week I spent some time out on a local whale watching trip, but sadly we didn’t see any whales (or sharks).  It was the only trip this summer that they didn’t see any whales.  Maybe I’m bad luck? 

Luckily, Shark Week in NJ is always fun, especially for those of us who live along the Jersey Shore.  The Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916 get a lot of play during the summer months.

The Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916 even get highlighted in the popular juvenile fiction series I Survived

Shark Week is a little crazy these days (so many celebrity shark shows!), but sharks are still some of the most fascinating creatures in the ocean.  Why not spend some time this summer reading about these amazing creatures?  

The Line Tender by Kate Allen is one of the best books I’ve read this year.  It straddles that mystical line between upper middle grade and the entry into young adult books.  Lucy’s mom, a marine biologist who studied sharks, died a few years ago. Since then, it’s been Lucy and her dad taking care of each other.  When tragedy once against strikes Lucy, she becomes fiercely devoted to a shark research project her mother was heading up before her death. Full of gorgeous illustrations and lots of cool shark info, this is a perfect read for Shark Week! Plus, it works great with some of the current shark sightings in and around Cape Cod.  

Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916 by Michael Capuzzo is a heart-pounding narrative nonfiction RIDE.  In 1916 the Jersey Shore was a resort paradise that people from all over the country (and even world) visited.  Over 12 days in July, everything changed. A shark (likely a great white), attacked five people and killed four of them.  One of the attacks took place ten miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean! This obviously set off wave of panic that led to shark hunts aimed at eliminating the shark(s).  This isn’t a book I’d recommend reading on the beach….

Speaking of great whites……Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy is a must-read this Shark Week.  Katherine Roy was lucky enough to visit California’s Farallon Islands in 2012 to observe  the great white sharks that migrate there to dine on seals. The islands can only be visited by scientists, so Roy’s book provides a rare glimpse of these sharks in their natural habitat.  This is a stunning book that will enthrall children and adults this Shark Week.


And last but not least, you could always read Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People” and then watch Jaws! Ibsen’s play, about the effects of pollution on a small town,  influenced Peter Benchley’s Jaws and, of course, the movie of the same name.

Read the Rainbow: An LGBTQIA+ YA Lit Infographic

As I mentioned earlier, we’ve been doing a lot of youth staff training on diversity and inclusion at the Fort Worth Public Library. My supervisor, Kathryn King, and I recently talked with library staff about LGBTQIA+ literature for youth of all ages. Today, I’m going to share with you some of the YA/Teen Literature information we shared with staff.

To create the information you see below, I adapted a tool I had previously created. I spent months reading and working with a variety of trusted and respected experts in the field. I also shared this on Twitter to get feedback. What you see below is the culmination of months of research and vetting. That being said, it’s important that you know that the number one determination after quality to get on this infographic is that we had to have multiple copies in our system. It’s an RA tool to help staff connect patrons with books so we are looking specifically for books that our library system owns.

I want to give special thanks to Dahlia Adler from LGBTQ Reads who gave a lot of her personal time and energy to help me make sure that I got this right for our teens. Any mistakes made, however, are mine and just means that I got one of her feedback notes wrong.

Although we focused on fiction, there is one award winning nonfiction title that I highly recommend every one read:

Resources

LGBTQ Reads https://lgbtqreads.com/

YA Pride Masterlist http://www.yapride.org/masterlist/

10 Transgender/Nonbinary YA Titles (not all Own Voices) https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/teen/10-great-ya-novels-transgendernonbinary-main-characters/

Queer Books for Teens http://queerbooksforteens.com

Our Most Anticipated LGBTQAP YAs of 2019: July – December

Middle Grade LGBTQ Reads

LGBTQ Reads for Middle Graders

Great LGBTQ Inclusive Picture & Middle Grade Books

LGBTQ Science Fiction and Fantasy YA by Own Voices Authors https://bookriot.com/2017/02/15/lgbtqa-science-fiction-and-fantasy-ya-by-ownvoices-authors/

#OwnVoices LGBTQ Reads https://bookishnessandtea.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/50-ownvoices-queer-books-to-read-this-pride-month/

Barnes and Noble: 25 YA #OwnVoices of 2019 https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/teen/25-of-our-most-anticipated-ownvoices-must-reads-of-2019/

Best own voice LGBTQIAP+ books https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/105318.Best_own_voice_LGBTQIAP_books

Resources for Building a Collection and Supporting LGBTQIA+ Teens

Things to Consider Regarding Own Voices and LGBTQIA+ Lit

The Problem with #OwnVoices and LGBTQIA+ literature: There’s one more aspect to #ownvoices in LGBTQ lit: the pressure to be an out author. See: https://bookriot.com/2017/04/21/the-problem-with-ownvoices-lgbtq-lit/

And always be sure and check here at TLT as Amanda MacGregor works hard every month to share lists of new and forthcoming LGBTQIA+ books to share with teens.

Cindy Crushes Programming: Find a Good Book with Miss Cindy

Today librarian Cindy Shutts is sharing with us how she turned reader’s advisory into a simple yet fun and effective program.

I love Reader’s Advisory! It is one of my favorite things to do. I try to read as many books as I can.  Every year I like to do a Reader’s Advisory based program called Find a Book with Miss Cindy. To make the program more fun and appealing, I provide snacks. Teens love food!

This is a pretty simple program. I give everyone a Reader’s Advisory survey and have them fill them out (see the end of this post). I let them enjoy the juice and snacks as they fill out the surveys. One question I receive is “Do I have to check out books to attend?” I let them know that they do not have to check out materials. I will have materials available to check out if they wish, but it is certainly not a requirement. I know not everyone is able to check out materials for a variety of reasons and I don’t want them to feel unwelcome. I want to be able to give them recommendations even if it does not help circulation. I often look at thrift stores for books for teens to make sure they have access to books. If they can’t check a book out, maybe they can still take one home.

I set up tables with some of my favorite books on them. Often books are checked out and I have to use older titles that are in and available at the time of this program.

An important note: Please include many own voices books. This is so important. My teens often look for own voices books and really need them. When putting together any time of display or RA you should always make sure that you have a diverse and inclusive variety of books available so that every teen who walks through your door is represented.

After teens fill out the survey, I then work with them individually to help them find a book that I think best matches their interests and past reading experience. I go to the table of books and start to pick them out for the teens based on the results of their survey. I often bring them to the table with me, particularly if I know they have read a lot of the books. This helps me know what they have already read. My goal is simple: to try and connect them with some new books that they might enjoy reading based on their survey.

Find a Good Book with Miss Cindy

Book Survey

  • Name your favorite authors?
  • Name your favorite books?
  • What genres do you like?
  • What movies and TV shows do you watch?
  • What video games do you enjoy?
  • Do you have any hobbies?

Notes

Final thoughts: This is one of my favorite programs to do. It is cheap and fun. Everyone usually leaves happy. One reader had read pretty much everything, but a copy of On The Come Up by Angie Thomas has just come and I could give that to them. It’s a pretty rewarding experience. This program is great for prolific readers or readers who are new to young adult books.