Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Readers Advisory: World War Z and Israeli Female Soldiers in Teen YA

A friend and I went and watched World War Z over the weekend. I haven’t read the book by Max Brooks (all of the copies in our system have been “lost” for a while now, so unless I go out and buy it for myself I won’t be able to) but I enjoyed the movie- I liked the way the zombies moved, and the twist of how they solved the crisis. One thing that I especially enjoyed was that, while in Israel, they portrayed the Israeli soldiers realistically.  

Israel is the only country in the world that has a mandatory military service requirement for women. They have to serve at least 24 months, and generally serve during their late teen and early adult years (17-24 years of age). More information can be found here and here.

In a movie like World War Z, you expect to see men fighting all over everywhere. And you saw that in the American soldiers- I don’t remember a single female field soldier anywhere, except those on the naval ship. However, when Brad Pitt was going throughout Israel, he was surrounded by young, female soldiers of the Israeli army- including one who plays a huge part in the movie later on. It so accurately portrays what female fighters do on a daily basis it made such a striking impression on me, mainly because you don’t often see that in any of our mainstream movies. Unless they are the main character, we’ll get one or two token females, and that’s it. And it’s extremely hard to find in teen books.  I’ve found four- if you have more, share in the comments.


Aggie is eighteen and getting ready to do her service for the Israeli Army. She could get a cushy assignment—maybe pushing paper somewhere—or she could just take her chances. Only, Aggie isn’t like that. Despite her small size and the fact that she needs to gain weight even to make the grade, and despite the total disbelief of her entire family (except her grandmother, who is an old freedom fighter and don’t you forget it), Aggie is trying out for an elite combat unit.


Valerie begins her story as she finishes her exams, breaks up with her boyfriend, and leaves for service with the Israeli army. Nothing has prepared her for the strict routines, grueling marches, poor food, lack of sleep and privacy, or crushing of initiative that she now faces. Offering a glimpse into the life of a typical Israeli teen, even as it lays bare the relentless nature of war, Valerie’s story is one young readers will have a hard time forgetting.


In a relentlessly energetic and arresting voice marked by humor and fierce intelligence, Shani Boianjiu, winner of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35,” creates an unforgettably intense world, capturing that unique time in a young woman’s life when a single moment can change everything.


Photographer Rachel Papo, who was Serial No. 3817131 during her service in the Israeli Air Force from 1988–1990, reveals these young girls caught in transient moments of self-reflection and uncertainty, as if stuck in a state of contradiction. Rather than portraying the soldier as heroic, confident, or proud, Papo’s photographs reveal the soldier and the teenage girl in constant negotiation, caught between two extremes: a soldier who lives on an army base surrounded by hundreds just like her, but underneath her uniform, there is an individual who wishes to be noticed.

Zombies! All our undead posts in one place

As a zombie fan, I have posted here about zombies multiple times.  In preparation for October, I thought I would put them all in one place for you.  I am very considerate like that.  See, I care about you.  They include fun booklists, programming ideas. and a discussion I had with my then pre-teen daughter about why people like zombies.  She was understandably confused on the issue.

What’s the Deal with Zombies Anyway?

The post in which I try to explain to my then 8-year-old why people would even be interested in reading and watching these scary, decaying creatures that want to eat your brains.  Spoiler alert: it’s only kind of about the zombies.

Reading the Zombie Apolcaypse
A list of amazing zombie reads.  This list is now two years old so you could help us update it by adding your new favorites in the comments.  

New Zombie Reviews:
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers 
The Infects by Sean Beaudoin
Fire and Ash by Jonathan Maberry
Contaminated by Em Garner
Sick by Tom Leveen 
Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi
Monsters by Ilsa J. Bick
Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart
Inhuman by Kat Falls (Fri)

Fiction Lessons from The Walking Dead by Carrie Mesrobian (coming Wed)

Zombie Prom
Stephanie Wilkes talks about her annual Zombie Prom.  All the cool undead kids are doing it.

TPiB: It’s a Dead Man’s Party
Cool programming ideas you can do in your library whether you are a zombie or just running from them.

TPiB: Bring Out Your Dead, zombie party take 2

Zombies VS. Humans Lock-In, with a Doctor Who twist

Top 10 Survival Tips I Learned from Reading YA
Look, my chances are not good in a post-apocalyptic world.  I like to lie in bed, read a book and drink pop with either my air conditioning or heater on.  I don’t like to cook.  I do not take my indoor plumbing for granted.   Should the apocalypse happen, however, I have learned these 10 tips for survival which I am now going to share with you.  See, even zombie books are educational.

So if you want to talk zombies, leave a comment.  Share your favorite zombie reads, your zombie apocalypse survival tips, programming ideas and more.  And remember, don’t let them eat your brains!

From Page to Screen and Coming to a Theater Near You

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a movie junkie. Even more, I love movies that are based off of books- the best of both worlds, right? Except not when there are huge parts that *I* think may be important parts that are left out for editing reasons (think Harry Potter 7) or a change in the ending (The Firm).  At any rate, as more and more studios use books for their inspirations, I have more chances to enjoy (or rant) about how the conversion went.  Here are some that are coming up for this summer- are you going to see them?
One that I am super excited about (even though I haven’t seen a trailer yet) is Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes.  Set to come out June 7, I am buzzing that one of my favorite books is making it to the big screen!  I can only hope that it makes it to theaters nation-wide- I was so bummed that Fat Kid Rules the World was never playing anywhere near me (and I am in a HUGE metropolitan area).
I also want to see Geography Club. Based off of Bret Hartinger’s book, the trailer looks really good.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQb2-a685sw?rel=0]


Midnight’s Children based from Salman Rushdie’s book….

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6T35sFH_as?rel=0]
Star Trek: Into Darkness, which while not based off of any *current* book that I can find, has TONS of book tie-ins, so I am completely counting it.

The Great Gatsby (directed by those who brought you Moulin Rogue– and I  may have to get the soundtrack if the music in the movie lives up to the trailer)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN183rJltNM?rel=0]

World War Z, which I’ve not read the book yet, and won’t before the movie because I want to be surprised….

 [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EC7P5WdUko?rel=0] 

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, the second in the series….

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KoOtiuSjuI?rel=0]

 Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, based of the first in the Mortal Instruments series (which has 5 books so far and the 6th set for publication in 2014)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHlwRsl2uFk?rel=0] 

Carrie, based off of Stephen King’s work, and evoking the memories of the movie with John Travolta…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkjVoW3WZdI?rel=0]

Which ones are you looking forward to?