Find love, for love in a broken world will comfort you. Hold on to hope; it will sustain you. Have faith, for in the end it will save you.
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This month’s display in the library is inspired by the Cheshire Cat and zany mix of characters in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland .
We’re all mad here.
The weeks leading up to and following Spring Break often feel like madness. But, in the library, we’re mad about books, especially books with mind-bending adventures!
Here are a few books featured this month where readers can expect a wacky, adrenaline packed, adventure with unexpected twists and turns. Many genres are represented in this month’s display as adventures.
I can be such a girl. I gravitate to first-love-lost-tales like a moth to a flame. I’d like to think that I’ve advanced in the stages of a lifelong reader, but whenever one of these young adult novels like Gayle Forman’s Just One Day or Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty surfaces on my radar, I’m right back at reading for autobiographical experiences and little 17-year-old me has her heart broken and repaired over and over again.
What I love about Katie Cotugno’s How to Love is how the author grapples with the reality of first loves. Recently, I came across a video on Pinterest where Laurie Halse Anderson is talking about her newest novel, The Impossible Knife of Memory. She discusses her approach of writing an adolescent love story, as not necessarily one of romantic love, but familial love and seperation, finding an adopted family in a group of friends, and then finally that first romance. How to Love captures the dynamic interrelationship between all of these spheres: family, friends, and romance.
Throughout the month of January, I’ll be sharing book trailers highlighting the fantastic line-up of authors that will be at this year’s YAK Fest (Young Adult Keller Book Festival) on January 25th at Keller Central High School in Keller, TX. This will be our third YAK Fest thanks to a generous donation from the Hudson Foundation, which allows us to bring together YA authors and readers for free to attendees!
I’m thrilled to meet every author coming to YAK, but when I saw that Andrew Smith was in the line-up I literally squealed and ran to see which of his books were on the shelf so I could find readers for them asap!
Andrew Smith’s Marbury Lens and its sequel Passenger are quite the hot commodity thanks in part to an adrenaline-packed, thrilling book trailer.
Make sure you order extra copies for your classroom or library–they’ll be needed after you share this trailer!
This year, Smith has received a lot of acclaim for Winger from reviewers, librarians, and YA fanatics.
Smart, wickedly funny…In a magnificently frenetic first-person narration that includes clever short comics, charts and diagrams…Smith deftly builds characters—readers will suddenly realize they’ve effortlessly fallen in love with them—and he laces meaning and poignantly real dialogue into uproariously funny scatological and hormonally charged humor, somehow creating a balance between the two that seems to intensify both extremes. Bawdily comic but ultimately devastating, this is unforgettable.”
(Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
Thanks to a terrific librarian-friend, his next novel, Grasshopper Jungle, arrived today for me to read before I see him in a few weeks! (*Fangirl squeak of excitement*)
Come meet Andrew Smith on January 25th at YAK Fest ’14!
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Tomorrow I am hosting a hot chocolate and story time event in the library for classes. I thought I’d use this opportunity to re-cap some of the hottest YA books from 2013 with readers, hoping to put just a few more books in their hands during Winter Break.
This playlist contains 34 book trailers for YA books released in 2013. I chose not to include sequels and installments in series, but instead, I’ll be making a special playlist for new installments from 2013.
What were your favorites from 2013?
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Thanks to ice-mageddon 2013, I was able to catch up on a sackful of books that I’ve been eager to read. One book in particular captured my rapt attention for an entire evening, enchanting me with a love story I only thought I knew. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson is a gentle, yet fierce retelling of Peter Pan. Narrated by none other thank Tinker Bell herself, the story takes us into the wildest and most compassionate places of Tiger Lily’s heart.
“Sometimes love means not being able to bear seeing the one you love the way they are, when they’re not what you hoped for them.”
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
Imagine what would happen if the TV series “The Bachelor” got a dystopian make-over. You’d get Kiera Cass’s The Selection.
I am admittedly drawn to book covers with pretty dresses. Among some of my favorites are The Luxe, Matched, and Wither. I’m a sucker for ball gowns, which is why I first grabbed Cass’s series. After I read the summary, however, I was hesitant. You see, I despise “The Bachelor” for its depiction of self-serving, ruthless, catty, women and misogynistic GQ-wanna-be boys.
But, I started reading anyways after several of my regulars demanded that I read nothing else until I had tried The Selection.
Your girls who are already fans of the dystopian will devour this series. It’s complete with the warring classes, love triangle, plot twists, and budding-heroine. I also have had great success with my “non-reader” girls. The science fiction aspect is understated, appearing really only in the fact that the series takes place in the future after World War IV.
The Elite, which is out now, continues the trilogy with The One set to be released May 6th.
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Setting the Stage
When a veteran English teacher came to me to share her thoughts and seek inspiration on getting her students excited about nonfiction, my heart went pitter-patter. Over the last decade at my campus, I’ve seen a tremendous shift to emphasizing recreational reading and seeing our students as readers. More teachers bring their classes to the library to be introduced to new books, maintain a classroom library, talk to their students about their reading habits, and provide students with the time and space to read in class–but the primary recipient of all of this love has been fiction.
In my graduate library courses, we were encouraged to read all genres widely. When we reached the nonfiction module, I sighed and told myself I’d get through it. I wasn’t that kind of reader, I thought. But, then I was introduced to books like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World’s Deadliest Weapon, and How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous and realized that I was, in fact, a nonfiction reader! Suddenly, I remembered such favorites from my reading life as Devil in the White City, Diary of Anne Frank, and An Unfinished Life: A Memoir by Lillian Hellman.
When and why had these reading experiences taken backseat to their fiction counterparts?
I was excited to embark on an journey with this teacher’s freshman English students that would allow me to promote nonfiction and learn more about the nonfiction reading habits of teens all while re-kindling my own flame for nonfiction reads
To set the stage, we decided to adapt a strategy that is a staple in the library and in classrooms: the book pass.
I first found the book pass as a budding Reading Specialist while reading Janet Allen’s Yellow Brick Roads: Shared and Guided Paths to Independent Reading. When cultivating reading lives of students–especially teen readers–choice is paramount.
The Book Pass quickly (and messily) allows students to explore multiple titles, recording their thoughts, observations, and wonderings, and then passing them along. It’s safe because students don’t have to commit to anything they don’t like. It’s effective because out of 200 books that are scattered around 8 or more tables, each student is bound to find something that he or she can “date.”
Book passes in our classes served to get students looking at a variety of books, making their own judgments on the interest and readability of the books, and finding books they were willing to seek out…(Allen, 2000, p. 103)
When I entered the library and brought my book pass with me, I made a few adaptations here and there. These days, I set the activity up like a speed-dating experience. We talk about how dating a book is like dating a person–you judge it by the outside, but have to remember to listen to what it has to say before you make up your mind about it. I find that teens latch on to this idea of reading relationships.
My book passes have also been organized by theme, topic, or genre–depending on the class and teacher’s needs.
While preparing for my first nonfiction speed-date activity, I had to ask myself, how do teens select nonfiction books? Probably the same way most of us do–by topic. So, I came up with 8 broad topics to create tables.
Beating the Odds
Youth in Conflict
Now, the nonfiction speed date was much more difficult for me to facilitate because the nonfiction section is the weakest part of my collection. It was an eye-opening experience to see the gaps in selection. And, due to limited availability, I had to break my own cardinal rule and NOT allow students to check out the books they previewed right then and there like I do with my fiction book passes. We had wait lists dozens deep for books like The Blind Side and Steve Jobs.
Most students walked away with several books on their to-read lists and many options for their nonfiction reading assignment.
The next step was to begin to support their actual reading experiences so that they could share their books through book reviews.
In the next post, Real-World Readers Write Reviews, I’ll share a process that I use for any type of writing that allows students to deconstruct a mentor text-in this case a nonfiction book review. Stay tuned!
Prime time television is ripe this Fall with fairy tale spin-offs. ABC’s Once Upon a Time is a mash-up of some of your favorite heroes, heroines, and villains! This Present.me features popular Young Adult novels with a fairy tale twist in conjunction with our English I classes experimenting with their own fractured fairy tales.
Looking for more fantastic ideas for your teen readers? Visit
Media Mania—Magic and Mayhem: Mesmerizing Fairy Tale Retellings for Teens at SLJ.com for Joy Fleishhacker’s list of top pics.
What’s your favorite fractured fairy tale?
Today’s Reel Reading for Real Readers highlights Ask the Passengers by A.S. King. The titles that appear at the bottom of this glog all touch upon LGBT themes and issues–but here’s my challenge for you: don’t keep these books on reserve for “those teens” who might be experiencing issues and conflicts of their own. I feel like sometimes we reserve LGBT booklists as bibliotherapy for gay teens. I’m a full believer in books as instruments of healing, but I’m also a big believer in the power of books to introducing teens to choices, lifestyles, and experiences that they may never have themselves, but when learning how to be empathetic, they would benefit from reading about. What I particularly love about these books is that they include a complex cast of characters, representing diversity fully and with intriguing situations and conflicts.