Worth Reading: Round 3

As you know, we are living in contentious times. Marches and protests abound, as do accusations of fake news. How does the library fit into this world?

Teen Librarian Toolbox tweeted several suggestions, all of which are posted here. Included are purchase diverse books and create source analysis documents for users.

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The University of Minnesota put together an immigration syllabus that “seeks to provide historical context to current debates over immigration reform, integration, and citizenship.”

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I created a book review article for our county’s local paper about immigration stories, ranging from current Somali and Hmong immigrant/refugee stories to the Swedish immigration stories of the 1800s. Encouraging our users to read outside of their comfort zone is important.

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Many organizations have crafted infographics detailing how to tell if a news source is accurate, biased or fake. IFLA has a nice blog post summarizing the issue and including some resources for libraries.

And the Winner is….

Today is the day! The Youth Media Awards (YMA) were announced this morning at the ALA Midwinter Conference in Atlanta. For more information on the awards themselves and the various honor books, check out School Library Journal, The Horn Book and The American Library Association.

The Newbery goes to… 

Kelly Barnhill for The Girl Who Drank the Moon

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(Goodreads summary)

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule–but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

The acclaimed author of The Witch’s Boy has created another epic coming-of-age fairy tale destined to become a modern classic.

The Caldecott goes to…

Javaka Steptoe for Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

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(Goodreads summary)

Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art work had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message and art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean–and definitely not inside the lines–to be beautiful.

The Printz AND the

Correta Scott King Award go to

John Lewis and Andrew Aydin for March: Book Three

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(Goodreads summary)

Welcome to the stunning conclusion of the award-winning and best-selling MARCH trilogy. Congressman John Lewis, an American icon and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, joins co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell to bring the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today’s world.

Upcoming 2017 Releases

Now that we’ve gone through all (or most of) the Best of 2016 books, it’s on to 2017! Forever Young Adult released their “Most Anticipated Books of 2017: Sequels and Follow-ups” list.

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Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

I have to admit, I have no interest in the majority of these titles. However, I am all about Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You) and I need to know what happens! Stephanie from Forever Young Adult pretty much sums up my feelings on the third book in the series: “Why I’m Excited: More Lara Jean, what the what?! But I’m so torn, y’all! On the one hand, I love Lara Jean and her family, and I will absolutely jump at the chance to see more of them. But on the other hand, she and [REDACTED] ended the last book in a good place, and if there’s anything we know about telling a story, is that there must be some kind of conflict to keep it interesting. And, guys, I don’t want there to be any more dramalama for Lara Jean and [REDACTED]. Why do you do this to me, Jenny Han?”

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The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

I LOVED Code Name Verity so I’m super pumped about the prequel, The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein. It has a lot to live up to, and I don’t think it will pack quite the same punch as Code Name Verity (for obvious reasons), but Wein created such wonderful characters I’m excited to spend time with them again.

I also checked out Forever Young Adult’s list of upcoming YA standalones, in addition to various Goodreads lists, and found myself a few more intriguing titles.

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

This is an incredibly niche genre, but I find I enjoy fantasy most when it’s set in historical time periods. Think The Night Circus. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue seems to fit this niche nicely. And there’s a boy-boy love story, which I still (unfortunately) do not see a lot of in literature.

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Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

New Sarah Dessen! Hooray! I love her. Once and for All promises to be just as delightful as all the rest of Dessen’s novels. I can’t believe she’s written 13!

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon is billed as a “laugh out loud, heartfelt, YA romantic comedy about two Indian American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.” I think that pretty much sums up why I want to read it. Also #weneeddiversebooks and #ownvoices

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Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry

First, amazing cover! Second, I really enjoy middle grade novels in verse. Add that to our main character having Tourettes Syndrome and changing schools, and I’m officially intrigued.

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Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King

I really enjoyed A.S. King’s Ask the Passengers (side note, interesting that the YA novels are under A.S. King and this MG novel is Amy Sarig) and I’m interested to see how she writes for Middle Grade. Me and Marvin Gardens is about a lonely boy who befriends a secret creature who eats plastic, and only plastic. The Goodreads blurb describes it as “her most personal novel yet, Printz Honor Award winner Amy Sarig King tells the story of a friendship that could actually save the world.”

Brightly also has a list of 2017 Picture Books. I’m very excited about the Jim Henson biography and Anna Dewdney’s latest. I was so sad to hear of her passing!

Worth Reading: Round 2

Another collection of articles and blog posts about libraries and librarianship that are particularly relevant today.

#OwnVoices

Kayla Whaley writes elqoently on the subject in “#OwnVoices: Why We Need Diverse Author’s in Children’s Literature.” Whaley writes, “Sometimes the characters and stories they create are wonderful! But many times, they’re rife with stereotypes, tropes, and harmful portrayals. Time and again, marginalized people have seen their stories taken from them, misused, and published as authentic, while marginalized authors have had to jump hurdle after hurdle to be published themselves.”

“The Power of a Series”

I needed this post. I often lament the plethora of series in Juvenile and Young Adult lit. I want to tell kids, “read outside of Magic Treehouse or The Selection!” Part of it is because I want our young readers to experience different books and different characters and part of it is because I think it’s a marketing ploy on the behalf of the publishers (especially with The Selection series). However, Katie Muhtaris makes an excellent argument for the necessity of series.

Muhtaris wrote, “I wasn’t a reluctant reader, but I was a fair weather one.  Reading came easily to me. It was no effort, it was just there.  It seemed to please others when I read aloud nicely.  It wasn’t for me.” This description sounds an awful lot like my brother, who was a steady series reader (Bailey School Kids and Captain Underpants when he was in elementary school and Redwall and Harry Potter as he grew older). I can’t say he is an avid reader now, but it took investment in those series to encourage his individual pleasure reading, and make reading his.

Just like the box of Nancy Drew books opened up Muhtaris to reading for her: “That, my friends, is the power of the series.  The power for stories to become a part of who we are.  As a teacher I know that to help readers I often need to get them hooked on a series.  The predictable plot structures, the familiarity with characters, setting, and genre all help support developing readers.  But they help kids like me, too.  I was a developing reader.  Maybe my assessments were high, my letter was good, my lexile was fine, my standardized numbers were acceptable.  But I was still a developing reader until the moment when I realized I could take charge of my reading life.  That reading wasn’t for anyone else but me.”

“The Secret Life of the Librarian”

My friend over at No1Librarian posted this article on her blog. The outreach librarian vision is something my current library is working towards (although we all still have desks), and I love this mentality. We serve the community, not just those that walk in our doors, and with library usership dwindling, we need to make our presence known even more.

Anonymous writes, “The only regret I have about my long career in public libraries is that I have not been able to convince more librarians that they should be less book-focused and more people-focused; that they should look outward to the community rather than inward to the library; that they should get rid of desks and counters and do more active roving inside the library and outside in the community; that they should put less emphasis on the excellence of the collection and more on providing books that people actually want to read; and, most important of all, that libraries should be community-led and based on the needs of the public they serve.”