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1. Call for Applications: KABANATA Young Adult Writer’s Workshop



The Philippine Boardon Books for Young People (PBBY) formally launches the KABANATA Young Adult Writer’s Workshop with a call for fellowship applications. Slated to begin in October 2014 in Quezon City, KABANATA aims to provide a venue and support system to writers who share in PBBY’s commitment to the promotion of a culture of reading among Filipino youth by providing this growing population with books that recognize their culture, aspirations, and sense of maturity.

For a period of at least six months, fellows accepted to KABANATA will meet monthly for learning sessions with industry experts, and progress discussions with their co-fellows. Upon novel completion, PBBY will help fellows with publication by inviting publishers to bid on the finished works. With this, KABANATA hopes to produce chapter books and young adult novels that will set the bar for similar endeavors to aspire to, and be the growth spurt of what will hopefully become a thriving, diverse, and quality Filipino literature inventory for kids and teens.

Applicants are asked to submit, among other requirements, a novel-in-progress represented by three chapters and a chapter outline. Novels-in-progress should be aimed towards children within the age of 9 to 16. Those interested may visit pbby.org.ph or bit.ly/kabanata to see the application guidelines, fellowship requirements, and complete workshop details. For further inquiries, contact KABANATA via pbby.kabanata@gmail.com or (02) 352-6765 local 119.

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is a private, non-stock, non-profit organization committed to the development and promotion of children’s literature in the Philippines and is the lead agency in the annual celebration of National Children’s Book Day (NCBD), which falls on the third Tuesday of July.

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2. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: December 20

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists and Awards

Road Trip! 10 (Classic) Audio Book Suggestions for the Whole Family | Redeemed Reader http://ow.ly/rTuiJ

Reviews on a Theme: Time Travel #YAlit from @lenoreva http://ow.ly/rTtP3

A list of SFF #kidlit where SNOW is an important part of setting at Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/rTtHV

Plenty of great ideas here (categorized by age + genre) | 100 Magnificent Children’s Books 2013 — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/rTwps #kidlit

RT @90SecondNewbery: @anitasilvey's predictions about the books from 2013 that we are unlikely to forget any time soon. http://ow.ly/rPFIj

Armchair #Cybils Picture Book Round-up 2 | alibrarymama http://ow.ly/rOE3x  #kidlit

Sport-themed Books Not for Sporty Kids only #Kidlit #Cybils from Jennifer @5M4B http://ow.ly/rOD3i

The 2013 Nerdy Award Ballot is up @NerdyBookClub (voting open to end of day 12/21) http://ow.ly/rODNj #kidlit

New Book Read Alike Recommendations by @heisereads NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/rVszq #kidlit #yalit

14 Children's Books about Trying New Things from @momandkiddo | Includes my fave THE PINK REFRIGERATOR http://ow.ly/rOBxx #kidlit

Green Light YA Reads: A Flowchart (books ok for 11-12 year olds) | @catagator @bookriot http://ow.ly/rKzYE #yalit

Book list: African-American Interest Young Readers' Titles 2013–2014 http://ow.ly/rKsNA via @CBCBook #kidlit

Best Books of 2013 from @NPRBooks via @tashrow #kidlit #yalit http://ow.ly/rVr17

Stacked: Looking Ahead to Science Fiction and Fantasy in 2014: Part One http://ow.ly/rVtpX  #yalit

Gender and Diversity

No Girls Allowed — @lizb on a truly dreadful revelation, how superhero cartoon execs seek to portray girls as lesser http://ow.ly/rTvYR

Sigh RT @tashrow Of the 124 Authors Who Made the ‘Times’ Top 10 Bestseller Lists in 2012, Only 3 Were People of Color http://buff.ly/18mAJY1

BooaholicGrowing Bookworms

A good early #literacy activity from @NoVALibraryMom | Santa Letters http://ow.ly/rTv71

RT @FirstBook: Great articles @washingtonpost on inspiring #reluctant #readers! So many books from our dear friend @The_Pigeon! http://wapo.st/Jtd7Wl

Good tips for Encouraging Your Child to Read Over Winter Break from Raising Great Readers with Great Books http://ow.ly/rODHR #literacy

Encouraging kids with the "luxury" of extra reading time over the holidays, by @frankisibberson @ChoiceLiteracy http://ow.ly/rOA5R

Holiday Gift Guides

It's beginning to look a lot like BOOKSHELF - Great pairs of book to give kids 2013 from Paula at Pink Me http://ow.ly/rTyL0

A holiday #kidlit book-giving guide with reccommendations based on emerging #literacy levels from @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/rODp6

Kidlitosphere

Always entertaining | 2013 Children’s Lit: The Year in Miscellanea — @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/rTxd7 #kidlit

On Reading and Writing

Here's What Your Favorite Children's Book Series Says About You, @HuffPostBooks via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/rRAEU

Lots of great titles: Children's Publishers Choose Their 2013 Favorites in @PublishersWkly http://ow.ly/rRAfh #kidlit

What’s New About New Adult? by @catagator @sophiebiblio + @LizB in @HornBook http://ow.ly/rRxAz #yalit

RT @BookPatrol: "the results are clear and consistent" - Readers are not nerds! Studies show adult readers "active and social" http://ow.ly/rQMlv

Lumos! How Harry Potter Switched the Light On My Reading Life by @AnnieWhitlock @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/rOCQz

Parenting

Popcorn Surprise is the latest Random Act of Kindness for Kids from @CoffeeandCrayon http://ow.ly/rTyVF

10 Ways to Get Your Children Writing in the Holidays from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/rVsiQ  #literacy

Programs and Research

BookOnBedbanner180Ask Amy makes her annual pitch for the Book on Every Bed movement (with Family Reading Partnership) http://ow.ly/rTsIY [Image credit to Family Reading Partnership]

U.S. Math Education Still in the Doldrums, @Freakonomics blog on PISA results and poverty not being the explanation http://ow.ly/rOAKD

Heartwarming | The Wonderful Joy of Ballou HS & Their New Books! Guys Lit Wire and @chasingray http://ow.ly/rVsUj #yalit

Schools and Libraries

Tweet, Tweet: Using Twitter to Promote A Culture of #Literacy by teacher @thereadingzone @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/rRzYQ

What One Resource Would You Refer to for Teaching and Learning? asks @ReadByExample | Replies here: http://ow.ly/rKAnS

How to teach… reading for pleasure | @Guardian Teacher Network via @librareanne http://ow.ly/rVna1

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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3. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: December 6

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. As we near the end of the year, there are lots and lots of lists! Also several posts with book and literacy-themed gift ideas. Of course any of the book lists could be a fertile source for gift ideas, too. (And don't miss MotherReader's 150 Ways to Give a Book, updated for 2013.)

Book Lists and Awards

The 2013 @HornBook Fanfare list is here, #picturebooks, fiction, and nonfiction http://ow.ly/rsgkK via @tashrow #kidlit

The finalists for the 2014 William C. Morris Award... in #yalit, from @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/rsbw5

Favourite reads of 2013 as chosen by 25 (children’s) authors and illustrators (and @playbythebook ) http://ow.ly/rqn64 #kidlit

The Stacked #yalit genre of the month is Humor http://ow.ly/rqigr

Two thumbs up for the ALSC Tween Book List from Stacy Dillon. I like it too, and I love tween books http://ow.ly/rqgqe #kidlit

The #kidlit + #yalit Categories for the 2013 GoodReads Choice Awards, reported by @tashrow http://ow.ly/rqh4t

Children's Literature at the SSHE Library: Winter Wonderland: Books About Snow and Cold http://ow.ly/rnp5b #kidlit

A varied list: Best Teen Books of 2013 from @KirkusReviews http://ow.ly/rnnSI via @bkshelvesofdoom #yalit

20 Magical Children's Christmas Books To Read Aloud from @buzzfeed http://ow.ly/ruY0K via @PWKidsBookshelf #kidlit

Top Ten Hanukkah Picture Books for Elementary Classroom Read-Alouds | Raising Great Readers with Great Books http://ow.ly/rl0RH

Our 2nd Nerdversary and The 2013 Nerdy Award Finalists | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/rl0kf

Gift Ideas

Cybils2013SmallBetter late than never! Shop #Cybils for Black Friday (or CyberMonday, or anytime) http://ow.ly/rl1br

Looking for unique gifts? “Lunch Lady” Author @StudioJJK Hosts Scholarship Auction for Art Education | @sljournal http://ow.ly/ruQnT

Another #YAlit subscription service, this one from @soho_press + why @bkshelvesofdoom loves subscriptions! http://ow.ly/rqfrA

Why You Should Give a Book and Help Raise a Reader, from @SheilaRuth with links to book ideas like @MotherReader http://ow.ly/rqf94

Fun stuff! Top 10 #Literacy Stocking Stuffers for Kids from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/rl0XV

Growing Bookworms

Great idea from @LiteracyLaunch | Have kids help hunt for books by call no. at the library http://ow.ly/ruV1w

YES! Mo Willems @The_Pigeon on how parents can create readers: "Just make it fun" http://ow.ly/ruXb0 @OnParenting via @PWKidsBookshelf

#Literacy Ideas + Book Recommendations for the Christmas Season from @ReadingTub http://ow.ly/rqhbN

Expanding Our Ideas About What it Mean to Be a Reader (with audiobooks) | @clareandtammy @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/rffTm

I could relate to @StaceyLoscalzo's daughter asking for "Books With a Story, Please"http://ow.ly/ruWgM #literacy

Kidlitosphere

Carnival_logo#Kidlit fans, check out the November Carnival of Children’s Literature Roundup | Lindsey McDivitt http://ow.ly/rkZjv

On Reading and Writing

Happily Ever After? — @lizb muses on #yalit romance and whether readers require a happy ending http://ow.ly/rnoFT

Wherefore Art Thou Fly Guy Read Alikes? asks @100scopenotes (early readers w/ attention-grabbing characters) http://ow.ly/ruWzw #kidlit

Programs, Events, and Research

JK Rowling + Henry Winkler among top 10 #literacy heroes named by charity http://ow.ly/ruXw7 @BBCNews via @PWKidsBookshelf

BookstoreDayTake Your Child to a Bookstore Day Returns December 7th http://ow.ly/rdq6z via @PublishersWkly

Guys Lit Wire: Spread Some Holiday Good Cheer With Ballou High School & Pledge To Read 5 Books With the Students http://ow.ly/rffHF

NationalLatino-500x329Timely! The 2014 National Latino Children’s Literature Conference is coming reports @fuseeight http://ow.ly/ruWoN #kidlit

Schools and Libraries

Questions Matter! Helping Children (& Teachers) to Ask Good Ones by @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/rsbje #literacy

For those looking to hold great storytines, @lochwouters links to a Storytime Brain Trust http://ow.ly/rsa5t #literacy #libraries

Does your library offer a Winter Reading Club for kids? @abbylibrarian describes hers at @alscblog http://ow.ly/rs8Do

A great idea for building family #literacy: Bedtime Reading at School by Jenny Orr @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/rqhWr

author, author! | Advice from @himissjulie on arranging author visits at libraries http://ow.ly/rqg3U

Sad. Thoughts from @himissjulie on being suspect as a childless woman who works with kids in a professional capacity http://ow.ly/rl0xu

On sharing your reading life with students, to get them hooked on reading | @DebKrygeris@KirbyLarson http://ow.ly/ruVUq

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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4. Cybils Nominations Open Tomorrow!

Cybils2013SmallNominations for the 2013 Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards (the Cybils), open tomorrow, October 1st, and run through October 15th. Now is your chance to show a bit of love for the children's and YA books that you've loved over the past year. The link to the nomination form will be live at Cybils.com  at 12:00 a.m. PST on October 1 (late tonight, for any West Coast night owls). 

You can find all of the details at the Cybils FAQ page. Here are a few highlights:

  • Anyone may nominate one book per genre during the public nomination period. We ask authors, publishers and publicists to wait until after the public nomination period ends to submit their own books. [Authors and publishers may use the public form to nominate books other than their own during the regular nomination period.]
  • For 2013, only books released between Oct. 16, 2012 and Oct. 15, 2013 are eligible. Books that were eligible or nominated in previous years are not eligible for nomination this year unless significantly revised (at least 20% of the book is changed.) The Cybils only accepts titles published specifically for the youth market.
  • Multiple nominations of the same book do not help that book's chances. In fact, the nomination form is designed to only accept the first nomination of a book. 
  • The nominated titles will be displayed as quickly as possible on the Cybils blog, in the following categories:

Book Apps
Easy Readers/Short Chapter Books
Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction
Young Adult Speculative Fiction
Fiction Picture Books
Graphics
Middle Grade Fiction
Elementary & Middle-Grade Nonfiction
Young Adult Nonfiction
Poetry
Young Adult Fiction

It's Cybils season, folks. Spend some time tonight thinking about your favorite recent, well-written, kid-friendly titles in the above categories. Then come back tomorrow and start nominating! This is your chance to show your appreciation to the authors and publishers who create wonderful books, and to help kids all over the English-speaking world find great titles. 

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5. The Calistro Prize 2013: Celebrating Malaysian Stories for Children and Teenagers



* promote the creation of Malaysian stories for children and teenagers,

* reward excellence of Malaysian content in fiction for children and teenagers,

* and support Malaysians writing for children and teenagers.

The Calistro Prize 2013 is now open for entries! To be eligible for the prize, stories should be original and unpublished works of at least 6,000 words, written in English, set in Malaysia, and Malaysian in content. Translations of original unpublished works are also welcome.

Only one entry per writer is allowed and the closing date for entries is September 30, 2013. The results will be announced on December 31, 2013.

The winning story will receive RM8,000 in cash, a medal, and a certificate. Two stories may win merit awards, each with a cash prize of RM1,000, a medal, and a certificate.

Click here for all the rules and regulations of the Calistro Prize 2013!

1 Comments on The Calistro Prize 2013: Celebrating Malaysian Stories for Children and Teenagers, last added: 3/7/2013
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6. Me at the Adelaide Writers Festival

In early March I will be at the Adelaide Writers Week. Which is the oldest and most prestigey1 writers festival in all of Australia.

I’ve never been before. Indeed, I’ve never done any events in Adelaide unless you count going to a friend’s wedding.2

Here are my events:

SEXUAL POLITICS: JUSTINE LARBALESTIER, BRYONY LAVERY, CHIKA UNIGWE
ADELAIDE WRITERS’ WEEK – MONDAY, MARCH 4 2013
Australia/USA/Nigeria/Belgium
West Stage, 3.45pm

As the debate about what it means to be a feminist is ongoing, this session brings together three writers, all of whom identify as feminists. Justine Larbalestier is a YA and fantasy writer, playwright Bryony Lavery is the author of iconic works including Thursday, and Chika Unigwe is the author of the novel On Black Sister’s Street, about a group of African women in the sex trade.

This panel marks the first time I’ve ever been on a panel with writers for grown ups (i.e. whose audience is presumed to be primarily adults, as opposed to mine which is presumed to be mostly teens) at a literary festival. I think it’s wonderful that there’s a festival in the world that is actively breaking down boundaries between genres and writers and readers. Honestly, I was so surprised when I saw this I thought they’d made a mistake. Then I looked at the whole programme. And, lo, it’s full of such inter-genre cross over panels. Way to go, AWF, way to go!

My other event is:

GIRL POWER: ISOBELLE CARMODY, JUSTINE LARBALESTIER, VIKKI WAKEFIELD
ADELAIDE WRITERS’ WEEK – SUNDAY, MARCH 3 2013
USA/Australia
West Stage, 2.30pm

The readership for YA fiction continues to grow and grow. Yet for young women today questions of identity, sexuality and friendship remain as problematic as ever. This session asks – how do women write for girls? Join Isobelle Carmody, author of the Obernewtyn Chronicles, Justine Larbalestier, author of Liar, and Vikki Wakefield, author of Friday Brown for a spirited conversation about women and words.

Isobelle is one of Australia’s most popular YA fantasy writers. Her fans span generations and all clutch her books to their chests like they are precious babies. She’s wonderful and funny and genuinely does not think like anyone else I have ever met. I did a panel with her at last year’s Sydney Writer’s Festival and it truly was awesome. Mostly because of Isobelle. So if you’re in Adelaide you want to see this.

I’m looking forward to meeting Vikki Wakefield. I’ve heard good things about her debut novel All I Ever Wanted. Yes, it’s true, not all Australian YA authors know each other. But we’ll fix that after a few more festival appearances.

I like that they list all the panellists’ nationalities. I was excited when I saw there was a USian on both my panels. But a little bewildered when I looked the other panellists up and discovered none of them were from the USA. I’d been looking forward to asking where they were from, and if they knew NYC or any of the other cities I know, we could compare notes. Which is when I realised that I am the USian on those panels.

Oops.

In my defense I’ve only been a US citizen for a year. It’s easy to forget.

TL;DR:3 I will be in Adelaide in early March. Come to my panels!

  1. Yes, that’s a real word. Shut up!
  2. Which, no, I don’t. It was a lot of fun, but. I love weddings! So much love! So many wonderful speeches about love! So many opportunities for it to all go horribly wrong! Especially at doomed weddings between those Who Should Not Marry. Someday I’m going to write a Doomed Wedding book. Though to be clear: the Adelaide wedding was not doomed. Um, I think I’m digressing.
  3. For the old people that stands for: Too long, Didn’t Read. You’re welcome.

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7. The NY Times is Creating New Middle Grade/Young Adult Bestseller Lists


When I tell people outside of the publishing world that I write middle grade fiction I usually get a blank stare. When I say I write children's books, even children's novels, people's minds go straight to picture books.

So, needless to say, it was with great interest that I saw the NY Times' announcement that they will be splitting the children's bestseller list into middle grade and young adult. Whew! Hopefully this will raise awareness for the wonders of middle grade, which, if you aren't familiar with the term, is for children roughly 8-12 years old.

What do you think of the change?

34 Comments on The NY Times is Creating New Middle Grade/Young Adult Bestseller Lists, last added: 12/13/2012
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8. In Shelf Awareness, remembering my grandmother and reflecting on stories in which time works differently

Within every story there are stories, and this morning I am deeply blessed by the chance, in Shelf Awareness, to remember my grandmother and to reflect on the passion I have for creating young adult stories in which time works differently.  Jennifer Brown, the children's book review editor for Shelf Awareness, opened this door to me.  Her kindness toward me and Small Damages has been remarkable.

Pictured above is my beautiful grandmother, whom I lost on Mischief Night when I was nine. She sits beside my grandfather, who holds my brother on his lap.  I am sitting with my beloved Uncle Danny.  My mother's family.  Sweet memories.

Thank you, Jenny Brown and Shelf Awareness.  These are the opening words of my Inklings essay.  The rest can be found here:
My books for young adults are frequently shaped by relationships between those who have so much wanting yet ahead and those looking back, with pain and wonder. Time works differently in books like these, and so does memory.

5 Comments on In Shelf Awareness, remembering my grandmother and reflecting on stories in which time works differently, last added: 9/8/2012
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9. Why Do Women Dominate YA?


NPR recently released a list of Readers' Top 100 YA Novels, and The Atlantic wasn't the only one to notice how female authors dominated the field:
More than 75,000 votes were cast to cull the list of 235 finalists to the top 100. Also notable: Of those 235 titles, 147 (or 63 percent) were written by women—a parity that would seem like a minor miracle in some other genres. Female authors took the top three slots, and an approximately equal share of the top 100. As a comparison, you'd have to scroll all the way to number 20 on last summer's Top 100 Science-Fiction and Fantasy list to find a woman's name (Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley).
First off, I don't want anyone to read concern into this post. I don't think this is a problem. It's just interesting. It's also not a rout -- in the top 100 it's still 50/50, though when you remove classics the trend is more stark.

I can think of any number of reasons why women might dominate young adult fiction, everything from institutional explanations (children's publishers are overwhelmingly staffed by women) to genre (teen romance) to psychology (more on that in a minute), but I'm not sure any of them feel like a totally satisfactory explanation.

I think it's equally curious when you consider that middle grade (for 8-12 year olds) is a place where male writers still have some of the most popular series: Wimpy Kid, Series of Unfortunate Events, Rangers Apprentice, Fablehaven

The only explanation I can come up for that, back to the psychology, is that middle grade is a time when men have their formative taste-creation time (take it from me: what guys like at age 12 is pretty much what they like at age 32), whereas for women maybe high school is more formative? So maybe men are more likely to gravitate to middle grade?

What do you think? Why are there so many more female YA writers?

Art: Lady writing a letter with her maid - Johannes Vermeer

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10. The 2nd Philippine National Children's Book Awards

Here are the Philippines' best children's and young adult reads from 2010 and 2011. Congratulations to all the winners of the 2nd National Children's Book Awards!

Ang Sampung Bukitkit
By Eugene Y. Evasco and Ibarra C. Crisostomo
LG&M


Ay, Naku!
By Reni Roxas and Serj Bumatay III
Tahanan Books


Doll Eyes
By Eline Santos and Joy Mallari
CANVAS


The Great Duck and Crocodile Race
By Robert Magnuson
Hiyas/OMF Lit


The Secret is in the Soil
By Flor Gozon Tarriela, Gidget Roceles Jimenez, and Liza Flores
Conquest for Christ Foundation

I predicted this would win a National Children's Book Award when I attended its launch. =D

0 Comments on The 2nd Philippine National Children's Book Awards as of 8/6/2012 5:30:00 AM

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11. Duty of Care

More than any other writers1 we YA writers get grief over our subject matter. We are frequently told that we should not be writing about subjects such as sex, drugs, cutting, suicide, anorexia nervosa, etc. because our audience is vulnerable and easily swayed and it is our duty of care not to lead them down such scary paths.

Now, there are a tonne of smart, cogent ripostes to this argument. But I just want to say that we YA authors do not have a duty of care. It is not the job of YA writers to teach or guide teenagers. That is their parents’ and guardians’ job. Their teachers’ and coaches’ job.

Our only duty is to write the best and most truthful stories we can.

Which is, frankly, hard enough without taking on responsibility for the world’s teenagers. Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world. I salute all you parents! It’s way harder than writing YA books. So imagine how hard it would be if we YA writers really were responsible for all the teenagers who read our books? We would all die.

Too often those adults with the duty of care look to us to not write things they consider inappropriate for the teenagers they are looking out for. How on Earth can we YA writers be the judge of that? I don’t know your teenager. I don’t know what will freak them out. Frankly, the teenagers I do know are not freaked out by what I write. I’m freaked out by more stuff than they are.

Sometimes I don’t think parents know what will freak out their teenagers either. And I say this because parents I know have told me they have no idea what goes on in their teenagers’ minds. Somehow they think that because I write for teenagers I might have some helpful hints for gauging the mysteries of the teenage mind.

Sorry. Teenagers are as varied as adults. Half the time I barely know what’s in my mind, let alone anyone else’s.

To be totally honest I mostly write for the teenager I was and the adult I am. I write stories that interest and engage me. That those stories fall into the publishing niche that is YA is a happy accident. And that some teenagers find them entertaining/useful/inspiring/whatever is an even happier accident.

I am sorry that we YA writers are not portraying the kind of world you think is suitable for your teenagers. But I have a solution. Why not write your own books?

Why not write the world the way you want it without all the bits you find objectionable, without any scary conflict, or teenagers doing things you wish they wouldn’t? And then every time the teenagers in your life pick up what you consider to be the wrong kind of book you can give them yours instead. Who knows? Maybe it will be a bestseller and start a whole new genre.

  1. Except for those who write for children, obviously.

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12. YA Novelists Are In It For The Money

I’m not going to link to where I saw this particular bizarre notion. Mostly because it’s not something that’s found in one place. I’ve come across the same sentiment in various locations offline and on- over the last ten or so years. So it’s kind of irrelevant who said it most recently.

But here’s gist of the argument:

YA writers only do it for the money. They don’t care about the effect their [insert negative adjective] work has on children only about making money.

I’m fascinated that this argument gets made at all ever. I don’t know a single writer who became a writer to make money. Everyone I know is a writer because they can’t not be a writer. It’s a compulsion. A vocation. Something they do whether they’re paid for it or not. This is true across genres.

The idea of becoming a YA writer to make bank? Crazy.

Most of the YA writers I know don’t make enough money from writing books to do it full-time. They have other jobs. Those writers I do know who earn enough to write full-time, like myself, are not exactly rolling in the big bucks. Gina Rinehart would not bend over to pick up what I make in a year. And, frankly, most of us full-time YA writers can’t believe our good fortune. We know way too many brilliant writers who aren’t making enough to do it full-time. We are very aware of how lucky we are.

I know only a handful of writers who are earning what I consider to be big money from writing YA novels. They are the tiny minority. And the odds of them continuing to make that kind of money in a decade’s or twenty year’s time is pretty low. Look at the bestselling books of 10, 15, 20 years ago. Very few of those books are still selling now. Making good money from writing books and continuing to do so for a lifetime? Very rare.

If someone really decided to become a YA novelist solely to make big money then they’re an idiot with incredibly poor research skills. Choosing to write novels—in any genre—as a path to riches is about as smart as buying lottery tickets to achieve the same.

But for the sake of argument, let’s imagine that YA writers are all making vast bucketloads of cash.1 How does making lots of money for writing books automatically mean you will do it contemptously of your audience? Where does that idea come from?

I’m particularly bewildered because the vast majority of people who make this argument are from the USA. Isn’t making loads of money supposed to be a good thing in the USA? Something you should be proud of? Something that qualifies you to run for president?

It swiftly becomes apparent that it’s artists, not just writers, but any kind of artist, who shouldn’t earn money from their work. Apparently money taints art or something. I’ve never quite understood the logic of this argument. Personally, I’ve always thought that starvation puts the biggest crimp on creating art. You know, on account of how it leads to death. It is incredibly hard to create art while dead or while living in poverty. Art’s something that’s much easier to do when survival is not the biggest issue facing you every day.

The fact that there are people out there living in poverty who still manage to create art fills me with awe. People are amazing. But that does not make poverty a necessary condition

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13. July 17 is Philippine National Children's Book Day


How will you celebrate? =D

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14. Miscellany 6-14-2012

* This is my second guest blog post for PaperTigers. Please read it to find out about some new Philippine young adult literature. =D

* Click here to read about a possible international book bloggers meetup. If it happens, I'll definitely be there!

* Fantastic news! Tu Books has announced the first annual New Visions Award. The New Visions Award will be given for a middle grade or young adult fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel by a writer of color. The winner receives a cash grant of $1000 and a standard publication contract with Tu Books. An honor winner will receive a cash grant of $500. Click here for more details. I look forward to reading the winning novels!

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15. Book Shopping in Singapore



Every year, the Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC) in Singapore sets up a wonderful bookstore for the festival attendees. This year, the bookstore was the best it's ever been because it was run by Bookaburra, a specialist children's bookseller in Singapore that believes in "good books and even finer children." There was a greater variety of the latest children's and young adult books from all over the world and the people from Bookaburra were doing a great job hand-selling. This, of course, was dangerous for the wallets of all the festival attendees!


While in Singapore for the AFCC, I made sure to visit Woods in the Books, an independent picture book shop for all ages. The shop had a well-curated collection of new and classic board books, picture books, comics, and graphic novels from around the world. The Sunday afternoon I was there, there were so many customers: artists, families with very small children, and young professionals (I could even hear them talking about the books they were reading). Very heartening!

When in Singapore, please make sure to visit Bookaburra and Woods in the Books. Or you can wait for the 4th Asian Festival of Children's Content (May 25-28, 2013). That's okay, too. ;o)

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16. Fall books cover reveal: Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Check it out at The Open Book!

Originally published at Stacy Whitman's Grimoire. You can comment here or there.

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17. Updated multicultural SFF booklist

ETA 5/22/12: I’m keeping this book list up to date on Pinterest nowadays, linking each book to its Goodreads entry. It’s much easier to just pin a book than to keep this list up to date. For the running lists (broken down by age group and genre) and more, go here:

 

ETA: I’ve finally gotten the ability to edit the post back, so I’ve put as many of the suggested books into the list now as I can. Suggestions always still welcome. This is a continuous project.

I’ve gotten a lot of great suggestions to add to the list, but my website seems to still be broken, and my own computer has a dead motherboard (well, it did when I started writing this last week—thankfully, it’s now fixed). I’m still figuring out why WordPress won’t let me edit any of my old content.

So, in the interest of having one place that people can use as a resource, I’m going to copy everything into this entry. Rather than divide the list by what I’ve read and what I haven’t, which was just more a personal exercise last year in wondering whether my own reading habits had reached past my own culture, I’ll divide the list by age group and genre (fantasy/SF). What that means is that I am not making a comment on how good I think a book is or recommending it/not recommending it—there are several books on this list I haven’t had a chance to read yet. It’s simply a list compiling what’s out there. I’ve also added books that I’ve discovered over the last year or that have been suggested to me in the comments. Go to the previous booklist post for comments on some of the books in this list.

Middle Grade Fantasy

  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, 2009, Grace Lin
  • Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, 2008, Nahoko Uehashi, and its sequel, Moribito II
  • City of Fire, Laurence Yep
  • The Tiger’s Apprentice, Laurence Yep
  • Dragon of the Lost Sea, Laurence Yep (and pretty much anything else written by Laurence Yep)
  • Zahrah the Windseeker, Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu
  • Chronus Chronicles, Anne Ursu (someone mentioned this and I haven’t read them—are the main characters people of color or is it set in a non-Western culture? from its Amazon listing, it seems to star a white girl and use Greek mythology, which are great, but don’t fit the definition we’re using here)
  • The Red Pyramid, Rick Riordan
  • Sword and Wandering Warrior, Da Chen
  • The Conch Bearer, Chitra B. Divakaruni
  • Circle of Magic quartet, Tamora Pierce
  • Circle Opens series, Tamora Pierce
  • Pendragon series (?)
  • Un Lun Dun, China Mieville
  • Lavender-Green Magic, by Andre Norton
  • Dragon Keeper and Garden of the Purple Dragon, Carole Wilkinson
  • Moonshadow: Rise of the Ninja, Simon Higgins
  • The Magical Misadventures of Prunella Bogthistle, Deva Fagan
  • Magic Carpet, Scott Christian Sava
  • Marvelous World #01: The Marvelous Effect, Troy Cle
  • Ninth Ward, Jewel Parker Rhodes

Middle Grade Science Fiction

18. Cassandra Clare on the Myth that Authors Automatically Condone What We Depict

Cassandra Clare has written an important piece called Rape Myths, Rape Culture and the Damage Done. If you haven’t read it already you really should. Be warned: she discusses much which is deeply upsetting.

What I want to briefly comment on here is the notion that to write about rape or war or any other terrible thing is to automatically condone it. Cassie writes:

[T]he most important point to be made here is that to depict something is not to condone it. This is a mistake that is made all the time by people who you would think would know better. Megan Cox Gurdon in the Wall Street Journal, for instance, excoriated YA books for being too dark, zoning in specifically on “Suzanne Collins’s hyper-violent, best-selling Hunger Games trilogy” and Lauren Myracle’s Shine, which depicts a hate crime against a gay teenager. Anyone paying any attention, of course, can tell that while violence is depicted in the Hunger Games, it is hardly endorsed. It is, in fact, a treatise against violence and war, just as Shine is a treatise against violence and hate crimes. Gurdon notes only the content of the books and ignores the context, which is a unfortunate mistake for a book reviewer. If the only people in the book who approve of something are the villains (nobody but the bad guys thinks the Hunger Games are anything but a moral evil) then it is a fair bet the book is about how that thing is bad.

What Cassie said. If you follow that argument through to its logical conclusion than we who write books marketed at teenagers must not write about conflict. We must only write upbeat, happy books in which no one is hurt or upset and nothing bad ever happens. But even that would not be enough because I have seen books like Maureen Johnson’s The Bermudez Triangle described as “dark.” A gentle, funny, wry book about two girls who fall in love is dark? I’ve seen other upbeat, happy books described as “dark” because the protags have (barely described at all) sex.

The complaint that YA books are too “dark” usually does not come from teenagers. Teenagers write and complain to me that there’s no sequel to my standalone books, that there should be four or five books in my trilogy, that I take too long to write books, that I’m mean about unicorns, that zombies DO NOT rule, that they hated that I don’t make it clear what really happened in Liar, that Liar made them throw the book across the room,1 that their name is Esmeralda/Jason/Andrew so why did I have to make the character with that name in my books so mean, that one of the Fibonacci numbers in Magic Lessons isn’t, in fact, a Fibonacci.2 I also get the occasional complaint that their teacher made them read my book when it SUCKED OUT LOUD. People, that is SO NOT MY FAULT! BLAME YOUR TEACHER! 0 Comments on Cassandra Clare on the Myth that Authors Automatically Condone What We Depict as of 1/1/1900

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19. Book Review: Graffiti Moon

graffLucy is in love with Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist.

Ed thought he was in love with Lucy, until she broke his nose.

Dylan loves Daisy, but throwing eggs at her probably wasn’t the best way to show it.

Jazz and Leo are slowly encircling each other.

An intense and exhilarating 24 hours in the lives of four teenagers on the verge: of adulthood, of HSC, of finding out just who they are, and who they want to be.

 

Cath Crowley gets it. She understands perfectly the feelings of desire and recklessness that come with being young and in crush, and she puts these into words that resonate and characters that are real.

Every time he looked at me I felt like I’d touched my tongue to the tip of a battery. In Art class I’d watch him lean back and listen and I was nothing but zing and tingle. After a while the tingle turned to electricity, and when he asked me out my whole body amped to a level where technically I should have been dead. I had nothing in common with a sheddy like him, but a girl doesn’t think straight when she’s that close to electrocution.
- p 26-27
 

On the surface Graffiti Moon is about love. Guys and girls chasing each other, often literally, trying to find the perfect fit. At its heart though, Graffiti Moon is about wanting. Each of the characters is longing for something – something to prove their worth, fix their faults, make them complete. In their most reductive forms, Lucy wants perfection; Ed wants acceptance; Leo wants stability; Jazz wants adventure; Daisy wants appreciation; and Dylan wants to feel worthy. It is the angst of this wanting, the tension arising from each character’s shortcomings that builds drama and suspense throughout the book. 

This tension is further facilitated through Crowley’s use of rotating character perspectives. The reader is allowed the privileged position of seeing Lucy and Ed in all of their truth – the beauty and the flaws. We see the misunderstandings and the missed connections between them even when they cannot. Crowley is skilled at creating complex characters and I applaud that all of them, regardless of gender, are dirty, mischievous, and sweet. It has to be said that Ed, Leo, and Dylan are the best bad-boys-with-good-hearts to appear in contemporary YA since Markus Zusak’s Wolfe brothers.*

Special mention must also be made of the non-traditional family situations in Graffiti Moon – Leo lives with his grandmother, Lucy’s father lives in their family shed. Crowley subtly reinforces the message that life and love are a matter of individuality; that the best way is not necessarily the typical way.

Graffiti Moon is a very visual novel. There are many beautiful descriptions of Shadow’s and Lucy’s respective artworks, as well as many references to well known artists and their works, from Picasso to Bill Henson. This gives Graffiti Moon a depth of reality that you don’t often see, and from a teaching perspective lends itself to more interesting classroom discussions and art exercises.

I don’t want to raise expectations too much as often the best reading experiences are those discovered quietly, but it’s hard not to when this book just. nails. it. I’m not the only one singing its praise either – among its honours Graffiti Moon has won the 0 Comments on Book Review: Graffiti Moon as of 1/1/1900

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20. Book List: Verse

Verse can so often be a scary undertaking for readers but today we’ve listed some titles that make verse novels relevent and appealing to even the most reluctant.

Song of Sparrow FNL JKT.inddSong of the Sparrow – Lisa Ann Sandell

The year is 490 AD. Fiery 16-year-old Elaine of Ascolat, the daughter of one of King Arthur’s supporters, lives with her father on Arthur’s base camp, the sole girl in a militaristic world of men. Elaine’s only girl companion is the mysterious Morgan, Arthur’s older sister, but Elaine cannot tell Morgan her deepest secret: She is in love with Lancelot, Arthur’s second-in-command. However, when yet another girl — the lovely Gwynivere— joins their world, Elaine is confronted with startling emotions of jealousy and rivalry.

Words cannot accurately encapsulate how much I adore this book.  It is my number gifted book and I am yet to meet a person who fails to realise its magnificence.  Even the verse adverse appreciate the gentle turn of phrase, the emotional plight of the heroine and the lovely spin on Arthurian legend.

Scholastic

badboyA Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl – Tanya Lee Stone

Josie, Nicolette, and Aviva all get mixed up with a senior boy, a cool, slick, sexy boy who can talk them into doing almost anything he wants. In a blur of high school hormones and personal doubt, each girl struggles with how much to give up and what ultimately to keep for herself. How do girls handle themselves? How much can a boy get away with? And in the end, who comes out on top? A bad boy may always be a bad boy. But this bad boy is about to meet three girls who won’t back down.

A verse book that uses Judy Blume’s Forever as an important plot point?  Check.

A book that depicts girls are proactive and strong without needing to excel in archery.  Check.

A flowing style that weaves the tale of three independent girls who find themselves confused by their hormones and their choices?  Check.

PanMacmillan

starjumpsStar Jumps – Lorraine Marwood

A poignant verse novel depicting the joys and heartbreaks of a farming family as they struggle to cope with the devastating effects of long term drought. Told through the eyes of Ruby, day to day farm life involves playing in grassy paddocks with siblings, doing jobs and helping out, and witnessing birth, death and sacrifice. The family are devastated when they have to sell off some of their herd, but in the spirit of hope it is Ruby who tries in her own small way to help the family by making miniature bales of hay.

Skewing a little younger, this award winning title depicts the difficulties of living in Australian rural areas and the stresses that places upon the families that work the land.  Marwood has a lovely way with words

Walker

There is also:

  • Steven Herrick (Sl

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21. Happy Book Birthday to Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction - An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories


Today is the launch of Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction (Stone Bridge Press), an anthology of thirty-six Japan teen stories. Proceeds from the sales of Tomo will go directly to long-term relief efforts for the teens displaced by the March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami disasters. Buying this book will help pay the educational expenses of these affected teens!

Tomo is edited by Holly Thompson and the stories are by authors and illustrators from all around the world who share a connection to Japan, including Andrew Fukuda, Tak Toyoshima, Alan Gratz, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, and Shogo Oketani.

Visit the Tomo blog for more information and please do everything you can to support the book. I'll be posting my reviews and interviews as soon as I can!

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22. Portraying people of color in children’s/YA fantasy–are we anywhere near “there” yet?

3/21/2012, ETA: Because this post has been linked a lot over the course of the last several months, I just wanted to point out that this was posted when I was in the process of starting the small press that became Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, where we publish middle grade and young adult science fiction, fantasy, and mystery starring main characters of color. We’ve published five books so far, and I think you’ll love them. If you believe, as I do, that more stories like these are important—awesome fantastic adventures in which people of color are the stars—please check them out and share them with your friends.

***

When I was in the fourth grade, I always wondered why I wasn’t born Japanese. You see, back then (mid-80s), the news was always saying that the Japanese had the best education system in the world, and that Americans were falling behind. Given that my life goal at the time was to be the smartest kid in the world, I really, really wished that I had been born Japanese.

Nothing I could do about that, but I could do my geography project on Japan. (I was in the accelerated group, and we did countries of the world instead of state history in the fourth grade. I also did Australia and India.) But the only resources I could find in our relatively small school library were a decade-old encyclopedia and several books from the 50s. I ended up making a small English-Japanese dictionary with about five words (which I still have around here somewhere) for my project to go along with the report.

I can’t recall having read one single book from the time I was able to read until the time I graduated high school about any character who was from an Asian country or about an American whose family background was Asian, however. There just wasn’t anything like that available to me in small-town farm country in Illinois. I’m sure this is as much to do with librarian/teacher selection as it had to do with publishing availability, but that’s just the way things were.

Looking at the CCBC’s report from last year of books published in 2008, however, I’m not sure we’ve come very far from that. We’ve come a long way, yet how far is there to go?

Ever since Race Fail 09 (which I didn’t follow much of, but even reading a part of which was very thought-provoking), I’ve become even more aware of this issue as it relates to fantasy than I have before (even though before that, as an editor, I always tried to acquire books that were as diverse as possible, whether that meant magic-wielding kender or girls from all over the world battling vampiric fairies). I’ve pondered on it for several months, and it’s been great to see so many authors pondering on it in their blogs, too. Just in the last few days, I’ve found a couple great posts on it by authors R.J. Anderson and Mitali Perkins (Mitali has a lot of great insights into this, as you can see from her blog).

The biggest thing I’ve been pondering is that it seems to me that in children’s and YA fantasy, we’re probably at a smaller percentage of multicultural themes and characters than realistic books (note that I’m conflating race and culture here on purpose—I’m using race and culture in an and/or way). Note how in the CCBC report, they

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23. A Proppian SCBWI-CCP Workshop for Children's & YA Book Writers

When: 26 May 2012, Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: the Cultural Center of the Philippines

Hosts: Philippine chapter - Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP)

YA author, journalist, cultural promoter, translator, and language and intercultural communication teacher Tanya Tynjälä (SCBWI Peru/Finland) will conduct a workshop on writing stories for children and young adults.

The lectures and exercises will be based on the work of Soviet formalist scholar Vladimir Propp who analyzed the basic plot components of Russian folk tales to identify their simplest irreducible narrative elements.

This workshop is open to anyone age 18 and above who is a published or aspiring writer, or who teaches or wants to teach creative writing for children and young adults.

Fee: Includes lunch, transferrable, nonrefundable

P800 if you register on or before April 20

P1000 if you register April 20 to May 15

P1200 if you register after May 15

P100 discount for SCBWI members

If interested, please contact SCBWI Philippines: Beaulah Taguiwalo, Regional Advisor (taguiwalo8888@yahoo.com) / Dominique (Nikki) Torres, Asst. Regional Advisor (nikkigtorres@yahoo.com)

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24. Waiting On Wednesday: Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick


Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, 8 May 2012)

Book description:

When soldiers arrive at his hometown in Cambodia, Arn is just a kid, dancing to rock 'n' roll, hustling for spare change, and selling ice cream with his brother. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, his life is changed forever. Arn is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp: working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children, weak from hunger, malaria, or sheer exhaustion, dying before his eyes. He sees prisoners marched to a nearby mango grove, never to return. And he learns to be invisible to the sadistic Khmer Rouge, who can give or take away life on a whim.

One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn's never played a note in his life, but he volunteers. In order to survive, he must quickly master the strange revolutionary songs the soldiers demand—and steal food to keep the other kids alive. This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated from the Khmer Rouge, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier. He lives by the simple credo: Over and over I tell myself one thing: never fall down.

Based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, this is an achingly raw and powerful novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace, from National Book Award finalist Patricia McCormick.

You know what I love about the book cover? It shows the boy's eyes. Usually when an Asian model is used for a book cover (or when it's *supposed* to be an Asian on the cover) his/her eyes are not shown. Sigh.

Click here to read Publishers Weekly's interview with Patricia McCormick about Never Fall Down, and watch the video below for Patricia McCormick's interview with Arn Chorn-Pond, the man who inspired the novel!




[Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases book bloggers are eagerly anticipating.]

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25. A Little Taste of What's Discussed at the Asian Festival of Children's Content

0 Comments on A Little Taste of What's Discussed at the Asian Festival of Children's Content as of 4/13/2012 1:43:00 PM
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