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By: Marissa Wasseluk,
Blog: First Book
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Our favorite books this month celebrate the differences that make us great, inspire us to believe and dream, reinforce the power of friendship (real or imaginary!), and take us on an epic journey with two supervillains.
Which of our five favorites will you read this month?
For Pre-K – K (ages 3-6)
Happy in Our Skin By: Fran Manushkin
For families of all stripes comes a sweet celebration of what makes us unique—and what holds us together. Fran Manushkin’s rollicking text and Lauren Tobia’s delicious illustrations paint a breezy and irresistible picture of the human family—and how wonderful it is to be just who you are.
For Grades 1-2 (ages 6-8)
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music By: Margarita Engle
Girls cannot be drummers.
Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.
For Grades 3-4 (ages 8-10)
Crenshaw By: Katherine Applegate
Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times.
Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?
For Grades 5-6 (ages 10-12)
Bayou Magic By: Jewell Parker Rhodes
A magical coming-of-age story from Coretta Scott King honor author Jewell Parker Rhodes, rich with Southern folklore, friendship, family, fireflies and mermaids, plus an environmental twist.
For 7th Grade & up (Ages 13+):
Nimona By: Noelle Stevenson
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.
The post Monthly Book List: Our Five Favorite Books for January appeared first on First Book Blog.
By: Chris Barton
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Or, more formally, “A Comprehensive List of U.S. College- and University-Sponsored or -Hosted Children’s and Young Adult Literature Conferences, Festivals, and Symposia.” (All of them that I could find, anyway). A few years ago, I was looking for such a list, wondered why I couldn’t find one, and decided to just go ahead and make […]
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This post was originally posted October 14, 2014.
Halloween is right around the corner. There’s no better way to celebrate than by reading books that will scare you to pieces! Here’s a lucky thirteen list of our favorites (all featuring diverse characters or by diverse authors):
- Half World by Hiromi Goto – Melanie Tamaki lives with her mother in abject poverty. Then, her mother disappears. Melanie must journey to the mysterious Half World to save her.
- Vodnik by Bryce Moore – Sixteen-year-old Tomas moves back to Slovakia with his family and discovers the folktales of his childhood were more than just stories.
- The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa – Allie Sekemoto survives by scavenging for food by day. She hates the vampires who keep humans like cattle for their food. Until the day she dies and wakes up as a vampire.
- Liar by Justine Larbalestier – Micah is a liar; it’s the only thing she’ll tell you the truth about. But when her boyfriend Zach is murdered, the whole truth has to come out.
- Battle Royale by Koushan Takami – A group of junior high school students are sent to an island and forced to fight to the death until only one of them survives.
- Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall – Odilia and her sisters discover a dead man’s body while swimming in the Rio Grande. They journey across Mexico to return his body in this Odyssey-inspired tale.
- Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda – Zombies, ghouls, and vampires all make appearances in the story of Bilquis SanGreal, the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar.
- Panic by Sharon Draper – Diamond knows better than to get into a car with a stranger. But when the stranger offers her the chance to dance in a movie, Diamond makes a very wrong decision.
- Ten by Gretchen McNeil – Ten teens head to a secluded island for an exclusive party…until people start to die. A modern YA retelling of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
- Wolf Mark by Joseph Bruchac – Inspired by the Abenaki skinwalker legend, this YA thriller is Burn Notice with werewolves.
- The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco – A dead girl roams the streets, hunting murders. A strange tattooed boy moves to the neighborhood with a deadly secret.
- 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad – Three teenagers win the vacation of a lifetime: a week-long trip to the moon. But something sinister is waiting for them in the black vacuum of space.
- Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake – Cas Lowood is a ghost hunter, called to Thunder Bay, Ontario to get rid of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, who has killed every person who has stepped foot in the house she haunts.
What else would you add to the list?
The Temple of Doubt
by Anne Boles Levy
Fifteen-year-old Hadara and her mother Lia are technically committing a sin when they collect plants and make medicines. The priests of the Temple of Doubt use magic to cure people under the power of their god Nihil; natural remedies are heresy. But magic doesn't always work, and the priests usually look the other way and ignore the illicit medicines.
Everything changes when two powerful Azwans visit Port Sapphire. The Azwans are Nihil's highest priests, or "navigators," and they come seeking a demon that fell from the sky. Hadara and Lia are forced to guide the expedition to find the demon, because of their knowledge of the swamps and the secretive race called Gek who live there. But the swamps are dangerous and the Gek hostile to outsiders. Add in an arrogant Azwan who thinks he can take what he wants, and the expedition may not make it out of the swamps alive.
In The Temple of Doubt,
Anne Boles Levy has created a beautifully detailed world, complete with three separate races and cultures, and a well-developed and unique religion. The religion is an amazing thing: Levy has obviously put a lot of work into developing it, including scriptural quotes at the beginning of each chapter. As you would expect, faith is a theme explored in this book. Although their religion is based on doubt and ambiguity, it seems like the followers of Nihil are not allowed any doubt or ambiguity in their faith, and are expected to conform and obey in all things. There are hints that there is more to this religion than it appears, and I look forward to seeing where Levy goes with it.
Hadara is a great character that teens will appreciate. She's bright and curious and bold in a culture which frowns on those characteristics, especially in a young woman. Hadara's impulsiveness gets her in trouble, especially her inability to stop herself from speaking her mind. Hadara has trouble with faith; as bright and curious as she is, she can't help asking questions, or thinking that the things she has to learn are pointless. She knows the names of a thousand plants and animals, but she can't remember the name of a single one of Nihil's wives, or their faults.
The relationship that Hadara begins to develop with one of the soldiers is disconcerting, but I think it was intended to be. Any relationship that begins with a power imbalance is bound to be uncomfortable, particularly given the destruction caused by the soldiers. Hadara holds her own, but even she feels discomfort and confusion about the situation, even as she begins to develop genuine liking for the soldier, and he seems to genuinely like her. It's interesting as a developing friendship dealing with differences in culture as well as the power imbalance, however I never really felt enough chemistry between them to make anything more than friendship credible.
The pacing is a little uneven, and although there are several exciting scenes, overall this is a book that you read slowly and ponder. I actually enjoyed it more on the second read because I picked up on more detail and development on the second time around. This is the first book in a series, and so in part it sets up the rest of the series. It'll be interesting to see how it develops.
Who would like this book?
Teens who like richly developed worlds and strong female characters. This is a book that will appeal more to teens who like their fantasy slower-paced and thoughtful.
Hadara and her people have bronze skin, in contrast to the Feroxi soldiers accompanying the Azwans, who are described as being very fair. One of the Azwans has ebony skin, and is described as handsome.Buy The Temple of Doubt from Amazon.com
FTC required disclosure
Review copy sent by the publisher to enable me to write this review. Anne Boles Levy is an online friend whom I've met several times in person. We've worked closely together on the Cybils Awards. However, I don't write biased reviews even for a friend. The bookstore links above are affiliate links, and I earn a very small percentage of any sales made through the links. None of these things influenced my review.
Happy book birthday to Stephanie Oakes and her debut novel THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY. . . basically, I am obsessed with it and I hope you will be, too.
The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.
And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.
Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it's clear that Minnow knows something but she's not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of if she's willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.
Gorgeously written, breathlessly page-turning and sprinkled with moments of unexpected humor, this harrowing debut is perfect for readers of Emily Murdoch's "If You Find Me" and Nova Ren Suma's "The Walls Around Us," as well as for fans of Orange is the New Black."
From the STARRED Publishers Weekly
review: "[S]uspense, dread, and hope intermingle in Oakes’s charged, page-turning debut."
From the STARRED Booklist
review: "[H]er story unfolds in a disaffected, yet bone-chillingly beautiful, first-person narrative."Ask for THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY from your library, or buy a copy at your local indie bookstore. You can also find it at Oblong, Powells, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, Amazon, or wherever fine books are sold.
By: Sharon Ledwith,
Landry Albright: Ashley Benson Vladi Yagudin (<3): Ross Lynch Lucy Albright (Landry’s older cousin): Becky G Kendall Ivanov (takes Landry under her wing): Sarah Hyland Ashanti Russell (BFF): My original image for Ashanti was Letoya Luckett (original member of Destiny’s Child) and I pictured her at 14. Now I would pick China Anne McClain Halle Gephardt: Yara Shahidi Kyra (girl in Ingénue competition): Kat Graham Tad Johnston: Calum Worthy Peyton Urich (BFF): Bella Thorne Thalia Zimmer: Ciara Bravo India Allen: Stephanie Scott Tori Robins (former BFF): Laura Marano Ericka Maines (former BFF): Ariana Grande Jeremy (Has a crush on Devon): Peyton Meyer Mr. Allen (India’s dad): Nolan North Rylan (stylist at Ingénue competition): Tyler Blackburn Talisa Milan (Landry’s favorite model): Jennifer Lopez Devon Abrams: Selena Gomez Yasmin McCarty (popular girl with a crush on Vladi): Victoria Justice Arianna Seymour: Dove Cameron Mr. Albright (Landry’s Dad) Ty Treadway Mrs. Albright (Landry’s mom): Darlene Vogel Landry’s Grandma Albright: Michael Learned Landry’s Grandma Dombrowski: Blythe Danner Landry’s Grandpa Dombrowski: Alan Alda Jem Jade (Little Rose model): Shay Mitchell Mrs. Urich (Peyton’s mom): Sharon Osbourne Mr. Urich (Peyton’s dad): Harrison Ford Kyle Eiton: Austin Mahone Doug (Devon’s crush): Spencer Boldman Best Friends…Forever? (Landry’s True Colors Series) by Krysten Lindsay Hager I have always loved reading books that use humor and have realistic (and relatable) characters. I decided to write the book I wanted to read when I was reading YA and I’m overjoyed it’s now a series where people can follow along on Landry’s journey through dealing with friendships, the ups and downs of school, crushes, relationships, and insecurities. Sure, going back to that time in my own life was a little crazy, but lucky for me there weren’t camera phones to capture me dancing in the school talent show…while wearing jean shorts. If you’re not cringing yet, let’s just say I also had a moment of “genius” where I thought my super dark brown hair would look amazing with “Sun-In” highlights that actually turned my hair a lovely shade of copper. Sigh. The Landry’s True Colors Series is a clean reads young adult series about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, values, and self-image. Best Friends…Forever? was ranked at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values & Virtues Fiction and #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Children's Books on Values. True Colors is an international bestselling book. Tag line: Good friends have your back, but some go behind it. Blurb: Landry Albright hopes the new year will start off in an amazing way—instead she has to deal with more frenemy issues, boy drama, and having most of her best friends make the cheerleading squad without her. Suddenly, it seems like all anyone can talk about is starting high school next year—something she finds terrifying. Landry gets her first boyfriend (her crush, Vladi), but then gets dumped just as things come to a head with her friends. She feels lost and left out, but finds good advice about dealing with frenemies from what she considers an unlikely source. Landry faces having to speak up for what’s right, tell the truth (even when it hurts), and how to get past the fear of failure as she gets another shot at competing in the American Ingénue modeling competition. Will she get a second chance with her friends, fame, and Vladi?
I got ready for bed and then stopped to check my social media page one more time and that's when I saw it — another picture of Peyton, India, and Devon hanging out. They were sitting on the couch with their heads scrunched close together and laughing. It was a cute picture, but then I saw the caption: So glad we could all be together for the holidays. Love these guys soooo much! Best friends forever. #Alltogether #Threemusketeers #BestFriendsForever #ThreeBestFriends #ThreesCompany.
My heart sank. It was India’s caption and anyone who read it would think what a close‑knit group of friends and not realize anyone was missing from that photo. Sure, I was in another state, so naturally I couldn’t be there for it, but the way India wrote that made me feel so left out. I mean, what did she mean by the "ʺThree’s Company"ʺ hashtag? And sometimes people tagged friends who weren’t there in pictures and added, "ʺWish you were here,"ʺ but there was no mention of a fourth member of the group.
“Ready for bed, hon?” Mom asked coming into my room. “Yeah, just signing off.” I got into bed and hoped I was reading into things, but the knot in my stomach wouldn’t go away. Author bio: Krysten Lindsay Hager is a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint. What people are saying about True Colors (Landry’s True Colors Series Book One): From Teenage Book Recommendations in the UK: "This is a fantastically relatable and real book which I feel captures all of the insecurities and troubles which haunt the modern teenage girl. It is about a young model who has to go through tough times when she is torn between a life as a model and managing her friendships. You learn which friends she can most trust and which will create the drama typical of teenage life. Follow the life of Landry and try to see if you can find out which are her true friends before their true colours are revealed. This book is all about relationships, hopes and truth. I loved this book!" From Books & Authors Spot: “This book is such an inspiration for those who just care about their looks and are tensed about them. This thing is looks aren't everything. This book is related to every teen's problem. Hager has written a very inspiring novel.”
is not "officially" out until next week, but I've started seeing it in stores already sooo... I don't mind bragging about it!
This is a contemporary YA about cyber-bullying from multiple points of view - it's timely and so important.BACKLASH by Sarah Darer Littman
He says: You’re an awful person.
He says: What makes you think I’d ever ask you out?
He says: The world would be a better place without you in it.
Lara just got told off on Facebook.
She thought that Christian liked her, that he was finally going to ask her to his school’s homecoming dance. They’ve been talking online for weeks, so what’s with the sudden change? And where does he get off saying horrible things on her wall? Even worse — are they true?
It’s been a long time since Lara’s felt this bad, this depressed, this ugly. She’s worked really hard to become pretty and happy — and make new friends after what happened in middle school.
Bree used to be best friends with overweight, depressed Lara, but constantly listening to Lara’s issues got to be too much. Secretly, Bree’s glad that Christian called Lara out. Lara’s not nearly as amazing as people think.
But no one realized just how far Christian’s harsh comments would push Lara. Not even Bree.
As online life collides with real life, things spiral out of control, and not just for Lara. Because when the truth starts to come together, the backlash is even more devastating than anyone could have ever imagined.
What happens online doesn't always stay online . . .Buy BACKLASH from Your Local Independent Bookstore, Oblong, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble or Amazon, or wherever fine books are sold. (Or, request it from your library!)
The cover for Patrick Ness’ forthcoming young adult novel, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, has been unveiled. We’ve embedded the full image above—what do you think?
According to EpicReads.com, the print edition will feature a jacket that glows in the dark. HarperCollins will release the book on October 10th.
By: Sharon Ledwith,
I have always loved reading books that use humor and have realistic (and relatable) characters. I decided to write the book I wanted to read when I was in middle school and I’m overjoyed it’s now a series where people can follow along on Landry’s journey through dealing with friendships, the ups and downs of school, crushes, and insecurities. Sure, going back to that time in my own life was a little crazy, but lucky for me there weren’t camera phones to capture me dancing in the grade school talent show…while wearing jean shorts. If you’re not cringing yet, let’s just say I also had a moment of “genius” where I thought my super dark brown hair would look amazing with “Sun-In” highlights that actually turned my hair a lovely shade of copper. Sigh.
The Landry’s True Colors Series is a clean reads young adult/middle grade series about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, values, and self-image. Best Friends…Forever? was ranked at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Children's Books on Values and #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values & Virtues Fiction. True Colors is an international bestselling book.
Tag line: Good friends have your back, but some go behind it.
Landry Albright hopes the new year will start off in an amazing way—instead she has to deal with more frenemy issues, boy drama, and having most of her best friends make the cheerleading squad without her. Suddenly, it seems like all anyone can talk about is starting high school next year—something she finds terrifying.
Landry gets her first boyfriend, but then gets dumped just as things come to a head with her friends. She feels lost and left out, but finds good advice about dealing with frenemies from what she considers an unlikely source. Landry faces having to speak up for what’s right, tell the truth (even when it hurts), and how to get past the fear of failure as she gets another shot at competing in the American Ingénue modeling competition.
“Landry, it’s gotta be so awkward for you to be going to Vladi’s school next year,” Tori said. “I mean, what if you run into him during the tour?"
"It’s a huge place,ʺ Ashanti said. “People break up all the time. It’s not a big deal.ʺ
Tori raised her eyebrows as if to say, “Yeah, right,” and went back to her sandwich. Meanwhile my delicious homemade soup was no longer sitting well. It never occurred to me Vladi might be around during the first pre‑freshman tour. I would be mortified if I ran into him and he was with a girl. Or worse yet, running into him, and he was with Yasmin. Plus, I hadn’t told my mom about the breakup, so if she saw him, she’d probably go over to talk to him. I could already imagine it: “Landry, Vladi’s here! Hon? Why are you hiding behind the garbage can? Your boyfriend, Vladi, is here. Come say, ‘hello.’ Stop trying to run away. Why is everyone laughing and pointing at you and calling you a ‘loser dumpee?’ What does that mean?”
Well, maybe the world would end and I wouldn’t have to deal with high school or Vladi and my mother running into each other.
Sadly, the world did not end, and on Thursday, we all had to go to the high school for a freshman information night from 6 to 9 p.m.
Author bio:Krysten Lindsay Hager is a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.
What people are saying about True Colors (Landry’s True Colors Series Book One):
From Teenage Book Recommendations in the UK: "This is a fantastically relatable and real book which I feel captures all of the insecurities and troubles which haunt the modern teenage girl. It is about a young model who has to go through tough times when she is torn between a life as a model and managing her friendships. You learn which friends she can most trust and which will create the drama typical of teenage life. Follow the life of Landry and try to see if you can find out which are her true friends before their true colours are revealed. This book is all about relationships, hopes and truth. I loved this book!"
From Books & Authors Spot: “This book is such an inspiration for those who just care about their looks and are tensed about them. This thing is looks aren't everything. This book is related to every teen's problem. Hager has written a very inspiring novel.”
Connect with Krysten:
The cover for Untamed, a companion book for the Splintered series, has been unveiled on A.G. Howard’s blog. We’ve embedded the full image above—what do you think?
It contains three short stories: “Six Impossible Things,” “The Moth in the Mirror,” and “The Boy in the Web.” Amulet Books, an imprint at ABRAMS, has scheduled the publication date for December 2015.
Here are some literary events to pencil in your calendar this week.
To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.
Four young adult writers are set to participate on a panel called “New Twists On Old Fairytales.” Hear them on Tuesday, March 31st at the 92Y (on Lexington Ave.) starting 7 p.m. (New York, NY)
The Miami Poetry Festival will take place throughout the entirety of April. Join in from April 1st to April 30th for events throughout the entire city. (Miami, FL)
The next session of the “Selected Series” event will focus on April Foolery. Check it out on Wednesday, April 1st at Symphony Space starting 7:30 p.m. (New York, NY)
Author Jeffrey Bennett will sign copies of his book What is Relativity? at the UTA Maverick Activity Center. Meet him on Wednesday, April 1st starting 7:30 p.m. (Arlington, TX)
Three young adult authors will take part in the “Great Teen Reads” panel at Books of Wonder. See them on Sunday, April 5th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (New York, NY)
Twentieth Century Fox has unveiled a trailer for the Paper Towns film adaptation. The video embedded above offers glimpses of actor Nat Wolff in the lead role of Quentin Jacobsen and actress Cara Delevingne as his love interest Margo Roth Spiegelman.
Not too long ago, executive producer and author John Green shot a behind-the-scenes video from the movie set and posted it on the VlogBrothers YouTube channel. The official release date has been scheduled for July 24th. (via the Paper Towns Facebook page)
Penguin Young Readers Group has unveiled the cover for the movie tie-in edition of Paper Towns. We’ve embedded the full image above—what do you think?
John Green, the author and executive producer, had this statement in the press release: “I am so excited for readers to re-discover Paper Towns ahead of the movie release. I love the cover – it beautifully captures Q and Margo failing to look at (and understand) each other while adding a hint of intrigue.”
The publisher has ordered a first printing of 1.5 million copies for this book and set the release date for May 19th. The film adaptation will hit theaters on July 24th.
By: Marissa Wasseluk,
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We recently had the opportunity to talk with author Kwame Alexander about how poetry can draw a reluctant reader into a lifelong love of books and the creative process behind his book, “The Crossover,” awarded the 2015 Newbery Medal for Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children.
Author Kwame Alexander
Photo Credit: Pilar Vergara
The first thing we noticed about The Crossover: its rhythm. Why did you choose to have Josh’s voice rhythmic in that way?
When I decided the book was going to have a frame of basketball, I knew that I wanted the language to mirror the sport’s high energy and rhythm,
I thought that basketball was poetry in motion – so I created a story on the page that reflected the action on the court. I’ve been a poet most of my life, so it seemed like a good marriage.
How would you describe kids’ reaction to the book?
You want to impact young people. That’s the goal. That’s the only goal. You want to get them reading. The response initially came from librarians and teachers – they were loving it.
I thought, “Wow, how cool is that?”?
Then teachers started getting it to their students. My, my, my – the reaction from the students blew me away. There were quite a few boys who had never showed much interest in reading before. Their teachers and librarians contacted me and said, “They couldn’t put your book down.”
That’s pretty remarkable right there. That’s why I’m doing this.
Have you ever seen anyone perform a page from the book?
Yes! There was a school in Illinois – Granger Middle School – and the entire school read the book. They brought me in for the day to see some presentations, and the kids all memorized the poems. It was so awesome. Each kid – girl, boy, black, white – they all felt like they were the characters.
That’s all you really hope for from a book – that it’s going to resonate with young people and empower them in some way. I believe poetry can get kids reading.
Why is it so important to get kids reading?
Inside of a book, between the lines, is a world of possibility. The book opens it up.
Why is it important for kids to open books? Because they can see themselves and they can see what they can become… Open a book and find your possible.
Click here to browse First Book’s collection of ALA Award-winning books.
The post Kwame Alexander Q&A: Poetry Provides Possibilities appeared first on First Book Blog.
New Line Cinema has picked up the film rights for Gayle Forman’s newest title, I Was Here. Penguin Young Readers Group published the young adult novel earlier this year.
In 2014, the studio released an adaptation based on Forman’s popular book, If I Stay; Forman served an executive producer for that movie. She plans take on that position again for the new film project.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the story follows “Cody, an 18-year-old whose best friend Meg takes her own life. Looking for answers, Cody begins a brave and dangerous journey that takes her from her dead-end Washington town to Meg’s college dorm, to the clubs of Seattle, to the deserts of Nevada, and to the darkest parts of her own psyche.”
The Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group has unveiled the cover for Leigh Bardugo’s forthcoming book, Six of Crows. We’ve embedded the full image above—what do you think?
Thus far, this jacket design has received 374 “favorites” on Twitter. The book release date has been scheduled for October 6th.
Cassandra Clare will collaborate with three fellow young adult novelists, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman. The four writers will be working on a new novella series called Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy (similar to The Bane Chronicles short story collection).
According to Clare’s blog post, each of the ten novellas will come out on a monthly basis as eBooks. Once all ten novellas have been digitally published, they will be compiled in a print book.
Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, will release the first one, entitled Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy, on February 17th. Clare announced on her Facebook page that Devon Bostick, an actor on The 100 television series, has signed on to narrate the audiobook edition of this book.
The Epic Reads team has revealed the cover for Claudia Gray’s young adult novel, Ten Thousand Skies Above You. HarperTeen will publish this science-fiction book, the sequel to A Thousand Pieces of You, on November 3rd.
We’ve embedded the full image above—what do you think? It features some of the most well-known attractions of Paris and San Francisco such as the Eiffel Tower, the Moulin Rouge, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
By: Janet Lee Carey
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Our longtime readergirlz friend, Dawn Rutherford is here with us today. She's the terrific Teen Services Coordinator for Sno-Isle Libraries. Welcome DawnTell us about Sno-Isle libraries
We are an awesome library system just a bit North of Seattle with 22 locations spread over two counties. I’ve been working here for seven years, and before that I worked at King County and also Chicago Public. My job is to oversee all things teen at a system-wide level. This includes our great teen website, events like Teen Read and Teen Tech Months, trainings for staff, spearheading proposals for shared programming kits and equipment, and generally supporting my Teen Contacts at each location to do the best they can for serving teens. This year has been an exciting one. We are currently working on a GenYZ project with the consultant OrangeBoy Inc. to craft better strategies and services for 13-29 year olds. And we just finalized our brand new Teen Service Purpose Statement which will not only focus and strengthen our services to teens (which we define as 12-18), but expands it to better serve tweens (9-12) and young adults (19-20). Outside of the wonderful work I get to do for Sno-Isle, I’m also active in YALSA, and have worn many hats for them. Photo -YALSA fashion show
My favorites were co-planning an amazing Get Graphic @ Your Library graphic novel pre-conference (where I got to meet and introduce Neil Gaiman), chairing the first Great Graphic Novel for Teens committee, serving on the Margaret A. Edwards award committee that honored Francescia Lia Block, and now I’m chairing this year’s Odyssey Award committee. The Skinny: What do you love most about your work? My stock answer used to be “working with the teens”, but the sad fact is that I’ve reached a point in my career where to best utilize my experience and abilities to serve teens, I don’t actually get to interact with them all that often. I’m hoping to change this over the next year by implementing a brand new system of teen councils at our libraries, with representatives that will serve on a virtual council that works directly with me. But even if I don’t get the face time with them much anymore, I love that I get to constantly work creatively to connect teens with libraries and all they have to offer…especially books. I served on Spokane Public Library’s Young Adult Advisory Committee (YAAC) back in the 80s under the late great Christy Tyson, and I still cherish the connections I was able to make with library staff and other book loving teens. Thank goodness for Facebook…not only do I still connect with some librarians and other YAAC members through that, but I’m now friends with former teens who were dear to me at previous jobs. More than anything I love the connections I make with individuals: be it teens, library staff, authors, fellow YALSA members…and if we can share a good book, all the better!
A Mighty Librarian Roar!
Human civilization exists largely in information our species has created and shares together to make stories of how the world should be. Storing this information externally (outside our brains) gives us tremendous room for growth and possibility, but it also sets up potential for loss and disconnection if that information is not accessible. Libraries have grown beyond a physical place where information is stored, into a gateway to the world. Library staff don’t just help you find the right book, but help set you on the journey to the place you want to be, and the person you are aspiring to become. And all of this happens because communities believe individual should have this sort of access and assistance, which to me is a very hopeful and beautiful thing.
I was very fortunate early in my days at Sno-Isle to have made a connection Shannon Hale before she hit it big, and was asked by her publisher if I could host her and Libba Bray on their joint tour. Shannon Hale, Dawn and Libba Bray
[photo from flickr set: keepingfaith]
I worked extra hard to plan a fun even that would be enjoyable for both the authors and the audience, because I love both of these author’s work and wanted to share my excitement with everyone. When they showed up, it turned out all three of us were wearing practically the same outfit…black cardigans, dresses, and black boots. We had so much fun…I still feel lucky to have gotten to know them before they both got huge :D
Pride of Programs
Hmmm. Two of my favorite programs I’ve done are probably Book Buddies and last summer’s pilot of the Sno-Isle Super Summer Scavenganza. Book Buddies is a program where teens mentor struggling readers in 2nd-4thgrade over the summer. It is a wonderful intergenerational program and not only helps kids enjoy reading more and get comfortable doing it, but it is really great for the teens, too! The Scavengana is a two month long online scavenger hunt where teams of teens were given missions each day of the summer, and competed against each other by making videos, writing book reviews, and other creative endeavors. I really hope to do it again next year, but with some simplifications and tweaks to make it easier to run and participate in! It was one of the most satisfying projects I’ve worked on in a long time. We left everything up on the website, and here are some photo highlights of the teams entries.
Teen Library Scene
To me the best indicators of passion for our libraries are some of the entries for contests our teens have made for us. My personal favorite is Emily B.’s submission from our 2012 art contest (http://www.sno-isle.org/teens/art-contest-winners/), a Harry Potter themed synchronized swim that two sisters made for our Scavenganza last summer, and this infomercialby another Scavenganza team, Dragon Army. That our fans are willing to create such wonderful things for our library community is super exciting to me. Art Contest Winner Emily B.
Andrew K. - Mill Creek: “One thing I really like about the Sno-Isle teen section, on the website at least, is that it feels like you can contribute to it, i.e. the reviews, which you seem to be the main moderator for! I also enjoy that there are lists by subject matter added and edited once in awhile, and when I was first especially looking for new books before I started using GoodReads, those lists were extremely helpful! I still check back on them once in awhile if some are updated.”
Sophie K. - Arlington: "The founders of our nation believed in self-education-the idea that every single individual ought to learn by reading books and studying the thoughts and ideas of those who have come before them. Can you imagine our nation without libraries where you can accomplish this goal? I know of no better place than a library to explore ideas, rethink your philosophies, entertain different thoughts, and change your mind. Just one person can change the world-and just one library can change a person."
Pic of Teen AdvisorsAuthor! Author!
For me, the perfect author visit is one where the readers are super jazzed and have all read the book and have tons of questions for the author. And then the author responds to teens with total respect, humor, and grace. Some of my favorites have included the one I mentioned with Shannon Hale and Libba Bray at the Mountlake Terrace library, when we had Scott Westerfeld at the Edmonds library, a Skype interview Adam Rex did with the teens of the Mukilteo Library, and great guest visits at two different Teen-Adult Book groups I’ve co-run with school libraries: Ben Michaelson at Tillicum Middle School, and Kendare Blake at Brier-Terrace Middle school.
Let’s Link Blog: Snoisleteens http://snoisleteens.tumblr.com/
Library Website: sno-isle.org/teens/ http://www.sno-isle.org/teens/ Facebook: snoisleteens https://www.facebook.com/snoisleteens
Twitter: @snoisleteens https://twitter.com/snoisleteens Pinterest: snoisleteens http://www.pinterest.com/snoisleteens/
Thanks again for the terrific interview, Dawn!
Lionsgate has unleashed the official trailer for Insurgent. The video embedded above features glimpses of Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, and Kate Winslet reprising their roles as Tris, Four, Caleb Prior, and Jeanine Matthews. The second installment of the Divergent film franchise be released on March 20, 2015. Follow this link to watch the teaser trailer.
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The 2014 Cybils Awards finalists have been announced! The Cybils Awards, now in our 9th year, recognize the best children's and YA books of the year as defined by our primary criteria: kid appeal and literary merit. We are an adjudicated award, and our judges are all bloggers specializing in children's and YA literature. Our lists are a great resource for anyone looking for the best children's and YA books. Here is the full finalist announcement.
I serve as a judge in the YA Speculative Fiction category, where I'm also Category Chair. I'm excited to share our seven excellent finalists!
From the moment Ileni stepped into a cave of assassins to teach magic and discover who killed her two predecessors, I was hooked. In DEATH SWORN, Ileni goes deep into a culture that values absolute obedience and killing for the greater good. Ileni herself is the novel's greatest assassin, a heroine who overcomes her fears and doubts, managing to hide that she's weak and easy prey. The intense tension between Ileni and her assassin protector Soren adds a touch of romance to the action, with a refreshing lack of anything resembling a love triangle. The theme of questioning authority and dogma will resonate with teens, as will Ileni's growing engagement with the world around her as she discovers that you can forge a new path for yourself after your dreams falter.
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
You don't need a dose of hallucinogenic bat to enjoy this trippy tale. A.S. King's capable writing weaves together three worlds: the past, where a young mother's suicide left her husband and daughter reeling, the present, in which the last days of high school close the door on that daughter's childhood, and the future, which is a nightmare existence in a patriarchal dystopia. Today, eighteen-year-old Glory O'Brien's smallest choices and revelations will affect all three worlds. They will clarify her past, determine her present and maybe - just maybe - change the future for everyone.
Travis Coates is a boy out of time. His body was dying of cancer, which led him to cryogenically preserve himself hoping for a cure. But 5 years later, a radical new procedure allows the doctors to place his perfectly good head onto another boy's body. Now he is literally out of time: he is woken up feeling like only a day has passed when in reality, the world has moved 5 years into the future without him. His friends have graduated, his girlfriend is engaged to another man, his best friend is content to stay in the closet and yet Travis is still stuck in high school. As Travis tries to keep his head on straight, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cringe. Pun totally intended. Noggin by John Corey Whaley takes the typical questions of the teenage years – who am I? where do I fit in? – and kicks them up a notch with a brilliant speculative concept that combines biting humor with the perfect amount of angst and sorrow.
Salvage is the epic journey of a girl severed from her community and exiled from the only life she’s ever known. The struggle to survive becomes a journey for self-actualization, as Ava loses everything and must find within herself the strength to start over and find her own way, not once, but over and over again. Rich details immerse the reader in each setting and culture, from a patriarchal, fundamentalist society in space, to a floating city in the Great Pacific Garbage Gyre, to a futuristic Mumbai. A dark skinned heroine leads a cast of characters diverse in race, culture, and class.
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
What starts as a way for Shy to earn money to help his family back in a small town close to the San Diego/Mexico border turns out to be a horrific ride when the dreaded 'Big One' hits the West Coast. Added to the mix is a deadly disease that has killed not only Shy's grandmother, but others. The Living has a gripping plot featuring a Mexican-American protagonist and a cast of diverse characters. It starkly portrays racism and classism among the rich cruise patrons, and the greed that drives some in power to commit questionable acts. Sure to appeal to reluctant readers with its multi-layered characters and action-packed scenes, this novel nails the horror of being caught in a disaster and portrays the courage and strength that can come when people are faced with terrible odds.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
The Winner’s Curse is a world-building lover’s dream, with a rich setting and two distinct cultures free of stereotypes. Despite the unequal power dynamic between the two leads - Kestrel as a daughter of the conqueror and Arin as one of the conquered and enslaved - they find themselves drawn to each other, playing a game of emotional chess to get what they need even as the attraction builds. Rutkoski deals sensitively with class issues and the realities of slavery, allowing the romance to develop but ensuring her characters remain true to themselves and their own motivations. The action-packed second half, the moral ambiguity of the characters’ actions, and the intense romance make The Winner’s Curse highly appealing and a story readers will continue to think about long after the last page is turned.
Here are the finalists for Elementary & Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction, from the committee chaired by the awesome Charlotte of Charlotte's Library:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
While We Run opens with Abdi Taalib singing a rendition of Here Comes the Sun - a hopeful, romantic song that directly contradicts his nightmare existence as a government prisoner and puppet. Soon he and Tegan (star of 2013's When We Wake) are on the run, not sure who to trust or what the right next step is. Abdi’s privileged, Somali upbringing may come in handy as they maneuver between the rebels and the installed regime. His ability to manipulate people could be just what they need. But no matter what they decide, lives will be lost.
Healey completely integrates a diverse set of characters into a world so real it seems like the reader is also barreling towards that future. The intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and religion are natural and the characters well-rounded and complete. Diversity isn't a plot device, it's part of each character's individual story. While We Run shows throws us into a world that has computers that look and act like paper, night vision contact lenses, legalized drugs, and the worldwide ability to use human waste as manure. But is it a better future?"
Random House Books for Young Readers
In the swampy mucks of Florida where sugar cane grows and football is king, Charlie’s family has moved to begin a new chapter in their lives. Pairing up with his cousin, “Cotton”, Charlie begins to learn about his new town, but soon Charlie and Cotton find that their carefree days playing football and running through the burning cane fields are coming to an end. There is something not quite alive--but not quite dead either--wreaking havoc in the flats. Old rivalries are tearing the town apart. The little jealousies, bitter musings, and grudges people have cradled in their hearts are taking over their whole souls. The monsters, bent on destruction, are using this for their own ends. Charlie soon finds himself in the role of reluctant hero tasked with bringing an end to the source of the monsters’ power. In Boys of Blur, N.D. Wilson tells a sweeping tale of family, friendship, community, and heroism with a diverse cast of characters and plenty of action.
Milo Pine has grown up in Greenglass House, the beautiful old smugglers's inn his parents run. Everything in his life follows the same pattern from year to year, and that's just the way he likes it. But one snowy day at the beginning of winter vacation, a visitor unexpectedly arrives, and then another one, and another, setting into motion a chain of events that will change Milo's world forever.
Part puzzle, part mystery, Greenglass House is an enchanting and thoughtful story. Milo's conflicted feelings about his identity and the idea of growing up will resonate with reader. His growing friendship with Meddy and their adventures playing his father's forgotten RPG provide an emotional backbone to this strongly written story about finding out that you are more than you ever thought you could be.
When Jed the squirrel is captured by a hawk, he manages to escape, but he is lost and far from home. Fortunately for him, Jed has good friends, TsTs and Chai, who are willing to put themselves at risk to come to his rescue. Then, the three friends discover a greater threat to their squirrel community than hawks and other predators. Can they return home in time to sound the warning, and can they persuade the busy, nut-gathering squirrel clan that their lives are in danger?
Nuts to You is a squirrel-y story. The squirrels talk to each other–--in squirrel. One of them has learned some English, and he tells the story to the author who writes it down for us. The moral is, “Save the trees,” for the sake of the squirrels and for humans, too. All of that–--the talking squirrels, the environmental message, the author inside the story—works together for a tale of friendship and adventure that is a cut above your usual talking animal story. At times poignant and at other times hilarious, Nuts to You will keep kids reading and laughing and perhaps looking for their own squirrel friend with whom to share a conversation and a peanut butter sandwich
Katherine Tegen Books
Sand has lived all his thirteen years in view of the cursed castle surrounded by a thick hedge of poisoned thorns. But that doesn't prepare him for the morning when he wakes up inside the castle, among the ashes on the hearth. Everything in the castle is broken, including loaves of bread, items of clothing, and the giant anvil in the smithy. Everything is broken except the body of the princess whom Sand finds in the castle crypt. How to break this curse isn't obvious, and Sand is not a prince. In fact, he's never wanted to be anything but a blacksmith, and as he starts repairing the items in the castle, he discovers a gift for mending -- and healing. But waking the cursed princess is only the beginning. Trapped together inside the castle by the poisonous hedge of thorns, blacksmith's boy and princess must learn to work together to uncover the secrets of the past and break the curse.
The Castle Behind Thorns is a tale of enchantment, friendship, and forgiveness, a story of overcoming obstacles, mending what's broken, and finding one's place in the world. It will appeal to those who love fairy tales but appreciate stories where it can take much more than a simple kiss to break a spell.
Pirates! In Space! Twelve-year-old Tycho Hashoon and his twin sister Yana are actually privateers on their family’s ship, the Shadow Comet, licensed by the Jovian Union of the inhabited moons of Jupiter. Their older brother is, like Tycho and Yana, training to be captain of the ship someday. When Tycho earns a chance to lead a boarding party, disaster strikes. The Hashoons have to give up their hard-won prize and risk losing their letter of marque. Tycho and Yana’s efforts to uncover the truth take them from the Ceres Admiralty Court to seedy port hangouts and uninhabited regions of space.
The Hashoon family itself is as appealing as the space-faring premise. They are both loving and competitive, with an extended family all living, joking and squabbling together on board ship. Part space opera, part legal thriller, with a whole lot of very relatable family relationships, Jupiter Pirates: Hunt for the Hydra is an exciting yarn that will hook kids with the adventure while leaving them with deeper thoughts on topics from siblings to slavery.
Welcome to the village Drowning. For centuries, the residents of Drowning have been warned not to venture into the dark, murky bogs that surround the village. After all, the bogs are home to the evil and terrifying Bog Nobblins – or so the legend goes. Rye O'Chanter has always believed Bog Nobblins were a thing of legend. No one has seen one and there has been no indication they even exist. That all changes when she has a horrific encounter with a single Bog Nobblin that forces Rye to realize the thing people fear most is real.
Now, Rye is tasked with convincing others the Bog Nobblin is a threat and the village needs help from a mysterious group of criminals known as the Luck Uglies. Luck Uglies, the first book in a trilogy, is a fantasy novel that has it all – magic, friendship, adventure, mysterious creatures, and secrets that need to be uncovered.
Rose sees ghosts and thinks she herself might be one, for no one seems to see or care about her. Polly desperately wants to see ghosts, or at least find respite from her busy, family-filled house. What neither expected was for the angry ghost of a third girl to interfere in the friendship they have made with each other through their shared attic wall.
Part mystery, part ghost story, this gripping and sometimes deeply poignant book will delight readers who love character-driven stories of friendship and family. Full of twists, both ghostly and otherwise, this is an utterly absorbing and beautifully written story.
Now a second panel of judges in each category will choose one winner per category. Winners will be announced on February 14, so stay tuned!
By: Sheila Ruth
Blog: Wands and Worlds
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I love the seven books my panel selected as the finalists for YA Speculative Fiction. I'm really proud of our shortlist as a representation of the best YA Spec Fic books of 2014. However, there are always the ones that got away, the ones that didn't quite make it. When seven people are deliberating, compromises have to be made, and sometimes, no matter how passionate you are about a book, you can't convince your fellow judges. Here are some of the 2014 Cybils nominees that I loved, but which didn't make the cut as finalists:
Divided We Fall Trilogy: Book 1: Divided We Fall
This is a frighteningly believable book about a near-future conflict between a state and the Federal Government, with the National Guard caught in the middle. Exciting plot, credible and distinctive teen male voice, and well-developed protagonist.
For anyone who has ever wanted to be Circus. Part mystery, part circus story, and a bit of magic, this story of a young wire walker trying to overcome her family's past and prove herself is dripping with atmosphere and loaded with teen appeal. Love Is the Drug
Alaya Dawn Johnson
Federal agents investigating Washington DC prep school student Emily Bird may be more of a danger to her than the rapidly spreading global pandemic. An exciting thriller that shows the stark contrast between the power elite in Northwest DC and the working class in the Northeast, and the racism that exists in both.Shadowfell #03: The Caller
The conclusion of a terrific high fantasy series that started with Shadowfell
. I've loved all the books in this series, but sadly I've been unsuccessful at convincing my fellow judges to shortlist any of them. With well developed characters, a page-turning plot, and themes of sacrifice and choice, this may be the best book of the trilogy.The Girl from the Well
A creepy paranormal horror story told from the point of view of a centuries-old ghost. With distinctive voice, an almost poetic writing style, and a strong dose of Japanese culture, The Girl from the Well has a lot of teen appeal. This one came very close to making the shortlist, but we had some concerns about the mentally ill being used in a stereotyped way for horror effect.A Creature of Moonlight
As the daughter of a dragon and a princess, Marni is torn between two worlds, the wild and beautiful but dangerous forest, and the equally dangerous life at court. A beautifully lyrical, character-driven fantasy with a theme of choice and being true to yourself.
HarperTeen has decided to bundle up all four of Kiera Cass’ Selection novellas into an illustrated hardcover collection. Originally, the publisher had planned to release a print book with only two novellas, The Queen and The Favorite.
According to Cass’ blog post, other additional content that will be featured in this collection includes three scenes starring a supporting character named Celeste Newsome and a second epilogue to The One. The publication date for this new project is scheduled for October 2015.
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The team at EpicReads.com has created a calendar infographic called “365 Days of YA.” Follow this link to download a full-size edition of the image.
According to the EpicReads blog, this piece features “book recommendations for every season, month, week and day of 2015…Pull up your Goodreads add to shelves, Amazon wishlists and however else you track what you want to read, because your to-be-read pile is about to get WAY bigger. #SorryNotSorry”
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A new trailer has been unleashed for The Duff film. The video embedded above offers glimpses of Bella Thorne as Madison, Robbie Amell as Wesley, and Mae Whitman in the titular role.
Author Kody Keplinger made her authorial debut with this young adult novel back in September 2010. CBS Films has scheduled the movie release date for February 2015.