Jul. 3, 2014
10 Recent Contemporary LGBTQ YA Books
In honor of Pride month, here are 10 YA books about contemporary LGBT experiences just published this year. If you haven’t had a chance to check them out yet, now’s a great time!
Jun. 16, 2014
Who needs friends when you have books? And as pointed out by charliecheerio Red is then approached by the Golden Girls and the title of the book is We Are the Goldens. Coincidence? Probably not.
We are the Goldens - Dana Reinhardt
Jun. 15, 2014
In honor of LGBT Pride Month, here are 10 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer authors of young adult fiction to know:
(click on photos for captions)
- Co-author with Allison Glock-Cooper of Changers Book 1: Drew, and several books for adults
- Author of the Lambda Award-winning If You Could Be Mine and the forthcoming Tell Me How a Crush Should Feel
- Author of the Lambda Award-winning Two Boys Kissing, Boy Meets Boy, and co-author with John Green of Will Grayson, Will Grayson; and more
Julie Anne Peters
- Author of Lies My Girlfriend Told Me, the National Book Award finalist Luna, Keeping You a Secret, and more
Benjamin Alire Sáenz
- Author of the Printz Honor book Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Last Night I Sang to the Monster, and several books for adults
Jun. 5, 2014
There are some themes, some subjects, too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children’s book.
Jun. 4, 2014
"Malo-Juvera finds that the unit did yield significant results, particularly among young men whose initial scores indicated high levels of rape myth acceptance, and particularly with the She Wanted It component.”
Victor Malo-Juvera has published ground-breaking research (Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 48, No. 4, May 2014) on how teaching SPEAK to 8th grade students changed their acceptance of rape mythology.
Books change (and save) lives. So do great teachers and librarians!
May. 26, 2014
The issue is one that is as central to Middle Grade novels and Middle Grade authors as YA novels and authors. Is there an apartheid in MG literature? The numbers surely suggest yes. Rather than blaming The Market or, worse still, middle grade authors of color, perhaps we as a community need to come up with some solutions. These solutions might include:
1. As the CNN article suggests, BIGGER MEGAPHONES. Who are the biggest middle grade names and voices out there? Kate DiCamillo, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, WE NEED YOU (and people like you) to not only support books by and about people of color, but lend your voice and considerable authority to the conversation.
2. Agents and Editors willing to believe in, invest in, and market authors of color (and stories about characters of color). But agents and editors need support too – so we need agencies and publishing houses committed to issues of diversity. (While recognizing that some are already so, I’m looking at you, Tu Books)
How can you help your organization put diversity on the agenda? Maybe your agency/publishing house needs to regularly read and share blogs addressing diversity like that of the CBC diversity committee. Maybe your agency/publishing house needs to have a book club, google hang out, or twitter chat where you read, discuss and recommend to each other stories by and about people of color (even from among books you don’t represent!). Maybe your agency/publishing house needs to hire more agents or editors of color! Maybe your agency/publishing house could publicly pledge to increase the number of authors of color they represent, or books they publish by and about people of color! (And become an industry leader and role model for doing so!)
3. Librarians, teachers, parents, and readers to promote and embrace stories by and about characters of color – and not just during African- or Asian American history months! Stories that represent our diverse world are needed by all children all year round – not once a month, and not simply trotting out special ‘ethnic’ books for ‘ethnic’ children. And think about genre, too — are all the stories about African American characters historical fiction addressing segregation and slavery? Does your science fiction and fantasy collection feature any Native American, Asian American or Latino/a authors?
4. Authors Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo established the Diversity in YA blog (and reading series!), perhaps there needs to be a similar blog set up called Diversity in MG!
5. Established authors paying attention to ‘who else is at the table’ (or on the panel, as the case may be). Is there a wonderful author of color or book about a character of color you love? Pass it on to your editor or agent! Talk it up on your blog! Tweet, Instagram or shout from the rooftops about it! Someone helped you get where you are, why not pay it forward? (while this is related to point #1 above about bigger megaphones, I also don’t think you need to be a ‘major name’ to support diversity.)
Authors, how’s this for an easily achievable step: When invited to speak somewhere, take the responsibility to ask who else is coming. I learned this trick from several white male academics I know who, when asked to speak somewhere, always ask who else is going to be there. If they realize it will be yet another all white panel/speaker series/conference, they suggest other names. I actually know of one man who has bowed out of several panels to make room for other voices. Now I’m not advocating for tokenism (stick that one person of color on the panel!) but for us as colleagues to think how even small everyday actions can help us be a part of the solution, rather than part of perpetuating the problem.
6. All authors paying attention to the diversity present in their stories. Now, like my comment on panels above, this doesn’t mean ‘stick in a token kid of color/disabled kid/LGBTQ kid’ into your story, but rather, that we all write stories that reflect the world around us (and most of us live in a pretty diverse world). There are plenty of good resources on writing cross culturally out there – but I recommend this post on the “12 Fundamentals of Writing the Other (and the Self)” by Daniel José Older, and this one by Cynthia Leitich Smith called “Writing, Tonto and the Wise Cracking Minority Sidekick who is the First to Die.”
N.B. Although obviously important, I put this point about writing across cultures purposefully last. This is because I think it problematic that conversations about diversity in children’s literature so often become only about non-POC authors being ‘brave’ enough to write racially diverse stories. Now, I’m not endorsing any type of essentialism – ie. suggesting something ridiculous and limiting like authors should only write about characters whose ethnicities, sexualities, genders, etc. are exactly like theirs. Of course not. But I still want to borrow here a slogan from the disability activism movement: ‘Nothing About Us Without Us.’
May. 26, 2014
SVYALit Project Index
Using Young Adult literature to talk with teens about sexual violence and consent
- To discuss sexual violence in the lives of teens and in ya literature on an ongoing basis
- To raise awareness of the issues and titles that can be used to discuss the topics with teens;
- To give librarians, educators and parents the tools to evaluate and discuss these topics in the lives of teens;
- To promote teen reading and literature
Project Outline and Schedule
An indepth look at the books
From Girl Code
Statistics & Essential Information
It is estimated that anywhere between 1 out of 6 to as high as 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 7 to as high as 1 out of 5 boys is the victim of some type of sexual violence by the time they reach age 18. It is also believed that true statistics are higher than we think because the incidences of abuse are under-reported. (Sources: 1 in 4 ; The CDC ; The Advocacy Center)
For every 161 rape cases filed, only 1 is found to be a false accusation. This is important because it means that more than 99% of rape allegations are true.
Additional Book Reviews and Booklists
Because No Always Mean No, a list of books dealing with sexual assault
Take 5: Difficult books on an important topic (sexual violence)
Take 5: Sexual Violence in the Life of Boys
Book Review: The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely
Thinking About Boys, Sex, and Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian
What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Plus One by Elizabeth Fama
September Girls by Bennett Madison
Discussing THE S WORD by Chelsea Pitcher, a guest post by Lourdes Keochgerien
5 Reasons I Loved Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
Sex/Consent Positive Titles: Karen’s List Christa’s List Carrie’s List
Book Review: Uses for Boys by Erica Lorainne Scheidt
What It’s Like for a Girl: How Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama made me think about the politics of sexuality in the life of girls
Should there be sex in YA books?
An Anonymous Letter to Those Who Would Ban Eleanor and Park
Who Will Save You? Boundaries, Rescue and the Role of Adults in YA Lit. A look at consent and respecting boundaries in relationships outside of just sex.
Incest, the last taboo
Loud and Clear: A Reflection on Teaching SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson in the Classroom
Christa Writes: Sexual Violence in YA Lit
Slut Shaming part 1 and part 2
Silence Hurts Everyone: A further look at Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and a discussion of why adults don’t intervene more on the behalf of children
Discussing The S Word by Chealsea Pitcher
Talk About Sex: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Why Talking About the Age of Consent Matters
Canary, Consent and Athlete Adoration
Honoring the Survivors, a look at The Gospel of Winter
Book Review: Uses for Boys by Erica Lorainne Scheidt
Recap and Video of the first panel discussing Faultline, Sex & Violence and Where the Stars Still Shine
Recap and Video of the second panel discussing Charm & Strange, Canary, and The Gospel of Winter
Talking with Teens About Street Harassment
What It’s Like for a Girl: How Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama made me think about the politics of sexuality in the life of girls
That Time Matt Smith Perpetuated Street Harassment Culture at Comic Con
#EndSHWeek is March 30th - April 5th
Talking with Teens About Human Trafficking
Read Kimberly Purcell’s TRAFFICKED for a look at this issue and read her post about writing the book
Human Trafficking: YOU can get involved
The Slave Across the Street
Talking with Teens About Consent
Sexual Assault Awareness Month, talking to teens about consent and rape part 1 and part 2
This is What Consent Looks Like
The Curios Case of the Kissing Doctor and Consent
Book Discussion Guides
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Canary by Rachele Alpine
Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
Scars by Cheryl Rainfield (also deals with self-harm)
What is Rape Culture?
What “Rape Culture” Means
Systemic Barriers: Gender Socialization | Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center
Ending Widespread Violence Against Women: Promoting Gender Equality: UNFPA
Myth and Facts about Sexual Abuse, Violence and Rape (from 1 in 6)
A Guide to Male Sale Assault from RAINN
Follow the #SVYALit Tumblr for updates and additional posts
This index will be updated on an ongoing basis
How to Use the #SVYALit Project Index:
“Books are a safe way to help teens process topics we know they are thinking about. Here are some things you can do in your library to get the discussion going in your library—and also implement ways to help teens who themselves have been impacted by SV.
- Contact your local hospital and see if they have a SANE nurse (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner). SANE nurses can come to your school and library and give talks about healthy relationships, consent, unhealthy and abusive relationships, recognizing the signs of sexual violence and more. They will usually do this for free as part of their outreach.
- Put together a panel of local communities who work with youth to discuss the various resources in your immediate community that can help teens. Or have a health fair and include this type of information.
- Have a book discussion group on the various titles we are discussing in SVYALit, and watch the author discussion panels.
- At the very least, share relevant information with your community by building displays, putting together booklists and resources, and discussion guides. For example, a variety of discussion guides for Speak can be found online.
There is evidence to suggest that promoting gender equality can help decrease sexual violence. So consider creating integrated book displays based on themes like plagues, dystopians, action and adventure, etc. instead of promoting gendered displays like “boy books” and “girl books.” See also: Boys Will Be Boys and Girls Will Be Accomodating by author Laurel Snyder.” - excepted from Launching a Dialogue About Sexual Violence in YA Lit—and in Real Life at School Library Journal
Apr. 26, 2014
WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS CAMPAIGN
Recently, there’s been a groundswell of discontent over the lack of diversity in children’s literature. The issue is being picked up by news outlets like these two pieces in the NYT, CNN, EW, and many more. But while we individually care about diversity, there is still a disconnect. BEA’s Bookcon recently announced an all-white-male panel of “luminaries of children’s literature,” and when we pointed out the lack of diversity, nothing changed.
Now is the time to raise our voices into a roar that can’t be ignored. Here’s how:
On May 1st at 1pm (EST), there will be a public call for action that will spread over 3 days. We’re starting with a visual social media campaign using the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks. We want people to tweet, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, blog, and post anywhere they can to help make the hashtag go viral.
For the visual part of the campaign:
- Take a photo holding a sign that says “We need diverse books because ___________________________.” Fill in the blank with an important, poignant, funny, and/or personal reason why this campaign is important to you.
- The photo can be of you or a friend or anyone who wants to support diversity in kids’ lit. It can be a photo of the sign without you if you would prefer not to be in a picture. Be as creative as you want! Pose the sign with your favorite stuffed animal or at your favorite library. Get a bunch of friends to hold a bunch of signs.
- However you want to do it, we want to share it! There will be a Tumblr at http://weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com/ that will host all of the photos and messages for the campaign. Please submit your visual component by May 1st to email@example.com with the subject line “photo” or submit it right on our Tumblr page here and it will be posted throughout the first day.
- Starting at 1:00PM (EST) the Tumblr will start posting and it will be your job to reblog, tweet, Facebook, or share wherever you think will help get the word out.
- The intent is that from 1pm EST to 3pm EST, there will be a nonstop hashtag party to spread the word. We hope that we’ll get enough people to participate to make the hashtag trend and grab the notice of more media outlets.
- The Tumblr will continue to be active throughout the length of the campaign, and for however long we need to keep this discussion going, so we welcome everyone to keep emailing or sending in submissions even after May 1st.
On May 2nd, the second part of our campaign will roll out with a Twitter chat scheduled for 2pm (EST) using the same hashtag. Please use #WeNeedDiverseBooks at 2pm on May 2nd and share your thoughts on the issues with diversity in literature and why diversity matters to you.
On May 3rd, 2pm (EST), the third portion of our campaign will begin. There will be a Diversify Your Shelves initiative to encourage people to put their money where their mouth is and buy diverse books and take photos of them. Diversify Your Shelves is all about actively seeking out diverse literature in bookstores and libraries, and there will be some fantastic giveaways for people who participate in the campaign! More details to come!
We hope that you will take part in this in any way you can. We need to spread the word far and wide so that it will trend on Twitter. So that media outlets will pick it up as a news item. So that the organizers of BEA and every big conference and festival out there gets the message that diversity is important to everyone. We hope you will help us by being a part of this movement.
Apr. 22, 2014
A Diverse Dozen
Looking for some YA books that just happen to have characters of color, LGBT characters, and/or disabled characters? Here’s a diverse dozen titles with something for every reader — contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, and mystery too. (Descriptions are from WorldCat.)
Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac (Tu Books) — In a world that has barely survived an apocalypse that leaves it with pre-twentieth century technology, Lozen is a monster hunter for four tyrants who are holding her family hostage.
Pointe by Brandy Colbert (Putnam) — Four years after Theo’s best friend, Donovan, disappeared at age thirteen, he is found and brought home and Theo puts her health at risk as she decides whether to tell the truth about the abductor, knowing her revelation could end her life-long dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer.
If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth (Arthur A. Levine Books) — Seventh-grader Lewis “Shoe” Blake from the Tuscarora Reservation has a new friend, George Haddonfield from the local Air Force base, but in 1975 upstate New York there is a lot of tension and hatred between Native Americans and Whites–and Lewis is not sure that he can rely on friendship.
Fake ID by Lamar Giles (Amistad) — “An African-American teen in the Witness Protection Program moves to a new town and finds himself trying to solve a murder mystery when his first friend is found dead.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (Simon & Schuster) — Lara Jean writes love letters to all the boys she has loved and then hides them in a hatbox until one day those letters are accidentally sent.
Pantomime by Laura Lam (Strange Chemistry) — Gene, the daughter of a noble family, runs away from the decadence of court to R.H. Ragona’s circus of magic, where she meets runaway Micah, whose blood could unlock the mysteries of the world of Ellada.
Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Tu Books) — In an adventure reminiscent of Homer’s Odyssey, fifteen-year-old Odilia and her four younger sisters embark on a journey to return a dead man to his family in Mexico, aided by La Llorona, but impeded by a witch, a warlock, chupacabras, and more.
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina (Candlewick) — One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away?
Rogue by Lyn Miller-Lachmann (Nancy Paulsen Books) — An eighth-grade girl with Asperger’s syndrome tries to befriend her new neighbor, facing many challenges along the way.
More Than This by Patrick Ness (Candlewick) — A boy named Seth drowns, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.
Prophecy by Ellen Oh (HarperTeen) —A demon slayer, the only female warrior in the King’s army, must battle demon soldiers, an evil shaman, and the Demon Lord to find the lost ruby of the Dragon King’s prophecy and save her kingdom.
Far From You by Tess Sharpe (Hyperion) — After Sophie Winters survives a brutal attack in which her best friend, Mina, is murdered, she sets out to find the killer. At the same time she must prove she is free of her past Oxy addiction and in no way to blame for Mina’s death.
Apr. 13, 2014
'Book on Book' is a transparent paperweight that holds down the pages of a novel. It keeps the pages from flipping and allows the user to eat, drink, or sit back while reading.
protect the book from ur tears
Apr. 13, 2014
7 Things Women Writers are sick of hearing.
See more here.
"Why is your lead always a girl?"
"Who’s her love interest, then?"
"What kind of young adult do you write?" (I don’t write YA…)
"Oh, you do fantasy? Like Twilight?"
"Women just can’t write men. I mean, men can kind of do both just because it’s been done so much, but women always write men too girly."
"Are you going to hide your name like JK Rowling so you can get published?"
AND THE WORST ONE: Upon hearing my writing group is predominantly women… “Oh, I don’t think that’s for me. I do serious writing.”
I always hate the subtle slam on YA and romance in these things. I write YA and I love romance, but I will still kick your ass.
Amie and I get a lot of “This is pretty good for girl sci-fi.” As if “girl sci-fi” is its own thing, and as if it’s somehow less enjoyable than whatever “boy sci-fi” is. *eyeroll*