YALSA Symposium Pre-conference: Body Positivity and Size Acceptance in Contemporary Young Adult Fiction

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m fat.’  Yep.’  And I have green eyes (and hair, right now), and I’m tall, and have a tattoo.’  These are all descriptors of me.’  Our fearless leader, Angie Manfredi, opened the session much the same way (except she doesn’t have green hair).’  For me, someone who’s been an on-again-off-again size activist for years, it was the perfect way to set the stage.’  Angie’s unapologetic view of herself and her infectious energy created a few hours that went by far too quickly.’  I would have happily spent all day.

She began talking a little about size acceptance (and by that we mean *any* size, not just large) and continued on to a full literature review.’  Her list included titles that were (by her definition, and this author’s as well) actually positive, from authors who had good intentions but just missed the mark, and those titles that featured body issues but were sending problematic messages.’  She also talked about adult titles with teen appeal, some recommended reading for adults and a few choice titles about disordered eating too.’  I appreciated her list immensely (if you’ll pardon the pun).’  She only included YA titles published in the last 5 years (acknowledging that there were other good older titles) so it was fresh. Continue reading

Celebramos Libros Booklist

Here is the link for the Celebramos Libros list of books by and about Hispanics, Latinos, Chicanas.’  It is very much an early draft.’  Our hope is that folks will download it, add to it, and repost it somewhere.’  I know we have barely scratched the surface, but this is a place for us all to begin to build a more comprehensive list.’  The list contains only YA (and a few tween) titles.’  However, I know there are many more to be added.’  Of special interest, we believe, are the authors who may be publishing with small presses that you know but others might not.

You can find the list here:


Teri Lesesne and Rosemary Chance

2010 YALSA Lit Symposium – Morning Session: Celebramos Libros

Presented by Teri Lesesne, Rosemary Chance, and Janie Flores, and featuring amazing, award-winning authors Benjamin Alire Sáenz and Margarita Engle, this session explored the importance of books and authors that feature Latinos/Hispanics/Chicanos (there was a small discussion of labeling and its drawbacks) and their ability to allow Latino teens to see themselves in the literature made available to them.

Benjamin Sáenz spoke about the fact that he was firstly a poet and a writer for adults until he was asked by a publisher to consider writing for children and then young adults.’  And aren’t we glad he said yes.’  Mr. Sáenz read passages from his books Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood and Last Night I Sang to the Monster that related to the fact that adults so often fail to really see teens, and that teens in turn look to each other to be seen and understood.’  And on the subject of becoming an author, he shared his philosophy that “we become writers by discipline and desire” and that talent is not just a gift that some writers have, but something that they have to work for.’  His next book, coming out in 2012, is called Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and will feature a gay, Latino romance set in the 1960s. Continue reading

YA Lit Symposium: Looking for Diversity? Start with Your Own Teens

In this session, Pam Spencer Holley presented lists that she and co-author Julie Bartel (who was unable to attend) compiled for their book YALSA Annotated Book Lists for Every Teen Reader. Realizing that one of the biggest problems librarians have is finding the right books for a wide variety of teen readers, they looked to the YALSA-BK discussion list, reading through six years of archives and mining it for categories based on regularly asked questions.’  Bartel and Holley used recommendations offered by others on the listserv, adding newer titles if needed, and also winnowing down when their lists grew too large.

Each attendee was given a long list of recommendations in twelve categories, and Holley spoke briefly of every title listed, beginning each category by discussing the questions that prompted it.’  Some of the categories included were: Continue reading

YA Lit Symposium Pre-Conference: On Beyond Stonewall

The morning began with Michael Cart giving an overview of some of the important social and political events related to LGBTQ issues. Next, Cart and Christine Jenkins presenting a list of all of the books with LGBTQ content from 1969 to 2010. They booktalked many of these, highlighting some trends (resolution by automobile crash, melodrama, impossibly good looking gay men and the women who love them), the breakthrough books, and the real dingers. It was like being back in library school, taking a class on LGBTQ YA Lit, but it was compressed. If you want to spend more time with these books and these issues, check out Cart and Jenkins’ book from Scarecrow Press, The Heart Has It’s Reasons.

If you get your hands on their bibliography and were not in attendance, please note that this is not a list of recommended books. Some are good and some are not so good. During introductions, we each chose books from the list to highlight. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan and Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and Levithan got the most nods, along with the graphic novel Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. Please add your own recommendations in the comments. Continue reading

YA Lit Symposium Pre-Conference: Meet Them Where They Are and Open the Door: Urban Teens, Street Lit, and Reader’s Advisory

Meet Them Where They Are and Open the’  Door: Urban Teens, Street Lit, and Reader’s Advisory brought together the expertise of Megan Honig of New York Public Library, Beth Saxton of Cleveland Public Library, and Sofia Quintero, author of the YA novel Efraim’s Secret (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2010).

Presenters Honig and Saxton demanded participants think critically about the definitions of “urban” and “street lit,” as well as admit, on paper, their biases, preconceived notions, and reservations about recommending street lit to young adults.’  The discussion and reflection segments of this pre-conference proved particularly valuable. Continue reading

Tweets of the Week – November 5, 2010

A short list of tweets posted over the last week that librarians and the teens that they serve may find interesting:

  • eschoolnews: parents more likely to purchase mobile device for child for classroom use http://tinyurl.com/2vx5olz – @wsstephens
  • FCC taking on cyberbullying in schools http://reut.rs/a3lkQ4 Order linked to e-rate – @StephenBalkam
  • 8 Tools Your Virtual Team Shouldn’t Live Without http://tinyurl.com/2abznod – @OPENForum
  • WSJ.com – Why E-Books Aren’t Scary, according to Stephen King (unless an electromagnetic pulse deletes everything!) http://on.wsj.com/akBi7U – @jendimmick
  • Does Screen Reading Count?: It should, according to this study. I’m not so sure the experience is the same, and I’… http://bit.ly/ciKmPK – @educationweek Continue reading

App of the Week: iDrakula

Name: iDrakula
Platform: iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch (requires iOS 4)
Cost: Free preview (first five days) and $1.99 to finish the story

I’m kind of obsessed with Dracula and I rather enjoy my iPhone, so when I heard that Bekka Black had written a modern retelling of Dracula that I could read on my phone, I had to have it. ‘ Like Stoker’s original version, the story is told in correspondence, in this case, through texts, emails, voice mail, and browser history.’  Check out these cute YouTube promotional bits.

Here’s the title page and contents:

Continue reading

YALSA’s Not So Silent Auction: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

On Friday night, January 7, 2011 at the San Diego Midwinter Meeting, you have the opportunity to bid on several food and drink related items. Including:

  • yalsatini in a glassDid you know that YALSA has an official drink? As of Midwinter 2011 the Association definitely does. It’s the YALSAtini and ingredients include Stoli Orange and white cranberry juice, but the full-list of ingredients won’t be unveiled until the Silent Auction when you’ll be able to taste YALSAtinis as well as bid on the YALSAtini Kit. The kit will include everything you need to make a YALSAtini including a shot glass, martini glasses, a gift certificate for the alcohol required, snacks to go along with the drink, and the YALSAtini recipe. Continue reading