Have you ever thought “I could really use a list of _____ books”? I know I have:vampire books, street lit for teens, historical fiction for teens who hate historical fiction…

That’s one reason I’m glad to be part of the Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults committee. Our job is to come up with lists of young adult titles that are popular and fit a certain theme of the committee’s choosing. Looking for YA books on sports? crime? magic? religion? with proven teen appeal? Look no further!

At ALA’s Midwinter meeting, the committee will be working busily to select titles for this year’s lists: Death & Dying, Fame & Fortune, Journey > Destination, and Spies & Intrigue. We’ll also pick the themes for next year’s lists.

The committee has been passing theme ideas back and forth on our wiki, but we also want to hear from you. What kind of list could you use at your library?  Any suggestions?

Remember that “I’m a bad YA librarian because” meme?  Here’s mine:  I’m a bad YA librarian because I don’t have a pick for the 2009 Printz.

Not because there are just too many candidates and I can’t decide, but because I just didn’t spend 2008 reading literary YA books.  I read a lot of street lit.  I read all the titles nominated for my two Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults subcommittees.  I read a few titles that were getting the attention of librarians and teens, and I read the titles I was asked to review. Read More →

This morning’s New York Times has a very positive article about street lit and libraries. The article mostly focuses on adult readers, but there is also a mention of the Widener Street branch of the Philadelphia Free Library, where librarians and teens began a teen street lit book club, and subsequently library circulation increased and the teens expanded their reading interests to science fiction and biography.

My favorite point is about the appeal of street lit: Read More →

Why do so many teens gravitate toward street lit?

The Baltimore City Paper has a provocative article about the dearth of YA fiction reflecting the lives of teens in urban poverty.

Though librarians often think of authors like Walter Dean Myers, Coe Booth, and Sharon Flake as the answer to teens of color looking for reflections of themselves in literature, Corbin believes they don’t go far enough: Read More →

It seems like a little thing, but little things can still make a big difference.

Today, at my library’s weekly Game On!, an open video gaming event, we figured out how to divide the snacks so no one feels shortchanged.

Game On! started with a PlayStation 2 and a small, dedicated group of teens. It has since morphed into a multi-console gaming extravaganza. Every Thursday, we have an Xbox 360, a PlayStation 3, and a Wii, running respectively on two tvs and a projector. Not to mention the Rock Band drum kit, batteries for Wii-motes, a notebook full of cheat codes, Game Cube controllers that one of our regulars is kind enough to bring from home, and 20-30 teens attending each week. Read More →

Adults have been talking a lot about YA literature lately.

Author Margo Rabb (Cures for Heartbreak, 2007) was heartbroken herself to learn that her first novel would be published for young adults, though she soon resigned herself to the prospect.

Cory Doctorow, longtime adult science fiction writer and digital privacy advocate, learned from publishing his first novel for young adults (Little Brother, 2008) that writing for young people is really exciting.

When screenwriter and author Frank Cottrell Boyce compared the YA section of a bookstore to a literary “kids’ menu” in his review of The Knife of Never Letting Go (2008), he provoked a series of passionate responses from YA librarians and YA lit defenders. Read More →