App of the Week: Wattpad

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 2.30.06 PM
Title: Wattpad
Platforms: iOS and Android, also web-based
Cost: Free

This spring, a student asked me if I knew about After, the One Direction fanfic “everyone was reading on Wattpad.” Then I saw Clive Thompson looking for people who were publishing on Wattpad… and I fell into the rabbit hole that is the reading/writing/commenting site.

After had already landed author Anna Todd a three-book deal, but that wasn’t the only interesting thing about Wattpad.
Probably not surprisingly based on its fanfiction roots, YA is especially strong on Wattpad. The influences are somewhat predictable. One young writer named daven whose “story” (as all narratives as labeled) December I particularly liked, had a profile pic featuring her with Rainbow Rowell.
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Virtual Road Trip: Texas, Part 2

You know that saying “Everything is bigger in Texas”? It’s true and when we talk about literary events for young readers and book lovers the saying couldn’t be more fitting. Devoted fans travel across the country, and teachers and kids pack in school buses at too-dern-early o’clock to spend the day with their favorite and soon-to-be favorite authors in Texas. There are more than just a few opportunities to discover new authors and series. Texas hosts a multitude of events throughout the year. Some are YA focused while others bring a mix of YA, middle grade, and picture books that are loved at every age. Continue reading

2014 Popular Paperbacks For Young Adults: All’s Fair in Love, War and Humor

by Lisa Goldstein Chair, 2014 Popular Paperbacks For Young Adults Committee

Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults has released its 2014 lists. PPYA creates three to five themed booklists each year of paperbacks with wide appeal to teens. The 2014 themes are Conflicted: Life During Wartime, GLBTQ: Books with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer-questioning, Intersex, Asexual Individuals, and Their Allies, and Humor Me: Funny, Fantastic and Witty Reads.

When deciding on this year’s topics, the committee was struck by the fact that our teens have lived most of their lives in a country at war. Conflicted subcommittee chair Shilo Pearson realized that organization was key in creating a balanced list, working from a spreadsheet of locations and time periods: “Since, unfortunately, there have been so many wars, we wanted to make sure that we covered as many different times, places and perspectives as possible.” Continue reading

Virtual Road Trip: New York

“Read It Forward” is Moving Forward!

One of the most popular tables at the Youth Services Section’s Table Talks Workshop [during the 2013 NYLA Annual Conference] was the “Read It Forward” table.  This presentation was given by Deena Viviani, a Young Adult, Programming, and Circulation Services Librarian for the Brighton Memorial Library in Rochester, NY.  Deena credits the idea to a presentation she attended at the YALSA Symposium in St. Louis, MO, in November of 2012 – given by YA Librarian Carrie Dietz – so it appears that this idea has quite a bit of forward momentum already!   ny

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Virtual Road Trip: Nebraska

One of our successes in Nebraska has been to find ways librarians can share their accomplishments with other librarians.  NCompass Live, a weekly one-hour webinar sponsored by the Nebraska Library Commission, is one way to do so. Nebraska Recently, Teen Librarian Rachelle McPhillips of Columbus Public Library presented an NCompass Live session on January 22, 2014.  Titled “Passive Programming for Tweens and Teens” she shared a number of ideas for reaching out to youth in the library.

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Book Awards and Booklists Give Librarians a Leg Up

YALSA has a wealth of resources, including lists of award-winners and other selection resources, available for librarians. One of these go-to is Teens’ Top Ten. Since 2003, teen groups across the country help narrow down the vast number of books published for young people each year into a short list. Then teens across the country vote on their favorites to form the Top Ten list. What makes this a fantastic resource for librarians? It’s essentially a vetted bibliography of titles that teens are saying are likely to appeal to the teens in your library.
For Programming

I find the ten years worth of titles helpful within my library setting. I include it in programming, reader’s advisory and putting together displays. For programming, when planning my Book & More teen book discussion group, it is always a balance to pick the right discussion book. You need a book that will appeal to your group, but also one that will foster discussion. The titles within these lists have have been approved by teens as being appealing to the demographic which I am trying to reach with my Book & More group. Continue reading

Your Next Author Visit

Recently, Kimberly White and I gave a presentation at the New England Library Association conference about our work with Skyping authors. You can view our Prezi. Basically, we wanted to make our 4th and 5th grade book club better, cooler, and use more technology.

Our first Skype session was actually with an illustrator – M. Sarah Klise. She illustrated the 43 Old Cemetery Road series. We used the first book, Dying to Meet You, in our book club at the library and also at the satellite program at the elementary schools. Each time we used this book, everyone loved it. We had some fun activities, great discussions, and showed this video about the two sisters. It worked perfectly.

We paid a small fee ($100/30 minutes session and paid for 2 sessions). Sarah showed us art work, talked about her process, and talked about  book covers. She shared illustrations in progress, various stages of her work, and rejected illustrations. We bused in 50 kids for each session and had the best time. Skyping with an illustrator is different, but worth it.

To find an author willing to Skype – try either of these sites. Kate Messner (who’s done a lot of research about Skyping and is an author herself) or this one where you search by last name. If you don’t find a particular author in either place, check their webpage or contact them to inquire.  Also, don’t forget about the list of YA authors by state on YALSA’s wiki.

Most authors will do a short session to classrooms or book clubs for free. It’s usually 10-20 minutes. If you’re looking for something more in depth, there’s usually a cost involved. Skyping with an author can be just like a class or library visit, without paying for the speaker’s travel costs. Often they have set presentations, but some simply open things up for questions-and-answers. Others combine the two approaches. Check with your author beforehand to make sure you both know the logistics of the day.

While gearing up for the presentation, Kimberly and I had a great brainstorming session on who else to Skype, if the author you want is busy or you’re looking for a different, non-authorial perspective. We came up with a few examples to get the ball rolling:

Gallagher Girls: Someone from the CIA or Spy Museum
Contaminated: A epidemiologist or someone from the CDC
Princess Diaries: Etiquette Expert
Want to Go Private?: FBI
Genius Files: Any novelty museum

 Have you had a great Skype experience? Let us know in the comments

Outstanding International Books and more, at the USBBY Midwinter Program

Maryann Macdonald, author of the World War II-era novel-in-verse and 2014 Bluebonnet nominee Odette’s Secrets, will speak at USBBY’s program at the 2014 Midwinter Meeting. The event will be held Friday, January 24th at 8:00 p.m. in the Howe Room at Loew’s Hotel.

odette's secrets

Macdonald’s historical novel is a fictionalization on the real experiences of Odette Meyers, a Parisian girl of Jewish descent who is sent into the countryside to hide with a Catholic family during the Nazi occupation. Kirkus, which gave the book a starred review, described it as “an ideal Holocaust introduction for readers unready for death-camp scenes.” Continue reading

‘Tis the Season for Book Recommendations

Every year around this time, it seems all the adults in my life–whether they’re co-workers, relatives or relative strangers who meet me at a holiday party and discover that I’m a librarian–want to know what the best new books are in time for gift giving. Although this isn’t the way I do my shopping–books, to me, are very personal gifts, and I’m not inclined to give one that I haven’t read myself–I’m usually happy to help, if I can.

But sometimes I can’t. I’m completely out of my depth when it comes to readers under the age of, say, 12, and it’s really hard to recommend a book when you don’t know anything about the intended recipient. “It’s for my nephew,” they’ll say. What does he like to read? (Does he like to read?) “Oh, I don’t know. Just… you know, what’s good?”

The most awkward situations, though, are when I admit my dirty secret: I don’t read grown-up books.
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