Taking Teens to ALA

It’s 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning, two weeks after the end of school, when four teenage girls on their summer vacation meet me at school to get on a minibus and head to DC. Let me repeat—four teenagers came to school during the summer at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Why?? ALA Annual of course!

Before I get into how awesome the day was with my teens, I would like to thank YALSA for providing my teens with the opportunity to come to ALA. My teens were a part of the session that YALSA hosted to receive input on the nominees for the 2020 Best Fiction for Young Adults. Along with the opportunity to give their opinions on a major awards list, all the teens who were a part of the session also received a badge to visit the exhibit hall and sat down for a pizza lunch with an amazing group of eight young adult authors.

Back to 8 a.m.—I climbed into the driver’s seat and my four girls settled on the brown bus benches that we all remember from field trips.  Before I could even start the engine, the conversation about books started. It didn’t stop for the entire 45 minute drive to DC, and I couldn’t stop smiling.  It was a librarian’s dream—four teens energetically and passionately talking about the books they love (or don’t). Four teens talking about the importance of representation in books—race, sexuality, gender, ability, etc… Four teens talking about which characters developed and which didn’t; about endings they loved or hated; about the pacing of plot.

My heart grew two sizes.
Continue reading

Thanks for Joining Us in Seattle!

It was great to see everyone who was able to attend Midwinter and to tweet and chat with those of you who joined our live blogs. Thanks for bearing with us for some blog outages and video kerfuffles. We’ll have video up to accompany the live blog replays from both the BFYA teen feedback session and the YMA announcements just as soon as we’re able. As many of you know, the crush of attendees and interested viewers around the world can wreak havoc with conference wireless and our websites, so we really do appreciate your patience.

On a more personal note, this marks my last ALA conference as the member manager of YALSABlog. I’m thrilled to be passing the baton to the highly capable Wendy Stephens, and I have no doubt that under her direction this blog will continue to thrive and reach new heights. Thank you, dear readers and YALSA bloggers, for creating such a dynamic community of writers and readers.

Join the BFYA Teen Feedback Session Live Blog!

Not in Seattle but wishing you could hear what local teens have to say about this year’s Best Fiction for Young Adults nominations? In Seattle but stuck in another meeting or session on Sunday? Have no fear–you can join the BFYA Teen Feedback Session live blog here or on The Hub!

We’ll be streaming live video from the session, pulling tweets with the #bfya hashtag, polling readers about nominated titles and publishing your comments LIVE. The live blog will start shortly before the session opens at 1:30 PM Pacific, and you can join at any time. You can even log in with your Facebook or Twitter account to include your gravatar with your comments.

If you can’t make the live session, have no fear; the complete session, including video, will be available to replay at your leisure as soon as the live blog closes.

YALSA, Spotted

I just got back from a much-needed vacation to Oregon, and it’s a great place to visit. I spent half of my time in Portland and the other half in Newport, a coastal town. Of course, it was hot and sunny in Portland and rained the entire time I was at the beach, but that’s the Pacific Northwest for you. While I declined my husband’s offer to visit the beautiful Central Library in downtown Portland — we were on an epicurean tour at the time, and the promise of drinkable chocolate is much sweeter than visiting somewhere that will make me feel like I’m at work — I couldn’t seem to distance myself from books or YALSA.

Continue reading

The Blog Is Back!

Thanks for your patience during the ALA blog and wiki outage! If you were following #YALSABlogInExile and #TheHubInExile you know that The Hub bloggers did another fantastic live blog of the Best Fiction for Young Adults Teen Feedback session (with video from Kate Pickett on Qik).

Don’t forget that the YALSA Twitter feed and YALSA and Books for Teens Facebook pages are always sources of up to date information about YALSA, and places where members like you can make your voices heard.

But for more apps and tweets, YALSA coverage from ALA Annual 2012, summer programming ideas and much much more, look no further than the YALSA Blog!

On YALSA Award Winners and Ebooks

In the spring issue of YALS, you’ll find an easy-to-reference listing of all the YALSA award winners and book and media lists announced at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. Since ebooks are on the rise, I thought I’d take a look at which of the winners are currently available as ebooks and which are available for libraries on OverDrive.

Counting the winners and honors of the awards (except for Odyssey) and the top ten books on the Best Fiction, Quick Picks, and Popular Paperback lists, we end up with 50 unique titles. Of those, 37 are available as ebooks that can be purchased through the usual channels including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Google Books. The only titles that aren’t available electronically are non-fiction titles, graphic novels, and older fiction titles. Of the 37 ebooks, 20 are available for libraries to lend in OverDrive, according to their search engine.

As the ebook market continues to grow, I expect we will see more backlist titles become available, while full-color ereaders and tablet computers will allow graphic-intensive books to be offered electronically. Whether or not more ebooks will be available for library lending, however, remains to be seen. I hope that next year, more of the award-winning and noteworthy books honored by YALSA will be available to as many readers as possible in their desired reading format. Continue reading

Own the Night with Anna Dressed in Blood

For those of you who don’t already know, the Collaborative Summer Library Program‘s teen theme for 2012 is “Own the Night”, which calls to mind all manner of creepy, fun programs.’  Also, a lot of the books on this year’s Best Fiction for Young Adults list lend themselves to these creepy, fun ideas. Here are two “Own the Night” themed programs for the 2012 BFYA pick, Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. Continue reading

Rules clarification : three months into BFYA service

Earlier this week, the Best Fiction For Young Adults committee members received an unexpected email from our diligent chair informing us of a YALSA policy we had been neglecting. Evidently, selection committee members are not permitted to nominate from pre-publication copies of books, but must read and evaluate only the finished final product. I, for one, was surprised, since I have done pretty much all of my nominating from galleys and ARCs. In fact, I had been viewing it as my responsibility to stay ahead of the publishing curve, trying to read ahead books that may not come out for a few months. And this information came to me on the same day as an ARC for the new Corey Doctorow book Pirate Cinema, a book I was really looking forward to reading and evaluating.
Continue reading

Harris Burdick Inspires Teens to Write On

There are so many great fiction books on the 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list that it was hard to pick just one to highlight. So, I fell back on an old favorite. The Chronicles of Harris Burdick shares 14 stories from well known young adult authors such as M.T. Anderson, Sherman Alexie, and Walter Dean Myers. All of these stories are based on the book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris VanAllsburg, a book with wonderful illustrations and cryptic captions.

For years, I have used the portfolio edition of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick as a writing prompt for my teen writing group. They would each pick an illustration and write a story about it to share with the group. Now, with The Chronicles, I can also share stories with them by their favorite authors that were inspired by the same illustration. The stories are short enough that they could even be read aloud. A great, multi-week writing group program would be to show an illustration from The Mysteries and read the caption. Then, give the teens 30 minutes to write a short story based on the illustration. Then, read the corresponding story from The Chronicles. It’s a great chance to talk about point of view and perspective in writing because everyone can look at the same illustration and come up with a different story, which may or may not be wildly different from the version in the book. This could also tie in to talking about different books by the authors of the stories in the Chronicles and what the teens might have done differently than the authors if they had been writing the story.

To me, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick have always been inspiring. I’m glad to see that some of my favorite YA authors felt the same way. The Chronicles of Harris Burdick adds a whole new dimension to them.