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.

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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.
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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.

Preparing to serve : some thoughts in anticipation of being on Best Fiction

I don’t know if it was the dizzying prospect of having a part time job, or feeling flattered that someone I respect would suggest that I do it, or simply thriving on being over-committed, but I’m serving on the Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee 2013. Throughout my year of service, I’m going to try to provide a window into my experience sitting on the committee, showing you how the BFYA sausage gets made and hopefully interesting some of you in joining in the future.

When I was formally accepted as a member of BFYA2013, it started to really sink in what I’d gotten myself into. I hadn’t really read a book since the birth of my son in December, preferring to spend my time sleeping or staring at his fuzzy head. I’m used to reading 3-5 books over the course of Shabbat if I don’t have too many social commitments, and 1-2 during the week, so this steep decline was worrying. The email from the chair welcoming us all to BFYA2013 said we would read an average of a book a day for the year, and to see our friends now, because we wouldn’t have any time for them in the future. I pruned my RSS feed and YouTube subscriptions and pulled ARCs that fit in the brief (September 1, 2011 through December 31, 2012) off the shelf to start reading.

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