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

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 2010 YALSA Lit Symposium – Morning Session: Celebramos Libros

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: Looking for Diversity? Start with Your Own Teens

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: On Beyond Stonewall

2010 YA Lit Symposium: Beyond Titillation Liveblog

Albuquerque is beautiful this weekend! Join us in this space for the liveblog Saturday, November 6th at 8:30 Mountain Time of “Beyond Titillation: Sexuality and the Young Adult Novel” presented by Jason Kurtz, Dr. Nicholle Schuelke, and Jamie Kallio.
You can see the recorded liveblog

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

YA Lit Symposium — Meet Them Where They Are and Open the Door

The YA Literature Symposium is quickly approaching! Have you registered yet? The list of programs with times is now available.

The featured program this week/today is:

Meet Them Where They Are and Open the Door: Urban Teens, Street Lit, and Reader’s Advisory

Socioeconomically disadvantaged urban teens are often stereotyped as non-readers, reluctant readers, or readers of a single genre. But just as with other teens, urban teens’ reading choices are informed by their needs, interests, and social landscape. In this session, we will discuss factors that contribute to urban teens’ reading choices, demystify the increasingly popular genre of street lit, and demonstrate proven reader’s advisory techniques and programs for connecting urban teens with a variety of books that speak to them. Presenters:’  Megan Honig and Beth Saxton

Presenters Megan Honig and Beth Saxton kindly answered my questions.

KH: Can you share one interesting or thought provoking fact from your presentation?
Beth:’  There is not a large chain bookstore within the Cleveland city limits, or a bookstore selling a variety of new books for teens.’  It would take a teen who lives near downtown at least an hour on the bus to get to the nearest Borders or Barnes & Noble on a good day.’  There is a Borders Express at the mall downtown, the same mall that does not allow anyone under 18 without a parent.

KH: Who should come to your presentation?
Megan: Anyone who wants to learn more about why teens are drawn to street lit and how to do reader’s advisory for street lit fans (HINT: respect their reading tastes!!).

Beth: I think we could have called this “Respect the reader”.’  I would say anyone who is interested in how to raise reader’s awareness of titles and who wants to get more books into the hands of their teens.

The full interview with Megan and Beth is available at the YA Lit Symposium Online Community.

The YA Literature Symposium is November 5-7 in Albuquerque, NM. To give everyone a sneak peek into the presentations I be posting portions of interviews with program presenters weekly until the symposium. Full interviews will be available at the YA Lit Symposium Online Community.

YA Literature Symposium — Beyond Good Intentions and Chicken Soup

The YA Literature Symposium is quickly approaching! Have you registered yet? The list of programs with times is now available.

The featured program this week/today is:

Beyond Good Intentions and Chicken Soup: Young Adult Literature and Disability Diversity: How Far Have We Come?

Today’s teens are likely to have friends and classmates with disabilities. Young adult literature increasingly reflects the diverse identities found among today’s teens, and scaffolds the social beliefs they hold about people with disabilities, by including positive portrayals of characters with disabilities. Session participants will critically examine how changing social beliefs about disability are reflected in historical through contemporary fiction and nonfiction YA lit and explore methods to promote acceptance of diversity through the genre. Participants will be able to apply this knowledge when selecting and teaching YA lit. Speakers are Dr. Heather Garrison, Dr. Katherine Schneider, and author Terry Trueman.

The interview with Drs. Heather Garrison and Katherine Schneider is available at the YA Lit Symposium Online Community.

The YA Literature Symposium is November 5-7 in Albuquerque, NM. To give everyone a sneak peek into the presentations I be posting portions of interviews with program presenters weekly until the symposium. Full interviews will be available at the YA Lit Symposium Online Community.

YA Lit Symposium — On Beyond Stonewall pt.2

This week’s featured presenter for the Young Adult Literature Symposium’  is Megan Frazer – presenting during the all day preconference On Beyond Stonewall: The Uphill Journey of Young Adult Fiction with Gay/Lesbian/Queer Content, 1969-2010.

Here is a portion of the interview with Megan:

KH: Can you share one interesting or thought provoking fact from your presentation?

MF: One issue around LGBTQ lit that some of the other authors and I have been discussing is whether or not these characters need to be role models. Is including a villainous LGBTQ character reflective of reality or just propagating stereotypes? On the flipside, what about making LGBTQ characters too perfect?

KH: Who should come to your presentation?
MF: I hope that this is a topic that everyone is interested in. I am hoping for an open, honest, and illuminating discussion about the topic of LGBTQ lit. In 2009 SLJ did a self-censorship survey (http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6633729.html), and 47% of respondents said they passed on purchasing a book because it dealt with homosexuality. This is a shocking statistic to me. If you are in that 47%, you need to come to this pre-conference.

**The complete interview can be found at the YA Lit Symposium Online Community.

The YA Literature Symposium is November 5-7 in Albuquerque, NM. To give everyone a sneak peek into the presentations I be posting portions of interviews with program presenters weekly until the symposium. Full interviews will be available at the YA Lit Symposium Online Community.