by Lisa Goldstein

Wondering which YALSA committee to apply for? Consider Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults.’  I’m currently the chair of PPYA, and this is my third year on this selection committee.

PPYA creates three to five themed booklists each year. Past themes have included food, body image, and spirituality; this year’s themes are war, humor, and GLBTQ. Books of any format – fiction, nonfiction, graphic novel – which fit the declared themes and are popular among teens make the list. Literary quality is not a strong consideration. Members use circulation stats and teen feedback to gauge popularity, and do their best to ignore standards in taste, writing, or cover art.

Committee members serve on two of the subject lists, for which they acquire, read, and evaluate every nominated title. Each list usually ends up with between fifty and seventy-five nominations, and is eventually whittled down to twenty to twenty-five titles.

One of the most helpful things about PPYA work is also one of the trickiest: most books do not fit neatly into one category. Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, for example, is hilarious, but it also has fantastic GLBTQ characters. Which list does it belong on? This can lead to fascinating discussions with committee members, and helps immensely with readers’ advisory further down the line. Does a teen in your library need a book with a positive portrayal of a transgender character? Give her Bray’s Beauty Queens. Does another teen want a funny book? Recommend Beauty Queens. Because PPYA doesn’t focus on new releases, committee members attain a well-rounded knowledge of young adult literature. Reading and categorizing over one hundred young adult books can’t help but aide readers’ advisory, as well as the creation of book lists and pathfinders. Read More →

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. Read More →

This fall, YALSA will be making appointments to the following selection committees and taskforces! Put your passion for young adult literature to work! If you have experience in evaluating and selecting young adult materials, as well as time to volunteer your skills, please consider serving on a YALSA selection committee. The committees and taskforces are:

  • Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults
  • Best Fiction for Young Adults
  • Fabulous Films for Young Adults
  • Great Graphic Novels for Teens
  • Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults
  • Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
  • Great Graphic Novels for Teens
  • Alex Award
  • Morris Award
  • Odyssey Award
  • 2013 Midwinter Marketing & Local Arrangements Taskforce
  • 2013 Midwinter Paper Presentation Planning Taskforce
  • Readers’ Choice List Taskforce Read More →

At the midwinter meeting in Chicago the Popular Paperback’s for Young Adults committee was hard at work narrowing down the scope of each themed list. The Change Your World subcommittee lived up to their name and altered the range of their list significantly. In an effort to open up the list to the fantasy and sci fi genres, the subcommittee decided to change the description. The new description is: “You say you want a revolution? What are you willing to lose?’  What are you willing to do?’  The future starts now.”’  The Change committee is hoping that this new description will bring about more variety of nominated titles which currently include: Hoot, Pretties, An Inconvenient Truth, and Little Brother.

For more information about all of the 2010 PPYA lists and to nominate a title, visit

And remember, the future starts now.

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?

Last night at 12:01 AM I, along with a theater full of teens, gasped with delight when the opening scene from the movie Twilight began. The delight was evident again with the first appearance of Jacob and even more so with the first appearance of Edward. This movie is great! Agree with me or not, I think we can all declare with full confidence that this blockbuster hit is going to make the Twilight Saga even more popular with readers of all ages. Read More →

Since late January, I’ve served on YALSA’s Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults committee, which means, among other things, that I’ve spent an awful lot of time this year looking for books about ghosts, vampires, zombies, dead classmates, dead relatives, and road trips.

To come up with relevant titles to consider, I’ve used my own knowledge of YA books and gotten suggestions from teens.I’ve also been using reference tools, traditional and non-, to discover new titles or jog my memory.

Read More →

Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults is probably the most-fun-having committee in all of YALSA. At least, that’s what I think. After serving on the committee in 2005-2007, I was truly sad to see my term end. Luckily, I was asked to serve as the administrative assistant for 2007-2008, and that time convinced me that I wanted to serve another term on PPYA.

So just what makes PPYA such a great committee? First and foremost, it’s the people. I’ve been lucky enough to work with truly outstanding librarians on PPYA, who are passionate about and dedicated to the reading interests of teens. In addition, the feedback from librarians and media specialists across the country, who express thanks for our work and submit field nominations for books, is truly invaluable.

Of course, reading is a huge thrill for us PPYA members. Finding a book that’s popular, will fit on one of our thematic book lists, and is still readily available is a tough task. We feel crushed when a book that would be a perfect fit isn’t available in paperback. Yet when we read a nominated title that’s ideal for a list, there’s such a feeling of excitement–it’s truly a rush.

I’m so happy to be back for another two years on PPYA. If you like the sound of what we do on this committee, why not submit a Committee Volunteer Form? We’d love to have you on board!

Melissa Rabey
Member, Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults

The Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults committee has just finished up our first month of nominations, and we’ve got some great titles on our list of possibilities! You can see the February nominations here.

I would very much like to encourage all you amazing teen librarians (and any teens who might be reading this) to submit field nominations for PPYA. We want our lists to be as useful in the field as possible, and we can only do that with input from the people who use them! You can submit a field nomination here. Please fill the form out completely!

We’re looking for titles that fit one of four themes:

Dead, Dying & the Undead: Death can be an adventure, but not everyone lives to tell about it. Join us in exploring the often mysterious world of death and those who experience it . . . and those who come back.

Fame & Fortune: Stardom! Wealth! Notoriety! Read all about teens aspiring to make it big.

Journey>Destination: Take a journey of your own by reading about authentic and imagined road trips and journeys by any and all means of transport in the world.

Spies & Intrigue: Political intrigue, daring deeds, great escapes, and more in this thrilling list of fiction and nonfiction about those who operate within the world of shadow.

A few things to keep in mind when considering titles to nominate:

* Title must be in-print and in paperback
* Young Adult and Adult titles with teen appeal will be considered
* Fiction and nonfiction will be considered
* Copyright dates are not a consideration
* Publishers and authors may not nominate their own books

* It’s all about the popular!

All field nominations do need to be seconded by a committee member, but we truly appreciate your input! Help us out — nominate something good. And popular.

Karen Brooks-Reese
Chair, PPYA 2009

Each year, the Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults Committee develops themed lists of popular and relevant paperback books for teens. In January, we will release the four lists we’ve spent the last year slaving over, and begin the cycle over again.

We have some ideas percolating of what themes we should focus on next year, but we’d like your input. What topics are your teens crazy about? What booklists would you like to see? What kind of books do you find yourself wracking your brain for, to no avail? What lists are so outdated that they’re in desperate need of updating? You can see our past lists here — and don’t forget, it’s all about the popular!

Our lists are developed for your use, so make sure we know what you need!

Karen Brooks-Reese, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
2009 PPYA Chair