Archive for February, 2014

Children’s Book Award Conference in Athens!

February 26th, 2014 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Writing and Reading

Working at a children’s bookstore, I get to talk excitedly about children’s literature with people all the time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t adore and appreciate other festivals and conferences too! It just so happens there’s a great one happening in Athens in early March. Since she’s helping organize the whole thing, and is a huge kidlit fan, I invited my friend Margret Robbins, University of Georgia’s Graduate Assistant for the Red Clay Writing Project and GCBA Children’s Literature Conference, to tell us a little bit about it:

Greetings, my fellow children’s and YA literature lovers! I hope you’ll join me at the 45th Annual Georgia Children’s Book Awards and Conference on Children’s Literature March 7-8 at the UGA Hotel and Conference Center in Athens, Georgia. I want to make people more aware of exciting new children’s literature. Our conference features keynotes and small workshops with outstanding, award-winning authors and illustrators Gregory Christie, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Jennifer Holm, and Jodi Moore. I had the privilege of reviewing proposals; we have many talented educators, writers, and scholars who will present ways to better integrate children’s literature in all areas of the curriculum. The conference is a place to experience children’s literature as an art form, and to find high quality literature to share with young people. It is also the site for the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl state-level competition, during which the students answer quiz-bowl questions about the books on the Georgia Children’s Book Awards Nominee Lists, both for the Picture Storybook Award and the Georgia Book (Grades 4-8) Award. As a former Reading Bowl Coach, I am proud that my department supports the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl and the Georgia Children’s Book Awards programs.

To register, please visit our website, and in the words of John Green, one of my favorite YA literature writers, “don’t forget to be awesome.”


CRIMINAL Receives In the Margins Book Award!!

February 20th, 2014 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Criminal

All I can say is THANK YOU to Amy Cheney and all the folks on the In the Margins selection committee for this tremendous honor. Full article from School Library Journal Thursday, February 19th, posted below.

Best Books for Teens Living in the ‘Margins’ | YA Underground

By on February 19, 2014 Leave a Comment

This past year marked the inauguration of the In the Margins Book Award and Selection Committee (ITM), which aims to find the best books for teens living in poverty, on the streets, in custody—or a cycle of all three.

For a several years, School Library Journal has published a list of the top books that the 250 kids in my facility were reading and getting excited about, including the self-published or little-known titles that became available to me, but that’s just the perspective from Alameda County, California. The purpose of creating the ITM committee was to get feedback from teens across the country and to create authority in our book choices to assist in justifying purchases for detention facilities that are notorious for censorship. Another of the group’s goals is to bring attention to those hidden gems that aren’t on the radar, bringing self-published authors and small press offerings to light. We wanted to bring books by, for, and about people living in the margins to the forefront so we would have more books for our reluctant yet also voracious readers.

The committee of seven met via Google Hangouts at least six times during the year to discuss and debate not only the books, but the committee itself. We looked at over 200 titles, had 30 official nominations, and voted for a list of 25 titles and a top 10 on January 21, 2014.

My teens and other young people across the country were actively involved in reading and voting. Janelle was in my facility for about four months; she read a majority of the books we were considering and weighed in on each. It was wonderful to get her perspective, and equally important to her and the other teens that their voices and choices are counted.

While not every book is one I personally would have placed on the list, I feel very good about our process and the results of our work, as happens on the majority of selection lists. As committee member Julie Winkelstein said, “The list is not a compromise, but more about every voice on the committee being heard.”

The 2014 top ten are, in alphabetical order:

  • Asante, M.K. Buck: a Memoir. Spiegel & Grau. 272p. Tr $25. ISBN 9780812993417.
  • Jones, Marilyn Denise. From Crack to College and Vice Versa. Marilyn D. Jones. 105p. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9780989427401.
  • Langan, Paul. Survivor. Townsend Press. 138p. pap. $5.95. ISBN 9781591943044.
  • McKay, Sharon E. War Brothers: The Graphic Novel. Illustrated by Lafance, Daniel.  Annick Press. pap. $18.95. ISBN 9781554514885.
  • McVoy, Terra Elan. Criminal. Simon Pulse. 288p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781442421622.
  • Medina, Meg. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. Candlewick. 260p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763658595.
  • Nussbaum, Susan. Good Kings, Bad Kings. Algonquin. 304p. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781616203252.
  • Rivera, Jeff. No Matter What. CreateSpace. 112p. pap. $5.38. ISBN 9781493544141.
  • Ryan, Darlene. Pieces of Me. Orca. September 2012. 240p. pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781459800809.
  • Young, Pamela Samuels. Anybody’s Daughter. Goldman House. 374p. PB $16.99. ISBN 9780989293501.

Our biggest debate was about Permanent Record by Leslie Stella (Skyscape, 2013). Our committee members loved this book unanimously. It’s well-written, fast-paced, funny, smart, and independently published, and is about a kid with mental health issues, targeted for his Iranian heritage. Elizabeth Burns’s rave reflects our opinion. It didn’t make our top ten only because it doesn’t completely fit our charge, and other books in its category had positive teen feedback from our primary population. (Due to disproportionate minority confinement, our primary population is Latino and African American).

Thirteen of our titles were nominated for other awards or lists; this reflects our desire for the best of the best, as well as our first year getting started in finding our way into the world of self-published titles. One book that I—if not the entire committee—am proud is on our list is the self-published title Anybody’s Daughter, brought to our attention by committee member Vi Dyas. Anybody’s Daughter isn’t on any librarian selection lists that we know of and works well for adults, teens, and those that enjoy urban fiction and mysteries/thrillers. It’s a top read in my facility.

21914livewire3 Best Books for Teens Living in the Margins | YA UndergroundMy personal favorite is M.K. Asante’s Buck: a Memoir. Buck was also an Alex award nominee, and is up for a NAACP image award along with Anybody’s Daughter (winners to be announced on February 22). I (and more importantly, my kids) were thrilled to meet M.K. when he visited my facility. I can’t find one of the 40 books I purchased on the shelves; kids who didn’t meet him are asking for the book because the word is definitely spreading. As one of my students said, “It’s a very well-written and inspiring book. I like that it is a raw story and is relatable, plus there’s a lot of  knowledge.”

21814criminal Best Books for Teens Living in the Margins | YA UndergroundI also loved Criminal. The voice was authentic and unique, the character struggling realistically with issues of love, abuse and denial. If there was any trend I noticed this year, I’d have to say it was that there are a lot more books about girls on the streets and in facilities than there are about boys. This trend does not reflect the reality of the huge proportion of black, Latino, and generally impoverished boys behind locked doors in this country, and the relatively small (yet growing) percentage of girls.

Working on any selection committee is a lot of work; I can say that starting one is intense. Now our challenge is to have it continue, and we hope, become an “official” ALA list. After the first year, we are hoping librarians and others will see the value and find the interest and enthusiasm to help it continue and grow. How can we take the list to the next level by finding more independent/self published books? We have some openings on the committee for members and for a Chair. We’d love to have you join us! (You don’t have to serve teens in detention to be a member of the committee). Let us know of your interest in serving by March 1 by filling out the application.

Wonder Woman, aka administrative assistant Amy Wander said, “I had no idea what I was getting into when I applied to be on the committee, I only knew it was something I had to do to better serve the teens I work with at the local juvenile detention center. The experience of being on the committee for me and the teens, who read and gave me feedback on the books, was such a great experience for all of us. We were introduced to many books and authors we most likely wouldn’t have come across on our own. It was very gratifying working with the committee members, others who were also passionate about their work with teens and introducing teens to good books and reading.”

The full selection list of 25 titles with annotations, information on our process of nomination and voting as well as a full list of our awesome committee members can be found at the Library Services for Youth in Custody website.

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This article was featured in School Library Journal‘s SLJTeen enewsletter. Subscribe today to have more articles like this delivered to you twice a month for free.

Amy Cheney About Amy Cheney
Amy Cheney is a librarian and advocate, serving the underserved for over 25 years including preschoolers, middle schoolers, adults in county and federal facilities, students in juvenile halls, non-traditional library users and people of color. She instigated YALSA-Lockdown, a list serve for librarians serving youth in custody, which led to the formation of Library Services for Youth in Custody (LYSC). Her current projects are the In the Margins book committee and writing a memoir. Her theme song is “Short Skirt, Long Jacket” by Cake. Learn more at Write2Read.

CRIMINAL is a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers!!

February 5th, 2014 by Terra | 4 Comments | Filed in Criminal

Looking for a great book to give to the youth in your life who isn’t crazy about reading? Check out the Young Adult Library Services 2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers. (Where –WOOOHOOOOOT!!!– Criminal is included!)

The Quick Picks list, presented annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting suggests books that teens, ages 12-18, will pick up on their own and read for pleasure; it is geared to the teenager who, for whatever reason, does not like to read. The 2014 list features 77 titles and 3 series; the committee also selected a top ten list, denoted here by an asterisk.

“We feel such a sense of accomplishment and pride finishing this varied list of books for reluctant readers throughout the country,” said Chair, Derek Ivie. “Quick Picks really has anything any teen might like: zombies, dystopias, dogs, crafts, graphic novels, etc. However, there are no graphic novels of zombie dogs making crafts in a dystopian world. Maybe next year? With that said we are thrilled with this selection!”

Abrams, Amir. The Girl of His Dreams. Kensington Publishers Corp.,  2013; 9780758273574; $9.95.  Antonio and Miesha try to start a relationship and get involved in ex-girlfriend drama.

Aguirre, Ann. Outpost. Feiwel & Friends, 2013; 9780312650094; $17.99.  Considered a child by the townspeople and forbidden from fighting because of her gender, can Deuce adjust to life without being a Huntress?

Barnes, Jennifer Lynn. The Naturals. Disney, 2013; 9781423168232; $17.99.  The FBI wants Cassie to join a secret team of profilers and a serial killer wants her as his next victim.

Benedis-Grab, Daphney. The Girl in the Wall. Merit Press, 2012; 9781440552700; $17.95. When a birthday party becomes a hostage situation, former best friends, Sera and Ariel, are forced to work together to save everyone.

Benway, Robin. Also Known As. Bloomsbury, 2013; 9780802733900; $16.99.  Growing up a spy didn’t prepare Maggie for her first solo mission or high school.

Black, Holly. Doll Bones. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2013; 9781416963981; $16.99.  Can a creepy quest to return bones of a murdered girl to their proper resting place reunite three former best friends?

* Brown, Jeffrey. Star Wars Jedi Academy. Scholastic, 2013; 9780545505178; $12.99.  Will the force be with Roan at the Jedi Academy?

* Bruchac, Joseph. Killer of Enemies. Tu Books, 2013; 9781620141434; $19.95.  Lozen, an Apache hunter, is blackmailed into killing genetically modified monsters.

Butcher, Kristin. Caching In. Orca, 2013; 9781459802322; $9.95. Can Eric and Chris find the most valuable prize of their lives before time runs out?

Carter, Ally. Perfect Scoundrels: A Heist Society Novel. Hyperion Books, 2013; 9781423166009; $17.99. As a thief, Kat’s stolen a lot of things, but stealing her boyfriend back from his family might be her hardest job yet.

* Charbonneau, Joelle. The Testing. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013; 9780547959108; $17.99. Will Cia have what it takes to survive The Testing?

Clark, Bridie. Snap Decision: Maybe Tonight? Every Decision You Make Has Consequences. Roaring Book Press, 2013; 9781596438163; $9.99    A modern, witty, and high fashion take on the “Choose Your Own Adventure” style.

Clarke, Cassandra Rose. The Assassin’s Curse. Angry Robot, 2012; 9781908844019; $9.99.  A pirate and the assassin meant to kill her are unexpectedly bound by an impossible curse.

Clement-Moore, Rosemary. Spirit and Dust. Delacorte, 2013; 9780385740807; $17.99. Daisy Goodnight, who can talk to the dead, is on the run from both the mob and the FBI.

Coley, Liz. Pretty Girl-13. Harper Collins, 2013; 9780062127372; $17.99. Kidnapped Angie reappears and is unaware of her trauma-induced multiple personalities.

Colfer, Eoin. The Reluctant Assasin: W.A.R.P. #1. Disney-Hyperion, 2013; 9781423161622; $17.99. On the run from a madman, Riley finds himself inadvertently transported to 21st-Century London.

Counterattack Series

Berne, Emma Carlson. Under Pressure. Lerner Publishing, 2013; 9781467707183; $27.93. Stressed about getting a soccer scholarship, Elise turns to performance enhancing drugs.

Higgins, M.G. Blow Out. Lerner Publishing, 2013; 9781467707176; $27.93. Recovering from her knee injury, Lacy is fighting to keep her starting spot.

Higgins, M.G. Offside. Lerner Publishing, 2013; 9781467707206; $27.93. Faith juggles babysitting siblings, playing soccer, and crushing on her coach.

Hoblin, Paul. Archenemy. Lerner Publishing, 2013; 9781467707213; $27.93. Jilted by her teammate, Eva sabotages her crush on the field.

Hoblin, Paul. The Beast. Lerner Publishing, 2013; 9781467707169; $27.93. Alyssa is a strong goalie but she ignores the symptoms from her concussion.

Humann, Amanda. Out of Sync. Lerner Publishing, 2013; 9781467707190; $27.93. Maddie struggles when her best friend, Dayton begins, abandoning their partnership both on and off the field.

The Dario Quincy Academy of Dance Series

The Dojo Series

Draper, Sharon. Panic. Atheneum, 2013; 9781442408968; $17.99.  When Diamond ignores the cardinal rule of “don’t get into cars with strangers,” her life and the lives of her friends and fellow dancers will never be the same.

Goodman, Shawn. Kindness for Weakness. Delacorte Press, 2013; 978038574242; $16.99. James, caught selling drugs for his older brother, winds up in a juvenile detention center known for its cruel guards and dysfunctional inmates.

Griffin, Paul. Burning Blue. Penguin, 2012; 9780803738157; $17.99. After Nicole is splashed with acid, Jay, a hacker loner, decides to find out who did it.

Halliday, Ayun. Peanut. Paul Hoppe. Schwartz & Wade Books, 2012; 9780375865909; $15.99. Sadie lies about having a deathly allergy to peanuts to help her make friends at her new high school.

Harrell, Rob. Monster on the Hill. Top Shelf Productions, 2013; 9781603090759; $19.95. Rayburn’s monstering skills get a boost from his friends and a truly terrifying monster.

Hart, Jeff. Eat, Brains, Love. Harper Collins, 2013; 9780062200341; $9.99. Jake and Amanda just ate most of their friends. They feel really bad about it.

Henry, April. The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die. Henry Holt and Company, 2013; 9780805095418; $16.99. Cady doesn’t remember who she is, where she is, or why two men are trying to kill her.

Hicks, Faith Erin. The Adventures of Superhero Girl. Dark Horse, 2013; 97816116550844; $16.99. Join Superhero Girl in this collection of comics about the struggles of defeating town villains.

Jackson, Corrine. If I Lie. Simon & Schuster, 2012; 9781442454132; $16.99. Quinn is ostracized by her town because they believe she’s cheated on her recently deployed boyfriend but they don’t know the whole story.

Keenan, Sheila. Dogs of War. Nathan Fox. Scholastic, 2013; 9780545128872; $22.99. In this graphic novel, meet Boots, Loki, and Sheba – three canine war heroes.

King, A.S. Reality Boy. Little, Brown and Company, 2013; 9780316222709; $18.00. Known on reality TV as “The Crapper,” Gerald is an angry young man who has been forced to live with a sociopathic sister, a weak father, and a mother who blames him for everything.

Langan, Paul. Survivor. Townsend Press, 2013; 9781591943044; $5.95. Tarah has to face secret in her past to protect a loved one from an abuser.

Leveen, Tom. Sick. Abrams, 2013; 9781819708053; $16.95. Slackers, trapped in a high school, become heroes during a bone-crunching zombie outbreak.

* London, Alex. Proxy. Philomel, 2013; 9780399257766, $17.99. In order to repay a life debt Syd must take the punishment for anything rich boy Knox does wrong. When Knox goes too far, he and Syd finally meet and discover the secrets of their society.

Lubar, David. Extremities: Stories of Death, Murder and Revenge. Tor, 2013; 9780765334602; $15.99. Thirteen chilling stories not for the weak of heart.

Lupica, Mike. QB 1. Penguin Young Readers Group, 2013; 9780399252280; $17.99. When Jake gets the chance to be a quarterback of his high school’s football team can he escape the shadow of his football star family?

Lyga, Barry. Game. Little, Brown, 2013; 9780316125871; $17.99. Jazz, the son of the world’s most notorious serial killer, uses the skills he learned from Dear Old Dad to help track down a killer – again.

* Lynch, Chris. Vietnam #4: Casualties of War. Scholastic, 2013; 9780545270236; $16.99. In this final installment, Beck struggles with his duties in the Vietnam War.

McKay, Kirsty. Undead. Chicken House, 2012; 9780545381888; $17.99.  Stay on the bus or get eaten by zombies.

McKay, Sharon E. and Daniel Lafrance. War Brothers: The Graphic Novel. Annick Press, 2013; 9781554514885 $18.95. Ugandan boys, kidnapped from school, are forced to be child soldiers.

McLaughlin, Emma. Over You. Harper Collins, 2012;. 9780061720437; $17.99.  Max’s successful business helping girls recover from being dumped is threatened by her lingering feelings for her own ex.

McMann, Lisa. Crash. Simon & Schuster, 2013; 9781442403918; $16.99.  Jules keeps having a vision of eight body bags in the snow. Can she stop it from happening?

McVoy, Terra Elan. Criminal. Simon Pulse, 2013; 9781442421622; $16.99.  There isn’t anything Nikki wouldn’t do for her boyfriend, Dee. But when Dee involves her in a crime that ends in murder, Nikki learns that there are limits to love.

* Medina, Meg. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. Candlewick Press, 2013; 9780763658595; $16.99.  Yaqui Delgado wants to kick Piddy Sanchez’s ass. But what will Piddy do?

Myers, Walter Dean. Darius & Twig. Amistad, 2013; 9780061728235; $17.99. Writer Darius and his best friend, Twig, try to make their way out of Harlem.

Myracle, Lauren. The Infinite Moment of Us. Abrams, 2013; 9781419707933; $17.95  Shy Wren and foster-boy Charlie share a sudden awareness of each other on their last day of high school, leading to a hot summer romance.

Olson, Martin. The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia: Inhabitants, Lore, Spells, and Ancient Crypt Warnings of the Land of Ooo Circa 19.56 B.G.E. – 501 A.G.E. Abrams, 2013; 9781419705649; $19.95.   Algebraic! You’ll go boom boom over this complete guide to Adventure Time’s characters, lands and all things demonic told through the voice of the evilest Lord of Evil.

Parker, Amy Christine. Gated. Random House, 2013; 9780449815977; 17.99.  The Community blindly follows their leader, but Lyla is starting to question him.

Rowell, Rainbow. Eleanor & Park. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013; 9781250012579; $18.99.  Eleanor is the new girl at school with bright red hair. Park reluctantly lets her sit next to him on the bus. Even with a great effort to ignore each other, romance follows.

Scheidt, Erica Lorraine. Uses for Boys. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013; 9781250007117; $9.99.  Sixteen-year-old Anna struggles with the difference between sex and love.

* Shen, Prudence. Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong. Faith Erin Hicks. Roaring Book Press, 2013; 9781596436596; $16.99. Charlie’s best friend, Nate, maniacally declares war on the ruling cheerleaders and an unlikely truce is formed. (Graphic novel)

Smith, Roland. Chupacabra. Scholastic, 2013; 9780545178174; $16.99  Three tweens must escape from a crazed scientist and his genetically engineered monster.

Sones, Sonya. To Be Perfectly Honest: A Novel Based on an Untrue Story. Simon & Schuster, 2013; 9780689846042; $17.99. Fifteen-year-old Colette is addicted to lying, but she isn’t the only one telling lies.

Strasser, Todd. Fallout. Candlewick Press, 2013; 9780763655341; $16.99.  In 1962, 10 people squeeze into a backyard bomb shelter supplied for four and await their fate.

Takoudes, Greg. When We Wuz Famous. Henry Holt and Company, 2013; 9780805094527; $16.99.  Francisco hopes to escape the hood at boarding school, but it keeps dragging him down.

Tintera, Amy. Reboot. Harper Collins, 2013; 9780062217073; $17.99.  The longer you’re dead, the stronger you are when you reboot. Dead for 178 minutes, Wren is an unstoppable soldier.

Van Diepen, Allison. Takedown. Simon & Schuster, 2013; 9781442463127; $9.99.  After two years in juvie, Darren has a vendetta against his drug boss.

White, Kiersten. Mind Games. Harper Collins, 2013; 9780062135315; $17.99.  At a school for those with special powers, a girl is forced to do unspeakable things to keep her sister safe.

Yancy, Rick. The 5th Wave. Putnam Juvenile, 2013; 9780399162411; $18.99.  While the human race is being exterminated by unseen aliens, Cassie focuses on rescuing her brother.

Young, Suzanne. The Program. Simon and Schuster, 2013; 9781442445802; $16.99.  When suicide is an epidemic, any hint of sadness will get you sent to The Program.

Yovanoff, Brenna. Paper Valentine. Penguin, 2013; 9781595145994; $17.99.  Investigating a string of murders at the demand of her best friend’s angry ghost, Hannah stumbles into a potential relationship with the local mysterious bad boy – and into danger.

* Zadoff, Allen. Boy Nobody. Little, Brown Books, 2013; 9780316199681; $18.00.  A trained teen assassin may just meet his match.