Another early morning for ALSC Institute 2022. Adam Gidwitz and Hena Khan opened the day talking about their collaboration in authoring the latest installment of the Unicorn Rescue Society with healthy doses of humor and humility.
Tag: middle grade
Why Do Kids Love Thrillers?
Thrillers have been surging again in YA literature for the last few years. The popularity of thrillers ebbs and flows in YA (raise your hand if you devoured I Know What You Did Last Summer in the 90’s like I did), but Kate McManus’ One of Us Is Lying brought this genre to the top again in a big way, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Thrillers are also a perennial favorite among the middle grade crowd. What’s the appeal behind this genre, and what can we offer young thrill-seekers?
Why Is Children’s Literature Still Fat-phobic?
Close your eyes and throw a dart in the children’s section, and you’ll probably hit a book that has fat-phobia. It may have a snide comment about a fat character – or a book with no fat characters at all. I’m not sure which one is worse. It’s practically a tradition in children’s literature to depict fatness as synonymous with gluttony, with ugliness, with stupidity, or with evil. In Harry Potter, you have major and minor fat villains: Dudley, Umbridge, Crabbe and Goyle. Stuart Gibb’s best-selling Funjungle series features a b-side villain referred to as “Large Marge” throughout the series, who is regularly derided as idiotic and incompetent. And if we started talking about fatness and Roald Dahl, we’d be here all day. Where does this fatphobia come from, and why do we put up with it?
Why Kids Love Horror
When I was a kid, way back in the late nineteen hundreds, I loved horror as a genre. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was my jam (I loved the pictures. Today they are nightmare fuel). I read Peg Kehret’s Horror at the Haunted House over and over. Christopher Pike? Check. Goosebumps? Absolutely. Kids have always loved scary stories, but in recent years, middle grade horror has really taken off as a genre. Why does this genre appeal to kids, and what are some ways for the library to support young scare-lovers?
Help Me, Judy Blume: In search of puberty stories for young readers
A girl of about eleven or twelve walked up to my desk and asked if I could recommend some books to her. “I really like Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret,” she said. “Great!” I said. “Do you want more books by Judy Blume, or just other books like that one?” “Other books like that one,” she confirmed. We started walking up and down the stacks. I pulled a book off the shelf with a Judy Blume vibe, gave her a brief description, and then watched her face as she tried to keep up a polite smile.
Tales from Self-Isolation
I haven’t had this much time off since high school summer vacation. However, a pandemic is a much more stressful than time off school. How did YOU continue being a librarian during this time off? Here’s what I did. First, I helped with a portion of ALSC’s upcoming Virtual Storytime Services Resource Guide. I am very excited to see the completed work! I live in Ohio, and thankfully, there were several online networking (and venting/commiserating) opportunities. The State Library of Ohio continues to have a weekly “Ohio Youth Services Meet Up” every Tuesday morning. I cannot tell you how much the sharing and listening that occurs in this meet up has helped me keep my sanity. In addition, the North East Ohio Regional Library System also had a series of meet ups that served the same purpose. I watched a bunch of free webinars from publishers and publications previewing upcoming…
Fall Titles Galore!
For the past four years, my library system (Cuyahoga County Public Library in suburban Cleveland, Ohio) has hosted a Youth Book Buzz, a day when several publishers and Baker & Taylor come to preview upcoming summer and fall books. This year, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, DC Comics, and Inkyard Press, along with the aforementioned Baker & Taylor, sent a representative to booktalk titles along with ARCs (advance reader copies) for attendees to snatch up at the end of the presentations. In addition, ARCs the library system received over the past year were also available to take. (Many thanks to CCPL’s Collection Development department!) I came home with one bag full of middle grade novels, and one bag of teen books. Picture books were available, but I focused on grabbing longer texts. Here are some of the children’s books I’m excited to see coming out in August and the fall!…
Backlist Booklist: Fantasy Edition
Fall seems like a great time to tackle a good fantasy, doesn’t it? And since we focus so much on new books, let’s give the backlist on our shelves some love. Your tweens will love these great fantasies, and you’ll want to read them yourself! Christina Diaz Gonzalez’s Moving Target is a thrill ride from start to finish. It tells the story of Cassie, an American student in Rome, who thinks her family is totally normal and that her dad is just a regular old art history professor–until someone tries to kill him. That’s when Cassie finds out she’s from an ancient bloodline that allows her to use an artifact that can alter the future. And now she has to run from a secret society that wants it very badly. And if you loved it? Never fear, the second book just came out last month. …