aka YA Literature

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

I wanted to share a really successful program I did in conjunction with the premiere of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. We had a "Mad Hatter Tea Party" after school. I provided the tea, refreshments, and a Power Point presentation on the history of Lewis Carroll and AIW. I had over 30 students, some brought tea cups, and at least half brought hats. I'd post pictures, but I'm not allowed to post pictures of students. Not only did they show up, but they had a great time and were really interested in the presentation part. I gave out AIW pins to everyone who wore a hat, and I did some trivia at the end and gave out my remaining pins. I also did a little trivia contest based on the presentation and gave away the Johnny Depp movie poster (from Amazon) that I had bought as part of my advertisement.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reading Proficiency & Sexual Activity

Girls Inc. released a study called "Girls Shape the Future" in which they collected data over a three year period on the sexual behavior and attitudes of adolescent girls. The study found that regardless of family structure or SES, the two factors that acted as positive "protection" (their word, not mine) from early and risky sexual behavior was the quality of their relationship with their mother and their grades in reading. Interesting, eh? Just another reason we need great libraries and librarians...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Clockwork Angel

Entertainment Weekly posted the cover of Cassandra Clare's new Clockwork Angel, along with a nice interview with her editor about the cover and book. Th3rd World is apparently also doing a graphic novel adaptation. I think it could work really well in that format, although the popularity of this series sort of ebbs and flows with the release of a new book, and right now the books aren't that popular since it's been a little while since the last book was released.

Wonder if there'll be any ARCs of Clockwork Angel at TLA...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

No Jewish Fantasy Writers?

Michael Weingrad has an interesting article in the Jewish Review of Books entitled "Why There is No Jewish Narnia." In the article, he discusses the reasons (social, historical, and religious) why he believes there are not a lot of Jewish fantasy (*not* sci-fi!) writers, particularly in the vein of Tolkein or Lewis. It's a pretty interesting article, although a lot of it seems to be impressionistic or opinionated rather than something that could really be proven. Weingrad mentions a couple of recent Jewish fantasy writers like Lev Grossman and Hagar Yani, and I started trying to think of other Jewish fantasy writers. The only one I came up with is Cassandra Clare, although her fantasy isn't precisely Tolkein-esque (it's definitely "modern" and urban as Weingrad describes -- although City of Glass was less so) . I remember once when I heard her speak, she mentioned how she knew she wanted Simon to become a vampire because as someone who is Jewish, she always wondered why Jews couldn't be vampires since crosses don't mean anything religious to them.

Any other Jewish fantasy writers?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

Another Post on Book Covers

I really love the topic of book covers because good books with bad covers are something I really hate to see. So I liked this humorous post "Why Book Covers are So Very Clichéd" by Mark Charan Newton. I actually don't mind clichéd book covers. I think I posted at some point about how book covers with girls holding a guy's hand (think Sarah Dessen, Susane Colosanti, and Simone Elkeles) may be clichéd, but they attract their target reader. When someone sees that cover, they know what kind of book it is, and they will probably be interested if that's the kind of book they normally like. Example: Catherine Gilbert Murdock's Dairy Queen would appeal to lots of these types of readers, but they don't know that based on the cover of a cow wearing a tiara, and they aren't the least interested in reading that book, no matter how inventive the cover. I read a great article in Romantic Times about the meaning of romance novel covers and how the style clearly indicates to the reader what type of romance they're going to read (urban fantasy, historical, light contemporary, etc.). Yes, they're usually cheesy and maybe even embarrassing to buy, but you know what you're getting. I was at a bookstore recently with a friend, and he would pick up a romance novel and I'd tell him what it was about based on the cover. Example:

"That's a contemporary romance about a woman who owns a bakery or a dog-walking business," I'd say. Verdict: It was indeed about a woman who owned a dog-walking business. See? People know what they're getting, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.