aka YA Literature

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Story Behind the Photo

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal had an article entitled "Does Her Face Foretell Her Fate." The article explains that this photo ("Lucille Burroughs, Daughter of a Cotton Sharecropper. Hale County, Alabama") is one of 95 portraits chosen for the NYPL's photographic exhibition "Recollection." I found the article really interesting for many reasons, but (a) I'm actually surprised that in talking about the photo's power and history, no one mentioned that it graces the cover of Karen Hesse's Newberry Award-winning Out of the Dust, and (b) I never really thought about the photo as historic. I guess I never gave it that much thought at all, but I certainly never realized it was part of an effort to document the Dust Bowl in photographs.

I think it would be interesting to have students talk or write about the photo and to hypothesize about things like where she lives, what her name is, who took the picture, why they took the picture, and what became of the girl when she grew up. Then they could compare their hypotheses to the actual Lucille Burroughs in the picture.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bitter Melon

I came across a mention of the upcoming book Bitter Melon by Cara Chow. I need to read this! The main character competes in speech, and I read that Chow also had a positive experience with her speech coach in high school. I myself was in forensics and was a speech coach before becoming a librarian, so this is right up my alley. I'm not Chinese like the main character, but my high school debate partner is. Wonder if I can get my hands on an ARC somehow...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

The cover attracted me to this book, and the description sounded promising, both scary and with the potential for some romance. Even though it wasn't particularly scary, I wasn't at all disappointed.

Mackie is a teen boy who has always known that he is a "replacement." When the "real" Malcolm was four years old, he was taken by a shadowy figure in the middle of the night and replaced with Mackie (similar but not quite the same as the original). His origin isn't quite known, but Mackie does know he is allergic to iron and metal. His pastor father has always impressed upon Mackie the importance of blending in and not drawing attention to himself (the whole family knows Mackie is a replacement, though). Even though the town seems to know strange things like baby abductions and deaths happen, they don't seem to want to acknowledge it. This state of affairs can't last at the point when the book's narration starts, however, because (a) Mackie is getting sicker, (b) he is confronted with other other-worldy beings who want to claim him, and (c) another baby dies. There is a lot of suspense, but I wouldn't say it's as creepy as the cover might lead one (ie. me) to believe. And there was a bit of romance, which I liked. Over all, I'd say it's certainly worth purchasing and reading. It is similar enough to other paranormal YA books that it will have an audience, but it's different enough to be worth reading and will likely hold the reader's attention.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010


In an effort to embarrass myself in as many international bookstores as possible, I decided to hunt down and photograph the Twilight series last week when I was in Japan. (I can't even express how difficult it is to locate a specific book when you don't speak the language or even understand the script!) I was actually kinda' surprised at how little was devoted to the Twlight series...it basically on a discount shelf (or at least that's what I'm assuming it was.) In fact, this was the only Western YA book I recognized (but then again they may have had more somewhere I didn't see...)

What was amazing was the fact that almost half the bookstore (and it was a large bookstore) was devoted to Manga. I had hoped to visit one of the Manga museums, but sadly, I didn't have time for that on this visit.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My new favorite author

I love hearing authors speak, and just when I start to get jaded about hearing them ("oh, ho hum, just another author panel"), I hear someone I've never heard before and love them. LOVE them. Like, I must have them at my school, or I have an author crush on them, or, in this case, I want them as my best friend. I went to the Austin Teen Book Festival yesterday, and there were several great authors I'd never heard before. But one of the authors I was really looking forward to hearing was Susane Colasanti, and she did not disappoint me one little bit. In fact, she was awesome! I think she should be my ABFF. Her books are really popular at my school, and she seemed very cool from her website (I mean, anyone who loves Jon Stewart is smart and fun, right?). She was really funny and entertaining during the panel presentation. She seems like she would be really fun to hang out with.