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2017 National Book Awards for Young People’s Literature

13 Sep

The 2017 National Book Awards Longlist for Young People’s Literature was announced yesterday.  I’ve read four already. I have a few on hold, one ARC, and there are a few that my library doesn’t have yet. And the first three weren’t even on my radar.

MY TBR pile just got longer.

Elana K. Arnold, What Girls Are Made Of


Robin Benway, Far from the Tree


Samantha Mabry, All the Wind in the World


Mitali Perkins, You Bring the Distant Near


Jason Reynolds, Long Way Down


Erika L. Sánchez, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter


Laurel Snyder, Orphan Island


Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give


Rita Williams-Garcia, Clayton Byrd Goes Underground


Ibi Zoboi, American Street


Until we meet again

20 Apr

My great Harry Potter reread (via audiobooks) is over.


I listened to all seven books in the car, mostly during my commute to school. Here are the stats:

  • 69 discs
  • 119 hours
  • approximately 828 miles

As I live in the US, all the discs were narrated by Jim Dale, who I think does a magnificent job.

Although I have reached the end of the series, I am sure this is not goodbye, just until we meet again. I will watch the movies again, and I will remark on the many bits that have been left out or streamlined for the sake of the movie’s length. I am certain I will read the series again, either in print or as audiobooks. I must admit, though I am curious to hear the Stephen Fry audiobooks that are available in the UK.

You can compare the two voices here.

My new audiobook mission is to revisit some classic science fiction during my commute: Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven, Arthur C. Clarke, and other authors of that ilk to see which ones I can add to my classroom library. I’ll keep you posted

OBOB 2018

27 Feb


I am in the last week of 2017 OBOB Battles. By Friday, we will know who the Stoller champions are. The state wide committee recently annuce the “Almost Finished” list of next year’s books. The 6-8 and 9-12 lists have been finalized, the 3-5 have not. You can see all three lists HERE.

I  have some of these in my classroom library already and will start gleaning them so I can figure out which ones I need to order.  Here is the full 6-8 list


6-8 Division (Final)

imgres Fallout by Gwenda Bond

imgres-1 Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

 imgres-2 Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

imgres-3 I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

imgres-4 Kalahari by Jessica Khoury

imgres-5 The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau

imgres-6 Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff

imgres-7 The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

imgres-9 Popular: A Memoir by Maya Van Wagenen (Paperback title: Popular: How a Geek in Pearls Discovered the Secret to Confidence Hardcover title: Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Ge

imgres-10 Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

imgres-11 The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

imgres Schooled by Gordon Korman

imgres-1 The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall

imgres-2 The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

imgres-3 The Turn of the Tide by Rosanne Parry

imgres-4 The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Announcing the 2017 Hub Reading Challenge!

5 Feb

I hadn’t heard anything about the 2017 Hub Reading Challenged and feared it might not happen this year. Then, lo and behold, the announcement came!


The HUB Reading challenge s intended to encourage librarians, library workers, and YA lit enthusiasts to dive into the award winner and honor books and YALSA selected lists with the hope of providing excellent readers’ advisory and even discovering a new favorite title or exploring a genre outside of your comfort zone.

The goal is to read any 25 books of the titles from the above lists and awards. There are almost 100 this year and I have listed them below.

Just about everyone who doesn’t work for ALA is eligible to participate. Non-ALA/YALSA members are eligible. Teens are eligible. Non-US residents/citizens are eligible.

There are a few rules that you can read on the link above, but the most important one is this: format matters.  A title that has been recognized for both the print version and the audiobook version can be both read and listened to and count as two books, but a book that has won multiple awards or appears on multiple lists in the same format only counts as one title.

I’ll be updating my progress on Sundays, so stay tuned.

Here is the official list:

2017 Hub Reading Challenge Eligible Titles

    1. Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by MIsty Copeland
    2. The Distance Between Us: A Memoir by Reyna Grande
    3. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
    4. The Diviners by Libba Bray
    5. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
    6. The Good Braider By Terry Farish
    7. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
    8. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
    9. Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
    10. Rani Patel in Full Effect by Sonia Patel
    11. The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst
    12. The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales
    13. In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero with Michelle Burford
    14. Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart
    15. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
    16. Romeo and/or Juliet: A Choosable-Path Adventure by Ryan North
    17. Die Young with Me: A Memoir by Rob Rufus
    18. The Wasp that Brainwashed the Caterpillar by Matt Simon
    19. The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach
    20. March:  Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
    21. Hillary Rodham Clinton:  A Woman Living History by Karen Blumenthal
    22. In the Shadow of Liberty:  The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives by Kenneth C. Davis
    23. Samurai Rising:  The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune written by Pamela S. Turner, illustrated by Gareth Hinds
    24. This Land is Our Land:  A History of American Immigration by Linda Barrett Osborne
    25. Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
    26. Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
    27. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
    28. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
    29. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
    30. What Happened to Goodbye? by Sarah Dessen
    31. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
    32. Asking for It by Louise O’Neill
    33. The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
    34. Scythe by Neal Shusterman
    35. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
    36. Anna and the Swallow Man written by Gavriel Savit, narrated by Allan Corduner
    37. Ghost written by Jason Reynolds, narrated by Guy Lockard
    38. Dream On, Amber written by Emma Shevah, narrated by Laura Kirman
    39. Nimona written by Noelle Stevenson, narrated by Rebecca Soler, Jonathan Davis, Marc Thompson, January LaVoy, Natalie Gold, Peter Bradbury, and David Pittu
    40. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
    41. Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
    42. Rani Patel In Full Effect by Sonia Patel
    43. The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
    44. Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin
    45. Beast by Brie Spangler, read by Andrew Eiden
    46. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, read by Carla Corvo, MacLeod Andrews, Steve West, and a full cast
    47. Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky, read by Barrett Wilbert Weed
    48. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, read by Marc Thompson, Rebecca Soler, January LaVoy, Peter Bradbury, Jonathan Davis, David Pittu, Natalie Gold
    49. Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt, read by Christopher Gebauer
    50. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, read by Jorjeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, Michael Crouch
    51. Star Wars Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston, read by Ashley Eckstein
    52. Traffick by Ellen Hopkins, read by Kirby Heyborne, Julia Whelan, Madeleine Maby, Rebekkah Ross, Jacques Roy
    53. Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke, read by Michael Crouch, Alicyn Packard, and Caitlin Davies
    54. The Reader by Traci Chee
    55. The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge
    56. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
    57. Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
    58. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Septys
    59. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxam
    60. Feminism: Reinventing the F-Word by Nadia Abushanab
    61. Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
    62. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston
    63. Plutona by Jeff Lemire
    64. Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics
    65. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
    66. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
    67. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
    68. The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash
    69. When We Collided by Emery Lord
    70. as brave as you by Jason Reynolds
    71. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan
    72. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
    73. How Many Letters are in Goodbye? by Yvonne Cassidy
    74. We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
    75. Dryland by Sara Jaffe
    76. You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Leviathan
    77. When the Moon Was Ours Anna-Marie  McLemore
    78. This Song Is (Not) for You by Laura Nowlin
    79. The Root by Na’amen Gobert Tilahun
    80. And I Darken by Kierstin White
    81. Giant Days by John Allison and Lissa Treiman
    82. Black Panther, Book One:  A Nation Under Our Fee by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze
    83. Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer by Diane Stanley, illustrated by Jessie Hartland
    84. Balcony on the Moon by Ibtisam Barakat
    85. Becoming Unbecoming by Una
    86. Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
    87. Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
    88. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
    89. Take It As a Compliment by Maria Stoian
    90. Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear… and Why by Sady Doyle
    91. We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out by Annie E. Clark and Andrea L. Pino
    92. Filmish:  a Graphic Journey Through Film by Edward Ross
    93. Prez, Volume 1:  Corndog in Chief by Mark Russel Ben Caldwell, and Mark Morales
    94. orange:  The Complete Collection 1 by Ichigo Takano
    95. Paper Girls 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang
    96. We Stand On Guard by Brian K. Vaughan, Steve Skroce, and Matt Hollingsworth
    97. Lowriders to the Center of the Earth illustrated by Raúl Gonzalez, written by Cathy Camper



Summer reading

20 Jun

The summer solstice falls  at 3:34 today in Portland, OR.


I hope to be home before then. I have to go into work today to finalize grades and check out. The Math teacher on my team is moving to the high school so we are taking her out for lunch.

When I get home, summer holidays will stretch out before me. It is a glorious thing. Summer reading will also stretch out before me. Here is my current TBR pile.


Gene Luen Yang, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, has a reading platform that is ideal for summer reading.  The Reading Without Walls Challenge encourages kids to read without walls in one of three ways:

1. Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you or live like you.

2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about.

3. Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun. This might be a chapter book, a graphic novel, a book in verse, a picture book, or a hybrid book.

When you finish, take a photo of you and the book (or just the book if you’re shy) and post it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ReadingWithoutWalls. You’ll inspire others to do the same!

Have a great summer of reading.

Bookmarks 2016!

10 Apr


Saturday was the Oregon Battle of the Books State Tournament. My team didn’t make it, but my former school’s team did.


Three of these five started OBOB with me 2 years ago as 3rd graders and leaving them behind was one of the hardest parts of changing jobs. They had worked hard since the regional tournament, almost a month ago and were ready for today’s challenge, along with 23 other elementary teams.


The first round was the pool play round, just like at the regional meet. Three teams in a room and the 16 teams with the highest point totals would go on to the next round. The William Walker Bookmarks sat out the first round, then played each of the two teams in back to back matches.  A perfect game is 80 points, but extra points can be earned by “stealing” questions the other team misses. However, 80 points probably isn’t enough to get you into the next round at this level of play. The Bookmarks won both battles, ending with 90 points altogether, which was good, but was it good enough?

We went back to the auditorium where the Sweet Sixteen Round was to be announced.My stomach was tight as they announce the teams. Our name wasn’t called sand wasn’t called and wasn’t called. Then, finally, the last pari announced was Ashbrook (11th seed) vs William Walker (6th Seed). We were in!

We went to the room where we discovered that our moderator was none other than the librarian who had preceded me at William Walker. Could it be a good omen?

The play was exciting, but, ultimately, William Walker prevailed, putting us into the Elite 8. We stayed in the same room with the same moderator for the next battle. At the halfway point, they were tied. The next half was tougher and they lost, marking the end of the road for the Bookmarks.


Some tears ensued, understandable after so many months of hard work and hours of tension and excitement. Within a short time though, jokes were being made, plans for laser tag and ice-cream discussed and they were back to their funny selves.


I feel like I’ve come full circle with the bookmarks. I’ve left William Walker. Next year the three oldest girls will be off to middle school. They already have a plan for their 6th grade team, but for now, they are loping forward to reading whatever they want.

2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #6

6 Mar


I’m not sure where this week went. While the previous week dragged, this one flew by in a rush. I only really finished one book for the Challenge, though I hope to finish an audiobook this afternoon.

I finished this slim, small book


The title of The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs, says it all. This is a how to book for fangirls.

Summary:Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.

I think if you are a beginning fangirl, this is a great place to start.

I am still listening to the 16 disc (20 hour) audiobook of Libba Bray’s Lair of Dreams, book 2 of the Diviner’s series.


Summary: After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.

Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.

As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess…As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?

There are a lot of characters and the book is long. As with The Diviners, I don’t love the story enough to have read the actual print book. But the narrator of the audiobook,  January LaVoy, is excellent. She ably differentiates the multitudinous character voices in an authentic way. When I finish it, this all bring me to a total of 20 books for the Challenge, 5 away from the minimum required.

2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #5

28 Feb


It was a good/bad week for the HUB Reading Challenge. I read a good book and listened to a not that great audiobook, both of which are parts of series.

This week, I listened to Half Wild by Sally Green.


I read the first book in the trilogy, Half Bad, when it came out in 2014 and really liked it. Maybe it’s been too long since I read it, but I didn’t enjoy Half Wild  nearly as much. The narration by Carl Prekopp, was excellent. I just couldn’t get into the story and really only managed to finish it  because I was knitting while I listened. Nathan’s obsession with Annalise was not realign interesting to me, especially since I can’t really remember her from Half Bad.  There seems to be a lot of gallivanting all over Europe and shapeshifting in a stream of consciousness sort of narration, but overall I just didn’t love it. At this point, I don’t care about any of the characters enough to read the third book, Half Lost,  which comes out later this year.

On a happier note, I really enjoyed Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.


For the last few years, I’ve seen the books of  Bardugo’s first series, the Grisha trilogy, on the shelves of my local library. They’ve intrigued me, but I’d never read any of them, despite a strong fan base.


I got an ARC of Six of Crows when I was in San Francisco this summer and finally got around to reading it.

I had a little trouble getting into it at first. I have this name issue and have abandoned books because I hate the pretentious names an author has given his/her characters. This happened most recently with Marie Lu’s Rose Society series. The names felt too forced to be believed. I abandoned the first book of the series and will probably never pick it up again.

I worried a little as I started Six of Crows that I would have the same reaction. I DO believe that reading it might have been made easier if I’d read the Grisha Trilogy, even though this is a separate first book in a series. However, as I got going, I got the rhythm of the world Bardugo had created and really connected with the characters.

Set in the same world as the Grisha trilogy, Six of Crows follows a group of six outcasts as they embark on deadly heist to break someone out of an impregnable prison. Bardugo is a compelling writer. What I really like is how she unfolds the story. The plot is set in motion and then, as events unfold, each character’s backstory is slowly revealed to deepen our understanding and connection to them. Bardugo suspends the plot in strategic places to reveal the backstory. Then, she suspends the backstory to move the plot forward. It is very effective and it certainly made me want to keep reading. I am looking forward to the release of the next book in the series, Crooked Kingdom, later this year.

2016 HUB Reading Challenge Check-in #1

31 Jan


The start date for this year’s Reading Challenge caught me off guard. The Challenge usually begins in February, because the awards are usually announced in late January. But, with ALA’s early Midwinter Conference, announcements were made earlier, so the Challenge began last week.

Monday found me scanning the list of eligible titles and madly placing holds on library copies. A few have arrived, but, since I am a Round 2 judge for the CYBILS YA Non-fiction Award, I haven’t read much for the Challenge.

I did manage two whole books….both thin, graphic novels. They were very fun graphic novels.

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I read Volumes 1 & 2 in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series by Ryan North and Erica Henderson. Volume 1 is entitled I Squirrel Power and Volume 2 is Squirrel You Know It’s True.

Publisher’s Summary for Volume 1: Wolverine, Deadpool, Doctor Doom, Thanos: There’s one hero that’s beaten them all-and now she’s got her own ongoing series! (Not that she’s bragging.) That’s right, you asked for it, you got it, it’s SQUIRREL GIRL! (She’s also starting college this semester.) It’s the start of a brand-new set of adventures starring the nuttiest and most upbeat super hero in the world!

Publisher’s Summary for Volume 2:  Squirrel Girl meets potential new allies including Chipmunk Hunk, Koi Boi and…Girl Squirrel?! Yes! But the two rodent-themed heroines don’t quite see eye to beady eye — and Squirrel Girl’s dislike might be justified! Now, as the world goes mad and the Avengers attack, Squirrel Girl must face Ratatoskr, the Norse God of Squirrels! There’s a theme in this book, I don’t know if you can tell. The fate of the world hangs in the balance, though, we promise. Featuring fights! Feelings! Sass! Punches! Friendship! A character named Hippo who is literally a hippo! And several tails (tales) of Squirrel Girl from all kinds of perspectives!

This is the beauty of the HUB Reading challenge. I pick, read and enjoy books I might never have considered before. I don’t read many graphic novels and the Challenge always sends me to the best.

YALSA’s The Hub 2016 Reading Challenge Begins!

25 Jan


Let the Challenge Begin!

It’s time to kickoff the 2016 Hub reading challenge! This challenge is intended to encourage librarians, library workers, and YA lit enthusiasts to dive into the award winner and honor books and YALSA selected lists with the hope of providing excellent readers’ advisory and even discovering a new favorite title or exploring a genre outside of your comfort zone.

Eligible books are the YA titles that were named winners or honor titles the following award and selected lists:

This year, based on feedback, they’ve expanded the eligible list of titles to include all YA literature recognized by any ALA division, including:

I am very excited to see the addition on the Amelia Bloomer list.

How to Participate

  • Declare your intentions in a comments on this post.
  • Read 25 of the selected titles to complete the challenge, or the entire list to conquer it.
  • Every Sunday,THE HUB will publish a check-in post. Leave a comment to talk about what you’re reading for the challenge. If you’ve reviewed those titles somewhere online, include links to those reviews!
  • There will be an finisher form embedded in each check-in post, so once you’re done with the challenge, fill out the form with your name and contact information. This is how you’ll receive your Finisher’s Badge, how you’ll be contacted about your reader’s response, and how you’ll be entered into the drawing for the grand prize. Please fill out the form only once.


  • Format matters: a title that has been recognized for both the print version and the audiobook version can be both read and listened to and count as two books, but a book that has won multiple awards or appears on multiple lists in the same format only counts as one title.
  • Books must be read/listened to (both begun and finished) since the award winners and selected lists have been released and 11:59pm EST on June 23. If you’ve already read/listened to a title, you must re-read/listen to it for it to count. The only exception is for titles you read for the Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge; whether or not you finished that challenge, you may count that reading toward your 25 titles.
  • Just about everyone who doesn’t work for ALA is eligible to participate. Non-ALA/YALSA members are eligible. Teens are eligible. Non-US residents/citizens are eligible. (More eligibility questions? Leave a comment or email us.)
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