In honor of Black History Month, we want to highlight some of the YA books from our shelves that explore Black History in narrative nonfiction and historical fiction form. Click on any of the book covers below to discover more about a title or to request a copy.
And don’t miss the postings on the Community Teach-In and Read-In website organized by Patten Free Library and RSU 1, where you’ll find fascinating stories about many figures and moments in Black History, shared daily in digest form throughout the month of February!
The American Library Association has announced its annual awards for the best in youth literature. This year’s Printz Award (historically YA’s premiere literary award) was given to Everything Sad Is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri, a book with blurry age recommendations (varying from grade 4 to grade 12!) but which has been a darling of critics everywhere.
For easy browsing, we’ve listed the Printz winners below and recapped several other notable YA winners. Click on any title to find a copy in Minerva. For a complete listing of ALA’s extensive award categories, visit the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards site.
Michael L. Printz Award (for excellence in Young Adult literature)
Everything Sad Is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri
Apple: Skin to the Core: A Memoir in Words and Pictures by Eric Gansworth
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh
We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
Alex Awards (for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences)
Stonewall Book Award (for books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience)
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram
Sydney Taylor Book Award (for authentic portrayal of the Jewish experience)
Young Adult Winner:
Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir by Tyler Federicos
Over the past few years, we’ve seen the movie studios increasingly turn to YA novels for inspiration. 2021 looks to continue that trend with many notable YA adaptations hitting the screens, including: Monster by Walter Dean Myers, Panic by Lauren Oliver, Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith, Butter by Erin Jade Lange, and The Selection by Kiera Cass. Concrete release dates are a rare find in COVID times, so this list is a little shorter than usual, but below are two titles that we should reach us soon. Keep your fingers crossed that the rest aren’t far behind!
To All the Boys 3: Always and Forever
Based on the final book in the trilogy: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
February 12 on Netflix
Based on the first in the Chaos Walking trilogy: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
March 5 in theaters
It’s been a year of uncertainty and change and disruption, but some things remain constant: authors keep writing books, and publishers keep printing them, albeit slower and fewer! The annual release of the “Best of 2020” lists by publishers and vendors is particularly welcome this year, as it was so easy to miss the announcement of new books amidst all the other news and confusion. You’ll find our round-up of the lists below.
As usual, there are several books that are honored with appearances on multiple lists, chief among them: the deftly plotted fantasy Raybearer by debut author Jordan Ifueko, the historical novel depicting teenage life in the Japanese internment camps We Are Not Free by Traci Chee, the stark depiction of the juvenile justice system in the novel-in-verse Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam, and the fast-paced puzzle mystery The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynne Barnes. Lots of great ideas here to keep you busy reading all winter long!
Looking for new book recommendations? Or a welcoming, yet socially-distanced, place to chat books? A number of online book clubs have popped up in recent years. Some of them are from favorite YA authors (John Green’s subscription-based Life’s Library Book Club featuring YA and Adult books) or favorite athletes (Andrew Luck’s Book Club). Some of the clubs have come and gone quickly, as celebrities face the challenges of moderating (R.I.P. Emma Watson’s feminist book club Our Shared Shelf).
Actress Reese Witherspoon is the most recent celebrity to dive into the game, launching the YA arm of her monthly Reese’s Book Club in August. Her picks all center on female protagonists, and the books have gained a lot of critical and reader attention so far. Check out her picks from the past four months below.
Reese’s YA Book Club:
Fable by Adrienne Young (print)
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey (print)
This month the comic and graphic novel industry announced the winners of its annual Harvey Awards, honoring achievement in multiple graphic categories. Gene Luen Yang was arguably the grand winner of the evening, taking home the “Book of the Year” award and the “Best Children or Young Adult Book” award, for the two different YA graphic novels that he published this year. Listed below you’ll find highlights of some of the winners, as well as the full roster of nominees in the “Best Children or Young Adult Book” category. Click on a title to find a copy in Minerva.
Book of the Year:
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
Digital Book of the Year:
The Nib edited by Matt Bors (political satire and nonfiction in comic form)
Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shiraham
Best Children or Young Adult Book:
Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru
The votes for the 2020 Teens’ Top Ten award have been counted! Because the votes for this readers’ choice award (sponsored annually by the Young Adult Library Services Association) are gathered from teen readers around the nation, the winners are always an interesting mix of genres, formats, and series vs. stand-alone titles. Other than the fact that author Rainbow Rowell captured the first two spots on the list (!), this year is a fine example of that mix. Looking for mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, realistic fic, historical fic, suspense, or graphic novel recommendations from readers like yourself? Then, check out copies of this year’s winners via the Minerva catalog and the Cloud Library links below.
2020 Teens’ Top Ten Winners:
6. #MurderFunding (#2 in #MurderTrending series) by Gretchen McNeil (print)
10. The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy (print)
With school out and many of the usual summer entertainment options unavailable due to COVID-19, we know that many of you are revisiting or catching up on binge-worthy TV, and Seasons 1-3 of the cult hit Stranger Things may win top prize in that category. Although Season 4 was originally anticipated for this summer, its release has been significantly delayed due to the pandemic, and probably won’t be released by Netflix until 2021.
Until then, we thought that you might want to use this time to get up to speed on the many 1980s movie references and “Easter eggs” embedded in the show. Its creators, Ross and Matt Duffer, have publicly acknowledged some of their influences, in particular the early novels of Stephen King and the early films of Steven Spielberg. They even named a list of works that influenced Season 3, and they have intentionally cast actors from influential 1980s films, like Sean Astin and Paul Reiser. They have also acknowledged that some of the influences may be “more subconscious than specific,” but that hasn’t stopped their fans from creating countless web lists of possible influences and cultural references from the era.
Start your own research below with our list of movies (by no means comprehensive!) held at Patten or requestable from the greater Minerva lending system. Beware, some of these films fall squarely into the horror genre and are not for the faint of heart, and some are definitely “of their time” and may not always jive with today’s mores. Happy digging and happy viewing.
“Stranger Things” Movie References and Influences:
Alien and Aliens (1979 & 1986)
All the Right Moves (1983)
Back to the Future (1985)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
The Exorcist (1973)
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
The Fly (1986)
Freaks and Geeks (1999)
The Goonies (1985)
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Karate Kid (1984)
Mr. Mom (1983)
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
The Neverending Story (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Of Unknown Origin (1983)
Pretty in Pink (1986)
Red Dawn (1984)
Risky Business (1983)
Romancing the Stone (1984)
Stand by Me (1986)
Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
The Terminator (1984)
The Thing (1982)
The X-Files (1993-2002)
Looking for a good summer read? Here are some of this year’s most popular and critically acclaimed YA books and sequels, which are sure to be spotted in readers’ hands on porch decks and hammocks nationwide. If you’re looking for a copy, most of these books are already available in print through curbside pickup at Patten, and many of them are also accessible in digital form through our Cloud Library.
Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed (print, ebook, e-audio)
Realistic Fiction. Jamie Goldberg, who chokes when speaking to strangers, and Maya Rehrman, who is having the worst Ramadan ever, are paired to knock on doors and ask for votes for the local state senate candidate.
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (print–coming to PFL soon, ebook)
Realistic Fiction. Felix Love, a transgender seventeen-year-old, attempts to get revenge by catfishing his anonymous bully, but lands in a quasi-love triangle with his former enemy and his best friend.
Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare (print, ebook, e-audio)
Historical Fantasy. Cordelia Carstairs, a Shadowhunter trained to battle demons, travels with her brother to London where they reconnect with childhood friends but soon must face devastating demon attacks in the quarantined city.
The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert (out July 7th)
Romance. The first year they are eligible to vote, Marva and Duke meet at their polling place and, over the course of one crazy day, fall in love.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (print, ebook, e-audio)
Dystopian Fiction. In a prequel to “The Hunger Games,” eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow prepares to mentor the female tribute from District 12 in the tenth Hunger Games, with the fate of his family hanging on the slim chance that he can help her win the Games.
They Went Left by Monica Hesse (print, e-audio)
Historical Fiction. Zofia, a teenage Holocaust survivor, travels across post-war Europe as she searches for her younger brother and seeks to rebuild her shattered life.
This Is My America by Kim Johnson (out July 28th)
Mystery/Realistic Fiction. Sending weekly letters to an organization she hopes will save her innocent father from death row, 17-year-old Tracy uncovers racist community secrets when her track star brother is wrongly accused of murder.
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (print, ebook, e-audio)
Romance. A reimagining of You’ve Got Mail follows the unlikely romance between an overachiever from a successful family and the class clown, who exchange snarky tweets that escalate into a viral Twitter war.
The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu (print, ebook, e-audio)
Historical Fantasy. Desperate to be forever remembered for her music, Nannerl Mozart makes a dangerous pact with a mysterious stranger from a magical land, which may cost her everything
One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus (print, ebook, e-audio)
Mystery. In this sequel to One of Us Is Lying, the Bayview friends are targeted by an anonymous adversary who uses an increasingly dangerous truth-or-dare app to keep the late Simon’s gossip legacy alive.
Burn by Patrick Ness (print–coming soon to PFL)
Fantasy/Suspense. Sarah Dewhurst and her father, outcasts in their little town of Frome, Washington, are forced to hire a dragon to work their farm, something only the poorest of the poor ever have to resort to.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds, adapted from the work of Ibram X. Kendi (print, e-audio)
Nonfiction. A history of racist and antiracist ideas in America, from their roots in Europe until today, adapted from the National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning.
The Conference of the Birds by Ransom Riggs (print, ebook, e-audio)
Fantasy. The latest entry in the best-selling series continues the story of Jacob Portman, who takes a brave leap into The Conference of the Birds while pursued by dangerous enemies.
We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez (print)
Magical Realism. A poignant novel of desperation, escape, and survival across the U.S.-Mexico border, inspired by current events.
Parachutes by Kelly Yang (print, ebook, e-audio)
Realistic Fiction. Claire is a rich 11th grader in Shanghai; Dani is a scholarship student at a private school in Southern California who helps her mother clean houses. When Claire is parachuted into America to finish high school and Dani’s mother needs the income from a boarder, they become unlikely housemates.
To celebrate Pride Month this June, meet some of the LGBTQ+ characters who have been central in YA fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels of the past year. These titles represent just a fraction of the many LGBTQ+ characters who graced the pages of YA books since last June. For even more ideas, we recommend BookRiot’s lists of “Most Anticipated LGBTQ releases” for 2019 and 2020, as well as their even more extensive preview of YA books starring queer girls in 2020.
Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee (print)
Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian (ebook, e-audio)
Birthday by Meredith Russo (ebook, e-audio)
The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper (ebook, e-audio)
Music from Another World by Robin Talley (ebook, e-audio)
Queer: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide for Teens, 2nd edition by Kathy Belge and Marke Bieschke (print)
The Book of Pride: LGBTQ Heroes Who Changed the World by Mason Funk (print)
Fence #1-3 by C.S. Pascat (print)
Cosmoknights by Hannah Templer (print)
Check Please #1-2 by Ngozi Ukazu (print–#2 coming soon)
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker (print)