Paula Yoo’s Book Drive for the Orlando Youth Alliance

Books change lives. If you’ve connected with me in this space, you know that and you are a changemaker. So is the amazing Paula Yoo who’s letting love be a verb. She’s put together a kidlit book drive for the Orlando Youth Alliance that allows us who believe in the power of books to DO SOMETHING that makes a difference.
Specifics for the book drive can be found here on Paula’s blog
I’m also suggesting GayYa for a list of queer YA books. (Look under the LGBTQIA and YA Material List tab at the top of the page.)
If you specifically want a list of YA books by Native American, here are a few
  1. Huntress by Malinda Lo; Little, Brown Books, 2011
  2. Boyfriends and Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez, 2011
  3. Chulito by Charles Rice Gonzales; Magnus Books, 2011
  4. Putting make-up on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright; Simon and Schuster, 2011
  5. Money Boyby Paul Yee; Groundwood Books, 2011
  6. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz; Simon and Schuster, 2012
  7. Adaptation by Malinda Lo; Little, Brown Books, 2012
  8. Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazara Dole; Bella Books, 2012
  9. 37 Things I Love (In No Particular Order)by Kekla Magoon; Henry Holt, 2012
  10. Mariposa Gown by Rigoberto Gonazalez; Tincture Press, 2012
  11. Happiness Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta; Mariner Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), 2013
  12. Bereft by Craig Laurance Gidney; Tiny Satchell Press, 2013
  13. Fat Angie E. Charlton-Trujillo; Candlewick, 2013
  14. If you could be mine by Sara Farizan; Algonquin, 2013
  15. The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson; Arthur A. Levine 2013
  16. The Culling by Steven Dos Santos; Flux, 2013
  17. Drifting by Lisa R. Nelson; Tiny Satchel Press, 2013
  18. God Loves Hair by Vivek Shraya and Juliana Neufeld; Arsenal Pulp, 2014
  19. The Sowing by Steven Dos Santos; Flux, 2014
and here are a few more.
My forte is YA, sorry I have a listing of books for younger readers. Feel free to put titles or links in the comment section because the picture books, beginning readers and MG books are critical as well.
I’m ordering books from Teaching for Change and hoping to pick a few more up at ALA. In Orlando.
“End the hate. Bring the love.”
Paula Yoo, you continue to be awesome!

Will You Be At ALA Orlando?

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If you’re coming to ALA, I hope you have this panel on your schedule.

Campaigns to increase diversity in children’s publishing have gained support, but debates continue to emerge over the “how” of this diversity—especially when it comes to fraught topics like slavery, racism, gender identity and sexual orientation. How does responsible engagement with these and other contentious topics impact the work of writing, reading, selecting, and teaching diverse books for children and teens? This panel will highlight insights from authors and publishers while exploring practices for advancing the conversation about diversity.



I’ve been doing my best not to let my summer overwhelmed me. I hit a couple of stressful patches last semester and I don’t like the person I become when I’m stressed. This semester, I’m trying to be more organized, getting as much done ahead of time as possible and staying aware of dates and deadlines. The other night, I had a dream that I was back at the University of Cincinnati for graduate school. I was busy getting around campus, carrying lots of stuff and reading while I was walking. I walked up to a table to get my schedule and although I’d been accepted, I hadn’t completed my registration, hadn’t even registered for classes. I clearly need to slow down so that I don’t miss any opportunities.

Reading slows us down. It engages our mind, body and brain in ways few other activities do. One of my projects this summer is to develop a workshop to re energize teacher’s attitudes about reading. I’m prepared to hear many of them say they simply don’t have time. I honestly believe we have time for the things we truly want to do but, sometimes after a day in the classroom (particularly if you’re an introvert) you want a mindless evening of knitting, gardening, playing games, watching television or coloring.

I’ve been trying to select books for this group to read. I picked up M Train by Patti Smith because of the popularity of this National Book Award winner. The book is set on the most exquisite paper I’ve experienced in a book in a very long time, reminding me I need to read adult more often. Not too far in, Smith is discussing a lecture she was delivering to the Continental Drift Club about explorer Alfred Wegener. Smith admitted to barely preparing the lecture, scribbling much of it on napkins. She’s recounting what she believes to be Wegener’s last expedition when mumbling breaks out disputing her ‘facts’. When she’s accused of creating poetry rather than science her retort is “What is mathematics and scientific theory but projection?” (p. 52)

It’s not that everyone in the book is white that gave be pause ( a long pause: I stopped reading) but it was the Whiteness, assuming the privilege of telling someone else’s story without assuming the responsibility to get it right. I did read Humans of New York Stories and will be adding that to the teacher’s reading list. It’s not something I would normally pick up but, it ended up being something I couldn’t put down.

This afternoon, I’ve been reading Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson. It’s my university’s campus read and the author will be on campus this year. I’m reading it to prepare a discussion guide that will build reading skills while guiding readinger through the book. This will be the second such project I’ve worked on with our Math and Writing Center and it’s one project that I really enjoy. I’m enjoying the book, too! Books rarely make me cry but this one has had me tearing up a couple of times. It’s a powerful read.

I wanted to add Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales by Virginia Hamilton to the #Lemonade for Girls: In Formation list, but I can’t add books to lists if I haven’t read them. So, I’m plugging away at this classic so that it can be ready for me to recommend it to another list.

Speaking of lists, we’re beginning work for the next We The People Summer Reading List. I haven’t started books reading for that one yet, it’s going to take a little while before I have time.

You may, or may not have listened to the recording of my talk a few months ago about responsible use of social media. During that talk, I mentioned that I am not and do not want to be the diversity librarian.

You know how most people who believe in magical thinking think that you simply need to speak things out loud to make them happen? Well, I’m learning not to speak out loud what I’m NOT going to do, what I don’t want because I’m getting closer to being that diversity library. I recently because a Faculty Affiliate on my campus as part of a faculty learning community to add multiculturalism to the curriculum. This effort has me piecing away at reading Small Teaching by James Lang (highly recommended to improve classroom teaching) and Personal, Passionate, Participatory Inquiry into Social Justice in Education edited by Ming Fang He and JoAnn Phillion. My friends, let me just say the key to deep reading is 20 minutes a day. Brain research tells us the brain really only concentrates for 20 minutes at time. Also, it’s much easier to set aside 20 minutes each day to read a book that to make myself think I need to spend hours doing it every evening.

I haven’t picked up Shapeshifters by Amiee Meredeth Cox or Critical Multicutural Analysis of Children’s Literature edited by Maria Jose Botelho and Masha Kabakow Rduman in quite a while, but I’ll get back to them sooner rather than later to continue my research on black girls and on critical literacy. Until then, I’m reading the articles.

I’m not left with much time to read for the blog and honestly, I’m not doing much on any of my social media sites. I think it’s best that for June and July, I take a vacation from blogging. I’ll still post the monthly releases and will post a reminder about ALA, but I don’t plan to do anything other than that.

Unplug! Go enjoy your summer! Me, I’m planning to keep stress to a minimal. I’m gone reading. See you in August!

It’s late and I’ve rushed writing this. I’ve tried to take my time to proofread, but I think there may be more errors than usual. I’m sorry for that!

Rights Report: April and May

I try to update Rights Reports monthly to give a peek into upcoming POC and Native American kidlit publications.


Oni Press has acquired world rights to the YA graphic novel IWant You by Madeleine Flores. The story follows a girl working in her brother’s cat cafe who has a secret magical ability that allows her to get whatever she wishes for whenever she says “I want.” Publication is slated for 2018.

Candlewick Press will publish 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Laureate Cao Wenxuan‘s novel Bronze and Sunflower, which tells the story of the friendship between Bronze, a mute village boy, and Sunflower, a girl sent from the city with her father to a rural re-educational “cadre school,” during the Cultural Revolution. Emma Lidbury at Walker Books bought world English rights for the Walker Books Group from Peter Buckman at the Ampersand Agency. The book was published in the U.K. in April 2015, and has been released in France, Germany, Italy, and Korea. Hilary Van Dusen will edit the U.S. edition, which will be published in early 2017.

HarperCollins/Walden Pond Press has acquired Anna Meriano‘s middle grade debut, Love Sugar Magic on behalf of CAKE Literary. The novel follows a girl who discovers that she comes from a long and distinguished line of brujas – witches of Mexican ancestry. But when she bungles a spell, she must race to fix it before her mother and sisters find out she’s been practicing magic in secret. Publication is set for late 2017.

Flatiron Books has preempted Somaiya Daud‘s debut Mirage, a YA fantasy/SF trilogy inspired by the author’s Moroccan background, in which a poor girl from an isolated moon must become the body double to the cruel imperial princess, and learns that life in the royal palace is far more dangerous and complicated than she imagined. Publication of the first book is planned for fall 2017.

First Second Books has acquired world rights to a YA graphic novel written by Mariko Tamaki (l.) and illustrated by Rosemary Valero O’Connell, called Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me. In the book, teenaged Freddy is going through what might possibly be the most epically complicated breakup in lesbian history – or at least it feels that way to Freddy and her long-suffering friends. It’s planned for 2018.

Dial has pre-empted Veera Hiranandani’s The Night Diary, a middle grade novel about shy 12-year-old Nisha, who is forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India. She finds a way to heal her broken world by writing raw and honest letters to her deceased Muslim mother. Publication is slated for spring 2018.

Scholastic Press has bought world rights to Madelyn Rosenberg (l.) and Wendy Wan-Long Shang‘s middle-grade novel This Is Just a Test. David Da-Wei Horowitz should be preparing for his bar mitzvah, but instead, he’s busy trying to figure out how to survive the Cold War, which is hard when he can’t even make peace between friends and his dueling Chinese and Jewish grandmothers. Publication is planned for 2017.


Martha Mihalick at Greenwillow has preempted debut author-illustrator Daria Peoples‘s picture book THIS. IS. IT., and an untitled companion book. In the book, a young ballerina, uncertain of her talent, follows the poetically compelling voice of her shadow to discover the courage she needs to audition. Publication is set for 2018.

Macmillan/Imprint has acquired Monique Fields‘s  Honeysmoke, a picture book about a girl searching for a word to describe herself and her place in a multiracial family. Geneva Benton will illustrate. Publication is scheduled for fall 2018.

Dutton has acquired Dream Country by Shannon Gibney, a family saga following the lives of several generations of young black men and women facing death and exile from Liberia to America. Publication is set for 2018.

Abrams won a six-publisher auction for world English rights to Christian Yee‘s debut YA novel,The Girl Who Was Iron and Gold, launching a series about 15-year-old Genie Zhao, who wonders if she’s qualified enough to gain admission to an Ivy League school, then becomes powerful enough to break through the gates of Heaven with her fists. Publication is slated for fall 2017, with the sequel to follow in fall 2018.

Thomas Dunne Books will publish S. Jae-Jones‘s YA novel Wintersong in winter 2017, and a companion novel in 2018.

Little Simon has bought the first two titles in the new Daisy Dreamer chapter book series, illustrated by Genevieve Santos. Daisy is a smart, spunky seven-year-old whose vibrant imagination sends her on whimsical adventures full of very real “imaginary” friends, sparkle fairies, unicorns, and rainbows. Publication for both titles is set for spring 2017.

HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray has preempted Justina Ireland‘s Dread Nation and an untitled sequel, a YA duology set in a post-Reconstruction America beset by an undead plague that rose from the Civil War battlefields. Publication is set for 2018.

Knopf has acquired AmericanizedSara Saedi‘s autobiographical account for teens of growing up in America as an illegal immigrant from Iran. Publication is set for fall 2017.

Philomel has acquired Jenny Torres Sanchez‘s fourth YA novel, Crows Cry Emilia, an un-coming-of-age story that charts the devolution of 16-year-old Emilia DeJesus when she learns that the police arrested the wrong man for attacking her seven years prior, that the real perpetrator is still out there, and that beauty can be found in all lost things. Publication is scheduled for spring 2018.

Little, Brown has bought debut author-artist and graduating senior at the Rhode Island School of Design Oge Mora‘s Thank You, Omu!, about an elderly woman who gives selflessly until there is nothing left to share, and is then surprised by the reciprocal love and generosity of her community, plus an untitled picture book. Publication is planned for fall 2017.

Viking has preempted Down and Across, Arvin Ahmadi‘s YA debut about a boy whose track record of quitting doesn’t live up to his immigrant parents’ high expectations. What begins as an impromptu trip to a famous professor for advice about success turns into a summer of freedom, one that brings him answers in unexpected places. Publication is set for spring 2018.

June Releases

41d0eGNgoJL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Unplugged by Donna Freitas; HarperTeen. Ages 13 and up.
Humanity is split into a dying physical world for the poor and an extravagant virtual world for the wealthy. Years ago, Skylar Cruz crossed over to the App World for a chance at a better life, and her family stayed behind in the Real World. Now Skye is a virtual teenager, surrounded by glamorous apps and expensive downloads—yet she’s never felt like she fits in, and all she wants is to see her mother and sister again.

Skye is desperate and ready to risk everything to unplug from the App World. But she soon learns that the only person she can trust—in either world, including friends andfamily—is herself.

FC9781595148568Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana; Penguin/Razorbill. ages 12 and up. Debut Author
For Tara Krishnan, navigating Brierly, the academically rigorous prep school she attends on scholarship, feels overwhelming and impossible. Her junior year begins in the wake of a startling discovery: A message from an alternate Earth, light years away, is intercepted by NASA. This means that on another planet, there is another version of Tara, a Tara who could be living better, burning brighter, because of tiny differences in her choices.
The world lights up with the knowledge of Terra Nova, the mirror planet, and Tara’s life on Earth begins to change. At first, small shifts happen, like attention from Nick Osterman, the most popular guy at Brierly, and her mother playing hooky from work to watch the news all day. But eventually those small shifts swell, the discovery of Terra Nova like a black hole, bending all the light around it.
As a new era of scientific history dawns and Tara’s life at Brierly continues its orbit, only one thing is clear: Nothing on Earth–or for Tara–will ever be the same again.

FC9780451475763Never Ever by Sara Saedi; Viking. ages 12 and up.
Wylie Dalton didn’t believe in fairy tales or love at first sight.
Then she met a real-life Peter Pan.
When Wylie encounters Phinn confident, mature, and devastatingly handsome at a party the night before her brother goes to juvie, she can t believe how fast she falls for him. And that’s before he shows her how to fly.
Soon Wylie and her brothers find themselves whisked away to a mysterious tropical island off the coast of New York City where nobody ages beyond seventeen and life is a constant party. Wylie’s in heaven: now her brother won t go to jail and she can escape her over-scheduled life with all its woes and responsibilities permanently.
But the deeper Wylie falls for Phinn, the more she begins to discover has been kept from her and her brothers. Somebody on the island has been lying to her, but the truth can’t stay hidden forever.

FC9781481456531The Geeks Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash; Simon and Schuster. ages 14 and up.
Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.
But now they re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.
When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, “The Chronicles of Althena,” is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be…even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.

FC9780826356642Amazing Paper Airplanes: THe Craft and Science of Flight by Kyong Hwa Lee; University of New Mexico Press. ages 9-13.
Kyong Hwa Lee holds a doctorate in electrical engineering and has worked for more than twenty-five years in the aerospace industry. Lee has designed over one hundred unique paper airplanes over the last thirty years. His coauthored Paper Airplane Fold-a-Day calendar has been popular worldwide since its first publication in 2006. Every day hundreds of paper airplane enthusiasts visit his website at

The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen, Phuong Anh Nguyen; Swoon Reads. ages 12 and up. Debut authors
FC9781250084071Taylor Simmons is screwed. Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip. Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard. Readers will be ready to sign their own love contract after reading The Way to Game the Walk of Shame, a fun and addicting contemporary YA romance by Jenn P. Nguyen.