Summer Reading Matters

Ahh! Summer!

OOOoo!! Summer Reading!

Each season seems to temper our reading selection and summer seems to be the time to stop meeting expectations and read to truly enjoy whether it be a pile of classics, a newly purchased paperback romance or the ESPN magazines that have been stacking up all year. It’s easier to get some teens to read during the summer than others because even the most avid may want to take a break from all the books. Yet, we know that summer reading is critical for teens to retain and hopefully improve reading skills. Give them the newspaper, magazines, comic books, novels or biographies. Giving them what they want to read will keep them reading! Us too!

Why not try a summer themed book?

How Tia Lola saved the summer by Julia Alvarez Miquel’s loveable Aunt saves what promised to be a dull and boring summer.

 Chameleon by Charles R. Smith Shawn’s mother may think it’s time for Shawn to grow up, but he’s planning nothing but fun for this summer before high school!

The summer I turned pretty; It’s not summer without you and We’ll always have summer by Jenny Han  No one does summer romance like Jenny Han!

When the stars go blue Candid Ferrer Soledad by plans to spend her summer teaching dance and saving some money until stars cross and she meets Jonathan and gets talked into joined the drum and bugle corps.

The Watsons go to Birmingham-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis A classic book about a family’s summer road trip.

 Mare’s war by Tanita Davis Octavia and Tali spend their summer on a road trip with Mare, their red sports car driving grandmother who is too young to be called ‘grandma’.

Surf mules by Greg Neri Logan and Z-boy have finished high school and are given a summer job that could make them quite rich, if it doesn’t kill them first! Yeah, and they surf, too!

 Marcello in the real world by Francisco S. Stork  Marcelo Sandoval is given the summer after his junior year to experience the real world

Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz: Aristotle and Dante meet at a pool when summer begins.

 L.A. summer: friends til the bloody end by Sheryl Mallory Johnson  Mikki, Carlette and Stacy have different talents and different backgrounds. Will this be the summer they become friends, or not?

Be sure to visit your local public library to sign up for summer reading programs and checkout a few of these great summer books!

A few online summer reading programs:

TD Banks Summer Reading Program

Scholastic’s Summer Challenge (International)

Target’s Roundup of Summer Reading Programs

Book Adventure


Cured and Gathered

Win a copy on YA Book Queen. Register now through 21 Apr

First, I’m so excited to tell you that Julie Kagawa’s Immortal Rules trilogy (yes! the entire trilogy!) has been purchased by Palomar Pictures. Her response to the news?

Julie Kagawa ‏ @Jkagawa Guys, if you could see me…my feet are about 6 inches off the ground. Thank you all. #Giddy#theimmortalrulesmovie :)


The State Farm Youth Advisory Board, a philanthropic program of State Farm, is accepting applications for youth service-learning projects designed to create sustainable local change in communities across the United States and Canada. Projects must be designed to address the root cause of the following issues: access to higher education/closing the achievement gap, financial literacy, community safety and natural disaster preparedness, social health and wellness, and environmental responsibility.

Applicant organizations must be a K-12 public or charter school, or institution of higher education. Nonprofit organizations also are eligible if they are able to demonstrate how they plan to impact student achievement within the public K-12 curriculum. Grants will range from $25,000 to $100,000. Deadline: 4 May

The White House recently responded to the School Librarian petition. Using the “We the People” portion of the White House website, the response concluded by saying

The Obama Administration remains committed to supporting school libraries and the critical role they play in providing resources and support for all students in their learning, to ensure that all students — regardless of their circumstances — are able to graduate from school ready for success in college and career. Check out this response on We the People

It seems that while some areas are continuing to eliminate school librarians, the state of Texas is struggling to find more people qualified for these positions. In reading about the shortage, it’s interesting to learn how they’re  transitioning from book based librarians to being librarians who working with accessing, organizing and working with information, not just books.

Do you know REFORMA? REFORMA is  The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking and they are busy these days!!REFORMA is

YALSA is currently accepting applications for its Teens Top Ten. Let your teens have a voice in selecting top books for teens for the next two years! The Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in sixteen school and public libraries around the country. Find out more and apply!

The Hub has a nice re-cap of this year’s Virginia Hamilton Conference. I usually attend the conference, but for health and professional reasons, couldn’t this year. I’m sometimes disappointed at the lack of diversity at this conference which meets for that very purpose but have always enjoyed the intimate atmosphere and opportunity to network that is provided.

Today, Paula Yoo’s blog says this is her last post. Well for now that is!  From today until 7 May, she’s posting daily blogs at the official NaPiBoWriWee site, the site she began for an event called “National Picture Book Writing Week.”  Need to get your write on? This may be your perfect opportunity!

Are you participating in World Book Night and if so, where will you be distributing your books? I’ve seen so many interesting places people have chose to distribute books! I have to thank my friend, Maria, for picking up my books from Kids Ink Bookstore. I’ll be be giving copies of The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks at the Julian Center, a shelter for women here in Indy.

In all this news about libraries, books, and the many ways we access information in this rapidly changing world, sometimes we need to slow down and be reminded of the critical need for continued free and open access for all citizens. Knowledge is power!


Hunt for History

ABC-CLIO’s 3rd Annual “Hunt for History” Brings History to Life with Scavenger Hunt for School Library Media Specialists, Teachers and their Students

Winners to be announced in May. Prizes include iPads and online database subscriptions

ABC-CLIO is calling for school library media specialists and social studies teachers around the country to join the 2012 “Hunt for History” and win valuable prizes such as iPads and subscriptions to the company’s suite of databases.

To take the Hunt for History challenge, ABC-CLIO will open up its American History online database for a month to school library media specialists and teachers. Participants will then utilize this user-friendly and authoritative history resource to find and submit the answers to 10 questions about historical events, people, issues and dilemmas. The competition launches on April 2, and the deadline for submitting answers is April 30. Winners will be announced the first week in May.

“The Hunt for History contest was easy, I learned a lot, and it was a great introduction to the databases.” noted Deb Dominick, a social studies teacher at Susquehannock High School in Glen Rock, PA and a winner in last year’s Hunt for History contest. “I have been extremely impressed with the content of the 4 databases we received and our students have made use of them this year.”

“We are excited to reprise our Hunt for History competition, allowing school library media specialists and teachers across the United States to discover history with their students through a stimulating scavenger hunt.” said Becky Snyder, president, ABC-CLIO. “We are committed to providing the highest quality resources to teachers and students to build research, writing and critical-thinking skills.”

This year’s four Hunt for History grand-prize winners will receive an Apple iPad and a subscription to ABC-CLIO’s 14 databases for one year. Another sixteen first-prize winners will receive a one-year school-wide subscription to any four ABC-CLIO databases. ABC-CLIO integrates three essential resources, A Library, A Textbook, and Perspectives, into each one of its 14 online databases for middle and high school students, making them the ideal answer for effective integration of the library into the classroom curriculum.

Hunt for History is open only to teachers and school library media specialists in accredited, public and private schools in the United States and U.S. territories and is limited to one entry per individual.

For more information, go to

Trending in Color

We hear a lot about what’s trending in YA lit (can you say DYSTOPIA?) but what’s trending when it comes to books with POC as main characters or books written by authors of color? What are you seeing that you haven’t read before? What seems to be repeating?


This is what I’m noticing, please feel free to add to the discussing because I know there are things going on that I’m not seeing.



  • Authors of color are no longer focusing on race as the main issue in books which feature characters of color. This really started a few years ago but people now seem to be noticing.
  • It seems there are fewer YA books written  published this year that were written by Native American, Asian or Middle Eastern authors.
  • Books by authors of color are being published in a wider variety of genre. While more authors of color are publishing speculative fiction, I can’t say I’ve seen any write publish dystopian books. They’re left out of this loop.
  • I’m not seeing an increase in the numbers of books written by authors of color. In fact, the numbers are pretty much the same as the previous year’s, as if the quota gets met every year.
  • More books are being written with multicultural casts. I’ve even considered writing a post on this. From Drama High to Divergent and yes, even the Hunger Games we’re seeing books written that reflect the real world. While some authors are just painting color on a face, others write to reflect what they experience in real life.
  • While I see more YA books getting trailers and graphic novels based on the original, I see this happening to very few books by authors of color.  And movies??

I have a few questions with regards to trends that I think really address the literacy skills we want to develop in our YAs.

  • I’d like to know how likely YAs are to read books with main characters outside their own ethnic group. I’m in a 96% Black school, so I don’t know what others are doing. I know my students read a wide variety of books.
  • Are YAs of color engaging with ereaders? book apps? audiobooks? Or, or they mainly reading print?
  • Are YAs of color encouraged to write and publish their own stories, poems or graphic novels?
  • Are YAs of color picking up non-fiction? The new common core standards are shifting reading materials to a heavy reliance on non-fiction. Are our students willing to read these sources for enjoyment as well as for information?
  • Do YAs of color request books they want from libraries and bookstores or do they just pick up what’s on the shelf?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this including anecdotal evidence or more questions.