Fantasy Materials

Ness, P. (2011). A monster calls. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press

This week I had a choice between reading Shadowshaper electronically or A Monster Calls in print. Once getting my hands on a Monster Calls, I was immediatelmonstery drawn to the illustrations. I do prefer reading print books over electronic books and I have been noticing a fondness for Patrick Ness among peers. Since I have not read anything written by him before, I decided to give it chance. I was also curious about how Ness would “run with and make trouble” (Ness, 2011) with Siobhan Dowd’s ideas. Even though I have not read Dowd, I was intrigued by the idea of Ness using Dowd’s potential fifth book as inspiration.  I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and will definitely be checking out Siobhan Dowd.

This award-winning book should be included in every YA collection for various reasons. First, great fantasy not only allows us to escape, but can also be used to teach and empathize. A Monster Calls not only brings us into the intense world of Conor’s nightmares, but also teaches us about grief, what it means to face our fears, and losing a loved one. This beautifully and eerily illustrated book. Fantasy novels are not always well received and often dismissed as something for young children. Ness’s protagonist is a boy who endures very real emotions and allows fantasy/ surrealism to help him cope and find truth. Between the bone chilling illustrations, the beautifully interwoven ‘stories within a story’, and the parallels between real life and fantasy,this intricately written novel is a must read.

Grade Level Interest: J


Popularity: 4P

Carrol, E. (2014). Through the woods. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Grade Level Interest: Late J to S


Popularity: 4P
the woodsA Monster Calls definitely reminded me of reading a Grim Fairy tale, so for the read alike this week I wanted to find something that was inspired by the Grimm’s Brothers. After some searching in the NYPL catalog I found Through The Woods by Emily Carrol. Carrol is Canadian author who has taken inspiration from the Grimm tales to create 5 eerie short graphic stories.

Appeal factors: Both books are intensifying, character drive, illustrated, haunting, and atmospheric. I paired these books for their similar appeal factors and their nods to traditional story telling. Both are very engaging and could be enjoyed by any type of reader.


AW Teen Publisher Profile


AW teen is an imprint of Albert Whitman and Company Publishers. Based out of Illinois, Albert Whitman published award-winning books since 1919. They are most famous for their children’s publications, including the titles The Boxcar Children and Jacob’s New Dress. Albert Whitman is dedicated to publishing respectful, intellectual and emotional content for children and teens. It is an independently-owned company, which prides itself on impacting the publishing industry while, maintaining a small, community-like atmosphere. Known mostly for childrens’ books, they are now working on breaking into YA books.

As of 2011, AW has started a new division devoted to teen literature, and thus far have published 19 titles. Their most recognizable books are Biggie by Derek E. Sullivan and Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke. These titles and the complete catalog of all Albert Whitman materials are available on their website.

Albert Whitman and Company is visible on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest, Youtube (AW Teen Channel) and WordPress. Their WordPress features Q & A’s with authors of new published books. The company also has a YA newsletter; currently newsletter subscribers have a chance to win all the teen titles published so far!

Please visit reviews for Biggie and Girl with the Red Ballon at the sites below!

Biggie By Derek E. Sullivan:

Kirkus Review

Publishers Weekly

Girl with the Red Ballon By Katherine Locke:

Kirkus Review

Good Reads

Teen Book Reviews

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

american street

16-year-old Fabiola Toussaint has recently landed in New York from Haiti, thinking she is ready to embark on the American Dream along side her mother. Fabiola’s mother is stripped from her by American Immigration officers and is forced to make the journey to her family in Detroit on her own. She quickly finds out that life in Detroit is not all sparkly and clean like she thought it would be. She learns about what it means to survive the realities of being a black immigrant teenage girl in 2017 America.

Fabiola’s story is familiar one and though it may be emotional to read, Zoboi conveys Fabiola’s journey as though they were lyrics to a song. Similar subject matter to “The Hate U Give”, American Street is a story of love, hate, grit, triumph and truth and one everybody should be reading.


This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki


this one summer

Interested in reading a graphic novel that does not revolve around superheroes or fall into the science fiction category? This One Summer is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel, which follows Rose through her hangouts with her best friend Windy at the lake. When Rose arrives at Lake Awago for summer action she thinks it is going to be a normal summer of swimming and renting movies with her best friend. Soon after arriving Rose finds that her parents are fighting. Something is going on with her mom, but she cannot figure out what it is. Hanging out with Windy is a bit of a distraction but little does Rose know she will overhear conversations between Lake Awago local teens she cannot ignore. If you liked When My Sister Started Kissing by Helen Frost, and are excited to try out a graphic novel, then this is the book for you!

Science Fiction Materials

Kauffman. A, & Kristoff. J., (2015). Illuminae the illuminae files 01. New York, NY: Alfred A Knopp.

When visiting the library to pick up the books for this week only two titles off our list were available. It was between Little Brother and Illuminae. I chose Illuminae mainly because of its unique format. When flipping through the book before picking it, I noticed that the story was told through a series of interviews and documents. I thought this to be very intriguing and when speaking with the local library she mentioned that I was lucky to grab a copy as the book is never on the shelf. I thought I would take advantage of my luck and read the book that local teens are gushing over.

Illuminae should be included in a YA collection as it follows the characterizations of making a great dystopian novel. Since the format of the story is so unconventional I worried about how setting would be described. It turned out that the world vividly described throughout the variety of documents, which include illustrations, created to tell the story. Furthermore, Kady is a strong female character who uses her quick thinking and computer hacking skills to figure out what is going on after the planet Kerenza has been destroyed. The relatable teenage characters, action packed events and unique telling of the story make this book a desirable read for any kind of YA reader.

Grade Level Interest: J Junior High (defined as grades 7‐9).


Popularity: 5P


Roth, V. (2016). Allegiant. New York, NY: Katherine Tegen Books.

Grade Level Interest: J Junior High (defined as grades 7‐9).


Popularity: 5P

Allegiant is the third book in the Divergent series written by Veronica Roth. The series has surged in popularity since being made into a movie franchise. Teens who have read Allegiant would definitely enjoy Illuminae. I was not surprised to see Allegiant as read alike on Novelist.

Both book share similar appeal factors, which include: strong protagonist, science fiction, compelling, and suspenseful. I paired these two books as they are both very popular and both belong to engaging series. Both series will keep teens engaged and reading for a while. Similar to the Divergent series, Illuminae is also being adapted into a movie.

Historical Fiction Materials

Lee, S. (2016). Outrun the moon. New York, NY: G. P. Putnams Sons.

9780399175411_OutrunTheMoon_BOM.inddI chose this title for a few reasons. First, I noticed that it was a Staff Pick for teens from the New York Public Library. It was considered to be a great title to help teens remain engaged in reading for the school year. When searching for titles at my local library it was the only title off the list available. This solidified my choice. Lastly, I am always striving to read books with diverse characters and historical events I am unfamiliar with.

Outrun the Moon should definitely be apart of any YA collection. The main character Mercy Wong is an empowering Chinese-American female protagonist. Outrun The Moon explores the historical events around 1906 San Francisco earthquake, a historical subject with minimal YA novels written. The novel deals with racism, classism, and feminism, all subjects teens continue to grapple with today. This book can act as window into the past, but also a mirror for Asian American teens looking for a positive representation of their culture.

Grade Level Interest: W Middle School

Quality: 4Q Better than most, marred by occasional lapses

Popularity: 3P Will appeal with pushing

Honeyman, K. (2013). The Fire Horse Girl. New York, NY: Arthur A. Levine Books.

UnknownGrade Level Interest: W Middle School


Quality: 3Q Better than most, marred by occasional lapses

Popularity: 3P Will appeal with pushing

I found Fire Horse Girl by using Novelist Plus using the advanced search feature. I looked for Historical Teen Fiction and for the keyword search used “Chinese American” as I wanted to see how many other books there were about Chinese American teens.

Both novels share similar appeal factors which include: Historical fiction, culturally diverse, and engaging. Both noels are historical fiction with Chinese American female protangonists set in early 20th century San Francisco.

Trend Forecasting Resource

Over the course of our Trends Forecasting project, Emily Ostrander and I found that one of the most popular tween and teen trends of 2017 is the use of technology.  This trend is growing; as an influx of technological devices arrive, more teens and tweens latch on to using them.  In our research, we found one resource that was extremely useful in proving and predicting the trend of technology use among young adults.  This resource is a 2015 survey conducted for Common Sense Media by Vicky Rideout called “Measuring time spent with media: the Common Sense census of media use by US 8- to 18-year-olds.”  This survey provided a more detailed, statistical portrayal of the presence and impact of technology on tweens and teens than any of the other sources we used.  While low on personal, quotable interviews with teens and tweens, it made up for its lack of verbiage with a lot of useful numbers, ranging from the general, familial ownership of a TV, all the way to the exact amount of time used on each device or application.  From this resource we learned about the average tween and teen tech interactions.  For example, 79-84% of 8 to 18 year olds have a smartphone in their home, up to 45% of them use their devices to access social media, on average these young adults use their devices to surf the web for 12 to 32 minutes a day, and they spend between 31 minutes to one hour and 37 minutes using a computer (Rideout, 2016).  For librarians, this resource is valuable when gauging what technological devices and tech-based entertainment or educational sources might be popular amongst tweens and teens, thus providing them with a key to better collection development.



Rideout, V. (2016). Measuring time spent with media: The Common Sense census of media use by US 8- to 18-year-olds.  Journal of Children and Media, 10(1), 138-144.  

Teen Centric Collection Development

As a teen librarian, I want a well circulating collection. If the library is seen as a “third place” (Latham and Gross, p.170) of learning, librarians must recognize the importance of a collection that reflects the interests of teens. Librarians must also be familiar with the collection in order to make book suggestions based on patron requests, or remove titles that do not fit within the collection’s definition and its goals.

Common obstacles in collection development are space and budgetary constraints. When this is the case, we must keep in mind to never sacrifice the demographics’ needs in selection. Librarians should ask, “Is this decision focused on the teens in our community?” and “Did we include teens in our decision making?” To create a well circulating selection constant weeding is necessary, and if our ultimate goal is to increase teen literacy, we must prioritize collaborative efforts with teens to define the parameters of their interests. This does not mean that the collection neglects key components of school curriculums, such as classics, as these titles are also a part of teens’ informational needs. (Booth & Jensen, 2014, p.95) It means that the library’s responsibility is to create a balance of books for both recreational and scholastic reading.

A balanced collection may consider awards and best-seller lists but should take a page from market researchers and focus more on teen’s recommendations (Agosto, 2013, p.33), like the reviewers from the Teen Advisory Board on SLJ’s Teen Librarian Toolbox. My one complaint about the Teen Librarian Toolbox is that the reviewers lack diversity. This week’s readings reiterated the extreme importance of diversity. If we want to “re-write the best sellers lists” (Booth & Jensen, 2014, p. 104) we should constantly be inviting teens of color, LGBTQ teens, and teens with disabilities to participate in the literary community. Often awards lists are adult-centric and only include a few genres. A balanced collection includes desired graphic novels, e-books, audio books, CD’s, DVD’s and video games (Booth & Jensen, 2014, p.96-97). We must take into consideration that many teens use smart phones and computers on a daily basis, which allows them the opportunity to easily access audiobooks and e-books.

Overall, this week’s reading was very insightful, as the realm of Young Adult or Teenage collection development is fairly new for me. I look forward to more teen-focused readings and discussions, as well as visits to various teen centers in order to evolve my collection-development philosophy.


Agosto, D. (2013). “Envisaging Young Adult Librarianship from a Teen-Centered Perspective.” In Transforming Young Adult Services, edited by Anthony Bernier, pp. 33- 52. Chicago: Neal-Schuman.

Booth, H. & Jensen, K. (eds.) (2014).The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services. Chicago: ALA. pp. 91-104.

Latham, D. & Gross, M. (2014). Young adult resources today: connecting teens with books, music, games, movies, and more. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 170.





Tweenage Media Consumption

This weeks reading, Youth, Popular Culture, and the Media: Examining Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality and Social Histories by M. Haddix and D. Price-Dennis reinforced the idea that, as teachers and librarians, our methods concerning literacy must evolve with the times.  A common misconception in the media is that young adult culture surrounding social media, youtube, fan fiction sites etc. are not a form of education or literacy.  The opposite is true; these forms of media, and the pop culture disseminates it,  can be used to reach students and patrons.  One critical takeaway from this article is that we must understand that teenage culture goes beyond media marketing and surface trends.  Pop-culture also comes from a place of personal and cultural experiences.  Adults must recognize that youth are self-autonomous, and are more intellectually engaged than we perceive them to be.

The second article I read this week was Tweening the Girl: The Crystallization of the Tween Market by N. Coutler.  Similar to the first article, Coutler focuses on how marketing and advertising have shaped the way society views girls and tween culture. Pop-culture has also influenced feminist movements and how girls understand feminism.  Currently there is a “double burden” (Coutler, 2014, p 152) that tween girls must contend with. Marketing promotes girls as “brats” but at the same time expect them to be empowered.  These ideas are conflicting and confusing, as well as very assuming. The Haddix article spoke about intersectionality, and how to truly understand a teen we must consider how their race, gender, sexuality, and economic status shape their identity.  In the tween market, intersectionality is not considered. The marketplace has only one tween in mind: middle-class, white, heterosexual, and able-bodied (Coutler, 2014, p 153). When comparing both articles the main point is as adults we cannot just look at how Tweens or teens are marketed, we must consider (not assume) the whole tween and their experience.


Haddix, M., Garcia, A., and Price-Dennis, D. (2017). Youth, Popular Culture, and the Media: Examining Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality, and Social Histories. In Hinchman, K. A., Appleman, D. (eds.) Adolescent literacies: A handbook of practice-based research, pp.21-37. New York: The Guilford Press.

Coulter, N. (2014). Tweening the girl: The crystallization of the tween market. New York: Peter Lang, pp 141-153.

Teens Promote Healthy Living in Washington Heights

Many of the news pieces I came across were focused on underage drinking and teenage disobedience in the area. I wanted to find an article that shed a positive light on the affirmative action many teenagers take in the Washington Heights neighbourhood. The

Photo: DNAinfo/Carolina Pichardo

youth in this article are represented as helpful social justice and mental health advocates. It highlights the work of over a 100 youth in the Washington Heights area that came together at a conference to teach their peers about healthy lifestyles. This article shows that we have youth in our community who are willing to help others. We have teenagers who care about their well-being and want to educate their friends on how they can take care of themselves as well.

The YALSA’s number one guideline to teen programming is to “create programming that reflects the needs and identities of all teens in the community.” (YALSA, 2014) Upon reading further into the guidelines number three is to encourage youth led programming. With such a strong youth presence in the area libraries should invite youth to hold more peer led programming at the library. It is difficult for teenagers to stand up in front of their peers and promote topics like healthy sexuality. There needs to be more safe space for youth to feel comfortable doing this. The library should make sure that their collection promotes topic like healthy mental health strategies for youth and LGBTQ literature. The library can look at all the programs run at the conference and offer the most popular programs more often at the library. For example, the youth led Zumba classes. The library can have youth volunteers from the area lead Zumba on a regular basis. Any neighbourhood library could benefit from finding youth in their area willing to share their passions with the community.

Original Article:

Pichardo, C. (2017, April 25). Teens Inspire Peers to Live Healthy Lives at Uptown Health Conference. DNA Info. Retrieved from:

YALSA, (December, 2014) Teen Programming Guidelines. ALA. Retrieved from: