YALSA YA Lit Symposium 2014

by Aimee Meuchel, Tualatin Public Library

  • Austin? Check
  • Great Authors? Check
  • Scholarship from OYAN? Check
Aimee with Author Andrew Smith

Aimee with Author Andrew Smith

Four days and three nights in Austin proved to be a fun literary adventure.  I was expecting temperatures in the low 70s and instead was greeted by the same cold front that Portland was experiencing with highs of 36 degrees and lows of 28.  Brrrrrr.  Luckily all of the events are in one hotel and you don’t have to leave unless you want to!

I arrived Thursday night and explored Austin on foot.  The next morning, I further explored (ate excellent crepes and drank amazing coffee) until my preconference Friday afternoon.  I attended Tough It Out! Rugged Characters in Young Adult Books.  This session was facilitated by Rollie Welch, Summer Hayes, and Ellsworth Rockefeller, authors of the VOYA column Man Up!  Matt de la Peña, Patrick Jones, Lauren Oliver, Andrew Smith, and Blythe Woolston were the featured authors.  It was a lot of fun to hear the authors speak about their tough characters and learn more about toughness.

Saturday began bright and early.  It was a day full of sessions and a night of book signings!  I attended YA Realness: what makes ‘contemporary realism’ feel true to readers? with our own Sara Ryan.  Also featured were Sara Zarr, Matt de la Pena, Joe Knowles, and Coe Booth.  The best part?  Matt de la Pena announcing that John Green writes Chick Lit!

The most profound session I attended was Talking Book covers with Young Adults: Whitewashing, Sexism, and More.  It was presented by Allie Jane Bruce and Malinda Lo and Jacqueline Woodson (days before she won the NBA)

were the featured authors.  It was fascinating to hear the authors talk about book covers and publishing.  I’m looking at book covers and reading blurbs very differently now that I’m more aware.  Examples: Liar by Justine Larbalestier had a cover with a white girl on the ARC but in the book she is of mixed-race.  Woodson has had her main characters presented in silhouette to disguise their race.

Aimee with author Lauren Oliver

Aimee with author Lauren Oliver

After the Teens’ Top Ten Author Luncheon with Julie Kagawa, Lauren Oliver, and Jennifer A. Nielsen (free books), I attended “Where are the heroes of color in fantasy and sci-fi?”  and “Bridge to Tweenabithia: Reader’s advisory for the gap between juvenile and young adult”.  That evening was the Book Blitz!  Every participant received 6 free books from publishers.  I was lucky enough to get books by Lauren Oliver, Andrew Smith, Blythe Woolston, and more.  My teens enjoyed receiving them as presents.

Sunday was a half day.  It began with GenreQueer: Smashing the closet which talked about LGBTQ representation in teen fiction.  My final session was Keeping it Really WEIRD (books for the fringe & reluctant readers) with tons of authors including the inestimable Bruce Coville.  Lunch was the final event with a speech by R.L. Stine.  He is a funny guy.  Seriously.  He was a comedy writer when he fell into the horror thing.

This experience was awesome.  I met librarians, tons of media specialists, and AUTHORS!  I was a total fangirl for 3 days.  Andrew Smith and Lauren Oliver may have thought I was stalking them.  Susan Campbell Bartoletti is one of the most charming people I have ever met.  I hope she took my Doctor Who and Where’d You Go Bernadette? Recommendations to heart and loved them.

The conference is in our own backyard next year.  It is not a cheap event, but it is worth every penny.  While I didn’t bring back any fresh ideas for programs, I brought back my renewed passion for YA lit.  And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about for all of us bookpushers!

Final days – 2015 Book Rave voting!!

BY Sonja Somerville, Salem Public Library

We are fast approaching the final day for voting on the 2015 Book Rave. Voting will remain open through Monday, January 12.

It only takes a few moments and we want your voice to be heard!! Vote now at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5KXSVPK

If you want to look over annotations and information about the nominated books, visit our OYAN GoodReads page:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/3611201?shelf=book-rave-nominees-2015

Votes will be tallied and the results hashed over at the OYAN Winter Membership Meeting from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, January 16 at the Woodburn Public Library. We would love to have you there!

If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please contact me at ssomerville@cityofsalem.net

OYAN Book Rave – THE VOTING BEGINS!

By Sonja Somerville,

Hello, OYAN members,

I know you have all been holding your breath, waiting for the chance to VOTE on the 2015 OYAN Book Rave. Well, exhale and use the link below to visit SurveyMonkey and vote away!

The voting window is a bit small this year, so jump right in! We’ll be taking votes through Monday, January 12.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5KXSVPK

There is still time, however, to read another book or two from the list. More information is readily available at our OYAN GoodReads page:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/3611201?shelf=book-rave-nominees-2015

Votes will be tallied and the results hashed over at the OYAN Winter Membership Meeting from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Woodburn Public Library (more on that soon!) We would love to have you there!

If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please contact me at ssomerville@cityofsalem.net

What I learned at ALA 2012: Part 1

Thanks to the YALSA Baker & Taylor Scholarship and our very own OYAN Scholarship, I attended my first ever ALA Annual Conference in sunny SoCal.   This month I’ll use the blog to make my scholarship report with a series of posts about the conference.  I attended a pre-conference, several workshops, all the banquets, several author events and the orgy of the exhibit room floor.  Hopefully, something will be of use to you!

YALSA Pre-conference: “Books We’ll Still Talk About 45 Years From Now”

We were given a short list of 30 titles to read in advance.  Luckily, there were only 10 titles I hadn’t read including (I’m almost ashamed to say), To Kill a Mockingbird, Nation, The Outsiders, and Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I know, you’re wondering how I could have NOT read The Outsiders, not to mention …Mockingbird?  Shocking, but true.  And if truth be known, I still haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird.  Something had to give and that was it.  Anyway, it was a really good movie!  ;>)

Shortly into the workshop I realized that it was more like a Printz award committee meeting.  Which would have been fine if I hadn’t been producing the OYAN Mock Printz workshop for the past 5 years!  However, it was an opportunity to hear Jacqueline Woodson, Mark Shusterman, and Allie Condie provide thoughtful and eloquent answers to questions about writing for teens.  The nuggets I noted were:

  • Characters have to be easy to connect with;
  • That books must deal with issues with which all people grapple;
  • Voices must be relevant and authentic;
  • Avoid using slang and specifics; and
  • Remember that we’re all 14 inside!

Shusterman quoted Madeleine LeEngle, “The essence of childhood doesn’t change” whether you’re writing realistic, dystopian, or historical fiction.

Of course, the hosts plugged the authors’ new books:

  • Shusterman: the sequel to Unwind, came out in AugustUnWholly,
  • Woodson: coming in Oct., a new picture book  – Each Kindness
  • Condie: coming in Nov., the 3rd of the Matched trilogy – Reached

Then we broke into small groups and using a weighted voting system, narrowed the list of 30 to one title we all felt would still be read in 45 years.  And the winner is…(drumroll, please)…Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Next up: Authors! Authors! Authors!

Book Rave Contender 2012 – Divergent


..and in this corner we have more dystopian fiction! Veronica Roth’s novel is set in a nightmarish future Chicago where society is divided into five factions. There is no exit…
Is this as good or better than the Hunger Games, or a book that will just tide people over for the movie? It’s burning up our holds lists! Let us know what you think in the comments section.

The Blurb:

One choice can transform you. Pass initiation. Do not fail! Thrilling urban dystopian fiction debut from exciting young author. In sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior’s world, society is divided into five factions — Abnegation (the selfless), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent) — each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue, in the attempt to form a “perfect society.” At the age of sixteen, teens must choose the faction to which they will devote their lives. On her Choosing Day, Beatrice renames herself Tris, rejects her family’s group, and chooses another faction. After surviving a brutal initiation, Tris finds romance with a super-hot boy, but also discovers unrest and growing conflict in their seemingly “perfect society.” To survive and save those they love, they must use their strengths to uncover the truths about their identities, their families, and the order of their society itself.