Congratulations to OYEA winner Sonja Sommerville!

This text has been adapted from the announcement of this year’s OYEA winner at the OYAN reception last night at the Oregon Library Association’s Annual Conference.

OYAN’s You’re Excellent Award is given every year to an individual, library, organization, program, or initiative that has made a positive and significant contribution to teens in libraries in the state of Oregon. The award consists of an engraved glass wedge and a monetary donation of up to $100 to the teen services program of the award recipient’s choice.

This year’s winner is a long-time teen librarian and an OYAN queen in her own right: Sonja Sommerville of the Salem Public Library! Read on to hear what her colleagues and teens say about her.

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Mock Printz booktalk: Bull by David Elliott

What follows is a booktalk for a title on our Mock Printz shortlist. We hope you’ll be able to join us at the event where our winner will be chosen! This booktalk was written by Sonja Somerville of Salem Public Library.

So, sometimes people these days do freaky things and we think, “Wow … not like in the good old days.” But let me tell you something: freaky isn’t new, and the ancient Greeks have a lot of stories to prove it. Take the Minotaur for example. David Elliott did, and he wrote a fast, freaky book called Bull that tells a crazy, long-ago story from the Island of Crete about a murdering half-bull, half-man trapped in a labyrinth (a fancy word for a maze) underground.

The book is in verse, with each person telling their part of the story in a different style of poetry. You hear from Poseidon, the god of the sea, who really wants to mess with King Minos of Crete. You hear from King Minos, who gets pretty mad when his wife … uh … mates with a magical bull and births a baby with the head of a bull and the body of a man. And you hear from that baby, named Asterion, as he gets trapped in a maze and the crazy takes over in the darkness. David Elliott has added some of his own ideas to an old, old story. Now, it’s something fresh and new and super-freaky.

Mock Printz booktalk: Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

What follows is a booktalk for a title on our Mock Printz shortlist. We hope you’ll be able to join us at the event where our winner will be chosen! This booktalk was written by Sonja Somerville of Salem Public Library.

Adri has been chosen for an adventure beyond imagination. She will be one of a small group being sent to colonize Mars, the first part of a plan for humans to escape from a run-down Earth where everything is melting and coastal cities are now mostly water. But first, Adri is going to be drawn into a different kind of adventure, in Kansas of all places. It’s time for Adri’s final training, and she is sent to live with a distant cousin she didn’t know she had in a family home she didn’t know existed. She finds herself living with an old lady who is starting to forget things and an ancient tortoise named Galapagos.

When Adri finds a stash of old letters and a journal in the house, she gets wrapped up in two much older stories about women who lived in this place before her. One is a love-struck teen trying to survive the Dust Bowl, panicking and determined to get away as the money runs out and the constant dust storm leaves her younger sister coughing and wheezing. The other is a young British woman recovering from the grief of losing her bother to World War I who leaves her own home behind to seek out a friend in America. In the end, this is about three women facing disaster –- connected by a house and a tortoise, by desperation and hope.

OYAN Review: Salem Library’s Teen Book Club named to the YALSA Teens’ Top Ten panel

This post is an article from the Winter 2017 issue of the OYAN Review and has been edited slightly for publication on the blog. It was written by Sonja Somerville of the Salem Public Library.

The logo for YALSA's Teens' Top Ten listSalem Public Library’s Speak Up! Teen Book Club has been selected for the official Teens’ Top Ten panel for 2017-2018. I’m psyched because it was a bit of a complicated application process and they choose just 20 nationwide.

Teens’ Top Ten is an annual project of the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association. Announced each October during Teen Read Week, the list recognizes the best young adult books published in the previous year, as nominated and voted on by teens across the county. In 2016, a total of 28,000 teens voted on the 25 nominated books to narrow the list to the official Teens’ Top Ten. As part of the panel, Speak Up! will play a key part in choosing the list of 25 nominees for the next two years.

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