A Sampling of Sweet Links: July 2013

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 11.09.49 AMWhew! July was fabulous month in the online worlds of young adult & children’s literature and librarianship!  There have been so many great conversations flowing through cyberspace and so I’ve gathered together some of my recent favorite links.   I discovered many of these links through the awesome people I follow on Twitter and other brilliant bloggers’ regular link round-ups.  Since I appreciate other bloggers’ similar features so much, I’m going to make an effort to start regularly sharing my personal content curation as well.  To see more of my favorite sites and articles, check out my Diigo account.

Here are some of the posts, articles, and links that I found most interesting and enlightening over the past couple weeks:

Diversity, Multiculturalism, and Equity Issues in YA & Kid Lit

As my earlier post kicking off my Multicultural Middle School feature indicates, I make a concentrated effort to seek out resources about multiculturalism, diversity, and equity in education and young adult & children’s literature.  I find a lot of wonderful book reviews, analysis, and discussion through a combination of general YA/kid lit blogs (maintained by librarians, authors, etc.) and blogs/websites focused specifically on multicultural and diverse YA/kid lit and on multiculturalism and equity in education.

Lee and Low Books, a independent publisher focused on diversity, maintains a blog and they wrote a fascinating article about the recently released statistics about the continued lack of racial and ethnic diversity in children’s books. Check it out here–they’ve pulled together comments from a great variety of children’s literature professionals!

If you haven’t been checking out the excellent Disability in Kid Lit blog, click over there right away!  They’ve gathered articles and columns from a huge range of individuals invested children’s and young adult literature and each piece addresses an aspect of disability in kid lit.  Additionally, over at YALSA’s The Hub, the newest edition of the “Box Outside The Box” series focuses on “Different Operating Systems,” collecting a wonderful list of titles featuring characters on the autism spectrum.

Additionally there continues to be consistent and thoughtful conversations about gender and YA lit across the web. Over at Thought Catalog, there was a fascinating article about the ways that young adult lit challenges and pushes gender norms while YALSA’s The Hub had a great short essay about feminism and YA romance.

Reading, Reading, Reading

Some people might say that the internet is damaging reading somehow but I would definitely disagree (for many reasons which deserve a separate post!).  The web especially is fantastic source to find and follow the most up to date research, practical tips, and ongoing conversations about reading.  Here are a few recent posts about reading (specifically children’s and teen’s reading) that caught my eye this past month.

On the New York Times Motherlode blog, Stephanie V. W. Lucianovic wrote a refreshingly honest column entitled: “I’m Tired of Reading Out Loud To My Son, Okay?” This column then prompted a great response post by Julie Danielson over at Kirkus.  It’s wonderful to see this kind of respectful and practical conversation about children and reading!

Meanwhile, over at the fabulous Nerdy Book Club, the equally fabulous Donalyn Miller wrote about value of being a bookish fangirl and the challenge of sharing and encouraging such enthusiasm for books in children and teens.  I just love this post; Donalyn Miller asks such valuable questions that push us to rethink how we as educators approach the teaching of reading, language arts, and literature.  As she writes, “How would children see reading differently if we taught language arts as an art appreciation class?”

Hot Topics in YA Lit and Youth Services

Young adult literature and controversy appear to be forever bound together; young adult literature has, since its earliest beginnings, pushed the envelope through its content, its audience, and, frankly, its mere existence.

Earlier last month, awesome librarian and blogger Kelly Jensen wrote a great post over at BookRiot, “What Are Grown-Ups Afraid of in YA Books?”  It’s a short and excellent piece discussing the fear, distain, and disgust many adults express towards young adult literature; she touches on both historical examples and recent events (such as yet another attempt to ban Laurie Halse Anderson’s brilliant Speak).  The comments section quickly evolved into an intense (and increasingly rude) discussion and the article was featured over at the Huffington Post as well.  Kelly has pulled together her thoughts about the article and the reactions it has sparked–along with links to several response posts–over at Stacked.  If you work with teens and/or care about YA lit even slightly, you should head over and read both the original article and her round-up of responses.  Liz Burns also posted a response to the article and its resulting controversy–be sure to check that out as well!  This conversation might seem repetitive but it’s one that we must keep having.  As Kelly writes at the conclusion of the original BookRiot piece, the young adult books causing controversy among adults exist for a reason.  The issues or content included in books like Speak (which deals with sexual assault) might be frightening or unsettling for adults but there are teenage readers who absolutely need those books.  They need to know that they are not alone in their experiences and their feelings.  They need that reminder and acknowledgement that the world is not always kind, fair, or safe–and that there can be survival, growth, healing, and help.

Meanwhile, there was a lovely post over at The Hub addressing the all to common disdain expressed by many towards young adult literature and providing a succinct response to such detractors.

Finally, in a moment of shameless self promotion, I’m thrilled that my first post on YALSA’s The Hub went up yesterday.  If you’re interested in adult dystopian fiction with high appeal for teens, please go check it out!  I’m incredibly excited to be joining the amazing team of bloggers over at The Hub and contributing to the web presence of one of my favorite and most valued professional organizations, YALSA.

Meanwhile, happy August!  I’ll be posting a few more reviews of my recent reading over the next week.

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