Archive for the ya lit Category

Mare’s War

Posted in curriculum, further reading, ya lit on July 14, 2011 by Anita

Black History Fact of the Day: Beyonce Knowles, an award-winning singer, songwriter and actress, holds the record for the longest run on the Billboard Hot 100’s No. 1 spot in 2003 with the songs “Crazy in Love” (8 weeks) and “Baby Boy” (9 weeks).

A blend of historical fiction and road trip novel, Mare’s War is a great summer read. I have to admit I especially love the new cover (bottom).


“Meet Mare, a World War II veteran and a grandmother like no other. She was once a willful teenager who escaped her less than perfect life in the deep South and lied about her age to join the African American Battalion of the Women’s Army Corps. Now she is driving her granddaughters—two willful teenagers in their own rite—on a cross-country road trip. The girls are initially skeptical of Mare’s flippy wigs and stilletos, but they soon find themselves entranced by the story she has to tell, and readers will be too.

Told in alternating chapters, half of which follow Mare through her experiences as a WAC and half of which follow Mare and her granddaughters on the road in the present day, this novel introduces readers to a larger-than-life character and a fascinating chapter in African American history.”

— goodreads

We think women in the military is a new thing, but in fact they played a huge role during World War II.

African Americans were there, too.

Black and White Airmen: Their True History

But perhaps one of the groups whose roles are least explored is that of African American Women.  The Women’s Memorial site actually offers a Brief History of Black Women in the Military, including some info on their roles in WW2.  Other sites contain resource lists and some great photos, but information seems to be a little scarce.

 It’s great to see some YA lit exploring the role African American women have played in history.  Mare’s War is only one example.  Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith explores the role of an African American female pilot during WW2 who has to “pass” as white if she wants the chance to fly.


Lookingfor more?

Goodreads has some great lists:

YA Holocaust and WW2 Novels


Civil Rights Books for Children


And don’t miss more from these authors and about African Americans in American History

Tanita Davis’s Blog

Sherri Smith’s Blog

Bio’s Black History Month Resources includes videos, timelines, biographies, and a Black History Fact of the Day.


Waiting On Wednesday: Born Wicked

Posted in further reading, ya lit on July 12, 2011 by Anita

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine,that spotlights upcoming releases I can’t wait to read!

This week, I’m waiting on…

Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1)

Born Wicked

The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1

by Jessica Spotswood

To be released February 7th, 2012

“Cate Cahill and her sisters are considered eccentric bluestockings—a little odd, a little unfashionable, and far too educated for their own good. The truth is more complicated; they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it could mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave. Before their mother died, she entrusted Cate with keeping them safe and keeping everyone, including their father, in the dark about their powers. When her father employs a governess and Cate begins to receive notes from her missing, presumed-mad godmother, her task becomes much more difficult. As Cate searches for answers in banned books and rebellious new friends, she must juggle unwanted proposals, tea parties, and an illicit attraction to the new gardener.  Cate will do anything to protect her sisters, but at what cost to herself?”


Author Jessics Spotswood has her own blog, and includes a book list of what she’s reading.  Her goal?   To read 100 books in 2011.  She’s hit 35 so far, and I’m guessing the titles with hearts next to them are her favorites.  She tweets, too, of course.

Can’t wait for Born Wicked to do some witchy reading?

Try some of these while you’re waiting.

Witch Child (Witch Child, #1)                                   Blue is for Nightmares (Blue is for Nightmares, #1)

More books on witches & wiccans

And, of course, don’t forget my favorite movie…

Practical Magic Poster

Sugar Changed the World

Posted in blogs, create your own, low tech ideas, music, ya lit on April 28, 2011 by Anita

When encouraging kids to read, we can’t neglect informational books.   And we can’t forget to promote wonderful informational books. There are so many online connections to history and science that can help bring an informational book to life that the pairing seems obvious.

For their book Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Freedom and Science, authors Marc Aronson & Marina Budhos also created a website to share the sights and sounds of the history of sugar.  The Sugar Changed the World website includes music and dance, web links, a teacher’s guide and more.

Be sure to let readers know about the site.  Place a mailing label with the website and a brief description in the front or back of your library’s copy of Sugar Changed the World.
And don’t stop there!  Create your own guides for informational books both in the book and online.  See our low-tech label ideas and sample pathfiners on our wiki!

Don’t miss Marc Aronson’s blog, Nonfiction Matters, for daily discussions about informational books.

Beatle Meets Destiny

Posted in create your own, curriculum, pathfinders, ya lit on April 22, 2011 by Anita

Imagine your name is John Lennon, only everyone calls you Beatle.
And then you meet your dream girl and her name is Destiny McCartney.
But what if you’re already with the perfect girl?
A novel about change, chance and everybody doing the wrong thing.

-summary from goodreads

When we think of pathfinders, we usually associate them with class projects.  But, if you’re anything like me, you know some of the most exciting research takes place outside the classroom, when you find a topic that really, really interests you: a new hobby, a bit of history… a favorite band.

So why not create pathfinders for popular topics that kids might want to pursue on their own?  Or, better yet, have the student “expert” create the pathfinder for you?  A lot of kids will jump at the chance to create a resource list on their favorite topics.

Think outside the box when creating a pathfinder.  Traditionally, pathfinders were handouts given to students when they came to the library.  Then we started posted them on websites.  But how to organize them?

One great alternative is using a social bookmarking site like delicioius.   It’s an easy way to keep track of recommended links for student use, but you can also use tags to create pathfinders within delicious.

The Beatles

For popular topics like The Beatles, use delicious to bookmark informational sites, links to information about movies on the Beatles, links to video clips, audio clips… and don’t forget to link to books in your online catalog.

With some topics, you can even include fiction books on the topic!

Don’t miss out on other great pathfinder tools, like

Jog the Web


And don’t miss Joyce Valenza’s Neverending Search for the perfect pathfinder platform!

Authors Are Rockstars!

Posted in podcasts, ya lit on April 21, 2011 by Anita

Check out Authors are ROCKSTARS!, a monthly YA Lit podcast!

Debut episode:

An interview with Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.  How can that NOT rock?!?

Who is Saint Giovanni?

Posted in blogs, ya lit on April 19, 2011 by Anita

Rane Anderson is blogging her new book.  Yep, you read that right.  She’s serializing the whole book on her blog, and you can read along for free.


Who Is Saint Giovanni?

The morning after a near-death experience, seventeen-year-old Emily Edwards discovers an X carved between her eyes. It’s painless, bloodless, and she has no clue how it got there. No one else seems to see it. As if that’s not bad enough, Emily’s senses are freakishly sharper, like she has been living, until then, a little deaf, a little blind, and without taste buds. Desperate for answers, Emily turns to Giovanni, the only person in Italy she promised herself she would avoid. He’s everything she hates in guys. Impulsive, secretive, and reckless, just like her father. What kind of guy grabs a girl he doesn’t know and kisses her? But Giovanni may be the only one who can see the mark. Though he denies it, Emily swears she’s caught him staring at it. Before long, Emily learns she’s a pawn in a deadly game that has existed for centuries. The only one she trusts has stolen her soul, and she doesn’t even know it. Although some call Giovanni a saint, others call him a devil. Emily must determine whose side he’s on by finding the answer to a single question.
Who is Saint Giovanni?
Summary from The Lit Express

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Posted in ya lit on April 18, 2011 by Anita

The meme is hosted by Sheila at One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books.

Another good week for reading, although I slacked off a bit over the weekend.  I have a small stack of books I need to read for class/book club and they’re slowing me down a bit, not exactly what I’m in the mood to read.

2011 Reading Challenge

I’m still 26 books behind on my 2011 Reading Challenge on Goodreads.  My goal is to read 175 books this year, and I’ve been trying to read one a day in April to get me caught up (the year got off to a slow start).  I’d love to participate in The Catching Up Readathon, sponsored by Kristen at Bookworming in the 21st Century, but I don’t have a four-day weekend (just a regular old two day one) and I’ll be out of town for those two days.  Instead, I’ll try to keep up with my one-a-day pace.

What I Read:

Spies of the Mississippi by Rick Bowers

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han – Disappointing.  I’ve read so many excited reviews of this series and I just found Belly really, really annoying.

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway – I LOVED this one; it wasn’t talked about enough

Jane by April Lindner – I need to do an entry on this one.  It was a great reworking of Jane Eyre. Who wouldn’t love Mr Rochester as a rock star?

Moccasin Thunder ed by Lori Marie Carlson – I can’t take credit for reading the whole thing; I just couldn’t finish it.  I assigned it to my class at the request of a guest speaker, but I found it really depressing.

What I’m Reading:

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork – I’m only about two chapters into this one and not loving it so far. I’m reading it for our book club, though, so I’m going to try to finish it.

Plan to Read:

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King

Struts and Frets by Jon Skovron

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

The Dark Game: True Spy Stories by Paul B. Janeczko

Every Bone Tells a Story by Jill Rubalcaba and Peter Robertshaw