ARCs, Feminism, Thin Mints, and Librarian Friends: a Weekend at ALA Midwinter

collage-2016-01-12 (1)This weekend I got to go to ALA Midwinter–aka where librarians, educators, authors, publishers, bloggers, readers, and general fans of books and media come to learn and engage and share Girl Scout cookies. (Seriously, bringing Girl Scout cookies to a conference is a way to ensure people love you.) I’d never been to an ALA event before, and I only got an exhibit hall pass, but it was such a fantastic weekend. Some highlights:

  • Meeting librarian and writer and blogger friends from the Internet in real life–you get to hug them in real life!–and seeing lovely librarian and writer friends from the Boston area.
  • Seeing adorable baby pictures of aforementioned friends. (Or adorable pictures of their babies or their nieces/nephews.)
  • Having writer friends in from out of town meant an awesome panel at Brookline Booksmith, one of my favorite places to both meet readers and buy books. Awesome questions, thoughtful/hilarious discussion, fantastic audience.
  • Saying hi and the Candlewick booth and snagging an ARC of A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls.
  • Listening to thoughtful discussions at the We Need Diverse Books panel and the Class of 2K16 Debuts panel.
  • Seeing ARCs for friends books and getting excited about all the future readers who will love these books.
  • Sharing Thin Mints with friends old and new.
  • Talking about reading, writing, publishing, teen readers, feminism, graphic novels and more with people who get it.

collage-2016-01-12This is the kind of weekend that reminds me why I love being part of the book community. People are so enthusiastic and smart and talented and kind and thoughtful and funny. They’re pushing the boundaries in all sorts of fields and making a difference for readers everywhere. I cheered along with the webcast of the ALA Youth Media Awards this morning, and was so proud to be part of this larger community.

Thanks to all who helped make this such a fun and inspiring weekend. Here’s to another awesome year of our bookish community!

Real Teen Lives Panel This Friday!

I’m so excited for ALA Midwinter this weekend–so many awesome librarians and writers in town? Aw yeah! And what better way to kick off the weekend than with a great YA panel featuring some wonderful contemp YA authors? The details39e45766-c4c3-41b0-b7e1-4eefd92fcb2d

Real Teen Lives Young Adult Panel
Friday, January 8th, 7pm 
at Brookline Booksmith
YA authors who are keeping it real–Marieke Nijkamp, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, Emily Martin, Jen Malone, and I talk about crafting real stories for teen readers. Also book signing and hilarity.

Come say hi and chat with us about writing, books, and being real. Looking forward to an awesome start to a bookish weekend!

Real Teen Lives YA Panel – January 8!

After last winter and 100+ inches of snow in the Boston area, there are only two things that could have me looking forward to January: ALA Midwinter and a panel with delightful fellow YA authors at the wonderful Brookline Booksmith! Details for the event:

Real Teen Lives Young Adult Panel
Friday, January 8th, 7pm 
at Brookline Booksmith
YA authors who are keeping it real. Come see Marieke Nijkamp, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, Emily Martin, Jen Malone, and me, as we talk about crafting real stories for teen readers.

Librarians in town for ALA, please join us and share some high fives for contemp goodness!

Spending the Morning with the ALA Youth Media Awards

Most Monday mornings:

ALA Youth Media Award announcement Monday:

My Twitter feed during the announcements:

People tweeting about other things during the announcements:

Speaker comments about the necessity of supporting libraries and literacy:

All of the winners and honorees:

When my livestream blips out for buffering:

What my reading list is like after hearing all the awards:

Congratulations to all the award winner and honorees, especially the team at Candlewick Press. Love you guys!

Update #2: 48 Hour Book Challenge

photo-1A little reading this morning, followed by brunch (you need coffee and biscuits for a book challenge, right?), followed by more reading. I managed to finish the second of the books I was in the middle of. Onto the stats!

Update #2

  • 1.5 hours reading time (4.5 hours total)
  • 136 pages read (501 pages total)
  • 0 cups tea consumed (2 cups total)

The Books

Review #2: I had already been about two-thirds of the way through Tell the Wolves I’m Home when I picked it up again for #48HBC. It was one of this year’s Alex Award winners, and I can see why–June’s a rich and compelling narrator, who’s navigating adulthood in the middle of losing her favorite person in the world, her uncle Finn. I remember feeling a lot like June at that age, as she feels like part of her is slipping away when she has a harder time pretending she’s in the middle ages. I was also really impressed by the character of Greta, her sister, whom I expected to just be the kind of obnoxious, wordly older sister. Instead, Greta is a complex character who desperately wants to connect with her younger sister and doesn’t quite know how. Overall, an excellent look at love and grief and jealousy and reconciliation. It’s beautifully written and quiet, which is the kind of book I’m drawn toward.

ALA Monday

In case you weren’t at ALA or didn’t catch the livestream today, here’s the ALA Youth Media Award list for 2013–aka, your list of books you already love or books that are immediately going on your to-read list.

I was especially excited to hear that that the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award went to Katherine Paterson and the Margaret A. Edwards Award went to Tamora Pierce. They’ve done so much for generations of young readers and totally deserve these major awards.

Books that are immediately going on my library loan request list: Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (I KNOW, I KNOW).

Share your post-ALAYMA thoughts in the comments.

Almost Time for the ALA Youth Media Awards

The 2013 ALA Youth Media Awards (aka, the Newbery, the Printz, the Caldecott) will be announced on Monday, January 28. Like pretty much everyone else in the kidlit world, I’m psyched to see which books are honored:

I’ve always been interested to see who’s nominated for these awards, but now that I’m becoming part of the YA/children’s lit community, I’m also really excited about the possibility of actually knowing people whose books could be selected. Less likely for 2012, but I know a few 2013 authors and lots of great 2014 authors. Even though obviously the ALA awards can’t recognize every awesome book, I’m still psyched by the possibility of actually knowing an award-winner.

(via School Library Journal)

Debuts, Awards, and the Continually Changing Landscape of Publishing

With the Morris Award finalists announced, two of my favorite YA blogs–Stacked and A Chair, a Fireplace, & a Tea Cozy--are tackling what it means to be a debut novelist.

First the basics: “The William C. Morris YA Debut Award, first awarded in 2009, honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.” I love the idea of this, and I think it’s a great way for first-time authors to get recognition. At Stacked, Kelly lists the rules that apply to the Morris Award.

The problem mostly comes in with Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, as Hartman had previously self-published a graphic novel about the fantasy world used in Seraphina. Does that count as a previously published work and disqualify Hartman? The Morris committee doesn’t seem to think so, and Kelly and Liz raise good points about what the rules actually say and what that means for writers.

One part in Kelly’s post that struck me:

“I’m not convinced that self-publishing a book is not, in fact, publishing a title. An author does it for any number of reasons: they can’t find a traditional outlet, they prefer not to go through a traditional outlet, and so on and so forth. It doesn’t really matter why they chose not to go that route. What it comes down to is wanting to put a book out there and share their works. “

With more and more people looking to the self-publishing route, I think it’s going to have to be seen as a more viable option by award committees. Like Kelly says, an author is choosing to share their work with the public by self-publishing, just as they would by going the traditional route.

Not that I think this means Seraphina should be disqualified. As Liz notes, the rule regarding self-published books currently seems to treat them as separate entities than previously published books from a traditional publisher–which means that Hartman’s previously published graphic novel doesn’t count toward her Morris eligibility. And Seraphina is an awesome book, and I’m really excited about it being recognized for such a high-profile award.

But I also wouldn’t be surprised if the situation were different in ten years. Again, I think as more people look at self-publishing as an option, I think the committee will have to wrestle further with how that affects eligibility and what constitutes a debut.

If anything, I think this situation has started a really interesting conversation about the line between traditional and self-publishing with regard to awards, and how that line gets fuzzier every year.