Let’s Talk About the Printz Award, my library’s Mock Printz, and how you can join in

Every year the American Library Association’s (ALA) division called YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) has committees of dedicated librarians choosing the best of the best books in various categories for things called the Youth Media Awards. In YA literature, the biggest award is the Printz for outstanding overall books. Other awards include the Morris which is for best debut.

Speculation on what will and will not make the Printz cut is a hot topic in library circles and heavily debated since the official criteria leaves a lot up to interpretation. I spend a lot of time trying to guess contenders both for myself and for my job where I chair a committee that chooses shortlist titles for a systemwide Mock Printz.

This year, I thought it would be fun to get blog readers involved and try to do a Miss Print Mock Printz.

As a starting point here is the shortlist my committee came up with:

  • Landscape With Invisible Hand by M. T. Anderson
  • The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
  • The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Spinning by Tillie Walden

Because of time constraints (we do the Mock Printz as a live two hour discussion) we only cover five or six books at most. This list is determined based on titles the committee enjoyed, books getting buzz and critical acclaim (starred reviews from publishers and the like), and general appeal. We also try to cover a variety of genres which is something the real Printz doesn’t have to do. Now, a few of my favorites of the year did not make the cut with our shortlist so to the above contenders I would add:

  • Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
  • I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
  • Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman
  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi

There could be other books I’ve read that are just as likely as contenders which I’m forgetting. There could be titles I’ve never read or even heard of that will get attention from the committee. It’s hard to say and they read much more widely than I would.

That said, I feel good about this list and comfortable predicting that at least some of them will be Printz contenders.

This year I’m feeling pretty on point with my pre-awards reading. I have read 4 of the 5 Morris finalists (still need to get to Devils Within from the titles there) and 2 of the 5 nonfiction award finalists (The 57 Bus and Vincent and Theo). These are the only two awards that give a shortlist before the award announcements at ALA’s midwinter conference. Knowing and having read so many of the titles in play this year I’m very excited to see how the awards shake out this year.

I’m going to post an update for this post after my library system has their Mock Printz with our winners and then I’ll do another follow up after the actual awards are announced.

Until then:

Have you read of the Youth Media Awards? Do you follow them? What books would you predict for the Printz award?

If you want to try to read some of the shortlist (including my four extra picks) you still have plenty of time to track them down at your library and I’d love to hear thoughts as you read them!

  1. Landscape With Invisible Hand by M. T. Anderson
  2. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
  3. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
  4. The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater
  5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  6. Spinning by Tillie Walden
  7. Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
  8. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
  9. Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman
  10. American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Advertisements

November NaNoWriMo Display

November is National Novel Writing Month. Although it has a short duration, I like to do a display for NaNoWriMo because it ties so well to the library and, of course, to the collection.

This year my coworker wanted to host some pop up writing workshops for kids and teens excited about NaNoWriMo (our adult department has workshops all month with another organization coming in to host writing sessions) so I also wanted to tie back to that.

img_3799This year’s display prompts teens to find their inspiration with some books from the YA collection. All of the books featured on the board were written during NaNoWriMo except for Afterworlds. (Afterworlds features a young NaNoWriMo winner navigating her first book deal while sharing her NaNoWriMo novel though so it still fits.)

After creating the graphics which I love–I think it’s one of the nicest displays I’ve made, I stocked the display.

img_3797In addition to some of the books featured on my sign (or books by the author at least) I also included some books from the 800s which is the “how to” writing section in the non-fiction area. I was especially excited to have an excuse to showcase The Anatomy of Curiosity which is one of my favorite books about writing.

Are you familiar with NaNoWriMo? Are you participating this year? Have you read any of these titles? Would you recommend others? Let me know in the comments!

Book Display: The Talking Dead

I don’t do a lot of seasonal/holiday displays in the library, but October sort of demands it. I have used The Talking Dead a lot as a booklist name and in previous displays so I was excited to turn to that idea again this month with some new graphics (made with PicMonkey like always) and featuring some new titles.

As you may have noticed from my other posts, my library’s teen area doesn’t have a lot of display space. I tried to spread out the display this time around with plastic sign holders and books on the YA information desk and on top of some of our shorter display shelves to accompany my larger poster board display.

Here’s the main display:

talkingdead1As you can see I pulled books including ghosts, zombies, vampires, and other sundry undead creatures to stock the display.

I added stock images of pumpkins and a creepy fence to fill out my poster:

talkingdead2I kept things simply by the reference desk and shelves with just a Talking Dead sign and some books.

talkingdead4Have you read any of the titles I’m featuring? What are some of your favorite spooky reads? What displays would you make for Halloween? Let me know in the comments!

Banned Books Week Display

Since blind books are always a hit, I decided to bring back a wrapped/blind book display for Banned Books Week.

IMG_3390
This year I started with a black background (foam core as usual) and tried to streamline some of my graphics. I printed a giant “banned” to put on the side and then made my “Do You Read Banned Books?” image with a stock photo featuring letters on it. This year I realized I could save myself some time by making the actually BBW graphic separate so that I can conceivably reuse my other graphics down the line. (I also saved the stock image I used for background because it turns out they are not easy to find at all.)

I really like the way the display looks with the black background. Here it is fully stocked with banned books:

IMG_3389

I stocked the display with wrapped books. I pre-printed the banned graphics which I did save from last year and then just worked with a second sheet of paper to make sure that the books were all fully wrapped.

Here’s a close up of one of the books:

IMG_3391(1)

Because we have barcode checkout (and self-checkout options) I also made sure the barcode on the back is visible even when the book is wrapped:

IMG_3392

This year I put my Banned Books Display up very early (start of September) to coincide with a coworker’s interactive display (she printed out pictures of frequently banned books and prompts patrons to use stickers to mark off the books they have read). It’s been interesting having the display up so early to see how patrons are interacting with it. I have routinely come back to restock the display to find it filled with unwrapped books or book wrappers that have been abandoned. The “sexually explicit” books I have put out have been opened several times to the point that I had to make new wrappers from scratch because they got so beat up.

If you want to know more you can visit BannedBooks.Org. The American Library Association also has a handy Banned Books Week landing page with a lot more information. School Library Journal also has compiled many useful resources.

What are you doing this year for Banned Books Week? Tell me in the comments!

Wondering how scandalous your reading history might be? Take this BuzzFeed quiz to find out (and share your results in the comments).

Here’s how I did on the quiz:

How Scandalous Is Your Reading History?

You ‘ve read 28 out of 93 banned books! You’ve dipped a toe into the pool of banned books, and you’re not afraid of at least some of life’s more illicit themes, like drugs, sex, and/or spooky monsters.

Paper Snowflakes Program in the Library

IMG_3178

Kids hard at work contemplating their snowflake designs.

When I started as a library intern in high school, one of my first jobs was cutting out paper snowflakes for a display. I love cutting snowflakes and had a lot of fun making them. The display was very well-received and while there was a lot of time involved, it was low cost.

As I try to regenerate interest in teen programs, I’ve realized that I prefer to lead low-effort/high-impact craft programs. Basically: I like programs where participants can put in as little or as much effort as they like and still leave with some kind of finished project.

My library has a monthly Ezra Jack Keats program which includes a story by Ezra Jack Keats and can also feature other stories, rhymes, songs, or fingerplays. After the reading, everyone makes a related craft. Although it was summer, I decided to do cut paper snowflakes along with a reading of The Snowy Day.

IMG_3177

Coloring snowflakes with crayons.

Before the program I gave teen volunteers a snowflake-making tutorial and then asked them to cut some demo ones. I grabbed a ream of white typing paper and a ream of blue typing paper and lots of scissors. I also used a box of crayons so that more adept participants could draw designs to cut. The crayons also allowed the younger kids to color and decorate pre-made snowflakes.

IMG_3176

A finished masterpiece. Cut and colored by one of the kids at the program.

Because this craft is so simple, I was able to let teen volunteers do a group reading of The Snowy Day. I then talked a bit about if kids did the same things in winter as we see in the book and we figured out some facts about snowflakes. Then I explained the craft and gave quick instructions before everyone got started.

During the program I discovered it’s really best to have a lot of actual scissors (child size) but NOT the safety-scissors with almost no blade–they are impossible to use for cutting through the multiple layers of folded paper to make a snowflake.

I also spent a lot of time going around to ask kids how they were doing and tell me about their snowflakes. If I noticed anyone who was frustrated with cutting, I was able to quickly make a snowflake for them to use as reference or to color.

IMG_3175

Snowflake, mid-coloring.

The biggest downside to this program was that there was a lot of paper scraps by the end but cleanup wasn’t terrible with help from volunteers. (We couldn’t find a broom so I did have to ask a custodian to sweep up the last bits.) I would not recommend doing this program in a carpeted room unless you have a vacuum handy.

Related Books:

  • Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian
  • It’s Snowing by Olivier Dunrea
  • When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad
  • It’s Snowing by Gail Gibbons
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Snow by Uri Shulevitz

Summer Reading 2016 Display (Get in the Game)

Summer is a very busy time in any public library because kids are out of school and the library usually has some kind of Summer Reading Program.

Such is the case at my place of employ. To make things easier (and to promote the summer reading list) I usually create a summer-long display in the YA area to show off summer reading books. This also works well because we buy special “summer reading” copies and have them in a separate section during the summer. The teen section isn’t always the easiest to find while browsing so my hope is that the display helps make it more visible.

Since I helped create this year’s middle school and high school booklists, I was especially excited to make the display.

This year’s summer reading theme is “Get in the Game” so I decided to go for a comic style in my main sign. I included the theme, an explanation that the books are from the summer reading list, and directed patrons to the information desk if they want more information and/or to sign up.

sr16cAround the informational sign I put images of book covers for titles featured on the list. I also made larger images with some book covers and quotes. I chose which quotes to use based on whether I had already made an image/quote file (The Scorpio Races) and whether the books had good quotes available. The Great Greene Heist, for instance, did not have any good quotes I could find online so I just used the book cover. Then I just tried to do a mix of ages/formats to flesh out the display. I also tried to go for books with bold covers.

sr16bI stocked the display with summer reading books found in the regular collection as well as the special summer reading copies (new paperbacks with a summer reading label). As the summer has progressed I’ve restocked the display with whatever titles we have the most of on the shelves. I added copies of the summer reading list for people to grab too.

sr16aSo this is what my YA display table looked like for the summer. This week marks the end of my library’s summer reading program.

You can check out my library system’s summer reading lists online.

What books have you been reading this summer? If you work in a library, what was your summer reading theme/booklist?

Pride Month Book Display

June is Pride Month–this month is meant to mark LGBT pride and also marks the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in Manhattan in 1969. Pride month is widely celebrated with parades and celebrations (especially in bigger cities) and, it turns out, it is also Pride Reading Month for libraries. In other words: A great time to promote and display LGBT+ titles for a variety of reasons.

This years since Ingrid was no longer at the library, I was in charge of making a Pride Month display for the teen reading area in my library. As you can see from Ingrid’s displays last year, I had some big shoes to fill.

This year I decided to go simpler. I also decided to focus on books rather than public figures because that’s my happy place.

I started my display knowing I wanted to have a really big Gay Pride Flag as the background for my display. (I don’t have a bulletin board so I make all of my displays on foam core boards).

Construction paper worked great for making the flag although it involved a lot more planning than I expected to tape everything out properly. After that I headed to PicMonkey to make some book cover graphics to flesh out the display and some signage explaining that June is Pride Month.

Here’s the finished poster:

prideposter

I wanted to highlight a variety of genres and authors so I deliberately tried to mix that up. Also I wanted good quotes.

I chose:

  • The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson: This is one of my go-to recommendations for readers looking for strong sci-fi and/or a great LGBT read. It’s just a really smart book for a lot of reasons. Here’s the quote on the display:

    “The past stands in the path of the future, knowing it will be crushed.”

  • I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson: I love everything about this book. It’s delightful, it’s clever. It’s a Printz AND Stonewall Award Winner.

    “We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.”

  • Anything Could Happen by Will Walton: I haven’t read this one myself but people I trust love it (more on that later).

    “There’s sickness, and there’s sadness. But the thing is, there’s love, too. I try never to forget that.”

  • Willful Machines by Tim Floreen: I knew about this book but I didn’t realized the main character was gay (and closeted) until I looked at it more closely after some research. But obviously I wanted to highlight a dystopian, action novel.

    “I don’t think I chose to be gay, if that’s what you mean. In fact, I didn’t choose a lot of things. Like being the son of the president. Or coming to Inverness. Or even being in the closet, really. All in all, I’d say I have about as much free will as an espresso maker.”

After the display board was made, I stocked it with books. Since I had space, I also set up some books near the reference desk. Here’s the finished display:

pridedisplay

Books featured: Winger by Andrew Smith, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz, Tilt by Ellen Hopkins, Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld.

pridedesk

Books Featured: Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, What We Left Behind by Robin Talley, Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, Every Day by David Levithan.

There are a lot of great LGBT books to choose from, so I knew I wanted a way to highlight more than what could fit on a single display. SO I also made a booklist of other amazing titles. I included 40 books because 1. it’s a round number and 2. it’s what my library system’s catalog lets me include in a list.

You can see the booklist here: http://tinyurl.com/pridebks.

I found the books through my own reading (I’m a big fan of Afterworlds for instance) and some research. If you are looking for YA books with LGBT characters that are done right, you can check out ALA’s Stonewall Award for a full list of honorees from now going back to 1971. ALA’s Rainbow List is another librarian-curated booklist that publishes a booklist every year with books that have “significant and authentic” LGBT content for children and teens (birth to eighteen). Their blog includes monthly updates on the year’s Rainbow List process and posts with the completed Rainbow List for each year (click here for the 2015 list).

As you can see there are tons of resources to choose from to find LGBT books to read and to highlight in a booklist or display.

Have you read any of the books I mentioned here? What are some favorites that I should check out for next year’s display? Hit me up in the comments.