Archive for the ‘Young Adult’ Category

Top Books to Share with Your Children

August 23rd, 2012 No comments

Which book would you most like to pass on to your children? This was the question posed by Britian’s University of Worcester, querying 2,000 adults about the singular book they would choose to share with their kids. Being a British poll, native authors were heavily favored in the top ten list, with Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol taking the number one spot. The only Americans to make the list were George Orwell, who came in at number seven with Animal Farm and Harper Lee, who earned the tenth spot with her only novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

The premise of the poll, choosing only one book, is a bit unfair, as most book lovers would be hard pressed to chose just a single book to pass on to their children. No doubt a list as subjective as this will have many bibliophiles shaking their heads at the titles that were not included. For my part, I would have included at least one Roald Dahl title, James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory come quickly to mind. I also feel that J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye deserves a spot, as Holden Caulfield, that paragon of adolescent discontent, has left an indelible imprint on contemporary literature. Read more…


New Release: The Fault in Our Stars

January 18th, 2012 No comments

By John Green
Dutton Juvenile | 336pgs
Release Date: January 10, 2012

Award-winning young adult author John Green addresses the serious issues of sickness and death in his latest novel The Fault in Our Stars. Protagonist Hazel ­Lancaster is a teenager grappling with her terminal cancer diagnosis when she meets Augustus Waters in a cancer support group. Their shared enthusiasm for ultra-violent video games and Dutch author Peter van Houten fosters a love that grows despite their illnesses. Told with a spark of humor to balance the gravity of the subject matter, Green crafts a story that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Read more…


Judy Blume on Banned Books and Getting Kids to Read

December 5th, 2011 No comments

Author Judy Blume has captured the hearts and imaginations of generations of young readers with beloved characters like Peter Hatcher and his hilariously annoying little brother Fudge. The acclaimed author has also tackled weightier subjects like family tragedy and budding sexuality in YA novels such as Tiger Eyes and Forever. Because of her popularity, and the honesty with which she approaches her work, it should come as no surprise that several of her titles have banned at various schools and libraries. Blume, who is staunchly opposed to censorship, recently appeared on NPR’s Talk of the Nation to discuss her experience with challenged books and why she thinks every child should be free to read whatever he or she chooses. Read more…


Roald Dahl’s Most Memorable Villains

September 19th, 2011 No comments

The Witches 1st edition cover art.

Last Tuesday, September 13, would have been author Roald Dahl’s 95th birthday. To honor the icon of children’s literature, Flavorwire posted an article listing ten of the writer’s best villains. Some nasty all-stars made the cut, such as the repulsive aunt Spiker and aunt Sponge, who torment the orphan James in James and the Giant Peach. Miss Agatha Trunchbull, the sadistic headmistress in Matilda, also topped the list. Some lesser known, but equally cruel, baddies rounded out the top ten, including the disgustingly hairy couple from The Twits and the Grand High Witch from The Witches, all of whom absolutely detest small children. Who is your favorite villain in the Roald Dahl catalog?

In a strange turn of events last week, members of Dahl’s own family are being accused of villainy, or at least stinginess, after granddaughter Sophie Dahl made a public plea to help raise £500,000 ($790,000) to save the novelist’s writing hut on British radio. The U.K., like most of the world, is suffering from a weak economy and members of the public responded with outrage that a family that still reaps the royalties from the healthy sales of Dahl’s books are asking for financial help. Read more…


New Chapter for the Harry Potter Generation

July 15th, 2011 1 comment

The Harry Potter Alliance turns the lessons learned from series into real world action.

The debut of the final film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in theaters early this morning signifies a new chapter for the Harry Potter generation. Rather than an end, fans like Harry Potter Alliance Executive Director Andrew Slack, see the release of the eighth movie as a new beginning, an opportunity to turn the lessons learned from Harry Potter into action. In an article for the CNN website Slack writes of the gifts that JK Rowling’s creations have given to millions of readers. “Reality is mysterious. And the reality is that a fantasy book aimed at children has forever changed writing, publishing, literature, music, sports, social media and social activism.” Read more…


Sweet Valley All Grown Up

April 6th, 2011 No comments

Before there was Bella and Edward, tweens of the ’80′s were captivated by the exploits of twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, the main characters in Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley High series. Young girls around the world delighted in the drama that surrounded the duo with flowing blond hair, sparkling aquamarine eyes and perfect bodies. Those avid fans are all grown up now, and Pascal has written her new book, Sweet Valley Confidential (St. Martin’s Press, 304pgs), with these women in mind. The book revisits the idyll of Sweet Valley, California ten years after the original series ended, with the beautiful Wakefield twins now 27 years old. Read more…


Low-Key Life for “Wimpy Kid” Creator

March 10th, 2011 No comments

"Wimpy Kid" creator Jeff Kinney launches new content on, where he serves as creative director.

The Wimpy Kid series has become a media blockbuster, spawning five bestselling books, a Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie released in 2010 and a second movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules scheduled to hit theaters on March 25. Yet, through all this success, Wimpy Kid creator Jeff Kinney has maintained a low-key life. He even kept his day job. Though, Kinney isn’t exactly stuck in cubicle-ville, his day job is pretty cool. He currently works as the executive producer and creative director for, a high-traffic website geared toward pre-teens, where they can learn, play games and explore virtual islands. On March 14, Kinney will introduce Wimpy Kid content to the site with the launch of a new Wimpy Wonderland island. “It’s the other great love of my life,” the author tells AP. “It’s very difficult to walk away from an audience of 10 million kids a month. To know that you can make a positive impact on what they’re learning and what they’re experiencing online is sort of addictive.” Read more…


New Release: Matched

November 29th, 2010 No comments

41tyNN8Z8eL._SL160_By Ally Condie
Dutton Juvenile | 369pgs
Release Date: November 30, 2010


The future is not as perfect as the ruling Society wants its citizens to believe in the new young adult novel Matched by Ally Condie. Seventeen year-old Cassia lives in a world free of disease and the stress of making difficult life choices. Everything, ranging from where people work, who they marry, and even when they die, is decided by the big-brother-like Society. When Cassia attends her matching ceremony and sees her best friend Xander appear on the screen as designated mate, she is thrilled at the pairing. Yet, her pleasure turns to puzzlement as the face of a neighbor boy, Ky, briefly flickers on the screen before it fades out. The Society is quick to pass off the incident as an unusual technical error, but Cassia finds herself inexplicably drawn to Ky, a mysterious orphan. As the budding romance grows, so does the young woman’s awareness of the world around her. No longer living unconsciously, Cassia cannot ignore the cruelty and control of the dystopian culture she lives in. Read more…


Harry Potter Stars Featured in ALA’s READ Posters

November 12th, 2010 No comments
Daniel Radcliffe poses for ALA's series of Harry Potter Celebrity READ posters.

Daniel Radcliffe poses for ALA's series of Harry Potter Celebrity READ posters.

In honor of the Harry Potter books and the contributions author J.K. Rowling has made in encouraging literacy and inspiring young readers, the stars of the film franchise recently posed for the American Library Association’s Celebrity READ posters. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Alan Rickman are featured in a series of four posters holding books of their own choosing. Radcliffe, the film embodiment of the boy wizard, spoke with American Libraries about the book he selected and how working in the Harry Potter films has turned him into a book lover. The young actor posed with The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. “I’ve been obsessed with the novel ever since I read it about a year ago. I’ve always been a huge fan of Magical Realism. It’s an inspiring genre in which writers can just let their imaginations go wild and wonderful…I’ve read it twice now, and I just received an English first edition (Collins and Harvill, 1967) with a beautiful cover as a birthday present. That’s the one that appears on the READ poster.” Read more…


Are Penguins Really That Subversive?

September 29th, 2010 2 comments

512GipBF4qL._SL160_In recognition of Banned Books Week, the Los Angeles Times published a list of the top 10 most-challenged books of 2009 and the highly acclaimed children’s book And Tango Makes Three garnered a spot near the top of the list, yet again. Authors Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell tell the touching true story of two male penguins in New York City’s Central Park Zoo who nurture an adopted egg and hatch their little daughter Tango. This picture book, aimed at preschool–2nd grade age children has oft been maligned as promoting a gay agenda, which is the reason for the challenges. In an age where “family values” are constantly decried, it is disappointing that some would want to deprive children of an uplifting story about a loving family because of outdated prejudices. Read more…