Archives

YOU CAN’T SAY THAT! yes, authors can! #BannedBooksWeek (nonfiction book review)

book cover of You Can't Say That! Writers for Young People Talk About Censorship, Free Expression, and the Stories They Have to Tell, edited by Leonard S. Marcus. Published by Candlewick Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Too rude! too scary!
Not in our school, our town,
we don’t talk about such things…

Name a ‘controversial topic’ and you can find a list of books for kids and teens that someone, somewhere in the US has tried to censor or ban from class or remove from library shelves.

That’s why this is Banned Books Week and why noted children’s books expert Leonard Marcus decided to talk with authors whose books have challenged by people who think their viewpoint is the only one.

Marcus sets the stage in each chapter by noting the author’s books, the censorship they faced, and how he knows them, so the interviews are conversations between friends as well as explorations of how their depictions of real life often clash with adults trying to protect kids from unpleasant things.

Authors interviewed include: Matt de la Peña, Robie H. Harris, Susan Kuklin, David Levithan, Meg Medina, Lesléa Newman, Katherine Paterson, Dav Pilkey, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, Sonya Sones, R. L. Stine, and Angie Thomas.

You’ll recognize challenged titles from Captain Underpants to the Goosebumps series to Heather Has Two Mommies that have been stolen, challenged, and even publicly burned, but might not have heard about authors being ‘disinvited’ from speaking at schools because their books include gay characters or children in families with alcoholism.

Meg Medina expresses the balance between would-be censors and the author’s right to tell their stories freely: “When it comes to formal challenges to books, the problem is not that parents don’t have the right to be involved in deciding what their children read. The problem is that they don’t have the right to make that determination for other people’s children.” (p. 96)

What are your experiences with book banning or censorship at your school?
**kmm

Book Info: You Can’t Say That! Writers for Young People Talk About Censorship, Free Expression, and the Stories They Have to Tell / Leonard S. Marcus, editor. Candlewick Books, 2021. [editor site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

She stays BRUISED to mask her bone-deep anguish, by Tanya Boteju (YA book review)

book cover of Bruised, by Tanya Boteju. Published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Block the mental pain
with physical pain,
repeat, repeat, repeat…

Daya bruises herself to keep from feeling the guilt and sorrow of surviving the car crash that killed her parents. Keeps her distance from everyone at school, from the well-meaning artsy aunt and uncle she lives with now, from the therapist trying to coax out feelings that must stay boxed in.

But the Sri Lankan-Canadian teen finds a better escape when skateboarding pal Fee introduces her to roller derby. Strong women, sweating and pushing and falling and getting up to skate and hit some more!

Can Daya up her skating skills enough to get onto the rink where the bashing starts?
Was Fee right when they said she could really do this?
Is Daya willing to let veteran skaters help her improve?

When she starts falling for Shanti, the derby team captain says Daya’s interest in her sister shows weakness, threatens to bench the former youth boxing champ for not being tough enough…

Stellar complex story from the author of Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens (recommended here).

Ever try the right thing for the wrong reasons?
**kmm

Book Info: Bruised / Tanya Boteju. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Gothic intrigue in DIRE DAYS OF WILLOWEEP MANOR graphic novel! by Shaenon K. Garrity & Christopher Baldwin – YA book review

book cover of The Dire Days of Willoweep Manor, by Shaenon K. Garrity (story) & Christopher Baldwin (art). Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A daring rescue,
a ghost in the manor,
a brooding hero with a dark secret…

Haley’s teacher insists that she must write a book report on anything but a gothic romance if the African American teen wants to pass English class… sigh.

When Haley rescues a man from drowning under the river bridge, they emerge from the water into a different world! But what world and when??

The manor house is “three centuries and four European architectural traditions smushed together” on the eerie moors, brooding older brother Laurence says they’re in “the year of our Lord none of your business,” and there’s a ghost that only Haley can see or hear – are they actually inside a book?

Perhaps so, because Haley is now “the Maiden” attired in a long dress, the sinister housekeeper lets a few secrets out, and youngest brother Cuthbert acts more zany by the hour.

But maybe not, because Montague (the brother that she rescued) insists that he was seeking help from her world because a devouring Penultimate Evil was encroaching on Willoweep Manor, a pocket universe that’s the final defense…and there are cracks in the barrier!

As the Bile seeps out, it infects every creature to join in its attack against all things good!

Will the three brothers finally band together instead of bickering?
Can Haley become the Gothic Heroine that Willoweep needs?
Is she trapped in this pocket universe forever?

This clever graphic novel uses every trope, tradition, and cliche of gothic romances to great effect as our intrepid heroine and the desperate caretakers of Willoweep fight to save… everything!

What what you learned from reading fiction that can help in real time?
**kmm

Book info: The Dire Days of Willoweep Manor / Shaenon K. Garrity (story) & Christopher Baldwin (art). Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2021. (author site) (artist site) (publisher site) Book cover image and review copy courtesy of the publisher.

One night only! It’s the BATTLE OF THE BANDS anthology, ed. by Lauren Gibaldi & Eric Smith (YA book review)

book cover of Battle of the Bands, edited by Lauren Gibaldi & Eric Smith. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

On stage, behind the scenes, in the audience,
taking tickets, selling merchandise –
all connected by local teen musicians!

Sixteen authors bring us interlinking stories that center around the annual Battle of the Bands at a suburban New Jersey high school from many points of view.

Solo acts and long-standing bands, breakups and first kisses, new friends and old grudges, family ties that bend and stretch (but will they break?).

Most stories begin before The Big Night with characters appearing in more than one narrative, just like the overlapping circles of acquaintance at the high school… or the first-time interactions at the Battle itself.

Get this book now at your local library or independent bookstore – just published last week!

I rarely read books twice, but I honestly can’t wait to reread this one, now that I’ve met so many characters as they gather for the music, the friendship, and the best Battle of the Bands ever!

What’s your favorite concert story?
**kmm

Book Info: Battle of the Bands / Lauren Gilbaldi & Eric Smith, editors. Candlewick Press, 2021. ISBN 9781536214338 (Lauren’s site) (Eric’s site) (publisher site)

Stories by Brittany Cavallaro, Preeti Chhibber, Jay Coles, Katie Cotugno, Lauren Gibaldi, Shaun David Hutchinson, Ashley Poston, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Sarah Nicole Smetana, Eric Smith, Jenn Marie Thorne, Sarvenaz Taghavian, Jasmine Warga, Ashley Woodfolk, and Jeff Zentner, and featuring Motion City Soundtrack’s Justin Courtney Pierre.

Romance & relationships – listen in with free audiobooks!

Time to download this week’s love-filled free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

Save these complete audiobooks to your Sora shelf (FAQs here) free! from Thursday through Wednesday, then listen to them at your leisure – the loan period is 99 years!

The Henna Wars (free Sora download 8-13 July 2021)
By Adiba Jaigirdar
Read by Priya Ayyar
Published by Listening Library

When Flavia comes back into Nishat’s life, the Irish-Bangladeshi teen is smitten with her.
But for their high school business competition, both young women decide to showcase their henna skills.
Can they get past the competition to see if their relationship will bloom? Will Nishat hide her feelings for Flavia to keep her family happy?

Saints and Misfits (free Sora download 8-13 July 2021)
By S.K. Ali
Read by Ariana Delawari
Published by Listening Library

Janna can cope with being considered a nerd because she studies or different because she wears the hijab at public school, which her remarried dad says is “too religious”.
But when the guy who assaulted her keeps her in sight at every mosque activity and is welcomed at friends’ homes, her fear grows – and she doesn’t want to be afraid anymore!

(Recommended on BooksYALove: https://booksyalove.com/?p=8819 as well as the sequel, Misfit in Love, just published in May! https://booksyalove.com/?p=12109)

More love stories, please?
**kmm

Listen to art talk – free audiobooks this week

Let’s talk about art – this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC are ready for you to download to your Sora shelf now!

These professionally narrated complete audiobooks are only available for Sora download from Thursday through Wednesday, or you can find them any time through your favorite independent bookshop or local library.

audiobook cover of Poemsia: a novel,  by Lang Leav. Read by Saskia Maarleveld. Published by Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Poemsia: a Novel (free download 17-23 June 2021 on Sora)
by Lang Leav
Read by Saskia Maarleveld
Published by Listening Library

When an obscure poem found in her grandfather’s antiquarian bookstore is mistaken for one of Verity’s own writings, the Australian teen is offered a publishing deal and travel to New York City!

Supported by her life-long best friend and new boyfriend, Verity has to cope with sudden fame and high expectations as she strives to stay true to herself.

audiobook cover of This Is What I Know About Art, by Kimberly Drew.
Read by Kimberly Drew Published by Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.com

This Is What I Know About Art (free download 17-23 June 2021 on Sora)
by Kimberly Drew
Read by Kimberly Drew
Published by Listening Library

Access to art for all people, the relationship between art and protest – learn more about the ways that artistic expression can be open to everyone with the social media manager of NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art who communicates passionately about cultural studies, fashion, and Black contemporary art.

What art-inspired books can you recommend?
**kmm

Ah, France as you’ve never seen it before – journey there with free audiobooks!

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC take us to an alternate City of Lights, then south to the wonderful tastes of Lyon – read with your ears and dream of travel…

Get your Sora app set up (FAQs here) and download either or both of these complete audiobooks FREE before Wednesday June 9, 2021. Then you can listen anytime you like as long as you keep them on your Sora shelf.

CD cover of audiobook Rook, by Sharon Cameron | Read by Caroline Feraday. Published by Scholastic Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Rook (download free 3-9 June 2021 on Sora)
by Sharon Cameron
Read by Caroline Feraday
published by Scholastic Audiobooks

After the earth’s magnetic poles shift, technology is useless and the world is in turmoil. Among the power struggles of ruined Paris, 18-year-old Sophie works in the shadows to save the helpless from the Razor’s terrors, leaving behind a red-tipped rook feather as her calling card

But can she save herself from a loveless marriage arranged to keep her family from financial ruin?

audiobook cover of  by Mayra Cuevas | Read by Jennifer Jill Araya. Published by Blink | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Salty, Bitter, Sweet (download free 3-9 June 2021 on Sora)
by Mayra Cuevas
Read by Jennifer Jill Araya
Published by Blink

From her Cuban grandmother’s kitchen in Kansas to staying with her father’s new family in southern France for an elite cooking school challenge, Isa finds herself balancing old hurts and new feelings.

I recommended Salty, Bitter, Sweet earlier on BooksYALove – read more here!

What other books set in France would you recommend?
**kmm

She writes hopeful, worried LETTERS FROM CUBA to war-darkened Poland, by Ruth Behar (MG book review)

book cover of Letters From Cuba, by Ruth Behar. Published by Nancy Paulsen Books/ Penguin Random House | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Cross the wide ocean,
earn money slowly, slowly –
bring family to safety – soon, soon!

Papa went first to Cuba, trying to make enough money so their whole family could escape the increasing peril of merely being Jewish in Poland.

Esther is the oldest child, ready to travel across the sea and help Papa grow their savings faster, 11 years old on a ship crossing the Atlantic in 1938, writing letters to her sister Malka in an old notebook until time to send them.

Always-summer Cuba means sandals instead of woolen stockings, a small village in the hills away from the city, walking and walking with their peddler’s packs to sell goods throughout the countryside where the air smells like candy from the sugar mills.

As Esther learns Spanish, she’s befriended by Francisco Chang who came from China to his uncle’s store, Doctor Pablo and Senora Graciela whose daughter died young, and Manuela’s formerly enslaved grandmother who honors the gods of her African ancestors.

Angry sugar mill owner Eduardo thinks she and Papa don’t belong here, so the young woman takes refuge in the poems of Juan Marti shared by Senora Graciela as Esther designs and sews stylish cotton dresses that become popular in Havana.

Can she make enough dresses by herself to fill the orders?
Can they earn enough money to get their family here soon?
As Europe rejects Jewish people, will Cuba still welcome them?

As powerful people like Eduardo begin echoing Hitler’s anger and lies, Esther and Papa work hard and pray harder to bring their family to safety!

What letters have shared family stories with you?
**kmm

Book Info: Letters From Cuba / Ruth Behar. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, 2020. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

MISFIT IN LOVE all by herself? by S. K. Ali (YA book review)

book cover of Misfit in Love, by S. K. Ali, published by Salaam Reads | recommended on BooksYALove.com

She’s ready for yes,
he’s already moved on –
great summer now not-so-great…

Her brother Muhammad’s nikah wedding celebration will be the perfect time for Janna to tell Nuah that his year away at college confirmed she’s finally ready to be together, but there’s hardly a quiet moment as the small Muslim ceremony has become a 300-guest extravaganza at her Indian-American dad’s fancy Illinois lakeside estate!

Between her young half-brothers’ ice cream truck obsession, wondering who her best friend’s date is, and Sarah’s attempts to rein in her fiance’s over-the-top additions to the party, hijabi Janna’s stress levels are rising as family connections and conflicts swirl.

Sarah’s cousin Haytham is a so-charming singing poet, family friend Layth is a brooding young man, and Janna’s long-divorced Egyptian-American mom is suspiciously happy to see a handsome college classmate and his teenage daughters.

Has dad always been such an anti-Black racist?
Is mom’s happiness on hold till Janna leaves for college?
How can everyone have a happily ever after except her?

The story begun in Saints and Misfits (recommended here) continues as Janna tries to envision a future much different than her dreams. By the author of Love From A to Z (recommended here).

Happy book birthday to Misfit in Love!

How to you know when it’s time to let go of a dream?
**kmm

Book Info: Misfit in Love: a Saints and Misfits Novel / S.K. Ali. Salaam Reads – S&S, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Stories of humanity & facing change – read with your ears

Time to read these explosive stories with your ears – after you download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC!

Grab these audiobooks free during their Thursday through Wednesday run, and you have free use of them on your device as long as you keep them on Sora shelf (up to 99 years)- bookmark the FAQs here.

CD cover of audiobook Alive: Generations Trilogy, book 1,
by Scott Sigler, Read by Colleen Delaney and a Full Cast. Published by GraphicAudio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Alive: Generations Trilogy, book 1 (download free – May 20-26, 2021)
by Scott Sigler | Read by Colleen Delaney and a Full Cast
Published by GraphicAudio

Young people awaken from long-sleep in space – alone in a metallic world with dangers around every corner.

With no memories to rely on, the group must work together to survive in this sci-fi thriller.

CD cover of audiobook What Makes Us, by Rafi Mittlefehldt. Read by Graham Halstead. Published by Brilliance Audio/Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com

What Makes Us (download free May 20-26, 2021)
by Rafi Mittlefehldt | Read by Graham Halstead
Published by Brilliance Audio/Candlewick

Eran’s passion for social justice leads him to protest increased police traffic stops in Houston – and brings his long-gone father’s alleged terrorist activities into the public spotlight.

How can Eran reconcile his father’s choices with the ways that society is now treating the Jewish teen?

When the future is a blank slate, how do you choose the right path?
**kmm