Every year, I debate with myself about committing to the April A-to-Z Challenge – posting 26 alphabetic entries during April (every day except Sundays).
But after my recent posting doldrums (too much news, not enough sunshine), I knew that I could use my TENTH consecutive A2Z Challenge to refresh my writing routine and bring y’all wonderful books from my To Be Reviewed shelves.
If you want to participate by blogging A to Z about what you love, sign up on the Master List here by April 7 – or just keep on writing!
Thank you to the A2Z organizers for providing annual graphics, badges, sign-ups, and promotion for free. During this pandemic, having a scheduled daily task was especially welcome.
Every year, I wonder if I should push myself to post every April day but Sundays, forcing books to fit into that A to Z progression (X, I am looking at you), and every year I am glad that I did it so y’all have 26 more books worth seeking out.
And today marks the beginning of my TENTH year of blogging about books beyond the bestsellers as BooksYALove!
Big thanks to Michele Rafter, whose Blogathon caught my attention in late April 2011 so I could start my very first blog on May 1st and learn the ins and outs of blogging during that May and several to follow.
Huge thanks to Barb Langridge, who asked me in 2010 to join other librarians in writing reviews for her book discovery site for kids www.abookandahug.com. Building up a digital folder of no-spoiler Young Adult and middle grade book reviews to post on my new blog was a true gift.
Much appreciation to the publishers who provide review copies and who have begun bringing us more books by #ownvoices authors, people of color, underrepresented populations – still a long, long way to go, but it’s a start.
All the love to my daughter Emily who designed the BooksYALove logo, helped me move this blog to self-hosting several years ago, and is the best kind of tech support always – mwah!
Will I post every day from now on? Probably not.
Will I seek out books that are #ownvoices or beyond bestsellers, always worth your attention? You bet!
Will I promote libraries and independent booksellers over other options? Always, always, always!
So every day of April (except Sundays), I will post short recommendations for a couple dozen great young adult and middle grade books that I’ve read recently (no spoilers), using the Challenge’s alphabetical format.
You can do the A2Z Challenge too! Sign-ups are open here – let me know what you’re blogging about!
See y’all tomorrow to kickstart your stay-at-home-stay-safe reading list! **kmm
That’s 8 years in a row… which means that BooksYALove is 9 years old yesterday!
Thanks to Michelle Rafter for running WordCount Blogathon in Mays gone by, bringing me into blogging on 1 May 2010, with help from Jan Udlock in later years – a stellar volunteer effort that put many folks on the path to successful blogging.
Will I keep up the Monday through Saturday posting schedule required by the A2Z challenge? Most unlikely, but I will keep talking here about wonderful books from debut authors and smaller presses (not self-published, because there are only so many hours in each day).
Which April-highlighted title intrigued you most?
Girls have been marginalized,
belittled, abused, attacked, ignored –
time to tell the stories and fight injustice!
Strong personal essays by Martha Brockenbrough, Jaye Robin Brown, Sona Charaipotra, Brandy Colbert, Somaiya Daud, Christine Day, Alexandra Duncan, I.W. Gregorio, Maurene Goo, Ellen Hopkins, Stephanie Kuehnert, Nina LaCour, Anna-Marie McLemore, Sandhya Menon, Hannah Moskowitz, Julie Murphy, Aisha Saeed, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Amber Smith, and Tracy Walker bring a wide range of young female experiences together in this book, begun in the wake of 2016 election.
Meet them, hear their voices, find your voice, vote whenever you can!
Book info: Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America / edited by Amy Reed. Simon Pulse, 2018. [editor site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Growing up female in the US became even less safe after the 2016 elections, but personal essays by 21 YA authors can bring readers empathy, empowering messages, and a measure of hope mixed with sparks toward moving forward.
Intersectionality – being female and (non-white, immigrant, LGBQT, disabled, fat, bullied) – is the reality for many of these authors who may or may not have transformed their shame, anger, or sorrow into wide-open political activism.
Essays can cover subjects which are very difficult for some readers, so the Editor’s Note specifies which titles discuss abuse, sexual assault, and racist violence.
Read these experiences and seek out others, consult the resources given, be aware of the powers each of us has to steer the future, make your voice heard.
After all, I’d been reading so many great YA and middle grade books this summer (an online ‘read as you like’ book club teased my competitive spirit) that it should have been simple…
But playing catch-up after I returned from Malaysia bumped into Labor Day which cascaded into real life. And you know that I write my own book-talks, go to each publisher’s website to acquire the cover art correctly, locate and add links for the author, illustrator, and publisher – so I just couldn’t do things halfway.
Trying to get back on track (before my next overseas meeting in October), so watch this space!
Tell me what under-represented genre you want me to seek out for future recommendations, please.
– toted dozens and dozens of ARCs (advance reader copies) all over the gigantic convention center and to my hotel, as I asked publishers’ representatives which forthcoming books they adored in-house, but might get overshadowed by the season’s “big books” and blockbusters,
– and even succumbed to the lure of acquiring a few completed books signed by authors, both brand-new and deservedly famous, despite the extra weight of hardcovers and acid-free paper.
Life in the world of books and ideas and imagination is very good!
But the libraries that serve us all are threatened by drastic funding cuts at the national and state level.
Please, please, click on those links to find ways to tell legislators how libraries make a difference in your community and your life – it will take all our voices to change their minds.
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