Let’s Celebrate Teen Literature Day, April 17, 2014 by praising and giving thanks for the wonderful work of The Abraham Lincoln Award and the Read for a Lifetime Reading Program committees. Illinois teen librarians are so fortunate in having two lists that promote reading for high school students. At Niles Public Library, these lists are crafted into colorful brochures each spring. This allows time for recruiting new readers for both programs and also allows time for the high school students to read the four books from each list. Since most titles are also appropriate for seventh and eighth graders the brochures are distributed with Teen Summer Reading logs.

Jeanne Urbanek of the Illinois Secretary of State Office oversees Read for a Lifetime with an excellent website that contains all participation, reporting and annual lists. Here is the “Hot off The Website” 2014-2015 list. Book Selection for the list is done by a 10-12 member Read for a Lifetime Book Club of public and school librarians, teachers, administrators and parents. The first of March each year, the members receive an e-mail requesting their suggestions. Each member sends a list of 25 titles. Jeanne puts all the suggestions together and pulls out the multiple mentions. The multiple mentions comprise the core list. She sends the remaining titles back to the members and they choose 15 titles from that list. This pattern is continued until the final list of 25 titles is attained. The deadline for reading the books is usually in the middle of April. All high school students who read four or more titles from the list receive a certificate from Secretary of State Jesse White. During the first 15 years of the program 17,450 students and 123 adults from more than 500 high schools and public libraries throughout Illinois have read 78,500 books.

The Abraham Lincoln Award committee is under the supervision of the Illinois School Library Media Association Board. The committee also maintains an excellent website with voting and registration information. There is a registration fee to participate in the voting process. All registered librarians and teachers nominate adult, young adult fiction and non-fiction titles in the fall and the nomination committee selects a long list. The reading committee, after reading the nominated books carefully, meets to debate and select the final list of 22 titles. The ABE committee is fortunate to have a high school student reader panel that participates in the selection day process. All titles selected by the students are noted on the yearly list. The deadline for posting votes for the ABE award is March 15th of each year. Here is the 2015 Abraham Lincoln Award List, also hot off the website. In 2014 150 public and school libraries participated in the ABE reading program with a total of 3451 high school voters.

Both lists coordinate well. The Read for a Lifetime list includes more classic and non-fiction titles along with contemporary young adult fiction while the ABE list mostly includes recent popular young adult fiction. There was a rule in the past that all books on the ABE list had to be paperbacks but that has changed in recent years to include hardcover books. The 2014-2015 lists have only two  titles Eleanor & Park and Raven Boys on both lists.

Happy Teen Literature Day to all Illinois Young Adult Librarians!


What is your Favorite 2013 YA Book?

Each January when the Printz award and the Best Books List are announced, Illinois Teen Librarians are surprised, elated or shocked. Now is your chance to vote for your best book by participating in the YASF 2013 YA tournament of books this March.   In this tournament, 16 titles will be placed in brackets with the winner from each bracket moving on to the next. Librarian judges will decide which book will win by writing a review on the blog with the reasoning for their decision. At the January 30th meeting, forum members will select the titles and the judges.

eleanor and partkjpgMy 2013 favorites, Eleanor & Park and Fangirl,appear on both adult and teen 2013 best book lists.  It is really amazing that two books by one author are on the best lists in one year.

Set in Omaha in 1986, Eleanor and Park form a friendship when Park lends Eleanor tapes and comic books.  There is a lot of conversation on the bus in this era before cell phones, texting and tablets and the alternating voices of Eleanor and Park provide a two-sided perspective on the falling in love scenario. The dialogue is well written and most of the reviews cannot resist quoting the hand holding scene. This is a tender, uplifting, and touching love story that is not trite, sentimental or unrealistic. The lyrical writing stirs memories of that “first love.”

Belittled by her classmates for her red hair and “big body,” Eleanor lives in a stepdad situation. Eleanor shares a room with her four siblings, her stepdad is abusive and there is little privacy or money. At school she is subjected to numerous pranks by the popular group.

A geek and somewhat of a free spirit, Park is a son of an American father and a Korean mother.  His loving parents are kind and his family serves as a contrast to Eleanor’s horrible home setting.

Due to the cursing of some characters and the abusive character of the stepdad, this book was challenged in Minnesota during Banned Books Week in September.  It is an honest view into how poverty, bullying and abusiveness can erode the human spirit but not destroy it. Despite Eleanor’s scary home life the story is not depressing and shows how love conquers all.fangirl

So far Fangirl is on Library Journal’s best 2013 YA Lit for Adults and also the 2013 Best Young Adult Fiction List.  It is a coming of age story about fanfiction and also features a first love theme. Main character Cath writes Simon Snow fanfiction which resembles the Harry Potter character. When both Cath and her twin sister go to college, writing fanfiction continues to consume Cath while her sister Wren relishes the social scene. The relationship between the sisters and their father is the heart of the novel. The characters, the college setting and the plot have a lighter atmosphere than Eleanor & Park. There is a strong emphasis on how Cath develops as a writer with the help of her college friends.

What are your favorite 2013 titles? Join in the fun of the Young Adult Services Forum Tournament of Books and participate as a judge or submit titles by sending an e-mail to mmiller@nileslibrary.org before January 30, 2014.


Could It Be You?

Do you know a young adult librarian doing something innovative, creative, or just extra fabulous?  Or maybe you’re the one doing those fearless things?

The deadline to nominate someone (including yourself) for ILA’s Young Adult Librarian of the Year is May 15th.   Please visit this link to find out more information, and please consider nominating someone today.

YASF Award2

Printz Award, Etc.

indarknessDid anyone predict that one?  I listened to the live stream of the ALA award ceremony earlier, and I have to say I was pretty surprised when they announced Nick Lake’s In Darkness as the winner.  It’s gotten fabulous reviews, but it wasn’t on my Mock Printz list, and – I’m ashamed to say- it’s still on my “to read” pile.  I was predicting a win for Code Name Verity by Wein, Dodger by Pratchett or My Book of Life by Angel by Leavitt.   Of course, it’s now on the top of my pile.

There was also some buzz about TFiOS (John Green) not getting any Printz recognition.  For some reason, however, I wasn’t surprised about that one.  So, what do you think – was it as big of a surprise as last year?

Just in case you haven’t seen the list yet, here is the teen specific stuff:

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:

“In Darkness,” written by Nick Lake , is the 2013 Printz Award winner. The book is published by Bloomsbury Books for Young Readers.

Four Printz Honor Books also were named: “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Saenz , published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; “Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth Wein , published by Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group; “Dodger” by Terry Pratchett , published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers; “The White Bicycle” by Beverley Brenna , published by Red Deer Press .

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience:

The teen (ages 13-18) award winner is “Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am,” written by Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangis and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences:

“Caring is Creepy,” by David Zimmerman , published by Soho Press, Inc.

“Girlchild,” by Tupelo Hassman, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

“Juvenile in Justice,” by Richard Ross , published by Richard Ross

“Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore,” by Robin Sloan , published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

” My Friend Dahmer ,” by Derf Backderf, published by Abrams ComicArts, an imprint of Abrams

“One Shot at Forever,” by Chris Ballard , published by Hyperion

“Pure,” by Julianna Baggott , published by Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

“The Round House,” by Louise Erdrich , published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

“Tell the Wolves I’m Home,” by Carol Rifka Brunt , published by Dial Press, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

“Where’d You Go, Bernadette?,” by Maria Semple , published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States:

“The Fault in Our Stars,” produced by Brilliance Audio, is the 2013 Odyssey Award winner. The book is written by John Greenand narrated by Kate Rudd.

Three Odyssey Honor Audiobooks also were selected: “Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian,” produced by Listening Library, written by Eoin Colfer and narrated by Nathaniel Parker ; “Ghost Knight,” produced by Listening Library, written by Cornelia Funke and narrated by Elliot Hill ; and “Monstrous Beauty,” produced by Macmillian Audio, written by Elizabeth Fama and narrated by Katherine Kellgren .

Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience:

“Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” written by Benjamin Alire Saenz and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, is the Stonewall Award winner.

Four Stonewall Honor Books were selected: “Drama,” written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier and published by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.; “Gone, Gone, Gone,” written by Hannah Moskowitz and published by Simon Pulse , an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; “October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard ,” written by Leslea Newmanand published by Candlewick Press; and “Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie,” written byS. J. Adams and published by Flux, an imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.

William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens:

“Seraphina,” written by Rachel Hartman , is the 2013 Morris Award winner. The book is published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Four other books were finalists for the award: “Wonder Show,” written by Hannah Barnaby , published by Houghton Mifflin, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers; “Love and Other Perishable Items,” written by Laura Buzo , published by Alfred A. Knopf , an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.; “After the Snow,” written by S. D. Crockett , published by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group; and “The Miseducation of Cameron Post ,” written by emily m. danforth, published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults: 

“Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon,” written by Steve Sheinkin , is the 2013 Excellence winner. The book is published by Flash Point/Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

Four other books were finalists for the award: ” Steve Jobs : The Man Who Thought Different,” written by Karen Blumenthal , published by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group; “Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95,” written by Phillip Hoose , published by Farrar Straus Giroux , an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group; “Titanic: Voices from the Disaster,” written by Deborah Hopkinson , published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic; and “We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March,” written by Cynthia Levinson , published by Peachtree Publishers.

Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, ALA awards guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by judging committees of librarians and other children’s literature experts, the awards encourage original and creative work.  For more information on the ALA youth media awards and notables, please visitwww.ala.org/yma .

SOURCE American Library Association

Join the YASF Award Committee

Illinois Library Association’s Young Adult Service Forum (YASF) is looking for 4 people to serve on the YASF Award Committee. The YASF Award Committee will be responsible for reviewing nominations and selecting the winner of the Young Adult Librarian of the Year. Serving on this committee will provide committee members with an opportunity to participate in an ILA Forum, network with colleagues and get a view of the best services and practices serving Young Adults in the state of Illinois.

The Young Adult Librarian of the Year Award is a brand new award that honors Young Adult Librarians who have made an outstanding local contribution in library services to young adults in his/her community by creating and implementing library programs and services that promote a love of literature and/or instill positive feelings about libraries. A full description of the award is available here:

Young Adult Librarian of the Year Award

Committee members will be responsible for selecting the Young Adult Librarian of the Year Award winner and administering the award. Committee members should be ILA members and familiar with Teen and Young Adult Services. The committee will meet once in mid-February and once in late May. These meetings can be held remotely, so transportation is not an issue.

If you are interested in serving on this committee please contact:

Kelly Durov
Children’s Services Manager
Park Ridge Public Library
20 S. Prospect Ave.
Park Ridge, IL 60068

Learn more about the Young Adult Services Forum

Follow the Young Adult Services Forum on Facebook

Young Adult Librarian of the Year Award

Awards season is fast approaching! The Newbery, The Printz, the Oscars, and joining those auspicious ranks comes the Illinois Library Association’s Young Adult Librarian of the Year Award! You have not heard of this award? Well, that is not surprising as this year is the inaugural year. This is the very first time you can honor a Young Adult Librarian with an award from the Illinois Library Association. Don’t miss this opportunity to show your appreciation for the dedicated Young Adult Librarian in your life!

To nominate a Young Adult Librarian for the Young Adult Librarian of the Year Award, visit the ILA Website and click on Awards, or simply follow this link:

Young Adult Librarian of the Year Award

All you need to nominate someone is letters of reference and a one-page summary about why you think the person you are nominating deserves this award.  Award recipients will receive a $200 financial award and a certificate.

And the Winner Is…

I had the distinct pleasure of serving on the 2011 Caldecott Medal Selection Committee and as my involvement ends, I pause to muse over the experience in its entirety and take a quick account of what I have gained. Of course for starters there is the massive shipment of books from publishers (over 600!), the wonderful collection of selected works, the late night soirées after long committee meetings and the responsibility of submitting commendable nominations. However the highlight has been connecting and collaborating with new peers.

Because of this experience, I have an even greater appreciation for award committees and have begun to think of ways to incorporate elements from my experience into future library-related endeavors. For example, one goal is to connect more with others who share similar interests regardless of their occupation. On the Caldecott Committee, I had the opportunity to collaborate with teachers, librarians and even an award winning author. Each unique background lent a richness and depth to the work of our committee. As a result, I am considering forming a “think tank” or “sounding board” group that will consist of librarians and non-librarians.

Paying attention to details but not missing the big picture or broader context is another lesson learned in my experience.  All in all, I cannot fully describe the delight and reward of serving on the award committee, but what I can say is that it was truly enriching and will not be soon forgotten.