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Little Willow [userpic]

Booklist: Tough Issues for Teens

September 1st, 2014 (04:30 pm)
hopeful

Current Mood: hopeful
Current Song: Just Enough by Aslyn

One afternoon in the bookstore, a young woman in her late teens approached me and said, "Excuse me. Can you help me? I want some books like . . . " She named a few teen fiction titles that dealt with drug abuse and anorexia. She looked slightly uncomfortable but mostly excited. I told her that I could recommend many good books. Within minutes, she was sitting on the floor in the teen fiction section, a plastic basket full to the brim with books, with additional titles in her hand and next to her knees and her feet.

We had a great discussion. I was happy on any levels: happy that she felt comfortable enough to come to me, happy that she was open-minded, happy that I got some realistic, well-written books in her hand. This urged me to make a list of books dealing tough issues - eating disorders, loss and grieving, addiction, abuse, and so forth.

Due to subject matter, many of these books are recommended for older teens as well as adults, be they parents, teachers, librarians, or simply avid readers.

I've read every title on this list, and have given each book a rating according to the United States movie rating guide - G, PG, PG-13, or R - based on content, and a number of stars - four being the best - based on quality (my personal opinion).



PARENTAL ABUSE OR NEGLECT - Physical or emotional abuse, alcoholism, etc.
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ABUSE BY OTHERS - physical or emotional abuse; date or acquaintance rape; accusations, secrets and lies
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TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS - be they romantic relationships or rumors or no romance, but a definite abuse of power
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POSITIVE & PLATONIC TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS - teachers positively influencing and educating their pupils
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PARENT/CHILD RELATIONSHIPS - reconnecting with or distancing oneself from absentee parents, dealing with restrictions and expectations
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LONG-LOST SIBLINGS - reconnecting with siblings, or meeting them for the first time
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ORIENTATION AND/OR GENDER ROLES
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VIOLENCE AT SCHOOL
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EATING DISORDERS
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PHYSICAL DISORDERS/INJURIES/SPECIAL NEEDS - protagonist, siblings, friends
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BODY CHANGES - growing up and dealing with natural physical changes (as opposed to health, weight, or body image issues; disorders/injuries are in a separate list above this one)
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TEENAGE PREGNANCY - may also deal with adoption and/or abortion
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TEENAGE ALCOHOLISM
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MENTAL ILLNESS OF A PARENT, RELATIVE, OR PEER
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DEPRESSION
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RECOVERY/SUPPORT GROUPS
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CUTTING
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STEALING
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DIVORCE, SEPARATION, AND/OR STEPFAMILIES - parents dating, getting remarried, etc
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LOSS OR PHYSICAL ILLNESS OF A PARENT
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LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A SIBLING
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LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A FRIEND OR PEER
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LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A GRANDPARENT
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LOSS OR ILLNESS OF ANOTHER CLOSE RELATIVE AND/OR ADULT
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PROTAGONIST WITH AN ILLNESS
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DRUG ADDICTION
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CAR ACCIDENTS (and similar accidents)
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ADOPTION - Also foster care, group homes, and counseling
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KIDNAPPING
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CULTURAL IDENTITY
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SUICIDE OR SUICIDAL TENDENCIES
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ACADEMICS - cheating, excelling, or otherwise dealing with academic pressure
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SOCIAL STATUS - at school or otherwise with peers; popularity, bullying, et al.
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PEER PRESSURE
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RELIGION
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POLITICS
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ACTIVISM
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INTERNET SAFETY - and/or cyberbullying
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SEEKING SHELTER - family shelters, homelessness, runaways
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I hope that this list helps readers of all ages find books they may be too shy to openly discuss with a bookseller or librarian. I want those readers to know they may leave a comment here and tell me which books they have found valuable. Most of all, I want them to know they can talk to their friends or adults they know in order to get the answers and help they may need.

If you would like for me to add more titles about a certain subject, or if you want more information about any of the books on the list, please leave a comment.

Special thanks to those who have shown their support of this list by offering me links, comments, and compliments, such as Jen Robinson, Bookseller Chick, Robin Brande, Sassymonkey at BlogHer, Daisy Whitney, Caroline, Bookstore People, and Jennifer R. Hubbard.

Little Willow [userpic]

Books to Read (Forthcoming Releases)

September 1st, 2014 (01:54 pm)
thoughtful

Current Mood: thoughtful
Current Song: Without a Trace theme song

September 2014
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (final volume in the trilogy)
Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson
El Deafo by Cece Bell
Firebird by Misty Copeland and Christopher Myers
Fractured by Teri Terry (sequel to Slated)
Girl Defective by Simone Howell
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Rooms by Lauren Oliver
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

October 2014
Charmed Life #4: Hannah's Bright Star by Lisa Schroeder
Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond
Hit by Lorie Ann Grover
In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang (read)
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins, with stories by Holly Black, Ally Carter, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Matt de la Peña, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, and Kiersten White
The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer
Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

November 2014
Sons of Anarchy: Bratva by Christopher Golden

Winter 2014
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Sometime in 2014
The Summers by Aimee Friedman

Early 2015
Orphan Black comics - IDW Publishing

January 2015
The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson
Fallout (Lois Lane) by Gwenda Bond
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

February 2015
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Spring 2015
Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins (the second Rebel Belle book)

March 2015
Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman
Read Between The Lines by Jo Knowles

April 2015
All the Rage by Courtney Summers
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (To All the Boys I've Loved Before sequel)

Summer 2015
Mummy Cat written by Marcus Ewert and illustrated by Lisa Brown

June 2015
The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Sometime in 2015
Dust to Dust by Melissa Walker
Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel
Embassy Row #1 by Ally Carter
The Game Of Love And Death by Martha Brockenbrough
Louisa Trapeze by Micol Ostow
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Think Twice by Sarah Mlynowski (sequel to Don't Even Think About It)

Little Willow [userpic]

Best Books of August 2014

August 31st, 2014 (07:16 pm)
creative

Current Mood: creative
Current Song: Leverage score music by Joseph LoDuca

This month, I read 14 books and scripts. I also wrote roughly 130 pages of new material, most of which was written longhand with pen and paper before I typed and revised everything multiple times. (Many thanks to my beta readers and personal cheerleaders, notably AD, E, K, and C.)

Before my fingers cramp up again, let me point to you to some interviews I did this month, all with authors who are celebrating the release of their new books:

Jen Wang, who collaborated with Cory Doctorow on In Real Life; Kelly Jensen, blogger and author of It Happens; Julie Danielson and Betsy Bird, two of the three minds who created Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature; and Micol Ostow, who is scaring up audiences with Amity.

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: Reality by Anna Wickham

August 29th, 2014 (06:00 am)
creative

Current Mood: creative
Current Song: Leverage score music by Joseph LoDuca

Only a starveling singer seeks
The stuff of songs among the Greeks.
Juno is old,
Jove's loves are cold;
Tales over-told.
By a new risen Attic stream
A mortal singer dreamed a dream.
Fixed he not Fancy's habitation,
Nor set in bonds Imagination.
There are new waters, and a new Humanity.
For all old myths give us the dream to be.
We are outwearied with Persephone;
Rather than her, we'll sing Reality.

- Reality by Anna Wickham

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

Little Willow [userpic]

Interview: Micol Ostow

August 27th, 2014 (06:00 am)
Current Mood: intrigued
Current Song: Psychosocial by Brooke Fraser

micolIn 1974, Ronald DeFeo Junior killed all six members of his family in their home in Amityville, New York. A year later, another family moved into that home only to move out 28 days later, saying they were terrorized by something paranormal in the house. Their story was captured in a book by Jay Anson, then subsequently retold in various films and other adaptations.

In Micol Ostow's new novel Amity, we meet two teenagers who live in Amityville at two different times. This is not time travel; instead, they alternate narrative duties, weaving their stories together chapter by chapter. Inspired by the real story but wholly fictional, this YA book is now available for late night reading. But I promise, this interview is not scary, and neither is Micol.

Do you recall the first time you heard about the Amityville Horror?

The first time I heard about the Amityville Horror was when reading Stephen King's Danse Macabre, where he talks about the components of an effective horror movie. In fact, I didn't realize it was based on a true story (and that there was a bestselling book about the original crime!) until much later. Once I became interested in a riff on Amityville as a possible subject for a novel, I went back and read the original book by Jay Anson, as well as High Hopes, the book written specifically about the DeFeo family (as opposed to the Lutzes, who moved in after the DeFeos' murders and claim to have experienced hauntings within).

When did the seed for your novel Amity firmly plant itself in your brain?

Around Halloween, 2011. My novel Family had come out in April and I was tossing around ideas for the next book under contract. My husband was out of town and I was indulging in my favorite guilty pleasure: horror movies and Red Vines. The Amityville 2005 remake was on, and something clicked. But it wasn't until several months later that I had a pitch to show my agent, and it was a few months after that before we put something together for my editor. I went back and forth a lot trying to decide whether I wanted to tell the Lutz family's story, or the DeFeos' story. Both concepts – the "possessed," murderous son, and the beleaguered, haunted successors to the house – were equally compelling to me. Ultimately that's what led me to tell two alternate narratives, set ten years apart. That way I didn't have to choose!

amityWhen you started writing the book, did you know the ending? (Readers, don't worry - we kept this answer spoiler free!)

I one hundred percent knew the ending, and it didn't change one bit, strangely. Maybe a hint of clarification here and there. Some of the supernatural bits tend to read more straightforward in my brain than on a first-draft page. But it was an interesting process as compared specifically to Family, my first book with Egmont. The ending to Family changed three times, as did my feelings about where the protagonist needed to be, emotionally, by the story's end. This one was much more clear-cut. The two narratives needed to converge and I could only really see one way for that to happen.

Have you ever been to Amityville, New York?

We have family out on Long Island and therefore drive past the Amityville exit on the LIE several times a year, at least. I always point it out, like a huge dork. But I've never visited the house and to be honest, at this point, I probably wouldn't. It's been renovated heavily so specifically, those iconic half-moon “eye” windows are gone. And more to the point, there's also the fact that 1) it's a little icky to make a spectacle of a place where a family was murdered and 2) it's actually a private home, where people live. Personally, I prefer the make-believe versions of the Amityville story and am happier to spend my time there.

You've written for a number of different audiences - kids, teens, adults, fantasy, comedy, mixed media. Do you consciously try to mix it up?

I really don't try to mix it up, believe it or not! It just seems to work out that way! I was fortunate enough to come into publishing through the back door, in that I worked as an editor in the work-for-hire realm. So some of my earlier contracts were the results of editors seeking me out and offering me the chance to work with them. (Note: this is not the typical author's path to publication and I am very, very lucky. Trust me, I know!) The Bradford Novels were the product of an editor's original concept, and Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa came from a publishing friend suggesting I mine some of my own adolescent experiences and pitch her a story. Even So Punk Rock was actually originally conceived of by my brother, David Ostow, who worked with me on the story and illustrated the book.

Family was the first novel I sat down to write, as they say, "on spec." And because it wasn't under contract and was coming purely from me, I was free to experiment. I had no idea when I sat down to my computer that what would come out was going to be such a massive departure from my previous work. But once it was published, it was treated as a sort of literary debut. So for Amity, I was much more conscious of trying to write something that would match Family in tone and audience.

What genre or audiences would you like to write for that you haven't yet?

As far as what's coming down the pike that's different, I have a chapter book series releasing this spring called Louise Trapeze, about a little girl in a circus family who wants to learn to fly on the trapeze but is afraid of heights. Talk about a departure!

Have you always been drawn to the horror genre?

Yes! My mother is a huge horror buff and always had the TV set to old B-movies, and scary-covered novels on her nightstand. They completely terrified me but obviously burrowed into my subconscious.

I've known people who can watch horror movies but can't read horror novels, and I've known people who can read horror but can't watch it. Do you lean more towards one than the other?

Love them both! Although in general, I watch a broader range of horror movies than I read horror novels. The only category of horror I really stay away from is the straight-up torture. The extreme gore really doesn't do it for me. With the books I tend to lean more heavily toward literary horror or dark thrillers as opposed to paranormal... and basically anything in the Stephen King cannon.

QUICK DRAW! Time for simple questions:

First horror story that gave you goosebumps: The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright
(Little Willow adds: I liked that book, too!)

First scary film that gave you nightmares: Frankenstein

Horror movie or book that you love but can only watch or read in the daylight: It by Stephen King

Favorite funny spooky story: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Favorite funny spooky movie: Shaun of the Dead

Favorite horror authors: Stephen King, Joe Hill, Shirley Jackson, Daniel Krause, Sarah Waters for purer horror. Adele Griffin (Tighter), Barry Lyga (I Hunt Killers), Libba Bray (The Diviners), Nova Ren Suma (Imaginary Girls), Mariana Baer (Frost), Thomas Harris (The Silence of the Lambs) for creepy psychological thriller/suspense-y stories. Robert Bloch's original Psycho was great. But that's really just the tip of the iceberg.

Favorite season of American Horror Story: Season One, Murder House, was amazing for just flinging all the fundamental tropes at the wall, and doing something different – and genuinely scary! – on TV. And I absolutely loved that finale.

Favorite Halloween costume you've worn: I'm super boring on Halloween! I love celebrating and decorating and eating treats and watching movies, but I rarely dress up. I'm kind of a party pooper that way. Last year I wore my “Overlook Hotel” tee-shirt and called it a day. But my daughter usually cycles through at least three costumes over the course of the festivities so I think that evens us out.

Ouija board: Wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole or bring it on?
I'm a little superstitious. I'd rather not tempt fate.

Ghosts and/or haunted houses: Believe, don't believe, or open-minded?
I have not had any paranormal experiences myself, but as per the above and being slightly superstitious – I do believe, actually. Kind of. Let's call it open-minded. That works.

Amity Giveaway!

What's your favorite ghost story? Leave a comment below with the title of a book, movie, or play that chills you -- or even a personal story!
EGMONT USA is giving away a signed copy of the finished book to one lucky USA/Canada resident, the person who left the first comment at this post - Congratulations, Kim B.!

Follow the blog tour!

Micol is also visiting the readergirlz blog today. Check out the full schedule at the Egmont USA website.

Related posts at Bildungsroman:
Interview: Micol Ostow (2006)
Interview: Micol Ostow (2007)
Book Review: Popular Vote by Micol Ostow
Book Review: So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow with art by David Ostow

Little Willow [userpic]

Interview: Julie Danielson and Betsy Bird

August 23rd, 2014 (07:00 am)
mischievous

Current Mood: mischievous
Current Song: Astronaut by Paris Carney

If you appreciate children's literature and want to know the stories behind your favorite stories, pick up WILD THINGS! written by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and the late Peter D. Sieruta. Packed from cover-to-cover with funny stories and little known facts about famous authors, secret feuds, inspired illustrations, and classic characters, this is a great resource for readers and writers alike. The authors - all three proud bibliophiles and bloggers - clearly had fun putting this book together.

Little Willow: This book is filled with anecdotes. Is anyone in your family a master of tall tales?

Betsy: In my family we've all had a predilection towards storytelling, but then I went and married a clear cut storyteller as well. Now I'm so steeped in them that it's only natural that a book like this would be the result. Here in New York City a children's literature gathering often involves members of the old guard (people who've been working in the field for decades) so you get all kinds of fascinating stories. Seems only natural that they should have ended up in a book at some point. As for me, I actually prefer to hear anecdotes to telling them, but some of them are just too good NOT to tell.

Jules: My family isn't necessarily filled with storytellers, but I'm fascinated by storytelling. In fact, I once took a grad course on the very subject, and I loved every second of it. For my final course project, I memorized every word of Rudyard Kipling's "The Elephant's Child." That is a wonderful story to tell. I no longer have it memorized word-for-word, but it'd probably not be that challenging to re-learn, since it's probably still hiding in the cobwebbed corners of my brain. "In the High and Far-Off Times the Elephant, O Best Beloved, had no trunk...." (I love that singular beginning.)

Little Willow: That's impressive. Did any of the real-life stories change how you viewed a particular author or book?

Betsy: Well, I don't think I'll ever look at The Cricket in Times Square the same way again. That's all I'll say.

Jules: There's a very tender story about James Marshall and his mother, a story that didn't make it into our book. We did, however, share it at the site, where we are sharing stories cut from our manuscript. I'm a big Marshall fan, but this made me want to learn even more about him.

Little Willow: How did the three of you come together to write this book? Who had the first inkling that you should and would write a book together?

Betsy: That was me. I had this notion that there were some pretty amazing bloggers out there and that their sites would naturally adapt into a book format pretty well. Ironically, of the three blogs that came together here (A Fuse #8 Production, Collecting Children's Books, and Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast) mine is probably the least book-worthy. But I've an eye for talent and these guys were talented. So I reached out to them and asked if they'd be keen to work together on something. As luck would have it, they were!

Little Willow: Describe the writing process. How did you divvy up tasks between the three of you?

Betsy: First we decided which chapters should be in the book. Then we pooled all the stories we wanted to tell. Once each story was slotted into the right chapter we assigned chapters. There was a lot of swapping of stories between chapters and a lot of rewriting and editing of one another. That may account for the single "voice" found in the book.

Jules: Yep, we each worked on assigned chapters and then passed them around. We made suggestions for editing, adding, deleting, you-name-it. At one point, Peter and I were working on the same chapter and didn't even realize it. So, we eventually merged what we'd written. Whew. That worked out well!

Little Willow: What's your favorite part about collaborations? What does working with others bring out of you?

Betsy: For me, it makes me more confident about the final product. When I write something entirely on my own I may love it but there will always be this little voice in the back of my head that says I could have done more. When I work with other people who are as smart as Peter and Jules, that little voice disappears. I can feel safe and secure in the knowledge that no matter how much I screw up, they'll be there to point me in the right direction. It's an enormous relief, I can tell you.

Jules: I learned so much more about writing, I think, just by watching Betsy and Peter do their thing. And when someone edits your work, you learn TONS. I feel like if I'm a better writer at the close of this project, it's thanks to them. I love collaborating. I mean, no one likes, say, those grad school projects where you're stuck with people who don't pull their own weight OR you're assigned to a topic you hate, but if I dig my partners-in-crime and I love the subject, I'd much rather work in a group.

Little Willow: As a kid, did you have any teachers, librarians, or booksellers that you went to regularly to get (and give) book recommendations?

Betsy: Nope. And what's more, I couldn't tell you single one of their names. That said, my mom worked in an independent bookstore in Kalamazoo, Michigan and she was always suggesting books or handing books to me. My Aunt Judy was the same, so that's where I found the bulk of my recommended literature.

Jules: I didn't read a TON when I was a kid, which is why I'm trying to get caught up now! I did have a high school English lit and drama teacher who really got me fired up about reading, and I'm still friends with her. She's one of those amazing teachers you'd like to clone.

Little Willow: What aspects of blogging do you find the most enjoyable?

Betsy: I think it's a combination of the pleasure of the regularity (I am required to blog four times a week on my site), the fact that I can highlight books, people, or events that may not be getting a lot of publicity (I always alternate big publishers with little publishers in my reviews), and the different ways in which I can make my opinions known.

Jules: Hands down, I love the community. I love getting to know those folks who are as passionate about children's lit as I am. It's even better when you get to meet them in person.

Little Willow: How has blogging has changed how you read and recommend books, and how you interact with readers and authors?

Betsy: Since I work for New York Public Library and blog for School Library Journal I see a LOT of books in a given year, but there's always this sense that I'm not seeing ALL the books. And boy howdy do I want to see absolutely everything. So blogging, for me, is a way of filling in the gaps. It also allows me to recommend sites to friends who are looking to specialize in certain areas.

Jules: Well, before blogging I rarely interacted with authors and illustrators, but since I do a lot of interviews, I talk to many of them now on a pretty regular basis. As for how blogging has changed my reading habits, I tend to have less time for novels (though I still read them as much as I can), since I'm blogging about picture books and illustration. But it's worth it. I love writing about picture books and art.

Little Willow: What books did you love as a child that you still love just as much today?

Betsy: I was recently weeding my bookshelves, so this question was already in my mind. On my part, I think I'll always love Edward Eager, E. Nesbit, Tasha Tudor's A Time to Keep, various Steven Kellogg titles, The Secret Garden, The Girl With the Silver Eyes, and any number of Apple paperbacks found via the Scholastic Book Fairs.

Jules: Shel Silverstein, the Grimm Brothers, Trina Schart Hyman, Maurice Sendak, Beverly Cleary.

Little Willow: Would you rather travel with Max to meet the Wild Things, or go with Harry Potter and attend Hogwarts?

Betsy: Hogwarts. Is there any question? I wonder about folks who would say Wild Things. You'd have to be a very particular kind of person, I suspect. For me, there's no contest.

Jules: The Wild Things, without any doubt. Because maybe perhaps possibly if Sendak is there, too, we can chat.

Little Willow: Would you rather visit Narnia or Never Never Land?

Betsy: That is a very hard question. I go back and forth. Narnia, I guess. Though they both dwell in very distinct metaphors. But I should like to see a faun, so Narnia wins.

Jules: You're going to think I'm just saying the opposite of Betsy now, just to mix things up, but honestly I'd go to Never Never Land. I want to meet Mrs. Darling first, though.

Little Willow: Would you rather have a sip at the tea party in Wonderland or snag a treat from Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory?

Betsy: Wonka. Admittedly, you'd never be entirely certain what the Wonka treat would do to you, but I also suspect that the food at that tea party can't be entirely hygienic (there's a dormouse in one of the teapots, for crying out loud!). Plus there's always a chance that Wonka will look like Gene Wilder and I've always had a hardcore crush on that guy.

Jules: Well, given the theme of my blog, I gotta attend the Mad Tea-Party, yes?

Little Willow: Would you rather have the job of The Giver or be the head gamemaker for the Hunger Games?

Betsy: I don't think I'm skilled enough to pass muster as a gamemaker. I suspect I'd construct some little landscape and forget to do something essential like install the video cameras. And I'm always telling and retelling stories of the past ad nauseum anyway, so maybe I'm halfway to Giver-ship already!

Jules: Oh, The Giver! Definitely that. I recently read that book again---this time I read it aloud to my daughters---and it blows my mind how good it is.

WILD THINGS! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter D. Sieruta is now available at a bookstore near you.

Little Willow [userpic]

Author Interviews

August 23rd, 2014 (06:00 am)
silly

Current Mood: silly
Current Song: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers score music

This is the archive of exclusive interviews with authors I've conducted for the Bildungsroman blog and website, as well as interviews with other artists and actors I've written for other publications. The most recent interview is the first to be listed.

Micol Ostow (Amity)
Julie Danielson and Betsy Bird (Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature)
Kelly Jensen (It Happens)
Jen Wang (In Real Life)
Shirley Vernick (The Black Butterfly)
Joy Preble (The A-Word)
Kirsten B. Feldman (No Alligators in Sight)
Varsha Bajaj (Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood)
Robyn Bavati (Dancing in the Dark)
Ilsa J. Bick (White Space)
Holly Schindler (The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky)
Alison Cherry (Red)
Chris and Kyle Bolton (Smash)
Alison Croggon (Black Spring)
Shirley Vernick (Remember Dippy)
Jessica Day George (Wednesdays in the Tower)
Shayne Leighton (Of Light and Darkness)
Hilary McKay (Lulu)
Leslie Stella (Permanent Record)
Lauren Baratz-Logsted (The Sisters 8)
Nataly Dawn (singer/songwriter, How I Knew Her)
Doreen Rappaport (Beyond Courage)
Kirsten Miller (How to Lead a Life of Crime)
Caroline B. Cooney (The Face on the Milk Carton)
Dallas Clayton (Make Magic! Do Good!)
Tara Altebrando (What Happens Here)
Kelly Thompson (The Girl Who Would Be King)
Leigh Dunlap (Halifax, A Cinderella Story)
Christopher Golden (Father Gaetano's Puppet Catechism)
Ashley Sandeman (The Thickening Water)
Ned Vizzini (The Other Normals)
Daniella Alonso (Revolution actress)
Megan Frazer Blakemore (Secrets of Truth and Beauty)
Elizabeth Zechel (Is There a Mouse in the Baby's Room)
Donna Freitas (Gold Medal Summer)
Peter H. Reynolds (Sky Color)
Iva-Marie Palmer (The End of the World as We Know It)
Lisa M. Stasse (The Forsaken)
Jennifer Miller (The Year of the Gadfly)
Dave Roman (Teen Boat!)
Tim Lebbon (The Sea Wolves)
Megan McDonald (Judy Moody)
Lisa Papademetriou (Confectionately Yours)
Mary Lowry (The Earthquake Machine)
Cecilia Galante (The Little Wings series)
Gaby Rodriguez (The Pregnancy Project)
Trina Robbins (Lily Renee, Escape Artist)
Susan Lee (Mastermind, Diary of a Mid-Life Crisis)
Beth Kanell (The Secret Room)
Loretta Ellsworth (Unforgettable)
Kristen Tracy (Sharks & Boys)
Anne Ursu (Breadcrumbs)
Erin McGuire (Breadcrumbs)
Tinsel Korey (The Twilight Saga actress)
Alexa Martin (Girl Wonder)
Elisabeth Rohm (Nerissa)
Mary E. Pearson (The Fox Inheritance)
Jane Mendelsohn (Innocence)
Maria Padian (Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best)
Emily Howse (Zitface)
Rachel Karns (Gray)
Shirley Vernick (The Blood Lie)
Janet Lee Carey (The Dragons of Noor)
Tim Lebbon & Christopher Golden (The Secret Journeys of Jack London)
Julia DeVillers & Jennifer Roy (Trading Faces)
Adele Griffin (The Julian Game)
Daisy Whitney (The Mockingbirds)
Maya Gold (Cinderella Cleaners)
Mary Jane Beaufrand (The River)
Loretta Chan (The Struggle to Be Strong)
Jamie Rich (12 Reasons Why I Love Her)
Lisa Shanahan (The Sweet, Terrible, Glorious Year I Truly, Completely Lost It)
Buzzy Jackson (Shaking the Family Tree: Blue Bloods, Black Sheep, and Other Obsessions of an Accidental Genealogist)
Kirsten Miller (Kiki Strike)
Jaclyn Moriarty (The Year of Secret Assignments)
Andrew Auseon (Freak Magnet)
Kristen Tracy (A Field Guide For Heartbreakers)
Sarah Mlynowski (Gimme a Call)
Holly Cupala (Tell Me a Secret)
J Torres and Jason Bone (Alison Dare)
Cecil Castellucci (Rose Sees Red)
Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown (Picture the Dead)
Melina Marchetta (Looking for Alibrandi)
Sarah Kuhn (One Con Glory)
Donna Freitas (This Gorgeous Game)
Holly Schindler (A Blue So Dark)
Barbara Dee (This is Me From Now On)
Julie Bowe (My Best Frenemy)
Meg Cabot (Runaway)
Robin Benway (The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June)
Karen Cushman (Alchemy and Meggy Swann)
Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams (Goddess Girls)
Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall)
Cherie Priest (Boneshaker)
Carrie Ryan (The Dead-Tossed Waves)
Margo Lanagan (Tender Morsels)
Shula Klinger (The Kingdom of Strange)
Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall)
Jen Calonita (Reality Check)
Elissa Brent Weissman (Standing for Socks)
Kristin Walker (A Match Made in High School)
Carrie Jones and Alyxandra Harvey (Captivate; Hearts at Stake)
Robin Friedman (The Importance of Wings)
Loretta Ellsworth (In a Heartbeat)
Melissa de la Cruz (The Ashleys)
E. Lockhart (The Treasure Map of Boys)
Joan Holub (Shampoodle)
Thomas Randall (The Waking: Dreams of the Dead)
Jacqui Robbins (Two of a Kind)
Laurie Faria Stolarz (Blue is for Nightmares)
Courtney Sheinmel (Positively)
Cynthia Leitich Smith (Rain is Not My Indian Name)
Tom Sniegoski (Legacy)
Laura Resau (The Indigo Notebook)
Tim Raglin (The 13 Days of Halloween)
Barbara Jean Hicks, Sue Hendra, and Erin Clarke (Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli)
Matt Phelan (The Storm in the Barn)
Amber Kizer (Meridian)
Thomas Randall (The Waking: Dreams of the Dead)
Melissa Wyatt (Funny How Things Change)
Tanita S. Davis (Mare's War)
Autumn Cornwell (Carpe Diem)
Cheryl Renee Herbsman (Breathing)
Lara Zeises (The Sweet Life of Stella Madison)
Neesha Meminger (Shine, Coconut Moon)
Alyson Noël (Evermore)
Terri & Brittany MacLeod (113 Things to Do By 13)
Jim Rugg (The Plain Janes)
Jessica Burkhart (Canterwood Crest)
Katie Alender (Bad Girls Don't Die)
Nikki Goldstein (GirlForce)
Grace Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon)
Sarah Darer Littman (Purge)
Rachel Renee Russell (Dork Diaries: Tales From a Not-So-Fabulous Life)
Cylin Busby (The Year We Disappeared)
Lauren Myracle (Peace, Love, & Baby Ducks)
Thalia Chaltas (Because I Am Furniture)
Rosemary Clement-Moore (Prom Dates from H&!!)
Carolyn Hennesy (Pandora Gets Jealous)
Amber Benson (Death's Daughter)
Sarah Mlynowski (Parties & Potions)
Linda Urban (A Crooked Kind of Perfect)
Meg Cabot (Forever Princess)
Judy Blume (Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing)
Robin Benway (Audrey, Wait!)
Lisa Ann Sandell (Song of the Sparrow)
Emily Ecton (Boots and Pieces)
Sarah Darer Littman (Purge)
Luisa Plaja (Split by a Kiss)
Courtney Summers (Cracked Up to Be)
Tracie Vaughn Zimmer (The Floating Circus)
Helen Hemphill (The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones)
Amy Belasen and Jacob Osborn (Jenny Green's Killer Year)
Claire Mysko (You're Amazing! A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self)
Julie Kraut (Hot Mess: Summer in the City)
Barbara Jean Hicks (The Secret Life of Walter Kitty)
Carol Plum-Ucci (What Happened to Lani Garver)
Jen Calonita (Secrets of My Hollywood Life)
Debbie Reed Fischer (Swimming with the Sharks)
Taylor Morris (Total Knockout: Tale of an Ex-Class President)
Christopher Golden (Serial Interview, Part 13)
Kristin O'Donnell Tubb (Autumn Winifred Does Things Different)
Nancy Viau (Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head)
Christopher Golden (Serial Interview, Part 12)
Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (In the Forests of the Night)
Christopher Golden (Serial Interview, Part 11)
Paul Miller (Earthling Publications)
Christopher Golden (Serial Interview, Part 10)
Courtney Sheinmel (My So-Called Family)
Suzanne Supplee (Artichoke's Heart)
Brooke Taylor (Undone)
Christopher Golden (Serial Interview, Part 9)
Vivian French (The Robe of Skulls)
Christopher Golden (Serial Interview, Part 8)
E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle (How to Be Bad)
Christopher Golden (Serial Interview, Part 7)
Christopher Golden (Serial Interview, Part 6)
Alison McGhee (Snap)
Cherry Cheva (She's So Money)
Denise Vega (Fact of Life #31)
Christopher Golden (Serial Interview, Part 5)
Christopher Golden (Serial Interview, Part 4)
Christopher Golden (Serial Interview, Part 3)
E.M. Crane (Skin Deep)
Jennifer Bradbury (Shift)
Tera Lynn Childs (Oh. My. Gods.)
Susane Colasanti (Take Me There)
Christopher Golden (Serial Interview, Part 2)
Suzanne Harper (The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney)
Ingrid Law (Savvy)
Christina Meldrum (Madapple)
Gaby Triana (The Temptress Four)
Christopher Golden (Serial Interview, Part 1)
Shannon Hale (Book of a Thousand Days)
Liz Tigelaar (PrettyTOUGH)
April Lurie (The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine)
Sara Hantz (The Second Virginity of Suzy Green)
Jody Gehrman (Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty)
Laura Preble (Queen Geeks Social Club)
Robin Wasserman (Seven Deadly Sins, Skinned)
Josie Bloss (Band Geek Love)
Cheryl Klam (The Pretty One)
Teri Brown (Read My Lips)
Kim Flores (Gamma Glamma)
D. Anne Love (Defying the Diva)
Cecilia Galante (The Patron Saint of Butterflies, Hershey Herself)
Jennifer E. Smith (The Comeback Season)
Lisa McMann (Wake)
Dorian Cirrone (Prom Kings and Drama Queens)
Carmen Rodrigues (Not Anything)
Mary E. Pearson (The Adoration of Jenna Fox)
Maryrose Wood (My Life: The Musical)
Jennifer Ziegler (How NOT to Be Popular)
Jamie Ponti (Prama)
Siobhan Vivian (A Little Friendly Advice)
Sherri L. Smith (Hot, Salty, Sour, Sweet)
Robin Palmer (Cindy Ella)
Daphne Grab (Alive and Well in Prague, New York)
Lesley M.M. Blume (Tennyson)
Sara Lewis Holmes (Letters From Rapunzel)
Gabrielle Zevin (Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac)
Beth Kephart (Undercover, House of Dance)
Melissa Walker (Violet on the Runway)
Amy Goldman Koss (The Girls)
Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries)
Liz Gallagher (The Opposite of Invisible)
Justina Chen Headley (Girl Overboard)
Aimee Ferris (Girl Overboard)
Jo Knowles (Lessons from a Dead Girl)
Kirsten Miller (Kiki Strike)
Michele Jaffe (Bad Kitty)
Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars)
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List)
Micol Ostow (Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa)
Maureen Johnson (Girl at Sea)
Tom Sniegoski (Owlboy: The Girl with the Destructo Touch)
Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Punk Farm)
Erik Brooks (Lucy's Pups)
Eric Luper (Big Slick)
Paula Brehm-Heeger (2007-2008 YALSA President)
Justina Chen Headley, Lorie Ann Grover, and Janet Lee Carey (Readergirlz: 31 Flavorites)
Melissa Lion (Swollen, Upstream)
Christopher Golden (Body of Evidence)
Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles, Ironside)
Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why)
Kelly Bingham (Shark Girl)
Simmone Howell (Notes from the Teenage Underground)
Deborah Davis (Not Like You)
Tom Sniegoski (Billy Hooten, Owlboy)
Sara Ryan (The Rules for Hearts)
Simone Elkeles (How to Ruin a Summer Vacation)
Julie Halpern (Get Well Soon)
Caroline Hickey (Cassie Was Here)
Gretchen Olson (Call Me Hope)
Stephanie Hale (Revenge of the Homecoming Queen)
C. Leigh Purtill (Love, Meg)
Dana Reinhardt (A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life)
Ysabeau Wilce (Flora Segunda)
Christopher Golden (The Menagerie: Crashing Paradise)
Jordan Sonnenblick (Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie)
Sameera "Sparrow" Righton via Mitali Perkins (First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover)
Sarah Beth Durst (Into the Wild)
Kristen Tracy (Lost It)
Alex Richards (Back Talk)
Janet Lee Carey (Dragon's Keep)
Sonya Sones (What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know)
Cecil Castellucci (Beige)
Joni Sensel (Reality Leak)
Dia Calhoun (The Phoenix Dance)
Nina Malkin (Orange is the New Pink)
Karen Day (Tall Tales)
Julie Bowe (My Last Best Friend)
Sarah Miller (Miss Spitfire)
Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak, Twisted)
Elizabeth Scott (Bloom)
Alex Flinn (Beastly, Diva)
Wendy Toliver (The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren)
Laura Bowers (Beauty Shop for Rent ...fully equipped, inquire within)
Jessica Day George (Dragon Slippers)
E. Lockhart (Dramarama)
Mary Wilcox (The Hollywood Sisters)
Debra Garfinkle (The Band)
Kristen Buckley (Tramps Like Us)
Crissa-Jean Chappell (Total Constant Order)
Liane Bonin (Fame Unlimited)
Heather Brewer (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod)
Shannon Greenland (The Specialists)
Carrie Jones (Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend)
S.T. Underdahl (The Other Sister)
Kerry Madden (The Maggie Valley Trilogy)
Margo Rabb (Cures for Heartbreak)
Jenny Han (Shug, interview two)
Jennifer L. Holm (Penny From Heaven)
Justina Chen Headley, Lorie Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, and Janet Lee Carey (Readergirlz)
Robin Friedman (The Girlfriend Project)
Tracie Vaughn Zimmer (Reaching for Sun)
Terie Garrison (The DragonSpawn Cycle)
Lisa Graff (The Thing about Georgie)
Alison Bell (Zibby Payne and the Terrible, Wonderful Tomboy Experiment)
Jeannine Garsee (Before, After, and Somebody In Between)
Deb Caletti (The Nature of Jade)
Wendy Mass (Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life)
Paula Chase (So Not the Drama)
Melissa Schorr (Goy Crazy)
Nina Wright (Homefree)
Helen Hemphill (Runaround)
Sara Zarr (Story of a Girl)
Christopher Golden (The Veil)
Garret Freymann-Weyr (Stay With Me)
Lauren Baratz-Logsted (Angel's Choice)
Kirby Larson (Hattie Big Sky)
Lesley M.M. Blume (Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters)
Bonnie Dobkin (Dream Spinner)
Pamela Lowell (Returnable Girl)
Lisa Yee (Millicent Min, Girl Genius)
Raina Telgemeier (BSC Graphix)
Marcy Dermansky (Twins)
Christine MacLean (How It's Done)
Alex McAulay (Bad Girls)
Kelly Parra (Graffiti Girl)
Janette Rallison (It's a Mall World After All)
Amy Saidens (Simon Pulse book cover artist)
Micol Ostow (30 Guys in 30 Days)
Erin Downing (Dancing Queen)
Aimee Friedman (A Novel Idea)
Kelly McClymer (Getting to Third Date)
Jennifer Echols (Major Crush)
Niki Burnham (Do-Over)
Sarah Bushweller and Emily S. Morris aka Libby Street (Accidental It Girl)
Gena Showalter (Oh My Goth)
Justina Chen Headley (Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies))
Bev Katz Rosenbaum (I Was a Teenage Popsicle)
Christopher Golden (Straight on 'til Morning)
Laura Wiess (Such a Pretty Girl)
Cara Lockwood (Bard Academy: Wuthering High)
Caridad Ferrer (Adios to My Old Life, interview two)
Beth Killian (The 310: Life as a Poser)
Jenny O'Connell (Plan B)
Tara Altebrando (The Pursuit of Happiness, interview two)
Susan Taylor Brown (Hugging the Rock)
Jenny Han (Shug)
Justine Larbalestier and Scott Westerfeld (Magic or Madness, Uglies)
Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Golden)
Tom Sniegoski (Serial Interview, Part 4)
A. Lee Martinez (Gil's All Fright Diner)
Tom Sniegoski (Serial Interview, Part 3)
Jordan Roter (Girl in Development)
Tom Sniegoski (Serial Interview, Part 2)
Lorie Ann Grover (On Pointe, Hold Me Tight)
Caridad Ferrer (Adios to My Old Life)
Chris Abouzeid (Anatopsis)
Tom Sniegoski (Serial Interview, Part 1)
Ally Carter (I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You)
Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist)
Tanya Lee Stone (A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl)
Serena Robar (braced2bite)
Mari Mancusi (Boys That Bite)
Cynthia Lord (Rules)
Sarah Dessen (Just Listen)
Tara Altebrando (The Pursuit of Happiness)
Polly Shulman (Enthusiasm)
Jeanne Birdsall (The Penderwicks)
Amber Benson and Christopher Golden (Ghosts of Albion: Accursed)
Christopher Golden (Last Breath)
Christopher Golden (The Monster Book)
Christopher Golden (Strangewood)
Christopher Golden (Body of Evidence)

Themed interviews with multiple authors:
Tell Me a Secret
What Makes You Smile
Art Saves
Family Ties
Definitions of Hope
Their Favorite Books
Looking Forward

This archive is mirrored at the Bildungsroman website.

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: An American Girl by Brander Matthews

August 22nd, 2014 (06:00 am)
hopeful

Current Mood: hopeful
Current Song: Princess by Matt Nathanson

She does not care for meditation;
Within her bonnet are no bees;
She has a gentle animation,
She joins in singing simple glees.

- from the poem An American Girl by Brander Matthews

Read the poem in its entirety.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

Little Willow [userpic]

Interview: Kelly Jensen

August 15th, 2014 (07:50 am)
grateful

Current Mood: grateful
Current Song: Leverage score music

Today, I'm celebrating the publication of It Happens: A Guide to Contemporary Realistic Fiction for the YA Reader by Kelly Jensen, a fellow blogger and book reviewer. We share an appreciation for literature and libraries, and I've been following her blog for a long while. It was fun to conduct this interview and learn more about her academic background and literary inspirations.

How old were you when you started reading teen fiction?

I was a teenager when I was reading teen fiction. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky came out in 1999. I was in 8th/9th grade then, and I remember picking both up somewhere around my sophomore or junior year of high school. I read what was out there then, and I carried on reading teen fiction through college and grad school. It wasn't always the first thing I picked up -- I read a lot of adult fiction and non-fiction -- but it was always there.

What was the first YA book (or series) that you read over and over? Have you re-read it as an adult? If so, did your opinion of it change?

I don't really reread. It's not because I'm opposed to it. It's just that there's so much out there I want to read, so it's not the first thing I think to do.

That said, I've really been wanting to reread Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling series, especially with the release of the middle grade novels in the series. I read those books starting in high school and I looked forward to picking up each one as they published. Jessica and I went through the same life stages at the same time, and even though we didn't have any actual life similarities, I always related to and "got" her.

Congratulations on the release of IT HAPPENS! How did you land that book deal?

I approached my editor about doing an article on contemporary realistic YA for VOYA, and then on a whim, I asked if she thought maybe it was something she'd be interested in seeing as a full manuscript. It happened really fast. I was asked to put together a proposal and outline, which took me about a week. I sent those to her on a Thursday and had a contract on Saturday (I woke up to it on a vacation at a friend's house at 5 am and it was hard not to wake everyone up and share).

Had you always wanted to write a book guide?

It wasn't always a plan, but it made sense. What I'd envisioned for an article was something much bigger and after I did the research of what was out there, I saw there was a gaping hole in solid resources for contemporary realistic YA fiction.

Did anything get cut from the book?

I'd included book talks with a number of my book annotations, but I ended up cutting them all. I didn't keep them since many felt like they were just variations on the annotations themselves.

Should readers keep their eyes peeled for outtakes/bonus content at your blog?

There likely won't be outtakes or bonus content but that doesn't mean there won't be updates to some of the things I talked about in the book that show up on Stacked.

Any other books up your sleeve?

Last month, I turned in an essay that will be part of Amber Keyser's The V-Word, out with Beyond Words/Simon & Schuster in spring 2016. I'm also putting together a Q&A for the same book that looks at the representations of virginity and female sexuality in teen media.

I'm working on a chapter for another library reader's advisory resource with Liz Burns about "New Adult" fiction, being edited by Jessica Moyer. There's also a possibility of another chapter on a topic I'm supremely passionate about from a professional-development standpoint, but that's a project that's not completely set in stone yet.

There is a novel in me. I've been picking at it bit by bit. I'm really not good at committing to long-term fiction projects, but it's something I really want to do, and I think this story might be the one that gets me to follow through.

How did your college education/college experience prepare you for the jobs you've had?

I can't cite specific examples of how my education prepared me for my jobs, but I can say the experiences I had outside the classroom were what helped shape my career. I went to a non-traditional undergraduate college, which trained me how to think differently about time management and project management. I spent 4 years working on the school's newspaper -- first as a writer, then 2 years as an Arts and Entertainment editor, then finally as a Co-Editor-in-Chief. I spent three years working on the school's literary magazine, too, as both a reader and an editor. Those experiences taught me a lot about working with other people and rallying for things I care deeply about (the newspaper faced budget cuts during my last year, but my co-editor and I went to student senate budget meetings and fought hard to keep our money -- and we did).

While in undergrad, I worked at the library and I did an internship at my college library. The college library doubled as the town's public library, so I got to see both sides of the picture and knew working with the public -- and teens, especially -- was something I wanted to do.

What classes would you recommend for those who plan on becoming librarians?

I went to grad school immediately after undergrad and took many classes across the board in librarianship. If I'm being honest, though, few of the public library/teen services classes did a lot for me preparation wise. My YA fiction course was bad -- I knew more from my own reading and research than I got out of the class. But the one good thing that came of it was meeting my co-blogger Kimberly...and here we are, still blogging about YA at Stacked. Hopefully we're helping people learn about YA in a way we didn't get to.

But if I were to offer suggestions for those who want to go into libraries, it's this: work in libraries. Figure out where you want to work. Figure out how you work. Then read, read, read. And if you feel inclined, write. Blogging can give you a leg up if for no other reason than you have a record you can point to showing that you're willing to learn, explore, and create.

I'm not working in libraries now, since I took on a job at Book Riot as an editor/community manager. But my experiences in libraries, in a variety of good and less-than-good work environments, helped prep me for it, too. The best preparation for any job is working the job and understanding how you work, not what you'll get out of the classroom or your homework.

You've spoken about contemporary literature at a variety of conferences. Have you always felt comfortable with public speaking? Any advice for folks reading this interview who need a confidence booster before their next professional event or school presentation?

I still get nervous all the time about speaking. But I like pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and this works for me.

The reason it works for me doubles as my advice/confidence booster: you aren't invited to speak unless you know your stuff. So when you're at the front of the room, you are the expert. There's something in that knowledge that helps me feel better -- people are listening to me because they believe I can teach them something or I can make them rethink how they look at an idea.

In undergrad, I once spoke at a college-sponsored feminist symposium. I had written a paper in my Harlem Renaissance Lit class about the main character in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and how her name changes and shifts throughout the story and what that meant about her power in those situations. Little did I know that a renowned Hurston scholar was on campus during the symposium but I was alerted to it when I was presenting, since she was in the room listening to me.

I never felt more nervous as I did then. She asked me some tough questions during the Q&A portion, and I thought I was going to die right there. But after, she came up to me and said she came because she was curious to hear my take on this and she asked me those questions because she knew I could think about them and articulate a response. That may have been the presentation that sort of turned things around for me, knowing that even if someone in the room is smarter than me on a topic, they don't have the same take on it that I do, and they're there because they're interested, not because they want to bring me down.

You've been blogging at stackedbooks.org for five years now. What do you enjoy writing and sharing the most -- a book review, a list of books with similar themes, general book news, or a completely unplanned but suddenly inspired post?

If it's a book I love and want people to read immediately, then it's a book review. I love writing fun booklists. But the most fun are those unplanned and inspired posts, for sure.

Kimberly and I believe we'll do this as long as it's still fun. When it stops being fun, we stop. And at this point? It's still a lot of fun. If I don't like what I'm writing, I just stop and do something else.

How did you become a contributor for Book Riot?

Rebecca asked me! She and I have been following each other on Twitter for years, and so we've always sort of known what's going on with each other in the book world. Last June she approached me and said if I ever wanted to be a contributor, then I should apply. I did and the rest is history.

When you read a book summary, what are the magic words? What immediately makes you think, "I've got to read this book!"?

Dark, gritty, and edgy are three words I love. They don't have to be in relation to realistic fiction. I'll read most genres, especially when those words are involved.

Other things that grab me: dancing, a midwest setting outside of Chicago, anything feminist or that sounds like it's going to focus on navigating girlhood.

The words "magical realism" can catch my eye, but I approach those a little more cautiously/critically.

What are your top ten favorite books?

This is the worst question. The WORST. And the reason this is the worst question is because my favorite books are all favorites for different reasons -- it can be about the story or about the writing as much as it can be about the sensory experience of where I was or what that particular book brought to my life.

I'm not going to give you ten. Instead, here are three of my favorite books, off the top of my head, as I am writing this answer: The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender, and All the Rage by Courtney Summers.

Little Willow adds: I also love books by Courtney Summers + Check out my interview with Courtney Summers!

Visit Kelly at kellybjensen.com and stackedbooks.org and get IT HAPPENS from your retailer of choice today.

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: Experiment escorts us last by Emily Dickinson

August 15th, 2014 (07:00 am)
determined

Current Mood: determined
Current Song: Irish Goodbye by Maria Taylor

Experiment escorts us last -
His pungent company
Will not allow an Axiom
An Opportunity -
- Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.
View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.
Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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