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Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: Pastel by Clara Shanafelt

April 28th, 2017 (06:00 am)
Current Mood: asleep
Current Song: Take Me as I Am by Tonic

She has a clear, wind-sheltered loveliness,
Like pale streams winding far and hills withdrawn
From the bright reaches of the noon. Dawn
Is her lifting fancy, but her heart
Is orchard boughs and dusk and quietness.

- Pastel by Clara Shanafelt

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]

Booklist: Tough Issues for Teens

April 27th, 2017 (09:00 am)
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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INCARCERATION OF A RELATIVE
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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]

Booklist: Set in School and Transition Times

April 27th, 2017 (08:30 am)
nerdy

Current Mood: nerdy
Current Song: Four Years by Jon McLaughlin

My friend Claire asked for a list of YA books which focused on school life. After giving her some recommendations, I typed up this list, and kept adding more and more titles until I had a booklist populated with characters in various grade levels going through all sorts of transitions.

Elementary and middle school:

The Ramona books by Beverly Cleary - Follow Ramona from age 4 to age 10.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson - While Astrid spends the summer before junior high at roller derby camp, she can feel her best friend drifting away. Great graphic novel with a sporty punch!

Sixth Grade Secrets by Louis Sachar - Classic girls vs. boys story that also encourages honesty and inspires laughter.

Standing for Socks by Elissa Brent Weissman - Entering middle school, and searching for individualism.

... and, of course, The Baby-Sitters Club. Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey are in seventh grade when the series begins. After a handful of books, they are promoted to eighth grade, at which time they gain two additional members, Jessi and Mallory, who are sixth graders. The girls stay in middle school for the remainder of the series. The original four girls finally graduated from eighth grade at the end of the final series, Friends Forever.

Between middle school and high school:
Transitioning from middle school to high school can be exciting, scary, difficult, and overwhelming. The following stories include middle school graduations and/or the summer between middle school and high school.

The Summer I Saved the World...in 65 Days by Michele Weber Hurwitz

Lucky by Rachel Vail (the first in a trilogy about sisters)

Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet by Sherri L. Smith

Freshman year of high school:
I highly recommend all of the titles on this freshman list. They get it, they really do.

The True Meaning of Cleavage by Mariah Fredericks - The separation of two best friends. Highly recommended.

Nothing but the Truth by Avi - This documentary novel chronicles the life of a ninth grade boy whose minor disturbance in class leads to a major media story.

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar - A fantastic story, a well-written book.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - School factors heavily into this incredibly memorable story.

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson - In this case, the freshman is the protagonist's younger sister, Hannah.

So Not the Drama by Paula Chase - Four friends navigate the high school hallways. The first in a series.

Perfect Girl by Mary Hogan - A first crush, a worldly aunt, and so much more.

The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith - Grieving and healing, a girl and a boy, alone and together.

Looks by Madeleine George - One of the two main characters is a freshman, the other a sophomore.

A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell - A freshman girl, still reeling from the loss of her older brother, must enter high school without him there to help her.

Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas - The only member of her family to escape her father's abuse, a quiet girl enters high school, finds her place on the volleyball court, and finds her voice.

Deep in the Heart of High School by Veronica Goldbach - Three best friends - three very different girls who play different instruments in the school marching band and have totally different families - march through their freshman year of high school.

Boarding school and/or private school - for elementary and middle school readers:

The Ballet School Diaries by Alexandra Moss - This cute and fun series for kids is set at a ballet boarding school in the UK.

Accidentally Fabulous series by Lisa Papademetriou - The fashionable protagonist goes to a private middle school on scholarship.
- Accidentally Fabulous
- Accidentally Famous
- Accidentally Fooled
- Accidentally Friends

Boarding school and/or private school - for teen and adult readers:

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - Tracing the roots decades-old struggle for power between three types of kids - Jellicoe School (boarding school) students, local Townies, and Cadets from a school in Sydney - and climbing the family tree. Published as On the Jellicoe Road in Australia. Highly recommended.

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta - An all-boys school goes co-ed. Recommended.

Looking for Alaska by John Green - Coming-of-age at a modern-day Alabama boarding school. Highly recommended.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart - A fresh take on secret societies, with a young girl thwarting some smirky boys. A great book set a modern day boarding school. Highly recommended.

Breathless by Jessica Warman - After something happens to her older brother, Katie's parents send her off to boarding school, and she is surprised by how much she loves it there. The book follows her from sophomore year through graduation.

The Poison Apples by Lily Archer - Three girls at boarding school bond over their family situations: each has recently acquired a stepmother. Though it uses the fairy tale metaphor, this book isn't a fantasy, nor is it magical realism. It is realistic fiction, and it is really good. Modern day.

A Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy by Libba Bray - Historical fantasy set in a Victorian girls' boarding school. Incredibly imaginative and intriguing.
- A Great and Terrible Beauty
- Rebel Angels
- The Sweet Far Thing

Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman - Two best friends consider Pride & Prejudice and get involved in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Modern day. Recommended.

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg - A modern-day retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, set in boarding school.

Headlong by Kathe Koja - When a new girl transfers to The Vaughn School, a private school for girls, a lifelong Vaughn student starts to see her school - and her life - differently.

The Gallagher Girls books by Ally Carter - A top-secret modern-day spy school for girls.

The Love series by Emily Franklin - Love starts going to New England boarding school when her dad becomes the principal. Modern day.

The end of senior year:

The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando - One week before they graduate from high school, Mary and her friends take part in their school's official-unofficial scavenger hunt.

The summer following high school graduation:

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

The Story of Us by Deb Caletti

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Return to Me by Justina Chen

Making it through your first year of college:

The Body of Evidence series by Christopher Golden and Rick Hautala - In the first book, Body Bags, protagonist Jenna Blake is just about to enter college. The first line of the first chapter: "It was a beautiful day to grow up." There are ten books in this series, following Jenna through a good chunk of her college life.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour - Marin suffered a tremendous loss the summer before her freshman year of college. The book goes back and forth between one winter weekend three months into college and May/June before.

Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn - An intelligent but technology-addicted young woman has a difficult time balancing school and fun during her freshman year at Columbia University.

Additional stories in which school is a supporting character:

Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters - The main characters start seeing each other before school. Literally.

Innocence by Jane Mendelsohn - Oh, the scenes in the lunchroom! I love this book so much.

Swollen by Melissa Lion - Your perceptions of your classmates may differ from the truth. From their truths. From your truths.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan - I wish all schools were this open and accepting. I wish all people were this open and accepting.

Follow a girl through elementary school, middle school, and high school in the Alice McKinley books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. The series has over twenty titles. The Agony of Alice was the first book and is set in middle school. The author has since written prequels, making Starting With Alice (third grade) the earliest story on the timeline. The Grooming of Alice describes the summer between her eighth grade and ninth grade years. Alice Alone starts off her freshman year. For the full breakdown of titles and grades, please click here.

Barthe DeClements had fun with her grade-oriented dramadies for young readers:
- The Fourth Grade Wizards by Barthe DeClements
- Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade in Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements
- Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You by Barthe DeClements
- How Do You Lose Those Ninth-Grade Blues? by Barthe DeClements

Classics:
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Good-Bye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

For even more stories set in school, please refer to the categories of academic cheating and teacher influence within my Tough Issues for Teens booklist.

Also check out my After Graduation booklist.

Little Willow [userpic]

LJ 18th anniversary

April 25th, 2017 (06:36 am)




#mylivejournal #lj18 #happybirthday

Little Willow [userpic]

Earth Day Every Day!

April 22nd, 2017 (07:00 am)
thirsty

Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: Topper score music

Celebrate Earth Day every day! Here are just a few ways you can help protect this planet of ours and inspire others to do the same.

Every single time you go to throw something away, take a moment to consider how you could recycle, reduce, or reuse that item. Don't just toss things in the trash.

Be creative! Use that empty oatmeal canister to store fruit or jewelry or socks - but not all at the same time - or make it into a drum!

Recycle everything that you can - newspapers, plastic bottles, tin cans, everything. Check containers to see if they can be recycled and either take them to a local recycling center or, if you have separate trash bins for recyclables and greenery, use them properly and encourage your family and neighbors to do the same.

Bring your own canvas bags to the grocery store and other shops.

Buy locally grown and/or organic foods. After a meal, give those uneaten bread crusts to the creatures outside. I know, I know, you don't want to attract raccoons and such into your yard, but maybe you can feed the ducks at the pond or offer those crumbs to the critters at a local park. If possible, make a compost pile. I admittedly don't have a compost pile, but I buy day-old bread and feed wild squirrels almost every week when it's good weather. (The folks at Seven-Imp know all about this!)

Eat at home and you'll save time and money, spend more time with your loved ones, and consume healthier foods. If you have to eat at work or school, pack your food in a reusable lunchbag or lunchbox, and include reusable utensils, plates, and containers.

Get a reusable beverage container and keep it with you. Summer's coming, so it's time to hydrate even more than usual! (Those of you that know me well won't be surprised to learn that one of my reusable bottles, that which goes to and from theatres, auditions, and rehearsals with me, is decorated with Tinker Bell.)

When making purchases of any kind, look for items made of recycled and/or organic materials. Try not to buy things with excessive, wasteful packaging. Consider what it is that you're getting. Do you really need things to be individually wrapped?

Before you print something out, think about whether or not you really need to print it. If not, DON'T. Save that ink and that paper. When you do have to use paper, always use both sides, then recycle it when you're done with it.

Walk whenever you can, wherever you can.

Use public transportation whenever you can.

Carpool to and from work, school, and other places.

Exercise daily. Make an effort to MOVE MORE. Take a walk at lunch and/or before or after work, especially if you have a job where you sit all day. WALK. WALK. WALK. Also run, or run-walk, or hike. Ride a bicycle, a tricycle, a skateboard, a scooter - whatever works for you and runs solely on the power of your own two feet (and arms, and heart, and lungs...) Make it part of your daily exercise routine. If you include friends or family members, you're more likely to meet your goals because you will be challenging and encouraging each other. Whether you are with friends or by yourself, make sure that you have the proper safety equipment (helmet, kneepads, armpads, etc) - plus that trusty reusable drinking container filled with fresh, cool water, and good-for-you snacks, like dried fruit or granola bars! If you're going on a big hike or biking an offbeat trail or something like that by yourself, please, please make sure someone knows where you are, because I get really worried when I picture you doing that alone.

After you read this post, GET UP AND WALK AROUND YOUR HOUSE. (I mean walking around inside, but if you actually go outside and walk around the perimeter of your house, give yourself kudos, and give me photographic evidence, videotaped proof, or something.)

For those of you unfamiliar with Earth Day, I'll give you a brief history: The United Nations celebrates Earth Day annually on the March equinox, inspired by activist John McConnell in 1969. In 1970, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day as an environmental "teach-in," and it is celebrated annually on April 22nd in the United States and other countries.

Again I say: Earth Day every day!

Related Posts:

The Julie books by Megan McDonald - I highly recommend that you read Julie and the Eagles in your classroom or library and at home with your family!

Readergirlz: Community Challenge: Go Eco - From June 2007

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: Invocation by Clara Shanafelt

April 21st, 2017 (06:00 am)
artistic

Current Mood: artistic
Current Song: Rapid Eye Movement by David Cook

O glass-blower of time,
Hast blown all shapes at thy fire?
Canst thou no lovelier bell,
No clearer bubble, clear as delight, inflate me-
Worthy to hold such wine
As was never yet trod from the grape,
Since the stars shed their light, since the moon
Troubled the night with her beauty?

- Invocation by Clara Shanafelt

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]

Ararat by Christopher Golden

April 18th, 2017 (04:04 pm)
excited

Current Mood: excited
Current Song: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. score music by Bear McCreary


Attention readers! Christopher Golden's newest thriller ARARAT is now available. Check out the cover summary for this action-packed story, fresh off the presses:

Fans of Dan Simmons' THE TERROR will love ARARAT, the thrilling tale of an adventure that goes awry.

When a newly engaged couple climbs Mount Ararat in Turkey, an avalanche forces them to seek shelter inside a massive cave uncovered by the snow fall. The cave is actually an ancient, buried ship that many quickly come to believe is really Noah's Ark.

But when a team of scholars, archaeologists, and filmmakers make it inside the ark for the first time, they discover an elaborate coffin in its recesses - and when they break it open, they find that the cadaver within is an ugly, misshapen thing - and it has horns. A massive blizzard blows in, trapping them in that cave thousands of meters up the side of a remote mountain - but they are not alone.


Read an excerpt now.

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: A Gallant Woman by Clara Shanafelt

April 14th, 2017 (06:00 am)
awake

Current Mood: awake
Current Song: Circadian by David Cook

She burst fierce wine
From the tough skin of pain,
Like wind that wrings from rigid skies
A scant and bitter gleam,
Long after the autumnal dusk
Has folded all the valleys in.

- A Gallant Woman by Clara Shanafelt

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]

Poetry Friday: Unrest by Don Marquis

April 7th, 2017 (06:00 am)
Current Song: Declaration by David Cook

A fierce unrest seethes at the core
Of all existing things:
It was the eager wish to soar
That gave the gods their wings.

- the opening stanza of Unrest by Don Marquis

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]

The Reading Without Walls Challenge

April 3rd, 2017 (08:27 am)
good
Tags: ,

Current Mood: good
Current Song: Heart and Music from A New Brain

Image courtesy of Macmillian/First Second Books

As described by Macmillian, Reading Without Walls is a month-long, nation-wide program to promote diversity in reading, inspired by National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Gene Luen Yang and his ambassadorial platform. Thousands of schools, libraries, bookstores, and comics stores are joining in - and so can you! It's easy to take the Reading Without Walls challenge - simply find something new and different to read, and let books open up the world around you.

1) Read a book with a character who doesn't look like you or live like you
2) Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about
3) Read a book in a format you don’t normally read for fun – an audio book, a graphic novel, a book in verse, an audio book

What are you waiting for? Go find a book that fits each category, or whichever challenge you like the best - or find one nifty book that fits all three!

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