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Best Books of July 2016

July 31st, 2016 (08:02 pm)
sleepy

Current Mood: sleepy
Current Song: Right Hand Man from the musical Hamilton

July 2016: 10 books and scripts read

Non-Fiction Pick
Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

Fiction Picks
You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan
Tell Us Something True by Dana Reinhardt

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: Red-headed Restaurant Cashier by Carl Sandburg

July 29th, 2016 (06:00 am)
happy

Current Mood: happy
Current Song: Binary Love by Blake Lewis

Shake back your hair; let go your laughter.

Carl Sandburg wrote this line about a red-headed restaurant cashier; I share it here for anyone that needs encouragement to be themselves and to be happy.

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

July 28th, 2016 (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
Read more...Collapse )

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.
Read more...Collapse )

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
Read more...Collapse )

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]

Poetry Friday: Song of the Redwood-Tree by Walt Whitman

July 22nd, 2016 (06:00 am)
optimistic

Current Mood: optimistic
Current Song: Who We Are by Hope Partlow

Murmuring out of its myriad leaves,
Down from its lofty top, rising two hundred feet high,
Out of its stalwart trunk and limbs - out of its foot-thick bark,
That chant of the seasons and time - chant, not of the past only, but the future.

- selected lines from Song of the Redwood-Tree by Walt Whitman

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: A letter to Eliza from Alexander Hamilton

July 15th, 2016 (06:00 am)
content

Current Mood: content
Current Song: Take a Break from the musical Hamilton

A letter from Alexander Hamilton to Elizabeth Schuyler, August 1780:

Impatiently My Dearest have I been expecting the return of your father to bring me a letter from my charmer with the answers you have been good enough to promise me to the little questions asked in mine by him. I long to see the workings of my Betsey's heart, and I promise my self I shall have ample gratification to my fondness in the sweet familiarity of her pen. She will there I hope paint me her feelings without reserve - even in those tender moments of pillowed retirement, when her soul abstracted from every other object, delivers itself up to Love and to me - yet with all that delicacy which suits the purity of her mind and which is so conspicuous in whatever she does.

Now that's poetry.

... and this next bit is hilarious:

It is now a week my Betsey since I have heard from you. In that time I have written you twice. I think it will be advisable in future to number our letters, for I have reason to suspect they do not all meet with fair play. This is number one.

Click here to read the full letter.

Here is Lin-Manuel Miranda reading the letter at Hamilton's #Ham4Ham show on July 6th:



If you cannot see the video player above, click here to watch it on YouTube. (Thank you, Howard Sherman.)

Read my review of Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter aka the Hamiltome.

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: Multiple Narrators

July 13th, 2016 (08:10 am)
thirsty

Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: So Young by The Corrs

There are two sides to every story - or three, or four, or more. Here are more than a dozen stories for pre-teens, teens, and adults which employ multiple narrators, listed alphabetically by author:

The Poison Apples by Lily Archer (classmates)
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (classmates)
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler (best friends)
Never Mind! by Avi and Rachel Vail (twins)
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June by Robin Benway (sisters)
Just Flirt by Laura Bowers (enemies)
Devine Intervention by Martha Brockenbrough (guardian and charge)
Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell (sisters)
A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley (acquaintances become friends)
When It Happens by Susane Colasanti (classmates, then...)
Take Me There by Susane Colasanti (friends)
If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko (classmates)
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (strangers at first)
Naomi & Ely's No-Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (friends)
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (strangers at first)
Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman (relatives, neighbors, classmates)
Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis (grandmother and granddaughter)
Peas and Carrots by Tanita S. Davis (foster sisters)
The Fruit Bowl Project by Sarah Durkee (classmates)
To Be Mona by Kelly Easton (classmates)
Dirty Laundry by Daniel Ehrenhaft (classmates)
Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles (antagonists, then...)
In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth (organ donor and recipient)
Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin (coworkers)
The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante (best friends)
The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George (classmates)
Split Image by Mel Glenn (classmates)
Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes (classmates)
Hit by Lorie Ann Grover (student and teacher)
Takeoffs and Landings by Margaret Peterson Haddix (siblings)
Burn for Burn trilogy by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (classmates)
- Burn for Burn
- Fire with Fire
- Ashes to Ashes
Grand & Humble by Brent Hartinger (classmates)
The Drake Chronicles (series) by Alyxandra Harvey (best friends - one's a vampire)
Identical by Ellen Hopkins (twins)
Impulse by Ellen Hopkins (patients)
Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes (classmates)
A Time for Dancing by Davida Wills Hurwin (best friends)
All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab (classmates)
After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel (classmates, then...)
Feathered by Laura Kasischke (best friends)
You Are My Only by Beth Kephart (relatives)
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles (friends)
Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles (friends, classmates, siblings, neighbors, more)
Going Under by Kathe Koja (siblings)
The Girls by Amy Goldman Koss (friends)
The Cheat by Amy Goldman Koss (classmates)
Poison Ivy by Amy Goldman Koss (classmates)
Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney (3 generations of teen girls)
You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan (classmates)
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan (schoolmates)
Are We There Yet? by David Levithan (brothers)
How to Be Bad by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski and Lauren Myracle (friends/co-workers)
Leap Day by Wendy Mass (classmates)
Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass (new friends)
The Sisters Club series by Megan McDonald (sisters)
- The Sisters Club
- The Sisters Club: The Rule of Three
- The Sisters Club: Cloudy With a Chance of Boys
The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty (best friends)
The Secret Language of Girls and its sequel, The Kind of Friends We Used to Be by Frances O'Dowell (best friends who grow apart)
Amity by Micol Ostow (residents of the same house, 10 years apart)
Jersey Tomatoes are the Best by Maria Padian (best friends)
A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic by Lisa Papademetriou (two girls connected through a book)
Harmless by Dana Reinhardt (friends)
34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues (friends and sisters)
The Bridge from Me to You by Lisa Schroeder (classmates, then...)
To Feel Stuff by Andrea Seigel (two college students at the school infirmary and an M.D.) [Note: Adult fiction]
The Swap by Megan Shull (classmates)
The Way He Lived by Emily Wing Smith (classmates, siblings, and friends)
This is What I Want to Tell You by Heather Duffy Stone (siblings)
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone (schoolmates)
Give A Boy A Gun by Todd Strasser (schoolmates, teachers, etc.)
Hung Up by Kristen Tracy (strangers, then friends)
The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld (bandmates)
Afterworlds by by Scott Westerfeld (a writer and her protagonist - but the two worlds do not meet/crossover)
Under the Light by Laura Whitcomb (ghost and host)
Leftovers by Laura Wiess (best friends)
Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia (classmates)
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (two teenage girls)
Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando (two college-bound girls)
Anyone But You by Lara M. Zeises (raised like siblings)

Note: Jodi Picoult, whose novels often have teenage protagonists but are shelved in adult fiction, typically have multiple narrators.

Little Willow [userpic]

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

July 9th, 2016 (11:53 am)
artistic

Current Mood: artistic
Current Song: Hamilton musical soundtrack

The musical Hamilton has taken Broadway - and the world - by storm. Led by the impressive Lin-Manuel Miranda, this show has inspired art, song, and activism, encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to learn from America's past and stand together to make a better tomorrow.

Hamilton: An American Musical was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the show's book, music, and lyrics and also starred in the title role. The show, which is based on the real life of founding father Alexander Hamilton, blends hip-hop with traditional musical theatre storytelling. It was nominated for a record-setting 16 Tony Awards with 11 wins. It was inspired Ron Chernow's acclaimed biography of Alexander Hamilton.

Now there's another book to join the ranks: Hamilton: The Revolution. Lovingly referred to as the Hamiltome by fans and creators alike, the full title of this publication is as follows:


Hamilton
the Revolution
Being the complete libretto
of the
Broadway musical,
with a true account of
its creation,
and concise remarks on
hip-hop, the power of stories,
and the new America



Try saying that three times fast. (Daveed Diggs probably could.)

Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, the Hamiltome belongs in both the history section and the musical theatre section of the library. It contains a full libretto of the show, with lyrics for every single song in the production, accompanied by full-color photographs from the show. The musical is mostly sung-through, with very little dialogue that isn't accompanied by music, so this book truly contains the complete libretto.

But that isn't even half of it. The book is chock-full of interviews with the cast and creatives, describing the path the show took from inception to production, from Lin singing a draft of the first song at the White House Poetry Jam in 2009 to the workshop in 2013 to the move to Broadway in 2015 and everything in-between and beyond. Lin provides over 200 footnotes, noting the beats, lyrics, and lines that were inspired by other artists, rappers, composers, and characters in other musicals, films, and TV shows (what's up, Leslie Knope?)

You want behind-the-scenes pictures? Hamiltome has 'em. Dig the real stuff, quotes from historical documents and Hamilton's personal letters? That's there, too. One of my favorite things about this book is its thoughtful and candid insight into the creative process, with interviews and input from Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, music director Alex Lacamoire, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, producers, and more. I also love that it names and compliments every single member of the cast, shining the spotlight on individuals in pages surrounding their character's solos or standout moments, celebrating the talents and importance of the ensemble.

This show is impressive not only in what it accomplishes on stage, but also offstage: It has encouraged people to discuss America's past, present, and future. It also helped lots of high school students with their AP History tests. It has broken the traditional casting mold and given performers opportunities to play characters they might not otherwise. It has given new voice to an old story.

It's been said time and time again: Hamilton the musical is America then as told by America now.

As someone who has followed Lin's career for a decade and thus soaked up every bit of Hamilton since that fateful White House presentation, I am very happy that the show has had such an impact - and as a bookworm since birth, I am very happy that this show has such an awesome book to put in the hands of history buffs and musical theatre aficionados alike. Three cheers for the Hamiltome.

Read an excerpt.

Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda's performance at the White House Poetry Jam in 2009, accompanied by Alex Lacamoire.

This review was cross-posted at GuysLitWire.

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: Ulysses by Josh Garrels

July 8th, 2016 (05:00 am)
hopeful

Current Mood: hopeful
Current Song: Ulysses by Josh Garrels

I'm holding onto hope that one day this could be made right
'Cause I've been shipwrecked
and left for dead
and I have seen the darkest sights

Everyone I've loved seems like a stranger in the night
But, oh, my heart still burns
Tells me to return
and search the fading light

I'm sailing home to you
I won't be long
By the light of moon
I will press on
Until I find my love

Trouble has beset my ways and wicked winds have blown
Sirens call my name
They say they'll ease my pain
Then break me on the stones

But true love is the burden that will carry me back home
Carry me with the memories of the beauty I have known

I'm sailing home to you
I won't be long
By the light of moon
I will press on
Until I find my love

So tie me to the mast of this old ship and point me home
Before I lose the one I love
Before my chance is gone
I want to hold her in my arms

- Ulysses by Josh Garrels



If you can't see the video player above, click here to listen to the song.

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]

Best Books of June 2016

July 1st, 2016 (12:47 pm)
sleepy

Current Mood: sleepy
Current Song: Broadchurch score music by Ólafur Arnalds

Summer has been busy so far! In June, I read 9 books and scripts, none of which are published yet, so I can't expand on them any further at this time.

But while I have your attention, if you want to share the love of reading, if you have gently used books you'd like to donate to a good cause, if you want to get books in the hands of eager readers, please check out Just. One. Book. Thank you!

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: Youth and Age by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

July 1st, 2016 (06:00 am)
hopeful

Current Mood: hopeful
Current Song: My Song by Alessia Cara

Flowers are lovely;
Love is flower-like;
Friendship is a sheltering tree

- from Youth and Age by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Read the full poem here.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.