Tag Archives: Books

Lists, Lists, Lists, and More Lists……

Association for Library Service to Children’s Notable Books of 2011
Amazon’s Best Teen Books

Amazon’s Best Children’s Picture Books of 2011 
Brain Pickings’ Best Children’s Books of 2011
Common Sense Media’s Kids Book Picks 
Horn Book’s Best Books of 2011
Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Fiction of 2011
Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2011
NY Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2011 
NY Times Notable Children’s Books of 2011
Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Fiction of 2011 
Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Nonfiction of 2011 
San Francisco Chronicle’s Best Children’s Books
Spellbinders’ Best Picture Books of 2011
Wall St Journal’s Best Children’s Books of 2011

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Young People’s Literature – 2011 National Book Award Finalists

Though I haven’t read any of these, it’s always good to know what’s getting praise, so here’s the National Book Award finalist. Sometimes I find these choices are hit and miss because they are chosen for import, politics or skill in writing – not story. Story and being compelling is more important to a good read than anything. 
Age Range: 10 – 14
The story of three Iñupiaq children (then known as Eskimos) living above the Arctic Circle who are sent to a Catholic boarding school with other children, white and Indian.
Age Range: 10 – 14
It’s 1968.
Age Range: 14 – 18
When her gay best friend is brutally beaten in contemporary Black Creek, N.C., a withdrawn teen tracks his assailant.
Age Range: 14 – 18
“I’ve confessed to everything and I’d like to be hanged. Now, if you please.”
Age Range: 9 – 12
An enlightening, poignant and unexpectedly funny novel in verse is rooted in the author’s childhood experiences.
FLESH AND BLOOD SO CHEAP The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy By Albert Marrin
Age Range: 12 – 18
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911 resulted in the greatest loss of life in a New York City workplace until the 9/11 attacks nearly a century later.
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Best YA Books You Probably Haven’t Read

RUBY HOLLER by Sharon Creech

THE HOUSE OF MANY WAYS by Diana Wynn Jones

THE MAGIC PUDDING by Norman Lindsey


MORTAL ENGINES by Phillip Reeves



* Check back on this one as I will be updating the list as I remember them. 

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This is my first book smackdown, in what I hope will be many more. Basically, I take similarly themes YA novels and compare them. At the end, I’ll tell you my favorite and why.


The Future vs. The Future Past

Science Fiction Vs. Steampunk

Female Protagonist Vs. Male & Female Protagonists

Society as Villain Vs. Politics as Villain

High Personal Stakes Vs. a Higher Social Stake

Light Sci Fi tech Vs. Super Sci Fi Biology tech.

With very similar ideas of the future, both novels explore human’s tampering with biology and DNA. “LEVIATHAN” is set in 1913 where Europe is on the brink of the Great War and divided by Germany’s severe religious views regarding anti-genetic engineering Vs. Darwin’s England with spliced animals flying bigger (Inspired by the demon above) and greater the any Zeppelin. England rules the skies with hybrid animals. Stuck in the middle is a runaway prince whose parents have just been assassinated in order to start war. “THE HUNGER GAMES” starts simple, an older sister volunteers to take the place of her younger one in a teenage death match. Katniss (A flower as pictured above) is paired with a boy who once helped her when she needed it most. The Capitol separates society in a severe class structure in order to prevent uprisings.


“THE HUNGER GAMES” is grounded in emotions. We care for the characters and we want them to survive. The writer never forgets that we must like and understand our heros in order to enjoy the journey. READ IT!

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Rom Fan

Only the self-absorbed seem to move forward in Hollywood these days… so I started a blog.

I thought I’d also coin the term for a newish/oldish genre –  Rom Fan – just to fully embrace my new egomaniacal pursuit.

“Romantic Fantasy…?” you say. It slips right off the tongue! A guilty pleasure for a non-young adult, though one at heart. Rom Fan’s are more than just Twilight, which in my opinion is poorly written and not the best example of the genre, just the most successful.House of Night is wonderful! It is terribly written and stuffed full of pop culture that will be obsolete in the next few moments. Writer’s note: It’s best to just come up with your own slang that way it won’t ever be passe. Clockwork Orange or Clueless are good examples.However, the series starting with Marked grabs you by the balls and won’t let go. It’s a roller coaster story that had me hooked on page one, it’s jammed packed with action, great characters and unique mythology. My fingers are crossed that my friend Michael will get this one up. Check out the HON website, it’s a great example of effective and integrated transmedia storytelling.

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Three Simple Rules of YA Adaptations

Rule 1


Rule 2

Expand on an important moment to create emotional significance when it’s needed. Steven Kloves is the High King of this!

Rule 3

If in doubt, leave it out…and don’t fracking change shit.



* Just so we’re clear on Rule 1…you changed it, you fracked it.

Note: Please wait, hold your breath even, whomever you are, for my forthcoming blog, “The One Exception” for said exception…

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