Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Some YA classics!

Already, the third week of July draws to a close. August is just around the corner, and I find myself daydreaming about Fall. This week, I thought I'd take a moment to look at some of the real classics of YA literature, books that I have read over and over and over. Some of them are likely books you know, or have read, but you'd be surprised at how many books are wonderfully written masterpieces that still manage to slip under the radar! A little mix of new and old, all expertly crafted, for your consideration this week.

Firstly, one of my absolute all-time favorites: A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin. If you like fantasy at all, or if you enjoy musing about philosophy or morality or spirituality, you will love this book. On the surface, it is easy to mistake it for a book that follows the same formula as HP, a world suffused with magic that only some people can control, a school that teaches the art of magic, and a bunch of traditional fantasy ideas (dragons and the like). However, these similarities are completely superficial - Earthsea uses the coming-of-age plot to explore deeply rich and profoundly moving ideas about the nature of things. In this, it is much more like The Hobbit but, much shorter and without as much dense prose. I read this book over and over for the ways it tackles deep issues and the incredible world that I want to lose myself in. I admit that, being published in 1968, it isn't nearly as modern as most YA in terms of its language, but this is a book that is written. Even if fantasy isn't your typical genre, or if you didn't care much for HP, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Read it.

Next up on this week's list is Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram. This is a powerful slice-of-life tale that is both beautifully written and powerful. One of my favorite books about the notion of 'fitting in', Darius has one of the best voices of any main character ever, in that it so perfectly captures the awkward voice of an outcast who, while dealing with depression and the weight of his world, has become embittered and sometimes cruel. As the story progresses and the beautiful and painful truths of the world unfold to Darius in his travels to Iran, it becomes so easy to root for him and his growing friendship with Sohrab. I read this book over and over for its compelling narration and the weight it places on friendship. If you read it, I think you will, too.

I know that book in verse are not everyone's cup of tea, but Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds is an incredible work of storytelling. Fiercely quick, and powerful enough to linger long after the last page ends, this is a work that a reader can return to again and again. Telling the tale of Will and his elevator ride towards vengeance, armed with his dead brother's gun and the Rules, this work paints a moving portrait of a boy caught in a web society has spun for him. The violence he means to unleash at the pull of his finger is senseless, and he knows it, but he is bound. I read this book over and over for its supreme sense of tension and the way my gut drops at the ending of the story. This is a book worth reading poetry for.

Speaking of trends in YA, the idea of the dystopia has been repeated, revisited, rehashed, re-imagined, and redone over and again in young adult stories. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy imagining these sorts of futures, but too often these stories fall into ruts of imagination and end up same-y. Not so for Scythe, by Neal Shusterman, which examines the idea of death in a society that has made itself immortal. While many sci-fi authors have examined this particular aspect of the dystopia, Scythe stands out thanks to an absolutely stunning plot, which twists and weaves through the alternating perspectives of Citra and Rowan. Again and again, the story surprises and delights, and even some of the more predictable twists are written with absolute flourish, making events satisfying to read. I read this book over and over again for the absolute joy a number of the scenes induce with their detail and execution.

Finally, another of my all-time top favorite books, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, is a wonderful, wonderful story. The story examines a simple event from the point of view of Christopher John Francis Boone, who is a person with autism. Draped in the disguise of a mystery novel, the story is really about Christopher coming to grips with some serious truths about his life, while pushing we the reader outside of our neurotypical perspectives. Few books so well capture my attention and empathy. I read this book over and over again to remind myself of the perspective of others, and to enjoy an incredibly documented journey of growth and self-discovery.

Well, that's it for this week. I hope you pick up one of these books and find one of my favorites as enjoyable as I do! Next week, I'll be back with another set of recommendations, so I hope you'll stop by! Remember that even though the NFPL is closed for renovations, these books can be checked out electronically through Libby and enjoyed on any e-reader or phone.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Graphic Memoirs about America

Welcome to the second week of July! Hopefully, you're doing your best to stay cool as the heatwave continues. For this week's list, I wanted to continue the conversation about graphic novels and draw some attention to one of my personal favorite subgenres, the graphic memoir. For me, they are the perfect blend of art and history (serious Hamilton vibes?) and are always fascinating to read. I wanted to narrow my focus a little bit and look at a few memoirs that explore what it means to be an American. These stories, each told from different perspectives, help us grapple with the complexity of the American experience. Let's get started!

First up is the brilliant They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, a powerful personal story penned by one of the most compelling speakers of our times. While Mr. Takei is best known for his hot takes on social media (or his groundbreaking role in Star Trek if you're a science fiction nerd like me!), this story speaks of the reflections of his time spent in the Japanese internment camps during World War II. Unquestionably one of the great shames of our nation in the 1900s, this story tells a deeply personal account of courage and loyalty expressed by these Americans (and, as the story goes, by some of the people manning the camps.) The line illustrations of Justin Eisinger capture the facial expressions and tone of the story in well-crafted and intelligent ink, adding depth and detail to an already moving account of an American's journey. A powerful piece.

Next on this week's list is I Was Their American Dream, by Malaka Gharib. It is a shorter and more whimsical memoir that covers some familiar ground - an immigrant family learning to adapt to their new life as Americans. However, this story has a few components that make it really stand out to me. The first is that the family is not mono-cultural. Malaka's father is Egyptian and Muslim, while her mother is Filipino and Catholic, and much of the story revolves around the difficulties of trying to fit in three different cultures and ideals into one family. As Malaka grows and comes into her own, she also has to grapple, a little, with the reality that America is more than what it appears. Add on the expectations of her parents, who see her as a vessel to live out the American experience, and there's no shortage of complications! Another component that I enjoy is the art style. Intentionally whimsical, the book even invites the reader to cut out pages or dress characters with paper dolls (please don't do this if you have a library copy!). The light and fun art provide a compelling contrast to the relative severity of the story and does some pretty amazing things (it only uses three colors - can you guess which ones?). I highly recommend it if you're a fan of stories that balance well!

The next book on this week's list is less of a coming of age story, and more of a travel montage, and is one of the longer titles I've ever seen! It's The American Dream? A Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Man, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito by Shing Yin Khor. In it, Shing, a Malaysian-American who has lived on the West Coast the whole of her life decides that she needs to see more of America than just the coast and big city life she's known. In a reversal of a usual trope, she decides to see the middle of America for herself, traveling along the famous Route 66. Along the way, she interacts with a great deal of Americana, from the clutter of tourist traps to the ghost towns that dot America's oldest highway. The author slowly reconciles her image of the two Americas, rural and urban, and makes some powerful insights into the heart of America. As a resident of a so-called fly-over state, I really loved this book's willingness to break the mold of the big city as being the final destination for any 'real American' and explore the quiet, kind center through an intelligent and observant lens. The watercolor art makes the dream-like qualities of the book stand out even more, and flow so well with the words and ideas on the page. While travelogues aren't for everybody, this one really grabbed my attention!

Lastly this week comes No Ivy League, a different sort of memoir by Hazel Newlevant. It tells the story of privileged, affluent, home-schooled Hazel stepping outside her comfort zone and coming face-to-face with her assumptions and beliefs as she takes on a summer job pulling ivy (an invasive plant) out of a forest near her home of Portland. Richly illustrated and compelling, this book really pushes readers outside their comfort zones through an active examination of privilege and the role it plays in shaping who we are and what we believe. Tack on some hidden history of the racist origins of the city of Portland and a fuller picture is revealed of the depth of Hazel's ignorance. It also manages to avoid lingering too long on guilt and doesn't feel overly burdensome to read.  I enjoyed watching Hazel slowly become more self-aware, and the story is just light enough to keep pages turning. Highly recommended!

Alright, that's all for this week's list! I hope you continue to spend these hot summer days cool and comfortable, with a book in hand! Next week, I'll be back with another set of recommendations, so I hope you'll stop by! Remember that even though the NFPL is closed for renovations, these books can be checked out electronically through Libby and enjoyed on any e-reader or phone. Graphic novels look great on screens, too! I hope to see you again next week!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Great Graphic Novels to Enjoy in July!

Hey everyone! Welcome to the heart of summer! This week, I want to take a look at some of my favorite graphic novels from the last couple of years. Graphic novels are a great way to interact with a story in a compelling and meaningful way while using multiple media to really get a message across! For me, a graphic novel is the perfect light read, something I can read in an afternoon while lounging or even while distracted by other things. I am intentionally avoiding comic books and manga in this list as I really want to shine some light on the lengthier and non-episodic pieces, which sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

Without further ado, then, some great graphic novels to carry you through these sweltering summer days!

First up, Almost American Girl, written and illustrated by Robin Ha. A beautifully illustrated memoir about Robin, who comes to America from South Korea with her mother on what appears to be a vacation. However, the vacation turns into a relocation when Robin's mom - the person she's closest to in the whole world - reveals her intentions to marry a Korean-American and immigrate the two of them, and Robin's world takes a rather wild turn. Full of ideas about what it means to belong and searching for a sense of meaning, Almost American Girl is a great work about the power of art. This, in turn, is served by the amazing artwork used by this graphic novel! I loved so much about this story, but its clever and beautiful art really sells it for me. A worthy use of an A/C afternoon!

Next up on this week's list is Bloom, written by Kevin Panetta. A splendid blend of slow and sweet romance and the importance of the consequences our choices carry, Bloom centers around Ari, who is struggling to find his place in the world. By rights, he is to inherit his family's bakery, but it's fallen on hard times and Ari doesn't really want to be chained to sourdough starter for the rest of his life. He dreams of playing in a band or, really, anything miles away. Enter Hector, a stalwart, even-keeled gentleman who happens to love baking. As the slow-burn romance unfolds, the leading lads' characters are wonderfully developed by intelligent and able prose. This story, coupled with an amazing monochromatic style at the hands of the incredible Savanna Garucheau was a novel I disappeared into for a few hours and emerged from feeling better about things - what more could one ask for?

While Bloom does wonderfully with the beginning of a relationship, my next pick, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki, does wonderfully with the ways in which a relationship can end. Not that the end of a relationship is anything close to wonderful, however this beautiful book examines with earnest candor the messy ways in which a toxic relationship harms a person. This book is must-read material for, well, everybody, but especially for people who've been through a messy breakup! We see the dysfunction Freddy, in her obsession over Laura Dean, brings to her life. Freddy's other relationships with friends and family suffer, and this book pulls no punches in exploring the depths of love gone sideways. Not to mention the incredible art, illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O'Connell, which takes advantage of the subtlety of design to do some truly incredible things that help tell this story. This is a graphic novel I have a hard time imagining without the pictures, which truly makes it stand out. The best of both worlds!

Okay, this next graphic novel is a little bit of a cheat, as it's more like a one-shot comic book or a graphic short-story, but it's too good not to include. I refer to Rainbow Rowell's Pumpkinheads. It's tempting to call this a perfect autumn read because it so strongly summons the best parts of fall, but I think that'd be underselling it. This is a book about the magic of one purposeful day. The best kind of story that details the celebration of the end of one great thing before the start of something new and unknown. A lot of the magic of the story comes from the amazing illustrations, crafted by the incredible Faith Erin Hicks, which really capture the setting. I love a good story about living in the moment, and this is one of the best of them. It's short but full of potent memory and well-crafted characters, and I enjoyed so much the friendship between Deja and Josiah. I'm thinking about reading it again just talking about it!

One of my favorite aspects of graphic novels is the way in which they can express emotion. As so much of how we communicate is non-verbal, having facial expressions and body language illustrated really helps communicate a tone or feeling. Hey, Kiddo, written and illustrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, is a deep and heavy look at family, at grief, and at growing through difficult circumstances. It is a masterwork at the art of conveying emotions, and at coming to terms with the difference between perfection and acceptance. The loose, flowing watercolor illustrations contrast well with the heavy and concrete topic matter, and I love the attention to detail that happens in key moments throughout the story. While it's not a typical summertime read, it is extraordinarily good, full of moving and sometimes difficult scenes that deal with Jarrett's family struggle with drug addiction. People looking for a pick-me-up should maybe look elsewhere, but for folks who want a great story, even if it hurts a little, this is an excellent choice. Also, it uses art as a coping mechanism, and I love it!

Finally, I've saved my favorite for last. Those of you who know me already know how I feel about Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak as a work of great importance to the field of YA novels. Speak: The Graphic Novel came out in 2018, so it's a little older than these other books, but the graphic novel edition so greatly enhances one of my favorite works for people to read that I had to include it. The stark, monochromatic illustrations provided by Emily Carroll place a powerful emphasis on Melinda's struggles with her trauma, and the subtle changes in her that promote her growth. A compelling and satisfying read from start to finish, Speak stands as a testament to what a graphic novel could be - the merger of two forms of art so flawlessly symbiotic that the story is enhanced page after page. Read this book.

As the first days of July wind down and the Fourth of July holiday fast approaches, I hope you'll pick up a graphic novel or two from this list - they really are exceptional, and I love that art and written word merge so well to create something more than the sum of its parts. Next week, I'll be back with another set of recommendations, so I hope you'll stop by! Remember that even though the NFPL is closed for renovations, these books can be checked out electronically through Libby and enjoyed on any e-reader or phone. Graphic novels look great on screens, too! I hope to see you again next week!

Friday, June 26, 2020

Just in time for the end of June - LGBTQIA fiction!

Okay! Time for another roundup of interesting and well-crafted YA fiction. As the month of June draws to a close and the dog days of summer begin, I believed it is a perfect time to seek shelter with a fan or an AC and get some good reading in! While love stories are the go-to book for this time of year, I try to keep my lists as diverse as possible - there are too many good stories to just stick with one genre!

This week's focus is centered around Pride, with great works featuring LGBTQIA characters or authors. I tried to pick stories that work to "normalize" characters who are LGBTQIA, and spoke from a wide variety of circumstances and identities. There's a lot of ground to cover this week, so let's get to it!

First up, a superbly written thriller, The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown. Starring Sydney, whose father, the town psychologist, dies in a definitely-not-suspicious crash and June, the town beauty who inexplicably shows up at his funeral. The Truth About Keeping Secrets is an emotive book about grief and a slow-burn mystery that builds through the whole story. Full of intelligent details and little clues, this is a book I found myself thinking about well after I closed the cover, and realizing little things about it days later. The characters are realistically multi-dimensional - a true standout of YA literature which tends to rely on tropes and cardboard standees for people too often. Mix in a bumbling and slow romantic element, and an excellent, excellent book is born.

This is not, however, one of those thrillers that is going to make you nervous to turn the page (well, mostly...) but does some really great things to keep the plot unfolding! One of my favorite reads of the year so far!

Next on the list this week is The Henna Wars, by Adiba Jaigirdar. This is a very cool book, in that it takes a well-worn idea - business rivals falling in love - adds compelling contemporary ideas (prejudice, cultural appropriation, and the difficulties of coming out in different places and families) and strikes the perfect balance between them. The end result is a light, lovely read, in which main character Nishat, who is stubborn and not always likable, grows and develops into herself, complete with a better understanding of the culture she has been raised with and her sexuality. And, while this is a romance story at heart, it touches on so many important themes at great length and detail that the romantic components don't overpower the lessons and ideas it contains. It's the sort of book a person can step into and experience another world - the best kind of story.

Oh, and there's tons of descriptions of delicious food! Bonus!

While we're on the topic of well-worn ideas given new life, check out Date Me, Bryson Keller by  Kevin van Whye. A cute story built on a neat gimmick in which Bryson Keller, through a dare he cannot back out on, must agree to date someone new each week - the first person to ask him any given Monday. When a closeted guy, Kai, asks him out, Bryson agrees, and the familiar trope of fake-dating returns once more. However, Date Me, Bryson Keller is set apart from being a trite Hallmark movie by the strength of the writing, especially Kai's character. Correctly angsty but still relatable, Kai's experiences, thoughts, and humor elevate the book and give it a great deal of depth. While superficially cutesy, the book explores the difficulties of being gay and dealing with coming out with a voice that is surprisingly sophisticated from a love story. Fans of Simon vs. the Homo Sapians Agenda will find a lot to love about this book!

Alright, this next book is something of a cheat, as it's the second book in a series. But, it was so good, I had to include it. It is Sword in the Stars, by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy, the second of two books in the Once and Future series. Normally, I would recommend the first book to get started, but...well, I didn't care for the first book much at all! Thankfully, in the sequel the authors have corrected most of the things I didn't like, making it a great choice for people who like science fiction and fantasy! I really enjoyed the retelling of the myths of King Arthur and company from the perspective of their time-hopping reincarnations, but even someone who hasn't read Le Morte d'Arthur will get a genuine kick out of this book. This is a loudly-written book with a funny and intelligent main character in Ari, and a great take on Merlin. Just self-aware enough to be humorous about itself, Sword in the Stars accomplishes the rare feat of a time travel story that doesn't get overly mired in the consequences and keeps a blistering pace towards the end. Seriously, this is a book where things happen and quickly, which just makes it a fun way to spend a summer afternoon.

Will you be lost if you don't read the first book? A little, maybe, but get a couple chapters in and it no longer matters. Personally, I'd Google a synopsis of the first book and save yourself the time (and headache...) and get right to the fun part!

Okay, time for something of a tone switch. My next recommendation, Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender, is a story about the titular and artistic Felix, who is a demiboy examining his gender and sense of identity. The conflict of this story - dealing with the aftermath of being deadnamed and being forcibly outed - is impactful and insightful, especially for someone like me who has no practical point of experience by which to compare. However, what really makes this story impactful is the immaculate way that we are put in Felix's head. His internal monologue is so incredibly apt and creates a powerful experience, even when age and experience tell us that what Felix is thinking or planning on doing is only going to make the problem worse. His deepest thoughts and fears are exposed and laid bare, and at times I almost felt like I was trespassing just by reading the book. An incredible book that explores with earnest majesty and potent acumen the experience of being trans in a world that does not know how to deal with it. A true masterpiece.

Speaking of masterpieces, my next recommendation stands right in that same good company! Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo is another story-in-verse that examines the story of two step-sisters, Camino and Yahaira, who only find out about one another after the tragic death of their father in a plane crash. Based on real events, this book is less about romance and more about the compelling power of grief and the holes that people create in the lives of those they leave behind. Like all good stories told in verse, Clap When You Land uses the best parts of poetry to create a story that is raw and tender, with lines and ideas that literally take your breath away as you read them. Full of different plot twists, incredible characters, and a villain that won't be forgotten, this book keeps its readers in constant motion with its power and poise. Readers of my booklists will know by now my adoration for Acevedo's works, and this is my favorite of hers by far. Take a Sunday and read this book.

Okay YA fam! That's it for this week's list. Next week, I'm going to share some of my favorite graphic novels from the year so far! Remember that even though the NFPL is closed for renovations, these books can be checked out electronically through Libby and enjoyed on any e-reader or phone. I hope to see you again next week!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Great YA reccomendations by BIPOC authors

As this weekend begins the transition from spring into summer, I wanted to refocus my attention on fictional books, and use this space to highlight some of the amazing stories being told by Black, Indigenous, and other persons-of-color authors. A few of these selections directly or indirectly deal with the injustices and difficulties of racism and sexism, but a couple of these books are just so good I opted to include them anyway - no sense giving you compassion fatigue with books you're reading in the summer!

Anyway, first up is The Downstairs Girl Stacey Lee. This book is for fans of historical fiction, taking place in the late 19th century. Centered around Jo Kuan, a Chinese-American girl born in Atlanta, this book explores the powerful and horrific systems of oppression faced by so many Chinese-Americans in the South at the turn of the previous century. Jo, for example, cannot become a citizen of the US, even though she was born on US soil, and is relegated to living in a secret tunnel beneath a newspaper office. Jo is a clever and sometimes opinionated girl, whose wit and charm make a story about such dark topics relatively light to read. Her circumstances, however, require her to be nearly invisible, inside and out. As the story goes on, Jo takes on the role of an advice columnist and begins to outpour her strong opinions, especially on race and gender, under the guise of giving suggestions to other Atlanta residents. It's a wonderful plot device, especially the complications it leads to as the plot develops. A great read, full of character, and just enough intrigue, you'll come for the cool late 1800s aesthetic (horseback rides and sweet hats) and stay for the wonderful writing and clever plot twists.

Second, on this week's list is a second Chinese-American with whom no doubt most of you are familiar! I strongly recommend Marie Lu's Kingdom of Back to take up a week of your summer reading schedule. While this is technically another work of historical fiction, this story leans much more heavily on the 'fiction' part, taking place in both 1700s Austria and...well, elsewhere. The book follows the path of the musical genius Wolfgang Mozart and his older sister, Nannerl, who has the same (or perhaps better!) remarkable genius for music as her brother. However, the setting of the book is against Nannerl, who at the onset of the story, wants nothing more than to be remembered for her talent and genius. Lu's beautiful, poetic style writes a quickly-paced story full of equal measures of 1700s drama and magic. The stunning power of music as magic becomes a shifting point of focus through the course of the book, and its conclusion, well...you'll be thinking about it for days. If you enjoy music, or magic, or any kind of history, this book will have something wonderful to offer.

Next up, a book series for my shippers out there - as these books are so full of possible romantic pairings and intense, intense intrigue you cannot help but speculate! I refer to the excellent Shatter Me series, written by Tahereh Mafi, an Iranian-American. I admit to having only read the first couple of books, but this series of stories is excellent dystopian books. Craftily written about Juliette Ferrars, a girl in a post-apocalyptic North America who has the unfortunate power to kill whomever she touches, and a powerful organization called The Reestablishment, who are seeking to rebuild the shattered world. A tense and emotional thriller, with a great deal that centers around the importance of touch (and all the romance that comes along with it!), Shatter Me turns pages and leaves readers guessing, and Juliette is an incredibly written protagonist, avoiding a common trap in these sorts of books of having the main character be empty vessels for readers to put themselves into. She is cunning and full of personality, both for good and, well, not. If you enjoy guessing what's going to happen next, seasoned with the crackling energy of potential romance, these books are must-reads.

Speaking of must-reads, if I were to pull the magic out of Kingdom of Back, mash it into the intrigue of Shatter Me, and set it in a magical version of South America, I might get something half as good as the incredible Woven in Moonlight by Bolivian-American author Isabel IbaƱez. A high, somewhat dark fantasy centered around Ximena, who serves as a decoy to the Illustrian royal princess Condesa. However, like all of her people, Ximena has been forced into exile by a brutal usurper, Atoc. As Ximena serves as a decoy, and Condesa starts the book seemingly weak-willed, Ximena sees it as her duty to keep her people strong while planning her revenge. But, when Atoc contacts Condesa, asking for her hand in marriage, things get turned on end! Ximena knows it is her duty to go instead, but she is torn by her conflicting emotions and sense of duties. Her choices open a whirlwind of events dealing with vengeance, magic, and all the wonderful twists and turns that are hallmarks of a real page-turner. Oh, and did I mention that Ximena has rare and powerful magic at her disposal? That she can weave power from the moon into tapestries? This book is an adventurous tale of swashbuckling rogues, dark magics, and a compelling and even empathic villain. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Finally this week we examine a personal favorite of mine from the last year or so, the incredible The Poet X, written by the rising star of literature that is Elizabeth Acevedo, who also happens to be Dominican-American. A book written in verse, The Poet X tells the story of Xiomara Batista, who struggles with growing up as a Dominican girl in Harlem, and addresses the unwanted attention her changing body creates by letting her fists and tough exterior do the talking for her. The Poet X is an incredible read about the power of self-worth and the essential importance of learning to use once's voice. It hums with an energy of change, and the writing flows so smoothly off the page that it is almost better to read this book aloud. And, while I am normally a fan of reading books on one's own, if the thought of poetry is scary, this is one book for which the audiobook does real justice! I cannot think of a better book that so well provokes thought on the problems of objectification we cannot seem to deal with as a society, and the scars it leaves on girls - who have to learn to face it and rise above it. Painful but ultimately uplifting, it is highly, highly recommended.

Okay, that's it for this week! Remember that even though the NFPL is closed for renovations, these books can be checked out electronically through Libby and enjoyed on any e-reader or phone. I hope to see you again next week, where I'm going to wrap up Pride month with some excellent suggestions for LGBTQIA authors and books! 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Summer Reading for Teens

This summer the Youth Services Department is offering a number of ways to interact with your library.

For each interaction, you can fill out this form for a chance to win.

Read-Aloud Videos are posted on our YouTube and Facebook pages each week. See your favorite staff members read stories new and old, sometimes with special animation. Check out past videos here, and here.

Read A Book! Fill out the form linked above for each book you read. Remember, ebooks are free to check out from our emedia site here. Reading aloud to younger children, or to the whole family counts as reading for everyone!

Tell Your Tale! Check out our story prompts, posted on our facebook and instagram pages, or here on our blogs. Write a story or create art from one or more of the prompts, and submit it to chrissybraun@newtonfalls.org. Your creation may be posted on our social media.

Selfie Scavenger Hunt! We will post a selfie on Facebook and Instagram of a staff member somewhere in Newton Falls. Find the spot, take your own selfie and send it to us at chrissybraun@newtonfalls.org.

You can fill out the entry form each time you interact with us, and you can do all the activities more than once. At the end of our summer reading program, we will draw names from these entries to win gift cards from local Newton Falls Businesses.

As the situation develops, we may be able to offer more and varied programs over the summer. Be sure to follow us on social media for the most current information.