EVENT: Teen Literature Day

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Today is Teen Literature Day!  Break out the orange flavored seltzer!  YALSA, (Young Adult Library Service Association) is encouraging teens, parents, teachers, and librarians all across the country to participate in Celebrate Teen Literature Day on April 18, 2013 by going to libraries, reading teen books, encouraging teens to read, and in general celebrating the burgeoning field of young adult literature.  

To do so, we at Digifam would like to recommend a few of our favorite teen literature books.  We’ve got plenty more favorites, but these are some that may be overlooked.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

This is a great book and the beginning of a series.  Kind of like Game of Thrones, but not quite so bloody, this expertly crafted book set in a time and place that may or may not be ancient Europe. The characters are great and well-drawn, the mythology of the world is absorbing, and every character (including Gen, the title thief) is both good and bad.  There’s a little bit of magic and some violence and bloodshed, but nothing too severe or crazy.  Perhaps the best part of this first book may be the surprise ending, which is hinted at throughout but is not obvious, and as one Amazon reviewer said, appears more like morning sunlight than a thunderbolt.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie 

Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, this story chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.  There’s also some great cartoons in the book.  This was a best seller in 2007, and won that year’s National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

 Hero by Perry Moore

This story about a Teen Superhero that is also gay starts off a little slow, but soon picks up.  The angst and sturm und drang of being a teenager, not wanting to disappoint your parents, but wanting to be true to yourself all come out in this novel that has expanded the boundaries of teen genre fiction.  There is a little graphic language and some sexual situations in this book, but nothing that the average 10nth grader will be shocked by.


And in case those haven’t floated your boat, here’s YALSA’s list of Teen ‘s Top 10 books for 2012.
 The Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in sixteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on Support Teen Literature Day, the Thursday of National Library Week (that’s today!), and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year. Readers ages twelve to eighteen will vote online in August and September; the winners will be announced during Teen Read Week.


1).   Roth, VeronicaDivergent. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books. 2011. (978-0062024022). Abnegation (selfless), Erudite (intelligence), Candor (honesty), Amity (peace), or Dauntless (brave): where would you fit? Beatrice lives in a society where she must choose either to remain with her family’s faction or set off towards independence and her beliefs. And what happens when the unity between these factions begins to fall apart?

2).  Green, JohnThe Fault in Our Stars. Penguin Group/Dutton Juvenile. 2012. (978-0525478812). Hazel and Augustus meet and forge a relationship at a support group for kids battling cancer. As Hazel and Augustus struggle with the “side-effects of dying,” they come to learn the strength of wishes, the complexities of long human lives, and the wondrous ways of the universe.

3).  Lu, Marie.  Legend. Penguin Group/Putnam Juvenile. 2011. (978-0399256752). June, a fifteen-year-old military prodigy, is hunting Day, the outlaw she believes is responsible for her brother’s death. What will happen when the two meet and discover the government is corrupt?

4).  Riggs, RansomMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Quirk Books. 2011. (978-1594744761). When Jacob was little, his grandfather would tell him stories of the fantastical children’s home where he grew up and the seemingly magical kids who lived there with him. When his grandfather is killed, Jacob sets out to find the home where these children lived, unearthing a magical secret and uncovering his true heritage.

5).  Dessen, SarahWhat Happened to Goodbye. Penguin Group/Viking Juvenile. 2011. (9780670012947). Ever since Mclean’s parents divorced, she has lived in four towns in two years – each time taking on a new persona. Mclean expects to leave Lakeview in six months, but soon finds that she doesn’t want to – she just wants to be herself.

6).  Revis, BethAcross the Universe. Penguin Group/Razorbill. 2011. (9781595143976). Cryogenically frozen centuries ago, Amy and her parents are on their way to a new planet aboard the spaceship, Godspeed. Unplugged from her cryo chamber, Amy discovers she has been awoken 50 years early, in a failed murder attempt. With Elder, the future leader of the ship, by her side they are on an adventure filled with murder, lies, dreams, and stars.

7).  Meyer, MarissaCinder. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends. 2012. (978-031261894). A futuristic retelling of the classic Cinderella, Cinder, a cyborg and talented mechanic, lives with her cruel stepmother and two stepsisters in the plague-ridden New Beijing. Soon after meeting Prince Kai, Cinder must find the truths of her past, which may help to save the future.

8).  Stiefvater, MaggieThe Scorpio Races. Scholastic/Scholastic Press. 2011. (9780545224901). Every November, the beaches of Thisby come alive with the Scorpio Races. The water horses are vicious, the terrain is treacherous, and death is likely, but the reward can be beyond anything you could imagine. Puck Connolly is racing for her family, Sean Kendrick for his passion—but only one can win The Scorpio Races.         

9).  Forman, GayleWhere She Went. Penguin Group/Dutton Juvenile. 2011. (9780525422945). This sequel to Gayle Forman’s If I Stay is narrated by Adam, Mia’s ex-boyfriend. Shortly after the devastating accident that killed Mia’s family, the talented cellist moves to New York, where an accidental meeting brings them back together.        

10).  Cabot, MegAbandon. Point. 2012. (978-0545040648). Pierce has experienced death before and barely escaped. When she moves from her old town to a town called Isla Huesos – Island of Bones – for a new start, she realizes that death wants her back. Can she escape death once again?



 Adam Gertsacov is the co-founder and co-organizer of Digital Family Summit.  He wears many hats, including those of a professional clown, an author and publisher, an artist/educator, a non-profit administrator, a P.T. Barnum impersonator, a flea circus impresario, and the esteemed hat of the Clown Laureate of Greenbelt, Maryland.  

In his copious freetime, he blogs at http://www.clownlink.com and http://www.dadapalooza.com, as well as a few other places.
You can find out more about his clown work at http://www.acmeclown.com
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