An interesting article from The Hornbook. It was kinda serendipitous to come across this today because I was finally catching up with the five back issues of VOYA and compiling my recommendations for our Juv/TRC collection. Plus, ALA announced the winners of the book awards yesterday.
It ties into the post a couple of weeks ago, A Few Words On Being a Fat Chick--the idea of body acceptance and negative self image and the use of the fat kid as negative sidekick. It's a great article and raises a number of issues that I've been kicking around.
Even though I am not an Official Librarian (i.e. I don't have an MLS--yet. I think an MLS is the one degree I could handle undertaking, at least if it was in archival/preservation studies. I'd like to do something with my time that would let me use my hands for something more than typing; the only other thing I'd consider is getting a masters in counseling and becoming a sex therapist because, hey, I know my shit ;-), because of the awesome TRC Librarian we have here, I actually get a say in collection development. It means a great deal to me--it might just be the most satisfying thing I do here.
I'm a total book geek, and YA (Young Adult) is probably my favorite. I don't consider it a genre--it's a classification. Genre refers to the kind of book it is--fiction, nonfiction, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, paranormal, horror, romance (*gak*), historical fiction--the ghettos the lit snobs like to put books into when they won't man up and accept their validity because the book contains a fantastic element. From my point of view "magical realism" is a coward's cloak. It's fantasy--suck it up and deal and stop being such a pussy.
But I digress. :-D
The joy of YA is that there is a little extra freedom in there--a little wiggle room--for the author in terms of where you can go. Because you're aiming the book for a younger audience, it's expected that you'll take risks, step beyond the normal boundaries. Or, at least, your audience hopes you will. One of my favorite selection tools is the journal VOYA - Voice of Youth Advocates. It's a librarian-centric publication that is pretty damn fearless in what it promotes for collections. The reviews are honest and straightforward, and while I've disagreed with them, I still find them to be a great resource for collection suggestions. We collect for a diverse audience here. Because we're training teachers, we need the TRC collection to reflect just about anything and everything, all walks of life and manner of issues.
That's a lot of wiggle room for selection, as well. So I have spent most of my day today trolling through VOYA, checking my own wish lists and "to-read" lists (because I keep 'em), and compiling a very long email for my colleague.
Next task: compiling the bibliography of stuff we already have for the LibGuide. AWESOME!
Yeah, I'm a book geek.
The cover pictured above is the 2010 Prinz Award winner, Going Bovine by Libba Bray. It's about a teenaged stoner from Texas who contracts mad cow disease and is sent on a vision quest by a punk angel named Dulcie to find Dr. X and save the world. Accompanied by a hypochondriac dwarf named Gonzo and coming across a talking lawn gnome who just might be the Norse god Baldur, they pass through N'awlins at Mardi Gras, get abducted by a cult of teens who bowl for happiness!, and try to make it to spring break and find the Doctor before the universe ends. I can't tell you anymore than that (and it's all on the book flap, so no spoilers!). Read it--it's awesome.