Thursday, January 14, 2010

Catching up on YA

As a fantasy fan, I naturally devour huge amounts of YA fantasy, and I'll read anything by quite a few non-fantasy YA writers, including John Green, E. Lockhart, and Sarah Dessen. Last year, I had actually read the Printz winner and 3 out of 4 of the honor books before the award was announced. And I was a devoted follower of last year's SLJ Battle of the Books in part because I had read so many of the titles, both children's and YA.

That I fell a bit behind on my YA reading in 2009 became clear when the shortlist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award was announced and I hadn't read a single one. Ack! Unless the Printz Award winners are composed mostly of fantasy titles, I'm going to be adding even more titles to my must-read list this Monday when the ALA youth awards are announced.

My upcoming new job will necessitate not just dabbling in YA books but taking an active part in local and national discussions on YA literature and library services. Thank goodness for blog posts like this one from Bookends, which plunged me right in to some controversial proposals to the Best Books for Young Adults list. Why on earth would the YALSA board consider limiting that list to fiction? The Notable Books for children list has plenty of great nonfiction titles and is much stronger for them.

And then there are all the issues concerning social media, gaming, technology, information literacy, and on and on. It makes my head spin, especially at 3 am, but I can't wait to plunge in. And luckily I suspect that the YA librarians in my library system will not be shy about giving me plenty of suggestions, feedback, and advice!

Meanwhile, issues in children's library services - early literacy and information literacy float to the top but there are many, many others - continue to engage my attention. And though I'm more up to speed on children's literature than YA literature at the moment, there are still several excellent children's books I haven't managed to read yet, and therefore those are the ones that are bound to win the Newbery and honors, right?

Piles of books to read and gigabytes of information to ingest - what could be better? I am truly the happiest, if not necessarily the most rested, librarian in the world!

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