Barbie Fun for Everyone!
Teen Librarian Toolbox
by Karen Jensen, MLS
5h ago
In case you haven’t heard, there is a new Barbie movie coming out that looks like it will be a lot of fun. I can’t wait to take my girls. And while we wait for the movie to come out, there is a lot of Barbie fun you can have with tweens and teens in the library. Barbie Meme Yourself You can go here and learn how to make yourself into a Barbie meme: https://stylecaster.com/entertainment/tv-movies/1365660/barbie-selfie-generator/ Barbie Memes, Mugshot Version With the latest trailer, there is a fun shot of Barbie and Ken getting jail mugshots. This has turned in to quite a creative meme with pe ..read more
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Evolution is Self Portrait, a guest post by Kate Glasheen
Teen Librarian Toolbox
by Amanda MacGregor
9h ago
The problem with loving something dearly is that it forever creates a tether to which you are intrinsically linked. The future becomes not what could be, but what is allowed to be only in relation to that. An anchor point: the mallet of affections smashing the stake of its imprint directly into the heart.  Attached to that stake is a chain. Change renders the facades of what’s loved into something else. Different though not new, but since old now alien instead. The uncanny valley feelings that flow from this lubricate the head of the axe that hacks away in chunks what’s dear, what keeps ..read more
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Back in the (Literary) Saddle, a guest post by Jessica Burkhart
Teen Librarian Toolbox
by Amanda MacGregor
1d ago
CW: talk of addiction I’m what’s known as a “Publishing Old” because I’ve been in the business for 16 years. So, I know how lucky I am to be able to revisit a series a decade after the last book has been published and be able to spin it off. But as one of my good friends likes to say, nothing is ever truly dead in this business—and that can be a series or one’s career.  Take the Reins, my debut middle-grade novel, was published in 2009. I was a 21-year-old baby writer who had grown up reading The Saddle Club, Misty of Chincoteague, the Black Stallion series, and any other horse fiction I ..read more
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Not the Mermaid or Monster You Knew, a guest post by author Robin Alvarez
Teen Librarian Toolbox
by Karen Jensen, MLS
5d ago
Retellings continue to be popular among YA, and for good reason. Who doesn’t love a good Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast retelling with a modern twist—especially when these dated tales give us new, more feminist characters to admire for their strength and ability to succeed without a partner doing the work for them? But what if I told you some of the old princesses and monsters we love to look down on were more feminist than the general population realizes? The Little Mermaid and Medusa have been shamed quite enough, and it’s time to shed more light on these old characters and their influe ..read more
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LOST IN TAIWAN: The Story Behind My New Graphic Novel, a guest post by Mark Crilley
Teen Librarian Toolbox
by Amanda MacGregor
5d ago
I’ll never forget the first five words I was taught to say in Chinese: “Wo shi mei guo ren.” The first two mean “I am,” and the final three mean “American.” I was nearing graduation from college at the time, and a fellow student, Ann Light, kindly agreed to give me a few lessons in Mandarin. I was due to head off to Taiwan to teach English for at least a year, and these would be the only Chinese lessons I would ever get. I should add that she didn’t just teach me how to say those words. She taught me how to write them. And let me tell you: There’s nothing quite like the first time you learn t ..read more
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GROWING UP GAY IN THE 80s: Two very close friends dealing with the same secret in very different ways, a guest post by Sean Hayes, Todd Milliner, and Carlyn Greenwald
Teen Librarian Toolbox
by Amanda MacGregor
1w ago
First of all, we didn’t all grow up gay in the 80’s in the Chicago suburbs. That’s just Todd and Sean. Carlyn has her own journey and she’ll talk about that in a second. But we (Sean and Todd) are very old and grew up in a time of big hair (Sean), preppies (Todd), and breakdancing (neither of us, thank God). One thing that wasn’t a really popular trend was being gay. But that didn’t make us any less gay. It didn’t make us any less interested in all the other things that teens are interested in like video games, music, sports and… being in love. Who we loved or wanted to love was a secret we d ..read more
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Joy Is an Act of Resistance, a guest post by Kendall Kulper
Teen Librarian Toolbox
by Amanda MacGregor
1w ago
When I set out to write my latest novel, A Starlet’s Secret to a Sensational Afterlife, in which a would-be starlet hopes for fame in 1930s Hollywood, I immediately hit a problem. One of the things I loved about my previous novel and Starlet’s companion, Murder for the Modern Girl, about crime and corruption in Prohibition Chicago, was that I could end it on a happy note. In real life, the things Modern Girl’s main character, Ruby, was fighting for—increased social services for vulnerable populations, a reckoning for crooked politicians—actually did happen, as the high-flying 20s paved the wa ..read more
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Book Review: Pardalita by Joana Estrela, Lyn Miller-Lachmann (Translator)
Teen Librarian Toolbox
by Amanda MacGregor
1w ago
Publisher’s description A beautiful slice-of-life story that is This One Summer meets Ursula K. Le Guin’s Very Far Away from Anywhere Else, told in flashbacks 16-year-old Raquel lives in a small town in Portugal, the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Her parents are divorced and she’s just been suspended for cursing out a school aide asking about her father’s new marriage. She has two best friends, Luísa and Fred, but wants something more. Then, from afar, she sees Pardalita, a senior and a gifted artist who’s moving to Lisbon to study in the fall. Th ..read more
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Book Mail: 39 books out between now and November!
Teen Librarian Toolbox
by Amanda MacGregor
1w ago
As usual, it’s raining books here in Minnesota! They’re coming in faster than I can ever open and catalog them, but hey, there are worse problems in life! I’m down to a handful of days of school left and cannot wait to start digging into the TBR Mountain Range currently in my office. All descriptions courtesy of the publisher. Speculation by Nisi Shawl (ISBN-13: 9781620149591 Publisher: Lee & Low Books Publication date: 02/14/2023, Ages 8-12) A wonderful middle-grade fantasy debut about Black families, family history, family curses … and a really marvelous pair of spectacles. After Winna ..read more
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Alena Bruzas in Conversation with Robin Alvarez
Teen Librarian Toolbox
by Amanda MacGregor
1w ago
When Oceans Rise by Robin Alvarez is about abuse. Robin addresses what she calls the “mental warfare” of gaslighting. Robin and I recently discovered we’re book twins; not only are our books debuting on May 23, they also have similar themes. Ever Since is about childhood sexual abuse and how that trauma continues to affect the life of my main character, Virginia. Both books deal with losing your voice because of shame. Robin and I talked over these themes. Note: answers have been edited for length and clarity. Alena: I thought your trigger warning was done really well. In it you say: “If you ..read more
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