Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Crayons + Alan 2011 & Contests

New Crayons is my weekly roundup of books I received/bought for the week. It's hosted by Color Online, a group-run blog that I rarely post on now *is ashamed* Anyway, I urge you to join

ALAN 2011 was fabulous. Except for the fact that I missed almost all of it. Bascially school ruins everything. The three days before Thanksgiving break are known as "Hell week" because every teacher gives you a test and as a senior, 1st semster is make-or-break so I could not afford to take Monday and Tuesday off and attend ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents), which was held in Chicago this year. I am most upset that I missed meeting Francisco Stork, Jacquleine Woodson, Chris Crutcher and Matt De La Pena. There were many many authors I wanted to meet but those were my top four. I did leave school early on Tuesday in order to make my panel workshop and I was able to hear National Book Award winner Thannha Lai speak along with Beth Fantaskey, Michelle Hodkin and Katie Alender. Their presenation was about The Future of YA Lit and the future is them. It was amusing since they all said they did not realize THEY were the future of YA lit, they simply thought they were supposed to talk about what they thought the future of YA lit was. I was especially cheered when Katie Alender spoke about the future of YA lit reflecting racial diversity. I certainly hope so. An interesting tidbit I took away from the panel was when Thanhha Lai said that Vietnamese is similar to Chinese in that the language is all about images (I may be misquoting her so Vietnamese speakers correct me if I'm wrong since I failed to write down the correct quote!). As you can imagine this made writing quite difficult since she was channeling herself as a ten year old and her ten year old self thought in Vietnamese. Thus she struggled with writing this book because she didn't think in complete snetences, more like flashes of phrases. So she wrote her main character's voice like that and was surprised to learn she was now (according to Nikki Grimes) a poet.

Then it was my panel, "Teen Book Bloggers Forge a new Reviewing Model" while I am not the nearly an expert on this or the best book blogger to ask I hope I did a good job. I was on the panel with Maggie, Edi and it was moderated by Lyn. Unfortunately Maggie was really sick and thus unable to attend but she was there on paper and in spirit. Edi captured her voice (well I think so anyway but I've never actually heard her speak haha) as she read the answers Maggie wrote to the questions Lyn asked us, as teen bloggers. I am honored to have been on a panel with such brillant, creative and inspiring people. We had a good turnout and I thought it was really fun becuase our panel was more like a discussion between us and the audience which I preferred to simply a Q&A with the audience watching. I barely remember what I said but thanks to the awesome new-to-me blogger R Mauk from YA Book Bridges I have two quotes that she shared with me on Twitter from my presentation "reading is about opening doors" and "books are the first tools of tolerance." Classic lines that millions before me have said but it always bears repeating :) I was thrilled to meet B.A. Binns and Medeia Shariff. I met Medeia by chance but B.A. went to our panel. They are both so nice! Medeia and I commiserated over missing some great presentations (she arrived a day late) and talked about other literary conferences (she will be at the Miami Book Fair, I hope to attend BEA one day). B.A. Binns is so enthusatic, I love her spirit!

I was inspired to read Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (which was included in the ALAN box) after hearing the author speak and while I won't review it here, I will review it on Goodreads. I thought it was really good, I liked how it poked fun at vampire supersitions. There were some cheesy parts but I think that's to be expected when it's a romance. I also read Anna and the French Kiss, both of these books are ones that I read right away because I needed some levity. Many of the books I have to review right now are heavy heavy heavy and with college apps I can't handle that right now. So these books were a wonderful breath of fresh air. I might review Anna and the French Kiss because a secondary character is a poc. She's not extremely relevant but she's there. What do you think? Regardless it's a fantastic book, I understand the love 100%.

Books I received from ALAN (I believe there were 22 or so total. I will have a holiday giveaway due to having some extra copies of books and publishers keep sending me books that don't fit the theme of my blog so I need to give those away too). I'll post other ALAN books about people of color I received next week.

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama.

For all the ten years of her life, HÀ has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by . . . and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.

But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. HÀ and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, HÀ discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape . . . and the strength of her very own family.

This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next.

-If I hear an author speak I try to read their book. Plus I WoWd this. I'm determined to read this book before the year ends.

This Thing Called the Future by J. L. Powers

Khosi lives with her beloved grandmother Gogo, her little sister Zi, and her weekend mother in a matchbox house on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. In that shantytown, it seems like somebody is dying all the time. Billboards everywhere warn of the disease of the day. Her Gogo goes to a traditional healer when there is trouble, but her mother, who works in another city and is wasting away before their eyes, refuses even to go to the doctor. She is afraid and Khosi doesn't know what it is that makes the blood come up from her choking lungs. Witchcraft? A curse? AIDS? Can Khosi take her to the doctor? Gogo asks. No, says Mama, Khosi must stay in school. Only education will save Khosi and Zi from the poverty and ignorance of the old Zulu ways.

School, though, is not bad. There is a boy her own age there, Little Man Ncobo, and she loves the color of his skin, so much darker than her own, and his blue-black lips, but he mocks her when a witch's curse, her mother's wasting sorrow, and a neighbor's accusations send her and Gogo scrambling off to the sangoma's hut in search of a healing potion.

-I haven't seen many reviews of this book but I'm eager to read it. I WoWd it awhile ago.

Girl Meets Boy: Because There Are Two Sides to Every Story by Kelly Milner Halls

What do guys and girls really think? Twelve of the most dynamic and engaging YA authors writing today team up for this one-of-a-kind collection of “hesaid/she said” stories—he tells it from the guy’s point of view, she tells it fromthe girl’s. These are stories of love and heartbreak. There’s the good-looking jock who falls for a dangerous girl, and the flipside, the toxic girl who neverlearned to be loved; the basketball star and the artistic (and shorter) boyshe never knew she wanted; the gay boy looking for love online and the girlwho could help make it happen. Each story in this unforgettable collectionteaches us that relationships are complicated—because there are two sides to every story

-I hadn't even heard of this book (2012 release) but CHRIS CRUTCHER, JOSEPH BRUCHAC, CYNTHIA LETICH SMITH and RITA WILLIAMS GARCIA have stories in this anthology. Must-read asap

From publisher WestSide Books

Cracking the Ice by Dave Hendrickson

Delves into the perilous world of a black teen hockey phenom in 1968, during the highly charged Civil Rights era. Jessie leaves home for New Hampshire, despite misgivings of his parents and girlfriend Rose, to pursue his dreams at an elite, formerly all-white prep school, which he hopes will put him on the path to the Ivy League and NHL. He is realistic about encountering racist fans and opponents at his new school, but finds that he's in the most danger from his own teammates and coach, who clearly despises him based only on the color of his skin.

-I really really like hockey and there are four Black players in the NHL I believe so I look forward to reading about hockey back in the day and its issues.

BookWish is having a writing contest

write an essay of no more than 500 words about how the wishes in the story relate to the Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad. The stories were contributed for free by their authors so we could use the book's proceeds to develop libraries in Darfuri refugee camps. Essays will be judged on style, creativity, understanding of the story, and understanding of the refugees. If you win, either the story's author or the author's literary agent (as indicated below) will provide a one-page critique of the first 50 pages of a middle grade or young adult manuscript of your choosing

Authors giving critiques include Francisco Stork and Meg Cabot. If only I could write a whole manucsript/book!