Currently Reading: Shadow of the Batgirl

Title_ Shadow of the Batgirl

What It’s About:  Cassandra Cain, teenage assassin, isn’t exactly Batgirl material…not yet, at least. But when Batgirl goes missing from Gotham, can Cassandra defy her destiny and take on a heroic mantle of her very own?

Cassandra Cain is the daughter of super-villains and a living weapon trained from birth to be the ultimate assassin. But that doesn’t mean she has to stay that way, right? She’ll have to go through an identity crisis of epic proportions to find out. But how do you figure out who you’re supposed to be when you’ve been trained to become a villain your entire life?

After a soul-shattering moment that sends Cass reeling, she’ll attempt to answer this question the only way she knows how: learning everything she possibly can about her favorite hero–Batgirl. But Batgirl hasn’t been seen in Gotham for years, and when Cass’s father threatens the world she has grown to love, she’ll have to step out of the shadows and overcome her greatest obstacle–that voice inside her head telling her she can never be a hero.


currently-reading...reboot


I was excited to check out this story because Sarah Kuhn was writing it.  I will admit that I didn’t know much about Cassandra Cain the character as a whole.

The only thing I remembered about her was that when she left in earlier comics, she gave up the Batgirl mantle to Stephanie Brown, who is my favorite Batgirl.  Seriously, go and read Stephanie Brown’s run as Batgirl.  It was good and ended too soon.  You can bet your jello cups that I am still bitter about it.  But I digress.

Anyway, I was looking forward to checking out this story.  It was a chance to see Cassandra right at the beginning of her journey and find out what being a hero meant to her.  I’m halfway through this graphic novel and I love it so much already.  Sarah Kuhn is incredibly good at creating characters that are lovable and relatable.   The art is *chef’s kiss* and the colours are *sprinkles glitter*.

I am happy to go back to reading it.

Off Script: Somewhere Only We Know -Mood Board

Off Script - Redesign

Lately, I have been seeing a lot of creative individuals making NETFLIX promo posters for YA books they wish had adaptations.  They’re all so beautiful and I can’t wait to see more of them pop up on social media.  My two big favorites are S.K. Ali’s Love from A to Z and Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes

In this Off Script post, I will be going back to a book I read a while ago because it was a book that brought me joy and I wanted to do a little something for it.

Please check out my photoset for Maurene Goo’s novel, Somewhere Only We Know.  I have cast Jeon Somi as Lucky and Mark Lee as Jack.

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What It’s About:   10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she’s just performed her hit song “Heartbeat” in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She’s about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She’s in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.

11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She’s very cute. He’s maybe curious.

12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same.


Somewhere only we know - maurene goo

“I wanted a tiny piece of the freedom everyone else had.  I wouldn’t be greedy.  A thimble-sized serving would do.”

Shelf Sightings: Picture Books About Women Artists

Shelf Sightings - Redesign

Another book I spotted on the shelf before my local library closed was a picture book about a Japanese female artist named Yayoi Kusama.  This got me thinking about what other picture books there were out there about female artists throughout history.   I loved art class in high school and would spend so much time on my projects, just trying to get my ideas right on the canvas.

In this Shelf Sightings post, I will list a bunch of picture books about different women artists.


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Title: Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infinity
Written by: Sarah Suzuki
Illustrated by: Ellen Weinstein

What It’s About: Growing up in the mountains of Japan, Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929) dreamed of becoming an artist. One day, she had a vision in which the world and everything in it—the plants, the people, the sky—were covered in polka dots. She began to cover her paintings, drawings, sculptures, and even her body with dots. As she grew up, she traveled all around the world, from Tokyo to Seattle, New York to Venice, and brought her dots with her. Different people saw these dots in different ways—some thought they were tiny, like cells, and others imagined them enormous, like planets. Every year, Kusama sees more of the world, covering it with dots and offering people a way to experience it the way she does.

Written by Sarah Suzuki, a curator at The Museum of Modern Art, and featuring reproductions of Kusama’s instantly recognizable artworks, this colorful book tells the story of an artist whose work will not be complete until her dots cover the world, from here to infinity.


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Title: Maya Lin : artist-architect of light and lines
Written by:  Jeanne Walker Harvey
Illustrated by: Dow Phumiruk

What It’s About:  As a child, Maya Lin loved to study the spaces around her. She explored the forest in her backyard, observing woodland creatures, and used her house as a model to build tiny towns out of paper and scraps. The daughter of a clay artist and a poet, Maya grew up with art and learned to think with her hands as well as her mind. From her first experiments with light and lines to the height of her success nationwide, this is the story of an inspiring American artist: the visionary artist-architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.


6998451Title: In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage
Written by: Alan Schroeder
Illustrated by: JaeMe Bereal

What It’s About:  As a young girl in Florida in the 1890s, Augusta enjoyed nothing more than playing with clay. She would sculpt it into little figures: cows, chickens, ducks. Augusta’s mother didn’t mind but her father, a stern preacher, felt the girl was wasting time on idle nonsense. Augusta’s sculpting talent blossomed as she grew into a young woman. Eventually, she found herself at a crossroad. Augusta wanted to pursue a career as an artist, but to do so she would have to leave behind all she knew. With only her passion to guide her, Augusta headed to New York City to follow her dream wherever it might take her. Award-winning author Alan Schroeder deftly weaves together known historical details to create a compelling portrait of this unique Harlem Renaissance sculptor. Warm paintings capture both Augusta Savage’s struggles and resilience as she skillfully carved out her own special place in art history.


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Title:  In Mary’s Garden
Written and illustrated by:  Tina Kugler and Carson Kugler

What It’s About: While the rest of her classmates were making pastries in cooking classes, Mary Nohl was making art—anything she fancied out of anything she could find. Inspiration struck Mary even when she wasn’t looking for it. Mary used common objects to make uncommon art. And one day, her garden was a gallery.
Mary Nohl passed away in 2001 at the age of eighty-seven. Her famous garden gallery is located in the front yard of her Fox Point, Wisconsin, home to this day.


43522759Title: A Life Made by Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa
Written and art by:  Andrea D’Aquino

What It’s About:  Ruth Asawa (1926-2013) was an influential and award-winning sculptor, a beloved figure in the Bay Area art world, and a devoted activist who advocated tirelessly for arts education. This picture book biography by collage artist Andrea D’Aquino brings Asawa’s creative journey to life, detailing the influence of her childhood in a farming family, and her education at Black Mountain College where she pursued an experimental course of education with leading avant-garde artists and thinkers such as Anni and Josef Albers, Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, and Robert Rauschenberg.

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Title: Ruth Asawa: A Sculpting Life
Written by: Joan Schoettler
Illustrated by: Traci Van Wagoner

What It’s About: In this extraordinary picture book, author Joan Schoettler imparts the life of a remarkable woman, teacher, and artist. From the Japanese-American internment camps to the creation of the San Francisco School of the Arts, Ruth Asawa’s life journey is one filled with injustice, learning, and expression. Known as the “Fountain Lady” of San Francisco due to the many fountains she designed, Asawa experimented with unconventional mediums, using lines, space, and wire to create dimensional sculptures. The thorough research of illustrator Traci Van Wagoner is vividly apparent in the dynamic depictions of Asawa and her life that are sure to fascinate and inspire young readers.


40752074. sx318 Title: Dancing through fields of color : the story of Helen Frankenthaler
Written by: Elizabeth Brown
Illustrated by:  Aimaee Sicuro

What It’s About: They said only men could paint powerful pictures, but Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) splashed her way through the modern art world. Channeling deep emotion, Helen poured paint onto her canvas and danced with the colors to make art unlike anything anyone had ever seen. She used unique tools like mops and squeegees to push the paint around, to dazzling effects. Frankenthaler became an originator of the influential “Color Field” style of abstract expressionist painting with her “soak stain” technique, and her artwork continues to electrify new generations of artists today. Dancing Through Fields of Color discusses Frankenthaler’s early life, how she used colors to express emotion, and how she overcame the male-dominated art world of the 1950s.


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Title: The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science
Written by and art by: Joyce Sidman

What It’s About:  Bugs, of all kinds, were considered to be “born of mud” and to be “beasts of the devil.” Why would anyone, let alone a girl, want to study and observe them?

One of the first naturalists to observe live insects directly, Maria Sibylla Merian was also one of the first to document the metamorphosis of the butterfly. In this visual nonfiction biography, richly illustrated throughout with full-color original paintings by Merian herself, the Newbery Honor–winning author Joyce Sidman paints her own picture of one of the first female entomologists and a woman who flouted convention in the pursuit of knowledge and her passion for insects.


43523120. sx318 Title:  Frida Kahlo: Discover the Artist Behind the Masterpieces
Written by:  Lucy Brownridge
Illustrated by:  Sandra Dieckmann

What It’s About:  Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter and today is one of the world’s favourite artists. As a child, she was badly affected by polio, and later suffered a terrible accident that left her disabled and in pain. Shortly after this accident, Kahlo took up painting, and through her surreal, symbolic self-portraits described the pain she suffered, as well as the treatment of women, and her sadness at not being able to have a child. This book tells the story of Frida Kahlo’s life through her own artworks, and shows how she came to create some of the most famous paintings in the world. Learn about her difficult childhood, her love affair with fellow painter Diego Rivera, and the lasting impact her surreal work had on the history of art in this book that brings her life to work.

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Title:  Frida Kahlo
Written by:  Isabel Sánchez Vegara 
Illustrated by:  Gee Fan Eng

What It’s About: When Frida was a teenager, a terrible road accident changed her life forever. Unable to walk, she began painting from her bed. Her self-portraits, which show her pain and grief, but also her passion for life and instinct for survival, have made her one of the most famous artists of the twentieth century.


23310707Title: Mary Cassatt: Extraordinary Impressionist Painter
Written by:  Barbara Herkert
Illustrated by: Gabi Swiatkowska

What It’s About:  Mary Cassatt was a headstrong, determined girl. She wanted to be an artist in 1860, a time when proper girls certainly weren’t artists. It wasn’t polite. But Mary herself wasn’t polite. She pursued art with a passion, moving to Paris to study, painting what she saw. Her work was rejected by the Salon judges time and time again. One day, the great painter Edgar Degas invited her to join him and his group of independent artists, those who flouted the rules and painted as they pleased—the Impressionists. Mary was on her way.

“I began to live,” said Mary. Today, her paintings hang in museums around the world and she is recognized as one of the most celebrated female artists of all time.


43211986. sx318 Title: Mary Blair’s Unique Flair
Written by:  Amy Novesky
Illustrated by: Brittney Lee

What It’s About:  Young Mary Browne Robinson loved color, even her name had a color in it. All she wanted to do was to make art. But becoming an artist wasn’t an easy. Her parents worked hard to provide her paper and paints, and Mary worked hard to enter contests and earn a spot at a school for the arts. She even had to work hard to find her place at the Walt Disney Studios. But Walt was easily impressed by Mary Blair. When she joined his trip to South America, Mary had never seen such color. She collected that color and used it in her concept art for Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan, and even the It’s a Small World attraction at Disneyland. This beautifully illustrated picture book shares Mary’s story, in all its inspiring flair.

27905566. sx318 Title: Pocket Full of Colors : The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire
Written by:  Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville
Illustrated by:  Brigette Barrager

What It’s About:  Mary Blair lived her life in color: vivid, wild color.

From her imaginative childhood to her career as an illustrator, designer, and animator for Walt Disney Studios, Mary wouldn’t play by the rules. At a time when studios wanted to hire men and think in black and white, Mary painted twinkling emerald skies, peach giraffes with tangerine spots, and magenta horses that could fly.


127063Title: My Name Is Georgia: A Portrait
Written and illustrated by: Jeanette Winter

What It’s About:  From the time she was just a young girl, Georgia O’Keeffe viewed the world in her own way. While other girls played with toys and braided their hair, Georgia practiced her drawing and let her hair fly free. As an adult, Georgia followed her love of art from the steel canyons of New York City to the vast plains of New Mexico. There she painted all day, and slept beneath the stars at night. Throughout her life Georgia O’Keeffe followed her dreams–and so found her way to become a great American artist.

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Title: Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O’Keeffe Painted What She Pleased
Written by:  Amy Novesky
Illustrated:  Yuyi Morales

What It’s About:  Georgia O’Keeffe’s Hawaiian tour celebrates natural beauty and powerful artistic convictions. Georgia O’Keeffe was famous for painting exactly what she wanted, whether flowers or skulls. Who would ever dare to tell her what to paint? The Hawaiian Pineapple Company tried. Luckily for them, Georgia fell in love with Hawaii. There she painted the beloved green islands, vibrant flowers, feathered fishhooks, and the blue, blue sea. But did she paint what the pineapple company wanted most of all? Amy Novesky’s lyrical telling of this little-known story and Yuyi Morales’s gorgeous paintings perfectly capture Georgia’s strong artistic spirit. The book includes an author’s note, illustrator’s note, bibliography, map of the islands, and endpapers that identify Georgia’s favorite Hawaiian flowers.


296275Title: Emily Carr: At the Edge of the World
Written by:  Jo Ellen Bogart
Illustrated by:  Maxwell Newhouse

What It’s About:  The brilliant artist Emily Carr lived at the edge. When she was born, in 1871, Victoria, British Columbia was a small, insular place. She was at the edge of a society that expected well-bred young ladies to marry. For years, she was at the edge of the world of artists she longed to join.

Emily Carr’s life was not an easy one. She struggled against a family that did not approve of her art and against poor health. She found her pleasures in her many pets – a Javanese monkey named Woo, parrots, and many beloved dogs. Later, she would meet the artists of the Group of Seven and among them find her soul mates.

When illness put a stop to her painting, she found expression and comfort in her writing. Her book Klee Wyck received Canada’s highest literary honor – the Governor General’s Award.


52349410. sx318 sy475 Title: Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit
Written by:  Linda Marshall
Illustrated by:  Ilaria Urbinati

What It’s About:  Growing up in London, Beatrix Potter felt the restraints of Victorian times. Girls didn’t go to school and weren’t expected to work. But she longed to do something important, something that truly mattered. As Beatrix spent her summers in the country and found inspiration in nature, it was through this passion that her creativity flourished.

There, she crafted The Tale of Peter Rabbit. She would eventually move to the countryside full-time, but developers sought to change the land. To save it, Beatrix used the money from the success of her books and bought acres and acres of land and farms to prevent the development of the countryside that both she and Peter Rabbit so cherished. Because of her efforts, it’s been preserved just as she left it.

This beautiful picture book shines a light on Beatrix Potter’s lesser-known history and her desire to do something for the greater good.


4630988Title: Art From Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter
Written by: Kathy Whitehead
Illustrated by: Shane W. Evans

What It’s About:  Can you imagine being an artist who isn’t allowed into your own show? That’s what happened to folk artist Clementine Hunter. Her paintings went from hanging on her clothesline to hanging in museums, yet because of the color of her skin, a friend had to sneak her in when the gallery was closed. With lyrical writing and striking illustrations, this picture book biography introduces kids to a self-taught artist whose paintings captured scenes of backbreaking work and joyous celebrations of southern farm life. They preserve a part of American history we rarely see and prove that art can help keep the spirit alive.


9584121Title: Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis
Written by: Jo Ellen Bogart
Illustrated by: Mark Lang

What It’s About:  Maud Lewis was born into a loving Nova Scotia family who accepted her physical limitations. When her parents died and she was forced to find her own way in the world, she married and set up a modest household in a small cabin. Despite the hardships she faced, she was able to find joy in her life, a joy that she expressed through her art. She painted canvases of animals, children, and her surroundings. Her art spilled over into everything from dust pans to the walls of her house. Maud Lewis died in 1970, but her wonderful, life-affirming art lives on and is treasured by people who understand and appreciate folk art all over the world.


26240643. sx318 Title: Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois
Written by:  Amy Novesky
Illustrated by: Isabelle Arsenault

What It’s About:  Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) was a world-renowned modern artist noted for her sculptures made of wood, steel, stone, and cast rubber. Her most famous spider sculpture, Maman, stands more than 30 feet high.

Just as spiders spin and repair their webs, Louise’s own mother was a weaver of tapestries. Louise spent her childhood in France as an apprentice to her mother before she became a tapestry artist herself. She worked with fabric throughout her career, and this biographical picture book shows how Bourgeois’s childhood experiences weaving with her loving, nurturing mother provided the inspiration for her most famous works. With a beautifully nuanced and poetic story, this book stunningly captures the relationship between mother and daughter and illuminates how memories are woven into us all.


29791417. sx318 Title: Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe
Written by:  Deborah Blumenthal
Illustrated by: Laura Freeman

What It’s About: As soon as Ann Cole Lowe could walk, her momma and grandma taught her to sew. She worked near her momma in their Alabama family shop in the early 1900s, making glorious dresses for women who went to fancy parties. When Ann was 16, her momma died, and Ann continued sewing dresses. It wasn’t easy, especially when she went to design school and had to learn alone, segregated from the rest of the class. But the work she did set her spirit soaring, as evidenced in the clothes she made, including Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress and Olivia de Havilland’s dress at the Oscars when she won for Best Actress in To Each His Own. Rarely credited, Ann Cole Lowe became “society’s best kept secret.” This beautiful picture book shines the spotlight on a little-known visionary who persevered in times of hardship, always doing what she was passionate about: making elegant gowns for the women who loved to wear them.


41104121. sx318 Title: Along Came Coco: A Story about Coco Chanel
Written and illustrated by:  Eva Byrne

What It’s About:  In a time when children were meant to be seen and not heard, along came Coco, a small French orphan with an eye for style, a talent for sewing, and a big imagination. Coco grew up in an orphanage run by very strict nuns, but she wasn’t very good at following rules. At a time when girls were told to brush their hair 100 times until their arms were sore, Coco promised herself that one day she would snip away her locks so that she wouldn’t have to be so fussy—girls needed time for other things, and they needed some of the comforts that boys enjoyed. Why shouldn’t girls have pockets? And why did they have to wear corsets all the time? An exploration of Coco’s early life and a celebration of her creativity, Along Came Coco ​shows the ways in which Coco Chanel’s imaginative spirit led her to grow into one of the world’s most beloved fashion icons.


35564995. sx318 Title: Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli
Written by:  Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by:  Julie Morstad

What It’s About:  By the 1930s Elsa Schiaparelli had captivated the fashion world in Paris, but before that, she was a little girl in Rome who didn’t feel pretty at all. Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli is the enchanting story for young readers of how a young girl used her imagination and emerged from plain to extraordinary.

As a young girl in Rome, Elsa Schiaparelli (1890–1973) felt “brutta” (ugly) and searched all around her for beauty. Seeing the colors of Rome’s flower market one day, young Elsa tried to plant seeds in her ears and nose, hoping to blossom like a flower. All she got was sick, but from that moment, she discovered her own wild imagination.

In the 1920 and ’30s, influenced by her friends in the surrealist art movement, Schiaparelli created a vast collection of unique fashion designs—hats shaped like shoes, a dress adorned with lobsters, gloves with fingernails, a dress with drawers and so many more. She mixed her own bold colors and invented her own signature shades, including shocking pink.


40697805. sx318 Title: Vivienne Westwood
Written by:  Isabel Sánchez Vegara
Illustrated by: Laura Callaghan

What It’s About:  New in the Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Vivienne Westwood, the flame-haired fashion designer and impresario. When Vivienne was a young woman, she wasn’t sure how a working class girl from England could make a living in the art world. But after discovering her passion for design and jewelry making, she erupted onto the fashion scene with a bang. Vivienne’s designs became iconic, and she became famous for letting her clothes speak for themselves. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the designer’s life.


32333310. sx318 Title: The World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid
Written and illustrated by: Jeanette Winter

What It’s About: Get to know Zaha Hadid in this nonfiction picture book about the famed architect’s life and her triumph over adversity from celebrated author-illustrator Jeanette Winter.

Zaha Hadid grew up in Baghdad, Iraq, and dreamed of designing her own cities. After studying architecture in London, she opened her own studio and started designing buildings. But as a Muslim woman, Hadid faced many obstacles. Determined to succeed, she worked hard for many years, and achieved her goals—and now you can see the buildings Hadid has designed all over the world.

43886483. sx318 Title: Zaha Hadid
Written by:  Isabel Sánchez Vegara
Illustrated by: Asun Amar

What It’s About:  Zaha Hadid grew up in Baghdad, Iraq, surrounded by music. She was a curious and confident child, who designed her own modernist bedroom at nine years old. As a young woman studying at University in Beirut, she was described as the most outstanding pupil the teacher had ever met. With her spectacular vision and belief in the power of architecture, she founded her own firm and designed some of the most outstanding buildings in the world—including the London 2012 Olympic Aquatic Centre. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the architect’s life.


30201514. sx318 Title: Dorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found the Faces of the Depression
Written by:  Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by:  Sarah Green

What It’s About:  Before she raised her lens to take her most iconic photo, Dorothea Lange took photos of the downtrodden from bankers in once-fine suits waiting in breadlines, to former slaves, to the homeless sleeping on sidewalks. A case of polio had left her with a limp and sympathetic to those less fortunate. Traveling across the United States, documenting with her camera and her fieldbook those most affected by the stock market crash, she found the face of the Great Depression. In this picture book biography, Carole Boston Weatherford with her lyrical prose captures the spirit of the influential photographer.

25898322. sx318 Title: Dorothea’s Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth
Written by: Barb Rosenstock
Illustrated by:  Gérard DuBois

What It’s About:  After a childhood bout of polio left her with a limp, all Dorothea Lange wanted to do was disappear. But this desire not to be seen helped her learn how to blend into the background and observe others acutely. With a passion for the artistic life, and in spite of her family’s disapproval, Dorothea pursued her dream to become a photographer and focused her lens on the previously unseen victims of the Great Depression. This poetic biography tells the emotional story of Lange’s evolution as one of the founders of documentary photography. It includes a gallery of Lange’s photographs, and an author’s note, timeline, and bibliography.


15805165Title: Imogen: The Mother of Modernism and Three Boys
Written by: Amy Novesky
Illustrated by:  Lisa Congdon

What It’s About:  Imogen’s family didn’t have much, and life was hard atop the wild hill they call home. But when Imogen declared she wanted to be a photographer, her father built her her very own darkroom. Flash forward. Imogen is a photographer and a mother. She has her hands full! How does she do it all? She turns the garden into a wonderland for her three growing boys and a workshop for herself. While she works, her boys play, and Imogen photographs them. Click. Click. Click. Photographing her sons leads Imogen to focus on plants and flowers – most notably her signature magnolia blossoms – for which she will become best known. Here, then, is the story of Imogen Cunningham, one of the finest photographers of the 20th century and mother to three boys.


20708750Title: Stand There! She Shouted: The Invincible Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron
Written by: Susan Goldman Rubin
Illustrated by: Bagram Ibatoulline

What It’s About:  The girls in Julia Margaret’s family were known as “the beautiful Miss Pattles”— all except her. Plain, short, and clever, Julia Margaret would eventually create her own beauty in the photographs she produced. Susan Goldman Rubin follows the groundbreaking photographer from her privileged childhood in Calcutta and Versailles to her role in bohemian salons in England, whose luminaries — Alfred Tennyson and many others — would later pose for her portraits. Commanding and eccentric, Julia Margaret Cameron persuaded children and friends to dress up and hold still for the long sittings needed to stage scenes based on literature and myth. Featuring more than a dozen vintage photographs as well as gorgeous illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline, this engrossing biography illuminates the very beginnings of photography —and the determined woman who made the art form her own.


43345578. sx318 Title: Women in Art: 50 Fearless Creatives Who Inspired the World
Written and illustrated by: Rachel Ignotofsky

What It’s About: A charmingly illustrated and inspiring book, Women in Art highlights the achievements and stories of 50 notable women in the arts–from well-known figures like painters Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe, to lesser-known names like 19th-century African American quilter Harriet Powers and Hopi-Tewa ceramic artist Nampeyo. Covering a wide array of artistic mediums, this fascinating collection also contains infographics about artistic movements throughout history, statistics about women’s representation in museums, and notable works by women. Women in Art celebrates the success of the bold female creators who inspired the world and paved the way for the next generation of artists.


45915286. sx318 Title: Women Artists A to Z
Written by:  Melanie Labarge
Illustrated: Caroline Corrigan

What It’s About:  How many women artists can you name? From Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe, to Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and Xenobia Bailey, this lushly illustrated alphabet picture book presents both famous and underrepresented women in the fine arts from a variety of genres: painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and more. Each spread features a simple line of text encapsulating the creator’s iconic work in one word, such as “D is for Dots” (Yayoi Kusama) and “S is for Spider” (Louise Bourgeois), followed by slightly longer text about the artist for older readers who would like to know more. Backmatter includes photos, extended biographies, and discussion questions for budding creatives and trailblazers.

Artists featured: Mirka Mora, Betye Saar, Helen Frankenthaler, Yayoi Kusama, Kay Sage, Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Martin, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Elizabeth Catlett, Judith Leyster, Leonora Carrington, Carmen Herrera, Edmonia Lewis, Maya Lin, Hilma af Klint, Maria Martinez, Gee’s Bend quilters, Frida Kahlo, Louise Bourgeois, Lois Mailou Jones, Alice Neel, Helen Zughaib, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Dorothea Lange, Xenobia Bailey, and Maria Sibylla Merian.


43785880Title: We are Artists: Women Who Made their Mark on the World
Written and illustrated by:  Kari Herbert

What It’s About: A richly illustrated book, We Are Artists celebrates the life and work of fifteen female artists from around the globe and the distinctive mark they made on art. Presented as a collection of exciting biographical stories, each section reveals how the artist’s unique approach and perspective provided art and society with a new way of seeing things.
We Are Artists places the spotlight on women painters, sculptors, printmakers, illustrators, designers, and craftswomen who created monumental artwork, often against daunting odds. The book includes reproductions of modern and contemporary artwork by Frida Kahlo, Yayoi Kusama, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alma Thomas, and Kenojuak Ashevak, to name a few. Through their personal stories, readers will learn about the art movements each artist worked in and the influence they exerted on both the art world and society as a whole.


42519099. sx318 Title: Pencils, Pens & Brushes: A Great Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation
Written by:  Mindy Johnson
Illustrated by: Lorelay Bove

What It’s About: Based on the critically acclaimed Disney Editions title, Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation, this nonfiction picture book is a fun and inspiring look at a few of the amazing women who have worked at Disney Animation over the years—from sculptors to inkers to painters to story artists, all with unique personalities and accomplishments, such as becoming a world record-holding pilot or creating an international club for tall people!

On a Theme: Girl Groups/Squads

ON A THEME - redesign

Girls supporting girls.  Women supporting women.  I love seeing girls get together for a cause – there is strength in numbers.  I love seeing girls realize their power and use it to help one another, especially during tough times.  Together, we can truly change the world.

This On a Theme will celebrate those stories.


Young Adult Titles #2

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Title:  This is What It Feels Like
Written by:  Rebecca Barrow

What It’s About:  It doesn’t matter what the prize for the Sun City Originals contest is this year.

Who cares that’s it’s fifteen grand? Who cares about a gig opening for one of the greatest bands to ever play this town?

Not Dia, that’s for sure. Because Dia knows that without a band, she hasn’t got a shot at winning Sun City. Because ever since Hanna’s drinking took over her life, Dia and Jules haven’t been in it. And ever since Hanna left — well, there hasn’t been a band.

It used to be the three of them, Dia, Jules, and Hanna, messing around and making music and planning for the future. But that was then, and this is now — and now means a baby, a failed relationship, a stint in rehab, all kinds of off beats that have interrupted the rhythm of their friendship. No contest can change that. Right?

But like the lyrics of a song you used to play on repeat, there’s no forgetting a best friend. And for Dia, Jules, and Hanna, this impossible challenge — to ignore the past, in order to jumpstart the future — will only become possible if they finally make peace with the girls they once were, and the girls they are finally letting themselves be.

(Descriptors: Contemporary Fiction, Music, Friendship, Addiction, Pregnancy.)


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Title: Rebel Girls
Written by: Elizabeth Keenan

What It’s About:  When it comes to being social, Athena Graves is far more comfortable creating a mixtape playlist than she is talking to cute boys—or anyone, for that matter. Plus her staunchly feminist views and love of punk rock aren’t exactly mainstream at St. Ann’s, her conservative Catholic high school.

Then a malicious rumor starts spreading through the halls…a rumor that her popular, pretty, pro-life sister had an abortion over the summer. A rumor that has the power to not only hurt Helen, but possibly see her expelled.

Despite their wildly contrasting views, Athena, Helen, and their friends must find a way to convince the student body and the administration that it doesn’t matter what Helen did or didn’t do…even if their riot grrrl protests result in the expulsion of their entire rebel girl gang.

(Contemporary Fiction, Protest, Sisterhood, Riot Grrrl Movement, Abortion )


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Title:  Hello Girls
Written by: Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry

What It’s About:  Best friends are forged by fire. For Winona Olsen and Lucille Pryce, that fire happened the night they met outside the police station—both deciding whether to turn their families in.

Winona has been starving for life in the seemingly perfect home that she shares with her seemingly perfect father, celebrity weatherman Stormy Olsen. No one knows that he locks the pantry door to control her eating and leaves bruises where no one can see them.

Lucille has been suffocating beneath the needs of her mother and her drug-dealing brother, wondering if there’s more out there for her than disappearing waitress tips and generations of barely getting by.

One harrowing night, Winona and Lucille realize they can’t wait until graduation to start their new lives. They need out. Now. All they need is three grand, fast. And really, a stolen convertible to take them from Michigan to Las Vegas can’t hurt.

(Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Physical and Emotional Abuse)


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Title:  This is All Your Fault
Written by:  Aminah Mae Safi

What It’s About: Set over the course of one day, this smart and voice-driven YA novel follows three young women determined to save their indie bookstore.

Rinn Olivera is finally going to tell her longtime crush AJ that she’s in love with him.

Daniella Korres writes poetry for her own account, but nobody knows it’s her.

Imogen Azar is just trying to make it through the day.

When Rinn, Daniella, and Imogen clock into work at Wild Nights Bookstore on the first day of summer, they’re expecting the hours to drift by the way they always do. Instead, they have to deal with the news that the bookstore is closing. Before the day is out, there’ll be shaved heads, a diva author, and a very large shipment of Air Jordans to contend with.

And it will take all three of them working together if they have any chance to save Wild Nights Bookstore.

Note: This novel comes out on October 13, 2020.

(Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Depression)


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Title:  Last Girls
Written by:  Demetra Brodsky

What It’s About:  No one knows how the world will end.

On a secret compound in the Washington wilderness, Honey Juniper and her sisters are training to hunt, homestead, and protect their own.

Prepare for every situation.

But when danger strikes from within, putting her sisters at risk, training becomes real life, and only one thing is certain:

Nowhere is safe.

Note: This novel comes out on May 5, 2020.

( Sisterhood, Survival, Suspense/Thriller Fiction, Contemporary Fiction. )


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Title:  Six Angry Girls
Written by:  Adrienne Kisner

What It’s About: Raina Petree is crushing her senior year, until her boyfriend dumps her, the drama club (basically) dumps her, the college of her dreams slips away, and her arch-nemesis triumphs.

Things aren’t much better for Millie Goodwin. Her father treats her like a servant, and the all-boy Mock Trial team votes her out, even after she spent the last three years helping to build its success.

But then, an advice columnist unexpectedly helps Raina find new purpose in a pair of knitting needles and a politically active local yarn store. This leads to an unlikely meeting in the girls’ bathroom, where Raina inspires Millie to start a rival team. The two join together and recruit four other angry girls to not only take on Mock Trial, but to smash the patriarchy in the process.

Note: This novel comes out on June 2, 2020.

(Contemporary Fiction, Feminism.)


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Title:  The Sullivan Sisters
Written by: Kathryn Ormsbee

What It’s About:  Time changes things.

That painful fact of life couldn’t be truer for the Sullivan sisters. Once, they used to be close, sharing secrets inside homemade blanket castles. Now, life in the Sullivan house means closed doors and secrets left untold.

Fourteen-year-old Murphy, an aspiring magician, is shocked by the death of Siegfried, her pet turtle. Seventeen-year-old Claire is bound for better things than her Oregonian hometown—until she receives a crushing rejection from her dream college. And eighteen-year-old Eileen is nursing a growing addiction in the wake of life-altering news.

Then, days before Christmas, a letter arrives, informing the sisters of a dead uncle and an inheritance they knew nothing about. The news forces them to band together in the face of a sinister family mystery…and, possibly, murder.

Note:  This novel comes out on July 8, 2020.

(Contemporary Fiction, Mystery Fiction, Suspense/Thriller Fiction, Coming-of-age, Sisterhood, Family, Addiction.)


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Title: Girls Save the World in This One
Written by:  Ash Parsons

What It’s About:   June’s whole life has been leading up to this: ZombieCon, the fan convention celebrating all things zombies. She and her two best friends plan on hitting all the panels, photo ops, and meeting the heartthrob lead of their favorite zombie apocalypse show Human Wasteland.

And when they arrive everything seems perfect, though June has to shrug off some weirdness from other fans—people shambling a little too much, and someone actually biting a cast member. Then all hell breaks loose and June and her friends discover the truth: real zombies are taking over the con. Now June must do whatever it takes to survive a horde of actual brain-eating zombies—and save the world.

(Zombies,  Horror, Friendship, Survival, Coming-of-age.)


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Title:  We Are the Wildcats
Written by:  Siobhan Vivian

What It’s About:  Tomorrow, the Wildcat varsity field hockey squad will play the first game of their new season. But at tonight’s team sleepover, the girls are all about forging the bonds of trust, loyalty, and friendship necessary to win.

Everything hinges on the midnight initiation ceremony—a beloved tradition and the only facet of being a Wildcat that the girls control. Until now.

Coach—a handsome former college player revered and feared in equal measure—changes the plan and spins his team on a new adventure. One where they take a rival team’s mascot for a joyride, crash a party in their pajamas, break into the high school for the perfect picture.

But as the girls slip out of their comfort zone, so do some long-held secrets. And just how far they’re willing to go for their team takes them all—especially Coach—by surprise.

A testament to the strength and resilience of modern teenage girls, We Are the Wildcats will have readers cheering.

(Contemporary Fiction, Sports, Friendship.)


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Title:  When We Were Magic
Written by:  Sarah Gailey

What It’s About:  Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder.

Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love.

That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn’t change on prom night.

When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.

(Paranormal Fiction, Witches, Witchcraft, LGBTQ. )


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Title:  The Deepest Roots
Written by:  Miranda Asebedo

What It’s About:  Cottonwood Hollow, Kansas, is a strange place. For the past century, every girl has been born with a special talent, like the ability to Fix any object, Heal any wound, or Find what is missing.

Best friends Rome, Lux, and Mercy all have similar talents, but to them, their abilities often feel like a curse. Rome may be able to Fix anything she touches, but that won’t help her mom pay rent or make it any easier to confide in Lux and Mercy about what’s going on at home. And Rome isn’t the only one. Lux has been hiding bigger, more dangerous secrets.

As Rome struggles to keep her friendships close, she discovers the truth about life in Cottonwood Hollow—that friends are stronger than curses, that trust is worth the risk, and sometimes, what you’ve been looking for has been under your feet the whole time.

(Magical Realism, Friendship, Intergenerational Sisterhood. )


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Title: These Witches Don’t Burn
Written by:  Isabel Sterling

What It’s About:  Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.

(Mystery Fiction,  Suspense/Thriller Fiction, Friendship, LGBTQ, Romance Fiction, Witches, Witchcraft.)


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Title: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Written by:  Ann Brashares

What It’s About:  Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn’t look all that great: they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them.

But Tibby says they’re great. She’d love to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they’re fabulous. Lena decides that they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them.

Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly. Even Carmen (who never thinks she looks good in anything) thinks she looks good in the pants. Over a few bags of cheese puffs, they decide to form a sisterhood and take the vow of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . the next morning, they say good-bye.

And then the journey of the pants — and the most memorable summer of their lives — begins.

(Contemporary Fiction, Coming-of-age, Friendship, Romance Fiction. )


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Title:  Daphne and Velma:  The Vanishing Girl
Written by:  Josephine Ruby

What It’s About:  Popular Daphne Blake and über-nerd Velma Dinkley are not friends. They aren’t enemies either, but they don’t have any reason to speak to each other, and that’s how they prefer it. The two girls grew up together—they’d been best friends since pre-K—but when they hit middle school, Daphne dropped Velma and never looked back.

These days, Daphne’s deep in the popular crowd, daughter of the richest family in town, while Velma’s an outsider, hiding from the world behind her thick glasses. When they run into each other in the halls of Crystal Cove High, they look the other way.

But then Daphne’s best friend, Marcy—who happens to be Velma’s cousin—goes missing. A century ago, there was a wave of disappearances in Crystal Cove, and many local people believe that supernatural forces were behind it. Now the whole town believes those same forces are back . . . and up to no good.

Daphne and Velma may be the only ones who can solve the mystery and save Marcy—if they can trust each other enough to try. Especially since the truth might be stranger—and scarier—than either girl can imagine . . .

(Mystery Fiction, Contemporary Fiction.)


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Title:  Hull Metal Girls
Written by:  Emily Srutskie

What It’s About:  Aisha Un-Haad would do anything for her family. When her brother contracts a plague, she knows her janitor’s salary isn’t enough to fund his treatment. So she volunteers to become a Scela, a mechanically enhanced soldier sworn to protect and serve the governing body of the Fleet, the collective of starships they call home. If Aisha can survive the harrowing modifications and earn an elite place in the Scela ranks, she may be able to save her brother.

Key Tanaka awakens in a Scela body with only hazy memories of her life before. She knows she’s from the privileged end of the Fleet, but she has no recollection of why she chose to give up a life of luxury to become a hulking cyborg soldier. If she can make it through the training, she might have a shot at recovering her missing past.

In a unit of new recruits vying for top placement, Aisha’s and Key’s paths collide, and the two must learn to work together–a tall order for girls from opposite ends of the Fleet. But a rebellion is stirring, pitting those who yearn for independence from the Fleet against a government struggling to maintain unity.

With violence brewing and dark secrets surfacing, Aisha and Key find themselves questioning their loyalties. They will have to put aside their differences, though, if they want to keep humanity from tearing itself apart.

(Science Fiction/ Fantasy Fiction, Space Opera, LGBTQ, Action/Adventure Fiction.)


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Title:  Beauty Queens
Written by:  Libba Bray

What It’s About:  The 50 contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras.

But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

What’s a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program – or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan – or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness.

( Humor, Survival, Contemporary Fiction,  Feminism.)


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Title:  The Nowhere Girls
Written by:  Amy Reed

What It’s About:  Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.

Who are the Nowhere Girls?

They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.

Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.

Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.

When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.

Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality.

(Contemporary Fiction, Sexual Assault, Friendship, LGBTQ, Rape Culture, Feminism.)


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Title:  Dread Nation
Written by: Justina Ireland

What It’s About:  Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

(Historical Fiction, Zombies, Horror, LGBTQ, Action/Adventure Fiction, Survival, Civil War Era.)


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Title: Elysium Girls
Written by: Kate Pentecost

What It’s About:  In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind.

When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she’s a liar, she knows she’s a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn’t shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa’s exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel.

Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium’s favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.

(Action/Adventure Fiction, Science Fiction/Fantasy Fiction, LGBTQ, Western, Dystopian.)


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Title:  Paper Girls Vol. 1
Written by:  Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by:  Cliff K. Chiang and Matt Wilson

What It’s About:  In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

(Science Fiction/ Fantasy Fiction, Mystery Fiction, Coming-of-age, 80s Nostalgia.)


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Title:  Heavy Vinyl Vol. 1
Written by:  Carly Usdin
Illustrated by:  Nina Vakueva

What It’s About:  When Chris joins the staff at her local record store, she’s surprised to find out that her co-workers share a secret: they’re all members of a secret fight club that take on the patriarchy and fight crime!

Starry-eyed Chris has just started the dream job every outcast kid in town wants: working at Vinyl Mayhem. It’s as rad as she imagined; her boss is BOSS, her co-workers spend their time arguing over music, pushing against the patriarchy, and endlessly trying to form a band. When Rosie Riot, the staff’s favorite singer, mysteriously vanishes the night before her band’s show, Chris discovers her co-workers are doing more than just sorting vinyl . . . Her local indie record store is also a front for a teen girl vigilante fight club!

(LGBTQ, Action/Adventure Fiction, Mystery Fiction.)


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Title:  Misfit City Vol. 1
Written by:  Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith
Illustrated by:  Kurt Lustgarten and Naomi Franquiz

What It’s About:  Nothing’s happened in Wilder’s hometown since they filmed that cult kids’ adventure movie there in the 80s…Until one day, she and her friends come upon a centuries-old pirate map!

Smothered by her backwater hometown and frustrated by its 1980s cult-movie fame (The Gloomies…have you seen it? It’s a real classic, y’know.), Wilder is pretty sure she’s seen everything Cannon Cove has to offer. She’s desperate to get away from home as soon as she can, and move on to bigger, better, and less annoying things…even if that might mean leaving her best friends behind.

But when Wilder discovers a centuries-old pirate map, she may find out that REAL adventure was in their tiny town all along…and they need each other to get to the bottom of it!

(Friendship, Action/Adventure Fiction, Mystery Fiction, 80s Nostalgia.)


Middle Grade Titles

The Prettiest

Title:  The Prettiest
Written by: Brigit Young

What It’s About:  THE PRETTIEST: It’s the last thing Eve Hoffmann expected to be, the only thing Sophie Kane wants to be, and something Nessa Flores-Brady knows she’ll never be . . . until a list appears online, ranking the top fifty prettiest girls in the eighth grade.

Eve is disgusted by the way her body is suddenly being objectified by everyone around her.
Sophie is sick of the bullying she’s endured after being relegated to number two.
And Nessa is tired of everyone else trying to tell her who she is.

It’s time for a takedown. As the three girls band together, they begin to stand up not just for themselves, but for one another, too.

(Friendship, Feminism, Contemporary Fiction, Sisterhood, Smashing the Patriarchy.


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Written by: Carrie Firestone

What It’s About:   Molly Frost is FED UP…

Because Olivia was yelled at for wearing a tank top when she had to keep her sweatshirt wrapped around her waist.

Because Liza got dress coded and Molly didn’t, even though they were wearing the exact same outfit.

Because when Jessica was pulled over by the principal and missed a math quiz, her teacher gave her an F.

Because it’s impossible to find shorts that are longer than her fingertips.

Because girls’ bodies are not a distraction.

Because middle school is hard enough.

And so Molly starts a podcast where girls can tell their stories, and soon her small rebellion swells into a revolution. Because now the girls are standing up for what’s right, and they’re not backing down.

(Contemporary Fiction, Feminism, Protest, Activism Sisterhood, Smashing the Patriarchy.)


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Title:  Babysitting Nightmares:  The Shadow Hand
Written by:  Kat Shepherd
Illustrated by: Rayanne Vieira

What It’s About:  Rebecca Chin is understandably freaked out when something begins haunting her babysitting charge, Kyle. Ever since a powerful thunderstorm, strange handprints have appeared on the walls, shadows prowl his room, and the baby is not quite himself.

After investigating, Rebecca and her three best friends discover that a sinister, paranormal villain known as the Night Queen has taken Kyle and replaced him with one of her minions. To stop her, they embark on a chilling journey into the woods to outwit the Night Queen and her creepy creatures—or risk being trapped in her realm forever!

Quick thinking and strong friendship save the day in the first of this exciting new middle-grade series.

(Supernatural Fiction, Mystery Fiction, Friendship, Paranormal Fiction.)


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Title:  Ghost Squad
Written by:  Claribel A. Ortega

What It’s About:  Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely’s firefly spirits before it’s too late.

(Supernatural Fiction, Paranormal Fiction, Friendship, Action/Adventure Fiction.)


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Title:  Best Babysitters Ever
Written by:  Caroline Cala

What It’s About:  Once upon a time, a girl named Kristy Thomas had a great idea: to form The Baby-Sitters Club with her best friends. And now twelve-year-old Malia Twiggs has had a great idea too. Technically, she had Kristy’s idea. (And technically, little kids seem gross and annoying, but a paycheck is a paycheck). After a little convincing, Malia and her friends Dot and Bree start a babysitting club to earn funds for an epic birthday bash. But babysitting definitely isn’t what they thought it would be.

Three friends. No parents. Unlimited snacks. And, okay, occasionally watching other people’s children. What could possibly go wrong?

( Humor, Friendship, Contemporary Fiction. )


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Title: Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers
Written by: Celia C. Pérez

What It’s About:  When three very different girls find a mysterious invitation to a lavish mansion, the promise of adventure and mischief is too intriguing to pass up.

Ofelia Castillo (a budding journalist), Aster Douglas (a bookish foodie), and Cat Garcia (a rule-abiding birdwatcher) meet the kid behind the invite, Lane DiSanti, and it isn’t love at first sight. But they soon bond over a shared mission to get the Floras, their local Scouts, to ditch an outdated tradition. In their quest for justice, independence, and an unforgettable summer, the girls form their own troop and find something they didn’t know they needed: sisterhood.

(Contemporary Fiction, Activism, Friendship.)


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Title:  The Only Black Girls in Town
Written by:  Brandy Colbert

What It’s About:  Beach-loving surfer Alberta has been the only black girl in town for years. Alberta’s best friend, Laramie, is the closest thing she has to a sister, but there are some things even Laramie can’t understand. When the bed and breakfast across the street finds new owners, Alberta is ecstatic to learn the family is black-and they have a 12-year-old daughter just like her.

Alberta is positive she and the new girl, Edie, will be fast friends. But while Alberta loves being a California girl, Edie misses her native Brooklyn and finds it hard to adapt to small-town living.

When the girls discover a box of old journals in Edie’s attic, they team up to figure out exactly who’s behind them and why they got left behind. Soon they discover shocking and painful secrets of the past and learn that nothing is quite what it seems.

(Contemporary Fiction, Mystery Fiction, Friendship, Social Issues, Identity.)


The Long Ride

Title: The Long Ride
Written by:  Marina Budhos

What It’s About:  In the tumult of 1970s New York City, seventh graders are bussed from their neighborhood in Queens to integrate a new school in South Jamaica.

Jamila Clarke. Josie Rivera. Francesca George. Three mixed-race girls, close friends whose immigrant parents worked hard to settle their families in a neighborhood with the best schools. The three girls are outsiders there, but they have each other.

Now, at the start seventh grade, they are told they will be part of an experiment, taking a long bus ride to a brand-new school built to “mix up the black and white kids.” Their parents don’t want them to be experiments. Francesca’s send her to a private school, leaving Jamila and Josie to take the bus ride without her.

While Francesca is testing her limits, Josie and Jamila find themselves outsiders again at the new school. As the year goes on, the Spanish girls welcome Josie, while Jamila develops a tender friendship with a boy–but it’s a relationship that can exist only at school.

(Historical Fiction, Social Issues, School Desegregation, Friendship)


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Title:  Sisterland
Written by:  Salla Simukka

What It’s About:  Alice thought it was unusual to see a dragonfly in the middle of winter. But she followed it until she fell down-down-down, and woke up in a world unlike any other.

Welcome to Sisterland, a fantastical world where it is always summer. The most enchanting magic of all, though, is Alice’s new friend Marissa. But as the girls explore the strange land, they learn Sisterland’s endless summer comes at a price. Back on Earth, their homes are freezing over. To save their families, Alice and Marissa must outwit the powerful Queen Lili. But the deeper they go into Sisterland, the less Alice and Marissa remember about their homes, their lives before, and what they are fighting for.

This is a wondrous tale about heroism, loyalty, and friendship from one of the most celebrated Finnish children’s authors, Salla Simukka.

(Science Fiction/ Fantasy Fiction, Friendship, Translated Novels, Heroism.)


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Title:  Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy Vol. 1
Written by: Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis
Illustrated by:  Brooke Allen

What It’s About: At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… And they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.

Note: Besides the graphic novel series, there is a middle-grade novel series written by the amazing and stupendous, Mariko Tamaki.

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Title:  Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power!
Written by: Mariko Tamaki
Illustrated by:  Brooklyn Allen

What It’s About: Welcome to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. The five scouts of Roanoke cabin—Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley—love their summers at camp. They get to hang out with their best friends, earn Lumberjane scout badges, annoy their no-nonsense counselor Jen . . . and go on supernatural adventures. That last one? A pretty normal occurrence at Miss Qiunzella’s, where the woods contain endless mysteries.

Today is no exception. When challenge-loving April leads the girls on a hike up the TALLEST mountain they’ve ever seen, things don’t go quite as planned. For one, they didn’t expect to trespass into the lands of the ancient Cloud People, and did anyone happen to read those ominous signs some unknown person posted at the bottom of the mountain? Also, unicorns.

This hilarious, rollicking adventure series brings the beloved Lumberjanes characters into a novel format with brand-new adventures.

(Humor, Action/Adventure, Mystery Fiction, Coming-of-age, LGBTQ.)


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Title:  Go With the Flow
Written and illustrated by: Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann

What It’s About: Good friends help you go with the flow.  Best friends help you start a revolution.

Sophomores Abby, Brit, Christine, and Sasha are fed up. Hazelton High never has enough tampons. Or pads. Or adults who will listen.

Sick of an administration that puts football before female health, the girls confront a world that shrugs―or worse, squirms―at the thought of a menstruation revolution. They band together to make a change. It’s no easy task, especially while grappling with everything from crushes to trig to JV track but they have each other’s backs. That is, until one of the girls goes rogue, testing the limits of their friendship and pushing the friends to question the power of their own voices.

Now they must learn to work together to raise each other up. But how to you stand your ground while raising bloody hell?

(Periods, Protest, Friendship, Activism, Social Issues, Female Bodies.)

Finished Reading: Almost American Girl

Title_ Almost American Girl

What It’s About:   For as long as she can remember, it’s been Robin and her mom against the world. Growing up in the 1990s as the only child of a single mother in Seoul, Korea, wasn’t always easy, but it has bonded them fiercely together.

So when a vacation to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama, unexpectedly becomes a permanent relocation—following her mother’s announcement that she’s getting married—Robin is devastated. Overnight, her life changes. She is dropped into a new school where she doesn’t understand the language and struggles to keep up. She is completely cut off from her friends at home and has no access to her beloved comics. At home, she doesn’t fit in with her new stepfamily. And worst of all, she is furious with the one person she is closest to—her mother.

Then one day Robin’s mother enrolls her in a local comic drawing class, which opens the window to a future Robin could never have imagined.


Finished Reading...Reboot


Almost American Girl by Robin Ha is a moving memoir that describes the author’s story of moving to America from South Korea with her mom.  And it’s not an easy move to a new country or an easy transition into a new school or community.  It’s fraught with loneliness, isolation, racism and so many tears.  That is the reality that Robin Ha’s graphic memoir doesn’t shy away from showing.  But Chuna also rises from it so triumphantly.  She stands up for herself, learns to speak English, make friends and move forward.

What I also loved about this graphic novel was that it showed us Chuna’s relationship with her mother. How they were each other’s everything.  Those glimpses of what her mother must have gone through in South Korea with raising Chuna by herself in a conservative society, and then her hopes for their new lives in America, which probably represented opportunity and freedom.

The graphic memoir really feels like it comes full circle in the end when Chuna goes back to Korea and reflects on all those feelings she had when she first arrived in America and her nostalgia for the Seoul of her younger years.

This book is a definite and absolute new favorite of mine. It really captured my heart.

Donut Rating 5

Robin Ha’s twitter is full of other delightful things, including a few comics about book signings she was able to do before we all had to hunker down and stay home.  Check out this thread.

On a Theme: Little Women

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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is an enduring novel that we continue to read and relate to.  It seems like each new generation of girls and women that meet the novel take something special and all their own away from it.

There have been several film adaptations, most recently, the one by Greta Gerwig.  I have watched several versions including the 1933 Katherine Hepburn version, the 1949 June Allyson version and the 1994 version with Winona Ryder.   Each one slightly different and a product of the time it was adapted in but nonetheless, exciting.

In this On a Theme post, I will list some items that have been inspired by Louisa May Alcott’s novel.   My hope is that you will find something new to enjoy!


39295317Title: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel: A Modern Retelling of Little Women
Written by: Rey Terciero
Illustrated by: Bre Indigo

What It’s About:  Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are having a really tough year: with their father serving in the military overseas, they must work overtime to make ends meet…and each girl is struggling in her own way. Whether it’s school woes, health issues, boy troubles, or simply feeling lost, the March sisters all need the same thing: support from each other. Only by coming together–and sharing lots of laughs and tears–will these four young women find the courage to discover who they truly are as individuals…and as a family.

Meg is the eldest March, and she has a taste for the finer things in life. She dreams of marrying rich, enjoying fabulous clothes and parties, and leaving her five-floor walk-up apartment behind.

Jo pushes her siblings to be true to themselves, yet feels like no one will accept her for who she truly is. Her passion for writing gives her an outlet to feel worthy in the eyes of her friends and family.

Beth is the shy sister with a voice begging to be heard. But with a guitar in hand, she finds a courage that inspires her siblings to seize the day and not take life for granted.

Amy may be the baby of the family, but she has the biggest personality. Though she loves to fight with her sisters, her tough exterior protects a vulnerable heart that worries about her family’s future.


39898611. sx318 Title: Jo: A Graphic Novel
Written and illustrated by: Kathleen Gros

What It’s About: With the start of eighth grade, Jo March decides it’s time to get serious about her writing and joins the school newspaper. But even with her new friend Freddie cheering her on, becoming a hard-hitting journalist is a lot harder than Jo imagined.
That’s not all that’s tough. Jo and her sisters—Meg, Beth, and Amy—are getting used to a new normal at home, with their dad deployed overseas and their mom, a nurse, working overtime.

And while it helps to hang out with Laurie, the boy who just moved next door, things get complicated when he tells Jo he has feelings for her. Feelings that Jo doesn’t have for him…or for any boy. Feelings she’s never shared with anyone before. Feelings that Jo might have for Freddie.

What does it take to figure out who you are? Jo March is about to find out.

Note:  This title is set to be released on September 22, 2020.


43822031Title: More to the Story
Written by: Hena Khan

What It’s About:   When Jameela Mirza is picked to be feature editor of her middle school newspaper, she’s one step closer to being an award-winning journalist like her late grandfather. The problem is her editor-in-chief keeps shooting down her article ideas. Jameela’s assigned to write about the new boy in school, who has a cool British accent but doesn’t share much, and wonders how she’ll make his story gripping enough to enter into a national media contest.

Jameela, along with her three sisters, is devastated when their father needs to take a job overseas, away from their cozy Georgia home for six months. Missing him makes Jameela determined to write an epic article—one to make her dad extra proud. But when her younger sister gets seriously ill, Jameela’s world turns upside down. And as her hunger for fame looks like it might cost her a blossoming friendship, Jameela questions what matters most, and whether she’s cut out to be a journalist at all…


48895207Title: Jo & Laurie
Written by: Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz

What It’s About: 1869, Concord, Massachusetts: After the publication of her first novel, Jo March is shocked to discover her book of scribbles has become a bestseller, and her publisher and fans demand a sequel. While pressured into coming up with a story, she goes to New York with her dear friend Laurie for a week of inspiration—museums, operas, and even a once-in-a-lifetime reading by Charles Dickens himself!

But Laurie has romance on his mind, and despite her growing feelings, Jo’s desire to remain independent leads her to turn down his heartfelt marriage proposal and sends the poor boy off to college heartbroken. When Laurie returns to Concord with a sophisticated new girlfriend, will Jo finally communicate her true heart’s desire or lose the love of her life forever?

Note: This book is set to be released on June 2, 2020.


9583143Title: Little Women and Me
Written by: Lauren Baratz-Logsted

What It’s About:  Emily March is sick and tired of being a middle sister. So when she gets an assignment to describe one thing she’d change about a classic novel, Little Women is an easy choice. After all, if Emily can’t fix things in her own family, she might as well bring a little justice to the other March sisters. Perhaps she can–spoiler alert!–keep Beth from dying? Or maybe she can prevent the boy next door from winding up with Amy instead of Jo?

But when Emily gets mysteriously transported into the 1860s world of the March sisters, she discovers that righting fictional wrongs won’t be as easy as she thought… especially when she develops a crush on the very boy she planned to save for Jo. After being immersed in a time and place so different from her own, Emily–and not the March sisters–may be the one who undergoes the most surprising change of all.


The Boy Next Story (Bookish Boyfriends, #2)Title: The Boy Next Story (Bookish Boyfriends, #2)
Written by: Tiffany Schmidt

What It’s About:  There’s no one better than the boy next door. At least not according to Aurora Campbell, fourteen, who has been in love with Tobias May since their very first sandbox kiss. The problem is, he’s in love with her older sister, Merrilee. And Merri is already dating one of his best friends.

Rory is learning all about pining as her class reads The Great Gatsby, a book she doesn’t find “great” at all. Also not great—her GPA, something she needs to fix, quickly, if she’d like to apply for the chance to spend a week studying art with her hero in New York City over winter break. But when Ms. Gregoire assigns her to read Little Women for extra credit, Rory discovers more than she expected—both about herself and Toby. Maybe she wasn’t in love with the boy next door. . . but the boy next story.

Love is complicated, and it’s all about to get even trickier for Rory at Reginald R. Hero Prep . . . where with the help of one quirky English teacher, students’ fantasies come true, often with surprising consequences.


45899334. sy475 Title:  Meg and Jo
Written by: Virginia Kantra

What It’s About:   The March sisters—reliable Meg, independent Jo, stylish Amy, and shy Beth—have grown up to pursue their separate dreams. When Jo followed her ambitions to New York City, she never thought her career in journalism would come crashing down, leaving her struggling to stay afloat in a gig economy as a prep cook and secret food blogger.

Meg appears to have the life she always planned—the handsome husband, the adorable toddlers, the house in a charming subdivision. But sometimes getting everything you’ve ever wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When their mother’s illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays, they’ll rediscover what really matters.

One thing’s for sure—they’ll need the strength of family and the power of sisterhood to remake their lives and reimagine their dreams.


Title:  The Little Women Cookbook: Tempting Recipes from the March Sisters and Their Friends and Family
Written by:  Wini Moranville

What It’s About:  Here at last is the first cookbook to celebrate the scrumptious and comforting foods that play a prominent role in Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women.
If your family includes a Little Women fan, or if you yourself are one, with this book you can keep the magic and wonder of the beloved tale alive for years to come.

Do you wonder what makes the characters so excited to make—and eat!—sweets and desserts like the exotically named Blancmange or the mysterious Bonbons with Mottoes, along with favorites like Apple Turnovers, Plum Pudding, and Gingerbread Cake? Find out for yourself with over 50 easy-to-make recipes for these delectable treats and more, all updated for the modern kitchen.

From Hannah’s Pounded Potatoes to Amy’s Picnic Lemonade, from the charming Chocolate Drop Cookies that Professor Bhaer always offers to Meg’s twins to hearty dinners that Hannah and Marmee encourage the March sisters to learn to make, you’ll find an abundance of delicious teatime drinks and snacks, plus breakfasts, brunches, lunches, suppers, and desserts. Featuring full-color photos, evocative illustrations, fun and uplifting quotes from the novel, and anecdotes about Louisa May Alcott, this is a book that any Little Women fan will love to have.


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Title: March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women
Written by: Kate Bolick, Jenny Zhang, Carmen Maria Machado, and Jane Smiley

What It’s About: For the 150th anniversary of the publication of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Kate Bolick, Jenny Zhang, Carmen Maria Machado, and Jane Smiley explore their strong lifelong personal engagement with Alcott’s novel–what it has meant to them and why it still matters. Each takes as her subject one of the four March sisters, reflecting on their stories and what they have to teach us about life.

Kate Bolick finds parallels in oldest sister Meg’s brush with glamour at the Moffats’ ball and her own complicated relationship with clothes. Jenny Zhang confesses to liking Jo least among the sisters when she first read the novel as a girl, uncomfortable in finding so much of herself in a character she feared was too unfeminine. Carmen Maria Machado writes about the real-life tragedy of Lizzie Alcott, the inspiration for third sister Beth, and the horror story that can result from not being the author of your own life’s narrative. And Jane Smiley rehabilitates the reputation of youngest sister Amy, whom she sees as a modern feminist role model for those of us who are, well, not like the fiery Jo. These four voices come together to form a deep, funny, far-ranging meditation on the power of great literature to shape our lives.


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Title:  Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters
Written by: Anne Boyd Rioux

What It’s About:  Soon after publication on September 30, 1868, Little Women became an enormous bestseller and one of America’s favorite novels. Its popularity quickly spread throughout the world, and the book has become an international classic. When Anne Boyd Rioux read the novel in her twenties, she had a powerful reaction to the story. Through teaching the book, she has seen the same effect on many others.

In Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Rioux recounts how Louisa May Alcott came to write Little Women, drawing inspiration for it from her own life. Rioux also examines why this tale of family and community ties, set while the Civil War tore America apart, has resonated through later wars, the Depression, and times of changing opportunities for women.

Alcott’s novel has moved generations of women, many of them writers: Simone de Beauvoir, J. K. Rowling, bell hooks, Cynthia Ozick, Jane Smiley, Margo Jefferson, and Ursula K. Le Guin were inspired by Little Women, particularly its portrait of the iconoclastic young writer, Jo. Many have felt, as Anna Quindlen has declared, “Little Women changed my life.”

Today, Rioux sees the novel’s beating heart in Alcott’s portrayal of family resilience and her honest look at the struggles of girls growing into women. In gauging its current status, Rioux shows why Little Women remains a book with such power that people carry its characters and spirit throughout their lives.

Shelf Sightings: YA Anthologies

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Before we were all asked to stay home and stay safe, I spotted Fresh Ink: An Anthology on the shelf at the library.  This piqued my interest and got me interested in what other anthologies were out there for teen readers.  The answer is…there is a wealth of YA anthologies both in fiction and non-fiction.

In this Shelf Sightings post, I will be listing a bunch of anthologies that cover a range of topics like race, love, activism, feminism, LGBTQ+ people, witchcraft, vampires, romance, and more!


31292315Title: Fresh Ink: An Anthology
Edited:  Lamar Giles

What It’s About:  Careful–you are holding fresh ink. And not hot-off-the-press, still-drying-in-your-hands ink. Instead, you are holding twelve stories with endings that are still being written–whose next chapters are up to you.

Because these stories are meant to be read. And shared.

Thirteen of the most accomplished YA authors deliver a label-defying anthology that includes ten short stories, a graphic novel, and a one-act play. This collection will inspire you to break conventions, bend the rules, and color outside the lines. All you need is fresh ink.

Notes: LGBTQ, Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction.


37819089Title: Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America
Edited by:  Ibi Zoboi

What It’s About:  Black Enough is a star-studded anthology edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi that will delve into the closeted thoughts, hidden experiences, and daily struggles of black teens across the country. From a spectrum of backgrounds—urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—Black Enough showcases diversity within diversity.

Whether it’s New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds writing about #blackboyjoy or Newbery Honor-winning author Renee Watson talking about black girls at camp in Portland, or emerging author Jay Coles’s story about two cowboys kissing in the south—Black Enough is an essential collection full of captivating coming-of-age stories about what it’s like to be young and black in America.

Notes: Contemporary Fiction, Short Stories, Coming-of-Age Stories, Stories about Race.


40960763Title: Color Outside the Lines
Edited by:  Sangu Mandanna

What It’s About:  This modern, groundbreaking YA anthology explores the complexity and beauty of interracial and LGBTQ+ relationships where differences are front and center.

When people ask me what this anthology is about, I’m often tempted to give them the complicated answer: it’s about race, and about how being different from the person you love can matter but how it can also not matter, and it’s about Chinese pirate ghosts, black girl vigilantes, colonial India, a flower festival, a garden of poisons, and so, so much else. Honestly, though? I think the answer’s much simpler than that. Color outside the Lines is a collection of stories about young, fierce, brilliantly hopeful people in love.  —Sangu Mandanna, editor of Color Outside the Lines

Notes: Romance Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, LGBTQ, Short Stories, Stories about Race.


36511766. sy475 Title:  It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories
Edited by:  Katherine Locke and Laura Silverman

What It’s About:  A Jewish boy falls in love with a fellow counselor at summer camp. A group of Jewish friends take the trip of a lifetime. A girl meets her new boyfriend’s family over Shabbat dinner. Two best friends put their friendship to the test over the course of a Friday night. A Jewish girl feels pressure to date the only Jewish boy in her grade. Hilarious pranks and disaster ensue at a crush’s Hanukkah party.

From stories of confronting their relationships with Judaism to rom-coms with a side of bagels and lox, It’s a Whole Spiel features one story after another that says yes, we are Jewish, but we are also queer, and disabled, and creative, and political, and adventurous, and anything we want to be. You will fall in love with this insightful, funny, and romantic Jewish anthology from a collection of diverse Jewish authors.

Notes: Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction, LGBTQ, Romance Fiction, Characters Living with Disability, Stories about Jewish Teens/Youth.


46158523. sy475 Title: I Am the Night Sky: & Other Reflections by Muslim American Youth
Written by: NEXT WAVE MUSLIM INITIATIVE WRITERS

What It’s About:  During an era characterized by both hijabi fashion models and enduring post-9/11 stereotypes, ten Muslim American teenagers came together to explore what it means to be young and Muslim in America today. These teens represent the tremendous diversity within the American Muslim community, and their book, like them, contains multitudes. Bilal writes about being a Muslim musician. Imaan imagines a dystopian Underground. Samaa creates her own cartoon Kabob Squad. Ayah responds to online hate. Through poems, essays, artwork, and stories, these young people aim to show their true selves, to build connection, and to create more inclusive and welcoming communities for all.

Notes: Stories about Race, Essays, Poetry, Short Stories, Muslim Teens/Youth, Non-Fiction.


39930580. sy475 Title:  Meet Me at the Intersection
Edited by:  Rebecca Lim and Ambelin Kwaymullina

What It’s About:  Meet Me at the Intersection is an anthology of short fiction, memoir, and poetry by authors who are First Nations, People of Colour, LGBTIQA+ or living with disability. The focus of the anthology is on Australian life as seen through each author’s unique, and seldom heard, perspective.

With works by Ellen van Neerven, Graham Akhurst, Kyle Lynch, Ezekiel Kwaymullina, Olivia Muscat, Mimi Lee, Jessica Walton, Kelly Gardiner, Rafeif Ismail, Yvette Walker, Amra Pajalic, Melanie Rodriga, Omar Sakr, Wendy Chen, Jordi Kerr, Rebecca Lim, Michelle Aung Thin and Alice Pung, this anthology is designed to challenge the dominant, homogenous story of privilege and power that rarely admits ‘outsider’ voices.

Notes: Short Stories, LGBTQ, Mental Health, People Living with Disability, Stories about Race, Poetry, Memoir.


Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & LoveTitle:  Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love
Edited by:  Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond

What It’s About:   A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the confections she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that could cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life.

Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one and the same.

Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home.

Notes:  Romance Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Stories about Family, Short Stories.


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Title: Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices
Edited by:  Mitali Perkins

What It’s About:  Listen in as ten YA authors — some familiar, some new — use their own brand of humor to share their stories about growing up between cultures. Henry Choi Lee discovers that pretending to be a tai chi master or a sought-after wiz at math wins him friends for a while — until it comically backfires. A biracial girl is amused when her dad clears seats for his family on a crowded subway in under a minute flat, simply by sitting quietly in between two uptight white women. Edited by acclaimed author and speaker Mitali Perkins, this collection of fiction and nonfiction uses a mix of styles as diverse as their authors, from laugh-out-loud funny to wry, ironic, or poingnant, in prose, poetry, and comic form.

Featured authors: Mitali Perkins, David Yoo, Cherry Cheva, Varian Johnson, G. Neri, Naomi Shihab Nye, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Debbie Rigaud, Francisco X. Stork, Gene Luen Yang.

Notes:  Short Stories, Cultural Stories, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Illustration, Contemporary Fiction.


41957935. sx318 Title:  Take the Mic: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance
Edited by:  Bethany C. Morrow

What It’s About:  A young adult anthology featuring fictional stories of everyday resistance.

You might be the kind of person who stands up to online trolls.
Or who marches to protest injustice.

Perhaps you are #DisabledAndCute and dancing around your living room, alive and proud.

Or perhaps you are the trans mentor that you wish you had when you were younger.

Maybe you call out false allies, or stand up to loved ones.

Maybe you speak your truth and drop the mic, or maybe you take it with you when you leave.

Notes: Short Stories, Poetry, Social Justice, LGBTQ, Activism, Contemporary Fiction.


30754000. sx318 Title:  Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World
Edited by:  Kelly Jensen

What It’s About:  LET’S GET THE FEMINIST PARTY STARTED!

Have you ever wanted to be a superheroine? Join a fandom? Create the perfect empowering playlist? Understand exactly what it means to be a feminist in the twenty-first century? You’ve come to the right place.

Forty-four writers, dancers, actors, and artists contribute essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations about everything from body positivity to romance to gender identity to intersectionality to the greatest girl friendships in fiction. Together, they share diverse perspectives on and insights into what feminism means and what it looks like. Come on in, turn the pages, and be inspired to find your own path to feminism by the awesome individuals in Here We Are.

Notes: Feminism, Essays, Poems, Comics/Illustrations, Gender Identity, Social Justice, Non-Fiction, LGBTQ. 


34445772. sy475 Title: Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America
Edited by:  Amy Reed

What It’s About:  From Amy Reed, Ellen Hopkins, Amber Smith, Sandhya Menon, and more of your favorite YA authors comes an anthology of essays that explore the diverse experiences of injustice, empowerment, and growing up female in America.

This collection of twenty-one essays from major YA authors—including award-winning and bestselling writers—touches on a powerful range of topics related to growing up female in today’s America, and the intersection with race, religion, and ethnicity. Sure to inspire hope and solidarity to anyone who reads it, Our Stories, Our Voices belongs on every young woman’s shelf.

This anthology features essays from Martha Brockenbrough, Jaye Robin Brown, Sona Charaipotra, Brandy Colbert, Somaiya Daud, Christine Day, Alexandra Duncan, Ilene Wong (I.W.) Gregorio, Maurene Goo, Ellen Hopkins, Stephanie Kuehnert, Nina LaCour, Anna-Marie McLemore, Sandhya Menon, Hannah Moskowitz, Julie Murphy, Aisha Saeed, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Amber Smith, and Tracy Walker.

Notes: Essays, Non-Fiction, Feminism, Social Justice, Stories about Race.


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Title:  You Too?:  25 Voices Share Their #MeToo Stories
Edited by: Janet Gurtler

What It’s About:   A timely and heartfelt collection of essays inspired by the #MeToo movement, edited by acclaimed young adult and middle-grade author Janet Gurtler. Featuring Beth Revis, Mackenzi Lee, Ellen Hopkins, Saundra Mitchell, Jennifer Brown, Cheryl Rainfield and many more.

When #MeToo went viral, Janet Gurtler was among the millions of people who began to reflect on her past experiences. Things she had reluctantly accepted—male classmates groping her at recess, harassment at work—came back to her in startling clarity. She needed teens to know what she had not: that no young person should be subject to sexual assault, or made to feel unsafe, less than or degraded.

You Too? was born out of that need. By turns thoughtful and explosive, these personal stories encompass a wide range of experiences and will resonate with every reader who has wondered, “Why is this happening to me?” or secretly felt that their own mistreatment or abuse is somehow their fault—it’s not. Candid and empowering, You Too? is written for teens, but also an essential resource for the adults in their lives—an urgent, compassionate call to listen and create change.

Notes: Essays, Sexual Assault, Feminism, Social Justice, Non-Fiction. 


444525Title:  Am I Blue?: Coming Out from the Silence
Edited by:  Marion Dane Bauer

What It’s About:  Each of these stories is original, each is by a noted author for young adults, and each honestly portrays its subject and theme–growing up gay or lesbian, or with gay or lesbian parents or friends.

Includes authors: C. S. Adler,  Marion Dane Bauer, Francesca Lia Block, Bruce Coville, Nancy Garden, James Cross Giblin, Ellen Howard, M. E. Kerr, Jonathan London, Lois Lowry, Gregory Maguire, Lesléa Newman, Cristina Salat, William Sleator, Jacqueline Woodson, and Jane Yolen.

Notes: LGBTQ, Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction.


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Title:  Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories
Edited by: Michael Earp

What It’s About: What does it mean to be queer? What does it mean to be human? In this powerful #OwnVoices collection, twelve of Australia’s finest queer writers explore the stories of family, friends, lovers, and strangers – the connections that form us.

Compelling queer short fiction by bestsellers, award winners and newcomers to the #LoveOzYA community including Jax Jacki Brown, Claire G Coleman, Michael Earp, Alison Evans, Erin Gough, Benjamin Law, Omar Sakr, Christos Tsiolkas, Ellen van Neerven, Marlee Jane Ward, Jen Wilde, and Nevo Zisin.

Notes: Short Stories,  Contemporary Fiction, Characters Living with Disability, Romance Fiction, LGBTQ.


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Title:  Proud
Edited by:  Juno Dawson

What It’s About:  A stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN.

A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.

Contributors: Steve Antony, Dean Atta, Kate Alizadeh, Fox Benwell, Alex Bertie, Caroline Bird, Fatti Burke, Tanya Byrne, Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Frank Duffy, Simon James Green, Leo Greenfield, Saffa Khan, Karen Lawler, David Levithan, Priyanka Meenakshi, Alice Oseman, Michael Lee Richardson, David Roberts, Cynthia So, Kay Staples, Jessica Vallance, Kristen Van Dam, and Kameron White.

Notes: Short Stories, Poetry, LGBTQ, Contemporary Fiction, Illustration.


39895169Title:  (Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start The Conversation About Mental Health
Edited by: Kelly Jensen

What It’s About:  Who’s Crazy?

What does it mean to be crazy? Is using the word crazy offensive? What happens when such a label gets attached to your everyday experiences?

In order to understand mental health, we need to talk openly about it. Because there’s no single definition of crazy, there’s no single experience that embodies it, and the word itself means different things—wild? extreme? disturbed? passionate?—to different people.

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy is a conversation starter and guide to better understanding how our mental health affects us every day. Thirty-three writers, athletes, and artists offer essays, lists, comics, and illustrations that explore their personal experiences with mental illness, how we do and do not talk about mental health, help for better understanding how every person’s brain is wired differently, and what, exactly, might make someone crazy.

If you’ve ever struggled with your mental health, or know someone who has, come on in, turn the pages, and let’s get talking.

Notes: Non-Fiction, Mental Health, Essays, Illustrations.


35120779. sy475 Title:  Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens
Edited by:  Marieke Nijkamp

What It’s About:  This anthology explores disability in fictional tales told from the viewpoint of disabled characters, written by disabled creators. With stories in various genres about first loves, friendship, war, travel, and more, Unbroken will offer today’s teen readers a glimpse into the lives of disabled people in the past, present, and future.

The contributing authors are award winners, bestsellers, and newcomers including Kody Keplinger, Kristine Wyllys, Francisco X. Stork, William Alexander, Corinne Duyvis, Marieke Nijkamp, Dhonielle Clayton, Heidi Heilig, Katherine Locke, Karuna Riazi, Kayla Whaley, Keah Brown, and Fox Benwell. Each author identifies as disabled along a physical, mental, or neurodiverse axis―and their characters reflect this diversity.

Notes: Short Stories, Characters Living with Disability, Contemporary Fiction.


33503607Title: Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet
Contributions from: Various authors

What It’s About:   Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors.

Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

Notes: Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction, Romance Fiction.


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Title: Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories
Edited by:  Stephanie Perkins

What It’s About:   Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.

Notes: Short Stories, Romance Fiction, LGBTQ, Contemporary Fiction.


My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

Title:  My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
Edited by:  Stephanie Perkins

What It’s About: If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year’s there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.

Notes: Short Stories, Holiday Stories, Romance Fiction, Contemporary Fiction.


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Title:  21 Proms
Edited by:  David Levithan

What It’s About:  Sometimes the night of your dreams can be a total nightmare.

The prom. It’s supposed to be one of the best nights of your life. Or, at least, you’re supposed to have a good time. But what if you’d rather be going with your best friend’s date than your own? What if a sinister underground society of students has spiked the punch? What if your date turns out to be more of a frog than a prince? Or what if he’s (literally) an ape?

There are ways you can fight it. You can protest the silliness of the regular prom by hosting a backwards prom – also known as a morp. You can throw a prom for fat girls. You can stay at home to watch old teen movies and get your cute neighbor and his cuter brother to join you. You can dance to your own music.

Here, 21 of the funniest, most imaginative writers today create their own kind of prom stories. Some are triumphs. Some are disasters. But each one is a night you’ll never forget.

Notes: Romance Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Short Stories, LGBTQ.


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Title: Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd
Edited by: Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci

What It’s About:  Acclaimed authors Holly Black (Ironside) and Cecil Castellucci (Boy Proof) have united in geekdom to edit short stories from some of the best selling and most promising geeks in young adult literature: M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, John Green, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Lisa Yee, and Sara Zarr.

With illustrated interstitials from comic book artists Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O’Malley, Geektastic covers all things geeky, from Klingons and Jedi Knights to fan fiction, theater geeks, and cosplayers. Whether you’re a former, current, or future geek, or if you just want to get in touch with your inner geek, Geektastic will help you get your geek on!

Notes: Short Stories, Fan Culture, Geek Culture, Comics.


26837046Title: Three Sides of a Heart: Stories about Love Triangles
Edited by: Natalie C. Parker

What It’s About: You may think you know the love triangle, but you’ve never seen love triangles like these.

These top YA authors tackle the much-debated trope of the love triangle, and the result is sixteen fresh, diverse, and romantic stories you don’t want to miss.

This collection, edited by Natalie C. Parker, contains stories written by Renee Ahdieh, Rae Carson, Brandy Colbert, Katie Cotugno, Lamar Giles, Tessa Gratton, Bethany Hagan, Justina Ireland, Alaya Dawn Johnson, EK Johnston, Julie Murphy, Garth Nix, Natalie C. Parker, Veronica Roth, Sabaa Tahir, and Brenna Yovanoff.

A teen girl who offers kissing lessons. Zombies in the Civil War South. The girl next door, the boy who loves her, and the girl who loves them both. Vampires at a boarding school. Three teens fighting monsters in an abandoned video rental store. Literally the last three people on the planet.

What do all these stories have in common?

The love triangle.

Notes: Short Stories, Romance Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Science Fiction/Fantasy Fiction.


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Title:  A Tyranny of Petticoats
Edited by: Jessica Spotswood

What It’s About:  From an impressive sisterhood of YA writers comes an edge-of-your-seat anthology of historical fiction and fantasy featuring a diverse array of daring heroines.

Criss-cross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They’re making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.

With stories by: J. Anderson Coats, Andrea Cremer, Y. S. Lee, Katherine Longshore, Marie Lu, Kekla Magoon, Marissa Meyer, Saundra Mitchell, Beth Revis, Caroline Tung Richmond, Lindsay Smith, Jessica Spotswood, Robin Talley, Leslye Walton, and Elizabeth Wein.

Notes: Historical Fiction, Short Stories, Feminism, LGTBQ.


35430013. sx318 Title:  A Thousand Beginnings and Endings
Edited by:  Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman

What It’s About:  Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings. These are the stuff of fairy tale, myth, and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries.

Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate.

Compiled by We Need Diverse Books’s Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, the authors included in this exquisite collection are: Renee Ahdieh, Sona Charaipotra, Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Rahul Kanakia, Lori M. Lee, E. C. Myers, Cindy Pon, Aisha Saeed, Shveta Thakrar, and Alyssa Wong.

A mountain loses her heart. Two sisters transform into birds to escape captivity. A young man learns the true meaning of sacrifice. A young woman takes up her mother’s mantle and leads the dead to their final resting place. From fantasy to science fiction to contemporary, from romance to tales of revenge, these stories will beguile readers from start to finish. For fans of Neil Gaiman’s Unnatural Creatures and Ameriie’s New York Times–bestselling Because You Love to Hate Me.

Notes: Folklore and Mythology, Short Stories, Science Fiction/Fantasy Fiction.


36426163Title: Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft
Edited by: Tess Sharpe and Jessica Spotswood

What It’s About:  A young adult fiction anthology of 15 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely–has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.

Notes: Short Stories, Witchcraft and Witches, Paranormal Fiction.


19364719Title:  Slasher Girls & Monster Boys
Stories Selected by:  April Genevieve Tucholke

What It’s About:  A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

Fans of TV’s The Walking Dead, True Blood, and American Horror Story will tear through tales by these talented authors: Stefan Bachmann, Leigh Bardugo, Kendare Blake, A. G. Howard, Jay Kristoff, Marie Lu, Jonathan Maberry, Danielle Paige, Carrie Ryan, Megan Shepherd, Nova Ren Suma, McCormick Templeman, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Cat Winters.

Notes: Short Stories, Horror Fiction, Paranormal Fiction.


7171748Title: Zombies Vs. Unicorns
Edited by:  Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black

What It’s About:  It’s a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths–for good and evil–of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

Notes: Short Stories, Horror Fiction, Paranormal Fiction, Science Fiction/Fantasy Fiction.


43887961. sy475 Title:  A Phoenix First Must Burn
Edited by:  Patrice Caldwell

What It’s About:   Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.

Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.

Authors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Amerie, Dhonielle Clayton, Jalissa Corrie, Somaiya Daud, Charlotte Davis, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Justina Ireland, Danny Lore, L.L. McKinney, Danielle Paige, Rebecca Roanhorse, Karen Strong, Ashley Woodfolk, and Ibi Zoboi.

Notes: Short Stories, Science Fiction/Fantasy Fiction, LGBTQ.


Coming Soon...2

With this post, I also wanted to highlight some of the upcoming anthologies that have yet to be released.  There is more to look forward to in the YA anthology world!


52172088Title:  Out Now: Queer We Go Again!
Edited by: 
Saundra Mitchell

What It’s About: QUEER WE GO AGAIN!

A follow-up to the critically acclaimed All Out anthology, Out Now features seventeen new short stories from amazing queer YA authors. Vampires crash prom, aliens run from the government, a president’s daughter comes into her own, a true romantic tries to soften the heart of a cynical social media influencer, a selkie and the sea call out to a lost soul. Teapots and barbershops, skateboards and VW vans, Street Fighter and Ares’s sword: Out Now has a story for every reader and surprises with each turn of the page!

Note:  This anthology comes out on May 26th, 2020.

Note #2: LGBTQ, Short Stories, Romance Fiction, Science Fiction/Fantasy Fiction, Paranormal Fiction.


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Title:  Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy
Edited by:  Kelly Jensen

What It’s About:  It’s time to bare it all about bodies!

We all experience the world in a body, but we don’t usually take the time to explore what it really means to have and live within one. Just as every person has a unique personality, every person has a unique body, and every body tells its own story.

In Body Talk, thirty-seven writers, models, actors, musicians, and artists share essays, lists, comics, and illustrations—about everything from size and shape to scoliosis, from eating disorders to cancer, from sexuality and gender identity to the use of makeup as armor. Together, they contribute a broad variety of perspectives on what it’s like to live in their particular bodies—and how their bodies have helped to inform who they are and how they move through the world.

Come on in, turn the pages, and join the celebration of our diverse, miraculous, beautiful bodies!

Note:  This anthology comes out on August 18th, 2020.

Note #2: Non-Fiction, Essays, Illustrations, Body Image, Gender Identity.


52750517Title:  Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite
Edited by:  Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker

What It’s About: Eleven fresh vampire stories from young adult fiction’s leading voices!

In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out―and going out for their first kill―and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.

Welcome to the evolution of the vampire―and a revolution on the page.

Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed, including Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley.

Note:  This anthology comes out on September 22, 2020.

Note #2: Short Stories, Vampires, Paranormal Fiction.


42440919Title:  Come On In
Edited by:  Adi Alsaid

What It’s About:   This exceptional and powerful anthology explores the joys, heartbreaks, and triumphs of immigration, with stories by bestselling and beloved YA authors who are themselves immigrants and the children of immigrants.

WELCOME

From some of the most exciting bestselling and up-and-coming YA authors writing today…journey from Ecuador to New York City and Argentina to Utah, from Australia to Harlem and India to New Jersey, from Fiji, America, Mexico and more… Come On In.

With characters who face random traffic stops, TSA detention, customs anxiety, and the daunting and inspiring journey to new lands, who camp with their extended families, dance at weddings, keep diaries, teach ESL, give up their rooms for displaced family, decide their own answer to the question “where are you from?” and so much more, Come On In illuminates fifteen of the myriad facets of the immigrant experience.

Note:  This anthology comes out on October 13th, 2020.

Note #2: Emigration and Immigration, Short Stories.


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Title:  Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions About Small-Town America
Edited by:  Nora Shalaway Carpenter

What It’s About:  Gracie sees a chance of fitting in at her South Carolina private school, until a “white trash”-themed Halloween party has her steering clear of the rich kids. Samuel’s Tejano family has both stood up to oppression and been a source of it, but now he’s ready to own his true sexual identity. A Puerto Rican teen in Utah discovers that being a rodeo queen means embracing her heritage, not shedding it. . . .

For most of America’s history, rural people and culture have been casually mocked, stereotyped, and, in general, deeply misunderstood. Now an array of short stories, poetry, graphic short stories, and personal essays, along with anecdotes from the authors’ real lives, dives deep into the complexity and diversity of rural America and the people who call it home. Fifteen extraordinary authors – diverse in ethnic background, sexual orientation, geographic location, and socioeconomic status – explore the challenges, beauty, and nuances of growing up in rural America. From a mountain town in New Mexico to the gorges of New York to the arctic tundra of Alaska, you’ll find yourself visiting parts of this country you might not know existed – and meet characters whose lives might be surprisingly similar to your own.

Note:  This anthology comes out on October 13th, 2020.

Note #2: Short Stories, Rural America, Poetry, Essays, Graphic Short Stories.

Currently Reading: Almost American Girl

Title_ Almost American Girl

What It’s About:   For as long as she can remember, it’s been Robin and her mom against the world. Growing up in the 1990s as the only child of a single mother in Seoul, Korea, wasn’t always easy, but it has bonded them fiercely together.

So when a vacation to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama, unexpectedly becomes a permanent relocation—following her mother’s announcement that she’s getting married—Robin is devastated. Overnight, her life changes. She is dropped into a new school where she doesn’t understand the language and struggles to keep up. She is completely cut off from her friends at home and has no access to her beloved comics. At home, she doesn’t fit in with her new stepfamily. And worst of all, she is furious with the one person she is closest to—her mother.

Then one day Robin’s mother enrolls her in a local comic drawing class, which opens the window to a future Robin could never have imagined.


Currently Reading...Reboot


Robin Ha!  I’ve been waiting to see more from this author and artist and I am happy it is here.  I really loved her cookbook “Cook Korean!: A Comic Book with Recipes”, which everyone needs to check out when they can.  It contains some really good Korean dishes with illustrated instructions, which as a terrible cook I can really appreciate.

Almost American Girl is a completely different thing.  I am halfway through this graphic novel memoir and it is already a new favorite.  It is heartbreaking, relatable, but it has so much to say.  As a daughter of immigrants, I can see aspects of my parents in the story from the struggle and shyness about speaking English to the thought of the new country being a better place to looking for a community in a new country.   I also really like how it’s not just a story about Chuna but it is also a story about her mom and their bond.

I have included the book trailer below.  I’m going back to reading now.

Finished Reading: Five Feet Apart

Title_ Five Feet Apart

What It’s About:  Can you love someone you can never touch?

Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?


Finished Reading...Reboot


Five Feet Apart is a short novel about teens with cystic fibrosis falling in love during their stay at a hospital and navigating the other painful parts of their lives like family, isolation, and grief.

I can appreciate that this book highlights a condition that is seldom discussed and its impact on the lives of those who live with it.  That’s so incredibly important.  I will scream that from the rooftops.  However, I feel like this book also left out a lot about the disease and what it does to people who have it for the sake of making the romance the central part of the story.  Because of that, I could not connect with many of the moments that were meant to be emotional for readers.

The book is presented with alternating points-of-view, which I do enjoy, because it creates an opportunity to hear the voices of each of the central characters.  Stella had the strongest voice of the two and felt like an individual.  Her voice felt authentic, despite her melodramatic moments.  Sadly, Will’s voice did not.  He felt like a cliche that didn’t know how to express himself beyond innuendo.  His voice did not sound authentic in the least.  He wasn’t believable as an object of someone’s affection.   Both characters overall though?  They’re not fleshed out enough for me.  Their romance and connection?  Less believable because of that.

I think this book had the opportunity to be something more meaningful for the CF community – to be honest and paint a picture of what life is really like with the disease and how it affects relationships with other people.  I just don’t think it did the community justice and for that reason, I am disappointed.

Rating 1 donut

If you are at all interested in learning more about how the CF community responded to the film, which I posted the trailer for, please check out the article below.

A Word from the Blogger

a word from the blogger

It’s a strange, scary, and isolating time as I write this.  As I have been writing the last few posts these last 3 weeks.  COVID-19 is a reality we’re all facing right now.  I won’t say it’s been easy because it really hasn’t been.  We have all lost so much.

I’ll keep writing for as long as I can.  Reading and writing have really helped me cope with everything that has been going on.

I hope other book bloggers will keep writing and keep sharing their reading experiences during this time too.  We should still express ourselves and share.  Let’s keep it going.  It helps us stay connected and manage.

Stay home.  Wash your hands.  Practice social distancing.  Be safe.